About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

UMD Debate, Nationalism Versus Globalism, Exemplifies Needed Mindset Change

Thanks to my friend & colleague in liberty Gordon Cummings of Donors Trust for sending me the video of the recent debate on the subject of Nationalism versus Globalism held @ the University Of Maryland (UMD) between Nigel Farage, the architect of Brexit, & Vincente Fox, the former president of Mexico. 
 
Gordon said he "thought it might interest" me - but he knew it would. 
 
Gordon was most impressed, not with the topic or the debating skills of the participants, but that "civil discourse was held without anyone losing their minds, a rarity these days."
 
The debate was sponsored by the Steamboat Institute as part of their Campus Liberty nationwide tour of college campuses in partnership with the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise & Markets @ UMD.  The Steamboat Institute promotes America's first principles & inspires active involvement in the pursuit of liberty by hosting events around the U.S. through their fellowship program in the name of the great libertarian Tony Blankley.  ACTA helped sponsor the event.
 
For the record Nationalism (Farage) is a political, social, & economic system characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining & maintaining sovereignty over the homeland like President Trump is doing.  Globalism (Fox) is a group of ideologies that advocates the concept of globalization – the idea that events in one country cannot be separated from those in another & that economic & foreign policy should be planned in an international way as socialist George Soros advocates.
 
Prior to watching the subject debate my latest involvement with UMD had been in the spring of 2015 regarding the contentious on-campus showing of the film American Sniper & the Muslim Student Association's safety concerns & anti-Muslim complaints about the film being shown on campus.  I have never, even to this day, seen American Sniper but @ the time was just trying to make sense out of the event that received unfavorable national media attention @ UMD.  The media portrayed UMD as a politically correct but potentially dangerously wrong school – the University I love the most – that is undermining the very values I am personally trying to preserve.

 

My biggest concern is the poison of political correctness most prevalent on college campuses all across America but also that is infiltrating the whole of American life – up & down the very street you live on.  It is this political correctness that will be America's undoing & in the not too distant future @ the rate we are going.

 
Regarding the American Sniper episode my friend & Executive Director, Office of Gift Planning @ UMD, John McKee, presented me with the assurance that UMD "almost always falls on the side of free expression, and in fact UMD gets in trouble more often for NOT stopping a student group inviting an offensive speaker or hosting a controversial event." 
 
John sent me a copy of the message that UMD President Wallace Loh had sent him earlier that day in 2015 in which Dr. Loh explained that it was two student groups that worked out the solution to the problem - Student Entertainment Events Productions (SEE) & the Muslim Student Association – & that "Media sources then reported that UMD 'cancelled' the movie.  That UMD failed to uphold the basic right of freedom of expression. That UMD caved-in to a small number of students.  We were deluged by phone calls and messages from across the country, almost unanimously outraged by the cancellation or postponement.  Members of our faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as members of our State's legislature, voiced their dismay with UMD's abridgment of this constitutional right" regarding "a film that can be viewed at theaters everywhere."  In short, UMD couldn't win.
 
Since the results of the 2015 on-campus showing & subsequent panel discussion of American Sniper @ UMD was somewhat controversial I left the matter in an unresolved status for myself – unresolved, that is, until I heard Dr. Loh's down-to-earth presentation in the video below prior to the subject debate in which there can be no question as to the man's dedication & quality to lead students of a major university. 
 
Dr. Loh's opening message in the video below is the same as the one he presented, after the fact when the students resolved the matter, in the written message in 2015 regarding American Sniper.  But this time Dr. Loh was able to directly take responsibility for authorizing the debate despite the letters & e-mails of outrage that he once again received that he was allowing the debate to proceed.  In short, the written message of three years ago got bigger to me after watching & listening to Dr. Loh in the video below.
 
Click on Nationalism – Globalism debate & go to the 02:40 mark to hear Dr. Loh's inspirational defense of free speech that explains that exceptional American nationalism is enlightened patriotism & civic nationalism based on freedom of expression, a free press, freedom of association, the right to worship who you want – i.e., a liberal democracy in a constitutional republic, a tolerant accepting democracy accepting of other people with whom you disagree.  Dr. Loh says that to be an American is a matter of the heart, a state of mind that drew him, a Latino – Asian, to this country to become a naturalized citizen. 
 
The conduct of both the audience & the participants during this debate exemplifies what he was talking about – a chance not just to change minds on a particular issue but for all concerned to have the chance to become enlightened – which requires a mindset where there is an expectation of civility & trust.  But Dr. Loh realizes, as do I all too well, that it has been a long time since higher education has been successful in training students "to become responsible citizens to live rightly in a free society."
 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

John Cox Gives California Chance To Avoid Detroit-like Collapse

Over the past six weeks the California primary conducted on Tuesday has been the subject of two RTE posts & for good reason – California has long been a trendsetter for the rest of the country & the recent trend has not been good.  The two posts highlighted the things that are happening in California to turn the state around & the first was to get a bonafide libertarian candidate for governor on the ballot in November who could win so that he could lead the needed return to excellence in the Golden State.
 
On Tuesday John Cox positioned himself to be the first Republican in a decade to win a California state-wide office when he finished second in the gubernatorial jungle primary in which the top two finishers proceed to the general election regardless of party affiliation.  Democrats were hoping to have two Democrats @ the top of the ticket with the GOP shut out.  Results below:
 
click on results to enlarge
 
Mr. Cox will continue to campaign on reversing the socialist policies that Democrats in office have put in place that have plagued California for years – policies supported by his opponent former San Francisco Mayor & current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome.  Mr. Newsome promises more of the same if not much more of the same.
 
Specifically California has the highest marginal state income tax rate (13.3%) in the country, the highest state sales tax rate (7.25% but varies by district with 9.5% in LA), sky-high gasoline taxes including a recently passed $52 billion gasoline tax increase, car registration fees, traffic fines, high utility rates, & high crime rates & large homeless encampments in many areas.  The state ranks dead last in friendliness to business, has the highest poverty rate in the country, a growing unfunded public pension liability that has reached a critical stage, & a huge public retiree healthcare liability that has not even begun to be funded – all of which hurts the middle class.
 
But most despicably California has not only declared itself a "Sanctuary State", along with Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, & Vermont but has mandated & expanded protections for undocumented immigrants including actually prohibiting state & local police agencies from notifying U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when illegal immigrants in their custody, who may be subject to deportation, are about to be released.
 
California has instructed its counties, cities, & businesses to follow suit providing sanctuary for illegal immigrants or face criminal charges meaning that California will fine businesses &/or imprison people who cooperate with federal immigration law & the Constitution.
 
But a still growing number of cities & counties have been pushing back against California's sanctuary policies & on Tuesday they found the best way, namely through the leadership of John Cox as Governor, to end the state's aforementioned terror tactics.
 
California is on the precipice of becoming the microcosm of America in a very negative way.  In November the citizens of California, along with the illegal aliens who vote, will decide if California will continue on the ruinous socialist path it has been on under Newsome's participation & involvement as Jerry Brown's Lieutenant Governor as described above or be turned around by electing John Cox Governor of California.
 
The people of California have a real chance to reverse, both financially & culturally, the terrible manner, way, & mode of life described above - lousy conditions that no one in their right mind would want to live under where the state government fights the federal government using American citizens as disposable pawns @ every turn while favoring illegal aliens wherever they find them.
 
But electing Mr. Cox Governor of California won't be easy.  WSJ Editorial Board Member Allysia Finley responded to my inquiry to her regarding Cox's chances – "But the rub is that Democrats make up 44% of registered voters while Republicans are just 25%.  Independents are about 25% but they generally lean left in California. Newsom would lock up nearly all of the Democratic support while Cox would win most Republican voters.  Villaraigosa's (refers to former Democrat Mayor of LA Antonio Villaraigosa who finished 3rd) core support is Hispanics and blue collar Democrats. Hispanics are more likely to vote for Newsom while blue collar Democrats would likely stay home. Neither group is likely to vote for Cox."
 
My analysis that Ms. Finley so graciously responded to was based on Cox picking up much of Villaraigosa's large charter school supporters (Villaraigosa had supported charter schools & confronted teachers unions by supporting a lawsuit to over turn the state's teacher tenure & seniority laws when he was LA Mayor) & virtually all of the other Republican votes cast in the primary – there were a total of 27 candidates – Michael Reagan said that his ballot had one & a half pages of candidates names for governor.
 
But no state leader has endorsed Cox.  Senator Kamala Harris (a presumed 2020 presidential candidate) is campaigning with Newsom.  Teachers unions are backing Newsome.  Charter school proponents backed Villaraigosa & upon finishing 3rd in the primary Villaraigosa immediately endorsed Newsome.  But to top it off Meg Whitman, former Republican gubernatorial candidate eight years ago, endorsed Villaraigosa before the primary. 
 
So where is the Republican Party in California?  It was demoted to third party status after the California Secretary of State reported that 44.4% of registered voters were Democrats, 25.1% were registered Republicans, & people replying "No party preference" was @ 25.5%.
 
The Republican Party in California can only be found in Trump & his endorsement of Cox.  There is no money coming in from the Republican National Committee because of the above stats, demographics, & the expensive media market.
 
California's electoral map from Tuesday's primary resembles that of the U.S. in recent years in that Democrat support is on the coast & a few isolated counties.  See below.
 
click on map to enlarge
 
Cox's presence on the ballot can only help Republican turnout in November which will help Republican congressmen hold on to their seats – as all of them, plus those in NJ & NY have been targeted.  Two Democrats @ the top of the California ballot would reduce Republican turnout affecting down ballot elections.
 

But that is another matter & this post is about showing the high stakes of the November election for California & ultimately America & the importance of changing California's negative influence on the rest of the country.

Voters in California will show what they consider to be their own best interest.  Are the Villaraigosa voters interested in following through regarding the benefits they see for their children in attending charter schools thereby giving them a much better chance of not leading a life of hopelessness due to poor education or do they say I am such & such a minority & there is my allegiance - supporting some minority candidate's endorsement of Newsome whose bread is buttered by the Teachers Unions?

In order to have any chance Cox has to reach these Villaraigosa primary voters & then some.

As a long shot exacta player I am concentrating on the fact that Trump received 4,483,810 votes for president in 2016.  Jerry Brown received 4,388,368 votes for governor in 2014 so there are enough people in California for Cox to win if he can motivate them to believe that the stakes are high enough which they are.

Long time readers of RTE will recall the many posts written about Detroit as a microcosm of America.  California fits that description as well – but as a state not just a city so the stakes are even higher.

From the August 12, 2013 post - At one time Detroit was America's wealthiest city by per capita income & fourth largest by population – then its manufacturing base collapsed.  Today Detroit is the city with America's lowest median income ($25,000), it has lost over 60% from its peak population, over half the children in the city live in poverty, just under half the residents are functionally illiterate, & the unemployment rate is 18%.  One third of Detroit's 140 square miles is a wasteland – forlorn, forsaken, vacant, &/or deserted.  The decreasing population abandoned over 33,000 homes.  There are now 91,000 vacant lots.  In some areas houses on entire blocks have been razed.  Some neighborhoods have ceased to exist & as they disappeared so did all traces of human life. 
Wild dogs roam the streets, hunting the pheasants, turkeys, opossums, roosters and raccoons that have returned to the city.  Detroit is
a city without a major chain grocery store. 
The median house price is little more than pocket change compared to housing prices in other areas of the country.  The city has put in place all of the statist's dream government-dependent programs from establishing a living wage that exceeds the federal minimum wage to supporting teachers' unions with very high per student spending that still produces extremely poor results (in 2008 there was less than a 25% high school graduation rate & in 2013 less than 20% of graduates were considered ready for college).  Detroit has borrowed to meet its operating costs & pension & healthcare insurance liabilities & as such retirees face an uncertain future.  The city's homicide rate is @ a 40 year high & it has been on the most dangerous cities in America list for over 20 years.
 
The above description of Detroit is the kind of deterioration that California can avoid under the governorship of John Cox who is first & foremost a successful businessman & CPA who built his own business from scratch to a $200 million company with approximately 100 employees – just about my most desirable qualification & first requirement to be able to run for president let alone governor.
 
If California doesn't learn from Detroit's collapse, they will be next.
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

But The Greatest Of These Is Charity

Last week Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that President Trump donated his salary for the first quarter of 2018 to the Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA).
 
This followed donations of each of his quarterly presidential salaries in 2017 to federal agencies – first to the National Park Service for battlefield infrastructure, then to the Department of Education to fund summer camp, next to the Department of Health & Human Services to fight the opioid crisis, & in the final quarter of 2017 to the Transportation Department to help rebuild our infrastructure – see photo below of Mrs. Sanders presenting the check to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao & Under Secretary for Policy Derek Kan.  I'm sure you recognize the distinctive signature on the check by now.
 
The Department of Transportation's Under Secretary 
 
In addition, President Trump donated $25,000 to the father of a fallen soldier who was gunned down by an Afghan police officer last June.  See image of check below.
 
  Click on check to enlarge
 
Last September President Trump & First Lady Melania donated a total of $1 million to a dozen charitable organizations, including the Red Cross & the Salvation Army, to support Hurricane Harvey relief.  Fortune Magazine reports the following list of organizations, several of which were recommended by members of the White House press corps, received the indicated funds: Red Cross – $300,000, Salvation Army – $300,000, Reach Out America – $100,000, Samaritan's Purse – $100,000, ASPCA – $25,000, Catholic Charities – $25,000, Direct Relief – $25,000, Habitat for Humanity – $25,000, Houston Humane Society – $25,000, Operation Blessing – $25,000, Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies – $25,000, & Team Rubicon – $25,000.
 
Trump also donated $100,000 to the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church – interim pastor @ the time was Tony Perkins - which was helping residents in the Baton Rogue area after their devastating floods in the summer of 2017.
 
In February executives of the Trump Organization said the company donated $151,470 to the U.S. Treasury – a sum equal to the 2017 profits from foreign governments utilizing the company's goods & services.
 
Well, none of this went unnoticed, especially the donations of Trump's salary, by 9 year old Eli'sha Davies of Crossville Tennessee – a budding entrepreneur with an excellent savings habit.  In fact Eli'sha was worried about President Trump after he heard his parents mention that Trump had made a campaign promise to only accept a $1 annual salary in consideration for being President.  Eli'sha was concerned that Trump would not have enough money to pay his bills @ the White House so he sent the President his $3 allowance. 
 
Trump sent the $3 back to Eli'sha along with a note recommending that he put the money to good use in his community.
 
 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Useful Anti-American Information For The Primaries & November Elections

On Friday President Trump endorsed John Cox to be the next governor of California.  Click on the April 22 post entitled
John Cox, California Governor Candidate, Provides Key To Reversing Sanctuary State Ruinous Policies to review not only the qualifications of Mr. Cox to be the next California governor but also the high stakes of this election for California & ultimately America.  The California primary (jungle primary as it is known) is on June 5 & the top two candidates, regardless of party, proceed to the gubernatorial election on November 6.
 
Click here to see the list of primaries scheduled across America before the congressional midterm elections on November 6.  There are 17 primaries scheduled in June with primaries in Arkansas, Georgia, & Kentucky scheduled for May 22.
 
This post documents the anti-American actions, behaviors, & voting records of several incumbent politicians regarding five disturbing accounts that should be considered before casting ballots in the primaries or the November elections.  The accounts will clearly show the members of the one Big Government Party that has Democrat & Republican wings that are not @ all interested in the citizenry's best interest but rather whose every move, word, & syllable is calculated & planned to retain their own salaries & perquisites until they are physically unable to function in elected office. 
 
Between now & November 6 is the time for concerned citizens to become involved in the electoral process to the point that they determine for themselves which politicians are really against them, regardless of what they say, & then vote the bums out.   
 
If your incumbent representative is identified below, in one negative way or another, it behooves you to consider a primary opponent the next time he runs for office so that you have the opportunity to effect real change.
 
This post provides useful information in that regard.
 
1.  Gina Haspel Hearing Before The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence
 
 
 
If six months ago you never heard of Gina Haspel you are not alone.  Ms. Haspel has spent 33 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with most of her career being undercover meaning only her superiors knew what she worked on.  Ms. Haspel worked her way up to Deputy CIA Director in 2017 & then to Acting Director in April when Mike Pompeo left the director's position to become Secretary Of State.  Ms. Haspel is President Trump's nominee to be the new Director of the CIA.
 
Last week I watched Ms. Haspel's hearing live on C-Span & it was a combination of brutal & embarrassing as senators with no real lasting accomplishment in service to America, compared to Ms. Haspel, asked one question after another that wreaked of hypocrisy about her possible involvement of waterboarding Islamic Fascist terrorists who had knowledge of the airplanes flown into the twin towers & Pentagon on September 11, 2001 killing 3,000 innocent people.  You would have thought Ms. Haspel decided what to do herself with these terrorists instead of relying on the procedures approved & directed by her superiors – which @ the time there were plenty. 
 
Completely forgotten, & certainly not mentioned, by the holier than thou Democrat senators on the interrogating committee was the fact that selected members of Congress had been fully & repeatedly briefed, without a word of objection, on all of the procedures used by the CIA after 9/11.  Two of those members are still in Congress today – Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader (D, CA) & Senator Richard Shelby (R, AL).  Neither Pelosi, Shelby, or any other member of Congress, who were informed of CIA procedures in the early 2000s, including the use of waterboarding, voiced or registered any disapproval.  These members of Congress, who raised no objections to waterboarding when it counted, should be every bit as subject to the wrath of the interrogating senators as Ms. Haspel – or else the matter should not be brought up @ all.
 
Particularly obnoxious during the above mentioned hearing was Kamala Harris (D, CA), Diane Feinstein (D, CA), & Ron Wyden (D, OR).  Now we don't know whether or not Ms. Haspel was really thinking the thought expressed in the photo above during the hearing – but I know I was.
 
Ms. Haspel was confirmed by the full Senate by a vote of 54 to 45 with John McCain not voting.  Rand Paul & Jeff Flake were the two Republicans who voted against her.  The six Democrats who voted for her were Mark Warner, Jeanne Shaheen, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, & Joe Donnelly.  The disingenuous part is that Manchin, Heitkamp, Nelson, & Donnelly all face tough reelection races in their states that were won by Trump by large margins – these people have been no help moving a positive agenda for America forward under President Trump until now except for a very rare occasions – when it suited their political purposes.
 
If the outrage expressed during the hearing by Kamala Harris & the other moralistic senators was real & both the CIA & Gina Haspel were as rotten as they portrayed them to be the CIA would have been disbanded years ago & Ms. Haspel would not have advanced from a case officer to Director of the agency.
 
Following the attacks of 9/11 I don't remember one person who was not for fighting the Islamic Fascist terrorists with whatever means proved effective in keeping the homeland safe & bringing those responsible for the deaths & destruction incurred on 9/11 to justice.  This included waterboarding which had been part of the U.S. military training since WW II under the SERE (Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape) program under which thousands of our own military personnel have been subjected to enhanced interrogation – including waterboarding.
 
Politicians who say they don't distinctly remember this are playing us for fools using some pretend standard of moralistic values that we clearly didn't apply when our very existence was thought to be @ stake in the early 2000s - like the unrestrained & widespread profiling that resulted in many Pakistanis self deporting from NY to Canada.  Source: Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute.
 
2.  Transfer Of U.S. Embassy In Israel To Jerusalem
 
Ever since 1995, in response to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, American presidents (Bill Clinton, Dubya, & BO) & politicians (e,g,. Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer of NY) have promised to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  All three of these previous presidents delayed the move indefinitely by one six-month interval after another in accordance with a provision of the act.  Last week President Trump made the move to an elated Israeli response to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration Of Independence.  See photo below that shows the banners that lined streets before the U.S. embassy move.
 
click on photo to enlarge
 
Although there were contrived photo–ops in America from Democrats regarding Israel's happy day, there was not a single elected Democrat in attendance to celebrate the historic embassy dedication ceremony in Jerusalem.  Democrats are so blinded by their hatred of Trump that they could not attend or join in this happy Jewish occasion.
 
Democrats regularly receive 75% to 90% of the Jewish vote in any election.  This embassy event should make Jews re-think whether their religion really should be liberalism-statism or Judaism & where their best interests lie.
 
  Click on image to enlarge
 
3.  Omnibus Spending Bill Breaks Through Previously Agreed To Budget Caps
 
On March 23 President Trump signed HR 1625 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (also known as the Omnibus Spending Bill), into law (Public Law No: 115-141) saying he would never do such a thing again.  The bill, totaling $1.3-trillion, funded the federal government for fiscal year 2018 that began on October 1, 2017 so it was almost six months late for starters as to what was wrong with it.
 
A deal had been made by members of Congress to break previously agreed to budget caps by adding $80-billion to Defense outlays & a similar amount to domestic discretionary programs favored by Democrats.  The agreement reopened the federal government which had been shut down briefly overnight.
 
The House vote was 256 to 167 – click here to see how your congressman voted.  The Senate voted 65 to 32 – click here to see how your two senators voted.  If the votes of your elected reps are surprising you should check to see why they voted the way they did – for instance, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, & Elizabeth Warren – four senators with presidential ambitions - all voted Nay as did Rand Paul but for very different reasons.
 
Those who voted for the Omnibus Spending Bill & those who didn't for political reasons like they hate Trump & thought it would look worse for him with the government shut down should have to prove to you that they have an ounce of financial responsibility in them before you vote for them.
 
Rand Paul summed it up this way back in February – "The dirty little secret is Republicans are clamoring for military spending but they can't get it unless they give the Democrats welfare spending so they raise all the spending, it's a compromise in the wrong direction . . . when Democrats are in power Republicans appear to be the conservative party, but when Republicans are in power it seems there is no conservative party." 
 
The next budget government funding tension filled episode could occur @ the end of September when we will find out what will be different this time that will let President Trump sign a more fiscally responsible bill – the only type he says he will sign from now on.  My guess is nothing will be different thereby setting up a dramatic clash a month before the midterms that will provide very good information for voters.
 
4.  Repeal ObamaCare – The Height Of Hypocrisy & Pretense
 
There was plenty of outrage in the aftermath of the Senate's miserable failure to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal ObamaCare - made over seven years & four consecutive election cycles (2010, 12, 14, & 16).  For the last seven years of BO's presidency the Republican Congress voted to repeal ObamaCare in one form or another sixty two times by one count.
 
One of those sixty two times included a clean repeal only bill that should have been put on President Trump's desk for signature on January 20, 2017 if there was really two opposing political parties.  Of course we know it wasn't because all of the RINOs who had voted for the repeal only bill when they knew BO would veto it would not vote for it when they knew President Trump would sign it.
 
These are the worst kind of politicians – people that voters rely on to keep their word but in reality have no intention to do anything that is not politically correct which in their minds will keep them in office.
 
Click here to see the House repeal-only vote in 2016 & here to see the Senate repeal-only amendment vote.  Since a repeal only vote never came up when it counted with Trump ready, willing, & just itching to sign it you will have to call the congressional switchboard in Washington @ 202-224-3121 to ask your elected representatives how they would have voted if such a repeal only bill had come up – you can reach any senator after pushing 1 & any congressman after pushing 2 after reaching the number given.  Ask how they intended to vote if a 2017 repeal-only bill was presented & see what you learn.  It is not as good as seeing the actual vote when it counted but the phone call is the next best thing if you are interested - then you will know what they say but will still have to guess what they believe.
 
5.  Senator Tester Accuses Nominee To Head VA Of Misconduct
 
Navy Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson has been the personal physician of the last three presidents & all have given him glowing praise.  But after President Trump nominated Dr. Jackson to head the Veterans' Administration (VA) allegations of misconduct started coming out of the woodwork.  The Pentagon started investigations after Montana Democrat Senator Jon Tester led the accusations against the Dr.
 
Dr. Jackson removed his name from consideration, saying all of the allegations were false, but the damage was done.  He is no longer the president's personal physician & no longer heads the White House Medical Unit where he still works.
 
Now I don't know what is true or false regarding Dr. Jackson but I do know that with all the investigations going on in Washington one should be conducted to find out how someone could have the clearance to be the personal physician for three presidents but was so reckless that he was disqualified from an administrative job to head the VA.  The citizens of Montana should nominate Senator Tester to head this investigation. 
 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Job Openings Statistics Look Good But Needed Skills Still Trail

"If you're employed & looking for a new opportunity, it's a great time to look.  If you're unemployed, & you have skills that are current, this data bodes very well for your jobs search." – Paul McDonald, senior executive director @ staffing agency Robert Half, talking to the WSJ.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Mr. McDonald was referring above to the fact that jobs openings increased in the past year by 943,000 (March to March – with 472 thousand increasing between February & March) while the number of unemployed people in the labor force decreased by 586,000 thereby bringing the number of job openings & number of unemployed people essentially into equilibrium.  See graphic above where the two lines on the right side of the graphic touch.
 
At the height of the Great Recession the ratio stood @ approximately seven unemployed people for every job opening.
 
Although unemployment figures were released for April earlier this month the latest job openings figures are for March because the job openings figures for April won't be available until June 5.
 
The unemployment rate is determined by dividing the number of unemployed people by the total number of people in the labor force – it is the percentage of the labor force that is unemployed.  The headline unemployment rate, U-3, was 4.1% in March.  Source: Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS)
 
The job openings rate is the number of job openings on the last business day of the month as a percent of total employment plus job openings.  It was 4.2% in March according to BLS.
 
The above relationship between unemployment & job vacancy can be shown graphically on what is known as the Beveridge curve.  This curve is hyperbolic shaped and slopes downwards as a higher rate of unemployment normally occurs with a lower rate of vacancies as indicated in the generic graph below.
 
click on generic graph to enlarge
 
The actual Beveridge curve for the series of data from December 2000 to the present is shown below – each stage follows the expansionary or recessionary hyperbolic form of the above generic graph.  Note the hyperbolic downward sloping curve from December 2000 to the end of the recession in June 2009 followed by the upward sloping hyperbolic parallel curve rising with unemployment falling & job openings rising to the March 2018 point @ the top left of the graph – a record for this series of data.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
The number of unemployed people in April was 6,346,000, a drop of 239,000 people, so the trick will be to keep the job openings rate steady, or preferably increasing, so that not only the unemployed find work but also the 408,000 discouraged workers, who are not in the labor force looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them, find work too.  There are also 5-million people working part-time for economic reasons – these people prefer full-time employment but are working part-time because either their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.  Another 1-million people are considered marginally attached to the labor force in April because they had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
 
Putting all of the above people back to consistent steady full-time employment, where they earn a paycheck from a private employer, will increase economic growth & prosperity for the country.
 
Although the above statistics look promising businesses are already experiencing headwinds in meeting their employment needs.
 
The graph below shows the increasing number of small businesses that identify the quality of labor as their biggest problem.
 
click on graph to enlarge
 
The graphic below shows more detail of the labor quality problem.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Now the people without work described above can count on employers to train them – & that is starting to happen to some degree – or they can take it upon themselves to get the proper training to become a successful job applicant.
 
The first step is for the unemployed, & really the employed also, to realize what a job really must do – what the definition of a job is: Professor Stuart Meyer defined a job as "an opportunity to create more present or future value for an employer than it costs to maintain the worker in the job.  Once the value drops below the cost, the job disappears, except as a sinecure or subsidized position."
 
Fred Charette has pointed out that "only entrepreneurs create jobs by risking career & capital to start & build businesses that employ people to make useful things & provide needed services.  By contrast, the government ... destroy(s) jobs."   But go a step farther to understand why we need unfettered free enterprise to dispel all of the misconceptions about the term "creating jobs":  Bill Burbage writes - "no entrepreneur has ever had the objective of 'creating jobs'.  (In fact) they constantly seek to eliminate jobs.  People go into business to make a profit.  If any jobs are created in the process there is no way to avoid it.  To create more jobs, the sovereign must remove as many obstacles as he can between the entrepreneur & his ability to make a profit.  No other stimulus is necessary."
 
But to understand how value producing jobs are created think of the world economy as a ladder - a metaphor presented to me several years ago now by Professor Robert Carbaugh of Central Washington University.  The U.S. is currently on the top rung & developing nations with low tech labor intensive jobs are on the bottom rungs. The other countries are in between. All countries try to climb to the next rung. This works well if the topmost countries create new industries & products, thus adding another rung to the ladder like when we replaced horse drawn carriages that used buggy whips with cars. Older industries can move overseas while new jobs are generated @ home.  It is when innovation stalls @ the highest rung that the portion of Americans near the bottom of the income distribution must compete with workers in developing countries. This is what many of the people - the unemployed & underemployed @ this late date in the recovery, the discouraged, & the marginally attached to the labor force - are facing today being  poorly educated with skills so limited that no employer can use them.  It is only through constant brainwashing that the government will take care of you that would allow someone to become so ill-prepared to support themselves that they are now competing with third world people who make pennies a day.
 
 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Buffalo Quiz

For all the readers of RTE who enjoy the quizzes I present from time to time but would like a little less math or logic involved I have good news.  Thanks to Cindy Mascone, Editor-in-Chief, of CEP magazine I have found a brain-teasing grammar quiz.  This is one that English teachers in the readership have been waiting for.
 
For all of us who have not diagrammed a sentence since high school we have come to rely on an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate in writing a letter or a post.
 
The Buffalo Quiz below will test that intuitive sense or your ability to diagram a sentence.
 
Please let me know your answer to the quiz – I will post all correct answers or alternatively will send the solution privately to anyone who requests it if no one figures it out.
 
Buffalo Quiz 
 
Please consider the following arrangement of the same word in quotation marks below that really does make up a well-formed sentence in the English language that follows the rules of grammar.
 
How can "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" be a real grammatically correct sentence?  At its core what does the sentence say?
 
 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

One World Trade Observatory - A Triumphant Achievement

Thanks to a frequent contributor to RTE for sending the following video that takes the viewer on a tour of One World Trade Observatory that opened on May 29, 2015.
 
Americans & freedom lovers everywhere can celebrate & cherish the triumphant achievement of rebuilding the previous WTC complex site that was destroyed on September 11, 2001 when Islamic Fascist terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers.
 
 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

John Cox, California Governor Candidate, Provides Key To Reversing Sanctuary State Ruinous Policies

"As a city, Babylon exists no more.  When those energizing human forces that built & maintained the city for thousands of years were withdrawn, it soon became a deserted ruin."  - George S. Clason, The Richest Man In Babylon, page 138 – first published in 1926.  Although writing about Babylon, Mr. Clason describes the downfall that lies ahead for California if the state does not renounce its sanctuary state policies.  John Cox, candidate for Governor of California, offers the leadership to reverse California's own slide into ruin as described hereinafter.
 
click on graph to enlarge
 
California runs a gubernatorial primary on June 5 & the top two vote getters move to the general election in November regardless of party affiliation, meaning that Republicans have a chance to be on the general election ballot with John Cox – shown in the above graphic in second place in the March 21 poll.  The January poll showed Lt. Governor Newsom ahead 25% to 7% so it has somewhat tightened & is much improved from the December poll.  Otherwise the general election for California governor would be between the former mayor of San Francisco (Newsom) versus the former mayor of Los Angeles (Villaraigosa) – both Democrats.
 
Readers of this blog first learned of John Cox in January 2007 when Al Stern, Vice President of the Sun City Hilton Head FairTax Club, reported in the Island Packet that Mr. Cox was the first presidential candidate to visit Beaufort County, SC – a regular hotbed of presidential candidates every four years.  Mr. Cox had been the guest of the aforementioned FairTax Club earlier that month & as Mr. Stern reported his "impassioned support of the FairTax" was very impressive.
 
In 2007 Mr. Cox was an Illinois businessman & many of the readers of this blog, after looking @ his positions on the issues, thought we were more in agreement with him than any of the other candidates @ the time, & accordingly tried to get him in the June 5 New Hampshire presidential primary debate – which he had been excluded from for more reasons than one – like he had little or nothing to do with the establishment positions of the two major political parties & he was simply for America. 
 
John Cox is first & foremost a successful businessman & CPA who built his own business from scratch to a $200 million company with approximately 100 employees – just about my most desirable qualification & first requirement to be able to run for President.
 
During his business career Mr. Cox made time to serve on Jack Kemp's national steering committee & as Newt Gingrich's California Finance Chair.  He is endorsed by the California Pro-Life Council.
 
Mr. Cox strongly opposes California's "Sanctuary State" policies & laws, such as Senate Bill 54, that mandates & expands protections for undocumented immigrants including actually prohibiting state & local police agencies from notifying U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when illegal immigrants in their custody, who may be subject to deportation, are about to be released. 
 
Thirty-two year old Kate Steinle was killed on July 1, 2015 in the arms of her father by a bullet shot from a gun by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a criminal & illegal alien who had been deported from the U.S. five times, & was again released from custody instead of being turned over to ICE before Kate's death @ his hands.  Zarate has since been acquitted both of murder & involuntary manslaughter charges after his attorney successfully convinced a San Francisco jury that the shooting was accidental & the bullet ricocheted off the ground & traveled 80 feet before killing Kate.  This of course overlooked the fact that Zarate should not have been in the country in the first place & that if he wasn't Kate would still be alive today.
 
Current California Governor Jerry Brown has gone even further than just not cooperating - by choosing to not have his state live under federal law & has instructed California's counties, cities, & businesses to follow suit or face state criminal charges.  That's right California will fine businesses &/or imprison people who cooperate with federal immigration law.
 
But so far a rapidly growing list of a combination of 19 cities & counties have started to resist or fight back, including Los Alamitos, Yorba Linda, Buena Park, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Fountain Valley, New Port Beach & most recently San Diego County – the second largest county in California - by planning to file a law suit against California challenging the legality of state mandates that expand protections of illegal aliens.  And the Orange County Board Of Supervisors voted to join a Trump administration lawsuit that contends that the California laws obstruct federal immigration laws & violate the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article  VI, Clause 2) – a conflict-of-laws rule specifying that certain national acts take priority over any state acts that conflict with national law once federal power has been validly exercised.
 
In addition, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens intends to publicly post online the release dates of jail inmates — including those in the country illegally.
 
Of course John Cox is totally behind the cities' & counties' resistance & if elected Governor will work to reverse all of Jerry Brown's destructive work in the Golden State.
 
California has the highest marginal state income tax rate (13.3%) in the country, the highest state sales tax rate (7.25% but varies by district with 9.5% in LA), sky-high gasoline taxes including a recently passed $52 billion gas tax increase, car registration fees, traffic fines, high utility rates, & high crime rates & large homeless encampments in many areas.  The state ranks dead last in friendliness to business, has the highest poverty rate in the country, a growing unfunded public pension liability that has reached a critical stage, & a huge public retiree healthcare liability that has not even begun to be funded – all of which hurts the middle class & that is why they are finally fighting back as described above – or leaving California. 
 
People have talked about the one way U-Haul contracts going form California to Texas for years – this may be an exaggeration because the U-Hauls are going from California to plenty of other states as well – like Oregon, Michigan, Arizona, & Idaho. 
 
The Orange County Register reported that in 2016 (July to July), 142,932 more residents exited California to live in other states than arrived from other states.  This domestic net outmigration was the second largest in the country behind New York & just ahead of Illinois & New Jersey – there is a clear pattern here of the type of states Americans are leaving for other states.  But California's population increased by 240,177 (source – Census Bureau) in 2016 primarily through foreign immigration & a natural increase of 214,000 (i.e., more births than deaths - 1 birth every 8 seconds in the U.S. & 1 death every 11 seconds).
 
In short, in 2016 the number of people of higher education & means that left California was exceeded by the number of poorly educated low skilled people who entered California – hardly a winning combination for economic growth & prosperity that you would want to raise your family in. 
 
Up until now career politicians like current Governor Jerry Brown & Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who is leading in the above graphic poll for governor, found nothing wrong with any of the above financial facts but the Trump tax cut bill added a new wrinkle – like how is the above level of financing going to continue in light of the the state & local tax (SALT) deduction restriction in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 that is likely to accelerate people of substance & means leaving this high tax & high cost state.
 
The Sacramento Bee reported that Californians will lose a collective $12 billion because of the caps on the SALT deduction with 43,000 people who make over $1 million per year paying three quarters ($9 billion) of that money.  This comes to an average of over $209,000.
 
You can judge for yourself why Nancy Pelosi called the Trump tax cut bill the "worst bill in the history of Congress" by looking @ her Financial Disclosure Report of 2016 – Pelosi has assets that very well could generate $10 million of income per year thereby putting her well into the category of Californians with large federal income tax increases as described above.  It is safe to say that Pelosi is more concerned about her own personal 2018 federal income tax liability than she is about the $2,000 worth of "crumbs", as she called them, that people in the middle class will receive in lower federal income taxes in 2018.
 
See graphic below for comparison of the share of federal personal income taxes that residents of the four largest states pay in 2017 & 2018.
 
  click on graphic to enlarge
 
By electing John Cox Governor of California this fall the people of the state have a real chance to turn around, both financially & culturally, the terrible manner, way, & mode of life described above - lousy conditions that no one in their right mind would want to live under where the state government fights the federal government using American citizens as disposable pawns @ every turn while favoring illegal aliens wherever they find them.
 
But it is not just California that is involved in the sanctuary state imbroglio – other states & their municipalities across the nation have been drawn in.  For instance, on a positive note, Iowa passed legislation earlier this month that directed Iowa law enforcement agencies to fully comply with ICE detainers & banned sanctuary city policies in the state.  But on a negative note, New Jersey's new governor Phil Murphy has signaled a desire for New Jersey to become a sanctuary state.
 
If you live in California, or have relatives or friends who live in California – & I know of several such subscribers to this blog, & have already talked to some – I urge you to alert California voters to consider John Cox's candidacy for governor & check out his website
 
A movement has started & California has a top notch candidate for governor, as described above, to reverse the certain ruin that lies ahead, so Californians have a chance – I hope they make the most of it.