Wednesday, March 29, 2017

They think we are all idiots

There's gold in them thar hills.  All you gotta do is just dig it out.  Stupidity is big business, with big money to be had from those dim bulbs out there who believe anything they see on TV.

"Marie Osmond lost 50 pounds of stubborn belly fat on Nutri-System.  You can, too!"  Everybody knows that if you say 'stubborn belly fat' enough times, the money will flow into the advertiser coffers.  And American bellies will still be layered with that stubborn belly fat.  Lots of it.

"Serve-Pro; it's like it never even happened."  A flood wipes out everything you own, and these guys will swoop in and make your life whole again.  The ads said so.  Right.  They will promise to fix every damn thing, just sign here.  And once your check clears, the foot dragging starts.  It'll take between now and Kingdom Come for these scalawags to get your life back together, and it will never be exactly to your liking.

"Nothing ever sticks to MY pan, ever."  Chef Daniel Green swears that you can buy his Gotham Steel frying pan and throw away all of your cleaning pads, scouring powder and such, just wipe his miracle pan clean with a paper towel.  I actually bought into this one myself, stupid me.  The pan loses its anti-stick properties after one or two uses.  

If you believe these guys, the only thing you will be guaranteed to lose is not your stubborn belly fat.  It's your wallet that's going to get skinny, and you will get virtually nothing in return.

Take those ads for reverse mortgages from AAG, featuring smooth talking, handsome Tom Selleck shilling these loans.  Stability in retirement is what they are selling.  Your home's equity turned into tax free cash, it's like money for nothing and your chicks for free.  "It's just another way for the bank to take your house," and Tom poo-poohs this notion.  Americans will believe Tom, he's too damn tall and handsome to lie.

Is Tom lying?  Well, technically, probably not.  He's reading a script.  The reverse mortgage people are counting on the dumb American public to trust these celebrities (and we do), and then watch the money flow in.  In fact, it is just another way for the bank to take your house.  Tom may not be lying technically, but what he is saying is not what you are signing up for.

We used to call these loans 'second mortgages,' and they are all the same: banks loan money to home owners and use the equity in the home as collateral.  Once you sign those papers, the bank just took your house.  "You still own your home," Tom croons.  Well, not really.  The bank has a lien on your house, just like any other instrument such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a home equity loan, or some banks even stick to the antiquated term 'second mortgage.'  

The only difference in these new fangled reverse mortgages from the old fashioned mortgages is how the loan is repaid.  Rather than chip away at the interest and principal each month with a payment, these things are back loaded and are paid in full once the home 'owner' vacates the house: assuming you don't default on the banks terms for maintaining their interests on 'their' property such as failing to fix the leaking roof, pay your annual property taxes or fail to take out home owner's insurance (which would be grounds for immediate eviction of you and your loved ones from the bank's house).

In the good ol' days, home owners would pay off their 30 year mortgage, burn the mortgage paper at the pay off date, and live happily ever after in their free and clear house.  And after the Good Lord calls these folks home, the off spring inherit the homestead.

Those days are long gone.  The bank now owns the home, until its interests are paid in full after the house is vacated.  Which is usually a hefty sum, often equalling the fair market value of the house (which the bank will arbitrarily and unilaterally determine).

These ads, all of them, promise the world to a gullible viewing public.  Word of advice: don't believe a word, not a syllable of what these shysters are hawking.  It's all crap, and the only winner in any transaction with these guys is them.  

Not you.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A mansion on a sandy beach for everyone

Oh, to live in the Land of Plenty.  Where the streets are paved with gold, and everybody is nice all the time, and there is no evil, pain, suffering or want.  In this Land of Plenty, there is never a tear drop in any eye, and everybody has a mansion on a sandy beach.

Life is good in this Land of Plenty.

Of course, this Land of Plenty does not exist, has never existed at any time anywhere in the history of history.  And this Land of Plenty will never exist.  It is but the stuff of political promises.

We are now watching the legislative battles on Capitol Hill today, as the Democrats vow to keep Obamacare intact, the GOP Freedom Caucus vowing to scuttle the current Obamacare-Lite bill (The American Healthcare Act) because it is nothing more than the same thing we have now, only tweaked around the edges.  And of course, we have President Trump twisting arms to get his 216 votes needed to pass this latest pack of socialism wrapped in the American flag.

Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have promised to repeal the massively socialist Obamacare program in favor of a kinder, gentler massive socialist program.  Speaker Ryan swears nobody will be left in the lurch, and nobody will have their current health care package go into a lapse of coverage.  

Everybody that voted for the GOP these last three out of four elections (2010, 2014 and 2016) wanted Obamacare gone, but wanted to retain the provisions of the act that covered pre-existing conditions and kids to remain on their parent's insurance until age 26.  Other than that, Obamacare stinks.  Right?

The pre-existing condition clause is nothing more than a naked transfer of trillions of dollars to those who need horrifically expensive treatment to survive.  There is just not enough money in the world to grant everybody a heart transplant or a kidney transplant that needs one, and only charge them a few dollars in co-payment.  These operations are hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

What the American voter and all politicians are saying is that these God awfully expensive medical procedures are a right, and not a priveledge (Ted Kennedy's words, they roll of the tongue, don't they?).  If money is no object, which clearly everyone agrees is the case when it comes to health care, why not grant every American the right to fly their own personal Lear jet?

And grant everybody in the U.S. a mansion on a sunny, sandy beach?  As a right?  We're talking about the same sentiment.  We just don't have the money to grant everybody anything their heart desires because some folks can afford it and some folks can't.  

That kind of talk is just mean spirited, just ask Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or Bernie Sanders (Communist - USSR).

This is not a mean spirited country, right?  Free shit for everybody!  As much as the Freedom Caucus is gumming up the latest works regarding passage of this latest free shit bill, they at least understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Or a free mansion on the beach.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What happened to all of this 'repeal and replace' stuff?

The announcements are in.  The conservative majority in the House and the Republican president who ran and were elected on promises of 'repeal and replace Obamacare' are now starting to weasel out of their promises.

This newly announced "American Health Care Act" still has many of the prohibitively expensive taxes and mandates that Obamacare had:

  • you still have to have insurance, but now if you don't have it rather than pay Uncle Sam, you pay the hated insurance companies.
  • The 'Cadillac' plan tax is still there, although deferred until 2025.
  • "Kids" still stay on their parent's policy until age 26.
  • Pre-existing conditions cannot disqualify anyone from obtaining insurance.
In other simpler terms, it has now accurately been called "Obamacare-Lite" or "Obamacare 2.0".  And for good reason: all of these provisions are unsustainable, and will never control costs.  The pre-existing conditions clause alone will bankrupt the system sooner or later, as taking on gravely sick people ('adverse selection') and not charging them accordingly is an actuarial unsound principle.  This is not insurance, it is something else.

This nonsense sounds nothing like their promised 'repeal and replace.'  It is bad public health policy.  I rarely agree with Utopian dreamer Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), but in this case I have complete agreement with him: this is no better than Obamacare.  Costs will not come down, levels of care will not get better, deductibles and premiums will still be God Awful.

Heads have got to roll on this one.  At least The Donald has said that he is open to negotiation on this bill.  Nowhere in this mess is the allowance for insurance companies to cross state lines to compete in any state they choose to participate in.  This alone would do wonders for lowering premiums.  

Regardless of what we finally get out of this Congress and president, it will come up short of getting the job done: control skyrocketing costs of health care.  We started down the path of expensive health care bills when we as a nation no longer paid for services directly to doctors with cash money; a mere 75 years ago, our health care system had no government involvment, no insurance, no middle men, none of that.  Then Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided that things had to change.  And they indeed changed - for the worse.

Back in the day, we paid for health care ourselves, directly to our doctor.  Once we started putting middle men in between our doctors and patients, concern for costs became a thing of the past: why bother worrying about costs if everybody perceives that somebody else is paying for things?

Sure, when we feel like we don't have to pay for it, we'll have the Chateau Briand, the beluga caviar and the Maine lobster.  And keep it coming, damn you!  

And that's what things have come down to.  Nobody wants to have to pay for their health care, only a few measly bucks for a co-pay, but no more.  When did we start with this foolishness of mandating that doctors have to treat patients, regardless of their ability to pay?  That is killing us, too.  Free health care for everybody, woo hoo!

And this latest bill is not going to fix what is essentially wrong with our system.  Everybody thinks it should be almost free, and consume as much doctor's care as we can dream of.

It's killing us.  Some kinda health care, if you ask me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's kind of nice to have a president again

"We haven't had a president for a very long time. The world took it for granted that we were simply their punching bag. That concept is no longer valid - but it was for 8 miserable years." 

So true.  LL at Virtual Mirage recently penned these words. For the last 8 years, Americans were satisfied that they wanted to be led by someone who had absolutely no executive experience at any point in his life.  Obama had not so much as run a lemonade stand, much less the economy of the greatest nation in the history of mankind.  We were more interested in electing a black guy to the Oval Office than any other reason.  A black guy that couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag, much less guide the allocation of our nation's resources to the benefit of the public as a whole.

I recall early on in Barry's God awful administration that he was going to 'focus like a laser' on jobs.  Right.  He held a 'jobs forum,' where he summoned a pack of liberal CEO's and other sundry lefties into a conference room, lectured them for awhile about the virtues of wealth redistribution, and then broke them into focus groups and sent them off into little huddles.  He then commanded them to return their conclusions to him, and he would combine the best of the suggestions, and assemble the best practises that he felt would accomplish creating jobs.

And that was it.  That was his laser focus on jobs.  Good Lord, that had to be the most feeble attempt at managing any major issue facing our country, perhaps ever.  Does anybody remember what good came out of this jobs summit?  Anybody? Buehler?.....Buehler?....(...crickets chirping here...).

For 8 long years, the U.S. never had anything even close to 3% GDP growth.  We just crept along, barely squeaking by.  Year after anemic year.  And now, just a few months after the election of Donald Trump, equity growth in American portfolios has increased a whopping $2.9 TRILLION dollars. In three measly months, two of which The Donald was only the president-elect. 

In his short tenure, Donald Trump has met with enumerable auto execs, titans of Silicon Valley, movers and shakers of all shapes and sizes.  He has single handedly jacked up the confidence of American businesses to levels not seen since, well, ever.  

Donald Trump had more executive experience under his belt before he turned 25 than Barry achieved in his whole miserable life.  And we are seeing the benefits of actually having an accomplished leader calling the shots nationally.

It really is nice to have a president again, after so long without one.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Time to abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (and we really mean it this time)

For those of us who remember Newt Gringrich's first run at the presidency in 2011, one of his plans if elected was to abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  At the time, the ridiculous rulings that emanated from this panel of clowns included banning "one nation under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Also included in Newt's plans that year were colonizing the moon, but I digress.  Gingrich actually laid out plans for eliminating the most reversed federal judicial body in the history of U.S. jurisprudence, and of course the Left had a cow.  The Left has long known that foisting their agenda on Americans is tough using actual votes and the elective process.  Accordingly, they have been steadily making inroads into the judiciary, stacking it with liberal pinkos who make political decisions rather than constitutional ones. Of course they would go apoplectic over losing one of their cherished agenda movers - the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gingrich points out that Thomas Jefferson eliminated quite a few judicial appointments during his tenure (18 of 35 federal judges bit the dust back then).  The technical framework in doing this today is still in place, and can be done; other than the Supreme Court, the rest of the judiciary is created by Congress, and Congress can un-create it at its pleasure.  

Now a gang of three from this panel of idiots has determined that for any number of irrelevant and ridiculous reasons, the President of the United States does not have the power to control immigration - despite it clearly being a power designated solely to the executive branch of government.  Donald Trump pointed out earlier that even a bad high school student understood the statute.  

Apparently the 9th Circuit folks are packed with very bad high school students.   Time to disband this bunch of morons.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Marketing and liberalism - the quest for eyeballs

The cost of a 30-second ad during this year's Super Bowl would reportedly set you back $5,000,000 bucks.  At first glance, it would seem that this would be a colossal waste of resources, and yet each and every available advertising slot during this year's game were gobbled up by businesses seeking 'eyeballs' to view the merits of their products.

The reason this marketing venue works is an old one: the Law of Large Numbers.  Dumbing down the statistical explanation to my level, it just means that if you throw enough mud at a wall, sure; most of it will slough off and wind up on the floor.  But a marginal amount of that mud will stick to the wall.  And it is this marginal mud that keeps businesses afloat.

When I was studying marketing back in my college days (I got a degree in the stuff, woo hoo...), we would call this concept on ad effectiveness "reach."  How many potential customers will view the pitch, and of those that see it, how many will be persuaded to dig into their wallets and fork over the cash?  We now call this concept of marketing reach "eyeballs."  An estimated 400,000,000 people watched this year's Super Bowl.  That would be 796,838,397 eyeballs (not everybody has two eyeballs, but most do).  That's a lot of eyeballs.  And the sponsors of those ads will all see the revenues come pouring in, now that the missus and millions of her like minded ilk will head to the cleaning aisle at the Piggly Wiggly and grab herself a bottle of Mr, Clean.  Why?  Because a sexy Mr. Clean really mopped the floor in the Super Bowl ad this year, lots of eyeballs can't be wrong.  

Enter politics and eyeballs.  Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), the nominal head of the Democrat Party now that Barry is no longer an elected official, when asked why her Democrats over the last 8 years have lost multiple gubernatorial races, many seats in Congress, and countless more at the state and local levels, seems to have an answer: she and her ilk didn't get the word out.

That's right, boys and girls.  Red Nancy blames her party's woes on bad marketing: not enough eyeballs on their message.  Hillary Clinton outspent The Donald by maybe 8 - 1, and the DNC probably outspent the RNC by 2-1 nationally.  All of this spending was for ads, primarily blasting conservative values, spreading lies about what Democrats could do for our nation, etc.  

Nancy, you guys got the word out.  You reached those eyeballs.  Here's what you and your liberal buddies don't get: when you put lipstick on a pig, at the end of the day, that glamorous pig is still a pig.  Your message fell on deaf ears.  Or, more pertinent to this post, all of the eyeballs that laid their vision on your lies and Utopian garbage saw it for what it was.  Crap.

But go ahead, Nancy.  Fire the old marketing guys, the ones you say didn't get the word out.  Hire some new guys, guys who understand this 'eyeball' concept.  That's what will get your power back, Nance.  Those gavels will be back in your fingers before you know it.  No, don't take a deep down look at what you stand for, and what American's don't believe in anymore.  Don't toss all of that out.  No, no. Keep it, and next time, just spend more money.

Get more eyeballs involved, Nancy.  That's what you should do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Peaceful transfer of power" - not so much anymore

If last Saturday's mass demonstrations are any indication of days to come, I see the Founding Father's visions of 'peaceful transfer of power' coming to an end, and sooner rather than later.

The smashing of windows, burning of cars and trash barrels in the streets is not what I would call peaceful.  Yes, the power was transferred from a Democrat in the White House to a Republican, but so far it has been anything but peaceful.

Also witness the unhinged lunacy on the part of the folks that lost the election.  That pinch-faced liberal hag on the Alaskan Airlines flight who completely lost her composure, got kicked off the plane after she berated her fellow passenger simply because he suggested that he did not adhere to her extreme liberal views of how things should be run in our country.  Peaceful transfer of power?  Hardly.

A woman was being interviewed at the Washington D.C. women's rally on Saturday and said (I paraphrase here) "if women continue to march in the streets, it will lead to action."  I would be curious to know just what kind of 'action' this cretin is talking about.  Does she think that Donald Trump, when seeing protests against him will simply abdicate his office, and swear Hillary Clinton to the presidency?  I believe she just might think this will happen.  And of course most people with half a brain understand that this will never happen.

Or maybe she really doesn't know what kind of  'action' she wants, she just knows that things didn't go her way, and she truly believes in her teensy brain that she should get what she wants when she wants it.  And that stomping her feet, setting things on fire and smashing windows will achieve these goals.  Much like a 4-year old in K-Mart, who throws a wild tantrum when mommie doesn't buy him that box of Fruit Loops.

What she is talking about, all of this 'action' rhetoric, is something that everybody else except unthinking dolts like her and her movement understands: she is talking about violent revolution. 

This is how people have transferred power in every other society on earth since man crawled out of the ooze: not until our Founding Fathers wrote up how things could peacefully change with the results of peaceful elections,  social change was handled by the most people with the biggest guns and the angriest voices leading the largest mobs, leading to lots of blood in the streets. This was how it was done back in the good ol' days.

By the looks of this past week, this is going to be how the Left wants things to return to; gunfire and bloodshed.  Unfortunately, the Left has never really been keen on gun ownership, and they have not thought this revolution thing all the way through: the only way revolutions work is with an armed movement, and the only side in this upcoming skirmish that is openly and proudly armed is the other side (that would be me and my ilk).  Sure, they are familiar with Molotov cocktails, crow bars, sticks and stones, but guns?  Uh uh.

I don't see this working out for the liberal commie pinkos in the end.  This revolution business requires fire power, something they are still a bit squeamish about.  And until that changes, they will be resigned to setting garbage cans on fire, and getting arrested.  

Some revolution.  But they will eventually get it figured out, and once that happens, the notion of 'peaceful transfer of power' would be a quaint memory.