It's no secret to the reader that I have been a RINO supporter/voter of President Obama. And one of the reasons is Obama is a "careful pragmatist".
But for the life of me, I don't understand why Obama is proposing a $10 a barrel tax on oil to pay for clean energy.
It's not only a bad idea, but politically it is tone deaf.
In other words, Obama's proposal has something in it that everyone can hate.
And the careful pragmatist - given he is not in the limelight anymore - seems to be reaching just to be noticed.
February 7, 2016
February 5, 2016
Every time I compare Trump to Hitler, I wonder if I am going too far. At a pre-caucus rally today Trump said "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them”. Isn't that what the Nazi storm troopers were told to do when Hitler was campaigning?
Polls. I really don't understand how anyone can say polling works anymore. Anyone that is busy and active, uses a cell phone. Even with a land line - like a cell phone - who answers a telephone number when they don't recognize the caller? Reminds me of a scene from Glengarry Glen Ross. Only people that don't have a life are willfully willing to talk to a salesman.
I have never seen a GOP Iowa Caucus end up (a) predicted by the polls and/or (b) predicted by pundits.
It is hard to remember anyone that won in Iowa, going on to win in New Hampshire.
After Iowa and New Hampshire .... the establishment is going to put pressure on all establishment candidates to get out save one. They would do it earlier. But out of courtesy for their time and their donors money, they will wait until next week.
February 1, 2016
Conservatives and liberals are dissatisfied with President Obama.
Putting aside soaring rhetoric and two successful elections, Obama's presidency has been as steady as a driver with two hands on the wheel perfectly willing to go the same speed. If Obama was a driver, an insurance company could perfectly predict his behavior and risk.
In general, Obama is an extremely-careful pragmatist.
Economy. Economic Keynesians say he undershot economic stimulus. Supply-siders say he should have lowered government spending and taxes. 2009-2016? Slow but steady GDP and employment growth.
Health Care Reform. The GOP says ObamaCare needs to be replealed. The extreme left wing says we need national health care. As to the former, the main arguments against it are (a) it is a job killer and (b) it is a small business eater. I am not going to tackle this one in detail (see URL link below by non-partisan FactCheck.org). But I will say two things. The first is, even the most conservative voter – in today’s maturation cycle – has no qualms using ObamaCare's "age eligibility" for their mid-20s children. Also the plan was a cut and paste of the GOP alternative plan in the mid-90s and RomneyCare.
Wall Street Reform. Some liberals/libertarians were surprised that Obama didn't punish Wall Street when he summoned TBTF bankers at the beginning of his presidency after they gave themselves bonuses. Wall Street money funded Obama's campaigns. Some might call it a fuastian bargain. I never had that illusion. First without Candidate Obama there would have been no TARP (leading the charge with the Democrats/Paulson/Bernanke). Second, for all his Muslim/Post-colonialism mythology, you don't get to be President of the Harvard Law Review unless you agree to play within the Ivy League establishment rules.
Immigration. To his anti-immigrant detractors, Obama is seen as someone running an autobahn from the evils of the world to the US. The reality is he has deported more illegal immigrants than Bush 43.
Defense Spending. GOP presidential candidates (take Rand Paul out of every argument) say the military has been devastated under Obama. This one doesn't even pass the snicker test. The US spends $581 billion out of the world's $1.6 trillion (35%) and 3% of its GDP. Next highest? China with $130 billion or 1% of GDP. If our military has been devastated under Obama - with less ground troops deployed and less inherent weapon supply - than the military is simply wasting money.
Foreign Policy. GOP says we are not respected in the world. HRC says stay the Obama course. Bernie Sanders doesn't say anything. Nothing shows an "extremely-careful pragmatist" more than his foreign policy. Winding down two wars was a fulfilled promise. However history will judge whether his Cairo speech in 2009 was either naive or the catalyst to the Arab Spring. History will also judge whether his political openings to Iran and Cuba, and his Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiative were the right moves of risk. Finally his unwillingness to take unnecessary risk with Russian, Syria and ISIS/ISIL will also have to be judged by history.
No 2nd Term Presidential Crisis. Sans the 2008 economic crisis, Bush 43 and Obama 44 have been the first two 2nd term presidents to not push the nation into a period of political crisis since Eisenhower.
HRC says she wants to stay the Obama course. That's not likely for a number of reasons. But for sure, it will differ from Obama in a matter of style, ethics, drama and baggage.
Sanders wants so much free stuff as to be unelectable.
Trump? One hand on the wheel, likely to speed, and I wouldn't insure the driver. I am not even sure he would stay on the paved roads.
Bush 45 or Rubio? Closer to Obama's insurance rates.
The rest are simply unelectable.
January 31, 2016
In short, because he has nothing to gain from it.
January 28, 2016
Apple announced record earnings yesterday and its stock fell over 2% in after hours trading.
The reason? iPhone sales grew only 2% year-over-year.
I wrote the above blog in 2014. In it I pointed out the limits of the iPhone vs Android. I also wondered where the "next big thing" would come from and the limit of growth with a company due to the law of big numbers.
I also stated that Cook was no Steve Jobs. And why that was important.
I foresee continued headwinds in the future for Apple -
January 27, 2016
I wrote this blog about a month ago.
As far as I know it hasn't come up in any presidential debate.
While the pundits tell us that a stock market correction - they do agree with me that the market is overvalued - would not resemble the 2008 banking crisis.
My blog says otherwise.
Frankly there hasn't been anything to write about for awhile. Same old stuff. I could do a Trump post a day (like he could shoot someone in NY and he wouldn't lose his polling numbers - frightening but probably accurate). But you get this news as fast as I do.
So the best I can do today? Have the reader read last month's post on the derivative market. And ask why banks and their behavior has not been debated?
January 26, 2016
As the GOP is starting to come to terms with the possibility of a Trump nomination; the Democratic Party can't dismiss a Sanders nomination.
It seems reasonable to me that the erosion of the middle-class and the concentration of wealth - over the last 35 years - maybe starting to play a more important factor in the 2016 election, than anyone thought.
While this is not Weimar Germany in the early 1930s, for too many Americans, economic disenfranchisement is as contrastable.
A little history lesson on the end of Weimar Germany. There were too main parties that spoke to the majorities plight: communism/socialism and fascism. The latter won and so went its constitution.
I think the Trump and Sanders's candidacies fit the analog of Weimar Germany. Two populist movements. One based on eliminating enemies to make a nation great again AND one based on the empty promises of communism/socialism. Both providing a simplistic solution to a disenfranchised majority.
Trump and Sanders would not be parliamentary winners (prime ministers leading majority parties). Instead they would be presidents with a "parliamentary" check-and-balance system on domestic policy.
The US Constitution is unique in the world and in history. The founding fathers - by separating the executive branch from the legislative branch - took such steps to avoid bold executive swings in ideology.
Which means Trump and Sanders are not capable of implementing their domestic "promises". Period.
But because the executive branch has steadily been enhanced by the power of the presidency on foreign affairs and wartime powers; Trump is the worst of two potential presidencies, that have the same genesis.
January 22, 2016
I have family members that have suffered from PTSD.
It isn't pretty. It either takes ex-soldiers a long time to cope or they can never get their lives back in order.
All of the PTSD sufferers I know, were so heroic, they went into the new millennium wars knowing PTDS was a real risk.
Which brings me to Sarah Palin. Her son, suffers from PTSD. And I am sure her pain as a mother is real.
But instead of making real casual effect from wars to PTSD; she used it as a political tool.
"My son, like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened," she said. "They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airman and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country" - I think this is also a legitimate observation by Palin.
"That comes from our own president," she elaborated, "where they have to look at him and wonder, 'Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we're trying to do to secure America?'"
"So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with," she continued before pivoting back to why she was in Oklahoma in the first place.
"And it makes me realize, more than ever, it is now or never, for the sake of America's finest, that we have that commander-in-chief who will respect them and honor them." That would be Trump, she said. Really Sarah?
I may have not agreed with presidents going to war. Bush 43 especially. But I don't think any civilian knows how much time and mental anguish a president goes through worrying, internalizing, and visiting our soldiers. We don't know how much pain Bush 43 went through knowing he started two wars. And we don't know how much pain President Obama and Michelle/Jill Biden have gone through comforting our brave soldiers returning from war.
But Trump does?
Robert Gates - who served Reagan, Bush 43 and Obama - stated today that the GOP candidates don't know what they are talking about when discussing foreign policy.
Blowing the sh** out of the ME (Trump) and/or carpet bombing the ME (Cruz) are not viable foreign policy options. Rather they are gross or stupid oversimplifications.
I presume, in a new GOP most of us don't recognize anymore, that being endorsed by Sarah Palin and having her as an attack dog, is an "advantage".
For me, PTSD is real, but Sarah Palin and Trump have one thing in common. They are detached from reality. And so are their supporters.
January 20, 2016
The title of this blog might seem repetitive or over the top.
But an important poll, in which "authoritarians" are broken down as a demographic, shows why Trump is a serious threat to America.
Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. - MacWilliams Sanders.
It turns out that there is no correlation between normal demographics and Trump support.
If someone like me or the reader is viewing Trump and doesn't get it, it's because we are free thinkers and not authoritarians.
I have been blogging about the dangers of Trump for sometime. And I have compared him to Hitler and Fascism. Perhaps I might not be too far off base.
What has Trump said? Muslims are bad. New Yorkers are not Americans (sounds a lot like a dog whistle for Jews and a free press). Certain women are not attractive (bad genetics?). Non-Americans are all bad. Immigration walls. There is a bogey man making everyone poor.
It is important to note, that Hitler was legitimately elected into power. He said outrageous things. The Weimar Republic press treated him like a running joke.
Hitler won because his platform was radical nationalism - genetics and non-Germans were the problem. And he promised prosperity to people that had been economically disenfranchised.
The word "fascism" is less studied than vilified. Fascism is authoritarianism combined with big business. While communism is authoritarianism with centralized business. Big difference.
Authoritarianism combined with big business. Who is better than Trump to make this connection?
January 17, 2016