"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


2010 marks a new first:  For the first time since the 1970s when the new budget rules went in to effect, there will be no budget resolution in the House of Representatives (what do you know, there is an election in November and the electorate's mood is pretty sour!). 

Democrat majority is set to "deem" an enforcement resolution as passed which means they'll say it passed without voting on anything. This would allow appropriations committees to begin their spending processes without an actual budget, in other words let the porking up of federal spending continue at full speed!

This type of abdication of responsibility is, well, unprecedented (in Obama's favorite word). 
You may recall that the Democrats were considering "deeming" the health care reform bill into existence as well - that is, until the public outcry made it too expensive politically to do so.  So, with the buying of the critical few votes necessary, they were able to pass the legislation for which they will be paying a dear price at the polls come fall.

That was then, this is now.  In politics, a few months is a lifetime.  The little political cover Democrats thought they had in passing the healthcare reform bill that nearly two thirds of the public now rejects, is not present when it comes to deficit spending (as of now public enemy no.1)  The political calculation has changed to the point that I am not so sure the Democrats are worried anymore about any of their actions being too "politically expensive".
They simply overreach until We the People squeal, retreat a little and call it compromise. They're like children who constantly test the boundaries of behavior for no reason other than to establish what they can get away with. And let there be no misunderstanding; they will attempt to get away with anything We the People permit.

Hey, on the lighter side, maybe this "deeming" things passed isn't so bad. I mean, this stuff has potential. Think of the possibilities.

Republicans regain control of both houses in Nov. and just deem Obama impeached, and remove him from office?

They can then deem Biden, Reid, Pelosi impeached, and remove them from office and congress as well (if any of them get re-elected, that is).

What about Holder?  Deemed incompetent. Done!

All the czars?  Deemed illegal.  Done!  Socialism?  Deemed a crime against humanity.  Done!

I think I'm getting the hang of this.

Politics of Patronage Inevitably Comes Home to Roost

Those in the know, who were predicting the Blagojevic trial to suck Obama in, were not so far off base afterall. 

Remember the President saying that he had no involvement "directly or indirectly" with the pay-to-play scheme of the Illinois governor?  He insisted vehemently that no one in his administration either had any contact with the governor or anyone else of influence wielding power.  Well, not so fast.

Thomas Balanoff, a top SEIU leader, testified today that Obama called him about the Senate seat. 

Oh well, excuse me, should I be shocked that there is gambling going on in the casino?
This whole administration, from top to bottom, are the products of the only game they know: politics of patronage. 

Those who a couple of years ago bothered to find out about the past of every top administration official from Obama down to Valerie Jarrett are not surprised, and those ideologically blinded by their progressivism (like many in the media) don't care.  In other words, keep on moving people, there is nothing to see here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Latest Financial Reform Follies

Even a three year old who puts his hand on the hot stove and gets burnt learns not to do it again, but apparently not our esteemed politicians. 

Believe it or not, HUD just announced "Obama administration unveils national strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness".  No need for a doubletake, here is the link to the HUD announcement.

This is wrong on so many levels that it stunned me; that is, until I remembered the times we live in.

At its most fundamental level, it is not the government's role to end homelessness - it is the people's role, at the individual level.  Every big government politician over the past 18 years (including Presidents Clinton, and G.W. Bush) have promoted this foolishness.  To the gullible and the liberals among us, such nanny state policies represent the 'humanitarian' side of progressive politicians while they seem incapable of comprehending that growing government is positively correlated to progressively increasing power base for such politicians.  A perfectly predictable cause and effect relationship that has perpetuated ever growing government intrusion in to people's lives (which ironically liberals hate when it comes to morality).  The intellectual bankruptcy of progressive liberalism does not allow the most basic deductive reasoning process to understand that there is nothing humanitarian in creating layers upon layers of dependency classes with no sense of individual responsibility. This lack of critical thinking capability is also why it is virtually impossible to substantively and philosophically debate a progressive liberal.

At a more pragmatic level, one asks how does a government agency that is broke manage to stay afloat, let alone accomplish such a herculean task?  Why, by raising the cost of Mortgage Insurance to the consumer of course!  As Rep. Barney Frank (jokingly enough still the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee) wants it, VA, FHA, and Rural Housing Service loans are to be left out of risk retention.  For those not familiar, risk retention is the new requirement for lenders to hold a 5% interest on any loan they make.  In other words, consumers will be steered into more expensive loan products (mainly FHA and VA) by institutions in order to avoid what is essentially a forced reserve fund.  The unintended consequences, which all liberal policies come with, will be harder to come by and more expensive loans. 

Earlier, last week, the Congressional leaders also decided to leave the rating agencies out of the reform bill.  Yes, the same agencies which graded what amounted to be piles of junk Mortgage Backed Securities AAA because of incestuous relationships with companies like Goldman Sachs - the poster child for crony capitalism! 

How about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  So what if they cost the tax payer several times more than the combined total of all the other entities bailed out, they also are structurally untouched and unreformed. 

Throw in the House bills provisions that create a permanent $200 billion bail out fund for financial firms that are too big and interconnected to fail, power to essentially take over and control (including all salaries) any firm deemed to be in trouble, overly regulatory (read: costs that will be passed down to the consumer) provisions and you have the makings of another proud Democrat bill. 

With Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - two of the biggest shysters of the sub-prime mess still in charge - protected by their party instead of being investigated - nothing will change soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Liberalism Gone Berserk

According to the latest NYT headline: In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That.

According to the article, "in the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not."

"Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt."
"They have come up with a number of strategic responses. Besides the usual career counseling measures, many top schools have bumped up their on-campus interview weeks from the autumn to August, before the school year even starts, because they want their students to have a chance to nab a job slot before their counterparts at other schools do."
Any law firm that hires one of the graduates of these esteemed institutions over one where grades have to be earned, deserve what they get.  Without a question, a concept arrived at by liberal elitist academicians/administrators - the kind that are so prominent a part of Washington these days.  I guess it is just the natural extension of hairbrained progressive ideas like Outcome Based Education. 

Then we wonder why students of other nations academically exceed those of ours.

More Evidence of Crisis Exploitation

President Obama is up to his usual Alinskyite methods to pass his Immigration Reform bill. This past Friday Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona told in this video how he and President Obama had a discussion, one on one, concerning the need to secure the border. Kyl went on to explain to the attendees what Obama said to him.
"The problem is,' (Obama) said, ‘if we secure the border then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.' In other words they're holding it hostage," Senator Kyl added. "They don't want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform."
Yet again the ends justify the means when it comes to President Obama and his Saul Alinsky disciples.


The White House now denies the allegation by Senator Kyl.  Considering there were two people in the room, and the prolific track record of lies by one of them, I know who to believe.

Thank God 9-11 Did Not Happen Under Obama

Last week Barack Obama told Politico that the BP oil spill was like 9-11–

But, it’s been over 60 days since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and he’s only sent 20 of 2,000 US oil skimmer boats to the coast of Florida as the video above testifies to.  Lemieux says that Obama is afraid to move them to Florida because there won’t be any in place in case there is an oil leak somewhere else.

Incompetence or crisis exploitation to achieve the much larger ideological goal of "fundamental transformation of America"?

Now, That is What I Call Reality TV

Obama’s Chicago Network brings the hottest, most drama-filled political intrigue to a national audience. President Obama brought to the White House both seasoned actors of the Chicago Way Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, and David Axelrod, and fresh new faces Robert Gibbs and Jim Messina. Together they’re bringing Chicago-style politics to the biggest stars in DC. You may be sitting at home, but thanks to Obama’s Chicago Network, you’ll feel like you’re watching from the Wrigley bleachers eating a hot dog…except this dog gives you indigestion.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Biden Chides Rep. Barton For The "Shakedown" Comment

My, my...Aren't we getting sensitive when the "s" word is mentioned!  No comment, however, was forthcoming from the Vice President on the six rounds of golf, at least three fundraisers (one the President attended instead of the memorial for the oil rig workers killed in the blast), and multitude of concerts and parties with the usual White House guests that the President occupied himself with during the first 59 days of this crisis.  Is this still the U.S.of A. that we know or are we merely witnessing the modern version of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns?

Congressman Barton made a mistake alright, however the mistake was not likening the $20 billion BP fund to a "shakedown" by this Administration.  The mistake was not explaining his remarks to the American public and the CEO of B.P.  Congressman Barton knows well and agrees that B.P. is the primarily liable entity here and should make all those affected by this catastrophe whole again.  He is in no sense against that idea.  But, unlike Congressional Democrats who admittedly don't bother reading bills before voting on them, and are there primarily to throw their power around in an endeavor of self agrandizing and enriching, Rep. Barton is a fair man who knows what happens in D.C. these days.  Lets shed some light on to the matter.

The "shakedown" comment by Rep. Barton is appropriate if we consider the left's affinity to the practice.  Community organizing, which the president comes from, is the purest form of shakedown that likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (and formerly, our President) regularly make a grand living from.  During this administration, we have already seen shakedowns of the drug companies, insurance companies, bank CEOs, Chyrysler and G.M. bond holders, and so on.  The reason why creation of the B.P. fund should be characterized as a shakedown is not the why, but the how of the process.  Any strongarm tactics used by the president, implying that he is the only one standing between an entity and the angry mob (remember the bank CEOs?), is not only un-presidential but should also be categorized as a shakedown.  That is what the legal system is for, and though appropriate for President Putin, the stature of the U.S. president does not allow ghetto trash talking about kicking asses.

A day after Rep. Joe Barton, apologized to the CEO of BP for the government’s efforts to force the company to create a fund to pay out claims to victims of the Gulf oil spil, Rep. Bachmann also defended the worries that the account could turn into — in Barton’s words — a “slush fund.”
“I think that part of the concern that many members of Congress had are that the $20 billion fund not become political, because we have very recent evidence that it could be. We have another oil spill fund that the Democrats just three weeks ago tried to tap to use to pay unemployment benefits,” Congresswoman Bachmann said during an appearance on Fox News.

So it’s certainly reasonable and legitimate for members of Congress to be concerned that an oil spill fund goes specifically, 100 percent to make the victims of this environmental tragedy whole.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just What Cabinet Are You In Charge Of, Madam Secretary ?

Have you noticed that the basic professionalism that we have taken for granted as long as this country has existed seems nowhere to be found in this administration?  Unless you are a progressive, it is highly unlikely that you have missed the strange and unique (to this administration) phenomena of cross cabinet duty sharing among the Secretaries. 

Among the guilty, none is more prolific than Her Highness Hillary Rodham Clinton.
First, it was taxation and GDP growth in Brazil.  Now it is illegal immigration and legality of the Arizona law.  I am starting to get confused, so help me out here Madam Secretary:  Are you heading the State, Treasury, Justice, or the Homeland Security Department?  I am sorry if I missed other cabinet level duties that you probably have meddled in but there is only so much attention one can humanly pay to this administration's daily gaffes without running out of hours in the day.

It is normally the President who has the latitude to speak on such diverse issues on the record. Secretaries generally stick to issues that are directly connected to their own departments. Call it proper statesmanship, if you like.  This meddling we are witnessing inevitably occurs when there are bigger agendas than just doing your job well. It is not easy for the President to keep his word to fundamentally change this country all by himself, you know.  Come hell or high water, that seems to be the only campaign promise he intends on keeping, with the help of his gang, errr..cabinet, of course.

By the way, don't let it slide by in the confusion of the moment that Madam Secretary let the cat out of the bag in Ecuador 10 days ago during a media interview.  I am curious, was there no American press in the room, and if so, why on earth wouldn't they think it highly news worthy that the President of this country has been caught in yet another deception thanks to the egg Her Highness laid?  Or are they too busy rubber stamping Administration policies to realize when news stares them squarely in the eye?  Just the fact that the governor of a state has to learn such a news from the press of another nation, before she and the citizens that the Secretary is representing were granted the courtesy, should have been stunning enough to any journalist with a trace of integrity left in their useless body. 

Furthermore, I though the Justice Department was studying the law which, by the way, they hadn't read yet as of the beginning of this month.  This President decieving the American public (who support the law by a 2:1 margin) and the governor of Arizona that they were dutifully studying the issue, all the while it was a forgone conclusion that Justice Department will be suing the state?  Hmmmm.  Hard to believe if for the past year and a half you've been living in a cave in Afghanistan or something!

Silly me.  Wasting my time on irrelevant issues such as the systematic destruction of almost everything that has made us the resounding success story America is.

Presidency of Deficits

I decided to call the Obama presidency The Presidency of Deficits.  I am talking about deficits of vision (both here and abroad), leadership, and, of course, the literal fiscal deficits of unparalleled proportions that seriously threaten our very survival as far as the eye can see.

Tuesday night's televised address from the Oval Office was the latest display of the Presidency of Deficits.  The speech was supposed to sooth the nerves of those affected by the Gulf spill by providing a clear picture of what the game plan is - both in the near and long term - to deal with this tragedy and future energy needs.  Instead, during an 18-minute rant, we got more of what we have come to expect from this administration: the blame game and using the tragedy to advance Al Gore-like dubious energy policies. 

Everyone, anywhere on the political spectrum, know that B.P. is the sole responsible party for this tragedy, and accordingly is liable for all the damages arising from it.  That being said, I along with millions of others expected to witness confidence exuding leadership with a solid game plan, but this was to be just the latest in a long line of disappointments.

I did not hear the President taking proactive, concrete steps like waiving the 1920 Jones Act, which would allow other nations' state-of-the-art oil clean up ships to help with the clean up despite the fact that many of them are not manned by Americans or union workers as mandated by the Act.  There are now more than a dozen nations whose offers of assistance have been turned down.  It is not that such a waiver has not been requested either.  The latest request came from the A.G. of Florida, to which the administration's response through Press Secretary Gibbs on last Thursday was "if there is need for any type of waiver it will be granted".  Excuse me?!  If there is need?  Yes, this is the responsiveness of this administration 59 days into an ecological disaster.  That is what happens when you are inextricably in the pockets of the labor unions who are opposing non-union involvement, trial lawyers who obviously stand to gain even more as the magnitude of the disaster increases, and green environmentalists who (as aptly coined by a German politician) are the new red (Marxists for the clueless) willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to advance their radical agenda.

Nor did I hear last night, the President lifting all restrictions on red tape to allow the myriad of private enterprises jumping at the chance to get involved.  But then again, I did not really expect that from an administration that is almost entirely made up of academicians and career bureaucrats - one where private sector experience is clearly despised and shunned (unless you are a player in the corporate cronies like G.E. or Goldman Sachs - in other words, enemies of free markets)

I did not hear him announcing any type of a future state-of-the-art spill clean up contingency plan of any type either (but much to my relief, I heard the creation of a new czardom to add to the existing bureaucracy)

I didn't hear him admit that while American taxpayers have spent billions of dollars over the years since our last energy illiterate president (Carter for those who are clueless) established the DOE, bureaucracies are not there to solve problems, they are their to maintain them - to insure full employment of the bureaucrats.

I did not hear him reversing the moratorium his administration imposed on new drilling despite the recommendations not to impose one by the experts whose opinions they distorted shamelessly.  There was no solution offered to the tens of thousands of jobs that would be lost as a result, or the valuable and rare drilling platforms and equipment being diverted elsewhere.  Nor did I hear an admission of the hypocrisy of lending billions to Brazil for deep water drilling off their shores because George Soros, his other patron (and the puppet master if you ask me), has a vested interest in Brazil off-shore drilling.
I listened hard to catch any criticism of the MMS (Minerals Management Service) - the agency that is supposed to both maximize natural resource royalties from federal lands and regulate the same folks doing the extracting. That sort of self-defeating mission is a recipe for exactly the sort of incompetence and criminality evidenced in not only granting BP the permit to operate this particular platform last year, but over its entire existence.  But I shouldn't have held my breath since his belief in the superiority of governmental bureaucracies is absolute and now that the MMS is the President's own baby in bed with the same companies which donated to his candidacy more than anyone else's.

Regarding energy policy, I did not hear any tax credits, easing of regulations, or other incentives to develop America's 400 year supply of untapped natural gas, drill in the arctic, invest in clean coal technologies, or new generation of nuclear power plants.  We got an earful on green energy and imaginary technologies of tomorrow - costs and American economy be damned -, utilizing among other technologies wind turbines and solar energy, which have amounted to nothing short of economy and job killing ventures in Spain and other EU countries.

Elections have consequences, therefore I do not think that the President's unpresidential attributes, lack of vision and leadership qualities, or his administration's thuggish Chicago way of conducting business can be complained about.  They are simply lessons to be learned by those willing to buy a good story.  As much as majority of the country now deplores this administration's policies as a whole and condemn their actions both here and abroad, this is the price America must pay for its gullibility.

So which is it, Mr. President?  Are you progressives intent on solving any problems, or are you there only to exacerbate them to accrete power under the pretense solving them? 
When even the most ardent media supporters of the President (those in the media responsible for getting this disaster elected in 2008), Keith Olbermann and Chris "thrill up my legs" Matthews, severely criticize the pre-hyped up speech for lack of leadership and vision, or when reliably progressive David Broder of Washington Post characterizes the Administration's response to the crisis impotent, you know that this Presidency of Deficits is on life support.  At this point, we can only hope for an early demise.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Leadership !

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."  --  FDR
"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."  --  JFK
"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."   --  Ronald Reagan

and now.........

"Even though I'm president of the United States, my power is not limitless, so I can't dive down there and plug the hole. I can't suck it up with a straw."  --  Obama


How inspiring!  An alpha dog displays infinitely more leadership while leading a pack!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Was that Again Regarding Keeping Our Plans, Mr. President?

Ahhh the gullible ones who bought the obvious lie that they could keep their health plan if they liked it!  Only if they applied an ounce of critical thinking, they too would have seen the absolute disaster we are headed in to.

According to internal administration draft document on regulations for implementing the new health care reform law that was leaked to congressional Republicans and posted by Congressman Bill Posey, up to 51% of employers may have to relinquish their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare.  Here is the graphical illustration of the findings of the 83 page HHS, IRS, and the Labor Department's study:

Under the new health law, current employer-based health plans will be grandfathered — that is, they will not have to follow many Obama-Care provisions that take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. These include benefit mandates, caps on out-of-pocket expenses and limits on age-based premiums.
But they forfeit that grandfathered status if they make changes to the plans by 2014. If so, firms may have to adopt new plans or drop coverage and pay the penalty.

Under the regulations in the document, a plan is no longer considered to be grandfathered if:
• It eliminates benefits related to diagnosis or treatment of a particular condition.
• It increases the percentage of a cost-sharing requirement (such as co-insurance) above its level as of March 23, 2010.
• It increases the fixed amount of cost-sharing such as deductibles or out-of-pocket limits by a total percentage measured from March 23, 2010, that is more than the sum of medical inflation plus 15 percentage points.
• It increases co-payments from March 23, 2010, by an amount that is the greater of: medical inflation plus 15 percentage points or medical inflation plus $5.
• The employer's share of the premium decreases more than 5 percentage points below what the share was on March 23, 2010.
Analyzing data on employer-provided plans from 2008 and 2009, the report stated: "Many employers who made changes between 2008 and 2009 that would have caused them to relinquish grandfather status did so based on exceeding one of the cost-sharing limits."
In total, 66% of small businesses and 47% of large businesses made a change in their health care plans last year that would have forfeited their grandfathered status.

"These rules will ensure that up to 69% of employees — and 80% of workers in small business — will lose their current plan within three years," said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a physician. "The reality is this: 58% of Americans want ObamaCare repealed because they fear they will lose their health care — and even their jobs — once this law is fully implemented."

Furthermore, last month the Congressional Budget Office released a revised cost estimate of the new health care reform law upping the total cost by $115 billion thereby virtually eliminating the earlier estimated cost savings that was touted by the Majority when the bill passed in March. We all know that even the trillion dollar price tag is a sham since it does not include the critical costs of the Medicare physicians fix, double counts savings since the half trillion from Medicare is going in to Medicaid, and take in to account the favorible impact of factoring 10 years worth of revenues against only six years of costs.
Did anyone honestly think the summonning of the CBO chief to the White House early last year - an unprecedented move by any President till the Chicago Gang - was for a simple social gathering?

Possibly up to half the people losing their plans and much higher costs than originally reported!  And progressive "useful idiots" still think that this was not designed to get us to a single payer system as many Democrats, including the President, openly admitted

Well, at least one Democrat was honest regarding this whole mess:  Nancy Pelosi when she said "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it"

Is There No End to The Lows This Administration Will Stoop To ?

The seven experts who advised President Obama on how to deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion are accusing his administration of misrepresenting their views to make it appear that they supported a six-month drilling moratorium — something they actually oppose.

The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

Salazar’s report to Obama said a panel of seven experts "peer reviewed" his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations. All seven experts flatly denied the claim.
In a letter the experts sent to Salazar, they said his primary recommendation "misrepresents" their position and that halting the drilling is actually a bad idea.

They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years. The best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation’s coastal waters.

Is this another calculated move?  I am not sure but under a Republican administration this alone would be a major scandal.  But be assured, because we have one party media, this unbelievable and dangerous bit of deceit will pass largely unnoticed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Debt in Perspective: Europe, Here We Come

Reuters headlines a Treasury Department report to Congress:  U.S. debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015.

That is a $6 trillion increase (44%) from the current estimated debt of $13.6 trillion by the end of 2010 and a debt to GDP ratio of 102%.  That also represents a $9 trillion (85%) increase in national debt since Obama took over the helm in 2009, and about $10 trillion (105%) increase since his socialist wannabe buddies took over the congress in 2006 (latter figure being more important since it is the president that proposes, but the congress who disposes).  To top it all, the debt figures above are best case scenarios, and we all know about the truly pathetic track record of government estimates with actual overruns ranging from 7 to well over 20 times their original estimates.  Before any of my progressive friends accuse me of partisanship, of course none of the liberal Democrat excesses like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 excuses the G.W. Bush administration's ten-year, $800 billion landmark legacy: Medicare Prescription Plan (or Part D).

Just think for a minute. In less than 9 years since 2006, we will have more than doubled the debt which took the U.S. the first 230 years of its existence to accumulate.  The annual interest paid on that debt alone will likely reach nearly $1 trillion, or $3,200 per each U.S. citizen regardless of age, by 2015.

We have a dual prong problem here in the U.S.  First, an ideological one between the socialist and free market view, and second, one of a flawed political system where self preservation stops the less principled politicians from doing the right thing.  I will write seperate blog entries about these later.
Seriously, are there still so-called economists out there who think that we can grow and prosper if we keep on this debt trajectory (other than Paul Krugman)?  What will it take for serious entitlement reforms to be implemented (since entitlement spending is two thirds of the federal budget and growing)?  Democrat and Republican alike, just paying lip service to reversing the ballooning debt will not prevent the eventual catastrophe that awaits us - collapse of our currency and default at the worst case scenario. 
Finally it is becoming clearer by the day: We have succeeded in emulating Europe better than many realize.

Responsibility or Lack Thereof ?

How ironic.....the man with unquestionably the thinnest skin in politics, who has incessantly blamed everything on nearly everyone from the previous administration to Wall Street to corporate greed, preaches about responsibility and not pointing a finger at others for our own failings.

How about taking your share of the responsibility, and apologizing for:

- having temporarily fooled the gullible 53% of the electorate that you were a moderate and that it would not be business as usual in Washington after you took office
- having more than a dozen lobbyists as well as all sorts of self admitted revolutionary, Marxist radicals (the ones you could not stay away from throughout your life) in your administration
- using Chicago style strong arm tactics in dealing with anyone or group who disagrees with your radical left views
- your administration's scandalous actions such as firing Inspector General Walprin for having caught your corrupt friends red handed, or dropping the ball on prosecuting the Black Panthers for intimidating voters with baseball clubs, or any one of literally dozens of other scandals that your water carriers in the media have tried to cover up for you
- the private investors that you threw overboard in favor of your buddies in the labor unions,
effectively transferring their wealth
- the reckless and lackluster government response to the Gulf oil spill
- the persistent, near 10%, unemployment rate that you said would not surpass 8% if the congress passed the failed trillion+ dollar so-called stimulus and subsequent spending bills
- having abdicated the leadership (moral and otherwise) of the U.S. and thus turned the world order upside down, where tyrannical regimes in Iran, N. Korea, Venezuela, etc. have gained stature in the face of your appeasement policies, while our friends in Israel, Colombia, Honduras, and elsewhere are paying the price of your lack of vision, experience, and belief in American exceptionalism
- continued disregard for the American public opinion on the health care reform bill, enforcement of immigration laws, a wide range of environmental initiatives including the cap and trade bill, and continued deficit spending - all of which the public opposes by a 2:1 to 3:1 margin.............

Yes, Mr. President, there is a lot more shameful, scandalous, radical actions you and your fellow progressives have taken that need to be taken responsibility for, but those whose political philosophy has evolved around skirting responsibility, destroying anything to do with free markets, and rewarding behaviors that undermine the civil society can not be expected to do so.

As for you comments to the high school students whose futures your policies are destroying, if it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Crisis That Seemingly Will Not Be Wasted

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."  Though a sentiment expressed by the President's right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, it embodies the Chicago way of doing business - the only way - this White House is fond of. Could the Obama Administration's non-timely response to the environmental disaster in the Gulf have been calculated to achieve a desired result?  You judge.

The Hill reported yesterday that Mr. Obama's speech to the graduates of Carnegie Mellon University included his committment to getting the votes necessary to pass a Senate version of the disasterous climate bill that the House passed last year.  Until recently, climate bill was left for dead in the senate as voters are in no mood for economy killing measures.

Obama said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows that “we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth — risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes.” (of course, never mind the simple fact that the same lefy environmentalists are the reason why BP is drilling in deep water rather than shallow water or on dry land in Anwar)

It is a little more than just suspicious that a dead bill would be resuccitated this soon after an environmental disaster, which the Administration did not respond to with any urgency.

The way President Obama and his aides tell it, his administration instantly grasped the severity of what had happened.
"I want to emphasize, from Day 1, we have prepared and planned for the worst," Obama said.
Well, not exactly...not before or since the disaster ocurred.
The MMS (Minerals Management Service) is a government agency under the control of Obama. Obama cannot separate himself from the role of MMS in this matter and he is ultimately responsible for the successes or failure of that agency. Obama appointed S. Elizabeth Birmbaum to be the head of that agency in 2009. It was Obama's MMS that gave BP a waiver on April 6, 2009 that exempted BP from EPA requirements.
It was Obama's MMS that gave BP (and many others) permission to drill that well without a NOAA permit.
It was Obama's MMS that decided in 2009 that an acoustically-controled shut-off valve (BOP) would not be required as a last resort against underwater spills at this and other sites.
It was the Obama administration that dithered when this episode first started, and that seems to have led to a much more devastating incident. Obama did not address the issue for more than a week because he was busy traveling around complaining about an Arizona immigration enforcement law that he had not read, and he had fund raising dinners to attend. Obama's EPA head couldn't address the issue for more than a week because she was busy attending Earth Day events all over the country and appearing on the Daily Show with John Stewart.
The government had plans in place to address an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that were included in legislation and regulations passed in 1986, 1990, 1994 and later. NOAA had the "In-Situ-Burn plan that was developed in 1994 to respond to this type of incident. The 1994 plan included a burn waiver that would have allowed responders to immediately begin burning off oil without having to go through the 10 day plus federal permit process. Did Obama implement the "In-Situ-Burn" plan? No!
The burn plan was not implemented because the government did not own a fire resistant oil boom. The booms only cost a few hundred thousand dollars each, and one boom is capable of burning 75,000 gallons of oil an hour or 1,800,000 gallons a day. The Gulf of Mexico was calm enough to use the booms for the first 3 days of the incident, and one boom could have burned 5.4 million gallons of oil during that 3 day period.
The government should have had a stockpile of those booms laying around the Gulf states in case of an emergency. Each boom costs less than a half million dollars and it's not like the government didn't have the money. In 1986 Congress created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. That fund placed a tax on every gallon of oil pumped out of the ground in this country, and the money was to be used to address the costs associated with oil spills. The president signed a law into place in 1990 which authorized the use of the money deposited in the Fund. There should have been plenty of money in the fund to buy a few spare oil booms. We don't know if the administrations of Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2 never bought the booms in the first place, or were the booms lost or damaged, but that doesn't matter. What we do know is that this spill happened 16 months into the Obama term. The lack of oil booms is Obama's responsibility.

The Obama administration eventually got around to asking a midwest contractor if they could borrow their oil boom almost a week into the incident. By that time the gulf was too rough to effectively use the booms. The government also asked the contractor to contact other countries to see if we could borrow their booms. Obama was too busy to contact other world leaders (you know.., the world leaders who supposedly love Obama) to borrow their booms and left that responsibility to the small contractor who really had no connection to the issue.
It almost looks as if someone in the administration let this thing go on to capitalize of the negative publicity towards oil drilling it would garner. Why wasn't Obama on the phone asking for help from countries that are experts on oil spill incidents? Maybe Obama was not calling the leaders of those other countries because those countries were calling us with offers of help. It has now been discovered that many countries contacted us with offers to help, but the Obama regime made a deliberate decision to refuse their assistance.
"Late Wednesday evening, the State Department emailed reporters identifying the 13 entities that had offered the U.S. oil spill assistance. They were the governments of Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.
"These offers include experts in various aspects of oil spill impacts, research and technical expertise, booms, chemical oil dispersants, oil pumps, skimmers, and wildlife treatment," the email read.
"While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future."
Who in the heck in this administration is going to get fired for deciding to ask a small oil contractor in the midwest to call around the world begging for oil booms when officials in the Obama administration refused the help of at least 13 countries that are experts in oil spill operations. I'm no law expert, but to me the refusal of the Obama administration to accept the help of the other countries that raced to help us appears to almost be criminal, and certainly made a bad situation worse.

Then, of course, we have the request by Louisiana governor to build sand berms to salvage the coastline and marshes that are being decimated.  How long did it take the Army Corps of Engineers to allow 4 berms to be built (not the 16 requested)?  Try 14 days!  All this while this president was entertaining singers and travelling for political fundraising.  Remind you a little of Nero while Rome was burning?

The situation in fact got so bad that it is not only James Carville (the Democrat attack dog of choice) but the president's closest media allies who started complaining. 

The simple question boils down to this:  Is the Obama Administration this incompetent (being staffed to the hilt with nothing but academicians, and other non private sector ideologues, the answer is yes) or is there another agenda?  My money is split between the two since this crisis is clearly not being wasted in Rahm Emanuel's words.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Response to Hillary's Dubious Claim

"Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what - they're growing like crazy." -- Hillary Clinton

...And now for reality:

Data source: Google (based on World Bank data).

Growth in GDP (market prices based on constant local currency) from 1990 to 2008:
Panama: 189%
Chile: 168%
Costa Rica: 154%
Peru: 121%
Argentina: 111%
Brazil: 63%

Tax revenue as percent of GDP (most recent year):
Panama: 10.7%
Chile: 18.9%
Costa Rica: 15.2%
Peru: 15.7%
Argentina: 24.5%
Brazil: 35.3%
Sources: Google (based on World Bank data) and Heritage Foundation's 2010 Index of Economic Freedom (use the "Find Your Country" search and look at fiscal data)

So much for the "smartest woman" in politics, as the left likes to refer to her.  You know, facts and progressives - they do not mix well!