Thursday, October 30, 2008

The man is a machine.

Obama, true to form, is taking this thing away from McCain. His strategy? Stay on course with the same message over and over and over and over again. Minimize negative campaigning. Force your opponent to spend all their money. And finally, get America to visualize you as President. The only recourse the opponent has is to tear you down. And the harder McCain tears at Obama, the weaker he makes his own case.

I believe that Obama is going to be an extremely effective leader not only for our country but for the rest of the world.

I just wish Tuesday would get here already.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meet the Republican Base

This is the crowd that Sarah Palin has motivated to come out and vote.

And another

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What does McCain have up his sleeve?

So, today they announce that Palin is behaving like a rogue. Why would they allow such a story to leak to the press? The only thing I can think of is that McCain is about to switch the ticket. Romney perhaps?

I'm telling you, there is no way they are going to allow Palin that close to the role of presidency.

I think they are going to switch the ticket and they are setting her up for the fall.

Here's the story:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello, Friend

It's raining this afternoon. Not just a little sprinkle but a real shower with dollops of lightning and thunder here and there. It rained in the morning last Monday, which was the first time we saw rain since Ike. It didn't last long and I happened to be out in it at the time.

But this rain, this is my beloved afternoon rain that I've missed so much. For the last 4 or 5 years we were kissed by rain showers every afternoon from June through July but for some reason, not this summer. This summer the afternoon showers were scarce and I felt robbed. I felt as though the earth was alienating me from her affections.

I don't know how to explain it but afternoon showers feed my soul. Today, I mix it with a nice cup of coffee and my French music playing in the background.

I'm in a very good place right now. My soul is being soothed and rejuvenated. I feel like I'm one with the earth.

Ah, but alas, it could be short lived.... the sun is poking its head through the clouds already. It's just as well. I do have things I need to do today and I would prefer not doing them in the rain.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ross Perot - the beginning of the end.

I think many people underestimate the significance Ross Perot had back in the 90's. It really had nothing to do with Ross Perot himself as much as it had to do with the overall mood of the Republican party at the time of this election. Perot just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

I remember that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with Bush Sr. Many moderate Republicans simply did not want him in office for another term but as most people who know Republicans know, Republicans struggle with the idea of leaving the party.

Ross Perot proposed an alternative. He was big on business but low key on the religious stuff. He seemed to have a common sense approach to life, politics and business and he seemed to be able to say it the way he saw it. So, for those Republicans who couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, Ross Perot was the perfect compromise.

Significantly, these dissatisfied voters got a taste for voting against the party. I know, I was one of them. I voted for Ross Perot both times. This was me trying out leaving the party.

When Clinton won, I hoped that the Republicans would regroup and reconsider where the party was offtrack. Initially, when G.W. came onto the scene, I thought he was going in the right direction. (And now as I see how McCain has been carrying himself, we might actually have dodged a bullet by electing him) It was during Bush's second term after the Democrats backed off from all of their attacks that I was able to see him for who he really was.

The bottom line, the Republicans never re-grouped. And while listening to McCain lately as he comes up with whatever he can pull out of the air, I discover, they still don't have a clue. I am of the opinion that the reason the Republican Party cannot change is because they sincerely believe they are failing because everyone else is stupid, immoral or unpatriotic. They are completely unable to reflect on their ideology and ask themselves if maybe they should tweak it a little. They seem to prefer the ivory tower.

The challenge the party faces now is that they have alienated so many people over the last 8 years they have no idea what will bring enough constituents back to the party to win an election. And as McCain continues to propose left-wing solutions to our economic problems it shows how fast and furiously they seem to be willing to abandon their platform just to win an election.

It's easy for me now. I really like Obama and since I've already voted against the party once, it won't be new for me to vote against them again. I've already felt the guilt and worked past it. I can do it. I can vote for a Democrat who I think embodies most of what I believe. And I believe I am not alone and that there are hundreds of thousands of Republicans who feel they have been so let down by their party and who see hope in Barack Obama.

It is almost as if a new party is emerging from the moderates of both parties. Wow, wouldn't that be so cool? If indeed this is happening, I wonder what they will call themselves.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

On a lighter note

Immediately after the first Presidential debates, I donated to Obama's campaign and received a magnet for my car. It finally arrived yesterday. I suspect that they ordered them as soon as Obama selected his running mate and that they are finally getting them out.

So my friend and I are playing this game. Daily we are telling each other whenever we site an Obama/Biden magnet because right now, I've seen only 2: mine and one other on a car exiting the Katy Freeway. My friend hasn't seen any so far.

Ok, peeps, get your magnets on!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The new politics.

I have been thinking lately about how we got here. When one thinks of the word "conservative" as it applies to politics, it's sort of confusing. Back in the 70's, and I was very young so, this is speculation, I believe that Republicans were probably considered stodgy old men that counted their money every day and planned wars; and Democrats were freedom loving, anti-war, bleeding hearts anxious to give everyone's money away.

Today, conservative can be applied fiscally or socially. The Republicans screwed up when they decided to be the "Moral" party. Somehow they believed they owned the market on Christian values and they said that if you don't embrace their traditional Christian values then you are not a moral person. Truth be told, this is a very powerful method of controlling someone. No one wants to be perceived as being immoral. And the way the GOP deals with those who disagree is to slam the door in their face in a fit of self-righteous rage leaving the rejected person feeling abandoned and unworthy.

This dismissive behavior alienates people. So all of a sudden the Republican party became the party that hates homo-sexuals, or pro-choicers or anti-warmongers. Perhaps they were banking on their members' need to be considered worthy by the "moral authority" keeping them in the party. I think that people have an inherent need to be liked, to get along with others and to like other people. So, more people, growing tired of accusations regarding their moral standing and their patriotism just for disagreeing walked away and joined the warm, welcoming arms of the Democratic party.

I think this is why the Republican Party is so confused right now. Here we are, facing a financial crisis and they don't know what their principals are anymore. For the last 8 years, Bush's agenda was very much in line with that of the Religious Right and he seemed to think it was his calling in life to make sure that the rest of us lived by his traditional Christian values. And so, many loyal Republicans exited stage left and joined the Democratic Party.

Right now, we need strong, difficult, fiscally conservative decisions that will protect the financial future of our country. Democrats have businesses, women have businesses, the gay members of our societies have businesses, so I'm optimistic that there might be enough financial conservatism in the Democratic party to get us through this problem. I am at least hopeful of this.

This leads me to why I think Obama might actually be able to do the job. This growth in the Democratic party has brought about a vast variety of people. People who are Christian and who are Atheist, people who want gays to be able to marry and others who aren't ready to cross that line, people who are pro-choice and others that are anti-abortion. But I think the significant thing is that these people who are coming over to the Democratic ticket are seeking balance and not an all or nothing approach. Both parties have their extreme visions but I think that the Democrats have always had a more tolerant approach towards their adversaries than the GOP has been toward theirs.

I think perhaps both parties are going go through a very interesting redefinition of their respective platform. And this might be why the races between Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry were so close. The all or nothing approach of the "moral" Republican party has turned a lot of people away. I am of the opinion that if this is a close race, it will not help this country as much as it will if it is more like a landslide. I can only hope that I am not overestimating Obama's capacity to manage these challenges ahead because I do believe his going to be elected our next President of the United States.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Something to ponder

Remember, the big argument for this bail out was because it would help small and medium size business owners who needed credit.

I don't know if you saw Bush this morning as he spoke to the public, backed by small business owners in San Antonio, but he said that it would be a while before things were set up for these owners to be able to actually get to their needed credit. He didn't specify if we were looking at days, weeks or months.

But in the meantime, there is some commercial credit available; and guess what? The large companies are maxing out their credit lines. Do you know why? Because they want to make less credit available to their competitors and to the small/medium sized businesses. They will eventually use this money to buy up deeply discounted raw materials, ailing small businesses/competitors or cheap stock.

Nothing like widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Glimmer of hope

I have been watching Fox Business news since the beginning of these economic issues. If you are interested in knowing what to do with your money, whatever your politics, I strongly recommend you watch it when you can.

The analysts showed a map of the U.S. and only about 5 states are not at risk of suffering a recession. Thankfully, Texas is one of those states. The Midwestern states are at risk and the coastal states are already in one. However, oil is down below $90/barrel. I think it was at $110 when we first started. FBN reported that some parts of the nation are actually getting some relief at the gas pumps.

I also learned that the credit lending is going to be very tight. The auto industry is losing sales because the lending standards are changing. Apparently, only those whose credit scores are 700 and above are being qualified with decent rates. Lesser scores are being approved but they're sub-prime so their interest rates are much higher.

I wonder if these tighter credit standards means that the credit card invitations will stop. I don't get very many, anyway, because I signed on with Lifelock.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The end of an era

I am deeply concerned regarding the direction our government has taken to address the economic issues our country faces at this point.

It is appalling how our credit agencies and banks have abused their positions and exercised bad judgment at the expense of many Americans. Credit agencies have set themselves up on college campuses and encouraged 18 yr old kids to sign up for as many credit cards as possible, credit bureaus have looked the other way as we consumers scream about identity theft, Banks screamed for and received tougher bankruptcy laws while Washington looked the other way at their lending practices, and now mortgage companies seeing how D.C. operates have committed fraud. So, now, it’s all coming to a head.

Yes these practices are beyond reproach and should not go unpunished; however, taking such measures as nationalizing or socializing our financial institutions is the wrong direction to take. It is as important that our financial institutions be able to compete on an open, fair playing field as it is for companies like MacDonalds or Nike.

No business or institution can continue to succeed using such bad practices. Everyone would have learned it if cooler heads had stepped back and addressed this issue slowly and with reason. But when the government steps in to prevent these poorly run institutions from failing then their stable, intelligently managed competitors cannot succeed. Preventing the failure of bad policies prevents the success of good ones.

Preventing the reality of any given situation creates an environment of arrested development. Washington has prevented us and these banks from being able to discover which practices work and which ones don’t. The benefits of these lessons far outweigh their cost, the result of which would have set a strong precedence for future policies and a stronger future for both our banks and our market. Now our crisis is worse.

Placing these institutions into the hands of Washington does not induce confidence from the market place. Business owners, even small ones, know that the decision to socialize our banks is the worst decision Washington could have made for the future of our country especially at a time when the country has so little confidence in its leaders. We are a capitalist society. Even the least of us understand these principals and have become less confident in this plan.

Congress’s decision to go in session to discuss the policies and decisions that led to this crisis is absolutely worthless at this point. If they can neither comprehend why this bill is so harmful to our nation nor have the courage to stop it, then none of their analysis is going to amount to anything worthwhile. As a matter of fact, they might actually do us a favor if they spent their time bowling instead.

And then, what’s worst, is that this was sold to all of us but really only the wealthy members of this society are going to be protected. As our markets continue to drop and prices continue to plummet, driving more people out of business, and yes, our pension plans and mutual funds continue to become worthless, Washington has ensured that the wealthy stay protected and continue to be in a position to purchase these stocks and benefit from the profits.

I continue to be of the opinion that this administration has been hell bent on protecting and improving the financial status of the wealthy members of our society. The cost of this protection is the destruction of our free market system which is the only means by which any of us have to improve our economic standing. This is not Capitalism.

I don't believe that this is what either the Republican or Democratic party wanted but I am afraid that the result of this decision will lead to harder times; and the ideas, promises or plans that either candidate proposes during this campaign are moot. The only hope any of us has is a leader that understands how important it is that the fundamentals of Capitalism are valiantly protected.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thank God for the GOP

The House Republicans stood up today and are pushing back. They aren't sold on the $700 billion. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. Read here for more info.

Paulson is taking the banks word for the value of these mortgages. The truth is, we have no idea how much they are worth. If they are worth more than $700 billion, then we make money. If they are worth less, then we (tax payers) get hosed.

So, the GOP wants to approve $250 billion and then allocate $50 bill/mo if necessary as long as they get a vote on it. And they want to restructure the voting so that the President can't veto their vote.

I'm so happy that someone is approaching this with reason and courage.

The patient & Vicadin

The patient has cancer. No one wants to say it, the Medical Chief and all of his doctors have said the patient, at the core is healthy. Well, we recently discover that the patient has cancer and we discover this because pain has raised it's head.

The doctors all come together for an emergency meeting to discuss what to do. A very important meeting with all sorts of really "smart" people. And rather than address the cancer and start a regimen on Chemotherapy and radiation. They decide to give the patient a high dose of vicadin to hold off the pain with the promise that they'll meet later to address the cancer.

I dreamt last night that I was being chased by giant machines with big ominous feet that wanted to crush me. I went to bed and woke up with an anvil on my chest. No to the bailout is an indication that D.C. understands that this is not a solution to anything. A plan to address the cancer is what it needed, NOW.

This bailout is bad news. If anyone thinks that once this bail out is done everything is going back to normal, they're mistaken. Without the bail out, we're all in this mess together. Rich, poor, middle-class...everyone. With the Bail Out, just Wall Street is taken care of and the problems that Main Street will face are suspended for just a little while.

I really don't trust D.C. to address the cancer patient, not even Obama.