5/21/15: NOLE’S TIME

5/21/15: NOLE’S TIME

There is one hole in Novak Djokovic’s tennis resume — the French Open crown.  The tournament starts Sunday, and it is the only Grand Slam title the Serb hasn’t won, and there is some pressure on him to finally break through.  Rafa Nadal has won it 9 of the last 10 years, and Roger Federer won it when Rafa slipped up.  Djokovic has been a fairly dominant #1 since 2011, and it’s time he stepped and completed the Career Slam (winning all 4 titles).  Rafa looks poised to fall again this year, having sustained 5 recent losses during the European clay court season.  But those losses were all 2 our of 3 sets, and I woudn’t bet against him when it comes to 3 out of 5 as it will at the French.  He’s a fierce a competitor as has ever played.  

I’m going to fall into an all too familiar trap, though, and bet on Fed to win his second French title this year.  Since Rafa’s seeded 7th, there’s a 50/50 chance Fed or Nole will have to play him in the quarters, if Rafa gets that far.  Do the math.  I see Rafa beating Fed but losing to Nole.  Since there’s only a 25% chance Rafa will play Fed, I see the Swiss getting to the final and beating Novak in a tough 4-setter.  Then Fed will go on win Wimbledon, and I would suggest he then retire.  But this may all be wishful thinking, and I may well end up losing another Fed/Nole bet to my girlfriend, who has been positively fleecing me on tennis bets recently.  I’m taking Fed not in my head but in my heart.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.235 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $494.012 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.07%!): $243.785 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.445 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $970,072

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

 

5/19/15: WHAT NOW?

5/19/15: WHAT NOW?

The Commie media is in a frenzy over Jeb Bush’s waffling on Iraq.  Let’s be clear.  The Iraq War was a mistake, primarily for reasons expressed by Rand Paul.  Iraq under Saddam was a bulwark against Iran, having fought a bitter decade-long war with its neighbor in the 1980s.  Also, Iraq did not have the WMDs which were the premise of the War.  It is a blot on our history that we initiated a preemptive strike based on faulty intelligence.  Finally, toppling Saddam unleashed sectarian violence between the minority Sunnis, whom Saddam represented, and majority Shiites, who now run the country and are happily accepting help from Shiite Iran.  This was predictable.  It was more likely than not that toppling Saddam would reap chaos rather than sew the seeds of representative democracy.     

Having said all that, President Bush was right and courageous to initiate the surge in Iraq in 2007 which won the War, and sadly new President Obama was wrong to yield to al-Maliki in 2011 and withdraw American troops altogether, thereby losing the War.  Obama also missed a chance to topple the Iranian regime during the Arab Spring in 2009, which was the direct result of our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and which spread to Tehran even thought they’re Persian and not Arab.  Now ISIS has arisen from the ashes of al-Qaeda in Iraq and threatens the entire region.  They’ve conquered the Sunni portions of Iraq and just over the weekend took Ramadi, only 70 miles from Baghdad.  We’re flying airstrikes in support of the fleeing Iraqi Army and now have been asked to support Iraninan-backed Shiite militias in an effort to retake Ramadi.  The question is what to do now, not whether the War was a mistake in the first place.

It’s time for realpolitik and hardball.  If Iran wants our help, they have to yield on the nuclear negotiations on all points.  If they don’t, let them fight ISIS by themselves.  If Iraq wants our help against ISIS, they have to foreswear allegiance to Iran and accept American troops in-country.  This is all about Shiite v. Sunni.  Note that Sunni Saudi Arabia is fighting Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, in Yemen, but hasn’t raised a finger against Sunni ISIS, despite their atrocities.  We must recognize this split.  That’s what this is all about.  Maybe a Sunni caliphate can replace Saddam’s Iraq as a bulwark against Iran.  That should be our primary goal, defeating Iran.  We can worry about ISIS later.   

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.232 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND) : $493.922 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.08%!): $243.677 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.426 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $970,003

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

5/14/15: OVERRATED

5/14/15: OVERRATED

I’m speaking of the New England Patriots, of course.  We can set aside that all four (4) of their Super Bowl victories under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were by the narrowest of margins, and that they were deliciously robbed of two (2) other championships by the luckiest plays in Super Bowl history, both by the New York Giants.  The Patriots are cheaters, to boot.

Of this there can be no doubt.  Not only did they perpetrate SpyGate and DeflateGate, but let’s not forget they illegally scoped out the St. Louis Rams in their narrow victory over them for their first championship.  Who can forget an admiring Rams coach, Mike Martz, unaware he had been cheated, praising the Patriots “for knowing exactly what we were going to run” in crucial game situations.  Of course they did.  They spied then, too, but got away with it. 

The evidence is overwhelming of guilt in DeflateGate.  You have the equipment managers exchanging text messages reflecting pressure from Brady to deflate the balls.  Then one of them disappears for 100 seconds before the Colts playoff game last December with all the game balls, enough time to deflate all thirteen (13).  Then, when a referee calls for the game balls from the Patriots, they are mysteriously not forthcoming for a time, the first time in that referee’s experience such an event has occurred.  Please.  The Patriots are guilty, Brady is guilty, and I’ll bet Belichick is, too. 

I’ve always hated Boston because of the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry.  I respect the Sox now, but I’m only too happy to transfer my Boston hatred to the Pats.  They are a cheating franchise.  The punishment is appropriate and I hope it stands up on appeal.  I would add that all members of that team, including Brady and Belichik, should be barred from the Hall of Fame, just as are the dopers in baseball from Cooperstown.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.  

National Debt: $18.226 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $493.695 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.08%!): $243.403 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.211 Trillion 

Debt per Taxpayer: $968,383

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

5/5/15: ONLY IN TEXAS

5/5/15: ONLY IN TEXAS

You’ve no doubt read about the aftermath of the astonishingly provocative Muhammed cartoon contest in Texas.  $10,000 was awarded to the winner, two terrorists showed up to wreak havoc, and both were blown away by the cops protecting the event.

This is in stark contrast to the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, where 11 defenseless journalists were gunned down by jihadists for publishing cartoons of the prophet.  As you may know, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemy to Muslims, whether or not satirical, but the Muslims have to learn that the penalty is not death.  There is no persuading these crazies.  The only way to teach them is to do what was done in Texas: deliberately provoke them, lie in wait for the inevitable executioners, and then kill them.  

This no doubt seems extreme to liberal sensibilities and I must say, even for a moral conservative such as myself, what happened in Texas is shocking, even troubling.  But, upon reflection, it is the only way to teach these murdering bastards to stand down.  You are going to have to learn to live with criticism without killing, or we will kill you.

The only way to fight terror is with terror.  Extending the hand of friendship is perceived as weakness.  The next time they are somehow provoked, the terrorists will pause and think: REMEMBER TEXAS.  Yes, indeed. 

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.214 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $493.286 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.06%!): $242.911 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.138 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer (ND+UE): $968,139

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.          

 

4/30/15: A TALE OF THREE WOMEN

4/30/15: A TALE OF THREE WOMEN

I’m speaking of course of Baltimore, where the latest report is that Freddy Gray fatally damaged his own spine.  I kinda doubt that.  Anyway, to the women.  The first is the silly female Mayor with the hyphenated name, who said “we need to give the protesters bent on destruction the room they need to destroy.”  What the hell?  How about marital law and shoot on sight?

Second, I saw a female protestor carrying a sign that read, “Don’t shoot and we won’t loot.”  Oh, yeah?  How about this sign: “If we shoot you in the head, you will not likely be able to loot?”

Third, I love the hero mom, who beat her street thug son on camera for all the world to see.  She gets it.   It’s all a matter of individual responsibility.  Sure, inner city schools suck but the teacher unions stand in the way of school voucher programs, which would enable black parents to send their kids to better schools.  Until we resolve that issue, nothing prevents a kid, with proper parental guidance, from going to a bad school and learning his way out.  And I don’t want to hear that we have to release black men from prison so they can be fathers to their sons.  Most of them are there because of black-on-black crime.  Anyway, the male prisoners have no homes to go to and don’t even know who their children are.  Let’s be clear about black inner city culture: young men impregnate young women like trophies, so the females can go on welfare with dependent children.  That’s the culture that Johnson’s war on poverty created.  Again, it’s a matter of individual responsibility.        

 SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.207 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $493.059 Billion

Interest on ND (@ .06%!): $242.637 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $95.929 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $966,568

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

4/28/15: DISQUALIFIER

4/28/15: DISQUALIFIER

Let’s see if I’ve got this right.  Bill Clinton gets paid $500,000 by somebody to give a speech in Kazakhstan favorable to a repressive dictator.  He’s accompanied by a businessman, who, after the speech, get a lucrative uranium concession from the Kazakh government.  His small company overnight becomes a global giant in uranium, and the company donates $31 million to Bill and Hillary’s foundation, with the promise of another $100 million.  The company then sells 20% of itself to a Russian outfit owned ultimately by Vladimir Putin.  The sale must be approved by Hillary’s State Department and, suprise-surprise, the approval is forthcoming.  

Hillary’s response to all this: “there’s no proof I exerted undue influence over this approval.”  There are too many loopholes to count.  Some influence, maybe, but not undue.  And there’s no smoking gun because Hillary wiped her server clean of all emails.  The appearances stink, and we all know what in fact happened.  Hillary’s denial sounds a lot like Bill when asked about the Lewinsky affair: “I did not have sexual intercourse with this woman.”  Correct, he did not; she just blew him repeatedly in the Oval Office.       

In fact, it’s all so obvious as to be laughable.  If the Clintons had a shred of decency — of course they don’t, for after all they are career criminals — she would withdraw as a candidate for President.  Having no shame, she will not, and the underclass in this country will probably elect her so they can get a piece of the action.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.205 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $492.967 Billion 

Annual Interest on ND (@ .09%!): $242.527 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $95.911 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $966,503

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT. 

4/23/15: CHARADE

4/23/15: CHARADE

Fed chairman Janet Yellen’s song-and-dance about why the Fed can’t raise interest rates now is a charade.  It has nothing to do with the economy.  It has to do with civil unrest.  We are sustaining an astronomical national debt of $18.2 trillion (I ingore an additional $95.9 trillion in entitlement shortfalls.) by keeping interest rates artificially low.  If the Fed raises interest rates for banks, the U.S. will have to pay higher interest on its t-bills (currently .09% on 90-day t-bills).  Our annual interest costs on the ND now amount to about a quarter of a trillion dollars.  If interest rates were eventually to increase to historical norms by a factor of 5, our debt service would increase to $1.25 trillion (do the math).  That would absorb all of federal spending ($3.7 trillion) after Medicare ($931 billion), Social Security ($869 billion), and Defense ($596 billion)(again, do the math).  There would be nothing left for discretionary non-defense spending.  Nothing for foodstamps, aid to mothers with dependent children, the National Endowment for the Arts, the nationals parks.  Nothing.  That’s when the civil unrest will start. 

So what’s the Fed to do?  I would say, start telling us the truth and stop slinging bullshit about labor markets, productivity and wages.  The fact of the matter is the Fed can’t raise interest rates until we get our fiscal house in order, which suggests Congress must be on a short leash.  We don’t have 10 years, as all the plans seem to suggest.  The Fed can’t keep interest rates at effectively zero for another decade.  I would say Congress has no more than the end of the next President’s first term — 2020 — to reach a balanced budget, and that’s just a start.  I wonder how many Americans understand that, even then, until we achieve budget surpluses and use them to pay down the debt, we will achieve no debt reduction.  We will just be treading water. 

So how do we take just the first step and balance the budget?  Given the partisan divide in Washington, it is not possible to pick and choose programs to cut or reforms to make (like taxes).  We must take an across-the-board approch and impose spending cuts and surtaxes of equal amounts to eliminate our budget deficits.  Only then can we begin the second step of paying off the debt.  It may well not be possible.  Donald Trump says $24 trillion is the breaking point.  I have no idea where he came up with that.  $18 trillion in dollar bills can make 9 round-trips from the earth to the sun.  That’s 1800 million miles, or 1.8 trillion, or about 30% of a light year!  Think about it.  Try prozac for the resultant despair.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.198 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $492.740 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.09%!): $242.253 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $95.876 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $966,407  

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

4/21/15: CAVE

4/21/15: CAVE

President Obama hinted last Friday that we will cave on the issue of sanctions to get the Iran nuke deal.  The reader will recall that, in late March, we announced an “agreement” for a gradual lifting of sanctions as Iran complies with the deal after it’s signed.  Iran said the deal was for complete lifting of all sanctions as soon as the deal is signed, irrespective of their future compliance.  And we have agreed.  That’s an abysmal cave.  We have surrendered our leverage. 

The President said no matter, because we can reinstitute sanctions in the future if Iran doesn’t comply.  He calls it “snapping back” the sanctions.  This is an illusion.  We will never get the Soviet Reunion, the Red Chinese and pink Europe to reinstitute their sanctions after they’re lifted and business starts to flow.  We have already agreed to unfreeze $50 billion in Iranian assets held in this country when the deal’s signed, which sounds like commercial bribery to me.  As soon as we release the funds, the Iranians will pull the dough.  How do we snap that back?

So now we would only attempt to reinstitute the sanctions if Iran doesn’t comply.  The key to that is instrusive inspections.  But the Iranians have already announced we cannot inspect military facilities, and civilian inspections will only occur on advance notice and with their permission.  If we cave on that, forget it.  Congress will never approve such a “deal,” and can probably override the President’s veto of their disappoval.  

I do give the President credit for sending warships off the coast of Yemen to discourage Iranian supply ships to the Houthi rebels.  It will be interesting to see how the Iranians respond.  I predict they will test this weak President, and then we will see.  A an aside, I was discouraged to hear conservative pundits say the the Presdient’s overall strategy is to concede that Iran will become a nuclear power and to install them as “hegemon” in the region.  This is against the tide of history.  Sunni Arabs (Saudi Arabia and Egypt) will never stand for a Persian (non-Arab) Shiite hegemon like Iran.  We’re on the wrong side, and the warships send a contrarian signal.  For that I am grateful, but does this President have any idea what he’s doing?  I think not.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.196 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $492.649 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.09%!): $242.144 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $95.859 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer (ND+UE): $966,343

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT, AND NOBODY CARES.