Saturday, September 26, 2015
The Speaker of the House, be it in Congress or the State House, is one of the most powerful individuals in government. Congress’ Speaker of the House is third in line for the Presidency. And yet Speaker Boehner is resigning to great consternation and bewilderment amongst the pundits. John Boehner is resigning from office. So did Newt Gingrich and Jim Wright while Tom Foley was defeated for reelection. Jim Wright had an ethics problem. Newt Gingrich like John Boehner was facing a revolt from his caucus. Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi ceded their speakerships because their parties lost a majority in the House. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Tip O’Neill in 1987 was the last Speaker to leave on his terms. The situation is no different at the state level. Four state speakers lost their jobs in 2014 and 2015 because of criminal indictments or guilty pleas to criminal prosecutions. They are Mike Hubbard of Alabama (indicted October 2014), Sheldon Silver of New York (arrested in January 2015), Gordon Fox of Rode Island (pled guilty), and Bobby Harrell of South Carolina (indicted September 2014) In addition John Diehl of Missouri resigned in May 2015 because he was caught exchanging “sexually suggestive texts” with a 19 year old legislative intern. Let us not forget that three successive Massachusetts of the House were indicted for corruption (Charles Flaherty, Tom Finneran, and Salvatore Di Masi) over a 5 year period while two former Pennsylvania speakers received early release from prison in fraud cases in early 2014. It was a bipartisan showing by the Republican John Perzel and the Democrat Bill DeWeese. Speaker Boehner lost the confidence of his caucus and the Republican base. Americans, especially Republicans, are angry with Washington. That includes the Congressional leadership, which seems impotent to stop President Obama in his Crusade to transform America. They do not understand why Congress will not use the power of the purse. Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have done a risk benefit calculus. They know that the media will blame the Republicans for a government “shutdown,” while they will gain little from it. Yet, they even convey defeat in their appearance. They had the solution in their hands. They could have passed individual spending bills, saving the most contentious items, such as Planned Parenthood, for a few bills at the end, daring President Obama to veto otherwise popular bills. They could have used budget reconciliation to force the President to veto bills, but they caved. And because they failed, three outsiders, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Dr. Ben Carson, are currently leading in the polls with Senator Ted Cruz, an out-of-control firebrand, is right behind. None could govern if they won, shades of Arnold Schwarzenegger. John Boehner resigned because he failed to learn from Eric Cantor’s reelection defeat in 2014. He resigned because he failed. So did all the others.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Open memo to Pope Francis, President Obama, and Senator Sanders: Capitalism Does Not Cause Poverty or Inequality
Socialism and its bastard cousin, communism, brings equality to the masses, the equality of mediocrity. Everyone is equal, except as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the privileged few. Chairman Mao and Lenin-Stalin killed about 100 million in the pursuit of equality. They are equal in death. Socialism seduces with its appeal to equality, but deadens the human soul and impoverishes the people. Chairman Mao turned China Communist and Nehru India socialist. The result was economic stagnation and mass poverty. Vice Chairman Deng Xiaoping unleashed capitalism in China in 1978. India followed in 1991. The result is an economic renaissance in those countries with India raising hundreds of millions out of Poverty. Prime Minister Erdogan did the same on a lesser scale in Turkey a decade ago, but President Erdogan is resorting to statism with a resulting decline in the economy. Communism failed in Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Russia sadly is reverting to a statist dictatorship with a decline in living standards. Quasi-socialism in the form of the post-World War II social democracy movements of Western Europe has resulted in economic stagnation in Western Europe. The Pope grew up in the world of Liberation Theology, a natural reaction to the economic bankruptcy of Latin American statism, dictatorships, and corruption. The Latin American countries profess to be capitalistic, but it is faux capitalism. It’s easy to be radicalized in that milieu, especially if one is a liberal Jesuit.. What Pope Francis witnessed was at best a bastardized capitalism, more akin to the national socialism of the Nazis, only with less oppression. He experienced and lived in a universe of state sponsored mediocrity and inequality. He said: “Inequality is the root of social ills …As long as the problem of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of the markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.” He, as many before him, misdiagnosed the problem. Inequality is not the root of social ills, but the result. President Obama listened to Reverend Jeremiah Wright preach Liberation Theology for two decades and sucked it up. Senator Bernie Sanders is an unabashed socialist. Capitalism is the means by which people offer goods and services to others, who are willing to pay for them at a profit to the supplier. Capitalism allows the individual to seize an opportunity to escape poverty. Pope Francis criticized capitalism in his November 24, 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangeli Gaudium”, “The Joy of the Gospel.” He wrote: “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assure their economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts ….” He cautioned that “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market.” Pope Francis complained “The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.” Sounds like capitalistic, bourgeois decadence. If though Pope Francis wishes to view the miracles of capitalism in action, he should visit the Apple Store at Grand Central Station tomorrow when the new IPhone goes on sale. Elsewhere he quoted a 4th Century Bishop to the effect that the unfettered pursuit of money is “the dung of the devil.” Pope John Paul II (1978-2005), the Polish Pope, was a supporter of capitalism. He lived, experienced, and preached through the depravity and corruption of communism. He knew capitalism had its limits, but that it was the hope for humanity.
Friday, September 18, 2015
What is President Obama’s religion: Christian or Muslim? Most Americans probably don’t give a damn; they’re just counting the days till he’s out of office. 43% of Republicans and roughly 20% of Americans think he’s a Muslim. It doesn’t matter what Americans think of the President’s religion. It’s a non-issue, except the media suddenly discovered it. Donald Trump had a so-so performance at the CNN debate Wednesday evening. The consensus view, albeit perhaps not the polls, say Carly Fiorina had a second great performance and Governor Christy and Senator Rubio, and perhaps Governor Bush, rose above the rest. The Donald appeared at a town house Thursday night in Rochester, New Hampshire. The first speaker started out by saying “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.” He continued: “We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.” Trump’s mortal sin apparently is that he did not promptly rebuke the speaker. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the chorus. She is appalled, just appalled that Donald Trump has sanctioned the claim that the President is not a Christian. Oh what damnable hypocrisy on the part of Secretary Clinton. Her campaign started the Obama Birther Movement in a bid to destroy his campaign. Her staff sent a photo to the Politico in 2008. It was Senator Obama dressed as a Somali Elder when he visited a Somali village in 2005. Steve Kroft in an interview with then Senator Clinton asked her if she thought Senator Obama was a Muslim. She responded: “No, there is nothing to base that on, As far as I know.” “As far as I know.” Secretary Clinton proves once again that she will say or do almost anything to win the election. Her problem is that words and actions last forever in the internet. Her deleted emails are already demining her campaign. Senator Obama added fuel on the fire in a September 8, 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos on This Week. He responded to a question: “Let’s not play games. What I was suggesting – you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith …” “My Muslim faith.” Was that a Freudian slip or just the occasional misstatement of candidates on the stump? Is this President a Christian? He worshiped in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for 20 years, during which the anti- Semitic Reverend preached anti-American sermons. His first infamous sermon was about 9/11: “America’s chickens have come home to roost.” His second said: “No, no, no, not God Bless America, but God damn America.” Senator Obama initially denied ever hearing during 20 years sitting in the pews during Reverend Wright’s sermons of hearing any of this, but subsequently threw the Reverend under the political bus. No doubt exists about the Clintons’ religious beliefs. An amazing religious sight occurred on Sundays when President Clinton was immersed in one of his many scandals. He was always shown holding onto Hillary in one hand and clutching the Bible in the other. The media and Secretary Clinton are hurling fire and brimstone at Donald Trump for not damning the speaker at his townhouse in an effort to destroy him. The problem for them is that the more they dump on the Donald, the more popular support he receives. Republicans and to a lesser extent Independents and Democrats hold the mainstream media in contempt. What are they thinking? If Donald trump's outrageous statements have not sunk his campaign, then how can failure to speak be damaging? They are reviving a slipping campaign.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
An Assessment of the Republican Field Prior to the Second Debate Governor Rick Perry of Texas is the smartest of the group of 17. He realized it was a lost cause and cut his losses. His time was four years ago, but he was sick and medicated when he performed poorly in public. He could not overcome that first impression. At this point in time the career politicians should follow Governor Perry’s lead. Polls show three political outsiders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina with a combined 54%. The voters are lukewarm, or at least in the Republican base, to Washington insiders this election. That will change. Donald trump's thin skin will catch up with him as his act becomes stale. The question is if tomorrow he will violate President Reagan's 11th Commandment at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as the candidates attempt the mantle of President Reagan. The early front runners have plummeted in the polls. Governor Chris Christy is still digging out from Bridgegate. Governor Scott Walker is now all in on a union busting plank. Governor Jeb Bush can’t figure out what hit him. He is the cool, calm, collected voice in the race. He saw what happened to his father and brother when they failed to respond to political attacks. Thus, he is stooping into the political sewer with Donald Trump. That is not who he is and detracts from his message. Carly Fiorina has made Hillary Clinton her focus from the onset of her campaign. Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Huckabee may have won previous Iowa caucuses, but this is not their year. They are both competing for the Evangelical vote but that vote is going to Dr. Ben Carson this year. Senator Ted Cruz is, as usual, being a Lone Ranger, continuing to build upon his Senate record of being somewhere out there by himself. Governors Bush and John Kasich are not pandering to the voters by throwing “red meat” at them. Who knows why former Governors Jim Gilmore and George Pataki are running? Senator Lindsay Graham at least can claim to be putting national defense up front. Senator Rand Paul is on the wrong side of the national security debate. He apparently cannot dig himself out of the Foxhole. Governor Jindal has received little traction in the race for the White House. It seems to be “steady as it goes” for most of them, hoping to be among the few survivors standing when the Donald ultimately crashes, and thus pick up the pieces. The odds should favor Senator Marco Rubio in this strategy. One of the sad effects of Donald trump's current reign in the polls is that it crowds out the message of the other candidates. If you watch them, and listen to them, you realize that the Republican field is very strong and that almost everyone of the remaining 16 candidates is better than anyone in the Democratic field.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Congratuation Haggen, You joined the ranks of failed retailers. You are only distinguished because you did it in record times. Don’t worry; others will join you A & P Alexanders B. Altman & Co. Arlan’s Ayres Best & Co. Blockbuster Bonwit Teller Borders Bradlees Brueners Builders Emporium Caldors Child World Circuit City Comp USA Arnold Constable Discount Records Ernst Filene’s Basement Forbes & Wallace Frederick & Nelson’s Fresh & Easy Gimbel’s Good Guys Gottscalks W.T. Grant & Co. Grodins Grossman’s Herman’s World of Sporting Goods Hollywood Video Home Base J & R Jay Jacobs K-B’s King Kinney’s Shoes S. Klein’s on the Square E. J. Korvettes Lamonts Lechmere Levitz Loehmans Mervyns Miller’s Outpost Montgomery Wards G.C. Murphy Ohrbachs Oshman’s Pacific Stereo Pay’n Pak Peck & Peck Radio Shack Record Factory Rinks Bargain City Roos Atkins F.A.O. Schwartz Service Merchandise Sharper Image Steiger’s Steve & Barry’s Tower Records Two Guys Wickes Woolco Wherehouse Woolworth’s Zayres
Friday, September 11, 2015
Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, crashed into the Pentagon, and crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania 14 years ago. 2,779 innocent victims from 90 countries, mostly Americans, died in the terrorist attack. Never Forget! President Obama has. He has also forgotten Munich. Hitler told us his intents in Mein Kamp. The Ayatollah Khamenei keeps telling us Death to America and Death to Israel as Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.. A nuclear bomb on a ballistic missile aimed at Israel will fulfill his vow. The New York Times wrote that President Obama won yesterday when 42 Democratic Senators invoked cloture, i.e. filibuster, against the projected Congress’ rejection of his non-treaty treaty with Iran. He won. America lost. The World lost. The Mideast lost. Israel lost. What did Iran get from the non-treaty treaty? The lifting of sanctions. What did the United States get from the non-treaty treaty? What did Iran get from the non-treaty treaty? The immediate release of $150 billion in frozen funds – not even a phased release. What did the United States receive from the non-treaty treaty? Nothing. Not even the American victims of Iran sponsored terrorist attacks with outstanding judgments against Iran. What did Iran gain from the non-treaty treaty? $150 billion to fund terrorism, Hezbollah, Hamas, and military aggression. What did the United States receive in exchange? Nothing. Not even the release of 4 Americans wrongly held as prisoners by the Iranian regime. What did Iran get from the non-treaty treaty? The lifting of sanctions and restraints against individual terrorist members of the regime. What did the United States get from the non-treaty treaty? What did Iran get from the non-treaty treaty? The right to continue running its centrifuges, indeed, modern advanced centrifuges. What did the United States receive in return? What did Iran gain from the non-treaty treaty? The right to continue development of its ballistic missiles. What did the United States receive in return? What did Iran gain from the non-treaty treaty? The right to purchase armaments from Russia, including surface to air defense systems. What did the United States receive in return? What did Iran receive from the non-treaty treaty? The right to sell its oil in the open market? What did The United States receive? What did Iran receive in the non-treaty treaty? The ability to self-inspect itself on 24 days notice. What’s did the United States receive? What does Iran gain from the non-treaty treaty? Iran becomes the regional superpower of the Mideast. What does the United States gain in exchange? The fulfillment of President Obama desire that Iran will be the regional power in he Mideast. What is the most repulsive part of the non-treaty treaty package? The United States will stop Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in self-defense. What does the United States receive in exchange? The vindication of President Obama’s oft-demonstrated animus of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Never Forget.
How De-Confederate America Will We Go? What's Next For the Symbols of the Confederacy and the South?
I have no brief for the Confederacy or the Confederate Battle Flag. It does not reflect my ancestry, heritage, culture, or values, but I believe that in a pluralistic society we need to respect the culture of other citizens. The Confederacy lost the Civil War, the War Between the States, That Recent Unpleasantness, the Lost Cause, the War Between the States. Call it what you want, the South lost and slavery ended in the United States. The slaves were free. The South lost, but its spirit lived on. The Confederate Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia became the symbol of official defiance during the emerging Civil Rights Movement. It came to fly over the statehouses of the South, becoming a national symbol of the South. The flag was increasingly furled in recent years, but it survived in states like South Carolina. The South was divided. Whites wanted to keep the flag unfurled, while Blacks wanted it to disappear. Dylann Roof, a crazed racist, settled the dispute on June 17, 2015. He joined a Bible study session at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina for an hour, whereupon he pulled out a Glock 45 and started shooting. He killed nine African Americans, including senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, and wounded one. His expressed goal was to start a race war, as he hurled racial epithets. The result was the opposite. He brought both races together on the issue of the Confederate Flag. His website had pictures of him with the Confederate Battle Flag. South Carolina’s course is clear. It will try, convict and execute Dylann Roof, unless Supreme Court Justice Kennedy rules the death penalty unconstitutional. Governor Nikki Haley, who opposed removal of the Flag from the State Capitol last year, held a press conference on June 22 in which she requested the South Carolina Legislature approve by the required 2/3 margin the removal of the Flag. She said: The “Flag was an integral part of our past, but it does not represent the future.” The Legislature concurred two weeks later. The Flag was furled on July 10. Walmart announced it would stop selling products with the Confederate Flag, followed by a host of other retailers, including Sears, Kmart, Target, Amazon and EBay. Warner Brothers announced the General Lee, the Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger, was persona non gratis. The new paroxysm of political correctness did not end there. It extends to “historical correctness.” Let us therefore remove all symbols of the past that we currently find unacceptable. Thus the next cry was to remove the names of prominent Confederate leaders from streets, schools, and buildings. Robert E. Lee would be removed from many schools around the nation. Jefferson Davis’ name would have to be removed from the Virginia highway across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. Yale announced a discussion about the future of John C. Calhoun’s name on a dorm. The Congressman, Senator and Vice President from South Carolina was an ardent supporter of Nullification and slavery, and a proponent of secession He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1804, and thus was one of its most famous grads from early years. Yale’s dilemma is compounded because it is named for an early benefactor, Elihu Yale, who made his fortune in India with the East India Company, He supervised the Slave Trade. Brown University has a greater naming problem, being named for Nicholas Brown Jr., whose family fortune was built on the Slave Trade. Much of the early wealth of New England came from maritime trades, especially slavery and whaling. Washington and Lee University announced it was removing the Confederate flags at the Lee chapel on the campus. Why stop with half measures? Shouldn’t it logically also remove “Lee” from its name? Robert E. Lee was the most significant Confederate general. Yet, he was also a voice of reconciliation after the war. If Lee must go, then so do should Washington. George Washington is the Father of this country, but he was also a slaveholder. Hence, it will now be the District of Columbia, but that too is suspect because many accuse Christopher Columbus of unleashing the European genocide on the Native Populations of North and South America. Washington State can become the State of Evergreen. The University of Washington, Washington State, George Washington University, and Washington University will also need a new name. Washington State can now officially go as WaZoo. Thomas Jefferson, one of our great Founding fathers, as a slaveholder may also have been the father of the slave Sally Hemings’ six children. He and Andrew Jackson were the founders of the modern Democratic Party. General Jackson won the battle of New Orleans, but as President, the slave owning President, initiated the Trail of Tears. Hence, Connecticut and Iowa just dropped “The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner” from the annual Democratic celebration and fundraiser. States will have to rename the counties of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, and Monroe, who also gave us in some minds the imperialistic Monroe Doctrine. The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial must have a new name. All the Confederate War generals and soldiers immortalized on town square statues should be replaced, perhaps with statues of carpetbaggers and scallywags, or even General Grant, who only owned one slave for a short time. I’ve long believed that if we are to be consistent in this form of abject political, correctness then we should remove Chief Justice Earl Warren’s name from the University of California Berkeley Law School. He was one of the two drivers of one of our most reprehensible acts of the 20th Century, the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. The University of Texas is moving Jefferson Davis from his pedestal near the library to an archive of the Civil War. The penultimate act of penance will be Georgia destroying Stone Mountain, thereby joining the ranks of ISIS and the Taliban. Some liberals are even demanding that President Obama replace President Reagan’s name on National Airport. We are using today’s standards to judge conduct of centuries ago, whose values, mores, and culture were very different reflecting a different era. We are looking foolish in doing so.
Monday, September 7, 2015
Big labor is happy for a change on Labor Day eventhough only 6.6% of the private employees in America are unionized. President Obama and his Democrat appointments to the NLRB came through for them this year. President Obama issued today an executive order which mandates federal contractors provide up to seven paid sick days a year for their employees. He earlier raised the minimum wage for these employees to $10. 10/hour. He mandated up to six weeks of paid leave for federal employees with the arrival of a new child. Finally, he improved overtime pay protections for private sector employees. The five number National Labor Relations Board is doing its best for unions. It adopted effective April “Quickie election” Rules it sped up the process and help inions organize workers. First, unions can now file their petitions electronically. Second, employers must now provide the unions the personal email addresses. Third, legal challenges will be delayed until after the representation election. Even more significant is the new “Joint Employer” rulings whereby two companies can be liable as an employer eventhough only one is technically the employer. The NLRB General Counsel ruled last year that McDonald’s could be a joint employer with its franchises in unfair labor practices cases. Thus, while the small business owner of the McDonalds franchise has been charged by the union with unfair labor practices in fighting a union organization campaign, McDonalds will also have to answer for those charges. The NLRB held late last month that Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was a joint employer with one of its independent contractors who supplied several workers for a recycling facility. These vaguely worded decisions go against existing case law and thee decades of NLRB holdings, but the NLRB is defying courts to reverse them. The unions have also won other battles. They have gained wide support in Blue States and Cities for raising the minimum wage up to $15/hour as a “living wage.” The practical effect for unions in raising the minimum wage even for non-union members is that it pushes upwards wages for organized workers. The unins and their political backers are oblivious to the reality that the increase in the minimum wage will further increase youth unemployment in the inner citieis and accelerate the trend to replacing labor with technology, such as the self-service checkout registers at retailers. Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin may have joined the ranks of right to Work States, but there has been no further slippage, such as with Ohio. Also, no other city or county has entered bankruptcy, threatening medical and pension plans. They have also used courts to set back charter schools in several jurisdictions, and won a legal victory in Illinois against cutbacks to pension plans, that are threatening the solvency of the state and many cities, such as Chicago. They’re worried about the 2016 Election, but they found their man earlier today in a Labor Day Parade in Pittsburg with Vice President Joe Biden. They will support the VP in a nanosecond if he enters the race. On the other hand, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, may be displaying a Cheshire Cat Grin as he watches the Obama-Gore Administration destroy his former union, The United Coal Miners of America, through the Administration’s War on Coal.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Police Lives Matter Black Lives Matter, of course. So do White Lives, Brown Lives, Yellow Lives, and Red Lives. All human lives matter in this country. It’s called equality. Police Lives also Matter. Not more, not less, not special, but because without the police, all human lives will be worthless in this country. The Thin Blue Line preserves the law and order necessary for a civilized society. The gangs, drug dealers, thugs, looters, and petty criminals will take over the cities, especially the inner cities, without the police. Look at Baltimore today. I was first in Baltimore about 20-25 years ago for a meeting. One did not safely venture a few block outside the Inner Harbor. We were in Baltimore for a conference two summers ago. The safety radius was much greater. The homicide rate is up 56% this year, from 138 last year to 215 so far this year. The 215 Baltimore homicides trail only the much larger Chicago with 294. Most Baltimore homicides and other increases in crime occurred after the Baltimore riots and the police demoralization. And now, the police presence has vanished in much of the crime ridden sections of the city. We forget seedy Times Square, the unsafe subways, and the otherwise crime ridden New York City prior to Mayor Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton. The Big Apple is now falling back under Mayor De Blasio and Police Chief William Bratton. Police nationally are demoralized, scared of being 1) attacked, 2) prosecuted, and 3) vilified. Officers often patrol, on foot or car, either by themselves or in pairs, which make then sitting ducks for any assassin. Officers Wenjiun Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot to death sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on December 20, 2014 by a crazed assassin, who came up from Baltimore to kill cops. The Reverend Al Sharpton led an anti-police rally protesting the Eric Garner killing a week earlier in which marchers yelled: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” Later that evening, several thugs attacked two NYPD Police Lieutenants on the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor De Blasio, during his campaign and after his election, badmouthed the police. President Obama has also trashed the police, further contributing to the anti-police animus. Harris County Deputy Darron Goforth was gunned down while filling gas in his car at a gas station last week. There is no outcry by the Black Lives Matter crowd about Blacks gunning down officers, of any color. Black lives matter, but most of the crime and homicides are Black on Black. Police shootings constitute but a small percent of the homicides. However, one wrongful shooting is one too many. There is no outcry by the Black Lives Matter crowd about Blacks criminals victimizing Blacks. All lives matter. The Black community has justifiable claims against heavy-handed policing in their communities, often by white cops. The times are changing. Prosecutions indict and police departments terminate police officers who had no justification for using deadly force against African-Americans, such as the North Charleston, South Carolina video of the cop killing the fleeing suspect, and then planting a Taser to claim self-defense. He’s in jail awaiting trial. Emphasis on police shootings detracts from the greater problems of municipal corruption and failed social policies, which impoverish the African American youth in the inner cities. All Lives Matter. Police Officer Live
Saturday, September 5, 2015
The Haggen saga, or debacle, take your pick, continues. Albertson’s sued Haggen for failure to pay for the purchased inventory in acquired stores,. That was a sure sign Haggen was running out of cash. Haggen suppliers then complained Haggen was not paying its bills. That is a worse sign of impending insolvency. The significance is that suppliers will no longer ship merchandise to the company without payment up front. You can’t sell what you don’t have. You also can’t sell overpriced merchandise in a competitive environment. One refuge is that “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” Antitrust is also a last refuge for economic losers. They blame others for their own incompetence. They hope to succeed in court what they failed at in the marketplace. Haggen accused Albertson’s of dirty tricks in the form of false, misleading, and incomplete pricing data” which caused Haggen to overprice the products on the shelf. That does not explain the overpricing at the Vons stores. Discovery will determine which Haggen idiots made the decision to overprice the products. The employees spent 24-36 hours, including overnight, repricing the products on the shelves. Consumers will pay more for perceived value, such as with Apple and Nordstrom’s. They will not pay more for overpriced commodities when alternatives are available. A standard marketing tool when entering a new market is to offer lower prices and specials in the market, build up goodwill, restock with your special products, and then raise prices to a competitive level. Not Haggen! They jacked up prices on staples left over from Alberson’s and Vons. Consumers came and looked, not to return. One and done! Haggen’s weekly ads gave consumers no reason to return. Haggen also claims Albertson’s stocked the shelves with short life perishables. The solution again is obvious, except to the hedge fund managers owning Haggen. Blow it out! Blow it out, and then seek recovery from Albertson’s. Not Haggen! They jacked the prices up on the short life perishables. The Haggen leaders were also incompetent in drafting the purchase agreements. They could easily have provided for that highly foreseeable contingency. Haggen also complains that Albertson’s engaged in highly competitive marketing with its remaining stores, such as dollar off coupons and discounted prices (sales). That’s what Haggen should have done in entering the market. Albertson’s simply engaged in its standard marketing practices, which we have periodically witnessed. Haggen will be a business school case study in both how to do everything wrong in entering a new market, and to do so in record time. The incompetent management is still running Haggen. The only remaining question is: Chapter 11? Chapter 7? Chapter 11 is voluntary reorganization. Chapter 7 is liquidation. There’s not much to reorganize.
Hugh Hewitt is a prominent, unabashed conservative. He supports Republicans and donates to Republican candidates. He currently hosts “The Hugh Hewitt Show – Opinion and Information With a Twist.” His twist is no histrionics, no ad hominem attacks, nothing bombastic, no vituperation, no flame throwing. His is a show of fairness and respect for his guests, which include many prominent liberals. His show is one of reasoned discourse. The show is carried by over 200 radio stations on the Salem Radio Network with about 2 million weekly listeners. He’s been on the air for 15 years. He early recognized the value of the internet. Transcripts are posted online shortly after each show. The commentator used to periodically appear on FoxNews. He is now a regular on CNN. Hugh graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1978, and then ghost wrote for former President Richard Nixon. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School Order of the Coif in 1983. He worked in several capacities in the Reagan Administration, including Special Assistant to the Attorney General. He was the founding Executive Director of the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. He has published several successful books, including “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why It Matters,” and “Searching for God in America: The Companion Volume to the Acclaimed TV Series.” That’s not all. Professor Hugh Hewitt has been a colleague of mine since 1996. He is the last of the 1995 inaugural faculty members of the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. His “day job” is teaching Constitutional Law to law students. A petulant Donald Trump just called him a “Third-rate radio announcer” because he didn’t like a question Hugh asked him on his show for which the candidate foolishly tried to fake an answer. Hugh asked Trump if he was familiar with General Qasem Soleimani. Trump hesitantly and akwardly faked a “Yes,” and then asked for a refresher. The genial host replied he was the head of Quds. Trump misheard; he thought Hewitt said “Kurds,” which set Trump off supporting the Kurds. Hewitt thereupon educated Trump that the Quds are the radical division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. A follow-up question was if Trump knew the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah. The candidate did not, but responded to these questions by saying he will learn when it becomes necessary since many will be gone by then anyway. That’s a credible response, but Trump wouldn’t leave it at that. He probably realized that he responded poorly. Thus, in his usual manner, he lashed out at Hugh Hewitt, giving him the Megyn Kelly treatment. He couldn’t call Hugh a “Bimbo,” so he referred to Hugh as a “third-rate radio announcer.” That was an interesting characterization since Thursday was the fifth time in 30 days the Donald had been on the radio show of this “third-rate radio announcer.” One assumes that if trump were as smart as he claims to be, he would not have wasted time on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Hugh Hewitt now resides in Trump’s bombastic Fifth Circle of Hell, which includes Megyn Kelly, George Will, Jonas Goldberg, and Charles Krauthamer. These are all true conservatives, which Donald trump is not. He is currently a conservative through opportunism. Megyn Kelly simply asked Donald Trump about his views on women in light of several of his apparently sexist statements. These legitimate questions are but a prelude to what the obviously thin-skinned Trump would face in a general election. He’s like the neighborhood bully who can dish it out, but can’t take it. We already have one narcissistic President. We don’t need two in a row. If Donald Trump had ever served as an apprentice, he might have learned some humility. Instead, he's the spoiled child who relied on Daddy's money and political connections to succeed. Hugh Hewitt is scheduled as one of CNN’s moderators during the September 16 Republican Debate.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Kim Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. She refuses on religious grounds to grant the licenses ordered by a federal judge. Her devoutness is not the issue. Sympathy and support for her position is irrelevant. She is defying a lawful court order. Like it or not, gay marriage is the law of the land enforceable by federal judges. She claims she is acting under God’s authority, but her authority comes from the state. She also has forgotten Jesus’ words: “Render therefore onto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and onto the Lord the things that are God’s.” Her choices are limited because she is in contempt of the court’s orders. Judges can act almost draconian in contempt of court cases. She is facing jail time and fines until she complies. She would have ample time to pray to God in jail. She would not receive a jury trial. Her fate is in Judge Bunning’s hands on Friday. The judge could also issue an order removing or suspending her from office, letting an interim clerk issue orders. Thus Option 1 is to continue to disobey the judge. Even Governor George Wallace knew he could stand in front of the school blocking integration, but that he would have to accede, which he wisely did. Option II is to obey the injunction, which she finds religiously impossible. Option III is to resign. That way she can uphold her religious views without defying the judge. A replacement county clerk would then issue the licenses while she is out of a job. Option IV would be to have someone else in the office sign the papers, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. Kim Davis is trying Option V to avoid discriminating by now refusing to issue any marriage licenses, gay or straight. Some states tried to avoid the dictates of Brown v. Board of Education by closing all public schools. The courts quickly disallowed that ploy. Kim Davis is running out of options.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Here we go again - predicting the Michigan season. I have no idea, being consistently wrong the past 7 years, overly optimistic 6 of the 7 years. Rich Rod and Hoke continued to befuddle me. Prognosticators have predicted anywhere from 2-10 to 9-3 for Michigan’s team this year. The team is supposedly not as talented as its Big Ten rivals. My hope, and best guess, is 8-4, which will mark a return to excellence. Most commentators respect Coach Harbaugh’s record in turning teams around, but figure he is 1-3 years away from restoring Michigan to excellence. Here’s two predictions. First, Ohio State will not return as national champions. The Buckeyes have a consistent record. The Buckeyes have been preseason favorites for Number One at season’s end eight times, and they fell short all eight times. Second, Michigan State will defeat Michigan this year. Every Michigan first year coach beginning with Bo in 1969 lost to the Spartans Bo, Mo, Lloyd, RichRod, and Hoke all lost their Michigan State game. Both Michigan State and Ohio State have better teams with greater depth at this point this year. Yet the odds favor Harbaugh emulating his mentor, Bo. The 1969 Ohio State returning national championship was a landslide favorite to crush Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes were rated one of the all-time great college football teams. The Wolverines cleaned their clock 24-12. Schembechler was no longer “Bo, who?” Michigan football has lacked toughness in recent years. The third quarter has seen few points scored, and games were often lost at the end. Last year’s team had a reputation for being soft with a sense of entitlement. Bo solved that by pushing the players in practice and driving many off the team. He posted a now famous sign: “Those who stay will be champions.” Coach Harbaugh similarly toughened this team with exhausting practices – 4 hour practices. Several quit the team. Every player, regardless of year, had to earn his position on the team – no entitlements. The past 8 years have been frustrating for the Michigan family. Losses to Appalachian State, Toledo, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Penn State have been demoralizing while Michigan State has returned to greatness after a 4 decade lapse and Ohio State has won nine of the past ten games. Michigan has been 24-32 in the Big Ten over the past 7 years. Michigan starts the season on the road in Utah Thursday night. Utah won in Ann Arbor last year and is a 5½ favorite Thursday night. If Michigan pulls an upset, then the season should end, absent major injuries, 8-4 or even 9-3 with a decent bowl game. The consensus is that Michigan will lose to Utah, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State and Ohio State this year. I hope not. I think not. Jim Harbaugh has proven he can coach, recruit, and drive players to succeed. His swagger spreads to the players. He has already proven his worth to the Athletic Department even before coaching a game. Attendance was slumping. Students stopped going to games. Season ticket sales were in the dump. Michigan with the largest stadium no longer led the nation in attendance. The games are sold out this year with student tickets and season tickets up substantially – a sign of good times coming. All Jim Harbaugh has to do this year is beat Ohio State on November 28 as the Marching Band plays The Victors and 114,000 fans storm the field. Bo will be smiling.