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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Country for Older Men

Who makes change?  The old?  Not really.  They talk change.

Who thinks the impossible is doable?  Not the old.  Their impossibilities are in the past.  Just ask them.  They will bend your ears for hours.
Who does what others talk about?  Almost always the young.  Seldom the old.
We are starting to see the rise of the young.  And with it will come change.  Not the kind of misguided change being dealt by those who embrace expectation and entitlement (e.g. community organizers) but the kind of change that comes from those versed in the fundamentals.  Leadership based on sacrifice and frugality; discipline and limits and common sense; hard work.  Badly needed change.  Long overdue change.  Today, old men stand in its way.  Some leave on their own terms.  Occasionally.  Some know it is time to go but still hang on.  Others are clueless.
Paterno has gone; well past his time.  His departure is not pretty.  But others hang on – in politics their names are Reid and McCain; Kerry, Durbin, Frank and Dingell; Sanders, Lautenberg and Inouye.  Old men too tired to even know they are tired and ineffective.  Still others rekindle their ego with their maniacal missions of fame and other fleeting prideful temporaries (think Clinton.)  They waste their final moments fulfilling the certainty of the prophetical words, “There is no fool like an old fool.”  Men like Ron Paul and Newton Leroy Gingrich; women like Pelosi and Boxer; old fools like Feinstein, Hutchison and Mikulski. Tired old men and a few tired old women.   Their time has passed. 
Others will leave soon, but not too soon – Buffett, Bernanke and Greenspan; Jack Welch and Paul Krugman.  These old fools spew the same nonsense that is either self serving or builds the invitations to Upper East Side cocktail parties. They do not see that their time is past; their misdeeds must be undone; the problems the young must deal with all occurred on their watch. 
Who undoes the bad deeds of the past?   Of the old?  Of those who hang on beyond their time?  Of the imbedded interests that serve the old at the cost of the young?
History answers this question for us.  In America’s own brief period we need just recall some names to see the power of the young:
Thomas Jefferson, wrote the Declaration of Independence, at the age of 33.  THIRTY THREE YEARS OLD and he told the most powerful nation in the world to take a hike!
George Washington, military commander of the American rebellion forces at the age of 43.
Nathan Hale, he of the timeless regret of his understated but overwhelming contribution to American independence, hung by the British at the age of 21.  Did you know that this young man gave his life for America on a spy mission for the continental army and had the audacity to say, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Alexander Hamilton, started serving as America’s first secretary of the treasury at the age of 33.  He built America’s credit standing by insisting on paying down debt only to be undercut decades later by old men with names like Reagan and Cheney and Greenspan and Bernanke and some younger men with names like Bush and Obama.  Mostly old men; spending other people’s money with no plans for repayment.
Geronimo led the Apaches to war against the Mexicans and Americans beginning at the age of 29.
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, at the age of 37, led his dwindling people away from the Americans, who broke every treaty they signed. 
The old do not lead; they dwell; they ponder; the pontificate; they adjust.  They do not change.
Crazy Horse, successful warrior leader of the plains Native Americans, defeated the Americans in battle at the age of 26 and went on to his greatest accomplishment – success at the Little Bighorn at the age of 36.
Tecumseh was in his 30’s when he started assembling his Midwestern Native American tribes with the concept of a Pan Indian nation to live separate from the white settlers and their misguided ways.
Jonas Salk stops the deadly and crippling polio virus at the age of 40.  He modestly says it belongs to all and refuses wealth and glory.  Somewhere in America today there is a young person who has the character and commitment of a Jonas Salk.  When the old leave we can only pray that we will find this young person.  We must find a new Jonas Salk.  Chubby Newt signing books and pocketing the dough is not the replacement we need.
The Wright brothers launch their flying machine on the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina at the ripe old ages of 32 and 36.
Henry Ford started working for the Edison Company at the age of 28.  In his spare time he developed his first “Ford Quadricycle” at the age of 30.   You may know the rest of that story.
Edison, a friend of Ford’s, developed the phonograph at the age of 30.  The light bulb came at the age of 32.  He accumulated over 1000 patents, many in his youth.
Steve Jobs assembles his first apple computer in his 20’s.  He went on to many more accomplishments.  Upon meeting with president Obama, Jobs was quoted as saying, “The president is very smart, but he keeps explaining to us reasons why things can’t get done….It infuriates me.”  Darn well should Mr. Jobs.  R.I.P.  It infuriates many.
America is wallowing in the eddies of old and misguided men (and women) swirling at the corners of the waters flow.  Only the young will bypass these sections of safety and enter the rushing waters of the swift flow.  Only the young will venture into the rapidly moving waters.  Get out of the way old men; you old misguided, woeful men.   Let the young move forward.
The old expect.  As do the misguided.  They need. The young do. And do without.
It is time to stand down old men and old women wherever you may be.  On your TV shows; in your newspapers; in the halls of government and in the skyboxes of your expensive stadium; writing/speaking your platitudes to the past; of your glory imagined and illusory.  Stand down.  We have all heard and seen what you have to say and do.   If you have done your job; you have earned your rest.  If not, it is too late.
Step aside less the old ways of your brethren with names like Paterno and Gingrich and Cheney and Dingell; Kerry and Clinton; Krugman and Greenspan; Buffett and Welch will stop the young from taking over.  Your time has passed.  Stand down.
You slow and prevent the rise of the young and we can no longer afford your blockages and old ways.  Retire before the burden of Paterno falls upon you and your ilk.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture ?

The man in the picture is running for the office of president of the United States or at least he represents that such is the case.  So, why is he signing and selling books at the same time?  Why is he grinning as if he has just made another successful investment on the road to wealth accumulation?  Why is he smug when his country is in debt up to its eyeballs and he wants us to vote for him as its leader for the next four years?
What, on earth, is wrong with this picture?
Two hundred and thirty five years ago the colonial United States were under the domination of a foreign royalty that had valid and just claims to the territory they occupied.  At least in historical, legal terms they could make that claim.  The basis for the claim was simply might makes right.  If you can fight for it and prevail, it’s yours.  Today that power and control rests with an unelected, burgenoning bureaucratic presence in Washington DC, every state capitol and every city/town/village/school district in the country.  It controls law making, spending and borrowing activities, elections and taxation policy.
Back to 1776.  A group of colonial citizens were fed up with the shenanigans of this royalty and their governors and bureaucrats; their military presence and their wars and their taxation policies.  They wanted to be free.  They sought the ability to control their own destiny.  They believed that God had given them the right to be so endowed.  To be able to make decisions for themselves.
So, they gathered together with their disparate views and agendas and set out to separate themselves from the “might makes right” fellows.  Knowing full well that to accomplish their ends, self rule, would mean a battle of the ages.  Not words; war.  Death.  Destruction. 
They sent a note to the ruler and the world and they laid out their positions; their claims; their thinking and stated that henceforth they would be independent of the ruler and his minions.  But they knew it would be difficult and that it could fail.  So, in closing, they uttered these words to put all on notice of their intent:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
And then they signed it; just like the smiling, chubby fellow in the picture is signing his books, they put their names on the document for all to see.  By the act of signing their document they became traitors.  They signed and subjected themselves to death warrants as traitors to the British crown.
So, the chubby fellow signs his books of history and guidance; of recommendations and ideas; of stories and claims and positions and then sells them and pockets the money.  All while asking us to support him and his claim to leadership.  
The other fellows signed their names and put their lives and fortunes at risk for their ideas and historical views and their plans for the future.  They did not seek personal gain.  Instead they risked all they had, every cent they had and their most valued gift – their lives.
Can you detect the difference between leaders and pretenders?  We can.  Our position is this - if you wish to make money don't run for any political office.  If you want to make money either during or after you time in office, using your ideas and your time and your  experiences, don't run for office.  If you think your ideas are worthy of following put your time and energy; your pocketbook and your privacy at risk.  If you have made money off being in office turn it over to the people who paid your way while you were in office (think Clinton.)  If you cannot grasp this concept you may be inclined to follow pretenders.  If you need further edification to understand our position, please refer to the Declaration of Independence.  It is only 1,322 words long; it is free; no need to pay for it; it was signed by 56 men.   Have you ever heard of Arthur Middleton, Button Gwinnett, Abraham Clark, William Paca, William Williams and John Hart?  You may not recognize these names.  They were traitors along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Francis Lightfoot Lee.   There is not a Newton Leroy Gingrich among them.
Now you know what is wrong with this picture.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Message

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dumbing America Down

This video depicts the president of the Chicago public teachers union in a recent presentation to other “educators.”


It needs little editorial commentary. It is truly disgusting.

But we will make a couple of comments regardless.

1. We have made this comment before. How many of you would like this person on any person who would even elect such a person to a position of leadership teaching your child or grandchild?

2. If you are an employer, do you wish to hire youngsters who are being taught by this person or others who elect such a person to a position of leadership?

3. Why didn’t the people in the audience get up and leave?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sloth and Indolence

Say what you wish about the Chinese, they seem to be able to sum things up in just a few words:

“If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society. I think the labour laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hardworking.”

Source of the quote? Fellow by the name of Jin Liqun who invests about $400 billion of China’s sovereign wealth. Guess it’s fair to say not too much of that capital will be invested in European businesses this year. We hope someone will get Mr. Liqun to communicate his sentiments about the good ole US of A and its disciplined economic environment.

Here’s a link to the article that was sent to us by a loyal follower and supporter of TheFundamentals.


We noticed that the American president was lecturing the Chinese about behaving like adults. Could someone please help us out with Obama’s thinking behind this remark? In less than three years in office, Obama and his congress and his treasury secretary and his federal reserve chairman have issue public debt totaling $4.3 trillion (all time record for our universe) while incurring incalculable trillions of contingent liabilities (these are the ones that the kids and grandkids get to pay) and spending record amounts of America’s wealth on completely nonproductive welfare like state programs and bureaucracies and, mostly, just over inflated salaries, benefits and pensions to unneeded government employees.

Apparently Obama calls this “acting grown up.” At TheFundamentals, we call it for what it is – sloth and indolence.  The Greeks and other European countries are pretty good at sloth and indolence.  Back here at home, we are even better at it and when we do it there are many more zeroes added to the invoice.

Just how long do you think the Chinese will fund slothful countries?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Capitalism -- Under Attack

Capitalism is under attack.  The movement appears to be growing.  Just wait 'til next summer.  Who started this entire hullabaloo?  Well, here is one possible explanation. 

We watched the movie, Capitalism: A Love Story; written, produced and directed by Michael Moore, a kid who had the good fortune to be born in Michigan when Michigan was soaring as a consequence of the good forces of capitalism.  Prosperity was abundant; the factories were job magnets drawing immigrants from states near and far and even from foreign lands.  The Moore family was part of a Catholic parish in a town that GM built.  Things were good back then.  Capitalism was not under attack back then.

This movie is built on the simple theme that unregulated capitalism becomes a tool of the well to do who, motivated by their unbridled greed, amass vast fortunes and live the good life while moving their money around to other places where it can grow regardless of the impact on the local community, state or country.  The message is documented with great tales of heart wrenching woe, particularly from those without employment and those who are having other greedy “capitalists” in the forms of banks foreclose on their homes.

The movie bolsters their case against capitalism with two compelling allies – one, the hierarchy of Michael’s local Catholic parish which has nothing good to say about capitalism.  Think of it this way, “What would Jesus do?”  He’d get rid of capitalism pronto.  The other ally is the greedy Wall Street gang who never miss an opportunity to be opportunistic.  These fellows, led by fools with names like Greenspan, Geithner, Paulson, Rubin, Summers and Bush II (any Catholics in that group?) are straight out of central casting.  Let’s face it folks, these people are greedy pigs looking out solely for number uno. 

So, Moore’s story is rather well told but, it is also unbelievably one sided.  The one thing you can almost take to the bank, pun intended, is that when Michael’s sits on one side of the teeter totter, his side will be well weighted down.  And he doesn’t much care about whether anyone, or any viewpoint, or even any perspective is brought to the device to provide any form of balance.  This is called “literary license.” 

Nevertheless, the movie serves a good purpose.  It makes one think.  About greed.  About foolish, greedy men.  About what changes could be made.  And, more than anything, about what went wrong.  Is it simply the way Michael presents it?  Greed?  Lack of regulation?  Oh, and he does acknowledge this little thing called competition.  He actually brings it up early in the movie so that by the time the excrement hits the oscillator, it is lost in the drama of the mounting problems.  Hmmnn, we wonder if Michael is planning to make a movie about competition.  Does Michael want to regulate competition?  This does happen a lot these days.  It’s called government.  Oh well, time will tell.

Now let’s provide a bit of balance.

One, this essayist and these pages could care less about wall street and the financial industry and their so-called service businesses with their claims to new products and devices and so forth.  We would support a strict and harsh regulation of all they do which is to simply say go back to regulating the banks with high capital requirements and high lending standards and limit them to those services.  By the way, they also would also be required to pay savers that old fashioned concept called “interest” for their deposits.  The only problem with that approach is that it will not support the progressive agenda of the dominant political party.  So the dominant political party will still need to find all sorts of ways to fund their agenda of abundance for all (well really their voting groups – see below) and that means government will print and borrow money rather than greedy Wall Street bankers doing it.  This, by the way, pretty much describes where we are now.

Let’s keep one other thing in mind.  You can tar and feather the greedy bankers and outlaw all their Wall Street shenanigans and all their trading schemes and derivatives and third tranches and option contracts and so forth.  You can drive them out of town; shut them down; tax them into oblivion.  Have at it.  Just remember this one little side effect.  Someone else will be only too happy to pick up the slack and all the jobs that go with it and all the tax revenues it produces for the cities like New York and the states like New York (the state of Illinois is scrambling around with favorable tax packages to keep their financial exchanges in town as we write these words) will be offshore.

TheFundamentals supports strict banking regulation and we support letting a lot of the derivative crap go overseas.  Tax receipts will then decline and jobs will disappear so the price tag will include cut backs on entitlements and expectations.  We also support strict government regulation and that is the part of the story that Michael forgot to tell.  We need a fat boy on that side of the teeter totter. Volunteers?  Michael cannot point to one example, anywhere, where the circumstances of his own country are thriving under socialism with heavy government bureaucracies making key economic decisions.  We don’t think his friends in his parish can either.  On this last observation it would be appropriate for some church hierarchy to use the same long view outlook on economic matters that they apply to church matters. 

Capitalism did not create this mess.  Greedy people did.  Let’s not forget that greed is a relative concept.   Goldman Sachs is not going to be enticed by a chance to grab a payoff of $10,000.00 or even $50,000.00.  But the punks hanging around Springfield Illinois and most other state capitols are.  They are called SEIU and AFSCME and NEA and AFT and AFL-CIO and the fingerprints of their Democrat party friends are all over this mess.

We have said it before.  Democracy without limits is corruption.  Ditto for banking.  Ditto for wall street.  Ditto for financial services.  Ditto for public service unions.  And a big time ditto for government. 

If the attackers prevail, who will pick up the tab?  AFL – CIO?  AFSCME?  SEIU?  NEA?  Their “occupy” movement pawns?

C’mon.  Get real.