Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avatat -- Good Movie But With Hollyweird Overtones

Everyone loves Avatar. I enjoyed the film. I laid down the extra money for the 3D experience. The special effects were amazing. But the story was a bit lame. I guess it makes for good theatre but the liberal overtones were obvious.

The premise about a world that has a valuable natural resource gets exploited by greedy capitalists and over zealous military at the expense of an indigenous people and the environment. If that's not Hollyweird, I don't know what is.

According to them, all capitalism is bad because it exploits the weak and the environment. They see capitalists as believing nothing is sacred -- no flora or fauna species is immune to the inevitable that progress dictates. That all military is bad -- they kill for the sake of killing, only the smart will disobey orders.

Hollywierd is great at propaganda, disguised as entertainment. I just hope others can enjoy a movies but realize that there is at least a secondary agenda that is core to Hollywood and liberals the world over.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Failing Obama Turns to Populism

This week's State of the Union address by President Obama was the worst speech I have heard him make. He has morphed into a pure populous president -- focusing on topics that are supposed to appeal to the average Joe and Jane.

He is trying to get gain by bashing Wall Street, banks, oil, insurance -- big business. He tries to make it sound like he was forced to take the job as president -- as if he had no choice but to rescue a troubled nation. It is still Bush's fault, the Democrat Congress's.

But his attack on the Supreme Court was reprehensible. It is one thing to disagree with them but quite another to criticize based on false statements. He stated:
"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems." See the 40 second YouTube video HERE.
It was disrespectful of him and his Democrat colleagues that stood and applauded. The Citizens United case was about the rights of labor unions, DOMESTIC corporations and non-profits, how they can express their views via media. It was not about corporations giving unlimited money to candidates or allowing foreign nationals or entities to make contributions. It reversed two recent precedents (1990 and 2003), not a "century of law."

Obama never mentioned the First Amendment or the protection thereof. Not sure what is going on in his mind when he talks, along with his Democrat cronies, about proposing law that over rides this. Isn't he supposed to be a lawyer?

This anti-capitalist, liberal ideologue can care less about what is best for America. He only cares about forcing failed socialistic policies on our capitalistic society. Three cases (out of dozens):

-- giving money to community banks forces them to follow forthcoming federal guidelines (it is the taxpayers dollars so the feds will tell them how to use it.)

-- tax credits to small business (not tax cuts which free up liquidity.)

-- students who take out college loans will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years, 10 years if they choose a career in public service (how about swapping the two and not incentivizing government employment that requires tax dollars?)

Obama is desperate. Desperate politicians turn to populist tactics.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Manufacturing and Jobs for America, But Not From Obama

President Obama will give his State of the Union. He will state the regular Presidential stuff but Obama will try to spin it as if he has a mandate to do this and that. He will talk about a spending freeze on some things (less than 20 percent of the budget) but not state anything about how government will continue to expand beyond our wildest dreams. He will talk about the recession and how he will do everything in his power to get people back to work.

I ran into a report from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Milken Institute on recommendations to get us out of this recession (from a manufacturing group's perspective obviously). Key findings from the 9-page PDF report include:
Economic and Tax Policy
-- Reducing the U.S. corporate income tax rate to match the OECD average would trigger new growth. By 2019, it could boost real GDP by $375.5 billion (2.2 percent), create an additional 350,000 manufacturing jobs, and increase total employment by 2.13 million.

-- Increasing the R&D tax credit by 25 percent and making it permanent could boost real GDP by $206.3 billion (1.2 percent), generate 316,000 manufacturing jobs, and raise total employment by 510,000 within a decade.

-- Modernizing U.S. export controls could increase exports in high-value areas. By
2019, these policy adjustments could enhance real GDP by $64.2 billion (0.4
percent), create 160,000 manufacturing jobs, and heighten total employment by 340,000.

Infrastructure Investment
-- The proposed investments analyzed in this report, totaling $425.6 billion across 10 projects over three years (with just over half in highway and transit initiatives), translate into $1.4 trillion in total output, including the ripple effects generated across all sectors.

-- Taken together, these 10 investments have the potential to create 3.4 million jobs directly and, including all the ripple effects, 10.7 million jobs in total (an average annual increase of 3.5 million across three years).

-- The projects outlined could generate direct earnings of $147.1 billion (and total earnings of $420.6 billion, including all ripple effects).
What we will hear from Obama and his liberal Party will not be job-creating policies but political statements pushing the liberal agenda.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the 2010 federal deficit to be $1.35 trillion. The Senate has no interest is cutting the deficit and reducing spending.

One really must wonder if America can be saved. These deficits are suffocating. With no political will to address the core problem -- uncontrolled spending -- the only hope is a ideological revolution and a complete takeover of Congress by fiscal conservatives.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brett Farve, The Good and the Bad

Congrats to the Saints. They have had a great season. I will not get on the Saints bandwagon but appreciate those that have been Saints fans for decades. The Saints only have five Viking turnovers to thank in their overtime win in the Superdome.

Sure the Vikings fumbled way to many times, but this game clearly was lost by Brett Farve.

I appreciate Farve's effort and career. But I have never been a fan. He has always gotten away with bad tactics and questionable decisions. More often than not, his athleticism got him over the hump.

But when you need him to pull through, he lets you down. He might have helped the Packers win a Super Bowl, but he kept the Vikings out of this year's. It is like a super star basketball player who misses free throws at crunch time or the last second 3-pointer. The Vikings would not have been here with out him, but he also cost them this game.

He made the sin of all QB sins: throwing back across the field on a role out.

I wish it were not so but it is ironic that Farve's last pass will go down as an INT.

This is one I will never get over.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama Policies Perpetuate Recession

Obamaism has been repudiated three times in three different elections since he came to power with his hope and change campaign.
President Obama carried Massachusetts by 26 points on Nov. 4, 2008. Fifteen months later, on Jan. 19, 2010, the eve of the first anniversary of his inauguration, his party's candidate lost Massachusetts by five points. That's a 31-point shift. Mr. Obama won Virginia by six points in 2008. A year later, on Nov. 2, 2009, his party's candidate for governor lost by 18 points—a 25 point shift. Mr. Obama won New Jersey in 2008 by 16 points. In 2009 his party's incumbent governor lost re-election by four points—a 20-point shift.

In each race, the president's party lost independent voters, who in 2008 voted like Democrats and in 2010 voted like Republicans.
Obama, after his Party's set-back in MA and with health care, is back on the 2008 campaign stump.

Obama is bumptious. He attacks the wealth makers and job creators.

His incessant public appearances is a cynosure. It is always about him. It is never what the people really want. It is about what he wants them to want. His imputation is that the Right is the cause of all that is wrong. He has the temerity to blame everyone but himself and his liberal policies. He has trumped Bill Clinton with his neologism.

Obamaism is a failure. Socialism is not America. Capitalism works when the government gets out of the way. With stifling taxes, the threat of new ones, the threat of health care changes, and with no real hope for business investment, there is nothing positive in the economy to pull us out of this recession. The job creators are not willing to take the risks they need to in order to create new business ventures and expenditures.

I want to buy another house but I think that a) the bottom has not yet been reached and b) there will be a double dip to this recession. Cash rules. There is little the average guy is willing to invest in because we have no faith in our government and its policies.

This recession would end in a few months if a) taxes were cut, b) the size of government was reigned in, and c) the deficit is attacked with reasonable policies. Obama and the Democratic-lead Congress will not do this because it "takes from their self-importance."

Prepare for more of Obama's interminable speeches...yadda, yadda, yadda ... me, me, me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Corporations Have First Ammendment Rights Also

Last week's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission stuck down a blanket prohibition on corporate political speech at the federal level.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This decision restores freedom of political speech at the federal level that has been denied for decades.

This will not allows corporations to fund individual federal candidates, rather it allows them spend money advocating issues, positions and candidates including producing movies against candidates like Citizens United did with their anti-Hillary movie in 2008 that make this ruling possible.

The courts have provided less protection to core political speech than it has to Internet pornography, the transmission of stolen information, flag burning, commercial advertising, topless dancing, and burning a cross outside an African-American church.

In the dissent, Justice Stevens wrote "the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government."

Just because we have always been doing something that violates the Constitution does not mean we need to continue doing it.

The reason the left is in uproar over this is because it now means there are other options to confront the likes of Acorn, Chicago-style politicking, the New York Times. The left is all in favor of free speech, provided it works in their behalf. When the playing field is level, panic ensues.

The dissenters feel this will result in more election corruption (than already exists) -- that only the largest companies will dictate the political discourse. They use populous talking points -- oil, insurance, wall street, and large multi-nationals will buy elections. There is no doubt more money will be spent but there is no evidence saying the result will be negative.

Today, over half of the states allow corporate expenditures in state campaigns. There is no evidence that corruption is the rule in these states.

What would be prudent is to make sure that immediate, full disclosure be made of who give what and when.

The Constitution wins, like it should. The public agrees that campaign money is free speech and so do I.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Bank Rules Not the Answer

Let's think back: what was the main driving factor behind the current recession? The main issue was risky mortgages -- loans and loan terms to people who would be unable to meet their obligations in a down tern.

Most of us agree that the American taxpayer should not be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail. The Obama/Volcker plan (not the Geithner or Summers plan) is to ban banks from running their own trading desks and owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge funds and private equity groups.

There is little indication that this will solve the problem as it was not the main factor of the recession. It seem more political than prudent regulation. It appears an administration leveraging the unrelated issue of obscene bonuses paid to investment bankers (they've been doing this for years).

As long as the federal government is willing to bail out firms, regardless of what might cause their issues, these firms will factor this into their risk posture.

Why not take a stance of not bailing any private firm out? Why not get out of the housing mortgage market by eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Since when is it the government's job to ensure everyone owns a home?

Obama is rightly being labeled as anti-business. What Obama/Volcker have done is add another impediment to American business. We all would be better served if the government quit adding regulation and focused more on taking much of it away.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brother This and Sister That

I have been a member of the Church most of my life. However I have never been overly comfortable with calling my fellow members brother and sister. For me, about the only time I do this is if I remember the last name of someone, but forget the first name.

I am not opposed to anyone call me brother, I just don't feel comfortable reciprocating.

Like most places in the country, Mormon co-workers are in the minority. Where I work, there are less than ten members, out of around 350 people. I just happen to sit by a fellow member; a good guy. He is often overheard talking on the phone to fellow Church members throughout the day. I just wonder what others think when they hear him saying "brother this or sister that?"

We all know Mormons are a peculiar people. This is just another one of the peculiarisms.

The Irony of Brown Winning the Kennedy Seat

We rarely see these things -- they are more for the novel or big screen. Ted Kennedy, the wannabe godfather of socialized medicine, passes away. His seat, filled temporarily by a a liberal after some MA state shenanigans, was taken by a Republican that clearly stated his intent to not vote for it.

All I can say is, and I can't believe I am actually saying this, bless the people of Massachusetts.

Who would have thought this was possible. Only two weeks ago, Coakley have a double digit lead. This teaches us that nothing is every a done deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elections Are Won By Good Candidates and Reasonable Platforms

Significant elections for meaningful positions are won by the candidate who runs a better campaign and who is a better candidate that the opponent. Sounds rhetorical doesn't it.

Today's Senate race for the late Ted Kennedy's US Senate seat from Massachusetts was won by Republican Scott Brown. Stated another way, it was lost by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley.

Obama was a more appealing candidate than McCain. Brown was more appealing that Coakley. She, quite frankly might be an okay lawyer but she's poorly informed on national and international issues.

In the Brown-Coakley race, here being an idiot was only one factor. It was a clear vote against Obamism, namely socialized medicine. Heck, the people from MA already have a state-sponsored health plan, thanks in part to ex-Governor, Republican Mitt Romney. They don't need no stinking federal program.

Elections, at the state level for federal positions, can only be won by winning the vote of the moderates. Moderates are not well informed; they are not ignorant, rather fence-sitters. They are not liberals, nor are they conservatives.

A candidate needs to be professional, intelligent, well-spoken but not too much of a good thing. They need to be someone who people can relate to.

Obama was a breath of fresh air for many -- new and different (so he appeared). McCain was old and stale. Brown brings reasonableness. He ran an honest campaign that was appealing enough for most -- not the die-hard liberals just the independents and moderates.

The biggest problem we have with elections is that the pool of candidates is so poor. What sane person would want the scrutiny and to be constantly begging for money in exchange for their soul?

I am glad Brown won. I hope we can all learn a lesson on how to win elections with good candidates and reasonable platforms.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obama King of Class Warfare

Obama's statement today about making the banks pay for their past sins and for taking TARP money was at his egotistical finest.

I really wish I cold like this man but he does not give me anything to work with. I cannot stand him, his policies and his deceit.

He is making it appear as if only the rich, wall street bankers are to blame for our current, national financial woes. Sure there were mistakes make by these banks. Politicians love finding scapegoats, and the rich are target #1 for Democrats.

Many of those that received funds have paid them back with interest. Why does Obama feel it is in our national, financial best interest to make banks that have paid back their loans with a heavy tax?

Obama is trying to capitalize on class envy. He is going to punish those that fulfilled their end of the bargain and he will reward those broken organizations like GM and Freddie Mac with more money. Take from the successful and give to the failures. That must be the Democrat way because they do it over and over.

These policies will not provide American any inventive to invest, spend and take risks.

Miracle in Tucson

Not a miracle of Biblical proportions, however amazing nevertheless...

I went to the Arizona DMV today to trade in my Utah drivers license for an Arizona one.

In 15 minutes I filled out a form, paid $10, got my picture taken, and departed with a new license good through 2024.

Tell me that is not a miracle.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Should Nations Obey the USA's Airport Screening Mandates?

The Obama administration and the TSA, like previous administrations, continue to over react to single terrorist acts, even those that fail.

It is reasonable to highlight certain nations which have direct flights into the USA for extra passenger screening? Telling people they need to show up for their flight up to seven hours prior to departure...come on.

Certainly the 14 flagged nations have terrorist tendencies, but does a reasonable person think this is going to stop wannabe terrorists? A terrorist must now consider sources other than Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for their departure location.

Do American officials and politicians think that other nations should bow to their wishes? Are we returning the favor? Do we assume that other nations feel it is okay to screen the human body with impunity, even children.

Has anyone asked the question: what should the airport security personnel in Amsterdam have done differently for a passenger that boarded a flight in Nigeria that was routed through an intermediate hub? Once into the screened area, you do not have to go through a second screening. Are they going to start forcing people through a secondary screening at any transfer location?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Southern Arizona Border Issues

The issues of border security are well know by those that live along the borders, not well know to most others in the nation.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Park borders Mexico -- over 30 miles of common border. Because of the nature of a national park and those that administer it, animal migration trumps political boundaries. At the Lukeville border crossing (pictured), there is a real fence over 15 feet high. Beyond that, you run into a Normandy-style fence.

Border fences designed to keep out vehicles and other designed to control pedestrians.

To the east of Organ Pipe Cactus National Park is the main portion of the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The Indian Nation has not done a job at securing its border with Mexico. In all fairness to them, the international boundary actually bisects their native lands. Some have no proof of birth and find it challenging to access the Nation's medical and economic facilities in Sells, AZ, due to the border. It was not too long ago that the fence was single strand of barbed wire for cattle control.

The Mexican know these weaknesses. They can move large amounts of drugs across the border on the backs of human couriers. They can strap 80 pound packs ladened with drugs on the backs of the human pack-mules. They can cross the border undetected and rendezvous with their partners deep within the Sonoran desert (as well as the Chihuahuan desert).

The US border patrol has its work cut out for it. Environmentalists and Native American leaders are reluctantly doing their parts.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Organ Pipe Cactus National Park

We all have our stories to tell about how we spent our new year's weekend. For me, being all alone in southern Arizona, months ahead of my family, I elected to spend it hiking in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park.

Cacti have been an area that has interested me since my late teens and my first years in college. I love cactus -- their uniquenesses and varieties. Organ Pipe Cactus NP offers a particular vision into Sonoran biology.

I drove to OPCNP early Friday morning, 1 Jan 2010. I hiked around the Ajo Canyon Arch and hike up into the Bull Pasture, just below Mount Ajo, and back down through the Estes Canyon. After a cool night under the stars and near full moon -- a day after a December blue moon (it was like sleeping with the ceiling light on all night.) On Saturday, I hiked around the mines in the Sonoyta Mountains -- Victoria Mine, Lost Cabin Mine and Martinez Mine -- and into the Senita Basin.

The organ pipe cactus (Cereus thurberi - pictured) and similar senita cactus (Cereus schottii) are interesting. They thrive in the southern exposed, rocky bajada slopes. You have to appreciate plants that large that like it that hot, day after day. I also enjoyed seeing some of the less-common Echinocereus, Mammillaria and Opuntia genus.

Interesting, due to border issues, three-quarters of the Park are closed to visitors. You can only drive about five miles up the Puerto Blanco Road from the Visitor's Center before you run into a barrier. In the southern end of the park, just north of Lukeville, the roads that take you along the border are closed. You can't really access the Bates Mountains, Puerto Blanco Mountains, Cipriano Hills, or the Quitobaquito Hills and Spring.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Park is a great place for cactus lovers. But it is a little discouraging that so much of the park is off limits to American citizens -- only Border Patrol and drug smugglers (they tell us).