Noon Update – Blagojevich and Housing Statistics

Well, I’m back after a long hiatus.

My dad hasn’t had time to write, but at the encouragement of his friends, he’s gonna start doing more here.  I am also gonna try to get a Facebook page up soon.

So, what’s in the news today…

  • Governor Blagojevich takes the stand in the corruption trial.  This should be interesting to watch, because one has to wonder if in order to save his own skin, he would out the President or someone else in the Administration.  I’m sorry, but to me it does not pass the “smell” (sniff sniff) test that deals could be made for an open Senate seat without the President knowing something about it.

Click here for the story

  • Housing continues its downward spiral.  Click here for the story I’ll post more on what to do with the economy in a longer essay this weekend, but to anyone wanting for a recovery (and we all do), this is terrible news.  Apparently, the guys in Washington DC don’t realize that
    • One has to have capital formation and investment by private investors in our economy
    • A lot of that capital is tied up in gold, safe stocks or mattresses (otherwise known as US Treasury Bills).
    • As long as this capital is NOT making it into the larger market, to go into businesses that hire YOU and ME, things will not improve.
    • Housing is one of these capital intensive sectors of the economy.  This report shows people are sitting on their hands

The question for everyone today is:

Why does the mainstream media NOT want to tell you the real statistics on unemployment?

Realize that everytime someone STOPS looking for work, they drop out of the pool of “employable people”.  That means the unemployment rate drops

By most estimates, unemployment is around 15-18% if you take into account the people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and quit looking for a job.

Here’s the link to why unemployment stats are not telling you the truth

Enjoy the day.  Tell your friends about the blog and keep coming back!

Evening Update – August 13

Good afternoon to all.

Things move fast on the key issue of the day, even if Congress is not officially in session.  Maybe having Congress be forced to go back home and see/talk to their constituents is not a bad thing, eh?

First, let’s check the fact that Obama’s poll numbers continue to slide. Rasmussen, which is the only outfit that samples registered voters and pulls out only likely voters out of that, shows his approval at 47%.  It has been sinking at about 1 point every 7 days or so over the last month.  As his ratings sink further, it has several effects

  1. People begin to wonder whether he has the political capital to evangelize his programs so that Congress feels motivated to pass them
  2. Bipartisanship is easier for a president that the opposing party feels has the support of the public behind him.  So, Republicans may continue opposing him if they feel he isn’t bringing the public along.
  3. His ability to bring together the various factions of the Democratic party also begins to falter.

For point 3 above, here is an article you might find interesting on how seniors are jumping off the bandwagon in terms of support for healthcare.. If this key pillar of the Democratic coalition falls by the wayside, it is bad news for Obama.

Meantime, if you really want to see the underpinnings of the healthcare bill, here is some more material.

  • How to connect the dots on the provisions in the bill and its effects.
  • Here is a set of the amendments in the bill which no one is talking about.

Now, comes late word of a poll that shows many people expect taxes to go up. Could that be because we see the debt rising?  Latest numbers from the government show the deficit will hit $1.8 Trillion this fiscal year, which is 4 times what it was last year.

Previous readers to this space will remember I said interest rates will go up?  Well, that is also in the cards.  Long-term Treasury bills show no sign of their rates stablizing.  Each time the government auctions off the debt, it has to pay more interest to the holders of the debt.

Now, having dispensed with the news, let me turn to something else.

We’ve been told for several days now by the lemmings in the mainstream media that liberals believe that dissenters at the town hall meetings are UNAMERICAN.

Well, consult Thomas Jefferson.

I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

So, the rebellion should continue.  I don’t favor it becoming violent, but passionate? Yes.  vociferous? Yes.

I am going to write about this in more detail tomorrow.  I’ll tell you exactly why I think Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and many people on the far left are being completely disingenuous.  They want to quash any debate on the healthcare issue, but they said several years ago that it was appropriate to question the Bush administration.

Tomorrow, I will also write about why I think some liberals have lost it completely.  Meaning they no longer understand (or care to understand) what is the “organic river of feeling” that runs through most Americans for whom the words country, freedom, liberty, and self-determination actually mean something.

I leave you with the entreaty… NEVER EVER FORGET those words:  freedom, liberty, self-determination and country.  These words should evoke emotions and make you proud to be an American.  That feeling, in turn, makes you want to defend what America is so it does not become something you don’t recognize.

It is up to all of us…

Katia’s afternoon update – June 18th, 2008

Greetings to all…

Wanted to bring you up to date on a few stories worth paying attention to today…

1. The New York Times issued a poll which seems to still show a gap between the President’s personal approval ratings, and how the public feels about specific policies.  People appear to like the president, but his policies aren’t receiving the same perception. The question for all of us is how much more damage can he sustain on the policy front in terms of negative perception before his own personal ratings also start to suffer.  Note: registration may be required to click on the NY Times link and get to the story.

2. I found an excellent live blog over at The Guardian in the UK that appears to be doing a pretty decent job of indicating what is going on in Iran in more or less real-time.  I offer the link here for your bookmarks.  You might have to go back to their main page here to find the same blog tomorrow, as the above URL appears to have today’s date hard-coded in it.

3. The Democrats appear to want to cut spending on the missile defense system. The link over at Pajamas Media is here.  With North Korea having missile technology and the means to produce nuclear weapons grade material, this seems like a foolhardy move because it does not take that much of a leap in rocket technology to get a missile that can reach from North Korea to Alaska or Hawaii, or even Tokyo.  According to the article, $32M has already been spent to put the interceptors in Alaska, $120M remains to be spent to finish these sites and put the technology in.  The article correctly points out that many civilian technologies come out of the military domain where a requirement is stated, technology is developed and then put into military applications, which is something many Democrats forget. Well, let us consider some ideas in that regard…

  • The Internet (apologies to Al Gore for being incorrect) was invented through work by the military.
  • The idea of routers/switches that drive all the traffic across the networks you use to view this Web page.  Also came from the military
  • GPS and most commercial navigation systems came out of the military
  • High speed jet engines also came out of the military
  • The reduction of transistors and integrated circuits into smaller and smaller spaces also came from the military.  Without that, the technology to develop the iPhone and mobile cellular phones that are so sleek and small wouldn’t have happened.

My point with the above list is it is a complete fallacy for Democrats to say that military spending provides no useful benefit.  In this case, with a confirmed madman in Pyongyang, and a government there that has both rocket technology and nuclear material, I believe it is wise to consider all defense options that we have.

4. According to The, Senator Baucus now has the problem of having to cut $600 Billion from the healthcare bill, and Republicans, rightly so, are deriding the whole thing as a sham. The basic problem is that neither party has been able to come together with the other one to draft some principles that are bipartisan.  So, the bill that makes it to the House and Senate floor will be much more tilted towards the Democrat perspective.  What one should watch for is whether the public (government) option is created in such a way as to drive the private insurers out of business over time.  Remember that government can run losses on such a plan, as they’re doing with Medicare, and then we all lose because if there is less choice in the private marketplace, businesses will cut your current insurance and dump everyone in the government plan.  My preferences would be to

  • Figure out how to get the people who are NOT insured covered
  • Put more preventative care clinics in areas where they’re needed
  • Invest heavily in more doctors/nurses, and offer to pay or forgive some of their school loans if they serve in these clinics
  • Put together a catastrophic care bill that can be offered to EVERYONE so that people do not get wiped out by a large surgery or illness that traditional insurance won’t cover

5. Senator DeMint is going after Senator Boxer for her comments to a general who was testifying on the Hill.  Link is here at Hot Air. Apparently, the general decided to call her “ma’am” and she chided him and asked him to call her Senator.  I only include this one here because it is interesting how the Senator forgets that everyone in uniform has seen things in wartime that are unimaginable and many of them give up huge sacrifices to be in uniform for us. She should defer to the General, not the other way around.

That’s the evening roundup for today.  Come back tomorrow for notes on the interesting stories I’m following.  Have a great evening, and thank you very much for coming by.

Don’t forget you can follow the blog over on Facebook.  Look in the left side and you’ll see the Facebook widget to Networked Blogs.  Also, consider recommending the blog to Digg, Reddit, or Technorati or all three if you like it.  Here’s the URL if you want to copy/paste it into those sites.

Katia’s Evening Update

Touche. I suppose I expected this. The President goes after Fox News…  Here’s one link… and also a link to Hot Air’s story about this. It’s the only channel on the dial where conservative and libertarian views get a fair hearing. So, naturally, the President would feel like Fox’s sole aim is to make life difficult for him. I’ll leave it to the reader to watch Fox News sometime and make up your own mind as to whether they are balanced in their coverage or out to get the President.

However, I’d like to point out that if he really CARED about the conservative or libertarian perspective, and he wanted to be President of ALL Americans, he would be bi-partisan and come on Fox News once in a while to answer questions. The reason most conservatives and Republicans have problems with Obama is the President shows zero inkling towards wanting to meet them halfway. At some level, Mr. Obama will have to realize that bashing your opposition can and will backfire.

Americans voted for Mr. Obama because President Bush basically went silent during the last 2 years of his last term. He also did not do a good job of putting PR people in his cabinet that could carry the messages of the day from the White House. The combination of this and his unwillingness to go personally after liberals on the Iraq war cost the Republicans any chance at victory in 2008. John McCain being chosen as the nominee was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’m not going to repeat the often spoken criticism that Obama is a socalist or a Marxist. I’ll leave that for you and history to decide. But, Obama will have to figure out how to govern from the center, or face a big correction in 2010 when the House gains a number of Republican seats and he loses several seats in the Senate.

Meantime, we all have an obligation to insist that the government as a whole stop the process of doing things that are counter-intuitive:

  1. Proposing healthcare legislation that is going to add $1 trillion to the debt, over and above what has already been allocated.  In other words, we start Fiscal Year 2010 in October with the government running a $2 trillion deficit.  Now, add $1 trillion on top of that during the next 10 years.  Sure, it is only $100 billion average a year, but even the Congressional budget office says that the proposed plan will NOT insure everyone it is supposed to.  About half the pool of uninsured people will still be left out in the cold.  Seems like an expensive $1 trillion to spend…
  2. Pushing the secured creditors to the back of the line at GM and Chrysler during the bailouts so that the government and unions could take first and second position respectively in equity.  The bond holders had contracts with GM and Chrysler which were nullified, effectively.  The Supreme Court was asked to step in and declined to.  So, firemen, teachers and other public services workers, plus ordinary Americans who had bonds invested (which are supposed to be a good hedge against risk) now are left with essentially nothing.  Someone remind me again if you choose to diversify AWAY from stocks into bonds, you usually PRESERVE your assets.  When did that little rule of economics go out the window???
  3. The government also shows little inclination to address the fact that tax rates here in the US are beginning to exceed those in Europe. Over time, this will lead to US companies setting up in Europe, or offshore.  Even if they pay taxes to re-patriate income from overseas, many companies will still come out ahead. In fact, with the spectre of inflation coming back… The dollar is going to lose purchasing power, providing an incentive for corporations to locate to other regions where the organic currency goes farther than the dollar.

So, that’s the evening update for today.  Keep an eye on these stories by coming back here.  Thanks for dropping in.

A reminder that I’ve now added a Facebook widget in the left pane if you want to become a follower of the blog over there.  You can also use Feedburner to subscribe to an RSS feed, and also get an email subscription to the site as well.

I have had nearly 1,100 hits on the site since we opened officially last Monday evening.  I thank each and every one of you for visiting.  However, I can only make this site a vehicle for positive change in the ideas marketplace if you tell your friends about it.

So, please find two friends this week who you believe are not getting all their information from alternative media and tell them about the site.

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Obama throws Kennedy under bus

This article over at Hot Air tells an interesting story. Obama was all for the healthcare bill until it became clear that the costs were a political liability. At which point he can throw Teddy under the bus.

It does beg the ultimate question of who exactly is running point on the healthcare bill on the Hill these days? And more so, if there isn’t one neck to choke in terms of accountability for success/failure of this, then how are the differences between the various bills going to get ironed out? As things stand, the various committees, writing legislation for healthcare can’t seem to agree on much of anything.

California — No bailout

From Hot Air... This also was predictable, but it’s going to put the politicians in the population’s cross-sights. People in California have grown used to getting just about everything under the sun from their government in terms of services, and paying capped property taxes for it. The result is government that has been functionally bankrupt for a long, long time.

The White House had no choice but to refuse to help California out. If they had stepped in, any other state could have come to the trough, pleading poverty. It is time for politicians and citizens to recognize that there is no free lunch. If we want to make our personal and business tax structure competitive with other countries, we have to downsize government at all levels.

In this recession with nationalization of banks, car companies and who knows what else, we are heading in the wrong direction and economic theory would tell me that the bet Obama is making is not one that is going to succeed.

Why? Germany and Russia tried nationalizing lots of industries and we know how well that went. So did Britain with their automobile sector in the 1960s. China, until 1990 or so was a centrally planned economy with little individual decision making. So, continuing to bail out failing enterprises and governments with money the US government doesn’t have is a recipe for ongoing fiscal disaster.

Liebermann opposes ObamaCare

Click here for the article over at Hot Air.

Wonder if Liebermann can get one or two other Democrats to cross over. If he can, maybe he can push to get this whole thing sent back for re-tooling or outright abandonment.

My basic problem with this bill is that the liberals are not willing to admit that by offering a public plan (government run) alongside a private plan (your local insurer you have now) AND then capping the profits of the private insurers at 10%, they are essentially going to DRIVE MANY private insurers out of business. So, your only choice in a few years will be the government plan.

Want to know what the government plan would be like for all of us… Ask anyone on Medicare right now.

Katia’s look back and ahead – June 12

Since there is a whole universe of information out there on current events, one could wonder what things went on this week and what might happen next week.

So, here’s my take on the important things of the past week that mainstream media outlets might not tell you about

Things that happened this week which you should know…

  1. The American Medical Association came out against one key provision in Obama’s healthcare bill, which is the creation of a government run medical plan (public option) that would have the power to drive private insurers out of business.  Why? The government is going to cap the profits of the private insurers and undercut their prices with the public plan.  This essentially drives the private insurers out of business. The impact of this decision by the AMA is unknown, but it certainly indicates that all the support the President counted on from the medical interests may not be so easy to come by. Click here to read Hot Air’s analysis
  2. The US government released some terrorists from Gitmo to Bermuda and it appears as though Palau might be another destination.  Guess if we can’t expect the Europeans to take them and we’re committed to closing Gitmo AND they can’t come here, we’re stuck with this option of dumping them into third countries that no one cares about.  Uhhh… Wait a minute.  Is that a terrorist from Gitmo that appeared in a New York courtroom??
  3. I’ll leave the reader to find the articles over at Hot Air about Sarah Palin and her dustup with David Letterman, but the latest on this certainly indicates to me that the guy doesn’t have a clue. Click here for the non-apology by Letterman.  He basically used his Top 10 list on Monday to make a joke about Palin’s daughter being knocked up by A-Rod, a player for the New York Yankees.  What he didn’t realize is Sarah Palin had her 14 year old daughter with her at the game.  Bristol Palin, the 19 year old daughter of Sarah Palin, who has a son, was probably the intended object of the joke, but she wasn’t even in New York!  Geez Dave… Get your facts straight, and might I suggest that the daughters and sons of politicians be off limits to your just below third grade level humor…
  4. The government printed more money this week.  There’s a good explanation of the Laffer “inflation” curve, showing the spike in money supply.  What that means to you and I is more inflation in the future.  If the government issues debt and no one buys it, we buy it, meaning the Federal Reserve buys the Treasury notes that are issued by the US Treasury. It’s just like the left hand paying the right hand 10 bucks and saying you now have 10 new dollars to spend.  Read this to get the details, but watching the upcoming T-bill auctions to find out who is (or is not) buying our debt is a good idea.

What to look for next week

  1. Watch what happens to the healthcare bill and whether the AMA’s decision starts to imperil its support
  2. See if the cap and trade bill remains dead
  3. The guy who is now running GM admits he knows nothing about cars.  If the company comes out of bankruptcy, wonder if anyone will be buying GM stock.  Uhhh… wait. The government and unions own most of the stock anyway, so why bother…
  4. If yet another explanation comes out for the Air France jet disaster.  First it was lightning, then electrical problems, then pitot-static sensor issues, and now they tell us terrorism may be potentially in the mix. C’mon guys… Next time, get the story straight!  The families deserve better than this!

Doctors come out against Obamacare

Well, this shouldn’t be surprising, considering they were against the Clinton version of this boondoggle.

Hot Air’s analysis on this is here:

AMA opposes Obamacare

I don’t know whether it is enough to sink the bill, but maybe you didn’t know….

  1. The bill would CAP the profits that the healthcare insurance companies (private ones) could get.  This effectively sets up the government plan as the place employers will dump people because the private insurance companies will offer policies that don’t cover very much at all.  If the government legislates minimal coverage that the private insurance companies have to offer, and they don’t want to do it, they’ll just fold their tents up.  Less choice, fewer private insurance carriers means more people in the government plan.  Nice for Washington, terrible for the rest of us
  2. As I’ve said before, no one is dealing with the fact that prescription drugs and lab tests are a significant component of healthcare costs. This must be addressed
  3. We also need more incentives to force people to see the doctor regularly for preventative care.  Get a relationship with a doctor or medical practice and you’ll find your health can improve.

Cap and Trade bill is dying…

HotAir has excellent analysis on why the Democratic coalition on this bill is falling apart. Waxman-Markey bill mutiny

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The hidden tax on EVERYTHING that would take place due to cap and trade is becoming evident, even to Democrats, and not a second too soon. I predicted early on that this would be dead on arrival because it would destroy many small businesses and even larger ones.

In Europe, where they have much ballyhooed cap and trade, if you do some digging, you find that cap and trade is actually very weak, and has turned into a bureaucratic mess.

Europe’s Problems with Cap and Trade

I also ask you to ponder this… The basic idea behind global warming and climate change is that temperatures have been rising. Well, the question becomes how one would measure the temperatures. I’ll post a longer set of ideas on this over the upcoming weekend, but here’s the backstory…

  1. The so-called “hockey stick curve” in global temperatures is badly flawed.  Read this article to find out why
  2. The debate over climate change takes no account of the fact that sunspots have been decreasing.  When sunspots decrease, usually the result is lower temperatures here on the Earth.  In extreme cases, such as during the Mauder Minimum, a mini Ice Age results.  We’ve had cooler than normal summers for the last few years and longer than normal winters in the northern US.  That’s not consistent with global warming theory. Here is an article: Harvard astrophysicist comments on sunspots and temperatures
  3. Even if we accept the “panic and do something” ideas of the liberals, the economic impacts of cap and trade are quite dire.  Google “Cap and Trade economic impacts”, or check out this paper:  Analysis of Cap and Trade Impact

So, if you put it all together, it is quite right to ask

  1. Are the liberals and environmentalists out to pass this because they know it has adverse consequences for the economy?  By putting a huge brick on top of the capital markets and extra hidden taxes into play, they exert more control over what each of us can do in our ordinary lives.
  2. The bill would allow goverment to regulate anything that has to do with greenhouse gas emissions.  That means what car you drive, how much electricity you can consume, whether you can fly to your business trip cheaply, and the list goes on and on.
  3. Do the liberals also realize the hidden costs this will impose on everyone?  Any product/good/service you buy will go up in price.  We already pay a lot of our income to the government, so why are we being asked to pay more to businesses when that extra cost does not go into the businessman’s pocket to create jobs or growth in that business?

I leave you with this thought… The liberals have studied for years how to get changes done by “stealth”.  Cry, scream and put the fear of Armageddon into you.  Then, write a bill that is not very well structured and vague on a lot of details.  Pass it and use the vague language as a means to enforce whatever they want.

The Constitution is a document that is “negative rights” focused.  Meaning if the right or enforcement power is not explicitly stated, it is not granted to the government.  Maybe it is time we insist our laws be written and enforced the same way.