Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

        I just reread Lee Iacocca’s book, Where Have All The Leaders Gone?  Lee was President of Ford when I was a Ford-Mercury dealer.  I always admired his accomplishments at Ford and later at Chrysler.  
        The book was published in April 2007, and starts out as a Bush bash.  Iacocca says we are in “A hell of a mess”, and blames President George W. Bush.  He mentions the deficit, manufacturing decline, health care costs, gas prices, lack of an energy policy, schools in trouble, borders like sieves, and says “The middle class is being squeezed every which way”.
        Lee talks about all the rhetoric and the lack of action.  He states, “I’m starting to get the suspicion that maybe the point of government is the bureaucracy, not the results.”  He is dead on.  Government certainly does not represent the working middle class.
        He predicted in the book that China would become the #1 economy.  That is now a reality, and they now own a substantial portion of our debt.  He felt that part of the problem was an open trade policy that is not fair, and put us at a disadvantage in the world market.
Lee is incorrect on a couple points in his book, but we have to keep in mind that he wrote it in 2007.  He does not think oil supplies will last a hundred years and he does not think we can supply our needs domestically.  We now know that due to American ingenuity and hydraulic fracturing, we can supply our oil and gas needs domestically for two hundred years or more.
        The other mistake he makes in his book is that he agreed man-made carbon emissions were causing global warming.  We now know this is false, but in 2007, many people were accepting the financially motivated propaganda. 
        Lee was concerned with our civil litigation system. Ninety percent of the world’s civil actions are in the U.S.A.  He said punitive damages are completely out-of-line and not justified.  That type of litigation restricts and limits innovation and entrepreneurship.
Lee gave an example of how our unfair trade policies and the out-of-control heath care costs put us at a disadvantage. He mentions a GM plant in Arlington, Texas and a Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas.  The cost for health care at the GM plant was $1,525 per car, and the cost for healthcare at the Toyota plant was $201 per car.  We clearly have problems with manufacturing, trade, and health care.
        Lee felt the solution may be strong political leadership, American entrepreneurs, and American ingenuity.  He said the government and unions had to let America compete on a level playing field.  He mentioned when Henry Ford Senior reduced the workday from 9 hours to 8 hours, and increased the minimum pay from $2.34 a day to $5 a day.  Everyone thought he was crazy, but it worked. 
        He had a problem with mergers, because bigger is not necessarily better. He discussed the Benz-Chrysler merger.  That did not work out well.  There was also the problem of the government having to bail out corporations because they were Too Big to Fail.
        He was very concerned with our debt, and didn’t think the public understood that the debt is real money.  He felt the debt “racing up toward $9 trillion” should shock people.  What does he think today, with the debt doubling to over $18 trillion in a few short years?
This is what Lee says about politicians helping the middle class.  “The middle class is useful to politicians during election season, when the slogans are flying.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Democrats or Republicans.  Everyone presents themselves as champions of the middle class when they’re trolling for votes.  They love to shake hands at the factory gates, but once they get to Washington, they can’t be bothered with helping to keep those gates open.”
Iaccocca criticized Bush for many things and most of them were justified.  What does he think today, when Obama is many times worse on every point on things he criticized Bush for?
It is clear that electing a career politician that is a Washington insider and part of the political elite will only continue to grow the government and hurt the middle class.  We elected President Obama twice.  Since he spent all his time as a U.S. Senator campaigning for the Presidency, it was hard to think of him as a Washington insider, but he had no experience.  His lack of experience, knowledge and leadership soon proved a disaster.  
How do we find an experienced leader with a history showing he does what he says, and who is not part of the political establishment?  Options include someone from the military, the private sector, or a state governor.  Maybe a state governor is a good possibility.  That has shown good results in the past.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Search Warrants

       We need to change how we approve and issue search warrants.  We need to give the owners and residents of the property, and their attorneys, prior notice of the request.  If the search warrant is approved, they shall have a minimum of twenty-four days notice before the search warrant is executed.  This procedure would be great for the personal liberties of the criminals, but might negate the value of the search warrant.
        If you don’t think this change sounds reasonable, why are we doing the exact same thing with the Iran treaty?  It’s not like Iran is our friend and ally.  They shout “Death to America” in the streets.  We can’t trust them. 
        Both opponents and proponents of the treaty agree on several points.  Lifting the sanctions will be a boom to Iran’s economy, producing millions of dollars.  Some of that money will fund terrorists.  The treaty guarantees that Iran will become a nuclear power at some point in the future.  In five years, Iran will be free to buy and sell military weapons. 
  The treaty does not free Americans being held hostage in Iran.  The state department says this was brought up at every negotiation.  The White House says it was never a consideration.  Who is telling the truth?  Probably neither. 
        Opponents of the treaty feel it will escalate the nuclear weapons race in the Middle East, and it may lead to war.  Israel, for one, cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapon and will have to retaliate first. 
        Obama claims our options are this treaty or war.  This is a scare tactic.  There are other options.  The sanctions were clearly working and we are lifting them as part of the treaty.  When people question President Obama, he claims they are stupid or racist.  I hope the public, and especially the media, are getting fed up with this insult.  I know I am. 
        This treaty is not a good thing.  What are President Obama, his handlers, the White House, and the State Department are thinking?  I hear talk of Obama wanting it to be part of his legacy.  What kind of legacy will it be if implemented? 
        Is Obama hoping Congress will kill the treaty?   Then he can claim it would have helped world peace, but did not have a chance.  It would give him a perfect out without seeing the actual disaster. 
        Compare this treaty to Obama Care.  I think everyone including Obama knew it would be a disaster, but it did achieve the objective of increasing the size of the federal government and taking away personal liberties.  They hoped the failure of Obama Care would lead to a single payer plan or government supplied health care.  They felt and still believe that the political elite will not repeal it, even if it is clearly not working and the public doesn’t want it.  I hope I am wrong about this. 
        Every Presidential candidate claims to support the working middle class, but most of their actions show that is a lie.  Do your research.  Don’t believe the lame stream media or take political ads at face value. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Actions Have Consequences?

        As a parent I tried to teach my children that they had to be responsible for their actions or face the consequences.  As an employer, I tried to make my employees understand that they were also responsible for their actions or had to live with the consequences.  The fact that actions may have consequences is accepted unless those actions involve politics.  Politicians are rarely held accountable for their actions.  They just lie, pass the blame, and cover it up until it goes away or becomes ancient history. 
        An illegal immigrant that had seven felony convictions and had previously been deported five times killed a young woman recently in San Francisco.  Maybe I should call him an undocumented professional tester of the law.  I wouldn’t want to offend anyone.
        This individual was released from custody without informing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as had been requested.  San Francisco is a sanctuary city and does not feel obligated to enforce or cooperate with ICE.  The mayor, sheriff, and police chief all blame someone else.  The anti Second Amendment people are blaming the gun. 
        The authorities who released the individual or ordered his release instead of notifying ICE and holding him for deportation broke the law.  They should be prosecuted.  They broke the law and someone died.  Isn’t that felony murder?
        No one will be held responsible for this tragedy.  San Francisco will continue to violate the federal immigration laws, and will continue to get federal aid.  Cities and states that ignore federal law should forfeit all federal aid.  No exceptions!  This would do wonders for our Constitution, law enforcement, and the federal budget. 
        Statistics show illegal immigrants commit a much higher percentage of crimes than legal immigrants or the general population.   Interestingly, first generation legal immigrants have crime rate lower than the general population.  This is a fact, not a discrimination issue. It is a criminal and public safety issue.
Legislation has been proposed that any illegal immigrant who has been deported and comes back will be sentenced to five years imprisonment before a second deportation.  Some states have a three-strikes law to keep habitual offenders off the streets. 
Many illegal immigrants are deported because they are picked up for a crime.  If they come back and are picked up for another crime, it should now be considered four offenses. Do two offenses for illegal entry and two other legal offenses qualify that person as a habitual offender?
        Not one President has enforced all of our federal immigration laws in over forty years.  Selective enforcement is NOT okay.  Maybe it is time our executive branch of government be held responsible.  There is a lot of talk about “comprehensive immigration reform.”  The fact is that no immigration reform has any chance of success if the border is not secured first and the laws are enforced.  The only thing amnesty for illegal immigrants guarantees is more illegal immigrants and huge costs! 
Politicians and bureaucrats ignore the law in many ways and seldom face any consequences for their actions.  Some even ignore subpoenas from Congress with no consciences.  Why do we tolerate this arrogance of the political elite?
        It reminds me of the old joke of a child telling his father that he was planning a career in organized crime.  The father’s response is “Private or public sector?”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


      For many years I have been of the opinion that Cuba should have been a U.S. state or at least a U.S. territory.  Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean with a population of over 11 million inhabitants, and is located only 93 miles from the United States.  
There are very few things President Obama has done that I agree with, but his recent action to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba is one that I like.  I think this action is past due, but many people and politicians are opposed primarily due to Cuba’s history of human rights violations.  Normalizing trade and political interaction with Cuba can be more effective for change in Cuba than the embargo.  
Christopher Columbus claimed Cuba for Spain in 1492.  Over several decades, Presidents Polk, Buchanan, Grant, and McKinley all tried to buy the island of Cuba from Spain.  Think of how that could have changed history.
After the Spanish-American war, Cuba gained independence as a republic and a protectorate of the United States.  From this time on, the U.S. seems to have screwed everything up with Cuba.  Cuba had social issues and radical politics, and became a dictatorship under Fungencio Batista in 1952.  Batista was a brutal dictator who limited personal and political freedoms, but he still received the support of the United States.  
      Fidel Castro emerged as the leader of a communist Cuba after the 1959 revolutionary war.  In 1961 the United States backed an attempt to overthrow Castro with an invasion at the Bay of Pigs, which was a total disaster.  There were even rumors that the U.S. tried to assassinate Castro.
Since Cuba is only 93 miles from Florida, it became a critical asset for Russia in the cold war.  Russia’s attempt to place nuclear missiles in Cuba led to a standoff with the U.S. in October of 1962.  For a 13-day period, we teetered on the brink of a nuclear war. 
The United States imposed an embargo on imports to Cuba, except for food and medicine, in 1960.  In 1962 this was expanded to all imports.  There are six U.S. statutes defining the Cuban embargo.  The embargo has been relaxed over the years, and we now ship medicine, food, grain, livestock, and more to Cuba, but Americans cannot legally buy Cuban made cigars or rum.  After 55 years, I think it is time we normalize political and trade relations with Cuba. 
Reestablishing political and trade relations is the right thing to do at this time. Cuba may never become a U.S. state, but they should be one of our strongest allies and partners.