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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Obamacare must be dead

Now that the healthcare summit is over, it is time for the truth to be told: the Obamacare bill is dead so long as the Republicans hold firm in opposition. For over a year, Obama and the Obamacrats moved ahead without any GOP support and kept the GOP from any involvement in the process. Oh sure, we heard the "party of no" nonsense, but it was clear to even the most casual observer that the Dems were scheming behind closed doors to come up with a bill that would both reward their favored groups and take over the US healthcare system. Transparency was non-existent. Bipartisanship was shunned by the Dems. Their watchword seemed to be "hubris". Now, this has supposedly all changed. Obama wanted to hear the ideas of the GOP. Of course, if he had listened for the last year, he already knew their ideas. Indeed, we were treated to the idiocy of Obama asking the GOP to post its bills on the web when that had already happened last year.

The truth is that the Dems do not have the votes to pass the Senate bill in the House. If they had the votes, Bela Pelosi would have put the bill up for a vote already. The "summit" was just a ploy to try to win over additional Dems in the House. And it failed! The GOP looked knowledgeable, reasonable and sympathetic in the appearance. They gave Obama no soundbites to use to sway public opinion. Indeed, it was Obama who looked as if his only answer to many points was either to change the subject or just to avoid the issue by attacking the bona fides of the speaker.

The bill is dead!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Even for Obama this is amazing

The announcement by the USA that it will be neutral in the current dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom is perhaps the worst move yet by Obama in foreign or domestic policy -- and that is really saying something. The alliance with the Brits has been a cornerstone of American policy for close to a century. Certainly since 1941, Britain and Canada have been America's most important and consistant allies. We owe the Brits much more than a declaration of neutrality. Indeed, during the Falkland War, the USA supported the UK without question. For us now to announce that the UK is only the de facto ruler of the Falklands with no clear legal right to the Islands (as the US government just did) is unforgivable. It is hard to imagine what Obama could do that would be worse than this (ok, so he could have taken the side of Argentina). I guess Obama got this move out of his policy manual called "How to Lose Friends and Weaken a County"!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Law and Constitutional Law be damned

Today's announcement by Obama in Las Vegas that he was transfering 1.5 billion dollars of TARP funds repaid by the banks and using those funds to bail out homeowners with delinquent mortgages in five states makes one wonder if Obama actually went to law school, let alone taught constitutional law.

First, the TARP law provided that any money recovered by the federal government was to be used for deficit reduction. It is not a 750 billion dollar slush fund to be used as desired by the administration. It is illegal for Obama to use these funds without congressional approval.

Second, the Constitution contains an equal protection clause. That means that it is unconstitutional for the government to have different laws for different states absent a compelling reason. There is no possible justification for a home owner in Nevada to be treated differently from one just across the border in Utah. (Helping Harry Reid get re-elected is not a valid reason by the way). This means that the five state program announced by Obama today is unconstitutional.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Rasmussen is out with a poll comparing potential candidates for the senate after the Bayh retirement. Right now, the two Dems are each behind all of the Republicans by double digits. The outlook for the Dems is so bad that they are now talking about drafting John Mellencamp as a candidate. I guess if Al Franken can be a senator and Arnold can be governmor of California, why not have a rocker as senator from Indiana. Somehow I doubt that the hoosiers will go for this. Time will tell.

Absent a major change, however, it looks like Indiana is now almost as sure a Republican pick up as North Dakota. It seems to be on a par with Nevada and Arkansas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Saved by the STimulus

This morning President Obama claimed that the costly stimulus package passed last year saved the country from a depression. This comes out at a time when the latest poll found that only 6% of the American people think that the stimulus created any jobs. Since there are probably more than 6% of Americans who think that aliens from outer space have visited Earth during our lifetimes, the number who think that jobs were created is essentially zero.

I wonder why Obama thinks he will be able to convince the country that his trillion dollars of new debt and political payoffs to those who supported him can now be recast as saving us from a depression. Sounds to me like he still thinks he can convince anyone of anything. P.T.Barnum was right -- you can fool all of the people some of the time (like last election), but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hate is their specialty

The level of vitriol displayed by the left toward Evan Bayh after he announced his retirement is appalling but not surprising. While the left is always ready to call anyone who disagrees with them racist, angry, bitter, homophobic, sexist, and you name it, they save their special brand of hate for those from within the left who disagree with the orthodox views of that group. Bayh actually had the temerity to retire in a way that places the blame for the most part on the Democrats' senate leadership and on the White house as well. Sure Bayh took some shots at the Republicans, but he made clear his disdain for Reid and Obama both. Now he is a pariah.

It always amazes me that the left does not realize that the whole country watches these displays and that their positions are hurt as a result. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Barbara too?

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Evan Bayh is retiring from the Senate comes the latest "rumor" that Barbara McCulski of Maryland is also about to bid a fond farewell to the Senate. Since both senators were either likely (Bayh) or sure (McCulski) of reelection, the dual departure is a major blow to the Obamacrats. One has to assume that Indiana will now be in the leaning GOP column and Maryland could move towards a toss up as well.

If 2010 shapes up as a big sweep for the GOP, it will make it likely that the GOP will control the Senate for a while since the field ahead in 2012 and 2014 is much more favorable for the GOP than the current year's elections.

the final shoe drops

Today, Professor Phil Jones whose data underlies nearly all of the global warming science is quoted in the Daily Mail from the UK as saying "that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming."

This is an earth shaking revelation. It means that the very person whose work supposedly proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that man made global warming is true not only admits that global warming may not be man made, but that there has been no global warming for the last 15 year. In other words, Al Gore's film will now be retitled as "An Incovenient Lie"! Cap and Trade is a farce which would cripple the US economy for no apparent reason. The snooty fools who called global warming sceptics the equivalent of flat earthers and holocaust deniers have been shown to be wrong!

In my opinion, however, the issue of climate change is too important to decide in the press or in Congress. President Obama should immediately task either NOAA or NASA to conduct an extensive worldwide review of temperature date for the last five hundred years. Obviously there will not be much for the early part of that period, but it would be great to have the raw data published and available on the web for all to see. We could also get the analysis of NASA as to what is scientifically verifiable with regard to the temperature. We already know that from the thirteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries there was a mini ice age which kept temperatures down and that since about 1820 there has been a steady warming trend, a trend which began before any material increse in emissions from mankind.

It would be nice to see just once when instead of politics and beliefs, the President used actual science to inform his decisions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Axis of incompetence

In the 14 months since the Democrats took over all three branches of government, much has been made about the absolute control that the party had over the national agenda. To me, the most surprising thing is how little the Dems have accomplished. Sure, they rushed through a stimulus package that spent a trillion dollars to accomplish nothing, hardy an accomplishment. They also got close to passing healthcare, only to lose when Scott Brown won in Massachusetts in a clear indication of how strongly the public opposes that bill. But even for smaller things the Democrats have inexplicably fallen on their faces. It is as if they cannot govern even with their enormous majorities.

A good example of the failure of the Dems is the estate tax. When Obama's term began, the estate tax was scheduled to terminate in 2010 and then be reinstituted in 2011 at a much higher rate. This nonsensical situation was the result of budget manipulation when the change to the estate tax was passed years ago. There were some in Congress who did not want to reinstitute the estate tax and others who wanted the high rates of the past, but it seems safe to say that there was an easy majority for the plan to simply keep the tax at the same rates as 2009 into the future. Indeed, such a plan makes sense. Why should a person with 10 million dollars pay $3 million in taxes if he or she died on December 29, 2009, no taxes if death were three days later and $5 million if death were one year and three days later? It simply makes no sense. So after talking about what to do, Congress and the administration have simply left things drift; they never got around to taking action. As a result, the estate tax is gone for 2010.

It is true that Congress coul pass a retroactive bill for taxes in 2010, but that has now reached the point of a joke. For example, imagine the executor of a large estate of a person who dies on January 2, 2010. The executor could distribute the assets of the estate rather quickly. As of now, the law says that no tax is due. What happens if in three months, Congress decides to pass a retroactive law? Can the executor be held responsible for following the law as it existed? Who pays the tax? It is a nightmare that could have been avoided if the Dems had simply acted in a responsible fashion rather than spending all of their time on healthcare.

No matter what happens in November, I hope that the leadership of the next Congress will have more vision and skill than the Pelosi - Reid group. I think we should start referring to them as the "axis of incompetence".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Can it really be?

There are reports today that Congressional Democrats have agreed that the House will pass the Senate healthcare bill which will then be amended through the use of reconcilliation so as to avoid a filibuster. Can that actually be true? Have the Obamacrats lost their minds?

right now a substantial majority of the American people oppose the budget busting bill passed by the Senate. Poll after poll confirms this fact. Further, the polls also confirm that the public wants the Congress to focus on job creation not health care by approximately 4 to 1. The Democrats, however, seem unable to move on to consider things that the country actually wants. Instead they fixate on the need to get a healthcare bill through Congress. Meanwhile their approval ratings sink lower and lower. If we were in Japan, this would be harikiri. In the USA it is just maniacal.

To make matters worse, it appears that the whole healthcare conference that Obama is setting up with the Republicans is just a farce to distract from what is actually going to take place. My guess is that once voters realize the games that the Obamacrats are playing they will punish the Dems big time.

It seems hard to believe that the Dems in Congress will go along with their leaders on this. If they do, it will be a long time again before there is a Democrat majority in Congress in my opinion.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama's greatest success

According to Vice President Joe Biden, Iraq may turn out to be one of the Obama administration's greatest successes. This statement made on Larry King last night is perhaps the most amazingly stupid thing that Biden has ever said, and that is truly saying something. While Biden certainly knew that no one watches King's show anymore, he had to know that someone would check the video. In my opinion, Biden was not joking. He actually meant it! Iraq -- which Biden and Obama both wanted to abandon -- is their greatest success. Iraq -- which was pacified due to Bush's refusal to back down in the face of enormous criticism from the Obamacrats -- is Obama's greatest success. Iraq -- which was pacified due to the enormous courage and effort of our armed forces(who Obama and Biden wanted to cut off) -- is Obama's greatest success. What an outrage!

Wait. If you think about Obama's other great successes: Closing Gitmo -- not done, stimulating job growth with a trillion dollars of spending that resulted in the loss of 8.7 million jobs, having free negotiations without preconditions with Iran so as to stop the Iranian nuclear program, engaging the moslem world so as to end terrorism, personally lobbying for the olympic games in Chicago in 2016, and who can forget health care reform, maybe Iraq is Obama's greatest success. I guess if an alcoholic only has five drinks one evening instead of the usual seven, it can be temperance's greatest success. What a failure! What a farce!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another success for obama

This afternoon, Chrysler announced that it will commence production of a Fiat small car in the next few months. The production will result in the creation of around 400 direct jobs and 1500 or so indirect jobs. It is expected that Chrysler will produce about 100,000 of the cars annualy for the North American market.

The only problem is that the plant which will be used is in Mexico and the jobs will be there as well. In other words, the US taxpayers bailed out Chrysler so that it could close plants in the US, put thousands of dealers out of business and then expand production in Mexico.

Congratulations are in order for the Obamacrats. The truth is that no matter whether or not his language was objectionable, Rahm Emmanuel properly described the Obamacrats.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

that was fast

After last week's State of the Union speech, President Obam got a bump in the polls. The Rasmussen daily poll actually found more people approving of Obama's job performance than disapproving for the first time in a while. the margin of approval was just one percent (50-49) but still it was a significant move from the depths where Obama's ratings had been. Now, however, that another few days have passed, Obama is back in the toilet so to speak. Today's polling results show that Obama's job performance is rated poor or fair by 55% while only 44% rate his work good or excellant. This ties for Obama's poorest ratings ever.

It is no surprise that the poll bounce disappeared so fast. After all, Obama prestended in the SOTU that he was becoming a deficit hawk and a promoter of jobs. It doesn't take long for a claim like that to be shown to be untrue. After that, people are even more discouraged with his performance. I predict that Obam will soon hit the 40% approval level.

Maybe there is some hope

Rasmussen has come out with a poll of the upcoming Nevada senate race. The news is good. Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, runs behind four potential Republican opponents. Even better, Reid gets either 39% or 40% of the vote no matter against whom he is matched. This means that Reid is in big, big trouble. Essentially everyone in Nevada knows Reid; yet, all he can muster for support is 40% of the public. Absent a major shift in the political landscape which is certainly possible, although unlikely, Reid is going to lose in November. It will be a great day for the country.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Intentionally Phony Climate Commission

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has announced that it will change its name to the Intentionally Phony Climate Commission in order to more accurately portray its mission. The new name will still allow the use of the same acronym (IPCC) so as to avoid the need to reprint many of the UN reports which spread the alarm about climate change. So far, it has been learned that IPCC (1) based its climate projections on the phony data from East Anglia college in the UK, (2) based its projections about the demise of the Himalayan glaciers on an opinion stated in a popular magazine, (3) spoke about the rise of sea level as compared to the elevation of the Netherlands and got that elevation wrong for more than 25% of that country, and (4) well, you get the picture.

The amazing thing about the phony garbage presented to the world by the IPCC is how small a reaction occurs when the whole thing is exposed. This morning CBS described the items as "gaffes" in a way that made them sound more like typographical mistakes rather than glaring errors in the science due to the use of unsubstantiated rumors as facts. Of course, not all the world has reacted the same way that the US media has. India announced this morning that it was creating its own agency to monitor climate issues within that country rather than relying on the IPCC with its make-believe reports. According to India, the issue is too important for the country to base its actions on propaganda rather than science.

So far, Al Gore is sticking with propaganda since that science does not support his positions. President Obama is also still supporting cap and trade even though there is not any scientific basis for it at the moment.

The truth is that Obama should announce a project by the US government through NOAA or even NASA to gather worldwide climate figures and to publish them as soon as possible so that we will be able to see whether there is global warming and also exactly how that is calculated. The free exchange of views after actually, unbiased information is put forward will allow the world then to decide if there really is a problem and how to proceed to deal with it (if it exists).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The state budget

Governor Rell put forward her proposed budget for Connecticut, and I, for one, am disappointed. The state has struggled with budget shortfalls for the last two years. Now, the governor is proposing a cut in spending of 0.1%. Can it be that there is only one tenth of one percent of waste in all of the budget? Are there no programs that can be cut completely? Is there nothing that can be done to actually reduce the burden that govenment places on the state economy? I think the answer is clear that someone who truly wanted to cut spending could wield the proverbial budget axe in a way to cut spending by 5% with little, if any, adverse effect on the state. Imagine, a budget cut of 900 million dollars (5%) could take enormous pressure off the need for additional taxes. Indeed, there could be targeted tax cuts that would promote job growth in the state. That, however, would require the governor and legislators to think about what is best for the state and not what is best for their various parties and re-election plans. Not very likely.

A new win for stupidity

These days, some New York radio stations are running commericials in support of a rent freeze for working families in New York. Strangely, the commercials claim to be statements from small landlords who want the freeze to help both the tenants and the landlords. Listeners are urged to call Albany to tell legislators that they support the freeze.

To say that this is a strange commercial does not do it justice. After all, if the landlord thinks a freeze would be a good thing, he can stop raising rents himself. Even iin New York, there is nothing that mandates rent increases. There is nothing that indicates that a government imposition of a freeze would function better than the free market to set rents. Indeed, rents in New York City have declined substantially over the last 18 months. Is the freeze a way to keep rents from declining further so as to help tenants? Of course not. Tenants would want further declines in the rent. All that a rent freeze would accomplish is to disrupt the rental market and lead ultimately to a diminution in the supply of apartments. After decades pof struggles in New York to do away with Rent control (a temporary measure to deal with housing shortages during World War 2 that persists to this day) and rent stabilization (a forty plus year old program that also will not die), it would be a tragedy if the state were to step back towards government control of rents in a way that will hurt any recovery in the economy. Such a law would be a new win for stupidity.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the new Mr. nice guy

For the umpteenth day in a row, Obama is out today announcing that Democrats have tried to cooperate with Republicans, but the GOP have refused to act in a bipartisan manner. It is amazing that Obama, whose party has about 60% of the votes in both the House and Senate could even say this stuff with a straight face. Obamacrats do not need the GOP to pass most bills -- just look at health care which passed the Senate and the House over strong opposition from the American people, only to die when Scott Brown took Ted Kennedy's seat from the Dems. Nevertheless, Obama is still spouting this nonsense. It is a tribute to the low opinion in which Obama holds the people that he can even bring himself to take this position.

The sad thing is that Obama could easily make up much of his lost support by actually putting forth his hand in an effort to cooperate with Republicans. There are many people who would be so enthusiastic to see someone in Washington actually attempting cooperation that the jump in support would be large. The truth, however, is we got no change and that means there is no hope.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

does he actually believe this?

This afternoon, I was in a brokerage office that had CNBC playing on a large television behind the service counter. While I was waiting to complete my transactions, I got to watch a portion of President Obama's address in New Hampshire in which he spoke of the need for fiscal responsibility. I was alternately angry and amused to listen to the President.

First he announced that he had followed the record deficit of the Bush administration. Needless to say, he did not mention that Bush left a $400 billion deficit which Obama quickly pushed up to 1.4 trillion dollars. Second, Obama said that in hard times families tighten their belts and that is what he wants to do with the federal government; unfortunately, the Republicans were not cooperating with him on deficit reductions. That was the funniest bit -- it sounded more like SNL than CNBC. Imagine, Obama pushed through 800 billion in stimulus spending over Republican opposition, he pushed through an expanded budget over Republican opposition, and he pushed for enormous expenditures for healthcare "reform" meeting Republican opposition, but according to Barack, it was the GOP opposing spending restraint. Indeed, his new budget pushes spending up so much that the deficit will increase from 1.4 trillion to 1.8 trillion dollars for 2010 -- but it is the GOP who are the spendthrifts. Third, Obama pushed the merits of his spending freeze -- only this would stop profligate spending. Of course, he did not mention that the freeze does not affect anything for another year. We will first see the two biggest spending increases in history for Obama's first two years and then the numbers will be frozen at the amazing heights to which Obama pushed them. This is supposed spending restraint.

As Obama read from the teleprompter, I was trying to determine if he actually knew how dishonest his remarks were. I could not tell. I believe Obama to be an intelligent man, so I find it hard to accept that he does not realize that he is lying. Still, it may be that he finds it so hard to accept reality that he truly believes his statements. I also cannot tell which is worse: do we have a president who cannot recognize reality, or a president who blatantly and repeatedly lies thereby showing his clear contempt for the American people?

The new budget proposal

President Obama has come forward with a budget proposal that is uniquely his; until now, he had remnants of Bush proposals mixed into his numbers. The budget presented is staggering. It is designed to heap enormous debt onto the American people. Indeed, I believe that this is part of the plan. If four years of Obama leave us with another seven trillion dollars in debt, that will mean that going out into the future the USA will have to pay another 350 billion dollars every year just in interest costs. That will be enough to reduce economic growth and also to reduced the power of the USA. After all, it will be harder to find the funds to cover the costs of the armed forces. The inevitable rise in entitlement programs will also make defense needs progressively harder to cover. At some point, people will vote to elect representatives who will cut military spending just on budgetary grounds with the result that superpower status will no longer apply to the US.

The truth is that there are a number of steps that have to be taken ASAP. First, the 500 billion dollars in medicare and medicaid waste and fraud have to be taken out of the system. A real push to save in these programs could bring marked results -- not half a trillion dollars, but meaningful results nonetheless. Second, social security rules also have to be changed. The minimum payment has to be frozen, the cost of living raises have to be stopped for three years, and the age of retirement has to be put back to 70 from the current 66. In the 1930's social security set the retirement age at 65. There is no question that life expectancies have increased more than a year since then. The program should reflect reality. Third, every government program should be reviewed to determine if it is worth keeping. A freeze is not enough. There should be a minimum of 100 billion in government programs cancelled. Fourth, the government should lay off ten percent of its non-defense employees. And that is just a start.