Friday, October 30, 2015

CNBC's GOP Debate: More Like the Spanish Inquistion

Did anyone think that replacing the "MS" in MSNBC with a "C" would somehow eliminate their extreme liberal bias?  CNBC has proven that it can lean just as far left as MSNBC.  Almost every question asked by the panel members of that exhibition of liberalism was designed, not to find out which candidate should be President, but instead, to try and prove why none of them should.  The very first question asked them to describe their greatest "weakness" rather than their strengths.  In another example of bias, Becky Quick said this to Carly Fiorina:
"You were fired by Hewlitt-Packard and now you want to be hired as President."
That wasn't a question. That was a statement and an insult.  A personal attack by one of the moderators against one of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination.  Those questioning the debaters need to be reminded that the word moderator is derived from the word "moderate" or, supposedly non-partisan.

That "debate" was more like an Inquisition, where the assumption is that each participant was guilty of something.  It was a shameful exposure of the type of liberal media bias that Republicans contend with every day.  Marco Rubio said it best: "Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, the mainstream media".


CNBC's Smarmy Moderators Had It Coming:

Transcript: Read the Full Text of the CNBC Republican Debate:

Rubio: Democrats Have The Ultimate Super PAC, The Mainstream Media:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hillary and Bernie at War with Big Business

As long as I can remember, Democrats have hated big business. They claim that they have too many tax loopholes; don't pay their workers well; ruin the environment; don't provide good healthcare plans or other benefits; and ship jobs overseas.  Its no wonder then, that during this election cycle, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both tried to outdo each other by bashing big businesses and, in doing so, have promised big regulatory changes to put them in their places.

The problem is that this is simply unfounded, political talk.  Most people don't realize how crucial big business is to the economy and jobs.

First, there's job creation.

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
As you can see, since 1990, the vast majority of new jobs -- 65% --  were created by big business.  Before you decide this is some right wing propaganda, the above chart was put together by Jared Bernstein; a former economist for the Obama Administration and economic adviser to Joe Biden.

Besides creating a lot of jobs, large businesses pay well.  On average, those firms pay their employees 50% more than those employees working at small companies.  So, obviously, if we want to give America a raise -- as President Obama has said in the past -- our focus should be on helping big businesses grow jobs. 

Then, there's health insurance.

What this collection of charts shows is that -- 3 years before the ObamaCare employer mandate went into effect -- nearly 100% of large businesses offered their employees health insurance; even though the author of these charts considers businesses with 200+ employees a large business rather than the accepted standard of 500+ employees.   But, even so, it shows that large businesses -- besides paying better -- also provide greater benefits; this also includes retirement programs.  While most large companies offer profit sharing, pensions, or matching contribution 401K plans, only 24% of small businesses offer similar retirement plans.  Most workers at smaller firms must either rely on Social Security or their own savings after retirement.  Also, if they do offer a 401k, the value of it is most likely much smaller smaller employers simply cannot afford matching dollar programs like those offered by large organizations.  This is one of the primary reasons why 9% of retirees in this country are in poverty.

Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the typical American family lost $800 in income.  This tells me that we are creating too many small businesses and do not have enough expansion of existing big businesses which typically create more jobs with higher pay and better benefit programs.  We need to encourage the growth of large companies in this country by allowing them to bring back already-taxed overseas profits without having to be taxed a second time at the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.  To that point, we need to lower the corporate tax rate to be competitive with other countries.  The last thing we need is Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders promising to further retard large business growth through more regulation.  We've had enough of that from Obama; resulting in overall lower pay for the middle class.  We certainly don't need Hillary's misguided pledge to be the "Small Business President".


On big business, Clinton moves to the left of Sanders:

Jared Bernstein: Getting Straight on Small Business Job Creation: Firms vs. Establishments:

President Obama: It's Time to Give America a Raise:

Big firms pay 50 percent higher wages than small businesses, study shows:

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance - 3 Questions All Small Businesses Should Ask:

Working for a Small Business? Your 401(k) Is Probably Small, Too:

Why you may retire in poverty:

Typical American Family Earned $53,657 Last Year:

Obama’s 3 Strikes Against Big Business:

Small Business | Issues | Hillary for America - Hillary Clinton: 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Jail Wall Street CEO's

On October 6th, Bernie Sanders said this:
“It is an obscenity that people in this country are getting arrested at near record rates for smoking marijuana, but not one Wall Street CEO has been prosecuted for triggering the Great Recession in 2008. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college because of the greed on Wall Street. We can no longer tolerate a criminal justice system that treats Wall Street executives as too big to jail when their actions have ruined the lives of so many Americans.”
Simply, the reason that no Wall Street CEO was ever charged with a single crime during the financial crisis, was that two Democratic-controlled Congresses and two Democratic Presidents -- Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton -- were responsible for the housing bubble and the fact that banking institutions were engaging in investment activities by bundling loans and selling them on Wall Street. A fact that the Obama Administration didn't want made public with a series of federal trials. 

In 1977, Congress passed a bill called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); which President Carter signed into law. That law "encouraged" any banking institution receiving Federal Depositors Insurance to provide increased loan activity to low income neighborhoods in the area they served. In other words, banks were forced to relax their lending requirements and take on more risk by lending to lower income families.  Banking institutions not in compliance could lose FDIC and be barred from any expansion of their operations.

Enforcement was lax until Bill Clinton became President in 1993.  His administration heavily cracked down on banks and expanded the mandate to increase the percentage of low income families being served by the law. Thus, they were seriously forced to take on more risk and severely reduce lending requirements.  This resulted in people getting  loans that never should have. In the following video, Clinton brags about the fact that since 1977, 85+% of the funding in low income neighborhoods had come after his 5 years in office:

Then, too, Clinton also signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which repealed those parts of the 1933 Glass-Stegall law which had prohibited investment banking.  Therefore, banks got the green light to use Wall Street to bundle mortgages and sell them in the stock market in order to shield themselves from the increased loan risk from low income families.

Basically, it was the federal government that created the financial mess that occurred just 6 years after Clinton left office.  And, any CEO being charged with some kind of fiduciary malfeasance -- as Bernie Sanders has suggested -- would have easily escaped  any fines or prison time because of  "the devil made me do it" defense; where the devil is really President Clinton.

So Bernie, maybe it is Bill Clinton who needs to be behind bars; and not some Wall Street CEO.


Bernie Sanders wants Wall Street execs jailed for 2008 financial crisis:

A Brief Description of CRA:

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Pain Has Started For The Coal Miners

A mostly overlooked statement in last month's employment report was on page 3:
"Employment in mining continued to decline in September ( -10,000), with losses concentrated in support  activities for mining ( -7,000). Mining employment has declined by 102,000 since reaching a peak in  December 2014."
President Obama's regulation of the coal-fired power industry is finally starting to damage the livelihood of thousands of miners and other workers in related industries.  But, the pain for the coal miner will be especially acute when compared to other people in other professions who will also lose their jobs.

First of all, most coal miners live in towns that expressly exist because of the mine.  Stores, gasoline stations, churches, schools, police and fire departments, are all at risk if it has to shut down.  Homeowners are potentially destined to live in ghost towns. The complete loss of home values is inevitable.  With the average age of a coal miner being 44, the thought of starting over someplace else, with no money to buy another home has to be overwhelming.  Business owners will also see the value of their businesses and buildings fall to zero.

The average coal miner is well-paid at roughly $83,700.  Pretty good money when you consider that 75% only have a high school diploma. However, having to restart in a different profession with only a high school education will be difficult since the average wage at that level is half what they are getting now.  Too, having no experience in a new endeavor certainly insures a lower wage, short of the average high school graduate.

So, what is Obama's solution to the economic strife that he has caused these workers? Go on welfare.  But, what about all the others who will also lose their jobs. Those in the lumber industry that provide the support beams used in the mines?  Those in the rail and trucking industries whose jobs depend on coal transportation to the power plants?  There will be a massive ripple effect as a result of this one industry being shutdown by the President and his EPA.

I personally believe that all unions in the country should join the coal miners in an effort to stop Obama from proceeding any further with his "no more coal" mentality.



Profile of the U.S. Coal Miner 2014:

Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Education Level:

Coal Miners Struggle to Survive in an Industry Battered by Layoffs and Bankruptcy:

A Colorado Coal Mining Town Struggles to Define Its Future:  Tighter regulations, environmental lawsuits and a pivot toward cleaner-burning natural gas have knocked communities like Somerset, Colo., on their heels:

Obama Costs Miners Their Job — Tells Them Take Welfare:

Coal miners union to sue over Obama power plant rules:


Monday, October 26, 2015

Hillary and the Left's Charade Over Australian Gun Control

Following the Umpqua Community College shooting, President Obama pointed out that
gun control in Australia has "almost" eliminated mass shootings.  Those on the political left have taken the President's cue to push for similar actions in the U.S.  Of course, Hillary Clinton has jumped on the bandwagon by saying that Australia's gun control is "worth looking at".  Others have dropped Obama's "almost" comment, and now the mantra is that Australia's gun control has "eliminated all" mass shootings.

But, the belief that Australian gun control has greatly changed things in that country is a charade.

In 1996, Australia passed into law, a number of gun control measures that are now considered the "gold standard" by the political left.  Besides mandating that gun owners be registered, semi-automatic weapons were outlawed threatening prison sentences for their possession.  Because the Australian constitution mandates that private property can't be seized without compensation, a buyback program was initiated to confiscate approximate 650,000 of those weapons.  In a country that had 3.2 million at the time, that was approximately 20%; leaving, theoretically, 2.6 million weapons legally owned in the country.

That sweeping gun control action in 1996 was prompted by a mass shooting referred to as the Port Arthur Massacre, when a man armed with two semi-automatic rifles killed 35 people and injured 21.  But, understand, this was a one time event. Australia was never a place known for mass killings.  In the 20 years prior to Port Arthur, there were only 5 mass killings; all with guns, with the primary weapon being a shotgun.  In the nearly 20 years following Arthur, there have been 8 mass killings; 3 with guns.  Of the other 5, one was a stabbing rampage; another a family killed by a father wielding a hammer; and the final 3 were by arson.  Therefore, mass killings didn't stop.  In fact, they increased, and the methods actually became more brutal; proving that without guns, people will find other means.

Also, understand that research has shown that the number of gun related homicides began dropping since 1968; and the rate of decline didn't change one iota since those 1996 gun controls were initiated. Instead, murders actually increased after 1996, from 300 per year, peaking at 350 in 2002.

In addition, with a conservative estimate of 260,000 weapons.  Some were never surrendered in 1996; some were stolen from registered owners; others were illegally imported; and, some were actually backyard manufactured (homemade).  The number of illegal weapons is equal to nearly 10% of the 2.75 million that are legally held by just 750,000 people in a country of 23 million.

The bottom line is that the belief that Australia curbed homicides and mass murders is simply not true.  In 2008, the non NRA-loving, right-wing publication, Time magazine, made that clear with its article titled: Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect.  Also, to replicate what was done in Australia in th U.S. would be an insurmountable task.  Even if we could confiscate 20% of the 300 million guns in this country, that would still leave 240 million in the hands of Americans.  Also, even if it were possible to keep the number of illegal guns to just 10% of the number of legal guns, it would still mean that 24 million  would be out there.  Today, gun trafficking at the border is primarily one-sided, with guns flowing into Mexico from the U.S.  But ban semi-automatics, and that situation is sure to be reversed with the percentage of illegal guns going well beyond that of Australia.  We can't keep drugs and illegal immigrants from crossing the border.  What makes anyone think we could stop illegal guns?

Of course, Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats think they have a winner by trying to make us think Australia has the answer to gun violence, and the uninformed will believe them.  So, from now until the election, I'm certain we will hear nothing but false praise for what Australia has supposedly achieved through their strict gun control laws.


Watch President Obama's Statement on the Shooting in Oregon:

Hillary: Australia-style gun control 'worth looking at' | TheHill:

Australian Mass Murders:

Australian Institute of Criminology: Homicide Statistics:

Fact check: Where do Australians get illegal guns?:

Time:  Australia's Gun Laws: Little Effect:,8599,1736501,00.html

Friday, October 23, 2015

ObamaCare Enrollment Hits the Skids?

In 2013, with input from the White House and Health & Human Services, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepared a budget for ObamaCare based on 6 million signups in 2014, followed by 13 million for this year.  For 2016, the projection was 22 million.

Here's the reality:

8 million originally signed up during open enrollment in 2014.  By the Fall, we learned that only 6.7 million became actual paying customers; leaving 16% who threw the bill in the proverbial circular file.  Earlier this year, we were told that 12 million had enrolled for this year's period.  However, HHS is now saying that only 9.1 million of those have committed to their enrollment by paying their bills by the end of the year.  Thus, the percentage of non-payers has risen to 23%.  This also equates to a 30% miss from the original budget projection of 13 million enrollees in 2015.

But, here's the real kicker:

Apparently, with input from HHS, the CBO recently lowered the projected enrollments for 2016, from the original 22 million to just 20 million.   Now, in October, HHS is saying that only 10 million will be signed up and paying by the end of 2016.  So what gives?  Why such a drastic change in only a matter of weeks?

Well, I think what we're seeing is more politics from the always political Obama Administration.  By low-balling the projected signups, anything that comes in above that number looks like a success.  This way, the President can declare a victory by coming in above the projected numbers.  Thus, taking away the potential that a disappointing enrollment number could hurt Democratic candidates in the 2016 election cycle.

For this reason, I think enrollment will be closer to 15 million; and Obama can crow about the success of the 2016 numbers.  But, I also think that the percent who fail to pay will also rise to possibly 30% from this year's 23%, just as it had risen to 23% this year from 2014's 16%.  I also think that because insurance takes effect on January 1 of each year; and because insurers must provide proof of insurance as of that date, and regardless of being paid, people are using that proof of insurance card as their documentation to avoid paying an IRS penalty; should there be an audit where the coverage comes into question.

Understand that this is a flaw in the system -- intentional or through sheer stupidity -- because the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) allows a 90-day grace period before insurance can be cancelled for non-payment of a premium. Right now, the IRS only relies on the honor system to avoid the penalty.  You simply check a box that says you had a full year's insurance in the previous tax year and no penalty is applied.  Thus, having that insurance card is an ace in the hole; even if the IRS requires it as proof of insurance at the time of filing a tax return.  This is the same way people avoid getting fined for not having automobile insurance.  Those wishing to avoid buying insurance for a full year, pay one payment; get the insurance card; cancel the insurance; and hang onto the card should they get stopped by the police.


CBO 2014 Budget:  Enrollment Projections: Page 5:

White House projects marginal ACA enrollment growth in 2016:

Individual Mandate Penalties:

12 million people have enrolled in Obamacare:

Affordable Care Act "grace period":

Oops! White House fudges Obamacare enrollment figures:

In its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage, the Census Bureau said that the percentage of people without insurance was 10.4 percent last year:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Caracol, Haiti and Why Hillary Can't Create Jobs

Following the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the country needed some serious help in rebuilding itself and creating jobs.  Enter Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with the promise of a new industrial park in Caracol that would create 65,000 new jobs and boost their economy.  Hundreds of small farmers were forced to give up 600 acres of land in order to build a $300 million industrial park.

The only problem is that, when the park opened in 2012, it only employed one-tenth of the promised workforce at a cost of about $50,000 per person.  Given that the minimum wage is $5-a-day in Haiti, $50,000 could have been used to give each of those 6000 workers a guaranteed equivalent salary for 31 years.

In order to employ even more workers at that site, millions more would be needed to build an additional 12 buildings that could employ a total of 20,000 workers.  Still well short of the 60,000 that Hillary promised.   Basically, Caracol is now looking to be the proverbial money pit and it has Hillary's fingerprints all over it.

Finally, it is interesting to me that the Clinton Foundation is still touting Caracol as a success on their web page.  Note this from that site:
"In collaboration with the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. State Department, the Clinton Foundation assisted with the development of the Caracol Industrial Park, which could ultimately create up 60,000 jobs and help to decentralize the Haitian economy. In October 2012, President Bill Clinton joined Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe, and President Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the opening of Caracol Northern Industrial Park. Today, the Korean apparel manufacturer Sae-A is the anchor tenant and will create 20,000 jobs alone."
Sounds like a miracle of job creation, doesn't it?  Too bad it's just another Clinton lie.


Hillary Clinton-backed post-quake Haiti project ‘a work in progress’:

Hillary’s Half-Baked Haiti Project:

A glittering industrial park in Haiti falls short:

The Clinton Foundation: Creating up to 60,000 jobs in northern Haiti:


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

'Truth': A Movie Based on Six Pages of Lies

In Hollywood, "dramatic or artistic license" is something audiences have learned to live with whenever there's a movie based on a questionable "real life" story.  For example, take the movie 'Captain Phillips'.  In that film, Phillips is portrayed as a complete hero.  The problem here, is that Phillips ignored past hijack warnings for the waters that he deliberately sailed into;  thus jeopardizing the boat and his crew.  Is that really heroic?

Now, we have a movie from Robert Redford called 'Truth' which takes 'dramatic license' to new heights of lying.  The entire film sets out to rewrite history and discredit George W. Bush's time in the Air National Guard by painting him as a less-than-good soldier.  The only problem is that all of the assertions of Bush's poor behavior while in the National Guard were based on 6 documents that were dated between 1972 and 1973.  All 6 documents had been created using Microsoft Word and a specific font that didn't exist until two decades after 1973.  Thus a consensus of typewriting experts declared them  to be fraudulent; and instead of Bush being discredited, CBS anchor Dan Rather -- who is portrayed by Robert Redford in the movie -- was discredited for airing a false story; along with '60 Minutes' and producer Mary Mapes.  CBS was forced to publicly apologize and Rather was summarily fired and publicly disgraced.

But now we have the very liberal Redford producing and portraying Rather as some kind of American hero in another attempt to rewrite history, by once again, painting George Bush as a less than stellar serviceman.  Too bad a noted A-List actor such as Redford saw fit to tarnish his image by putting personal politics ahead of the truth in 'Truth'. The reality is that most of Hollywood is liberal, and so anti-Bush that they see no problem with the lies Redford is trying to sell.  Unfortunately, many uninformed will see the movie and assume it to really be "Truth".


Should Hollywood get its 'true stories' straight?:

CBS network refuses to advertise Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford's Truth:

How the Dan Rather Movie 'Truth' Lies About Good Journalism:

George W. Bush military service controversy:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bernie Sander's Fascination With Scandinavian Economies

During the Democrat Debate, Bernie Sanders, the consummate socialist, remarked that we should model our economy after European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  Of course, the only reason he mentioned these Scandinavian countries is because they're socialist, cradle-to-grave nanny states that have shown themselves able to provide a high standard of living.  Other European socialist states like Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland are struggling to survive.

But, what Sanders doesn't seem understand, is that these countries have small populations; less than 10 million people with a wealth of huge stores of natural resources -- relative to their population -- which strongly helps to support their economy.  More importantly, the Nordic race has a very strong work ethic.  As a result, the unemployment rates and poverty levels are fairly low.  A strong work ethic also means that there is very little corruption.   Thus, there is little government interference in business activities in terms of regulations; making them one of the most freely capitalist economies in the world.  Additionally, that same work ethic means that their population is better educated; and this too results in stronger businesses and the creation of new businesses.

Here's the simple fact. None of the above attributes of these Scandinavian countries are transferable to this country.  Just as the failure of socialism to work in Greece. Our highly mixed population and our economic base are totally different.  Also, understand how much those countries pay to achieve the level of socialism they have today.  For example, in Sweden, the cost to pay for their programs is equal to more than half (51.9%) of that nation's total economic output; as measured by Gross Domestic Product.  In this country, our government outlays are $3.5 trillion on an economy of $17.4 trillion; or, just 20% of our Gross Domestic Product.  In order to achieve what Sweden has achieved, we would have to have massive increases in federal taxes.  Even more, if we want the current $18+ trillion debt reduced or eliminated.  Probably a third of all workers would work for the government.

Lastly, to pay for all this socialism, these countries tax everyone in the form of a Value Added Tax.  A form of a 25% national sales tax (not applicable to food and some services that would impact tourism).  That's because simply taxing the rich -- as Bernie Sanders would suggest -- won't even come close to paying for the large increase in socialism he is proposing.


Clinton, Sanders spar over capitalism, gun control at Democratic presidential debate:

Economy and Business Environment:

Is Sweden a False Utopia:

Does Scandinavian Socialism Work?:


Monday, October 19, 2015

Hillary's Reckless Endangerment of a CIA Agent

I would hope that no one has forgotten the outrage shown by the political left, when it was falsely assumed that the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, was supposedly leaked to the public by someone close to George Bush.  In her angry testimony before Congress, Plame said this:
“the harm that is done when a CIA cover is blown is grave” . . . “breaches of national security endangered CIA officers, it has jeopardized and even destroyed entire networks of foreign agents” . . . “lives are literally at stake”
Well, it now appears that Hillary Clinton, in an e-mail exchange with close friend, Sydney Blumenthal, has essentially done the same thing by outing the classified name of a CIA operative in Libya.  As expressed by a former CIA lawyer on MSNBC, the consequences of this are grave:

We already know that Sydney Blumethal's emails were hacked.  Thus, that CIA operative's name is already out there.  If Hillary's private email server was also hacked, that person's name may also be in the hands of another foreign government and his/her life might already be in danger.

So, where are all the outraged Democrats that wanted to have Bush's head over the outing of Plame?  Their silence simply proves how politically motivated the whole Plame affair was.


Gowdy says new emails show Clinton confidant naming CIA source, pushing Libya interests:

The Outing of Valerie Plame:

In March 2013, an adviser to Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, had his e-mail hacked by "Guccifer":

Friday, October 16, 2015

California's New Fair Pay Act for Women

Early in October, California's Governor Brown signed the Fair Pay Act into law. This is touted as the strongest law in the nation for equalizing gender pay in the State. Highlights follow:
  • Women's pay must be equal for work that is "substantially similar".
  • If not, women have the right to sue the employer for higher wages.
  • Women are free to discuss pay and demand higher pay without retaliation.
  • While employers are mandated to discuss pay with women employees, they are not required to disclose the actual salaries of any other employees.
  • Higher pay for male employees is justifiable if based on merit raises, seniority, or any other reason that is not gender based.
For the most part, I don't think this law will change women's pay disparity very much.

First of all, much of women's pay disparity is based on choice of occupation, choice of education, and the exiting and reentry into the workforce for purposes of raising a family.  These things can place them at the back of the line of experience levels.

Also, because the law assumes that you have to know what someone else is being paid;  and in most companies, salaries are not published, the number of lawsuits will be almost non-existent.  Where that might be a problem is in three places:
Hollywood, Hollywood, and Hollywood. 
In Hollywood and the movie and TV industry, men dominate.  Of the Forbes 35 highest paid actors, not one is a woman.  Of the top grossing movies from 2002 to 2014, women only directed 4.1%.  And, the list goes on.  In fact, the Equal Opportunity Commission has launched an investigation on gender bias in Hollywood in general.

This presents an interesting quandary for the politicians that passed the Fair Pay Act.  Hollywood houses a major industry in California.  Is it possible that the film industry might move out in order to potentially avoid the hundreds of lawsuits that could arise because of the new law?  Who knows?  Also, Hollywood could just fold their tent and move elsewhere if too many nuisance lawsuits are filed against them.  A fact that would seriously hurt California's already-growing tax revenue shortfalls.

Lastly, where I think companies will run afoul with the law is in "help wanted" ads.  If a company advertises a pay range for a new job that is higher than a woman that has an existing and "substantially similar" job, this could cause a lawsuit to be filed. Companies would be well advised not to advertise pay ranges for that reason, even if the job title is different.  Basically, a law like this is a magnet for lawyers who know companies might just settle rather litigate; even if they are on solid ground.  Paying someone a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars a year more, may be better than spending thousands of dollars to defend an equal pay lawsuit.  And, if lawsuits get too prevalent, companies will simply decide to move out of California or shut down.  Not good.


California governor approves expansive new equal pay protections targeting gender wage gap:

Highest Paid Actors 2015:

Study shows how women directors get blocked in Hollywood:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

No, Mr. Obama. Putin Doesn't Act Out of Weakness

In a recent press conference, President Obama called Putin's incursion into Syria "an act of weakness".

Unfortunately, that statement is as foolish as it is wrong.  Putin is in Syria because he saw an opening in which the free-Syrian rebels are being bogged down by fighting two wars:  one to overthrow Bashar Assad, and the other, fighting the ISIS insurgency.  This, then, was the perfect opening for Putin to step in and insure that Syria becomes another strong ally in the Middle East.  Also, he knows that Obama is weak as an anti-war foe, and that our President won't step in to take on Russia while Putin's forces decimate the free-Syrians.

This is exactly what he did in the Ukraine.  As soon as there was a Ukrainian revolution in early 2014, Putin took advantage of the chaos by first seizing and annexing Crimea.  Then, by fighting with the pro-Russia, Ukrainian separatists to annex all of the Ukraine once the dust settles.

To not recognize what Putin is up to and thinking he is weak is as ridiculous as calling ISIS a JayVee team.  Also, Obama shouldn't be surprised if the "weak" Putin takes back the Ukraine and creates another puppet-state by securing Assad's future as President in Syria.  Then he will just move on to another conquest whenever the time is right.  Mark my words.


Opinion: Acting out of weakness? Why Obama's dangerously wrong about Putin's intentions in Syria:

With a straight face, Obama asserts Putin is weak and no challenge:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Really? Obama Has Cut the Deficit by Two-Thirds Since Taking Office?

In a press conference announcing that Arnie Duncan would step down as Education Secretary, Obama slipped in another one of his well-worn, half-truths about the budget deficit.  As he has done before, he claimsed that he had reduced the deficit by two-thirds since taking office. Well, he's right.  He did cut the deficit -- the one he created with massive spending -- by two-thirds.

In George Bush's last year in office, the deficit was historically high at $458 billion; up from his second-to-last-year's deficit of just $160.7 billion.  Then Obama took office, and in his first year, with the stimulus and the $400 billion loss in tax receipts due to the recession, the deficit zoomed to $1.4 "trillion".  That's more than 3 times the amount as  when Bush left office, and nearly 9 times higher than Bush's pre-recession deficit of $160 billion.  In the next three years, the deficit was $1.3 trillion, $1.3 trillion, and then $1.1 trillion.  This year, it is estimated to be $582 billion; or roughly two-thirds  -- and I mean "roughly" -- less than the $1.4 trillion created in Obama's first year, but still higher than when Bush left office;  and certainly 3.6 times higher than Bush's pre-recession, second to last year in office.

Obama is a master at taking facts out of context in order to ingratiate himself with the public.


Obama: “Since I Took Office We’ve Cut The Deficit By 2/3.”:

Tax Policy Center: Historical Federal Receipts, Outlays, and Deficits:

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Pretense That a Gun Show Loophole Is Fueling Firearm Violence

Currently, there is no federal law prohibiting the transference of a firearm by sale, or inheritance, or by gift between two private parties.  As such, no background check is required. Federal law only prohibits the transfer if the person receiving the firearm is intending to commit a crime or is knowingly unable to pass a background check as in the case of a known felon seeking a weapon.

Thus, one spouse can buy a licensed gun for their home without the other spouse needing a background check to use it.  Or, you can give a gun to someone for their protection if they are under the threat of bodily harm, without that person having go through the up to 3-day background check process before having possession of a newly purchased gun.  Or, a hunter may borrow another hunter's firearm to try it out without going through the process of a background check.

And, yes, a gun collector can take his antique collection of firearms to a gun show and sell all or single items to another private party without the need of a background check for each item sold.  This fact, of course, is what Democrats and other gun control advocates call the "gun show loophole".   Thus, to the average person, the implication is that criminals and potential mass shooters are buying weapons at gun shows in order to mow down people at schools or movie theaters, or for their use in the commission of a crime.

However, the above assumption that criminals and crazed mass killers are buying weapons at gun shows is false, and is a political pretense for having universal background checks for the very same situations that I noted in the second paragraph.

The reality is that criminals don't obtain their weapons at gun shows. 99.9% of guns purchased at those events are sold by federally licensed gun dealers, who by federal law, are required to obtain background checks on every sale or lose their license.  In fact, a 2004 Department of Justice survey of 18,000 inmates at federal and state prisons found that only 16.8% or 3024 had a weapon on them at the time of arrest.  Of those 3024, only eight-tenths of a percent said it was purchased at a gun show.  That's just 24 inmates who bought their weapons at a gun show. Also, 40% said they had bought guns illegally on the streets.  Only, 9.9% said they had purchased their guns from a licensed pawn shop or gun retailer. 

Gun shows are also not the source for weapons used by mass shooters.  In a news article appearing in the New York Times titled "How They Got Their Guns", the writer analyzed the last 14 most horrific mass shootings and found that in every case, the weapons used were legally obtained at gun stores and not gun shows.

So, the bottom line is that gun shows are a minuscule part of this country's gun violence problem, though Democrats still want to use the gun show loophole to their political advantage. They tell their base to blame Republicans for not closing this so-called loophole.  A loophole that allows private citizens to exchange guns among themselves; not just at gun shows, but anywhere; the vast majority of which won't be used in the commission of any crime.


Senate Democrats as they demand new gun-control laws:

Gun show loophole:

Justice Department Study: Page 13: Firearm Use By Offenders: Table 14:

How They Got Their Guns:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Chris Christie and His Hypocritical Expansion of Medicaid

Chris Cristie, the Governor of New Jersey, now campaigning for the Republican nomination for President, claims that he would be the guy that would reduce entitlement spending for things like Social Security.  Yet, as Governor, he was willing to expand a major entitlement, Medicaid, with the federally assisted funding under ObamaCare.  His argument for doing so: "expanding Medicaid was what was best for the people of my state."

In my opinion, this is a false argument on Christie's part.  Medicaid in New Jersey is a mess.  Those on it can't find a doctor, and that situation is only getting worse.  Because New Jersey's Medicaid reimbursement rates are so low, only 38.7% of doctors will accept Medicaid patients. The lowest percentage in the nation.  Even lower than than the 46% in a 2011-2012 survey of NJ doctors.  What makes their acceptance rates look even worse is the fact that California, second behind New Jersey, has an acceptance rate of 54.2%.

Medicaid expansion is not helping the people of New Jersey.  The fact that so few doctors will see these patients only forces them to use emergency rooms as unpaid charity cases.  This drives up the cost of insurance rates for everyone in the state.  In fact, the average monthly premium is the highest in the nation at $473.17.  Is that good for New Jersey?  On top of that, the federal taxes that are needed to pay for the expansion of Medicaid will be born by every federal tax payer; including those who live in New Jersey.  Another "good thing" for the residents.

The simple fact is that New Jersey is a blue (Democrat) state, and in order to win reelection in 2013, the Republican Christie had to play into Democrat's hands by expanding Medicaid.  Much the same way as his photo-op moment hugging President Obama at that infamous post Hurricane Sandy meeting.  This simply reveals that Christie is politically unprincipled as a Republican.


Christie: Medicaid Expansion Was ‘Best for the People’ of NJ:

Chris Christie’s Expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey Angers Some Republicans:

N.J. doctors least willing to accept Medicaid patients under Obamacare:

Obamacare in NJ: high premiums, but high subsidies |

Average Monthly Medical Insurance Premiums by State:

After Obama, Christie Wants a G.O.P. Hug:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hillary Wants Gun Makers Sued For Gun Violence

In another one of Hillary Clinton's attempts to appeal to her base, she is now proposing to repeal the ban on firearm manufacturers getting sued over the use of their product in the commission of a crime.

First, it amazes me that we even had to pass a law in 2005 that banned such lawsuits.  That whole idea takes the concept of product liability to ruinous new heights.  If we are to start suing gun manufacturers, then why not sue automobile manufacturers for selling a product that was used in a fatal accident; or, food manufacturers for someone dying of obesity?

Why just sue the manufactures, let's sue everyone involved in the sale of a weapon; including the federal government for authorizing the sale with a background check in the first place.  This is just ridiculous, and Hillary has to know it. The chances that a single lawsuit of this nature getting through a federal appeals court or through the Supreme Court are nil.  Simply, the liability logic is flawed.

But still, stupid people will believe her when she says that, if she is elected, she -- and she alone -- will somehow overturn a current law by some type of executive action.  Haven't we had enough of that with Obama?


Hillary Clinton wants gun firms liable for shootings:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Obama, Australia, and Gun Control

Following the Umpqua Community College mass shooting, President Obama gave another speech advocating gun control.  An excerpt follows:
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours -- Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours.  So we know there are ways to prevent it.
Then, he goes on to talk about "common sense" gun control laws. So somehow, we are supposed to believe, that if we did what Australia did, all our mass shootings would just go away.

But we need to understand just what was done in Australia.

They banned all semi-automatic weapons and literally confiscated nearly a million of them from their citizens through a constitutionally mandated buy-back program.  They did this with a simple parliamentary vote in 1996 following another mass shooting in their country. It is now, in most cases,  punishable by imprisonment to own a semi-automatic weapon there.

So, the real question is whether or not Australia's severe gun control laws had any impact on homicides and mass shootings.

First, mass shootings nearly disappeared since the passage of the 1996 law. However, also understand that neighboring New Zealand experienced a similar drop despite not having enacted any ban on semi-automatics. In fact, the incidents of mass shootings in both Australia and New Zealand have tracked very close to each other since 1969. Thus, implying that the absence of mass shootings had more to do with societal changes and little to do with any presence or lack of weapons.

Also, there was no perceptible change in the decline of firearm-related deaths which started in 1969; nearly 3 decades before the ban on semi-automatics and as noted by this Australian government chart:

Also, the next chart shows that homicides actually spiked after the law went into effect:

In our own country, gun violence has been steadily declining since peaking in 1993; proving again that societal changes are at play, not any type of gun restrictions.

It never ceases to amaze me how impassioned Obama has become over gun control since the House of Representatives became majority-controlled by the GOP in 2011.  Where was that same passion when he had control of both Houses in 2009 and 2010?  In 2009, there was the horrific Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook, yet neither Obama nor the Democrats did anything about it. Where was the passage of any single "common sense" gun control law in those two years?  Personally, I believe that the President would actually prefer that no new gun control laws are passed right now so that he and the other Democrats can use it as a political weapon against the GOP.  He also has to know that according to Gallup 47% of Americans own guns, and that the fastest growth groups of gun ownership are woman, and yes, Democrats; with 43% and 40% ownership, respectively.  Also, according to the NRA, half of all guns sold in the last few years are semi-automatics.  Gun ownership is just too high a hurdle for Obama and the Democrats to get anything done here.

Lastly, while mass shootings have dwindled to near nothing in Australia, mass killings haven't.  Just as the Boston Marathon bombers didn't need a semi-automatic weapon to kill 3 and injure 264, Australians don't need semi-automatics to kill a lot of people. Instead, they use arson, hammers, and knives to commit mass murder.  Would you prefer repeated blows to the head with a hammer or a single shot from a gun?


Watch President Obama's Statement on the Shooting in Oregon:

Gun Laws: Australia:

Australian Institute of Criminology: Homicides:

Gun Violence in the U.S.:

Australian Mass Murders:

Self-Reported Gun Ownership in U.S. Is Highest Since 1993:

Semi-Automatic Firearms and the “Assault Weapon” Issue Overview:

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Decade's Low Unemployment Claims: Not a Good Thing!

Last Thursday, the average of unemployment insurance claims was the lowest since Nixon was in Office; at least according to one headline.  Of course, this is even more outstanding when you consider the fact that the workforce was 40% smaller when Nixon was in office.

So, why should I be concerned over what seems to be such great news?

The reason is that, as of a year ago, 34% of our workforce were freelancers or independent contractors.  That's more than 53 million workers in 2014; almost double the 27 million freelancers in 2006 when they represented 18% of a smaller labor force of 151 million workers.  And, for sure, the number today is even higher than last year's 34%.  But, a critical point point to make is that these workers are not eligible for unemployment compensation whenever their services are no longer needed by a company.

Thus, we would probably have higher unemployment claims today if it weren't for the fact that a full one-third of our workforce is now self-employed.

Sadly, this is a growing trend as companies try to avoid the heavy burden of higher employment costs such as the employer mandate of ObamaCare; higher minimum wages in 29 states than the federal $7.25 an hour; and, Obama's new overtime rule for salaried workers.

It is now estimated that 40% of the workforce will be forced into a role of self-employment by 2020.  Not a good thing for the American worker and their families.  Thanks to over regulation of businesses, job security is vanishing in this country,.


Jobless claims average hasn’t been this low since Richard Nixon:

One in Three U.S. Workers Is A Freelancer:

40% of America's workforce will be freelancers by 2020:

How many freelancers are there? In 2006?:

Labor Force Size By Year:

State Minimum Wages | 2015 Minimum Wage by State:

Obama's new overtime rules: How they'd work and who they'd affect:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Politics of Gun Control

More than once in the hours following the Umpqua Community College Shooting, I have heard a Democrat claim that the majority of Americans want stricter gun control.  In fact, Harry Reid said this: “Americans want us to act. We cannot dodge this conversation forever.”

Wrong! A majority of Democrats might want more gun control, but most Americans don't; as noted by this latest polling on the topic:

Click on Image to Enlarge

The fact is, that when Independents and Republicans are added up against the Democrats that favor stronger gun control laws, the opposition to it is slightly higher than those for it; 48% to 45%.  And, please note the opposition has grown from 40% in 2008.

In that same polling, the vast majority -- near or above the 90th percentile -- said that there should be background checks for all gun buyers, and that the mentally ill should not own guns.

Maybe some movement in these two areas might -- and that's a big might -- squelch the political left's cries.  But, this I am sure of.  The incidents of mass shooting will still happen because, in most of these cases, the guns used were legally obtained.   Also, with a growing number of Americans in opposition to stricter controls, the chances of getting a two-thirds vote to amend the constitution to negate the right of gun ownership is totally out of the question.


Democratic Lawmakers Urge Gun Control After Oregon Shooting:

White House: Earnest said that the "vast majority of Americans" want to beef up the nation's gun laws: 

Polling Report: Gun Polls:

Survey: Majority of Americans Not Interested in Gun Control:

Friday, October 2, 2015

An October 1st Nightmare For Our Doctors and Ourselves

Unless you are a doctor, you are probably unaware of an upcoming change in the way medicine will  be practiced in the U.S.. It will complicate lives and could greatly affect whether or not your insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid will pay for medical services you receive.

As of October 1st, doctors are now required by law to use a new coding system for diagnosis and treatment called ICD-10 (International Classification of Disease version 10).

For years, they have been using version 9 of the ICD.  Under that system, there were 14,000 different codes that a doctor could pick from to specify a diagnosis and the associated treatment.  More often than not, most insurance claims that were denied were usually because of coding errors.

Now comes ICD-10 and the doctor must now be more specific about his/her diagnosis and treatment to the tune of 87,000 different coding options for a claim submission.  Besides the obvious potential for a severe increase in coding errors and claim denials, the application of ICD-10 coding creates an administrative nightmare for both doctors and the insurers who must interpret what each claim is all about; including the processing of Medicaid claims by both state and federal agencies and by the federal government and supplemental insurers for Medicare claims.  Don't be surprised if Health and Human Services doesn't call for a substantial increase in personnel at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services to handle this additional workload.  In addition, your private insurance rates are sure to go up because of the increased burden.

Now, to the politics of this new ICD-10 implementation.

Obama's Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) have already announced that no claims will be denied on the basis of  coding errors for a period of one year through September 30, 2016; just five weeks before the 2016 Presidential election.  Since it typically takes a few weeks to process a claim, no voter will be aware of the massive amount of claims that were denied until after the election.  How, convenient!

In my opinion, this is a big deal and the media is totally ignoring it.  But, I'll bet they won't be ignoring it next year when claim denials pour in at a higher rate than ever before.  And, while this will be because of doctor coding errors, a lot of billing departments will probably just bill you because of the denial and the poor patient won't even know why.  Thus, the insurers and CMS will be inundated with calls and complaints, complicating the administrative nightmare that ICD-10 created.  Ask yourself this: Will your healthcare be improved by more precise coding?   Probably not!


The New Disease Classification (ICD-10): Doctors and Patients Will Pay:

ICD-10: CMS won't deny claims for first year:

American Medical Association: The Differences Between ICD-9 and ICD-10:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Don't Blame Boehner For Republican Majority Inaction

Since Speaker of the House John Boehner, announced his resignation and retirement, many in the media have said he had to go because of his inaction on a full range of issues.  The reality is that the inaction was not due to the House of Representatives and John Boehner, but Harry Reid's strength in the Senate.

Harry Reid is a strong defender of all things Obama.  In 2010, the House majority control shifted to the Republicans.  Over the next four years, under Boehner's Leadership, they passed hundreds of anti-Democrat and anti-Obama measures; primarily along Republican party lines. Then, those proposed bills went to the Senate where Harry Reid either sat on them or let them languish in the Democrat-controlled committees. 

In January 2015, the Republicans finally gained control of the Senate with a 54% party membership.  Republicans around the country thought that now, with control of both houses of congress, something could be done to reverse many of the measures that the Democrats and Obama had passed into law over the last 5 years.  But, they were wrong.  With only a simple 54% majority, they found themselves powerless against Senate rules that require a a 60 vote, in some cases, and a two-thirds vote (66% of the votes in most cases or, at least, 67% to override a Presidential veto) to get anything done.  So, as long as Harry Reid maintained solidarity among the Democrats and was able to prevent that, all of Boehner's House bills just kept dying in the Senate.

For example, the House under Boehner's control, even with a majority control in the Senate in 2014, had successfully voted 6 times to totally repeal ObamaCare and another 54 times to defund or repeal specific parts of ObamaCare. Yet, today, the law remains fully intact from the day it became law.

The simple fact is that the only way that any reversal of Obama and the Democrat's actions is to have someone in the White House that won't constantly threaten to veto those reversal bills. Also, the Senate control must be further strengthened to insure that things get done.

In my opinion, Boehner's resignation merely exposes how divided this country is along party lines, and how a minority in the Senate, along with a like-minded President, can block anything not supported by both parties.  Changing the Speaker of the House is not the answer to solving gridlock in Washington.


The 4 Worst Things John Boehner Did As Speaker:

Two Charts That Show How Boehner Had An Impossible Job:

House passes 50th bill to undo Obamacare:

No, House Republicans haven't voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare: