Thursday, December 31, 2015

Whatever Happened to Code Pink?

Remember how Code Pink used to show up everywhere George Bush went. They protested his every movement and staked out his ranch in Texas. They made a lot of noise and tried to disrupt his speeches and public events. The news media was regularly assigned to follow their movements. Have you heard anything about them lately? Code Pink has not been in the news very much since George Bush left office. What happened?

Under Bush, we had about 680 military deaths in Afghanistan and about 1,050 military deaths in Iraq. Code Pink had a right to howl about American military personnel getting killed. But what happened to them when Bush left office?

Because of Obama's “rules of engagement” we have lost about 1,550 military personnel in Afghanistan and about 2,220 in Iraq. Yes, that is right, Obama has gotten more than twice as many soldiers killed as Bush did in about the same amount of time. This is even worse than it sounds, considering Obama left Iraq in a lurch and lost most of the military hardware we left behind for ISIS to confiscate and use against us.

My question is what happened to Code Pink? Have you ever seen them protesting Obama? Have you ever read about them protesting Obama? Have you heard them protesting Afghanistan? Have you heard of them protesting the war or pretend war in Iraq and Syria. I have not. It is obvious they are only against war when there is a Republican president.

I looked up the Code Pink website to find out what they are doing. I found their claim to 2015 accomplishments interesting.

Their agenda includes:
  • Advocation for closure of Guantanamo Bay prison and turning the property back over to Cuba.
  • Fighting Islamophobia in the United States.
  • Exposing the corrupt relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
  • Re-establishing U. S. relations with Cuba.
  • Ginning up support for Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • Support for reunification of North and South Korea.
  • Holding war criminals accountable.

It sounds to me like Code Pink is actually a Democrat political organization, not an anti-war coalition. I did not see all their objectives, but I would not be surprised to find global warming in there somewhere. It is obvious they carry water for Obama.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thoughts at Christmas

I want to wish a Merry Christmas to all my friends, blog readers and Facebook friends.

As I reflect on my life, as many people do at this time of year, I would like to re-state some unoriginal thoughts. I think they are appropriate for whatever God to whom you pray or whether you believe in no god.

"... our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

I still think "peace on earth and good will toward everyone" are worthy goals for all of us.

A special thanks to my wife, Kathi, who I love dearly. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for all your sacrifices to hold our family together.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's Still the Economy, Sammy

James Carville is credited with the saying, “The economy, Stupid.” He coined it in 1992 as part of Bill Clinton’s campaign against GHW Bush. The phrase evolved to “It’s the economy, Stupid.” Since I did not know who I would be calling stupid, I chose to address this article to a fictitious Sammy, although other people might want to read it also.

Since the healthcare issue is resolved, the Democrat candidates have already decided the most important issues after climate change are: “Who’s feelings not to hurt next” and “How much can I give you so you continue to vote Democrat?” Whatever happened to individual strength and independence? The Democrat Party seems to have lost faith that it still exists.

On the Republican side the debate about the most important issues facing the United States include: illegal immigration, ISIS, terrorism in general, the economy, the national debt, climate change, the federal government, race relations, unemployment, health care and education. There is a seething rage against what the Democrat Party under Barack Obama’s leadership or in some cases lack of leadership have done to this country.

My opinion is that the most important issue we have facing our country is the economy. If we want more border guards to seal the border and more immigration courts to deport illegals already here or we want the illegal immigrants to stay and receive benefits, we need more money. If we send the military to fight ISIS around the world or we pay more law enforcement officials to protect us from internal ISIS converts, we need more money. If we want to fight the effects of climate change or prevent climate change from happening, we need more money. If we want to address the race relations issues with community outreach or pay to repair damage done by protestors, we need more money.

The Obama administration takes in more tax money than any time in the history of the country and we go $500,000,000 further into debt each year. Obama likes to take credit for the booming economy and Hillary wants to keep moving at the same pace, but I think any Republican could do better. If we are going to pay down our debt, we need to spend less and bring in more tax revenue.

We are allowing up to 500,000 people to cross our border illegally each year and the congress just doubled the number of visas that will bring in more people legally. Sure, the businesses want the cheap labor, but the result is a lot of working age Americans are unemployed and will continue to be unemployed, if something does not change.

We need a change agent for our next president. We need someone to get rid of the government red tape that is preventing new businesses from prospering and starting up. We need to stop the EPA from thinking they need to inspect rain water draining off our lawns. We need a tax system that encourages businesses to create new jobs.

No doubt, Sammy. In my mind, the economy is our most important issue facing the United States.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Who Are We?

I read a news report that some Texans are terrorizing Muslims that live in their neighborhood. How stupid is this? We have done this with ethnic groups and races at times in our history. We are better people than this. Stop it.

America is built on a dream of freedom for all of us. We are supposed to support each other. We are supposed to stand up for our neighbors.

Politicians are making bold statements about Muslims, because we are taking in refugees from war torn countries. Let the politicians have their say. We get to vote to support the ones we like and ignore the ones we do not like. Political rhetoric is a poor excuse for hurting other people, no matter their color or religion.

There is never a time when you can blame a group of people for what a few individuals from the group do -- not even all white people are gun-toting killers. It is insane to think about groups of people that way. We are individuals and should be treated by our peers based on our behavior, not what someone that looks like us does.

We should be proud to be Americans. We should be proud to be Texans. People should be proud of their race and proud of their religion. We should all live our lives in a manner that makes who we are something to be a source of our pride. We owe that to ourselves and our families.

Politically, I am not very tolerant. Our nation is deeply divided for a lot of different reasons – ideology, net worth, age, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, weight and a ton of other reasons we see ourselves as different from other people.

We see children do it in school. They love to single out and bully people that are different. That may be the only reason the NRA does not advocate giving guns to children. They are not mature enough to make good decisions. As they grow to maturity their behaviors should change. They may not think any different as they get older, but most at least learn to control their behavior.

Politics makes people crazy. I get overly obsessed myself. Even political animosities need to be dealt with in the sphere of words.

Whether the neighbors have been around forever or just moved into the neighborhood, they should be treated with respect. Bad people always let you know when it is time to stop your respect for them. Let us not fall into the trap of becoming what we are fighting against.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Testing

I thought it was time to give a pop quiz. It is a multiple choice test to check our mutual understanding of the world. My expectation is that everyone will grade their own test. Your spouse or children are allowed to help. If you need more help with an answer, leave a comment on the blog.

Begin:

1)      The weather phenomenon that I find most freighting is: (a) A category 3 hurricane in Mexico, (b) A tornado near me or (c) The world temperature possibly changing one degree in 100 years.

2)      The best way to solve the African refugee crisis is: (a) build fences around every country in the world, (b) Tax refugees upon arrival in their new country or (c) Remove the threat that is causing them to migrate.

3)      When you get pulled over by a policeman for speeding you should: (a) Wait until he gets out of the car and speed away, (b) Answer his questions and be respectful of (c) Tell him you know he only stopped you because he is a racist.

4)      If you are in a crowded theater and someone starts shooting people at random you should: (a) Hide behind your spouse, (b) Try to find a safe route to escape fire or (c) Ask your spouse if you can borrow their pistol and shoot the murderer.

5)      If you happen to live in a nation that is eighteen trillion dollars in debt you should: (a) Elect people that will reduce spending, (b) Elect someone that will give away more cash so people can feel good about themselves or (c) Do not vote because all politicians are the same.

6)      The best way a candidate can get people to vote for them is: (a) Promise the voters free stuff, (b) Explain how your policies will make everyone’s life better or (c) Tell voters they are okay and should stop complaining.

7)      If you happen to find yourself in the midst of a riot you should: (a) Hope it lasts until dark so you can rob some stores, (b) Go home to your loved ones or (c) Join in and destroy as much property as possible.

8)      If you are routinely being treated unfairly you should: (a) Get your friends to help you protest (b) Try to find others that feel as you do and determine the best method to get your grievances heard or (c) Forget it and hope the problem goes away.

9)      If you had an opportunity to address violence in bad neighborhoods you would: (a) Hope the thugs killed each other off so you would not have to deal with them, (b) Import a gang that you can control to eliminate the competition or (c) Get community support for increased police presence in the neighborhoods.

10)   The best way to win a war is: (a) Tell the enemy when you are going to quit fighting, (b) Do not shoot back at the enemy or (c) Kill as many of the enemy as possible in as short a time as possible.

End:


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Most of my posts this year have been political in nature. I am a conservative and almost always vote for Republican candidates. I have a lot of liberal or Democrat friends and we have some lively discussions. As a matter of fact, I had one lady unfriend me on Facebook because she did not agree with my opinions. I thought we were having a political discussion about an issue and I think she took it as a personal affront to herself. I am sorry about that.

I appreciate everyone’s opinion and am glad to occasionally get a new point of view or a new perspective. It is always interesting to find out how people came to form their viewpoints.  I find many people believe a lot of propaganda. People make decisions on things for a lot of different reasons. Most of the time people share the views of their parents. Some people’s opinions are based on their life experiences. Many, many people are swayed by the choice of publications they read.

A few things are clear. People that hate Republican positions do not know what Republican positions are – they only know what the Democrat Party line is about Republicans. For instance most people that hate Rush Limbaugh never listen to him. Rush Limbaugh’s position has always been to support policies that help everyone. Liberals will never get that message, they only hear the spin. People that hate Fox News never listen to Fox News. Most news media is biased. Fox presents the fairest presentation of both sides of issues of any national news organization. Newspapers like the New York Times and TV news like CBS News generally report stories that support Democrat Party talking points.

Personally I like to confirm what I read or hear from several viewpoints. I hear breaking news stories on nation news channels, including Fox News on issues I have been aware of for weeks. This implies that breaking news nowadays is what is new to the reporters. We are way past reporter going out and finding stories. I miss Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen.

I am sincere in my wish for a Happy Thanksgiving to all, regardless of political persuasion, color or nationality. We are all citizens of the world in a world that is in constant turmoil. We will never be at peace everywhere, but we can always be thankful for our friends and family.


Thanks for taking time to read this blog. I listen to and appreciate your input. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

My Thoughts on Immigration

The first two years Barack Obama was in office, he, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi ran rough shod over congress, Republicans and Democrats alike. None of the bills Republicans were interested in could get brought up in either house. Harry Reid decided how many amendments were allowed on each bill and entered all the amendments himself to keep the Republicans from changing any of the laws they passed. Reid scheduled votes at midnight the day before congress recesses to force both Dems and Reps to go along with what he (and I assume Obama) wanted passed.

Reid then took a budget bill passed by the House of Representatives, gutted the house language and turned it into Obamacare. By using what was originally a budget bill generated in the house Reid could use the reconciliation process to pass Obamacare. That means they could pass the bill with 50 votes and Republicans could not filibuster the bill. They still had to bribe three Democrat Senators and hoodwink another to get the fifty votes required to pass the bill. This may be the most disingenuous piece of legislation to pass congress in the history of our nation.

Then Reid again changed the senate rules to allow Obama to stack all the courts with liberal Democrats with only 50 votes. Republicans could object, but they could not stop them and now federal courts are full of left-leaning judges.

These tactics were unheard of in modern times and helped get us into the situation we are in now in congress. Harry, Nancy and Barack then went on a tirade in the media talking about Republican obstruction, knowing with the rule changes the Republicans could not obstruct anything.

Even with all these shenanigans going on, Democrats did not try to pass an immigration bill, even though Obama promised to do so during his first term in office.

Obamacare was so objectionable to the public that the mid-term election of 2010, Republicans won enough seats in the House of Representatives that the Republicans became the majority. The triumvirate of Reid, Pelosi and Obama could no longer run rough shod over the country, using congress as a weapon against the people.

Then Obama decided it was time to talk about immigration. The Democrats always want full amnesty for all illegal immigrants in the country, thinking that will firm up the Democrat voting bloc in the country. Democrats made a deal with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s that if he gave illegal aliens amnesty, they would help close the border to more illegals entering. That never happened and it never will. Each time a Democrat is in office they try to flood Republican states with illegal aliens, thinking these are their voters of the future. Obama could not get an immigration bill through congress, so he started writing executive orders to give semi-legal status to illegal aliens he was flooding into our country from Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, Nicaragua and lately even from Cuba. Obama and his State Department were putting ads in Newspapers and TV inviting potential Democrat voters to flood states controlled by Republicans.

Obama’s foreign policies have created a vacuum in the Middle East and a continuous war zone in Syria and Iraq allowing ISIS to grow and spread. Obama and the Democrats are using different tactics, but the same rhetoric to try and flood our county with immigrants from Syria and Iraq, knowing there is no way to assure that this immigration mob is ISIS free and of course it is not.

I have nothing against any of the immigrants, but I do have serious issues with this unlawful president that is willing to sacrifice American citizens to grow the Democrat party. He is a proven liar and not smart enough to listen to professionals that report to him. He only listens to political operatives for advice and guidance.

Under these circumstances, I would not agree with any immigration initiative this president wants us to address. I am in favor of stopping all immigration, until we get a president that cares more about the American people than he does about political victories. I want the border sealed and I want every individual that crosses our border to be documented and entered into a database so they can be counted like all other inhabitants of this country. If they want to be Americans, let’s treat them like we treat Americans. Or has being illegal become a protected class under this president? After all his is releasing criminals from jails all over the country. I thought safety of the American people was his only job. Someone should mention it to him.




Thursday, November 12, 2015

National Debt and Budget Deficit

The Obama administration claims they have reduced the deficit by two-thirds. Another claim along the same lines, Obama likes to say he reduced the deficit more than any president in history. They also like to blame the deficit on George Bush 43. I will not spend much time trying to defend GW, because he did not do us any favors budget wise. Add to that the fact that he and Hank Paulson did not realize the country’s finances were at a breaking point until the end of his term is inexcusable.

I also know that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress Obama’s first two years in office and they passed budgets that were 25% higher than the last Bush budget. Obama was thrilled with these budgets and signed happily. They went on a spending spree like the country has never seen before.

We wasted over a trillion dollars on green energy projects. Most of the green energy companies went bankrupt within a year with all the company executives getting big bonuses to shutter their businesses. This was a major money transfer of our money to Obama’s friends.
National Debt by Year
I know our national debt is going up, because the debt clock keeps increasing and Obama has asked Congress to raise the debt limit every year, except one. Let me get back to my original quest to determine what they mean about reducing the deficit by two-thirds. This seems to indicate we are spending less, but are we? I will analyze what the Obama administration is referring to when they claim to reduce the deficit more than any administration in history.

Take a look at the charts. On the National Debt by Year chart it is obvious to see that our national debt increased every year under our last two presidents. So that is not what the Obama team is referring to with their claim. The Surplus / Deficit by Year chart seems to provide the answer. A couple of observations. GW Bush’s first year he had a surplus. He inherited a budget under control at the end of the Clinton Administration.
Surplus / Deficit by Year
Obama’s first budget marks their high for spending in the red. If they would have solved the crisis and stopped there, some accolades might be due, but because of the spending spree they went on to grow the government, they economy started to slow and subsequent years the deficit stayed high. After sequester the budget was decreased, thus the deficit decreased. So when the Obama administration claims they reduced the deficit by two-thirds, they mean they are still spending more than they bring in, but we are not going down the drain quite as fast. They are competing against their own high of minus $1.4 trillion down to minus $448 billion. Obama’s claim to reduce the deficit more than any president in history is only possible because he raised it so high to begin with.

It is kind of like Sears used to do. They liked to raise their prices a few weeks before they had a sale. It is called sleight of hand in some circles. We need a president and congress to attack the budget like Clinton and Newt Gingrich did. We need to reduce government spending and pay down our debt.

All Hillary and Bernie talk about is how much more of our money they are willing to spend to buy more votes. That is a really dumb idea.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Family Health Update


Sorry I have not written in a week or so. We are struggling through some family issues at this time. I will try to get back to my Thought and Ideas the end of the week,

Kathi and I are doing fine. Our boys are well also. AJ is in Austin, Christopher is in Pasadena and Kathi and I are staying at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson.

The last report I made on family illness, Kathi's stepfather, Jim Hathaway was in the hospital with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. He was moved from Patient's Hospital in Pasadena last week to the Kindred Nursing Home across the beltway from the hospital. Early this morning he passed away from the pneumonia from which he was unable to recover. Jim has been a member of the Clark family for 45 of his 86 years – a long blessed life. He will be missed by all of us. His funeral is Friday at 2:00 pm at the Paul U Lee Funeral Home in La Porte, TX.

Jim's Children, Rick Hathaway, Becky Boyd and Jon Hathaway have been seeing to Jim's care at the hospital and nursing home. They also made funeral arrangements.

Kathi's brother Larry Clark was in the Methodist Hospital recovering from pneumonia brought on by his weakened condition while recovering from leukemia. Larry has since been released from the hospital and returned home, only visiting the clinic two days per week. Kathi and I took him to the clinic on Thursday. He is still weak and we use a wheel chair to get him around the clinic. At home he is able to get round using a walker, but we watch him pretty close. His legs do not support him if he stands for too long.

Saturday we got a call from Larry that his wife, Andrea was having severe stomach pain. We came over and found her laying flat on the floor at the foot of her bed trying to find a position that would relieve the pain. Pain medication on hand was little help. Andrea needed to go to the hospital for evaluation, but she could not walk. Kathi called an ambulance and had her transported to Patient's Hospital.

We were not very hopeful that the doctors would find the cause of the problem, because she had gone to the emergency room numerous times before and their best diagnosis was irritable bowel syndrome. This time they actually found a problem. Andrea had a obstruction caused by a hernia.

They called in a surgeon, Dr. Gelber. He operated on Andrea's stomach on Sunday afternoon. She is recovering in Patient's Hospital and will be there several more days.

In the meantime, Kathi and I are staying with Larry at his home. I stay with him when Kathi needs to go to the hospital to check on Andrea. Kathi has been using their spare bedroom for the last few days, since Andrea is away from home. I have been acting as gofer and staying in our RV in Dickinson at night.


Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers that have come our way. We appreciate all thoughts.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Climate Change News

Most of the readers know my position on the climate change debate. I am firm in my belief that there are no climate scientists. By definition, a scientist is a person that uses scientific methods to search for the truth. This is not the approach the climate change people have taken on the issue. Politicians, originally led by Al Gore decided what the answers should be regarding climate change and created a computer program to manipulate the data that supported the pre-conceived conclusion. A few years ago Al Gore realized the data did not support global warming, so he changed the name of his initiative to climate change. He gets paid tremendous amounts of money for his seminars and speeches.

Government grants are only available to people who are willing to say global warming is real, regardless of the data. In fact, climate change political operatives work hard to discredit anyone that disagrees with them. Philippe Verdier was a popular weatherman on French TV. He recently released a book called “Climate Investigation” that denies global warming. He was promptly removed from his television job. I hope he makes enough money on his book so that losing his job is not catastrophic to him.

Climatologists that support global warming refuse to share their source data. When the climate change politicians discovered actual data does not support their computer program, President Obama assigned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to go around the world and change actual data.

They have been reporting warming temperatures and Antarctic ice loss for years. NASA finally discovered what most real scientists already knew. Antarctic ice is increasing each year. Everyone at NASA did not get the memo. Eric Rignot is a NASA glaciologist that still thinks Antarctica ice melting is going to raise sea levels three feet in the next 60 years. There is some supposition that one NASA group may be using old data.

The United Nations championed the global warming idea as a means to transfer money from successful countries to poorer countries. There are many more poor countries, than successful countries, so there are a lot of voices clamoring for this money transfer to take place.

There is a another UN sponsored climate change meeting the end of November and into December of this year (2015) to try and get an international climate change treaty. At the last meeting they held, they tried to pass a treaty that set up an international climate court that would hear climate accusations. The UN wants poor countries to sue rich countries for causing the climate to change and get big bucks for the harm we cause them. That attempt failed. The basic difference from the last attempt at a treaty is that they changed the word from court to tribunal for this go around. There are more poor nations than rich nations, so guess who wins the majority vote.

My understanding is that Barack Obama is anxious to sign this treaty, because it will make him a foreign affairs legend – what a legacy.  As a matter of fact, 130 poor countries will not sign the new UN treaty being developed, unless big money transfers are made available from wealthy countries to poorer countries. Would you believe China and India are considered poor countries and could sue the United States, when they are causing most of the air pollution? We need a president that does not despise his own country. We are being led by the enemy. Thank you Democrats.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Senators We Need to Replace

Below is a list of senators who are up for re-election in 2016. I think it is time for the voters to retire these people. The senior Democrat has been in the senate 40 years and the senior Republican up for re-election has been there 34 years. We need new government and this is a place to start. They may not want term limits, but the people have the power to impose term limits on them.

Senators That Need To Be Replaced

Senator
State
Seniority Date
Years in Senate


Democrats

Leahy, Patrick J
VT
01/14/75
40

Murray, Patty
WA
01/05/93
22

Wyden, Ron
OR
02/06/96
19

Schumer, Charles E
NY
01/06/99
16


Republicans

Grassley, Charles E
IA
01/05/81
34

Shelby, Richard C
AL
01/06/87
28

McCain, John
AZ
01/06/87
28

Crapo, Michael D
ID
01/06/99
16

Murkowski, Lisa
AK
12/20/02
13

Isakson, Johnny
GA
01/04/05
10

Vitter, David
LA
01/04/05
10

Burr, Richard M
NC
01/04/05
10

Thune, John
SD
01/04/05
10

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Economic Common Sense

The fundamental purpose of business is profit. If you believe anything else, you have never been in business or seriously considered how businesses operate. To stay in business, you must be competitive with other businesses that sell the same or similar products.

There are a few people that seem to believe businesses are started to create jobs. The fact is, that only happens with government jobs. Since profit is not a motivational factor for government they do not care what the labor costs are, because they do not spend their own money – they spend our money.

Production costs include equipment to operate the business, raw materials to create the products and labor to use the equipment that turns the raw material into finished products. When you sell the products the government collects taxes based on the amount of money you make selling your products.

Anything that a business has to pay out reduces profits and makes going into business less attractive. Large corporations like to keep the costs as low as possible to maximize profits. Raising corporate taxes causes businesses to move their production to lower taxed locations. Right now the United States has the highest corporate taxes in the world, so businesses are taking their money and production facilities to countries that are more favorable tax wise. Unfortunately when businesses leave they take their jobs with them.

Small businesses usually pay personal income tax rather than corporate tax. Individuals are normally not mobile because of family relationships, cultural considerations and social ties to where they reside, so when taxes get too high they just close the door on their business and the people they employed are now without jobs.

That is the atmosphere businesses have been struggling in since Obama was first elected and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed Obama’s first budget. Big business left or reduced operations here and moved to other countries. Small businesses just did not start or closed down, waiting for a more encouraging tax policy.

Now more people are on unemployment, welfare and forced into retirement than any other time in our history. Obama also opened the borders to allow many other people to come in and share the scarce government benefits available. Throw in Obamacare which moved millions of people from full time to part time employment and what do we have left? A dangerous situation, Mr. Magoo.

Our country now goes $500,000,000,000 more into debt each year and Congress is being asked to raise the spending cap, because our debt is going to exceed the $18.1 trillion spending allowed. Even with record tax revenue, we do not have enough people working to keep the government operating in the black.

The Democrat presidential candidates are trying to see who can give away more free stuff to the most people, using our money to buy votes for themselves. They like high taxes and use it as punishment against people who are successful. They chastise businesses for leaving and call them unpatriotic, while their own policies are driving businesses away.

Republicans want to reduce government spending, lower taxes and bring companies and jobs back to this country. This will increase employment, increase tax revenue and lower the cost of government and get people off of welfare and back to being productive citizens again.

You can like Democrats and vote for them for a number of reasons. Economics cannot possibly be one of those reasons. I do not understand how anyone that has common sense could cast a vote wanting more failed Democrat economic policies. People need to be self-sufficient and that requires a job. Americans in the United States want their pride back.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Data is Skewed

I have a lot of discussions with friends about political issues. Many issues are subjective and are open to interpretation. There are at least two major problems with most subjective discussions. The first is that people make assumptions and the second is that we do not know what the final outcome will be.

No one doubts that we have a bad situation in Iraq, but the issue of who caused the problems or made them worse is debatable. If GW Bush had not invaded Iraq, it is possible that Saddam Hussein might still be the dictator and causing headaches for the west while keeping Iran in check. Going back even further, If GHW Bush had not have driven Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, Bush 43 and Cheney may not have felt a need to go there either. You could conclude that any of the people previously named in this paragraph should take the blame. I agree, that is arguable.

When GW Bush left office and Obama took over, Obama pledged to end the war. He and Joe Biden claimed victory in Iraq, then Obama withdrew American forces from that country. Soon after, Nouri al-Maliki disbanded the semi-stable government and started replacing high ranking officials with his personal preference choices, which led to a rebellion, which led to ISIS strengthening and putting the whole region in chaos. Does this make Obama and Biden culpable or does the blame go to Maliki. Again it is debatable.

The truth is all of these people share responsibility for the chaotic situation. It appears Russia, Iran and Syria might get the final say about the future of the region. Too bad, because I never think of the Russians as the good guys. Unfortunately we have a whole political party in this country that does not think we are the good guys either. Subjective – does it matter? Are there any good guys left? If not us, who?

Subjective discussions I can understand. But I have some objective discussions with people that will not believe the truth. You can show them the data and they prefer to believe the lies they are told. I have said many times, our news services are doing a great disservice to this country by ignoring all the stories that do not fit the narrative they are trying to weave.

Many websites cherry-pick data to make a point. For instance you can compare unemployment data and pick the highest unemployment number for each Republican President and the lowest unemployment number for each Democrat President. Who do you suppose looks good in that chart? You could also take a snapshot of the President’s first or last day in office and display the one that best suits the story you are trying to tell.

Everyone tries to present information in a way that is most fits their narrative. So do I, but I much prefer to see actual numbers and I usually do before I create charts. Do you remember the climate scientists always seem to lose the actual data? Then the Obama Administration had the NOAA going around the world changing actual temperature data to fit a computer model that predicts the future. Scientists do not hide their data – thus my conclusion there are no climate scientists, only unscrupulous people that want big government grants. A sad situation Mr. Holmes.

A few charts of interest from US Government statistics.

This displays average unemployment numbers. Obama's average is still going down since he is still in office.

Labor force participation rate. Nixon, Carter and Bush 41 were putting people back to work. Clinton & Bush 43 kept it mostly stable, then came Obama.

Johnson and Clinton did well and Obama is trending in the right direction.



Friday, October 9, 2015

House Dilemma

The situation: John Boehner has resigned from the United States House of Representatives, thus giving up his job as Speaker of the House. His closest ally in the house, Kevin McCarthy was groomed to take over when Boehner left has now withdrawn his name as a replacement for Boehner in the speaker position. After McCarthy’s withdrawal, Republican house members were unable to agree on a consensus candidate. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), a huge Boehner supporter stated that house members were crying over the situation. I have heard reports that Democrats across the world are laughing at the inept Republicans.

Maybe so and who cares. The Democrats needed a good laugh because they do not recognize the laughable occurrences in their own party. They ignore corruption amongst their own and fight harder to get their corrupt politicians elected than a Republican will defend his or her self. When corrupt Republicans are caught red handed, they get chastised and expelled by the Republican Party. When Democrats are caught red handed, they get re-elected and praised by their party. I say let these people laugh.

The Tea Party organizations began soon after Obama was first elected to the presidency. He along with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed Obama’s first budget that increased cash flow into Washington by 25%. At the same time they raised taxes on individuals and corporations that stymied our economy and in subsequent years have driven 90,000,000 people out of the workforce.

For the next two elections the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party groups organized to get people elected that supported their point of view.   Remember Trent Lott the predecessor of John Boehner as Speaker of the House and a newly hired lobbyist. I will never forget the communication from Lott to Boehner after the first Tea Party representatives got into the House of Representatives. Trent Lott advised Boehner to get to these people early and turn them around so the Republicans could keep the status quo.

I say let the house Republicans cry. They have had us crying for years. I want all these establishment politicians sent home to become rich lawyers and authors of books that tell of the great deeds they accomplished as “the people’s servants.” I want them crying all the way home.

Do not worry about John Boehner and his future. He will retire from congress with about $220,000 per year government retirement income and I predict before the next election he will become a lobbyist making twice as much more than his retirement income. That is the corrupt system Boehner and his friends have been fighting to preserve.

The errors John Boehner made were many. He was the worst negotiator in the world. He usually announced six months ahead of time that he was giving in on everything Obama wanted. He announced he was not willing to fight for anything Republicans are supposed to believe in. Boehner and his cohort in the Senate, Mitch McConnell felt the most important thing was to get a majority in both houses of Congress so Republicans could be in charge. Well, the electorate gave them that. In return, they gave us exactly what Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave us. I say send all these Washington elitists home crying.

For years all John Boehner was interested in representing was big money donors to keep getting him re-elected. He lied to the public and told a completely different story went he met with the National Chamber of Commerce. Boehner wanted more immigration to give businesses cheaper labor at our expense. He supported amnesty for all illegal immigrants. He was not on our team.

Boehner biggest mistake was not listening to his house membership. He openly ridiculed “The Freedom Caucus” which consisted mostly of Tea Party elected representatives. He removed them from committee chairmanships and did everything he could to minimize their influence. Boehner and Kevin McCarthy lied to their membership to get votes for bills they could not get honestly. Boehner was big on “show votes” that did not have a chance to become law, but allowed house members to go home and tell their constituents they tried. All legislation of significance passed by Boehner required Democrat support. Basically he wrote off one third of his own Republican house membership and this led to his current situation.

The truth is the outcome of the rest of Obama’s tenure is going to be the same as if Boehner had stayed. His leaving does not change the power of the presidency. If the new speaker is not willing to listen to and elicit support from all his Republican membership, that speaker will be a failure also. You cannot take people’s voice away and expect to stay their leader. We need a speaker that listens to his people and his constituents to unite the Republican Party. We need a speaker that will make his case publicly to the American people. We need a leader in the speaker position. We need leadership.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Statistics and Arguments

I have had some interesting discussions with some of my Facebook friends the last few weeks. Most of the discussions are political in nature and how the country is progressing now compared to previous administrations. What I like most about the discussions is how people are willing to argue for what they believe to be true.

It is normal for people to try and sell their point of view. Many arguments take place on an emotional level and have no basis in fact. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation disseminated daily on the internet and many people believe what they read, if it supports their position.

Normal sales techniques include emphasizing the information you think is important and ignoring information that does not support your position. I am familiar with the techniques and use them myself. I think this is normal behavior. A good salesman knows that people make decisions based on emotion and try to defend their decisions with logic. The sales pitch does not seem to work the same when I try to explain to my wife why I bought something I did not need, but that is another subject.

Our newspapers and broadcast news media are masters at ignoring stories that might show a Democrat in an unfavorable light. Stories that support their position usually get on page one and stories that they do not like end up on page 27 or get ignored completely. I think this bias is a disservice to news consumers and damaging to our country.

I try to be accurate with my facts and I expect people to read what I say with skepticism. That is okay with me, since that is how I read everything. If you do find information I espouse to be in error, please let me know. I usually check my facts and I like it when other people do the same. Most of the actual statistics I present come from government databases.

If you ever look at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics you can be overwhelmed in a hurry. There is so much data available, it makes it hard to find exactly what you want to know. Google sometimes gives shortcuts into the big database.

I have a degree from the University of Houston in mathematics, but I do not claim to be a statistician. It has been so long since I studied rigorously, sometimes I have to refresh my memory once I get past algebra and into calculus or trigonometry. I do like numbers and I am normally more interested in historical data and trends than I am in current information. A snapshot of current data is valuable for some applications, but without the historic context it means little to me.


Below are some charts that might be of interest to some people.

Note how forcing people out of the workforce decreases unemployment. A direct correlation in recent years.

Workforce participation climbed in the seventies and eighties and is now in decline again.

This chart show the wealthy are getting wealthier much faster than the poor and middle class are progressing. A trend that needs to change.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Put Our People Back To Work

These are a few steps we need to take to get our people back to work. The steps never change, people just choose to ignore their necessity. Jobs requires job creators, which are primarily small businesses. Small business normally grow because big businesses cannot fill low profit local needs of citizens, provided with a personal touch. Small businesses grow in proportion to big businesses. If you do not believe that, watch next time a new Walmart store is opened. How long does it take for the new Walmart to be surrounded by smaller stores? A New York minute, even in Texas.

Taxes

Lower corporate taxes as an incentive to bring corporate headquarters back to the United States with enough cash available to grow their business.

Introduce a flat rate personal tax code with no deductions that is inclusive – everyone should be invested in the country. A flat rate guarantees the people with the most money pay the most tax.

Tax rates should be the minimal amount necessary to run the government and protect the people. Tax money should never be used for wealth distribution which is not a government function.

Regulation

Take police powers away from the EPA. This should become a monitoring and reporting agency and Congress should have responsibility to act on their reports as necessary.

Repeal Dodd-Frank so smaller banks can thrive and provide funding for small business owners.

Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley which has created a paperwork nightmare for big businesses.

Legislation

Replace Obamacare with a health system that reduces cost while addressing patient’s health instead of a focus on health insurance.      

Assure that no government employees are exempt from laws passed by Congress.

Administration

Enact an energy policy that encourages nuclear energy, clean coal and allows drilling offshore and drilling and fracking on public land.

Approve the XL pipeline.

Place a hiring freeze on all Federal Government employees.

Stop all government paid bonuses – they are only incentives to cheat the system.

Change work rules so that employees can be disciplined, not just shuffled.

Change unemployment data reporting to better reflect actual unemployment conditions.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Priorities

If we do not put our people back to work, nothing else really matters. The United States of America is the country that controls the world economy.  Until we recover, the rest of the world will not recover. Politicians are giving speeches and debating trying to get elected to the job as President of the United States and none of them are focusing on the most important problem we face – the economy. The economic policies currently being used do not seem to be working.

If we do not fix the economy, we cannot help ourselves or other countries attack the perceived need for global warming solutions. We will not be able to rebuild our military. We will not be able to reduce the size of government. We will not be able to pay our debt. We will not be able to repair the inner cities and retrain the people to become productive citizens. We will not be able to release prisoners from jails and prisons with a reasonable expectation of them leading successful, productive lives. We will not have the money to relocate the 200,000 Muslim immigrants coming our way. We will not be able to educate 50,000,000 students every year in fifty different languages. College will never be affordable, much less free, unless we can fix the economy. Our State Department cannot keep funding our enemies to buy weapons to kill us, unless we fix our economy. We cannot afford the death committees required to reduce the cost of Obamacare if we do not fix our economy. We cannot afford medical care for veterans if we do not fix the economy. We cannot create enough immigration courts to resolve our illegal immigration issues without a thriving economy. We cannot continue to pretend to fight ISIS unless we grow the economy. We cannot continue to borrow 500,000,000 more every year if we do not fix our economy. We cannot fight the war on poverty if we do not fix the economy. The Justice Department cannot impede police from arresting minority lawbreakers, if we do not fix the economy. Housing and Urban Development cannot afford to keep enrolling Democrat voters, if we do not fix the economy.

For the last seven years the priority of our government has been to bring about economic justice by punishing companies and people with money, while preventing the catastrophe of the temperature rising one degree one hundred years from now. The result of this endeavor is companies hoarding cash, companies moving their headquarters to other nations, rich people getting richer and poor people getting poorer, while our government shuts down businesses, creating more poor people.

“It’s the economy Stupid.” We have heard that term for a long time. Do you know why? It is because it is true and will always be true. We became the greatest power in the world because “Yankee ingenuity” was used to solve problems while letting the entrepreneurs work in a relatively free environment. When a better product is needed, someone comes up with one as long as it is profitable. Take away the profit incentive and you have the European economy. Thanks, but no thanks.

Next post: Put Our People Back to Work


Friday, September 18, 2015

How To Fix It

We are at a crossroads in our country. It’s time for a new beginning. We need to forget the past and look to the future. How often do we hear these things? I hear it all the time, probably more now because we are approaching a new presidential election. The truth is we wake up in a new world every day. Things change constantly. Our literature has progressed from cave drawings and stone tablets to instant messages and e-books available all over the world in an instant. Our travel abilities have progressed from walking from village to village to the point that masses of people move between continents within weeks. Even armies can move from peaceful confines to the battlefield within days, including all the equipment they need to fight and kill one another. Their back up support for sustainability follows them within a month. The point I am trying to make is that the world situation is so dynamic that ideas from yesterday are not necessarily going to be useful tomorrow – there are too many strong players involved.

In the United States all the newspapers and the Democrat Party tell us that our current economic condition is the new normal. That is something I agree with as long as we have a Democrat president. Democrat policies are driven from what they consider noble goals. I will not argue their intent. Their intent is to keep Democrats in power so they can assure our government can take care of everyone. They see the government as the master and people as subjects. Democrats think freedom means people can only be suppressed by our government and not a foreign power.

Democrats try to accomplish their goals with punitive tax policies that penalize people that are successful, so they have money to give to their supporters and services to give to people that are less successful. They want businesses to be controlled by the government and they use excessive regulation of businesses, so they do not have a choice about compliance. Democrats give lip service to defending our country, but every Democrat president since FDR has reduced the size of the military. They do this because they want to spend the money on domestic social issues. Like I said before, their goals may be noble. The results of their policies are where I have objections.

What the Republican political class wants most is to stay in power. They want pretty much what the Democrats want, but they like to spend the money differently, mostly because they have different friends and supporters than the Democrats.

What Republican citizens and our few conservative politicians want is somewhat different. Conservatives believe the power of our country and the power of our government comes from the wishes and support of free people. Conservative principles are based on the power of the individual. Conservatives want every individual to have the right and ability to improve their position in life and prosper to support themselves and their families. This requires maximum freedom for people and business and major constraint on the government.

When a conservative says freedom, they mean freedom from the government. With a conservative Republican government, there is no normal economy. Conservatives want an economy that is dynamic and unlimited in its ability for people to prosper. They want a limited government to allow business to prosper and use regulation only when businesses infringe on people’s rights or unfairly hurt other businesses. Conservatives believe in the Constitution. They believe that the main job of the Federal Government and the president is to protect the citizens of this country, not tuck them in at night. Conservatives believe every individual deserves respect. They also recognize that some people are in dire straits and cannot get out of the hole by themselves. Conservatives choose to offer a hand up, not a handout, with the provision that the hand up stops when it is no longer needed. They believe that each individual will choose to prosper, if they are given the opportunity.

A lot of my Democrat friends seem to be okay with 93,000,000 people that cannot get a job and many other people only able to find part time work. They seem to be okay with 19,000,000,000 debt. It is not okay with me. I want a tax system and regulation system that is intended to maximize tax income for the government to reduce our debt and free businesses to create jobs, so we can get our neighbors back to work. I refuse to accept the Democrat definition of the new economy. We can do much better. All we need is a president that thinks we can do better and is willing to demonstrate that fact. That person will never be a Democrat.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Influence of Benjamin Franklin

Everyone knows the name Benjamin Franklin. He was a successful printer, inventor, statesman and activist from Philadelphia that was involved in the formation of our country. In fact I believe Franklin was the most influential of our founding fathers.

Franklin was a member of the Second Continental Congress which chartered a five member committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Other members of the committee were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman.

You see how functional our Congress is today. We have great communication with fast news media and people generally have a sense of what the thinking is in other parts of the country. In the late 1700's people communicated through the mail delivered by horse drawn vehicles. Even delegates did not always understand the thinking of their constituents.

People from different colonies were more interested in their colony than the group of colonies as a whole, so you can bet there were some severe arguments over any policies the Continental Congress wanted and what the committee members thought was the intent of the Declaration of Independence. I think Franklin's value to the acceptance of this document was more what he did lobbying outside the Congress than the influence he had in Congressional sessions.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft, which included an objection to the slave trade. The Continental Congress made 86 changes which included dropping the anti slave trade language over Jefferson's strenuous objections. Jefferson's language was reduced by about 25%. Robert Livingston, one of the committee members that wrote the Declaration would not sign it, because he thought it was too soon to declare independence.

When the Revolutionary War started, Franklin was sent to France to enlist their support for our rebellion against British rule. He was successful in this endeavor and after the war was over, Franklin was a negotiator of the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the war.

Then the founders had to write our Constitution. Seventy three delegates were appointed, but 18 refused the appointment, including Patrick Henry. Some of the other 55 delegates that were well known were George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. All of these people had strong domineering personalities, as did most of the other delegates to the convention.

Franklin, being the oldest member of the delegation, recognized the value of getting a document to guide our government that was comprehensive, inclusive and long-lasting. Knowing how important it was to the success of our country, he used his influence in one-on-one settings to help people reach consensus. My conclusion is that the high standing of the Constitution as a legal document today is attributable to the efforts of Benjamin Franklin.