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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Palestinian Culture - 2

Do you know who Cenk Uygur is? He is a "television host" who appears on Current TV. Okay, so no one in his right mind watches Current TV. Okay, not only do most people not watch Current TV, most people do not even get Current TV. Nevertheless, this bozo is a host of a "news" show on Current TV. And he is out today excoriating Mitt Romney for his "racist" rant against the Palestinians. Imagine, Romney had the nerve to say that the success of Israel compared to the Palestinians is due to the fact that Israeli culture better suits economic development than does Palestinian. I already discussed the idiocy of Uygur's view earlier today, but when I saw this lefty demento out with his latest, I had to note it here.

Palestinian Culture

I have been amazed to see the response to Mitt Romney's statement that the economic vitality of Israel compared to that of the Palestinians has much to do with the culture of the Israelis. There is little doubt that this statement is correct. Israel lives under the rule of law, allows individual freedom, and promotes education as something other than a political tool. By contrast, the Palestinians live under the rule of the most powerful, allow no individual freedom and use schools as a means to a political end. Not surprisingly, the Palestinians were annoyed to have Romney point out the truth about these competing cultures. What has been surprising, however, has been the response from the liberal media and the Obama campaign to Romney's statement. Many have echoed the Palestinian claims that Romney's statement of the truth was racist. Others have justified the poor Palestinian economy as the result of Israeli occupation. Some have said that Palestinian areas are surrounded and therefore cannot prosper. All of this is total nonsense.

Let's first consider if pointing out the cultural difference and its result is racist. Is it racist to tell the truth? If the Palestinians are kept in relative poverty by their culture, is it wrong to point this out? The only rational answer to this question is NO! Indeed, the idea that one must remain silent about the truth in order not to offend a racial or ethnic group is what is racist. Curtailing efforts to inform those affected and to correct the problem is what is racist.

So what of the Israeli occupation? That ended for the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians a while ago. For example, in Gaza where some 1.5 million Palestinians live, there has been no Israeli presence in five years. Of course, the Palestinians in the area did not move to promote economic growth, but instead brought in all sorts of missiles and other arms which they frequently lob into Israeli territory. That effort leads to retaliation from Israeli forces rather than to economic development. On the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has control of the bulk of the Palestinian people. All the foreign aid money that got sent to the PA to help it build the economy was stolen by the leadership and sent to bank accounts abroad. Yassir Arafat, the leader of the PA for so long left an estate estimated at ten billion dollars. He did not get the money by saving it out of his salary. He simply stole all of the aid money.

Okay, but the Palestinians are surrounded, aren't they? Really? It is Israel that is surrounded. It has no neighbors with whom it is able to trade easily. That situation has persisted for the last 65 years, but Israel has grown into a modern economy. The Palestinians were integrated economically into Israel after the 1967 war when Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians got good paying jobs in Israel and for Israeli companies. Then, in 2000 the Palestinians began a terror campaign against Israel. Civilian bombings were commonplace. The Palestinian Authority was running this uprising and inflicting major injury on Israel. As a result, Israel put in serious border controls to prevent the flow of weapons and bombs into its territories. Let's not forget that the border wall between Israel and the West Bank was built to keep these bombs out of Israel, and it worked. Of course, the uprising also meant that most of the Palestinians were no longer able to work in Israel because commuting to work became nearly impossible. The jobs went to others and the uprising chosen by the Palestinian leaders led to massive unemployment. Nothing has been done by the PA to remedy this unemployment.

Nothing that I have said above is really capable of being disputed. The truth is that the Israeli culture has contributed to Israel's vibrant economy. Romney was correct in what he said. The liberals who ran to try to shoot down Romney's statement and the White House folks who joined in that effort are actually arguing falsely. The sad thing is that they know that they are wrong. But these people never miss and opportunity to label someone they oppose a "racist". It is truly sad.

Monday, July 30, 2012

What About a Woman's Right to Choose?

In a truly screwy move, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pushed through a program designed to force mothers who have just given birth to breast feed their infants rather than choosing to bottle feed them. The program requires staff in city hospitals to keep all baby formula under lock and to only release it if a "medical need" for the formula can be documented. Medical need apparently does not include hunger of the infant. Further, if a mother is able to get the formula, she is required to hear a lecture on the benefits of breast feeding from the staff before the formula and bottle is delivered. To be clear, the lecture is supposed to be delivered to the mother each time that a bottle is delivered. In other words, New York City is now going all out to dissuade mothers from using formula and to force them to breast feed.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it strange that a city government that would go nuclear if anyone were to threaten the right of expectant mothers to kill their offspring by abortion now wants to force these same mothers to breastfeed. A woman's right to choose extends to the life or death of her child, but, in New York City, that choice does not cover what the woman's baby will eat. The concept is completely screwy. Why is the breakfast of babies more important than their lives? How can liberals like Bloomberg think it intolerable for the government to protect the lives of babies but also intolerable for the government not to determine what infants eat?

Anyone with an explanation for this is welcome to set it out in the comments to this post. There cannot be a rational explanation for this.

Short Update on Armanino Foods

About ten days ago, Armanino Foods of Distinction (AMNF on the pink sheets) reported its second quarter earnings. It was a blowout quarter that set records for revenues and profits. When the earnings were released, I recommended the purchase of the stock. Since that time, the stock price has risen by 10% and it is staying at that level. We have yet to see any real retracement from the current heights.

There is a good reason for the current high level. If Armanino runs true to form, it will raise the regular dividend with the next report. My best estimate is that we will see a dividend of 1.5 cents per share. That will put the dividend yield for the stock at 6.8 percent based upon the current price of 88 cents per share. In today's low interest environment, the dividend alone ought to move the stock up to $1.00 per share (where the return would still be 6%).

Obviously, this is a projection which may not come to pass, but it seems quite likely based upon past behavior of the company. Just imagine, here is a stock that would be growing quickly (profits per share were up 25% from last year), paying a very high dividend, and forecasting a rosy future. To make things even better, the company's business is of a type that would not be likely to suffer in an economic downturn. Italian sauces and foods will still be in demand.

Despite the 10% rise since the earnings, I am still recommending purchase of AMNF. It ought to have quite a way further up to go even from these heights.

DISCLOSURE: I remain long Armanino stock.

Obama Using Bill Clinton

We now know the new line of attack from president Obama in his re-election campaign. Since Obama has no positive record on which to run, Obama is going to try to run on Bill Clinton's record. That's right, the last sentence was not a typo. Obama is going to run on Clinton's record of twelve to twenty years ago.

The other day, when Obama actuallly announced that the Democrat plan for the economy had worked, he responded to the hoots of derision from the media and the GOP by explaining that he meant that the plan had worked during the Clinton Administration. Of course, Obama did not bother to mention that he had not followed the path taken by Clinton in the 1990's. Clinton actually presided over a balanced federal budget; Obama has run up more spending and debt than any other president in history. Clinton used progrowth policies to invigorate the private sector; Obama has villified private business and attacked the success that Clinton praised.

Now we hear that Bill Clinton will be the one to place Obama's name into nomination at the convention in North Carolina. Really? Things are so bad that Obama has to use someone with no connection to the Obama Administration to put his name into nomination? How can this be? Clinoton is even going to get the prime speaking position of the second night of the convention and deprive vice president Joe Biden of that slot which goes by tradition to the candidate for VP.

This is more of the avoidance of reality by Obama. Will the American people actually buy into Obama as he just tries to hide from reality? Maybe for now it will work. Obama's problem is that as we get closer to November, more and more folks will start paying attention. Most of these people do not care what happened 15 years ago. They want jobs now. They want to be able to pay their mortgages now. They want to be able to send their kids to college now. They want a better life now. When they hear nothing from Obama, I bet that they move to Romney.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How Crazy is this?

Mitt Romney is in Israel. I get it; I really do. Team Obama does not want Mitt to grab headlines with regard to Israel, so they are doing everything possible to grab them away. Again, I get it. But this stuff is nuts! Loopy Nancy Pelosi is out telling Jews that if they vote Republican, they are being used by the GOP. Then she tells them that Obama has been to Israel over and over again. Has she lost her mind? Okay, that is something of a rhetorical question, since I think the answer to the question is clearly yes. Obama has not been to Israel as president even once. Over and over again???? And to tell Jews that the GOP is using them has essentially no chance at success as an argument. As a group, Jews are much more involved in politics than the other groups for which the Demcrats make similar arguments. Among ethnic groups, Jews vote at higher percentages than any other. They know when Obama undermines Israel. They know when Obama is disrespectful to the Israeli prime minister. Nothing Nutty Nancy says will change this.

So what elese is team Obama doing? They planted a story that Obama had had Netanyahu briefed on American battle plans for taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities. It took about three hours for the story to be exposed as a total hoax. Was it so important to upstage Romney that Obama had to use a blatant lie? Again, a rhetorical question where the answer is clearly yes.

And what about that bill signing the other day that let Obama agree to position about 75 million dollars worth of US weapons in Israel. The point of these weapons is that they are available for usage by American troops in the Middle East without having to bring them halfway around the world. Obama portrayed this as a commitment to Israel's security, but it is more part of planning for future US operations in the entire region.

I saw Romney's main speech in Israel. He seemed to have done quite well with it. None of the Obama nonsense detracts from that fact. Obama and his people are just making themselves look fooolish.

Friday, July 27, 2012


The GDP growth rate for the second quarter of 2012 was 1.5% according to the first figures released this morning by the government. This is a terrible number. Since the recession formally ended in 2009, this is the lowest that the growth rate has gotten by far. There will be adjustments to this early figure as more data comes in, but it is clear that the economy is barely limping ahead. When the third quarter comes in, if the trend continues, we may be back in the hole in a double dip recession.

From a political standpoint, today's numbers are a disaster for the Obama campaign. This anemic growth rate is the backdrop for the last months of the campaign. Obama's recent claim that America tried his program and it worked is totally refuted by these figures. Put another way, all those businesses that Obama claims were successful because of what the government has done are now hurting in a big way. Obama can claim ownership of that failure, but I doubt we will be seeing that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Corruption at DOJ?

It has been a mystery why the Department of Justice has not indicted Jon Corzine for his part in the destruction of MF Global and the "disappearance" of huge sums of money from clients' accounts. Corzine, of course, testified to congress that he had no idea what had happened to the funds. Then email came to light in which it is stated by high officers at MF Global that JC (meaning Corzine) had approved the transfers of the funds from the customers accounts. While Corzine himself did not send these emails, they are particularly damning circumstantial evidence of his involvement. A good prosecutor would have brought in the writers of the emails and questioned them about Corzine's role.

Many have suspected that Corzine's position as a former Democrat governor and senator from New Jersey had insulated him from prosecution by the Obama DOJ. Now, an new angle has been uncovered in an article at Breitbart. True, it is coming from Breitbart, a site not known for understatement. Nevertheless, the article points out that MF Global and Corzine were clients of the law firm of Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputy Lanny Breuer. Other similar links are set forth in the article. Holder ought not to have any monetary interest in his former firm, and I assume that this is correct. But it is also likely that Holder expects to return to that firm when he leaves office. In other words, he cannot be unbiased in his review of the Corzine mess.

There ought to be a special prosecutor and the sooner the better.

Goodbye to the First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of free speech. The law is clear that government at any level may not act to limit or punish free speech at any time. It is in this context that one needs to look at the recent actions in Boston and Chicago against Chick-fil-A. The Chairman of Chick-fil-A was quoted in an interview as saying that he believes that marriage is between one man and one woman and that the definition was set in the Bible by God. Since then, the mayor of Boston told Chick-fil-A to stay out of that city, and the mayor of Chicago and some aldermen there have threatened to block permits needed for the chicken restaurant to open new locations in the Windy City. In other words, two municipal governments have tried to punish Chick-fil-A for what its chairman had to say.

It is important to note that there are no claims that the restaurant refused to serve gays or discriminated in any way against gay customers. The only "wrongdoing" for which the two city governments are punishing the restaurant chain is the statement by its chairman. This is a pure attempt by government to squash the statement of speech that it dislikes. As such, it is totally illegal.

Does anyone want to guess whether or not the Justice Department will step in to protect Chick-a-Fil? Will president Obama speak out against this unconstitutional attack by Rahm Emmanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff? Don't hold your breath waiting for some federal action. The Constitution can get trampled, but Obama will focus on his re-election only.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Obama counterattack --- on his own words

President Obama is out with a new TV ad that claims that his words have been taken out of context. He also is mentioning in his speeches that he is being misquoted. Of course, the quote in question is this one:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me - because they want to give something back. They know they didn't - look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.... If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Just imagine. Republicans and Romney, in particular, are saying -- gasp -- that Obama thinks that small business owners are not responsible for the success of their businesses. Obama says this is taken out of context. But the actual context shows that Obama said exactly what he meant. Obama actually thinks that the small businesses that are successful owe that success to the government.

Even funnier, David Axelrod says that the GOP attack on Obama's words are having no effect. Of course, that means that the Obama counter attack is directed at a GOP effort that is having no effect. What utter crap.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The NCAA Goes Off the Deep End

I usually do not write about sports on this blog, but the action by the NCAA to penalize Penn State is so ridiculous that I have to mention it. Clearly, the alleged conduct by Jerry Sandusky was reprehensible. That is why he was charged, tried and convicted of his crimes. But what did Penn State do? It failed to report Sandusky to the police. It fired Sandusky and thereby ended the conduct at Penn State, but it did not tell the police about what Sanduskey is alledged to have done. It is that conduct for which the NCAA lowered the boom. It is a monumental overreaction.

Penn State is being fined sixty million dollars by the NCAA. No one seems to know exactly where that money is going, but we all know where the funds are coming from. The taxpayers of Pennsylvania will have to come up with the cash. So tell me, why should the people of Pennsylvania pay money to the NCAA if Penn State did not report Sandusky to the police?

Penn State is being barred from post season play for a number of seasons and its use of athletic scholarships is being severely restricted. This will kill Penn State football. It will kill Penn State basketball. It will kill Penn State tennis. It will kill Penn State women's field hockey. It will kill every Penn State team. So, who will pay the price for this? Again, it will be the people who live near State College, Pa. and the students of Penn State. Sports brings a lot of revenue to small businesses in the area of Penn State, and the NCAA is destroying the quality of the Penn State sports program. Students who came to Penn State to enjoy, among other things, the Penn State sports program will be sacrificed to the NCAA's retribution for something that happened when most of those students were in elementary school.

Why didn't the NCAA punish the actual folks involved. The NCAA could have barred the people in the football program, the Athletic Department, and even the University administration from participation in NCAA programs. It could also have barred any university that hired these folks from participating in NCAA programs. That would have been punishing the guilty. The downside to that punishment is that these individuals would have been able to go to court to try to stop this action by the NCAA. It is not hard to imagine that a court would find that the NCAA was far beyond its power to take such an action. Instead, the NCAA decided to punish the innocent in a way that will get the NCAA $60 million and be extremely hard to attack in court.

Then there is also the question of the excessive nature of the punishment here. The penalty here is much worse than any that were handed out to programs that got involved with giving performance enhancing drugs to the athletes or shaving points to fix games for gamblers. Those violations go to the heart of the athletic program. Failing to report Sandusky to the police is nothing like that.

The NCAA made a big mistake. It should alter the punishment.

Obama's Next Statement

I am waiting for president Obama to say this in a speech: "You committed mass murder? You didn't do that; the government did."

The news is out today that the shooter in the Aurora movie murders was receiving his tuition paid and also a federal grant of $26,000 per year while he studied neuroscience. It seems like the grant money was spent to buy those weapons that he used to kill all those innocents in Colorado.

The Folly of the Euro

The countries of the European Union, other than the United Kingdom, use the euro as their currency. So far, so good. The countries of the European Union each have their own governments which are not subordinated to a central European government. Here, things start to break down. Actions by the European Union to control fiscal and monetary policies require agreement by all of the member countries. This is where the whole entity goes over the cliff.

Let's put it this way: when the euro zone was formed, the economies of Europe were moving in the right direction. There was no need for major action by a central governing authority. In the last few years, however, as Europe's economy has headed south, the unwieldy and relatively powerless central government authority of Europe has been unable to deal with this crisis. The main policy being followed in Europe right now is just to avoid the next disaster waiting around the bend.

There are natural fault lines in the current structure. For example, the Germans do not want to have to bail out the Greeks if Germany cannot have political control to right the problems in Greece. These can be papered over, but not for too long.

As I write this, the interest rate on the Spanish ten year bond is at an all time high. Even Germany and the other euro countries cannot bail out Spain. It is just too big. Strangely, it is too big so it has to fail.

My prediction is that one year from now, there will no longer be a euro like the present one. Maybe some of the countries will keep it, but many will move back to their own currencies. I cannot see the european countries actually uniting into one political entity. As a result, the end of the euro is inevitable.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The killing of tens of thousands as a "crime"

In the annals of the Obama foreign policy, there have been many moments when mistakes have been made. Today, however, president Obama made a statement that is perhaps the worst mistake ever. Indeed, it is such a shocking mistake that it calls into question Obama's ability to make rational judgments.

Obama spoke to the VFW convention today. During that speech, Obama brought up the subject of the chemical and biological weapons that the Assad regime in Syria now admits to having. Indeed, in the last 24 hours, the Assad regime has said that it will use these weapons against any foreign intervention in Syria, a formulation which is code for the current rebels in that country. Assad has long maintained that the rebels are really foreign terrorists attacking Syria. Here is what Obama told the VFW:

“The world is watching and [the Assad regime] will be held accountable if they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons."

Think about that. The president of the United States says that if the Syrian regime uses weapons of mass destruction they will be held accountable. In other words, Obama is threatening Assad and his generals with criminal trials at the Hague if they use chemical weapons.

Let's put this in context. If Assad decides to hit the rebel stronghole of Homa with chemical missiles, the death toll could be as high as 50,000. If Assad decides to hit multiple sites with these weapons, it would be easy to imagine 250,000 dead and many more horribly injured. If Assad decides to try to bring the Arabs together and end the uprising against him, he might be deluded into launching the same weapons at Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Many hundreds of thousands of innocents would die. And all that Obama can say is that the perpetrators will be held accountable.

Chemical and biological attacks are not things to be handled in some world criminal court. Assad needs to understand that the moment he uses these weapons, his regime and his life are over. Obama ought to have said that in the event that the Syrian regime uses chemical or biological weapons, the United States will respond by destroying the regime and all its forces. It will then hunt down and execute all of the leaders of the regime. This is something that Assad would at least understand. I am sure that other countries would join the USA in this position. Assad would be left facing his own destruction if he uses these weapons.

Obama seems only to want to downplay every possible conflict in the world. He does not want to risk upsetting his re-election campaign. In the process of running from any confrontation, he is making the world a much more dangerous place. He is increasing the tensions in the Middle East rather than helping. He is making us all much less safe.

The truth is that sometimes America's leader has actually to lead. Hiding just won't cut it. Obama just does not get this.

That's What Happens When You Overpay

Two years ago, the Washington Post company sold Newsweek magazine to Sidney Harman for the huge price of one dollar. That's right, the WaPo was so insistent on getting rid of Newsweek that it gave the property to Harman in exchange for his taking over responsibility for the debts generated by the magazine. Last year Harman passed away, and now his estate is pulling back from its support of Newsweek. Apparently, the self described journal of liberal thought is losing money even faster than Obama could have spent it.

The Day of Disaster Gets Closer in Syria

In a remarkable bit of sophistry, the Assad regime in Syria announced that it will use chemical and biological weapons against any foreign attack on Syria. The regime also announced that it will never use these weapons against the Syrian people no matter what happens. That statement is extraordinary for a number of reasons:

1) Syria has never before admitted that it has chemical or biological weapons in its arsenal. Today's admission shows just how desperate the current status of the Assad regime really is.

2) Assad seems to be saying that he will not use these weapons against his opponents in the current civil war. Now, however, we need to translate the statement into clear English. According to Assad, the elements fighting his regime are foreign agents engaged in terrorism. Throughout the fighting Assad has never admitted that his opponents are just other Syrians. What this means is that the declaration that the regime will use chemical weapons against foreign attack seems to be a warning that Assad will use these weapons against the rebels.

3) The Assad regime is threatening the use of these weapons rather than actually using them. This is unusual for the shoot first, shoot second, then explain methods of Assad. Assad surely knows that the rebels will not stop because of this threat. So why is he making the threat. It may be that the army has already told Assad that it will not use the weapons against Syrians. Assad may be trying to leverage the threat of use since he can no longer actually use these WMDs. More likely, Assad is about to use the weapons and he wants to be able to tell his supporters that the tens of thousands of dead Syrians were responsible for their own fates since they refused to heed this warning.

Things are very bad in Syria. It seems, however, that worse days are ahead.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Can it really be??

There is speculation in the New York Times today that the keynote speaker for the Democrat National Convention will be none other than the fake Cherokee herself, Elizabeth Warren. If this comes to pass, it will be a totally amazing turn of events. Can you imagine her speech?

My fellow Democrats, I am speaking to you tonight to emphasize the importance of trust. America must trust this party to do what is right for all of our people. America, you can trust us; we will always tell it like it is. Trust is the key. Okay, I did say that I was part native American to get hired at Penn and Harvard Law schools, but you can trust us. Okay, so I am not really a Cherokee, but my aunt did tell me that I had high cheekbones like "those people". Okay, so Audrey Hepburn had high cheekbones and she wasn't a Cherokee. She must have been Apache; yeah, Audrey is an Apache name. Okay, so I submitted recipes to Pow Wow Chow, a supposed cookbook of native American recipes and I used recipes from a French restaurant in New York City that was the favorite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The duke had high cheekbones, though. My bet is the the duke and even his niece Queen Elizabeth II are actually native Americans. That's right, Queen Victoria was a full blooded Iroquois, so it is no wonder that her great grandson, the Duke of Windsor liked those recipes. And okay, I did tell everyone that I only said that I was a native American because I wanted to meet people at the native American mixers on campus. Of course, this turned out not to be true, but I would have liked to meet people with high cheek bones.

America you need to trust us to tell the truth. Besides, I do have Cherokee connections. When I decided to run against Scott Brown and his pickup truck, I sold my Volvo and my Lexus hybrid and I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has high cheekbones. I love it.

Taking Credit for Success -- 2

Think about this: ten people decide to open clothing stores in the New York City area. Each of them picks a location. Each of them designs and sets up the store. Each of them picks a price point for their merchandise. Each of them picks the clothing that will be sold. Each of them advertises their new business in one way or another. Then each of them actually open. Five of the business fail in the first year. Three more fail in the second year. Of the two that remain, one grows quickly to the point where in five years, it has seven locations. The other does enough business to stay open and prosper; it does not, however, grow beyond the one location.

What is the reason for the success of the two stores and the failure of eight? Why of the two successful ones is one of them so much more successful? We know it cannot be as a result of those roads and bridges that president Obama now says he was talking about when he gave government the credit for individual successes. After all, each of the ten businesses got to use the same roads and bridges and eight of them failed. Was it something else that Obama's favorite, the government, did? Unless the successful business was owned by a big Obama contributor who got a "grant" from the government, the answer is no. Each of these businesses were subject to the same government rules and taxes as the others. It is true that those regulations and taxes may have been harsh enough that one of the businesses may have failed which would otherwise have succeeded but for the government, but that still does not explain why some succeeded and some failed.

The answer is talent, the talent of the owners to make the right choices for their business. It may be choosing the right location. It may be choosing the right merchandise. It may be choosing to publicize the new business in a way that potential customers notice. It may be training the sales help to make shopping in the store a more pleasant experience. It may be deciding to price the clothing at the right level for the needs of the location. It may also be hard work. It takes time to make all these choices correctly. It takes time to see to it that all of the plans for the business are carried out correctly. Indeed, it is a never-ending battle for success.

There are tens of millions of Americans who understand what I just set forth. These are people who run their own businesses. Maybe that business is as small as selling Tupperware to neighbors or as large as running a major corporation. All of these folks, however, understand that it is people who cause businesses to succeed, not Obama's government. That government is just one more hurdle for any new or old business to jump over in order to survive.

It is truly strange that so many Americans understand this, but our president seems not to have a clue about the actual reality of business. No wonder he also has no clue as to how to get the economy growing again and how to promote the creation of new jobs.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking Credit for Success

I heard yet another discussion today about president Obama's claim that if you have been successful in business, you do not get credit for that success. I guess I should use the pertinent part of the actual language:

look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.... If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.

It struck me today that Obama is not only having the government take credit for individual success; in reality, what he is saying means that the government also gets the blame for individual failures. A person who works 60 hour weeks for years and develops a business is just someone that the government helped. So, a person who doesn't work at all and who robs people to support a drug habit is just someone that the government failed. A person who risked his or her life savings to begin a business is just someone who the govenment helped. So, a person who dropped out of school and has never had anything but a minimum wage job is just someone that the government failed. All those folks who have achieved enough success to have a comfortable life are just people that the government helped. So, all those who are unemployed or who lost their homes to foreclosure or who lost their retirement savings are just people that the government failed.

In short, under Obama's own standard, we ought to judge the success or failure of his administration by how many people have achieved success compared to how many have suffered failure. And there can be no argument that the amount of failure in America during Obama's term is unprecedented in modern times. Unemployment is at levels not seen since the great depression and it is staying there. This means Obama's government has failed. Income levels for the average American have fallen by about 10% during the Obama presidency; this means Obama's government has failed. Home foreclosures have remained at extremely high levels during the entire Obama presidency; this means Obama's government has failed. Indeed, in the world according to Obama, his presidency can only be described as an unmitigated failure, a disaster, indeed, the worst in a long time.

Free Speech in New York City

A federal judge in New York ruled yesterday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could not ban a pro-Israel ad from the buses in the city. The ad was just text; here is what it says:

In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.

The MTA had refused the ad on the ground that it "demeaned" Muslims. Get it? Calling those who engage in jihad "savage" demeans them. I guess that the guys who brought us 9-11 are really not savage at all. And those jihadis who killed thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are not savage either.

The funny thing is that the court ruled against the MTA because the restrictions place on ads on the buses were not uniform. Under the MTA's rules, it was ok to demean certain groups, but not others. For example, an ad could call lawyers sleazy. An ad could call blondes dumb. An ad could call conservatives neanderthal. An ad just could not be directed at a racial or religious group. The judge, who was appointed by Obama, decided that this violated the first amendment.

I guess that the right result for the wrong reason is better than the wrong result for any reason. Still, you have to wonder when you read a decision like this one.

Back to the Gun Control Discussion

With the terrible events in Colorado as a backdrop, the issue of gun control is coming to the fore once again. The usual group that pushes for further controls on guns is out in force arguing for their position. In some variation or another they are all saying this: seventy people were killed or wounded in Aurora, so we need to restrict guns. The speeches do not seem much different from those that came after the shootings at Virginia Tech or even those that came after the killings from the bell tower in Texas many decades ago. The response has not come forth yet, but I assume that it too will repeat the same positions as in the past.

So who is correct? Would stricter gun controls have prevented the Aurora killings? Probably not is the answer. The shooter in Colorado had a clean record; his worst previous "crime" had been a traffic ticket. He was a graduate student living in an area filled with hunters. He bought all of his weapons legally, complying with every registration, preapproval and waiting period that was relevant. He could easily have complied with tougher laws covering acquisition of firearms. Only a total ban on guns would have stopped him. Of course, such a ban cannot be imposed without a constitutional amendment.

Even where there are strict gun control laws, there are crazy people who go on killing sprees. Just look at last year's massacre in Norway. A seemingly normal guy planned out the killings and then shot scores of teens. The gun laws did nothing to stop the murders.

You see, that is the problem. Gun laws, in theory, sound great. The problem, however, is that gun laws are based upon the premise that people are sane, and that is just not always the case. The shooter in Aurora seems to have had a psychotic break. So far, no one knows why, but gun laws could not have prevented the carnage.

Gun laws make sense to the extent that they require background checks on purchasers and short waiting periods for purchase. People with criminal records should not be able to buy guns. People who are incensed about some event need to have a cooling off period of a few days before they can get access to a firearm. That type of restriction helps save lives, but it is not something that will prevent the crazies from carrying out the next massacre.

Jim Himes -- no Reason to Re-elect Him

Lately, there have been a lot of ads by the Jim Himes campaign on my blog. Himes, for those who do not know, is the poor excuse for a congressman from the 4th District of Connecticut, my home. Since he has been in Congress, Himes has accomplished next to nothing. During the Obama presidency, Himes has simply been a rubber stamp for Obama. He voted for Obamacare. He voted for the Stimulus. He voted for all the other poor policies that Obama has pushed.

I do not control the ads on my site. I will not be endorsing Himes. I suggest that if you live in Connecticut and see his ads, you use them to go to his site to check it out. His announced policy positions will make clear who he is.

Where Will the Chemical Weapons Go?

There is a report in the Telegraph in London that the Syrian opposition has formed a group to seize the chemical weapons stores of the Assad regime. A former general in Assad's forces who defected to the Free Syrian Army explained in the article that getting those chemical weapons is a major aim of the rebels. In other news, Israel's defense minister said that his country too was watching the chemical weapons situation closely. He left the impression that should there be a danger of those weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah, that Israeli forces would intervene to destroy the weapons.

There are supposedly more chemical weapons in Syria than in any other country in the world. These are not rusted relics, but rather function weapons that could kill hundreds of thousands or millions of people. At first the fear was that Assad would use the weapons on the rebels as his father did during the 1980s when about 20,000 were killed. With the Assad government on the edge of the cliff and about to go over, the big question is who ends up with these weapons.

America cannot afford to let these weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. President Obama has to take time out from campaigning to figure out some way to neutralize these WMDs.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In Passing

There are many small things today that need attention.

1. CBS breathlessly reported today about a new initiative set up by the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense to stop leaks of national security secrets. As most folks know, some very important secrets were leaked in the last two months to the New York Times and the Washington Post in order to try to make president Obama look good. American agents may have been compromised, but hey, it helped the re-election effort. But I digress. The Pentagon is coming out with this new effort in order to have it look like it is actually doing something to combat the leaks. So, what is this great effort? Moving forward, there will now be a special group in the Pentagon to "monitor the media" for signs of leaks. Let me translate: there will be a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington whose job will be to read the paper and watch TV looking for articles about leaks. Really? Are these people serious? Obviously not!

2. Paul Krugman is out with another of his reports from another dimension. He seems to exist in a world where nothing is as it seems. He thinks that he gets to rewrite reality in order to criticize it. The latest piece of delusional thinking is about how the "rich" think that they are better than everyone else. Krugman say that the rich "see special treatment as their birthright". He then writes about how president Obama is not attacking the rich or success and those who say he is do not know what they are talking about. This deserves two comments: First, Obama is not attacking only the rich, but they are included among all of those who are successful -- the Obama target of the moment. "You have a business? You didn't do that! Someone else did!" In other words, all those millions of folks who have struggled, sacrificed and won in our economy, they just don't deserve that success. They are not responsible for their own success. Clearly, Obama is attacking success no matter what nonsense Krugman writes. Second, Krugman thinks that the wealthy are coddled. In actual fact, the wealthy in America pay a much larger share of the tax revenues than is the case in any other country in the world. Further, in the last three and a half years, Obama has raised taxes on the wealthy more than once. Starting in 2013, the Medicare tax paid by the wealthy will rise by about 50%. Starting in 2013, the capital gains tax paid by the wealthy will also rise substantially. These are new Obama taxes, not just the expiration of the Bush tax rates. Krugman should try to discuss real facts sometime; it might be a novel experience for him.

3. David Brooks wrote in the Times about the success of the Obama foreign policy. He says that the policy towards the Iranian nuclear program has caused a delay in action which "has been useful". Really? How has it been useful. Iran is closer to getting nukes and the world has taken no definitive action to stop it. Brooks says that Obama failed in the Israeli-Palestinian issue to bring the parties closer. The truth is that Obama has managed to prevent any progress on that front through his actions. Brooks says that it was a mistake to announce a pull out date in Afghanistan at the same time the surge in forces was announced. That sent American forces on a mission that was destined to fail. Hey David! Why not say the actual truth? Obama sent American troops to fight and to die in Afghanistan for a mission that Obama himself made sure to fail. How many American men and women died because of the "little mistake"?

4. Nancy Pelosi is now calling the release of tax returns by Mitt Romney a distraction. That change came despite her press conference two days ago where she called upon Romney to release his returns as a matter of tradition, justice and propriety. What changed? Only this: yesterday, reporters asked Pelosi to release her own tax returns. Suddenly, the issue is just a distraction.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do they Think that No one Listens?

Senate Democrats had a news conference today to explain why it is essential that tax rates on those earning over $200,000 rise at the end of this year. If one listened to what these Democrats said, civilization as we know it will end unless there is a tax increase for those at the top end of the income scale. But here's the rub: when the meeting was thrown open for questions from the press, the first question went to Harry Reid. Reid was asked why, if raising these taxes is so important, the tax increase was not passed in 2010 when the Democrats had total control of the Senate, House and White House. Reid's response was to stand and look at the reporter for a few moments. Then Reid said "Next question." The Democrats have no answer to this question. It is unbelievable.

Finally, Clarity from Obama on Syria

For a year and a half, America has had a vague and confusing policy with regard to Syria and the uprising there against the Assad regime. The fighting which has spread to the capital of Damascus culminated the other day with a major bombing attack by the rebels against the regime. Members of the inner circle of the Assad regime were killed including Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha and Gen. Assef Shawkat, 62, the deputy defense minister who is married to Assad's elder sister, Bushra.

When he heard the details of the bombing, president Obama brightened and realized that he finally could have a coherent policy towards Syria. Obama has decided that everything that has gone wrong in Syria is the fault of Bushra.

The Accomplishments of Government

President Obama's Friday afternoon special in Virginia was a hymn to the achievements of government. When Obama said that if you have a business you didn't build it but "somebody else" did, he clearly meant that it was government that deserved the credit, not those pesky entrepreneurs.

After a few days of percolating, the Obama remark has engendered all sorts of responses. Nearly all of them are negative, although that could hardly surprise anyone who understands the American work ethic and the American Dream. One of my favorite response, however, has not gotten that much attention.

Obama seemed to be crediting the government for building roads and bridges that allowed the business to function. So let's examine that claim a bit further. There are roads and bridges in countries like Russia and North Korea. There are governments that function in Syria and Iran. Fut these countries are not free, and their businesses do not, for the most part, prosper. In North Korea, the government is involved in every aspect of life; under the Obama view, that country should be a paradise on earth. Instead, North Korea is a virtual prison camp in which the people live as captives of their government. The people there just keep getting poorer, thinner and shorter. Malnutrition is a way of life. But government is in everything, just like Obama wants.

The truth is that government is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem. We all know that, but some ideologues like Obama reguse to recognize reality.

The Earnings for Armanino Foods of Distinction

This morning saw the release of the earnings for Armanino Foods of Distinction (symbol AMNF on the pink sheets). It was a blowout quarter and a great report looking forward. There were record sales of $7,097,885. Net earnings were also a record and the earnings per share came in at 2.5 cents. This EPS report is just over 19% higher than the company's previous record for a quarter. In short, it was a great quarter.

The outlook going forward was also address in the report. The report quotes Edmond J. Pera, President and CEO as saying “International sales in the second quarter were especially strong contributing to the sales increase. We expect our margins to remain healthy for the remainder of this year thanks to raw materials pricing contracts that we have in place through the end of 2012. As usual, we will closely monitor the outlook of our material costs so that we can manage our margins appropriately. We currently do not have any plans to raise our selling prices and plan to use this pricing strategy to try and increase our market share. We continue to see a greater consumer awareness of pesto sauces in the market place which in our opinion could lead to overall market expansion. We believe that our current strategies are working well toward helping us achieve our overall objectives.”

Commodity prices had fallen during the second quarter, so the good margins during that time are no surprise. Since the beginning of July, however, commodity prices have been rising rapidly due to the ongoing drought in much of the country. If Armanino has locked in its cost of ingredients for the rest of 2012, the third and fourth quarter should also bring stellar results.

Even the report of strong international sales if important. We will have to await the full financials to be filed in a few weeks to see just how good these sale were. Any successful increase in the geographic footprint of the company is great news, however.

The market is responding well to the report. In the half hour after the report was released, the company's stock traded nearly three times the average volume for the previous ten days and the price rose by about 2%.

Today's report makes it more likely that in September we will see another increase in the dividend paid on Armanino stock. At the present price of 83 cents, the current dividend yield is 5.8%. If the stock hits the target price of $1.00 it will still yield 4.8% prior to any upcoming increases.

Now is the time to buy Armanino stock. It takes a day or two for the news on this company to get fully disseminated. As of now, the stock is a great bargain in my opinion.

UPDATE: As of 2:30 pm, the volume of trading has passed 100,000 shares. This is a level that Armanino hits only a few times per year.

DISCLOSURE: I am long Armanino stock. It is one of the largest holdings in the accounts I manage.

Obama's Focus on Jobs -- 2

You are not going to believe this. The White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked why it is that president Obama's "Jobs Council" has not held a meeting in over six months. Here is the relevant part of the answer offered by Carney:

No, there's no specific reason except that the president's obviously got a lot on his plate.

During those six months, Obama had time for something like 150 fundraising event, twelve golf outings, numerous bus tours on the old campaign bus, and all sorts of other events. I will not even mention the vacations. So golf, fundraising and campaigning took total precedence over trying to do something that might help create jobs for American workers. You would think that Carney would not admit this, but then again, it is still Washington.

More Bad Economic News

The weekly report of new unemployment claims is out this morning. The number came in at 386,000 which is 21,000 higher than the consensus view which was 365,000. One week's figures are not that important. What is important, however, is that the number is so much above consensus. Normally the variance with the consensus if between three and five thousand. This number indicates that things are significantly worse than the experts were expecting.

The Truth About Small Business

Here is a web ad from the Romney folks that really shows the essence of small business and the reason why Obama has got to go.

Unlikely Virginia Polls - 2

It seems that after I wrote about the divide in polls in Virginia between those of registered voters and those of likely voters, a new poll of registered voters was released by Quinipiac. This poll shows the race tied at 44-44. The trend in Virginia is clear. In the last three polls in the state by Quinipiac, the results have gone from 50-42 for Obama, to 47-42 for Obama last month to 44-44 now.

If Obama loses Virginia, he will surely also lose North Carolina and Indiana. Those are the three states in the 3-2-1 strategy for a Romney victory. It would be nice to think that the "3" part of the plan is in place.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Essence of Obama

For years, I have noticed that president Obama obviously thinks that if he says something it is just as good as if he does something. Indeed, Obama thinks that if he says something that is different from what he actually does, the statement is more important. The latest news about Syria shows this clearly.

After today's bombing that killed both the defense minister and the deputy defense minister who were at a meeting in the national security headquarters, news analysts are saying that the Assad regime may fall any time now. Reporters have been told by sources in the Obama Administration that there are now two goals of the USA. The first is to try to work with Russia to ease Assad out of office. The second is to explain to the rebels that America has stood with them all through their struggle with Assad. In other words, Obama's policy is delusional. Can you imagine the conversations with the rebels where American diplomats explain how we stood with them against Assad? It would probably go something like this:

Remember when you had protest marches in the streets during the Arab Spring and Assad sent snipers to shoot down random marchers. We told the world that Assad was a "reformer" that we could work with. We were with you then.

Remember when Assad started using heavier weapons to shoot down the protesters? We said nothing and we did nothing. We were with you then.

Remember when Assad started shelling whole neighborhoods of Sunnis that supported the protests? We had a spokesman say that we thought the shelling ought to stop. Of course, we did not even raise the issue at the UN. We were with you then.

Remember when the number of innocent civilians killed by the Assad forces reached 5000? We did nothing and said nothing. We were with you then.

Remember when the Turks and the Saudis wanted to help you with arms that you could use to defend yourself against the onslaught of the Assad forces? We put pressure on those two countries to refrain from arming you. We were with you then.

Remember when the number of dead from the Assad attacks passed 10,000? We did and said nothing. We were with you then.

Remember when Assad began to use tanks, artillery and even fighter jets against the neighborhoods where your people live? We called on Assad to stop, but took no action, not even at the UN. We were with you then.

Remember when you finally managed to get arms and to counterattack against the Assad forces in order to defend yourselves? We asked the UN to step in to stop the fighting now that it was no longer just a one-sided slaughter of civilians. We were with you then.

Remember when the Russians decided that they would defend Assad from any action of the UN that might authorize the use of force against his army? We melted away in the face of the threat of a veto by Russia. We did not even force the Russians to use that veto. We just let Assad go on killing under the protection of the Russians. We were with you then.

Remember when you finally penetrated the Assad forces and killed the defense minister and the assistant defense minister. That was this morning. Since it now looks like you will actually win, we are here with a message. We have been with you all along. Pay no attention to out past actions. Just listen to what we say now.

Only someone as delusional as Obama could actually have this as a policy.

Disclosure -- Full Disclosure

In the latest round of nonsense that seems to occupy the senate, various Democrats are proposing legislation that would require candidates to disclose ten years of tax returns. Obviously, the target here is Mitt Romney and the nonsense charges about his "failure" to release all of his old tax returns.

I think that it is time to call the bluff of the Democrats. I suggest that Republicans pass a measure in the House that requires all candidates for federal office to disclose their medical records, their college and graduate school transcripts and their last ten years of tax returns. Since president Obama has refused for years to release his college records, his law school records and his medical records, let's put front and center the secretive nature of the Obama campaign. As that loudmouth Debbie Wasserman Schultz would put it, Obama is running the most secretive presidential campaign in history.

There is a point to all of this. Rumor has it that Obama did not do well in college and that he gained admittance to Harvard Law School on the basis of affirmative action. His persona as the "smartest man in the room" would be severely damaged if we were to learn that he was just a C student in college. Also, there has been persistent talk that Obama was treated for serious depression when he lost his first try for the state legislature in Illinois about 14 years ago. Is Obama really sufficiently balanced to keep his head in a world crisis? The American people deserve to know the answer to this.

Oh, and by the way, if Obama would disclose his secrets, then Romney ought to disclose his tax returns (but not until then.)

Unlikely Virginia Polls

This week there have been two new polls in Virginia of the Romney-Obama race. According to Real Clear Politics, the average of the latest 5 polls shows Obama leading by 2.2%, but I noticed something quite revealing. Two of the five polls questioned registered voters. These polls show Obama ahead by 6.5%. Three of these polls questioned likely voters; it was not enough to be registered, there has to be an indication that the respondent will actually vote. These polls of likely voters show Romney leading Obama by 0.7%. This difference is not surprising; Republicans normally do better among likely voters than among registered voters.

As we get closer to election day, the pollsters will all switch to likely voters as the subject group. This should shift the results by one to three percent towards Romney. For what it is worth, a shift of three percent in the present polling would give Romney victory in more than enough states to win the race.

Obama's Focus on Jobs

In an interesting note, it was reported today that president Obama's Jobs Council has not even met for the last six months. Obama formed this group with great fanfare and said that it would advise him in his efforts to get job growth back in the USA. Despite this billing, Obama generally ignored the recommendations of the council. I guess that these folks know when they are being used, and they do not like it.

Maybe Obama should form a "higher spending council". With Obama's track record, that might finally lead America to reducing its spending.

Will Assad Soon be Gone

In the last day, there has been heavy fighting in Damascus, a bomb killed the Syrian defense minister and also the brother-in-law of Assad, a bunch of generals defected to Turkey, and reports came in that Assad was using chemicl weapons against his opponents. It looks like Assad's regime is crumbling and that he is going to use all means at his disposal including weapons of mass destruction to try to prevent that. Congratulations to the world community that is still sitting around as thousands die.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Obama has to stop the Tax Increase Nonsense

For those of you who think that taxes ought to go up on those who make more than $200,000 per year, here is a dose of common sense from the American people. It is a report of the latest McClatchy Marist poll:

A majority of Americans want the Bush tax cuts extended for everyone, despite a strong push by President Barack Obama to eliminate them on higher incomes, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

The poll found 52 percent of registered voters saying they want all the tax cuts extended, including the tax cuts for incomes above $250,000, while 43 percent want the cuts extended just for incomes below that threshhold.

Obama's Plan to SHRINK the Economy

Nearly everyone has heard that president Obama is pushing to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $200,000 per year. According to Obama, this is the fair thing to do. Even Obama does not claim that the tax increase will grow the economy since he admitted two years ago that such increases would be bad news during a time of economic recession. But today, we got a review of the effect of the Obama tax increase from and independent expert. The accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young issued a report that says that the Obama tax increases will shrink the U.S. economy by 1.3 percent and cause 710,000 job losses.

Think of it this way, last month the US economy created 80,000 new jobs. At that rate, the Obama tax increase would wipe away three quarters of a year of job growth. Only a maniac would propose increasing taxes in a way that will cause such harm to the American economy.

Obama has got to go!!

GasFrac -- Let's Calm the Waters a Bit

If you follow Gasfrac Energy Services, Inc. (symbol GFS in Canada and GSFVF on the pink sheets), you have probably seen some of the frenzied speculation about the recent price rise of the stock. Since hitting a closing low of $2.49 on June 27th, the stock has risen over 50% to its current price of $3.79. That is 52% in less than three weeks. Is something big like some additional long term contracts about to happen? Did some sort of good news leak out of the company? Will we hear that some large corporation is acquiring the stock? The theorists are having a field day on the internet sites where GasFrac is discussed. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to step back and to take a broader look at the company to see if we can discern what is going on.

First of all, the price rise is great. Most likely, however, it is just a bounce back from the extremely low price that GasFrac hit in its fall that took place after the first quarter results were released. Let's compare GasFrac to other oil service stocks over the recent past. There really is no other company that is exactly like GasFrac; no one else does fracking using liquid propane. We can compare Gasfrac nevertheless to companies like Trican Well Service (a major Canadian fracking contractor), Calfrac Well Services, Weatherford International and even Schlumberger Ltd. Over the last month, GasFrac is actually down about 4%. Weatherford and Schulmberger are both down but by a bit less during the same period. Trican and Calfrac are down by just a bit more than GasFrac. When viewed in this context, the GasFrac move does not look like anything other than a return from the depths back to a position where it is trading in line with its industry segment.

Second, the volume of trading in GasFrac has been light. Since the bottom of the price curve was hit on June 27th, there has not been even one trading session where volume for the day exceeded the 90 day average volumne of 372,241 shares. If leaks of good news or furtive buying ahead of a takeover were happening, volume would spike. Obviously, there would not be high volume every trading session, but at least occasionally it would be high. Instead, the average volume for the last ten days is only 54% of the average volume of the last 90 days.

What all this tells us is that the move in GasFrac stock is just the recovery from its being oversold. The key moving forward is still going to be the second quarter report in the beginning of August and particularly the conference call at that time. If the second quarter revenues meet those of the first quarter and the second half of the year remains on track to generate 65-70% of the total revenues for the year (all of which was predicted by management during the first quarter conference call), then the stock should recover further. If management lowers that outlook, however, the decline will likely be back. Simply put, the pressure is on; it is time for the company to perform.

DISCLOSURE: I remain long GasFrac stock.

Mahdi in Iran

There is yet another computer virus infecting machines in Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and some other countries in the Middle East. This time, the virus is actively spying on infected computers by taking screen shots, recording keystrokes, transfering documents and spreadsheets and forwarding email. What makes this virus unique is that it appears to have been written by people who speak Farsi, the main language of Iran. It also has files that reference the Mahdi, who is the equivalent of the Messaiah for the Shiite Muslims of Iran.

So who got infected? About 80% of the known infections are inside Iran. The sites include embassies, company offices and elsewhere. About 10% of the infections are in Israel. In that country, engineering firms that specialize in infrastructure design were hit along with other sites.

Is this the Iranian response to the Stuxnet and Flame viruses? It may be since it was written in Farsi. The timing seems suspect, however. The Mahdi virus seems to have first been planted before the Stuxnet issue became public. Of course, the Iranian government may have discovered Stuxnet earlier than we know and begun an attempt at countermeasures. And why would Iran infect sites in its own country? Surely, to spy on internal opponents of the regime.

The opinion of the virus experts is that the Mahdi virus is quite simple in scope and ability compared to Stuxnet or Flame. Nevertheless, it has managed to acquire many Gigabytes of important data.

So far, this entire topic has hardly been mentioned in the American media. It will be interesting to see if the subject ever surfaces.

Those Pesky Entrepreneurs

Last Friday evening in Virginia, president Obama had this to say about higher taxes on the owners of small businesses at one of his campaign rallies:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me - because they want to give something back. They know they didn't - look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.... If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.

It is hard to imagine a better illustration of the fact that Obama does not understand how the American economic system works. Business owners take risks, work hard, and -- with some luck -- succeed. For the most part, these business owners succeed despite, not because of, the government. These folks are the ones who create jobs, not the federal government. These folks are the ones who made America the richest nation on earth, not the government. These folks are the ones who provide innovation for the economy and better lives for the American people, not the government.

Obama has got to go.

Romney Picks a VP

Not really. I just have read so many articles that explain how Mitt Romney is close to picking Condi Rice, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, or someone else that I thought I should write one too. The truth is that no one knows who is in the final few contenders other than Romney and one or two advisers. THEY ARE NOT TALKING! So let's ignore all the stories and wait for the announcement.

Monday, July 16, 2012

After all, They are Only Syrians

In a new low for president Obama, he has told the Syrian opposition that the USA will do nothing to help the rebels fight off the army of Bashir al Assad until after the election in November. That's right, Assad's forces have been killing tens, hundreds and thousands of civilians with indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns, but America will do nothing. Assad is reported to be moving his chemical weapons into position for an attack using these weapons of mass destruction against his opponents, but America will do nothing. Russia is sending naval vessels to Syrian waters to protect its client Assad from the will of the Syrian people, but America will do nothing. Syria's neighbors Turkey and Lebanon have both been attacked by the Assad forces for sheltering refugees from the fight in Syria, but America will do nothing. Indeed, America will make sure that the Turks take no steps to confront Syria until after the American elections.

So there you have it. Obama, who solemnly told the world that American policy would not allow the USA to stand by and watch as Gaddafi killed a few hundred civilians who opposed his rule, is now telling the victims of the Syrian slaughter that their lives take second place to his re-election effort. It is as if the police in New York were to announce that they would no longer accept reports of crime because they wanted the announced crime rates to be lower during the next mayoral election. It is the lowest of the low. Obama thinks his political campaign is more important that doing what is right and moral.

My guess is that after an enormous amount of additional killing, the Assad regime will fall. At that point, Syria will come under the rule of its Sunni Moslem majority, and that new ruling group will treat America with the disdain that it deserves. These new rulers will know that in their hour of need, Obama spat on them.

Obama has got to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mining Royalties

Let's suppose that Exxon drills an oil well off shore in the gulf of Mexico about 20 miles south of the Louisiana coast. Right now, the Department of Energy is in charge of issuing permits and obtaining payments from Exxon for royalties generated from the well. Does it make sense to add another 7% royalty on that well with the money being sent to the United Nations? Should America send tens of billions of dollars each year in royalties for activities at sea to the UN for that body to divide up among its members? Do Bulgaria, Sudan, or Iran really have any claim to fees generated by the USA as its companies carry out activities off of American shores?

Clearly, the answer to this question is a resounding NO. But such royalties are just what would come with the so-called Law of the Sea Treaty that the Obamacrats are trying to get through the senate this year. The treaty was signed twenty years ago, and for the last twenty years, the senate has had the good sense to refuse to approve it. After all, why would America charge its own companies this royalty just so that the funds can be sent to other countries? You can be sure that none of the money raised by the royalties would find its way back to the USA. This would just be another money transfer from the USA to other countries.

According to today's news reports, there are now 34 senators who are opposed to the treaty. If that is correct, then there is no way for the treaty to get the two thirds vote in the senate needed for ratification. On the other hand, how many times have we seen senators "opposed" to something vote for it anyway. It is important for people to let their senators know that they are opposed to this treaty. Take the time to write now!

Regulating those who report credit scores

Did you ever get a credit report to check your score? Many of us have done that and gotten a score from one of the three big credit reporting agencies. Well, now the federal government is going to start regulating these credit reporting agencies. The consumer agency set up under the Dodd Frank law announced today that it would begin regulating the credit reporting companies in just a few months.

So here is the question: what will regulation of these companies include? No one knows for sure. In fact, even the government agency that announced it would start such regulation was at a loss to describe what the was to be regulated. There are no major problems with these reporting agencies. They are not perfect, but they seem to function well and without too many complaints. Why do we need a bunch of Washington bureaucrats to suddenly regulate these companies? All that will happen is that it will become more expensive for these folks to do business and the cost of getting a report will rise. I guess is it just your tax dollars at work destroying the economy.

The Great Campaign Debate

I got to thinking today about the debate taking place between Obama and Romney through the campaigns. It seems worthwhile to me to recap that debate.

Romney: We need to repeal Obamacare. It is too expensive and it is preventing the creation of new jobs.

Obama: Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs.

Romney: We have to change the tax structure to make it more desireable to locate a business in the USA. That will lead to more jobs being created in the USA.

Obama: We have to raise taxes on those who are successful even though I said in the past that raising taxes would prevent job creation. It is "fair". And, lets not forget that Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs.

Romney: President Obama has no plan to get the economy moving again. I do. You can read my 57 point plan on my website.

Obama: I am in favor of growth. Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs.

Romney: We need to open up federal land to drilling so that we can have more American energy. This will drive great economic growth in America.

Obama: Not only did Bain Capital invest in companies that outsourced jobs, but Romney is listed as the CEO on a few documents from years after he left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympic games.

Romney: We need to get control of spending on entitlements. If we do nothing now, we will go bankrupt in just a few more years.

Obama: Have you heard? Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs.

Romney: In January, America is presently scheduled for a massive cut in defense spending which president Obama's Secretary of Defense says would be a disaster for our security. We need to change that so that spending cuts in defense are made rationally and we are not left with an inadequate defense.

Obama: I am not saying anything regarding cuts in defense, but hey, Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs. Romney's being listed as CEO on some documents after he left Bain may have violated some SEC rules.

Romney: We need to improve education by focusing on what is good for the children, not the teachers. The children are the ones who need our help.

Obama: I support whatever the teachers' unions want. And, once again, Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs.

Romney: Obama is lying. Bain did not invest in companies that outsourced jobs while I was in charge. I was listed as a control person on some documents because I still owned a big chunk of the company, but I had no part in the management of Bain. I was busy at the Olympics.

Obama: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh........Bain invested in companies that outsourced jobs. Oh yeah, and Romney is rich. And his wife likes to ride horses. And people who were successful in business had nothing to do with that success; it was someone else who made it happen. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Honestly, I do not know how much more of this debate I can take.