This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. We agree with the goals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

2/26/10

Duck and Cover

When I was a boy we were taught in school that it was probable that we were soon to be fried by a nuclear bomb.

The suggested strategy for saving one's self was to keep an ear out for the air raid sirens which were mounted atop each fire station in Chicago, and when the alert came, to quickly dive under your desk and curl up into the fetal position. Unless, of course, it was 10:00 on Tuesday morning, in which case it was just a test, so you could keep doing whatever you were doing at 9:59, supposedly with no fear.

The boys always wondered why the enemy was so stupid that they wouldn't just make sure they attacked at that time on a Tuesday. The girls probably thought that too, but we didn't talk to them except to razz them, so it was hard to tell what they were thinking.

It was a scary time to live in that's for sure. Kinda like now. Only now, the children are not the ones who are scared. (Most of them voted for hope and change and are clueless regarding what this stuff really means in the "real world future.") The adults however, are feverishly searching Craig's List to see if they can procure an old school desk with what's left of their unemployment checks.

Yesterday, the agent of such change took his marching orders from his advisor, Rahmsputin, and told us to expect the political equivalent of that cataclysm because he is contemplating using the "nuclear option" on us to change our society forever. And make no mistake, if the government expands it's control over us to include our medical decisions, there will be plenty of dead (and poor) people as a result.

The use of a revenue bill to skirt the rules of the Senate by using the nuclear option (sometimes referred to as "reconciliation" by politicians with a sense of humor) to overturn the wishes of even the bluest of states, Massachusetts, so he can pass step one of the socialization of health-care is just an updated version of what, as kids, we knew of as "MAD."

The "MAD" (mutual assured destruction) concept was used to inform the Soviets that if they sent an ICBM our way, we would destroy all of their country and people as they were doing the same to us. No winner.

The case is the same here, the Democrats will be dead politically, and we will just be, "plain old dead."

2/19/10

One Last Attempt at Self Destruction

Not so long ago, I wrote a piece called The American Suicide Bombers. It referred to the political course of action that Pelosi, Reed and Obama were taking in an attempt to force their socialist takeover of our health-care down our throats (or up the opposite end of the anatomy) and what might happen to their political careers if they did.

To me it seems like a long time since frat boy Kennedy's Massachusetts senate seat switched from hard left to soft left. Way back then (a few weeks ago) everything seemed like it was crumbling for the "agents of change". And, it seemed for those of us who cringed at the prospect of losing our American way of life, perhaps a reprieve.

It might have been a political life line for Obama, etal. They could say, " hey we gave it our best and it didn't happen." It worked for the criminal conspiracy called the Clinton Administration, so why not?

 Obama has now decided to blur the Constitutional boundaries even more than usual, write his own health care legislation  based on the same insane model (of the people who are actually empowered to legislate) and attach it to a different bill entirely. That would make the threatened Senate filibuster a moot question.

The process is called "reconciliation", but it actually means suicide. If they do this to an already irritated populace, the polite little tea party demonstrations we have been witnessing may turn into a mammoth bar fight. "Some losses" by Democrats and liberal Republicans may very well end up as a political massacre.

The last act of a group of progressive jihadists might be fitting now that suicide seems back in vogue after a deranged IRS hater pulled a mini 9-11 in Texas. But this time the "reconciliation plane" is headed straight at us instead of a building full of tax collectors.

2/18/10

Inflating the Money Bubble

Image courtesy of http://immobilienblasen.blogspot.com/
There has been much talk about bubbles lately. One was the bubble in the real estate prices. Another was the bubble of consumer debt. And stock market bubbles were all the rage just a few years ago when (then) Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan made a comment about "irrational exuberance" after investors used his easy money policies to bid up the price of any company even remotely connected to the "dot com" industry. (His remark was quite premature when he made it, but the warning proved correct after a time.)

No one minds Bubbles too much as long as they own some of the assets on the "up escalator."
During one such ascension in stock prices, my former colleague and close friend on the exchange floor, "Geo", used to wear a badge on his trading jacket that said, "Never confuse brains with a bull market." Good advice, but rarely taken.

The problem with bubbles, of course, is that after they inflate too much, they tend to burst. The bigger the bubble, the bigger the bust. And when that happens even those not chewing the gum can get sprayed with the residue. Witness the last few years, when most of us got hit with financial debris as the value of our homes imploded after a real estate bubble with which very few of us had any connection.

As bad as that situation is, the next implosion may make it seem like a smallish pop by comparison. Absent any meaningful action to correct the expansion of the money supply, our once great experiment in democratic republicanism is headed for the laboratory trash can faster than almost any of us can imagine. And since no such action is yet on the radar screen, the Republic we live in threatens to become the banana variety in a historical blink of the eye.

The current President, like the last, is in denial. Just yesterday he essentially declared that the "stimulus" pork spending and big business bail-out preceding it saved the world. Nothing personal, but if he actually believes that, he is a buffoon. If not, well, let's just say he is worse than any of his critics actually realized. My hope is that  it is the former. That way he can just blend in with most other politicians.

So, a refresher course in "inflation 101" is in order for all of us. In fact for many, it may actually be a primer since they have been misinformed for so long about what inflation actually is. It's not a text book concept, it is an "up close and personal" theft of all of your savings.

"Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output".- Milton Friedman.

What this means is that rising prices themselves are not inflation, they are the symptom of it. In other words, when your nose runs, it's because of the cold you have. That's why Kleenex and NyQuil don't correct the problem. The rising prices are the sneeze, inflation is the virus which caused it. People don't die from colds, but countries often die from inflation.

And that is why having a slowing economy can't regulate inflation. Decreased spending can stifle rising prices when they are caused by high economic activity, but since inflation is caused by devalued money (not increased demand) restrained spending can not work against it. 

In the initial stages, inflation lags somewhat as the newly printed money takes a while to work through the economy, and this time around is no different. The vast amount of new spending by the economic illiterates running this country has hardly begun. And there is very little demand for new "stuff" when much of the country is unemployed. That is the reason we haven't experienced the pain as of yet. (I know it's hard to stay awake during these dissertations, but our future is at stake here.)

So it might be time for alert level one when you should "get a helmet" as comedian Ron White advises, because the time is approaching for alert level two, when you should "put the damn helmet on." When the current inflated money balloon bursts you will need one with a chin strap.

People my age still remember the 21% interest rates of the 70s quite vividly. This time around the bubble is exponentially larger, so go figure. Trillions of dollars of deficits have the presses at the treasury printing Franklin's faster than the "hope" is fading, so your retirement budget may need a few changes. Maybe a "cat food" category to replace the "cabin at the lake" category.

If you have read this far perhaps you will read the essay which will follow shortly. That piece will deal with the personal consequences of continuing the insane policies which are rendering the US dollar worthless. As a bonus, I'm going to tell you how to make the Social Security and Medicare funding problems disappear, the "Chicago way."  Stay tuned.

2/11/10

The Bill Board Bumper Crop

The last thing I thought about doing when I became Editor-in-chief (and sole contributor) of this lilliputian blog was hawking bumper stickers. But water often takes unexpected routes as it runs down the hill. It's a large part of the fun in doing new things, you never know where the water will lead until it gets still.

Blathering about freedom ideas is nothing new for me of course, but writing about those issues on my own blog instead of merely posting comments to others' blogs was something I never had time to try before my client, Lehman Brothers, got washed away in the financial tsunami of 2008.

Along the way this blog has crossed paths with several others. Among those is one named The Humble libertarian. (The small "L" in the title is not accidental) The editor at that site is young man who is a talented writer and an even more talented advocate for liberty- W E Messamore. Those of you who read my short essays may be familiar with him since I have written about his blog in the past. Watering the Libertree was one of those essays.

Recently he wrote a piece about a news item concerning a bill board some businessmen erected in Minnesota with a picture of GWB on it and asking the question; "Miss Me Yet?"  He thought it raised a lot of good questions and presented an opportunity to explain why no one who embraced liberty and rational government policy should actually miss Bush. Some folks argue that the current administration is a clone of his in many respects anyway.

The creative side of his nature took over and he "photo shopped" several versions of the billboard picture to make his point. All of them were good in my opinion, but one of them, featured in the right column of this page has taken off in the blog-o-sphere like a rocket after being featured on the blog of Michelle Malkin, a famous conservative author and frequent talk show guest.

Only a few days later, you can get that picture as a bumper sticker and I am going to get several, at least. The message on that sticker is timeless in my view and I predict it will  "have legs" long after the Bush billboard chatter has faded into the mist of forgotten slogans. It's not the kind of sticker that gets your car "keyed" by the lunatic fringe of the progressive "Michael Moore for President" crowd so you can probably put it on your bumper without fear of that.

You can get yours here. Alternately, I will procure a batch of them and re-sell them to you. Don't you just love capitalism? Maybe Wes will give me a wholesale price so I can begin saving up for a new laptop so the words I type don't show up ten seconds after the keys are pushed anymore. Just email me if you want to go that route.  whatwethinkandwhy@gmail.com.

Now I have some other "news" for you. My essay, Choosing Both Sides - A Super Bowl Story, which some of you have read, has been featured in an article on The Humble libertarian. The name of the piece is Socialized Medicine is Not Pro-Choice. It is gratifying to have others respect your work enough to refer to it. I'd like to think his piece and the excellent picture he made for it were inspired in some small way by what I wrote. The picture is below. My humble thanks to the humble editor of that blog. Thanks, Wes.


2/10/10

Meeting at the Halfway House

Sometimes when your golf game is even worse than normal, the best thing you have to look forward to is the halfway house. Your team has lost every hole, and every "press" has been a disaster. Even worse than the money lost so far is the prospect of the 19th hole verbal drilling you are going to take from your opponents. Most of the fun is ripping your buddies anyway.

So even the watery beer looks pretty good by the turn. It also gives you the chance of washing down your pride along with the hot dog by trying to re-negotiate the wager. Only the guy who is losing big is willing to de-testosterone himself. It has to be a desperate situation.

So when a President tells his political opponents that he is "willing to meet them halfway" on the legislation that he couldn't even get his own partners to agree to, it's a sure thing that prospects for his "all in" bet are dropping faster than the putts are. But you can't blame him for trying.  His opponents (Republicans) have been chumps so many times in the past it's almost a given that they will let him off the hook again.

In this case, for the Democrats, meeting "half way" would mean that since everything they wanted in their bid for socialized medicine (and control of Americans' lives) was rejected, they will now be willing to settle for most of what they wanted without giving up anything. I guess they might be willing to say in public that sometimes the Republicans are reasonable people because they "negotiated" away some of the citizens rights in return for the avoidance of looking like obstructionists. Sweet deal for someone I guess.

If I was "down nine after nine" and asked my weekly nassau opponent, Gary, for a deal like that at the Halfway House, he would pretend he didn't hear what I said (because it was me who was mumbling for a change) and march out to the tenth tee driver in hand.

For our sake, I can only hope those in opposition to the preposterous health-care scam are as clever as Gary. Turning a deaf ear to nonsensical proposals is always a good way to stay healthy.

2/7/10

Choosing Both Sides - A Super Bowl Story

Assuming that there are no wardrobe malfunctions at half time, the biggest flap in Super Bowl XLIV is likely to be the controversy over an ad. The one in question has yet to be run (as this is being written) but the political sniping has begun anyway.

Tim Tebow, a college football star is making what many predict will be an "anti-abortion on demand" case  in the ad. Or at least a "please choose life" message. Naturally, that seems to demand a response from the "pro-abortion on demand" groups. (I always skip the spin descriptions "pro-life" and "pro-choice" titles of such groups in the quest for clarity.)

And so continues the debate that never ends and never will.

The interesting part in this particular round of the debate was the epiphany I experienced when the actual reason for the crumbling proposal of government run health-care became obvious to this not-so-casual observer.

It was the realization that all the people who are pro-abortion on demand, are the same people who oppose government control concerning health-care!  In a moment I'll tell you how that happened.

In the mean time, how did all the pundits miss this? I mean, simple minded folks like you and I aren't expected to make such difficult calculations, that's why we have CNN, MSNBC and FOX to explain it to us. But they didn't, so I discovered it myself while reading an article, "Planned Parenthood, Athletes Respond to Tebow Super Bowl Ad" which can be found  here on Fox news Internet site.

In that article a U-Tube video is discussed where some athletes, Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner and former NFL player Sean James, were trotted out to make the case for Planned Parenthood (another euphemism) just as Tebow was trotted out by the folks who paid for the commercial he appears in. Sean James made the case in part by saying; "My mom showed me that women are strong and wise," and "She taught me that only women can make the best decisions about their health and their future."

For his part, Joyner explains; "My daughter will always be my little girl."  He goes on to say; "But I am proud everyday as I watch her grow up to be her own person, a smart, confident young woman. I trust her to take care of herself. We celebrate families by supporting our mothers, by supporting our daughters. By trusting women."

Except, of course, in all other matters concerning their health and lifestyle choices. For those decisions his daughter, mother and all other "strong and wise women" need government employees and political hacks making the tough calls. There is no way that these people could be so inconsistent in their views, right?

So the only conclusion a person can possibly arrive at is, all "pro-choice" people, including Planned Parenthood, oppose the government plan on health-care because women want choice on all health issues, not just abortion.

And that explains everything! No wonder Obama's dream scheme to take over the health-care industry has lately turned into a political nightmare.

So in the spirit of Super Bowl and the Yes we can (have it both ways) philosophy of life, I am choosing both sides to root for in today's contest. Can't it end in a tie? Can't Peyton Manning win again while the Saints still makes history for New Orleans fans? I mean, it would be so cool to have it both ways.

I suspect that if I am ever indicted for using sarcasm, this commentary will be all the evidence necessary to convict me.

2/4/10

Golfing With Whigs

The temptation to write about current events is almost overwhelming. While this blog is primarily dedicated to writing about concepts and ideas, the use of timely examples in doing so makes it more interesting to most folks, at least the ones who read these essays. It's a crowded field however and most of the people who get paid to write do a better job of it than those of us who engage in it to fill the time between golf seasons.

Although my writing handicap is even larger than my golf handicap, I enjoy both without excelling at either. So far I haven't figured out how to write between shots, so "in season" scribbling takes a back seat to power squibbing tee balls. It's a good guess that my golf partners (particularly my dear friend Skinny) enjoy watching the latter more than reading the former.

Having said that, since it's not yet golf season in Chicago and since the political equivalent of the dreaded "worm-burner" -the Illinois Primary- is over, their only remaining giggle option might be my ruminations about the dreadful state of affairs currently besetting us.

It's about the same (pitifully small) number of options available to us after the selection of candidates for the uni-party elections of this coming fall. By my count, in the ILLinois Senatorial contest you will be given a choice of which Democrat to vote for to replace the retiring statesman Roland Burris who is most famous for his tombstone and his method of entry into "the world's greatest deliberative body." Buying the Senate seat from future prison inmate Blago right under the watchful eye of the feds was just a small added expense for chiseling the office onto his monument to himself, particularly since he didn't have bear the cost himself.

Let's look at the "choices." One of the guys is Alexi Giannoulias. (A name which sounds more like a Russian hockey player than a failing small banker)  His main claims to fame are being money man for Tony Rezko (Obama's real estate benefactor) and being Obama's frequent basketball chum(p).

The other guy is the winner of the pretend Republican Party primary, congressman Mark Kirk.  He represents a district of mostly liberal people but gets elected as a Republican anyway because, you just can't fool the folks up in Highland Park, they know a kindred spirit when they see one. So let's call him a Whig in deference to his penchant for giving free advertising to the firm that offers "two rooms for the price of one" by wearing their product on his head. (The other Whig candidate, Andy 'cat head' McKenna lost his bid for Republican nominee for Governor.)

Being flush with actual choices isn't common in the Land of (nod and) Wincoln, so my disappointment is purely theoretical. Perhaps in November, Kirk will prevail during the backlash against the Chavez style government takeovers by the "Yes we Can" Chicago connection in Washington.

But if he does, the "victory" will be like winning a hole in match play golf by making a bogey while your opponent makes a triple. You are glad you didn't lose, but you know you didn't really win.