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


Monday, August 31, 2015

This thing of ours

Our perspective, so far, on this presidential race due to climax on November 8, 2016:

·         It’s a media circus
·         Three rings; three clowns (leading candidates, at this moment):
o   Hillary
o   Donald
o   Bernie
§  Do you see the similarities?  Such as:
·         All Easterners – two New Yorkers, one Vermonter
·         Really three New Yorkers –  Vermonters are mostly New Yorkers who have the $$$ to either seek temporary relief from NY or just leave NY because they can’t compete
·         Very similar pitches to their audiences:
o   You’re getting screwed by:
§  The rich
§  The powerful
§  The government (special interests)
§  Stupid and greedy people (bureaucrats)
§  The media
§  But, not me, of course
·         Let’s look at them individually:
 
o   Hillary – her power base is:
§  Disenchanted females:
·         Been worked over by a guy or six; need to get some payback; get into the game; get their piece of the pie
·         Never been appreciated for their “looks” or “skills” or “accomplishments” or “brains”
·         Always trying out some new hairdo or fad diet, maybe yoga; tend to dress in garish, loud colors; looking for that outfit that brings out their inner beauty – the real “me”
·         Common characteristic – attitude, lots of attitude
·         They want someone who will work the system from the inside and make things right

o   Bernie – his power base is:
§  Other disenchanted’s:
·         As you know, Bernie is a “socialist” and he has plenty of company in Vermont, New York, and the congregations of “higher learning” in the north eastern states –  “the ivy league” and “the seven sisters”
·         Bernie’s disenchanted are really Barack’s disenchanted.  Both wish to spread the wealth around and why not?  Sounds good; simple solution; easy to grasp; even easier to sell
·         Think of the socialist solution this way – the tooth fairy.  Put something worthless under your pillow at night; wake up in the morning with cash.  Six year olds love it.  So does the Bernie/Barack power base

o   Donald – his power base is:

§  The non-disenchanted who think the disenchanted need to work, save, raise their children and discipline themselves as well as share these commonalities:
·         Anything is better than following upset women and socialists
·         Why?  Because there is no evidence that anything they lead us to has ever worked, anywhere – best current examples:  Greece and Italy
·         Other commonalities:
o   Government is a burden to be minimized
o   Borders and laws probably should be obeyed
o   Government does not attract energetic, smart people (BTW, the disenchanted do share this view when republicans are in power)
o   Prefer some form of periodic payment (interest) for their savings accounts
o   Believe debts should be repaid, within the debtors lifetime
o   And, last, adhere to an atavistic concept of individuality for most things in life
Here are the three:
Bernie – the tooth fairy

Hillary – engaging in retail therapy with friends
 


Donald – made a fortune building buildings for rich people to either live in, shop in, gamble in, or all of the above
 

This thing of ours (campaigning) has started way too early; it is a circus – free content for our Hollywood media.  Financed by taxpayers and we have not heard one of the ringmasters (clowns) detail how much spending they will cut so that the tax burden can be alleviated.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Obituary: Keynesian economics, the General Theory (1936 – 2015)

So, after all the Keynesian stimulus spending – all the borrowing to finance the Keynesian deficits – all the currency printing and distribution by the national bank to make sure the bonds with all the zeros were "bought" – all the low Keynesian interest rates – all the brief, momentary increase in demand for commodities and consumer goods – all the restated and revised and recalculated economic metrics and strange unemployment statistics that only count those who are “looking” for work or some such Keynesian rationale – we ask, using our highly trained and disciplined Keynesian economics mind overflowing with our grandiose Keynesian vocabulary, “Where’s the beef?”

Europe is in the doldrums, economically that is (at least we're not alone.)  High deficits – high debt – low productivity – zero economic growth that is actually negative if anyone bothered to do a real inflation adjustment as opposed to the political calculations that now substitute.  Those states that have religiously followed the General Theory; you know them as Greece and Spain and Italy and a few more, all busted.  Bankrupt.  Awash in debt up to their eyeballs.  Cannot survive without handouts from the winning states that do not embrace your rabbi, your pastor, your imam – John Maynard Keynes (1883 – 1946.)
Were Keynes to reappear and revisit the application of his General Theory – save for a rainy day; spend when the clouds and downpours arrive – get back on track – repeat; he would probably point out that you/we did everything he offered except the first step – the save for a rainy day step.  Instead he would point out that we stimulate modestly or moderately or even generously when times are good (no rainy day savings needed when times are good) and then we accelerate into the stratosphere  when times are bad.  What is left?  Print money.  Devalue.
Keynesian economics is dead for all who think.  For those who don’t which is now most of the democratic republics of the west (question for those who think beyond the moment:  do the Islamic republics follow the General Theory?) we suggest that the leaders continue vigorously with their well established behaviors – tell the people things are good and getting better; jimmy the stats and revise as needed to justify their behavior; steal and accumulate as much as possible from the public tax revenues that were collected for public needs; and keep the G-V’s close at hand, fueled and ready for immediate take off.  Get you to your island retreats in the sun.  With the high walls.   Where you can sip smooth scotch – work on your tan (or golf swing) and live out your days giggling over the heydays of the General Theory.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

China obfuscation? Or just our Fed?

These days one would think that China is our blood enemy.  The accusations against them are plentiful:

·         Currency manipulation – people with not a smidgen of economic/trade/monetary policy knowledge or curiosity are bandying that indictment around
·         Trade imbalance
·         Trade deals.  This one is now hot due to one well media covered candidate who has used it as part of his “traction” campaigning – building the vote
·         Stupid American trade dealing (see above)
·         Economy slowing.  This one we get quite the kick from – our own economy stinks; has stunk for years; so all we do is rearrange the numbers; the statistics, the metrics and measurements to make it look better
·         Pictures of unoccupied buildings, some brand new, and other indications that China growth is a Hollywood set – shiny and new and pretty but nothing behind it
·         Control of information.  Closed society.  Have to pry out each tiny piece of data or report and then still need to worry about its consistency or accuracy
·         And finally, let’s face it, they still are commies and we know we can’t trust commies.  Look different, act different, etc., etc.
Had we structured this essay a bit differently – listed some of the above characteristics but posed them as questions without identifying the source/culprit we could very well have been speaking about America.  With one very notable difference.  We know that we owe them – China and many, many others a pile of money.  We know that we send much more money and intellectual know-how and designs and expertise to China than they send our way.  We know that what we get from them is output – lots of output, quality questionable.
Back home, where we pride ourselves on our high standards, we know this:
·         We have no clue how much money we, as a nation, owe.  Never been tallied.  We don’t know how much some of our cities and counties; our school and park districts; our very largest states owe much less how they will be able to repay the amounts we do know about
·         We know that we have an official “territory” in our country that is in a state of default.  Missed interest and principal payments on its debt
·         We know that many of our other states and their own political subdivisions must borrow more, increase their debt, to meet current obligations for debt service as well as ongoing, repetitive operations items such as payrolls and pension payments.   This is the classic definition of “insolvency”
·         We know that the last time our own national bank (Fed) raised interest rates was about ten years ago.  Raising interest rates is a routine monetary policy move indicating the economy is strong
·         We also know that the Fed has dropped rates as low as possible and they have been as low as possible for seven years.  Low rates means the economy is not strong
·         We also know that our own unemployment rate has been jiggered to make it appear strong vis-à-vis past measurement periods.  For political reasons.  Apparently it is okay when we jigger numbers or obfuscate facts or simply don’t address problems.  But it’s a big no-no for others to do the same
·         And we have no clue as to what happens next given our own economic situation because the Fed refuses to be specific about what happens if our economy gets even worse than it is
·         Oh, we overlooked one thing.  China is building and growing an economy – actually in a state of the most significant economic transition in the world’s history.  Similar to our situation in the early and mid 20th century.  How good were our statistics and reporting 75 or 100 years ago?
·         Last, we know this – Keynesian economics, based on the so-called “General Theory?  Doesn’t work.  Either the theory is flawed or the theorists are flawed or the practitioners are flawed.  Most likely, all of the above
We doubt very much that what is going on; the uncertainty that is now rampant; with the market taking away wealth rather than building it, a task normally reserved solely for our beloved government and its tens of millions of well paid, well benefited and very, very well pensioned bureaucrats, will end well.  We also know that these many governments across our land, today, are stronger, bigger than ever and gearing up for elections in a year.  So we know we are sure to get some very interesting observations with a much greater than usual smattering of finger pointing and, isn’t it strange, we are pointing our finger(s) at China instead of the outfit right here at home?  The one with the log in its eye.  The Fed.  And its endless, live for today, pandering to these governments.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Les héros américains - In their own words


The heroes are:  Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone (injured not on this video) and Chris Norman (Brit)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Another fine mess

The two newcomers – never before seeking the top political job – could not be more different, could they?

One thinks the answer is more government control or outright ownership of the economy.  He believes that capitalism is behind our malaise.  The greed of those who own the production and commercial activities of the nation has come home to roost by taking not just a good, healthy share of the output and its profits but by grabbing the lions share.  The rich get richer and the poor have children, would be a workable campaign slogan for this man.  And he will fix it.  The masses are wandering into his tent by the thousands, without any form of inducement or the managed way his principal challenger sets up her audiences and messaging.
On the other hand, the others who have long suffered but not silently, they’ve got so many wannabe’s its boring.  Each one is thinking – this is their chance – go for it – surely America will not wish to extend the malaise of the last 10 years or so.  Surely, change will come our way.  Its gotta be my/our turn, yes?
Mostly governors and senators.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Telling us how they fixed this and that and I can do the same for the country that I did in Wisconsin or Ohio or Florida or wherever.  But no one believes them.  So a showman, shows up, with no political experience, thank the gods, and no concern about saying anything other than what all the others, the senators and governors might have been thinking but were too afraid to say.  He is one of the rich fellows the other guy (see above) blames for the mess we are in.
One guy, the socialist, wants to be Robin Hood – the other guy basically tells us, he has been robbing the hood.  Big time.  Billions.  But it’s all legal.  And he can fix anything because he is a capitalist.
So, now what?  What the heck are we to do with this fine mess you got us in Barack (maybe we just call him – Ollie?)


Monday, August 17, 2015

Immigration reform - à la Trump


Here are a few specifics (details) from the just released Trump plan –
·         Triple the number of ICE officers
·         Nationwide e-verify
·         Mandatory return of all criminal aliens
·         Detention—not catch-and-release
·         Defund sanctuary cities
·         Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa
·         Cooperate with local gang task forces
·         End birthright citizenship
·         Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs
·         Requirement to hire American workers first
·         End welfare abuse
·         Jobs program for inner city youth
·         Refugee program for American children
·         Immigration moderation
Read it in its entirety at:  https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/immigration-reform  The several paragraphs on controlling the border and getting Mexico to pay for it is alone worth your time.
Put together it is the most detailed plan we have ever seen, involving common sense and reality, from anyone seeking high office.
Compare it with the generalities and gibberish offered by Mrs. Clinton – here is a snippet: 
“The American people support comprehensive immigration reform—not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it strengthens families, our economy, and our country. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, treats every person with dignity, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.”

 

 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pride before the fall

Old expression – Bible based – Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

While cavorting with his ancestors (well, half of them) in Africa the other week your president must have been feeling his oats because he was quoted as saying, ““Under our Constitution, I cannot run again.  I think if I ran, I could win.”
Now if you are or think you are a thinking American these few words, uttered by an American president in a land beset with wealthy, embedded dictators, kings and potentates has to qualify as one of the most incredibly arrogant and stupid remarks ever uttered by an American leader who claims to be the leader of democracy and democratic movements anywhere.
Or, you can just be charitable and write it off as youthful foolishness – pride; hubris seasoned with a strong sprinkling of arrogance and stupidity.
We are tempted to say – give it a go Barack.  Tell your harridan; your novitiate that you want to keep the job.  Why not?  You have not paid much attention to the constitution heretofore.  You have created a mess of lasting significance with no apparent solution other than free college, free health care, free abortions, free food and useless but free diplomacy for both our allies and our enemies.
Who is going to want to clean up this mess of yours?
Well, take a look at the candidates.  On your side – a woman who hides out in plain sight.  Refuses to take questions and when a few softballs are tossed, she smiles, grins and utters meaningless trite.  A socialist who must have a few screws loose because every time we seek just one example of a thriving, large example of socialism wonderment we always end up finding dust, despair and African style despots.
On the other side we have a collection of governors, senators and other statists who, for the most part, are part of the government can do it crowd.  The three who stand out – two business people and a doctor are usually dismissed in part because they are not part of or do not curtsy to the government gone wild crowd.  Go figure.
So, Mr. know-it-all; Mr. what constitution?, we say – give it a go.  We hope you studied some of your African government leaders and saw how they do it – how they govern for decades and we imagine you probably took note of the fancy dwellings they occupy and the vast wealth they have accumulated.  Clinton style.  Give it a go Barack.  Let’s see if you put your time and energy and money where your mouth is.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Extreme silliness

Have you ever watched a local evening news cast in a small or smaller town?  There is always some badly dressed guy and some gushy girl and a few “technical” difficulties livening up a bunch of happy talk chatter about the weather and the local sports teams.  The  “news” personalities do this one thing – they try too hard and in so doing they make the news about them.  Their personalities; their perceptions; their self importance.

We have actually praised Megyn Kelly in the past.  Suggested she get the moderator job at Meet the Press.  We were wrong.  We have never been a fan of Chris Wallace.  We think he fits perfectly into the badly dressed guy described above.  Bret Baier?  No opinion, jury is out.  But early returns are not good when surrounded by these amateurs.
 
Put them together?  They are not ready for prime time. 
This so-called debate was not good.  In many respects.  First the platform and presentation – 10 candidates is about 5 too many.  America is not going to elect a one trick pony former Arkansas governor financed by the pro Israeli gang.  And we sure don’t need a former bureaucrat and now governor of New Jersey – a spectacularly corrupt place. (We don’t know which place is more corrupt – NJ or Illinois – but follow up Obama with Christie and you can put a fork in America.)  John Kasich is running a big state well – so maybe he becomes a potential VP candidate but c’mon – on the stage with the top four or five?  Not needed.  If one of the other 10 or 12 get the VP slot – let them debate before the election.  If one of the five falls out and someone else rises in the primaries – substitute.
Next, move away from this Hollywood media run debate platform with the giddy commentators running the show.  Past performances by Candy Crowley and Gwen Ifil should have ended the involvement of the American Hollywood media in big time debates.  They are not up to the job – too biased but mostly just too out of touch with America – too beltway limited.  We all know what ADAD is – adult deficit attention disorder.  This gang has a slightly different disorder – AADD, adult awareness deficit disorder.
A few examples of “voters matter” issues that the giddy Foxer’s never touched:
  • How are you going to beat Hillary?  She is laden with baggage.  But you and your ilk never seem to be up to the job.  So, how this time?
  • Debt?  Will you commit to not run for a second term if debt is higher then than now?  Is there any principle you have that you will abide by – not even run for office if violated?
  • Government does not work.  Tell us specifically what bureaucracies you will close, completely and what other measures you will apply to all bureaucrats to bring their pay, benefits and pensions in line (that means lowering) with other regular, working Americans.  We want numbers and commitments.  BTW, have you ever even thought of privatizing some bureaucracies?   Do you have even one original idea or plan or concept to share with us?
  • The EPA.  It just created a horrible environmental disaster out west.  What would you propose to do with the EPA?  How about a few criminal indictments?
  • Will you negate Executive Order #10988?  Do you know what it is?  What it did?
Those are a few, off the top of the head.  We could offer endless specifics that are on the mind of many Americans and yet the Foxer’s prepare a list of questions seemingly vetted by the national enquirer.  This is the Republican party nominee candidate selection process – not the Hollywood media selection process.  If you sell soap and soda water, for a living, time to step back.  The situation at hand is much more important than using your “not ready for prime time” anchors to fit in a bunch of contrived one-minute Q and A’s in between advertisements for the crap they sell on Fox.  If the network can’t or won’t deliver a couple of hours without commercial interruption while we try to decide which candidate might be president for the next four years, we, the people, need to boycott the network.
There were two losers during last week’s debate.  Any American seeking to evaluate a possible Republican candidate and Fox.  One deserves being a loser; we the people do not.  We need and deserve a much better forum for our decision making process.  It appears that we are not going to get it mostly because our Hollywood media is a second and third class group of performers, all with AADD.  The ratings bonanza last Thursday night is not about the media, it’s about our desire to find a good leader, for a change.
To slightly paraphrase the Donald – it’s not just the government that is stupid.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Community Organizers - the Kawa Brothers

Our president claims to be a “community organizer.”  At TheFundamentals, the only community organizers we’ve ever known are the men and women in our neighborhoods who work hard to make the community a good place in which to live, work and raise a family.  It is tough work – mostly goes on 24/7 – pays very little – tends not to be acknowledged in any 15 minute of fame way – and those who successfully practice the profession do not become millionaires or give speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars or attain high public elected or hired office and then set up foundations to collect even more millions of dollars from special interests and other wealthy patrons currying favors, tax breaks and other forms of governmental goodies. 

So, we figured it made sense to meet a few real community organizers - the Kawa Brothers.  Never heard of them?  Their political careers?  Foundations?   Millions?  John Carlisle of the Detroit Free Press tells us all about the ups and downs of real community organizers.  Thank you John.   We encourage you to read Mr. Carlisle’s article.  Please click on –

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In his own words – Charles Koch

After reading these Q and A’s taken from Mateo Gold’s interview in the Washington Post, we can see why the Democrats attack the man personally rather than his ideas and positions:

Q: How important is it to you to see a Republican in the White House?

A: It depends on the Republican. I am not a Republican. I consider myself a classical liberal. I believe in certain principles and I am looking for candidates who are advancing those principles. The trajectory of this country is not positive and particularly for the disadvantaged, as we see what’s happening. The gains in productivity have dropped, the gains in income for the middle class and the least advantaged have slowed, at best.

Q: What do you say to those who believe you have too much influence?

A: Wow, believe me, if I had too much, a lot of things would change. Just like the very things we’ve been talking about -- this trend toward a two-tiered society and the trajectory we’re on that’s taking us there and criminal justice. There are over 1,000 low-income occupations that in some communities, you’ve got to get a license. Florist: what, you’re going to stick your finger? Bartender: he’s going to make your drink too strong? I mean, this is nonsense!

Q: How is it fair that people who have more money have more of a voice in politics? Isn’t that an imbalance?

A: Well, voice, what does that mean? I mean, the government is largely influenced by people who advocate corporate welfare and advocate these policies that create this two-tiered society … So I mean, a voice, yeah, we get more press. You all are interested in what we say. But are we really having an influence? I mean, I would get rid of all the corporate welfare. We fight against all of it. We make a lot of money out all this corporate welfare because we can’t do anything about it. If you aren’t allowed to export natural gas -- we are the biggest industrial user of natural gas. We use 4 percent of the industrial consumption of natural gas. And if it was allowed to fully export, the price of natural gas would go up, our costs would go up … But I believe unless we do that, we’re not going to preserve our free society.

Final comment – there is no one man on the face of this earth who benefits more from “corporate welfare” than Warren Buffett.  He supports Hillary Clinton for President and the media does not attack him in any way, shape or form.  Yet, Charles Koch, a business man who unselfishly opposes such greed is pilloried by the Hollywood media (Democrats.)