Wednesday, January 26, 2011
My friend David has a great interest in history and he is very well grounded in reality. Today I received his analysis of the current economic turn down and the attempts to right the ship and I am in total agreement with his commentary. If you want to read something that makes sense take the time to read his timely offering.
The downward spiral was caused by a lot of things, but you are correct that the Bush administration contributed to it in several ways.
I like Bush as a person and his wife was the kind of First Lady we can all be proud of, but except for certain issues such as gun control, he is not a conservative. He did have a better understanding of the economy than Obama, but his understanding still fell short.
However, let us not forget that he also inherited an economy that was headed downhill and was actually in a minor recession when he took over. The economy grew under him until 2007. In fact, set records for growth in a number of quarters.
A lot of what caused the collapse in his last year was that it was time to pay the Piper for years of Democratic programs. Where Bush and his administration and the Republicans in general failed was not correcting these things for the six years they controlled the government. Considering that they are all politicians, it's not surprising, but during they time they were in control things were pretty good and they just let it rock along rather than taking the necessary and painful steps to do something about problems which were going to eventually surface...as they did. Bush recognized some of them. He gave speeches decrying the law passed by the Dems which allowed the banks, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae to loan money to millions of people who could not pay them back...but he didn't do anything about it. He didn't so anything about the regulatory agencies who were allowing the banks to over extend and signed many Democratic bills which exacerbated the situation. When the Dems took over Congress in 2007, everything really went to Hell and he did nothing about any of that, either. Perhaps he was unaware of what the banks were doing but he was the Pres and the buck stopped with him.
So yes, he bore some, but nowhere near all, of the responsibility for what happened. Most of it was caused by Democratic programs and laws, some of long standing, which he did nothing about and in some cases actually went along with. He, like many of the Congressman and Senators, became Republicrats on certain issues...but they were the issues which hurt us.
So far as Obama, he is making the same errors that Hoover and FDR made and doubling down on them. This is not surprising in that he is a committed socialist/fascist ideologue therefore unable to learn from real history. He operates off of ideology, fanaticism, and what he wishes were true but is not.
The lesson all of us should keep in mind is Harding. He was not a good president except for one thing. He was hit with a depression in 1920 for which the indicators were worse than the '29 depression. He only took three actions. If a company went bust, too bad. Free enterprise would replace it. He cut taxes by 50% and government spending by somewhere around 30% as I remember. Within a year and a half the depression was over. Within three years unemployment was less than 3%.
I don't at all agree that Obama's policies have been successful at all. There is no actual evidence of this except what is put out by the Obama propaganda machine. In fact, history totally repudiates his policies. They have never worked before and will not work this time.
We must also remember that he has added almost 30% in two years to a national debt we cannot pay and unemployment is up over 2% from when he took office. Taxes are going up and costs are going up. Even something as abundant as wheat has gone up more than 60% during his watch.
Looking again at history, Hoover tried to do a number of things which Obama is doing. He made things worse. FDR tripled down on Hoover's programs and also made things worse. Furthermore, they stayed worse for years until the war started.
If you want a more current example of how Obama's policies will lead to further disaster, look to Argentina. The below, italicized comments come from a piece entitled "Cry For Me, Argentina". Compare what brought Argentina to its knees to Obama's policies. I know you don't like to read long articles, this one is not long, and particularly articles about past history, but read this. It is important and timely. It explains what led to the complete collapse of the economy in Argentina in 2001. The underlines are mine.
In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain ‘s maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world’s industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world’s second-most powerful economy.
It was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers and an accessible port system. Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries: railroads, automobiles and telephones were commonplace.
In 1916, a new president was elected. Hipólito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of “fundamental change” with an appeal to the middle class.
Among Irigoyen’s changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy. Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country’s operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts.
With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government’s payouts soon became overly generous. Before long its outlays surpassed the value of the taxpayers’ contributions. Put simply, it quickly became under-funded, much like the United States ‘ Social Security and Medicare programs.
The death knell for the Argentine economy, however, came with the election of Juan Perón. Perón had a fascist and corporatist upbringing; he and his charismatic wife aimed their populist rhetoric at the nation’s rich.
This targeted group “swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated.”
Under Perón, the size of government bureaucracies exploded through massive programs of social spending and by encouraging the growth of labor unions.
High taxes and economic mismanagement took their inevitable toll even after Perón had been driven from office. But his populist rhetoric and “contempt for economic realities” lived on. Argentina’s federal government continued to spend far beyond its means.
Hyperinflation exploded in 1989, the final stage of a process characterized by “industrial protectionism, redistribution of income based on increased wages, and growing state intervention in the economy…”
The Argentinean government’s practice of printing money to pay off its public debts had crushed the economy. Inflation hit 3000%, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic . Food riots were rampant; stores were looted; the country descended into chaos.
And by 1994, Argentina ‘s public pensions — the equivalent of Social Security — had imploded. The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it wasn’t enough. In addition, Argentina had implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes, a personal tax on wealth, and additional revenues based upon the sale of public enterprises. These crushed the private sector, further damaging the economy.
A government-controlled “privatization” effort to rescue seniors’ pensions was attempted. But, by 2001, those funds had also been raided by the government, the monies replaced by Argentina ‘s defaulted government bonds.
By 2002, “…government fiscal irresponsibility… induced a national economic crisis as severe as America ‘s Great Depression.”
In 1902 Argentina was one of the world’s richest countries. Little more than a hundred years later, it is poverty-stricken, struggling to meet its debt obligations amidst a drought.
We’ve seen this movie before. The Democrats’ populist plans can’t possibly work, because government bankrupts everything it touches. History teaches us that ObamaCare and unfunded entitlement programs will be utter, complete disasters.
Read and learn, but most importantly, prepare. Look at the similarities. This is where we will be in a much shorter time if those who espouse "progressive" policies are not stopped very, very soon. In fact, they must be reversed. As someone recently said, if one is headed toward a cliff, one doesn't proceed at the same speed. One slams on the brakes and then throws the vehicle in reverse.
Obama's speech last night gave no indication he has learned anything. He wants to freeze "discretionary spending" for five years. That is a tiny portion of the budget and he is merely proceeding at the same speed as well as continuing to add to the deficit. He wants to fund a high speed rail system. What the hell for? Who wants that? The only government run rail system now in operation, AmTrack, loses billions of dollars every year and that is indicative of all programs where the government sticks its nose in things it should never be involved with and has no constitutional authority to fund.
So, sorry, I can find nothing positive in this administration.
Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.
- Jane Wagner
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I have a few things on my mind pilgrim. I find some things unbearable. I've lived long enough to know what's good and what's not.
I don't like Washington, D.C. I worked in government service for twenty five years and the most incapable people working for our outfit all seemed to make their way to Washington, D.C. The bad part of it is that no one there could recognize them as worthless. It is a place where people seem to go to get corrupted. The Mafia won't go there because they can't compete with vice on that scale.
I loathe pro sports. Yes, I still watch them on occasion, but it makes my blood pressure rise every time I do. The rules of the game seem to have been done away with to accommodate those who were raised without rules. Oh yes, there are still referees, but they could never make enough calls to cover all the violations. The law of the ghetto and the jungle has taken precedence over the rule book. Men with their bodies covered with tribal tattoos and sporting all manner of matted long hair pose and gyrate after every play as though they have done something incredible. It doesn't matter that their team is so far behind they'll never catch up, or that without someone else participating or failing to participate they wouldn't have made the play. The idea of "team" play has almost disappeared. Oh, I know there are good athletes, but they very seldom get the media's attention.
I detest News Networks. They are a big waste of time as the ramble on and on about minutia in endless repetition while pretending to know what they are talking about. It could be a sickness. I've noticed our president seems to have a bad case of it. The technology of television is getting better and better, but the programing is getting so bad I'm forced to watch old westerns on the cable channels.
I dislike the PCness of our culture today. We can't fire dolts and derelicts because we might cause harm to their sensitive (lazy) sense of self-worth. So, we are forced to put up with their haughty attitudes and second rate performance. Most people are afraid to confront anything anymore because of what some other person with an equal or lesser spine might think of them.
There are enough folks in this country who don't know what we have here to scare me. They seem willing to give it away and let someone else take responsibility for their lives. You can find them at any venue where things are being given away "free." That word should be taken out of our dictionaries. Nothing is "free."
I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
- Noel Coward
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
- Ernest Benn
The quote above satisfies my view of politics in our nation today. Much change is needed to remedy the situation. Individual Americans must make an effort to get their own houses in order and act responsibly to make an impact. We need to clean up our own acts and then the messages and the people we send to Washington, D. C. will have the intended impact.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
It was just last November that we had to put up with the last of the vitriol of the Democrats. This week's events in Tuscon further demonstrate their inability to get the facts of the case right. Along with the left wing media, they once again jumped the gun and laid the blame at the feet of those responsible citizens who are determined to turn this country back around. These moral midgets have no qualms about telling bold face lies and making erroneous statements. There will be no front page retractions now that the killer has been outed as a nut with no real political leanings that make any sense at all.
This is a good reminder of what we are dealing with.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.
- Thomas Jefferson
- Thomas Jefferson
Friday, January 14, 2011
The Tucson Tragedy
I presume you all are as sick as I am over the charges and counter charges concerning the tragedy in Tucson; however, after doing a bit of research I thought I might try and clear a few things up...at least from my viewpoint.
The primary allegations are that the screams from the Left for more gun control and less vitriol in public debate are useless and hypocritical. I will leave the gun control arguments from the left alone with just two comments.
There are over 50,000 gun laws on the books in this country. I hardly see the need for any more. In an ironic twist, one of the most liberal states in the country, Vermont, allows concealed carry with no permit. It might also be pertinent to note that Vermont has one of the lowest, if not the lowest, murder rate in the country. In fact, the crime rate in Vermont generally is so low that it is almost laughable to call it a crime rate.
Secondly, Arizona also allows concealed carry with no permit though convicted felons and those who suffer from mental illness are prohibited from carrying at all by both federal and state laws. It is interesting to note that one of the three men who tackled the perpetrator in this crime was carrying a pistol at the time...legally....and was prepared to use it but two other gentleman were in the process of taking the guy down.
So far as vitriol in political debate, the mantra from the Left has been that people like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin helped to cause this incident by using words and phrases like "target" and "keep the Liberals in your sights" and so forth. Please note that as I am sending this only to friends and relatives, I have plagiarized some of the below from "Alexander's Essays."
Obama gave a great speech in Tucson, calling for civility in political discourse and suggesting that inflammatory statements have no place in the political arena. I guess he forgot that he himself said the following at a recent Democratic fundraiser, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." He identified Republicans as "hostage takers," later saying, "I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I'm angry!"
Recently, Joe Biden remarked, "If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them." Biden didn't mean that literally, of course, and yet we're being asked to believe that Sarah Palin "crosshairs" map was somehow an incitement for the targeted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords.
In a New York Times op-ed this week, former Demo Rep. Paul Kanjorski declared, "It is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation." This would be the same Rep. Kanjorski who had these words for a then-Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott: "They ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him."
Ah, yes, "civility and respect."
Headlines from Leftmedia sources: "Democrats Launch Website Targeting 'Republican Lies'" (Washington Post); "A coalition known as Americans United for Change is targeting Republican senators" (NPR); "Obama administration officials said they were targeting Republican Senators" (CNN); "Dems Play Hardball: Target Republican Senators" (Huffington Post); "In the meantime, Obama will continue to target Republicans" (CBS); "I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp" (MSNBC's Chris Matthews).
No doubt clueless as to these many examples of Leftist "incitement," the celebrities piled on: "Hanoi Jane" Fonda, who infamously posed on an NVA antiaircraft gun only yards from where North Vietnamese prison guards were torturing American POWs, summed up the situation thusly: "Progressive Arizona Rep Gabrielle Giffords is shot. In her ads, Sarah Palin had her targeted in a gun site (sic). Inciting to violence." Thanks for your input, Jane.
Oh, and there was another Leftist celebrity who chimed in this week. Fidel Castro wrote in an op-ed, "The Tea Party, constituted by the most reactionary and politically backward elements of society ... in the midst of the crisis and disappointment over the promises that Obama has been unable to fulfill, will take the country into the abyss."
A perfect example of the hypocrisy from the Left came from one of the usual suspects, the New York Times.
In 2009, after Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at Ft. Hood, all the while yelling "Allahu Akbar," Times' editors wrote: "In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East. President Obama was right when he told Americans, 'we don't know all the answers yet' and cautioned everyone against 'jumping to conclusions.'"
This week after the Tucson attack, that same Times opined, "It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people. ... Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments."
These are just a very few examples. I have looked and I cannot find any statements by conservatives which even remotely approach some of the examples I have given above. If you can find any, I would like to be made aware of them.
It is not conservatives who are physically preventing people of another race from voting as occurred in Philadelphia or beating, intimidating, and even biting the finger off of a man at conservative meetings such as Tea Party rallies. It is not conservatives who are being prosecuted all over the country in state courts, Eric Holder will do nothing, for voter fraud. Yet, it is some of the very people who espouse violence and use violent rhetoric who are now piously calling for civility and respect, and they are the ones who seem to get the most publicity with their hypocritical and paternalistic comments.
What a mess we are in.
US educator & writer (1919 - 1988)
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I tried to set up this discussion with my previous post. If you haven't read it, please do. Real investigation is hard, tedious, unpleasant, and frustrating, so why would anyone want to do it? I have done it for over thirty years. I have a curiosity about life and people and I want to get to the truth. The payoff in investigative efforts is in arriving at a conclusion that is rooted in the truth. I say rooted in the truth because we have the failings of our finite human condition to contend with. Even eye-witnesses are wrong at times.
The tragic shooting that occurred in Tuscon, Arizona this week is a prime example of just how unfair and offline our "news" can be. What happens in these high profile cases? We have more people killed everyday in automobile accidents, murders, war, and an endless list of other causes, so why is this incident receiving national attention? Why aren't the other victims mourned and memorialized with the same fervor? Because a variety of people who would bolster their own causes and agendas are constantly circling like hungry buzzards in search of forums like this. Under the guise of caring and concern they clog the print and electronic media to condemn, find fault, and assess blame. When the facts don't bear them out, they slide into the background or pitch the proverbial ball to another runner. Even if you were present at the scene, you might get the facts wrong because of natural things that affect your perspective. So, go for the simplest explanation available.
If you have ever been responsible for getting a group of people to come to a consensus on anything you know the big problem with conspiracy theory. It rarely happens. Huge government conspiracies especially.
In a case like the Tuscon shooting, people saw the shooter and they captured him at the scene. All the evidence released to date indicates he acted alone. Other evidence indicates he was noticeably off the normal scale for acceptable human behavior. So, we can reasonably assume the named shooter is at fault.
However, he had not been adjudicated in any of the prohibitive categories related to the purchase of a firearm or ammunition. Do we have sufficient firearms laws? Yes. We probably have way too many. We cannot legislate enough to cover all the aberrant behavior in the world today. The law is reactive. Something must happen before the law can work to provide punishment. Our courts can't keep pace with the cases being brought because of over legislation. If we pared down the number of laws and worked off a simpler template, we would see fairer results. Laws related to political correctness, social attitudes, protected classes, hate crimes, and hate speech are redundant and unnecessary. In the case of criminal law, less is more.
Who obeys the law? Those who see value in its role in keeping society functioning. I could say those with a bent toward criminal behavior don't pay any attention to the law and I would be correct. However, when the morals of a society begin to crumble and there are not enough police entities to catch violators then more and more people pick and choose the laws they will obey. Drive around town for thirty minutes and see how many of your friends and neighbors choose not to obey the traffic laws. In order for a free republic to operate effectively, voluntary compliance to the law by the majority is essential. More law is not the answer.
Who benefits from confusion and mistrust? Those who control the reins of the nanny state and thus control the lives and purse strings of the governed. Those at the top of the Oligarchy. Those who have fostered distrust of the ones who must enforce the law and those who protect us from internal and external threats. The more confusion and distrust they can foster, the more people feel they need to be taken care of. The gradual erosion of individual self reliance and freedom is the ultimate goal. These are the people who use incidents like the Tuscon shooting to further their cause. This does not have to be a huge government conspiracy. It can be a relatively few people paired with a deluded and disengaged voting public.
The "Keepers" response? Ban the inanimate objects that have little if anything to do with the problem. They could ban the possession and ownership of automobiles if they really wanted to save lives. But, an armed populace of responsible citizens is a threat to their ultimate plan of state control. This is why the second amendment was written into our U. S. Constitution. In my way of thinking, the less than honorable actions of all those on either side of the aisle who seek to take advantage of dramatic and tragic happenings is transparent and reprehensible.
What do we do then? (I know I will lose some of you here, but this is the answer) We fall on our knees before almighty God as individuals and as a nation and beg his forgiveness for our adultery (spiritual) and we turn to him for guidance in behavior that is right. We destroy whatever idols and other religions that interfere with this effort and we take the high road in individual compliance to God's higher principles. God had a purpose in founding this nation and its very existence is miraculous. If we are to continue as a nation we have to take immediate action and return to what the bible says is the purpose of government in Romans chapter 13.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
It's a beautiful day here today. I decided to sit alone and think for a while. With our sound bite world, these periods of reflection are rare. Most of my days are spent trying to think over, or talk over someone else. Booming music, news readers, sportscasters, kids, folks talking on cell phones, announcements, all day television, traffic noise, crowd noise, and a host of other interference keep us from thinking. In days past men valued their time to think and reflect on things happening around them. Now Facebook and other social sites provide ample evidence of people talking without thinking much.
Critical thinking is a difficult task. We have to examine every statement and postulate for accuracy and relevance to determine if it can be used to support whatever hypothesis we proffer. If the subject matter is emotionally charged, a comment on religious matters, or related to politics, it is often filled with self serving issues unrelated to the matter being discussed. By throwing oranges and peanuts into a discussion of apples, the real truth of the issue can be confused and lost in the fog.
I've read recent articles published in what now passes for news sources that were filled with old talking points that have already been widely published and accepted by the general public, but which have no basis in the truth. The authors were not present when the events being reported were taking place, they know no one who was, and they are basing their opinions on what someone else has written on the subject using the same flawed point of reference.
We have Hollywood actors roaming around spouting their opinions on a wide variety of subjects because they have the time, money, and forum to do so. I'm not saying they are not valid opinions, but as a populace we can't just accept that they are correct because of their popularity. We must examine not only the content, but the motives behind the comments. We must look at the supporting statistical data used to bolster any argument and determine things like the size and make-up of the test group, any preexisting conditions that might affect the data, and the methodology used to gather the information desired. We just can't accept data because it comes from a source that has been around for a while. Real critical thinking means that we can't make broad generalizations from a specific incident. Each incident stands on its own and must be examined in that light.
Thinking is hard work. When I play, I play hard. When I work, I work hard. When I think, I go to sleep.
Don't be swayed until you examine the facts for yourself. Many cases sound good until the defense is presented.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Wondering about how far down the tubes we've gone since we elected this ship of fools? Well, I never thought I would see this kind of slide in morals and material wealth in my life time. Some of us are trying to make a difference and we are bailing as fast as we can to keep our country afloat for our kids and grandkids.
This picture illustrates a major step in the right direction. To any politician who is for a repeal of the socialist and amoral agenda of our current administration, I say "Go for it." We will have to remove more numb nuts in both parties if we are to bring sanity back to Washington, D. C. Thanks to all those who are for fiscal responsibility in Washington. "Yes, we can."