Category Archives: Economics

Its A Wonderful Life–1948.

This date was picked at random by our staff’s secret algorithm.  Nothing magic about it but it was as good a year as any and at least a year that this feeble brain can still recall with a modicum of clarity.

This was the front of our drought that lasted until 1957.  I can still recall the huge cracks in the ground everywhere.  They were in our yard the playgrounds and parks.  You could also discern the effects in the cotton field right behind our house.  We moved that year to  truly fancy digs on Savoy which was the southernmost street in Oak Cliff, a section of Dallas.  It was brand new and Dad bought it with a V A loan which was a new program started after the War as part of the GI bill.  It was a cookie cutter clapboard house with 2 bedrooms and one bath.  For reasons only known to the developer of that day, there was a fake hearth in the living room with a small mantle.  It was where we placed the gas heater with the false logs.  The whole house probably had at best 1000 square feet but we had an ample backyard.  There was no paved alley and behind the house was a large cotton field that ran all the way to Kiest park.  The crop was skimpy due to the drought and the ground parched.   Within a year the development began with more cookie cutter houses and the streets and side walks being poured.   These homes were a notch above ours because they were all brick and not clapboard.

I was 6 but not yet in school because I had a September birthday and had to wait another year.  Mom worked with me more than I wanted naturally on my colors, numbers, alphabet, shapes and I suppose a little reading.  There were that first Christmas no TV antennae in the neighborhood.  That started changing right away though.  With just three years or so it was unusual to see a house without an antenna but there were still some.  Radio was the major entertainment center of the day.   Saturday mornings in particular were special because they had all the kids shows.  Buster Brown was a favorite along with Archie and his friends.  Mom would let me sit by the radio after breakfast until about noon or close to it for all those programs.  Friday night early was also terrific.  You had the Green Hornet, the Inner Sanctum, when they didn’t think it was too scary for me, the Lone Ranger and all the others.   It required imagination and I suppose that was part of the allure of all of them.  You got to imagine that Western landscape the way that fit your own image of it which in turn was no doubt influenced by the Westerns you had seen at the theatres.There was no multi-screen theatre.  But there were local movie houses in just about ever commercial area of any size.

The nickel values of the time were many.  You could get a Coke for a nickel.  All the filing stations had those big red Coke machines that stood upright and many still had those that open from the top like a large freezer.  There was nothing like that really cold Coke on a hot summer day if you could get your mom to spring for the nickel.  You kids have probably never heard the expression “its your nickel”.  It meant you had paid the nickel for the phone call so start talking and don’t waster the money.  Yep, there were pay phones everywhere.  Sometimes just on a street corner if it was a commercial neighborhood and at churches, schools, parks, and almost every retail store had one.   One advantage of the pay phone was that you weren’t on a party line.   In 1948 we were still gripped with tight regulation of the phone service and getting a phone was a real hassle with the bureaucracy, Federal of course.  But it was allegedly for our own good, like it always is with Federal programs.  Typical wait times were several years to get a private line. I distinctly remember we wanted one in 48 but didn’t finally get one until about 1953 or 1954.  That was tall cotton living I can tell you.

You could ride the bus for a nickel and sometimes for only 2 cents, that was a Saturday only deal if I remember correctly. The adults had to pay 8 cents and a dime on weekdays.   That also included the street car which were still running in 48 on a regular basis.  I always preferred the street car because you could lean out the window a little and that was especially daring when you went over a bridge or viaduct because you couldn’t even see the tracks below and it was like flying through the air and was a big thrill.  Mars, Hersey and Babe Ruths were available for that nickel and these were the full size ones and the popcorn was there for a nickel.

Don’t remember what I got for Christmas that year but I do recall getting out my Lionel train set and playing with that and the awful white flocked Christmas tree mom wanted.  The train set was from a year or maybe two before.  It was really wow.  Must have cost mom and dad 10 bucks and was so heavy. It was made out of that old cast iron but had such great detail on the engine.

It was a hard year and a good year.  The good made it easier to not notice the difficulties especially if you are only 6 and not having to pay the bills.   We could have been rich maybe but it all worked out well with me.  Can’t complain and in fact was so very blessed with my childhood.  My parents were the best, can’t blame my faults and failures on them.  Thanks Lord as I try to attain only a portion of their goodness.

“Ho Ho Ho’,,,Santa Claus, everlasting  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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Ghosts Of Elections Past

It is still more than a year to the next Presidential election but the headlines are already there with the latest in this upcoming contest.  Even though the elections are only ever four years if you live long enough you endure or enjoy quite a few of those events.   The memories may be colored in sepia and the sounds more like echos but the recall can still be vivid.

I was too  young to have any memory of Roosevelt’s ’44 election but I do recall later hearing my Dad and his friends who were all in the War talking about the shock of his death because he was the only President they really remembered.  His death was quickly forgotten though in the turmoil of winning the War.  Berlin still had to fall and Iwo Jima and Okinawa were not yet done deals.

I do remember the newsreels at the movies about the ’48 election.  Images of Truman on the back of the train speaking inevitably to the union group and then photos of the suave Dewey.  I just remember thinking even then that Dewey didn’t look manly enough with that sissy skinny mustache.  He was no Clark Gable.  I don’t remember much reaction to the election afterward as all the adults were very much in the getting back to normal life after the War.   Mostly everyone just wanted stability and a chance to resume doing anything routine.

I was young but I definitely liked Ike just as most of the country.  He came across as that firm but fair grandfather and with a touch of the sage to him.  Even as a youngster I found Truman’s screaming and ranting a bit too much.  Besides Ike had led all those millions of men to victory and he knew how to lead.  Those ’50’s were great years.  Adlai Stevenson was the opponent both times.  He was too prissy; supposedly a real intellectual but he also had a very sharp tongue with his opponents.  He was too friendly with the Commies for the country.   You have to take into account the threat of the Commies during those years.  We really did have bomb drills at school regularly and the Commies continued to crush the Hungarians and foment wars and terror around the world.  The Commie threat wasn’t an abstraction, it was palpable.

Those first televised debates in ’60 were interesting and frustrating.  I didn’t like Kennedy from the git go.  He was too cool and cute by half.   Plus I resented him coming from a family with a corrupt history and born with that silver spoon in his mouth and then having the gall to say how the rest of those aspiring to do better for themselves had to pay more in taxes.  (yes, I know it reduced them some later).  I wasn’t  wild about Nixon but he was a Navy man himself and I thought would do a better job of standing up to Khrushchev.   I didn’t mind Jackie much but really got irritated with the liberal media treating her like some celebrity for just standing there and looking chic.  By the way the election was stolen from Nixon by the crooked Democratic machine  in Illinois, the Daleys.  It was that close.  Many wanted Nixon to sue as Gore did later to challenge the fraudulent results from Cook county but he refused saying it would be bad for the country to have the integrity of the election in question for months.  That was the real profile in courage.

Then came the Goldwater/Johnson duel in ’64 with the famous mushroom cloud behind the little girl.   I thought Goldwater was a very bright guy and that it was time for a Jew to come to the fore just as the Catholics had with Kennedy.  Johnson was the epitome of the crooked politician.  I was aware of the venality of the ’48 election were he had the dead vote for him down there in South Texas.   When he and Ralph Yarborough were the Texas senators each of them never met a union boss with a bag of money they didn’t love and would obey.   It was a nasty election with horrendous consequences.  The Great Society has  been a miserable and costly failure and resulted in even more powers being concentrated in Washington just as the Democrats wanted.  For them it was a huge success and their corrupt reach expanded  exponentially.  Of course we got the Viet Nam war out of him after all the fear mongering he did against the alleged war hungry Goldwater.  You have to at least appreciate the irony of it all. 

Next up was Humphrey and the reborn Nixon.  Humphrey definitely talked too much.  You should not that I believe he still holds the Senate record for a filibuster.  He was the guy to continue the Great Society programs and even expand them.   Nixon was for the Silent Majority the did their jobs and wanted a decent society with much less government.  I voted for George Wallace.  Didn’t even like the guy and he was way too populist for me, but, but , but, he was totally anti-establishment man and especially against the Democratic view of running everything and everyone from DC.  His campaign cost Nixon lots of votes and at least it sent a message.   He did as promised and started the draw down in Viet Nam although I wish he had bombed and mined Haiphong harbor right away as long as we had guys on the ground fighting VC and North Vietnamese.  I will discuss Watergate with you only if you have actually read the Watergate Transcripts in their entirety as I did and not just news accounts of those events and if you used you tube to listen to all the Watergate testimony before the Joint Committee and again not news accounts that are consistently skewed and often flat out wrong on the basic facts.

There never was any question about McGovern versus Nixon.  He was too liberal even for a nation at  the height of the Hippie movement.  I always tipped my hat to him for being a bomber pilot during the War but otherwise found him liberal trite, if not lite.

Then we had Ford against Carter.  Ford was a handsome man and a former All-American football player at Michigan.  Carter was a peanut farmer with a hokey approach with pretensions of profound depth.  He was the former but certainly lacked the latter.  He was evil incarnate like Johnson but he was an embarrassment.   He tried a one and done military action to get those hostages out of Iran but then wouldn’t follow through with any other efforts and his economic policies only lead to “stagflation”.   Look it up that was the call sign for an economy during his era, that along with inflation off the charts.  We took a home improvement loan then at 13 and a half percent that was floating in anticipation of it going higher.

Thankfully the good Lord took mercy on us and we got Reagan in the ’80 election.  If you weren’t there you can’t begin to understand the breath of fresh air he was and the new sense of pride he brought it and hope that things would finally get better after two decades of slow but constant decline.  That floating loan I took out for the house  actually dropped under Reagan because inflation was at last tamed under his direction for the economy.  Mondale never had a chance and for good reason in ’84.  The detractors said he was not smart enough, well he won.  Besides we’ll likely never have a President as bright as Jefferson again.  He had a clear vision and direction and got the right people to move us in that way.  The results surely speak for themselves.

Then we had Bush 41 in ’88 against Dukakis.  The country was not in the mood for a return to traditional Democratic theories after seeing the results of trying things a different way and Dukakis was again to prissy and prim.  Bush had been shot down by the Japs during the war and no one could challenge his courage or his devotion to the country.  Dukakis was still singing the Democratic mantra of kissing up to the Commies and criticizing vehemently the whole Star Wars program and military build up under Reagan and  Bush’s pledge to continue it.  Reagan was right and Bush fulfilled the commitment to win the Cold War.  Like Reagan said when asked how the Cold War would play out.  He said–we win.  The wall came down and the Soviets finally got the demise they deserved.  along the way he faced Saddam and was resolute in Desert Storm.  Only wish he hadn’t called of the dogs so soon.

Then there was Clinton who portrayed himself as a new Democrat with  a more centrist approach.  He was a chameleon who would adopt any ideology that got him power.  The millennials and other youngster are ignorant completely about his election.  Virtually none of them recall or know that he won without a majority of the vote.  H. Ross Perot handed the elections to Clinton.  Perot took 19% of the vote; Clinton barely got over 40% to sneak into the White House.  All the shame and ignominy that Clinton brought to the Presidency can be laid at the doorstep of Perot.   It was a time of despair for honorable people and even as the door was hitting his behind he added one last insulf with the Marc Rich pardon on his last day.  Dole was a decent man and admired his tenacity after those awful wounds he survived from the War but he didn’t have the zip or personality to win.

“When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near”  Will Durant, American, philosopher, anthropologist and historian extraordinaire.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Worry From Yesterday’s View

We’ve just passed the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with all the usual alarms and horror stories from the many survivors of those events of war.   At least this year I saw one article about one of the few surviving American POW’s who witnessed the Nagasaki bombing from miles away and what his perspective was.  The article did correctly p0int out that the Japs had already issued orders to kill all remaining POW’s once the Allies launched the expected invasion of the Homeland Islands.   The POW’s naturally were unaware of their impending death sentence and most had already reached the near end of their endurance due to the extreme cruelty and brutality of their captors.   They were thrilled to learn within days that the Japs had surrendered and that they had a chance to live.  They literally were given a ladder up at last from the depths of Hell.

I was very small at that time and don’t have a specific memory of the bombings or the end of the war.  I don’t recall my dad or any of the other men coming home in a big parade.   I do remember that dad was there and we moved to a new duplex from the old one and then a new baby brother.   The War and its aftermath was the dominate event and topic of conversation for years.  By the time I started school I knew we had used a really big bomb and that made the Japs surrender.  I recall the adults when I listened to them really didn’t understand exactly how the bomb worked.   It was an “atomic” bomb I knew from hearing them and that an atom was a really tiny thing you couldn’t even see.

It was a wonder to me that anything so small could make such a big bang.  How did those miniscule bits mix around to make such a large whomp?  As a small boy playing soldier I could understand rifles, cannons, hand grenades and regular bombs but the physics of the atomic bomb were beyond me.    You could get a feel for the destruction regular bombs and artillery could do because the newsreels in the ’40’s after the War were often about the occupation of Germany, Austria and Japan and they would always show the unimaginable destruction of whole cities.  Frankly, the newsreels of Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t look any different than the cities like Berlin, Munich or Dresden.

When mom and dad had relatives or friends over to visit I was always watching for when the men would gather separate from the women folk and would immeditate ly stop whatever I was doing and slip in there and sit quietly somewhere so I could hear them talk.  Sooner or later they always began swapping stories about the War.  Virtually all of them were in the War.  I guess the had some acquaintances that didn’t serve but I don’t remember a single one.  They were in all services, Army, Navy, Air Corps and Marines.  I wish I had those conversations on tape today.   What a treasure trove that would be.   All except one (with a minor wound) were still in the services in August of 1945.  Without exception they expected to be soon shipped to Japan.   Never heard one word of regret or sorrow for using the atomic bomb from one of them.  They believed the Japs deserved it, earned it with their barbaric behavior and none of them were eager to face the prospects of death after four years of war.   My dad could have been on one of those Navy ships off the coast of Japan facing the 5000 kamikaze planes (yes, 5000) that the Japs still had to deploy and planned to deploy against our invasion.  I am sure glad my dad didn’t have to do that.

“These proceedings are closed” General MacArthur after the last signatures on the Japanese surrender documents.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Iran Deal –False Choices

The guy in the white house claims that we either accept his horrendous proposal and complete surrender to Iran or we face the prospect of immediate all out war with the mad mullahs.  The assertion is that this deal is good because it…..well exactly what do we get out of it?   He asserts that Iran will not be developing any nukes for at least 1o years but history with Iran and other terror organizations around the world clearly indicate that such an assertion is childish at best and out right treasonous at worst.  He puts out nation and our important allies in harms way only to fulfill some delusional and narcissistic impulse to be remembered as a great diplomat.   After all he won the Noble Peace prize his first month in office, could we expect anything less.

The comparisons to Neville Chamberlain are astounding.   He also assured the world that old Hitler had been brought to heel and proudly waved the copy of the agreement from Munich and claimed we had “peace in our time’.   Well, guess it depended on how long you defined “time”.  It turned out to be a little over one year.  He is all about himself and that legacy.  He’ll have a legacy alright and it will live in infamy.

What would have been so bad about leaving everything exactly where they were and letting Iran suffer the consequences of the sanctions?   They are going to do what they want to do toward building a nuke either way.  Could any thoughtful and thinking person doubt otherwise?   They lie and do it often and brazenly.  They will only ramp up their mischief in the entire Middle East with the extra funding of billions they will get immediately from this deal.   A few billion here and there to Al Queada, Nusra, in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon can cause untold grief, death and misery to millions and advance their ideology at the same time.  They have no incentive to refrain from that course of action.

We have many military options besides putting 200,000 soldiers on the ground in an invasion of Iran which is the clear false choice presented by the current white house occupant.  Unfortunately many who do not know history and get their news from TMZ will buy into that sophistry.  The are many degrees of military action that could be taken and be very effective.  How about using our Navy and air power to destroy the Iranian navy. That would be doable and as wars go pretty low risk but a painful blow to our adversary.   Further we could impose a complete blockade on Iran in addition to sanctions and cripple what economy they have which in turn would greatly diminish their capacity to spread terror with money and arms and even troops throughout the Middle East.  If that wasn’t enough we could also take down their air force entirely.   Yes, it would cost some money but how much will be spending anyway under the Iran Deal?  We would have to spend mony to fight the terrorists the export and those they supply.   And also yes it would have casualties.   All wars do sadly but would we be safer with a defanged Iran?

Lastly, many would argue tha Iran would retaliate.  So, they already are as fast as they can throughout the Middle East and North Africa.   With a blockade, sanctions and no navy or air force it would be that much harder for them to export terrorism rather than the free hand they have under the Administration’s plan.   For those who would argue that Russia or China would take action against us if we pursued that course of action, please think that scenario through.  They would huff and puff but why would they really care that much in the end.   Russia would see stronger oil prices and the diminishment of a competitor and China would have one less rival in that region of the world.  Neither of them would attack the U. S. on behalf of Iran.  How could we be worse off than  the road we are heading down right now?   Iran is evil just as Stalin was evil.  You never go wrong fighting evil and always do when accommodating it.   The Call to prayer might be the sweetest sound Barack ever heard but we need to heed the righteous call to arms for our Western way of life.

“There is a time for war and a time for peace”  Proverbs.  oldranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Watchman, How Goes The Night?

There is something especially admirable about one of those turn of phrases that carries both a secular and a deeper philosophical  or religious meaning.  The title is one example of this wisdom and intelligence or luck of the unknown author, and they are always unknown it seems.

On a purely secular level we’ve only had police or cops as we now know them for less than 200 years.  The modern idea of cops comes from the movement of Robert Peel the British Prime Minister in the mid-19th century. Thus the term “Bobby” for the English cop on the beat. For most of Mankind’s journey personal security was provided by a handful of constables, sheriff’s or yes watchmen employed by the local King, Baron or other prominent person of the area.  Mostly you were on your own when it came to security after the Sun set.  Going back for centuries if you read the history you will see that those who could afford it had private guards (footmen for example) when out at night or they went about armed.  Gentlemen carried swords not for decoration but to actually defend themselves and more often to discourage the potential robber or criminal from even attempting an assault.

The term Watchman was used for centuries in the cities.  Ben Franklin referred to the Watchman when he was trying to organize a more formal police presence in Philadelphia in the 1730’s.   That was as generic term that covered Constables or others hired by the local governor or mayor to light the street lamps and make a circuit along the major streets.   So the title phrase today is more or less the equivalent of tuning into the 10 o’clock news to see if there is any danger out there.  Two centuries ago you would have asked the Watchman on his rounds if there was anything nefarious afoot.

Of more profound and emotional content is the personal introspection and depth of the inquiry.  Just as the phrase “whither thou goest”?  That is very penetrating.  Many of us much  of the time might not really want to answer that question because an honest response would be adverse to our self-esteem.  That query can apply to the immediacy of today or the panorama of our life path.   It is indeed a good and happy man that can answer that poser with equanimity.   Remember how Adam in the Garden of Eden didn’t want to answer God’s question about his original sin of the fruit and blamed everything on Eve or even God himself since He gave Adam the woman?  Our strivings in life should be such that we can actually answer that question each day of our lives.  Every day that you refuse to answer that query or are reluctant is a day you should try to correct on the morrow.  Thankfully the good Lord allows us to redeem ourselves and that is available for a day or a lifetime.   A good life is not about perfection but about perfection in effort to be noble, honest and decent.

Lead your life so that when you here that voice from within or from real but ethereal origin, calling to you–“Watchman, how goes the night”?  You can reply–all is well.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”  Proverbs 27/6.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Much Ado About Old Inequality

For months the liberal or socialist left has been trumpeting the alleged great cause of eliminating the alleged inequality in American economic life.  Well, blow me over with a feather!  You mean we don’t all make exactly the same amount of income?   The fact that some do exceedingly well and others do much better seems to come as a great shock to our Left and they are determined to eradicate it by any means and all means.

Such disparity is as old as recorded history.  The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments is filled with references to the rich and poor and the discrepancies between them.  Just read Proverbs or Ecclesiastes or Mathew if you want a citation.   Likewise ancient Greece is replete with similar concerns and conflicts to resolve the wealth gap.  Indeed the ire of the middle class and the lower classes in Greece lead the Tyrants who ruled under law and the laws of Draco (our Draconian usage).  You are reminded that the Tyrants, dictators, who came to power in roughly the 6th century did so to protect” and promote the middle classes and what they got was some redistribution and lots of dictatorship.  Nothing has changed over the centuries.  Stalin provided and quite even playing field but he also established all the rules of the game and lo to anyone who wished to  march to a different drummer.

If people are allowed to have freedom to differ one from the other you will always have inequality.  It is a truism that some can’t seem to abide because they want to be in charge of all the rules.  Further there is nothing inconsistent with a society having great income inequality but at the same time being charitable and caring about their fellow man.  The Bible is also filled with commands to aid the poor not only in wealth but in spirit.  The French just before the Revolution had forgotten that part of the duality.  Our goal should never be to eliminate inequality for that leads to a Dante’s inferno of mediocrity and brutal coercion; our goal should be to provide equality of lanes on the path to a better life restricted only by our own ambition and desires.  Some will always choose to live by Walden’s pond and others will want to be a Wall Street Master of the Universe.  Our society should allow and encourage both.  For the slovenly and lazy I refer you to Proverbs and the lazy man who reaps no crops; he doesn’t need or deserve charity but chastisement.

Lastly, it was written that liberty and inequality are not associates but rather enemies.  The former will in direct proportion lead to inequality and the lack of liberty will likewise lead to more equality of mediocrity or outright misery and oppression to maintain the equality balance.  This was observed by Will Durant, American philosopher and anthropologist and certainly not any sort of right-winger.  Read his twelve volumes sometime for your own edification and to agree or disagree with his comments on the civilization of Man.

“he that oppreseth the poor reproacheth his Maker, but he that horoureth him hath mercy on the poor”. Prvbs 14/31

http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Ok, sports fans and the great unwashed out there, buckle up for another ride on the
Wabash Cannonball express down the valley of curiosities of the inquiring mind.

Ebola hysteria reigns at least in the headlines and surely in many a concerned household.  But recall that mankind has dealt with far worse plagues and disease outbreaks in times past and we are still here.  The Roman Empire had two major episodes with plague, the 14th century saw an estimated 25 to 33% decline in population from the plague and likewise the 17th century had a horrible outbreak on the plague.  London was hit with the plague and the Great Fire in the 1660’s.  There were two common themes to all these occurrences.   First the plague eventually played itself out.  Either there weren’t enough hosts left to support it or mankind developed its on immunity through the natural processes of biology, or some combination of both.  The medical treatment was simply to let the sick lay down and give them nurture from those willing to risk being near them.  The second feature all those centuries ago was a quarantine.  History is replete with ships from suspected areas of contamination being denied access to port.  They were told to sail away, as recently happened with that cruise ship that was denied docking in Belize and Mexico.  Even with their less sophisticated medical knowledge the ancients understood the basic benefit of cutting off all intercourse with infected areas or people whether that was a nation-state, city or individual.  We really don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel here.  If we did absolutely nothing,  ebola would die away at some point but we can accelerate that process with sensible isolation policy.

ISIS–never go to war half-heartedly and without an intention to destroy and defeat your enemy.  History makes this point clear.  One has only to look at Korea and Viet Nam to see the efficacy of that maxim.  As has been said before War is too important to be left to the politicians.  Once the decision is made to answer the bugle’s call, let the military achieve their assigned objective.   And certainly never telegraph your punch.  Don’t tell the enemy what you will or will not do militarily.   To the contrary let them know that you will do whatever is required to destroy them.   As evil as ISIS is we should eliminate them.  Yes, send in combat troops to every center where they are now nesting.  Kill every one of them we can find.  Sure some will survive and the ideology of hate of that branch of the Muslim world will still exist.  But not one dime of help, aid or nation building.   Destroy what we have to and leave.  Be prepared to come back and do it again in a few years if necessary.   Such a p0licy would encourage most Muslims that there is a better way to express their religion and to function in the modern world with peace and such progress economically as they choose and pursue on their own initiative.

I noted the recent article pointing out how ordinary folks were having their bank accounts seized by the IRS because of a pattern of making cash deposits of less than 10k.   People, that has been the law for decades regrettably.  I have always abhorred those RICO and money laundering laws.  I do understand the desire to corral the mafia and other assorted bad guys,  I don’t like them and wish them nothing but the worst life can offer.  But go after them for an actual crime and why create a “crime” for someone doing what they wish with their own money?   That law is especially egregious.   You can be convicted of a crime for simply taking your own money, honestly earned, and depositing it in your own bank account if you do so in a manner that some damn assistant US attorney in his mind thinks is a “pattern to avoid reporting requirement”.  Hells bells what have we come to?  This is  supposed to be the US where you can mind your own business and live you live quietly and even off the grid if you prefer.  Unless it is stolen money or the fruit of some specific criminal activity you should have the right to do with your money as you damn well please and not be required to offer and explanation to anyone–including the Feds.   And if it is ill-gotten gains then the Feds must be required to prove that in court before they can lay hands on your money.

Karl Marx viewed everything and explained everything in society and the economy as part of the class war.  Modern Democrats divide all Americans by class and view all their political strategies as part of a class struggle.  Black and white, the 99%, war on women, you name it.   They clearly have read their  Marx thoroughly.   Capitalism was the great evil Satan for Marx and what Democrat these days (with rare exceptions) has anything decent to say about Capitalism?  Bernie Sanders is an openly avowed Socialist and believes government should own the means of production for many major industries just as Marx proposed.  Today the Demos don’t advocate direct takeover but they accomplish their goal a bit more subtly by Federal regulation.  They have just turned the entire health care industry into a government utility.  Their prices, services and means of operation have to all  meet Federal standards.   Even the Marx dictum of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is alive and thriving in the Democratic agenda.  Now the dictatorship is the elites in government whether elected or part of the vast army, literally, of bureaucrats doing the will of their party at EPA, HHS, FERC, FCC , etc.   They know better than the common man  what  is good for him.   Just as the Commies the Democrats don’t really trust the people at all.   You think FDR’s old buddy Stalin trusted those millions in the Ukraine that he starved to death?  Or the other countless millions he and his successors condemned to the Gulag.  Read your Solzhenitzin.

“Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one anther, no other liberty is secure”  Wm. Hocking, American 20th century philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are over and the hibernation will be interrupted long enough for the current thoughts and ramblings of the gray matter…..

Another State of the Union address and again we call for the elimination of the current method of delivery.  It is pure political theatre and propaganda.  Regardless of what party controls the White House the prevailing showmanship of the delivery should be stopped.  For well over 100 years the State of the Union was a straightforward written report to Congress from the President.   We need to really tone down this useless drama show.  It should be a business meeting between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  Put it on C-span and no applause and distractions.  Let the President and his Cabinet present facts and figures about our economy, national security and society.  Let the Congressmen ask questions and challenge the data and assumptions and proposed policies.  It should be give and take.  The Presidents written report should be no longer than 20 pages in length, anything more and you’re getting hyperbole and fluff.

Saw a shooting star the other night.  It was the first one I’ve seen in a number of years what with all the bright lights of the city and trees and roof lines.  It was quite dramatic and very bright as it descended to earth.  So large that I actually listened for a boom.  Did see one so large and close that it produced a loud boom decades ago.  Better than any fireworks display when they are that large.

Not at all surprised that so many people were having their private insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare.  Those reading these pages remember that I said that would happen back in ’10 when the thing was passed and I actually read the bill.  It provided that the policies being grandfathered in could only be those that never changed.   “Any” change meant they no longer met the standard of a “qualified” plan as approved by the bureaucrat in charge, the HHS Secretary.  So if your premium in the plan you liked was $300 per month and it increased by $5 per month then that change would kick you to the exchanges and you had to get the government approved plans, period.

Fighting wars half-heartedly is always a recipe for disaster. Korea and Viet Nam are probably the worst examples but Afghanistan isn’t far behind with that current guy in the White House view of the military and the mission there.   The object of any military action should always be to destroy and subdue your enemy and do so with all the resources at your command.  History teaches well the old maxim that when you go against and remove the King you better get rid of all his heirs also.   If we aren’t committed to eliminating the Taliban as a force then we might as well get out completely and go back in at our pleasure when we detect specific threats.   If our guys can’t conduct aggressive offensive operations as of now then they are merely becoming targets for the attacks of the Taliban at their pleasure.

Read another detailed and thorough article this week about the probability of our magnetic field starting another flip.  That means the magnetic poles will switch places and your compass would point south, not north.  If that is beginning to occur then it makes a mockery of the concern over alleged global warming.   The process could take thousands of years and the effects on Mother Earth would be enormous.  Weather would change for sure as would the overall climate and the effects of the increased radiation from the Sun would tear apart much of our modern infrastructure built on electrical power and electronic machines of all stripe, not the least of which would be your handy computer.   The magnetic field has flipped many times over the eons and many scientist believe we over  due for another  anytime.  The magnetic field has already weakened and some view that has the harbinger of the flip.  So another item to add to your list of worries but this one is real, the danger is only a question of time, not an if.

About two weeks before we dropped the first A bomb on Hiroshima a US sub made one of the most unusual attacks of the entire War.  The sub had already sunk several Jap ships in a harbor and was due to return to base but the captain noticed a  railroad trestle right on the shore line that was used by the Japs to transport supplies to the war making factories nearby.  They couldn’t have used a torpedo but were innovative both captain and crew.  They decided a shore party could attach a explosive device to the tracks and get the next train to pass after installation.  It took several days to figure out how to do it.  They used the explosive charges that normally are used only to scuttle the ship for the pow factor.  But then they had to devise a method to make the “bomb” explode at the right time to take out the train.  They jerry-rigged a trigger from a battery and copper wires.  The trigger was to be placed under the metal rail after they dug out a small pit for the explosives and then when the train passed over it would depress the rail a bit and that would close the electric circuit and ignite the device.  In the dark of the night a couple of nights later the landing party of 8 went ashore, dug the pit and placed the device there.  As they were heading back to the sub in a rubber dingy a train pulled into sight and then onto the trestle area embankment and sure enough it worked and everything went sky high.  The Captain was already a Medal of Honor winner when this took place.   Needless to say it was the only sub to take out a train during the War.

Even the Fed is beginning to taper.  Now if we could only get Congress to “taper” also and spend less.  I don’t feel like I get a bang for my tax bucks paid, er, extorted, to the Federal government, do you?

“Liberty alone demands for its realization the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike,…”  Lord Acton, British historian  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Polarization Is Us

How many times in the last few years have you read an article about how polarized our political process has become?   More than you can count likely and the same comments are heard on all the news broadcasts on almost a daily basis and have been like that for several years.  It is as though we have entered some new era of political disputation on a level never seen before to listen to the wisdom of the pundits.  Of course it goes without saying that the same discussions of polarization always immediately are followed up with some ponderous words and even polling data that allegedly show how badly the majority of Americans seek compromise.   The word dysfunctional is then tossed at Congress because they haven’t passed a lot of new laws during a particular session.

First of all why is it considered a good thing that Congress is passing new laws?  Don’t we really have enough of them already?  Aren’t we literally drowning in laws at the Federal level and in all those departments, agencies, bureaus and centers and such?   No one can ever accurately give the number of Federal criminal laws on the books at the moment.  Some have estimated them to be at least 70,000 separate criminal statutes but no on really knows.  It would take several thousand pages to list the various department, sub-departments, agencies and bureaus of one kind or another in all the Cabinet level departments plus the independent agencies created by special act of
Congress.  Again do a Google search or whatever you like and you will find it is impossible to get a complete listing of these different entities funded and run by the government at taxpayer expense performing Lord only knows what function much less whether that function is useful or necessary.

In the economic field consider the different organizations we have at work, at least nominally at work compared to the private workplace, studying, analyzing and recommending policy for the economic growth of the US.  There is the GAO which monitors and supposedly audits government operations for waste and efficiency (don’t laugh, I know that efficiency is an oxymoron when it comes to Government work).  Next up how about the Council of Economic Advisors.   Then here is the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget.   That is followed by the Federal Reserve which has an army of economists and actuaries and statisticians.  Hey, how about the Department of Commerce in addition to those.   Then there is the Department of Labor and its separate BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  And lastly there is the Department of the Treasury.  Shouldn’t the Treasury be advising on almost all these matters?  If not then clean house and hire competent people.   Those entities are mere proof of duplication  and redundancies gone mad.   You know what is sad is that is not even the complete list for that one category.    And some liberals complain that Congress has ‘t passed enough laws.

If compromise means we have to pass new laws then I am agin it.  How about compromise agreeing to eliminate the useless and wasteful laws on the books now.  Wouldn’t it be grand to have a new Cabinet Department of Elimination who sole purpose was to bring to the attention of the people these useless and wasteful laws bureaus and programs.  I mean do we really need a bureau still regulating grape production?

We have faced much more severe polarization in our past than we confront today.  At the beginning of our nation we had great divides between  the Rebels who supported and won the Revolutionary War and the Tories who continued to support the King and England to the bitter end.  Many of those Tories had their property taken by force or only marginal legal process.  Remember that a third of the population then were Tories from Maine to Georgia.  That is a very large percentage of angry folks.  Setting aside the issue of slavery there was tremendous hostility between New England and the South from independence to the War Between the States over trade policy and the open seas.  The merchants and the farmers had very different views of economy.  Indeed it was the New England states in the early 19th century that first seriously proposed secession from the Union over trade policy, not the Southern states.   In the late 19th century that was open antagonism between the rural and farm country and the urban and eastern cities.  Thus the appeal and abhorrence of William Jennings Bryant by those respective sections and demographics of the country.

Don’t believe the history you read by journalists.  If you actually read real history you will be quite aware that there was open hostility for most of FDR’s reign.  He said awful and threatening things about business.  He was a vicious politician and pounded his political opponents without mercy and tried to institute and complete government take over of the entire economy with his NRA, National Recovery Act, that thankfully was rightfully found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and that is when  he strove mightily to pack the Court with Cronies which also failed.  As much as he was loved by many he was reviled by more than 40% of the people, again not an insignificant slice of the population.  He only came to appreciate Business when the War came and he realized he desperately needed them to win the War.

Soon we will discuss the acrimony existing at the birth of the nation and Reconstruction by the North.

We’ll survive the current discord and division, that isn’t the question.  How we survive and with what freedoms is the issue.  Even  the Germans survived the Nazis and the destruction of the War.  That was pretty severe polarization among themselves and the rest of the world to boot.

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”  David Hume,   Scottish philosopher.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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