April 30, 2009

What to make of Arlen "the Defector" Specter

It's pretty easy to say good riddance to bad rubbish. While that's seemingly the prevailing sentiment, including my own, a deeper analysis is required since it's a political event and it holds political implications.

First off though, the fun part. Specter was not helpful to conservative causes in very large part. He was self-serving to the end. Look in the dictionary under the term Specter.


1. a visible incorporeal spirit, esp. one of a terrifying nature; ghost;
phantom; apparition.
2. some object or source of terror or dread: the specter
of disease or famine.
Also, especially British,

Origin: 1595–1605; spectrum
Synonyms:1. shade. See
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

While Arlen wasn't really terrifying, his voting record could be. He was a ghost on a lot of conservative positions, and it certainly proved to be an object of dread to conservatives. In other words, he lived up to his name. He was a conservative version of the undead - sucking the like life out of the GOP for his own nefarious purpose - to cling to power as a member of the undead would try to cling to life.

That Specter does not understand core conservative principles is summed up in his illogical foray into the NFL's Spygate issue in 2007/2008.

...there is nothing estimable about Specter's call for a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the league's Spygate incident involving the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick, and his suggestion that Goodell should be called to testify about why the NFL destroyed the videotape evidence of cheating.

In fact, by putting his nose into an in-house league issue, Specter has portrayed himself as even sillier than Upshaw, who Thursday responded to a question about health benefits for retired players by noting, "The disability program is for the disabled." Duh.

Addressing league matters such as Spygate, some of his colleagues ought to remind Specter, is for the league.
Core principles - free market versus government meddling. Which side did Specter come down on? The same side he's coming down on now - government intervention where it is unwarranted.

That Specter is self-serving is obvious. He bolted on the 28th, this poll came out on the 21st, indicating Specter was in trouble heading into a GOP primary;

And Specter said this on the 19th of March; "To eliminate any doubt, I am a Republican, and I am running for reelection in 2010 as a Republican on the Republican ticket."

Self-serving, not constituent-serving.

So how will the Specter defection affect Democrats and Republicans? There's already been a lot of speculation. He's the Democrats' headache now. He'll be challenged and defeated in the Democratic primary for his re-election bid. Toomey is too far to the right. This is good for the GOP, it purges a RINO. This is bad for the GOP, it weakens the party in the Senate and gives the Democrats a super-majority in the Senate. A lot of speculation, not all correct.

If the conservatism of the GOP is helped by this and they still lose a seat in 2010, the problem is bigger than Specter. The GOP needs to have principles guiding their decision making. But in politics every advantage is an advantage to be taken.

Specter is a symptom of a greater problem. Is there room for RINOs in the party? That question misses the mark. At 39 GOP Senators in the Senate the answer is no - there's no point. If there were 65 Republican Senators in the Senate the answer could be yes. But you need to get to 65 any way you can, in order to carry RINOs. If you had say 12 RINOs and the GOP held those 65 seats, you still have have more than 50 reliable votes and RINOs that you can split issue by issue and perhaps maintain a near filibuster proof majority. The Democrats see it that way on their side. The supposed conservative Democrats, aren't as conservative as you've been told, they're staying on the Democrat reservation. RINOs could be brought in line frequently enough to be useful to the GOP.

In reality, the solution is not to go to the Democrat-lite ground. The solution is to find a better way to communicate to the American public. THAT'S THE REAL SOLUTION. The Democrats and their victories have the GOP fighting a civil war and it's mere distraction. The Democrats hold the keys to the kingdom because they have a better message machine - organized, supported by the MSM and they are on campus, in union halls, at town halls. The GOP is flat-footed and on the defensive on all of those. THAT'S WHERE THE REAL BATTLE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT. I've pointed this out before.

The problem of Specter would disappear if the GOP were better at getting their message into communities and had a better combat strategy for a partisan mainstream media. The real question then becomes, "So where's Michael Steele?"

April 29, 2009

President Obama - 100 Day Presser - Live Blogging

President Obama's 100 day press conference.

8:00 Updates - H1N1 flu virus. Utmost preparations. $1.5 billion. Where's the number from? Objectives are fine, but how did you arrive at the fund number?

8:03 Cover your mouth when you cough?

8:04 Budget resolution passed today.

150,000 jobs, 95% taxes cut. A spike in refinancing? How big?

New foundation for growth. This budget? New savings???

8:05 Foreign policy - ending war in Iraq, closing Guantanamo,

Good start. Just a start. Proud but not content.

More homes jobs will be lost. Tough times still ahead.

Deficits too high. Obama is high if he thinks that he isn't contributing to that problem.

Clean energy initiative.
New Wall Street rules.
Credit Card protection.
More savings.
Procurement reform.

8:07 I can see your eyes moving.

Q1) AP - close border? Concern not panic. Follow the scientists. Barn door after the horses are out? There's still more horses that can get out. Does it take $1.5 billion to ensure everything is in place? Bush created good infrastructure. OMG a compliment on Bush.

Uh, uh...blah, blah, blah. Answer too long again. Reminiscent of the first press conference.

Q2) Bankruptcy on option for Chrysler? GM plan sufficient?

Hopeful for a viable Chrysler. Unions have made enormous sacrifices. Debt holder concessions. Feeling optimistic.

GM - has a lot of good product. GM can emerge strong and competitive. Get government out of the auto industry as soon as possible. Moving in the right direction.

Chrysler was prudent to plan for bankruptcy but it might not be necessary.

Hardship for workers and families.

Q3) Jake Tapper - ABC. Previous administration sanctioned torture?

Water boarding violates our ideals and values. Could have got the info in other ways.

Trying to change the line of the debate. Invoked Churchill. Shortcuts corrode character. Will make us stronger and safer over the long term.

Uh, uh...uh, a uh....

Reiterated water boarding was torture. It was a mistake.

Q4) CBS Radio - Enhanced techniques saved lives. Could you authorize it if it was necessary to save lives.

Not declassified.

Doesn't answer core question. Which means he has admitted that the techniques did reveal information.

Judge me on if I keep you safe. I believe the best way is without short cuts.

Q5) Pakistan nuclear arsenal.

We can be sure it is secure. The Pakistani army understands. We are providing strong consultation. Gravely concerned, not of an overrun, but over a fragile government unable to deliver basic services and the rule of law.

Q6) Any change to scale of withdrawal?

Incidents of bombings remain low compared to last year. Political system is holding and functioning. More political work is required to isolate Al Qaida in Iraq.

Q7) Chip Reid - Arlen Specter switch. One party rule? State of the Republican party.

I respect Arlen Specter. He will remain independent. He will cooperate on health care. Democrats who don't agree with me on everything. Regional differences. Compromise on all issues.

Republican - reaching out to them has been genuine. Didn't work. Voted to change in a historic election. Don't oppose my every position.

Never as good or as bad as they seem - re Republicans. But opposing us on every front is not a good political strategy.

Q8) Notre Dame and Freedom of Choice Act. "Above my pay grade. "

A moral and ethical issue. Not only a women's freedom issue. But women are in a better position to make that decision than Congress.

Reduce unwanted/teen pregnancies.

Not my highest priority. Focus on what we can agree on. That's my focus.

Q9) NYT - what has surprised, troubled, enchanted and humbled you the most? Wow. Just go out of business.

Surprised - number of critical issues at the same time.7 or big problems instead of 2 or 3 that would be normal.

Troubled - sobered by change is slow. Posturing and bickering even in crisis.

Enchanted - service men and women - impressed and grateful.

Humbled - Just part of a broader tapestry of American life. I have a much larger time horizon then when I was a candidate.

Q10) Telemundo - What is your strategy on immigration reform? 1st year? McCain?

Procurement reform - McCain/Levin.

Want to move the process. Not good for anyone.

Noticing he's saying he wants to solve problems but he's not talking specifics in many instances.

Q11) Given unique circumstance, how are you targeting African American communities in the recession.

Designed to help all. Most vulnerable get help first, so that means African Americans and Latinos will see help first disproportionately.

Lift all boats???? He's quoting Ronald Reagan!

Q12) State Secrets views?

Modify it.

We were short-termed on the court filing. It serves a purpose but we don't want it to be a blunt instrument.

Q13) Chief shareholder of many companies - mortgages, car companies. What is the government role?

Looking to get out. The sooner the better. Want a functioning competitive auto industry. Restructuring help.

Obama 100 Day Presser - prep work

Questions for the President:

Why have a press conference?
Can the country afford your promises?
When will the activism stop?
What are you thinking? For real yo'?

100 Days - more reviews.

Here's the Democrat take on things.

More Democrats - CBS;

More moderate views from US News and World Report:

Worst or Best media moments of the first 100 days

This is what the left regards as outrageous. What it really is, is outrage.

Apparently the Democrats are not the problem - conservative anger is the problem. conservative concern for America is the problem. YOU, are the problem.

Here's my suggestion - go to their website, and do a write-in vote for this abomination...Couric winning an award for her Palin interview/hatchet job.

Oh, wait - they won't let you select anything other than what they selected as Worst. Free speech? It's their own website, they can do what they like. But when the results come out, just remember they were GUIDED.

Media Matters? Not when it's done like that.

Rush Limbaugh on 100 Days

Rush Limbaugh on President Obama's first 100 days.

100 Days from Hell

We get caught up in the day-to-day issues and sometimes overlook the bigger picture. At the ephemeral demarcation point of 100 days into the Obama Presidency, we are granted an opportunity to reflect on the bigger picture, by the mere passage of a standard time period for measurement.

Obama's first 100 days have not been complacent. He's been very busy. Whether his efforts have been in the best interest of America or have been effective are another story. Certainly he merits an A for effort.

But...The title of the post isn't 100 Days from Hell for nothing.

What does the big picture look like? Partly like this.

Graph from WaPo.

But for Obama, the picture is more a melange of things. It's difficult because it doesn't fit into buckets, try as we might. There are, as with any President, ramification political, ideological, national, and otherwise. Much of the impact has temporal components that cannot be realized in 100 days (for good or bad). Still, we should try to quantify it in any case, since believing the impacts will be either bad or good will vigilant require monitoring of the effort.

On Education - Obama has provided more money, massive amounts in fact. The budget increase is from $89 Billion in 2007/2008 to $174 billion in 2009/2010. What are you getting for the doubling of the spend? What measurable objective are tied to the extra funding? What is the money going to - teacher pay? New schools? School improvements? How much will be wasted? The agonizing thing is that there is little transparency because the money has been committed and not spent. But what will it get spent on is the real concern. My fear is that there will be no opportunity to call it a failure if there's no idea what it's supposed to do. There is, if you will, no strategy for victory, and no exit strategy should it be a dismal failure. In that case the money will be wasted.

Deficit spending - Trillions of dollars have been thrown at the recession. Not only are they shooting in the dark about what the outcome of the massive spending will be, they are betting the farm to do it. The President has left himself no room to maneuver if the stimulus doesn't work and more is needed or a different approach is needed. The President has in fact boxed himself in for the rest of his term if things don't go perfectly smoothly. He's focused so much into the first 100 days, he may be forced to coast the rest of the way. Sure, he can steer the direction because the hard work of getting the money is out of the way.

This is the real victory Obama has won. The money is already committed, the budget is passed. Now he can direct where it goes and how it is used. These are smaller fights. The real fight for liberal Democrats has always been getting the money. Whether the economy struggles or recovers like gangbusters, Obama now has money to spend. Your money, your children's money, but money to spend. And regardless of what the economic landscape looks like in 2009-2012, spend it he will. Be prepared for some crazy spending ideas. When it comes down to spending the future in a few quick years, the money will be wasted on the most inane things because spending that fast is going to be tough, even for Democrats.

That doesn't mean he scores high grades for getting the money. Quite the contrary. This is theft of the highest order.

Cabinet postings - Poor vetting - 5 tax cheats and assorted other misfiring. Plenty of empty slots still available if you want to be in the Obama administration. Prior proper planning, people...

Green energy - A Saudi royal says energy independence is impossible for the U.S. He may be right, short term. But not long term. America is the land of dreaming and achieving the impossible. But O is betting on heavily green. Not on black, where there's a nearly a 50/50 shot (in roulette as in oil). The odds are long on green paying off any time soon. Speeding the greening process isn't even possible to achieve by throwing money at the issue. It'll work to eradicate CO2 even less than throwing money eradicated welfare. Wait, what?

Meanwhile he's ignoring the low hanging fruit of American energy independence. Oil, coal, and nuclear power. Thankfully, it appears cap and trade might be dead, though Obama deserves no credit on that.

Moreover, one of the big left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing instances in this administration has been Cap and Trade and raising CAFE standards fly in the face of both the economic recession and the auto bailouts as well as Democratic UAW supporters.

Swine flu - lackadaisical. If this were Bush they'd be screaming he didn't learn from Katrina. But since it isn't he's getting a pass. And he's using it. Lazy response to the flu, lazy to abuse the free pass from the press.

War on Terror - They changed the name (overseas contingency operations), changed the course of operations in Iraq, released torture memos (selectively) because, that'll work;

On Tuesday, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview that he had been continued to be mistreated since Obama came to power.

Mohammad al-Qurani told Al Jazeera's Sami al-Hajj, a journalist and former detainee, in a phone call from the facility that he had been beaten and tear gassed by guards and had been subjected to ill treatment "almost every day".

He met and shook hands with enemies of the state. He cut defense projects like the F22. Clearly the President is trying to show a difference between Obama and Bush. It's worked. They are different. However, the quote above, taken from Al Jazeera, will outshine any Obama goodwill in the Muslim world, so way to leverage a national interest into a partisan political attempted gain. Hopefully that backfires on the administration rather than on the nation.

Foreign relations - Weak on dealing Iran and N Korea problems. Weak on capitulating to the Castros in Cuba. Soft on the Chinese ships that interfered with Naval vessels. Absorbed a tongue-lashing from the Sandinista that Reagan helped drive into the wilderness, Daniel Ortega. No real direction on Pakistan.

The philosophy is classic Neville Chamberlain, we'll capitulate, we're nice - leave us alone please (so we can focus on my domestic agenda).

Transparency - I won, no need to read the stimulus package before passing it. Forget about any debate. The vote on health care we'll use the reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster. Because, you know, something as massive as that doesn't really need any debate either.

Transparency is more than just showing what it is you are doing. It's explaining it. It's debating it. It's not misleading the population with smoke and mirrors. Pretend transparency is not real transparency. Unfortunately it's working for them.

Socialism Firing the CEO of GM, clawing back 90% of bonuses in taxes, demanding conditions of recipients of the bailout money that exceed the authority of government. It's more than just socialism. It's a power grab of epic proportions. It's spawned Tea Parties and it will likely spawn resentment in parts of the Democratic party. But can it be stopped?

Overall - long on ideas short on specifics. That's the real problem. Dogmatic and not pragmatic. This administration hopefully has done most of it's damage already and more importantly it won't be forgotten com November 2010.

I for one, am wholly unimpressed.

April 28, 2009

Rachel Maddow might be a useful idiot for the right

This from an unexpected source: Rachel Maddow talks about how the Obama administration has dumped news deliberately on Friday's to avoid the news cycle. It's quite a list. There's some left nut job stuff in her assessment, but she hits on some legitimate points in terms of what President Obama is attempting to keep kept quiet. And it conveniently shows the duplicity and hypocrisy of the Obama administration.

Don't ignore the meaning just because of the source. Maddow is giving us fodder for 2010. If it was wrong for Bush and now it's not, then Bush was right. It needs to be pointed out.

Indy Mind: Arlen Specter the Defector, leaves the GOP.

Indy Mind gets it right as Arlen Specter defects to the Democrats:

Indy Mind: Arlen Specter the Defector, leaves the GOP.

Fire Louis Caldera

Why fire Louis Caldera? Here's why. The Director of the White House Military Office apologized for this, but it should never have happened the way it did. He's culpable and yet again, it shows lack of foresight on the part of the Obama administration.

Even the lib left seems to have a problem with this ill-conceived plan. If Olbermann puts him ahead of Limbaugh then it has to be bad.

And mis-information herself, Rachel Maddow gave it an F;

Harry Reid is misty for Obama

From the AP:
The paperback version of Reid's book, "The Good Fight," is coming out May 5 with an epilogue called "The Obama Era." Reid said he was impressed when Obama, then a freshman senator from Illinois, delivered a speech about President George W. Bush's war policy.

Reid, D-Nev., writes: "'That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry.'"

Yeah, it's called a compliant press.

The ego is astounding.

Napolitano logic on border closure

With the danger of the swine flue spreading, The Hill reported the following;
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the government's response at a press conference Monday afternoon as reporters asked her about the risk of asymptomatic swine flu carriers entering the country.Napolitano said the strategy of identifying and isolating those who seem ill and try to cross into the United States was adequate given the circumstances, as a reporter asked if closure of the border had been considered.

"We're already doing passive surveillance at the border," Napolitano said. "You would close the border if you thought you could contain the spread of disease, but the disease already is in a number of states within the United States."Noting that those
infected with swine flu may not show symptoms for a few days, Napolitano said border closure is "a very difficult judgment to make."Napolitano said Sunday night that there was no "realistic hope of containment" that would motivate a border closure, as was called for Saturday by Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.).

Logic: The border has been breached so there's no point in closing it now.

(%#@^!!! Analogy - Murders have already been committed so there's no point in making it a crime NOW is there?)

Okay, is it because no other infected person could possibly cross the border and accelerate the problem. The cases already here are the threat. Is that position political? Or just ignorant?

It's certainly in need of further justification, but don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Spiccoli flashback

Sean Penn,

was more intelligent as Spicoli;

Hey, it's not a character assassination, just a comparison of him in 2007 versus 1982.

April 27, 2009

What, me worry?

The Alfred E. Obama presidency it is. David Frum, conservative pariah points out that Ronald Reagan's popularity soard in 1983-1984 based on what he'd accomplished. Barack Obama's popularity is high based on what he's promised. Health care, clean air, America loved world wide, more spending, less debt. In other words a free lunch and a pipe dream. Maybe the President is still passing the joints (and I'm not talking Chiefs of Staff).

The President has flittered from crisis to crisis - financial, automotive, North Korea, Iran, the deficit, global warming and now the swine flu - not really solving anything but sounding like he has all the answers. The glitz IS going to wear off eventually.

More importantly though is the apparent lack of a sense of urgency over the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, and yes, the United States. If this has been indicative of the "What, Me Worry?" approach that the Obama administration is going to take towards anything that isn't sponsored by it's own agenda, we're looking at big trouble because of little interest. The President is supposed to be a steward of the country, not acting like someone who won the country as spoils in a card game and is now going to re-paint it to his own liking.

It's becoming apparent that there needs to be some action taken, but the CDC has said there's no way to stop it. In other words the CDC is completely useless in this situation? Then why have a CDC? We're not talking about finding a cure, although a vaccine apparently exists. No, we're talking about stopping the spread of the virus.

Here's a list of links on Drudge Report about the growing problem:

And here's a map view of cases. But the Obama administration says 'nothing to see here folks, move along.'

View Larger Map

It's certainly unnerving how unconcerned they appear to be. Napolitano wants to be ready for the next flu. The President says don't panic. I don't mean to sound alarmist here, but panic would be a welcome change from nonchalance.

And then there's this bit of Messiah complex that requires it's own post. Wow, just lay your hands on the afflicted Mr. President.

April 26, 2009

Obama presiding over your doom.

Massive debt on the horizon, hyper inflation even closer. You don't ever want to think the boat is inevitably going to sink or you stop bailing water. And in stormy seas, the lifeboats are but a delay in the eventual outcome. I'm not an alarmist generally speaking - I tend to think in terms of everything being cyclical.  There are boom and bust periods.  Nations rise and fall and rise again.  Political parties political fortunes surge and regress.  Ideologies ebb and flow.  You do your best to promote what you think is right - free markets, personal liberty, etc.  But the tides are the tides. If things are shifting leftward right now, fighting back is no more than trying to mitigate the damage it will cause. It's still worth it - I'm still trying to help bail water. But things will balance out eventually.

The question is how far will things go before they start to correct?  If it goes too far, it doesn't become an American ebb and flow cycle, it becomes the decline of another civilization in the global ebb and flow.  That can be a dead end for America.  China recovered, Rome didn't. Japan recovered.  Mongolia didn't.  Greece didn't.  Germany recovered, France not so much.  Russia probably won't.  Spain and Portugal didn't. History is replete with examples of losers, and winners are few and far between.

It's wonderful to think that America is above such ebbs and flows or a rise and fall.  It's not.  Not when the citizens have become complacent and feel a sense of entitlement not only to their liberty but to things like health care.  When you're on top, it's easy to rest.  It's easy to think you're invulnerable.  You're not.  And now is no time to rest and dream Utopian dreams.

The videos below point out the troubles ahead on the horizon for the ship of America.  They are alarmist.  But they are not necessarily wrong. America needs to be shaken awake.  The Tea Parties are a way to do this.  But they need to go hand-in-hand with an explanatory message - the country cannot afford the Democrats.  The costs are too high - the debt is unsustainable.  And the trajectory is simply wrong.  This message needs to break through the clutter of messages at the Tea Parties (mostly good messages, but too disparate), and the mainstream media.  The message that Americans who do not pay close attention need to understand is that there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Alarmist, yes.  Possible? Yeah, it is.  With today's speed of financial transactions, perhaps the Depression of the 1930's could happen so quickly that the recession came and (mostly) went already and the solution will be what kills the patient.  The spending has to stop

Tea Parties far from over

A few quick links to tea party information - July 4th, 2009. Just a small sampling of what is in store.

You got it Pontiac

Right in the face.     Ouch.


 Looks like tomorrow GM might announce the discontinuation of the Pontiac brand, which often seemed derivative of Chevy, and therefore redundant.

This in addition to the 9 week shutdown.  Bleeding cash GM is struggling to meet the June 1 deadline for Obama's restructuring plan.  While it may be too little, too late, Pontiac seems to be the odd man out.

Obama's slow response on Mexican flu

Is it possible a flu pandemic might accomplish what Tom Tancredo and other Republicans, as well as millions of illegal aliens could not?  That is, to seal the U.S.-Mexico border.  With Mexico City taking aggressive measures to cancel public events as a result of over 1000 suspected cases and over 60 deaths, President Calderone has declared an emergency and has the power to quarantine.

Cases have been reported in the United States already.  The story is pushing the economic recovery or lack thereof out of the headlines for now.  If the crisis grows it will spell some relief for the administration on the issue of dealing with the economy.

Where is the Obama administration on this? According to the AP;

WASHINGTON – The White House says President Barack Obama is being updated on the swine flu outbreak in Mexico.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the Homeland Security Council is monitoring the situation, along with the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gibbs says Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan is leading the White House's response. Mexican authorities say 60 people may have died from the swine flu virus and world health officials worry it could unleash a global flu epidemic.

Gibbs said Obama was not at risk during last week's trip to Mexico.
After 9/11 there were critiques that President Bush reacted too slowly. There were 2752 deaths.  After Hurricane Katrina the complaints were repeated - there were over 1300 deaths. Those who oppose Iraq point to the 4,199 US deaths there. Is the memory of the American people so short that President Obama is going to get a pass on this flu problem?  Granted it's predominantly a Mexican crisis at this point, but given the number of illegal and legal immigrants streaming in from Mexico daily, shouldn't a flag be raised somewhere about a potential danger from the current situation?  At what point does this become a bigger bungle than those three Bush issues combined? The Bush lives lost total 8251 to date, and arguably not all of those deaths can be blamed on him.  The blame for the Katrina deaths certainly goes in large part to then governor Katherine Blanco [CORRECTED]. And 9/11 was the fault of the terrorists who committed the heinous act.  And while some may disagree with the policy and the premise of the Iraq invasion, Bush was acting in what he thought was the best interest of the nation. Arguably those deaths in Iraq, are his responsibility.  They are deaths however for national security purpose however.  Agree or disagree with the policy, the decision was made for what was believed to be the good of the nation.  

Whatever the actual way someone decides to tally the deaths under President Bush, it may pale in comparison to what happens with this flu outbreak (not pandemic at this point).  The point is, this situation, like Katrina, is one that from the perspective of the United States, was one that was seen coming.  The train is coming, America is laying on the tracks.  It's up to the President to get the country off the tracks before the train hits it.  So far, nothing.

Numbers vary but estimates are that from 2,000 to 10,000 illegal immigrants cross the US border every day. Currently 1 in 100,000 people in Mexico has this swine flu.  Which means statistically every 10 days a new case could be entering the country.  Illegally.  The real number is likely higher as illegal immigrants are poor and more likely to be sick than someone not interested in sneaking into America because they have jobs and health care in Mexico. And that rate of disease entry doesn't even include legal migrants.  Is there any airport screening going on?  Are there extra border patrols being added to combat the problem?  Or as a result of the drug wars spilling over the border that has been flaring up for quite some time now?  Secretary Clinton, did blame the flow of drugs on Americans.  But that's not really a solution, it's just finger pointing.

This flu pandemic could get really ugly, quickly.  So far, President Obama's solution has been the head in the sand approach.  It hasn't proved problematic yet but it has the potential to be disastrous.

Exit note: Gibbs felt the need to point out that Obama's health was fine?  I hope that was in response to a question or else the pomposity of the statement would be staggering.

April 25, 2009

More Obama firings

According to the New York Post, President Obama is just getting started on his power tripping;

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit's job security is increasingly in jeopardy as momentum grows in Washington to oust him.

With the bank stress tests wrapping up, sources tell The Post that regulators think they might have to make the bold move of removing Pandit to signal Washington is taking as hard a line with the banks as it did with General Motors when it effectively ousted GM CEO Rick Wagoner.

The talk of Pandit being dismissed comes amid speculation that a visit to Citi's offices by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner a week and a half ago might have been to discuss a change at the bank's helm. However, people familiar with the meeting said the visit was simply to conduct a checkup on the bank.
It's wonderful news. Think about it, the President is going to solve Citigroup's problems the way he did for GM by getting rid of Wagoner, because as we all know, he knows better than the rest of us...

This does not bode well for the whole concept of free market economics. I don't know how anyone can argue that this has any sort of differentiation from a command economy.

April 24, 2009

Naivety paints Obama into yet another corner

Its been a long while coming but things have finally started going right for the Republicans. The latest Rasmussen polls showing Obama's ratings slide, while at odds with Gallup (65%), has some support in the Pew numbers which show some polarization. More importantly, it seems that the Tea Parties have shaken the GOP out of its doldrums.

In a brilliant maneuver Republican Pete Hoekstra, has potentially built some momentum on those numbers by calling out the Obama administration on it's foolish waffling on the issue of interrogations and criminal investigations. As reported in Hot Air, Hoekstra has demanded full disclosure on the interrogation issue;

Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, accuses Obama of dishonesty by selectively releasing memos from the program — and he accuses Congress of cowardice by not admitting their own role in sanctioning the interrogations. He wants names and dates made public in this debate, a prospect that will likely chill enthusiasm on the Hill.

A challenge for full disclosure is a terrific tactical move. Either the White House and Democrats don't go for full disclosure and they look dishonest, or say they can't do it and then appear politically motivated and manipulative by having released only the part that benefits them, or they do and free up GOP targets from prosecution because of the validity of their claims or else lump in many Democrats as having known the issues during these meetings and still having supported the interrogations. Or, the Republicans are bluffing and are guilty. But if they were guilty I'm sure they wouldn't be as obtuse as Rod Blagojevich and call a bluff that really isn't a bluff.

A portion of Hoekstra's opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal speaks to the hypocrisy ;

...last week Mr. Obama overruled the advice of his CIA director, Leon Panetta, and four prior CIA directors by releasing the details of the enhanced interrogation program. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has stated clearly that declassifying the memos will make it more difficult for the CIA to defend the nation.

It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002. We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.
President Obama has flip flopped on this and it takes away his options. He could have gone one way or the other and left himself more openings, but now his only out becomes ignoring the whole mess and hoping it goes away. This is the path of least resistance and is one he is prone to take. It will help him overall because many Americans are as head in the sand as the President, especially on this. But it will infuriate the fringe who will further start to view Obama as part of the supposed war machine or at least just another political opportunist. And that means eroded support from the far left. But again, it's the path of least resistance for him and his poll numbers.

Alternately he could hang Pelosi et al. out to dry. Its a gamble but one that might pay off as he comes across as transparent and bi-partisan. But it would alienate a good portion of his support in Congress. That's risky.

Obama's pontificate-before-you-think approach has painted him into a corner on this and he's where he deserves to be because he's made the country less safe. Whether he can squirm his way out is yet to be seen - with a compliant press he'll have an easier time than most in trying to do that. What's important as conservatives to take away from this are two things; (1) keep the pressure on and (2) Pete Hoekstra deserves some credit for realizing that there was an opportunity to point out hypocrisy here and he pounced on it. Good for him.

Chavez book for Obama: course material

Fox News is reporting that the book Hugo Chavez gave President Obama as a gift is course material at 20 colleges (at least) and has been course material at some colleges for decades.

[Link - http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517784,00.html]

The book, entitled "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" give an account of European and American oppression and exploitation of the South and Central American regions and people.

Wonderful. How about an opposing view point being presented to the impressionable minds at these schools? Maybe a mention of what contributions Europeans and Americans have made to the region and to the world. Would that be too much to ask? Likely.

Then again, the typical student response to the gift from Hugo Chavez to the President - who's Hugo Chavez?

At least those exposed to the book might be too busy enjoying college life to absorb any of it's garbage.

Reality Check - Obama versus education

Here's Obama on education in America;

Here's reality.

Reading, Math, Sciences, Economics, History. Focus where it matters, because the other guys are doing just that. It doesn't mean eliminating other things like art, music, physical education etc., just eliminating the amount of time on things like that and sex ed...

and this brainwashing;

She has no agenda? Really? You can't say the same about those who were teaching her. I'm just saying.

Friday Musical Interlude - April 24, 2009

Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun

An ode to global warming?

April 23, 2009

Anti-Palin press: Then and Now

Whatever is convenient. Different sources, but the idea is simple. Dump on Levi Johnston until he becomes an asset. Then it's kid gloves.

The Hollywood Gossip: (Sept 2008)

Bristol Palin’s high school sweetheart and father of her unborn baby, Levi Johnston, may not be ready for fatherhood just yet.

We're not just guessing that because he's a bad boy teen. He said this!

Bristol Palin, 17, the daughter of Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is five months pregnant. Just hours after this shocking revelation, the father of her child was revealed by the media.

While Levi Johnston (pictured below) admits he's "in a relationship" on his personal MySpace page, the teen hockey player made the candid statement that he does not exactly wanna be a parent, proclaiming, “I don’t want kids.”

Way to set the record straight, Levi!

And it got far worse. But after the breakup with Bristol Palin and a chance to use him to knock Palin, the tune changed.

From Salon a review of the Tyra Banks interview (April 7, 20009);

Levi Johnston showed up in an untucked button-down, grey pants and a bright blue sweater vest, sounding no more or less like an anxious dumbass than you might expect of a teenager who wants to talk about his private life on "Tyra."


He was affable and monosyllabic, giving mostly grunting "yes" and "no" answers to Banks' questions.


But Levi was downright eloquent in comparison to Banks, who treated him with a combination of condescension and obsequiousness unmatched in my recent television watching experience.


Given the forum and circumstances, Johnston was relatively gracious, and even classy, when holding forth on both Bristol and her family.

Before he was an abhorred brute. After, a gullible but affable kid in the wrong place. The efforts at being two-faced by the media never seem to cease.

In the words of Tyra, Mmmmhmmmm!

What he said

A terrific article in National Review on the F-22 fighter being scrapped (reduced actually) by the military. Near the end of the article Jim Talent makes an eloquent and incisive point that goes beyond the military implications and points out the problem with the President's approach.

I can't really improve on those paragraphs so, I'll just say: "what he said".
Beginning in 1993, a small group of congressmen on the Armed Services Committee began warning that America was not modernizing its forces. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) are still sounding the alarm today. But with the exception of Newt Gingrich, who as speaker fought for funding increases, the warnings have gone unheeded. The unexamined assumption of those who had the ultimate authority was that America could not afford to fund its military adequately.

That assumption was never valid; after the recent orgy of government spending, it is laughable. In the last few months, according to CBO estimates, the Obama administration has obligated the American people to $10 trillion in additional debt over the next ten years. For a small fraction of that money, America’s servicemen and women could have been given the modern equipment they need to protect their country. Yet none of the money was spent to sustain America’s military capabilities — an act of negligence that history will neither understand nor forgive, and one that is doubly incomprehensible given the Obama administration’s stated desire to stimulate the economy through government spending.

How can the administration possibly claim Keynesian justification for throwing money at every government agency except the military? No one could credibly argue that doubling the budget of the Department of Energy creates jobs, but buying ships or planes built by American workers in American industry does not.


Rasmussen trends - April 22, 2009

From Rasmussen Wednesday;

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 34% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-two percent (32%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +2 (see trends). On the Generic Congressional Ballot, it’s all tied—39% for the Democrats, 39% for the Republicans.

Most voters continue to believe that the financial and auto bailouts were a bad idea, but the Political Class disagrees. Sixty percent (60%) now believe the federal government has too much power and too much money.

The last bit is one of those things that makes you shake your head.  The government may have too much power, but too much money?  Then why the deficit spending, why the inevitable taxation and why print money like it's toilet paper?  Shouldn't basic economics be a compulsory school course?

But other than that, it looks like the GOP has some positives to be thankful for.

April 22, 2009

Want to save the Earth? Spend!

This is the type of analysis I've been trying to set aside time to do. From Scrivener, the de-bunking of Earth verus Consumerism as an absolute choice.
"The more advanced an economy grows, and the richer its population becomes, the less in physical resources it consumes."Tell your environmentalist friends: to Save the Earth, grow its economies! Especially its most backward ones (but ours too). As fast as you can!

...the 32 minerals with the highest levels of consumption in metric tons, all over 100,000 in 1965 (omitting a few like "crushed rock" and "salt" which even the most rabid of greens won't allege we are depleting), and then compared the amounts of them consumed in 1965 and 2005.
The key findings:

  • Per dollar of GDP, all 32 declined in consumption.
  • Per capita, 19 fell in consumption. Adding all 32 together, per capita consumption fell by 41% total (i.e. the net effect)
  • In absolute terms, 11 of the 32 declined outright in consumption, and the total consumption of all 32 declined in absolute terms by 9%.

More wealth, more spend - less consumption. Ergo less waste as well. Therefore spend green to save 'green'. Calls for a Capitalism Day are worth heeding.

Obama the softy

Politico today has an article about whether the GOP can paint Obama as being an apologist. The story misses the point on two important counts. (1) Obama is not an apologist for anything he's done or doing - he's apologizing for the perceived sins of others. As a result, his apology amounts to not contrition but rather finger-pointing. (2) The GOP needs to point out that he is soft of foreign relations which is dangerous for America and for Americans.

Obama the apologist?

President Obama has spent a great deal of time apologizing for the actions of the Bush administration. He has not, nor will he not apologize for any mistakes he has made or will make. Why not? It would detract from his domestic aura as "The One". He cannot, in the eyes of the campaign machine, be perceived to be less than messianic because once that glimmer wears off, there's a whole lot of nothing underneath.

And why is Politico using the word "paint" in it's title? That in itself portrays the GOP in a bad light. It's as if the GOP is trying to make something out of nothing by painting a picture that is different from reality. Further, the only purpose in pointing out any issues are implied to be politically motivated and not real concerns with the issues.

Republicans are hoping they have finally found the secret to taking on President Barack Obama — by portraying him as overly apologetic about U.S. misdeeds and naive about engaging unfriendly regimes abroad.

But tagging Obama as a “Jimmy Carter Democrat” on foreign affairs and national security may prove a difficult critique to make stick - at least for the moment.

That is because Obama and his aides have sought to inoculate themselves against the charge with a simple defense: This is what the public voted for in November. The White House says Obama made clear that his foreign policy approach called for engagement and admitting mistakes where warranted and that voters embraced that sharp break with eight years of the Bush administration.
That Obama has made a break is clear. That the GOP disagrees is clear. Why not title the article "GOP questions Obama's stance on foreign relations?" Is that not a more neutral title?

There's apparently no article questioning whether Obama is right to take the new approach. There's no question of whether the denigrating of any previous administration diminishes the stature of the United States in the eyes of the world. When the starting point of the analysis comes from the position that Bush was terrible and he hurt the US image internationally, there's no room left to contemplate the real issue - is running down your own country not counter-productive? Is what the President is doing tantamount to mere finger-pointing and meant for domestic, liberal audience consumption?

When th President says 'we have done wrong in the past' he is setting himself apart from the blame, on a subliminal level. He positions himself as being The One here to fix it. He is aggrandizing himself and his own image at the expense of the image of the nation - domestically and internationally. That is a profound shame.

Obama the weak.

From a GOP perspective though, there's no real value in "painting" Obama as an apologist. The real opportunity is to point out how President Obama is soft on foreign threats. From a gut-level reaction perspective, an apologist doesn't have a visceral reaction. To even mention that smacks of an attempt to direct Republican criticism in a direction that is easily defended by Democrats.

The obvious comeback is that the apologies were necessary and if the GOP can't admit past mistakes they are not ready to govern. The are self-righteous and blind. The irony is laughable. The problem is that they would get away with it.

Which brings us back to the real opportunity. Obama's softness on foreign relations represents a real threat to America as a whole, and to American citizens individually. That is a gut-level argument that needs to be made.

On the North Korean missile test, he was meek. He condemned it and got a non-binding UN statement condemning it. You think that ill stop Jong Il from trying to test another? Perhaps one that could reach California? Nope.

On Venezuela, he accepted a gift from an election thief. Birds of a feather, some might say. The message however was clear - I'll talk to Chavez even though he has said not only rabidly anti-Bush things, but rabidly anti-American things. It's okay to knock my country (just don't knock me). Venezuela will be emboldened in South America no doubt by the different tenor the perceive from the President.

On Iran he has really painted himself into a corner. Even Politico got this one right.

On Iran, though, the administration’s preference for engagement will have to produce gains relatively quickly. Having declared it unacceptable for Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, Obama will face increasing pressure as months pass to show that engagement with Tehran can actually succeed in restraining its nuclear activities.

White House officials have been very careful not to remove options such as harsh sanctions or even military action from the table, which gives Obama room to switch course if outreach to Iran proves fruitless.

The high-wire act that Obama is now embarked upon with the Iranians became even more evident Monday when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered an inflammatory speech at a U.N. conference on racism in Geneva that attacked the United States and Israel, prompting a walkout by many delegates. The U.S. was boycotting the conference already, but the episode pointed up the danger the U.S. faces of a blowup as it proceeds with its outreach to Tehran.
On Cuba, Politico points out the supposed toughness from President Obama;

Obama also has been careful to inject caution into the discussion of what is possible by reaching out to longtime foes. In the case of Cuba, he responded to an offer from Raul Castro of broad talks with the United States by laying out a series of demanding steps for Cuba to take, including the release of political prisoners and adoption of democratic reforms. Obama acknowledged that the U.S. policy toward Cuba “hasn’t worked,” but he played down the possibility of quick improvement in relations.
Wasn't there a campaign promise to meet unconditionally? Is he breaking a campaign promise? It seems that way. No mention though. However, it may be because he's already eased restrictions to start the dialogue going. In other words, being proactively weak.

On waterboarding;

Administration officials insist that the decision to release memos describing the use of waterboarding and other harsh techniques against Al Qaeda prisoners does not diminish U.S. safety, especially since Obama has committed not to use the techniques in the future. The decision to outlaw the techniques may make the U.S. safer by removing a major complaint that Muslims have about the U.S., officials argued.

But former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and others have argued that revealing details of the interrogations reveals to terrorists how far the U.S. is willing to go during questioning, which he said could diminish intelligence information obtained from interrogations and make it harder to detect ongoing plots.
a) Muslims had complaints before the waterboarding started. There was this incident known as 9/11 which demonstrated that fairly succinctly. When the refer to the US as the Great Satan, it predated Bush and Clinton.

b) Former Vice President Cheney got it right - release the details about what information waterboarding elicited. If there were 1000 dead ends and only 1 real lead, that 1 real lead may have saved 1000 American lives. At the expense of scaring a handful of terrorists. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

These things all have real consequences. And Obama is establishing a record of being soft on adversaries. Make no mistake, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and terrorists are adversaries.

This is where the GOP can make it's points on President Obama. He simply doesn't have the stomach for the job on the international stage. That he is an apologist for the greatest nation on earth, is nothing more than sad.

Freddie Mac Suicide

The CEO of Freddie Mac, David Kellerman, was discovered dead this morning from an apparent suicide.


The reason for the suicide is not yet known.

Mr. Kellerman was acting CEO and had been at Freddie Mac for 16 years.

April 21, 2009

Smells like a majority to me

While the political balance is pretty well locked in until early 2011, out in middle America, the winds seem to have started to blow towards the conservatives backs.
From Rasmussen;

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans have a favorable view of the “tea parties” held nationwide last week, including 32% who say their view of the events is Very favorable.

Thirty-three percent (33%) hold an unfavorable opinion of the tea parties according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

While 83% of Republicans and a plurality (49%) of unaffiliated Americans have a favorable view of the tea party protests, only 28% of Democrats say the same.

Most Americans trust the judgment of the public more than political leaders, view the federal government as a special interest group and believe that big business and big government work together against the interests of investors and consumers. Only seven percent (7%) share the opposite view and can be considered part of the Political Class.

On many issues, there is a bigger gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Americans than between Mainstream Republicans and Mainstream Democrats. That was true on the tea parties, but Mainstream Republicans do express a more positive view of the protests than Mainstream Democrats. Still, a majority (54%) of Mainstream Democrats had a favorable opinion of the tea parties.

Another Rasmussen Report had this to say;

As short-term optimism about the economy has grown in recent months, so has the concern that the federal government will do too much in response to the nation’s recent economic challenges.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of the nation’s Likely Voters now worry that the government will do too much. That’s up from 50% a month ago and 43% in mid-February. It’s the highest level of concern measured since Barack Obama was elected president.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 34% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-two percent (32%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +2 .

Overall, 54% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance so far. That’s his lowest total approval rating to date. Forty-five percent (45%) disapprove.

Not exactly a majority, but certainly a trend towards one. The Trade winds are a much better place for conservatives to be than in more headwinds. Maybe John McCain should have corrected the course of his ship and he'd have won. Just a thought. But with the winds shifting in a conservative direction, and surprisingly quickly, we're possibly better off long term that McCain did not win.

The real reason Democrats win

Some might eye this as a bit cynical, but the representative republic that is the United States of America has a corruption problem with it's voting system. It's not ACORN, though they represent a problem with the system. The real reason Democrats win, is because of the money.

From the Washington Post:
On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

This from the Yahoo/AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taxpayers are increasingly exposed to losses and the government is more vulnerable to fraud under Obama administration initiatives that have created a federal bank bailout program of "unprecedented scope," a government report finds.

In a 250-page quarterly report to Congress, the rescue program's special inspector general concludes that a private-public partnership designed to rid financial institutions of their "toxic assets" is tilted in favor of private investors and creates "potential unfairness to the taxpayer."

And this from CQ Politics:

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most
powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would "waddle into" the AIPAC case "if you think it'll make a difference," according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.


In exchange for Harman's help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

And from CBS:

Spring in Washington is "earmark season" - a busy time for Congressman John Murtha.

"That's my business," Murtha said. "I've been in it for 35 years."

As head of a powerful Defense committee, Murtha controls hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. And he's not shy about directing money to those who give generously to his election campaigns.

CBS News has learned that this month, Murtha is steering new earmarks toward 10 companies that recently donated to his campaign. Murtha wants $8 million for Argon ST, a defense contractor whose CEO gave Murtha the maximum allowed by law - $2,400 by an individual. He's directing a $5 million earmark toward Advanced Acoustic Concepts, which also gave the max - $5,000 for a political action committee - to his campaign. In all, 10 recent Murtha donors are slated to receive $31 million in Murtha earmarks for 2010.

Taxpayer watchdogs may not like how it looks, but it's not against the law unless donations were required in order to receive the earmarks. Looking for evidence of wrongdoing, the FBI has recently raided offices of two other companies linked to Murtha.


Murtha wouldn't comment for our report. He did recently tell a home state newspaper that he's only trying to bring home the bacon.

[Hat tip for all links: Drudge]

So while ACORN is a problem, the real issue here is that Democrats know how to game the system. They get the big donors. They obviously play the behind the scenes game a little too well. It's corrupt, but it wins.

The problem for Republicans is that they still have the stench of complacent corruption on them. But in the current climate, absent a real grassroots change, it seems to be the way to stack the deck in favor of your side and it's stacked against the GOP. The choice for the GOP is to play the game to get the money to get the message out and win, while succumbing to corruption OR cleaning house and trying to win on principle from the ground up.

The path of least resistance is to join in on the cheat. That's the path politicians are prone to take. But if the Tea Parties continue to build momentum they may become the path of least resistance because it's cheaper to win on popularity than on back room deals.

The real reason Democrats win, is not the way that is good for the country. Maybe it's the Chicago way, but it's not the American Way. This may be the year of crossroads for the GOP. Let us hope they choose wisely.
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