Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nah, It Doesn't Quite Add Up Barry

For some reason President Obama used his second Oval Office TV address to discuss the end of "combat operations in Iraq" (congratulations everbody) and to also discuss a few other odds and ends. Just for the record Oval Office pronouncements are supposed to be for fairly serious things - going to war, announcing new significant legislation - and also resigning (...drats, not this time). But for this event Mr. Obama, in front of hideous new green drapes installed while he was buying shrimp in Martha's Vinyard, decided to devolve this announcement into talking about economics and the "conflict at home" - in frankly what any sane person would describe as a wild stretch.

Of course one of the items pundits were looking for in this speech was whether he would praise his predecessor George Bush, for committing to a surge of troop strength in 2007 - of which he was vehemently opposed to as a Senator back then. Meaning that he is now trying to take credit for something he opposed. To his slight credit he did actually mention Bush - but he never really gave him credit (unfortunately even at a moment of purported triumph this is a man who cannot admit when he was wrong). Stay classy San Diego.

But he seriously lost me when he decided to make a major point in saying that "the seven year war cost $1 trillion" and how that "stretched our resources" such that it led to "record deficits". Then his speech wove into a blend of green jobs, putting people to work blah blah blah. And this is where he is just being intellectually dishonest - as he often is (whether he really means it or not). I frankly think he is just so above it he is oblivious.

Look, Barry. What you don't understand was one could construe the war, in itself, to be a stimulus. One could argue (as they did for World War II) that we put many people to work, supported many businesses - to the tune of $1 trillion - and in the end felled a dictator, took steps to try to develop a better country and maybe an outpost for some type of democracy in the Middle East, and established an active ally for US interests (and by the way - no one stole any oil as far as I can tell). And as you can see from the graph it didn't primarily add to the deficit (other government spending did -most of it Mr. Obama's).

Meanwhile Barry, what have you done? You spent that same $1 trillion on your ill-conceived stimulus in January 2009 that promised us great economic growth (and remember, we had to pass it "right now" - it had to be done immediately or the economy was going to crumble....), unemployment rates to not exceed 8% and now we are at 9.5% - and counting. You spent that $1 trillion on the Democrats wish list of every pet project and giving checks (not tax breaks) - actual checks to people who don't even pay taxes. What a plan! Give him a Nobel.

Do the math. Oh yeah, here's the calculator.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Risky Business

Regarding the Ground Zero Mosque issue once again - one thing I could never figure out was why New York Mayor Bloomberg was so forthright in his support for the mosque, and its location. Why would this former Republican be so out in the forefront of this issue when he must know he is alienating many New Yorkers and 9/11 families. Like the President he could have tried to stay out of the fray.

Well there is only one answer, I guess. It's bidness.

You see the Mayor runs the Bloomberg information business empire - information sharing of stock quotes, business news et al that has reaped him his current fortune. His company provides desk top sets to get on-line stock quotes and information like the big brokerage houses. Even as far back as 15 years ago I would go to the library to look things up on a Bloomberg station. Obviously promoting his business network to other regions of the world is, er...well, is his business.

Now it turns out he is trying to expand in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates as described here. This would be an amazing sales coup to be able to expand in the Middle East and thus be the leading purveyor of business and market information for the entire region. And one could guess that providing support for an Islamic cause just might further that type of platform. A quid pro quo. I mean, this is just normal business. I can understand this. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Apparently this business venture has been in discussion for some time.

Look, this is certainly a bit of conjecture - maybe the Mayor feels very strongly about the constitutionality of the mosque issue (...sure he does - he certainly hasn't cared about the Greek Orthodox Church that has tried to rebuild in the past nine years in a spot right across from Ground Zero all this time) - but it doesn't really make much political sense. A plurality of the nation (70%) is opposed to the Mosque. There had to be something else. One thing I know - Guilianni would certainly not be doing this. So why would Bloomberg?
Bidness. Nothing personal - just bidness.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Mas; No Mosque

President Obama's latest pronouncement on the controversial placement of a mosque and Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero again brought questions about his inherent ability to lead but also his understanding of international policy and diplomacy. Not only that - but on Friday he apparently held up the inherent principles of religious freedom at a White House dinner commemorating Ramadan - and then the next day walked back those comments saying he wasn't really opining on the merit of the placement of the facility. Yup - that's leadership alright. Waffler-in-chief.

The location of the mosque is really only significant in understanding the world that the people who killed us desire. It’s not that the people building the mosque or the place is a problem. It’s that the Taliban and our enemy would see it as a trophy. They would see it as the place Allah gave to them during a great victory. They would see it as a place that they wanted to worship (the worst of the worst terrorists would want to worship there as much or more than Al Aqsa).

The Islamic world is increasingly anti-American, if its media are a reflection of sentiment. Despite the alleged healing abilities of Obama, the Muslim world sees him as either (a) a failure and/or (b) weak. For them -- radical or moderate -- the erection of a mosque near Ground Zero isn't about tolerance; it's about submission - and its a very visible provocation.

And, hey, that's what the West is saying, too. Look at recent policies in France and the Netherlands -- they're moving away from concessions to non-assimilating Muslims in their countries. Their media paints Obama as either (a) a disappointment/failure and/or (b) weak. You can bet France would never let a mosque be built near the site of a major Muslim attack, and Sarkozy wouldn't utter the statement Obama has.

It’s good to hear Obama opine about the importance of ‘freedom of religion’. While I appreciate the leader of the free world's opinion on the first amendment, I wish Obama would use his new found appreciation for freedom of religion to encourage other nations to adopt the same policy.

In other words, instead of apologizing to the Muslim community, he should have said, this is what real freedom is. When people aren’t allowed to worship as they please, they are not free. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia where they do not allow freedom of religion (or even freedom to escape religion), their people are neither good Muslims (they are forced to be Muslims), nor are they free.

This actually could be a "teachable moment". All Obama did Friday was come out and say that he agrees with the 1st Amendment. Suddenly the MSM calls this "courageous" and "great leadership". The Sunday shows trumpeted his leadership. But here would have been a perfect opportunity to add that he thought the Muslim backers of this mosque "acted stupidly" in picking that site.

Obama would then unfortunately have a problem in teaching the countries he has groveled in front of on our behalf. Yes Obama, freedom of religion is important - leadership is even more paramount. Ask the Muslim nations if they agree.
And, then, of course, the next day he flipped flopped anyway.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Real Commander-in-Chief

President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush suprised homecoming troops at Dallas-Fort Worth airport last week. It was a total surprise for the incoming troops and a common selfless act by a true patriot. From the time President Bush first made his surprise visit to Iraq on the first Thanksgiving of the Gulf War he has shown an overriding endearment for our men and women on the battlefield.
Here are some more pictures of this happy and classy homecoming. Thank you Mr. President.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

She Did - Of Course

Sarah put it as plain as day as anyone could. (See below)

Well Said. By The Way - Who Did Say This?

This is a recent speech/comment from a leading political comentator reacting to President Obama's most recent campaign speech again blaming everything on his predecessor. To me, this piece quite succinctly frames one of the most frustrating aspects of this administion. The author reminds us that Obama just didn't show up from a neighboring planet 20 months ago:

"Barack Obama was part of the problem while in Congress. Senator Obama pushed the fiscally irresponsible measures that Democrats, who held the majority, advanced while holding the government’s purse strings. And now, as President, he’s not just one of the pack anymore as a mere contributor to the problem – he now leads the problem. We are sick and tired of President Obama pointing his finger and screeching through his blame game about what he “inherited.” Up until 18 months ago he was fully engaged in that Congressional herd mentality of the Left as he just went with the flow, adding to the debt and deficit, instead of bucking his party’s leadership to stop the recklessness. (Did you ever hear him as an independent voice standing up and speaking out against his Democrat party’s overspending and over reach? Come to think of it, did you ever hear of his congressional record at all? For the life of me I can’t think of any time he used his bully pulpit as a sitting U.S. Senator to lead free market, equality-respecting pro-private sector efforts, nor to change up actions he now conveniently condemns. He could have refudiated them all.)…

Regardless of what the Democrats want you to believe, this is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes. Families will suffer because the Democrats’ tax hike will reinstate the marriage penalty, cut the child tax credit in half, abolish various personal exemptions, and impose limits on itemized deductions like home mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Investors and savers would suffer through increases in the top rates in long-term capital gains and qualified dividends. And the Alternative Minimum Tax would end up hitting 15 million taxpayers – up from 4 million in 2009.

We’ll all be feeling the pinch, but the ones who will be hit hardest by this massive tax hike will be America’s small business owners – the businesses that create up to 70% of all jobs in this country. According to a recent report by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, small business owners will pay over half the taxes raised when the Democrats increase the top two tax brackets. In an already anemic jobless recovery, the last thing government should do is to impose even higher tax burdens on job creators. Instead of hurting “the rich,” such measures would end up hurting the unemployed."

Well said. So who did say this?