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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Partnering with Barack

That is exactly the situation facing several former American allies today. 

Can you imagine this failed US president coming to you with a partnership suggestion?  Say you are the head of the government of Britain or Germany or France, maybe Turkey – heck, most likely even Russia.
It would go something like this ---
Phone operator (PO):  ‘er, Madame prime minister (MPM), I have a Barack Obama (BO) on the phone for you.
MPM:  what does he want now?
PO:  don’t know – he sounds like he’s not sure.  I think he wants to chat.
MPM:  find out what he wants but don’t let him blather on – ask for specifics.
PO:  okay, but he’s not the easiest guy to pin down, you know.  I’ve tried this before.
MPM:  no sh**
PO:  BO, MPM asked me to find out what you want.
BO:  I want to chat.
PO: about what?
BO:  things, things that are going on – here and there, everywhere.
PO:  specifics please, she asked me to pin you down about specifics.
BO:  well lets chat about the situation in Iraq and, you know, over there.
PO:  specifics, Barack; you gotta give me specifics.
BO:  will she bomb some of the bad guys for us?
PO:  which ones?
BO:  don’t know – we’re not sure – maybe she has an idea.
PO:  Barry, we’ve been down this road before; it’s not gonna work; not this time.
BO:  c’mon I got problems here at home. Everyone’s on my case – they're saying I don’t know what to do, give me a break (aside, in the background  - in a whisper – different voice – “you’re late for your tee time”)
PO:  call back when you know what you want  - even better send it to us in writing – I don’t think MPM is going to do anything based on a phone call with you (sounds like a giggle)
BO:  shucks, I’m the president, I head up the most powerful military in history and I’m late for my game.
PO:  remember Barry what Bush said – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.  You should have listened to George – call him, he may have some ideas.
BO:  okay tell her we’ll stop listening to all her calls and we’ll give her Poland and Hungary if she will bomb the bad guys in Iraq.
PO:  oh, Barack, you silly, silly boy.
BO:  she can have California too – no make that Texas – he**, she can have both.
PO:  bye – bye!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Made in China

Take a look –

So, we, the US of A, has over 4 million people working for our federal government – in vast unmanageable bureaucracies earning more than Americans in private sector jobs along with much better benefits and much, much better pensions.
Heaven forbid that we would criticize them; suggest they pursue some new ideas; some new technologies; some new leaders; perhaps a few from Silicon valley.  Oh no, don’t do that – it will violate some public employee union contract – you know – workers rights and all that.  Don’t want to irritate some union clowns from AFGE or AFSCME;  SEIU or AFL-CIO.  Sure don’t want to try something new at AFT or NEA.  After all, as we all know, they need more money to feed the bureaucracy – that’s the way to compete; to improve.
Let’s have more unions; more bureaucrats; more old congressmen and women; more aged senators; more presidential candidates who are more concerned with polling and acquiring votes and blustering their way around the globe with silly rhetoric while others innovate and build.  In America, we build bureaucracies and, of course, more special interest groups spending billions lobbying for more of the same old – same old.
Do we even know what others are building?  Or making?  Do our millions of bureaucrats; in their well secured buildings; enjoying their rich paychecks and full benefits and looking forward to their big pension checks know what anyone is making or building or designing or pondering in China?  Or anywhere?




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meet the Press?

Someone perhaps can explain how getting rid of one entertainment media sycophant who could not attract an audience and replace him with another sycophant will perk up those falling ratings for Meet the Press (MTP?)

Can you imagine an interview show that produced a combination of knowledge, research, focus and discomfort to the grilling of politicians and bureaucrats?  We sure can.  For years it is all we had in America.  Here is a small gathering of candidates who would not only save MTP from well deserved doom but also bring informative, serious journalism back to the entire Sunday interview show debacle.
Our Top candidate:  Trey Gowdy.  You may know Mr. Gowdy as one of the few prepared congressional questioners of bumbling bureaucrats.  Mr. Gowdy brings the delightful combination of knowledge, research, focus and discomfort to the grilling of politicians and bureaucrats.  Gowdy has many attributes that would make him a superior host of MTP.  We will mention just two – he grasps that those who collect a government paycheck, regardless of position and tenure, need to report openly, honestly, constantly and thoroughly to the people who pay their wages.  And, he grasps that  the job of MTP host is to make the interview subject uncomfortable; not pander for access or an “off the record” phone call that is anything but. 
One more top candidate – Sheryl Attkisson.  Sheryl grasps the concept of investigative journalism – current and past MTP hosts do not.  In case you don't know Sheryl, here she is:
Sheryl is as bright and tenacious as she is attractive and a top former CBS investigative journalist.  She also knows Washington well, as do all our candidates.
Three other very good candidates  – Paul Ryan (yes, the representative from WI), Lisa Meyers (top former investigative journalist from NBC) and Jim Jordan (who frequently matches Gowdy with informed questioning of lazy bureaucrats.)   We suggest you Google them if you wish to learn more about them.
But perhaps the best candidate of all – Megyn Kelly – tell us she wouldn’t perk up the limp ratings at MTP?
Take your pick from the six - all spectacularly qualified!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Promises and Peanuts

What is the Democrat Party power base?

Well, it's:
#1 – African Americans (9 out of 10 black votes go to Democrats)
#2 – Government employees at all levels – local, county, state, federal (ditto)
#3 – Latino Americans (about 2/3rds), and
#4 – White women (about 1/2)
What stands out in the above analysis?  Voters in categories #'s1, 3 and 4 make up a large portion of category #2.  The money flows from category #2 – the government unions – you know them well – AFSCME, AFGE, SEIU, AFT, AFL-CIO, NEA and many, many more send their money to the Democrat Party and what do those unions do?
1.    They guarantee by way of seniority and by contract the almost total inability to terminate the employment of any of their members resulting in the failure of the government employee/bureaucracy/unionization movement to get rid of bad apples, including the old white power structure in local communities.  Which means the government bureaucracy does not reflect the changing demographics of the very communities in which they operate.
2.    There is no more defined and ongoing example of this problem than in:

a.    Ferguson, MO where the police force is almost all white and the town is 2/3rds black, and
b.    Virtually every major urban minority public school system where the teachers union protects the status of failing teachers by prohibiting their termination and, instead, forces taxpayers to fund ever higher wages,  benefits and pensions

3.    The same is true for the deteriorating and, in many cases, outright collapse of the urban infrastructure.   Large cities are almost entirely controlled by the candidates of the Democrat Party who use the patronage jobs to reward those who toe the line which means the established power structure.  In the meantime the black citizens experience double and triple unemployment rates; in some instances black youth unemployment reaches 50% of the population (see  2.b. above) and in all cases – the minority populations who live in these urban areas have lousy streets; crumbling bridges; poor public transportation; and face numerous ridiculous forms of fees and fines and government rules and burdens just to live, eat, sleep and to try to get to work if they have a job to go to. 

4.    Listen to any urban Democrat candidate and you will hear this one certain theme – it is the white man; the rich man; the successful man who holds you back.  In other words, republicans – they look out for themselves – they take advantage of all the schemes available to pay less than their fair share – and keep you down. 

5.    This has now been the propaganda for decades.  The groups listed above (#1 thru #4) buy it – they don’t question it – and to this day they find themselves singing the same old tune – dancing to it as their candidates win elections and then keep the status quo – no reform; no change; just hope and blame.

6.    Who else gets screwed by the Democrat party – besides minority voters?  Taxpayers – any and all taxpayers – their money goes to support the most corrupt, inbred, self perpetuating political machine anywhere this side of the Sicilian mafia and the Russian communist party.

7.    The change the black community seeks is being thwarted by the very Democrat party the black voters support almost unanimously.
Government employees, their unions and all their money, are not going to stop voting Democrat but  the rest of the power base listed above needs to know this one thing – you are getting exactly what you deserve for selling your vote for peanuts and promises: perpetual  promises – perpetual peanuts.  Just keep singing the same old tired song; dancing to the same old tired tune.  Just keep voting Democrat; keep complaining; keep blaming the white man.

There are many lessons to be learned from the last six years as well as the last 50 years but most come down to this - once your vote is taken for granted you become captive to the people in power and their propaganda which is promises and peanuts.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Observations about golf, football and TV

Did you know…

·         …who has the most second place finishes in professional golf’s famed major tournaments (Masters, US open, Open, PGA)?  Who has the second most?  Third, fourth, fifth most?  Are you thinking Phil?  Maybe even Tiger?  Here they are:

o   Jack – 19 second place finishes
o   Arnie – 10 second place finishes
o   Greg Norman, Sam Snead and Tom Watson – 8 apiece
o   Phil has 7; Tiger has 6
o   Next time someone starts talking about who is the all-time greatest golfer you now know that Jack either won or placed in 37 major tournaments; Tiger 20; Arnold 17 and Phil 13

·         …that there is almost no sporting event that you can watch live on television that is not more enjoyable with the sound muted?  If you are watching it with friends or family members or both it also has this great benefit – the automatically increased volume for the horrendous repetitive commercials never occurs – and with a small amount of retraining you and your friends/family folk will start using this time to chat about things until the play returns.  This is what we call – win/win.

·         …that no journalist, real or faux, will gain an interview with the president or any top government employee or any member of the party in power if they ask a question using facts not known to the interview subject or any of their handlers?   And that any attempt to catch/embarrass/question or pursue a challenging line of questions will not only end that interview but guarantee no subsequent  questioning opportunities?  The answer to these questions is:  of course you knew.

·         …that Arnold Palmer made $1,861,857 in 734 PGA Tour career starts over 53 years?  An average of about $2,500 per start?  That Rory McIlroy made $1,800,000 for his win Sunday?  This year alone Rory has won almost $7 million.  An average of about $535,000 per event. 

·         …that the average televised college football game now last 3 hours and 20 minutes?  The actual clock game time is 1 hour with a 15 minute half time break.  So, that means that there are 2 hours and 5 minutes of something else going on.  In the SEC, Mississippi averages 80 plays per game; Arkansas 65.  If they are playing; that’s 145 plays with a 40 second clock; let’s say they use 30 seconds, that adds up to about 1 hour and 15 minutes leaving 50  minutes for commercials, during the game; pregame, halftime and postgame commercials – all bonus time for sponsors.  In the 1960’s and even the 70’s average college game time was about 2½ hours.  Here’s Nick Saban on this topic – “College football is the only game in the country, of any kind, that the college game is longer than the pro game.”

·         …that the first ever college football game took place in 1869 and featured New Jersey (now Princeton) versus Rutgers (now Rutgers)?  We have no idea how long it took.

·         …that the players did not wear helmets until 1893?

·         …that the first bowl game featured Michigan and Stanford in 1902?  Michigan won 49-0. It was played in Pasadena but not in the Rose bowl which was not built until 1923?

·         …that the forward pass was not legal in college football until 1906?
  • …that the viewing experience of the college football game is also enhanced by muting the chatter of the commentators and the commercials?  We bet you knew that too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Second best

How many times have you heard – well democracy may not be the best political system but it’s a lot better than what’s second best?

You can substitute the words “democracy” and “political system” with many other nouns, including:
·         Justice system
·         Foreign policy
·         Capitalism
·         The federal reserve
·         Debt and deficits
·         Entitlements
·         Government employee unions
·         Welfare programs
·         Post office
·         Obamacare
·         Social security
·         Veterans administration
·         Tax policy
·         Social safety net(s)
·         Minimum wage laws
·         Trial lawyers
·         Etc., etc., etc.
Most everything we listed above is now embedded in bureaucracies and laws that are decades old – in some cases (federal reserve for example) 100 years old.  We actually refer back to laws – words, concepts, sometimes vague descriptions that were written when there were no computers; no digitalization; no internet; no mass storage and instant access capability of data and information.  Our governance is not a market driven system – it does not need to change in order to survive.  All it needs for survival is money and it gets money today through an antiquated political system that collects money from an advanced system of commerce and accomplishment and feeds it back to the decades old mechanisms listed above.  The old steal from the new to survive.
This is a hidebound system guaranteed to always end up no higher than second place.  The market driven system will always be at least several steps ahead of the old system.  Age is just one characteristic:  The average age of the 111th congress which was seated in 2009 is: US house of representatives 57 years; US senate 63 years.  The oldest ever in US history!  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/01/average_age_of_members_of_u_s_congress_are_our_senators_and_representatives.html
In Silicon Valley the average age of company founders is 31; half the age of our senators.  http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/how-old-are-silicon-valleys-top-founders-heres-the-data/
Here is a contemporary example – Amazon is a new American company – created 20 years ago by Jeff Bezos when he was 30 years old.  Legend has it that he dismantled his crib when he was a toddler.   It is also said that he rigged an alarm to keep his siblings out of his room.  He was high school valedictorian.  And he also excelled in college.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bezos
When we think of our bureaucracies listed above and the bureaucrats who run them, we think there are possibly other high school valedictorians and top university students among them.  But we doubt that many of them dismantled their cribs and played with technology to find something new.  We know our politicians did not.
Bezos has one more thing going for him – he modestly decided to remove as many middle(wo)men  from the retail experience as possible – to bring efficiency, high quality, top service and low prices to buying almost anything.  And he succeeded.
He didn’t get there by keeping the old ways – or even trying to manage them slowly to a different process or place.  He most certainly did not use propaganda and politics to build his business.  He experimented – used what worked and dispensed with what failed and kept repeating that formula.  That formula has been repeated at Apple; at Google; at Intel and Cisco. 
At one of president Obama’s gatherings with these innovators Obama uttered a na├»ve statement addressed to Apple’s founder –
“But as Steve Jobs of Apple spoke, Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: What would it take to make iPhones in the United States?
Jobs' reply was unambiguous. "Those jobs aren't coming back," he said…”
Obama’s recent step – The Bring Jobs (no, not Steve) Home Act.  A nonsensical mishmash reply to years of bad legislation; bad bureaucracy; horrible litigation and more taxes and fees and other hidden charges than would fail in a NY minute in the marketplace.  In other words – same old stuff – he does not even attempt to try something new or different.
The answers to America’s decline are not well hidden.  We buy into that old fundamental – if you wish to conceal something hide it in plain sight.  Our governance system is old; decrepit; hidebound – it is a 70 year old post office building and a brand new 2000 page health care bill that no one understands.  It is a phony “bring jobs home” bill instead of the elimination of commerce, business and manufacturing burdens built over the past 100 years.

Recently Google co-GOOGL in Your Value Your Change Short position founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, were asked if the company might jump into health care. "It's just a painful business to be in," Mr. Brin replied, later noting that "the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that I think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs."  Source:  http://online.wsj.com  In case you’re wondering, Page and Brin were 25 years old when they founded Google.
We live under a governance system that is sustained by money earned by the best and brightest turned over to organizations that don’t even think about service level or accountability or quality or cost.  Second place for this gang would be an unheard of accomplishment; yet they pay bonuses and record high wages and benefits to themselves.  Not because they accomplished anything - because they can.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More

The title of today’s posting is the title of an essay written by Myron Magnet and published in the City Journal.  It was forwarded to us by a good friend and supporter of TheFundamentals.  We encourage you to read the piece by clicking on:  http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_3_constitution.html 

Toward the end of the piece, which is Mr. Magnet’s views built upon the writings of four named authors/essayists, there is a compilation of suggestions and remedies for the mess we are in.  Our position continues to be to support any effort to end this madness which we prefer to summarize with our formula:
deficits = debt = destruction
Alas we see no solution in the proposed remedies but still would support any or all of them.   Likelihood of implementation?  Most unlikely given that the majority party of the United States is unable to even execute the simple constitutional responsibility of imposing and enforcing reasonable immigration control over our borders.  History bestows no longevity on any nation without such discipline.


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Mother of all Mazes

Can you imagine entering a maze so confusing; with so many dead end patterns and passages that you could wander it for decades and never find an exit?  Welcome to the world of Israel and the middle east – the mother of all mazes.  How did America find its way into this maze?  This small, confused, desperate territory – this monument to the madness of men.

In answering that question one must find the strength to ignore, even if only briefly,  the 24/7, monotonous Israeli propaganda machine blasting in our ears and endlessly parroted by our very own most uncurious Hollywood media.
For those with an ounce of human curiosity, we have compiled a brief docket of reading/viewing links below that provide a history of the Palestinian/Israeli situation.  And America’s confused participation.
Let’s start with the concept of Zionism – its founders and their aims.  Please go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism
Then we’ll move on to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the first steps of Zionism realizing their objective of a Jewish state.  Please go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917
Next we move to the late 1940’s and the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.  Please go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_state
Our education continues as we turn to the Palestinian refugee problem including the forcible expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their homeland.  Please go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_refugee
It is not possible to grasp the Palestinian view without a factual grasp of this event - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus_from_Lydda_and_Ramle
You now have some background in this conflict.  We also recommend two other contemporary viewpoints.
First, the movie, The Gatekeepers, available at Netflix for those who have access to their DVD queue.  Reviews are available at:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Gatekeepers-Ami-Ayalon/dp/B00AZMFM3I
And we also suggest viewing this telling of the history – from an Israeli who also happens to be the son of a well honored Israeli general. 
Welcome to the madness of men – the mother of all mazes.  Easy to enter - impossible to exit.