Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections upon my 74th birthday

Nothing much important happened in June of 1939. America was still mired in a long running Depression. Much of the rest of the world was as well. Around the world, many of the great powers were marching toward war, but it was not until September that the Second World War broke out with Germany's invasion of Poland.

It wasn't until December 1941 that America was attacked by the Empire of Japan, which unleashed the mighty power of our country against the Germans and the Japanese.

My Sis and I, of course, knew nothing about this until we were older, and  our early lives were not much affected by the war. The mobilization for the war did have the effect of ending the Depression, but with rationing, it was hardly noticeable.

Ice was still delivered for the ice box (no refrigerator then) and the milkman still delivered pasteurized (but not homogenized) milk to the back door.

The war was there, but we were confident we would win.

A 1944 picture in my scrapbook shows me with a military style  helmet and a toy rifle. I suppose this would not be politically correct now.

The war years went fleeing by. There was some awareness of what was going on, but the only real effects it had on our lives was the rationing. I can remember the stamps for sugar, gasoline and the like. Mother would use egg yolks on her stockings because they just could not be replaced. One didn't do much driving. Tires were just impossible to replace.

Toward the end of the war we moved to a new and larger house on the cliffs above Shoal Creek. Behind our house was a cliff, and below that a virtual wilderness, right in the middle of town. All kinds of critturs inhabited the area, and the creek had fish in it. This was paradise for a growing boy.

All of the boys in the neighborhood had a Red Ryder BB gun, and we almost daily deployed to the woods to hunt whatever we could find. It turned out that about all we could sneak up on were large red wasp nests in the trees. That earned us all numerous stings from time to time.

Later, in 1951, we moved to the South Plains. Talk about culture shock! But we soon got used to it, made friends of a lifetime, and went on about our business.

The post war years were fabulous for the most part. Our economy was sound and growing. Everyone was excited about what the future would bring. Perhaps every generation thinks that its coming of age years were the best years ever, but I don't think any generation had it as well as ours.

America after the war was proud, strong and very free. As yet, the government did not control so many aspects of our lives. It was limited in scope.

For many of those years we had a fear of nuclear war, but not so much until the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957. Suddenly, they had the means to deliver a nuke to our shores.

The "missile gap" among other things, led to the election of John F. Kennedy in 1961, with Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate. JFK was the first of a "new generation" to take office, and created a great deal of excitement. Although he made some errors, he also had some successes. His commitment to land a man on the moon and return within a decade was symbolic of the confidence Americans had in their country.

As Kennedy took office, a new generation of youth were beginning to come of age: the Baby Boomers. They were to change America in drastic ways.

With the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, the whole mood of the nation turned darker. Instead of having pride in our country, the Boomers had little but criticism. Over the next decade and a half, they changed our politics greatly. Everything became about race, gender and whatever other category that our people could be divided into. Instead of Americans, we became everything else: African-Americans, Mexican Americans, Anglo-Americans, American Indians; the poor; gays, lesbians, and so on.

The onset of affirmative action together with LBJ's War on Poverty divided the country into those who depended upon big government for favors, and those who just wanted the government to leave them alone. Too many have become dependent upon the government for their well being, and vote accordingly.

There is no argument that the poor should not be cared for, or that racial segregation was not terrible and needed to be ended. Racial discrimination just cannot be tolerated.  Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that should apply to everyone:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Perhaps everyone should be judged, not by their classification, but by their character.

Big business has always depended upon government favors. But what we now seem to have is an oligarchy that uses the various groups dependent upon the government to stay in control of the government. At least one can conclude that from a study of campaign contributions to political candidates of both parties. This is fine for the people that clip coupons for a living, for the big bankers, and for those who are entitled to various government benefits of one kind or another. But it is terrible for our great middle class and the small businesses that class depends upon.

Just take a look at how the huge financial institutions perpetrated some of the greatest frauds in history that led to the financial crash of 2007-08, and to the depression that has followed it, but have totally escaped prosecution. Then take a look at the political donations to our president for 2008. They were led by the perps, and it bought them the attorney general and his chief deputy for criminal prosecutions, both of whom worked for a big law firm that represented most of the  institutions. No wonder there have been no prosecutions.

There are plenty of laws. Since 1963, thousands of arcane things have been criminalized. There are thousands of pages of criminal statutes and tens of thousands of pages of federal regulations. Every citizen is presumed to know each and every one of them, however vague or arcane. Federal prosecutors have the sole discretion to bring charges, so the result is that if you make an enemy in the government, they can probably find some statute or regulation you may have violated, then prosecute you for it.

This gives the government almost unlimited power, far in excess of the powers it should have. If we have a Nixon, or as we have seen, an Obama, this creates a great danger to America.

If you want to know what happened to our country, just look carefully at the years between 1963 and 1980. The radicals that created so much change during those years now inhabit the Congress, the Administration, the government agencies, and our schools and colleges. We have instance now where a convicted terrorist from that era now holds a responsible job at Columbia University, and the leader of the terror group is ensconced at the University of Chicago and is a close friend of the president.

My generation failed to stop this. I am not sure we could have. Our politics is controlled by the big money not by ideals or principles.

Who is going to step up? Hopefully, the two generations that followed the Boomers will come awake and return our government to its proper course.

Certainly, we cannot return to the idyllic days of my youth. Too much has happened for that. But we can restore our country to constitutionally limited government like we used to have.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A bit of perspective

This month I was going to post a bit about my thoughts upon turning 74, but other things have arisen that needs to be addressed first.

We have all been reading about the "scandals" in the current Obama Administration. The last one, that of the NSA snooping, needs to be put into some perspective.

When the program was started in 2007, there was no really good software available to get a lot of detail from the program. Since then, software that can do amazing things has been developed. This is a good program, and could help combat terrorism if used properly.

Obama wants us to trust the government on this, and, IF we could, I would have no problem with it, as long as it was not used for other than combatting terrorism.

This is where the other "scandals" come into play.

From the beginning, the Obama Administration has just ignored laws it didn't like. They do not feel like they are required to follow the immigration laws, for instance.

The Justice Department is rife with favoritism. They will not prosecute lawbreakers like those responsible for the 2008 financial train wreck, caused almost entirely by fraudulent behaviors by banks and bankers. There are many other such issues. The entire department has been unduly politicized.

The Administration lied and lied over the Benghazi attack.

There is a whole litany of acts and omissions by that bunch which render them completely untrustworthy.

Congress needs to vigorously inquire into this NSA program to make certain the law is and will continued to be used to protect our citizens, and not snoop on them for political purposes. Protections need to be put into place to make them accountable to the people. Absent that, it needs to be stopped.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Making Believe; Or, What if You Suddenly Became President?

That interesting thought occurred to me this weekend as I sat on my back patio watching my English Setter make the rounds in the yard. What if an ordinary person suddenly became Presdident of the United States? What would ordinary folks want to do policy wise if they had the power?

So I thought I would ask on this blog: what policies would you pursue if you had the power? So, post yours here in the comments if you wish. I will share this on FB, so one can post in the comments there as well. Please be serious; if there is a demand for a similar, unserious, exercise, I will do a blog on that later.

In that spirit, I will post my first thoughts on policies to pursue below:

1. The first thing I would do is propose to Congress a Constitutional Amendment requiring that the Federal budget be balanced except in times of national emergency declared by the President, and approved by two thirds of the House and Senate. Such an amendment would need to include:

a. A time limit to bring the budget into balance upon passage of no more than 5 years;
b. A requirement that the budget and accounting therefore be according to generally accepted accounting priciples required of taxpaying businesses;
c. A requiremnt that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare be budgeted separately from the general budget, and require that they be maintained in a solvent situation according to actuarial standards required of the private sector;
d. Some reasonable method of enforcement.....I would deprive any Congressman or Senator who voted for an unbalanced budget of their right to hold Federal office, and cancel their retirements and benefits (LOL).

Getting this through the absolutely corrupt Congress would be a problem, I recognize.

2. I would propose legislation, including a Constitutional Amendment if necessary, to require full disclosure on a publicly available website within 3 days of all political contributions from whatever source and in any amount. Such legislation should also include:
a. A requirement that any organization that substantially engages in efforts to influence elections or legislation be included. That would include the large organizations that are tax exempt and free from any reporting now.
b. The legislation should also require prompt disclosure by elected officials and staff of contacts by lobbyists or campaign donors or their agents made with intent to affect legislation or actions by the executive.
c. Presence of lobbyists when legislation is being marked up, or rulings of the executive are being written, should be prohibited. Let the dang folks we elected write it all up. Keep the big money out of it.

Repeat comment about corruption in Congress (which also extends to the executive branch as well. Please note that aside from prohibiting lobbyists from writing their own bills or rulings as they do now, this only requires disclosure of there the money comes from.

3. I would order, or request legislation to require that before any Federal rule or regulation is adopted, that a thorough cost/benefit study be done, and that nothing can be adopted unless the benefits outweigh the costs.

4. Abolish, or drastically reorganze the following federal departments and agencies:
a. The Department of Homeland Security. This has become an abomination. The few useful functions that it serves can be put under other departments;
b. The Department of Energy. This organization hinders energy development, and has never been useful for much of anything. What it does that needs to be done can be done with a much smaller agency;
c. The Department of Education. This department has done irreparable harm to education. Matters of education, including the financing thereof should be left to the states and local governments. Most of them are hooked on the federal money, so that should be made to the states in block grants without strings, and phased out over 7 to 10 years.
d. The Federal Reserve should be abolished. It is a privately owned organization that was given total power over our money in 1913. It has used that power solely for the benefit of its owners. Functions of the Federal Reserve, including the Federal Open Market Committee should be moved to the Treasury, with strict prohibitions against the "revolving door" we see now between the big banks, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. It is time to bring control over our money back to the people and to their elected government.

Repeat comment about corruption. It is endless.

5. It has to go somewhere: bring the boys and girls (ground troops) home from overseas. Now. We should only have ground troops out of the country where they are required by treaty obligations, or are necessary to protect our diplomatic missions or existing air and naval bases. We need a strong Navy to protect our maritime interests and a strong Air Force to protect the homeland. We also need a good and mobile Army just in case, but they should not be deployed constantly like they have been.

6. The Drug War. This has to be discussed. I have been in the law business for 49 years. Have been a judge and before that a prosecutor. The one conclusion that I have come to is that what we are doing about drugs does not work. I have come to believe that it is counter productive is some ways. I would propose that a thorough study be done of very aspect of the drug situation, from enforcement to treatment. A thorough cost/benefit analysis has to be done. Drugs are a scourge upon our society, but so is the "war." Our policies on drugs, like before with alcohol, have created massive criminal organizations that are beyond our control. We have to reconsider what we are doing. If I had an answer, I would post it, but I do not. As a partial solution we might consider with marijuana what we finally, and sensibly, did with alcohol....legalize it, regulate its sale, tax the hell out of it, and prohibit driving and similar activities while using it. This is a terribly difficult area to deal with but we must find some answers somehow. We will need a lot of luck.

OK. I am going to stop. Criticism and comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree....I may end up disagreeing with myself. Just no personal attacks. That will not be tolerated.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

The DC Circuit opinion.

Very interesting. If this holds up, and I believe it will, this will end up putting even bigger limitations on "recess" appoints than ever.

Amazing that these days a Federal Court of Appeals will uphold the plain meaning of the language in the Constitution.

Will Obama appeal to the Supremes, or will he not take the chance?

Rand Paul to John Kerry: If it was wrong to bomb Cambodia without Congress’s approval, why is bombing Libya without approval okay?

From over at Hot Air. Kerry and the leftist Democrats are the biggest hypocrites in history, with a lot of lying as well.

Kerry thought bombing Cambodia to assist our own troops was somehow criminal without Congress' approval, but somehow it is OK to bomb Libya without any approval. And just because the President wanted to assist people who turn out to be our enemies.

Hope and Change.

Tar and feathers!

I see where West Va. Democrat Manchin can go along with stronger background checks on gun buyers.

You know, that sounds good, but who is going to do the background checks on those that steal guns? LOL

The current background checks would do the job pretty well if the governments involved would keep up the databases. Unfortunately, they will just throw up more red tape, but won't get the crazies in the databases. Silly.

But this is more about control that it is about guns, anyway. Am seriously considering re-joining the NRA just to thumb my nose at the controllers.

Doubt if I will be able to vote are support any politician that votes to "strengthen" gun control without addressing getting the crazies in the databases and taking steps to limit their capability to get possession of the guns. Democrats will probably oppose that simply because so many of them would make the list. LOL

Aussies hit black gold. It could be the equal of Saudi Arabia. You can bet they will exploit it. Just as you can bet that the Luddites (Democrats) here in the US will try to impede our development of our own resources.

These new processes are going to revolutionize the energy business, and all of the industries that need abundant energy.

That means a lot more jobs and a lot more commerce, while at the same time, it makes the Middle East more irrelevant.

That will mean that Democrats will fight it, just like they are fighting the Keystone Pipeline.

What in the world are those people thinking?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Romney Care bills finally come due. This is one of the reasons I had to hold my nose real hard when I voted for Romney. he is an establishment Republican, and like them, he is more of a Democrat than like a large part of the Republican base. It is the power of the establishment that keeps giving us the wimpy Presidential nominees. Time to say "no more."

Poor old Democrat Deval Patrick is now meeting the obligations that Obama will have to meet in a couple of years when Obamacare finally hits at full strength.

"The health reform that Mitt Romney passed in 2006 in Massachusetts presaged President Obama's, and its results are showing what we can expect nationwide. The latest warning comes in a huge new tax increase proposed by Governor Deval Patrick."

Chivalry is dead. The women's libbers have now reached the pinnacle of equality. Now they have an equal right to die in combat.

I am wondering how they are going to carry the 60-80 pounds of comabat gear. Will the guys in the unit have to help them?

This absurd bit of political correctness is just going to get some people killed.

But it is an insight into how Democrats think only politically, and not practically.


Update. NRO chimes in on the issue:

"What’s wrong with current physical requirement standards for infantry soliders? Is this official implying that more woman-friendly standards will have to be developed? The male/female upper-body strength difference is by now tediously well documented. There is no question that the average woman (and yes the average enlistee is often quite average indeed) especially in our overweight times, will have difficulty, say, carrying a wounded comrade to safety and walking for days dressed in full “battle rattle.” Study after study shows that women get injured at at least twice the rate of men — and this is in a military where women are not doing the most physically demanding jobs."

This just gets more absurd as time goes by. People will die because of this foolishness. Politial correctness has run amok. And it would not be politically correct for me to say what I really think, so I won't.

Boby Jindal is taking on the Republican establishment. A job that needs doing.

"“By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington, instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport (La.), and Cheyenne (Wyo.),” Jindal is set to say at one point in the speech. At another, he will argue that “Washington has spent a generation trying to bribe our citizens and extort our states,” adding: “As Republicans, it’s time to quit arguing around the edges of that corrupt system.”

He is very much on the right track. The whole Washington setup is corrupt and getting worse by the day. By trying to be Washington insiders, the Republicans have become as corrupt as the rest of it.

Our country is not Washington, D.C., nor is it the liberal northeastern corridor. It is all of us; but in Washington, only those interests are represented.

It is time for the people to take back their country from the corrupt politicians. If the Republicans won't do it, then we need to have another party.

More from Jindal:

“Our objective is to grow the private sector. We need to focus our efforts on ideas to grow the American economy, not the government economy. If you take nothing else away from what I say today, please understand this – We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of growth.”

This is what Romney and the establishmant Republicans forget. It is not about Washington, it is about the rest of us.

Slow day today. Other chores to do, and it is an absolutely beautiful day outside.

I did notice that Harry Reid's filibuster reform was agreed to by the Republicans, but accomplishes nothing except to save the rears of some democratic senators who now won't have to vote on gun control.

I think I would have preferred to make them actually vote on it. But they are safe now.

The story is here on HuffPo. They, of course, don't mention the gun control issue. And they quite naturally do not like it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The head of Germany's Bundesbank on monetary policy in the current situation:

Jens Weidmann: 'wrong and dangerous' to rely on ECB to resolve crisis

Central banks can only buy time:

 ""Monetary policy can only buy more time. It is like a painkiller which will not erase the reasons but can cause risks and side effects," he said. "

This is really simple, and most knowledgeable observers already knew this.

What are they buying time for? Do they even know, or are they just kicking the can down the road as long as they can until the whole world financial system blows up?

Whatever the central banks the world over intend to be doing, the beneficiaries are the very large financial institutions around the world. And it is all being done at the ultimate epense of the middle clsses worldwide.

Gold and guns.

A friend with whom I have done some business, Art Massey of Blanchard and Co. sent me this:

"The biggest impact the Bundesbank's (Germany's Central Bank) actions have, though, according to Brebner and Xiao (Deutsche Bank commodity analysts Daniel Brebner and Xiao Fu ), is that they lend further credibility to the shiny yellow metal.
The analysts conclude, "we view the repatriation and upgrade of old gold by the Western World’s central banks as a further positive in gold’s evolution as a legitimate form of money.""

This would be my view as well. It appears than the central banks are remonitizing gold without actually saying that they are.
After the CBs have their ducks in a row, and have their gold in their vaults, what will happen next? We all know that the huge debts in the world cannot be repaid, but they are all denominated in fiat currencies. Would the world governments pull an FDR and confiscate all privately held gold, then devalue the existing fiat currencies, and issue new money?
If they decide they can screw the majority of the people that way, they may well do it.
A question was asked in a poll the other day if the government tried to confiscate guns, would you give up yours? 65% said no.
Ask the same question about gold. Would you give up your gold (if you have any) so the government could screw you out of the value of it? People did under FDR.....and got screwed.

Quote of the Day:

"I know some of you may have a distressingly partisan view of the festivities in Washington. You may not be on board with all the jubilation. So look at it this way: Today marks the midpoint of the Obama presidency. In other words, this is hump day. It's all downhill from here!"

-Mark Steyn

The end of the Obama Administration is now getting closer every day. Well, that's a relief.

Will Britain exit the European Union?

Prime Minister Cameron has promised a referendum, but in 2017. Why the wait? I suspect that  he is afraid the the voters would really vote to do so. Of course, what the voters may want is not what the politicians want. They alwys "know better" than mere people about things like that.

Reuters has an article on this. I doubt there will ever be a referendum.

Big business and big government........cronies forever. To the detriment of all of the rest of us.

Tim Carney of the Examiner has a short piece on this.

"Big Business can afford the added costs of regulations. It can hire up the former senators as its lobbyists to tweak the rules. It can hire the former Food & Drug Administration Commissioners as its lawyers to work around the rules. And it will always get a disproportionate amount of the subsidies."

Who gets hurt? You got it. The little guys.

"Corporate-federal collusion was embodied in ObamaCare, largely written by drugmakers, vociferously supported by hospitals, and driving business to private insurers. Obama’s stimulus was a huge gift to corporate America, with its plethora of subsidies. In the fiscal cliff deal, Obama insisted on a raft of corporate tax extenders. Obama’s “New Economic Patriotism” is a dress for corporate welfare to wear to the prom. Obama supported TARP. He bailed out GM. He signed cash for clunkers. He has set new records in export subsidies. I could fill a book with this sort of thing."

Both political parties have sold out the middle class.

How optimistic are Americans? Well, Gallup has a poll out that says not very.

"Gallup: American Optimism Hits Lowest Point Since Carter Administration"

When you look at the clowns that are running the country, it is easy to see why. We have the worst president since Jimmy Carter, and the Congress could hardly get any worse than it is now.

A thorough application of tar and feathers is badly needed in Washington.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Texas without Federal money? Believing in the 10th Amendment

I see that Rep. James White has filed a bill in Austin that would set up a select committee to study what would happen if Texas lost its Federal funding. He says because the Feds might go broke, but what if Texas decided that the Feds demanded too much in return for the money. Seems like a great idea to me.

""We always talk about Tenth Amendment rights but there are Tenth Amendment responsibilities. If Texas is an independent nation or if we continue to be a part of the United States, which I am for, we still need to have a strong Texas," he said."

The Texas Tribune has the story. It is the best site that I know for Texas political coverage.

Would you give up your guns?

Bill Katz over at Urgent Agenda points out a new Fox Poll where that question was asked. The result was not a surprise.

"If the Government passed a law to take your guns would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?"

The answer: Defy the law and keep guns = 65%;  Give up the guns = 22%; Don't Know = 13%

A few years back, Canada tried to require its people to register their guns. So many refused to do so that they abandoned the attempt.

Why won't liberals ever learn?


Filibuster reform? The Hill has a story on Harry Reid's proposals to "reform" filibusters. Of course, Harry wants to be able to use his majority in the Senate to run over the minority even more than he has the past few years.

There are negotiations going on between him and Mitch McConnell, but Reid seems to often beat poor Mitch when the chips are down.

Of course, in two years, the shoe may be on the other foot, with Republicans holding  the majority.

I am afraid that the Senate has gone from a great deliberative body to an "in your face" no compromise, partisan group that cannot get anything done right.

Tar and feathers for them all.


Study: "Debt Problem Began Four Decades Ago"

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has let the truth out, if anyone will pay attention. Good old LBJ, with his War on Paverty and Vietnam War, both paid for by bringing Social Security revenues into general revenue (requiring the SS Trust Fund to take government IOUs) and by just borrowing money started the problem.

"[A]fter 1970, both revenues and expenditures increased on average relative to the previous two decades; however, revenue increased marginally while expenditures increased significantly... on average, the government spent 2.4 percent of GDP more than it received in revenue during the 38-year period."

There you go. All of these years we have been borrowing from the future for our instant gratification, and to allow the politicians to maintain their power at our chidren's expense.

Who will stop the madness? Not any of the politicians in Washington, that's for sure. Some talk a good game, but there is never a chance that spending will be controlled.

But what can't go on forever, won't. What will happen to the country when we run out of our kids' money?

The story is in Townhall.

The inauguaral address.

I know it happed. Did not watch it. Have not read it. Only know it happened from story headlines discussing it, but I have not read the stories. Don't intend to. It is a waste of one's time.

Also will not read, or read about, any Republican responses. Another waste of one's time.

When politicians of all stripes talk these days, it is virtually all lies and obfuscation.

Watch what they do. If you do, you will find little difference between them. They are all doing a very poor jobs for most Americans, but doing quite well for themselves and the very rich, particularly the big banks.

Time to throw them all out.