Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thank You Hillary Clinton—Thank You for Proposing Universal Health Care

I could not be more grateful. Just when I thought that Hillary Clinton was going to be tough to beat on the campaign trail due to a divided and mildly disillusioned Conservative/Republican alliance, she has handed the Republican base a rallying point worthy of unification.

I was under the impression that Hillary was going to “run-to-the-right” in order to side-step her well earned Liberal and power-hungry reputation. The signs were all there. She had moderated her criticisms of certain Republican issues and had adopted a position on the Iraq conflict that—although certainly not supportive—was at least to the right of the kook-fringe Democrat surrender-monkeys of the Murtha-Kucinich ilk. That combined with her obvious fund-raising advantages (billionaire supporters), sleazy-yet-charismatic husband, and a moribund set of opposition candidates gave Hillary, in my opinion, a tough campaign one-two-punch. How do you screw that up?

Evidently you can screw it up by intentionally revisiting your greatest political defeat and dragging the rotting corpse of your rebuffed Socialist agenda back into the media spotlight before you get elected.

We Conservatives and Republicans may not like Rudy Giuliani’s family problems and certain policies, we may be angry at John McCain’s Illegal Immigration fiascos, some of the fringe among us may not trust Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, and Fred Thompson may be too new to rate; but I guarantee you that any one of them is worth voting for if the Democrat candidate is all a-titter about the possibility of Socializing 1/7 of our national economy in the form of Socialized medicine. I also think that there are millions of squishy middle-of-the-road-types who will get a bit concerned if there is a possibility that Hillary or her minions will have the power to determine who receives Viagra or how long they should wait to see a doctor if they are experiencing chest pains.

Some of the lefties themselves might start to feel squeamish once the Republican National Committee puts Hillary’s quotes on national television. Are you a small business worried about the potential health care costs for your employees or are you an individual trying to decide what kind of insurance is right for you? Hillary will help you decide, whether you agree or not. In an interview with the AP published on September 18th, Ms. Clinton posited her universal heath care goals and said, “At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed."

Let’s review that quote again, shall we? “At this point, we don’t have anything punitive….” Well then, “at this point” I feel so much better. Statements like those send shivers down the spines of people who understand Economics, those who have read the book “Witness” by Whittaker Chambers, and just about everyone to the right of Noam Chomsky.

In that interview Hillary also said that she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview—like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," and that the details of that would be worked out later. So, the arguably noble concept of “universal health care” slips quickly into the tyranny of “mandatory health care” where you will not be able to work at a job unless you do what the government tells you to do in the way that they tell you to do it. Thus presenting a new generation of complacent citizens with the object lesson that they so desperately need—confirming once again that all Socialism is rooted in tyranny and the loss of freedom.

[It is also worth noting that apparently Democrats believe that you should be required to show proof of insurance status in order to get a job, but that you should not be required to show effective proof of legal immigration status. Hmmmm….]

We always knew that Hillary Clinton was a Liberal-Socialist Trojan Horse. We just thought that she was going to be able to contain those related impulses until her hands were firmly on the reigns of power. But then, we have ample evidence that the Clinton clan is not so adept at restraining “impulses.”

The Clinton universal health care scheme is a thinly veiled Socialist power-grab that we on the right can effectively fight against. This is a debate we can win. Remember, we beat it before when everyone in politics believed that the Clinton Socialization schemes were a foregone conclusion. Rudy, Mitt, John, and Fred………are you paying attention at all?

Thank you Hillary Clinton—thank you for being you!

Be well,


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alan Greenspan Dissected – What his New Book “The Age of Turbulence” Tells Us

Get ready for the coming week as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s new book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World” hits the shelves. Personally, I will watch with amusement as the pundits of finance and politics jump breathlessly to glean sage-like comments and observations from its pages. An advance copy of the book was leaked out (imagine that!) and selected tidbits are making the rounds already. Perhaps not surprisingly the leaked passages are on the order of criticism toward Republicans. One wonders if a leak would have happened at all had the reverse been so.

Never the less, Republicans do deserve a bit of criticism here and there and Mr. Greenspan is always good for an interesting comment or two. So even though an advance copy of the book has not been made available to this author, let’s take a quick peak at some the salacity flying about in Bob Woodward’s piece in the (Washington Post).

The Current Batch of Republican Leaders
With regard to President Bush, Greenspan writes, "My biggest frustration remained the president's unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending. Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency. . . . To my mind, Bush's collaborate-don't-confront approach was a major mistake." Later on Greenspan capitalized that thought by suggesting that the Republicans deserved to loose their legislative majorities last year, “The Republicans in Congress lost their way," Greenspan writes. "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither."

The Maestro Greenspan was not done with his Republican colleagues yet. He went on to write, "House Speaker Hastert and House majority leader Tom DeLay seemed readily inclined to loosen the federal purse strings any time it might help add a few more seats to the Republican majority." In a later passage he continued that line of thinking, "I don't think the Democrats won. It was the Republicans who lost. The Democrats
came to power in the Congress because they were the only party left standing."

Fair enough. The Conservative landscape is jam-packed with right-leaning pundits who have been criticizing the current administration in this regard for years (including yours truly)—so there is little new here that we know of yet. It will be interesting to hear how this is played out in the media, however. Read correctly, Mr. Greenspan’s criticisms seem to be that the Republicans were not Conservative enough in their approach and deeds and that this is his cause for concern. It is certainly not a ringing endorsement of the Democrat platform. I suspect that the tone of reporting will not reflect this important distinction.

What About Bill Clinton?
Evidently the book also reveals Greenspan’s fascination with Bill Clinton. There are a few telling passages we have available to us. In the first, Greenspan appears quite smitten with our most recent recalcitrant president, “Here was a fellow information hound. . . . We both read books and were curious and thoughtful about the world.” OK then, we all know that Bill Clinton is bright and can be very charming. But, like the rest of the nation, Alan Greenspan felt personally let down by that same charming façade.

Upon hearing about Clinton’s trysts with Monica Lewinsky (etc.), he could not believe it, writing, "I was incredulous. ‘There is no way these stories could be correct,’ I told my friends. 'No way.' " After learning that the reports were indeed accurate, he wrote, "I wondered how the president could take such a risk. It seemed so alien to the Bill Clinton I knew, and made me feel disappointed and sad."

Sorry Alan, we all had to live through that nightmare together.

The Iraq War
Alan Greenspan also makes a seemingly cryptic comment regarding the current Iraq conflict. Again according to the Post, Mr. Greenspan writes, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." We are told that Mr. Greenspan does not elaborate. If true, his lack of elaboration is disappointing because of its apparent pop-liberal sensibility. One would expect such a comment from the ignorant left—the Cindy Sheehans and Daily Kos’ of the world, et al.

The comment is too trite to be well thought out and would betray a naiveté one would find surprising in a man of Alan Greenspan’s education and credentials. Economics always makes up a large part of why any country goes to war. Getting caught up in an individually labeled commodity or a particular activity is far too easy. Historically speaking one could argue that our entry into World War Two was also about oil due to our embargo of Japan; that our Civil War was about labor costs in agricultural production; that all of the Greco-Persian conflicts revolved around the taxation of trade routs; or even that our own Revolutionary War was about the restriction of tea imports: but to do so is to miss literally everything about a country’s sovereignty, freedom, security, and economic prosperity. (Can’t you just hear the Revolutionary War critics of the day—“No more blood for tea!”)

It is perfectly valid that Mr. Greenspan might be for or against the current Iraq conflict for any number of reasons. It will be disappointing if the quotation we have been provided is solely a politically correct malapropism tossed in as media fodder to aid book sales. It would be even worse if the complexities and economic consequences of the Iraq War were, to Alan Greenspan, a literary afterthought not worthy of serious consideration and dissertation. For now I will grant him the benefit of the doubt.

The Man Himself
The book makes us privy to other passages regarding economic principles and summations of the world economy (I’ll give away the ending—according to Mr. Greenspan the United States does quite well). In these comments and revelations, he has been given mostly positive reviews by those who have read the actual text. The book also contains his personal memoirs and the telling of his life with his spouse, television correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

All in all I do not believe that the electorate will be unduly influenced by the release of Alan Greenspan’s long-awaited book—nor will the pillars of capitalism be shaken. Hopefully, we will all get a little bit more insight into the mind of who was arguably one of the ten most powerful men in the world for a very long time.

Be well,


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Government Mortgage Bailout Betrays Conservative Principles and Common Sense

Risk = Cost, Always
President Bush has decided to ask for allowances in federal programs to “protect” home owners. According to a recent MarketWatch article, the President’s plans include allowing stressed borrowers to refinance into government-insured loans, a related change to the tax code, the potential creation of a new government agency (the oddly New Deal-sounding “Reconstruction Mortgage Corporation”), and allowing government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide greater liquidity in the mortgage markets. More proposals may be on the horizon.

One of the biggest problems facing contemporary economies is the public’s disassociation from the Free Market/Value/Risk/Return equation. It is a fundamental law of economics. In a way, it is the economic equivalent of forgetting that gravity works. If one is foolish enough to leap from the rooftop, nature will not care if you have neglected to study Newtonian physics—down you will go.

Feeling loss-risk of one's home or equity—or any loss really—reaffirms this vital principle (yes, I have personal experience). This is the same argument against most welfare policies in general. For example: The age-old principle of "If one does not work, one does not eat" has been worn down by the latent brand of American-style Socialism that is present in our society (yet is still somehow alien to our true selves). What we forget is that even if one does not work and We The People ensure that such still eats—someone somewhere is indeed still working to trade value for that service.

The danger here is well understood in the realms of economics. The Administration’s proposals would only serve to transfer risk from one party to another (us)—and substantial risk it is. To coin a phrase, Risk can be neither destroyed or denied—it can only be distributed or transferred. I dare say that, in reality, the home owner is not the intended party being protected. Rather, the home owner is the palatable "face" being placed in front of the media and teaming crowds to better protect the banks, hedge funds, and big-ticket investors.

It is important to understand those financial institutions and individuals we are thus protecting have been well compensated for the risk in that they have been paid higher interest rates than they otherwise would have, and the sub-prime loans at the center of today’s troubles carried significant, often onerous, fees and charges. The financial big-wigs were paid an amount commensurate with the chances of loss so that they freely accepted that risk in order to obtain the rich rewards that might have resulted.

They forgot that these rich rewards were not ever, in fact, guaranteed. Guaranteed rewards do not have the potential to generate large fees and interest payments.

It is my opinion that We The People are being prepared to swallow hard the incumbent risk (risk always = cost) to protect those who were aware of the risks and justly compensated for it—even if they are not so good at math or statistics. Funny how no one has suggested that the financial institutions return the interest rate premiums and other dollars they have collected in the mean time. As these spoiled and recalcitrant hedge funds dip their soiled hands into our collective coffers, they should well consider that a government willing to bail them out from such losses now will certainly return to collect a disproportionate share of the profits when the sun shines again. If we sell our souls for a little temporary financial stability now, we will all pay the price in freedom and tyranny later. This is another law of economics and politics.

I am glad that Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan are not here to witness the GOP abdication of the principles which ushered in repeated Conservative political victories and decades of economic success.

Be well,

Liberalism Causes Cancer, Study Proves
Air America and Daily Kos Implicated

In a stunning revelation, scientists have confirmed the existence of a definitive study proving a distinct and direct correlation between liberal ideologies and certain diseases—including, the most common types of colorectal cancer. In a first-of-its-kind survey of nearly 2000 Colorectal Cancer patients, 99% of them were either liberals or had recently been exposed to a liberal within days of their diagnosis. Never has such a definitive link—with a nearly one-to-one relationship—ever been established before.

Eminent research physician Dr. O. P. DeAd, author of this ground-breaking and controversial report, launched his research project based upon personal experience. “I was having dinner with my parents one evening and the TV was on in the other room,” said Dr. DeAd. “On the air at the time was Meet the Press and the guest panelist was James Carville, the Democrat strategist and campaign consultant. After hearing Mr. Carville speak for several minutes, my father exclaimed, ‘That Carville is a huge pain in the ass!’ That was the first time I put two and two together and wondered if there could be an actual correlation.”

After interviewing several of the patients in his family practice, Dr. DeAd noted that several patients expressed the same Carville-related symptoms. The good Doctor had a close scrape himself when applying for the Federal Grant he used to finance the study. Shortly after beginning the application process to access tax dollars for his research, he had a sudden bout of severe hemorrhoids that required weeks of treatments. “I was amazed at the incredible amount of rectal pain involved with the Federal Grant process. There was a real risk that I might lose my ass altogether. After this personal experience, I was even more convinced that my hypothesis was correct.” said Dr. DeAd.

After allowing for factors such as television programming and James Carville in particular, the research pointed to a broader pathogen. “Most of the patients found the TV show ‘Meet the Press,” and James Carville in particular, to be fairly irritating—but we soon discovered that the majority of sufferers had been exposed to a broad spectrum of Democrats and Liberals in general. Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, the Clintons; exposure to any of these irritants appears to validate our hypothesis. It is the entire Liberal spectrum that brings disease to the rectum.”

Although many criticize the methodology used to gather data for this research, Dr. DeAd points out that he studiously followed the rigorous scientific statistical methods employed by Global Warming proponents, by the various studies which demonstrate the successes of Federal Welfare Programs, and by Dan Rather’s journalistic research team; among others.

Is there a cure? Dr. DeAd’s research points to hopeful signs. Many of his patients have experienced immediate relief by reading the works of William F. Buckley and noted economist Milton Friedman. Clearly more work needs to be done, but the public is advised to avoid exposure to NPR, the Democrat Debates, The Daily Kos Web site, and the tattered remains of Air America until more is known.

Be well,
(sometimes, it’s just for fun)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti RIP

It is rare that one comes along who veritably defines his profession. Luciano Pavarotti was such a man.

Pavarotti was, in Operatic terms, an Italian Tenor. Close your eyes and think of that term; can any other image come to mind other than his bearded, cherubic face?

More than the special qualities of his voice, more than the range and the pop-culture duets, larger than the cultured il Divo persona—his passion for the music he sang so well is still unmatched. Find a video of Pavarotti singing the aria Nessun Dorma, from Puccini’s opera Turnadot (available on YouTube). Watch, upon completion of that magnificent and instantly recognizable piece as the rapture of the music itself falls across his face. We are moved equally by the quality of the performance and by Pavarotti’s passion for the music itself. It’s as if Giacomo Puccini wrote the piece just for him.

While most opera performers with lesser gifts cloister themselves away, Pavarotti was, in his own way, accessible to the masses. Perhaps it was his modest upbringing outside of Modena Italy that made him so. He sang with Beverly Sils and with Michael Bolton—with Placido Domingo and Aretha Franklin—with Jose Carreras and with Bono. Some will call attention to his obvious excesses and occasional scandals, but for today, let us only remember the music. And what truly great music it was!

The final line of Nessun Dorma translates “Vanish, night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!” Even in death, Luciano Pavarotti’s star will not set and we have all won by virtue of his life’s work.

Luciano Pavarotti, died September 6th, 2007, at 71. RIP.

Be well,