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Posts Made By: Rod Kaufman

April 15, 2005 05:10 PM Forum: Politics

Wipeout on Wall Street

Posted By Rod Kaufman

"The market is behaving as if we are going into a recession." So says Ram Kolluri, chief investment officer at Global Value Investors.
Let's see, the trade deficit is going ballistic and the Bush administration, as usual, does nothing about it.
Oil prices have moderated a bit over the past week or so. Did the Bush administration do anything to help in the decline? Absolutely not, their actions have actually driven-up the cost of oil. How, by ignoring the pleas of democratic senators, Bush has refused to stop competing with the rest of the country by buying tons of oil everyday and dumping it into the strategic oil reserve lest those nasty terrorists under all of our beds get to it before we do. The democrats, noting Bush Jr won't release oil from the reserve as his father did in order to reduce gas prices and save failing airlines from bankruptcy, asked that Bush at least stop the government practice of buying oil at whatever high cost it may be on a daily basis, and wait until prices drop, thereby saving the taxpayers millions of dollars.(Not to mention the Americans currently paying through the nozzle to buy it now.)Speaking of oil, almost all of the recent run-ups have been on the basis of FEARS. Fears of wars in the middle east. Fears of refinery shortages. Fears of unusually cold winters. Fears of increasing demands on oil production. NONE of these fears have been realized. Saudi Arabia flatly stated it alone can supply all of the worlds demands for oil, including anticipated increases from China and India. The Saudis increased production by 2% and when that didn't work, they raised it another 500,000.00 barrels per day. The US consumes 11% of the oil compared to the rest of the world and isn't the glutton everybody believes it to be. The drilling in the wildlife reserves, if successful, won't be productive until 10 years from now. So what has the Bush administration done to help? Well, it brokered back-room deals with vice presidents of energy companies with Dick Chenney and established energy policies without the input of public opinion resulting in rigs being carved out of places like Pinedale Wyoming and in areas around Mt Rushmore where the resulting pollution has been reported to be so bad that you can't even see the monument on some days.
To top it off, we now have interest rates rising with every meeting of the Fed. I recall when similar economic circumstances happened under the Clinton administration, Clinton called Greenspan to the white house and demanded an explanation. Although a president can't order a revision in the rates, it doesn't hurt to convey his concerns to Greenspan. Sadly, Bush as usual, does nothing....

April 19, 2005 02:36 PM Forum: Politics

Minutemen on the Move

Posted By Rod Kaufman

CNNs' Lou Dobbs had a report on the tube last night regarding the activities of the minutemen which can best be described as "expanding." Jim Gilcrest, leader of the group, now has two additional major goals: 1.Observation/protection of our northern borders.
2.Targeting enforcement of laws invoking penalities on employers who hire illegal aliens. Along the same lines, preventing cities from creating day centers for illegals.
It never ceases to amaze me how people can believe the ten million illegal aliens living in the US are all benevalent, upstanding citizens. These are all people who KNOWINGLY commit an illegal act to enter this country and you think it stops with that one illegal act? The next step is phony documentation: drivers licenses, social security cards, birth certificates and the like. Along with the phony identifications comes the ticket to vote and the ticket to endless public services paid forever by the taxpayer. A congressman from Florida explained how illegal aliens are on the verge of closing hospitals in his state because they will not pay for services they receive. Along these lines, legal immigrants from countries with known high incidences of tuberculosis are required to have chest x-rays, both pre and post entry, when receiving permanent residency visas in the US. Illegal migrants from Mexico have a high incidence of TB but have no such screening process as they dart across the border.
Perhaps the people get their positive views of illegal immigrants from immigrants rights groups. Er, ah, excuse me, don't you mean illegal immigrants rights groups?...

April 20, 2005 10:42 AM Forum: Politics

Governor Arnold:"Close the Borders"

Posted By Rod Kaufman

The governor of California has called for our borders to be "closed" citing how "unfair" it is to be overwhelmed with illegal immigrants. This drew an immediate demand from a local hispanic council member to "rachet down the rhetoric."
Well, it seems the minutemen and governor Arnold have similar concerns and a recognition of the duties and responsibilities in securing our borders. It's unfortunate president Bush does not...

April 22, 2005 03:03 PM Forum: Politics

How Far Should We Go?

Posted By Rod Kaufman

An immigrant rights group picketed a hospital in New York yesterday on behalf of a spanish-speaking immigrant who stated she was "embarrassed" because her routine mammogram was performed without the assistance of an interpreter. It seems the immigrant has been in the country for fifteen years but has not learned to speak english. She now has her green card and evidently receives her services gratis. A spokesman stated the hospital can't possibly have an interpreter available for every immigrant in New York because of the different languages spoken by the diverse population. The immigrant rights group is demanding the justice department sue on behalf of the patient to force the hospital to have an interpreter available at all times lest the civil liberties of the patient be impaired. The suit would be advanced at taxpayer expense.
As a health care provider in a university, I understand there are cases where communication is essential and an interpreter is needed but this is a case where a routine diagnostic procedure is performed and an interpreter isn't crucial in a screening of this type. Obviously, if significant findings were disclosed as a result of the procedure, an appropriate level of communication needs to occur with the patient and an interpreter should be provided in such selected cases.
How far should the US go in providing the desired response (in this case a demand) required by the immigrant rights group?
I suspect if I were a patient in a foreign country I would not receive gratis services or an interpreter or a rights group demanding the government sue a hospital for the latter on my behalf.
How far should the US go in meeting the demands of immigrant rights groups?

April 25, 2005 11:01 AM Forum: Politics

King Abdullah Comes To Town

Posted By Rod Kaufman

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia arrived in the US on Sunday April 24 for a series of meetings with our vaunted dynamic duo. The first was a "real" meeting with Chenney who likely told him (in so many words)that he either increases his black bubbly or he ends up guarding his own sandbox. The meeting today with Bush is a photo-op to make the party-faithful believe Dubya actually does something in the realm of foreign relations.
Two things really have lit a fire under the their butts to do something about the price of oil. First, the democrats have reminded Bush that the Saudis promised to reduce the price of oil to $25.00/barrel.
That's right:$25.00/barrel. They can do it and what everybody has been paying is profiteering(welcome to the world of reality). Second, the latest gallup poll shows 49% disapprove of the performance of Bush while 48% approve which sucks for a president but is on par for Dubya as the great divider of our nation. The same poll demonstrated that 61% of those polled believe the economy is getting worse (well,duh!)so VP Dick has to do something...

April 26, 2005 08:17 PM Forum: Politics

When An Attack Is Not An Attack, Part 2.

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Some time ago, I posted a message about what our Joint Chiefs of Staff, Airforce General Richard Meyers had to say about "what" constitutes an insurgent attack in Iraq.
It seems at the time, there were about 60 insurgent attacks a day but "only" 30 of the attacks were successful in producing bodily harm or damage to buildings so the good general stated it wasn't really fair to include the unsuccessful attacks into the total attack-count per day. Uh huh.
That was a year ago and today USA TODAY.COM notes the frequency of attacks by insurgents in Iraq have now increased to the levels seen in April 2004 after dropping for a period of time. Enter General Meyer today who again stated on the tube with Rumsfeld at his side that only 30 of the 60 insurgent attacks per day in Iraq really count because 30 of the attacks don't cause bodily injury or damage to bulidings.(Nevermind the fact that it means there are active numerous insurgents over there who miss half of the time or are successful half of the time, depending on your point of view).
So remember, the next time you are out enjoying the night life in Baghdad, if an RPG misses your face by one quarter of a wavelength of light (peak to valley), you have NOT been attacked! Just go ahead and continue your sightseeing and remember the insurgents miss half of the time insurgents, or succeed half of the time, depending on your point of view. Do you feel lucky?....

May 2, 2005 04:00 PM Forum: Politics

Bush's Approval Rating:"Tanking"

Posted By Rod Kaufman

A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted April 29 through May 1st demonstrates the Bush role as the great divider of the nation to be at optimum levels.
Hmm, where to begin? First, the big Bush push on social security is continuing to dump even after months of campaigning on private accounts and his rare(thanfully)news conference with the press. Only a little over a third of the respondents favor his private accounts or else the sky is falling approach to "saving" social security.
On the overall Bush performance issue 49% disapprove while 48% approve. Boy,that really sucks but it accurately portrays the Bush presidency.
But it just gets worse: 55% disapprove of his handling of Iraq. 53% disapprove of his handling of the economy and 52% disapprove of his handling of energy issues and a whopping 62% disapprove of his do-nothing handling of gas prices.
I am sure it won't phase him or his supporters but facts seldom do...

May 9, 2005 06:03 PM Forum: Politics

A Divided Iraq

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I admit the president of Iraq floated an idea that the Kurds "reserved the "right" to form their own country, a kind of a Kurdishiraqistan, if you will. At first glance, I thought it was nuts but, after reflection, I think it may be an excellent idea if it applies to the shiites and sunnis as well. Each with their own separate country and government with a UN buffer zone between each one. Natural resources apportioned between the three and equal representation in the UN.
Look, Iraq is in a state of defacto civil war anyway and the only thing the shiites and sunnis agree upon is their unity in demanding that the US leave so why not have three states carved out of Iraq with their own independent governments representing their own constituents? I don't see the present state of affairs in Iraq getting any better and in many respects it's getting worse so if you believe "more of the same is better" then explain why...

May 12, 2005 11:57 AM Forum: Politics

Bush Admin wants oil @ 25.00/barrel

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Well, the cnn website is reporting Alan Hubbard from the Bush white house economic team is stating the Bush folks want oil back at $25.00/barrel. Funny, that's the same price the Saudis promised a while ago. It's interesting how the prices just match-up with one another. The Bush people state, of course, that market forces set the prices so why state a " we want it at $25.00/barrel in the first place?

May 14, 2005 01:52 PM Forum: Politics

The Bush Style of Government

Posted By Rod Kaufman

The LA Times (5-13-05) has an interesting article on the "all the polarizing political dynamics of Bush's presidency condensed into a single illuminating episode." This being the advancement of Bolton as the ambassador to the UN.
According to the Times, "The vote demonstrated again Bush's willingness to live on the political edge: accept achingly narrow margins in congress and at the ballot box to pursue ambitious changes that sharply divide the country."
"This is their style of governing" states Marshall Wittman, a former aide to John McCain. He further states, In their mind a win is a win regardless of how narrow or polaring it is."
Bush gets the win but still doesn't get it...