Monday, September 29, 2008

You Always Hurt The One You Love

Back in 1932 - I can remember it even now - [kidding, I was only a toddler at the time] the fantastic Mills Brothers recorded several numbers on a single day in March, including "You Always Hurt The One You Love", a song I've listened to on radio, record, tape and everything else recordable for almost six decades. Loved it, loved them and just re-listened to their sound on the net. What memories. But I digress.

The reason for today's solo trip down memory lane is a realization the Law of Unintended Consequences has struck again! Thanks to professor William Briggs of Cornell for his comment [#2 on the post] on Roger Kimballs interesting piece, for this epiphany. The very folk our beloved and selflessly dedicated elected representatives in Congress were attempting to help have become the heaviest damaged victims of this misguided attempt to "help" less fortunate folk "own" the American dream. It is ever thus. Ill-advised schemes to "help" too often end up "hurting". We need to legislate "smarter", but with the tendency to return too many incumbents I see little hope of that taking place.

And so the Mills Brothers will apparently remain talented and entertaining prophets. With a great sound.


Spin vs. Logic

Today the worst house speaker in history did it again. Like a dog returning to her vomit Speaker Nancy Pelosi could not resist attempting a partisan spin when statespersonship might have carried the day. [Scroll down to read her entire speech for confirmation].

The facts of the situation are so well-known - accept possibly to the folk who rely on what used to be called the "media" and are now simply "in-the-tankers" - any honest person with a basic understand of high school level mathematics should instinctively know the root cause of our economic crisis is years of unrestrained and unsupervised preferential mortgage lending to under-qualified home buyers. [Please see notes* below].

For whatever reason, this entire thing began under Jimmy Carter and has been fostered over the years by many, many democrats and too many like-minded republicans. There is enough blame to go around for both parties, imo. But any reasonable person should understand that on a national level unregulated government mandated low-cost mortgages issued to folks unable to pay for them was eventually a disaster waiting to happen. However, excepting for a few responsible folk, knowing and reacting to that bit of common sense was not conducive to re-election campaigns, apparently.

Furthermore, following the reasonable person logic chain establish above, financial institutions heavily invested in holding and reinvesting said mortgages should foreseeably be at a higher level of risk than those holding more conservative portfolies. Ergo, almost a decade ago federal laws were established to force institutions to undertake more risk. All without ringing alarm bells. There are none so blind as those who will not see, goes the olde English idiom.

So home builders overbuild, home sellers oversell, home buyers overbuy, home loan institutions overlend, and in a few years we have a "housing bubble". Who woulda thought?

The [again] foreseeable result of the ensueing policy is that we are now reaping what our politicians have [for over 20 years] been sewing. For speaker Pelosi to lay the mess at the feet of the current adminstration is dishonest and partisan. But from her what can one expect? She knows nothing else, and in my view her "in-the-tankers" will never point these things out. To the public, the emperor must always appear to be clothed.

How embarrassing for ethical democrats.

[Note: As a conservative, btw, I agree it would be good public policy to have a mechanism in place encouraging home ownership among those unable to qualify for standard loans. But it should be a controlled and regulated mechanism, not the current program that has grown into the terrible monster we've been enduring for the past two years - and one that will probably impact us even more so in the year(s) to come].

[Note two*: Any such program, in my view, should require a certain level of financial commitment on the part of the under-qualified purchaser. Human nature tells us something attained for a cost is prized and cared for much better than an item received as a gift. We should use this behavioral quirk for the public's benefit].

As always, learned and thoughtful comments, whether I agree with them or not, are encouraged.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Senator Obama's "Achilles Heel"

No, I'm not talking about his wife's tude, nor his long-term but still unclarified relationship with an unrepentant terrorist neighbor. Or his friendship with a destructive pit bull of a former pastor, etc, etc. The midstream media lapdogs are never going to let those issues see much of the light of day - at least not until they rediscover their lost gravitas after the next month or so.

What I'm speaking of is his now elephant-sized personality quirk of not being able to admit previous errors in judgments or positions. According to what I see he apparently has never committed an error. Oh, he's shifted his position on an entire litany of pre-campaign issues, but he was never "wrong", per se. What this tells me, the average American voter, is that the Senator is not secure enough in his own personage to be able to admit mistakes.

You say he hasn't had any mistakes? The man is the father of two teen-age daughters. He's made lots of mistakes. Just ask them. They've seem them all.

OK, that's not fair to do, because they love him and would naturally want to protect him, so lets not bother them with this now. Things are probably stressful enough around the dinner table on those rare occasions they're able to break bread together these days. So unlike many liberals who seem unable to resist inserting digs criticizing the Palin children, I suggest we leave the Obama girls in peace.

It's at this stage I really, really miss [again] my late cousin, a psychiatrist associated with UCSF. I'd love to ask him, "What does it say about an individual who can never admit being wrong"? What could be the state of their mental health? How reliable could they be in an emergency? What if they made a bad decision and there were time to change it? Would they? Could they? Should they? These are things our next president should be comfortable with doing, in my view, if the need arises.

I'm not talking about being weak-willed or making namby-pamby decisions and waffleing all day long afterwards. I'm talking about initiating a strong, well-thought out action and then finding out two hours later some of the basic information relied upon was "junk", and in error. Could my president admit an error in judgement and make changes to mitigate the earlier action? In public? If the press were to find out and factually report on it?

I have strong reservation about the senator's fitfullness for this office because I don't trust his character and find it wanting and weak in the area of self-confidence. That scares me. My experience as a kid on the playground was that most bully's also lacked self-confidence. We don't need another bully in the white house, and that's exactly what I see lurking behind this recent despicable [and also dishonest] stunt.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why I'm [usually] a Republican

A blog friend said today,
......... what in Blue Blazes made you a republican.
Fair question, so I'll pause for a few moments and reason it out, again.

There are many aspects of the democrat party of three or four generations ago that I admired and supported, but by and large their approach seemed to have always been that of an advocate, a helper, a mentor, a guide. An entity to "show me the way". Which in most cases was extremely narrow and restrictive and which somehow assumed I was unable to think very much for myself. That last part offended me.

Since those years that party has shifted leftward and parts of it have now become "slimy" in some respects. Most of my long-standing democrat friends aren't really very proud of what the party has become today. Some have remained outwardly loyal, but some have simply disengaged from party politics. I can understand that.

I was raised to think for myself. My early years in the USAF and law enforcement taught me to be ethical, self-reliant and industrious. I learned to make decisions based on facts, not emotion. Time and time again in political situations I found myself more on the side of the GOP than the dems. Eventually I realized at heart I was a true believer in the party of Lincoln.

While stationed in the deep south I observed - and actively fought against - several lingering [and evil] Jim Crow situations*. At that time the party in power down there was ostensibly "democrat", so their waywardness did nothing to encourage me to "convert".

Eventually in those years I was able to meet and confer briefly with a few really well-to-do republican entrepreneurs, and found to my surprise they were not the evil, scheming charlatans the liberal press had made them out to be. They made money, but they created jobs, too. And paid well. And shared their surplus with those less endued. It was a further eye-opener.

So in most situations over the years my thinking fell on the republican side of the question. Until, that is, the 106th and 107th congressional sessions brought forth too many republican legislators who couldn't resist turning from citizen-legislators into "professional" [lifetime career seeking] politicians. It was enough to make my blood boil. Add to that the long-term collapse of the California republican party and most of my votes after 2000 were simply wasted on ineffective and disorganized candidates. To me it was sad. And bad. And very discouraging. With only one or two bright spots. One of which was getting rid of Gray Davis.

Over the years I kept noticing the democrats aimed themselves toward appealing to "victims. And the repubs towards those that were self-reliant. Lately I've seen it stated thus: Dems are the party for losers and Repubs are the party for winners. I know its not that simple, but to me there is a kernal of truth rattling around in there, somewhere.

I'm not going to cover GWB on this post. There isn't room, or time. But essentially I gave up on the repubs over a year ago and have turned down all their correspondence and requests since then. As far as I was concerned they were dead. I looked at the Libertarian party but their pov is not mine. So until the selection of a truly "maverick" republican vice presidential candidate the current election held little interest for me once I detected too many fatal flaws in BHO's candidacy. But as said earlier, I am now "back" and looking for action.

* Its probably best, though, for legal reasons to leave specific details unsaid.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The lengthy campaign is taking its toll - PPCS?

When the 2008 presidential election cycle is history and analysts have their final say, I believe one conclusion will stand above all others - it was way too long for mortal candidates to sustain.

My best example is this. Senator Obama is now - in September - almost certainly suffering from Post Primary Campaign Syndrome. Let me quote one of his questioning supporters:
But in Barack Obama we have one of the brightest and most thoughtful persons to ever seek the highest office in the land. More importantly he is pragmatic and is genuinely willing to consider all solutions to every problem. He will not be bound by partisan dogma. And, as a bonus, he is charismatic and a truly great leader.
Now let me ask the question. Is this the Barack Obama we've seen recently? Speaking of pigs, lipstick and stinking fishes? Does anyone else think he's somehow lost sight of the offensive and for some reason is now scurrying about looking for "defensive" positions?

I can't help thinking the uber-long primary season experiment might be the senator's ultimate undoing. He's been in combat mode s-o-o-o long he's becoming "rummy". This may end up only being a temporary condition, but its still interesting - at least to me. Since I became so mad at the "official" republican party [both the national version and in California] that I tuned out this election almost a year ago, and only recently awakened from my long slumber, I'm still fresh. But I suspect there are too many out there suffering from PPCS. Their publications, posts and comments refect it.

Its past time for some of them to chill a little and take time to visit a competent therapist.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

One way to gain "experience"......

.......even though it might not be exactly what Senator Obama had in mind.

This post is not meant to be snarky or snide. But when one takes into account his entering the race when he did one has to admit the senator's EQ: [experience quotient] truly was on the lightweight side. Taking nothing from his affability, or his communication and reasoning skills, but being the candidate in a national presidential campaign is not really the same thing as running a business or being in an executive position in government. Its not, its not, its not. And now, post convention, possibly he's finally learning that and gaining some badly needed experience.

Most folks learn by the trial and error method. Oh, they might say they learn from the mistakes of others, but usually lessons learned from the "observation" method are lightly or imperfectly grasped. The school of hard knocks, however, has a better record of imparting lasting knowledge, in my view. The good senator is receiving some telling blows at this juncture of the campaign, and when all is said and done [and barring the total collapse of the Alaskan governor] if he reflects upon the outcome afterwards he could learn a very valuable life's lesson.

To put it simply, "When one is running for one position, never, never publicly compete against a person standing for another" In my view its too late even now for this screed to do him any good during this election cycle. There's too much already been said, and his creepy minions have taken it so far, so fast, so sleazily, that there's no chance this year for recovery. Imo. The American voters look for fairness - and seeing so little from his supporters and the media will do what they need to do in less than two months to nullify the "bully's". Period. Its over.

So my recommendation is for the senator to make lemonade out of this, and learn for the future. In many ways I like and respect the man. It would be really great if he'd mature some to the point where he'd keep his idealism but still gain some backbone and gravitas. If he becomes proud to be called an "American", and could learn to see solutions to public problems other than merely throwing money at them, I might be able to support him.

So I can hope his education and experience levels improve. But if he fails to learn from this - and take responsibility for his own actions and shortcomings - I will forlornly look for somebody else next time. Somebody a little more classy and a lot less experientially challenged.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

New prediction - number 3 - farewell to Joe

Upon learning that BHO has induced HRC to head for Florida and stump for him next week, the thought suddenly occurs: "What is the only way the dems might have to be able to counter the surprise presence of Sarah Palin on the ballot"?

The best answer that leaps to mind? "Find some way for Biden to suddenly become unavailable to serve and arrange for Hillary to "fill in" for him in November."

Better watch out, Joe. Make sure somebody trustworthy has your "6" o'clock.

You say it will never happen? I say you saw it here, first. And this scheme could also contribute to HRC's goal of remaining a viable prez candidate in the future. Otherwise, she just might become stale goods.

On tossing out the good and keeping the bad

This post is mostly for my Canadian friends and their readers.

I don't know, guys, but you may be chucking out the baby with the bathwater. If this story in the WSJ is accurate Governor Palin might be a good option for you cousins. This:
"The producers warned they would not bid, nor would anyone else. Five groups submitted proposals. A few months before the legislature awarded its license to TransCanada [my emphasis] this July, Conoco and BP suddenly announced they'd be building their own pipeline with no state inducements whatsoever. They'd suddenly found the money".
certainly tends to indicate she's not a parochial right-wing America-first nutjob, as I think a couple of you might have implied, unless "TransCanada" is a US owned conglomerate. Instead I think she might be a politician with integrity. A very rare breed. Maybe even an endangered species, as it were. A type you should be eager to protect and conserve. [Sorry about that last word].

But many of you would rather keep "the One". The one who appeals to the masses. Who promises "change". Who has never actually done anything significant in his life. Who wants to give away his country in order to be liked by the "world". Who during the last year flipped his "positions" on virtually everything. And picked an old, white-guy fool of a politician to be his attack dog. And whose actual record has received less "media" probing in 20 months than Governor Palin's in 8 days. [bloggers not included].

Guys, I think you really like this other fellow more because to you he seems a little "French". Like wanting to surrender instead of fight. [OK, bad joke] And you live and work among the French, being Canadian, and some of their "frenchness" might have rubbed off on you a little. I can accept that.

The only thing is, that's not an "American" trait most US voters support. His own left-wing nutjobs [yes, he also has them] don't understand this because they don't really admire most "American" traits. They have so much self-loathing and hatred of their own ancestors swirling around that deep down in their minds they don't really know what they are. [Of course they are in no hurry to live somewhere else; to possibly be forced to live more uncomfortably]. Instead they scavenge around here to see what they can destroy from the inside. They - and the One - are the folk needing to be "chucked", imo, at least for now.

Unless something weird occurs I have two predicitions. 1. The poll numbers will slowly change against the One. 2. But because they are "polls" and won't really reflect what a vast majority of US voters are thinking [sorry, but that's true] the election will not be a close one. It will be a McClain landslide. And he's not even "my" candidate.

Unless she stubs her toe badly I believe Palin could be "my guy" in 2012. [Sorry, ladies, but you know what I mean]. Only time will tell.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Weirdness, rudeness from the normally polite left

An online liberal friend has posted a couple of rants against Governor Palin. I'll not link to them because I thought the first was rude and uncaring, something with which he normally would not be associated, and the other was trite and irrelevant.

First was a photoshopped item concerning the pregnancy of daughter Bristol. In my view any person taking delight or claiming some type of snarky advantage because of the unwed pregnancy of a teenager is simply an idiot. Or maybe just another teen-ager. Since my friend is mature, and comes from a culture that claims to be more polite and caring than "us", I'll have to assume he somehow missed his morning coffee and posted the item without thinking the matter through.

His second item was an expression of a negative pov on Governor Palin, with three reasons noted, plus a round-up from of the various poll results on the upcoming election dated over the labor day week-end showing BHO with about an 8 point lead over JSMc.

His point seemed to be the poll results showed the election was over. Might as well mail it in. Two months before the actual election. Two days after the DNC in Denver and three days before the RNC in St. Paul. Well nothing was going to happen in the next few days to change those numbers, was there?

I couldn't believe how uninformed and judgmental my friend appeared to be. Of the three reasons he "couldn't stand" the governor the first was her stance on birth control, the second was because of her "abuse of power" and the third was because she was republican.

Well nothing will change the first or third, but I suspect there is more to the eye about the assumed "abuse of power" thing and I will post on that aspect later. I can only say for now that with an 80% approval rating in her home state this seems like one Governor who's used her "power" for the people, not personal gain. But time will tell.

So far I see nothing that challenges my conclusion that liberals are frightened to death of the governor. Fun, fun, fun.


Initial thoughts on Sarah Palin

I like her. She gives me hope for the future of our country - and maybe even that of the republican party, though that's arguably not as important.

She reminds me of my two daughters. Tough, smart, feminine and flexible. I think if the three of them were ever stuck together in a room for 30 minutes they'd become friends, not that they'd agree on everything.

I think she has become a significant problem for the media. She boldly says she isn't running for office to be seek their approval. They, otoh, pretty uniformly let everyone know last week they considered her a lightweight and desperate choice from a weakened and fading politician. Now, to their chagrin, she turns out to be an articulate scrapper - somewhat akin to a pit bull with lipstick - and went right over the media's heads directly to 40 million or so potential voters with the result that a vast number of them join me in "loving" her. All this without the media's permission or approval. To them, its "unthinkable". <Sad shake of head>

Much lies ahead during the next two months for Governor Palin. She will have many chances to stumble, slip and fall - or to rise to new and glorious heights in the public's mind and eyes. I wish her well. I would suggest her detractors stick to the facts, though, and not the rumors. But wonkers will be snarky, and few looney liberals will be able to refrain from "trashing" [in their minds] a strong woman candidate who scares them stupid.

The Gap widens. What fun.

The French

Say what you want about the French, and I sometimes have, at least they drive on the proper side of the road.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What I love about the Obama "assumers"

So many well-meaning folk in other parts of the world have "assumed" points of view they believe conservative US voters hold concerning BHO that I will address this first.

What I find so funny - actually laughable - is that the "common knowledge" others hold of US attitudes is media driven. And in the US today the media [formerly the MSM] is bankrupt and failing, so what they are printing and broadcasting is misleading to outsiders in the extreme. But if one is used to relying on media then one doesn't really understand this fine point. It is as if the media are preaching to the choir, not knowing the congregation left the building six months ago, formed another group and are now meeting elsewhere. Not secretly but openly - something the media types would have known if only they listened to someone other than themselves.

To their credit a few have. But most egg-headed stalwarts are living in denial and cannot conceive of any set of circumstances that could cause their pronouncements to be ignored by their lessers - the listeners.

First there is a general assumption a huge number of ultra right-wing voters would never vote for a black man. There are fools who feel this way, no doubt, but their numbers are so low as to be imo less than half the number of folks who would simply vote for a black man BECAUSE he is black. Which - to my mind - is just as intellectually dishonest as the former.

Second is the assumption folks who voted for GWB would never vote for a democrat. I'm sorry, but for all he's done right, Mr. Bush has pretty well blown his gravitas with most conservatives and they would vote for any candidate who could attend a few of their interests. Changing the current political polarization process rampant in DC would be one of those interests.

So this year I really wanted to be able to vote for a black candidate. My mix-raced grandson now lives with me and I want him to be successful in life and have inspiring role models. Almost eight years ago I thought the smartest thing the repubs could do would be to run Condi Rice for prez in '08. Four years ago I was still pushing for Ms. Rice, but have now come to believe her executive abilities were regretfully overtaxed by the State Department and GWB. Not even taking at face value her reluctance to run.

Eventually I looked at several other blacks who were conservative, but none came to the fore during the run-up to the primaries. So I seriously looked at BHO. And inititally liked what I saw. He has been a great communicator, and inspired a new generation of followers to become politically active. Thats all to the good, imo. I did have a few questions, though, over his lack of experience, his choice of mentors and his Chicago political base. Imo Chicago has been and still is the most corrupt political environment in the US. So I wanted to see him - if he truly believed in change - to push himself away from that cesspool. There were other questions, too. Bill Ayers, pastor Jeremiah Wright, etc., but in my mind they were secondary.

Well when I went to the media to find answers to these puzzles I couldn't even find a discussion of most of the questions. What gives? Why hasn't our "professional" journalist corps done their jobs? Are they knowingly or unknowlingly "in the tank"? There are too many unanswered questions for someone who wants to be our president. Questions were being ignored by the candidate and his staff, and also by the media. The stench soon became overwhelming. So while I WANTED to vote for a black candidate, I couldn't find a black candidate who was qualified to serve in the office.

That really left me in a funk, because the other candidate was not mine. He was a showboating maverick who failed so many position tests that I almost lost interest in the race. Then I started reading Thomas Sowell every few days. He cheered me up and helped me see the "bigger" picture. Finally today I read Spengler in the Asia Times and it all became clear. It is time to rise up from my doldrums and leap back into the fray.

Mind the Gap, everyone, I'm back!

Waking up midst the ashes - sort of

OK, I'm coming out of my self-imposed funk and will start blogging again. Mainly about politics - because its going to be so much fun now that we have a race again.

Feel free to comment, but keep it civil.