Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for September, 2011

OMG and WTF New Meanings

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 29, 2011

OMG and WTF are perhaps the two most commonly used acronyms on the internet but like many words in the English language, meanings change. Remember when “gay” meant happy and care free? So what are the new meanings for OMG and WTF?

OMG – Obama Must Go!

WTF – Winning the Future

“Winning the Future” seems to be the 2012 campaign slogan for President Obama’s re-election bid. Sort of reminds you of the Nixon campaign motto from 1968, “Nixon’s the One”. It appeared frequently under a picture of an obviously pregnant woman. Obama should expropriate the theme. After all, who’s screwed the nation since 2009? OMG! (new meaning).

Posted in Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

George W. Bush Revisited

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 27, 2011

The Autumn 2011 issue of the “American Scholar”, a publication of Phi Beta Kappa, contains an article written by former Washington Post writer and current journalism professor Walt Harrington about his relationship with George W. Bush from the time of his father’s presidency through his own eight years in office. No conservative, Professor Harrington notes he did not vote for Bush but is nonetheless able to get by the vitriol of contemporary politics and write a fascinating article on W’s transition from a frat boy image to leader of the free world.

Love him or hate him, anyone seeking to understand history should read it.

Thanks to NSP for alerting me to this link: http://theamericanscholar.org/dubya-and-me

Posted in National Politics | 1 Comment »

Seattle’s Mayor and Council Kill Jobs

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 13, 2011

Mayor McGinn made job growth a key focus of his administration. But the policies of the mayor and the city council may well have the opposite effect.

Keeping the customers away:

Seattle has raised parking rates significantly and extended the time meters are in use. These vary by area of the city but if you go to a downtown restaurant, be prepared to pay $4.00 an hour. And no more free parking after 6 PM, you pay until 8PM.

When a fine is a tax:

The city is looking at increasing the overtime parking fine by $5.00, not to discourage overtime parking but to raise more money.

When a policy is a tax:

It is tough enough to be a small business like a restaurant. Margins are thin and completion is strong. The city council just made it harder by imposing a new cost on small business, a requirement to provide paid sick leave for employees.

When a tax increase is a tax increase:

Add to the county’s $20 increase in car tab fee a Seattle ballot proposal for an additional $60 fee on top of a recent Seattle $20 hit and you are talking real money.

Let’s not forget the Seattle’s Families and Education levy up for renewal this year. Well, not exactly a renewal since it is double the previous levy amount.

There are always green jobs:

Many of the so-called green jobs are actually from deficit-funded stimulus grants such as the famous Seattle weatherization boondoggle. This one was for $20,000,000 but got tangled in poor planning and something called “social equity” but didn’t winterize many homes. Fourteen jobs were created but most to administer the program.

Taken together, all of these items serve to extract money from customers and small businesses, money that may have gone to hiring more workers and/or keeping prices down. They are certainly factors in deciding where to live, go for shopping and entertainment or locate a business. It’s hard to see how they have a positive effect on job creation, at least in the private sector.

Sound Politics

Posted in State & Local | 1 Comment »

Paul Krugman Spews Again

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 12, 2011

Below are two web sites. The first shows a post on 9/11 in the New York Times by Nobel Prize winning, Yale and MIT educated, Princeton economist, Paul Krugman. Be sure to read through the comments for reactions from readers. There you will also find at least one reference to the second web site. It is the 9/11 Budweiser advertisement that proves a team of horses have a better understanding of 9/11 than Professor Krugman.

The Krugman 9/11 Post

The Budweiser 9/11 Tribute

Thanks to Orbusmax, the Drudge Report of the Pacific Northwest, for highlighting this story.

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

Time to Trim the GOP Presidential Field

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 9, 2011

After watching last nights Republican Presidential Debate, I suggest it is time to trim the field before the next debate. So who should go and who should stay?

Out Now

Michele Bachmann – Peaked in the Iowa straw poll barely ahead of Ron Paul and has now fallen into single digits. Her performance in the Reagan Library debate was weak at best.

Ron Paul – No chance for the nomination, never was, never will be. He offers a libertarian view loved by his few true believers but scares off potential GOP votes.

Rick Santorum – He’s out classed by the governors. Must be running to either make the pro-life case or be in line for a Federal job if the Republicans win the White House.

On the Cusp

Herman Cain – Has improved his stump speech and memorized his answers to expected questions well. He has the business/CEO experience but could get rolled by those Washington inside the beltway pros. Still, I’d keep him in the debate for at least one more round.

Jon Huntsman – Successful businessman, successful governor, successful diplomat and like the NASCAR preacher, has a “smokin’ hot wife.” Unfortunately, he comes across like dropout candidate Tim Pawlenty, well qualified but no spark. Maybe one more try.

In to Win

Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Rick Perry, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Romney, polished, tan and ready, has the private sector experience but is he really a conservative? Perry, whose looks remind me of Reagan, plays well in Texas but can he attract the independent voter? The next debates will help sort out the answers to these questions. Of all the candidates, Romney and Perry have the best chance to beat Obama, which after all is the most important factor to consider in selecting the GOP nominee.

Even though Gingrich’s chance of winning is slim to none, I’d keep him in the mix. He’s an articulate proponent of radical reform and makes the most cogent arguments for a Republican landslide in 2012. Newt can also say things that need to be said but may not be wise for Romney or Perry to voice such as putting the media in their place.

Hope in 2008, Change in 2012!

Cross posted on Sound Politics

Posted in Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Howard Schultz’s Great Crusade

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 4, 2011

Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has stirred the political pot by asking his fellow CEOs to join him in a pledge to withhold campaign contributions until “Congress can strike a long-term debt deal.” He challenges “elected leaders to face the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges with civility, honesty, and a willingness to sacrifice their own re-election. This means not kicking the can anymore. It means reaching a deal on debt, revenue, and spending long before the deadline arrives this fall. It means considering all options, from entitlement programs to taxes.” Schultz is following up with a nationwide telephone forum encouraging citizens to demand politicians end “hyper-partisanship” and “put citizenship ahead of partisanship.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Schultz misses the basic operation of our intentionally messy American political system. Two parties representing two divergent political philosophies constantly contesting for the support of the middle while holding on to their base all operating in a system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Partisanship is merely the manifestation of the conflict resulting from deeply held opposing viewpoints. Elections are the opportunity for citizens to hold the course or change it by rewarding or punishing elected officials and political parties.

Mr. Schultz looks at the debt problem from the perspective of a CEO, someone hired to run a company by a board of directors, usually composed of other CEOs, who sets policy and directs subordinates to carry it out. If they don’t, he replaces them. Ostensibly, the CEO reports to the stockholders but in reality, if he keeps his board happy, he keeps his job. In Congress, however, there are 535 CEOs each with his or her own idea of acceptable policy. Generally they coalesce around two sets of principles, one on the left and one on the right. They battle for supremacy of their ideas sometimes wining a majority, sometimes fighting a holding action. Elected officials are hired and fired by the voters (stockholders). With no board of fellow politicians to protect them, they must keep careful track of their constituency if they are to hold their jobs. They are besieged by special interests, assaulted by the media, sometimes entrapped by ideology and yet expected to do what is against human nature, have a “willingness to sacrifice their own re-election.” Interestingly, some of those newly elected Tea Party types are willing to risk re-election for principle but are demonized by the left; just depends on whose ox is being gored.

There is no need to have sympathy for elected officials; after all they chose to seek office. But threatening them with a withhold of campaign contributions, while it may feel good and hurt some candidates, it won’t affect those who can call up an army of special interest volunteers, party money or their own funds. What Schultz will find in his forum is that people are willing and able to trash Congress on the debt issue but have not yet decided themselves on even a broad outline of an acceptable deal. Some national education and leadership is required. Maybe Howard and his fellow CEOs could provide that.

Sound Politics

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

The $60 Car-tab Fee Ballot Measure

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 4, 2011

Kudos to the Seattle Times for their September 2, 2011 front page article, “Seattle’s $60 car-tab fee: where it could go.” It raised a host of red flags starting with the word “could” in the title. That word means the ballot proposal is a “general plan” for where the $204,000,000 collected from car owners over ten years would be spent. The Seattle City Council actually gets the job of allocating the funds albeit under pressure from the bike lobby, transit supporters, neighborhood groups and any others with a favorite project. A clue to how that will work is a comment from Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the Transportation Committee, that the car-tab fee needs to get voted on this year before several new spending measures appear on the 2012 ballot.

If the Council did parcel out the money as supporters suggest, $18,000,000 goes to planning expansion of the streetcar system. No money is set aside for actually building it much less maintenance and operation. Shades of the voter approved library and parks capital improvements. The lion’s share of $99,500,000 transit money goes to Metro but for what “is preliminary at this point” and the “wishes from Metro and the city differ.” Bicycles scoop up $13,900,000 for “bike lanes, routes, signs, (and) parking” but again with no money to maintain those funny little stencils designating bike lanes. In short, it’s a pig in a poke that voters need to reject, but this is Seattle where detachment from reality is reality. Watch your wallets.

Posted in Transportation | Leave a Comment »

 
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