Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ten Media Truths

One of my favorite blog writers is Moe Lane at RedState.  He's got just the right amount of snark mixed with impeccable logic and a sense of realism.  I could not applaud any louder to this advice he offers up to elected Republican politicians:

This is the result of roughly ten years' worth of looking on – sometimes horrified; sometimes amused; sometimes bewildered – at our current Media environment. Note that capital, by the way: I'm pretty much describing the Media as a singular and monolithic institution, mostly because on a practical level that's pretty much how it acts towards conservatives/Republicans. Also, I'm really not interested if individual Media-units feel bad about the more unsavory aspects of the paradigm that they're supporting, either; guilt, like gratitude, is worth its weight in gold.

So let's go. One final note: if you need a quick summary of this list… well, just remember the first truth and you'll be fine.

Ten Media Truths for Conservative/Republican Legislators

    1. The Media hates you, and wants you to die in a fire.
    2. The Media will only reliably compliment you when you do things to help liberals and Democrats.
    3. The Media loves it when you attack other conservatives/Republicans.
    4. You will never, ever, ever be able to reliably buy off the Media by being a 'good' (i.e., self-hating) conservative/Republican.
    5. Every flaw that you have – real or perceived – will be magnified by the Media. You will get no slack at all.
    6. Every flaw that your opponent has – real or perceived – will be downplayed by the Media.
    7. If you get an endorsement from a major Media source, it's probably because your opponent was caught in a horrific scandal. So don't count on getting that endorsement the next time.
    8. The Media has no shame, no sense of guilt, and no institutional memory of its own faults, flaws, and prejudices. Do not appeal to its better nature: the Media could care less about your opinion of it.
    9. Do not whine about any of this: the truth is, this unrelenting hostility from the Media will (if properly handled) simply make you an unstoppable political machine.
    10. Most importantly: THE MEDIA DID NOT ELECT YOU. The voters did. Keep that in mind when you're working out your legislative priorities.

I expect to disagree with essentially everything that liberals -- whether elected liberals, media liberals, or liberals in my own little sphere of the universe -- because I have a pretty solid understanding of their motivations, inclinations, and philosophical worldview and I think it's wrong.  That's fine.  We all get to choose our worldview.  It's how America's political system works.  However, I have never understood why people who are supposedly in agreement with me, and who get elected by millions of voters like me specifically to carry our philosophical worldview into elected office...don't get it.  How can they not understand that a liberal on Main Street = a liberal in the Media = a liberal in Congress?  A liberal is a liberal.  It's a philosophical worldview, and anyone who subscribes to it will believe generally the same things.  It colors every issue with the same shade of Leftism.

So, how is it that elected representatives on our side can't seem to figure out that the liberal Media isn't the same as them, never will be them, never will agree with them, and never will do anything other than try to make them lose?  It's as if Republicans think the Media is unbiased and objective, and all they have to do is more effectively communicate their message through the Media to reach more people.

No.  Wrong.  Stupid.

By communicating through the Media, Republicans are using the enemy's own radio system to call for help.  The sooner they realize this en masse and start harnessing the power of the new media -- blogs, talk radio, the Internet -- the sooner they can relegate the Media into the niche it really occupies: the Democrat party propaganda machine.

Monday, September 26, 2011

News Flash: Americans Dislike Government

We all knew it already, but it's nice to see some empirical data to back it up:

A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years.

Trend: Reaction to How the Nation Is Being Governed

Majorities of Democrats (65%) and Republicans (92%) are dissatisfied with the nation's governance. This perhaps reflects the shared political power arrangement in the nation's capital, with Democrats controlling the White House and U.S. Senate, and Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Partisans on both sides can thus find fault with government without necessarily blaming their own party.

The findings are from Gallup's annual Governance survey, updated Sept. 8-11, 2011. The same poll shows record or near-record criticism of Congress, elected officials, government handling of domestic problems, the scope of government power, and government waste of tax dollars.

Key Findings:

    • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
    • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
    • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
    • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
    • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
    • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.
I thought this finding was especially interesting:

Americans' sense that the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals' rights and freedoms is also at a new high, 49%, since Gallup began asking the question using this wording in 2003. This view is much more pronounced among Republicans (61%) and independents (57%) than among Democrats (28%), although when George W. Bush was president, Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to view government as a threat.

2003-2011 Trend: Do you think the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens, or not?

Pop quiz: remember about what percentage of Americans pay no income tax at all?

About 50%.

Purely a coincidence, I'm sure.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Obama's Tax Reform Ideas

We've heard much lately about reforming the tax code, shoring up loopholes, and more stimulus.  Obama's been on the campaign trail waving around a bill and demanding that Congress pass it to stimulate the economy.  A few fun facts about that:

- most of those bill-waving speeches have been taking place in front of bridges that wouldn't benefit from his bill
- Obama hasn't actually submitted the bill to Congress yet, so they couldn't pass it even if they wanted to
- Democrat Senate Majority Leader Reid has said he can't be bothered to deal with Obama's bill

It's amazing how it's still the Republicans' fault, don't you think?

Regardless, let's look at the ideas that Obama is pushing, because if he gets his way it's going to drastically impact how much of your money you get to keep from each paycheck.  Enter Daniel Henninger from the Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):

This week, the president proposed a $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax increase and called it a path to reform. As night follows day: The Obama tax proposals, if passed, would ruin tax reform for years. More's the pity, because on taxes bipartisan support exists for reform to a degree absent on nearly any other major issue. If this president wanted to run for re-election with a pro-growth tax reform in the works, it would be his for the asking. He isn't asking.

Last year saw the release of two major bipartisan tax-reform proposals—the Bowles-Simpson commission, Mr. Obama's own creation; and the Domenici-Rivlin report from the Bipartisan Policy Center. GOP House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is intent on comprehensive reform, with the support of Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat.

The "Tax Reform" section of the 67-page Office of Management and Budget document detailing Mr. Obama's growth and deficit proposals reads as if written by competing factions in the White House. The case for real reform says all the right things: broaden the base, reduce rates, etc. No one would disagree. But the details are a complete disconnect.

There are no permanent tax cuts for anyone. That's off in the undefined future. The rhetoric and substance of the actual tax proposals are presented in the same angry anti-wealth rhetoric Mr. Obama has been using since his first economic message.

This is tax reform from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If passed, it would kill any chance of achieving the reform of the current tax system that is regarded by everyone else as a worthy goal.

Comprehensive tax reform is always political trench warfare against the status quo, requiring support from the White House and both parties in Congress. In any such effort, the current system's array of tax expenditures and loopholes—the things Mr. Obama wants to end—are the reformers' bargaining chips. The idea that Congress should end all these breaks "now" only to reduce deficits they created, get no tax reduction or simplification in return, and then do real reform later is ludicrous. What Mr. Obama is proposing would blow up tax reform.

Bowles-Simpson illustrates the trade-offs: To achieve their top marginal rate of 23% (which would turbocharge economic growth) means eliminating all tax expenditures; but if politics required keeping or revising current breaks, such as the mortgage deduction, the top rate rises to 28%. That's how tax reform works. This was the grand bargain that enabled the tax reform of 1986—cutting the top individual rate to 28% from 50%—which was led in Congress by GOP Sen. Bob Packwood and Democratic House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

When John Kennedy became president, the top marginal individual rate was 91%. But the tax code was littered with loopholes—for a reason. With such high rates, tax breaks were the only way the economy could function. Kennedy got rid of loopholes and dropped the top rate to 70%. Barack Obama wants to get rid of loopholes and raise rates.

The president's "pass-this-now" list targets tax preferences for the oil, gas, coal and insurance industries, plus an array of cats-and-dogs accounting rules and international tax practices. All these should be bargaining chips in a larger, more economically productive tax reform.

The Obama proposal would leave the current anti-growth tax morass intact, other than the higher taxes and the Buffett Rule. What he wants are wealth taxes, period. If he got that, does anyone believe he'd revisit reform in a second term?

If Mr. Obama is pushing these proposals merely to raise revenue or to create a campaign issue, so be it. If he truly thinks he is going to make the super-rich "pay their fair share," it is hopelessly naive. Over time the Beltway's tax artisans would carve out escape tunnels in the Obama tax prison. It will still be a mess.

Conventional media spin, encouraged by the Obama campaign, holds that "anti-tax" Republicans make compromise impossible. It is true, remarkably so, that an unprecedented degree of agreement has emerged among the Republican presidential candidates on lowering taxes. Less remarked is how close the GOP is now to the tax-policy ideas of the Democratic center. House Speaker John Boehner last week called for revising the tax code very much along the lines of Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin.

Barack Obama and his perpetually angry Democratic "base" are the outliers on comprehensive tax reform. And on much else.

The willingness of Republicans to go along with Diet Democrat policies is the subject of much angst for actual conservatives.  Still, the greater danger is clearly Obama's radical Leftist agenda that would create essentially the worst possible scenario for the American economy.

If that's what you want to see, by all means, support the President's policies and plans.

Personally, I'd like to think that we value our own children's future existence more than that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Obama Scandals

I've been wrestling with how to portray a number of the legitimate scandals being perpetrated by the Obama administration for quite a while now.  Most of them are so involved that it would take pages upon pages to get all the details, but without the details it's hard to understand how inappropriate they are.  Fortunately, the Heritage Foundation has done the heavy lifting on the worst of them.  This is need-to-know stuff:

You wouldn't know it if you solely paid attention to the mainstream media, but while President Barack Obama attempts to sell the country on hundreds of billions in new stimulus spending and $1.5 trillion in new taxes, his Administration is smack in the middle of several growing scandals: the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running debacle and the crony capitalism wrongdoing involving Solyndra and LightSquared.

In the fall of 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is overseen by President Obama's Department of Justice, launched an effort to sell weapons to small-time gun buyers in the hopes of tracing them to major weapons traffickers along the southwestern border and into Mexico. Their effort, which is known as Operation Fast and Furious, failed terribly.

Around 1,500 of the guns went unaccounted for, about two-thirds of those guns ended up in Mexico, a border patrol agent was shot and killed with weapons that were sold as part of the operation, 57 Fast and Furious weapons have been connected to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., and in Mexico an unconfirmed toll of at least 200 people have been killed or wounded with other weapons linked to the botched effort.

Save for recent reports from CBS News and the Los Angeles Times, and earlier reporting by ABC News, the mainstream media has largely ignored the story and the White House press corps has not bothered to ask the President or press secretary Jay Carney about the scandal since July 5 — that's 78 days, and over 40 press briefings, without one single related question.

Meanwhile, congressional hearings were held, top officials associated with the operation were removed from their positions, and a third individual resigned. In the latest news, Mexican officials are complaining that, to this day, the United States has not offered an explanation about Fast and Furious, much less an apology. And yesterday,CBS News reported that a series of secretly recorded audio tapes thought to have been recorded in March reveal that an Arizona gun dealer and an ATF agent involved in the operation were worried about the unraveling scandal.

Turning from guns to butter, another scandal has cropped up, this one involving the solar panel manufacturing company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department as part of President Obama's green jobs spending spree. The President lauded the company when he spoke at the unveiling of its new factory in May of last year. But now, little more than a year later, it stands bankrupt and plans to lay off more than 1,000 employees. Days after it filed for bankruptcy, the FBI raided the company's offices and the homes of its executives.

The Obama Administration had a lot riding on Solyndra and the promise it offered. The President had made "green" energy a centerpiece of his failed plan to boost job growth in the United States, likening his effort to America's "moonshot"–the space race following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. The import of the company's bankruptcy was evident in a January 31 e-mail between Office of Management and Budget staff regarding "Solyndra optics." In the e-mail, the staff discussed what it would look like if the company went belly-up down the road, its implications for the 2012 elections, and how an earlier default might give the Obama Administration some credit for "fiscal discipline."

Then there's the story of LightSquared, a wireless start-up company backed by billionaire Democratic donor Philip Falcone. The Daily Beast reports that military officials fear that the company's technology could interfere with GPS signals–and that "two U.S. officials allege the White House tried to influence their [congressional] testimony to rush key testing, to LightSquare's benefit."

Enter the investigations. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Tuesday that his committee plans to investigate government loans to private companies made by the Obama Administration, according to The Hill. "I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers," Issa said. Now, Reuters reports that Solyndra's chief executive and chief financial officer will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions at the hearing on Friday.

A cross-border gun-running scandal, deaths in the United States and Mexico, staff removals and resignations, secret audio recordings, complaints from foreign officials, hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, bankruptcy, an FBI raid, campaign donors, and allegations of inappropriate White House influence in congressional testimony. There are serious questions coming out of Washington. It's time the media start demanding answers.

I'll try to post some follow-up information on these at some point, but this gives you plenty of red meat to digest.  In my opinion, another scandal is the simple fact that the mainstream media isn't reporting on these scandals.

Just my two cents.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So What's The New New Plan?

Let's examine Barack Obama's newest new plan for recovering the already-recovered economy ('cause remember, 2009 was the Summer of Recovery).  Here you go:
President Obama on Monday proposed a deficit reduction plan that calls for about $3 in new tax increases for every dollar in additional spending cuts as he seeks to put his imprint on the ongoing talks with Congress over reducing the government’s staggering debt.

The total tax increase would be several trillion dollars.  Hm, raising taxes -- especially a BIG increase like this -- in a struggling economy?  Not a good idea, says...Barack Obama (from the past):

Funny how things change, isn't it?  But let's dig a little deeper.  Obama says his plan is all about taxing the rich.  Never mind the fact that taxing the rich simply won't fix the problem.  The fact is that he's going to have to tax the middle class, where the real money is, while making the middle class think he's taxing only the rich:
It's not just millionaires who'd pay more under President Barack Obama's latest plan to combat the deficit.
Air travelers, federal workers, military retirees, wealthier Medicare beneficiaries and people taking out new mortgages are among those who would pay more than $130 billion in government revenues raised through new or increased fees.

There are other ways it would hit the middle class, too, from explicit taxation on families or small businesses earning more than $200k a year to smacking millions of families as being 'rich' when they're really just normal folks receiving dividends on investments.

It's the same old class warfare gig he's been peddling since he stepped into elected office years ago.  In fact, it's really, really similar to the first big stimulus plan he proposed right after taking office:
Obama’s new jobs plan looks remarkably like his $830 billion 2009 economic stimulus package. According to Al Hunt the latest Obama job plan stimulus includes tax cuts, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits extension and direct aid to state and local governments.
So, if the last stimulus for $800+ billion didn't do squat to help the economy, the obvious natural choice is to push through another one for half that, right?  No?  Well, you're clearly wrong, because that's precisely what's happening.  The RNC put it this way:

If you really want to break it down, here's the short version of his new plan:

But never mind the 47% of Americans who don't pay any income tax at all.  It would be unfair to include them in any measure of what's fair, don't you think?

Anyway, isn't it good that he's at least leaping into action to do something?  Um, not really:

Everybody remembers the urgency of President Obama's attitude toward the awful jobs situation.
Back in early August, Obama said the jobs situation was so urgent that he was going to give another speech about it -- in a month or so, in September after his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.
And then in September the president announced he would give his major jobs speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7. But he neglected to check with congressional leaders first. And they suggested the 8th. So, since it was their House, the 8th it was.
"Tonight," the president said in the first 34 of his 4,021 words to a national television audience that night, "we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse."  ...
The president was in such a hurry to get this new spending going, everyone remembers, that during that address he said the phrase "right now" seven times. He didn't actually mean right now that night because the NFL season was opening a few minutes after his remarks.
But Obama did want to show how really urgent he said the situation was, even though it had taken him 961 days as president to say them. And even though from Day #1 of the brief Obama Era polls had shown jobs and the economy were the No. 1 priority among voters but he pursued healthcare and financial reforms first. And even though unemployment had been at or above 9% for 26 of the last 28 months.
So, given the president's professed urgency, the next day, Sept. 9, everyone asked where was his jobs legislation?
And, well, it seems the urgent jobs bill hadn't actually been written yet but should be ready in a week or two. When the laughter died, the White House said on second thought the legislation would be ready for a photo op the next Monday.
Well, here we are on the next Monday after that next Monday and we've just learned from the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, that actually it seems that body won't really be seriously getting into the legislation for a while yet. The Senate has some other more important business to handle. And then there's this month's congressional vacation, which in Washington is called "a recess," like elementary school.
Here's the revealing exchange with a persistent host Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union:"
CROWLEY: When is the bill going to get on the floor?
DURBIN: The bill is on the calendar. Majority leader Reid moved it to the calendar. It is ready and poised. There are a couple other items we may get into this week not on the bill and some related issues that may create jobs. But we're going to move forward on the president's bill. There will be a healthy debate. I hope the Republicans will come to...
CROWLEY: After the recess, so next month? Or when will it actually begin to act on?
DURBIN: I think that's more realistic it would be next month.
So, as of right now, "right now" uttered on Sept. 8 really means sometime at least one month later.
Good thing the president's own Democratic party controls the Senate. Because, otherwise, there might be some kind of silly, unnecessary delays in deliberating Obama's urgent jobs bill that he says will surely help the nation's unemployed millions if only those Republicans don't connive to slow things down.

Whew, it's a good thing we've got his leadership on this tough issue!  But even more than that, this is the bazillionth time he's focused on the 'urgent' issue of jobs.  Observe:
Good thing he's here to save the day.

But don't worry.  Despite not having enough time between vacations to put forward an actual jobs bill, Obama did have plenty of time to propose a bunch of new czars that can control your life through regulation without having any election accountability to the American people.  Good news, huh?

It is interesting to note that Obama's getting considerable heat from the liberal Left, too.  In fact, he's never polled lower in a Gallup poll of self-described liberals, his hometown newspaper is calling for him not to run for re-election, and there's even talk of him facing some primary challenges.  I know, it's hard to believe that anyone could be unhappy with Barack Obama for not being liberal enough, but that's another story all to itself that really speaks to the twisted mindset that is liberalism in general.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Whose Money Is It?

Obama is now out there proposing trillions of dollars of new tax hikes to try to bring down our national debt.  This raises the question: whose money is it?  Is the government entitled to take it before I can call it 'mine', and if so, how much of it?  The government thinks it's theirs first, and you get to keep whatever they leave you.  J.E. Dyer at Hot Air has a great take on it:

If any of us doesn't deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave.  Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him.  He is like a farm animal.

Of course we all deserve to keep our own money.  If it is ill-gotten – stolen, swindled – then it's the crime that deprives us of it, not any inherent function of the armed authorities to prowl the land in search of "undeserved" bank balances.

The question of what we "deserve" boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state.  America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first.  Any idea that violates that principle is counter to our founding idea.  It is not possible to reconcile with our founding principle the idea of collective schemes in which we make some modification to "what we deserve."  We either deserve to keep all our own earnings – money – wealth – goods – or we do not have unalienable rights.

Now, what we decide to do with our own money will inevitably involve government functions of some kind.  People have to have a government in some form.  A certain minimum set of public services is essential to corporate human life.  The American founding idea is that we the people decide what government will do, and we decide how much money government will have to do it with.  Then we contribute out of what is inalienably ours.

In the American idea, the state doesn't operate on the basis of "what we deserve."  It operates on the basis of law: definitions adopted by due process, and objective circumstances.  "What we deserve" is outside the scope of the state's competence to decide.  If we enter relationships in which someone else decides that for us, they are voluntary; e.g., employer paying or promoting employee, fan-base keeping pro sports or the music industry profitable.

The percentage-based income tax and the practice of payroll withholding have combined for a century now to obscure in our minds the simplicity of our founding principles.  But the founding principles were very clear.  Modern interlocutors can seek to change the argument, toss red herrings around, and get us in full 6-year-old mode talking about "deserving" and "not deserving" according to whether we are Leona Helmsley or Mother Teresa, but the bottom line is that a man whose title to his money is considered – as a first principle – subject to the whim of his neighbor, is a slave.

America was founded on the principle that individual rights precede and constrain the state.  As far as government is properly concerned, we all deserve to keep 100% of our money.  The question of what we decide to do with it, and how the functions of government figure into that, is a separate and subordinate topic.

It is impossible to live as free men and women otherwise.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Snapshot Of My Work Life

The fun never stops...

An instant message conversation with one of my end users today (anonymization has been applied to protect the innocent and the stupid):

Jack: Good morning Brandon
Jack: Still havent heard anything on request 123456789
Jack: It shows assigned and I believe its with Joe Smith
Jack: Was placed back on 08/19/2011
Jack: :-(
Me: Have you checked with him?
Jack: Oh...Thats a thought :-)

Yes, yes it is a thought.  A very good thought, and one worth having.  In fact, it would have been worth having before contacting me about it.  The really ridiculous part is that this guy actually did go the extra mile - most people don't even bother to find out who their requests are assigned to.


How long is it until I finish my MBA again??

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Empty Quiver And The Tax Cliff Of 2013

Here are a pair of stories that will have a huge impact on you in the next two years regardless of how much attention you devote to politics.  This post will be a bit on the long side, but there's so much red meat in here that it is well worth your time to dig into every word.

When Obama stands up to speak, he faces a collective "Been there, done that."

Ex-president George W. Bush with accustomed candor once shrugged after the end of his eight-year presidency, "People were kind of tired of me." That ennui happens eventually with most presidents. But in the case of Barack Obama, our modern Phaethon, his fiery crash is coming after 32, not 96, months.

We can sense the national weariness with Obama in a variety of strange and unexpected ways. There is the self-pitying anguish of liberal columnists who scapegoat him for turning the public against their own leftwing agenda. The current silence of "moderate" Republicans and conservative op-ed writers who once in near ecstasy jumped ship to join Obama is deafening. A growing number of Democratic representatives and senators up for reelection do not want their partisan president to visit their districts in the runup to November 2012. Approval ratings hover around 40 percent.

Perhaps strangest of all, there is now a collective "Been there, done that" any time Barack Obama walks up to the podium to give yet another teleprompted speech. The speeches still are well delivered; he still has a way with the mannerisms and cadences. But even his critics pray for his sake that he does not come out with yet another embarrassing "Let me be perfectly clear," "Make no mistake about it," or "Let's be honest" — as he goes back to bashing either the tired Bush bogeyman or yet another strawman Satanic reactionary who, if not for Barack Obama, supposedly would expose children to mercury, neglect roads and bridges, and finally dissolve government altogether. We have all heard ad nauseam that an eight-month-old Republican-controlled Congress has stopped Obama's legislative agenda for three years.

In truth, Obama is out of arrows. His quiver is bare, because he came into office as a rhetorical president without much experience or any ideas other than growing even bigger a tired big government. And now the public realizes that both the speeches and the big spending do not work. The result is that we collectively know what the president cannot any longer say — and it proves far greater than what he can say. He is well past the point of Jerry Ford's WIN buttons or Jimmy Carter's fist-pounding malaise speech.

Obama cannot jawbone interest rates down — they are already at near-zero on passbook accounts. Obama cannot ask the EPA to shut down any more powerhouses or the NLRB to try to close any more new manufacturing plants. Obama cannot really ask for any more big borrowing programs — not after running up $5 trillion in new debt and getting little economic activity in response. The bogus vocabulary of "stimulus," "shovel-ready," and "investments" provokes laughter; it does not ensure an unemployment rate no higher than 8 percent. He cannot, with a straight face, appeal to the collective wisdom of Geithner, Goolsbee, Orszag, Romer, and Summers — or quote the predictable shrillness of Paul Krugman on the need for ever greater debt. Those academic arrows were long ago shot in vain. In truth, every classical Keynesian remedy has been tried, and we are left only with the hard work of trimming regulations, talking up business, producing more fossil fuels, and returning to budget discipline, thrift, greater productivity, and radical reform of the tax code and entitlements. What Obama might say on all that, his ideological training and shrinking base will not allow him to say — as we saw from his shunning of his own Simpson-Bowles commission.

Obama cannot give one more speech on "civility." He has done that for three years — only to violate his own directives by urging voters to "punish" our "enemies" and demonizing those who make over $200,000 as culpable "millionaires and billionaires," "fat cats," and owners of "corporate jets." To oppose Obama is to be a "hostage" taker. The nation got Obama's accustomed calls to cool the partisan invective while Jimmy Hoffa and Maxine Waters were slurring tea-party members as "son of a bitches" and telling them to "go straight to Hell" — confident that Barack Obama's collective morality does not apply to them. The result is that another appeal to "civility" would now at best earn laughter.

He cannot promise a "summer of recovery," not after chronic 9 percent unemployment, soaring food and fuel costs, a herky-jerky stock market, near-zero growth, record deficits and debt, and the downgrading of the nation's credit. Perhaps Obama could promise us relief of only a $1 trillion annual deficit, a return to 8 percent unemployment, $3-a-gallon gas, a steady GDP growth rate of 2 percent, holding the debt at $16 trillion, and opening a single new oil field.

Nor can Mr. Obama any longer call for "millions of green jobs." Valerie Jarrett, Obama's personnel adviser, cannot any longer purr out, "Oooh. Van Jones, alright! So, Van Jones. . . . We were watching him for as long as he's been active out in Oakland." Between that silliness and today, there have been just too many hundreds of millions of dollars wasted in subsidizing "green" sweetheart deals that ended in bankruptcies. More calls to buy government-produced Chevy Volts I don't think would work.

Obama cannot promise to close Guantanamo or try KSM in Manhattan. Nor can he even continue the demagogic attacks on the Bush-Cheney national-security protocols — not when he embraced and expanded them all. In 2012 his commercials will highlight killing bin Laden in Pakistan, not closing Guantanamo or ending Predator-drone attacks. And yet, neither can Obama's team speak any longer of "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters." He is between the rock and the hard place of both caricaturing and adopting the policies that work when they were alleged not to work — so he is quiet on that count too.

His address to Congress last week went nowhere. It was hyped well. It was delivered well. It was comprehensive. But Obama had nothing to say that we have not already heard from him — and that has not already failed or proved to be hypocritical.

When the quiver is empty, the archer puts his bow away. Silence, not "This is our moment," is the wisest course for Barack Obama now that the arrows are all gone.

Combine that with the following warning in the Wall Street Journal about the games Obama's playing with American taxpayers:

President Obama unveiled part two of his American Jobs Act on Monday, and it turns out to be another permanent increase in taxes to pay for more spending and another temporary tax cut. No surprise there. What might surprise Americans, however, is how the President is setting up the U.S. economy for one of the biggest tax increases in history in 2013.

Mr. Obama said last week that he wants $240 billion in new tax incentives for workers and small business, but the catch is that all of these tax breaks would expire at the end of next year. To pay for all this, White House budget director Jack Lew also proposed $467 billion in new taxes that would begin a mere 16 months from now. The tax list includes limiting deductions for those earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples), limiting tax breaks for oil and gas companies, and a tax increase on carried interest earned by private equity firms. These tax increases would not be temporary.

What this means is that millions of small-business owners had better enjoy the next 16 months, because come January 2013 they are going to get hit with a giant tax bill. Let's call the expensive roll:

• First comes the new tax hikes that Mr. Obama proposed on Monday. Capping itemized deductions and exemptions for the rich would take $405 billion from the private economy for 10 years starting in 2013. Taxing carried interest would raise $18 billion, and repealing tax incentives for oil and gas production would get $41 billion.

• These increases would coincide with the expiration of the tax credits, 100% expensing provisions and payroll tax breaks in Mr. Obama's new jobs program. This would mean a tax hit of $240 billion on small business and workers. That's the downside of temporary tax breaks and other job-creation gimmicks: The incentives quickly vanish, and perhaps so do the jobs.

So even if the White House is right that its latest stimulus plan will create "millions of jobs" through 2012, by this logic a $240 billion tax hike on small businesses in 2013 would cost the economy jobs. This tax wallop would arrive when even the White House says the unemployment rate will still be 7.4%.

• January 2013 is also the same month that Mr. Obama wants the Bush-era tax rates to expire on Americans earning more than $200,000. That would raise the highest individual income tax rate to about 42%, including deduction phaseouts, from 35% today. Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation found in 2009 that $437 billion of business income would be taxed at higher tax rates under the Obama plan. And since some 4.5 million small-business owners file their annual tax returns as subchapter S firms under the individual tax code, this tax increase would often apply to the same people who Mr. Obama is targeting with his new tax credits.

The capital gains and dividend taxes would also rise to an expected 20% rate from 15% today. The 10-year hit to the private economy for all of these expiring Bush rates: about $750 billion.

• Also starting in 2013 are two of ObamaCare's biggest tax increases: an additional 0.9-percentage point levy on top of the 2.9% Medicare tax for those earning more than $200,000, and a new 2.9% surcharge on investment income, including interest income. This will further increase the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 23.8%, for a roughly 60% increase in investment taxes in one year.

The White House's economic logic seems to be that its new spending and temporary tax cuts will so fire up investment and hiring in the next 16 months that the economy will be growing much faster in 2013 and could thus absorb a leap off the tax cliff. But this requires its own leap of faith.

The White House also predicted a similar economic takeoff from the 2009 stimulus that was supposed to make a tax hike possible in 2011. Then last December Mr. Obama proposed new tax incentives only for 2011 because the economy was supposed to be cooking by 2012. Now it wants to extend those tax breaks so the economy will be cruising in 2013.

All of this assumes that American business owners aren't smart enough to look beyond the next few months. They can surely see the new burdens they'll face in 2013, and they aren't about to load up on new employees or take new large risks if they aren't sure what their costs will be in 16 months. They can also reasonably wonder whether Mr. Obama's tax hike will hurt the overall economy in 2013—another reason to be cautious now.

For the White House, the policy calendar is dictated above all by the political necessities of the 2012 election. Mr. Obama will take his chances on 2013 if he can cajole the private economy to create enough new jobs over the next year to win re-election, even if those jobs and growth are temporary. Business owners and workers who would prefer to prosper beyond Election Day aren't likely to share Mr. Obama's enthusiasm once they see the great tax cliff approaching. Look out below.

What's the point of all this doom and gloom?  First, to show that there are many legitimate reasons to oppose this regime from being in power one second past January of 2013.  When I question how much more of this radical liberal administration America can survive, I'm not kidding or exaggerating.  If articles like these don't bring that point home for you, nothing will.  If you're like me, though, you wonder what you can do about all this.  It's simple: take action.

Contact your elected representatives on these issues.  Tell them what you think, and justify your thoughts with real facts.  Even more importantly, don't allow people around you to skate when they throw out the empty platitudes and policies that have brought the world's largest and most powerful nation to the brink of economic disaster.  Be polite and respectful, but have your facts at hand and be confident.  Make them defend these policies and actions that have utterly and demonstrably failed.

It is this grass roots person-to-person contact and persuasion that will create the tidal wave of momentum that will sweep the self-destructive and self-loathing Obamacrats from power in the 2012 election.  Ultimately, that's what absolutely must happen if America is to be restored to the last best hope of mankind.

And that starts with you, right now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paging Hillary...?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Hillary Clinton isn't out of the picture yet.  In fact, I never was convinced that she was out of the picture, and as time has gone on since Obama's election I'm only becoming more and more convinced that Obama is going to be a one-term President due to getting thrown out of his own party.  More and more people are starting to find this conclusion, too.  Observe this from Hot Air:

Three weeks ago, I posed the question of what would happen if Democrats became so convinced that Barack Obama could not win a second term that they asked him to step aside.  Yesterday, the New York Times reports that leaders in the party are starting to come to the conclusion that Obama may not be able to succeed — and that has alarm bells going off:

Democrats are expressing growing alarm about President Obama's re-election prospects and, in interviews, are openly acknowledging anxiety about the White House's ability to strengthen the president's standing over the next 14 months.

Elected officials and party leaders at all levels said their worries have intensified as the economy has displayed new signs of weakness. They said the likelihood of a highly competitive 2012 race is increasing as the Republican field, once dismissed by many Democrats as too inexperienced and conservative to pose a serious threat, has started narrowing to two leading candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, who have executive experience and messages built around job creation.

And in a campaign cycle in which Democrats had entertained hopes of reversing losses from last year's midterm elections, some in the party fear that Mr. Obama's troubles could reverberate down the ballot into Congressional, state and local races. …

But a survey of two dozen Democratic officials found a palpable sense of concern that transcended a single week of ups and downs. The conversations signaled a change in mood from only a few months ago, when Democrats widely believed that Mr. Obama's path to re-election, while challenging, was secure.

The article goes on to describe how the Dems appear to be misunderstanding the root cause of Obama's re-election prospects, but I think the key point is that even Democrats are starting to get nervous about what The One has done to them, and question whether or not it's possible for him to win in 2012.

The Hillary Plan B was a crazy theory back in 2008 when Hillary bowed out, but the evidence since then sure raises some pointed questions.  Basically, the idea is that Obama has done such tremendous damage to the nation that his responsibility and culpability is inescapable.  Unless there is a genuine recovery between now and the 2012 election -- which is unlikely, given the economy-destroying policies that Obama has implemented -- he is going to be held largely responsible no matter how much Soros money is dumped into his re-election campaign.  The numbers just don't lie, and they paint too vivid a picture that resonates with too many people, and every Republican candidate should be able to blow gaping holes in Obama's campaign with it, especially given that Obama had a pure Democrat majority to implement his policies.  Faced with such a scenario, and the very real prospects that Obama's failures just might anchor the entire Democrat party to make the historic losses of 2010 pale in comparison across the nation, he may 'choose' not to pursue a second term.  He'll plead family time, health, getting done what he wanted to get done, or some other flimsy excuse that won't admit to being booted, but the reality is that he's out.  Hillary Clinton has the name recognition and the experience to be able to heroically step right into the thick of things and slug it out with any of the Republican candidates, especially when you factor in Slick Willy.  She's a familiar commodity with Democrat voters, and though they might not particularly like her (or the thought of another Clinton), she'd be a palatable candidate compared to any Republican.  She's also the only woman who could counter a potential Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman candidacy, and I don't think enough people are giving enough credence to the notion that women will want their turn at the 'first' Presidential gig, too.

It's obviously way too soon to know anything for sure, but if the economy continues to limp along, and if Obama continues to rely on now-repetitive speeches that everyone knows are devoid of any substance while failing to put forward any legitimate solutions to any of the problems facing this struggling nation...well, it's not such a crazy theory anymore.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Forward

One of the reasons we commemorate significant events of tragedy from the past is to reinforce new behavior that will help such tragedy from happening again in the future.  With that in mind, let's look at just a few things surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and how we're moving forward, specifically in regard to military readiness:

It is no big secret in the military. The force is worn down to nubs by a decade of war, the last two of which have been waged under the management of an administration fundamentally hostile to the Armed Services.

The fact is Obama is only comfortable cutting one sector of the budget: Defense. This is not to say that Defense is without waste, fraud, and abuse but it isn’t destroying jobs and the economy like Health and Human Services, EPA, and Labor. Right now cuts in defense are projected to total a half trillion dollars. Under Secretary Gates $178 billion, earmarked to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, was given up to support budget reductions.

Chairman Buck McKeon is going to hold a series of hearings over the next three weeks, around the anniversary of 9/11. Tomorrow the theme will be The Future of National Defense and the U.S. Military Ten Years After 9/11.

No part of the budget should be sacrosanct but neither should we send young men and women in to combat without the best equipment and support the nation can offer.
These people are the ones defending our freedom and prosperity.  It is a source of unending national shame to patriotic Americans that our armed forces are being whittled away by our elected leaders.  Not only is this a sign of extreme ungratefulness to the sacrifices of these good men and women (and their families), but it is also the height of foolishness because the foreign threats and dangers to America are growing by the day.

Unfortunately, so are the domestic ones, whether by the fundamental transformation of American society into a European socialist state, the systematic takeover of the American economy by an insatiable and corrupt government bureaucracy, or by the rejection of American exceptionalism.  It is a sad commentary that we must be vigilant against not only the threats from outside our borders, but also from our very own leaders.

9/11 + 10

It's been ten years since the worst terrorist attack on American soil.  In the past, I have posted video footage of that day as a remembrance (and you can see some of that footage again here if you want), but this year I'm going to do something a bit different and just post a couple of the many outstanding remembrance videos, along with some other related information later in the day.

The first video was made by a very good friend of mine who does multimedia at a local megachurch, the second was posted at one of the most trafficked conservative blogs on the Internet, run by a guy here in Missouri.  Both are short, powerful, and outstanding.

No, we will never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quick Speech Follow-Up

Just as a quick follow-up to the previous post about Obama's jobs speech last night, here are a few more details that you might be interested to know.  The markets didn't think too highly of it, and promptly tanked at the opening bell.  And when the AP -- which nowadays really just functions as the Democrats' transcribing service -- takes the speech to task for being wildly inaccurate, you know it's bad:

His plan would be fully funded, it would not add to the deficit, it would create jobs immediately, and it was chock-full of bipartisan ideas.  The Associated Press fact-checked these claims, and found them all false.

Paid for?  No:

Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the "out years," in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due.

Bipartisan? Uh-uh:

Obama's proposed cut in the Social Security payroll tax does seem likely to garner significant GOP support. But Obama proposes paying for the plan in part with tax increases that have already generated stiff Republican opposition.

For instance, Obama makes a pitch anew to end Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which he has defined as couples earning over $250,000 a year or individuals over $200,000 a year. Republicans have adamantly blocked what they view as new taxes. As recently as last month, House Republicans refused to go along with any deal to raise the government's borrowing authority that included new revenues, or taxes.

Deficit-neutral? Negative:

It's hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery.

And immediately effective?  Not even close:

One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years because it takes time to set up.

The AP doesn't address Obama's insistence that this package will work at all, and rightly so, since that is more of a political analysis than a fact check.  However, the same elements Obama insisted last night would stimulate job growth were the same elements that comprised the 2009 stimulus bill.  We have the same speeded-up infrastructure spending (this time masquerading as an "infrastructure bank"), the same money for state bailouts dressed up as rescue packages for teachers and first responders, the same Making Work Pay-type temporary tax cut for workers, and a "hiring tax credit" that flopped when Jimmy Carter first tried it.

The bottom line is this:

Obama didn't offer one single new idea last night.  He didn't even offer an idea on how to pay for the bill, whose price tag Obama never mentioned once in his speech but has now bloated from an initial estimate of $300 billion to $450 billion.  Instead, he told Congress to figure out how to carve the cost out of future spending while it battles over meeting its $1.5 trillion commitment from last month's debt-ceiling increase.

Over and over again last night, Obama lectured Congress to "pass this bill."  It seems more like Obama passed the buck — and now wants to wash his hands of the failures of Obamanomics.

On the same subject, today the White House admitted that it's going to take them another two weeks to figure out just exactly how this new paid-for 'stimulus' will be paid for.  And that's after weeks of vacation at Martha's Vineyard, too.  Tricky thing, this idea of paying for one's expenses!

Obama also made another in a long, long list of stupid off-teleprompter gaffes because he can't be bothered to actually learn about American history.