Sunday, September 16, 2018

Media Bias Must be Addressed

Media fairness has become a "hot button issue!"

It is also an extremely complicated issue. Primarily because much of today's media is "for pay."

In "E" is for English, I proposed a "media fairness board" which would determine if a certain media slant would constitute bias. Later, I pondered over the question, "how would you do this?"

The 1st Amendment is where it begins. Which translates to "no censorship." That's the law; as it should be! No matter what we may think about an opposing opinion, that person or organization rending that opinion has the constitutional right of free speech.

People often forget that much of our media is for pay. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, One America News, News Max all will cost you a few pennies per month as part of a Cable T.V. package.

Viewers may not like Morning Joe, Chris Mathews or Don Lemon any more than they like Sean Hannity, Heath Ledger or Laura Ingram! But because they paid for the programming, there is no recourse for bias, other than not buying.

Same holds true for Newspapers and Magazines. If there is even the smallest purchase price, access is for compensation.

The rub comes with the "over the air" broadcast vehicles. Namely, the networks. In about 30% of America's homes, there is no cable TV. "Free" stations that can be accessed by simply having a television, are the options.

Why is this relevant?

As an industry, Broadcasting has not been with us for a century. At inception is was a curious new entity that could reach masses instantly, simultaneously. Soon there was a mad scramble for frequencies. By the mid- 1920's, the airwaves were becoming endless static from too many people trying to broadcast.

In 1927 Congress passed The Radio Act, which required licensing of a frequency. The Federal Radio Commission, which initially oversaw the Radio Act, later gave way to the Federal Communications Commission seven years later.

Most of the rest is history. The original act did not allow censorship. Programming could not include "obscene, indecent or profane," language. I recall as a boy watching public service announcements detailing "the Television code."

In the late 1930's New Dealers were successful in implementing "the Fairness Doctrine." This was later abolished because it proved to be a method of censoring paid sponsors that otherwise complied to the "code."

The sixties roared in with the Kennedy-Nixon debate and later with graphic footage of the Viet Nam conflict. America became better informed. In many cases the results were not welcomed.

I recall watching the 1980 Republican primary, only because I was hospitalized while recovering from an automobile accident. Mississippi Baptist Medical Center had only ABC, NBC and CBS. All three networks were covering the convention, non-stop. If you weren't interested, you were simply out of luck!

All of them were there: Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Sam Donaldson and the big names of the time. Subtle was their assessment of Ronald Reagan and what was dubbed, "The Reagan Revolution." The message that I seemed to get from all was that Reagan's ideas, while curious, were neither feasible or practical.

The decade closed with bumper stickers mildly touting a perceived bias toward the left. The bumper sticker most remembered was "Rather Biased."

The 1990's will be remembered as a time when millions of over the air viewers departed the networks in favor of cable news. Fox News immediately set themselves apart as the "only true conservative voice." It attracted millions of news viewers with this positioning statement. Meanwhile, CNN lost it's lead in the Cable News world.

By the middle of the last decade, an astonishing number of Americans had left network news altogether, disgusted with perceived bias.

Today, it a fair statement to say that CBS, ABC and NBC are at best, "left leaning." Dangerous is when 30% of the American population only has access to these sources for their national news.

The original 1927 act stated that the "airwaves belong to the people." That could be interpreted that they can exhibit no political bias. The question becomes "where" you draw the line between "prohibiting bias" and "facilitating censorship?"

There is no easy answer!

I recall the oath that took in joining Sigma Delta Chi(The Society of Professional Journalists). It specified "serving the public in a measured, responsible and unbiased manner."

Today's mainstream media advocates "Globalism." This is an opinion. The MSM positions it as an axiom, essentially the norm in a world growing more interconnected.

Do they have the right to do this? Actually, no! Unless they fairly illustrate the alternative: "Nationalism."

Same holds true for "faith based" versus "Secularism."

The airwaves belong to the people, under original and existing law. All, of the people.

How do you police this? Or, CAN you even police it?

I don't think we can NOT police it.

How?

Nineteen(19) non-partisan media veterans would be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They would swear an oath to defend the standard specified by Sigma Delta Chi. It would apply only to the broadcast networks.

Local affiliates would be exempted; unless they owned more than a total of seven television properties, seven a.m. and seven f.m. stations. This condition would greatly anger media giants such as Clear Channel Communication and Sinclair Broadcasting.

First citation, the offender would be given a warning. Second offense, their license would be revoked and sold to the highest bidder. For stockholders, this would amount to nothing short of a "financial holocaust." The stock would be worth only what the real estate was worth. Many would be out of work, with no recourse.

Too excessive?

Hot hardly! These media "elites" are effectively influencing millions to one way of thinking. There is nothing wrong with information. But, it must be made available in a fair and balanced manner.

We cannot place one opinion above another, when the airwaves belong to all of us.





























Sunday, September 9, 2018

Who Benefits From the Tax Cut. Who Doesn't

A friend from Los Angeles County recently told me that his Malibu Home was assessed at $7,000,000. His property taxes per year were north of $87,000.

"Up until the Trump tax cuts, I could deduct it all. Now, I am limited to $10,000. I am screwed!" He professed.

He was speaking of the historic 2017 legislation that cut corporate taxes from 35% to 21% and average American's about $2100 per year. The $10,000 limit was a cumulative tax exemption that could include property and state income taxes.

A low taxed state, such as Florida, Georgia, Tennessee or Texas benefited. High tax states such as California, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts didn't.

As President Obama reminded, "elections have consequences."

This will be a big piece of the Republican midterm message going into the homestretch.

Kentucky is a good testing ground. The Commonwealth has a property tax that hovers between eight and twelve mills. Translated, if you live in a $450,000 home in Richmond, you pay nine mills, or $4050 per year. If your family makes $119,000 per year, you will pay $7,021 in state income taxes.

This family deducts $1107 less in state and local taxes than under the old plan. However, a married couple, will see their standard deduction jump from $12,000 to $24,000.

In Miami, a $450,000 house will generally run about $8,000 in property taxes. But, there is no state income tax.

The gentleman in Malibu was making $250,000 per year. His state income tax tab was $27,250 or so. More local taxes, excluding gasoline taxes kicked in another 5k. In all, he was paying almost $120,000 per year in state and local taxes. Previously, this could all be deducted before the paid his federal taxes. Now, it is capped at $10,000.

"All roads lead to Nashville!" This was the Malibu gentleman's assessment!

So goes the high taxed states!

Now, we look at a married couple with two children in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They make a comfortable $140,000 between them. They live in a home in the Northeast end of he county assessed at $395,000. Their total property tax tab is $3400 per year. Their total state income tax is south of $2900. Other taxes including personal property taxes add about $700 to the total.

Clearly, the people in the high tax states took a pounding! The people in the low tax states benefited.

Returning to Kentucky 6th District, where Richmond falls. Most people don't live in $450,000 homes. In fact, most families don't live in $225,000 homes. The average household income is less than half of $119,000 per year.

Kentucky's 6th district has a lot of small, "Mom and Pop" type business'. They are mostly Limited Liability Corporations. Now, corporations are taxed at 21%, instead of 35%.

Interestingly enough, Kentucky 6th Congressional Midterm reflects very different views held by Democrat Amy McGrath and Republican, Andy Barr.

Barr supported the President's tax cuts. As he pointed out, the average person in 6th district greatly benefits. A couple making $119,000 per year, living in a $450,000 house comes out ahead. And they represent the top 5%. Families earning less benefit even more.

McGrath opposed the tax cuts and wants to repeal them. This might appear curious, considering that the cuts benefit nearly all of the district she seeks to represent! But, Amy's financial support comes mostly from the East and West Coast. Without question, repeal would greatly benefit San Francisco and Boston!

Many, if not most in America, are unclear of the consequences in repealing versus making permanent the tax cuts. Boston and San Francisco seek to "hoodwink" sufficient numbers of "deplorables in flyover America" into voting for their implanted "moles."

In Kentucky 6th's case, they bank on Amy's impressive military resume to effectively camouflage her liberal agenda. Her positions on the tax cuts are the litmus test.

Kentucky won with Trump's tax cuts. Big!

California, Massachusetts and other high tax states, lost. Big!

As they say in Richmond, "often it comes down to flushing the snake from the wood pile." Replacing Barr with McGrath would be a classic example of 6th District "shooting itself in the foot."

The tax cuts amount to a wealth transfer, from state to state. The low tax states got tired of making allowances for the high tax states to exempt themselves from proportionate federal income tax contributions.

"Why high tax states should simply cut their taxes," is another topic for a different post. Change comes grudgingly, if at all.

The midterm results will come down to "how many moles," like Amy McGrath, will the coastal elites successfully place in low tax districts. It won't take many.






Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Dark Side of America

My friend, Tom(a pseudonym) shared a frustratingly familiar story.

"I get a call from someone from Direct TV. He tells me that I owe $397. When I asked him to explain "what for," he said he could not discuss the account with me. I asked to speak to his supervisor.

"Forty-minutes and four transfers later, I was speaking to someone who explained, in a cultured far east accent, that the bill was for equipment not returned." Tom mused.

"And?"

"I was ready for them this time!" Tom produced a wrinkled certified mail receipt from his wallet. It was dated April 2010.

"You kept it all this time?" I couldn't help but smile.

"Damn sure did." Tom laughed caustically. "When I bought my house, it came up. They would have made me pay it, had I not produced this piece of paper. They were saying that I didn't return the box. But, this showed proof that I did. Someone had signed for it."

"Smart move." I applauded.

"Yeah, but it stayed on my bureau until a couple of years ago!"

Tom was noting the "84 month rule." Any reporting to the credit bureaus, not bankruptcy related, must be deleted at the end of seven years.

Tom's poignant recount brought back a similar experience. In this case, a 78-year-old man with respiratory issues was admitted to an Eastern Kentucky hospital. When checked in, he told the admittance clerk that he would be turning the claim over to Medicare.

Three days later, he was released. The hospital's charge for the services was $4500. The Medicare pricing schedule reduced them to $3200. The man and his wife had an excellent Medicare supplement policy, which picked up co-pays and deductibles.

One month later, the wife received an invoice from the hospital. It was billing the couple the difference: $1300.

Angrily, the woman called their insurance agent, who had sold them the supplemental policy. She was surprised to hear his response.

"Don't pay it." The agent retorted."You don't owe it. The hospital signed a waiver, conforming to Medicare's pricing schedule."

The woman happily called the hospital, letting them know that she didn't intend to pay it. Three months later, she received another call. It was from Midland Credit.

"Yeah, there was this fellow,' the man chimed in, producing a letter from the San Diego based collection agency. "I couldn't understand him very well. He told us we owed $1300."

"And then?" I had an idea where this was going.

"Well, I was "peeowed" with our insurance guy!" The woman snapped. "He had told us that we didn't owe anything. And now, this Jerry guy, or whatever, from this Midland company said that we owed $1300. That's a lot of money."

"Jerry from New Delhi, as we called him." The man guffawed.

"Did you say something to your insurance man?" I asked.

"We certainly did!" The man continued. "And he said that Jerry was wrong and he would get to the bottom of it. And.."

"He called the hospital." The woman interrupted. "He said he couldn't get through to anyone. Finally, he sent a certified letter to the doctor who had done the treatment."

"And?"

"The doctor called in the Head of Accounting." The man remembered. "Come to find out, a nine-dollar-an-hour clerk had taken it upon herself to turn the account over to a collection agency."

"What happened then?" I asked, guessing he answer.

"The Head of Accounting didn't even know of the action." The woman picked up the saga. "She called that clerk in, asked her why she had taken the action and she said, "those people said they weren't going to pay." So, I turned them over for collection."

"From what our insurance guy said, both the Doctor and the Head of Accounting were furious that the clerk had turned the account over to a collection agency without first getting clearance. They fired her." The man concluded.

"Yet, all three bureaus are still reporting a $1300 unpaid balance." I sympathized, having experienced Midland previously. "90% of Midland is automation. 99% of their live help is offshore. Even when they learn something is wrong, they do little to correct it."

"These companies know that a $1300 unpaid debt can ruin your credit." The man nodded ruefully. "They figured we'd just pay regardless."

According to Salt Lake City based, Lexington Law, 79% of Americans have at least one error on their credit bureau. 67% have more than one. In most cases, the reporting is either a cell phone, cable company, utility company, municipality or medical provider. In some instances, the amount allegedly owed is less than $50.

An FHA Underwriter, Nancy(a pseudonym)echoed. "When we see a medical on a collection, we do not require a borrower to pay it. But, it noticeably impacts their score. A 625 score versus a 725 score can result in a person paying 12 or 13% versus five or six percent for a car loan.

"These Fortune 500 companies say they are sensitive to these issues. But, they are crying crocodile tears, laughing all the way to the bank!"

One often wonders "how much extra" are Americans are paying for their money, due to artificially lowered credit scores...

It's true that the three major repositories, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian are huge, mostly automated "ivory towers," where access is limited, if not non-existent. Even, for the best of Financial Services professionals! The Average American? "ROTSA RUCK!"

Last spring, I broached Kentucky 6th District Aide, Kevin Wysoki on the subject. Congressman, Andy Barr does sit on the House Financial Services Committee. It would appear to be the ideal place to start.

Barr faces an unexpected Midterm challenge from Bernie Sanders surrogate, Amy McGrath.

Wysoki listened attentively to my proposal. I am not well acquainted with the young, New Yorker. But, he mentioned that the issue had come up, unexpectedly from Minnesota Congressman, now Attorney General Candidate, Keith Ellerson.

I am uncertain if the proposal went anywhere. I have not heard back from Wysoki.

The proposal included some key points, that if implemented, would correct what some are now calling, "Americas second greatest national problem," only surpassed by the health insurance question.

A. No, non-bankruptcy reports after five years(Currently it's seven years).
B. Reports not allowed for debts under $100
C. No deficiency settlements reported.
D. $1000 fine per line for any satisfied debt setlement not reported 30 days from rectification.
E. 100% preclusion for any and all "offshore" debt recovery agents.

Article "E" may be a bit confusing. Many debt recovery representatives are not stateside. Same holds true for a lot of employees of Fortune 500 companies, ranging from J.P Morgan Chase to A.T & T.

Many of these employees have impeccable credentials. But they are not vetted with the same rigor as those working stateside, in the same capacity. I work in the Financial Services industry. Every two years, I must be fingerprinted. My prints are subsequently sent to the FBI in Washington, D.C., to check for felonies or misdemeanors involving banking, real estate, insurance or securities fraud.

"Jerry from New Delhi" isn't subjected to this kind of scrutiny. Best of all, Jerry is inexpensive; $200-$300 per month! From the C.E.O.'s table, "if Jerry screws up, it'll amount to the consumer paying more for his money."

In essence, the consumer loses! This is another example of Donald Trump's assertion that "the system is rigged against average Americans."

As Tom acidly praised, "The Fortune 500 companies are compromising both accuracy, and the security of Americans, for a buck!"

This is truly, "the dark side of America."

Concerning my proposal to Congressman Barr's aide? Who knows!

Kentucky's 6th District Constituents are mostly a mixture of Conservative Populists, Conservative Evangelicals, Traditional Southern Democrats(AKA "bluedogs") and a tiny contingent of mostly transient left wingers who have recently settled in Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Amy McGrath falls in the latter group.

Andy is being positioned by his midterm opponent to be in the big corporations camp. Yet Andy is on the right committee. If he were to sponsor legislation "attacking America's dark side," he would essentially "let the air out of Amy McGrath's campaign," while cementing his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

How his financial supporters would react is unknown. I would think that they would want what was best for 6th District and country.



















Monday, August 27, 2018

Session's Unexpected Ploy Could Spell Destruction for ANTIFA

ANTIFA has Marxist orientations.

For those seeking insight into what's unfolding, please google www.agendadocumentary.com

Former Idaho Congressman, Curtis Bowers spells it out. This extremely well done, 93- minute documentary is worth every penny of the $15 dollar investment.

I recall chatting with Bowers, one night in Louisville at an American Family Foundation seminar. He told me at the time that he planned a sequel. I haven't seen it. But, it might exist. What the Congressman revealed in his initial offering, "Agenda-Grinding America Down," was not pretty!

Essentially Bowers translates "Socialism" to "big government."

ANTIFA is violent.

Socialism plus violence equal Communism.

In a previous post, we discussed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and his apparent reluctance to do his job. Most Republicans are resigned to the fact that nothing can be done until after the midterms. After that point, his resignation, or termination, looks imminent.

Session beats to his own drum. Why he has turned a blind eye toward the Mueller probe, while virtually ignoring infractions committed by both the council and the other side, cannot be fully explained.

His agenda? I'm not sure that even the President knows! I don't often agree with Lindsey Graham. But, I am totally with him in that Trump, or any President, deserves to have a cabinet that is consistent with his agenda. The American people elected Donald Trump. Not Jeff Sessions!

Still, Sessions might take the heat for what could be the most controversial move in modern history. Here is how it could unfold.

Sessions appears committed to upholding the current immigration laws. It would not be inconceivable for him to issue a mandate to sanctuary city mayors: "Turn over all criminal illegal aliens in seven days. Or, face arrest on the grounds of "aiding and abetting criminals" and "obstruction of justice."

Could Sessions legally do this? Absolutely!

Let's think about this for a minute. Imagine Sessions issuing warrants for the arrests of Gavin Newsom, Rahm Emanuel and Bill de Blasio. If those criminal illegals aren't delivered as ordered, it could happen!

ANTIFA would react. Suddenly, there would be terrorism on the streets of San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Their immediate targets would be the local police forces and ICE. Overwhelmed, law enforcement would appeal to Washington for help.

Then what?

What is uncertain is what Sessions might do. Especially if he met resistance in the manner anticipated.

Donald Trump would not back down. ANTIFA is violence manifested. They are Marxists seeking to overthrow the United States of America. Nothing less. In all likelihood, the President would view resistance as the culmination of a long festering feud between the left and the right.

The measure of "great" versus "good" is defined on how a crisis is confronted. Sessions would light the fuse. Trump would pull the trigger. He would have millions of allies.

We would be at the ultimate crossroads, a hair's breath away from Civil War. The President would first summon the National Guard to assist law enforcement maintain order, while the Attorney General's order was carried out. From a legal perspective, this is the correct move.

He could further his case for denying federal funding from sanctuary cities. ANTIFA's action would add fuel to the flame. But this would take months, a new Congress and might never get out of the chute!

The wildcard in this entire scenario is if California opted to secede. There is certainly support for "Calexit." In the event that the state did go that route, they would be handing the President a "gift," beyond imagination!

Suddenly the President would be on familiar ground. In 1861 Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. If Trump called for "volunteers" to suppress the rebellion, the numbers would likely top one million! They would see it as their patriotic duty to "preserve the Union."

These would not be Sunday soldiers! 90% of them would be men, ages 18-50 of all colors, races and national origins. Many would be veterans. While CNN would have you believe that "only white people love America," the American idea is as diverse as the love of a hamburger!

What ANTIFA, and California's left, may be miscalculating is that this grassroots opponent has been longing for this moment for decades! Throughout America, in basements of all shapes and sizes, sit automatic and semi-automatic weapons. We are not talking about squirrel guns! More like assault rifles, automatic handguns and thousands of rounds.

A huge number of the "loyalists" would be Californians. In their thinking, "deliverance had come at last!"

The universal cry would echo from all parts of the nation: "Just tell us who to report to, Mr. President. Don't worry about transportation or weapons. We've got that covered. Our friends in those locales will take care of the rest."

You might say, Jeff Sessions would have opened up the "ultimate barrel of eels!"

While confrontational and pugnacious, ANTIFA would be no match for these ready made warriors. It is probable that the entire movement would cease to exist in a few hours.

Just imagine! A 39-year-old veteran showing up in San Francisco with a 12 gauge pump in his hands, an AR-15 over his shoulder, a nine mm in his belt and an Arkansas toothpick in his boot! Not to mention blood, in his eye!

The watchwords: "Let's cleanse the continent of Communist traitors."

Would not the mainstream media have a field day? I can only imagine how Chuck Todd would react!

At first they would! Then, they would face the grim conclusion that if they sided with ANTIFA, they would be lumped into the Marxist hopper. And, if they supported Calexit, they would be considered traitors and interned indefinitely. Lincoln did it.

Many in the MSM might see such action as their "journalistic duty!" Until, they received their pink slips! Speaking of CNN...Has anyone noticed that they have lost 25% of their audience over the past twelve months. Media companies won't lose money indefinitely.

At this point, many ANTIFA sympathizers would be heading for the exits! Don't be surprised if leftist college professors follow. There is already a nationwide movement for states to stop funding state colleges and universities who exercise bias.

Amazingly, the storm would pass as quickly as it started. These "millions of allies" would return to their homes quietly. Calexit would have been crushed. Those leaders of the movement would be given the same punishment as military and political leaders of the Confederacy were given: "They would be permanently disenfranchised and prohibited from holding future political office. The punishment would include their children and grandchildren.

Meanwhile, it would be business as usual in Washington. Except that many seats in Congress and the Senate would be vacant, as was the case in 1868 when "birthright citizenship" was introduced.

With the Communist element temporarily discredited, America would finally accomplish long coveted objectives. They would include, but not be limited to, a peaceful working relationship with N.A.T.O., Russia, Iran, North Korea, China and the Middle East. We would see Trump's wall built and an immigration standard that would be in the nation's interest.

Many more decisions would be diverted to the individual states, in accordance with the 10th amendment. This would result in the need for less government at the federal level.

English would become the official language. Picture voter I.D. cards would be required. There would be a requirement that "only U.S. citizens" would be allowed to vote. Congressional representation would be based on "citizens and not persons."

Taxes and health care would fall in, based on needs of the many as opposed to needs of the few. Because immigration reform would include new qualifications for entitlements, money would be freed up to shore up both Social Security and Medicare.

Sounds relatively routine. Maybe it would be. It goes back to Thomas Jefferson's pronouncement.

"The liberty tree benefits from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots."

Hopefully, there would be very little bloodshed. Smart money predicts that ANTIFA members would "run like scared rabbits."

Secession is another thing. The California left may think that the rest of the nation would let them depart quietly. I think the chances of that happening are slim and none! What they would do is give the rest of the nation an excuse to do what is needed in the "Golden State:" Reconstruction.

In the end, the problematic Sessions could ultimately position the President to destroy a destructive element. ANTIFA is Marxist in origin and has nothing save destruction in mind for America. Yet face to face with their enemy, those "god fearing, bible thumping, gun toting, deplorables," they will crumple like "cheese to a knife." Along the way, they will "stimulate implosion" of the corrupt left.

People should be careful what they wish for.








Sunday, August 19, 2018

Media Fake News May Have Impact on Midterms.

To hear Morning Joe or Chris Cuomo's American situation analysis, you would think that they had recently returned from Tijuana; accompanied by an ample supply of Mexican Mushrooms!

There is simply no other way to explain their departure from American reality. In the face of good times, both are experiencing a "bad trip."

Perhaps by design. Chris' brother made it clear, that he didn't think America was all that hot! The Governor of New York has a role to play. Especially if he has presidential aspirations on his mind.

Joe's lady friend, also known as "Bimbo" can only nod and wink. For those who were around during the "Peanut Farmers" fowl up tenure, it's remembered that her father, Zbigniew Brzezinski(our favorite meathead) advised the president that "the only thing that is saving America is world opinion."

It's fitting that "Meathead" would sire such daughter! I am certain that "Morning Joe" sees assets that don't include what's between her eyes. As far as his take on Trump's America, a four-ounce glass of Mexican dream potent will go a long way.

Fair minded people simply scratch their heads, wondering where these "Donald Trump hating" media pundits get their material. What they are reporting often doesn't exist, other than in the psychedelic world.

It's understandable that they don't like the president. But, does not their profession demand some semblance of objectivity. Apparently not...

Perhaps they are relying on the stupidity of Americans. After all, their mentor, Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as "a basket of deplorables." It's fact that the majority of these "gun toting, God fearing, bible thumpers" are not Ivy League products!
Still, if "Morning Joe's and Chris Cuomo's" continue to repeat the fictitious and divest in the delusional, some of those assertions just might stick.

Democrats are counting on it!

Let's pause for a moment. Through a year and a half of his Presidency, Donald Trump has done everything promised. We see a massive tax cut coupled with regulatory relief paying dividends like only Trump imagined. 18 months ago, Democrats and few Republicans were saying that it couldn't be done.

Having finally admitted that the economy is exploding, Dems are trying to give most of the credit to Barack Obama, conveniently deleting that "regulation rollbacks are believed to be as much of the key, as the tax cuts." Besides! These tax cuts were just "crumbs" anyway! Right Nancy Pelosi?

Immigration reform? Trump's proposal included more than double the dreamers that Obama's plan provided for. But, it came with a price: "No Chain Migration. No Visa Lottery. Increased border security. A Wall."

Dems said "no."

It's fact that many in Trump's own party were initially appalled at normalizing the status of 1.7 million dreamers. Obama wasn't that generous. Evidently the President saw it as a good faith gesture. I did. But Paul Ryan didn't. Not to mention the Democrat leadership.

On the surface, it represented a bridge. In a true compromise, neither side is particularly happy. Donald Trump knew this. In his mindset, he concluded that it would be best to accommodate those in the country illegally through no fault of their own. It may also have been a ploy to force the Democrats true intentions to the forefront.

Paul Ryan's pitiful alternative drew only 110 votes. But it did starkly portray the difference in Trump's vision and Neo-Con priorities.

At the bottom of it all, almost all Democrat and Neo-Con agendas are found to be in conflict with American interests.

In Laura Ingraham's words, "Democrats want to change the demography of America." As expected, she was touted as a racist and a bigot. Yet, is it racism or bigotry to aspire to bring in the best qualified immigrants into the country? As in those applicants already fluent in English with advanced degrees who can't wait to assimilate?

Neo-Con's could care less about English proficiency or prior educational achievement. They simply want to keep that endless supply of cheap labor coming. Never mind if it keeps wages stagnant. Enhanced security and a border wall will severely curtail this source.

In short, both Neo-Cons and the Democrat leadership have something in mind, other than the best interests of Americans. Could it be that both see America as part of a much larger picture?

In Thomas Friedman's, "the World is Flat," America was portrayed as a spoiled, overly indulgent nation that had preyed and exploited on the rest of the world. The solution, according to Friedman, was to "level the playing field." This included, but was not limited to, "sharing jobs with less fortunate nations and paying the Lion's share for global initiatives such as the Paris Climate Accord.

In essence, "sharing the hegenomy."

Alarmingly, Democrat Leadership and most Neo-Cons are fine with this idea! Even more disturbing, the mainstream media has not only joined them but embraced the general idea!

Trump's "faith based, national populism" is "secular, global socialism's" polar opposite. Herein lies the conflict.

The President sees America as a "melting pot," where people from all parts of the world could come, marry and build a nation based upon freedom. Their strain would be "Americans," adopting the English language, American customs and traditions.

The other side sees America as a salad bowl. Every newcomer is welcomed, no matter what circumstance they left behind in their previous country. There is no urgency to assimilate. All are included in basic services. ICE can be eliminated, because the borders will be open.

The "sharing the hegemony" crowd is nervous, dying a little with every foreign policy gain or shred of good economic news. Immigration didn't work in a decisive way. In fact, some are finally questioning "who" the 14th amendment's birthright citizenship actually was intended for.

Then there are the trade deals. To "one world government globalists," what Trump is attempting to do is nothing short of heresy! How dare the President turn America's back on those less privileged countries, in favor of "a bunch of fat, lazy, American deplorables!

Odds are strong that the Trade deals will ultimately work to America's advantage. Trump and his crew are dealing with aces. Unfortunately, the true fruits will may not be fully felt until after the midterms...

Democrats have a good opportunity to reclaim the House of Representatives. But their chances in the Senate don't look good at all. Americans could see losing the House while picking up a "half-dozen" Senate seats. Republican Optimists insist that they will hold the House and pick up as many as eight to ten Senate seats.

Imagine a Nancy Pelosi led House, and a Senate where 57 seats were held by Republicans. I see a lot of wasted time.

Hopefully, the average American will take an inward look, questioning "if" Trump should be given a Republican Congress. It's a choice:

Giving Trump a friendly speaker will help implement his agenda, because what he's done so far is good, if not extraordinary?

Or, agree with Chris Cuomo, Morning Joe, and others, that Trump does not "jive" with one-world government objectives. Therefore, Congress will be in better hands under Nancy Pelosi, who's goal is to impeach him.

"Secular Global Socialism" versus "Faith based National Populism."

In retrospect, Paul Ryan was, and still is, an adversarial figure, who just happens to be in the same party. Any of the three Republican's vying for Speakership would be an upgrade.

It may come down to "how much credence" the average person places on "fake news?"

How effective will Morning Joe, Chris Cuomo and other media personalities be in shaping the paradigms their audiences? They selectively discuss every conceivable negative tidbit, while essentially ignoring achievements and accomplishments of the Trump administration.The information they are spouting is "distorted at best, non-existent at worst."

Unfortunately, all too many people will not confirm actual validity.

Many don't want to know.

























Sunday, August 12, 2018

C.F.P.B. Not Up to Challenging Americas' Rigged System

Donald Trump called the American system "rigged."

GOP establishment scratched their heads. Rigged? How so?

When untangling the massive spider web that is indicative of the American financial system, it all but paralyzes the brain!

The plethora of Wall Street woes is another topic for a different post. It's comforting that discrepancies have been noted.Namely that Glass-Steagall was mistakenly repealed in bi-partisan fashion. The jury is still out on which chosen methodology will prove to be the ultimate remedy.

The mortgage industry is another thing. Attempts have been made, by well meaning, but essentially unqualified people. Dodd-Frank was intended to address the most flagrant of grievances. Even laws done under the best of intentions are only as good as those carrying out their implementation.

A Financial Consultant, formally with Washington D.C. based, Wiener, Brodsky, Sidman and Kider explained. "Ideally, you would have people who were on the cutting edge of the industry working at a regulatory agency such as the "Consumer Finance Protection Bureau." What you have are basically a bunch of political hacks who supported the Obama campaign. Most are non-industry people who see Elizabeth Warren as a "enlightened reformer" and the ultimate authority on how things work. Never mind that most agents have seen only the classroom."

As in academicians?

A friend from Boston once proclaimed about his fellow statesmen. "In Massachusetts, the Democrat party is tight. So tight, that many Massachusetts Democrats would vote for Adolph Hitler and his Jewish policies if he were running as a Democrat."

So explains how Massachusetts voters turned their nose up at a true centrist, Scott Brown, in favor of academician, Elizabeth Warren. Warren's orientation comes solely from the classroom. Yet her stamp is clearly evident at the C.F.P.B.

Perhaps the most glaring example is how C.F.P.B. prioritizes. Here is a prime example.

Dodd-Frank includes what are distinguished as the U.D.A.P guidelines. In essence, "Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Practices" exercised by banks. In theory, the agency is suppose to oversee banking activities ranging from loans to servicing that are considered "unfair, deceptive and abusive." Good idea,at least on paper! Implementation is another thing.

I recall a mortgage client who had been raked over the coals by his lender. Offered repeated modification opportunities, there was always something not quite right. His mortgage payments were returned. In frustration, he filed a complaint with C.F.P.B.

The response was unexpected. After filling out numerous on line forms, the C.F.P.B. agent responded. "You need to hire a lawyer."

My client countered. "What exactly do you do?"

The C.F.P.B. agent explained. "We build a case file. We document the complaint. Other than that, it's up to you to seek legal council."

Sorta like the "dental monitor who does not practice actual dentistry!" Big help!

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is one of the least consumer friendly states in the union. Exempted from the state's consumer protection statutes are mortgages. How could this happen?

"Because the people who write the checks want to keep it that way." A Lexington attorney explained.

Wait a minute! The state leadership has chosen to preclude itself from the U.D.A.P. laws? Isn't this nullification?

"It's the way that it's always been." The attorney continued. "Nothing will ever change."

My first thought was, "what about the state's two "progressive" newspapers, Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald- Leader? One would think that their editors would be on the warpath with such as standard!"

The attorney smirked. "Now Jeff, you gotta understand! Those guys don't think like Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy Democrats! They are more concerned with "transgender bathrooms and tearing down Confederate statues" than pointing out that the people living in Kentucky are subjected predatory lending and loan servicing practices. Not to mention scandalous debt recovery practices!"

A sobering thought!

In theory, the C.F.P.B. would be swooping down on Frankfort and forcing mortgage inclusion on the state consumer protection laws. Or else!

Evidently, it's not a priority for the agency...

As one Senate Finance committee aid phrased,"Everyone of the committee is "scared shitless" of Elizabeth Warren. She is a "bully and a blowhard." But when a real grievance surfaces, such as Kentucky practicing nullification, she is totally inept. I think she is over her head, in that she doesn't know where to start on something as obvious as a state catering to a few well heeled, insiders at the expense of it's residents."

In other words, Elizabeth Warren is the consummate "combination of impudence and impotence."

The U.D.A.P. guidelines are one of the few actual positives of Dodd-Frank. If the proponents of the act were truly competent, they would be addressing how our current system is compromising Americans daily.

Perhaps the most glaring example is how banks confuse and frustrate borrowers with automation, then bury them in bureaucracy. Here's an example:

Under the U.D.A.P. guidelines, borrowers are supposed to be assigned one loan councilor. But this never happens. A common complaint is "I am never able to talk to the same person twice."

There is also the standard practice of transferring a borrower to representatives literally all over the planet! As one frustrated borrower remembered, "My loan got sold. I sent in my payment, but it was returned. I called the new bank. I started out in Dallas, then I was transferred to the Philippines, who transferred me to San Diego, who transferred me to India.

"It was tough enough understanding the faulty English and dealing with the redundancy and seemingly endless hold times! What made things worse was that I was on the phone for more than one hour and never got my question answered!"

The compromising of Americans' privacy by Fortune 500 countries who employ cheap, unvetted, offshore labor is still another subject for a different post. This cheap help has contributed to "79%" of Americans holding mistakes in the credit repositories which subsequently resulted in lower credit scores.

Maybe this is what the President meant when he described our system as "rigged." Lower credit scores can mean the difference in securing a mortgage insurance free, conventional loan versus an FHA loan, which requires expensive Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Or, paying 18% for an auto loan, versus 6%. Or, 24% for a revolving account versus 12%.

A potent C.F.P.B. could put a stop to this practice!

For starters, they could force states like Kentucky to cease their nullification practices. They could likewise enact a statute that would "preclude jobs requiring all or part of an Americans social security number from off shore outsourcing."

I was never a supporter of Dodd-Frank. It placed too many restrictions on borrowing money for home loans, while making them more cumbersome and expensive.

The legislation also concluded that some banks were "too big to fail." Resulting were multi-tiered banks with international locations that are usually a nightmare to deal with. Unintended foreclosures have resulted; often because the "left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing."

The current housing shortage is a fruit of Dodd-Frank. Sanctimonoius, non-industry people will airily say, "but they kept consumers out of those crazy, predatory loans!" Never mind that those "crazy predatory loans" disappeared in 2008!

Sadly, the C.F.P.B, is as incompetent as their "enlightened reformer," Elizabeth Warren. Most of their players are as inept as the Massachusetts Senator. They could make a positive difference in American lives. The are in position to right many wrongs in the industry.

It's proof that "political partisanship" places a distant second to "experience and competence."








Sunday, August 5, 2018

Russia vs. China: Which is the Lessor of Two Evils?

June 4th, 1989. Tiananmen Square, Beijing. A protest largely orchestrated by students. Suppressed. Per the government, 200-300 died.
Years later, we learned that the actual death toll topped 10,000.

August 21, 1991. Red Square, Moscow. A coup d'etat was attempted by members of the Soviet government against Mikhail Gorbachev. Apparently inspired by the leader of the resistance movement, Boris Yeltsin, the army refused to fire on it's citizens. The coup attempted failed. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union was history.

Why one coup attempt succeeded and one failed is a conversation that continues to surface. The Chinese militia that gunned down their countrymen, later bayoneting wounded women, was allegedly 60% illiterate. Unlike Russia, there was no single leader opposing the Coup.

Unlike the luckless Chinese, 99.9% of the Russian military was literate. When facing their countrymen, the human side prevailed. They refused to fire on their own citizens, disobeying orders from above.

I recall watching the Moscow development live on CNN. Young male soldiers were confronted by middle aged women, bluntly telling them to "shoot me if you must, but I am not moving." In spite of threats from above, the soldiers refused to accommodate their party bosses.

In actuality, these young soldiers had taken a giant step.

At first glance, today's China looks less threatening than Russia. But is it? There are more than one billion Chinese. Russia has but 139 million, down from 149 million twenty years ago.

Russia claims to be Democratic. Few believe it. In the eyes of most Americans, President Vladimir Putin is a "KGB thug and dictator." But make no mistake! Two thirds of the Russian people are solidly behind him.

On February 25th of this year, China's CCP(Communist party) announced that they were dropping term limits, allowing President, Xi Jinping to stay on indefinitely. China offered no explanations or apologies. Few, if any protests evolved.

For those who would like to see the electoral college abolished in the U.S., a quick look at Russia might motivate them to rethink their position. The country has a popular vote. But, the large cities(Moscow has more than 20 million people) control the outcome.

As a result, the standard of living is much higher in the cites. There are more millionaires in Moscow than in New York. Meanwhile, the national household income in Russia is slightly north of $2200 per year.

China does have a "protected place for the privileged few." There was an elite class in the former Soviet Union, as in China today. The idea that Communism levels the playing field for all is a misnomer. Most of the people are "equally poor! But there was always an extremely affluent upper crust of party "Apparatchiks" who had scaled the mountain.

China did slightly modify itself with injections of capitalism, but did it on a controlled basis. Much can be attributed to the expiration of Great Britain's lease on Hong Kong in 1997.

Russia's former party bosses took advantage of their positions and actually lead the transition to a market economy. As would be expected, there was high handed corruption.

Unlike China, there continues to be resistance in Russia. To hear the average Russian retort, these resisters are "mainly Gennady Zyuganov inspired Communists" who "aspire to reimpose the old order on the country."

Did I hear this right?

Isn't Putin a Communist? Didn't he say that the "breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century?"

No and Yes.

No. Putin may have been a member of the Communist party in 1989. Everyone in the KGB was in 1989. Today, he is thoroughly inoculated from that ideology. He has seen the numbers in his personal bank account explode and now appreciates the virtues of capitalism.

Putin has always regretted the breakup of the Soviet Union. Texas sized, Ukraine has 45 million people and is the traditional "break basket." The former Warsaw Pact countries are now NATO members. When combined with Ukraine's population, Russia is outnumbered; by people to the south and west who hate and fear them. Thanks to the United States, they are now heavily armed.

Here is another detail that the media has quietly ignored. The official religion of China's Marxist government is "Atheism." However, many Chinese continue to practice Buddism, Confucianism or both.

Russia has completely returned to the Russian Orthodox religion that was predominant prior to the Bolshevik revolution. For those unfamiliar with Russian and Eastern Orthodox, it is very similar to Catholicism. The main difference is the Metropolitan of Moscow and not the Pope is the spiritual leader of the church.

In the mid-1990's CNN produced a series called "Cold War." It included interviews with everyone who was involved, from George H.W. Bush to Gorbachev. One question that was answered by the latter, was revealing.

The former Soviet General Secretary admitted that "our youth were becoming robotic." He had come to agree with Yeltsin that the idealized Communist man was a myth; that people were not meant to function in that manner. Gorbachev thought that he could save the system by putting a "human face" on it.

What he did do was to arrest the trend toward young people becoming "robotic." Perestroika resulted in more "individualistic" and less "robotic" Russians. The Chinese were never granted that option.

As history proved, "robotic" people will gun down fellow countrymen, no questions asked. Individualistic people won't; if they believe that those giving the orders are mistaken.

Unfortunately for the countrymen of China, there have been no reformers like Gorbachev or Yeltsin.

True, Russian citizens remain uncomfortably(by American standards) deferential to their government. 70 years of Communism left behind it's residue. But, things are changing. Slowly. What is difficult for non-Russians to ascertain, "is the deference to Putin based on fear of Putin or fear of Communism?" If Putin is seen as their best defense against those advocating a return to the old system, things become crystal clear...

Telltale hints may come from two key Obama holdovers. Valerie Jarrett, an Iranian and a member of Obama's inner circle, admitted that the two historical figures that she admired the most were "Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa.." Former C.I.A. chief, John Brennan is an avowed Communist. Both loathe Russia.

Why does any of this matter to the United States? One side meddles with our elections. The other steals our intellectual property.

It may come down to a choice between choosing between a Communist Country and a country that was previously Communist and now will do anything to keep from returning to Communism.

The contrast between China and Russia is actually quite stark.

In China, you have secular, global socialism/communism. There are certain attributes of Capitalism found. But the country remains a solidly totalitarian state.

In Russia, you have largely "faith based, nationalism" that is and has been moving away from the old Soviet welfare state, in favor of Capitalism. In many ways, the country resembles a gangster state. Yet the country retains many pre-Soviet traditions, such as Christianity.

On the down side, religious minorities such as Jehovah Witnesses are being singled out for prosecution. Russia is arguably the "most homophobic" non-Arab country in the world. When it comes to anti-semitism, Russian hands aren't exactly clean. They have shared the recent anguish of radical Islamic acts of terror.

In many ways, the Russia-China contrast is reflective of our own differences in America. We have "Faith based, National Populism" on one side and "Secular, Global Socialism" om the other.

As dangerous as Russia may be, many conservatives conclude they are the lessor of two evils.

A secular, robotic nation with more than twice the numbers of the United States and Russia, combined, should be cause for concern! The problem rests with our own countrymen. They are quick to point out Russia's ugly tendencies. Yet, they've been slow to take exception to China's. Until now.

Donald Trump has made fair trade an issue, much to the chagrin of globalists. Starting a trade war with China is being positioned by the main stream media as a dastardly act, ultimately hurting the American middle class.

While Russia has "mountains" of weapons of mass destruction, their economy is no larger than Italy's. U.S. sanctions are taking their toll. Inside the country, there is hope that things will change, with Trump at the helm. But the President faces pressure from both sides.

Democrats naturally resent his undoing previous Obama initiatives, ranging from the Iran Nuclear deal to the Paris Climate accord. The "Occupation" of Crimea was unacceptable, never mind the circumstances.

Republican Neo-Cons concur. Can you ever remember any preemptive war that a Neo-Con didn't like?

In short, America is at a crossroads diplomatically. It comes down to "which" seemingly bad actor represents the biggest threat to the U.S.? This apparently depends on which side of the American fence you reside.

I only know that I am more comfortable with the President doing my bidding that John McCain or Lindsey Graham.