Swickard column: Our in debt forever society

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “As quickly as you start spending federal money in large amounts it looks like free money.” Dwight Eisenhower
             It was a short political conversation when he started, “Our leaders…” and I interrupted, “They are not my leaders, they are my representatives. I didn’t empower them to lead me, I empowered them to represent me.”
            He was trying to make a different point but I wouldn’t call the people who won elections my leaders. Leaders are like the King and Queen. Leaders rule over me. Well, perhaps Congress is full of leaders and lacks representatives of the people.
            Many of the representatives we send to Congress act like they are royalty. They get rich on the public dole. While making less than $200,000 a year from their congressional salary their wealth increases by millions each year. The media turns a blind eye to this.
            Also, there is the long-term effect of our representatives. They have put every man, woman and child in our country very much in debt without our permission. Every year for decades they spent more money than our country had from tax revenue.
            Know this: I did not empower my representatives to place me in debt. They won’t admit it either that our country is broke because our representatives have consistently for decades spent more money than they received from tax revenue.
            In fact, our representatives have and are spending more money than taxes can ever bring in. Our listed debt is near twenty trillion dollars and our unfunded debt is near a hundred trillion dollars. That means we could take every dollar in our economy for five years and apply it to our debt but we would still be hopelessly in debt.
            This has been done in less than sixty years. During the Eisenhower presidency there were several years of budget surpluses. Then starting in the 1960s our representatives spent and spent and spent making government bigger and bigger and bigger. Each new class of representatives seemed to outdo the last in making government bigger and more intrusive.
            Worldwide we see this in many countries. Their politicians over decades have consistently spent more money than tax revenue to the point these countries are completely broke but will not admit it. At first they borrowed and borrowed and borrowed to keep their power going.
            When they couldn’t borrow any more money they printed money. Now they are in default as will be almost all nations who spend more than they take in. They still deny their debt and try to make it someone else’s problem. Ultimately, that will not work.
            In New Mexico it is a similar story. States cannot spend more money than they take in from taxes so our representatives starting with Governor Bill Richardson stopped only spending what they had and started borrowing money so they could spend even more money.
            Previously under Governor Gary Johnson New Mexico only spent what it had. The state was one of only several states who did not have debt. Richardson changed that and floated bonds for spending which are debt instruments. Now a large percentage of our spending is paying for the debt they borrowed. It only gets worse.
            Everything in Santa Fe is about bonding capacity and using more and more debt instruments. The debt of these practices will bankrupt the state at some point. But the media didn’t take Economics 101 so all they see is more spending, not realizing that the spending is achieved with debt which must be repaid.
            There is an old saying, “Laugh when you borrow and you will cry when you repay.” Yep, we are about to have a sob-session like no others. Look at countries that have spent and spent and spent. They are forced to tighten their belts and the citizens often are rioting because they feel entitled to money the country doesn’t have.
            The very least we can do with the debt that is being foisted upon the citizens of New Mexico is to admit that it is debt and not good in the long-term. Our representatives are money-holics who live to spend. First they must admit their addiction to debt if we are to cure this problem.


Radical Islam is a political movement

© 2016 Jim Spence  Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton want America to believe what they say about Islam, not what the Koran instructs. And of course, most people won’t take the time to read what the Koran says about non-Muslims. Obama and Hillary continue to con people, especially Democrats who are arguably the most gullible people in the civilized world. Below, is what the Koran instructs Muslims to do to non-Muslims. The quote is from Chapter 9:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor Hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
If you are wondering, the “jizya” is a tax that is imposed on all non-Muslims. IF they pay this tax for being infidels, they are permitted to live. They are permitted to live because they have indicated that they have submitted to the authority of an Islamic state. Payment of the jizya reminds all non-Muslims of their inferior status under Muslim law. For Muslims it is important that all non-Muslims “feel themselves subdued.”
Consider how politicians like Hillary Clinton travel all over the U.S. spreading utterly false information about Islam. Bernie Sanders does the same thing. They pretend Islam is just another harmless little religion. Protestant, Catholic, Islam…..what is the difference.
While not all Muslims are willing to kill people, it is a curious distinction. Almost all Muslims would be perfectly comfortable living not under the protections of the U.S. Constitution but under the rule of a Muslim caliphate with Islam’s Sharia laws being strictly enforced. This fact explains why Islamic terrorists can operate with impunity, within Muslim communities in western neighborhoods. While millions of Muslims are not exactly “radicalized,” they are also quite unwilling to lift a finger to help authorities indentify those who are willing to kill thanks to Chapter 9 of the Koran.
For anyone who thinks this overstates the complicit mindset of Muslims, consider what happened in Turkey, a supposedly “moderate” Muslim country a couple of days after the radicals committed mass murders in Paris. There was a big soccer game being played before a huge crowd in Turkey. Prior to the game, the public address announcer asked for a moment of silence to honor the dead in Paris. The vast majority of the crowd booed heavily. Expect no sympathy for any dead infidel. This explains why Muslims celebrated in the streets in all Muslim countries on 9-11.
With the passive and active support of the vast majority of Muslims all around the world, Islam is not merely a religion, it is a political movement. It is a movement that desires Islamic SUPREMACY. 
The reason America must control its borders and immigration policy is that radical Islam exploits the freedoms afforded it in western societies. Radicals use people like Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton to infiltrate so they kill in any way they can. 
Obama and Hillary simply refuse to admit that no other political movement has ever been able to recruit people to commit suicide so they can kill tens of thousands of civilians. And yet these mass murders take place almost every week somewhere in the world.
It is instructive to understand that while radical Islam uses freedoms afforded to it when it is a minority in a western country, in places where Muslims are the majority very few if any freedoms or tolerance are allowed. The mass beheadings of Christians in areas held by ISIS is a sneak preview of what Muslim supremacy is all about. Besides the decapitations, consider the treatment of women. Or don’t, if you are Hillary Clinton.
When you see the Democrats double down on the idea of importing more Muslims from areas of the world where radicalism prevails, you have to wonder. Are they the dumbest people to ever be put in positions of power? Or are they pure evil? What sort of person would support the denial of the truth about the Koran and radical Islam? Democrats.....that's who.

Obama's Excellent Adventure

© 2016 Jim Spence  We went fishing this week and were holed up in a rental house on the San Juan River, thanks to forty and fifty mile per hour winds. We had plenty of time to watch as the aftermath of the Brussels terror attacks unfold on the television news networks.

If you have lived long enough, you can’t help but be reminded of just how long radical Islamic terrorists have been waging a war on civilization as we know it. Consider the 1972 Olympic Games. They were shattered by Islamic killers, intent on destroying an event that featured athletes from countries all around the civilized world. Headline grabbing mass murder events, orchestrated by Muslims, have never stopped.

Unfortunately, over the decades the civilized world has alternated between recognizing the war being waged against it by Muslims, and ignoring it. Increasingly in Europe and in the U.S. we have let our guards down on common sense immigration policies. In Europe they have been been creating zones where Islamic communities have grown pretty much independent of law and order. There, terror cells fester.

The advent of the internet has changed every industry on the planet including the radical Islamic mass murder indoctrination industry. These days, the mass killings you have seen in Paris, San Bernardino, and Brussels are also a part of the digital age. Recruiting is done via remote locations.

Consider how Democrats have evolved their reaction to mass murder since 9-11. And consider how their standard bearer, Barack Obama, represents the mindset of most Democrats today. If someone points out the fact that Islam is the common thread in this terrible war against civilization, since it was the religion of the killers in Munich in 1972 and is the religion of the killers in Brussels in 2016, you aren’t connecting the dots, instead, your are an Islam-phobic bigot. And if you are leery of allowing more immigrants from Muslim countries to come to America, you don't have common sense, you are a bigot.
The pattern is clear. Mr. Obama finds the idea that he needs to have a real plan to deal with tens of thousands of murderers who embrace radical Islam...to be a nuisance. He has more important things to do......like rub elbows with Marxist dictators. Each time there is a mass murder here or abroad, Obama feels compelled to take a few annoying questions on the subject at a annoying press conference. And when the media notes his tone of indifference at the press conference, he usually follows up the next day with an insincere, but more emphatic assertion of his intent to get serious about mass murders. But of course Obama never does get serious. Instead, he calls for the U.S. to take even more Muslim immigrants from Syria. 
Why would Obama insist on ignoring the fact that Muslim transplants are the most likely source of new terrorists? Why does Obama argue vainly that NOT all Muslims are terrorists, which is true but irrelevant because he ignores that fact that nearly all terrorists are Muslims? Obama’s indifference to all of this, and the Democrats pretend game regarding racism and radical Islam is the most startling betrayal on our national security in 240 years.
It was an amazing coincidence that Obama was in Cuba embracing the Castro brothers earlier this week. As we watched him help legitimize these freedom-hating butchers, I was reminded of the harrowing stories told to me by the widow of a Cuban born pediatrician, who fled the Castro regime and landed in Las Cruces decades ago. What an irony that Mr. Obama finds little fault with these men who have jailed and killed many thousands of dissidents in Cuba, and continue to do so to this day. JFK and Harry Truman must be rolling over in their graves.
Disgracefully, Mr. Obama flew Air Force One from Cuba to Argentina later in the week. Argentina is a jurisdiction that has confiscated more private property than any other country in the western hemisphere, except those run by Marxist dictators. There Obama was filmed doing the tango at the same time his underlings were admitting to Congress that men he released from the Guantanamo Bay prison had killed Americans after he inexplicably set them free.
The following day in Argentina Obama baffled us all when he suggested that there is very little difference between capitalism and communism. What he must have meant by that absurd statement was there is very little difference between himself and the Castros. And on this comparison he made a point we could all agree with.


Swickard column: Sutton’s Law goes to college

Willie Sutton inspired a law
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Why do you rob banks?” asked Mitch Ohnstad. “Because that’s where the money is,” said Willie Sutton.
            A noted bank robber from the Twentieth Century is used by medical students as a way of making a quicker diagnosis. Rather than think of all that might be wrong with a patient, they go directly to the most likely diagnosis which has been dubbed, “Sutton’s Law.”
            We are seeing Sutton’s Law in our New Mexico institutions of higher learning when it comes to budget problems. Money is tight. That normally should trigger soul-searching and budget searching to see what could be cut. Being short on money is the time to look at priorities and adjust programs accordingly.
            Instead, using Sutton’s Law, colleges only raise tuition “because that is where the money is.”
            In the 1990s I did a Ph.D. at New Mexico State University. The tuition and fees when I started were under $600 a semester. Currently they are $4,000 a semester and there are calls by the NMSU administration to raise tuition because of budget woes.
            As to inflation, $600 in 1994 would be $960 today. But NMSU’s tuition is $4,000 meaning tuition has risen more than four times the rate of inflation. Ignoring economics, NMSU again and again increased tuition and then had a surprised look on their faces when enrollment dropped.
            I have written about this repeatedly over the last twenty years as the cost of a college education in New Mexico increased rather than NMSU cutting programs and becoming leaner. It’s Sutton Law, increasing tuition is where the money is.
            I enjoyed my time at college and went to college willingly, in fact eagerly. The education I received was very good for what I wanted and I am satisfied that my time was well spent. But it was spent at $600 a semester and I am tightly wound so I didn’t stay long.
            The other day I was speaking to a very bright young person. We were discussing educational options. I confessed to this potential college student that am not sure I would go to NMSU at $4,000 a semester and then buy books and all the other costs. Might not.
            The question is: could I self-educate in some fields instead of sitting for years in classes? Are there other things I could do productively to earn an income that would satisfy me?
            Now in degree-requiring fields you have to go college to get a job. The question is: which colleges can give you the required credentials most economically? Colleges and universities are up against several trends which might spell the end of higher education as we have known it.
            There are three issues that our higher education administration apparently does not want to address: first, most college students assume a job will follow. Programs that do not have a vibrant job market are not being phased out to the detriment of students.
            Secondly, college students are charged the same for high value classes as for low value classes. In some programs the professors are paid less than $30,000 a year while some professors in Engineering make six figure salaries. There is no adjustment in the cost of classes.
            Finally, the sunk cost of bricks and mortar in the physical plants cause our institutions of higher learning to lean toward using those physical plants since they have to pay for them regardless of if they are useful for the future of students.
It asks the question: does the administration of NMSU have a fiduciary relationship with the students or their employees? It can only be one. If it was financially appropriate to fire a quarter of all NMSU employees, could the administration do so or would the students be asked to cover the costs to no gain for them?
Those are tough questions in this changing world. It is like NMSU football which I touched on recently. I still intend to buy tickets to the football games whether they are D1 or not. I will be at their games cheering.
            Are they going to continue selling losses because “that’s where the money is?” If they do, they will eventually lose the entire football program and probably look surprised.


Truman and Kennedy must be spinning in their graves

© 2016 Jim Spence  It looks like our choices are Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. How the hell did we get here? The answer is simple. We got here one step at a time.
Consider the long and curious philosophical journey of the Democratic Party since the end of World War II. Not only did mid 20th Century Democrats learn what Marxism was all about in their dealings with Stalin, Mao, Kim, and Castro, they also understood why evil totalitarianism was necessary for Marxists to prevail within those country borders.
Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy were so aware of how destructive totalitarian socialism was to basic freedoms, they were willing to commit U.S. troops in Korea, Viet Nam, and Cuba to put a stop to it. And of course in the 1960’s and even into the 1970’s, the Democrat-leaning public education system in America insisted on explaining the difference between living life under totalitarian oppression, and living life in America where we enjoyed widespread freedoms. In short they defended the ideals of Truman and JFK to the next generation of Americans.
No doubt while Lyndon Johnson was tilling his American brand of socialism at home, he was also botching the efforts to contain the spread of totalitarian socialism abroad. By the 1970’s America began to cultivate a taste for LBJ’s socialism like an eventual junkie develops a taste for the “high” when he first experiments with the use of opiates.
The Democratic Party began to re-invent itself in the wake of its failures in Viet Nam. The anti-Marxist anti-totalitarian wars of Truman, JFK, and LBJ were blame shifted away from the Democratic Party. The “military industrial complex” became the scapegoat of the Democratic Party. Recall 2004 when then presidential candidate John Kerry was lamenting the hardships he suffered under Richard Nixon, despite the fact LBJ was in the White House during the time period Kerry spoke of. Re-writing history has no statute of limitations.
More important than the Democratic Party ignoring the legacy of Truman and JFK and the oppression inherent in totalitarianism, was the ways in which it tapped into public education and Hollywood to do so. Gradually basic freedom themes were discarded from curriculum. Equal outcome themes were embraced and free enterprise drew scorn. This happened in social studies classes and on popular television shows and in motion pictures.
Gradually the noble efforts of engaging in for-profit enterprise, efforts that were once the cornerstones of the Truman and Kennedy worldviews, were increasingly the targets of suspicion and contempt in popular culture. By the time Mr. Obama arrived on the scene, two generations of Americans had undergone serious indoctrination by the public school system and Hollywood. These efforts had all but eviscerated the Democratic Party’s fear of totalitarianism as well as its legacy of disdain for Marxist socialism. How else can one explain that an avowed socialist could win Democratic primaries in states once intensely loyal to the anti-socialism legacies of Truman and Kennedy?

The Republicans have also had a hand in the transformation of America from a beacon for personal freedoms to the edge of the abyss. First and foremost the GOP leaders (minus Reagan) have never quite grasped the importance of fighting ardently for an objective public education system. Second, they never recognized the importance of countering the curious influence of those working in the television and film industries, where a conflicted culture uses free enterprise to attack free enterprise. Finally, Republicans gradually discovered that the path of least resistance was to make dastardly compromises. It was easier to hold power by spending other people’s money and surrendering other people’s freedoms than it was to conserve resources and preserve freedoms.
Once the philosophical pillars regarding freedoms that both Truman and Kennedy thought were worth fighting for were abandoned by both Democrats and Republicans, America was left with two choices.
The increasing influence of socialism was a given. Our choices were the advance of socialism with or without totalitarianism. With the election of Obama, America has gotten a big dose of totalitarianism with more socialism. Obama has set precedents in terms of subverting the U.S. Constitution in ways that America may well never recover from.
Not surprisingly in 2016, the American public is splintered. Both Democrats are calling for more big government socialism. Democrats seem to slightly prefer Hillary Clinton, who uses crony capitalists to fund her campaign, rather than Bernie Sanders who would prefer to finish the utter destruction of free enterprise that has gained such incredible momentum under Obama.
Republicans have Ted Cruz, a free enterprise-favoring and constitution-protecting candidate, who has been so adamant about the GOP’s hand in the demise of the Truman / Kennedy value system. So adamant about this, Cruz has made enemies of Mitch McConnell and other entrenched Republican power brokers. Alternatively, Republicans can choose the slick-talking inheritance-endowed blowhard Donald Trump. Trump has a knack for illuminating the failures of McConnell and his ilk in ways that create more passion in a segment of the GOP base than Cruz’s intellectual appeal to the constitution. We can all thank the education's systemic failures and Hollywood for that.  
It is ironic that some GOP regulars have become so alarmed with the rise of Trump that they are finally seeing some virtue in a free enterprise constitution protector like Cruz. What a revelation.
It is even more ironic that there is only one man left with any chance of being president who is still fighting for the value systems of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. It is Republican Ted Cruz.
Email Jim  -  jspence0556@gmail.com


No Child Left Behind - No Isolated Case

© 2016 Jim Spence One of the most illuminating conversations I have ever had took place a few years ago. It was with a retired classroom school teacher. The subject of the conversation was all of the regrettable changes that have been undermining the effectiveness of public education for decades. I was reminded of the conversation just recently when I read a column in the Wall Street Journal about there being more orderliness in charter schools versus the lack of order and discipline at a typical public school. It seems that parents are lining up to get their kids away from traditional public schools in favor of charter schools, especially in the inner cities.
In our conversation this man repeatedly lamented to me how various court system rulings had gradually taken the tools of discipline away from the classroom school teachers. He also agonized over the way the onerous federal law on education, "No Child Left Behind," had ruined the education process by dictating that test after test  be taken by students. He said the combination of rules and regulations from Santa Fe, bureaucrats in Washington D.C., and in the courts were restricting the ways a teacher could creatively address the needs of each class. He explained to me that each class is unique and methods that work well with one group won't necessarily work with another. He complained that there was very little if any room for individuality or uniqueness in the teaching process because of rigid one-size fits all rules imposed on teachers by all three branches of government.
I listened intently as he cited multiple examples of situations that suggested the points he was making were true. And I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that he was speaking the truth. After fifteen or twenty minutes of ripping the No Child Left Behind law up one side and down the other, he reverted back to the topic of discipline in the classroom and blasted the judicial system for allowing a litigious-oriented society and its army of trial lawyers to handcuff teachers and destroy good learning atmospheres. He said over-reactions to lawsuits had caused administrators to replace the classroom teacher's discretionary controls with tedious processes that allowed disruptive students, those with no interest whatsoever in learning, to hijack the entire educational experience.
I sympathized with the plight of the classroom school teacher, knowing full well, based on the input I had received from many other teachers over the years, just how right he was.
The trouble with this man and his thought processes was and continues to be that he lives in an absolute awareness vacuum. It never occurred to him, that the plight of the classroom school teacher is not unique. Somehow, in all my conversations with him, he could never come to understand that state and federal laws, rules made by far away bureaucrats, and rulings by the court system were having precisely the same deleterious effect on virtually every other professional in every other profession in America.
He was and still is a politically active man. Primarily, he socializes and networks with other partisan progressive Democrats. When it comes to politics he is blindly loyal. As such, he has always quickly brushed aside similar sounding complaints heard from other people, regarding the same inhibiting processes affecting other professions. Instead of recognizing the parallels with the teaching profession, as a matter of routine, he writes off these same complaints as simply partisan anti-Democrat pot shots. Sadly, in doing so, for decades he has deluded himself into believing that only the classroom teacher was being negatively impacted by extreme over-reach by all three branches of government.
Becoming more enlightened would not have been difficult for this man. All he would have needed to do was listen respectfully to doctors or nurses as they talked about intrusive impacts of HIPPA, medical malpractice lawsuits, or the mountains of new regulations dominating their lives. Listening to a broad range of dedicated professionals in our society could have helped him understand that the courts, in conjunction with legislatures and zealous bureaucrats enforcing hundreds of thousands of rules and regulations, were destroying their work environments in the same way No Child Left Behind was destroying his.
Alternatively, he could have listened to farmers and ranchers describe the heavy hand of the EPA. Or he could have asked bankers about bank regulators. The list is virtually endless, it includes construction companies, car dealers, store owners, realtors, etc. The story is pretty much the same regardless of the profession. Everyone is serving government more and more and customers less and less thanks to mandatory paperwork and compliance.
The great irony of my discussion with this school teacher is that every single vote he has ever cast empowered the people he voted for, to take control of virtually everything, including the discretion away from the school teacher in the classroom. Yet he, and millions of school teachers like him, who have become so completely handcuffed in their day-to-day duties, continue to indoctrinate students to support the party that puts the handcuffs on virtually all aspects of the classroom teacher's life.

We are all the poorer for what has happened to the classroom school teacher. Too many Americans including today's school teachers, are too blind to see the causes for their not so rewarding work environments. The causes are right under their noses. And they affect everyone with a customer to take care of.

Email Jim  -  jspence0556@gmail.com


Dirty, filthy, politics

© 2016 Jim Spence - What is going on out there in the political world seems like nothing less than anarchy. But it is actually pretty explainable. Some people attribute the high levels of utter incivility to the age old philosophical battles between conservatives and liberals. What is going on in 2016 is not attributable to clashing philosophies.

It is time to concede that the liberals won the philosophical battles at the ballot box years ago. We live in a world that is pretty much run by progressive Democrats. It has been this way for decades. It is a way of life in our public education system and in pop culture.

How do we know the progressive Democrats won? Look around you. Consider all of the taxes and fees to government you pay. Consider how government runs your health care and the place where you work......wherever it is and whatever you do. Consider how many rules and regulations you comply with no matter what. We have had a country that saw election victories move back and forth between Democrats and Republicans for decades. But the size and scope of government influence over our entire lives has never shrunk during my lifetime. Government only grows fast or grows slow. It never shrinks.

On the other hand, while the size, scope, and escalating cost of the federal government skyrockets, these days just under half of all adults pay so much as a nickel of federal income tax to support  the federal government. In other words, the great, powerful, and fast expanding government, that is supposedly serving all citizens in ways that are considered absolutely essential, is only paid for by half of all adults.

How do you know when government has gotten way too big, way too powerful, and way too expensive? There are many tell tale signs. The national debt doubles in seven years. During the Obama presidency more debt is accumulated than during all of his predecessors combined.

Then of course there is the dirty and filthy nature of politics. This is the most recognizable sign that the battle for control of government is the ultimate high stakes battle. All sense of integrity goes out of the process. There are no rules. The stakes are way too high. When government controls everything, virtually unlimited resources will be thrown at presidential elections to gain control of hundreds of millions of people.

How did it all come to this?

Ironically, we started with the nation going to the opposite direction. The Articles of Confederation, which was the rule book after the Revolutionary War, created a very loose alliance of separate states. The locals made the rules and refused to be dictated to from Washington D.C. When this proved to be a structure that was too weak for practical purposes, the U.S. Constitution was written. But the U.S. Constitution was written with STRICT protections in mind for all of the citizens of the nation. The protections were to protect us from the natural nature of power hungry men. The framers knew that once a little power accumulated in Washington D.C. the men going there to govern would grab for more power. The first ten safeguards (The Bill of Rights) were put in place to specifically curb this very predictable power grab.
Slowly but surely the power grab gained traction anyway. And if you fast forward 227 years, you find that the document that was once beautifully amended to free slaves and emancipate women, has largely been turned on its end by a court system as the power hungry pressed for more and more control. It would seem that federal judges also like being considered important, rather than simply and strictly interpreting the basic protections built into our rule book to prevent the success of power grabs.

It has become fashionable in Democratic Party circles in recent decades to make fun of the U.S. Constitution. And this disregard for obeying the basic governing rules of our society, or amending the U.S. Constitution has helped Obama in his incredible power grabs. Democrats don't hesitate to support unconstitutional positions and successfully argue them before the courts. They love for the population to believe that there is tons of ambiguity in the document. There isn't.

How do you know when government has gotten too big, too expensive, and too powerful? The entrenched power figures in both parties are shocked by how their constituents are acting out.
The acting out is predictable. When total control of the citizenry is at stake, you can expect politicians to say and do anything to win. And increasingly you can expect controlled citizens to display a level of rage at how they have been sold out in ways that have never quite been seen before.

All of this anger and frustration is going to get much worse before it gets better. When government grows this powerful, the dynamics of what constitutes decent behavior are null and void.

When the rules are suspended for some.......eventually they get suspended for all. We are there.


Swickard column: To stop an attack upon America

Perhaps not if, it is when
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   There is a mainly unseen and undiscussed danger in America. It is that we are subject to irrational fear in some areas. And our enemies know this. What do we fear the most? Atomic bombs.
            The Soviet Union and our country engaged in a War of Fears during the Cold War from a principle known as Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD. Growing up in the 1950s I became aware that my life would be over in minutes if any madman pushed the button. In October 1962 that almost happened.
            The central idea of deterrence was where you and your enemy if either use nuclear weapons will both be completely destroyed. It worked. We haven’t had a nuclear attack in seventy years of nuclear weapons.
            But now our country faces a dilemma: if some terrorist organization explodes a nuclear weapon on American soil what is our national response? We do not have an articulated policy.
            No one is talking about the threat of a nuclear attack, yet rouge states have fissionable material and making a bomb while complicated is possible. It is not my intention to unduly scare Americans but there is a lot of the material already made. And, Iran along with North Korea have been making more for bombs.
            It would seem to rational Americans that it isn’t a question of if, rather when, some terrorist attacks our country with a nuclear bomb. I would predict widespread panic that will bring our nation to its knees. America would be hurt more by the panic than by anything else.
            A nuclear bomb doesn’t need to be the size of the first bombs, it can fit in a suitcase. So the question is: what is America’s policy about being attacked? What is our response to nuclear attack by terrorists?
            Rather than trying to come up with a policy while in ashes, it would seem that we need an articulated policy that we would really do. Would we bomb some enabling country into the Twelfth Century or is our response to send a protest letter to the United Nations?
            MAD worked with the Soviets, but the threats are terrorist groups and their sponsors. How can America respond if say ISIS sets off a nuclear bomb in our country?
            To end World War Two, the Allies had to do three things: defeat and disband the armies of Germany, Italy and Japan. Second, the Allies had to displace the leadership of those three countries. Finally, they had to change the culture of those three countries so that a new generation of fascists did not arise.
            We are engaged in multiple places in our world in a war of small scale domination. It is not like Germany taking Europe, but there are similarities. Most notably, any method was fine with the Nazi Government. Likewise, there seems no restraint of our attackers in the Middle East.
            At the start of WWII, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is quoted as saying, “Before we’re through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell.” The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sparked that feeling in many Americans.
            Thankfully we beat Japan’s dictatorship but after the war joined hands with the Japanese people. Not so much at first but they became good trading partners. I lived in Japan for three years and enjoy their culture.
            We must have a plan for the threat of nuclear attack and after the first nuclear attack on America to insure that no other attack every comes. Perhaps we can stop the threat entirely if we have the right policy.
            That will require a ruthlessness that matches our enemies since that is all that they know. Importantly, it is not the ground people that enable such attacks, it is the nations that supply money, training and hardware to the terrorists. That is who we must intimidate into inaction.
            For that reason, our leaders in Washington must be clear that an attack on America with nuclear weapons will result in catastrophic damage to the nations that enabled that attack. This must happen even though innocent lives in those countries would be taken.
            We must have a rational response policy if we are to deter attack.


My experience with Trump

© 2016 Jim Spence - Not many people know this fact, but I have my own experience with Trump and I think it is time to share that experience with everyone else who is also trying to figure out what to make of the 2016 election season.
It was March of 2012 when my experience with Trump came. I had wrecked my back a few years earlier when I ruptured my L-5 / S-1 disc. The disc had disintegrated. The back injury happened when I was lifting a nun out of her wheelchair and on to her bed inside a van so she could go back to Sioux City, Iowa. He name was Sister Anna Waldschmidt and she had stayed in our house for a couple of months to say goodbye to her friends here in Las Cruces. Sister Anna was a progressive Democrat who was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. Sadly, I best remember Sister Anna for her role in destroying my back before she died. Not only did my last experience with Sister Anna destroy my back, she managed to solidify my take on progressive Democrats permanently during her stay.
I had returned from a trip to Chicago where I had discovered that it was actually illegal in the entire state of Illinois for our firm to be hired to manage public funds there. Why was it illegal for Illinois to hire us?  It was because of my race. I was the majority owner of my firm and I am a white man. You see the state law is clear in Democrat-run Illinois. Firms that are owned by white men cannot be hired to manage funds there…..unless the firm is big……managing MORE than $10 billion.
the staples in my back a week or so after my surgery
When I returned to our home and told Sister Anna of the incredibly discriminatory statute in Illinois, she shrugged it off as no big deal and said, “You white men have been running this country for hundreds of years." 
There was an awkward pause. "You are the oppressors,” she added for additional emphasis.
I was stunned that after we opened up our home to her and provided personal care-taking service for her, that she would characterize me as an “oppressor.” But she did. It is the world view of a progressive Democrat.
I actually looked the word "oppressor" up on the online dictionary. It seems I had good reason to be stunned. Being called an "oppressor" is not a compliment. But I digress about my experience with Trump.

A few years after I injured my back lifting Sister Anna, I finally stopped putting off the major back surgery I needed. I was in agony every day. One of my doctors called me a week after the surgery and let me know I would need to walk a couple of miles a day to fully recover. Almost immediately I knew I needed a walking buddy because I would be more disciplined if I were obligated to walk a dog every day. I had always wanted to get a labradoodle puppy, so I started shopping online and found one.
Apollo with me on the San Juan River
When the puppy arrived he was adorable. However, there was only a HUGE problem. The breeder we bought the pup from had named him “Trump.” 
Kristi and I agreed we didn’t want to call this dog Trump. Both of us were familiar with Trump. We knew he had inherited a couple of hundred million dollars, which was fine. But we also knew he had skimmed many millions of dollars in fees and salary from several projects financed with other people’s money that later filed bankruptcy. We also saw how he acted as if he made his money instead of getting it from others, especially his daddy. We were not exactly taken in by all of the Trump shtick. We also knew he, like Bill Clinton, was a predator when it came to young females. He liked bragging about being with young attractive women. Most important of all we knew that anything Trump said, including a wedding vow, was a convenient promise to be broken as soon as it became inconvenient.
The puppy had a cool looking square patch of gray hair right under his lower lip. It reminded us of the facial hair of speed skater Apollo Ono. We decided to change the dog’s name from Trump to Apollo.
Apollo going after a fish I caught
It is with great irony that we may be facing a decision in November. I am mindful of the two titanium rods in my back, the two plates and four screws in my vertebrae, the artificial disc between those bones, and the steel mesh cage surrounding all the rest of the hardware. The damage to my back came courtesy of a progressive Democrat, who lived with us gratis for two months, and found it very easy to brand me as an "oppressor." There is no doubt that Sister Anna would be voting for Hillary Clinton in November if she were still alive. No doubt many men and women voting for Hillary think most white men are oppressors too.
It would seem that unless the GOP unites behind Ted Cruz that our other choice will be Trump.

What will I do facing such a dilemma? Will I hold my nose and vote for Trump, knowing what a phoney he is? Yes, I will vote for him. You see he will have to do if the other choices are either Hillary Clinton, who belongs in jail, or the Communist Bernie Sanders who belongs in North Korea. 

I don't kid myself. Trump is not genuine, faithful, or honest. So he will never be good enough to be my DOG. My dog's name is Apollo.


A curious value system

© 2016 Jim Spence - If you watch the Democratic debates they can provide unmistakable clues regarding the value systems of people who vote in the Democratic primaries.
Consider Bernie Sanders. Bernie loves to go after Hillary Clinton for her “Wall Street” connections. He finds it despicable that she has taken millions from New York-based securities firms, but won’t release the transcripts of her paid speeches to these firm’s employees. Bernie gets downright furious when he claims that her friends on Wall Street “destroyed” the U.S. economy.
It is actually a pretty amusing assessment of the economy, considering the rapid pace of the advance of socialistic policies under Barack Obama. With total control of the government for the first two years of his presidency, and far-reaching executive orders ever since, plus Sanders votes every step of the way; Obama was able to shape the same economic conditions Sanders now thinks are so bad.
Sanders says the economy has been destroyed, but he does not blame the anti-business socialist environment he and Obama created, instead, he blames the ever convenient boogieman……“Wall Street.”
It is fascinating to observe the media moderators at the Democratic debates. The moderators have actually stopped prompting Sanders when it comes to the fact that Clinton purposely did an end run around highly secured federal government protocols designed to protect secret information while she was Secretary of State. Bernie knows his opponent instructed her employees to scrub the words “classified” from the headings before re-sending them. And he knows she lied when she said she never sent classified emails. Mrs. Clinton committed several crimes that are now very well known, thanks to her own email releases. And the public does not trust Mrs. Clinton because they know, thanks to her own statements and emails, that she is a liar. Bernie knows this too. Why doesn’t Bernie harp on this? Why have the media monitors actually stopped asking Bernie about these crimes during “debates?” 
Perhaps a little background can easily explain the Democrat world view on lying about national security and how Mrs. Clinton and Sanders fit pretty snugly there.
Mrs. Clinton is known almost universally, thanks to several books written by Secret Service agents who worked on her detail, for her deep dislike and utter disrespect for those who were and still are responsible for protecting her. It is a curious thing. People who guard her are the ones she treats the worst (she is actually very mean and contemptuous towards almost everyone).
It is also very well known that Mrs. Clinton abhors the military. She has an almost pathological hatred for armed service and law enforcement uniforms, as well as a deep disgust for people wearing those uniforms. Again these are the people who not only protect her, but are part of the group of people she claims, in her speeches, to be fighting for. It is an amazing phenomenon. Clinton's disregard for security people is reflected in the way Mrs. Clinton mishandled Benghazi as well as top secret information. 
The reason why it is a felony to not protect your communications when you have top secret clearance is simple. The U.S. government employs thousands of national security agents in the field overseas. These men and women face grave dangers every day (like those in Benghazi). When information regarding their operations is breached, these people can be identified and killed. Hundreds of people have gone to jail for transgressions in this area because they cause deaths.
Why won’t Bernie Sanders talk about Clinton’s lies on the deaths of people in Benghazi or her utter disregard for the safety of other people serving overseas? The answer is pretty simple. Bernie doesn’t really care either. Sanders thinks freedom of speech and freedom to come and go as he pleases is just like everything else in his fantasy world. It is simply FREE because he thinks it should be free.
Bernie Sanders does not devote any time or energy to think or talk about terrorism policies. He has his own big bad boogie men that he prefers to condemn and attack. And his enemies are not gun-toting and bomb-building Islamic terrorists. No, the real danger to America in Bernie’s world, are business people who sign paychecks each week. Bernie thinks most business people exploit their workers. He thinks anyone who takes risks, and is successful, should be targeted for abuse. What they earn should be confiscated for the greater good. Most Democrats agree and Hillary parrots Bernie on this topic because business people, like Secret Service agents, police officers, and soldiers, are just pawns in her power world.
So there you have it. Bernie Sanders could not care less that Hillary has been jeopardizing American agents out working in the danger zones around the world. He finds it easy to dismiss her criminal handling of classified information as not important. He simply doesn’t care about such things. In fact Bernie cares so little, he doesn’t even care if many other Democrats do care about these important laws and find her to be a liar.
Indifference towards the lives of these people speaks volumes about the value system of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the rest of Democrats. In the end most Democrats will look past Mrs. Clinton’s crimes and also look past the fact that they do not find her to be trustworthy. You see, trustworthiness is just not an important part of that value system.


Swickard: Being smart in college football programs

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “I find that the three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni and parking for the faculty.” Clark Kerr, 1958
          There is a gloom over some New Mexico State University Aggies due to their football team falling on hard times these last fifty years. If the administrators wanted to get a good look at whom it was than precipitated the crisis, they only need to find a mirror.
            The NMSU Aggie motto might even be to blame: nobody tells an Aggie what to do. That’s the Aggies I have known since I started watching Aggie Football during coach Warren Woodson’s last season in 1967. He found success while none of the following coaches even came close.
            Woodson had a great quote: “The perfect record is seven and four because the fans are happy with the winning season, the Alumni are sullen but not mutinous and the NCAA won’t come and look at your program.”
            In the last thirty years of writing columns the number one topic has been Aggie Football. More than anything else I have protested one policy: selling loses to big programs for cash.
            NMSU has been harvesting cash with loses for most of forty years and each year their fortunes get worse because all football programs are judged by their win/loss record. I have made no progress with the leaders of the university. One said to me, “We know what we are doing!”
            My reply was that they were ignoring research and available data. This same person said that I just did not understand university administrative issues. Friends, I have a Ph.D. in educational administration from NMSU and pointed this out to that administrator. To no avail, they kept selling losses and the program gets weaker and weaker with their abysmal win/loss record.
            Finally, NMSU was thrown out of the good football league that included some great teams. Our college was dragging the rest of the league down because we sold losses. Currently NMSU finds that there is not a league that wants NMSU because NMSU sells losses but NMSU next year is going to continue selling losses.
            Fine, but don’t look surprised when your Football Program ends. That is the fate of Football Programs that continually sell losses.
            From the Clark Kerr quote to start the column, parking is a big problem at colleges. I asked a professor at NMSU about the parking some thirty years ago. He said, “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.” So I immediately asked, “Do you think it will get better?” He shook his head, “No.”
            Many colleges had declining enrollments and act surprised. Why should less students coming be a surprise? College doesn’t hold the magic key of prosperity like was once the case. Now to even get a job students have to be savvy enough to select an employable major.
            The colleges won’t help because their administrative fiduciary relationship is with the professors so they will try to keep everyone employed rather than pare off majors where few jobs are available. With the football program and the majors at the university, NMSU is a contrast in roles.
            Does NMSU have the best interests of the students in mind or are those administrators feathering their nests? Why sell losses when it only weakens the program. Why keep majors where there are few if any jobs? Those questions need to be answered.
            Remember that the motto of NMSU is: nobody tells an Aggie what to do. So I doubt that there will be any changes. In fact, each time I point out the lunacy of selling losses the leaders double-down on their stupidity and amaze me even more with bad leadership.
            Ultimately, it is easy to see that these failures are my fault. I always buy season tickets to the Football Program and I went to NMSU for my Ph.D. So I guess I have no complaints. While I talk bad about the management they know I still support their decisions with my money.
            The customer is not always right but the customer always is the one with the money. This customer would like NMSU to be smarter.


Warren Buffett - A Study in Contradictions and Hypocrisy

© 2016 Jim Spence - When you read Warren Buffett’s letters to shareholders as many times as I have you note that he repeats himself, which is fine. I wouldn’t want that tendency to be a crime. And many of the points of emphasis he prefers are principles that every professional investor should internalize and internalize deeply.

The most recent Buffett letter to shareholders follows another recent trend with his communications. Increasingly, Buffett contradicts himself. Not on fundamental business principles but on the danger of bureaucracy, the value of thrift, the importance of efficiency, and fundamental nature of productivity.

Always a cheerleader for the U.S. Warren Buffett has been even more vehement about the wonders of the U.S. economy over the last seven years, despite the fact we have experienced the slowest pace of economic growth in many decades.

While nobody wants to be a pessimist, I am pretty sure that America does not want to point to Europe which seems irreparably stagnant, or Japan, which is in a 25 year recession, and reach the conclusion that because the U.S. is not Europe nor Japan, we are doing just fine.

Buffett talks about how lucky anyone is to be born in America, which is certainly still true. But he consistently supports people who try to advance policies that would make it more likely that American born people will have the same experiences as those born in Europe. It is puzzling.

Buffett heaps praise on his management team in the Heinz-Kraft partnership because they specialize in reducing “unnecessary” costs. This is Buffett's preferred PC code for laying off unneeded workers. However, Buffett supports candidates who rail against any “corporation” that is dedicated to efficiency in the way that his managers and partners are. Buffett’s favored candidate (Hillary Clinton) constantly calls for central planning that would continue to pile new and entirely “unnecessary costs” on businesses at almost every turn.

Almost every year in his letters Buffett praises de-centralization as the structural hallmark of Berkshire, while also supporting a vast increase in the centralization of power and additional controls over the U.S. economy in bureaucratic laden Washington.

Buffett actually goes so far as to say at Berkshire, “We, too, crave efficiency and detest bureaucracy.” And yet he supports candidates who crave bureaucracy and detest efficiency.

The contradictions embraced by Buffett are seemingly endless these days. He castigates others in business saying, “Some CEOs forget that it is shareholders for whom they should be working, while other managers are woefully inept. In either case, directors may be blind to the problem or simply reluctant to make the change required. That’s when new faces are needed.”

Given that thousands of managers in the federal bureaucracy such as those running the Veterans Healthcare programs are woefully inept and the changes required are never made, one wonders how Buffett can so ardently support Obama, Clinton and putting more power and control in the hands of government.

Buffett actually went so far in this year’s letter, as to quote Barney Frank, calling him, “The most financially savvy member of Congress during the panic.”

I am reminded that Frank praised the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and just weeks before they became insolvent he called suggestions that were insolvent untrue. The Barney Frank utterances on Fannie and Freddie are available on Youtube (Click HERE) for anyone who wants to firm up the shocking evidence of Buffett’s contradictions regarding Frank.

When you look at the largest equity holdings at Berkshire you find shares of the two of the largest banks in America, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. When you consider that the biggest critic of these big banks and the candidate that threatens the most punitive action against them is Hillary Clinton (she parrots Bernie Sanders on this), you have to conclude that while Buffett tells countless truths on what defines good business, when it comes to public policies, something is quite amiss.

Buffett also lectures in this year’s letter on the link between prosperity and productivity, but here again he supports candidates who embrace everything except productivity when they describe the links to prosperity.

Consider Buffett’s lampooning of the Efficient Market Theory. He once said, "If Efficient Market Theory is true why am I so rich? Then pair that viewpoint with Buffett’s chastising of non-shareholder oriented managers, and then reconcile it with this paragraph:

“We need shed no tears for the capitalists (whether they be private owners or an army of public shareholders). It’s their job to take care of themselves. When large rewards can flow to investors from good decisions, these parties should not be spared the losses produced by wrong choices. Moreover, investors who diversify widely and simply sit tight with their holdings are certain to prosper: In America, gains from winning investments have always far more than offset the losses from clunkers. (During the 20th Century, the Dow Jones Industrial Average – an index fund of sorts – soared from 66 to 11,497, with its component companies all the while paying ever-increasing dividends.)“

Buffett engages in the strangest sort of double talk on the idea of capitalism itself. He himself prefers to be spared from the losses that come as a result of bad choices by dedicating his entire investing life to mastering the art and science of avoiding bad choices. And as such, his record of doing so is the envy of the world. But somehow we should simply lump all capitalists into the index box and not encourage the preservation of the capitalist system because when you net it all out, the winners offset the losers? Again Buffett's candidate does NOT want Buffett to pick winners, she wants the bureaucracy to pick the winners.

Perhaps Buffett is fine with the federal bureaucracy picking winners just as long as he understands the trends of bureaucracy selection processes better than the market, and he can remain free to eradicate bureaucracy from the Berkshire model.

This man Warren Buffett is an absolute genius when it comes to understanding the utter failings of bureaucracy and the simple beauty and bounty of free enterprise.

On the other hand, Buffett has evolved into a triple A-rated hypocrite as he increasingly rationalizes his calls for less free-enterprise and more bureaucracy in the interest of, “fairness” for society.

There is no doubt the term limousine liberal was coined so that we would all understand how people like Buffett trick themselves into playing the most insidious intellectually dishonest game of class warfare. 

It takes real flexibility to see yourself as being pro-bureaucracy and anti-bureaucracy at the same time. Pro-bureaucracy for the masses and anti-bureaucracy at Berkshire. 

Still, much can be learned from this great business mind, so long as you understand that politically you are dealing with a hypocrite who contradicts himself at every turn.