Raising Taxes While Calling It Something Else

The New York Post posted an editorial yesterday on the President’s proposals to deal with the debt ceiling.  The Post quoted some of the language used at the President’s press conference:

“”The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of” — that is, the tax hikes he wants to impose — “are for millionaires and billionaires . . . oil companies and hedge-fund companies and corporate-jet owners,” Obama said.

Choosing “to keep those tax breaks” — that is, to avoid hikes — “means we got to cut kids off from getting a college scholarship” and “stop funding certain grants for medical research.”

“Not only that: “Food safety may be compromised,” he warned. “Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden . . . ”

“Why not just predict the end of all life as we know it, absent tax hikes?”


This is ridiculous.  Does anyone actually believe that every dollar spent by the federal government is so critical that a spending cut will endanger lives?

On July 11, 2010, the Washington Examiner reported:

“…The story for public sector employment, however, is quite the opposite. At 4.4 percent, the unemployment rate among government workers is almost exactly half that of the private sector. But the insulation of government workers from the market realities that private sector workers face is far from the whole story. The federal work force is expanding, not contracting, thanks to Obama initiatives like a health care program that adds 16,000 new Internal Revenue Service enforcers to ensure compliance with the individual mandate. Between December 2008 and December 2009, the federal government added nearly 100,000 new positions.”

Somehow I don’t think not having enough money for the government is the problem.  As the government grows, the private sector shrinks.  The President might want to keep that in mind as he continues he quest to lower unemployment.

Can A Tax Hike Get Through The House Of Representatives ?

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about President Obama’s press conference.  Mr. Hinderaker points out that most Americans understand that the debt problem has more to do with spending than it does with lack of taxes. 

The article posts John Boehner’s response to the President’s press conference:

“The President’s remarks today ignore legislative and economic reality, and demonstrate remarkable irony. His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending. Republicans have been leading and offering solutions to put the brakes on this spending binge. The President has been AWOL from that debate.

“The President is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the House. The votes simply aren’t there – and they aren’t going to be there, because the American people know tax hikes destroy jobs. They also know Washington has been on a spending binge for many years, and they will only tolerate a debt limit increase if we stop it.

“The new majority in the House is going to stand with the American people. A debt limit increase can only pass the House if it includes spending cuts larger than the debt limit increase; includes reforms to hold down spending in the future; and is free from tax hikes. The longer the President denies these realities, the more difficult he makes this process. If the president embraces a measure that meets these tests, he has my word that the House will act on it. Anything less cannot pass the House.”

That pretty much sums it up.  The voters made it clear in 2010 that they did not support the tax and spend programs currently happening in Washington.  Any Republican or Democrat that is up for reelection in 2012 will not be willing to vote for any tax increases.  The class warfare may work on some people, but most Americans are smarter than that.

What Happens When Things Are Done Right

Yesterday a website called postcrescent.com posted an article detailing what has happened as a result of the law passed in Wisconsin after the heated budget debate.  The changes in collective bargaining rules for public employees went into effect yesterday, and there has already been an impact.  The budget of the Kaukauna Area School District will move from a projected deficit of $400,000 to a $1.5 million surplus due to healthcare and retirement savings. 

The article reports:

“The Kaukauna School Board approved changes Monday to its employee handbook that require staff to cover 12.6 percent of their health insurance and to contribute 5.8 percent of their wages to the state’s pension system, in accordance with the new collective bargaining law, commonly known as Act 10.

“”These impacts will allow the district to hire additional teachers (and) reduce projected class sizes,” School Board President Todd Arnoldussen wrote in a statement Monday. “In addition, time will be available for staff to identify and support students needing individual assistance through individual and small group experiences.””

If the change in the law results in smaller class sizes (which it is expected to do), isn’t that what the teachers said they wanted? 

It is interesting that this information comes out just before the Republicans face their recall election on July 12 and the Democrats on July 19.  The voters of Wisconsin will have the last word on whether they approve of the antics involved in blocking (or passing) the law which changed union collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Further Proof Of The Insanity Of The United Nations

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting that North Korea became the president of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament as of Tuesday.

The article reports:

“According to the U..N. summary of the meeting, North Korea’s So Se Pyong addressed the 65-member arms control forum, saying that “he was very much committed to the Conference and during his presidency he welcomed any sort of constructive proposals that strengthened the work and credibility of the body.””

The article further reports that Syria (despite recent brutality toward civilians) is set to join the United Nations Human Rights Council.

One way to cut the United States budget would be to stop paying our United Nations dues and kick the organization out of New York City.

Disturbing Senate Testimony

Fox News reported yesterday on testimony from Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, nominated to replace Gen. Petraeus as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan. 

This is his response to questions being asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham:

GRAHAM: The option that the country has chosen through President Obama is to withdraw 10,000 this year, all surge forces gone by September. Is it fair to say, General Allen, that was not one of the options presented to the president by General Petraeus?

ALLEN: It is a more aggressive option than that which was presented.

GRAHAM: My question is, was that a option?

ALLEN: It was not.

If you follow the link above, you can read more of the testimony.  What we have here is a Commander-in-Chief with no military experience ignoring the advice of one of his most experienced generals.  This is a political calculation–not a winning strategy.  This is highly unfortunate and will harm America’s war effort and America’s image around the world.

Following The Example Of Republican Governors

Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia, posted an article at the Wall Street Journal on Saturday detailing some of the progress some Republican state governors have made in dealing with their state budget deficits.

For example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law this week that will reform the health-care and pension benefits paid to state employees.  The law will bring the contributions of the state employees more into line with the contributions made by employees in the private sector.

Governor McDonnell relates what has happened in Virginia since he took office:

“When I became governor of Virginia in January 2010 we faced two historic budget shortfalls totaling $6 billion. The proposals to close these shortfalls spanned the philosophical spectrum. Shortly before leaving office, my predecessor, outgoing Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, put forward a massive $1.8 billion income-tax hike as one of his solutions.

“I knew that in an economy struggling to recover, raising taxes was a nonstarter. So we set forth on a different path. We balanced Virginia’s books by reducing state spending to 2006 levels, putting in place a hiring freeze in state government, making conservative revenue estimates and incentivizing state employees to save taxpayer dollars. The result was a budget surplus just a few months later.”

The proof is in the pudding.  The article goes on to list other Republican governors who have made changes in their states to improve the business climate, cut deficits, and create jobs.  These governors include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and Florida Governor Rick Scott. 

Governor McDonnell concludes:

“There’s a reason that no Republican governor seeking re-election has lost a general election since 2007, while three Democrat governors have fallen in that same period. Voters expect their state executives to make tough decisions with future generations, not weekly polls, in mind. That’s exactly what Republican governors have done and what President Obama has failed to do. And that contrast will make a difference at the ballot box in November 2012, to the advantage of the Republican presidential nominee.”

Because we have a President who does not seem to understand basic economics, the chances of our getting out of the current recession or debt problem without a change of direction from his administration are very slim.  President Obama needs to follow the example of the Republican governors who have lowered spending, lowered taxes, and created an environment the grows jobs. 

I’ve Heard This Song Before

Townhall.com posted an article on the President’s news conference this morning.  The article pointed out that President Obama called for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans while demonizing the oil and gas industry.  Does anyone remember the history of raising taxes on the ‘wealthiest Americans?’

The website Watching America reminded us in March of this year:

“The U.S. enacted a luxury tax in November 1990, established by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush. Buyers of private yachts, planes, furs, jewelries and luxury cars are levied excise taxes. When luxury goods exceed certain prices, they are charged with excise taxes. For example, yachts below $100,000 are taxed at regular rates, and for yachts above $100,000, in addition to the regular rates, a 10 percent tax is charged on the excess amount.

“At that time, the bill was idealistic and simple to understand — only the rich can afford luxury items, and a tax on the rich fulfills social justice. Although the bill violates Bush’s election promise to “not raise taxes” during his term as president, he did not receive much opposition in proposing the luxury tax.

“However, in August 1993, two years after its introduction, the U.S. Congress decided to end the “luxury tax” because the tax revenues were disappointing and the livelihoods of common folks who made a living by selling “luxury items” were negatively impacted.”


The increase in taxes had the necessary effect–the Democrats attacked George H. W. Bush during the 1992 election campaign because he had raised taxes, the economy went into a slump, people were unhappy about the recession, and Bill Clinton was elected as President.

Part of the problem here is that 92 per cent of the people in the Obama administration have no business experience. 

Start Thinking Right posted this list of the percentage of people with business experience in past presidential administrations:

T. Roosevelt…….. 38%
Wilson …………….. 52%
Coolidge………….. 48%
Hoover…………….. 42%
F. Roosevelt……… 50%
Eisenhower………. 57%
Kennedy………….. 30%
Nixon………………. 53%
Ford………………… 42%
Carter………………. 32%
GH Bush………….. 51%
Clinton …………….. 39%
GW Bush…………. 55%

The number for the Obama administration is 8%.

As states begin to cut back their bloated governments to make ends meet, it is time for the federal government to follow their example.  I do not support raising the debt ceiling unless there are some serious spending cuts.  The President can make all the speeches and hold all the press conferences he wants, but all that he is doing is convincing me that he has no clue as to how to turn this economy around.  He needs to start listening to the Republicans (highly unlikely) if he truly wants to see our economy recover.

A Short Rant

As the debt ceiling approaches and the talks on how to deal with it seem to be floundering, there are a lot of suggestions as how to deal with our national debt.  There is also the concept of ‘shared sacrifice’ being thrown around.  I just want to make a few observations about what ‘shared sacrifice’ means to Democrat legislators.  ‘Shared sacrifice’ means taking money from the people who worked for it and earned it and giving it to people who did not.  You think I am kidding?  Have you heard the discussions on the need to ‘means test’ Social Security and Medicare?  As a senior citizen, I object–I have paid into Social Security all of my working life, and I have paid into Medicare for most of my working life.  I might be open to some means testing for Medicare if Obamacare had not robbed $500 billion dollars from the program, but I am not open to means testing under current circumstances.  As for Social Security, most living Americans have paid into Social Security all or most of their working lives.  Congress has, through the years, chosen to spend the taxes collected for Social Security for other things.  I don’t believe that I should be penalized for their fiscal irresponsibility.  Let’s means test their retirement!  Also keep in mind, if you means test Social Security, you are simply setting up a welfare program for old people that everyone is forced to contribute to, but everyone cannot collect from.  People who pay into the system all their lives and work hard for their future will be penalized, and people who do not plan for the future will be rewarded.  Is that a lesson we want to teach anyone?  If you want to means test Social Security, you need to give taxpayers the option of not paying money into it if they agree not to collect from it.

A New 12-Step Program

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about Larry Kudlow’s suggestion to Laura Ingraham on how to get the economy growing again.  Amid his suggestions, he made an interesting observation:

“:I have never seen–the Democratic Party has an obsession over the Bush tax cuts.  It’s like, whatever the problem is they repeal the tax cuts.  It’s like they need a 12-step program to deal with their obsession and anger over the Bush tax cuts.””

In the process of the conversation, he also made a few very positive suggestions about how to turn around the economy:

“…a nice simple plan, significant spending cuts to deal with the debt problem.  And then at the same time, slash the business tax rate to 15 percent, with no deductions and stop all of this rhetoric about ending the Bush tax cuts, particularly for the small business owners and the most successful earners.”

That is the kind of program that will put America back on the path to prosperity.

Why Allowing Burkas To Be Worn Is A Security Risk

DVIDS (defense video & imagery distribution system) reported today that a senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader and two associates were captured during a nighttime security operation in Kunduz District, Kunduz province, Afghanistan yesterday. 

The article reports:

“The leader, who also supported the Taliban network, was responsible for planning attacks against the Afghan National Police. He also facilitated suicide bomb operations and coordinated attacks against other Afghan security forces.”

The leader attempted to disguise himself as a female by wearing a burka.  This is not the first time the burka has been used to disguise a terrorist to escape from American or Afghan forces.  The burka has also been used to hide suicide bombs used in attacks in Iraq.  Frankly, you can hide a lot under a burka. 

The Kind Of News Story That Just Makes Me Want To Scream

My local paper, The Attleboro Sun Chronicle posted a story today entitled, “Growing up in a porn culture.”  The article is the first part of a two-part series precipitated by the rape of a 14-year old girl at a local middle school in Attleboro by a 15-year-old boy.  The article cites a number of other incidents involving teen or preteen boys attacking girls. 

The article reports:

“The pervasive nature of pornography, both in print and on the Internet, and sexually exploitive behavior on TV and in the movies, some say, are increasingly influencing adolescents – especially boys – to adopt casual or irresponsible attitudes toward the opposite sex.”

I am not in any way shape or form an expert, but I am an observer, and I take issue with this statement.  The strongest influence on children, even through their teen years, is the family they grow up in.  Not what they are taught–but what they see.  If dad has an attitude problem dealing with mom, children pick that up.  If dad generally respects women, the children pick that up.  I am not condoning the porn culture we live in–it exists, but there are ways to combat it.  First of all–put any computer children or teens have access to in an area where mom or dad can see what is on the screen.  You don’t have to look over their shoulder, but the fact that you can should be enough to keep them somewhat in line.  Secondly–as a parent, you are in charge of the video games they play in your house.  They may play junk in other places, but you are in charge in your house.  You are also in charge of what they watch on television in your house.  You can’t control the world, but you can control the environment in your home.

Our society is not responsible for the rape of this young girl–a very disturbed young man is responsible for that.  You can debate why he is disturbed or how he got disturbed, but he is guilty.  This is not a childhood prank–this is an assault on a young woman, and the young man needs serious counseling and a serious attitude adjustment.  If the counseling and attitude adjustment do not occur, he needs to be locked up for a very long time.  I honestly do not know if there is hope for a 15-year old who is guilty of rape.  We could get into a discussion about the impact a spiritual change can have on a person’s life, and I believe that would be the only answer, but barring that, society needs to be protected.  I hope at least the 15-year old has been kicked out of school.

I Really Don’t Think This Is A Step In The Right Direction

I have recently listened to a person I am close to explain to me that all the government of Afghanistan really wants from America is American money.  His claim is that as long as they get American money, they really don’t care a lot about what happens in their country.  I attempted to argue with this person, but sometimes things happen that make me wonder if he is right.  This is one of those times.

On Saturday, Reuters reported that Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi visited Afghanistan on Saturday to strengthen ties between the two countries as American forces prepare to leave.

The article reports:

“”The Islamic Republic of Iran considers Afghanistan’s security as its own security, has put a lot of effort towards stability in Afghanistan and will continue to help in this regard,” Iranian state broadcaster IRIB quoted Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying.”

This is the international equivalent of the fox worrying about the safety of the hens in the henhouse and offering to help protect them. 

Ahmad Vahidi is listed on the Interpol website as a wanted criminal.  He is suspected of participating in the bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1994.  He is also reportedly the former commander of the Qods Force of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps).  Generally speaking, he is not someone who would be interested in supporting a democracy in Afghanistan that has freedom of religion and freedom of speech.  In parenting terms, he is not someone you would want your children hanging around with.

The Reuters article further reports:

“While Iran will be happy to see the start of a drawdown in U.S. troops, it is concerned about drug smuggling from Afghanistan — the world’s biggest exporter of opiates — and the presence of al Qaeda in the region.

“U.S. military officers have long alleged Iranian support for the Taliban. Britain said this year that NATO had identified a cache of weapons seized in Afghanistan as coming from Iran and destined for Taliban insurgents.

“Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that his office receives “bags of money” from Iran, which he says is a form of aid that helps cover presidential palace expenses.”

This is what happens when you don’t actually win the war and make fundamental changes in the way the country is run.  That is the difference between Afghanistan now and Japan after World War II–Japan’s culture was alien to western culture.  Now, Japan has kept its individuality as a nation, but has become a positive force among the nations of the world.

Why The Internet Is Successful As A News Source

Newsbusters posted an article yesterday about an on-air conversation between Andrew Breitbart and John Stossel that occurred on Fox Business News on Thursday.  As the two men chatted, John Stossel admitted that Andrew Breitbart had offered him the James O’Keefe/Hannah Giles/ACORN scoop and that he had refused it due to network politics (he worked for ABC at the time). 

The question I have is this, “If ABC’s politics and policies were such that John Stossel refused to air a valid news story, does Mr. Stossel have more freedom at Fox Business Network?” 

How much of the news is the American public not exposed to because of the political bias of the media reporting it?  That is why I am willing to surf the internet to find the stories the mainstream media did not carry.

Be Careful Who You Partner With

There is a story going around the internet stating that the partnership between Delta Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines could present a problem for certain Delta travelers.  Saudi Arabian Airlines is expected to join the SkyTeam Alliance that Delta is a part of.

CBN News reported today that there were concerns about whether or not Jewish-Americans would be allowed on Saudi Arabia airlines.  The article reports:

“”Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false,” Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir said in statement sent to CBN News Friday.

“”The Government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion,” he said.

“Delta issued a statement Friday rejecting the discrimination claims. The airline company said it does not operate in Saudi Arabia nor does it “codeshare” (sell Delta seats on flights operated by other carriers) with airlines that serve that country.”

On Friday, Hot Air posted an article which reported some of the history a Jewish traveler in Saudi Arabia:

“Here’s an interesting series of communications from a few years ago involving a Jewish woman traveling with a group to the Kingdom whose visa was denied, even though everyone else’s was approved. No one knows why, said her travel agent, but “it is likely religion played a significant role.” It’s easier to get away with discrimination when it’s informal and ad hoc than when it’s codified in some formal policy, so yeah, needless to say, don’t expect the Saudis ever to admit that Jews sometimes are held to a different standard when applying for entry.”

This is a story that needs to be watched and the airlines held to their word that there will not be discrimination against any passengers on their flights or the flights of any other members of the SkyTeam Alliance.

The article at Hot Air also points out:

“I regret singling out Delta yesterday, although I noted (twice) that United and presumably many other airlines also serve the Kingdom. This isn’t a “Delta problem,” it’s a western-world problem shared by Delta insofar as we happily do business with the Saudis despite some truly nasty informal — and formal — discriminatory policies. (Try getting a church or synagogue built there.)”

I understand that businessmen need to make money and that overseas markets and expansion are important, but I truly think we need to take a good look at who we do business with.  Energy dependence has cost us much more than dollars, and our relationship with Saudi Arabia is one example of that.

Are We Expecting The Impossible ?

The goal of the war in Afghanistan as stated by President Obama is to reach a place where the Afghans can defend their country against a Taliban takeover and move forward as a democracy.  It sounds really good, but in a article posted in the National Review Online yesterday, Andrew McCarthy lists a few problems with the basic concept.

Mr. McCarthy cites the case of Pfc. Nasser Abdo, a Muslim American soldier who refused to deploy to Afghanistan. Heeding the admonitions of CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood operatives, the Pentagon accepted the claim that sharia forbids Muslims from assisting infidels in a war against Muslim forces in an Islamic land.  Pfc Abdo has been granted “conscientious objector” status on his claim that sharia forbids Muslims from assisting infidels in a war against Muslim forces in an Islamic land. 

Mr. McCarthy points out:

“News Flash One: The war in Afghanistan, an Islamic land, is a war waged by infidels (that would be us) against Muslim forces — the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, etc.

“News Flash Two: The operating theory of the American counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in Afghanistan is that the hearts and minds of the population of this tribal sharia society will side with us non-Muslims in a war against their fellow Muslims, most of whom are also their fellow Afghans.”

We are going to ask Muslims to go against sharia law (parts of which have been written into their country’s constitution) and prevent the Taliban (fellow Muslims) from again taking over Afghanistan.  Right.

Mr. McCarthy further points out:

“There’s just one problem with it. Okay, there’s a ton of problems, but let’s get to the big one: If we acknowledge that sharia is a valid reason not to send an American Muslim to fight against his fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, what on earth makes us think the Afghan Muslims are going to fight their fellow Afghan Muslims in furtherance of American national-security interests?”

I don’t even have a clue what the right answer is here.  I think we need to follow our own example of Germany and Japan and win the war, then partially redo the culture to bring Afghanistan into the 21st century.  However, if our great friends the Saudis won’t even let women drive in their country and have no problem with that, I think changing the culture in any way may not be possible.  I wonder if it would be better just to make it known that any terrorist attack on the United States or any of its assets or people abroad will be met with unbelievable force and would be a really bad idea.

War And Domestic Politics

Yesterday the U. K. Telegraph posted an article on President Obama’s speech last week on his plans for the war in Afghanistan.  The article pointed out that the President was ignoring the advice of his generals in order to do bring home the troops before the 2012 election.  What the withdrawal timetable spelled out by President Obama means is that we will not have the full number of forces in Afghanistan during this fighting season and we will have a very limited number of troops there in the second half of the next fighting season.  President Obama preivously committed in 2009 to remain for two Afghan fighting seasons.  I believe he has broken faith with his generals, America’s allies who are helping us in this effort, and the Afghan people. 

The sad part of this is that many of the Republican candidates for President have signed on to this plan.  I think we are endangering our troops by drawing down their numbers prematurely.  We have a military comprised of awesome people, I hope they will be able to perform the miracle that will be needed to make this plan work.

What Recovery ?

This chart is from a Power Line article posted today.  As you can see, our recovery from the current recession does not quite look like the recoveries from prior recessions. 



Recession Chart.jpg


The article further points out:

“Meanwhile, if you want to see where there is real job growth occurring, forget “green” jobs. Turns out old-fashioned “brown jobs” are where the action is. Nine of the 11 fastest-growing job sectors right now are drilling-related. Forget red and blue states in the next election. The real divide might be between fossil fuels states and the states still trying to break wind for their energy and economy.”

It’s time to drill, baby, drill.  The only way that is going to happen is if America votes Republican in 2012.

Can I Get A Subsidy For My Tomato Plants ?

Fox Business reported yesterday that, “An estimated 90,000 people living in 350 ciites and towns across the country got nearly $400 million in taxpayer-funded crop subsidies last year…”

The Environmental Working Group, working with a Senate Agricultural committee to review farm spending, released the data.  Farm subsidies began in the Great Depression and were instituted to help struggling farmers keep their farms. 

The article further reports:

“But the group says an estimated $394 million in farm subsidies have been given to “absentee land owners and investors living in every major American city.”

“It adds that “in 2010, 7,767 residents of just five Texas cities – Lubbock, Amarillo, Austin, San Angelo and Corpus Christi – collected $61,748,945 in taxpayer-funded subsidies. Residents of Lubbock booked $24,839,154 in payments, putting it at the top of cities with 100,000+ populations that are home to farm subsidy recipients,” the watchdog group said in a statement.”

Meanwhile, Victor Davis Hanson asked in the New York Post yesterday:

“Net farm income is expected in 2011 to reach its highest levels in more than three decades, as a rapidly growing and food-short world increasingly looks to the United States to provide it everything from soybeans and wheat to beef and fruit. Yet the department this year will give a record $20 billion in various crop “supports” to the nation’s wealthiest farmers — with the richest 10 percent receiving over 70 percent.If farmers on their own are making handsome profits, why, with a $1.6 trillion annual federal deficit, is the USDA borrowing unprecedented amounts to subsidize them?”


What in the world is the government doing?  It seems to me that before we talk about cutting entitlements, we need to talk about basic wasteful and unnecessary spending.  Why in the world would we even consider raising the debt ceiling when the government is not even spending the tax money it receives wisely?  Getting money from the government has become a racket.  It’s time for it to end.

Watching The Media Spin

Today Newsbusters posted a transcript from an interview done on C-SPAN of Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota.  When the subject turned to Michele Bachmann. Representative Ellison repeated the normal liberal Democrat talking points–I support equality for everyone, prosperity for the working class, freedom for everyone, economic policies that give everyone a chance, etc.  He then summarized his statement by saying:

“I think on those things Michele and I don’t agree.  Probably, down the line, she would probably say no to everything I just said.  But I believe in liberty and justice for all, no exceptions, you know, everybody, all religions, all colors, all faiths.”

The interviewer, Peter Slen, host of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, then moved on to the next subject.  It is news to me that Michele Bachmann does not stand for liberty and justice for all.  I was under the distinct impression that she started the Tea Party Caucus in order to further those exact goals.  I think what she opposes is government interference in the everyday lives of Americans, and the redistribution of weath that this administration is currently attempting.  It’s a shame the interviewer did not challenge the statement that Michele Bachmann is against liberty and justice for all.  This is the kind of sloppy interview that gives the mainstream media a bad name.

A Rose By Any Other Name…

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about the move by Al Qaeda to rebrand itself to make itself more popular.  Evidently the documents seized when Osama bin Laden was captured show that this was something on his mind.  There are a lot of really bad jokes that come to mind when you read the first sentence of this article, but this is a serious matter that could have major repercussions in the Middle East. 

As much as I would like to say that the courage and bravery of the American soldier has been totally responsible for the decline of Al Qaeda, that is only part of the story.  The article at Power Line points out:

“…When al Qaeda issued a call for terrorists from around the world to go to Iraq and fight, some argued that this broadening of the war showed the folly of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, others that it offered an opportunity for a decisive victory over al Qaeda. What actually happened was that foreign terrorists were so brutal and indiscriminate in their mass murder that they decisively alienated not just the Iraqi population generally, but leaders of what had been the Sunni resistance to American occupation. Many of those Sunni leaders joined forces with us and our allies, which allowed the eventual pacification of the country. Meanwhile, as bin Laden conceded, the same brutality that alienated Iraqis put off other Muslims around the world. This, combined with the fact that al Qaeda was defeated in Iraq, thereby proving to be the weak horse rather than the strong one, probably did play a key role in the continuing decline of that organization.”

This is an interesting observation for a number of reasons.  Remember the Democrat Congressmen and Congresswomen who screamed that the war in Iraq was not related to Al Qaeda or that Al Qaeda was not in Iraq?  Also keep in mind that the Sunni awakening played a large role in the success of the military surge in Iraq.  The other part of the success of the surge was the tenacity of President Bush, who was willing to go against public opinion to get the job done.  Unfortunately, we currently have a president who would not be willing to do that.

I am glad that we managed to kill bin Laden before he had a chance to launch his public relations campaign.  I am not sure it would have been successful, but the thought of having to write “Monotheism and Jihad Group” every time I want to say Al Qaeda makes my head hurt.

When Increased Spending And High Taxes Have Partially Caused Our Economic Slowdown, Why Should We Do More Of The Same ?

National Review posted an article yesterday about the problems with the deficit negotiations that Vice-President Biden is overseeing between the Republicans and Democrats.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) walked out of those negotiations yesterday stating that the talks had repeated stalled over the Democrats demand that taxes be raised in order to deal with the deficit. 

The article reports:

“House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told reporters he sympathized with Cantor’s decision. “I know the frustration that he feels when Democrat members continue to want to bring tax hikes into this conversation and insist that we’ve got to raise taxes on the American people,” he said at weekly press briefing. “A tax hike cannot pass the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s not just a bad idea; it doesn’t have the votes, and it can’t happen. . . . The American people don’t want us to raise taxes.””

I really don’t understand the strategy of the Democrats on this.  The 2010 elections revealed an involved electorate willing to work for lower taxes and smaller government.  I realize that these are not popular concepts with the current Administration and its buddies in Congress, but they are, in fact, the desire of the majority of Americans.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), representing the Republican Senators in the negotiations, has also walked out of the negotiations. 

The article points out the recent history of tax hikes in Congress:

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) reiterated his party’s position that tax hikes are “a poison pill” to any potential deal to reduce the deficit. “We know that a tax hike would never make it through Congress,” he said. “Not because of Republican opposition — but because of Republican and Democratic opposition. We’ve already had the votes to prove it.””

Unfortunately, we have entered the ‘silly season’ at a time that is critical in the survival of our nation.  If we don’t get our spending under control, we will rapidly become a third-world country.  Hopefully, we have enough grown-ups in Congress to prevent this.

Bad Strategy In Order To Avoid Common Sense

The internet posted a few articles yesterday and today about President Obama’s decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) this month.  The common sense question either in the articles or the comments goes something like this:  “Why are we releasing the oil from the SPR while blocking domestic oil production?”

Fox News posted an article yesterday saying:

“Rather than draw down on these limited reserves, Obama ought to speed up the red-tape-entangled permitting process for offshore drilling projects at home and increase lease sales to domestic reserves.  In fact, if the president truly valued the American consumer and domestic energy security, he would never have enacted his job-crushing, energy-killing drilling moratorium in the Gulf last year–followed by a refusal to grant permits.

“According to the House Natural Resources Committee, the ban cost us 900,000 barrels of domestically produced oil every day–a total of about 135 million barrels, more than four times the amount the president is now sacrificing a security asset in order to tap.  In this case it’s Obama’s Gulf ‘permitorium’ that constituted the real supply disruption.”

John Hinderaker at Power Line observes:

“No one pretends that this is the intended use of the strategic reserve–the administration is just trying to get past the Fourth of July without too much political fallout from gas prices–nor does anyone think that a one-time influx of oil will have any long-term impact on energy costs. Still, the administration’s action is revealing: if you want to keep prices down, what do you do? You increase supply.

“That being the case, why has the Democratic Party done everything in its power for more than 30 years to suppress domestic production of oil? Let’s consider some sources of petroleum that the Democrats have blocked. ANWR is estimated to have the capacity to produce 1,000,000 barrels per day. Currently, around 1.5 million barrels per day are produced in the Gulf of Mexico; if the Obama administration would stop blocking permits and allow that production to increase by only 20 percent, that would be 300,000 barrels per day. Then there is the Keystone pipeline. The administration would like to block its construction, which would prevent 900,000 barrels per day from entering the U.S. If it is a good idea to restrain prices by a one-time release of 30 million barrels, why isn’t it a really great idea to open up production that would add more than twice that amount every month, indefinitely?”

The Daily Caller observes:

“Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute, said in a statement:  “Unrest in the Middle East is likely to continue for quite some time, so a temporary increase in supply is not a substitute for a long-term fix.  Our reserve is intended to address true emergencies, not politically inconvenient high prices.”

The move to release oil from the SPR is political and not good for national security.  Hopefully the American voters will see through the gamesmanship.

Bypassing Congress On Immigration

Examiner.com posted an article yesterday about the new rules for dealing with illegal aliens just released in a memo from the Obama administration.  This is the link to the memo.  The memo makes some changes in enforcement that reflect the goals of the “Dream Act,” which was defeated by Congress.

The article reports:

“On Wednesday, ICE Union president Chris Crane told PRNewswire: “Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming.  This is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in the United States.  Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the Administration is now implementing it through agency policy.””

The article further reports:

“Crane continued: “ICE and the Administration have excluded our unions and our agents from the entire process of developing policies, it was all kept secret from us, we found out from the newspapers.  ICE worked hand-in-hand with immigrants rights groups, but excluded its own officers.””

There is additional bad news:

“”Our officers are already under orders not to make arrests or even talk to foreign nationals in most cases unless another agency has already arrested them; you won’t find that written in any public ICE policy,” Crane said.”

This is disturbing.  President Obama needs the Hispanic vote if he has any chance of being re-elected in 2012.  He is willing to put his political interests over the well-being of the country.  Congress needs to step up to the plate and investigate these policies.  Otherwise we are in danger to being overrun with people who come here illegally and live off the largess of the American taxpayer. 




Whitey Bulger Is Captured

Massachusetts is an interesting state culturally and politically.  Like any other state, there are places in Massachusetts that the average person just stays away from because those places have their own rules and their own customs.  One of those places was South Boston during the 25-year reign of  Whitey Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.  They led the Winter Hill Gang, which ran loansharking, gambling and drug rackets in the Boston area. U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern said in 2000 that the two were “responsible for a reign of intimidation and murder that spanned 25 years.”

An article at Yahoo News tells some of the details of the saga of Whitey Bulger.  Whitey’s brother, William, was one of the most powerful politicians in the state, leading the Massachusetts Senate for 17 years and later serving as president of the University of Massachusetts. He resigned the post in 2003 under political pressure.

The story also relates:

“At the same time he was boss of the Winter Hill Gang, South Boston’s murderous Irish mob, Bulger was an FBI informant, supplying information about the rival New England Mafia. But he fled in January 1995 when a retired agent tipped him off that he was about to be indicted.

“That set off a major scandal at the FBI, which was found to have an overly cozy relationship with its underworld informants in Boston, protecting mob figures for decades and allowing them to commit murders as long as they were supplying useful information.”

I am sure there will be speculation on how Whitey Bulger stayed hidden for so long.  There is probably a made-for-tv movie in process as I write this.  However, I would just like to add that even though Whitey is now 81, it is good to see him brought to justice.