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One year anniversary

Here we are, one year into the Obama Presidency. His inaugural term is 25% complete.How is he doing?

One year ago, the then President-elect told us that we could expect trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. I predicted that Obama would borrow $2.1 trillion in his first year, and would leave us $17 trillion in debt by the end of his first term. He borrowed his first trillion dollars in 6 months.

At the end of his first year, Americans are $12.32 trillion in debt, or $1.7 trillion more than one year ago. To put this in perspective, it took this nation 210 years to borrow $1.7 trillion. From George Washington to Ronald Reagan- Obama borrowed that in just one year.

Unemployment has climbed from 8% to over 10%. There are more troops overseas now than when he became President.

I give him an F.

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This is open?

The President’s press secretary displays the Obama open access policy while talking about the loss of the Democrat supermajority:

“Broadly speaking, can you talk about the difference between 59 and 60 votes in the Senate and what that means for the president’s agenda this year?”

“Broadly, it’s one,” Gibbs answered.

Will Obama hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss the results?

“Be here around 10 a.m. If we’re not here, start without us.”

“Is there something you could have done better,” asked Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times, so that “you wouldn’t be in the situation that you’re in right now?”

“Sheryl,” Gibbs replied, “I’ll read this transcript and think there’s things that I could have done better.” No doubt.

On Tuesday, he allowed that Obama was “angry” over Democrats’ troubles in Massachusetts. “With whom is he angry?” a reporter asked.

“I didn’t expand on that,” the spokesman replied.

“Okay, can you now?”

“I won’t now.”

“But you might tomorrow?”

“There’s always hope,” Gibbs said, using a favorite Obama campaign word.

“Audacious,” interjected CBS News’s Mark Knoller, using another.

Read the Whole thing. It seems like the mainstream, report on press release media is beginning to wake up. Too bad they couldn’t ave listened to us 3 years ago, we might have gotten a real choice instead of choosing between the socialist behind door number one, two, or three.

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Laws keep us safe?

This is my belated MLK post. One of Dr King’s quotes:

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

Bullshit. The law cannot prevent a man from lynching you any more than the law can prevent the sale of drugs, rape, murder, the theft of your stereo, or anything else, for that matter. The only thing the law does is punish people when they break the law- after the fact. Sure, this can have a deterrent effect, but what do you do when they laws themselves allow the lynching?

This is why ALL of our rights are so important. The right to be tried by your peers, which guarantees that the people can overrule an unjust law, the right to speak out and spread the word of injustices, the right to keep arms in the event that the other rights are ignored or trampled upon. Sure, that last right is not needed at this moment, but once it is needed, it is too late to ask for it.

Protect the Second Amendment, for it protects the others.

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The founders on the enumerated powers

Every time a law is passed, whether that law is free health care, bailouts, or any other thing, and a person asks where Congress gets the authority to enact such a law, the response is almost always the “general welfare” clause, or the “interstate commerce” clause. Let’s see what James Madison, one of our founding fathers, had to say about that

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.

What about the commerce clause?

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce…no state be at liberty to impose duties on any goods, wares, or merchandise, imported, by land or by water, from any other state, but may altogether prohibit the importation from any state of any particular species or description of goods, wares, or merchandise, of which the importation is at the same time prohibited from all other places whatsoever.

Hmmm. Looks like Federal Government control is not what the FFs meant when they wrote the commerce and general welfare clauses.

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Ingrates

When I have a financial deal with a person, the only responsibility that I have is to complete the deal according to the terms of the agreement. For example, if I buy a car from a dealer, and his home burns to the ground, am I morally obligated to stop by and give him more money than agreed upon? Of course not.

If I drop by the dealership, and donate clothes, food, and money, would it be ungrateful of him to complain that it wasn’t enough? Or should everyone at least be happy that I donated what I could spare?

Apparently, that is not true if you are a cruise line, and one of your ports of call is in Haiti. Nevermind that Royal Caribbean enriched Haitians to the tune of $55 million during construction of the facilities in Labadee, Haiti. Nevermind that Royal Caribbean directly and indirectly employs over 500 people at the facilities in Haiti, people who would be unemployed if the cruise line stopped going to the port. All of this activity injects millions into the local economy every year. What else does Royal Caribbean owe the people of Haiti?

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No more jury trials in the Dictatorship of (formerly) Great Britain

When we last discussed Great Britain, we talked about how Doctors, making house calls in the employ of the government, would inspect the homes of their patients, and report infractions of the law to their political masters. We also discovered that the British government was placing video cameras in the homes of people that the government considered to be troublesome. I called the country a dictatorship.

A commenter, balkanoldhand, said that calling Britain a dictatorship was incorrect. Semantics. Call it totalitarian, if it makes you feel better. Still, the commenter felt that I was incorrect. I wonder how he would feel if he knew that British subjects were now being tried without a jury, in violation of Article 39 of the Magna Carta, which reads:

“No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land.”

Thus again proving the point that a nation who’s citizens are deprived of arms inevitably slides into dictatorship. We are watching it happen first hand, and the United States is not far behind.

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Nursing home versus firefighter humor

This sounds alot like the nurses at any of the five nursing homes in my first due.

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Out of control spending

Well. Chavez tried to give everyone in Venezuela free everything. He ‘Nationalized’ nearly every industry in the country to pay for it, and he instituted price controls on industries and goods that he did not simply confiscate, demanding that prices on various items remain at a certain level. Once the people who produced those items realized that they could make no money at that price point, they quit working. After all, who is going to keep working when you can’t make money selling your labor at the government set price?

Inevitably, this causes shortages and the price controls eventually have to be eased. With inflation approaching 25% even WITH price controls, his economy is in big trouble. To control expenses, he has decided to devalue the currency. This is how that works: He has revalued the Bolivar to equal 4.3 to the dollar for oil. For each dollar of oil he sells, he gets 4.6 Bolivars.

The Bolivar for non-oil products is still set at 2.6 to the dollar. Therefore, he hopes to contain inflation by this split exchange rate, and by putting price controls on products. Violators of these price controls will have their business ‘nationalized,’ and given to their employees.
One of the problems with this is that there is no discernible difference between oil and non-oil Bolivars. So, a person could sell oil Bolivars at 4.3, and buy food at 2.6, making a 165% return on their money. Many people who are in a position to do this will. What this will do is make inflation worse. Turning to the printing press to make more money, so you can hand it out to citizens in a vote and popularity buying scheme will not work.

The US is now $12.3 trillion in debt. Our GNP is $14 trillion, making our debt to GDP ration a whopping 88%. Venezuela, with a GDP of $127.8 billion, and a national debt of $15.8 billion, looks thrifty in comparison with their debt being 12.3% of GDP.

We as a nation will never pay that money back. Tell that to our government, to the Republican AND Democratic parties. Comparing this to Germany in the post WWI era:

The German postwar inflation and hyper-inflation of the 1920s had two fundamental causes: a low savings rate, and bad monetary and fiscal policy. One consequence of World War I was an erosion of incomes, and a dramatically reduced savings rate. But at the same time, at least for a while, Germans were able to sustain their living standard, and run large trade deficits.

They had this luxury because investors from around the globe bought German assets: currency, securities, real estate. British and American investors were gambling on a German recovery. Only in the summer of 1922, did foreigners begin to realize that Germany was unlikely to be able to pay all its debts.

The second driving force of the inflation was the policy of the German government and the German central bank. Both were sensitive to political considerations. Both worried that rising unemployment might destabilize the precarious political order. So they were willing to do anything in fiscal and monetary policy to counteract economic slowdown. The government ran large budget deficits as it tried to keep up employment in the state-owned railroad and postal systems, and also to generate more purchasing power. It kept on looking for new ways to administer repeated fiscal stimuli.

Equally significant, the president of the central bank, an elderly Prussian bureaucrat called Rudolf Havenstein, boasted about his success in getting new printing plants, printing plate manufacturers, and paper factories to meet the enormous demand for new money. He found more and more ingenious ways of stimulating bank lending to large businesses on ever more dubious securities. And he kept on saying that keeping the money presses rolling was a patriotic duty. Of course, today we don’t need printing presses. Now we create dollars using computers. A billion dollars is just a few keystrokes away.

There was, in short, what would now be called a “Havenstein put” — in which the central bank would keep its interest rate at levels sufficiently low so that German business could continue to expand. Sound like the Fed 0% prime rate?

Inflation skyrocketed, the German people suffered. Businesses, unable to keep up with the inflation, went under. Unemployment increased tenfold in five years. This set the stage for the National Socialists to step in.

There are obvious similarities between the conditions in post WWI Germany and the present day United States. Are we setting the stage for a dictatorship here? Only time will tell.

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Customer Service

My brother owns a business. He makes a large deposit of the day’s receipts each day. Last Friday, the armored car that comes to pick up the money did not show, because the New Years Eve holiday had them overwhelmed, so he loaded the money into his truck and made the 2 mile trip to the bank himself.

When he got there, the new manager of the bank would not let him load the money in the back door of the bank, but instead made him bring it through the front door, and then raised a fuss about the size of the deposit. He also uses a money counting machine to count the bills, and then bands them, and it also counts and bags the coins. She made him stand there while they recounted the money by machine, and then again by hand, saying that she didn’t trust him or her own machines to have counted correctly. Now understand that he makes a million in deposits a month, so this deposit took a bit of time to count by hand. The previous manager knew him, and always accepted his counts, or at least the counts of her own machines.

The new manager was pretty rude. So, being a smartass, he decided to exact his revenge. He held the $1 bills out of the deposits for the week. Then, on Friday just 15 minutes before the bank was due to close, he walked in with $32,000 in one dollar bills. Unbanded. He demanded a receipt, and then stood there while they counted it. He says he will continue to do that until the manager’s attitude improves or he gets a new manager.

Poor customer service on the bank’s part.

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Global warming is here

This is the weather forecast for Orlando, Florida, straight from the National Weather Service:

Saturday: A chance of rain showers, snow showers, and sleet before 11am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 11am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Wind chill values as low as 25. North northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.