A discussion of various thought on issues and subects that cross my mind. This can include: Politics, Economics, Race Relations, Stock Markets, Investing, Music, Poetry, Current Events and probably more. Comments, whether disenting or in agreement, are welcomed.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The true Democrat definition of rich
I just figured out a secret that I don’t think most people in America have noticed. The fact is it’s not much of a secret, it’s more like the elephant in the room. And Democrats have successfully avoided mentioning it for a while now.
Looking at the supposed “stimulus” package that is trying to be shoved through Congress before the public realizes what’s in the package I noticed something. Now we have to step into the way back machine called facts for a moment. Democrats be prepared.
Remember that? It was March of 2008 when all the Democratic candidates (including then-Senator Obama) voted to increase taxes on anyone making more than $31,850. It was at that time that Democrats started to insist with high order of polispeak that only the rich would suffer under their leadership.
Of course that leadership also was asleep as the mortgage crisis grew and then spawned the credit crisis. Both of which are still evolving into bigger problems. But I digress.
As then-Senator Obama won the Primaries, he began to discuss, vaguely, his economic and tax plans. It was a central point that he envisioned the rich as the sole point of higher taxes. This of course raised the question, what is rich?
The Obama campaign started to almost answer that question with anyone making around $250,000. That later went down to $200,000. Shortly after that it became $150,000. Then the nation got distracted, as financial institutions fell left and right. The only question at that point was who else Rep. Barney Frank might blame the collapse on other than himself.
Now we can move up to the present.
The House Democrats (minus 11 bi-partisan Democrats who joined the entire Republican membership) voted to pass the bloated, non-immediate, useless, stimulus package that also seeks to fund Honey bees, fix NASA, and study ‘global warming’ among other useless actions. But in this current version of the non-‘stimulus package’ there is a provision for tax rebates.
The money is to be provided to the public, as a savings each month for 4 months of about $120. But here is the catch. It’s only good for up to the first $8150 you earn, so if you exceed that amount before the 4 months are up you lose out.
Worse yet is who will get that money. And this is the elephant. You must make less than $75,000 (or $150,000 jointly). And there is the new definition of rich. The answer that has been over 6 months in the waiting has presented itself.
So if you thought Obama would only tax the rich, hello you very likely are now part of that group. Honestly I never considered making $75,000 as rich. It isn’t poor but its just as far from Bill Gates.
Think about that. Middle class income is a cut-off point for Democrats in Congress, and President Obama who is all in favor of the stimulus package as is. Can anyone tell me this is what they expected when they voted for President Obama?
If this is the threshold for who gets help, and who pays for that help, it seems more lopsided than even during the Primaries where Democrats were leapfrogging each other to sound more moderate and friendly to the public. But Congress is not partisan, nor are the current batch of polispeak promise socialisic – according to the self-admitted major news media.
Let’s be honest. If President Obama told the American public the truth, that he considered $75,000 rich, he never would have been elected. No wonder he never gave a firm answer. And why Democrats have avoided the issue entirely, because the public backlash would sink the approval ratings faster than Nancy Pelosi can waste money. And that is very fast indeed.
Well you may not hear the truth in many other place, but you have heard it from me. If you doubt this, just look up the provisions of the stimulus plan. It’s right there for you to see.
I had a friend ask me why the Republicans are causing trouble. The reference was to why all the House Republicans (and 11 Democrats) voted against the Stimulus Package. And when I mentioned some of the things I have long written, I was asked for more details.
Now I imagine others are wondering about details as well. How can I claim this is a horrible plan that will bankrupt America if there are no specifics. How can I be sure that this won’t stimulate the economy. Perhaps this is just a giant plot of Republicans to make President Obama look bad.
Well back in the land of reality, I decided to see if I could find a few more details on the stimulus package. And here are some of the things your money is being spent on. Remember that this is your money, and you will have to pay for this out of your pocket sometime soon.
$245 million for maintaining and modernizing the IT system of the Farm Service Agency $175 million to buy and restore floodplain easements for flood prevention $2.7 billion for rural water and waste disposal direct loans $150 million for emergency food assistance $50 million for regional economic development commissions $1 billion for "Periodic Censuses and Programs" $650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program $100 million for "Scientific and Technical Research and Services" at the National Institute of Standards And Technology $30 million for necessary expenses of the "Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership" $300 million for a competitive construction grant program for research science buildings $400 million for "habitat restoration and mitigation activities" at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration $600 million for "accelerating satellite development and acquisition" $140 million for "climate data modeling" $3 billion for state and local law enforcement grants $1 billion for "Community Oriented Policing Services" $250 million for "accelerating the development of the tier 1 set of Earth science climate research missions recommended by the National Academies Decadal Survey." $50 million for repairs to NASA facilities from storm damage $200 million for "academic research facilities modernization" $100 million for "Education and Human Resources $4.5 billion to make military facilities more energy efficient $18.5 billion for "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" research in the Department of Energy $2.4 billion to demonstrate "carbon capture and sequestration technologies" $6 billion for energy efficiency projects on government buildings $600 million to buy and lease government plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles $150 million for deferred maintenance at the Smithsonian museums $700 million for "comparative effectiveness research" on prescription drugs $1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance $1 billion for Amtrack
Again this is only part of the list of things that are needed “immediately”, and will “improve the economy”. Please do correct me and explain how Food assistance, research, or climate data modeling are going to improve the economy and help the guy/gal down the block keep their job at the local Macy’s or Office Depot. Please explain how those ex-employees of Home Depot are going to feed their family and pay the bills for the next 2 or 3 years because of repairs to NASA or Earth science research.
I dare you.
Do I think funding for education is important? Definitely. Is it part of a stimulus package meant to help people stay employed tomorrow? No. Thus anything that does not help the NATION create jobs or maintain employment is a waste of time and money in this package.
If Democrats really wanted to improve things, why not take the billions of dollars that are being wasted, roughly $36 billion just from the examples I cited above, and give it directly to the public. That would be about $123 for ever man, woman, and child in the United States right now. Take out children and those not paying taxes (since they can’t repay they don’t get the benefits) and you get around $250 each.
There is still another $790 billion more to look at. Think that there might be just a bit more waste in the 25% of the package that won’t even be spent for 2 or 3 more years. How abut just giving us the money today and not wait 3 years. That would be almost $2,500 each. That would stimulate the economy.
But that isn’t going to happen. Which means the entire package is nothing more than polispeak, and a way for the Government to gain more control of your life. The Republicans that voted against this aren’t bad guys, they are actually helping you. But don’t expect the major media to explain it.
It’s a real shame that American politics is so filled with polispeak and soundbites that most don’t know how ineffective our Government can be. One of the most glaring failures of our Government can be seen in the Child Soldier Prevention Act.
This was introduced to Congress in 2006, then again in 2007, and again in 2008. It has never become law. In fact it has yet to make it out of committee. Imagine that. It has yet to make it out of committee.
In the 109th Congress, under the title H.R. 5966 this Act was meant
I’m not so foolish as to believe that if America’s Congress got off its collective fat ass and passed this Act all the slime of the world would stop using children as soldiers. But it would be a statement. It would be an action. And perhaps the fear of losing American dollars and Government support might decrease the number and desire for child soldiers. Children are the innocents of the world, and they deserve at least that much.
Yet not a single Congress has been able to do anything about this. And I have to wonder why. I would love to know what objection ANY member of Congress has to this Act. What part of ending the use of children in war makes them reluctant to have their name on this Act?
Now some might say this is not a big deal. That if this were important it would be on the news. Except the news media is not in the business of telling the public what is going on in the world. Their job is to distract and emphasize stereotypes, and they do that well. And anything that causes the death of any child that is easily and responsibly preventable should always be done.
Perhaps, just maybe, if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could stop trying to pump up her wind power stock investment, or searching for something to blame on the past Administration, she could actually lead lead Congress and pass this Act. I can’t see how this could be held up if anyone in Congress actually gave a damn and moved on it.
These aren’t American children. But does that really matter? For Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Democrat-led Congress it seems that it does. And I take that as an insult to America.
If you agree, get in touch with your Congressman or Congresswoman. Contact your Senators. Demand that Congress act. It’s a little thing, but it is something. And we can hardly stand in front of the world, professing our belief in freedom and democracy, while we allow the one group in society that cannot act in their own defense to be abused and killed.
Democrats are really something. I don't say this because I favor Democrats. Nor because they are special in any way. And let me clarify this - I am speaking about politicians and not people.
Democrats are just as prone to polispeak. They break campaign promises just as often. They have scandals, ignore constituents, and promote special interests as much as any other political group. But the thing that really gets me is the style they have in doing all this.
Democrats don't just get caught stealing money, they have it sitting in their refrigerator. They don't just nominate (or appoint) officials that no one has heard of or lacking experience, they go out and get people that are particularly unqualified.
Just look at recent events. In New York State we had a Democratic Governor that was actively looking to appoint Caroline Kennedy. She has no experience, has no defined political positions, and her best argument for the position is her last name. Why did she not get the position as Senator? Because she has a massive number of skeletons in her closet; and even with that information Gov. Patterson was still courting her at the last minute.
Then there is Illinois. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was caught trying to sell the Senate seat. Rather than resign, he turned the tables and made an appointment to the position. Thus making the story about the lack of Black Senators, the question of the validity of the appointment, the credibility of the appointee, and the division in the Democratic Party.
In fact the Governor of Illinois is still causing an uproar. because instead of defending himself he is talking about how he wanted Oprah Winfrey for the job. Talk about unqualified.
Yes, Winfrey is intelligent, and popular. Yes she does good deeds, and has a ton of cash. In fact she is the exact equal of Caroline Kennedy. Including the fact that she has no qualification for public office. The closest she has ever come to anything political is her lavish support of President Obama during the Primaries and election. And that puts her on the list of possibles.
Democrats don't just have balls, they are crazy. They seem willing to substitute qualifications for publicity. They seem to promote opinion polls versus positions. And they do so in a hoard of media cameras as if they were entertainers or celebrities. And then they expect us to blame EVERYONE else when things go wrong - like Barney Frank insists.
Other political parties have at least an equal number of foul-ups in their ranks. They all have prima donnas and power-hungry opportunists. But in the Democratic Party it seems that this is the best features in their top ranks.
I just can't wait to see what will happen next. Las Vegas should be running betting pools over what will happen first. Barney Frank blaming the extension of bank failures on someone else (likely the Bush Administration for another 18 months), Secretary of State Clinton being questioned about receiving tens of millions from foreign Governments while in discussions with those nations on behalf of America, Vice President Biden saying something racist and/or stupid, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid insisting the time of the Congress is best spent combing thru every document and comment ever made in the prior 8 years.
And all the while bulbs will be flashing, and news media will be gushing as President Obama tells the nation that he will change things while they stay exactly the same.
Yet its other political parties that are bad for the nation, filled with malcontents, and ineffective. Only Democrats would have the balls to look the nation in the eyes and spew that polispeak.
Who has bigger balls, Congress or Clinton? Clinton it seems.
Sometimes you almost feel like Congress can get something right. Then you realize it’s Congress – the worst Congress ever, that has accomplished the least ever – and then you know how bad you’re screwed.
Case in point. Senator Hillary Clinton is about to become the Secretary of State. Such an abomination should never happen outside of a nightmare. But the reality is that the wicked witch of pure ambition has made it virtually through the confirmation process.
Then you get another burst of intelligence out of the collectively dim, this time from Sen. John Cornyn. He too has the inspiration to notice that the Clinton Foundation is a conflict if it continues to receive tens of millions from foreign governments while Hillary is Secretary of State.
Then he goes on to say he won’t block the confirmation either. On top of which the true genius of the Senate, Harry Reid proclaims that he will push Clinton thru either with a voice vote or a roll call vote – which Democrats know can’t be defeated.
So all we have to provide the nation with the assurance that our Secretary of State is unquestionably looking out for the nation is her unyielding ambition for power (which got her this job in the first place) and her assurance that there will be no conflict. Because we all know that the word of a Clinton is unimpeachable.
Except when it comes to commodity trades, adultery, pardons, political backstabbing, talking to the media, establishing a position on illegal immigration, actual political influence, historical fact of work done, or promises to constituents. How could anyone doubt them?
Where are all the balls in Congress? Surely there is a Congressman or woman that is willing to say that based on the past history of the Clintons, and their campaigns, and their top aides, just taking their word is not enough to become Secretary of State. You would think someone would want to hold her up, or attempt to block her. Yet none of the Representatives and Senators of Congress has a backbone it seems. And they are the people that are strong enough to help President Obama lead the nation out of this near depression?
If this is the kind of response we can expect from the 111th Congress, I might wish for the time wasting, money spending, pork barrel loving, ineffective 110th Congress. The days of Congressional hearings seeking to find out known facts and investigate legal actions for months seems like a pleasure cruise to a Congress that is unwilling to question and halt the image of corruption.
What can we expect from them if we find that there actually becomes corruption in fact? Maybe Barney Frank looking dumb in the camera as he watches video of himself spout utter nonsense some more. This time maybe Pelosi and Reid will join him. What a tea party.
The question of the honesty of the Secretary of State, the incorruptibility of the office, is at stake here. This is massively serious. And it is being handled as if this were about parking tickets from the U.N.
If this is what an Obama Administration portends, it’s a dark 4 years coming.
I have been talking about the economy and what would happen if a Democrat would win since late 2007. When it became clear that President Obama was the Democratic nominee I discussed how the stock market would react to his win. And after the election I forecasted what would likely happen to the Dow Jones Index on inauguration day.
I hit the nail on the head. Well close enough to that anyway. I called for a 7600 Dow on or shortly after the inauguration. I called for a 500 point drop on inauguration day. And I detailed how the economy would continue to tailspin to levels last seen in the Carter Administration.
The Dow Jones Index closed down 332 points. The Dow currently sits at 7949. That’s down 4% from Friday and 12% since the start of the year.
Some will want to blame this all on President Bush, but the reality from Wall Street is that a Liberal Democratic President is a negative for the economy. If only ½ the economic promises made on the campaign trail come true the national debt will tower over any level seen before, and none of the plans are good for private business. And that is bad for investing.
Still crude oil is at lows, and the inflation hitting food has not increased in a while. So maybe Joe Public doesn’t realize how bad things will get, yet. But Wall Street is preparing. And they are looking at the long haul.
I still target the low of the first half at about 7600. I still believe that the money wasted on the mortgage/ credit bailouts will increase drastically. I say again that the 2nd stimulus plan will be a worse waste of money than the first under President Bush. And I insist that the Democrat-led Congress under Pelosi and Reid are the worst Congress in at least my lifetime.
I really hope to be wrong. But so far I am 4% or 349 points from being exactly on target. Any spike in oil prices, a run on gold, a blip in the value of the dollar, continued fighting in Israel, or any of a number of anti-American nations - and terrorist groups - beating their chests (as Vice President Biden promised will happen) and my targets will be exceeded. And all the feel-good talk prior to the inauguration will evaporate.
Yes the stimulus plan will be a great political boost for our new President. And public opinion will soar, until everyone realizes that the extra $60 a week (or less) will not prevent them from losing jobs. Or that at some point soon you will be paying taxes for a house you don’t own. Or paying for a healthcare system that is substandard and as convoluted as any department of the Government. Stock will lead the way down.
But there is time to avoid all this. Congress can reel back all the new additional spending. President Obama can give up on the 2nd stimulus plan. Taxes could be cut, at both the corporate and personal levels. And departments of the Government could be trimmed of wasteful spending.
In a pig’s eye.
Congress is going to spend more than what has been used to bailout the financial industry as the first shot in the bow. Additional money will soon be needed to balance the financials already continuing to flounder, not counting those that will follow like dominoes. And the auto industry that stated flatly that a penny less than $50 billion in a bailout would mean Chapter 11, will become bankrupt as they did not get their money.
Increased regulation will increase cost, and fail to increase good business decisions. And companies will fail. The stock market will lead it all down. Lines will form for Government corporate handouts. The national debt will soar.
Sounds bleak doesn’t it. It should. It is happening before your eyes. By the end of the 1st quarter Joe Public will feel it, badly. Just in time for taxes.
And if I am only as correct as I was about my prediction for the inauguration, well you can see what that will mean. I hope, honestly hope, that I will be wrong.
I really want to be wrong. But what I see in the marketplace tells me that I am right. That double digit inflation and unemployment are mere months away. And that it will last at least as long as the Obama Administration, if not longer.
So since putting your money in a bank will gain you nothing, the taxes on investments make that plan dumb for anything with a return in the next 2 years, and gold is already moving just wait. Wait and take small bites all the way down. Because America will rebound at some point. Because I hope to be wrong soon. The reward from that will be better than me eating crow, it will be a stronger economy.
Well it has to be said by someone. I know the hate mail will flow.
I understand, and am gleeful, about the history being made as President Obama becomes the first Black man that is President of the United States. It is a moment that I never expected in my lifetime.
That said, I have to wonder and comment on the way the media and many people are treating this as if the world has instantly changed. It is as if suddenly every wrong in America has been wiped away. Or so the media would like many to believe.
I recall a recent television commercial on BET that I caught as I was flipping channels. It had a little girl trying to watch the inauguration, but was far too short to see over the crowd. Then Dr. Martin Luther King comes and lifts up the girl so she can watch the Oath of Office. The commercial ends with the words, The Dream Achieved.
Hogwash. The television commercial is inspirational, but the message is false. President Obama is not the fulfillment of the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, and to suggest as such belittles what he strived for. The Civil Rights Movement was not about just gaining political stature, or a title. It was about the understanding of the fundamental rights of equality that Government and society needs to recognize.
Yes, President Obama is one aspect of that realization. But that does not mean America has reached a point of equality. Oscar Grant was murdered after Obama was elected. Millions of African Americans are drop-outs, and single parents. The pay rates of African Americans still lags that of White peers. The stereotypes of African Americans being criminals and/or violent still permeates music, television and movies (when we have the chance to be seen) by and large. Drugs are still allowed to enter Black and poor communities. The dream is not achieved.
President Obama is just one man. He has entered one position, powerful as it is. And it is worthy of acclaim and celebration. But we should not distract ourselves from the reality that exists before, during and after this moment.
Racism and prejudice still exists in America. It is part of the legal system at every level. It still unbalances the opportunities African Americans (and all other 'minorities') experience in this nation.
10% of this nation vocally stated that they would not accept a non-White president. That is huge. Who knows how many were unwilling to make that same statement publicly. Obviously not enough to prevent President Obama's election, but far more than enough to put me at unease.
There is still only 1 African American in the Senate, a mere handful in the House of Representatives. There are few Governors and Mayors that are African American, or just non-White. There are far less than 1% of major CEO's that are 'minorities'. Even in the far-left, politically highly liberal, halls and studios of Hollywood there is barely more than a scattering of non-Whites in front of or behind the cameras.
Rejoice today because it is a day worthy of celebration. But let us not be distracted from the truth that is daily life. President Obama may change many things, but it won't be tomorrow. He has become a symbol, but action still needs to be taken. Millions will remember this day, but it is only one day.
President Obama is not THE answer. He is not THE only change. He is one part of a huge goal that was hoped for by millions of Americans, including Dr. Martin Luther King. But he is not the end of the road nor the ultimate answer to the challenges before us. The dream is still a dream. And we must still strive to make it a reality.
But thankfully we are one step and one day closer to that reality. Let's just not lose focus.
So now President Obama seems to be interested in providing up to $100 billion for those in foreclosure or about to be. It's a really great gesture. It will surely help his approval rating. And it will help guarantee that he receives the full $850 billion he has wanted for the Democrat proposed stimulus plan.
But I am opposed to this. Not because I don't want people to keep their homes. But because this is a terrible idea.
First there are the homeowners who are not in foreclosure. Those of us that are doing everything we can to maintain our homes are at a disadvantage. We get nothing from the proposed stimulus except the $120 a month that has been stated. Which is little to nothing compared to the cost of a mortgage, and raising a family, while trying to save enough money to ensure that if we lose our jobs we have something as a cushion.
In fact, it seems almost beneficial to allow your home to go into foreclosure these days. The Government is so busy trying to ensure you cannot lose your home that they are basically encouraging people to do so. You can negotiate a lower interest rate, defer payments, extend the life of a mortgage, remove interest, and soon there will be payments from the Government to subsidize your home. Given all that, why the hell is it worth struggling to stay out of foreclosure?
Second, in spending money on the foreclosures it is that much less money spent on the economy. Given I think the stimulus plan is as much of a waste as the Bush stimulus plan, basically a political look good tool or polispeak for the masses. But if spending money is the plan to turn the economy around, why dilute that plan?
In effect the average American will be paying back, at some point in the future via taxes, the money they receive + the money given to homes that are not their own + money given to businesses that made bad business decisions. And that is just the looking forward money (and does not include his new spending for new Government programs). The Government has already obligated us to pay back previous money received + several bank bailouts (which did nothing to improve the stock market and retirement accounts) + auto industry money + bailing out an insurance giant. All while inflation is creeping higher.
And none of the money going to any business or institution has any guarantee of repayment. Nor if there were repayment, any way planned of how that money would be assessed. The money could be used to fund pet politician projects (like ACORN was initially set to receive) or some other Government inspired spending spree. We don't know.
Which says nothing of the fact that the Government has no idea how the money will be spent, or where it is spent. Billions are unaccounted for at this moment, and the Obama Adminsitration has stated it intends to add tens of billions more into the pot with little better knowledge than before. Unless you believe that Congress got a lot smarter since the elections in November. The majority of politicians that were there before are still there. Like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, who couldn't figure out what was happening in the economy until after the problems hit the news. And they head financial oversight committees, still. Think they are any smarter or more adept than 3 months ago?
But again on the foreclosures. I have enough trouble paying my mortgage, my household expenses, taxes, and preparing for higher corporate taxes. It's hard enough to do all that in an economy that is just flat, and this is anything but. Now the Obama Administration believes I should add on someone else's house? Which I will never get a benefit from.
That's a hard sell to me. Probably why I did not vote for President Obama. These are no surprises. But they are as bad a set of decisions as I expected them to be. This is not going to help the economy, though I expect it to temporarily help the approval ratings of Congress (which needs it badly).
I don't entirely blame President Obama though. This entire stimulus plan was the idea of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She has been fighting for this for months, increasing the amount each month as she went along. Pelosi has had the distinction of being the worst Speaker of the House, with a Congress of the lowest approval rating, that accomplished the least things, at a higher cost, than I believe any other Congress has done in 111 sessions. That's like betting on the horse that went lame and was pulled from the race. Obama made the bet so he gets that blame, but Pelosi made the horse lame and that's on her all the way.
Spending tens of billions on foreclosures sounds nice, but that's all it is. Polispeak. It is almost entirely probable that it will have no effect except a long-term negative. In fact it may speed up the downward trend President Obama was elected to fix. But it's going to happen, so be prepared.
Senator Hillary Clinton should not be Secretary of State
Perhaps one of the most telling things about why Senator Hillary Clinton should not be Secretary of State, or any other position in the Executive Office, has been raised by Senator Lugar during the confimation hearings the other day. It is simple and direct.
Senator Lugar clearly expressed the problem. Senator Clinton is directly tied to the Clinton Foundation. The Foundation is known for having recieved tens of millions of dollars in donations from overseas Governments and individuals that have lead to questionable (at the least) deals. It can be said that influence was bought via these donations. And as Secretary of State such a conflict of interest weakens and corrupts the Obama Administration.
So Senator lugar made a simple and easy request. He asked Senator Clinton to have the Clinton Foundation not receive foriegn donations while she holds the position in the Cabinet. This is not being focused on in the news media. Then again the media has been overwhelmingly propagandist for every Democrat that ran for President in 2008.
The response by Senator Clinton was terse and unconvincing. She says there is no conflict, which many disagree on. And past action/reactions from donations made to the Foundation show that. She wants to boast how this information about the Foundation was submitted to Congress, but does not mention that it took over 1 year for the Clintons to allow any information to be revealed, and it is still not fully disclosed even now. Which gives the impression that there is something to be hidden.
And her biggest point is that neither she nor Bill Clinton receive a salary from the Foundation. While true, they do have the power to direct where the funds in the Foundation is spent. Which to me is the same as a salary. Even better because it is a tax sheild (which they have used to protect at least $10 million).
She goes on to express why foreign governments gave donations, excluding every single Middle Eastern nation which gave more money than several of the nations she did mention combined. And if you listen carefully she states that she has worked to maintain the Foundation exactly as it is. Thus she is inflexible on a Foundation she claims to have no financial interest in, that can operate without the donations of foreign Governments, especially those nations questionable.
But the question not asked of her is why this Foundation cannot be treated like the brokerage accounts of many elected officials. A blind trust, or appointed trustees that would have sole control over the Foundation. Why can't Bill and Hillary Clinton forgo any control over the Foundation while she holds a position of influence in out Government??
Perhaps there is a portion of the "overhead" and "transparency" that is not quite as clear cut as she claims. And it seems that this is something that the Clintons will not give up. Even with the good and integrity of the nation on the line. Yet the Democrat-led Congress has no issue with this.
It's this simple. Would this same Congress have allowed a similarly qualified Republican with a similar foundation to be confirmed making the same statements? I believe not. Thus this is all polispeak to the detriment of the nation.
Secretary of State Clinton was a bad idea. It's a political backdoor deal that weakens the nation. She is a manipulative power hungry viper - in my opinion - who will damage the reputation and influence of the nation for no reason beyond her own ambitions.
That means that someone thought consumers would go back to spending money, or realistically increasing debt, because the new year started? Or they thought that the $120 a month less in taxes (for only 4 months) President Obama has proposed was going to spur new home purchases? At the same time that nearly every industry in the nation is slashing jobs?
It must be great in the world that some of these economists live in.
We have lost the most jobs in this nation since 1945. That's at the end of WWII, when we scaled back from the massive military supply we needed for the war. And I believe more people had more savings and less debt than today - even adjusting for inflation. And the Government had none of the debt we have today, or will soon have even more of if Congress and President Obama get to spend as they plan on doing.
How could anyone look at the 2nd half of 2008 and not expect consumer spending to continue downwards. To expect the stock market to continue in the bear market that it's been in for months now. I mean what did they expect, President Obama would smile and the world would just step up and buy stocks?
President Obama is a Liberal Democrat. He has said from day one that he will increase the deficit, spending more money than ever before. He has made it explicitly clear that he intends to get even more money from fewer sources, business and the higher incomes. What exactly counts as higher income keeps changing, and getting smaller. And business really loves to have to pay more money as sales shrink.
Let's not forget that with the mismanagement of the Fed and the Treasury (neither of which is President Obama's fault - given) we have wasted billions of bailout dollars, have a line of industries waiting for their turn at the free money ATM called Government, and inflation is the one word no one wants to talk about. And inflation will be the one thing that really kicks everyone's ass.
Of course President Obama will say that the sky is falling tomorrow if he doesn't get to give away all our money. That's polispeak, meaning that he wants to look good at trying something that can't work so he has some political clout before it all falls apart. Then he can point backwards in time and blame everything that fails in his plan on President Bush. Politics as usual.
Of course these "old politics", that President Obama promised to banish, are very good at keeping political clout but horrendous for low wage earners and small business. The stock market knows this. That's why its a bear market. And as we approach the inauguration, I expect even more selling. I mean why have an investment when the taxes on it will cost more than you expect to make in the next 2 or 5 years.
As a stockbroker I learned to look for capitulation in the market. That emotional point when people just give up. That's when smart money jumps in and buys. Except that the emotional selling all happened in September and October. Since the election smart money is selling. And that means things are really going to get worse.
Until there is a reason to buy stocks, the market will continue to slowly slide down. Never in just a straight line, but trend down it will. The Democrat-led Congress will authorize spending in new programs that will not help any one get a job or start a business. The President will come up with plans on how the Government can take care of everyone, while being in every pocket deeper than before. And $1.2 trillion dollars in debt will look like a target to strive for in coming years.
I've said it before and I will again, a Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid Congress with the most Liberal Democratic President in decades equates to double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, rock bottom consumer confidence, and business bankruptcies all not seen since the Carter Adminsitration - if we are lucky to have it that good.
Illegal immigration: the problem and a potential solution
From time to time I have discussed the question of immigration in America. To be direct, I do not like any illegal immigrant being in the nation, and absolutely believe that they deserve nothing from the Government if they are here. That being said, if you want to give up your home for immigrants to stay at and your income for them to live reading further will only anger you.
Again I will start with a clarification. They are not undocumented workers. That is polispeak for Illegal alien or more accurately illegal immigrant. The document they are missing is a green card - which would give them legal purpose to be in this nation. Thus every single illegal alien is a willful criminal first and foremost.
This is an issue that will definitely come to fore during the Obama Administration. With a Democrat-led Congress and the most liberal President in decades, I have no doubt that legislation will be attempted to give these criminals citizenship. I am completely against this idea.
Right now tens of millions if not more is being spent on illegal immigrants. Prosecuting illegal criminals, removing them from the work force, closing down sweatshops, medical aide, education and housing are but a few sources of the costs. While these individually are not major factors, combined they do help to affect the American economy. They add a burden that need not be there.
I have no problem with my taxes going to help those in need, when they are citizens. I have no problem helping people throughout the world. I endorse several humanitarian causes in Africa (Darfur among the top) and elsewhere. But those endorsements and donations are my choice. Illegal aliens are a burden I cannot choose to bear.
Think of it like this. I know of no one that would suggest that a crack dealing armed robber should receive federal housing, unless that housing were a jail. But if that same individual was illegal some believe that criminal deserves - and some may have - federal housing. That is not to say that all illegal aliens are hardened criminals, but the fact is some are. And one dollar for that is a dollar too much.
There are those that believe illegal immigrant children deserve higher education. This is not elementary school or high school. They state that college is a right of these people, specifically the right to receive federal aid and in-state tuition, the same as American citizens. Which first ignores the willful act of being an active criminal in this nation. Second it grants rights we do not give to those that legally enter this nation for a higher education. And third it adds a burden that is not compensated for as these young adults (18 - 22) and their parents do not pay taxes which the financial aid comes from.
In the same vein of thought is everything that illegal immigrants demand and ask for. They want to have rights of citizens, but are unwilling to accept the first responsibility of every citizen, following the law of the nation. That is a bit backwards in logic.
Even more people wish to give these criminals a right to become citizens. To my knowledge America does not give criminals - especially those that have or would likely commit felonies - citizenship from any country. Every adult illegal alien has actively chosen to commit a felony and they want to be rewarded?
I do understand the difficulty in removing every illegal immigrant from the nation. Given the size and wealth of our nation (even in times of recession and depression, like now) it is unrealistic to believe we will ever remove or prevent all illegals. But that is not an excuse to place a value and commoditize our citizenship. Which any plan of path to citizenship that involves a fine creates.
So what is the answer? Many will not like my answer. In fact to a degree I do not. Because it creates a de facto system of abuse. But the current system is basically no better in terms of abuse and/or discrimination.
But an idea is one that has worked in the Ancient past. Secondary class citizens. We create a legal class of citizenship that is not entitled to every right just as a full citizen would receive.
All illegals that accept this would be entitled to continue to live and work in the nation.
They do not have a right to vote.
They do not have a right to federally funded housing.
They do have a right to receive federally funded food and medical aide.
Their illegal children have the same right to receive an education as any other citizen, but they cannot receive in-state college status.
They can only receive half the federally funded financial aid of a citizen.
They are protected by all the laws of a citizen, and must receive the pay of a citizen.
They will pay 50% more in federal taxes which they must file for every year or have their status rescinded.
Every illegal alien age 18 - 26 must sign up for a draft if the nation ever deems the need to call on them.
And if they are convicted of any felony, ever, they will be deported immediately no matter if they have children that are citizens.
Those that would flaunt this choice, and try to avoid this, would be deported after losing all possessions and 1 year of hard labor (think chain gang fixing roads across the nation).
Why might an illegal immigrant family or individual accept this? Because their children born on U.S. soil retain the rights of a full citizen. Because they will not be deported (so long as they do not violate the felony statute). Because even under these conditions they will live a quality of life greater than that in their home nations.
This plan is not completely fleshed out, so don't just tell me their are loopholes. I know there are, but I am not a politician and this is not a law I am presenting to Congress. This is an idea for others to iron out more completely. But it is comprehensive. And it addresses all illegal aliens currently in the nation and those to come. It is a path to citizenship, albeit to the children of the illegals. It removes the commoditization of U.S. citizenship, and addresses the willful violation of our laws.
It's not nice, but life is not about nice. It's relatively fair, and far better than the lives they led in their homelands. And they always have the choice before them. They can leave or suffer the consequences of further violating our laws.
Last year I was looking at the gold markets and speculated that gold would surge along with several of the gold stocks. On December 6, 2007 I rebuffed the claims of Goldman Sachs when they stated to sell gold. At the time the spot price was $855.
In January of 2008 I pointed out a few gold stocks:
Streettrack Gold Trust
Barrick Gold Corp.
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.
Western Goldfields Inc
Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd
Alamos Gold Inc
Anatolia Minerals Development Ltd
European Goldfields Ltd
- each of which was soaring. At the same time I was pointing out my belief of what would happen to gold spot prices, oil, and the Dow Jones Index.
How close did I get? $1035. Close enough for me and many others. And then gold drifted down. The power outages in South Africa were resolved, oil prices peaked and then dropped. The world was consumed with the problems of the mortgage bailout and then the credit crisis. Major financial institutions failed and/or were on the brink of collapse as politicians (like Barney Frank), The Fed, and the Secretary of Treasury all scurried around like rats on a sinking ship.
Now we have entered 2009 with several important facts known. Interest rates are at all-time lows, the mortgage crisis has yet to be abated, oil is on the rise again - albeit from lower levels than seen in recent years. The American economy is leading the world into a depression, and at our helm is a new inexperienced highly liberal Democrat. None of these things are positives.
The American Government is about to spend even more money than all of 2008 combined, with a Democrat-led Congress that has no desire to reign in the Democrat President. Both his policies as stated and his indicated primary goals are wastes of money on a grand scale few countries could ever command as their GDP.
Thus we are seeing gold sit at $879, the Dow at 9034. That's just about 2000 points lower than my initial expectations for 2008, but above the lows of the year - barely. What will happen next?
In a move much like what was seen in 2008 we will see gold and gold stocks rise. I again call for gold spot prices to hit $1125, with gold stocks reaching new 52 week highs. This will likely be coupled with a reduction in oil production, increases in crude oil prices (to a high of around $105 a barrel again), an ethanol glut, higher energy costs, increase home losses, the failure of more financial institutions, the bankruptcy of at least 1 major auto company, and higher unemployment.
The new stimulus plan envisioned by President Obama, some $850 billion dollars (about 5x the Bush stimulus), will stabilize investor fears and consumer confidence for 1 quarter. Then the resulting fact that most of the money was spent on mortgages, credit cards, bills, or placed into bank accounts and mattresses will be seen. And the economy will drop again. The stock market will drop to about 7600 - as I stated in 2008. The bear will roar.
Gold and gold stocks will be one of a few places investors and those that fear financial institutions will run to. Crude oil will be another. Demand will outweigh supply, and emotion will propel prices ahead of that. For 9 months of the year the economy will be abysmal.
If I am as correct as I was in 2008, then my expectation for gold will be in excess of 90% correct. In terms of the Dow I am being overly generous, if my past predictions are accurate. And Crude oil will likely exceed and then under-perform my belief.
While many will feel my thoughts are overstated, as they did and were partially correct in 2008, I believe that the overall outlook is less stable than in 2008. Politics internationally are as bad with Israel and Palestine trading rockets and Iran moving forward on creating nuclear weapons. Fewer banks are making loans, and fewer people and businesses are qualified to get them. Democratic spending is looking to increase the national debt to levels unseen, without any real expectation of improvement. Government interference with private business is greater than ever before - with the Government consistently proving it has no clue on how to run anything.
It is quite early in the new year. Our new President has yet to be sworn in. Much in the world is in flux. So I hope to be wrong, I hope very wrong, in what I am predicting. But I believe that at the end of this new year I will be no less than 60% correct. How you act on that is up to you.
The ghost of Christmas past invades the credit crisis
Oh the horror. Now you have your choice of what the horror is. The $188 billion spent on the mortgage/bank bailout so far, the latest news from AP stating that in 2007 banks paid $1.6 billion on salaries and compensation, or the fact that Barney Frank dares to question anyones work ethic.
Frank is head if the Banking Committee in Congress and failed to do his job all year long. He thought the sale of Bear Sterns would end the crisis. Then he thought that Freddie and Fannie Mae were fine. Then he thought AIG would end the mess. And so on. He either needs new batteries in his calculator, or we need a new head of the Banking Committee - you can guess which I suggest.
But back to the point at hand.
I don't care that last year the banking industry spent way too much money. That has nothing to do with the current problem. That's the thing these days in politics. You need ratings or you want to get positive results, polispeak on the past and you look like a genius. Too bad that hides the fact you don't know your ass from your elbow right now.
Have many executives gotten paid too much? Hell yes. I have no problem with the thought that an executive that comes to a company and improves it such that the jobs are secure and profits are up, getting a bonus, that is the concept after all. But being paid exceptional amounts for piss poor work and endangering the company makes no sense. I mean it's not like an executive can't survive on the tens of millions they get paid as salary in the top companies.
But this is an issue going forward. It really doesn't matter if the CEO gets a driver, or financial planning advice as a perk. That isn't enough money to matter. In total that is maybe 3 employees of the company saved, and nothing else. It wouldn't even show up on the companies liabilites sheet.
Though seeing where the company valued it's mortgages, and when, makes a big difference. Looking at what debt instruments the company is still using makes a difference. Looking to see if the bank is loading every bad debt and problem asset into the bailout money is worth knowing. The other stuff is a trifle meant only to gain readers and sell newspapers.
Executive pay is in all the headlines these days, driving the mantra of Democrats that regulation is good. But all this bluster hides a couple of simple things. You can't legislate good or bad business decisions. Oversight means nothing if the person in Congress is not smart enough to understand what they are reviewing. And the most important, the more the Government is involved with private business the more screwed up and like the Post Office it becomes.
So when you think of the horros of 2008, perhaps that last thought is the only one that really matter.
Caroline Kennedy - a name with no place in politics
I've waited for a while now, just waiting for something from Caroline Kennedy to justify or remove her from consideration in replacing Senator Hillary Clinton. Mind you that I am not sorry to see Senator Clinton gone from office, as I am tired of her excuses on the broken promises that mark her time in New York. Though I am greatly saddened to see her working anywhere near the Executive Branch. But long-term readers know that, and this is about Kennedy.
Up til now there can be no question that Caroline Kennedy has zero qualifications for the Senate. She is a lawyer, like much of Congress. She is a Democrat, which at the moment gives her a boost. And she is the daughter of a revered dead President. Because if we are honest, that is the only reason any of us know her name.
Since she has never been politically active, which is a problem for me with anyone that would be Senator, we need to look at other aspects of this woman. She is part of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which I personally like but is not enough. She has worked for 2 years, 2002-4, and rose $65 million in private funds for schools in New York which is great. The job was only 3 days a week though and one must wonder how much money she could have raised if she worked a full 5 days, the schools in NY could have used the extra effort.
Still none of this is a qualification. Yes she helps people, and is a committed Democrat. But what can she do? And what does she plan to do to help the state in this very critical time? The New York Times and other news media had the same question and asked her just that on several issues. The answers reveal quite a bit.
Mrs. Schlossberg is shrewd, having given a total of $7300 to Clinton before she switched to Obama in September of that year and gave him $2300. At the same time she has not voted in numerous Primaries since 1988. So we can understand she is willing to let her money vote for her.
In addition we now know that she supports same-sex marriage, which 68% of the nation opposes - even in California and New York. Something that neither Clinton nor Obama support. Which makes me believe she is even more liberal than the former most liberal member of Congress - President Obama.
It also seems that she opposes any restriction on abortion. This is another far-left Democrat policy stance. It includes, and Kennedy defered to not answer about, partial birth abortions. Even those in favor of abortion have issues with that. But seemingly not Kennedy, though she prefers to avoid having to make polispeak about such a position.
And in a hat tip to the Pelosi led Congress, she supports the mandating of public vote at unions. Thus taking away the normal right of secret ballots, and forcing workers to deal with peer pressure and criticism for co-workers and management. How kind.
And of course she is in favor of the auto bailout. Something that all Democrats are pushing to advance, though none have answered a simple question. When the auto industry came back to Congress after using up $25 billion in bailout money in one month, they stated that they HAD to have $50 billion or they would fail. Congress is trying to provide $15-35 billion instead, with a "car czar" (otherwise known as more government interference resulting in another Barney Frank). Since this is not $50 billion, and thus means the auto industry will fail and/or come back for more money, why does she support the lesser amount? No Democrat has a good answer for that, though they have been very good at avoiding the question.
And we know that Kennedy is anti-gun, which places her at odds with most of the state - except New York City. And it is the City that NY politicians proffer to.
Speaking of which, surprisingly she backs her uncles plan to make illegal immigrants (otherwise known as undocumented workers - the missing document is a greencard and reason to be in the U.S.) citizens. Pay a fine and swear in. We might as well make citizenship available on eBay.
But in a question that hits the pockets of the people in the state Kennedy is mum about capping property taxes. Or on taxing the higher income brackets more (which still would not make up the shortfall that the new spending creates).
So all in all what can we surmise? Kennedy is a liberal the likes of which we have not had in this state as far back as I can remember. She is more liberal than Clinton, and Obama. And if you wonder why might that be a bad thing recall this. Senator Clinton PROMISED to bring 200,000 jobs to New York State if upstate New York voted her in. We have lost over 30,000 jobs as of 2007, long before the current crisis hit.
Do you believe a more liberal, pro-illegal immigrant, anti-second ammendment, spend and tax, lawyer with no experience in politics would be a good Senator? Without the last name, the answer can only be no. But what Gov. Patterson decides will happen. Sadly.
Mike Huckabee v. Jon Stewart - fiscal policy that's not funny
So I saw an interesting thing the other day on the Jon Stewart . It was a discussion between Stewart and Mike Huckabee. As you might imagine it was confrontational, but not to the degree of say Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Barney Frank.
The crux of the first part of the conversation was on their differences on fiscal conservatism versus liberal policies. Stewart advocates larger Government. By that he means larger influence of Government in the daily affairs of the citizenry. He wants a Government that mandates what cars are made, what profits are allowed and who is lent to. He wants a Government that spends more to provide a mandated healthcare and smaller military.
Huckabee is the opposite of all these things.
But Stewart makes good points in his argument, tinged with sarcasm and humor. Which is great for a parody, but fails to deal with the issues at hand on a more serious level.
Take what Huckabee points out. This Democrat-led Congress failed on every level, and in each Party, to deal with the mortgage crisis which led to the credit crunch. In fact several members of this Congress either lied or have no idea what the hell is going on when they stated the economy was fine. That major financial institutions were secure - which was said at several points in the year - just prior to several major meltdowns. How can we expect a Congress that inept to resolve issues in the stock market, or anywhere for that matter.
And Stewart makes a common misconception as well. He makes the assumption that regulation prevents bad policy. The 2 are not the same.
It was bad policy decisions that made the U.S. auto industry focus on SUV's when hybrid and smaller cars were more logical decisions. Regulation would not change that. And it was the bad regulations, mandating unqualified lenders get home loans, that caused the mortgage crisis in the first place. And bad regulation practices let lead-coated toys into the nation. And it was lack of action by these same oversight groups that failed to prevent or even anticipate the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as examples.
And one thing I want to directly point out that Jon Stewart said.
"Conservatives would say 'I want a big military'. Well that's Government... The fact that you would trust the Government with tanks and nuclear weapons but not to pass out cheese to poor people. You know, you've got to figure, so...I don't get it!"
Get this. In New Orleans the Government with some 15 agencies failed to provide water to people in the Dome for 3 days during Hurricane Katrina. But there has never been a nuclear weapon that has gone off accidentally or been lost. Nor has a tank been lost. The Government has proven in multiple actions that it is quite good at protecting this nation, when allowed to do so, and engaging in war or military actions.
But in terms of helping the citizenry it is far less efficient. Part of the reason why is the fact that the Government is so big concerning domestic issues that its right hand does not know where is or what is being done by the left. Big Government hurts the people, smaller Government does so less.
Liberals seem to want a Government that is involved with all aspects of daily life. They want Government to make decisions for them, or to assist in that decision process. Yet we see that the more Government there is, the less that is done or done efficiently. So why do Liberals expect that a Government-run healthcare system will be more efficient or helpful than FEMA or the VA or the Post Office, as an example.
auto bailout lesson - a czar in every industry and a check from Congress
So you want shock and awe? How about the fact that Congress is about to give the major automakers $15 billion more in bailout money. Yeah, what I thought. A yawn.
It's not a surprise to anyone that the auto industry is getting the bailout money. A loan from us to them as Congress likes to put it. And it will be paid back as soon as February. Or so Congress wants to polispeak the spin.
But the real facts are simple. Congress is pulling out any stops on spending money. They are giving money away to basically every big business that walks up to them. I expect that airlines should be next.
So far we have given more than a trillion dollars in this year alone. Forget about the combination of nations that it would take to equal the amount that has been spent. The thing is that none of this is helpful, though Congress keeps saying they think this will do it.
Our money has been poured hand over fist to the financial industry, and we got fewer loans being made, more ownership and intervention from the Government, and a promise that in some far off day we will get paid back. Of course you have not heard a single word on how we will get paid anything back, or what will that money be used for since it won't be in our pockets. But the taxes to pay for it until we do one-day get repaid will come out of our pockets.
And we gave $25 billion to the automakers about a month ago. So the current $15 billion might make it to the end of the month. Then they will ask for more, blaming Congress for being stingy and not helping enough for them to get to do what they need to. But don't fear Congress will appoint a Governmental agent to watch over the auto industry.
I expect that will be someone like Treasury Secretary Paulson, or Fed chairman Bernanke, or maybe like Congressman Barney Frank. And you know all of them were right on the job, wide awake, making sure things couldn't get any worse. Oh damn, we are seriously in the crapper aren't we?
The worst part of this is the fact that a Government agent overseeing private industry, with the ability to mandate changes in their business practices that is solely motivated by politics, is a far cry from capitalism. It is yet another desperate attempt to avoid the pain needed to innovate and become more efficient. Which means it is ultimately a failure of massive proportions that will be passed down the line a bit for someone else to deal with. Hopefully not the politicians in office currently.
For all the bluster, and there were loads of it especially from the financial oversight genius Barney Frank, the fact is this is the worst case scenario and we all knew it was going to happen. From the moment that Congress sat to listen to the auto makers we knew it. The only questions were how much and when. Now we know.
The fact that our politicians lack courage is bad. The fact that they are protecting their political supporters (the UAW as one example) above helping the nation is worse. But the fact that our elected officials have no clue what is going on is the most troubling of all.
So there goes another $15 billion. Compared to the $500 billion+ stimulus plan for 2009, or what has already been spent in 2008 it's not a big deal. Until the snowball of what Congress is doing moves just a bit closer, faster, larger. And then they won't be able to print the money fast enough.
I had some extra time today so I decided to take a look at what has happened this year. I wanted to go back and take a look at the various buyouts and bailouts that the Government has backed, and the promises made so far. And the numbers are horrendous.
The main focus so far is on the $1.5 trillion that has been authorized and/or spent thus far. $700 billion for the bailout of mortgages and the credit crunch, and now another $800 billion for mortgages and consumer loans. But those numbers are not the full amount of cost this year.
The year started with the bailout of Bear Stearns. It cost $29 billion to allow JPMorgan to buy that failed brokerage house. And we were promised that would fix everything. Then there was the $150 billion stimulus package that was promised to fix the sagging economy, which failed. Then came Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Representative Barney Frank publicly pronounced as healthy and secure, that cost $120 billion each (not including the $600 billion that is now part of the $800 billion bailout package). And the numbers are still not done.
AIG cost $120 billion by itself. That though was said to be included in the $700 billion authorized by Congress. That means of the 1/2 of the funds given to Treasury Secretary Paulson only $230 billion was available for everything else needed. Not counting the tens of billions given to banks, or the money spent to buy bad loans at unknown valuations.
Of course there was also Citigroup. This cost $20 billion plus $306 billion for guarantees of their bad loans, for a total of $326 billion. Now that is a problem because if the funds came out of the same pool as AIG, we are in a bigger negative than the spending is already creating. A double negative of sorts. And yes I know that guarantees are not the same as cash, but a guarantee must be backed by something besides words. Which means cash from somewhere.
But let us not forget the $25 billion given to the auto industry. And that has nothing to do with the additional $25 billion that is being asked for now, just roughly 5 weeks later. Which is separate money. And that precedent is going to lead to the requests of the airline, credit card, home building/construction and other industries. If the Government is handing out money to businesses, it would be folly not to get in the line.
So the total is $1.94 trillion dollars. Which does not include Citigroup or the additional amounts from the auto industry. Including that figure we get $2.27 trillion in money that never existed and must be repaid. To be exact that means that every American, each of the 300 million citizens, owes $7,567 to the Government.
It is expected that some of these loans and stock purchases will eventually break-even or turn a profit. The expectation is that will happen in 10 - 15 years. Though it is absolutely unclear how the public will be repaid, though the Government will collect all the money. Thus it is possible that the Government will receive money from the public and hold repayments from loans - effectively being paid twice. And it is very likely that any repayment will be funneled into Government agencies instead of the public, as was attempted by Democrats with the first version of the mortgage bailout bill.
But even if 40% of the loans were to make a 50% profit, the bulk of the debt incurred will still be greater. And that does not cover the direct cash infusions made without a loan or repayment provision - which is about 70% of all the funds so far as I can gather.
And the fun does not end there. Remember that President-elect Obama, pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has promised a now $700 billion second stimulus plan. The exact details of this plan are unclear, but some amount will be given to the public and some will be used to fund public works. Or so the loose plans state so far. That would mean that in 1 year the cost is $2.97 trillion.
And President-elect Obama still is pushing to add over $800 billion in new spending for new and/or expanded programs. That makes it $3.77 trillion. Or in terms of cost to you and I - $12,567. That's for every man, woman, and child alive right now - working or not.
Put in different terms, this money could have completely funded the entire NASA budget (roughly $419 billion unadjusted for inflation) since inception nearly 10 times over. We could have funded 1,000 moon landings ($36 billion unadjusted) including all the research and development.
Let me make it more personal. That amount is more than the entire net worth of Oprah Winfrey, Bob Johnson, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Bill Gates, George Soros, and Warren Buffett combined and multiplied by 10. It's enough money that every single American citizen, of any age, could go to the average college for 2 years. It's enough money to give every American alive today a 10% down-payment on a $120,000 house.
And there is no guarantee, in fact there is reason to highly doubt, that it will get better.
I just love the way that Congress is trying to look tough these days. An auto industry bailout? Hold on, we need details. Right.
Come on, this is the same group of people that handed $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Paulson without a plan. It was the same group of people that fell asleep when Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac were in trouble (someone wake up Barney Frank). And it was these very same people that gave away $25 billion to the auto industry about a month ago.
Does anyone seriously believe that they won’t bailout the auto industry, and receive neither repayment terms, nor assurances of industry improvement. They couldn’t even create a bailout for the financial industry that could prevent Paulson from moving the money around however he chooses, and that was a concern of House Republicans from the start. With even more Democrats in Congress, and the continued misleadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is a better outcome likely?
I’m reminded of a quote from Ben Franklin I believe.
“Doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”
I apologize to Franklin is I got the quote wrong. But the point stands. And it will stay in place until the mid-term elections in 2010. Won’t the damage be interesting to see then.
The fact is that the U.S. automakers need to fail. Let several go bankrupt. It won’t be the end of the world. It will actually be the best thing that could happen.
When large companies fail a couple of things always happens. Several smart businessmen rummage through the wreckage and find bits that they can create new companies with. Those new companies will in part of the gap the old company had, but mismanaged. That spurs growth as a new corporation grows in that niche.
Also the old behemoth of a company slims down. Much of the old baggage is discarded, and the company refocuses on whatever they do best. Renewed energy flows and the company normally creates profits the old company could never do.
This is all good for the economy, though the jolt during the process is unpleasant. But it creates a stronger economy than the one existing before it. And more people are employed after these events than before.
The worst aspect of the auto bailout is the fact that it will be followed by an airlines bailout, and a retail bailout, and probably another financial markets bailout. The Government has made a precedent of stepping into the markets and private industry, because they are afraid of the pain. And in each case it has proven one thing. The Government has no idea what it is doing.
The more socialized things become the more the Government is compelled to step in. The more money is thrown around to avoid feeling bad, the worse everyone feels. Because the Government is incapable of fixing anything, nor can they regulate bad decisions out of business. And they shouldn’t. Bad decisions are normal business and are resolved in the marketplace over time.
Only in America is the concept of perfect markets feasible. It’s stupid and regrettable. But it also seems inevitable. Were that not so, the auto industry execs would never have taken separate corporate jets to fly to D.C. and speak with Congress. They did it because they know they will get the money.
I stated that the Dow Jones will hit 7600 in 2009. But if Congress throw more money at the problems in the markets, and involves more politicians that sleep when they should be watchful (Frank and Chris Dodd) I could be very wrong to the upside.
As the 4th quarter moves steadily towards the holidays and businesses across the nation collectively hold their breath, I decided to look forward to 2009. What are some of the things that I see coming economically in the new year?
Dow Jones Index at 7600. Yep that’s a bleak statement. It’s not what anyone is asking for in their wishlist to Santa this year (except a few masochistic short-sellers). This is definitely a lump of coal.
But I will say something that you really aren’t expecting. That’s the upside in my view.
The 4th quarter of 2008 is going to be bad. Very Bad. We all know it. We knew it when before Halloween businesses were already getting their Christmas displays in order. They needed sales that bad. And still do.
Unemployment is up, financial companies are laying off people in the thousands, and the prospect of inflation looms larger by the day. Add to that recipe a Democratic President (a historically bad indicator for the economy) who’s policies – based on his voting records – are extremely left leaning, a Democrat-led Congress, the worst Speaker of the House ever, and you get a big mess.
But there is the fact that over $1.2 trillion has been spent this year to bailout the mortgage and credit crisis. The money has been the worst spent money I have seen since Waterworld was made. And the fact that no one has control over how or where this money is being spent, just means that it is being spent poorly and ineffectively.
So all that is left to look forward to is the thought that the auto makers are now first in line to ask for their own bailout, to be followed by retailers, pharmaceuticals, airlines and probably every other industry in America. And Congress will likely pony up the money for each of them.
But let us not forget that Congress has included the people in their spend at will program. So far a 2nd stimulus plan is being conceived, growing from an initial hidden $50 billion, to $150 to $300, and now is being speculated at $500 billion dollars. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t just screw up, she does it with swings to the bleachers.
Any one of these things would not hurt the stock market that much. And the by-product of severely deflated oil prices would be a boon to business in the mid-term. But it’s all happening at once. Saving on energy doesn’t matter much when you have no sales revenue.
The weakness in the stock market can bee seen in that just before the presidential election, the big institutions watched the polls and sold to get out of the way before President Obama was voted in. His promises to raise taxes, and his historic voting record were not overlooked. The only pause in selling came to allow smaller investors a chance to buy into the market and raise prices for the next wave of selling. My guess is that most of the money is sitting in cash right now, waiting for an opportunity in anything but stocks. At least in the U.S.
This means that New York City will get crushed this year. Bonuses from financials are getting scrutinized and thus being cut across the board. That means less money in the tri-state area, and thus a bad Northeast holiday season. That means the east coast will suffer and the nation as a rippling effect.
I’m sure some believe the polispeak that Wall Street and Main Street are separate – a concept only politicians could come up with. But this is how I see it all playing out.
Holiday sales will be off from last years rate, further pressuring the Dow Jones Index. Unemployment will increase going into the New Year, and inflation will start to rise.
President Obama will get inaugurated and the Dow will drop 500 points. This is not a racial reaction, but a political one. Within a week or so of that date a $300 billion 2nd stimulus plan will be passes raising the market temporarily. Several forward indicators will suggest a negative 4th quarter and 1st quarter 2009. Home sales will drop again – due to fewer loan approvals. Home prices should drop in proportion, with foreclosures increasing.
Oil prices should stabilize at around $65 - $70 per barrel to start the year as speculation and alternative investments will drive the price higher. Gold and precious metals should all increase dramatically in a similar manner to that of 2008. Growth in China will likely stall as well, especially since the boost from the Olympics will have faded.
President Obama will be forced to state that he will not raise corporate taxes, and a smaller increase in capital gains will be proposed. Taxes will increase roughly 3% on all income groups.
HD television service will cause a disruption across the nation and millions realize they need different television set, and will spike retail sales – but this is a false increase in the economy. It will be read as a positive indicator by politicians though.
Several mid-sized financials will fail, blame will go to short-sellers and corporate greed. Increased regulations will be passed that will not address the potential for bad business decisions, and the markets will sell again in fear of a more socialized America. The first rounds of nationalized healthcare will be discussed. The national debt will run higher, the deficit even more so as new spending will have no check from Congress.
Confidence in the U.S. Treasuries will weaken, and several nations will begin to sell in hopes of buying national debt of England and a few isolated nations. There will not be a run on America as this would instantly plunge the world into a depression. But the fear will accelerate pressure on the markets. The Fed will lower interest rates again to counter these fears, and to again increase loan availability. Inflation will start to gain attention in the media.
Unemployment will hit a 20 year high, again raising fears of a depression. And Iran and Russia will take aggressive stances in the world stage. Oil will run on this fear, as will gold. But direct crisis will be averted for the time being.
I expect all of this to happen in the first quarter of 2009. It is my expectation that to some degree every item I mentioned will occur. The importance and effect of each of these items will depend on timing and reaction as they all play off of each other. But the net result will be a 7600 Dow Jones Index, or lower.
I expect that this will be the bottom of the market. Smaller investors will flee the markets, and discussion of Federal intervention to save 401K’s will begin. This will also be seen as socialistic, but the need will outweigh these fears. The market will likely hover in this bottom range for the 2nd Quarter.
I’m not sure what might happen next.
I hope that I am wrong an most of these expectations. I would love to see the market gain confidence and rally in the face of these events. I hope that President Obama can rise to the occasion and lift the economic and personal spirits. But that is yet to be seen.
If I am as correct as I was in 2008, then 60 – 70% of what I have said will occur, though not exactly in my timeframe. Take that as you will.
Ok, now that the Obama election win inspired drunkenness has passed the question for many is what is he going to do. Fantastic speeches, and pointing fingers at the past are wonderful ways to get elected, but mean nothing when you need to lead. What can we discern now?
Well we know that Obama is leaning heavily on his old Chicago political contacts. And so far they have been very non-partisan Democrats. I am speaking of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. So that means that bi-partisan policies are likely going out the window right after President Bush exits the White house door.
This bodes well for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democrat-led Congress. They will have a field day passing all the laws they hoped for. Whether that will be good for the Average American is highly questionable.
Speaker Pelosi is relatively giddy right now, because he 2nd stimulus plan is well on the way of being passed. After her failure to slip the plan into the $700 billion dollar bailout (then only a mere $50 billion plan) without notice – and the failure to fund ACORN and other pro-Democrat organizations with any proceeds from the bailout (instead of paying back Americans) – Pelosi didn’t give up. Her next step was to approach the Bush Administration with a $150 billion stimulus package, right after the auto industry received $25 billion for their woes. When that also failed (something Pelosi has been familiar with) she got quite and waited for after the election. And just as was expected President Obama has promised that a 2nd Stimulus Plan, for at least $300 billion will be passed.
The problem here is that it won’t work and will either increase taxes, the national debt, or both (most likely). Why won’t it work? The same reason the first was a failure. The economy sucks.
The stimulus plans are in essence the equivalent of adding more water to a leaky bathtub. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just gives you more water on the floor. The first time most took the money and paid down on their gas and oil costs. A few were able to lower their credit card debt slightly, and a small portion actually went and bought something.
That was all before several massive banks and brokerages failed, Fannie and Freddie died (to the apparent amazement of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank), several industries started to lay-off jobs or close, and the auto industry walked up to the free money line. And just as many are in danger of losing their homes, if not more.
What will a second Stimulus plan do? Well since gas and oil are cheaper, pay down mortgages, go into the bank savings incase you lose your job, buy extra food in case you lose your job, pay down on the credit card debt in case you lose your job – notice a pattern? Buying Christmas or Easter (depending on when the checks go out) gifts just doesn’t rate very high compared to losing your job, and thus will not promote the economy.
Another thing we can expect that has been stated is higher taxes. Yes the start of that plan is the $250,000 bracket. But with over $1.2 trillion spent this year, and other $837 billion proposed in new program spending, and $300 billion at least of a stimulus plan, higher taxes is not an exclusive tax the rich option. And we know President Obama favors removing the President Bush tax cuts, so that’s 3% more tax for everyone above $31,850. Expect quite a bit more very soon. My guess, a net 7% tax increase across the board.
To go with the higher taxes, expect higher unemployment and inflation. Someone has to pay for the higher cost of business, and corporations will always be the last to accept that bill. So the higher costs of everyday goods and fear of losing a job really kills the stimulus plan – which was a dumb idea in the first place.
To further ensure that the economy rattles at the bottom of the barrel capital gains taxes are going to go higher. This expectation is already hitting the stock market. As I was saying to a friend and former stockbroker
“The smart money is getting out. They started once it was likely that Obama would win the election. They cleared most of their positions before the election, waited for mom and pop to buy into the market before the election to raise prices, and the second President Obama won they started to get all the way out. My bet is that we lose 500 points on or in the week of the inauguration.”
I mean why wouldn’t you hold cash right now. Bond rates are useless, and capital gains taxes means you need a 35% profit just to break-even, which in a good market is tough to nail down.
You can also expect to see even less revenue in the media arena. Because of the Fairness Act, which requires that any talk show or political program must be followed with equal time of the same format for the opposing side. Liberals may love to say that the election was a mandate, but since liberal radio and programs lose money faster than Nancy Pelosi can increase stimulus plan budgeting it seems to be nothing but bluster. Still Air America Radio has a final chance to hit the airwaves again (they went bankrupt in 2 years because no one was listening). Until the loss gets so excessive that radio stations get rid of both liberals and conservatives.
What a great plan. If you can’t get anyone to listen to what you have to say, shut down your opponents from speaking too. Even if people are listening to what they say. Because silence is more fair than debate and criticism. It also helps to cut down on people noticing that your policies do more harm than good.
So far if the prospect of rising inflation, fewer jobs, higher debt, lower stock market, and the continued prospect of losing your home haven’t got you excited - while losing the distraction and/or conversation of talk radio – you can smile at the thought of higher wages. A minimum wage hike is very likely to come early in an Obama Presidency.
The hike must happen early in my opinion because the economy will worsen as the year progresses, and all the goodwill President Obama has will evaporate as fast as stimulus checks hitting the consumer market. But higher employee costs will mean more money the corporations have to pass off to the consumer, and more people that will need to be fired to maintain current (or even slightly reduced) profit levels.
Most of all this are items I expected and discussed prior to the election. And just as I predicted President Obama is following every step of what I mentioned. And the outcome is becoming more of what is obviously a bad plan. But there is something that most did not expect.
There will be no healthcare reform. Not in the first 100 days, not in year 2. The nation can’t afford it. The Government is too inefficient to run it. And because Biden believes that the nation will be under duress within the first 6 months of the Obama Administration, we will be too preoccupied (so much for a President doing more than one thing at a time). That campaign promise is out the window. As is stopping jobs from going overseas. In fact more companies will choose to go to cheaper markets rather than pay the rising cost of staying in America.
So in the first 100 days taxes will go up, as will inflation. The economy will get worse, and the stock market will drop to about 7600 – a true rout. National debt will increase, several more banks will fail. The auto industry will get a bailout of their own (around $100 billion at a guess), and so will AIG (again). Domestic drilling won’t happen, because that would make energy cost cheaper – which President Obama has directly stated he does not want. And we likely will have an international crisis that will bring us close to war, and cause Europe to go bi-polar again and dislike President Obama - though not as much as President Bush.
That’s my prediction of the first 100 days. I hope that I am wrong. I really want President Obama to hit the history books as a great President. I’m selfish and Black. I want to see his historical image live up to his speeches. But his policies as they stand means it won’t happen.
A real long prediction, President Obama loses in 2012 to a Republican. His legacy will be worse than President Carter. Expect inflation at about 15% and unemployment to match. And as I said Average taxes will be at least 7% higher across the board. Hope you’ve been saving money.
President Obama has won the 2008 election. I am as elated by that news as any African American or minority in America right now. But at the same time I am looking at what the nation said last night.
At 6pm initial exit poll results started to flow and there were several important facts that were provided by the polls, granted that the information was slanted as all exit polls have been shown to be.
While 93% stated that the economy was negative right now, only 47% thought the economy would improve in 2009 and 40% supported the $700 billion bailout package that is still working it’s way into the economy. This bailout may be part of the reason that 73% disapproved of the job the Democrat-led Congress has done. And it may also be part of the reason that 70% predict that taxes will be higher under President Obama.
And that’s the important thing to note. The economy was the single most important issue among those polled. 62% felt the economy was priority #1. It was that thought and the thought that Senator McCain would continue the policies of President Bush (50%) resonated with the masses along with the feeling that President Obama was in touch with them (57%).
Honestly these are dumb reasons.
Several key Democrats presided over the downfall of the mortgage crisis, thus directly requiring a bailout, which had it’s creation in the Democratic policies of President Clinton and Democrats pushing loans to people that did not qualify to receive them. Somehow this escaped the public notice. As did the thought that there is nothing to stop a Democratic President with a liberal agenda and voting record, backed by a Democratic Congress, from creating more bad policies that even more Democrats may ignore in favor of Party unity in a time of an economic downturn.
$1.2 trillion dollars may well look cheap before the next 4 years are up. Especially since President Obama has promised to expand the Government by $837 billion and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is waiting for the inauguration to present a $300 billion stimulus plan (at least, it may be higher by then based on her comments). That means 2009 may well start with a Congress approved budget, passed without consideration in full, with a stimulus plan that doesn’t work in an economic downturn. That’s another $1.1 trillion and that does not include anything necessary yet. And all of it must be paid by the American public at some point soon.
Still 51% felt that Obama’s policies were just right (obviously they didn’t have a calculator handy), though the polls also showed that 60% felt that Senator John McCain and not President Obama has the experience to traverse things properly.
And for those like Harry Reid that want to say that President Obama was elected as a statement of the people, the polls (which skew Democratic) stated that only 30% of voters picked President Obama because he shared their views. That’s piss poor low. What is more accurate and clear is that voters made a statement about President Bush – whose disapproval was just 2 points better than Congress at 73%. Sadly he wasn’t the one that was up for election so the point is moot.
It was the economy, and the promise of President Obama to provide money to low income Americans even if they don’t file taxes that made the election – which was stated in the poll by the 51% that thought the Government should do more to solve problems. So the more that pundits and politicians alike explained why this plan to offer the equivalent of welfare at the cost of the economy, the more it guaranteed a win for President Obama. For the 81% that feared that their family finances would be hurt by the mortgage crisis/credit crunch, it was like manna.
Don’t get me wrong, millions were voting in this election (in excess of 105 million by the last count I saw). Not all of those that voted agreed with all of the above. But more than enough did to provide President Obama with the win. Also in that group are Americans that voted for Obama based on race – some 47% believing that President Obama would mean an improvement in race relations for the nation. That part I hope is true, both for selfish and national reasons.
But while the electoral vote was huge, and will be the focus of comments by Democrats in justifying their agenda and giddy news media, the popular vote was quite close. For most of the race up until the well after 11:39pm there was only a 3% difference in votes (which was the margin I had previously mentioned I thought would decide the election). This was no landslide victory.
The nation is still as center-right as it was yesterday. But it will be lead by a left of center Government in the Executive, Legislative, and potentially by the end of 4 years Judicial branches. That means higher inflation, higher taxes, Government run healthcare (equal in stature and performance to the way the VA is run), retreat from Iraq and likely Afghanistan, legal abortion at any stage (so effectively an alternative contraceptive), gay marriage, public votes for unions, higher electricity costs, and no nuclear power. Oh I forgot fewer coal plants, higher demand for electricity due to electric car mandates and less supply, more ethanol gluts, and limited if any domestic drilling.
Doubt me if you will but just keep track of these items as the next 4 years go by. In fact I expect the 111th Congress to vote on these 4 items in January or February
2nd stimulus plan Tax code change for people below $200,000 - $250,000 and corporations and investments End of secret ballots for unions Passing the Fairness Doctrine – effectively either limiting free speech that does not express liberal views or glutting media with liberal speech that would not make it without Government intervention
Some may find all the above appealing. But almost half the nation did not, and with reason. Reasons we all may well learn very quickly.
Not to mention the crisis that Vice President Biden promised to occur. And that President Obama would seemingly fail at, again as VP Biden promised.
But I could be wrong. The economy could rebound without help, or inflation and slowdown. The stock market might not sell off another 1000 points by the end of the inauguration in January. Americans might just go right out and spend all the credit they can find this holiday season and Wind energy may become effective in 6 months (much to the benefit of Nancy Pelosi’s stock account). I hope I am wrong.
Because I honestly want the First Black President to be the greatest President ever. I want him to be seen as a strong leader. A world leader that will defend America with force if pushed, with wisdom to improve – or at least stabilize – the economy. A President that lifts the nation such that teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates fall lower. A President that inspires small business start-ups and job creation. And if he can convince China to join us in cleaning the earth, and ensure quality healthcare I’d love it.
Throw in reparations and an apology for slavery and I’d be tickled pink.
But we all know that isn’t going to happen. But we will get change. And I will blog about the positives, negatives, promises kept and broken. And I’m more than willing to eat crow and say I was wrong – especially if the First Black President can sustain history in the manner I described above.
As talk of the economy and taxes dominate the political pundits, and the Presidential candidates stump speeches, I again wanted to take a look at the reality of the Obama tax plan. In searching for those more intelligent than myself to evaluate the tax plan I came across the Wall Street Journal. Considering the daily focus on money and economics I doubt anyone could call them an unqualified source.
And while this article may be a bit dated I find it accurate. In fact since it was written the only real change ahs been the fact that Obama has promised, and virtually guaranteed, that he will give away even more money. Suffice to say that in total the Obama tax plan is really a welfare system.
Giving people money that they have not earned and is not theirs is welfare. That is the core of his “share the wealth” redistribution of income he proposes as a tax plan. That is anything but the American way. It is far closer to a socialistic Government.
“Mr. Obama proposes a fully refundable Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which would have the government pay out $500 to each worker and $1,000 to couples -- reminiscent of George McGovern's 1972 election proposal for the government to send a $1,000 check to everyone.
His American Opportunity Tax Credit would provide a $4,000, fully refundable tax credit for college tuition expenses. His Mortgage Interest Tax Credit would provide a 10% credit -- refundable -- to offset mortgage interest payments for lower- and middle-income families. His Health Care Tax Credits, which the campaign says "will ensure that health insurance is available and affordable for all families," include "a new refundable 50 percent health tax credit on employee premiums paid by employers.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would be made refundable and expanded to allow "low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit on the first $6,000 of child care expenses.”
This may all sound great, except it forgets something important. All that money being given to low income people and families has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is feeling the crunch of credit and the slow down in the economy as well.
“The latest Congressional Budget Office data shows the bottom 40% of income earners already pays no income taxes. Indeed, they receive a net payment from the federal income tax system -- meaning from the taxpayers -- equal to 3.8% of all federal income taxes, because of the refundable tax credits under current law. The middle 20% of income earners, the true middle class, pays 4.4% of federal income taxes.”
So while those in the lowest income brackets make the most money, it’s all money that is undeserved. You might be saying, “I don’t care. That’s money coming to me and not out of my pocket.”
But that would be a lie. In fact that is the exact thought the Obama campaign and Democrats hope you think. Because money does not grow on trees, and deficit spending that the Government does so well must be paid off at some point.
The money comes from business, at least they hope. By increasing corporate taxes and that of those making over $250,000 the Government hopes to cover the costs of the ‘welfare’ and the bigger government Obama promises (costing $800 billion dollars on it’s own).
But those in the top income bracket have no reason to invest in or create small businesses. The capital gains tax means that investing is not worthwhile. Unless you can legally find a way to make 45% on investments in a down market (that would cover the 20% tax, 10% broker fee, and leave 15% which would be further hit by personal taxes – and for the record at the top of the internet bubble the average investment made 35% profit and this is far from that exuberant market).
And business will pass the cost onto consumers, while firing employees to make up the difference. Kind of like what Yahoo just did. And you can expect more of that from more companies if Obama is elected.
Welfare is not a bad thing in itself. Most of us need help at one point in our lives. But that is not the same as handing out someone else’s money simply because of envy that they worked hard and made more money. It’s not the same as the Government arbitrarily capping how much money you can make in your chosen field of work. It’s not the same as essentially working for the Government when you had struggled to be able to work for yourself.
The repercussions of the ‘welfare’ or effectively higher taxes, and higher unemployment that is the Obama plan are severe. And in a Democratic Congress that is more focused on placing blame on anyone else while spending money that does not exist those problems become more extreme.
Senator Obama is a good American, and his high hopes are laudable. But America cannot afford his socialist leaning views.
Nancy Pelosi wants 2nd try at stimulus plan failure
Just one month ago Nancy Pelosi was advocating a mortgage bailout bill that would give nearly $1 trillion to Treasury Secretary Paulson and use any potential profit or repayment for pro-Democratic groups including federally indicted ACORN instead of the public. Also in that initial bill was a quiet attempt to add $50 billion dollars as a stimulus plan for normally pro-Democratic segments of the nation.
Nancy Pelosi was shot down in her first attempt, but she did not give up. Though ACORN is now recognized as a bad choice for more federal funding, especially as a substitute fro repaying the public bailout of financials, Pelosi is still trying for her stimulus plan. And you have to give her credit, she has increased the amount she wants to spend to $150 billion now (or more if she can get it). And she is now getting support from Fed Chairman Bernanke and the White House it seems.
Long-time readers will be familiar with the fact that I thought the first stimulus plan was a waste of money. It was a complete failure in every objective it was hoped it would deal with. It did not stimulate anything, it did not bring stability to the housing markets, it did not prevent the failure of several banks and brokerages, and it did not alleviate the credit crunch.
Another stimulus plan will have the same effect. Nothing. Any funds being used to give to the public will be used to pay down bills and debt, again. Even moreso now with such uncertainty.
And we need to get this into perspective. Nancy Pelosi has presided over the worst Congress ever. It was her Congress that failed to see the crisis from the start. It was her Congress that as late as July denied any problems, in the words of Barney Frank. It was Paulson and Bernanke that have been playing catch-up. It is the current fiscal plans that are causing real inflation to grow, and business to slow – which is the only reason oil prices have dropped. And they want to make it worse by doubling down.
Pelosi is confident that she will get another stimulus plan, if Obama is elected. She plans to wait til then to really push for this useless plan.
That is just blatant polispeak. But what it also means is this. An Obama Administration will bring in $832 billion in new spending, we are spending $700 billion on the bailout, we have spent over $200 billion on prior bailouts, and we will be spending another $150 billion or more on another stimulus plan while businesses will be saddled with 10% higher taxes, and investments will be shutdown with another 15% in capital gains taxes.
Given these facts, I cannot see how anyone will not have their taxes increased. And I don’t mean the 3% increase that Obama and Democrats have voted for and tried to pass in March of 2008. If anyone thinks that business will not slowdown further, and jobs will be lost while inflation grows under these economic plans, they have never done well in basic math – in my opinion.
Nancy Pelosi is decidedly a partisan and underhanded politician. She promotes wind energy without disclosing her substantial stock investment in wind energy companies. She has refused and block discussion on domestic drilling. She has wasted the taxpayers money on trying to point blame on Republicans, admittedly where no laws have been broken. She has had a Congress that has accomplished the least ever, while maintaining a majority in both Houses. And now she wants to make things worse.
I hope people in California wake up and vote her out of office. But the fact is she will hold power long enough to cause damage that will last years. And considering that she has enabled a Congress to willfully damage the nation via inaction and inattentiveness, I can only have nightmares about the damage she will be able to inflict on the nation with a Democratic, left-wing, President as banks and healthcare is socialized.
Considering everything that is going on in America today I’m just not sure what is the most troubling thing happening.
Of course the major media is hyping the mortgage crisis bailout, which has now become dubbed a ‘rescue plan’, and politicians are making the most of this coverage to promote their political party’s Presidential candidate while blaming all the woes of creation on the other Party. But it’s the other things the major media isn’t talking about that has me equally as distraught.
There is the fact that the Bush Administration has quietly approved a $25 billion loan to the auto industry. There is the fact that Senator Obama is feared to be incapable of winning the election in just over a month, not because of his political views or plans for the nation but because he is Black. There is Barney Frank and Chris Dodd screaming that anyone and everyone else but their banking and finance committees are to blame for the current crisis, or for not seeing the impending problems as late as this July. And there is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi is special. In a kind of special needs kind of way (and I don’t want to insult those with such needs by associating Nancy Pelosi with them).
She is the most powerful woman in politics right now, if you can believe it. She is 2nd in line for the Presidency if anything happened to President Bush before the election. Yet she has run an extraordinarily expensive budget in her position as Speaker, with a Congreess that has achieved the least in at least recent memory. She presides over a Congress that has the lowest approval rating since ratings have been kept.
But that is not enough. She has tried to block any discussion of domestic drilling, like Pharoh forbidding the name Moses from being spoken. Which is fantastic for her since she makes money on that delay because she owns stock in alternative energy companies. She also helped to write a bailout plan that allowed the Treasury Secretary to wield sole control over virtually a trillion dollars. When that failed she helped write another plan that took any repayments and gave them to a Democratic pet project, ACORN, which is under federal investigation. And now we learn that paid her husband just under $100,000 from political donations – which she voted to ban in 2007.
So we have Democrats that won’t cross racial lines, asleep while watching the nations money, pushing to give people homes they can’t afford, spending money they don’t have without control, blocking the near-term solutions of America’s energy needs for personal profit, and violating laws they are supposedly trying to pass, while doing the least work in Congress possible. You have to admit it is an impressive cluster of failure all at once.
And Senator Obama has no intention of not spending another 800 billion dollars in new spending, nor failing to raise corporate taxes in a decidedly negative economy. But he will speak with Iran about not building nukes – pretty please. And he will tell Russia that they are being bad when they invade other nations, after he thinks about it for a while.
Honestly I don’t mind Obama’s inexperience that much. In combination with his other plans for the nation means that things will get worse though. But the supporting cast that would come with him, especially if Democrats were to win the Congress again, really spells “Danger Will Robinson, danger!” (Those older readers will get the reference).
But I wonder for those that don’t follow politics everyday, that aren’t up at 5am reading the latest political news, what bothers you most?
The bailout deal that was rejected on Monday by the House of Representatives was a bad deal. And the result was a Congress divided, a media blitz, polispeak galore, finger pointing, and a 777 point drop in the Dow Jones Index.
Most focus on the drop in the Dow Jones. The media love to play that up. I even heard the number increasing as the night went on. Some newscasters call the drop “a nearly 800 point drop”, or “nearly a 1000 point fall”. Talk about exploiting the facts to gain viewership.
The fact is that nothing that happens will stop the drop in the market. The second that short-sales are allowed back into the market, bigger drops will occur. All that stopping these trades has done is increase the power of the drop. Because while the numbers look big right now, the actual affect is not nearly as big. That’s because of the current value of the Dow Jones Index. But as the Dow drops, these big sell-offs become more meaningful and powerful. And they feed a bear market like honey.
But the bailout, now trying to be spun into a “loan” by pundits and politicians, is horrible. Because it fails to answer 2 simple questions. How much is being assumed in bad debt, and how do taxpayers get repaid?
The first problem goes like this. Under the deal laid out on Sunday, at least 3 separate payments would be given to Treasury Secretary Paulson to buy bad loans. The value of what he pays for the loan is unknown. Would he pay the original price of the loan, the current value, the real absolute value? No idea, nor was one required by the legislation. Thus he could buy all the bad debt at the top price, ensuring taxpayers could never break even or be repaid.
The second problem is that there has been nothing said on how taxpayers get the money back. The money is coming out of our pockets. We know that. To the tune of about $10,000 per person. And it will likely be collected from higher taxes for EVERYBODY. But how are we to be repaid. Will we get tax credits in the future? Or a check? Or guaranteed lower taxes (though how much lower and lower than what level is yet another question)? If you can’t say how we will get repaid how can we believe we ever will.
To deal with these 2 major issues the politicians that were trying to rush this version of the bailout proposed this bit of eyecandy. Executives would no longer get ‘golden parachutes’. Yea! It’s nice that the Government is in effect starting on the path to regulate how much money anyone should be paid. It’s very socialist of them. Still I can agree that paying someone that bankrupts or severely damages a company millions is folly. Though I see no problem paying them is they create a bigger stronger more profitable company than they took charge of. But the legislation is unclear if a great executive doing a great job is free of the same stipulations and restrictions.
And all of this says nothing to the power suddenly endowed to the offices of Secretary of the Treasury and Fed Chairman. They get control of more money than 1/3 the countries of the world make combined. And if you think that Congress can watch over those positions and keep them in check remember that it was the brilliant and attentive eyes of Banking Committee leader Barney Frank that said in July of 2008 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not fail, and that he saw no problems in the financial markets.
And another unseen problem of the bailout deal that was thrown out is its effect on the nation. This deal would have effectively kicked out the last leg holding New York as the financial center of the world. And it still might happen. And with that loss of status means tens of millions of dollars lost to the nation and New York State.
This is not a game with obvious consequences. Some things have to be thought about. And because some of those most responsible for this mess don’t want the blame, they are insisting on the most speed in passing the buck and a deal.
The bailout will cost over $1 trillion by the time it’s all said and done. The stock market will fall as the dust settles and every industry with debtors lines up to be next to be paid. And eventually things will improve. Such is the nature of markets and trade.
But if the main questions I have asked are not answered in future bailout proposals, because of the rewording of what the deal is called, or political favor to a Presidential candidate, or rushing to soften the ultimate downturn of the bear market, or just because no one was smart enough to ask, then the real cost will be far worse than just the money thrown away.
You have to be impressed by the Congressional Democrats. They have balls. Not brains, just balls. Because that is the only way they can make the claims they do about the bailout deal.
In listening to the Democrats, Barney Frank in particular you would think that the Republicans are staging a massive political coup. That the Republicans are the only reason why the bailout deal that was voted on today failed was their votes. That this is all about politics and the upcoming election.
But if you stop listening to the polispeak in Congress and look at the vote numbers and you see another picture.
The vote was 228 – 205 against the deal. That includes 94 Democrats, which could have easily made the difference and passed the deal no matter what the Republicans did. But they chose to go against their Party and Treasury Secretary Paulson, and President Bush.
Why? Because the deal was horrible. Because there is no confidence in the deal. Because the rush to pass the deal makes you wonder what is in it. Like the fact that a previous version included a stipulation that if this bailout actually got any money repaid that money would not go to taxpayers but would fund a Democratic initiative called ACORN (which has federal problems currently).
Or how about the fact that I have yet heard how the public, that will be buying these assets (bad mortgage loans) could or will get the money back. We will spend $10,000 each, out of our pockets, and if this ever makes break-even or profit there has been no discussion how we get that $10,000 back in our pockets directly. And under the current plans you never will. That is not a political problem, that is just a bad deal.
If this were as political as Democrats would like it to be, then this bad deal would have passed, Senator Obama would have the credit for it (or at least Senator McCain would have the blame) and they would use this to win the election. That didn’t happen.
If this were political, Republicans could have voted for this deal claimed it was because of Senator McCain’s influence and used that to win the election. It’s just that simple.
But Senator McCain, the Republicans, and 94 Democrats are not being political. They are doing their jobs. They are trying to structure a deal that works for taxpayers like you and me. They want to answer (I hope) the question of how the money comes back to you and me, if it ever makes money.
If we want to really be political about this, we can ask why Barney Frank and Chris Dodd could not see the impending problem as late as July of this year yet they are the heads of the Banking and Finance Committees in Congress. They were informed by supposedly brilliant minds on the exact status of the problem, and they crafted laws and regulations to control what happened. They also made enormous amounts of money from the very people they were (supposedly) watching.
Look, here is the reality. Senator Obama and McCain are Senators. One of them will be the next President. They are effectively the leaders of their respective Parties. They need to get into this fray (well at least Obama does as McCian is) and do their jobs. They need to forge a deal, stand together and say they endorse the deal. At that point it will have to pass. And to forge the deal they need to answer the question that I feel is most important, how I get my money back.
Everything that is short of this is polispeak. Every moment that Obama avoids this problem, every moment that they don’t answer the key question, every moment we have no deal endangers America and makes our near-term future that more bleak. And no matter how many Democrats blame Republicans, or how many deny their failure to do their jobs, the outcome remains the same.
The bailout and mortgage crisis: Where did it start, who screwed up, who tried to fix it, and when
I just can’t step away from the most pivotal issue in the election and the lives of Americans right now. The spin in the media is that Senator McCain is avoiding Senator Obama on a debate of foreign policy – something McCain has experience at for decades and Obama has a speech in Germany. And many are calling the deep desire of McCain to serve the nation, as was called for by Harry Reid yesterday, a political stunt. Though they ignore the school boy-esque scolding that Obama received when the President called him to the White House today.
But I am tired of hearing Democrats and some media pundits running around blaming every economic woe of the nation on Republicans. There is certainly more than enough blame for all the politicians in Congress, which is why it has the lowest approval rating ever. Republicans have screwed up and spent more than they should. But Democrats have been no better, in fact those that are critical to the finance of the nation have been particularly blind. Mr. Magoo could have foreseen more with their level of information and influence over the years.
But lest my words be seen as partisan, which to an extent I am sure they are as with any pundit or blogger, I present talking heads from across the spectrum of the cable news media and pundits, as well as politicians themselves. Listen to those that we have elected, and their votes and assurances. Then tell me this is only a Republican caused problem.
And please explain to me why we should believe that those that planted the seeds for this problem, and fostered it to the debacle we are required to deal with today, should be believed when they say they have a solution
History of mortgage crisis back to 2003
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributions – Sept 18 2008
Chris Dodd was watching closely but did nothing – August 2007
Treasury Secretary Paulson progress made – February 2008
Barney Frank – Improving regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac July 14 2008
So I also ask this, If Senator McCain did not go to Washington D.C., if the President did not call Senator Obama to the White House, are you sure there would be a resolution to the bailout crisis? Would that resolution be in the best interest of the nation?
Is a debate, that could be easily rescheduled, more important than the potential of 4 out of 5 Americans losing their homes and jobs?
And lastly, isn’t it a bit hypocritical that Democrats claim that the debate must happen because America wants this; yet they defended Senator Obama when he refused for 2 months every request that was made for Obama to join McCain in speaking directly with Americans at town hall meetings across the nation?
Which is right - keep campaigning or fixing the economy?
So the news has now been reported that Senator Obama does not plan to accept Senator McCain’s offer to go back to D.C. and work on the bailout and not the Presidential election.
Senator Obama believes that he can both work out the problems with the bailout and step before the nation for a debate on Friday. He believes that he can focus on both issues equally.
Senator McCain has already stated that he believes that the political debate can wait until the financial future of America is resolved.
I feel that Obama is placing politics above the nation, and his constituents that elected him to office. Both of these men are Senators, as is Joe Biden. They have a responsibility to the voters that put them in office up until they are elected by voters for a different office.
The polispeak will fly today. Some will laud one or the other Presidential candidate. I can clearly see the benefit to the nation of the actions of McCain, I do not see that benefit from Senator Obama. Obama is choosing to hold a speech about how great he will be for the economy once he is elected, while McCain will be speaking with Democrats, Republicans, and the President about keeping the economy going up to and through the election. Which makes more sense.
How well will Senator Obama be able to review documents on the bailout, and shake hands with undecided voters? How well will he be able to speak with Congress, while he is kissing babies and approving attack ads? How well will he be able to confer with economic experts while he is practicing his debate points.
Yes a President must do more than one thing at a time. But if Warren Buffett is correct, and this is the financial equivalent of Pearl Harbor, Senator Obama is saying he would rather go overseas for a meeting than deal directly with the situation.
Was the fear of following McCain’s lead on this potentially devastating financial fiasco so great as to refuse to do his job. Is his desire to be President so great that he would rather lead America in a depression, with millions unemployed and/or homeless than serve as the Senator he has been elected to be in relative economic stability?
Perhaps this, more than the debates themselves, will be the turning point in the election. And I have to wonder what most Americans will prefer. I for one agree that the debates for the election (which can be rescheduled for another day out of the 41 remaining) are not as important as my work, and as a consequence my house.
The stock market was falling, the Government spent a quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars to bailout selected financial companies, and plans were being made to spend almost $1 trillion dollars on the bad debt still floating in the market. While all this is happening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to promote increasing the debt of the nation even more. How kind.
House Speaker Pelosi, who still has not publicly acknowledged her substantial investments in alternative energy, is now pushing a $50 billion stimulus plan which is similar in some ways to they prior $168 billion stimulus plan that was enacted earlier this year. That early stimulus check failed to do anything except push-off the eventual downward trend in the economy.
I was never in favor of the stimulus check plan. It was a waste of money. With the problem of foreclosures and slower growth the initial checks were used to pay down on debt and mortgages, as opposed to the purchases of new goods that was hoped for. Which seemed obvious to me.
This plan is a little bit smarter than the first but still does nothing to help the people that need it most. Unless you work in construction building a road or bridge will not directly affect you. So that is a waste, and money best spent at the local or state level. Giving poor people more food does not help them learn skills or get jobs that will help them not be poor anymore. Though I agree letting people starve is not nice, in the long run it only trains them to rely on the Government more, as they have been trained to do since the 1970’s.
Of course another problem about the higher costs of food is directly tied to Nancy Pelosi’s investment portfolio. As is the higher cost of heating oil. Nancy Pelosi has held off discussions of domestic drilling for nearly the whole year so far. She has supported everything that will limit this drilling. She wants to build up alternative energy exclusively.
It will take at least 10 years, if not more, to effectively create any alternative energy sources. The one source currently being pushed is corn-based ethanol. Because it’s based on corn food prices are going up. Because only 5 states in the nation have pumps with ethanol, and the fact that only 2 allow public purchases there is a glut of ethanol. And Government mandates will increase that glut by 60% next year.
So effectively, Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are hurting the poor with their plans, and this additional stimulus plan is a band-aid on the wound they inflicted.
I have to wonder how this stimulus plan will help anyone. I have to wonder how this will do anything more than just temporarily hold at bay the problems Democrats have enforced in the nation.
Will this bill pass? Of course. Politically the timing is perfect. The Government is already bailing out the financial sector for $1 trillion, what’s another $50 billion. And how bad will a Presidential candidate look if their Party refuses to pass a bill that targets the poor. The average American does not connect one dumb political idea with another, nor do they see the connection of all these things to the domino effect they create in the future. So it will happen.
Of course that means that the Government will swell further, and the economy will worsen. And the taxpayers will become poorer, at all income levels. These issues are not a rich versus poor issue. If the economy is bad, every American is affected. And the plans being put in place are just trying to push those problems off the minds of Americans till just after the election.
Speaker Pelosi is deceptive in her refusal to acknowledge her personal benefit from her politically based ideas. Senator Obama, in supporting this idea, is ignorant of the real fundamental issues causing the problems. Democrats are too absorbed in political gain to deny this act of futility.
Still never fear, this bill will pass. It will also do nothing to benefit anyone. Especially when crude oil prices increase over the winter as they always do. Especially as food prices go higher as more ethanol is created and sits unused. Especially as domestic drilling sits on the background delaying any potential help it can garner to the public because its ultimate benefit won’t happen for several years (just as alternative energy will take a decade or more to be effective).
But not to worry, bigger Government, larger wastes of tax money, increased national debt, and inept plans from Congress are ok by Democratic standards. Just elect Senator Obama and continue a Democrat-led Congress and they will ensure that the Government will take care of you more; instead of you taking care of yourself. Because they know better. Just look at their record and you can tell.
Coal-bed methane, $5 trillion in energy that is not talked about
Coal-bed methane, have you heard of it? I’m sure most have not. Up until the recent surge in natural gas prices no one really paid attention to this fuel source. Now people are very interested.
Coal-bed methane is not a new item. It’s one of the fears that fill every coal mine. It is responsible for many of the explosions that have occurred in coal mines since the fuel has be sought. In the most simple description methane is produced as a by-product of the process that creates coal. This gas accumulates in cracks within the coal formation, under high pressure. The United States is estimated to have upwards of 700 trillion cubic feet of methane which is currently worth more than $5 trillion and can provide perhaps decades of energy.
The reason is that the wells in Kansas are not like those found in oil. An oil well is at peak production on its first day. A coal-bed methane well may not reach its peak for a decade. Thus leases to land-owners can be highly lucrative. An initial lease can be valued as much as $30,000, with monthly payments for a productive well being $3 or $4,000 a month or more.
While the money can be very good in these economically troubling times, there are other problems that come with it. Wheat, corn and other farm fields are cut by gravel roads to and from wells; roads are in need of constant repair from the heavy vehicles traveling to and from wells and storage facilities. And the influx of high property values has caused the local schools to lose matching federal funds.
And not every land owner has had the same benefits as another. Deals are made individually, and have been for decades. Early adapters may have only received a lease payment of $2,000 and well production payments can vary wildly.
Still this is not a horrible situation. And with the nation struggling to keep up with the cost of foreign oil, and Congress playing political games with the issue of domestic drilling this option is more attractive by the day.
With all the renewed interest in coal as an energy source there is one thing that we can be sure of. Coal-bed methane along with coal mining will be something that many more Americans will become familiar with in the coming years.
Bill Clinton finally backs Obama at Democratic National Convention
There is no question that Bill Clinton is a great speaker. So there was no shock in the fact that he spoke well at the Democratic National Convention. The overall thing that impressed me though was that Bill Clinton did was Hillary could not; he gave reasons to believe Senator Obama would be a good President and finally admitted that Obama was ready to be President.
Unlike Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech, which was self-serving, Bill Clinton started off and continued to evoke his support and good will for Senator Barack Obama. Bill bit the bullet on his personal disagreements with Obama and did what was best for the Democratic Party. I have not seen a politician flip on a position so well on national television in some time.
You have to love the fact that Bill, unlike his wife, had no problem mentioning Senator Obama’s name more than 3 times in his speech. Then again Bill is a better speaker.
Now Bill did make some mistakes. First his comparison to President Carter is not a good one. Carter is accepted as a horrible President that did virtually nothing to improve the economy, resolve the energy crisis, lower unemployment, or protect Americans abroad. In fact his policies made all of that worse. This is why Carter was part of the long list of Democratic Presidents that have never gotten a second term since Roosevelt. (Only Bill Clinton has.) So stating that Obama is like Carter implies that America will have a worse time if he is elected than some think it is today.
On top of that is the fact that Bill Clinton’s Administration did nothing to improve America’s safety (he let Osama Bin Laden live to create the 9/11 attack), create alternative energy sources (crude oil increased some 150% during his time in office, no nuclear plants were made, and oil refineries dropped in number), or prevent the devastating economic burden of the internet bubble that I would argue did more damage than any other single factor in decades. It was also his Administration that failed on healthcare.
But particularly I want to address the spike in food, the core in the CPI index. Food prices are up because of one of the major initiatives that Democrats are pushing right now. Corn Ethanol. In playing to the farmers of the nation corn was picked as the source to create ethanol – a product that is less efficient than gasoline by 25% and unavailable to 97% of the nation – and while there is a glut of ethanol the mandatory increase of it’s production has caused the price of corn to go up and therefore food prices to increase.
This is a problem caused by the tunnel-visioned emphasis of the Democrats on specific exclusionary choices for alternative energy. Like wind power that benefits Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s investment portfolio the Democrats allow political and financial interests to dominate what they believe is the energy choice America should have, without being honest enough to say why they refuse any other option. I believe we need to invest in all energy sources and let innovation discover which the best choice is, and that we switch to grass ethanol that does not affect our food supply and costs.
But getting back to Clinton’s speech, you have to love the way Bill has ignored and reversed his thoughts espoused about Obama during the Primaries. It’s about time too. But his credibility is weak considering this is the first time he has changed his opinion, under pressure that his wife is out and if she is ever to have a chance he must shore up the political divide they created together.
It is correct that Senator Obama has the ability to rally the public, and inspire our minds. That is critical in a President. Curiosity and intelligence are equally important in a President. So at the 6:51 minute of the speech Bill Clinton is correct. But he leaves out something else a President needs. Experience in working with the Congress and creating bi-partisan policies that benefit the nation. Experience and respect from the international community. Senator Obama has neither. And while President Bush now has experience in both (to limited degrees) few in America approve the degree to which he has gained both. But Senator John McCain, and even Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden have more experience, international respect, and bi-partisan ability than Obama, with as much intelligence, curiosity, and inspirational capacity.
Bill Clinton makes an excellent attempt at claiming Senator Obama has made solid choices on international policy. But he ignores facts, like the fact that Senator Obama was among those opposing the Surge (in fact joining those that declared it a failure before it started), that his position on Georgia and Russia was weak, that his choice of Vice President directly opposes his views on Iraq, and is inaction (and in fact reluctance to discuss) on Darfur.
I agree that Senator Obama has a unique and beneficial view of America that every White President to date has not had. If Obama becomes President it will be the first time that someone who has lived with racism, prejudice, the biased legal system, and the disadvantages enforced in our media and culture will be in the Oval Office. Such a perspective is needed in a nation that is very diverse, with 1 in 3 Americans having to endure those challenges ever day.
But while the Primaries may have tested Senator Obama, they also presented his weaknesses. Senator Obama performed outstandingly in the early Primaries, only to be massively attacked and eventually beaten in the last several states. Senator Obama showed his ability to create a lead, and the inexperience to keep it. The gaffes that occurred late in the Primaries are examples similar to the choices many make in their late teens and early 20’s, which are remade and rethought upon gaining the wisdom of experience and age.
And As for Obama’s choice of running mate, I still don’t get it. There is no synergy here. Senator Biden opposed Obama on several critical points. He represents the ‘old’ politics that Obama has stated he wants to change from. Biden had even said, as did the Clinton’s, that Obama lacked experience enough to be President. I have worked for inferior bosses before, and I think anyone who has will say that it created more problems than solutions.
Thus the national security leadership Bill Clinton mentions is fractured. It is based on an internal argument of diametrically opposed views. It is anything but a team effort. Which means either Biden, or Obama, either lied about their views or do not believe in them strongly enough and will flip their previously stated thoughts. Because if either of those conditions are not met, then we have the potential for a divided Executive Office fighting against itself.
By the way, when Bill says
“revitalize the international institutions, which help to share the cost of the world’s problems”
He is speaking of the U.N. It is that organization that has always failed to match our funding, that has failed to pay its full dues. Always. The United Nations has never had a major military presence anywhere that did not involve the U.S. in an over weighted manner. And in 40 years of life I have never heard a single President mention how the U.N. has satisfactorily done anything that America has wanted. Share the cost? How about just paying their post-due fees as a start.
As for HIV/AIDS I agree that more needs to be done to highlight the fight. But it would be a lie to say that America has given up on this. More needs to be done, but we have not stopped funding or fighting this disease, abroad or domestically. The major news media may have moved on to another ratings grabbing issue but various governmental and individual efforts have continued. Still I say again that more can be done, and needs to be.
And a President Obama is seen as a weak military commander. Senator Obama is seen as without the guts to fight, or continue the efforts already on-going. That is why Iran and other Middle East nations, and various militant groups have endorsed Obama. Because they believe they can push him around, as Hillary did in the Primaries, as John McCain is currently doing in various ads. If it takes just one television political ads to take the Obama campaign off message, how hard would it be to take him off of a potential military crisis? And his initial response to Russia in the current Georgian conflict has been seen universally as weak and toothless.
While many nations in the world may need the innovations and financial support America can provide Senator Obama does not strike me as capable of providing it. He has yet to take a stance on Darfur. When asked directly about that nation at the recent Civic Forum Obama instead discussed Rwanda. As a Senator He has made no strides in Darfur, or in the Primaries drawn any attention to it. If he cannot do this, then how can we believe he will lead America in beating the Chinese at providing financial and industrial aide to Africa? Or any other nation?
But Bill Clinton then goes to attack Republicans. Now criticism is fair, and many problems exist over the last 8 years. But it is a fallacy to believe all the problems were created by Republicans, or to ignore the fact that some of these issues were created by or failed to be resolved by the Democrat-led Congress.
The issues of the economy, and in part failing retirement accounts, are partially a Republican failing. But they are also the failure of the Clinton Administration. The excesses allowed in the internet bubble, that he did nothing about, had immediate and lingering effects on the economy. Millions have still not recovered the losses they incurred then, and the debt it created. The failure of Congress to address the issues in the commodities and options markets caused the recent, and soon to recur, runs in energy prices. These are issues that both Democrats and Republicans share in, from the Clinton Administration’s 2nd term thru Bush.
And the image of American’s without healthcare is yet another example. The Clinton Administration failed to change healthcare, and after the disaster of Hillary Clinton’s attempt never picked the ball up. Bush as well has failed to run with this issue. Both are culpable. And any reform will need to be bi-partisan to effectively help anyone.
And Clinton should never talk about favors for the well connected. Mark Rich and Norman Hsu. Do I need to say more?
But he is dead on about the cronyism that helped to worsen the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But those were direct results of President Bush, not McCain or the Republican Party.
At the 15:39 minute of his speech Bill Clinton discusses Senator McCain. He mentions that McCain is defined by the extreme of the Republican Party on the issues of rebuilding America, and restoring America’s leadership. America’s leadership is something that Europe and other nations have been complaining about since the 1960’s. When Bill was President France would not let us use their airspace to bomb Quadafi in Libya – an accepted promoter of terrorism in the world outside of the U.S. American leadership has always been questioned and fought against, and it always rolls through hills and valleys – but ultimately it exists because the rest of the world needs out money, military and expressions of freedom time and again. But when we have weak Presidents, like Carter and Clinton, we see the emergence of long lasting problems – like the emergence of radical Iran, Bin Laden, and the initial problems with Saddam Hussein (which Clinton bombed constantly as Kurds were killed by the thousands).
And to rebuild America requires innovation. That innovation usually comes from small businesses growing and taking chances. Like Dell, or Apple, or Microsoft, these companies need an environment to grow in. But increased corporate taxes and higher minimum wages restrict small business and diminish that innovation. So how will that help rebuild the nation? How does increasing the burden of the nation with higher debt for funding a new department in charge of healthcare help to rebuild a nation? How does higher unemployment and lower work hours help to reduce the tax burden and higher taxes stimulate home purchases?
So in effect the extreme views of the Democratic Party are no more efficient or likely to achieve the goal of a better, stronger America. I agree that the extreme Right Wing of Republicans may be wrong, But the extreme Left Wing of the Democrats (or hardcore Democrats as Bill states) are equally wrong.
And I must dispute the claims about 2001. In that year we had the worse tragedy in American history. Caused by inaction of his Administration. All of America overreacted on multiple issues. Those reactions were not the historical claims of any Party. But the fact was that America was under attack, and the people sought the Republicans for their strength in that time, not Democrats. And now the nation is at war (rightly or wrongly, the cause is moot as our soldier fight).
And again I must also note that many of the things he mentions about that time were repercussions of the burst of the internet bubble. Caused again by his inaction on that bubble. The debt of the nation was never decreased; just the accounting of the Clinton Administration was changed. The jobs created en masse by the internet died with the bubble. The exorbitant salaries went with the start-ups, as did numerous jobs. No matter who was President, the internet crash would have caused the same problems. And the realization of that fact is in part why Democrats lost in 2004 trying to claim it was a Republican problem alone.
So yes, Bill Clinton was impressive. His ability to polispeak is nearly unmatched. His spin of facts, viewing them with squinted eyes, does sound attractive. Until you look at facts and causation. Until you pay attention to the details.
I admire that Bill Clinton has flipped his position on Senator Obama. I admire that he stepped up where his wife Hillary would not. I enjoy that while he and Obama don’t get along; Bill is able to rise to the need of the Democratic Party. He was a unifier, Hillary was out for herself.
But still he is unable to identify why America should vote for Obama. His misrepresentation of historical facts, his uniquely envisioned interpretation of actions and consequences sound great. And I am sure some will believe him wholeheartedly, because he sounds sincere. But he is not credible. And I do not believe he is sincere.
Thank you for you response. I must say that I enjoy well-informed thought out comments.
While I must admit that it was a failure on my part for not mentioning the nature of Senator John McCain’s voting record there is a notable difference between the candidates. First off there is the question of Senator John McCain’s voting record. While you may be focusing on the last 4 years he has been in elected office for 25 years. Thus to evaluate his voting record effectively, and in full comparison, requires looking at 25 years of votes.
The next point to keep in mind is that I would not say that McCain has voted 95% along the Republican party line. While it is well documented that Senator Obama has voted the most liberal of all Senators in office, a review of McCain does not find that same fact. Note that just 1 ½ - 2 years ago McCain was lauded as the Democrats’ Republican. The liberal media hailed him as a progressive Republican willing to deviate from the pack. Such descriptions argue that 95% seems far too inaccurate.
Also of note is the fact that while there are several notable votes where McCain has voted Republican, as in his votes to maintain the Bush tax cuts (thus preventing a de facto tax increase), he has also voted bi-partisan as well as introducing legislation that was far from Republican party line. A great example is the immigration reform bill that was voted upon not more than 2 years ago, and was favored by many Democrats and some Republicans.
Senator Obama cannot say the same on any of these points. If I am incorrect please provide me sites or records that I might review.
To your points on the Surge, you are correct that the terms of the surge are vague. Depending on which political party you look at the Surge has had varying amounts of success. But the key in my mind is that the Surge has been an (at least limited) success and not the complete failure promised by Harry Reid and others (before it ever started, in fact from the moment it was proposed).
As you yourself admit, 15 out of 18 benchmarks have been achieved to some degree. That’s roughly 83%, give or take the various levels of success of each benchmark. By any standard that is a success, except to Harry Reid and other far-left groups.
I do not claim that the success is enough, or that it is finished. There will not be a finish to any plan in Iraq until the last U.S. combat troop leaves that nation. That is not to say that a military base will not be created in Iraq, but that is no different than the bases that exist in Korea, Germany, Japan and other nations over the past multiple decades.
Now I submit this thought as well. It is not possible to have any long-lasting or final result if Iraq is not at relative peace. If active fighting is occurring in the streets, and the people of Iraq are unable to even go to market for goods without being shot at or have IED’s go off, then nothing can be resolved. Thus the military action of the Surge is practically the most important portion of the entire plan.
Now I fully agree with your point on taking care of the veteran’s. My father was a veteran of Viet Nam, I served in the Marines, and several members of my family have served in the Army. So please do not doubt my commitment to servicemen and their families.
I do not believe there is any former service member that would not prefer to see this conflict ended quickly with as few American lives lost as possible. I also believe that each of us at one time or another vowed to give our lives for our nation, as determined by our President and the Congress, in all their wisdom (or lack thereof). While we may not agree with how the orders originate, we have to believe that ultimately they are for the greatest good of our nation.
While Iraq may have started under bad terms, at best, at this point to not win means that those orphans and any that are in difficulty will be convinced that America is the root of all their ills (which could well be false). As we all know quite well such disaffected individuals have a penchant for becoming fanatics and suicide killers. Thus in 5 to 10 years after a loss and retreat the potential for another massive attack on American soil increases exponentially.
But there is no excuse for the manner in which our veterans are being treated upon coming home. We are obligated to provide them better medical and mental care than they are receiving currently. At the same time there is an undercurrent in this nation that would look upon or military brethren in the same manner as those soldiers that returned to a hostile home after Viet Nam. Groups like Moveon.org (which are major Obama supporters) are little different than Hanoi Jane Fonda in my mind; and they need only slight provocation to go from their current ‘support’ of troops to outright dismissal of them.
As for McCain not supporting out troops, Factcheck.org argues your point. They state directly that he has in fact voted to increase funds for veteran care, consistently
three or four Legislator of the Year Awards from American Legion
The VFW PAC has endorsed McCain in every congressional election since 1984
I have to believe that these organizations would not present awards to Senator McCain if he was not doing something (or a lot) in favor of military personnel and families.
And Senator Obama, who has never served a day in his life, and therefore cannot appreciate fully the sacrifices families and service members make daily, cannot make the same claims. Thus while I understand and appreciate your concern, I believe that on these issues Senator Obama is inferior to McCain.
But if you have proof to correct my positions, or cause for me to reconsider my position I am open to hear them.
So effectively we see that Nancy Pelosi is in the pocket of alternative energy companies. It’s basically the same claim being made by Pelosi and other Democrats against Republicans. And it’s just as bad as what they say the result is with Republicans.
Speaker Pelosi has walled-off any discussion of domestic drilling for oil. She has refused to allow any votes on the subject. And according to her most recent comments on Larry King she will only consider possibly allowing a vote on domestic drilling IF it also includes alternative energy incentives.
Effectively that means that Speaker Pelosi wants alternative energy to get more money to earn more money for herself. The higher the cost for oil, the better her alternative energy stocks will do. And the American public be damned.
Of course many other Democrats believe in this same style of system as well. Senator Obama wants to increase electricity costs, is against domestic drilling (though he has suggested he might be open to drilling in recent speeches – campaign speeches designed to get him elected), and has stated that higher oil costs is good because it will force people to use less oil. Don’t mind the fact that higher energy costs mean more Americans will lose their homes and businesses, and will force a slow down in the economy that makes unemployment higher.
But look at it from a different point of view. Senator McCain stated at 4:33pm on Aug 13, 2008 in a news conference that creating nuclear energy plants would create 700,000 jobs. McCain is also more in favor of domestic drilling.
If there was a move in the nation to do domestic drilling, building nuclear plants, and alternative energy – and each of these ideas would employ 500,000 Americans – there would be a boost to the economy and a reduction in the cost of oil and energy. Speaker Pelosi would make money on her stocks (though not as much) and so would oil companies, utilities, 401K’s, and the average American (via energy cost savings).
But according to Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, domestic oil is a bad thing since it means oil prices would drop. Also nuclear energy is opposed as well. That’s 1,000,000 American jobs they don’t want to create, at least. That means that unemployment will go higher since businesses of all sizes will not be able to afford the higher cost.
Of course Nancy Pelosi will make more money though.
So I will return to my original thought. Is having Speaker Pelosi speak at the DNC a positive? Especially since she represents a Democrat-led Congress that not only has done nothing they promised in 2006, but is also actively looking to hurt American families. While lining her own pockets with more money.
The Democratic National Convention - strike one on the first night
On August 25th on thing will be very clear, Senator Barack Obama will be looking to shore up the women’s vote. That’s the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and all the stops are being pulled out.
Senator Obama will have his wife and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speak on this first night. If there was any question of having prominent women stand-up and support Obama this first night is meant to dispel that thought.
And as an added bonus Senator Obama will be looking to lockdown the African American vote, with prominent displays of successful African Americans in the form of his brother-in-law Craig Robinson, a coach at Oregon State, and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. And of course his wife Michelle.
It’s a good arrangement. The planned videotape message from Senator Edward Kennedy will be a nice added touch. As the first prominent Democrat to publicly announce his endorsement of Obama, stirring the longstanding ire of the Clinton machine, it seems fitting he speaks on the first night. The fact that he will be doing so via video due to his recent brain surgery is bittersweet though.
But I think that having Nancy Pelosi speak is a mistake. She is the symbol of the ineffective Democrat-led Congress. She is a reminder that Democrats would prefer to allow millions of Americans to have to choose between food and/or work or paying their energy bills. She is the voice of the Democratic Party that refused to even consider having a vote on domestic drilling – effectively saying that Democrats have no intention of being bi-partisan if Senator Obama is elected.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi may look good to the women that only care about having a woman’s face in a leadership position; but anyone that has followed what the Democrats said in the 2006 mid-term elections may have a different opinion. The 110th Congress is a complete failure. The Democrats have failed to do any of the things they promised in their 2006 campaigns. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the charge to stalemate.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the first woman Speaker of the House, but I believe that she is just like Senator Clinton. The wrong woman for a serious job. And having her speak on August 25th will only remind the public of that fact.
Change is Senator Obama’s motto, as it was for the 2006 mid-term elections for the Democrats. Congress failed to live up to that promise in the first week, Pelosi at the helm. Her speaking will just connect the dots that the only change the Democrats can do is who is speaking about changing things.
110th Congress on vacation - what's the difference?
The 110th Congress is now on vacation. You might be asking yourself when they haven’t been. I know I have.
The Democrat led Congress has earned and justified the 14% approval rating it has recently received. And a big cheer should be made that they increased the rating by 3%, from the all-time lowest rating for Congress ever. That includes just before and after the Civil War.
You might ask what has this Congress done?
Well they don’t work longer than any other Congress – though it was a campaign promise. They haven’t achieved any of their major goals. They haven’t even really lived up to their rally call in the 2006 mid-term elections, which was change if you forgot. Well, if you count the numerous Congressional hearings then they did change a few things – how much money was wasted.
This Democrat led Congress boosts the achievements it made, like U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007,. Of course they leave out the fact that this emergency funding was required because their refusal to fund the military in the first place. And the funding, finally passed in May 2007, runs out in September. Also note that the only way the Democrats would allow funds to go to our troops that are actively fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was by attaching an increase to minimum wages and funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
And yes I know that an early funding was vetoed by President Bush, Again the Democrats knew what they were doing, wasting time and money. They knew that President Bush would not give the enemies of our nation (and people fighting our troops are enemies) the means to hurt our soldiers by telegraphing our moves with a timeline. He told the nation as much. But they did it anyway to try to look like I don’t know what.
And of course there was the farm subsidy act, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. A real brainstorm here. This act increased food stamp benefits which is a good thing since it also increases ethanol production – corn ethanol. Corn based ethanol increases the cost of food. Thus food stamps have to have more benefits just to stay even with the higher price of food. And higher food prices is a leading cause of inflation.
Speaking of energy and Congress, notice that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will not allow a vote about domestic drilling? So they are pushing corn ethanol, which 96% of the nation cannot buy or use, and is less efficient that gasoline, and is actively increasing the cost of food. And they are really only pushing ethanol. All other alternatives are off the table.
Does that make sense? Considering no one knows what energy source is the best for mass production shouldn’t they want to try everything? Shouldn’t we be ramping up wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, grass or sugar based ethanol, nuclear, and domestic drilling all at once? Considering none of these will be the answer for at least 5 to 10 years, imagine what the cost of oil will be if we don’t start trying everything now then.
But I detract (and yes I blame Republicans for the energy mess equally, though corn ethanol and refusing to even have a vote is purely Democrat).
The 100th Congress has been very busy though. It takes work to avoid having debates about domestic drilling, and to be in nearly non-stop meetings. There have been Congressional hearing on so many issues that Democrats make sound like absolute importance. They just use the polispeak and obfuscate the facts a bit. Like the massive hearings on the lawyers the President fired (CONTINUING INVESTIGATION INTO THE U.S. ATTORNEYS CONTROVERSY). Democrats were all revved up on this.
What was obfuscated? The fact that each of those lawyers work at the pleasure of the President. Meaning that at any time, for ANY reason the President can fire any of them. It’s not illegal, and every President has done this. But the Democrat led Congress had to find a reason why the President fired these lawyers and tried to find a law that was broken, where no law exists. There went several weeks.
A few other top hearings that resulted in nothing:
WHY DEFICITS MATTER
IMPROVING THE LABORATORY EXPERIENCE FOR AMERICA'S HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
COMPETITION AND THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL MUSIC
AN UPDATE: PIRACY ON UNVERSITY NETWORKS
MEETING TO DISCUSS MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE CONTESTED ELECTION IN THE 13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CREDIT CARD PRACTICES: CURRENT
GASOLINE PRICES, OIL COMPANY PROFITS, AND THE AMERICAN CONSUMER
The list goes on and on.
To help out in listing a few more items I found this video
So my overall point is this, there is an election coming up. Not just for the Presidency but also for Congress. When you go to vote consider why this Democrat led Congress has the lowest approval ratings ever. Consider why President Bush, who is not brilliant and has made mistakes, is regarded better than Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Congress by 10%. Consider that every major policy issue that the Democrats promised to do in the 2006 elections still have not happened, and that they have spent more time looking for people to blame than passing laws to help the nation.
Perhaps it’s me but I expect a Congress to do something. For god sake they couldn’t even get together to pass an Act to apologize for slavery. House voted yes the Senate just let it go by.
In November you can vote to keep the Democrats leading Congress, if not the nation, or you can “vote for change”. Unless you have a perverse desire to see if Congress’ approval rating can reach single digits.
Slavery: House of Representatives apologizes, Senate silent, Presidential candidates without comment
**This may be long, but it's important, please read it all**
Chalk up another victory for Senator Obama and African Americans, and America in general. It’s taken some time but another historical event has taken place, and again it has received about as much fanfare as Janet Jackson’s latest album.
When I started to first write my blogs I wrote about an issue that has plagued every aspect of American life and politics since before the creation of America. That issue is Slavery. I have long been a proponent of an apology from the Government and I am a staunch supporter of Reparations.
Still it’s not a law, or an official Act. The Senate did not join in this Resolution. And the vote was by voice, so no official record exists of who voted what.
But it is a step in the right direction. It is an admission by part of the Government. It is a realization that wounds don’t heal by ignoring them. It is part of the recognition of wrong that started in 1988
Yet a question has to be asked. Why has the Senate not acted on this resolution? Why did the Representatives not stand up and have their votes recorded for history? Why have both current Presidential candidates shunned and avoided the subject actively?
“…Senator John McCain said last October that he would support a federal apology for slavery, although some critics note that he failed to support the bill when it was discussed in February of this year.
For his part, Senator Barack Obama has said he has little interest in an official government apology for slavery or reparations for descendants of slaves, according to the Associated Press.”
Yet the Senate did pass a Resolution that apologized to Native American Indians this year. This also got little fanfare from the major media.
The fact is this is a victory for every Black American, and the ancestors that literally built the foundations of this nation on their backs and with their blood. So where is the media? CNN recently felt the need to talk about Black In America, the nation was stunned/rejoicing at the presumptive nomination of the first Black Presidential nominee, and yet a full open sincere apology from the Government still eludes a nation that refuses to speak about our past honestly. Unless you believe the highly romanticized and historically inaccurate depiction of President Abraham Lincoln and the causes of the Civil War – hint: it had nothing to do with slavery.
Perhaps the delusions and excuses of people like Medved and Roger Clegg are the reason
“The success of the Obama candidacy underscores the irrelevance of an apology" because it shows "enormous progress" in race relations, says Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative group that describes itself as opposed to racial preferences. "Haven't we already moved beyond it?"
Some things have changed, and that is great. But if we fall into the fallacy that the success of a handful of people is the same as equality for all people, the nation will never fully prosper. In fact the nation will continue to rot, as I believe it has since before I was born.
And again I ask where is the major media in discussing all of this? If this is not groundbreaking and important enough, the media has gone far beyond ‘yellow journalism’ in my mind. Perhaps they need to watch Bid Em In and get a clue.
The House of Representatives has taken a step, the Senate must follow that step, and the President must acknowledge and reiterate these actions. And in proving the sincerity and completing the rite of acknowledgement America must make amends. When a crime is committed and the criminal admits their guilt we accept it and give them leniency - but they are still punished – that is the law. America committed a crime against humanity, and is now just starting to admit its guilt. It cannot be repentant without its penance, and that is reparations. It may not be a law, but it is acting humanely and lives up to the highest standards we expect from each other as human beings and our Government.
Predicting the U.S. economy for 2nd half 2008 and 2009
Well how much fun are you having today? If you hold investments, it may not be a fun day at all.
Back in the 4th quarter of 2007 I said I believed the Dow Jones Industrial Index would hit 11,000. I thought this would be a move in the late 1st to 2nd quarter. I was wrong… on the timeframe. But this is not a pat yourself on the back kind of moment.
With Indy Mac having failed and fears rampant over whether Freddie Mac and/or Fannie Mae will follow there should be no doubt that the Dow will cross into the 10,800 area on Monday. Add crude oil prices that are continuing to rise on fears from Iran and you get a bad situation. But perhaps the real culprit for this current situation is the Fed (Federal Reserve).
The Fed has been providing banks extra money to ensure their solvency, but not requiring that loan reserves be increased. It’s kind of like stopping a leak in your tub by adding more water. The problem is not getting fixed and may get far worse. And all the panic about the mortgage industry seems to have done nothing but whip up polispeak from political candidates and political parties, each looking to sway voters.
Loan reserves must be raised at all financial institutions. That especially means Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And several institutions need to fail. That of course means that some people will lose their homes. Nothing can, or should be done about that.
When I some will lose their homes I don’t just mean the roughly 4% of homeowners that are in default. I include in that group those that will fail this winter due to the cost of heating oil increases. I expect that in total some 7% of homes are in danger of foreclosure this year. While it’s not a nice thing to say, they need to lose their homes for the economy to survive.
This is not unlike the enormous wash-out that occurred when the internet bubble broke in the stock market. Money was lost, as it should have been, and opportunities were created. Those that made bad financial decisions, whether corporate or individuals, lost and others benefited from that loss. It’s a standard cycle in the markets.
Of course what is likely to happen is that Congress (with it’s 9% approval rating – sure to go lower) will take taxpayer money and bailout homeowners and financial institutions alike. Thus more water will fill the leaky tub. Undoubtedly the current Administration will be blamed (even more than they should) and the war in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan) will be identified as the cause of all these ills. Which is false.
The outcome will probably be a surge for Senator Obama, who prefers a bailout. This may lead to him being elected and higher taxes to pay for that bailout. And if anyone thinks a bailout of this size will be limited to just the top 1% of the nation they are insane.
I believe, looking at current factors several things are highly probable: 1. Confidence in all financial will go lower forcing the need for more liquidity 2. Several institutions will fail – focused mostly on those dealing with housing markets first 3. Interest rates will increase by 1pt by the end of 2008, increasing another 1pt early in 2009. 4. Crude oil prices will jump to maybe $160 a barrel by mid-September as winter starts, with a commensurate move in heating oil prices. 5. Gasoline will reach $5.15 a gallon 6. Home foreclosure will hit 5.5% 7. Bankruptcies will increase by 3% 8. Higher energy prices will be blamed for the further slowdown in corporate profits and significantly lower (negative) holiday sales in the 4th quarter. 9. A Democratic Congress will be re-elected 10. Senator Obama will likely be elected 11. Republicans will be blamed 12. Taxes will be increased for all incomes by 3% by 2009 13. Corporate taxes will be increased by 10% early in 2009 14. Inflation will soar unchecked by 3 - 5% 15. Unemployment will grow to 8.5% by December 2008
While each of these items may or may not happen they are all interrelated. I expect each item to happen, at least to the degree I stated, generally in the timeframe given.
As money tightens, gold will be a hedge and prices for all precious metals will soar again. Credit will get severely crunched, and credit card rates will fly. The debt load on the average American will increase from the current $6,000 to $8,500. Most of this increased debt will be from higher energy costs. Thousands of small businesses will shutdown.
As a result of all these things I expect that the Dow Jones will drop to 10,200 by December. If I am correct about Congress and Senator Obama – for the reasons stated – then I further expect a drop to 9,300 during 2009. A significant bear market indeed.
The main problem is that the solutions being looked at now raised taxes and increased liquidity, fail to resolve the actual problem. And the combination will weaken the dollar, to a point where holding U.S. bonds is unattractive. I won’t even mention the increase in retirees and Social Security.
But there is opportunity. I see the housing markets as a great buy, for those willing to hold for 5 years. Buys in the secondary city markets will probably do best having a lower purchase cost and holding value better.
Several financial stocks will be excellent buys. Some have far better balance sheets than others, but will be blasted by the same investor fears as those in bad shape. Companies like Citigroup are trouble spots as they reinsure their own loans and thus hide them better on the balance sheets. Financials will lead the markets down, but they also will signal the start back.
Coal will likely start to regain interest in the quest for alternative energy sources. I expect nuclear energy will also get a push, with at least 1 new nuclear plant being authorized to be built in 2009. I expect a call to switch to ethanol produced by grass and sugar to go initially unheeded until mid-2010. Further harming the ethanol push is the fact that there will be a glut of ethanol by mid-2009 through 2011.
Bond rates will be more attractive in 2009 than today with the likely increases in interest rates. Of course inflation rises will remove that benefit.
There may be other sources of opportunity but they will be guided by factors including but not limited to:
Iran Iraq and Afghanistan wars Crude oil prices Heating oil prices Inflation Unemployment Manufacturing and Industrial layoffs Retiree growth rates Healthcare costs International political stability Another terrorist attack on the United States
That is the outlook that I have based on what is currently ongoing in the world today. Some of this is just my on interpretation, some my deduction. But I believe that if only ½ of my expectations occur, the general outcomes as stated are accurate.
But look around and determine your own answers. Better to be prepared than taken by surprise.
Professor Tremblay supports Senator Obama with polispeak
I love polispeak. It’s my own descriptor for the inventive and nuanced manner in which pundits, candidates, and often bloggers discuss politics. It’s worse than spin, and almost always is based in facts - usually after it’s been spun through a blender and strained.
I cannot say that I am immune from this. Like every single pundit, blogger, and politician I hold an opinion, thus I am biased for or against various issues, policies, and/or proposals. I try to be honest and clear in my view. But not all are.
Here is a case in point. Professor Rodrigue Tremblay on globalresearch.ca has an impressive title. One would assume he has his facts in order and is presenting them clearly. But bias seeps in apparently, or the Professor is using faulty information. So sadly, those that rely on his opinion are being misguided. Of course they may not care, since we all tend to go to the source we prefer for answers we generally want.
Still some things are facts and they should be stated correctly.
First, in the quotes he uses of Senator McCain and Senator Obama, the bias becomes clear. He quotes McCain speaking on Iran alone. He then quotes Obama speaking about retreating from Iraq, and then the issue of Iran. It may not seem like a big deal, except in doing this he creates the impression that McCain has nothing to say on Iraq. That only Obama has a solution, which is false even if you don’t like McCain’s solution.
Considering he is using his title, as he is due, I have to believe he is aware of the effect of his selective quoting. Thus he is purposefully guiding the reader to a conclusion that he endorses, rather than allowing them to make the choice based on fact. I presume that either means he does not believe his readers can make the choice based on facts themselves, or he believes they will make a conclusion that he does not support based on the facts. But I could be wrong.
He then goes on to correctly point out that race is a major issue in this election. That the racial past of America provides perhaps the biggest hurdle, and makes any presumptions of polls useless.
Having set the stage to enforce the idea that race should not hinder this candidate (which I agree with) he then jabs at the current administration. While true that the President has remarkably low approval ratings, he skipped over the fact that the Congress – led by Democrats for 2 years now – has even lower approval ratings. What may be most revealing is that neither the President, nor the Congress is leading the nation in the right direction – meaning that both political parties have failed the general public substantively at the same time. But to say that detracts from his theme, though it is more grounded in fact.
He goes on to note that both Presidential candidates are moving along their party lines. That both are swaying towards their centers to gain more of the general populace. The impression is that in Senator Obama moving from the hard-core liberals of the far-left he is moving directly towards the center of the nation. The main complaint is that he is being a politician, which is what he is. Of course this ignores the fact that studies done over decades find that the majority of Americans are neither to the extreme right or left politically. Americans generally are centrist, perhaps leaning overall to the right (conservative) with exceptions on some issues. But that isn’t important to understand the moves each politician is making is it?
[by the way, Senator Obama has been rated, multiple times, as the most liberal Senator. So a shift towards the center keeps him firmly liberal and off the national center. Senator McCain has consistently been viewed as left of his Party’s center, and thus his move places him generally at the national average.]
Of course this all leads to the Iraq war. As already set up, Professor Tremblay has a skewed view on this issue. To further that view he then directly misquotes Senator McCain, with a quote that has been misused and explained for over a month now. But why let good rhetoric go unused even if it is false?
Yes McCain did vote for the war, as did almost every politician serving at the time – Republican or Democrat. He did not make a separate choice, nor was he the only voice. In fact I recall many video clips of Senator Clinton making an impassioned plea for the war, based on her extensive review of the facts. Thus the Democratic Party was no less involved than Senator McCain on this issue, and to isolate him is just a means of guiding the reader to a conclusion.
And as I stated there is the misquote. McCain did not imply or state there would be a military occupation (interesting choice of words there) of Iraq. He did state that America could have a presence in Iraq for 100 years, just as we have in Germany and Japan for 55 years and counting, Korea for 50 years and counting, Viet Nam for 30 years and counting. Note that not one of these countries is occupied yet we have had a presence (which McCain stated) there for longer than some voters have been alive, and thus it would be no surprise to have a military base (ie presence) in Iraq either.
But Professor Tremblay then goes on to point out what he wants his readers to accept as differences, each guiding them to his own desired conclusion.
He uses Social Security. He implies privatization is a bad idea and that Government support of SS is preferred. But isn’t the Government regulation of SS the reason it is going bankrupt and has no solution. Has it not been the political foot dragging of both political party’s that has kept the impasse going for at least 30 years while the problem got worse? And aren’t IRA’s privatized yet working well for millions of Americans for decades? So how bad is privatization.
On health care we are presented an idea filled with holes. Yes Senator Obama promoted Government lead universal healthcare. But name one department of the Government that has run efficiently or on budget in the past 40 years. If the Government has yet to run anything as simple as the Post Office or the VA in the past 2 generations, why do some suppose it will run our medical care better?
And this implies that our healthcare is bad, which is a lie. We are leaders in the world with thousands coming to America for our treatments as opposed to waiting for Government run medical care in their own nations. So if other nations can’t get this right, why should we try it? Is cheap and/or free bad care better than proper care that costs more? And if the Government is willing to provide $5,000 in credits (which is the correct amount I am aware of) to help pay to get that better care why is it bad?
As for abortion (which is not the sum of all women’s rights issues) I am conflicted. While I respect a woman’s choice, she is not the only voice in the matter. Responsible men, something downplayed severely by the general media but yet still existing, should have a voice as well. My opinion has nothing to do with religion or government. So I will leave that alone.
As for Supreme Court Justices, individuals that should have no party affiliation and can make decisions as they chose for life, I believe that it is not a major issue. It may be a secondary, or tertiary consideration for President – but there are far more pressing questions that need to be asked. And keep in mind that Congress can block any potential Justice, as they have in the past and will in the future. Professor Tremblay seems to forget to remind his reader that the President’s choice is still under the sway of Congress.
On taxes we again get a myopic view of the candidates. Senator McCain is proposing to cut taxes, Obama will raise them. That much is clear fact. The question is who is affected and how.
According to the Professor, cutting taxes is bad. Yet that is the only plan that has been theoretically and in the real world effective in helping the economy and the Average American. Raising taxes, especially in a economic downturn has never worked and is theoretically dumb. Those old enough to have live through President Carter know that this can lead to 13% unemployment and similar inflation.
But let’s take this to the real world. More money in people’s pockets is good. We all agree on that. Raising taxes prevents that. And Senator Obama has already voted to increase the taxes on those making as little as $31,850 or more. I would never call that rich. So in comparison we have one candidate willing to do what has worked for decades in various Presidencies and another that has proposed one idea, yet voted the opposite in the same election year he is running in. Or perhaps the Professor and I have different ideas of rich, as Senator Obama seems to.
Lastly is the big question experience. The Professor would praise Senator Obama, who lacks experience, for surrounding himself with politicians that have the experience. But at the same time he denounces Senator McCain for that same experience. Don’t be fooled by the use of terms like lobbyist, both politicians have them.
How can you say that McCain is bad for having experience, working with Democrats and Republicans to pass laws, and the relationships he has built over decades: and then praise Senator Obama for the lack of all these things – but the wisdom to have people with those same qualifications advise him. Is it not more logical to believe that an experienced leader would better be able to interpret and solicit advise from peers than an inexperienced politician from those that are his superiors (in age, experience, and political clout only – for those wondering the racial aspect of that statement).
He then throws all his preconceived ideas out the window and suggests that Al Gore is the best Democratic Presidential candidate. I am unconvinced.
Polispeak, it’s wonderful when a title and careful wording can be used to misquote, misinterpret and misguide the general public. But it should not provide you with the answer for whom to vote.
And for the record, I have yet to decide whom I wish to be President, though I do lean to Senator McCain. I just dislike blatant polispeak and engineered writing designed to use the reader.
President Obama: Andy Ostroy at Huffington Post must give a reason
I was looking through the net today, trying to get back on pace with the Presidential election, and I ran across an interesting post by Andy Ostroy on the Huffington Post. Its title is Why Obama Must Become President.
The post is filled with problems. Problems about America’s racial past, our economic current, and our unsure future. It highlights the failures of the President Bush Administration, and several points that I’ve heard ultra-liberals spout since Democrats started announcing their intention to run in 2007. And not once does it give a reason to vote for Senator Obama.
Mr. Ostroy correctly points out the many hurdles that were in the way of a Senator Obama nomination. He hints at the racial bias and emphasis used against Senator Obama throughout the primaries. He even quickly glanced over the fact Senator Obama has virtually no experience. But none of those are reasons to pick a President.
His main reasons why Senator Obama should win can be summed up in these 3 things: He is Black He is not President Bush It’s a good thing for the Democratic powerbase
Now I would love to see a Black President in my lifetime. I agree that
But a President is more than just a color barrier. Racism is a major issue in America, I know because I have lived with its influence in my life. But it is not the only nor main issue in America.
“Whites would finally be presented with a black president and be forced to confront their inherent fears, while hopefully accepting the cultural reality that success or failure in the Oval Office has nothing to do with race. And for some blacks, they would no longer be able to hide behind the contention that the "system" is keeping them down, and instead assume a greater responsibility for their own successes and/or failures.”
This is all true. A Black President would be a great force in defeating stereotypes and excuses all too readily used and portrayed in the media and many people’s lives.
But how would Senator Obama’s color change the economy? How would his eternal tan prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons? How would the breakdown of stereotypes end the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, or disuade groups like Al Quida from attacking Americans?
Race is a central theme in America, but it has little power over national economics, international policy, or national defense – to name a few issues.
So I have to reject the premise made by Mr. Ostroy that
“But if Obama loses to McCain in November, that will be an even greater statement of where America is with regard to race. That a candidate from a severely weakened party, who votes in virtual lockstep with Bush, could beat Obama while voters voice that they so desperately want and need change, would signal that having a black president is, in 2008, perhaps too much change.”
The election in November is not about what race the majority of Americans want to lead the nation, but who is the best person. The best person with the best plan – that can realistically be implemented – is the person who should win. That may or may not be Senator Obama, but you would never be able to know from Mr. Ostroy’s post.
Is President Bush’s apporval rating low? Yep, and those of the 2 year Democrat-led Congress are even lower. Government as a whole has failed the American people on many levels. Each party has failed to live up to promises and expectations. President Bush has failed to recognize and react to his mistakes in a timely manner, and the Democratic Congress can’t stop trying to blame the Administration for every ill known to man and actually pass a few of the laws they polispoke their way into office for.
Yet neither potential Presidential candidates has a last name that remotely sounds like Bush or Pelosi. Thus change from the abysmal political leaders of this nation, whether Democrat or Republican, is assured. The question that remains is which is best.
The energy problem in America is the result of 30 years of both political parties failing to act. The only actual answer is to say that America will investigate all energy avenues – including domestic drilling, nuclear, new refineries, switching to sugar and grass based ethanol as well as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and so on. But neiter political party is willing to say that, and the candidates both seem unwilling to annoy some of their political followers in favor of a real solution for the nation.
Similar statements can be made about real fixes to Social Security, Education, and the Economy. But when it comes down to it, one of the biggest issues facing this election is experience, not color.
Does America want a President that has decades of experience, or a candidate that will be learning on the job. Both have their good and bad points. Neither involves race. To say that it does is to overstate an issue and bully some into acting in a manner they don’t believe in. That’s wrong.
Mr. Ostroy makes a great emotional post. It sets up a wonderful argument over the importance of how the media and politics still use race to make the playing fields uneven. If this were an election for Govenor, or Mayor, then it might make more sense; but this is about the President and in all honesty it is not a priority.
I have long said that all fanatics are wrong no matter what the cause or reason, and that any decision made based on a fanatical view is misguided in the least. I feel that is true of suicide bombers, bailouts for dumb economic decisions, and elections.
If you want to vote for Senator Obama, or McCain, have a reason. Race is not a reason but a cause if it is the only basis for the decision. It’s fanatical reasoning, and in my eyes therefore inherently wrong. There are reasons to vote for either, and your vote does count. Don’t waste it on just one issue that does not resolve any other issue America will face in the next 4 years or decades. If you do I guarantee that you won’t like the result.
I never stated that oil shale or anything else will resolve the price of crude oil, or the need of energy in the United States, tomorrow. In fact in the few lines I devoted to a timeline I clearly stated a far future point.
But I will say that not acting today on multiple energy sources simultaneously will only create a bigger problem in the future. It is the inaction and political bickering of past Congresses that has lead to the problems of today. In 1973 America knew that foreign oil was a problem. It was $10 then. Since that time we have decreased our refineries, decreased our drilling, blocked multiple sources of drilling, blocked or hindered multiple pathways for energy research, and cherry picked the worst energy alternatives in the world. Thus oil today is $140, gasoline at $4.07.
I will also dispute the claim that oil shale is unusable as an energy source. It may have difficulties but several nations use it today. They may not be the size of the U.S. but they are creating power via oil shale. Thus near term use is a reality (unless you believe that Estonia has a secret ability to generate most of its power from oil shale). In fact Canada, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt all have plans to use oil shale to some degree or manner for power generation. Effective use, which the article states is maybe a decade away, is near-term especially as other nations find means to use this resource.
Thus already 2 of the major themes to not START a serious oil shale program are defeated between this post and the last. The big question, which I know little about, is what are companies doing currently.
The article states that a handful of companies haver some land with oil shale reserves. It states that nothing has been done with this land. It does not state whether environmental regulations will allow the mining of shale, or any other material. Just like the oil reserves found of the coasts of America, we know where it is and comnpanies hold rights to explore – but federal and state regulations prevent any action on them. The article completely fails to address that issue, which is a factor that has helped to cause the current environment.
The article wastes no space in stating we should not rush into oil shale, but it gives no space to any alternatives. It is that kind of philosophy that leads to problems that cause a rush to action. Again, I was not advocating oil shale or any single energy source. I advocate (and believe the government needs to mandate) all energy sources. I think we need to require oil shale development, and solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, grass-derived ethanol, nuclear, and coal as well as oil. Developing all of these ensures that America will have power at reasonable prices in 10 years, 20, even 50 years after all oil is gone.
Now I can understand why no alternative was suggested. Wilderness Society has since 1935 sought to protect wild nature. They are like other groups that prevent logging to save spotted owls, and refuse to allow drilling in ANWAR. The friends I grew up with, went to college with, served in the millitary, and currently live around would call these people treehuggers. Not meant in a nice way.
While I respect their love of nature, I am a city-dwelling internet using, motorcycle riding man of the 21st century. I fully understand that to live the lifestyle we all enjoy there are sacrifices that must be made. I also understand that technology and understanding of the environment have improved enough that we can minimize the impact we make to gain the fuels and resources we need. I futher understand that the only way for humanity to cease it’s impact on nature is to give up computers, cell phones, iPods, cars, lights, television, movies, plastics, hamburgers, you get the point.
Mr. D.B. may have many reasons to believe that oil shale is not viable today. And I agree with some. But I am willing to work on it and other ideas so when we need it in 10 or 20 years we will be ready. Their argument would have you light a candle.
Congress polispeak to Karl Rove spends your tax dollars and wastes time
I hate watching blatant partisan politics. It’s the blatant use of polispeak and opportunism that gets my ire going. Such as the subpoena on Karl Rove.
It’s May 2008 and Karl Rove is getting questions about his involvement in the President firing lawyers around April 2007 and the conviction of former-Alabama governor Don Siegelman in June of 2007. Isn’t it interesting?
Let’s see, there is a Democratic Congress in place now. Karl Rove is seen as a dark evil figure that was instrumental in the Bush Presidency. This is an election year and the Democratic Congress has achieved none of the goals they were elected for in 2006. Does it sound like Congress is trying to give the Democratic Presidential candidate a boost with the public by attacking the Republican Party sideways?
You might think this polispeak bluster is just that since we know a few things. First that there was nothing illegal about the President firing the lawyers in 2007. After multiple Congressional meetings, and untold numbers looking through the laws it was confirmed that the lawyers in question worked at the pleasure of the President. That means, at any time, for any reason, the President can fire these individuals – which he did. No surprises there, everyone knew this. And for all the bluster and all your taxes spent that’s all that happened. But because of the polispeak and accusations Alberto Gonzalez resigned his position.
And in the case of Governor Siegelman, an investigation was long in place tracking his acceptance of bribes and conspiracy. The former-governor was a criminal, and he was caught. Some Democrats want to place blame with Republicans and I have to ask why? Because Seigelman didn’t win his re-election bid, or because he was a criminal that got caught? Some question if the investigation was politically motivated, I question why a criminal was shielded from the law as long as he was. Remember, Seigelman was convicted – that’s not political so no matter the cause of the investigation (which could be just good work by the FBI and other law enforcement groups) the man was point blank a criminal.
So where in all this does Karl Rove need to speak to Congress. Over half a year after the facts, in cases where there is no law broken, Congress wants to spend your money to ask him questions. And the only hope that Congress can have for justifying this is if, while being questioned, Rove says anything that hasn’t been said before – or exactly the same way. That would lead to perjury charges. That’s the best case Congress can get.
So considering that Congress is wasting your money, and making an obvious political push to elect a candidate, how do you feel? Do you think your taxes are being spent well? Because some tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) are going to be spent to question Karl Rove about old useless factual events, instead of getting a better law regarding your children’s education, or getting more oil from non-Middle East sources, or lowering the cost of healthcare, or getting our soldiers home from Iraq (whichever you may think is important).
No wonder Congress has a lower approval rating than President Bush.
What has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi done for you in 2007
As the snow begins to fall here on the northeast, I happened to chance upon an item of minor interest. What that involved was the money spent by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on flowers this year. Not a big deal right? Except you have to remember that Speaker Pelosi gained her position on the basis of change (remember all the Democrats declaring that as the only platform for the 2006 elections). The change in this case was an increase in the amounts of money Speaker Pelosi spent of the taxpayers’ money.
Before becoming Speaker of the House, Pelosi spent $5,000 in 2006 on flowers. The mind boggles at why she would need that many. But in 2007 that number soared to $16,058 for reasons that really seem silly to me. I mean for whatever reason that Pelosi felt she had to host meetings with dignitaries that the President was already hosting, did she really need to give them all flowers too?
But the spending frenzy did not end there. Speaker Pelosi also felt the need to swell her staffing by 46% more than the previous speaker, and her travel budget was a whopping 34.3 TIMES as large as the previous. All in all
“Tighter restrictions on spending earmarks, lobbying, gifts and travel will be proposed…A $2.10 hourly increase in the minimum wage to $7.25…”
And what have we received?
Months of debate over why Alberto Gonzalez fired some lawyers (all of whom worked at the privilege of the President and can legally be fired at any time for any reason), though it was clearly known that no law was broken. As noted above restricted spending obviously does not include flowers, staffing, or travel for the Speaker of the House. And since leadership flows from the top down, is there any surprise?
“To require the identification of companies that conduct business operations in Sudan, to prohibit United States Government contracts with such companies, and for other purposes.”
Since most have not heard of Darfur, let me give you an idea of what is happening. Genocide. The murder of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children over the last 4 years plus. I did not call it genocide, the U.S. government has. And the Congress, under Pelosi and Reid who promised change and want to help all the kids whose parents are in this nation illegally or are poor, can’t even agree to stop giving Government money to a country killing people non-stop (possibly 100 more women and children are dead by the time you have read this far) for years.
Well maybe genocide is too political. Perhaps America is not the police force of the world. Maybe our government makes too much money from dealing with the Sudan and the economy will fail if we change. How about protecting children’s lives?
Everyone wants to protect children. Only a beast would want to put them in harm’s way. Only monsters would stand by and allow a child to be killed. At the least you would say something, right? Not if you are in Congress.
Wow, with this kind of leadership the premium that we are paying Congress and all the perks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is spending our money on, really seems worth it. I mean even our own soldiers are not getting funding while Congress gets ready to relax in their large well lit, well heated homes for Christmas.
Yes, the leadership in Congress promised change and they delivered. Too bad they didn’t mention that it would be a change to waste of our money and inaction on any legislation of importance.
Still feel good about that vote in 2006? Keep it in mind as you vote in 2008.
The more I read the results of polls and surveys discussing the Presidential candidates, the more I think that you could prove the sky is purple, or that 9/11 was an inside job. Oh wait; there are some that actually think the former. There goes my point.
There are daily, weekly and I don’t doubt hourly polls and surveys for every candidate, newspaper and major media outlet. Each and every one of them has something different to say. Which I find remarkable, if they are all asking the same question.
Of course that is the problem. They aren’t asking the same question. They are asking all kinds of things, and then presenting the results as candidate X is leading the race. When stated in that manner you might think that popular support in America, or a particular region, was incredibly high for one candidate of another. That isn’t the case though.
How often have you heard results that said, ‘X% of undecided voters favor candidate Y.’ Sounds simple and straightforward. Except it’s crap. If a voter is undecided it means they are not favoring anyone. They are up for grabs, and at any moment they might change their mind. Better to ask them how many grains of sand you can hold in your hand.
First note that it starts with the question of who is prepared for being President. The next sentence goes off track to state how John Edwards and Senator Obama spend their time. It then goes further off the original thought by comparing Oprah’s impact. What in the world does that have to do with if John Edwards or Senator Obama are prepared to be Preisent?
You have just been given a subtle and purposeful guide to positively view Senator Clinton. It’s a falicy of logic. It’s a neat trick, comparing apples and oranges.
You are given the positive of the subject they want you to like, a negative about everyone else, and a negative distraction to keep your mind busy about the lack of cohesiveness. At least they are being consistent about how Senator Obama and John Edwards are spending their time. Though I have to wonder how these same people felt Senator Clinton was spending her time?
Here is another question on those results. It’s stated that Senator Obama spent 60% of his time explaining what he would do as President. It’s phrased as a negative in context of the wording. Why is that bad? Would you want to elect a President that you have no idea of what their goals and objectives were? Think about it. Do you want a President that will suddenly take a conservative or liberal stance on say illegal aliens, taxes, the economy, or the war in Iraq?
Of course not. So why is that a negative? I think the better question is what’s the percentage of the other candidates spending their time doing the same thing.
Why is this important? Because if you don’t pay attention it’s the same thing as being lied to. It’s trying to promote an agenda that is hidden. It’s trying to present bias in a platable manner. It’s on par with a scam.
The next Presidential election is vital to this nation. Far too many issues will be decided between 2009- 2013 that will have ramifications for the lives of our children and perhaps grand-children. Some of those consequences will be irreversible. And there are some that are trying to take advantage of the inattentiveness the general populace has for elections and primaries.
I am not saying that the writer of the above quoted post is trying to do this. I would say that the New York Times and many other pundits and major media are. And if you don’t watch the details, you probably won’t like what you get.
Kind of like when the Democrats campaigned on change in 2006. They never stated what would change. People assumed it would be the war in Iraq. It turned out to be giving up on governing the affairs of the nation and seeking near endless meetings and investigations to blame Republicans and the President. Essentially they changed the limited effectiveness of Congress to being a complete waste of taxpayer funds.
When you don’t pay attention to the details, the wool gets pulled over the eyes with ease. But the Presidential election in November 2008 is too valuable. Look for the details and then make a choice. Because once you vote, there are no do-overs.
Swift Kids political ads spew refuse as bad as Moveon.org ad
Ok, I just saw the Swift Kids ads that are appearing on television. I am insulted and offended. Not because they are attacking Democratic candidates, attack ads seem to be par for course in politics today, but because they are using kids and are themed in the most insulting manner.
I realize that this is a smear ad. I realize that its intention is to match the cute innocence of children with political messages. But it fails horribly. Take for example the Swiftkids ad against Senator Barack Obama.
This is insulting. First they start off with an insulting play of his name. “Black orama” is one that instantly caught my attention. And I feel it was an intentional statement aimed at the race of Sen. Obama. That somehow his race affects his ability to lead this nation. That borders on racist.
Then it’s the old, “his name is too hard to say” line. I’ve generally heard such a comment from people missing many teeth and with far less education than my 11 year old nephew. It’s an ignorant comment.
Then to suggest that a persons name has an effect on their abilities. Again it seems to be an insult based on the race of Senator Obama. Because his name is not a traditional W.A.S.P. styled name that somehow confers a lack of something that say President John Fitzgerald Kennedy or President Millard Fillmore had. If anyone is swayed by such a comment, I am ashamed that they have a right to vote.
And then one of the kickers. Senator Obama is not Black? Since when? I suppose under the seemingly drug induced logic of the makers of this ad; I would not be Black either. I’m sure the racists that have called me N-word throughout my life would beg to differ. And what makes Senator Barack Obama not African American? That his mother is White? I’m sure that if most African Americans looked back in their family trees they would find a mixing of the races. My family includes Irish blood as well as White slave owners. But I’ve never had anyone mention that to me. And lets not forget that many White Americans have blood that is equally mixed, as some of the descendants of Thomas Jefferson learned from DNA tests not long ago.
The fact is every aspect of this ad is insulting and racist. It makes no credible claim against Senator Obama. It plays on the most base of reasons to not vote for this candidate. It oozes fear and ignorance.
I don’t doubt that most will reject this garbage instantly. But just like the small minds that created this ad, there are some that will be swayed. It’s a testament to the need of more movement forward on race relations in this nation. It disgusts me, and I have issues with any television station that will run this.
Much the same can be said about all the Swift Kids ads. They are without taste, credibility, or talent. They are vacuous in the claims they make and benefit no one. None should ever see the light of day, or coverage on television. This is no different than the MoveOn.org ad against General Petraeus. It insults all Americans, and diminishes everyone.
I hope to never have to see an ad like this again. Hopefully this post will help ensure that our nation’s politics never have to be dragged through filth like this again. And I suggest that everyone who sees this post asks their Congressional Representative and Senator to denounce these ads, just as they should have with the MoveOn.org ad. And I will judge those that will not vote, or vote in favor of this ad, as harshly as I did those who voted for MoveOn.org, or failed to vote.
So, everyone wants to talk about nationalized healthcare. Presidential candidates, Congress, Conservatives and Liberals. There are just massive amounts of communication on the issue. You hear about it from pundits on cable news channels, listen to answers (and half-answers) about it from candidates, read polls on it in newspapers and countless blogs like this one discuss all aspects of the issue. Except one.
The one item is quality of the care. Whether any citizen is able to get private care, or publicly funded medical coverage or any other solution that may be proposed the real issue is how good the quality of the care they receive is. This is no more critical than when the quality of care given to children is concerned.
What the study found was shocking. 46% of the care that the kids should have gotten never happened. While treatment for something like the common was mostly appropriate, but for asthma and other chronic ailments it was half as effective. Let me be clear, out of 175 items that should be part of child care – including the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up – many items were never done. And this is among children that had the money.
Imagine that. Your kids are not getting the treatment they need, and politicians are arguing over how to pay for what they aren’t being given in the first place. The priorities seem to be fundamentally flawed. The question that should be asked appears to be why is the quality of care as low for children in a nation with as many resources and experts as America does?
No matter the political affiliation, I believe that everyone loves children. None would wish them harm and want only the best for them. Yet political bickering is oblivious to this issue, stuck in a quagmire of how to pay. I am not a parent but I am sure that every parent I know hasn’t a single care about cost when their child is sick. If you gave them a million dollars and stated their child would remain ill, or have lifelong complications from failing to get the right treatment, the parent might throttle you for such a suggestion. Yet that is the political environment today.
I am insulted to learn this information and to hear of this lapse. This is America, a land where the best of everything exists and the standards in virtually every aspect of life are the envy of every nation in the world. Yet our children lag far behind. Not behind our potential, but behind our actual ability to provide care. That is an insult, our children deserve more.
UN acts on Darfur, where is America's action - 7.31.2007.3
Finally we see the start of some action. Finally leadership has arisen and taken a stand. Sadly it was not the United States that has been the bold leader that our nation can be, and often is. Even so, I am happy to spread this news.
Still the resolution has its flaws. Since the troops will be comprised of African Union and U.N. troops it will take months to organize and implement. Additionally there is no sanction component that can cause a dampening effect on the ruling government, slowing its efforts to commit genocide. This sanctioning is a needed component as is food aid for the area. It is an abysmal fact that the major industrialized nations of the world, including America, have sat on their collective asses in this matter.
As I mentioned previously HR 180 IH, has sat in Congress without action all year. In 2005 the members of the G8 summit sought to address the issue, and after few words that hold as much impact as the soundbites politicians use for most every situation these days, did nothing. So I have mixed emotions right now.
There is the start of actions to improve the lives of millions of Africans, a start but that is all. American businesses continue to support and by their inaction fund a genocide that has been on-going since 2003. Politicians have failed to act on resolutions presented to them. The news media has virtually ignored the situation. This is insulting.
I place myself along with the major media, up until recently. We can all do better and more. The stories on the vapid and imbecilic Paris Hilton can wait a bit. The comments on the rantings of Ms. Rosie O’Donnell will still be there later. BET will still provide the second-rate, debateably exploitative programming which can be protested against while they ignore their obligation to provide news and substance to the very target group the cable news channel is named for.
Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS et al. need to forget that this is happening in Africa and treat this matter like it was in Europe. I strongly feel that were this happening on a separate continent, with people of a different color, more would be done. Well it is happening and they are human beings and we can do more.
And politicians can take the simple amount of time it takes to act on HR 180 IH, Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, forcing companies to admit if they are supporting the regime that is murdering women and children for no reason beyond the fact they exist. I dare even one politician to provide a reason that is logical that explains why this has not passed yet. To explain why this simple act has yet to be passed after 7 months seems inplausible to me. That only 151 Representaives have backed this is sad. How many lives will it take to move forward and act?
America is a great nation, I believe that without hesitation. We have helped and defended millions across the globe for decades. We stand for freedoms and rights that no other nation can claim to give so completely. Because of these reasons we cannot fail to act when the need is so dire.
We sent troops to Bosnia, though almost at the end of the conflict. We had a no-fly zone and sanctions for a year or 2 prior as I recall. That wasn’t working and we sent in troops. They were part of U.N. force s, but were predominantly ours, as usual from what I recall. And the number of troops was over 2,500 for us alone. That war, which had it’s own ethnic cleansing – genocidal mass murder really – lasted 3 years and had about 100,000 dead and lasted 3 years.
I’ll say it again, 200,000 are dead. The killing is still going on. And Congress has been satisfied over the last 4 years to merely mention that we don’t like this. We haven’t divested money (which we finally did to South Africa after decades of Apartheid), put in a mostly useless no-fly zone, or anything of serious importance. They have investigated how officials that serve at the pleasure of the President were fired though. For the better part of this year they have wasted tens of thousands of dollars looking for a conspiracy – which has no basis in law – and read through some 40,000 pages of information. Meanwhile people are dying.
Try to equate this. Several people, whom the President can fire at will, without need of reason and completely legal, were fired. No law was broken. There has been a continual hunt for evidence of a conspiracy. To my knowledge, even if one did exist it still does not break the law and those fired remain fired. Yet no facts or actions have been found to suggest what is being searched for. So Congress decides it needs to search more, wasting our taxes and their time.
On the other side of the equation, in this example, roughly 33,000 people have been killed (estimates claim that the number could be 50% higher or more) and 410,000 have lost their homes and possessions in that same time. That’s more than most towns and many cities in this nation.
So why was Bosnia so much more important than Darfur? Neither country is truly significant in virtually any manner. Strategically, economically, militarily and so forth. Why was America willing to defend the innocent coif one nation; and are willing to allow the deaths of others now?
For those that disagree with war, or murder, or genocide I ask you how does it feel to know that you may be indirectly supporting these things.
In a nation as rich and powerful as we are. To see how little we are doing, and the things we are wasting our time with, is quite insulting.
There is no simple solution to this situation. Blame covers virtually ever member of Congress and the Executive branch. The reasons for enacting this war, no matter how questionable today, have been supported by more than the majority of Congress up until the 2nd quarter of 2006. Even until the end of April 2007 the general consensus has been in support.
Partisan bickering has not resolved any of the issues involved. No effective plan has been offered as a counter to the existing one. No plan currently includes the probable outcomes 2 years or more down the road.
Anger at various officials has overshadowed the actual events ongoing. If President Bush were to be replaced by ANYONE at this moment, there still would be no better plan in place than what exists at this moment. In fact there would be less of a plan in place (based on the exact plans declared by virtually all the candidates to date) thus promoting chaos.
Emotion must be removed, as well as partisan election games, to reach an effective middle road. Extremes are ineffective and costly. Lack of planning is terrifying. We are America, better can be done.
Looking at the other side of this issue, we see those that wish to fight until all opposition is removed. Such an action requires the building of a colony or commonwealth. It would involved the complete takeover by the United States. Iraq would cease to be independent and fighting would continue for about 2 generations. This plan would require that America rebuild the entire nation. A new infrastructure, buildings, economy and education system would need to be created. Military bases would have to be installed. The cost to America would be enormous, with any return on the investments there not being seen for 5 years to a decade.
An immediate problem would be the response by moderate and liberal nations in the world. France as an example would likely be outraged by ‘actions in America that harkens back to imperialist empire-building.’ During the first 10 years at least there would be constant attacks on Iraq, with several nations (notably Iran) claiming that this was an attack on Islam. The loss of soldiers would increase roughly 10-fold over the first 10 years.
Given history, it would be expected that assimilation would begin after the generation raised with improved facilities (hospitals, schools, running water, ect) reached the age of 25, and began families of their own. By the second generation internal support of America would be high and the improved quality of life would draw more moderate individuals from neighboring countries. Stateside, there would be fewer attacks but they would be more severe, as the emphasis would be on destabilizing Iraq. Liberals in America would be enraged, and strong divisions in both political parties would emerge. Taxes would increase to offset the investment in Iraq, but economic returns would improve roughly 7-12 years after the start of this program.
As neither of these extremes is attractive, or viable, what alternative exists? There is no plan offered currently other than that of continued fighting. The current plan requires Iraq to stabilize it’s government, which is not happening. The near civil war in Iraq will likely take about a decade to resolve, with continued U.S. support. Current strategies will continue the slow loss of American soldiers and high cost of fighting. Within 2 years taxes will have to be increased to cover the cost. The strain on the economy will be increased, and corporations will seek to gouge business in Iraq to make up for the risk and protracted cost.
Without U.S. support, actual civil war will occur, with Iran and several other nations supporting various groups in the fighting. The Middle East will have higher tensions, oil prices will go up. Hundreds of thousands will die. Likely an autocratic if not theocratic government will be formed and tens of thousand will be jailed in response to having aided the U.S. efforts or those of other groups. The children that lost family, as well as grown adults will be convinced that America was the cause of the current ills, and that they are worse than the subjugation of Saddam Hussein and the Baath party. Within 7 years, recruits to Al Quida and similar groups will triple to a 5-fold increase. Within 2 years of a gradual loss of U.S. support, without a strong central government, America will have a major attack, with several minor attacks similar to those that have occurred in England happening before and after the main attack.
Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq - 7.10.2007.1
Not long ago there was a battle in the Congress to bring troops fighting in Iraq back to America. This was lead by the Democratic party, based in part on the results of the 2006 mid-term elections where Democrats ran on the platform of change in Iraq policy. The Democrats failed to force the President to withdraw immediately, the only concession being the establishment of a timeline where the status of the new surge policy would be evaluated in September 2007.
Today there is renewed efforts to bring the troops back home. While the initial push for this same policy was a partisan effort, largely, 5 months ago this new effort is more bi-partisan. Some are stating they are unwilling to wait to learn the results of the strategic change, and are demanding the troops return. Without regard to political affiliation this is a serious issue with ramifications that will affect America for decades. As such some need to pause and evaluate what we are doing, and attempting to do.
Looking at the extremist views, in particular on the left, there is a call to leave Iraq immediately. Those that have this view seek to turn and run from Iraq. Semantics aside, that is what immediate withdrawal means. Let’s consider the implications of such an action. I will guarantee that upon news of an immediate withdrawal several things will happen. The first is that the news will be broadcast over Al Jazira (an Arabic equivalent of CNN or other cable news networks). Many of the most extreme militant groups in the Middle East watch this program regularly, and would learn of this act immediately. Within hours news of this would reach Afghanistan and Iraq, or more particularly those who are fighting American troops. EVERY nation in the world would see this as a loss for America, and in the Middle East anti-American groups would be dancing in the streets.
Within days of that news, attacks on American troops would increase. That is not a guess, it’s basic military strategy. The opponent is turning their back to flee, which means any aggressive action will have greater effect. The higher level of direct attacks, plus the demoralizing effect on American troops (no one likes to lose a fight, and as a nation that is the strongest in the world, losing to a few small groups is a smack in the face) would be devastating. Any student of military strategy will tell you that attacking retreating forces will cause them to have greater casualties, and confusion. Of course that does not include the fact that opponents of America will rally to Iraq, being in on the winning side is either a matter of self-preservation in a post-war country or a bragging point.
Going beyond the immediate increase of enemy forces, increased attacks, and the change in morale is the question of what happens stateside. Sleeper cells in the United States would be emboldened. New cells will seek to enter the nation. Within 6 months, several attacks will occur in several major cities. This is not random speculation but highly probable actions determined from the stated goals of militants that we are currently fighting, military strategies, and the rush of new recruits to organizations that will claim they cause America to ‘cower in fear and run away’. Looking across the world, and throughout history this always happens to nations that flee a fight of this nature.
Here is something annoying. You have not heard a single Presidential candidate speak about this. I don’t recall any news media coverage of this. Were it not for the efforts of Mr. Don Cheadle, and several other prominent actors, and the humanitarian award he received I might not have heard about this. Not that there was any significant attention made about Mr. Cheadle getting the award or why.
The point is that the United States government has reacted pitifully in regard to Darfur. So far 3 sessions of Congress have been discussing this and still nothing has been done. And here is the proof. On January 4th Representative Lee introduced HR 180 IH. If you wonder what that means it’s the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007 (Introduced in House). So far any attempt at accountability has gone out the window.
As of my writing this now, as Congress prepares to go on July 4th celebration seven months after introducing this bill the best thing that can be said is that it only took 3 months for a subcommittee meeting on this. In virtually seven months there has been no movement on this bill since March 20th. Perhaps if the members of Congress were in danger of losing loved ones there might be more action on the matter.
Now some of you may be saying, ‘Hold on, we don’t need to start another war.’ Others may be saying, ‘What is HR 180 IH?’
The answer to the first is that the bill doesn’t require the United States to put a single solider anywhere they aren’t already. The answer to the second is
Basically this bill cuts off money that goes to support what the 108th Congress
“declares that the atrocities unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan, are genocide.”
That was almost 3 years ago to the day. How many have died since that time do you think? The GENOCIDE was unfolding according to Congress, it still exists, and we barely hear anything about it.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress there was a genocide, President Bush told the U.N. that there as a genocide, yet only 4 states have passed laws requiring that no company doing business with the Sudan can do business with their state. Odds are it’s not your state. I can guarantee that it’s not New York State, home of Wall Street, and where the big six brokerage houses invest millions of dollars in mutual funds that could be doing business with [thus supporting] the Sudan and genocide.
I bet that 99% of those reading this now, that have a pension or mutual fund, have no idea what that mutual fund is invested in. I would bet that 99.5% have no idea what businesses might be supporting the Sudan government. Yet I am sure that, of those over 30 [which is maybe 50% of my readers] everyone was for and supported the bans against South Africa and Apartheid back in 1986.
To my knowledge, virtually every member of Congress is old enough to have at least heard about the 1986 bans. They have no excuse.
Of the 24 colleges mentioned in this bill there is not one that I am aware of that is a Black college. That could be simply an oversite of Representative Lee, or that they are doing matters separate of this bill. But I recall that back in ’86, there was more than one black college that was invested in South Africa.
Perhaps Congress can sleep at night without doing more than speaking about this terrible situation. Perhaps they have more to do in preparing their particular candidate for the 2008 election, or raising funds for that candidate. Perhaps every candidate for President right now can’t spend any time to come up with a 30 second soundbite for Darfur, as there isn’t enough time after explaining the resolution to Iraq, taxes, terrorism, social security, and why they are so great and warm people. Each of those points explained in 30 second soundbites. Perhaps the moderators of the debates are too overwhelmed with questions on when America will be out of Iraq, that question can be and has been asked in each debate maybe 20 different ways, to find one on Darfur.
I know that I was too busy writing to 6 blogs, and growing my company to stop and get into this issue. But at some point you have to stop and say, I can do more.
Well here I am doing more. I’ve raised the bar. Now you know. What will you do? Will you get in touch with you Congressional representative and ask them what they did over the 4th of July while people died and a simple resolution sat on the congressional floor? Will you take a moment to read HR 180 IH, the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007?
If someone says “so and so just said you sleep with animals” and you hit so and so, it doesn’t matter that what you were told wasn’t true or only partially true. You will be in a fight all the same. I it’s known that you stop fighting once you get a bloody nose, I’d expect you will get hit in the nose. If you do stop fighting because your nose starts to bleed, it doesn’t mean the other person is going to stop fighting, in fact I’d expect them to kick your arse now that you stopped resisting. Every kid in elementary schoolyards understands that.
I try to understand the conspiracists that feel Americans staged the 9/11 attack on other Americans. I am lost at how anyone could agree with this. I am befuddled. Where is the logic in it? What is the gain? Is there anything of worth for America in Afghanistan? Did we need to kill Americans to attack Iraq? Didn’t we fight a war previously without any attacks on our soil?
I wonder how anyone can claim that EVERY Jewish person was out of the Towers and away from the area. I personally know for a fact that several I know where there and injured. I am told from friends of Jewish persons being part of those that died. I wonder how anyone could know the religion of every person that didn’t show up for work that day, or everyone that died to be able to make such a claim. I wonder how many Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Whites and other minorities didn’t make it to the Towers that day. What are the percentages? If more women didn’t show up to work for the attack does that mean that N.O.W. organized the attacks? If that sounds ludicrous (which I feel it is) how is any other group of Americans more credible?
If it were Jewish Americans what could they gain? America already supports Israel. The Twin Towers were not owned by any Jewish corporations or persons at that time to my knowledge. If the profit were shared among Jews the payout from the insurance is worthless unless a handful of people were involved. If it were a handful, why would they need to kill thousands just to get a minor amount of money? Wouldn’t it have been easier to simply use hijacked planes that were empty and attack in the middle of the night?
Of course all Americans have a right to think whatever they wish. They have the freedom to make any movie, or help distribute any movie, they wish and can afford. But where is the logic in this theory? Where is the gain? And what consequence is likely? Wouldn’t EVERY enemy America use such a film to denounce the war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Wouldn’t EVERY militant Muslim group point to such a film to gain recruits and funds? Wouldn’t every terrorist use such propaganda to incite attacks against Americans everywhere in the world?
And I have to consider how different the actions of liberals today are from the actions of liberals during Viet Nam. How much support is shown by retreating from the fight now? How much respect is given to those that VOLUNTEERED to fight in IRAQ? How much confidence are we inspiring as congressmen and women seek to enact restrictions that would prevent soldiers from protecting themselves [part of the recent bill passed by 218 congressmen and women requires that there must be a 15 day prior notice to Congress before any troops can be moved into Iraq. Thus is troops need support from the air, they would need to wait 15 days to get a C130 in with supplies. This is a fact not a supposition. Read page 72 of the bill.] I wonder how long it will be before ultra-liberals call the troops baby-killers as they did to those that returned from Viet Nam.
These are things I wonder and see. What about you?