Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boondoggles R Us

It's been a while now that I've considered the House, the Senate, and the Presidency to simply be three different ways to be crazy. 


Pelosi, Reid and Obama are only the most recent examples of this lunacy, but as examples go they are prime. 

The most recent evidence of this pervasive insanity is the cap 'n' trade bill that was passed by the house on Friday. Granted, this bill needs to make it through the insanity that is the Senate and must be signed by the lunatic in the White House, but I'm almost certain it's a given that it will be done... and never mind what the pathetic people living in the United States think of it, either. The House of Representatives phone switchboard went down due to the pleas of the people... but what do the people know? Leave the governing to the "elite." They certainly know best, right? Representative Charles Gonzalez, a democrat from Texas, voted for the bill while telling CNN, "I can't begin to tell you how many calls we've received. And it's disproportionately 'vote no.'" 

It is a certainty that Obama will sign a bill put on his desk. On Thursday, he said, "Now is the time for us to lead. We cannot be afraid of the future. We cannot be prisoners to the past... Make no mistake, this is a jobs bill." REALLY! Don't you just love how everything the president wants can be translated into a "jobs bill?" Hefty stimulus for banks? JOBS. Out of this world taxes on energy? JOBS. Overhaul health care and nationalize it? JOBS. It's really amazing the power of this president, isn't it? Jobs, jobs, everywhere... 

But look at what Barack Obama said - before he was elected:

“I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

“That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

“The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

‘It’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."

So... he's out to bankrupt the coal industry, he's out to create a new market that will generate billions of dollars for the government... albeit supposedly so that the government can invest in clean ways to produce energy. Past experience would dictate that the money will go elsewhere. But we're not going to go into the ponzi schemes of the past today, are we?

The bill goes further than simply raising the cost of energy, though. It's also another way to redistribute the wealth of the middle and upper classes. Somehow, the CBO has estimated that the average American household will pay an additional $175 per year in energy costs (which is probably a low estimate)... but the poorest households will receive rebates lowering their annual energy costs by $40. 

I hate to go off on a tangent (but apparently am going to quickly do it anyway). What is it about the liberals that makes them want to drag down the successful instead of raising up the poor? Do they really think that they're helping to improve the situation of the "working poor" by lowering their annual energy bill by forty bucks? My frustration with the mentality of the leadership in our country is mounting daily... and frankly, my frustration with the mentality of the American people is right up there as well. We still live in the land of opportunity. We still live in a country where a hard working, creative individual can rise up and make something of him or herself. Is it hard work? YES. But that's the whole point... to work hard for something. Are there people out there who work hard and don't make much from it? Sure. But if that's your situation, you need to do something different. Don't just keep digging the same hole and filling it back in... and then wait for a government check. That's stupid

But back to cap 'n' trade. The market created by this incredibly irresponsible bill is not to be worried about. Because it's going to be regulated... yes, regulated. Whew! We were all worried that there wouldn't be enough regulation of the regulating markets. Not only will it be regulated, but it will be regulated by three different federal agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Don't you feel better now?

The bill "devotes billions of dollars to new energy projects and subsidies for low-carbon agricultural practices," according to the New York Times. I'm almost afraid of what kind of research they are doing to reduce cow emissions. 

According to the Global Guru, Al Gore, "This bill doesn't solve every problem, but passage today means that we build momentum for the debate coming up in the Senate and negotiations for the treaty talks in December which will put in place a global solution to the climate crisis. There is no backup plan." Wow. How frightening is that? The fate of the world rests on Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama's energy plan - and there is no backup plan. I'm feeling chills up and down my spine right now.

Back in June of 2006, Gore gave us ten years... I guess the clock has been ticking down ever since. Only seven years left to live... what will you do? Huh... well, it looks like we'll pay more for our energy in our waning  years.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Wieners For You!

I have to admit - I thought it was a little bit humorous that the Obama administration was extending their olive branch to the Iranian government via a celebration of our nation. But on June 24th, the president officially decided to rescind those invitations. Most likely because not a single Iranian official had RSVP'd. But who can blame them, really? Tough choices... I mean, clearly the 4th of July celebration is going to be a big weenie roast, and Muslims are prohibited from eating pork. The very best kosher hot dog is a Hebrew National, but Muslims are convinced that even the jews are pigs, so I'm sure they can't touch those, either. I'm pretty certain that the Muslims aren't too keen on partying it up with The Great Satan, either. 

The State Department sent out a memo to all embassies and consulates on Wednesday, ordering them to rescind all invites. In the interest of making sure the embassies got it right, the memo included: "For invitations which have been extended posts should make clear that Iranian participation is no longer appropriate in the current circumstance. For invitations which have not been extended, no further action is needed." Ah, yes... thus the word "rescind." It's kind of difficult to take back that which has not yet been offered. It's kind of fun to think about, though... a disinvitation saying, "Not only were you not invited, now you're sooooo not invited!"

CNN reported that Hillary Clinton made the decision and then informed Obama. I'll bet that went over well.

I, for one, am breathing a sigh of relief. I was really worried about the hot dog situation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Partying with Iran

Major Garrett, reporter for FOX News, asked the president "What took you so long?" in condemning the actions of the Iranian government. If you want to see a miffed Obama, albeit controlled, watch that clip. It's a bit of a hoot. Obama, clever as always with words, answers that he has been consistent on this issue, supporting democracy but not wanting to give the Iranian government a reason to blame the CIA or America for the protests on the streets of Iran. 

Garrett then followed up his question with another, asking Obama if Iranian leaders would still be welcomed to the 4th of July celebration. Obama said, "Well, uh... I think as you're aware, Major, we don't have formal diplomatic relations with Iran. Uh... I think that we have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles that we are interested in healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S./Iranian relations, but that is a choice the Iranians are going to have to make." Can we assume from this answer, Mr. President, that they are still invited but they have to choose whether or not to show up to party?

Obama's strong words (please detect a note of sarcasm here) have produced such a change in the Iranian regime's attitude towards its people... oh, wait. No, that's backwards. According to the NYT this morning, "Iranian officials stepped up efforts to crush the remaining resistance to a disputed presidential election on Wednesday, as security forces overwhelmed a small group of protesters with brutal beatings, tear gas, and gunshots in the air. Intelligence agents shut down an office of a defeated presidential candidate, saying it was a 'headquarters for a psychological war.' The nation's leadership cast anyone refusing to accept the results of the race as an an enemy of the state." So the opposition to President Imanutjob is officially accused of "illegal gatherings, the promotion of unrest, and efforts to undermine the country's security." Don't worry, though... they've all been arrested. 

Creating further speculation is the fact that the Iranian government is stepping up its efforts to block all independent news coverage throughout Iran. Also from the NYT, "The government banned foreign news media members from leaving their offices, suspended all press credentials for the foreign press, arrested a freelance writer for The Washington Times, continued to hold a reporter for Newsweek and forced other foreign journalists to leave the country.

According to official reports, about 240 people (102 of them political figures) are in jail. The Iranian government reports that it has arrested 627 more since the protests began. 

Given all this, I have one question. What would make any reasonable man think these leaders are people with whom one can negotiate? And if there is no reason to think this, why would our president be continuing his quest to make nice with the Iranian government?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Tribute To Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville lived from 1805 to 1859. He was an incredible political thinker, having great understanding of what was happening in his day as well as an eye to the future. In his work, "Democracy In America," he wrote, "There are now two great nations in the world, which starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans... Each seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world." That's some amazing insight, coming from his day. He also had a few other famous quotes... consider the following:

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?

Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

In no other country in the world is the love of property keener or more alert than in the United States, and nowhere else does the majority display less inclination toward doctrines which in any way threaten the way property is owned.

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.

In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.

Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens. 

And one of my favorites... a great reason to study history:

When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.

Iranian Insanity

The unrest in Iran really gets me thinking... I'm not exactly happy with the direction in which our government is headed, but I can be grateful for what I still have. 

As the whole world is trying to watch (and only moderately succeeding), Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rigged the Iranian election and then promised "bloodshed" if the people won't shut up and take it. This garbage has led, of course, to garbage spewed by our own beloved journalists, and I quote:

"What can we expect as far as accuracy, because we have our own problems, Florida in 2000." CNN

"Like Florida 2000..." CNN

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his main opponent have declared victory. Florida 2000 anyone?" MSNBC

"The Supreme Court obviously, in this country, doesn't decide who's going to be on the ballot, but in 2000 they decided who was going to be president. Remember that?" CNN

Ah, but I digress. Back to Iran... please.

The Ayatollah has followed through on his promise to not allow any more protesting. And, frankly, I've been a bit surprised that it lasted as long as it did. Moussavi, the shunned candidate, has called for a general strike upon his arrest. He told his supporters that he is "ready for martyrdom" while calling again for nullifying the election results. (An almost sure bet then that he's going to get what he's ready for.)

Our president warned Iran that the world is watching. Oooooo... I'll bet they're scared now. The world is watching, the best that it can with the press thrown out of the country. But the Iranian leadership doesn't give a hoot what the rest of the world thinks. They have no respect for us. They wish us dead. Gone. Six feet under. What do they care if we're watching? What do they care if we don't like what we see? Keep in mind, OBAMA, these leaders lying about their own national elections are the same people who are saying they wish to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. These are the same people you said, in Cairo, have every right to "nuclear energy." Maybe you're willing to take their word on spit and a handshake... I'm not.

The promised bloodshed has begun. I'm not naive enough to think the protesters are behaving themselves in a pleasant fashion. I'm sure there are some who are angry and acting stupidly. But the fact that people are being shot for standing in the street and saying they are unhappy with their government is... oh wait! It's not unusual for Iran. See, here's what really gets me. Many people here in the United States cannot fathom a government crushing its people the way that Iran is doing. But it happens all over the world. And it CAN happen anywhere. 

Liberties we enjoy here in the United States were hard fought and won by the bloodshed of our forefathers. It saddens me to see so many Americans taking these things for granted and assuming that the ugliness that is so prevalent in governments throughout the world cannot take hold here. Human nature dictates that it can... and if America's citizens are not vigilant, it will.