Tag Archives: american politics

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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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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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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A House Divided–Better?

We all know that the US has become more polarized politically and culturally for decades.  That gulf between the right and the left has only widened and become more ossified in recent years.  Regardless of the outcome of this year’s election that yawning chasm will continue to exist and likely grow in years to come for a variety of reasons.  We could write literally volumes about why that divide is there; the cause and effect of it; the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument but all those really don’t matter in the end.  The Bible taught us that a house divided can not stand and there is surely profound truth in that but does that mean that two new entities cannot emerge from the one and still thrive for generations.

World history is replete with instances where nations or empires have been bifurcated and the separate entities continued to thrive for long periods of time.   Toward the end of it time in the Sun the Roman Empire was effectively divided into two portions and each continued to have various degrees of success for centuries.  Yes, the western empire suffered more and had a more checkered success than the Byzantine Empire its decline took generations to reach its denouement.  Those savages who conquered Rome also absorbed Roman customs and cultural to a great extent and those the essence was still there.   We can fast forward in time and see similar occurrences unfolding.

Many on the Left look to Europe as their model for a society that is heavily socialized and where the Government dominates all industry and enterprise.  They like the idea of the Government controlling anywhere from 40% of GDP to over 50%.  Modern Germany would be closer to the 40 and Greece today would be over the 50% level.  The Left also loves the politically correct approach to every aspect of life and industry and government.   That is fine is that is their preference but should that preference for a socialized economy and liberal life style dominate those in society who don’t see matters the same way.   Modern Europe is not as monolithic and devoted to the European Union concept as most of the headlines would indicate.
You have to be a real news hound to be aware of some of the rumblings afoot in Europe today.  Most of the articles regarding these actions are buried on the back pages if they are reported at all.  Let’s look around the modern map of Europe and see if there is any modern inclination to divide the house.   Hey, we can start with the former Yugoslavia.   Can you even name more than two of the new countries that have mushroomed in the last generation from the collapse of that nation?   Those different areas had quite unique and distinct views of life, economics, religion and the role of government.  They couldn’t and ultimately didn’t get along.  Thus today we have Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and in  Kosovo to name the ones you may recall.  Also today even though it is not discussed in our news sources we can see other areas where splits are being openly discussed and advocated.  How about Scotland?  It has been part of the United Kingdom for centuries and now we see that the Scots are pushing for complete independence.   The Scots and the English and Welsh are pretty darn close culturally and in terms of their views on the economy and government’s role and yet the differences are strong enough to be leading to the vote in 2014 for separation.   Move over to the Continent and we see that Catalonia in Spain is having open conversations about a separation from Madrid.  How dramatic and profound a split it might be is not known now but the fact is that the discussion is under way.  Spain could face and division down the road.  If you follow the news carefully you might have seen the reports that some have called on Madrid to even send more troops to Barcelona.  Move a bit farther east and we come to Italy.  Another nation facing economic crisis and that has had stirrings for some time now about the divide between North and South.  The former prime minister Berlusconi had his power base with the Northern League.  That political group has a very strong contingent that believes southern Italy should be cut loose because it drags down the whole nation and takes more from government than it contributes.   Move north a few hundred miles and we get to Belgium.   Yes, that small nation squeezed between France and Germany.   It has had for centuries a divide between the French-speaking areas and those in the Germanic speaking regions.  Everyone has assumed that it all has and would work out and both areas would love one another in the politically correct era.  The headquarters for both NATO and the European Union and its parliament are in Brussels.  Yet, within the last month the Flemish party advocating separation into its own nation as gained substantially in the recent elections.  They want to go their own way.   Only time will tell how things evolve in the various countries and regions but division of those countries down the road is certainly not out of the question.

If Europe is the preferred model for the Left does that preference include the notion of dividing culturally diverse regions into more homogeneous areas?  Ultimately that is what is behind every one of those movements.  Those people want to be with and associate with those they identify as being socially and culturally akin.  They don’t want as much diversity as comes with the larger entity.   Are they any lessons for the US in this analysis  and what might they be?   Would your life, your happiness factor be diminished if the US were divided into separate nations?  We will examine this question in more detail over the coming months.  Ponder on it in the meantime.  After all, change is the constant in life and societies.

“Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish?  Nothing else.”  Epictetus, Roman stoic philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Class Warfare And The Federal Reserve

The administration oozes daily rhetoric about issues and concerns that focuses on the allegation that there are different classes in the US and that those at the top of the socio-economic spectrum are taking advantage of those the WH deems not receiving a fair shake.   It is a class warfare campaign and has strong populists overtones.  We’ve seen this movie before in our history–actually several times.   There were the same arguments between Adams and Jefferson in the very earliest days.   Similar arguments were made by T. Roosevelt to some extent and the really hammered by Woodrow Wilson and then of course FDR.  Surely everyone remembers Williams Jennings Bryant and his cross of gold message.   No one was more anti-elite in rhetoric than Harry Truman yet his administration was filled with exactly those types in all positions  of influence.   Now we are hearing the same theme again. 

Those adopting this line always rail against Wall Street, “moneyed interest” , bankers or the alleged privileged and well-connected.  What is always interesting about these arguments is that they are advanced by those who are in fact part of the 1% and among the elites themselves and are usually surrounded by elites a la the current administration.   Bankers are always at the top of the list of those attacked because they control some of the flow of money.   Jefferson opposed the original bank of america but Hamilton won the argument with Washington and it was created and then died shortly thereafter due in part to the same old argument that it favored and worked only for the benefit of the wealthy.    Well of course banks do deal with those who have some money.  Money is their business so is it surprising that they mostly interact with those who have money to deposit or wish to float a loan. 

We created the Second Bank of the US in 1816 under Madison but it only had a 20 year charter.   It was conservative and restricted credit to those who were credit worthy and the banking system functioned quite well during this period.  We grew and prospered.  The economic growth was uneven and the common man didn’t directly benefit that much from the bank but they sure did overall because the overall economy was improving steadily in the long view.   The class warfare rhetoric rose again to the fore when Andrew Jackson ran for President.  He was rough and tumble and came from modest backgrounds and sure had “baggage”.  I mean how many men today would have a chance to be President that had been involved in duels and even killed men doing so?  What about being a bigamist which he was technically.   Makes Newt look like a choir boy by comparison.   But elected he was.  He didn’t like the Second Bank or the bankers in general.  There was a strong geographic element to the class warfare talk of that day because the populists were mostly from the South and the West.  It was the elites and money interest of the East that were the target.   That remained true for generations.  Somewhat ironic today that those mostly shouting the class warfare language are from the elite East where the money interest still reside.   The big banks then just as today were mostly in the East because that is where the big money was.  The money came from the trade of the big ports of the East and the fledgling industrial growth of that nation which was concentrated in the area. 

When the charter for the Second Bank came up for renewal Jackson vetoed the bill.  He took the reasonable position that it was unconstitutional since it was not a power granted to Congress under the Constitution and that foreign interests profited too much and influenced it too much with their money.  He also said it favored the East over the other regions of the country which was mostly true and that it only made those rich bankers get richer.  He chose to ignore the fact that even though those things might be true we were growing, expanding and had a great GDP for those days.   He was a very determined warrior against the Bank and even before it formal demise in 1836 he withdrew the funds of the US from the Bank and deposited them with local and regional banks.    Those banks in turn began to practice what we would call easy credit and the loans flew out the doors and the speculations especially in western lands took off again.  Those bank issued paper money supposedly backed by gold.  The speculation became so intense that even Jackson got concerned and required in future that all land purchases had to be paid for in “specie” gold and silver.  That naturally caused an immediate credit crunch.  People started wanting to withdraw their money from the banks by submitting their paper money for gold or silve and the banks couldn’t meet the demand and many of them collapsed.  That led to a great panic of 1837 and a severe depression which lasted well into the next decade.  

Monetary and fiscal policies are critical to the proper functioning of our economy and yes those policies will always have to be implemented by banks and bankers.   We must have them.  We can’t run our economy without them because then you would be left with an anarchic trade  and barter system which is not very efficient or practical.   The Federal Reserve system doesn’t “favor” the rich currently.  It favors us all.   The Federal Reserve system is no inherently evil or there only to enrich the 1% as established.  It was set up to be run by bankers with only limited political influence through the board.  The Fed isn’t our problem it is the politicians wanting to tinker with it and control it even more.  I sure don’t like many of the things it has done in the last few years and don’t like most of the current members of the board and especially Bernancke.  But do you want the politicians to have even more control over our monetary policy?   You want the politicians with a simple vote or threat of reprisal or regulation to control the money flow and money supply.  Ever time there was the slightest advantage for some more inflation to make people feel good temporarily they would be opening the spigots.  If anything we need more independence of the Federal Reserve board.  We need more members who elected by the regional banks and fewer appointed by the politicians in Washington of whatever party.   Before all those 99% ers destroy the Wall Street banks we best think long and hard about what will replace them.  There will have to be something to replace them for sure.  I would not want Barney Frank to control our monetary policy and would not want Dodd to be in charge of the money flow from the Federal Reserve or Elizabeth Warren to be the regulator of banks around the country.    It ain’t perfect by a long shot but it has served us pretty darn well for almost a century.   We can have bankers or czars.  I’ll take the bankers any day.  At least they can be sued for fraud and set to jail for criminal acts but czars?   It takes revolution to get rid of them if my remembrance of history is correct.   An important aside–Jackson before he went off the rails did pay off the entire national debt only to have it balloon again after the closure of the Second Bank.   If only….

“If a national debt is considered a blessing, then we can get on by borrowing.   But as I believe it is a national curse, my vow shall be to pay the national debt.  A. Jackson.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

As long as humans continue to be human there will always be opinions of differing hues upon the subjects of the day and memories of the yesterdays.

A clear goal and a firm commitment is a winning approach to foreign policy.  To paraphrase Ronald Reagan,,,,,yes, there is going to be an arms race and we’re going to win it.  We did and the Soviet Union collapsed.   Of course the Soviets had the problem of the communist system itself which led to their downfall.   Our current “central planners” in DC should take note.  The central planners state policy and set goals and targets for the economy (if communism can be said to have an economy) and then the locals who are charged with meeting the targets go to work.  It is crony capitalism without the capital.  Sure enough they made zillions of cars, trucks and tractors for instance that were shoddy and no one really wanted but the number of “units” was met.   They forgot about replacement parts because they were high on the central policy list.  The shoddy products fell apart quickly and then just sat for lack of any repair capability.   Of course the “consumers” never had the things they wanted like TV’s, paper towels, tooth paste, furniture or clothing more stylish than a denim jacket and pants.

I don’t get the hue and cry over the rating agencies the last few years since the economy went south.   They are under intense criticism now and some have even called for them to be prosecuted.  Come on folks, they give opinions not guarantees.  You don’t have to accept or agree with their opinion and you are free to believe they don’t do good work.  They were wrong but so were Fannie and Freddie and the Federal government and the Congressmen with oversight and the buyers who knew they couldn’t afford no down payment mortgages and banks and the list goes on.   I neither like or hate the rating agencies.  Remember the old saying that opinions are like butts, everyone has one.   You think maybe the Pygmalion effect was at work and people mostly believed what they wanted to believe?

Glad to see I am not the only one still asking where the money is coming from for the Eurozone bailout fund.  Lots of talking heads the last week or so have been asking the same question.  The European Central Bank has made it clear that they are not going to print Euros and buy Greek or Italian bonds.  The private investors are already demanding steeply higher yields for loaning money to the Eurozone countries and maybe soon they won’t loan at all because the risk of default is too high.  The Germans say they won’t pony up money.  Show me the money is what the world at large is saying then we’ll see assess the risks.  Seems reasonable to me. 

The Sheriff in Maricopa county has been in office almost twenty years.  His policies have been the same from day one.  He has worked through both Democrat and Republican administrations.   Bit strange that now BO and Holder have decided that all his policies are discriminatory.   Bill Clinton was a true liberal and even he and Janet Reno didn’t find fault.  You think there is maybe an election year approaching?

Two hundred years ago one of the greatest military expeditions of all time was in the planning stages.   Napoleon was getting ready for his invasion of Russia.  He gathered an army of over 500,000 men for the war.  It was comparable to our D-Day in scope and planning.  Regrettably for him it didn’t have the strategic thought for ultimate success.   To mix metaphors and wars it was a bridge too far.   Like a powerful football team playing a very weak opponent he forgot the other team would show up and play and they wouldn’t necessarily do as he thought.

Best kick-start to the day is the whiff of brewed coffee on those crisp winter mornings.

How many billions is it now we have spent on the switchgrass biomass fuel and ethonal folly?   The Feds backed the program with billions and only forgot that there was no developed manufacturing process in place and the mandated quotas set by the Feds were fantasy.  The production is not even 10% of that promised.   I wish that money had gone into the Bakken oil and gas field.

The hardest part of exercising is getting started.   You are already going downhill with the first exertion.   

How many guys are having to endure the Ice Capades during this Holiday season?   I went several times when the daughters were young.  If I can do it  so can you.   It’s just at half time I always thought that there was that much more to sit through.

You catch that story about the whales being caught under the ice fields in the Arctic?  I thought all the ice was melting yet the spread ice apparently trapped a number of whales under it just recently in areas that had been ice-free for a while.  I guess it still gets pretty cold there.

The Feds are beginning to eat their own.   The

has filed suit against the former execs of Fannie and Freddie.  They did make huge salaries while working for that Government sponsored enterprise and obviously didn’t care about the quality of the loans they were making as long as the music kept playing.  They certainly never pushed back against Congress or Barney Frank on the ridiculous requirements to extend loans to those not qualified simply to meet social engineering goals and enhance minority home ownership.  It will be fun to see how they defend themselves.  You think they will prove they were only “following orders”?  Of course those issuing the orders will flee from any knowledge of such orders like rats from the rotting ship. 

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  Wm. James.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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