09 March 2014

How The Administration Should Negotiate with Putin

By now, everyone knows how Putin has invaded the Ukraine and threatened to annex the Crimea. Poeple are saying that the U.S. response has been weak, others are saying that we need to use Military force, but I'd like to present a response that I think Reagan himself would use, if I were the head negotiator for the U.S.
Mr. Putin, back when Bill Clinton was President, John Major headed up the UK and Boris Yeltsin was President of the Russian Federation, we all got together with the Chinese and offered Ukrainian prime minister peace and security, in order that the Ukraine to give up their sizable Nuclear arsenal along with their army.  We left them defenseless.  The world, meaning the U.S.A, promised them that their borders would not come under attack and that we would all protect them.  Additionally we even told them they would be considered for membership in the EU. Our President, Mr. Obama, reaffirmed this treaty in 2009. You Sir... Mr. Putin, are now breaking that promise, but we must keep ours. 
Mr. Putin, I say to you that you have a very short memory.  In the 1980's our President, Ronald Reagan saw the weaknesses of the U.S.S.R. and came up with a plan to destroy the Republic without firing a single shot.  The Weapon of choice was Economic in nature and it's something that the U.S. has become incredibly proficient at.  If you go against us, you die.  And we don't even have to use our formidable military might to do it.  Back then, just as today you're hard currency reserves were earned by selling Oil and Natural Gas to the Europeans.  Reagan worked both with Congress to eliminate hundreds of regulations in the Oil and Gas business, along with increased rights for mining on Federal lands, along with working with the Saudi's to increase their production.  All the efforts paid off within 2 short years of Reagan being elected to office.  By 1982 oil had Collapsed to $30.00 a barrel, around half the price it was selling for in the late 70's  and by 1986, ended up trading at less than 9 bucks a barrel!  By 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist.  If you think we've forgotten how to wage an Economic War, we haven't and we will use all of options to force you back to the table.
Currently, 30% of all Natural Gas consumed in the EU comes from the Russian Federation, but if you continue down this path, you will force us to take drastic action.  

As I'm sure you're well aware of, the U.S. currently has laws in place to where our companies can't drill off the Eastern nor Western Coasts.  We currently only allow drilling in the Gulf Coast, and tiny portions of Alaska, equal to less than 2% of the total land mass.  Fully 85% of all Federal Lands are off limits to Oil and Gas recovery, but that could change.
All we would have to do in the U.S. is to increase the available lands from 15% to 20% and it would create such a worldwide glut of Oil and Gas that the prices would collapse to pre 1987 levels!

We will give U.S. Oil and Gas producers the same preferential Tax treatment currently given to High Tech companies and Banks, cutting their effective tax rates in half.  We will stipulate that all of this comes at a cost.  They CANNOT do business with you!
Additionally, to help our EU allies, the U.S. will begin to build out Natural Gas Liquification facilities at all of our Docks around the country.  We will provide subsidies to our export companies to where they will ALWAYS beat your price for Natural Gas, and we will bankrupt you ALL OVER AGAIN, just like Reagan BANKRUPTED the old Soviet Union!  We will do a repeat of history and BANKRUPT the Russian Federation. We have the Economic Might to do it, and so help me God, we will do it. Now you pull your troops back, or your country will be reduced to a BEGGAR nation in a single decade!

01 November 2013

Why The Reagan Recovery Was Much More Impressive Than Obama's

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-reagan-recovery-was-much-more-impressive-than-obamas-2012-1#ixzz2jOpJoXeiMy pal Joe Weisenthal over at Business Insider just wrote a piece – in response to a post I wrote earlier today — with the delightfully provocative and contrarian headline, “Why The Obama Recovery Has Been Much More Impressive Than Reagan’s.”
Nope, I’m not making this up. See for yourself.
Let’s be perfectly clear, the Reagan Recovery (RR) has been far stronger than the Obama Recovery (OR). I think that is beyond dispute, really.
– In the first ten quarters of the OR, GDP is up a total of 6 percent. During the first ten quarters of the RR, GDP rose 15 percent.  Point for Reagan.
– In the first ten quarters of the OR, the economy created 790,00 jobs. During the first ten quarters of the RR, the economy created 7.5 million jobs  Point for Reagan, especially given the U.S. workforce is a third bigger today than it was in the early 1980s.
– In the first ten quarters of the OR, real disposable personal income rose at an annual average pace of 0.8 percent. During the first ten quarters of the RR, real disposable personal income rose at annual average pace of 5.4 percent. Point for Reagan. Game. Set. Match.
But Brother Weisenthal is making a subtler, more subjective point. He is arguing that, for a number of reasons, the Obama Recovery is more impressive than the Reagan Recovery. Not stronger, more impressive because Obama was dealt a worse hand. Among Weisenthal’s points:
1. “There are at least some economists who argue that post-financial crisis economies experience unusually slow growth for years and years.”
Me: Indeed, there are. But there are also some who disagree.  A Federal Reserve study released last November found the following:
Whether a recession is associated with a banking or financial crisis does not have a statistically significant effect on the pace of growth following recession troughs. … Banking and financial crises are associated with more severe recessions – deeper in the case of emerging market economies and longer in the case of the advanced economies – but do not appear to impose additional restraint to recoveries beyond the depth and duration.
2. “The problem is that Pethokoukis is … defining housing bust purely in terms of housing construction, while ignoring the real elephant in the room: The collapse in home prices, and the knock-on effects it has had on the economy.”
Me: I don’t disagree that the “knock on effect” such as loss of wealth may well be a drag on growth. That Fed study makes the same point:  … “recoveries from recessions associated with severe housing downturns are found to be slower.” Well, there is a difference between slow and virtually non-existent, right? Again, the Reagan  Recovery 10-quarter growth rate was 6 percent vs. 4.6 percent for the average post-WWII recovery vs. 2.4 percent for the Obama Recovery. And
And the impact of a deleveraging and a reverse wealth effect are not as clear as Weisenthal contends. Note that personal consumption as increased for 10 straight quarters and the savings rate remains extraordinarily low. But I think this chart, from the NY Times, raises big questions about the deleveraging argument:
Where is the deleveraging? It looks like debt has shifted from private to public. Let me quote a Michael Pento piece from BI, of all places: “Although it is certainly true that after decades of overly speculative borrowing, individuals and corporations are paying down debt, rebuilding their savings, and generally repairing their respective balance sheets. But these activities cannot be faulted for our economic malaise. In fact, as a country, we haven’t deleveraged at ALL. All the moves made by the private sector have been vastly outpaced by the federal government’s efforts to add leverage to the economy.”

3. If you really want an apples-to-apples comparison, it’s hard to fathom why Reagan doesn’t have to answer for a recession happening so soon on his watch, and why he only gets measured on those two years. What’s mor …  the 1984-1988 period was pretty average, so we’re really just talking about two years of really impressive morning-in-America growth.
Me: I think Paul Volcker cranking interest rates through the roof might have had a role in the recession as he attempted to squeeze out the inflation of the 1970s. The 1981-82 recession was the culmination of really 16 years of economic mismanagement. One sign of this: The Dow industrials fell by two-thirds when adjusted for inflation from 1966-1982. (From 1983-1988, the S&P composite notched a real return of 13 percent a year.) The entire previous decade marked by tremendous economic volatility, high unemployment,high inflation. Reagan inherited a mess.
As for GDP growth, it averaged 4.4 percent from 1983-1988 vs. roughly 3.3 percent since WWII. So I am pretty sure growth was markedly above average.  A recent IMF forecast, by the way, predicts sub-3 percent US GDP growth through 2016.

4. “We could of course go on, and point to several other factors in Obama’s favor, such as the fact that tax rates had already been lowered quite a bit heading into his presidency, taking away one easy form of stimulus, or the fact that a major trading partner, Europe, has been in crisis virtually the whole time of Obama’s Presidency, or the fact that Obama faced a Congress who threatened to cause the U.S. to default, or the fact that interest rates were ultra-low already, again taking away one form of stimulus from Obama.”
Me: Gosh, I wonder what U.S. GDP growth would have been in the 1980s had China been the second largest economy in the world growing at 10 percent a year, boosting global growth. Instead, it was the stagnating Soviet Union in the number two spot.  In the 1980s, one-third of the planet lived under communism sapping all that human vitality and creativity (and trade) out of the world economy. And I am not sure about JW’s point about taxes and interest rates. Is he saying that Obama has a much more constructive tax and rate environment and still couldn’t get the economy cooking?
 Bottom line: People were amazingly pessimistic heading into the 1980s after the economically tumultuous 1970s. America seemed to be in decline both economically and militarily. And corporate America was desperately in need of restructuring. (Thanks, Bain!) Obama inherited a much healthier non-financial private sector.
This is what the American people had just gone through, by the way (via MeasuringWorth):
Imagine going back in time and showing these economic statistics from the next 25 years:
Growth up, stocks up, inflation down. Oh, and the Soviet Union gone. Safer, Stronger. Better. Instead of the Soylent Green future of diminished expectations people were predicting in the 1970s, we got something more like the shiny, growthy one shown in Back to the Future II.
Obama has some big shoes to fill.
This post originally appeared at The American Enterprise Institute Blog. Copyright 2013.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-reagan-recovery-was-much-more-impressive-than-obamas-2012-1#ixzz2jOp2ldK2

19 July 2013

Comments on Trayvon

I found this post and wanted to comment on it, but found the Comments closed (Don't you HATE when that happens...), so I decided to re-post it on MY blog, so I could comment on it....

From "The Audacity of Despair, collected prose, links and occasional venting from David Simon"

The article titled simply, "Trayvon" posted on July 13th, 2013

You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.
In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all.  And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.
If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve.  I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.
Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies:  Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible.  I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country.  Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.
What gets me about this article is the fact that it's nothing but raw emotion.  The Author doesn't care about justice, who is right, who is wrong or the facts about anything.  The verdict didn't go the way he wanted so let's destroy the system.

First let's look at the "Stand Your Ground Law".  About 1/3rd of all the claims on Stand Your Ground were filed by African Americans in Florida, even though they make up only about 1/6th of Florida's Population.

Second, let's look at the "Race Issue".  George Zimmerman isn't "White", he's half Peruvian and Half Jewish, hell he went to Prom with a black girl that he had dated in High School.  From the time he was 6 to 11 he lived in a Black household, his Business partner is black and so is his grand father.  To top it off, he tutored black kids for free in an after school program, after it was officially cancelled by the State.  Does this sound like the kind of guy that "hated" black people?

Finally, let's talk about Trayvon, he wasn't some little, tiny, innocent 12 year old as he was portrayed by the big media outlets.  He was a towering over 6' tall, fully developed teenager constantly getting into trouble.  He lived in Miami with his mother, but his mother sent him nearly 4 hours north to stay with his Father in Sanford, after he got suspended from School (AGAIN), for writing Graffiti on a wall in school and because they found a bag with traces of Marijuana in it.  At the time, they also found a bunch of jewelry in his backpack with a screwdriver, which Martin had said was given to him by a "friend" which he wouldn't name.

Draw your own conclusions, but from what I see, the African American community enjoys protection from "Stand Your Ground" at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the population, Zimmerman was anything BUT racist and Trayvon was anything BUT an innocent bystander.  People want to make this about race, but it's not.  It's simply a tragedy of circumstances and no amount of Bricks, Race Baiting or Punditry will ever change that fact.

15 March 2013

Obama Administration Set to Deport Christian Family Fleeing Persecution

In 2010 a U.S. Immigration Judge granted the Romeike family political asylum, based upon the fact that the German Government was attempting to remove their kids from them.  What was their hideous crime that would cause the German Government to take the draconian measures of removing the Romeike Children from their home?  Why they were Home Schooling their children, and even worse teaching them Christian Values.  These are things that are currently illegal in Germany and will no longer be tolerated.

Fast forward to 2013, and if you listen to the Obama Administration while making the following proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, you would think they would be on the Romeike families side right?:

“Today, we also remember that religious liberty is not just an American right; it is a universal human right to be protected here at home and across the globe. This freedom is an essential part of human dignity, and without it our world cannot know lasting peace.”
“As we observe Religious Freedom Day, let us remember the legacy of faith and independence we have inherited, and let us honor it by forever upholding our right to exercise our beliefs free from prejudice or persecution…”

Yet at the same time U.S. Attorney, Eric Holder is moving to have them deported!  The Administration claims that the families fundamental rights have not been violated by the German Government's law forbidding families from homeschooling, so they've asked the courts to withdraw the families political asylum and have them deported back to Germany!

The Home School legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is representing the Romeikes family and are doing what they can to have them stay in the US.  The HSLDA issued the following statement:

The U.S. law of asylum allows a refugee to stay in the United States permanently if he can show that he is being persecuted for one of several specific reasons. Among these are persecution for religious reasons and persecution of a ‘particular social group.’”
In most asylum cases, there is some guesswork necessary to figure out the government’s true motive—but not in this case. The Supreme Court of Germany declared that the purpose of the German ban on homeschooling was to ‘counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.’”
This sounds elegant, perhaps, but at its core it is a frightening concept. This means that the German government wants to prohibit people who think differently from the government (on religious or philosophical grounds) from growing and developing into a force in society.”
The Romeikes’ case is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case for the government is officially in the name of the Attorney General of the United States. The case is called Romeike v. Holder. Thus, the brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice is filed on behalf of the attorney general himself—although we can be reasonably certain he has not personally read it. Nonetheless, it is a statement of the position of our government at a very high level.”
We argued that Germany is a party to many human rights treaties that contain specific provisions that protect the right of parents to provide an education that is different from the government schools. Parents have the explicit right to give their children an education according to their own philosophy.”
While the United States government argued many things in their brief, there are three specific arguments that you should know about.”
First, they argued that there was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for some but permitted it for others.”
A second argument is revealing. The U.S. government contended that the Romeikes’ case failed to show that there was any discrimination based on religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all homeschoolers were religious, and that not all Christians believed they had to homeschool.”
This argument demonstrates another form of dangerous “group think” by our own government. The central problem here is that the U.S. government does not understand that religious freedom is an individual right. One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God Himself.”
One final argument from Romeikes deserves our attention. One of the grounds for asylum is if persecution is aimed at a “particular social group.” The definition of a “particular social group” requires a showing of an “immutable” characteristic that cannot change or should not be required to be changed. We contend that German homeschoolers are a particular social group who are being persecuted by their government.”

If returned to Germany, the Romeike family will be torn apart by the German Government, facing fines, Jail time and the removal of the children. 

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