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Archive for March, 2010

Scenario for the President

March 29, 2010 2 comments
“QUICK!  Mr. President, bad policies for the past 20 years have dug us into a hole….and the brightest minds we have tell us we’re within 48 hours of the financial system freezing.  Make a decision:
1) Inject liquidity AS A LOAN to the system (Like we did for S&L crisis which turned a profit for the US Gov’t.  This was how the TARP plan was sold to the Administration – but it has clearly been hijacked since by Congress, Geithner, others.).
…or….
2)  Stand there and we’ll take a guess about just how far the market can crash.  But we’re being told it is as bad/worse than 1929.
QUICK…”

If you are standing on principles, the speed of the decision doesn’t matter as much.

I think the scenario sort-of makes one point: Government gets involved with “A” in mind (in this case the S&L loans or Financial Bailout.) First blush is positive. But as with most if not all government involvement, it gets hijacked, and turned into something not intended. Go back (choose the years) and we will see the examples. Income tax; FDR’s programs; Welfare; The Great Society programs; etc. etc. I don’t know them all.

My opinion? Given the above scenario, the President should choose 2, and let Lehman Brothers collapse. And he should have pressured the Fed to not get involved in helping bail them out. (Or maybe he didn’t know cuz it was secretive, but he could have found out, and fired the guy for doing it.) Also, allowing the Fed to facilitate JP Morgan Chase’s purchase of Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar. Yes these banks should have failed. There’s no way that a banking system performing the kinds of stunts that they have been performing should have been bailed out with taxpayers money. You think laissez faire is adversely affected by uncertainty (absence of full information)? Absolutely it is. What about Keynesianism and other interventionist policies? Are they immune to the ails of uncertainty? Absolutely not. And the market forces will correct for any uncertainty a LOT quicker than a poor government policy that has become LAW and may take generations to overcome. We’re still paying for the ones from 60-70 years ago. In fact, the government injects it’s own uncertainty into the system, but more on that below.

We appear to have changed topics from Bush vs. the Constitution, and maybe for good reason after listening to Paul, Jeff and Deon’s points. One of the best conservative minds — possibly ever — was Edmund Burke. I bring him into the Constitution discussion because he advocated gradual change, but at the same time not destroying the pillars of freedom with our experimental Acts. I’m equating his mentioning of Experimental Acts of his time to the Patriot Acts of our time. Yes we have to change with the times as Burke says (e.g. we have to deal with terrorists), but according to him, it’s not worth destroying the pillars of liberty that we have built our society on in order to accomplish that change. If we do so, we are destroying the foundation upon which our nation is built.

In terms of the banking issues, absolutely let Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns fail. Don’t let the Fed get involved at all. The banks made bad business decisions. There is tons of evidence of corruption. Why inject loans into that? What is the economic principle that that decision is based on? In my opinion the decision was based on fear. Once again, we have a government trying — through their macro economic policies — to right the ship. “We can fix it. We can control the market forces.” And once again, the evidence is that they can’t. It might have stabilized some things for the time being, but anyone watching KNOWS with their gut that this glut of spending is going to have to be paid for at some point, and it’s going to be worse when it’s time to pay the piper. The Fear Move didn’t do anything but delay a market correction. Check out Karl Denninger if you’d like to read more.

AND, there are even some studies, like this one by the Stanford economist John Taylor, which purports to show (pdf) that the credit markets actually did not react all that badly to Lehman going under and that the crisis was really the product of market uncertainty about the effects of government action. So, the “market” reacted not all that badly to a market force of letting a bank go under, but the real market crisis started after the government decided to get involved to try to “control” the natural market forces? Add to this the fact that the bond market says it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffet than to Barak Obama, and I think we see what Keynesian fiscal policies bring to the table in terms of uncertainty.

See, now this makes sense to me.

Morality and Leadership; Pelosi is bad for America

March 19, 2010 4 comments

At it’s most basic level, government is a willing agreement entered into by a group of people to give up some individual liberty for the preservation of the group in general. Cicero called it a “partnership in justice.”

For example, I have consented to be governed by the laws of my city, state and nation, even though that means I can’t do everything I may want to do whenever I want to. I may not agree with every law, but by not rebelling, it proves my tacit consent.

Naturally, then, in government leaders will emerge. We need to pick sheriffs, judges, mayors, presidents, legislators, etc. But does it really matter what kind of people they are? I think it does.

We have recently heard of all kinds of votes being “bought” in order to pass the healthcare bill. A Utah Congressman’s brother is getting appointed to a judgeship in exchange for the Congressman’s vote for Obamacare. The Hill newspaper reports on some of the goodies, including $300 million in extra funding for Sen. Landrieu’s home state of Louisiana, and millions in extra Medicaid dollars for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. The public doesn’t want the bill to pass, so the Dems have to make these hidden deals in order to get it passed. Outside of Obamacare, the New Jersey government has been caught in corrupt contract scandals, awarding contracts and taking a cut of the money. Many state and national politicians are caught in sexual scandals. Our government leaders have been convicted of embezzlement, lying, and tax-fraud; implicated in the disappearance of interns, campaign fraud, and abuse of intelligence to rationalize war; and unconscionable waste of taxpayers money – basically robbing us, the citizens. It’s more like reading about pirates plundering a nation than its leaders preserving it!

Polybius, a Greek from around 200BC, watched the downfall of his native Greece and the emergence of Rome as the dominating power of the era. He wrote many books on Rome’s emergence and its history. He compares Rome to other contemporary nation-states like Greece, Carthage, etc. He says in The Histories, volume III that

“But the quality in which he Roman commonwealth is most distinctly superior is in my opinion the nature of their religious convictions. The consequence is that among the Greeks, (where belief in religion was deemed foolish) apart from other things, members of the government, if they are entrusted with no more than a talent, (a piece of money) though they have 10 copyists and as many seals and twice as many witnesses, cannot keep their faith; whereas among the Romans those who as magistrates and legates are dealing with large sums of money maintain correct conduct just because they have pledged their faith by oath. Whereas elsewhere it is a rare thing to find a man who keeps his hands off public money, and whose record is clean in this respect, among the Romans one rarely comes across a man who has been detected in such conduct.”

Whether the moral code you adhere to comes from organized religion or not, Polybius makes clear that moral people — people who believe in and live in accordance to the natural principles of right vs. wrong; honesty is good, dishonesty is bad; fidelity and integrity are good; etc. — these are the people that make the best public servants and leaders in government.

A generation later, the Roman Cicero said that leaders that follow these moral codes are the only ones fit to govern.

Another generation or two later, approximately 160AD, Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of Rome. In his Meditations he lauds a moral character that works for the public interest in a manner that befits a ruler.

My point is that the morality question has very little to do with the Religious Right of the current political landscape. Oh sure they get their boxers in a bunch about it nowadays, just in time for the next one to fall from within their own ranks due to yet another “indiscretion.” We don’t need to look to these punters for direction, or assume when they fall that the belief in a moral code is incorrect. We have the writings and lessons of history before us. Some Roman guys from a long time ago set-up a mixed government system with an Executive Branch, a Senate, a legislative (popular assembly) body, and judges. Sound familiar? They were the world’s super power for centuries, and their system worked for over 500 years. America, by paltry comparison, is just above the 200+ years mark.

So it’s not like we haven’t been pointed the way.

James Burgh, involved in the creation of this great nation, wrote in 1774 that,

“When we elect persons to represent us we must not be supposed to depart from the smallest right which we have deposited with them. We make a lodgment, not a gift; we entrust, but part with nothing. We have, therefore, a right to know what they are saying and doing. And should they contradict our sense, or swerve from our interests, we have a right to remonstrate, inform, and direct them. By which means, we become the regulators of our own conduct, and the institutors of our own laws, and nothing material can be done but by our authority and consent.”

Compare this with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and her behavior around the healthcare bill. Not only does the American public not know what is in this bill, she is deliberately trying to keep it this way as it says on her own website. The hidden deals, millions of dollars for buying votes, and strong-arm tactics is exactly the opposite of how the representative system is supposed to work!

Pelosi and politicians like her are bad for America. Watch CNN say so HERE.

We need a way to get career politicians back into the real world – like thru term limits for Congress. And we need to be as vocal and vigilant as ever against her and politicians like her. The right to govern ourselves is a real and unalienable right that we have. When our elected representatives abuse it and take power unto themselves like Pelosi is doing – hiding the contents of a bill from the public and doing back room deals to get it put into law – we need to use our natural rights and get her and her cronies out of our government. She and politicians like her are working toward the decline of America. The history is before us.

Healthcare action YOU can take

March 18, 2010 6 comments

This is going to be a short one today. I have a couple of other posts partly written, but as we head toward the possible weekend vote on the ObamaCare national healthcare bill, I want to post a couple of ways that you can take action if you haven’t already. Personal contact from constituents can really influence how our representatives vote. And, since your congressmen and women are representing YOU in Washington D.C., you should let them know how you feel.

If you are for or against the federal government taking over the healthcare in this country, let them know. Let your representatives know how you would like them to vote in order to best represent you.

This is from Nancy Pelosi’s own website, speaking of the healthcare bill: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

Say what? Pass a piece of legislation into law so that (we) can find out what is in it? That is completely backwards, Ms. Speaker of the House! And it is completely wrong.

The people we have representing us in Congress (the House and Senate) should represent the will of the people. There are many, many polls that show Americans do not want this version of national healthcare passed…due to the trillions in costs and the fact that people haven’t even read it yet! We don’t know what is in the bill, and we don’t trust the politicians pushing it through “at all costs.” Whether you agree with me or not, take a stand and act on it.

Here are some places that you can go to send faxes to your congressional representatives. Jump in. Make your voice heard.

Human Events Grassfire.Org Citizens In Action

If you would prefer to phone your representatives, you can find their phone numbers on this website. Just call them up, and leave a message with the staffer that answers the phone. Tell them how you want them to vote on the healthcare bill, and wish them a nice day. It will make a difference, and you can do it.

Personally Pleased for Landon Donovan

March 10, 2010 3 comments

I’m really glad that Landon Donovan has settled in the blue side of Liverpool. My friends and I have discussed Landon Donovan a lot over the years, and many people point to his 3 failed attempts to jump to the German Bundesliga as evidence that he is not a top-flight player. My argument all along has been that he has not been in a situation to “settle” well, but it doesn’t have to do with his playing ability. It might have been a coaching situation, a team dynamic, locker-room issues, etc. Or any combination of the above.

My experience is that when you change to a new coach, or a new system, it’s not always easy to find your footing. I played under 4 different coaches between my years at Oregon State University and in the USL. Each had a different system and philosophy the players had to get used to. With apologies to anyone who doesn’t understand the NFL, a similar example is Darren Sharper of the New Orleans Saints. He was a pro-bowl caliber safety early in his career. Then his team changed (or he changed teams, I don’t actually know) to a different kind of defensive scheme, I think called Cover-2, where he was expected to perform different types of defensive duties. He basically sucked. For years. People thought he was washed up. But behold: he moves to New Orleans, back into a non-Cover-2 situation, and he’s back into pro-bowl form again, leading his team in take-aways and to a Super Bowl victory. Not a coincidence.

And here is Landon Donovan, who has finally “settled” in Europe, and not just anywhere in Europe. He is helping Everton, the only English top-flight team never to have been relegated from the top division, zoom up the standings. In Everton’s last 9 games with Landon involved, they have posted a 6-2-1 record — that’s one loss for the uninitiated. They have beaten some of the best teams in Europe, including Chelsea and Manchester United. He has been scoring goals, providing assists, and basically running riot over there. He even has the Everton faithful singing chants like “Sign Him Up” and “USA! USA!”. Pretty amazing for a guy that “can’t cut it in Europe” and “isn’t a top-flight player.”

Donovan confuses 2 Man United players (Andrew Yates / Getty Images)

Just like with every other sport, a player’s mental state and confidence are paramount to success. I kept claiming that Donovan wasn’t settling in Germany due to the dynamic within those teams – and it (finally!) appears to be right. I mean — Bayern Munich is not your best example of a settled club. They’ve been thru 4 coaches in the past 5 years. Super-stars from Italy and other countries are engineering their way out of the club. German national player Podolski hated his time at the club, and left. Luca Toni from the Italian national team got fed-up and left. I’m sure the Bayern faithful can tell me of even more players going thru the revolving door at the club. And we’re supposed to believe it’s Landon Donovan’s playing ability that has kept him from settling at Bayern? I’m not buying it.

The best evidence of Landon Donovan’s playing ability is before our eyes at Goodison Park. Read it and weep all doubters.

http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/usa/story/030810-galarcep-donovans-lasting-impression-at-goodison

Now I know that he goes on “walk-about” from time to time during US National Team games. I have no rebuttal for that. But so does every other attacking player from time to time. (Defensive players don’t have that luxury!) Even Wayne Rooney gets subbed when he’s having an off day, just to make the point. But take a look at the goal Donovan scored against mighty, mighty Brazil in the Confed Cup last year (Here), and tell me he’s not one of the United States’ best 2 attacking options heading into World Cup 2010. Go ahead. I dare you.

My 2012 Presidential Campaign Speech

March 5, 2010 16 comments

Campaign Slogan: Restoring our Country’s Greatness

You know, there was a time, not very long ago, that “Made in America” meant something special.  You would see it on labels of clothing; on the handles of tools; and on spare parts and toys you purchased at many different types of stores. It made us feel proud: proud to be part of this great nation; proud of the work that went into building the greatest nation on earth; proud of our heritage; hopeful for the possibilities of our future. But you don’t see the “Made in America” slogan these days as much….

We’ve shipped many of our jobs beyond our borders. We are increasingly dependent on other nations for our food supply. We have become massively in debt as we have adopted policies that mirror the social democracies of Europe with their massive entitlement payouts. Those countries are nearly bankrupt – is it any wonder that we are too?

And there is a growing feeling of negative anticipation in our nation. I’ve heard people say they are ‘hunkering down’, and ‘waiting for the end to come’. People just seem to sense that we cannot continue in this manner. But when will it change?

The time is Now. It is time for Restoring our Country’s Greatness. America has never shrunk from a challenge, and we will not do so this time. My plan, as outlined in my 6-point Party Platform, will Restore our Country’s Greatness. The first plan of attack is to get our economy turned around, and the American people working again. We must make it easier for small businesses to prosper in America. We also have plans to bring corporate manufacturing jobs back to America, but that will take some time. I strongly believe that our small businesses will lead us out of this economic recession.

The American people are the most ingenious, inventive, and hardworking people on the planet. I believe that federal government bureaucracies have grown to unduly tax and interfere with our economic progress.

For example, in 2010 the Obama administration passed legislation aimed at protecting us from dangerous goods from China. This is a commendable idea. But in the legislation that passed, crippling bureaucratic hurdles have been placed in the way of American businesses. Now, small business that produce and ship goods around our country will need to spend thousands of dollars to get each of their products tested and “certified” to sell by yet another new governmental department. This will harm many small American companies, the Mom & Pop stores barely scraping by. It will cripple their bottom lines, and cause many more to shut their doors completely. And it continues to grow the size of our ever-increasing government, adding more expenditures that we cannot afford.

I will work to help small businesses, not hinder. We will simplify the tax code, and reduce bureaucracy and regulation for the small business owners of America. We will get the government out of their way, and allow them the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. We will encourage investment in new technologies, US factories, and minimize government hurdles and costs for businesses of all sizes. We will also do away with farm subsidies to get America’s farmers working their farms again, bringing food production home where it belongs. For large corporations, corporate tax breaks for companies that manufacture in the United States, keeping our economic advantages on our own soil.

…And we need to keep our soil safe. When our country is safe and well protected, the American citizens feel safe and happy about our security. Our military forces have struggles for years to provide an opportunity for Iraq and Afghanistan to make better governments for themselves. After so many years, it is time to allow them to stand on their own. We have shown them the way. At this time of great worldwide economic struggle, the US military personnel need to be home with their families. Our own borders need to be better protected. We will always protect the United States from attacks, both foreign and domestic, but we need to get out of the business of nation building and the idealism of creating our “brand” of government around the world.

As we focus internally, let’s take a look at our country’s education system. The education of our current and rising generations is the key to our future. Therefore, I propose to gradually wean the Federal Government from managing the education process in America. This will be a big change for us, but it is necessary. The American people should be in charge of their own education at the family, community, and State levels. By removing federal monies and requirements, we will clear the path for education to become competitive, and for states to regulate education within their own borders. We will work with party members at the state and local levels to weaken union strangleholds in the education arena that are destroying the education process for millions of young Americans, provide tax credits to leave failing schools, and offer merit pay and other performance-based incentives to ensure our teachers and students are the best they can be.

And let me make this pledge to you this evening: I will work to create real reform and change in America’s government. By spending more money than we have as a country, the current administration has created a debt burden for future generations that will take many years to overcome. This is not fair for our future generations, and it is common sense that it cannot go on forever. Spending more than you have doesn’t work in your homes, and it does not work for our country. We will work for a balanced budget, eliminate deficit spending, and introduce greater oversight and transparency on the workings of the Federal Reserve System and other banking institutions. Clear steps will be taken to “follow the money” and measures will be put in place to put an end to reckless financial practices, like credit default swaps, as well as create a payback schedule for all bailout monies received by our financial institutions. We cannot continue to “print money” at record levels, like our current administration, and not expect to reap the consequences of high inflation and a valueless dollar.

Too much money gets spent and too many laws are created outside of the legislative process. Our government cannot continue to allow the executive branch to wield the power of the Executive Order to create binding laws outside of our checks-and-balances system. If given the chance I promise I will correct these and other corrupt practices currently taking place in Washington. I promise to reduce our spending year upon year until we can see an end to the uncontrollable deficits.
(pause…)

Why are we in this prolonged recession after some of the best growth decades our nation has ever seen? Some of the biggest reasons are right here in Washington: It’s called Politics as Usual. Bloated government. Spend, spend, spend. Miles of bureaucracies thwarting American business. You were promised Hope & Change. But let me ask: Is this the Hope & Change you were looking for? I don’t think so.

THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA has the HIGHEST levels of RESERVE ENERGY RESOURCES of any country in the world.* Yet we struggle with rising energy costs and energy dependence on countries with unstable leadership and that often have anti-American positions. This situation can be rectified by developing environmentally safe methods to extract the natural resources within our own country. We will work to encourage and provide incentives for private companies to help the USA attain energy independence, through the extraction of existing American oil reserves, as well as developing new sources of clean, renewable energy. These resources alone “represent tens of trillions of dollars in wealth and millions of American jobs.”*

If given the chance, my fellow Americans, we can make this dream a reality. If given the chance, you and I together will Restore our Country’s Greatness.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Eric Merten
President 2012

*Congressional Research Report 2009    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=34233

I’m running for President of the United States of America

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, play along with me here…

It is April of 2012.  The last four years have been difficult for our country.  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued with no end in sight. Worse yet, the Obama administration has run huge budget deficits in the last three years that has increased the U.S. debt by almost 6 trillion dollars. In addition, the economy continues to stagnate, unemployment is still over 10% and many Americans have ceased looking for work.  Obama’s healthcare package was passed in a dramatically scaled back version in 2010.  And, while the Cap and Trade bill was stopped, many of its provisions have been instituted though executive mandates, and departmental directives.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have been on a course of self-destruction.  In 2008, Romney, Giuliani, and McCain each spent record amounts trying to win the Republican nomination. Again in 2011 increased spending has been accompanied by increasingly negative campaigns.  The battles of the different factions of the Republican Party have been so intense that many voters have become apathetic, if not down right hostile to politics in general.  Early polling data in 2012 shows than none of the Republican candidates would beat Obama in the general election. The Republican Party’s “big tent strategy” (seeking for moderate swing voters) appears to be a total failure.  NBC Nightly News may have summed it up best saying, “America has not seen such a lack of political leadership since the 1880s. The candidates are not only bankrupt financially, but are destitute when it comes to ideas.”

I am a delegate to the Republican Party National Convention in 2012.  Last night the president of the RNC delivered a stirring address to all presidential candidates as well as the delegates to the national convention via the Internet. He called for all candidates and delegates to put previous loyalties aside and search for a single candidate that will unify both the party and the nation.  In response, all three top runners (Romney, Giuliani, and Palin) have offered to withdraw their names as candidates if the RNC can find a better candidate in the next 2 weeks. Due to my leadership and support of the RNC President, he has said that if I can get create some of my own ground swell (grass-roots support), he will ensure that I will be part of the select group that gets to address the convention in the coming weeks.

So stay tuned. You just might be witnessing the discovery of the next JFK. Or better. I will be sharing my platform of ideas describing the necessary changes I believe we need in America on Friday, March 5th.

Will I win? Do I stand a chance? Check back and see as I post how the convention unfolds and the voting results over the coming days.

If you have any suggestions for what changes you would like to see, you’d better get them in. Just leave a comment…one of the RNC aides will get to it.