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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Labor Day Weekend Open Thread

A lot to discuss, namely the on going saga of Syria. What to do? I don’t really see any good option, but I do see Obama painted into a corner by his rhetoric and a lot of Democrats conveniently forgetting their objections to our last excursion. What was their criticism back then? That Iraq was not an imminent threat, that we did not build a coalition, and that we did not have an exit strategy. Well I am pretty sure that all of those finer points apply this time around, but funny enough, there’s no mention of those details. In fact I heard Eugene Robinson say the other day that it was good thing that that British Parliament voted against action, because that frees up Obama to act without them. Strange, don’t ya think?

And here’s an olive branch to my AGW opponents. There is no need to get hostile over such disagreement. There is actually some recent evidence that the earth may be entering a cooling period – hence climate change, something we all agree on. What we also agree on is that our society does need to transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy platform, but that platform has to be economically viable, mass produceable and sustainable and in my opinion, the private sector, entrepreneurialism, and the free market forces of supply and demand will turn out the best alternative and in the quickest time frame. So let’s dispense with the “convenient consensus” of government funded scientists, the carbon credit profit center that Al Gore has going, and the high emotion of the “save the polar bear clubs”, and let’s continue to study the impact of our fossil fuel based energy platform, and that of the Sun as it translates to that change so that we can continue to be good stewards of our planet.

Have a great weekend.

 
124 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Open Thread

 

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Obama’s Moment

In consideration of Casper’s request for a weekly positive post, I will do my best here, go out on an unchartered limb, and compliment President Obama for a fairly good speech yesterday. Of course there were the usual smatterings of leftism sprinkled in, but that is to be expected, however I do want to compliment him for stating the following:

Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse- making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support, as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself. All of that history is how progress stalled. That’s how hope was diverted. It’s how our country remained divided.

“As if we had no agency in our own liberation” – what an excellent phrase. I hope the black community accepts that as a challenge to overcome whatever elements of racism exist in our society to personally motivate themselves and reach for higher economic ground. In my opinion, there are two HUGE obstacles confronting the black community and only they can remedy them – out of wedlock birth and education. Men have to be responsible for the children they sire and that is a universal truth regardless of color. Unfortunately, black men are falling down in this area, and their children suffer enormously, as does society. Black on black crime constitutes 92% of all black community crime, and that is a shame that only they can address. Discipline and love within the family unit of a two parent household is not the entire answer, but it is one good step in the right direction and it is incumbent upon the fathers and mothers of those children to see that it happens more often. Michelle and Barack Obama are two very good examples for that community to aspire to.

Education – one of the tragedies that I even see here in my area amongst the black community is the notion that being smart is “acting white”. Where in the hell did that come from? A while back I wrote a piece on what Don Lemon with CNN had to say and he was spot on – “pull your pants up”, “stop using the N word”, “respect your community”, “finish school”, and “stop having babies”.  Don Lemon should have been applauded for his “tough love”, but instead he was excoriated. Young black kids need “tough love”, they crave it, and it is long over due they receive it. I want every black child to receive a demanding education, and that will require that they have the choice to attend the school that delivers it, rather than being forced into attending a school simply based on where they reside. We need school choice!

I long for the day that our country can get to the point that Obama envisioned again in yesterday’s speech:

We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. Hear memories of the 1963 march and how it altered the lives of those who attended. And I believe that spirit is there, that true force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It’s there when the native born recognizing that striving spirit of a new immigrant, when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who were discriminated against and understands it as their own. That’s where courage comes from, when we turn not from each other or on each other but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. That’s where courage comes from.

We can get there, but it will require that we actually listen to each other, and stop the knee jerk reaction of wanting to call everyone a racist for pointing out hard truths. Are you listening Chris Matthews?

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Racial Issues

 

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The Petro Currency System

The reserve currency issue is an issue that should transcend partisan politics, as leaders of both parties have ignored this issue over the years to our country’s possible peril.  I want everyone to really think about this issue, because the financial storm that would ensue following the end of our reserve currency status and the eventual collapse of the dollar would make the 2008 housing crisis look like a spring shower. Here’s an excerpt from a 2011 article from CNBC warning of the prospects of losing reserve currency status:

“I think you could see a 25 percent reduction in the standard of living in this country if the US dollar was no longer the world’s reserve currency. That’s how valuable it is.”

That was a comment made back in 2011, and since then we have added a few more trillion dollars of debt, and printed a few more trillion dollars of QE (quantitative easing), “stimulus” money. For those of you unfamiliar with QE – this is a policy that started in 2009 wherein the federal reserve is literally printing and pumping into the economy approximately $80 billion a month, and the mere mention from Bernanke that he was going to slow down the printing presses made the DOW tumble a few hundred points. He quickly backed off that statement. QE is not only used to prime the DOW but it is also used to keep inflation and interest rates in check. In the article, it is mentioned that if the CPI were adjusted for actual economic realities, we would see 5% – 7% inflation on food and energy prices.

Fast forward to 2013. Recent international economic signals do not bode well for the continuance of our reserve currency status:

– China’s subtle dumping of the dollar — using bilateral trade agreements with other developing nations and, more recently, major economic powers like Germany and Japan

– The massive gold-buying spree undertaken by China and Russia — even in the face of extreme market manipulation by JPMorgan Chase and Co. and CME Group Inc.

– The dumping of long-term U.S. Treasuries by foreign creditors in exchange for short-term Treasuries that can be liquidated at a moment’s notice.

– The fact that bonds now are supported almost entirely by Fed stimulus. When the stimulus ends, America’s ability to honor foreign debts will end and faith in the dollar will crumble.

–       Blatant statements by the International Monetary Fund calling for the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the institution of special drawing rights (SDRs) as a replacement.

These bullet points were taken from another excellent article on this issue found here, and it is a must read. Why the loss of faith in the US dollar? The fact that our government spends approx. $1 trillion more than it brings in, the fact that our government does not work within a defined budget and funds the government from continuing resolution to continuing resolution (CR’s), the fact that our debt to GDP ratio is now 101%, and the fact that there are no imminent signs of financial discipline or restraint by our federal government. This year our federal government is expected to bring in approx. $2.5 trillion in revenue, which would equal an historical high, yet they are spending $3.6 trillion and they say they need more. So the next time you hear a politician say that we need more money for education, and/or more “investment” in infrastructure, know that they are pushing us closer to the brink of financial collapse.

In spite of all of this, I remain the eternal optimist. We can avoid the loss of reserve currency status and the eventual collapse of the dollar  but it will require that our elected officials define our nations priorities, put in place a budget that reflects those priorities and operate within it. It will also require that we aggressively act upon the impending economic boom of the 21st century and that is – energy. We must tap into our domestic crude oil and natural gas reserves to not only fuel our current society, but also to become a net exporter of these resources. That will generate the money necessary to put our country back on sound financial footing, but will also fuel the eventual transition to a new, greener, more sustainable energy platform.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Reserve Currency

 

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A Potpourri of Disappointment

It’s becoming increasingly hard to write on a single issue anymore in that every time I zero in on a topic, three more spring up. It’s either my ADD, or the meltdown of this regime is full display – I tend to think it’s the latter. Allow me to touch on a few very disheartening issues:

The economy – which the media is doing their best to distract everyone away from. Consider these bullet points:

#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, 60.6 percent of working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.7 percent of working age Americans have a job.

#2 Since Obama has been president, seven out of every eight jobsthat have been “created” in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.

#3 The number of full-time workers in the United States is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

#4 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers now make less than $30,000 a year.

And these are just some of the “greatest hits” currently confronting average day Americans. It was argued the other day that business’s simply need to “pay people more money”, which is a very frighteningly juvenile analysis of what ails our economy. Labor is subject to supply and demand, as any product or service is in a free market economy, and the argument to simply pay people more ignores the business realities of overall costs, ROI’s, development, research, regulations, inflation, taxes, depreciation, etc., etc.. These considerations become even more of an issue when factoring in the globalization of the economy. The cold hard truth is that Obamacare is a HUGE wet blanket over the economy right now as many business’s are still unsure how badly they will be effected. What it will do to their labor costs, their business models, their expansion plans, etc., so many are just sitting on the sidelines, and unfortunately reducing hours on many employees. When the government takes over one sixth of the economy, it’s hard to call that economy a free market anymore, and that is a reality that is impossible to ignore.

The racial divide – Worse then it has ever been in my life time.  I am still waiting for the President to speak out on the Christopher Lane or Delbert Belton murders, but sadly, I don’t think there is any political gain to be had as their was with Trayvon Martin. Where’s Al Sharpton? How about Rep. Fredricka Wilson? Remember when she said: “Trayvon was hunted down like a dog, shot down in the street.”. Well, Christopher and Delbert WERE hunted down like dogs – and the silence is deafening.   But just this morning, MSNBC finds a way to bring Trayvon back up using the Christopher Lane murder – absolutely shameful.

– Foreign Policy – Just a quick thought on this. What started out as noble, yet very misguided, intentions on behalf of the President back in 2009, has now blown up (no pun intended) in our face. Sadly, the ME is a disaster, and they still don’t like us no matter who is President.

 
105 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Open Thread

 

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Give Louisiana back to the French. Or rename it dumb, pathetic and just plain stupid.

This is just another reason that I think the Republican party is at an evolutionary dead end. Or at a minimum, withering into insignificance and isolated in the south. When the base of a party consists of  morons, encephalitic idiots and plain ole abject lunatics, this is a result. Keep in mind this is a party who elected congress members whose sole purpose is to inject chaos into the governing process. These are the same people who scream at the top of their lungs that Obama is destroying America! That they’re going to take the country back! Back from what remains to be determined but it sure is a swell slogan. One would think that after losing 4 of the past 6 elections and reading the “post mortem” the RNC published recently they’d wise up. Ah, my overly optimistic expectations are dashed once again against the jagged and cruel rocks of reality. A reality that these idiots have absolutely no awareness of. This is beyond sad and pathetic. These people shouldn’t be allowed to drive, let alone vote. I’ll bet it takes them an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.

A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.

The latest survey  showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.

Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren’t sure who to blame.

Bush was criticized heavily when he did not immediately return to Washington from his vacation in Texas after the storm had reached landfall. The government was also slow to provide relief aid and Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), admitted in a televised interview that he learned that many of the storm’s victims at the New Orleans Convention Center were without food and water well after the situation had been reported in the press.

Brown’s handling of the response ultimately led to his resignation, but Bush offered an infamous endorsement of the FEMA chief only days before he stepped down.

“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” Bush said.                       stupid1

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Syria

It’s going from bad to worse in Syria. Yesterday several reports have it that the Assad regime has in fact crossed the line and used chemical weapons on it’s people, children even, which is beyond the pale.  So now what? I guess we find out what Obama is made of considering his “line in the sand” statement on more than one occasion:

 “I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer.” Obama: “As president of the United States, I don’t bluff.”

To be fair, Obama is not the only world leader to make this declaration, so it will be interesting to see what transpires. Either the civilized world is going to stand up to the Assad regime, and Iran by extension, or not.

Equally troubling is what is going on in Egypt, and reports are that just yesterday Lebanon lobbed more shells into Israel and Netanyahu is not happy. Remember the 2009 Cairo speech Obama delivered? Seems like a million years ago, and don’t you wish we could go back to the days before that speech now? I think it’s become very apparent that the ME policies of the Obama administration have not worked out real well, and this is a poor reflection on Hillary Clinton and may haunt her in 2016 if she chooses to run.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Middle East

 

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Open Thread Cont. ……

A really good conversation on a myriad of topics has been brewing on the Sunday Open Thread, so I thought we would continue the conversation here.

My partner Mitch had a good post I would like to respond to, and that is our dependence on foreign oil, the need to transition to a greener energy platform, and American exceptionalism, so here goes:

1. We import most of our oil from Canada & Mexico, so the notion that we are still “dependent” on foreign oil is a fallacy. We also have discovered over the last few years enough domestic reserves that we could completely get by without ME oil if we had the political will. That’s a big IF. I do agree with Mitch though that ultimately, we need to transition to a more sustainable, more eco friendly energy platform.

2. American exceptionalism – I think we should all be extremely proud of the fact that this country has done more for personal freedoms and individual civil rights than any other country on this planet in just 236 years – and that is what American exceptionalism is all about. It’s not that we are better people, but our form of governance, our Constitution, and our free enterprise system has allowed for the highest standard of living, the most civil rights and the most individual freedoms both economically and socially than has been afforded to any individual ever. That is why people are still flocking to this country both legally and illegally. Let’s not lose sight of that.

 

 
106 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Open Thread