Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Opportunity Wasted

I'm angry ... the GOP blinked. Instead of sticking to their guns, and looking out for our country ... they surrendered to Obama and Reid.

If the GOP were serious about paying the troops during the shut-down ... they should have sent a clean bill that would pay the troops and Homeland Security during a Government shut-down. Then if the Senate and President killed it ... everyone would have been able to see who was at fault. But no ... they had to put in anti-abortion riders that ensured that the bill would go no further.

I am not optimistic about the coming battles over the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget right now.

It seems that politics and polls will always trump doing what's right in Washington. Why did I ever get my hopes up that this would change.

I only hope that the GOP doesn't leave Paul Ryan hanging. His budget is courageous ... that does not bode well for him with his pusillanimous colleagues.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

No Compromise

. It's pretty much a given that there will be no more CR's (continuing resolutions) passed to fund the government beyond next Friday. In order to prevent a Government Shutdown, a budget for the remaining 6 months of the fiscal year must be in place. If you figure in the 72 hour rule that the House passed earlier this year (pending legislation must be posted 72 hours prior to a vote ... in order to give the public a chance to read it), that means that the budget must be done by Tuesday to have a vote on Friday.

Now we are hearing about a compromise bill that is pending that would cut $30 Billion from the Budget.

The GOP controlled house better say NO to this "compromise". First off, it was supposed to be a cut of $100 Billion that was promised to the American public during the 2010 campaign season. I can live with the $61 Billion since it is a pro-rated amount (more than 3 months of the year had already gone by with CRs funding the government at 2009 levels when the GOP took over the House). I can live with it ... though I would have liked the whole $100 Billion. So ... that was our COMPROMISE ... NO MAS.

No one has seen this compromise bill. Coming from this administration and Harry Reid's sleazy Senate, I'm sure that it is chock full of accounting tricks and unrealistic revenue projections (just like Obama-Care). Personally, I don't care if the Federal Government shuts down. All the essential services will still run (military, law enforcement, homeland security), and if the rest of the government is "non-essential", then why the heck are we funding them at a time when we are running trillion plus dollar deficits? I know that some of these non-essential services are needed (passport offices, GAO, etc.), but if the National Parks, and bureaucracies close for a while ... so be it. Something has to be done to pass the 2011 budget so we can start the real work of writing a meaningful, cost-cutting 2012 budget.


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

You just gotta love a liberal. It seems that with many Americans now buying smaller, more energy efficient cars, hybrids and electric vehicles … the Gas-Tax money is starting to dry up. Let’s get this straight. The Obama Administration has been advocating fuel efficiency for going on 3 years … and now that the American public is starting to begrudgingly comply … the folks in DC are upset because gas-tax revenues are down.

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), the head of the Senate Budget Committee is calling for a tax on the number of miles driven, instead of on gasoline. Conrad noted that soon the tax receipts on gasoline will not cover federal highway spending. The gap is supposed to reach $18 billion a year by 2021. Senator Conrad lamented that the change in American driving habits has created a disparity between the funds needed and the way that we pay for them.

Maybe the Senator doesn’t realize that all people who drive cars DO NOT make over $250,000.00 a year. Can he remember back to 2007? All the promises about no new federal taxes “of any kind” … but then again, nobody ever expected the Democrats to keep those promises.

Just wait till people stop smoking ... What are they going to do when all that tobacco tax money runs out?

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Budget Cutting

Okay ... funny cartoon, but then again the subject is far from funny.

Here is the problem.

The GOP ... especially the representative that were elected with the help of the Tea Party want to slash spending to the bone. The Democrats really don't want to cut spending at all. The Democrats will make a big show out of cutting a little spending here and there ... but then want to add "investments" in their little pet projects that cater to their base.

When I watch the news, I get frustrated and angry. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this. On the one hand we have Rand Paul that wants to take a meat cleaver to foreign aid, military spending, domestic spending ... actually all spending. While I agree with him that cuts can be made in all of these areas, if he had his way, we would close ourselves to the world and become "Fortress America", existing by ourselves all happy and content ... till the other 6 billion world inhabitants invaded because we were the haves and they were the have-nots. America can not live in a vacuum. We are the only super-power in the world, and by default ... like it or not, we are the leader of the free world.

On the other hand we have Weiner, Pelosi and Reed etal that are fighting to save every ounce of spending they can. These are people that never met a tax or spending program that they didn't think was essential to the American people. If they want to be Europeans ... they should just move there. I can assure you that Europeans don't think they have it as great as they do. I watch these liberals on TV and all they talk about is how everything would be just fine as long as we tax the rich (the rich being everyone that has a decent job) and end the war. How simplistic is that? These are supposed to be the "great minds" that we elected to run our government?

The White House just keeps punting ... after all, President Obama wants to be re-elected next year and he doesn't want to anger his base (even if it is for the good of the country). Compare that to a man that the President keeps quoting (President Reagan), who I never saw as pandering to the electorate. He simply did what he saw was right for the country and was re-elected in the largest electoral landslide in history. President Reagan had the gift of being able to address the public and explain why he was doing something ... and even if you didn't agree with him, you felt that he had weighed his options and made the best choice for the country ... and you really couldn't fault him for it. That was why he was nick-named the "Great Communicator", and that was why he was a great leader. Leadership is sorely lacking from the current administration. We really need our President to lead the country, but what do we get from him? Vacations, golfing and bracket picking. Everyone remembers FDR's "A day that will live in infamy" speech on the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on 12/7/41. Those that have heard the archives of the speech that he gave after that one realize that he was the leader that we needed at that time. In his next speech (after Congress declared a state of war), he outlined the sacrifices that were going to have to be made by the American people while the war was going on. He told them about rationing of gas and steel for the war effort. He told them that new cars would not be available because production and resources were going to build ships, tanks and planes. Stockings would not be in short supply because we needed the silk for parachutes. Women would have to go to the factories to work, because we needed the men to fight the war. This was not a Rah Rah type of speech, but it was a speech that got the American people ready for the tough times to come.

We need the President to speak to the American people like FDR did back then. We need a leader. We already know that Obama is no Ronald Reagan ... can he at least be an FDR?

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Libyan Democracy


For those of you that thought the entire Middle-East and North African regions would convert to democracy just by a bunch of protesters going into the streets and demanding it ... our favorite despot in the region has brought us back to reality.

There was absolutely no way that Muammar al-Gaddafi was going to let a bunch of peasants dictate anything to him. Unlike Egypt, where the Army was respected ... In Libya, the Army is feared. While there were some Army defections to the rebels, the Libyan Army is solidly backing Gaddafi. While the rebels have been able to seize some tanks and weapons ... Gaddafi rules the air. He is using his air power to crush the insurgency. The Rebels have been calling for a no-fly-zone to be established over the country to give them a fighting chance, as well as to keep foreign mercenaries out. They do not want any help in the actual fight ... just some weapons and a chance to take this dictator out.

There have actually been calls in the US Congress to establish a no-fly-zone from both sides of the aisle.

But once again our Procrastinator-N-Chief is waiting. I can almost see the wait and see approach he took with Egypt's Mubarrak (even though I didn't agree with it). But Mubarrak was an ally of the US ... Gaddafi is an enemy. The President doesn't want to do anything without either the United Nations or NATO sanctioning it.

Well ... unfortunately the UN has China and Russia with VETO power. Neither of these countries want the UN to go into Libya ... they use the excuse that they shouldn't interfere with a revolution. The real reason is that Gaddafi has long been an ally to both countries. The problem with NATO seems to be mostly from Turkey and Germany. Turkey is a Muslim country and I guess they want to keep out of another Muslim country's business. Though it seems strange that they would want to allow the wholesale slaughter of fellow Muslims at the hands of Gaddafi's Air Force. Germany is an even stranger story. Angela Merkle says that she is against interfering in Libya ... But I was stationed in Berlin back in 1986 when there were actually 2 bombings perpetrated by Gaddafi-backed terrorists. The first was at a German-Arab friendship center a couple of weeks before the more famous bombing at the La Belle Disco where two American soldiers lost their lives. Why would Merkle not want to help take out this terrorist?

I have actually heard some pundits say that the Middle-East is not ready for Democracy ... who are they to dictate that some people must live under an oppressive ruler ... while they enjoy freedom?

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gas Prices And The Fragile Recovery

Just in case you hadn't noticed, gas prices have gone crazy the last couple of weeks. I filled up my tank 10 days ago at $2.99 a gallon and just yesterday I paid $3.25 a gallon. Where is all the media outrage about our President being in cahoots with the oil companies.

After Hurricane Katrina halted off-shore drilling and damaged our Gulf coast refineries, the nightly news beat up on the Administration for the cost of gas going up. Now that Hurricane Obama has halted off-shore drilling and most energy exploration to make the environmentalists happy ... no blame at all seems to be coming his way.

In about a month's time, we will start to see sky-rocketing food prices and the price of synthetic clothing will also go up. Usually when synthetics go up, we can fall back on cotton ... but many of the cotton plants were damaged in the colder than usual winter we had in the south. Cotton prices have already tripled. We could have really used some of that global warming this winter.

The rest of this is simple. When people have to spend more on the necessities (food, clothing, utilities and gas) they have less money to spend on cars, furniture, appliances, etc. The companies that manufacture these goods and the retailers that sell them can't afford to hire new workers, or they go out of business and workers lose their jobs. The recovery stalls or reverses. If I can see this, and you can see this, why can't our politicians see it?

We need to drill for American oil, and avoid paying the fear premium that is currently on foreign oil (the fear that production will be halted in the Middle-East because of the chaos that is going on there). We need to fast-track nuclear power plants. We can continue to explore solar, wind and geothermal energy sources ... but until these options become cost-effective we cannot mandate a certain percentage of our electricity come from them (sorry Mr. President but that is irresponsible given our current fiscal situation).

The left is always looking for ways to spend OUR tax dollars. Sometimes they come up with good ideas and we should not reject them just because they come from liberals. We should not however, mandate how we spend tax dollars or how businesses spend their capital.

As for drilling in Alaska ... I lived there for 3 years and I can tell you that in ANWAR, drilling will cause absolutely no harm ... because for the most part ... it is a wasteland.

So, Mr. President, get your head out of your tuchus and lead. Stop worrying about the 2012 election and do what is best for the country. Take a page out of President Reagan's' book and just work on making America strong. The Country saw that he was looking out for our interests and he had no problem being re-elected.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have been noticing alot of similarities of late. These similarities are not often noticed at first glance ... but when you think about it, they are amazingly alike.

Democratic State Legislatures and Despotic Middle-Eastern Dictators

Both of these are Rulers that are having a hard time realizing that the citizenry has kicked them to the curb. They are trying to hang on to power for dear life. They are attacking their own citizens (the despots use the military and mercenaries ... the democrats use union thugs). They don't realize that rulers lead by the consent of the governed.

Unions and the Communist Party

This similarity was brought to life during an interview with a pro-union supporter in Wisconsin. As the supporter was stating that the Communists were not taking part in the demonstrations, a group of them marched behind, waving their red flags and shouting pro-worker slogans. It looked like a skit from Saturday Night Live.

Democrats and Petulant Children

Actually, this one is pretty self-evident. We have Democrats running away and hiding from their constituents, spending money without a care as to how or who will pay the bill, throwing tantrums ... etc.

Whatever happened to all the hype after the Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Giffords? Weren't Republicans and Democrats supposed to enter into a milder public discourse of their differences? I guess that only applies to Republicans ... after all, see the above similarity.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Democrat Tactic? ... Not Really

On Thursday, Wisconsin Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid voting on a bill that would in effect make Wisconsin a Right-To-Work State. They are using a political tactic (trick) called breaking a quorum. A quorum is the minimum number of representatives that must be present in order to hold a vote. This number differs from legislature to legislature. The rule was established to prevent a party from holding a meeting in the middle of the night (not inviting the opposition) and passing legislation. It was not meant to avoid votes that the minority party would lose. These rules also apply to businesses and are called "Roberts Rules Of Order".

This is not the first place that Democrats have used this tactic to avoid a vote. I remember back in 2003, 11 Texas Democrats left the statehouse in Austin and went to Albuquerque, NM (twice). This was to avoid a redistricting plan that would have decreased their power. The plan was to stay out of state till the legislative session was over, and return after the new elections when they would hopefully have enough votes to win. This didn't work, as the Governor kept calling special sessions until enough of them returned to have a quorum.

What's next for the Democrats? Is it possible in 2012 we will see them leaving the Senate to go to Canada to avoid a vote on repealing Obama-Care? When will the public finally have enough of their shenanigans and march in the streets to demand that their representatives get back to work? There is a tea-party rally in Wisconsin today to counter the public employees that have been on a wild-cat strike (I think they should all be fired - by the way) ... This could get interesting.

We live in interesting times ... Scary, but interesting

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tipping Point

What started out as food riots in Egypt have grown into an uprising against the 30 year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government has been an ally to the United States and a stabilizing force in this very volitile area. With the recent revolution in Tunisia, is Egypt the next domino to fall?

The Obama administration failed to capitalize on the popular uprising in Tunisia against strongman Zine al-Abadine Ben Ali. We sat on the sidelines while our President mulled over the situation. This sort of thing cannot happen in Egypt.

We have a choice here. We can live true to our ideals and support the pro-freedom citizens of Egypt, or we can support the Dictator Mubarak (sorry VP Biden, but he IS a dictator). Seems like a simple choice ... but not so fast.

This is a way too simplistic way of looking at things. Even as every fiber of my pro-democracy, freedom loving being screams to support the citizens ... I have to ask, "What's best for the USA?" The obvious answer is a free, democratic Egypt ... but is that what we will get? The best possible scenario is that we use our $1.3 billion in annual military aid as a bargaining chip to get the Egyptian military to support the citizens and establish a Democracy. The problems with this scenario are that we don't know for sure that such a government will last, and if it falls, what will take its' place. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition in Egypt ... and absolutely cannot be allowed to come to power. Also, what does turning on our ally (Mubarak) say to the other dictators in the region that we support (King Abdullah al-Saud in Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah II in Jordan). In a perfect world, all of our allies in the Mid-East would be peaceful democracies ... in reality there are only two democracies in the region, Israel and Iraq.

Our other option is to support Mubarak, and 82 year old despot that tortures his citizens, arrests and jails dissidents and acts very much like the Shah of Iran. The problem is, as vile as this evil man is ... he is not hostile to Israel, he helps to control the Gaza Strip, and he keeps the Suez Canal open. At 82, he won't last forever and while he has been grooming his son to take over as President, there is no way that the populace will allow his son to take over after Mubarak's death. Supporting Mubarak will also fuel anti-American hostility through-out the region. Our enemies will gladly use this to say, "see ... the Americans don't care about freedom". In 1979, the Carter Administration pulled the rug out from under the Shah of Iran ... and we all know how well that went. There is some evidence that the Carter Administration actually helped orchestrate the Shahs' downfall. I truly pray that the Obama Administration had nothing to do with this uprising in Egypt. I don't think the Nation could recover from the black eye that this would give us in the region.

Thankfully this decision is WAY above my pay grade. I just know that a decision MUST be made. It seems the Obama Administration is trying to take a middle of the road type policy on this one ... It's time for our President to show some leadership in international affairs. Keeping to the sidelines is a recipe for disaster.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wandering Thoughts

This week, as an homage to the tragedy in Scottsdale Arizona, Representative Mark Udall (D-CO) has proposed that Republicans and Democrats sit together during the State of the Union Address this year. My first reaction was to recall the famous Bill Murray quote from the movie Ghost Busters about the beginning of Armageddon with cats and dogs sitting together. What a dog and pony show! Then I began to ponder about it, in that annoying way that my mind works ... and ... low and behold ... I like the idea.

I started to wonder, why do our Representatives sit apart? Who came up with the idea of "opposite sides of the aisle? So, many google searches later, the nearest I could glean was the "tradition" of sitting on opposite sides of the aisle started around the time of Thomas Jefferson. He and John Adams may have been the first partisan warriors.

It would seem that a more natural divide would have our Representatives sitting with their state delegations ... much like in the presidential nominating conventions. Don't we send these people to Washington to represent us, the constituents? I don't think we send them there to represent the party.

Most Americans want our government to work to make OUR lives better ... and that is backed by the Constitution ... Pursuit of happiness and all that. How can we pursue our happiness when Washington keeps putting up road-blocks by catering to the special interests. A lot of rhetoric is put out there every election cycle about "the evil" special interests ... but as soon as the election is over, it's back to business as usual. The Democrats pander to the unions, environmentalists and the poor, while the Republicans pander to big business and the rich.

It's time our Representatives pander to US. Maybe that starts with bi-partisan seating ... maybe it IS just a dog and pony show ... but at least it won't add to the deficit.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Debt Ceiling and other Washington Chicanery

During the Holidays, the National Debt quietly creeped over 14 trillion dollars. Our current debt ceiling (the amount of money that the government is allowed to owe) is now $14.3 trillion. Very soon now, Congress will have to raise this limit or we as a nation will start to default on our debt ... or we will have to arbitrarily start to defund programs.

Some folks are against raising this ceiling, and if we have to default or cut programs ... so be it! I say ... raise the ceiling gradually. Each time the ceiling is raised, get some concessions from the White House. You want to raise it to $14.7 trillion ... let's cut 10% across the board on all discretionary spending. Later on, if you want to raise it to $15 trillion, another 10% and a balanced budget agreement. Conservatives only control the House, this is a way to leverage that control to get things that they normally can't get through.

Now how about this 2% payroll tax reduction that the President put into the tax bill for this year? I've wondered why he didn't just cut income tax by 2%, then I realized why. 48% of Americans don't pay any income tax at all ... cutting the income tax does nothing for them. Let's not forget ... when an illegal gains employment, he immediately fills out his W-2 form with Married 12 dependants ... the only taxes he pays are the social security taxes. The President was just looking out for his constituency. Now we all can see how serious this Administration is about the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.

The Constitution was read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives last week. This might have been the first time that some of our law-makers have every read the Constitution in its entirety. I hope they were taking notes.

This coming week the House will vote on repealing Obama-Care. Some say that it is an exercise in futility ... some say it is a colossal waste of time. I don't know about you, but I will be very interested in which members vote against this bill. This will translate into my vote come next election day.

So much for my first rant of the New Year ... may God bless you and our country.

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