Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't Underestimate the Power of Palin !

The last round of Republican primaries has established 
one thing: 

Don't Underestimate the Power of Palin !

Unlike any other Republican figure, Sarah Palin has proven 
beyond doubt to have the "endorsement power" that excites
voters and gets them to the polls.

The Great Corporatist Mitt Romney doesn't have this power. 
Neither do Mike Huckabee nor Tim Pawlenty.

After this last round, the Palin endorsement scoreboard is 20 Wins, 
10 losses - a 67% winning percentage. That's good ball in any game.

But when we go behind the raw figures and dig down 
into the details, it gets even more impressive. Most of the 
Palin-endorsed primary victories were won by Tea Party 
backed candidates; most of the losses were candidates 
backed by the Republican "Establishment". And this last fact 
is something you will not find in the Mainstream media, with 
the possible exception of Fox News.

Which leads one to ask the question: "Why did Sarah Palin 
waste her endorsement power on Establishment candidates?" 
Answer: Sarah Palin is a serious politician, who will either 
win the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination or decide who 
does. To get that power, she needs to get political IOU's from 
her party's mainstream, not just the "Tea Party". 
And, as the GOP's hottest commodity, she can literally 
make or break a candidacy with her support.

Think that's a little extreme? Just ask soon-to-be-ousted Senator 
Lisa Murtkowski (R-AK), who lost to Palin and Tea Party
endorsed candidate Joe Miller.

Until two months ago, Sen. Murtkowski was the picture of 
an untouchable Establishment Republican. The daughter of
former Governor Frank Murtkowski (whom Palin defeated
for Governor in 2006), Sen. Murtkowski had $10 million
in the bank, was 20 points ahead in the polls, and was 
cruising toward re-election. Then Palin and the Tea Party
stepped in. 

While Palin endorsed candidate Miller and recorded 
messages for him, Husband Todd and the Tea Party
sprang into action. Going door-to-door and village-to-
village in Alaska's remoteness, The Tea Party and Todd
Palin won the day for Joe Miller - and the reverberations 
were felt all around the country, most especially in Washington

Message delivered: If you are an Establishment GOP incumbent,
and Sarah Palin opposes you, you are not safe. And if you are
too closely identified with the GOP "Establishment", a Sarah
Palin endorsement may not save you.

And the details bear this out. Of the fifteen House Candidates
endorsed by Sarah Palin, 9 won and 6 lost. Of the winners,
seven were Tea Party Candidates, and only two were from
the "Establishment". Of the losers, two were Tea Party and 
four were "establishment" - including three incumbents.

On the Senate side, the results were a little more evenly
divided. Two "establishment" Palin-endorsed candidates
won (Carly Fiorina in California and John McCain in Arizona),
two Tea Party candidates lost (in Washington and Kansas),
and Tea Party bright lights Sharron Angle(Nevada) and Rand Paul
(Kentucky) won (and are expected to win in the general election), 
with the help of Sarah Palin's endorsement.

And with the always important Governor's races, Sarah made the 
difference in at least four of the nine contests she endorsed, saving
establishment candidates Susanna Martinez in New Mexico and
Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, as well as engineering the dramatic 
come-from-behind win of Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

Yes, that Nikki Haley - the daughter of Indian immigrants whom
a GOP Establishment figure called a "raghead" in public.

Bottom line - when Sarah Palin makes her run for the White House
in 2012, she'll have an awful lot of folks in the GOP, both in the
"establishment" and out, who will owe her big time.

And in getting her "IOU's" in early, on both sides of the GOP,
she's following in the proven footsteps of the Greatest 
Conservative of our Age, the 40th President, Ronald Reagan.

And she's looking and sounding more and more like The Gipper
every day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama, Pelosi and Reid: Putting Government First

By Patrick J. Buchanan (Creators Syndicate) - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Where a man's purse is, there his heart will be also.

If you wish to know where the heart of the Obama party 
is today, consider: In the dog says of August, with temperatures 
in D.C. rising above 100, Nancy Pelosi called the House back to 
Washington to enact legislation that could not wait until September.

Purpose: Vote $ 26 billion to prevent layoffs of state, county 
and municipal employees whose own governments had decided 
they had to be let go if they were to meet their constitutional duty 
to balance their books.

Workers their own governments thought expendable, Congress 
decided were so essential it borrowed another 26 thousand 
million dollars from China to keep them on state and local 

A nation whose national debt is approaching its gross national 
product, that goes abroad to borrow to keep non-essential 
workers on the government payroll, is a nation on the way 
down and out. 
And anyone who thinks the party of Obama, Reid and Pelosi
is ever going to cull the armies of tens of millions of government
workers or scores of millions of government beneficiaries to put
America's house in order is deluding himself.

As long as this Congress and White House remain in power, a
U.S. default on its national debt is inevitable. The only question
is when.

Nor is this the first time the Obama Administration has rushed to 
save workers whose own state, city and county governments
were prepared to let go. Among the reasons the $800 billion
stimulus failed is that so little of it was directed to firing up 
the locomotive of the economy, the private sector, and so much
of it was spent to ensure that government workers did not have to 
share in the national sacrifice.

Why Pelosi and Co. felt compelled to return to D.C., to ensure
that state and local government payrolls were not pared, is 
not hard to understand.

Which party does the American Federation of Teachers, 
The National Education Association, and the American 
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
usually contribute to, work for, vote for?
At which of the two party conventions are teachers 
and government employees hugely over-represented?

Consider too, the states deepest in debt and facing
the largest cuts in employee ranks, pay and benefits:
California, Illinois, New York.

In these states, public employees earn an average of 
$10,000 more a year in pay and benefits than the
average American worker who is bailing them out.

Hence, we have a situation where private-sector workers
in Middle America are being taxed, their children driven
deeper into debt so government employees who have 
greater job security than they do, and earn more in pay
and benefits than they will ever earn, can stay in Fat City.

And folks wonder why so many Americans detest 

In the same week that Congress came back to 
prevent AFSCME from taking a haircut, the
Wall Street Journal reported that in 2009,
only three of 52 metro areas with populations
over 1 million  saw "net earnings and the broader
measure of personal income both rise".

Are you surprised to learn that Washington D.C.
is #1 among the three?

That same day, USA Today had a startling report
on how, during the last decade, U.S. Government
workers, like Wall Street bankers, left their fellow 
Americans in the dust.

"Federal workers have been awarded bigger average 
pay and benefit increases than private employees
for nine years in a row, The compensation gap
between federal and private workers has doubled
in the past decade.

"Federal civil servants earned average pay and 
benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private 
workers earned $61,051 in total compensation.
The federal compensation advantage has grown
from $30,415 in 2000 to $ 61,998 last year. "

Remarkable. U.S. government workers, who
enjoy the greatest job security of any Americans,
now earn twice as much in pay and benefits as the 
average American. This is not the D.C. some of
us grew up in.

Nor is all of this Obama's doing. For most of the
fat years of the federal work force came while
Washington was being run by Big Government 
Conservatives and a White House of Bush-Cheney

No wonder the Tea party is targeting both parties.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to believe that the
Obamaites, who intervened twice and massively
with bailouts to prevent minor layoffs of local
and state government employees, have the stomach 
to do the major surgery needed to cut the federal
monolith down to size.

For the vast majority of government employees
vote Democratic, as do the vast majority of the
scores of millions of beneficiaries of federal, state,
and local programs.

What Pelosi and Co. were saying with the $26
billion bailout was "We are going to protect
our own".

Which is why either Obama, Reid, Pelosi and 
Co. go, or we are Gone.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Islam Dominant: The Ground Zero Mosque

The "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy isn't going away
anytime soon, no matter what our social and political
"leaders" say. 

But as is usually the case where there's a more heat
than light on a subject, the issues are not always
completely clear cut. To begin with, we should try to 
understand a few things.

First of all, religious freedom and tolerance are
uniquely part of the American experience - in contrast
to both Europe and the Muslim World. 

Had there not been brave people with the courage 
to flee religious persecution and discrimination,
there probably wouldn't be a United States of America.

And, unfortunately, the Muslims are only the latest
"other" religious group to face religious persecution
and discrimination here in the United States.

A quick history lesson. One hundred and fifty years ago,
waves of economic-based immigration brought tens
of millions of Roman Catholic Irish, Italians, and Poles
to our shores, to face immediate discrimination and
prejudice at the hands of the American Protestant

An entire political movement - The "Know-Nothing" 
party -  was built around anti-Catholic sentiment. 
And like today's Muslims, the Catholics were 
suspected of being a "fifth column" - part of a global 
"Papist Plot", to bring the United States - and all of 
Western Civilization - under the domination of the 
Pope in Rome.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? And the language used
by the press of that time in describing the "Catholic
Threat" would never be allowed today, even in the
most fever-swamped screeds of the fringes.

In this light, it should come as no surprise that President
Obama took the time to remind the nation of its too-often
forgotten commitment to religious freedom and toleration.
And to a point, the President is right - Imam Feisal Abdul
Rauf and his followers do have a legal right to erect a mosque
in a location of their choosing, subject to local ordinances
and the like.

But all legal platitudes aside, the decision to build a
Mosque at this particular location is hugely unwise.

To begin with, it's a direct insult to the thousands
of New Yorkers whose memories of the events of 9/11
are indelible scars.

Second, it sends exactly the wrong message of Islam
Dominant and Triumphant - when the building is
complete, it will directly overlook two holes in the
ground where the World Trade Center used to be.
That's not too terribly helpful for the "War On Terror" -
in fact, it makes "terror" look like the winning side.
Look for Al-Jazeera and the rest of "violent Islam" -
(and there's really no other kind) to treat this as
a deservedly huge propaganda victory.

So, what would be the right decision? Go ahead
and build a Mosque - but anywhere else, just not
at this particular spot.

To his credit, New York Governor David Paterson
in suggesting this got it exactly right. To his
everlasting shame, New York Mayor and Mosque
supporter Michael Bloomberg got it exactly wrong.

It would be as if the Church of the White Aryan
Resistance decided to build a church next door
to the Mt. Zion AME Church in Harlem - and then
deck the place out in Confederate Flags and play
"Dixie" on Martin Luther King Day.

Or better yet, build it next to Temple Beth Israel
and fly the swastika and play "The Horst Wessel Lied"
every Friday at sundown.

Nobody in their right mind, of course, would allow
either such thing - but that's exactly what the mosque
supporters among our elites are doing.

And this whole affair just reeks of the contempt
of the Secular Liberal Ruling Elites for any opinions
but their own. Steeped in moral relativism, bound
by situational ethics, and hopelessly debilitated
by "political correctness" , the decision to permit
this ill-advised project is just one more blot on
a sorry and sordid record.

Whether the issue is Immigration, Islam, endless
war, trade, financial reform, or corporate greed,
our "Ruling Elites" have managed to be consistently
wrong every time, on every issue.

Always ready to excuse and forgive every crime,
every transgression, every bit of wrongdoing, our
"Elites" are like the Bourbon kings of France -
they learned nothing, and remembered nothing.

And we the people, in no mood to either forgive
or forget, may well decide to give them the same
treatment the Bourbons got in 1789.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bell, California: Followup.

The story on the public corruption in the impoverished
city of Bell, California just won't go away.

Thanks to the angry outcry of the citizens, City Manager
Robert "Ratso" Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia,
and Police Chief Randy Adams have all resigned. Mayor
Oscar Hernandez, Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo, and councilmen
Luis Artiga and Jorge Mirabal have followed suit by agreeing
to forgo their salaries for the rest of their terms.

Only honest councilman Lorenzo Velez will remain on the

At this point, I also want to point out something that initially,
both the L.A. Times and I got wrong . Both the Times and I said
that there were seven councilmen, including the Mayor and Vice
Mayor (who are also voting members of the City Council).

In reality, there are only five all told - it is Maywood, which
outsourced everything to save money, that has a head count
of seven.

Be that as it may, the other facts speak for themselves. These
miscreants loaded themselves up with salaries and perks that
made them some of the highest paid public "servants" anywhere
in the United States, let alone California.

But the big question everyone is asking is " How did they do it?"

Here's How:

Back in 1999, then-Gov. Gray Davis and the Democrat-dominated
legislature changed two things. First, the pension-calculating
formula for all State and general-law municipality employees
with pensions administered by CalPERS, (the state public
employee retirement system)m was made more generous.
Second, the guidelines for general-law municipality employee
compensation (as Bell was at that time), were changed to
bring managerial and exempt employee compensation in
line with that of employees covered by a collective bargaining

For the Bell boodlers, this meant substantial raises in
wages and retirement benefits. But the looting didn't stop

In 2005, following the examples of the neighboring cities
of Commerce and Vernon, Bell held a special election to
become a Charter or "Home Rule" city - meaning that
thereafter they could write their own rules with respect
to wages, benefits, and collective bargaining. It also meant
that they were exempt from state guidelines on property tax
assessments, subject only to those restrictions imposed by
Proposition 13.

At the special election, only 336 of 14,000 registered
voters showed up at the polls - and as it was a special,
not a general election, notice only had to be posted in a
"newspaper of general circulation" - meaning, the Legal
Notices section of the Times. Thus for all practical
purposes, only those with a direct financial
interest in the outcome voted.

And once the Charter was granted, the pay feast
was on. The sixteen "one minute a month" city
commissions were set up, with pay scales
to match.

And that's how "Ratso" Rizzo, the City manager,
managed to get most of his pay - taking his compensation
from a base of $186,000 to his final total wages of $601,000.
And the other $187,000? That's the cash value of unpaid
vacation and sick leave, housing allowance (Rizzo owns a
$2 million dollar home in Huntington Beach),
car allowance (he drives a Mercedes-Benz, as well as a
city-provided Cadillac Escalade), and a special bonus which
enables him to retire immediately at age 55 with 31 years of
credited service - which translates to a pension
of $600,000 a year for the rest of his life.

And the most depressing news? Despite the ongoing
investigations, and the special audit of city finances
ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger, all of this
Wall-Street type looting is probably all legal.

The only hope for Bell at this point is that either Attorney
General Jerry Brown (yes, the former Governor running
again for his old job), the L. A. County District Attorney,
or The Public Integrity Division of the U.S. Attorney's
office can find some irregularity somewhere along the line.

Otherwise, they will all ride off into the sunset with the
loot, leaving the Bell citizenry holding the bag.

We're going to stay on top of this story, and we eagerly
await the outcomes of all three investigations.

Adult Education: Passing The Seven

The "new economy" has everyone looking to re-invent
themselves - and your correspondent is no exception.

The predicament has always been - re-invent yourself
to do what?

And it's not as if opportunity is around every corner.

"Retraining" the jobless for new careers is touted
everywhere as a cure for what has become endemic
and chronic unemployment. The only problem is
is that for the most part neither the old jobs the
unemployed left nor the "new" jobs they were
trained for exist any longer in this economy.

And I found myself in a similar predicament, in that
the field in which I worked independently was about
to go the way of the dodo. After all, what I did was
predicated on the existence of a REAL economy,
where people made, sold and transported real goods
the real people had a demand for.

Well, that's all so '80s and '90s. Has nothing to do
with today's "real economy" , which is trading contracts
and pieces of paper back and forth in the best bankster

So, I decided about a year ago, since I was reading and writing
so much about "traders" and "banksters", I decided to
become one.

First thing to do was to teach myself How To Trade. That's
relatively easy. There are all kinds of courses, either online or
on DVD, that can teach you how to trade stocks, options, even
commodities and currencies. There are other courses that teach
you how to use the major trading platforms provided by the
"trading" brokers, such as Scotttrade, E-Trade, TD Ameritrade,
and the like. Courses that teach you both fundamental analysis
and Technical Analysis (reading charts).

Being neither hugely rich nor loaded with plentiful free
time, I opted for the trading courses taught by College of
Southern Nevada and UNLV. I then bought some inexpensive
but thorough trading books and took up the least expensive
but most comprehensive stock charting program I could find.

So far, so good. Next step was to find someplace where I could put
all this knowledge to use. And I found that if you can pass Federal
and State licensing, plus fund a large enough account to put you
out of the "retail day trader" category, you can actually find
employment as a trader.

No Harvard MBA required. No elite old-school ties. And also
no magnificent salary. But licensing, some formal education,
and the ability to fund a trading account of $25,000 or larger
will get you in the door.

So, before I go forth to get "backers" the first thing to
do is to Get Licensed. And the process is very much like getting
a Real Estate license - study for several months, take a formal
class or classes, and then sit for the tests. In the case of Trading
in Nevada, there are two tests you must pass - the FINRA Series 7,
on the working and regulations of the financial markets, and
the Series 63, which covers the "Blue Sky" laws that exist in
every state. And you must first pass the 7 before you take the

Well, I got Step 1 out of the way. Earlier this week, I Passed
The Seven. Not with the greatest scores, mind you, but a
Pass nonetheless. Now, having sent in the results, I am awaiting
my permission to take the 63 - and I have 60 days from
Passing The 7 to do so. So it's back to the books.

The 63 is a much shorter test - two hours rather than all day -
but I am advised that what it lacks in length it makes up for in
difficulty - so no break there.

But still and all, it's worthwhile. Even if I ultimately decide
not to trade for a living, just passing the tests gives me some
credibility when talking about banksters, traders and the
like. In the eyes of the law, I am knowledgeable in things
like equities, fixed-income, options, even "derivatives".

With enough money, I could be a one-man Goldman Sachs.
Another Vampire Squid. Just what the economy needs.
How nice.

But in reality, the goal is to make enough to pay the bills
and support the other activities (such as this blog) that
make life meaningful and worthwhile.

And finally, I suppose that if you can't beat 'em, better find
a way to join 'em....