Monday, June 29, 2009

On Honduras: Castro, Chavez, Ortega & Barack Stand Together!

Contrary to some reports, Honduras is not necessarily on the brink of civil collapse (See Full Story).

What happened in Honduras has all to do with a leftist President, Mel Zelaya, who thought he could circumvent the Honduras Constitution and give himself extraordinary, Chavez-like powers to remain in power on an indefinite basis and control many other aspects of Honduran life. According to their Constitution, only the Congress of Honduras could, by majority Congressional vote, set up general elections for the people to vote to modify their own Constitution.

However, Zelaya, unable to get the required Congressional approval, decided to do an end-around to the Constitution and print up his own ballots -- vis-a-vis help from his dictatorial left-wing buddy, Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela -- and take the vote directly to the people; bypassing both Congress and the Constitution. The Honduran Supreme Court nullified Zelaya's actions by declaring them unconstitutional and illegal. The Honduran military enforced that illegality by arresting Zelaya and seizing all the ballots. The Honduran Congress has since appointed an interim President (as per their Constitution) and declared that a new, permanent President would be elected in fall elections (again, as directed by the Constitution).

All that was done in Honduras was to enforce the laws of their country as outlined in their own Constitution. Now, our own leftist President, Barack Obama, seems to think that this was done illegally; completely ignoring Zelaya's attempted power-grab. This is the same President who thought, initially, that Iran's election was all on the up-and-up and who was totally reluctant to decry the violence in that country that stemmed from what was obviously a bogus election to keep Ahmadinejad in power. Obama said that he didn't want to meddle. Now, with a leftist and possible dictator being removed for violations of the Honduran law, Obama has decided to "meddle" by declaring those actions, certified by the Honduran Supreme Court, as being "illegal" (See Full Story).

Does anyone see a pattern here? Which side does Obama always seem to take in these international situations? Just think back to last year when the then-campaigning Obama called for "restraint" on the part of both Russians and the Republic of Georgia when, in fact, Russia was both the invader and the aggressor in that international situation (See Full Story). In doing so, Obama, as in the case, now, sided with the anti-democracy Russia and completely ignored their aggression and violation of international law.

In this hemisphere, the loudest voices against what has happened in Honduras are: Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and Barack Obama. Need I say anymore?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Obama-Show is Losing Steam!

This morning's Gallup poll, reflects a Presidential popularity rating that is sinking fast.

At the beginning of June, Obama had a 64% personal approval rating in that poll. As of today, he has slipped to a 57% approval rating. That's a slide of 7 percentage points in a single month. Further, if you look at the fact that he had a "taking office" approval rating of 68 to 69%, Obama has suffered a loss of job approval in the month of June, alone, that is greater than all the previous months' losses combined since he took office. This suggests a loss that is rapidly accelerating.

If this trend continues and he loses another 7% in July, he will be right on the edge of a 50% approval rating. Anything lower than that would suggest that he has become an "unpopular" President. And if that does happen, he would have done so in just 5 months.

His disapproval numbers are even more disconcerting. Upon taking office, he had a mere 10% disapproval rating. Now, he is at 35%. That's a net dissatisfaction increase of 25 percentage points. Combined with the 12% decline in his job approval since taking office, America's dissatisfaction with this President is increasing at a factor of 2 to 1. This also means that previously undecided respondents are quickly moving into the disapproval camp faster than those who previously supported this President. When Obama took office, about 21 percent of the poll respondents were undecided. Today, that number is down to 8 percent with the majority of those, if not all, becoming dissatisfied with Obama. This is important, because those that were undecided at the time that he took office showed a logical restraint by taking a wait and see attitude about this President. At the same time, those who gave Obama a high approval rating at the time he took office, with no job performance to speak of, were being totally disingenuous. I think Obama should really worry about all the fence-sitters who have gone negative towards him.

We know from other polls that the bulk of this erosion in popularity is also coming from Independent voters. In just one month, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reported that the popularity of Obama among Independent voters fell to 45% from a prior month's 60% (See Full Story). Anyway you shake it, that is a big drop from a group that tends to shape elections and who swing approval/disapproval rates in the polls. Independents are certainly less ideologically bound to any particular political party and are a very good indicator of the general satisfaction/dissatisfaction of any politician.

That same NBC/WSJ opinion poll also reported Obama's overall rating at 56%; which is very close to the Gallup number of 57%. Because of this synchronicity between the two polls, I think you can be somewhat assured that the loss of Independent voter support is genuine.

Another sign of waning support for this President and his policies didn't come from a poll but from ABC's ratings when it aired the all-day-with-Obama on healthcare show last week. ABC was third in the rankings that night. The Obama-show had less than 4 million viewers and, during one time slot, actually failed to beat a rerun of a sit-com. I think if that same ABC stunt had been pulled right after Obama took office the ratings would have been at least four times that of this week's actual ratings; maybe even higher. But, now the low ratings show disinterest in what has truly become an overexposed President that is more in love with his own words than in producing actual results.

I think the polls are reflecting the fact that this guy's "flowing" and "glowing" words aren't matching up with the realities on the ground. Things aren't happening the way he promised and he will be punished, popularity-wise, for the deceptions being attempted in and by his well-delivered speeches.

As I had said long ago, this guy is a "Flim-Flam Man" and a lot of people are starting to realize it!

Note: The Gallup daily tracking poll can be viewed at this link (Click Here To View).

8 Things Ahmadinejad Can't Tend To During These Iranian Riots

Normally, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, is a very, very busy guy. Being both a regional and world agitator as well as being the exporter of both verbal hate and weapons to disrupt and kill Israelis and Americans in the region really takes up the better part of his day. After all, a really good hate speech doesn't write itself!

So, it is no wonder that all the political unrest over his stealing of the recent election is taking time away from a lot of important tasks that he has on his table. These people and students that are rioting need to understand that there is important hate work to be done. There's no time for all this silly rioting, the beatings, and the deaths. All this crap is keeping Ahmadinejad from doing God's work!

In order to give some clarity to this situation, I have put together a list of projects that might "not" be getting Ahmadinejad's full focus; either now or until the rioting stops:

  1. The continuance of a nuclear weapons program that can be used to threaten Iran's neighbors and that can be used to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
  2. The development of a long-range missile system that would give Iran the capability to deliver a nuke attack on Israel and, if necessary, even Europe.
  3. The continuing development of plans to disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz that could starve the Western world from Middle East oil and bring those countries like the U.S. to their economic knees.
  4. The export of weapons and weapons systems to Hezbollah so they can continue their disruption of political activities in Lebanon.
  5. Weapons assistance to Hamas in their battle against the Israelis.
  6. Weaponry and explosives to insurgents and dissidents in Iraq like Muqtada al Sadr that can be used to kill American soldiers and disrupt Iraq's plans to be a Democracy.
  7. The continuation of dialog with that "axis of evil" buddy, Kim Jong Il in North Korea, to develop better nukes and longer range missiles.
  8. Continued speeches threatening Israel and the complete denial of the holocaust. (A real crowd pleaser in Iran and music to the ears of any Palestinian).

Thank God that President Obama has elected to not "meddle" in Iran's current political problems. That would have just added another distraction that, too, might have kept Ahmadinejad from his long list of dirty deeds. After all, just because Iran is a meddler in the affairs of all its neighbors and loves to kill Americans, that doesn't mean we have to compound the instability by talking down the current Iranian regime. Right? I'm sure Obama can't wait until the rioting ends in Iran and we can all get back to fighting Iranian-backed insurgents in Iraq.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Truth About Cap and Trade

What I am about to say has been said in this blog many times; in a variety of ways. But, with the passage of the massive Cap and Trade bill by the House of Representatives on Friday, much of what I have said in the past is worth repeating.

The current push for Climate Control through taxing schemes like Cap and Trade has nothing to do with saving the planet. To say that CO2, an innocuous and ever-present gas, is the blame for the earth's current warming trend is just a ruse. The real thrust behind Global Warming and the exaggeration of CO2 as a pollutant is to control human expansion and to eliminate all those things that liberals hate like SUV's, coal energy plants, fossil fuel burning vehicles, and the encroachment of humanity into nature.

Years ago, the enemies of the tree hugging left were true pollutants like sulfur dioxide. Humanity knew that kind of pollution had to be controlled because their eyes burned and the sky was increasingly being blocked out by dark yellow clouds that hung over most of our cities. People could literally see the pollution; feel it; and, they knew that it was a real problem. For once, the tree-huggers thought they had found the tool to fight human expansion into the pristine nature of this country. But, to their dismay, science found ways to fight the pollution and, subsequently, continue mankind's march into the destruction of nature. Science created catalytic converters in cars to minimize tailpipe pollution. Scrubbers were developed to eliminate and minimize pollution from all the smoke stacks across America. The burning of fossil fuels was limited to low sulfur coal and oil products. But, still humanity marched on.

But now, the "greens" think that they have their perfect culprit in controlling humanity: Carbon Dioxide. This is something that science really can't defeat because it is so basic to life on this planet. It is produced when any of us breathe. It is produced every time any carbon based substance is oxidized (burned). In our atmosphere it is only 350 ppm (parts per million) or about 35 ten-thousandths of a percent of our atmosphere. Another 50 times that amount of CO2 is trapped in our oceans in the form of sodium bicarbonate and carbonic acid. Yet, the global warming scientists would have you believe that any change in this minute gas in our atmosphere creates a greenhouse gas and is killing our planet. Ultimately, to the extinction of mankind.

The perfection of the global warming argument is that every man, woman, and child has and creates a carbon footprint; either directly or indirectly. The more humans and human activity, the more CO2 is that is being produced. Recently, the output of cattle is even being blamed for the high levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. Logically, if you could control beef consumption by either minimizing the number of humans that inhabit the earth and/or by moving humanity to a vegan lifestyle, the planet could be saved. Certainly, less humans would mean less cars; less houses; less energy usage; less roads; less air travel; less plastic products; and, so on.

Even though the supposed science that has been used to support the tenants of global warming has been weakened -- almost every day -- by contradictory events and by the exposure of faulty assumptions, the liberal politicians and environmentalists are pressing hard to control human activity and CO2 output because it has never ever really been about the science. It has always been about green ideology. Today, by a factor of more than 10 to 1, there are more scientists who are refuting the conclusion that global warming is man made.

Despite acute rises in CO2 levels since 2001, and the decades before that, the consolidated measurements of the earth's temperatures have remained flat to slightly downward in the last eight years; and, for sure, that is totally contradictory to the junk science of global warming. Further, previously receding ice masses are, once again, growing. Since Katrina/Rita, the hurricane seasons have been relatively muted; and, this is in direct contradiction to Al Gore's opening scare-tactic in his global warming movie: An Inconvenient Truth. Supercomputer outputs that have been used to compute the effects of global warming have been found to be as much as 50% wrong in their conclusions. Many climatologists believe that an error rate of 50% is too conservative. Others say those global warming conclusions are completely wrong. That's because those computations are incapable of taking into consideration the energy output of our Sun. Right now, the sun's activity is quite low; probably accounting for the flattening out of temperatures over the last 8 years.

Those scientists who buy into the global warming theory have set out to "only" prove it to be right. Contrary to good scientific practice, they don't necessarily collect the facts that could, too, disprove the theory. Most of these people are ideologues who are being paid by government grants to support the theory of Global Warming. That to me, is truly a conflict of interest.

Often, in support of the global warming theory, they will take data as to when the earth has been known to have gone through a warming period and, then, eagerly run out to take core samples to see if high levels of carbon dioxide are present at the same time. And, guess what? High levels of CO2 are almost always there during warm periods during earth's history. But, think about that. Could it just be that CO2 is a symptom and not necessarily the cause? Could the presence of CO2 be as illogical as saying: "Every time I am sick I run a temperature. Therefore, if I can control my fevers I won't be sick!" No sane person would see the logic in that statement. So, then, why take for granted that CO2 is the cause of earth's warming? And, why is CO2 not present during some warming periods in the earth's history?

If CO2 is really the cause of earth's warming, why does the earth manage to cool itself down after high levels of carbon dioxide? Certainly, if the earth flooded, the immobile CO2 eating plants would suffer greater losses than the humans and animals that could flee the floods. As a consequence, the CO2 levels without plants would continue to go higher and higher. That's why most climatologists blame the sun and its rise and fall of solar activity as the main culprit behind global warming. Also, the world's oceans and their ability to absorb and expel CO2 might be a contributing factor in those core samples that are being taken. But the effect of the sun and our oceans are not included in the supercomputer findings that support global warming.

To believe that we can predict temperature and weather patterns in the decades to come is pure folly. We can't even predict weather events that are any more than a few days out. Forecasting literally changes on a daily basis. If we really could forecast accurately, the flooding of New Orleans would have been clearly predicted and many people spared from the agony of that event. In many ways, the fact that Katrina's landfall couldn't be predicted, only makes Al Gore's junk science prediction of increased hurricane frequency and intensity, a complete joke.

Make no mistake about it, the Cap and Trade bill that was just passed by our House of Representatives is designed to punish humanity; and, by doing so, restrict most human activity by making that activity too expensive to conduct. Some of the industries that will be hit the hardest under this bill are directly involved in human expansion on this earth. Those industries include metal mining and production, like steel and aluminum, that are used in make cars, airplanes, and buildings; the production of cement, which is produced under high heat in coal-powered kilns and which uses the ash from the coal as a component in the final product; and, the extraction of crude oil and the production of oil-based products which include gasoline, heating oil, asphalt, paints, fertilizers, and plastics. Put all those things together and you can see how punitive it will be to produce and operate a car or other vehicle and how expensive it will become to build roads, buildings, and homes. As a consequence, human activity, at least in the United States, will be stifled because of the cost.

The real benefactor in this Cap and Trade bill will be the Chinese and other foreign countries that won't be burdened by the high, punishing costs associated with carbon penalties. As a consequence, foreign imported steel, aluminum, and plastics will drive domestic production out of existence. Foreign cars will be cheaper than those made here; both from a labor and from a material standpoint. Homes will be smaller because of increased costs. Condos will rule as the primary mode of housing in the United States. Office buildings, because of the high cost of cement and steel, will be built on a minimal basis. Expect, office space to be cramped in the future. Our cars will be smaller. Air travel will be more expensive. Many people will probably elect to not have children because of the high cost of supporting them.

Cap and Trade has done little in the last four years to drop CO2 levels in Europe. It is primarily responsible for the 18% unemployment rate in Spain. Australia is currently in the process of voting down their Cap and Trade system because of other failures around the world. The only thing that Cap and Trade has produced in Europe is an inflated cost of products and energy.

Cap and Trade and the punishment of humanity is what the liberals and the environmentalists are really hoping for; even though, they, themselves are humans. But, of course, they are better humans than the rest of us.

And, that's the truth behind Cap and Trade and all the junk science of Global Warming.

Lastly, let's not forget that some prominent companies and people are set to make a lot of money if Cap and Trade is passed into law. For sure, Al Gore has already become a multimillionaire because of his involvement in his own global warming "awareness" campaign. He also has pieces of businesses that will see dramatic boons in revenues, once Cap and Trade becomes the law. Further, companies like Goldman Sachs and General Electric are seeing gold in their futures with the trading of carbon credits. General Electric also sees additional revenue streams from building wind turbines, the selling of smart grid systems to power companies, and by increased sales of electric motors that will replace gas power engines. Solar power companies just can't wait. For them this is manna from heaven because they have never before been able, to cost effectively compete with fossil fuels. The only people that will lose because of Cap and Trade are the American people. Costs will skyrocket. We will be the losers because of high inflation, complete losses of industries and high unemployment rates.

To Obama: No we can't!

A good captain of a ship or an airplane doesn't sail or fly directly into an oncoming storm. Worst case, he may decide to seek a safe port to avoid the storm completely and resume his trek once the storm has passed. At the very least, any smart captain will make course corrections in the face of danger in order to protect his ship and its occupants. This is the wise captain.

An inexperienced captain will not recognize the dangers ahead and/or limitations of his own skills. He will thoughtlessly head into the storm in some attempt to maintain his course and arrive on schedule. To that end, that decision could result in the fatal loss of the crew, the passengers, and the ship that he was responsible for. All because he couldn't budge from his schedule. This is not a wise captain...this is a fool.

In more than just a few ways, we have an inexperienced captain at the helm of this ship of state that the world calls the United States. In the midst of a recessionary storm, he is totally unwilling to make any course corrections or to find a safe haven until the storm abates. He wants it all. His stimulus package is stalled and the deficits are massive. But, no mind. It's "yes we can" matter what!

He presses on to do a massive and expensive redo of health care that, by most estimates, will increase the deficits and reduce the quality of health care in this country. It may not actually provide insurance to the uninsured. But for sure, it will gives us the kind of backlogged medical care that is prevalent in both Canada and Britain and much of Europe.

With "Cap and Trade" he plans to drive energy costs through the roof in a futile attempt to fight a global warming problem that is gaining skepticism by the day; especially since temperatures have remained flat for the last decade even though CO2 levels have continued to rise.

He wants to swamp the social programs and welfare systems of this country by nationalizing illegal aliens.

The best example of his inexperience is the Stimulus Package. It isn't working. Less than 5 percent of the stimulus monies have actually left Washington, D.C. to help the economy. Because of his lack of experience, he failed to understand that construction jobs "aren't" just sitting around waiting to be started as soon as the money is approved. If he had spent more time as a manager of something -- a manager of anything --- he would have known that a lot of approvals and engineering work had to have been done before a single shovel could even be sunk into the ground.

Furthermore, he foolishly promised that his stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8%. Now, without any apology, he is now saying unemployment will top out at 10% this year. What if, as many economists predict, unemployment rises to 11% or higher? What then, Captain? Do we then need another near trillion dollars in stimulus to fix what the first stimulus didn't fix? How many tries does this President need at the trillion dollar trough to get it right?

We don't have a wise captain. He is taking us into a storm that this country may not be able to ride out. The ship may take a while before it actually sinks; but, by all indications, it will.

The bottom line? You can't have it all! No... No, you can't!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obama's Thuggery Tactic Of Calling People Out

If you haven't noticed yet, Obama seems to be using the following tactic to disparage his detractors or certain people or groups that he doesn't like.

First, he publicly calls them out by name. It could be Rush Limbaugh; or, greedy Wall street; or, AIG; or the selfish bondholders at GM; or, most recently, the Fox News Channel.

Then, in doing so he attempts to demonize them and turn public opinion against the named entity. In the case of AIG, the SEIU union members and ACORN followed his lead and actually picketed executive's homes to push public opinion against those people. That stunt was the equivalent of a public flogging.

When Joe the Plumber criticized his higher tax plan, Joe got the "flogging" treatment from every left wing entity in America; including the American media. Similarly, Sarah Palin was compared to a "pig with lipstick" and the left wingers, like Letterman, have continued to attack her, even as of today, in a lemming-like fashion; all for their anointed one, Barack Obama.

In the last week Obama has heavily gone after Fox News. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said that a certain news channel spent all their time criticizing him. During last night's Radio and Television Correspondence Association dinner, he again singled out Fox by saying that he, like Oprah, gave everybody a car company. But, for Fox, he said he gave them AIG. In that joke, he attacked two groups: Fox and AIG.

In the case of Fox, Obama cannot tolerate any dissent. It is sort of like saying: "Though shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." On top of the calling out of Fox News, he has pulled back his Administration and staff from being interviewed by Fox. The purpose of this kind of behavior by Obama is to force Fox to get in line. And, if they don't, there won't be anymore interviews. Apparently, this thug, Obama, doesn't consider himself the President of all the people. Just the ones he likes.

Obama doesn't just use this tactic on Americans and American entities that he has no use for, he uses it against other countries and their leaders. Recently, he purposely and publicly rejected a dinner invitation with the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy (See Full Story). This was an intentional snub and was done in retaliation to comments that Sarkozy made within the last few weeks.

Obama is devotee' of Saul Alinsky: the founder of Community Organizing groups like ACORN. When it came to opponents he espoused the following serious tactics:
  1. Isolate your opponent or detractor by publicly identifying them.
  2. Demonize them in the process to create public opinion against them.
  3. Then, crush them into submission.
ACORN used this very tactic quite well in getting Banks across America to give out risky loans to low income and minority applicants. They would picket Bank lobbies and store fronts and use the Community Reinvestment Act as their hammer to demonize that bank. They would get the local media involved. And, ultimately, the Bank would give in by issuing more high risk loans. Similarly, Jesse Jackson has used this tactic for years to get money out of Corporations for his Rainbow Coalition and to get companies to hire more minorities.

Make no mistake, Obama is using Chicago-style thuggery politics. He is using ACORN and Saul Alinksy tactics. In doing so, he is stomping all over the freedom of speech in this country. In essence, he is a 'Thug'!

That, to me, makes him less presidential and, probably, the most petty President we have ever had. In support of this pettiness, think about this. Fox News, at best, gets about 3 to 3-1/2 million viewers for any given time slot during the day. This is only 1 percent of all the people in this country. Combined, the Obama networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC get over 15 million viewers each night while they are hyping their new god, Barack. Fox, like Rush Limbaugh, are not big players on the media stage of this country. That's why Barack's attacks are truly petty. It is like fretting over a single leaf that has fallen from a tree! I think Barry would better serve himself by worrying about the increasing loss of job approval points among those Republicans and Independents who might have voted for him. Also, he should start to worry about those previously dedicated Democrats who are now openly criticizing him like Bill Maher, Camille Paglia, Whoopie Goldberg, and so many others.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Health Care: Another Obama "Trust Me" Moment?

Maybe, just maybe, before we rush headlong into Obama's healthcare plan, we should first judge how accurately he has been with his other plans thus far. Certainly, if he was spot-on with his past promises, there should be no reason "not" to believe that his current promise on healthcare reform would come true. Right?

Well, let's see. Let's first look backwards at the Obama Stimulus Package.

He told us that if we wasted any time in not passing his package, we would see 8.7% unemployment by the end of the year. With the quick passage of the stimulus, unemployment will be held in check to 8%. So, the Congress passed it in haste. Now, four months later, unemployment not only passed his 8% promise; but, we are now at 9.4% with half a year left. In addition, he said that everything in his Stimulus Bill is "shovel ready" so that this economy would get back on it's feet quickly. Now, with over four months past the passage of that bill, only 4% of the money intended to stimulate the economy has actually been spent. All those "shovel ready" projects are being stalled by the typical red tape of state and local bureaucracies. Nothing about the Obama stimulus package has come to fruition thus far; and probably won't in the future. In fact, Obama and team Obama were also wrong on how much debt his plan would incur. He projected a $1.7 billion deficit. Today, it is estimated to be at least $1.84 trillion. When calculated next month, it will probably be over $1.9 trillion and still climbing. So... You've got to ask yourself. Won't we be getting the same kind of lousy accounting with his healthcare program?

On February 23, Obama announced his "31 percent" solution to help 9 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, foreclosure rates have since accelerated. So, much for that prediction!

Then there was the Public Private Investment Program (PPIP) that this President, in conjunction with his Treasury head Tim Geithner, said was needed to relieve banks from toxic assets like foreclosed-on homes contained in mortgage-backed securities. Recently, little Treasury Timmy said that the demand has fallen for the program (See Full Story). He said it was because the banking system has stabilized. Oh, really? With foreclosures rising, I find "that" a bit hard to believe. Most people believe that the banks and other funding businesses, find the Geithner/Obama program toxic. No private business entity is interested in partnering with this government in that PPIP -- knowing full well that this partnership could result in salary and bonus dictates, firing of their CEO's and other execs and imposed restrictions on everything from travel to advertising. Obama can't go to war with business and, then, expect them to work with him to save the country.

Then, there were all those transparency promises. Every dime of stimulus money that was being spent was going to be displayed and tracked on the website. Now, it looks like, maybe -- just maybe -- we might see some numbers start to show up by the middle of next year. While Obama promised no waste in the Stimulus Package, we are already seeing that waste confirmed by his own V.P., Joe Biden (See Full Story). By then, the program will be half over.

Obama had also promised that every bill that would come before the President's desk for signature would be posted five days before signing. None so far! On top of that... Just recently, he has decided to block access by the press to the White House guest log. Makes you wonder what this most-transparent President is trying to hide! And, does anyone think by just meeting with Republicans and, then, ignoring what they have to say is some kind of "bipartisanship" move as promised in his campaign? Not hardly!

AS to the war on terror and Iraq, he's busted several of those promises as well. He said he would abandon military tribunals for Gitmo detainees. Instead, he has decided to continue the policy of Bush and keep the tribunals. While he has promised to close Gitmo, it appears now that it will come at a hefty cost to the American tax payers. Apparently, we will be paying as much as $13 million a head to foreign governments to have them take these bad guys. On Iraq, in the campaign, he said he was going to get out of town as quickly as possible. He chided John McCain for saying that we could remain in Iraq for years. Now, Obama is sticking with an 18 month timetable and leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq on an indefinite basis. This comes from a guy who tried to float a resolution in the Senate in January of 2008 to immediately remove all the troops in Iraq.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, many would say he's a joke. Since Obama's taking office, both North Korea and Iran have gotten even more emboldened in their nuke efforts. In view of his commitment of strength to our allies around the world, he has managed to earn negative comments from Gordon Brown in the U.K., Sarkozy in France, Putin/Medeved in Russa, and Angela Merkel in Germany. However, on the other hand, he has done well to align himself with those who might be considered our enemies; like Hamas.

The broken promises go on forever. Even the gay voting block is disenchanted with his lack of fulfilling promises to them. Bill Maher, as staunch a liberal as can be, has even criticized Obama and is beginning to waiver on support for this President. He did so in a very public opinion piece that was published nationally (See Followup Story).

So, I ask you again: Why should anyone take his potentially flawed plans for healthcare seriously? Are we all just gluttons for false promises and bad projections and accounting that could ultimately result in bringing this great country to its knees by this rookie President? Let's put our foot down on this massive healthcare system that won't help our economy; that will give us less care in the future; that doesn't include tort reform; and that is really intended to kill off the elderly so they aren 't a financial burden to medicare and social security systems in future years!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Biden's Assesment of Obama's Economic Team

Today on Meet The Press, Joe Biden remarked that "everyone guessed wrong" when it came to the impact of the Stimulus Package on the economy (See Full Story). Oh really, Joe?

I seem to remember that all but 3 Republicans in the Senate voted against that package. And, one of those three has now declared himself a Democrat and stopped his silly charade as a Republican.

In this blog --- over and over, again -- I had said this package was a waste of money and wouldn't get the economy back on its feet.

On January 9th -- 10 days before Obama was to get in office -- I wrote this:

His "put people to work" effort is narrowly targeted in heavy construction for infrastructure, green jobs, and tax rebates (See Full Text Of His Speech). In the area of infrastructure, anyone who has had dealings in this area knows quite well that materials and equipment are the highest cost components in any project of this type. You actually get less labor bang-for-the-buck than in, say, home building. Also, the concept of building green jobs is similarly limited in its scope. Once again, those industries are less labor intensive relative to the cost of materials. The cost of creating a solar array is primarily buried in the expensive cost of those cells and not in the labor to build or install them. A lot of money will be spent without getting a lot of people back to work. Every program in Obama's plan goes on like that. Big dollars - limited labor.
Then, on January 29, I wrote this segment from that day's blog entry:

Actually, by not voting for this lard-laden stimulus plan, the Republicans have only a minimal risk; and, the ultimate rewards could be substantial. Rewards like regaining seats in Congress or regaining the White House. If, what the Democrats are doing doesn't do anything but further deepen the recession, the Republicans have gained a lot more then they would have lost. Any rational person can clearly see that this stimulus package is a loser. It might create a few politically-targeted jobs; but, it isn't going to bailout this massive and wide-ranging economy of ours. And, based on recent polls, the American people are seeing through this package as well. According to the latest Gallup poll only a slim majority of America (52%) has any faith in this stimulus package and that number is waning by the day as people start to see what is in it(See Full Story). If it weren't for 73 percent of the Democrats, voting with their ideological hearts and not logical minds, this bill would have very little support.

On February 15th, I made this comment within that day's blog:

The trick of any stimulus package is to get the "general" population to buy stuff. It should make them want to buy that extra cup of morning coffee, or newspaper, or a breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or a TV set, or whatever. Stimulus doesn't simply mean handing out a few jobs under some very specific government contracts. That's why this whole Stimulus Package is so misplaced.

This comment by Biden is so typically Biden or, simply, so typically from the airhead that he really is. A lot of people could see that the Obama Stimulus Package was a non-starter. That why Democrats, shortly after it was passed, were already talking about another, equally-as-large, stimulus package.

Thankfully, the American people can see through this crap and are starting to balk over anymore spending; whether it be for another stimulus plan; nationalized healthcare; or the "Cap and Trade" climate change savior. I think Obama and all the Democrats are now on thin ice over the amount of the current "Stimulus" package and how little impact it has had on our economy.

By Biden saying "everyone guessed wrong" is finally admitting that Obama's economic team is just rolling the dice and have no idea of what they are doing. Sometimes Joe's habit of gaffing is just him telling the truth!

And What About A-Rod?

Amid all the flap over Letterman's comments about Sarah Palin and her two daughters, something seems to be missing. Where's the outrage that A-Rod was slammed, too, by Letterman? In effect, Letterman's dumb joke also implied that A-Rod had sex with an underage Palin daughter.

In this case, Letterman is the loser --- all the way around. It appears the only way that Letterman can get higher ratings than the competing Tonight Show --- either with or without Leno --- is to create controversy. I guess we now have the late-night equivalent of another liberal dumb-ass: Rosie O'Donnell. Actually, I think, based on this particular controversy, Rosie might have the upper hand in both class and humor over Letterman. Over the years, Letterman's Top Ten was the only thing that has been remotely funny about his show. His ratings have been dismal against Leno. Now, he can't even do that without class or humor. Now, the Top Ten can be simply seen as the vehicle to promote his own political agenda. Like most liberals without the brains to compete intelligently against political figures that they disagree with, Letterman has jumped into the cesspool of base humor by using typical adolescent jokes and slanderous comments to try and defeat those that weaken their own political viewpoint.

In reality, that Letterman Top Ten against Palin was used out of the fear that she is gaining political strength. He's decided to use degrading humor as his means of a liberal counter attack. The power of using humor to weaken political figures is obvious when you look at the fact that not one TV comedian is willing to denigrate Obama with a joke. That's because, to do so, might weaken him in the eyes of America. Something that they could hardly refrain themselves from while Bush was in office.

Why "Cash For Clunkers" Won't Work

Our Congress is on the verge of passing a $1 billion plan to give people as much as $4500 to buy a new, higher mileage automobile (See Full Story).

Under this proposed law, if you buy a new car that is 4 mpg more efficient than your old one, the government will hand you a voucher for $3500. For a 10 mpg differential, the voucher will amount to $4,500.

While this may sound good politically, it is, in practical application, doomed to fail.

First, the true clunkers on the road are all well over 9 years old. The people driving these cars, even with a voucher from the Feds, are not going to go out and buy a new car. They just don't have the money. That's why they're driving a clunker in the first place.

Besides having to commit to high monthly payments against something that they currently have no monthly payments on, they will wind up paying more in annual fees and insurance payments. In most states the vehicle registration fees are age and value based. In Nevada (as an example), a 10-year old car costs about $40 a year to register. A new car will cost nearly $500. Additionally, a new car would probably add another $400 to $600 a year in higher insurance costs. Combined, you could be looking at a new expense of $850 to over $1000 a year that is over-and-above any monthly expenses for a new car loan.

The average mileage on a new car is about 27 miles per gallon and that car is destined to drive about 12,000 miles a year; once off the lot. That means that this new car will probably need about 450 gallons a year to operate. At the current rate of $2.60 per gallon, the annual fuel expense would be about $1170 dollars. A 4 mpg increase in a mileage rate is only a 14 percent reduction in annual fuel expenses. The resulting savings for buying that new car would be a little over $13 a month for the buyer. Not much of an incentive to spend $10,000 or more (even after the voucher) to save such a small amount of expense in gasoline.

In essence, this program is only going to benefit the middle class that have enough money during this recession to commit to buying a new car. It will appeal to those people who had already planned to buy a new car and who plan to move from high mileage SUV's to a lower mileage sedan or hybrid. This would attract people whose life style has changed for some reason; like recent empty nester's or retirees who no longer need that Chevy Suburban to haul kids around. But, the high mileage car that they leave behind them will still remain in the marketplace as a used car. And, given that the average car is 9 years old, that used car will remain on the road for a very long time.

The people in Congress don't seem to understand that minuscule savings in gas mileage won't warrant the high cost of buying a new car; even with vouchers. That's why Prius sales are down almost 50% from just last year. The actual savings in gasoline expenses just don't compute when compared to the increased cost of any new hybrid. Only the ideological "greens" are willing to forgo the true cost of buying a hybrid so they can impress their friends at the latest dinner party and tell everybody how they, personally, are saving the planet.

Lastly, the biggest problems with the "Cash For Clunkers" spending bill is that it will drive consumers to buy Toyota's and Honda's. That's because, the Japanese vehicles have higher mileage capabilities than most U.S. models of the same class or type. In fact, most Japanese hybrids are at least 4 mpg more efficient than any equivalent U.S. branded hybrid. Standard fueled cars are even more efficient. That means that many new car buyers just see this as a "government give-a-way" for something that they planned to do anyway.

Furthermore, the reason the U.S. car sales have slipped over the years is because resale values are lower and repairs higher. If you just look at any Cadillac, two years off the showroom floor, there are constant and reoccurring problems with things like the electrical system. That's why resale values are lower and why their Japaneses counterparts are more desirable. The quality and finish of a car on the showroom floor is one thing. However, the repair history is something completely different. U.S. namesakes can't compete with the Japanese after 2 or 3 years of operation. Just look at consumer reports or other rating agencies.

I just think that this "Cash for Clunker" program will be a cash cow for those who intended to buy a new car anyway. The true winners might be the Japanese and South Korean manufacturers who excel at high mileage vehicles. It might sway some to buy a hybrid because the $4500 voucher can ease the pain of having to foot $6000 or more for the price of a hybrid over the equivalent conventionally powered car. But, the bottom line will be that there will be just as many "clunkers" on the road after the program is over. If you really wanted to get those clunkers off the road, the program could be wider spread and more effective by giving any American a voucher if "they trade up" by 5 years on a "newer" and, not necessarily, new car.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let Inflation Begin!

Pure economic theorists will tell you that you shouldn't have inflation when an economy is being staggered by a recession. But, in reality, an economic situation, called stagflation, can happen and create inflation during a time when it shouldn't happen and when the economy is in the worst shape to absorb it -- like the current recession. Typically, stagflation results from too much micro and macro management of the economy that forces external factors to have a greater effect on the economy than would otherwise be seen.

Stagflation can be disastrous during an economic downturn because it can either exacerbate or lengthen the recession. It hurts the poor and the lower classes the hardest because their salaries are unable to rise as fast as prices are rising. This is because recessions and high unemployment have a heavy impact on salaries because there are just too many unemployed "workers" available in the market place to replace those who are not willing to work for less. Further, because prices tend to rise faster than salaries, the consumer winds up with less money in their pockets to buy stuff.

Right now, stagflation and the potential of excessive inflation is at our doorsteps. Despite falling demand, oil prices have more than doubled to the current $73 a barrel from a previous low of around $32 a barrel in just less than 6 months. Corn prices are up by 37 percent. Gold is up 50% from $700 an ounce in just a few months. Similarly, other strategic metals such as silver, palladium, and platinum have had also had 50% gains in the last few weeks. Other grains and rice are also on the rise.

The rise in oil is especially troubling. This is because its rise affects almost everything we buy or do. For example, gasoline prices have jumped a full dollar in pricing at the pump from a low of $1.61 a gallon. Oil is also heavily used in plastics, paints, and fertilizers. Everything has to be shipped to its point of sale and, for that reason, the high cost of oil affects the price of all products that are being sold throughout the US. For sure, grocery prices will be going up because of the heavy influence of energy costs and the costs of fertilizers.

Oil is being driven by three factors.

First, proven reserves for oil began dropping this year (for the first time in 10 years) because no new oil reserves have been found this year. In fact, our Congress passed a bill earlier this year to protect known reserves in this country from being drilled on. This means that production will be declining as the demand keeps rising. Like anything with high demand and with limited supply, this makes oil very valuable. Further, Obama's plans for "oil independence" are being shirked-off because his plans for wind turbines, solar panels, and high mileage vehicles won't really reduce this country's and the world's dependence on oil.

Because of this, we have the second reason why oil is on the rise. There are mammoth amounts of cash in this world that are just sitting idle and not earning much money at all. This cash is the money that was pulled from the housing market and the stock markets when the recession reared its ugly head. That money is now finding its way into oil futures; thus, driving the prices up. Some say this is speculation. However, the people buying those tankers full of oil in terms of oil futures know exactly what they are doing. True speculation implies that traders blindly buy into something without any real knowledge of what they are buying. The people driving the price of oil know exactly what their doing and see only limited risk. If oil goes down, they can turn on a dime.

Lastly, oil is increasing in value because the U.S. dollar is falling. In fact, in just the last month, the U.S. dollar has been cheapened against other world currencies by about 16 percent. The dollar is losing value because of our high debt load under this President/Congress and because of the increasing possibility that we can't repay that debt. Since most of our oil is imported, the devalued dollar causes the importation price of oil to rise. That in turn, causes all oil in the world marketplace to rise. Besides oil, everything we import becomes more expensive. Because we import more than we export, this means that most everything we buy will be sold to us at a higher cost.

The massive accumulation of debt since Obama took office is the driver that could ultimately cause hyperinflation and, at the same time, destroy any possible recovery from this recession. Too much debt means that the one generating the debt becomes a higher risk and, because of that, will have to pay higher rates of return to compensate for that risk. That's why high risk credit card holders are charged a higher rate than low risk holders. The same is true with this country's increasing debt. In the recent weeks, the 10-year U. S. Treasury bond has jumped from a low of 2.56 percent to a high, just this week, of nearly 4%. This is because our bonds lack buyers; buyers not sure about the risk. The 10-year bond is key to the health of our economy because it is integral in setting mortgage and other credit rates. In essence that jump in rates from 2.56% to 4% will cause any new $100,000 mortgage loan payments to increase from about $398 a month to $477 a month on a 30-year basis. That is almost $1000 more per year for a $100,000 mortgage since Obama took office. This will ultimately keep marginal home buyers out of the market for new or existing homes. And, let us not forget, it is the housing market that got us into this recession and it is the housing market that has to become healthy in order to lead us out of this recession. Rising mortgage rates aren't going to make that happen.

The inflated costs for home loans is just the tip of the inflation iceberg. Obama's plans for "Cap and Trade" will impose high costs on everything that we manufacture and sell in this country. The average family might get hit for as much as $6000 more per year in inflated energy and product prices. The green technology effort will be more expensive than today's well-established energy pricing components. That too will add to the cost of everything that is made and sold in America. Obama's health care plan will probably cost the average family in excess of $1000 or more per year for the things they buy. Furthermore, if the full cost for all these Obama programs isn't passed onto the consumer, then that means that tax revenues will go down with profits going down and less taxes will be paid. That will only result in the need to raise taxes on everyone. That's inflationary too.

Lastly -- speaking of taxes -- taxes are being raised at a rapid rate by state and local legislators as a means to offset the loss of tax revenues during this recession. Real estate taxes, auto fees, sales taxes, and income taxes are all being raised and that is inflationary.

It really doesn't matter if it's high gasoline prices or if it's higher taxes or if it's higher prices for products we buy, all of these things put together are impinging on the buying power of the consumer. That's why this recession is probably going to be with us for a long, long, time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On Ethics Charges: Palin Slays the Democratic Dragons

No headlines. No fanfare.

However, Sarah Palin has successfully defended herself against the onslaught of ethics allegations that the Democrats attempted to use to slander this popular Republican. In 14 cases, Sarah Palin has won all fourteen and put the Democrat's dirty-tricks of politics back into their well-worn boxes (See Full Story).

Now, who has the ethics problem? It certainly ain't Sarah!

Stimulating The Stimulus

According to Joe Biden and Barack Obama, their stimulus plan "now" needs some serious stimulating (See Full Story). Obama calls it politely: "ramping up" the stimulus activity. Maybe somebody should tell Mr. Obama that, in the cold weather areas, the construction season is almost half over! Big projects in the northern parts of America can't be started because there's not enough time left in the construction season to start and finish them. But, how would some "constitutional lawyer", now President, even understand or know that?

Does anyone remember how important it was to "immediately" pass this $787 billion stimulus pig? No one could waste any time to actually read the damn thing! Now, with almost 4 months past the passage of this Obama plan, only 4 percent of the moneys have flowed into the economy and the economy is still wallowing in higher and higher unemployment, lack of credit and purchasing power, and increasing foreclosures. Most of that money went to cover spending for police, fire, and teachers and to bolster welfare programs like unemployment insurance. Hardly, anything has been actually spent to create any jobs or really stimulate this economy. If you recall, Obama told us that we must pass the stimulus plan "or" we will see unemployment rates above 8%. Well, with the current unemployment rate at 9.4%, I'd say that "big lie" is in their court.

That same kind of urgency and false promises are on the lips of Obama when he is "now" urging the immediate passage of the currently "unplanned" health care reform. This is just crazy! There are now three or four plans floating around and he is urging their immediate passage. This is as nonsensical as his stimulus. It as if Obama is saying: "just pass any plan; even if it's a bad one." Maybe, based on the absolutely shoddy performance of his stimulus package, we should back off for a change, and intelligently think the health care issue through before spending nearly another trillion dollars. Does anyone get the impression that this President's goal is to just spend money so this country completely collapses in it's own debt and has to be totally rebuilt as some kind of socialist (non-capitalist) country? I think, maybe, that's the real plan. If you don't think so, take a good, hard look at the people and organizations (like ACORN) that Obama aligned himself with before getting into office.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More Confusing Unemployment Numbers

In past blog entries, I have expressed my confusion over the numbers being released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Friday's employment report just deepened that confusion.

First let me say, a consensus of economists had predicted that the amount of jobs being lost for last month should exceed 500,000. Because of that, those same economists projected a 9.2 percent unemployment rate from the current rate of 8.9 percent.

Remarkably, only 345,000 jobs were actually lost last month. That was 155,000 jobs better than the estimates. Further, the two previous months were also adjusted retrospectively to reflect less jobs being lost than had been previously thought (See Full Story). I say remarkably, because the weekly unemployment reports have been showing an increasing number of workers who were remaining unemployed and collecting benefits. That's the primary reason why the surveyed economists projected a loss of jobs in excess of 500,000.

The kicker comes in with the new unemployment rate being higher than estimated or an actual 9.4 percent versus the expected 9.2 percent. This is despite the loss of "less" jobs last month and the favorable revision of job losses for the two previous months.

To me, this higher than expected unemployment rate is a result of the Bureau's understated unemployment rates in previous month's and, now, their attempts to rectify their bad math. Something that I had complained about before in this blog (See my blog: "Some Fuzzy Math On Unemployment").

I am still having problems with this month's numbers. For sure, the Census Bureau's hiring of over a million workers in the next 9 months is probably muddying up the facts. But, it is interesting that no additional jobs were shown in the "Government Jobs" category of the report; accounting for additional census workers being hired. In fact, the "Government" actually shed 7,000 jobs in the last month. That to me is a head scratcher since the initial batch of census employees began being hired last month.

All in all, the report has some real inconsistency issues. The unemployment rate jumping as it did with a less than expected loss of jobs makes absolutely no sense. The lighter than expected job losses is inconsistent with the weekly unemployment benefits claims. And, where are those Census Bureau hires?

As the above referenced article mentions, most analysts believe that unemployment will jump to a rate of 10 percent of more. Some say as much as 10.7 percent. It is hard to believe that we won't go above 10 percent with 7 months left to report for this year and with the rate now sitting at 9.4 percent. With thousands of jobs being lost in the auto industry (dealers and assembly line workers), it is my guess that the year end number will be closer to 10.7 percent; rather than 10. To date, only 4 percent of the stimulus package has been spent. But, if you look at the actual spending details, many of the jobs being created by the stimulus program are short-lived in nature; such as the filling of post-winter potholes in Iowa and other road repairs (See a typical story about the stimulus package spending). Once those projects are done, any people that were hired will be back on the streets.

Lastly, there will be a lot of college grads who are now entering the job market and, in most cases, won't be able to find jobs. This, too, will push the unemployment rate up.

In conclusion, expect the Obama Administration to spin the 345,000 job loss as a "BIG" improvement and try to give us all the impression that their Stimulus Package is working. Of course, they will completely ignore the inconsistencies that I have pointed out. Let's not forget that Obama's own economic team said that the unemployment rate would top out at 8 percent for this year. At the current rate of 9.4%, they missed that mark by over 17 percent. Now, I guess I shouldn't hold my breath waiting for an explanation of why they were so far off on that number! You've got to wonder how many "other" numbers they are off by at least 17 percent --- and still counting! That's why I believe we will be closer to a $2.2 trillion deficit for this year than the Administration's early estimate of $1.7 trillion.

I would hope that America wakes up to the fact that we are getting spin after spin and no real facts from this White House.