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Monday, March 15, 2010

 

Special Ides of March (birthday) Edition

The Dems have really turned up the health care reform heat on their lawmakers so the bill from hell that upwards of 60% of America does not want simply won't die. Supposedly, they are aiming for a vote by Friday, and you'll know they have the votes in the House if they actually bring it to the floor. No way the Conference is going to make its members walk the plank in a losing cause. Still, there is no vote yet, a fair amount still uncommitted, and some may be waiting on the CBO to produce its latest scoring. Can you imagine the pressure on those people? Still it's hard to score when the bill is a moving target, which it is as negotiations among Dems continue.

If this passes the House, the pressure shifts back to the Senate to pass the reconciliation adjustments. Funny thing, for all the talk, there is no guarantee they will do so.

All of this for what amounts to be an economy stifling tax increase in the first four years before any benefits take effect. If the Dems take the beating I expect in November, the President might have to veto a repeal bill in January 2011. As Mark Levin says, what gets passed by reconciliation can be repealed by reconciliation. Of course, the Dems will have plenty of seats with which to sustain the veto but that will only serve to sustain GOP momentum through 2012. Repeal could be signed in January 2013 by President Pawlenty or Romney and the exchanges and subsidies will still not have taken effect.

Still, I am not sanguine about this prospect. The economy and the stock market abhor uncertainty and we are looking at years of it if this bill becomes law. That is why I have been, and will continue to take risk out of the musings portfolio, steadily.

Some have said that the GOP force fed us Medicare Part D (prescription drug benefit) so why shouldn't Dems go ahead with this budget busting health plan? I merely point out that for those who think the GOP got away with their strong arm tactics for part D, the answer is that the liberal media gave the GOP no credit for the program but did saddle them with blame (reasonably) for the fiscal impact. The GOP lost the House pretty quickly thereafter. So Dems are looking at a real disaster this November. I think they could lose 50 seats minimum.

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So while all this is going on, the Obama Administration decides this is a good time to pick an argument with our only true ally in the Mideast, Israel. This is because a mid - level Israeli bureaucrat picked the wrong time to announce the next step toward new settlements in East Jerusalem, just as VP Biden landed to promote talks between Israel and Palestinians. It's too bad the Veep was embarrassed, but really, he's been embarrassing all of us for long enough, so I have little sympathy. To pour gasoline on the fire, the Obama people cajoled Secretary of State Clinton into making critical remarks about Israel's bad behavior, presumably to add weight to Biden's kvetching.

Of course, there is very little basis for peace talks between Israeli's and Palestinians. It is typical of this administration's foreign policy to push for talks without any game plan for success. Meanwhile, they are astonished as each side pursues its tactical objectives. Sort of like Claude Rains learning of gambling taking place at Rick's casino.

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With a sense of perfect timing, while all this was going on, Senator Dodd decided today would be a good day to drop his new version of financial services regulatory reform on an unsuspecting public. This version was written exclusively by Democratic committee staffers, Dodd having decided that talks with GOP Senator Corker had "broken down." So this puts the GOP in a position where they will have to oppose the proposal because of process, not because of content. Since there are now 41 GOP Senators, Mr. Dodd may find that he is unable to overcome a filibuster when he gets to the floor. Happy retirement, Senator.

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Today marks the start of a new campaign undertaken by redwavemusings and that is to demand the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder. If you care to understand the importance and appropriateness of this demand, read today's WSJ op ed by Debra Burlingame (sister of a 9/11 pilot) and Thomas Joscelyn called Gitmo's Indefensible Lawyers. I guarantee your hair will stand up when you piece Mr. Holder's associations with terrorism's defenders together with his insistence on civilian trials (in process of being countermanded by this all too frequently embarrassed administration). The URL is http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704131404575117611125872740.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read.

I guess I have a few issues today.
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We'll save my many other news issues for the next post. I should be spending time like the rest of America doping out my NCAA Tournament bracket, but I'll pass, thanks. I just haven't followed college basketball like when I was younger, so for me, predicting anything about this event would just be luck. I will watch the games though. My assumption is that it will be Kentucky versus somebody in the final. I know more about the girls, where the two best teams are presumably Connecticut and Tennessee, like usual. Even I know Connecticut hasn't lost a game since some time in 2008, I guess.

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We've been selling stocks into this great rally, which has favored just the kind of small, high risk stocks we love to average down. Last Tuesday, we sold 700 shares of FSI International (FSII) at 2.95 (600 purchased 7/11/07 at 3.10, 100 purchased 9/12/07 at 2.50). We also sold 200 Marine Max (HZO) at 11.61 (purchased 11/10/08 at 1.54). Nothing wrong with the occasional 7 timer. On Thursday, the tender offer was completed for Home Diagnostics, which should have meant that my last 400 shares went at 11.50 (purchased 4/20/09 at 6.16).

Comments:
First Happy Birthday Redwaver and many more. And, as you age I hope you keep your health and health care!

Now, on to some commentary. The Redwaver continues to predict a rout for the Dems in the next election. I believe he is right in his prediction but wrong in his reasoning. I believe the GOP will win because incumbents (of both parties in my opinion) will lose. Because there is a Democratic majority in both Houses Dems stand to lose more. I believe the general populace is fed up both parties and this distaste bordering on disgust is based on the fanaticism of the ideologues of both parties. I believe people want to see laws passed and compromise in legislating.
Health Care is an example of people’s mounting frustration with both parties. Health Care has been a disaster for the President and the Dems but the GOP does not look good either. There are two fears concerning health care in this country that BOTH parties have to calm: 1) how can I buy cheaper insurance/get insurance if I have a pre-existing condition? 2) while I have insurance that I like I realize I am only a pink slip away from asking question #1 above. And, no, don’t tell me about COBRA because I can’t afford that and COBRA eventually runs out (well, maybe not under Obama but I still can't afford it). Business, particularly small business, gets killed with the cost of insurance and that is another fear though not one directly faced by workers.

The impression I have is that both the Dems and GOP do not really talk with one another. The GOP was successful in killing government run health care and I am glad that the GOP took that action. Yet, as recently as this morning many Dems were talking about re- introducing government run health care public option !! Those Dems are plainly not listening. As to the GOP, what else has the GOP done but say no? Where is GOP plan? And a GOP plan that can get Dems (at least some Dems) support?

So, Dems and GOP – fix it. Fix it now. Try GOVERNING.
This voter will be watching.

As always,
Hail Freedonia !!
Rufus T. Firefly
 
First Happy Birthday Redwaver. I hope you have good health and keep your health care !

Next, on to some commentary. The Redwaver continues to predict a rout for the Dems in the next election. I believe he is right in his prediction but wrong in his reasoning. I believe the GOP will win because incumbents (of both parties in my opinion) will lose. Because there is a Democratic majority in both Houses Dems stand to lose more. I believe the general populace is fed up both parties and this distaste bordering on disgust is based on the fanaticism of the ideologues of both parties. I believe people want to see laws passed and compromise in legislating.
Health Care is an example of people’s mounting frustration with both parties. Health Care has been a disaster for the President and the Dems but the GOP does not look good either. There are two fears concerning health care in this country that BOTH parties have to calm: 1) how can I buy cheaper insurance/get insurance if I have a pre-existing condition? 2) while I have insurance that I like I realize I am only a pink slip away from asking question #1 above. And, no, don’t tell me about COBRA because I can’t afford that and COBRA eventually runs out (well, maybe not under Obama). Business, particularly small business, gets killed with the cost of insurance and that is another fear though not one directly faced by workers.

The impression I have is that both the Dems and GOP do not really talk with one another. The GOP was successful in killing government run health care and I am glad that the GOP took that action. Yet, as recently as this morning many Dems were talking about re- introducing government run health care public option !! Those Dems are plainly not listening. As to the GOP, what else has the GOP done but say no? Where is GOP plan? And a GOP plan that can get Dems (at least some Dems) support?

So, Dems and GOP – fix it. Fix it now. Try GOVERNING.
This voter will be watching.

As always, Hail Freedonia
Rufus T. Firefly
 
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