Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pot-heads dominate the country

First, let me recap the prediction I made last night. I predicted that the market would drop last night. I am pleased to say I was wrong. Though it was down almost 80 mid day it rallied on surprising news that durable goods purchases were up 5% in February and closed up 89%. So, was wrong, and my portfolio is better for it.

Now on to other topics. Last night Obama mentioned that he was going to hold a virtual town hall meeting and anyone can submit questions on-line. I submitted three questions myself, but I was also wondering what other questions people were submitting. When you look at the chart below,
you might note that the topics people are interested in are strangely in line with Obama's budget. That's not because they are of one's because those are the only categories to choose from - so be wary if you hear anything about how 19% of the people are concerned about the budget...they only has so many options to pick from.

The nice thing about the site is you can search for topic. As of this writing, when I search for "tax" it pulled up 5186 questions submitted by the folks. Search for fair or flat tax and it returns a total of 565 questions. And when you click on a topic - say, "Budget" it returns 8543 questions. You can vote on individual questions, and the ones that have the highest favorable rating are underneath the questions you vote on. You can't put too much stock in the people's voting criteria, however. Under the Budget category, 7 of the top 10 questions are related to legalizing marijuana. According to the people voting on the questions, 70% of the top ten questions related to the horrific budget plan Obama has submitted can be solved by legalizing dope. And in a tactic worthy of Acorn, the pot people often submitted the same question to each category, thereby increasing the odds that people will see, read or vote for their presiden - er, I mean their question. Incidentally, 4 of the top 10 questions under "Financial Stability" were related to legalizing dope; 2 of the top ten under "Health Care Reform" and one each under "Jobs" and "Green Energy" were related to legalizing dope.

So Obama has given the people a voice to ask about his vision for America (whether he'll actually answer the questions is another matter) and to take advantage of this opportunity, people slyly whisper to him "legalize it!"

Come to think of it, this may explain how he got elected in the first place. Remember, friends don't let friends vote while high!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Enough Already - You're The President! The Buck Stops With You, Dingus!

Prediction: the stock market will drop by 100+ points tomorrow. Why? Because Obama spoke tonight. It's not that he spoke; it's what he said, or rather what he didn't say, that will send people into a funk.

First of all, he didn't say anything new. Second, he was asked not tough, but more pointed questions than he's been asked before, and he didn't answer them. Even a straight yes/no question was deftly ducked by the Pres. Not exactly confidence inspiring. Last, he continues to lay down the Nathan Thurm "it's not me, it's them" vibe.

One reporter pointed out how he has said twice in the last week that he doesn't want to leave a massive debt for the next generation to pay. He then pointed out that republican critics of the budget plan say it doubles the debt to 10 TRILLION dollars in the next ten years, and asked how that was congruent with not wanting to leave debt for the next generation.

Obama went straight to Thurm mode. "First of all," he said, "I suspect that some of those Republican critics - uh - have a short term memory - uh - because as I recall I am inheriting a 1.3 trillion deficit - annual deficit - from them. That would be point one."

From them? From Republicans? The Democrats have had control of the Senate and the House for the last two years - years that have seen the largest increased in federal spending, I might add. Who has short term memory? The Republicans who don't want to raise taxes on a weak economy because of the damage it has done historically, or a one term Senator-turned-president who consistently forgets to mention that he was a part of the 110th congress that approved these massive deficits?

The good news is he only mentioned inheriting the problems four separate times, so at least he didn't overdo it. He also touched on AIG - but I'll save that for tomorrow, and I'll recap the stock market and track the DOW and see if his speech inspired confidence, or made people want their money out of the market altogether.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is Post-birth Abortion A Possibility?

As the first 60 days of Obama's administration have unfolded, we have heard people say that he's nowhere near as liberal as he was made out to be in the campaign...and we have also heard that he's MORE liberal than was even imagined. I have a friend who says that he's not done enough for anyone to say one way or the other what he's going to do. But, that is only part of the problem facing the country. The other half is the Democrat controlled Senate and House, with Nanci Pelosi leading the liberal charge.

One of the euphemisms for Obama is "President Present" - so called because he voted present so many times in the Illinois state senate. Only he knows the full reasons why, but the popular theory, and one he has not disputed, is that he voted present on controversial issues so that people would not be able to point to his record and label him one way or the other, and it worked. Critics say that he cannot vote present in the white house - but I disagree. He's got Pelosi and Reid to do the dirty work and advance his causes, and then if there's an uproar, he can step in and look like the mediator rather than the instigator.

Which brings me to abortion. How far will they go in their quest to change the laws? There's no doubt that liberals are furious about the ban on partial-birth abortions that Bush signed into law. In case you don't know, the generally accepted gestational age of viability is 24 weeks, and babies born this early now have a good chance of survival. Repealing the ban on partial birth abortion would allow babies to be killed right up to the 40th week, well beyond established dates for fetal viability.

But is repealing the ban going to be enough? Not for some liberals. Take Peter Singer, author of "Animal Liberation." This publication has been the inspiration for PETA; featured in the movie "Legally Blonde" and is the animal rights bible to which animal rights activists turn for guidance the same way Christians reference the actual bible. Beyond rights for animals (see if you catch the irony here) Singer believes that abortion should be available for any reason, up to and beyond birth. That's right - if you eat a hamburger, he'll call you a murder, but if you kill a baby he'll say you're doing the right thing. He believes that killing a disabled baby leads to a world with greater happiness, so therefore is not only desirable, it's the moral thing to do.

But is that enough? Not for Singer. He views killing a day old infant is no different than killing a slug; he even advocates killing babies with 28 days of birth. Only after 28 days does a baby have any right to life. Most rational people would think he's off his nut, and no right thinking person could give him any credence, right? If you think that, you would be wrong.

Princeton University, in 1998 made him - Orwellian Newspseak alert - their first Professor of BioEthics. Yes, the "Life Ethics" professor believes in infanticide. Amy Guttman, director of Princeton's Center For Human Values, defends him when she calls his views "mainstream." Maybe she believes that because the world of academia is so liberal that the majority of the people she associates agree with him, but the nation is divided roughly down the middle on abortion. Without doing any real research, I am willing to bet that mainstream America is not in favor of infanticide. But I digress.

What does any of this have to Obama? Hopefully nothing; but with his election and the Democratic takeover of both houses of congress, the liberals are large and in charge. However, they know that it won't be that way forever; history shows that when power shifts this far to one side, it swings back fairly quickly. Look for Republicans to make some gains back in 2010. So, that gives the liberals less than 2 years to ram through as much of their agenda a possible. And like someone who loses their sight slowly, if we don't get more conservative leaders elected in 2010, we may suddenly see Peter Singer in a Health and Human Services post, whittling away at the walls that keep abortion at bay.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Random Thoughts About Liberals

A while back a friend of mine asked what it is that Republicans believe. I gave the answer to a different question - what do conservatives believe, because I believe the answers to the two questions to be very different. I believe that a conservative is value driven and will vote for the person who most closely represents those values. It just so happens that the person who ususally - but not always - represents the conservative view the most closely is a Republican.

But what do liberals believe in? Again, I draw the distinction between Democrats and liberals because not all Democrats are liberals. However, the person who most closely represents the liberal point of view is usually a Democrat. I also place the liberal at the far left of the spectrum; the conservative in the middle-right; the neo-con, which is a term popularized by Pat Buchanan, is at the far right. Buchanan, as an aside, I whole heartedly agree with about 20% of the time; about 40% of the time I think he makes a few good points, and about 40% of the time I think he's out in left (not politically) field. But I digress.

Back to the liberal thing. Not being a liberal, I really can't begin to understand their point of view. But I did some brainstorming the other night when I could not sleep, and here is the result of that session:

"We're Liberals...our primary mantra is "Do as I say, not as I do." We'll raise your taxes, but won't pay ours. We want your guns - so you can't defend yourself against the criminals we'll set free. We don't want a single American to die in a declared war, but don't get too upset if 4000 die in a terrorist attack in New York. We don't think one single murderer should be executed, but we have no qualms about 1,000,000 abortions per year. We want gay marriage, but won't fight dictators who kill men for being gay. We oppose charter schools which allow poor children a chance to get a good education, but we won't send our own kids to public schools. We'll disarm pilots and other law abiding citizens, but won't disarm criminals. We'll spend money we don't have to put in place programs people don't need to help people who didn't ask for it. We'll ask others to make sacrifices to pay for our programs but we won't make those same sacrifices ourselves."

Is this fair? I don't know. A liberal will certainly not see it that way, but this is my view of their beliefs. The really bad thing is the country is being led by these people. Everyone is excited about Obama and his promise to give everyone free health care a free college education, but they seem to have forgotten that nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever free. It's just another liberal lie.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Second Amendment - Take A Stand

There have been numerous rumblings from Washington recently that Attorney General Holder and President Obama are going to move ahead with their pursuit of a ban on guns - semi-automatic versions of handguns, rifles and shotguns in particular. This is disturbing in light of Obama's multiple campaign trail pledges not to take guns away and assurances to law abiding gun owners that they have nothing to fear from him. What are we to believe? As far as Holder is concerned, he's more open in his views. In 2003 he actually said "The second amendment does not protect firearms possession or use that is unrelated to participation in a well regulated militia."

I urge you to go to and enter your zip code to identify your representatives. Below is the text of a message I've just sent to Mark Udall, Betsy Markey, Michael Bennett and Barack Obama. If we, as citizens, do not start standing up and reminding our elected officials that they work for us, then one by one we'll find our rights have become endangered.

Esteemed Representatives,

I'm writing, as a citizen of the United States, to ask you to please oppose ANY "anti gun bill" that includes ANY "gun ban" to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution or would confiscate the legally owned firearms of millions of law-abiding Americans.

The Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote the Second Amendment -– they were giving the people the right to defend themselves against all threats -- including the threat of an oppressive government.

Americans will be highly skeptical of any diversionary talk of “waiting periods”, “background checks” or “gun-registration” and additional promises to enforce any new and deeply flawed approaches.

If history is an accurate guide, banning guns would only embolden criminals and encourage crime, leaving honest Americans defenseless. One need only look to Australia and their increase in national crime rates following the enactment of restrictive gun laws to see the negative impacts of such legislation.

Further, it would be impossible to administer and even more unlikely to be enforced, would create another underground criminal enterprise, and would turn millions of honest Americans into outlaws.

That’s what’s at stake here. Our freedom. Our future.

One of the most important jobs you have to do right now is to protect U.S. citizens Second Amendment rights. Like millions of Americans, I'm sick and tired of the "inside the beltway" politics on this issue; I will listen to NO MORE weasel words or slick excuses. On the campaign trail, then-Senator Obama repeatedly said that law abiding gun owners have nothing to fear, and that he would not take our guns. The current rumblings from far-away Washington regarding gun-ban legislation appear to be making this the next in a long line of false statements a politician has put forth for the purposes of getting elected, only to recant once in office.

This issue is BLACK OR WHITE - there are NO "shades of gray." We need you to protect Americans and their Right to Bear Arms. Please, oppose ANY "gun bill" that includes ANY "gun ban" provisions. I will be watching your vote on this issue very closely, and sharing this message with all of my friends who enjoy sport shooting and who value home and family protection. Thank you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We're From The Government, And We're Here To Help You

On March 3rd, Rachel Maddow was on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. She, like her fellow blowhard Keith Olbermann, basks in the warming cocoon that NBC provides. Coming from the ultra-liberal MSNBC, she knows that venturing out into the world could be tough, except this was an appearance on NBC. So, she knows that she can try hard to be cute and snarky and Leno is not going to take her to task.

When the conversation turned to Rush Limbaugh, she of course latched onto the concept that it was horrible for Rush to say he hopes Obama fails as our president. Her point was that if Obama's policies are meant to improve the economy, why would you root against them? According to Maddow, we should all be hoping that they succeed! And so she uses the classic ploy of linking the political agenda to improving the crisis du jour to make anyone who opposes it seem like a dingo lurking outside a preschool.

The fact is that the policies Rush is taking exception to are not policies that are designed to bring the country back to prosperity. As he said, "what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it?" Why indeed?

The Orwellian policies of the committed left are designed to keep poor people under the thumb of kindly old Uncle Sam. If you don't think that's true, then why is Obama and the Democratic congress so bent on increasing welfare, effectively reversing the reforms made in the 1990's? As Harry Browne said, the government is good at one thing: it breaks your leg, hands you a crutch and says "See, if it wasn't for government, you wouldn't be able to walk." And so it goes with welfare. If you're completely dependent on the government for your subsistence, why would you vote that government out of office? The Left says it wants to help the poor? That means it wants to KEEP them poor. Miss Maddow, this policy is NOT meant to bring the country back to prosperity.

If Maddow is so convinved that Obama is trying to lead America back to prosperity, why is he raising capital gains taxes at a time when the stock market is at the lowest point in 12 years? In the first place, raising capital gains taxes reduces investing; in the second place, NO ONE is making any gains right now, so including this as a budgetary item is not going to help the balance sheet in the least. Miss Maddow, this policy is NOT meant to bring the country back to prosperity.

If Obama is trying to lead the country back to prosperity, why is he limiting the charitable contribution deduction at a time when so many people need help? Look at who this move hurts: religious and conservative Republicans give on average three times as much to charity as secular Democrats. In his book "Who Really Cares; The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," Arthur C Brooks also reveals that conservatives are also more likely to do volunteer work for charities, participate in blood drives, and even are more likely to give back extra change when a clerk makes a mistake at the cash register. Since Democrats don't give to charity as much, there's no harm in reducing the tax benefits, is there? If you're paying attention, the answer is YES. Increasing the tax burden on charitable individuals will reduce the money they have available, and they will either reduce what they give to charity, or they will reduce what they spend in the marketplace. Is either option what you want at time when factories and stores are laying people off by the thousands because of a lack of spending? If you're Obama or Rachel Maddow, the answer is yes. Miss Maddow, this policy is NOT meant to bring the country back to prosperity.

Why would we be limiting the mortgage interest deduction at a time when the housing market is already suffering so badly? Supposedly the reduction will only affect people who own a second home...but that doesn't do much to help the economies of Florida or Arizona, the second home capitals of the United States. Many people buy second homes with the tax benefits playing a major factor in the investment decision. If you take away that incentive, the demand for housing will drop even further, prices will continue to decline and the market will further stagnate. Why would Obama do this? One reason might be that if the housing prices are depressed far enough, poor people can afford to buy them. The problem here is that the poor are getting poorer along with everyone else, so owning a home is just as far out of reach for them now as it ever has been. Miss Maddow, this policy is NOT meant to bring the country back to prosperity.

The only reason that can carried through all of this is that Obama, a proponent of "redistributive justice" wants to punish people who are successful (he has clearly said he doesn’t intend to punish success, but in true Orwellian prose, that means he intends to do exactly that!). The Committed Left cries all the time about having a level playing field, and people assume that means that the poor are lifted up to the level of the middle class. What no one says aloud is that it also could mean that the middle class are brought DOWN to the level of the poor, the wealthy are brought DOWN to the level of the middle class. Instead of trickle down prosperity, it's trickle up poverty.

Back to Rush Limbaugh and his comments - at least he calls it like he sees it and says proudly that he wants Obama's liberal agenda to fail. Rachel Maddow and her ilk at the Ministry Of Truth (I mean, MSNBC) hate actual truths when they hear them so they go on the attack, but rest assured when it comes to the 4th estate attack dogs, Obama is holding the leash. In his first press conference Obama said that only the government can get us out of this financial crisis. Since the government got us INTO this crisis, I think it’s more important to ask "who will save us from the government?"