Tag Archives: Obama

Some Baggage Is Just Too Heavy

Grandma P and I have recently returned from an extended cruise around South America.  Truly a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip.  It was marvelous, and I would recommend that cruise as a ‘bucket list’ event.

Getting ‘geared up’ to write this blog after this hiatus has been very difficult.  As I have said many times, “Retiring is tiring!”  Consequently, I have needed additional time to reignite my creative juices.  There were plenty of events taking place during the cruise that were worthy of a blog, so material was certainly not the issue.

It is always fascinating to meet so many interesting people on a cruise, especially a long cruise.  Not only are there the Americans, but the ship had many Canuckians, Brits and Aussies.  Having an opportunity to hear their opinions about the United States really did pique my interest about their perception of our country.  Answering their questions about the United States, especially about our politics,  kept me on my toes!   I digress, but I will discuss this further in a later blog.

The one thing that has been constant in all our travels is Grandma P’s ability to limit the amount of baggage that we take on vacation.  All of our luggage for the 49-day cruise consisted of two large bags that had to be checked, and two carry-on bags.  All of this fitted nicely in the back of a rented Ford Escape on the way to the departure port, and in the hold of United Airlines after leaving the ship.  But just like the television infomercials, “But wait!  There’s more!”  Grandma P is so adept at packing, that we made it home in good order with all the trinkets and souvenirs that we purchased in our concerted effort to stimulate the economy of South America!  Yes, she did an amazing job of limiting our baggage.

There is one person that I am familiar with that has way, way more baggage than Grandma P, and that would be Hillary R. Clinton.  You know Hillary.  She has announced her candidacy for President of the United States for 2016.

Here is just some of the baggage with which Hillary has to contend.

The Clinton Foundation

According to one source, “The Clinton Foundation’s finances are so messy that the nation’s most influential charity watchdog put it on its ‘watch list’ of problematic nonprofits last month.  The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.”

Wow!  Double wow!!  $140 million?  According to their 2013 tax forms the charity spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on conferences, conventions, and meetings; $8 million on fundraising, and nearly $8.5 million on travel.  They must travel first class on the space shuttle!  Now here is the amazing fact.  None of the Clintons are on the payroll.  This includes Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and whoever………..  But, they all enjoy first class flights paid for by the foundation.

Some of the tens of millions of administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.    But that is still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.  Charity Navigator, an organization that rates charities, refuses to rate the Clinton Foundation, as it does not meet their criteria.   Hmmmmm.  There are allegations that the Foundation has a ‘Clinton Family Slush Fund’ at its core.  (Are we surprised?)

Another large ‘red flag’ concerning this foundation is, “Who are its contributors?”  It appears that political favors granted when Hillary was Secretary of State have manifested as donations to this foundation.  While in that position, Hillary signed off on a deal that allowed a Russian government enterprise to control one-fifth of all uranium-producing capacity in the United States.  Rosatom, the Russian company, acquired a Canadian firm controlled by Frank Giustra, a friend of Bill Clinton’s and member of the foundation board.  Giustra has pledged over $130 million to the Clinton family charity.  Ronald Reagan has got to be turning over in his grave!  Russians?  Our uranium?

Recently, there have been other inquiries about other foreign contributions during the time of Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.

That foundation alone provides enough proverbial baggage to fill the overhead compartments of a few large passenger planes.

Deleted Emails

I could not possibly say anything about the deleted emails as well as what was said by the National Post, a leading Canadian news source.   In that regard, I am going to share with you three paragraphs of their lengthy report on Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary, during her tenure as Dowager Empress at State, decided, all on her imperious own, that normal practice for record keeping, as required by law and precedent, did not apply to her.  (How could it?  She’s Hillary.) For her entire tenure – so she tells the world – she stayed off the State department’s own encrypted and secure system, and instead set up her own computer, on her own server, in her own house.

On that private and secret system, she conducted both personal and State Department business.  Then about two years after stepping down, under force of exterior revelation, she held a press conference to announce she had her staff review them all, extract what she said were official emails, and sent those self-selected emails back to State.  The rest, 30,000 according to her, were personal, and they  – along with the server! – were then destroyed.  There is now a memory hole in the history of U.S. foreign affairs.  The record of the second-most powerful office in the world, where it is not a perfect void, is questionable, selective and, inarguably, imperfect.

These emails are not text messages from a high school dance organizer.  The Secretary of State is not a teenager.  The record of diplomacy, the electronic conversations with staff, with foreign leaders, with her President, are not for her to dispose.  She has blotted out part of her own country’s diplomatic history.  This one practice alone should bar her from seeking the presidency.  It was the most monumental piece of official arrogance since the ancient Chinese Emperor declared the beginning of his reign was Year One.”

Wow!  Those Canuckians are brilliant!  That really sums up that piece of baggage quite well.  I can move on.

Benghazi

Here is a Hillary situation that will not go away.  Benghazi involved the slaying of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  There is a House Select Committee that will again meet in the coming months concerning this event.  If I am reading the ‘tea leaves’ correctly, the original focus of the investigating committee was to determine if the deaths were caused by mismanagement by Hillary Clinton while Secretary of State.  And then, and then……..they discovered that most documents surrounding this event were emails destroyed in the 30,000-email massacre!  This has provided more fuel for an already burning fire.

But wait.  Rumor has it that as the House is now controlled by Republicans, they are going to take a silk glove approach to this matter.  Why?  Because they do not want to appear to be bullying Hillary before the 2016 election.  They are afraid they will look bad and create a sympathetic vote for Hillary.  (If she were President, do you think Vladimir Putin would use the silk glove approach?)

While being questioned by yet another committee, this one concerning Benghazi, it was asked if the State Department thought this was a terrorist act, or if these people were out for a stroll and decided to kill some Americans.  Her reply, “What difference does it make?”  It makes a huge difference, because it was obviously a well-planned terrorist attack and our government decided to give it a pass.  What I want to know is if the rumors are true that a military relief force was on the way from Italy, and our government directed the military to cancel the mission.  These rumors indicate that Obama made the decision based upon State Department input, meaning Hillary.  So much for saving the Ambassador and those Americans defending him.  Another big piece of baggage.

Bill Clinton 

I believe Bill Clinton brings more baggage to this campaign.  “I did not have relations with that woman.”  “It all depends on what the definition of is, is.”  Remember all of that?  How long are the Clintons going to continue this sham of a marriage?  If they are living within 200 miles of each other, I would be surprised.

I would like to think that people seeking political office are doing it to improve the ‘greater good’ of the electorate.  They need a plan to outline their goals and a plan for achieving those goals.  Have you heard any of what those goals are from Hillary? (Hope and Change worked for Obama.  Why have a goal or plan?  Rainbows and unicorns seem to be enough promise for voters.)   I know I am being overly optimistic about my expectations for politicians, but I do believe the only reason the Clintons are together is because of their quest for power.  Power brings money.  Power brings prestige.  Bill has been to the top and Hillary wants it, too.  She experienced it as a U.S. Senator representing a state she never lived in, and as the Secretary of State.  Both of the Clintons are automatons when it comes to the quest for power.

So there you have it.  Even with Grandma P assisting, I do not believe Hillary could manage all her baggage.  There is much more luggage in her closet than what was discussed in this piece. (Travel gate, Whitewater, Vince Foster…)  We managed our baggage with a Ford Escape, Hillary would need an aircraft carrier.

My biggest hope, is that the electorate of the United States will wise up and see through the facades of many of these presidential candidates.  Let us do something different this time and elect someone who has a goal for the country, a plan for obtaining those goals, one which protects Americans and America and places God and country first.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Feeling HOPEful for real CHANGE!!!

COMMON SENSE – A Rare Commodity

For most of my life, I have been of the opinion that ‘common sense’ was just that – common.  As I get older and watch how the world is changing, I am now of the opinion that ‘common sense’ is a rather rare commodity.

Grandpa T’s Common Sense Rule # 2:  Never use your weed whip with your mouth open.  This is especially true if your neighbors walked their dogs on your lawn the night before.

To clarify my understanding of the term ‘common sense,’ I consulted my favorite online source of information, Wikipedia.  I am not exaggerating when I say there are 16 pages on Wikipedia about the definition and history of the term ‘common sense.’  Common sense tells me that one paragraph would have been sufficient.  For the sake of brevity, here is the first sentence of the 16 pages: ‘Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things which is shared by nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.’

Here is my argument about ‘common sense’ becoming a rare commodity.  You have just read Grandpa T’s Rule #2.  How could anyone disagree?  How could anyone disagree if I were to relate that I, Grandpa T did not heed his own advice last summer.  The result was that some multi-legged bug ended up in my mouth!  Yuck!  All people now believing that Rule #2 is the epitome of ‘common sense,’ raise your hands.  That’s what I thought.  Unanimous!

Here is the chink in the ‘common sense’ armor.  The definition says that common sense is ‘a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things which  is shared by nearly all people.’  What if the majority of the people understand and judge incorrectly?

An example:  Suppose you are the retiring CEO of the largest bank in the world.  Your bank has multiple branches across the U.S.  You are tasked to hire your replacement.  One candidate that applies has 18 months experience as a bank manager at one of the many banks.  Prior to that, he was a teller in another of the smaller branches.  His experience before being a teller was that he organized Girl Scout cookie sales for a large metropolitan area.    He was average in his performance at every position.  Would you hire him?

Another candidate has years of experience as CEO of a large competitive bank.  He also had years of experience as a regional manager.  He was exceptional at every position he held.

Which candidate would you hire?

By now, you smart readers realize that my analogy relates to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

At a critical time in our nation’s history, facing financial and budget problems galore, the majority of the American public voted to reelect for a second term the individual that caused most of the problems.  Where did common sense come into play with that decision?

Grandpa T’s Common Sense Rule #3: Never, ever believe a woman that says she does not want anything for her birthday, anniversary, or Christmas, because she has everything!  I bought into that logic just once in my life, and the divorce was greatly more expensive than the gift.

Do you know the difference between the national debt and the national deficit?

The national deficit is the difference between federal government revenues and federal government expenditures for a one year budget.  The national debt is the accumulation of these deficits.  As close as I can figure, the deficit for FY 2014 will be $744 billion.  This will result in a national debt of $18.2 trillion. (The projected national debt at the end of FY 2018 is currently projected to be $21.69 trillion!)

I bring this up for two reasons.

A few days ago, some noted financial analyst lauded the POTUS’s efforts to reduce the national deficit for the current fiscal year.  He pointed out, with the use of graphs, that our deficit is now a smaller percentage of our expenditures than with previous administrations. This noted person went on to say that, as a result, the government was not spending enough money to stimulate the economy and should consider spending more money! (The percentage is smaller, because the spending is so much higher!)  Common sense tells me that this analyst was weed whipping a marijuana field with his mouth open!

Does this pass the common sense test?  Have we not learned a thing by watching what is happening in Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain? Ireland has pretty much resolved their financial issues.  They did it with spending cuts coupled with tax increases.  ( I agree with my friend, Banker Bob, that spending cuts and tax increases are what needs to be done here, but I want to see a viable budget first.)  Are we so contrite that we believe our government is ‘too big to fail?”  I am sure Rome had that same attitude two millennium ago.

Secondly, why do we continue to elect officials that are unwilling to face financial reality?  Could it be that the people with ‘common sense’ are being overtaken by people that have no vested interest in the U.S other than to bleed our country dry for unearned entitlements?

I find it interesting that many states in the U.S. do not require photo IDs to vote, but the country of Mexico does, in fact, require identification.  How ironic is that?  Indications are that there are one million illegal aliens in Los Angeles county alone.  What could possibly be the reason that photo ID’s are not required for voting in national elections?  Can we attribute the political life of Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi to illegal aliens that vote?

Grandpa T’s Common Sense Rule #1:  Politicians are more concerned with being re-elected  than with legislating for the public good.

(If I had started the blog with this at #1, you would not have read this piece!)

Need proof?  If you are in touch with the Washington happenings, you are aware that there was a budget passed just prior to Christmas.  I believe this was a first for this administration.  Have you seen any of the details about that budget?  Try as I may, I cannot find any of the details involving our landmark first Obama budget.

The reason for our first budget?  Simple.  2014 is a mid-term election year and nobody from either party wants to look like a villain before these elections.  There were more mandatory sequestration cuts that were to be implemented without a new budget.   Those cuts will now be substantially reduced even though they were not so great.  Common sense tells me that the American public got shortchanged and screwed yet again.  The can continually gets kicked further down the road.  All of this is being done for the sake of re-election.

It appears that our government has become anemic when it comes to leadership.  Rather than cutting back on welfare programs, reducing unnecessary expenditures or eliminating unnecessary bureaucracies, our elected officials would rather sink the ship – our country.  Heaven forbid a politician not give maximum attention to private interest groups and lobbyists that come with campaign contributions at the expense of doing what is right for America. (Why is it that we always appear to be running out of Social Security money, but never appear to be short of welfare money?)

There is not one person in America that does not know they should not spend more money than they earn.  Yet, we allow our government a pass.   That continual pass has now cost us trillions!

Unfortunately, many Americans do not understand the earning/spending relationship.  They have over-extended themselves with credit card debt.  They are facing foreclosure.  They clearly take their cues from our government.  Too many Americans have adopted this growing sense of entitlement, having learned it from our government.  The trickle-down effect has created a huge problem.  Outrageous spending at the expense of others!

The approval ratings for our Congress are lower than our general opinions of a slick used car salesman.  Common sense indicates that we need to elect qualified, educated, honest leaders with integrity to lead this country in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Has the American public become so apathetic concerning the shenanigans of our government that Honey Boo Boo and Kim Kardashian are deemed more important?

Americans know what is right, but Americans have also become dependent on government spending.  We have become much too willing to give up our individual freedoms in exchange for government intervention and control.

Will America wake up in time to save itself?

Common sense tells me that we will, but common sense has become a rare commodity.

Election Results

I am not surprised by the election results.

There are astounding events that have occurred in this election, however.

This election was racist.  You had to figure that minorities would vote for Obama in large numbers. But this President, even with high gas prices, high unemployment, higher numbers of people on food stamps, and an unbelievably high record of deficit spending to be passed to future generations, was given a pass by 90% of the black and Latino voters.  This racist issue really never concerned me until I heard one of the talking heads on TV say that Romney would not win unless he got 75%+ of the white vote.  Really?  So the sobering item to take away from this is that we are not voting for the most qualified person to run our great nation, we are voting by ethnic background and race.  And, if the person running for office is what is now considered a minority, he will garner a large percentage of that vote, regardless of qualification or past performance.

The downfall of democracy.  Fifty years ago, while I was preparing for college, I discovered  that a wise ancient pundit said that the fall of democracy, to be considered a temporary form of government, would be caused by people voting themselves entitlements for which they did not earn.  In the ancient times-refer to Rome.  In modern times- refer to the problems in Greece.  This election has made it very clear that we have now “Crossed the Rubicon” in reaching this, the last step of a declining democracy.  When the Federal government was originally founded, it had two purposes:  International commerce, and national defense.  How did we go from this, a time in our history when you “ate what you killed,” to now, where we have become the bastard stepchild of socialism;? (ie: a more accepted word for communism)  How did abortion become a federal issue?  How did mandatory health care figure into the Constitution?  How did deficit spending become the norm, not the exception; other than in times of war?  All of these costly social-welfare programs may be noble, but no one wants to stand up and just state that we cannot afford these programs in their present format.  Private citizens can go to jail for writing checks they cannot cover.  Our government needs to look at balancing their checkbook, also.

Class envy, class warfare.  The most irritating aspect that came out of this election is the class envy, class warfare element.  The popular conception is that if you are financially successful, or what is believed to be that evil four letter word, “rich”, you either stole it, inherited it, or obviously screwed over a large pile of “little people” to get it.  There was a time when the prevailing thought in America, because it was the “land of opportunity,” was that you, too, could work hard, be all you could be, and with some luck and a great deal of perseverance, become financially successful.  It was everyone’s goal in life.  That thought has disappeared.  I came from a lower middle class family, worked my way through college, was a successful business owner, and also retired as a Colonel from the National Guard.  The operative word is “I,”  not the government. Now, someone that drops out of high school, never gets a job, or considers giving birth to future welfare babies a job, expects to obtain the same degree of financial success that I have.  As importantly, I should feel guilty and ashamed  for my success, because I have so much more than someone who has gone the drop-out route.   No one  has the fortitude to pass this message on to those who feel they should have everything without accomplishing anything.   But wait!  We have the government to save those less fortunate.  The plan?  To tax the hell out of the top earners in our society.  The top 10% pay over 90% of the taxes.  We’ll fix those successful silver spoon-using  bastards; we’ll tax them more!  What an idea!  And, we will not make the bottom 47% pay any taxes.  Another novel idea.  That’s only fair, isn’t it?  Fair, a word used way too much in this election. It really means that those who are successful should foot the bill for those who have never attempted to accomplish anything and have no intention of doing so.

America was the land of opportunity. Now, to buy more votes, it was being used as the “land of extortion.”  Our politicians have provided “the koolaid” to legitimize this permanent social/welfare state, and far too many people are enjoying drinking it, just for the politicians to garner votes and remain in office.

Lest we forget, a person on welfare, who has no intention of getting off of welfare or of bettering themselves in any way; has the same vote as you and me.  To whit; this election.  I have no problem with temporary benefits or unemployment benefits.  I do despise it becoming a lifestyle without an effort at betterment.

The evil of big business.  The majority of all businesses, large or small, are corporations owned by stockholders.  All businesses, regardless of size, are made up of people.  Yes, as astonishing as it sounds, businesses are made up of people.  So, when you hear that favorite mantra saying that we are “anti-business,” what is really being said is that we are “anti-people.”  The pulse of any business is made up of its employees.  Here again, class envy says we should not promote the health of the business climate, but we should punish these businesses because they, too, had to have screwed over a pile of “little people” to become successful.  And another revelation–businesses are not in business to break even or lose money; they are in business to make a profit.  Profit- another four letter word with two extra letters.  That profit is used to pay present employees, hire new employees, buy equipment, expand buildings – all in future attainment of more profit!  These job creations, these purchases and expansions, are what we need to stimulate and maintain our society. Who would have thought?

Voter ID.  Why is it an issue, like it was in Minnesota, that a person can vote without proving who they are by presenting a photo ID?  Aren’t you proud and privileged to be able to vote in our democracy?  Coincidentally, the amendment to require a photo ID to vote in Minnesota was defeated.  You all know what a photo ID is, don’t you?  It is the thing in my pocket that I have to present every time I  get on an airplane, renew my drivers license, buy Sudafed, apply for a mortgage, renew my car insurance, get on a cruise ship, cash a check, go on a military base, enter a foreign country, go to my doctors office, and, sometimes when I use a credit card.  So far this year, I would say I have had to show a photo ID at least 100 times, including when I had to VOTE!  So why is this an issue, when the majority of the people have them?  Is there a possibility that with the incumbent President winning by 2.5 million popular votes, that maybe some of the 20+million illegal immigrants voted and changed the election outcome?  How much are these illegal immigrants really costing us?  They do receive all kinds of benefits from health care to education to social security.  Additionally, it costs us a bunch of money to incarcerate them for committing crimes.  I do not want to go further with this as this would be another 10 paragraphs.

Here is my wind-up.  Obama is not the problem- he is the symptom of the problem.  Our country is changing in ways that I thought I would never see in my lifetime.  I never thought that being successful would ever be an evil attainment.  I was brought up to believe everyone wanted to be successful, or at least make an attempt to be successful, all in the hope of being financially independent.  Hope- that word we have all heard too much lately.  Hope is something we should all have; but it sure as hell is not an end-all business plan.  When I was growing up, being on some form of government assistance was a stigma that everyone understood to be temporary.  Now it is a lifestyle.  We are continually reminded that we are a “nation of immigrants.”  No doubt all my ancestors were immigrants- immigrants who came to this country to be able to blend into our society in language and religion, and to raise themselves to the lofty ideals presented by our nation.  Today’s immigrants are different.  They do not want to blend in with language (press 2 for Spanish) or religion. They are lowering our lofty ideals to the level of their third world home countries.  And, thanks to such great government funded organizations such as the ACLU, we are bigoted, biased, and racist if we don’t swallow the crap they are pandering.  After all, they are immigrants and we should adopt and tolerate their lifestyle.  The silent majority is rapidly becoming the silent minority.

Common sense appears to be a vanishing trait for individuals as well as for our country.  I will be the first to say that it certainly appears that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
I am sure that many of you, like me, were appalled by the behavior of both candidates in the debates; and by the bombastic aggressive message presented by campaign ads.  Has this  become the norm for our political contests?   I am also sure that many of you are also concerned about the future of the United States of America.  United- another word whose definition may be stretched in the future.

My advice- the silent majority cannot afford to be silent any longer.  We need to get involved.  I was hoping to leave a better world for my grandchildren.