Tag Archives: Politics

Pathway To A Better State–V–Immigration

It is with a heavy heart that both Left and Right don’t truly have a deep-seated pride in their nation anymore.  Both believe that the US is heading in the wrong direction for completely different reasons.  It is right and natural that a citizen should be extremely proud of their country and want to feel they are part of a team working together for a generally agreed upon goal.  We desperately want to have a swelling pride within our breast when we listen to the refrains from America The
Beautiful but so many feel the country they want to love is becoming something they distrust and even revile.  It will be better when both elements can have their own sovereignty and they each can have that desired and admirable pride in their new and separate US.   One of the many contentious issues that divide the Left and Right is the question of immigration and very different views on the path forward to admission of new immigrants.

The Left going back to the 1960’s have had a deliberate and steady policy of loose immigration policy heavily favoring certain segments of the world at the expense of European immigration.  Until then our policy and simple historical, economic and cultural matters propelled the overwhelming majority of the immigrants to the US to be of European origin.  The Left had a harder time recruiting them to their cause when they came here.  They knew as any rational man would that if they allowed more immigrants of perceived minorities and from Socialist or Socialist leaning nations that those new immigrants would much more likely become new members of the Left or Democratic Party.  They overhauled the immigration laws to drastically reduce European peoples and favored heavily immigrants from South American, the Philippines, certain other Oriental countries, Africa and the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East.   They were right.  Those new immigrants did move to the Left as they became citizens and they continue to do so to this day.  The left wanted and got a very lax enforcement policy regarding border security because they would allow even more immigrants to migrate to the US and eventually receive citizenship.  After the Constitutional Convention and the reorganization of the US into two equal and sovereign entities each will be able to pursue their own vision of new immigration policy.

In the new Coastal America it would be the knee-jerk reaction that the immigration policy would be quite liberal and allow generously new immigrants and citizens.  Many would suspect that they would continue the current policy of favoring Third World countries or emerging markets.  Now many of them advocate granting citizenship wholesale even to those who violated US law in coming to the US.  It could well be true that the Left would adopt such a policy but on reflection it might be a bit different from that.  The unions form a strong and influential portion of the Left and advance the Liberal agenda.  It is an important cog in that political movement and would certainly continue to be after the grand division.  The unions are very leery to allow too many new immigrants entry because it would have a negative effect on wages of their members and their job security both of which are dominant issues in their movement.  Of course there is also the fact that after the division the Left will have “won”.  They can take their Socialist or psuedo-socialist agenda as far as they want without interference from the Right.  They can design their society through social engineering and tax policy as they wish.  They won’t be needing new voters to swell their ranks anymore.   They will have their majority for generations.

The Left likes to look to the European model for a goodly portion of its agenda and direction because it is progressive and Socialist to a greater or less degree.   A dispassionate view of Europe today would reveal that they have restrictive immigration policies; they do not have  open borders and immigrants face steep hurdles to becoming full citizens with the right to vote.   Coastal America will have no need for new progressive voters.   The significant majority of Coastal America will already be of one political vision and direction.  There are many on the Left that believe that population growth is a problem or outright evil because it leads to environmental damage and human suffering.   They will have their choices to make.

Middle America will revise its immigration policy most likely in a more restrictive manner.  It is most likely that the driving thrust of that policy will be to admit new immigrants based on merit or economic need of Middle America.  The policy will not be driven by ethnicity or perceived Third World status.   The result will be that more Europeans will likely be admitted along with substantial Oriental influx.   There would be an efficient and flexible guest worker program as they have today in Germany and other European nations.  These special visas would be granted liberally to those who bring “value” to Middle America.  The guest workers would be mostly from South America and Mexico.  That is simply a recognition of social and geographic reality.  Those immigrating with citizenship in mind will be mostly from Europe.  Not because of race but because of education and special abilities and capital to invest in American enterprises.

It is likely in a generation or so Coastal America would grow in population much more rapidly than Middle America but that trend might not last as Coastal America comes to grips with its identity and internal disputes with the entrenched interests of the unions and their power base.  They will have met all their diversity goals and economics will prevail at some point.  Middle America will grow but in a more even manner and become more homogeneous, not ethnically, but in cultural outlook and appreciation.

The great advantage of the separate nations is that each can pursue it own dream for its society through immigration policy.  They can amend  and emend as they wish without the discord of dealing with the other side.  The current disputes and disharmony we face over immigration policy would be gone.  Both Americas would be happy with its p0licy.  The best policy is what makes most of the citizens of each America content as opposed to the distrust and conflict we face as one polarized nation today on the issue.    Let each follow their own drummer.

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Pathway To A Better State–Part III–Geography

A thorough examination of how two new United States could emerge from a Constitutional Convention to divide the nation into two new portions must include a look at the geography of those new nations.   The case for pursuing this course of action is clear because of the great and unbridgeable chasm between the Left and Right on some many critical issues.  The first and foremost disagreement concerns Federalism or the size, scope and power of the Federal government.  The sides have vastly different outlooks on that vital issue.  Personal freedom from Federal control and regulation is very important to the Right but the Left views that central authority as benign or even a force for good. Economic and tax policies couldn’t be more disparate between the sides.  Then there is the list of social issues that are viewed differently be the sides.   The sides don’t respect the views of each other and indeed on many important matters see the perspective of the other side as anathema to their core beliefs.   To some extent it can be viewed as large urban areas versus the outer suburbs or rural
America.   The divide between those two areas could not be more profound.   Geography matters greatly in all societies and cultures and the division of the US should be sensitive to those effects.

Fortunately the geographic separation is mostly manifest to any rational mind.  One only needs to look at the last few decades of Presidential elections and the elections down ballot at both the Federal and State level.   It is very apparent that the Left is concentrated in the Coastal regions of the country and that definition of coastal would include several states around the coasts of the Great Lakes.  Thus a likely moniker of “Coastal America” because that would be a reasonably accurate description.  But one of many advantages of this separation is that the new Left region can call themselves whatever they want.  The remainder of the country is “Middle America” or whatever that region will ultimately wish to call themselves.   Coastal America would encompass the area north of Virginia to Maine and then pick up a couple of three states on the Great Lakes shores and then move west to the Pacific and all three states from California to Washington.

The Left should be more than satisfied with the area.  It would include many of the great cities.  They would have New York, Boston, Philly, Baltimore and it is posited here that they could have Washington D. C.  Then they would pick up Chicago and likely Detroit.  Out west they get those great urban areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco.    They would have a huge industrial base and abundant natural resources if they wish to develop them.   They would have plenty of great port cities and access to both oceans.   They would get the economic center in New York for as long as they can keep it.   They would have great advantages they could exploit.  Indeed some might point out many difficulties like the NYSE and the commodity exchanges being in Coastal America but that wouldn’t prevent cross border commerce and Middle America would be free to compete for all that business and the better run economy would emerge the strongest which is as it should be.  As far as this commentator is concerned Coastal America could keep D. C.   Middle America would choose its own capital city.   Many of those Lefties in northern Virginia would decide to leave because the size and scope of the Federal authority in D. C. would diminish and Virginia would return to a more robust and long term rational balance economically and politically.   Remember there would be a free flow of people and trade between both nations.  But you would be a citizen of only one or the other with the attendant right and privileges granted by your chosen nation.  You would be subject to the local criminal laws of the nation where you reside or visit and have to pay locally imposed taxes but all other legal matters would be determined by you own nation or State as the case may be.    There would be a sufficient time period allowed for people to migrate from one area to the other before the division takes official status.

Middle America would have the Mississippi and Missouri and the Gulf of Mexico and access to the Atlantic from the southern states.   It would not have direct access to the Pacific but the Panama Canal would be accessible and trade and goods would be allowed to flow freely to the Pacific coast from Middle America so there would be no impediment to its economic viability.   There would also be very abundant natural resources available and it would continue to be the breadbasket for all America and much of the world.   There would be beautiful and beckoning sea shores and New Orleans for the entertainment minded.

Yes, there would be many concerns to be addressed but they could be dealt with.  Even the professional sports of the US could continue without interruption.   It might even add a little more spice to some of the rivalries.   Take the time to look at a map and you can see the logic of this division.  Each state after the Constitutional convention would make its own determination as to which nation it would elect.  That selection process by each state would be determined by each state, closer to the real voters.  For each problem with this proposed solution think about each new opportunity it brings to the two sides.  The Left can have tax policy as they wish.  They can attack the “rich” to their heart’s content and use affirmative action as a hammer to fashion the society they want and do these things without any interference from the Right.    They can let their judges legislate directly from the bench if that is their desire.   They would be free to nationalize any industry or enterprise they wish for the greater good to spread the wealth around in any manner they deem more equitable.   All problems can be solved and both sides will be so much more content without having to deal with the other.  The hard cold facts are we don’t like each other and there no longer exist even mutual respect for the views of the other.  All societies are better off dealing with reality rather than a fantasy society built on the bludgeon of legal force against a sizable minority.   I am confident about the future of Middle America; it will be a nation to take pride it and support and Coastal America can forge its own destiny for good or ill.  Give these ideas reflection.   We created the US from nothing and it turn out pretty good;  each of the new nations would have tremendous advantages in their fresh starts.  More of the problems and concerns you envision will be addressed in future posts.

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”   James Madison.   US President.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The Holidays are upon us but the news cycle never stops for Holidays and thus…..

Already you hear the mantra that if we don’t increase the Debt Ceiling from 16.3 trillion by another 2 trillion plus that such refusal will cause a default on the US Debt.  That is a bald-faced LIE.   The latest estimates are that the US will collect about 2.7 trillion in this fiscal year or maybe a bit more.  The Feds will have money, lots of money.  If the debt wasn’t increased they would have to figure out where they were going to spend that 2.7 trillion and establish priorities.  They w0uld have top live within their means, what a novel idea.  They naturally could pay the interest and principal on the government debt first.  Their choice.  I don’t recommend not raising it some if there is a solid agreement to  reduce spending dramatically.  But we here just can’t abide dishonest conversation and the presentation of optional actions as concrete fact.

If the Feds don’t fix the Alternative Minimum Tax there would be a huge tax revolt and mass confusion.  The latest estimates are that 28 million families could be ensnared in that tax quagmire and many simply wouldn’t have budgeted for the extra taxes they would owe.  Many simply wouldn’t pay or couldn’t pay that higher tax.  There would be at a minimum  a large red tape jam at the IRS.  Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  The outrage would be enormous.  These are the truly “middle class” folks all the politicos say they are there to help.

Those of us who cherish our freedom and freedom of the internet should keep an eye on the progress of the push by many countries in the UN to take control of the internet.  There are 193 “countries” that have a vote on this issue and it is likely that a majority will vote to have a UN agency and/or individual countries with the UN imprimatur of this vote take over the internet.  There are many things wrong with the internet now and daily abuses as we all know but I’ll take that hassle any day over any kind of governmental control.  We darn sure shouldn’t want Ghana, Dubai, China or whoever to have any say regarding the free flow of information on the Net, even the silly or erroneous info  that is there.

I can still remember that first Lionel train set I got when I was about 5 years old.  I am sure it cost my mom and dad a fortune at the time.  The engine alone must have weighed almost a pound and it even puffed smoke at the stake up front.  Kept that thing for years and then like so many items it got lost in one of our moves but the memory of it lives on.

Egypt is looking worse and worse with each passing day.  It slowly but inexorably slides into a Islamist fundamentalist trend.  Do those people in the Administration really believe that Syria will be a shining example if and when Assad falls?  We are not likely to come out of that situation  with a dependable or reliable ally in the Mideast.  Indeed the outcome could be far worse with one more hostile Islamist regime in place.

If BO were to attempt to raise the debt limit by executive order the Congress of both parties should advise him that is an impeachable offense.   Such dictatorial action goes beyond any current President or circumstance.  Congress has boatloads of problems and shortcomings but even with all them that is preferrable to the arbitrary whim of a President.  We don’t elect them King, only President.

This constant argument about protecting the 98% we hear from BO I find curious.  Give or take there were about 60 million people who voted against him and for the Republicans last month.  Only a relative handful of them were in the 2% yet they voted to protect everyone.  The vast majority of that 60 million were voting their conscience and what they believed was in the best interest of the country not to benefit their own pocket book.  You can make your own comparison as to the motives of the 60 plus million who voted for BO.   I never found a “beggar thy neighbor” approach to politics or government policy good for the long haul.   Someday sure as the world you’ll be the “neighbor” in the cross hairs of the majority of the voters.

If I were King for a day one of the things I would do would be to repeal thousands of the Federal criminal statutes.  There are so many of them today that no one knows exactly how many there are.  They potentially intrude into every aspect of your life.  The vast majority of them are never used or enforced.  The problem is that they are used selectively to punish those determined to be a difficult for an Administration or one of its Departments, agencies or bureaus or even worse the spite of a US attorney.  Make no mistake those guys are highly political and will go against political enemies in a heartbeat. Further all of our Federal criminal statutes should be in one location, in the US Penal Code and no where else.  Now they are scattered throughout the hundreds of thousands of Federal laws and regulations.  That is a set up for abuse.  It is one thing to say that ignorance of the law is no excuse but our citizens should at least be given a reasonable man standard about knowing some of the arcana of the Federal criminal laws.

“Fame is proof that people are gullible”  W. Emerson, American poet, essayist.  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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Government “Investment” And Management Of The Economy

Whether we like it or not since January of ’09 we have been in an era of much greater control of our economy by the Federal government than anything in the past.   Our landscape is filled with the examples of this expansion and domination.   GM, Chrysler, AIG, Solyndra, the Dodd-Frank bill and the Consumer Protection Act and the exponential growth of regulations and grabs for power by the Labor Dept and EPA all confirm this view.  Of course the elites and government groupies think this is the perfect formula for society and the economy.  They believe they can manage everything much better than the people who will only make bad decisions or allow themselves to be duped.   Their confidence in the common man is rather low but their confidence in the wisdom and goodness of government led by the elites is boundless.  History has had other examples of government expansion and central planning and mayhap we should at least consider how well those worked out before we take that next gulp of the cool aid the Dems offer.

The seventies were another time of tremendous government expansion.  It began in the second half of that decade under that fearless and dynamic leader Jimmy Carter.   The Dems had been planning for years how they were going to exploit and use the “war savings” from the wind down of the Viet Nam war to advance the next round of their social agenda.   That war had been very expensive and even some Dems and the media had been critical of Johnson for pursuing his policies of “guns and butter” at the same time on borrowed money.  Of course the war did wind down after Nixon came to office.  Regardless of what you may think of him that is a promise he made and kept–to bring the war to and end and it started as soon as he came to office.   You don’t have to take my word for it just look at the Viet Nam War Memorial and see how the deaths in the war starting dropping dramatically after he took office.   Then in ’75 we were out completely.  Unfortunately, that was followed by the election of Carter. 

Especially in the area of energy Carter and his cronies believed they could control prices and events and naturally protect us from ourselves.  We had already been through one Arab oil embargo and then a second came.  The continued and accelerated spending by the government made the already painful inflation a real disaster.  More regulations rolled off the presses at breakneck speed.  We also got FERC to control oil and its price.  Inflation was over 13% for much of this era; mortgages were equal that and the dollar wouldn’t buy a bucket of spit in the world market because no one wanted the dollar because it kept falling so fast.   The centrally planning for energy led to those awful gas lines and mis-allocation of fuel.  Oil  profits were restricted because they were “windfall” profits and not truly earned somehow.   They got one price for old oil and another for “new” oil and had to ship fuel were instructed by bureaucrats.  Guess what?   Lots of the oil people simple decided to sit on their hands and hope for a better day.   Why run the risk of drilling and building new refineries if you weren’t even sure you would make a profit or if you did then the bureaucrats might decide their were excessive or windfall and take the away from you.   Domestic production of oil and gas dropped and imports rose even more.   The Arabs loved Carter and his  bureaucrats.  

This was similar to the kind of “economy” they had in the Soviet bloc countries by this time.   The central planners  had their ideas about what should be manufactured and how and the industries of course had to follow suit.  They were required to comply.  No one in the Soviet Bloc and the world market really wanted the Czech steel or the East German machines and thus the central governments had to subsidize these and other industries even more heavily.   The planners were sure they were right and it was great redistributive policy and good social policy for the workers.  They ended up by actually subtracting value from their economies because the finished product they made were a net loss; the finished products were worth less than the raw materials.   During Carter the oil in the ground was worth more than taking it out so why drill.    East Germany made computers during the ’90’s but they weren’t very good and besides they couldn’t make enough of them; they only made 1/50th of what Austria produced during that time with less than half the population.  But when the central government and the elites have an idea they won’t take no for an answer from other parties or the people and pour even more money into their ideas.   Anyone heard of Solyndra?   Read the papers and you will also see the First Solar is shutting down some production as are many other solar companies around the world simply because there is little demand without heavy government subsidy and the Europeans are cutting back big time now that they have to try to balance their books.

What mattered to the Communists was not economics but politics.  (Judt–Post War).  That is true with all with a socialist bent.  The current administration is about politics not economic growth.  The growth is subject to their social agenda and the distribution of not only money but power.  If society is structured the way they want it to be then they don’t really care about the economy.  If economy was really important to the WH then why don’t they have many senior advisors and cabinet members with real backgrounds in the private markets?  The WH is filled with academics and career bureaucrats or politicians.   Nothing but elites.   They are pulling us in with a velvet rope that is all nice and soft but a rope nevertheless. 

“That way madness lies”  King Lear, Shakespeare…www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

It’s a cool winter day but the wires are filled with hot news items worthy of a thought or two.

So the Italian captain tripped and fell into the lifeboat by accident.  That was some lucky fall for him.   Then when asked to return to the boat to aid in the ongoing rescue attempts he found one excuse after the other as to why he couldn’t quite manage that.  He even commented once with the coast guard commander that it was dark  and the ship was listing badly–hello!  The Commander was in a helicopter above him.  All one can say is that he showed the same resolve as the Italian army in North Africa during WWII fighting the British.  I mean did Mussolini realize they were shooting real bullets at them.   If you can’t do the job, don’t take the job.

It is interesting that they are having serious discussions about how to adjust our time calculations.  Maybe you saw one of those back page articles about the tinkering with the leap seconds in the near future.  Our time these days is calculated by atomic clocks.   We started doing this several decades ago as it proved my accurate than the revolutions around the Sun by the Earth.  Just as we have the leap years to adjust for that extra one-quarter of a day every four years for the journey around our Sun, even the modern clocks needs adjustment on occasion.  They add a second every now and again but they have two standards for measurement at the moment and are meeting to reconcile the methods.  Paris and London vied for the central median which is critical in determining a uniform time for a very long time and London finally won out with Greenwich Mean Time and as the location for 0 degree longitude.  You need a reference point to set the clocks and that became and still is the location the whole world uses.

Speaking of measurements–I only recently learned that they have changed again the method for determining standard distances.  Making correct measurements have been critical since recorded time.  The Bible is filled with references to rods and cubits  for all manner of buildings and distances.  Likewise other ancient writings refer to measurements.  These were important for regulating honest transactions in trade.  You might remember the old myth about the yard being the distance between the King’s nose and his fingertips.  We got quite a bit more precise over the years and used special rods made from precious metals as the standard for yards and meters here in the US and around the world.  Now they measure a meter with the speed of light.  A meter now is determined by how far light travels within a zillion, or whatever it is, seconds.  I have no idea how that make that measurement but I suppose it is even more precise.  It was felt this was more accurate because any solid object will deteriorate over time by natural decay and thus change but light is a universal constant that will not vary.

Just think how you could control the effect of the news on the general population even if you didn’t get to write the basic news story or news script.  If you only got to control the story that would be published or broadcast, the headline and the choice of using or not using adverbs and adjectives.  I mean think about those headlines alone which is all that many folks even read or hear.  Then those adjectives–they always carry an impact on the hard news.  I mean when it is described as an environmentally sensitive” area it sends a message.   Who determined it was sensitive?  What is sensitive about it?  Sensitive to whom?   Then there are phrases like those “special” provision or break” in the tax code.   What makes it special?  The Code is the Code.  All the provisions are equal.   Everyone has to comply with all the provisions whatever they are.  I doubt you will read anywhere in the Code a paragraph that starts off “Special Provision”.  It is special only as viewed through the eyes of some particular group.  Don’t mind any discussion of the Code at all, would love that in fact.  Why is it a special provision for capital gains to be taxed at 15% but not a special provision for someone to get a personal exemption of $3500.00?   I mean that exemption level seems pretty special to me.  Just drop the rhetoric and say plainly what is own your mind is all I ask of the news media and separate commentary for alleged news reporting.  Express any opinion you want but don’t conflate news with opinion.

The allegation by BO this week that Romney’s 15% effective tax rate is lower than a teacher (always a teacher, fireman or policeman) who makes $50,000.00 is a flat-out lie and BO knows that.  I don’t mind arguments about disagreements on policy but I hate lies and bumper sticker populist rhetoric to win votes.  A teacher making $50,000.00 a year would first off be a newbie almost everywhere.  The average would be much higher than that in most states and certainly in California or New York.  But we’ll play along with that number.  First, that teacher pays no tax on first $16,000.00 so now we are down to about $34,000.00.  Next she gets a personal exemption of at least $3500.00 and now down to call it $31,000.00.  Then she would get at least the standard deduction or at least $5500.00 so we are now down to call it $26,000.00.  Her tax would be no more than about $3000.00.  This is using numbers a couple of years out  of date and the exemption and deduction levels are higher now and the actual tax would be less than that in reality.  So we are talking a tax rate of around 12% at most.  If she was a single mom she wouldn’t owe hardly anything because of the earned tax credit.  We can debate tax policy and rates all we want and that is fair game but politicos shouldn’t be allowed to lie about the facts.

“A world of facts lies outside and beyond the world of words. ”  Thomas Huxley, British biologist.  www.olcranky.wordpress.lcom

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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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The Happy Pill And The Democrats–A Fable?

There was this nerdy little fellow who went to work in his garage with his cochemistry set from Toys R Us and after months of laborious endeavor created a pill that would make people happy. The manufacturing process was simple and cheap; it could be made in vats mputers and the with the right mix of chemicals and herbs and then poured out into molds for the pills.  The costs were incredibly low.  He figured it would cost no more than a nickel per pill and he could sell them for a dime.  They would last for a day, so for $3.00 a month everyone could be happy regardless of their circumstances or difficulties in life.   The beauty was that there were no adverse effects either physically or emotionally.  Everyone was aware of their lot in life but were happy with it even those in jail or on the bread line. 

He rushed off and filed his patent application and with only a few thousand borrowed dollars from his family he was ready to go into production and get rich.  A dime a day from millions in the US alone would make him a fortune not  counting the rest of the world.  Alack and alas someone close to him started talking about the miracle he had created and the vast wealth to be reaped.  Sure enough the sleuths in the White House got wind of the pill and its imminent opening on the market.   An emergency White House meeting was convened with all hands on deck.

BO opened by saying that this product had serious consequences and they had to figure out how to take advantage of the situation and he wanted ideas about how to respond to this development of the Happy Pill and its implications for the elections.   HHS went first with a proposal to stop the sell of the pill with regulations.  Even though it was herb and natural chemical based and wasn’t directly regulated she was sure that they could draft new rules right away and use emergency powers to prevent its distribution for a very long time, at least through the election cycle.  They could ring the tocsin that it was dangerous and even hint it was a terrorist plot.  The media would gladly be their megaphone.  This could keep the Pill from affecting the upcoming elections but they would have to work hard to keep the lid on the story and downplay the reality of the Pill.

Treasure was next and took the opposite approach.  The Pill was too valuable and vital to be left in private hands.   The government badly needed revenue and if they could co-op ownership and reap the financial benefits it would dramatically reduce the deficit for years to come.   They suggested maybe a GSE would be the way to go and offer the inventor a plum job with the new GSE to placate him.   Tim said that even the poorest would be able to afford the three dollars and month but multiplied by 300 million and that was a huge number and that was before they began to market it worldwide.  They would offer special discounts to the Third World and still make billions.  Besides the country didn’t need anymore of the 1 percenters.

DOD was adamant that the Pill should never see the light of day.  How were they going to recruit and train and army or navy if everyone in the world was happy all the time?  That would be the end of wars.   They believed the Pill should only be distributed to the countries that were hostile to the US and banned from any sell or use in the US.  We had to maintain a class of warriors or the happy people would swarm the world and subsume all government.  

State jumped on that last immediately by observing that governments would become irrelevant if everyone was happy all the time.  Who would they be able to negotiate with around the world?    Such a development would diminish the role and function of government world-wide.

Last was the political advisor.  He didn’t care whether they used a GSE or bought off the inventor but the Government and thus the Democratic party MUST have complete control of the Pill.   Regulations, taxes or condemnation proceedings didn’t matter it was just the result.  With control of the Pill they could allocate it to those they wanted.  He asked everyone to imagine a polity that was composed of the un-pilled in their Party but the rest of the country was happy all the time.   Those happy people wouldn’t be motivated to vote.  Hell, we’ll give the pills to them free if we have to he said.  They would be in charge forever he declared.   We’ll take as much from the happy people as we need to make our un-pilled Party partisans happy too without the Pill.  We’ll take all their wealth and keep the happy and subdued and transfer the wealth to our folks in exchange for votes.  All our various special interests groups will be merged into one and they will support us.  What is so great about this is that those happy folks won’t even complain as we steal them blind and impoverish them.  We just keep shoving the pills to them even after there is nothing else to take.  The only problem will be when we run out of their money but by then they will be our wards and will  be happy about it even if they all live in tents and go to our designated soup lines for their meals.

The group broke into applause after the politico had spoken.  The President nodded sagely and had that Cheshire cat smile on his face.   “Ok, we have our direction, let’s make it happen.”

“Those wo voluntarily put power into the hands of a tyrant or an enemy, must not wonder it it be at last turned against them.”  Aesop.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The gray matter churns and turns out these thoughts even when we try to restrain them.  So let’s see what comes out of the lost and found bin this week.

Don’t know about you but that recent ad by Ford with the guy talking about how he wanted to buy a car from an American company that didn’t take government handouts and that failure was a step along the path to maturity and character really struck a positive cord with me.  It was right.  It reflected the way I feel about Government Motors and Obama Chrysler and the obscene way the Feds pounded that Chapter 11 through the courts.   Very ominous that they pulled the ad after “complaints” from the White House.   The White House can write an op ed if they want or hold a news conference stating their position but to employ that kind of pressure on a private company is unconscionable.

Now the Fed is embarking on Operation Twist to manipulate the bond and mortgage markets even more.  They and the Treasury have already pumped trillions into the economy in ill-advised schemes to bolster the economy, a state planned and dominated economy, with miserable results thus far.  They used to refer to Bernancke as “Helicopter Ben” due to his reference to just throwing money out of a helicopter to stimulate the economy.  That analogy is so yesterday now.  It doesn’t get close to describing the actions of the Fed under him.  A more apt description would be “Bomber Ben”.  It would take a B-29 or B-52 to unload the amounts of money he has bombed onto the economy.  I just wonder where the target area was because I never saw any of it floating down my way.

The next time you hear the Left shouting about green jobs just think Solyndra.   The Feds under the Energy Department are acting just like hedge funds or venture captilists.  I mean those are supposed to be those mean guys on Wall Street.  They accuse Wall Street of playing favorites all the time but if you are a big fund raiser apparently that is ok and you are not trading on inside information.  I think it is a terrible idea for the Feds to be our collective stock broker picking the risks in the market to back with our money.  Let the government do the things it is authorized to do under Article One of the Constitution and not else and we’ll all be much better off with our accounts.   Oops, this just in, the Feds unloaded another 1 billion of our money into two more solar outfits just yesterday.  If those are good deals why aren’t private investors willing to put their money on the line?

Speaking of Warren Buffet’s secretary, one wonders just how much she makes.  You gotta believe his secretary is at least in the $150,000.00 range.  Probably in the 28% range but that only kicks in after well over 100k in earnings.  She is bound to itemize her deductions and probably has a child or two.  You know she has received stock options and bonuses over the years and cashes those in now and again.  Her effective rate is probably well below 20%.  Of course we don’t know the exact facts but those are reasonable estimates.  Warren baby pays most of his taxes on capital gains which are taxed at 15%.  His salary will be taxed at the regular rates.   Warren seems to forget that the capital gain rate is applied to millions of other people in the country trying to become as rish as he is and create new companies and ideas that peopl want.  Hell, like lots of the world we shouldn’t charge anything for capital gains to encourage growth.  Unless we finally get to a flat tax he should stick to investing and quit trying to preach.  His congregation is getting restless.

It seems that sometimes Mother Nature knows just how and when to give us a little pick-me-up.  Ever had those times when things are bit troubling but then just outside the window you see a Cardinal or Bluebird (not a bluejay but the real thing) or hearing the distinctive honk of the geese on the move and go out to see those Vees flying high above.  There is something always truly refreshing about those moments.   Nice things do happen even when we are in the midst of concern.

Why is it that Oprah Dr. Phil and The View and all those other shows of similar stripe so often remind me of my childhood when my mom used to listen to “Queen For the Day”.  It was a radio show that moved to TV for a few years in the early 50’s.  Some poor soul would come on and tell her story of woe.  The more woe the better.  They always cried and if the could get the audience to cry also that was like hitting the brass ring.   Bad marriages, illnesses, lost jobs, troubles with children were all fodder for the show.  At the end the one with the saddest tale of all would receive a prize or prizes.  Ironing boards, washers, dryers, TV’s and clothes were always the standard reward but sometimes they would go overboard with a car or some such.  Not much new in the media world after all.  It is an old format.

No one knows for sure how we ended up with the 24 hour day.  It could be whatever we wanted it to be, ten hours or 15.  Long, long ago people watched and paid more attention to the sky; it was cheap entertainment after all.   All the days of the week are named after the Sun, Moon and planets.  Then we have the signs of the Zodiac.  The ancients thought of the day as two parts, day and night and early own began to divide it into segments.  But much later we did the 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night, regardless of the length of them.   That 12 came from the Zodiac.  Times didn’t become uniform around the world until the 19th century and the railroads came along needing uniform times for scheduling.

“This Republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it.”  Elmer Davis, American writer.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Hopefulness During Gloomy Times

It is not hard to be very gloomy about the future when one reads the headlines of today.  There is so much negative news it is difficult to even know where to start.  We have two active wars in progress and “kinetic military action” going on in Libya.   At the same time we are made constantly aware that terrorists around the world are still planning and awaiting the day they can explode a bomb or do other havoc here in our homeland.  How many attempts have been thwarted in just the last couple of years?  I’ve lost count. 

Our economy is struggling along at best with inflation emerging and unemployment running way too high for way too long.  Jobs are still being sent offshore due to the negative tax and regulatory policies of our government.   The US debt is so large that it is hard to imagine a method to reduce it to manageable proportions.  The amount of debt per capita is staggering and the deficits continue to grow with no end in sight during our lifetimes.  Our politicians play games with the numbers calling something a “cut” when it is merely a reduction in the amount of actual planned increases in spending.   For most people their most valuable asset, their home, has suddenly been reduced in value even though they didn’t do anything to change it and have continued making their mortgage payments.  The Fed is printing up money so fast it is like making time go in reverse.   All that new money has produced exactly what?  Do we have more goods or services as a direct or even indirect result of that new money?   China and other countries are seriously talking about making other currencies the reserve currency for the world.  China!  Brazil!   What’s up with that?

Our confidence is further eroded when we have legions of bureaucrats who are controlling every aspect of our lives that we didn’t even elect.  The EPA makes rules that causes increase in the cost of fuel which we need to drive our cars and have the electricity work when we flip the switch.  They go to any length to protect some two-inch fish while farmers in California starve for water.   We watch the government kowtow to the UAW with billions to bailout GM and the take extra money from the remaining  taxpayers to offer subsidies to build electric cars that very few can afford.   They sure won’t be able to afford the replacement costs of the batteries when they have to be replaced in a few years.  We see government workers making much more than those who work in real jobs that produce the goods and services we need to have an economy in the first place.   To make matters worse they won’t be losing their jobs anytime soon like anyone else would when times are tight.  Then they support the candidates who promise to maintain all they benefits and perks.

But, but, but….in spite of all that I do have to step back on occasion and remind myself that we have survived worse.  We made it through the War Between the States.  The aftermath was awful for the South but the North thrived and the South eventually revived even though it took generations.  Of course we survived both the World Wars or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  The economy has gone through many ups and downs over our generations from the very beginning.  When we first approved the Constitution the assumed debts from  the colonies for the war and its aftermath seemed huge.  But we got them under control and paid over time.  The people, not the politicians, learned to make do and survive the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  It was us that did that, not policies from Washington.   In spite of all the blather about how the government did this or that to pull us out of the Depression, it was individuals working, struggling and adapting that made the difference.  Sure the War added fuel to the fire but we had the people that responded to make it all work. 

During the period from the late ’40’s to the mid ’70’s we had that god-awful flirtation with the socialist agenda and it was actively promoted by our “betters”.  We forget quickly how many of the literati and elite told us we should adopt more of those programs from our socialists neighbors.  We did make some real mistakes along the way but somehow the days passed and another day would dawn and eventually we always came to a better place.  I think we still can again.     Those who want a benevolent government to be our master will push hard for an agenda to grow government and government power and influence.  But the people in the past have always rebelled at some point and said no more.   I believe they still have that backbone.  We have not become sheep yet.  Being a little cranky and cantankerous is not a bad thing in a free people.  As long as we have a truly “American” culture we will make it.  The real long-term danger we face is becoming a United Nations body politic.   I have no idea how things will work out on health care, the national debt, the tax system or the regulatory environment but I would still bet we’ll be here in 10 years.  If we can create just a crack in the nanny state, we’ll take off again.  We do have those animal spirits in us just as our ancestors did who braved the unknown and dangerous to civilize and populate our country.

“The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools” Ecclesiastes.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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