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Monday, April 25, 2011

Trouble on the Left


(Fast Forward to :20 for the protest)

At Obama's fundraiser in San Francisco a number of far-Left activists began singing about releasing Private Bradley Manning (who released secret military information to Wikileaks). Heaing this, it was reported that Obama shot an angry glance at Nancy Pelosi as if it were she who had oganized or sponsored this little demonstration. Clearly, all is not right among liberals.

Some Progressives are beginning to realize that even when a very liberal president is elected, that does not mean that his agenda will necessarily succeed. No matter what mood the country is in, there will always be a core base that maintains the United States' status as a center-right nation, at least in the near future.

Because some activists did not realize this or intentionally ignored it, Obama was doomed from the start: there was no way he could achieve all of his goals in their full form. The best example of this is health care reform. Yes, it is "landmark" legislation, but there is no public option (a favorite of those on the far-Left) and some say that it benefits big insurance companies more than anyone else.

Similarly, people were content criticizing Bush for Guantanamo, but, when push came to shove, very few actually wanted potential terrorists living in their neighborhoods.

The Progressive tax system that Obama campaigned on is all well and good to the electorate until it has the potential to damage the economy. Then, the only people who still want it are die-hard socialists. After all, this helped usher in the Republican majority in the House.

I am not going to deny that the U.S. is inching to the Left: we are. But we are "inching" there, our freedoms, capitalistic society, and individuality cannot be stripped away within four or eight years. So from the very start Obama was pinned between two crushing forces: what is possible and what Progressive activists blindly expected. Breaching the latter may cost him an election, but there is no other choice: the former is an impenetrable stone wall of reality.

The next election cycle will certainly be a challenging one for President Obama: anger on the Left, disheartened independents, and motivated conservatives. 2012 polling shows that Obama would lose New Hampshire to Romney by 10%. Trump, who could be said to have "no experience," is holding his own against Obama in the polls.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2012 election, voters should be happy that reality prevailed and fought off the liberal agenda. This time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Be Cautious in the Middle East

We are certainly living in momentous time. This era will be remembered as the second coming of "freedom" in the Middle East. Decades ago Middle Eastern and African nations threw off the shackles of imperialism and replaced them with often tyrannical dictators who have been ruling up to this point. In fact, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya is one of the longest ruling leaders in the world.

But the United States should have no intervention in this formative time. When the U.S. is involved in multiple wars and has a skyrocketing national debt, the government cannot afford more distractions of this sort. Yet politicians seem to be ignoring this very basic principle.

The Obama administration decided to take a diplomatic stand against Hosni Mubarak of the Egyptian government back in February. Now, Mubarak, once a loyal U.S. ally, is out of power and, according to Loai Omran, a protestor, no reforms have been passed. The only change is that a main backer of the revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that sponsors terrorists, is in a position to seize power.

The Obama administration, just one month later, sent military aid to the rebels in Libya. This is despite the facts that Gaddafi's successor (his son) is a stalwart defender of human rights and that Gaddafi funnels much of the oil profits to groundbreaking infrastructure and education projects. Gaddafi was not a "kind" leader, but many diplomats said that he was casting off his revolutionary ways and could actually grow into a much-needed ally in the Middle East. Now, we are funding and militarily supporting disorganized rebels, who are associated with al-Qaeda according to an admission of one of the leaders. We certainly wll not be seeing Gaddafi as an ally any time in the future...

Even though the rebels in Libya are being pushed back, Senator John McCain is calling for us to add even more money and support to the rebels' cause. At what point will this be enough? What stops this from becoming another Iraq and Afghanistan just with even less effect on the United States' national security. McCain is right that military intervention is important at a time when the U.S. is in danger (like Iraq), but this is certainly not the case here.

Pawlenty, a possible contender for the Republican presidential primary, is calling for Obama to take a tougher stand on the Syrian government. He is right in that the current Syrian government is no friend of the United States, but the federal government ought to be cautious before expanding our role in yet another conflict. Withdrawing the ambassador as Pawlenty asks is fine, but anything more significant, which could easily follow, would be a travesty.

As the upheaval in the Middle East continues, the U.S. ought to be well aware of what governments they are helping to depose and what governments they are helping to establish before getting involved in any more significant conflicts. We have/had many allies in the Middle East: they are not the targets Obama should be focused on. And if the country has no effect on national security, the last thing we should be doing in a budgetary crisis of this sort is too expand military intervention. These are lessons all Washington politicians ought to take to heart in order to avert a dire crisis.

Friday, April 22, 2011

President Obama's Deficit Speech and S&P's Forecast

Everyone in the country should be embarrassed of what happened at Obama's speech a few days ago. I have already mentioned the fundamental flaws in Obama's plan to "deal with the deficit," but the most annoying aspect is how he behaved during the speech.

First of all, remember that his only significant proposal made during the speech was to set up another task force, a pillar of big government. Considering the fate of the last task force (it did nothing), this is meaningless and will serve as little more than a facade behind which Obama can continue his uninhibited spending practices. 

What makes this so bad is not that Obama failed to give a sufficient plan of his own, but that he spent a bulk of his time bashing the plan of one of the few people who are willing to take a stand: Paul Ryan going as far as calling it "un-American." Is Ryan's plan perfect? No, it does not cut enough and fails to take a strong enough position on Medicare, but it is a milestone in the right direction.

Is Ryan's plan popular? Certainly not to the vocal minority of fiscal liberals, yet Ryan took the initiative, created the plan, and has proven that it is absolutely necessary to prevent impending disaster. 

So, Ryan was invited as a Presidential Guest to this speech. Sitting in the front row, he was then subjected to Obama's virulently partisan tirade. Painting Ryan as a monster proves that not only does Obama lack leadership in this arena, but that he has no idea of how to confront the problem of the deficit. Did it ever cross the mind of anyone in the administration that attacking a responsible American may not be the best course of action? To use cliches, not only does Obama not "have guts," but he chooses to attack one of the few who do. 

It is quite poetic that after our President proved he was unwilling to control his spending, that S&P took a step that had never taken before. "Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable." Maybe this will finally teach Obama the meaning of "unsustainable," but I doubt it: it's so much easier just to raise taxes.

I feel bad for what Paul Ryan had to sit through: I can only hope that he goes very far in politics- for all of our sakes.



(P.S. For those of you who did not know, Ryan requires all of his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. That's certainly a sign of a good congressman.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obama and Signing Statements

I'm clearly no fan of the compromise that the Republican leadership made with the Democrats of the 2011 budget. I don't think it cut enough, but I did like one part: it stripped the funding for many of Obama's czars, whom many people see as unconstitutional because they are bureaucrats, never confirmed by Congress with immense power.
Although Obama has used more czars with more power than many prior presidents, the issue right now is not the czars themselves.

The real problem is that Obama announced that he would use a presidential signing statement to ignore the provision of the deal stripping the funding for czars. This is dishonest if nothing else: the deal that Obama helped coordinate included this aspect, he got the Republicans to agree to it, and now he refuses to stick by it!

He used a similar ploy to try and avert the provision demanding that Guantanamo detainees never made it on American soil. In this case, he said he would "talk to Congress" about removing/ignoring it.

Does our president have any idea of what a deal is? To make matters worse, he promised to never, ever use signing statements as president. See for yourself!

Republican Leaders: Too Quick to Give in?

Yesterday we found out that top Republican leaders had met with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and said that they would vote to raise the debt ceiling regardless of the deal includes spending cuts.

I understand a desire to be cautious, but after giving in on the 2011 budget, this is not the way to prove yourselves as dedicated fiscal conservatives.
Moreover, this is a very silly negotiation strategy. What's the motivation for the Democrats to cut spending now? They already know that they will get what they want...

On a happier note, Jim DeMint publicly stated that he will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by a Balanced Budget Amendment. These are the kinds of things Congressmen should be saying: not just asking for a "plan to fix the deficit" in return for a vote, but a full solution that would fundamentally change the way the problem is viewed.

With all things considered, Tea Party groups will certainly exact their threats on Boehner and "primary" him. And maybe that's not such a bad thing.

A significant majority in the House and a near majority in the Senate should be enough that republicans don't quiver when confronted with the Democrats' foolish demands (like raising the debt ceiling without spending cuts or an amendment). And if they do, they are obviously unaware of the fiscally conservative swing the public is in!

(I do not think the public would have been upset with Republicans in the case of a shutdown if it had lead to greater spending cuts...after all that is what the polls said. Thoughts?)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Looney Congressman Blames Ipad for Unemployment

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., has come out with an outlandish claim on the House floor: he says that the Ipad and Apple are killing American jobs.

1. Aren't liberals supposed to like "environmentally-friendly" tools that reduce paper use?
2. Since when is efficiency (and even he says the Ipad improves it) not a good thing!?
3. One of the jobs he mentions is being lost are that of librarians. Public sector workers. Taxpayer funded. If the taxpayers do not want them, why should they exist anyway?
4. Is he actually foolish enough to try to stifle innovation and increase the cost of goods (more people have to handle the production of paper books)? This is just like something out of Atlas Shrugged where trains were limited to a certain speed and a certain number of cars to make them hire more workers.
5. Simple economic reforms could have Ipads back being produced in America. He should not say that that is his goal because it obviously is not. Or at least I am guessing that this is not a guy who would support holding off increases in the minimum wage at the very least.

Watch and laugh at the silliness of some of our elected politicians:

Must-See Video!

This video is a little old, but if you have yet to see it: watch it now! I am not always a big fan of Savage, but I really like the way he handles a staunch backer of progressive taxes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Obama's Plan for the Deficit

As Ronald Reagan said, ""Republican's favorite day is July 4th, liberals favorite day is April 15th." In the spirit of April 15, Obama unveiled his master plan to solve the deficit, which is not simply poor, but actually harmful. 


The plan would supposedly save $4 trillion within 12 years. That includes tax increases. In other words, Paul Ryan's budget plan would save more money ($6 trillion) in less time (10 years) all the while reducing taxes by 10% or more. 


Moreover, Obama has refused to touch the entitlement programs he holds so dear. This is even after he acknowledged that they were a major source of pressure on the budget. Obama even refuses to increase the Medicare retirement age. On the other hand, the Ryan plan fundamentally changes the way in which Medicare and Medicaid operate. Under his plan money would be given to states in block grants to subsidize the costs of private insurance. 


With the cost of entitlement programs ever increasing, tax hikes must eventually stop being the answer. Ryan realizes this. Obama doesn't. 


The Laffer Curve proves that increases in taxation (taking money out of the private sector) will lead to reduced government revenue. Raising taxes is a corrupt solution both morally and economically. The sooner the country realizes that, the better. Unfortunately, no epiphany can come with Obama in the White House. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What to do about Libya

Obama's policy in regards to Libya has been a mess from Day 1. Originally, he failed to comment on the issue at all: saying anything would have been more comfortable than the prolonged silence.

When he finally did decide to take a stand, it was an extreme one: use the United States' military to help the rebels fight Gaddafi. Now, if Libya had been integral to our foreign policy or national defense, then this would have been the appropriate action. However, Obama himself referred to our reason for entering Libya to be averting a humanitarian crisis. Remember, this was the same politicians who criticized Bush for invading Iraq, a country that Obama said had no effect on our defense. Ironically, Libya has even less bearing on that than Iraq did.

So as of now, we are aiding the rebels even if Obama has yet to go as far as to supply them. To make matters worse, the rebels appear to have deep connections to al-Qaeda, something Gaddafi was not accused of. In fact, as of 2003 reports said that he was "getting milder" and could even become an ally of the west.

There certainly is some sense in what Donald Trump said. If the other Arab states were encouraging us to take action against Libya, we should send them the bill. We simply cannot afford to police the world. Trump, for better or worse, seems to be one of the few who can recognize that.

None of us actually know what the CIA knows about Libya. But if taking Gaddafi out of power was necessary for our defense, Obama should have said so. Because right now, it looks like the tax payers of the United States are paying for a war they have no interest in that has no bearing on them whatsoever.

I wish that Obama was still in his "candidate" shoes, afraid to do or say anything "unpopular." Maybe this mess could have been averted.

Romneycare

"Obamacare" may be one of the greatest attacks on Objectivism in recent memory. Not only does it force other taxpayers to pay the bills for other people, but the individual mandate, forcing you to have health insurance or pay a fine, is a frightening attack on personal freedom as many courts are now agreeing.

Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, who seemed to be the front-runner in the next primary after 2008, the bill he had passed in Massachusetts as Governor, unaffectionately called "Romneycare" is in the same spirit as what was passed on a national level.

To date, I have heard two excuses: one is that what worked for Massachusetts on the state-level is not necessarily best to be used on a national-level; the other that the Democratic legislature hijacked the bill and morphed it into what they wanted.

To me, the state vs. national issue is a moot point. The plan forces taxpayers to sacrifice their money for a cause they do not like. That is equally wrong no matter what level you look at. As for the second point, it seems meaningless since at the end of the day it was Romney who signed the bill himself. (Especially so when you hear some of the things he said in a debate: "I like mandates. The mandate works.")

Maybe Romney could have gotten around this issue if Obama had never brought attention to health care or fewer trustworthy fiscal conservatives, some appearing to be adherents of at least the fiscal side of Objectivism, were running, but this sure seems to be his Achilles' Heel. And one that should rightfully take the nomination away from him, should he not come up with a convincing "excuse."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recent Budget Compromise

One of the videos circulating the internet as part of, I believe, the Atlas Shrugged Video Contest is called "A Sharply Unreasonable Compromise." It is very worth-watching: not very long at all, but quite poingant. The basic premise is that there are some issues on which people must not be willing to compromise- because those issues are so essential to maintaining a free society. I immediately thought of this video in terms of the recent Republican budget compromise to avert a government shutdown. When the United States has such a severe budget crisis, a deficit that cannot be fixed simply by cutting discretionary spending, a compromise that only ended up cutting about $40 billion should not have been on the table whatsoever. Rasmussen polls showed that the nation would have been willing to accept a government shutdown in return for greater spending cuts. The election this last November has proven that popular opinion is clearly leaning in the direction of fiscal conservatism. Because Republicans were fighting on behalf of the desires of the American people, it is hard to believe that a government shutdown would have been blamed on anyone except for the Democratic Senate and President Obama, both of whom failed to pass a 2011 budget and take a leadership role. My overall point is that Republicans may have done more damage to their cause by failing to fight for their promises outlined in their "Pledge for America" than if they had taken a stand and caused a government shutdown. Now, the momentum is on Obama's hands, and no matter to what degree Obama seems to have alienated many Americans, we have no idea of what the Obama political machine will be able to accomplish in 2012. Hopefully, we can expect more determined leadership from Speaker Boehner when it comes to the 2012 budget, a process that Republicans can take a greater role in from the start.