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Monday, 15 October 2007
"What America Means to Me" An Editorial

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  I will not give you the usual investment advice warning, because this entry is not about investment advice.  It is about my thoughts on politics in America today, a subject I have chosen not to write about in the past.  But a subject that I also hold close to my heart and a subject which moves me greatly.

I do not expect most or even many of you to agree with most or any of what I have to say.  But as a blogger, it is difficult to always wear my financial hat without sharing with you opinions and ideas about the world as well.  Both of my hats fit me well.  I welcome your comments and your thoughts on adding such editorial comment to this blog.

It is often assumed that one who is interested in investing and the stock market must necessarily be conservative.  This isn't always the case.  It is also possible to care about profits as well as caring about the well-being of employees as well as their bosses.  We can also be concerned about the shareholders as well as the profit margin of the corporation.  We can care about free cash flow as well as free speech.  We can care about the balance sheet as well as balance in our news media.  We can care about global markets as well as global warming.  

I know that I do.

I love the United States deeply.  And yet I am concerned about the direction a few in Washington have been taking her.  

America is a nation that has historically been slow to enter wars, but when America goes to war it goes with a vengeance.  We certainly have not been a nation to initiate wars; nor should we ever move in that direction.  We have been misled by group of men who chose to create the facts to justify their arguments about war. While needing to be firm in the fight over terrorism, we also cannot afford to be nation-building both from the financial and human cost it involves.  We have been successful in removing the corrupt leadership in Iraq.  Now it is time for us to separate from that nation; turning the reins of power back to the people in that nation.

America is a nation of equals. A democratic dream.  A nation of laws.  And yet we have leaders who ignore Congress and defy its laws in the name of an expansion of Executive power.  This is not an America I recognize.  We do not have a royal executive, we have an individual American who is chosen by the people to lead them, not as a monarch, but as a democratically elected President bound to uphold the laws of this land and the Constitution.  And yet we now have an executive who defies the role of Congress, obstructs testimony, and loses millions of pertinent emails.  We have an Administration that outs CIA agents as a sort of punishment when cooperation isn't forthcoming in doing their dirty deeds.  This isn't the America I grew up with.

When I was in high school, I read about torture in other countries.  I remember the appeals from Amnesty International about, as I recall, torture going on in Central American nations.  I learned about the Russian use of Gulags in College when reading Solzhenitsyn.  But all of this was about something bad happening by some other country somewhere else.

No longer.

We have a President who believes he can make torture go away if he just defines it that way.  Who believes that Extraordinary Rendition is a State Secret and the Supreme Court can't hear the facts.  That Abu Ghraib was an aberration even though the Attorney General called the Geneva Conventions "quaint".  This isn't the America I understand.

Government isn't evil.  We don't need to privatize everything because government does it badly.  Private contractors have been employed in every aspect of government and these overpaid workers have failed us repeatedly.  They have failed us at Walter Reed.  They have failed us in Iraq.  No, government isn't evil.  It is us.  We have government for the people, by the people and of the people.  We don't all need to be shrunk down to the size that we can all be drowned in a bathtub.  This isn't the America I love.

Taxes aren't evil.  Taxes are the things we pay that allow us to have the best government in the world.  The best educational system.  The best healthcare system.  The best military.  And the best roads and utilities in the World.  This at least was what I understood taxes to be.  This government which runs out country literally hates itself.  It cuts taxes irresponsibly running up massive deficits and burdening our children for generations to come.  This isn't the America I want to see.

This nation supports science. We support education.  We protect the environment.  And yet we have leaders in office who undermine scientific investigation, deny the existence of man-caused global warming, censor scientists from talking about Polar Bears, or simply revise global warming reports before taking jobs with Big Oil.  

Our no child left behind program undermines instead of supporting public education.  The end-game of NCLB is the failure of every school to reach standards that are raised indefinitely, leading to the draining of funds from public schools into non-tested schools of faith.  This isn't what education is about in America.

I could talk longer.  But I have said enough.  I hope you all are not upset that I have an opinion about the world that we live in.  America is a land of possibility.  Let us restore leadership to this nation that can dream of the possible and not wallow in the self-hate of the anti-government fanatics.

Cutting taxes without cutting spending is no tax cut at all.  'There aint no such thing as a free lunch' I learned in college.  Deficits are taxes.  Remember that.

And dead people don't pay taxes.  Heirs and Heiresses do.  And there is nothing wrong with taxing estates in a redistributive effort.  Wealth is not going away in America.  No, instead of disappearing, wealth continues to be more and more concentrated among the highest earneers.  The poor get poorer and the rich richer.  The way it always has been.  But not the way it should be in America!

Bring America back to me.  Bring back the belief in the future the avoidance of fear, and the confidence to face challenges in the future.  America can and will do better.  I love it too much to think otherwise.

Bob 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 9:50 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 - 11:16 AM CDT

Name: "M Levine"

Right on, Bob.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 - 9:01 PM CDT

Name: "Robert Freedland"
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

M.Levine,

Thanks for the note.  I don't know if I am right on or not, but I know that something isn't quite right about what is going on in America today.  I appreciate the time you took to write and visit my blog.

Bob

Thursday, 18 October 2007 - 12:00 PM CDT

Name: "sth_txs"

Sorry Bob, you are wrong a couple of things. I do not believe it is okay for government to loot my assets because I am dead.  Too much looting occurs now while I am living and working. Why should a bunch of millionaires in congress dictate to me how much I can keep, when I can withdraw my labor tax free, or allow me to do things before taxes like pay for health care? I'm sick of it!

I don't buy the man induced global warming. What about the suppression of thousands of scientist that disagree with it? Also, even it were true, why does this alleged problem require that I pay more money to a government? And when will Al Gore bulldoze his palacial homes and live like I do with less?

Some of the wealth disparities are occurring because we have an illegal central bank dictating the price and supply of money. The US Constitution very clearly requires gold and silver as money. (See Murray Rothbards "The Case Against the Fed" and "What has the Goverment done to our Money?").

I'll be supporting Ron Paul for President. Every agency not Constitutional should be abolished. The IRS is a criminal agency that must eliminated. The Feds would have plenty of money to still make life miserable.

I did not spend money on education so I can be a tax slave to sorry politicians in both parties that have no respect for my needs and continue to redistribute wealth to the allegedly "poor" or the corporate welfare that many well paid middle class benefeit from as well.

To radical? Well, I imagine there is nothing preventing state in theory from creating their little socialist paradises whatever that may be or state agencies to deal with environmental and other issue. One would hope people would care about their freedoms.

You might review this website:
http://mwhodges.home.att.net/

An economy that relies on at least 45% government is not a good thing.

Thursday, 18 October 2007 - 12:50 PM CDT

Name: "Robert Freedland"
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

sth,

Thanks for writing and for keeping a civil tone.  There is plenty of room for disagreement on these and other issues.  But I am glad we can discuss some of them without having our arguments become shrill and antagonistic.

I am sensitive to the issues of inheritance taxes.  But let's be honest.  Dead people don't pay taxes.  They don't drive-through at McDonalds, they don't drive cars, and they don't hold jobs.  They are dead.

The people paying the taxes are heirs and heiresses.  Period.

Certainly people are entitled to inherit from their parents.  But this inheritance should be taxed.  We can exclude the first $1 million or whatever figure from taxation, but there is no moral imperative to not tax a $100 million or a $200 million inheritance.  We do not need to protect a plutocracy when the wealth disparity is growing wider not narrower in America.

As this article (http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/29/news/economy/wealth_gap/index.htm) shows:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Over the past 40 years, those at the top of the money food chain have seen their wealth grow at a rate far outpacing everyone else, according to a new analysis released by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group.

In the early 1960s, the top 1 percent of households in terms of net worth held 125 times the median wealth in the United States. Today, that gap has grown to 190 times.

The top 20 percent of wealth-holding households, meanwhile, held 15 times the overall median wealth in the early 1960s. By 2004, that gap had grown to 23 times.

"In 21st century America, wealth begets wealth, and those without wealth find it farther out of reach," the report's authors write."

There is very little support for the argument that people are not responsible for global warming.  Here is an article from a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article516033.ece

"

"The debate about whether there is a global warming signal now is over, at least for rational people," said Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. "The models got it right. If a politician stands up and says the uncertainty is too great to believe these models, that is no longer tenable."

In the study, Dr Barnett’s team examined more than seven million observations of temperature, salinity and other variables in the world’s oceans, collected by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and compared the patterns with those that are predicted by computer models of various potential causes of climate change.

It found that natural variation in the Earth’s climate, or changes in solar activity or volcanic eruptions, which have been suggested as alternative explanations for rising temperatures, could not explain the data collected in the real world. Models based on man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, however, matched the observations almost precisely.

"What absolutely nailed it was the greenhouse model," Dr Barnett told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington. Two models, one designed in Britain and one here in the US, got it almost exactly. We were stunned. They did it so well it was almost unbelieveable."

Climate change has affected the seas in different ways in different parts of the world: in the Atlantic, for example, rising temperatures can be observed up to 700 metres below the surface, while in the Pacific the warming is seen only up to 100m down.

Only the greenhouse models replicated the changes that have been observed in practice. "The fact that this has gone on in different ways gives us the chance to figure out who did it," Dr Barnett said.

"All the potential culprits have been ruled out except one.

"This is perhaps the most compelling evidence yet that global warming is happening right now, and it shows that we can successfully simulate its past and its likely future evolution. The statistical significance of these results is far too strong to be merely dismissed and should wipe out much of the uncertainty about the reality of global warming."

You ask why you should pay taxes? Or help pay for solutions?  Because the very future of the survival of the species is at stake.

It is also not clear that the Federal Reserve act and paper money is unconstitutional.

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/3616/flaherty3.html

"

First, the constitution grants the Congress the rights to regulate money. Specifically, it has the right to coin money and regulate its value. It is not clear from the constitution or the Federalist Papers what the authors meant by the term 'value.' Traditionally, it has meant the weight and metallic content of the coin. No one challenges this interpretation. On the other hand, the only relevant meaning of 'value' in the context of money is its value in trade, also known as its purchasing power. This a government cannot regulate merely by an Act of Congress. The government's only tool for regulating this latter value is altering the money supply.

Second, Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce. Banking and other financial services clearly involves interstate commerce as the courts have come to define it.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Congress has the right to make any law that is 'necessary and proper' for the execution of its enumerated powers (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 18). A law creating a Bureau of the Mint, for example, is necessary and proper for the Congress to exercise its right to coin money. A similar argument may justify a central bank. It facilitates the expansion and contraction of the money supply and it serves as means to regulate the banking industry."

I am glad that you too care about freedom.  But our survival of a nation is challenged if all freedom means is a libertarian view of everyone doing their own thing without regards for the Environment, without regards to poverty, without regards to the general welfare of all our fellow citizens.

I believe that our leaders have a greater responsibility to us and to our posterity than just leave us alone. 

Thanks so much for writing and I enjoyed reading your comments.  I also appreciate your civil tone and your use of links to support your arguments.

Bob

 

 

Friday, 19 October 2007 - 9:35 AM CDT

Name: "sth_txs"

 

If I were the government, I to could declare some lawsuits to be "frivolous" and "without merit". The Myth #3 link is further evidence there is no “rule of law” in this country. The academic that wrote it is not all that bright.

I really encourage you to read articles at the www.mises.org and take up an understanding of Austrian economics. Your financial survival may depend upon it. Do not complain about wealth disparity and then endorse an unaccountable central bank that inflates without limit.

 

The two things causing wealth disparity for me is the $10k plus I pay in taxes before and after my check and the horrendous inflation caused by the Federal Reserve. Never mind the minimum wage and other regulations I pay for indirectly into everything I buy. I estimate 50% of my less than national median income in consumed by government.

 

I'm buying some stocks as well, and believe that even a 15% capital gains tax is excessive. How about 0%?

 

You might also want to consider that the “rich” are leaving the US:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/archives/fm/9-95.html

 

Why the Well-to-Do Are Escaping America

http://www.sovereignsociety.com/offshore2329.html

 

And I would to if I were in a similar situation.

 

It is sad that your view on inheritance taxes is based on an idiot named Paris Hilton that are a small percentage of multimillionaires. I guess Jeff Bezos and others like him trying to create a space industry should have had their wealth confiscated for “redistributive” purposes instead of building a business that could bring thousands to a higher standard of living (maybe even you through stock investing). Maybe your idea on inheritance taxes could shutdown the dynasty of Democratic multimillionaires that shill for ever bigger government along with their millionaire Republican allies.

 

As for global warming, I'm not to impressed with a guy who says "the debate is over". Right. 30 years ago it was global cooling. They really do not know and I would not be willing to fork over more money to government basing this on some questionable computer models. The geologic record does not match the computer models.

 

Researcher: Global Warming Began 250 Years Ago

http://www.dailytech.com/Researcher+Global+Warming+Began+250+Years+Ago/article9191.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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