Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obamanomics 101

"Michelle, there is no need to worry about all that debt.
This month we will pay MasterCard with Visa.
Next month we will pay Visa with MasterCard.
After a few months, we'll have enough bonus points
to take a nice vacation."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Disgrace Upon the Hudson

It is appropriate that Mr. Obama chose West Point as the site for his speech on Afghanistan.  After all, West Point was the subject of the first great betrayal of the American military - Benedict Arnold's attempt to sell the fort to the British.

While Mr. Obama's betrayal is more nuanced, it is no less chilling.  He proposes to send 30,000 troops into harms way, with the sole goal of showing the flag for a few months before packing up and coming home.  By declaring when our forces will leave, regardless of the situation, Mr. Obama has precluded the word he loathes:  "victory."  Rather, he has already surrendered.  He has told our enemies "Keep your head's down, don't make trouble; we're not going to stick this out.  Start recruiting, rebuild your weapons stores; we're going home."

The death of any American, or Allied, soldier in this conflict will henceforth be doubly tragic.  He or she will not die in an effort intended to protect the weak from the evil, but as the result of an amateurish pol's attempt to make himself look good.

Neither should we overlook the timing of the promised withdrawal - just in time for the 2012 presidential campaign.  Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers will be sent over to win an election, not a war.  "Win one for the Gipper" indeed.

Yet Mr. Obama's cynicism is not the most frightening aspect of his new policy.  That honor belongs to his strategic short-sightedness.  Were I Joe Thug, I would regard the new policy as a gift from Allah himself.  As long as I mind my own business, I will be able to recruit, re-arm and re-train to my black heart's content.  At the same time, Mr. Obama will be withdrawing troops, declaring victory, and doubtless doing his best to eviscerate the US Armed Forces.  Indeed, I might even enter a "peace treaty" to  help secure Mr. Obama's re-election.  And in late 2013 I would topple Pakistan and seize their nukes.

Assuming that literacy has been rediscovered in 1000 years, scholars may declare the West Point speech as the start of the next Dark Age.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Thoughts

Afghanistan - Why did it take Mr. Obama only days to decide to ignore the Constitution and fire the CEO of GM, while it is taking him  months to decide how to fulfill his Constitutional duty to defend the nation?

Reform - In an ideal world, the 2010 election would make the 1994 "temper tantrum" by voters seem like a hiccup.  "Throw the rascals out" is fast becoming an imperative, if we are to avoid becoming the Argentina of the Northern Hemisphere. 

Further in that ideal world, the new Congress would begin with certain amendments to the Constitution, such as:

Stating explicitly that the Congress possesses ONLY the powers explicitly granted to it by the Constitution.  We'd probably cut the work load of the Supreme Court in half.

Providing that tax cuts are permanent, but all tax increases MUST sunset.  Of course, a "tax" would be any fee, imposition, charge, etc., no matter how named.

The tax burden would be limited to a percentage of GDP, perhaps 20%.

Taxes collected for welfare programs, such as Social Security, would be sequestered and unavailable for any other purpose.

Any raise for any Senator or member of the  House must be approved by the voters back home.  Any increase would be tied to increased GDP.

It would also be good to bring back substantive due process, but I think we should start with a manageable work load.

The time to begin is now.  If your representatives will not support your views, it is time to find some who will. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recovery Jobs

It was not much of a surprise to learn that the figures for "jobs saved or created" on are unreliable.  Some of the figures have been inflated, some were claimed for places that don't exist.  There are two "terms of art," that can explain these errors:  incompetence and "cooking the books."

In other words, is the Obama Administration incompetent or is it lying to us?

Consider this - If a publicly regulated, for-profit organization published such shamelessly inaccurate information, the SEC would doubtless be considering fines, if not criminal penalties against the responsible executives.  (Under Sarbanes Oxley, that would be one B. Hussein Obama).  If I had money invested  in such a company, I'd be selling out FAST.

Alas, the Stimulus is a government program and we are at the mercy of the avarice and mendacity of our political masters.

Recommended Reading

BO declined to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In part I believe he is still peeved that he was not allowed to speak at the Brandenberg Gate during the campaign.  I also believe he is so dense that he is upset that Germans did not vote for him in '08.

I also think that, in large part, he believes the Fall as a tragedy, that he believes the Soviet Union was a great and romantic and utterly worthwhile experiment, undercut by human failings.

If you have been infected by this delusion, I recommend two books, once famous, but now almost forgotten.  Both are by the dissident Russian, Alexander Solzhenitzen:  The Gulag Archipelago and One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich.  Both offer eye-opening accounts of real life in what BO regards as a "worker's paradise."

Moving to domestic policy, we recommend The Shame of the Cities, by Lincoln Steffens.  At over 100 years old, it still resonates.  Its accounts of the rape and pillage of the public fisc by pols of all shapes, sizes and competence bear a remarkable resemblance to the Obama recovery programs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hope and Change

Quite frankly, this is not the change I was hoping for.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood Shootings

I have little to add to what has been said about the crimes at Fort Hood.
But there is one thing I believe I am required to say; indeed we are all required to say, although I've seen very little of it:

THANK YOU Sgt. Kimberly Munley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Leadership Vacuum

In the Summer and Fall of 2008 we were reliably reminded by all and sundry, and particularly by Candidate Obama, that the conflict in Iraq was an illegal and immoral war, drawing American resources from the "war of necessity" in Afghanistan. Indeed, if memory serves, Candidate Obama proudly proclaimed that he had voted against the war in Iraq, although he had not been in the US Senate at the time.

It is now clear that the war in Afghanistan was a "necessity" only to the extent that Candidate Obama needed a stick with which to beat the outgoing Bush administration. Had Afghanistan been a genuine priority for Team Obama, surely they would have developed a number of possible policies over the course of the campaign. These could have been refined with the Pentagon and State during the transition prior to the Inauguration, and then implemented early in the Administration.

Instead, some 9 months after taking office, there is no plan, only a promise to make no hasty decisions. The Israelis could have won the Six Day War 45 times in time it has already taken Mr. Obama to decide on his course of action. More significantly, young Americans have DIED while Mr. Obama has waffled.

In a recent address to troops in Florida, Mr. Obama pledged that he would not risk their lives except in cases of "absolute necessity." In such cases, the nation would "back them to the hilt." The clear message was "You're not going anywhere anytime soon."

But perhaps we should expect no less. After all, Candidate Obama described Afghanistan "a war of necessity," not one of "absolute necessity." Thus he is barred, by his own lights, from sending more troops, and those who are there need not look for additional support.

The message for our men and women in uniform, and indeed for all of us, is clear, dispiriting and frightening.

Our CinC is AWOL

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mao Rebukes Obama

"Our duty is tho hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means."

I trust that Ms. Anita Dunn is bringing these passages to the attention of Mr. Obama.

Mao on voting "Present"

What is work? Work is struggle.There are difficulties and problems in those places for us to overcome and solve. We go there to work and struggle to overcome these difficulties. A GOOD COMRADE IS ONE WHO IS MORE EAGER TO GO WHERE THE DIFFICULTIES ARE GREATER."

emphasis added.

Where Mao and Obama Differ

Further from Chairman Mao:

"We stand for self-reliance. We hope for foreign aid but cannot be dependent upon it; we depend on our own efforts on the creative power of the whole army and the entire people."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Memo To Anita Dunn

Re: Mao

Ms. Dunn, I have listened with interest to recent interviews in which you identified Chairman Mao as one of your favorite political philosophers. While granting that he accomplished remarkable things, I cannot overlook the fact that most of his writings, at least in English translation, are unremarkable, or the fact that historians hold him responsible for the deaths of 70 million of his countrymen. Certainly that is a record I do not wish my government to emulate; I also trust it is one you do not support.

I apologize bringing the Chairman's blood soaked record to you in such a peremptory manner, but your comments suggest you are a relatively young person who merely knows Mao as the kindly face beaming from the portrait in Tianamin Square. On the other hand, I recall the Cultural Revolution, have a friend whose father was sent off to be "re-educated," and a copy of Mao's Little Red Book. By the way is it true that re-education camps are part of Mr. Obama's agenda for 2010?

But to improve your understanding of Mao, allow me to offer a sample of what passes as "penetrating thought":

"All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said, 'Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.' To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather."

So I may avoid a "light weight" death, could you perhaps advise who the Administration currently regards as the fascists, the exploiters and the oppressors? Is there perhaps a Web site where I can sign up for automatic updates? I would hate to miss a purge or a show trial; I would dislike that nearly as much as I would to be called a kulak or a wrecker myself.

But if worst comes to worst, and we are both sent for re-education, perhaps you will have the time and the inclination to explain to me how you reconcile the works of Mao with those of Mother Therese. It might help while away the time leading to our appointment with the firing squad.

The Rule of Law(?)

Of late there has been some reporting and much talk of an Administration "campaign" or "war" against Rush Limbaugh and Fox News and others who believe less government automatically creates more freedom. At the moment, the attacks appear to be limited to smear tactics, rumor - mongering and planting false quotations. One is left to wonder, though, how long it will be before the White House slips into full Nixonian mode, attempting to use the IRS and other agencies to crush its opponents.

Which calls to mind a rather old statute, known to old lawyers as "42 USC 1983." It reads in part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress,....

It means that if an official uses his or her office to deprive others of their civil rights, that official can be sued in civil court, and be stripped of the usual protections that attach when someone is attempting to perform his or her official duties in good faith. As I recall, it is an anti-Klan statute, adopted to put an end to thug sheriffs and the like arresting people for such alleged crimes as "driving while black," "helping blacks" or even "just being black."

Of course, the statute does not protect only blacks against official misconduct; it is admirably colorblind.

It would be a profound irony, however, if the first black president were to sink so low that he could be called to account by a law meant to suppress the evils of the Klan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thought for Today

There is a difference between leadership and management. The leader and the men who follow him represent one of the oldest, most natural and most effective of all human relationships. The manager and those he manages are a later product with neither so romantic nor so inspiring a history. Managers are necessary, leaders are essential.”

----Field Marshal the Viscount William Slim

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Memo to Charles Rangle

Mr. Rangle,

Recent news reports indicated that you have forgotten the teachings of the Great Leader: "Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure. It should be made clear to all government workers that corruption and waste are very great crimes."

---------------- From the Selected Works of Mao TseTung, 1934.

We will expect you to report to the re-education camp forthwith.

And the word is.....

Conservative critics have of Mr. Obama have lately been commenting that he seems a trifle self-centered. "Is he vain?" has become the rhetorical flourish. He may be. He may also believe that he connects with the common person by relating anecdotes from his underprivileged background. I, for one, am moved to tears by the challenges he faced as editor of the Harvard Law Review.

I am more troubled by what he says in those rare instances when he is not discussing himself (admittedly, I am paraphrasing):
  • "Iran is a little country and far away; it's no threat to us."
  • "But for the war in Iraq, we would have the Arabic speaking soldiers we need in Afghanistan."
Iran is far away, but well placed to disrupt the world's energy supplies if it wants to. Arabic speakers would be of little use in Afghanistan, where Pashtun is the primary language.

Slips such as these, which occur with startling regularity when the teleprompter is off duty, leave me wondering whether Mr. Obama truly grasps the complexities of the real world.

Even his scripted words have a hollow ring. "Hope and change." I can't eat hope and the only change I've seen is soaring unemployment. I haven't even seen the shovel-ready jobs the stimulus package was supposed to provide. By the way, do those jobs - patching asphalt, painting street signs, changing bulbs in traffic lights - open the door to viable careers in this "Information Age?" Does Mr. Obama encourage either of his daughters to study hard so she can grow up to drive the asphalt mixer? Certainly if I had school aged daughters, I'd be telling them to study so they can invent an automated mixer, and make lots of money. Or maybe they could invent a new substance for road paving, something that would outlast asphalt and cost less. I am at a loss to explain Mr. Obama's apparent commitment to making Depression era jobs available to everyone.

I should not forget his acceptance speech, in which he declared a "rebirth of freedom." Some would forgive him for stealing from Lincoln, for Obama, like Lincoln, is an Illinois politician. That fact makes Lincoln's title "Honest Abe" all the more striking. But I found, and still find, the expropriation offensive. Lincoln used the phrase in the depths of the Civil War, when the nation was fighting for its survival, and thousands were giving their lives to end the scourge of slavery. The oppression Mr. Obama overcame was apparently the Bush Administration and its ugly willingness to use force to defend American interests and oppose murderous dictators. (Mr. Obama evidently sees nothing wrong with murderous dictators, but I must leave that for another day.)

In sum, Mr. Obama has a gift for a well turned phrase. More, with his stage presence and polished delivery, he can make even a passing remark seem profound. But in most cases, none of the words survive close scrutiny; the speaker is exposed as glib, but without substance.

In a word, Mr. Obama is fatuous.

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Further Thought On Copenhagen

How ironic that Mr. Obama's exposure should come in the home of Hans Christen Andersen.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Copenhagen in 100 Words Or Less

The greatest orator in history and the most persuasive speaker in our time could not persuade a bunch of elite Euro-libs to bring their dog and pony show to his home town.

Why should people who do not share his world view, or who have antipathy towards America, find him any more persuasive?

Khrushchev gambled on missiles in Cuba after deciding that JFK was young and weak. How will the current generation of dictators react to such a patent demonstration of presidential ineffectiveness?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Open Letter To Michael Moore

Dear Mr. Moore:

I write in response to your recent comments to the effect that "Capitalism is legalized greed."
I congratulate you on an insight we would expect from any slightly below-average third grader. By fifth grade, I would expect a more sophisticated insight, such as "Capitalism is legalized ambition."

The difference might escape you. Ambition is the drive to better one's self. Greed is an unconstrained quest for wealth, with little or no regard for the means or consequences of acquisition. While greed itself is not illegal, many of the behaviors is produces are - theft, fraud, corruption, etc. Selling snake oil under the guise of documentary films is not currently illegal, but perhaps it should be. So much for your implication that capitalism is legalized theft, if not an out and out license to steal.

Semantics aside, consider some of the benefits wrought by capitalism:

  • Thomas Edison made 100s of experiments before hitting upon a workable filament for the electric light bulb - because he hoped to make lots of money.
  • Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others gave us the personal computer - because they wanted to make lots of money.
  • Even Warfarin - the famous rat poison and blood thinner - was brought to market to generate revenues for the University of Wisconsin - hardly a bastion of reactionary Robber Barons.
  • Or, closer to home, look in the mirror. Who was Michael Moore before "Roger and Me"? Are you a conscienceless Robber Baron? A ruthless exploiter of the laboring classes? Or are you simply a successful capitalist - someone who identified an unmet need and cashed in? Does that make you and astute business person or, as your comments suggest, a loathsome leach on the proletariat?
Yet questions remain. What alternative economic system would you suggest? Feudalism, in which might makes right? I am rather doubtful that you would be able to fend off either ravening Vikings or avaricious Normans. Your girth might qualify you as Friar Tuck, at least until the vow of poverty made itself felt, but a sycophant like you would doubtless settle for nothing less than Fool.

Socialism? "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"? Would a successful, happy and prosperous socialist society need a maker of hack propaganda films? Neither can we overlook your rather conspicuous consumption. Surely you consume more than your fair share. Not to mention your health care shadow (I claim copyright to the phrase) - what it will cost the rest of us when your arteries finally clog and your heart throws in the towel.

If you are serious about socialism, you'll need to reduce your consumption, and thereby ease shortages of food and fabric. Indeed, you might donate some of your shirts to earthquake relief. They would doubtless make excellent tents. More, you will need to find a useful and productive trade and learn to survive on the same types of food as the working stiffs. I just can't see you embracing those challenges.

There is yet another system - cronyism. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Also known as The Chicago Way. It is a wonderful system for those with larceny in their hearts, but it does not promote law and order. You might still be able to make movies, provided you do not offend Mr (or Ms) Big, and as long as you make all the requisite pay offs. Rather like dealing with the Obama administration.

I fear I remain confused. You believe capitalism is immoral, even though it has made you rich. Perhaps you can explain your thinking to me. The next time you are in town, we can tool around in your limo, smoke a couple Cuban cigars, swill some cognac and you can explain to me, first hand, how we are helping end the oppression of the working man.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"You're fired."

Perhaps the most striking act of the Obama Administration to date is the firing of the CEO of General Motors. I was deeply disappointed that so few people asked whether the Constitution grants such power to a president (it doesn't). Yet the event set me to wondering. Mr. Obama ostensibly derived his power from the federal government's majority holdings in GM (also unconstitutional). Following that logic, could Mr. Obama also be fired?

Those of us who recall the Clinton years know that a president may be removed from office by Congress for "high crimes and misdemeanors." What that phrase means is difficult to say, although it seems to exclude taking advantage of young women and lying under oath. However, it seems doubtful that the Reid/Pelosi Congress would bring an impeachment action, unless Mr. Obama were to egregiously renege on his liberal agenda.

But impeachment is not the only way to remove a president. The 25th Amendment provides (in part):

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Which appears to mean that Mr. Obama could be ousted by Mr. Biden, if the latter had the support of the Cabinet. To make it stick, however, two thirds of both Houses of Congress would have to agree. I almost regret that.

It is ironic, but I hope not unpatriotic, that I frequently find myself wishing that the Chinese Premier would drop a dime and tell Mr. Obama: "You're fired."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Open Letter To Maxine Waters

Dear Representative Waters,

I have read with interest reports that you want those who attend various "Tea Bag" protests to be "investigated."

The reports are unclear. I cannot tell whether you mean "investigate" in the "Nixonian" sense - as a thinly veiled form of intimidation - or whether you were taking a more generous approach, such as "Let's find out what their concerns are and address those concerns forthrightly." It would be helpful for all if you would clarify your meaning.

Assuming you genuinely seek to engage with critics of the Administration, permit me to introduce myself and summarize my concerns.

I am a middle aged white guy. Because of the economy, I have been unemployed since June, and it appears the job market is still contracting.
I genuinely do not know how long I will be able to keep a roof over my head and will shortly be compelled to apply for food stamps. I am also unwell, having just had by pass surgery. That surgery, however, was covered by my former employer, who agreed to pay for my health insurance after my termination date.

But I'm in a good position. I am highly educated and have talents that pay quite well when the economy is growing.

Which brings me to my objections to the Administration's programs. Quite simply, they are the same measures that EXTENDED the Great Depression. The Administration is destroying jobs and prosperity, rather than creating opportunity. Business cannot grow when locked in the strangling hand of government. Moreover, investors are reluctant to spend their money when they do not know whether the market they have chosen will be crushed by government regulation and/or taxation. Sometimes I think I might be better off to stay unemployed and dependent, rather than to go back to work and try to pay the new taxes that will inevitably flow from Mr. Obama's programs.

Those are my concerns. The government has put me out of work and its policies are keeping me in that situation. How can you help me out? All I want is a job. Didn't John Kennedy say that the best form of welfare is well-paying job?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It is time for another apology

“I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers.”

--- B. Hussein Obama addressing a Joint Session of Congress on August 9, 2009.

To the people of the world - I apologize for not doing more to prevent the election of the nincompoop who uttered the words above. I truly hope that, by his hubris and ignorance, he does not drag the world into an economic collapse that will last for generations.

Before I begin my exegesis, I should present my bona vides. Like Mr. Obama, I am an attorney. Unlike him, I've never edited a Law Review. I quit the Wisconsin Law Review after one semester, when it became clear that the editors were politically correct and I was not. Also, unlike Mr. Obama, I have spent 20 years in commercial law. I understand how the market works - how one takes risks in the hope increased return - those evil things called "profits." Profits allow a company to grow and hire more people, or to re-invest in new processes and drive down costs. Or the profitable company may simply pay its people more as a reward for a job well done. Also, I was for many years an attorney to a health insurance company. I understand where the premium monies go. Surprisingly, little goes to "fat cats" living, or even vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.

Let's start with Mr. Obama's basic premise: "the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premium it collects." Presumably this statement is meant to reassure us that the public option would have to be competitive - rather than reliant on tax payer subsidies. While this approach seems sound, it is unconstitutional. The Constitution does not give Congress authority to enter into competitionn with the free market. The Bill of Rights was added to protect us against people like Mr. Obama, who argue that "I can do whatever I want unless it is expressly prohibited."

In his next sentence Mr. Obama makes a problematic reference to "overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries." I have never before seen "profits" referred to as "overhead." In business parlance "profit" is what remains after overhead (costs, interests on debt, taxes, etc.) is paid. People invest in companies to earn profit. Mr. Obama's statement suggests that he is ignorant of basic business practices and vocabulary, or that he believes profits do not belong in the pockets of those who own the business.

As for excessive administrative costs, I know of no successful company that is not constantly attempting to cut "fat." Fewer people doing more, faster and smarter, is a recipie for business success. It has never been a description applied to any government enterprise, with the possible exception of the military. For example, why does Mr. Obama need 30-odd "tsars" to help him with his work when the Executive Branch already employes tens of thousands? Neither do the health insurance companies control their administrative burden. Health insurers are regulated by the 50 states, and the laws are not uniform. What is permitted in California may not be permitted in Maine. Alaska may require the same financial information as Florida, but on a different form. The cost of regulatory compliance for a company that operates in several states can be staggering. Mr. Obama's suggestion that private companies willfully fritter away money and excuse it as "administrative expense," is, at best, groundless and more probably another display of his ignorance. (He was perhaps referring to luxury retreats for executives and sales folk, often at large expense. Having somewhat Spartan tastes, I do find these offensive, and I elect not to invest in companies that permit such things. But I am also offended by Mr. Obama's lavish "date nights" with Mrs. O, at my expense and yours.)

There remains Mr. Obama's comment about "premium" being eaten up by "executive salaries." As a general rule, executives are paid for results. Mr. Welch of GE was very well paid. He also made the company VERY profitable. If Mr. Obama were CEO of a private company, in contrast, the deplorable results of his first seven months would probably get him fired.

There are other flaws in Mr. Obama's statements that add to the concern that he is arrogant and ignorant. For example, he appears to know nothing of the importance of investment income to insurance companies, or how reinsurance works. But he does believe he knows how to turn a phrase.

In two brief sentences we have a disturbing portrait of the commander in chief of the greatest military force ever known. He acknowledges no limits on his powers, has the most superficial understanding of the issues he confronts and is secure in his belief that he has all the answers. It may be entertaining, to some, to watch him squeeze dry the American private sector. But, once that task is accomplished, what will deter him if he decides that Venezuala, for example, has more oil than it needs?

Joe Wilson's Gaffe

Joe Wilson is being excoriated for calling Mr. Obama a liar on the floor of Congress.
Few other statements better fit the definition of "gaffe" - when a politician inadvertently tells the truth.

Was it a breach of decorum? Perhaps. But Mr. Obama seems to believe he is a prime minister, rather than the subject of a written constitution. Let him then be subject to the rules of a parliament. Indeed, putting Mr. Obama through British-style question time on a regular basis might be highly entertaining, and informative.

As far as Joe Wilson, I like to think I would have done the same thing in his shoes. I am glad he had the nerve to do it for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A New Definition of Freedom?

In his speech to Congress this evening, Mr. Obama called for a requirement that those who can afford health insurance obtain such coverage.

Pardon me, Mr. Obama, but doesn't "freedom" include the right to do, or not do, based on one's own preferences and judgment?

Or were you really saying "You will all pay for my new bureaucracy, one way or another"?

For a rebuttal, I offer a much better speech, by a much better speaker, who loved, rather than loathed, the idea of America and individual freedom:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is That Lame Duck I Smell?

Within 24 hours Barack Obama will attempt to resuscitate "health care reform" with a special address to a joint session of Congress. We do not know whether he will flourish a pair of defibrillator paddles and shout "Clear," following the lead of countless TV docs, but it is clear that the Administration believes that "reform" is in jeopardy, and that the master's touch is needed to revive it. Much may ride on the president's performance - he has made "reform" a central part of his agenda.

As an aside, I use the term "reform" advisedly. "Reform" generally connotes a change for the better, not change simply for the sake of change. The plans I have seen offer a variety of changes, but no improvements, unless one lands a job with the new bureaucracy that would spring up like toadstools to administer the new system. But, as "reform" is the popular term for what is churning through the Congress, I will use the term, but under protest.

Mr. Obama's decision to take his case directly to the Congress is generally being portrayed as a typically bold gesture by an inspired leader. Who, the media asks, can resist the combination of his passion to serve man, his vast intellect and his unequaled eloquence?

I see a different meaning. Despite having the strongest hold on both houses of the Congress in recent memory, he still can't get his programs passed. He doesn't need a single Republican vote, but he still cannot get his programs passed. His decision to appeal publicly for "cooperation" from Congress demonstrates both his incompetence and his political weakness. Once he publicly admits to Congress that "I can't do it without you," the price of that cooperation may increase exponentially. Mr. Obama does not appear to grasp that fact of political life. Neither does is his stature enhanced by publicly demonstrating the limited influence he wields within his own party.

Mr. Obama's administration is young, and the future may bring it triumphs and return prosperity and security to the us. At the moment, however, it is safe to say that, on the domestic front, he is no LBJ. Indeed, he may have already rendered himself irrelevant.