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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

SUNDAY, February 28, 2010

Beautiful.  I'm happy to say that I'm too action-oriented to be an intellectual.  GS

Intellectuals Step 'Off The Cliff,' Drag Rest Of Us Down: Sowell
By DAVID HOGBERG, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILYPosted 02/26/2010 07:15 PM ET

Smart people should make smart decisions. So why do the best and the brightest always seem to create more problems than they solve?

This is not just an academic question, precisely because academics dominate the Obama administration and its approach to such key issues as health care and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Renowned economist Thomas Sowell argues that intellectuals have strong incentives to step out of their area of expertise and "off a cliff." Ultimately, everyday people pay the price when intellectuals and abstract concepts trump real-world specifics.

Sowell explores these topics and more in a wide-ranging IBD interview regarding his latest book, "Intellectuals and Society."

IBD: How do you define intellectuals?

Sowell: I define intellectuals as persons whose occupations begin and end with ideas. I distinguish between intellectuals and other people who may have ideas but whose ideas end up producing some good or service, something that whether it's working or not working can be determined by third parties.

With intellectuals, one of the crucial factors is their work is largely judged by peer consensus, so it doesn't matter if their ideas work in the real world.

IBD: What incentives and constraints do intellectuals face?

Sowell: One of the incentives is that, to the extent that intellectuals stay in their specialty, they have little to gain in terms of either prestige or influence on events. Say, an authority in ancient Mayan civilization just writes about ancient Mayan civilization, then only other specialists in ancient Mayan civilization will know what he is talking about or even be aware of him.

So intellectuals have every incentive to go beyond their area of expertise and competence. But stepping beyond your area of competence is like stepping off a cliff — you may be a genius within that area, but an idiot outside it.

As far as the constraints, since their main constraint is peer consensus — that's a very weak constraint on the profession as a whole. Because what the peers believe as a group becomes the test of any new idea that comes along as to whether it's plausible or not.

IBD: You say that most intellectuals believe in the "Vision of the Anointed." What does that mean?

Sowell: It's the theory that there is an elite group of people who are very knowledgeable and their knowledge should be used to guide the decisions of society. So they are not simply an elite in the sense that sinecurists might be an elite, but they are elite with an anointed role in the world. To put it uncharitably, as someone once said, "Born booted and spurred to ride mankind." Examples of that would not be hard to find in Washington, D.C.

IBD: Why shouldn't intellectuals make decisions for the rest of us?

Sowell: Because they don't know as much as the rest of us. It's one of those non sequiturs. They have more average knowledge than the average person in the limited sense in which knowledge is usually spoken of by intellectuals.

But the knowledge that has consequences in the world includes vast amounts of knowledge that I call mundane knowledge and probably no one on earth has 1% of that knowledge. Yet that knowledge is consequential, and it includes knowledge that is in no way intellectually challenging but is nevertheless crucial.

In the book, I mention the example of a pilot coming in for a landing and the control tower notices he hasn't let his landing gear down. I happen to have been on such a plane once. And as we came into land, I noticed the pilot suddenly gunned the motor, took off again, circled back around and this time let down the landing gear. So whenever I'm on a plane and I hear the landing gear go down, I'm very pleased.

IBD: You have a lot of examples of intellectuals "in action" in your book. Does any one stand out more than the others?

Sowell: The one that stands out more in my mind is the promotion of disarmament during the 1930s while Hitler and Japan were arming themselves to the teeth. Disarmament is one of those things that probably no illiterate farmer would believe in. But some of the leading intellectuals, if not most of the leading intellectuals, of the Western democracies pushed that idea throughout the 1930s.

IBD: What do you think of the Obama administration when viewing it through the many concepts laid out in your book?

Sowell: It's very hard to answer that without using language that is totally inappropriate in polite society. But it is quite clear that they believe it is their job to take decisions out of the hands of the voting public.

And there are any number of ways they can do that, including rushing through huge bills faster than anybody can possibly read them, including the congressmen who vote on them.

They made statements during the campaign that are totally the opposite of what they will actually do. One of the more recent examples being the notion that unlike previous administrations they'd be transparent and broadcast the hearings on C-SPAN.

In fact, all of the big decisions are made behind closed doors, in one case locked doors, more so than in previous administrations. They want to supersede the public and put into operation what the anointed think should be done.

IBD: You say that intellectuals during Hitler's rise subordinated the mundane specifics of the nature of the German government to abstract principles about abstract nations, by which you meant the idea espoused at the time that "nations should be equal" and thus Germany had a right to rearm. Does that description apply to the Obama administration's approach to Iran?

Sowell: I hadn't thought of it, but it certainly does. In fact, there are other people who have said, "Some countries have nuclear weapons, why shouldn't other countries have nuclear weapons?" And they say it with an utter disregard for the nature of the countries and what those countries have been demonstrably doing for years and show every intention of doing in the future.

IBD: Do you think also that the Obama administration has abstract notions that you can negotiate with Iran the same way you can negotiate with, say, Australia?

Sowell: Oh, yes. And the question is not whether you should negotiate. We negotiate with all kinds of countries. The question is whether we think negotiations will be at all effective in carrying out what we want to do.

Reagan, after all, negotiated a disarmament treaty with Gorbachev, but he did so only after making it clear in their first meeting that he was not about to even consider Gorbachev's nonsensical proposal.

There was this marvelous scene, which I cite briefly in the book, where they are in Iceland when Gorbachev shows him this proviso at the eleventh hour. Reagan simply says, "The meeting is over, let's go, George (Schultz, the secretary of state), we're leaving."

That was utterly unthinkable to the intellectuals and utterly unprecedented in 20th-century democratic nations negotiating with totalitarian regimes.

IBD: Let me read some quotes and you tell me what you think. First, from Michelle Obama: "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. ... That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Sowell: This is bringing meaning from the top down into the unwashed masses. This is a very old idea among the intelligentsia, that they must bring meaning into the lives of "lesser folks," as if those lesser folks don't have enough meaning in their lives by their standards and by the things that matter most to them.

IBD: Next, from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: "There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

"One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

Sowell: Apparently they made a big mistake at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. If only Thomas Friedman had been there, he would have put them on the right path, I suppose. Democracy has prerequisites, and not all circumstances meet those prerequisites.

As to whether or not China is better off the way it is than under an alternative system such as the one that governs the same race of people in Taiwan, is another question entirely.

IBD: The next is from Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale who has spent his entire career in academia. Here's the title from one of his recent papers: "How to Structure Public Health Insurance Plan Choice to Ensure Risk-Sharing, Cost Control, and Quality Improvement."

Sowell: Third parties will structure how millions of people adjust to millions of different circumstances. In a sense, it is childish to imagine they can do this. But central planning has been tried for a very long time in many countries around the world.

Fortunately, most countries have discovered from bad experience — even socialist and communist countries have jettisoned it in most cases.

IBD: Would you say his knowledge of political science is seeping into another area where he has no experience?

Sowell: Not seeping, charging. Charging into another area. Or as I would put it, stepping off a very high cliff.

IBD: Now, while you note in the book that intellectuals believe that their superior knowledge in one area can be generalized to other areas, you state that chess grandmasters, musical prodigies and others who are remarkable within their respective specialties seldom make that mistake. But why do so many celebrities these days pop off on matters of foreign policy or domestic policy? The usual incentives faced by intellectuals wouldn't seem to apply.

Sowell: To some extent they face the same incentives, but also the same lack of serious constraints. So Rosie O'Donnell can pop off and it won't really affect her ability to get her next job. There is no constraint on that.

Further, fame is fleeting. And so it's not as though you can become famous at age 25, and you will still be famous at age 50 without lifting finger. Fame has to be constantly fed. And when the means of feeding that fame have no restrictions that are seriously placed on it, then you get all kinds of people popping off.

IBD: How about those who argue that we can use government to move society in a more conservative direction, like compassionate conservatism? Do they suffer from the vision of the anointed?

Sowell: To some extent, yes. Compassionate conservatism meant that Republicans added to the housing problems created by the Democrats rather than mitigating them.

George W. Bush, for example, was for a law that allowed the Federal Housing Administration to do away with nuisances like down payments on houses. And even his father was for the notion that the federal government should intervene if there were statistical differences among groups in housing or mortgage approvals.

These are people who seem to think that the way to be clever politically is to accept some of the premises of Democrats but reach different conclusions. But if you accept the premises, in many cases you've accepted the conclusions.


MONDAY through SATURDAY, February 22 through 27, 2010

Sounds good to me...  GS

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress.  Many       citizens had no idea that Congress members could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws.  The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered.in all of its forms.  Somehow, that doesn't seem logical.  We do not have an elite that is above the law.  I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever.  The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do&nbs p;that. It is an idea whose time has come.     

Proposed 28th Amendment to the  United States Constitution:          

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."


SUNDAY, February 21, 2010

Here is a bonus especially for those of you who visit this site frequently:

My Executive Summary of an important new book:

How We Decide”, by Jonah Lehrer, Mariner Books, 2009

Filled with the most up-to-date neurological and psychological discoveries regarding how the human mind addresses decision-making, and illustrated by many real-life examples, this book can be a powerful tool for each of us in the future.

So, there it is.  Don’t thank me.  Thank Jonah Lehrer…and read his fascinating book.    GS


SATURDAY, February 20, 2010

REGARDING DISCOVERIES THROUGH THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE...

Human beings have always known that their lives are finite, and that this world is finite.  But some have always tried to define the opposite...the Infinite...in finite terms:"billions of this and billions of that".  And they keep being surprised when they keep failing.  Make a stronger Hubble and you'll find more and more.  But you'll never be able to get your arms around the Infinite - at least perhaps until those fortunates among us actually end our finite lives and enter the Infinite...thanks to a very merciful God. 
This is what many scientists and others who are atheists refuse to accept.  Call it Pride.  Call it ignorance.  It doesn't matter.  For even these people have a chance for the Infinite...thanks again to a very merciful God. 
Are there other beings on other galaxies, also made "in the image and likeness of God" and also endowed with free will?  I don't know, and I don't care, although I suspect that we are God's only experiment.  If there are, I hope to have a drink with them at the bar scene in Star-Trek when we all are in the Infinite and with The Infinite.

GS



MONDAY through FRIDAY, February 15 through 19, 2010

This is an important statement on Religion...and Faith and Faiths.  See particularly the next-to-final paragraph quoting Pope John Paul ll encyclical entitled "Lumen Gentium".  GS


==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

Cardinal Tauran: We Shouldn't Fear Islam
Says Interreligious Dialogue Can Deepen Faith

GRANADA, Spain, FEB. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is affirming that Catholics should not fear Islam, but rather welcome the chance for deepening their faith through interchange with Muslims.


Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran affirmed this in Granada during his Feb. 10 opening address for a two-day congress sponsored by the Faculty of Theology of Granada. The congress was titled "Christianity, Islam and Modernity."

"We must not fear Islam," the prelate affirmed, "but I would say more: Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter."
 
He pointed out that "in these five years, the climate of dialogue with Muslims has improved, although contrasting elements still remain." Islam is the religion with which the council maintains the most structured relations.
 
Among these differences, the cardinal mentioned discrimination of women and freedom of worship, which is absolutely denied in Saudi Arabia.
 
Cardinal Tauran said that each one of us must address a "triple challenge: that of identity -- to have a clear idea of the content of our faith; that of difference -- knowing that the other is not necessarily an enemy; and that of pluralism -- acknowledging that God is working mysteriously in each one of his creatures."

Community
 
He affirmed that "for a Westerner, Islam is difficult to understand."
 
"It is at the same time a religion, a society and a state," the prelate explained, "which brings together 1.2 billion people in one great worldwide entity, the 'ummah'."
 
"The members of this community practice the same rites, have the same vision of the world and adopt the same conduct," he noted. "Moreover, they do not distinguish between the private and public sphere."

"This religious visibility disturbs secularized societies," the cardinal added.
 
"However," he said, "the new fact is that in the Western world, Muslims and non-Muslims are obliged to live together."

"In Europe, for example, we live with third-generation Muslims," Cardinal Tauran pointed out.
 
He observed that "we find Muslims in everyday life," which "does not impede Christians and Muslims many times being victims of prejudice, consequence of ignorance."
 
"It often happens that a Christian has never spoken with a Muslim, and vice versa," he added.

Overcoming fear
 
The council president affirmed that "dialogue alone allows us to overcome fear, because it allows each one to experience the discovery of the other and to bring about a meeting, and this meeting is precisely what the interreligious dialogue is about in reality."
 
This happens "because it is not two religions that meet, but rather men and women that the vicissitudes of life, the circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, have made companions in humanity," he added.
 
The cardinal stressed the need to "make an effort, on both sides, to know the religious traditions of the other, to acknowledge what separates us and what brings us close and to collaborate for the common good," which "is no easy task."
 
It calls for "interior liberty that gives place to an attitude full of respect for the other: to be able to be silent so as to listen to the other, to give him the opportunity to express himself with all freedom, and not hide or sweeten one's own spiritual identity," he said.
 
The prelate continued, "Once trust is established, both sides will be able to examine freely what separates us and what unites us."
 
In regard to the differences between Christians and Muslims, the cardinal explained that we are separated by "our relation with the sacred books, the concept of revelation -- Christianity is not a 'religion of the book' -- the identity of Jesus and of Mohammed, the Trinity, the use of reason, the conception of prayer."
 
On the other hand, he affirmed that the two religions hold several things in common: "the oneness of God, the sacredness of life, the conviction that we must transmit moral values to young people, the value of the family for the emotional and moral growth of children and the importance of religion in education."
 
Cardinal Tauran affirmed that "we, Catholics, are guided and animated by the luminous teaching of Benedict XVI, who has made interreligious dialogue one of the priorities of his pontificate." He referred, for example, to the Holy Father's interventions in Cologne, Germany, the United States, France and the Holy Land.

Advances
 
The council president affirmed that his dicastery has been building relations with Islam, and since 1976 meetings have been held every two years with the World Islamic Call Society of Libya.
 
Moreover, in 1995, the Comite de Liaison Islamo-Catholique was created and, since 1998, there has been a mixed committee for dialogue between the dicastery and Egypt's Al-Azhar University, which meets every year.
 
The council also collaborates with the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies of Amman, Jordan, the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization of Tehran, Iran and the Catholic-Muslim Forum, created in 2008.
 
"Thanks to these human and spiritual contacts," Cardinal Tauran pointed out that there have been several achievements such as an interreligious conference held in July, 2008 in Madrid. It took place at the invitation of the king of Saudi Arabia, and participants made unanimous affirmations on common values.
 
The prelate also recalled the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum, held in the Vatican in November 2008. Representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed an open letter to their Christian counterparts participated in this seminar.
 
He listed among the recent advances the interreligious meeting organized last May by the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies in Jordan on the theme "Religion and Civil Society."
 
This meeting "enabled Christian and Muslim participants to state that religious liberty can be adequately exercised only in a democratic society," the cardinal noted.
 
He added that all this represents progress, although "the great problem for me is to know how to effect it so that this change will reach the base."

Ignorance
 
Cardinal Tauran pointed out that pastors of the Catholic Church and professors of Catholic schools and universities still rarely take into account this new context of religious pluralism.
 
He also lamented that "European Catholics have a very weak knowledge of their faith."
 
"Genuine interreligious dialogue cannot be established in ambiguity or when the interlocutors do not have a defined spiritual profile," the prelate asserted. "Thus relativism and syncretism are born."
 
He noted that "thanks to Islam, or better said, to Muslims who live with us, we are called to deepen our faith and to renew our catechesis."
 
The cardinal explained that "to engage in interreligious dialogue is not to put our own faith in brackets but, on the contrary, to proclaim it with words and behavior."
 
"We proclaim that Jesus is the Light that illumines all men who live in this world," he continued. "Hence, all the positive aspects that exist in religions are not darkness, but participate in this great Light which shines above all lights."
 
In the Church, Cardinal Tauran stated, "we do not say that all religions have the same value, but that all those that seek God have the same dignity."

Challenge
 
He quoted John Paul II, recalling that the formed Pontiff affirmed that "other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church of today."
 
"In fact, they lead her to discover and recognize the signs of the presence of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit, and also to deepen her identity and to witness the integrity of revelation, of which she is trustee for the good of all," the prelate affirmed.
 
He said that "'Dominus Iesus' reminds us that we must keep two truths together: the possibility, for all men, to be saved by Christ, and the necessity of the Church for salvation."
 
"For those who do not belong to the Church, Christ is accessible in virtue of a grace that illumines them mysteriously and that comes from Christ," the cardinal said.
 
He pointed out that "Lumen Gentium" affirms that "those who without fault are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church but yet seek God sincerely and, with the help of grace, make an effort with their works to fulfill his will, known through the dictate of conscience, can obtain eternal salvation."
 
The cardinal affirmed that truth is proposed and not imposed, and "interreligious dialogue and the proclamation of Christ are not interchangeable."
 
Other participants in the congress included Archbishop Javier Martínez of Granada and Bishop Adolfo González Montes of Almeria, Spain, who delivered a lecture entitled "Christianity, Enlightenment, Laicism: Reason and Faith Before Transcendent Revelation."


FRIDAY through SUNDAY, February 12 through 14, 2010

LEST WE FORGET...OR NEVER LEARNED.  GS

Head east from Carthage on Mississippi 16 toward Philadelphia and after a few miles a sign says youre in Edinburg .

<>Its a good thing the signs there, because theres no other way to tell.

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg . Probably didnt make much news.

Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T. Barfoot, who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned with 17 prisoners of war.
<>
If that wasn’t enough for a days work, he later took on and destroyed three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.
  <>
That probably didn’t make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea and Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.
  <>
What did make news last week was a neighborhood associations quibble with how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were unsuitable.
 <>
He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court action if he didn’t take it down. Since the story made national TV, the neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed to indulge this old hero who dwells among them.

In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without interference, Barfoot told The Associated Press.

As well he should.

And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to read his Medal of Honor citation.

It indicates he’s not real good at backing down.

Van T. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation: This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry:

<>For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano , Italy . With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. >From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoots extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of point blank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.

Rules for Kickin' Ass

Rules for the Non-Military

Make sure you read #13

Dear Civilians, 'We know that the current state of affairs in our great nation has many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military.

For those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few of the areas where we would like your assistance:

1. The next time you see any adults talking (or wearing a hat) during the playing of the National Anthem - kick their ass.

2.. When you witness, firsthand, someone burning the American Flag in protest - kick their ass. 

3. Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second.  Enlighten them on the many sacrifices these veterans made to make this Nation great. Then hold them down while a disabled veteran kicks their ass.

4. If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were.  Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDUs) or Jungle Fatigues, telling others that you used to be 'Special Forces'.  
Collecting GI Joe memorabilia might have been okay when you were seven years old, now, it will only make you look stupid and get your ass kicked.

5. Next time you come across an *Air Force* member, do not ask them, 'Do you fly a jet?' Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot.  Such ignorance deserves an ass-kicking (children are exempt).

6. If you witness someone calling the *US Coast Guard* 'non-military', inform them of their mistake - and kick their ass.

7. Next time Old Glory (the US flag) prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her - of course, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe ass-kicking.

  <>
<>9. 'Your mama wears combat boots' never made sense to me - stop saying it!  If she did, she would most likely be a vet and therefore would kick your ass!

10. 'Flyboy' (*Air Force*), 'Jarhead' (*Marines*), 'Grunt' (*Army*), 'Squid' (*Navy*), 'Puddle Jumpers' (*Coast Guard*), etc., are terms of endearment we use describing each other.  Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. Using them could get your ass kicked..

11. Last, but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends, please remember that there are literally thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen far from home wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day. Without them, our Country would get it's ass kicked.

<>12. 'It's the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.'

'It's the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.'

'It's the Veteran, not the community organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.'

'It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.'

AND ONE MORE:

13. If you ever see anyone singing the national anthem IN SPANISH - KICK THEIR ASS.

WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!

IN GOD WE TRUST



THURSDAY, February 11, 2010

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan tackles Obama's path to deficit disaster

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The new era of Democratic bipartisanship, like cut flowers in a vase, wilted in less than a week.

During his question time at the House Republican retreat, President Obama elevated congressman and budget expert Paul Ryan as a "sincere guy" whose budget blueprint -- which, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), eventually achieves a balanced budget -- has "some ideas in there that I would agree with." Days later, Democratic legislators held a conference call to lambaste Ryan's plan as a vicious, voucherizing, privatizing assault on Social Security, Medicare and every non-millionaire American. Progressive advocacy groups and liberal bloggers joined the jeering in practiced harmony.

The attack "came out of the Democratic National Committee, and that is the White House," Ryan told me recently, sounding both disappointed and unsurprised. On the deficit, Obama's outreach to Republicans has been a ploy, which is to say, a deception. Once again, a president so impressed by his own idealism has become the nation's main manufacturer of public cynicism.

To Ryan, the motivations of Democratic leaders are transparent. "They had an ugly week of budget news. They are precipitating a debt crisis, with deficits that get up to 85 percent of GDP and never get to a sustainable level. They are flirting with economic disaster." So they are attempting some "misdirection," calling attention to Ryan's recently updated budget road map -- first unveiled two years ago -- which proposes difficult entitlement reforms. When all else fails, change the subject to Republican heartlessness.

From a political perspective, Democratic leaders are right to single out Ryan for unkind attention. He is among their greatest long-term threats. He possesses the appeal of a young Jack Kemp (for whom both Ryan and I once worked). Like Kemp, Ryan is aggressively likable, crackling with ideas and shockingly sincere.

But unlike Kemp -- who didn't give a rip for deficits, being focused exclusively on economic growth -- Ryan is the cheerful prophet of deficit doom. "For the first generation of supply-siders," he explains, "the fiscal balance sheet was not as bad. The second generation of supply-siders needs to be just as concerned about debt and deficits. They are the greatest threats to economic growth today."

Fiscal Obamaism is not just a temporary, Keynesian, countercyclical spike in spending; it is deficits to infinity and beyond. "It is the interest that kills you," Ryan says. In a few weeks, he expects the CBO to report that, in the 10th year of Obama's budget, the federal government will "spend nearly a trillion dollars a year, just on interest! This traps us as a country. Inflation will wipe out savings and hurt people on fixed incomes. A plunging dollar will make goods more expensive. High tax rates will undermine economic growth. It is the path of national decline."

But unlike other deficit hawks, Ryan courageously -- some would say foolhardily -- presents his own alternative. His budget road map offers many proposals, but one big vision. Over time, Ryan concentrates government spending on the poor through means-tested programs, patching holes in the safety net while making entitlements more sustainable. He saves money by providing the middle class with defined-contribution benefits -- private retirement accounts and health vouchers -- that are more portable but less generous in the long run. And he expects a growing economy, liberated from debt and inflation, to provide more real gains for middle-class citizens than they lose from lower government benefits. Ryanism is not only a technical solution to endless deficits; it represents an alternative political philosophy.

For decades, culminating in the Obama health reform proposal, Democrats have attempted to build a political constituency for the welfare state by expanding its provisions to larger and larger portions of the middle class. Ryan proposes a federal system that focuses on helping the poor, while encouraging the middle class to take more personal responsibility in a dynamic economy. It is the appeal of security vs. the appeal of independence and enterprise.

Both sides of this debate make serious arguments, rooted in differing visions of justice and freedom. But the advocates of security, including Obama, have a serious problem: They are on a path to economic ruin.

In his Kemp-like way, Ryan manages to find a bright side. "The way I look at it, we were sleepwalking down this path anyway. The Democratic overreach woke people up. It was a splash of cold water in the face of every voter. Now we have a new, more serious conversation. And I'm not going to back down."


WEDNESDAY, February 10, 2010

HERE IS ANOTHER VIEW REGARDING ROOT CAUSES OF THE CURRENT GREAT WORLD RECESSION.  GS

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

Vatican Economist: Recession Caused by Low Birthrate
Blames Small Families, Poor Savings Habits

ROME, FEB. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Bankers are not the cause of the global economic crisis, according to the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion. Rather, the cause is ordinary people who do not "believe in the future" and have few or no children.


"The true cause of the crisis is the decline in the birth rate," Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, said in an interview on Vatican Television's "Octava Dies."

He noted the Western world's population growth rate is at 0% -- that is, two children per couple -- and this, he said, has led to a profound change in the structure of society.

"Instead of stimulating families and society to again believe in the future and have children [] we have stopped having children and have created a situation, a negative economic context decrease," Gotti Tedeschi observed. "And decrease means greater austerity."
 
"With the decline in births," he explained, "there are fewer young people that productively enter the working world. And there are many more elderly people that leave the system of production and become a cost for the collective.
 
"In practice the fixed costs of this economic and social structure increase. How dramatically they increase depends on how evidently unbalanced the structure of the population is and how much wealth it has. The fixed costs however increase: The costs of health increase and the social costs increase."

When this happens, the economist stated, "taxes can no longer be reduced."

Empty accounts

Gotti Tedeschi went on to say that another phenomena impacting the economy due to the stagnation of the population is a decline in savings.
 
"Young people who do not have jobs upset the cycle of accumulation of savings that has gone on for years; families are not formed; often families are not formed that have a certain number of commitments to children and so savings are liquidated," he explained.

The Vatican official said a decline in development due to a lack of population growth is worrying.

"An effort is made to compensate for this decline in development through financial activities and above all through de-localization -- we try to move all production to Asia to bring the goods back at a lower cost, and with greater productivity, but greater productivity has its limits," he said.

The economist reflected on the growth of debt in American families over the last decade.

He noted that it was "already quite high" at 68% of the Gross Domestic Product around 1998; and it "went from 68% to 96% of the Gross Domestic Product in 2008, an increase of 28 points."
 
"If you take 28 percentage points of growth over 10 years and divide it by 10 years, you have a median growth rate of 2.8% per year due exclusively to the consumerism of debt of American households," Gotti Tedeschi said.

Real cause
 
"In practice," the economist contended, "this was the origin of the crisis, which eventually led to the so-called 'sub-prime' excesses. The financial instrument of debt leverage, the expansion of credit, was used to compensate the lack of growth in the economy caused by the 0% birth rate."
 
"The origin of the crisis is not in the banks or finance," he affirmed. "The banks and financial firms helped to aggravate the crisis, trying to compensate for problems that were already there, namely, the decline in economic development, which some tried to camouflage through financial instruments.
 
"If I might, indeed, be quite polemical, I would say that certain government leaders had more responsibility than the bankers since the former pushed, supported and justified the expansion of credit that was used to sustain a growth rate that was recognized as fictitious."

Gotti Tedeschi asserted that debt must be reduced -- in governments, households, financial institutions and non-financial institutions and industrial corporations.

"In developed countries like those of Europe and the United States this debt reduction will take about five to seven years to be re-dimensioned, to return to acceptable criteria," he theorized.

Complex times

The economist further recognized that "the United States, as we know, has also had complex times -- we think of Sept. 11, 2001 -- having to rebuild an attitude with regard to terrorism, as the great guardians of humanity, probably having to notably increase defense spending too."
 
"Here we see where the demand for growth in the GDP comes in," he pointed out. "Major defense spending for weapons after Sept. 11, which grew in the succeeding years by a rate of 14% [or] 15% per year, had to be sustained by growth in GDP.
 
"And how was the GDP supposed to be increased? Here we have the American habit: leave it to the individual to take care of; he is given the conditions to do it: low and attractive rates to stimulate consumerism.
 
"After 10 years the American households became poor, they lost a large portion of their liquid investments, their houses lost a great deal of value -- houses that they had not yet paid for, they lost part of their pension -- which is notoriously private, they built up debt for two or three years and risked losing their jobs."

Now, Gotti Tedeschi confirmed, "the only way to rebuild economic-financial balance is austerity."



TUESDAY, February 9, 2010

Alright, that's the diagnosis.  Now what's the treatment?  Or are we all de facto volunteers in the U.S. Armed Forces? (Answer: Yes).  And what are our weapons...besides  indispensable intelligence (including profiling) and acting on that intelligence with pre-emptive self-defense anywhere in the world...with or with permission from our "allies" and the U.N.?  This is War.  And as occurred after Dec. 7, 1941, we're again in the broom-handle training phase.  Except this time we have a slow learner in the White House. 
So, be on guard...everywhere and at all times.  And Pray.

GS

Juval Aviv was the Israeli Agent upon whom the movie 'Munich' was based. He was Golda Meir's bodyguard, and she appointed him to track down and bring to justice the Palestinian terrorists who took the Israeli athletes hostage and killed them during the Munich Olympic Games.

In a lecture in New York City he shared information that EVERY American needs to know -- but that our government has not yet shared with us.

He predicted the London subway bombing on the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News stating publicly that it would happen within a week. At the time, O'Reilly laughed, and mocked him saying that in a week he wanted him back on the show. Unfortunately, within a week the terrorist attack had occurred.

Juval Aviv gave intelligence (via what he had gathered in Israel and the Middle East ) to the Bush Administration about 9/11, a month before it occurred. His report specifically said they would use planes as bombs and target high profile buildings and monuments. Congress has since hired him as a security consultant.

Now for his future predictions. He predicts the next terrorist attack on the U.S. will occur within the next few months.

Forget hijacking airplanes, because he says terrorists will NEVER try and hijack a plane again as they know the people onboard will never go down quietly again. Aviv believes our airport security is a joke -- that we have been reactionary rather than proactive in developing strategies that are truly effective.

For example:

1) Our airport technology is outdated We look for metal, and the new explosives are made of plastic.

2) He talked about how some idiot tried to light his shoe on fire. Because of that, now everyone has to take off their shoes. A group of idiots tried to bring aboard liquid explosives. Now we can't bring liquids on board. He says he's waiting for some suicidal maniac to pour liquid explosive on his underwear; at which point, security will have us all traveling naked!
Every strategy we have is reactionary.

3) We only focus on security when people are heading to the gates.

Aviv says that if a terrorist attack targets airports in the future, they will target busy times on the front end of the airport when/where people are checking in. It would be easy for someone to take two suitcases of explosives, walk up to a busy check-in line, ask a person next to them to watch their bags for a minute while they run to the restroom or get a drink, and then detonate the bags BEFORE security even gets involved. In Israel, security checks bags BEFORE people can even ENTER the airport.

Aviv says the next terrorist attack here in America is imminent and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide bombers in places where large groups of people congregate. (i.e., Disneyland, Las Vegas casinos, big cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) and that it will also include shopping malls, subways in rush hour, train stations, etc., as well as, rural America this time. The hinterlands ( Wyoming, Montana, etc.).

The attack will be characterized by simultaneous detonations around the country (terrorists like big impact), involving at least 5-8 cities, including rural areas.

Aviv says terrorists won't need to use suicide bombers in many of the larger cities, because at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, they can simply valet park a car loaded with explosives and walk away.

Aviv says all of the above is well known in intelligence circles, but that our U. S. government does not want to 'alarm American citizens' with the facts. The world is quickly going to become 'a different place', and issues like 'global warming' and political correctness will become totally irrelevant.

On an encouraging note, he says that Americans don't have to be concerned about being nuked. Aviv says the terrorists who want to destroy America will not use sophisticated weapons. They like to use suicide as a front-line approach. It's cheap, it's easy, it's effective; and they have an infinite abundance of young militants more than willing to 'meet their destiny'.


MONDAY, February 8, 2010

Professor Joseph Olson of   Hamline University School of Law,   St. Paul ,   Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning last November's Presidential election: 
 

Population of counties won by: Obama: 127 million 

                                                   McCain: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:

Obama: 13.2    McCain: 2.1


   Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country. 

    Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."


    Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.


    If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders  called  illegals and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the  USA in fewer than five years.


SUNDAY, February 7, 2010

As I already posted in this section about a year ago, the facts about the decision and rationale to invade Iraq in 2003 - a few days after I initiated this section - will take five to ten years to be revealed.  What are relevant are facts, not the accusations regarding "lies" and other criticisms of the Bush and Blair administrations. 

The history and facts surrounding that period are beginning to be uncovered.   See the recent NYTimes article entitled: "Citing 9/11, Blair Defends Legacy In Iraq Inquiry", by Jonh F. Burns and Alan Cowell, in Europe, 1/29/2010,  See also the WSJ Editorial, Monday Feb. 1, 2010 entitled "Tony Blair's Iraq Statesmanship", pA16.

There are many lessons to be learned from events of this past decade, as they apply to a "new world order" engaging us during the next several decades.  But first, THE FACTS.

GS


SATURDAY, February 6, 2010

AND MORE ON HAITI.  If the military experience is not convincing, see the report of three New York surgeons ("Haiti: Obama's Katrina", WSJ Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, Opinion, pA17). These trauma specialists had a team organized to travel to Haiti on the day following the earthquake...but were denied landing rights for nearly four days.  And the story gets worse from there.  Their conclusion: "The U.S. response to the earthquake should be considered an embarrassment.  Our operation received virtually no support from any branch of the U.S. government, including the State Department...For all the outcry about Katrina, our nation has fared no better in this latest disaster".  Another in an increasing list of failures by this government.  Do Americans deserve better?  Some of us do.  For the rest: "In a democracy, the people always get what they deserve."

GS


FRIDAY, February 5, 2010

Exactly as I had anticipated, suspected and and also wrote about within two days of the earthquake.  Total incompetence in Washington.  God help the Haitians...no one else will.  GS

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN HAITI, YOU'LL FIND THIS INTERESTING.  PARDON SOME OF THE LANGUAGE -- IT'S FROM A MILITARY GUY.  MUCH OF IT IS POSITIVELY INFURIATING. 
 
Subject: Haiti Diary
 
  BG Mike Seely (U.S. Army - Ret.) forwarded this from a friend that just returned from Haiti.
> FYI.
>
> Date: Monday, January 25, 2010, 5:47 AM
>
> News back from Nic Brockhausen.  He and Dennis Hebler made it back somewhat safe and sound.
>
>
> To All,
>
>  I just returned from Haiti with Hebler. We flew in at 3 AM Sunday to the scene of such incredible destruction on one side, and enormous ineptitude and criminal neglect on the other.
>
>    Port o Prince is in ruins. The rest of the country is fairly intact.Our team was a rescue team and we carried special equipment that locates people buried under the rubble.  There are easily 200,000 dead; the city smells like a charnal house. The bloody UN was there for 5 years doing apparently nothing but wasting US Taxpayers money. The ones I ran into were either incompeyent or outright anti american. Most are French or french speakers, worthless every damn one of them. While 1800 rescuers were ready willing and able to leave the airport and go do our jobs, the UN and USAID ( another organization full of little OBamites and communisrts that openly speak against America) These two organizations exemplared their parochialism by:
>
>  USAID, when in control of all inbound flights, had food and water flights stacked up all the way to Miami, yet allowed Geraldo Rivera, Anderson Cooper and a host of other left wing news puppies to land.
>
>   Pulled all the security off the rescue teams so that Bill Clinton and his wife could have the grand tour, whilst we sat unable to get to people trapped in the rubble.
>
>   Stacked enough food and water for the relief over at the side of the airfield then put a guard on it while we dehydrated and wouldn't release a drop of it to the resuers.
>
>  No shower facilities to decontaminate after digging or moving corpses all day, except for the FEMA teams who brought their own shower and decon equipment, as well as air conditioned tents.
>
>   No latrine facilities, less digging a hole, if you set up a shitter everyone was trying to use it.
>
> I watched a 25 year old Obamite with the USAID shrieking hysterically; berate a full bird colonel in the Air Force, because he countermanded her orders, whilst trying to unscrew the air pattern.  "You dont know what your president wants! The military isn't in charge here we are!"
>
>  If any of you are thinking of giving money to the Haitian relief, or to the UN don't waste your money. It will only go to further the goals of the French and the Liberal left.
>
>  If we are a fair and even society, why is it that only white couples are adopting Haitian orphans? Where the hell is that vocal minority that is always screaming about the injustice of American society?
>
> Bad place, bad situation, but a perfect look at the new world order in action. New Orleans magnified a thousand times. Haiti doesn't need democracy, what Haiti needs is Papa Doc. Thats not just my opinion, that is what virtually every Haitian we talked with said. The French run UN treat us the same as when we were a colony, at least Papa Doc ran the country.
>
>  Oh, and as a last slap in the face the last four of us had to take US AIRWAYs home from Phoenix. They slapped me with a 590 dollar baggage charge for the four of us. The girl at the counter was almost in tears because she couldn't give us a discount or she would lose her job. Pass that on to the flying public.
 

THURSDAY, February 4, 2010

<>“If anyone from either party has a better approach…let me know.”
<>President Barack Obama (January 27, 2010)
<>***
<>Dear Dr. Sprecace,
<>
<>In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama urged Congress to “take another look” at the Democrats’ health care reform plan and claimed that “many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo."
<>
<>I have a different view than the President.  While the American health care system is the best in the world, serious issues still exist within the system that need to be addressed.  However, I don’t think physicians believe the Democrats’ proposed government takeover of our health care system is the answer.
<>
<>Yes President Obama – we do have a better approach.  And all of the ideas are ready to go in proposed legislation.  They include:
<>
These are only a handful of the many ideas Republicans have brought to the table.  If you would like a more in depth look at the health care reform solutions Republicans have proposed I urge you to read the PCRR White Paper: Republican Alternatives to the Democrat’s Proposed Health Care Plan.

The Democrats have been so intent on placing our health care system under the control of the Federal government, that they have completely shut Republicans out of the debate.  We are willing to engage in an open dialogue with Democrats and come together in a bipartisan effort to bring true health care reform to the American people but we absolutely insist on doing it a way that will not compromise the quality of care your patients deserve.

Thank you again for your ongoing support of our efforts.  I look forward to continuing this fight together.

Yours Truly,

Congressman Tom Price, M.D.
Chairman, PCRR


WEDNESDAY, February 3, 2010

HAITI.  Just as I suspected from the beginning.  The Haitian government, the U.S. and all those aid agencies have done the reverse of what was needed.  And the people continue to suffer.  We should have insisted on and assumed control of both security and communications at the outset, instead of allowing politics as usual to play "Alfonse and Gaston"...and worse.  Another job by "Brownie"?

GS

Protests, frustration at Haiti aid bottlenecks

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer Paisley Dodds, Associated Press Writer Wed Feb 3, 5:18 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Hunger turned to anger in Haiti's capital on Wednesday as hundreds of protesters marched through the streets accusing local officials of demanding bribes for donated food.

Aid workers say that food and other supplies are now flowing into the country three weeks after the Jan. 12 quake, but red tape, fear of ambush, transportation bottlenecks and corruption are keeping it from many people who need it.

Hungry protesters jogged along a broad avenue in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville waving branches and chanting, "They stole the rice! They stole the rice!"

One of the protesters, 17-year-old Danka Tanzil, said a local official was demanding a bribe in return for coupons that entitle people to bags of donated food from the U.N. World Food Program. "For us to get the coupon, we must give 50 Haitian dollars (US$7) so we can get the rice," she complained.

People at small protests elsewhere had a simpler message, holding up banners reading, in English: "Help us, We're starving."

The World Food Program began distributing the coupons to bring order to the aid distribution and prevent strong young men from forcing themselves to the front of food lines. Aid officials say it has largely worked, despite scattered reports of abuses.

The U.N. agency "is aware of reports that our coupons have been resold, and we've also heard allegations of forgeries," WFP spokeswoman Jennifer Parmelee said. "However, all evidence from our cooperating partners who are managing the distributions ... is that this is not a widespread issue."

The agency said it has reached more than 300,000 people through the coupon program but needs to reach 2 million.

In other key developments:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asked former U.S. President Bill Clinton to expand his role as special envoy for Haiti by taking a stronger role in coordinating relief and reconstruction efforts.

• Haiti's Ministry of Health, backed by the U.N. and other agencies, began a campaign to give vaccinations against key diseases to 250,000 children under age 7 living in temporary settlements. It said 200,000 other injured people will get tetanus vaccines.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade told Radio France International that dozens of Haitians have asked about taking advantage of his offer of free land for Haitians who want to "return to their origins" in Africa following the earthquake.

___

Associated Press Writers Martha Mendoza and John Rice in Mexico City and Todd Pittman in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.


MONDAY and TUESDAY, February 1 and 2, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Credibility Gap

While I don’t wish to speak too harshly about President Obama’s state of the union address, we live in challenging times that call for candor. I call them as I see them, and I hope my frank assessment will be taken as an honest effort to move this conversation forward.

Last night, the president spoke of the “credibility gap” between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The contradictions seemed endless.

He called for Democrats and Republicans to “work through our differences,” but last year he dismissed any notion of bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, “I won.”

He talked like a Washington “outsider,” but he runs Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from pursuing “common sense” solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies.

He dared us to “let him know” if we have a better health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and patient-centered reforms. We’ve been “letting him know” our ideas for months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.

Americans are suffering from job losses and lower wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the “hidden tax” that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.

He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He talked about a “deficit of trust” and the need to “do our work in the open,” but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.

He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation and not leaving our children with a “mountain of debt,” but under his watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our national debt.

He spoke of a spending freeze, but doesn’t he realize that each new program he’s proposing comes with a new price tag? A spending freeze is a nice idea, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. We need a comprehensive examination of the role of government spending. The president’s deficit commission is little more than a bipartisan tax hike committee, lending political cover to raise taxes without seriously addressing the problem of spending.

He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense of their mom & pop competitors.

He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill, but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a “jobs bill.” The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no end in sight. Why should we trust this new “jobs bill”?

He talked about “making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but apparently it’s still too tough for his Interior Secretary to move ahead with Virginia’s offshore oil and gas leases. If they’re dragging their feet on leases, how long will it take them to build “safe, clean nuclear power plants”? Meanwhile, he continued to emphasize “green jobs,” which require massive government subsidies for inefficient technologies that can’t survive on their own in the real world of the free market.

He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran?

Despite speaking for over an hour, the president only spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our country safe?

In his address last night, the president once again revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the American people expect from their government, and what he wants to deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a government that was already too big and supersized it.

Real private sector jobs are created when taxes are low, investment is high, and people are free to go about their business without the heavy hand of government. The president thinks innovation comes from government subsidies. Common sense conservatives know innovation comes from unleashing the creative energy of American entrepreneurs.

Everything seems to be “unexpected” to this administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers; unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our Supreme Court Justices.

He criticized politicians who “wage a perpetual campaign,” but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.

Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people whose voices are still not being heard in Washington.

- Sarah Palin


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