"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Obama's Caddyshack Summit (GOP Welcome 1:00 to 1:15)

I can't help but think of Caddyshack as Obama welcomes Republicans to his "health care summit" today. Just like the scene where the Country Club shows its appreciation to the caddies by allowing them to use the pool for fifteen minutes, Obama has graciously invited Republicans to present their ideas for a few hours after locking them out of the process for an entire year. Showing a total disregard for new ideas or a willingness to start over, the president went so far as to post his own bill before the meeting, which one expects he will spend the entire time defending rather than listening openly.

President Obama and his staff have been meeting in back rooms with Democrats for 300+ days, cutting deals left and right, but he doesn't want the American people to focus on that. He wants us to focus on the one day at the end of the process when Republicans were finally given an opportunity to share the stage, no matter how cosmetic. If the president truly wanted a bipartisan health care bill, he would have called this summit 300 days ago at the beginning of the process. But, of course, the president doesn't want that. He's going to ram his overreaching vision through despite the objections of the country and despite its highly partisan nature.

Let's call this photo-op what it is - an empty gesture designed to make Obama look like he's not the arrogant, tone deaf idealogue we've all come to know. The president likes to complain about political theater, yet here he is using Republicans as props in his version of an infomercial for a plan opposed by a majority of Americans.

There appears to be at least one big difference between ObamaCare and Caddyshack though. Obama and the Democrats aren't just leaving a Baby Ruth behind. Their state-run health care is a real stinking pile of you-know-what for the American people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flip Flop: Harry Reid Debates Harry Reid on Reconciliation

Yesterday, Harry Reid told fellow senators, and particularly Republicans, to stop crying about reconciliation, which appears to be the only path to ram FauxbamaCare down America's throat now that Scott Brown has killed the Democrats' supermajority. Poor Harry must have amnesia, either that or he's calling himself a crybaby, because from 2004 to 2008 he took the opposite position. As I previously posted, Harry was vehemently opposed to the use of the nuclear option - i.e. ending the filibuster - on the grounds that it ran tyranny over the minority and in fact, "would ruin this country." IN HIS OWN WORDS, he called the idea of reconciliation "black, black days for America. I hope we never get to that place again."

I'll agree with Reid on one thing. These are dark days indeed. If you're going to stake out a principled position and wax philosophical over the founding of the country, it's probably a good idea to visualize yourself keeping that principle if the winds of change ever put you in power. Otherwise, you look like a shallow, opportunistic jerk when you disregard your own words of wisdom. Oh well, if the flip-flop fits... Funny how these flip-flops always work out with the flipper flopping to the politically advantageous position. It would be refreshing if for once it happened in reverse. But that'll be a cold day in Al Gore's Hell, or at least when the mainstream press holds Democrats to the same standard as Republicans.

Now that Reid is in no man's land with a simple majority but not a supermajority, no legislation is too radical or far-reaching, and 51 votes is more than sufficient for turning one-sixth of the economy over to the State. We are supposed to be a Nation of Laws, not a nation of men, but Democrats are having trouble with that one unless you're talking about lawyering up underwear bombers and 9/11 terrorists.

Nothing to see here except more partisanship and name-calling from the intolerant progressives of the Democratic Party. Move along, you crybabies.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did Joseph Stack Have a Last Second Change of Heart?

Neglected throughout the coverage of Joe Stack and his small plane crashing into an Austin building that housed a department of the IRS is the fact that Stack didn't fly directly into the building. He actually crashed into an embankment in front of the building, ricocheting off the ground into the first floor offices, which as it turned out, were the only offices in the entire building that were not leased. This from the San Antonio Express News:

Stack’s Piper aircraft slammed into an embankment just outside the building occupied by 300 people. The aircraft struck on the building’s first floor, next to an empty break room.
“It was a combination of luck as to the fact the plane obviously did not go through inside the building,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Stack could have flown directly into the building. It's certainly easier to fly straight ahead than to take a sudden nose dive. It would have done a lot more damage, caused a lot more destruction, and taken a greater number of casualties. In fact, it could have been really, really ugly. But Stack, at least according to the investigation and a number of eyewitnesses, did indeed take a last second dive. The result: only one person died. The question is why?

Based on the evidence, I believe Joseph Stack had a last second change of heart. Though he tried to talk himself into a life of martyrdom by writing his manifesto, it didn't quite take. When the moment of destiny came, the musician, family man, and software-engineer steered clear of causing mass destruction. He was willing to be the sacrificial lamb, but not the wolf; to die for the cause, but not take lives for the cause. Maybe he knew being the wolf would only muddle his message. Indeed, it has.

I'm not saying Joseph Stack was acting rationally through the whole ordeal. The full text of his manifesto shows a troubled soul incapable of taking responsibility for his actions and casting judgment on everyone else. But his last second maneuver, if it was that, clearly saved lives.

Here's another theory. Maybe Joseph Stack was only trying to kill himself. Maybe he wanted to go out in a grand exit that attracted the attention of the world, left the IRS doubting their methods, and stirred a nation into questioning our confusing tax code. Obviously, he achieved that to some extent, although anyone who calls this man a hero is fooling themselves. However, one phrase in particular from his manifesto seems to cast doubt that he intended to harm others.

"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well." [emphasis mine}
It might be stating the obvious, but you usually don't tell someone to sleep well if you are expecting them to be dead. And Stack says "take my pound of flesh", not that he wants to "take their pound of flesh."

Still, why operate heavy machinery and risk endangering others if your only target is yourself? Why not set yourself on fire in front of the building or jump off the bridge at 183 and Mo-Pac, an overpass easily in view from the office? These acts would have grabbed headlines without risking other innocent lives. More importantly, why did Stack load an extra drum of fuel at the Georgetown airport, confirmed by the FBI in the wreckage, if he didn't hope to hurt others with a bigger explosion?

These questions may never be answered. But one myth that definitely needs dispelling is that Stack flew his plane into the building. He didn't. He stopped just short and crashed into an embankment. To push any other narrative is a disservice to the facts.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Facebook Shuts Down Page Dedicated to "Philosophy of Joe Stack"

Apparently that manifesto resonated with quite a few people. How else do you explain this group formed on Facebook one day after Stack flew his plane into a building housing offices for the IRS?

The group said they didn't support Stack's actions, just his philosophy. To which I can only ask, philosophy? What philosophy? The manifesto started out as a reasonable history of his tax problems before turning into a bitter rant against every institution in America. Politicians. Check. Health Care. Check. Tax Code. Check. Capitalism. Check. Accountants. Check. Corporate Greed. Check. Religion. Check.

Who exactly did Stack leave out? It's hard to tell what side of the aisle he's on, or whether his philosophy leans towards smaller government or bigger government. That's why the fact that some on the Left have tried to use this incident to paint him as a "teabagger" or supporter of the tea party movement is so egregious and dishonest. He never belonged to any such group. Stack seems to be maddest at the IRS, and let's face it, they have the most power of any federal agency. They are the only group I know of that puts the burden of proof on the accused and says prove you're not guilty, instead of the other way around. But in Stack's case, the attack was a personal vendetta stemming from his own tax troubles, not a broad attack on government. The IRS office he attacked wasn't even the biggest IRS office in Austin.

It's also clear that Stack is no fan of free enterprise. He seems to despise anyone who made more money than him and/or received tax credits that he didn't qualify for, from organized religion to corporations. In fact, he finishes his manifesto with the following phrases:
"The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed."
I can't say the man was a Communist, but he seemed to favor Marxism to our current system. And like many Marxists, he turned to violence, failing to see a morality beyond his own judgments. For the Communist, Life is less precious than the grand ideal of a utopian world where the workers "own" everything and private property doesn't exist. Yet something seems backwards about an independent contractor who owned a house and a plane bashing the system that allowed him to gain such wealth.

Facebook was right to shut this group down. Though there might be kernels of truth that many can relate to in Stack's ramblings, the overall philosophy seemed to be nothing more than "I am right. Everyone else is wrong." In other words, the delusions of a mad man.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why is Tiger Apologizing to Me?

All is forgiven in America, where almost everyone gets a second chance. Even Mickey Rourke. And so Tiger Woods called a very controlled press conference on Friday to make a statement, apologizing to the American public for his indiscretions. My only question is: why are you apologizing to me?

It's not like he committed a crime, showed up drunk on the course, or gambled on the game. Tiger Woods cheated on his wife. He didn't cheat on me. As far as I'm concerned this is a private matter. Say your apology to her, not us. There's only one reason for giving a mea culpa speech to the general public. Tiger's ready to get back on the golf course, and most likely will play in The Masters.

Let's face it. The PGA needs Tiger. A Masters without Tiger is hard to fathom, sort of like a winter olympics without a gay figure skater or Obama without a teleprompter. So trot out the world's most famous golfer to rehab his image, pronto, so he can start swinging the clubs again. The faster the public forgives Tiger, the faster he can return to the game without fear of a negative reaction. After all, you don't want him teeing off while fans are teeing off on him.

Friday's press conference was strictly a business decision, and a wise one at that. Assuming it worked, the PGA can breathe a sigh of relief. Expect sponsors to follow suit. Once again, Woods will get the chance to display his unquestionable talent... ahem, golf talent... at Amen Corner, or at the latest in the British Open. Hopefully by then, he'll just be facing the gallery, not the gallows.

Whether or not he can keep his zipper closed once he starts winning again, that's a whole different question.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BREAKING: Plane Crashes into Austin Office Building

I can see the smoke from my apartment and hear the sirens of emergency vehicles responding. Not sure of all the details yet. This is what News 8 Austin is reporting:

News 8 has received calls from viewers saying they saw a small plane crash into a building in the 9400 block of Research Blvd. (said to be the Echelon Office Building). TXDoT cameras in the area show fire and smoke coming from the building. The crash ignited a two-alarm fire.

Eye witness Thad Lindsey said he saw a 30-foot fireball and a cloud of smoke. “Then it started raining debris. All of the windows were blown out. I couldn’t see any more,” he said. Initially, it was reported the Austin Resident Agency Office of the FBI was housed in the building. However, the FBI's offices are adjacent to the building.

I can't imagine this being an intentional act. However, it's going to wreak a huge amount of damage and create traffic chaos at one of Austin's busiest highway intersections (Mo-Pac and 183). Avoid the area if you can.

UPDATE: It was intentional. So much for my imagination. The apparent target? The Internal Revenue Service. This is an account of the plane's movement from an eyewitness in the building:
“It wasn’t heading into the direction of the building but all of a sudden it took a right and headed straight into it,” said William Winnie. “It didn’t look like it was in distress. It wasn’t wavering at all."
The pilot is reportedly 53-year-old software engineer Joseph Stack, killed in the collision. Apparently, he wrote a manifesto and had a domestic dispute with his wife last night, allegedly setting his house on fire before heading to the Georgetown airport, north of Austin, where he put his deadly plan into action by taking off in a leased Piper Cherokee at 9:40 am. 

The scene from the highway where the incident took place looks demoralizing, the guts of the building spilling out into the parking lot. It reminds one of Oklahoma City more than 9/11, not just because the alleged perpetrator is homegrown, but because the suburban building is longer and wider than it is tall, and thus still standing.

UPDATE 2: I haven't focused on the injuries yet, which were minor except for a handful of cases. Those cases are described as severe burns and are being treated at Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio. However, there is still one person unaccounted for, and Austin churches have been staying in correspondence and sending out prayer requests for this gentleman. May his family and all the families affected by this tragedy stay in our prayers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Even in 2016, White House Admits Unemployment Won't Drop to Bush Era Levels

Two years from now, you'll wish it was still 2008, the last year of the Bush administration when unemployment was only 7%, at least according to a new report by Obama's economic advisers. That's right. The White House Council of Economic Advisers is predicting massive unemployment for years to come and an inability to correct the economy in a way that will create enough jobs to put most Americans back to work. As it turns out, 2008 was Obama's best year. Who knew?

In their new economic report, entitled Bush's Last Year: Those Were the Days! (okay, it's actually called the less flashy Economic Report of the President), the group forecasts 10% unemployment for all of 2010, with the number of people looking for full-time work much higher. Even worse, they expect unemployment to stay above 8% through 2012. Only by 2015 are they predicting the possibility of 6% unemployment, still almost a full percentage point higher than the average during the Bush years.

While employment is generally said to be a lagging indicator of a recovery, that's still quite a lag. In fact, what they are admitting is that their policies will fail. They are throwing up their hands and saying, "This is the best we can do. We can't bring the country back to the economic prosperity and low unemployment Americans enjoyed between 2000 and 2007." And here I thought Hope meant hope for the best, not hope for mediocrity. Does the president still want to give himself a B+?

The unemployment rate reached a low of 4.4% under Bush (which, by the way, Democrats laughably complained about), and now this White House is saying that benchmark is no longer achievable. Not even six years from now. In other words, the next president will "inherit" a worse economy from Obama than Obama "inherited" from Bush. Not to mention the massive amount of debt from the porkulus bill and runaway Democratic spending.

This is a rare moment of liberal honesty, and we should commend them for telling the truth. Their policies can't do any better, aren't designed to do any better, because that's not their intention. Redistribution of wealth doesn't create wealth. It kills the incentives to produce it. And liberal Democrats are okay with this. Progressives would be just fine with everyone making do with less. Unemployment in the teens doesn't faze them one bit, because there's less inequality when more people are unemployed. Besides, why worry about destroying the private sector when you work for the state? The private sector is for suckers.

Adds Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St:
"The numbers provided by the Council of Economic Advisers call into question not only the effectiveness of past programs but also those proposed to help stop the bleeding of jobs. Unemployment which could linger above 8% for another two years will continue to cripple consumer spending which in turn will make a full recovery as measured by GDP nearly impossible."
Under the best scenario of the Democrats plans, 1 in 12 Americans will be looking for work as Obama finishes his first (and hopefully only) term, and liberals are publicizing this as a success. So much for championing the working people. So much for championing work.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Republicans Can Gain from Skipping Obama's Healthcare Summit

To summit or not to summit? That is the question that Republicans have been wrestling with regarding the president's bipartisan meeting on healthcare. I'm not sure Republicans can say no to the meeting without losing some political traction among independents, at least in the short-term. But should they say yes, rest assured that the debate will have all the staged theatrics of a WWE match with Obama playing the role of Vince McMahon.

I, for one, don't think the president cares whether GOP leaders accept his invitation or not. It's an astute political move that will be painted as a win for him either way. If Republicans decline, Obama (with the help of the liberal press) will deride them as an obstructionist party unwilling to work with Democrats, or a party of no ideas. Then again, they've been saying that all year and it hasn't seemed to hurt the GOP. If Republicans do attend, the president will pretend to listen in front of the cameras, then persuade Pelosi to reconcile with the Senate's bill while claiming Republican measures were carefully considered. Or he will return to the back room deals under the auspices of the same false claims, but with added political clout. 

An even greater obstacle might be Obama's role as the "moderator" of the debate. You might as well hire game-fixer Tim Donaghy to officiate this year's NBA Finals. By playing referee, the president gets to come off as a reasonable centrist even though he has a huge political stake in the outcome and we know which side he favors. Pretending to vote present, as Obama did in the Illinois state senate a record 130 times, doesn't work when you've already revealed your support for the most radical version of single-payer healthcare and campaigned on the promise of a public option. Still, that's not going to stop him from trying.

Republicans and moderates alike should keep in mind that Obama is not holding this summit to seek solutions, especially those outside of his ideology (i.e. free market solutions). Nor does the summit present an opportunity for the smartest ideas to prevail. What Obama seeks is cover for the arrogance, hostility, and contempt he has shown his critics up to this point. The summit is a charade to make a predetermined verdict seem plausible, that handing more power over to the State is the best way to "fix" healthcare, and that it has been thoroughly discussed and debated by all sides. For the president, the words "summit" and "submit" are almost interchangeable. We are supposed to summit to submit to his way of thinking.

To be fair, Republicans seem to sense this trap. That is why they offered a counter proposal with preconditions, including the promise to throw out the current bills and start over from scratch. These conditions obviously will not be met, so now what?

Here's an idea. Since health care reform is a manufactured crisis of the Left and not even close to a top priority for American voters right now, the GOP should decline Obama's invitation to instead focus on job growth, deficits, and reducing government spending. It's time to stop playing defense and start playing offense. Put the pressure on Democrats to cut back big government and to fix the troubled entitlement programs we already have before adding a new one to our overburdened debt. Make any health care reform discussions contingent on fixing these problems first. All but the far left base of the Democratic Party will appreciate such an initiative.

Actually, Republicans could invite the president to their own summit on fiscal responsibility. After all, the facts are on their side, a $160 billion deficit the last year they controlled Congress vs. a $1.5 trillion deficit after just three years of Democratic rule. They can talk about all the obscene spending Obama has added since taking office and highlight the fact that he is one of those politicians that "talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk." Make him stake his presidency on this, and ask him how he plans to deal with the record deficit without raising taxes. It will make it that much easier to label him a tax-and-spend liberal come next election.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Left Wing Hate Speech

Once or twice a week I read a blog from the Left. One would hope this would give me perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments, but mostly it provides insight into their psychology. The most vile and judgmental statements I've ever come across are repeatedly on left wing websites. And no, I'm not just talking about the ones that mention Sarah Palin.

If you oppose a conservative policy, I'm unaware of any examples where you are labeled as a bigot or a racist or your compassion is called into question. Not so if you oppose a liberal policy. Your heart, your intentions, and your tolerance are always on trial. This was clarified for me when I was having dinner with a liberal friend recently who said, "I can't stand religious people. They are all so judgmental." Apparently, he hadn't considered questioning the prejudices in his own heart, unbothered by his willingness to paint others with a broader stroke than even the people he claimed judged him so harshly.

It is said we live in a marketplace of ideas with the right to free speech, but more and more people on the Left don't want to debate. They want to shut the other side up. While the Left doesn't have a monopoly on this un-American behavior, they have certainly taken the lead. Al Gore comes to mind along with most of the global warming crowd. A scientific hypothesis by its very definition should always be open for debate. Instead, the AGW alarmist crowd has taken to fixing data, skewing computer models, deleting emails, and demonizing or intimidating those who disagree with their theory. That's not science. That's a cult.

But it's not just global warming. Based on the psychology of the Left, every statist policy is a divine truth that only those with impure motives would dare oppose. If you disagree with President Obama, you must be racist. If you oppose ObamaCare, you must want people to die in the street. If you are for state's rights or adamantly pro-Life, you must be a religious extremist whose activities should be investigated. If you support the traditional definition of marriage, you must be an intolerant homophobe. If you support the idea that the individual owns the fruits of his labor and that government should be limited in its ability to confiscate your personal property, you must be selfish and hate the poor.

Notice that the Left never judges compassion based on how much you give, only how much you are willing to let the state take by force. I would argue it's quite easy to give away that which is not yours. It's certainly much easier to buy your fellow man dinner with other people's money. Not surprisingly, studies show liberals are often the stingiest with their charitable giving. One only need look at recent presidential candidate's tax records to acknowledge this double standard.

Conservative ideas don't merit debate by the leftist, because they consider them morally inferior. I was watching Book TV on C-Span (yes, I know I'm lame, but at least I saved you the trouble) and a young progressive author was discussing his new book, Republican Gomorrah. The basic premise of the book is, in fact, that Republican voters are backwards white, radical neanderthals who are often homophobic, racist, greedy, superstitious (i.e. religious), unintelligent, and bent on stopping progress and harmony for all of humanity.

The Washington, D.C. book store audience ate up every word of course,  applauding the author as they tried to grasp an understanding of "those backwards conservatives." Some asked questions as if they were discussing a tribe of cannibals in a far-off country whose customs failed to meet civility. In progressive circles, this is often referred to as tolerance.

The problem is by painting the intentions of conservatives as immoral or anti-progress, no argument a conservative makes, no matter how strongly or well documented, ever has to be considered by the progressive. The debate is over before it ever starts. They can instead resume attacking conservative motives and questioning our compassion, even as their biggest policy achievements fail miserably, driving the economy into recession and our nation into insolvency.

A conservative is interested in protecting freedom and liberty for the individual. For the progressive, this love of individual liberty only gets in the way of their agenda for "the greater good." If liberty stands in the way of "progress", then let liberty be the first casualty. And so the Left Wing Hate is directed at the individual who won't conform, who won't walk in lockstep with the statist agenda.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it's the most dangerous hate of all, sadly now on display in the leftist circles of American politics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When Success Means Failure (and Failure Means Success)

When Rush Limbaugh expressed his desire last year for Obama to fail, I admit I was taken aback. The rhetoric seemed harsh, a display of sour grapes after a brutal election year that had conservatives scrambling. But not anymore. Now I find myself waking up every day hoping Obama will fail. Why? Because after a year in office, the evidence is in. I've seen what he considers his successes and it's devastating.

Oddly enough, it's where Obama and the Democrats think they've succeeded that they've failed the most. The budgets they have passed have been dreadful, increasing discretionary spending by 84% in just over a year. They've quadrupled the deficit. Their stimulus bill stole money from the private sector to shore up union and government jobs that are a drain on state budgets. It also failed to create new jobs, as 4 million Americans (and counting) found themselves out of work during the president's first 12 months in office.

Now, in order to deal with the never-ending, unsustainable debt, tax increases are being discussed. This is the worst time to hit Americans with a decrease in take home pay, when consumers are already reluctant to spend and higher interest rates are on the horizon.

Passing Obama's government takeover of health care will only make things worse. It's a massive entitlement program that will increase deficits, raise taxes, and make health care more expensive. Ultimately, health insurance rates will go up, not down, based on massive government regulation.

This isn't theory. This is fact based on analysis of current state's insurance rates, which I wrote about here. Guess which state had the most expensive rates? Massachusetts - the only current state with government run health care.

Obama and Democrats consider their inability to pass this monstrosity a failure of the administration. Given the failure of their successful legislation, I'd say that's actually a success. Same goes for the EPA regulating carbon as a "pollutant" and the decision to try KSM and other enemy combatants with full constitutional rights in a civilian criminal trial. These are all first year successes for Obama, his policies have prevailed, but they are highly unpopular and damaging the future of this country. In fact, they are so bad that he must spend countless hours convincing an unconvinced public that he is smarter than all of us. Damn the results.

When you have to campaign as hard as this president does to seduce people into believing his passed legislation is "working", the truth becomes evident. If Obama's successes are such failures, we should all hope he has less of them. Rush was right. The president might have graded his first year in office a B+, but we'd all be better off next year if he gave himself an F.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are You Suffering from Obama Nausea?

I'm going to admit it. I stopped blogging for a short stint, because even I have grown tired of listening to this president. It's all become so predictable and tedious. A more naked emperor has never walked before us, at least not in my lifetime. In fact, I have become afflicted by a condition that is sure to affect more Americans in the coming years. I am suffering from Obama Nausea, which it turns out, can only be caused by Obama ad nauseam.

It's not just his policies anymore, although I deplore his policies. It's his hubris and arrogance, his refusal to change course for a less ideological path, to lecture those who disagree with him, and to endlessly campaign instead of govern. I can't stomach the way he champions himself while blaming others, or how he always reminds us how difficult his job is. I am exhausted from hearing the same promises over and over again, many of which are naive and all of which have been broken.

Barack Obama is not the one we've been waiting for. Unless you've been waiting for a thin-skinned narcissist quick who is completely incapable of seeing anyone else's point of view. Obama refuses to listen to the people, even in Massachusetts, where they voted for him by a whopping 26% only to elect a Republican senator this year. In other words, unless you host a cable show on MSNBC, this messiah is not for you.

How do you know you're suffering from Obama Nausea? Do his speech patterns, once considered fresh and articulate, suddenly sound tired and calculated? Would you rather listen to Joe Biden? Do you miss the stumbling, but more heartfelt words of George W. Bush because, hey, at least he wasn't talking down to you?

I became suspicious that I was suffering from Obama Nausea months ago, but it was the State of the Union address that confirmed my diagnosis. My ears can't take another false promise about banning earmarks. Then, of course, there's always the blaming of his predecessors. But the key phrase that really did me in this time was when he said:

"That's why I'm asking you to take another look at my health care bill."

Another look? Are you kidding me? This thing's been rejected and refuted by the American people more times than a John Travolta scientology movie. Contestants on American Idol don't get this many chances. If only Simon Cowell was there to tell him the truth. Let's face it. If you've lost as liberal a state as Massachusetts, you've lost the debate. But Barack keeps trying to tweak the sales pitch, as if we're not hearing him correctly. He just doesn't get it.

The mainstream media keeps telling us that any day now he's going to pivot, but the only thing he has switched so far is which side he uses to give us the razzle dazzle. Granted, I didn't vote for him, but even I hoped he would learn on the fly, adapt his positions, and prove he could govern a la Bill Clinton. Instead, he just keeps selling himself as if America is the problem and he's the solution. If that's what he really believes, then no wonder we're in trouble.

State of the Union speeches have historically been significant, because the public doesn't get a chance to hear the president lay out his agenda and articulate the challenges we face as a nation often. But this president is on TV more times a day than the weather forecast.

Barack Obama is more obsessed with his image than America's image, with his problems rather than the average American's problems. His problem is his ego, in which he's greater than the entire country. Too much more of this, and we're all going to be suffering from Obama Nausea.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Democrats Applaud the Closing of Another Small Business

I'm watching the Dow fall under 10,000 for the first time in a few months. No angst. No surprise. I'm told this has something to do with problems facing the European Union. Maybe. But as long as this president continues with his economic policies, it will not be the last time we plunge below 10,000. Or even 9,000. We are on the precipice of a disaster that shows we learned nothing from the Great Depression, which by the way, was overseen by the same type of progressive Democrats who are now running things in Washington.

Increase the size of government. Waste money. Raise taxes. That's become the Democrat's modus of operandi. It may not have a noticeable impact during good times when consumer confidence is up and unemployment is below 6% (as it was during the Clinton years), but it certainly doesn't promote private sector growth. After all, the Clinton years ended in a recession that the Bush tax cuts were fortunately able to correct.

So now that Obama and the Democrats have increased spending across the board, including an 84% increase in discretionary spending, two omnibus bills with trillions in deficit spending, the disastrous cash for clunkers, and a trillion dollar failed stimulus that hasn't stimulated anything but government, they want to play the role of fiscal chicken hawks and work to reduce the deficits they just created by passing pay-go amendments and raising taxes.

This is a really, really bad idea. After all, a tax increase is the same thing as a salary cut, a reduction in the discretionary income for the average working family. And a reduction in discretionary income is the worst thing that could happen when consumers aren't spending. Now they have even less money to meet their financial obligations, to spend on their families and at small businesses in their communities.

Besides, deficits aren't the problem. Spending is the problem. Federal spending goes up every year regardless of who is in charge. Granted it goes up a lot more under Democrats (the last year Republicans controlled Congress the budget deficit was a manageable $160 billion vs. Pelosi and Obama's 2011 budget deficit of $1.4 trillion) and especially when huge entitlement programs are passed (which progressives always favor). Deficits aren't the cancer killing the patient, they are a symptom of the cancer - too much government spending. So why just treat the symptom?

Democrats want us to focus on deficits instead of spending, because they like big government. And so long as spending can be paid for with tax increases (it can't according to the Laffer Curve, but that's a whole different issue), why stop spending? They never met a tax increase they didn't like, so of course they are for pay-go amendments. It makes tax cuts next to impossible, grows government, and gives them more power. But by focusing on deficits instead of spending, we are neglecting the root of the evil - the loss of private sector wealth and free enterprise. In the meantime, businesses are getting crushed, finding it harder to succeed faced with new taxes and unnecessary regulation. And voila, we have recreated the exact type of policies that led to the Great Depression.

This will be Obama's legacy, and while the president talks a lot about favoring small business and entrepreneurs, his policies do nothing to encourage confidence. He has created an atmosphere that frowns on letting businesses and banks do what they do best - make a profit. Then he chastises them for not hiring. This is a lot like claiming to love sports cars, so long as they don't run on gas or oil. Then chastising them when they don't go fast.

Take it from me. I just closed a furniture store after trying to hang on for 14 months of decreasing sales. I could no longer afford the 50% loss in revenue and customer traffic. And for every month of Obama speeches and policies, it only got worse. Government is growing at the expense of the private sector. It always does. Sadly, progressives only applaud this. And that's what I hear: Democrats applauding the closing of my store and the end of my means of income.