Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day: Remembering The World's Heroes

This country owes so much to the dedication and sacrifice of its military through the years. From the fight for our independence from England, to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iran, our military has proven itself to be, probably, the world's best in keeping and establishing peace in the world. Contrary to each and every one of our adversary's claims during wartime, we have never been imperialistic in our military actions. In general, our operations are primarily driven by an attempt to remove a threat rather than being the threat. Our military is always the first to fight in all the hot-spots around this ever-dangerous planet. We always provide more than half of the forces involved in any United Nations peace keeping operation.

On this day of remembrance, we should be thankful that there are military forces like ours, who act as a counterbalance against all the evils that have risen up in almost every decade since man has been on this earth. Our fighting men and women have not only died to keep America safe, but to make the rest of world a safer place as well. In effect, the dead that we remember today are the world's heroes. Not just our own.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Two Presidents. Two Disasters. Two Failures.

Bush and the Republicans paid a heavy price for the failures following Katrina. Now, with the BP oil spill, Obama is trying to deflect similar responsibility by blaming anything and anyone, totally outside of his Administration, having anything at all to do with the disaster.

However, in both cases, the problem is one of government response. Bush and his "Brownie" were late to the game in protecting New Orleans and, subsequently, the political punishment was severe. Now, Obama finds himself in a similar pickle because of his Administration's lack of response to the oil spill disaster. In yesterday's press conference, Obama, again, tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, he made the claim that his people were in charge from day one but, at the same time, he clearly implied that BP was on their own when he said it was BP's responsibility to stop the spill and clean up the environment. Either the government is in charge or BP is? Which is it?

Obama is the most powerful man in the world in terms of what is at his disposal to fix any problem. He has 3 million active and reserve military that he could have tapped into for any abatement and cleanup. But, Obama didn't use the military service except to rely on a few Coast Guard personnel to work on the spill. He could have commandeered any number of oil booms from around the country and used the Air Force to airlift them to the gulf for deployment.

He could also have enlisted the talents of other oil companies in finding a solution.
From day one, Obama should have been on the horn talking to the CEO's of all the top American oil companies to ask them to join in on a task force to fix this blowout problem. He should have made it clear that all oil companies have a vested stake in this because it could affect the future of all drilling in this country. That would have been true leadership. But, Obama and all the Democrats are always at odds with the oil companies because of their "environmentalist" campaign contributions. However, oil is one of the most strategic commodities in all the world and absolutely essential to our national security; and, having an adversarial relationship with the industry is beyond belief.

Obama deserves the blame he's now getting and, by rights, a lot more. His ineptness is not only being criticized by the right, but by members of his own party. To say that this isn't his Katrina is just putting the hiding of Obama's ineptness above the destruction of the ecology and livelihoods of the Gulf region.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Socialist Tripe: This Time From Hillary Clinton

At a recent conference at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, Hillary Clinton made this comment: "The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues — whether it's individual, corporate or whatever taxation forms..."

I am really getting a little tired of this rubbish that the poor and working class of America aren't getting a fair shake when it comes to our tax system. From the IRS' own 2007 statistics, the bottom 50% of wage earners in this country contributed less than 3% of all the taxes being paid into the IRS. In fact, the bottom 40% pay no taxes at all. Additionally, some Americans, by virtue of the EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit, not only don't pay taxes but, instead, collect money each year from the IRS. In effect, EITC is just another welfare program.

Conversely, the top 50% of all wage earners in America pay 97% of Federal taxes. The top 25% pay 86% of all federal income taxes. The top 5% pay 60%; and, the top 1% pay almost 41% of all the taxes being collected by the IRS.

No one in the bottom 50% of this country is out there really creating jobs. They have enough to do just to keep their own jobs since most don't have the educational skills (like a simple high school diploma) to progress upwards in our economy. But, the people on the top end of America's pay scale not only pay heavy taxes but, at the same time, they use their disposable income to create more and more jobs; even if it is simply hiring someone to maintain there landscaping or paint their house. I would only ask Hillary: If everybody in America was like the bottom 50%, where would we be today? Given the amount of spending for all the socialist crap that the Democrats keep coming up with,we would be dead broke as a country; with zero jobs. Even if we took every ounce of money away from the so-called "rich" in this country who make more than $200,000 a year, we would still be up to our eyeballs in debt because it is really the lower 50% who aren't pulling their weight; and, it all starts with them not putting the effort in to graduate from high school and acquiring reading skills above a 6th grade level. But, sadly, the educational systems of the major cities of the U.S. are hard pressed to graduate 50% of their high school students. There are only so many ditches that can be dug by non-graduates and that is the reality that Hillary and the Democrats can't seem to comprehend. It isn't "Dave the drop out" with his zero paid taxes that's going to run the Apple Computer's of the world and drive the creations of thousands of jobs, now is it?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Having Us Believe The Unbelievable!

We are now supposed to believe that Joe Sestak was offered a non-paying, obscure, advisory committee position in return for his not running for the historically prestigious and well-paying job of United States Senator. To top it off, we're told that it was Bill Clinton, someone outside of the Obama Administration, who made that offer? This whole explanation stinks more than a truck load of rotten eggs.

Obviously, the "non-paying" aspect of the job offer was an important element to this story because it intentionally extricates the Obama Administration from the "quid pro quo" implication under Federal law. That's because the offer was made for "nothing of value"; a non-paying job. How convenient.

So, what was the reason for Sestak hiding any details from the get-go. Sestak could have simply said it was for an honorary position and that he was not interested. Finally, if the truth was so innocent, why the 3-month delay in any White House response?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On The 38th Day

On the 38th day, the ravaging of the sea and earth continued and, then, out of the darkness, there rose a figure. With outstretched hands, he declared "no more drilling"; and, the drilling was stopped. To the left, he is truly the messiah. On the right, they cowered in awe and amazement. But, the vast majority remained unsure. Yet, the sea and earth continued to die because this messiah was a false messiah and he was 38 days late with any damn miracle!

The Inability To Monetize Debt: Why California And Greece Are Alike

The ability to monetize debt or, in other words, to print more money to cover overspending is something that is reserved for government entities that can float their own currencies. The United States practices this constantly. But, the downside is that the currency becomes less valuable (devalued) as more is printed and it takes more of it to buy the same product or service from one time period to the next.

When Greece stopped printing its own currency, the drachma, in favor of the euro (the currency of the European Union), it lost it's ability to monetize its own debt and keep its financial problems isolated from the rest of Europe. Now, Greece's financial woes will have to be shared by all the other Eurozone countries as the central bank of Europe, the ECB, prints more euros to cover Greece's problems. Just as when the U.S. prints more dollars, it takes more euros to buy anything because the currency is worth less. This is one of the many facets of the concept of "contagion" that Europe now faces. This, too, will be exacerbated if and when Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy have to follow Greece in being bailed out.

For this reason, our own troubled states, like California, are a lot like Greece. California has no ability to monetize its debt. It can't print its own money. It can only float debt or reduce expenditures to fight deficit spending. Therefore, it is wholly dependent on the Federal Government to cover its losses if the state can't effectively implement an austerity program to avoid defaulting on its debts. So, in effect, we have our own Greece and many other Greece-like states sitting on our doorstep and "contagion" might also be our problem in the near future if places like California, New Jersey, New York, Michigan and so many others don't work their way out of the massive deficits they have created. Literally and economically, the U.S. could be a house of cards, just like Europe, if these states don't get control of themselves and avoid being bailed out by the Federal Reverse Bank or our U.S. Treasury.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sestak's Lose-Lose Situation

Either out of some political calculation or the truth, Democrat and U.S. Congressman, Joe Sestak, from Pennsylvania, told the media that he had been offered a high-level job in the Obama Administration if he would just drop his bid to run against Arlen Specter for Specter's own Senate seat. However, in making that announcement, Sestak has never revealed what the job was or who offered it. Now that Sestak has beaten Arlen for the opportunity to vie for that seat, the Republicans see an opportunity to take that seat away from the Democrats by virtue of the Sestak disclosure. And, rightly so.

Look at it this way. Sestak, has now gotten himself in a lose-lose situation going into this Fall's elections. If he simply made that accusation to try and elicit some number of "sympathy-votes" in the primary election, he did so under false pretenses. Basically, he lied and voters don't like liars. On the other hand, if he truly was offered a job in the Obama Administration, that job offer is a "quid pro quo" felony under Federal law and he is now complicit in that very same felony by withholding or covering up the details of that crime. Then, too, that would hardly endear the voters to him.

I may be wrong but, any way you shake it, Sestak has drawn himself "aces and eights" (the dead man's hand in poker) and I think, as a result, the GOP will win that Senate seat in the Fall.

A Real Life Test Case On The Arizona Immigration Law

If you listen to the detractors of the pending, new Arizona law on immigration, they are saying it will unjustly subject Hispanics to racial profiling. But, what if there was a test case of that law that was already in existence? Then, would we be able to judge if racial profiling was a problem.

Well, guess what? Prince William County in Virginia has an almost identical law to that of Arizona and it has been in effect for the last three years (Click here to See Story: Three year old law in Virginia targets illegal immigrants much like Arizona's SB 1070).

Further, the University of Virginia was been contracted by the police department of Prince William to conduct a series of reports as to the effectiveness and problems associated with that law. The first report, an Interim Report, was issued just last year (Click here to See Report: Evaluation Study of Prince William County Police Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy INTERIM REPORT 2009 ).

While the report is not that sure of all the downsides and benefits of the law, it specifically reinforces the fact that "racial profiling" has not been a problem since implementation. In fact, no lawsuits have yet to be brought against the county or any police officer for having arrested anyone under the stipulations of the law. The report clearly states:
According to PWCPD data, almost all persons (98%) suspected of being illegal immigrants by officers have turned out to be illegal immigrants, which suggests that police are focusing their enforcement efforts on the proper people. Further, officers have been able to maintain their focus on enforcing the policy with immigrants who commit crimes, with no known cases of officers inappropriately applying the policy.
I know, as of this morning, Obama and his highly political Justice Department led by Eric Holder are now prepared to block the implementation of the Arizona law. One has to really ask themselves: If the law in Arizona is the same as the one in Prince William County, where has the Justice Department been all this time with regard to blocking it in that Virginia county. Simply, it just shows that Obama is again using political theater to secure votes and specifically not do what is right for Arizona; or, for that mater, America!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If Only PIIGS Could Fly!

There's an acronym floating around that seems to be spot-on with regard to the fiscal problems of the European Union. It's called PIIGS. Actually, PIIGS is simple shorthand for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. But, more than anything, these countries truly are "pigs" when it comes to spending and social programs. They are all in debt up to their eyeballs.

Because of these PIIGS, the EuroDollar has been sliding faster than a speeding bullet. Also, these PIIGS may be the reason that the entire European Union disintegrates after having only been in existence for a few years since its founding in 1993. But, for us, the weakening of the EuroDollar is going to kill our trade with Europe because any American made products will become increasingly more expensive for Europeans to buy.

Our stock market and our recovery was being partly driven by our dollar being weak against the EuroDollar. It gave us a trading advantage and the stock prices of heavily exporting companies were continually bid up by higher export sales. Now, with that reality now disappearing, we just might see our economy slip into a secondary or double-dip recession. The dramatic drop in our stock markets over the last 3 weeks says it all. If only those PIIGS could fly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Worrisome Layoffs In Manufacturing

In April, the number of "mass" layoffs jumped markedly with manufacturing jobs being hurt the hardest; losing 24,000 more jobs than in the previous month (Click to See Full Story: April mass layoffs rise led by manufacturing). The number of mass layoffs is calculated by counting the number of incidents where 50 or more employees are let go at the same time.

The reason that the loss of manufacturing jobs is so worrisome is the fact the it usually precedes job losses that are well downstream and upstream from the manufacturing process. Reduced manufacturing jobs can eventually force a reduction in the number of clerical and administrative positions within the same company that is cutting the manufacturing jobs; or, those job losses can even be in the retail arena for those who would would have sold those items. Manufacturers don't cut jobs unless they see a significant downturn in sales. It is too costly for them to disrupt the entire production chain and then try to restart it or build it back up again. That's because the suppliers of the products needed in the process tend to cut back on their jobs and their inventories as they adjust to any slowdown. My guess is that the manufacturers of American-made products are telling us that we might be in trouble in the next several months.

And, while we are talking about layoffs, the next big wave of job losses is going to be in government employees at the state and local levels. May is typically the end of the school year and a simple Google search using the words "layoff notices" will give you a flavor of what's going on in our nation's schools and in other government jobs. State and local governments are trying to cope with the massive loss of tax revenues and deficits by simply cutting services and jobs. Teachers by the thousands have already received notices. Police and fire too. I don't expect that the next two unemployment reports with be very pretty. When you see just one school system like that of Orange County, California laying off 1500 teachers and you see that same story being played out in school district after school district across the country, you know that we might be seeing the beginning of an outright death spiral in government and private jobs. Just remember that every loss of a single job can have a ripple effect in causing someone else to lose theirs. Higher unemployment will also force more shaky homeowners out of their homes through foreclosure. Earlier this month, it was disclosed that one out of every ten existing mortgages has had a delay in payments; and, that 80% of those are probably going to result in a foreclosure or in a forced short sale. High unemployment begets increased foreclosures. Those foreclosures also beget unemployment because the home builders are forced to reduce the work forces needed to build new homes.

You can't expect companies to add jobs when their profits are being sapped by allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire. You can't hope that companies will hire more people when each new employee might cost them a fortune in having to provide mandated health insurance. You can't expect the hiring situation to get better when employers are forced to pay 10% more for any entry level position because the minimum wage was recently raised. A union Card check will just force companies into paying higher union wages for less employees and won't do a damn thing to create a new job. Finally, you can't expect companies to hire more people in the face of higher manufacturing and energy costs due to Cap and Trade.

There is nothing that this Congress and this President have done to stimulate anything in the worlds of business and economics. In fact, this President seems to be at war with business, Wall Street, and our banks. In doing so, he and Congress have done everything that they possibly could do to cause unemployment to go higher. Remember, when Obama took office, there were 9 million people out of work. Instead of creating jobs, we now have 15.2 million in a jobless status; with a combined unemployment and underemployment rate that is closing in on 20%. Obama can talk all day long but things aren't really getting better if people don't have jobs. End of story.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Idiot Diplomacy

From this:

Note: This video is only available in Spanish and just the first 17 seconds are pertinent to this blog entry. No "English version" of this video was available to show the interactions between Obama and this left-wing South American leader before the start of the actual press appearance. For some reason, that interaction was specifically not shown by our mainstream American press. I wonder why?

To this:

Apparently, Obama doesn't seem to understand who this country's real friends are. While he was yucking it up with Brazil's President Lula (top video), that same leader of Brazil, along with Turkey, were busily working closely with Iran on a nuclear exchange program that, spiced-up with some key trade agreements (Click to See Full Story: Iran seeks to boost Brazil trade as sanctions loom), would absolutely weaken any chances to impose effective sanctions on Iran to stop their pursuit of "the bomb" (the bottom video). We've just been screwed, blued, and Lula-lued over Iran. And, too, Turkey easily made us look like the world's diplomatic "turkey" over Iran.

A year and a half of holding his dumb hand out to Iran and kissing up to the left-wing, socialist behind of Lula and now this. Good going Barack! You've really got a handle on things. For sure, Iran will get their bomb now! But, maybe that's what he wanted all along. It's obvious. He had a lovely little press conference with Lula in the top video and then had no such conference with the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, when he visited (Click to See Full Story: Binyamin Netanyahu humiliated after Barack Obama 'dumped him for dinner'). Why Obama received so much of the Jewish vote just amazes me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

PA 12: A Democratic Victory?

A lot is being made of the fact that a Democrat, Mark Critz, was able to hold the seat that had been formerly held by John Murtha in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. On the left, they specifically see this win as an indication that maybe, just maybe, it won't be a blood-bath in the Fall for the Democrats.

But, in reality, Mark Critz was a Democrat who ran as a Republican and completely divorced himself from the policies of the Washington Democrats and Obama. He's called for lower taxes and cost cutting. He said he would not have voted for ObamaCare and said that he won't vote for Cap and Trade. He's another one of those rare animals: A Pro-Life Democrat. Finally, he also believes in the Second Amendment Right to bear arms. So, in essence, the 2 to 1, registered Democrats over Republicans voters of PA's 12th, voted in a DINO (A Democrat in Name Only). To me, that hardly spells a win for the Democrats in Pennsylvania's 12th and, some how, the avoidance of a landslide loss in the Fall elections. Mark Critz simply won by being Anti-Obama and the Democrats are in denial if they can't see this.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Disinflation to Deflation to an Eventual Deflationary Spiral?

When April's Consumer Price data was released yesterday, the prices of most consumer goods actually fell (Click to See Full Story: Deflation fears as US consumer prices dip).

Now, one might think lower prices are a good thing. However, a lowering in the rate of inflation -- called disinflation -- is a sign of structural problems deep in our economy. For example, a high, long-term unemployment rate is one structural reason for such a loss in pricing. More worrisome than the current disinflation, is what is called "deflation" where prices of products don't just slow at the rate that they are being hiked. Instead, prices actually fall. Deflation is a common symptom of any severe recession; or, worse yet, a depression like the Great Depression.

The fact that prices fell last month might signal a possible double-dip recession. For people on fixed incomes, disinflation and deflation are good things because they then have more purchasing power for each dollar spent. But, for the average worker, it could spell higher unemployment rates as companies try to stabilize prices by cutting back on both jobs and product inventories. For sure, pay raises are almost non-existent during extended periods of disinflation and deflation. A more serious type of deflation is what is called a "deflationary spiral" where the unemployment rate keeps chasing deflated prices and the cycle never seems to stop. That's when unemployment becomes so high that the nation's economy completely collapses.

I think that the Obama Administration's economic advisers have let this recession get out of control by banking on that useless Stimulus Package. It was a pure waste of money that ultimately my have cost us a year and a half of true recovery.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mexico's President is Outraged At The Arizona Law!

On our own White House lawn, our constantly apologetic President allowed the President of Mexico to criticize the newly enacted Arizona law (Click to See Full Story: Obama, Calderon criticize Arizona immigration law). This is beyond belief because Mexico has some of the harshest immigration and visitation laws in the Western Hemisphere.

Purely staying in Mexico for any period beyond the time specified in a work permit or visa is a felony; punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Mexicans are encouraged to make "citizen's arrests" of anyone in their country illegally. Then, too, the local police are mandated to assist the Federalis in locating and arresting any illegals.

Even those who are in the country legally are barred from working in the government; as religious clerics; as a pilot; at any of the harbors within the country; and, in any number of occupations that are on the restricted list. Legal visitors can only remain in Mexico as long as they are "physically and mentally healthy". Otherwise, home you go, gringo! Falsification of any documents (like an I.D. or driver's license) or even signing a document using a false name, and you could end up in prison for up to a decade. No foreigner can ever own land or buildings in Mexico. Any person wanting to enter Mexico must provide proof of being able to sustain themselves before entering the country. Only foreigners who can improve Mexican society and not take jobs away from Mexican citizens are allowed into the country.

If we had the same laws as does Mexico regarding immigration, we'd have 10 million or more Mexicans choking our jails for numerous counts of laws broken. President Calderon is a hypocrite who seems to view the USA as some kind of work suburb of Mexico. The guy is the President of a country where corruption is rampant in government; where nearly every cop is on the take for the drug cartels; and, all the wealth is centralized in the hands of a few elites. We don't have millions of illegals here because Mexico is such a great place to live and find a job. Mr. Calderon should go back home and take a few million of all those false ID carrying "guests" along with him and stop whining about the leniency his people are afforded after they illegally enter this country.

Republicrat Arlen Gets His Just Due

In my opinion, the beginning of the end for Arlen Specter was his stupidity at one of last year's health care town hall meetings:

After he got ripped into by an angry and lied-to attendee, the idiot Specter proclaimed that "we've just had a demonstration of Democracy." Well, for Arlen, last night's losing result, too, was another, but more perfect, demonstration of Democracy. One that almost every Republican found exceedingly pleasing for this former RINO (Republican In Name Only). His switching parties was for the sole purpose of keeping his job, and he got his comeuppance by being voted out of office by the very people that he originally thought would save him. Poor Arlen was too stupid to understand a basic principal of American politics: Democrats typically vote for Democrats; and, Republicans for Republicans. And, neither party wants a half-whatever Republicrat representing them in Washington.

Our Real National Debt

In recent weeks, America's focus has been on the $13 trillion dollar Federal debt that has been accumulated as of last month. But, in reality, our national debt is a lot higher. If you take all the states and their fiscal irresponsibility, we might be talking about another one-and-a-half trillion dollars or more in actual debt burden. For example, California has a long-term debt in excess of $87 billion. New Jersey has a $51 billion debt load and it is quite a bit smaller than California. New York is $67.5 billion in the hole. In Illinois, the debt clock is at $106 billion and counting. In just those four "blue" states, alone, the total combined debt is one-third of a trillion dollars; and, the state by state debt clocks in the rest of our 46 states just keep running with no end in sight.

This country is in an absolute debt crisis and many of the state legislatures continue to push the it even higher with more and more costly social programs. ObamaCare, itself, has pushed billions more in debt onto the states as a result of the expansion of Medicaid. That's because the cost to cover each new Medicaid patient is equally shared between the states and the Federal government. Also, as more and more Americans lose their jobs, the state and federal tax revenues continue to fall; pushing the debt even higher.

All of our governments -- state, local, and federal -- have put us in a financial jam that can only be resolved by paying substantially higher taxes. At the same time, the government workers continue to get fat salaries and pensions and won't budge an inch on cuts to those luxurious payouts. We should all be concerned that we might not, at some point, be able to even pay the interest on our debt. Further, we should be concerned that there may come a day when no one, especially China, will be willing to float our debt through bond offerings.

If we are going to save this country, we need to do it in the fall with the mid-term elections and stop the Democrats before they pass anymore wasteful power-grab legislation. Never has an election been so important. Not only do we need to "throw the bums out" at the Federal level, we need to do the same at the state and local levels too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Last Three Terrorists: Zero Degrees Of Separation

It amazes me that the Obama Administration didn't know of the Times Square Bomber "before" that bomb was placed and set to go off. I believe that this would-be terrorist should have been under surveillance following the capture of and information obtained from the Underwear Bomber and the Fort Hood Shooter. However, it is evident, now, that the obvious was being ignored because the last three terrorist acts -- the Fort Hood Shooter, the Underwear Bomber, and the Times Square Bomber -- all had one thing in common: Communications with the American born and radical Yemeni-based cleric, Abu Bakr al-Awlaki.

I would have thought that our brilliant national security departments such as Homeland Security, the FBI and the CIA, would have had an early bead on the Times Square Bomber by virtue of his now-known communications with al-Awlaki. But, the zero degrees of separation between all three of the last terrorists actions appears to have been completely ignored. I would hope, by now, and for the sake of us all, that a mistake like this is no longer possible and that any American having communications with al-Awlaki is closely monitored by our law enforcement and security agencies. Maybe if the Obama Administration would drop their "lone wolf" mentality about terrorist acts and start connecting the dots to radical Muslim ties, we might just be a lot safer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Obama And Left Try To Blame Bush On The BP Oil Spill

It was inevitable that the left would try to pin the the BP oil spill on George W. Bush. Friday, Obama painted a picture of a cozy relationship that existed with the oil companies going back 10 years. Um? Ten years? Didn't Bush take office just about then? And, they can't let Cheney get off the hook either. After all, it was Halliburton that just completed the concrete slurry work on that BP oil rig that failed.

But, here's the truth. It was Obama's Department of Interior's Minerals Management Services (MMS) agency that gave British Petroleum (BP) a "categorical exclusion" on safety and environmental impact studies for that very oil rig in April of last year (Click to See Full Story: U.S. exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study). And, it is no secret that BP gave more money to Obama than any other candidate in the last 20 years; and, that includes donations to George W. Bush's original election and reelection campaigns (Click to See Full Story: Obama biggest recipient of BP cash).

So, if you put it all together, doesn't it seem like the true "cozy relationship" began after Bush left office? I find it difficult to believe that any Democratic Administration, as cozy as they are with the environmentalists, would have given BP or any other oil company a pass unless it was money -- perhaps all that campaign money -- that bought and paid for that pass. Do ya think? As usual, this President takes no blame for anything. Not the miserable unemployment situation or now massive national debt. And, certainly, not for this oil spill or any of the mistakes that were made after it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Forgotten Dead

When that coal mining operation in West Virginia resulted in all those workers being killed, we almost had a day a morning in this country. But, when eleven workers on the BP rig, all Americans, died, not even a penny's worth of newsprint was spared to tell us their names. Apparently, 11 lives being lost in trying to help this country become oil independent is just expected and not really a tragedy. This fact just underscores the mainstream media's left-wing ECO-attitude towards the oil industry; even though coal is much dirtier than oil.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eric Holder: More A Political Animal Than A Jurist

Yesterday, we found out that Eric Holder had never read the 16-page (10 pages with 6 page of amendments), Arizona law regarding illegal immigration. Yet, all last weekend, on one political talk show after another, he criticized the law as being a "slippery slope" to racial profiling. When grilled about his position after revealing that he had never read the law, he said he had developed that opinion based on news reports and what he had either seen or heard. Isn't that hearsay evidence, Mr. Holder; and isn't hearsay inadmissible in any court? It was obvious that he was simply following the liberal line in order to effectively win or keep the Hispanic vote in the upcoming fall elections. The actual law had nothing to do with his opinion as the top legal guardian in America.

But, he should have read the damn law before opening his dumb mouth. This is just so "Holder". He has always put politics before the law. He did that when he reported to Bill Clinton, when recommending that Marc Rich get a pardon solely because Rich's wife was a powerful fund raiser for the Democratic Party. Rich had been on the lam for years, evading our courts and justice system. He should never have been given a pardon prior to any trial. But, for Holder, politics was all that mattered.

Additionally, their is no rational reason to have Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM) tried in New York; except for the political one of backhandedly putting the Bush Administration on trial. Eric Holder could care less if KSM gets off or is convicted. His only goal is to crucify Bush and his people in the court of public opinion and, as a result, attempt to elevate the Democratic Party.

Holder is no jurist. He thinks his role as Attorney General is to be the "legal" marketing arm for the Democrats. That was Obama's objective, too, when he nominated Holder for the Attorney General's slot. He abuses the legal system for political gain. This week's revelation that he didn't read the Arizona immigration law just proves that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The "Asking For Papers" Lie By The Left Regarding the Arizona Law

If you listen to the left-wing representatives of both Union Labor and the Democratic Party who have been appearing on TV lately, the Arizona law, with regard to "asking for papers", is no different than how Nazis in Germany treated the Jews.

Apparently, those making these claims have never read the law. It simply states that the people who "might" (and it is a big "might") be suspected of being in this country illegally only have to provide one of the following proofs of identification to avoid any further investigation: A valid driver's license; a passport; a green card or visa; a valid state or Federal picture I.D.; or, valid tribal I.D. Nowhere is their any mandate that a person provide a birth certificate or other papers for proof of their citizenship. But, according to the left, if you're Hispanic, you going to have to carry your birth certificate around with you.

To pretend that asking for "papers" in this country is, somehow, un-American, is a canard of the highest order. For example, section 12951, of the California Motor Vehicle Code states the following:
(a) The licensee shall have the valid driver's license issued to him or her in his or her immediate possession at all times when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway.

Any charge under this subdivision shall be dismissed when the person charged produces in court a driver's license duly issued to that person and valid at the time of his or her arrest, except that upon a third or subsequent charge the court in its discretion may dismiss the charge. When a temporary, interim, or duplicate driver's license is produced in court, the charge shall not be dismissed unless the court has been furnished proof by the Department of Motor Vehicles that the temporary, interim, or duplicate license was issued prior to the arrest, that the driving privilege and license had not been suspended or revoked, and that the person was eligible for the temporary, interim, or duplicate license.

(b) The driver of a motor vehicle shall present his or her license for examination upon demand of a peace officer enforcing the provisions of this code.

(Click to See the Actual California DMV website on this Section of the Law)

Certainly, California is not alone with regard to carrying a valid I.D. on your person. Almost every state in our union has a similar vehicle operation law; some requiring a valid I.D. at any time you are out in public. Besides, its for you own protection. Logically, having a valid I.D. on your person at all times can help the police or health care provider to determine who you are in the event that something should happen to preclude your ability to communicate. Without requirements for identification, this world would have a lot more John Doe's in our morgues than we have today.

The attempt by the left to compare the police actions under this new law to those used by the Nazis in Germany is reprehensible and just shows how the far left will lie to achieve their agenda. I, for one, am tired of these lies; including those of our President when he used the example of a father and daughter going out for ice cream. Coming from this President, the lie is even more disgusting and it just weakens the argument being made by him and the rest of the left because is shows them to be both uninformed and stupid!

You can read the entire law at Neil Cavuto's website: (Click to See Site). For fun, use your search function to see if, anywhere, in that law there is even a reference to a birth certificate. You'll find none!

The City of Los Angeles: Just Whistling Past The Graveyard?

For the City of Los Angeles, the parallels to the financial woes of Greece, are just too analogous to be ignored. Like Greece, the debt is almost insurmountable. And, like Greece that debt is primarily being driven by lavish union retirement pensions and benefits. And, like Greece, every attempt to cut jobs or reduce retirement spending is blocked in the courts by lawsuits brought by, yes, the unions.

The city is literally at the brink of bankruptcy with a budget deficit of over a half-billion dollars (Click to See Full Story: Is The L.A. City Council In Denial Over Budget Mess?). Yet, the City Council is happily debating anything but the budget woes that could result in the potential collapse of every service that the citizenry of Los Angeles expects from their government.

A case in point was yesterday's City Council vote to boycott $56 million in spending activity with the state of Arizona as punishment for Arizona's supposed "racist" crackdown on illegal immigration. Besides the fact that the City Council hasn't taken the time to either read or understand the Arizona law, it just shows why Los Angeles, and so many other cities in California, are in such trouble. Further, the action by the City Council is pure stupidity because it is totally politically motivated and it actually may hurt those that their actions pretend to protect.

The illegal immigration of today is a vicious business. It truly borders on slavery. The coyotes who guide the immigrants through the deserts to cross our borders are demanding higher and higher pay for their services; with that pay often being in flesh or sexual favors when the cash isn't forthcoming. All too often, the lives of family members, either in Mexico or in the United States, are in jeopardy for failing to pay the coyotes. For this reason and because of, too, the drug trade from Mexico, Phoenix is rampant with kidnapping activity; second only in the world to Mexico City. Yet, resolutions by City Councils, like those in Los Angeles, are misplaced in that their actions will continue this every increasing abuse of human rights and will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Then, too, the attempts to hurt Arizona by boycotting business activity is probably going to hurt the illegals more than anyone else. When there is a decline in business activity, its always those lowest on the totem pole of employment who suffer the most.

As readers of this blog know, I believe that illegal immigration has done more to suppress good pay in America than help it. As long as there are those who are willing to work at lower-than-low wages and employers willing to hire, there won't be wage pressure from the bottom; as would otherwise be the case in an environment where there isn't 10% of the workforce who is in the country illegally.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is She Gay? Or, Isn't She? And, Why Should We Care?

The left is desperately trying to keep the world from actually knowing if Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, is homosexual. This is out of character for liberals that are usually the protectors and defenders of gays. Normally, they would be putting her gayness on a pedestal to aggressively maintain and court the gay voting block. But, in this case, they know that, if it should come out that Kagan is gay, she could lose the nomination. That's because, in one of the few things we know about her, she may have allowed her sexual preference to cloud her judgment.

It all goes back to Bill Clinton's back-down on allowing gays to openly serve in the military. In an attempt to squelch the firestorm of opposition, he formulated "Don't Ask..Don't Tell" so that gays could serve without the fear of being discharged for their sexual preference. However, serving openly was still barred under the decision. It was a compromise that didn't set well with the gay community. And, it certainly didn't set well with Elena Kagan, who, at the time, was the Dean of Harvard Law School. In fact, and in retaliation, she used the power of her position to ban any military recruitment on the Harvard campus. Further, she signed on to a lawsuit that went all the way up to the Supreme Court and, which, was intended to overturn the "Don't Ask...Don't Tell" executive order from Clinton. To her dismay, she was resoundingly rebuked with a 9-zip decision in support of Clinton's order.

What the left is afraid of, and rightly so, is that her action after "Don't Ask...Don't Tell" may reveal that she made an emotional decision and, in doing so, pushed thoughtful deliberation and logic aside. One, then, has to wonder how many of those "emotional" decisions she will try to make if she becomes a member of the highest order of legal opinion in our country. I think it clearly shows a flaw in Kagan; and, not one that can be easily overlooked.

The fact that she is or isn't gay should never be a deciding point in whether or not she should or shouldn't be on the Supreme Court. But, the fact that she might not be a good arbiter of the law is extremely important.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GOP Shouldn't Look To The U.K. For Election Success

The much watched election in Britain is over and the result was what is being referred to as a "hung" Parliament. No dominant winner emerged. For reasons of trying to decipher the political winds for or against any kind of liberal government, the GOP -- in this country -- were hoping for a complete rejection of the past liberal policies of the Labour Party under Brown and his predecessor. But, that hope was dashed by the final numbers. Even though the conservatives got the most seats out of a three-way race, the two other liberal Parties, the Labour Party and the Liberal Party, when combined, have more total seats than the Conservative Party. That tells me that the majority of people in the U.K. still prefer liberal policies; despite all the problems that those policies have created.

It also tells me that the Democrat's strategy, in this country, of making people more and more dependent on government programs will probably work to their advantage in the years to come. Conservatism may be rejected because the majority of voters -- now dependent on the government in varying degrees -- will not vote for any political party that promises to reduce its size and, possibly, cutoff any benefits they are receiving now from the government.

Obviously, because of the "hung" parliamentary situation, a coalition government will have to be formed. But, that could just result in a political stalemate that can't solve the current debt problems in the U.K. For this reason, I think we can tentatively add the United Kingdom to counties like Greece, Portugal, and Spain, who will be facing a severe financial crisis and who, in some fashion, will require a bailout. And, only after that crisis, will the Conservatives have a shot at a clear majority in Parliament.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Trillion Dollar Bailout: A Crisis Averted Or Crisis Delayed

When it comes to addictions -- whether it be alcohol or drugs -- many continue their life deteriorating habits because of "enablers" who are typically friends or family members that, in sympathy and misguided-love, give money to sustain the addict's habit.

In a way, the proposed trillion dollar bailout of those failing E.U. countries is no different than the "enablers" who feed an addict with the money needed to continue their drug or alcohol addiction. However, in this case, you have much of Europe who is addicted to costly social programs, expensive government worker pay and benefits, and job and economy-killing taxes. And, despite the trillions in bailout aid, my guess is that none of these countries will really implement the hard changes that will be needed to get them on track to fiscal responsibility. For that reason, I think that, in a year or two, we could see a revisiting of the pending crisis that caused this massive bailout in the first place.

I'm not the only one that believes that: (Click to See Full Story: Trillion-dollar euro rescue won't solve low growth). From the aforementioned article, I quote: "But the EU still needs to find ways to keep its member governments from spending their way to bankruptcy.." All the European Union did is kick the can down the road; except that, the can is getting bigger by the day. Eventually, there won't be a boot big enough to kick it any further.

Update: Since writing this entry, yesterday, I ran into a news article this morning that reaffirms my opinion as expressed above: (Click to See Full Story: Euro, Stocks, Commodities Retreat as Bailout Optimism Ebbs).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Obama, Again, Shows Another Unconstitutional Viewpoint

From Castro's Cuba, to Chavez' Venezuela, to China's Communist Regime, two common themes ares always there: The complete control of the press and the restriction of free speech. In countries where the government is usurping the will of the people, the suppression of opposing viewpoints is paramount for them to do what they need to do to take compete control of a country.

In a Saturday Commencement speech, Obama reinforced this kind of dictatorial, anti-opposing viewpoint attitude by criticizing talk radio (Rush Limbaugh?) and cable news (Fox News?) by saying: "You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter..." (Click here to See Full Story)

Let's face it, those "news outlets", that he is complaining about, are the only voices that are left to keep he and his Democratic cronies from completely taking control of the ruination of this country. The country has a helluva lot more friendly voices for Obama than it has in dissent against what he has been doing. On the news front, he already has the loving adoration of the Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, MSNBC, and CNN; as well as the majority of other news outlets in the country. Yet, he seems to think that things are totally out of balance because the three small voices in our country --- Conservative Talk Radio, Fox News, and those right wing bloggers -- are gaining traction.

It isn't Fox or Russ Limbaugh that Obama is concerned about. He's concerned about the truth and that is something that the mainstream media has turned it's head away from; ever since Obama began running for office. Increasingly, America's ears are moving towards conservative media -- with ratings higher than ever -- because, simply, they don't believe Obama. People aren't as stupid as this President seems believe. He has an attitude that his way is the only way. Yet, in many ways, his way is not the American way; and, the people now know it. The polls show it. And, the growth in conservative media proves it.

So, if Obama is nervous about opposing views, he should look in the mirror. He and he, alone, is the catalyst that is moving this country towards conservative and opposing opinion. The Office of the President has the bully-pulpit; which still is the most powerful voice in America. But, it should be used for the truth and not be abused. But this President distorts the truth by making false and misleading statements and by using absurd and false examples like "a father and daughter going out for ice cream" and the Arizona cops will shake him down for his immigration papers. Or, that doctors remove tonsils and diabetic feet so they can make more money. That he will not hire lobbyists; and, he did. Or, close Guantanamo Bay in a year and, yet, it stills remains open. Or, his lie that children with pre-existing conditions are covered in his health care reform bill, or that the bill will reduce the deficit. And, the biggest lie of all: The stimulus package will keep unemployment under 8 percent!

Obviously, Obama might well have been talking about his own words when he remarked: "some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter." Fortunately, for America, we do have a "truth meter" and it is Fox News, Talk Radio, and all those right-wing bloggers.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You Can Just Feel The Winds of Change

It now appears that, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, the voters are angry and, if any politician is irresponsible in spending, taxation, or both, they will be soundly defeated at either the primary level or the mid-term elections this Fall. The change that Barack Obama touted during his candidacy is well underway and not in the way that this President seemed to have planned for. In fact, he is the catalyst and not the implementer of the change that we will see in Washington next year.

We are now more ideologically divided than ever; with the Independents increasingly moving to side with the GOP and leaving the Democrats to stand alone with their liberal tax and spend philosophies that may very well bring this country to its knees.

First, we saw it in the ouster of former Senator and then-Governor, Democrat Jon Corzine, in the heavily Democratic state of New Jersey. At the same time, Republican Bob McDonnell successfully retook the Governor's Mansion in Virginia. Then, the "iconic" seat of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy was amazingly and "irreverently" seized by the Republican, Scott Brown.

But, it isn't just the Democrats who are in danger. For his embrace of the Stimulus Package and his appearance with Barack Obama, Florida's Republican ex-Governor Crist was forced by the upstart challenger Marc Rubio, to drop out of the running for the GOP Senate nomination. The once-popular Crist, in desperation, is now running as an Independent.

Yesterday, Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah found out the voter's sentiment the hard way when he was tossed out of the GOP convention; abruptly ending this three-term Senator's bid for re-election. Like Crist, he was too cozy with the Democrats in Health Care Reform. He also was a big spender when it came to garnering earmarks for his state.

In the case of both Crist and Bennett, the Tea Party showed its strength by backing the opposing candidates against these once-popular mainstays of Republican politics. For these politicians and many others, the winds of change are blowing right into their faces. The cowards who have seen the handwriting on the wall -- mostly Democrats -- have already announced that they won't run for another term; and, that list is getting longer with the most recent "retirement" of the powerful Wisconsin Democrat, David Obey. It is looking more and more like we will have a blood bath in the fall for all those business-as-usual, tax-and/or-spend politicians; no matter what party they belong to.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

An Important Message Contained In the Market's 1000 Point Sell-off

On Thursday, the market dropped 1,000 points in a relatively short amount of time. Just as quickly as it had dropped, it rapidly regained two-thirds of what had been lost in an equally short amount of time. The rapidity of the down, and then up moves, could have only been done by pre-programmed, computerized trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 stocks hit a low on Thursday of 9869.62. Apparently, from that point or slightly above that, buying started to halt and reverse the downdraft. To me, that means, that more than a few computerized trading programs are set to buy at that level. From that information is a very important message. The sudden reversal indicates that we are probably going to go down to the 9869-ish level, once again. If I'm right, then that will be at the bottom of this current correction. In trading circles, this is referred to as re-testing the lows.

Now, I may be all wet because the program trading systems might be re-adjusted in the meantime to some other lower or higher support level; but, I don't think so. Therefore, I am predicting that the Dow Jones Industrial Average will continue to sell off by another 500 points in the next week or two before stabilizing. From there, it will probably move sideways until the European situation is fully understood. But, I would also caution that if the "Dow" breaks through the 9869-ish level, we could see another 1,000 point drop from there on.

Of course, as usual, this is just my opinion. Reading "tea leaves" is always an art and never a science.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A 9.9% Unemployment Rate!

I think most economists would agree that the overall economy has stabilized. We've hit the bottom and we are now profitably operating along that bottom. But, real job creating growth is another thing. For sure, a continued and rising unemployment rate can have a debilitating effect. Psychologically, it can cause people to be nervous about their own jobs. This, then, can cause a slowdown in consumer spending; an activity that is responsible for 70% of our economy.

This morning's Unemployment Report was only superficially a fairly good report. But, in reality, the internal numbers paint a much different picture. The most disturbing number out of this month's report was the rise of the unemployment rate from 9.7% to 9.9%. That's the headline number that is bound to scare people and, which may cause them to hold back on what had been an increase in their personal spending. Furthermore, the actual number of unemployed grew to 15.2 million and the real unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers, increased from 16.9% to 17.1%. So, in reality, we continue a march towards a level where 2 out of every 10 Americans are unemployed.

The jump in the "for-publication unemployment rate" is because you have a number of discouraged workers who re-entered the job market and, obviously, didn't find a job. This "inclusion" actually resulted in a bigger job's pool with less people employed; and, thus the unemployment rate went up. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have never been a fan of shrinking the workforce by literally "plucking" discouraged workers out of the system; as if they are totally non-existent. It artificially makes the unemployment situation look better than it really is and, politically, is just sweeping the dirt under the carpet. The downside of doing this is what happened this morning: the unemployment rate jumps and that's what most people actually care about. Only economists get excited over balance of trade, GDP, and other reports. The average Joe on the street, only cares about the job's number because that's his world that he has to worry about.

I am concerned that if we continue to have the 2.25 million "discouraged workers" come back into the job market, looking for work and not finding it, and the unemployment rate keep rising, our economy could stall for the lack of consumer spending. That's why, I think, no "real" economist is willing to "call" an end to this recession.

A Different Take On Illegal Immigrants

The common argument for allowing illegals to remain in this country is that they take the jobs that Americans won't do. But, in reality, they also take good-paying, non-union, construction jobs and get paid half to a third less than what an American would be paid to do the same job. And, employers know that the illegals won't complain because they could wind up being deported.

In effect, illegals are causing wage suppression in this country. I think, because of that, the Democrats of Congress have seen fit to keep raising the minimum wage.

Employers who hire illegals are getting a deal and, in effect, are using them like slave labor. If there weren't so many who were willing to work for less, than employers would have to hire workers at higher wages to attract Americans to their workplace. But, in reality, just the opposite is happening.

The Democrats are all for the naturalization of illegal aliens because they see votes for their party. But, keeping illegals in this country is harming American wages. I believe strongly in deportation of illegals. But, at the same time, I believe we should have an active guest worker program that gives anyone a decent wage; and, one that gives an American worker the first right of refusal for that particular job.

I live in Las Vegas which has probably the highest per capita concentration of illegals in the country. The availability of tons of low-paying, service work here is the primary attraction. When you talk to them, many of the "long-time illegals" have no qualms about telling you that they're here illegally. In most cases, they will tell you that they really don't want to become U.S. citizens. Many have families back in Mexico and in other Latin American countries and they are here to make money and send it back home to their families. I had an electrician tell me that many who have their families here will make as much money as they can so they can retire to Mexico and live like a king because the standard of living is so much lower. Generally, its the teens that grow up in this country and have no ties to a homeland that want to stay. And, because of their birth on U.S. soil, they are already citizens.

So, to me, a pathway to citizenship and just paying some fine for coming into this country illegally isn't going to solve the problem. Many don't want citizenship and, by being here, they will continue to suppress wages. We need a guest worker program. We need to go after those employers who keep hiring illegals; because, if the jobs aren't here, they won't come. Finally, we need to deport those families we find here. But, what Obama and the Democrats are proposing, may actually accelerate illegal immigration.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is There A Greek Tragedy In Our Future?

Greece is a highly socialist and quasi-capitalist country that is trying to operate within a capitalist environment. One-third of their workforce works for the government. The balance works to literally support all those government workers. That's because government workers are non-contributors to the economics of the country. In reality, they are leeches. And, like too many leeches attached to any body, the body will finally die for the lack of blood.

The blood letting really stems from the fact the unions are so strong in Greece. A union worker, working for the government, can retire at age 53 with full benefits and at their highest pay for life. This is unsustainable. Because of this and other factors, the Greek debt is now more than 90% of their total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Please understand that this is not a percentage of "gross domestic profit" that would be capable of generating tax revenues for the country. Instead it is total value of the products that Greece produces and, from which, the actual taxable income is less than 10%. This, then, makes it almost impossible to pay back any debt without years and years of reduced spending and increased taxes. Making things worse, the Greek debt is so high, that the rating agency, Standard and Poors, has had to downgrade Greece to junk status for their bonds. This in effect has caused the amount of interest that Greeks pay on their debt to skyrocket; making it even harder for them to avoid defaulting on all their loans.

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come up with the equivalent of $146 billion to bailout Greece. But, the money has strings attached. Those strings are primarily aimed at labor with mandated reductions in government worker pay and benefits; including retirement pay. Thus, the riots in the streets.

The ultimate survival of Greece lies in the hands all the unions. But, as you can see, the riots tell a story of a labor element within Greece that is not willing to budge on pay and benefits. So, it is my opinion, as well as others, that Greece will fail to recover. Ultimately, the European Union will have to shed Greece out of its need for self-preservation. Greece is a gangrenous appendage that could take down the rest of the European economic union, and as such, it must be amputated.

As a result of this excision, Greece will default on all of its debt obligations. No one will want to trade with that country without extreme guarantees or by forced higher prices for everything that the Greeks need to survive. That means that Greece will plunge itself into a deep economic (and, probably mental) depression with double-digit inflation. In effect, it will become a mini version of what this country looked like in the 1930's.

Is this outcome in our future? It might just be. In states like California, New Jersey, and Michigan and in so many others, the amount of unionized government workers with similar pay and benefits guarantees is very high. And, as we have already seen in California and New Jersey, the unions refuse to budge on any more cuts in jobs, pay, or benefits; while, in the non-government sector, people are sustaining heavy unemployment levels. To make things worse, this President and this Democratic Congress have poured billions into state governments vis a vis the Stimulus Package to keep them from making the needed, hard decision to cut back on any unionized government workers; including teachers, police, and firemen. But, the spending continues and their deficits keep increasing and a Greece-like situation is already sitting at their doorsteps; with our Federal government being the only recourse to keep these states alive. But, that too, could accelerate the country's path to higher and higher debt in less time than was previously thought.

I am concerned that we have the same problem ahead of us that the European Union is having with Greece and other countries like Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. Except, in our case, it is the very socialist nanny-states like California who will become our equivalent of the current Greek Tragedy. And, let's not forget, our national debt is expected to exceed Greece's 90+ percent of GDP by the year 2020 and become as high as 125% of GDP by 2030. So, if we don't heed Greece as the Skull & Crossbones warning in our path to increasing social programs, it won't just be California but this whole country that collapses.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obama and BP: A Quid Pro Quo?

The hot news, right now, is the fact that British Petroleum (BP) wasn't required to conduct and file a normally required environmental impact study last year for that very same oil rig that has now caused the oil spill in the Gulf(Click to See Full Story from the typically Obama-friendly Washington Post : U.S. exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study). Apparently, Obama's EPA gave that mammoth oil company a pass. This from a Democrat controlled EPA that supposedly hates oil companies and any drilling activities.

Now, this morning, we find out that Obama, the politician, received more campaign cash from British Petroleum than any other politician had received from that company in the last 20 years (Click to See Full Story: Obama biggest recipient of BP cash). A quid pro quo on waving that impact study? Who knows? But, it sure looks suspicious. However, don't expect this Congress or the mainstream media to get to the bottom of this one!

What The Left Can't Understand About Oil

Ever since the BP oil rig spill, the political left has been on the bandwagon to stop offshore drilling and, in fact, any drilling. Because of that, many are viewing this disaster as a godsend.

There have been immediate calls for more clean energy. People point to hybrids and electric as the means to get off imported oil. But, what the left can't seem to understand is that we have more than 200 million cars, boats, trains and planes that must use hydrocarbon fuels -- primarily derived from oil -- to operate. The average life of everyone of those cars is 9 years; including all those being sold today. As of this writing, hybrids only represent 3% of car sales with electric car sales being almost non-existent. That's because they're too expensive.

Further, while ethanol can somewhat reduce that dependency on oil-derived fuels, it doesn't address the fact the ethanol is very corrosive and it's application above 15% on anything other than an engine that was designed around the E85 standard can cause all kinds of expensive repair problems. Further, our increased use of corn to derive ethanol is placing a price hardship on all Americans. Since Congress has increased the use of ethanol in our fuels, the price of corn tripled from 2005 to mid-2008. Since then, the recession has forced the price of corn down but prices are still nearly 75% higher than in 2005.

The problem that America has is that, despite increases in fuel mileage and technology, our demand for oil keeps increasing in normal economic times. Only the recession has been able to temporarily abate the demand in the last two years. At same time, our oil production is declining and, now, it appears that, with this oil spill, any expanded domestic oil production is in jeopardy.

So, you figure it. If we have less domestic oil and more domestic demand, will we reduce or increase our dependency on foreign oil? Further, is having less environmentally aware and regulated countries drilling for our needed oil better for the world's overall environment? I don't think so. Would somebody please explain that to the political left! We need new sources of domestic oil in conjunction with new technologies in order to bridge the gap to an eventual migration to those new forms of energy. Otherwise, the increasing expense for gasoline continues to steal more and more money from every American; while sending billions to our enemies.

One last thing. Land-based drilling is a lot safer. I's pretty hard to fix a leak that is 5000 feet under water. Land based, non-ablaze, leaks can be stopped in short order. Yet, Obama has backed offshore drilling while blocking any drilling in Alaska or in the potential and massive 200,000 square mile oil fields of the Bakken formation located in Montana and North Dakota. Apparently, the left doesn't want ugly oil drilling, pipelines, and pumping equipment. Instead, they would prefer the attractiveness of thousands of 200 foot high wind turbines. This is insane. Literally, you might not be able to see the forest -- not for the trees -- but for the all Wind Turbines that are being built!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why Didn't The Feds Do What They Said They Would?

In 1994, a Federal response plan, based on the mandates of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, was developed to insure that any oil spills were adequately contained and mopped up in the Gulf and elsewhere. The plan called for the use of In-Situ Burning of the spilled oil; using a containment device known as a fire boom. Yet, now 16 years after the response plan was developed and, only up until a couple of days ago, the U.S. Coast Guard was still without that crucial equipment, that if employed immediately after the spill, could have minimized or even eliminated the impending environmental oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Click to See Full Story: Despite plan, not a single fire boom on hand on Gulf Coast at time of oil spill).

Like everything the government does, the Coast Guard spent more time investigating and testing than implementing. In fact, the last test that the Coast Guard did on In-Situ Burning was almost 10 years ago in September of 2000. And, it was successful. Yet, the equipment, as mandated by the response plan and the 1990 law, was never purchased. While all blame seems to be aimed at British Petroleum, I think it will come out in our courts that our own federal government was equally at fault for not protecting the ecology in the Gulf area. This fact may actually mitigate some of the charges and lawsuits against British Petroleum.

Here's a video on how the In-Situ Burning technique and the use of a fire boom system can effectively abate the ravages of a sea oil spill:

It literally took a week for the Coast Guard to get their hands on the only available fire boom in the country from Elastec American Marine in Illinois. In reality, this spill needed at least 8 of them. But, all they had was the one. And, so, we wait for the spill to reach the beaches and nature reserves all along the Gulf coast and, possibly, the Eastern seaboard.

Medicare/Medicaid: Where's The Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Elimination?

It's been more than a month since the health care reform bill was passed and signed into law. Prior to its passage, Obama claimed that billions of dollars could be saved by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.

So, maybe I missed it. Where's the directive or commission that is supposed to work on these Medicare/Medicaid savings? Instead, all I keep hearing about is that Obama and the Democrats in Congress are focused in on financial and immigration reform and on Cap and Trade. As far as ObamaCare is concerned, it seems like all the post-passage reviews are finding more and more increased costs associated with it. All of which were never taken into consideration before it's hurried passage. So, in typical "W" D.C. fashion, it appears, once again, the promises of cost and waste reduction are never going to happen. Like a lot of people projected before this bill was passed, we are probably looking at a trillion dollar expense in ten years; as opposed to the supposed few billion dollars that the Democrats claimed in savings.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Seriousness of the BP Oil Situation Was Known From the Onset!

In my May 1st blog, I pointed out the fact that anyone knowing anything about the oil business knows that an explosion and uncontrolled fire on any sea-based or land-based drilling operation spells trouble. Now we know from a video (Click to See Full Story: Video shows federal officials knew quickly of potential for massive oil flow in Gulf spill) that was shot at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency's (NOAA) Seattle headquarters that the Federal Government knew early on about the potential danger! Yet, Obama was so preoccupied with Earth Day and his Wall Street agenda that he failed to mobilize anyone until 8 days into the disaster. I would think that Obama is in trouble on this; just as Bush was with Katrina. But, so far, the fact that this video even exists is being completely ignored by the mainstream media; thus, protecting their guy, Barack.

As a point of reference, NOAA is an agency that reports up to Obama through his Secretary of Commerce and the Commerce Department. So, he has no ability to claim that it is an independent agency; as in the case of the Securities and Exchange Commission filing suit against Goldman-Sachs. So, this screw-up is directly on his back.

Three Quarters of Economic Growth -- Shouldn't the Recession be Over?

Friday's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report marked the 3rd consecutive quarter of economic growth. Traditionally and somewhat unofficially, two quarters of growth in the GDP signals the end of a recession. In America, the arbiter of the recession call is left to a Cambridge, Mass. group, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). But, to date, the NBER has made no "end" of recession call. The reason for this is the fact that there has been so much artificial stimulus put into this economy that it is impossible to know if it can survive on its own without the training wheels. The jury is still out as to whether or not the Keynesian concept of massive cash infusions will produce results or, as I and many others believe, just delay continuance of the recession in what is known as a double-dip.

With that in mind, please take the time to listen to the video comments (below) of Martin Feldstein. He is the President Emeritus of the NBER and the George W. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard. He is currently on Obama's Board of Economic Advisers and served other Presidents. He was considered the top competitor for Greenspan's job as Fed. Chief when Bush finally decided on Ben Bernanke.

If you listened to the full video, you would have heard Mr. Feldstein stress that consumer spending is integral to recovery. However, on Friday, consumer confidence fell after having risen in the previous month to the highest level since 2008. The consumer confidence number should be watched closely because, if it continues to fall, it means that their much-needed spending will naturally abate and this economy could, again, be in trouble.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Doomsday Fridays

Unless the intention is to destroy billions of dollars of the wealth and investment capital of this country, most government agencies have followed an unwritten law to avoid unloading bad news on the stock market during market hours. Typically, they release the bad news on a Friday evening, after market hours, so that cooler heads will prevail over the long weekend break in trading.

But, releasing bad news during trading can actually create a market crash. That's because many who buy stocks will submit, at the same time, a stop-loss order which is designed to automatically trigger a sell; should a stock reach a certain lower price. When bad news is released during trading, there is a knee-jerk reaction and many stocks reach various levels of stop-loss orders and automatic selling ensues. This, then, creates an environment of fear that draws even more sellers into the market because those traders, all of the sudden, see their particular stock tanking. The cycle repeats itself until the sellers, both automatic and manual, are exhausted and there are enough buyers to stabilize the stock price.

But this government has seen fit to unload on Goldman-Sachs twice; and, each time, it was on a Friday and during market hours. Two weeks ago last Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Goldman-Sachs with a lawsuit; sending the market down more, finally, by 213 points. Yesterday, the same thing happened when it was learned that Obama's Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation against Goldman. Fortunately, the loss was only limited to about 160 points.

If Obama and his goons think this is the way to punish Wall Street by announcing adverse news during trading (I'm quite sure for political reasons!), then they are just stupid. In both cases a lot of average people got hurt in the process. The average Joe's 401k probably got hit hard. A lot of managed retirement funds also tanked because of those actions. People's individual savings in things like Mutual Funds had to be hurt too.

The campaigning Obama told Joe the Plumber that taxes on the rich were OK because we should "spread the wealth around". Then, Wednesday, in another anti-Capitalist utterance, Obama said "I do think at some point you've made enough money" -- when talking about Wall Street. Obviously, Mr. Obama doesn't understand the role that Wall Street has played in raising capital for start up companies to grow into major corporations like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, General Motors, GE, and so many more icons within the "world" of business. Corporations that have made this country the envy of most of the world.

Obama also doesn't understand that Wall Street acts as the agent to fund corporate expansion through bond trading and secondary stock offerings. That's why socialist countries fail. All too often great ideas are ignored so the bad, state-run companies are maintained without any competition. Socialist governments are incapable of providing targeted funding for the expansion of good companies and, at the same time, allow bad ones to go under or go out of existence. At the very same time, Wall Street helps connect the average individual in America with investment tools such as stocks, bonds, and funds that will better grow their savings over the measly 1 or 2% that any bank will give you. That's the real role of Wall Street. And, once again, Obama's socialism and lack of understanding of America is showing .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Idiocy and Politics of Blame Following the Oil Rig Explosion and Fire in The Gulf

From day one, the oil rig fire in the Gulf should have been considered a dangerous situation. It had burned out of control for days and it should have been obvious to anyone familiar with it that it would ultimately burn to the ground; or, in this case, sink into the sea. Most All oil pumping operations have a natural fire accelerant -- called crude oil -- that makes it difficult to contain the fire. The pressure from the earth will cause well heads to continue to spew oil for most of the life of the well. That's why they call them "gushers". The intensity of the heat will melt almost everything; including steel. Just look at how long it took for Red Adair's company to "explosively blow out" all the fires in the Kuwaiti oil fields after Saddam's troops sabotaged all the wells, pumps, and pipelines while in retreat.

People on the political left are trying to say that there is no comparison between George Bush's Katrina goof-up and Obama's handling of this oil disaster. I beg to differ. The potential for disaster with an oil spill was very high. He waited a full seven days before doing anything. Prior to that, the Coast Guard was trying to figure out what to do. Then, on the eighth day, Obama finally took the sinking and subsequent oil spill seriously and sent an armada of lawyers, EPA, and homeland security personnel to the Gulf Coast. I say he and his people bungled it. To me, Janet Napolitano is Obama's equivalent of Bush's "Brownee".