Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tegucigalpa

I name this post Tegucigalpa only because I like the name so much. I traveled to that city in Honduras on business once years ago. It was full of factories and an enjoyable place. But what is happening now regarding Honduras is not so good.

Its president has been run out of the country. He wanted to have a referendum regarding his desire to run for an unconstitutional extra term. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. When he threatened to defy the Supreme Court ruling, the military stepped in to stop him.

That's all fairly irrelevant to the United States except that this deposed president is a Central American ruler along the lines of Cesar Chavez, another populist rabble rouser who has Mussolini type aspirations and a Marxist ideology.

What should scare the wits out of any freedom-loving person is that Obama has come out on the side of the deposed president. That's in addition to Obama's leaving the democracy demostrators in Iran spinning in the wind while the mullahs started breaking heads to suppress the mobs rising up against them. And that's on top of Castro's and Chavez' both lavishing praise on Obama as if a soul mate.

There will come a day when we look back and admit that the signs were there indicating that Obama was a budding tyrant and we ignored them. We'll have to admit that quietly. By then he will have completely usurped the Constitution here and we will doubt him out loud only at the risk of having our own heads bashed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Peculiar Institution, 2009

I'm thinking of a guy who got a business going many years ago, built it through hard work with the dauntless optimism of youth, and has made a bunch of money from it over the years.

All for other people. Seems he had married the wrong woman about the time the business started. While he was strong in business he was weak in marriage. Early on as soon as things were looking good for the business she successfully pressured him to buy a house that was too expensive too fast. Then when it really looked as if the business was taking off, she sued for divorce and guaranteed herself an income for about the next ten years.

The result: debt. Lots of it, relatively speaking. This poor schlub is now a slave to his business and the financial institutions that have greased the wheels along the way. Nearly every extra dollar he makes goes to principal and interest repayments. Not that it's the financial institutions' fault. But they were there when he thought he needed them and now he's living with the consequences. Maybe it's not actually slavery but more like indentured servitude, as he will have the loans all paid off within the next ten years and will finally be free again. If he lives that long. If the economy doesn't get so bad that he can't keep the doors of his business open.

That latter consideration is a big IF in Obama's new world order. And this guy is just one of millions of private business owners now who find that the economy has them by the cojones. They are slaves to their debt, their overhead, their receivables, their houses, their spouses, and their kids' education. And the way things are shaping up, they are slaves to the federal government and the decisions it makes re taxes, regulation, and resources. Thanks to the badness of the economy, compounded by Obama's and Congress's incompetence and their outright reckless destruction of the free enterprise system, there's no end in sight to it.

The defeat of bona fide black slavery in the United States is one of the greatest stories of world history. It is ironic that a man with black blood should preside over the new enslavement of the American people to failure in the form of leftist, anticapitalist, overwhelming government.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hope for Change

I talked to one of my main vendors yesterday, asked him how he was doing. He said he was just sitting there trying to maintain a positive attitude. I asked him on what basis was he trying to do that. He said, “I drink a lot.” He went on to say that this recession had snapped a 59 year run of increasing sales for his business and they were down 40% in the first quarter. No kidding.

On the bright side, I swear I'm running across more and more Dagney Taggarts lately. These are young women who have a dream and make it happen by starting a small fashion business, producing their creations out of their home and selling them on the internet or in local boutiques or through Tupperware-style parties. I know of one such brave soul who has even opened a bricks and morter retail store in 12 South lately. I can think of nearly a dozen of these young entrepreneurs I've talked to in just the past week or so. Whether it's because nine-to-five jobs are so hard to come by or because these young women just have the spark of individuality in them, I don't know, but it's a good sign that the flame of free enterprise burns on in young hearts despite the ever-increasing obstacles.

The right to own personal property is the key to the life, liberty, and happiness equation. What these young ladies have figured out is that you can't own a job but you can own a business.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Third Quarter

I'm posting this now so that it will be a bona fide prediction, and in hopes that I'm dead wrong.

The upcoming third quarter is going to make the first six months of this year look like the land of milk and honey. Working strictly from the gut instincts built from twentyfive years in the nuts and bolts of small business, I feel a lack of vigor in the marketplace like I've never seen before.

I can find no deus ex machina which will bring it up. Certainly not the stimulus spending, ephemeral as it is, misplaced and irrational. The auto industry with government intrusion and housing industry with climbing interest rates offer no hope. And in the service sector, Twitter is supposed to be this year's Google story?

With unemployment over 10% in the U.S., an increasingly unstable political situation throughout the world with a nuclear tint to everything that happens, the specter of vastly increased federal taxation and regulation of everything and everybody, and an incompetent poser as President whose grip on the nation's psyche is finally slipping (which will lead to more desperate measures to control the electorate), we're... basically... screwed.

It's gonna get worser before it gets better, folks. You best be hunkered down and prepared for it. And I have no clue when it might get better. Perhaps the first best hope is in about a year and a half if the market senses that the bastards are about to be thrown out of Congress. But not before.

I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

David Letterman

Johnny Carson retired in style. Though it's been said he suffered from depression, no one would ever have known it from watching the Tonight Show. He remained the funny, likable guy from the midwest from the beginning of his career to the end. When it was time to go, he simply went. His legacy will remain intact.

David Letterman came on to the national scene thirty years ago as a protege of Johnny Carson. He rose through the ranks deservedly on the strength of similar qualities - midwestern values mixed with self-effacing style and sharp wit. Unfortunately, and maybe it is because he lost the Tonight Show gig to Jay Leno after Carson, he has turned bitter in recent years. It has affected his judgment.

Otherwise he would never have cracked a joke like the one about Sarah Palin's daughter(s) the other night, nor used the word "slutty" to describe any individual short of say, Madonna. It's not just the bitter old man coming out in David Letterman, however, it is also a reflection of the rude, crude attack culture which has become characteristic of the left in recent years.

I have a friend who is way, way left, whom I encouraged to start a blog several years ago. She did, and she's very good at it. I have participated in it posting comments, especially when it was just getting started, but each time I do, I come away disgusted. The language is filthy. The comments are personal attacks rather than debates. And even the blog author's posts are filled with s-word and f-word references, usually referring to people like George Bush or Dick Cheney.

I am glad that Sarah Palin has called David Letterman out on this. From his lame explanation a night or two later, one can see what a coward he is. Perhaps some of the similarly bitter bloggers and provocateurs will examine their words before they dispense them so freely. And maybe, just maybe, the dial will finally be turned back a bit on the extremes of the national discussion.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Looters, Moochers, and the Meek

I mentioned to a friend this weekend that I thought it was harder to raise a child successfully for millionaires than for us normal folk. When I see the kids who are given Beemers as teenagers and trips to Europe just for getting through the diploma mill, I see accidents waiting to happen. I know first-hand of a girl who battled cocaine addiction while attending an exclusive prep school. She wasn't turning tricks for the stuff, just paying for it out of her allowance.

There's actually a lot of that hedonism going around, and it's not confined to the millionaire class. It's a Baby Boomer phenomenon and we've passed it on to our kids in great measure. I've mentioned before that the biggest mistake of the Greatest Generation is that they spoiled their kids rotten. Those kids are now the ones running the show in Washington, intoxicated with their new-found power and turning the free enterprise system upside down.

In effect, the looters and moochers are ascendant. For those not familiar with Ayn Rand's work, the looters are those who will not earn what they get but will steal it instead and the moochers are those who want it given to them. Just for quick examples, the government and union vultures carving up General Motors and destroying private car dealerships would be easily classified as looters. Moochers would be, for a quick example, the fifty per cent of Americans who don't pay any income tax whatsoever. The looters use the moochers for political power, as a source of votes. A quick example of this is the illegal alien amnesty push. Those millions of votes will ensure further power for the left wing and further descent into Marxism and thus economic chaos, rendering yet more otherwise productive citizens into looters or moochers for survival. It's a vicious cycle.

That's where the meek come in. Or at least, that's where they need to come in. I believe that part of the problem in the country today is a grave misapplication of WWJD, a total bastardization of scripture to neutralize the great middle who are productive citizens by making them feel guilty about it.

The problem starts with misunderstanding the verse "The meek shall inherit the earth." This verse does not mean meek toward people, but meek before God. Yet it is the basis of the so-called Social Justice movement and millions of Catholics (I know first-hand) and I presume other American Christians are being force-fed this pap through their churches.

I paid close attention to reportage of President Obama's visit to Notre Dame. I wondered how in the world a Catholic university, considering the church's strong position for life, could possibly endorse an abortion proponent like Obama. And I finally found the answer in my weekly Catholic newspaper: it said he shares so many of the church's other goals regarding social justice that we just have to agree to disagree on abortion. My, how the Church has lost its way since the passing of John Paul II. He knew communism. He new fascism. He knew totalitarianism. And he knew that God starts and ends with life. He never would have stood for this kind of nonsense.

It's time for the meek before God to stop being meek before politicians. We need to wake up and re-take the earth from the looters and moochers. We should not sit here silently watching rights of speech, property, and self-defense rendered extinct.