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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

They are Not Equal

The current debate over the timing of the President's address to the nation should be no surprise. To those that are following the continuous and expected mean spiritedness and hate of Congress toward our President this is just par for the course. The one infuriating misssing element, however, is that a Presidential request to address Congress regarding jobs and the economy, does not come close to matching the insignificance of a Pre Primary candidate debate. Only Obama and Congress have been elected to serve and to do the work for the people. They have the recognized and official jurisdiction to do so. Candidates are just wannabees, filled with platitudes and criticisms and infrequently, even suggestions, but they have no power, no recognizable or official role in writing, passing and enforcing law. Their gathering must take a back seat to the peoples' business. The media is treating this story as if both events are equal and that a war between equally armed sides is taking place. These two activities are not equal and the media must say so. Where are you Americans to reason and truth?

Note to George Will: Irene was the 10th largest storm ever. 45 are dead. 2 million still without power. Flooding and destruction continue. An overreaction by the media? Where is your good sense man?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eric Cantor

Most Americans do not even know who Eric Cantor is. He is the Republican Majority leader of the House of Representatives. He has been leading the charge for deficit reduction in such an irresponsible and superficial way that long term it is a strategy that will hurt his own district and his own state. His supporters still understand and respond to cliches....lower the deficit...let the job creators do their job....get government out of your life...and blah blah blah. However, his language has consequences and to put disaster relief within the scope of his idiocy, insensitivity and ridiculous notions of the reach of Government is one of the worst moves a politician can make. He is an immature, self-serving, egotistical and arrogant self promoter who doesn't deserve to serve this nation in such an important role. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Dick

No, Not Nixon. He got what he deserved. Forced resignation, only one in the history of our Presidency. Embarrassment and forced admission of guilt. Never rehabilitated and never fully forgiven. Yes, He got what he deserved. He wasn't The Big Dick. It is former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who did more damage to our nation's credibility abroad than any in modern times. This is a man who perpetrated lie after lie after lie about the realities of our nation's foreign policy. This is a man who in his newly released book continues these lies and continues his arrogance and deceipt. In this memoir, he criticizes one of our nation's hereos, Colin Powell. This is a man who gave awful advice to our President, continues to support torture and although a public servant for many years deserving of some appreciation for that, does not deserve to be supported in any way and certainly is not entitled to his own manufactured facts nor a rewrite of history. There is nothing good about The Big Dick. He too, needs to get what he deserves. A total repudiation by us all of his evil ways. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Perry and the Storm

Today is the day to wish all Northeasterners well as they deal with Hurricane Irene. I myself have cleared deck furniture, plants, gutters and made some alterations to travel plans. Governor Christie has eloquently told residents to "get the hell off the beach" and many states prepare for the worst. Let's hope for maximum preparation, good sense, and minimal damage.

While this storm comes, Rick Perry continues to storm through the political process of Republican Presidential campaigning making himself ever more loved by his extremist, holier than thou base, but isolating himself from the national electorate in my judgement. Today, he is billing the Federal Government for costs Texas incurred in incarcerating illegals. How come he didn't do this during the Bush years? Texas brotherhood? Ignoring Oil company infractions in their hiring processes? Anyone's guess. The important thing to note, is that in two years President Obama has deported more illegals than Bush did in 8. Obama has levied more punishment on businesses that violate hiring practices than in all of Bush's 8. President Obama has increased the labor and committment to border security more than in all of bush's 8. If you read this blog as a Republican, I implore you to check my facts. Rick Perry is blind to Obama's successful record in this arena but since his supporters don't listen to a damn bit of truth, I guess it will work for him. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yes, Our Politics Can Get Worse


Earthquakes and Hurricanes bring havoc to its victims, but they are regional in nature. We feel for our neighbors, but the pain is most severe for those in the line of fire. Our Politics, however, transcends all geography. Just when you think we have reached rock bottom, with the bickering and partisanship at its historic worst, with no regard for We the People, it gets even worse. 4 Key leaders from the Republican party have already come out against an extension of the payroll tax holiday. Most economists overwhelmingly support this program as the best way to increase the consumption power of our Middle Class. In fact, this has been touted in the past as a great Republican idea. The never ending obsession with the induced failure of our President has blinded Obama's opponents to anything that he suggests. No matter what. Good or not. Helpful or not. It doesn't matter. We have gone beyond the acceptable debate based on principles and legitimate differences of opinion. I do not know when or if my fellow citizens and friends, regardless of their points of view, will rally around the nation and force their leaders to put country first. If not, the future looks dim. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Asking for Government Help?

Wait a second. I thought that Rick Perry and the tea party and Republicans in Congress are running away from the Federal Government? In fact, Perry said he would make the Fed. totally inconsequential in our lives. Mitt says that the States must do it all, thus running from Health Care Reform with Federal involvement. Majority Leader Erik Cantor wants to cut, cut, cut, avoid any shared sacrifice involving the wealthy and condemned the stimulus and other government spending. Today, however, he went to his district saying the Federal Government has a role to play in fixing his district's problems from the earthquake and that "we will find the money". So what will he cut? He has just said he would raise the deficit so what are we to believe? Selfish, lying hypocrite. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama's Earthquake

While vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, President Obama caused a 5.9 instensity Earthquake in Virginia which resonated throughout the East Coast of America. According to John McCain, if the President had been focusing on the tectonic plates of our Nation instead of swimming and dealing with Libya, this could have all been avoided. Mitt Romney promised that if he were President, there would have been no Earthquake at all because the Corporations being deregulated, would have found it in their best interests to stop it. Rick Perry claimed that Obama's policies have burdened the nation with silly regulations and therefore the country could not avoid such disasters but this would change under a Perry Presidency. Michelle Bachmann quickly claimed that this Earthquake was as a result of Obama's decision to end Don't Ask Don't Tell thus bringing on the Quake as a punishment to gays. Meanwhile, the President's strategy in Libya seemed to be working but the Republicans faulted him for causing the Earthquake to occur here instead of in Libya, thus substantiating their view that Obama doesn't love America. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, August 22, 2011

CNBC

I do whatever I can to invest wisely. I teach Economics so I try very hard to remain up to date on the latest theories and trends in the discipline. I am also a student of politics and follow our political scene with more aggressiveness and interest than the average American. Currently, the blame game continues and the attempts at causing the failure of a Presidency persist. The President finds himself mired in a crisis only partly of his making and the games continue. CNBC is a fairly credible purveyor of the economic scene but for weeks, the talking heads come on and blame Washington DC for the crisis at the same time as begging for policies that favor business. Every day they scream about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and point fingers. I haven't heard one of these experts ever offer any solution to the problem. Just a series of obvious platitudes with no depth. The reason is, they just don't know. I wish they would shut up. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, August 19, 2011

History and Hypocrisy

Two pronged post today. Too much happening for one rant. Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma comes from one of the those places in our great nation where diversity is minimal. Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming and other very red states, do not pal around with or identify with Blacks. Their notion of the African American perspective and experience is tied to the stereotypes and mean spirited ignorance stemming from our history. It is therefore no wonder that this Senator had the audacity to use President Obama's black half as the reason for Presidential support of government programs. Coburn says that since Obama is part black, he was clearly advantaged by government services and therefore is inclined to support them. This is racist, pure and simple. Senator Coburn must now find every white person in his state who has benefited from a government program and tie them to political support of these programs based on their experience too. He may have a receptive racist audience in some parts of his constituency, but he does not fit the model that fair minded open Americans have of this great country. Shame on you Senator Coburn.

Shame on you too, hypocrite Mitt Romney. You are worth millions, own vacation homes, vacationed as Governor and know that the level of time off from this President pales in comparison to his immediate predecessor. You are so vacant of ideas, so hypocritical, so absent of any of your own solutions, so lacking in conviction toward anything other than Obama's defeat, that you resort to the ridiculousness and triviality of the President's vacation. You are a phony and a fool. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Idea

For those that continue to rail against Government, while accepting its help, here is another idea for job creation. Let the private sector step up to the plate without blaming Obama for being anti business, or Congress for its partisanship, or bitching about the future of legislative action causing your dormancy. Private business is sitting on trillions of dollars that can be spent tomorrow. Here are some possibilities. Take Transportation companies, whose sole reason for being is to transport goods from place to place. They use the highways. They drive in traffic wasting gas idling on roads in need of repair, missing deadlines, damaging vehicles on unpaved roads. If they used some of their own cash to repair these roads they can stimulate job growth and improve their productivity and profit picture in the long run. Don't wait for the Government, do it yourself. This is very capitalistic. What about airlines. They can save billions of dollars if an updated GPS system were to be installed in all air traffic control towers throughout the country. Why don't they hire people that know how to do this. It helps travelers, uses less fuel and puts people to work. How about Utility companies chipping in to update the electric grid throughout the country. This would have countless advantages to our ability to safely deliver energy in a more efficient manner and would put people to work. These are just three examples from hundreds of possibilities. Instead of bitching and complaining, step up and do it yourselves. If you criticize the government for not caring about our future, avoid the same criticism from being leveled against you. If you want to get Government off your backs, then stop waiting for it to act. Put your money where your mouths are. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pursuit of Profit

Economists from both political perspectives, will tell you that there is mounting evidence that lower taxes is not the way to create jobs. Our free market system is the best in the world, but the pursuit of profit and continuous demands from business for more breaks and more loopholes does not stimulate job growth, it stimulates profit growth. These are two very separate notions. When Mitt Romney was in charge of Bain Capital, he advised and taught companies how to be more profitable and productive. One major way to do this, was through mergers and downsizing. Mitt was successful, but his business experience isn't tied to creating jobs, it is tied to creating profit. Rick Perry, as governor, created jobs through the advantages of oil price increases of which he had nothing to do with. He also had the advantage of a population increase. Even with these advantages, every state that borders Texas, has a lower unemployment rate than does Texas. One out of four children have no health insurance in Texas, its education system is one of the worst and one out of ten minimum wage jobs exist in Texas. Americans may like this, but the Governor as does Mitt, knows how to create profit for business, not good jobs for Americans. The pursuit of profit is not a bad thing, particularly for the stock holders of these companies who are advantaged by increased productivity, downsizing, acquisitions and economies of scale. When the party of profit tries to blame the government for a lack of job creation, it deliberately misses the mark, distorts the truth and unfortunately has a willing but stupid audience. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Get Scared

If you read Ryan Lizza's piece in the current issue of New Yorker about Michelle Bachmann, you should be riddled with fright. The people and issues that influenced her life are not the ones that the average American would experience. I respect those who are devoted to their faith but am frightened by those who announce that a higher power guides their decisions in life and as an extension, would as President. If Michelle Bachmann believes that homosexuality is enslavement and abhorrent, how can she be the President of all the people? If she believes that Christianity is the only way forward, how can she protect our first amendment rights? Rick Perry is no better with his evangelical furor that would undoubtedly too aggressively guide his decisions as President. I do not fear any individual who disagrees with me, but I do fear those who aspire to powerful positions of leadership without the secular perspective. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can they be that Dumb?....Yes

I have consistently pined and waxed poetic as to the sorry state of knowledge of the American people. I never challenge peoples' right to have alternative points of view, I just get angry that people do not put in the time and effort to understand or formulate that point of view. As I always explain to my Government classes, the Founders had some concerns about the breadth of knowledge and the ability of the people to become informed, thus creating a republic with those who can better understand the complexity of the issues. In theory, to make informed judgments on our behalf. One might think that today, with all the coverage and spontaneity of information, that the people are better able to think and act on this thought with some degree of competence. This, however is regrettably not the case. As the Republican debate the other day showed, these Presidential wannabees continue to lie to the people and tell them things that are inaccurate because they recognize that they are ill informed as the Founders predicted. Instead of making the right decisions for our country, however, they use the ignorance for their own electoral advantage. James Madison et al would not have approved. Our Founders used their knowledge and depth of understanding to discuss, debate and hash out differences based on facts and truths. Not so today. The public, however, seems to be recovering and perhaps leaving some of the ignorance behind. Tea party support is down to 18%. Overwhelmingly, Americans call for shared sacrifice between the wealthy and the middle class. 60% of the nation does not blame President Obama for the economic circumstances, and candidates that hope for default are beginning to look silly. And yet, these Republican candidates continue to fly in the face of such polling. Those who were governors deny that compromise and revenues helped them be successful governors and instead they preach the Norquist gospel. Can they be that Dumb? Yes. This kind of demagoguery will help one of them win the primaries, but will not bode well in a National debate. I can't wait to shove it down their throats. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Governor from Texas

Rick Perry is running for President. He is the successor to George W. Bush. Just what we need, another Governor from Texas. At least W. did not court aggressively the sick, mean spirited and crazy preachers who are insane. At least W. didn't support Texas seceding from the Union, although at times I wish it would. At least W. supported some kind of education reform. At least W. was somewhat reasonable about immigration reform. As bad a President as I believe W. was, he was better in terms of beliefs than this crazy loon. Under Rick Perry, job growth in Texas has been derived through the lowest skilled and lowest paid jobs in our society. In fact, over the last few months, Texas has seen an increase in unemployment. Rick Perry is beholden to the oil industry, once was a Democrat, now is a kook. I am glad he is running. He makes the crazy field of Republican candidates even more crazy. Good luck Governor. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Failure in Wisconsin

We have to face it. 2 victories out of six tries does not cut it. No matter how much spin we hear today about going up against money, running in Republican districts, historic victories in two cases, the supporters of labor failed. What is clear, is that labor as an interest group no longer has the support of the nation. Demonizing the public sector works and this is a victory for those who believe that the public sector is our problem. The battles must be drawn differently in the future. It must be about business interests vs. public interests. It must be about poverty vs. wealth. It must be about fairness vs. inequity. This fight pitted unions against other workers and could not be successfully fought on those terms. It is a losing strategy. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Triple A Country

I have no concern about our ability to pay our debts. I see two trillion dollars of cash on the books of corporate America not being invested by private companies who continue to stress productivity over jobs. I see the price of gold on the rise and Fort Knox filled with gold bars. I see a nation with natural resources and assets that undeniably make us the richest nation on Earth. We may be a triple A country economically, but certainly not in human terms. We have the largest gap between rich and poor in our history. We have more people in poverty than any time in our history. We have a seriously challenged educational system. We have escalating prices in supermarkets, transportation, health care and energy. We have a crumbling infrastructure, an outdated electric grid and no modern rail system. We have embarrassing facilities to care for our senior citizens. We have municipalities firing teachers, police, garbage collectors and firemen because of corruption and reduced revenues. We have a political party demonizing public workers, destroying unions and playing chicken with our economy. We have military forces in areas that no longer need American military presence and we have policies that favor the wealthy while abandoning a shrinking Middle Class. This is not an AAA rating by any stretch of the imagination. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crystal Clear

As the Dow drops and people all over America watch their net worth decline, continue to struggle finding a job, are burdened with the costs of healthcare and see their local governments do everything in their power to pass the financial difficulties on to the citizens, it is crystal clear who caused this. If Standard and Poors made their decision based on the difficulties in Washington, then in essence they were correct. Washington does not work on behalf of the people of this country. As President Obama presented options that would have been acceptable to S and P, he was rebuffed by his enemies. As he implored members of both parties to compromise and put all items on the table for discussion, his enemies walked away from the deals and from serious discussions. Even now, after some plan was passed to help and move us forward, the same vitriolic rhetoric only days after, continues. We have the Republicans blaming the tax and spend liberals ignoring all reality. We have Republican Senators going on Sunday talk shows blaming it all on Obama for lack of leadership. It is as if the recent crisis, the recent polling and the recent financial news never happened. It is crystal clear that Republican obstruction, deliberate, inflexible and orchestrated by its leaders, is the cause of all of our current financial national distress. The debt ceiling was a manufactured crisis by the tea party, with tacet acceptance by most of American politicians that need not have happened. While the discomfort of continued falling house values, 401k values and increased costs in our supermarkets, doctors' offices and toll roads persists, our Congress just won't get it nor do they care. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

End These Wars

I do not care about Afghanistan's government nor do I care about their future. I do not care about Iraq and its quest for its own stability. We have been in these wars for too long and for too little. We are not threatened by either of these countries. Our military technology can continue its drone campaigns taking out the terrorist infrastructure without committing tens of thousands of troops who can be put to better use protecting us from our own dysfunction. They can guard our borders, build our schools, catch the drug dealers, improve struggling cities, supplement law enforcement in financially troubled towns and continue to earn our thanks and our appreciation. Today's deadly loss of Navy Seals in this G-d forsaken place was an unnecessary loss of innocent life from the best of the best. I am not an isolationist but it is time to come home from these endless struggles with no end in sight and no great purpose. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Downgrade

Before we jump off the roof, let us be reminded that Standard and Poors is the same rating agency that gave the highest ratings possible to Fannie and Ginnie Mae mortgages immediately prior to the total collapse of housing in this country. Their credibility is suspect. Be that as it may, this shouldn't be a surprise and realistically, it does not indicate serious problems with our ability to safely pay our debt to holders of US Treasuries. It will, however, cause a marginal increase in interest rates over the next couple of years as we will need a slightly larger incentive for purchasers of our Government backed bonds and notes. We have our government to thank for this, particularly one side more than the other....you decide. As such, dysfunctionality trumps reality and now our deficit will grow even more. Thanks for nothing you ......(fill in the blank). Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pundits Get It Wrong Again

The polls are in. Two days after the deficit bill was passed, guess what, overwhelmingly the Democrats support the deal, and Republicans don't. Wait a minute, I thought that Democrats felt abandoned and Republicans emboldened? Wrong again. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There are Real Solutions

There are things that can be done to correct our course as a nation, but they won't get done because of our politics. Here are my suggestions:

1-Announce to the country that starting in 2020, all Social Security benefits will be reduced by 10 percent. People would have time to plan for this.

2-Beginning in 2018, 65 becomes the early age for collecting your benefit.

3-By executive order, the President instructs the Treasury Secretary immediately, to disburse funds to every state with a defined infrastructure need for the purpose of fixing and building. This is national emergency and the States would use Federal funds to hire the workers needed to complete the work.

4-Eliminate Medicare for all those Americans who earn 5 million dollars or more.

5-Sell enough gold to cover the next 5 years of interest payments on our debt so that the word default is eliminated from the vernacular of our politics.

6-The President should announce his support for a flat tax rate in this country. Eliminate all deductions. Set the rate at 15%. Reduce it to 10? in any year there is a surplus. Raise it to 20% in any year there is a deficit.

There are many more suggestions but Congress in on vacation and the President is campaigning. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It gets even worse

Just when you think it cannot get any worse, it does. Now that the debt ceiling bill has been passed and signed, it is evident that it neither controls spending nor stimulates the economy. While Congress patted itself on the back for reaching an agreement, it left town for 5 weeks without funding the FAA. 4000 workers are furloughed and the safety of flying, no matter what they may say, is less safe. More of the same. Yes, it can get worse. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, August 1, 2011

An Alternative Analysis

As the Congress and the blogosphere debate the debt ceiling bill, enormous criticism continues to come from the tea party but also from the extreme left. Paul Krugman gave a scathing opinion of the legislation and slammed the President for caving to the right by supporting this. Here is an alternative analysis. The President originally agreed to 4 trillion dollars of deficit reduction. 2.8 trillion in cuts and 1.2 trillion in revenues. He even supported reforms in entitlement programs a very anti progressive stance, particularly from a Democratic President. Speaker Boehner walked away from this. What are we likely to get? A program without revenues but with cuts that are in total less than the original plan. We will get significant cutbacks in military spending, a debt ceiling increase that will hold until after the Presidential election and a required bipartisan committee charged with further debt negotiations. In essence, this legislation is actually less severe than that which the President skillfully agreed to earlier. Now, we have very little in terms of current economy killing draconian cuts, some time not to have to put the country through this debacle near term and an opportunity for serious debate over these same issues. In fact, our Government is likely to fail us again, but I think it is unfair for Democrats to blame the President for giving away the store. He did not. He lead the nation to support compromise and will get his revenues when the Bush cuts expire next year. He will be able to campaign against extending cuts for the rich and can veto any pre-emptive legislation presented to him as an election strategy. Obama thinks long term and is not given enough credit for doing so. If our legislators prolong this self inflicted agony this afternoon with a negative vote, it won't be just the tea party that hurts America, it will be my party as well. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?