Daily Wisdom

November 27, 2009

Quotes To Remember

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some quotes may be paraphrased... just a bit.

Give me liberty, or give me death.
--Patrick Henry

Buy health insurance, or go to jail.
--Barack Obama

Despotism can only exist in darkness.
--James Madison

You don't need to see my birth certificate, or my college records, or my legal writings, or... anything.
--Barack Obama

Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of 'emergency'.
--Herbert Hoover

Never let a good crisis go to waste.
--Barack Obama

If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
--George Washington

I don't want you folks to do a lot of talking. Just shut up and get out of the way.
--Barack Obama

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.
--Thomas Paine

I will remove one or two brigades a month, and get all of our combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months... Let there be no doubt: I will lose this war.
--Barack Obama

We will accept nothing less than full victory!
--Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

I'm not sure we have the right strategy in Afghanistan. Let me think this over for a few months.
--Barack Obama

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
--Abraham Lincoln

The Warren Court wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution... I intend to succeed where they failed.
--Barack Obama

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
--Thomas Jefferson

I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.
--Barack Obama

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
--Francis Scott Key

I decided I won't wear that flag pin on my chest any more.
--Barack Obama

America is great because she is good.
--Alexis de Tocqueville

I'm going to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great.
--Barack Obama

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.
--Ronald Reagan

As progressives we believe in affordable health care for all Americans.
--Barack Obama

Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.
--John Adams

We are God's partners in matters of life and death.
--Barack Obama

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
--Nathan Hale

I never regret anything... I just lie about it or change the story.
--Barack Obama

After the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers.
--George W. Bush

I have complete confidence in the American people and our legal traditions and the prosecutors, the tough prosecutors... who specialize in terrorism.
--Barack Obama

I have never been proud of America my entire adult life.
--Michelle Obama

Michelle is just great, isn't she?
--Barack Obama

Not God Bless America... God DAMN America.
--Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Reverend Wright has been my friend and mentor for over 20 years.
--Barack Obama

November 25, 2009

We've Come A Long Way

Another video I created -- with a surprise ending...

You can download a high quality AVI file HERE.

Say No To Cap-And-Trade

November 20, 2009

Obama Can't Walk And Chew Gum

In September 2008 during the presidential election campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama chided Senator John McCain for suspending his campaign to deal with the economic crisis. He said, "A president should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time."

In March of 2009, the media began to question whether or not President Obama was taking on too many issues at once, including: the closing of Gitmo, the economic crisis, creating jobs, administering the stimulus plan, health care reform, a growing budget deficit, green energy, global warming, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, education reform, and immigration reform.

Being the arrogant narcissist that he is, Obama naturally defended his actions. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs compared the situation to a house on fire where each of the problems Obama was taking on represented a different room in the house. "Which room are you going to put out first? Or are you going to call the fire department and ask them to put all of it out? Or are you going to say, you know what, we love the living room; start over there. And if you can, get quickly to the kitchen, and next to the den," Gibbs said. Obama was saying in effect, "I can walk and chew gum at the same time."

So then, let's review Obama's progress to date, shall we?

Gitmo: Is Gitmo on track to be closed within one year as per his executive order, and one of his first acts as president? Not likely. President Obama is now saying: "We are on a path and a process where I would anticipate that Guantanamo will be closed next year. I'm not going to set an exact date..."

Economic Crisis: According to some experts, the economy is showing some signs of life. Apparently there was 3.5% economic growth in the third quarter, which suggests that the recession is ending. But if the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - the group of economists that officially determines when a recession begins and ends - has anything to say about it, the end of the recession could be a long way off.

According to the NBER, our current recession began in December of 2007. But they did not use the generally accepted measure for the start of a recession, that is, two consecutive quarters of economic decline. The NBER used job losses to determine when this recession began, even though the economy continued to grow slowly well after December of 2007. So then, if job losses determined the beginning of the recession, it is only logical to assume that job growth will determine when the recession ends. But that isn't happening yet.

Job Creation: President Obama said his stimulus plan would create approximately 4 million new jobs within 24 months and unemployment would not exceed 8%. Well, that doesn't seem to be working either. Job losses continue to mount as 2,829,000 jobs have been lost since his stimulus bill was signed. Unemployment is now at 10.2%, and the highest in 26 years.

Administering the Stimulus Plan: President Obama and members of his administration have tossed around figures of one million jobs "saved or created" as a result of the stimulus plan. In some cases they said: "over one million jobs." According to the official website Recovery.gov, it was reported that exactly 640,329 jobs have been saved or created. When the numbers were examined more closely by ABC News, they found that even those reduced job figures were exaggerated or in error. Jobs were being reported as "saved or created" in congressional districts that do not exist. In one case, the purchase of a $1000 lawn mower reportedly saved 50 jobs.

The number of errors being reported caused David Obey (D-WI) to say: "The inaccuracies on recovery.gov that have come to light are outrageous and the Administration owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes. Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, I want the honest numbers and I want them now." So does the rest of America, but don't hold your breath.

Health Care Reform: This was the centerpiece of Obama's election campaign, and his highest priority. He started working on health care reform in March, when he faced critics who said he was taking on too much. He toured the country stumping for health care reform. He told Congress to put a bill on his desk before the August recess, but the deadline came and went.

August was noted by the media as one of the most news-filled recesses ever, with almost non-stop reporting on townhall meetings dominated by vocal protesters who were angry about the Obama administration in general, and his health care reform plan in particular. The Democrats tried to smear the protesters, and they blamed the Republicans for holding up progress on a reform package, but "Blue Dog" Democrats were the real stumbling block.

Obama then changed his deadline, saying that health care reform would be completed "by the end of this year". With precious little legislative time remaining on the congressional calendar for 2009, it is now being suggested that health care reform will be complete before Obama's State-of-the-Union message in January. Apparently health care reform is harder to accomplish than he thought it would be.

To make matters worse, the polls suggest that Obama is losing support for his health care reform plan. A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday, found that voters disapprove 51%-35% of the health care overhaul passed by the House of Representatives which he has endorsed. And voters disapprove 53%-41% on President Obama's handling of health care. "Independent voters disapprove 59-35 percent of the President's handling of health care, and disapprove 57-29 percent of the plan itself," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Budget Deficit: President Obama acknowledges that we have a problem with the budget deficit, and says that we need to address it. In an interview with Major Garrett of FoxNews on November 17th, he said: "I think it is important though to recognize that if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the US economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession."

President Obama then went on to say that we need to set up "a pathway longterm for deficit reduction." Yet, Obama appears to have no "short term" plan for addressing the budget deficit. In fact, every measure he has passed since taking office has only ADDED to the deficit. He repeatedly says that he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit, but the deficit was $569 billion when George W. Bush left office, and it was $1.4 trillion at the end of Fiscal Year 2009. His claim that health care reform will be "deficit neutral" is ludicrous. President Obama's progress on this issue has all been negative - it's getting worse not better.

Green Energy: In October, Shenyang Power Group (SPG), a Chinese company, and the U.S. Renewable Energy Group (US-REG), announced plans to develop a $1.5 billion, 600MW wind farm across approximately 36,000 acres in Texas. A-Power Energy Generation Systems, a subsidiary of SPG, was designated as the supplier of the wind turbines. The deal was criticized by some labor groups and by Senator Charles Schumer of New York because it uses economic recovery funds to buy wind turbines manufactured by Chinese workers at a time when Americans need the jobs.

In an effort to appease Schumer and the unions, SPG and US-REG recently announced another deal, which calls for the development and construction of a new wind turbine production and assembly plant in the United States. The facility is expected to be 320,000 square feet and produce 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind energy turbines annually. Upon completion, the facility is expected to employ approximately 1,000 workers and will create additional jobs during the construction process.

Beyond that, there has been little progress of note in the area of Green Energy.

Global Warming: President Barack Obama wanted Congress to tackle climate change prior to a December 7th-18th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. After much hype, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey "Cap-and-Trade" bill by a narrow margin of 219-212 votes on June 26th. The 1,427-page bill would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from industry, mainly carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. Because 85% of American energy comes from CO2-emitting fossil fuels, the Waxman-Markey bill represents "an extraordinary level of economic interference by the federal government", and its impact on the American economy would not be small according to the Heritage Foundation.

Passing Waxman-Markey in the House raised an outcry from critics of the bill. They wanted to try and prevent passage of a similar bill in the Senate. According to Climate Progress, a pro-environment blog, "many U.S. Senators are now getting 100 to 200 calls a day opposing a climate and clean energy bill - and bupkes in favor." The "Cap-and-Trade" bill has been routinely referred to by its critics as the "Cap-and-Tax" bill. It was another item which became the subject of protesters at the August townhall meetings.

Apparently this emotional reaction to Waxman-Markey had some effect on the Senators, who appear to be in no rush to address the issue. Majority Leader Harry Reid said on November 17th that the Senate will not vote on a proposed climate change bill until spring 2010. Health care reform is currently his top priority, and it has pushed climate change off the table. "I don't think anyone's excited about doing another really, really, big thing that's really, really hard that makes everybody mad," said Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Senator. "Climate fits that category."

As a result, international climate negotiations have stalled as delegates wait for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation. With the Senate still undecided, U.S. negotiators will not likely approve legally binding emission reductions when they join world leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month.

Afghanistan: On August 30th, General Stanley A. McChrystal - top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan - sent an urgent, confidential assessment of the war to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. In the 66-page document, McChrystal requested more troops in order to implement the counterinsurgency strategy that President Obama laid out in March of this year. McChrystal states: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) - while Afghan security capacity matures - risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

Since August 30th, McChrystal has said that he thinks 40,000 troops is a realistic number. He said he would prefer 60,000 troops, but that 40,000 would be adequate. While Obama has hinted that he might send only 20,000 troops, no final decision has been made. The president's failure to make this important decision has drawn fire from various quarters. His "dithering", as some have described it, is creating morale problems among the soldiers in Afghanistan and encouraging the Taliban to fight harder.

According to the FoxNews interview mentioned above, Obama seems to be trying to find a middle ground between the hawks and the doves. "There are voices who say 'this is a quagmire and we're wasting our resources and endangering our young men and women's lives' and... There are those who say 'we’ve gotta go all in and commit and rebuild Afghanistan so it’s a stable just society.' If I was just hearing one side, then I would probably not be getting the full reality of what's going on in Afghanistan... if I was just listening to hawks or doves on either side of the debate, then I probably wouldn't be making a very good decision."

What President Obama doesn't seem to realize is, that not making a decision is in fact a decision. His indecisiveness is producing results and consequences.

Iraq: President Obama has made no apparent changes to current strategy.

Pakistan: President Obama has made no apparent changes to current strategy.

Education Reform: President Obama has made no progress on this issue.

Immigration Reform: President Obama has made no progress on this issue.

Conclusion: Despite having said that he can accomplish all these things at one time, President Obama has: failed on Gitmo, failed to create jobs, failed to administer the stimulus plan, failed to end the economic crisis, failed to achieve health care reform, failed to obtain public support for health care reform, failed to reduce the budget deficit, failed to make significant progress on green energy, failed to obtain public support for climate change legislation, failed to get a climate bill passed, failed to win the "war of necessity" in Afghanistan, failed to implement an Afghan strategy he laid out in March, failed to respond to General McChrystal's troop request, failed to be decisive, failed to make changes in Iraq, failed to make changes regarding Pakistan, failed to make progress on education reform, and failed to make progress on immigration reform.

Now let me be perfectly clear: I am not disappointed that President Obama has failed in any of these areas except Afghanistan. Since I disagree almost entirely with Obama's philosophy and policies, I believe his failures are generally good for America. In the case of Afghanistan, I agreed with the strategy he laid out in March, and believe he should have fulfilled General McChrystal's request. His current "dithering" puts our troops in danger. But if we simply judge President Obama on the basis of his own standards, then it appears that he cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.

November 18, 2009

Not This Health Care Reform

The following is the text of an e-mail I sent to various newspapers as a letter to the editor...

All of the current plans for health care reform proposed by the U.S. House and Senate are fatally flawed in a number of respects and should be opposed.

First of all, they are unconstitutional. Under the enumerated powers of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution, health care is NOT listed. The founding fathers never intended to "promote the general welfare" by having the government take over 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy.

Furthermore, the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to market ANY product, or to mandate that U.S. citizens PURCHASE any product under threat of fines and imprisonment. If and when such legislation is brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, these provisions will be struck down.

Second, it will not achieve its originally intended purpose, that is, to provide all Americans with affordable health care coverage. If it is less expensive, young healthy people who do not want coverage will pay a fine in lieu of purchasing health care. This will defeat the concept of "risk spreading", and insurance companies will raise premiums.

Third, it will drive insurance companies out of business. If insurance companies are forced to accept pre-existing conditions, deny coverage to no one for any reason, and abide by federal price guidelines, they will not be able to make a reasonable profit. They will not be able to compete against a federal government which is under no obligations to make a profit, and which can print money to fund its deficit spending. The government will become a monopoly player and ultimately a single-payer system.

Fourth, it will be extremely expensive and will add to the budget deficit. All this talk about health care reform being deficit neutral is utter nonsense, and its proponents in Congress know it. You cannot add 30-40 million people onto the health care roles, and not spend any more money. It's simply ludicrous to imagine.

Very few federal entitlement programs have ever cost just what the CBO said they would cost. In virtually all cases, actual costs were multiple times higher than the original projections (up to 100 times higher). These deficits will destroy the U.S. economy.

Fifth, this legislation will restrict choices, ration health care, and reduce the quality of life in the United States. The health care systems in Canada and Great Britain are perfect examples of what life in the U.S. will deteriorate into. The federal government will establish formulas for how much health care an individual can receive each year, the value of each person's life (young people are more valuable than the elderly), and what tests or drugs or procedures can be provided. People will die as a result.

Sixth, these plans will create huge new federal bureaucracies. These bureaucracies can only be paid for by new taxes and/or reduced services. Continued tax increases will crush economic recovery and drive the economy back into a recession or worse, a depression. Unemployment will continue to increase.

Seventh, the federal government does not run anything very well. The Post Office is broke. Amtrak is broke. Social Security is going broke -- again. Medicare is broke. Medicaid is broke. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are broke. The federal government was largely responsible for the global financial crisis. The stimulus plan isn't stimulating. The public school system is not working -- otherwise President Obama would not be saying we need education reform. We do not need 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy to be broke.

Eighth, there are alternative plans that should be considered. Simpler, less expensive methods can be employed to achieve important goals. The government can enhance competition in the free market by permitting insurance companies to sell across state lines. The government can mandate that insurance companies accept pre-existing conditions. The government can even subsidize those who cannot afford health insurance. All of these things would be far cheaper than what is now being proposed.

The current plans are a disaster. We can do better.

November 14, 2009

To Honor The Fallen

My second video...

If you liked it, please do me a favor and go to YouTube at...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMD3enBTJi4 and rate this video. Assign the number of stars you feel it is worth to the lower left of the video.

If you would like a better quality version, ideal for full-screen viewing, you can download the AVI file HERE.

Thanks for 'Viewing'...

November 11, 2009

Remember Veterans Day

November 07, 2009

Stimulus Spending And Job Growth: Update 5

Well, if you've been following this blog at all, then you already know pretty much what I'm going to say. In June I wrote an article called "Stimulus Spending And Job Growth". In the article, I pointed out that Barack Obama said his stimulus package would create approximately 4 million "new jobs" over two years. He also said the unemployment rate would not exceed 8%. In order to create 4 million jobs in 24 months, the Obama administration would have had to create approximately 166,667 jobs per month to reach this target, assuming linear job growth. That scenario is shown as violet in the following graph.

As of June, when I wrote the article, the trend in job growth was actually negative. So I developed a curve showing what I thought might be a more "Likely" scenario -- plotted as light blue in the following graph. As you can see from the graph, the actual trend of job losses is worse than I had predicted -- plotted as yellow and red -- and the unemployment rate is now at 10.2%.

I have revised the August and September job losses according to the latest published figures. The number of jobs lost for the month of October was 190,000.

President Obama has already blown his promise to keep unemployment under 8%. And it looks like his ability to create 4 million new jobs in 24 months is also in jeopardy. Instead of having to create 166,667 new jobs per month, which he originally needed to reach his target, he now needs to create 426,812.5 jobs per month -- in order to make up for the 2,829,000 jobs that have been lost since the stimulus bill was signed.

Hey Obama, how's that "stimulus" thing workin' out for ya?

November 03, 2009

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Hat-tip to OnlineAnalyst...