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The fog of not a war

Is it just me, or does entering a war with the expressed mission of not winning seem a little odd?  Actually, it seems like a strategy only the UN could love.  From Rwanda to Darfur to Somolia to Kosovo, the UN has developed a reputation for successful genocide containment.    Wherever tyrants are mass murdering their people, the UN is there to set up some ground rules.  In Libya, the rules are no airplanes, and we get to shoot at you from a distance while you do it.

Of course, what is really strange is how quickly the party in power has completely reversed every principle they held so fast to between the start of the 2004 election and 2008.  I’m not just talking about keeping Gitmo open, restarting military tribunals, and employing a surge strategy led by General Betr…oops, I mean Petreaus.

I am talking about pre-emptive war.  Of course, here is the disclaimer: we are not at war, our goal is not nation building, in fact our goal is not even to remove Qadaffi.  We all know there are no WMDs in Libya, so no one can say we are going there for a lie.  And of course, outside of CIA and special ops, there will be no boots on the ground.  Actually, as recently as couple days ago, Robert Gates in testimony to the House made it clear that our future intentions are to sit back, sanction them to death and wait for Qadaffi to sort of fall out of power like what has happened with other evil dictators we use that strategy on (you know, Ahmidenijad, Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein in the 90s).  We could say that strategy worked with Mubarak if by sanctions you meant funding.

Libyan terrorists portrayed in 1985

Speaking of funding, you might be interested to know that about a month before we started spending hundreds of millions of dollars to blow up Qadaffi’s military, we were funding his military so that he could fight terrorism.  You might ask why we would be doing such a thing.  The fact is, aside from the Lockerbie bombing and some other smaller scale recognizable terrorist attacks in the 80s and 90s, such as shooting Doc Brown in the movie Back to the Future, Libya has had a pretty good track record lately.  When we invaded Iraq, we were able to confiscate a nuclear weapons and materials stash, but it wasn’t in Iraq.  It was in Libya and was voluntarily handed over by Qadaffi.  He then paid millions of dollars to the families of Libyan terrorist victims.  Libya has been an ally in the war on terror ever since and Obama had requested an additional $1.7 million for Qadaffi’s military just last month.

Then we started bombing Libya to prevent a genocide against Libyan rebels.  Then we started supplying the rebels.  Unfortunately, we didn’t do our research.  Turns out, the same rebels who are fighting for pro-America freedom and democracy in Libya are the Al Qaida fighters who we were fighting just a few years ago in Iraq.

The embarrassment of going into Libya without a plan, without justification, without consulting congress, and without knowledge of who we were blowing up and who we were aiding has caused the administration to begin tiptoeing as quietly as they can toward the exit.  The answer has been to reframe the mission as a humanitarian NATO mission only to save civilian lives.  This is why now, after arming the rebels, NATO is warning the rebels that if they kill civilians, we will bomb them too.

We are arming both sides, now we will be bombing both sides.  At least we will be saving lives, right?

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Why PBS Should Be Defunded

Three words: Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Please keep reading, do not get me wrong.  I absolutely love Stevie Ray Vaughn.  I have several CDs with nearly every song he performed, video of him playing live, and I think by far he is my favorite guitarist ever.  And once a month, PBS plays Stevie Ray Vaughn videos.  Why do they play Stevie Ray Vaughn videos instead of their usual programming of 1950s variety show reruns, heavily left leaning political commentary, the newest garage band, or opera?  Because it’s time for the monthly pledge drive.

And that, my friends is capitalism.  I love the PBS pledge drive shows.  They did a Pink Floyd concert, Queen, and some more cultural stuff like Victor Borga and some classical master pieces.  But seriously, PBS pledge drives are the best time to watch PBS because they bring out the shows you would actually be willing to pay for.  And then they break in for 15 minutes to tell you that for a pledge of $125 you can get your very own Stevie Ray Vaughn CD as a thank you gift.  But they also lie to you and tell you that they need the funds so that they can show great programming like this all the time.

It’s not true.  What they mean to say is pledge money so that they know what to play for their next pledge drive.

I watch PBS a lot.  I love britcoms.  My wife loves the new Dr. Who.  She also loves costume dramas.  My son loves Elmo and nature shows.  If it wasn’t for the leftist political commentary, the fact that my tax dollars are already funding it, and the fact that pledging money gets you more of the Antique Roadshow, cooking shows, This Old House and opera, not more Stevie Ray Vaughn and Are You Being Served, I might actually give to PBS.  I mean, where else can you see Mr. Bean and Hugh Laurie in a comedy about the trenches of World War I.

I would not stop watching PBS if they showed commercials.  After all, in between shows we already have spots for the latest Masterpiece Theatre preview, the corporate sponsors of PBS, the uber-wealthy families and foundations who give PBS  grants, and of course a quick mention of “taxpayers…er, I mean viewers like you”.

If they replaced 15 minute pledge breaks with commercials and showed stuff people wanted to see, just like every other TV station, they would come out ahead.  I believe that’s true even if they showed a symphony performance or a nature show.  Surely no one can make the argument that Elmo would struggle for viewership.

At least that would be true for my household.  Of course, NOVA might have some difficulties with the majority of our country believing in God and on the fence about Global Warming, and Frontline might have to cast conservatives in a positive light at least once a year.  Oh yeah, and NPR would have to work on just how much they sound like a mouthpiece for the DNC.  After all, Air America showed that liberal talk radio struggles in the free market.

Ron Schiller may be an anti-Semitic, hateful leftist who thinks all Tea Partiers are racists and all mainstream media groups are Zionists, but he is not the reason PBS should be defunded.  PBS should be defunded so that they can compete in the free market and have to show good programming, like Stevie Ray Vaughn and ‘Allo, Allo!’, all the time.

Scott Sinks Obama’s Titanic

Return to sender.  That was Governor Rick Scott’s response to Obama’s offer of $2.4 billion in borrowed stimulus funds to create 48,000 green energy jobs through the construction of European style high speed rail connecting the sprawling cities of Tampa and Orlando.

Scott’s decision was attacked immediately by the administration, Bill Nelson, Corrine Brown, and others, while poorly managed, broke states like California quickly started begging for the funds.  I knew right then Scott made the right decision.  Scott was also sued bipartisanly by Florida state politicians, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Scott’s favor yesterday, effectively killing high speed rail.

So why would I be so happy about the state writing void on the Fed’s $2.4 billion check and mailing it back?  Because if you look beyond the pile of green, all you can see is red.

Every politician and newspaper (depending on what Florida city it is from) has their own math for calculating the costs.  The government estimates that after Obama’s check for $2.4 billion, the state would have to either fund or find private investors to pick up another $280 million.

Then there is the unanticipated costs of figuring out whose property needs to be bought in order to lay the rail. Scott’s own team of advisers refigured the costs  of the project based on the realities of California’s own experiment with high speed rail and found the Federal estimates to be a little optimistic, to the tune of another $3 billion dollars. Experts have also balked at government estimates of ridership.

One issue I see with ridership that not many are talking about is the size of the destination cities.  I have been to Tampa and Orlando.  They are not walking around cities.  Once riders arrive in either city, they will need to secure local transportation.  If it were me, I would prefer to have my car once I got to either destination.  Obama, coming from Chicago and sitting in his office in DC, might think there is a large market for commuters between the two Florida cities.  Having driven the rush hours between them, I don’t see it.

For Scott, this decision to cancel delivery on the Obama golden goose may also stem from the budget battle he is preparing to have in Florida’s capital.  Scott is being accused of getting ready to cut $3 billion in education in Florida.  But the reality is that Scott is simply refusing to continue paying the obligation that the Federal Government created with unfunded stimulus money last year.  He is not changing Florida’s budget for education.  It would be like deciding not to include one time lottery winnings in your future monthly budget.

Obama’s stimulus was designed to put broke states on the hook for higher spending on a social agenda that the Federal Government couldn’t even afford when they passed the stimulus bill.  It was a bill designed to change America, create jobs for the sake solely of creating jobs with no sustainability, and set up a monumental legacy to Obama of green energy and government control.  The President did not count on voters demanding fiscal responsibility.

But what about the 48,000 potential jobs lost that this $2.4 billion was going to secure for us?  Fortunately Scott has a better plan.  Instead of spending $280 million to $3 billion in state funds on a redundant transportation system between two cities, Scott is requesting $77 million to dredge Miami’s port so that they can start receiving larger ships from the expanding Panama Canal and expand trade with Asia.  It is a project that will create 30,000 jobs and an agenda that will expand to Jacksonville’s Jaxport with likely the same results.

It is an idea that trades legacy building and big government agenda with private enterprise and economic growth.  And it saves the government about $55,500 per job created.

The branch of government

Towards the beginning of his term, Obama decided to order his justice department to stop prosecuting certain marijuana laws.  Obama has decided to ignore immigration laws to the point where states have taken the federal government’s duty upon themselves.  When they did, he sued them for it.

Obama is currently being held in contempt of court for reissuing a ban on oil drilling, even after the judge ruled his initial ban unconstitutional.  Contempt of court is somewhat serious in many cases.  Of course, Clinton taught us that Presidents don’t have to worry about things like contempt, perjury and obstruction.  Presidents play by different rules than citizens.

Now apparently they play by different rules than our constitutional government as well.

Today, Obama decided that in addition to the Presidency, he is ready to take on the duties of the Supreme Court.  Today Obama ruled, in a 1-0 decision, that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.  As a result, Obama has instructed the department of justice to stop defending the law that elected representatives passed and President Clinton signed.

Now, I’m no Harvard Constitutional scholar, but isn’t judicial review the job of the courts?  Isn’t it the job of the President to uphold the laws of the United States as long as those laws are on the books?

Actually yes.  While Obama pontificates on the constitutionality of DOMA, he is ignoring Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution that requires the President to take care that the law is faithfully executed.

Obama may not realize this, but ignoring his constitutional duty for partisan political reasons sets a precedent that he may not intend.  For example, what happens when the next President decides that Obamacare is unconstitutional and instructs the justice department and IRS to not enforce it?  Oh wait, a judge already did that. But Obama is willing to force this door to swing both ways, and he is ordering the government to implement Obamacare even though it has been struck down as unconstitutional.

This is not the wild west, and Obama is not John Wayne with a sheriff’s badge.  We have a rule of law in this nation and a Constitution.   It is what separates the United States from Libya or Egypt.  If Obama thinks DOMA is unconstitutional, then he should get Congress to repeal it or let the Supreme Court do its job.  If the President can pick and choose what laws to faithfully execute, then where is our representative constitutional government?

 

Shut it down

Memories of 1995 haunt GOP as shutdown talks grow. At least that’s the headline.  But why should the 1995 shutdown haunt the GOP?  Republicans shut down the government in order to force liberal Democrat President Bill Clinton to take a sharp turn to the right and balance the budget.  Clinton has been taking credit for it ever since as though somehow balancing the budget was his idea.  You still hear people (who haven’t read my blog) tout the “Clinton surplus”.  Of course, if you read my blog, you know there never was a surplus.

But Republicans did cause Clinton to drastically drop spending and usher in a period of pretty good economic growth for our country.  It started with a government shut down.

Why should a shutdown haunt the GOP?  Democrat senators in Wisconsin seem to think a government shut down is a pretty good idea.  Maybe if the Senate in DC won’t pass the House’s budget, Senate GOP members should go hide in Illinois with the Wisconsin Democrats.

We are about to head into our third deficit in excess of $1 trillion in a row.  In fact, this one is a brand new record of $1.65 trillion.  Someone needs to put the brakes on.  Especially since Obama’s idea of putting on the breaks is to have one deficit as low as $607 billion over the next ten years.  Bush held the previous deficit record at $458 billion for one of his 8 years in office.  Obama has dwarfed Bush’s entire deficit twice already and is on track to do it again.

Obama doesn’t even have a stimulus bill or healthcare law as an excuse this year.  This deficit is simply government spending beyond its means.

Republicans trimmed a tame $61 billion out of the budget, and Dems have labeled them as oppressive, murdering extortionists.  If the GOP doesn’t take drastic measures, by the time Obama leaves office it would take one year of every American paying 100% of every dollar they make in taxes just to cover his deficits.

Clinton managed to take credit for the results of the 1995 government shut down while demonizing Republicans for it.  The grass roots conservative movements who sent the GOP back in 2010 are ready for a shut down.  the question is if Republicans can speak louder than Obama and the media make sure credit is given where credit is due when it works.

Have you heard the one about Obama’s budget?

Democrats are saying Obama’s budget is strategic genius.  It avoids recommending any unpopular choices or dealing with any difficult topics so that Republicans will have to take those up and be hated by the masses for doing so.  That is the excuse for Obama skipping over any sort of entitlement reform.  Others are saying he is “establishing credibility with the voters” by writing some unpopular budget cuts into his plan so that he can negotiate with Republicans.

So now the President’s responsibility is reduced to a subtle way of taking partisan jabs at his political enemies?

It doesn’t seem that way to me.  It seems to me that Obama’s budget is much more like a bad joke or embarrassing bodily noise that one tries to avoid making in public.

Obama has come out now saying that his budget cuts the deficit and that we “can’t run up the credit card” anymore.  This is an odd claim since Obama’s budget actually runs up an additional $250 billion on the card this year, setting his deficit at a new record of $1.65 trillion.  And he doesn’t even have a stimulus bill to show for it.

The real joke is that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit to $607 billion after ten years.  Of course, Presidential budget projections ten years out are as on target as a superbowl prediction ten years out.  But even if Obama does cut the deficit to $607 billion it will still be over $100 billion higher than Bush’s worst deficit in 2008.

Don’t worry, Obama’s deficit doesn’t have a chance at getting as low as $607 billion.  Obama’s “tough choices” on budget cuts circumvent entitlements altogether, but he does have cuts to education funding and heating for the poor.  That’ll pass.

Obama also includes tax hikes that his own party wouldn’t pass.  This must be part of his genius strategy where he somehow hangs his deficit around the Republican’s neck.  Obama’s spending cuts and tax hikes will never pass.

A liberal friend of mine informed me that the President’s budget really doesn’t matter, what counts is what Congress does.  Apparently he was trying to make me feel better about the President’s embarrassing budget.  I’m fine with that.  Bush was crucified for his last two years in office for high budget deficits.  Nevermind that Obama dwarfed those deficits his first year in office (and again his second and now third year), does this mean we can now blame Pelosi/Reid for Bush’s budget deficits?  The last time Republicans controlled Congress they had a $248 billion deficit.  That is less than the increase in Obama’s $1.65 trillion deficit this year.

Obama is betting on his skills of manipulation and a willfully ignorant voting public.  He has offered a sham budget with hopes that Republicans will do his job for him so that he can blame them for failure or take credit himself for success.  Clinton did the same thing when Gingrich and co. shut down the government and balanced the budget.

Obama’s budget is a shameful joke.  Liberals love him for it because they see his partisan agenda.  Hopefully the majority of voters see it for what it is: a waste of Obama’s time and our tax dollars.

Back to being just President

It’s amazing to me that after shrugging of Republican fears of anti-constitutional judicial activism, now Democrats are crying judicial activism after the voiding of Obamacare by a Pensacola judge.  Judge Roger Vinson agreed with 26 states that the Federal government does not have the right to force citizens to buy certain products from private corporations.

He is right.  Where in the constitution does it even suggest that the government can force people to buy things?  And this is for a very good reason.  After all, if the government could mandate that you buy certain products from private industries, then those in power could maintain their power by picking winners and losers through legislation.

For a good example, you don’t need to look any further than the Obama administration’s handling of the bailouts.  They violated the constitution when they took Chrysler and GM from the bond and stock holders and handed them over to the unions.  Imagine what they could do if the judiciary upheld a law stating that they could order citizens to purchase goods from private companies.

What would happen is that we would all eventually be fit into the government mold of a model citizen.  If the government could tell you what foods you could eat, or what car you could drive, don’t you think they would?

Actually, they already do through our tax system.  You get tax breaks if you buy a home, go to school, buy energy efficient improvements or cars, give to charity, or do so many other government approved activities.

For once, a judge is saying no and is upholding the constitution.  President Obama must be mystified that a court would actually act as a check and balance against his power.  For years the judiciary was the vehicle of social changes that the legislature could not pass if they hoped to be re-elected.  Whether it was deciding that women have the constitutional right to privacy when depriving their unborn of the constitutional right to life or almost any decision by the 9th circuit, the courts have not been the last line of defense for constitutionalism that they were designed to be.  This time, the system worked.

Fresh into Obama’s presidency, he chose to stop enforcing federal drug laws in medical marijuana states.  He so poorly enforced immigration laws that states resorted to writing their own immigration laws, which he then sued them for.  Obama chose to drop the voter intimidation case against the black panthers even after the justice department had won the case.  He violated the constitution with a moratorium on oil drilling in the gulf.  When a judge struck it down, he turned around and issued a new moratorium.

With everything going on in Egypt, if anyone should be respecting the will of the people and our democratic rule of law, it should be President Obama.  Our constitutional system of freedom, elections, and a government of checks and balances is what prevents Presidents from becoming tyrants, and citizens from becoming revolutionaries on days other than the first Tuesday in November.

Sofar, the administration is appealing and ignoring the ruling.  But if Vinson’s ruling stands, Obama will need to make a decision.  Will he respect our constitution and the rule of law and start over on healthcare?

Obama has delivered change.  We now have an executive branch that can own private businesses, force consumers to buy, pick and choose what laws to enforce, reward supporters and punish detractors.  Obama has greatly extended the power of his office.

The message from Judge Vinson’s ruling is clear.  We have a democratic government designed with checks and balances and based on the constitution.  It’s time for Obama to go back to being just President.


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