Saturday, July 31, 2010

Michigan Primary Election


Michigan should be seen as a bellwether state for national politics.  A new governor will be chosen this fall and there are plenty of candidates lining up for the job.  The outgoing governor was a former Attorney General who parlayed a good talking game and good looks into a recipe for disaster.  This time around, image will not be a factor.

[image via]

Unemployment in the teens has left Michigan with an image of a state that resembles a poor European nation.  Government here is dysfunctional when it comes to administration and taxes.  Granholm's lack of leadership, despite the backing of entrenched unions or because of it, has resulted in too many efforts targeted toward creating union security and padding state programs while undermining the economic viability of state businesses... most notably the failed tax on services.  This is not saying Gov. Granholm is responsible for the high unemployment rates, only that she has been ineffective in responding with appropriate leadership to historically high unemployment [7+%] which then doubled under her watch. [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Michigan voters have shown a propensity to "vote 'em out" when they view one party as not responding to the interests of the businesses and people of the state.  It has happened to both the Democratic and Republican parties.  It is likely to happen again this year.  The misfirings at the Federal level have been fueling even more discontent at the state level.

On August 3, the Republicans will narrow down their field for the job of governor.  The winner has a huge edge on whoever represents the Democratic Party.



Thursday, July 29, 2010

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Legislation To Kill Da Economy - We Got Da EPA


You'd think that bad science and bad economics couldn't possible prevail... but it looks like Janet Jackson or was it Lisa Reno... anyway, the chubby-cheeked air-head [full of CO2?] at the EPA plans to complete the Obama deconstruction of the Constitution and a free-market economy by saving us from... plant food.

So, you think the economy is bad now.  Just wait until the back-door cap and trade [without the trade] hits your pocketbook along with the newly-minted Obama elimination of the Bush tax cuts.

The naive ones who voted for the anointed one are about to get the first two installment payments of the bill for their new form of government.  Unfortunately, so are the rest of us.



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Court Has Shown The Way To Control Illegal Immigration


The U.S. District Court in Arizona decision to let stand certain provisions of the Arizona HR1070 now points the way for states to "amend" their own laws in ways that will legally enforce immigration law without stepping on the toes of the Federal Government which has chosen to not enforce the laws it is legally required to enforce.

States cannot arbitrarily seek to verify the immigration or citizenship status of a person because they "look illegal" and because it is the bailiwick of the Federalis to handle matters related to controlling illegal immigration.  But the states can enforce matters related to state prerogatives as long as it is done in a way that is not blatantly discriminatory.  What might those matters be?

  • Driver's licenses - all people wishing to have the privilege of driving within a state must have a valid driver's license or be subject to penalties defined by the state.  All people seeking a driver's license must produce a U.S. birth certificate or immigration papers showing naturalization or legal entry to the state.
  • Schools - all children attending a school supported by state funds must produce a U.S. birth certificate or immigration papers showing naturalization or legal entry to the state.  This is not a requirement to be enforced for "home schooling."
  • Employment - all persons seeking employment within a state must produce a U.S. birth certificate or immigration papers showing naturalization or legal entry to the state. [Employers are already required to check such status under Arizona law].
  • Welfare - all persons seeking state assistance must produce a U.S. birth certificate or immigration papers showing naturalization or legal entry to the state.
Hospitals and those seeking care at a hospital are exempt.  The rest are within the bailiwick of the state to set the basis for having the state grant privileges or providing support.  As long as all persons are required to provide such proof, there is no discrimination nor is there an issue with the federal government which does not have jurisdiction in matters of state roads, schools, employment matters, or welfare.

As governor of a state such as Arizona, I would test the Federal Government at every turn... and I would have the support of legal residents of the state in doing so.  I would try any person who attempted to use counterfeit citizenship or immigration papers under the fraud laws of the state.

The message should be clear: You can come to this state because the Federal Government refuses to do its job, but don't expect to be welcomed or supported.  Get in line with the rest of the immigrants from around the world and show that you belong legally.



Arizona Immigration Law Not Fully Enjoined


The U.S. District Court for the "District" of Arizona has enjoined certain portions of the Arizona immigration law and allow the following:

Other than seeking a preliminary injunction as to “S.B. 1070,” the United States has
not made any argument to preliminarily enjoin and the Court therefore does not enjoin the
following provisions of S.B. 1070:

Section 1 of S.B. 1070
no A.R.S. citation:
providing the intent of the legislation
Case 2:10-cv-01413-SRB Document 87
Filed 07/28/10 Page 3 of 36
Portions of Section 2 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 11-1051(A):
prohibiting Arizona officials, agencies, and political
subdivisions from limiting enforcement of federal
immigration laws
A.R.S. § 11-1051(C)-(F): requiring that state officials work with federal officials
with regard to unlawfully present aliens
A.R.S. § 11-1051(G)-(L): allowing legal residents to sue any state official, agency,
or political subdivision for adopting a policy of
restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws to
less than the full extent permitted by federal law
Section 4 of S.B. 10702
A.R.S. § 13-2319:
amending the crime of human smuggling
Portion of Section 5 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 13-2928(A)-(B): creating a crime for stopping a motor vehicle to pick up
day laborers and for day laborers to get in a motor
vehicle if it impedes the normal movement of traffic
Section 7 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 23-212:
amending the crime of knowing employment of
unauthorized aliens
Section 8 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 23-212.01:
amending the crime of intentional employment of
unauthorized aliens
Section 9 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 23-214:
amending the requirements for checking employment
Section 11 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 41-1724:
creating the gang and immigration intelligence team
enforcement mission fund
Sections 12 & 13 of S.B. 1070
no A.R.S. citation:
administering S.B. 1070
So... while the police may not check the immigration status of the people stopped for traffic violations or other crimes nor require persons to carry their immigration papers, the highlighted sections above seem to indicate that:
  1. residents can effectively eliminate "sanctuary cities" and the officials who obstruct immigration law enforcement, and
  2. create significant barriers to employment of illegals.
Those two aspects of the law should be adequate.  This is not what the Obama administration wanted.



It's Got To Stop... It's Got To Stop


From American Digest:



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How Obama Successfully Handled The Gulf Oil Crisis


ABC News reports that shortly after the BP deep water well was covered and the flow of new oil stopped, a large portion of the oil has somehow disappeared:
For 86 days, oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's damaged well, dumping some 200 million gallons of crude into sensitive ecosystems. BP and the federal government have amassed an army to clean the oil up, but there's one problem -- they're having trouble finding it.
At its peak last month, the oil slick was the size of Kansas, but it has been rapidly shrinking, now down to the size of New Hampshire.
Today, ABC News surveyed a marsh area and found none, and even on a flight out to the rig site Sunday with the Coast Guard, there was no oil to be seen.
It seems that Mr. Obama's strategy for handling the crisis has been completely successful.  Let's summarize:

  1. Mr. Obama prevented foreign ships from entering the spill area to capture surface oil which could be separated from the water and refined later.
  2. Mr. Obama prevented states from protecting their shorelines which allowed "tar" to cover beaches and sensitive shore areas thereby driving away tourism and causing many small businesses to suffer great harm... as well as thousands of employed persons to lose work.
  3. Mr. Obama paraded BP through the town square and got the Chairman demoted to a Siberian assignment after extracting $20 billion in tribute.
  4. Mr. Obama used the power of the federal government to interfere with efforts to cap the well allowing more oil than necessary to escape the well.
  5. Mr. Obama will now claim that he did "not rest until" the crisis was over except for several rounds of golf and several vacations.
We have much to be thankful about Mr. Obama.  Specifically, that he cannot control the forces of nature that seem to be cleaning up the mess that he exacerbated.



Monday, July 26, 2010

Weather Is Not Climate


After several years of cool summers, Michigan is enjoying some great boating and swimming weather.  One of our sons and his family who live in San Francisco just flew home today after experiencing part of this warmer-than-usual... but not particularly hot... summer.  They are used to summer high temperatures in the 60s with the ocean cooling winds.  But the residents of southern California are not used to this:

No, it's no more "climate change" toward a new ice age than the few summers of high temperatures were "runaway global warming."  Pacific Ocean changes and a funky Jet Stream seem to be bringing January in July for California.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tax More Or Spend Less Or Both


Bill called yesterday as he does every few months.  He likes to get another opinion about the economy.

Usually, Bill has some formed opinions about what the future course of the country ought to be.  He has spent considerable time working with state and federal government and has many connections as a result.  Still, this time, Bill seemed a little at a loss for direction... at least up.  It's just that there seem to be more arrows pointing down than up.

After dancing around the issues for awhile, he asked what I thought needed to be done to avoid the federal government debt reaching 70% of GDP in 10 years.  It wasn't so much what needed to be done as much as how in the world can we do it?  We have a bloated government that continues to grow.  We have a Congress and Administration that simply refuse to see the writing on the wall.  We have a gutted industrial sector that no longer provides the underlying structure for a "service economy."  We have "experts" saying that it is time to raise taxes to fix all of this.

Let's be realistic: you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.  Or, to put it another way, it's time to pay the piper.  Our trade policies have eaten away at the producing part of our economy... from raw mining to final production.  We are a debtor nation in terms of current account [trade deficit] and state and national government budgets.  The housing market is broken.  The value of personal savings has been significantly diminished.  So, is now the time to burden the remaining producing economy with higher tax burdens?  If so, will that action be directed at fixing the various balance sheets or simply siphoned off so that government programs can continue to grown unabated?

A sane person would question the logic of creating more debt when current debt is unsustainable.

Who said that our government officials and their cadre of experts were fiscally sane?

The answer: you already know it.



Friday, July 23, 2010

Navy SEALs Acquittal Not Made For Prime Time


When news that three Navy SEALs were to be tried via courts martial for possibly abusing an al Qaeda captive... based on a claim by the al Qaeda captive... the major media picked up on the story and it became another instant Abu Ghraib story.  The subsequent "not guilty" verdict was pretty much under the radar.  Be honest; did you hear about it on television?

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The last of three Navy SEALs accused of abusing a suspected Iraqi terrorist was found not guilty Thursday by a military jury.
Jurors deliberated about an hour and 40 minutes before returning their verdict in the court-martial of Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe.
"This feels amazing and great," McCabe told reporters after the verdict. "I'm just grateful all of us came out not guilty and justice was served." [full story]
Better to ignore what you don't want to happen.



Congress Caps Cap And Trade



The Senate majority leader is shelving efforts to include cap-and-trade as part of a energy bill, dealing a blow to one of President Obama's major priorities....
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said Thursday that neither he nor the White House had persuaded 60 senators to support even a limited proposal seeking to restrict emission from electric-power companies. Mr. Reid offered no timetable for action on such a bill, but said Democrats would continue trying to build support for such legislation. [full story]
Imagine that.  A phony crisis ends up with no support... even among those who hate to see a crisis go to waste.

Meanwhile in Great Britain...  an energy crisis is brewing.  That puts in perspective Sen. Harry Reid's statement that Democrats would continue trying to build support for such [Cap and Trade] legislation.  Sometimes stupidity can be terminal.  Let's hope it is with regard to Mr. Reid's political career.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

HR 1855 - Your New Personnel Agency - The Federal Government


Maybe you think this is just fine; I find it just another step toward government intrusion into the private sector.  Here is a portion of H.R. 1855 which passed the house a few days ago.  It is describes as providing support for various "sectors" of the economy.  From

That sounds all well and good and then you get to this:

This sounds suspiciously like a union, women, and minorities program.  
  • recruiting and retaining women in nontraditional occupations
  • improving job quality through improving wages, benefits, and working conditions
  • attract potential employees from a diverse job seeker base

But maybe that's not the intention.  Maybe the government just wants to give money away so that employers don't have to use their own HR resources or private-sector employment agencies... no strings attached, of course.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Of Recovery


In major markets across the country, home sales are deteriorating, inventories of unsold homes are piling up and builders are scaling back construction plans. The expiration of a federal home-buyers tax credit at the end of April is weighing on the market. [full story]

So much for the Obama administration's prognostication ability. With that in mind, here is what the Obama administration is saying today:
But “because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Mr. Obama said before signing the legislation. “There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period.” [full story]
Meanwhile... what does this prognosticate?



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Voting Season Starts Soon


Here in Michigan, the primary season will begin soon.  Right now it is the PR season where all manner of partial-truths get tossed about to confuse voters.  Unfortunately, most voters will be unwilling to put in any effort to wade through these partial-truths to find out if there are any truths to be found.

The first phase of the PR season is intra-party sniping.  Each candidate attempts to show that his primary opponent is less-than-qualified to hold the position being sought.   So-and-so did this and So-and-so voted this way and So-and-so did this favor and So-and-so shifts with political winds.  It's not easy being a voter.  You want to do the right thing, but you have to go more on faith or belief or someone else's opinion  than the facts you can determine for yourself.

As a voter, I have some candidate qualifications:
  • ethical - does not use government for personal gain or gain for those who support him
  • honest - resorts to the truth rather than partial-truths
  • consistent - you know where the candidate stands on issues and you know he won't cave in at the first sign of pressure
  • responsible - accepts the leadership and the consequences of his decisions as a leader
  • accessible - doesn't delegate responding to the people he represents
  • capability - the ability to lead; the ability to rally others to his position
There are more, but as you can see, I am focused on a candidate's character first and then his political positions second.  Political statements from persons of shaky character are worthless.  I may choose to not vote for a person of good character because I disagree with his political positions, but I will choose not to vote for a person of shaky character regardless of his political statements.

The problem, of course, is not assessing character as much as voters not giving a rat's ass about the candidate's character.  The problem, of course, is that too many voters want to know "what is he going to give to me."



Monday, July 19, 2010

Great Britain And The United States Separated By A Common Language


David Cameron has launched his "big society" drive to empower communities, describing it as his "great passion".

In a speech in Liverpool, the prime minister said groups should be able to run post offices, libraries, transport services and shape housing projects.

Also announcing plans to use dormant bank accounts to fund projects, Mr Cameron said the concept would be a "big advance for people power". [full story]
The Tories are supposed to be "Conservatives" in Great Britain.  But somehow the government simply taking over bank accounts doesn't fit in with the role of "conservatives" as defined in the American political spectrum.  In fact, that would be considered somewhat left of far left in U.S. politics.

I'm wondering what, exactly, would be considered "liberal" in Great Britain.  One can only presume it is something that has brought Great Britain to the brink of financial ruin.

Ah, the lessons we in America can learn from our cousins.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Preview Of 2011 Tax Hikes


Just wait until the Bush tax cuts become the Democratic Party tax hikes... you do know that the Bush tax cuts are rescinded because the Democrats insisted they could only be temporary, don't you?

Wealthy Reduce Buying in a Blow to the Recovery

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

The economic recovery has been helped in large part by the spending of the most affluent. Now, even the rich appear to be tightening their belts. [full story]



Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Apple Software Update 4.0.1 May Help 3G iPhones


I downloaded the software update for the iPhone a couple of hours ago and it seems to have improved the performance of my 3G iPhone which had suffered greatly with the 4.0.0 version.  So far, no frustratingly long lag times for applications to start and respond when used.  A big improvement in the Camera Plus app which I prefer over the Apple version.

We'll have to see after a little more use if the effect is lasting or not.


Fox Guarding The Hen House - Verse 2


Alex Wong/Getty Images
Senator Christopher J. Dodd, right, and Representative Barney Frank, shown in May, are the chief authors of the bill mandating a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system. [full story]

I've heard of these guys before.  Where was it?  What was it all about?  I know it was something to do with a massive banking crisis cause by a housing bust.  And then that led to a bunch of problems in the insurance and financial sectors.  How did they fit in?

Oh, yeah... now I remember.  Somehow that does not make me feel confident about this new legislation.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

BBC Reports Gulf Oil Leak Stopped


Some good news:

BP says oil has stopped leaking from Gulf well

BP says oil has stopped leaking
BP says it has temporarily stopped oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking well.



The Obama Energy Plan


Few video clips give us a better insight into the intentions of our current president offers than this:

Are these the words of a visionary or a political hack?  Let's look at the facts.

The President has effectively shut down the domestic oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico.  That despite ample evidence that the BP mess is unrelated to the activities of hundreds of other oil rigs and the livelihood of thousands of people employed on those rigs or associated with them.  But that is small potatoes compared to what he wants to do with our national electrical energy production.

The Energy Information Agency of our Federal government provides monthly updates of the sources from which our electrical energy is produced.  Below are excerpts from the March, 2010 report [the latest available as of this date]:
Year-to-date, total net generation increased 2.4 percent from 2009 levels. Net generation attributable to coal-fired plants rose 5.0 percent. Natural gas-fired generation was up 2.9 percent. Conversely, nuclear generation declined 1.5 percent, and petroleum liquid-fired generation was down 37.9 percent.
Year-to-date, coal-fired plants contributed 47.7 percent of the power generated in the United States. Nuclear plants contributed 20.4 percent, and natural gas-fired plants also contributed 20.4 percent. Of the 0.9 percent contributed by petroleum-fired plants, petroleum liquids represented 0.6 percent, with the remainder from petroleum coke. Conventional hydroelectric sources provided 6.4 percent of the total, while other renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind) and other miscellaneous energy sources generated the remaining 4.0 percent of electric power (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Net Generation Shares by Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), Year-to-Date through March, 2010
Consumption of Fuels: Consumption of coal for power generation in March 2010 was up 6.4 percent compared to March 2009. For the same time period, consumption of petroleum liquids was down 38.5 percent, while petroleum coke fell 10.2 percent. Consumption of natural gas declined 8.6 percent. [source page]
The U.S. is pouring billions of dollars into subsidizing "renewable" energy sources, yet coal not only continues to provide the largest absolute amount of electricity, but has increased 5% year-to-date while some other sources have fallen... including nuclear power which is our major non-fossil fuel source of reliable energy.

Mr. Obama has shown himself to be a prestidigitator of words related to our energy future.  The question is: what's your plan, Mr. President? How do you plan to rebuild the energy sector you are targeting for destruction?



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Problem With Palin


Sarah Palin.  Just mention that name and liberals go into a foaming-mouth frenzy.  Why?  Here is a hint: it is not her politics.

The "politics of Palin" are not that much different from other conservatives.  While liberals may not agree with her politics or other conservatives, liberals reserve special venom for Sarah Palin... much like they did [and still do] for George Bush.  Again, why?

John McCain did not receive such antipathy, so why was so much directed at Palin?

And why can conservative Mitt Romney get a personal pass from liberals when Sarah Palin cannot?  Many of you will have your own favorite reason, but I think the liberal reaction is not intellectual... I believe it is visceral.  Liberals cannot help themselves.  Sarah Palin ... and George Bush ... "talk funny."  The liberals from the Northeast and West Coast simply hate the way Sarah Palin sounds.  To them, she sounds uneducated.  George Bush was called a buffoon ... not because he was stupid or because of his political views, but because of the way he talked... his Texas accent... and his tendency to use the wrong word because he did not use a teleprompter.

The liberal thought process is that you really can't be smart unless you talk like Ted Kennedy [who may not have been all that smart himself].  It's an Ivy League snobbishness that has permeated the left-leaning... whether or not they speak that way themselves.

Think about it... who was the most hated Democrat by liberals... Lyndon Johnson.  His down-home Texas drawl was more than the Bostonian ears could tolerate.

So why do liberals love the way President Obama speaks?  Perhaps because he speaks the way they believe "an educated black man" should sound.

 A few seconds of silence before this begins.

Maybe the problem is not with Palin.

Y'all thank 'bout it.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why Generals Quit In Afghanistan


We've all seen that President Obama has a difficult time with military brass.  Obama has the title... CinC... but he leads in the strangest ways.  How about financing the Taliban in Afghanistan?  Well, it wouldn't be fair to just finance our military.  We have to reach out to our Muslim enemies as well.  Perhaps that's why generals would rather "retire" than serve.

Since U.S.-funded repairs of a turbine at the Kajaki plant doubled its capacity in October, nearly half of the total electrical output has flowed to districts in Helmand province where the Taliban administer the grid, Afghan officials say. In those districts, residents pay their monthly electricity bills directly to the insurgents, who use the proceeds to fund their war with American and British troops. [full story]
Where is that "off" switch, by the way?  OMG... stupidity has its own rewards.





Increasingly, the citizens of this nation are concerned with the actions of the Federal government related to usurpation of the private sector and failure to fiscally manage itself.  In other words, the Obama administration is seen as a sneaky version of the Hugo Chavez government.

Consequently, "backlash" phenomena such as the "Tea Party" have grown enormously popular within a spectacularly short time.  One "backlash" that may be simmering and ready to boil is the prospect of states nullifying Federal legislation within their own borders.

This article goes into detail about the issue related to this nullification process... and whether or not there can actually be a nullification of Federal law.  But the issue of nullification is more than a simple piece of legislation passed by a state.  It is also whether or not states actively disregard Federal laws.  For example, the State of California actively disregards... even acts contrary to... Federal laws regarding immigration.  "Sanctuary Cities" are openly violating Federal law.

But whether or not nullification is the act of a state legislature, the act of cities, or masses of individuals, nullification already exists.  The Federal government recognizes it and has, thus far, chosen to be very careful about pushing the issue in courts... or at least very selective about it.

Real nullification is voting out the scoundrels and repealing or refusing to fund their mandates.  You can't enforce a really bad law if there is no one to enforce it.



Monday, July 12, 2010

It Is Time For Islam To Leave The 7th Century


Is this what is coming to Western civilization? [H/T Dick P.]

Sorry, but "multiculturalism" only goes so far....  That has no place in the Western tradition.

This also has no place.

"Multiculturalism" does not mean replacing American traditions and values.  It means accepting them and blending with them.  Being whatever-American means you take pleasure in the ethnic traditions and food and history of your heritage, but your focus and allegiance and existence is being American.  You add your distinctiveness to the American tradition while embracing the American tradition.

Those who want to elevate their heritage above the tradition and values and laws of America only detract from the totality of this nation... or any nation that may have welcomed them.  Those who believe their heritage demands special treatment in America are not... and cannot be... true Americans.  People who have immigrated [legally, of course] have been welcomed to allow them to become part of of something different... better... in their lives... not to destroy it.  If their politics and/or religion prevent that... they should not be welcomed.
"... the same Wahaj articulated a rather different vision from his mild and moderate invocation in the House. If only Muslims were more clever politically, he told his New Jersey listeners, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. "If we were united and strong, we'd elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. . . . [T]ake my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us." " [source]
The point is not an issue of whether this statement is the plan of an idiot.  The point is that there are people who agree with the statement and would act on it.

Unfortunately, there are those who believe that American tradition and values require America to accept those who do not accept our tradition and values and laws.  They are wrong.  It is the responsibility of those who would come to America to embrace the American values... not replace them.


Maybe there should be a few questions asked before blindly accepting "multiculturism."
YEMEN: Islamic lawmaker decries child marriage ban as part of 'Western agenda'
April 18, 2010 | 10:27 am

The recent death of 13-year old Yemeni child bride Elham Assi, who reportedly bled to death last week after being tied down and forced to have sex with her 23-year-old husband, has sparked outrage among rights activists in Yemen.
They are now stepping up their lobbying efforts to push for the implementation of a child marriage ban. 
But that may prove a daunting challenge since fierce opposition against a ban on child brides still runs high among some religious leaders and conservatives.
One can understand his concern.  What woman would want to be married to that?



Sunday, July 11, 2010

China May Not Subsidize Us Much Longer


As China becomes an economic giant, the world must consider the cause it is abetting.  This story from The New York Times provides a strong hint:

“This illustrates the extreme importance with which China views its access to natural resources, especially things like steel and oil,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, a Hong Kong-based official with the Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco group that monitors human-rights issues in China. “These are things China sees as vital to its economic growth, which in turn is vital to maintaining stability. It’s clear that resource issues are seen as national security issues.” [read more]
The government and corporations of the United States tend to view China as a growing resource and market for the United States.  There is some economic truth to that.  General Motors, a huge corporation with the government as majority owner, has just sold more vehicles in China than the United States.  That's good for General Motors and the United States government.  Is it necessarily good for the United States?

Many economists viewed the relationship of cheap imports and a potential huge market for selling our products as a win-win.  China was "subsidizing" us.  But were they?  Or does China have an agenda that is not necessarily a long-term win for the United States?  As basic and advanced engineering and production has moved from the United States to China, the core of the United States economy... its manufacturing... has be replaced by the so-called "service industry."  For those who were not around in the 1960s and 1970s, service industries were based on the wealth created by manufacturing and before that, agriculture.  Not exactly parasitic; not exactly symbiotic.

Things have changed.  Manufacturing has shriveled.  Manufacturing jobs have evaporated.  The service industry has followed because that which was being serviced is disappearing.  Now the hope is for service sectors such as health care to become the growth engine for our economy?  But who pays for this growth?  Insurance companies? Someone has to pay the premiums.  The government?  Someone has to pay the taxes... or lend the government money.  That seems to leave China... to subsidize us.  But how long will China want to "subsidize" us... or need us for their growth?

In 2007, I wrote this post [and several follow-up posts... see label CHINA] and published this image [click for larger view].

Nearly three years later, the impetus toward these goals is intensifying and becoming apparent to many more around the world.

China has become an immensely important resource and market for the United States corporations and Federal government.  U.S. consumers have benefited from cheaper goods, which is fortunate because more Americans have had to siphon funds from whatever assets they have in the absence of their formerly good paying jobs. The question is whether we can afford the next stage in China's development... the stage when the U.S. becomes an also-ran.  But the real question is whether or not the U.S. will have any say in its long-term economic future.  Our present policies and practices will determine that.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Declaration Of Independence - Conclusion


There is a growing consensus among Americans that the current President of the United States and his administration do not represent the spirit or the letter of the Declaration of Independence or its companion and more critical document, the Constitution.

More than two centuries ago, "men of property and wealth" were willing to sacrifice all they had worked for to dedicate themselves to a new and higher ideal of government... a government of laws and rights for all under those laws.  The fact that our current President of the United States takes umbrage with the fact that many of those men had been personally successful rather than obsequiously dependent on the largess of an absolute ruler shows the devolution of American politics over that time.

The fact that the current President of the United States is riding a rapid descent in popularity among Americans is indicative of how far removed he is from the values and morality of Americans, not to mention the spirit and traditions of those same Americans.

Americans are by and large a generous and forgiving people.  They tend to let bygones be bygones and seek to find ways to improve the lot of the world.  They believe in freedom and justice and rule of law rather than whims of politicians.  It is only the latter that riles Americans to the point of declaring independence from those that would govern them.  It is that basic fact that leaders such as the current President of the United States forget at their own peril.



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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

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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)