Saturday, April 09, 2011


The culture of Wall Street is often depicted as rapacious, predatory, and uncaring about the concerns of Main Street. Some bankers, traders, money managers will feebly argue that what they do has some redeeming social value, such as ensuring the smooth flow of capital from those who have to those who need it. But let's face it, unlike other professionals such as lawyers, architects, journalists, or doctors who might have another, more noble objective for their career other than getting rich, anyone who works in high finance is in it for one reason and one reason only, namely mula.

The recent bankruptcy of the venerable Harry and David, the company that makes gift fruit baskets that are big selling items during the Holidays, provides a case study in what results from the greed.

Harry and David is a company started over a century ago by Harry and David Rosenberg, sons of a local fruit grower in Medford, Oregon. Over the decades its Royal Riviera pears, Moose Munch popcorn, and fruit baskets became a staple of the Holiday season. DC-8 cargo planes flew in and out of Medord's airport on a regular basis from early November through December. The community counted on Harry and David for not only the regular employment of 2,000 or so souls but also the seasonal part-time employment of another 6,000 workers who picked, packed and shipped baskets around the world. Whether full-time or part-time, these workers directly and the whole town indirectly depended on H&D.

In 2004, the private equity firm, Wasserstein & Co bought H&D from a Japanese drug company for $230 million. Wasserstein did what all buy-out firms do, namely pay for the purchase with other people's money by mostly borrowing what was needed. In 2005 Wasserstein issued $245 million in junk bonds to refinance the original borrowings. Wasserstein also took $82 million from the bond proceeds to pay itself a big fat dividend. Later that year, Wasserstein paid itself another $19mm from Harry and David's coffers. The net effect was that within a couple of years of buying H&D, Wasserstein had managed to recoup all of its original $82 million equity investment in the company. Wasserstein was no playing with the house's money and now had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

But to get in this cat bird's seat, Wasserstein had loaded the company up with a dangerous amount of debt. When the economy turned down in 2008, this burden of debt became unbearable. It didn't help that H&D, under Wasserstein's direction, expanded agressively at just the wrong time by opening up 100 stores and buying Cushman Fruit, a mail order shipper. One might expect such an "all in" strategy from a player who, as I said before, had nothing lose and everything to gain.

With severe downturn in the economy, the over-leveraged company had no choice but to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy usually entails that the owner, ie, Wasserstein, is left with nothing. But Wasserstein over the past couple of years had been steadily buying the H&D bonds, the price of which had steeply fallen as a result of H&D's bad decisions and debt. So when bond holders end up getting all the equity in the company as the planned bankruptcy reorganization calls for, then Wasserstein, holding more than $40 million of the bonds, will still be a major equity owner of the company that it drove into the ground. Nice work if you can get it....

In the meantime, the layoffs accelerated, adding to Medford's 12.9% unemployment rate. The collateral damage to the region and to other businesses that depeneded on the H&D paychecks has been significant. And Wasserstein? They have gotten all their money back and still own a large stake in the company. They might not be laughing all the way to the bank but they are certainly smiling.

The company is now being run by a managing director with Alvarez Marsal, a corporate restructuring firm in NYC. When asked what she would say to all those workers who lost their jobs and those who have been impacted by H&D's bankruptcy, the Alavarez Marsal executive had this to say, "I'm encouraging everyone in our community to go buy some more Moose Munch."

Sunday, March 20, 2011


What would you say about a Middle East leader who years ago voluntarily gave up his nuke program, became a steady source of intelligence on Al Queda, and opened his nation to trade with the West? Sure, the dictator has blood on his hands from terrorist acts back in the 80's and doesn't brook dissent from his subjects, but what Arab leader can claim exclusion from that illustrious club?

I'm talking, of course, about Colonel Khadafy. (BTW, the world wants to know why a dictator as powerful as Khadafy would settle for the pedestrian title of Colonel instead of something like Grand Admiral of All Space and Time.) Although visits to Tripoli by the likes of Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton were regular events on the diplomatic itinerary the past few years, leaders of the West now want to visit the Colonel with F-16's, Mirage F-1's and Harrier jets. This change in attitude has been occasioned by the Colonel's efforts to tamp down a rebellion in the eastern part of his country. Unlike Mubarak, Khadafy decided to not go gentle into that good life of an erstwhile dictator hanging around the pool of the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. No Club Fled for Muammar.

The irony of ironies is that Barry Obama is now invading a Muslim country after all the grief he once gave W. for doing the exact same thing for much greater reasons. As a candidate, the only thing Barry wanted to make war on was W's record. But amazingly, since he's been in office, his policies whether on terrorism, Iraq and Afganistan have been a straight line continuum of Bush's. And now he's taken on a fight with another Muslim country that I doubt even Bush would have wanted.

I think Obama relished this latest invasion as much as he would a date with Sarah Palin. But he's allowed himself to be drafted by Sarkozy into an action that might make sense politically for Sarkozy and nationally for France but that makes no sense for Obama and the US. Once again, we are presented with a delicious irony, ie, France wanting to invade a Middle East country after fighting the US tooth and snails over our occupation of Iraq. Being a former colony of France, Libya offers the French the opportunity to look like a real power to the rest of the world and particularly those countries in Africa which France presumes are within it's realm of influence, countries that also happen to be rich in resources. Sarkozy could use a diversion from economic troubles and horrible poll numbers. And it's easy for France to lead its tin soldier charge when it knows that US military might is behind it. The crafty French know that if they can bamboozle the US into joining this action, then the US will have no choice but to run the show since the French are totally incapable of doing so. The French get all the credit for saving the world from another Rwanda while the US, as always, does all the heavy lifting.

Obama wants to toss this hot potato to someone else, whether it be NATO, the UN, the Arab League, as quick as he can. Gates was on a TV talk show this morning already saying "Mission Accomplished",as if to say, "That's all, folks", even though the cartoon just started. And I don't blame Obama for his obvious reluctance to get involved in this latest "crusade", as our pal,Putin called it. Khadafy presents no national security threat to the US and Libya doesn't have any strategic importance to us. Libya's contribution to the global oil supply is not enough to go to war over. True, Khadafy's retribution against the rebels would probably get very ugly once he got the upper hand, but that's usually what happens to rebels when they lose. Look what Sherman did to the South during the War of Northern Agression. We didn't encourage these guys to revolt, as George Bush Sr. did with the Shiites in Iraq after the First Gulf War, one of the most ignoble episodes in American history. And by the way, who are these rebels? What do we really know about them? They could be Al Queda sympathizers for all we know. If this effort leads to Khadafy's removal and the decapitation of the Libyan regime, what will fill the void? Look at what happened to Yugoslavia when Tito died or Iraq after we got rid of Saddam. Libya is a loosely held conglomeration of bedouin tribes guzzling down the only raison 'd etat that Libya has, namely oil. Cut the head off the chicken and it's going to dance some real funky convulsions.

So Barry's hesitation is understandable. But once he's in the game, he has to win. And winning means regime change. He has already pronounced to the world that Muammar has to go. Being the world's sole superpower, the US can't just state that, initiate military action and then suddenly pull out before consummation. That's called premature ejaculation and makes the guy look weak and callow. This administration's blatant urge to hand this job off to someone else has created confusion as to who is in command and control. This lack of leadership has resulted already in second doubts among participants among the Arab League and African Nations. And it has pushed others, like China and Russia, that were on the fence to come out against this "crusade". Because we are the only nation that can really effect a regime change, then our presitge, not that of the French or British, whose prestige on the global stage wasn't that great to begin with, will be on the line. We have to finish this, and this business won't be finished until the head of Khadafy is brought to the White House on a pike, metaphorically speaking.

So don't be surprised if the US slides down the slippery slope to a long drawn out affair. Don't be surprised if a year or so from now, we're talking again about a surge, a surge to end the stalemate that this Libyan adventure is bound to become.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Hey guys. Nick here. Been awhile. A lot of shit goin' down in the meantime. Like my man, Charlie Sheen. Can you dig that freak? How can you not admire a guy who takes his wife and kids on a vacation to the Bahamas along with his porn star girlfriend and one of her skank pals. The guy seems to have his own peculiar notions of "family fun." Like back in December when he was caught in New York's Plaza Hotel on a massive coke bender with some porn whore who called the cops after Sheen locked her in the bathroom. And staying on the same floor were his ex-wife Denise Richards and his daughters, there to celebrate Christmas in New York with daddy. Talk about gonzo!

But you know, maybe the Sheenster isn't so nuts after all; maybe he's as crazy as a fox. Just look at all the publicity the guy has generated without having to give even a nickel to some parasitic PR agent. Supposedly his tweets have set some kind of world record for number of followers, scoring over a million just two days after Sheen opened his twitter account. In fact some ad agency in Beverly Hills has signed him to do product endorsements on his tweets. Charlie boy will probably make millions from this. Say what you will about him, namely that he's a dangerous wacko/nutjob/psychopath on some kind of self-immolation derby, but maybe he is winning. Like I said before and I'll say again, in 21st Century America, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Take Lindsay Lowlife, for example, or Paris "Wanna see my twat" Hilton. Charlie may be mad, but he might be a mad genius who has concocted one the greatest publicity stunts in history. No, he won't be doing his shtick anymore on CBS, unless the network wants to change the title of his show to "One and Half Men plus Lord Gaga." But other arenas and venues await him.

Image some of the product placements and ads that he could do on his tweets. Condoms are the first thing that come to mind, although I'm sure ole Charlie is a bareback rider himself. The promotion possibilities are endless: Viagra, Trilafon, Hustler Magazine. Cha-ching! Being such a connoisseur of porn, he could make his mark in that industry as a big time producer/director. Who knows but he might want to try his acting chops in some of the movies. With his career as a respectable actor now toast, he could do porn versions of past films, viz., Wall Street (Ball Street), Platoon (Slutoon), Major League (Major Sleaze) get the idea. Charlie's just the man to raise the porn industry from the sewer to Prime Time. And with cable channels starving for content, there has to be one out there that would dare to give Sheen his own show, kind of a contemporary version of Hugh Hephner's "Playboy After Dark," you know, where Charlie has the louche demimonde of whores, porn stars, rock musicians, etc making appearances at his Beverly Hills manse. The show would be a perfect venue for Charles to do his tiger blood bitchin' gnarly rock star warlock from Mars riffs, raves and rants. And here's another great idea: What if Charlie did a public auction or lottery where he offered the winning bidder three nights of hanging with the Sheen. Just three nights of supreme debauchery. Set the opening bid at a million dollars and see where it goes from there.

Charlie Sheen...American Idiot Hero.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Oil prices are going up and will keep going up. Estimates of global demand for this year and next have been ratcheted up as the global economy continues to gain momentum and developing countries continue to emerge toward developed country status. (Just wait until there's a car in 1.25 billion Chinese garages!) Supply on the other hand will be constrained. Brent and some other classes of crude are already trading over $100/barrel. Because of one-off anomalies and the pipeline configuration in the US, crude supplies are building up at the Cushing, OK terminals to such a degree that West Texas Intermediate (WTI, which is based on prices at Cushing, trades around eight dollars cheaper than Brent. But this aberration will not last forever and the price differential between Brent and WTI will collapse as, more than likely, WTI moves more in line with Brent, which will continue to climb.

Meanwhile, new supply is limited as reserves shrink. Exxon announced last week that it has only been able to develop enough new reserves to make up for about 80% of last year's production. In years past Exxon was able to increase reserves by more than enough to make up for production. New drilling in the Gulf and the Artic has been shut down by the Feds. More oil is under the control of governments around the world than ever before, and these governments are run by guys like Putin, Chavez, and that wacko in Iran who want to see prices move substantially higher. Global excess capacity continues to move towards the single digits, most of that being in Saudi Arabia. Some new reserves have been discovered,like the huge find offshore in Brazil, but on a global basis the Hubbert Oil Peak theory seems to be finding proof.

In other words, we're fucked. The only thing that might save us is if oil prices rise enough to justify greater oil sands development in Canada, where reserves almost match those of Saudi Arabia. Or maybe Boone Pickens' dream of a vehicle that runs on natural gas might become a reality. (One of the great, encouraging stories in this new century has been the new technology that enables drillers to get natural gas out of shale deposits, enough of which lies in the US to meet our nat gas needs for a century or longer.)

But getting oil out of oil sands is expensive and complex, and a natural gas auto can't seem to get off the drawing board. So expect gas prices to continue to rise along with oil prices over the next couple of years. Here in Connecticut, gas is going for around $3.50/gallon. It costs me almost $70 to fill my tank. What's the nation's mood going to be like if oil gets back to $140/barrel and gas to $4/gallon or even higher over the next year or two?

I had dinner the other night with a couple of my Democratic pals. They were still licking their wounds over the November mid-terms but expressed supreme confidence that Obama would get re-elected in 2012. No way he's going to lose, they said. Most pundits believe that if unemployment gets down to low 8% area, Obama will win. But I think the bigger joker wild for the 2012 elections will be the price of oil and gasoline. If gas gets up above $4 again, the populace will be in a foul mood, no matter how much lower the unemployment rate is. I think $4 is certainly in the cards and $5 or higher not out of the question.

And it's going to be so easy to point to Obamas's policies as being a major contributor to high gas prices. Ever since the BP explosion, his administration has not issued new leases for drilling in the Gulf. Although last Spring he was moving toward allowing drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and on the outer shelf along the mid-Atlantic states, he flipped on that after the BP spill. Enormous prospects for oil exist in the Artic and off the Alaska coast, but Obama's militant EPA recently shocked the oil industry by taking back a permit that Shell had obtained from the EPA to begin drilling on a lease that it has spent over $3 billion developing. Such a remand of a previouly issued drilling permit has heretofore never happened. Can you imagine the field day Republicans are going to have painting Obama and his administration as out-of-touch environmental elitists who don't understand the hardship that four dollar gasoline inflicts on the average citizen? Repubs are going to take Rahm Emanuel up on his dictum to never let a crisis go to waste and play this one to the hilt.

Prepare yourself to be hearing a lot about the "Obama Energy Crisis" of 2012.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The standard take on whatever happens to be the latest Lindsay Lohan debacle is as follows: Poor girl, she really needs help; we must do something for her before she ends up like Marilyn Monroe. No matter what outrageous antic she pulls off, the commentator shakes his/her head with a couple of sympathetic tsh-tsh's.

This way of thinking about Lindsay Lohan presupposes several things. First, that she is a "poor girl." Of course she's not poor in a monetary sense nor is she poor in any sense of the word that means "lack of resources." She is resource rich. Ever since she was a pre-teen, the little Hollywood princess has had people waiting on her hand and foot. I don't feel sorry for Lindsay. Why should I? Nor do I feel in anyway responsible for whatever crazy shit she does or if she doesn't get help that she needs. If she wants help, she all the means in the world to get it. If she wants to go out like some kind of meretricous Marilyn Monroe, then that's her choice. She has indeed tried to palm herself off as Marilyn in a couple of photo shoots, so mabye dying young and tragically is her ultimate aspiration.

And that's another assumption that we all accept as true, namely that she wants help. When I see her traipsing into the courtroom, she seems to be enjoying the attention, the hail storm of cameras clicking, the mob of paparazzi and reporters, the media examination of what she's wearing. I get the feeling that she spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about what to wear at her court/media appearances, down to how many buttons on her blouse she should leave open so that we can all ogle her breasts, which lately seem to be the only marketable assets she has left. Observe the way she mugs the cameras, devolves into hysterics when the judge throws the book at her (or at least raises the book in a threatening manner), plays the ingenue giving baffled looks to her attorney, pouting at the judge with her recently collagenized lips. Upon such observations, do you detect any real signs of genuine remorse? Allow me to introduce as evidence the words "Fuck You" painted on her fingernail and flagrantly displayed as she raised her middle finger to her chin at her July 2010 probation revocation hearing. Was this message directed at the judge? I'll let you be the judge of that. Some with hard hearts might say that gesture shows contempt of the court. With her acting career basically kaput as no producer in his right mind would hire such a walking disaster, her court appearances are the only star vehicle that she's got; and she seems determined to play the pitiable mean girl role up to the max. Lindsay is addicted all right, not just to narcotics but to narcissism. So no, I don't think that she really wants help.

Lindsay's real problem goes beyond an addictive personality, a mom who takes the stage mother syndrome to all time low, a dad who holds press conferences to announce how much he loves his daughter. The root of her problems is that she feels entitled. This curse has afflicted many a child star who was deluged with riches and mass media attention for doing something that was so effortless, such as acting or singing. Some argue that sense of entitlement is pandemic to Lindsay's entire generation. Instead of the "Me Generation" we have the "Mine Generation."

Lindsay feels entitled to blow off a probation hearing because she's partying in Europe and at the last minute can't find a friend with a private jet to fly her from Paris to LA. She feels entitled to abscond with a mink coat at some charity event (Lindsay must have thought she was the charity case) and was apparently so immune to any sense of guilt that she wore it at a photo shoot for a magazine. After seeing Lohan wearing her coat in the magazine, the coat's owner managed to retrieve her mink, "reeking of cigarettes, booze, and a tear in the lining," according to her. Lindsay evidently feels entitled to walk out of jewelry store wearing a $2,500 necklace that she didn't pay for even though she was carrying $3,000 in cash. She feels entitled to leave the scene of accidents, the latest happening last September when she hit a stroller while driving her Maserati in West Hollywood. On another occasion, she commandeered a luxury SUV and in the wee hours of the morning led the cops on a high speed chase in pursuit of a personal assistant who had the temerity to resign. When the cops finally caught up with her, she fingered one of her passengers, who happened to be a black guy, as the driver. After one court appearance for repeated probation violations, she invoked Article 5 of the UN Charter of Human Rights, tweeting, "It is clearly stated in Article 5 that no one shall be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Yet despite all the hit and runs, the trips to rehab, the violations of probation, the DUI's, the possession of narcotics, the charges of grand larceny, Princess Lindsay has spent barely a fortnight behind bars. And it's not just bleeding heart liberals who ask with outrage what would the jail time be for a person who wasn't rich, white, and famous?

So of course she feels entitled. She obviously thinks she can get away with anything short of a killing a person, and given her driving record it might not be long before that crime is added to lengthy rap sheet.

The best thing we can do for Lindsay Lohan and for our society as whole is to encourage the judge trying her for grand larceny theft of the aforementioned necklace to this time really throw the book at her, should she be found guilty, and sentence her like he would some Latina from East LA or some black guy from Compton.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Okay, it's a new year, and all the drinking, eating, partying is over. Time to get back to reality and refocused. The good news is that there's more of pounds to be exact.

Unfortunately, the New Year opened with the shooting of congresswoman Giffords and murder of six citizens. But before the dead bodies were cold, the rantings and ravings began to arise from the usual Leftie loonie bins, i.e., The New York Times, MSNBC, Bill Mahr, Huffington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS. Before any investigation had even commenced, these sleuths already had within their mental grasp the culprit, the murderer, namely "hateful rhetoric" issuing forth from conservatives. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Before anyone knew anything about that creepy, smirking lunatic who pulled the trigger, people like Paul Krugman already knew what had gone on inside the haunted fun house that is Jared Loughner's mind. Roll the tape as Krugman imagines it: Yes, I saw it, saw it with my own eyes on Sarah Palin's PAC website...a cross hair gun sight over Giffords' district. Mother Sarah was sending a secret message just to me, to my eyes only: Giffords must die! Oh yeah, Giffords tried to disguise herself as some sort of conservative, with all her phony anti-abortion talk and her gun rights bullshit. But those were all lies, lies, damn lies, I tell you! She signed her own death warrant by voting for Obamacare. Okay, to her credit, she did oppose the public option; but that is not enough to save her life. The Lord of Darkness, Rush Limbaugh, has signed her death warrant. And Mother Palin is sending messages on her PAC website, which I of course have read a thousand times over, that I have been chosen as exectioner. All we have to do is start killing Democratic congress people, even allegedly conservative ones like Giffords, and Republicans will not only be the majority but the totality of the House. Halleleuja! Praise the Lord and pass the ammo!

Of course, the more we learn about Mr. Loughner, we see that he had no political axe to grind, evinced no interest in politics, and never mentioned or talked about Sarah Palin to his friends or in his personal notes. Moreover, his obsession with Giffords started over three and half years ago, before Palin was selected as John McCain's running mate. There is not political context to this act of insanity. But still liberals soldiered on through the No Man's Land know as the truth. How many times did you see that map with the cross hairs lifted from Palin's web site? Who do you think George Stephanopoulos and Christiane Amanpour were referring to when on the morning after the shooting they kept coming back to "vitriolic speech" and "hateful rhetoric" by "certain groups" as contributing to an environment that inspires citizens to kill their congress people? Do you think they were referring to all those pundits and politicians who called George W. Bush a nazi, a traitor, a mass murderer, a criminal? Does anyone remember that movie that came out a couple of years ago that depicted an assassination of Bush...while he was still in office! At Cannes, the critics called it provocative and daring. I don't remember George and Christiane declaiming against it as over-the-line, outrageous, dangerous, vitriolic or hateful.

Don't you know that the leading lights of liberalism were praying, hoping, keeping their fingers, toes and even eyes crossed, that the killer would turn out to be a charter member of the Tea Party? These perverse fantasies were stoked the very day of the shootings when the County Sheriff pronounced that "vitriol" and "hateful speech" (there we go again, just as programmed) by "certain individuals"--wink, wink, nod, nod--had something to do with this ghastly, horrible event. Turns out the Sheriff is a Democratic Party hack who had gotten pissed off because a lot of people, including conservatives, thought he wasn't doing enough about illegal aliens invading the county. Wouldn't you think that as a lawman his first mission should have been to focus on the crime, collect evidence, find out if others were involved, learn all he could about Loughner, before he started making political statements?

If America's Left Wing were an army, it would be beating a hasty retreat, looking like the decimated Iraqi Army strewn across the highway to Baghdad at the end of the First Gulf War, littering the political landscape in mouldering, smoldering ruins. After Obama got elected, they rose in triumph and proceeded on the long march to the Commanding Heights of American politics. But then came the counter attack in November and devastation. Barely holding on to their last redoubts, the Left saw the tragedy in Tuscon as a chance to retake lost territory. They could use this tragedy to their advantage, finally give the Tea Party its comeuppance. What a nightmare the Tea Party is, a grass roots populist uprising totally upsetting the political order, achieving a real revolution much like liberals have only dreamt about over the decades. Liberals hate the Tea Party because it's genuine, a spontaneous eruption; it's made up mostly of middle class people who are supposed to buy into their soak-the-rich/big government policies; and it's peaceful despite all attempts to paint it as a violent, lunatic fringe. Trying to tie the Giffords incident to the conservative movement was their Pickett's Charge, a desperate frontal assault across wide open territory. They got mowed down.

The great majority of Americans saw this charge for what it is, a despicable, cynical use of a tragedy for political gain. The attempt to label certain viewpoints and opinions, such as big government is bad, as "crazy" and "dangerous" smacks of the old Soviet way of conveniently disposing of dissidents into insane asylums. (A totatlitarian streak often lurks beneath Lefisit thinking...but that's a topic for another time.)

I don't think Liberals realize how much credility they've lost over the past two weeks. Those who have tried to tie political thought and speech to this shooting look either obtuse or cynical, for they either believe that contrary to all evidence that Loughner was politically motivated or they don't really believe that but think the event affords the opportunity to score politcal points. Either way, the 2012 election will be a time of reckoning for them.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Plenty of voters with buyer's remorse have been asking themselves that question lately. Every once in awhile, the American populace loses its collective mind and elects a President with decidedly liberal--excuse me "progressive"--leanings. It happened in the 30's, the 60's and late 70's, and most recently, 2008. FDR, Jimmy Carter, Barak Obama (the black Jimmy Carter), got elected not because they overwhelmingly swayed the electorate with the liberal doctrine of big centralized government engorging on a endless feast of tax revenue, but because their Republican predecessors fucked things up and basically through default gifted the presidency to the Demos. Herbert Hoover, Nixon/Ford, W. Bush, all failed to govern according to conservative fiscal precepts; and in that regard, all of the above could be accused of blatantly false advertising. Notwithstanding the commonplace public perception, Hoover was a Big Spender, Big Government disciple; FDR in many ways extended what Hoover had already initiated, programs which failed to end the Great Depression. Nixon, with his price controls and trashing of Bretton Woods, was economically the most liberal president since FDR. W. Bush brought us the biggest new entitlement, namely the Medicare prescription drug program, since Johnson's Great Society, and oversaw a huge increase in spending during his eight years.

And so despite an electorate that, save for a few years in the 30's and 60's, has been moderately conservative since the end of the Civil War, a guy like FDR got elected because Hoover royally botched things; Jimmy Carter got elected because Nixon was a nut and Ford a dummy; and Obama got elected thanks to Iraq and a financial meltdown whose roots went back to the 90's. Barak Obama most assuredly did not get elected because he loudly proclaimed a liberal agenda; in fact, he did everything he could to disguise his true political weltanshaunng.

Barak reminds me of that character who made the headlines back in the 80's by falsely claiming to be Sidney Portier's son. He charmed his way into the homes of New York's hoity-toity set, who are always happy to bend over backwards to schmooze a bright, articulate, attractive young black man. The story ends with the charmer scamming several of his Upper East-Side admirers. (Will Smith starred in a movie Six Degrees of Separation based on this fraud.) Like those victims, many who voted for Obama are scratching their heads and asking themselves how the hell they fell for this guy.

The bright, articulate, attractive black guy who promised a world fresh and new turns out to be just another dyed-in-the-wool, ole time liberal who would have made William Jennings Bryan proud. Just think about what he did as soon as he got into office: rather than focus like a laser beam on the collapsing economy, he spent the first year and half trying to ram Obamacare through, the first step towards reaching the liberal holy grail of a nationalized health system. And what are the main benefits to the average person that justify the certain run-up in premiums and the diminished personal options that Obamacare will cause: we can keep our slacker 20-somethings on our family plans and get preventative check-ups for free. This is all we got for all those months of discord. Gee, thanks.

His only real sally at the Great Recession jammed through a so-called stimulus bill that mostly rewarded his base of public union supporters. His ideology is so rigid that he's crusading to raise taxes while the economy is mired in something that doesn't deserve to be called a recovery just so he can beat on the wealthy, the ranks of which include a lot of business people whose confidence he desperately needs to stoke in order to bring the unemployment rate down. But hey, why put the economy before an congenital lust for class warfare politics. He has no clue as to why the private sector is not hiring, despite sitting on mountains of cash, because he has no clue what the private sector is. Every week, one his henchmen announces a new panoply of regulations to sock businesses with. He loves employment but hates employers.

I wish I could draw because I thought of a great cartoon: Obama is speaking, rather lecturing, to a group of citizens. He is looking at an easel holding up a large poster listing in bold letters OBAMACARE, STIMULUS PLAN, FISCAL REFORM with a check mark next to each. He smiles proudly as he he raises his pointer at the poster, not noticing the looks of terror on the faces of his audience. His audience is terrified because rising behind and above the proud President is a huge tsunami with the words NATIONAL DEBT written across it. The giant wave threatens to crash down on the oblivious President, his little easel and his audience as well, wiping away his oh-so-cool smile.

His nonchalant attitude toward the trillion plus federal deficits as far as the eye can see explains why so much of his terrified audience will be fleeing his party come the first week of November. His attitude versus the attitude of most Americans toward the stupendous increase in government spending that is projected to occur on his watch explains why he's about to get his ass kicked. It's more than the money, more than about the debt that will be foisted onto future generations. It's more than the dereliction of fiscal responsibility. The Tea-baggers are right in focusing on this issue because it crystallizes to many the nightmare of a metastasing power in Washington, DC. What it's about is the destruction of the American individualism, entrepreneurship, innovation and ingenuity as the bureaucrats and politicos in DC assume more and more control. In other words, it's about the destruction of the American spirit.

But what do you expect from a guy who believes the greatness of this country was founded on "community organizers," environmental activists, "courageous" trial lawyers, labor unions.

I'm afraid I'll be pulling the lever so hard in the voting booth come November that I might break it off the machine.