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


Thursday, June 26, 2014

FLASH!!! Corruption Week – Court okays corruption by 6 - 3 Vote

Who in their right mind would take a position favoring Comcast, ABC, NBC, PBS and CBS as they disregard citizen access to open competition of America’s free airwaves and news and information flow?  

Well, six out of nine uninformed supreme court justices, that’s who.  Moving into technological territory totally unfamiliar to these six judges, they did what is predictable - voted for the corrupt cabal of government propaganda providers and the major networks and cable TV providers.
The Aereo decision rendered yesterday is not just a slap down on an upstart company with the strange business idea that the airwaves belong to American people, not the licensees granted unlimited control over them by a government bureaucracy.  It continues a pattern of decisions that ignore both the wording and the intent of the US Constitution.  Most of us can grasp what limited government means.
Not the US Supreme court.
When a freedom amendment says congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press it takes no legal genius to grasp what this means.  Unless, of course, you are a justice lost in the bramble of technology and special groups who line their pockets at the expense of the people who now suffer a constant abridgement of their freedoms because a court deems such a state of affairs to be business as usual.
Some will say – but the court must measure one right against another.  Patent legal baloney.  If the court cannot prioritize and recognize freedom of speech, press and information as being a tad more important than Comcast and the networks buying and selling speech, press and information packaged as entertainment to line their own pockets, it is time to revisit those words so carefully embedded in the Declaration of Independence –
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
A quick report from US Today captured the “winners and losers” in this misguided Aereo decision.  The winners – TV networks, movie studios and Pay TV providers – or, simply, Comcast.  The loser obviously includes Aereo who dared to bring local over the air broadcasts to their subscribers at a fraction of the cost of the entertainment cabal.  But the real loser is an informed American public.  They will get an increasing diet of a few big outfits merging the news with entertainment and government and just bad programming with one sure result – spectacular riches for them; no information or journalism or investigative analysis for the people.
This government does not work – literally and figuratively.  It is broken and not fixable.  Over 200 years ago our founders did their best to assemble a limited government responsible to the people.  All three branches now conspire with a few special groups to maintain power; line their pockets and build a massive government with no responsibility or accountability to the people.  In the meantime, as noted by our founders, the people suffer.
The court was set up to be the final adjudicator of weakness by corrupt government officials and bureaucrats.    Yet the court does not even grasp the issues at play with this law suit so they fake knowledge and pander to the forces they know – corrupt government officials collecting big dollars from faux information/entertainment providers .  They should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of courage and obliviousness as America descends into a militarized police state and they sit with their collective thumbs up their well padded behinds.
 
 


 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Corruption Week - one very costly example

Can you imagine going to a store – or a plumber – perhaps a gardener or just the local barber shop – and being told that the product or service you desire will cost you $XX but you will have to pay 1.64XX for your purchase.  In other words, you will pay 64% more for your purchase.  What happens to the extra 64%?  Well it goes to the service/product provider; basically into their pocket.  Think of it like organized crime - taking a big piece for the godfather and the captains all the way down to the wiseguys.

Look below, and you will see how much the listed states plus the feds add to each gallon of gasoline purchased.  In the next column we show you how those dollars are spent on each mile of road.  Hawaii actually uses the money they collect to build and repair roads.  They are not typical.  Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin don’t even come close.  All the states averaged out?  They collect 28.2 cents per gallon and spend on each mile of road – 17.2 cents; about 60 cents of each dollar collected.

The government payrolls grow; the average paycheck per government employee far exceeds that of the private sector worker; pensions and benefits for government employees are way out of line with the private sector; and the roads crumble; are not adequate for increasing traffic levels and traffic accidents and backups are epidemic.  In other words, the better and bigger roads necessary to support the private sector so that their workers can pay taxes to support all the government costs are put in the back seat – while the government employee sits upfront.

It just doesn’t work, anymore.

State
Taxes on gas (cents)
Dollars spent per lane-mile
California
52.9
43.5
New York
49.9
35.1
Connecticut
49.3
42.5
Hawaii
48.1
48.3
Pennsylvania
41.8
29.3
Michigan
41.4
11.7
Indiana
40.8
13.3
Illinois
39.1
20.5
Wisconsin
32.9
13.9
Ohio
28
18.9
Iowa
22
8.4
NATIONAL AVERAGE
28.2
17.2

Sources: Tax data is for 2014 from the American Petroleum Institute. Spending data is for 2012 from the Federal Highway Administration.


 

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Government watchdogs

Today we look at one of those government watchdog operations.

We are using these sources for this report:
http://www.avoidthescam.net/  This website is run by the secretary of state of the state of Illinois – his picture is prominently displayed on the webpage. Here is the wording accompanying the photo, “The Secretary of State Securities Department investigates investment fraud and assists investors who are the victim of fraud.”
Then we look at these news stories:

SEC charges Illinois for Misleading Pension Disclosures http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1365171513202#.U6Lr3ZUg_IU  

So, in Illinois, the secretary of state investigates investment fraud and assists investors who are the victim of fraud.  All right.  We can see from the news stories that we need it.
So, let’s look at these news stories.  The first one is an excellent piece by a Chicago Sun Times reporter detailing significant penalty costs to the city if their bond rating keeps dropping as it already has under both the new and the old mayor (by the way the specific deals analyzed were done under the highly acclaimed leadership of the old mayor.)
The next two articles deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission charging the state of Illinois with fraud.  Illinois agreed to settle the charges.  We also show the NPR report on the same fraud because it points out that only two states have ever been charged with fraud by the SEC – New Jersey and Illinois.  Americans wouldn’t seriously think about electing someone from these places to a high federal position would they?
So we have fraud in the state of Illinois in their reporting and we have Chicago betting on interest rates with some pretty big exposure to taxpayers.  So we looked to see how the secretary of state of Illinois with his view to fraud and investment schemes and looking out for the public dealt with these situations. 
Here is what we found:










 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Hillary Perspective

She obviously likes the attention – so here goes:

·         In case you have forgotten, it was just six years ago that she was the front runner for her party’s nomination for president.   JUST SIX YEARS AGO!  They abandoned her in favor of a novice; an unknown; and the rest is history; still unfolding.  Someone, somewhere in her Democrat Party know-it-alls might wish to analyze not why they picked the other guy but why they didn’t pick her.  This is not some right-wing false claim – her own party with its coalition of all black voters; most Latino voters and a large portion of white women voters did not want her.  Why?

·         She is not an attractive woman – America loves their celebrities – particularly the good looking, young women and men – they love the glamour and the imagery – a dowdy, chubby, pants suit covered up 69 year old?  Who is always right; never wrong – don’t think so

·         She exaggerates, constantly.  No, it is not accidental, it is neurotic.  Her most recent claim of poverty tells us she is not challenged in her inner circle, if she has one; instead they fawn around her.  If she were a republican she would be run off the stage by the media for her appearance; her behavior; her ignorance of issues; her lack of successful completions and accomplishments and her exaggerations

·         Lest we forget, she made up a story, out of whole cloth, just six years ago about landing under fire in a combat zone and bravely going about the people’s business.  All fabricated; made up in her self-benefiting  imagination to display something about her that she herself knows does not exist.  A less generous soul would call her a phony.  Let’s just say that she cannot be trusted and leave it at that

·         This world is vastly different than it was 20 years ago when Bubba took the oath.  At home, we are without a manufacturing base – illegal’s pour in thinking we can offer them a future – government unions, bureaucrats and lawyers now dominate much of our economy – we cannot repay our debt so we print currency and our legislators focus on anything but the above

·         Overseas, we are in need of strong alliances to contain a disintegrating scene.  We must build alliances that work with Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany and China.  Hillary is not respected in those places – due mostly to factors of her own making but also due to her gender.  This time in this world is no place for a silly, old woman who makes things up to look good
Our last three presidential winners were all men without accomplishment.  And their record, over 20+ years is horrible.  Our domestic economy is now attractive only to those who seek government employment – a sure sign of deterioration ala the soviet union collapse.  Speaking of which, from that collapse we now have a homeland dominated by gun toting, tank riding, swat team attired, privacy abusing, local and federal bureaucrats claiming a false mission of security.  Every major alliance of ours is in some version of decline in the midst of our domestic economy weakness and unchallenged Islamists and other opportunists going about their fanatical missions in Africa, the middle east and Asia.
We cannot discipline our own activities at home – we cannot build and maintain alliances abroad to contain petty challenges from Islamic opportunists.  On the domestic economy front, Ms. Clinton has no experience; on the foreign affairs front much of the deterioration occurred on her watch.  And we are thinking of making her president?   

 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Waiting to hear from Warren

We have referred to the Oracle of Omaha three times in the past five years:

·         July 21, 2009 – suggested he retire; see:  http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2009/07/retirement.html 

·         February 3, 2011 – suggested he and buddy Bill Gates fund the state departments wasteful foreign aid give away programs; see:  http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2011/02/leadership-series-man-with-plan.html

·         September 5, 2011 – we suggested Warren send a check for his $6 billion share of contractor waste in Iraq and Afghanistan; see http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2011/09/accountability-time-for-rumsfeld-and.html
Why did we pick on Warren?  He cleverly supported the trillions of dollars of wasteful government spending under Obama while cleverly keeping his own money out of the hands of Obama and his bureaucrat’s, that’s why.
Recently some French fellow with time on his hands has taken to yapping about the massive wealth discrepancy between the Warren's of the world and the rest of us.  He also has a solution – tax incomes over $200,000.00 at 80% and tax net worth (that’s your assets minus your liabilities) at 2% each year.

This fellow is getting a lot of press from the folk who were/are big supporters of Mr. Obama and his successful economic growth, expansion and job creating efforts (that’s sarcasm in case you missed it.)

We imagine Warren will be a big supporter of this idea but we haven’t heard any uttering’s from the Oracle recently.  What’s the matter Warren, frog got your tongue?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SNAFU

It is actually a military term – Situation Normal, All F****d Up.

We usually do not delve into matters military; for several reasons.  Our knowledge of military protocol, processes and law is limited and we all know that the military bureaucracy will only reveal information that serves its purposes.  Active duty military personnel are restricted from saying much if anything about what goes on.  The only real information comes from some of those who have left.
We do however value our ability to comment on leadership matters or, to be more specific, the lack of leadership that now is routine in Mr. Obama’s presidency.  We know that this man uses optics (visuals, speeches, staged events and spin) to serve his agenda.  We have posted on several occasions about the lack of connection between his rhetoric and results.  We also know he loves to take center stage when something happens that he can manipulate to his benefit.  We think this latest SNAFU is the direct consequence of bad leadership seizing what appears to be a positive event to deflect the growing dissatisfaction of Mr. Obama’s inability to see a problem; deal with a problem and solve a problem.
The problem (or, predictable event if you are justifiably cynical of this man and his minions now) was the Veteran Administration and the clever bureaucrats in that outfit who had figured out how to fake waiting times and processing times for patients for the sole purpose of achieving bonuses that they would otherwise not qualify for.  Does it surprise anyone that a bureaucrat would not think about improving performance to attain a bonus if they could simply create a fake report displaying improved performance, turn it in, and get paid?  The real problem, of course, is that everyone knows this but the faux leader who is supposed to stop it.
So Obama finds himself without cover – he yapped it up; blaming Mr. Bush and others for a non-performing VA; setting lofty standards for solutions and performance under his guidance, of course; and then moved on to solve the next problem.  Did he look back?  Check in?  Set some performance standards?  Measure actual results against the standards?  Have some follow-up meetings – kick some behind – bring in new managers?  We would not be carrying on with this essay if he did; but, alas he does not have a clue about what we just wrote.  He has never run, managed, or been responsible for running, managing or accomplishing anything.  He thinks lofty speeches are what it takes to get something done.
So, the sh** storm befalls his office – he fires the top guy – but along the way someone, perhaps even the great leader himself, sees an opportunity.  Hey, can’t we trade some Gitmo guys for this captured soldier; make a big deal out of it; we look good; the military looks good; and best of all; the media and republicans get off the VA mess?
Sure we can.  Let’s get it done.  We can bring his mom and dad to the white house; we can parade them around; I will escort mom; place my arm around her; show how much I care; mom will swoon; we can’t be sure about dad but we’ll work mom; bingo, VA mess gone; forgotten.
The best laid plans…..
A leader would simply say, “I screwed up.”  I tried to fake my way out of a mess I was responsible for and made a bigger mess.  No, we’ll take that back.  A real leader would never have played his role so perfectly in just one more SNAFU on this weak man’s watch.  Come to think of it that term – SNAFU – would make a great title for his book after he leaves office.
Closing comment:  what do you think they are cooking up now to deflect away from this situation?  A hurricane, perhaps?  Maybe put the spotlight on some sports figure?  Question him in his backswing?  We don’t know what or when but we can safely predict it will be soon.

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Loser Pays

                                             HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES AND CO-DEFENDANTS PAY
                                                 $15.75 MILLION SETTLEMENT TO FELD ENTERTAINMENT ENDING
                                                                                       14 YEARS OF LITIGATION


Unprecedented Settlement Brings Total Paid to Parent Company of
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus to More Than $25 Million

Groups Settle with Circus After Federal Court Determined Case
Was "Groundless and Unreasonable"

VIENNA, Va. - May 15, 2014 - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), along with their co-defendants, have paid Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, $15.75 million to settle cases stemming from a lawsuit they brought against Ringling Bros.® over the care of its Asian elephants. This historic settlement payment to Feld Entertainment ends nearly 14 years of litigation between the parties.

"We hope this settlement payment, and the various court decisions that found against these animal rights activists and their attorneys, will deter individuals and organizations from bringing frivolous litigation like this in the future," said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment.

In December 2012, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a former co-defendant in the case, settled its share of the lawsuits by paying Feld Entertainment $9.3 million. Today's settlement brings the total recovered by Feld Entertainment to more than $25 million in legal fees and expenses, which the company actually spent in defending the Endangered Species Act case.”

The concept of loser pays, in litigation, is universally accepted – everywhere but in the United States.  It is only when a defendant is willing to enter into lengthy, costly litigation and then prove the frivolous and/or fraudulent nature of the charges that an American court will force the accuser to pay the defendants costs.  Such was the case with the charges levied against Feld Entertainment of Ringling Bros circus fame.
In one of our first essays, in September 2009 (go to: http://thefundamentalsus.blogspot.com/2009/09/tort-reform-loser-pays.html ), TheFundamentals encouraged America to join virtually every other developed nation on the face of the earth in applying the legal concept of “loser pays” to all litigation.  Why?  It is the very concept that disciplines most every other interaction between individuals, groups and organizations today.  One must take responsibility for their actions and not just seek to use government and litigation to self enrich.  Most litigants avoid going to court – they settle – to avoid the uncertainty and costs of a jury or judge verdict.  Regardless of blame or culpability, they settle to get out from under the burden of time consuming and possibly very expensive legal costs.
Who benefits from this system? Cui bono?
Only one group of people – lawyers and more specifically, trial lawyers.  They love the system.  It is estimated that this corrupt system, benefiting only this selfish group of trial lawyers added $210 billion to American business costs in 2008 according to this source (see:  http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/articles/9493/fortune-500-total-cost-litigation-estimated-one-third-profits .) That’s about $3,000.00 per family in the US.
America has driven its commerce and business to foreign shores to avoid unnecessary litigation.  We cannot even begin to measure the accumulated devastation and cost associated with such foolishness.
Loser pays – simple change – already available everywhere – only the lawyers lose.  And, of course, the Democrats who depend on the rich campaign contributions which flow solely to them to keep this corruption in place.
Closing comment – Feld Entertainment had to fight these frivolous and erroneous claims for 14 years in order to prevail.  FOURTEEN YEARS.  $25 MILLION IN TOTAL COSTS!!!.  Do you think that is a "justice system?"  The only two groups in America that don’t see the injustice in that fact are trial lawyers and Democrats which is about all you need to know if you have ever asked yourself, “Why is America in decline?”