Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pitching Ideas

One of the fascinating things about the the Internet is the ability to reach a mass individual audience any number of times. Of course, they can reply any number of times as well. With the use of forums, for example, you get something akin to a Socratic dialogue minus the visual aspect of speech. (facial expressions, eye contact etc. . . )

The ideas shine through brightly and quickly. Stupidity, silliness and aggression can be spotted instantly. The real juice, though, remains that co mingling of ideas and the resulting offspring. At this very second, ideas in philosophy, art, science and any other subject are being born at a rate never before imagined. Also, somewhere someone is asking someone else what they want on their pizza. The profound and the mundane on a scale never before achieved

Lest this all sound wonderful beyond compare, think of how this all could have been used a few decades ago. If the heinous Nazi regime had the Internet at their disposal, the world we know now might not exist. Obviously, their mastery of propaganda would have allowed them to develop a powerful new weapon of persuasion and control. However, I thinking more in the realm of ideas. If the Nazis had been able to hook up their scientists with captured Danish physicist Neils Bohr, who the Allies felt had the ability to help make an atom bomb, then the monstrous Nazis might have beaten the Allies to the nuclear punch. With V-2 rockets to carry the payloads, they would have won WW2. All because certain people were able to exchange ideas at a certain place and time. A what if to ponder.

On the positive side of the ledger, at this time, our new President, is asking for the help of citizens in surmounting the problems of the day. Is this a P.R. stunt? Of course, but I think we should start taking the president at his word and holding him to it. If he wants ideas, give them to him.

And don't be dissuaded that you don't have a fabulous new idea for the newbie president. Harry Truman said " The only thing new in the world is the history you don't now." More on point, paraphrasing Edmund Burke there are no new ideas in liberty. Many ideas get passed around for years until people finally see the path of wisdom. Think voting rights for all. Passed in 1865. Fully executed:1965.

With a completely corrupt federal legislative branch, my idea is a federal amendment for congressional term limits. Is this old hat? Sure, but it's never been more needed with rampant corruption today. When the former Governor of Illinois on his corruption tapes talks about taking the seat himself, he's acknowledging that this seat is a cash cow. If he could not get something for it, then he'll milk it himself for all it's worth. We must protect the seats in Congress from such lecherous twisters. We try to forestall corruption for the Presidency, the federal executive with term limits. Why not the federal legislature?

Six consecutive terms for House members would be twelve years. This would preserve turnover in a chamber meant for this dynamic. Three consecutive terms in the Senate would give a longer view to the chamber and yet, would prevent the disturbing Senator for Life syndrome. (see Kennedy, Byrd, Thurmond and far too many more to mention) Now this was tried before in the Contract with America, but was never passed. Perhaps, Obama will see the wisdom of this or use it as a practical instrument for a measure of control over Congress.

I know you're saying why would he clock a Democratic Congress with this. First, unfortunately, you'd probably have to grandfather in all the current sitting members, meaning they would get to serve six or three terms from the next election. This means the measure would take effect after Obama himself has left office. So he pays no political price in power terms. Second, it helps him put meat on the bones of his ethical ballyhoo pronouncements. If he wants to avoid a credibility gap, he'll need actual accomplishments, not vague declarations about what he will, should, could or wants to do. With a Democratic Congress, Obama will risk disunion in his own party. However, Obama may actually be in the unique position of getting his party to move in the right direction. As has been said, only Nixon could go to China. If Obama is bold enough he can help America, himself and even that corrupt Congress from itself.

It all starts with one man or woman and an idea. Could be you. Could be me. It could be simple like this idea of term limits or it could be more complex. The Internet has made this exchange more possible than at any other time in human history. Will you heed the clock on the wall?

If so, go here

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The threat of 535 little kings and queens

Let's face it. Barack Obama is in a real pickle. Whether you voted for him or not, he's stepped into three massive crisis unfolding at the same time. The War on Terror continues in Iraq (winding down), Afghanistan/Pakistan (cranking up) and worldwide. (Mumbai, the latest, but certainly not the last surprise attack) The Worldwide Credit Crisis is still in about the 3rd or 4th inning as credit is still nowhere near where it needs to be for the system to function in normal working order. Lastly, subtly perhaps the most dangerous is the ongoing massive corruption in the U.S. political system.

Why could this be the most dangerous? It seriously affects the ability of the government to address the War on Terror and especially the Worldwide Credit Crisis. The constant distraction of crooks/politicians being busted or pursued or brazenly waltzing around collecting cash or favors keeps Obama from focusing on Usama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar et al. The fact that many of these payoffs are directly and indirectly related to the Credit Crisis only further impedes the Presidents' ability to twist arms in Congress to get something done. The average Congressional crook is already bought and paid for.

From the fraudulent Minnesota Senate recount, to the Blago Senate Sale, to Bill Richardson and his own kickback scheme, to Geithner's tax dodge to the simple everyday payoffs in Congress big and small, the system is cracking asunder. All of the examples I just mentioned have come in just the last three months. Many others could be found if we go back further on both sides of the aisle. Now when a crisis arises which demands Congress discipline a constituency they are monetarily in bed with; surprise! they can't crack the whip. In fact, they side with the miscreants!! Here is exhibit A.

Some congressmen that were involved in creating the housing mess, like Barney Frank are supposedly in charge of trying to clean it up. Already, this cleanup seems like a fools errand as Frank has been revealed to be steering TARP money to a bank with which he has had a lengthy relationship. Frank's now infamous statement about wanting to "roll the dice" with taxpayer money is what started this debacle. Why should someone with such blatant disregard for the consequences of his actions be entrusted to fix a crisis of this magnitude and importance? Is Frank some sort of kook who just popped on the scene like Jesse Ventura? Hardly, Frank has been in Congress for over 25 years. This congressional handmaiden for "change we can believe in" has been at the trough for over a quarter century. This man reeks of the status quo.

Look, I'm no fan of Obama and his cult of personality, but I do believe he's right. Everyone has some "skin" in this game. Problem is he'll never do the right thing with this aged crew of beached congressional whales. They know it too. They know that long after Mr. Hope and Change has left the White House to write his memoirs, they'll still be in Congress stuffing their pockets. The system needs to change. If Barack Obama was elected for "the change we need," then he needs to change Congress. The change America needs can never take place when one third of the government is so obviously corrupt.

How can he do it? He can give speeches and threaten sanction, but Congress only understands political measures aimed at it. The only way to hit Congress where it lives, so to speak, is stop or limit it's access to the federal trough. Now since Congress itself controls the budget, this is tough, but if one were to limit the time one spends in Congress, this would necessarily limit the time one could gorge oneself on taxpayer money. Term Limits for Congress would force out the dead wood that is simply collecting favors and funds.

If change is beneficial, as seems to be the case with the presidency, why not make it part of this institution too? Say six terms in the House and three terms in the Senate. The twelve years in the House is four more than the president and would insure a flow of fresh faces and ideas into government. The Senate members could serve just short of two decades. If you can't accomplish in almost twenty years what you set out to D.C. for, then either you aint the one or the idea isn't so great. Either way you wouldn't get any more senators for life. Isn't that what America is all about anyway?

We started this country to avoid the obvious flaws of kings. They don't know when to let go. Congress is like that now, 535 little kings and queens, gumming up the system. Unless, Obama changes the system, they'll stymie whatever he proposes. And " the change we can believe in" will remain just talk.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama and his real group

While festivities for President-elect Obama and his inauguration saunter along, there's only one thing that seems out of place here to me. No, it's not Nancy Peliosi talking about cutting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid during the cover of the hoopla. Democrats can freely cut a program they originated and then say they are "protecting" it. The media zombies and whipped-dog Republicans will readily assent. It's not Roland Burris, Senator from Blagoland, being sworn in while possibly being involved in a Federal crime. Crooks seem to abound in Chicago politics, so it's pretty obvious this country is moving toward affirmative action for the lawfully challenged with the right connections.

While the seeming shock of someone from black America being elected president, may titilate, this label has been misapplied. Perhaps, this is understandable, perhaps not. Still, the fact remains, Obama is not part of this group. Barrack Obama has the distinction of being a member of a different group that has, if not a massive record of success, some group wide success. What do I mean? Let me show you.

First, Obama is a real African-American. His father was Kenyan. He could be a dual citizen of Kenya and the U.S. if he so chose. In contrast, Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr., Roland Burris etc . . . are Americans of African descent. In fact, many blacks living in the U.S. have several generations of ancestors born in America. In 1776, half of the slave population was born in these new United States. Why does this matter? Obama and his group have a rather different track record.

In his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Thomas Sowell shows some of the achievements of Obama's group. In talking about Caribbean (British West Indian) and African blacks, Sowell raises the curtain on an overlooked group.

"The first black borough presidents of Manhattan were West Indian. As late as 1970, the highest ranking blacks in New York's police department were West Indians, as were all the black federal judges in the city. The 1970 census showed that black West Indian families in the New York metropolitan area had 28 percent higher income than families of American blacks. The incomes of second-generation West Indian families living in the same area exceeded that of black families by 58 percent. Neither race nor racism can explain such differences. Nor can slavery, since native-born blacks and West Indian blacks both had a history of slavery. Studies published in 2004 indicated that an absolute majority of black alumni of Harvard were either West Indian or African immigrants, or the children of these immigrants."

After graduating from the top Hawaiian prep school, Obama graduated from Columbia, then Harvard Law School. Barrack Obama has been successful at reaching goals for years. His individual achievement is impressive and this also bears out the pattern for his group. Think about it. Barely six years after the Voting Rights Act and some members of this group were federal judges. Motivation, persistence and achievement don't appear to be lacking in this group, at least in the past.

I do not wish Obama success as President. I know he will succeed. That much is certain from his own past and that of his group. What he will succeed in doing is something only time will reveal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Senator from Blagoland

According to American Pravda (AP) news, Rolland Burris will get to take over President-electo Obama's senate seat now. Unlikely as this seemed only a week ago. Dumbkoff Harry Reid has been under a lot of pressure to sweep this side show under the rug before the coronation of Mr. Socialista Fabuloso. Of course, the fact that Burris claimed he had no contact Gov. Rod Blagojovich or his aides and then said he talked to Blago's former chief of staff made no difference. That little tidbit reported by ABC news caused no stir since no one wants to hold up the joyous march to communism. The fact that he could be mixed up in conspiracy, bribery etc. . . means nothing to the media ding-a-lings. Under Bush, where there was smoke, there was a raging inferno. For Obama, openly shading doings or crooked nutjobs like Blago are no big deal, government as usual. Ignore that man behind the curtain.

There's little point mulling over the moronic justifications offered by Reid and fellow goober Dicky Durbin. Point is, they got the live Democratic body they wanted to pass their gargantuan spending bill and they'll let CNN move the eyeballs onto something else. There's no time to waste when there's money to be swiped.

In the tradition of Blago, we know that everything has a price, Now, we find out the price of the latest orgy of spending, I mean, stimulus, is $775 Billion. That happens to be almost the exact amount the Death tax will be raised to. Tax the rich? Sure, if you own a business or family farm you are now officially rich. Thus, when you die Obama may sock it to your heirs so hard, they have to sell to pay the taxes. And what happens if they have a profit? Then they pay capital gains to the Obamster and he gets more taxes, I mean investable income. If you had a loss, well then you simply lose money and Obama couldn't give a rat's behind. They never get a chance to fix up the farm or business to make it profitable because they've got to do their patriotic duty as big spenders Obama/Biden force them to sell to pay for more waste. Neat, huh?

This is only the beginning. Everybody ought to have a Senator from Blago. I'll do you one better. I'll give you a President from Blagoland and he's coming soon to a country near you. Of course, as the old saying from prison goes, you play you pay. We're about to pay for his play. So, enjoy. Just sit back, enjoy the show and don't bother checking your wallet, it's empty. That cumbersome weight has been removed by Senator Knows Better, nay, President Knows Better. Don't you feel better in Blagoland?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holy Jettisoning Jewelry!! A Madoff Sequel

Now, it could be just me, since I'm a rather simple fellow, but shouldn't a guy who orchestrated the biggest scam or more plainly theft in US history be held in jail without bail. Nobody has committed fraud on this level and this guy gets "home confinement!?" I mean if ever there was a flight risk, this guy has got to be it. Out of the thousands of lives ruined, you would figure that Madoff would think that somebody would seriously want him taking a dirt nap and split the country.
I don't have a doctorate from some ivy or anything, so maybe the Feds or the NY A.G. (where the heck is a rabid dog like Spitzer when you need him. Sure he was Mr. Kinky, but he never missed a chance to perp walk someone right into the cozy confines of a cell) or NYC aristocracy have some stellar reason for keeping this guy out that I can't see. Maybe they all lost money to him and feel stupid about it too.
Now, according to Bloomberg, Madoff is sending jewelry to his kids and some couple in Florida. I mean come on. The guy's a thief and he's getting away with goods in front of 300 million people!!

Hello, Hello?? Is anybody on duty in our government? Bush should get a shotgun, go to NYC and drag this guy's butt down to The Tombs immediately. I know, I know the response would be more like this: Bush: "We know he's a threat and we're working round the ummm clock. The American people need to know every things being underdone, to, you know, get him." Huh?

Of course, Obama could open his mouth too and say something substantial, but that's out of character. Obama: "Right now we're engaged in a serious study of options as they relate to him, to ascertain a plan that's both efficient and cost effective. All options are on the table. You''ll hear from us very soon. No more questions at this time." Snoooooze.

Uh, guys, I hate to break it to you. He's laughing at you. That's why in odd moments getting into his car outside his condo, you see that little smirk steal across his face. To him, you're a joke that just keeps on playing along. The Joker in Batman couldn't ask for more. In fact, at least, Batman, Com. Gordon and Chief O'Hara (bless his soul) nabbed the Joker once in a while. This guy Madoff has always gotten away with it and he's still doin it! Have some self-respect and throw this confessed weasel in the can. Rise from your lethargy of nincompoopery !!

That's it. Chief, get me the Bat Phone!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's a Madoff, Madoff, Madoff World

I must say that the whole Bernard Madoff Ponzi scandal has me more fascinated than anything else these days. True, it is simply a financial version of a bus ploughing through a crowded city park. However, there is something here about how focused our trust has become. Bitten by a jaded bug, one feels constantly betrayed and searches for that one honest man or woman to entrust everything to without question. Some of the people who gave Madoff millions had little or no personal communication with him. His membership in the right clubs, his former title as president of the NASDAQ and the other people who would give him money provided an almost unbreakable wall of respect that allowed him to con for so many many years.

As more financial bodies continue to float to the surface, the need for reason in finance and public life has never been greater. Yet another stimulus, this one packed with pork, like a minor league hall of fame, can do very little. So we can't really expect much help from a flaccid, aged political class, can we? Even viewed brightly, Obama has little chance to move the entrenched political class. He could term limit them out, but this would take years and be of little immediate benefit. But the financial situation makes the political chaos look like the proverbial day at the beach.

Is it really that bad anyway ?
Class let's review
  1. Unemployment probably going to 10-15% maybe the highest since the Depression
  2. GDP set to go down 5-6% for 4th quarter, that's Monster Big!
  3. Consumer confidence the lowest since 1981
  4. No more rate cuts since FED is at 0%
  5. Government taking a stake in almost every major bank
  6. Credit markets still totally turgid
  7. And last and worst, Everybody, I mean everybody in America is demanding government cash. Rescue us, Uncle Sam, from our stupidity!!

If you lost money with Bernie, you'd want to be rescued too, but alas the coming Ponzi scheme will dwarf Bernie. Why? because this scheme, foisted on us to "create jobs" and "save our economy" will involve every last soul in this country. They'll be no chance to keep your money from this Ponzi scheme.

There are only two ways out of any financial distress: inflate or contract. Contract would mean cutting the money supply and you may have noticed the jellyfish in Washington can never cut any program of size. Inflating means printing money, lots of it. The problem here is obvious: the money is worth less. But the government has pumped out billions since this whole mess began, you say, and no inflation? Ahh, but inflation takes time, especially since the most of the money allocated so far has already disappeared down the bad loan hole. Rest assured, the government will always over do it. Greenspan did it in 2002. Since the metrics of the economy can only be seen after they happen, the Feds always pushes the peddle too long. The worst part, though, is the FED must attract money once all this bogus paper is floated. How do you do this? Raise interest rates and of course, the weak economy sputters once more. The double whammy of stagflation rears its' hideous head. I truly hope I'm a dog barking up the wrong tree. If I'm right though, we might as well have elected Madoff president for all the good it will do.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ride the WAAAAAAAve in '09

As we mosey into the new year, initially we always surrounded by this banter about what's so splendidly new trendy and fabulous. Of course, Presidente-to-be is new and shiny with his new brand of politics which brandishes the same old carrots and sticks, but with snazzy new language. What was in years past a gas tax is now a carbon tax. It's a little more abstract and sounds enviro-wonkish. We know Obama loves abstract, since then you can't pin his squirmy, scrawny policies down.

Of course, when it's comes to the Obama Seat Scandal, he's very specific that the people on his team didn't do anything wrong. It's all in a report Obama so diligently created himself and generously gave to the A.P. (American Pravda) which then trumpeted that Obama had been cleared by a report. Though they neglected to include in the headline that Obama had investigated himself and cleared himself. Nixon should have tried that trick. Unfortunately, Tricky Dick didn't have the majority of the thankfully crumbling media in his back pocket.

Between the new ways to lie and the new lies about ways, we are going to have bumper crop of things to talk about. It's new that two of the three branches are in Democratic hands. Hands that know only two things: taxing and spending. Taxes have and will be dressed up as "fairness" (JFK said "life isn't fair") "investment" (you get money back from an investment) and my favorite "patriotic." ( I guess the Founding Fathers should have shut up and paid King George his taxes)

The new ways and means will be a craven dog Congress and a ridiculously slavish media establishment. Expect three types of stories crime puff pieces like OJ to distract, the Obama puff pieces like what his dog's name will be (Blago? here boy, ) and attack stuff about dose evil Republicans (cue The Empire Strikes Back music)

Boba Phett: "What if he doesn't survive? He's worth a lot to me"
Vader: "The Empire will compensate you, if he dies. Put him in!"

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

It will be a very tough year. No amount of P.R. can hide that fact. In fact, the incredible fiscal mismanagement that took place under Bush looks to continue in 2009. Obama may try his best, but he simply has no experience, no finance background and too little time to climb the learning curve. The full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is on the line. With Neophyte Obama, Klink/Peliosi, Schultze/Reid and so-past-their-expiration-dates Frank, Schumer, Dingel, Rangel etc. . . . we're going down for a hard count. So what's a soul to do? Odd you should ask, since next time I'll be giving wave riding tips. Until then, as they say in Obama vacation land, (Hawaii) never turn your back on the ocean. Face the wave and bite it.