Archive | April, 2012

Obama to Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

30 Apr

Timing is everything.  First, the Democrats and Obama claim that an increased supply of oil will not bring gas prices down — nothing we can do in the short term will affect prices.  WHOA! Wait a minute!  Now, the White House wants to release oil from these strategic reserves, in the hopes that the price of gas will come down significantly before the election. [My conclusion.]

Oil should be released from the Strategic Reserve only in the event that America’s supplies of oil are in imminent danger of being shut off.  Significant shortages looming. 

Now, we are setting a precedent where, in a time when there is really enough oil on the market, a choice is being made to release oil for purely political purposes — for shaping a perception among the American people.

Terrible policy, terrible precedent for America.

My view.  Yours?

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Pro-Union NLRB at It Again

30 Apr

The latest obnoxiously-open pro-union action by the NLRB is to implement a rule the conservatives call “Ambush Elections”.   Supposedly taking effect today, it allows unions all the time they want to take to work behind the scenes to get support for unionization.  Then, when the unions feel fairly confident about their position, they apply to the NLRB to have an election, and the NLRB notifies the company that an election must be held WITHIN 10 DAYS!  This is designed to minimize the amount of time an employer has to develop a formal response to the unionization attempt.

Either I am misunderstanding this issue, or we have yet another example of this administration going out of its way to favor unions over America’s employers.

I wonder if such a small percent of the American people (7%) has ever before wielded such power with a president as today’s unions.

Can I hear from someone who wants to defend this new rule?

Voter ID

30 Apr

This morning, I had a service call from my cable company.  Guess what?  Before they would work in my house, I needed to show a government-issued ID.  The list is almost endless of the number of situations that arise that require us to show a government ID of some sort.  Even the cable company?

And yet — when it comes to pretty much the most sacred duty and right of an American citizen — voting — a great number of us — though a minority — believe we should not require an official ID when a person shows up to perform this duty.

The argument by Democrats/liberals is that such a requirement would effectively disenfranchise many people who, by this reasoning, do not have an ID and could not figure out a way to get an ID.  It is also being thrown out there that it is exceedingly difficult to even let people know that they need an ID.

Is there anyone out there that does not believe we could find a way to over-communicate this requirement?  And find a way to get anyone an ID who needs/wants one?  The government now has a marketing program to sign up more welfare recipients — don’t we think an effective campaign could be put together to ensure everyone knows how they can get a voter ID card?

I can’t help but think this is pure politics on the part of the Democrats.  They think that most of the people who wouldn’t get an ID are Democratic Party voters, and they can’t stand the thought of losing these voters.

Ironically, a strong campaign to contact people to get voter ID cards of some sort could actually aid Democrats — by simply bringing this topic to the forefront, they might see more of these people make an effort to vote.

A strong majority of people in the U.S. favor voter ID laws.  That must mean many Democrats do, as well as Republicans and Independents.  That must mean that most Americans are concerned about voting integrity, while Democratic politicians are only worried about vote counts. 

If all else fails, how about this?  We put the voter ID rules in place, but give voters a “bye” for one election cycle.  As they show up at the precinct, if they don’t have an ID, we advise them that they will need one NEXT election, and give them an easy procedure to follow to get one.  Problem solved?  [I’m sure there’s a way to deal with absentee voting.]

Your Thoughts?

 

Obama Overrides Congress — Grants Aid to Palestinians

28 Apr

So AP now reports that Obama ended the 6-month freeze on foreign aid to the Palestinians.  This freeze was enacted because of the ridiculous attempt that the Palestinians made to attain nation status in the U.N. last October — a direct slap in the face to the U.S.

We’re sending $147 million to the Palestinians to use for peaceful purposes.  Sure.  Let’s see.  How does that work?  Oh, yeah.  They’ll use our taxpayer dollars to build infrastructure, health facilities, etc., while freeing up any other money they have to buy more missiles to lob into Israel, to ramp up their anti-semitic propoganda, etc.

Great.  And how thankful are they for this aid?  Here’s what one Palestinian lawmaker haad to say — the money “will definitely contribute to the betterment of the economic situation, but it’s not a substitute for American wrong policy”, and characterized the U.S. as “impotent” in assisting with the resolution of the issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to the brief article I read, we normally send about $500 million a year to the Palestinians.  It’s nice that they are so grateful.

I wonder who is really overseeing the “proper” use of this money, anyway.

I did like the Israeli spokesperson’s statement, though —  “the U.S. may allocate its funds as it sees fit . . . .apparently the Palestinians are developing a sense of entitlement to these funds.”

Your thoughts on any of this?

Paying for Reduced Student Loan Rates

28 Apr

OK.  The Democrats want to pay for the $6 billion gift to students by increasing revenues — taking from high-earning businessmen or from oil-drilling subsidies.  The Republicans want to get the $6 billion by taking it from a preventive health fund created as a part of Obamacare.

The Democrats are screaming about the Republicans wanting to wage a war on women, and the Republicans are screaming about the foolhardiness of raising taxes in a recession.

From a conservative’s point of view, here’s the irony in the Democrat’s attack — according to an Associated Press article:

Democrats voted solidly earlier this year to take money from the preventive health fund to help keep doctors’ Medicare reimbursements from dropping. Obama’s own budget in February proposed cutting $4 billion from the same fund to pay for some of his priorities.” [Emphasis is mine.]

WHAT?

The Democrats are beating up on the Republicans for something the Dems have already endorsed through previous Democratic Party proposals?

By the way, the same AP article points out that the reduced rate means the average student will pay about $1000 less over the life of the student loan.

WHAT [again]? 

We are going through all this argument and name-calling for a benefit of only $1000 average per person over an extended loan payback period?  Wow.  Where’s that kid again who said he’d have to change colleges if the rate were allowed to go back to 6.8%?  Maybe someone needs to give him a better education, anyway.

Your thoughts?

Fair Is Fair? Not Exactly

28 Apr

The single most amazing thing to me about this “fairness” rhetoric coming from the Democrats is that they are never challenged to reveal exactly what fairness means to them.   I have never heard one question posed to the president, the one KEY question for anyone really wanting to be constructive — “Mr. President, please define exactly what you mean by fairness?”  Talk about getting a free ride — I would think this would prove to everyone how gingerly the press treats him.

As a matter of fact, the term “fair” carries with it a highly SUBjective meaning, not OBjective at all.  And what’s funny is that we all know that — unless we specifically define what “fair” means in a particular circumstance, we all know that it will mean different things to you and to me.  At my regular Thursday morning breakfast meeting, we often debate the meaning of “fair”, especially as regards a tax collection system.

Yet Obama gets a “bye” on his extremely loose use of the term, obviously just using the term to get people fired up — because we may not really know what “fairness” is, but we really do want it, don’t we?  And when our president tells us we are NOT being treated fairly, we want it “in spades”.

But, regarding our tax system, is it REALLY fair that the average effective tax rate for top earners is 30% (which it is — approximately), and that for the lowest earners is something like -12% (yes, the tax system actually pays them money).  Maybe you think so.  Or not.  But the point can be logically and passionately argued among intelligent people.

And we could list dozens of examples where “Fair” is not a broadly understood criteria.  Without a clear definition of the term from the user of the term, it should not be used.  Not even in the dirty world of politics.

Your thoughts?

Idaho’s Project 60

27 Apr

A contributor asked if I would comment on Project 60 – I’m assuming this is Idaho’s Project 60.  I don’t know much about it, but I can tell you how it makes me feel.  Perhaps others can comment, as well.

On Idaho.gov, this is how Project 60 is described:

“Project 60 is a comprehensive initiative to grow Idaho’s Gross Domestic Product. Designed in three tiers to strengthen both rural and urban communities, the plan will create quality jobs for all Idahoans by fostering systemic growth, recruiting new companies to Idaho, and selling Idaho’s trade and investment opportunities to the world.”

The motto appears to be  “Growing Idaho’s GDP to $60 Billion”.

I guess the rub comes with what they call “inward foreign investment”.  According to some, Idaho is seriously wooing Chinese investment in Idaho, claiming that wheeling-and-dealing is being done that will give the Chinese little autonomous business zones within Idaho, where U.S. laws don’t apply.  [I don’t believe this last part, but I could be surprised.]  It is also claimed that the Idaho governor is in bed with Obama on making this happen.

I would first say that the chickens appear to be coming home to roost.  It’s fine that our American-based companies can expand abroad (even into China), but not so fine when the “damned furriners” want to invest here?  Yet many, many foreign firms are already heavily invested in America, controlling and overseeing thousands (if not millions) of American jobs (think banks, car companies, grocery chains, etc.).  [Some claim that the Chinese facilities in Idaho would send their workforces in from China on special visas.  I’m guessing that if this is tried, all the militias will emerge from the back-country and that practice will be stopped.]

Without declaring China to be an “unfriendly nation”, and simply forbidding them to invest in America, I don’t see how we can stop normal Chinese investment in the U.S.  My state of South Carolina actively woos foreign investment, and we are among the most successful in drawing it (but mostly from western Europe, I think).

Don’t get me wrong – I think China probably really IS an “unfriendly nation” to America.  And certainly they have not become major respecters of human rights.  How can it not be “unfriendly”, when our culture, system of government, copyright protections, and economic systems are so different?  [But I don’t think we’re allowed to say that too loudly, are we?]  I don’t think it would be beyond the Chinese to use facilities in the U.S. to engage in anti-American activities.  [But who’s to say we aren’t doing the same thing from our facilities in various “unfriendlies” abroad?]

So here’s what I think.  The Chinese investment in America, in relative terms, is not going to have a big impact on America’s overall economy for decades (unless they simply buy GM, a couple of big banks, Apple, Caterpillar, Target Stores, etc. – which they COULD do, I suppose).  Now since the control of government seems to be fairly fluid in this country (as opposed to China), we should have plenty of time and opportunities to assess what is happening with Chinese investment and activities within our borders.  And we can either slow it down or encourage it to grow further, depending upon the state of our relationship.

What do YOU think?