CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - JULY 2014

The Best of The Best

Who is America's
best Senator?


Wisconsin's
RON JOHNSON!

And here's why!


Senate


Will Harry Reid hang
on as Senate Majority
Leader in 2014?
Photo from foxnews.com
It is looking like it
might slip away.

It's going to be close…
Keep an eye on our
election coverage!

House


Can John Boehner keep
his raucous caucus in
the driver's in 2014?
oxnews.com
Probably, but only if he
avoids unforced errors
like a bruising brawl on
immigration.

Keep an eye on our
election coverage. There
will surely be lots of
twists and turns.

OF GOOD WILL, AND ILL WILL

2014/07/30 - During the previous decade, it became an article of faith among Democrats to reflexively oppose anything Republicans supported. And in no sphere more so than to oppose Bush Administration foreign policy, thus completing a metamorphasis that began in the 1960's.

As the Iraq war proceeded, the Jacksonian wing of the Party - represented by Truman, Kennedy and Johnson - gave way to those Wilsonians and Jeffersonians who came of age during Vietnam War, whose first presidential votes went to Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern.

No one summed up the hawk-to-dove change better than the 2004 Democrat Presidential nominee John Kerry with his infamous quote, "I voted for the war before I voted against the war".

How do these ultra-leftists, led by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren, these self-styled activists for social justice, justify inaction in the face of global suffering? Quite simply, blaming America for that suffering. This of course forces them to conclude that all countries are at least tolerably good, and none so particularly bad that would warrant acting against them. And, if as they claim, no war is good, then no country can be bad - after all, couldn't a bad country justify a good war? So why do these good countries act badly? Well, because we force them to, it is the exertion of American power that induces undesirable responses. The only way they can rationalize inaction is to place the blame on our own selves. Presto, evil America, cause of the world's problems. Bush bad, Putin good.

The Democratic party continues its leftward drift, and is now dominated by extreme liberals who do not view America as exceptional, at least not in any absolute way. And, if it is American power that brings out the worst in some countries, then wouldn't the reduction and withdrawal of American power bring out the best in those same countries? No America, no problems.

So, there you have it: The Obama Doctrine. All other players are of good will, not ill will, and if we act toward them in good will, they will respond in kind, with good will towards all mankind. Hence the need for evil America to "reset" relations with good Russia.

But what if it isn't so? What if the Obama Doctrine is bogus? What if those who oppose us actually are people of ill will? What if there are in fact many genuinely bad actors on the world stage: Putin, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Assad, Boko Haram, to name but a few of the most well known, not to mention so many who have yet to reveal themselves?

What if it was American power that had kept the world safe? An what if it is the Obama Doctrine - the decline and erosion of American power - that is allowing this world to become a dangerous place?

What does the world look like to you?



Random Ramblings


July 31, 2014 - GLOBAL EQUITIES CRUSHED! Dow down over 300 points.

With a better-than-expected US GDP release yesterday, it begs the question:
Q: Why would the stock market go down?
A: The Law of Supply and Demand; and, Rule #1 of investing - "Don't Fight The Fed".

The Fed's expansionary monetary policy over the past number of years has created substantial liquidity - pools of money - looking for places such as the stock market in which to invest. As the demand for stocks goes up, so must the prices. Thus bad economic news, which causes The Fed to feel forced to print money, becomes good stock market news.

Of course it stands to reason that if bad news is good news, then the corollary must also be true - that good news is bad news. The improvement in GDP, coupled with increasing inflation pressures, would presage the end of The Fed's easy monetary policy - QE∞. That could lead to lower demand for stocks, and falling stock prices down the road. So sell now before stock prices go down even more, later.

Here at Chalprem we believe that, in the short term, the market is overbought, but any correction will be relatively brief and mild - less than 10% decline - unless The Fed begins to signal a turn to a contractionary policy - then look out below.

However, in the intermediate term, we are not impressed with the prospects for robust economic growth due to the weight of government interference in the economy - EPA, ObaMcCare, etc. - and we are also worried about a possible build of inflationary pressures. Simultaneously, these two conditions could put The Fed in a no-win predicament.



July 30, 2014 - CHUMBAWAMBA! ("I get knocked down, but I get up again...")

GDP surprises way to the upside, 4.0%. Normally we would be excited about this, but as we indicated on
June 25, we felt there might be some timing differences and a bounce back would not be unexpected.

Looking at the two quarters together, down 3% followed by up 4% still only equals up 1%, which is more or less what the economy feels like - grumbling, fumbling, stumbling, mumbling, but neither tumbling nor rumbling. For the Administration, it should be humbling, but they're not showing it.

It will be interesting to see how the Q2 number is adjusted in the next two months - the Q1 number plummeted from +0.1% in the initial release, to -1.0% and then -2.9% in subsequent releases. First revision is scheduled for August 28.



July 25, 2014 - Update on the Halbig Obamacare suit: Jonathan Gruber, a figure in the creation design and implementation of Obamacare, states in no uncertain terms that the subsidy scheme was expressly intended to exclude policies purchased on the federal exchange.

Check out this
YouTube video taken at a seminar where Gruber was explaining the design and functioning of the ACA.

This is a classic Miranda "what you say can be used against you in a court of law" moment. He bolsters Halbig's claim that the scheme was specifically designed to be punitive in order to coerce states into creating exchanges.



July 22, 2014 - A federal court panel has struck a blow to Obamacare, and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

A literal rendering of the law's subsidy provisions explicitly declares that it is the policies purchased on the state's exchanges that are eligible for the subsidies.

The plaintiff, known as Halbig, has therefore argued that individuals in the 36 states where no state exchange was created, and therefore purchase policies on the federal exchange, are not legally eligible for the subsidies. Halbig argued that the legislation was intentionally worded that way in order to compel the states to create exchanges - a coercion not unlike the individual mandate.

The administration has argued that the goal of the legislation is to make insurance widespread and affordable, a purpose not served by withholding subsidies; and that, further, the legislation does not preclude subsidies to individuals who purchase on the federal exchange.

Count on this one to find its way to the Supreme Court - and a chance for John Roberts to find redemption.



July 17, 2014 - Atrocity? Outrage? What are the words strong enough to describe this debacle?

A Malaysian Airlines flight has gone down - apparently shot down by a guided missile - over Ukraine enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Early indications are that there were approximately 300 people aboard the 777 jetliner, whose lives have now been lost. (Any connection to the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared back in March would appear, at least initially, to be coincidental.)

Speculation is that the culprits are the thugs and insurgents armed, supplied, encouraged, financed, trained, and otherwise supported by Vladimir Putin.

If indeed the insurgents are the culprits, then the culpability will languish solely upon Vladimir Putin.



July 2, 2014 - A new poll by Quinnipiac University finds that a plurality of Americans think Barrack Obama is the worst President of modern times, since the Second World War.

Obama edged out George W. Bush ("miss me yet?") by 33-28.

Not surprisingly, the poll also found that Ronald Reagan - who we rate the greatest President not to have his likeness chiseled into Mount Rushmore - is the best President of the post war era. Reagan nearly doubled his nearest rival, Bill Clinton, by a 35-18 margin.

Worse still for our current President, respondents by a 45-38 margin felt that America would be better off if Obama had lost to his 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney.




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