Friday, December 12, 2008

Auto Bailout Fails – Common Sense Prevails

The bill before the Senate to bail Detroit failed yesterday in a vote of 52 to 35, with 12 “not voting”. Of those 35 Nay’s, 4 Democrats broke ranks and voted with the Conservative Republicans. The 12 who did not vote were a mixed bag of well-known Democrats and Republicans including, Biden (D-DE), Graham (R-SC), Hagel (R-NE), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), and Sununu (R-NH). (Source: US Senate)

The Bill, supported by Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, President George Bush and President-Elect Barrack Obama, was defeated over two sticking points that, for all intents and purposes, seem reasonable, considering it would be the people paying for several generations for an industry that has consistently failed to become competitive. The stumbling block – Republicans called for pay and benefit cuts slated for the Auto Workers Union in 2009. One has to understand that a machinist belonging to the Detroit Auto Makers Union makes an hourly wages that is disproportionate to others performing the same functions in any other industry in the United States. The average machinist can expect to earn approximately $18 to $22 per hour, while the UAW worker can anticipate an average of $73 per hour (which includes rich benefits and pensions.) Additionally, those that have been laid off, fall under this bail-out umbrella, and would continue to receive an average of $31 per hour. There are, articles aplenty, regarding the “myth” of the $73 UAW worker, referencing sources such as The New York Times and the UAW, which, may not be entirely subjective when the auto-industry is ready to feed off the public trough.

Needless to say, The New York Times is blaming those pesky Republicans for dashing the dreams of Detroit. However, where was the Bay State’s Junior Senator, John F. Kerry, Obama’s biggest pre-election cheerleader, in all of this? Surely his extra vote could have helped out Obama and Reid? Perhaps he could have persuaded those four Democrats who voted “Nay” to go along with Reid and Company. Or perhaps Kerry decided to sit this one out as the bailout was not popular in the Bay State. Most likely, he was absent with better things to do.

All this aside, the idea was simply reprehensible to the American Pubic. Constant bailouts of industry, with an eye towards partial state ownership, rankles conservatives, libertarians and anyone who takes a common sense approach to the ups and downs of business and its exclusion from government. Our economy has been, as far as anyone can tell, capitalist – which seems to have worked out fairly well to date. It appeared this concept came into contempt beginning in 2006 when the Democrats gained control of the House and Senate, and now the idea of Government Owned everything runs the Hill. That said, the worst case: Detroit will fall into bankruptcy, have to retool, perhaps along the lines of Toyota,Honda and Nissan USA, whose employees earn on average $48.00 per hour, and who, are economically sound. Recovery may be slow, but it is sure, and it is also tax-free.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Daily Newspapers Slump - Missing the Obvious – Alternative News Outlets vs. Ideology

John Gapper, at the Financial Times ponders the question: “Who will Mourn Local Newspapers?” - and in yesterdays article laid out the case against “bad journalism” produced by blogs and talk radio. He also bemoaned the fact that journalist feel the general public is not as well served by these new outlets. He closed his article with the hope that the demise of the local daily papers will “strengthen the editorial position of the remaining elite: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, the Financial Times etc.”

Therein lays the problem that continues to be overlooked by those “elites” who would guide the populace rather than report the news. One has to look to ratings in terms of right vs. left, over a period of time, to understand that the rise of “alternative news”. Twenty years ago, the daily newspapers and network broadcast news enjoyed a virtual monopoly; there simply were no other sources available. Today, conservative talk radio and the Fox News Network dominate their respective rankings. Rush Limbaugh, for example, enjoys a week cume (equivalent to a newspapers circulation) of 14.25 million, compared to the top ranked NBC evening news of 8.34 million. Comparing apples to apples, conservative talk radio is enjoying relative prosperity while more left leaning radio networks like Air America and
are either clawing out of bankruptcy or facing layoffs.

It would behoove those “elites” who feel that the Internet and conservative talk radio are to blame, to get a grip on reality. In another financial times blog, Gideon Rachman is adamant that the problem lies with ”Internet slime” and those “gun-toting…..bit of the United States” (Conservatives). This situation has now dissolved into intense denial and anger. The crux of the matter is simple. Ideology has no place in journalism with the exception of an editorial page in a newspaper (or a segment on the nightly news, etc.). The last four general elections have shown a country that is deeply divided – right vs. left. When a news outlet, be it a newspaper, broadcast news network, cable news network or radio talk show, caters to one segment of the population only (or candidate as was the case in the last election), they are bound to lose circulation, “cume”, and viewership to those outlets that offer another “editorial” point of view. Should, by some miracle, what has become known as the Mainstream Media, wake up from its stupor and begin to report, while defining editorial (be it conservative or liberal) as such, confining it to a specific segment, they just might stand a chance of winning back a share of that audience.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

L.A. Times – Headline: “It’s The Democrats Turn to Cope with Scandals” – They Can’t Be Serious!

The Los Angles Times, Janet Hook, has come to a startling revelation with the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich – there may be corruption in the ranks of the Democrat Party. The article opens with the notion that a “series of scandals” have come from the Blue side of the aisle since the party won a majority on the theme that it would put a halt to the “culture of corruption” that existed under GOP leadership. The problem that faces the nation, vis a vis, two strong national parties, with literally no opposition besides on another, is that both parties have been subject to “bouts” of scandal - however, it is the depth of the scandal and how the particular political party handles the offending member, that should be examined.

Had the Democrat Illinois Governor been a member of Congress, it is more likely that he would be holding onto his seat and undergoing internal “ethics” investigations, until he had served out his 10th term. Unlike the Red side of the aisle, where, once the media turns on its spotlight, no matter the “crime”, that member is pushed out of office and forced to resign – post-haste. In some instances, it appears that the Republicans react more with horror and dismay at the hint of a scandal – than the existence of an actual deed. Case in point – Trent Lott, former Speaker of the House, resigned in 2002 after remarks made at a birthday party for Strom Thurmond . Lott, who was toasting the aged Thurmond, who, like Robert Byrd, Democrat, were segregationist in the 1940’s, stated that the he have voted for Thurmond when he ran for president and the country would have been better off – a nicety, toasting the life of a man who had served his country for many years, and as Lott explained when a media storm ensued, offering apologies to anyone that would be offended. If all were fair between the media and both Political Party’s, or had Lott been Barney Frank saying the same of Robert Byrd, that would have been the end of it”. Lott remark was looked upon as a scandal so heinous that there was nothing left to do but resign. Foley and Craig ring any bells? Compared these men to that news hound, Barney Frank and one starts to wonder about these newly found Democrat scandals.

Hook, to be fair, does list a few of the more prominent scandals that have faced the Democrats in the past two years – mentioning newly retired Jefferson of LA (retired by the people), who stuffed cash in his freezer, Gov. Spitzer of NY, involvement with call-girls, and Rep. Rangel (NY), ongoing problems with the IRS. Jefferson remained in his seat, during the investigation, Spitzer, outside the hallowed halls of Pelosi and Reid's legislature, succumbed to the law, and Rangle, is still being protected by “internal investigations”.

Now, the Democrats believe that the Republican’s will make something of the latest Chicago “politics as usual” mess – and, rightly so, investigations into the entire brouhaha have been requested by the GOP. However, that does not mean that anything will take place outside of the halls of Congress – internal investigations are the likely route, and there will be zero mention of these latest Democrat criminal shenanigans two weeks or less from now in the press.

Ms. Hook should cross the country and spend some time in Chicago, Michigan and Massachusetts to understand how deep the scandals run and just how many take place in the Party that heralds the Kennedy’s, the Pelosi’s, the Kerry’s, the Reid’s, and of course, the Barney Franks. These are not, of course, all national figures, yet high ranking elected state officials, who continue to earn the title of “felon.” Barney Frank, received a reprimand from his fellow legislators, for fixing parking tickets for a prostitute, and in the past months, former Mass Senator Wilkerson, was busted for stuffing bribes in her bra, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner arrested for accepting a bribe, and of course, Former Speaker of the Mass. House, Finneran, who is now a talk show host on Boston’s WRKO.

Suffice it to say, that for the most part, Republican’s say darndest things (or act like their Blue counterparts) and get hauled off, investigated and hounded by the media into resignation, while Democrats appear to enjoy stocking up on large sums of cash, normally by stuffing it into a freezer, down a bra, or in the case of those in charge of Fannie and Freddie, Lord knows where, and they either are investigated by their own party, or if actually charged, end up with a radio gig. It is the inequity of press coverage, and the “protection of the House”, that keeps those that might otherwise do time for a crime, in high-profile, national and state positions. The Republican Leadership can call for investigations, however, it is more than likely that little will come out of this whole “boondoggle” (business as usual) in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Obama – No Need to “Stock-up” on Gun Sales - The Populace and The Sudden Focus on the Second Amendment

The Sun Times in an article Dec. 8th, noted the President-elects reaction to the unusual spike in gun-sales across the county since his election:

As gun sales shoot up around the country, President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that gun-owning Americans do not need to rush out and stock up before he is sworn in next month.
"I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the second amendment," Obama said at a news conference. "Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word."

The article also indicates that the National Rifle Association is not buying Obama’s enthusiasm for the Second Amendment, citing his voting record as proof that he is less than inspired by citizen gun-ownership.

Why then, is there a huge spike in gun sales and how is that tied to the Second Amendment? One would think that Hunting would play a large part, and it does, but there is a larger implication in play, and that is the actual wording in the Amendment itself.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Taking the following: Militia (civilian military), necessary to the security of a free State (the State as it was intended to remain under the Constitution), the right to bear and keep arms (as pertains to both the Militia and the State), it can be argued, that the intent was not to provide arms solely for the purpose of procuring food and entertainment, but rather, to protect the government from itself.
An excellent treatise on the subject can be found at Mitchell Langbert’s blog: from the Federalist Papers, #8, Hamilton is concerned with the ability of the citizens to protect themselves from our government – in other words a change in the nature of the established government, against the will of the people, the inclusion of the second amendment gives the people the ability to re-establish rule – or the original Constitution – in the face of subversion of that government.

Mike Huckabee, in his latest book, “Do The Right Thing”, also discusses the Federalist Papers and the original intent of the founders to mean the same.
Is it no wonder then, that those who believe that our nation is headed towards a path to socialism would want to insure that they might be able to protect the very foundation upon which our government was formed? The President-elects unfortunate associations with committed socialists and ‘progressive” democrats, gave rise to the speculation that should he attain the Presidency, then he would, in certainly, socialize everything from healthcare to a personal police force. ( Rahm Emmanuel discuses mandatory civil service).

That said, the path to socialized government has already been set in play, with the bailout of financial institutions and the current bill backing the Auto-Makers, however, one must keep in mind that the President-Elect has not played a significant role in either and more-to-the point, has chosen moderate centrists to fill key cabinet positions. Additionally, although Obama has not been an avid supporter of Second Amendment rights in his past political career, he is now in no position to swing too far left or right, understanding that the stability of the nation rests in focusing on the economy. One also must understand that the President is, in essence, the titular head of a political party – a party which now holds control over the legislature; however, there remains a system of checks and balances, as they were unable to achieve the super-majority necessary to affect harm. Meanwhile, one might consider purchasing stock in Smith & Wesson.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Caroline Kennedy – Entitled to Clinton's NY Senate Seat - The American Class System and the Kennedy “Dynasty”

Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama -

Caroline Kennedy’s is best known for being the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, and most recently, one of the people responsible for helping Barack Obama pick his vice-presidential nominee. Other than that, her resume leaves little to indicate that she is qualified for the office of Senator, other than the title: “Relative”. It goes without saying that the founders of this Republic did not intend our government to be a monarchy, (or a government run by a “ruling class”),rather a democracy where citizens are elected based on worth - not bloodlines.

The question then arises: “Do we have a “class system” in the United States?” The answer, according to progressive professors, is “yes”. In Robert E. Weir’s, “Class In America , the so-called American Class system is discussed in detail – from the First Estate (Mayflower Decedents, regardless of wealth) to the Second Estate (the Robber Barons’), families that garnered great wealth and influence in the United States during the late 18th and 19th century (Included: familiar names such as Roosevelt, Carnegie and Kennedy), followed by the Upper Middle Class (the elite who have amassed large sums of money), the Middle Class (those who hold a 4 year college degree and therefore, can consider themselves to be “elite”), the Lower Middle Class (those who do not hold a four-year degree – and are considered “blue collar workers”), the Lower Class (those with no discernible education and/or skills). The later two often referred to as “the masses”. Outside of the halls of “higher education”, this is not discussed in detail, or brought up at all. (The "masses" could not "handle the knowledge") The “fact” that this nonsense of a "ruling class”, made up of individuals such as the Kennedy’s, is preached at a Colleges and Universities across the nation by those Progressive professors who are wedded the theories of Karl Marx and company, boggles the mind. It follows, therefore, that this “theory” allows for a certain sense of “entitlement” from those who are members of an “upper class”, and the certainty of those “newly minted elite” who have been taught (and bought into the bunk) that this nonsense of class systems is “acceptable”.

Therefore, Caroline Kennedy, by virtue of nothing more than being part of the “ruling” class, is considered an acceptable substitute by those “elite” who would see the “dynasty” continue. (CNN) . That said, Comments posted to a recent Boston Herald article on the possibility of another Kennedy in the Senate are not favorable. Comments to the Western Massachusetts, Springfield Republican’s Politics forum (thread #77455) show like minded disgust at the thought of a political appointment based on nothing more than a family connection. The same is true ofDaily Kos commentors, who are disconcerted about the concept of an “inherited” legislative post. It is interesting to note that the negative comments are being made by those who would, in all likelihood, believe that our Constitution does not contain any reference to a particular brand of “class” that would govern, rather, that the government belongs to the populace.

It is a fact that New York State laws guiding the replacement of elected officials, offer nothing to prevent Caroline Kennedy from working with Governor Paterson to give her Senate Seat, however, it remains to be seen if he will make such an appointment.. Should Caroline Kennedy be chosen as the replacement for Hillary Clinton, in the Senate she will be required to campaign for re-election in 2010, likewise Paterson. Those who are in the position to ultimately decide both Kennedy’s and Paterson’s political futures are the New York state electorate. Therefore, regardless of entitlement, or any “perceived” progressive class system, the Republic of the United States and our system of democracy will continue to be the deciding factor in political contests.

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