“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last Night's Fox News/Google Florida GOP Presidential Debate

I tried to watch last night's Fox News/Google debate from Florida. I really did. It didn't take more than, I think, five minutes before I was channel-surfing. The pace was just too sluggish for me.

God help me, I just can't take the tedious, repetitive questions and evasive answers anymore. If others can, more power to 'em.

No matter who sponsors these things, and what the allegedly ground-breaking format for cutting off run on self-promoting 'answers' and such, I typically watch the next day's Fox News and Bloomberg programs for a digest of the high points of the debate.

Last night, I actually fell asleep during the latter half of the program. At least I think I did. Evidently it was so boring there was no recency effect for my memory.

What I last recall of the debate was former governor Johnson answering a question involving something to do with spending. But the actual topic is unimportant.

What is important is how Johnson replied. He began off-topic. Completely off-topic. Something about promising to send a balanced 2013 budget to Congress. But what I quickly realized, because I've used the tactic myself in business meetings, was that he was thinking in background about his real reply while tossing up canned positions on a somewhat-related point, so that, about 20 seconds into a 60 second reply, he came around to what his mind had rapidly settled on as his answer. I remember this because his 'answer' was prefaced by a qualifier like 'somewhat' or 'options including.' Meaning he didn't really have an answer.

That was pretty much it for me. The last straw. And I don't mean poll.

I think what would be more meaningful to me would be something like the following. A network provides a weekly two-hour slot for its 'candidate of the week.' One of the GOP presidential hopefuls sits on a set with one or two moderators and answers questions from online feeds and a live audience. Moderators provide follow-up questions and/or fill in background on the candidate's prior remarks on the topic. Or contrast their stance with other candidates, etc.

And, for good measure, the original audience/online questioner gets a few minutes of give-and-take with the candidate, so if the latter evades the question, the questioner can complain about that and note it for everyone else.

I really don't care so much what Mitt thinks about Rick. Or what Newt thinks about anyone. Or what Rick (Santorum) does to try to look relevant.

In the end, I care more about how these people interact with prospective voters than how they fence with each other. I don't expect them to agree with each other, so what's the surprise in these bear-baiting formats?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rick Perry On Social Security

I caught Sean Hannity's interview with Rick Perry last night. It covered a wide range of topics, but I was particularly interested in Perry's responses on Social Security.

Suffice to say, Perry has no clear idea of what he would do about Social Security. The essence of his replies were to say, about three times, that those on or nearing eligibility for Social Security would get their benefits. For middle-aged, 45 and under Americans, Perry punted.

Clearly, he's smarting from the 'Ponzi scheme' remark. He defended it, but was obviously worried that older Americans think he's for repealing the entire program.

Of course, those few of you who are regular readers of this blog know that, personally, I would repeal it. It's an illegal and ill-advised Ponzi scheme created by idiots nearly 80 years ago. It was badly-designed then, and it's worse now. Most importantly, one must realize it was never going to be solvent as a general-pool, defined-benefit scheme.

Now, I'll allow that Perry mentioned the various solutions others have offered, e.g., a general nod to anything Paul Ryan says. Perry vaguely mentioned an IRA-like personal account to be self-managed, as well as a conventional, government-run account.

Basically, Perry won't commit to any one solution. So he's either just playing politics, truly can't decide what he believes, or both.

Which leads me to this conclusion.

Whether it's Mitt or Rick, either one, flawed as they are, will be better than letting Wonderboy ruin America for four more years, come November of next year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lightsquared- The Other Breaking Administration Scandal

It's not just the Soyndra scandal that is currently breaking in Washington, D.C.

There's also the little matter of Lightsquared.

"LightSquared is owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund, headed by billionaire investor Phil Falcone. He visited the White House and made large donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Soon after, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted LightSquared a highly unusual waiver that allows the company to build out a national 4G wireless network on the cheap.

The deal has been criticized not only for its 'pay to play' appearance but also because the LightSquared network would interfere with the part of the wireless spectrum that is used by Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Meanwhile, the White House is facing accusations that it tried to pressure an Air Force general to change his testimony on the GPS interference issue. According to the Washington Post:

GOP staffers of the House strategic forces subcommittee accused the White House of trying to influence the testimony of an Air Force general who was speaking about the project's potential to interfere with the Global Positioning System, the satellite network relied on by the military and private industry. The staffers said Gen. William Shelton revealed in an earlier closed meeting that the White House pressured him to include language in his testimony Thursday supporting LightSquared's venture."

Shelton's accusation is particularly damaging because, according to legal commentators, it involves the administration in orchestrating testimony. A serious matter which is criminal in nature.
Isn't it ironic that Solyndra and Lightsquared are both hitting the administration together? And don't forget the still-lingering Fast and Furious scandal. That's the operation in which Justice oversaw distributing arms to Mexican drug dealers which have killed law enforcement personnel. Eric Holder is, I believe, still stonewalling that one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Solyndra Scandal

The breaking, growing Solyndra solar panel maker scandal is proving to be the sort of embarrassment which could well be the decisive factor in driving Wonderboy's poll numbers into the basement for good.

Yes, we all know about the Bush administration quashing the loan application unanimously, only to see the First Rookie's energy department magically resurrect and pass it early in its tenure. And, yet, current energy staffers claim it was, of course, Bush's fault.

But the more interesting news is the restructuring of loan seniority which occurred in violation of federal law.

We are told that the federally-guaranteed $535MM loan cursed Solyndra, because its absolute seniority to all other debt scared off subsequent lenders. And that is totally plausible.

But we've also learned that George Kaiser, of the famous wealthy California Kaiser family, both donated money to one of Wonderboy's wife's charitable foundations, as well as served as a donation "bundler" for him, was involved.

It seems that sometime after the federal loan guarantee was made, Kaiser's multi-million dollar, pre-existing loan to Solyndra was made part of a debt restructuring which allowed it to illegally leapfrog the federal guarantee in seniority, and then be repaid.

This will be the real juice in the scandal. When the details all come out, the actual $535MM of bad government industrial policy won't be the worst of it, because, well, sadly, that's business as usual in Washington.

No, the real news will be that the self-proclaimed cleanest, most ethical administration in the nation's history will be shown to have nakedly violated federal law to help a big campaign donor/bundler to recover a risky loan from Solyndra before it went bankrupt.

And that news should break just in time for Wonderboy to be entering the last 12 months of his term and attempting to focus on his re-election campaign.

Nothing like a really good scandal to distract a sitting president and turn voters off to his bid for another term. Just ask Dick Nixon- if you could.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Two GOP House Special Elections Wins

By now I guess it's old news that the two Republicans contesting special elections in a heavily-Democratic NYC district and a district in Nevada both won.

The NYC district is famous for two reasons. First, it was disgraced Anthony Weiner's home, and, second, it had been represented by a Democrat since 1923.

The national import of these election results was so great as to merit a column from Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend. Despite her baseless tendency to ignore the venality of Wonderboy's administration and its various extremely socialist and liberal staffers, Noonan actually became bold enough to claim that these two elections mark a national dissatisfaction with the president.

Indeed, they do. It's almost impossible to believe that, with each passing week, Wonderboy unveils new taxes in hopes that they will rally lower-income voters to him, as he exhorts Congress to pass another stimulus bill. Then he goes out on the stump or commands television coverage for some speech on the same topic.

To say the guy has a tin ear is no longer even remotely sufficient to describe his isolation from the sentiments of the broad US electorate.

But if you needed a barometer to gauge how badly he's doing across America, those two special elections would be hard to beat. One victory in a long-time Democratic stronghold, the other in a district which had just a 55 vote difference in the 2008 presidential election, but went overwhelmingly for the GOP candidate last week.

Kind of evokes Bob Dylan, doesn't it?

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows...