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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obamas payback to the UAW

As a former resident of Detroit, with a long line of family ties to the UAW (United Auto Workers), I find that my opinion of unions and my families past are at odds with one another. I know of the great strife people went through in the late 19th and 20th centuries when it came to labor. People were treated unfairly and it comes as no surprise that people organized against their employers, and if I was there, I might have been a vocal supporter.

At one time, the UAW organized bicycle factories in Cleveland and Chicago, which undoubtedly secured higher wages, however the companies closed up shop and moved out of state. Their businesses simply could not compete with the competition when faced with the reality of updating equipment versus overhead costs. The lesson holds true for companies dealing with pressure from organizations such as the UAW today. With shrinking market share from foreign competitors, some union members don’t take into account the costs of doing business and staying competitive. What seems fair (wages), can in the end find one with out a job at all. Our society is changing more rapidly than the people it contains. Our manufacturing base is shrinking and being replaced with high tech jobs that require a skilled workforce, which is why the “guaranteed good job” straight out of high school will not exist in the years to come. Products are being manufactured in other countries for cheaper prices, and this fact puts our union system at odds with prosperity. There once was a time in America that the union actually helped, but now they have grown into a bloated bureaucracy that endangers our economy. How can an American company with a union compete with an overseas competitor, without raising prices on products? How can America stay competitive if the Card Check bill is passed by our congress and president?

Supporters of unions promote protectionism that only stifles growth in our overseas markets, and is met with a swift penalty by foreign governments that seek to correct our mistakes. A company must depend on quality, brand loyalty, and patriotism in order to keep customers coming back and paying the higher prices on goods. Or if you live in Detroit, you can resort to yelling at drivers of foreign cars out your window at stop lights. Hey, whatever works.

As the UAW eyes new membership (Card Check Bill), their membership has declined from the 1.5 million in 1979 to 465K as of 2007. As a business, the union must make sound financial decisions based on the trends of their revenue, which comes in the form of union dues. In the past 25 years, the UAW has donated approximately 25 million dollars to democrat campaigns. According to the UAW in the 2008 election cycle has donated approximately 1.9 million dollars to lawmakers that carry a “D”, while their republican counterparts have only managed to collect approximately $11,500. It may not seem unusual for union political slant, but the money is being paid back through ownership of GM and Chrysler, which will be managed by VEBA (Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association). The managers of VEBA may end up being knowledgeable, but it places the enlisted in charge of the officers. VEBA has received a 39% stake in GM, but our federal government was the clear winner with a controlling share. Since when does any government hand back control once it’s there’s?

The secured loan bond holders of GM have released a statement that said: “We believe the offer to be a blatant disregard of fairness for the bondholders who have funded this company and amounts to using taxpayers’ money to show political favoritism of one creditor over another.” An offer of 10% was offered to the bond holders, while the UAW received a share four times what they were owed. With no plan to give the correct share of the company over to the bond holders, their claims of political favoritism are solid.

Perhaps the bond holders of GM would be more willing to save the company, with an incremental plan in place that transfers shares back to the bond holders over time. GM stands to make a profit after the restructuring, and so does VEBA. If all goes well, VEBA will turn the profits into benefits for the workers. If the company turns around and becomes successful, VEBA keeps their 39% share of the company, but why shouldn’t they incrementally hand over shares to the bond holders once their debts are paid through sales profits? If VEBA sells the shares on the market to pay the benefits to workers, then obviously, the plan crumbles for the bond holders. Why would they invest in GM twice?

Instead of a fair restructuring plan for all involved, the new administration is using the bully pulpit of the White House to threaten bond holders into a deal. While in discussions on the future of Chrysler, Mr. Lauria of the law firm White & Case said that they offered to take 50% of what they (bond holders) were owed while they had no contractual obligation to do so. Mr. Lauria, in an interview with a local Detroit radio show host, said that "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.”

The allegations of Mr. Lauria have been denied, as if the man had ideological political reasons for coming out against the White House. In the last election cycle, Mr. Lauria supported the democrats in a senatorial bid in Florida which leads me to believe that like many lawyers, he shares the views of the current administration.

See below for Thomas Lauria campaign contributions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Unconstitutional Federal Gun Control HR 45

The Federal government is overstepping its bounds, as stated in the 2nd and 10th Amendments. While the legal interpretation debate has raged for years, the proponents of federal gun control sometimes argue the constitution is a “Living Document” and is subject to change over time. Our founders did not believe the living document argument and neither should you.

Let’s look at the wise words of one of our founders:

"The extent of our country was so great, and its former division into distinct States so established, that we thought it better to confederate as to foreign affairs only. Every State retained its self-government in domestic matters, as better qualified to direct them to the good and satisfaction of their citizens, than a general government so distant from its remoter citizens and so little familiar with the local peculiarities of the different parts."
--Thomas Jefferson, to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:483

"The States supposed that by their tenth amendment, they had secured themselves against constructive powers." --Thomas Jefferson, to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:450

"The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations." --Thomas Jefferson, to Gideon Granger, 1800. ME 10:168

Where in the quotes of Thomas Jefferson does he say the constitution should be a living, ever changing document?

HR 45 is written in a way that supersedes state law, which is exactly what the 10th Amendment protects against as written by our founders. Sec. 601 of the bill orders the states to comply with federal law, while not restricting the states if they choose to make the law harsher in its regulation or criminalization of acts related to firearms. The controversial power designated to the Federal Government by the Commerce Clause, and later the Necessary and Proper Clause, disrupts the 10th Amendments purpose. However, even these clauses cannot be interpreted (in my opinion) to allow such an order over the states that is not of justifiably related to commerce between states.

I believe Gov. Rick Perry was referring to the 10th Amendment issue as a federal government overstepping their bounds, and not him supporting succession as eluted to by those over at the Huffington Post.

You be the judge.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Border Shutdown?

Last Sunday, Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) said he believes the border should be shut down because of the Swine Flu south of the border with Mexico. Interesting that that the Rep. takes a hard line stance on the border with Mexico, after the Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus has already shown itself in our country. Although I agree with Rep. Massa, his timing is a bit self serving. Since a large number of the infected here in the US are actually in the state of New York, his stance is hardly surprising.

The Rep. has not actually voted on any immigration reform at this time, although he seems to be a team player for the Democratic Party because of the backing he enjoys from the congressional leaders. Of course, very few Democratic congressmen are in favor of serious enforcement of the border with Mexico.

Perhaps he should think about Co-Sponsoring a bill similar to the SAVE Act of 2007 (immigration reform). I'm sure someone would be happy to help from across the aisle, and then he could sing the song of bi-partisanship. As a fellow Navy vet, I suspect he knows the importance of securing our country from harm.

Although it would not totally solve the problem of the Influenza A (H1N1) Virus, would it not help if the border was monitored effectively?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cap and Trade for Health Care

A professor from MIT named John Reilly completed a study on Cap and Trade, and made a mistake. Kieth Olbermann of MSNBC went with the incorrect figures on his TV show and degraded the congressional leaders that are opposed to the Cap and Trade program. Professor Reilly came out of the closet with his new figures and admitted his error. What is the correct cost out of pocket for American households? An estimated cost of $3,928.

In case you've been living under a rock or watching to many reality TV shows (that stuff will rot your brain), Cap and Trade is meant to curb greenhouse gases by charging producers for their pollutants. Sounds great on the surface because...everyone loves clean air. Unfortunately, this plan costs the companies money and they have a bottom line to protect. Companies will pass the cost of Carbon Credits (which are bought from non-polluting companies to offset the pollution) to the consumers which will affect the bottom line of every American.

Proponents of Cap and Trade have floated the idea of giving the money collected from the program to the American people. What better way to get the inattentive American public on your side...give them free money. President Obama and some senators have said publicly they would like to use the revenue ($646 billion) to pay the yearly bills of a national health care system.

Government run health care is not free. It will cost us all something, and if you don't believe me here is an example.

Maybe the young lady in the above link should have brushed and flossed better, however, should she not have access to dental care when she needs it? I bet the boys love her...

The NHS (National Health Service) of the UK does not have enough dentists giving care to patients under the program. This obviously caused a serious problem for the citizens under the plan, and what is a main indicator? The amount of teeth being pulled in children and adults has gone up. By the time they actually get an appointment for their's to late. This is the type of service we can expect out of the government run health care system.

How naive and arrogant is it to think OUR system will turn out better. Health care of Americans beholden to the budget cuts of congress is not the way to the liberal ideal of a utopia.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

11 Trillion of Debt and a Copper Currency

What would happen to you or I if we just printed our own money? If we were functioning as the US government then it would be perfectly acceptable.

Just in case you were feeling good about leadership here in the US:

Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, the Germans tried this after WWI. The allies, in their obvious wisdom, made the German people pay off war debts. The Weimar Republic became the beginning of Hitler, and the "Third Reich" is what followed. They needed someone to pull them out of the economic depression that followed debt monetization. What they got was...well you know the story.

Debt monetization may not be the smart way to go. How about cutting some spending...

Many years ago we left the Gold Standard, and promised the world that we would buy the things that they produce. This was purposely done not only so that we could just print the money that we needed, but interlock our economy with those around the world. We continued with the welfare programs of the New Deal and lived in relative bliss. With the exception of that whole Jimmy Carter era. Only thing good to come out of him is a new submarine named after him, and some poorly built houses for poor people.

It seems the Chinese have it right. They see what the future holds, and apparently the US dollar is not in that future for them in the form of US treasury bonds. They bought our debt in the form of these bonds, and we spent all the money in a bill no one even read. We then dropped the value of a dollar by 4% in one day by printing money ourselves (1 Trillion dollar monetization).

I think the Chinese have learned their lesson, and will not be coming back for seconds. In fact, they have said publicly that they believe America is engineering a collapse of the dollar. Amazing that a communist country knows more about capitalism and markets than our own president. They have now started to invest their money into metals. Metal of choice...copper. With so many uses, why not invest in a metal so valuable to manufacturing as copper.

Maybe I'll hang on to my penny collection...just kidding.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They call that torture?

Would you put someone through water boarding to save your child? If yes, then you have no right to be against water boarding to save someone else's child.

As far back as the early cold war our country was putting our own troops through water boarding (and some worse things), so that they would be prepared if captured. Even in the boot camp "Light" that I went through in the Navy I experienced a gas chamber. I was made to yell my social security number while breathing in gas and I consider myself lucky. One guy had to sing Happy Birthday.

The release of classified memos from the Bush administration by Obama is nothing but traitorous. Not only do our overseas enemies believe us weak, but now they know it. Even at our worst: we might slap a terrorist, make him stand naked in a small room with a caterpillar, and turn the lights off. Considering that they cut our heads off or drag our bodies through the streets, I'd say we let them off fairly light. What fear do they really have now?

Call it torture if you like, but it undeniably got results.

Why would they release the classified memo's without releasing the results? Could it be for political reasons, and not just the moral standpoint that is given?

The way I see it, which I get to voice since this is my blog. The new administration is looking to accomplish drastically different goals than what most Americans are used too. He wants to move our country into a weaker position in the world, which he hopes will bring us all to peace by way of everyone cooperating with us. He wants to move our country into a weaker position in the world, because his vision is drastically different from the country currently here. He knows the only way to change an establishment like this one is in incremental steps, that chip away small pieces at a time.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knew about the torture (what should be called enhanced interrogation techniques) from high level briefings on the program. She has been caught in a lie. Moving ahead with prosecuting the lawyers of the former administration will be a witch hunt of conservatives. But, it will also open the door to the same rules of transparency for the liberals on capital hill. Somehow I doubt the ACLU, and other lawyers in DC will be lining up to prosecute.

The abstract warfare of today's battlefield calls for us to leave the outdated Geneva Conventions even if unilaterally. In a war where are ememies are ready and willing to die for their beliefs, how are we going to extract information? Would you go into a cage fight with one arm tied behind your back?

The only response given my 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, pre-enhanced interrogation techniques, was "you will soon find out". Afterwards, six major terrorists were captured and a major attack was thwarted in LA. If the CIA had not taken drastic measures, and the attack on LA happened, would the California liberals still be against enhanced interrogation? With a major building in their skyline destroyed, and thousands killed, I think they may have a different outlook. Since the attack didn't happen, the liberal populace of LA continues to live in ignorant bliss and sip their latte while shopping for overpriced chinese made handbags.

The literal (and twisted) translations of Islam are the problem, but whose problem is it? If Christianity were under attack by extremists, would we not as a society deal with the extremists in an aggressive manner? The people of Islam, if they truly love their religion, need to stand up to those in their own backyard. Otherwise, the next president may take the aggressive stance that seems to be overdue, and I don’t think that needs elaboration.

Some Islamic scholars try to change the meaning of the below Koran verse:
Sura 5:51 "O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

With the Muslim immigration rates climbing in Europe and North America, how can we co-exist if a great many Muslims take such a literal translation?

We don’t.

What sort of life will your children have under Sharia Law? Watch the video.