"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Television, Children and Adult Mediocrity

This essayist does not know how many Americans know a very simple guideline that is a formal part of the American pediatrician’s guide to raising a healthy child.  What is this simple suggestion? 

Turn off the TV.

If you visit the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org) and locate their page entitled “ Media and Children” here is what you will learn:

“Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.
Today's children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. To help kids make wise media choices, parents should monitor their media diet. Parents can make use of established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use.
The AAP recommends that parents establish "screen-free" zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children's bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.”
And, then, their recommendation ---
“Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

As Dr. Ben Carson would say, “This is not rocket science.”  It is common sense.  So, here is something that this one essayist does not grasp – we have politicians and bureaucrats all over the land commenting, propagandizing, assembling and legislating all sorts of rules and laws and guidelines on everything from the size of ammunition clips to the capacity of soft drink containers and the volume of water flowing through a toilet to the unusable and Rube Goldberg mandated “safety” cap on a gasoline can but we don’t hear about or see any publicity in our media about the importance of no TV watching by children under the age of 2 and limited TV thereafter.

Why could that be in a land with so many “public servants” dedicated to the well being, the very safety and development of our children?   In case you missed the simple, really just common sense, guidelines, here they are, again:

·       No TV for children under the age of 2
·       Children and teens – one or two hours total for all entertainment media
·       And then it should only be “high quality”
·       No TV, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms
·       No TV during dinner, and
·       Parents should monitor the media diet of their children

It would not be such a bad thing, would it, if American political leaders spent more time on this topic and less time on those topics covered constantly by the very media and entertainment outlets that those who we turn to when our children are sick tell us we should be doing without?  Put it another way – why is mayor Bloomberg on TV constantly, opining on everything that is not his business when his TV business is what he should be telling us to avoid?

American mediocrity – which is now abundant at all levels of governance – and education – and commerce – is well rooted in what our pediatric physicians call “entertainment media” and what TheFundamentals calls “Hollywood media.”  In many ways, TV is much the same as what Bernanke and Obama offer us in their fiscal promiscuity – something for nothing.  But TV does charge us a high toll – it’s called mediocrity.  We simply spend too much time wandering this wasteland.

Turn off the TV - good for the kids - good for all

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cartoon Contest – “I’m Here to Help”


America’s perpetual clown, Jesse Jackson, has arrived in Detroit.  That sign he is holding, with the red line crossing out EFM (emergency financial manager) is Jesse’s recent contribution to a town that has followed his advice and counsel to the letter.  If anything, Jesse should be taking a victory lap around the devastation – his antics and those of his political, bureaucratic and union allies are on clear display for all to see.  We sum it up in one word – bankruptcy.  A cartoonist, Mike Thompson, at the Detroit Free Press is offering readers an opportunity to help Jess out – just fill in the caption.  To enter this contest, please go to:  (let’s keep it family friendly)


 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Debtors Anonymous, Part I: Awareness

In the mid 2000’s, when asked about the housing price bubble – Ben Bernanke said, “What bubble?”  That piece of brilliant economic understanding provided the platform for Ben’s ascension to the top national banking job of the world’s largest economy.  This observation is a peek behind the curtain of the new “meritocracy” that dominates federal government bureaucracy – the bigger the screw up – the further up you go.

Speaking of going up, did you know that one can be addicted to debt?

Perhaps the most well known of all addiction rehab programs is “alcoholics anonymous.”   AA is very reasonably priced – but the rehab program has this one first step requirement – having to say:  “I am an alcoholic.”

For the sake of our discussion, let’s call that first step “awareness.”  Is Ben an alcoholic?  As far as we know, no.  Ben’s addiction involves you, me and the fellow/gal next door.  It also involves the fellow at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his congressional cronies and his millions of bureaucrats and his many millions of special interest folk and their voting members.

Ben is addicted to giving them something for nothing – by funding new debt that can never be repaid.  Ben is showing no signs of awareness of his addiction.  He is rationalizing – making excuse after excuse, usually worded as follows – after 2015, we will get the house in order, stop printing US currency and unwind the trillions of dollars of debt we have put on the nation’s banks balance sheet.  Sounds like – I will change after the first of the year – go on a diet – stop drinking – it’s under control – I know what I am doing – just give me a little time.

If Ben were to attend a meeting of “Debtors anonymous” – yes, there is such a group (see:  http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/ ) – here is what he would face:

“15 Questions

1. Are your debts making your home life unhappy?
2. Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work?
3. Are your debts affecting your reputation?
4. Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself?
5. Have you ever given false information in order to obtain credit?
6. Have you ever made unrealistic promises to your creditors?
7. Does the pressure of your debts make you careless of the welfare of your family?
8. Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness?
9. When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief?
10. Does the pressure of your debts cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
11. Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk?
12. Have you ever borrowed money without giving adequate consideration to the rate of interest you are required to pay?
13. Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation?
14. Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure?
15. Do you justify your debts by telling yourself that you are superior to the "other" people, and when you get your "break" you'll be out of debt overnight?"
 
Reminder - you have to answer honestly.   #11 is our favorite but #'s 3, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 14 sure strike close to home.   Actually Ben and Barry, both, need to answer these questions.  But then again so does congress and all those public servants – literally millions of them and their union masters.

The fact is they don’t care.  They are addicted to debt – they are not even close to admitting it and the closest thing we, the people, had to an intervention opportunity last November turned into a big kumbayah moment for the “zero interest rate – run the printing presses 24/7, “what debt?” group. 

What is the first step of the debtors anonymous rehab program?   

“1. We admitted we were powerless over debt--that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Powerless over debt – America is powerless over debt.  Try these words on for size: “ I, _________  __. ____________, am powerless over debt.  My life has become unmanageable.”

There, you just took the first step toward dealing with our problem.  Too bad you’re not Ben Bernanke or Barry Obama.  Ben and Barry - may sound catchy to some - but if you have any basic beliefs; any foundation in common sense; any fundamental financial responsibility you recognize these two for what they are - common, run of the mill, debt addicts.

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let Us Pray...

 
 
...for this humble man - Pope Francis.  This man of peace.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mayor Big Gulp and the Toilet Lady – American Busybodies

Due to our free association style essay writing (some call it "rambling") it will take us a bit to tie this all together so let’s get started.

A lone senator has resurrect a great American word – busybody. 

Our American English is sometimes lacking in really good, descriptive words to capture one concept – one situation – one description so apt that the single word burns an everlasting image of clarity of what one is attempting to depict.

TheFundamentals, in describing this current administration has used one word:  debt.  Massive debt.  Endless, burdensome debt.  The kind of debt that destroys individuals leaves families homeless – split asunder, impoverished; debt that takes once great cities like Detroit, Oakland, Newark, Philadelphia and Atlanta and leaves them rusting, crap holes filled with beggars and ne’er do wells.   Obama debt is eternal – give me your children, your grandchildren and everyone that follows, so that my voters can get some crap today.  No, we don’t want to pay for it – let the grandkids pay.  Is there one word to depict the horror that Obama and Bernanke have imposed on every living and unborn American child?  We use debt but that one word does not capture the essence of the damage Obama, Bernanke and their foolish congress and bureaucrats have wrought.

A new fool has popped up in New York.  Just as it appeared that Mr. Obama was about to comprehensively (aside – here is one more word that politicians and their mid level IQ bureaucrats and their stump dumb union masters use regularly when what  they really mean is an easy way out of a massive problem they have created.  Their solution, of course, will cost hard working, private sector working taxpayers dearly with even lower personal income after the “comprehensive” solution is implemented) embrace debt as his personal word for his eight years in office – just as we at TheFundamentals figured everyone was going to see what a fiscal and financial disaster history will bestow on America’s first black president; along comes one more glory seeker to push Mr. Obama aside and take the spotlight.

Why would a billionaire go out of his way to make his bones – his everlasting image – his reputation – his legacy – about downsizing big gulps?  Is there a word to describe this fool?  One word that captures the essence of a successful man who wants to be president (aside:  since when is that top job so appealing to the dimwitted; the extraordinarily vain; the least among us?) and chooses to run on the platform of limiting the size of a soda drink?   Is this the equivalent of a confession or perhaps a revelation that being a big success in business is not tied to skill, capability, leaning-in and hard work?  Or, even worse, have we at TheFundamentals missed something with all our focus on financial and personal responsibility? On debt?  All this time, was the real issue – soda pop?

This brings us to our topic for the day – busybodies. This one American word: busybody conveys a vivid image.

Senator Rand Paul is not a successful businessman – he seems like a regular guy – the type of man who has values and takes care of his responsibilities – we call this type of man a hero – but he sure didn’t fall far from the tree, did he?  Please listen to Senator Paul, using this great American word, address one of Washington, DC's busybodies –


Friday, March 8, 2013

Gun Control Works

A few weeks back, we published an essay that contained a “gun control” compromise proposal.  That essay did not set well with some of our readers and supporters.  This essayist is quite aware that the existential motivation for the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with hunting or Mr. Obama’s new found passion for skeet shooting - something that may serve him well if and when he relocates to Chicago's south side.  It has to do with defending liberty and freedom – from challenges both within and without.  Period.  TheFundamentals is also quite aware that more death – more extermination – more misery – more family devastation is wrought by governments than any other person or persons on the face of the earth.  The 20th century provides a very vivid memory of this fact.  The 21st century shows little sign of change.  Please watch the following:



Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Morbidly Obese

If you ask a doctor what are the health problems associated with morbid obesity, she will tell you the following:

·         Cardiovascular disease
·         Diabetes mellitus type 2
·         High blood pressure and cholesterol
·         Obstructive sleep apnea
·         Some cancers
·         Stroke, gout and birth defects
·         Fatty liver disease
·         Osteoarthritis
·         Depression and social stigma
·         Asthma

And if that’s not enough, most morbidly obese individuals feel crappy, lack energy and have significantly reduced ambulatory capability.  To get a first hand observation of the morbidly obese and their physical limitations, visit any Walmart store during daylight hours.

Beside Walmart where are you most likely to find the morbidly obese?

No, we don’t mean Costco or Target; McDonalds or the donut store.  We are seeking the country or countries where most of the morbidly obese live.  Where do you think that is?  Well, rather than visit all the countries of the world and do a survey, some clever fellow or gal came up with this idea – figure out where people live who buy the most calories at the food store(s).  Take a look at this map of the world:


The dark reds indicate the highest level of available average daily calories per person per day (food bought).  As well as we can tell by looking at this map which we found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_map_of_Energy_consumption_2001-2003.svg  – those with the most food available per person per day live in Greece, Italy, France, Portugal, Ireland and America.  And, that tiny speck at the top of South America is French Guiana – we think.  By the way, the dark red represents 3,600+ calories per person per day.  It’s tough to not add a few pounds consuming that much food daily.

It occurred to us as we were researching this essay and writing it that there is one more common link between these countries – at least the European countries and America.  And you know what it is – massive government spending, massive government deficits, massive unemployment, massive debt, massive economic and fiscal and financial problems and, most importantly, massive waistlines.

This discovery of this connection between waistline size and economic output – an inverse relationship, reminded us of one other discovery made in our youth as we traveled to various earthly locales – the closer any society was to the equator, the less that society produced.  In other words, one just doesn’t work that hard when it always hot outside.  Ditto if you are morbidly obese.

Sometimes you don’t need a PhD from Harvard to figure out what’s going on.  Sometimes you don’t even need a PhD.  Just a map, some common sense and a few calculations will do.

 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just the Facts, Ma’am – Federal Government Spending

We offer the following as a public service and a quick reference in case you are in a discussion with someone who expresses opinions and positions but has few or no facts. 

It is projected that the federal government will spend $3.8 trillion this year.  So, keep that number in mind – the cuts that are being implemented range in estimate from $40 - $80 billion or one to two percent.  For Oprah, a weight loss of 1 or 2% is either skipping a meal, a walk around the block or a teaspoon of milk of magnesia.

But, some are claiming that that one or two percent is Armageddon – makes you almost wish that the cuts were 21 or 22 percent just for the pure entertainment value.

Back to the numbers – Mr. Obama and his executive department and all the programs and goodies and subsidies and tax breaks and tax credits and all that obamacare (that’s his law to lower medical costs while expanding coverage) and social security and Janet Napolitano flying around the country in her private jet releasing the few illegal immigrants that were detained – it all adds up to $3.8 trillion dollars.

So what was it when Mr. Obama took office?  In 2008, Mr. Bush’s last year in office (here is a true dilemma – which is worse – Mr. Bush finally leaves office or Mr. Obama arrives in office?)  Bush and his gang spent $3.0 trillion - $800 billion less even though Bush had all his wars going full steam.  The deficit this year, 2013, is projected to be $900 billion which is just one reminder that the increase in spending under Mr. Obama accounts for almost the entire deficit – that’s a fact. 

More facts.  Do you remember Bill Clinton?  Just kidding.  In Bill’s last year in office – 2000, just before the dimwit, ‘er, we mean, the Bush kid, came on the scene, what do you think the federal government spent?  Compared with the $3.8 trillion this year and the $3 trillion in 2008 when the Bush kid was getting ready to leave town?  Just 13 years ago?  How much do you think the federal government spent on all those things described above?  Are you ready for this?

 

$1.8 trillion

Less than half as much - $1.8 trillion in 2000 compared with $3.8 trillion this year. One other way of looking at this situation – it took the federal government over 220 years to build its annual spending to $1.8 trillion and then it more than doubled that spending to $3.8 trillion in just the last 13 years.  Folks, that’s just plain nuts.

Scary isn’t it?  In 13 years, Bush and Obama have more than doubled federal government spending.  And a lot of that increase is on Bush’s watch – so let’s not ignore the shared responsibility for this mess.  And let’s not lose sight that this dramatic spending increase is also the source of all the clamoring by all the special interests who have grown accustomed to getting their piece of it.

In the last four years, Mr. Obama could have controlled that spending – all he had to do was do what he said he would do in the 2008 campaign – cut unnecessary spending; cut waste; make the government work and also implement two little things – a tax increase on the well to do matched with spending cuts as described above.  Had he done that – all would be well and his progressive/liberal agenda could live on and on.

Instead, he has done the opposite of what he said he would do and, in so doing, has guaranteed an end to his promiscuity – either via the people demanding fiscal and financial responsibility or the bond market – the lenders, imposing it.

We don’t need a revolution in America.  We need a reduction.  We need to go on a diet – it’s not just our waistlines that have doubled to an unhealthy size.  And an inch or two will not suffice – we need to lose a foot or two.  We are fat – obese – morbidly obese (see our next posting, please.)  The reason the America economy no longer works is because the American people no longer work.  We’re just too darn fat.

Those are the facts.  All of our numbers and facts are sourced at:  www.whitehouse.gov