Monday Morning Review

Quote of the Day:

John Kerry: metaphor from Hell

John Kerry broke his leg. Riding a top-of-the-line bicycle (and presumably festooned in spandex that shows off his 71-year-old body). In France. Going nowhwere. He broke his leg at very low speed. He broke it upon hitting a curb.

One can’t help but notice that Kerry’s accident is an apt metaphor for the foreign policy of the Obama administration.— Erick Erickson, June 1st 2015


A story appeared today concerning a training seminar held by the People’s Democratic City Government of Austin, Texas. The seminar was to help female city employees deal, “with a new leadership dynamic: a female-dominated City Council.” The ensuing controversy forced the (male) Assistant City Manger to resign.

Why? Because the seminar dared say that women are different from men and, in some circumstances, react differently than men. Austin’s City Council declared that to be heresy and demanded a (male) head. They got one, a (male) sacrificial scapegoat.


Have you been watching the financial news? The EU, specifically Greece, has a problem. They’re broke, the debts are due, and they can’t pay. Greece seems to expect another last-minute bailout by the EU (how many times has the EU done that?), but the EU does not appear to be ready to repeat the failures of the past.

In so many ways, Greece is emulating California…perhaps that should be the other way around. California is our Greece.

Greece’s chances of striking a deal to access a much-needed €7.2bn in rescue aid looked even bleaker on Sunday after Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, accused bailout monitors of making “absurd” demands and seeking to impose “harsh punishment” on Athens.

Mr Tsipras’s accusations, made in Le Monde newspaper, came only days after his government claimed an agreement was imminent. They have increased the sense of chaos around negotiations in the week many believe a deal is needed to avoid a Greek default.

On Friday, Athens is scheduled to make a €300m loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund that is being closely watched by creditors after some Greek ministers hinted that it might not be met without bailout aid. A further €1.2bn of IMF payments fall due over the subsequent two weeks.

“The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance,” Mr Tsipras wrote. “It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people.”

The criticism appears directed at the IMF, which has taken the hardest line of the three institutions, particularly regarding cuts in public sector pensions, which Mr Tsipras described as already having been excessively slashed. EU leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, have specifically warned Mr Tsipras that no deal is possible without IMF approval.

Apparently, if you read through all the accusations and counter-accusations, the IMF and two other bailout monitors wants Greece to cut spending. Greece says that have. The IMF says not enough. Greece has a hissy-fit.

If you change Greece to California and the IMF to Congress, imagine the hissy-fit California would have if Congress would cut all federal funds to California, ALL federal funds, not just some, until California complies with federal law—like those pertaining to illegal immigration and ending practices like issuing free driver’s licenses, free education to illegals, allowing illegals to register to vote (motor-voter) and ending the existence of sanctuary cities throughout California?

California has created their current ‘water crisis’ through their state EPA regulations that blocked the creation of new reservoirs since 1972, and diverting water to some ‘endangered species’ instead of to the existing reservoirs. Rather than dealing with the root sources of their water crisis, California has cut water rations to their citizens by 25%…except for the Elite, of course.

Greece, like California, created their crises. Now it is time for them to deal with those crises instead of looking for another bailout that will change nothing.

Oil War

Were you aware that the US and OPEC are at war? No? I’m not surprised. It hasn’t made the headlines of the MSM.

How did this happen? Primarily, through the deployment in the US of new oil extraction techniques of fracking and oil-shale recovery. The continental United States has more oil reserves than any other place in the world including the Mideast and the former USSR.

Supply and demand works, contrary to the skeed of liberal economists. We have the supply—in the ground, and in the last year, the new extraction processes have increased the supply of oil and that has begun to affect the world market.

The US doubled its production this last year. The price of Brent light crude, the world standard, has dropped 30% in the last year and currently is around $68 a barrel…down from over $100 a barrel this time last year. The price dropped nearly $10 just this last week.

As you can imagine, OPEC is not pleased. The increased US production is affecting their revenues. A large number of OPEC members are small dictatorships, kleptocracies according to some, and when the price of crude drops, so does the personal income of those dictators. That, must not be allowed.

Some would think these dictators would cut their production to boost the price of crude to maintain their revenue stream. That’s not happening. Some of OPEC’s members are smart. They are pushing another tactic, economic warfare. They have pushed their production to flood the market, lowering the price of oil, in an attempt to make the new US technologies unprofitable, too expensive to operate.

It’s a question of who blinks first, OPEC when they cannot withstand the drop in their revenues, or the US when the price of crude hits their stop-loss line, the point where the cost of extraction exceeds the net revenue per barrel.

The target of the oil war is to see who goes bust first. I think it will be the US. The liberals and ecowackos are on the side of OPEC. So is the Obama administration. The success of the US oil production is an achievement of the free-market process. Obama and the democrats cannot allow that example of free enterprise to proceed without opposition.

Lower Oil Prices A Free-Market Victory, Not A Threat

Lawrence Kudlow

Seldom has so much good news been portrayed so negatively. Oil prices continue to fall in the U.S. and around the world, but nearly everyone in the media is grumpy about it.

The headlines today are among the silliest I’ve seen: Energy-company stocks are declining, oil deflation is an economic threat, the Fed might raise rates much later than expected, OPEC is dissolving, shale companies are going bankrupt, Russia is going bankrupt(!), and on and on.

Well, most of this is just humbug. Lower oil prices are unambiguously positive.

First, U.S. oil production has nearly doubled in recent years to 9 million barrels a day, and the Paris-based International Energy Agency expects U.S. supply to rise by more than 1 million barrels a day next year. And it is this supply increase that is driving down prices.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC have essentially thrown in the towel, surrendering to the inevitability of lower prices from exploding U.S. energy production. This is not only a triumph of U.S. energy independence; it is also a victory for the workings of the free market. Greater supply, not government cartels, is driving down prices.

The latest oil-price drop of nearly $8 a barrel makes the economic outlook even rosier.

Apart from the declining share prices of some oil producers, virtually every other aspect of the world economy benefits, including most world stock markets.

(By the way, the IEA reports that most production in the Bakken formation, one of the main drivers of shale-oil output, remains profitable at or below $42 a barrel.)

And here in the U.S., the oil-price drop is a huge tax cut that will primarily help the middle class.

Sen. Chuck Schumer — who is still licking his wounds from the huge Democratic midterm losses in the Senate — is out there attacking ObamaCare as the wrong policy to halt the decline of middle-class incomes.

What he’d like to see is new big-government policies (wait, wasn’t ObamaCare a big-government policy?), including tax favors for targeted segments of the economy, presumably to bolster the middle class.

But guess what? We just had a free-market tax cut that will boost middle-class incomes and just about everything else.

The American energy revolution, combined with the market forces of supply and demand, is delivering something on the order of a $125 billion tax cut. Not only have wholesale oil prices dropped from about $100 a barrel to $66, but also gasoline prices have fallen from near $4 a gallon to $2.78 at the week’s close.

That’s a tax cut. With no big-government spending hikes.

While very few Democrats, including President Obama, supported the entrepreneurial, innovative dynamism of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, they’ve lately tried to take credit for the oil and gas shale revolution. No one’s buying it.

AEI’s Mark Perry actually wonders why the Democrats aren’t scheduling hearings in the lame-duck Congress to blame oil-industry manipulators and evil speculators for the drop in oil prices.

Of course, the far-left Democratic enviros aren’t sitting still. The EPA is now taking aim at the entire U.S. energy industry with its newly proposed smog rules — probably the most expensive regulations in history — even though the fracking revolution is producing much cleaner energy than ever.

So what we have is a clean-energy revolution, and it’s lighting a much-needed fire under the economy.

As energy prices are falling, GDP is being revised higher. Real economic growth in the third quarter shifted up from 3.5% to 3.9%, led by an increase in business fixed investment. The past two quarters averaged 4.2% at an annual rate.

Meanwhile, corporate profits, the mother’s milk of stocks and the lifeblood of the economy, continue to break records. After-tax corporate profits scored on the IRS basis and reported in the GDP revision hit a new high of $1.87 trillion, or 10.3% of GDP. Nonfinancial domestic profits came in at a record 7.3% of GDP and continue to show steady growth of 5% yearly.

As King Dollar rises, gold falls, inflation is barely discernible and oil prices have dropped, the year-end 2014 economic story looks a lot better, with the possibility of a rosier 2015.

No, we haven’t fully recovered. Not by a long shot. Year-on-year economic growth is still only 2.4%. It ought to be running 4% to 5%. And 200,000 new jobs a month ought to be twice that rate. For this we need more pro-growth economic policies from the new Republican Congress, especially lower corporate tax burdens and regulatory rollbacks.

But the entrepreneurial, free-market energy revolution has given us a big step in the right direction. Can we please be optimistic about it?

A new push for Obamacare in Missouri

The new push is medicaid expansion, a part of Obamacare. Missouri has been successful pushing back on this part of Obamacare but that hasn’t deterred the big-city progressives. Their newest tactic is to hire a former ‘Pub state senator, Charlie Shields, to be their front-man in their continued search for more money.

In Kansas City, the issue is the failing Truman medical system, two publicly funded hospitals with a track record of failure. Jackson County hopes their new man will succeed when their democrat puppet didn’t.

Hospital CEO Contends With Medicaid Conundrum

Former Lawmaker Needs to Prod Legislature Into Expanding Federal-State Health Plan or Face Losses

By Anna Wilde Mathews,

Friday Follies for March 14, 2014

Coyotes are back. Mrs. Crucis and I were awaken around 1:30am when several coyotes started howling. That was soon followed by yipping, then growling and fighting. I fear one of my neighbors let their pet stay outside in the warmer weather and they became lunch for the coyotes.


If you are not, what Rush calles a ‘low information’ voter, or not interested in the news, you may not have seen this Drudge headline:


It appears the FBI investigators were getting too close and were about to get the real dirt on Harry Reid. Holder couldn’t let that happen, so he recalled the FBI. They asked, and someone granted permission, to give the local Utah prosecutors their case…along with all the evidence. It’s up to those local prosecutors, now, to do the job that rightfully belongs to the FBI. ‘Course, that assumes we have a law-abiding federal administration, not the criminals currently in authority in the DOJ.


Chrissy Matthews must have read my post earlier this week. He’s throwing in the towel on the dems retaining the Senate after November.

Chris Matthews is already bracing for a disappointing November for Democrats, and he sees little that can be done to change that outcome.

“It’s going to be very hard to hold the Senate — I think the Senate goes,” he said on Morning Joe on Thursday. “I think we heard from the Ghost of Christmas Future this week; they’re going to lose the Senate,” he added, referring to Republican David Jolly’s victory Tuesday in Florida’s special congressional election.

Matthews offered his own campaign advice for Democrats if they want to minimize the damage this fall: Go all-in on scare tactics. He encouraged Democrats to up the ante on various issues, such as framing voter-ID laws as attacks on minorities and pro-life measures as attacks on abortion rights. — The National Review.

According to Matthews, the only hope for democrats is to lie and smear their opponents. Isn’t that business as usual for democrats?

Matthews looked at the results of the Florida Jolly (R) vs. Sink (D) election and panicked. The democrats used their usual tactics in a district that twice voted for Obama. It was a done deal, they thought.

Sink campaigned on the usual democrat Eco-wacko topics and attempted to paint Jolly is a “flat-earth” denier. Jolly didn’t take the bait. Instead he hammered on one issue—time, after time, after time: Obamacare. Jolly, an unknown Washington lobbyist won. Sink, the democrat golden-girl didn’t.

‘Pubbies, there is a lesson there if you’re smart enough to learn it.


Erick Erickson has a column today about Lindsey Graham selling us out on another ‘hot mic’ incident recently. Do you ever wonder why you never hear about these incidents on the MSM. You shouldn’t. They only mention ‘hot mic’ bloopers when it affects ‘pubs. In this case, they didn’t want anyone to know Graham was betraying us again—especially before a primary.

IMF Bailout Exposes Schism in Party

Daniel Horowitz (Diary)  | 

If you are looking for an illustration of why we need to replace most of these failed Republican incumbents, look no further than Lindsey Graham’s hot mic comment to John Kerry today.

As I noted earlier, Senate Democrats have attached to the Ukraine bill an IMF bailout that will weaken our power on the international stage.  McConnell and the Senate Republican Surrender Conference are willing to capitulate.  However, as of now, Speaker Boehner is opposed to the IMF provision.  Take a look at this video and watch Lindsey Graham sell us out to Kerry.   After Kerry pitched the IMF proposal to the Senate committee, Graham was caught reassuring Kerry: “Hey John, good job. Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner.”

This type of behavior will not change with a Senate majority so long as the same members are in charge.

On the other hand, Senator Cruz is taking the lead on the issue.  He is sending a letter to Senate colleagues urging them to oppose this rider to the Ukraine loan bill.


Obama continually amazes me with his stupidity and lack of business and economic sense. I guess if you’re a ‘community organizer’ you don’t need intelligence. His latest scheme for income equality concerns overtime.

Obama signs order to revise overtime pay rules

By |

President Obama on Thursday unveiled his latest initiative to boost workers’ pay, saying he wanted to “restore the common-sense principle behind overtime.”

Obama signed an executive order directing the Labor Department to develop new rules to expand the number of Americans who can receive overtime pay. The president was joined by workers he said would benefit from the strengthened rules at a White House event.

The move is the latest executive action Obama has taken this year to push his economic agenda in the face of opposition from the GOP-controlled House. He has signed orders raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers and created new public-private partnerships on manufacturing and education.

Obama has said that he will work with Congress on his economic agenda where he can but will move unilaterally where lawmakers fail to act.

“I’m going to do what I can on my own to raise wages for more hardworking Americans,” the president pledged.

“I’m going to use my pen to give more Americans the chance to earn the overtime pay they deserve,” he continued. “If you have to work more, you should get paid more.”

The president is asking Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to expand the number of workers who qualify for overtime by revising an exemption that allows employers to avoid paying overtime to employees deemed to have managerial positions and who are paid more than $455 a week.

For most of my working life, I’ve been salaried. I did work hourly for a short period before I went into the Air Force (no overtime allowed per union rules.) Thereafter I was in salaried positions as a manager or as a professional. My boss told me that being salaried meant I never had to ask for overtime. I was paid to get the job done, not by the hour. He was right. I usually worked more than forty hours per week. Often, much more than forty, much, much more.

The difference was that as a salaried manager or engineering profession, I wasn’t paid overtime…nor did I expect it. If I met my work goals, I kept my job. If I exceeded those goals, I received a bonus at the end of the year. Frequently those bonuses were five-digit ones.

Under Obama, that would all change. No more bonuses and overtime would be strictly regulated—read that is seldom. You see, overtime is an expense that must be budgeted and funded up front.

Bonuses are paid from the profits you helped make for your employer. No profits, no bonus. Overtime, however, has to be paid, if actually worked, regardless of profitability.

What will be the result of this scheme? Fewer jobs. The cost of doing business just went up. Employers must budget costs against expected revenue. If that revenue doesn’t appear, the company takes a profitability hit. No profits, no jobs.

Democrats and liberal just can’t, or won’t, understand that simple piece of business math. Increased cost, such as making all those formerly salaried jobs, hourly, is a cost…an expense. It’s no joke Rush Limbaugh calls his show and his products, ‘profit’ centers. All too many employers have people work in ‘cost’ centers.

What’s the difference? HR, for example, is an expense, a cost of doing business.  Their primary purpose is to insure a company complies with employment—local, state, and federal, law. Salesmen sell. They bring revenue to the company. They are a profit center. HR = cost, Sales = revenue. HR is on the expense side the balance sheet, Sales are on the income side of that same sheet. When costs exceeds or equals income, the company makes no profit. No profit, no company and no jobs. Isn’t that easy to understand?

Obama is just stupid, stupid, stupid!


Kansas City is #26

An article appeared today listing 19 cities with a greater number of public employee to resident ration than Detroit. Detroit’s statistics are:


Residents per employee 61
Population: 713,777
Employees: 11,645
Annual payroll: $651,437,244
Average compensation: $55,941
What’s not included?

Number 1 on that list is, not surprisingly, Washington, DC.


Residents per employee 25
Population: 601,723
Employees: 23,631
Annual payroll: $3,477,829,176
Average compensation: $147,172
What’s not included?

What isn’t shown in these demographics is the income to debt ratios. We know that Detroit’s ratio was negative…more debt than income. Decades of deficit spending came home, finally, to roost.

Detroit has been ruled by democrats since 1962. Louis Miriani Mayor of Detroit.jpg Louis Miriani, a republican, was Mayor at that time. Being a ‘pub didn’t excuse him from being corrupt. In 1969, he was convicted of federal tax evasion and served approximately 10 months in prison.[96]

The city really didn’t go downhill until the election of Coleman Young. Young was elected in the aftermath of the 1967 riots and the resulting “white flight from Detroit. Coleman blamed his predecessors and called them an “occupation army.” Young used the falling economy of Detroit to build his power base. It was  the beginning of the end for Detroit.

You can find the list of failing cities via this link. Kansas City isn’t in the top 19 but at #26, it’s close.


Residents per employee 69
Population: 459,787
Employees: 6,646
Annual payroll: $357,365,988
Average compensation: $53,771
What’s not included?

Kansas CIty, like Detroit, has been suffering under decades of democrat rule who, like all democrat pols, blame everyone else for their failings while ignoring the very visible fact that it is their policies and actions that was the root cause of their continuing failure. That is also true of other major cities across the US.

Mrs. Crucis and I are fortunate we moved from Kansas City and Jackson County nearly two decades ago. Kansas City’s finances are as shaky as is Detroit. The city’s allegiance to unions and their opposition to Right to Work result in more and more businesses and industries moving across the state line into Kansas, a Right to Work state.

The real tragedy is that Kansas City and Jackson County (MO) residents have swallowed the democrat line, hook, line and sinker. They ignore the warnings, if they see them at all. The Kansas City ‘Red’ Star certainly won’t report the coming danger. No, they are part of the problem—becoming the democrat’s propaganda organ for Kansas City.

The best we can do, to lessen the impact of Kansas City’s coming failure, is to isolate the consequences to Kansas City and Jackson County. When Kansas City and Jackson County inevitably arrive at Jefferson City with their hands out, we, the citizens of Missouri, our Legislature and Governor, must be ready to say, “No!”

Kansas City, like all the democrat ruled cities,  has created their problems. It must be up to Kansas City, and those other cities in similar circumstances, to get themselves out or their predicament. The day of cities sucking off the rest of their state is over.

Oh, by the way, St. Louis is in that list at #11…higher than Detroit!


Residents per employee 50
Population: 319,294
Employees: 6,335
Annual payroll: $600,533,640
Average compensation: $94,796
What’s not included?


Why government should not compete with business

The outside auditor’s management report for Cass County was released earlier this week. An earlier report by the County Auditor on the County Collector’s office had been blocked from being released on the county website. When the outside audit was delivered, the county Powers-That-Be relented and allowed both reports to be posted on the Auditor’s section of the county website.

There has been a firestorm about these reports since their release.  There has been accusations and counter-accusations on local Facebook groups and other internet forums. If you read the management report closely, you’ll see why a commissioner abruptly resigned last year and why another chose to not run for re-election.  The outside auditor is particularly damning on the actions and methods of the county commission and vindicates the county auditor.

But that is not the theme for today’s post. We should use these auditor reports to develop county Policies and Procedures to insure future occurrences do not occur.  In the business world, this is known as “Lessons Learned.” That is why we have auditors and auditor reports.

I would suggest that at the top of those lessons learned is this:

  1. Never compete with business. Especially, never compete with business when business has a proven track record, established customer base and existing infrastructure to support the product. In this case, the Broadband project should have been shown the door at its first appearance.  There is no way the county can compete with AT&T, Embarq, Sprint, CenTel, Comcast or Time-Warner in providing broadband internet access and provide a competing product at a competitive cost.  The rural customers that were to be served by the Broadband project don’t have the customer density to support Broadband at a reasonable cost.  That means municipal customers would subsidize the rural customers. The county’s competing product would have to do so at a price that is equivalent or lower than broadband service by AT&T, Sprint and others.  Any competent business manager or certified project manager would have seen these pitfalls and would not have approved the broadband project.  In business, this comes under Risk Identification, Mitigation and Avoidance—all part of a needed business plan that didn’t exist.
  2. Never subsidize new technologies or pilot plants without a proven vendor track record, customer base and established maintenance and support. In short, never be the first kid on the block with new technology until it has been proven.  In this case, the county subsidized the production of a pilot bio-fuels plant with the University of Central Missouri with no scope of work, project plan nor established schedule of deliverables, i.e., it was money thrown down a hole with no obligation of any return on investment.

The Commissioners violated other those and other common business rules and we now see the result. I don’t know the background of the two appointed democrat commissioners, Luke Scavuzzo and Terry Wilson. I would hope when they were selected to fill the vacant commissioner positions by Governor Jay Nixon, that he picked people with proven and successful business backgrounds for surely as God created little green apples, Cass County needs competent commissioners. We’ve not have any, as far as I can determine, for decades.

Gold, Gold, GOLD!

There was a movie released when my wife and I were newlyweds titled, “McKenna’s Gold.”  It starred Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Edward G. Robinson and a host of others. What makes it relevant to today’s post is the theme song, “Old Turkey Buzzard,” that has a refrain of, “Gold, Gold, GOLD!”

The trigger for all this is an article that appeared in the Financial Times.

Republicans eye return to gold standard

By Robin Harding and Anna Fifield in Washington

The gold standard has returned to mainstream US politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.

Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar

The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy – and the efforts of libertarian congressman Ron Paul – have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee and co-chair of the platform committee, said the issues were not adopted merely to placate Mr Paul and the delegates that he picked up during his campaign for the party’s nomination.

“These were adopted because they are things that Republicans agree on,” Ms Blackburn told the Financial Times. “The House recently passed a bill on this, and this is something that we think needs to be done.”

The proposal is reminiscent of the Gold Commission created by former president Ronald Reagan in 1981, 10 years after Richard Nixon broke the link between gold and the dollar during the 1971 oil crisis. That commission ultimately supported the status quo.

“There is a growing recognition within the Republican party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” said Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has pushed for a return to the gold standard.

There’s much more at the Financial Times. I urge you to follow the link and read it in its entirety.

I remember when Nixon removed the last link to the Gold Standard during the 1971 oil crisis. Nixon was no financial conservative. He instituted wage and price freezes reminiscent of FDR’s failed schemes.  The immediate result was a spike of double digit inflation and skyrocketing interest rates.  My wife and I bought our first new car during this period with a double-digit interest rate…and we were glad to get a low one via our USAF credit union.

We have been off the gold standard for forty years. I’m not a financial wizard. I don’t know how moving back to that standard would affect our economy. Especially now that I’m on a fixed income. There’s also the question whether sufficient gold exists to meet our economic needs.

This is one question I have no competence. I admit the possibility is intriguing. My one concern would be if that gold-standard link to our currency makes our economy a zero-sum game.

There is a finite amount of gold available in the world.  Yes, it would make gold mining viable again at a much larger scale. Still, I don’t think there is enough. On this planet anyway.

Supposedly, the asteroid belt is a fractured planet that just never came together. If there was gold, silver and other valuable metals of the platinum group, would that spike another gold rush? Maybe I should invest in Space-X and Burt Rutan’s enterprises?

Gold, Gold, Gold! Hitch your wagon to Space-X and be a prospector out of Ceres!  L. Neil Smith will bust a gut laughing to have been vindicated.