Archive for November, 2008

November 30, 2008

Conservative Editorialists

The only reason I read George Will’s column is to remind myself, that in America we must tolerate both conservative narcissistic and philosophical shortsightedness when dealing with today’s real issues plaguing our society. Mr. Will one of the last of a breed continues to think inside the box. He has already begun to cast doubt and criticism in the minds of those who read his column Beware of old pitfalls in New Deal attempting to devalue any plan that may assist in the recovery of our nation’s economic crisis. This is a man who had supported the conservative policies of the Bush and Chaney administration who by the way have placed us in this position. Mr. Will may be a historian, but he certainly does not understand economics. If it is a conservative approach not to repeat history than why did we repeat Viet Nam in Iraq? In the Clinton administration we did not have to go to war to stimulate the economy we as a nation became creative and innovative, we generated a budget surplus. What have conservatives done for this country lately?    

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November 27, 2008

A Can of Worms

Yes, we grew up with a different perspective on life. We also didn’t grow up too fast as well. We had a simple life with simple objectives. Yet, the 20th century was the most progressive century in history of mankind especially the last half. Our motivations have changed from a humanitarian objective to an accumulation of wealth objective. It is true that their still are some who have a heartfelt desire to better mankind by researching for cures for illnesses, our environment and society in general. But, the percentage of those who seek humanitarian objectives is very low.

 

The problem with our course in the 21st century is that our political leaders who shape the direction of where any society is headed have taken a course of greed and self-serving objectives. The leaders of the world have set our world society on a course for destruction. They have abandoned diplomacy as a tool to resolve issues. They have subscribed to the following tools to win their wars. Economic boycotts of nations. Medicinal boycotts of nations. Armed conflicts of nations. False price manipulation of commodities. Finally, the subversive division of people for the purpose of conquering their wealth.

 

The United States was once a bright light in a dark world. People came here because of freedom and hope from all sort of repression. We still shine but the light is flickering. We are being viewed by the world as a meddling and controlling force in a world society who wants to determine their own future. We

 threaten world philosophies and religions by telling them that democracy is good for them. What we don’t understand is that their faiths are their governing constitution. If I had to site an example, Israel is a state governed basically by faith. So, why do we support the state of Israel and try to convert Muslim states to democracies. We send mixed signals to the Arab nations. Hence the establishment of radical Muslim groups. I lost my nephew Louis on 9/11. I will never get over this. This was a horrible time in our lives. The lessons of 9/11 are the same as Pearl Harbor. Never, never let your guard down. There is always someone trying to take something of yours. The message was, your economic, military, and political powers are too controlling in the world. All great powers have their time in history yet they also have their dismantling. History tells us this, The Persians, The Greeks, The Romans, The Spaniards, The English, and The Americans. Who’s next. The Chinese?

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November 27, 2008

The World

A message to my Newphew

 

I agree with your views and perceptions. I may have already suggested you view the movie Good Night and Good Luck. From 1940 to 1949 about 1,000,000 homes in the US had tv’s. In the 50’s this is when the T.V. became a useful tool. Edward R. Morrow took on the establishment by exposing the militaries un justification of dishonorably discharging a young man because his father belonged to an organization that was supposedly associated with communism. The Joe McCarthy Hearings used  Television and Edward R. Morrow criticism and exposed Joe McCarthy for what he was. It was at this time that the powers in the United States realized how powerful the T.V. was. Communication in the 20th century set in motion the tools to manipulate public opinion, habits, what we eat, how we entertain ourselves, and unfortunately our morals. Christian based virtues are being attached each and every day. The media, print, television, radio and now the internet have been used to influence our decisions. Seeing is believing may sum it up. What people see in most cases they believe. I go by the Proverb “believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear”. One thing is for sure God is still in charge, he gives us the free will to make our own decisions. If you believe  then have no fear. Its frustrating to see what goes on each day. I try to keep everything in perspective. I look at my family and say thank you God. My children have grow into wonderful adults and yours will too because of you and Maria. Basically, there is nothing any one individual can do to correct the situation. Until our leaders meaning our politicians in Washington, our local governments, and supreme court justices see the light we will always have these problems. I believe the only way to stop this trend towards oblivion is to elect good people locally and then send them to Washington. 

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November 27, 2008

German plan to conquer of the world?

Correspondance with My Nephew

 

I am happy to know that others are thinking about the bigger picture rather than what is spoon fed to us by the media. I am not a Historian or a PHD in Economics but I do develop opinions and theories from experience and research. I was not aware of the Zimmerman Telegram until you mentioned it. The question I have, was it a tactical response to us entering the war or was it part of the overall German plan to conquer of the world? 

 

History has shown us that men in history and powerful nations always find a way to destroy themselves. Greece (Alexander the Great carried out his fathers plan by conquering Persia than went too far), The Roman Empire (and the Caesars over extended themselves),The French Revolution (Napoleon Bonaparte), The English Empire, The Spanish Empire, The United States?

 

Lord Acton wrote “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end…liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition…The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern.   Every class is unfit to govern…Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Munich (1873), honorary Doctor of Laws from Cambridge University (1889) and honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford University (1890) — yet he never earned an academic degree in his life, not even a high school diploma.

 

The machine and system you mention does exist. The G8 formally the G7 soon to be G9 (China) has its roots in 1973 during the oil crisis, and  in 1975 the French wanted regular meetings. This machines absolute power is nourished by two sources. Money from the wealthiest Men and Corporations in the world, and the political powers that have been purchased to guarantee their objectives. Its an international system. Members and their controlling interests (smaller nations dependant on the G8) must play by their rules. If you get out of line, you must face the consequences. Right now there are two non players, Korea and Iran. There were three but as you know Iraq has been taken down. Kadafy was convinced to play nice. Even Korea has backed off recently after some visits to China by US Diplomats. The group(s) that the machine can not control are the Muslim fanatics. These groups are bent on destroying the machine which they want the world to believe is controlled by the United States. The United States which has seen its influence in the G8 reduced must comply with the majority of the G8 rule. I don’t know if I’m right about all of this but I do know that something is wrong in this world.  

 

 

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November 27, 2008

Florida Politics

Written in 2006

 

I doubt that the St. Pete Times will print this opinion like others I’ve sent in the past. It is the same old thing every four years or during midterm elections. We hear the same old political rhetoric and nothing ever changes.  The American public and the people of Florida are always subjected to the lesser of two evils.  For example, the gubernatorial race here in Floridahas two candidates Jim Davis and Charlie Crist.  Each candidate says that they are the solution to the woe’s Floridians are experiencing.  Lets take a look at their records.  Charlie Crist has been attorney general for the last four years.  During his tenure what has happened to the Floridian homeowner should not be a feather in his cap but an indication of his inability to protect the people of Florida from the insurance lobbyists. His excuse is I wasn’t a legislator. While he was the Education Commissioner, Florida schools ranked at the bottom of the barrel.  He says he was hard on crime, during his tenure child abductions and crime did not go down. He also turned his back on Terry Schiavo; he didn’t get involved.  Charlie Crist is a no involvement legislator or policeman.

Now let’s look to Jim Davis.  Jim Davis has been in the U.S. Congress for the past 10 years.  He has been accused of being an absentee representative. I don’t know what he was doing while not in his seat of Congress, but based upon statistics congressional seat holders only spend two days a week in Washington.  Jim Davis is not the only problem in Washington he was part of it.  The question that comes to mind of course is how to choose the lesser of two evils.  My choice would be Jim Davis.  He was working among the Republican majority therefore unable to effectively legislate the wishes of his constituency. I wouldn’t vote for Charlie Crist for two reasons one being that he turned his back on the people of Florida while Attorney General by not getting involved with the insurance issues which are devastating homeowners today: secondly, I don’t want a politician in office who puts his campaign first before his constitutional responsibilities.  Charlie Christ is a special interest candidate.  He is also a non-committal individual who cannot make a choice T O way or the other when it comes to the common good for the people of Florida. Leaders make decisions and stand by them. Charlie Crist is not a leader. I don’t think we would reward a sheriffs deputy if he turned his back on a mugging, why should we reward Charlie Crist for turning his back on the people of Florida while the Insurance Lobby mugged us.

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November 27, 2008

Small town thinking prevents jobs growth

In Response to an article Hard Times Ahead in Retail, Novemebr 27, 2008, This was published on July 8, 2008 in the Hernando Times Section of the  St. Petersburg Times.

 

Re: Times Editorial, Clear plan needed in Hernando to reverse economic woes Two and a half years ago on September 29th2006 my opinion was published Re: County Leadership remains stuck in the 90’s I praised Mr. Michael McHugh for a presentation to the Commissioners which at the time showed insightfulness and the need for leadership. Here we are again discussing how this county is going to create higher paying jobs by bringing in businesses and providing them with qualified educated workers. I must admit that I had hope and confidence at that time that Mr. McHugh would accomplish this objective. To my dismay, he hasn’t. If the best we can do is bring in companies who bring with them 10 to 20 paying jobs this county is in trouble for many years to come.

It has been said before, this county can not depend on residential construction, real estate, and government employment alone to support our infrastructure and services provided. Lowering impact fees to stimulate the economy in Hernando is a ridiculous suggestion placed before the commissioners. Homebuilders, Developers, and Real Estate Brokers and Agents are the only ones who will benefit from this rip off at the expense of the taxpayers and the government; why don’t they lower their profits and commissions to stimulate growth.

 

The real problem in Hernando County is planning and foresight. This county faces many challenges in the future. To accomplish what is best for the Families and Businesses of this county requires a group of non-partisan leaders. We need leadership, with vision, and the will and constitution, to walk the talk. We need insightful leaders who will make decisions for the betterment of Hernando County as a whole. Decisions based on realistic objectives and goals that fall within the constraints of the Counties Comprehensive Plan. We don’t need politicians influenced by local lobbies we need Independent Leaders in this county. We need leaders who oppose sprawl and encourage managed growth. We need leaders who can go outside the county, state and country to bring in companies who create more than 20 jobs.

Hernando County has educated workers who leave the county because there are no job opportunities available in the county for them to stay. We are no longer a retirement community we are a younger family tax base who is in need of more than minimum wage job opportunities and who are burdened with the long commute to Tampa or St Petersburg.  Our children in this county who learn a trade or continue on to college; most likely leave after completing their education because of the lack of job opportunities in Hernando County or if they don’t leave they become minimum wage employees with no opportunity for personal growth.

It is time for the focus to be placed on building a tax base that is provided with opportunities for employment in other industries and services other than real estate and minimum wage retail and service jobs.

 

November 26, 2008

Change-A need for Term Limits

On October 26, 2008 St. Petersburg Times, Letter to the Editor by Mr. Jim Mastro, omits one very important factor, his dissertation is theoretical and has no substance in our realistic society with the greed mentality recently displayed over the last 8 years.

 

The fall of any great nation in history has always been preceded by an over extended military and the eroding of the economic foundation of its economy. It has been the establishment of a two class system where those who have refuse to share with those who do not have. Our Government of the United States was once a nation who cared about, empowered and provided opportunity to the less fortunate. In the last 8 years this nation has forgotten its’ true purpose.

 

Control of our economic systems and assistance programs have been put in the hands of political puppets that refused to elevate the less fortunate and sustain the middle class American worker. They focus on convincing those in the middle that conservative ideals represent them through religious associated issues, free trade and capitalism when in fact their actions have proven to be the complete opposite. These tactics have sidetracked the middle from the real issues. If the last 8 years is an example of the success of theses ideals I fear what will be the outcome of the next four years if they are allowed to continue. Trickle down economics brought us the recession of 1990 to 1992, Desert Storm got us out. 9/11 brought us another recession and Iraq got us out. This mess was brought on by greed at every level.

 

The American voters are being led once again with false promises and pacifying words, pitting Republicans constituents against Democratic constituents. The choice for a candidate of hope and intellectual leadership for a successful future is clouded by lies and misinformation. The sad part in all of this is that Americans do not realize that to be successful the American voter must rid Washington D.C. with self serving politicians and replace them with representatives who will truly work for their constituents and not give in to the pressures of monetary rewards of Special Interests and Corporate America. Elected representatives who can not accomplish his or her political objective in six years, is in it for the wrong reasons. Term limits in both houses of congress should be the first step toward rectifying our American dilemma.

November 26, 2008

Penny Wise Gallon Foolish

Well what do think about a penny sales tax per gallon of gasoline to help maintain the Hernando County Road Infrastructure? On October 31, 2007 Mr. Webb discussed in one of his columns Re; Tax plan debate is over; begin the road debate, the issue of increasing the gasoline sales tax 1 cent which county commissioners decided not to do because of political reasons. Apparently, the thoughts on the table related to drivers discontent with paying an additional penny per gallon for gasoline. Isn’t that a joke?  Gas was selling around $3.09 per gallon and jumped to $3.98 per gallon we didn’t complain. So, if I understand the thought process of our commissioner’s people in the county would rather pay the major oil corporation 89 cents more to contribute to their profits rather than pay 1 cent to the county to keep our roads maintained.  It seems when we place political aspirations ahead of rational thinking we always make the wrong decisions.

November 26, 2008

The Cycle to Financial Disaster

This writer worked 9 years of 20 in derivatives on Wall Street and has a better understanding of this disaster than a majority of the Americans being asked to pay for the greed and disrespect of common sense in financial transactions. If it were easy to unravel this web of related transactions the solution would be simple. But, it isn’t. It has taken years to manufacture this dilemma and it will take years to unravel it.

Let me isolate one transaction and hope to lend some understanding to the complexities of this dire situation. A security certificate of mortgages is created so that two objectives are accomplished. One, give families the opportunity to purchase a home and two sell that mortgage security certificate in the open market to investors utilizing their private capital. Simple so far isn’t it.  A sample transaction is I purchase a GNMA (ginnie mae) security certificate which is insured by the Government National Mortgage Agency known as Ginnie Mae a Government Agency. Each month as people pay their mortgage payments of principal and interest, they are passed on to me the owner of the GNMA security certificate. I purchased this certificate to earn interest income and to have a part of my principal investment returned to me each month. A great investment for retired investors.

 

Most GNMA certificates are securitized in what they call a pool of mortgages, for simplicity a pool of mortgages consist of ten (10) individual mortgages in various amounts that add up to $1,000,000. Each month these ten families make their mortgage payments and the money is than passed on to the investor as I explained earlier. This is as

you can see a very simple transaction in an ideal system. But, and the big but is that because interest rates change on a daily basis the speculator in the process decided that money could be made by betting on interest rate fluctuations. Just buying and selling GNMA securities was boring and not very profitable. No, a derivative needed to be developed to protect investors in GNMA’s. On the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) a futures contract GNMA was developed to protect interest rate fluctuations from affecting the profitability of those positions held by investors in GNMA’s. If you owned (were long) $1,000,000 in GNMA certificates you could sell 10 contract of GNMA futures (each contract represents 100,000 face value of GNMA’s). This transaction prevented your investment from Interest Rate fluctuations which affect price values of GNMA securities. Therefore, theoretically if interest rates went up prices would go down, the price of GNMA futures would also go down. So if you sold GNMA futures at 95.00 and rates went up 1% the new price on GNMA futures would go down to 94.00 , your gain would be $1000.00 per contract or $10,000. If you were to liquidate your positions at that point you would loose $10,000 on your GNMA Security position and gain $10,000 on your futures position therefore break even on principal but earn interest income.

 

Income from interest and break even was not acceptable to the speculative investor (arbitrager) investment bankers, insurance companies and yes Banks. Because of the repeal of Glass Stegal in 1999 by Grahm, Leach, Bliley, (The Financial Services Modernization Act) http://banking.senate.gov/prel99/1104grm.htm

the fire walls which prevented insurance companies and banks from participating in non regulated derivatives brought on the speculative atmosphere that has brought us to the financial credit meltdown, and possibly the 21st centuries depression.  

When non performing mortgage backed securities (people not paying their mortgages) securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack and sold to investors began to loose value, these institutions decided to package bad securities into securitized derivatives and resold them to other investors  and than insured them because the same companies insuring these derivatives previously owned the bad assets backing them.  Wall Street packaged this product which was an exchange of cash flows of principal and interest, backed by a multitude of bad securities of defaulting cash flows.  The strategy that was devised by these Wall Street wizards was an attempt to earn enormous fees on these overvalued derivatives, which provided profits which determined bonuses for CEO’s to Traders.  When the cash flows ended and the insurance policies were cashed in the drain on capital began. Now, they are out of cash and are looking to Washington and the American Taxpayer to re capitalize their operation and pay for their losses after they have taken out compensation rewards and profits all at the expense of the taxpayer. Either we have a congress of incompetents or they are all in the pocket of special interests if they approve such a national theft.

 

The question has been asked by many, why are we being lead by Mr. Paulson, Goldman Sachs, $38 million dollar plant in Washington and our Congress being lead down a path of destruction. The rhetoric being dished out to the American people by those who continue to deceive us say that we the American Public are the ones who are being protected with this bill is ludicrous. The bill isn’t specific enough and only gives Mr. Paulson a blank check to buy derivatives which aren’t assets of any value but a complete  loss to taxpayer’s.

 

Now, most people will respond, you talk a good tune but what is the solution? The solution is to determine the real value of these losses and bad assets excluding derivatives. Let those who created these deregulated derivatives settle their contracts themselves. Use the taxpayer dollars to refinance main streets mortgages to build a foundation of concrete rather than one on sand. This will again generate capital from the bottom up where it originally is generated from.

November 25, 2008

The Importance of the Presidency

What is the meaning of the word Presidential? We must first look back to the 18th century when our first president George Washington was elected. He was referred to as a forefather, the father of our nation. Thus we must consider the definition of the word presidential and conclude that it is a synonym for the word father. Yet, today it is not correct to exclude the female synonym as well. Today we must consider the mother as well as the father, which brings me to the purpose of this discussion. What should be the characteristics and qualifications for an individual to become the president of our nation?

 

Putting aside gender and focusing on traits it is important to prioritize leadership qualities in order of their importance. The individual must be a leader, a person of integrity, a person who understands his role and has the knowledge to execute, a person of vision, a person of faith, a person of uncommon commitment, a person who requires positive results, a person who embraces others, a person who’s commitment is to serve the common man as a nation of people before self and special interests.

 

All of these qualities fall in the role of a parent whether it is a mother or father. There should be no doubt in the mind of the leader of the free world as to what their priorities must be. The family of these United States must be utmost in the decision making process by our president. As a parent the security and safety of our children come first. We provide a home environment where they go to sleep at night knowing that when they wake in the morning a new and bright day affords them the opportunity to live in a free society where they have objectives and goals to be obtained. Our children deserve a future free from fear of harm, a future free of hunger and sickness, a future where the pursuit of higher education doesn’t become an economic burden in their lives.

 

In our shrinking world today our President must be ever so cognizant of the objectives of our enemies and the tools they use to influence our decisions. It is unfortunate that commodities and international trade have become the weapons of choice. Armed conflicts are used to correct trade and commodity imbalances or economic downturns internationally. Over the last 50 years no armed conflict has resolved the original issues which started the conflict.  Terrorism has become a new tool for imbalances. The 9/11 disasters was a message that some have clearly understood. The United States Economy, Military, and its Democracy were attacked by extremists supported by many other governments. We are being told that our meddling in the world is not acceptable. The chilling fact is that as other nations have become wealthier our influence becomes less. Rogue nations are becoming a cancer in a world society where a majority of nations seek a peaceful co-existence. The transfer of wealth in the world began in the 80’s. Yet the groundwork for international control of world economics began in the 70’s.        

The formation of the G5 then, currently the G7 is looked upon unfavorably by emerging nations. These nations have supplied the G7 with the natural resources for many years to expand G7 economies. These nations are now looking for an independence from the G7 stranglehold. They want to control their own resources and they want us to pay up. Some G7 nations have provided that independence through diplomatic resolution with third world nations who are less extreme. Those third world nation extremists who are less willing to negotiate are being boycotted into submission by the United States a lead figure chosen by the G7 because of its military strength. Now we are paying dearly for these same resources in national wealth and lives.  

 

The past fifteen years under the Clinton and Bush administrations has placed the United States in a position of economic and military weakness. The scales have been tilted in favor of our enemies who can at any given moment wage a war of economics by simply cashing in our US Government securities sold to those nations because of our balance of payments. Because of our Foreign Trade Policies which favor manufacturing overseas, Americans unknown to them are contributing to this problem by purchasing products manufactured in foreign nations by international corporations whether they are U.S. or Foreign and voting for candidates who favor these policies.

 

You may ask how we are contributing to this situation. The follow is an example of our involvement. The problem is when the President negotiates a trade agreement with Mexico allowing Motorola to open a manufacturing plant in Tijuana to produce cell phones; we are simply exporting manufacturing and service jobs to foreign nations as a result of bad trade agreements. The plant will employ 1000 workers providing an income equivalent to $20.00 a week to each worker. In the U.S. those same 1000 workers would earn $262.00 a week under minimum wage in 2008. Cost of labor is 13 times less in Mexico than in the U.S. When we purchase Motorola cell phones manufactured in Mexico we create our deficit balance of payments. Unknown to American’s is the new immigration policy of the U.S. to create the North American Union in an effort to continue the exporting of American jobs and the downsizing of American payroll at the expense of Americans and the profiteering by U.S. Domestic and International Corporations. 

 

The majority of the American people can no longer indirectly, or directly support or endorse candidates who currently occupy Congressional and Senate seats who have voted for NAFTA, and who agree with the North American Union and who endorse the current foreign trade policies.  A clean sweep of the Congress and Senate is necessary to allow a new president willing to accomplish the will of the people.  We now know that McCain is a Bush clone and if he isn’t, then he is lying to get elected and a man like that can not be trusted. Hillary Clinton is going to follow the same policies of her husband. She brags about the accomplishments of his administration and did support NAFTA. We certainly don’t want a continuation of those policies. Finally, the uncertainty is Barack Obama. If you read his positions concerning all the issues he certainly does not have all the answers. Yet, if elected he can only succeed with a majority in the House and Senate who back his policies. We are at a crossroad in our nation’s history. We need emerge from the last 19 years of non American ingenuity and the abolishment of a political agenda that promotes self serving leadership for the benefit of the few and not for the American Family.   

 

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