Elkhorn Creek Lodge

The Reid and Pelosi Wildcard

Posted in economics, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 24, 2008

Mr. Katz of Urgent Agenda notes that Obama’s picks for his incoming administration are causes of worry, but also relief. There is, at least, a certain seriousness to these picks that reflects that Obama is playing in an entirely new league. Perhaps the biggest criticism beyond some of the personal baggage, Holder comes to mind, that we have an administration that is being stacked with that slice America that got double 800’s on their SAT’s.  Or, the inverse of the late Buckley, with rule by the Harvard faculty rather than the first hundred names out of the Cambridge phone directory.

One can only hope, for all of the stellar academic credentials, that these advisers will have the humility to realize that they can never craft policy that will anticipate the needs of 300 million Americans. Or, that this isn’t the purpose or business of government. One hopes that they will remember enough of Econ 101 to realize that economic growth is the only solution to this economic melt down. Meaning that the Joe-the-plumbers will need to be protected and supported from crushing taxes and regulation. That creating, not spreading, wealth is what lies between a brief recession and a depression.

As McCain’s father said, history is made by poker players and not analysts. We’ll see what these people will do in time of crisis where you will have to take a lifetime of experience and react; and hope that reaction is a reflection of carefully thought out positions that you will not, in that moment of crisis, have the time to think through in a linear fashion. A crisis moment that will force you to act from the gut because you will not have to time to analyze. 

More interestingly, Obama almost seems like the young prince Hal who now casts off Falstaff as he assumes the mantle of power as Henry V. Did Obama, in his 20 or so years in the Chicago machine, “know you all” and for a while “upheld the unyoked humor of their idleness.” Of Ayers, Wright, Rezko. Is he, therefore, a radical or truly a centrist? Are his centrist tendencies, of late, of choice or circumstance? A thin resume and now we know even less. 

All very cynical, of course. But, there’s that adage that fulfilling your friendship needs in Washington can only be done reliably  with a dog.

I also suspect that Obama realizes that his legacy is not getting elected but getting elected and performing as president to his getting re-elected. To be the first black president means he can’t go out as a failure like Hoover or Carter; to go out as the first black president who screwed up. No longer does he have the comfort of spouting out pronouncement that have little impact in a safe district controlled by the Chicago political machine. I rather suspect, particularly in handoff briefings on security, that he came into contact with intelligence that would instantly age anyone ten years in ten minutes. 

And, that Falstaff comes with multiple faces; principally Reid and Pelosi. But, the biggest hurdle to succeeding as president will be his putative allies in Congress. Already, they are lining up an agenda that will drive the country over the cliff. He needs, above all, an economy that can pull it self out of a recession. 

The meltdown and recession that got Obama elected, is a mixed blessing because it is like a wounded animal that can turn on you in a minute. This is already Obama’s economy and his recession. This is no longer the crisis that can be used to push other agendas. This is a stand-alone crisis that will ultimately drag Obama down; and must be addressed regardless of the rest of his campaign wish list.

But, the solons of Congress, who control its committees have a very different idea. They, from safe seats and with very parochial agendas will use this crisis to pursue other agendas. The biggest warning sign is the ouster of Dingell by Waxman. Waxman, too marinated in the money and celebrity of Beverly Hills, is about to wave a magic wand and decree that we will all live a life of perfection by junking the burning of fossil fuels and embrace our inner windmill. In the insular world of Beverly Hills, far removed the concerns of Americans that actually live paycheck to paycheck, is a world that doesn’t think about how food, energy, transportation all come to their doorsteps. These are things brought in by the “help.” In a world of Rodeo-Drive-chinchilla-bedspreads it matters not that the “help” actually shops at Wal-mart to squeeze value out of every last penny of their paychecks.

Yet, here is Waxman, ready to push cap and trade. The costs and economic distortions of this program alone is sufficient to tank this economy into a depression.

And, we have Frank who can’t wait to get started on cutting our defense budget by 25 percent. And, we all breathe a sigh of relief that, on the Senate side, Bingaman has just announced that a new gas tax will be deferred. 

I’m beginning to think, through his choices of advisors, that Obama realizes that he’s on his own. Ayers might be good company for an all-night dorm room bull session. But, he’s got his legacy on the line and that’s already being seriously threatened.

As a conservative, I’m sure that a lot of what Obama does is going to give me a lot of heartburn. But, he’s our President. And, for the sake of our country, he needs to succeed by making the right choices. It is good, therefore, that he’s bringing in serious people. Leftist in orientation, but, hopefully, with a degree of education to bring objectivity that such an education should engender.

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An Open Letter to My Senators About the Auto Bailout

Posted in economics by Eugene Podrazik on November 22, 2008

Dear Senators Enzi and Barrasso:

I wish to restate my firm opposition to the proposed bailout of the Detroit automakers; GM, Ford and Chrysler. In truth, this 25 billion dollar bailout is really a UAW bailout.  We’ve had enough of bailouts. We’ve had enough intervention, with my tax dollars, into the economy. In fact, the whole subprime mortgage crisis and the subsequent meltdown on Wall Street can all be traced to the corrupt activities of encouraged by the Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN, Fannie and Freddie. 

We’ve had the 700 billion dollar TARP bailout that just working like a real charm. And, somehow, we’re supposed to believe just another 25 billion dollars and we’ll have the Detroit big three automakers back on their feet and millions of Americans just clamoring to buy Fords, Buicks and Dodges. 

These three automakers have been on a slow slide into oblivion for decades. Because all three have never been forced to face up to the fundamental flaws in their business plans. Chief of which is labor costs that far exceeds productivity. 

Further, attaching “strings” will hope to accomplish what? If such “strings” will make the bailout successful, then such modifications of  the current business model would be readily apparent and would be in place with out the prompting  of Congress. Actually, such a business model exists. It’s call filing for bankruptcy; which isn’t the end of the world. There will still be a huge spare part industry for the GM’s, Fords and Cryslers already on the road. The truck divisions of these three companies remain viable and will have a ready market in any bankrupcy action. Moreover, there exists a huge automobile manufacturing infrastructure in the United States–domestic plants turning out Toyota, Nissans and Honda that Americans really want to buy. Domestic plants that hire thousands of Americans and spin off all sorts of business in their respective communities.

And, what other strings will be attached. Mandates to produce “green” cars, running on “alternate” fuels. Mandates to produce cars to meet cap and trade global warming goal? Never mind that global warming is a crock. Look at how the CAFE standards have distorted the market. Now, we’re going to mandate the production econoboxes that nobody wants if it weren’t for the artificial constraints on domestic oil production for a commodity, oil, that is in reality cheap and plentiful. And, come the day that oil does indeed run out, the market will readily identify a replacement far faster than any intelletoid bureaucrat. With all due respect, what does any one in the House or Senate really know about the thermodynamics and engineering that goes into designing a car or truck. You and I know that these “strings” will be an attempt to legislate car design. Not only will we have a UAW salary subsidy but we will have cars you couldn’t give away. May I suggest that said car be called the Lada.

If you insist on a bailout, lets just be honest and call it a $30 per hour UAW salary subsidy. Why don’t we just reimburse the Detroit big three automakers $30 per hour for its UAW employees and at least put the real reason for this bailout out into the light of day.

The GOP has taken a drubbing at the polls over the last two election cycles with some justification because is has strayed far from the fundamental principles of frugality with tax dollars, low taxes, low regulation and small government. When the subprime financial meltdown hit last September, the GOP no longer had the credibility to stand before the voters and speak the truth about Fannie and Freddie corruption. 

Therefore, now is the time to return to those small government roots and make a principled stand against further government intervention in the private sector. This is no longer the time to “split the difference” or “reach across the aisle.” This is the time to make bright-line distinctions and to put an end to any further use of tax dollars to bail out any business failure that happens to be big enough to hire armies of lobbyists. 

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The Islamofascists of Penzanze

Posted in uncategorized by Eugene Podrazik on November 20, 2008

Rush Limbaugh makes a point of noting that Somali pirates are Muslim terrorists. Moreover, while Somali’s fundamentalist militias have been hostile to these pirates, evidence suggests that some of the ransom money has found its way into the coffers of Al Shabaab, a group on the US terrorist list. 

So, now we have the Saudi flagged tanker, the MV Sirius Star, seized on the high seas off the coast of Tanzania hundreds of miles from the Somali bases. With the money involved, the question is whether a fix is in.

Consider, even in this day of GPS technology, that finding things on the high seas is hard to do, even supertankers. Especially, when you consider the visibility from the vantage point of a small craft. If you’re in a speedboat, you’re low in the later, bobbing in and out of troughs of successive waves. Yet, these “pirates” managed to track down one ship; a real prize by virtue of the millions of dollars worth of oil. And, do so having watercraft capable of operating far over the horizon out of sight of the shore.

Given the tens of thousands of ships that ply these sea lanes annually, one could argue that this was just getting really lucky. Or, did someone know exactly where to go. And, if so, given that this is a Saudi flag ship, is this some shake down scheme to funnel money into these Muslim fundamentalist terrorist groups.

I mean, “How could we help it? We just had to pay. We’re just trying to get our guys back.”

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Obama’s Legacy; It Ain’t Nancy’s Problem

Posted in democratic party, economics, environment, gop, obama, politics, republican party by Eugene Podrazik on November 19, 2008

The Democratic overreaching begins. It looks like Waxman is going to oust Dingell as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. What we have is the hard left of the Democratic party driving policy; in this case energy policy with complete obeisance to the environmentalists. Translation, global warming with cap and trade.

So, just when the economy is tanking, we’re going to be faced with artificially high energy prices to “encourage” us to switch to “alternate, green” energy. This encouragement will be in the form of the return of four-dollar plus gasoline. If this represents a pattern we’ll see more killer tax and spending policies coming out of other parts of Pelosi’s Congressional Empire.  

Obama’s, like pirate Jack Sparrow, has just been tossed up on a desert isle with a pistol and one bullet. He’s all alone. What Obama will have to realize is that his getting into subsidized housing on 1600 Pennsylvania is all and the entire bone that the Democratic leadership is willing to give to its black constituency. As far as they’re concerned, the legacy of Obama is getting elected. Whether he’s successful in his own right is not their problem.

From Pelosi’s and Reid’s point-of-view, picking off enough Republican Senate and Congressional seats and putting Obama in the White House was to give them the running room to pass their agenda. And, in particular, before any backlash in the 2010 mid-term elections, jam as much stuff through this two-year window of opportunity. For Pelosi in particular, and her power barons in the House leadership, being almost immune to any voter backlash, they will have their agenda and to hell with the other rats, Democratic and Republican, on the sinking ship. Obama’s going to have to realize he’s one of those rats that Pelosi could give a rat’s ass about.

Obama’s no longer from a safe seat. His legacy, if he wants a positive one, will require more that being a first in the form of high melanin content. He will need a track record of accomplishment to secure a real place in the history books. A record of accomplishment that will secure him a second term. A record of accomplishment that will allow him to retain running room with regards to working with congress. A record of accomplishment that will allow him to pull a country out of a recession and not degenerate into a depression; and not have his one-term presidency tarred as Hoover II (or Carter II).

In short, Obama will need to realize that he no longer lives in the bubble of pre-ordained elections of the Chicago Democratic machine. He needs to truly in the center and start playing football between the 40 yard lines. Frankly, he need Senator McConnell, his GOP caucus and enough blue-dog Democrats to form a governing coalition. Reid, Pelosi, Dodd, Schumer, Frank, Rangell are not his friends. 

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African Piracy and the Second Amendment

Posted in second amendment by Eugene Podrazik on November 19, 2008

The Saudi oil tanker is in the hands of Somali pirates; and in international waters well removed from Somalia off the coast of Tanzania. Here’s Powerline. Here’s a ship that’s worth the better part of a billion dollars carrying a cargo of about 100 million dollars worth of oil. And, it crewed by just 25 men.

I’ll also hazard to guess, other than a random smattering of pistols between the captain and two or three other ranking officers, the ship and crew are completely defenseless.

I’ll not get into the details of what it would take to defend a ship against boarding on the high seas. Or, whether a firefight on board a tanker would actually result in a massive confligration or explosion. But, even if the Saudi owners did not value the lives of the 25 crew members, one still wonders why it would not take better care of an investment in ship and cargo that costs a significant fraction of a billion dollars. But, it seems to me that these crews need to be enlarged to mount a more effective watch. These crews need to be armed and trained to resist and repel pirates. Armed merchant ships are not a historical anomaly.

Why, are these ships, or at least the crews not armed? We know, when it comes to crime at home that calling 911 will not necessarily save your life from criminal predation. And, the police have no legal liability to protect you from a criminal. In a similar fashion, one cannot expect naval forces to be in everywhere, patrolling thousands of square miles of seas and accounting for tens of thousands of ships that pass through the sea lanes along the east coast of Africa. Or, has the 911, call the police to protect me mentality, so permeated the merchant marine as to think that you can operate in international waters in a personal crime-free bubble. 

Or, are the tyrants and dictators of these countries that own and flag these respective ships so afraid of an armed citizenry that the loss of 25 crew and a supertanker are a small price to pay to keep their restive subjects under their thumb? Perhaps, arming the crews may not have any material impact on their political control since these armed agents are at sea. But, these crew come home with dangerous and heady ideas of having control over their lives that can only come with the possession of lethal force. Dangerous ideas of why can’t I have the same control over my life at home as on the high seas.

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Pelosi Motors, Inc.

Posted in economics by Eugene Podrazik on November 18, 2008

Just another 25 billion dollars and GM is going to get over the hump and make cars that are going to have the American public stampeding the Chevy showrooms. Try 25 billion dollars to prop up the UAW.

But, how did we get here anyway. It was once remarked by PJ O’Rourke, at a debate at the Cambridge Union about smoking as to how routine decisions, once personal, are now political. Which is what transportation has become. The simple act of buying a car and filling it up with gas is now at the end of pipeline of some of the most convoluted series of political decisions. Even to the point that you get evil looks and sneers for driving a truck or an SUV.

It’s getting to the point that taking a crap is going to be a political statement. Oh, it is! I’m just plunging my stopped up, federally mandated, low-flow toilet again.

Once upon a time, Detroit made good cars. Cars that people wanted because there was a relatively unimpeded communication between the buyer and producer as to what we actually wanted. 

So let’s do the autopsy. First, America ain’t Europe. Yet somehow, our elites regard the ideal car for the unwashed masses  as a little tin-foil, disposable-diaper econo-box with pie pan wheels. Maybe this works for Europe since population densities are far higher, sometimes approaching 1000 persons per square mile. While this density may be approached in the cores of our major cities, the minute you move out of the central cities things start to spread out.

They spread out in neighborhoods where people live in single family homes with real back yards. Our population density is about 80 persons per square mile; so things really spread out. You will travel longer distances and out of practicality, combine errands. Guess what, you need a bigger car. It doesn’t take some intellictoid at the Department of Energy or Transportation to figure that out. It was figured out, in the free market, through the buying and selling of actual cars. Imagine that people made decisions based on their personal needs.

Back when the space shuttle broke up over on re-entry, it dumped umpteen tons of stuff over Texas and Louisiana. But, nobody got hit by the stuff. Urban Sprawl?

Labor Unions. These are not sacrosanct organizations. Rather, they are organizations where members are allowed to collude in withholding labor to bid up the price of their labor. Anybody else try that stunt and you’d have the FTC all over your butt on anti-trust. All a labor union is is a legal exception to the Sherman anti-trust act. The monopoly exercised by the Detroit Big Three and the UAW in the 1950’s came only because of the lack of auto manufacturing capability as a result of the destruction of WW II. But, even then, I suspect that there was an emphasis to build bigger cars because a larger profit margin was needed to compensate for larger UAW labor costs. The demand for smaller cars was left unfilled and along came the imports.

This also made Detroit a Johnny-one-tune. If you want a big car or truck, Detroit’s the place. It still is. If you really need a large vehicle, you can’t beat the full size pick-ups made by the big three; though Toyota and Nissan are beginning to nudge into that area.

But, capable of only of only being profitable with larger vehicles, Detroit could not hope to cope with the politization of energy.

On one hand, the enviro-elite are conducting a jihad against the internal combustion engine (except for their own SUV’s like the one Obama has). They would like nothing less than $4 per gallon gas like we had last summer. And, if they could get away with it politically, they’d be taxing the dickens out of gas to European levels. So, the tax option out, the act of energy extraction has been politicized to make a shortage of a plentiful commodity. For all the talk of running out of oil, we seen to keep making new discoveries.

On the other hand, we have yet another Democratic party special interest group; the UAW. So, the only way to prop up the UAW and keep the enviros happy is to turn the Detroit Big Three into welfare agencies. None of our domestic automakers have been forced to confront the UAW over wage demands that outstrip any reasonable expectations of productivity. Between, the Chrysler bail out of the 1980’s or the import quotas of a similar era, there have been government interventions to preserve the UAW status quo. You could sort of do the status quo while gasoline remained under $2 per gallon. Then, in the name of global warming, the entire charade was upended since you couldn’t have your cake and eat it–cheap gas for big trucks and SUV’s and expensive gas to force a transition to “alternative,” “green,” and/or “renewable” fuels. And, there’s the simple thermodynamic fact of life that the most efficient was to carry portable BTU’s is a tank of gas.

Solution? Further fund the GM/UAW welfare program. There will always be a demand, and therefore jobs, for large vehicles. Joe-the-plumber will always need a full-sized pickup to deliver and install your designer Toto low-flow toilet. And, Al Gore and other prominent Democratic politicians will always need “rugged” vehicles as props to look “outdoorsey.” But, the carrying costs of the UAW make the production of cars a non-starter. So, we pony up 25 billion dollars to subdize the UAW making overpriced cars no one wants.

And, this is how we have our cake and eat it. We stop exploration of oil and gas to jack up gas prices and force transition to underpowered, very expensive battery powered cars that no one really wants but for the artificially high price of gas. Then we spend a lot of tax dollars to pay overprice UAW members to keep making cars that can’t compete in today’s high gas price environment. 

Thank heavens that the sexual revolution as progressed as far as it has since the late 50’s since “doing it” in the back seat of your father’s ’59 Buick becomes a real contortionist act in the back seat of a Prius. After all, only the missionary position was legal back then.

 

 

 

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Barackonmics; Upstairs, Downstairs

Posted in economics, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 14, 2008

It’s been remarked elsewhere that the winning coalition of Obama’s presidential victory was a bottom/top coalition.  That is, a coalition of the top and bottom of the economic ladder.

The interesting thing about this coalitions is that both are relatively immune to the economic vissicitudes that affect everyone else in the middle. 

For, the bottom, we have people on various welfare and governmental aid programs. They are net consumers of other people’s taxes. Not much more to be said except that Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” did little to reduce the number of these individuals. These folks represent a permanent constituency of the party of big government. Maybe, the next time, the GOP really needs to give the taxpayer a real break by seriously culling out the government-handout class.

The high end is more interesting. The super rich, and even the moderately rich, derive income streams from other than wages. So, things like Social Security and Medicare taxes don’t matter. If a trust or other compensation agreement is so arranged, a lot of expenses can be had on pre-tax dollars. So, raising income taxes has the perverse effect of enhancing those benefits. I be willing to bet that Al Gore’s giant carbon-footprint private jet isn’t coming out of post-tax dollars.

What is interesting is how country club Republicans became country club Democrats. The first reason is tribute. The need to own the candidate to protect their fortunes and station. Short of a reign of terror mass beheading, these folks don’t really have to worry about much of Obama’s tax plans since the cost will be a small price to pay for the security of their position and station in society. It also helps, that Obama is now, with his house and book deals, very much part of the ancien reigime. Robespierre? 

The second issue is the conceit of 30 years of prosperity thanks to Reagan. Many of these individuals did very well in a variety of business endeavors thanks to Reagan’s policies of economic growth. Now, financially secure, they can dally in the idiocies of global warming and whatever other vogue causes that strike their fancies; the idle mind is indeed the devil’s workshop.

Then, there’s the issue of slamming the door behind to keep others from horning in on their positions of power and influence. Most of these well-to-do Obama supporters are very well aware of the radicalness of capitalism; since their successes (or those of their immediate ancestors) came from business successes that in some way overturned the established order. Bill Gates, for example, is very wealthy because of his upsetting the cozy world of IBM. So, these people turn to the ideology of societal ossification; socialism.

In many ways, Obama’s hometown of Chicago, represents the very top/bottom economic structure that gave him the presidency. On the bottom are the governmental dependents; patronage workers and welfare. And, ward heelers, er, community organizers, to make sure they vote the right way for the Chicago political machine.

On the top are the wealthy. Nominally Republican, except when doing business in Chicago. They contribute and they pose with the machine politicians; as pillars of the community. But, there are understandings. Understanding like Obama’s sweetheart mortgage deal from the Northern Trust. Of course, you’ll never see ACORN raising a ruckus in Northern Trust’s lobby; that reserved for some mom-and-pop Savings and Loan back in the neighborhood struggling to survive without any hope for bailout bucks. Of course, the elite will never be seen in the Chicago public schools; they have their own private schools or, just over the Chicago border, their elite public schools. As you move up in the machine, you’re rewarded richly but expected to “understand” there are just some things you just don’t touch. Obama’s been a good and loyal foot soldier and has been richly rewarded for this service; nice house in Hyde Park and a nicer one now on the East Coast.

Here’s how thick it gets. Obama’s pal Bill Ayers was no radical who worked his way up from the mean streets, he’s the son of Thomas Ayers, former CEO of Commonwealth Edison, now Exelon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stealing Elections

Posted in politics, vote fraud by Eugene Podrazik on November 12, 2008

The whole notion of campaign finance reform is utterly laughable. The reason being that the captain-of-the-ship doctrine does not apply. Oh sure, various and sundry small fry get arrested; some actually get convicted and go to jail. But, where has there ever been an election where the candidate himself was denied the office strictly on the basis of violating election laws.

For instance, how much did Obama raise illegally. We have good reason to believe that many of the fraud screening provisions for his credit card operations were turned off. What did that cash buy? What was its role in swaying voters? Did it provide the margin for victory?

But, Obama will get away with it. What really counts is he, regardless of any wrong doing found, will occupy the Oval Office on January 20. What does it matter that some low level campaign operative may be found guilty of violating campaign law? The real prize and goal of this chicanery is winning the presidency. If that goes to Obama, then the law-breaking was worth it.

The only lesson to be taken from Obama’s campaign practices is that they work. Future campaigns will forever shun public financing. Future campaigns will amplify on Obama’s fund raising tactics. The real lesson, that crime doesn’t pay, would only come if the election was denied to Obama on the basis of campaign law violations.

Now, we have the Senatorial race in Minnesota. (here and here) On election night, Coleman was up by a narrow 700 or so votes. But, mysteriously that total, before the recount, has been cut by some 500 votes with ballots mysteriously showing up from all over the place. I’ll pass over Minnesota’s secretary of state being a ACORN flunkie. 

Then, we have a situation in Hennepin County (Minneapolis and suburbs) were, because of a electronic breakdown, votes were not electronically from the precincts on election night. Rather, the results were transported by car to City Hall. In other words, we have a break in the chain of custody. And, every vote, thus handled, become suspect and tainted.

Now, if we really wanted to uphold up election laws to maintain ballot integrity, I would submit that these votes need to be thrown out. If thrown out, you would finally put teeth into election laws because you would actually have the ability to deny the likely beneficiary of elective office. You would finally have a real deterrent to campaign and vote violations. You may even have legislative incentive to actually create a clear and transparent system of vote accountability.

Barackonomics; or Obama Conflicted II

Posted in economics, obama, palin by Eugene Podrazik on November 12, 2008

First, it was the big press conference last Friday. The one with all the big-shot executives lining the stage behind him; looking almost like the line up of the old Soviet commie-party big-shots on Lenin’s tomb on the May Day parade. Now, we have news that Obama is trying to get Bush to push a big auto bail-out before he takes office. What’s with President ultra-cool’s sudden attachment to gray-haired honkies who dress like Republicans. You know that Obama’s beginning to realize that he really got a lot more than he bargained for on November 4th. 

He’s got an economy that’s tanking and, now with Detroit, he’s got one piece of the economy that really counts since he’s got to throw a lifeline to his buddies in the UAW. Giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, that he is indeed a student of history, I suspect that he realizes that he inherits the mantle of power as Hoover and not FDR. 

He was supposed to waltz into the Oval Office and like Divine Caesar distribute largess to his adoring masses (there was a reason for the pillars at Denver, too bad he didn’t wear a toga). Largess from the wealth of a nation that hasn’t known a serious downturn since Reagan. ACORN and Ayers were to finally reap the benefits of the Long March from the days of Weatherman radicalism to the peak of power of the Presidency. Now, their acolyte, Obama, would dispense free abortions, free medical care, free day care and reparations. Never mind the three R’s, our children would be brainwashed with rain-forest-math. This was the election that would push America past the tipping point to a new future as the newest member of the EU. The New Socialist Man finally stepped onto the shores of America.

But, there’s a short shelf-life to Obama’s slight of hand. A slight of hand that needed to be pulled off before the American public gets over its November 4th temper tantrum. Obama, Reid and Pelosi have about a six-month window of opportunity to jam their socialist remake of America through.

Except. We got a little wrinkle in the plan. Six weeks before the election, the cupboard was stripped clean; thanks to ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act. And Freddie. And Fannie. The symbiotic parasitic relationship between ACORN and our economy will no longer work.  

Moreover, the ACORN economic paradigm of economic redistribution works on two assumptions. The first is that you have a booming economy that will provide the slack to allow you to sell the snake oil of redistribution. You have a time when everyone is so flush, that they’ll just pay you to just go away; kinda like when a bunch of ACORN activists, Alinsky-style, would make a lot of noise in your bank lobby. And, you had enough economic slack to sell the conceits of such enviro-idiocies as global warming, cap-and-trade and very expensive battery powered cars.

The second assumption is that you have the economic slack to extort. Now, all of a sudden, you need to keep the old car running since you don’t have the dinero to run down to Toyota for your Prius. All of a sudden, you need to do icky things like drill for oil, here, because gas over two dollars per gallon is really getting expensive. Now, you need to put down that Starbucks Latte and actually sully your hands doing dirty uncool tasks that you used to outsource to some third-world country swarming with inconsequential people like the one you hire to mow your lawn (or some “bitter” rubes in Western Pennsylvania). Now, all of a sudden, having a job, never mind the carbon footprint, is what really matters.

All of a sudden Obama’s glib rhetoric is starting to catch up. Comments trashing small businessmen like Joe-the-Plumber. Or, glib comments of using cap-and-trade to bankrupt the coal industry. The market is listening and taking Obama at his word. And, it is dwindling. 

Instead of a bunch of suits from established corporations, all having their fingers in the federal pie, Obama needed to have a bunch of Joe-the-Plumbers on stage at his last Friday’s new conference. He needed, onstage, not the Bill Gates of 2008, but the Bill Gates of 1980, when Microsoft overturned the world of IBM and lived to tell. But, who wants icky Joe up on the stage; he of such piddling attainments compared to Obama’s oh-so lofty intellectual stature from Columbia, Harvard and the University of Chicago. Come on, what business does a plumber, for God’s sake, have poking his nose in such deep economic matters that only the Messiah can hope to understand. 

If Obama is more of a student of history than Biden, besides realizing that FDR didn’t get on a yet-to-be-invented TV in 1929, he’d realize, that from 1929 to 1932, it was Hoover who mismanaged the economy. And, he now stands in Hoover’s, and not FDR’s, shoes. But, Barry, never you mind my senseless pratings and you just “manage” the economy just like Hoover. You just do a Smoot and Hawley and kill free trade. Come 2012, Sarah Palin is going to do to you what FDR did to Hoover in 1932.

 

 

 

 

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Conservatism; Steady As She Goes

Posted in economics, gop, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 10, 2008

There’s cum dripping down from the ceilings of every MSM newsroom over Obama’s presidential election last Tuesday. And, pundits from both sides of the divide, but particularly from the left, jabber on about another sea change in the political landscape. Socialists of every stripe are having wet dreams over the impending transformation of America into a worker’s paradise complete with a UN-approved zero-carbon footprint, $10 per gallon gasoline, a Prius in every garage and government paid abortions to prevent icky kids from messing up the upholstery. It’s very similar to such pronouncements upon Clinton’s accession to the presidency back in 1992. The millennium has arrived. A new realignment. And, so on.

But, as was attributed to Margaret Thatcher, the facts of life are conservative. Conservative ideas may not get you into a Georgetown cocktail party. They won’t spark up a conversation in the Hamptons (at least since Bill Buckley’s passing). But these ideas will not yield to the latest vogue policies coming out of Washington; not with out significant unintended effects. 

Economics policy will not work unless the two parties of an economic transaction both, voluntarily, want that transaction and both will benefit from that transaction. Transactions forcibly created are, in other circles, called robbery. The robber is the beneficiary and will naturally support such a transaction. The person being robbed will do everything to minimize his loss. Roman Emperor Diocletian tried price controls; they didn’t work. Lenin and Stalin murdered tens of millions in their GULAG’s; and still fell far short of their worker’s paradise.

Electric and steam powered cars have been around for over a century. Yet, the internal combustion engine dominated. For a reason, it is a far superior way to power vehicles since a vehicle powered by a gas or diesel engine is going to do a better job than other forms of locomotion. Weight for weight, volume for volume a tank of gas is going to power a car or truck far more efficiently than, say, batteries. We’ve known that for a century and the free market would have ordained otherwise if that weren’t so. 

Artificially distorting the market by allowing a cheap and plentiful commodity such as oil and gas to become prohibitively expensive by curtailing supply by government fiat will not our solve our energy problems. It certainly will direct our economy to make “alternative” cars. But, cars that American would rather not have because they simply will not replace current cars for their far superior utility. Again, things happen for good reasons. Reasons that are rapidly thought through and rationalized in the give and take of a free market economy. No amount of governmental bureaucratic massaging is going to come up with a better solution. What will have are more expensive and less capable alternatives to our present auto. Maybe less carbon, but what are you going to do with all of those lead-acid batteries when you have to replace your alternative auto? And, you will have a nation poorer as a result because of this gross misallocation of resources.

The real postmortem of this election is the slow abandonment of Reagan’s policies of 1980. The policies of less taxes and less government sparked a 30 year era of prosperity. A significant portion of our electorate never even experienced a real recession let alone a depression.   And, tied to these economic policies was a constant rhetoric that continued to pound home that basic message of less government. Reagan realized that just because things are working well doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone always waiting in the wings who thinks that he can run your life better than you can. Like Obama.

Our current economic problems can all be traced to governmental intervention. Once upon a time, you bought a house with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage; 20% down; monthly payment not to exceed 25% of your monthly take home wages. It reflected what could be reliably purchased with out default. Those rules, by government fiat and ACORN extortion, were upended and Fannie Mae happened. When the old plain vanilla rules were followed there arose a middle class of homeowners with real equity; real wealth. When these new-fangled mortgages (interest only, zero down, ATM) came on to the market, chaos followed.  The former was so booooooring, while the new mortgages were soooo exciting; and it got more exciting.

The other half of Reagan’s policies was a muscular foreign policy backed by a strong military. No, Reagan wasn’t the war-monger as his critics liked to paint him. But, his success in keeping the peace and bringing down a nuclear armed adversary were tied to a strong military and the impression, in the minds of our enemies, of a willingness to use that power. Again, for the last 30 years, we haven’t faced wars like the one’s in the past. The sum total of our battlefield casualties over the past 30 years are such that they do not exceed, in one day of combat, the casualties on the beaches of Normandy, Tarawa or Iwo Jima. It doesn’t take much of a misstep to get ourselves involved in such a conflict again if we choose to abandon Reagan’s foreign policy philosophies.  

From Bush I’s reneging on his “no new taxes” promise to the pork barrel spending by the GOP during the last decade, the GOP lost it’s credibility. So, when the sub-prime mortgage crisis hit, the GOP with its badly battered brand name was unjustifiably tarred with the crisis. Moreover, it could no longer articulate a warning that this crisis could only be surmounted by economic growth. It could no longer articulate that governmental intervention carried a strong risk of turning a recession into a depression. So, we elected Obama; and the market is doing the dwindles in the 8000’s.

By virtue of a 30 year track record of success, there’s no need to re-think conservatism. It worked because what Reagan brought to Washington was based on experiences, from time immemorial, of what works with regards to economics and foreign policy. As in Economics 101; as in ancient Rome; si vis pacem, para bellum.  The truth isn’t “new” or “exciting.” It doesn’t have the cache of deconstruction by some superstar Marxist professor. They just work.

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Carter in a Kennedy Suit

Posted in carter, economics, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 10, 2008

The background starts with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoiled Obama’s little Grant Park party hours after his historic election by announcing the stationing short-range missile systems in Kaliningrad between Poland and Lithuania. This in response to stationing an anti-missile shield in Poland. 

We have the Polish President Kaczynski asking Obama for an assurance that such a shield will be deployed. On the other hand, we have Obama waffling. The difference between Obama’s waffling and unequivocal statement of need hasn’t gone unnoticed. By Russia. By Iran.

(hat tip: Washington Times, Breitbart, PowerLine)  

This brings back some bad memories about Carter’s handling of the Neutron Bomb controversy from the 1978 time frame. (Time, 1978)  This was a weapon that emitted lethal radiation will little, relatively, collateral blast damage. It’s deployment rationale was to blunt the then Warsaw Pact’s 3-to-1 advantage in armor in central Europe. There was, at the time, a great deal of opposition on both sides of the Atlantic, lubricated by Pravda. However, with a great deal of intense negotiation, and with the support of of many of his chief defense and diplomacy, Carter backed off at the last minute. Carter tried to put lipstick on that pig (couldn’t resist) by saying he wanted to use the Neutron Bomb as a bargaining chip over the coming deployment of the Soviet intermediate range missiles, the SS20.

Then, we had the whole intermediate range missile controversy of the 1980’s when Reagan decided to deploy Pershing and cruise missiles to counter the Soviet SS20 missile deployment. Again, in the teeth of all sorts of controversy.

And, so here we have new situation with a little bit of both controversies mixed in. And, we have the same old line up; NATO versus Russia.

Yet, it is different. This controversy revolves around a clearly defensive weapon, designed to knock out offensive nuclear missiles. It addresses the serious moral shortfall of Mutually Assured Destruction; that of holding civilians hostage in war. Yet, we have the worst of the Neutron Bomb controversy and the SS20 deployments of, respectively, 1978 and the 1980’s. Here we have the seeds of undercutting an ally, Poland and its President, Kaczynski just the way Carter undercut then West German Chancellor Schmidt. Then, unlike Reagan, who actually created useful “bargaining chips” by deploying Pershing and cruise missiles, we have Obama waffling and sending a message that we may not deploy a clearly defensive anti-missile system. And, the Russians get what they want for free.

The GOP, because of 30 years of economic growth and prosperity had little to campaign on because most of the electorate forgot economic life under Carter. A very successful military bottled up Islamic imperialism at its source thousands of miles from our shore. Say what you will about the state of Iraq, pre and post surge, those American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been key in  preventing another 9/11. Unfortunately, because the GOP so damaged their brand with profligate spending, they no longer had the credibility, in this election, to effectively warn Americans that abandonment of Reagan’s policies of a strong military and a pro-growth economic policy of less taxes and government will spell disaster.

Will Obama’s emulate Kennedy? He of the Kennedy tax cuts and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Or, does that Kennedy suit hide the hard-core appeaser, the inner Carter, that seems to animate Obama’s basic instincts.

 

ACORN and Honest Elections

Posted in carter, democratic party, gop, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 8, 2008

One of the brilliant features of the electoral college is a built-in check against voter fraud. Or, to make fraud truly effective, one would need to do so in 51 different geographical locations. Even with ACORN going national, that’s still a daunting task. The simple fact is that stealing votes in Chicago will only net the electors of Illinois, no matter how many votes cast in Chicago. Whereas if presidential elections were done by popular vote, every fraudulent vote would count.

But, were ACORN and their allies can truly cause damage is in the three remaining and undecided elections for the Senate; Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota. Here we have elections close enough that fraudulent activities of even a few thousand votes, or a few hundred in Minnesota, can make a difference. A difference, indeed, since these three elections will determine whether the GOP can mount meaningful opposition to the legislative testosterone of the Democratic majorities of the House and Senate with a compliant Oval Office.

The last time the Democrats had a filibuster proof Senate was the 95th congress of 1977-79. The one that, with Carter at the helm, gave us the Community Development Act, the origin of the current subprime mortgage mess. 

Already, there are signs of a stolen election in Minnesota. Given a vote differential of only 500 votes, this one is an easy one to steal especially since the Minnesota Secretary of State is a creature of ACORN. And, indeed, one hundred votes here and one hundred vote there start to pop up for Frankin. How convenient since the entire process is counted electronically by an optical scanner.

If this was such a transformational election, then Senate and House majorities would have reflected such. But, using Obama’s vote tallies, he got on 52% in another 50-50 nation election. He’s the first Democratic candidate to even break 50% since Carter in 1976–32 years ago. And, frankly, the three remaining Senate contests would have swept Democratic. But, it didn’t. It didn’t because there may have been a temper tantrum to throw punish the party that currently holds the White House, but there isn’t a socialist mandate.

As tight as they may be, those elections and the check of filibuster must stand. To overturn these elections by fraud will slowly create a lawless that stems a society wide disrespect for the rule of law. You only need to travel to Chicago, were a century or more of corrupt Democratic machine politics creates such a causal disregard for the law. Due process is reduced to cutting deals, lubricated by cash. Elections are pre-ordained; the real outcome being determined in the Democratic primary. It is not a place that attracts new economic growth. It is a very expensive place to live. It coasts on the momentum of being, for the present, the 3rd largest city in the country. For a bright young federal prosecutor, a treasure trove of corruption convictions to burnish any career.

What with a beyond biased MSM, shady fund raising, questionable past associations never truly vetted, this election was rigged enough to call into question, even Obama’s victory. It needs to end on at least the positive note, that in these three remaining elections, of some modicum of integrity of an honest ballot. 

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Obama the Conflicted

Posted in economics, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 8, 2008

Obama’s new conference of yesterday was an interesting amalgam of blown opportunities and a realization of a reality that no longer fits his campaign narrative.

It was heartening to see Obama flanked by individuals such as Paul Vockler. It represents a realization that there’s a real economic problem and that problem is not going to be solved by the likes of Senator Reid or Speaker Pelosi. And, perhaps he realizes that his presidential legacy is not Reid’s or Pelosi’s problem. In fact, I suspect that by giving their most loyal constituency the presidency, that Reid and Pelosi have delivered all they intend to give.

But, what Obama said speaks volumes of a reality he needs to better grasp. That his only way out of this economic mess and his only key to an enduring legacy, of the positive sort, is economic growth. Nothing else but economic growth. And, in fact, he slipped those word, “economic growth” into his economic pronouncements. Yet, he watered it down with all of the usual New Deal, liberal bromides of “middle class” tax cuts. 

And, here in lies the problem. His instincts are that of a redistributionist, a socialist. Yet, his legacy hinges on the degree to which he will return economic policy to that of Reagan. He grew up in the world of ACORN and Saul Alinsky; a paradigm of extorting money from “the rich.” But, the paradigm falls apart if it is not operating in a society that cleaves to a rule of law and actually has something worth extorting. There are any of a number of third world countries where, if such tactics were tried, would result in the powers that be ruthlessly gunning down the Alinsky/ACORN acolytes. And, now that Obama fully owns the economic mess his liberal fellow travelers created, he’s discovering that there isn’t a whole lot to extort. The wealth and concomitant slack that Reagan’s economic policies engendered are all now wrung out of the economy.

Most of his economic bromides will only deepen the recession. Perhaps turn it into a depression. He’s still some 70 days out from the presidency but the country has already tied him to these economic straits. I think there’s a dawning realization that he can little to make things better than to promote policies that allow individuals to create wealth. Ironically, he is linked at the hip to all the Joe-the-Plumbers that he so trashed during the campaign. Yet, it flies in the face of his socialist need to control.

Oh, what to do! What to do!

What to do was to have used that news conference to more forcefully articulate fundamental economic principles for economic growth. That should have been his only theme; repeated over and over. And, had he done so, he would have bought himself room to maneuver by virtue of a rebounding stock-market, a honeymoon and public opinion to use as a cudgel against the power barons of Congress. Oh yes, the market rose yesterday; largely by virtue of who was on stage behind him. (Also, we probably had a lot of bargain hunting.) But, the message was muddled and the markets without clear direction will continue dither and dwindle.

One of the virtues of the electoral college is it’s ability to force a president to govern from either a center-left or center-right coalition. Obama himself and his Democratic power broker friends in both houses of congress come from political environments that are left-far left coalitions. For the first time in his life, he had to run an campaign that had to pull in the middle. His legacy and his political future will depend on keeping that middle. Reid and Pelosi are not his friends.

 

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The McCain Post-Mortem

Posted in economics, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 6, 2008

If only McCain had campaigned by …, then we would have won. If only. If only. If only he could see and follow my vital advice, then he’d be president. All the nit-picking doesn’t detract from the fact that McCain managed to keep the election close right up to the end. His doggedness may not have won him the election, but it prevented a far worse debacle in the House and Senate.  With some luck, the GOP may return to Washington with 43 senators.

To restate the obvious, this was supposedly a Democratic year supercharged with a mid-September financial meltdown. There was a MSM, unabashedly in the tank for Obama, providing millions of dollars of in-kind contributions by functioning as the Obama campaign ad agency; hiding Obama’s very serious shortcomings and simultaneously smearing McCain and Palin. Yet, the Democrats didn’t run away with this election. The electoral college results don’t hide that this is yet another 50/50 nation election. The GOP’s performance in the face of this brutal MSM assault speaks well of the durability of the GOP and its standbearer, McCain. Frankly, it speaks ill of the Democratic message that it gains were contained as well as they were last night.

The real truth is that this election wasn’t lost last night. Rather, McCain’s defeat was the results of the accretion of events over the last twenty years that took the GOP, step by step, farther from the basics of Reagan’s philosophies of lower taxes and less government. Each step took the GOP back to the RINO or me-too Republican. The electorate just figured why vote for Democrat-lite when you can vote for the real thing. McCain’s mistake in this campaign was his contribution, over the years, to this Democrat-lite state of mind.

Economics are conservative facts of life. Unless both parties feel that an exchange of goods or services is mutually beneficial, it will not occur. Government intervention will cause money and economic activity to go elsewhere. The boring mantra of less taxes and less government is the key to Reagan’s success. And, the establishment of a political critical mass, in Washington, that finally replaced disagreements of degree between the me-too Republicans and the Democrats with fundamental disagreements of kind as to government’s role.

But, starting with Bush I, we started to dilute Reagan’s message with a “kinder and gentler” America. What I couldn’t figure out was why Reagan’s policies weren’t just that. He reversed the high inflation and high unemployment of the Carter years with prosperity. Pretty kind and gentle to me. He turned back the advance of the USSR; a country and governing philosophy that was responsible for the murder of tens of millions of it’s own people. But, Reagan, that militarist reactionary, was far more unkind than the Soviet GULAG. Of course, removing the threat of nuclear incineration, courtesy the USSR, was very unkind.

So, amid the rubble of last night are the seeds for future success:

The first, is Joe-the-Plumber. He’s going to haunt any and all deliberations for any new governmental expansion. By taking up Joe’s banner, McCain finally hit his stride and started to clearly articulate a philosophy of less taxes and less government. Moreover, he managed to make socialism a dirty word. Also, in a larger sense, the bill for the financial meltdown can only be paid back by economic growth. That growth will only come from small business; the likes of Joe. What we do to the Joe’s of America will reflect on the economic performance of our country in the coming years. For this election, thanks to the MSM, there wasn’t enough time to have these themes truly resonate with the electorate.

As the long term reality of the September financial meltdown really starts to register, there will be some grim satisfaction to see the Democrats having to fully address the fruits of their corruption. And, it will be the GOP’s responsibility to hammer that point home. To point out that every dollar of pork barrel is another ACORN/Community Reinvestment Act in the making. By foreswearing pork, the GOP, with McCain’s bona fides, has the opportunity to make pork synonymous with the Democratic Party. Pork is poison; every dollar is yet another opportunity for corruption and a dagger aimed at individual rights.

With the articulation of Joe’s cause, we can now press the point that corruption was the flaw that rocked our financial system last September. More, importantly, our free market system is sound. And, again, economic growth is the only path our–even though low taxes and less government will make you a real bore on the Georgetown cocktail party circuit.

Another, foundation for the future is that of Sarah Palin. She, I think, remains untarnished despite this defeat. We, in fact, may have a politician of the caliber of Reagan. I can well imagine her collecting tons of IOU’s on the rubber chicken circuit by stumping for congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial candidates over the next two years. And, I can see her cashing in on those IOU’s by becoming the first woman president.

Then, too is Bobby Jindal, from Louisiana. Ultimately, because of executive experience as governors, these two, Palin and Jindal, are going to be far more effective presidents than candidates hailing from the Senate.

The facts of life are conservative. So, are the laws of nature. 

Foreign policy will rear its ugly head. Regardless of domestic bread and butter issues, there are forces that now have reach to wreak mayhem within our borders. By intervening early in our war on Islamic imperialism, we are able to accomplish the task with a peace-time military. And, this in blood and treasure, will be far cheaper than to back away only to inevitably return to fight that war; but now on a war-time footing. If Obama fails, it will fall to the GOP, particularly McCain, to make sure that we stay in the fight and we take the fight to the source. This will not be an issue of partisan advantage, since lives, military and civilian, will directly be at stake. Ultimately, for all of Obama’s youthful flirting with radicalism, he’s going to have to face that we are at war with a world-view, Islam, that is completely opposed to our concept of individual rights. A world-view lead by very evil men. And, he can’t hide because if he refuses to fight it at the source, it will come to our shores.

Like the Cold War, our current war(s) will be long term engagements lasting decades. And, in time, the public will again begin to see that fighting to win, not “containment” is ultimately the only solution to the problem of Islamic imperialism. And, here again, we come to a basic Reagan tenant of a muscular foreign policy.  Reagan pursued a variety of approaches in defeating the USSR. But, the success of all of his foreign policy engagements were always buttressed by a strong military and the maintenance of a perception, in the eyes of our adversaries, of a willingness to use that force.

Yes, the world loves Obama for the same reason they love the UN secretary general. You can ignore him or walk all over him; your choice. If Obama chooses to govern as secretary general, the world will continue to love him. If he chooses to be president of the US it will be a sign he’s awakened to reality; and the reality that his international popularity is going to plummet. 

Energy will plague any president who ignores the laws of supply and demand. Husbanding our resources in one matter. But, forcing conversation to the point of economic contraction is another. Further, hydrocarbons and nuclear is the only way to bring sufficient energy to our economy. Period.

Solar won’t do it. The simple fact of life is there are only so many watts per square foot from solar power. And, the sun doesn’t shine at night. If the NIMBY’s object to refineries, drilling and nuclear power plants, do you think they’re going to stand by and cover, literally, square miles of land for solar power to replace any meaningful percentage of energy from hydrocarbon and nuclear?

Ditto, for all of the above, wind power.

But, the biggest issue of energy is that any policy will run headlong into the immutable laws of thermodynamics. And, engineering mechanics.

To move a give weight of material about requires work and that must be derived by burning something to generate heat and then to convert that heat to mechanical work. More weight, then more mechanical work and more heat. If you cut back on weight you will have smaller and lighter vehicles that are inherently less safe. (Air bags help, but for any give air bag if you add 100 pounds of structural weight you have a safer vehicle.) Smaller cars also mean you can’t carry as much. Like a hockey mom, two kids and two large duffels of hockey equipment.

We aren’t Europe where population densities approach 1000 people per square mile. Mass transit only works in dense population center where there are a lot of people who are going to the same places all at about the same time. Mortgage crisis or not, we also like our own homes and back yards just like the swells in Getty’s neighborhood. The net effect is we need personal transportation–a car. A car that can move a lot of stuff over longer distances. Nor, have we gotten into the transportation needs of Joe-the-Plumber. He’s going to need a full size pick-up truck for his tools and supplies. Your designer Toto toilet and gourmet granite kitchen counter top aren’t going to fit in a Prius.

Which brings us to the subject of putting America into hybrids like the Prius. All a Prius is is a 70’s style econobox with pie-pan wheels. Just updated at bit with some whiz bang technology to match your iPod. Notice how nobody misses the Gremlin, the Maverick, the Le Car or the Pinto? For all the hype about the batteries, it still a small car powered by a small gasoline engine; and all the laws of engineering mechanics and thermodynamics will govern this vehicle’s efficiency. It’s efficient because it’s small and light and therefore requires a very small engine. But, in the end, a gasoline engine is what really makes this car go. And, it’s gasoline because, weight for weight and volume for volume, gasoline is still the most efficient was to store the energy you need to move your vehicle.

And, while the Obama acolytes at the DOT are trying to figure out the ultimate no-carbon-foot car for the unwashed, Obama is going to ride around in his presidential limo. Anyway, the free market already figured all this out anyway.

No, Obama’s success with energy policy will be gauged by a very simple metric; is gas less than $2.00 per gallon at the pump. Is the blue state Northeast going to blow its collective tops when the oil truck fills up the tank for your furnace in the basement?

In the end, the basics of less taxes and less government must be continually articulated. There will always be people, holding to philosophies, that makes them think that they have a right to other people’s life. And, regardless of the last 30 years of prosperity, we will have to re-articulate the truths just as much as we did in 1980. This re-articulation is more urgent now since Obama won, in part, because most of his electorate simply forgot the world that existed before 1980 in the Carter years.

 

 

 

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The Catholic Vote

Posted in abortion by Eugene Podrazik on November 3, 2008

Hugh Hewitt points out that the Catholic vote may be critical to McCain in winning this election. This in turn may hinge on whether that vote listens to its clergy about the importance of abortion in making a voting decision. Especially with Obama’s position that goes beyond abortion on demand to abortion at the drop of a hat. Most notable are the public pronouncements on the part of Archbishop Chaput of Denver and Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia.

Hewitt’s concern is that the Catholic vote will not trend to McCain and that in turn will question the effectiveness of the Catholic clergy in communicating matters of vital moral importance to their respective congregations.

But, communication is a real problem since much of important moral teaching gets lost in the excrement from the pulpit on the subject of  “social justice.” No, it tends not to be as bad as some of the mainstream Protestant churches, especially the Episcopalians. But, there’s always been a political liberalism that creeps into what is supposed to pass for church doctrine.

Particularly pernicious is the “seamless garment” doctrine. This merely allows many in the clergy to give their favorite liberal politician a pass on abortion if you hold the correct views taxes, public spending, and the death penalty. It give ammunition to use against a conservative candidate who opposes abortion yet doesn’t support the other issues. Most Catholics have picked up on this and have turned off the white noise from the pulpit. Most Catholics know the difference between fundamental doctrine, abortion is a moral abomination, and political positions that do not reflect Catholic Church doctrine.

If the clergy fails to connect on abortion, then it is the fault of turning off an congregation who already knows that killing unborn innocents is a mortal sin.

But, also know that public social welfare programs are not charity since they all involve forceable takings, via taxes. The politician who proposes such and the taxpayer who pays such neither gain treasure in heaven because one the former spending other people’s money while the latter having “charity” involuntarily enforced.

And, also know that killing the innocent is very different that killing, in the gravest extreme, evil persons who would harm others. Oh, yes, many in the congregation know what “evil” is and are unafraid to call evil such. And, yes you use lethal force to stop such persons. Yes, you even go to war.

The same said congregation also knows that the death penalty is sometimes needed for persons who, through unspeakable evil, cross a line that carries only one punishment.

If the Catholic vote ignores its clergy on the subject of abortion, then maybe the clergy needs to really bone up on what really constitutes Catholic doctrine. And, keep their political opinions to themselves. Frankly, the next time I hear the word “social justice” I’m going to just barf right there and then in the pews.

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Buying a Royal (Socialist) Future

Posted in economics, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 3, 2008

The example of former NJ Senator, now governor, Corzine is the instructive example. So, is the wealthy, self-financed opposition to Senator McConnell from Kentucky. This is a pattern of the Democrats finding wealthy individuals to run for national office on their own dime. Where, such self-financing is unavailable, the Democrats have managed to exploit every fund-raising loophole in the book and cheat as well.  And, it is not the twenty or fifty bucks from the little guy.  But, it is large dollar contributions from very wealthy individuals.

These are individuals that will still gas up their SUV’s and private jets with ten dollar per gallon gas. They don’t worry about mortgages since real estate is now a commodity to them. Taxes longer matter since they have their wealth imbedded with so many protections such as trust funds. Or, money quietly salted away overseas; Rangle isn’t an exception just stupid for letting his Bahamas cookie jar come to light. Many expenses that would come out of after tax dollars for lesser mortals are in-kind income in the form of “business expenses.” And, in any event, these are people who are in such demand that they can easily command compensation that factors out any tax increase their Democratic party fellow travelers may unleash on the rest of the country.

What gives? It seems as if the country club Republicans are now the country club Democrats.

But, this behavior makes sense. It is the attraction to socialism that now makes the Democratic party the party of the rich and powerful. Because, socialism is ossification of social mobility. It is a system to allow those who have made it to slam the door on those who want to make it. It is a system that allows those in power to maintain that power against all challengers and to pick and choose who will be allowed to join them. Kind of like king-making in Chicago Machine politics.

It is in fact an ossification of social mobility that very much resembles royalty. Instead of honorifics as count, earl or duke we have new honorifics as CEO and CFO. Socialism is merely royalty dressed up in 20 or 21st century clothing.

The attraction to socialism, or royalism, is obvious. These individuals know they how they made their money. Or, how it made one or two generations prior. It came from two factors; see and exploiting a need in the current status quo and thereby upending it. And, it always involved bringing, to the common man, some good or service heretofore reserved for the rich and powerful.

Standard Oil was about the rationalization of the oil industry to bring kerosene cheaply to the public. Kerosene represented cheap, clean and safe indoor lighting.

Henry Ford wasn’t about the Model T; but about bringing personal transportation to the masses. Prior to that personal transportation was carriages, horses and livery; all very expensive and reserved to the rich. Were the environmentalists’ jihad against the internal combustion engine to succeed, it would leave the common man at the mercy of government for transportation, Amtrak and inter-city busses.

William Levitt wasn’t about Levittown but about bringing the equity of home ownership again to the masses. That is, in the pre-ACORN era when equity was built out of 20 percent down, 30 year fixed rate mortgage.

All of this economic activity now needs to be controlled so as to prevent any more upstarts from horning in on the field of privilege that these Democrats want to keep for themselves. So, now Joe-the-Plumbers need to be slapped down with high taxes. Little business needs to be carefully regulated, lest another bright idea pours forth from someone garage to take the world by storm.

And, if you can’t tax new ideas into oblivion, you’ve got the cap-and-trade of carbon credits. This is just a modern National Recovery Act wet dream. (And, if you coordinate that with any obeisance to the UN, you’ve just elevated the UN to the status of the League of Nations.) For the well connected, those with lots of campaign cash, bribing the cap and trade commissars will just be just another business expense. Joe-the-plumber is just going suck in up as a wage slave.

The attraction of the Democrats to the rich is the ability to create an exclusive circle of power and privilege and have the government patrol the perimeter to keep it secure. Secure from the unwashed masses, the lumpenproletariat.

Socialized medicine? You can bet that the elite will never face the prospect of lowest common denominator medical care. Lowest common denominator being the state of all things socialist. But, such a system will have the ability to emasculate one of societies most objective meritocracies. Further, the degree of MD has been one of the most efficient ways to propel individuals from the lowest to the highest socio-economic strata in a single generation.

The last thing we need is independent doctors refusing to participate in abortions or euthanasia. Frankly, I don’t think the elite care about abortion, per se. What they care about is the arbitrary power of life and death without due process, and, as an added bonus, an ability to stick it to Judeo-Christian morality. Further, with socialized medicine will come rationing. The most expensive hospitalization is your last one and the most expensive year, medically, is your last year of life. One-third of all Medicare expenditures cover those expenses. What wonders a $40 vial of penothal will do for rationing medical care; especially since it’s a multi-use vial.

But, Greenspan, will be allowed to live since he made his confession to congress, al la Cultural Revolution style, that lack of regulation was the reason for our latest financial meltdown. He’ll also be allowed to remain on the Georgetown cocktail party A-list.

In many respects, the Democrats and Republicans are reverting to form; circa 1860. Here we had the Democrats fighting for the status quo with the Republicans fighting to abolish slavery and polygamy. Polygamy was the “gay marriage” issue of that day. Lost in the carnage of the Civil War was the Abraham Lincoln of individual economic opportunity. It was Lincoln who fought for policies that would give the average man a crack at an independent means of support; modern translation, small business. 

It was the Land-grant University, the Morrill Act of 1862, that expanded educational opportunity. A system of higher education to teach agriculture (food to feed people not distill into ethanol), military tactics (ROTC, not peace studies), mechanic arts (we have a country to build and not deconstruct) and classical studies (not queer studies and anger management). 

Lincoln push through the transcontinental railroad. With such, utterly inaccessible land on the plains and in the inter-mountain West now became available for economic opportunity. Especially land, the one commodity, that more than any in Europe, that distinguished royalty from the serf.