Thursday, June 30, 2016

My How Progressivism Has Changed!

A "Progressive" in political terms is generally defined as someone with the belief that government can best address social problems, inequalities or inequities facing the nation.

It is a popular term in this day and age. Most Democrats want to be considered "progressive" rather than liberal.

Teddy Roosevelt is generally considered to be the "father" of Progressivism in this country. Although he ran and served as President as a Republican, he later formed the Progressive Party in order to run against his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft, when he was not satisfied that Taft was progressive enough. Roosevelt's third party bid failed in 1912 but his legacy as the father of Progressivism lives on.

Credit: By American Press Association -, Public Domain,

Of course, Teddy Roosevelt's distant relative (they were 5th cousins) Franklin Delano Roosevelt remains the iconic symbol of Progressivism with his New Deal policies that transformed the way that the federal government worked, that we still live with today.

Despite the "Progressive" credentials that both the Roosevelt's possessed, I think it is interesting to look back at some of their views and compare these to what we see today.

For example, here is Teddy Roosevelt on the subject of Immigration that he wrote in 1916.

"We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself. If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying. We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join with us in raising the level of our common American citizenship. 

"If I could I would have the kind of restriction which would not allow any immigrant to come here unless I was content that his grandchildren would be fellow-citizens of my grandchildren. They will not be so if he lives in a boarding house at $2.50 per month with ten other boarders and contracts tuberculosis and contributes to the next generation a body of citizens inferior not only morally and spiritually but also physically."

Does that sound something a 2016 Progressive would be saying?

Or how about this which Roosevelt wrote shortly before his death in 1919.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. 

"If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. 

"We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."

Does that sound more like Donald Trump of Hillary Clinton?

How about these words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1935 State of the Union address where he addressed concerns about the potential long-term effects of his New Deal policies.

“The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.  It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy.  It is a violation of the traditions of America.”

No, that is not Paul Ryan or Rand Paul, that is FDR.

Credit: By Social Security Online - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c23278.
Public Domain,

There is no greater political bond that exists today than between public sector unions and the Democrat party.

Here are the words of FDR on that subject in 1937.

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."

Yes, that is President Franklin D. Roosevelt and not Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Just a few examples that show how far off the path of "progress" we have strayed over the years.

My how progressivism has changed!

Sunday, June 26, 2016


If there was one thing that was underlying the UK referendum on leaving the EU (Brexit) it seemingly was immigration.

The British have seen a profound change in their country from open borders over the last two decades and a majority said "enough" last week.

To give you some perspective on immigration in the UK, since 1997 when Tony Blair and the Labour Party came to power and opened UK's border to waves of new immigrants, roughly twice as many immigrants arrived in the UK as had in the previous half-century.

Immigrants, who made up 7% of the population of England and Wales at that time, now comprise 14% of the population.  This is a very short period of time to assimilate this mass immigration and it ultimately led to the Brexit vote that few could have fathomed a few short years ago.

As this article by Reihan Salam in Slate points out, the UK is in a difficult spot in the EU due to its fairly open and lightly regulated labor market compared to other Euro countries. This makes the UK an attractive destination for low-skilled immigrant labor compared to other countries in the EU. The UK also has very attractive welfare programs that, unlike other EU welfare states, do not take years of contributions in order to be eligible for benefits. Both act as magnets for immigrants who want to get to the UK.

Of course, many of these immigrants have no intention of assimilating to the country, its culture or its values.

This retweet that I posted several days before the Brexit vote gave me an inkling that those who wanted to Remain might be surprised.

It reminded me of the Syrian (ISIS) refugees who had nothing but the clothes on their backs being offered boxes by the Red Cross only to have it thrown away because it had a red cross on it.

Does the Brexit vote tell us anything about our upcoming Presidential election?

I am not sure but I thought that this poll from San Diego's Union Tribune and KGTV-TV last week of San Diego County residents was a real eye-opener.

In that survey, when asked if people who entered the United States illegally should be allowed to stay or be deported, by a margin of 54%-34% the respondents said they should be deported.

That is pretty astounding when you consider that we are talking about San Diego County, California.

Let's look at the demographics of San Diego County.

33% of the county's residents are Hispanic. That is almost double the national average.

Only 46% are white compared to 62% for the nation at large.

Obama beat Romney 53%-45% in San Diego County in 2012.

Obama beat McCain 54%-44% in 2008.

Republicans were in favor of deportation in the poll 76%-16%. Independents favored deportation 58%-38%. Democrats said let them stay by 52%-34%.

More interesting was the fact that Hispanics favored deportation by 52%-38%. That is almost the same as Whites at 52%-35%.

Even more interesting is that by a 48%-34% margin the survey respondents who supported deportation stated that all illegal immigrants, including children born in the U.S. of illegals, should be deported. 66% of Hispanics who supported deportation held this view compared to only 45% of Whites.

However, the most interesting factoid in the survey was this response.

61% of those favoring deportation (that is still over 30% of the entire survey sample) would be personally willing to pay an additional $4,000 in taxes to pay for the estimated $500 billion it would cost to identify, round up and deport the illegal immigrants in this country. 

I don't know where this ends but when that number of people in one of the most Hispanic counties in the United States (ranked 8th for % of Hispanics in the U.S. ) says that they would dig into their own pockets to pay for deportation tells me something.

Donald Trump in San Diego for California Primary

Donald Trump may not win the Presidential election. Donald Trump may not win California. He may not even win San Diego County in November. It is one issue among many that concern American voters. However, in these poll results on immigration you gain some interesting insight to the mood and emotion of voters on what will be one of the most important issues in this campaign.

It also an issue in which the U.S. Supreme Court dealt President Obama and pretty big defeat last week which prompted Obama to say the immigration question is now up to the voters.

He better watch out when he says that. After all, he also opposed Brexit and had threatened UK voters preceding the vote that the UK would fall to "the back of the queue" if they voted to take back their sovereignty.

Concerns about immigration fueled Brexit.

Concerns about immigration fueled Trump to the top tier of the Republican nominees right out of the box and he ultimately defeated 16 other competitors.

Can Trump use Immigrexit similarly to fuel his Presidential hopes this fall?

San Diego County seems to say that he has an opening if he can build trust with voters while also promising to build the wall and showing the temperament for the job by avoiding any Trumpertantrums between now and November.

It's a tall order. Trump has proven he can build tall towers. He needs to prove he can tame his tongue.
If he can, this poll tells me that Immigrexit could be his Brexit.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guns, Drugs and Deaths

Birthrates are falling in America. Demographers expected this after the 20 year "baby boomlet" that followed the Gen-X "baby bust".

What they did not expect to see was a rise in the death rate in 2015.

Neil Howe of (and co-author of "The Fourth Turning") wrote about this data that has sent shockwaves among demographers and economists.

Preliminary data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) show that the U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate climbed from 723.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014 to 729.5 last year—truly a head-scratcher for a society in which continuous advances in medicine and public health slash the rate nearly every year.

This is what Andrew Fenelon of the National Center for Health Statistics said to The New York Times about the increase in the mortality rate.

"We are not accustomed to seeing death rates increase on a national scale. We've seen increases in mortality for some groups, but it is quite rare to see it for the whole population."

So what is going on?

From looking at recent headlines you might think that the death rate has increased due to homicides that are the result of deaths by assault rifles.

However, let's look at the facts.

How many homicide deaths do you think were caused by rifles in the United States in 2014 (the most recent year available)?


You read that right. That is 248 rifle murders in a country of 319,000,000 people.

In fact, murders by rifles have decreased every year since 2010 despite the fact that we keep hearing about an "epidemic of violence" with firearms and 'assault' rifles in this country.

Most people would also be surprised to learn that the majority of deaths by guns (almost all are with handguns) are the result of suicide rather by homicide.

Gun homicides have also generally been trending lower over the last decade (during most of the Obama years). It is only gun suicides that have been trending higher while Obama has been President.

Therefore, guns are apparently not the reason that the overall death rate in the U.S. has increased.

What is the cause?

The experts indicate that they do not know for sure at this point but the numbers seem to be pointing to a big increase in drug overdoses as one of the principal reasons for the spike in the overall death rate.

According to NVSS, the death rate for drug overdoses was 15.2 per 100,000 people in Q2 2015, up from 14.1 during the same period a year earlier.
Given the much-discussed recent surge in American opioid use, we can be sure that opioids (both prescription painkillers and their illegal substitute, heroin) play a significant role in 2015’s overall death rate hike.

A recent report from the National Safety Council shows that, over the decade ending in 2014, deaths from drug overdoses shot up 78 percent—overtaking car crashes as the number one source of accidental deaths in the United States. According to Dartmouth economist Jonathan Skinner, the graph of drug overdose deaths over time now looks like that of an infectious disease that spreads exponentially, “diffusing out and catching more and more people.” 

You begin to see how big the problem has become when you look at this heat map that shows how prevalent drug overdose deaths are becoming across the nation.

What is particularly troubling is that these deaths are not coming from young adults as you might expect. They are distributed across all age groups with those between ages 45-54 having the highest rate of overdose deaths.

Consider as well that those age 55-64 have seen a 343% increase in overdose deaths since 2000!

There is no doubt that we need to be concerned with gun violence and do all that we can to keep firearms out of the hands of those who might be a risk to the public at large.

However, the biggest epidemic we have in this country right now is not gun violence but the epidemic of drugs.

If you think not, consider these numbers.

248 homicide deaths by rifles annually.

47,000 deaths by drug overdoses per year.

There were 190 times as many drug deaths as deaths by rifles.

There were 4 times as many drug deaths as all gun homicides.

There were more than 2 times as many drug deaths as all suicides committed with guns.

Which is the bigger problem? Guns or drugs?

The irony is that many of our elected representatives and others are trying to make more guns illegal while they are also trying to make more drugs legal.

How often have you ever heard any of this on the evening news, Instagram, Facebook or from a Democrat (sitting) on the House floor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

No Sense and No Sensibility

There seem to be many things that no longer make sense in our world today. Sensibility seems to have been replaced with an utter disregard for human nature, behavior and science.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the moves to obliterate the laws of science regarding gender.

I couldn't help but think of the lack of sense and sensibility in this regards as I looked at a couple of stories that were in the headlines in the last week.

The first was the vote in the U.S. Senate that would subject females to register for Selective Service so that they might some day be drafted into the Armed Services.

The second was the story of a high school senior who is a biological male but who "self identifies" as a female and was allowed to run as a girl in the state track meet where he (she?) won all-state honors.

Let me say at the outset that I am the father of two daughters so I am very sensitive to providing equal opportunities to them. They should be able to do anything that they set their minds to. That is the way they were raised by my wife and I. However, there are substantive biological differences between males and females. You can "self-identify" all you want in your head but that does not change the basic biology.

There is no way that my daughters (or granddaughter) should be subjected to the obligation of potential military service via the draft. If they would like to serve by volunteering, that should be their choice. However, we have lost all sense and sensibility if we are going to start drafting women for combat roles.

Do not be deceived, the only reason for a draft is to fill ground combat positions. That has always been the purpose of conscription. As I wrote previously on the subject, "Opportunity or Obligation?",

Conscription is normally necessary to fill combat positions in the Army.  For example, 95% of all inductees to the Army during the Vietnam War were draftees while the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were able to fill almost their entire quotas via voluntary enlistments. Of course, the threat of being drafted into the Army becomes a great incentive to volunteer for potentially safer and softer postings in the Armed Services.
I have argued in these pages previously that the drafting of women was the next step in the slippery slope of pushing for more equality on the battlefield. It appears that we have arrived at that point.

What is the point in all of this?  Especially when you look at the results of recent changes the Marine Corps has made in its fitness requirements to objectively determine who can handle the physical demands of combat. The quote below is from a story in the Marine Corps Times on how men and women are doing on the new tests which are given 45 days into basic training.

In the last five months, six out of seven female recruits — and 40 out of about 1,500 male recruits — failed to pass the new regimen of pullups, ammunition-can lifts, a 3-mile run and combat maneuvers required to move on in training for combat jobs, according to the data.

The first interesting data point in this information is that only seven female recruits have even attempted to go through the first phase of Marine Corps basic training leading to combat roles----compared to 1,500 men!

The second point is that 86% of the females failed to meet the standard!  The comparable failure rate for men---3%!

Drafting women? No sense and no sensibility.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

What about a male running as a female in the state track meet because that is the way he "self identifies"?

Again, no sense and no sensibility.

I have some personal experience in the athletic realm pitting boy against girls at the high school level.

My youngest daughter was a very good high school field hockey player. In fact, she was an All-Western Pennsylvania player her senior year in addition to being the leading scorer in the Pittsburgh area.

Pennsylvania had a rule that allowed girls (or boys) to play on the teams of opposite genders if the sport was not offered to them. Thus, for example, a girl could play on the boys' golf team if there was no girls' team. All well and good for giving girls the opportunity to compete.

However, what about the opposite?

We found out how that works when in my daughter's junior and senior years a couple of boys played on one of the other schools' field hockey team.  Our team won the games against that school because field hockey is very much a skill sport. To be successful you have to be good at handling the stick. However, the size and speed difference of the boys was very apparent as I watched those games. Here was my daughter at 5'3" and about 110 lbs facing off with 6'0', 180 lbs. bruisers. It made me cringe and it made my daughter and her teammates mad about having to compete against members of the other gender.

A boy playing in a girls high school field hockey match

It also made me wonder what would happen to girls field hockey if a school fielded a team of 11 boys who were willing to put on skirts and practice their stick skills for a few years?  

It is the same thought I had looking at the story of the state track meet in Alaska.

If we are to allow people to "self-identify" on what gender they are, we could soon have very few female athletes participating on the athletic field in many sports. 

There are women that are stronger, faster and more athletic than many men. I don't think many men would want to challenge Brittney Griner to a game of one-on-one basketball, Serena William to a game of tennis or Allyson Felix to a 100-meter dash.  There are overlapping bell curves with respect to the physical abilities of men and women. Some women will always have better physical abilities than some men. The Marine Corps data shows that. However, most men will enjoy physical advantages over most women.

Think for a moment if Bruce Jenner had not won the men's gold medal in the Decathalon in 1976 and decided he wanted another chance at gold 8 years later in Los Angeles in the Heptathalon (the female equivalent event)---as a woman.  Glynis Nunn of Australia won the gold and Jackie Joyner won the silver at that Olympics. I doubt either would have beaten Bruce Caitlyn Jenner eight years past his her prime.

Think for a minute if all the boys on the JV basketball team at a high school decided they would "self identify" as females and tryout for the varsity girls team? How would you stop them in a world that increasingly has no sense and no sensibility?

We should take a step back and think of where all of this gender neutrality talk is taking us.

I can assure you that it is not a good place. For men...or women.

There is no sense or sensibility in any of it. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Labels, the Levant and Lunatics

Donald Trump is taking heat from the media for a statement he made in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings that questioned why President Obama would not utter the words "Radical Islamic Terrorism" despite what all of us are seeing with our very own eyes.

This is what Trump said on Fox & Friends.

“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind.” 
 "People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on. He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable."

Those that are regular readers of BeeLine know that I am no Trump cheerleader or apologist. However, I agree with him there is something going on with this President that is difficult to understand.

President Obama angrily went after Trump yesterday when he was called him out for his refusal to recognize "Radical Islam". In his defense, Obama argues that putting a "label" on someone does nothing to make us safer or make it go away.

This all led to one of the better comebacks I have seen from Trump recently.

"I watched President Obama today and he was more angry at me than he was at the shooter." 
All of this reminded me of of the following post I wrote two years ago. This is the most popular post I have ever written in the 5+ years that I have been writing BeeLine. It is not just the most read by a small margin, it has been read and shared 10 times more than my next most popular post!

That itself seems to suggest two things:

1) There are a lot of people who think that what the President is doing is difficult to understand.

2) A prime reason that Trump is popular is that he voices what a lot of other people are thinking.

If you have ever heard the President refer to the radical islamists as ISIL rather than ISIS, have you wondered why he does that? I did a little research on the subject right after he started doing it. It left me with even more questions of what is going on. Therefore, I understand where Trump is coming from.

You will probably wonder even more yourself after reading my post below.

Apparently, a label does not matter when it comes to "Radical Islamic Terrorism" but it matters a great deal on being very precise by referring to ISIL, rather than ISIS. Why does Obama do it? Why does he seem deferential to these lunatics?

As Trump says, "There's something going on. It is inconceivable."

(Originally published Septermber 7, 2014)

You may wonder, as I did, why President Obama and his administration refer to ISIS as ISIL.

As ISIS rose to power in Syria and Iraq over the last year or so, we consistently heard it referred to as ISIS for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

All of a sudden our President started referring to it as ISIL.

I understood where ISIS came from. What does ISIL stand for?

It turns out it is the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

What is the Levant?

It is a term used for centuries for the area shown in the map below.  The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. It does not include Iraq.


In other words, Obama is effectively giving due recognition to the ambitions and dreams of these extreme Islamists for their caliphate by his use of the term ISIL. Notice also that ISIL includes all of the territory of Israel, ISIS does not.

Consider this perspective from, which wonders about the President's use of ISIL instead of ISIS.

Now, to us Westerners we don’t really make much of a distinction, do we? No, honestly from our perspective its all about the same. But how would a Muslim living in the Middle East view it? Just what is the Levant anyway? Let’s take a look.
The geographical term LEVANT refers to a multi-nation region in the Middle East. It’s a land bridge between Turkey to the north and Egypt to the south. If you look on a map, however, in the near exact middle of the nations that comprise the Levant, guess what you see? Come on, guess!
It’s Israel.
When Barack Obama refers over and over to the Islamic State as ISIL, he is sending a message to Muslims all over the Middle East that he personally does not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation, but as territory belonging to the Islamic State.

With the exception of Reuters, no news organization was using the term ISIL until President Obama started to use it. However, it seems the ISIL label is being used more in the media thanks to the consistent use of it by our President and his administration. For example, the Associated Press recently started referring to ISIL instead of ISIS. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post still refer to the group as ISIS.

When has the President of the United States ever been so deferential to a sworn enemy of the United States?

ISIS is a group that has stated,

“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established and we will not stop."

“We will raise the flag of Allah in the White House."

We are a long way away from when President George Herbert Walker Bush (41) referred to Saddam Hussein leading up to and during the Gulf War as SAD-em rather than Suh-DOM, which was the accepted pronunciation of Hussein's name. Bush clearly did this intentionally to get under Hussein's skin in some way. It should be noted that he stopped pronouncing it this way when the war was over.

There was an ulterior motive. Does Barack Obama have his own motive in using ISIL, rather than ISIS?

Those who are regular readers of BeeLine know that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I draw my conclusions based on facts and analysis of those facts. However, in this case, it really does make you wonder what Obama is doing, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Risky Business

There is no riskier occupation in America today than Republican politician.

Donald Trump has made it "Risky Business" to be a Republican officeholder.

Every Republican politician has to make a high risk decision whether they are on or off the Trump Train. It is a decision fraught with risk to those in office.

The people are sovereign in our system. Their power is absolute  Unfortunately, too many people don't believe it. The simple fact is that politicians have no power unless the people provide it.

Laws that do not have public backing do not survive over the long term. Lawmakers who make laws that people do not support do not stay in office very long. Politicians who do not do the will of the people soon need to find other employment.

This seems to be lost on too many people who complain that they have no influence or power in the affairs of state. It may seem that way when you are just one vote. However, those votes add up quickly.

Our Constitution also insures that change can be made fairly rapidly.

The entire House of Representatives has to stand for a vote every two years. The President every four years and Senators every six years. If you think about it, within four years you can change the entire House, the President and two-thirds of the Senate. With those numbers you can do almost anything you want, including passing a Constitutional Amendment in Congress. You still would need three-fourths of the states to agree but they also do not have terms extending beyond four years.

We have heard many in the Republican Establishment say that Donald Trump does not represent the principles and values of the Republican Party. He might not represent what the Republican Party has been heretofore. However, if he wins in November, Donald Trump will be the Republican Party. The people will have made the decision of what it now stands for and against. Those that aren't supporting Trump will be at risk of not serving much longer. That is just the way the power of the people works.

If Trump loses big, risk (and reward) cuts the other way. Those that supported him will be derided and those who stood against him (e.g., Ben Sasse) may find newly found credibility and stature. After all, history is always written by the winners, never by the losers.

Politicians don't like to have to make these types of win/lose decisions. It is much easier to blend into the crowd and go with the flow. For example, Hillary has the votes of 581 superdelegates right now, most of whom are Democrat officeholders. Bernie Sanders has a mere 49. There is no risk in supporting Hillary. All the risk is in opposing her. These Democrat superdelegates will not even lose if she gets indicted. After all, they almost all supported her. Who is going to blame them if her campaign goes off of the rails?

Trump is another story altogether. There is real risk in choosing whether you are with him or against him. It could end up being a career-ender. On the other hand, it might also make a career. There is no good place to hide on this one if you are a Republican politician.

The predicament of GOP officeholders reminds me of the time period soon after Ronald Reagan became President. He had won a landslide election victory but he still had to deal with a House was controlled by the Democrats (there were 53 R's in the Senate). Despite this, in his early months in office he was working hard to pass the major tax cuts he had campaigned on. However, he needed every Democrat vote he could get to get his plan through Congress.

His primary targets were Congressmen from Southern states that had voted heavily for Reagan. They became known as "Boll Weevil" Democrats.

I was in Washington, D.C. on business at that time (early 1981) and attended a small breakfast meeting with Representative Kent Hance (D-TX) who was just beginning his second term in Congress. Hance had been elected in 1978 having defeated George W. Bush (Yes, that George W. Bush) for his seat. Hance was a prime target of the White House to support the tax cuts as his district had voted heavily for Reagan the previous November.

Kent Hance and George W. Bush in 1978 when they were running against each other for the 19th House District of Texas

Hance told the story that morning of recently being at a town hall meeting at one of the small Texas towns which he represented between Lubbock and Midland. He was a taking questions when a tall, tanned Texas farmer, who was wearing overalls and a John Deere cap and standing in the back of the room, asked Hance whether he was going to support Reagan's tax cut plan.

Hance was a former law professor at Texas Tech University and had a Finance degree from the same school. Hance told us that he went into what he thought was a lengthy, well-reasoned response to the constituent stating the economic pros and cons of the potential tax cuts citing a lot of financial and budget details without taking a strict position.

When Hance was done with his non-answer the farmer looked at Hance, spit some tobacco juice on the floor and said,

" I just want to know one thing...are you with 'im or agin' 'im?"

Hance went into his monologue for a little longer when the farmer interrupted him,

"Are you with 'im or agin' 'im?"

Hance started again on his explanation and the farmer stopped him quickly and stared at him along with every other set of eyes in the room,

"Are you with 'im or agin' 'im?" 

Hance finally got the message and responded,

"Mark me down as with him!" 

Hance voted for the Reagan tax cuts that eventually were passed into law. In 1985, Hance left the Democrat party and became a Republican. He twice sought the nomination for Governor and was elected Railroad Commissioner of Texas as a Republican.

Kent Hance read the people well. There was no longer a future as a Democrat in Texas after the Reagan Revolution. It was too risky. If he wanted to be elected in the future in Texas, he needed to a member of the Republican Party. In fact, the Congressional District that Hance represented has been in Republican hands ever since.

I don't know whether Donald Trump will win in November or not. The people will decide that. I do know that if he wins, the Republican Party will change with him just as surely as it changed after Ronald Reagan was elected. After 1980, there no longer was a future for anyone in the GOP unless they were Reagan Republicans.

The people spoke. The politicians listened.

Politicians always listen. It is a risky business if they don't.

The voters just have to realize they have to speak up to be heard.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Revolt vs. Risk

Revolt vs. Risk.

That seems to be the best way to describe the Presidential race now that the presumptive nominees have both been decided.

Do voters revolt against the establishment and vote for Donald Trump?

Or is voting for Donald Trump just too much of a risk?

That is what this election is all about.

There is no one more tied to the establishment than Hillary Clinton. She personifies the unholy alliance between special interests, politics, power and money. Privilege, politics and power has been her stock in trade her entire life.

You see evidence of that throughout her life.

She supposedly turned a $1,000 investment into a $100,000 profit in cattle futures over the course of 10 months in 1978 and 1979 while Bill was Governor of Arkansas. Despite this smashing success, she never invested in futures again. If you were good enough to turn 100 times on your money in less than a year, why would you quit? Why would you bother practicing law? Why would you ever be "dead broke" years later?

She was the first woman partner in a Little Rock law firm but that was at the same time Bill was Governor. How much of her practice depended on that relationship?

She ran for the U.S. Senate in a state she had never lived in right after leaving The White House as First Lady. Of course, she stated that Bill and she...
"came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,"  had "no money"  and "struggled to piece together the resources" for mortgages and her daughter Chelsea's college education.
Of course, things worked out pretty well for Bill and Hillary after they left The White House.

It worked out even better for them when Hillary became the U.S. Secretary of State.

Bill Clinton earned $48 million in speaking fees while Hillary was Secretary of State. More than half of this amount came from companies in foreign countries. Wasn't that convenient?

Here is a list of speaking fees by Hillary Clinton herself between the time she left the State Department and when she announced she was running for President. She collected almost $22 million. Click here for a full size image.

The Clinton Foundation raised upwards of $500 million from 2008-2012 (during her run for President in 2008 and tenure as Secretary of State), with substantial sums of it in the form of donations from foreign governments and entities. In the last year before Hillary embarked on her Presidential campaign the Foundation received $178 million in "donations".

In fact, in 2013, according to tax filings, the Clinton Foundation spent less than 10% of its budget on charitable grants ($8.8 million). It spent $17.2 million on travel, rent and office supplies. The Clinton Foundation exists principally to promote the Clintons, rather than

The activities of the Clintons are a big reason people want to revolt against the Establishment.

The system is rigged and the Clintons have spent a lifetime of rigging it in their favor. Trump calls her "Crooked" Hillary. Have the people reached the breaking point and will they revolt?

On the other hand, is Donald Trump just too risky?

What will he be like as President? Savvy businessman? Supercilious snake oil salesman? Tough negotiator? Temperamental tyrant? Proud patriot? Petulant politician?

Those are the questions before voters. The Democrats will doing everything they can to paint Trump as too risky and reckless to take a chance on. If they took a choir boy like Romney and made him look bad, you can only imagine what they will throw at Trump.


However, Trump fights back. Hard. If people want a real revolt they are not looking for a nice guy. They are looking for a fighter.  However, Americans also want someone who they perceive to be fair and honest.

Ronald Reagan led a revolution of sorts in 1980. He was a nice guy and he was still portrayed as risky and reckless. He was able to allay those concerns and won by a landslide over Jimmy Carter. However, the result in doubt until people went to vote. The polls were dead even heading into election day.

Can Trump do the same thing?

The voters seem willing to revolt. The primaries point to it. However, voters are only willing to risk so much. If he wants to win, Donald Trump needs to be seen as reasonable and rational while also being seen as revolutionary. It will not be an easy task.

If he can do it, he will win.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Let Our Hearts Be Stout, Almighty God

This week I came across this prayer that was given by a President of the United States. Read it and think for a second what would be the reaction if anything resembling this was uttered by the President today.

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.  Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith... 
They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.  Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee...
O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade... With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace - a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God.  Amen.”   

Can you guess who might have spoken these words to God?

George Washington?

Thomas Jefferson?

Abraham Lincoln?

These are actually the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a radio address that he delivered to the nation on the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944.

This is the man that is considered the ultimate icon of liberalism and progressivism.

This is the man that created the framework of the modern Democrat party.

It makes you truly appreciate how far the Democrats have veered off of the path that FDR established when you consider that the 2012 Democratic Party platform was intentionally scrubbed to remove all mentions of God. Fearing backlash, the Democrats put forth an amendment to put some semblance of the Almighty back in the platform on the convention floor. It did not go well.

Who would ever think that God could be so controversial? You would think that would be a slam dunk. Not so with today's Democrat party.

In the end, it took a "rigged" vote to get God back in the Democrat platform in 2012.

Watch Democrats shout down putting God back in the platform three times.

No word on where this issue stands in 2016 with the Democrats.

Some pundits speculate that Ronald Reagan could not win the Republican nomination for President today. I don't know about that. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Franklin Roosevelt could not win the nomination as a Democrat praying to God.

I dare say that if Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for President in 2016, he would be the Conservative in the race with both Hillary and Trump running to the left of him.

For example, here are a few other things that FDR did that make me say that:

Set up internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent in WWII.

Approved the research and construction of the nuclear bomb.

Cut federal employees' pay in order to try to balance the budget.

Opposed the establishment of public sector unions.

Argued that Social Security should eventually be converted to a self-supported annuity plan system supported by individual initiative rather than tax dollars.

If you do not think the times have changed, think again.


If you would like to hear the entire radio address and prayer of FDR on the evening of June 6, 1944, click her for a full transcript and audio file.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's About Growth

President Obama now seems to be assured to be the first President in United States history to not preside over one year of at least a 3.0% annual GDP growth rate.

He is now projected to end his eight years as President with an average annual growth rate of 1.55% per year.

It has now been over a decade since we had one year of economic growth of at least 3.0%. To put that in perspective, from 1889 to 2009, U.S. economic growth averaged 3.4% per year.

There are those that claim that we have entered a "new normal" and that this type of economic growth is no longer realistic for the United States. However, as recently as the period from 1982-2007, we averaged real economic growth of 3.3% per year.


Why is GDP growth so important to all of us?

Quite simply, it determines how big the economic pie will be that we all take a slice of.

The bigger it gets the better opportunity all of us have to have a better life.

The bigger it gets the more that government can tax, spend and redistribute.

If it slows, it gets tougher for everyone, but particularly for those in middle and lower income classes, as we have witnessed over the last few years

If it stagnates, what becomes harder turns into hardships for everyone.

If it falls, people start to get very hungry and government starts to run out of money.

For example, look at GDP growth in Venezuela over the last few years.

This is a country that is imploding before our very eyes. Socialism does not work very well when you run out of other people's money to spend. That is what is happening in Venezuela. The economic pie is shrinking each year. There simply is not enough money to go around. The result---lack of almost every basic necessity, empty grocery store shelves and rampant crime.

You might think that a 1.5%, or even a 2% growth rate, is a small difference compared to a 3% growth rate.

However, when you are talking about a $18 trillion economy, and you also factor the compound effects of that growth, it has substantial impacts over time.

Consider the differences in the size of the economic pie based on various growth rates over the next 20 years.

If we continue on the economic growth path we are currently on, the pie will only grow by about 1/3 in 20 years. At that rate of growth it will be next to impossible to deliver on most of the current programs and promises that government has made in entitlement spending. We will find ourselves vastly over leveraged and over extended no matter where we turn.

If we could get back to something resembling our historical long term growth rate of 3.4%, the economic pie would double in 20 years. That would equate to an extra $10 trillion to spread around in 2036 compared to a 1.5% growth rate. That is a lot of money that could be used for a lot of things.

You can talk all you want about helping the poor, expanding health care, better funding for education, infrastructure spending, a stronger national defense or a billion other things. However, if the economic pie is not increasing, all of these things are difficult. If we see sustained, vibrant growth, all of these things get much easier. Most importantly, every American will also live a richer, more abundant life.

Nothing happens unless the economic wheel turns. And the rate it turns will have a huge impact on our future lives.

Liberals and progressives spend almost all of their efforts and energy on a static view of economic "equality" and "redistribution" and give little thought to the dynamics of economic growth. In fact, a major part of their agenda seems to be intent on hindering rather than helping promote economic growth. Using government to legislate, regulate and stipulate almost every aspect of economic activity. Picking winners and losers. Serving special interests rather than being concerned with the broader public interest.

If you have any interest in your future, the future of your children or grandchildren, and the future of our country, consider the difference a couple of percentage points can mean.

When voting this year, your first concern should be who is going to keep our country secure and your family safe.

Your second priority should be who is going to get that economic wheel turning faster so that our economic pie is getting larger.

Everything else does not matter much in the political realm if we don't get those two things right.

It is your future.

Think clearly. Choose wisely.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Renter Generation

They are referred to as the Millennial Generation. They are those born roughly between 1982 and 2004 (as defined by Howe and Strauss who coined the term "Millennial")  meaning they are now those between the ages of 12 and 32. However, they might also be considered the Renter Generation.

This is a generation that is generally adverse to commitment. They live for the "here and now" rather than the longer term. They don't want to "own it", they would rather just "rent it". Why be tied down and lose your flexibility?

Millennials are now the largest generational cohort in the United States. There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers and this generation will dominate our country over the next 35 years.

We are already starting to see the effects of the Renter Generation.

Consider the rate of homeownership in the United States.  From a high of 69% in 2004 (the year that the first Millennials turned 22) the numbers of those living in a home they own has dropped consistently.

Homeownership today (63.7%) is lower than it has been in over 30 years.

Of course, these people have to live somewhere. You see it in the significant increase in renter occupied housing units. 10 million rental housing units have been added since 2004.

As I travel the country I see a lot of apartment construction. However, I don't see much condominium construction. Many real estate developers will tell you that the market is just not there for condos in most major markets. The reason---Millennials would rather rent than own.

Millennials are also more apt to lease a car than older generations.

A big reason that Millennials rent is that most are single. Few are committing to marriage at the ages that previous generations have entered matrimony. Just 26% of Millennials are married by age 32. 48% of Boomers were married by that age and 65% of the Silent generation had tied the knot by then.

The reasons for the delay in marriage ages is complicated and seems to be driven by several factors. Attitudes towards and the availability of pre-marital sex is one factor. In my day it was sometimes said that there was no need to buy a cow when you could get milk for free. Perhaps that is a reason. Another factor some have cited is the self-absorbed nature of many Millennials. San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge, who studies generational differences puts it this way.

“Trying to live with somebody else and putting their needs first is more difficult when you have been raised to put yourself first,” 

Of course, the tremendous amount of student debt that this generation has taken on is also a big factor in delaying marriages and buying homes. However, this is itself an indication of the "here and now" life. A lot of this student debt is taken on without any seeming recognition that it needs to be paid back. Prior generations worked and saved or went into the military and used the GI bill to go to college if they could not afford it. That is no longer the case. The attitude today is that I deserve it. I want it now. I don't want to wait. This is also a renter rather than an owner outlook.

Millennials also have a reputation as job-hoppers. They are less inclined to be committed to a single employer and are more willing to switch employers. Rather than "own" their job or career it seems that many are also "renting" when it comes to their employment status. They are not in it for the long haul, they are only hanging around until something better comes along.

The same seems to be true with their political choices. They were big supporters of Barack Obama in two elections seemingly putting short-term interests ahead of the long-term realities they face. In almost every case, Barack Obama's positions were contrary to their own self-interests. In effect, they "rented" their vote rather than "owning" it.

I wrote this in my blog post, "Will History Be Kind To Millennials?" in 2013 and it seems even more accurate today.

When the history of the Obama era is written, I think one of the ironies that historians will focus on will be the level of support that younger voters provided for Obama that will clearly be seen as having been against their self-interest when viewed in the fullness of time.
I don't envy the future of our young people.  They are on the hook for $16 trillion and counting in federal debt.  They are the hook for many more trillions in public sector pension costs for state and local workers.  They are on the hook for over $1 trillion in student loans that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  More than 1 in 10 of them is unemployed and 1 in 2 is underemployed.  The poor economy and low interest rates are keeping millions of Baby Boomers in the workforce and blocking their career advancement. They almost certainly will pay much more into Social Security and Medicare than they will ever get out of it or they will end up caring for Mom and Dad somewhere down the line.
However, almost 2 out of every 3 of them has no one to blame but themselves.  They had a choice to make for their future but were more enthralled with "cool" than with "competent".
It is something I don't understand.  It is something that I don't think history will understand.  For the sake of their own future, I hope the so-called Millennial Generation will soon understand what is happening to them and demand real change.  It is their only real hope to create their own history. If not, they will just pay for ours.

The time has come for the Renter Generation to start being OWNERS of their lives, their careers and their government. If they don't own it, they will most assuredly OWE and OWE and OWE and OWE some more. Renters can win in the short-term. However, they almost never win over the longer term. To prosper and win, you need to "own it."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tax Times Two

You pay taxes but do you have any idea how many people are being supported by your dollars and cents?

Most people don't even have a complete picture of how much of their hard earned money is going to in taxes. This is due to the fact that you don't sit down a write one check. You don't even see all taxes withheld from your paycheck at one time. However, taxes are, by far, the largest expenditure made out of almost every middle income and higher family budget. More than housing, food, education or anything else. In many cases, more than all of these, combined!

In fact, most working families will see anywhere from 30%-45% of their income consumed by taxes.

The list is long and the dollars start adding up quickly. One dollar earned is taxed multiple times. For example, federal tax is withheld on your wages and the same dollar is taxed for FICA. What is left is taxed again when you spend it in sales tax or gas taxes. Three government bites out of one dollar. The tax toll adds up quickly.

Federal income tax
State income tax
Local income tax
Sales and use taxes
Property taxes
Gasoline taxes
Excise taxes

What is even more sobering is to consider how many people are being supported by these tax dollars. There is no other way to describe it as other than a gigantic redistributive scheme from one person to another.

In fact, in this year's federal budget, 71% of federal spending ($2.9 trillion of $4.1 trillion) are made up of payments to individuals (payments for SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. This does not include salaries for the Armed Forces or federal employees.).

Let that sink in for a minute.  Over 70% of the total activity of the federal government today is to take money from one person and give it to someone else.  That has become the principal role of the federal government. As a recently as 1991, that percentage was less than 50%. In 1945, at the end of World War II, it was less than 3%!


Consider the numbers that are being supported in some way by your tax dollars at the federal, state and local levels when you look at actual people.

Civilian Federal Workers                                          2.7 million
Member of Armed Forces                                         1.3 million
Social Security Old Age & Survivor Recipients   49.2 million
Social Security Disability Recipients                    10.8 million
People on Food Stamps                                          45.8 million
People in Prisons and Jails                                      2.3 million
State, Local and Municipal Workers                     19.3 million

Add it all up...131.4 million are being supported by tax dollars in some significant way.

These numbers do not even take into account the 2.2 million people who are unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits currently.

The number who are working in the non-government work force (full and part-time) ...130.7 million.

In effect, every private sector American worker is working for themselves... and someone else.

If you wonder why your taxes are high, you now should have a better idea.

And you are told you are not paying enough?

That wagon is getting very, very heavy.