Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 70's Flashbacks and a 2012 Prediction

I was a teenager throughout the 70's. I remember that decade, and its events, quite well. I had two flashbacks to the 70's today through news stories, which lead me to a prediction.

Flashback #1: Barack Obama fell below Jimmy Carter's popularity numbers in Gallup polling today.

Yes, that Jimmy Carter. Worst President in my Lifetime Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy is one of the big-giant-brains that Democrats love who fail in the office of the presidency of the United States. Barack Obama is another one. Carter, a one-termer, is a predictor of Obama's future.

For what it is worth, I saw Jimmy Carter speak in person once. It was a day or so before the 1980 election vs. Ronald Reagan. The media was calling it as close and hard to predict. Carter flew in to St. Louis, believing the Illinois and Missouri were swing states that would make the difference if it was that close. I happened to be working for McDonnel Douglas at the time and living in an apartment down the street from the mall where Carter spoke. I was a college co-op student, meaning liberal, at the time and I was vehemently opposed to Reagan. Though I voted for 3rd party candidate John Anderson, I wanted Carter to beat Reagan. After Carter's speech I had this thought: "That's all you've got?" Awful. I knew it was not going to go well for Carter the next day, and it didn't as Reagan won in a landslide. It was my first real look at how biased the media was and how wrong their polling was as a result. An eye-opener.

Carter is defined by his failure in dealing with the Iran hostage crisis, which brings us to...

Flashback #2:  Hard line Iranian students assualt the British Embassy and demand it close

Wow. Takes me right back to 1979. I remember the students taking over the American embassy in Tehran, and the 444 day struggle to get our hostages back. I remember the special ABC program with Ted Koppel that sprang up - and that I watched each night - that became "Nightline".

We're right back there. Only more so. The MidEast is as destabilized right now as it has been in my lifetime. Egypt is going to the Muslim Brotherhood. Libya to al-Qaida. Kuwait has fallen. And Iran under Obama's watch is getting nuclear weapons. This is not going to end well.

Which brings me to my Prediction: Barack Obama is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party coming out of their convention. Mark it down.

Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter. He's a failed president who will not be able to overcome 9% unemployment, or the international events that are spiraling out of his control. Obama has checked out of governing and is in the permanent campaign mode, but it will not help him. The more he is out on the stump the farther his poll numbers fall.

Newt Gingrich is the corresponding Ronald Reagan. He can paint the picture of Morning in America, and may well be the nominee.

The shocking difference in this Obama / Gingrich parallel to Carter / Reagan is this: Obama will not make it out of the convention as the nominee to battle Gingrich.

I know. I know. That seems ridiculous. He's the incumbent and the presumptive nominee.

There you go presuming. You're presuming that circumstances in November 2012 when the election comes around are going to be pretty much the same as the are in November of 2011. That things will be stable, and that stability will favor the incumbent.

Here's where you are making your mistake. The world is not stable right now. It is incredibly destablilized, and is destabilizing faster each day. The Arab Spring morphing into the Muslim Brotherhood Winter. The collapse of the Euro that's coming - will it even make it to January? The Occupy movement pushing on our already fragile economy. SCOTUS and ObamaCare. Iran's push toward regional hegemony. China's push toward militarization. Russia's re-emergence as a power hostile to the US. Pakistan's destabilization and anger toward the US. Danger of re-emerging civil war in Iraq as America pulls out.

September 2012, the date of the Democratic Party nominating convention, is a long way off. Events are overtaking our absentee president. Barack Obama will not be a viable choice by the time the convention takes place.

Mark it down. I said it here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Revisiting the Birthers - and the subset of "Citizen"

So, a politically-polar-opposite EbertFest friend of mind Tweeted this week his disdain that a Birther challenge was back in the news.

Wait...what? Wasn't the Birther issue resolved months ago when Barack Obama finally publicized a long-form birth certificate?

Well, not entirely - as I read shortly after when my pre-bought copy of Dr. Jerome Corsi's book "Where's the Birth Certificate" arrived. Hey, I bought it already. Might as well read it.

When I did I realized that the first challenge that Corsi raised was not related to - and did not depend on - the birth certificate. Corsi was proclaiming Obama ineligible to be President based on a second reason, the citizenship of Obama's parents. A challenge never raised or settled.

Which is what has the Birther issue back in the news, this time with a challenge to potential Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican side, Marco Rubio - whose parents came to the US from Cuba before Rubio was born here.

You have to give this to the Birthers with the Rubio challenge: it is consistent and shows them motivated by constitutional issues and not partisan party issues. I, for example, dislike Obama's policies and probably like Rubio's policies (he's too new to know for sure). But, consistency says they must both be challenged.

Let's remember what is being challenged here. It's not whether someone is a good person or not. It's not whether they can be in the country or not. It's not whether they can hold almost all of the jobs in the US. What is being challenged is one thing: eligibility to hold on job in America, our leader, the President of the United States. A job which has a specific eligibility test right there in the Constitution.

You remember the Constitution, yes? It is our foundational document, our one touchstone. It was thrashed out by our Founders after they won the right to form a country through a bloody war where they pledged their blood, their treasure, their sacred honor. It was a document where the Founders had the audacity to believe that they could establish the rules for the country that they would leave us - something about "securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..." - and for who the leader would be.

Remembering, of course, that they had just thrown out a government in England and were forming a new one they had an idea that the new leader should not have a dual allegiance. That the leader should be loyal to this new country, and this country alone. So while they grandfathered in everyone a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, they set a rule for going forward - that the leader should be a "natural born Citizen".

Ah, those three contested words. What is a "natural born Citizen"? Some things to know about what the Founders thought that meant.

First, not all citizens are eligible. If they were then the modifier "natural born" - which modify the capitalized "Citizen" - would not be needed. Those eligible are a subset of citizens.

Second, as Corsi well describes in his book, the Founders drew from "natural law" for the meaning of "natural born". What did they mean, in natural law?
"The natives or natural born citizens are people born in the country of parents who are citizens."

So, "natural born" has two parts:

1) born here - Which is what the challenge to Barack Obama's birth certificate was all about. Note: naturalized does not count, as we all understand in the case of Arnold Schwarznegger.

2) of two parents who are citizens. Which has not yet been fully challenged. There are some indications that this meant primarily through the father. But the word is citizens plural.

Barack Obama did not meet the second clause, because his father was a Kenyan/British citizen and not a US citizen. Barack Jr. was a dual citizen at birth - US (assuming the first clause is true and he was born in Hawaii) and Kenyan/British through his father.

By this definition of "natural born Citizen", as the Founding Fathers understood it, Barack Obama was at birth not eligible to be President of the United States. That is not a racist argument, no matter how many times race-obsessed lazy liberals make that charge on the internet. It is a Founding Fathers / Constitutional loyalty argument.

And, it is the argument that Birthers will likely make against Marco Rubio if they are to be consistent and not partisan. Rubio, whose parents are from Cuba and were naturalized as US citizens four years after Marco was born, was also born not eligible to be President if this definition of "natural born Citizens" is correct. Citizen, yes. President, no. There's a distinction.

So, was this natural law definition of "natural born Citizen" altered by amendments or laws after the Constitution was adopted? Well, several folks have Tweeted me the 14th Amendment. But, as I read the clauses they are defining who is a "citizen", not it's modifier subset "natural born Citizen". Go read it. Without bias. It says citizen. So does title 8 and everything else you've Tweeted me.

In fact, an article link sent to me to prove Rubio qualifies had this sentence within it, but overlooked:

"Do you have to be born within the territorial limits of the United States to be such a citizen?  No, said the Founders.  The Heritage Foundation's Guide shows how the First Congress in 1790 provided that "the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born."

You saw it right? "the children of citizens of the United States...shall be considered as natural born".  So, the "children of citizens" was the compelling factor in 1790 for the Congress.

Is there established case law on this question? I don't think so. Corsi goes through all of the challenges to presidential candidates over the years, and there were more than I thought. None were challenged on the 2nd part - children of citizens. How many candidates have we had since the Revolution whose parents were born foreign citizens? It's just coming up now, with Obama and now Rubio. It's yet to be settled.

I don't 100% know the correct definition of "natural born citizen". These arguments are complex, and not easily argued in 140-character Twitterbates. Do the hard work. Read Corsi's book for yourself and don't let others tell you what it says.

And for God's sake, stop calling people racist over an argument that you don't fully understand. It's uncivil.

Should we care in this day and age and in this land of immigrants where a candidate's parents come from? Does dual citizenship at birth mean a dual allegiance that they Founders were keen on preventing?

Well, let's take the case of Barack Obama - indisputably a dual citizen at birth in the best case. US citizen. Kenyan/British citizen. Can you be sure that this "son of Africa" as they call him there, has as President only one loyalty? Can you say for sure as he's involved our country deeper and deeper on the African continent (spending to support adoption of the Kenyan Constitution, drones in Yemen, air power in Libya, now troops in Africa to hunt down the LRA - all without US national interests as verified by Sec. Gates) that it has nothing at all to do with having half of his family in Africa? Could you say that any policy of Rubio's regarding Cuba would be from an allegiance only to the US and not in any way to Cuba?

I can't for sure. You can't for sure. That's why it's important. One loyalty in our leader, and only one loyalty. The Founders wanted that, and so do I.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Alone and Stranded on 9/11

Remembering the victims of 9/11, and their families, today. May God bless the survivors as they were profoundly affected on that fateful day that asymmetrical war came to our soil in a dramatic and shocking day.

All Americans, I imagine, recall exactly where we were that Tuesday morning in September one decade ago. A day seared into our memory by the tragic and violent death of so many of our countrymen. How could we forget? May we never forget.

My personal story on that day is not particularly important. But, I'll take the time to tell it, as I remember the day. I was alone and stranded in Alabama. I was far from my family. It was fortunate that I was a seasoned traveler and could cope with the disruption.

I was standing in Germany on US soil on 9/11. How is that? Well, I was inside the foreign trade zone that is Mercedes-Benz USA assembly plant outside of Tuscaloosa Alabama. Our company had won a contract to provide services inside the plant and I was the project leader. I had lived onsite there for 4 months in the Spring of 2001 and I was back that week checking on our team and our services. I assumed it would be a routine and uneventful week.  Boy, was I wrong.

I flew into Atlanta on Monday, September 10th as I had done many times that year. I had flown at least 80 round trips in the year before 9/11, and I could walk through Atlanta's Hartsfield airport in my sleep. I rented a car - a Pontiac G6 I think - and set off down I-20 through Birmingham to the Mercedes plant. I checked into the Hawthorne suites across the road for two nights. I had an electronic ticket to fly home on Wednesday morning. I went into the plant for an work session Monday afternoonl, and had a quiet night in the hotel. Back through the gates into the foreign trade zone on Tuesday morning with my Mercedes badge.

I mention the foreign trade zone, because it had an impact on how much information we had throughout the day of 9/11 - which was minimal. Plant management turned off the TVs and kept the workday going as normally as they could. We had our laptops, and watched bits and snatches. "What, the Twin Towers fell? What do you mean?"

I had one phone call from my wife that morning. I could her how upset she was. I could hear tears and panic. "Randy, they are reporting that the Air Force has shot down an airliner over Pennsylvania!" I remember that statement clear as a bell - as an Air Force veteran. Shocked! But, we kept working and finished our shift.

I went back to my hotel at the end of my shift and sat glued to the television all night. Alone. Away from my family and scared for them. Stranded.

Stranded indeed. How little we knew that week. All flights were grounded? That had never happened before. How do I get home? I was getting snippets of travel information - mainly telling me that my e-ticket was worthless. Only people with paper tickets were going to get a flight, I heard.. That's when we still had hope that there would be flights. That hope dimmed every day.

What did I do to cope with that week? I worked. I dealt with the travel uncertainty by checking out of my hotel every morning and going into work. Our team did the best we could to support the plant, which kept working. I worked with the day shift team, stayed to steady the 2nd shift team, and then went back across the street and checked back into the hotel to watch the news all night. I didn't have a company credit card, just my personal one, and I was stretching it to stay extra nights before I could turn in an expense report. What else could I do? Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I checked out and hoped for a flight. No flights.

On Friday afternoon, I gave up on flights. It was extraordinary circumstances, and I made a command decision. I pointed my rental car North and started driving home. It would just have to become a one-way rental home, and the rental company would just have to deal with that and charge me what the would charge me. Whatever. I had to get home. And so I drove for two days. I stopped midway because I needed sleep. I made it home Saturday, grateful to be home with my family. Grateful and stunned. I could get out of road-survival mode and team-leader mode and get my bearings. And my wife now had help in coping with our children and their fears that week.

That's my story of 9/11/01. It's no more important than any of our stories that day. What was more important was a national reaction. A national focus. A national unity, however brief.

So, what did we learn that day on 9/11, and in the ten years since? President George W. Bush said it well this week, when he said:

"One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage."

Evil is real? Yes, indeed. If we're not reminded of that every day in the small heinous acts that fill our newspapers of pedophiles or abusers or senseless flash mob violence, we are reminded in the big acts like 9/11.

Not everyone recognizes that evil is real, which is why President Bush needed to say it again. One of my favorite political pundits, Dennis Prager, writes often of the Left's inability to recognize or confront evil. Treating terrorism as a common crime, for example, as was our failing before 9/11. Excusing or defining down the motives of the evil-doers. Not being able to name our enemy - radical Islamic jihadists - because of political correctness. Sometimes I feel that more people believe that George W. Bush actions were more evil that Osama bin Laden's, and I truly do not understand that.

Evil is real. We got clarity on that for a moment on 9/11. I fear that recognition is once again slipping away. Never forget what we saw that day.

But on the flipside, so is courage!

So much courage. Courage in the passengers on Flight 93 in the very first battle in the War on Terror. Courage in the responders who went into the towers as everyone else was rightfully running out. Courage in the crews who cleared the rubble and the fragments of remains at great risk to their own health. Courage in our brave men and women who continue to enlist in a voluntary military and deploy to at least two hot war zones. So much courage. Too much to even recognize adequately.

I would add one more lesson to Bush's list. We learned - as the 9/11 Commission shouted in their compelling report - that there are people diligently at war with us even if we don't think that we are at war with them. They are out there every day. Planning. Preparing. Acting with a goal of killing us and our culture.

To those who think America overreacted to 9/11, I ask: how many blows was America expected to take before punching back? The bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon. The first World Trade Center bombing. The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed many of our airmen. The embassies in Africa. The U.S.S Cole and the sailors that died that day. Many are at war with us. Al-Qaida. Hezbollah (Khobar). etc. They are at war with us. Have we forgotten that in the decade that's followed?

We have fought back, gone on offense instead of defense in this asymmetrical war, and we have done so humanely as possible in war.

Do those of you who criticize America's response to 9/11, who think that we are the warmongers and evil-doers - realize how much power we are capable of bringing to bear on our enemies and have not? Do you realize what hell we could rain on a population that attacked us first? We could level their ass in layers of radiated rubble if we chose, and we have not. We have taken out the evil-doers of al-Qaida and the Taliban with restrained precision, not with the indiscriminate mass slaughter that they brought to our soil. Think about that. Think about the courageous rebuilding of schools and infrastructure that our troops are doing in Afghanistan at great risk to their own lives. We are the good guys. Why don't you get that?

It's the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Never forget it. I thank President Bush and his administration for their courage in responding to it. I thank President Obama for continuing the hunt for Osama bin Laden and bringing him justice in the form of Seal Team Six.

Never forget 9/11. Never retreat to 9/10.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sarah Palin is Running

People, you need to trust me on this one: Sarah Palin is running for President in 2012.

No, she hasn't announced. Yet. It's coming. I'm sure of it.

I'm pretty well tuned in to a Palin vibe. Remember, that I wrote a blog post in July of 2008 - before most of you even heard of Sarah Palin saying that McCain should go see Gov. Palin in Alaska and name her his VP choice. I called that.

I'm calling it again. Sarah Palin is running.

I was in Iowa last Saturday for the Tea Party rally that she spoke at. Where she gave, I believe, a pivotal speech. Pivoting to running. I heard it live, close enough to look her in the eye as she gave it (and to get her autograph after). It was a campaign speech. She's running.

It was a good campaign speech, too. It was the bold speech that the party needs to defeat an incumbent president.

She's waiting to see how the GOP shapes up. She's in no hurry. She has time, and name recognition. Let the field spend itself, and the herd thin. Then get in.

I'll go one step further and say, based on the debate tonight, that the way the field is shaping up makes it more likely that Sarah Palin gets in. It's quickly narrowing, at least as the press sees it, to a two-man race: Perry and Romney. Bachmann fading. The others also-rans. That sets up the field for Palin because:

- Romney is not the first choice for the base. Not bold.

- Perry is the Governor of Texas and sounds like Bush, and it's too early for another Governor from Texas - especially someone who reminds people of Bush.

Palin is the contrast to those two. She is prepared. She is honed. She has the bold speech and a plan.

She's running. Mark it down. And mark the date that I said it.

Note: all photos taken by me, and I had a great time taking them! Photography and politics in the same day. Bliss.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SHTF Planning

I have lots of blog posts backing up in my brain. Global Warming & the GOP candidates. The debt Super Committee. Excepting the United Way.

What's on my mind tonight is my SHTF bag, or the lack of one.

Don't ask me how, but somehow I found myself linking from a Twitter post to a survivalist website called Survival Cache - where I spent an hour browsing around and thinking Oh My God. Weapons. Foodstuffs. Camping gear. Etc.

What caught my eye was an item called an "SHTF Bag". What I used to call a "Go Bag" or a "Bugout Bag". This is a prepared bag for when something Hits the Fan. What that something is could be a lot of things: tornado, flooding, anarchy. Whatever. Grab this bag and go - assuming of course that you can get gone in whatever vehicle you have. I miss my 4WD truck.

I am grateful that I seem to live in a US geographical region that seems to have been left unscathed by the natural disaster of the week on CNN. As the East Coast is battened down from a earthquake followed by a hurricane - yikes! - I am happily indulging my hobbies in the off-hours. Go bag resting sleepily in a closet.

Lately though, I am less envisioning the need for a SHTF bag from natural disasters than I am from the unraveling of civil society. Political unrest. Flash mob thug gangs. All becoming staples of our nightly news. It's only going to get worse as our debt crisis worsens.

Which brings me to the book I just ordered from Amazon for my Kindle: Mark Steyn's "After America: Get ready for Armageddon". Yeah. I've read the prologue already. Grim. Essentially he has the United States of America not existing as that within twenty years. We're well into the decline, heading for the Fall.

Steyn: "America has squandered its supposedly unipolar moment on the world's most expensive suicide"

I need to step up my SHTF planning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A 33 1/3 Vinyl Time Capsule

It's Roger Ebert's fault that I'm sneezing tonight.

Last week I read his brilliant blog post called "Clinging to the Rear View Mirror" about living in the techology of the past. A better piece of writing you will not find this month. Go read it.

I found myself transfixed by a photo of an old turntable playing an LP album that illustrated the article. Wow. I was instantly transported back in time to junior high when I would sit in my room upstairs and listen to albums. Later in my teen years. Even later in my college dorm room - circa late '70's.

I wish I still had a turntable. Because I still have LP albums. Vinyl. Unplayed and boxed for at least the last 10 years since I moved into this house, and probably a long time before that.

So, tonight I went into the garage and got the albums out of the crumbling box and catalogued them.

Here are the roughly 80 LP albums resting leisurely on a shelf in my garage:

Amy Grant                                   Age to Age
America                                       History: Greatest Hits
Applegate & Co                            Live (Peoria,IL bluegrass band)
Barbara Streisand                         A Star is Born (Soundtrack)
The Beatles                                  Love Songs (Double Album)
Bee Gees                                     Here at Last: Live
Bee Gees                                     Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
Billy Joel                                      Piano Man
Billy Joel                                      Songs in the Attic
Billy Joel                                      52nd Street
Cat Stevens                                 Teaser and the Firecat
Crystal Gayle                               Classic Crystal
Dan Fogelberg                             Netherlands
Dan Fogelberg                             Phoenix
Dan Fogelberg                             The Innocent Age
Dan Fogelberg                             Windows and Walls
Dave Loggins                               Apprentice
Dave Loggins                              Personal Belongings
Dave Loggins                              One Way Ticket to Paradise
David Grisman                             Acoustic Christmas
David Grisman                             Quintet '80
Electric Light Orchestra                A New World Record
Elton John                                    Blue Moves
Elton John                                    Caribou
Elton John                                    Greatest Hits (1974)
Elton John                                    Honky Chateau
Emmy Lou                                   Harris Angel Band
England Dan & JFC                     Nights are Forever
Firefall                                         Firefall
Harry Chapin                               Dance Band on the Titanic
Harry Chapin                               Greatest Stories Live
Harry Chapin                               On the Road to Kingdom Come
Harry Chapin                               Living Room Suite
Hoyt Axton                                  Snowblind Friend
Jethro Tull                                    Heavy Horses
Jethro Tull                                    Repeat: Best of, Vol 2
Jethro Tull                                    Songs from the Wood
Jim Croce                                     I Got a Name
Jim Croce                                     Photographs and Memories
Jimmy Buffett                               A1A
Jimmy Buffett                               A White Sport Coat & a Pink Crustacean
Jimmy Buffett                               Living and Dying in 3/4 Time
Jimmy Buffett                               Son of a Son of a Sailor
John Denver                                 An Evening With John Denver
John Denver                                 John Denver's Greatest Hits
John Denver/Muppets                   Christmas Forever
John Denver                                 Windsong
John Michael Talbott                     Songs for Worship, Vol 1
John Michael Talbott                     Troubador of the Great King
Journey                                         Evolution
The Judds                                     Greatest Hits
Kansas                                         Point of Know Return
Leo Kottke                                   The Best (Double Album)
Leon Russell                                 Stop all that Jazz
Loggins & Messina                       Full Sail
Loggins & Messina                       Native Sons
Mac Davis                                    Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me
Mac Davis                                    Stop and Smell the Roses
Michael Jackson                            Thriller
Neil Diamond                                Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Paul Williams                                Phantom of the Paradise
Pat Benatar                                  Crimes of Passion
Poco                                            Head Over Heels
Quarterflash                                 Quarterflash
Simon & Garfunkel                       Greatest Hits
Three Dog Night                           Coming Down Your Way
Waylon Jennings                           Greatest Hits
the Who                                        Tommy

Some pics:

I lived it up in the 70's, when music was so much better than it is now.

Note to self: buy a turntable.

Why all the Crying on the Left?

Lefties: why all of the hysterics in the wake of the debt ceiling deal?

Ron Paul is right: you are going to get your desperate wish to confiscate more of your fellow citizens' wealth to fund your spending binges. You will get to raise taxes.

Do the math on the likely makeup of the new and improved SuperCongress:

1. Establishment picks: 3 each from Reid, Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell = 9 of the 12.

2. Tea Party tolerating picks: 3 from Boehner

You are going to get 9 of 12 picks on the SuperCongress that will look favorably on increased confiscation of income. 6 that are salivating to raise taxes, and some portion of McConnell's 3 picks that will favorably consider it. You only need 7 of the 12 to vote for raising taxes, and it's a done deal. As Ron Paul says, this SuperCongress is rigged to fast track anything that the majority of the 12 decides on without much say so from the rest of our elected officials.

You are going to get to raise taxes.

What I find humorous is that you think any of the tax increase will be used to cover the deficit. You have a Congress that has a strong track record of overspending any revenue that it is handed - currently in the range of 1/3 of the budget overspent (deficit). When you hand them more revenue (in the form of tax increases) they will overspend that too. You can count on that.

Okay, lefties. You can get back to the regularly scheduled program of tax / spend / borrow more and more and more. Enough hysterics.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Congressional Drama, Please

This week I have found myself increasingly out-of-sync with the hysterical reaction to the Debt Ceiling negotiations going on in the U.S. Congress and playing out as end-of-the-world in the 24-hour news cycle and in the blogosphere.

You bunch of wusses.

I say give us more of these clash-of-titans public negotiations, not less! Our elected representatives in our constitutional republic are hashing out the big existential questions of the size and role of government, through the prism of two hugely different worldviews, right in front of our eyes instead of making back room deals.

It's clarifying! It's enlightening. It's educational. How many average voters know the ins and outs of the debt ceiling and the national debt this week compared to six months ago. That's a good thing!

And yet, judging from the coverage, many of you want to shield your eyes and cry horror! at the sausage making of the key legislation that governs how much debt we incur for ourselves and our progeny. No! Watch and listen. Learn and evaluate. We are big boys and girls who can stand to watch some highly charged debate on the big issues of our time and not cringe in terror, can't we?

What did we learn? That there are big scary issues that our government needs to address head on? Yes! That our two political parties disagree with each other? Yes! That legislating budgets is hard work? Yes!

Bottom line: our politically divided government took on a controversial major issue involving trillions of dollars and the future of our nation and hashed out a negotiated compromise that will be voted on and passed into law. That is a win for democracy, not a disaster.

As to the coverage of this necessary governing process, that's another story. Pathetic.

Let me just address a few of the many many many distortions in the coverage / analysis of this debate.

1. We've raised the debt ceiling many times, for both Democrat and Republican presidents, and never had this type of debate before.

True. And how has that worked out for us? The national debt continues to grow under both parties to its present unsustainable $14.3 Trillion dollar level. It's time to have debate about just continuing to raise our own credit limit.

2. The Congress should have just given President Obama a "clean" debt ceiling increase like he asked for.

No. The newly elected GOP majority told Obama back in January that he was not getting a clean bill. They told him that any increase in the debt ceiling had to be tied to spending reforms. And geesh it took the President and the Democrats a long time to get the point that the GOP was now serious about debt reform.

He could perhaps have gotten a clean bill if these big debt reform issues were hashed instead in the process of approving annual budgets. But, unfortunately, the Democrats who controlled the Congress since 2007 have abandoned their important obligation to produce an annual budget. In 2010, controlling both the House and the Senate, the Democrats chose not to submit a budget at all so as to not have it as an election issue. In the absence of annual budget negotiations, the debt ceiling bill became the battle ground.

3. The Republicans are - take your pick - radicals, extremists, terrorists, Hobbits.

Baloney. The Republicans - including the 87 freshman coming off of the recent 2010 election that gave control of the House to the GOP - are duly elected representatives of their districts. They are not rubber stamps for the President. They are there with a vote to do the right thing for their district and for our country. They are excercising their best judgement and are doing what they were elected to do in that historic change of the House control - control spending!

To call duly elected Congressmen "terrorists" - as Vice President Joe Biden alledgedly did today - crosses the line of civility and is reprehensible. Stop it, Democrats.

On the other hand, if you want to call the Tea Party freshman "hobbits" - as Sen. John McCain delusionally did on the floor of the Senate - go ahead. Hobbits were the heroes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy - underdogs taking the fight right to the heart of Mordor and saving Middle Earth. A fine symbol for the Tea Party.

Rather than call the Tea Party freshman "despicable" and "economic terrorists" I would extend them kudos. Do you think we would be having the larger conversation about our debt that the nation has been engaged in for the last few weeks without them? Hell no. Without them, the establishment would have done what they always do - make the easy deals that extend our debt into further insolvency.

4. The Tea Party were "hostage takers" who threatened to blow up our economy by defaulting on the debt.

Hostage takers is loaded and extreme language. In the absence of a traditional budget process - which again the Democrats have abandoned, they found leverage in the debt ceiling increase to have the discussion on debt.

Legitimate leverage. The debt ceiling is itelf a law, passed by Congress. Would you take the position that the Congress has to pass an increase in the ceiling with no debate and no conditions - as asked for by the President? No. They are, in my opinion, obligated each time to debate whether that increase is justified and to address any needed reforms. If not, then what is the point of the debt ceiling in the first place? Without debate and reform the debt ceiling is just a continuous lie.

Also, the GOP never threatened a default on the debt. That is a lie. A misrepresentation. The only one in this debate who threatened a default on the debt was President Obama.

Suppose the worst case, that an increase in the debt ceiling did not pass and the US was not able to borrow more money. What then? Well, we would go on a cash-only basis. Three numbers would then come in to play: 1) The treasury takes in $200B in cash in tax receipts each month, 2) we pay out $307B each month and 3) the service on the debt is $29B a month.

In that case, the Treasury would pay out the debt service of $29B first and there would be no default! None. No US debt holders would not be paid. Social Security and Medicare would get paid. Other things would not get paid, like Executive Branch departments. There would be an argument over what. But we would not default on our debt. For President Obama to say publicly that we might was irresponsible.

None of that is going to happen, though, because our process worked and they reached a deal.

By the way, every American should have learned through this process that we borrow $100 billion of the $300 billion we spend each month! That is staggering, and unsustainable! That is why we need to have this debate.

5. The deal was held up by "Republican intransigence" and Tea Party radicals who always just say no.

That's partisan B.S. There must have been a sale at the Democratic wordsmith store on the phrase "republican intransigence", but it's not the truth. The truth is that both sides were dug in to positions that reflect their party's worldview. If you don't believe me, you must have missed President Obama storming out of the debt negotiations and saying this about tax increases:


I will not yield sounds pretty intransigent to me. But the mainstream press could only see intransigence on one side, and their partisans picked that up and echoed it endlessly. Pathetic.

The GOP led House passed a budget this year. They passed a Cut/Cap/Balance bill that called for a debt ceiling increase. They passed the Boehner bill calling for an increase. And tonight they passed the compromise bill calling for a debt ceiling increase. They have done the legislator's job of legislating. As of this writing tonight, the Democrat led Senate has passed none of those. Nothing at all. And yet, the national press hammers out the meme day after day that it's the Republicans who are "intransigent". Nonsense. It's an upside down bizarro world where the body that passes bills is intransigent and the party that passes nothing is the grownups. You couldn't get a better insight into our corrupt and partisan press.

I could go on and on and on. But, you get the point.

This vigorous and even rancorous public debate by our elected representatives on the big issue of our day - our national debt - was good for our country. More public debate, not less, please!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Simple Play: "Frustrated"

Scene opens, on the national stage: President Obama enters, stage very left:

President Obama: I want a clean bill raising the debt ceiling $2.4T

GOP: Hell no. We’ve done that too many times, and look where it got us. We learned from the election in 2010. No more clean bills.

Obama. Raise the debt ceiling. I’ve got more spending programs that I want to borrow for.

GOP: No. You only get a raise in the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts equal to or more than the increase.

Obama: And tax increases. Lots of tax increases. Stick it to the rich folks. Like me – I don’t need all my money.

GOP: Then write a check to the treasury. No tax increases in a recession.

Obama: Tax increases. Raise em up! Soak the rich.

GOP: Spending cuts. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. It’s job-killing.

Obama: Okay, you go first.

GOP: You’re the President. Show some leadership.

Obama: Um, no. I need you to go first so I can portray you as heartless. I’ve got an election coming up, and I’m already in campaign mode. Gotta go to a fundraiser…

GOP: Okay, here’s our budget. We’re going to vote on it and pass it as legislation in broad daylight. It’s based on the Ryan plan, and it controls deficits without tax increases.

Harry Reid: Extremists! Why do you always just say no.

GOP: We didn’t say no, we passed a budget.

Senate Dems: What’s a budget?

GOP: Okay, Mr. President. We went first. We passed a budget.

Obama: Extremists! Why do you always just say no?

GOP: Mr. President, we’re going to default if you don’t agree to debt reductions in exchange for the increase in the debt ceiling. Let’s talk.

Obama: Come on over. I have a plan.

Media: You have a plan? (Swoon)

Obama: Yes. It’s a BIG PLAN. $4T in cuts over ten years.

Media: Did you hear that? He has a BIG PLAN! What a leader.

Obama: It’s a balanced plan, with revenue increases and big cuts!

Right-wingers: Yeah? We’ve heard that before. Back in the Reagan years. He got snookered by you for tax increases now and spending cuts that never happened. Like Lucy pulling away the football, you guys always promise spending cuts in years 9 and 10 that never happen. Let’s see the plan.

Obama: I have a BIG PLAN.

Right-wingers: Yeah? Where is the plan? We want to read it. When do the cuts start?

Media: Didn’t you hear THE ONE. He’s the only adult in the room. He said he had a plan.

Right-wingers: Okay. Where is the plan?

Media: Are you not paying attention? He just said he had a plan. 5 minutes ago. Did you not hear him?

Charles Krauthammer: Where is the plan?

New York Times: Good God, you are stupid “domestic terrorists”. Did you not hear the President say he has a plan? Why do you always say no to everything? You are pushing us off a cliff. Tax the rich already.

Jake Tapper: Oh Obi-wan Obama, to whom I have pledged my allegiance, can you name just one spending cut in your BIG BALANCED PLAN?

Obama: Oh, there’s bunches of them. Tons of them. My BIG BALANCED PLAN is just chock full of them. Tax the rich, especially the evil corporate jet owners.

Tapper: Mr. President, I’m with you. I have my lips surgically attached to your backside as do all of my brethren here in the press corps. But, toss me a bone. Just name one specific cut!

Liberal Bloggers: Did you not hear the President? He has a BIG BALANCED PLAN. And it goes way too far and cuts way too deep! It’s an outrage! Tax the rich already and let’s be done with this and get back to borrowing and spending more. Time’s a wastin’.

Right-wingers: Really? It cuts too deep? How do you know? Where is the plan? Can we read it?

Media Matters: Fox News thinks the President is a Muslim, and is brainwashing the Tea Party to just say no to everything. And Bill O'Reilly is a fathead.

GOP: Hey, everyone. While we were waiting to see the President’s plan, we passed some new legislation. It calls for cuts in spending, a balanced budget, and raising the debt ceiling responsibly. Just debate it and pass it in the Senate and we avoid a credit default and…

Harry Reid: Nope. Too late. I tabled your extremist bill, you extremists. Didn’t need to actually vote on it because, hey, it might have passed the Senate too. Why are you so intransigent? Why do you always say no to everything?

GOP: We didn’t say no. We passed legislation. That’s what legislators do. You’ve heard of that, haven’t you?

Media: The GOP is intransigent and just says no. They should just agree to the President’s plan. He’s the reasonable one. Blessed be his name. Tax the rich.

Right-wingers: What plan? Is there something more than dreams and wishes and demands and press conferences? Is there something in writing?

GOP: Something we can vote on?

Obama: Hey, by the way, can I talk you out of $400 billion more of tax increases? I have more spending to do. Much, much, much more spending…Tax the rich.

GOP: Are you not listening? No tax increases in a recession.

Obama: But, it’s in my BIG BALANCED PLAN!

MoveOn.org: Which cuts too much! We’re going to impeach you if you carry through with your plan!

Right-wingers: Really? We hope it cuts too much. Can we just see the plan?

Michael Moore: We’re not broke. We just need to enslave all of the rich and confiscate their wealth and build hospitals in Cuba with it. That’s all. We’re not broke. Bush’s fault.

Media: When is everyone just going to agree to THE ONE’s plan? He’s super smart. He’s like way smart. Stop saying no to him. He’s compromised as much as he reasonably can…

Reid / Boehner: Maybe we should just talk amongst ourselves. Obama doesn’t seem to have a plan.

Reid: Voila! Here’s the Democrat plan.

Right-Wingers: Doesn’t seem like a plan. More like a vague outline. How much spending is cut, and when?

Reid: I’m not much of a numbers guy. Ask my staff. I’m sure that there is a plan in there somewhere…

Randy Masters: Where is the Democratic plan? What does it cut, and when? Give me a link to it…

And, scene.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are We Past the Tipping Point?

Is it just me, or does it seem like we are racing past the tipping point in our ability to hold together civil society?

Definition of Tipping Point: "the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development."

I can think of several areas of our communal life where we are past the tipping point.

1. Political discourse

It's toxic right now in the public arena, and getting worse. Democrats, you are pushing too hard past the bounds of decency in public political discussion. Let me just give you 3 quick examples off the top of my head:

a. The savaging of Sarah Palin in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Congressman Giffords in Tuscon. Many of you maliciously accused her of direct cupability in a heinous mass murder. Blood on her hands, because of her tone - when it was really your tone that was way out of line. You shouted a hurtful lie in the public square, and have never apologized for it even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you were wrong.

b. The savaging of Michele Bachmann last week for signing the "marriage pledge" in Iowa. It was a straightforward pledge supporting the institution of marriage. In building a case that the institution of two-parent marriage is itself past the tipping point - given a 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community - it included a bullet point about a higher rate of two parent marriage during the period of slavery than present day.

A non-insane reading of that bullet point would conclude that they referenced slavery because it was the starting point of black family life on this continent - when blacks were forcibly brought against their will for that abominable institution, as the bullet point stated. It's a timeline point: from the beginning until now the institution of marriage has suffered in the black community. It's a reasonable point.

But the Democrat response was not reasonable. It was malicious spin. It was an assertion that Michele Bachmann was arguing that blacks "had it better" under slavery. It was a desperate and strained attempt to call a GOP candidate a racist. That is insanely partisan. ENOUGH WITH THE RACISM ACCUSATION!

b. Speaking of irresponsibly playing the race card: Rep Sheila Jackson Lee came out this week and claimed that the GOP opposition to Obama's debt position is racist. It's because he is a black man.

Please. Stop it. Opposition to Obama on the debt plan is due to Obama's irresponsible position on our budget. Please remember that Obama presented a budget to Congress just this February which increased the national debt by TEN TRILLION DOLLARS. The United States Senate rejected his budget by a margin of 97-0. That is both Democrats and Republicans telling the President that he has a ridiculous position on the budget and debt. It has nothing to do with race. ENOUGH WITH THE RACISM ACCUSATION!

We are too polarized, with a toxic public debate, and perhaps past the tipping point on bringing it back to civil.

2. Dependency class:

We will be past the tipping point in our ability to control our budget when more than 50% are dependent on government services - and therefore invested in irresponsibly voting to expand them.

We are there. We are way past the legitimate "safety net" function of a limited government, and way too far into the "entitlement" culture of receiving government checks.

I read some startling figures in the last week that give me the sense that we have hurtled past the tipping point of fiscal stability. Figures like:

- only 58.9 percent of adults are employed
- the bottom 47% of wage earners pay ZERO income tax

How can 41 % of the population support the rest? How can so many people who don't pay into the tax base vote themselves money from the general coffers? How can is that sustainable?

3. The debt ceiling negotiation in Washington tells me that we are way past the tipping point in being able to survive as a country fiscally. Yes, I mean that. Our government is irretrievably broken AND broke.

We are 16 days away from suffering consequences from the fact that our Federal Government has ALREADY passed the legal debt ceiling of $14.3 Trillion dollars. The "debt ceiling" is the current law, and it says that we cannot borrow more than the limit. We are past the limit. Our government - Congress and POTUS - have already broken the law wantonly and irresponsibly. But, instead of gathering in an emergency action to cut spending to borrow less and get back under the limit they are arguing about how to raise the limit on our credit cards. Unbelievable!

We have more government than we can afford. Every dollar we spend has 40 cents borrowed! And that number increases every day. It what possible universe could an individual go for a long time putting 40% of everything they spend on a maxed out credit card? Why do we think our government can do it? We can't. We are past the point where we can ever reasonably pay off the debt that we owe, and are only desperately trying to service the interest payments. That is the sign of bankruptcy, and we are there.

" How the debt ceiling is eventually resolved only changes the timing and extent of the economic collapse.  In that sense, it has no bearing on the ultimate fate of the nation...The US government has been insolvent for years.  Now bankruptcy is a risk because it is potentially "borrowed out."" - Monty Pelerin, "The Debt Ceiling Charade", The American Thinker
The rise of the Tea Party is the response to this pending bankruptcy of our nation. I fear that it is too late for the Tea Party to effect enough change to make a difference. Yes, the Tea Party is stiffening the spine of the GOP to draw a line in the sand and say enough. But, they are getting pilloried in the press as terrorists. "You've raised the debt ceiling before", the media parrots daily. Yes! And it was the wrong thing to do! It's just gotten us further past the tipping point of national debt! No more. Not again. Stop now.

We need a simple affordable limited government. Mike Huckabee paints it well in his new book "A Simple Government". He describes it thusly in his last chapter:

"...I've found that people actually want much less from their government than politicians think. They want the trash  picked up on time, smooth roads and safe streets, good schools, a fire truck to show up promptly when needed, and secure borders to keep bad people from getting in and disturbing our peace. They want veterans to be cared for, sick people children, and old people to be treated decently, and laws to be enforced. That's about it. They don't need a supernanny" telling them what to wear, what to eat, and how many hours of sleep to get each night. They don't want to work hard and then get penalized for their productivity so that government can reward the slackers and the failures..."
Limited government. Simple government. Meeting the needs fiscally responsibly.

We are way past that. We have an unsustainable, unpayable, national debt that has enslaved our children and our grandchildren to a bleak future of debt servicing. Picture this:

We as a nation have indebted ourselves for our wants far beyond our ability to pay it back. No one can even reasonably imagine the number  $14,342,953,885,641.98 - which is our current national debt. It is so far outside of our daily experience that it is an imaginary number. And it's not even the true number. With unfunded liabilities in the entitlement trust funds it's more like 100 trillion dollars in debts.

Bottom line:

1. We are broke. We have an unsustainable public national debt. We are past the point where we can ever pay it back, and are only fighting a losing battle to service the interest payments to our foreign creditors, using fake money printed by the Federal Reserve.

2. We have a broken government. Currently gridlocked in a delusional struggle at the tiny margins of our debt.

3. We are past a tipping point of dependency on government in our population. We can't pare our government back to a fiscally sound limited government, because too high a percentage are dependent on ever-expanding borrowed-money largesse from that government.

4. We are past the point of civil debate. Democrats are pushing too hard in demonizing the Tea Party and fiscal conservatives as "economic terrorists" and racists. It's too much. It's malicious and harmful to our civil society. Stop it.

We have such big issues to face. I fear that we are past the tipping point in being able to solve them as an intact sovereign nation. I fear that we are past the tipping point in being able to cede to our children a sound and civil society. Shame on us.

Back to the definition of tipping point: "the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development."

The irreversible development is economic collapse. National bankruptcy. Debt slavery for our children.

Our our politicians acting like this is a real possibility? Because, it is.

What say you?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Summer Reading List

Have you ever belonged to a monthly book club, failed to decline the pre-selected choices, and have them arrive at your house with a bill attached?

Hate when that happens. Which it just did. (No, I'm not sending them back. Too much effort, and I want to read them.)

So, I have two new books for my Summer Reading List. They are:

1. Ron Paul: "Defining Liberty". 50 essential principles for freedom.

2. Erik Stakelbeck: "The Terrorist Next Door". Are there radical jihadist enclaves in the territorial United States?

I struck out at lunch today at Barnes & Noble getting the book that I really want to read this Summer:

Gretchen Morgensen: "Reckless Endangerment". It's about what really caused the 2008 crash. (Basically, the things that I have been saying for three years caused it, caused it. Hello Fannie Mae.)

Plus, I have a few last chapters on a few different books on my Kindle to polish off. I did finish Breitbart's "Righteous Indignation". Good read.

My rule now is:

Kindle for fiction, dead tree book for politics.

Why? Because I like to flip back and forth in political books to quote lines or reference charts. Impossible to do well on the Kindle. For Grisham novels it's perfect. That's just me.

One business book:"Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done"

That's my list. What are you all reading this Summer?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Making Nice TV

Sometimes whole projects start with a single sentence.

In this case, it was my Tweet: "2012 is going to be a political effing war".

What it started was "Making Nice TV", a joint project with my new friend Olivia Collette to see if an American Tea Party conservative and a Canadian socialist can have civil discussions on politics. Not debates! We're not trying to score points off of each other. We just having conversations, and trying to hear each other. How often does that happen on TV? We're trying to model that.

There are 4 episodes up so far, and more "in the can" being edited.

Enjoy! And give me some feedback. Leave me a comment here or there.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

on Patriotism

Wow! What a great 4th of July this year. We had a beautiful blue-sky day on our holiday day off. I got to listen to a terrific audio reading of the Declaration of Independence on NPR's website. (Stirring!) And I got to finish off the day with our annual tradition of taking my boys into the high school's stadium for the fireworks display set to the stirring music of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" with a grand finale to Neil Diamond's "Coming to America".

Yes, I am way patriotic. And yes, I did take that picture. And yes, that is a Tea Party "Don't Tread on Me" hat - with a flag pin.

Webster defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country". Put me down for that. I'm in the category of people who believe that America has a tremendous history - despite our flaws - in our brief 235 year history and is generally a force for good in the world.

Apparently not everyone is that patriotic. Those that aren't are almost exclusively on the political left in this country.

Don't take my word for it. Ask them. Many on the left will tell you straight out that they are not that patriotic. A new friend told me exactly that in a discussion this week. My new friend was perturbed that rightists often throw the charge of "unpatriotic" at leftists as an insult. But, what if it's just an observation? What if it's just a fact, in some cases, as you will tell us if we ask?

I'm not talking about dissent as being unpatriotic. Dissent away. I dissent on King Obama's illegal war in Libya. You dissent on the Iraq War. We both do that because we want the best for our country. I accept that.

No, I'm talking about actual love for our country. Many Democrats give evidence by their words that they are more embarrased for our country than in love with it.

How many examples do you want me to list?

While I was Tweeting patriotic quotes from our founders on the 4th, I saw these Tweets typical of what the folks that I follow on the left were sending:

- "You do realize that we are celebrating rich white slaveowners who just wanted to get out of paying their taxes."  (Yes, I know it's a movie quote. The question is: why did that particular movie quote resonate with you on our nation's finest holiday?)

- The best part of being an American today is that you don't have to worry about being invaded by America. (Really? on the 4th of July? This is what you are thinking?)

Not just unpatriotic on Twitter. I checked in on Huffington Post, as I do daily. Nothing to be found on how great our country is. But, wait! There is an article on the Declaration of Indepence! Oh, wait...it's an article by a leftist on how the Declaration is a "damaged" document because of three words that are a slight to Native Americans. By all means, focus on those three words on the day of our celebration! Grievance monger.

For some reason, the American political left sees the 4th of July as a day of angst. It's not my worldview, but is apparently theirs.

The left is not just embarrassed by our country's history on the 4th, though. All year long. Any ocassion. The list of grievances are long. The embarrassment of low-class rah-rahing deep.

I recall, for example, candidate Obama observing in 2008 that "we're just 5 days away from fundamentally changing America". Why would you want to fundamentally change something that you're proud of?

Or of his wife Michele - a child of privileged upbringing in America that included an Ivy League education - and her campaign observation that "for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country". Really? At that age, the first time? You can believe all of the apologetic rationalizations that have been offered since, or you can accept that she was telling you her truth in the first place.

The Obama's were not particularly proud of America's history during the campaign. President Obama spent much of his overseas speeches apologizing for it. What would you expect from people who sat for 20 years under the mentorship of his hero Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright?

Bottom line: if conservatives note that some liberals are not patriotic it's not an insult. It's just an observation. A fact. Just ask them directly. You'll either get a straight up "I'm not very patriotic", or you'll get some list of grievances about why we're not a good country. Is that "love of or devotion to your country"?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Quick Bites

Am I claustrophobic?

I found out the answer to the question yesterday as I was loaded into a MRI machine. A brief moment of panic as I went into the tube! Then I was able to calm my mind and finish the test.

A pro tip for you if you have to have a MRI: bring something to think about. You have only your mind to calm your fears. Keep it occupied. For me, that meant composing a blog post in my head about current events. Such as:

1. Is Sarah Palin running for President?

I think she is. In that I stand against all current conventional media wisdom, given that they have all written her off even as they obsess about her because she is ratings gold. Here's why I think so:

- She said earlier that she will run if a solid commonsense conservative doesn't step forward. Given that all of the media constantly parrots that the GOP field is a bunch of lightweights, that condition is fulfilled.

- She loves campaigning. She loves touring, and she loves meeting regular folks.

- She has some chits to cash in from all of the GOP candidates that she helped in the 2010 cycle.

One twist: I'm getting 3rd party vibes from her this time around. I think that she has no love lost for the GOP establishment, given their pitiful treatment of her in 2008 and since. She is a Tea Party favorite, and I think that the Tea Party is getting tired of the GOP establishment too. Although the Tea Party worked within the GOP in 2010, that could change. Plus, it would avoid the Palin / Bachmann throwdown that the media is salivating for. It's just a hunch at this point. But, you should pay attention to my hunches with Palin given that I called her as a McCain Vice Presidential candidate way back in July of 2008  - before most of you even heard of her. I get her better than you do.

2. King Obama and the Libyan not-a-war war.

My Democrat friends: were you really taken in by King Obama's lame defense of his illegal folly in Libya in his relection campaign speech called a press conference? Really?

Straight talk time: Team Obama is lying about Libya.

- It's not "days, not weeks". It's been months now.

- We're not uninvolved, leaving the fighting to our NATO allies - who are acting outside of the NATO charter. Drudge has it up this week that US bombers are still flying hundreds of sorties, including a hundred that involved dropping bombs on targets. Add that together with the fact that our troops in the theater are getting "imminent danger" pay, and it adds up to WE ARE IN A WAR IN LIBYA. Team Obama's demurring notwithstanding.

- King Obama went on during his ridiculous press conference on how extensively Team Obama is "consulting" with Congress.

Urgent to King Obama: it's not consultation that is required. It's approval. That means a vote. The only vote that has been held in the House specifically repudiated your actions in Libya. You are engaged in an illegal action with our military. Stop it, or resign. Articles of Impeachment are now in order if the House has any spine.

3. The DSK bombshell

The NYT dropped the story this week that the rape case against former IMF head DSK is unraveling due to suspect testimony from the alleged victim.

She may be an actual victim. He may be guilty. I don't know. We just need to let the case unfold in the courts. If he proves to be guilty, hammer him.

My only interest in the story involved left media bias. Specifically the rush-to-judgement that the media conducted in trashing DSK to a level deserving of a war criminal. Wow. Followed closely by a "media whipping" of Ben Stein for writing a piece in the "American Spectator urging caution and due process. The left media elites despise Stein for earlier defending Intelligent Design and they subjected him to a public savaging - even though his article clearly qualifies that "it's possible indeed, maybe even likely, that he is guilty as the prosecutors charge".

I experienced some of that myself online. I defended Stein on the presumed-innocent argument and got accused of "defending a socialist (DSK)". It got savage there for a while, just like the media savaged Sarah Palin over the Tuscon shooting. It's what they do to conservatives, and it's getting worse.

Bottom line: Ben Stein looks to be right, and the left media that savaged him will never admit that or apologize. (Just like they still haven't apologized for falsely accusing Palin of culpability in a heinous mass-murder).

4. Fukushima unfolding

The reactors are melting down. The American media is not covering it. Nor are they covering the flood threat to the nuclear reactor in Nebraska. It's okay - go back to sleep.

5. Candidate Obama - the unserious President

The President scolded the Congress for not yet resolving the pending debt default crisis. Never mind that we're past the legal "debt ceiling" and will officially default on our debt Aug 2. Never mind that the President has personally been absent from all of the WH negotiations with Congress. Never mind that he completely failing with leadership, preferring instead golf every weekend. Candidate Obama got to scold Congress in his campaign speech dubbed press conference for not working hard enough. Right before he got on a plane and went to Philadelphia for campaign fundraisers. Hypocrite-in-Chief.

Bottom Line: the President has checked out from governing and is a non-serious scold. The debt crisis continues...

6. the SoCal seccession

Drudge story this week that the conservative counties South of Los Angeles have proposed seceeding from California and forming a new state called Southern California. No, seriously.

It is not an unrelated story that the U.S. National Soccer team got boo'd in LOS ANGELES during it's game with Mexico. Not to mention that the awards ceremony was conducted entirely in Spanish.  Drudge story: "Mexico was the home team". IN LOS ANGELES.

7. Fabulous weddings in New York

Gay is not my issue one way or another. While I generally think that the definition of marriage as one man/one woman has been the basis for every society in earth's recorded history, I'm all for civil unions like the Illinois Governor just signed that provide the same rights.

I only have two issues on the gay question:

a. I can see this getting to the point where churches will be charged with hate crimes if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. If it gets to that point, it's on. Do what you will at the courthouse. You can't force a church with a religious objection to perform a wedding. Some of you will unwisely try.

b. Gays in the military is a more complicated issue than many of you think it is.

Have you served in the military? Lived under the separate judicial system known as the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)? Lived under the forced housing situations that are sometimes unique to the military and it's unique and hazardous mission?

If so, we can disagree on the issue and I respect our disagreement.

If not, you do not have enough experiential information to have an informed opinion on the subject. Period.

8. Uncivil Society

We are, I fear, so deeply polarized in this country over such serious issues that we are headed for an unraveling of civil society.

You see it on TV in other countries. The revolutions of the "Arab Spring". The austerity riots in Europe.

Why do you think it can't come here?

What pressures would it take for a breakdown of civil society? Are you not paying attention? They're coming...

Stop pushing so hard to "fundamentally transform America".

Back to the MRI:

So, those are the things that I was thinking about that got me through the intense claustrophobic experience of laying in that loud and confining MRI tube. That, and the gastric distress of having eaten at Taco Bell before my appointment. "Don't fart in the tube! Others have to get in here..."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Whose side are you on?"

Team Obama has made many ridiculous and infuriating statements of late. So many to choose from to write about.

I could start with President Obama's joke in front of his Jobs and Competitiveness Council regarding his "shovel-ready" Stimulus: "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected". Ha ha ha. Not funny. Not funny at all. People were depending on that for a recovery, and what they got was a predictable pork-spending boondoggle that only worsened our debt crisis. President Obama thinks that an aw-shucks chuckle will smooth that over.

I could comment on Michelle Obama's response in Africa about how she will handle the pressure of a campaign: "Fortunately, we have help from the media". Gee. No kidding. I could write paragraphs on how the media elite sold their journalistic soul for THE ONE in 2008. Nice to see some admission of that from the First Lady. By the way, who approved her trip to Africa again? Did we elect her to something? Does she not understand that WE ARE PAST THE DEBT CEILING? Someone please take the Queen's credit card away.

No, as infuriating as those stories are. The clear winner in the Clueless Statist verbal absurdities sweepstakes this week goes to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her question to the U.S. Congress regarding our misadventure in Libya:

She's asking bluntly, "Whose side are you on?"
Well, that answer is easy. Not yours, Madame Secretary. Please resign, instead of asking that arrogant and unsupportable question.

Here are just some of the reasons that Hillary's question is infuriating:

1. Hillary bears substantial blame for the Libya fiasco, having joined with her ideological sisters Samantha Power and Susan Rice in talking President Obama into the Libyan intervention while he was away for Spring Break in Rio.

2. The reasons for intervening to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Benghazi were specious, and do not hold up under examination. The administration claimed that "Gadhafi might have killed nearly 700,000 people" if no one acted, as he repelled a rebellion against his rule.

White House adviser Dennis Ross was only slightly less alarmist when he reportedly cited "the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred."...But these are outlandish scenarios that go beyond any reasonable interpretation of Gadhafi's words.
Read the article for further discussion on that point.

3. The Libyan invasion that Hillary / Team Obama blundered us into has substantially undermined NATO's existence. I remember when NATO was a viable deterrent to the very real threat of the Soviet Union - back in the days of the Cold War when I was in the military. What now, in the era after the collapse of the USSR?

Did I miss something here?

Was there an earthquake that separated Libya from Africa and floated it into the North Atlantic - where the North Atlantic Treaty Organization might have some legal authority?

Was a NATO member country attacked by Libya, triggering the defense pact?

No. Then what the hell are we/NATO doing intervening in Libya on behalf of the suspect intentions of European oil consumers and suspect UN motives?

As we have expanded outside of the stated mission to protect Benghazi and are now in an overt effort to kill a foreign leader, and as we have stalemated and are not clearly able to do that suspect task, you have irrepairably damaged the viability of NATO. For what?

4. Speaking of the UN: How dare the US commander-in-chief commit US military troops to harms way in the service of the United Nations and without getting approval from the U.S. Congress. We are not obligated by the United Nations Responsibility to Protect (R2P) program, as President Obama has cited. What an outrage to have our President seek UN approval for US military actions, only to stiff arm the duly elected representatives of the people in the Congress. Outrageous!

President Obama is now clearly in violation of the War Powers Act - which is the law of the land enacted constitutionally by Congress over a President's veto - by having troops committed to "kinetic military actions" (again, as Team Obama laughably called them) in excess of 90 days without Congressional approval. You might think that President Bush 43 was wrong to go to war in Iraq, but he at least respected the country enough to get a vote of approval from Congress before doing so.

Are you not offended by the absurd argument that Team Obama proffered to Congress as a rationale for violating the law. They are not in violation, they argued, because we are not currently engaged in "hostilities" as defined in the Act. Bullshit. We are firing missiles into a sovereign country in an effort to kill their leader! We have troops in the theater that are collecting "imminent danger pay" in Obama's not-a-war war. Is there more outrageously fallacious argument for our President to disrepect Congress - and us - with?

Obama's actions in violating the law are those of a dictator and not an elected President of the United States. Thus, I am referring to him in this period of time as "King Obama". Articles of impeachment are clearly in order.

5. The most compelling reason, Madame Secretary, that I am not on your side is:

You blundered us into a war ON THE SIDE OF AL-QAIDA!

You might have wanted to check out the "rebels" that we were assisting with NATO firepower instead of rushing ahead to get some cred on the "Arab Spring" question. It seems to have escaped your notice AS SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that the "rebels" in Eastern Libya have more in common with the murderous barbarians that we are fighting in hot wars throughout the mideast than with Western democracies. An inconvenient fact that you might want to have considered before you put our military on the line.

Barbarians. We are allied with barbarians. Beheading jihadist barbarians. Watch this appalling video of "rebels" beheading a Libyan soldier, if you have the courage of your convictions:


While I don't know who is behind that video, or their agenda, it tells the tale that we are allied with barbarians in Obama's Libyan war.

Mrs. Clinton, hear me. Regarding your arrogant question to our representatives in Congress "Whose side are you on" - I am not on your side.

Resign now. Take Samantha Power and Susan Rice with you. Apologize in your resignation for your illegal war.

And do it before we proceed with impeaching King Obama for his wanton violation of the law. The House has voted "NO" on Obama's Libya war, and must now proceed to impeachment.