Sunday, December 09, 2007

You're Probably An Idiot


In a recent email exchange with Bill down South, he forwarded a long commentary about Mitt Romney written by another person. It was a litany of quotes from well-known people and organizations concerning Romney's handling of the "Mormon issue"... most of it highly praising Romney for managing to deflect the religious issue by calling upon the words of Samuel Adams and John Kennedy.

I don't have much concern about a person's religion unless they want to use the power of their office to try to force their religious beliefs upon me. Other than the political red herring of abortion that comes up every election, there is little chance of a president's religious beliefs affecting the course of the U.S., given the array of hurdles to achieve anything these days. More than likely, a Mormon president would take extra pains to avoid even the slightest hint of using or abusing his office to accommodate his religion.

I wrote:

There needs to be a large pre-filter for any presidential candidate: integrity. That's not about changing one's mind about issues; it is about being honest and principled. If you've never been convinced that your original thoughts on a subject needed rethinking, you are probably an idiot. But if you change your mind and then say your present position is the one you've always had, you are unprincipled and lack integrity.

Can you identify any candidates who are examples of the latter?
Bill wrote back:

Your closing questions nails Clinton and the G-man (my new nickname for the NY Thug). And many of the other Democrats hugging Clinton's skirt or should I say pantsuit. Not sure about the other Republicans - most appear to have strong value systems, however unhinged they may be. Most of the Dems are clueless on character traits. Feet of clay.

I liked your line: "If you've never been convinced that your original thoughts on a subject needed rethinking, you are probably an idiot."

I've met a few idiots - mostly arrogant senior military officers at the O-6/O-8 levels and perhaps 400 second lieutenants (including myself, of course). The others I have met were primarily military retirees and factory workers. Lockstep thinkers...not unintelligent in terms of mental capabilities, but stupid for being so arrogant and self-righteous when their scope of knowledge was not much better than a Rush Limbaugh radio show. No deep thinking.

Well, that's among the Republican crowd.

As for the Democrats, I've never met that many who could stick to one thought, belief, or idea for more than a few weeks at best. Still, I have to admit that I had my greatest success moving legislation or funding needs through the two Houses of Congress with the Democratic Party office holders and staffs. Never did understand that, other than to note that many of the Republicans thought they knew everything in the world - arrogant beyond compare. Some deserved good ol ass whippings out behind the barn - but that needed correctional opportunity apparently didn't occur during their youth or early adult experiences.

I am supporting Romney and perhaps Huckabee. At least they believe in something of value and stands behind it. I believe that I could trust either of these gentlemen. Can't say that about any Democrats, though there must be one out there somewhere that has that level of conviction and character.

Bill is a difficult man to please. Maybe he just thinks more than most. But I'm less interested in a personal "values" [which is often a code word for a specific set of immutable beliefs] than a candidate with integrity, intelligence, and an approach to government that doesn't see it as the cure for every perceived ill... and who will surround himself with like people.


Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)