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Archive for November, 2011

The Power of an Allegation

30 Nov

Allegation: a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

We love a mystery don’t we.  Even better, a conspiracy.  Better yet, an allegation.  Why?  My guess is that we have an inner desire to be better than anyone else.  We measure the satisfaction of that desire in two vastly different ways.

If we excel at something or actually reach an intended goal we know for certain that we are better (at least in some small way) than those we competed with or we won a competition with ourselves.  As long as we kept our celebration of that success within reasonable limits, that’s a good thing.  One certainly doesn’t want to slip into a state of arrogance or self worship, but, in most cases this is a positive measure.  However, in order to succeed to the degree one desires to reach these goals takes a lot of work and often self sacrifice.

That leaves us with a much easier way to measure our loftiness.  Not in making an allegation, but in wanting to believe in one that someone else has made.  In most cases one doesn’t have the facts upon which to base a conclusion one way or the other.  But what the heck, we can’t just let an allocation dangle out there unmolested, can we?  Certainly not.

To suggest to one’s self that the allegation is false takes the mystery away.  There is no fun in that.  And if the allegation is a juicy one you are bound to be running in a rather large crowd that is buying into it.  That gives you a bit of cover thereby allowing the “rumor” to grow.

Some of the allegations that pop up are founded in fact even though we don’t know what they are.  These allegations justify the rage generated by what has spawned the issuance of the allegation in the first place.  If justice is to be served they must be acted upon.

But the rest are fictitious and malicious.  Being apart from the facts we must judge, if we are to judge them at all, by the motivations of all parties involved.  That is impossible to do fairly, yet we find ourselves doing it nonetheless.

In matter of fact, unless we are in a position of authority and can actually sort out fact from fiction, we should probably keep our noses out of the mess.  After all some body or bodies will be hurt.  And if the allegations were made against us would we want to be convicted without a trial?  I doubt it, yet we fall prey to the overpowering allure of the mystery.  I suggest that we and the press should also wait until the facts are known before espousing opinions on the matter.

By the way did you hear the latest about…..?

 

Thanks for a Day to Reflect

24 Nov

I’ve much to be thankful for.  I’ve been blessed with more than deserved abundance and  good health.  As I reflect on an almost infinite supply of good fortune, I’m overwhelmed by what has been provided me during my life.  Good parents, a great sister, terrific kids and grandkids, and a boat load of good friends and helpful workmates.

None of these would have been possible without the three most important blessings for which I am and will be eternally grateful.  They are:  a God that is merciful and caring; a country that allows freedom to reign; and a family that nurtured and protected me.

No need to elaborate.  No need to embellish.  May all in this great country of ours lay aside the bickering and pettiness that befalls us from time to time.  At least for one day.  This day we call for Thanksgiving.

 

China…Friend, Foe, or Both?

19 Nov

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It is hard for the feeble of mind, such as myself to figure out the aims of China.  At times they seem very friendly.  After all they are buying up our debt as though they wish us good health.  Then they aren’t so friendly.  They aid our enemies at our expense.

Could it be they are both friend and foe?  That is clearly a dichotomy that bedevils common sense.  But I must come down on the side of “foe.”  Think the Big Bad Wolf.  Or Lamb in Sheep’s Clothing.  Or even The Trojan Horse.

When you get right down to it China would be more than willing to throw us under the bus were it not for how much we purchase from them which is driving their economy.  And there is that pesky thing they are too eager to lose, the interest on our debt to them.  That interest is important to them because in a short while it will be funding their total military program.  A program, by the way that has been growing by double digits every year for the past twenty years.

With Russia being severely crippled, that leaves only the US to worry about.  Thanks to some deals made during the Clinton administration they’ve increased their rocketry so they can easily reach our shores.  And, if GE gives away important information as the price to set up shop in China they can also control the airways.  Making matters even worse, if the Obama administration is successful in forcing Boeing out of South Carolina udder threat of the Labor Relations Board that will be just one more feather in China’s cap.

China’s devaluing their currency is a major magnet drawing our companies their way.  Couple that with Obama’s barrage against business in general and we have the makings of an overwhelming dominance over the US.

Then there is the way China, and Russia, and Pakistan too for that matter, are bucking up Iran’s nuclear goals.  Or even, albeit to a lessor extent North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

That, and much more, is why I come down on the side of “foe.”  Imagine this picture for a moment:  The US is so deep in debt that we have to play the Greece card and go belly-up.  This will happen should we neglect to drastically curb our spending.  The “whooshing sound” pointed out by Ross Perot allows China to steal more and more of our businesses away from us.  The balance of power has shifted drastically in China’s favor.  The US has reduced itself to a glorified North Korea, absent of power, absent of the ability to help our poor and needy, but holding on to our nuclear arsenal as our one remaining bargaining chip.

Not a very pretty picture is it?  Could it happen?  Maybe.  But it won’t if we bite the bullet and cut our spending; reduce the tax grip that is driving our businesses over seas; and cut the regulatory red tape that is smothering our potential to grow our way our of our current fiscal dilemma.

I doubt the Super Committee will move us closer to what needs doing.  It’s still not too late for Congress to drag Obama, scratching and screaming into the world of self recovery.  Let’s see if our leaders are up to the task.

 

I Pick….OOPS….Tune in Later

16 Nov

President Obama’s thumbs must be exhausted from all that twiddling.  His head ins surely soaked being up there in a fluffy cloud most of the time.  His guts, well apparently on this issue he doesn’t have any.

What would bring out the best in this president would be an ability to make hard decisions….in a timely fashion.  He has made a couple of hard decisions durning the past three or so years but they are few and far between.  Sure most of his decisions would make me cringe, but hey I don’t aspire to be the leader of our nation.

I fear that when he signed up for the job he judged his competence on his past experience.  That basically consisted of deciding what issue he wanted to organize against (being FOR something as a community organizer is an oxymoron), voting “Present” in the Illinois legislature, and deciding when to run for president.  In the business arena his experience is limited to buying a house (such a deal he got too), and perhaps a car or two.  In short, well, his experience falls short doesn’t it?

He faces a real dilemma on this issue, which is by the way deciding on the oil pipeline from Canada.  Seems that he made a decision alright…that is, don’t decide until after the election.  By the way that’s the same decision he made on dealing with the deficit.  Interesting.  Can we see a pattern developing?

Anyway, he looked at big labor unions (which would die to get it started today) and the environmentalists (which go bananas whenever someone wants to actually build something).  Each is a major backer of the President (and contributor).  Both can deliver votes for him.  Unfortunately he must pick a loser (oops. forgot that’s not politically correct.  Can’t hurt anyone’s feelings can we?).

Little matter that the oil pipe line would go a long way to reduce our energy dependance on foreign oil.  In this case Canada is a friend and neighbor.  We can trust that country, but we can’t trust any of the OPEC nations, most, if not all wouldn’t think twice about bashing us down.  Little matter that thousands of (real) jobs would be generated from the project.  No.  What seems to matter to our president is what will get him re-elected next year.  And losing one or the other of these giant lobbying groups would be harmful to him.

Is that the sort of leadership his supporters wanted when they voted for him?  For some, I’m sure it is exactly what they voted for.  But,  I’d wager that the bulk of them hoped to be getting a real leader, not a procrastinator waiting for the ideal political moment to make a decision.

I’d buy the drinks for him if only he’d get well oiled and make a decision on that pipeline.    Hip-hip hurry already.

 

The Occupy Filter

12 Nov

Membership of the Occupy movement is evolving as though shaken through a column of ever diminishing sieves.  At first composed of a plethora of causes, unorganized but very fired up and espousing a multitude of grievances.  Like an ameba they divided and multiplied, each grouping somewhat different in makeup.  While very vocal they were virtually peaceful.

As time passed a more clearly defined organization began to emerge, influenced in large measure by a growing number of hard line radicals.  At first the organization shouted out to promote change.  Change from the ever increasing gap between the half’s and the half not’s.  Change from whatever their target was to whatever they expounded.

As is often the case in such movements, those with move radicle and sinister aims began to take over.  Move On dot Org and organized labor infiltrated the cause.  The Move On folks shooting for major disruption of our way of life, the union’s pressing for more jobs.  Not any old job though, just union jobs.

So as the movement worked its way through the sieves the more moderate, idealistic and peaceable members dropped by the way side.  Broken windows, overturned cars, rapes and the proverbial use of drugs and alcohol began to fill from their tents.  Finally, what is left, for the most part, is a cadre of hard line thugs just itching for a crack at the police.

Occupy camps are being shut down by the police one by one.  Some are going relatively quietly, others remain to put up a fight.  These people are driven by a need to destroy anything that resembles authority.  Especially if that authority is driven by a constitution stressing self reliance.  They seem to be a bunch of hooligans that strive for recognition.  If they were younger they may have been labeled bullies.  Even younger they were cry babies lashing out at anything representing authority.  The temper tantrums of long ago have morphed into a brawling mob attempting to smash anything getting in its way.

Contrast their movement with that of Martin Luther King’s.  In his case, the ones spoiling for a fight were those against his movement.  In the current case it is reversed.

So what do we have now?  The refuse dribbling out of the last sieve is nothing but the dregs of the earth.  The cockroaches of humanity scurrying about insanely in fitful maneuvers, totally oblivious of the ideals that began the movement.

It is a shame that the people motivated by some ideas that should be debated have let themselves be steamrollered by those self-centered socialistically motivated organizations.  I fear this type of radical protesting is just the beginning.  To paraphrase Betty Davis, “Tighten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

 

Ohio’s Election Results–Interesting

09 Nov

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Results of the two ballot measures in Ohio that held so much interest nationwide have both major political parties scrambling to accept praise on one hand and ward off any negative connotations on the other.  It is almost fun to watch them hail one as a victory having great national implications and the other as being strictly a local issue that doesn’t rise to the level of nationwide importance.

The pendants have a point no matter which side of the isle they represent.  One should keep in mind that only 42% of the registered voters went to the polls.  I think it safe to say that the unions did a yeomen’s job of rallying its members, 350,000 of which were public employees.  Also safe to say is that the issue most important to them was the measure dealing with unions.

While the unions can feel energized by the results, that sword cuts both ways.  The anti-public union groups will also be energized and more focused on getting the non-union folks to the polls.

What I find most interesting is this:  The makeup of a large chunk of the Ohio voters are probably Obama’s fans.  He should be comforted by the way they rallied behind the call to get out and vote.  What should give him pause however, is that his major supporters didn’t look too favorably on Obamacare.  In fact, more nay votes were cast on the Obamacare measure than were aye votes on the union measure.  Quite a conundrum for him don’t you think?

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “this isn’t the end of the fight, it is the beginning.”  How true he is, but keep in mind that there are two sides to the battle.  While the unions are better organized than the grass roots, they shouldn’t assume they’ve won already.  Quite possibly Ohio overreached a bit by including police and firemen in their measure.  The anti-group will learn from this mistake.

Also to be kept in mind is the realization that the Supreme Court will be hearing the Obamacare case sometime soon.  While in the pure sense of the matter the Court doesn’t usually consider the mood of the people, it can’t overlook the overwhelming results of Ohio’s election.

In my view, of the two measures I feel the one dealing with Obamacare is most properly handled at the national level.  The Supreme Court will decide one way or the other on that issue.

The union issue can be dealt with on a state by state basis.  After all each state must deal with its budget dilemma and the unions past successes have contributed in large measure to that problem.  That’s what drove Ohio to take on the unions in the first place.  Their deficit problems remain.  We’ll see how necessary cuts in Ohio’s budge impacts the rest of the state.  The unions may still find cuts coming their way.  That too will be interesting.

 

Grease the Skids

05 Nov

Have you ever seen a ship being launched?  It is quite a sight.  I’ll never forget the Kaiser ship I watched being launched in Portland.  It was one of 1,940 ships of its type to be built during WWII.

The moment the bottle was smashed against its bow it began to its trip down a long wooden trench.   Very slowly at first, then building up speed until it slipped into the Columbia River.  For an instant it seemed as though the ship would slip below the surface.  Then like a cork it popped up and bobbed happily in the welcoming water.

That was, in its day, symbolic of the meaning of “the slippery slope.”  Usually the term is used pejoratively, but in this case there was a happy ending.  Not so for so for many others.

Well, in a current situation the skids are greased by Grease.  Sure there seems to be a slight pause in this country’s plight, but rest assured the momentum built up by years of fiscal mismanagement is virtually unstoppable.  At some point the message of the rioters that are venting their displeasure of the cuts being made by their political leaders will prevail.  It is, after all, a democracy and as such their will will eventually prevail.  And when it does the country will slip not so silently beneath the murky waters into a maelstrom  of financial doom.

That is what happens when the majority of the governed live off of the government.  That is the eventual state of affairs that results from years of entitlements being dolled out to placate the so called “needy.”  Needy because they have been enticed to feel that everyone deserves to have an equal share of the wealth of a nation.  Such a state of affairs is precisely what was of concern to our founders.  I’ll bet that they would be surprised that the democracy they set in motion has lasted so long.

But it need not come to an end.  We do not need to continue our spending spree.  With some discipline we can cut back on our excessive spending.  We need not fall into the trap of believing that taxing the very wealthy is the solution to all of our fiscal problems.

That type of class warfare is what President Obama is preaching.  His hope is to divide us, then swoop in with his ever increasing dogma that wealth distribution is just the ticket.  The length that man will go to drag us down is incredible.

We’ll see if he hoodwinks the Super Committee into supporting his ideals.  We’ve not long to wait.  When its work is done, we’ll see if the grease is thickening along the slippery slope or if the bullet will be bitten to send us back on the path to fiscal prosperity.

It may be too late for Grease, but is not too late for US.

 

Super Committee! Unbridled Power!

02 Nov

Last August President Obama and Congress abdicated their responsibility to the American people.  They did this in two significant ways.  First, they did not tackle the problem of our debt.  And, second they delegated the job to a super committee that was to be set up later.

Then they put teeth in the idea by making the consequences of failure so onerous that nobody would dare vote against it.  If that happened a series of budget cuts would be set in motion that would cripple our ability to protect ourselves if attacked by a wayward nation or terrorists for that matter.  And all of this is to be accomplished by the end of November.

To make matters worse, the committee was to be appointed by the leaders in congress.   Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that twelve people would have that much power over our safety and welfare?  Whatever they come up with, no matter how damaging to our nation, will likely be accepted because not to will drastically cut our budget across the board.  The lion’s share will come out of our defense department.

Given the little time they have to put this all together leaves them with cherry picking some cuts, and more than likely jacking up our taxes.  Sure, it will look fair and balanced, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that it will be one big sham.  But then again my bottom dollar won’t be worth all that much after the dust settles anyway.

What a joke.  A rather sick joke at that.  How can our leaders stoop to such depths just so they won’t have to bite the bullet?  What were they thinking?  Or were they even thinking at all?  Little wonder the public thinks so little of them.

Twelve people.  Is that the kind of representation our founders had put in place for us?  Is that the kind of leadership we sought when we made our selection at the ballot box?  And what kind of president would sit back and let such a thing happen?

All we can do now is wait and see what they come up with.  Hopefully, there is a way to get around this whole mess without having to wait a year or so to make the necessary changes at the ballot box.

But given the way President Obama has behaved, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he doesn’t suspend next November’s election.  He mustn’t after all risk the possibility that the dwindling number of his loving supporters may not be enough to get him reelected.

 
 

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