Thursday, June 28, 2012

Didn't See That One Coming!

I'm reminded today about something I saw many years ago. A boy of about 12 years old was standing in a field. There was a dog standing about 50 feet behind the boy. Suddenly the dog ran at full speed between the boys legs. As the dog weighed almost as much as the boy, the boy was knocked right off of his feet and came down smartly on his butt. He never saw it coming.

As I listened to the Supreme Court decision today on Obamacare I thought of that boy and that dog. We never saw it coming.

Before I go on, one point. The Supreme Court does not rule on the quality of legislation just on the constitutionality. As I thought about the disparate parts of their decision, I felt it all made sense in a strange sort of way. Declaring the mandate unconstitutional was right and necessary. Giving the government the right to dictate how and for what products an individual spends his money would destroy any concept of personel freedom.

The government does have the right to set up a national system and create a tax to pay for that system. So I understand that the Supremes let it stand as a tax. In fact the government attorneys that argued the case argued that it was a tax. But we were promised by Obama himself that there was to be no new taxes involved in Obamacare.

Here is where it gets really good. The federal government is allowed to force state governments to accept anybody under a certain income level into Medicaid. Now the federal government was going to tell the state governments that if they  didn't open the rolls as prescribed that they would lose all Medicaid funding. But the Supremes told the federal government that doing that would be unconstitutional.

In my humble opinion what the Supreme Court of the United States of America has done, in their infinite wisdom, is to create a very ugly, very large mud pie. The Democrats are going to try to apply blowout patches all over this mess and the Republicans will want to start over. But, and this is a very big but, the losers, as usual, are the much abused American people.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Fork In the Road

The country is rapidly coming to a fork in the road. Both choices are fraught with danger. Of course, I mean the election. This election is more about Obama than it is Romney. Take the left fork and Obama wins. Take the right fork and Obama loses. That is the way that I, and I suspect, and many others look at it.

If the country should take the left fork, democracy as we have known and loved it is a thing of the past. Over the past four years Obama has tried and had some degree of success at making the congress and the Supreme Court irrelevant. He runs the country through regulation and presidential edict. He has an Attorney General that aids and abets in this process. His department heads do his bidding without question. He ignores his cabinet and his gatekeepers isolate him from unwanted communication. He spends most of his time golfing, campaigning, fund raising, and vacationing rather than sitting in the Whitehouse doing the job for which he was hired. He is truly an imperial president who has surrounded himself with like thinking ideologs. He respects no limits now. That will not improve if he is re-elected.

If he is re-elected I would not be shocked to see him attempt to grab even more power ala Hugo Chavez. His ego is so unlimited that I'm sure he goes off to sleep every night thinking that he is doing the best thing not only for the United States but for the world. Look at how he just lectured the European heads of state. Telling them how they should run their economies when his own is an absolute disaster. His ego is his shield and his buckler against criticism. Why aim for perfection when you have already achieved it.

The right fork also has risks. First and least bad is the damage that a lame duck president can do between the election and the swearing in of the new president. Especially a president that has taken on to himself almost limitless power. He has the power of the pardon. Remember some of the pardons issued by the Clinton administration. His department heads can flood industry with sweeping regulations that will take years to unravel. Worst of all he still has the power of the presidential edict. Remember how Carter gave the Panama Canal back to Panama.

But my worst fear is the possibility of declaring a presidential takeover of the country in the style of, or perhaps as, martial law. Over the past year he has put the pieces in place that would allow him to take over the whole economy of the United States in an emergency. Such an emergency could be real. But it could also be created. You don't buy a tool unless you plan to use it. Obama has that tool. The first thing most people would think is "he would never be allowed to do this". My response is, who would stop him. No one in the world wields more power than the American president. He is Commander in Chief of the military, he is the chief law inforcement officer and his next level of command is made up of all his political minions. Under those circumstances he could conceivably send congress home and shut down the supreme court. Do I expect this? Honestly, no. But I still recognize the possibility.

As a country we must take the right fork. But it may not be a smooth ride.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sometimes You Just Gotta Make The Change

Sometimes a true story becomes an allegory. This is one of those occasions. For more than twenty years my wife and I shopped at the same food store. It is a semi-large chain store located in an older shopping plaza. It served our day to day needs adequately. As we got older and developed some problems it was convenient to stay with a store we new well and that wasn't overwhelmingly large. Over a period of time small changes were made in the store layout that made us a little unhappy, but we stayed with them. Convenience, habit, maybe both. Then one Friday morning we went into the store and it was full of strangers stripping shelves and moving things around. This went on for over two weeks. When we questioned one of the regular employees we were told they are giving the store a good cleaning and re-organizing the shelves. For good reasons that I won't get into,  we do not like re-organizing.

Well, one day we arrived there and the work crew was gone. Hooray! So we started shopping. I am sworn to use civil language in this blog. This is the first time I feel that to be a handicap. Let us just say I have never seen a store so bollixed up in my life. OK so I was a little rude. Get over it. The genius that devised the floor plan must have never done a full weeks food shopping in his or her life. As a matter of fact I suspect most of their food shopping is done at stores where their car is parked at a gas pump just outside the door.

But, hey, will try it for a while. We'll probably get used to it. Right? How bad can it be? Then they changed the weekly ad which we get in the mail and use to make our shopping list. They shrunk it down to useless. High level discussions were held at the kitchen table. Souls were searched. We decided to venture off the safe and familiar ground and try a different store.

There is another market nearby. It is part of a small local chain. We would stop by there times when we just needed one or two items to tide us over. We had not checked out their meat or fish or produce. But it was time for us to make a change. To make a long story short, their produce is great. Their meat is as good if not better. Their fish is right off the boat at a local fishing port. Their people are extremely helpful and we are actually saving ten to fifteen percent a week. Now we're asking ourselves why we held out so long.

OK, now here's the part where this becomes an allegory. I remember FDR. I remember Harry Truman. I actually voted for JFK. My first presidential election. I remember what the Democrat Party was in those days. It is not the same party that we see today. There used to be a line down the middle of the political highway. The Democrats marched from just right of center to left of center. The Republicans marched from slightly left of center to right of center. Yes, I also remember the Rockefeller Republicans and the blue dog Democrats.

Here's where it gets complicated. There is still a group of Republicans that run from slightly left of center (RINOs) to just right of center. There is also a group that has moved a little farther right. But there is still some balance there. The problem today is that a large group has come into the Democrat party that are off on the left berm shouting and screaming. The party has left a lot of reasonable Democrats that love their country behind. Ronald Reagan was originally a Democrat. When asked why he left the party. He stated famously,"I didn't leave them. They left me". I think a lot of Democrats are agonizing over the same thing today. It is time for them to take a deep breath and make that change or they will not have the country they love any longer. When the party straightens out, you can always go back. The future of this country may be decided by those Democrats that are unhappy patriots.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

An Economic Epiphany

I am not an economist. If I were, I would not admit it. However, I do have some economics education. This allows me to speak as an expert. Check CNN and MS NBC. It doesn't take much to qualify as an expert. All kidding aside, a major new economic philosophy has been announced to the world. The greatest economic theorist ever, Barack Obama, has just replaced his reliance on the thoughts of John Maynard Keynes (which everyone knows doesn't work anyway) with his own breakthrough philosophy which he calls "trickle up economics".

In this revolutionary theory if you have an economy that is sinking like a rock in a very deep lake you beg, borrow, or steal (tax) as much money as you can get your hands on and create all of the safety nets and social programs that you can conceive of and everything will be saved. It's just so obvious to him. Put money in the hands of those that have the most need and the least skills and they will invest in cars and refrigerators and the like and the economy will move forward.

No, this is not a joke. But it is truly an"Oh My God" moment. Once again we have taken a trip down the rabbit hole with our president as our guide. As he announced his great new plan he disparaged "trickle down economics" which has actually been seen to work a number of times in my memory. The first time I remember is in 1961 when JFK cut taxes and brought the economy back in a very short time. But, as usual, history and logic take second place with our president. Political ideology and ego are everything.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chaos Reigns

I read a lot of news. National, international, financial, all that I have time for. I have a few favorite sources. But I also try to find other sources especially from other countries to get a rounded version of the news. I have been a news junkie for years. And I have never seen such utter chaos in the world as I am seeing now.

Except for a few, our congress, both houses, have become parodies of what they should be. They are more interested in camera time and partisanship than preserving and protecting this country and the Constitution that makes it great.

The organizations of government are being run like frat houses, with about as much self discipline by those that we pay to do our day to day work as you will find at a toga party. The bosses seem to impart no controls or authority over the workplace. But they can sure plan a great conference at taxpayer expense. Watch porn on your taxpayer supplied computer all day, no problem. It's only government work.

The DOJ seems more interested in forcing state governments to bow to their will than doing the job of enforcing the laws as written. The imperial president goes his own way using his czars and department heads with congress standing impotently on the sidelines. Now the AG is faced with a possible indictment for contempt of congress.

Congress is looking at defunding our military to show that their doing their job. Of course, that is the worst thing that they could do. But hey, we're in a deep recession and we need more money to fund social programs, right. No, not right. Stop the insane spending and get government doing the job it was hired to do or fire the whole lot of them and keep our military strong.

The governments of the world are bleeding money that they don't have while their economies go down the hopper. Everybody's killing everybody throughout the mid-east and Africa. The UN sits around discussing ad infinitum with nothing accomplished. The EU is close to crumbling. Russia feels that we are weakening so they can show more intransigence.

We cannot do much about the rest of the world. We need to get our own house in order. That is in itself a major task since it has gotten so far out of order. We don't need much to make that happen. A competent and honest president that puts the country ahead of himself would be a good start. An honest and statesman like congress that will recognize the countries needs and meet those needs under the law without over-reaching and without the consideration of party. Also, government employees that will do their honest days work in a manner to help citizens not hinder them. One other thing. Until we get our country back up and running as it should we have to look to what is in our own self interest. A weak America weakens all free nations around the world. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Random Thoughts IV

I confess, I love writing these random thoughts. I think my readers like them too. I hope so, anyway.

Memo to Red Sox: Pitchers don't win games, hitters do.

Memo to Eric Holder: The bus is waiting. Time to go.

Memo to Mitt Romney: Get your surrogates out on the Sunday shows to explain the function of Bain Capital.

Obama surrogate, Joy Behar, said that she would like to see Mitt Romney's house burn down. She also threw in a dig at the Mormon faith. Liberals are so caring and nice.

Leaking intelligence for political advantage is about the lowest most despicable thing that a politician can do. It matters not if he does it personally or if he hides behind some hack.

Qualifications no longer matter for high political office. Nor does a sense of honor.

I will never understand why the things I write about seem to be more important to older people than the young ones. Us old ones will be checking out of this hotel soon. You young'uns get to own the whole ugly mess.

Make no mistake, the country is going broke. Continued insane spending will save nothing.

Barack you're three and a half years in. Blaming Bush makes you look childish and silly. Maybe you could change that to the dog ate my budget. By the way, between campaigning, fund raising, vacations, and golf, who's running the country.

Barack, Bill is not your friend.The Democrats in congress can no longer run away from the Social Security and the Medicare problems. They refuse to talk to Republicans at their own peril. Also, frightening Grandma as a political tactic is low and unseemly. But lately low and unseemly seems  to fit right into the liberal game plan.

Think about this. Europe is a financial mess. The US has problems but we are not where Europe is. So I'm going to repeat something that I have written before because I think it is right and I think it is important. If we can get a new administration that will end the mistakes of our present administration. Cut spending. Stop the over-regulation. Put together a tax package that is reasonable and will be in place for the foreseeable future (5 yrs. min., 10 yrs. better). The economy will start to break. Once it starts and people gain confidence the huge amounts of money that are sitting on the sidelines will come flooding in. Where else can investors go with the conditions in Europe. You'll probably see me write this again. People need to be reminded.

I wish Fox News websites would stop trying to be People magazine.

Obama's new campaign slogan: I can't do it but Romney can't do it even worse.

Let us not forget about the XL pipeline. As we get closer to elections it seems the main stream media doesn't want to bring it up. Wonder why?????

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pray For The Sphinx

From the middle of the sixth century until 2001 there stood at the gates of the Bamiyan Valley on the ancient Silk Road in Afghanistan two proud statues. In this desolate spot Buddhist monks had created the two tallest "Standing Buddha" statues in the world as a sign of their devotion. They were marvelous to behold made of stone and wood and mud. People traveled from all over the world to see them as they stood in giant niches that the monks carved into the side of the cliff.

In 2001 the Taliban gained complete power over this tribal area. Now the English translation of the word Taliban is "the teachers". It seems that they had much to teach about these statues. As they packed them with explosives and blew them to pieces. They taught a powerful lesson about ignorance, intolerance, and hatred. The world lost two irreplaceable pieces of ancient art on that day. The Taliban gained only the disgust of civilized people everywhere.

That brings our thoughts to today and modern Egypt. Egypt is and has been for some time now a country in turmoil. It is a country with a long history of important art and artifacts that are world treasures. From the Library at Alexandria to the pyramids and the Sphinx, the tombs of the Pharaohs, Egypt has historical wealth untold. Almost all of it is based on the religion of the Pharaohs.

Because  of the turmoil I fear for these great historical items. If hard line Islamists gain power will we see these great treasures destroyed by overly prideful men? We already see what is happening to the native Coptic population that has been in Egypt for 2000 years. They're being beaten and stoned. Their churches are being destroyed. They are being driven out of their own country. Recently I was talking to a friend who is a Coptic Egyptian and has lived in the US for many years. We were having a discussion about events in his home country. As we parted company his final words to me were "pray for my country". We all should.

As a separate issue, I am writing this at 11:15 on Wednesday night. The Washington Post  has just blown the lid off of a huge secret intelligence operation on the African Continent. It provides for aerial surveillance of military actions across wide areas. Who is providing all of these leaks and why. Investigation is needed and arrests must be made.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Warning, Muddy Road Ahead

I usually like to deal with fact or opinion. This time I want to look at possibilities. I and others think that our nations sovereignty is in danger. I also think that there are powerful people out there that are in favor of weakening this country to make the balance of power "more fair" throughout the world. I feel that this would be acceptable to both our President and the Secretary of State. There are three areas where items before congress put the nation in jeopardy.

The UN wants to control the Internet. There are meetings coming up that the House Energy and Commerce sub-committee will attend. If control cedes to the UN, nations such as Russia and China will have a huge influence in the way the Internet is run. The government in authoritarian nations would have complete control within their borders. The Internet has always been about freedom. That is the basis of it's success. It must remain free to everyone.

Another dangerous area that the administration is involved with is the "Law of the Sea Treaty". For centuries the rules of the sea have been a matter of agreement among the navies, both military and merchant, of the world. If some country decides to exceed convention, a bigger navy comes to the fore and explains to them the error of their ways. I believe it was in the 1500s that the Dutch tried to control the Indian Ocean. In sweep the British, problem solved. It has worked well ever since. The problem with this treaty is that we hand a large part of our sovereignty over to an international body which would also have the right to tax the United States and use the money as they see fit. And also they would be allowed to control carbon emissions in the US. Bad deal and unnecessary.

Last is the "Arms Control Treaty". The gist of this is that the tracking and record keeping requirements on both firearms and ammunition would be onerous and hugely expensive. I believe it is a step toward the international disarmament of civilians. As guns and ammunition get more expensive the fewer people will be able to afford them. Of course, the poor would be the first to suffer. There is only one reason to disarm honest citizens and it is not public safety. "An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject."

These treaties are still up in the air. But forewarned is forearmed. Watch places like the Drudge report and The Daily Caller. You most likely wont find anything in the main stream media.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Start Believing Your Lying Eyes

Everybody smiles at the old saw "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?". It is now time to filter out that background buzz and believe what you see. Like with a magician. Don't listen to the banter. Watch what they do.

Let's start with Reagan signature question. "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" Most families will say, absolutely not. Some, about thirty-three percent say that they are better off. I believe them. There are a few people out there running small businesses that are still successful. Fewer every week. Professional athletes and entertainers, Obama's crowd, are most certainly better off. And there are even a few people that were out of work that found new jobs. Way too few. And again, fewer every week. Even if you are holding even, you are blest if you are, isn't there a little tingle of fear in the back of your mind. I expect that there might be.

Remember two summers ago, Biden"s grand announcement of "The Summer of Recovery". That went well. Right through this whole ugly mess, the administration has said we are in recovery and they are creating jobs. But some how the GNP is always flat or down and the number of jobs overall diminishes every month. Some call it spin, I call it lying.

Obama would says the he for an across the board energy plan. Except that he is destroying the coal industry. Coal generates most of your electricity. He wants more oil. Unless it comes in on the XL pipeline from Canada. Or from drilling in Anwar. Or drilling off shore. Or where there is some kind of bird or bug or salamander that, he is told by his green contributors, must be saved. And you can't have fracking. It has never been shown to do harm. But who cares about real evidence. It's how you feel about it that's important.

OK. We'll use wind power. We'll just set up those big ugly towers. Not in any politicians line of sight, please. Of course those big propellors do kill eagles and hawks and other protected species of birds. But that's OK, because that is renewable power. If you killed protected species in a coal mining operation you would go to jail or be hit with a major fine. I'm going to make a prediction here. In twenty years those towers will not be functioning because they are expensive and difficult to maintain. And as they break down they will be abandoned and become a blight on the landscape because no one will allocate money to remove them.

Well, there is solar. Acres and acres of fragile glass panels to maintain and keep clean. Meanwhile pray the sun stays out. And it's not terribly efficient. These so-called renewable technologies are not mature products and will not make a dent in our current needs. Just because the president dreams it, doesn't make it so.

Meanwhile we are pouring out money that we don't have at the rate of 4 billion dollars a day. Obama has increased the national debt more than all previous presidents combined. But he says he has spent less. It just goes on and on. Say one thing do the other. Folks better start believing their own eyes while we still have a country left.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Even More Random Thoughts

Does anyone really believe that Michelle gets out there bright and early and weeds that garden.

Bush + water boarding = bad.    Obama + killer drones = good. Thank God for an unbiased press.

There's nothing like the sound of a riceburner clicking off about 120 out on the highway in the wee small hours. If you don't understand this, skip it. If you do, you know what I mean.

John Edwards has got to be the luckiest man alive. Keep that horseshoe, John.

Write this down. A slab of ribs. Make a rub of garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, kosher salt, ground celery seed. Rub and let sit for an hour. 3 hours in the oven at 190 degrees. Coat in "Sweet Baby Ray's" sauce for the last 1/2 hour. May not be the best ribs ever, but it will be pretty close. Not a second less than 3 hours. 

The Obamites are circling the wagons. Even old Carville is getting cranked up. Be afraid. Be sore afraid.

I love politics. It's politicians I dislike.

I never lost money buying good tools. Something always needs to be fixed.

Why, when the president is on TV, does he tilt his head back and look down his nose at us as he lectures us on a daily basis? Does he feel that we are his inferiors?

The administration's latest cure for the economy; "buy thing-a-ma-jigs and use your unemployment money to start a business. Wow these people a so smart.

Obama's "Paycheck Fairness Act" should be titled Trial Lawyers Full Employment Act.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Blog and a Gift

 Nothing is forever. That is a motto that has surfaced in my mind often during my life. Family problems during my teens, "nothing is forever". I hunkered down and survived. A bad boss that had it in for me but couldn't fire me, "nothing is forever". Worked hard. Got promoted. Out of his reach. Through tough times, it keeps one sane without acting the Pollyanna. So, a hard look at what is going on in what is still the greatest nation on Earth and one has to think, "please God, nothing is forever". I see once great organs such as the New York Times and the Washington Post bowing down and carrying the water for their percieved betters. The press is dead, long live the blogosphere. At least there are some of us out here that retain a grip on reality. Not so the main stream media and they should be ashamed.

OK, now for the present. I like to cook. This weekend I made beef barbecue. Those of you from Texas need go no farther. You know how to BBQ beef. The rest of the country, not so much. I live in an apartment so I have to cook in the stove oven. It can be done. One problem is that commercial BBQ sauces are made for pork not beef. This may not be world class but it will be respectable. Good enough to serve to company.

Buy a nice piece of shoulder or chuck roast. 3 to 5 lbs. Rub with a dry rub. Kosher salt, Hungarian paprika, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, ground celery seed. Let sit 2 hrs. Rub with oil. Wrap in heavy duty foil. Cook at 300 degrees f. for 3 hours. Cut up, add sauce (below) and reheat.

1/2 Sweet onion. Chopped fine
2 Tbsp. butter
Melt butter in sauce pan and saute onions until transparent.

Mix 1 cup of beef broth
       1/2 cup rye whiskey
       1 tsp garlic powder
Mix 1/2 cup catsup
        1 tsp fresh ground pepper
        1 tsp Kosher salt

Add catsup mix to onions. Saute until catsup browns slightly.

Add Broth mixture. Simmer until reduced by 1/2

If you can make the sauce the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge, all the better.

Try it. You'll like it.