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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama’s Getting Out of Iraq Speech

“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws—the first growing out of the last... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” —Alexander Hamilton

In his second Oval Office speech President Obama spent seventeen minutes giving a confused and discombobulated address on the so-called end of combat operations in Iraq.

I did not want to watch this speech as I pretty much knew what he would say, but I decided I would so I could post an entry on my Blog before the talking heads stole my thunder.

The first things I took notice off were the family photos on the credenza behind the President. Wasn’t this a nice touch, especially the wedding picture? How about a few photos of the Medal of Honor winners? Oh well, this is Obama the narcissist president.

He said what he had to say. He read his Teleprompter well and without stumbling. He lined up all the used-to-death clich├ęs in an orderly manner And that was all there was to the president’s nationally televised address on Tuesday night.

On a positive note he did not point his finger at us, like he usually does, and there was no Mussolini neck stretch. Another positive note was that the speech lasted only seventeen minutes and if you remove the political remarks about the economy and jobs it no doubt could have been trimmed down to ten.

I don’t know who wrote this speech, but the author should be fired. He or she evidently did not go back and research similar speeches. Where were the reverences to winning? Of course he couldn’t do that because he was one of the score of Democrats, who said the war was lost in 2007 and that Bush’s surge would not work. Remember Harry Reid’s “The war is lost” comment? So instead Obama gave lukewarm praise to President Bush for his patriotism. Read Democrat comments here.

“As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq's future.”  How weak and self serving.

“Going forward, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting Iraq's Security Forces; supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counterterrorism missions; and protecting our civilians.” No mention was made of the 5,000 Special Operations Forces who will be in harm’s way training, equipping and mentoring the Iraqi Security Forces.

“Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what's at stake. As we speak, Al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen Al Qaeda leaders -and hundreds of Al Qaeda's extremist allies-have been killed or captured around the world.”

“Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who-under the command of General David Petraeus -are fighting to break the Taliban's momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. But, as was the case in Iraq, we cannot do for Afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. That's why we are training Afghan Security Forces and supporting a political resolution to Afghanistan's problems. And, next July, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: this transition will begin - because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people's.”

So what does this mean? Here Obama refers to the “surge in Iraq”, a surge he did not agree with and applies the same term to Afghanistan with deadline that insures its failure (See Conway vs. Patraeus). This also means that the financial resources he mentions latter in the speech will not be available for his domestic spending. His announced deadline will embolden the Taliban and they will just wait out our troops and come back in strength when we pull out.

“Today, old adversaries are at peace, and emerging democracies are potential partners. New markets for our goods stretch from Asia to the Americas. A new push for peace in the Middle East will begin here tomorrow. Billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. As the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction -we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people.”

Fox news reports that four Israelis were killed Tuesday after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on their vehicle while it was traveling in the West Bank. An Israeli Army spokesman said that among the passengers was a pregnant woman. The attack came only two days before Israel and the Palestinians are set to launch face to face peace negotiations in Washington. Analysts in Jerusalem believe that this attack is meant to sabotage President Obama's Middle East summit before it even starts. Some here say after this brazen attack, it could be a challenge to the President to stay on track and get the negotiation to move ahead.

While this is a high minded statement, this “peace” initiative will fail like so many before it have. The Islamists don’t want peace they want subrogation and the destruction of Israel. No amount of Obama’s charm and charisma will change that.

“That effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation's strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.”

“Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation's long-term competitiveness is put at risk.”

Obama just can’t miss a chance to blame George W. Bush. No matter how subtle he thought this might be it came across loud and clear. Bush spent a great deal of money on this war and caused our current financial collapse.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations. The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

So, Mr. Obama, your first failed stimulus package cost more that the war in Iraq. What do you have to say about that?

This statement is pure politics and has no place in this address. Barak Obama doesn’t give a damn about Iraq, he never did. This part of his speech is meant to bolster his and the Democrat party’s failed efforts to lower the unemployment rates and take pressure off the Democrats this November.

“Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil.

We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.”

This next paragraph is the bone Obama is offering veterans. This is just another bureaucratic boondoggle that will give the colleges and universities another opportunity to raise tuitions and hire more staff.

"Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That is why we have already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We are treating the signature wounds of today's wars post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we are funding a post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II- including my grandfather- become the backbone of our middle class, so today's servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American."

Was that the grandfather who liberated Auschwitz or his paternal grandfather who was a member of the Mau-Mau in Kenya? Perhaps it was his step-grandfather the Marxists?

Here where Obama pours out a little pathos for his supporters on he left. After all who could criticize a mother’s kiss?

“Of course, the soldiers left much behind. Some were teenagers when the war began. Many have served multiple tours of duty, far from their families who bore a heroic burden of their own, enduring the absence of a husband's embrace or a mother's kiss. Most painfully, since the war began fifty-five members of the Fourth Stryker Brigade made the ultimate sacrifice -part of over 4,400 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq. As one staff sergeant said, "I know that to my brothers in arms who fought and died, this day would probably mean a lot."

“Those Americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two centuries. Along with nearly 1.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq, they fought in a faraway place for people they never knew. They stared into the darkest of human creations -war -and helped the Iraqi people seek the light of peace.”

I saved the last quote for last. This one was probably put in the speech to provide Keith Olberman with a class “A” erection or Chris Mathews with another tingle up his leg. Ready? Here it is! “”Our troops are the steel in our ship of state.”

We haven’t left peace and success behind in Iraq. We’ve left a fiasco of a failure. For more than five months the president and his administration have signally desisted from knocking together the heads of the Iraqi politicians who still haven’t been able to even form the pretense of a new national government. Bombings in Iraq and fatalities from them are accelerating to a level not seen since before Gen. David Petraeus launched the surge strategy in January 2007.

And as for the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq that the speech applauded, that was all smoke and mirrors too. In a rare embarrassing fact that he allowed to intrude into his rhetoric, the president admitted that 50,000 Americans are staying in Iraq. He didn’t specify what they will be doing there, but rest assured, they are all now prospective targets for Al Qaeda, the rising Shiite militias and the force to really watch – Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

Of course the president nowhere talked about why it made more sense to commit scores of thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a country without any serious strategic significance or major resources whatsoever, while stripping them from Iraq, which for all the mess he and his predecessors made of it, at least has the second largest reserves of easily accessible, high quality oil on earth. But facts have never got in the way for Barack Obama before and they didn’t on Tuesday night.

The speech while mercifully much shorter, was otherwise just a random reassembling of all the vacuous phrases about “ better future,” ”historic moment”’ “lasting peace and long-term prosperity.” And all of that was only in the second paragraph. There was less hot gas in the Hindenburg.

One got the eerie impression that the president’s many speechwriters didn’t even write a word of it. They just set a random software program to extract the necessary uplifting phrases from his 2008 campaign rhetoric and run 17 minutes of them together in no apparent order. We’ve heard it all before, and as our domestic economy collapses, and what’s left of security in Iraq and Afghanistan disintegrates, we’ll hear it all again.

Restoring Honor Rally Crowd Size

A lie told often enough becomes the truth. -Vladimir Lenin

The news reports for the past two days have been both positive and negative regarding the Restoring Honor Rally held at the Lincoln Memorial this past Saturday. Somehow the importance of the rally has been eclipsed by the media’s estimate of the crowd in attendance. This was the same controversy for last year’s Tea Party’s 9/12 rally. It all depends on who is doing the counting. The crowd estimates range from a low of 78,000 (CBS) to 500,000 (Beck’s own estimate).

As a professional land surveyor I know how to determine distances and calculate areas from aerial photographs. With this in mind I decided to take a crack at estimating the crowd size of the Restoring Honor Rally based on photos and remote sensing.

The photos I have seen on the Internet are not true rectified aerial photos, but oblique high angle shots that are not readily measurable. I used these photos for the purpose of estimating the extent and density of the crowd. By density I mean how closely packed the people were. From what I could observe the people were fairly tightly packed. I would estimate that each person was occupying about five square feet.

The next step was to determine the area occupied by the crowd. From the photos I have seen the crowd was packed fairly densely from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the WWII Memorial. The width of the crowd appeared to cover the area from the tree line at the north of the Mall to the tree line at the south side.

Now I took measurements using Google Earth and found that the distance from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the WWII Memorial and I came up with 2,600 feet. The north south dimension from tree line to tree line was 640 feet. This calculates to an area of 1,664,000 square feet.

The next step was to remove the area of the reflecting pool from my estimate, after all no one was standing in the water. The reflecting pool is 2,000 by 150 feet and yields an area of 300,000 square feet. Hence, the total area occupied by people is 1,664,000 less 300,000 or 1,364,000 square feet. Using a modest figure of one person for every 5 square feet I came up with a crowd estimate for the area described above of 272,800 or rounded to 270 thousand.

Using the same technique for the area from the WWII Memorial to the Washington Monument I came up with 506,000 square feet, which would add another 101,200 people rounded to 100,000. This brings the total crowd count, by my estimate, at 370,000. This is a pretty big crowd by anyone’s standard and a far cry from the CBS estimate at 76,000.

The only variable here is the square foot required for each person. I have researched several sources, including the University or Indiana, and have found estimates ranging as follows for the area, in square feet, required for people attending outdoor events: Tightly packed (4), moderately packed (7) and loosely packed (10). In looking at the photos and seeing most of the people standing almost elbow to elbow I chose to use 5 square feet. You can use the area I calculated and play with the numbers if you wish.

A few years ago Herbert A. Jacobs, 63, a longtime Wisconsin newspaperman who now lectures at the University of California set out to make a more scientific calculation when estimating crowd sizes. Jacobs did not like the way in which many of his colleagues reported on crowd sizes, especially those for political rallies. He believed estimates were biased to the political agenda of the reporter. He was probably correct.

Jones gathered aerial photos of crowds whenever he could get them. He sectioned the photos into 1 inch squares and counted the people in each square. Using this method he came up with his unique formula. By doing a little arithmetic, Jacobs arrived at what he calls the "Jacobs Crowd Formula." His formula required to pace off the length and breadth of any crowd and add the two figures together. He then multiplied that figure by seven for a slack crowd, by ten for a dense one.

I find a few flaws in Jacobs’ method. The first being I don’t know what he means by pace. I assume he is referring to a thirty-inch stride to determine the distance in feet. If this is so, using his formula, I would calculate a crowd of 2,600+640 for 3,240 x 7 yielding a crowd size of 22,680. This makes no sense to me. Also using his formula does not take into account the area of the reflecting pool, which has to be taken out of the estimate.

The bottom line here is that two things were very evident in the media reports beside the varying crowd estimates. One is the constant mention of the term “predominately white” and the other being a subtle reference to Beck’s arrogance at using the same date and location as Martin Luther King for his rally.

The reference to the color of the crowd is just another example of the race baiting we are constantly barraged with by the Left and the media. This is tearing the country apart and it is promulgated by the social progressive Left so they can maintain control of the message. Does anyone mention that a crowd at a Bon Jovi concert is predominately white? Are not white people given the benefit of the doubt that they are not there for racist reasons and that they are more concerned with the message than the appearance of the attendees?

Martin Luther King does not own the Lincoln Memorial or August 28th just as Ronald Reagan does not own the Brandenburg Gate. By the way, the crowd at Obama’s Brandenburg Gate speech was predominately white. As for King’s politics if you look at his speeches and according to his niece, Alveda King, he was more concerned with the spiritual aspects of the civil rights movement and was more of a conservative than a social progressive. It is the parasites and pretenders to King’s legacy that have torn the King family apart. These pretenders to the King crown like Jackson and Sharpton, who don’t even speak to each other, have tried to claim they are the real heirs to the King legacy. (By the way where is Jackson?)

This is the same as the politicians and elites who claim the John F. Kennedy legacy. Not a one of them, even his brother Ted, was even close to the political philosophy of John Kennedy. He was a tax cutter, a hawk, fiercely anti communist and did not give a hoot about civil rights when he was in office.

While there are things about Glenn Beck that I am not a fan of I cannot find fault with his motives or his factual reporting of our history. When people like Joe Klein, of Time magazine, go on TV and compare Beck and his followers to those persecuted German-Americans during the First World War and those who interned Japanese-Americans during WWII without mention of the architects of those policies; Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt heroes of the Left, I want to throw something at the TV set.

The more I see and hear of these social progressive statist and their useful idiots in the media the more I am drawn to the Tea Party. As to the Rally I am reminded of the dialogue between Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson when Thoreau was arrested for civil disobedience in protest to the Mexican-American War. When Emerson came to visit Thoreau in his jail cell he asked him why he was here. Thoreau’s answer was simple yet eloquent when he responded to Emerson, “Why aren’t you here?”

My message to the Conservatives and Libertarians is simple. Stop looking for minor disagreements among yourselves. Stop nit picking the message and looking for minor flaws in your fellows who are of the same basic mind. Focus on the bigger picture. We have some major problems in the country and we need a strong united conservative voice. Massive spending, an overblown government, disrespect for Constitutional government and a threat for radical Islam are our real enemies, not each other. Take a leaf from the book of our founding fathers and work together to defeat the soft tyranny of the statists. We can accomplish this if we don’t worry over who gets the credit.

For Additional reading please click here and here

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Black-White Achievement Gap, a Perplexing Dilemma

A wise and frugal government... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” —Thomas Jefferson

Today the columnist George Will had a column in the Washington Post addressing the tragic dilemma facing the African-American community in the United States today. Will quotes Nathan Glazer, a sociology professor emeritus at Harvard as saying “the tragic condition in America is that is 70 percent of African American children are born to unmarried women.”

Writing in the American Interest, Glazer considers it a "paradox" that the election of Barack Obama coincided with the almost complete disappearance from American public life of discussion of the black condition and what public policy might do to improve it." This, says Glazer, is the black condition:”

Glazer goes on to state, “Employment prospects for young black men worsened even when the economy was robust. By the early 2000s, more than a third of all young black non-college men were under the supervision of the corrections system. More than 60 percent of black high school dropouts born since the mid-1960s go to prison. Mass incarceration blights the prospects of black women seeking husbands. So does another trend noted by sociologist William Julius Wilson: "In 2003-2004, for every 100 bachelor's degrees conferred on black men, 200 were conferred on black women."

Because changes in laws and mores have lowered barriers, the black middle class has been able to leave inner cities, which have become, Glazer says, "concentrations of the poor, the poorly educated, the unemployed and unemployable." High out-of-wedlock birthrates mean a constantly renewed cohort of adolescent males without male parenting, which means disorderly neighborhoods and schools. Glazer thinks it is possible that for some young black men, "acting white" – trying to excel in school – is considered "a betrayal of their group culture." This severely limits opportunities in an increasingly service-based economy where working with people matters more than working with things in manufacturing.

Will address a report from the Educational Testing Service , comes a report about "The Black-White Achievement Gap: When Progress Stopped," written by Paul E. Barton and Richard J. Coley. It examines the "startling" fact that most of the progress in closing the gap in reading and mathematics occurred in the 1970s and '80s. This means "progress generally halted for those born around the mid-1960s, a time when landmark legislative victories heralded an end to racial discrimination."

Only 35 percent of black children live with two parents, which partly explains why, while only 24 percent of white eighth-graders watch four or more hours of television on an average day, 59 percent of their black peers do. (Privileged children waste their time on new social media and other very mixed blessings of computers and fancy phones.) Black children also are disproportionately handicapped by this class-based disparity: By age 4, the average child in a professional family hears about 20 million more words than the average child in a working-class family and about 35 million more than the average child in a welfare family – a child often alone with a mother who is a high school dropout. You can read Will’s column by clicking here.

After reading Will’s column and in light of my last post regarding the Restoring America Rally and my comments on race relations in the United States today I down loaded the Educational Testing Service report to see for myself what academia has to say about this problem.(You can down load the report by clicking here)

Barton and Coley’s report traces the Black-White educational achievement and attainment gaps back to the early 20th century and presents a variety of data in an effort to understand why the gaps stopped closing over the last several decades. They drop back in time to the beginning of the 20th century when the gap in educational attainment started to narrow, and bring us to the startling and ironic conclusion that progress generally halted for those born around the mid-1960s, a time when landmark legislative victories heralded an end to racial discrimination.

You should read the report and make your own judgments on the validity and cogency of their conclusions. The authors provide a great deal of data through the use of simple charts. I found the charts to be a good means to quickly understand the points the authors were making. Here are a few excerpts from the report I found of particular interest.

Investment in Early Education and Nutrition. At the top of the list of factors that may have contributed to progress in closing the gap are the federal government’s investments in Head Start and Title I of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Evaluations of Head Start, over its long history, have reported positive results. Title I, an even larger program, involves some 5 million children in 14,000 school districts. The positive effects of Title I were established in a congressionally-mandated evaluation carried out in 1975.7 However, these positive results were tied to the early grades, with effects being “virtually nil by the sixth grade.” Fade-out effects also were found in Head Start.

Throughout human history, the nuclear family has been the basic institution for raising children, providing for their needs, protecting them, shaping their values, passing on the culture, and providing the models for shaping their understanding of what it is to become an adult. The nuclear family has been historically defined as a mother, a father, and their children. Clearly, there has been a trend toward deterioration of the makeup of the family unit, a trend most striking in the Black community in the United States — but one also apparent in other developed nations of the western world. Is there a relationship between changes in family structure and changes in the achievement gap? What has been happening most noticeably since the mid-1960s is the disappearance of adult Black males from the family.

The Negro family lived in Africa and subdued the hostile environment. In the United States, it has lived in a manmade social and psychological jungle which it could not subdue. Many have been destroyed by it. Yet, others have survived and developed an appalling capacity for hardship. It is on this strength that society can build. (Martin Luther King)

In addition to the strong links between single parenthood and poverty and welfare receipt, the available research indicates that children from mother-only households are more likely to be school dropouts, to receive lower earnings in young adulthood, and to be recipients of welfare. Moreover, the daughters who grew up in Black single-parent households are more likely to establish single-parent households themselves than those who were raised in married couple households. Furthermore, single-parent households tend to exert less control over the behavior of adolescents.

Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates sums it up this way: We do, however, know that the causes of poverty within the Black community are both structural and behavioral. Scholars as diverse as philosopher Cornel West and sociologist William Julius Wilson have pointed this out, and we are foolish to deny it. A household composed of a sixteen-year-old mother, a thirty two-year-old grandmother, and a forty-eight year-old great grandmother cannot possibly be a site for hope and optimism. Our task, it seems to me, is to lobby for those social programs that have been demonstrated to make a difference for those motivated to seize these expanded opportunities.

First are the observations made by a person of long experience, including the presidency of the National Urban League from 1994 to 2003 and his interactions with young people over the years, based on what the Urban League struggled with during his tenure. A major culture shock he sees is “hip hop — the music, the imagery, lyrics, values, and the impact on Black youngsters in their communities.” He says that hip hop became ubiquitous after emerging in the 1970s, thanks to the media, and permeated deep into African American youth culture. Much of its message, he says “was counter-cultural, oppositional, anti-establishment, anti-achievement, anti-education,  confrontational, anti-deferential and, if you will, anti-adult.”

There are many more excerpts I could include in the post, but they would only add to an unnecessary length. I suggest you read the report for yourself. You can down load a PDF version by clicking here.

I find it fascinating that that this report, probably after thousands of hours of research and writing and expenditures of money echoes what conservative African-Americans have been saying for years and being called traitors to the cause and uncle toms by their race baiting, social progressive fellows.

Black conservatives such as; Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, David Web, Ken Blackwell, Larry Elder, Joe Hicks, and Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to name a few have been preaching this mantra for years. Even entertainers like Bill Cosby and left leaning columnists like Juan Williams of NPR and Fox News have gotten into the fray.

They are continually disregarded and demonized by social progressive, race baiters like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Tavis Smiley who preach that “Whitey is at fault and that government must do more to alleviate the plight of the African-American in the United States. They need this issue to maintain their power and status. They preach to their followers a doctrine of more government, more welfare, larger government checks and it’s not your fault. They do not mention social or personal responsibility, the consequences of a lack of education, respect for the nation and its laws. They in essence are substituting the values of government for the moral values of God.

In Detroit, New York City and Cleveland, Ohio people were lining up in the hopes of receiving “Obama’ money. Click here for a video report. (Also note the comments below the YouTube video, which illustrates another point I make about the crass and obscene language used by the Left)

No doubt many of these people are the very same ones discussed in the ETS report. They have led down this path towards government dependency by the social progressive race baiters and I doubt there is any turning back at this point.

Another example can be seen here. After an Obama campaign rally a woman and her daughter were interviewed The woman was ecstatic over the possibility of Obama ascending to the presidency as she would no longer be responsible for her own finances – Obama would take care of her. This was the Hope and Change many African-Americans were looking for.

They have been so indoctrinated by the Al Sharpton’s of the world they did not realize that even if Obama could do what they believed he would do there was no guarantee it would continue. They were looking to he government rather than taking personal responsibility. This is what they had and are being taught in schools and society today.

I fear this will not change in the near future, if ever. The politicians, academics and media elites will not address this issue directly for fear of inviting the invective and ire of the social progressives and race baiters. Perhaps the Tea Party is a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel?

We must change! If you think Greece is bad wait until you see the riots in the streets when the government can no longer afford these massive welfare and handout programs. This is nation founded on personal liberty and responsibility where we were taught to be one out of many and to trust in God – not government.

Restoring Honor Rally

September 23, 2009, Obama had given forty-one speeches so far that year, referring to himself “I” 1.198 times – Dan Gainor, FOX News

Today Glenn Beck, the Fox News Cable Channel and radio talk show host had his “Restoring Honor” celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. The conservative/Libertarian commentator Glenn Beck and tea party champion Sarah Palin appealed Saturday to a vast on the National Mall to help restore traditional American values and honor Martin Luther King's message.

Among other Guests were Dr. Alvira King (Martin Luther King's niece), Tony La Russa manager of baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and the Cardinals first baseman, Albert Pujols. Pujols was honored for his charitable work with Down syndrome children in the Dominican Republic.  Click here to read more.

While Beck billed his event as nonpolitical, activists from around the nation said their show of strength was a clear sign that they can make a difference in the country's future and that they want a government that will listen and unite. Beck also announced that he had raised 5 million dollars for the Special Operations Warrior Fund. Click here for more.

Palin told the tens of thousands who stretched from the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the grass of the Washington Monument that calls to transform the country weren't enough. "We must restore America and restore her honor," said the former Alaska governor, echoing the name of the rally, "Restoring Honor."

Palin said she wasn't speaking as a politician. "I've been asked to speak as the mother of a soldier and I am proud of that distinction. Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet and you can't take that away from me." It was a reference to her son, Track, 20, who served a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

Beck exhorted the crowd to "recognize your place to the creator. Realize that he is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us." He asked his audience to pray more. "I ask, not only if you would pray on your knees, but pray on your knees but with your door open for your children to see.”

A group of civil rights activists organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton held a counter rally at a Washington D.C. high school, then embarked on a three-mile march to the site of a planned monument honoring King. The site, bordering the Tidal Basin, was not far from the Lincoln Memorial where Beck and the others spoke about two hours earlier.

CBS News estimated the crowd at 87,000 people with a confidence level of plus or minus 9,000. The company based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which stretched from in front of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument.  Click here to read more

Probably two of the ten most hated people by the Left were on the National Mall today, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. It did not take long for left wing columnists and bloggers to viciously attack Beck and Palin as phonies who were making a mockery on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech. One particular columnist was Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times. Mitchell said, “Glenn Beck is a demagogue. He might have a huge viewing audience, might be wildly popular with the Tea Party crowd and might be a born-again believer, but he is still a demagogue.” To read her column click here.

Other left wing bloggers and columnists have viciously claimed that Beck had no business having his rally where King mad his famous speech. If that is so then Barack Hussein Obama had no right to give a campaign speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in 2008. He did nothing to end the Cold War or bring down the Berlin Wall; those honors belong to John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Columnist Joe Hicks of the Minority Report on PJTV points out that statements such as these from the Left are what is wrong with the Civil Rights movement. As an African-American, Hicks believes that people like Sharpton and organizations such as the NAACP are irrelevant today. They have outlived their life cycle and to exist they must continue to race bait.

They are continuing to push for more government programs and welfare for African-Americans and claim this is civil rights. They want more diversity and affirmative action programs and see these as a means to improve the lives of their followers. They do not address the real problems of African-Americans; high birthrates among unwed mothers, lack of high school completion and poor intercity schools. These issues have nothing to do with race and have everything to with leadership within the African-American community. These so called leaders are nothing more than pimps playing the race card to maintain their own positions of power and wealth.

It has been 47 years since King made his famous speech and civil rights under the Constitution are a fact of life. What they are asking for is power within the Democrat party to grow the massive entitlement programs that have failed their communities. Sure there are prejudices within societies. People have prejudices. Prejudices against Catholics, Jews, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, Muslims, women, men, gays, and about any other group of people you can think of. This prejudice doesn’t mean these groups are denied any civil right guaranteed under the Constitution, it just means that someone doesn’t like you or want to associate with you. George will once said, “The antidote to prejudice is excellence”, he couldn’t have been more correct.

When I hear statements such as “you don’t understand the African-American experience” it makes my blood boil. What African-American experience are they talking about? Is it Kenya, South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Egypt or Rwanda? Africa is a big place and most black Americans have never set foot on the continent of Africa.  How about not understanding the Jewish experience or the gay experience?

Are they talking about being oppressed and discriminated against in the United States? Slavery ended 145 years ago. Is it economic slavery? There are many Hispanics, whites and Asian suffering the yoke of economic slavery, or better yet serfdom, due to their circumstances, not the laws of the nation. Every person in this country is guaranteed certain inalienable rights under the constitution of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Private property falls under the property part. These rights stem from God. The problem with the social progressive liberals is that they believe they can replace God with government. When this happens the individual becomes irrelevant and the state becomes the giver and arbiter of all rights.

As Charles Krauthammer states; “Today liberalism is under siege and it is an ugly sight. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them. That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And wanton charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media minions react to a confrontational citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking such as:
  • Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement – Racism
  • Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law – Nativism
  • Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California – Homophobia
  • Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero – Islamophobia.”
Krauthammer goes on to state, ”Now we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year's excuse for the Democrats' failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities – often lopsided majorities – oppose President Obama's social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.

What's a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the Tea Party arose, a spontaneous, leaderless and perfectly natural (and traditionally American) reaction to the vast expansion of government intrinsic to the president's proudly proclaimed transformational agenda, the liberal commentariat cast it as a mob of angry white yahoos disguising their antipathy to a black president by cleverly speaking in economic terms.”

It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" – blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims – a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The dilemma is that the “mob” on the National Mall this Saturday was not pitchfork-wielding people brimming with hostility towards people who weren’t like them. They were peaceful citizens praying together to restore the Nation’s honor and to honor the memory of a man, who 47 years ago claimed his dream was to judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why High Speed Rail is Obama's Fantasy

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.” —John Adams

I have been involved with so called High Speed Rail (HSR) for over twenty years. My involvement was as a civil engineer and Geographic Information Systems program manager. This involvement allowed me to meet with railway executives, planners, engineers and investors in the United States and Germany. I have also attended HSR conferences as a participant and speaker. This is the basis for which I write this post.

My first involvement with any rail transit at all was with Orange County, California in 1980–that’s right, 30 years ago! I was part of the planning team of Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Orange County Transit Authority team. My role was to provide mapping for any of the proposed routes for light rail transit in the county, this involvement peaked my interest in rail transit in general.

Orange County wanted to follow the San Diego model of its Red Car light rail system, which was built on the cheap to connect various outlying areas surrounding the City of San Diego with the central city. The San Diego model was and still successful because it was built in existing or old right of ways, there was no dramatic terrain changes, no environmental issues and law suits and they had defined origins and destinations (O&D). The San Diego light rail transit system is in used to day and it effectively serves the community.

Orange County was a different story. The primary problem was that there was no defined O&D. The counties workforce was diverse with many people journeying north to Los Angeles each day. After years of planning and debate there is not one inch of light rail transit in Orange County. Even with the voters continuing to support bond measures no money as ever been spent on light rail. Buses and freeway modifications were the answer for the counties transit needs.

My next involvement was with the Los Angeles County Blue Line light rail from Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles. This was successful because again there was a definite O&D for the ridership. The project took 5 years to build and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) continues to build lines today. They have a red line, a green line, an orange line and special dedicated bus transit corridors. The problems began for the MTA when they began building subways. There horrendous cost over runs for these lines and a massive federal government bailout was required to complete the lines.

With my increasing interest in rail transit I joined the Bechtel team that was attempting to build a real HSR from Anaheim, California to Las Vegas. This lone would have used the German Maglev technology and would transport travelers from Anaheim to Las Vegas in about 80 minutes at speeds that would exceed 250 MPH. The route would follow the course of Interstate 15 for the bulk of its travel.

There were some engineering challenges along the route, such as a mountain range to cross. The major issue, however, was the desire to use State of California right or way along I-15. The California Department of Transportation resisted this plan until the legislature passed a bill allowing for the use of the right or way for rail transit. Of course there were the environmentalists opposing the plan on many specious issues, such as they did not want to see an elevated rail line along I-15 as it would mar the natural beauty of the desert.

The real problem, however, was money. There would only be State or Federal money if private investors were involved. With no proven record of performance or the ability to generate revenue in Germany investors were not lining up to put any money into the project. Today is you want to go the Las Vegas from Anaheim you drive, take a tourist bus or fly.

Involvement with this project did take me to Germany in 1988 where I rode the 18 mile Maglev test track, in Emsland, Germany and do some GIS consulting for the German Federal Railway (Deutsche Bundesbahn). In discussions with DB engineers and officials I got mixed messages concerning the viability of Maglev’s revenue generating ability. The technology was sound, but here was no track record of operating success or revenue generation. To my knowledge the only operating Maglev line in the world is in Shanghai, China, where it was constructed to impress visitors to the 2008 Olympic Games.

The other HSR line I was involved with was the Texas HSR corridor from Dallas to Houston. This was to be a more traditional steel wheel line using the French TGV technology. The main investor in the line was Morris and Knudsen (MK). To this extent MK was even going to build the train cars. The line was opposed by the environmentalists and Southwest Airlines and after two years of fighting a losing battle MK went broke and they withdrew from the project. The project was never resurrected.

Now we fast forward to today. High-speed passenger rail has received increasing interest by policymakers in recent years. President Barack Obama is a strong supporter of high-speed rail, and Congress included $8 billion in high-speed rail funding in the 2009 economic stimulus legislation. Congress appropriated an additional $2.5 billion for 2010, and the president is proposing $1 billion annually in high-speed rail funding over the next several years.

Under the Obama administration's 2009 national high-speed rail plan, about 8,500 route-miles of high-speed trains would connect cities in 33 states. In an example of budget creep, however, the administration's updated plan in 2010 included more than 12,800 route-miles in 42 states.

I can recall Vice President Biden’s pronouncement that HSR would create a million jobs and solve our nation’s transit problems, this from a man whose only experience with rail transit is riding AMTRAK from Delaware to Washington D.C. He is dead wrong. The only jobs that will be created are for the transportation planners, bureaucrats who will administer the billions of dollars and politicians that will promise to bring pork laden earmarks to their states.

California offers a cautionary tale. In 2008, California voters passed a measure allowing the state to issue nearly $10 billion in bonds to start constructing a high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The state's estimated cost for the entire system went from $25 billion in 2000 to $45 billion by 2008. A Reason Foundation analysis concluded that the rail line could cost up to $81 billion.

A Cato essay on high-speed rail takes a “sober” look at the costs and benefits of high-speed rail and concludes that the federal government should reverse course. The reality is that high-speed rail systems are extraordinarily expensive and serve only a small and elite group of people even in those nations that have the longest experience with them.

High-speed rail is not a grand solution to America's congestion and mobility problems, as it is often alleged to be. While high-speed trains in Europe and Japan are technologically impressive, nearly all the routes in those jurisdictions lose money and need large subsidies to stay afloat. America's geography is even less suited for a successful high-speed rail system than Europe or Japan because our cities are less dense and spaced farther apart.

The federal government should withdraw its support for high-speed rail, and instead focus on major aviation and highway reforms to improve the nation's mobility. America faces major transportation challenges, but throwing taxpayer funds down a high-speed rail money pit will not solve them.

With the states in financial ruin with their entitlement and pension programs there is no way they can afford such lavish spending on elite programs like HSR. As a resident of California I see the proposed HSR line from San Francisco to Los Angeles as one of the greatest boondoggles in the state’s history of boondoggles. With growing water crisis and California’s aging water delivery system California needs to decide where it can spend its limited monetary resources –water or trains.

Funding for highways is a bit different. Highways and freeways are funded by user taxes, i.e. the users pay for the roads use. Gas taxes, license fees, truck fees and tolls pay for roads. Even during the depression of the 1930’s highways created jobs and wealth. I write about this in my series of essays on Route 66. It was not only the construction jobs that were created, these were temporary jobs. The wealth was created by the businesses and commerce that grew along the road. Gas stations, diners, motels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and trucking companies are just a few examples of the permanent jobs that were created along this great road. There were many other roads with a similar track record. How many diners and gas stations will populate the HSR lines?

Aviation also creates jobs and wealth. Yes, I know that in some ways the airlines are subsidized by the tax payers for their use of airports and the air traffic control systems. That said, the airlines do pay substantial fees for airport usage and the air traveler pays and form of user tax for airports and security when they purchase a ticket. The air travel industry has created millions of jobs in aviation such as pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, shippers, and air traffic controllers. It has created other jobs in airport management, construction, traveler support facilities, and travel agents. The City of Ontario, California derives a great deal of revenue from its airport. They benefit from the fees the airlines pay, the fees garnered for the FedEx and UPS hub there, and the ancillary support facilities such as car rentals, commercial properties and food services. How many office buildings will be built adjacent to HSR lines?

While billions have been allocated for HSR under the Stimulus Plan nothing is targeted for the modernization of our aging air traffic control system. This, as you can understand, has infuriated airline industry members. The next generation air traffic control systems incorporating more use of GPS would reduce flight delays, increase air-travel capacity and make the skies safer almost immediately. When airline industry members asked Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, about rail projects at an FAA conference, He responded, “Let me give you a little bit of political advice: Don’t be against the high speed rail . It’s coming to America. This is the president’s vision, this is the vice president’s vision, this is America’s vision. In two or three decades, U.S. cities will be connected by high-speed rail – whether airlines like it or not. People want alternatives. People are still going to fly, but we need alternatives. So get with the program.’’  The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken!

How will HSR create millions of jobs? First of all this is a fantasy. Second, you don’t build projects to create jobs, you build projects because they make financial sense and provide a distinct benefit to the users. Any jobs created by building HSR will take years to materialize. First will be the jobs for the professional transportation planners, mappers and bureaucrats. Next will come the jobs for the attorneys and right of way agents. Then will come the jobs for the engineers  and designers. Finally, after ten years or so, the jobs for the construction workers will arrive. And after the construction is completed the jobs for the operators, maintenance crews and the people who push the food carts through the cars will be available. SEIU will be delighted.

A HSR from San Francisco to Los Angeles is packed with engineering problems and any estimate you are given is political and not realistic. Even if the state has the funds to throw away on HSR the environmental suits would be fodder for the attorneys, cost millions of dollars and delay the project for years. If you are older than twenty don’t expect to take a HSR trip in your lifetime.

For a complete essay on the folly of Obama’s  grandiose dreams of High Speed Rail click here.

Pentagon Released Report on Fort Hood Shooting

The primary problem with Keynesian Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. - British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 14 and wounded 30 in his jihad at Fort Hood in November. According to the Defense Department, the incident wasn't a terrorist attack but merely a case of workplace violence. This is typical of government efforts to paper over the growing domestic Muslim threat.

On Aug. 18, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates released the final Fort Hood follow-on review, in which he proposed initiatives to "mitigate internal threats, ensure force protection, enable emergency response and provide care for victims and families." Radical Islam is nowhere to be found.

The Washington Times reports that some passages hint at the nature of what took place, such as the need to clarify the rules for religious accommodation "to help commanders distinguish appropriate religious practices from those that might indicate a potential for violence or self-radicalization." PowerPoint briefings that describe the duty of jihad against the unbelievers - as Maj. Hasan presented to a military audience - probably don't fall in the "appropriate" category. The report also calls for increased counterintelligence awareness of the potential for linkage to international terrorism. For example, if someone already showing signs of radicalization exchanges 18 e-mails with a Yemen-based al Qaeda field commander over six months, as Maj. Hasan did, it's probably worth looking into more closely.

A vaguely worded passage recommends firming up the process whereby individuals act as "ecclesiastical endorsers of chaplains." These are people who vouch for those who serve in the military chaplaincy. The original Fort Hood incident report found that "DoD standards for denying requests for recognition as an ecclesiastical endorser of chaplains may be inadequate." A majority of the Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military were validated by the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, part of Cordoba University in Leesburg, founded by Taha Jabir Al-Awani, president of the Fiqh Council of North America. A fatwa from this institution on Muslims serving in the U.S. military states, "We abide by every law of this country except those laws that are contradictory to Islamic law." In other words, Shariah is supreme to the officer's oath to the Constitution. An endorsement from this group should be considered a red flag, not qualification to serve.

The Defense Science Board currently is examining "behavioral indicators of violence and radicalization," and the report recommends a better force protection reporting system for suspicious behavior. This is where the system breaks down. Maj. Hasan didn't slip under the radar because of an inadequate reporting system or lack of indicators that he was a problem. He escaped strong scrutiny solely because he was Muslim.

In the prevailing politically correct climate, few officers want to risk reporting anything to do with a Muslim for fear of official retaliation. Those who report Islamic extremists in the ranks, or even try to give poor fitness reports to troops who happen to be Muslim, are more likely to be the subject of investigation or suffer administrative harassment. The force cannot be protected until military members are convinced they can report on Muslims without placing their careers in jeopardy.

The latest Fort Hood report fails to face the Islamic problem head-on. It reinforces the generally understood rule that Muslims are a privileged class in the American military who - figuratively speaking - can get away with murder.

On a similar note counter terrorism expert Michael Scheuer told Newsmax Magazine that construction of a mosque near ground zero would be viewed as a “symbol of victory” by Muslim extremists — and calls New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg a “windbag” for voicing support for the mosque.

Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s secret unit charged with tracking Osama bin Laden, also says al-Qaida will definitely use a nuclear weapon if they obtain one, and warns that if Israel attacks Iran the Iranians will use their “terrorist infrastructure” to launch attacks in the United States. To read more click here.

Both of these examples illustrate the political elite’s unwillingness to confront the issue of radical Islam and Islamists. These elites have no problem demonizing Christians but will go out of their way to recognize the threat from radical Islam. Even after the murder of 14 soldiers at Fort Hood by a declared jihadist President Obama refused to recognize this fact. As Americans across the nation tuned into live TV for the President’s reaction to the massacre of American troops on U.S. soil, they encountered a strange scene. Speaking at the conclusion of a conference on Native American issues, Obama opened his speech by good-naturedly praising the “extraordinary” conference, giving a bizarre “shout out” to “Dr. Joe Medicine Crow,’ and declaring that continuing the conference’s business was “top priority” for his administration. Then, he gave a few minutes of eerily dispassionate lip service to the victims of the “horrible incident” at Fort Hood before finishing his remarks by praising the results of the conference. My God, “top priority” for a Native American Conference when 14 U.S soldiers were just murdered and 30 wounded on U.S. soil. This man is the Commander-in-Chief. Where was his priority?

In a similar incident turned heads at the May 17, 2010 signing of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, with his ludicrous comments on the Islamic terrorists beheading of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . Obama told reporters, “Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.” No, Barak it had nothing to do with freedom of the press. They beheaded Daniel Pearl because he was an American and a Jew and they we Islamic radicals. Today Daniel Pearls widow stands firmly against the building of the mosque at 51 Park Place.

The intelligentsia and political elite is near unanimous that the only possible reason for opposition towards radical Islam is bigotry toward Muslims. This smug attribution of bigotry to two-thirds of the population hinges on the insistence on a complete lack of connection between Islam and radical Islam, a proposition that dovetails perfectly with the Obama administration's pretense that we are at war with nothing more than "violent extremists" of inscrutable motive and indiscernible belief. Those who reject this as both ridiculous and politically correct are declared Islamophobes, the ad hominem du jour.

As Glenn Beck so often says, “The truth will set you free, but it will make you miserable first.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

America Faces a New Culture War

The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” —Samuel Adams

America faces a new culture war," writes Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, in his new book “The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future.” This is not a fight over guns, abortions, religion and gays. Nor is it about Republicans versus Democrats. Rather, it is a struggle between two competing visions of America's future.

One vision, Mr. Brooks writes, continues to see America as "a unique and exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise." The other envisions our country moving toward a "European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, increasing income redistribution, and government-controlled corporations."

"These competing visions are not reconcilable," he concludes. "We must choose."

On the face of it, given the history of our nation and its extraordinary record of providing generations of Americans with unprecedented freedom and opportunity, the choice between free enterprise and statism shouldn't seem a difficult one. Moreover, as Mr. Brooks points out, poll after poll shows that whenever asked whether they would rather live in a socialist or free-enterprise economy, about 70 percent of Americans of all political stripes - and no matter what the current economic conditions - invariably choose free enterprise.

Why then does the statist 30 percent - a distinct minority - seem to be in control of the other 70 percent - a clear majority?

For one thing, Mr. Brooks writes, the "30 percent coalition is led by people who are smart, powerful, and strategic – people who make opinions, entertain us, inform us, and teach our kids in college." This "intellectual upper class is far more statist and left-wing than the average American, and is getting more so – the chief adversary of the free enterprise system today."

At the head of this intellectual upper class, Mr. Brooks writes, "are our current leaders in Washington D.C. – starting with activist, bestselling author, and Ivy League academic, President Barack Obama."

From the outset, Mr. Brooks writes, a basic objective of Mr. Obama and his allies has been to strengthen and expand the grip of the 30 percent coalition on young people – "adults under 30. This is not just a fifth of the adult population: It is the future of our country." The three long-term strategies to keep young people in the 30 percent fold, Mr. Brooks says, are "to pay off their debts, give them government jobs, and make sure they never have to pay for the services that the government provides."

On the economic front, the 30 percenters gained significant ground over the past decade when Republicans proved themselves just as fiscally irresponsible as their Democratic counterparts. However, Mr. Brooks writes, "The real game changer – the opportunity to expand the 30 percent coalition – was not the Democratic sweep of 2008. It was the financial crisis of 2008-2009, which was used as a tool to attack the free enterprise system and change America's culture for good."

The attack succeeded in great part because of what Mr. Brooks calls "the Obama narrative," built on several key claims. Among them: Government was not the cause of the economic crisis; government knows how to fix that crisis; the way to save the economy is through massive government growth and deficit spending; and only the rich, not the middle class, will pay for the stimulus packages.

"All of these claims are false," Mr. Brooks writes. "To get the real story of the financial crisis, we need to dismantle this narrative piece by piece." And that is what he proceeds to do, in the process making "the moral case for free people and free markets" with strength and elegance.

You can read more by clicking here

One of the hypotheses Mr. Brooks puts forth is: Happiness is not money, but earning your success, in essence control vs. money. I would like to expand on this as I have considerable experience to draw from.

As I write in my book, Footsteps on the Land, I began my career in the private sector and when I relocated to California I took a position with the California Division of Highways as a highway engineer – a civil service government job. I was young and this seemed a good way to insure my security while raising family.

It was a decent job with decent pay and benefits and I was doing well as far as career advancement. After a few years I began to realize that this was a job and I really had nothing to show for success other than continued employment and a retirement dinner.

For this reason I decided to breakout and go into business for myself. Along with two partners and eventually three we started a small civil engineering and land surveying business that quickly grew to twenty five persons. I was making a little more money, working harder, but it was more rewarding and I was fueling my passion to be engaged in free enterprise.

Over a ten year period we grew the business to 100 people with two branch offices. When two of the partners wanted to retire and with a downturn in the economy I merged the business with a similar firm and continued with them as an owner.

The ensuing twenty two years saw our new firm grow to over 800 persons with offices throughout California and the western states. We even did business overseas, for which I was responsible. For thirty two years I was a part of America’s free enterprise system. There were long hours and frustrations along the way, but in the end I could look back with pride at what I accomplished.

I write this not to say that I walked to school in the snow each day – both ways uphill, but to illustrate a point that there are millions of people in the country with similar stories. They have risked and sacrificed much to realize their dreams and make America what it is. These are the seventy percenters.

Then why is so much power in the hands of the thirty percenters? Because we have given it to them through apathy, feel good emotions and our willingness to take a government handout, no matter how small.

Apathy comes from the seventy percenters not showing up to vote or not really knowing the candidates they are voting for. Oh. We generally know the candidates for the big offices like President, Senator and Governor. How about Congress, city councils, and school boards? I plead guilty to these. I never know about the candidates for local school boards, henceforth I never vote for someone who had a Dr. as prefix or a PhD. as a suffix. I also shy away from anyone who has been in the education business, they have too much of a vested interest in maintaining the education monopoly.

Feel good emotions have been driving the voter for years. Things like school lunches, food stamps, aid to dependent children, are all programs the seventy percenters thought would be good for the poor people and he children. In every case these programs have exploded beyond the original intent, created great government bureaucracies and taken some or freedom away. Take as an example the no drug policy in schools. At the beginning the seventy percenters believed this was good as it protected the children. When the policy migrated to where even a Tylenol was contraband we wondered how it ever got to that state. Once the thirty percenters, the statist, get their hands on a program look out you freedom is at risk. Beware of feel good programs.

The willingness to take a government handout is the third reason the thirty percenters have the power they have. Every time the government gives you something with one hand they take away some of your freedom with the other. Two cases in point are home loans and college loans.

When the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) began insuring home mortgages to banks the housing industry and home ownership boomed. We all believed this was great and the government was doing a great job in our behalf. The FHA grew into HUD and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came on the scene. This opened the door for massive political corruption got us into the mess we are in now.

College loans are another hand out the seventy percenters liked at the beginning. A student could get a low interest bank loan guaranteed by the federal government to pay his or her college tuition. What a great deal. As time went by and more and more youngsters could afford college, qualified or not, the colleges and universities saw a bonanza. They were able to expand their facilities, hire more and more teachers and staff and raise prices. After all, the students could afford it. They would only need to make monthly payments for the next twenty years. In many cases the jobs they got upon graduation did not generate enough income to cover the loan payments if they wanted to live on their own. Graduates began to default and the government was on the hook for the principal of the loan. With a massive default rate the government finally took over the entire program. This is another loss of freedom and an increase in debt. It was Alexis de Tocqueville who warned us this soft tyranny and Frederick Hayek in his book, Road to Serfdom.

If America is seventy percent in favor of free enterprise Greece and Spain are seventy-seven percent in favor of a government run economy. With the vast amount of government employees, public pensions enabling people to retire at 45, massive welfare programs and heavy regulations against the private sector these countries are broke and people are rioting in the street. They are not protesting for freedom as the Tea Party members, but for more government in their lives. They have given up their freedom for the security of the welfare state.

The Tea Party represents the major schism between Europe and the United States. Our seventy percent believe in free enterprise and freedom, while their seventy percent believe in the welfare state and serfdom. In essence the Tea Party is against what the Greeks and Spaniards want.

Free enterprise has made this the greatest nation on earth. While China can make iPods and iPads the investment and brains behind them reside in Cupertino, California. Free enterprise will flourish if the government gets out of the way and the voters force them to do so. The government stimulus packages haven’t stimulated anything except bolster the bankrupt coffers of the states. Government cannot create jobs, only free enterprise can do that.

The political elite mock and defame the Tea Party because they are fearful of them. They are fearful of their own citizens. They want to maintain the power of the thirty percent. They will maintain that power if the seventy percent does not act in unison to change this ratio. It matters not is you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent you need to join hands with you fellow seventy percenters this November and begin to send the thirty percent out to pasture.

In some cases you will have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Don’t stay home or throw away your vote because you are not totally satisfied with the conservative candidate. No candidates are perfect. That’s what primaries are for. It has taken us a while to get where we are and we will not change overnight. The thing that is the most important this November is the message. The political and academic elite will get it if it is strong enough.

You also need to look at your life in the terms of are you giving the thirty percent more power. Party affiliation matters not, free enterprise does. This November is the Super Bowl of elections.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fury on the Left and the Mosque Goes On

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

The New York Post reports that MSNBC talk show screamer Ed Schultz had a meltdown in the network's 30 Rock newsroom, shouting at staff, "I'm going to torch this [bleep]ing place."

The hot-tempered anchor of "The Ed Show" lost it during a phone call in the packed studio and slammed down the phone before exploding.

As astonished MSNBC staff members fell silent, Schultz glared around the room and yelled, "[Bleep]ers!"

A witness told us, "Ed was furious the network was running election-night promos and he wasn't in them. He'd been arguing on the phone with marketing, then he slammed down the phone and exploded. It was like Mel Gibson had entered the newsroom."

Fuming Schultz was immediately dragged in for a meeting with NBC News President Steve Capus and MSNBC President Phil Griffin following his Aug. 12 meltdown.

Our source added, "Schultz was told: 'If you do that again, you are fired.' He broke down crying."

You can read the entire article by clicking here

My oh my big Ed Shultz the left wing screamer broke down and cried when threatened with the loss of his job at NBC. Shultz has no problem spewing his invective on air towards conservatives and those who don’t agree with him. It is any wonder that this undisciplined thug would not take his ire out on his own staff or those who did not do his bidding at NBC.

Oh how the Blue Network has fallen since the days of Huntley-Brinkley. There prime anchor Brian Williams is no journalist in the vein of those who made this a respectable news gathering and reporting organization. Their ownership of MSNBC is an embarrassment to the cable news business. Anchors like Chris Mathews, Keith Olberman and Rachael Madow are nothing but shills for the progressive left. At least at Fox they label their opinion shows so the viewer can differentiate news from opinion. This is one of the reasons they are the number one cable news networks. The viewers are the ultimate judge and while many liberals watch Fox they can tell the commentary shows form the hard news reports.

CBS Poll show 71% Against Ground Zero Mosque

A majority of Americans don't think it is appropriate to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, according to a new CBS News poll.

Nearly three of four Americans -- 71 percent -- say building a mosque so close to the site is not appropriate while just 22 percent say it is appropriate.

How one views Islam informs how they feel about the proposed construction of the mosque near Ground Zero. Those who have a favorable opinion of Islam are more inclined to think the mosque is appropriate with 50 percent calling it appropriate and 42 percent saying it isn't. Those who view Islam unfavorably decidedly think it's inappropriate 88 percent going against it to 9 percent for it.

Nevertheless, most Americans also agree that the developers do have a right to build a mosque there. Sixty-seven percent say they do while 29 percent say they do not.

Sharif El-Gamal, the man behind the mosque, a few years ago was a waiter. Somewhere along the way he picked up 4.5 million to purchase the building at 51 Park Place. He must have made a great deal I tips and I hope he reported them to the IRS.

Sharif El-Gamal, head of Soho Properties, Inc., and developer, of the “Ground Zero mosque,” advertises the project on a Muslim website updated as recently as June 5, 2010, in expansive terms different from those the GZM team has lately addressed to the broader public.   Al-Gamal’s group declares, “We are trying to establish a full fledged Islamic Center in the lower Manhattan, only 2 blocks from World Trade Center, New York City, NY. It is a neat and clean facility and can accommodate 1,000 people to pray in Jamat [i.e. collectively] at one time.”

Now he has another partner, a real estate tycoon who owns two medical centers in the Bronx. This new partner put up 45 million for the mosque. Where did he get his money from? This will become a larger story in he coming days so keep an eye open.
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Conway vs. Petraeus with Obama as the Puppet Master

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.” —John Adams

U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway, who is set to retire this fall, said Aug. 24 that the current July 2011 deadline to begin a draw down of combat forces from Afghanistan is emboldening the Taliban. “In some ways, we think right now it is probably giving our enemy sustenance,” he said in his final Pentagon news conference before retiring. “In fact, we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, you know, we only need to hold out for so long.’” According to a STRATFOR source, Taliban commanders have been instructing their fighters for years to do just that — not to win battles, but to frustrate Western forces in order to hasten their inevitable withdrawal.

The compressed timetable for the American strategy has been clear from the beginning, but progress in the Taliban’s core turf in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan has proved elusive. Conway was explicit about the timetable: “Though I certainly believe that some American units somewhere in Afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to Afghanistan security forces in 2011, I do not think they will be Marines,” he said, referring to the Marine presence centered in Helmand province.

Granted, the focus on Helmand and Kandahar, which currently is the main effort of the entire U.S.-led campaign, was meant to take the fight to the Taliban. It was sure to be some of the of the toughest fighting in the country (one need only ask the British, Canadian, Danish and Dutch troops who have been holding the line there for years). Even under the most optimistic scenarios, these two provinces would likely be among the last to be truly controlled by Kabul. Even the White House is insisting that the surge of troops is just now being completed and that the strategy needs time to work (if an Aug. 23 speech to the American Veterans of Foreign Wars by Vice President Joseph Biden is any indication, this could be the White House line on the subject through the U.S. midterm elections Nov. 2). And Conway’s remarks are not inconsistent with recent statements by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that in many areas the massing of forces has only just begun in what is likely to be a multi-year cycle.

But the July 2011 date and the expectation for a draw down have been concessions to an American public weary of the war. The fact is, the imperatives for briefly sustaining domestic support for the war — already limited and finite — inherently contradict the military imperatives for waging it. Quoting one of his own commanders, Conway said: “We can either lose fast or win slow.”

At the heart of this is the Afghan Taliban’s self-perception. The movement sees itself as winning, and the draw down date has enormous value for propaganda and information operations. It emboldens Taliban troops and commanders while encouraging those in the middle to at least not actively resist the Taliban. And ultimately, since a negotiated settlement with “reconcilable” elements of the Taliban is an important political objective, the draw down date provides even less incentive for them to negotiate meaningfully. Unless some other factor shifts fundamentally against them, they see both their military position and their negotiating position improving as time progresses.

Responding to Petraeus’ public relations blitz, the Afghan Taliban disputed his claims that their progress had been blunted. Afghan Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi called the proof-of-concept operation in Marjah a failure and insisted that the Taliban resurgence had not been impeded and, to the contrary, that Taliban offensives were being conducted around Kabul, specifically in Logar, Kapisa, Wardak and Laghman provinces.

At the heart of the matter is classic guerilla strategy. The Taliban have long aimed to decline combat with superior forces and to engage the enemy only where he is most vulnerable, thus maximizing their chances of surviving as a cohesive force. While the Taliban are not about to take control of the Afghan capital, Ahmadi’s denial that their progress has been blunted reflects the Taliban’s hard-won mastery of guerrilla warfare. The ISAF’s focus on establishing security and getting local buy-in for clearing operations (buy-in that equates to publicly announcing impending military operations) is an inherent part of the counterinsurgency strategy. But because resources and manpower are limited even when troops are being massed, there are few excess forces that can be used to trap the Taliban in decisive combat. This means that the Taliban have a great deal of freedom of action in choosing where and how to engage both foreign and government forces (the Taliban have been targeting local police specifically as a softer target).

The heart of the American strategy in the long run is to deny key bases of support to the Taliban. But one consequence of that strategy in the short run is that the Taliban are not systematically being engaged (with the significant exception of efforts by special operations forces). Under the current strategy, the bridge between an effective long-term counterinsurgency and a pressing political demand to extract forces from the country is the so-called “Vietnamization” of the war, the effort to spin up indigenous forces to bear the weight of providing security in Afghanistan.

Conway’s remarks are a reminder that as long as the United States continues to pursue the current strategy, even with expanded training efforts, the toughest fighting in Afghanistan will still involve U.S. and other Western troops for years to come. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who runs the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, has already pushed completion of Afghan security-force expansion back to October 2011. Though this signifies a delay of only a few months, there remain significant concerns about the quality of personnel. Afghan troops are being recruited, but many are poorly educated and prone to desert.

At this point, the prospect of transferring responsibility for the counterinsurgency to indigenous forces across much of Afghanistan in late 2011 and early 2012 remains difficult to imagine. This means that the struggle to bridge the distance between pressing domestic political realities at home and long-term military objectives in Afghanistan will only become more difficult.

In the coming month, after Obama’s Iraq victory speech Petraeus will begin a public relations campaign with notables in the mainstream media. Three days ago he had an interview with Fox’s Jennifer Griffin a heroic reporter who has just beaten a double mastectomy, 17 chemo treatments and 7 radiation treatments.

On day two of exclusive access to U.S. and NATO top commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, National Security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and the Fox News production team witnessed two, live-fire training missions conducted by some of Afghanistan's most elite fighters

You can read more by clicking here

Petraeus is a persuasive speaker and no stranger to the camera. But the official refrain from the White House and the Pentagon for the last year has been about moderating expectations in the United States ahead of some tough fighting. It appears that this refrain could be about to change, as Petraeus takes the lead in trying to describe a feasible foundation for real progress in a very short amount of time.

I have posted what I consider one of Patraeus’ answers. You can read the entire transcript of the interview by clicking here.

GRIFFIN: Do you believe in reconciling with the Taliban and bringing them into the tent?

PETRAEUS: Well, let's talk first about reconciliation in general, and reintegration, as well.

There are two terms here in Afghanistan. The first is reintegration, which covers the turning the $10 a day Taliban, as they're called sometimes, local individuals almost chameleon like sometimes in their allegiances because that's how they stay alive over 30 years of war here in this country. And they certainly in many cases can be reconciled or reintegrated into society.

In fact we had two cases in the last two days alone where small groups of these kinds of individuals with a lower-level leader came in, laid down their weapons and in one case were given reintegration certificates by the governor of the province and so forth. So the prospect of that is very real.

I learned today, by the way, that the reintegration order that builds on the decree that President Karzai signed some weeks ago that actually gives the mechanics now (ph), that that was signed today and that should be published shortly that gives the guidance to the provincial governors and the peace counsel and others. And that's a positive step, as well.

It appears to me that there is a split in opinion between Patraeus and Conway. Spits between generals are not new and have been going on in every war ever fought. The major problem with his split is that the Commander-in-Chief does not have an overall strategy for winning in Afghanistan. Isn’t this what General McChrystal got fired over?

This is typical Obama. He will delay and waffle on decisions and send mixed messages. In typical community organizer style he will forgo decisions until the last moment and then make a weak and confusing decision for which he will bear no blame. Trust me if things go wrong in Afghanistan General Patraeus will take the blame and the whole deal will be Bush’s fault. Obama has never taken responsibility for anything in his life and he is not about to change now.

Patraeus is trying to implement the same strategy he used so successfully in Iraq. He is attempting to use a “pacification’ strategy without a big surge in troops like he had in Iraq. But unlike Iraq the Taliban is close to al Qaeda while Iraq, while tribal, had more history with a central government and was not in the opium business.

On another note pertaining to the activities of the Taliban, the same Taliban Patraeus wants to negotiate with are planning to attack foreigners assisting in the aftermath of devastating floods in the country, a senior U.S. official warned Wednesday.

According to a Fox News report, the Tehrik-e-Taliban plans to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan," the official told the BBC on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban "also may be making plans to attack federal and provincial ministers in Islamabad," the British broadcaster quoted the official as saying.

It is not yet clear what effect the terror warning will have on U.S. involvement in the relief efforts, but Pakistan has assured the U.S. it will press its campaign against insurgents inside its borders despite the extraordinary demands on the its military from the floods.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban faction is a key architect of extremist violence that has left more than 3,500 dead in Pakistan over the last three years.

If you thought Vietnam was a mess Afghanistan will be a disaster unless the leadership in the White House can delineate a clear and unambiguous mission and strategy for winning.

Principles vs. Politics

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense.” —Thomas Jefferson

When will principles trump policies and politics? Is not our foundation in the principles of the Constitution?

Today we live in an American society where ideology vs. principles and power vs. democracy. Just consider two of many issues. The first being the passage of the new health care bill. With the majority of Americans being against this massive spending and convoluted bill the Congress continually ignored the wishes of the American people and went ahead and passed the bill. Not in recent times have so many people taken the time and made the effort to address their representatives with their concerns and be told that they did not understand and the politician knew better, albeit they had not read the bill and did not have the foggiest idea of what was in it. They continued to specious and emotionally charged arguments laced with anecdotal examples. Even the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told us to pass the bill to see what was in it. This was pure power and ideology going against the will of the majority of the American people, the vote in Missouri proved this.

The second example if the proposed construction of the Islamic Mosque and Cultural Center in New Your City. Recent polls have shown that over 70% of Americans are against this mosque, not for religious reason but for reasons that it is a affront to the sensitivity of the victims of 9/11. Even with this large percentage of citizens against the mosque the Mayor of New York and his minions do not give a wit what these people say or want. This is an example power and policy going against the will of the people.

We can thank Barak Hussein Obama for one thing. He has given us a alarm clock that is waking up America. The Tea Party is an example of this. Not in recent times have the American people organized in such numbers to express their opposition to the policies of the political elite. Barak Obama campaigned as a uniter not a divider. In this sense he has lived up to his campaign promises. He has united the American people against his and Congresses’ social progressive policies, policies going back to the Wilson era. For this we should be thankful.

American has finally woken up and is say no more. We are tired of being told we need to spend, spend, spend and spend. We are fed up with a failed immigration policy and lack of border security. They are tired of being called intolerant, extremists, bigots and racists every time they disagree with government policy. They are frustrated with military adventures in foreign counties where we have no clear mission and strategy for winning. They are disgusted with social progressive organizations such as the ACLU trying to tear down their culture and traditions. They are disgusted with courts continually amending the Constitution without the vote of the people. They are weary of being a nation of hyphenated Americans. This is not serving the Republic well.

Today we are a nation of special interests groups. I am not talking about the bogyman of the left – the big business, big oil, big farm and big phama lobbyists. These special interest groups do not always, if ever, work for this interest of the American people, but they do provide services and goods we want.

The special interest groups I am talking about are the pro choice, gay rights, unions, minority advocate groups, atheists, and a score of other groups looking for public handouts or laws to protect their class. It is east and popular to attack the first group, but don’t dare attack the latter.

The Tea Party movement isn’t so much a movement, but an expression of Americans at the grass roots level. There are several Tea Parties across the country. Sometimes they are odds with each other, just as our Founding Fathers were not always in agreement. They want one rule of law, one language and done culture. However, the one thing they all have in common is a belief and desire to return to the first principles of our Constitution as it was written.

During the past year 536 candidates for political office have appeared before Tea Party rallies to explain or debate their beliefs and ideology. Four have been Democrats. If that is not a telling example I don’t know what is. The most effective candidates are debating and campaigning on principles, while the Democrats are campaigning on policies. The American people are sick and tired of policies; they want a return to Constitutional principles.

I have attended Tea Party rallies and I do not know the party affiliation of any of the people I spoke with. They had diverse issues, but they were unanimous on three. They wanted a smaller, less intrusive government, less spending and regulations from Washington and the State House, and no more Obama. If these people turn out at the polls in November this country will have a revolution by pen.