Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ben Bernanke's on the job training

You often hear Hillary say she has the experience to be commander in chief and she will know what to do. She will hit the ground from day one.

Of course, her experience these days seem to be falling on deaf ears. The two most powerful people in the Union are the president of the United States and the Federal Chairman. I would say the Federal chairman has more power than the president insofar as the economy is concerned. Alan Greenspan was one of the best federal chairmen this nation has known. Anyone who lived through the 70s knows the disasterous policies Nixon used with price controls with the inept fed chairman George Miller.

We now are heading into the same direction of George Miller. In Ben Bernake's short tenure thus far, he has already made several missteps. Read Motley Fool's article here. Bernake has proved himself inept. He raises and lowers rates on a whim. He sees things that aren't there. I guess this would be Hillary's definition of "on the job training."

So, we may have a president Obama and a federal chairman Ben Bernanke who seem to have no clue how the economy works. So, there are going to be rocky times ahead. I just hope our portfolios aren't decimated during these trying times.

The One Zillionth Democratic Debate

The two best moderators in these debates ever are Tim Russert and Brian Williams. They ask the tough and pointed questions.

Is the Clinton machine waning yet?

A focus group on Hannity and Colmes was shown during the first half of the debate with Frank Luntz. The question was asked how many were undecided when they came in. Everyone raised their hands. Then, they were asked how many were now for Hillary, most raised their hands. The focus group thought Hillary was doing the better job. Are these people out to lunch? Or, are Democrats just stupid? Maybe the latter. I think these people in the focus groups just say they are undecided to get their fifteen minutes of fame on primetime.

In a word – Hillary lost, and Obama will be the nominee. Hillary gets the first question, and she whines or so it seemed that she always gets the first question, and then rambles on ad nauseum about her health care plan. We all know that both Barack and Hillary want socialized healthcare, but I would surmise not even Democrats care so much about the little details that Hillary gawked about for 16 minutes. Of course, it was nothing that was not brought up in the last 19 debates. I wonder how many viewers she lost during that diatribe.

Hillary bashes Bush, and says it was Bush's fault for her failure to create 200,000 jobs in New York, her campaign pledge when running for New York senate. She apparently had a net loss of 30,000 jobs. It's never Hillary's fault. Guess how Hillary is going to create jobs in the U.S.. She wants to be like Germany. She wants to have everyone out putting solar panels on roofs, doing geothermal stuff, installing wind turbines, biofuels, and a whole bunch of other green-nonsense. Sure that will get America working or not. How about getting people to drill for our oil, and getting people employed in the nuclear plant business?

Obama was able to deflect every attack from Hillary. When asked if he rejected Farrakan and his teachings, he said "I have been very clear in my denunciations," Obama continued by adding "I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible." (Referring to Farrakan's anti-Semitic teachings) Hillary then carped about how Obama should not just denounce but reject Farrakan. What could have been an explosive event Obama diffused by saying "If the word 'reject' Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point and I would reject and denounce." So, it was another point for Obama if anyone was keeping score.

Click on the words
reject and denounce if you want to know the difference between the two.

There was a question on Iraq that should have been easy to answer, but again Hillary blew it, and Obama answered it correctly. Russert asked Hillary what would she do as president if "U.S. troops are pulled out of Iraq and Al Queda resurges and Iraq goes to hell." Clinton responded "You know, Tim, you ask a lot of hypotheticals." She evaded the question, and began to reiterate her talking points about what she would do as president concerning the Iraq war. To that I say huh? Russert is asking a valid question and a question everyone wants to know. Obama said, "As commander in chief I always reserve the right to make sure we are looking out for American interests. And if Al Queda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad." Bull's eye – That was the correct response. Hillary then realized Obama had a better answer, and started trying to say something when Tim Russert said, "We have to go to a commercial break." Another point for Obama, another black eye for Hilary.

And then there was NAFTA. Clinton said she was always critical of NAFTA, and then Obama said Clinton was not always against it, and Russert confirmed it by citing all the incidents where Clinton had praised NAFTA, and how she said it was good for America. -- oops! You should have seen Clinton backpeddle on that one.

I love it when Tim Russert puts those questions in on who so and so is in debates, because it shows how adept the candidates are on foreign issues. He did it with Fred Thompson with the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper (which Fred nailed), and he did it again with Hillary Clinton with Putin's heir apparent Dimitry Medvedev, and she had trouble pronouncing the last name. Knowing the names of foreign leaders is kind of important for the commander in chief.

Then when asked about the Iraq War, Obama compares his vote on the authorization for war to Hillary when he deftly compares it to the following analogy, "Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out, The question is: Who's making the decision initially to drive the bus into the ditch?" I thought that was actually a good analogy. But let's see Obama was one of only a few senators who voted against the war. No one knew whether or not Sadaam had WMDs, and no one wanted to find out. In any event, Sadaam was planning to reconstitute his weapons anyway, so why did Hillary not say something like this, "Well, no one is making the decision to drive into the ditch, because no one knows it's there." Obama is much more skillful at taking the negative and turning it into a positive while Hillary struggles to find an answer that her audience will like.

This was Hillary's campaign to lose, and she lost. Hillary's performance in this debate was abysmal. Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

Advice to John McCain: Obama lacks experience, he is to the left of everything this side of Berkley, he does not represent what America is all about, but do not underestimate him. He will be a formidable candidate, and if you don't get your act together and convince conservatives you are a conservative, Obama will be the next president indeed, and that is a scary thought.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Spanish debate between Jose Rodriguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy

I happened to watch the debate with Mariano Rajoy and Jose Luis Zapatero. Oh, who are they you say? Zapatero is the current president of Spain of the PSOE party, the Spanish Socialists Worker Party, similar to our Democratic party. Mariano Rajoy is the leader of the Partido Popular, that was ousted from power after the Madrid terrorist bombings of March 11, 2004 and would be similar to our Republican party,.

Right before the elections between Aznar and Zapatero, Spain had its 9/11 which They call M-11 when Islamic terrorists bombed several Madrid railway stations. This caused the Spanish to capitulate and vote for Zapatero. The Spanish believed the terrorists attacked them because they were in Iraq. Although 90% of Spain was against the war in Iraq, Aznar, the head of the partido popular, was still the favorite to win the elections. The Madrid bombings changed that, and Zapatero, once in office, withdrew all Spanish troops from Iraq almost immediately.

The Spanish seem to have wanted to join the rest of the world in having debates during election season. France had its debates, and the US has had a plethora of debates. This was Spain's first debate in 15 years. I was able to watch it on Dish Network on channel TVE, the international channel of Spain. The Spanish conducted their debate in the style of the French where each candidate sat at a table in a relaxed atmosphere, and the moderator let them actually debate. Both candidates brought a ream of graphs and numbers that seemed to at times overwhelm the audience, that is if they had an audience. And, that was the other point, there was no audience, so you didn't need to worry about plants from the likes of MSNBC.

Rajoy opened the debate up with Reagan's line, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" I get the feeling Zapatero is not well liked in Spain. One of the comments I read said, "The only thing Zapatero has done is give gays the right to marry. I don't care one way or the other about what gays do. I just want to have a job."

Terrorism in Spain is a big issue, but not Islamic terrorism. Terrorism in Spain is with the group ETA, the Basque separatist group who have been responsible for bombings throughout Spain since the days of Franco. Recently, there was even a well-publicized bombing by ETA in France. Zapatero has continuously tried to negotiate with these home grown terrorists even as they continue their murder spree. Rajoy made a point of this. Zapatero is no different than Obama when it comes to terrorism. He believes everyone is rational, even terrorists, and negotiation works with madmen.

Both candidates are into the Kyoto protccol and the global warming hoax. But, who can blame them. They don't have the information we do. However, it is worrisome. The more other nations believe in the global warming myth, the more we will succumb to it.

I am betting that the Partido Popular will regain power once again. When talking about foreign policy, Rajoy encapsulated his opposition when he stated,"I will be with Sarkozy and Merkel, you will be with Chavez and Castro." (I think McCain should borrow that line for whomever the Democratic nominee is.) Merkel is the prime minister of Germany and Sarkozy the prime minister of France. Merkel is the head of the Socially Conservative Democratic party of the center right in Germany. Sarkozy is the head of France's UMP party, and he beat his leftist opponent Segolene Royal, France's Hillary Clinton because the French were fed up with the Islamic riots in France and the social policies which are benefiting mostly poor Muslims. Both Merkel and Sarkozy are allies of the United States, and the Bush administration. Rajoy could have also added Canada's prime minister to his list, but of course that wouldn't have meant as much to the Spanish since Canada is not part of the EU.

We are turning socialist, and Europe, although firmly entrenched in socialist policies, is trying to turn more to the right. We should take a lesson from the way Europe is abandoning its leftist politics.

Spanish elections are March 9th, and the next televised debate will be February 28th in Spanish of course. You can actually watch the debate live on televison española via the Internet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Debate with an Obama fan

I was looking for the speech by Michelle Obama made at UCLA, a very populist class warfare speech. I found a website of the video posted by 29 year old avid Obama fan, and we entered into an interesting exchange click here. Exchange between Adam and me. Or as the saying goes, I post you decide.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Remembering Matt – 25 Years

There are moments that are seared into our minds that have a profound effect on who we are. We all remember the assassination of President Kennedy, the challenger disaster and more recently the attack on the twin towers. These events change our lives in unimaginable ways. There are also those indelible moments that affect us on a more personal level, moments that remain with us throughout the remainder of our lives. It was one of these moments I will not forget - on a dark evening 25 years ago, on an isolated and lonely college campus, my 28 year old brother decided to take his life.

His name was Matthew James Dias.

I had just arrived home with my wife shopping for suits. I used to arrive at my place of employment, Levin Metals, casually dressed, but a few days earlier my boss told me it was time I started dressing in suits. It was time to look professional. So my wife and I went shopping. We arrived home that evening after scouring the shopping malls in the area in order to purchase the new wardrobe I needed to impress my boss. I left the car precariously carrying an array of expensive wool suits, cotton shirts, and 100% silk designer ties. I bought my new attire according to the dictums of the book "Dress for Success". This book was the "How to" book in becoming successful in the business world. My wife and I parked on the street and we exited the car and I headed towards the side door of the duplex where we lived. My brother-in-law and his wife lived in the other half of the duplex. Our duplex was an elongated structure with side doors to each unit which could be accessed from the driveway. My brother-in-law stumbled out of his door tripping over the porch as he approached me. He stopped abruptly, and his countenance darkened, he shouted, 'Matthew, committed suicide.' I didn't really hear him the first time, or maybe I did, but his utterance just didn't register. My sister, Cathy soon followed him out of the door. He then repeated his comment. When I finally realized what he had said, I dropped the bags of clothes and watched them fall in slow motion into the garden my wife had just watered earlier that evening. The muddy water which still lay stagnant in the patch of greenery penetrated the shopping bags that were protecting my suits, but the clothes seemed rather trivial at this point. My eyes moistened with tears, and my wife helped me sit on a chair as my legs fell limp. I felt a strange sensation that lasted through the night, probably the strangest sensation I had ever felt.

I didn't sleep that night. I stayed awake, and I could hear the palpitations of my heart grow louder with every beat as if I were listening through a stethoscope. The beating kept me awake, and sometimes I felt as if I was having a heart attack. I began to hyperventilate. I took some deep breaths. The first question that raced through my mind and one I would ask countless times after was "Why?" I stared at the ceiling, and I laid on the sofa. I recalled the last conversation I had with Matthew the week prior. I was sitting in the small cramped living room of my 800 square foot side of the Duplex with Matthew, my wife Jeanine, and my brother-in-law, Steve. We were discussing various topics, but I remembered one subject we discussed in particular. We were talking about "If we had ever thought about suicide when growing up." I couldn't help but think if that conversation might have hastened my brother's decision. I will never know. What could have been going through his mind?

Who was Matthew? Matthew was an athletic teenager with a bronze, sculpted frame, which he acquired from constantly working outside. He had his own cadre of friends that never seemed to change from one year to the next, Scott Smith, Rick Del Carlo and a couple of others were always in the driveway working and joking underneath some car with parts strewn around in some random fashion.
Matthew and I were only one year apart in age. We were in the same grade in school, and that created all sorts of tension. Matt was generally the more popular one. He got the girls, and if I liked a girl, he took her from me. That was frustrating to say the least. His favorite groups were the Allman Brothers, Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues. His favorite actor was Robert Redford and his favorite movie was Brubaker starring Robert Redford. He was an avid wrestler, and he was on the Junior varsity wrestling team in High School. He was easily angered. There was always a certain amount of rage Matt kept bottled up inside.

Matt was a force to be reckoned with. He was fearless. He sometimes had to fight my battles. On one occasion when I was studying in the High School library, a certain smart-aleck kid kept calling my name from the sound proof room. I went to the room, opened the door, and I told him to knock it off. He continued. I opened the door and hit him. Not much else happened since the teachers were close by. I figured if you started a fight near teachers, you wouldn't get hurt. Later that day, Matt was riding his bicycle home, and the kid from the library with five other guys drove up by Matt in an old-model dilapidated car. They began yelling. It was a case of mistaken identity. Matt and I didn't really look alike, but they thought we did. These ruffians wanted vengeance. Their intent was to make sure Matt could not walk home. At the time, Matt did not know what they wanted. It was an isolated road. A cool breeze was blowing. The fluttering of leaves on the ground and the slamming of doors could be heard as five kids looking for trouble exited the car and surrounded Matt. After some taunting, one of the kids raised his fists yelling something unintelligible except for the name "Mark". Matt began hitting one after the other. Fists were flailing everywhere. Blood was oozing from some of the faces. The remainder of the kids who were still unscathed jumped back in the car, and they helped their wounded comrades into the back seat. Matt left the scene without a scratch. He then came home and pulverized me.

Matt and I had a love hate relationship. At times, we would get along great, but at other times, we were the worst of enemies. I did enjoy the one day when Scott brought over the new just released Moody Blue's album Seventh Soujourn and we all sat in Scott's Lotus and we listened to the canorous and mellifluous tones of songs like Isn't life Strange reverberate in the confined space of Scott's car. It was relaxing, and for some reason I remember that moment.

When I began to listen to Latin music to improve my Spanish, Matt loathed it. The arguments over music would ensue to the point that Matt would break my records in half. These were harmonious times in the Dias household; so much so, my parents gave me my own bedroom in the downstairs unfinished bedroom. It became known as the unfinished bedroom, because since the day my Dad built the house, the lower level remained unfinished for 17 years. Bare studs absent any drywall lined the unfinished lower level of our house. But, in this room, I could now listen to my Latin music in peace.

Matt's love of cars landed him a job as a mechanic at Toyota. He left Toyota for a better job at BMW. He had to lie to get the job at BMW, however. They asked him if he had worked on BMWs before, he said yes. – He hadn't. He was fired from BMW when he forgot to put oil in one of the expensive cars after turning on the engine and causing thousands of dollars in damage. I don't think he ever got over that incident.

Matt had a self-destructive streak. He parachuted out of an airplane and came home with a broken leg. On one occasion, his car began rolling down the driveway, and when he used his body and another parked car to try and stop his car from rolling further down, he broke both of his arms. His pugnacious attitude would often get him in trouble especially with his girlfriend. Once, when he was with his girlfriend while she was driving down the freeway; he began to argue with her as she sped down the freeway. Matt jumped out of the car as the car careened around the corner at 50 miles per hour landing him in the hospital for two weeks. But nothing matched the episode of the pipe bomb.

On a bright sunny summer afternoon, Matthew decided to make his own home grown pipe bomb. With several hundred match books, he began clipping the heads of matches and placing them into a pipe. He closed and soldered the two ends shut, but he forgot something. In his zeal to finish his pipe bomb, Matt forgot the fuse. Matt contemplated his next move. He grabbed the automatic drill next to him and began drilling the hole for his fuse.


A loud thunderous and deafening explosion rocked the entire neighborhood. Shrapnel and metal fragments from the pipe-bomb were thrown about throughout the garage where he was making the bomb. A huge piece of metal was lodged in the closet door. I was taking a nap in the upstairs sofa, and I was thrown five feet. I thought we were having an earthquake. I heard yelling downstairs. Not many people were home. I ran downstairs, and I saw my brother Matthew holding his arm drenched in blood, and I noticed one of the bones in his arm was exposed. He looked at me with a blank stare, and he began running out the garage door leaving a trail of blood in his wake. As he ran, he looked back, and cried out in anguish,

-Don't tell mom!

This was Matthew. It didn't matter he just about killed himself, it didn't matter that there were pieces of metal protruding from his arm, he just didn't want mom to know. The din and commotion of the neighbors who heard the explosion called the ambulance. This was one secret Matt was not going to be able to keep to himself.

As high school ended, Matthew started two sole-proprietorships, an auto business and an art business. He modified his van as a mobile auto repair shop. By word of mouth, he would acquire his clientele, and he would service cars in the
driveways of his customers. Matt would also study the anatomical features of man, and use this knowledge to create artwork out of hangers or other materials by soldering the pieces together. His frustrations about life were at times exhibited through his artwork. In one piece, he soldered together pieces of wire to form a lady wrapped up in rope and screaming out in anguish. The artwork reflected much of Matt's suffering though no one realized it at the time. He sold his artwork at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco on consignment. Some of his pieces sold for 2,000 dollars.

After a tumultuous youth, Matt finally seemed to be getting his life on track. He began to study for a degree in Engineering at the local community college. He held a full time job at Toyota, and he was a homeowner. But, there was still something wrong.

On a cold night, Matthew drove his car to the college parking lot. He took a plastic pipe and extended it from the exhaust pipe winding it around to the window of the car. He meticulously taped around the pipe so there was no opening left exposed in the midnight air. He started the engine, and the carbon monoxide began to permeate the interior of the car. As the carbon monoxide began to take its toll, Matt took out a pad and paper and wrote the following:

Dear Kathy, family and friends

I'm not blaming you for anything. It's quite the opposite. If anything I love you and the greatest frustration is that I seem to be so unhappy. I must take this step for one simple reason, I have to know the truth and this world is so full of lies, and I can't find an answer. For everyone. I love you and for Kathy, I can't begin to explain. I've tried, it's not enough, I must take a daring step. I am afraid of going to hell, but I can't stand living without really knowing the truth. I wish I knew how to care more, but I ache so much. I've never known the words to say how I feel. I've never known how to express it; I've got to find another way. (Note: Kathy was his girlfriend. )

Matt became drowsy as the carbon monoxide began to take effect. He began to nod off; the words on his notepad grew to a light scribble, and the words he was writing became more difficult to read. The pen began to drop, and the lines became fainter as Matt's eyes closed. The carbon monoxide put Matt in a soporose state. His arms became flaccid as they dropped to his side. As the darkness of the night lingered on, Matt's car remained silently on the college campus - not a soul in sight. The flickering of the campus lights revealed a silhoutte of a car with no distinguishable features - just a lone car. Matt's body was found the next day by a college student on February 10th. 1983.

I was forced to ask myself, what could have been going through his mind? Is there anything I could have done? Anything I could have said? Why was he hurting so much? These questions will forever go unanswered.

As I was leafing through Matt's things a few days later, I found the following quote in his Bible written by William Shakespeare type written on a sheet of paper:

I commend my soul into the hands of God, my creator, hoping assuredly believing, through the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be body partaker of life everlasting.

Now as I grow older with kids of my own, I see a lot of Matthew in my son Jonathan. Jonathan loves cars. He often has cars in the driveway where he installs car alarms, televisions, etc. Matt was always working on the engines in the driveway in his car too. Jonathan and Matt would have been the best of friends. I often tell Jonathan about Matt and how much he is like him.

I will always wonder what would have become of Matt. His unbridled life ended tragically with unanswered questions. I am sure Matthew and I would have been close. It has been 25 years, and as other events fade away, those three tenuous words that echoed from my brother-in-law, "Matt committed suicide" seem to stay with me. Matt is gone now, but for those of us who knew him, his memory will always remain.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Huckabee are you listening?

Mitt Romney at CPAC conference
: This isn't an easy decision. I hate to lose, We are a nation at war, and Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat, declare defeat, and the consequences of that would be devastating. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign. And frankly, I'd be making it easier for Senator Obama or Clinton to win. In this time of war, I cannot simply allow my campaign be a part of making a surrender to terror

This is what I call an honorable decision. If only Huckabee were as honorable.

Huckabee needs to capture 83% to 84% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. Given the fact he has only been capturing 12% of the delegates, Huckabee in his delusional mind still thinks its a two man race. I guess he didn't hear the message to get out. On his website he states the following.

This is a two-man race for the nomination, and I am committed to marching on. I believe in the importance of a strong national defense -- which includes winning the war against Islamic extremists and the protection of American sovereignty.

I am redoubled in my resolve to carry on my campaign in a civil, dignified manner. The issues that got me into this campaign—protecting life and traditional marriage, enacting the Fair Tax, and border security are going to keep me in this campaign.

Huckabee, do the honorable thing if you have any honor and get out of the race.

Friday, February 1, 2008

In rememberance of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan's 97th birthday would have been February 6, 2007. Here is from Ronald Reagan, in his own voice Disk 3, a lesson on economics for all you liberals out there

Click on the following link and then click on open The Little Red Hen

We sure could use a Ronald Reagan now.
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