Friday, January 31, 2014

On The Nature Of People

I am a simple man of limited talents. I like to break things down to their most basic terms because it makes it easier for me to understand. With all of the bad that is going on about the economy lately, I have given some thought to the nature of people in reference to productivity and contribution to the betterment of society.

Now that sounds very complicated on the face of it. I think, though, if we can come up with some basic classifications we might find some logic. Logic is a wonderful thing that is, at times, hard to come by. I have come up with four basic natures and two categories  within each one. Just remember that people as individuals will vary in effectiveness by intelligence and ambition. Also, sometimes luck plays a role in final results.

My first classification is doers. These are physically creative people. Engineers, mechanics, inventors, entrepreneurs are all doers. The two categories within doers are creators and fixers. A creator sees a need before anyone else and satisfies that need. The world didn't know that it needed AC electricity until Tesla invented it. Fixers are generally unsung heroes. They will see what doesn't work and puzzle it through until they know why and fix it. Jonas Salk would be a good example of a fixer.

My second classification is thinkers. Their world is their mind. They can sit for hours appearing to do nothing and suddenly they give you insights that you never considered. The two categories if thinkers are visionaries and diggers. A visionary travels to places never visited before while never leaving his chair. Albert Einstein was a visionary. People are still focusing on a vision he had almost a hundred year ago. Researchers and reporters are diggers. They will pour through material by the hour looking for clues to find where the next clue might be until they have the whole story ala Sherlock Holmes.

Next we have talkers. They live in a world of sound. And the most sound that they hear is their own voice. I do not mean that in a derogatory manner. The two classifications would be orators and teachers. Orators being priests, ministers, politicians et al. Teachers being, of course, those that pass on the accumulated knowledge of our civilization.

My final classification is the non-contributors. Again, I don't mean this in a derogatory manner. They may be people that are loners and live off the grid, taking care of themselves without personal interaction like the old time mountain men. Others might be just those that can't cope and live on the street most getting only sustenance but contributing nothing.

I think that those of us that do the most for society excel in two classifications. If you are a creator and a visionary you can create the next great leap for mankind.  If you are a fixer and a talker you can teach others to repair the worlds problems. If you are a digger and speaker you can do research and teach others to advance knowledge. If you are a visionary and an orator, you can inspire.

We must all discover our own special talents and focus. If that is repairing automobiles and it completes you, be happy with your choice. If you have the capacity to be the next Stephen Hawking, so be it. But discover your own nature and never look back. Strive for greatness, but always do good.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Build No Ladder

In his unsurprisingly weak State of the Union address, our, oh so articulate, President said he wanted to build ladders for success for the middle class that he has been destroying for five years. You know he has no intention of building anything. In Obama World, the words are sufficient to the deed. If things go better than planned, someone will hear his words and build this nebulous ladder for him. But, be assured, it will not be Barack Obama.

For one thing, he hasn't the skills to build anything. I doubt that he has ever picked up a hand tool or created a detailed plan of action in his life. Barack Obama is a man of words and words and words.......

Words are both his tools and his medium. Everything that he creates is built of words. The problem being that the source of information helping him craft these words is his own mind. He thinks it therefore it is. (With apologies to Descartes.) But you can't build a ladder from words. Words lack substance. They mean nothing without action.

The good news is, there is no need for Obama to build ladders. There are plenty of people out there ready, willing, and able to do that. And when these ladders are built, you can go into Lowe's, Home Depot, local hardware stores, and many chain stores and buy them. Then if you are so inclined and have the skill set, you can take these ladders and go to work. Perhaps you can build or remodel houses.

Of course that would require the purchase of materials. It would require that these materials be manufactured and shipped. It would require that someone have the need and the capital to pay for the project. 

All of these things and more could happen if the government would take their oversized foot off of the American economy and let the free market reign.

That, Mr. President is how you build ladders. Government is not the cure it is the disease. And, frankly, you have been the political equivalent of typhoid Mary. Allow the Keystone XL pipeline. Rescind your over regulation. Allow us to become energy independent. Bring America back to sanity. That would be a ladder.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Iceman Cometh From The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs

I combined the titles from these two plays, one by Eugene O'Neill and one by William Inge, because both titles are so very foreboding. I felt if I doubled down and combined them it would accentuate the bleakness that I wanted to impart. That is because I see a very bleak time coming. Those that visit my blog often will realize that I have traveled this road before. It is a lonely road, and while I am not out here alone, we  that are out here are few.

While the Democrat politicians assure us that the economy is out of the woods and coming back, albeit slowly, and the Republican politicians throw out a scattering of words of concern, to show they are not the evil incarnate that the Democrats would make them out to be, it is little but spun sugar to calm the masses.

The economist that I see and read are mostly talking on a cautiously positive note. Even the few that I respect are holding back. The market has seen some downside adjustment lately. As I write this on Monday, it is in a holding position after a 4.5 % move downward over five days without any talk of tapering. The Fed has assured all with investments in the stock market that there is no change planned in "Quantitative Easing". We will see how the State of the Union speech goes over financially and what ripples out from that.

The point is, if not now, when? The real economy is dragging an anchor while the stock market is floating on a big balloon. Now you might think that that is contradictory. Well you would be right. In a laissez faire marketplace it wouldn't happen. This can happen only through a combination of harmful economic policies and market manipulation.

Those of you that don't get it yet, reread the last two paragraphs and think about Obama's economic policies and the actions of the Fed. I hope a light just went on. You will recall, that Mr. Bernanke got out of town before the Bernanke Bubble burst. He is a smart man. He understands that he did what he had to do to protect his President. Would that he had done more to protect America.

It is now Wednesday and I am finishing this blog. At this point in time, the market has dropped another 140 points. Mr. Obama's speech was a rehash of worn promises and a justification for reckless action. In spite of Ms. Pelosi's remarks, he has never tried to work with the opposition. Recall, one of the first things he said to Republicans as President was "I won. You lost. Get used to it". He doesn't even work well with fellow Democrats, only his inner circle. I do not see this improving.

I see no upside here. With no upside, it is a long downhill slope for the next three years. Then in 2016 this country will face the most critical election in the country's history. I hope and pray that the party politicians on both sides come to their senses and do what is right for America. I don't expect it to happen, I just pray for it to happen. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The What of the Which?

As someone that blogs about politics, I should watch the "State of the Union" speech tonight. I do not intend to. One reason is that it will have nothing to do with the state of the Union. It will have everything to do with the state of Obama.

We all know of what the speech will consist. The word "I" and "me" will be used ad infinitum. There will be twenty to thirty lines to clue loyal Democrats to thunderous applause. There will be credit taken for the great improvement in the economy. (It hasn't improved at all. In fact it has gotten worse.) How the President has brought Iran to heel. (I don't think that this is really supposed to be a laugh line, but it should be.) How successful Obamacare has been. (No comment needed.) Truth be told, truth won't be told. But our President was never one to get distracted by mere facts.

Then we will get to the blame phase of the speech. Obama will admit that not every project that he has taken on has been completely successful. Blame will then be spread like peanut butter on a sandwich. Thick and smooth. Starting with George W. Bush and extending to every Republican that ever lived with special notice to Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Network. Blame will be delivered in high dudgeon, nose pointed to the ceiling, and sincerity dripping from every word. (Standing ovation, please, Democrats.)

Now we get to the scary part of the program, the coming attractions. We will be told that there is "much left to be done". We will be warned that the "obstructionist Republicans in Congress" are evil and a stumbling block to progress. Therefore, with only three years left and his legacy crumbling around his ankles, there is only one logical thing to do. Now many would think that that solution could be to sit down with the Republicans to work out a common ground for the future. No, that is not our man Barack. He will announce that he is going around Congress in an extra Constitutional manner and expand his imperial presidency where no President of the United States has ever gone before. After all he has an obligation to defeat global warming and defeat the income inequality that he created. Hey, it worked for Hugo Chavez didn't it?

I have heard enough of our President's voice over the past five years. It no longer charms me. Lots of words, but saying little. Lots of promises but few positive results. Lots of middle class dreams crashed or put on hold. Lots of part time jobs. Lots of unemployment compensation. Lots of food stamps. Lots of rich people made richer. No, I don't need to watch another of his endless speeches.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dark Corners of Obscurity

Well look at who is crawling out of the deep dark hole that he had built for himself. Back onto the scene simply oozing of regret and apologia. Glen Beck is back. As always he is soft spoken and sincere. He was a rising star a few years back. His combination of politics and religiosity played well in some areas. So well that he felt he had out grown the network that gave him his fame.

So as any epic hero would, he struck off on his own. Microphone in hand he reverted to the power of the radio to spread his message of salvation through conservative politics. Like a revivalist in a roadside tent, he preached to the sinners and the converted. And, praise the Lord, he made a ton of money doing it.

But down and dirty, who listens to the radio any more? Long distance truckers and salesmen. That's who. Now any media success is about selling time and having the right audience. And if you don't build that audience every year, you are are a failure. So a fixed audience of truckers and salesmen are not the right demographic and hardly a growing audience.

Well, I guess old Glen decided it is time to backtrack. Get in front of a camera, look humble, and apologize for past and future sins and miscalculations.  OK, he does it well. He can fake sincerity as good as Bill Clinton. But Glen, you are so yesterday. Your time came and went and there you stand. I hope, for your sake, you socked a lot of that money away. I think your best paydays are over.

Be happy. You probably made more in a year than I did in my lifetime. So sit back and enjoy. Write a book on occasion. Maybe make a speech to conservative groups when asked. But the glory days are gone. Don't try to break loose with a huge comeback. The wind is against you.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Help Stamp Out Conservatives

We, conservatives I mean, have known for some time that we are not appreciated by a segment of the population. Of course, I mean liberals. There are times when we don't appreciate their ideas either. But it is a free country. The first amendment assures us of our God given right to freedom of speech.

Of such differences of opinion are great debates and less great political campaigns made. It is important to our way of life that gentlefolk of conviction be able to express their ideas in the arena of public opinion. Debates and honest reporting by an unbiased media assures us of an informed electorate able to pick the perfect candidate for a particular office. We all know how this has worked. Not at all well, for any number of reasons.

Now three important liberal voices in the Democrat party have a solution to the public dissonance that we have all been subject to. Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, and Chuck Schumer have decided that it would be best if the first amendment were rescinded with regard to conservative speech. Not only that, but that all conservatives should get out of their state, New York. Henceforth, only liberals allowed. Imagine, if you will, a world run by these three fine gentlemen.

Now their ideas may dazzle the elite Illuminati who make up the ranks of the most "progressive" New Yorkers, but I don't think they are charming the four wheel drive and deer rifle crowd of northern New York State. I am sure that they are elated that their own elected governor would like half of the population to just go elsewhere.

As I have written before, liberals look at the bill of rights a tad differently. Liberal speech is free speech. Conservative speech is knuckle dragging neanderthal grunts and has no place in society. As far as the second amendment is concerned, no guns for civilians except for those that guard rich liberals and their enclaves.

The thing that I find most personally troubling about liberal-speak is the uncivil tone. They have no respect for anyone but themselves. I go on Facebook on occasion to keep in contact with family that is not close by. Yesterday I came across a communication between a liberal cousin and her liberal friend. Referring to some Republican politicians, the sentiment was, "they should have been drowned at birth". Thoughts like this are not rare in the liberal lexicon.

It was not too many years ago when politicians could work together and public debate was polite. The world has changed a great deal since then. Maybe not for the better. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random Thoughts - Thirtyone

First they tried to lower the physical standard for Marines so women can be on the fighting front. Now they want to allow turbans and beards for soldiers. How over-the-top insane is that. This administration needs to get a grip. We need to go back to the old standards.

Now that my football season is over, I am breathing hard, waiting for baseball. About two weeks for the pitchers to show up at spring training. First sign of spring.

Speaking of spring, the next time someone makes a big deal about global warming I will have them deported to someplace that has hungry polar bears. I want my warming back. I think I may have the chilblains.  

My prediction for the week. Justin Bieber, fast car, big tree. End of story. 

So the managing editor of the New York Times claims that this is the least transparent administration in her career. So where has she been for the past five years, and why did they do so much cover up. Ben Rosenthal must be spinning in his grave.

The stock market has been sinking like a rock the past few days. If this is the big one, my readers can't say they weren't warned.

The only thing that I can say about the Super Bowl is that I wish both teams would lose.

Maybe if Justin Bieber had been in Benghazi the main stream media would have covered it instead of reprinting White House talking points.

The State of the Union message is coming up. I am sure our President has a list of people to blame. I am equally sure that his own name is not on that list.

One of Obama's big topics I understand will be income inequality. I just wish he could understand that his job destroying policies along side propping up the stock market has created this huge discrepancy. But I am sure he will blame Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Commonly known as "the usual subjects".

I'm cold, and I'm very tired of Winter.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Give Opportunity A Chance!

Our progressive President loves the news. It give him cover for all of his scandals, missed opportunities, and oratorical bloopers. The news also loudly praises anything that can be construed as positive in his message. And as a progressive, the message is what is truly important. As long as you say the right, make that left thing, and make sweeping promises, you have single handedly brought good into the world. Actions mean nothing. Words, everything. And we all know that our President is never without words.

Now the President will tell you that the unemployment rate is going down and we are in a jobs recovery. Like so many of his words, that is only technically true. Which makes it actually false. About thirty percent of our adult population is not working. That is a greater percentage than any time since Jimmy Carter was President. Younger people today do not know how miserable that period was.

Our President claims that he has been working tirelessly on the job situation. Unfortunately his efforts have only made things worse. But rather than do something that will actually help the jobs situation he is now going to focus on "income inequality". You know from the start that this is not going to end well if he does any more than speechify on the subject. This is especially true since income inequality has gotten far more pronounced since he entered the White House.

Since the first day that money was invented as a medium of exchange, there has been income inequality. Some people work harder. Some people are smarter. Some people are more talented. Some people just have a better line of bull. They become politicians. So in spite of our Presidents best, none existent, efforts that will not change.

This will come as a surprise to our President, but Americans don't want the government to force equal outcome. Neither do the President's very rich friends. All Americans want is an equal opportunity to make it on their own without a government that picks their pocket and stacks regulation after regulation in their path. I know that hard work and sacrifice on the road to success is alien to the presidential experience, but that is what good Americans want the opportunity to do. As a group, we are a clever and hard working people. All we either want or need is personal freedom in a free marketplace. We can handle the rest, thank you very much.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Joy of Obamacare

I try not to get too personal in my writing. In blogging it is hard to avoid exposing your own life from time to time. I have a little story about the shakeup in health care brought about by Obamacare. It is not one of these tragic stories that makes the evening news. There is no rare and devastating illness involved where I have lost access to treatment and will shed this mortal coil due to this absence of care in mere weeks.

This is a story of annoyance, unwanted, and unneeded change that is afflicting so many older people today. We will survive this as we have many other things in life. This is not a cry for help or sympathy. It is just a simple narrative that is an exemplar of why this whole Obamacare mess should not be.

My supplementary insurance carrier sent me a letter a few months ago telling me that my cardiologist was being dropped from their plan. You tell a man my age that he can no longer see the cardio guy that has been taking care of him for a decade or more and you are interfering in a serious and important long term relationship.

I called the customer service line supplied by the insurance company and spoke to a young man about my concerns. He assured me that they understood and that this was being handled and corrective action was being taken. This, of course, made me happy. They knew that what they had done was an error and they would soon fix it. Wonderful. They assured me that I would get something in the mail straight away correcting out the situation.

Sure enough, about three weeks later two letters come in the mail. One for me and one for my wife. They had solved their problem all right. As of January first both of us were dropped from their rolls. Thank you so much and goodbye. Never darken our door again.

So now the hunt starts for a new carrier. I called my cardiologist's assistant to find out what insurance went well with them. We attended a group meeting on health care insurance a few days later. The insurance that was recommended was available. It included my cardiologist and our family physician. Needless to say, we signed up. 

I have to have a monthly blood test. I have been using the same lab for a long time. The lab is at our nearest hospital and since I have been a guest there on occasion, I thought it good practice to have all my records in one place. I knew that previous to all these healthcare changes, our new insurance company did not cover their lab. So I made a phone call.

I was assured by a young lady that with all of the changes they were now good with our new carrier. So with a winter storm on the way, yesterday morning I headed into the hospital to get my blood test done before we got snowed in, and lo and behold the young lady gave me bad information. So no blood test. 

So back to square one and back to home. Call my cardiologist. Get a new prescription for the tests. Wait until the snow clears and head for a new lab.

Believe me I am not whining. But I do have a low tolerance for frustration. This has been very frustrating and most annoying. More so because it is all politics. If you haven't noticed, politics is getting to be too much a part of our lives lately, and I do not see it getting better very soon. I think this little story is just a good example of that manipulation of people's lives which is not necessary and should not be. Free markets made this country great. Government controlled markets are in the process of bringing it down.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Population Control - New York Style

I expect that, within days, the population of New York State will be cut dramatically. Andrew Cuomo, New York's governor has made it clear, in his usual unpleasant fashion, that those disagreeing with his far left agenda have no right to live in his state. So if you take a moral position on abortion or gay marriage. If you enjoy shooting sports or want a firearm to protect your home. Get out of New York. Just get out now. Good (ie. liberal) New Yorkers will have no truck with your conservative abuse of the Bill of Rights.

Now I am sure that many of you out there in "fly over country" think that the framers wrote the Bill of Rights to protect your freedom of speech and religion. You may also think that they wanted to protect your right to "keep and bear arms". That is just conservative silliness. The liberal elites, such as Governor Cuomo, know that the Bill of Rights is there to protect the "good" speech that is the core of liberal thought. And also to protect weapon ownership only of those of which liberals approve. Like their own bodyguards. The rest of you, just take a hike.

So, I suspect, within days there will be a glut of houses hitting the market and moving vans rolling down almost every street in the state. Manhattan, maybe not so much. Family after family will be leaving New York and rolling into such wild places as Wyoming, Texas, and Montana where conservative thought is found more acceptable.

That will, however, leave a void that the elite intelligentsia of New York will have to fill. You see, elites don't like to get their hands dirty. They are not cops, or carpenters, or butchers. People that do real work where they get dirty and sweaty tend to be conservative. They also tend to be tolerant and sharing. Two traits that the liberal elites would be wise to emulate.

Governor, I know that you have a very high opinion of yourself and that little group of people that you surround yourself with. But I suggest to you that just because you have a thought in your head, that doesn't make it a great thought. As a matter of fact, this recent diatribe of yours shows me exactly how small your thoughts can really be.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Benghazi Once Again

I have been reprinting my original Benghazi article, as promised, about once a month since I wrote the original piece. Enough has been revealed, at this point, that what I was asking then has become old news. So I am done with that. I am not done with Benghazi. There is still much that the American people deserve to know and we are not being told.

One thing is immediately apparent. Hillary Clinton not only didn't answer that three am phone call, she didn't answer her weeks old mail either. And she is dodging this whole situation slicker than a bullfighter playing with a bull. And bull is pretty much what we are getting as far as honest information goes. The Secretary of State bears the ultimate responsibility for the security of embassies and missions around the world. They were warned through incoming intelligence. They did not act. They sent Ambassador Stevens into a free fire zone with inadequate personal security. They cost American lives and allowed American property to be attacked and destroyed. Yes, dammit, contrary to Ms. Clinton's opinion,it does matter!

And, of course, our President, as usual, was the invisible man. I think we can be pretty sure that he was out politicking and keeping his head under a pillow so he didn't have to face that monster of responsibility. So far we have a perfect record of two for two bailing out on that three o'clock phone call thing.

It is obvious to the casual observer that none of those bearing responsibility were either Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or what ever their preference. They definitely did not adhere to the motto of "Be Prepared". Coming up on 9/11 in one of the most dangerous areas on the globe, they did nothing to increase our ability to respond to trouble. More politics, perhaps.

As they say in Alaska, "you betcha". Of course it was politics. With this administration, all is politics. The premise was that Bin Laden was dead and Al Qaeda was finished. That was Obama's heroic myth. For his own benefit he had to preserve that story coming into the election. Good men died because of that. It was acknowledged, even then, that Al Qaeda wasn't just a few people living in caves in Tora Bora. Al Qaeda had become a world wide terror franchise. Yeman, Iraq, the Islamic Maghreb, they were back, and they were back in greater numbers than ever.

So as you can see, there is still a story to be told. My weak small voice will continue to ask the important questions. There are others, like me, that are more widely heard. I wish, what has become known as "the main stream media", would return to honest reporting of issues. But I really don't expect that to happen anytime soon. We are making some small progress. If we stay focused an carry on, maybe one day.......

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Standards, Practices, and Motivations of a Cranky Conservative

I was sitting here in my hidey-hole slash office slash man cave thinking about the whys and wherefores of what I do. I thought it might make a blog of some small interest, So here goes. 

I have been interested in the news and politics back to my childhood. I suppose, being a child of WWII, that might be expected. In that era most boys were interested in the war, and playing soldiers was an every day activity. The Presidential election of 1948 is what really got my juices flowing. I remember as a six year old explaining the ins and outs of the political conventions to my mother. Yes, I did listen to them on the radio and yes, I was already a conservative in nature if not in declaration..

By the election of 1952, I was in Junior High School and lived in a suburb of Providence RI. After school I would hop on a bus. I was pretty much on my own in those days. I would head into Providence to the Eisenhower campaign headquarters to get buttons and literature. Ike was a hero and I wore his campaign pins proudly.

Next on the horizon was the McCarthy hearings. When I could get to a TV and they were on, I was watching. By this time, at fifteen, I considered myself a Republican.

Two things happened when I went to college. I learned about the Constitution in political science and I learned that I loved to write in English. I never felt that I had enough talent as a writer to make a living from it so I moved on to areas where I felt I could support my family. As I am now retired, I can write without the need to be successful financially. Freedom!

Along the way, I realized that the Republican party and I had gone our separate ways. I registered as an independent around the turn of the century and, now, bill myself as a Constitutional conservative.

And, no I didn't vote for Obama. And, no, it was not because of the color of his skin. It was because he wanted to "fundamentally transform" my country. That would be like transforming strawberry shortcake or baked stuffed lobster. You might be able to do it, but why would you want to? 

So why do I write a blog? Multiple reasons.  But the main reason is that I have a low tolerance for irritation. And there is just so much in the news that is irritating. So I can vent my spleen and comment freely. I am my own research department and editor. What I say is one hundred percent me. I can take on any person or any policy. I have only myself to satisfy up to that point when I push that button marked "Publish".

I do, however, have standards. I do try to be reasonably polite. There are times when this is difficult as I have strong feelings. I will never be rude or crude. I will keep my language at a level that the youngest of my grandchildren could read it without there mothers being offended.

If I read an article that you have written, I will quote you with citation. If you write an article from which I learn or find entertaining, I will recommend it and tell where it might be found. If you write something that I disagree with, you will not be named. I argue against ideas not people. I will give a synopsis of your thoughts and my rebuttal. 

I try to be honest and fair. I try to get facts right. I try to entertain as well as present an idea or six. Since I will get to 30,000 hits in less than two years of publishing my blog with hits from 87 countries, I am happy with my level of success. I started from zero with no name recognition. To have come this far in this time is heartening. Thank you. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

War. What War?

We are at war. I don't mean Afghanistan. But that is part of it. I don't mean Pakistan. But that is also part of it. We are at war with disparate people that hate us and would do us harm. Just about every nation in the middle east contains some of these people. Some live in China. Most of North Korea is our sworn enemy. Mostly because they are told to by a fat little despot named Kim. Unhappily, some even live in the United States.

Our country's administration seems to feel if the war isn't run out of a cave in Tora Bora by someone beholden to Osama Bin Laden, it isn't a war. Wrong headed thinking seems to be the style of the day in Washington. A great speech on the world stage along with a serious visit by an unsmiling man offering money, is not going to solve any problems. For the past twelve years or more, we have not been fighting governments. We have been fighting bitterness, jealousy, and a desire by people with no other connection than hating the United States, to destroy us.

Those that are tasked with protecting this country and it's Constitution must put on their big boy pants, examine their loyalty to America first and foremost, and do the job they campaigned to take on.

If we are attacked, we must instantly attack back, in the most devastating manner possible. No more red lines. No democracy building. No boots on the ground to help rebuild devastation. Just payback in kind and doubled down.

We were just attacked. It wasn't a bomb. It was a cyber attack. The battlefield was Target Store's computers, as well as other retailers. It was a devastating attack. And how did we answer? We didn't. We heard about better armor and a deeper moat to guard the castle. We heard nothing about a troop of anointed knights tracking down the varlets and doing them dirtier than they did us. 

There has been a great deal made on the news lately about the NSA and their capabilities. I am sure that what they are capable of is far more than what they will admit to. When we are cyber attacked the NSA should retaliate in a way that will make our enemies respect us once again.

If someone or someones blow up a bomb, the sponsoring nation should lose a major building in their nations capitol. If Americans are kidnapped or a ship hijacked, track down the guilty parties and end their ability to do harm to anyone. 

Show the world that we are no longer a paper tiger. Show the world, once again, that we are an enemy to be feared and respected but that we  can also be a friend to be held close.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Skeptics, Not Cheerleaders

Back in the olden days before television, most people just graduated from high school. Few but the well-to-do, graduated from college. Those that did earn a college degree generally didn't see newspaper reporting as a prime career choice. Any number of high school grads did lust to become reporters.

If you were lucky enough to get a job on a small local paper, they would start you out writing obituaries or the like. You would rewrite them ad nauseum, until your editor was satisfied. You were learning to write and learning the newspaper business. If you survived that you might be allowed to cover town council meetings or the county commissioners. Again you were at the sufferance of a crusty editor who had survived all the trials that you were trying to survive.

Eventually, if you didn't give up from sheer frustration, you might be allowed to write a news article. This is where things got complicated. Interviewees had to be interviewed. Facts had to be ascertained and corroborated. In other words, you were now doing real reporting. But there was still that editor to please before you saw your masterwork in print.

Over a long newspaper career, editors had learned to be skeptics. Reporters had to justify the slant that an article would take. They had to double check their facts. The story had to be balanced. And above all, no opinion was allowed. The good reporters became as skeptical as their editors. They had learned to write well and by training they wrote good.

They produced good stories with all of the facts so that the reader could feel informed. Then that reader could form their own opinion with a good understanding of the situation.

That was then. This is now. Skepticism has been thrown to the wind. Facts are selected to fit the bias. Opinion is now equal to fact. Pick a winner. Cover up what is harmful and shout to the skies what is good. What was "All the news that's fit to print", has become, all the news that's fit to spin. Our country is in trouble. An uninformed electorate is the root cause. The press needs to put their own prejudice aside and bring back a good healthy dose of skepticism.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We've Fallen And We Must Get Up

I spent part of this morning reading an article that was printed two days ago in the Wall Street Journal. I found it on the Drudge Report, which is where I usually start my day. The article's title is "America's Dwindling Economic Freedom". I recommend that you look it up and read it for yourself.

I think that many of us realize America is changing. It is not changing for the better and it is changing in many undesirable ways. Many times it is difficult to gain a perspective on those changes. Are we a little worse off or are we a lot worse off? We cannot always find a scale by which to measure where we stand.

According to this article, America has fallen out of the top ten most economically free countries. Think of that. The United States.  Reagan's "shining city on a hill" where the oppressed wanted to come because of the economic freedom we have enjoyed has slipped to twelfth place in the world. We now rank behind Estonia, a former Soviet Republic. We are going in the wrong direction.

But we are not alone. Our cousins in the U.K. are right there with us at fourteen. That begs two questions. How did we get here? And more importantly, how do we get our economic freedom back.

The process has taken seven years. That is the five years of the Obama regime and two of George Bush. In my opinion the slide started with a government that overspent and went way too heavily into debt. Spending, of course, must start in the Congress. But the President owns the veto pen. Maybe Bush either broke it or lost it, but he certainly didn't use it. That is just one of many mistakes that teed up the ball for Obama.

Barack Obama is a tax and spend liberal. It is his nature. It is what he was brought up to believe. That will never change. He loves big government and the control of just about everything that big government brings. He neither knows nor understands governmental limits. So under Obama we have more spending, higher taxes, and more regulation. These are all negative factors to economic freedom and economic growth.

The only way that we can restore Americas position as a star in the economic universe is to reverse the truly poor and stifling economic policies of the past seven years. The problem, I fear, is that you go down hill a lot faster than you go back up that long hill. But we have to start because we've fallen and we must get up. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let The Lynching Begin

I really don't care if it is a lynching or a firing squad. Maybe we can still find a guillotine in good condition. But, obviously, Chris Christie has to be headed for one or the other. After all, there was a traffic jam on the George Washington bridge while he was governor of New Jersey.

I have not had time to do the research, I want to be one of the first out there with condemnation, but this might be the first ever traffic jam on that bridge. I'll Google that later and do some fact checking. Not that facts are important. After all Christie is a Republican governor in a blue state. That is all anyone needs to know.

OK, so he came out and took responsibility. OK, so he fired the people that were actually in on the dirty deed. OK, so he apologized. That doesn't mean that it is not time to pile on. He is a Republican for God's sake. It is the presses duty to pile on. There must be something else out there. It must be found!

I am sure those two strong advocates for others telling the truth, Barack and Hillary, would never be part of creating a traffic jam. There was Benghazi, but we are talking the George Washington bridge here. And the IRS scandal. But that traffic was headed into New York City. What greater crime could there be? I mean, "Fast and Furious" was nothing by comparison.

So I suggest, nay, I insist, that all you impartial purveyors of news and innuendo get out there and do your duty. Bury this possible usurper of the road to the White House. You sold us Barack, and it is obvious you are all aquiver over Hillary, so you know what you must do. This man must be "Borked" before he gets any farther. There is nothing so beloved as a good public lynching by the press. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Presiden'ts New Motto

I have heard that the President has a new motto. It is: "I thought I made a mistake once but I was wrong!" I think that pretty much describes the dichotomy of his thinking. He is a man so sure of himself that he can see no error in his thinking. 

As someone who writes and edits his own work, I understand how hard it can be to catch and admit your own errors. The President, however, has a staff surrounding him that should be the "Greek Chorus" reminding him of his lack of perfection. Obama's people seem to be more like those serving Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather". No one dares oppose.

In 2008 the President was quoted as saying:  I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

If Mr. Obama is as smart and skilled as he thinks he is, why, after five years, is the jobs picture so abysmal? When he was elected he swore to work ceaselessly until jobs returned. I do no know what ceaselessly means to him, but he has said at least three times since then he was swinging back to the jobs problem.

His solution to the jobs problem was to spend, spend, spend. He poured money into "shovel ready" projects until he found out there were none. How did the all knowing not know that? He, then, poured money into companies like GM, Chrysler, and Solyndra. The only ones that benefited there, were the unions and Obama contributors.

He has stalled the Keystone XL pipeline for years. There are construction, support, and manufacturing jobs just sitting there waiting. What is the hold up? Could it be that his friend and supporter, Warren Buffett, owns the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad, that hauls a huge amounts of the oil that would go into the XL pipeline?

Then there is the Obama war on coal. The coal mining industry is just about dead and the power plants that were coal powered are being shut down. More thousands of jobs lost. The onus of Obamacare has business petrified. They have no idea how to adjust to this government over reach, so they don't hire or expand. The constant stream of new regulations is breaking the back of American industry.

These are not jobs programs. These are jobs killing programs. But the President goes blithely ahead, congratulating himself on what a great job he is doing. But his "Greek Chorus" sing only his praises.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Really, I'm Not A Scientist!

I admit it, I am not a scientist. This may come as a shock to Al Gore but he is not a scientist either. Barack Obama is not a scientist. I am not sure what he is but most certainly not a scientist. In fact, none of the politicians trying to sell the scam of global warming are scientists.

I do, however, read my native tongue fairly well. Anyone that takes the time and trouble to do some reading will learn a few facts about this phenomenon. Politicians seldom learn facts because we pay aides to do their reading for them. 

The whole theory of global warming was not based on long term facts but was based on a computer model extrapolating future climate behavior. In other words, some college professor wrote a software program designed to produce the results he needed to get a grant to study the results of his computer program. Just for insurance, he threw in a "hockey stick" curve of temperature increase. It seems that half the academic world was looking for grant money and glommed on to global warming for years of easy living.

There have been a few unfortunate circumstances and a couple of questions along the way. First of all, the computer model did not match with reality. So I would suggest reality outweighs a half-baked piece of unproven software. The second thing that went wrong was that it stopped getting warmer. And I am sure that Barack Obama will tell you that the oceans stopped rising because he was elected as he promised us they would. But like so many of his promises, that sack is empty. I have spent most of my life living in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. I will attest that both the high and low water lines are about the same as sixty years ago.

Back in the days when our planet had a nice new atmosphere, it was hot and there was little oxygen in the air. Single cell life was just beginning to form in the primordial ooze. Since then the Earth has cooled and warmed and cooled again. Multiple times. Glaciers have grown and pushed down from the north to deposit granite and dig out the great lakes. The climate has never been stable.

Professors and politicians realized that they had backed themselves into a corner and started to call it climate change. That is accurate but man has little to do with it. When the temperatures were going up, sunspots were very active. During this period temperatures on Mars went up almost exactly proportional to changes in Earth's temperature. I don't think they have a CO2 problem, since they have no CO2. No cows farting. No gas gulping SUVs. No atmosphere at all. But the planet did get warmer.

When sunspot activity abated, guess what, the planets, both Earth and Mars, cooled. Now many real climate scientists are discussing global cooling and Al Gore's book is selling at give away prices. People are buying it because it is cheaper than kindling.

There are always people out there looking to get your money into their pockets. There are always politicians out there willing to help. For a piece of the action, of course. Don't be to quick to buy what these people are selling. They are selling fantasy for fun and profit

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Corruption As A Way Of Life

I think that most people will agree that almost all of Washington is corrupt. Those that aren't corrupt are too weak, spineless, and greedy to admit to the corruption, never mind stand up to it.

I can understand how it got this way. There has always been a corrupt base but the self interest was hidden behind a facade of "making the system work". The two parties were capable of meeting in the center to make the country, at least, appear to run. But times change.

The Democrat party went from a left of center liberal group to a hard left progressive organization that became very ideological. A large part of the Republican party took an ideological hard right turn. The two groups grew to detest each other and could barely even speak civilly in polite company.

If someone came along that was a reasonable and honest broker either for an appointment or as a candidate, he was subject to devastating ad hominum attacks. Every minute of his life would be examined by private detectives and the least little sin was made satanic by a willing press. Good men, smart men, have better things to do than subject their lives and their families to this.

The administration that is presently running this country has brought corruption to an unprecedented level. We have all been disturbed by the unlawful actions committed by people in the IRS. Certainly the tax laws have been used as a political tool before. But the scope of what they have been doing and, apparently, continue to do, is beyond anything we have seen.

We have been promised, by the President, a thorough and unbiased investigation. Then we find out in this mornings news that the secret investigator is Barbara Bosserman. She is an attorney in the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She was appointed by AG Holder and is a contributor to Barack Obama and the DNC. Right, no conflict of interest there.

Just add this to the list of weekly scandals that we have been treated to. People, this type of thinking and behavior has got to stop soon or we will have no country left worth living in. With every day, with every new regulation, with every new government intrusion into our lives, we are becoming a subjugated society. We cannot let this become the new normal. I remember freedom and I remember our military giving their lives to keep it. Do not give it away to cheap politicians.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Dawn Of Understanding

There are a few things in this world that I most unabashedly am. I am conservative. Conservative ideas have always struck me as more productive for society and healthier for the individual. Hard work and self reliance seem to be virtues to me. 

I am jingoistic. I love my country and truly believe that it is the greatest country in the world. From the Pilgrims, four hundred years ago, to Somali refugees today, people who have been oppressed, starved, poverty stricken, or just wanted a better future for their children have come here to become citizens.

I am proud. I believe that, while some accuse my country of being colonialist, no other country in history has done as much to free people around the world and received less for their trouble. After being attacked by Japan in WWII, we defeated them, helped to rebuild them, and protected them through this process. We received nothing for this but their friendship going forward. Germany, Korea, Kuwait, our military was there to do the heavy lifting. They deserve the respect of every American.

One thing that I am not is racist. I grew up in an era where casual racism was the norm. Even as a child, I new it was wrong. As a teenager, I traveled through the South in the fifties. I saw Jim Crow, up close and personal. I didn't like him.

I do not like the policies of Barack Obama. I do not like them because I think they are bad for the country and bad for the American people. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Never did. Never will. When he campaigned on "hope and change", without specifics on either the hope or the change, he did not win my interest. When he claimed the "oceans will recede", I felt he was a man that was far to full of his own ego. When he started making appointments, I felt to many of his appointees lacked the real world experience that is needed in government. Nothing that I have seen since he was elected has caused me to question my initial feelings.

But yesterday, I walked into the living room where Barack Obama was on the TV, just starting a speech. I sat and watched for a little while. I had a revelation. I try to stay reasonably well informed. I get my news from various sources, to get the facts rather than opinion. I sat watching while he tried to spin the conversation away from Obamacare and onto income inequality. He explained how hard he works and the evil Republicans are the ones responsible for all the failures of the past five years.

I knew that he was dishing out a pile of self-serving bull, but he came off as so sincere that even I wanted to believe him. Now I think that I understand how those that accept news from comedy shows and left leaning sources offer him their support. It was a scary moment because I realize in most elections around 45% support one side and around 45% support the other. It is that last 10% of the most under informed voters that decide elections. These are generally the last people that you want deciding the fate of  our nation.             

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Inflation Confusion

Yesterday I read an article on the definition of inflation. It was written by an economist who I respect and with whom I generally agree. I did take exception to a number of ideas in this rather extensive essay. Over the years, I have witnessed a lot of inflation in the market place. I have seen the results but never put much thought into inflation's basic nature. Late yesterday and last night, I spent some time thinking about this and I have some ideas that might be worth examining.

The article that I read equated inflation with the money supply. The premise was that an increase in the money supply is inflationary. This, I cannot accept. There have been many times in economic history that the supply of money has increased, including the present era, and inflation has remained in check. If an increase in available money were to be inflationary, the period in the sixties when banks were indiscriminately sending out credit card should have driven inflation through the roof. It did not.

A good part of our economy today is a dollarless economy. My bank sends your bank an electronic transfer from my account, be it my checking account or a credit card, and your bill to me is paid. No real money actually moves. The reservoir of money is virtually bottomless. So it can't be the money supply that causes inflation. 

Does inflation start with an increase in prices? Competition for business tends to keep prices low. Sometimes artificially low as when we are in a recession. But somehow prices manage to increase anyway. These increases can be brought about by shortages. A few years back the orange crop was damaged. The price for a half gallon carton of orange juice went from two dollars to three dollars within weeks. The orange crop recovered but the price remained at three dollars. So there's a little piece of inflationary pressure right there.

Are wage increases inflationary? Many jobs in private industry are subject to annual review. The employees record is examined in regards to productivity. An increase in productivity means an increase in salary. Many public sector jobs are subject to "cost of living" increases. Both of these examples should be about inflation neutral. 

There are both public and private sector jobs where the pay is negotiated in a collective bargaining process. Management's aim is not necessarily to increase productivity, but to minimize the possibility of labor problems. Here again, we have a little more inflationary pressure.

Then there are the costs of doing business that have little or nothing to do with product or labor costs. We have become a very litigious society. Suppliers of goods and services must spend huge sums of money to protect themselves from lawsuits. More inflationary pressure.

And finally, government regulation. Government agencies are cranking out new regulations every day. These regulations can involve every aspect of running a business from product design to taking out the garbage. The staffs of lawyers and accountants that business requires to make sure that they stay honest, is hugely expensive in itself. The cost of obeying these government mandates is even costlier. And the consumer pays for it. 

So we see that the wage, price, spiral of inflation defies a single definition or cause. The roots of the problem probe into every part of business and labor. But we should all be aware that rampant inflation hurts our domestic consumers and hurts our country on the world market.

Monday, January 6, 2014

To Err is Human!

Three days ago I posted a blog that contained an error. It was inadvertent. I made an assumption that proved incorrect. It was a reasonable assumption. With a less devious administration, I would have been correct.

My error was that I stated that since the government had taken over the college loan business, the payments from those loans went into the general fund. First of all, I don't think that the government should be in the business of providing loans to anyone. That was, and should be handled by private enterprise. The government should provide reasonable regulation. But that is all.

In one of the trickiest maneuvers in modern politics, the student loan program got folded into Obamacare. So Obamacare will be partially financed on the backs of college graduates who come out of school paying an inflated price for an education and far deeper in debt than is reasonable. And why is education so expensive? Because the government has pumped so much of other peoples money into the student loan program the the colleges are flush with lucre compliments of the graduates.

There is one question that I have. Are the loans coming out of the general fund? If the are, are the full payments being pumped into Obamacare? Is Obamacare getting only the profits? The former would be boarder line criminal. The latter would be, merely, highly unethical. Of course, neither ethics nor the law seem to mightily trouble this administration.

In the past, I have felt that the Obama administration has done so much harm because they were inexperienced.  I now have to ask myself if I was also in error here. The consistency of bad policy can only lead me to believe that it is willful and with purpose.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Barack Antoinette, The Tone Deaf President!

Hawaii. One of the most beautiful places in an ugly world. I have never been there. I never expect to go there. Our President claims it as his home state and it seems to be his favorite place to visit. The cost to the taxpayer is unimportant. After all he is the President and who are we to even concern ourselves with his private life.

During my working life, I had jobs that came with responsibilities. Most vacations that I took were only a week. Later in my career, when I was entitled to three weeks, I never took all the time available to me. I mostly took long week ends. Why? Responsibility.

Compared to the President of the United States, my responsibilities were nothing. But I took them seriously, as they were important to me and to others. Our President, however, seems quite comfortable traveling as far from Washington as it is possible to get and still be in the United States. And then to stay for seventeen days.

There are things happening right now, like the train wreck of Obamacare, that are deeply concerning to the citizens of this country. The Washington elite never seem to have enough of our money to spend. They took millions from the medicare fund. They are taking money away from those that have given a life of service and retired from the military. They are always grubbing for more while taxpayers are expected to do with less. This is especially bothersome when they pour money into futile projects and personal ego trips.

But our President either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the dissonance of his frequent very expensive vacations. Thousands of miles traveled on Air Force One. An entourage of aides and security that we must support. The huge inconvenience he causes both the locals and the families of those that are forced to alter their life at his whim.

The world is in turmoil. Our country is in turmoil. Strong leadership from the President of the United States would go a long way toward quelling that unrest. But instead we get a boy king who vacations far better than he leads. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Less Than Cheerful

I am sitting here partially snowed in. We actually got less than the dire warnings of doom predicted. The temperature outside is 4 degrees. It seldom gets below 20 here. I'm sitting here rooting for a non-existent global warming and watching out for approaching glaciers. I mean, if global warming scientists get themselves thoroughly frozen in, in Antarctica, how am I supposed to get it right in Rhode Island. So, as expected, my attitude is not good.

So let's hit a couple of other things that are bugging me. Liberals, progressives, what ever identity they are hiding behind this week are nasty, mean, vicious people. Their ad hominum attacks are cruel and uncivilized. They can be downright hateful. They were wishing Barbara Bush would die when it was announced that she was ill. They spout racism as if it were just polite social intercourse. Then they accuse anyone that doesn't agree with them of being racist. They consider themselves the educated elite but are terminally unpleasant.

The next group of tragically annoying people are those on the TV talk shows explaining how beautifully Obamacare is working. Well, people have started using it. I should say, trying to use it. They go into hospitals for treatment and get sent home untreated because the hospitals cannot find records of their coverage. People with bronze plans, designed for those that can least afford health insurance, find that the out of pocket costs are huge because of the high deductible. They are walking out untreated because they have no money but were forced by the government to buy a policy that is virtually useless to them. This is not going well at all, and it is not just the website.

One last annoyance. The education system in the United States is falling apart. To listen to the President tell the story he wants every child to have the greatest education that is possible. As usual with him, big words, small actions. So he is, all of a sudden, big on preschool. That will not improve overall education one iota. Why not support magnet schools and school choice. Give kids, especially poor kids, a chance. Not going to happen. The teachers union is against it so Obama's against it. Then there is college. The rich can pay out of pocket and feel nothing. The poor take out loans. Horrendously big loans, because college is now big business. Your government now owns those big loans that the poorest need. And that is a profit center for them. That interest that is charged goes right into the general fund giving the pols more of the neediest peoples money to spend.

OK, call me a misanthrope. Today, the name fits.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why Obamacare?

With the holidays, I have been watching a little more TV. Mostly news channels. Frankly, mostly Fox News, because the allow both liberals and conservatives time to air their views. Now both political parties have their "political strategists", that go to the talk shows and do interviews. I really don't think most of them could strategize their trip out of their own driveway. 

But there are qualifications. They must be young. But not too young. They must be attractive. But not too attractive. They must speak well and clearly. They must dress nicely. But the main qualification is a good memory. They get daily talking points from their leadership. Then they are sent forth to discuss these points with any who would listen.

Understand, these people are true believers. If they were not, they could not say what they say, expecting to be believed. One of the more mature true believers, Barbara Walters, recently opined how they, meaning I suppose, the media, thought that Barack Obama was going to be the new messiah. I would think that at a certain age such hormonal reflux would be diminished. But then....

To the point. Lately the Democrat strategists have been happily pointing out that because of Obamacare, thousands of people with pre-existing medical conditions have been able to get health insurance. That is certainly true. They now have insurance and it is a good thing.

My question is, was it good and right to throw the whole health care system into chaos to insure these few? Couldn't the existing system be left in place and a plan to cover those that needed help tacked on? Maybe just wrap them into medicaid?

Of course it could have, if the main thrust of Obamacare were about health care. What it was about, was power, control, and subjugation. Your political masters no have complete control over another large chunk of the economy and they also have control over life and death decisions that effect you and your family. I hope you are feeling good about that. I'm not. 

Another problem is that young people are growing up into this. They are accepting these conditions as the norm. If you are less than thirty years old, the government has always had it's nose in your existence. If you are under fifty years old, you never knew real freedom. 

This year we have a chance to start turning things around. Please, know your candidates. Study the issues. Vote with your brain in gear. The future really does depend on it.