Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Cyprus Helps The Dow

I have written frequently on economics. Both on the theoretical and the practical. Occasionally I feel compelled to repeat myself. This is, primarily, because I read so much that is written by those that have no understanding of their subject. 

The situation in Cyprus is what brings me to this point. They have gone that one bridge too  far on the road of tax and spend. They are desperate. When governments get desperate, in most cases, the citizens suffer most. In this case though, while the citizens will suffer, there will be Russian oligarchs that suffer even more. When these ultra-rich Russians accumulate cash, they like to put it in foreign banks for obvious reasons. In this case, those obvious reasons bit them in the butt.

So, in a way, that was kind of a smart decision for Cyprus. It will probably insure their membership in the European Union. At least for a while. Of course, they will have to change their way of living or they will be right back in the mess where they started. That probably means more riots and destruction. So all is really not well in beautiful downtown Cyprus.

Meanwhile back in other European countries, they see what Cyprus is doing and this gives them pause for thought. At the same time, I assume, that those with savings in Spanish and Portuguese banks, for example, are making, shall we say, alternate arrangements.

I admit that I have even considered this possibility for the USA. I know that we have FDIC that insures our deposits and the fourth amendment to protect us against unreasonable search and seizure. But with the way things are going, I can't help but be a little nervous. After all FDIC is a government agency. And who gets to define unreasonable? But I really think the United States is safe. At least for now.

The point that I set out to make is about all the noise in the press about how great the stock market is doing. It's going up like a sky rocket. The economy is back and humming. Right? Not just no, but hell no.

Europe is in financial turmoil. It will be for some time. They do not alter the course of the "ship of state" handily over there. Also, I don't feel a lot of love either to or from Asia in the investment arena. So lets look at the good old USA. The companies on the stock exchange are generally stable. They are sitting on piles of cash because they are afraid to invest in new equipment or expand their work force. As a matter of fact, they have cut back on operations and personnel. They are running lean, mean, and profitable even in a tough economy. That is called management. American business has some very good management.

So if you are sitting out there clutching a bunch of cash in your hot little hand, what are you going to do with it? Bank interest rates are so low you might as well keep it under your mattress. Property is always sound. Of course, you might have to wait a couple of decades to make a profit on it. So American equities would appear to be the logical solution.

The stock market, however, is the only factor in the economy that is doing well. Economic growth is bouncing along the bottom with no real upward push. There are fewer Americans employed than since the early eighties. Taxes are up and inertia is down. Energy is trapped in the ground and we have an administration that is proud of that fact. If it weren't for private land we would really be hurting.

These things can be fixed. That's what elections are for. But for now don't go believing those glowing reports. That glow is from the last piece of coal that is crumbling to ash.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Veterans Deserve Better !

I was sad and angry to read about the problems with the Veterans Administration. Sad and angry but not surprised. We have a local veteran's hospital in my area and I have been hearing tales for years about poor and delayed treatment. Not being either a veteran or a health care professional I had no way to judge these stories, but they were many.

In 2009 General Eric Shinseki became Secretary for Veterans Affairs. I have noticed the news articles about this latest situation omit the general's military rank. He was a four star general and was the Army's Chief of Staff. Those things tell you a lot about the man. He is smart. He is ambitious. He is competent. He knows how to get results. He can function in a political arena. One would think that such a man would be driven to protect the military people most in need of his protection. To the contrary, the situation for these American heroes seems to have gotten worse. I just do not understand why this neglect has become endemic. 

Allison Hickey is the Under Secretary for Veterans Benefits. She is also ex-military having retired as a Brig. Gen. A look at her background would lead one to think that she has the tools for the job also. In her position, she is the person most directly responsible for results. They have not been forthcoming except on paper. As I understand it, the illusion of results has become more important than actual results. They have learned to love the statistics, while forgetting about the people.

It appears that the VA is being run like a sleazy commercial insurance operation in that the more benefits you can deny, the more successful you are. This is a terrible business model for an agency whose mandate is to care for American veterans that sorely need help. Even to the point where those officers charged with reviewing denied benefits were not allowed to assist in helping those that were denied. While, I am sure, every taxpayer would ask due diligence by case officers, I think most Americans would agree that those that have sacrificed for their country should have appropriate care.

If assuring success requires a change of management, so be it. If this organization is operating on the old premise "good enough for government work", changes are essential. Change must be immediate. These people need help and many of them have waited far too long. If new management is required to shake things up, don't hesitate. We owe it to these good people.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Short But Important Blog

This blog is a list of things that I find worrisome. I will not draw conclusions because I cannot.
Janet Napolitano's testimony before Congress troubles me. This list represents the reasons for my anxiety.

  1. When Barack Obama was elected President, he stated the desire for a homeland army that is equivalent to the US Army. He said this without giving justification.
  2. The DHS already has a number of quasi- military organizations that it controls.
  3. The DHS recruited a large number of individuals with no educational standards and minimal training to man the TSA.
  4. This same TSA now wears new police-like uniforms with badges.
  5. The DHS just issued a new contract for $50,000,000 worth of new uniforms.
  6. The DHS has just purchased 160 billion rounds of ammunition. Mostly hollow point 9mm and .40 cal.
  7. The DHS has purchased unknown quantities on hand guns and fully automatic assault weapons.
  8. The DHS has just purchased 2,700 hardened troop carriers that are bomb resistant and have gun ports. Not quite tanks but close. 
That's my list. Does that prove anything? No. But unless you have no imagination and have been bitten by the "I adore Obama" bug like Chris Mathews you have to give this a great deal of thought.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fantasy and Political Fiction

"We don't have a spending problem." Have you heard that lately? We are spending a trillion dollars more than we take in. I would classify that as a spending problem. If any of us did that with our personal finances, we would soon know the joys of bankruptcy.

I heard a good one yesterday. "If the Keystone XL pipeline is built it will destroy the country." Really? How? We have miles of pipeline criss-crossing the country. We seem to survive just fine with those. In fact they have a better safety record than over the road transport. That does require further explanation.

Here's one that is really disgusting. Harry Reid came out and blamed the tragic deaths of seven Marines at Hawthorne Depot on sequester. Good old gutsy Harry. Never afraid to use someone else's tragedy to make political hay. If you can find any way to blame your opposition, just do it. People will eventually forget how creepy you are.

Every once in a while one of these fantasies backfires on you. Remember the tall tale about Benghazi. Some two bit film maker in  California made a film about Islam and a trailer for it showed up on you-tube. That trailer inflamed the middle east and caused the attack on the American Consulate. They tried to sell that fantasy for two months. No one believed it except the real kool aid drinkers. But they tried.

Then, of course, there are the classics. "If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." How are those working out for you. Remember this old classic? "This is the summer of recovery". Whoops. Not so much. How about the decade of stagnation?

The White House press conferences are always good for a touch  of fantasy. My personal favorite is "the President was leading from behind". That cannot possibly make sense to anyone.

One that will live through the ages. "Hope and Change" We got the change and it sucked out all hope. But we are Americans. We will go on. "Post racial president." Wow! That didn't work too well. I vaguely remember something about reaching out to the Muslim world. Well, he reached out and got his hand slapped. They play him like a kid plays with a yoyo.

Fantasies are fun for entertainment. When they get into the political arena they can be hurtful on a variety of levels. I wish they would put aside the fantasy and political gamesmanship and govern honestly as they were elected to do. That is my fantasy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Benghazi - Sixth Update

I have made a change of format. In the past I have carried along all previous updates. That got a little unwieldy. In the future I will leave past updates behind. The fifth has all of the originals should anyone care to look back. They can pick up this and all future ones from there. I do intend to update periodically to remind readers that we must get the whole story. The story the administration is hiding. I will continue posting this until we have all the answers.

Sixth Update

It has come out that the people that were safely liberated from Benghazi have been kept under wraps and told not to speak out. Those that are CIA or State Department Intelligence should remain silent. Those that are civilian employees must be allowed to testify before Congress and tell the world about their experience, if they wish. It seems that Hillary Clinton's e-mails regarding Benghazi have been hacked. They will trickle out. Patience and pressure will bring results. Covering up a tragedy is not like taking a Mulligan. Nixon learned the hard way. Is it now Obama's turn?

Remember Benghazi

The holidays are here and everyone is busy with their preparations. The newspaper, if they report at all, are reporting the crisis of the day. The president is heading to Hawaii in a week. Most politicians have lost interest in anything that matters. There are distractions galore. But through all this, we must remember Benghazi.

The administration, every person in it, hopes that the American people will just move on and call it done. Over. Old history. We must not do that. Benghazi is a big deal. Benghazi is not just one scandal. It is four separate scandals. Every one of them deserves our close attention.

The first scandal is that Ambassador Stevens called for more security and it was denied him. That is unheard of. An ambassador is the highest ranking American in any foreign country. He is the direct representative of the President. Normally when an ambassador makes a request it is granted without question. There are only two people in government with the power to deny an ambassador. That would be the Secretary of State and the President. So who made that decision and why? Was it made on political grounds? Was it made to appease someone in the Libyan government? After all this consulate had been attacked before. Weren't there enough warning flags up? Why was the Ambassador even there? Was he sent there secretly for a meeting? Why was he sent with insufficient personal security?

The second scandal is the attack on the consulate itself. This was an attack on sovereign American soil. When the consulate came under fire they called out for help. None was forthcoming. The people calling for help were experienced military. They had a drone overhead monitoring the situation. The battle lasted over seven hours. Help was available. Even a single C-130A sent from Italy could have been there in an hour. Four honorable Americans lost their lives while serving their country. Why? Was this also a political decision? Do we now sacrifice our people for political reasons? Who was monitoring the feed from the drone? Who did they report to? We need answers. We deserve answers. Whatever was or was not done occurred in our name.

The third scandal, of course, is the pack of lies that the administration put out to cover this debacle. The stories had not even a bit of truth to them. It was not about some movie upsetting a flash mob. Any person with more than two active brain cells knew they were lies. But for weeks after, coincidentally right through the presidential debates, the administration stuck with the story. Week after week, on the Sunday talk shows and in the news papers the media allowed this story when they must have known it was a fabrication. A man in California was jailed for his part in inciting a riot that never happened. In America? Please. That is just wrong. When did our country come to this?

The fourth scandal is a little more difficult for me.  I have a tendency to accept the military as straight forward and honorable under any and all pressure. As back in Caesar's day, they would fall on their sword rather than dishonor their uniform. General Petraeus initially mouthed the party line as to the cause of the attack on Benghazi. He reiterated the obvious lies that were played to protect the administration. It is my opinion, and mine alone, that he wanted to tell the truth. Again, my opinion, he was told that if he went public, his private misfeasance would be made public. Being an honorable man who made a mistake, he did the right thing and resigned. We, as American citizens, need his testimony as to what transpired throughout this whole mess.

I am writing this piece on the evening of December 9, 2012. I plan to publish it tomorrow. I feel it is so important that I will republish this essay periodically as a reminder to those that read my blog that the administration has not answered our questions, until we finally are told the truth or have a new administration.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring At Last

I hate winter. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I hate the grayness of it. I hate the trees without leaves. I hate seeing people so bundled up that you can't tell the girls from the boys. 

The time from the leaves falling until the new year isn't too bad. The holidays keep people cheerful or at least distracted. After that I dive deep into the doldrums. Today I saw the beginning of the end of the darkness that afflicts my soul. (You have to love melodrama.)  Today  I sat in front of the TV and watched a whole baseball game. My heart soared. (More melodrama.)

I just spent St. Patrick's Day afternoon watching my Boston Red Sox win. Sure it's only spring training but that's a start. I have  been seeing robins around. Soon the buds on the trees will swell and a little later leaves will happen. My attitude is improving just thinking about it.

But being a cranky conservative, I'm obliged to find something to be cranky about. That is not difficult. As they say in the military, "it is a target rich environment". CPAC has got me cranky because the Republicans still don't get it. They have to stop sniping at each other. The  administration and Democrats in general supply enough targets for all the Republican darts. When you rip each other, no one wins.

I get angry when I see liberals trying to come up with all these end runs around the second amendment. The latest idea seems to be a small tax on guns. This tax will slowly grow until it becomes confiscatory. Of course, this means guns for the rich and connected and none for the poor that live in dangerous neighborhoods.

I get cranky as the President uses sequester to hurt Americans so that he puts pressure on his opposition. I get cranky when he takes credit for anything that he deems as good and takes no responsibility when things go wrong. I despise his willingness to throw anyone under the bus to protect himself. I also hate that he is willing to let laws with which he disagrees go unenforced.

I get cranky when people see what the Dow is doing and think the economy is getting better. It is not. Taxes are up, growth is down, jobs are stagnant, and family incomes are down. There was an article in the Washington Post telling of the plight of Woonsocket, RI. One third of the population exists on food stamps.

I get cranky because my country is in trouble and no one is doing what needs to be done to fix it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

CPAC Gives Hope

I have not been watching the CPAC convention. I have listened to, and made, enough political  speeches in my day that I need to hear no more. I have been a candidate, a campaign manager, a blogger, and a columnist. I have the spike marks on my back from where I was stomped into the mud as a candidate.

I left the Republican party to become a Constitutional Conservative. I felt the Republicans  had lost their way. I have seen nothing in recent years to prove me wrong. I have supported the Republican party with my vote. I did that primarily because the alternative was far worse. 

One thing that the Republicans never understood that was the strength of the Democrats was that they worked from the bottom up. The Republicans expected to work from the top down.

Let me explain. The Democrat ward committee meets. They find out a registered Democrat has lost his job and is asking for help. They would then reach out and find a city or state level job for this person and make a lifetime believer.

The Republican ward committee meets. The state senator speaks. He asks for their support and offers nothing. His state committee just went through a similar thing with their national representative.  They ask everything and offer little. If a Republican reaches out for help from a higher level, they get very little help. 

To the Democrats, all politics are local. To the Republicans, all politics are national. If you do not understand that, I suggest you take another look at the process.

I'll admit, that scorpion has been in my shoe for a long time. I needed to get him gone. I hope that I have made my case.

So, back to CPAC. I see a bevy of smart, personable, young politicians coming front and center. They are standing up and making themselves heard. They are educated, smart, and have a presence. They also have a realistic understanding of the issues.

I am an old time pol from an era long past. I have separated myself from today's politics so that I may  do a commentary that is useful and honest. It is time for the old guard to stand back and let the young ones do the job. Share your support. Share your wisdom. Build the base to give the young ones support. Then fade into the background and enjoy your reclining years. Sometimes the old guard has to be reminded that they were once the young turks thirty or forty years ago when they came into office. Now it is someone else's turn.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chaos Theory For The Rest Of Us

Last night I started to write a piece for this blog. Two paragraphs in, I could see it was going no where. So I started over. I got the same results. I tried a third shot and still couldn't get anyplace. At that point I gave it up as a bad night. My mind was in chaos. I couldn't get my thoughts to align into something coherent.  I watched "Justified" and went to bed.

I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that it wasn't my thoughts that were in chaos. The world is in chaos. There were so many things happening all at once, I was having a problem organizing my thoughts. I think they call that lack of focus. 

We have that plump little twerp in North Korea threatening nuclear war, saying he will turn Washington D.C. into a sea of fire. Meanwhile, the Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Samuel Locklear III is claiming our greatest military threat is climate change. Admiral, it is time for a career change. Maybe Greenpeace is hiring. They have ships.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Barack Obama, the man that has spent the past five years, by turns, castigating or ignoring the Republicans, has decided to be their best bud. He's taking them out to dine and having meetings. Has he suddenly realized what great guys the Republicans are? Probably not. While all this is going on his staff is announcing that he's just doing this for the press and no one should believe it.

The mayor of New York has appointed himself king of New York. If you want to live in the big apple, you better be ready for the worm. You are going to have to toe the line eat right. No big sugary drinks. What is next?  Outlaw pitchers of beer and extra large pizzas. No double pepperoni for you. It must be great to have all that power. What's the phrase? Napoleon Complex, I believe.

Iran, the people that are threatening to kill all Jews and destroy Israel, are looking to sue Hollywood over the movie Argo because it is "outside their cultural norms". See, they should have made a movie about stoning and beheading. That seems to be within those norms.

The government shut down parts of the National Park system and the White House for tours    because they can't find any waste spending in government to eliminate. But we're still giving billions of dollars that we're borrowing from China to countries that hate us. We're even supplying the Muslim Brotherhood with F-16s in Egypt.

We couldn't afford to protect the US Ambassador in Libya, so he and three other patriots died. But we can afford to buy the Department of Homeland Security 2,700 war wagons, billions of rounds of ammunition, and fully automatic weapons. What is that for?

The TSA takes barely trained "agents" that don't even need to be high school graduates and dresses them up like cops to the tune of fifty million dollars to boost morale.

Through all this we have fewer people in the workplace than we have had since 1983. The Government is taking more money from the American people than it ever has before and the Democrats are screaming they need more tax money. Chaos.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thoughts on the Dow

The Dow is not the entire economy. In spite of all the joyful noises that I have been hearing from the Sunday talking heads, I suggest that you walk very very carefully if you are considering investments. Let us examine why the Dow flourishes. Interest rates are too low to bother with a savings account as a means of investing. The rest of the world is in more turmoil than the the United States. American companies are solid and sitting on a mountain of cash. These same companies have pared back their operations and are profitable. So where else are people going to put their money?

Now for the warnings. A few weeks ago, in another venue where I write a column, I commented on the Bernanke Bubble. For the record, I was there first with that sobriquet.  OK, Mr. Bernanke is keeping interest rates artificially low. If they should go up, the government is in very serious financial trouble because of the huge interest payments on borrowed money. Mr. Brenanke has inflated the money supply by printing, printing, printing. That money has gone into the banks. With interest rates low, they are not making loans. They are investing in equities. The least twitch downward and they are going to bail out as fast as they can move stock without starting a complete panic. Once again the small investor will lag behind and take a beating. That popping sound you hear is the Bernanke Bubble bursting.

There are other factors that make up the greater economy. The biggest one right now is employment. It was a big deal this weekend when they announced that unemployment is down to a miraculous seven point seven percent. Wow! Nirvana is at hand. Yes, that was sarcasm. They claim something like two hundred and thirty-nine thousand jobs created. Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. The economy lost around two hundred and ten thousand jobs. Net gain, twenty some thousand jobs. Over a hundred thousand people gave up looking for work. Ladies and gentlemen we are bouncing along the bottom of a muddy swamp of a jobs economy. There are fewer people employed in the United States than there have been since 1983. Hope and change. No. Hopeless change. 

People are buying new cars, right. Well yes. And that's good. But that is in comparison with three years ago. Not like back in the glory days. The housing market does seem to be improving. The one thing I fear there is that people are getting into houses that are too big and too expensive. Many years ago, when I was young, we looked to get into a small starter home. Now everyone wants to go right into a McMansion. I just hope people find it sustainable. One of the worst things that a family can face is losing their home.

I do not want to scare anyone. I just want everyone to understand that you do not always get the whole story. Look at the price of food. Look at the price of fuel. Double check all your investment ideas and talk everything out with your family. If in doubt get the opinions of people you trust. Especially the folks that you know that are less gullible in financial matters. Better to make a mistake toward the safe side than end up on that fast downhill slope.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Does History Repeat?

I was sitting quietly listening to the hum of my computer and watching the end of, I hope, the last snow storm of the year, and my mind wandered off to the history of England. I started thinking of Edward the First (Longshanks) and the resemblance to Barack Obama. I don't want to hear from you real history buffs that wish to invoke Edward the Second. We just won't go there. If Obama is Longshanks then Rand Paul must be Robert the Bruce. 

The all powerful King of England was not one to share. William Wallace fought him hard and true but Scotland was still under Longshanks thumb. Against his fathers wishes Robert the Bruce raised an Army. He went through years of hardship. He lost a wife and had his children imprisoned. But he believed.

He lost brothers. He lost life long friends. But he persevered. He persevered because above all things he loved Scotland. He outlived Edward the First and defeated Edward the Second. He freed his beloved Scotland from English rule.

Enter Rand Paul. The President has always had control of the bully pulpit. When he speaks, all must listen. There is no other voice so strong. Until last Wednesday night. A young and idealistic senator took to the Senate floor and presented the American citizens with a good old fashioned filibuster. He made his voice heard even above the bully pulpit. He even brought the liberal media to attention. And above all he brought an out of control Attorney General to heel. A good nights work by any standard.

While Rand Paul was in the Senate chamber, doing the heavy lifting, the old guard of the party were having a nice cozy dinner with the President. You know, the man that has been castigating and trying to humiliate them for the past four year. You know, the senior members of the party he was going to destroy. Sequester didn't go quite as planned so now Obama is the old Republicans best buddy. Sure, Charlie Brown, Lucy won't pull the football out this time.

It is time for the old moderate Republicans to admit they couldn't get it done. It is time for the young bulls to stand up and go for it. Lord knows they cant do worse. The ones I see on TV are smart, dedicated, vigorous, and love their country just as much as the old timers. Let's find out who will be our Robert the Bruce and win back our country.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The World is Not Zero Sum

Once again we travel back into the world of basic economics. As I have stated, I know that many of you that read my blog (thank you, by the way) understand economics. Unfortunately, there are too many that don't. Economics always makes sense, but it is not always obvious to the casual observer.

There seems to be two worlds in politics today. There is the real world in which most of us live. There is also the liberal ideologue world in which the President and his compatriots live.
In the President's world all things are "zero sum". If you get more successful, someone else must get poorer. If you benefit another loses. Life to them is a balance sheet where assets and liabilities must balance or something is very wrong.

This theory can be proven wrong empirically with no great effort. If it were so, the economy could never grow. But grow it does, when properly cared for. Therefore "zero sum" economics is a fallacy. But somehow it sticks like glue as part of the liberal ideology. They lay claim to an over weaning sense of fairness. As long as they get theirs first, they worry about the little people. They want to make sure no one gets too much, so no one has to little.

Isn't it wonderful that these brilliant intellectuals are willing to look out for us. Like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, our President, the Clintons. All those kind folk that got rich or richer milking the public cow. I think most people would just like to have these proprietors of the Nanny state off our back. Stop spending our money for their social experiments. Stop trying to control everything and let us live our lives.

The real world is not "zero sum". Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, "A rising tide raises all boats". Success breeds success, which breeds even more success. Then if we can keep enough of our hard earned money to invest it, the economy blossoms and flourishes. Opportunity abounds for all that want to take advantage of it.

It wasn't that many years ago when the unemployment rate was down under five percent. The only people that weren't working were those that didn't wish to. Now the nominal unemployment rate has been hovering around eight percent for five years. The real rate is up over fourteen percent. These numbers show no hope of immediate change and may get worse. 

They will never change as long as Obama continues with his tax, spend, and regulate philosophy. We can flourish again but huge changes must be made. The sooner the better. The longer this goes on, the longer the healing process. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You Are Never Defenseless

I would rather not feel obliged to write this essay. But a young woman who was raped was demeaned and degraded by a know-it-all politician,  a woman who actually knew nothing about the circumstances, on TV. She was trying to explain that a concealed carry permit would have allowed her to protect herself with a gun. She was ripped by the liberal gun hater that was not there, but thought she still knew best.

This is for all women. You don't need a gun to defend yourself. In cities where women are most in danger, it is often impossible to get a CCP or even a gun. So, what are the alternatives. Your best alternative is a knife. Not just any knife. You must keep it legal. A folding knife with a blade less than three inches will cover that. No switch blades allowed. The cheap ones are useless, and they are all illegal except for law enforcement and military. It must open with one hand and lock open. Usually by means of a stud mounted on the blade that you can move with your thumb. It does not have to be super expensive but must be good quality. I can recommend the Gerber Applegate Fairbairn Mini-Covert Fast as a good example. I own one. It is flat and light. Both the blade and grip are black, so it is inconspicuous.  It holds an edge and is easy to use.

If you carry a knife don't just drop it in your pocket or purse and forget it. Make sure that you can grab it in an instant. Especially in the dark. Practice opening it so that it becomes second nature. If you are in questionable circumstances have it in your hand. Open! Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Never, ever, threaten with it. If you are in danger use it. Without thought, without remorse, without hesitation. It may save your life. In my humble opinion, up close and personal, a knife is better than a gun. If it is difficult to open get someone that knows knives to adjust it for you. If you don't know how to sharpen it, have that same person show you.

So, if you are one of those folks that doesn't recognize good advice and don't think they need a weapon, what then. Car keys can be effective. Hold them tightly in your hand with the longest key protruding through your fingers. If attacked go for the eyes. Don't hesitate. It may save your life. Never hesitate when defending yourself. Revert to that lizard brain and become an animal. Use any thing you have, including your teeth. Bite hard and rip. Clamp on as hard as you can and use your muscles and you weight to do all the damage you can. Better your attacker in the hospital than you.

I used to do a lot of flying. Of course you weren't allowed to have weapons on a plane. I was never on a plane without weapons. Take a look at a Cross pen and pencil set. The original Cross Pens. They are metal. Shaped like a nail and very strong. Fold a handkerchief into a pad. Put that in the palm of your hand to cushion the end of the pen. Then let it stick out between you fingers. You can do a lot of damage to an attacker.

I was getting on a plane coming home from Ireland one time. There was a young woman ahead of me in line who had a rather intriguing way of holding her hair in place. She had two, what looked like fat wooden knitting needles about eight inches long crossed through a bun. I kept an eye on her all the flight. I think she was someone that felt a need to carry weapons that didn't look like weapons. Those big fat needles were good personal protection.

There are many other things that can be used as weapons in a pinch. For instance the edge of a credit card can cut like a razor if you know how. Back in the old days, women carried hat pins. Most young women in that era thought of their hatpin as their back up weapon. If you don't know what a hat pin is, Google it. But, always, if it is you or them, make sure it is them. Never, ever be a victim. Never, ever let some one take control of your body.

My final point, unless you are ripping some creeps throat out with your teeth, scream. Long and loud. But always attack. Take away the initiative. I don't know if this will help anyone. I hope it does. If anyone reads this and wants to reprint it in their own blog or newsletter, please feel free. I have daughters so I worry as do all parents. Stay safe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Straw Man vs. Crisis

The title of this blog does is not an advertisement for the next pay TV wrestling match. It is a description of the Obama administration's management style. Some might say that I have been pretty hard on the President lately in my writings. My answer to that is not just yes, it is hell yes! He deserves it. The last two weeks of Armageddon laden speeches prove the has no moral compass, just a lust for power and control.

I don't know if anyone has kept track of the number of crises over the past four years. If I had any premonition of how many there would be, I would have made the effort. If someone with access to a newspaper's "morgue" ever counts them up, I would love to know. Even better, I would really love to have a list. It would have to be a conservative paper. The more liberal papers would leave half of them out.

Many of these crises have been created, like the fiscal cliff and sequester. Some have been administration screw ups like "Fast and Furious" and Benghazi. Some have been nature at work like hurricane Sandy. Some have been just plain tragic like Aurora and Sandy Hook.

But the universal feature of all of these crises is the administration's efforts to use them to advantage. They do far and away the best with the crises that they have either created themselves or added to the process through intransigence or other means. Their main tool for this is Harry Reid. He is perfectly willing to stand up before man and his maker and block any hope for a negotiated settlement on any question. He just gets a sour look on his face and blames anyone that doesn't have a D after their name. I think he practices that sour look before a mirror.

When their crisis hits the news,  they have their straw man all set up and waiting in the wings to be trotted out on stage. These straw men are so pitiful that any person with a heart would want to protect them. One is named "Old People Being Thrown Off A Cliff". Another is named "Poor Little Children Going Without A Lunch". One of their favorites is "Teachers Getting Pink Slips". I am sure you can come up with many more. Frankly, some of them have been used so often that they are getting a little old and tattered.

But this tactic has worked well for the President. It gives cover to his "my way or the highway" attitude. In spite of the fact that he has been a terrible custodian of our country, many people still like him. Polls show that people think the country's going in the wrong direction. But many people haven't or won't realize that the responsibility for that rests squarely on the shoulders of Barack Obama.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

I have kept away from all the sequester hullabaloo that has been going on. There was plenty of ink, both real and virtual, being used up on the subject and I hate to be just another face in the crowd.  So I have stayed away. But I can resist no longer.

I must assume that anyone that finds their way here knows that there is no cut in spending. The only cut is a 2.3 percent cut in the increase in spending over the next year. In other words, nothing really needs to change. Government just needs to grow 2.3 percent less than they planned.

Then, of course, Obama and his minions trot out the politics of fear. Scare the elderly. Scare the single moms. Scare the poor. They are the first people he will be forced to rip money away from if he does not get his way. Bull!!! He is pathetic. He knows better. But where better to be a bully than in the bully pulpit. After this performance, Mr. Obama has no right to expect the respect of any American citizen.

Even worse, the Democrat members of Congress that are supposed represent, directly, the people that sent them to Washington have stood mute if not been part of the President's active support. Every one of them should be sent home at their next run for office. They are the definition of spineless.

I have been watching the news on TV and I have seen interview after interview with Washington insiders pointing out a myriad of failed, useless, wasteful, and duplicated programs, that, if eliminated, would go far beyond that meager 2.3 percent cut. It would actually be the start for getting a grip on the over spending that is ruining our country.

The President acts like that small amount of money is going to stop government in it's tracks. But don't forget where that money comes from. It comes from our pockets. So the government can't possibly survive with a little smaller raise but your family is supposed to survive on a decrease in income to finance Obama's spending habits.

Take away his credit card. He gets far to much as it is. The House of Representatives can do that. They hold the purse strings. They need to put the President in a twelve step program for shop-a-holics.