Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This'n'That; December 31st[Quotes;Bailout/GiveAway;FedPayRaise]

See, Nobody Knows Whatta Hell Is Goin' On! [I found this among the several email newsletters I get daily] Dear Small-Cap Investor, Here's a fun read from today's "Daily Profit," an e-letter published by my boss, Ian Wyatt, Chief Investment Strategist for SmallCapInvestor.com and several paid subscription investing newsletters published by Business Financial Publishing. Ian writes: Two more days and we'll put 2008 behind us. 2008 set a number of stock market records, none of them good. I came across a Business Week article highlighting some of the worst predictions for 2008. Among the gems: *****"I expect there will be some failures. I don't anticipate any serious problems of that sort among the large internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system." -- Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, Feb. 28, 2008 Helicopter Ben missed that one by a mile. But it may not be so simple. Wall Street's investment banks depended on faith. Once investors and account holders started pulling their money out, they were doomed. Aside from the now-obvious problems at Lehman, it wasn't until rumors of bad debt prompted investors to pull out of certain investments that the bank's asset ratio forced it into bankruptcy. We can certainly excuse Ben's optimism in that he didn't want to start a bank run. And after-the-fact reporting has showed that the Fed was in constant contact with Wall Street's investment banks as their leveraged businesses started unraveling. *****"I think you'll see (oil prices at) $150 a barrel by the end of the year" -- T. Boone Pickens, June 20, 2008 By all accounts, Pickens' whiff on his prediction of $150 a barrel oil prices cost him a billion dollars personally. Come to think of it, I haven't heard much about the Pickens Plan for wind farms lately, either. *****AIG "could have huge gains in the second quarter." -- Bijan Moazami, analyst, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, May 9, 2008. The article goes on to note that AIG lost $5 billion in the 2nd quarter and another $25 billion in the 3rd quarter. This prediction makes the analyst seem pretty out of touch. But it should go to illustrate that many analysts were completely surprised by the depths of the problems Wall Street investment banks had created. It's probably not fair to pick on the analysts who made the wrong call, but it sure feels kind of good. *****This one has to be my favorite, from TheStreet.com's Jim Cramer: "No! No! No! Bear Stearns is not in trouble." -- Jim Cramer, CNBC commentator, Mar. 11, 2008 Five days after Cramer said this, JP Morgan acquired Bear Stearns with the help of the Fed. As an aside, the fact that the Fed was involved makes me think the earlier quote I provided really was an attempt by Bernanke to calm the financial markets. --Ian Wyatt Has The Entire System Gone Mad? The country has gone through this kinda thing before; the Great Depression, leading into American involvement in World War II. FDR's "make work" projects along with his "give away" programs prolonged the Depression-WWII brought America out of it!! American manufacturers ramped up production for the ongoing necessity of war materiel. It's right about here that we need a definition: GDP-[Gross Domestic Product] The total market value of all the goods and services produced within the borders of a nation during a specified period. The size and growth of any and/or all governmental units can be expressed as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. At the close of World War II [1945] America had a GDP of$233.1Billion and total government [Federal, State and Local] spending of $118.2Billion or 52.98% of GDP [Unemployment rate: 1.9%]. The elevated percentage is due to the vast amounts of materiel required for victory in the war. Let's fast-forward to the upcoming administration: Economic pundits have guessed the eventual total of the "give-away" disguised a the bailout, will total $9TRILLION. If obama is true to his word and doesn't leave the repayment to my grandchildren-he'll have to pay it off during his current administration; I don't see him EVER getting re-elected!! The projected 2009 government spending is $5.5524TRILLION. Now we have to add 25% of the bailout money to this number [25% each year in office], which will bring the annual total 2009 spending to nearly $7.81TRILLION. Whereta Hell does obama think this money's gonna come from?!?! I live in the Socialist Union of New York-WE'RE NEARLY TAXED OUT OF EXISTENCE NOW!! The "Testicular Fortitude" of Mental Midgets The American congress's gotta be one of the very few "companies" on the planet where "employees" can determine their own pay raises. They've given themselves a $4,700 increase to $174,000!!! nancy pelosi, because of the artful way she "mucks up" the legislative system, gets $223,500. Is this mental midget worth nearly a quarter-million dollars?? Let'em all know whatcha think!! I think the entire congress should be subjected to "testicular suspension [hung by those hangie-down things!!]" Til Nex'Time...............

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Monday, December 29, 2008

This'n'That; December 30th[Kennedy;obama-clinton;Numbers;UNDER-Empl;

Kennedy "Victory Tour" [Part #19] It has long been assumed in some circles that "Princess Caroline" would be the 'bagger-apparent to Hilarity's Senatorial carpetbag. The New York Times said "she seemed less like a candidate than an idea of one: eloquent but vague, largely undefined and seemingly determined to remain that way." The New York Daily News noted that she frequently used the phrase "you know" and "ums" during an interview with them. It's been three weeks since the princess expressed interest in being NY's co-senior Senator. It's been two weeks since "Princess Caroline" made her inaugural "victory tour" into the vast wasteland of Upstate. "There has been some very rough comments," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College poll. "I have been surprised," he said. "The welcome mat has not been out from everybody." The princess' ascent to the Senatorial Throne is predicated upon the Senate confirming Hilarity's nomination to Secretary, Conflicts of Interest. This Guy Did, Would You? There's this guy you work with who wants to advance his career. You are in competition with him for the advanced position. In the breakroom, for all [including you] to hear, he trashes you personally, your lack of experience for the new position, you are trading on your name recognition, etc. Although you have gained most of your promotions by doing the underhanded, you never-the-less deride him for the comments he's made. You go out of your way to trade barb-for-barb for nearly a year until the decision is made as to who is preferred for this advanced position. Now, the decision has been made.... HE gets the new job; you're stuck with a job you don't perform well in, nor do you represent the needs of all members of your department-only those interests of the "inner circle!!" Inspite of your vast lack of experience, HE nominates you to be one of his deputies, in charge of dealing with the outside world. This nomination has to be approved by the Board of Directors, which is expected. The new job HE has attained is a cyclical one-HE has to gain public approval in a few years to continue in the position. HE now has you right where HE wants you!! When your confirmation is received, you'll be powerless to attempt to unseat HIM at the end of this employment cycle. If you do attempt it, you'll have to announce your intentions about a year before..... when HE'll surely fire you........ You'll be unemployed...... removed from your platform within the company where you command a certain amount of [tho' misguided] respect from the "inner circle." You'll have to take your forum outside the company and without company support. I'm not so sure I'd put an adversary in a position of trust and responsibility; although this supports the saying: "Keep your friends close-keep your enemies closer." Sound familiar? Substitute obama for "HE." Substitute Hilarity for "you/your." Important Numbers From Money Magazine 80% of male millionaires having extramarital affairs plan to cut back on lovers' gifts. 57% of students are considering less prestigious colleges for affordability reasons. 83% of September airfares had a fuel surcharge; 39% of November airfares had a fuel surcharge. 5% is the expected average coach fare increase in 2009. If you "kick-the-bucket" in 2009, you can leave an estate of $3.5Million before the Federal [and some State] Government rapes it. UNDER-Employment-More Telling Than UN-Employment? [I found this article in INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY{on-line}, Posted 12/29/2008] Unemployment is rising fast, but a broader gauge is climbing even faster with gloomy implications for consumer spending and the economy. The official jobless rate climbed to a 15-year high of 6.7% in November from 4.7% a year earlier. But that doesn't include people who have given up looking for work or those forced to work fewer hours as business conditions soured. By adding underemployed and disaffected workers to the total, the so-called alternative unemployment rate stood at 12.5% in November, the highest since the Labor Department began tracking the series in January 1994. That's up from 11.8% in October and 8.4% a year earlier. "We have obviously seen a very rapid deterioration in the employment situation," said Sophia Koropeckyj, an economist at Moody's Economy.com. "There are fewer people working and the people who are working are working fewer hours." She said the alternative jobless rate could eventually hit 15%. The U.S. will release its December employment report on Jan. 9. "Our expectation is that the recession could go on for another year and the unemployment rate will not reach a peak until 2010," she said. No Part-Time Lover Employers have already shed 1.9 million jobs this year. The spike in involuntarily part-time workers suggests more cuts are coming. The number of people who could only find part-time work rose to 7.3 million in November, up by 1.6 million just from August. They now account for 5.1% of all those employed, the highest since December 1993. Employers typically offer far fewer health care and other benefits to part-time staff. "We've seen this slow rise in involuntary part-time employment since April 2006 but it really has accelerated over the past three months," said Steve Hipple, a Labor Department economist. "It does seem that it could be a precursor to layoffs." In another worrying sign, the average work week stood at 33.5 hours in November, the lowest on records dating back to 1964. Also, the number of people who have given up looking for work because they were discouraged at their job prospects has spiked 60% in the past three months to 608,000. Rising unemployment is the key reason for a recent pullback in consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity. Personal spending fell 0.6% in November, the fifth straight decline. The evidence so far suggests this year's holiday shopping season has been the worst in years, if not decades. The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.5% in the third quarter. Experts see a much bigger contraction in the fourth with some estimates ranging up to a 6% rate. "People's incomes are being cut and then that will affect their ability to spend," Koropeckyj said. "It has the effect of exacerbating the economic downturn." Yet analysts say the rising number of part-time workers signals employers are trying to retain staff rather than having to hire and train new employees when the economy rebounds. Employers have found that workers with specialized technical skills and institutional knowledge aren't so easily replaced as they may have been in years past. "More companies have recognized the damage that layoffs bring to their systems," said John Challenger, head of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. "Layoffs now cause gaps that can't be papered over." Pay Cuts Spread Package delivery giant FedEx (FDX) said earlier this month that it will cut pay by 5% for salaried employees and suspend matching contributions to 401(k) retirement plans. Eastman Kodak (EK), Motorola (MOT), Ford (F) and GM (GM) are among other companies taking similar action. More firms are expected to cut wages and benefits in 2009, along with major layoffs, analysts said. But some say a huge government stimulus planned for early next year could jump-start the economy by the second half and eventually spur hiring. "Unemployment will continue to go up for a while but I do think we'll start to see by summer the beginning signs of the next period of growth emerge," Challenger said.

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This'n'That; December 29th[Investing;Budgeting;Saving;Taxes]

Time For A New Outlook? [I found this online @ investorsalley.com] It’s a New Year, and time for a new financial outlook. Although pessimism has seeped into every corner of the financial world, there are ways to regain a positive approach to managing your finances. The following strategies may offer additional benefits outside the financial realm, from helping you define the role of money in your life to possibly bringing your family closer. Buy less, be more. When feeling overwhelmed by market gyrations, it’s comforting to focus on what can be controlled-what is spent and how money is saved. Why not put that accountant’s eye and resourcefulness to work at home with some innovative approaches to budgeting? For example, try withdrawing from the checking account 2/3 of what is normally spent on groceries and entertainment in a month and making due with that. After making it on 2/3, try withdrawing even less. It’s amazing just how quickly consumers can adjust to living on less. Committing to living on less just two or three months out of the year can help individuals become more mindful consumers; making better choices that can boost overall savings. Another idea is to expand upon the innovative money-saving, gift-giving program many families instituted for the holidays. A personal letter or certificate for time together could replace store-bought birthday and anniversary gifts, too. A toned down gift giving approach appears to be in vogue. According to Spending Pulse, luxury expenditures on jewelry, art, apparel, sports cars, etc. are down 20 percent. The more creative a family gets, the more enjoyable belt tightening can become. Many families have discovered the priceless gift of quality time as their emphasis has moved away from expensive nights out and lavish gifts. Distinguish need from want. Viewing expenses such as dinners out or helpful cleaning service in relation to what it costs to achieve a short-term goal may help to and prioritize spending. For example, think of the annual amount spent on magazine subscriptions, cable, or a club membership in terms of a percentage of a short-term goal, say college tuition for one year. Tempted to buy a new outfit? Look at the cost in terms of how many hours worked to earn the money. Better still, calculate what could be earned in ten years if pizza wasn’t ordered every week and instead the money was invested in an employer sponsored retirement plan. The “big picture” can be a quick cure for frittering away money. Commit to surviving without credit. After decades of overspending, people who used their home as an ATM via home equity lines of credit should adjust to living within their means. "If you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it." If an individual is in debt, traditional advice recommends making minimum payments on all cards, but to direct any extra cash – bonuses, product rebates, or yard sale proceeds – to paying off the card with the highest interest rate. However, it may be more effective to go after the card with the lowest balance first, because paying it off may provide the confidence needed to pay off other cards. Put credit cards on ice, literally. Rather than in a wallet ready for post-holiday sales, a card may be safer in the freezer -- available for defrosting in cases of emergency. Readjust the concept of time. The 401(k) account may have taken a serious hit, but remember that planning and saving is a life-long timeline, not just a retirement date. Some financial advisors plan out to age 100. With that as an investment horizon, today’s downturn can seem easier to overcome. The average U.S. economic recession has lasted about 11 months. Historically, on average, the stock market has begun to recover about halfway through a recession, with the typical rebound being about 25% in magnitude (from market low point to end of recession). Behavioral finance studies have proven that investors experience more extreme negative emotions when they suffer losses than they do positive emotions when they enjoy gains. These strategies may help avoid having short-term market volatility play on emotions and destroy the discipline necessary for successful long-term investing. In fact, belt tightening and a positive new perspective may provide greater strength by illuminating the many things that are right with life. A [Re]Balancing Act After the first of the year, one should rebalance their investments [taxable accounts], their 401[k]s and their IRAs. Different types of investments; foreign smallcaps, foreign bonds, US blue chips, US small and mid-caps, US corporate bonds, US Treasuries, etc., all have different volitilities in the market. Any one of them can and probably will lose more, much more, less or much less, than any other one in your portfolio. With this in mind, take a look at the original percentage allocations in each of your investments individually. What do they look like now? Is each asset [fund-stock] the same percentage of the whole as it was initially? I doubt it. With the change, your gains [and losses] may be greater or lesser that you originally intended. Realign the allocations toward your desires and tolerance for risk. ***DO NOT do this reallocation during the last two weeks of the current calendar year [ANY calendar year!!]; reason being-mutual fund families normally distribute capital gains and dividends during those two weeks and may subject the investor to added tax liabilities!!*** Early in the new year will do just fine; the market isn't going to change THAT MUCH! What you can do before the end of the year is to weed out and sell the losers in your portfolio for added tax benefits. These losses can be charged against any winning stocks/funds you've sold during this calendar year. If you haven't sold any gainers, DON'T PANIC!! These losses can be written off against earned income as well. Even carried forward and/or backward if necessary.

Budgeting And Savings Help

[I found this on Yahoo Financial; written by Laura Rowley, on 11/05/008, so projections are somewhat dated.....but the principles are the same!!]

There's plenty of advice out there to help slash your spending -- get rid of your car, throw out the television, grow your own vegetables, rent out the attic to a college student. But maybe you need a car to drive to work, have no time to garden, enjoy relaxing in front of the tube occasionally, and don't want to bump into an 18-year-old stranger in your bathrobe. Here are eight ways to tweak your budget and save $500 by the year's end -- with minimum hassle, and without radically changing your lifestyle. 1. Cable TV: If you pay for premium cable services -- extra channels, HBO, etc. -- call your cable company and put your service on "vacation mode" between now and the end of the year. You'll still receive basic service, but save temporarily on the extras. We did this recently because we were having work done in the basement/TV room. We eliminated the "preferred tier" for two months (we don't get the movie channels), saving $15.99/month. (Comcast charged $1.99 for the change, so the total savings was $30.) 2. Prescriptions: Only about one-third of prescription drug purchases are mostly or fully covered by insurance, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, and prices can vary by as much as $100 for the same drug. Always ask your physician for a generic equivalent, which can cost up to 40 percent less, then shop around. About a dozen states sponsor websites that help you compare prescription prices. Discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target offer the most popular generic drugs, including antibiotics and medications for asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and high cholesterol, for as little as $4 a month. I tested out comparison-shopping on the web and phone to save on a common antibiotic, Amoxicillin (250mg, 30 capsules), and it took about five minutes. First I searched New York State's drug comparison website [Rx.nyhealth.gov] for amoxicillin at local pharmacies in New Rochelle, which charged from $13.64 to $17.09. Then I called Wal-Mart in nearby White Plains, which charged just $4, and Costco, which offered the drug for $6.90 (no membership required). Savings from highest to lowest pharmacy: $13.09. 3. Cell phones: Take a look at your actual usage, and make sure your plan matches your behavior -- are you using all your minutes? Wasting money on extra services or old ringtones? For example, I used to pay $40 for unlimited megabytes to check email on my phone. But I realized I wasn't actually checking email that way very often. I called and asked for the cost of my actual megabyte usage the previous month: $6. By paying for the bytes used (and eliminating text messaging altogether) I save $30 to $35 a month. If you tend to go over your allotted minutes (at a cost of 40 to 45 cents a minute), register for free with a service called OverMyMinutes [.com]. It will alert you by text or email when you're at your limit. 4. Food: This one takes a little more effort, but with about an hour of planning, I typically cut my grocery bill by one-third. I start at my grocery store's online circular, creating five to seven dinner menus based on what's on sale and in season (click on the item and the site creates your shopping list for you). Then I head over to CouponMom or MyGroceryDeals (both "dot-coms," both free, registration required). Click on your state and local grocery store, and the sites tell you specific bargains available that week so you can stock up. CouponMom also tells you whether a coupon is available and exactly where to find it (i.e., "Smart Source insert 10/5"). I just pull the coupon inserts out of my Sunday paper every week, date them, and throw them in a drawer. I only cut a coupon when CouponMom tells me where to find it; but you don't have to do this at all to save money. In the store, I check the price of the sale/coupon item against the generic brand to make sure it's really a deal, and then use the store's loyalty card. Using this approach, I cut a recent grocery bill from $174 to $114 for a week's worth of groceries for a family of five. (I also do a monthly warehouse club run for low-cost staples like skim milk, which freezes pretty well.) 5. Drycleaning: "Wool, cashmere, silk, rayon, polyester, and spandex can all be laundered," says Lindsey Wieber, of The Laundress [.com], a collection of specialty fabric care products. Manufacturers actually wash the fabric before they construct it into a garment, she explains, and add the "dry clean only" label to avoid liability issues. Wieber and co-founder Glen Whiting, both Cornell University graduates, work with one of their former professors (who has a doctorate in fiber science) to create new enzyme formulas that clean without damaging clothing. Hand-wash or use a mesh bag in the washing machine (delicate cycle on cool). Lay wool and cashmere flat to dry; everything else, including cotton and linen, can be thrown in the dryer on a low-heat setting, then pressed. Hang up and air out suits immediately; use a lint-free cloth and a stain-removing product to eliminate perspiration or other stains on the inside lining, and spot clean exterior stains. Using this method, Wieber says, suits only need to be dry cleaned two to four times a season. (Savings in our household: About $30 a month.) 6. Utilities: You can get a basic programmable thermostat for as little as $23 at the hardware store, but can save as much as 25 percent on your energy bills by turning down the heat (or air conditioning) when you're away from home or asleep. For the average utility payer, that works out to about $250 a year, or $21 a month (so ideally, you roughly break even in November, and save $21 in December and thereafter). In addition, water bills can be cut back 25 percent by replacing your old showerheads and faucets with low-flow aerating models. Look for 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less; Home Depot sells showerheads at 1.6 gpm for as low as $12. (Savings in our household after the initial investment: About $10/month.) 7. Taxes: The market's steep decline this year offers many investors the opportunity to save by harvesting tax losses before Dec. 31. An investor can sell downtrodden securities held in taxable accounts to offset either capital gains elsewhere or as much as $3,000 in ordinary income. (Meanwhile, additional losses can be carried forward to future years. SeeIRS publication for details at www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409.html ) A study of 185,000 households by Fidelity found that only 10 percent of taxpayers took advantage of the full $3,000 deduction allowed under the tax code. Most of the households surveyed would have gained $500 in additional tax savings. Consider this example from the study: An investor buys a stock for $30,000, and sells it for $27,000, taking a $3,000 loss. If the household had $100,000 in adjustable gross income, harvesting the loss would have cut their tax bill by $450 if the position was held more than a year and $750 if it was held short-term. Click here for more year-end tax tips. 8. Money rituals: In their book "The Power of Full Engagement," authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz suggest that change is a matter of adopting new rituals rather than demanding we be more disciplined. "Building rituals requires defining very precise behaviors and performing them at specific times," they write. Save money by creating quirky rituals: Save all the $5 bills from your wallet at the end of the day. Bring your lunch to work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the end of the year. Boost your 401(k) contribution by 1 percent every time you get a raise. Comparison shop for your auto or homeowner's insurance the day after your birthday each year. Small rituals become habits -- and take a lot less time and energy than watching every penny you spend. (For more savings tips, see www.moneyandhappiness.com/blog )

Til Nex'time.......


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

This'n'That; December 28th [Lobbying;Stimulus]

"K" Street Alive And Well There are probably a few Washington old-timers left who remember when K Street, N.W., was lined with mansions, but there can't be many. K Street is now lined with stolid, 130-foot-high office buildings [Washington has a height limit] filled with trade associations, law firms and lobbyists. I'm not sure who first used K Street as a shorthand term for Washington's lobbying community, but it has stuck -- as we are reminded by the news stories about the guilty pleas entered by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who seems never to have had an office on K Street itself. The Washington lobbying community goes back a long way. The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances": Lobbyists, like the clergy and the press, are a profession protected by the Constitution. When government makes decisions that affect private individuals and firms and industries, their representatives are going to exercise their constitutional right to try to get the decisions to come out their way. Government is especially likely to make such decisions in time of war. During World War I, when Woodrow Wilson's government nationalized the railroads and seized control of the shipping industry, a Chicago lawyer named Edward Burling made the observation that there was business to be had in litigating wartime claims and joined former Maryland Congressman and Judge Harry Covington to form the firm of Covington & Burling. Today C&B is one of many large Washington law firms, with distinguished lawyers who will surely tell you that they don't do any lobbying; they certainly don't do the kind of things Jack Abramoff did. Former Rep Tony Russo [D-Ill] explained that many construction firms are in dire need of federal assistance to save their businesses in the midst of a national credit slowdown. Rep Eliot Engel [D-NY], a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said the impending obama Stimulus Package would likely include incentives for "green" energy production, such as wind and solar power. He also said that Congress may increase taxes on corporations such as oil companies which have earned record profits in recent years. "Companies that are doing well ought to pay their fair share," said Engel. "I don't want to begrudge them the opportunity to make money, but companies that are doing better should pay a little more. [NOTE: The "redistribution of wealth" statement by obama to Joe The Plumber seems to be coming to fruition]" They do on occasion, try to affect government decisions, whether by administrative agencies, administration officials or Congress. Why shouldn't they, it's a perfectly legitimate business.... High-profile Democrat lobbyist Tony Podesta said "Everybody recognizes that, whether thy're in a deep financial distress or merely suffering a downturn, there's a real possibility of lots of legislating next year, so this is no time to abandon Washington. We're talking to lots of new people and signed up some of them. We're really moving." [from: Michael Barone @ WSJ] [NOTE: Podesta Associates was launched in 1988 by Tony and his younger brother John, an expert on law and technology who had worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Over the years, Podesta Associates has forged close relationships with big firms like IBM and Genentech, while becoming increasingly sought after by new Silicon Valley players like WebTV. Podesta represents MCI, Textron, Universal, CBS, the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Association of Broadcasters, and The Washington Post. Does this look like a blatant conflict-of-interest to you?? It sure does to me.... I can't find any reference that John ever resigned the lobbying firm or put any financial interests in trust as required by federal law.] More On "K" Street A half-million folks lost their jobs in November; 401[k]s have lost half their value. Given these bleak events and even more bleak forecasts, "K" Street lobbyists expect to continue to 'grow' their fortunes in the forseeable future. "Usually, December is a very slow month on all fronts, but this year it has been incredibly busy," said Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist and one-time advisor to former House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt [Mo]. "Anytime government gets more active and more involved in your business, you'll look for more help in Washington," he said. "When Democrats control both chambers of congress and the White House, there's no question that government will be more active." They are anticipating that the Democrat control of all facets of Washington politics, sweeping changes [we need {tic}] "promised" by obama will greatly enhance their bank accounts. [tic=tongue-in-cheek] Obama’s stimulus plan won’t stimulate [Do The Math!] [This article was written by Dick Morris, posted: 12/09/08 06:28 PM [ET] http://www.thehill.com/ ] The economic stimulus plans unveiled by President-elect Obama over the weekend won’t do much to help the economy. But they will vindicate all the dreams of liberal Democrats for higher government spending. Of course, the basic choice facing any politician seeking to stimulate a moribund economy is whether to catalyze the supply side with tax cuts on business or the demand side by way of spending increases. Obama obviously made that choice years ago: He will work the demand side. But once a leader makes that decision, he faces another: Will he emphasize important and valuable public works projects or will he just try to pass out the largest amount of money possible? By announcing that he is not “going to throw money” at the economy in the hopes of getting a pulse, Obama signals that he will stress the former approach and fund important public works such as school reconstruction, fiber optic cables, alternative energy generation and the like. The problem is that such projects take a long time to plan and longer to build. Their immediate economic impact is highly attenuated. In all federal capital projects, only about one-quarter of the funds appropriated are actually spent in the fiscal year. It just takes that long to plan, engineer and begin construction. And for every $6 spent in the last stimulus package, only $1 actually got spent on goods or services. Five dollars out of every six in the Bush stimulus package of 2008 went to pay down debt, mortgage or credit card or student loan or home equity, and not into the acquisition of new products or services. So, do the math. If only 25 cents out of every dollar actually is spent in the fiscal year, and only one-sixth of that sum actually gets spent by the workers who get paid on new goods and services, only about 4 cents from every dollar actually stimulates the economy. And who says those 4 cents will be spent on domestically produced products? A lot of the stimulus will just feed Chinese imports, particularly with their low prices. FDR faced just this problem in combating the Great Depression. In the National Recovery Act (NRA), Roosevelt set up the Public Works Administration (PWA) headed by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes (the original one). Ickes was a stickler for making sure nothing was wasted and in keeping the costs down. He managed a spectacularly successful public works program and built, without scandal or corruption, some of our most important national infrastructure. But he took his sweet time doing so. The economic stimulation was slow in coming. Exasperated, FDR did an end-run around Ickes and set up the Works Progress Administration (WPA) under Harry Hopkins. WPA spent its money quickly and on projects involving little overhead or preparation. My mother got a WPA job teaching English to foreigners. Virtually all the WPA funds were spent in the fiscal year and the stimulative effect was immediate. But in opting to go the Ickes route, Obama will find that he leaves a legacy of important contributions to our national infrastructure, but little in the way of real economic stimulation. While a WPA-type approach might hasten the ameliorative impact of the stimulus package, Obama still faces the conundrum that most of those who get extra paychecks as a result of his spending will use the money to climb out of debt. In the ’30s, credit cards didn’t exist and consumer debt was very limited. Most people lived paycheck to paycheck. Extra money equaled extra spending. But now that most consumers will use money to pay down their debts, not to spend it, demand-side stimulation has its limitations. But Obama’s ideology won’t allow him to indulge in tax cuts “for the rich,” which might work to get us out of the depression faster. [It is widely held by both liberal {now 'Progressive'} and conservative economists that FDR's policies and programs prolonged "The Great Depression"] Til Nex'time..........

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

This'n'That; December 27th [NYS Econ;Unempl]

Does Any Politician Remember Econ-101? What I read daily in the Demogogue and Comical has me wondering if any politician has ever taken "Econ-101;" remembers anything he read or heard in "Econ-101;" can even spell and define "Econ-101?" The governor needs to have someone explain the basic economic statistics to him. He can't seem to find anyone to do that so I'll attempt it. Hey Gov'ner..... the unemployment rate means a percentage of the total NYS workforce that is not working. It might be wise to point out here that New York City is not the only political sub-division within the State of New York; You have the needs of the north country, central New York, western New York and the Niagara Frontier to consider. Inflation is defined as a persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money, caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services. These definitions, statistics and the current budget proposal beg several questions: 1] With the state, national and global economies "in the dumper," how do you justify 137 new or increased taxes and fees?? These are being heaped upon the people of the most taxed state in the union!! 2] The only portion of the economy you directly control is government employment. In your proposal, you "brag" about laying off 520 employees. Then we find out this number is polluted by attrition and early retirements, NOT direct lay-offs. How can you hype the layoff of 520 people when it ONLY EQUATES TO .25% [one quarter of one percent] ?? Statistics from the NYS Labor Department indicates that government employment actually INCREASED by 9,100 souls-care to explain how this is read as a reduction in employment?? 3] Had you taken Econ-101, you might remember that NO GOVERNMENT UNIT has ever "spent itself to prosperity!!!" Did it ever occur to you to reduce government spending-thus reducing the residents' tax liablility-thus freeing cash for investment; which WILL ACTUALLY STIMULATE THE ECONOMY?? 4] With the slightest grasp of the principles of Econ-101 you'd discover that your tax-and-spend methods are driving businesses OUT OF THE STATE!! Might it be time to forgo your confiscatory taxes [both numbers and rates] and fees that strangle small businesses in the state?? 5] Have you considered how the self-esteem, work ethic and the will to succeed of the average welfare rat has been reduced to practically zero?? Rather than give them a 10% raise [unheard of in the private sector]... how 'bout a dollar-for-dollar match...... you SPEND MY TAX REMITTANCE to match the rats' earnings up to a limit of.... oh, say......$250 a week?? I'd feel a little better about you "pissin' my money away" and they'd eventually feel better for having been forced OFF THEIR DEAD ASSES!! *************************Unemployment Rates (seasonally adjusted) ********************November 2008*****October 2008*****November 2007 New York State*********6.1*****************5.7***************4.6 United States***********6.7*****************6.5***************4.7 New York City**********6.3*****************5.7***************5.1 NYS, excluding NYC*****5.9*****************5.7***************4.2 Industries with Job Gains: Educational & Health Services----+22,200 Government----------------------+9,100 Other Services-----------------------+2,700 Information---------------------------+500 Natural Resources & Mining---------+100 Industries with Job Losses: Manufacturing----------------------\\-17,700 Trade, Transportation & Utilities--\\-16,800 Financial Activities -----------------\\-15,900 Professional & Business Services -\\-13,300 Construction-------------------------\\-2,800 Leisure & Hospitality------------------\\-800

Til Nex'time...........


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Friday, December 26, 2008

This'n'That; December 26th[CAIR;Savage;Graham;Thomas;obama]

Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] From their website [www.cair.com] this is CAIR's vision and mission statements plus their core principles. CAIR's vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. CAIR's mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. CAIR supports free enterprise, freedom of religion and freedom of expression. CAIR is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith. CAIR supports domestic policies that promote civil rights, diversity and freedom of religion. CAIR opposes domestic policies that limit civil rights, permit racial, ethnic or religious profiling, infringe on due process, or that prevent Muslims and others from participating fully in American civic life. CAIR is a natural ally of groups, religious or secular, that advocate justice and human rights in America and around the world. CAIR supports foreign policies that help create free and equitable trade, encourage human rights and promote representative government based on socio-economic justice. CAIR believes the active practice of Islam strengthens the social and religious fabric of our nation. CAIR condemns all acts of violence against civilians by any individual, group or state. CAIR advocates dialogue between faith communities both in America and worldwide. CAIR supports equal and complementary rights and responsibilities for men and women. The following is from their website [www.anti-cair-net.org]; Anti-CAIR has published this: - Proven Truths About CAIR - Let there be no doubt that the Council on American-Islamic Relations is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia Law in America. ***CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic Terrorists. ***CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist-supporting groups and nations. ***CAIR is an organization founded by Hamas supporters which seeks to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States and replace it with an Islamist theocracy using our own Constitution as protection. ***CAIR was started by Hamas members and is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries. ***CAIR is not in the United States to promote the civil rights of Muslims. ***CAIR is here to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States and convert our country into an Islamic theocracy. ***CAIR receives direct funding from Islamic terrorist supporting countries. Below is an article published on http://www.sfgate.com/ which details talkshow host Michael Savage's run-in with CAIR. Conservative talk radio show host Michael Savage[ http://www.michaelsavage.com/ ] is no stranger to courting controversy. Savage is known for his blunt commentary which at times goes beyond the realm of the politically incorrect into the confrontational. It is a style Savage describes as "psychological nudity" and the opening to his show warns overly-sensitive listeners as much. But, in the process, Savage touches on some fundamental truths that hit home with his fans, while simultaneously motivating his opponents. Whether they love him or hate him, 8 million listeners tune into "The Savage Nation" each week. The fact that the show originates in left-leaning San Francisco only adds to its entertainment appeal. Savage's controversial commentary tends to elicit a censorious response. It wasn't long ago that Savage's remarks on illegal immigrants drew the ire of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, which, it seems, is always on the lookout for avenues of politically-correct behavior control. Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval introduced a resolution twice this year condemning Savage for "hate speech," a meaningless yet ominous gesture which disregards the concept of free speech. The resolution failed the first time around thanks to the lone dissent of the now-ousted Supervisor Ed Jew, who, in contrast to Sandoval's identity-politics-steeped perspective, stuck with upholding the First Amendment. But in October, the resolution passed, providing a menacing example of government interference, albeit symbolically, in the free speech rights of its citizenry. Economic punishment is another weapon in the hands of those opposed to Savage's provocative methodology and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is the latest to jump on the boycott bandwagon. CAIR is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization that touts itself as "America's largest Islamic civil liberties group." As such, CAIR expressed concern over a number of statements made by Savage on his Oct. 29 program that the group felt were anti-Muslim in nature. In response, CAIR, along with the newly formed Hate Hurts America Community and Interfaith Coalition, has attempted to mount a boycott aimed at advertisers on Savage's show. According to a Dec. 3 CAIR press release, a growing list of companies, including AutoZone, Citrix, TrustedID, JC Penney, OfficeMax, Wal-Mart, and AT&T, have joined the boycott. But rather than taking CAIR's boycott lying down, Savage is fighting back, in court. Represented by his lawyer, Daniel A. Horowitz, Savage is suing CAIR primarily for copyright infringement. According to the text of the lawsuit, which is posted at Savage's Web site, CAIR "misappropriated" his work by posting the four-minute segment in question at its Web site and including it in outreach and fundraising efforts. Taking it a step further, the lawsuit accuses CAIR of misrepresenting itself as a "civil rights organization" and of "advocating a specific political agenda that is directly opposed to the existence of a free society." While the copyright infringement charges against CAIR may or may not pan out, the broader implications could end up holding the most weight. Savage is certainly not the first to call CAIR's political motivations into question. CAIR is the leading Islamic lobby group in the nation and the organization is accorded a great deal of legitimacy by the mainstream media, the Bush administration and other politicians, academia, civil rights activists, and even military and federal agencies that have employed the group's assistance for "sensitivity" and "cultural training." Nonetheless, questions surrounding CAIR's philosophical underpinnings, foreign funding, and political goals continue to haunt the group's footsteps. Federal prosecutors named CAIR, along with the Islamic Society of North America and the North America Islamic Trust, an unindicted co-conspirator in the recent case involving the now-defunct Muslim charity the Holy Land Foundation and its alleged financial ties to the Palestinian terrorist group turned terrorist government Hamas. Also coming to light via the Dallas trial was a 1991 memo put out by the Egyptian Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood citing a strategy to subvert the West using mainstream Islamic front groups such as CAIR. As Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher put it: The HLF trial is exposing for the first time how the international Muslim Brotherhood — whose Palestinian division is Hamas — operates as a self-conscious revolutionary vanguard in the United States. The court documents indicate that many leading Muslim-American organizations — including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim American Society — are an integral part of the Brotherhood's efforts to wage jihad against America by nonviolent means. Indeed, in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, CAIR's communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, let slip that: "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future ... But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education." In light of the mistrial declared in the Holy Land Foundation case, which some concluded was due to a prosecution insufficiently prepared for the rigors of explaining terrorist financing and charges of intimidation among members of the jury, CAIR is trying to have the "unindicted co-conspirator" label retracted. It has solicited the assistance of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., to that end. But even without the revelations brought to light by the Holy Land Foundation trial, a body of evidence exists to suggest that CAIR is not the benign organization it presents itself as. Three CAIR officials have been convicted on federal terrorism charges since Sept. 11, 2001, and, according to World Net Daily, "at least 11 other CAIR officials have been caught up in terror investigations." Others have documented CAIR's objectionable associations, including its founding by former officials of the Islamic Association of Palestine, which has been described by the FBI counter-terrorism unit as a "a front organization for Hamas." It's to the point where, as WND puts it, "Congressional leaders say they are warning lawmakers and other Washington officials to disassociate from the group due to its growing terror ties." This may explain why California Sen. Barbara Boxer rescinded an award last year that was bestowed upon Basim Elkarra, the executive director of CAIR-Sacramento. As she put it at the time, "To praise (CAIR) because they haven't been indicted is like somebody saying, 'I'm not a crook.'" Similarly, New York Sen. Charles Schumer, in a statement from the Sept. 2003 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security noted that "we know (CAIR) has ties to terrorism ... intimate links with Hamas" and Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin called CAIR "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect." Rep. Bill Shuster R-Penn., concluded that "Time and again (CAIR) has shown itself to be nothing more than an apologist for groups bent on the destruction of Israel and Islamic domination over the West." With the exception of the latter, all of these politicians are Democrats, demonstrating that criticism of CAIR is no right-wing conspiracy. Nor is it, as has been claimed by CAIR officials on many occasions, a campaign by the so-called Israel Lobby. The list of abhorrent statements made by CAIR officials, not to mention unethical tactics, ties to terrorism and Saudi funding, is so long that criticism can no longer be avoided by deflecting blame. Savage's lawsuit details a number of instances in which CAIR officials publicly supported terrorism, acted as apologists for or distorted facts around terrorist acts, and admitted to an Islamist agenda to dominate America. If experience is any indication, Savage's lawsuit may very well end up being settled out of court, as its unlikely CAIR will wish to call attention to these unsavory details. Such was the case when CAIR tried to sue Andrew Whitehead, the founder of the organization Anti-CAIR, in 2005 for libel. The lawsuit was based on objections to statements posted at the Anti-CAIR Web site, including Whitehead's labeling CAIR a "terrorist supporting front organization." But after Whitehead's lawyer responded with a series of discovery requests and documents that, had they become part of a trial, almost certainly would have exposed CAIR's shady background, the organization agreed to settle out of court. To this day, Whitehead has made no changes to the Anti-CAIR Web site, which may indicate that none of the libel charges made by CAIR could be substantiated. At the time the case was settled, some predicted that CAIR's litigiousness would taper off, but the group seems simply to have shifted tactics. Now, mounting boycotts or pressuring employers to drop political commentators whom they label "anti-Muslim" are CAIR's preferred routes. And Savage is not the first target. In 2005, talk show host Michael Graham[ http://www.michaelgraham.com/ ] found himself the object of one of CAIR's pressure campaigns and ended up losing his job as a result, an outcome that was praised by CAIR officials. Conservative columnist and author Cal Thomas [ http://www.calthomas.com/ ] too was targeted by CAIR earlier this year for comments he made on Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP, but his employers, hit with a barrage of supportive e-mails from the public, stood by him. Even prime-time fiction is not immune to CAIR's meddling. The television show "24" earned CAIR's disapproval after the introduction of an Islamic terrorist sleeper cell to the story line of the fourth season. CAIR immediately scheduled a meeting with Fox executives in Los Angeles, which resulted in "24" star Kiefer Sutherland delivering a midseason disclaimer reassuring viewers that not all Muslims were terrorists. As I noted in a column on the subject, the show itself makes this point obvious and the fact that it counts Muslims among its fans would seem to indicate as much. But where CAIR rears its head, others tend to cave lest they be labeled with the broad brush of "Islamophobia." A favored CAIR tactic is to push the specter of anti-Muslim hate crimes, as if to imply that the United States is a hostile environment for Muslims. The overriding narrative holds that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were the catalyst for a wave of unfounded hostility towards Islam. Never mind the fact that it is not anti-Muslim hate crimes that have been on the rise since Sept. 11 but rather anti-Jewish hate crimes, the United States is still the most religiously and ethnically tolerant nation in the world. This may perhaps explain why, as compared to other parts of the West, Muslims are thriving in America. But one would never know this to listen to CAIR's dire reports. An Obama Connection? While this is an old article[04/23/08], I doubt that it's false. I'm sure that the principals involved just went "underground" much like the Rev Jeremaih Wright did while he waited for "the smoke to clear." Terrorist Fundraisers for Obama By Patrick PooleFrontPageMagazine.com Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Two years ago, Hatem El-Hady was the chairman of the Toledo, Ohio-based Islamic charity, Kindhearts, which was closed by the US government in February 2006 for terrorist fundraising and all its assets frozen. Today, El-Hady has redirected his fundraising efforts for his newest cause - Barack Obama for President.El-Hady has his own dedicated page on Barack Obama's official website, chronicling his fundraising on behalf of the Democratic Party presidential candidate (his Obama profile established on February 19, 2008 - two years to the day after Kindhearts was raided by the feds). Not only that, but he has none other than Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, listed as one of his friends (one of her 224 listed friends).But his leadership of Kindhearts is not the only thing that has brought him scrutiny by federal law enforcement officials. Last summer, El-Hady was questioned by the FBI concerning his knowledge of possible conspirators in a UK-based terror plot.Hatem El-Hady's interest in "change" is understandable. Following the closure of Kindhearts, he said in response to the government's closure of his organization:"It's dirty politics," said Dr. Hatem Elhady, chairman of the board of KindHearts, which raised $5.1 million in 2004. "They do not like the way things are going in Palestine. They do not like the election results. But that is not our problem. Our problem is providing aid to people in desperate need of help."The Department of Justice had a very different version of events. According to the DOJ, Kindhearts assumed the role of lead terrorist fundraising in the US after the government had closed other such Islamic "charities":"KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the fa├žade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.Not only was Kindhearts engaged in providing funds for HAMAS in Lebanon and the West Bank, it had hired as a fundraising specialist the man identified as the designated HAMAS bag man in the US, Mohammed El-Mezain.And as investigative reporter Joe Kaufman revealed, "The Black Hearts of Kindhearts", a number of other Kindhearts officials were tied to terrorist fundraising and support:KindHearts’ Director of Domestic Programs, Khalifah Ramadan. Ramadan was a training and evaluation consultant for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two large Muslim organizations based in the United States that have links to overseas terror groups. KindHearts’ Representaive, Omar Shahin. Shahin was an Imam for the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), the former home of numerous terror operatives, including Wael Jelaidan, who later helped found Al-Qaeda. KindHearts’ Representative, Wagdy Ghuneim. Ghuneim, an Egyptian cleric, has been featured in KindHearts fundraising dinners for 2002, 2003 and 2004. During a rally at Brooklyn College, in May of 1998, Ghuneim attempted to persuade the crowd to support violent jihad and labeled Jews as “descendants of the apes.” KindHearts’ Representative, Hatem Bazian. Bazian is an Islamic Studies instructor and a member of the faculty of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkley. In April of 2004, during a San Francisco anti-war rally, Bazian, a native Palestinian, called for an “intifada” against the United States. This was just two months prior to Bazian being featured in a KindHearts Fundraising Dinner, entitled ‘Palestinians in agony!’ KindHearts’ Manager in Lebanon, Haytham Maghawri (a.k.a. Haytham Fawri). Maghawri, the past Social Services Director for HLF, according to the Treasury Department, “collected [KindHearts] funds and sent them to Hamas and other Salafi groups.” [One of the recipients of KindHearts funding was Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Usama Hamdan, a leader of Hamas in Lebanon.]And two months before Kindhearts closure by the US government, Beila Rabinowitz had revealed that the South Asia Division Coordinator for Kindhearts, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had known ties to al-Qaeda, even conducting a 10-day tour with officials for the Tablighi Jamaat organization, which the New York Times had described as "a springboard for militancy" and a "recruitment" center for Al-Qaeda.Barack Obama has promised change. And as indicated by the public support that his candidacy has received by accused terrorist fundraiser Hatem El-Hady, Obama's version of change that terrorists and their US supporters can believe in.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This'n'That; December 25th [Poor;World Econ;Leadership;Iacocca's 9Cs;Merkel]

What is "Poor?" Poverty is an important and emotional issue. Last year, the Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty in the United States declaring that there were nearly 35 million poor persons living in this country in 2002, a small increase from the preceding year. To understand poverty in America, it is important to look behind these numbers--to look at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 35 million persons classified as "poor" by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity. Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. Today, the expenditures per person of the lowest-income one-fifth (or quintile) of households equal those of the median American household in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation. How Poor Are "The Poor?" The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports: ***Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. ***Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning. ***Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person. ***The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.) ***Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars. ***Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions. ***Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception. ***Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher. As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II; and yet New York's Governor Paterson insists on giving "the welfare rats" a ten-percent raise in his 2009-2010 budget proposal!! We Need This Kind Of Leadership [Excerpts from a Suzanne Fields Column: "An Empty Stocking For Frau Merkel," on http://www.townhall.com/ ] BERLIN -- Chancellor Angela Merkel is suffering a barrage of metaphors, some of them pointed and all of them mixed. So, too, President Nicholas Sarkozy in neighboring France. They're the odd couple of the European Union, usually depicted as friends, but every European understands that kisses on both cheeks do not a romance make. Enough metaphors already? The German press has more. "These days, both leaders are governing on the thin ice of the financial crisis, but Sarkozy is whistling as he turns confident pirouettes, while Merkel is crawling across the slippery surface on all fours, slowly and cautiously," observes der Spiegel, the weekly newsmagazine, invoking popular cliches to deride the strategy the two leaders are using to deal with the recession. Other leaders in the European Union want her to package a bigger stimulus, but Frau Merkel is cautious. She offers only modest sums to trigger investment. Mixed messages join mixed metaphors at home. When the chancellor met this week with government ministers, business executives and labor leaders to find ways to slow the recession, the meeting concluded with mush, calling for "collective accountability," which is no more appealing than "accountable collectivity." Once a staunch supporter of the Merkel environmental protections, German Greens now depict the chancellor in shades of yellow, charging her with cowardice as her enthusiasm for fighting global warming cools (even as the globe itself cools). The Greens are especially angry that she joined other EU nations in a compromise that delays setting goals for reducing carbon emissions in Eastern Europe, where there's a reliance on smokestack industries. She insists that ambitious targeted goals remain in place for the year 2020, but that means playing a waiting game, and there's a long, long time between 2008 and 2020. Seeking to turn her negatives, Frau Merkel praised the EU economic stimulus package of $200 billion euros ($267 billion) and promised Germans that she would spend billions of euros on road-building and repairs next year. She's eager now for Barack Obama to sign her dance card. The chancellor says she won't commit to more spending on the German economic crisis until after the inauguration "of the new president of the world's largest economy." She, like most Europeans, is counting on the messiah from Chicago. Teutonic times are tough all over. The German car industry is fastening its seatbelts for the bumpiest ride in its history. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are suffering acute carsickness. They haven't been hit as hard as the Detroit Three, but their cars aren't turning heads and emptying wallets as they did only yesterday. Driving a sedan with a big engine reflects both bad taste and bad judgment in a declining economy. BMW cut more than 8,000 jobs this year, and Mercedes says it will sell 150,000 fewer cars next year than it expected to do. Opel, the cutting-edge German car owned by General Motors, is vulnerable, also. Used cars with name brands are less desirable, too, as prospective owners worry that spare parts -- batteries, brakes, fan belts, even windshield wipers -- will be hard to find. Mistakes seen through a rear-view mirror only reveal the landscape left behind, and foresight requires manufacturers to change their attitude as well as their designs. Expensive models with fast engines are suddenly unappreciated by drivers addicted to racing across the autobahns. Porsche became the major shareholder in Volkswagen with the intent to make sports cars with more power, but now those expected 12- and 16-cylinder monster engines look only like out-of-reach indulgences for a future demanding fuel efficiency. On St. Nicholas Day, celebrated early in December, children found their polished shoes stuffed with candy and sweets as always. The saint lived up to his reputation as a "wonderworker." Angela Merkel once imagined herself as someone like that, but not this year. That's one metaphor that's gone missing. We need this kind of leadership, the kind that is not too quick to throw money at each and every problem; not too quick to spread the taxpayers' money around to their political and business cronies thus ensuring the next election's votes!! Speaking of leadership, read on: Where Have All The Leaders Gone [An excerpt from Lee Iacocca's book: "Where Have All The Leaders Gone"] The Test of a Leader. I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points-not ten [I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses]. I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we can use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely. So, here's my C list: A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go. If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right. A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone shoud accuse him of flip-flopping. There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President-the explosive mix of shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?' " Bush then reached over and put a steading hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't. Leadership is all about managing change-whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You Adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School. A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talkng about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current adminstration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with tellling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him. A leder has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops [not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Irai citizens] to their deaths-for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show hs daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy. A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. [That even goes for female leaders.] Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk. To be a leader you'b got to have CONVICTION-a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President-four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half pound perch in his hand-stocked lake. It's no better on Capital Hill. Congress was in session only ninety-seven days in 2006. That's eleven days less than the record set in 1948, when Prsident Harry Truman coined the term do-nothing Congress. Most people would expect to be fired if they workd so little and had nothing to show for it. But Conress managed to find the time to vote itself a raise. Now,that's not leadership. A leader should have CHARISMA. I'm not talking about being flashy. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It's the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him. That's my definition of charisma. Maybe George Bush is a great guy to hang out with at a barbecue or a ball game. But put him at a global summit where the future of our planet is at stake, and he doesn't look very presidential. Those frat-boy pranks and the kidding around he enjoys so much don't go over that well with world leaders. Just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who received an unwelcome shoulder massage from our President at a G-8 Summit. When he came up behind her and started squeezing, I thought she was going to go right through the roof. A leader has to be COMPETENT. That seems obvious, doesn't it? You've got to know what you're doing. More important than that, you've got to surround yourself wth people who know what they're doing. Bush brags about being our first MBA President. Does tht make him competent? Well, let's see. Thanks to our first MBA President, we've got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we've run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag [so far] in Iraq. And that's just for starters. A leader has to be a problem solver, and the biggest problems we face as a nation seem to be on the back burner. You can't be a leader if you don't have COMMON SENSE. I call this Charlie Beacham's rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford's zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie was a big Southerner, with a warm drawl, a huge smile, and a core of steel. Charlie used to tell me, "Remember, Lee, the only thing you've got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don't know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you'll never make it." George Bush doesn't have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know-Mr. they'll welcome us as liberators no child left behind heck of a jobBrownie mission accomplished Bush. Former President Bill Clinton once said, "I grew up in an alcoholic home. I spent half my childhood trying to get ito the reality-based world-and I like it here." The Biggest C is Crisis. Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It's all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the qickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn't safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day-and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker. We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero. That was George Bush's moment of truth, and he was paralyzed. And what did he do when he'd regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq-a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was President. But Bush didn't listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith based, not reality based. If that doesn't scare the crap out of you, I don't know what will. Well, there it is in it's entirety. At first glance it looks like it's Lee's opportunity to bash Bush..... and it is!! Look beyond the bashing and you'll find his lessons on leadership, although the "Bush" references are dated I doubt the media will apply these points when scrutinizing the new president's first term..... we shall see what we shall see............ This Christmas Of 2008 Although my greatest Christmases have been when kids are involved, this has to be ranked right up there!! No kids were around; my "baby" is thirty-years-old and no grandchildren live in the area. I was with "my sweetie" and I received thoughtful, useful and desired gifts. For once I actually put thought into the gifts I bought for Barb....... tough tho' it was.... I think they were "successful!!" Til nex'time.....

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Monday, December 22, 2008

This'n'That, December 23rd[MiddleClass;SubPrimes;Mutual Funds]

A Campaign Pomise: "Grow The Government" Have ya heard the latest? biden is going to chair a "middle-class task force." biden said he will be the point person for getting consensus among task force members for a plan to restore the middle class, which, depending on how the group is defined, includes anywhere from a quarter to more than half of Americans. The middle-class task force will include presumed Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis, presumed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle and presumed Education Secretary Arne Duncan — all of whom have been nominated — as well as the appointed director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag. My guess is that a "plan to restore the middle class" will include enhancing the middle class's numbers, ie wealth re-distribution. They'll tax-the-crap outa anyone who has what they consider a large amount of money in savings, in investments or in earnings. This will re-distribute those poor schmucks from the upper class to the middle class. THERE, I saved the gubmint abuncha money; no need for endless hearings, no need for unnecessary travel, actually, NO NEED FOR BIDEN!!! All it'll take is a stroke of the pen on January 21, assuming that "the royal family" will bask in the glory for the remainder of Inauguration Day. Still Holdin' Those Mutual Funds? I found this on "Investopedia"....................................................... 8 Reasons To Dump A Mutual Fund. 1. Portfolio Rebalancing: Some funds can grow faster than others, causing a portfolio imbalance. Portions of the larger fund should be sold to bring the percentages back in line with personal objectives. 2. Mutual Fund Changes or Mismanagement: Some changes might be- A. The portfolio manager resigns; B. The manager's investment style changes over time; C. An upward trend in expense ratios vs a flat or lower return percentage; D. The fund just grows too large-causing difficulty in buying and selling on the market. 3. Investor Growth: You as an investor, gain more education, knowledge, experience and/or wealth; you might partially outgrow mutual funds and decide to buy individual stocks as a method of diversification. 4. Life Cycle Changes: Statistically, stocks have been the best investments over time. When changes approach like retirement, children's advanced educations, parents' health concerns, etc, a shift away from stocks into safer, more secure investments is warrented. These new investments might be government bonds, high-grade corporate bonds and/or term deposits, whose maturities coincide with the approaching event. 5. Mistakes: Sometimes the investor's due diligence isn't what it should have been, they subsequently own funds that they might never have purchased. The funds might be too risky for them, might be invested in undesirable stocks or the expense ratio might be prohibitively high. There might be an "over-diversification" issue-owning too many funds which are hard to monitor and tend to average out to market performance [less the fees]. 6. Valuation: Shifting out of mutual funds to rebalance your fixed portfilio allocations by using an opportunistic approach like the price-earnings ratio [P/E]. If the P/E ratio has historically averaged 14-16 and rises to the 24-26 level; that's an indicator that valuations are overextended and the risk of a downturn is elevated. 7. Something Better Comes Along: Investing Guru Sir John Templeton advised selling when something better comes along. These "something betters" might be A. New funds that come to market with innovative investment approaches; B. Over time, it might appear that other fund managers are outperforming your fund manager. 8. Tax Reduction: Mutual funds that are held in taxable accounts might have suffered significant losses over the current tax year. If they're sold during the current tax year they will provide capital losses that are used to offset taxable capital gains and thus reduce the tax liability. Getting To The Bottom Of The "Housing Scam" The Community Reinvestment Act is an Act of Congress enacted in 1977 with the intention of encouraging depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of surrounding communities (particularly low and moderate income neighborhoods). The CRA requires federal regulators to assess the record of each bank or thrift in helping to fulfill its obligations to the community. This record will then be used in evaluating applications for future approval of bank mergers, charters, acquisitions, branch openings and deposit facilities. In other words, banks and other lending institutions were blackmailed by the Democrat Congress to "roll-over-and-play-dead" when it came to writing mortgages to less-than-creditworthy individuals. Either the institutions wrote the questionable mortgages or the congress would thwart any business progress they attempted. In the Clinton regime the lending standards of CRA were lowered further. In the revised version of the act, the lenders were told that proof of income, source of down payment and credit history of a person would no longer be required for qualifying criteria. Boston Federal Reserve made sure that the banks end up giving loans to people with poor credit records. The lending institutions were threatened with dire consequences if they refused sanctioning home loans to poor credit holders. ACORN, which is a community activist group, put pressure on lenders to issue loans to unqualified buyers. Obama was a community activist and lawyer at a time and he sued Fannie Mae to lessen the need for obtaining mortgages. That explains why the lenders were compelled to dish out loans to the high-risk buyers. To make sure that the lending entities do not get burdened with the bad loans they sold these loans to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Both of them are government-sponsored enterprise, publicly owned. The Department of Housing andUrban Destruction encouraged Fanny and Freddie to purchase more loans. Freddie and Fannie were also insisting lenders to sanction more home loans. The real estate agents, developers and loan officers were too willing to comply as they all laughed their way to the banks at the end. With the sub-prime market augmenting, the investment banks stepped in to make use of the opportunity. Their weapon was buying the Mortgage Backed Securities. The chain of loan and mortgage backed securities was going on well until the estate market began sliding. The danger of this money making spree was not unknown to all. Bill Clinton could sense that Fannie and Freddie were going out of control. But the Democrats did not allow him to interrupt. Bush also echoed the same concern during his tenure but the Congress did not cooperate with him either. The irony lies in the fact while some of the Democrats played a major role in causing this financial debacle they are blaming the Republicans for it. The Democrats blocked legislation in 2005 that could have prevented this slump. Til Nex'time.............

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This'n'That; December 22nd[Weather;Neighbors]

Western NY Weather To those whiners and complainers of the weather here, I usually say "Comes 'bout this time every year-Ya autta be use to it by now!!" Late last week the Rochester area got about 10-12." The snowblower and I got the driveway cleared in about two hours. Before anyone could leave for work Saturday, I had to shovel that crap the city plows push up on the driveway. My job has variable hours; wuddn'tcha know it.... Saturday was a long day. By the time I got home, my neighbor had both our driveways cleared with his snowblower..... boy... Neighbors like that are hard to come by!! He probably cleared another four inches then. Sunday morning I cleared both our driveways again, this time of about three inches. That's a four-day total of approximately 16-19"!! Sunday night into Monday, we had winds which plugged our driveway AGAIN-I haven't check the neighbor's yet, he has a hedge along his, so maybe he didn't get drifted in too bad. Ya Gotta Love "Lake-Affect" Snow For those who don't know, "lake-affect" snowstorms are caused by the prevailing winds blowing off The Great Lakes. Late Erie usually pounds Northeastern Ohio, far Western NYS and Western Pa. Lake Ontario takes up where Erie leaves off. Usually the counties west of Rochester, on easward to the Syracuse-Tug Hill area and southward to the NY-Pa border. The pounding the Rochester area took this past weekend was nothing compared to the snows off Lake Erie. This morning I woke up to news that the NY Thruway is closed from Exit 46 [Henrietta;intersection of I-390] to Exit 61 [NY-Pa border]. This means that lotsa folks "ain't gonna git ta work on time!!" Neighbors Like That Are Hard To Come By The same neighbor that cleared our driveway has gotta be the greatest man on the planet!! He spends most of his day away from home, working. He leaves before I get up [around 4:30AM] and I usually beat him home!! He has been known to "drop everything" and work on Miz Daisy..... dealing with her many "fits and quirks." He's never asked for my help in any of his projects!! He had this ol' broke snowblower in the back of his garage..... he replaced it acuppla years ago with a two-stage one. I mentioned that I was gonna buy a snowblower to eleviate the expense of a "plowman" who rarely gets the driveway done on time; destroys bushes and fences nearly every year. The neighbor-guy got out the old snowblower, replaced all the broken crap, did lotsa welding on it and replaced all the chains, belts and bearings. He "loaned" it to us; we gotta return it if we move [ain' likely!!] or if we kick the bucket [very likely, but not soon, hopefully]. There's NO WAY to repay this guy for all he's done for me; I do all I can that doesn't require his presence-yard care, snow removal, etc. MANY THANKS, Joe!!! Til Nex'time..........

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

This'n'That; December 19th [Powell;Limbaugh;budget;Truckers]

Another Attempt To Shaft America's Truckers As a semi-retired over-the-road truckdriver, I'm always on the lookout for articles that affect truckers. This article comes from the daily email news from LandLine Magazine [the Business Magazine for Professional Truckers]. December 17, 2008 OOIDA battling full-on push for longer, heavier trucks The once-dead issue of asking the feds to increasing truck size and weights is heating up in a full-blown battle on Capitol Hill with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association battling the propaganda being pushed by a group of coalitions. “The fight is here again,” said Rod Nofziger, OOIDA’s Director of Government Affairs. “OOIDA is in a good position, but we can’t take it for granted. It’s not going to be easy because these folks have deep pockets.” Coalitions such as Americans for Safe and Efficient Transportation, Coalition for Transportation Productivity and AgTec are knocking on doors all over Congress trying to sway lawmakers into believing that 97,000-pound, six-axle trucks are the answer to a myriad of problems facing the trucking industry and the nation. The groups are composed of businesses from heavy commodity industries such as the paper, logging and steel industries, just to name a few, and they are in addition to several mega carriers. One of the groups, ASET, is even to the point where they are finalizing potential legislative language they are going to shop by members of Congress in an attempt to get it added to the highway funding reauthorization bill being developed right now. “They are really leaning on the ‘green’ argument and the hurting economy to sell this bad idea,” Nofziger said. There’s a lengthy list of reasons why opening the door to longer or heavier trucks is a bad idea, Nofziger said. And that’s a list the OOIDA DC staff has been making sure lawmakers are very aware of. With so much focus on the nation’s aging roads system, it seems almost moronic to open the door to heavier trucks that will damage it even further, he pointed out. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of arguments against heavier trucks. Nofziger pointed out that while it is an established market within the trucking industry, heavy haul isn’t for everyone. Right now, heavier trucks are a specialized gig that requires an extended level of oversight at the state level through permitting and such. There is a certain amount of investment and business savvy required to compete in that market. So, by default, truckers who work heavy haul are experienced, safe drivers. Allowing all trucks to go to 97,000 pounds means any steering wheel holder with little or no training will be sharing the road with the general public. “This isn’t an easy job by any means at 80,000 pounds,” Nofziger said. “Now they want to let the same incapable drivers loose with 97,000 pounds? That’s crazy.”Now, with proposed legislation in hand and an upcoming “fly-in” to Washington, DC, planned where they will swam Congress trying to get support for their bill, Nofziger said the time is right to get letters in the mail and beat them to the punch. Nofziger said the timing is perfect for OOIDA’s membership to mobilize and to write letters to their lawmakers in opposition to the longer and heavier trucks. “OOIDA is a leader in opposing this issue,” Nofziger said. “With 160,000 members writing letters, sharing their experiences and concerns, and pointing out how wrong this idea is, the better chance we have of putting this issue to rest once again.” Letters outlining personal experiences with longer or heavier trucks, explaining that upping the weight limits will force small-business operators to upgrade equipment in a down economy, and detailing safety concerns go a long way toward educating lawmakers, Nofziger said. If you don’t know who your lawmakers in Congress are, you can call OOIDA’s Membership Department at 800-444-5791 and they will look it up for you. – By Jami Jones, senior editor jami_jones@landlinemag.com Sending Reminders To The Governor On Thursday's show, highly popular talkshow host Bob Lonsberry was casting about for suggestions for his listeners to use to remind Governor Paterson that the disgruntled public is "mad as hell" over the latest budget proposal. One caller suggested mailing cans of diet soda to the Governor. I checked and a can of soda weighs 13.1 ounces whereas an empty can weighs 1/2 ounce. The full can might run up against added packaging and postage requirements [mailing liquids, which might not be allowed]. The empty can, when crushed flat and bent to conform to the size of a standard letter or business envelope. The empty can would qualify for 1st class postage, 42 cents. Mr Lonsberry hosts his own wildly popular show on WHAM-1180 [www.wham1180.com], M-F, 11AM-2PM, eastern. Rush Has It Right......[from Newsmax.com] Rush Strikes Back at 'Turncoat' Colin Powell Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:07 PMBy: Phil Brennan Talk show legend Rush Limbaugh wasted no time in answering Colin Powell after the former secretary of state said on CNN that the Republican Party should stop listening to the radio host. On Monday, Limbaugh told his 20 million listeners that what Powell was doing was telling the GOP to throw them under the bus. "I think Powell's premise is all wrong," Limbaugh said. "The Republican Party needs to stop listening to me. Basically, what that means is the Republican Party's gotta throw you overboard. The Republican Party can't win as long as it is defined by people like you and me, those of you in this audience." Powell is a bit late in telling his party to stop listening to him, Limbaugh said, noting that the party had already stopped listening to him. "The simple fact of the matter is, folks, what makes this funny to me is that the Republican Party's not listened to me in the last two years," he explained. "And you might even say in matters of policy and so forth, the Republican Party hasn't been listening to me for the last six years. "And you might even say that the Republican Party is in the situation it's in precisely because of the people like Colin Powell and John McCain and others who have devised this new definition and identity of the party which is responsible for electing Democrats all over this country." After recalling that Powell voted for Barack Obama, Limbaugh charged that the Bush administration's first secretary of state was upset because he said that Powell's endorsement of Obama was about race. "These things are supposed to go unsaid," Limbaugh said. Limbaugh also took aim at GOP presidential candidate McCain. "The Republican Party nominated Powell's perfect candidate. The guy's going after moderates, independents, Democrats, a guy who is not conservative at all, McCain, didn't stand up for much conservative [principles], and he's out there now saying he won't support Palin if she seeks the presidency again, or he might not." Turning back to Powell, Limbaugh said Powell "insists that conservatives and Republicans support candidates who will appeal to minorities like I guess McCain who led the effort for amnesty. He insists that conservatives and Republicans move to the center like McCain, who calls himself a maverick for doing so. "General Powell insists that conservatives and Republicans provide an open tent to different ideas and views, like I guess McCain, who repeatedly trashed Republicans and made nice with Democrats. I mean, their tent's big, they just don't want us in it." Having been what Limbaugh described as Powell's ideal candidate, after McCain won the GOP at the last moment, Powell switched sides. "Once McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate, largely by independents and Democrats voting in Republican primaries, Colin Powell waited 'til the last minute, when it would do the most damage to McCain and the Republicans, and endorsed Obama. And when I said it was largely about race, that's what set 'em all off. You're not supposed to say these kinds of things. This is supposed to go unspoken. "Let me get this straight," Limbaugh said. "The guy who has supported the Republican candidate for president should be thrown out of the party. That would be me. But the guy who bolted and sabotaged the Republican nominee by endorsing the Democrat candidate should stay in and be part of the team that determines what the Republican Party is going to be. The turncoat, General Powell, is the one who the party is gonna listen to? McCain's a moderate. I supported McCain. Powell, who wants a moderate, did not support McCain." Til Nex'Time.......

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