Some Political Observations

Now that news has largely become entertainment, is it really a surprise that campaigning is becoming entertainment?

If Rubio, Cruz and Kasick want to push back against the unusual style of debating being used by Trump, they should agree to leave the stage and refuse to go on with the debate when the first personal attack comes out. Is there risk in doing that? Sure. But it will dominate the news cycle.

West Virginia Democrats need a Contract with West Virginia such as was used by the Republicans nationally in the 1990’s.

A Point about the IRS 501(c) scandal

Talk about a tempest in a tea (party) pot.

These social welfare tax exempts are entities that don’t pay taxes on their income which does not include contributions.  So these groups suck in money, spend it on ads, consultants and so forth.  How much income could they have?  Probably none.  A little interest earned on their bank accounts?  Totally offset by salaries, office expenses, etc.  See the point?

Contributions to these groups are not tax deductible.  Now if contributions were deductible then yes the IRS should police these vehicles closely.

So from a revenue standpoint, granting “tax exempt” status to “social welfare” entities makes zero difference to the federal fisc which is after all what the IRS should be trying to protect.



The Problem with Talking Politics

Two things.

In almost any discussion of politics, the first thing that is lost is perspective.  Some issues are of huge importance but most are lesser issues where the outcome will not be profound one way or another.  And yet it seems the “heat” of political discussion has no relationship to how high or low the item under discussion is on the scale of important decisions.

The other point that gets lost is that just because I may disagree with someone does not mean they are wrong.  And yet in political discussion so often the parties seem determined to prove the other wrong rather than convincing the opponent that the speaker is right.  The “seed” which grows into bipartisanship is the predicate that although we disagree on an issue that does not mean I am right and you are wrong.  It merely means we disagree.



Best Diplomatic Response Ever

As the story goes, in the 1990’s the Iranians would sporadically attack US merchant ships in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.  The Americans responded by blowing up their naval bases and oil platforms used to launch the attacks.  The Iranians got the message.  To conclude the matter, the Iranians made the following announcement:  “We had nothing to do with the attacks on your ships but it won’t happen again.”  Priceless.

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Pet Peeves

People who use ashtrays as trash cans.

Whoever decided to put all the commercials at 15 after or 15 til on TV shows.

Traffic reports that tell you something is happening or has happened at mile marker such and such.  Who except maybe truckers knows where mile markers are?

Phone messages where people recite their phone number so fast you can’t understand it.

People who walk down a sidewalk in the middle, pretty slow and weave to the right and left like a roller derby competitor.

Waiters and waitresses who bark out “How is everything?” real loud right in the middle of table conversation.

Whomever sends out junk mail.


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Short Selling

Finally, in a Vanity Fair article about Herbalife and hedge fund players, I found a definition (that I could understand) of what exactly is shorting a stock.  Here goes.  So you figure Company X’s stock is going to go down.  (Or you intend to bad mouth it and try to make it go down.)  You go to someone who owns, say, 1000 shares of Company X and borrow those shares.  You promise to return the shares at a later date.  You pay the lender some cash.  Company X is selling for $35 a share.  You sell the stock and get $35,000.  Now, if it goes down to say $25 per share, you reach into your cash pool of $35,000 and buy 1000 shares for $25,000.  You keep $10,000.

Oh by the way, if the stock goes up to $45 a share when it comes time to “return” the stock, you lose $10,000.

Happy investing!



Why some folks “hate” us

We like to export democracy because we think it is good for people to be “free.”  Now some countries, groups and areas seem to really not like us. Could they possibly have a point?

Suppose a bunch of people who didn’t talk like us, look like us or know much about our history came over here and tried to change how we play football by getting rid of the authority of the coach and the quarterback and insist that on each play all of the players in the huddle would vote on what play to run?  We might call them nuts and resent them for destroying our beloved past time.  Or suppose the same group decreed that all family matters would be decided by a vote where the children’s vote counted the same as the parents’ vote?  Don’t think that would go over too well.
Don’t get me wrong.  I like the American system just fine.  However anyone who thinks democracy will automatically produce better decisions and results than other systems (monarchy, dictatorship, tribal) is a well-intentioned fool.  Remember democracy brought us prohibition, destruction of the Native American way of life, slavery etc.  if other people want democracy and want our help in establishing it, fine.  If not, who are we to impose it?