Posts Tagged ‘pension’

Should you just throw up your hands at the probability of hyperinflation & depression?

Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed All rights reserved

‘If that happens, we’re all finished anyway so why do anything about it?’

That is a common response I get to my new book How to Protect Your Life Savings from Hyperinflation and Depression and related articles I have written.

I guess that’s easier than taking steps to protect yourself and your family—at least until the ’flation hits the fan. When the ’flation hits the fan, nothing will be easy for those who did not protect themselves.

Denial

Throwing up your hands does not work, but it’s sure popular. (more…)

Disadvantages of gold as an inflation hedge

It is an article of faith among investors worldwide that gold is THE hedge against inflation and hyperinflation.

They are wrong.

Gold has numerous disadvantages in the role of edge against inflation. It is a commodity. There are numerous indications that not only would a broad-based commodity index better match the consumer price index or inflation otherwise defined, but almost all other commodities individually would be better than gold to hedge against inflation.

1. 28% capital gains tax rate. Almost all long-term capital gains are taxed at 15%. But long-term capital gains in gold and other precious metals, art, and collectibles, are taxed at a 28% tax rate. [IRC§1(h)(4)(A)(i) and §408(m)(2)] This is exacerbated by the fact that in the United States, unlike the U.K. and Australia, the basis of the asset sold for a gain is not indexed for inflation. So a mere drop in the value of the dollar would trigger a “gains” tax even though the owner-seller of the gold enjoyed no real gain in purchasing power.

When the subject of tax rates comes up, many immediately say it does not apply to them because they hold their gold in a pension account. In fact, withdrawals from such accounts are sometimes penalized and almost always taxed. Pension accounts also limit the form of the gold investment and subject the investor to counterparty risk that could be eliminated by taking possession and storing the metal in your safe deposit box. Loss of flexibility and the requirements that pension investors trust institutions, exchanges, and counterparties are disadvantageous and hard to quantify. If you take possession and store the gold in your safe deposit box, you will pay tax on your gains at the 28% rate.

In contrast, Campbell’s soup is also a commodity. If you buy $500 worth of it now, and we have high inflation over the next year, it will appreciate in value like other commodities including gold. But with gold, you have to sell it, pay capital gains tax, then use what’s left to buy soup. If you start with soup, you’ll probably make a bigger profit—because soup is not currently selling for triple its historical average price—and the gain (from not having to buy it after its price goes up) when you eat it is tax free. Gold forces you to go through several middlemen: gold company, postage and insurance, safe deposit box rental, and IRS. With soup, you cut all those guys out.

2. Confiscation with below-market compensation. In 1933, as a result of various federal government actions, Americans were required to turn in their bullion gold (other than jewelry or rare coins) into the nearest Federal Reserve Bank by May 1, 1933. They were paid $20.67 per ounce for it, a below-market exchange rate at the time. The same actions prohibited American citizens from owning or exporting gold. That was initially done by Executive Order 6102 signed by FDR shortly after he was inaugurated. It was later reissued in a more legal form. Americans were not allowed to own gold again until 1973.

3. Gold clauses invalidated. After the Civil War, because of inflationary greenback dollars issued during the war, Americans put gold clauses into many if not most long-term contracts. These functioned like cost-of-living adjustment clauses have since the 1970s. During World War I, the federal government could not sell enough Liberty war bonds so they changed them to gold certificates. That means they put gold clauses in them. A gold clause says you can choose to be repaid in gold if you want.That would protect you from inflation if gold more or less followed the consumer price index. The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 invalidated all gold clauses in the U.S. including those in World War I Liberty bonds.That means the U.S. government said to its citizens, “Yes, during World War I we promised to pay you back in gold if you wanted. We lied. Tough luck suckers.” Also, all persons who were due money in long-term contracts not involving the government were also cheated out of the purchasing power difference between the gold they agreed to and the fiat money paper currency they were paid after the gold clauses were invalidated. Gold clauses were not allowed until 1977. The U.S. government had “suspended specie payments” on a number of prior occasions in U.S. history. That has the same effect as invalidating gold clauses.

4. No one commodity is likely to match CPI movement. Saying gold is an excellent hedge against inflation means you are roughly saying that a graph of the price of gold where the prices have been adjusted for inflation will be a flat horizontal line. It is not. From 1968 to the present, the annual price of gold in 2010 dollars ranged from a low of $201 2010 dollars to a high of $1,612 2010 dollars. (The daily peak on 1/21/80 was $2,235 2010 dollars.)

5. Gold is still less than half its peak price in terms of purchasing power. As just stated above, $2,235 was the peak gold price on 1/21/10. Today, 4/23/10, it was $1,157 in 2010 dollars. When you buy gold at the beginning of 1980, because it is a great hedge against inflation, and more than 30 years later, the purchasing power of that gold is still less than half what it was in 1980, you have to admit it is at best a rather slow acting remedy if any remedy. Probably, most of the people who bought gold at that price have died waiting to get their purchasing power back.

6. Regression to the mean. Regression to the mean is the tendency of variables to move toward the average over time notwithstanding moving to high and low extremes in the interim. Essentially, a pendulum is a classic illustration of regression to the mean. It reaches extremes to the right and left at times, but it always goes back to the middle or average. If gold regresses to the mean, which seems likely to me, it will regress to $615 per ounce. $615 is the average price of gold, in 2010 dollars, since 1968. The original prices for each year and those prices adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars are also in my new book How to Protect your Life Savings from Hyperinflation & Depression.

I laughed out loud at a recent gold commercial on the radio. They cited the fact that gold peaked at $2,235 in 2010 dollars in 1980 as evidence that it will soon go back to that level. That statistical phenomenon, heretofore undiscovered by mathematics, would be called, “Regression to the peak.” It would be the dream of every commodity salesman that “Regression to the peak” be believed by the public, that is that the prices of every commodity will soon return their all-time record highest price.

Another way to state regression to the mean is the age-old observation about both good and hard times, “This, too, shall pass.” In this context, it means, “This gold price of $1,161 an ounce shall pass when gold reverts to its normal price of $615 an ounce or thereabouts.”

It is roughly true that gold rises during inflationary times. But the people who cite that as the reason to buy gold are forgetting gold falls in good times and inflationary times are never permanent. It goes up and down like everything else. Furthermore, no one knows whether we are at the end of the hard times or the middle or just the beginning. The financial graveyards of human history are full of people who thought they could forecast and time markets. Even the legendary “value” investor Benjamin Graham, author of The Intelligent Investor and Warren Buffett’s business school mentor, lost his ass in the stock market in the Depression. (He would have lost it worse if he had bought gold.)

A week or two after I posted this article, on 5/22/10, Jason Zweig’s Wall Street Journal column quoted “legendary investor” Seth Klarman saying,

I am more worried about the world, more broadly, than I ever have been in my career. All the obvious hedges are already extremely expensive. [Especially gold which is] Near its all-time high, it’s a very hard moment to recommend gold.

You read it here first.

7. Gold bugs. There are people called “gold bugs” in the gold market. It’s a semi nice term for kooks. I know of no other commodity or security that has “bugs.” There is quite enough irrationality in the securities and commodities markets without adding a group of people who are not applying logic to their price determinations. American Indians called gold “the yellow metal that makes the white man act crazy.” There is no place for that sort of nonsense in investment decisions.

8. Price is no object. Gold is the only thing on earth that we are told we should buy regardless of its price. “Gold is good” seems to be the extent of their thinking. One of the books I read researching gold is titled, “Buy gold now.” Regardless of the price!!? People are all over the media saying buy gold. They were saying it when it was $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000, $1,100, $1,200. Well, which is it? At what price does it become too expensive? Apparently, never. Indeed, gold bugs and other not very bright people cite the fact that the price has recently gone up as evidence that it will go up even more. Huh? What is that theory? Regression to a new high? In fact, gold is like everything else. There is a price that is a bargain, a normal price, and a high price. The higher price you pay, the greater the probability you will lose money on the purchase. That applies to every commodity or security. In the case of gold, the normal price appears to be $615 an ounce. Does recent spectacular fiscal mismanagement warrant a higher price than the prior fiscal mismanagement? Not really. Remember gold is a commodity. The effect of too much deficit spending should affect all commodities equally if that is what’s driving up the price of gold.

It may be that a better analysis would come up with a more accurate base price of gold than $615. That’s beside my point. The point is gold bugs and gold TV and radio commercials advocate buying at all prices. The answer to what is the correct price for gold may be $700 or $900 or whatever. But it sure as hell is not “all of the above!”

9. Usury. Some state courts have held gold clauses violate state usury (charging too much interest) laws.

10. Inconvenient denomination and counterfeit/burglary/robbery risk. Gold is so valuable per weight and volume that it is an inconvenient denomination. At present, an ounce of gold, or a one-ounce gold coin, is roughly the equivalent of a $1,000 bill. I have never laid eyes on a $1,000 bill let alone used one to buy something. Silver is the convenient denomination metal. Here are the current values of pre-1965 U.S. (90% silver, 10% copper) coins:

dime $1.3151
quarter $3.2878
half-dollar $6.5756

This same issue means silver coins are generally not counterfeited and are less of a target of burglars or robbers. I have no evidence, but I would expect that robbers would find persons approaching or leaving a gold store attractive targets. The high value of gold means it is worth the trouble to counterfeit gold coins. So there is an increased counterfeit theft risk with gold as opposed to silver and to base metals like nickel or copper.

11. I am not saying gold has no advantages. The high value density is an advantage in that it lets you store maybe a million dollars in a safe deposit box. To do that with, say, silver, would take a vault. There are coin versions of gold that are widely recognized which is better than say a lump of nickel that has to be assayed to trade it. Gold is extremely durable. The ability to sell it to a gold bug for more than it’s really worth is cancelled out by the need to buy it from him for more than it’s really worth.

In response to this article, I got several emails along the lines of the following one:

John:

I was very pleased  to read your recent article about gold.  I am a former jeweler, and I  come from a family that has been in the jewelry business since the late 1800s.   I am constantly amazed that gold is touted as having any value  whatsoever.  I personally cannot figure out why precious metals hold that  much value anymore.  We all know that technology has allowed us to create  alternative means that gold has been historically valued for; things like how  highly conductive it is, or the fact that it can be used in other electronic  applications.  We’ve found far better materials and/or means that replace  gold’s historic innate value.  I would think that these days our dollar  could be pegged to commodities that have more of a "real value".  In my  opinion, natural resources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and other energy  sources seem to be of more value than a metal that happens to look very  pretty.

As a jeweler, one thing that I constantly saw was people  experiencing the "used car effect" when purchasing gold.  We would  constantly find people (some were customers, others were strangers) coming  into the store trying to sell their old jewelry, only to leave disappointed  when we would tell them that their gold was not worth as much as they thought  it was.  Even with all of the "inflation hedge" ideas lodged in their  mind, and their "knowledge" of how much gold was selling for at the time, we  would often find ourselves being scolded by people who claimed that they’d  find a better price somewhere else.  Of course, we would be visited later  by those same people (now humbled) asking if we were still interested in  buying their jewelry.  

In fact, the way I  see it, outside of gold-themed mutual funds and mining company stocks, the  only way you would be able to purchase gold and make any money on it would be  at a wholesale level (from Credit Suisse or other distributors).  And at  that point, why bother?  If you think about it, you are better off  sticking your money into a money-market or a CD, as I’m sure one cannot find  any reliable source out there that can document an average gain of 2% per year  like money-markets and CDs do.  Also, aside from some of the more  prominent mining companies, which I believe make much of their profits mining  other metals like copper and aluminum, I do not recall any companies out there  whose stock "dazzled the market".

Lastly, I must  commend you for your comments on "gold bugs".  I have done thorough  research on people who claim to be experts on gold and other precious metals.   The "precious metal investment" industry is plagued with con men, rip-off  artists, and creeps that will sell you on any BS idea related to precious  metals, whether it’s coins, bullion, mining projects, etc.  Further  exacerbating this, some of your favorite people claim to have "dabbled" in the  precious metal industry before, namely Rob Kiyosaki, Robert Allen, and I  believe Ron LeGrand.

Food for  thought…keep up the good work!

Michael Beifeld

The Obama victory

In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, people on both sides have, I believe, overstated or understated what the effect of an Obama victory would be.

The overstatements have been both bad and good. Obama’s own statements, and those of his cult followers, about how much better off America would be if he were elected were total bullshit. He apparently agrees because he is in a big hurry to back off them and lower expectations. A wise move, but one that is only made necessary by the standard deceit of the politician class in general and by his own extreme promise them anything to get elected approach to win at all costs.

‘Change’

I think the only thing he really meant by “change” was the complexion of the father of the president. Mission accomplished. I am sure that is a big change to him and to most blacks, but it is not the sort of change that was implied in all the discussions of “policy” and “the issues” that the various candidates kept saying they wanted the campaign to be about.

I do not believe Obama was ever much interested in the issues. I think he just wanted to be the world’s biggest big shot.

I don’t think that differentiates him from many others like the Clintons. But it does differentiate him from a few like Reagan who really believe in certain policies and was eager to enact and execute them.

The extreme bad predictions—most typically coming from Sean Hannity—were also exaggerated.

Radical socialist?

Is Obama a radical socialist? If he thought he could get away with it, yes. But I am reminded of the most memorable line from the recent movie The Express about the first black to win the Heisman Trophy: Ernie Davis. One of his black teammates explained that [Syracuse head football coach Ben Schwartzwalder], “Likes winning more than he dislikes Negroes.”

I suspect Obama likes being reelected more than he likes radical socialism. He seems to have been smart about subordinating his ideology to his ambition during the campaign. We must hope he is similarly smart about subordinating that ideology to his ambition when the leftists in Congress try to get his signature on leftist legislation like ending secret ballots in union elections.

America may like “change” in the abstract, but they sure as hell will not like “change” if he starts filling in that blank with things like ending secret union ballots. A landslide usually means a mandate, but if you campaign on an abstraction like change, then you have no mandate to do anything specific.

White flag?

Hannity said Obama will run up the white flag in Iraq. If I were the one just elected president, I would consult with appropriate people then tell the Iraqis that we will leave ASAP in accordance with the expiration of our UN mandate to be there and the inability of the Iraqis to agree to an acceptable to the US forces agreement. If the Hannity’s of the world want to call that surrender, let them. Adults do not make life-and-death policy based on whether “one of the other kids” will call them “chicken.”

The Iraq and Afghan wars appear to me to be endless and extremely costly financially and in American blood. I do not believe the American people want to continue and I also believe that wars are something that the American people, not the president or even the Congress decide.

With regard to the economic situation, Obama needs to heed the Clintons. On election night, one Fox pundit said Obama’s economic advisers were generally Clinton advisers, like Clinton Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin. Great! Bill Clinton knew that the main determinant of whether he got re-elected was the economy. So he listened carefully to those advisers and did what they said. Clinton aide James Carville was very frustrated and angry about it. He wanted to beat up on business and make ideology law. Clinton wanted to get re-elected. He did.

The current financial crisis is so great and unprecedented that no group of advisers may know what to do. But they probably know what NOT to do, namely keep the various demagogue promises Obama made during the campaign like punishing Wall Street and big corporations and U.S. oil companies and raising capital gains taxes and income taxes on wealthy Americans.

Obama’s trickle-down demagoguery neglected to mention that what he calls trickle-down—an ancient leftist cliche—is without doubt the best economic system in the world because of the incentives it gives to suppliers of capital, risk takers, entrepreneurs, and workers. In the movie Wall Street, character Gordon Gecko said, evilly, “Greed, for the want of a better word, is good.” ABC TV investigative reporter John Stossel, an American treasure, did a one-hour special called “Greed is good” where he proved that the incentive to make money—sometimes lots of money—is what made Americans, including low-level workers, the richest people on earth.

There is no greed in Cuba. Nor are their many Americans trying to move there, other than propagandist Michael Moore. If you want no greed, move to Cuba. If Obama does what he said in the campaign with regard to economic policy, and gets Congress to agree, we will all be moving to Cuba—without moving. If he is as smart as his supporters say, and as lacking in character as I say, he will renege on all that campaign rhetoric and encourage American business and workers to use free enterprise opportunities to improve their own lives and thereby the lives of all Americans.

Only in America? No

Obama and others keep saying this could only happen in America. Not true. It happened in Peru. Alberto Fujimori, a Japanese man, was elected president.

It also happened in South Africa. Americans tend to think of all of Africa as black. Not so. There are Arab countries like Egypt in the north of Africa and two white countries: the former Rhodesia and the former South Africa. Nelson Mandela, a black man, was imprisoned by the white Afrikaner government of South Africa, which prohibited blacks from voting. He later became president of the country.

Those two ascensions were arguably more stunning than the election of Obama as president of the U.S. And I suspect some readers will point out other such elections to me in the future.

Megalomania

I have said before and, after seeing the 100,000 people celebration in Grant Park, will say again, Obama appears to be a megalomaniac.

Evidence?

The Grant Park celebration. When I was a freshman in high school in 1960, John F. Kennedy won the presidential election. He was the first Catholic and the first Irish president. Catholics and Irish thought they’d never see the day. My Irish grandmother told me there were signs in the U.S. in the early 20th century saying “Help wanted—No Irish need apply” and “Irish and dogs keep off the grass.” Many Protestant ministers said Kennedy would be loyal to the Pope rather than the Constitution. So there were a lot of parallels to Obama, but Kennedy received the election results at his family’s compound in Hyannisport, MA not in front of a crowd of 100,000. George Bush received the 2000 election results in the Texas governor’s mansion. I recall no other president elect who spoke to a crowd of 100,000 on election night. Some may say that’s because no other candidate could draw such a crowd. Bull! They probably all could if they picked the right venue and part of the country. Kennedy, for example, could have received the results on the Boston Common.

Obama also sought a huge crowd for his nomination acceptance speech (Kennedy also delivered that speech in a stadium) and he wanted the Brandenburg gate for his Berlin speech. I guess we should be mildly encouraged that Obama did not request the Nuremberg stadium where Adolf Hitler held his mind-bogglingly huge rallies. There were a number of other venues where he spoke to 100,000 or thereabouts.

He also named his campaign plane Obama One, designed a presidential-like Obama seal, met with foreign leaders and held a press conference with one, referred to “when I was a Senator” during the campaign.

Hitler saw himself as leader of the world not just Germany. Obama, also is fond of references to a world united under his leadership.

His own wife described him as over-confident of his abilities to do anything. That is what it seems like from afar as well.

‘You can’t compare Obama to Hitler’

A friend and other readers have urged me not to compare Obama to Hitler because it’s too extreme.

One guy said I could not compare Obama to Hitler because the Nazi leader was a mass murderer. My position on it is not that Obama is Hitler but that he exhibits some disquieting similarities with Hitler.

Obama is not a murderer, mass or otherwise. Nor do I see any indications that he will become a mass murderer.

If I believe that Obama exhibits some disquieting similarities with Hitler, but do not mention it for fear it will cost me popularity with the public, I am turning into a politician. I hate politicians.

If I believe Obama is behaving similar to Hitler, I have a duty as a citizen to point it out. Behaving like Hitler is a serious dangerous sign that should be known by all as soon as possible. Most of all, Obama and his inner circle need to know about it so he will recognize he is drifting off in the wrong direction and knock it off.

You can be dishonest by silence. If I write a ton about Obama, and do not mention his Hitlerian similarities even though I recognize and believe them, I am being dishonest. I do not like dishonest people either. My lifelong reputation is of a guy who says what he thinks, tells it like it is, and does not pull his punches to be popular. If I start shading my comments to leave out pertinent, but unpopular, things I believe, I am no longer me. Not gonna happen. My doctor’s receptionist was talking to me and commented that I did “not have a filter.” Correct, and I’m not going to get one. Politicians have filters.

There does need to be a change with regard to my pointing out the similarities between Obama and Hitler, but the change does not need to happen at the Web site. It needs to happen at the White House. I will change my accusations that Obama is behaving, in part, like Hitler when he changes that underlying facts, that is, stops imitating Hitler.

In his 2/27/09 newspaper columnist and economist Thomas Sowell compared Obama to Hitler with regard to the statement that Obama is pragmatic. So was Hitler, Sowell says. He did it again with regard to eqloquent speaking ability in his 3/6/09 column. For those who accuse anyone who criticizes Obama of racism, Sowell is black.

Public speaking

I am also an excellent public speaker (according to written evaluations, votes, etc.), when I bestir myself to prepare and make such a presentation, albeit not one who draws such large crowds. I noticed when I first did it that it was intoxicating. The audience reaction both during and after the talk can make you think you are king of the world. The audience reacts more favorably to some aspects of the speech than others and there is a resulting powerful temptation to expand those parts and shrink the other parts, at the expense of truth and relationship of the content speech to the real world the speech is supposedly about.

In my case, I was scared by those feelings because I knew it was bull. One clue was I also got written evaluations from the audience and a few would usually be negative. But if you do not get the written evaluations, you only hear from the adoring members of the crowd thereby getting an exaggerated picture of your own wonderfulness.

My reaction to the intoxication of public speaking was to avoid doing it and to remind myself when the audience started acting that way that it was just speech-audience syndrome. I strained not to expand the well-received portions beyond the time they deserved. Sometimes, I deliberately try to break the spell when I sense audiences getting like that by making some statement that is designed to remind them I am just another guy.

I have heard the late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh speak a number of times. Once, the introduction of him by the host was saint-like. It emphasized that he was not like those other coaches who yell. Bill, the introducer said, was a “teacher.” Then Bill himself said, “Yes, my coaches were yelling one day so I gathered them around me and told them to teach, just fucking teach.” In other words, he de-canonized himself then gave a man-to-man, down-to-earth coaching clinic.

But I noticed that my fellow real estate investment speakers seemed addicted to the intoxication and feeling of power and that their speeches moved more and more in a demagogic direction over time. They did embellish the parts that were well-received—to the point where their speeches contained nothing else and no longer bore any resemblance to the reality of real estate investing. Barack Obama is one of them, not someone who keeps it real like Bill Walsh and I did.

Obama is addicted to the intoxication and believes it’s real. Like the guys called “grandstand players” in sports, he tells the crowd whatever it wants to elicit the greatest favorable to him reaction. Addiction is dangerous. Believing audience adulation accurately measures your worth as a human is very dumb and also dangerous. Pandering and tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear is dishonest and hazardous to the audience. Only people totally lacking in character do that. The common name for them is “politicians.”

Is Obama Hitleresque?

Whenever you compare someone to Hitler people dismiss it out of hand as preposterous. Hitler was a man who had multiple characteristics. He caused the deaths of about 43 million people. You don’t have to be an identical clone of Hitler to trigger concern that you possess too many of his attributes.

Obama is different in some ways. For example, Hitler was a German soldier in World War I. Obama never served in the military. Hitler also was in jail as a political prisoner for various “community organizing” efforts that went too far. Obama never went to jail.

Jews also often object to comparisons with Hitler. I do not diminish the world’s horror of the Holocaust, but Hitler, as I said above, killed 43 million people, not just 6 million Jews. My own birthday and age were determined by Hitler. My mom said I was born nine months to the day after my draftee father returned from World War II in Europe. We all must learn all the lessons of Hitler and those lessons go far beyond just his anti-Semitism.

There are a number of disquieting similarities.

Characteristic Obama Hitler
way achieved initial power
democratic election in 2008
democratic election in 1932
age at election
47
44
main political skill
charismatic oratory
charismatic oratory

wrote autobiography

(I find it disturbing evidence of Narcissistic personality disorder when non-celebrities in their thirties write autobiographies. Here is an article by one of the leading authorities on that disorder talking about Obama. Here are some of my favorite quotes from that article. They refer to the definition of narcissistic personality disorder, not just to Obama:

In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field – yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist’s self-proclaimed omniscience.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions.)

A reader alerted me to an interesting YouTube where a psychiatrist recites chapter and verse of many of Obama’s narcissism symptoms. The psychiatrist used the adjective “psychotic” to describe Obama’s narcissism have been using the word sociopathic. But then I am not a psychiatrist.

Dreams from my Father at age 34
Mein Kampf at age 36
aspired to
leadership of the world
leadership of the world
favorite scapegoats
big corporations, greedy businessmen
greedy Jews
pre-chief-of-state adult life employment
totally devoted to politics after about age 26
totally devoted to politics after about age 30
use of racial appeal to achieve power
black
Aryan
associates
anti-white and anti-Semitic South Side of Chicago leaders
anti-Semites
self-image
“We are the ones we have been waiting for,” change everything, etc.
became convinced the purpose of his life was to "save Germany"
conditions at time of election (not the candidate’s fault, but can result in extreme candidates being elected)
stock market crash, worldwide economic turmoil, possible depression, two wars
stock market crash, worldwide economic turmoil, depression, hyperinflation in Germany
economic philosophy (socialism requires dictatorship or a high degree government control of economic activity)
socialist (“spread the wealth,” calling socialism “sharing” and capitalism “selfish,” federal universal health care, government handouts to 95% of adults, lengthy criticism of U.S. Constitution’s lack of “economic justice” in TV interview)
socialist (official full name of Nazi party was National Socialist German Workers Party)
innovative campaign tactics
first to make extreme use of Internet
first to campaign by aircraft
free speech
wants to reimpose “fairness doctrine”
made criticism of government officials illegal
pertinent training to be head of country
law school
German Army basic training
pertinent experience to be head of country
speaking to community gatherings and training activists, political legal work, part-time state senator (U.S. senator in name but mostly campaiging for president while in that job)
political party executive, speech maker, then leader
new, extra-constitutional supplementary security forces

Obama at 7/2/08 speech:

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

The immediate context for that amazing statement was a preview of parts of his plan to vastly expand community service opportunities for Americans of nearly all ages. He said,

"People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve."

Two apparently self-appointed black men in black uniforms, black combat boots and berets, one carrying a billy club, posted themselves at a Philadelphia polling place. They claimed they were “security,” but cited no affilitation with any authority. They tried to make a Fox TV camerman leave. Many suspect they were there to intimidate whites from voting at that polling place. Here are the police approaching them.

Two TV clips appeared during the campaign. One show elementary school children singing a song about the wonderfulness of Obama. Another featured black teenagers in military boots, camouflage pants, and black t-shirts holding their forearms in front of their chest in a self-fist-bump behaving like paramilitary force members barking commands and sentiments expressing admiration for Obama. The former looked like somehing the North Koreans would do. The latter looked like Hitler Youth. HERE is the Obama Children video juxtaposed with Hitler Youth films by someone on the Internet. It ends with a photo of Obama in Africa the relevance of which I do not know.

Ordnertruppen former military and local thug security guards to protect Nazi rallies from disruption

• SA (Sturmabteilung a.k.a. Brown Shirts a.k.a. Frontbann
) paramilitary force

SS (Shutzstafel) elite paramilitary force equal to military in power

Waffen SS, SS subsidiary within active-duty military (civilian and military SS were almost entirely responsible for crimes against humanity prosecuted at Nuremberg trials)

Jugenbund later changed to Hitler Youth for 14- to 18-year olds

use of the Big Lie technique

The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. It was defined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf as a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." The OSS (predecessor of the CIA) analysis was: His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

Examples:

In between signing the most fiscally irresponsible laws in the history of the universe (“stimulus” and the 8,500-earmarks bill) Obama held a Fiscal Responsibility Summit.

Also, claiming there was no pork or earmarks in the “stimulus” bill, no lobbyists in his administration, etc.

Whether he would meet with Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions. In July of 2007, Barack Obama was asked by a video questioner: “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?…..”

“I would,” he answered.

Then, when he was attacked for that position, he denied it. But, A visit to barrackobama.com said the exact opposite, however.

“Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.”

After 20 years of close associations with Reverned Wright swore he was not aware of Wright’s hatred of whites or America.

Promises free health care, free college, tax cuts for 98%, stopping global warming, energy independence, no change in social security, medicare, or medicaid and reducing the deficit

In his budget speech in Febuary, 2009, Obama angrily vowed that he would not put a big debt on America’s children and grandchildren, which is exactly what he had just done by quintupling the already-too-high deficit. It reminded me of Clinton swearing “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”

Jews are to blame for everything that’s wrong in the world. Jews are treated well in the Third Reich.

No intention to invade Czechoslovakia.

No intention to invade Soviet Union.

The source of Big Lie technique, from Chapter 10 of Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf:

… in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

Here is an email I got from a reader about this:

I haven’t been or your site in a while and I was pleased to see the articles comparing Obama to Hitler. I am a quasi-expert on Hitler and the Nazi party and I have been comparing Obama to Hitler for a while now. During the inaurguration I actually broke out Albert Speer’s memoir ‘Inside the Third Reich’ and held the pictures of the Nuremburg party rallies right next to my television screen. It was uncanny. Thank you for having the balls to say what needs to be said.

FDR, use such circumstances to try to grab additional, unconstitutional amounts of power. Recall that FDR, after being stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court, tried to expand the number of justices from nine to 15 (called court packing) through the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 which was defeated.

Here is an email that was going around on the Hitler-Obama comparison. I do not know who wrote it.

Subject: Who am I ???

  • I was born in one country, raised in another. My father was born in another country.  I was not his only child.  He fathered several children with numerous women.
  • I became very close to my mother, as my father showed no interest in me. My mother died at an early age from cancer.
  • Later in life, questions arose over my real name.
  • My birth records were sketchy and no one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.
  • I grew up practicing one faith but converted to Christianity, as it was widely accepted in my country, but I practiced non-traditional beliefs & didn’t follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.
  • I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them.
  • That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.
  • I wrote a book about my struggles growing up.  It was clear to those who read my memoirs that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.
  • I became active in local politics in my 30′s then with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40s.  They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything.  That reinforced my conceit.
  • I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization. Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks.
  • I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances. This bolstered my ego.
  • At first, my political campaign focused on my country’s foreign policy……   I was very critical of my country in the last war and seized every opportunity to bash my country.
  • But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country’s economy.  I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better and every poor person would be fed & housed for free.
  • I knew which group was responsible for getting us into this mess.  It was the free market, banks & corporations.   I decided to start making citizens hate them and if they were envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.
  • I called mine "A People’s Campaign" and that sounded good to all people.
  • I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics & was able to gain widespread popular support.
  • I knew that, if I merely offered the people ‘hope’ , together we could change our country and the world.
  • So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, ignorant to include "persecuted minorities" like the Jews.   My true views were not widely known & I needed to keep them unknown, until after I became my nation’s leader.
  • I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.
  • I’m glad they didn’t.  Then I became the most powerful man in the world. And the world learned the truth.

*Who am I?

 

ADOLF HITLER

WHO WERE YOU THINKING OF?  

Scary isn’t it?

I note that although this list of similarities is longer than mine, many of its entries are irrelevant like his father getting multiple women pregnant.

I also see similarities between Obama and the Pope. I said we should be mildly encouraged that he did not ask for the Nazi Nuremberg rally site to speak when he was in Germany. Add the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall and St. Peter’s Square to that list. The Pope also has a worldwide leadership vision.

Keep an eye on his approach to the Inauguration. There is a traditional site and scope. Will they be enough for The Messiah? (See Wikipedia messianic complex article. Wikipedia also has this definition of a God complex: “A God complex is a state of mind in which a person believes that they have supernatural powers or god-like abilities. The person generally believes they are above the rules of society and should be given special consideration.”)

Oprah once introduced Obama as “The One.” If anyone ever did that to me, I would shoot back, “The One What?” Obama did not. He just basks in that sort of cult-of-personality adulation. Why? He agrees with it! He also believes he is “The One.” Not only does he believe he is the Great Half-Black Hope, he believes he is the savior of the whole world and people of all colors. Like I said above: megalomaniac. Those who say I’m wrong are secretly afraid that I am right.

Like I said this guy needs to be watched closely for more evidence of these psychiatric disorders.

If he starts saying things like

• “state of emergency”

• “martial law”

• “suspend habeas corpus”

• “president for life”

• “Fairness Doctrine”

Cling to your Constitution and Bill of Rights. Actually, do more than that. Go out into the streets and demand his impeachment and convicction.

Bipartisanship

After every election, the winners talk about bipartisanship. It’s bullshit. There will be no bipartisanship. Why should there be? The Dems have both houses of Congress and the White House by a large margin. They will ignore the Republicans other than to laugh at them.

If Obama is an ideologue

I said above that Obama might be pragmatic like Clinton was. But no one knows him. He may really be the ideologue that he claimed to be in the promises he made during the campaign.

If he is an ideologue, look out! He has the allies in the Congress to pass the socialist workers party platform. I read somewhere that the New Deal was largely a copy of the Socialist Party platform from the turn of the century.

Many figure that if the Democrats turn America into a socialist country like Western Europe, the voters will throw them out and the Republicans will take charge and fix it.

It is likely that the Republicans or another party that replaces them will retake control in the future. Incumbency and party control seems to corrupt politicians so much more than normal that even the voters who elected the scum bags can no longer stand the stench.

But, one must not forget the ratchet (movement only in one direction permitted) or fishhook (easy to go in but extremely hard to pull out) nature of government programs. FDR started social security in the 1920s. Republicans opposed it. Arguably, the Republicans were right. In recent decades, we have heard again and again that social security will bankrupt the country. But Americans have become addicted to social security and Republicans are terrified to suggest even the slightest change in it—thereby increasing the probability that it will bankrupt the country.

The hated teachers unions, one of the most evil and destructive forces in America, got Democrat president Carter to create the Department of Education in 1979. Ronald Reagan replaced Carter in 1981, having run on a promise to shut down the Department of Education. He was not able to. It is still there.

Once government programs have significant numbers of employees and recipients of benefits, it is extremely hard to get rid of them because both the employees and recipients fight like cornered animals to preserve their place at the public trough.

The far, hard left bought the presidency for Obama. They will expect pay back for their $88 million. If they do not get it, they will raise more money to destroy him. Hell hath no fury like a leftist scorned by his bought-and-paid-for politician. They are political suicide bombers—secular jihadists when it comes to their views. Obama is almost totally dependent upon them for non-lobbyist money and he made not associating with lobbyists one of his most-bragged-about virtues. He desperately needs moveon.org to get re-elected. I do not know him. But I know he wants to be re-elected.

To resist that, Obama will need more political courage than he has ever shown in his 47 years. One of his own allies, a Democrat congressman said that he associated with Wright et al in Chicago because he lacked the political courage to walk away from them when he still hoped for a political career in the South Side of Chicago. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Obama to show the courage he has never before in his life exhibited.

Judge appointments

Then there are federal judge appointments.They are appointed for life. With majorities in Congress and the White House, the Dems can install many, many federal judges who see the constitution the way Obama said he does, that is, as a bad document that needs to be ignored or reinterpreted in socialist ways. During the Bush administration, Dems prevented him from filling vacancies in the hope that they would win the White House and Congress in 2008. They did, now they will fill not only the vacancies that Obama would normally see, but also the Bush vacancies that they Dems refused to fill in the last eight years. Depending on how long they hold this control and the decisions and health of the Supreme Court justices, Obama may also change the Supreme Court 180 degrees.

America voted for change in the abstract. It is unlikely that our center right citizens will like the sort of change that Democrat politician judges will deliver to them. And little or nothing can be done about federal judges for a generation.

Immigration

The Dems are the party of illegal immigrants. They strengthen their power by letting as many illegals in as possible then give them amnesty so they can vote. Republicans try to kiss up to them. To no avail. They voted for Obama. Now the Dems will grant amnesty to the 12 million currently here and encourage more to come in. That will make it harder for Republicans to get back in power until the immigrants switch to the Republicans. That may seem unlikely, but if you look at the history of American politics, lots of unlikely things eventually happen, including electing a half-black man president.

President for blacks only?

I often commented that Obama seemed to be black first and American second—perhaps overcompensation to overcome the “curse” of having a white mother.

Will he now use the presidency to advance the black imagined and ancient grievance agenda—like reparations?

I don’t know. We do not know him. No one does.

He did quickly name a white guy as chief of staff, and immediately was criticized by the Congressional Black Caucus who thought a black president should have given that job to a black person.

The Black Caucus, which once refused membership to a white congressman who represented a majority black district because of his skin color, can kiss my ass. The mere existence of the Black Caucus is a racist outrage. Try starting a White Caucus.

I hope Obama continues to ignore their clamor for special favors and preferential treatment. I do not object to Obama giving a job to a black when that person is the best qualified, but only then. If he seems to be using the White House for black, affirmative action, political patronage or a sort of “my people” nepotism, he can kiss my ass. I expect the American people, whose non-black percentage is similar to Obama’s percentage of the black vote—90% ish—will run him out of there in 2012 if he uses the White House to advance the Reverend Jeremiah Wright “God Damn America” agenda.

Compared to the market, Congress has no power

America is a one-man-one-vote country. Obama won that on 11/4/08. But to be re-elected, he must also win the “votes” of the worldwide financial markets. George Bush and his party mate McCain did not. That market is NOT one-man-one-vote. It is one-dollar-one-vote.

The people who own those dollars will not be “voting” for a man who denounced NAFTA, big corporations, low taxes, unregulated executive compensation, oil companies, greed, and who advocated raising both income and capital gains taxes. To win those “votes,” Obama has to back away from all that and do so promptly and convincingly. If he does anything remotely resembling that, his leftist supporters will go nuts. Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

Tax policy

To hear the right tell it, Obama will destroy the country with his tax polices. Is that true?

Probably not.

Historical tax rates

I am wrote a book about real estate investment called Best Practices for the Intelligent Real Estate Investor. Roughly speaking, it is a very sophisticated version of the basics of real estate investing. Around the time of the 2008 election, I was working on a chapter about the history of real estate investment. That chapter includes a history of the maximum tax rates since the Internal Revenue Code began in 1916, the amount of income needed to require those tax rates, and the maximum long-term capital gains tax rates. A great source was the Citizens for Tax Justice Web site which has those exact historical numbers at http://74.125.95.104/search?q=cache:hQkLWctTKqwJ:www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf+citizens+for+tax+justice+historical+income+tax+rates&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us.

Some highlights of that table: As recently as 1986—during the Reagan Administration—the maximum ordinary income rate was 50% and you only had to make $215,400 to trigger that rate. In 1981, at the end of the Carter Administration, that same amount of income triggered a 70% tax rate.

As recently as 1978—during the Carter Administration—the max capital gains rate was 39.9% and that applied to all capital gains no matter how big, like an ordinary worker’s profits on the sale of his vacation home or a $500 gain generated by his mutual fund selling some stocks.

As you will see there, the current max rate is about 35% on ordinary income and about 15% on long-term capital gains. Obama has talked about raising the maximum ordinary rate 5% or 10% and raising the capital gain rate to 20% to 28%. As you can also see there, the proposed Obama rates are rather moderate by historical standards and not much different from the Bush rates. The world-coming-to-an-end wailing of Hannity et al fails to put the proposed tax rates into proper perspective.

All tax increases hurt the economy by discouraging work, risk taking, and profits

However, it is also true that raising tax rates discourages the things that are taxed, namely capital gains, business profits, and salaries. People who are the targets of tax increases generally modify their behavior to avoid the new taxes entirely or at least to minimize their impact.

One common effect of higher capital gains tax rates is to delay selling assets that have gains until the tax rate goes back down. That interferes with the normal workings of the marketplace and dramatically reduces government tax revenues. Roughly speaking, Dems are the party who tax the shit out of capital gains, thereby causing investors not to recognize any (sell the asset and thereby trigger the tax). Then Republicans come in, lower the rate, and reap a bonanza of tax revenue from the pent-up desire to sell the assets.

Democrats are generally stupid and this is one of their behavior patterns that shows it. (Don’t bother asking me to prove that. You’ll wish you didn’t. The evidence is substantial and embarrassing.) George Stephanopolis and Charles Gibson tried to explain this repeatedly to Obama during a presidential primary debate but he either could not comprehend what they were telling him or he figured his supporters were too dumb to understand it, so he came up with “justice” as a justification for raising the capital gains rates and thereby reducing federal government tax revenue. In addition to being called stupid, it is also called cutting off your tax revenue to spite Republican voters.

Raising the maximum tax rate on ordinary-income causes actions like the following: U.S. and corporate bonds are sold and the proceeds are put into so-called “municipal” bonds. Actually, that category includes state, county, municipal, and other sub-federal bonds. Generally, the interest on such bonds is tax-free. Here is an article that explains some of the nitty gritty details of that.

Putting more into 401(k), IRAs, and other pension plans defers interest and gains from federal income tax until retirement. Although Dems have recently spoke of ending or nationalizing such pension plans.

People can also simply stop working if they can afford it. Some will say “Screw Obama! If he is going to take that much of my income, I won’t earn that much any more.” That also may be cutting off your nose to spite your face, but people are pissed about his “spreading the wealth around” goal. Many will refuse to work under Obama’s tax rates or will work less to stay under them.

There are also ways to make a living tax free, like working in the underground economy, e.g., drug dealers. Or you can create home value by buying a home real cheap or upgrading a home. That increases your net worth, but it is tax free. To get the money, you can sell once every five years under IRC §121 and $250,000 per spouse of the gain is tax free. Then you can do it again and again every five years. (Bill Clinton signed that into law.) The higher Obama pushes tax rates, the more people will do stuff like that to avoid paying those tax rates.

Generally, every percent Obama increases the ordinary and/or capital gains tax rates will hurt the economy by discouraging people from taking actions that will trigger the higher taxes. It will also paradoxically lower the revenue to the government—again, beyond the mental comprehension of the typical Dem voter—thereby increasing the deficit, national debt, and interest amounts paid by taxpayers and consumers. (Consumer borrowing like home mortgages and car loans competes with the U.S. government for loan/bond money. The more the government needs to borrow, the higher the interest rates that the government and consumers will have to pay for their borrowed money.)

Will Obama and his Dem allies ruin the U.S. economy with tax increases? It’s possible. It depends on how high he raises them and on whom. It also depends on whether he does other stuff that hurts the economy like enact protectionist laws.

Protectionism

The public thinks the Republicans caused the Great Depression and FDR’s various interventions ended it. Not so. The 1929 crash was caused by similar things as now. Too much borrowing and gambling in the securities markets driving up prices too high. But the Depression was not caused by the crash. It was caused by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, overly tight Federal Reserve policies, and too much government intervention in the marketplace.

World War II, that is Adolf Hitler and Tojo, ended the Depression. FDR’s policies deepened and prolonged what would have been just a stock-market-induced recession. Obama already promised protectionism in Ohio saying he would renegotiate NAFTA (that’s illegal) and in his vote against reducing tariffs on goods from Colombia. Dems love tariffs because, again, they are not very bright and have a lot of union members (there’s some of that evidence I mentioned) who erroneously believe imports are net worse for American wages and jobs. In fact, international trade has been the best part of the economy in the early months of 2008.

For a personal example of the value of international trade, stop wearing any clothes you own that say “Made in Somewhere Other Than The U.S.” Stop watching TVs made outside the U.S. Stop driving any cars you own that are not GM, Ford, or Chrysler. When you call a company and hear an Indian or Pakistani accent, hang up. And so on. The not-importing ship sailed long ago. Protectionism is not an option and enacting it will kill us worse than during the Great Depression because international trade is far more important now than it was then.

Warning: Dems don’t call it “protectionism.” They call it “fair trade.” Same thing with spin. Free trade is the best way and that means no tariffs even if your trading partners impose tariffs on your goods. Tariffs punish the consumers in the country that enacts them in order to protect a few residents of the country in question and help the local politicians stay in office. The fact that another country punishes their citizens by making it more expensive for them to purchase American goods is no reason for us to treat our citizens so stupidly and unjustly. True, we would be better off with two-way free trade. But one-way free trade is better for us than no trade at all, which is what “fair trade” leads to as each country retaliates against the other until all trade is cut off.

‘Energy independence’

By the way, so-called “energy independence” is a form of policy against imports. If Obama pursues policies designed to reduce imports of a product called oil or gas, he will worsen our economy. We import oil and gas because the alternatives are much more expensive especially liberal fantasies like wind, bio fuels, solar, which are not even close to cost effective and are not likely to be even after Obama spends $150 billion taxpayer dollars trying to make them economical. See my article on that and my article on gasoline prices.

Global warming

Global warming is a hoax. 60% of British people have figured it out. The U.S. won’t be far behind. Spending money to try to stop it would be economic suicide. Obama wants to do that. I expect the American people will stop the day they realize they have to pay significantly more in taxes and/or for goods and services to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. See my article on that.

If Obama and his Dem allies enact protectionist laws and higher tax rates and intervene in the economy like FDR, it could well have the same effect—deepening and prolonging the recession until it becomes a Depression that lasts until the next world war. (World War II cost a total of 62 million lives. It’s a very expensive way to get rid of dopey policies.)

Obama’s economic advisors are going to tell him that raising taxes, enacting protectionist laws, and intervening in the economy will make the economy worse and get him thrown out of office in 2012, if not before. They will recommend lowering taxes, cutting spending, expanding free trade. Obama will say, “But you are telling me to continue the failed Bush policies, to do what McCain said he would do!” Yes, Barack. The campaign is over and so is campaign bullshit. Now you really have to run the economy and the Republican policies are the correct ones.

Barack: “How can I explain that to the American people without my looking bad?”

Economic advisors: “We don’t know Barack. If you’ll recall. we told you the same thing during the campaign but you rejected it because your campaign manager David Axelrod told you it would hurt you politically if you agreed with Bush on economic policy. We are telling you it will hurt you now politically if you do not follow the Republican policies because the economy will tank, you will get blamed, and the voters will ride you out of town on a rail.”

His first appointed “economic advisor” is the former governor of Michigan. That’s right. I said Michigan. Home of dying government-bail-out-receiving GM, Ford, and Chrysler and a dreary urbanscape of burned-out factories and cities. If you are not familiar with it, watch Michael Moore’s Roger and me. He blames the management of GM for the closed factories you see in the movie. I blame the United Auto Workers union and the Michigan governors who pandered to them. There are many succcessful car companies in the U.S.—all non-union, foreign-owned in the non-union American South and West. Apparently, in his me-getting-and-keeping-power-is-all-that-matters view of the world, Obama has concluded that turning the U.S. into Michigan will get him re-elected.

Some have said Obama is pragmatic, not ideological. In fact, we don’t know that. The guy is cryptic. We can only hope he is pragmatic like Clinton.

‘Fairness Doctrine’

Dems in Congress want to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine.” Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets. In other words, he wants not to force a conservative talk radio station to let Harry Reid have three hours to match Rush Limbaugh’s program. Obama wants to force the owners of the conservative talk radio station to sell the station to a black guy or to NPR. In other words, Obama wants affirmative action racial quotas and political view quotas for ownership of media outlets

It arose when there were few radio and TV channels. When I was a kid in the 1950s, there were only three TV channels: ABC, CBS, and NBC. There was also only AM radio. Politically, the stations were all neutral. They all had to get their licenses renewed annually from the government so they were afraid to broadcast anything controversial for fear the government bureaucrats would not renew their licenses. The bureaucrats set up the “Fairness Doctrine”—which was FCC policy not law—to encourage stations to cover controversial issues but to save the bureaucrats from getting grief from the public about it by requiring the stations to present “both” sides. I put both in quotation marks because there are often more than two sides and—in the case of profoundly stupid policies like rent control and protectionism—there is consensus among honest experts that there is only one correct side. Only demagogues and ignorant laymen favor rent control or protectionism. Also, back then, controversial issues would be presented in 30- or 60-second spots, rarely as entire programs.

A mini-“Fairness Doctrine” of sorts has arisen in recent years with regard to the President’s regular Saturday radio broadcasts and his televised speeches. The out-of-power party is provided free air time to match the free time given to the in-power party. Neither I nor any other person opposes that.

The problem is forcing conservative talk radio stations to provide half their air time for free to liberals who tried and failed to attract audiences in recent years, in spite of being backed and subsidized by rich leftists like George Soros. This would cut the profits of those outlets approximately in half and would likely force many of them to music or news formats.

The reasons why the left cannot attract audiences (they do in my home area of San Francisco, e.g., KGO—we also have KSFO which is conservative) are multiple. Winston Churchill said,

If a man is not a liberal when he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative when he is 40, he has no brain.

20-year olds no longer listen to AM radio or read newspapers. 40-year olds do. The media for the young is the Internet and TV, which are primarily liberal. Across the entire media spectrum, there is balance. Insisting the liberal views be on AM radio is like forcing young people to buy Depends or that old people listen to hip-hop stations. Since the government is not going to prevent listeners from changing channels or force them to buy products of those who advertise during a Janeane Garafalo rant, the opposing views would be heard by almost no one. So the “Fairness Doctrine” is just a way of shutting up critics of the party in power.

If Congress were today to try to impose the “Fairness Doctrine,” the stations and public should rise up and refuse to comply with the law like the Alien and Sedition Act. Force Obama to send armed men to break down the doors of the radio stations in front of TV cameras.

Other than in the context of a game with a rule book, the word “fair” tells you that a politician or con man is about to lie to you. That applies to “Fair Trade” as well as the “Fairness Doctrine.” Both the “Fairness Doctrine” and forcing media companies to sell to blacks and/or liberals are further manifestations of Obama’s megalomania.

To be continued

Leadership lessons for the military from ‘Deadliest Catch’ reality series

Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch TV series

Deadliest Catch, not to be confused with Ocean’s Deadliest, the series that was filming when Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray, is a weekly TV reality series about Alaskan opilio crab fishermen now in its third season.

It began as a single documentary about what they described as the most dangerous job in America. It is about eight crabbing boats and their crews fishing for opilio crab in the freezing waters and harsh weather north of the Aleutian Islands near the Bering Strait.

What the military claims to be

The Deadliest Catch crews are what the U.S. military claims to be, but generally is not. They are competent men, plus some rookies whose competence is yet to be learned and demonstrated. They face extreme danger for weeks at a time. Men die and get what the military calls “wounded” and disabled. They work extremely hard and are bone weary from doing so. It is mostly physical work. They must work as a team. They have a couple of leaders: the boat captain and the guy in charge of the deck operations.

See my other articles on:

whether there is any such thing as military expertise

• so-called ‘elite’ military units like the rangers or airborne

military medals

process- versus results oriented managers

famed on-time, under-budget contractor C.C.Myers

our recent wars should be run by lieutenants and captains

is military integrity a contradiction in terms?

the U.S. military’s marathon, 30-year, single-elimination, suck-up tournament OR How America selects its generals

is the U.S. military as good at producing leaders as it claims?

Results-oriented entrepreneurs

The crab fishermen are also what I hold up as the iconic, best examples of competent men:

• entrepreneurs, not government bureaucrats

• results oriented—they get paid by the crab, not for punching a clock or looking the part or talking a good game

• well led by men who all have different personalities and leadership styles

• brave, but not awarding or wearing any medals

• judged entirely by their performance, not but their degrees, appearance, or what tickets they’ve gotten punched

Not winning recent wars

It is the military’s job to win our wars. They have not won one since 1945 other than Desert Storm where the enemy behaved in a way that our enemies have not behaved since Korea—sat in easily visible trenches out in the open wearing uniforms—and are not likely to do again. Our military has not figured out how to win wars where the bad guys rely on hit-and-run type operations and either pretend to be innocent civilians or hide in the jungle. Consequently, that’s about the only kind of war we will have to fight in the foreseeable future.

It is the crab fishermen’s job to catch crabs. They get the job done. They have to. They only get paid if they do. They only keep their jobs if they perform well enough for the team to succeed. The boat owners only keep their boats and businesses if they choose and lead their teams and operate their equipment effectively.

Look at what they do NOT do

You learn the leadership lessons from Deadliest Catch best if you focus on the things that the military does that the Alaskan crab fishermen do not. They crab guys do not:

• wear uniforms

• salute the captain or deck boss

• call the captain or deck boss “sir”

• award or wear medals

• march in parades

• get trained in special schools

• look the part other than by coincidence

• use leaders or men assigned to them by some bureaucrat thousands of miles away from the crab fishing areas

• get paid by the hour

• keep their opinions that are contrary to the captains’s secret from him

• kiss ass

• get free medical care for life

• get a pension

• fill out forms in quintuplicate

• say “it’s not my job” when something needs to be done and is not happening

• wear badges or any other indicators of rank

• get paid and retained for decades in spite of doing a lousy job

• get paid and allowed to keep their boat and business if they don’t catch crabs

• allow their equipment to deteriorate to “deadlined” condition

• get promoted on the basis of efficiency reports or the current theories of far-away promotion board members

• have a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to endlessly spend in spite of not catching many crabs year after year

• routinely sign false documents or lie to each other

• get transferred to another state or continent or sent to yet another school on average once a year during their careers

If the Navy fished for crab

And if the catching of crab in the Bering Sea were done by the U.S. military, they almost certainly would do something like the following:

• require 80 ships instead of 8

• use ships that were at least three times as big

• use ships that cost 20 times as much—partly because they were built with components from every Congressional district, especially the districts of senior Senators who were on the Armed Forces Committee or senior Congressmen who were on the Armed Services Committee

• use crews that were three times as big and whose main activity was going on sick call

• have new captains who had never been on a crab boat before every year or so on each ship

• hardly catch any crabs

• give daily briefings on how much progress they were making toward catching crabs in the future

• and Alaskan crab would cost $200 a pound at your local grocery

If anyone in the U.S. Navy doubts this, I have a suggestion for them. Pick your best eight guys or whatever it takes to staff a crab boat. Rent a boat and put them on it for a season of the Deadliest Catch, which is a contest to see who can catch the most crab for the season. I’ll bet they come in last and make fools of themselves. What’s worse, I’ll bet that many of the actual Alaskan crab fisherman are military veterans. The problem is not the raw human material coming into the Navy compared to the raw human material coming into the crab fishing business, it is the incentives, or lack thereof, in the Navy, not the people. Although the longer a person stays in the military, the more he turns into a bureaucrat. I doubt long-term career military people could succeed on a crab boat. Whatever work ethic and results orientation they originally had would have been washed out of them by the years in the bureaucracy.

See my Web article on process-oriented people (bureaucrats) and results-oriented people like the Alaskan crab fishermen.

Study the leadership and teamwork, but mostly the incentives

They should be studying the videos of Deadliest Catch at the service academies and elsewhere in the U.S. military. But more importantly, those who are at the top of the civilian leadership of the military should look at the incentives and organizational structure of the crab fishing industry and mimic that in the military. The details of how the crab boats are configured and the personnel and teamwork and the rest all follow from the combination of the incentives and human nature. The same is true of the military. Their chronic ineptness and sloth follow from their incentives and human nature. And now, from 50 years of the same, from their habits.

Former Navy SEAL

On one episode of Deadliest Catch, their “greenhorn” (new guy) was a former “elite” Navy SEAL. He was unable or unwilling to work for much of the trip—on a boat where they have no spare employees, so the others had to do his job when he could not or would not. The crew did not like him at all and he was fired or quit during or at the end of the trip. He is not necessarily representative of all SEALs, but as far as I know no other SEALs have appeared in the Deadliest Catch series, so they are stuck with him as their only representative.

I am a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran. My brief military bio is at my military home page, http://www.johntreed.com/military.html.