Monthly Archives: January 2009

Thoughts On The Inauguration

As I write this post, our country prepares to celebrate tomorrow what comparatively few countries in this world can celebrate: another peaceful transition from one leader to another. The fact that, for the most part, this process has happened peaceably for over two hundred years is in itself an achievement. However, I am apparently not as excited by it as the projected millions that are to be in Washington, D.C., or the vast majority of the mainstream media in this country.

If you have subjected yourself to any of the coverage of the inauguration at this point, then you may have experienced the same thing I did. The level of fawning and pontificating over Obama, and what he is going to do to “heal” America has reached a fever pitch.  I thought the media was largely against torture – I guess I was wrong.

So forgive me for not participating in the Obama-gasm. Yes, I fully realize the historical nature of Obama’s election. I do find it ironic that his inauguration is being celebrated using the very language that Dr. King (whose birthday we celebrate today) sought to get rid of (i.e, he is the first black President). However, it certainly does reflect how far our country has come from its racist and prejudicial past. But, the problem is that I can’t separate the man from his ideas.

It is hard to get excited about a President that promised things on the campaign trail like:

“I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending . . . slow our development of future combat systems . . . not develop new nuclear weapons.”

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” (FYI, 50% of our electricity in this country is generated by coal-fired power plants, according to Pew Research.)

“The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom Of Choice Act.”

Of course, this is just a sampling of the kinds of choices Obama says he will make once he is President (in this case, less than twenty-four hours). So, again, forgive me if I am not doing cartwheels down the street over the fact that he gets to set a large part of the public policy tone for the next four years. Then again, he is a politician, and politicians promise all kinds of things while campaigning to get elected, then follow through on very few of them…so maybe I have nothing to worry about.

My advice? Shut off the TV…maybe even the radio. Set your internet home page to blank (or better yet, this blog), and wait for this feeding frenzy of self-congratulations to subside. Let’s face it, the mainstream media would not be nearly so excited if a conservative African-American had won the election. They are excited because, (a) Bush is leaving, and (b) their guy won.

I could probably go on, but decency forces me to stop there. So appreciate tomorrow for what it’s worth: another peaceful transition of power, and maybe we can finally get over this albatross of “America is racist” hanging around our collective necks. Beyond that, it means that our country has elected the most left-leaning President since FDR – and that is no cause for celebration.

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Filed under Election, Politics

Economics, Part I

So I promised a big post – a magnum opus, if you will – on the economy. I have since scaled down my lofty ambitions to just go over a few items, expecially given the speech that President-elect Obama gave on Thursday announcing a large government-sponsored economic recovery plan. He touched an many aspects of the plan, a few of which caught my ear.

The first topic is one of my favorites, one that I really love and I know a lot of you do as well…taxes. Obama said that part of two bajillion-million (okay, $800 Billion) package is tax cuts. Woohoo! I mean, any chance to get back part of my hard-earned money from the government is a cause for celebration. Quite frankly, government (at all levels) takes way more than enough. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.

Obama stated that “95% of working families will receive a $1,000 tax cut – the first stage of a middle-class tax cut that I promised during the campaign and will include in our next budget.” If this tax cut lines up with similar statements that he and his team made regarding taxes during the campaign, that means that many of those getting tax cuts didn’t actually pay any income taxes at all. In effect, a payout from the government.

And what about the 5% that aren’t getting a tax cut? Why don’t they deserve a tax cut? They already bear a disproportionate burden of our tax base, and also tend to be the ones that are the linchpin of our economy: those that own or heavily invest in business enterprises.  While I understand that our tax system is progressive (read that leftist), that doesn’t mean that we can’t give the higher brackets a tax cut. They would still be in the higher brackets, therby maintaining our “progressive” system.

A word on class warfare: the Democrats, for years, have couched their economic views in terms of the middle/working class versus the rich.  The unfortunate part about this is that, at a time when the best course of action would be to cut corporate income tax rates (as well as personal income tax rates), there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that Obama (or anyone else that pays dues to the DNC) could mention that without a veritable fire storm of criticism. Can you imagine the moveon.org types? Why, the New York Times might even have a critical word or two to say about Obama. Here is a word of advice for my Democrat bretheren – go to your bookshelves, take out your copies of Marx, and throw that crap away! Marx’s theories have been proven for what they are, and have done little in the West but help to engender an adversarial relationship between labor and capital, which has done little but hurt those on the labor side of the equation.

Okay, this post now has the potential to be long, which is saying something on this blog. So I will continue this conversation on another post…

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Filed under Economy, Politics

I Know I Promised…

that my next post would be on the economy, and I am working on it (yesterday’s speech by our Glorious Leader, er…President-elect Obama, is a veritable gold mine) – however, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Mr. President-elect….this is the best you could do?? Out of all of the people who work in the national security apparatus, this is the best you could do? To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, “Please tell me you’ve got something more…Please tell me there is an ace up your sleeve.”

Honestly, couldn’t you have taken all the names of the people at the CIA, NSA, DIA, etc…put them in a hat, and picked one out? A janitor at Langley probably knows more about intelligence than Leon Panetta. Not that I have anything really against Panetta, apart from the fact that he is yet another Clinton administration retread.

(Clinton National Security Success #1: “Who’s calling? Sudan? They want to know what? Do I care to know exactly where Bin Laden is hiding?? You tell them I don’t have time right now, I have a meeting with an intern…she wants some career advice from me.”)

When Diane Feinstein, who happens to be both a leftist from the PRC (People’s Republic of California) and the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, isn’t for your nomination on the grounds that you don’t have any experience, you REALLY don’t have any experience. She probably thinks the CIA is still trying to overthrow Allende in Chile (and so what if we were?).

I would love to get any feedback from readers that happen to be with the Company, or any other part of our intelligence community…all comments are moderated, so if you don’t want something posted, just say so.

By the way, part of Obama’s reasoning for picking Panetta? “…officials noted that he had a handle on intelligence spending from his days as director of the Office of Management and Budget.” Whew, I feel better already.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, International Relations, Politics

You Can’t Go Home Again…

…or so the writer Thomas Wolfe once wrote. More on that later. First, let me wish all of my loyal readers…all three of you…a very Happy New Year. I hope that this year brings you blessings and fulfillment.  One of my “resolutions” for this year is to be more consistent in posting…so instead of having feast or famine periods, I hope to stick to a better schedule. As much as I would like to (and could) post here once or twice a day, it is more realistic to think once or twice a week.

While there is plenty in the world of politics and current events to write about, my first post of the year is on a more personal note…but it does have something to do with politics, I’ll explain… For those of you who don’t know, Thomas Wolfe lived in Asheville,  North Carolina. Which is convenient for me, since my post is about that very same city.

Asheville also happens to be the hometown of my lovely wife, so we are there a good amount. Our most recent trip was right after Christmas. While we were there, we took a little trip to downtown Asheville. Now, unless you have been visiting Asheville consistently over the past twenty years or so, you may not be amazed at the transformation of that part of town. Like many cities, it is undergoing an urban center renaissance. There is plenty to do, places to eat, and shops to spend money in. We were amazed that, even on a weekday afternoon, the place was hopping.

It doesn’t take long, while in downtown Asheville, to get the vibe of the place. As one might exepct for a city in the middle of the mountains, there is a lot of emphasis on the outdoors. There is also a lot of emphasis on environmental concerns.  There is also a lot of emphasis on…well, politics. After walking around for awhile, my wife leans in and says what I have been thinking…”We don’t…belong…here.” It’s not that we were treated poorly or looked at askance…of course, I had left my “Annoy A Liberal” T-shirt at home that day. I also have not made a habit of announcing my political affiliations on the back of my car, unlike the vast majority of Asheville-ites.

My wife then pointed out something else after we discussed the fact that, if we did live in Asheville, we probably wouldn’t be invited to a lot of cocktail parties. She pointed out that liberals, who often deride conservatives for being close-minded and dogmatic, are these days just as close-minded. In Asheville, the dogma seems to be:

1. Bush badddd

2. Republicans evil

3. Obama is savior

4. The world is going to implode if we don’t all drink organic coffee, wear clothes made out of hemp, and get our chakras cleansed

I am sure there have to be some conservatives in Asheville, but I suspect that most of them are labeled as “rednecks” and “ignorant”. Never mind that they may have arrived at their views in just as a principled and thought-out manner as most liberlas want you to believe that they used.

So, in the end, Thomas Wolfe was right…we can’t go home again. Unless we cleanse our chakras first.

PS – I am working on a post that covers the economy and the most recent “bailout” announced by the incoming Obama administration…but I have to pace myself or my head will explode. I am also looking for hard statistics to include, so its not just me ranting on. Stay tuned….

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Filed under General, Politics