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Al B
Charleston, SC
Retired from a Fortune 500 company
Interests: Current US and world affairs, charitable work, church, golf and fitness in general.
Recent Activity
A great "run" in commenting on the "enlightened" California mindset and national politics in a detached manner. We hope that you will reemerge in the Portsmouth area with observations on the political climate there and Nationally. The year 2019 seems to be year of transition, with lots happening. Got to acknowledge that Trump has shaken up our Country, for better or worse, and that the Dems are mounting a counter-attack. I doubt that your geographical relocation will keep you on the sidelines for long. At least I hope not.
We will know how seriously Pelosi/Dem Establishment are in ousting Trump by how they treat Hillary and Bill. Both are no longer useful, but nuisances. If they are dramatically "sacrificed", we will know that no holds are barred as Dems seek to remove Trump. Maybe Mueller will come up with some decade old financial dealings of Trump to throw into the mix? This all may backfire, being seen as a banana republic scheme repulsive to our form of government. So, most likely the Dem game plan is just to neuter Trump into a President that cannot get anything done. Maybe this will backfire--the Establishment (both Parties) have a history of under-estimating Trump and his "deplorable" base. Al B.
Although handled vindictively, most commentators not aligned with the Democratic Party are of the view that Comey had to go. The problem: he got out of his lane when assuming the role of AG after Clinton derailed Lynch (has any of MSM objected to the tarmac incident, or questioned why there is no transcript, or even explanation?) Comey's objectivity and judgement came into question by both Parties after the strange involvement of Comey twice during the election. Even if necessary, due to Clinton compromising Lych, it was time for him to leave for the benefit of the country. Ball Players sometimes stay on a season too long. Likewise, aging actors playing romantic roles. Comey stayed on too long after assuming the role of prosecutor, even if justified at the time. Would any Democrat accept the proposition a year from now, of Comey quietly discontinuing the probe because of lack of evidence? No way. If it were announced, the spin would be that Comey was starved of resources, or discontinuation was premature, or he was a Trump lackey.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2017 on The Limits of Outrage at Right in San Francisco
Thomas Friedman's Dec 3 column attributed the recent Crimea power-outage to pro-Turkish Tarters. If Putin gets too "frisky" with Turkey and propping up Assad, he may get more flashback against Russian interests than he calculated. There must be lots of behind the scenes maneuvering to promote detente between Erdogan's central government and the more distant Kurdish region. It is hard to visualize how the Syrian situation could stabilize without an accommodation with Kurds. [Incidentally, its prophetic end-times account requires the caliphate to first sack Istanbul---suspect that Erdogan will mobilize Turkey's army and call out NATO's obligations before surrendering Istanbul to ISIS] I remain puzzled about why Europe and the USA resist would-be jihadists from going to Syria/Iraq to join the caliphate. A good case can be made that the wannabees should be given one way tickets, lock the door against return, and let them achieve their desired fate of martyrdom
It would seem that all our citizens should celebrate what makes the USA "Special", a destination for lots of people. Very few seek to leave USA citizenship. Why7 Maybe we are the land of opportunity after all, where initiative means more than parentage for one's ultimate position in life? It is a bit hypocritical for the significant % of our citizens who deplore our country? Maybe George Soros, Michael Moore, et al can set up an exchange whereby our disenchanted can swap citizenship with those mentioned in your blog? Come to think about it, Michael Moore would be an exemplary citizen of Swaziland. Sign up, Michael. Last we heard from you was a proposal that all Baltimore police should resign and be replaced by unarmed recruits. Not certain how that would work out, but maybe you could try it in Swaziland? Alan B.
Hillary's simple case is that Republicans hate and have declared war on women. She has no other case to make. Elect the first woman President and restore the "Clinton Good Times"? Carly, as a "rejected" Republican candidate, simply "proves" the point that Republicans hate women. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi will shed tears, on mike, with the story. MSNBC and CNN will swoon. Main Stream Media will dutifully report the charges as fact. Hillary has no Plan B case for her candidacy. Hillary's most convincing point (for me) is that she has no moral constraints whatsoever in pursuing what she wants. She is not nuanced. At least one can rest peacefully in that Hillary has no overriding philosophical goal to "remake" the USA, as is the case with our current President Obama. Hopefully Hillary would want what is best for the Country, not only what is best for the Clintons, if President. Or, better yet, the goals will coincide.
So, where is the surprise? Our president comes from a background of radicals, his only job experience is as a Community Organizer, he had the most liberal voting record in the Senate (more liberal than Ted Kennedy), and ran on a platform of "transforming America". He immediately placed Andy Stern (then Pres of SEIU, now at Columbia U.) in charge of Regulatory Affairs on the White House Staff, where Andy proudly stated that his job was to accomplish through Regulations whatever Obama could not achieve through Legislation. Just before the last election, Obama tells the Russians that his hands will no longer be tied after the election. We are there. There will be a non-stop drip of executive and Regulatory action (or inaction in case of the Pipe Line)to implement his cause, and reward his friends, until the last minute of his Presidency. I have no doubts about the sincerity and consistency of Obama. But, I am astonished that the Republican Party leaders are so feckless that they ping/pong from "crisis" to "crisis", being outplayed on every shot by a far superior political strategist (Obama). If the Republicans do not develop some "savvy" on how to counter the grinding inroads of Obama's agenda,they will not deserve to win the next Presidential. It is bothersome that our great Country is being transformed into parity with Greece in part due to incompetence of Republican Party "leaders".
Great Post, Bill McCormick, Maybe you can comment on the following? Standing back, I see several causes for the dilemma: (1) Unduly high expectations, (2) Ever increasing government consumption of resources (3) The political allure of claiming that government is the cure for every conceivable ill, and (4) the inevitable “friction” (waste) of money, whereby government consumes an ever increasing percentage of national resources. As to (1), it the nature of our consumer economy to create an ever-higher perception of what one “needs”. When we grew up,success was defined as 1 car & TV/household and maybe a party phone line. That standard now is perceived as defining extreme poverty. Heck, the government even gives free cell phones to unemployed people so that they can communicate with potential employers. As to (2), the tax load continues to go up. Hidden taxes, like those in The Affordable Care Act, are best for politicians because the public does not comprehend what is happening. Strangely, most tax increases are “regressive” in nature, while most politicians mouth rhetoric about “the rich not paying their fair share”. This falls into the category of kabuki politics, per Bill Bowen’s post two weeks ago. As to (3), it is not politic to say that individuals are responsible for their own state of affairs. Much more politically rewarding to advocate and vote for “free” programs that will deliver more “stuff” to the voters. This is a bipartisan effort. George W. Bush gave us “free” Part D prescription drugs. Barack Obama gave us expanded Medicaid (and hidden taxes) to expand medical coverage for some (but not all) voters lacking medical insurance, and now wants to give “free” community college to all. [Not a surprise—he promised such during his first presidential campaign] The Labor Department now provides permanent “Disability” payments to most anyone who asks. As to (4), the numbers on the government payroll, directly or through contracts, continuously expands. Rarely contracts, as in private industry, because there are no pressures for efficiency. Zero based budgeting, sunset programs, and line-item veto powers are very unpopular with the governing class. Compound the problem with the ever increasing “awarding” of goodies to those politically connected or well represented by lobbyists. So, the producing class provides an ever increasing percentage of their income to support government expansion and waste. While monetizing the debt has (luckily) worked so far, it is doubtful that continued borrowing at a rate higher than expansion of the GDP will have a happy ending. Symptomatic of the problem is the Media’s blind acceptance of recent claims by Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton that the Government, not industry, creates jobs. We probably can look to Europe and Japan as illustrating where we are headed unless/until points such as these are openly debated and addressed by the political and governing classes.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2015 on In Search of Good Jobs at Right in San Francisco
So, Jonathan Gruber boasts not once, but serially, that he jiggered up Obamacare so that it would fool the Government Accounting Office and the stupid American people. Nancy Pelosi said that Congress had to pass the Act to find out what was in it, and now claims that she has never heard the name "Jonathan Gruber". All directly out of the Progressive playbook authored by Saul Alinsky---Lying, cheating,etc, is permissible to achieve the Progressive's view of what is in the Greater Good. Would you buy a used car from this crowd? Shame on the Republican Party and Main Stream Media if they categorically swallow the "stories" from this Administration and Pelosi/Reid during the next 2 years. Al B.
Historically, one of our strengths has been that government has been administered at the most local level possible. Local (Boards, City/County), then State, then Federal. Jefferson v. Madison. Our history has been a slow transition from Jefferson to Madison as arguments supporting expansion of Federal power have prevailed. Currently, under a very Progressive Democratic Administration and Senate, the Madison view strongly dominates. So, we see an insatiable appetite for decision making and authority to be transferred to the Federal level. Nothing new, or surprising. If one accepts that decisions(historically made at the local/state level) are now better handled at the Federal level, one should accept two consequences: (1) the results of a particular decision may not feel "good" in your local community [i.e., the "greater good" argument], and (2) this is an extremely expensive way to run a society. OK--the Federal Govt has the printing presses and thus can fund whatever the "Progressives" want. So,logically, governments on the local/state level must trim their sails and pare back administrative expense as the Federal government takes over roles they used to perform? No need for local school boards and huge local/state bureaus controlling matters now superfluous from a local perspective. If we expand the Federal government, logic says that we also should contract local/state government. Otherwise, Govt (at all levels) will consume 100% of our resources. Alan B. The shrinking taxpayer base simply cannot afford the luxury of the overlapping, redundant, bureaucracies. That is where debate should focus. Where is MSM when we need them for a constructive role anticipated by the Constitution? One may question whether the Local or Federal Governments are best equipped to make life decisions at the Mayberry level.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on The ABC's of Common Core at Right in San Francisco
Well,if we are about to pull up the drawbridges, we must be energy independent. Ooops. Not so? Fracking is under attack, cannot drill off the coast, or even make a simple decision to transport oil through a pipeline after 6 years of studies reveal no significant environmental impact. Maybe Congress and the Commander in Chief need to reconsider the implications of reducing our military footprint if we refuse to become self sufficient? Solar and Wind Power are not ready to assume Prime roles in filling our Energy Demands. But, according to Harry Reid I am a despicable liar, so observations such as the above should not see the light of day. My Doc fired me after I would not ante up $1,500/year to continue with his new concierge practice, implemented because he refused to participate in the anticipated cost squeeze of Obamacare. Yeah--I guess I can technically keep my Doc, if I am willing to spend an additional $1,500/year to do so. According to our Senate Majority Leader, I am lying when I relate this personal experience. Senator Reid must be the most insightful person alive to declare any criticism of Obamacare to be a lie, before he has even heard the criticism or investigated the truth thereof. Incidentally, If everything is so perfect, as the Senator declares, why does Obama keep delaying implementation of the perfect creation? It would seem that Reid (and Democrats in general) would want Obamacare to be on the express track so that "doubters" would experience its full wonder and propel the Democrats into total domination of the House, Senate, and state governments. Why would the Democrats want to delay its implementation, giving the Koch Brothers (and myself?) time to fabricate all these despicable lies? If Hillary is sick (as some Democratic insiders suggest), maybe the Party can reshuffle its lineup to join Reid and Biden as its next Pres/VP Candidates (in either order)?
A nice post, Bill, which gives some perspective to the problems facing our descendents. They do not recall diving under their school desks during nuclear bomb drills. The general belief of our generation growing up was not “if” a nuclear war would occur, but when. Survival was viewed as a long shot. [I had to pinch myself to verify that I had survived the Cuban Missile Crisis] Our Nation needs serious debate about competing political themes currently being played out that will impact the economic well being (but not physical survival) of their generations. One—Are employment “opportunities” so limited that we must have an ever increasing number of people on food stamps, disability, and unemployment compensation? Two-- “Must” we grant amnesty to un-documented workers to fill jobs in the agricultural sector and entry level positions? (So says the Chamber of Commerce & Democratic Party) Three—Does economic “fairness” demands that resources of the most wealthy (earned, not inherited?) be redistributed to those having less? It seems that there is a serious misalignment between expectations and reality, probably due in part to shifting dynamics as the world moves inexorably toward a more global economy. Data from the recent census shows that most of our “poor” have a car, tv, cell phone, and computer. Somewhat different from the picture one sees in most of the developing world (or from Appalachia when President Johnson declared the “War on Poverty” that would forever eliminate USA poverty). As an aside, I am not certain that the declining college attendance levels are a “bad thing”. Maybe parents (and teenagers) are wising up that it does not make sense to spend 5 years, accumulating a mountain of debt, to obtain a degree in Women’s Studies, Black Literature, Medieval History, or some other degree where the demand is limited to teaching positions. Or, in advance degrees in grossly overpopulated fields such as law (an acquaintance recently told me that the incoming law class at Tulane was down about a third from his student days)? In a free economy, things tend to level out with time. Government controls (whether they be wage and price controls, socialization of segments of industry/services, or whatever) tend to distort the natural leveling forces and create a cottage industry of the “favored” clientele (look at the huge K Street lobbying industry, farm subsidies, the TVA and Rural Electrification Agency, etc.). Not every “ill” benefits from the government stepping in with a bureaucratic solution, which never will be erased even when the “problem” is long gone. This does not diminish our “problems”. But, a serious debate on the issues/solutions will lead to more positive advances for our Great Country than calls for class warfare and suggestions that all would be well if only the Government stepped in to create social justice.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2014 on Generational Politics at Right in San Francisco
Hillary faces at least 3 obstacles: #1, Bill Clinton; #2, no notable achievements as Senator or Secretary of State; and #3, potential unraveling of political appetite for the Progressive agenda if public support for the Affordable Health Care Act continues to decline. The Progressive constituency probably will be happy to look at 2014 in the rear view mirror. A lot of the 2014 potential problems with Health Care have received media attention. Charles Krauthammer recently put a focus on Sections 1341 and 1342 whereby the Administration will bailout the Insurance Industry if the rosy forecasts and predictions (used to sell the Act and set insurance rates)fail to materialize, causing severe losses to the Industry. This problem likely will hit the radar of the House, possibly causing the House to link defunding of those Section with a hike in the debt ceiling. However all these issues play out in 2014, it is more likely than not that the voting public will be more prone to question election of another Progressive President having little hands-on management experience. Hillary already is seeing defection of some of the Progressive base to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Can Hillary mobilize that base as Obama did? Unless the Republicans do something really dumb during 2014 (as they have in the past), it would seem that the Party could retire Senator Harry from his power position and retain the House, as well as setting up very nicely for the next round. It is not beyond the realm, however, that the Republicans will grab defeat from the jaws of victory. Here in SC, there are 3 opponents already registered to oppose Senator Lindsey Graham on the grounds that "He is not conservative enough". Lets hope that the Republican establishment has learned a lesson from the Delaware primary where the hapless Christine O'Donnell beat former Governor and Congressman Mike Castle, leaving the startled Democratic Party with an opening they capitalized on. Not hard to beat a self-declared Republican Witch in a blue state.
The problem of growing class income inequality has received much attention and is very complex. Bill's blog, and Bill M.'s comments, are on target with respect to important aspects of the problem. George Will, in his December 12 column, deals with another aspect--the impact of lobbying that causes Congress and the Administration to direct resources to the privileged groups affluent enough to buy more "goodies" from Government. Unfortunately, the working poor and middle class do not have anyone lobbying for their interests. Nor do they have any Government agency (such as Dept of Labor or HHS)to advocate their interests. Thus, they become lost in the process of governing the country. Let me propose a partial remedy: We should return to the era when budgets were the norm. The budget process caused the special interest groups to make their case in a more public manner, thus involving the media more critically in the process. Now,it seems that special interest groups are nursed and fed behind closed doors by politicians and bureaucrats anxious to please for their own reasons, with little reason to say "NO". There is no competition for resources (which drives up spending). If we returned to a budget, and eliminated earmarks, the country would be spending its resources more wisely and more thought would be given to those not falling within the top and bottom 10% of society, who are well represented by lobbyists and bureaucrats.
Al B is now following The Typepad Team
Dec 18, 2013