Thursday, November 27, 2008

What the 2008 bailouts really cost

I had some extra time today so I decided to take a look at what has happened this year. I wanted to go back and take a look at the various buyouts and bailouts that the Government has backed, and the promises made so far. And the numbers are horrendous.

The main focus so far is on the $1.5 trillion that has been authorized and/or spent thus far. $700 billion for the bailout of mortgages and the credit crunch, and now another $800 billion for mortgages and consumer loans. But those numbers are not the full amount of cost this year.

The year started with the bailout of Bear Stearns. It cost $29 billion to allow JPMorgan to buy that failed brokerage house. And we were promised that would fix everything. Then there was the $150 billion stimulus package that was promised to fix the sagging economy, which failed. Then came Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Representative Barney Frank publicly pronounced as healthy and secure, that cost $120 billion each (not including the $600 billion that is now part of the $800 billion bailout package). And the numbers are still not done.

AIG cost $120 billion by itself. That though was said to be included in the $700 billion authorized by Congress. That means of the 1/2 of the funds given to Treasury Secretary Paulson only $230 billion was available for everything else needed. Not counting the tens of billions given to banks, or the money spent to buy bad loans at unknown valuations.

Of course there was also Citigroup. This cost $20 billion plus $306 billion for guarantees of their bad loans, for a total of $326 billion. Now that is a problem because if the funds came out of the same pool as AIG, we are in a bigger negative than the spending is already creating. A double negative of sorts. And yes I know that guarantees are not the same as cash, but a guarantee must be backed by something besides words. Which means cash from somewhere.

But let us not forget the $25 billion given to the auto industry. And that has nothing to do with the additional $25 billion that is being asked for now, just roughly 5 weeks later. Which is separate money. And that precedent is going to lead to the requests of the airline, credit card, home building/construction and other industries. If the Government is handing out money to businesses, it would be folly not to get in the line.

So the total is $1.94 trillion dollars. Which does not include Citigroup or the additional amounts from the auto industry. Including that figure we get $2.27 trillion in money that never existed and must be repaid. To be exact that means that every American, each of the 300 million citizens, owes $7,567 to the Government.

It is expected that some of these loans and stock purchases will eventually break-even or turn a profit. The expectation is that will happen in 10 - 15 years. Though it is absolutely unclear how the public will be repaid, though the Government will collect all the money. Thus it is possible that the Government will receive money from the public and hold repayments from loans - effectively being paid twice. And it is very likely that any repayment will be funneled into Government agencies instead of the public, as was attempted by Democrats with the first version of the mortgage bailout bill.

But even if 40% of the loans were to make a 50% profit, the bulk of the debt incurred will still be greater. And that does not cover the direct cash infusions made without a loan or repayment provision - which is about 70% of all the funds so far as I can gather.

And the fun does not end there. Remember that President-elect Obama, pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has promised a now $700 billion second stimulus plan. The exact details of this plan are unclear, but some amount will be given to the public and some will be used to fund public works. Or so the loose plans state so far. That would mean that in 1 year the cost is $2.97 trillion.

And President-elect Obama still is pushing to add over $800 billion in new spending for new and/or expanded programs. That makes it $3.77 trillion. Or in terms of cost to you and I - $12,567. That's for every man, woman, and child alive right now - working or not.

Put in different terms, this money could have completely funded the entire NASA budget (roughly $419 billion unadjusted for inflation) since inception nearly 10 times over. We could have funded 1,000 moon landings ($36 billion unadjusted) including all the research and development.

Let me make it more personal. That amount is more than the entire net worth of Oprah Winfrey, Bob Johnson, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Bill Gates, George Soros, and Warren Buffett combined and multiplied by 10. It's enough money that every single American citizen, of any age, could go to the average college for 2 years. It's enough money to give every American alive today a 10% down-payment on a $120,000 house.

And there is no guarantee, in fact there is reason to highly doubt, that it will get better.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama's new economic team - better or worse than now?

Finally we have seen President-elect Obama stick by a campaign promise. It took long enough. I am of course referring to the nomination of the Treasury Secretary position today. Tim Geithner will replace Paulson and Larry Summers will lead the National Economic Council, which is a positive to a degree.

I had remarked a few days ago that President-elect Obama has broken several campaign promises since the election. One of the most troubling to me was the delay he placed in selecting a Treasury Secretary. That problem has now been allieved to a degree. But by no means should the public think that Wall Street is in love with this selection (the Dow dropped 123 points from 323 up at the start of his speech today to 200 points by the end).

While removing Bernanke and Paulson are important moves, who replaces them is important. And the positive move in the early trading today is not a signal of the confidence of those moves but the response to Citigroup being bailed out again. It is the stabilizing action to world markets that the Dow reflects. The reaction to the economic team is just starting to settle in.

Why am I not totally enthused? Well first off, the most important selection to the Obama Administration is the Treasury Secretary. By naming a new face the markets can calm since they are aware of someone being in place. Uncertainty on that position is a negative for the market. The delay has helped to drag the markets lower.

The other factor is the fact that Larry Summers was in charge once before. Under the Clinton Administration from 1999 until 2001. Those dates should be a lightning bolt for those familiar with the market. It is that time where the stock market peaked and began the internet bubble implosion. And Summers let it happen.

The Clinton Administration was a beacon of inaction in the face of pressing need. There is no doubt that all who served were qualified, just as there is no doubt that they failed to act. I am not saying that the internet bubble was preventable, but I am saying the degree and manner in which it fell apart could have been dealt with better. So having a key figure that allowed massive devastation, which lasted for years beyond the initial meltdown, does not make me feel much better. Though I think it’s hard to screw up as much as Paulson has.

Adding to my concern is the incredible number of former Clintonites in the new Administration. It is as if President-elect Obama is reaching into the past because he hopes to repeat the luck of the last Democratic President. And such an opinion is silly at best.

The Clinton Presidency was a symbol or preservation. They did little to change the economic path the nation was on, which allowed things to prosper. And because little maintenance was done what prospered rotted as well. Now we get many of the same people picking up in a worse economic environment. That means they will either shine brightly, or all be replaced within a year.

Considering that President-elect Obama is not going to rush into raising taxes (a promise he implied would not be altered right up to election day) there is a positive out there. But that is sullied by the prospect of a now $500 - $700 billion stimulus plan. My belief is that is akin to burning the money in front of the NYSE. I hope to be proven wrong.

Looking at the new National Economic Council director, his connection to Robert Rubin and thus Citigroup, and his performance in the past I have slightly more confidence now than with Paulson and Bernanke. But that is not enough to alter my opinion of what will happen. I have predicted that the market will drop on inauguration day, by 500 points. I stand by that thought. I have said that I believe the Dow will hit 7600 in the 1st quarter of 2009. I reconfirm that outcome. And I have stated that I believe the Obama Administration will lead the nation into a depression – which I again state.

I do not say these things with cheer. I desperately hope to be proven wrong. I will be happy to admit my mistake if the stock market were to run, and the economy gain its legs. But that would be no different than looking at Hope in Pandora’s Box and assuming it was a gem of redemption among pestilence.

Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Williams once told me to prepare for the worst to survive the best, and I have lived by that as a stock broker and business owner. Improvise, adapt, and overcome a motto for more than just Marines. I hope both of these thoughts are paramount in the minds of the Obama Administration even though none I am aware of have ever served in the military.

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Citigroup - what was known and when?

This year Christmas has come before December, especially if you are a money center bank, a brokerage house, insurance company, or car manufacturer. For regular people though the holiday may not arrive at all. Such is the way things happen when the Government gets involved.

The news is out now that Citigroup will receive another $20 billion, with guarantees for $306 billion in assets, before the holiday season ends. In fact they should have the money, your money, in hand before the holiday season officially starts this Friday. Santa it seems has a 401k.

The good part of this is that Citi should not fail. Thus money will be stable in over 100 countries around the world, for the time being. Another bonus that New York City officials must love is that Citi will not be sold off in parts, and thus tens of thousands of additional jobs should be secure. And there is a better than 50% chance that many of the major bonuses that help the Big Apple float will be paid out (contractual obligations don’t end when the company gets a Government bailout). And in all honesty that is a good thing for the U.S. economy too, as long as they spend the money and not hoard it in fear of future layoffs.

The bad thing is that none of the officials tasked with resolving the financial crisis the nation is in foresaw this event. Chriss Dodd and Barney Frank didn’t see it coming, not because they were asleep at the wheel like when they promised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be ok, because they were too busy blaming anyone but themselves for missing the problem. Treasury Secretary Paulson missed it. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke missed it too.

Not one of these men, each tasked with identifying this continuing problem, envisioned this problem. They have dozens of staffers and hundreds working behind the scenes crunching numbers. Yet they all missed the chance of this happening. And the public is left to assume that it was so sudden they couldn’t have known.

Not true.

“I believe that the move to junk rating of ACA, the probable $6 - 12 billion loss at JP Morgan [significantly higher than expected], eventual losses from Citigroup - which reinsures itself, oil breaking $100 a barrel, and the multiple overseas investments will all hit the market in mid-January 2008. Thus I think a move to 11,000 is more than probable.”

I said that in December of 2007. That’s without being a stockbroker for years, without financial racords, conversations with CEO’s, discussion of the Fed, data from international sources, or Congressional committees. Just me reading the news and analyzing the public information.

I in fact went on to say

“Will those experiencing deflation outweigh the inflation fears? And if more people lose their homes how much of our financial institutions are we willing to sell to avoid the harshest realities of a crash?”

I knew Citigroup was in trouble a year ago. I knew there would be a major crisis from the mortgage industry, and that a bear market would hit the stock market. And I defined it several times, months in advance, in detail. The main thing I have been wrong on is the severity and speed at which all these things happened.

My point about this is simple. If I can figure out how bad things were, and most likely will continue to get, then what the hell were all these people whose only job is to figure this out doing!?

If they can’t get off they political posteriors, open their Government entrenched eyes, and understand the degree of a problem that is apparent to a guy on a computer in Binghamton – without even a stock ticker – they why are we giving them control of $700 billion and more? How can we expect that a single dollar of that money will be put to a use that is effective?

Case in point. Citigroup is in big trouble. They insure themselves internally. They are failing. So what is the value of the $306 billion in assets today, what was it yesterday? Are we guaranteeing a value that was intially set for these assets, the current market value of these assets, or are we getting to pick up the debt and bad loans of Citigroup mixed in with actual assets? The difference is very important. And I doubt if Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are even aware that this question should be asked.

I asked how much are we willing to sell to avoid a problem a year ago. Today I am looking forweard and I have to ask a different question. How much of the American capitalist system the nation functions on are we willing to lose to avoid the pain of this crisis? And if we are willing to comnpromise the basis of our economy, how do we prevent losing the freedoms a solcialist nation cannot tolerate?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Black buying power and advertising

As the holiday and Christmas seasons quickly approach, even as the stock market and economy falter, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on something that came up in a conversation with a friend of mine. The power of African Americans in the marketplace and the desire for advertising on Black media.

There is no question that Blacks buy things just as every group in America does. But if you were to look at most of the media coverage you might believe that African Americans are laden down with debt and/or depend on the Government for survival. Such a perception is both ignorant and false. And advertisers know it.

Recent projections place the African-American buying power at about $845 billion annually, growing to $1.1 trillion by 2012. That means the buying power of Blacks equals the money spent by the Government this year to save the entire financial and mortgage industries. This amount dwarfs the money being debated and requested by the auto industry. And this is more than double the money that is to be spent by the Government for the 2nd stimulus plan in 2009.

Targeted advertising cost up to 73% more for African Americans than any other group. That’s because the top 17% of affluent African Americans contribute 45% to all the buying power in any 1 year. And Pew research reports have shown that up to 2/3 prefer to emphasis their ethnic identity.

All of that money is part of the reason of the success of Black filmmakers, like Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. It is also part of the support to BET, and various television shows that star prominently African American actors/actresses. And it is one of the reasons why advertisers are including and/or directly marketing to Blacks. McDonald’s was one of the first to do this, but today hundreds of companies are doing so.

And the blogosphere is quickly becoming one of the major focal points of advertisers. Because the buying power of African Americans has grown 166% since 1990, the ability of blogs focused on or attracting African Americans to retain a steady daily influx of viewers is important. The internet allows visitors to connect with their favorite sites several times in a day as new posts are added to the blogs throughout the day; as I have seen in my own blogs as an example.

Political blogs were a huge resource in the Presidential election, and I can personally attest to TV One’s interest as VASS was selected as one of 2 blogs to provide daily coverage of the entire election cycle for their online visitors. Similar is true of all blogs, and especially those targeting African Americans.

Add to this the fact that the Black population tends to be younger and female (though my readers are about 50/50 for gender, age 12 - 49 predominantly, college or better educated, middle class incomes or better, and generally single); which advertisers are obsessive in their efforts to gain attention with. Not to mention that home ownership for African Americans is up 32% since 1990, and that the buying power of African Americans in just 3 states (New York, Texas, and Georgia) equals the money spent by the Government on AIG for fear of a complete collapse of the economy.

Black teens spend more money on clothing, video games, PC software and footwear than the average of the entire nation. In fact it could be argued that without Black teens athletic shoes, cell phones, DVD’s, and fast food industries might all lose their profits. And that says nothing of the fact that magazines like GQ, Entrepreneur, Inc. and others rely on the more than 25% readership that comes from African Americans.

Advertisers have increased spending in Black media by 72%, some 791 million dollars in 2006 alone. The automotive (GM leads), communications, cosmetics (L’O’real SA leads) industries and others (Dell, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner Inc., PepsiCo) lead in trying to gain Black consumer attention.

I say all this because I realize that for every news media image and story that denigrates or diminishes African Americans, the fact remains that this nation cannot survive without us. Just as was true during the time of Slavery, African Americans are the unsung backbone of the nation. Our buying power is so great that its loss would lead to financial ruin for the entire nation, in a manner that matches and/or exceeds every aspect of the current mortgage/credit crisis.

So this year when you go out to shop (or stay in and online) for your Christmas/holiday gifts, if you are Black, remember this when the guards and employees watch your every move. They need you, and if they could do it they would thank you. Because without us, they would be out of work.

**Several fact were complied from Package Facts and **

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Holiday gift ideas – from M V Consulting, Inc.

Example of the new Cowboy clothing line found at

I recently displayed the new Wanna Ride? line of clothing at my online store ( And I promised that there would be more on the way. I always work hard to live up to my promises.

So in addition to Example of the new Wanna Ride? clothing line found at the Wanna Ride? selection of mousepads, coffee mugs, t-shirts, Teddy bears, sweats, thongs, and other items I present the new Cowboy line.

The new Cowboy line is a strong statement of self. It looks good in t-shirts, steins, pet water bowls, calendars, hats, hooded sweatshirts, and over a dozen other items. And the design is another original from HB Designs made exclusively for M V Consulting, Inc. So you can be sure this is a unique gift for anyone on your Holiday lists, or yourself. Example of the new Cowboy clothing line found at

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are even more unique clothing designs being worked on as we speak, covering thoughts from the sexy to the flirty to just funny. And each unique clothing design will be available on dozens of styles of clothing, and a huge assortment of other products like boxer shorts, kitchen aprons, keepsake boxes, throw pillows, coffee mugs, gift cards, 2009 calendars, coaster tiles, and more.

Example of the new Cowboy clothing line found at

Out of the hundreds of items available, there is definitely something for everyone including yourself. And they all can be purchased from the warmth and ease of your home and/or office. So just click here and take a look at what is available.

Keep an eye out for our model photos that will be coming soon. This way you can see real people in the various clothing designs at our online store.


Michael Vass
President – M V Consulting, Inc.

** If you wish to submit a design or clothing idea please contact us.

And we are always interested in new models – male or female, of every race and age – for our photo shoots. If you wish to be considered please send a photo with your contact information to us here.

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Election promises: polispeak to win

The Presidential election is now 14 days over, and President Obama has already violated several campaign promises. Can you imagine what things will be like in 2 years? I realize that a multitude of Obama fans are getting rabid over that statement so I will make it clear that this is not an opinion, but factual.

President Obama ran his election campaign on a couple of basic concepts. While most of his promises were very vague it was clear that he promised change, and exit from Iraq, and a new style of politics in Washington D.C. Of course the first item on the list, change, was both abut as vague as you can get, and at the same time the most blitheringly stupid thing to promise since President Bush was not up for re-election.

But when it comes to change it seems that President Obama really meant reliving the past. Like much of the Democratic rhetoric over the election the point was to go backwards in time. Anything that reflected or brought back memories of the Clinton Administration was a positive. Thus he has been very busy in filling positions in his new Administration with ‘old politics’ politicians from the Clinton Administration, plus a few friends from Chicago.

How this is a new way of doing politics is beyond me. Other than perhaps the fact that since Congress is Democrat-led, and thus capable of passing almost any liberal platform it wishes, he will push his agenda forward no matter what Conservative think. Of course that is also entirely partisan, blindly following Party dogma, and violates his pledge to work in a bi-partisan manner. But maybe he meant that bi-partisan as in the Executive and Legislative branches working together. It’s a stretch, which is the closest we can get so far.

President Obama was very clear that he was against fighting in Iraq. He made it absolutely clear that he will retreat from Iraq and bring America’s soldiers home. His plan was for an organized retreat, over several months. This would allow opposition forces plenty of time to gather their strength and bide their time. This plan took hold of the Iraqi government, and is currently being debated in that nation. The deal on the table will force American combat troops out of Iraq just in time for the nomination of the next election cycle.

But what is important there is the word combat. Because the deal in hand will do what President Obama wrongly misinformed the public Senator McCain wanted to do. It will provide America with base(s) for land, sea, and air troops in Iraq for 10 years.

That wouldn’t be a big deal, except that President Obama campaigned to remove all troops from Iraq and not staying in Iraq in any form (until he was embarrassed to admit that was a bad idea). But after correcting his initial plan he campaigned with careful wording to imply he was still going to remove all the troops. And if anyone thinks that President Obama did not help shape, and is currently involved with, this Iraqi proposal they don’t understand international politics – in my opinion.

So new politics are out, as is leaving Iraq. And change was just for anyone too blinded to notice the obvious. But wait, there more.

As a bonus there is the economy. President Obama was elected on this basis more than any other factor according to polls by just about everyone. Because the economy needs help, and President Obama was going to make a change. Even though he could not be bothered to be involved in the discussions of the single largest economic policy act in over 2 generations – the mortgage bailout – without having to be called to discussions like a truant schoolboy.

But this massive issue is one that President Obama promised to be on top of. It was issue number one, alongside a new stimulus plan (cost between $300 and $500 billion in money that doesn’t exist). And how has President Obama reacted for the first goal in his Presidency? He’s avoided it.

President Obama could help calm the markets with an announcement of who he is considering for Treasury Secretary. But he hasn’t. He’s worked on several other positions, none as vital to the nation as who is going to be in charge of some $350 billion from the mortgage bailout, plus at least $25 billion for the auto industry, and who knows what else. And people wonder why the stock market is jumpy.

I have to say that this does not bode well for President Obama. Especially since he is looking to compound his Presidency with multiple problems. That would be VP Biden, and now a potential Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And it’s Mrs. Clinton that makes me really laugh.

The problem with Hillary Clinton is that the donors to the Clinton organizations are unknown and potentially a deal-breaker. Ties to foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others look bad. Not to mention favors made to people like Mark Rich. But that is being dealt with as we speak, with a couple hundred of the donors being revealed – and it’s unlikely the major news media will check to connect the dots of donations made and favorable deals happening for the donors.

The funny part is that since Senator Clinton is having such problems getting cleared for Secretary of State, how in the hell was she ok to become President? Well more on the problems of having a viper in your backyard later.

Politicians use polispeak to get elected. It happens all the time. It’s old politics. And President Obama seems to be following that path to the tee. The only questions that remain are what other campaign promises will be broken, and how will it affect America.

Obama lovers can now begin their rants, all of them avoiding the fact that President Obama is breaking from his promises.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Auto bailout - a sign of bad government

I just love the way that Congress is trying to look tough these days. An auto industry bailout? Hold on, we need details. Right.

Come on, this is the same group of people that handed $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Paulson without a plan. It was the same group of people that fell asleep when Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac were in trouble (someone wake up Barney Frank). And it was these very same people that gave away $25 billion to the auto industry about a month ago.

Does anyone seriously believe that they won’t bailout the auto industry, and receive neither repayment terms, nor assurances of industry improvement. They couldn’t even create a bailout for the financial industry that could prevent Paulson from moving the money around however he chooses, and that was a concern of House Republicans from the start. With even more Democrats in Congress, and the continued misleadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is a better outcome likely?

I’m reminded of a quote from Ben Franklin I believe.

“Doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

I apologize to Franklin is I got the quote wrong. But the point stands. And it will stay in place until the mid-term elections in 2010. Won’t the damage be interesting to see then.

The fact is that the U.S. automakers need to fail. Let several go bankrupt. It won’t be the end of the world. It will actually be the best thing that could happen.

When large companies fail a couple of things always happens. Several smart businessmen rummage through the wreckage and find bits that they can create new companies with. Those new companies will in part of the gap the old company had, but mismanaged. That spurs growth as a new corporation grows in that niche.

Also the old behemoth of a company slims down. Much of the old baggage is discarded, and the company refocuses on whatever they do best. Renewed energy flows and the company normally creates profits the old company could never do.

This is all good for the economy, though the jolt during the process is unpleasant. But it creates a stronger economy than the one existing before it. And more people are employed after these events than before.

The worst aspect of the auto bailout is the fact that it will be followed by an airlines bailout, and a retail bailout, and probably another financial markets bailout. The Government has made a precedent of stepping into the markets and private industry, because they are afraid of the pain. And in each case it has proven one thing. The Government has no idea what it is doing.

The more socialized things become the more the Government is compelled to step in. The more money is thrown around to avoid feeling bad, the worse everyone feels. Because the Government is incapable of fixing anything, nor can they regulate bad decisions out of business. And they shouldn’t. Bad decisions are normal business and are resolved in the marketplace over time.

Only in America is the concept of perfect markets feasible. It’s stupid and regrettable. But it also seems inevitable. Were that not so, the auto industry execs would never have taken separate corporate jets to fly to D.C. and speak with Congress. They did it because they know they will get the money.

I stated that the Dow Jones will hit 7600 in 2009. But if Congress throw more money at the problems in the markets, and involves more politicians that sleep when they should be watchful (Frank and Chris Dodd) I could be very wrong to the upside.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dow 7600? Believe it

As the 4th quarter moves steadily towards the holidays and businesses across the nation collectively hold their breath, I decided to look forward to 2009. What are some of the things that I see coming economically in the new year?

Dow Jones Index at 7600. Yep that’s a bleak statement. It’s not what anyone is asking for in their wishlist to Santa this year (except a few masochistic short-sellers). This is definitely a lump of coal.

But I will say something that you really aren’t expecting. That’s the upside in my view.

The 4th quarter of 2008 is going to be bad. Very Bad. We all know it. We knew it when before Halloween businesses were already getting their Christmas displays in order. They needed sales that bad. And still do.

Unemployment is up, financial companies are laying off people in the thousands, and the prospect of inflation looms larger by the day. Add to that recipe a Democratic President (a historically bad indicator for the economy) who’s policies – based on his voting records – are extremely left leaning, a Democrat-led Congress, the worst Speaker of the House ever, and you get a big mess.

But there is the fact that over $1.2 trillion has been spent this year to bailout the mortgage and credit crisis. The money has been the worst spent money I have seen since Waterworld was made. And the fact that no one has control over how or where this money is being spent, just means that it is being spent poorly and ineffectively.

So all that is left to look forward to is the thought that the auto makers are now first in line to ask for their own bailout, to be followed by retailers, pharmaceuticals, airlines and probably every other industry in America. And Congress will likely pony up the money for each of them.

But let us not forget that Congress has included the people in their spend at will program. So far a 2nd stimulus plan is being conceived, growing from an initial hidden $50 billion, to $150 to $300, and now is being speculated at $500 billion dollars. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t just screw up, she does it with swings to the bleachers.

Any one of these things would not hurt the stock market that much. And the by-product of severely deflated oil prices would be a boon to business in the mid-term. But it’s all happening at once. Saving on energy doesn’t matter much when you have no sales revenue.

The weakness in the stock market can bee seen in that just before the presidential election, the big institutions watched the polls and sold to get out of the way before President Obama was voted in. His promises to raise taxes, and his historic voting record were not overlooked. The only pause in selling came to allow smaller investors a chance to buy into the market and raise prices for the next wave of selling. My guess is that most of the money is sitting in cash right now, waiting for an opportunity in anything but stocks. At least in the U.S.

This means that New York City will get crushed this year. Bonuses from financials are getting scrutinized and thus being cut across the board. That means less money in the tri-state area, and thus a bad Northeast holiday season. That means the east coast will suffer and the nation as a rippling effect.

I’m sure some believe the polispeak that Wall Street and Main Street are separate – a concept only politicians could come up with. But this is how I see it all playing out.

Holiday sales will be off from last years rate, further pressuring the Dow Jones Index. Unemployment will increase going into the New Year, and inflation will start to rise.

President Obama will get inaugurated and the Dow will drop 500 points. This is not a racial reaction, but a political one. Within a week or so of that date a $300 billion 2nd stimulus plan will be passes raising the market temporarily. Several forward indicators will suggest a negative 4th quarter and 1st quarter 2009. Home sales will drop again – due to fewer loan approvals. Home prices should drop in proportion, with foreclosures increasing.

Oil prices should stabilize at around $65 - $70 per barrel to start the year as speculation and alternative investments will drive the price higher. Gold and precious metals should all increase dramatically in a similar manner to that of 2008. Growth in China will likely stall as well, especially since the boost from the Olympics will have faded.

President Obama will be forced to state that he will not raise corporate taxes, and a smaller increase in capital gains will be proposed. Taxes will increase roughly 3% on all income groups.

HD television service will cause a disruption across the nation and millions realize they need different television set, and will spike retail sales – but this is a false increase in the economy. It will be read as a positive indicator by politicians though.

Several mid-sized financials will fail, blame will go to short-sellers and corporate greed. Increased regulations will be passed that will not address the potential for bad business decisions, and the markets will sell again in fear of a more socialized America. The first rounds of nationalized healthcare will be discussed. The national debt will run higher, the deficit even more so as new spending will have no check from Congress.

Confidence in the U.S. Treasuries will weaken, and several nations will begin to sell in hopes of buying national debt of England and a few isolated nations. There will not be a run on America as this would instantly plunge the world into a depression. But the fear will accelerate pressure on the markets. The Fed will lower interest rates again to counter these fears, and to again increase loan availability. Inflation will start to gain attention in the media.

Unemployment will hit a 20 year high, again raising fears of a depression. And Iran and Russia will take aggressive stances in the world stage. Oil will run on this fear, as will gold. But direct crisis will be averted for the time being.

I expect all of this to happen in the first quarter of 2009. It is my expectation that to some degree every item I mentioned will occur. The importance and effect of each of these items will depend on timing and reaction as they all play off of each other. But the net result will be a 7600 Dow Jones Index, or lower.

I expect that this will be the bottom of the market. Smaller investors will flee the markets, and discussion of Federal intervention to save 401K’s will begin. This will also be seen as socialistic, but the need will outweigh these fears. The market will likely hover in this bottom range for the 2nd Quarter.

I’m not sure what might happen next.

I hope that I am wrong an most of these expectations. I would love to see the market gain confidence and rally in the face of these events. I hope that President Obama can rise to the occasion and lift the economic and personal spirits. But that is yet to be seen.

If I am as correct as I was in 2008, then 60 – 70% of what I have said will occur, though not exactly in my timeframe. Take that as you will.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Race relations in 2009 and beyond

“Many ___ feel that the country their forefathers built has been ... stolen from them, so there's in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs."

This is about President Obama, the economy, and America. But not exactly the way you might be thinking. The above comment is a quote missing just one word. And that word changes the meaning completely.

That word is “Whites”, placed after many in the first sentence.

But take a moment and imagine that in its place the word African American. The meaning changes, but how it changes might be really interesting for the nation.

The reason why this is important is because since the election, 200 racially motivated hate incidents have occurred. Each of these incidents are crimes, of varying degrees and severity. And the offenders have been across the gambit of age ranges from teens to far older adults. And of course some are small minded racists.

The thing is that most of these people, though White, are not the stereotypical image the media has created of modern-day racists. Many are high school and college educated. Some are from middle class or higher income homes. Of course the traditional isolationist, less educated, poor, weak willed, and essentially backwards racist still have not disappeared from the earth yet.

It seems that since the election many Whites are coming to the view that the current status of the Government is exemplified by the Presidency of Barack Obama. And that’s without him having taken the Oath of Office, or serving a single day in office yet. Which is even more baffling when the fact that Government has been run by Whites for 232 years is ever considered.

But I started this conversation considering the quote. And I asked what you thought when you interject different races into the spot where Whites was stated.

As an educated Black Puerto Rican the change in the word makes the statement make sense. It is the anger of living in a nation that was literally built on the bones and blood of ancestors – and never receiving a thank you or I’m sorry. It’s the anger of being kept from schools, jobs, homes for hundreds of years. It’s the way America has been everyday up to and including today. And tomorrow looks only slightly better.

Considering history, especially any aspect of Black History in America beyond the paragraph that existed when I was in school, it makes sense for that statement to be said by Blacks. And it seems foolish for Whites to say it. It actually sounds laughable when I hear it worded that way.

But if some Whites, who today have a greater potential to achieve virtually anything they want than I do after 40 years of work, believe this statement to be true what does that mean for America? When people who enjoy ownership of 99% of the wealth of the nation, 90% of the Government positions, 95% of ownership and executive management positions, start to get anxious where is the nation going?

I had a statement back when I was a kid

“If it takes more than 1 guy at the same time to beat me in a fight, I must be a badass and damn intimidating.”

President-elect Obama has yet to pass a law, take an Oath, or even pick a Cabinet. But the fearful are already reacting, shifting blame of any perceived or real ill on Obama’s back. This isn’t about politics, this is just racial. And Obama must be the biggest badass of all.

The more I hear of these things, the more concerned I become for the nation. Because if we do not speak about and come to terms with the issues of race that pervade every instance of life in America, we are going to have an explosion. Maybe not during the Obama Administration (though it could be), but at some point in our collective future.

And it will be bad. For everyone.

But what does that quote make you think?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Boycott Fugitive Days: Ayers deserves no profit from terrorism

If in 3 years Osama Bin Laden publishes a book about his attack on the Twin Towers, and his work with Al Quida, would you buy it?

Simple question. I think that most Americans agree that they would not. So why then would anyone buy Bill Ayers book Fugitive Days?

Bill Ayers is releasing the book again after all the media attention generated by the Presidential election.

This media attention is being capitalized on as Ayers has his old book, and a new one, coming out. And in the old book, Fugitive Days, he has added a new portion that discusses his relationship with President Obama.

Now let’s look at what the book actually discusses

“Above all this is not a book for those looking for well-considered facts. This is not a book of dispassion. Some thirty years later Ayers is still trying to justify—as he did then—the core Weatherman belief that some forms of violence are tactically useful to achieve just ends.

…Ayers takes the reader through the townhouse destruction three times in the course of his memoir. His narrative opens with the explosion—or more accurately, his hearing about the explosion in a telephone call placed to a phone booth in a desert location. The second time he relates the explosion in the chronological context of his memoir. A third time he re-imagines the explosion and so reinterprets its significance. The whole point of his memoir, plausibly, is just to set the stage for that final re-imagination.”

So this book is the revisioning of fact, when fact is addressed at all. There is no remorse or apology. There is just the attempt to justify, and promote the ideals of a terrorist. And profit from that re-making of history.

The first try did not sell as well as Ayers hoped I imagine, as the book came out in 2001. It’s hard to justify bombing America when thousands of Americans are dead from a terrorist act. But Ayers is counting on the fact that the MTV generation is too busy to remember just 7 years ago.

I remember. And I understand what Ayers was trying to do in the 1970’s. He wanted to destroy the nation. And he thought his actions were not enough.

''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.''

So I ask you, would you buy a book by an admitted terrorist who has no remorse? Would you help promote the ideals of a terrorist, and provide them profit? Because if so, you would buy a book by Bill Ayers. And that is no different than shaking Osama Bin Laden’s hand and handing him a check over the ruins of the Twin Towers.

If you disagree I’d like to hear why.

But no matter what, I suggest that all my readers, all your friends and co-workers, all Americans boycott the books of Ayers. If you support that I’d really like to hear your comments as well.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

President Obama's first 100 days: a prediction

Ok, now that the Obama election win inspired drunkenness has passed the question for many is what is he going to do. Fantastic speeches, and pointing fingers at the past are wonderful ways to get elected, but mean nothing when you need to lead. What can we discern now?

Well we know that Obama is leaning heavily on his old Chicago political contacts. And so far they have been very non-partisan Democrats. I am speaking of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. So that means that bi-partisan policies are likely going out the window right after President Bush exits the White house door.

This bodes well for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democrat-led Congress. They will have a field day passing all the laws they hoped for. Whether that will be good for the Average American is highly questionable.

Speaker Pelosi is relatively giddy right now, because he 2nd stimulus plan is well on the way of being passed. After her failure to slip the plan into the $700 billion dollar bailout (then only a mere $50 billion plan) without notice – and the failure to fund ACORN and other pro-Democrat organizations with any proceeds from the bailout (instead of paying back Americans) – Pelosi didn’t give up. Her next step was to approach the Bush Administration with a $150 billion stimulus package, right after the auto industry received $25 billion for their woes. When that also failed (something Pelosi has been familiar with) she got quite and waited for after the election. And just as was expected President Obama has promised that a 2nd Stimulus Plan, for at least $300 billion will be passed.

The problem here is that it won’t work and will either increase taxes, the national debt, or both (most likely). Why won’t it work? The same reason the first was a failure. The economy sucks.

The stimulus plans are in essence the equivalent of adding more water to a leaky bathtub. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just gives you more water on the floor. The first time most took the money and paid down on their gas and oil costs. A few were able to lower their credit card debt slightly, and a small portion actually went and bought something.

That was all before several massive banks and brokerages failed, Fannie and Freddie died (to the apparent amazement of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank), several industries started to lay-off jobs or close, and the auto industry walked up to the free money line. And just as many are in danger of losing their homes, if not more.

What will a second Stimulus plan do? Well since gas and oil are cheaper, pay down mortgages, go into the bank savings incase you lose your job, buy extra food in case you lose your job, pay down on the credit card debt in case you lose your job – notice a pattern? Buying Christmas or Easter (depending on when the checks go out) gifts just doesn’t rate very high compared to losing your job, and thus will not promote the economy.

Another thing we can expect that has been stated is higher taxes. Yes the start of that plan is the $250,000 bracket. But with over $1.2 trillion spent this year, and other $837 billion proposed in new program spending, and $300 billion at least of a stimulus plan, higher taxes is not an exclusive tax the rich option. And we know President Obama favors removing the President Bush tax cuts, so that’s 3% more tax for everyone above $31,850. Expect quite a bit more very soon. My guess, a net 7% tax increase across the board.

To go with the higher taxes, expect higher unemployment and inflation. Someone has to pay for the higher cost of business, and corporations will always be the last to accept that bill. So the higher costs of everyday goods and fear of losing a job really kills the stimulus plan – which was a dumb idea in the first place.

To further ensure that the economy rattles at the bottom of the barrel capital gains taxes are going to go higher. This expectation is already hitting the stock market. As I was saying to a friend and former stockbroker

“The smart money is getting out. They started once it was likely that Obama would win the election. They cleared most of their positions before the election, waited for mom and pop to buy into the market before the election to raise prices, and the second President Obama won they started to get all the way out. My bet is that we lose 500 points on or in the week of the inauguration.”

I mean why wouldn’t you hold cash right now. Bond rates are useless, and capital gains taxes means you need a 35% profit just to break-even, which in a good market is tough to nail down.

You can also expect to see even less revenue in the media arena. Because of the Fairness Act, which requires that any talk show or political program must be followed with equal time of the same format for the opposing side. Liberals may love to say that the election was a mandate, but since liberal radio and programs lose money faster than Nancy Pelosi can increase stimulus plan budgeting it seems to be nothing but bluster. Still Air America Radio has a final chance to hit the airwaves again (they went bankrupt in 2 years because no one was listening). Until the loss gets so excessive that radio stations get rid of both liberals and conservatives.

What a great plan. If you can’t get anyone to listen to what you have to say, shut down your opponents from speaking too. Even if people are listening to what they say. Because silence is more fair than debate and criticism. It also helps to cut down on people noticing that your policies do more harm than good.

So far if the prospect of rising inflation, fewer jobs, higher debt, lower stock market, and the continued prospect of losing your home haven’t got you excited - while losing the distraction and/or conversation of talk radio – you can smile at the thought of higher wages. A minimum wage hike is very likely to come early in an Obama Presidency.

The hike must happen early in my opinion because the economy will worsen as the year progresses, and all the goodwill President Obama has will evaporate as fast as stimulus checks hitting the consumer market. But higher employee costs will mean more money the corporations have to pass off to the consumer, and more people that will need to be fired to maintain current (or even slightly reduced) profit levels.

Most of all this are items I expected and discussed prior to the election. And just as I predicted President Obama is following every step of what I mentioned. And the outcome is becoming more of what is obviously a bad plan. But there is something that most did not expect.

There will be no healthcare reform. Not in the first 100 days, not in year 2. The nation can’t afford it. The Government is too inefficient to run it. And because Biden believes that the nation will be under duress within the first 6 months of the Obama Administration, we will be too preoccupied (so much for a President doing more than one thing at a time). That campaign promise is out the window. As is stopping jobs from going overseas. In fact more companies will choose to go to cheaper markets rather than pay the rising cost of staying in America.

So in the first 100 days taxes will go up, as will inflation. The economy will get worse, and the stock market will drop to about 7600 – a true rout. National debt will increase, several more banks will fail. The auto industry will get a bailout of their own (around $100 billion at a guess), and so will AIG (again). Domestic drilling won’t happen, because that would make energy cost cheaper – which President Obama has directly stated he does not want. And we likely will have an international crisis that will bring us close to war, and cause Europe to go bi-polar again and dislike President Obama - though not as much as President Bush.

That’s my prediction of the first 100 days. I hope that I am wrong. I really want President Obama to hit the history books as a great President. I’m selfish and Black. I want to see his historical image live up to his speeches. But his policies as they stand means it won’t happen.

A real long prediction, President Obama loses in 2012 to a Republican. His legacy will be worse than President Carter. Expect inflation at about 15% and unemployment to match. And as I said Average taxes will be at least 7% higher across the board. Hope you’ve been saving money.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Floridians vote to conserve - what's next in the Obama Administration

I am now happy to state that the conservation initiative on the ballot in Florida was passed, with 68.4% of the vote. If I in any way helped voters come to this conclusion I am especially pleased.

Looking forward I would add that I hope that actions of Florida residents leads to similar actions in other states as well. There is no negative in setting aside some land for conservation. Trees are a good thing for everyone. And the bonus of a tax incentive never hurts in a bad economy either.

Looking further forward, we can expect that the Obama administration will seek to further conservation efforts. These will be efforts that will be mixed in the public’s eyes. That is because the plans as stated will be painful to the average American as opposed to plans like that in Florida.

I am speaking directly to 2 things President Obama has been quoted on. The first is his desire to see the cost of energy, specifically electricity, to go higher. The reason for this is to force conservation through lack of funds. The reasoning is that by forcing prices higher, less energy will be used and thus conserve more. The initial step is expected to hurt the economy slightly, in President Obama’s view, and will take a short while for the public to adjust to. Thereafter the benefit will continue and Americans will be comfortable in that environment.

The other item is the recently released tapes of President Obama, before the election, stating that his goal is to effectively cause the creation of coal powered plants to be fiscal suicide. His plans will cause coal power plants to become bankrupt.

This would have several effects. the first is to increase the cost of electricity – explained above. Another would be to limit the amount of power available at any time. Again this would force consumers to use less power to ensure that blackouts and brownouts do not occur. Additionally this would significantly improve the air quality from the U.S.

I am no fan of forced conservation, as you may gather. I believe in education and incentives to mold behavior. Obviously not everyone agrees with that plan.

If President Obama enacts his conservation plans as previously stated, America will consume fewer fossil fuels and help worldwide conservation efforts. And like most types of change some pain will be felt. But such efforts are not enough, even if they are effective.

The world is far more than just America. And while America contributes greatly to the use of fossil fuels, poor air quality, land usage, and waste creation we are not the only cause of these negatives. China and India are increasing their output and consumption of these negatives annually. Even with a drop in U.S. rates, without worldwide attention and conservation efforts China and India alone will soon make up for any decreases in America. That scenario is counter-productive and troubling.

I expect and anticipate the efforts of President Obama and his Administration in speaking with these and other nations. And if I can suggest anything it would be to provide a carrot and not a stick in persuading other nations to curtail their usage rates. Like in Florida, when people are given an alternative and a bit of sugar they take the medicine without complaint.

If you agree with my view, tell your elected officials. Because they will listen even if they don’t have to fear elections for a year.

But if you disagree, or have a better solution, please do share it.

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Ralph Nader insults the Presidency and sets precedence to racial comments

Well today has been a busy day of video editing. I hope those that see my Youtube channel enjoy it. One of the topics I hit on today is the comments of Ralph Nader.

Nader was speaking in reference to President Obama and likened his Presidency as being either for the people or a sell-out to corporations. It is that sell-out potential that I want to focus on.

The words used to describe the potential that Nader fears was

“...or Uncle Tom for giant corporations” - radio station KTRH

Besides the fact that I take great offense to even hinting that our next President could be an Uncle Tom (which is offensive enough to any Black American) is the precedence it provides. This is a comment that is racially based and negatively at that. Its implication is perhaps the most offensive comment I have ever heard directed towards a President.

The office of the Presidency is an honorable one. It is the highest office in the land. And those that occupy it are the representation of America to the world. As such it demands a level of respect.

That does not mean a President is above ridicule, question, and/or criticism. But the manner in which these things are done should have respect for the office is not the individual. Anything less demeans not only the President but the nation as well.

Nader has in a few words insulted America. He has also opened the door to racially belittle the actions of our 44th President before he has even uttered one word of the Oath. This has never happened before to my knowledge.

So what I take from this is the thought that if President Obama acts in any manner in which Nader or others don’t like its fair game to demean him by calling him Uncle Tom or n-word. I don’t mean the average Joe on the street, I mean in the media, press, and pundits. That this is acceptable is to tell the world that it’s ok to demean the President and every other American in the nation.

Can you imagine President Obama pushing for a law that some group dislikes and calling him a dumb coon because of it, on national TV. Or likening him to an n-word on national television if a controversial law passes? Nader has opened that door.

Already I have received comments at Youtube trying to remind me how much Nader has done for the nation and African Americans.

"...more like a metaphor to the point he's making, uncle tom has different connotations). His point is that obama votes and sides with corporate interest because his campaign was pocketed by them.

...Nader is an intellegent man, a great man who has exposed more ills done to blacks than Obama, he's not a raciest, he didn't call him an Uncle Tom and be very honest, i didn't think the uncle tom thing was that necessary." - thediversion77 on Youtube

That’s wonderful that his past is truthfully impressive. That does not take away from what he is doing right now.

And this is not like calling President Bush dumb. This is like cursing the President out.

No President should be subject to this kind of treatment, especially when they have yet to even utter a word. It is harmful to America, and the office of the President. I cannot imagine any justification for such commentary and I can only see these creating rifts in America so wide as to further damage the nation.

Race is not a criterion to judge anyone on. As such it is not a comment that should be casually used to criticize a potential action of a President. And having a respected past is not justification for such actions.

One other thing I would note is that Sheppard Smith of Fox news was correct in confronting Ralph Nader on this comment. I have my own problems when it comes to Smith and certain issues (like his glee over OJ). But he also rightly challenged Nader and offered him an escape route, which Nader denied.

It seems odd to me that Fox News is constantly criticized for its reporting; accused of bias constantly, but over this entire election it has been the only station that has predominantly avoided blatantly using race and/or active promotion to a particular candidate. And this may be why it quickly and directly has questioned Nader on this issue. Because the ramifications of this will show up over the next 4 years. And it will only get worse.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

M V Consulting, Inc. election poll results

For those that were curious about the results of the polls that were on the sites of M V Consulting, Inc. about the presidential election I have the numbers. These polls were on the site for a year, and visitors were able to vote only once each.

The visitors of the M V Consulting, Inc. sites broke down as follows:

  • 28.5% Democrat
  • 53% Republican (not including Michael Vass)
  • 16.3% Independent
  • And believe it or not 2.2% checked of that they didn’t think their vote matters – which I disagree with

  • In addition 84.2% stated they were old enough to vote, 81% had voted before 6% were to young prior and 6% just did not vote. 50% had family members in the military and 17% of those were in Iraq. 83% felt their jobs were not secure.

    29% believed one candidate was a dead-on choice for them, 64% felt one candidate was 50% or more aligned with their views.

    43% felt the next President would affect their daily lives a lot or more, 28% thought the effect would be a little or not at all, and 29% were unsure.

    83% follow politics everyday.

    The top issues affecting America were ranked from most important to least

      Illegal Immigration
      National healthcare
      Foreign Policy
      National Defense
      Race Relations

    Final votes ended up as 64 million votes and 52% overall for President Obama, 56.4 million voters and 46% of overall votes for Senator McCain.

    So do you agree with my readers that voted? Do you feel these results reflect the concerns and attitudes of the nation?

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    Speeches from President Obama and Senator McCain on election night

    For those that missed it, here are the speeches made by Senator McCain and President Obama after the election results were announced.

    Senator McCain Concedes

    President Obama victory speech pt 1

    President Obama victory speech pt 2

    Both were very good speeches. I though Senator McCain was exceptionally gracious and supportive of President Obama.

    President Obama set the bar high. Let's hope that he can match or exceed it.

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    Abortion and the 2008 election - results

    The Presidential election was not the only thing that was decided in the elections on November 4th. Across the nation several states debated one of the more controversial issues in America since at least the 1970’s. Abortion.

    The issue at hand in Colorado, South Dakota, and California essentially was the banning of abortion in all forms. As of 12pm I can say that in Colorado and South Dakota the ballot initiatives were soundly defeated. But California was still up in the air.

    In Colorado the question for voters was

    Defining “person” as at the moment of fertilization

    This was defeated with a resounding 73% of no votes. So in Colorado, and as a legal example for the moment in the nation, life still begins at birth.

    In South Dakota the question to voters was

    Ban abortion except in the case of rape and/or the endangerment of the health of the mother [ie she will die otherwise]

    Voters in this less dense than average state also rallied together for a 55% no vote. Obviously voters there feel that there are other reasons and circumstances that need to be included in any consideration of abortion.

    But in California one of the most debated issues was on the ballot

    Waiting period and notify parents of a minor prior to an abortion

    As I stated that as of midnight this had not been resolved. This does not ban abortions, for minors or anyone else, but it is felt by some to overly restrict access to abortions. Effectively it achieves the same end as a ban. Considering how liberal California is on many issues this could go in any direction.

    But overall no real headway has been made in the debate on abortion. It is still legal, and many find fault with the degree – or existence – that this medical procedure is used to.

    With the election of a Democratic Congress, and an extremely liberal Democratic President who will likely replace at least 1 or 3 Supreme Court Justices there seems no question that nationally abortion will be here to stay. At least for 1 more year on a state by state level.

    Do you agree with those votes? How would you voted on the California ballot?

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    President Obama - the expectations start now

    President Obama has won the 2008 election. I am as elated by that news as any African American or minority in America right now. But at the same time I am looking at what the nation said last night.

    At 6pm initial exit poll results started to flow and there were several important facts that were provided by the polls, granted that the information was slanted as all exit polls have been shown to be.

    While 93% stated that the economy was negative right now, only 47% thought the economy would improve in 2009 and 40% supported the $700 billion bailout package that is still working it’s way into the economy. This bailout may be part of the reason that 73% disapproved of the job the Democrat-led Congress has done. And it may also be part of the reason that 70% predict that taxes will be higher under President Obama.

    And that’s the important thing to note. The economy was the single most important issue among those polled. 62% felt the economy was priority #1. It was that thought and the thought that Senator McCain would continue the policies of President Bush (50%) resonated with the masses along with the feeling that President Obama was in touch with them (57%).

    Honestly these are dumb reasons.

    Several key Democrats presided over the downfall of the mortgage crisis, thus directly requiring a bailout, which had it’s creation in the Democratic policies of President Clinton and Democrats pushing loans to people that did not qualify to receive them. Somehow this escaped the public notice. As did the thought that there is nothing to stop a Democratic President with a liberal agenda and voting record, backed by a Democratic Congress, from creating more bad policies that even more Democrats may ignore in favor of Party unity in a time of an economic downturn.

    $1.2 trillion dollars may well look cheap before the next 4 years are up. Especially since President Obama has promised to expand the Government by $837 billion and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is waiting for the inauguration to present a $300 billion stimulus plan (at least, it may be higher by then based on her comments). That means 2009 may well start with a Congress approved budget, passed without consideration in full, with a stimulus plan that doesn’t work in an economic downturn. That’s another $1.1 trillion and that does not include anything necessary yet. And all of it must be paid by the American public at some point soon.

    Still 51% felt that Obama’s policies were just right (obviously they didn’t have a calculator handy), though the polls also showed that 60% felt that Senator John McCain and not President Obama has the experience to traverse things properly.

    And for those like Harry Reid that want to say that President Obama was elected as a statement of the people, the polls (which skew Democratic) stated that only 30% of voters picked President Obama because he shared their views. That’s piss poor low. What is more accurate and clear is that voters made a statement about President Bush – whose disapproval was just 2 points better than Congress at 73%. Sadly he wasn’t the one that was up for election so the point is moot.

    It was the economy, and the promise of President Obama to provide money to low income Americans even if they don’t file taxes that made the election – which was stated in the poll by the 51% that thought the Government should do more to solve problems. So the more that pundits and politicians alike explained why this plan to offer the equivalent of welfare at the cost of the economy, the more it guaranteed a win for President Obama. For the 81% that feared that their family finances would be hurt by the mortgage crisis/credit crunch, it was like manna.

    Don’t get me wrong, millions were voting in this election (in excess of 105 million by the last count I saw). Not all of those that voted agreed with all of the above. But more than enough did to provide President Obama with the win. Also in that group are Americans that voted for Obama based on race – some 47% believing that President Obama would mean an improvement in race relations for the nation. That part I hope is true, both for selfish and national reasons.

    But while the electoral vote was huge, and will be the focus of comments by Democrats in justifying their agenda and giddy news media, the popular vote was quite close. For most of the race up until the well after 11:39pm there was only a 3% difference in votes (which was the margin I had previously mentioned I thought would decide the election). This was no landslide victory.

    The nation is still as center-right as it was yesterday. But it will be lead by a left of center Government in the Executive, Legislative, and potentially by the end of 4 years Judicial branches. That means higher inflation, higher taxes, Government run healthcare (equal in stature and performance to the way the VA is run), retreat from Iraq and likely Afghanistan, legal abortion at any stage (so effectively an alternative contraceptive), gay marriage, public votes for unions, higher electricity costs, and no nuclear power. Oh I forgot fewer coal plants, higher demand for electricity due to electric car mandates and less supply, more ethanol gluts, and limited if any domestic drilling.

    Doubt me if you will but just keep track of these items as the next 4 years go by. In fact I expect the 111th Congress to vote on these 4 items in January or February

      2nd stimulus plan
      Tax code change for people below $200,000 - $250,000 and corporations and investments
      End of secret ballots for unions
      Passing the Fairness Doctrine – effectively either limiting free speech that does not express liberal views or glutting media with liberal speech that would not make it without Government intervention

    Some may find all the above appealing. But almost half the nation did not, and with reason. Reasons we all may well learn very quickly.

    Not to mention the crisis that Vice President Biden promised to occur. And that President Obama would seemingly fail at, again as VP Biden promised.

    But I could be wrong. The economy could rebound without help, or inflation and slowdown. The stock market might not sell off another 1000 points by the end of the inauguration in January. Americans might just go right out and spend all the credit they can find this holiday season and Wind energy may become effective in 6 months (much to the benefit of Nancy Pelosi’s stock account). I hope I am wrong.

    Because I honestly want the First Black President to be the greatest President ever. I want him to be seen as a strong leader. A world leader that will defend America with force if pushed, with wisdom to improve – or at least stabilize – the economy. A President that lifts the nation such that teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates fall lower. A President that inspires small business start-ups and job creation. And if he can convince China to join us in cleaning the earth, and ensure quality healthcare I’d love it.

    Throw in reparations and an apology for slavery and I’d be tickled pink.

    But we all know that isn’t going to happen. But we will get change. And I will blog about the positives, negatives, promises kept and broken. And I’m more than willing to eat crow and say I was wrong – especially if the First Black President can sustain history in the manner I described above.

    We will see. It all starts in 76 days.

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    President Barack Obama

    At 11pm, with the announcement of California, Senator Obama has garnered 297 electoral votes and is thus the next President of the United States.

    It is a historic moment. Millions never expected to be alive on the day that a Black man could be President. 389 years ago all of the African Americans ancestors were considered property, 143 years ago we became free and recognized by law as equal to any other human being - as we should always have been.

    It has been a huge change in the past few centuries. And it has been accomplished by an extraordinary man. No matter what you may think of his political ideas, there can be no question that Obama is the embodiment of a different America than even just 10 years ago.

    This is the First Black President. President Obama has broken the highest ceiling in the nation. He has become a symbol that truely, finally, in the most real sense any American can grow up and become anything they choose to be if they strive hard enough for it.

    This is a night to celebrate. It is a moment of history I cannot bring to words. It is something that will resonate for lifetimes.

    I hope that this will signal a growth in America. In our culture and society. I hope it is the first step in a future that regardless of economics and othe issues brings about the end of the race issues that have plagued America since our birth.

    Tomorrow is another day, and we can dispute the politics then. But tonight there is only one thing to say.

    World, say hello to the 44th President of the United States, President Barack Obama.

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    Presidential election update at 9:30

    So far the votes are on-going, but at least Fox News currently calls the election 200 - 90. With the loss of Ohio to Obama, McCain virtually needs the entire mid-west and west coast to win the election.

    While the electoral vote leans strongly to Obama, the popular vote is a near total tie. Currently it's 15.9 million to 15.8 million. So while the electoral vote is in favor of Democrats the people are evenly divided.

    If Obama continues to hold out the lead he has currently, which seems likely, that means that we will have a Democratic President, who is the most extreme liberal in the Senate. He is also the 4th most partisan Senator. But once elected the facts will no longer matter.

    I am not too happy right now, and I'm making plans for where I need to move my money as I expect a 500 point drop in the stock market by January and another 500 right after the inauguration.

    But it's not over, and McCain still is in the running. Florida, California, Texas, and many other States have yet to be called - or even close voting.

    More soon

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    First set of exit poll results in the Presidential election

    The early results are starting to come in. At 5:30 the first exit poll results I have heard of (from Fox News) have been announced for Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia. These results are based on 10% of the vote. As with all exit polls there is a tendency to exaggerate Democratic results, and at this early a stage nothing is concrete.

    So if you haven’t voted yet, there is still time. Don’t let early poll results sway your choice. Any result at this point will change, guaranteed.

    But that said here are the results.

    47% expect that race relations will improve if Obama is elected President

    70% are fear/expect another terror attack

    62% are worried about healthcare

    68% favor domestic (offshore) drilling

    70% expect higher taxes if Obama is elected

    In addition the voting is turning out with 10% new voters and likely will hit 130+ million voters this year – short of my hoped 150 million but a record. So far 36% of all voters have been White men.

    With 10% of the vote as represented by exit polls, not actual votes,

    Indiana – 73% for Obama
    Ohio – 69% for Obama
    Virginia – 63% for Obama

    Of the White male vote, which is an Obama weak point

    Indiana – 44% for Obama
    Ohio – 47% for Obama
    Virginia – 39% for Obama

    Late deciders may be very critical in the eventual tallies. So far it seems that late deciders made up their minds within the last 3 days and account for 7% of the vote.

    Indiana – 52%
    Ohio – 54%
    Virginia – 44%

    Based on all this little can be said for sure. If this trend continues Virginia will go to McCain. Ohio might slip to Obama. Indiana is a toss up. But it seems that late deciders are very mixed on who they chose.

    No data on Black voters, women, age groups, or any other category has been released yet.

    More throughout the night.

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    Presidential candidate quotes to start your voting jucies

    As we all head out to vote today, and I do urge all my readers that are American citizens to vote, I stopped to notice a couple of the better quotes of this Presidential election. Now I won’t go all the way back to the Primaries, just looking at the McCain and Obama campaigns since they each got the nomination.

    Each of these quote reflects an aspect of the candidates. And I think these sum up my thoughts about the campaign well. I invite you all to send in your favorite quote as well. I’ll add them up and let you know what is the winning vote (not counting my selection) and if that matches the winning candidate.

    Should be interesting.

    From best to bottom for me are:

      Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. – Senator John McCain during debate with Obama

      I don't know what's next. By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. – Senator Obama on the question of his socialist ideals

      I'm looking forward to meeting [Joe Biden]. I've never met him. I've been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like, the second grade. – Gov. Sarah Palin

      Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left. – Senator McCain stump comment

      I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. – Gov. Sarah Palin at RNC

      What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you. – Senator Obama at DNC

      I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody. – Senator Obama to Joe the plumber

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    As time flies before election, questions arise like a wave

    The eve before the Presidential election. And the media is losing it’s mind.

    As I was playing in my Monday night 8-ball pool tournament (I’m currently 12 for 12) and happened to look up at the television. It was about 7:30 and on ABC News there was George Stephanopoulos and a reporter. The 2 were discussing projections of who will win the Senate races in various states. This is a day before anyone has voted!

    Tell me how ABC is not influencing voters a day before they go to vote. All of this ‘projection’ was based on the early votes made so far. And the early vote is never the majority of a State’s vote. Just doesn’t happen. So they are telling the public what might well amount to blatant lies once votes are done on Tuesday. Unless they influence the voters to not show up, since the outcome has already been decided – by that news media organization.

    While ABC News is busy trying to garner Democratic votes, in an act that has never occurred in an election ever before, there is more news hitting the air.

    Senator Obama has apparently stated that he will bankrupt coal power plants. This of course will drive electricity costs through the roof and leave tens of thousands unemployed. I’m shocked that this has been so well hidden up til now.

    This goes along with the plans of Senator Biden to end coal power usage

    The defenders of Senator Obama will rant away about Fox News publishing this video and how not to trust Fox News, but those are Obama’s words coming out of his mouth. The same is true of the video of Biden.

    I have raised these issues before over the summer. This is not new information. But for some reason Senator Obama was never connected with what he has said.

    Under an Obama Administration the American public will pay more for electricity, as a punishment and a means for reducing energy use. In the next video you don’t need to pay attention to the editorial words added, just listen to what Obama says.

    Again these are the words of Senator Obama.

    When you go to vote tomorrow remember these facts:

    • Obama is in favor of higher electricity prices to force people to conserve energy
    • Obama is aware that his plans could cause higher unemployment and difficulty for Americans
    • Obama is aware that the higher costs would be felt directly by Americans and not corporations
    • Obama promises to raise costs of corporate taxes, but does not believe this will be passed on to the public
    • Obama does not believe that the higher unemployment will affect America negatively since he will take money from Americans to give to Americans he chooses
    • Obama disagrees with secret ballots, at least when it comes to unions
    • Obama supports spending more money the Government doesn’t have to create another stimulus plan (Nancy Pelosi’s idea, cost $300 billion and increasing, did you notice how well the last one worked, and you will pay for that from taxes)
    • Obama defends Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the others responsible for lying to the public in July about how safe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were – the failure of which led to the bailout you will pay for in upcoming years
    • Obama’s foreign policy plans are disputed by his Vice Presidential pick Biden
    • Obama voted in March 2008 to raise the taxes of every American making $31,850 or more
    • Obama believes the Government that can’t run the post office or the VA can make better healthcare decisions than you can
    • Obama believes the Government can run a healthcare department efficiently, yet there has never been a department or agency of the Government that has cost less than the year before in 40 years – paid for with your taxes
    • Obama has never explained his relationship with the self-admitted terrorist William Ayers – who helped launch Obama’s political career
    • Obama and Biden routinely punish news agencies that ask questions they don’t like – Florida television, and newspapers alike can’t ask questions any more even if you want an answer to that question

    Every item is something I have covered about Obama since 2007. Every item can be found on my blog, or you can search the net and verify it yourself. Every single item is an important issues for the next President of America.

    Are these issues you can live with?

    You get one vote, make it wisely. Be informed.

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    Monday, November 03, 2008

    Tread softly, a hero has passed

    Sad news for the nation today. We lost a true hero, John Ripley. He was 69.

    Some may be wondering who was this man, what did he do you might be asking. He did more than what anyone could have been expected to do under circumstances that would cause many to fail.

    John Ripley was a Retired Marine Colonel during Viet Nam. In 1972, under heavy enemy fire he blew up a bridge stopping the advance of 200 enemy tanks. Don’t underestimate what that means.

    When I say under heavy fire, Col. Ripley had a mere 600 men that were tasked with stopping 20,000 North Vietnamese soldiers and the 200 tanks with them. The odds they were under were considered such that the orders given to them were hold and die.

    Hold and die. Think about that. How many people today could ever consider living up to an order like that? How many could accept such an order?

    I have an answer that many people today don’t want you to recognize. Virtually every single man and woman in our Armed Forces today. I would say that every Marine would and I have no doubt in all the other military forces of the nation, but I make exception of the brother Marines out there.

    With all the noise of groups like and Code Pink, and idiots like those in Berkley and San Francisco that want to hide our soldiers return home at their airports or refuse to let them perform their actions in their cities, you might miss the fact that America still has heroes. Some are older like Senator McCain, some have passed like Col. Ripley, but have no doubt that many are alive and serving our nation today.

    I did not know Col. Ripley, but I am proud to know that my father and I have worn the same uniform as he once did. I am proud to know that there are others that love our nation enough to potentially receive orders as severe as hold and die.

    It is because of men and women like that who allow me and all Americans the luxury of writing our blogs without fear of death or torture from Government secret police or worse. It is because of those in uniform today that on Tuesday we will elect a new leader of the nation for the next 4 years in peace.

    I ask you all to honor the memory and actions of men like Col. Ripley, and the men and women serving our nation today, on Tuesday. Go out and vote. Exercise the Right they bleed and die for.

    Because supporting our troops is not about just polispeak to get votes in my eyes. It’s an obligation we owe those that have held and died; and will do so tomorrow while the rest of us sit at home and gripe about cable television costing so much.

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    Picking a President doesn't make you more or less Black

    I find it interesting as we come upon the 2008 election to reflect on what has occurred in this year. From the surprising Democratic Primaries up til now there has been a shift in politics that will never be undone. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime, and now I look forward to the fact that it will happen again and again.

    Obviously I am speaking about Senator Obama, his rise in prominence, and the potential of his becoming the First Black President.

    It’s a proud moment for every African American. Especially for those of us that have lived decades without the chance even being a glimmer in possibility. This in many ways is the culmination of the struggles of the 1960’s.

    To bad that I won’t vote for him.

    And that is the big thing. I have been slammed by associates, readers, and too many others on this one point. The non-acceptance of my decision to not vote for Obama has been a sledgehammer in my blogs and my personal life. You would think I was stabbing someone.

    This has been a very personal election, unlike any other in my life. I’ve been questioned, insulted, disputed, and more often than not cursed. Were it not happening to me I’d even say it was sort of funny.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told I’m not Black. That I’ve done something wrong. That writing about the issues, and noting the problems I have with Obama’s policies is somehow a disservice to my race. I’ve even been told I’m un-American. And of course there have been more than a few racists that have misused my words and thoughts for their own twisted ends.

    But tonight I was just sitting back writing and listening to my MP3 (I bought my first one just this year) and James Brown’s Say It Loud came up. I listened to the lyrics several times and then read them.

      Uh! With your bad self!

      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!

      Some people say we've got a lot of malice
      Some say it’s a lot of nerve
      But I say we won't quit moving until we get what we deserve
      We have been bucked and we have been scorned
      We have been treated bad, talked about as just bones
      But just as it takes two eyes to make a pair, ha
      Brother we can’t quit until we get our share

      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
      One more time!
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!

      I worked on jobs with my feet and my hand
      But all the work I did was for the other man
      Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
      We're tired of beatin' our head against the wall
      And workin' for someone else

      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud

      We're people, we're just like the birds and the bees
      We'd rather die on our feet
      Than be livin' on our knees

      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
      Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud

    I’m Black Puerto Rican and I’m Proud. I’m also insulted that I have to make such a statement because of my political beliefs.

    I have worked hard, lived through fights, slurs, been denied jobs, and been homeless twice. I’ve gained an education, never been hooked on drugs, lived overseas, been part of the military, and helped more than a few on my path to where I am today. And every day I’ve lived I woke up as Black Puerto Rican as the day before. I have no illusions, and no problems with that.

    But to try to discredit my lineage and birthright because of a political position is just absurd. It pisses me off.

    This election is not about righting the wrongs of racism, segregation or any other race based issue past or present. Obama is not Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or any other civil rights activist. Electing Obama will not suddenly make police forces in L.A., New York, Philadelphia or anywhere in the nation treat Black, or any other racial and ethnic group, any better than the day before. And racists won’t wake up with larger minds or a better understanding of humanity.

    I respect and admire Senator Obama. He’s accomplished things I wouldn’t try to do. The fear of being murdered, especially before I could enact positive change on some issues is too strong in me. He is going for it anyway and that takes balls.

    But that does not mean I must follow blindly and accept his every word and policy as best because he said so. His path was no less difficult or extraordinary than my own, and that of millions of other non- and White Americans. As such he is subject to the same critique as anyone. In fact I would consider myself much less of a man, and less of a Black Puerto Rican, if I did not judge him in the same way I would anyone else.

    Listen to that song. James Brown didn’t ask for any corners cut. He didn’t demand obedience to a color, in fact he demands the opposite. He demands that we empower ourselves and live by the standards we create. That everyone that meets us shows the same respect and dignity that we exemplify individually and as a group.

    And when I have lived a life of just that, how dare anyone try to denigrate me for that.

    Obviously I am speaking about a few people. Many have sound reasons for believing in Obama. Many never considered race and they came to a separate decision than mine. And I respect that.

    But that’s not who I am talking about.

    I’m talking about the people that loved me when I supported Senator Obama over Senator Clinton in the Democratic Primaries. They also ignored my support of Fred Thompson and Senator McCain at the time. They ignored my strong Republican views. They only saw my race and that of Obama. Some where White, and some where not.

    It’s those same people that have abandoned my blogs, or attacked them since. And I have to wonder how they came to see me as any less of a man, no matter my color.

    When America comes to a point where race is more important than the man or the message, the nation is in trouble. Just as the nation was falling in the late 50’s and 60’s the same threat still exists. And when that same color-focused blinders are on and any deviation is attacked we return to the same dangers that existed a mere 40 years ago.

    Maybe I’ve followed this election for too many years, been too involved in trying to cover the facts that too few have the time to see. Maybe I’m up to late every night and day for you my readers. Maybe I need a vacation as my skin is getting a bit thin.

    So yes I’m venting. But as that may be, I’ll get some sleep and be back at it tomorrow like I have for years now. I hope to see you all then.

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