Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain makes Mitt Romney look consistent

We already know that Herman Cain negotiates with terrorists. Oh wait... no. He doesn't.

We already know that Herman Cain is pro-life. Oh wait... no. He believes it's a woman's choice. Oh wait... no. He's pro-life.

We already know that Herman Cain opposes the assassination of American citizens without due process. Oh wait... no. Assassination without due process is fine.

We already know Herman Cain wants to institute a 23% national sales tax. Oh wait... no. He wants "9-9-9, jobs, jobs, jobs."

But a new contradiction really got me annoyed yesterday.

In the midst of his flip-flops on declaring there was "no settlement," then suddenly remembering a settlement... I noticed a comment he made yesterday on Face the Nation that I feel is very important. But first, let's step back a few months.

On May 22, 2011, FoxNews' Chris Wallace interviewed Herman Cain:

WALLACE: We have been at war in Afghanistan for almost 10 years. And yet you say -- and you say it quite proudly -- you have no plan for what to do in Afghanistan. You'd have to wait until you got into office, until you met with the experts, until you met with military officials and then you decided....

CAIN: Chris, let's go back -- let's go back -- let's go back to the fundamental question. We've got to work on the right problem. I think it is disingenuous to tell the American people what I would do when I don't have the intelligence information. I don't have all of the factors that are affecting this particular situation.

I owe the American people a responsible decision and a responsible plan. And I don't think any candidate can responsibly say what they would do if they are elected president.

In effect, he's saying he cannot opine on the direction of war unless he has access to the intelligence information.

Yet just yesterday -- only five months later -- on Face the Nation, Herman Cain was asked to discuss the appropriateness of the Iraq drawdown.

CBS News reports:

Cain disagreed with Obama's approach and... said that a "responsible Commander in Chief" would have consulted military commanders on the ground

CBS News continues:

when pressed, Cain conceded that "It was irresponsible for George Bush to set a date certain" in the first place.

So, if I understand this correctly... Cain says he can't opine on war because he doesn't have the intelligence information. But it's reasonable for Cain to blast both Bush and Obama when they have the intelligence information, but he does not?

At some point, Herman Cain will need to address these charges of sexual harassment. But in the meantime, I don't want to let these seemingly contradictory statements pass into the night.

Can anyone please help me reconcile these two views? I'm at a complete loss... unless this is just another example of his Kerry-esqe campaign slogan of "first I was for it, before I was against it!"

Tim White

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LOWV Council forum 2011

Livestreaming the Council debate... fun, fun, fun!

I just watched the DISTRICTS starting around 7pm. Thoughts:

David Schrumm -- David is David. He reminds me of Newt at a local level. The best debater out there. And as much as he drives me nuts at times... at times like this, he reminds me how beneficial he can be for the town. He's knowledgable, articulate and makes a good presentation. He explains issues in a succinct manner. I know he has no opponent this year, but he shined favorably on the entire GOP team tonight.

Tom Ruocco -- He's good. I would absolutely vote for him. And as Personnel Chair, he has made important progress this term on town union pension reform by moving from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution plans for new hires.

Matt Bowman -- I like Matt, but I hope he remains in "private industry." He kinda dropped the ball and stumbled during his closing comments.

Joe Schmitt -- He's very enthusiastic. I absolutely agree with him about priorities. I just don't see why this Council spent so much time discussing and funding recreation projects.

Andy Falvey -- When he commented on priorities, I couldn't really follow. He works hard for the 3rd district though. I know residents who really appreciate his efforts at Mixville.

Steve Carroll -- I thought he did fine. Though nothing in particular jumped out at me.

Peter Talbot -- Did anyone else think he was suggesting that "raise my taxes!" was his campaign slogan? I know the 4th district fairly well. And I know a lot of people who want education well-funded. But I don't know that many people who want higher taxes. That's different from being willing to pay higher taxes.


Jim McKenney -- He kept hammering away at the $30,000,000 sewer plant upgrade. I was about to vote for the project until he explained the possibility of the state walking away from funding the $6,000,000 de-phosphorous component. He explained that passing the referendum would reduce Cheshire's leverage with state funding. That's concerning. But since maintenance of the plant is mandated, I can't fully appreciate his argument. Regardless, this funding issue -- that Mike O'Donnell and Sylvia Nichols also mentioned -- seems important. McKenney also hammered home the point about the millions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts given out by the WPCA. I was under the impression that the no-bid nonsense had ended with this Council. Perhaps not? Or perhaps, unlike before when no contracts were put out to bid, now some contracts are being bid? Based on what I heard, Jim was the only person to properly answer the question "What one thing would you do to save money?" The rest of the responses sounded like non-responses to me. Overall, I thought Jim did really well. Still an uphill battle though as a non-major party candidate. As PBC Chair, I didn't care for his approach to work. I never thought he was particularly receptive to the Energy Commission and the obvious value they could offer building projects. But as a rank'n'file member of the Council, he might be a good addition. I doubt he'd be a rubber stamp for the Town Manager!

Bob Behrer -- I like Bob. He was fairly reserved tonight. But I do now know that he supports the turf and the pool. And speaking of Bob, I've been emailing with him the past few days. His company sources beeswax from around the world (geographic diversity is important for the business continuity plans of many manufacturers), but do not yet have any sources here in Haiti. So he reached out to me and we're hoping to help generate some money & jobs for some of the poor of Haiti. Regardless of the business-driven, profit-motive, I appreciate Bob for contacting me. Thinking outside-the-box could be good for the Council. Unfortunately, you'd still need five votes to direct action on outside-the-box thinking. One Council member alone cannot effect change. Change requires five hands in the air.

Mike O'Donnell -- I think Mike would be a good addition to the Council. I've known him since I first ran for the Council ten years ago. The great thing about him is that he's a straight-shooter. He's very direct. He's never minced words with me or told me what he thought I wanted to hear. He's always respectful, yet plainly tells me if he agrees or disagrees with me.

Patti Flynn-Harris -- Among the at-large candidates, she had the best performance. She has the best presentation and she does her homework. In fact, just today I got an email from a Republican saying that she's the Council member most involved with the concept of a townwide energy conservation plan. That basically relates to her desire to understand how a performance contract works. I have never served with her, but it sounds like she does her homework. And that's important. I suspect that PFH will be the highest vote-getter on November 8th.

Tim Slocum -- He alluded to the teachers' union concesssions. That was a big win for the town. He also deserves credit for town pension reform because despite town management footdragging, Tim helped closed the door on defined benefit pension plans for future hires. That was another big win. But then he mentioned a future goal of the Council: shared services between the Town and Schools. That sounds great and I appreciated his usual candor. But he made clear that this Council decided to spend the past year figuring out what to do with the pool bubble, rather working to reduce waste and duplicate services in government. I just don't see how or why anyone would campaign on that. Sounds like a poor choice to me. I also had to chuckle when he mentioned that this Council directed the Town Manager to save money anyway he can. I guess that may be true, but there obviously wasn't very strong accountability backing it. I mean, we got fleeced for $150,000 on the Norton boiler fiasco, including probably $50,000 to $60,000 being spent by this Council. How is that saving money? And we saw the money wasted when we had to pay to repave Rosemary Lane only two years after we had just repaved it. How much did that stupidity cost? And we saw Jim McKenney tonight. He kept hammering home the no-bid contracts at the WPCA. Anyone know the common denominator among these three issues? It's what I said two years ago... the Council needs to deal with the failed management of the Public Works Department. But since that's a function of the Town Manager, the Council needs to deal with the TM. Yet I see no indication that they have done so. Instead it's seems as though they live in The Land of Make Believe... where everything is perfect and town government has done no wrong for the past two years. That's absurd. And it's a major disappointment to me. As I said during the last Council, I hope the voters can identify five people who are willing to direct the Town Manager to stop the waste & mismanagement in town government, particularly in the DPW. I hope we can find five people who are willing to direct the TM when he is wrong -- and he is wrong sometimes -- and not simply back down when he starts getting visibly angry and jumping up out of his seat (and no, he doesn't do that on TV... he always very controlled there... but get him off camera...).

Jimmy Sima -- He started his comments by mentioning that he sometimes leaves Council meetings frustrated. Well, between all the unnecessary time and money spent on recreation projects... and the lack of accountability in Town Hall... I can venture a guess as to why Jimmy gets frustrated at times. He also mentioned his general opposition to hiring consultants. I'll be voting for Jimmy. He's my top choice for Council. I hope he's your top choice too!

Mike Ecke -- He offered a nice opening statement. But he proceeded to say that we're "stuck with the bubble." Au contraire. The new bubble was a conscious decision. He also mentioned the $500,000 for the locker room that has gone unspent. Initially, I thought that was an important point. But Tim Slocum rightly said that spending requests begin with the BOE. And if the BOE hasn't asked for the money, that's not the fault of the Council for failing to spend the money. I like Mike. But I have to challenge his point about being willing to work with all elected officials. I agree with him that he's willing to listen and take input. He worked with me several times. I recall one time when he delayed (for one year) hiring a consultant for an update to the strategic plan. I very much appreciated him listening to me on that. So his assertion was true. But I can't ignore my previous conclusion that when push comes to shove... his preference -- as is the preference of most Council Chairs -- is to defer to the Town Manager, not to other elected officials. And I just think that is so wrong. It reminds me of these Republicans running for POTUS. When asked about war, too many of them say "I'll defer to my commanders." Huh? Then why'd we elect you?! We have elections for a reason! The bureaucrats will virtually always want to spend more money and have less accountability. I want Council leadership that will make the decisions. And no, I don't have to agree with the Council decision. But I want to know that their decisions are their decisions... not a decision made by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Sylvia Nichols -- She's nice. I like her, but not much jumped out at me.

Dan Nowak -- He started off on the wrong foot as his mic wasn't working. And I wasn't too thrilled when he seemed to be advocating expanding services... does he want a water polo team? But I know him a smidge. He lives in the 4th district! I think he may have been a bit nervous tonight. Nonetheless, he -- like all others -- could offer the Council some good.

Overall, I think what surprised me most was how many candidates are uncertain how they will vote on the $30,000,000 wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Per Jim McKenney, there's obviously new information (post-capital budget vote) that's now in the public forum. So it's somewhat understandable. Frankly though, going back to my POTUS analogy... I get pretty annoyed when I hear Herman Cain tell us that he won't answer a question (i.e. the way forward in Afghanistan or naming a Fed Chairman) because he's not President yet. You know what Herman? I don't want another "unknown" like Obama. I want to know where you stand on the issues. And while volunteering for the Council is different, I still want candidates to be clear on the issues.

That's it... goodnight!

Tim White

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ron Paul tackles spending in clear terms

As both Politico and the WSJ are reporting, Congressman Ron Paul is announcing his detailed economic plan this week. From what I see, I like it. Here are some highlights:

1) Reduce the size of government: Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior and Housing and Urban Development, including a total 10% reduction in the federal labor pool.

2) Repeal major regulations: Obamacare, Dodd / Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)*

3) Increase transparency: Audit the Federal Reserve

4) Share the sacrifice: As POTUS, he would not accept the $400,000 annual salary that Obama takes. Ron Paul would accept only America’s median annual income, $39,336.

5) Keep America’s promise to veterans and seniors: No changes to funding for programs such as Social Security and Medicare for current participants.

Detailed, yet simple. And no, it’s not as simple as “9-9-9, jobs, jobs, jobs,” but then it seems that Herman Cain doesn’t have any substance to that sound bite. I think Newt’s response – that “9-9-9” sounds interesting, but how will it play in New Hampshire (where there is no sales tax) – pretty much says it all to me.

The other nice thing about Ron Paul’s plan is that it seems to be more focused on the spending side, rather than the tax side. And we all know that it’s the spending side – not the tax side – that drives our unsustainable debt.

Tim White

* I’ve experienced SOX first hand. It could easily – and appropriately – be replaced with enforcement of anti-fraud laws.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Herman Cain is already misleading the American people

Herman Cain is a card-carrying member of America's largest counterfeiting operation, the Federal Reserve system. And although he's no longer officially involved, he has spent much of his run for POTUS as an apologist for the counterfeiters.

Much of his role as an apologist had been ignored to this point in the race. But he made a really big mistake during tonight's debate. While he's great with the sound bite, his fast talk got the better of him.

When Ron Paul called him out as The Federal Reserve's cheerleader, Cain talked too fast. Herman Cain was not only intentionally misleading in answering Ron Paul's question, he also demonstrated his astoundingly poor judgment by continuing his cheerleading for Alan Greenspan's arrogance and his 24/7 printing presses.

HuffPost is already documenting Cain's lack of truthfulness:

As you can see, Cain said people want to audit the Fed because "they don't know enough about it." To which Ron Paul properly rephrased and used the word "ignorant."By definition, Ron Paul's use was correct.

Herman Cain thinks that his slick talk can walk him thru this GOP primary. I certainly hope not. Particularly on issues as important as monetary policy and transparency, Cain needs to be forthright and not just keep repeating "9-9-9." It's getting annoying.

Cain also owes Ron Paul and the American people an apology for intentionally misleading us with regard to his true feelings toward his beloved Bankster Buddies.

Tim White

Herman Cain's role in the Federal Reserve system

My #1 concern in the GOP primary is monetary policy. Monetary policy is controlled by the Federal Reserve, specifically the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The FOMC consists of:

1) The Federal Reserve Board of Governors -- it has seven permanent seats on the FOMC; and

2) The 12 regional Federal Reserve banks -- each with a Fed Bank President, five of whom serve on the FOMC on a rotating basis.

Each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve bank Presidents reports to his/her own Board for that particular bank. An example of one of these regional Federal Reserve banks is New York City. Tim Geithner was the President of the NYC Federal Reserve bank at the time of the bailout in September 2008.

Another example of one of these regional Federal Reserve banks is Kansas City. In the early to mid-90s, Herman Cain was the Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. So he wasn't the KC President who sat on the FOMC, but he was obviously intimately involved in the Federal Reserve system.

IMO, this is a terrible stain on Herman Cain's resume.

Tim White