The Struggle For Power

Everyday politics - No Rules - No Bars

 
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Reverse Mortgages and Politics
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Reverse mortgage leads vendors such as 4RMLeads of monitor the activities of the industry and provide training for reverse mortgage professionals.

There have been a number of new vendors come into the reverse mortgage market and many are only originating a very small number of loans. The reverse mortgage market is definitely a business that favors scale and favors specialization.

The economy of scale associated with reverse mortgages cannot be understated. Although a small group of individuals can indeed originate a large volume of reverse mortgage, the largest volume of sales continues to go to the reverse mortgage teams with the largest marketing budget.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 7:13 AM   18 comments
DNC - Seats Florida and Michigan Delegates
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The DNC Panel has gone through some pretty extraordinary lengths to "unify" its party after the Florida and Michigan primaries were held early.

Democratic Senators, Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama, remain in a heated competition. My personal opinion is that Hilary Clinton represents the most divisive force in modern American politics. She has the least ability of any of the remaining candidates to unite the political parties and general population over any issue in the absence of a complete crisis, disaster, or complete catastrophe that welds the diverse groups together out of either fear or necessity.

This Senator, who like her adversary, Sen. Obama, has done little of nothing during her tenure in the US Senate and, over the last few months, has effectively worked to weaken the standing of her of own party for the purpose of personal gain. It would seem that she does not see the role of Senator as important enough to focus her attention on. The fiasco in Florida and Michigan is a sad example of the way lengths that Sen. Clinton will go to mischaracterize a situation to her advantage. (Remember this is the First Lady who landed with her daughter and a comedian under sniper fire and had to race off the landing strip to safety.)

The Florida and Michigan delegations are getting the delegates seated with a 1/2 vote per delegate. This is the solution that was reached as the DNC willingly breaks its own rules through a special panel. The Clinton campaign claims that it is not enough that votes "shouldn't be taken away like that", when, in fact - based on the rules as written at the time of the primaries and prior to the states establishing the dates for the primaries, this constitutes adding votes - not taking them away.

Florida and Michigan had mad the decision to forfeit their delegates well in advance of the actual primary and were it not for the opportunistic nature of a losing candidate, who has done significant damage to her party and the likely nominee, Obama, it would not be an issue today. Clinton has trouble playing fair and for this reason has trouble unifying disparate groups for any purpose, because she has again demonstrated the tendency to be untrustworthy and elitist.

If the shoe was on the other foot, one can be sure that Sen. Clinton, would argue vehemently against any such compromise as the one passed.

Here is a link to recent Washington Times Article on the subject:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/01/delegates-get-split-decision/?page=3

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posted by Domesticated Dog @ 8:33 AM   0 comments
Reverse Mortgage Leads - A Sign of the Times
Sunday, May 11, 2008
With the rapid changes in the over all housing market. It is important to consider all sides of the mortgage and equity issue. One area that will become increasingly important is senior home equity.
The use economy has been able to run for some time on the equity in homes and will now need to find new sources of capital to spur on middle class consumer spending. The Home Equity Conversion plans instituted by the US government will g a long way toward achieving this goal.

Many brokers and lenders are looking for leads in this marketplace. They need to find more senior who qualify by age and LTV for the programs that are available in order to keep their mortgage businesses afloat. There are a lot of questions about the future of this industry and reverse mortgage lead providers have been stepping up to the plate to help lenders reach American seniors who are eligible for the programs.

Some common questions about reverse mortgage leads can be answered by contacting direct mail service providers. This market remains a stalwart in the marketing industry and allows small regional and local loan suppliers to effectively compete with larger companies through focused marketing campaigns.

Well, what does all this have to do with the Struggle For Power? The answer is this. The market has changed. The country is aging and there will be an effort to squeeze capital into the economy anyway possible. There has been little attention given to this condition by any of the remaining candidates.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 9:25 PM   0 comments
Paul and Gravel Supporters
Thursday, February 28, 2008
While, I am not as extreme as the creators of many of the videos and writers of articles in my veiw point and idealogical distinction, I appreciate free speech. It comes with the good and the bad. I particularly appreciate the fact that politician are able to speak freely.

This charge that Mrs. Clinton should be jailed is not one that I support, because I do not know all the facts. This video is posted more to show how Ron Paul and Mike Gravel are the only the real Maverick's in the race. McCain looks more Crony-ish by the day, Huckabee seems to be in support of acts that seem quite un-christian for the sake of his party affiliation (but he does seem like a real nice guy - very affable - way better than McCain), and Obama is essentially Clinton 2.0.






posted by Domesticated Dog @ 2:20 PM   6 comments
Greenspan - Dollar Decline in Gulf - Unpeg
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Alan Greenspan is recommending that the Gulf states un-peg their currency from the dollar. That means all thos petro-dollars that our country needs other countries to buy will be worth event less.

yes, this would be good for Arab states, because investing in the dollar is a bad investment, considering that there are other currencies that have an upside to them.



Just because Greenspan makes this statement (of fact) does not make him a traitor. It is in the best interest of most countries to separate them from the dollar and at some point they will. China and many other countries that accumulate dollar reserves do so in order to purchase goods from OPEC nations that only accept the dollar i exchange for crude. The OPEC nations should shift to another currency, which is another reason to emphasize energy independence. this was one of the reasons it was important to invade Iraq. We needed to keep them on the coin of the realm. We needed to keep the country dollar dependent.

I really am not a fan of the invasion of Iraq based on the publicly stated reasons, however, there were a lot of other good reasons to invade Iraq that were in the best interest of Americans in general - fear that Iraq was going to attempt to beat us in armed conflict was not on, but fear that Iraq would gain some sort of economic leverage in the region and that OPEC nations, if left to their own devices would shift to the Euro was a good reason. If we withdraw from the Middle East the currency transition will likely take place in short order. It will be good for the French, good for the Germans, and perhaps good for the Chinese. It will not be good for the US.

The problem with the war in Iraq has never really been the war - as you see are still there - it has been the politics and lies.

Greenspan may have been involved in lowering interest rates to stimulate demand and Bush may have introduces tax cuts to keep money circulating in investment, but neither held a gun to anyone's head and said go borrow more than you have a plan to pay back and neither forced American kids to play video games for the last 50 years instead of learning math.

The middle class is going to go away - or just become a poorer middle class in America for all kinds of reasons. CNN acts like Ward and Jun Cleaver are under siege and fails to fully represent the force that are at play and to get the word out that the middle class only existed in this country because of WWII and the continued threat of war. The middle class has few uses in an economy, it is not a necessary class under capitalism and were the middle class to cease to be, the economy would experience more (not less) stability.

There will still be growth in the economy, but the goods and service will move across border as a easily as a phone call and production will move to the location of least cost. None of th presidential candidates is really being honest, except Ron Paul. This country is bankrupt and it will have to sacrifice purchasing power to keep chugging. the people who come to terms with the coming changes will do fine in the future those who don't will be able to reap all the rewards of being surprised by the obvious.

Greenspan said if these countries choose to drop their dollar pegs, the inflation in the region would fall “significantly.” Gulf governments should consider the idea of floating their currencies assessing its implication in the long-term, Greenspan said.

However Saudi and UAE central bank chiefs spoke in favor of retaining dollar pegs, while Qatar's prime minister advocated for regional currency reform to avert possible unilateral revaluations. According to Saudi Central Bank Governor Hamad Saud Al Sayyari, floating the Saudi riyal would not be appropriate as the country relies on oil exports. He said floating is beneficial when the economy and exports are diversified.
{Source: http://www.rttnews.com/forex/economicnews.asp?date=02/26/2008&item=10}



This statement only makes sense if another currency is not substituted for the dollar and if other oil consuming markets do not develop. It basically reads "If we leave the US Dollar Americans won't be able to buy our petro-products and boy do they and their companies buy a lot of it! They are our best customer with their big cars and living in, wide opens spaces, and commuting. If we oil producing Gulf countries shift to away from the America market, the Americans, because of there long standing trade deficits will not be able to get the other currencies to purchase oil from us and the other suppliers at the the same rate as present and that decrease in overall demand would hurt us." However, I think Greenspan's recommendation is correct - the should unpeg their currency the same way China should. We are the borrowers and we are servants to the lenders.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 12:12 AM   17 comments
Have You Ever Read the Declaration of Indepncence
Monday, February 25, 2008
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Declaration text | Rough Draft | Congress's Draf
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 6:12 PM   0 comments
Bumper Stickers: Free Speech
The constitution guarantees each of us the right to free speech. That includes signs, novels, essays, article blogs and bumper stickers.If you have a vehicle and you want to make a statement visit Liberty Stickers and take a look at what they have. I really enjoy some of the creative designs and puns they have put together to grab the attention of the passerby.










Here are some links to their sites.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 12:15 PM   0 comments
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Spokesman McCormack answers questions regarding the attack on the US embassy in Belgrade.




posted by Domesticated Dog @ 1:13 PM   0 comments
Michael Moore Will Only Endorse Single Payer
Friday, February 22, 2008
The Clinton and Obama Healthcare plans are curious. On one side, I am concerned about the economic dislocation that would occur, if the plans put in place do not benefit the insurance companies, but in fact injure the insurance companies then people will lose jobs and one of the stalwarts of the economy and an industry that has a bright future as presently constituted will stop putting investment dollars into the market.

Michael Moore, who is more of a socialist, seems to think (and with good reason) that the insurance companies stand to benefit from the Clinton (or Obama) systems. Michael Moore wants to see a single-payer system. This is a very socialist and liberal position, but it also, really the only way that a Universal Healthcare system would really work anyway - and that is exactly what the health insurance companies will not stand for. The healthcare companies would spend all of their profits for a year to prevent a law from going into place that would put them out of business or make their business permanently unprofitable. The business has no other reason to exist other than to generate a profit.

There was an interesting result from arbitration on healthcare insurance refusing to cover an enrolled member. The Health.net policy cancellation is something right out of SiCKO

How's this for a conspiracy:
Maybe the healthcare companies are actually encouraging the news outlets to cover stories on healthcare failures, so the American public will agree to put in place a public/private (fascist) initiative that will enrich the insurance companies and introduce barriers to competition cementing the existing healthcare providers as the middleman and administrators of the new system and guaranteeing long-term dividend yielding profits that will not demand continuous development of efficiency.

Are article like this part of the conspiracy? (Business Week article) Anything is possible.

Healthcare is expensive, because trying to live forever is expensive. If you want the latest great cures, then you have to pay more. And, the insurance companies know this that is why they don't want to have people enrolled who are: chronically ill, overweight, hypochondriacs, in dangerous occupations, or pre-disposed to terminal illnesses that do not cause death to arrive swiftly. Of course, if you pay them good they will certainly sign you up until they have to pay.

The cost of healthcare can be reduced, but insurers will need some reform on the tort side in order for it to make sense to them. Lawsuits need to get cheaper and less frequent. And, the amount that American are charged for prescription medication needs to come down. the government needs to be the buyer for the pills and prescriptions. It should outright by the patents for drugs that are significantly better than those existing in the market and make them available at the lowest possible cost, while immediately rewarding the drug research firms and thereby encouraging them to come out with more breakthroughs. Healthcare is a mess, but, unless you are a part-socialist or a part-fascist (and most folks at some level are one or the other) some the proposals that are on the table appear to be problematic in implementing while maintaining an environment of free-market capitalism.

Healthcare always want to put more people on the rolls - especially children and young people (who represent a large number of the uninsured), because kids tend to get over their illnesses. There is a lot of money there. Kids get sick but most don't. The life insurance companies should be trying to get mandatory life insurance laws as long as we are going after "universal healthcare"- after all "No parent should be left with the burden of paying for the funeral expenses of their child". Mandatory enrollment in life insurance for kids would be a boon for the life insurance company, so I guess the mandatory insurance proposals that keep the insurance companies involved would, likewise, be a boon for insurance companies.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 7:25 PM   0 comments
Attacks on Obama (Clinton's Snipe), McCain's Problems,
Clinton's snipe on Obama in last night's debate is all in the news. you tube has some videos that should minimize the effects of the snipe, but overall the attack on the words used in a speech will be more damaging to Clinton and Obama, so long as the Obama campaign avoids getting skittish and "watching their words". Obama is at his best against all the candidates when the free-wheeling exchanges occur. The GOP would be better off in a head-to-head to have Romney or Huckabee up there. In fact, if they had not spent so much time trying to run Ron Paul off the tracks, Ron Paul would be an extremely viable change candidate. Remember, McCain was run over by Bush - Karl Rove surely is a mastermind and does not get enough credit. (You don't have to like a man to appreciates excellence... he is a hired to do a job and does it, extremely well).

Obama needs to shift into heavy substance and exploit the fact that his opposition is completely embroiled in rhetoric and that the GOP candidates are at risk of drowning in their own ideology that does not have a good by the numbers effect on the average American and those in the lower economic categories. Hispanics, really should examine what republican policies mean for most Hispanics - particularly recent immigrants. The people in the hill country and non-urban counties also need to really ask themselves if republican policies really benefited them when the recession arrives. Those folks who were able to sell land to developers when interest rates were lowered to make it appear as though there was an strong foundational economic recovery - and everybody and there brother could get a loan by proving that they were breathing (or were at least breathing recently) - benefited greatly. A bunch of folks got Clampett rich, but those who didn't and are out in the rural areas now are looking to get punched in the gut. Expansion will slow and a lot of rural economies will be set back to where they were years before.

I think the reason that the candidates are not parading around the numbers of their positions is that none of them really has a solutions for the problems that are coming. The Federal Reserve will make or break the next president, and as such, can turn someone into Jimmy Carter pretty quick.

McCain has Problems with the Lobbyist Charges:

McCain is surrounded by lobbyists this hardly says independent-minded and says that this man will owe a lot of favors for the favors (fund) provided. Do you want lobbyist running the country? They certainly are doing their art to run the McCain campaign. Lobbyists are not necessarily bad, but they do skew the process in favor of the people that most people aren't - they are kind of anti-democratic.
  • McCain has 26 registered lobbyists as campaign advisers.
  • Clinton has 11 register lobbyists as campaign advisers.
  • Obama has 0 (Zero) registered lobbyists as campaign advisers.
In an Obama vs. McCain campaign there are dozens, if not thousands, of ways to use this in rebuttals to McCain attacks and there will be plenty of opportunity to utilize this in debates. In addition to the baggage that each candidate has there will be the baggage associated with each lobbyist - and their can only be so many degrees between the folks McCain knows and Jack Abramoff.

With the particular charges related to Vicki Iseman, McCain tripped into some strange phrasing, if the quotes are accurate in an article published in Huffington Post. Somebody help him! Fast!. The Hiffingpost is undoubtedly biased against him, but he put a welcome mat on the scandal dor almost demanding an innuendo laced article. Are the quote contained real?? I'm curious if anyone has video of these.

McCain has Money Problems:
John McCain helped to assemble the McCain-Feingold Act. John McCain got steamrolled by the Bush bankroll and is proud of his record of "getting campaigns to play by the rules". This is not to say that he is looking violate McCain-Feingold, but his recent request to Federal Election Commission (FEC) to be excused from the "binding contract" he entered into in order to keep his campaign on the road, when it clearly looked as though he was out of gas. The reason that I bring up McCain-Feingold is because he needs soft money and he needs to get money in large chunks, the best GOP candidate at raising the small funds was Ron Paul - McCain does not represent a movement.

Take a look at this February 19 letter from the FEC to Senator McCain and then see the image below. I hope it is clear enough to view.


If the FEC, lets McCain off the hook through its quorum, this is bad president for election regulation and a great reason not to contribute the campaign funds when taxes are filed. The Federal Election Commission should not allow him out of a "binding contract" anymore than a bank should let you out of a 2nd mortgage after you have spent the money on something else. This request is disgusting from Mr. Straight-Talk. A binding contract is a binding contract and the only way for him to get out is to weasel and pull strings and call in favors. If he gets out of this agreement, he absolutely opens the door for Obama to without hesitation back off his promise to use public funds for the general election and, if Clinton is the candidate (and the chance is still there for her) she will stick him to the wall with this recent "flip-flop".

There is a good article on McCain and his situation with Federal Election Commission at TownHall.com.

Obama and McCain Need to Get Away from His Position on Public Financing for his Campaign:
Obama has stated that he will commit public financing (which he needs to back off of). Obama, should simply conduct a democratic poll and find out if his constituents and probably voters want to him to use federal money and weaken his chances of victory and bringing in the change his supporters want or, if he should go for broke with their help and try to win the whole shooting match.

McCain should do the same, but if the FEC holds (after his lawyers get to them), McCain will need to do the same thing, but he needs to have some money to get the word out. McCain is better off if his opponent using public funds, because he will half some trouble in a general election.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 5:04 PM   0 comments
Democratic Debate Lite: Austin
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This was a "debate lite". The moderators did not ask tough questions and the candidates did very little to differentiate themselves. This is perhaps an indication of how well crafted their positions are. In terms of the process of electing the Democratic candidate for president, both candidates have been able to craft political and rhetorical positions

The best portion of the performance by Clinton was the close where she demonstrated the ability to acknowledge her opponent as a quality candidate. Her worst act in the campaign was the attack portion. Who ever is in the back room of the Clinton campaign needs to acknowledge that her candidacy was injured from the start by the wide held sentiment that the woman is a conniving bitch. That is quite a different from considering her a shrewd politician. Personally, if anyone is interested, I believe she is a shrewd politician as opposed to the latter. She has a lot of work to do, as many successful women do - particularly when they are married to powerful men - to demonstrate that they are simply competent and confident. It is much harder for women than men and that in many ways is a sad commentary on society.

The Obama campaign needs to combat the "about words" insertion Clinton made when firming up her attack on the "plagiarism" claim that she hoped to use as a dagger against her opponent. Obama hit that out of the room with his "silly season" response. All of the candidates have used a considerable amount of recycled material and have made statement without fully attributing the remarks to a prior source. If someone is working in your campaign and they help you assemble speeches and material and they are not complaining about you using it - attacks of this type are pure political trash. If you don;t have anything nice to say don't say anything at all - attacks work, but many people are alienated by the attackers. This is a not a major issue. However, the Obama campaign needs to address the "about words" attribute and transition into "about substance". The GOP strategists are absolutely planning methods and creating materials that will show Obama or Clinton to be without substance and initially, particularly if the candidate is McCain, will need to focus on being dismissive of the candidate.

The Obama campaign and Clinton campaign are extremely substantive campaigns. Clinton and Obama are both moderates with heavy liberal tendencies, they will not need a great deal of support from Republican if they are successful in in the Presidential election, because they should pick up seats in the senate and congress. Obama does not need to introduce new policies, but he should talk more about numbers and go on the campaign trail with charts (indeed Clinton should as well), people, particularly semi-literate people, like myself, see charts as evidence of substance. McCain should start using some charts as well - at least if people are talking about his numbers they will have less time to talk about the Keating five and other lobbyists that are out there. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and particularly Obama, have less skeleton lying around that are associated with the offices they currently hold. McCain has a bunch. McCain has problems coming in a general election - and he needs to focus on the substance issue, because he is going to lose in the words - the man is less adept and verbal sparring and being on television does him few favors.

In the absence of Barrack Obama, this would be a cakewalk to the presidency for Clinton - because what is left of Republican candidate is weak and will prove to be extremely weak in the debates. McCain, is too liberal to rally the vote that he will need and where voters have liberal tendencies they will vote Democrat, because McCain has become too hawkish and is almost taking positions that thos with liberal tendencies will find to to be antiquated.

Well, to get away from Clinton bashing, because I am not a Clinton basher and on to the substance of the candidates, let me return to the previous comment about the "lite-ness" of the debate. The debate did little to distinguish the candidates for one another and did little to explore there histories. You can read the entire transcript on CNN at:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/21/debate.transcript/index.html
(There will be excerpts from this transcript below, so please attribute credit to CNN and its source(s).)


A question about Imigration Reform:
RAMOS: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) Federal raids by immigration enforcement officials on homes and businesses have generated a great deal of fear and anxiety in the Hispanic community and have divided the family of some of the 3 million U.S.-born children who have at least one undocumented parent.

Would you consider stopping these raids once you take office until comprehensive immigration reform can be passed?

This is a good question ... immigration policy is a big deal ... and the use of the word undocumented as opposed to illegal is actually offensive spin to me, because an individual that has illegally immigrated to this country is an illegal immigrant and an undocumented worker. This sucks, but this is true. So since Ramos use "undocumented worker" as his spin let me rephrase what he wrote and put some spin on that too and see if it reads a little different while being reasonably the same.

RAMOS: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) Federal raids by immigration enforcement officials on homes and businesses have generated a great deal of fear and anxiety in the Hispanic community and have divided the family of some of the 3 million U.S.-born children who have at least one ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT.

Would you consider stopping these raids that target ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS THAT HAVE IGNORED US LAWS once you take office until comprehensive immigration reform can be passed TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS CAUSE BY PEOPLE WHO ENTER THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY AND USE RESOURCES TO WHICH THEY HAVE NO LEGAL CLAIM?

Hmmm... that looks a little different ... don't it. Let's check the response.... I'm going to strike through everything that is not a yes or no answer.

CLINTON: I would consider that, except in egregious situations where it would be appropriate to take the actions you're referring to.

But when we see what's been happening, with literally babies being left with no one to take care of them, children coming home from school, no responsible adult left, that is not the America that I know.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: That is against American values. And it is...

(APPLAUSE)

And it is a stark admission of failure by the federal government. We need comprehensive immigration reform. I have been for this. I signed onto the first comprehensive bill back in 2004. I've been advocating for it: tougher, more secure borders, of course, but let's do it the right way, cracking down on employers, especially once we get to comprehensive immigration reform, who exploit undocumented workers and drive down wages for everyone else.

I'd like to see more federal help for communities like Austin and others like Laredo, where I was this morning, that absorb the health care, education, and law enforcement costs.

And I personally, as president, would work with our neighbors to the south, to help them create more jobs for their own people.

Finally, we need a path to legalization, to bring the immigrants out of the shadows, give them the conditions that we expect them to meet, paying a fine for coming here illegally, trying to pay back taxes, over time, and learning English.

If they had a committed a crime in our country or the country they came from, then they should be deported. But for everyone else, there must be a path to legalization. I would introduce that in the first 100 days of my presidency.

A lot of talk but no answer. This is a Senator from New York - a lot of immigrants in New York .. but of course they are debating in Texas.

Let's check Obama...(same strike through rules).

OBAMA: There are a couple of things I would add. Comprehensive immigration reform is something that I have worked on extensively.

Two years ago, we were able to get a bill out of the Senate. I was one of the group of senators that helped to move it through, but it died in the House this year. Because it was used as a political football instead of a way of solving a problem, nothing happened.

And so there are a couple of things that I would just add to what Senator Clinton said.

Number one, it is absolutely critical that we tone down the rhetoric when it comes to the immigration debate, because there has been an undertone that has been ugly.

Oftentimes, it has been directed at the Hispanic community. We have seen hate crimes skyrocket in the wake of the immigration debate as it has been conducted in Washington, and that is unacceptable.

We are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants, and we can reconcile those two things. So we need comprehensive reform...

(APPLAUSE)

... we need comprehensive reform, and that means stronger border security. It means that we are cracking down on employers that are taking advantage of undocumented workers because they can't complain if they're not paid a minimum wage.

OBAMA: They can't complain if they're not getting overtime. Worker safety laws are not being observed.

We have to crack down on those employers, although we also have to make sure that we do it in a way that doesn't lead to people with Spanish surnames being discriminated against, so there's got to be a safeguard there.

We have to require that undocumented workers, who are provided a pathway to citizenship, not only learn English, pay back taxes and pay a significant fine, but also that they're going to the back of the line, so that they are not getting citizenship before those who have applied legally, which raises two last points.

Number one, it is important that we fix the legal immigration system, because right now we've got a backlog that means years for people to apply legally.

(APPLAUSE)

And what's worse is, we keep on increasing the fees, so that if you've got a hard working immigrant family, they've got to hire a lawyer; they've got to pay thousands of dollars in fees. They just can't afford it. And it's discriminatory against people who have good character, we should want in this country, but don't have the money. So we've got to fix that.

OBAMA: So we've got to fix that.

The second thing is, we have to improve our relationship with Mexico and work with the Mexican government so that their economy is producing jobs on that side of the border.

And the problem that we have...

(APPLAUSE)

The problem that we have is that we have had an administration that came in promising all sorts of leadership on creating a U.S.- Mexican relationship. And, frankly, President Bush dropped the ball. He has been so obsessed with Iraq that we have not seen the kinds of outreach and cooperative work that would ensure that the Mexican economy is working not just for the very wealthy in Mexico, but for all people. And that's as policy that I'm going to change when I'm president of the United States.

There was no "Yes" or "No" response on a straight question, that was asked clearly. That is aggravating. Still can't understand the reason for all the applause.

I agree that it is a complicated issue, but either the answers is "YES" and the laws need to be enforced or we should layoff all persons in the INS, Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and other agencies of the government assigned to this function by the government and paid with tax dollars to carry out enforcement actions. This is the nature of pure rhetoric. Especially considering the fact that these candidates have health initiatives that are based on the enrollment of practically everybody and everyone paying for everyone else's problems essentially on the basis of need.

The Republican candidate will be in a tougher position - because American business indirectly benefit from illegal labor as do many citizens in red states, particularly the ones who frequently purchase labor intensive services such as concrete, home remodeling, homebuilding, and labor for manufacturing and harvesting. The Republican will have blue-collar conservatives saying ship them out and many business people will do the math and realize that in the absence of the illegal labor displacing there will be an overall reduction in the ability to produce in a cost effective manner and keep the cost of living down across the board. Somebody has to do that work and it needs to be done for the current prices or less.


posted by Domesticated Dog @ 7:14 PM   0 comments
Chelsea Clinton Sitting Next to Little Hispanic Lady
If you happen to find my obscure little site on the edge of the blogosphere (tucked into a near useless folder on blogger, which even though it is owned by Google is one of the worst places to be if you want to get your site visited) and you have a chance to watch today's Democratic debate between Obama and Clinton, notice that Chelsea Clinton is sitting next to a little Hispanic lady. Is this a coincidence? This is in no means an attack on the daughter of the candidate, the Clinton's despite it all seem to have raised a well groomed and mentally stable child (e.g. no Paris Hilton moments) and should be proud, but it has the look of a seating intended to help the Clinton campaign draw the Latino vote in state like Texas. If they needed to win South Carolina again Chelsea would probably be seated next to someone out of the scene from roots.

This debate seems to have a subdued tone, not quite the Hollywood love fest Obama and Clinton had before, but it seems that there is some focus on getting the Democrats into the Whitehouse and they have reduced direct attacks (well, at least those at close range). It is in Clinton best interest not to get into direct confrontation in a free form argument with Obama, because his retorts are far more penetrating than her attacks. The Wal-Mart and slumlord exchange in when viewed in the actual context and not edited or cut down by news media outfits, was far more damaging for Clinton than Obama.

Has anyone noticed any of this?
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 5:24 PM   0 comments
Would You Want To Be President For The Next Eight Years?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I am really interested in finding out how other people feel about the prospects for the next eight years. Would you want to be president of the United States of America from 2009 to 2017?

I think that this is actually a very trying time coming up for whoever the next president is. Decisions need to be made and fights that will be had.


Iraq and Afghanistan:
There are currently two major active military theaters in the Middle East (Afghanistan and Iraq - for the Rip Van Winkles out there)? The US will either need to extricate itself from those matters or further entrench itself. Keep in mind, we still need oil (crude is presently over $100 weak dollars/barrel), the current vehicles on the road still burn on gasoline and cannot be replaced without the use of more credit, and the cars that are traded in will not be junked they will be sold to another market until they are useless - Which means the net change in carbon emissions in the near term would be minimal at best. Which candidate or party has really presented a viable transition plan that has positive economic consequences and also reduces "green house emissions".

If you happen to be one of those folks who believes that Saddam Hussein had a huge stash of WMD that were shipped to Syria or buried in a secret cave in Iraq, or, if you happen to believe that the greatest threat to American liberty is Al Quaeda, then you have even bigger problems. There is no indication that Osama has been found. If you can't find people or hit them with a bomb in their hideouts, you really can't say you have them on the run, because they could just as easily be standing right next to you. You will have to operate and run a command and control structure based on the absence of evidence as opposed to the presence of it, which essentially means that benchmarks and milestone are of no use, because the metric is based on the specter of the subject rather than on the subject itself.

Afghanistan and Iraq will in all likelihood remain natural resource based economies. These types of economies are not the hotbeds of invention and have a great deal of incentive to militarize and will always have suitor vying for their favor. There is much more conflict to have in these regions. The Middle East is still very much in the middle ages the same way much of the southern United States would still be quite happy to stand below the confederate flag. The governments in those countries are far from legitimate. There have been elections, but elections to not make legitimate government and apparently have not produced stable states. the unfortunate truth is that much of the region is of more value to most of the world without the people who live there being alive there. That is a sad truth. The business that will run and maintain the resource operations in those countries will be headquartered in other nations and the offices immediately in the country will be proxy offices.

So the next president needs to be able to accept the empire role and extend the influence of the United States or leave the resources in the hands of illegitimate rulers, who will trade the resources for weapons and arm themselves to the teeth as soon as possible to keep themselves from being invaded again. Which means that there will be incentive to raise the price of the valuable raw material and the shipping rights associated with them.

Additionally, Iran is a Shia state and now so is Iraq. The potential alliance there is quite probable, because the leaders of the nations (if Iraq continues to have these open elections where everyone votes for the own tribe and sect) sit on the same side of many cleavages and have many common perceived enemies (i.e. Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and all Muslims that are not Shias - for example the Saudis). These countries still have some bones to pick with Western Europe and the British and folks that will fight the same battles for hundreds of years like immortal Klingons, without a doubt remember the slights of the last century and the fact that the US was a supporter of the despot regime of Mr. Hussein.

This is a very complicated situation.

To make it more complex there is the issue of the US as a reserve currency, which is addressed in the next presidential problem.

The Weakened U.S. Dollar:
The US dollar is weaker and as long as the interest rates stay this low and as long as the public and private debt is not being rapidly retired, it will continue to get weaker. Those countries in the world that are building reserves of our currency have little incentive to continue acquiring it, which means that as they develop markets and trading partners that accept other currencies there will be more difficulty selling US treasuries abroad and, therefore, more difficulty retiring debt by issuing debt, which will accelerate the cycle.

This is probably a good reason to stay in Iraq. It would be pretty costly for Iraq (and to a much lesser degree Afghanistan) to switch to the Euro or the Yuan or even the Canadian Dollar, because these currencies have been better managed. The US Federal Reserve has spent the last 8 years, loosening credit when it should have been tightening the credit and letting the market perform or faulter as necessary to strengthen the integrity of the currency without issuing new debt. The recession is here and the next president should be honest and start preparing people for it.

The Healthcare Debate and Civil Rights:
So, we won the cold war and now we look more like a socialist police state than we we did before. Is the next best step to have a mandatory state healthcare system or some form of nationalized healthcare. This is a moral decision and an economical matter at the same time. What does the national healthcare have to do with the creation of new jobs. New jobs can be created where there are sweat shops. This is not to say that sweat shops are the way to go, but access to healthcare does not automatically equate to improving ones financial condition. The United States has a very large and old population and old people get sick and injured quite frequently - sometimes they even die.

The mortality rate of Americans between the ages of 5 and 60 are not incredibly high. People are receiving an adequate amount of healthcare, however, they want medicines and medical advantages and all of the advantages of the latest technology delivered to them at their convenience. Well, that is going to cost some money. Our current employment laws, the legacy of the unions, and the profiteering of the drug companies has made it has made it almost a no brainer for many industries to simply leave the US and go places where people don't ask for quite as much when you are giving them money for labor so that they can make there own decisions.

I do feel that quality affordable healthcare is what the nation needs and who wouldn't. The Democrats in the legislature and the executive branches have something to offset the galvanizing power of the social conservatives. Perhaps, Kerry should have rolled out a healthcare plan to help put him over the top with Bush in '04.

(I actually voted for Bush on 2000, figuring he was the lesser of the two evils and Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell seemed to be like good common sense, nuts and bolts guys. Wow, what a disappointment. I really don;t have two many problems with many of the decisions that were made, but I do have a problem with backpedaling, revisionism, and lying. It is one thing to make a tough call it is another entirely to be dishonest. As long as "Rummy" is in the mix here, he gets a bad rap for what he has done to the military. The military did need to be modernized and streamlined and to be provided with new technologies to attack smaller targets. Be honest, are there really any big targets out there that have any reason to come across the Atlantic or the Pacific to get the asses handed to them. )

Nations in Space:
More devastating, in my mind than the prospect of nations developing nuclear missiles, is the prospect of militarized nations, whether they are nuclear states or not developing satellite technology. That is one of the great advantages that was in the possession of the Superpowers in the prior era. The ability to see into the heart of the enemy and launch any object that can travel with a degree of precision anywhere in the world is a a sophisticated technology. If you can put a satellite in space you can put anything in space and land it anywhere - it's after satellites that nukes get scary because anyone who can get satellites up can deliver their packages like the reaper.

Additionally, nations that can put satellites in space can conceivably attack or disable satellites that are in space and that (although we have a lot of satellites) represents the ability to diminish our strength in an are of key comparative advantage.

The Wave of Retirement:
The US is going to undergo an unprecedented wave of retirement and some of the most productive and highly educated people in our society will put it on ice. Meanwhile, our educational system is not replacing them in the categories that we will need them most and the savings are in the hands of the retirees, who will have a great deal of incentive not to spend to unwisely. Many seniors with investments that I know are investing out of the country, which means investing in jobs for people who who are not paying directly for their benefits. The entitlement spending already promised means that the next president will need to do more with less. This will cause less experience professional to advance rapidly into decision making positions, by default. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Education of the Next Generation:
Face it, pop stars, actors, athletes, and video game heroes are not the best role players and video games in particular have not proven to be the best exercise for the mind. The teachers have not been failing the students have been failing. The school district keep buying "new books" like that is going to solve the problem. For most subjects, the old books are just fine for developing the mind. There is almost no reason for a new math book to be published for K-12 students. The books that are available have all the questions that are needed to learn math. An explanation of how the government "is supposed to work" should be find from 10 years ago and an internet based class could be run to cover current events. The students are not learning the basics and, for that reason, are incapable of learning the advanced. The problem in education boils down to parents and students. Anyone who wants to learn can learn and parents who require their kids to learn are more likely to have kids that learn. It is not the job of the teacher to please the kid or the parents, it is the job of the teacher to FAIL KIDS THAT FAIL TO LEARN. The injury their young egos will take will be better than the ignorance they will be forced to endure, when they find out that there are less and less good jobs left for people who are stupid and mentally lazy.

The Crisis in Lending and Credit:
There are way to many credit cards and loans out there for people without assets. This encourage bankruptcy and resultingly underutilized capital. The will be empty strip malls piling up and homes getting boarded up, kids who need to, but can't afford to go to school and pursue the advanced degrees that we need to replace the retiring educated professional and specialists. This also works against the dollars and the secondary markets and makes it more difficult for people to relocate at a profit.

Immigration Reform:
Lou Dobbs love to talk about the war on the middle class. There is no reason for a middle class to exist, but uit is one of the things that made America a great country by being a consuming engine. Illegal immigrants are not an assault on the middle class, in fact they actually help to keep people in the middle class by taking the jobs at the bottom and forcing americans to get other jobs. Many of the jobs that illegal immigrants take actually pay fairly well. Better than Wal-Mart, because the immigrants are allowed to make what they are worth and are less inclined to sit in on place with no work. They will move to where the money is: call it common sense. Nonetheless, undocumented workers in the US do represent a problem that a has a very few real solutions - and most of them involve increase government intervention, which is typically something Republican abhor and Democrats love. The free market is speaking, there is a place in the economy for anyone who want to work at a fair rate (the cheaper the better, right?) This is what the next president needs to do:
  1. Secure the Border or Open It (Why lock us in if you won;t lock them out?)
  2. National Id Card or Reduce the Requirements for ID (so Americans get the advantage too)
  3. Amnesty or Deportation (anything that is not deportation is amnesty - let's have some straight talk.)
  4. Free Healthcare for All or Only for Undocumented Workers.
  5. Any program initiated will raise your taxes or cause you to lose something else that you need-- watch and see.
One advantage of the huge influx undocumented labor in the multilingualism this country is developing. the children of these immigrants will be be able to buy and sell product with people who live in other countries. This is good, trade is generally good. Hopefully, the countries we trade with send us some cheap medicine.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 9:32 PM   0 comments
Why not Universal Pensions
I know very little about this pension stuff, but it has to be a major problem. Here is one solution published on the web that seems interesting.
In "Universal Pensions: A Commonsense Approach to Retirement Security in the New Economy," PPI senior fellow and Columbia University adjunct professor Paul Weinstein Jr. presents a plan to provide access for all Americans to retirement security, and to reform the tax code by replacing 16 different tax-favored retirement accounts with one Universal Pension (UP)....


There of course is the immediate problem of giving people the ability to manipulate their own financial destiny, because individuals without any financial education can do themselves more damage than good, however, on the flipside there will be incentive for folks to become financially educated which enriches everyone, except for scam artists.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 12:31 AM   0 comments
End of Straight Talk: The New John McCain
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Well folks, it look like the straight talk express has fallen off the tracks for good. John McCain is sounding more like an idealogical pundit trapped inside a world of rhetoric as each days goes on. The man is not very inspirational to listen and seems to be serving up candy.

His greatest strength is that he is the most experienced of the remaining candidates. Unfortunately, he is the least eloquent and seems to be the one who is the most compromised. Look back at his record over the last 6 years and ask yourself, if he really represents the conservative values. In fact, ask yourself if he is really representing the values that he espoused when he was running for president.

There is a lot of rhetoric about, how the world has changed since 9/11. Has it? Or, have we been told that the world has changed so many times that we changed? There has definitely been a paradigm shift and paradigm shifts always make the the world look very different. McCain since 9/11 seems to have experienced one of those shifts himself.

Mr. Straight Talk should be at the podium explaining what "success is in Iraq" and how fighting wars of in foreign countries and policing civil wars overseas is conservative. Nation building is not a conservative policy. It is not liberal either, it is a progressive policy.

It's odd that the Conservatives are warring with the Liberal in the US, and the p[press talks about conservative and liberals, and keeps giving us 30 second snippets of this and thirty second snippets of that -- yes I would bet that more than 50 per cent of American could not correctly describe what it means to be politically conservative or liberal. The ideologies that are are at war belong to limited portions of the population, yet the polarization is the story and collaboration makes for a slow news day.

John McCain, a respected senator, has compromised himself by his work pandering to the "Republican-base". It injures his ability to run on his own merits. It may work well foe the republicans to have him run, because, even in the event that he loses a presidential campaign, he most likely will not lose in a landslide. But, I can't vote for the following:
  • John McCain will keep the US army in Iraq, under the pretext that it is there to keep Al-Qaeda from attacking the US.
  • John McCain thinks the supreme court needs more conservative judges.
  • John McCain (along with Romney) were up in Michigan talking to workers in the Auto industry about getting Michigan back on its feet, yet neither, admitted that the auto industry has little incentive to return to Michigan in the absence of comprehensive healthcare reform, comprehension pension reform, and the weakening of the unions. It is simply to expensive and make poor business sense.
  • John McCain places more emphasis on the War on Terror (to scare people into voting for him) and doesn't place enough emphasis on the War on Ignorance and Laziness. The biggest problem that this nation faces is the fact that the American kids are getting dumb and lazy. School vouchers aren't going to fix the problem. This is not to say it is McCain's fault that this is the case, but I believe his priorities are all screwed up.
One of the problems that the Republicans have is that as the "defense" (or more appropriately pre-emptive attack) party they a have tied themselves to a post that they will need to disengage themselves from. The defense industry does create a lot of great jobs and kick off a lot of cash into the economy, however, the veneer of economic well being that the Republican party had been standing behind during the housing bubble and the market run up following the start of the wars (notice plural) is starting to come off. The real, meat on the bones growth has been occurring in China, India, Singapore - the American economy has been a let's eat cupcakes economy. Yes unemployment has been low - but savings have declined and home equity has been reduced substantially. The low unemployment number is great, but the use of home equity as economic fuel and the use of low interest rates to encourage debt through spending bodes very poorly.

What happened in the las ten years that really boosted the US economy in a sustainable manner? Has the trade deficit improved? What's going to hapen when china wants to import cars into America - and the do have cars to import (just wait)? Remember Mexico, can't even make a car as cheap as China and the US already get a lot of its component s from China. What happens to Michigan then. Our auto industry needs subsidies to be competitive - or it needs to move. The only reason for many companies to be in the US is to get preferred treatment in the market place through legislated subsidies.

There is a lot of good in John McCain, however, it seems that his desire to become president led to him shape shifting. And, it obviously makes him uncomfortable. McCain has a problem. He is not a natural liar. He is not silver-tongued, in fact he is often clumsy tongued. This will become more apparent as the campaigns continue. He will be overmatched in direct debates with Obama or Clinton. His best hope was against Edwards. In fact, he should hope that he faces Clinton in the general election because at least he has a large portion of the voting public that will not vote for her under any circumstances.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 2:20 PM   1 comments
What is the next president supposed to do?
Monday, February 11, 2008
This election is extremely significant. The previous two elections were extremely significant. The jury need s to remain out on the quality of the decisions that were made by the Bush administration and certainly book after book will be written about the man and his time in office. The authors however should wait until they can see the results of the his work. But, since they won't neither will I.

Overall, this administration has made many decision that to me seem to be non-sensible and the stated logic for those decision often does not seem to match with my personal review of the situation. Nonetheless, there is good that can be taken out of this experience. The level of discomfort that many are feeling now will hopefully stimulate the general population to make serious changes to how we live, work, and educate ourselves.

It is troubling to see an economic stimulus package designed to encourage more spending and considering how much the average family purchases from producers abroad. This planned stimulus and the disturbingly low interest rates creating "free money" seems like a flawed strategy for anything other than delaying the slowdown in growth and allowing large investors more time to survey the landscaped and select a new asset location strategy. For most folks, they will still be left holding the same bags they presently have.

It would seem that the next president will need to do a lot of work to get the economy back together, but there are some factors that are really out of there control. This time around we definitely need an administration with strong management skills and it would be nice, if folks went ahead a voted for their best interest as opposed to against it. It is mind boggling social conservatives (nationalist and patriots) and seem to line up in droves to vote for candidates that liberalize the market in ways that place there jobs, cultures, and lifestyles more at risk.

So, in this election season we will have a choice between socialist policies that encourage the development of a welfare state and corporatist policies that without a doubt will encourage capital formation -although the benefits of the increased capitalization will continue to move abroad faster than they stay at home.

McCain and Romney spent time in Michigan telling the prospective voters there about how each would bring the auto industry jobs back to Detroit and restore it as the center of the automotive universe. This is the equivalent of a farce. It is possible that jobs will return to Michigan, but it is unlikely that they will be able to return those jobs to the state without developing some isolationist policies and damaging the US ability to export.

There has been a huge amount of job loss, by percentage of population, in trades and manufacturing over the last 30 years, the same way there was loss in the percentage of the population employed in agriculture to manufacturing before. The reason those jobs left agriculture was because of technology and reason there is diminished opportunity for lathe operators and item sorters is also because of technology. Those who were educated and those who choose to become educated in the new technologies (of which there are many) have the ability to benefit from any change in the market. There is probably more opportunity overall on the table today than there ever was before, however, many people are left out of the employment process and unable to secure high paying jobs because of the overall shift in what constitutes a high paying job.

Welders and mechanics can still earn excellent money as long they work in areas where it is critical that they be on site to perform the work. There is still a demand for trades work, but people have to be willing to move to where the work is and it is not in the auto industry in the US, because the companies have to pay too much for the employee. The unions in many cases receive much of what they asked for and a result there members find themselves out of a job. They bargained themselves out of position to negotiate in many cases, because the union focus, typically raised the costs of the employer and the increase in price acted as a wedge between the employer and the consumer.

On McCain's elect me for president website, he presents an economic stimulus plan the is focused around cutting taxes, he also has a position page regarding education. Now, it would be unfair of me to suggest by visiting these two pages one could come to an easy conclusion about the feasibility of the plans, so I won't and encourage everyone to visit the site of all the remaining candidates and draw there own conclusions. It would be nice though to see education as the central component of the economic stimulus plan, because the money will be spent and lost to inflation, but education continue to keep paying dividends for everyone. Jobs are not going to China, India, and Korea simply because the people work cheap. The jobs are going to where the brains are and apparently other countries have found that it is not nearly as expensive as American think to raise a brain.

In any case I am not fan of McCain and it is extremely difficult for me to understand how he came out of the pack ahead. The field of Republican appeared strong initially, but the more I watched the weaker they seemed. The candidates the appeared to represent the best of conservatism - Tancredo, Paul, and Hunter were consistently considered outsiders when they represented some of the better ideas in the campaign. The folding of Romney (who looked extremely presidential) as he attempted to morph into a new form and be the values and family candidate that should be support by the Christian right was quite sad. By the end he seemed to be dishonest. It would have been better to seem him run as an Independent on the same platform that allowed him to gain the governorship of Massachussetts. The economy is a much bigger issue than Iraq. The US could reasonably be out of Iraq and still secure in less than year, however, an economy left untended or allowed to forced to overheat by pumping unearned money into the system will be a problem 20 to 30 years down the road.

The Paul campaign was very enjoyable and he was the only straightest talker in the bunch. It is sad to watch candidates on stage pander and help us to become as stupider population. The fact is the country is more poorly informed as a consequence of the presentation of the candidates. In the amount of time that the major media source have flashed images before the US audience, the major networks could have provided American with one 2-hour programs per week on healthcare, how it works, and what it costs. So we could better understand the issue and what it means to change the current industry.

Well, that makes me think of the Democrats. they have problems as well. They talk about job creating and restoring the economy and energy independence, healthcare reform and and balanced budgets and it seems unlikely that too many of the goals (which are as poorly defined as the republican goals) will be met. There was so little difference between most of the candidates that the debate boiled down to nearly pure politics. By the end only the lawyers were left standing. With the exception of Edwards, one would imagine that the Obama and Clinton could have used the time to work across party line with other senators and get legislation started today. At least Biden and Dodd went back to work.

The greatest problems in this presidency may not have been the president. It seems that a great deal of the burden of responsibility to needs to rest on the shoulders of the senate. The senate failed to function in our best interest. And, now we get to choose among the Senators -- two of which were complicit in bringing us to the state that we are presently in. All they can say is give people money, give businesses money. They need to admit that the problem is with the American people and the ambition of the next generation.

to be continued....
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 8:21 PM   0 comments
Election Season - What is this Vote For
Wow, has anyone ever seen a primary season like this one? It seems as thought the election season started the moment the last election was over.

Kerry and Edwards lost the election and Edwards apparently didn't find out until he withdraw from this race as a presidential candidate. I guess he really wants to be vice president. Personally, I do no see John Edwards as an asset to either campaign. In the beginning of the primary season he seemed to wishy washy and seemed to be developing a strategy for how he was going to run his campaign and who he was going to be. I could understand how cautious he was though, considering how many lawyers were on the stage with him.

The Democrats have two very strong candidates for office. Both make for their lack of governmental management experience with political savvy. Apparently actual experience carrying out the function of a political office are not key considerations for Democrats (and quite possibly Independents) otherwise Biden, Dodd, or Richardson would have come closer to receiving the nod. It is amazing that Edwards was able to outperform either of them. Well, nation, be inspired and hope that, if one of these candidates is elected that they are prepared to tackle the tasks at hand. Both by everything I can tell are incredibly intelligent and without a doubt up to the task.

Hilary does have an advantage by virtue of being around Washington and key political players for more than 30 years, however, this is also her greatest weakness in the national election. Obama has the advantage, because it would appear that he owes less people favors, but that will his weakness in an actual presidency, because less people will owe him favors - that means they get to insert more pork.

The Clinton and Obama healthcare plans bear so many similarities it is almost not worth discussing the differences. Clinton mandates (forces you to have coverage) and the Obama plan does not mandate that you have coverage. Essentially, Clinton usurps your right to choose and Obama leaves your right to choose - which I believe is one reason that independents, republicans, and people who respond well to the respect of personal liberty should favor Obama over Clinton. Considering how adamant they are about their positions and how much they appear to desire change laws, the public would be better served, perhaps, if they were presently working this hard to get it done in the congress they have now. They are after all Senators and the formation legislation is the responsibility of the elected officials in the legislature, the president gets to make a decision on whether or not he will endorse the legislation or so one might think, after glancing at the constitution.

Links to Articles:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/opinion/04krugman.html
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 7:10 AM   0 comments
A Little Chomsky Please
Saturday, November 18, 2006
My last post was filed with anti-Democratic (not anti-democracy venom) and I make no apology for that. It is fair to place high demands on people who are granted great power and are entrusted with the future of a nation. You will find me equally as boisterous in my anti-GOP pieces. The issue to me is not the parties. I abhor partisanship and feel that is an enemy of the interest of the people. The ideal congress for me would have only Independents who hold office not because of the party to which they belong, but because of the values that they practice in public life and communicate in public life. I don't give a crap what they do in private as long as their actions in the public arena merit the status awarded to them by the people.

For that reason, I am not opposed to reading the work of Noam Chomsky. The man is more than a linguist, he is one of the better minds in this nation and has a gift with words that is present in very few in this world. I was reading his article: The Non-Election in 2004 and found this paragraph that I feel is worth quoting (below).

As usual, the electoral campaigns were run by the PR industry, which in its regular vocation sells toothpaste, life-style drugs, automobiles, and other commodities. Its guiding principle is deceit. Its task is to undermine the “free markets” we are taught to revere: mythical entities in which informed consumers make rational choices.In such scarcely imaginable systems, businesses would provide information about their products: cheap, easy, simple. But it is hardly a secret that they do nothing of the sort. Rather, they seek to delude consumers to choose their product over some virtually identical one.


Does anyone else agree with this assessment? As distasteful as some of Noam Chonsky's opinions may be, those opinions are well though and do express a form of morality. I don not believe it would be fair to frame him as a Democrat or anti-American, or a communist, unless he declares himself to be one. Chomsky's review of the state of the world reflects the actual state of the world. Although he is derided in conservative circle his views actually support much of what should be the conservative agenda, particularly when the conservatives speak of freedom.

The problem is the uneducated, misinformed, and disinformed public. Consider the 200 election Bush v. Gore - there was almost no difference between the candidates and, the speeches presented by either candidate during the campaigns were so devoid of information it was easy to come to the conclusion that both men were made out of card board. Bush one via his recognition of the the Lord Savior Jesus Christ. It was enough to overlook some of his foibles. And, this was deemed to be acceptable. It was a minor difference between the candidates. Chomsky points out below that the public may have become even less well-informed.

In 2000, “issue awareness”—knowledge of the stands of the candidate-producing organizations on issues—reached an all-time low. Currently available evidence suggests it may have been even lower in 2004. About 10 percent of voters said their choice would be based on the candidate’s “agendas/ideas/platforms/goals”: 6 percent for Bush voters, 13 percent for Kerry voters (Gallup). The rest would vote for what the industry calls “qualities” or “values,” which are the political counterpart to toothpaste ads. The most careful studies (PIPA) found that voters had little idea of the stand of the candidates on matters that concerned them. Bush voters tended to believe that he shared their beliefs, even though the Republican Party rejected them, often explicitly. Investigating the sources used in the studies, we find that the same was largely true of Kerry voters, unless we give highly sympathetic interpretations to vague statements that most voters had probably never heard.


Now that the Democrats are in the Senate and House, they are cutting each others throats and divisions between them are resurfacing rapidly. the pretend to agree for a couple days, get elected base on that deceit and then return to business as usual. What are the actionable plans that they have that will produce what solution?

Take the issue at the border -- there has been plenty of opportunity (uh, say 120 years) to seal the border and a lot of ways to do it. How many Democrats in the Congress picked up a hammer, shovel, and some boards to start building a fence? None ... That's how important it really is to them. You can gauge the importance by the actions taken. In terms of interrogating terrorists - while I am not a fan of torture, if someone threatens or even may threaten the well-being of my family and is found engaging in an illegal act at the time - take them apart and get some answers - don't bother me with the details. I'm sure that Noam would frown on that statement, but I respect his free though, so I hope he respects mine.

Chonsky also makes this statement which I would expand to include Democrats as well, because if it were politically expedient the democrats would jump on board. Who signs a resolution for war as a bluff. Everybody who says they were tricked into the declaration needs to get jumped out and those who said they didn't have information to know different should expand their statement to more fully reflect the fact that they voted without knowing the facts. (This would explain some of the meat in the bills.)
It is easy to demonstrate that for Bush planners, the threat of terror is a low priority. The invasion of Iraq is only one of many illustrations. Even their own intelligence agencies agreed with the consensus among other agencies, and independent specialists, that the invasion was likely to increase the threat of terror, as it did; probably nuclear proliferation as well, as also predicted.


The war in Iraq had much more far reaching political and economical destinations. It keeps the US dollar as the Iraqi reserve currency for at least a few more years, puts an army in Iran's lap, allows the US to sustain one of its chief resource advantages over the rest of the world (except perhaps Russia) and gives another are troops some exercise before conflict with more heavily armed and better disciplined enemies. There's just a lot of pork in this war and the myth of being welcomed with open arms has sadly been exposed to the light of day. Saddam could have been taken out of power without any ground invasion - remember we have bombers Iraq couldn't see. The ground troops were moved to complete other objectives - and one of them didn't include fighting in a civil war - and maybe that's why we are letting the Iraqi's kill each other. I really don't know.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 10:18 PM   0 comments
Moral Direction
I must also admit that I am an expert in nothing really, I just do my best to understand the world around me and to develop an actionable sense of context. It seems like this goes hand in hand with surviving. I watch the news, read some of the newspaper, and try to get into conversations that are stimulate me to evaluate any given set of circumstances more thoroughly. Last month I was reading a blog I enjoy, Political Friends and Andy D. was reviewing a book title, Bankrupt, by David Limbaugh.

Now let me state, I have not read the book yet and will not comment on any of the particulars until I read it myself. Nonetheless, I enjoyed both parts of Andy's review. Andy, is openly critical of the Democratic Party and I am as well -- I am equally, if not more, critical of Republicans. That is because I am rational and consider what is put on the plate before I eat. Every time I go to McDonald's for some of their tasty and undoubtedly healthy food I look at it first even though the package is supposed to tell me what I am getting.

So back to Andy D.'s book review (yes - the book I have yet to read). Apparently, the author (Limbaugh) asserts that the Democratic Party suffers from moral bankruptcy. And, to this I agree before I read a page. The Democrats have essentially gotten into bed with the atheists and atheists have difficulty arguing for any morality. However, the Republican are simply duplicitous and to me moral turpitude or lack of morality is better than lying about ones morality. Since, we are dealing with politicians, I guess it is expected that we have to deal with liars on both sides. The news helps both sides cover their tracks, but the tracks are often uncovered when you look back a few weeks or months or years.

The Democrats now have their time in the sun, however, because the system has been so partisan for the last few Congressional session watching the parties work on C-SPAN has been a lot like watching parliament - except not as funny or eloquent and with a lot more empty seats that should have behinds in them. The partisan nature of the Congress has had a Majority Party doing essentially what it wanted and a minority party that essentially acted like a peanut gallery, offering criticisms, but because it was not the party in the power never offering any workable solutions. The Democrats have basically whined for the last few years and in that time do not seem to have developed any coherent plans for the nation even within their own party. And, this is a matter of concern and I think works to the disadvantage of any Democrat to run in the next presidential election, particularly if they try to transition from Congress to the Whitehouse. The most important measurement of a candidate in my opinion is the measure of the effectiveness of that candidate of formulating and implementing strategy when his or her resources are limited. That is why John McCain has a great chance in my opinion to come out on top in the next few years, because he has navigated the waters fairly well and seems to have compromised his own status to an extent to make his party stronger. I hope they don't stab him in the back again - of course, it might just be a show Republican morality if they do. Even, if McCain doesn't win the nomination - say it goes to Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani (Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!) the Democrats, in my opinion really don't have an electable presidential candidate.

Do you remember the debates for the 2004 election. Bush is not a great speaker, but was able to stay on message (again), while Kerry was still trying to figure out what his was. I personally feel Kerry outperformed Bush, not because of how great he was, but because of how indefensible so many of the Bush administration’s positions were. But, during his performance he failed to effectively differentiated his brand and his own Democratic allies beat him up enough in the primaries that the GOP was ready for him on Election Day. The election was close though.

As much disdain as there is for Dick Cheney, who is a remarkably composed and intelligent, he womped John Edwards, just by being able to hold his ground and essential convince the public that John Kerry was pretty, but didn't really exist. Mr. Vader at Johnny boy for lunch, I'm surprised they didn't pass him a toothpick at the end of the debate. Seriously, Dick Cheney, in my opinion is the most significant and powerful Vice-President in recent memory - up there with George Bush, Sr. and LBJ. He has the ability to convey a sense of definite, indisputable direction.

I'd love to be a Democrat, but I can't be one right now. I have to stay independent in order to hold on to some of my conservative values and to avoid turning the world upside down.

Take for example the Democrats green agenda (oh yeah they want nuclear power now - dizzy - compass keeps moving). While I love the environment most of the green agenda it is competively stupid and will make the US even less competitive as we pay for the transition cost of moving the new economy while the nations that are making the biggest gains on us such as China and India do not. The Dems talk about all the high paying jobs that will be created by transitioning the economy to new fuels and what not - that's true to a point but the jobs won't be producing a good, they will represent a higher cost for transitioning goods. We need so much energy, without reducing any of our usage of existing resources we just need to bring new ones online to reduce the actual cost of usage by increasing supply. If we increase our supply sufficiently we will drive the world prices down by reducing our relative percentage of demand. (As China and India’s increase and ours increases slower - we will reduce overall demand.) We are no where near running out of oil, we are just slowly running out of easy to pump oil -- that is why the oil companies spend so much money on increasing their capital investment they have no intention of walking away from an industry that may have a few hundred years left in it.

Anyway... I would like to see some spine and more importantly sensible spine in the Democrats. I happen to like Charlie Rangel and I tend to agree with much of his analysis on many matter, the man is wise to know he is old and wise enough to that old men don't have times to mince words. I could be wrong, but I believe that he has some morals - as much as a politician can have anyway. Joe Lieberman, who I think is as exciting as toast, actually has some morals - he got abandoned by the Dems for not agreeing to be wimp with them - of course he has a lot of state interest in Defense too - with the Naval Sub base and Electric Boat and all.

Even during the Clinton years, the Democrats weren't popular because of their moral certitude. The Waco disaster, which still has not been adequately explained, was not a moral act on American - there were children in that building. But, guys like Chuck Schumer did their part to defend the party as opposed to get to the truth. With the resources available to the ATF/FBI and the US government - non-lethal extraction was possible. You don't spray kids with flammable gases and powders and then claim moral high ground.

The Dems are now trying to claim some the moral high ground in relation to the War on Terror (a ridiculous term which the have adopted). The problem here is that war's don't have moral high grounds, they simply have winners and losers. And, if the US seeks to suppress terrorists it does little good to deal with the problem based on morality. Morality is what is used to determine who is or is not a terrorist as opposed to a freedom fighter, the means of dealing with either needs not be moral it only needs to be effective. The Democrats, at least many of them, have spent far too much time making the Christian Right the enemy and expressing desire to negotiated with entities that actually wish and practice death and destruction on Americans. The Christian right is the best friend of the Democrats, if the say fours things:
  1. Gay people can shack up but they can't be legally married...ever - because that is fricking ridiculous and opens the door to marrying dogs (such as myself) and horses, and chickens and children. Gay marriage is not civil rights issue it is a lifestyle issue.
  2. Partial birth abortion is a brutal killing and looks a lot like infanticide. (Stem cells are not the issue here it's how their obtained that causes the problem.)
  3. Peace and stability will be achieved at the expense of the enemy not of the US or its allies.
  4. It's ok to pray and display the Ten commandments.

Slap...bang... boom... the Dems win! Problem is they are on a slippery moral foundation and intellectual arguments only go so far with people when they feel that their getting punched in the gut.


To a different subject:
In terms of the news, I dislike much of the reporting provided by Fox and, although there are times when the presentations are balanced, in general, I find it to terribly biased. But Fox News is a cable channel and has no responsibility to provide its programming for the public good. As a cable (entertainment) outlet Fox is free to present facts or fiction as it chooses. That said, I do appreciate what fox has brought to the news world as it has forced the other news networks to work to be more aggressive in terms of the stories they report. CNN seems to be responding well to the challenge and working to shrug off Fox's powerful jump to the front since 9/11.

One thing that I truly disliked about the Fox broadcasts that has worked it's way into the other news outlets is the playing of rock music for programs about sober subjects such as the Operation Iraqi freedom and the war on terror. It is as though they were trying to make it into a movie and to get people to act based on raw unfiltered emotions rather than rational thought. But, I guess what has to be done....has to be done... to get the message out.

The news programs in general seem to do an exceptionally poor job of providing the history behind the stories that they present and in a sense leave viewers in a rather compromised position when developing opinions. It would be useful if more information would be provided about where the audience can go to get more information about the subject. Of course, thanks to the Internet we do all have the ability to find track down some of the missing links in arguments provided.
posted by Domesticated Dog @ 8:42 PM   1 comments
Know More
www.sharedprosperity.org
Another look from another source. Examine many opinions and draw a few conclusions and take one action based on what you learn.
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