Monday, September 30, 2013

A Pox On All Their Houses

I have always loved the art of politics. But that was back in the days before ego ridden megalomaniacs took over the system. I can remember the good old days when the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader would greet each other civilly and converse rather than hurling epithets at one another. I can remember when the Majority Leader of the Senate would use his podium to call on Senators to speak by referring to them as "the gentleman from" whatever particular state the one about to speak was from. The leadership did not use the podium to insult and vilify those who stood in loyal opposition. I remember when the United States Senate was considered the worlds greatest deliberative body. When it was actually collegial and members would work for the good of the country.

I can remember when the President of the United States knew that we have a two party system and understood the importance of that system. I never remember hearing a sitting President say,"I will not negotiate". That is, until now. Previous Presidents seemed to understand that negotiation was part of the job description. Many even enjoyed the challenge of bringing disparate views together. But then, our previous Presidents had the real life experience of administration. I remember hearing about the Presidents having Congressional leadership from both parties into the Oval Office just to keep lines of communication open. Sometimes from one party. Sometimes from the other. Sometimes both groups together. They had relationships built on respect and,  perhaps, on a somewhat grudging friendship. In public, while speaking out strongly about disagreements, they did not speak out hatefully. Although on opposite sides, they knew that ultimately cooperation was required or failure would be the result.

I remember when important issues were before the Congress, Presidents would spend long hours in the oval office on the telephone talking and cajoling. Sometimes deals had to be made. I realize that there were times when the dealing got out of control. But still, better dealing and moving forward than making threats and stopping all progress. Once again, previous Presidents realized that cajoler-in-chief was still part of the job description. So they did what was needed rather than getting out of town and letting the events rule themselves.

Those days are gone. At least temporarily. There is no collegiality. There is no negotiation. "My way or the highway" is the approach of record. Then demonize opponents, which are now the enemy, and vilify them in both their public and private lives. Politics has always been hardball. But it was understood that sooner or later the other team comes up to bat. So things were rough but controlled and the battle was kept on the playing field. 

Today, Obamacare presents a huge problem for the country. It is faulty legislation that was poorly thought out and written as an over sized patchwork. In spite of that, it is being forced on the American people. Many of the faults and inadequacies could be repaired if both sides would sit in honest negotiation. But it seems that the leadership cannot or will not make that happen.  The incivility that lights up Washington today reflects a dismal light on all parties so I say, a pox on all their houses.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Random Thoughts - Twenty-five

Note to Republicans: You can't win if you don't fight. Think, Horatio at the bridge. If you are willing to stand on principle in the face of overwhelming odds, people respect and admire your courage. Man up. Mr. Cruz did good.

Obama says that the world is more stable than it was five years ago. There are just oh so many things that are better than five years ago. But only in Obama's mind where he is a living legend. Not so much to the people that can barely feed their families and are seeing their health care costs go out of sight.

I cannot understand it, Islamists are terrorizing and killing around the world at an accelerating rate and the media, for the most part, acts like these terrorists are bands of roving delinquents without a common core. In under reporting, the press is showing an irrational lack of courage.

I see where John Kerry is expected to sign the UN Arms Pact. This is a bad step that I am sure is supported by the President. I doubt that it will pass the Senate, but you might want to give your Senator a heads up on your feelings.

If your short of toilet paper, don't go to Venezuela looking for any. They are out. See what happens when socialists are in charge. At least in the old days they could leave the Sears Catalog in the outhouse. Just in case.

I see where the IRS' chief criminal, Lois Lerner, has retired on your dime. She should be retiring to a federal prison with no dime.

Does our President really believe that the new Iranian President is going to behave any different than the old one. They will talk. They will dissemble. They will stall. But they will continue to do what they please without regard to anyone's opinion. Here's a suggestion to Mr. Obama. Look up the word taqiyya. Although I suspect he already is well familiar with it's meaning.

For all that I can see, Obama has put the whole health care system into a state of turmoil while accomplishing nothing positive. Hospitals, already understaffed, are laying off more people. Older doctors are retiring early while fewer young doctors are coming into the system. Prosthesis manufacturers are leaving the country. Insurance costs are going up. The government is playing favorites with subsidies. And, ultimately, we are still going to end up with around thirty million uninsured. But, hey, we did get one thing new out of this. Death panels.

Now for the plunge. World Series. Red Sox in six. You heard it here first. But if I should be wrong, please forget where you heard it. 

Just heard some new figures. Maybe we should stop calling it Obamacare and call it the Unaffordable Healthcare Act!

So the new Iranian President, Rouhani, does not have time for a meet and greet with the President of the United States, but he had no problem finding time for lunch with Louis Farrakhan. Now that is an insult.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hillary vs. Michelle

Hillary wants to be President. I believe she has wanted this since her college days. There is no question that Hillary is one of the most political people in the country. Even more so than Bill. But Hillary let her ambition overcome her good sense. Hillary was a United States Senator. That is, probably, the greatest job in the world. She had to become a carpet-bagger to get there, but get there she did. She could have held that job as long as she wanted. It is a Democrat sinecure. Her's was the seat originally held by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. It will probably be Democrat until the Earth crumbles.

But a trap was set by her nemesis, Barack Obama. He beat Hillary as the Democrat candidate for President. Surprising with his thin portfolio, but true. Who can understand liberals? Obama then beat an inept John McCain. He then asked Hillary to be his Secretary of State. Foolishly she accepted. A wise person does not put themselves under the control of a political enemy. Then the game of "Where's Waldo?" became the game of "Where's Hillary?". Much of the time she was bouncing around the dark continent accomplishing little or nothing. Some of the time she was trying to bail the State Department out of missteps such as Benghazi. Just about all of the time she was looking confused and unable to get the job done.

Hillary started into the her presidential campaign toting a lot of old baggage. To her credit she still put up a decent fight. But she came off as more middle of the left lane than did the even more liberal Obama. With the ultra liberal press seeing one of their own and an African American to boot, Hillary had no chance. The same media that sold her husband to the American public, sold her down the river.

So Hillary bailed and jumped into the rubber chicken circuit. Make some speeches. Write some editorials or maybe even a book and resurrect the old reputation. Have things all patched up for the 2016 go around. But that is not going so well. Rumors, gossip, and innuendo abound. It will not get better. There is a power structure out there and it does not belong to Hillary.

We must give honorable mention to V.P. Joe Biden. Daffy old Uncle Joe. Always good for a malapropism to get the room chuckling. He wants to be President too. I suspect that he has an equal chance with your Cranky Conservative. Which is to say, none at all.

So, you ask, where is this all going? There is one person that I mentioned as a possibility about a year ago. She did say recently that in spite of her ten million dollar vacations, a mansion, and serving staff all over the place, she felt like a prisoner in the White House. I'll bet she wouldn't feel that way if she was the big dog, so to speak. They have the money. Don't forget, Barack never stopped fund raising. They have the organization. They kept it together even after the last election. There was a reason for that. They have the power. Everybody on wall street owes them. So in a battle between Hillary and Michelle, my money's on Michelle.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Religion of Peace?

For almost five years now, President Obama and his close friends at CAIR have been insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and that the evening call to prayer emanating from a brightly painted minaret is one of the worlds most beautiful sounds. There have been some things in the news that have caused me to question Mr. Obama's basis for this claim. We can start with the Boston Marathon bombing. Even more recently, a Canadian firefighter, sitting in a cafe, enjoying a cup of tea, was attacked by a young Muslim who stabbed this man and almost decapitated him. How about 71 Christians killed in a Pakistan church. Or the 68 non-Muslims killed in a Kenyan mall. Or even the Coptic Christians that are being killed in Egypt and their churches burned. There is much more but I don't want to overstate. It would seem that there is reason to doubt our Presidents point of view.

I have been thinking about writing a blog about this subject for some time now. In expectation of this I down loaded a copy of the Koran to my Kindle (it is free if you should want to check my research) and did some reading. I am not even close to being a religious scholar. I simply copied down some bits and pieces from some of the Surah so we could examine the holy book that Islam holds in such reverence. So in their own words:

Surah 2:223
Your wives are a tilth (field) for you, so go to your tilth when or how you will,

Surah 3:28

Let not believers take disbelievers as friends instead of believers, and whoever does that will not be helped by Allah in any way.

Surah 3:151

We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve,

Surah 4:34

As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them first, next, refuse to share their beds, and last, beat them lightly, if it is useful

Surah 5:38

Cut off the right hand of the thief, male or female as recompense

Surah 5:51

Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends to one another. And if any amongst you take them as friends, then surely he is one of them.

Surah 8:12

I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.

Surah 8:36

And those that disbelieve will be gathered unto hell.

Surah 8:69

So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good

Supplementing this is the tenet of Taqiyya. This allows a Muslim to lie to a non-Muslim at any time about anything to advance the cause of Islam. There is also the tenet of Kitman, which allows them to withhold information that would be detrimental to their cause. To me, this causes serious trust issues. 

There is a great deal more in the Koran. I have neither the time, patience, nor stomach to go through the whole thing. It most certainly does not seem to meet my idea of a peaceful religion. It is true that I picked out things that are antithetical to my own philosophies. But I truly see no peace there.

I grew up a Christian understanding the New Testament to be the basis of modern Christian thought. That is a religion based on love, understanding, and forgiveness. Times change. Religions evolve with enlightenment. Civilization must leave behind the violence of the early years, if we wish to survive. Using violence to prove a religion's rightness only proves it's inhumanity. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

On Honor and Personal Responsibility

People acquire honor and personal responsibility in many stages over their life. In their early youth most people learn honesty first. Most children need many lessons before they understand that being honest is not only an obligation, it is also a benefit. Most children eventually "get it" and understand that honesty toward others brings trust. That trust allows others to be honest in return. From this base friendships grow.

As we age, most people realize that honesty, as in telling the truth, is just a part of personal honor. What was simple as a small child gets more complicated as we mature and, hopefully, become wiser about life. What started out simply as not lying to Mommy and Daddy becomes complicated. One is expected to do the "right thing", behave properly, and share your life with others that have earned a shared love and respect unstintingly.

Growing in personal responsibility can often mean putting others before one's self. If people were incapable of this, the military, police departments, and fire departments could not function. Without selflessness civilization could not function. There is nothing that commands the respect of others as much as honor and personal responsibility. Here is some bad news for the rich and famous that do not use their positions and wealth for good works. Those people that act like they respect you, don't. They, like you, will take what they can get. Falter and you will be yesterdays news in the bottom of a birdcage.

Today we have a class of people that walk around, full of themselves, thinking they are the elite. In the past, I have referred to them as politocrats.  To get elected, they profess themselves to be honorable and responsible citizens that desire to work for the good of the country. I believe at least some of them mean that when they first campaign for office. Few, however, live up to that standard once elected. The two Sirens of power and money soon take control.

I have always felt that the highest honor was to serve your country in a totally selfless manner. Next your family. Finally yourself. To many in our nations capital have a priority that puts themselves first, their party second, and their country a very sorry last. This is why Washington is full of politocrats that malign, in the ugliest possible terms, their opposition. They will not negotiate. They demand. They trash the economy. They look like inept children to the rest of the world. They are manipulated by our enemies. There is not an adult in the room. There is not a statesman to be found.

The mid term election is coming up. If the American voters don't do anything to reverse the direction that our country is heading, the next generation will be a lost generation. All due to the loss of honor and responsibility of our elected officials.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fed Pumps More Air Into The Bubble

On Wednesday of this week, the Fed, in a moment of irrational delusion decided that they had to maintain the irrational illusion. So in a fit of realpolitik, they announced they would keep creating money from nothing and continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds. The size of the Bernanke Bubble has just increased dramatically. And if I may mix metaphors, this action spurred the big money in the stock market to add some gasoline to their little campfire. The big banks and the stock market just love their buddy Ben.  For now.                                                                                      
The Fed's claim is that they must do this to sustain the recovery. They say that the economy is growing moderately and labor market conditions have shown improvement. What? If this is moderate recovery, how in the world would they define slow. When the economy is growing so slowly that it cannot sustain the population, which is where we are at right now, it is sheer deceit to try to convince Americans that that it is moderate growth. To make the analogy very simple, so even politicians can understand, if you are in a car going 100 miles per hour, and I am behind you doing 90, I cannot claim that I am catching up.

As far as the labor market goes, we are in an even worse condition. You cannot go by the unemployment rate. Those numbers are fiddled. That is why the administration quotes them so often. Judge unemployment by the percentage of population that is employed. Today, that number is lower than it has been since the good old days under Jimmy Carter. The reason the unemployment rate doesn't show this is that a lot of people are just leaving the labor force entirely and are no longer included in the statistics. As far as the administration's claim of new jobs created, two thirds of them are part time jobs. For all of their talk about people needing a living wage, they are the major obstruction to that happening.

They also conclude that rising mortgage rates are restraining growth. Really? The Fed has artificially forced interest rates so low for so long, it has become the new normal. It isn't normal. I bought my first house in 1965. My mortgage was 5.6%. That was a great rate in those days. I thought that I would never see rates that low again. I refinanced about ten years later to do an addition and redo the interior. My rate was 7.5%. I considered that a fair rate. In the Carter years rates went up as high as 18%. Those rates were murderous. But through these times the housing market grew like weeds in a cow pasture. So I just cannot accept that rates hovering around 4% are stifling the housing economy. I guess excuses come where ever you can find them. The real reason is that a lot of people aren't working, and many of those that are working are in fear of losing their jobs.

The Fed is playing a political game. They are covering for the Obama failed economy. The economy was down when he came into office. He drove it even lower. It is still bouncing along the bottom of dismal swamp. But after the election most likely will be when the Fed stops meddling and starts tapering, the Bernanke Bubble will blow up and the legs will come out from under the stock market. It's like having surgery. It is best to excise the tumor early before it has a chance to grow. The Bernanke Bubble has grown far to long. When it blows up it could be the second "shot heard round the world". 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Lizzie Bordan Principle

Lizzie Borden took an ax
and gave her father forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her mother forty-one.

I can't remember a time when I didn't know that rhyme. It goes way back into my childhood. There is no doubt that Lizzie's parents were killed with an ax. There was some question about Lizzie's guilt. But for someone to commit a violent double murder they must have a very troubled mind. I cannot imagine being angry or confused enough to take an ax and hack two people to death. A person would have to be mentally ill to do that.

Monday a man with severe mental problems walked into the Washington Navy Yard and killed people. Twelve was the last count that I heard. He was a madman. He was insane. He should never have been able to get any kind of firearm. Never ever. But don't forget he was insane. He wanted to kill. He could have used a machete. He could have gone online and learned how to make a bomb from easily obtainable products. How ever he did it, he was determined to kill.

The political gun haters didn't even wait until they had the man in custody and the buildings cleared before they blamed the gun. A gun can't aim itself and pull it's own trigger. A piece of hardware cannot commit a crime. It takes a human being to commit an inhuman act. If the same man had taken an automobile and rammed it into a crowd at high speed and killed even more people. No one would be out blaming the car. We love cars. Everybody needs a car. So they get no blame. Just big scary black guns.

The real problem with these multiple homicides is the mental state of the shooter. If we wish to correct that part of the "murder by firearm" problem. Those people that would be susceptible to a crime of this latitude must be found and controlled, remembering, that if we just prevent the acquisition of guns, they will find other means. They might even take an ax and give somebody forty whacks.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Paucity Of Our Present President

If anyone had any doubts of the paucity of class, reality, and an understanding of the American people, that afflicts our President, yesterday's speech should have blown away the fog. The President seems to be lacking in empathy. As I remember it, the evening of the Fort Hood attack, Mr. Obama gave a speech in which he started out with "shout outs" before even mentioning the brave American service people that were killed by an embedded jihadi on that terrible day. Once again, yesterday, he spoke giving mention of the tragedy ongoing at the Washington Naval Yard, and immediately passing into a political diatribe.

As the President of the United States and the Commander in Chief of the military, the focus of his speech should have been yesterdays shootings. He should have updated the American people with all he knew of the situation and the circumstances surrounding it. He should have been one of us, with the same doubts and fears that we all shared. Then he should have offered comforting words. He needed to try to tamp down the trepidations that afflict a people in the face of such horrendous actions. Mr. Obama would have seemed to be a statesman. Instead, he just proved himself to be no more than a politician.

When the President went into his self promoting discussion of the state of the economy, he went deeply into the realm of delusion. While anchoring the basis for our economic problems firmly with our last President, who has been out of office nearly five years, he described the present in idyllic terms that bore no resemblance to the daily reality that we all face. Listening to this, while knowing what was occurring in the real world, was borderline nauseating. 

Then to top off his efforts, he ripped the Republicans in the most vile terms. He is supposed to be the President for all Americans. Republicans are Americans too. They are loyal and thoughtful Americans that happen to disagree with  President Obama's policies. They are his opposition, not his mortal enemies. Mr. Obama does not have the temperance in him to deal with opposition in a reasonable manner. His words and deeds go over the top. The American people do not appreciate this kind of behavior. He may have been appealing to his most rabid partisan supporters. But was yesterday the appropriate day for that? That describes the paucity of our President.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Re-manufacture The United States

We, the USA, are in an economic mess. The rich are getting richer. The middle class is getting poorer. The poor are trapped at the bottom of an economic well that is turning into a cesspool. Full time jobs are disappearing while most new jobs are part time. The poor seem to be destined to stoop labor on farms, janitorial work, or fast food.

There is no longer a path for the poor to get into the middle class or for the middle class to excel unless they take chances that most people aren't equipped for. Times are getting desperate. American people deserve better.

The fact is, I believe that the answer is out there. First, we must look at and understand history. Second, there are political changes that must be made to open the path to a successful future.

The changes must come first. We must remove the blocks to success before we try to achieve it. There are three things that the government must do. They must stop the insane spending that is draining the life's blood from the economy. Obamacare must be repealed. It overwhelms employers and forces them to forego full time employees and live with part timers. It also puts up huge obstacles to those that would expand their business. We must stabilize the tax code to realistic levels so businesses can form a long term growth plan. Since this is an article and not a book I cannot go into all the details and ramifications. Others have written well and soundly on these subjects. I would add nothing that hasn't already been said.

I came into this world as the depression was ending and World War Two was on the horizon. I saw an economy that was based on agriculture and textiles move on into heavy industry. I saw people brought into manufacturing jobs with little or no formal education. Many were not even high school graduates. But they were trainable and they were trained because they were needed. The learned to be welders and plumbers and electricians. These uneducated people built the ships and tanks and cannons that won a war. And they earned. They started out poor but the got training and good jobs and became the middle class. Their progeny did even better.

But for some inconceivable reason, back in the fifties politicians decided that all Americans should be college educated and never get their hands dirty while working. So manufacturing went away. We gave those jobs to Asia thinking we were so smart we didn't need them. I clearly remember thinking at the time, "this is nuts". I know that those Asian slave labor prices were attractive. We could have equaled them with technology if we desired. We didn't. So now we pay the piper. That piper is named Barack.

First we must achieve energy independence. Drill, baby, drill! Keep our wealth at home. We must stop fighting expeditionary wars. Keep our young people at home. Then we must start building up a solid, hi-tech, manufacturing economy. Some people work best with their brains. Some people work best with their hands. Train those that prefer to work with their hands. Bring back the old apprentice programs but scaled for today's business. Give people of all economic levels an opportunity to work their way up. Let them grow so that they may pass to their children even more opportunity. Let's re-manufacture the United States.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Random Thoughts - Twenty Four

I have written in previous blogs, that wind farms kill hawks and eagles. They are protected under federal law and killing them is a crime. Even if it is accidental. You or I would face huge fines or possible imprisonment for killing only one of these magnificent birds. It is the law. That is, it is the law unless President Obama thinks what you are doing is important. Then he decides that you don't have to obey the same laws that limit everyone else's behavior. In doing this the President also is breaking the law. He doesn't get to decide. Well here's the kicker. Wind farms have killed at least 85 eagles in recent years. Those death dealing blades should be stopped today. You can't drill oil some place in Texas because some semi-rare newt lives there, but you can kill eagles with wind farms. That is just wrong.

I thought we had the smartest President ever in the White House. So how did he get so completely hornswaggled by an ex KGB thug. There goes that spot on Mount Rushmore.

Why does the Federal Consumer Protection Bureau need to collect data on 80% of all domestic credit card purchases? Does the government even have a right to know what you are buying and where you are buying it? Did they nullify the Fourth Amendment when I wasn't paying attention. So the government is monitoring your phone calls, your email, your credit card purchases, your paycheck, and your air travel. They want to put black boxes in your car. With Obamacare, they will have your medical records. This may be Obama's America, but it certainly isn't mine.

I dearly wish I were thirty years younger and had a Harley on 9/11. I wish I could have been part of that. Thanks and congratulations to those that did turn out. I hope the government saw and understood just how quickly real Americans can mobilize when they have a unifying cause.

So now the Senate wants to decide who is a journalist. Please. That's like letting a wolf decide who's a sheep. The first qualification will be, no tough questions for Senators.

Let me see if I understand. For fifteen years global temperatures stabilized. The past few years we have experienced global cooling. The arctic ice pack has grown by 60%. Some climatologists are back to predicting the global cooling that they were predicting twenty years ago. That would make the few years of warming an aberration. But the smartest President ever is still selling global warming. Do you think that there is an agenda here?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

An Open Letter To Vladimir Putin

Dear Mr. Putin;

I read your editorial printed in the New York Times with great interest. I applaud your effort reaching out to our President. It has seemed to many of us lately that you and Mr. Obama were enjoying a bit of friction between you. But I do have some comments on some of the points that you made.

Americans are, in fact, an exceptional people. We work hard for ourselves, for our families, and for our country. We are independent, self reliant, and innovative. We are not deterred by hardship and we persevere when others, many times, would say "enough". We do not and will not understand limits. We are free to speak and do as we please within the constraints of our laws. But it is we the citizens that decide what those constraints will be. An American is beholden to no one.

You are correct, Mr Putin, we did stand as allies in World War Two. Together we fought and defeated one of the greatest evils ever known on this planet. But never forget it was the support and the goods that were supplied by the people of the United States that allowed Russia to beat the German war machine back from the gates of Moscow.

As to the United Nations. You say that you do not want it to go the way of the League of Nations. But it has become a toothless giant. Very little is accomplished because there is a lack of cooperation and communication among the major powers. By that I mean America, China, and Russia. Each power has it's own sphere of influence. If the leaders of those three nations exerted a more stabilizing influence on all of their client countries the United Nations could be more successful.

I will tell you that, even as I love my country, I too am tired of spending billions of dollars and shedding the blood of our young men and women on foreign excursions that have little or nothing to do with America's interests. Just because we can doesn't mean that we should.

As I close, I wish to tell you a little about myself so you will understand who is communicating with you should you actually read this. I am a retired electrical engineer. I remember all the wars and killing back through World War Two. I have been around long enough to have some strong opinions. One is, that I hate war. But to move on, as I don't get around so well anymore, I started writing a blog. I write about politics and economics primarily. I am, what is referred to in this country, as a political conservative. But as an American, I write what I choose about whomever I choose. That is up to and including the President of the United States. But I fear no knock on my door in the dark hours of the morning, because I live in America and I am and always will be free.

Sincerely, Robert Owen aka The Cranky Conservative

ps: The second largest audience for my blog after my American readers is Russian.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Do Liberals Hate The Bill Of Rights?

 The Framers of the Constitution, having finished their work, added the Bill of Rights at the suggestion of James Madison and the anti-Federalists. They felt a need to bring better focus on the rights given in the Constitution. And a  fine job they did. As a matter of fact, the first nine amendments itemize specific freedoms of the individual citizen. These first nine amendments may be the most important political documents, to the individual American citizen, in history.Liberals seem to primarily dislike the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments. These are the ones that they target in legislation or ignore in execution. They will use the courts to get the support they need. Often, even up to the Supreme Court. The problem with the courts is that many of the judges are, themselves, liberal. Also, modern courts seem to have discovered that the Constitution has a "penumbra". I think this means that they think that the voice in their head is James Madison telling them the weird and wonderful things that they want to believe are in the Constitution. One will not find these ephemeral ideas by reading the Constitution.  Certainly, this must be a mental aberration.

There are a couple of reasons that liberals don't like the First Amendment. They do not feel that conservative speech is as important or correct as liberal speech. They know that liberal speech is important because it is generated by great intellects like themselves. And since they all hold the same views, they must be correct. Conservative speech, however, is generated by knuckle dragging Neanderthals. Liberals know this is true because they hate conservatives. Since conservatives are beastly types liberal should be allowed to malign them and assassinate their characters without response, as liberals are always correct. Ask them! The First Amendment also allows sneaky reporters to get information and report things that may be harmful to the liberal cause. That should not be allowed and they must be monitored by the Justice Department. After all liberalism must be protected.

The problems with the Second Amendment, protecting gun ownership, should be obvious. Allowing those stupid knuckle dragging conservatives to have firearms makes no sense at all to liberals. Now liberals that want them should have guns, or body guards with guns, because they may need protection. Let conservatives use clubs like they did in prehistoric times. After all they haven't evolved like liberals have. They are still thick and brutish. If you have any doubts, ask a liberal. Of course liberals ignore the fact that the crime rate goes down when citizens may be armed. Washington, Chicago, and Philadelphia all have strict gun laws and high crime rates. Only the cops and criminals have guns. Hows that working out?

The Fourth and Fifth amendments are sort of joined at the hip, so to speak. Just in case you don't have a Bill of Rights handy, the Fourth protects you against search and seizure and the Fifth protects you against self-incrimination. The liberal cant is that if you haven't done anything wrong you don't need those two protections. Just let them search your home and car. Just answer their questions. If you have done something wrong, you don't deserve those two protections anyway. Just think of all the nastiness that could take place if those Amendments went away or were weakened. You would be at the absolute mercy of anyone in power, from a street cop on up to the President. We have enough problems with out of control officials right now. We don't need to open the door to more.

We are blessed that the framers were intelligent, educated, and insightful men. They understood governance, both good and bad. They understood freedom and personal responsibility. This is not so of today's liberals. So that is why the liberals hate the Bill of Rights.

Remember and honor 9/11. Both the Twin Towers and Benghazi. Two attacks on America on American soil.

I feel badly that I have written so much in a negative vein lately. There has just been so much ugliness going on that those of us that do this are forced to follow the news where ever it leads. Hopefully happier times will come.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Advice To Obama

When I was younger there were two phrases, both borrowed from sports, advising what to do when things were failing around you. Since I like football and baseball and since it kind of represented the chaos of it all, I combined them. So it became "drop back ten and hit to left". Right now Barack Obama is surrounded by the chaos of his own making. So maybe he should drop back ten and hit to left. At the very least he should stop doing what he is doing.

Whether from ignorance or arrogance he seems not to recognize that he has created his own turmoil. Of course, this was with the help of a feckless and self absorbed Congress. In a short five years, our President has done more harm to this country than I ever imagined possible. And now he stands to double down on misery. There is no overwhelming reason for America to be involved with Syria. This is a middle east conflict. Let the Saudi army and air force go in and do the heavy lifting. It seems every time our people are getting killed in the middle east the Saudis are hiding behind some sand dune. When have they ever spilled blood?

Since WWII we have been involved in far too many conflicts. We always went to war as part of a group. We were never alone. We had faithful allies that were willing to stand with us because they knew we were loyal to them. Today, no one trusts our loyalty. 

Through mishandling and misstatement we have helped to fan the flames of the fire that is the mid east. It is time to call a halt to the meddling that has destabilized that area. There is no plan. There are no goals set. We have telegraphed our moves. It is time to stop and carefully reexamine who we are and where we stand as a country.

I am no isolationist. But it is time to withdraw our troops from the international scene. It is time to bring them home and let the military heal and evaluate what they need to bring us back to a first line power. Not a power to be used. A power to protect. They must be used to protect American interests not be mercenaries for some king or sheikh who's land covers a lake of oil.

We are sitting on enough energy to see us well into the next century. The only reason we are not developing it is a President that bows to those kings and sheikhs and buys into the green movement. America can be and should be self sufficient. We need to get back to a manufacturing economy. America innovates technology. We can use that technology to build high tech manufacturing that is clean and competitive with the slave labor cost of other countries.

Our country has been brought low by mismanagement. Because of Obamacare we are moving to a part time work economy. That is not the America that I grew up in and it is not the America that I want my grand children to live in. This has occurred through the overweening ego of one man and the lack of courage and statesmanship of those that are elected to keep the President in check. Although I don't expect it to happen, I pray that Mr. Obama will see the error of his ways and just stop.

Since I wrote this, yesterday morning, a John Kerry gaff may have bailed Obama out with the help of Vladimir Putin. Isn't it ironic that John Kerry made Obama look like an amateur and Putin like a statesman.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stop The Energy Insanity

           One day in the long forgotten past, on the Pennsylvania frontier someone kicked over a stone and  Pennsylvania crude oil bubbled up from the ground. Whales around the world breathed a deep sigh of  relief and the race for energy was on. In those good old days, if you could scrape together enough money  to build an oil rig, you could drill almost anywhere. And they did. Since there was absolutely no  regulation things got pretty messy. Land, streams, and rivers got polluted. But a lot of money was made.  And that was justification enough for many people. Especially those that made the money and the  politicians that they bought with that money.
 What those that were pioneers in the oil industry lost sight of was that the government would get larger  and more powerful. The government would insist on their share. They would tax and they would  regulate. The government would take ownership of millions of acres of oil rich land. Both on dry land and  off the coast. So if you wanted to drill, you had to go to the government with your hand out and apply for  a drilling lease unless you were lucky enough to own property sitting on a pool of oil. If you could get a  government lease, it came with no guarantees. You might get oil rich or you might drill a dry hole. It  became a game for the very rich and very powerful.
 Between the coal industry and the oil industry our energy needs were covered from the industrial revolution to WWII. With the drilling technology of the  40 s and 50 s we couldn't keep up with the needs of a big, increasingly industrialized, country that required a huge transportation infrastructure. So we purchased what we needed from the middle east. We made people who had no further qualifications, other than the control of thousands of square miles of sand, very rich. Once they got rich,they also got very smart and did all that they could to keep us dependent on them. And that includes building "friendships" in the political infrastructure.
So here we are well into the next century. The techniques of getting oil out of the ground and the science of burning fossil fuels have improved immeasurably. We can reach out with today's drills and tap into distant pools of oil from very compact drilling sites. We can burn fossil fuels cleanly today and the technology is constantly improving.  We have also discovered resources of oil and natural gas that are safe to recover that would make us energy independent for over the next one hundred years.
For some people, that is not good enough. They want to turn the United States into some kind of pre-Colombian park. They would have no industry, no fossil fuel, no forestry, not much of anything, as I see it. I do not understand how they expect people to live with no jobs and no energy. But these Luddites are out there trying to remake the United States into some vague image that they keep in their minds.
Unfortunately, we have a President that goes along with this nebulous thinking. Mr. Obama prates about renewable energy without a clue that it is insufficient and unsustainable. It is insanity to think it ever will be. Not to mention the fact that these sources of energy, wind farms and solar fields are a blight on the landscape. I want you to think back to a currently running Dodge truck commercial. I'm sure you have seen it. A fellow is driving his pickup away from a huge wind farm where he was, apparently, just performing some maintenance duty. Look past the truck to the wind farm itself. High up in the air are hundreds of whirling blades, virtual giant swords. Protected species of hawks and eagles fly through these wind farms and die. Their wings and bodies broken from the impact of those blades. The operators of those farms are breaking a law that you and I would suffer for if we did it. But our President is above our laws and he can give a special dispensation to those he deems fit and protect them from the results of their own illegal actions.
  When you have a regular generating plant, you have one or  two big generators at ground level that  are ruggedly built  and can be easily maintained. Again, picture that wind farm.  There are hundreds of    small generators, lightly built to  save weight, mounted hundreds of feet in the air. They  present a  costly maintenance nightmare to their owners. I  predict that twenty or thirty years in the future when  breakdowns are more common they will end up as an ugly,  useless, and abandoned scar on the  countryside. Those  inefficient solar fields will be no better.
 There are new sources of energy on the way. Everything from compact nuclear generation to methane  hydrates to cold fusion are being heavily researched. Just recently there was a big breakthrough in  laser fusion. There are undoubtedly other projects that we  have never even heard of at this point. But the future is coming. It always has. Humans are inventive and ingenuous people. And will solve these problems inventively. It is just that some things take time.
But we have time. Drill where we can drill.  Build the Keystone XL pipeline. Frack for natural gas. In spite of all the ugly propaganda it is safe. Burn coal where we must but keep improving that science. Make us energy independent. Stop sending our dollars to those that hate us.  Have a sane approach to our energy needs.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A World Of Surrogates?

Today, everybody has a surrogate. Some people make a living being surrogates. They are called lawyers. No matter what you do, they will stand in front of God, a judge, and a jury of your peers and tell them that "some other dude done it". After you enter a plea to the judge of "not guilty", you do not have to say another word. The lawyer will do the talking. Handy things these surrogates.

I have a couple of young grandsons that don't worry about somebody picking on them. They have surrogates in the form of a couple of big brothers. Both, also my grandsons. Even Barack Obama has surrogates. That would be who ever is available to be thrown under the bus at any given time. Very handy things these surrogates.

Even countries have surrogates. If Russia wants something to happen in the middle east, their people whisper in the ears of the Ayatollahs in Iran. But Iran has surrogates too. They are called Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Syria. While Syria is not on speaking terms with Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are. So you can see that a word whispered by the Russian leadership, can stir up all kinds of evil mischief in that miserable and unhappy part of the world.

In the international community, the bigger you are the more likely that other countries will be willing to be your surrogate. You have largesse to give to those that are your close friends. You have powerful weapons to loan or give outright, and you offer protection from the other big dogs. If North Korea weren't a surrogate for China, the Kims would have been gone decades ago. 

 The United States used to have surrogates. They were allies, certainly. We could ask them to do some of the light work as long as we were around to do the heavy lifting. But we are seen as a confused and uncertain friend in these early years of the twenty-first century. We are no longer seen as the robust and infinitely loyal friend that we were in the days of "The Greatest Generation". Truth be told, we are no longer that country. We could be, but in our nations capitol we have traded statesmen for politocrats that care naught for their country. They care only for themselves.

Today we have actually become a surrogate nation. For instance, with all of the turmoil in the middle east has anyone ever seen a Saudi Army deployed. They don't have to deploy. They have oil. We need oil. Case closed. Does Kuwait or Oman or any somewhat friendly country in that part of the world even own weapons of defense? They are never seen to be used. They don't have to. They hold us in thrall with their oil.

So we give away our wealth and shed our blood so that those that really don't like us much can prosper. Since we have adequate energy resources under our own soil along with our two close neighbors, Mexico and Canada, this strikes me as insanity and incompetence. I suspect more than a few people out there agree with me. Take care of our own needs first. Then we will no longer be someone's surrogate. But, most of all, stay out of Syria.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Confusion, Confusion, Confusion!

I want you to  think back. I don't care how old you are. I just want you to think back to the time when you first started paying serious attention to the national news. When you reached that point of maturity when you realized, that it is important who it is that is President of the United States. When you understood that we, as citizens, have a lot of ourselves invested in the person that holds that office. When you got it that the President was not just the leader of a political party but the leader of the American people and the leader of the free world.

Presidents, by the nature of their job, create news. When they first take office, they lay the ground work for their administration. Many appointments are must be made to fill the offices that run the country. Some appointments are controversial. That makes news. The President must set down policy. That makes news. Once an administration is up and running, the flow of news usually abates to a reasonable trickle. A President that is highly visible in his first six months in office is seen only on an occasion of importance. If all goes well the administration becomes a smoothly running machine.

This has not been so with the Obama administration. A president, like a beautiful woman, loses much charm if seen to often, to exposed, and in awkward situations. As we are told by his poll numbers, Mr. Obama's charm factor is disappearing faster than cookies at Christmas. When a president feels obliged to give a daily self-serving lecture, people feel less obliged to watch and listen. Too many words, not enough serious meaning.

Every president has a scandal or two during their administration. If they don't put their own foot in it, it is almost guaranteed that the opposition party will drum up something to cause a bit of embarrassment. But the Obama administration has taken this way beyond the pale. 

On almost a weekly basis we are shuttled from scandal to crisis and back to the next scandal. It is an amazing blur of incompetence that the administration denies, ignores, or labels phony. They are real. They are so very real. And they have a price tag. They cost us in real dollars. They cost us in stature. They cost us in power. They cost us in respect.

Old allies blow us off as unreliable. Old enemies poke a virtual finger in our collective eye. Creditor countries think they own us. Today's enemies do not fear us. So we are blessed with a very needy leader whose numbers are somewhere south of his kneecaps. We also are faced with a crisis that he brought us into, in Syria. Suddenly time has become unimportant in this crisis that was so important because "women and children are dying". So now our leader tosses it back to Congress. Whenever they get to it. No rush.

And while all this is going on, our leader is hearing a small voice in his ear coming from Iran. Their new leader, he is not as hard line you know, might be willing to talk. Right. Trust me, the Iranians are not softening one bit.You know that if that voice is heard often enough and loud enough, Mr Obama will buy into the fantasy that the Ayatollahs spin for him and the Iranians will put another notch on their proverbial bedpost.

But please, don't forget all the other unresolved scandals. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, spying on reporters, ignoring Constitutional limitations, the NSA spying, the White House Entry Log, and so much more. I sometimes lose track of them all in the confusion, confusion, confusion.

Monday, September 2, 2013

US Economy - RIP ???

From time to time I enjoy writing about economics. I also understand that any three economists, discussing any subject, will have at least five different opinions. As economics is an inexact science and subject to a wide variety of external pressures, it is difficult to make predictions with any accuracy. Now you understand, this is a disclaimer, just like you see on TV in those lawyer commercials. But if you take the time to read or listen to a lot of news and think about the opinions of smart and knowledgeable people that you respect, you find, that on occasion, two plus two plus two actually does equal six.
I am predicting here, really bad times for the US economy. I don't want make this prediction. I truly hope I am wrong. But I am compelled to write this, because I believe it may be true. There are three big pressures on the economy today that could, combined, cause serious damage. The first, the Bernanke Bubble is a subject I have written about often before. In fact, I coined the phrase "Bernanke Bubble". There are two main points of the Bernanke Bubble. The first is "quantitative easing". That is printing money as fast as the presses will run. The net effect of this is lowering the value of the dollar on world markets. And today, all markets are world markets. The second is artificially keeping interest rates low. It prevents the inflation that would normally come with excessive monitization, but it hurts the elderly as they get no return on whatever savings they may have. It also primes the pump for rapid inflation once rates are loosened.
The Bernanke Bubble is why the stock market keeps going up despite the rest of the economy being in deep stagnation. The new money is used to buy back T bills freeing up money into the equities market, while the banks are over capitalized making their balance sheets look extra good. But it is all air. Jobs are still down. The GDP is in the toilet. Both housing and manufacturing are barely alive. But those that want your vote will tell you "the economy is great. Just look at the stock market." It's a bubble.

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