Sunday, May 12, 2013

Can Darrel Issa Use Benghazi to Again Override the Voters?

As Darrel Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, seeks to turn the Benghazi attack into Obama’s Watergate, it would be useful to take a look at Darrel Issa’s history.
In 2003, Issa led the recall effort against California Governor Gray Davis, contributing at least $1.7 million of his own money to advertising and collecting signatures.
Why?  First, because he could.  Second, because he just didn’t like Gray Davis.  There was no illegal conduct on the part of Davis nor any scandal at all.
Issa especially did not like Davis using standard Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove like campaign tactics.  In the 2002 gubernatorial election Gray Davis had no credible primary opponent, so Davis started his general campaign early, taking out ads against his likely challenger Richard Riordan, Mayor of Los Angeles.  When Riordan lost in the Republican primary to Bill Simon, Issa was furious.
Davis beat Simon in the general election and Issa took revenge.  He funded the campaign to recall Davis initiated by anti‑tax activist Ted Costa.  Costa had no scandal to rely on, just the standard taxes are evil philosophy.  Issa saw an opportunity, ignored any sense of ethics, and took down an honorable governor just because he could.
No statewide official had been ever been recalled before and Davis was only successfully recalled due to Issa and his fellows setting up the recall as just another election.  Polls, prior to the “recall vote” (really a new election), showed that a recall vote would have failed.  However, in a redo election, Arnold Schwarzenegger was just too tempting a candidate for the people to pass up.
Now Issa is trying to take down Obama. Why?  First, because he can.  Second, because he just doesn’t like Obama.  . . . And, if he can’t take down Obama, he’ll take out Hillary Clinton.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Headlines Lie. Read the story !

Some headlines even take pride in lying, taking statements out of context, and deceiving the people.  Fox News recently covered a speech by Barrack Obama with the headline “Obama to business owners: 'You didn't build that'.”  The point of the headline seems clear … Obama disses small businessmen.

In an appearance in Roanoke Virginia on the July 13th, Barrack Obama’s contempt for small business was finally exposed.  Obama finally, without a doubt, proved that he is a Soviet style socialist.

During his speech Obama address small businessmen in American.  According to Fox News television, he said to small businessmen everywhere:

“If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen. The point is that, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

… A direct attack on the American businessman.  Apparently Obama thinks that “success” can only be handed down by the government.

If Obama’s statement is true, what’s the difference between Bill Gates and a welfare mother with five kids and six different baby daddies?

Now that you’re incensed …

The above statements were in fact made by Obama, but they come from two different paragraphs and are surrounded by context providing sentences.  If you read the Fox News article on President Obama’s appearance even it tells a different story.

Here are the full paragraphs surrounding Obama’s criticizing small business owners:

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” he said. “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”


“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.”

Only the first paragraph was included in the Fox News’ article.

What’s the real point of Obama’s speech?

I think Obama’s point certainly was not that American’s need to be nurse fed by the Federal Government.  His point was that we’re all more successful when we worked together; that every business relies on infrastructure, ingenuity, and attitude that come from America as whole, past present and future.

If you read the Fox News article, you can get an inkling of Obama’s point, followed unfortunately by some unrelated statements about the Democrats raising taxes.  If you continue to the speech itself, you can get his full point.

Obama said something entirely different from what he was alleged to have said, but you’ve got to read the whole article to get to the real point.

Next:  When you’re the owner, president, and CEO of a company doesn’t “the buck stop here”?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romney Doesn’t Understand Technology He’s Promoting

In a recent speech, former Governor Mitt (Willard) Romney referred to the oil flowing through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline is being touted as a solution to American oil needs.  The pipe would run from Alberta, where tar sands are mined, to Texas.

Tar sands are a petroleum precursor to oil, similar to oil shale found in the Rocky Mountains.  In both cases the substance must be treated to convert it from tar sands or oil shale into oil.  Then, the oil needs to be refined into standard petroleum products.

So, the obvious question, which Romney has apparently never asked is:  What exactly would be flowing through the XL pipeline?

It ain’t oil.

What would be flowing through the pipe is a substance called diluted bitumen.  Bitumen is the technical name for tar sands.  Bitumen will not flow through a pipe, so they dilute with a series of hydrocarbons (the composition of which they will not reveal to regulators), creating a fluid-type substance.  Coal is shipped through pipelines is a similar fashion.

Though it may seem trivial, when the President recommends an action, he should understand the basics of the technology behind it.

I don’t mind that a legislator or president doesn’t know how the substance is refined or the specifications of how it is pumped.  I do, however, mind when a legislator, president, of candidate makes a big deal out of something and doesn’t know the basics of it.

Any governmental official or governmental official wannabe who espouses a project should ask some basic questions:  In this case …
  • What is tar sand?
  • What’s going to go through this pipeline?
  • How much energy goes into making a unit of refined product?  More than contained in the refined product?
  • What are the environmental risks of the project?
  • What are the employment opportunities created from the project?
  • Where will the money for the project come from?
  • Where will the profits go?

When Willard tells us that oil will flow through the pipeline … Is he lying?  Is he lazy?  Is he not smart enough?  Is he just not curious?

Didn't we learn from eight years under a uncurious President?

Friday, October 14, 2011

I’m a Small Businessman --- No You’re NOT.

… after I pay my 500 employees, I’ve only got $400,000 left over to feed my family.  (Self-described “small businessman”).

By what definition does this guy think he’s a small businessman?  Is a family owned company that employs 10,000 workers a small business?  Is an incorporated law firm with five employees a big business just because it has “corporation” after its name?

We don’t really seem to have a definition of a small business and anyone who wants to exploit the term just calls himself a small businessman.

So, here’s a definition.  A small business is a business where

 the owner knows every employee by name

The real difference between small and large business is number crunching:  How does a business deal with an employee who has some special need?

The 500 person “small business” most likely has an accountant and a human resources department.  Since the owner doesn’t know his employees personally, he has to rely on his number crunchers who, due to the lack of personal relationship with each employee, have created a rule which must be followed.

The small incorporated law firm’s owner knows everyone by name.  He can sit down with the employee with the special need and work something out.  And, if the employee is sufficiently valuable, he will bend over backward to meet his needs.

So, incorporation doesn’t make a business “big.”  Neither does family or personal ownership make a business “small.”

A small business is a business where the owner knows every employee by name.

Let’s get some rationality into the discussion by spreading this definition …

Saturday, September 03, 2011

What’s in a Headline . . . or not.

The Denver Post published a story today with the headline “Colorado ranch owner plans lawsuit after PUC rules against his appeal.” Clearly, another family farmer abused by the government …

Just reading the headline, one gets the impression that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) doesn’t care if it ruins a hard working rancher’s family legacy. Unfortunately, many of us, believing we got the point, will stop at the headline.

In this case, the interior story is much different. In the third paragraph, “Colorado ranch owner” Louis Bacon is identified as “billionaire hedge-fund manager Bacon.”

Is this really a travesty against the little guy or a story about a whiny billionaire who doesn’t want power lines interfering with the view of his 170,000 acre ranch in the picturesque Rocky Mountains? That’s for you to decide, but don’t decide until you have sufficient information.

You can’t just read the headlines and walk away; you’ve got to read the story. The 18 second news story on television and radio doesn’t tell you much; you’ve got to dig a little. The one sentence argument doesn’t tell you the story; do the math.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel Turned Off by Governor Christie

Governor Shows no Understanding of Economic Cycles

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put an end to the building of a tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City, along with an expansion of New York's Penn Station that would have created 6,000 jobs. The Governor is either playing crass balanced-budget politics or has no understanding of economic cycles.

Does Christie think that these 6,000 workers can just go across the street and get jobs? Is he trying to keep unemployment rolls high? Drive New Jersey and New York back into recession?

What has Governor Christie done? By clutching idealism instead of acting pragmatically, he is pushing New Jersey and New York into a longer and deeper recession. Of course, the Federal Government will probably rescue this project and Christie can look like the budget-cutting tough guy while he complains about Federal Government spending.

Despite Reaganomic theories, economic cycles cannot be done away with. Periods of growth and recession will always be with us. However, the depth of the recessions can be lessened. John Marnard Keynes taught us how.

I lived in Indianapolis during the economic downturn of the early 1990s. Indianapolis got lucky. They had several large building projects under way when the downturn struck. While many cities struggled, due largely to those projects Indianapolis barely saw the downturn.

I moved out to Denver and watched the city blow its chance to balance the economic cycles. While the economy was going great guns, Denver built a new baseball stadium, a new football stadium, a new hockey-basketball arena, and a new art museum.

Now, during our current great-recession, construction in Denver is in the dumps; right when we need these projects to reduce the depth of the recession.

Your city or state can protect themselves against recession by saving big building projects for when they need them. Don’t build the stadiums when things are going great. Rather, design them (preferably with labor intensive designs) and put them in the drawer. These projects need to be shovel ready when needed.

When the economy turns toward recession, pull out your new stadium, bid it, and start building it.

You don’t over stimulate the economy when it doesn’t need it and you do stimulate it when you need too. Yes, it is difficult to determine where in the cycle the economy is, but we have to try.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Last-Man-Standing Politics

The Plot to Push the Middle Away from the Polls

Newt Gingrich started Last-Man-Standing Politics in the 1980s. The goal was to make the average voter so disgusted with government and with politics in general that he wouldn’t bother to vote.

The plan is simple: The Republicans have the larger loyal base of voters, so if people don’t vote, leaving only the parties’ bases, Republicans win.

Remember, the American political system is based not a majority vote, but on a plurality vote. The candidate that receives the most votes, even though less than a majority of eligible voters actually vote, is still the winner.

By convincing people that their votes didn’t matter, Gingrich convinced the average American to sit on his hands on election day. We had some of the lowest voter turnouts in American history and the Republicans won just enough seats, relying on their base, to take over the congress in 1994.

Karl Rove continued Gingrich’s plan by aiming the Bush campaigns directly at the Republican base. In the past, politicians generally tried to attract independent voters, but Rove was able to disgust enough Independents and get just enough base voters to support his candidate to barely win. In fact, Al Gore won the plurality of votes in 2000.

Independents turned out in droves in 2008 and Obama swept into the Whitehouse. Now, the Independents are disgusted again. Why? The Republican Party has stopped everything in the Senate and all most voters see is that the government can’t get anything done.

This year, the same group throws out bizarre accusations, like throwing spaghetti at a wall, to see what sticks and what will lead to voter disgust with the process. Many voters will sit out this year’s elections. Many others, like beagles, will blame the party that’s in power for every problem, no matter who caused them.

Having pushed the average voter away from the polls the Republicans will be the Last-Man-Standing.