George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, August
22 through 31, 2011
By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble
A LETTER FROM A PROCTER AND GAMBLE EXECUTIVE TO THE PRESIDENT*
SENTENCE IS THE MOST CHILLING (with
Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America 's true living
acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest
speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize
him as the
foremost leader in change management.. Lou changed the way
business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as
"partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President,
Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course
years, made corporate history.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and
unlike any of
the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your
League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no
signs of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of
up in America and culturally you are not an American.
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus
understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned
yourself with radical extremists who hate
America and you refuse to
publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail..
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America
crowd and deliver this message abroad.
You scare me because you want to change America to a European
where the government sector dominates instead of the private
You scare me because you want to replace our healthcare system with a
government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly
our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist
lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics
certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from
on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even
opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on
everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the
Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, Conservative
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will
not feel safe in writing a similar letter in your second term.
This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged
Big surprise. Since it hit the Internet, however, it has
had over 500,000
hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed Is that
men do nothing.. It's happening right now.*
SUNDAY, August 21, 2011
Interesting and timely.
Pentagon, scarred by 9/11,
adapts to new fight
By ROBERT BURNS - AP
National Security Writer | AP – Sun,
Aug 21, 2011
(AP) — The Sept. 11 attacks transformed the Pentagon, ravaging the
iconic building itself and setting the stage for two long and costly
wars that reordered the way the American military fights.
with a decade ago, the military is bigger, more closely connected to
the CIA, more practiced at taking on terrorists and more respected by
the American public. But its members also are growing weary from war,
committing suicide at an alarming rate and training less for
partly gutted Pentagon was restored with remarkable speed after the
hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 slammed through its west side,
setting the building ablaze and killing 184 people. But recovering from
the strain of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan will take far longer —
Pentagon's leaders will have to adjust to a new era of austerity after
a decade in which the defense budget doubled, to nearly $700 billion
Army and Marine Corps in particular — both still heavily engaged in
Afghanistan — will struggle to retrain, rearm and reinvigorate their
badly stretched forces even as budgets begin to shrink. And the troops
themselves face an uncertain future; many are scarred by the mental
strains of battle, and some face transition to civilian life at a time
of economic turmoil and high unemployment. The cost of veterans' care
will march higher.
Robert Gates put it shortly before he stepped down as defense secretary
this summer, peace will bring its own problems.
problem was not peace on 9/11. At the time, the military was focused
almost entirely on external threats. Air defenses kept watch for planes
and missiles that might strike from afar; there was little attention to
the possibility that terrorists might hijack domestic airliners and use
them as missiles.
changed with the creation of U.S. Northern Command in 2002, which now
shares responsibility for defending U.S. territory with the Homeland
was not a new challenge in 2001, but the scale of the 9/11 attacks
prompted a shift in the U.S. mindset from defense to offense.
U.S. invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7 in an unconventional military
campaign that was coordinated with the CIA. That heralded one of the
most profound effects of 9/11: a shift in the military's emphasis from
fighting conventional army-on-army battles to executing more secretive,
intelligence-driven hunts for shadowy terrorists. That shift was
important, but it came gradually as the military services clung to
their Cold War ways.
in debate is how the Taliban, which had shielded Osama bin Laden and
other al-Qaida figures prior to the U.S. invasion and was driven from
Kabul within weeks, managed to make a comeback in the years after the
U.S. shifted its main focus to Iraq in 2003. That setback in
Afghanistan, coupled with the longer-than-expected fight in Iraq,
showed the limits of post-9/11 U.S. military power.
pointed up one of the other key lessons of the past decade of war: It
takes more than military muscle to win the peace. It takes the State
Department, with its small army of diplomats and development
specialists, and other government agencies working in partnership with
military grew larger over the past decade, but the growth was uneven.
The Army expanded from about 480,000 in 2001 to 572,000 this year, and
the Marine Corps grew from 172,000 to 200,000, although both are to
begin scaling back shortly. The Air Force and Navy, by contrast, got
smaller. The Air Force lost about 20,000 slots since 2001 and the Navy
lost about 50,000.
percentage terms, the biggest growth in the military has been in the
secretive, elite units known as special operations forces. They surged
to the forefront of the U.S. military's counter-terror campaign almost
immediately after the 9/11 attacks, helping rout the Taliban in late
2001 and culminating in May 2011 with the Navy SEAL team's raid on
Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. And even though al-Qaida's
global reach has been diminished, the increased role of special
operations forces is likely to continue.
"It's the most interesting and important
change that's likely to endure," Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at
the Brookings Institution, said in an interview. "I haven't heard too
many people suggest that we can scale back to where we used to be."
The Marines, who had never before fielded
forces of this kind, now have 2,600 under U.S. Special Operations
Command. The others include the SEALs, the Army Green Berets and
Rangers and the Air Force special operators.
In all, those special operations forces
grew from 45,600 in 2001 to 61,000 today, according to Special
decade of war also has produced its military stars. Army Gen. David
Petraeus served in command three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan
before accepting President Barack Obama's offer to succeed Leon Panetta
as the next CIA director.
Iraq commander Army Gen. Raymond Odierno is about to become the Army's
top general, and the current Army chief, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who
served twice in command in Iraq, is due to replace Navy Adm. Mike
Mullen as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
military as a whole is viewed more favorably by the American public. A
Gallup poll in June found that the military is the most respected
national institution, with 78 percent expressing great confidence in
it. That is 11 points higher than its historical Gallup average dating
to the early 1970s.
technological star is the drone aircraft, like the Predators that
surveil the battlefield and fire missiles at discrete targets. Their
popularity has spawned an effort to field unmanned aircraft to perform
other missions, such as a long-range bomber and even heavy-lift
THURSDAY through SATURDAY, August
18 through 20, 2011
time that we asked George Bush to step aside so that Obama can get his
Here's an opinion piece by Chuck Green who writes "Greener Pastures"
for the Denver Post Aurora Sentinel...one of the more liberal papers in
the country. Additionally, Mr. Green is a lifelong Democrat...so this
is a rather stunning piece...
Obama is victim of Bush's failed promises!
Barack Obama is setting a record-setting number of records during his
first term in office:
Largest budget ever. Largest deficit ever. Largest number of broken
Most self-serving speeches ever. Largest number of agenda-setting
failures ever. Fastest dive in popularity ever!
Wow! Talk about change.
Just one year ago, fresh from his inauguration celebrations, President
Obama was flying high. After one of the nation's most inspiring
political campaigns, the election of America 's first black president
had captured the hopes and dreams of millions. To his devout followers,
it was inconceivable that a year later his administration would be
gripped in self-imposed crisis.
Of course, they don't see it as self-imposed. It's all George Bush 's
George Bush, who doesn't have a vote in congress and who no longer
occupies The White House, is to blame for it all.
He broke Obama's promise, to put all bills on the White House web site
for five days before signing them.
He broke Obama's promise, to have the congressional health care
negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.
He broke Obama's promise, to end earmarks.
He broke Obama's promise, to keep unemployment from rising above 8
He broke Obama's promise, to close the detention center at Guantanamo
in the first year.
He broke Obama's promise, to make peace with direct, no precondition
talks with America 's most hate-filled enemies during his first year in
office, ushering in a new era of global cooperation.
He broke Obama's promise, to end the hiring of former lobbyists into
high White House jobs.
He broke Obama's promise, to end no-compete contracts with the
He broke Obama's promise, to disclose the names of all attendees at
closed White House meetings.
He broke Obama's promise, for a new era of bipartisan cooperation in
He broke Obama's promise, to have chosen a home church to attend Sunday
services with his family by Easter of last year.
Yes, it's all George Bush's fault! President Obama is nothing more than
a puppet in the never-ending failed Bush administration.
If only George Bush wasn't still in charge, all of President Obama 's
problems would be solved. His promises would have been kept, the
economy would be back on track, Iran would have stopped its work on
developing a nuclear bomb and would be negotiating a peace treaty with
Israel . North Korea would have ended its tyrannical regime, and
integrity would have been restored to the federal government.
Oh, and did I mention what it would be like, if the Democrats, under
the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, didn't have the heavy
yoke of George Bush around their necks? There would be no ear marks, no
closed-door drafting of bills, no increase in deficit spending, no
special-interest influence (unions), no vote buying (Nebraska,
If only George Bush wasn't still in charge, we'd have real change by
All the broken promises, all the failed legislation and delay (health
care reform, immigration reform) is not President Obama 's fault or the
fault of the Democrat-controlled Congress. It's all George Bush's fault
Take for example the decision of Eric Holder , the president's attorney
general, to hold terrorists' trials in New York City. Or his decision
to try the Christmas Day underpants bomber as a civilian.
Two disastrous decisions.
Certainly those were bad judgments based on poor advice from George
Need more proof?
You might recall that when Scott Brown won the election to the U.S.
Senate from Massachusetts, capturing "The Ted Kennedy Seat",
Obama said, Brown's victory was the result of the same voter anger that
propelled Obama into office in 2008. People were still angry about
George Bush and the policies of the past 10 years. And they wanted
Yes, according to the president, the voter rebellion in Massachusetts,
was George Bush's fault.
Therefore, in retaliation, they elected a Republican to the Ted Kennedy
seat, ending a half-century of domination by Democrats. It is all
George Bush 's fault !
Will the failed administration of George Bush ever end, and the time
for hope and change ever arrive???
Will President Obama ever accept responsibility for something/anything?
( Chuck Green is a veteran Colorado journalist and former
editor-in-chief of The Denver Post.)
It's Bush's Fault!
WEDNESDAY, August 17, 2011
Well, it's happened again. I go on vacation,
time, read a lot of newspapers from other parts of the country, and
with more opinions. Here goes...
all for now, folks. These vacations
- THE ECONOMY. Retrain all of
these middle-aged workers whose jobs have become obsolete. Finally
improve the education of "The Dumbest Generation". Put a sock on
the anxious over-reaching of unions - local, State and Federal - who
have nothing to offer than the slender reed of "seniority" and the
delusion that - just because their fathers and grandfathers worked at
those jobs - they have a right to continue in the same jobs. And,
in these unsettled times, DON'T SPEND, BUT RATHER SAVE, if you want a
future. Those who are promoting spending are only looking toward
the next election.
- TALK ABOUT ELECTONS. Tim
Pawlenty...what a WHUS. He drops out after one dumb "straw poll"
in a distant small part of the country. Shame on you for wasting
our time and attention.
- Once again, WE MUST REVISE OUR
ELECTION PROCEDURES BY MEANS OF A FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND
AMENDMENT THAT APPLIES TERM LIMITS AND THAT ESPECIALLY ELIMINATES THE
CURRENT SPECTACLE OF THE ABILITY LITERALLY TO BUY ELECTIONS...INCLUDING
THE U.S. PRESIDENCY.
- REGARDING PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THIS
COUNTRY, de-certify every teachers' union in the country...and free
good teachers finally to determine their own future and that of their
- In Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan,
Jihadists andaal-Qaeda are alive and well. What's wrong with
that picture. "Alive and well"...that's what's wrong. And
don't give me any crap about the Geneva Convention and the Rules of
War...and especially about the worthless United Nations.
Self-defense is a basic human right...including pre-emptive
- Europe and its growing Muslim influx.
Beware. If those people don't demand and accept
integration...without loss of their heritage...the next Crusade will
- The European Union experiment.
I know the United States...and you're
the United States of Europe. Whether you can ever be...I
- Regarding the mentally ill, public
safety and the need to take psychotropic medications, that should be a
"no-brainer". Those who are a threat to public safety must take
their medications regularly or be incarcerated.
THURSDAY through TUESDAY, August
11 through 16, 2011
MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE AGAINST ABORTIONS, AND ESPECIALLY LATE-TERM
ABORTIONS. MEANWHILE, RECENT REPORTS NOTE THAT THE SEX OF A
HUMAN BEING, CAN BE DETERMINED VERY EARLY IN GESTATION, THAT EARLY
"SELECTIONS" CAN BE MADE AMONG MULTIPLE FETUSES, AND THAT
ABORTIFACIENT "MORNING AFTER PILLS" ARE NOW AVAILABLE OVER THE
COUNTER...ALL PROVIDING MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ABOMINATION OF
ABORTION. THE ARTICLE BELOW NOTES THAT THERE IS SOME HOPE OUT
THERE. PLEASE HELP.
we are having a tremendous impact in the fight to protect life,
religious liberties, and our national security. We had an online goal
of 72,000 signatures representing the 72% of Americans that support the
Ground Zero Cross. We now have over 84,000 online signatures! Thank you
for standing up for the Cross.
there is so much turmoil in the world, and we look for opportunities to
push back and stand firm for the essential values you and I share. I
want you to know that together, we are having a tremendous impact.
just the last month, the ACLJ has:
Convinced the City of New York to reverse its earlier decision and to
now allow the showing of a 9/11 documentary at several city parks.
Persuaded the United Nations to prohibit countries from relying on
Shariah law to impose restrictions on religious expression and free
Defended the call for a public day of prayer in Texas against a Freedom
From Religion Foundation lawsuit – a lawsuit the court dismissed,
agreeing with our amicus brief, filed that same day.
Seen another appeals court declare ObamaCare’s individual mandate
unconstitutional. We provided a critical amicus brief representing 74
Members of Congress and over 70,000 ACLJ members.
Defending life by filing an amicus brief on behalf of 41 Members of
Congress and over 25,000 of you supporting Indiana’s right to defund
Obtained justice for a persecuted Christian family in Pakistan after a
member of their family was brutally murdered for his faith, ensuring
that his killers were brought to justice.
Protected the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers, by
obtaining a temporary order preventing an unconstitutional New York
City law from going into effect – a law that threatened to shut down
our pro-life clients.
All while continuing to defend faith and liberty here at home and
around the world.
you so much for taking action in these cases and making each victory
in order to continue our efforts, we need your continued support. Last
month, I told you about our Matching Challenge – a group of donors who
have agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, any donations we receive
online through August. We need your support today.
Please double your impact and make your tax-deductible contribution now
by following this link to our secure donation page on ACLJ.org.
We only have until August 31st to meet our $750,000 goal. We are still
several hundred thousand dollars short of our goal, and we will not be
able to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity unless you
and ACLJ members continue to stand with us in these important victories.
We are in a multi-front war in defense of life, religious freedom, and
our national security here in the United States and around the world.
Israel continues to be in the crosshairs at the United Nations and is
continually attacked for defending its borders; the ACLJ is actively
defending Israel in several cases.
In protecting the Ground Zero Cross from an atheist lawsuit, we are
filing an amicus brief, representing nearly 100,000 Americans.
We are defending the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court on behalf of
a judge who displays the Ten Commandments as part of a “Philosophies of
Laws in Conflict” poster on his courtroom wall.
Planned Parenthood is being held accountable for its actions in a
hundred million dollar fraud suit – a case that could effectively
shutdown Planned Parenthood in California – our new court filings are
due in the next few weeks.
Our legal team is preparing to present oral arguments next month in our
case challenging ObamaCare in federal appeals court in D.C.
We are stopping the shut down of pro-life pregnancy centers in New
York, Baltimore, San Francisco, and other cities across the country
from an unconstitutional law being pushed by Planned Parenthood.
It is crucial that we have the necessary resources to continue each one
of these battles.
With the deadline for our Matching Challenge quickly approaching, we
need your generous support more now than ever.
Help us reach our $750,000 goal by making a generous tax-deductible
donation today. Every $100 becomes $200 in the fight for faith, life,
Thank you for your continued support as we continue this fight.
WEDNESDAY, August 10, 2011
citizens are constantly being criticized for every
conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know
responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.
reflection, we would like to point out that it was
senior citizens who took:
The melody out of music,
The pride out of appearance,
The courtesy out of driving,
The romance out of love,
The commitment out of marriage,
The responsibility out of parenthood,
The togetherness out of the family,
The learning out of education,
The service out of patriotism,
The Golden Rule from rulers,
The nativity scene out of cities,
The civility out of behavior,
The refinement out of language,
The dedication out of employment,
The prudence out of spending,
The ambition out of achievement or
God out of government and school.
we certainly are NOT the
eliminated patience and tolerance from
personal relationships and
interactions with others!!
we do understand the meaning of patriotism,
and remember those who have fought and died for our country.
Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their
attention with their hand over their hearts!
YES, I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN!
I'm the life of the party....... even if it lasts until 8 p.m.
I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer.
I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.
I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying.
I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere.
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I THINK
I am having
the time of my life!
Green - Recycle Parliament and bring back Guy Fawkes
TUESDAY, August 9, 2011
THE WORLD HAS PROBLEMS. YOU WANT SOLUTIONS?
was that so hard?
- Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Already addressed: "Go...or get off the pot".
- China. Paper Tiger. If we stop
buying its products, it's a toothless tiger...and the Chinese know it.
- Syria. If nothing else is
working, supply the people with arms. Make it a fair fight.
The Arabs should do this themselves.
- The UN, in Syria, in Lybia, in Somalia
and elsewhere, once again has proven itself to be worthless.
Admit it, and start over with a new world dialogue.
- The EU. How do you expect to
have a common currency without a common budget?
- Britain. Get a grip!
Declare Martial Law. Call in the military. These rioters
are not only criminals; they are anarchists. Get them off the
streets - in vertical or horizontal positions.
- The U.S. fiscal "crisis": a crisis and
failure of leadership, not of the American people. The short-term
way out is for the "Super-Committee" to be believable and to declare
that they will actually come up with the austerity solutions we all
know are necessary. In the longer term, GET OUT AND VOTE FOR CHANGE YOU
CAN BELIEVE IN...IN NOVEMBER, 2012.
MONDAY, August 8, 2011
On The Debt
Deal: Before the ink is dry, another blot on our
Taxation without Representation
August 2, 2011
Eisenbeis is Cumberland’s Chief Monetary
Economist. Prior to joining Cumberland Advisors he was the Executive
President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of
is presently a member of the U.S. Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee
Financial Economist Roundtable. His bio is found at www.cumber.com.
be reached at Bob.Eisenbeis@cumber.com.
Now that I
have your attention, despite the
political euphoria that will likely accompany the deal to raise the
a more careful examination suggests that once again our elected
opted for policies dictated by their desire to ensure their reelection
than caring for the needs of the country. Before delving into
issues, however, I want to address some concerns that a few readers
about my last commentary, which focused on the “fairness” issues
the debt debate.
generated a lot of comments, many of
them passionate. While the vast majority of responses were favorable,
accused me of selectively citing data that might be interpreted as
high-income people were bearing an “unfair” proportion of the tax
ignoring data on the proportion of income earned and wealth
My point in that piece was that simply looking at the data on tax
doesn’t help one to judge what is or is not “fair.” That is a
judgment and a political assessment and is not one that I tried to
The comments, however, did pique my curiosity and triggered a more
look at the facts.
confess that my intuition wasn’t
confirmed. Let me just cite a few key figures. In that
noted that variations in revenues collected by the government were
unrelated to variations in the highest marginal tax rates. In
the most recent data suggested that those in the top 5% of the income
distribution paid 59% of the personal income tax collected and those in
1% paid 38%, while the bottom 50% paid 2.7%. Looking at the
of income, comparable data from the IRS show that the top 1%, who paid
the taxes, earned 20% of the income and the top 5%, who paid 59% of the
earned 34% of the income. In contrast, the bottom half earned
the income but paid only 2.5% of the taxes.
assumption of the critics was probably that
the top income brackets earned a larger share of the income than they
taxes, but that is not borne out by the data. I would also note
aside that out of a population of over 300 million people, 1.4 million
filers were in the top 1% of adjusted gross income. Seven million
were filed by those in the top 5% of adjusted gross income distribution
70 million returns were filed by the bottom 50% of the income
distribution. Any way one cuts it, the few are carrying the many,
fairness issue that is bothering some special interest groups is
few should assume even more of the burden.
about the distribution of wealth?
Much has been made recently about the concentration of wealth in the
the few. Again, the facts are informative. From 1920
the share of wealth held by the top 1% of the population peaked in 1929
44%. That share then fell steadily to a low of 20% in
1976. The share increased gradually and peaked at 39%
before falling off again to 35% in 2007. While
not readily available about what taxes the wealthy pay, it does seem
wealthy are not in a significantly different position today than they
the 1920s and in the mid-1960s. Indeed, the distribution of
holdings has varied significantly over time but hasn’t steadily
some might have guessed.
line from this more in-depth
exploration of the data shows that looking at either the wealth
the distribution of income taxes paid relative to income earned doesn’t
indicate that the wealthy are either significantly better off than they
long time ago or that they are paying disproportionately less in taxes
to income earned. What this implies for the debt discussion is
focusing on the distributional dimensions of the revenue side of the
issue is a second-order problem. It is a diversion of attention
critical issues of establishing criteria for determining the
of government and bringing government spending down more in line with
this backdrop, it is appropriate to take
both Republicans and Democrats to task for their conduct in dealing
current debt crises and how they have chosen to frame the issues.
present debt extension agreement makes only token cuts and punts on the
critical issue, which is the projected unconstrained growth in
spending. It leaves all the hard decisions for the future and
makes a trivial
dent in the yearly federal deficit, while continuing to add to
mind that the number being thrown around
as the cut in the deficit represents only the incremental effects that
of the “promised” spending reductions (over the next 10 years) would
the need to issue additional government debt. The cuts hardly
the new debt issuance needs will be and they are far from eliminating
yearly deficits. The numbers also don’t include the present value
those cuts and hence ignore the time value of money and the fact that a
of cuts today is worth more than a dollar of cuts in the future.
Furthermore, most of the so-called cuts are only “promises” (and those
are dependent upon the ability to deliver future spending cuts).
Truth-in-government would say that the Congress should come clean and
what the estimated cumulative total of the remaining yearly deficits
and what the likely need will be for increases in the debt ceiling in
future. The requests for increases won’t be long in coming, and
horizon for addressing the key issues will arrive long after this and
debt-ceiling crisis. On net, both sides settled for an agreement
does little to address the key problems, though it may preserve some
during the upcoming election season. This is short-termism at its
castigated Congress in general, let’s
focus next on the Republicans. Due to Tea Party influence, a line
drawn in the sand concerning cuts in spending and raising taxes as a
partially address the mismatch between spending and revenues. This is
and good, but they played Russian roulette with domestic and
financial markets. In the end they took the easy way out by
small cuts in domestic spending, whereas the real problems lie with
entitlements, namely Social Security and healthcare spending. In
the Republicans got relatively little of substance for the taxpayer,
highly-valued political ammunition to use in the coming election when
with the risks their actions posed for the country.
As for the
Democrats, their objective was to
grow the budget and fund its increase with more taxes, thus avoiding
to address either the entitlements issues or the rationale for
pet spending initiatives. Theirs was a cake-and-eat-it approach.
the group that deserves the most
criticism is the recipients of entitlements, and in particular
Medicaid, and Social Security. These are mainly the elderly and,
totally transparent, that group includes me and some of my Cumberland
colleagues. To be sure, we relied upon payments promised to us by
legislators long departed, who didn’t put in place the necessary
deliver on those promises. We relied upon the promises and
many warnings we failed in many cases to provide sufficiently for our
retirement and healthcare needs.
predecessors created a Ponzi scheme that
would make Bernie Madoff proud. They pledged tax revenues to be
from future generations under the assumption that the population would
to grow and that more people would always be available to fund the
programs. This is just like assuming that housing prices will
up, and we know what that is costing us. Now, however, the pool
taxpayers is smaller than the present one, and the burdens they must
proportionately greater. In short, this is “taxation without
recipients claim they have paid into
the plan, which they have. But their payments were not
prefunded their own retirements or their need for medical services.
Rather they were part of a pay-as-you-go scheme. Their tax
were given to those who already retired or had medical needs.
present generation of retirement age also refuses to recognize this
which is on track to absorb the whole of projected government revenues
some. Instead we seek to do what our parents did by passing on an
more burdensome set of obligations to our children and grandchildren.
isn’t “taxation without representation”
then I don’t know what is. We are making commitments today for
will have to pay but who do not have a say in what those burdens
only does this go against the grain of the sentiments that helped to
the American Revolution, it is also naïve to think that future
continue to honor promises made by past generations. What makes
believe they won’t simply decide to renege on the promises we have
them when the choice might be whether or not to put food on the table
continue to grow government and
transfer payments forever, and the time to address those issues is now,
they are still manageable. Nor can we avoid the problem by
discretionary spending, as is the approach in the current deficit
the course taken by the leaders
of both parties and the administration fails on all counts. They have
on the risky path of financial fragility rather than stability. A
downgrade might be the needed wake-up call for the country, our
its senior citizens.
Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist
SUNDAY, August 7, 2011
Please see my Rapid Response offering
for July 5, 2011, and many other related comments in recent
we no longer have a strategic national interest in that "graveyard of
empires", we should get out - Now. If we do, that
interest should be clearly articulated to the American people and to
fighting and dying there, and we should fight an unlimited war to
Taliban and any supporters by all means at our disposal, including the
and permanent destruction of the opium crop and the overthrow of the
government. The choice of the Afghan people would be a democratic
Muslim nation under a guaranteed decades-long American
death. The nations surrounding that strategic region could accept
reality on the ground...or could themselves be targets of any number of
American reactions. By contrast, it would be obscene to the
Afghan peoples for this country to continue in the same current
direction. President Obama, this is your Vietnam. Don't
Stand There, Do Something!"...and do it right this time.
A vital reference in this decision is a book by Elizabeth Gould and
Fitzgerald entitled "Crossing Zero: The Afpak War At the Turning
Of Americn Empire" (Open Media Series, City Lights Books, San
Francisco, Ca., 2011).
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, August 5 and
America's political system barely works any more, having been captured
ideologues on both sides of the political spectrum and clearly for sale
highest bidder. We need a Federal Constitutional Convention to
this, a difficult process which will be resisted by the same "leaders"
who got us here.
Meanwhile, we citizens still do have the vote, still used by only 60 -
the electorate even in Federal elections...a disgrace for the "greatest
democracy in the world". Regarding Democrats, too many of them
entrenched in a view of the country that never really worked and that
certainly no longer afford. They are un-educable. Regarding
Republicans, the best I can do is to refer the reader to my comments
the day following the November 2010 election (see Rapid Response for
November 3, 2010, posted on this site). The 2012 election is for
Republicans to lose if they don't reconcile. The result is, of
the hands of the Independents...who are clearly paying attention while
through the mounds of bills on their kitchen tables.
THURSDAY, August 4, 2011
IS THE FIRST
OFFERING ON A NEW TOPIC, "AMERICA THE DISABLED", WHICH WILL BE
FOLLOWED BY MANY MORE DURING THE NEXT 15 MONTHS LEADING TO THE MOST
FEDERAL ELECTIONS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS. THE FORMAT WILL BE DIAGNOSIS
AND PRESCRIBED TREATMENT.
following articles, written by Patrick Michaels for Forbes magazine,
represent one indication of why important segments of American
manufacturing can't - or won't - compete in the new world market.
if physicians, armed with antibiotics, were still insisting on bleeding
THE REST OF THE STORY…. This is
short and real eye opening. Read it and weep….
THIS LITTLE CAR COSTS OVER $42,000. It’s not cheap to go green,
but that isn’t the half of it.
Patrick Michaels is a senior fellow in Environmental Studies at the
Cato Institute and the editor of the forthcoming Climate Coup: Global
Warming's invasion of our Government and our Lives.
His Forbes column on the Chevy Volt is a case study in the nexus
between big government corruption and big business rent-seeking.
Michaels briefly recaps the well-known consumer fraud in which GM has
touted the Volt as an all-electric mass production vehicle on the
supposed basis of which its sales receive a $7,500 taxpayer subsidy,
which still renders it overpriced and unmarketable.
Michaels notes that "sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January,
and 281 in February." There seems to be a trend here.
Michaels adds that GM has announced a production run of 100, 000 in the
first two years and asks what appears to be a rhetorical question "Who
is going to buy all these cars?"
But wait! Keep hope alive! There is a positive answer to the question.
Jeffrey Immelt's GE will buy a boatload of those uneconomic GM cars.
Here the case study opens onto the inevitable political angle:
Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt
to chair his Economic Advisory Board.
GE is also awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can
provide unreliable, expensive power.
Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE
will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced.
Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and
I) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one
else wants, so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no
And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board? But of
course! Michaels includes this hilarious detail in his case
study: In a telling attempt to preserve battery power, the
heater is exceedingly weak. Consumer Reports said their tests averaged
a paltry 25 miles of electric-only running, in part because it was
testing in cold Connecticut.
The [GM] engineer at the Auto Show said cold weather would have little
effect. It will be interesting to see what the range is on a hot,
traffic-jammed summer day, when the air conditioner will really tax the
batteries. When the gas engine came on, Consumer Reports got about 30
miles to the gallon of premium fuel; which, in terms of additional cost
of high-test gas, drives the effective mileage closer to 27 mpg. A
conventional Honda Accord, which seats 5 (instead of the Volt's 4),
gets 34 mpg on the highway, and costs less than half of what CR paid,
even with the tax break.
The story of the GM Volt deserves a place in the Harvard Business
School curriculum... but of course, it won't. It's a classic tale of
the GOVERNMENT deciding what the public needs, not the marketplace.
PS: What is one of the reasons for this? Why... to keep the UAW in
business, because Obama owes them for his election.
Starting to make sense yet? Now do you understand the corruption
of the big government – big business partnership?
And guess who pays for all this corruption?
- - - - - - - - - -
Chevrolet: Where Federal Subsidies Run Deep
Mar. 31 2011 - 3:45 pm
The Chevrolet Volt sure is innovative. It’s Motor Trend’s “car of the
year.” But whether it will be successful is another story. If
it’s so great, why can’t it roll on its own four wheels without a shove
from us taxpayers?
The Volt has managed the nifty trick of being produced, in part, by the
government and being subsidized by the government at the same time – a
riff straight out of Atlas Shrugged. That’s Ayn Rand’s allegorical tale
about how metastasizing government destroys society (which will appear
as an amusing indie film on — yes — April 15).
Buy a Volt and you get to take $7,500 off of your federal tax
liability. Obviously this money doesn’t go directly to the government
or to General Motors’ new stockholders (or should we say
“riskholders”?), but it does make the $41,000+ sticker a bit less
Apparently that’s not enough. Instead of the tax credit (for which not
all buyers can qualify), Washington has upped the ante, now wanting
$7,500 cash for every purchaser. That’s in President Obama’s proposed
budget, and in legislation being circulated by Senator Debbie Stabenow
(D-Mich.). Just last week, Vice President Joe Biden sang the
praises of this subsidy at an Indiana battery plant, noting that it
would work like the “cash-for-clunkers” program. Remember that
one, where you were awarded approximately $4,000 for having your
perfectly serviceable used car summarily executed?
According to GM, the Volt is in great demand. It spends, on average,
less than two weeks on the dealer lot — the lowest dwell time of all GM
models. But only 281 cars were sold last month; quick sales are what
happen when supply is restricted.
What is holding GM back? It might be the weather. Debuting any car that
relies even partially on electric propulsion at the beginning of winter
isn’t a good idea. Optimal performance is when it is neither too
cold (the heater is a big draw off the batteries) or too hot (ditto for
a/c). With few exceptions deliveries have been made where the
weather is “springtime for GM in America.”
The cynic in me thinks that GM was very leery of introducing the Volt
in large numbers where it is cold. When the battery is depleted
(or when driven at very high speeds), the premium-gas internal
combustion engine powers the car, but its fuel mileage suffers from
having to shove around 400lbs of batteries.
In fact, the distribution map of Volt deliveries makes it seem like GM
consulted with some long-range weather forecasters, many of whom,
months ago, predicted that the upcoming winter in the eastern U.S.
would be both cold and interminable. Unfortunately, they were right.
As a result of the Volt’s scarcity, some dealers have been tacking on
hefty surcharges. Consumer Reports, which is probably pretty good
at haggling, paid $5,000 over the sticker. A dealer writing on
the car site Edmunds.com claims to be marking them up $20,000. An
unscientific sample of Volt owners indicates that nearly a quarter paid
$10,000 or more above the sticker.
So much for the subsidy winding up in the buyer’s pocket. Isn’t
it odd that the average dealer markup may be just about equal to the
subsidy? The tax credit or direct subsidy will make the Volt much more
attractive when the supply doesn’t support the surcharge.
But will this vehicle ever sell in volume? Any way you look at it, the
Volt is a niche car that is not likely to sell well. As GM has
written to me, their “customer is looking for technology that fits
their lifestyle of daily commuting, wants the latest in automotive
technology, and wants to decrease their dependence on gasoline.”
Translation: Volt buyers are likely to use the car primarily in
short-distance commutes, are “early adopters” of new technologies
(i.e. affluent), and, given that there are other cars out there that
probably will get just as good fuel economy when driven under diverse
conditions, our customers want to show off how virtuous they are.
You can buy two 41-mpg Honda Insights, loaded, for $39,800. The Insight
will (uncomfortably) carry 5, one more passenger than the Volt’s
battery pack will allow.
But, wait, we’re talking about the “car of the year” here. That alone
should make anyone ask why it needs a subsidy.
Beware. Motor Trend has a history of bestowing this prize on
path-breaking vehicles that have yet to be tested by real drivers in a
The 1971 Chevrolet Vega won this award. It now holds second place in
Car Talk’s “worst car of the millennium” competition. I
agree. Mine rusted before my very eyes and when I got rid of it,
four fenders and two engines later, the green monster was getting 50mpq
(that’s miles per quart of 40-weight oil).
In 1976 it was the Dodge Aspen. It’s in seventh place on Car Talk. My
parents’ Aspen was the only vehicle in which I have ever become carsick
And then there was the 1980 Chevrolet Citation: according to
Forbes.com, the fifth worst car ever made.
So why should we subsidize the Volt? If they are so in demand
that dealers can charge thousands over the sticker price and still they
are flying off the lots, just build the cars and they will come.
There’s no need for GM and our modern corporatist state to prove Ayn
Rand correct. Enjoy the show and hope that it remains fiction rather
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, August 1
through 3, 2011
recent months saw a contentious debate
between conservatives and far left liberals over the role of Federal
and the future health of this nation. It
was sharp and divisive because it had to be…and because this debate
happened twenty years ago – right after the collapse of the Soviet
the end of the Cold War. It was then
that our national priorities should have been re-set, as they had been
the end of WW ll. Instead, the worst
elements of our free enterprise system took hold (read “greed”), where
Street became LasVegas, where unbridled “consumerism” became the
(something Vladimir Putin recently termed “a parasite on the world”
justification)…leading to today’s problems even if 9/11 and the
had not occurred. What we have now goes
deeper than the fairly accurate analysis that follows from the
Post (below). Rather, it should be
seen as a Constitutional Crisis that can only be dealt with by means of
Constitutional Convention designed to re-work our method of electing
Federal representatives…allowing much less power for money effectively
elections, as is now the case.
Meanwhile, what has emerged from Washington in recent days - as one legislator put it – is not a
solution, but a deal. The solution is
appropriately in the hands of the American electorate in November,
clear choice between limited and responsible government proposed by
and Republicans…and ever-expanding and irresponsible government as
far left liberals and Democrats. Yes, “it’s
the Economy, stupid”. But the
present and future state of our economy is and will be directly tied to
outcome of this choice for decades to come…and perhaps permanently for
future of America.
The debt ceiling fight: What we learned
By Chris Cillizza | The Washington Post – Mon, Aug 1, 2011.
Assuming leaders in the House and Senate can wrangle majority
support for the debt ceiling deal they cut with the White House on
Sunday, it appears as though the debate that has consumed Congress —
and the political class — for the better part of this year is, finally,
Looking back, there are several lessons to be learned for
both parties going forward. A few of those lessons are below. If you’ve
got lessons learned of your own, use the comments section to offer
* Home field advantage matters: The turf on which any battle
or game is being fought matters. It’s true in war, sports and politics.
The debt ceiling debate proved that once again as Republicans took
advantage of the fact that on matters of spending, debt and the size of
government there is an innate sense among the electorate that the GOP
is better equipped to make the right decisions. Republicans knew from
the start that they started from a position of relative strength
because of those general perceptions and, as a result, were willing to
push harder and stick closer to their original negotiating position.
* Mismatched stakes = mismatched result s: Democrats feared
default far more than Republicans did. Democratic Members of Congress,
almost to a person, saw default as the first step of an international
econonomic catastrophe with wide-ranging consequences for the country.
There was a significant faction of congressional Republicans who, well,
didn’t. Republicans knew that Democrats wouldn’t ultimately accept
default as an outcome while Democrats couldn’t say the same of
Republicans. The stakes of the debt ceiling fight were decidedly
mismatched, a fact that virtually ensured that the final deal would be
more slanted to the GOP.
* Presidents are pragmatists: The idea that Obama wouldn’t
ultimately cut some sort of deal was a misread of the role of the
presidency when it comes to these sort of high-profile showdowns. Nine
times out of ten, a president will choose the pragmatic rather than the
ideological approach when the pressure is on. Why? Because the baseline
expectation that most people (read: voters) have of the chief executive
is to keep the trains running on time. Failure to do so carries huge
political risks. On the rare occasion that a president picks up his
ball and goes home — Bill Clinton during the 1995/1996 government
shutdown — it’s because they see a direct path toward political victory
in doing so. That wasn’t the case here and so Obama took the pragmatic
* Nancy Pelosi=relevant: Talk that Pelosi was largely
irrelevant in the debt ceiling fight misses the mark in one significant
way. She was able to keep her Democratic caucus entirely unified
against House Speaker John Boehner’s compromise bill on the debt
ceiling, forcing him to first postpone a vote and then cobble together
a majority by adding conservative candy that made the bill even less
palatable as a middle ground. Then Pelosi made another power play, this
one with the White House as she refused to say on Sunday whether or not
she could deliver the necessary Democratic votes for the compromise.
* Kicking the can (still) works: While Obama and
congressional leaders will undoubtedly tout their willingness to
address the nation’s debt problems in a serious way once (if?) this
compromise deal goes through the House and Senate, it’s clear with the
creation of the super committee that they have kicked some of the
toughest — and least politically popular — decisions down the road.
Cutting Medicare and defense spending, if it ultimately comes to that,
less than a year before the 2012 election will be a true “face the
music” moment. Will Congress and the White House blink?
* This is the beginning, not the end: What the debt ceiling
fight amounted to was the first major skirmish of the 2012 election.
It’s now obvious just how differently the two parties see the way
forward when it comes to healing the economy. That’s a good thing for
voters since the choice in 2012 will be crystal clear. How big should
the government be? What should it do/not do? What’s the best way to
kickstart the economy? The two parties have markedly different answers
to each of those questions, answers that were fleshed out to some
degree during the debt ceiling debate. The work of the next 15 months
for the two parties will be to further explain to voters where they
stand and why they’re right.
(c) Copyright 1999-2017, Allergy Associates of New London, PC