Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

President Barack Obama capped off the 99th of 100 days in office yesterday by celebrating the Senate's confirmation of his nominee for health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

With the swine flu panic at fever pitch in the media, Obama reveled in the irony of appointing Sebelius, who is supported by and supportive of the abortion industry which snuffs the life out of some one million babies annually just in this country. She is now the person responsible for setting health policy for 300 million Americans who are allowed the privilege of life.

Enough said.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Progressive Liberalism

The word "progressive" sounds so much better than "liberal" unless you put them in context. Progressive parenting and a liberal helping of sweet potato pie have a positive ring, but progressive disease and liberal bias do not. So they're pretty much interchangeable, really. But "liberal" has gotten such a bad reputation ever since the debacle known as the Jimmy Carter presidency that "progressive" is now the label du jour for leftists.

But how do you know who is really a liberal, or progressive?

This is a big topic, one too big to cover in full this Sunday morning. But one of the first signs is this: Progressives can't call something what it is. They have to call it something that seems to sound better until they ruin the new word, too, then they move on to another one. "Liberal" will never be something any sane person will want to call themselves again and eventually "progressive" will be the same.

Karl Dean, current mayor of Nashville, proudly called himself a progressive when he won the primary last year. The next time around, I doubt he'll do that. Progressive policies will have bombed so badly on the national level that he'll move on to the next iteration. Perhaps by then they'll be calling themselves recidivists. That would be fun.

So "liberal" becomes "progressive", "homosexual" becomes "gay", "waste" becomes "stimulus", "abortion" becomes "choice", "takeover" becomes "bailout", "forced unionization" becomes "freedom of choice", "disagreement" becomes "hate speech", etc. You get the picture. And oh, anything at all that actually promotes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinesse becomes "racism".

You can spot one of the progressive prevarications by the hesitation just before they come to the critical word in a sentence, often accompanied by the word "uh", and then followed by the word "extraordinary" and then the euphemism for what they're really saying, e.g., "This legislation will create ten million... uh... extraordinary... green jobs to carry America into the 21st century." Any time you hear that uh, watch for the coverup word. It will not be what it seems. Read that last phrase after "uh" as "stinking government jobs" if you want to know how it started out in the apprentice propagandist's (read: speechwriter's) draft.

Next up, another sign of the archetypical progressive: Not being able to believe that two intelligent people can look a the same set of facts and come up with different conclusions.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Called that one right.

My last Sunday's posts were on target in speculating that the Obama administration delayed the pirate rescue by mandating overly restrictive rules of engagement until they were embarassed into authorizing force. Granted, so far I just see this news only on World Net Daily, but watch for it to be confirmed elsewhere. The military is not only very dutiful at snappily saluting as necessary whoever has the rank, but alos at getting the real story out through back channels when the truth needs outing.

Cool

More than once I've puzzled over the support for Barack Obama.

There is absolutely nothing in his policy positions that makes a shred of sense. His leftist, reactionary approach to America, business, and social concerns have all the sophistication of teenage rebellion.

He accomplished virtually nothing in his legislative career. His "absent" votes were a scandal. He won his senate seat by the sheer luck of having his strong Republican opponent disgraced over a personal issue that was supposed to have remained private in sealed court documents. And he had barely found the Senate bathroom before he started running for President.

John McCain's heroic bio accentuated Obama's lack of service to his country. Sarah Palin's real world small business and administrative experience made Obama's community organizer work look appropriately empty in comparison.

His speeches, supposedly oratorical wonders, have left me cold. I come away from them feeling that I've heard nothing. He seems infatuated with turns of phrase which are not even particularly clever. He overuses certain words and phrases like "extraordinary" and "let me be clear" to the extent that one quickly learns to expect the ordinary and obfuscation when they come up. His reliance on the teleprompter is infamous.

In the looks department he's certainly no Mitt Romney. In personality he seems not to know himself. He wants to be 24's President Palmer one moment, Jimmie J.J. Walker from Good Times the next. At least George Bush was a consistent Texas redneck.

I have by nature always disdained the popular. Often to my own detriment. Staying with the television theme, back when I'd watch TV, if a show became a craze I'd be sure not to watch it. Case in point: WKRP. It became a hit because the pop culture went gaga over Loni Anderson. You couldn't catch me watching that show. But eventually that died down and I caught the show once or twice and realized how well written and acted it was. Then I couldn't get enough of the reruns.

So I do know that just because something is cool or popular, that does not make it bad. But I also know that Barack Obama is bad--maybe not bad at heart, but bad for America, a weak leader, not the smart guy he has seemed to be in the popular conscience compared to George W. Bush. And so it troubles me to no end that he has such popular support which, though waining, is still broad and long.

What I also know is that fame is fleeting, beauty only skin deep, and human nature fickle. There will come a point when everything that seemed cool about Obama to the popular zeitgeist will suddenly appear ridiculous.

There's a great scene in the movie Grease which epitomizes this, when John Travolta sees Olivia Newton-John for the first time since summer break. Although they had been summer sweethearts and Travolta had revealed himself to be sensitive and caring, in front of his school friends now he cannot drop the cool persona and instead he comes off as anything but. He reveals himself as a fraud. What formerly seemed cool now seems foolish.

I know that's what's coming. Just how much longer will it take and how much damage will be done?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties

I sure wish I could have attended a tea party yesterday. But I couldn't. I absolutely had to work.

And that's what makes yesterday's tea parties so amazing. It's tough to assemble a conservative demonstration on a weekday. Like me, conservatives, by and large, are working people. They're not living off an inheritance, or a spouse, or an insurance settlement, or government handouts. The fact that so many attended, and there were so many parties all across the country, is phenomenal.

The Obama administration has largely ignored it publicly, but you know they're squirming privately. The tea parties were a concrete demonstration that they do not have the universal approval that "polls" suggest and that they try to convey. It has to rattle them just as Al Gore is rattled by the crumbling "consensus" on manmade global warming and the increasing scientific evidence to the contrary.

However, the administration's conscience, the liberal television commentators and bloggers, have betrayed the administration's worries by belittling and attacking the tea party phenomenon, relying on the worn out arguments that this was not a grass roots movement but was organized and sponsored by big business interests and the people who demonstrated were unwitting dupes for big evil corporations.

I almost agree with lefties' attitude toward big corporations. I sometimes disdain and sometimes pity people who work for them, though not as much as I do government workers. But even as bad as big business can be, at least it makes things, grows things, provides services, and creates upwardly mobile job opportunities, all the while providing profit distributions to investors large and small. Increasingly government's role is simply to confiscate money from taxpayers, line the pockets of politicians with a good portion of it, and then redistribute what's left to the non-productive.

If the choice is truly between the "big business interests" of the right and the big government of the left, it's a no brainer. So even then the tea parties would be a very good thing. But of course it's not that simple.

All those people did not come out for the Republican party, for big business, or even against President Obama: They came out for better, smaller government.

I wish I could have been there.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where Credit's Due

There are few details available about the pirate shooting as Easter comes to a close, but all day I've been suspicious that this great rescue had more to do with heroic and possibly insubordinate actions by soldiers than any direction from the top.

Official word has been that a Navy commander made a split second decision that the captain's life was in imminent danger, so acting with executive authority for use of deadly force only if the captain's life was indeed in imminent danger (granted just in the past couple of days, apparently after the captain had already tried to escape on his own by jumping into the water), the commander ordered the pirates on the boat shot.

Now ABC says George Stephanopolous has heard from an unnamed source--no doubt in the White House--that while one pirate was on the Navy ship negotiating, the captain was observed going to the side of the boat to "relieve himself". So having clear shots at the other pirates, three sharpshooters fired simultaneously, taking them out on the spot.

Now, I don't know about you, but if I had an AK-47 pointed at me in a threatening manner, I'd relieve myself all right, but I don't think I'd take the time to walk over to the side of the boat. Nor do I think if I were a pirate intent on killing my captive would I separate myself from him, especially with a Navy ship within shooting range. I think the pirates thought they were close to a deal. They weren't waving guns around much at all by this time.

So with these details, in GS's rush to seem as if he had a scoop, and in the White House's rush to bask in the glow of what wasn't their light, I believe they inadvertently shot themselves in the foot.

I believe what really happened is that the administration passed down rules of engagement allowing force only after they were humiliated by the captain's bold action. The Seals had had enough of that baloney. They could have settled the whole thing on day one. After four days of namby pamby from above, and finally with tacit permission to shoot to kill, they saw an easy chance to send the pirates to Allah and did it. They knew it would get cheers, and they knew full well that the Obama administration would immediately take the credit for it. Thus they wouldn't get in trouble for what they would have done on day one if the administration hadn't tied their hands.

I can't prove it, but with the goons we now have running this show, you know I'm right, or close to it.

And as I said before, hoo-ray for the Navy!

Hoo-ray for the Navy!

I am anxious to hear all the details, but the news that the captain of the Maersk Alabama is free and most of the pirates who captured him dead, is a fabulous Easter surprise. I can't fault President Obama for holding us back on this one, though of course I stand by the gist of my earlier post today. Perhaps the success of this action will lead to better things in other arenas. Let's hope so!

Captains Courageous and...

...cowardly commanders-in-chief. If the Somalian pirate debacle doesn't remind you of the Iranian hostage crisis and Jimmy Carter's hand-wringing impotence in the face of hard choices, you are in extreme denial.

The pathos of the captain's brave action in jumping overboard from the pirate craft, expecting no doubt that surely his country would have everything in place to rescue him, brings into sharp relief just how incompetent the Obama administration is.

With that in mind, it is no surprise that violence is picking up in Iraq again. The soldiers that die now from roadside bombs are more Barack Obama's fault than the 4,000 that went before were George Bush's. Remember that phrase W so famously botched?

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Well, we were fooled once into complacency when we assumed Iraq would move easily, peacefully into democracy. It cost us 4,000 American souls, the surge, and Republican control of Congress and the Presidency to defeat Al Qaeda's chaos in Iraq.

Now with a weak president, the chaos is coming back. But Barack Obama has already bought us a one-way ticket out of Iraq with a date sure. Rather than leaving a strong Iraq at that time, I have a bad feeling we won't even make it that long. We'll retreat with our tail between our legs in the face of the heart of darkness we've allowed to return.

Then consider President Obama's total failure so far to engage NATO in the (useless) surge in Afghanistan, to stop Iran's nuclear development, and to do anything about North Korea's missile deployment. It is clear that Barack Obama is turning out to be exactly the weak sister I figured he'd be.

When I was just out of college, Ronald Reagan was president. I was quite liberal politically at the time, not having lived much of life and pumped full of the sixties b.s. of my older siblings' generation. I remember thinking that President Reagan's invasion of Grenada was ridiculous. I thought his withdrawal of the Marines from Lebanon was a sign of weakness. I thought he was a fool in general.

I was the fool, of course. He signaled to the world, through relatively small acts like those in Grenada and Libya, that we were not to be messed with, no doubt sparing larger confrontations in Europe or Asia. And he signalled in Lebanon that we would not be drawn into intractable, unwinnable regional conflicts as if policeman walking into a domestic dispute. History tells us where Reagan's leadership took us: he was instrumental in freeing millions of Europeans from the totalitarianism of the Soviets.

I hope some good resolution is reached for the courageous captain of the merchant ship. I hope that there's not a repeat of the disastrously botched commando raid the Carter administration launched late in the game to free the hostages. I hope and pray the captain lives.

But for America, we've already walked the plank. Barack Obama has shown the world that under his leadership we have no spine. Dick Cheney may have spoken prematurely when he said the Obama administration was making us less safe. But in the Obama administration's handling of this piracy incident, we know at least that Dick Cheney was right.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Turning Point

President Barack Obama was right last week at the G-20 when he said we've reached the turning point. In any normal cycle, this would be the point at which the economy turns. Sales have declined to a miserable level and are more or less holding steady. The stock market has declined to a miserable point and is more or less holding steady. Taxpayer morale has declined to a miserable point and is more or less holding steady. Other than the random mass shooting here and there, of course.

Now is the time that, having cut staff and all other expenses as much as humanly possible while still staying in business, companies are finding their new breakeven point and doing what's necessary to meet or with any luck exceed it.

I know this is the case in my business. And I'm pretty sure it's the case everywhere. Surprisingly we haven't got that many bankruptcy notices. People are hanging on for dear life. If they don't stay in business they've got nowhere else to turn. Used to be they could always go into real estate if all else failed.

And every day I get orders from companies who haven't ordered since sometime late last summer or early fall, before the election. They've hunkered down, gotten by on what they had on hand, and now one by one they call us to reorder when they absolutely have to. The orders are smaller than normal and they want 'em fast! Talk about just in time inventory. We're all practicing that method now.

The problem is, it looks like Obama is going to watch the turning point float by just like so much scum on the surface of the river. He could still seize it. Unfortunately he's still too busy blaming his predecessors for this economy as if they had it perfectly poised to fail as soon as he was elected. But the lefties should not kid themselves: it is the Obama economy. It was in trouble before, starting with the Democrat takeover of Congress, but it tanked big time as soon as he was elected.

If Obama wants the economy actually to turn now, not just lay flat or flounder further, he needs do only a few key things to make it happen.

First and foremost Obama needs to take on Congress and give them instructions to undo all the pork they've just done. He could pull this off while he still has the political capital and he would find support from quarters who bitterly oppose him now. The deficit spending they've legislated on top of what was already happening is a source of ridicule and the inflation it will cause is a noose around the neck of the country.

Second, Obama needs to get out of business' face. I'm no fan of big business myself and can warm any day to cutting monopolies down to size and prosecuting illegal practices, but the idea of setting pay, hiring and firing management, dictating product mix, forcing private companies to take government money and to give government ownership, and usurping shareholders' rights, are all anathema to the basis of capitalism. If he wants to pretend not to be a socialist, this would be a step in the right direction.

Third he needs to cut the crap about green jobs and health care reform having anything to do with fixing the economy. They are luxuries to be promoted in fat times, not lean. Ditto Cap and trade and card check. They need to be tossed aside. The Bush tax cuts need to stay in place and Obama needs to stick to his promise at least not to raise taxes on anyone making under $250k, not sneak a tobacco tax in here or a user fee in there.

Business needs to be left free to do what business does best: make a profit. All good things will flow from that. More tax revenue. More jobs. A better financial situation for everyone from top to bottom.

Better enforcement of existing tax laws? Who can argue with that? Other than cabinet appointees. But I digress. Simplifying and then strictly enforcing the tax code would be a huge boon to the economy.

Obama has the opportunity now to seize the natural turning of the economy as companies have downsized and are lean, mean, and poised to take off again. But he has to get real. He has to set aside his pipe dreams about workers' utopias and universal health care and soaking the "rich". He has, in effect, to become pro-business.

Will he do it? I think the odds are better of my winning the lottery, and I have never bought a ticket in my life. That's why, indeed, this is the Obama Economy.