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Showing posts from July, 2014

Global warming choose wisely

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Every country establishes an economic system that it believes will best meet the goals and objectives of its people and the nation as a whole. The system selected is implemented to attain these goals. The nation is not created to meet the objectives of the economic system. It is the other way around. The United States selected the free market system as one that is best aligned with the philosophy under which the country was created and operates. For the most part, citizens of this country believe, as I do, that each individual has an obligation to provide for his family while abiding by the laws, rules and regulations of the country. The Founding Fathers were wise enough to understand that there would be situations where the objectives of the country could be better accomplished by government rather than free markets. The country's military and public education is a good example. Other examples include energy independence and global warming research related to seeking alternat

Mind trumping body

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Sometimes a slight physical handicap can cause a lasting mental affect. It took me 68 years to build up the courage to share this and I am doing it for the sake of my own mental therapy and maybe help a young person, or the parent of a young person, to best deal with his or her problem. My physical problem is minor compared to others. When I was born I had residual cervical palsy, In my case I was born with a pinched nerve in my neck that weakened my whole left side including my eye, arm, wrist, leg and ankle. If we met, chances are you would not notice my handicap. I actively played sports all my life including high school baseball and basketball. I was not bad in baseball as I was a pitcher and therefore needed to primarily rely on my right arm. (I did get hit in the head a couple of times from line drives back to the mound.) In basketball I was terrible but did play on the junior varsity team and was decent. I was better than average in tennis. I had terrific parents who for the m

Election of Michigan Governor and value of art

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This falls election of Governor is going to swing on the progression of Detroit's bankruptcy. If it is determined that the Grand Bargain is actually not so grand and may do more harm than good to Detroit, Snyder loses. Despite the hype, it is not clear whether the deal concocted by Snyder and Orr is best for the future of the city. The determining factor will be the real value of the art owned by the city and whether their is anything preventing the city using their assets stored at the DIA in the best manner it sees fit. There presently is one completed appraisal of the art and that was ordered by Kevyn Orr. The value came in at $4.8 billion. My experience in real estate is the entity paying for an appraisal has a significant influence on the result. A second appraisal needs to be ordered by someone else. The creditors have yet to order an appraisal, however when Orr first arrived in town last year there was talk that the city's art had a value between $10-$15 billion.

Detroit after bankruptcy what

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What happens after bankruptcy? What do we want to happen after bankruptcy? Per an article in the Detroit Free Press on May 10, 2014 "This current fiscal year’s general fund spending came in at $996 million. Over the next three years, Orr’s budget calls for $937 million, $922 million and $927 million, respectively, in general fund spending." Yes the above budgets are balanced and that is a step in the right direction. This though, is not enough for the city to become a good place to live and raise a family. The expected budgets are not going to draw middle class families to Detroit. If the middle class does not prosper the city will continue to deteriorate with no end in site. Is this what Detroit and Michigan calls progress. Drastic problems require drastic actions. Reality is there are no quick, cheap fixes. Fixing Detroit is going to take a long time, 10 to 15 years, and it is going to take a lot of money, multiple billions of dollars. Detroit's citizens would be nai

Tea Party is right sometimes

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Yes highways need fixing along with other infrastructure but shouldn't we be looking at reducing our federal budget some to procure much of the funds needed? I am 68 years old and I don't remember our government canceling a bill or reducing expenses because of changes occurring in the real world. We have been at war for over a decade. Where is the debate as to how to spend the money as we wind down? There has to be billions of dollars in the remainder of our federal budget that should be reallocated before talking about raising more taxes. I am not a fan of the Tea Party but many of their original ideas are correct. Only when the Tea Party was taken over by the big money of Oligarchs have they gotten away from their basic principles. We need an attitude adjustment. Before voting to increase spending to pay for something needed like road repair Congress should be finding items in our budget that are no longer needed. A while back I had a discussion with one of the origin

Cantor's payoff

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“You know, people are hurting,” Eric Cantor admitted last month, shortly after his humiliating defeat in a Virginia Republican primary. But Cantor, it went without saying, was not one of them." Labron and Melo have nothing on Eric Cantor, New York Times, July 15, 2014 If you play your cards right while in office, meaning if you take care of your big contributors, they will take care of you afterwards. Many complain about the inequality presently in America. There are two reasons for this and they are related; destruction of free markets and of the basic premise in our constitution of one man one vote. Government has a role in free markets as defined by the iconic deceased conservative economists Milton Friedman who said, “But we cannot rely on custom or conscious alone to interpret and enforce the rules; we need an umpire. These then are the basic roles of government in a free society; to provide a means where we can modify rules, to mediate differences among us on the meaning

Art is key to Detroit's future

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The Grand Bargain appears to provide a quick way for Detroit to get out of bankruptcy. The more important issue is whether it provides the residents a future. Kevyn Orr is a hired gun. Once the bankruptcy is done so is his job and he goes back to Jones Day. The city still has a population where 70% of its adult citizens either do not have a high school degree or they are not employed. The Detroit public schools still have 80% of its children in poverty. The Grand Bargain does not address this and I fear the Grand Bargain may negate an opportunity for the citizens of Detroit to make a better life for themselves. It is crucial that the city and its citizens have a handle on the value of the art at the DIA and whether Detroit has the legal right to do with it as they wish. This has not been determined. $15 billion would go a long way towards making the city a better place to raise a family. The arts' value has not been determined. There has been much speculation and only one apprai

President Obama and the Affordable Care Act

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The President has made mistakes that contributed to our government not working as well as it should. We the people elected him even with his lack of experience. He was elected because of his charisma, intelligence and many citizens, black and white, looked forward to having a black President. The country was tired of war and saw John McCain as an old war horse and others were scared of having Sarah Palin so close to the nuke button. Hindsight says the President made a critical mistake by introducing legislation for universal health care, the Affordable Care Act, early in his first year in office while the country was in the early stages of fighting the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930's. In addition, the President went into hiding for months in order to get up to speed on health care and the process necessary to pass it into law. He turned the process over to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and they showed little respect for the concerns of the Republicans

Iraq and Oligarchs

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This is a continuation of an article on the  declining   influence of the U.S. in the world Iraq and  Afghanistan These wars are a disaster for the United States.  Per Reuters in May 2013 ,  “When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.” The war was justified with inaccurate and sometimes false information delivered to the United Nations alleging Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Further there is no proof that anyone in Saddam Hussein 's government had any involvement in the planning or implementation of  911. This war drained the soul of the United States and contributed to the world's, and our own citizens, lack of trust in our government and country. This is true within and outside of our borders. The frustrations continue today in Afghanistan.  Combining Iraq and Afghanistan we have been at war for over a decade. This would never have happened

Where has the U.S. influence in the world gone

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Many citizens are asking why is our federal government not working. Why are the two major parties always at logger heads? Why is the executive and legislative branches more often than not fighting rather than working together to identify and achieve the nations goals in this smaller and more complex world? Why has our leadership position in the world been reduced? The reduction in our leadership position in the world was to be expected. After World War II we were the only industrialized country in the world standing. The infrastructure of every other country was destroyed and we made the decision to help rebuild the countries of not only our allies but also our enemies including Germany and Japan. We can be proud of this and sometimes they and even ourselves forget. As our allies and enemies rebuilt it was only natural they gained more confidence and less dependence on the United States. During the same time period China begun to enter the modern world. By 2030 China will have 200 mi

Grand Bargain and lost opportunities

A parallel to selling art at the DIA. A neighbor of mine and I are in a friendly argument about how best to pay for college for our children. We both have college degrees, retired and have much of our wealth tied up in physical assets such as real estate, vehicles and some art. He happens to be a collector of old books and I collect antique chess sets. Our homes are mortgaged to the limit and neither of us has liquid assets of any significance. Neither of us want to go further in debt. He argues that it is not his problem and he is leaving it up to his children to figure out whether they want to go to college and how they are going to pay for it. His justification for not selling his book collection is he collected them so future generations in his family could enjoy reading the “classics” in their original format. If he sold them to pay for their education they would never be able to experience the joy of being so close to these classic writers. I have a different attitude. The

It is more than economics

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What contributed to the fall of investment in infrastructure was some in the field of economics tried to fill a hole created by the basic economic model of supply and demand. As a significant part of the population, namely the future tea party members, took a sharp right turn they needed some economic "experts" to validate their stance. There were plenty in line to fill the demand and simultaneously increase their own net worth. This is a political problem I call Limbaugh Mania! The first generation following Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck came of voting age. They look at these entertainers as bonafide newsman and even economists About a year ago Rick Santorum was interviewed and was complaining about the unfair advantage the Democrats had last election because the debate moderators were liberally biased news anchors. He went on to say that would be the same for Republicans if the moderators were Limbaugh or Beck. He was comparing these entertainers to the likes of

Time to renew our independance

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If voters only focus on elections things will not change. The focus needs to be on the constitution and control of both our economic and political system by oligarchs and other money interests. Things are out of whack because big money has maneuvered to control free markets and votes. Many, including myself, had hoped Obama would be different and be elected by the people and for the people. He was quickly swallowed up by our modern day money changers and he is not willing to break up oligopolies and truly make our markets free again. Yes, they are somewhat free of regulation, but the oligarchs are more dominant than ever controlling our economy and markets.No banker in a senior position served jail time for their wrong doing during our recent financial crisis. No senior executive at General Motors will spend time in jail for their cover up of the safety violations, even though deaths resulted, that were ignored. The only way for we the people to take back our government and save the

Holly Hobby and the Constitution

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The problem is not the judges but rather the Constitution. The majority of judges on the Supreme Court are originalists as opposed to judges who believe the constitution is a living document that should be interpreted according to current beliefs, mores and needs. I am one who favors the originalists. I am against having nine citizens deciding how our Founding Fathers would have written the constitution today rather than in the 1800's. After all, our judges are mortals. Instead, the problem facing the nation is how difficult it is to amend the Constitution. As Justice Scalia points out in this three minute video clip a mere two percent of voters in this country have the ability to reject a constitutional amendment . This is what needs changing. Anyone who thinking the issue of conflict between religious rights and individual rights is easy to resolve is not understanding the problem. We all agree shooting someone in cold blood is murder and should be punished. There is not unan