Higher Taxes For the Wealthy?

The debate over America's fiscal woes continues to intensify. Interestingly, Independents and Democrats are highly favorable of raising taxes on the "wealthy" (any income above $250,000). Republicans, on the other hand, disagree with such a proposal. According to The Hill,

On taxes, the poll reported that roughly two out of three registered voters — 64 percent — would be in favor of increasing taxes on annual income over $250,000. President Obama reiterated in his deficit-reduction speech last week that he favored allowing taxes to rise on families in that income level.

I discussed this subject on FOX News Live this past Tuesday. Here's a clip:

Cap-n-Trade, Wisconsin & Plenty More

Melissa Clouthier is publishing a daily (and highly useful) recap of news and political happenings.  I'll be publishing it here each day and encouraging you all to follow Melissa on Twitter.  Check out today's headlines and info (brought to you by Melissa!) below:

 

 

 

 

 

Hello fellow sensible people,

Wisconsin is still not decided. A couple thoughts: 1) How could the GOP not get the vote out better? 2) When it's this close do you ever question who will win? Yeah, me neither. Also, the Democrat-controlled Senate, along with Republican Susan Collins rejected a GOP amendment that would have stopped the EPA from trying to end-around failed Cap-n-Trade legislation. Obama bureaucracies are doing work the legislators are refusing to do. All in all, a crappy political day.

Politics

  • Contemplating judicial partisanship.
  • Energy costs are harming the poor most of all.
  • D.C. is nigh unto a full conniption considering aShutdown. This irritates me. They've had 4% unemployment on the back of the taxpayer when some states have unemployment rates up to 25% in some sectors. A week without pay? I know, horrors. How does it feel? It feels tense. I know this, see, because I'm a small business person and when we go on vacation for a week, guess who doesn't get paid? I have a difficult time feeling sorry. Also, take away the pay of Congress, while you're at it.
  • Boehner got a full three minutes on the phone with the President today. Lucky him! Tonight, Reid and Boehner are meeting the Prez in the Oval office for a chit-chat to stop the potential shutdown.

Before I get more irritated, I'll just give some links to helpful and/or more fun info.

This -N- That

So, while the country is going down the debt toilet, DC inhabitants are worried about a shutdown. Please remember: The Democrats had the House, Senate and Presidency all of 2010 and couldn't find a way to put together a budget the whole year. It reached a crisis in October of 2010, and they still couldn't do it. The Republicans in the House had a budget 45 days ago and the Dem-controlled Senate is dragging their collective feet. The Democrats need to grow up.

Melissa

 

The Obama Administration's Many Voices on Libya

The Obama administration's handling of the Libyan crisis has been characterized by complacency, confusion and inaction. While the American public, the international community and the Libyan "rebels" have waited patiently for clear directives, prior to today's military strike, the administration has offered little more than mixed messages and empty promises. President Obama refusal to lead has made the U.S. look weak and ill-equipped. Furthermore, his inability to set policy and communicate it effectively through his staff is disturbing and deserves critical examination. Now, after more than 30 days of letting the situation fester, the president has joined international partners in militarily handing the disaster. What took so long for the president to truly involve himself in the process?

Back in February, the officials approached the situation with caution. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Libya's initial attacks on its people "completely unacceptable," while President Obama called for an end to Muammar Al-Gaddafi regime. Still, the overall tone was one of guarded cautiousness. At the time, this was a prudent approach, considering that American citizens were trying to escape Libya; unsavory public comments by U.S. officials had the potential to put them in danger.

But, as time proceeded and as Gaddafi continued his brutal assault on his populace, the Obama administration appeared paralyzed, disinterested and unable or unwilling to lead discussions with international leaders. Then, the White House's communicative process appeared to very publically fall apart at the seams.

In early March, while testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, National Intelligence Director James Clapper stated his belief that Gaddafi would ultimately be victorious.He said,

"I think, longer term, the regime will prevail...I do believe Gadhafi is in this for the long haul. I don’t think he has any intention, despite some of the press speculation to the contrary, of leaving. From all evidence that we have...he appears to be hunkering down for the duration."

Politicians were left baffled by this assessment, as Clapper's testimony drew outrage and at least one call for his resignation. Interestingly, CNN reported that Clapper's assessment was shared by Defense Intelligence Agency head Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess. Yes, America: That's two head defense officials staking the same claim. Yet, President Obama acted quickly to increase public confusion by railing against this assessment.

In a bizarre address, Obama claimed - just one day after Clapper's testimony - that the world was "tightening the noose" on Gaddafi. The president called Clapper's words "a hard-headed assessment about military capability" and said that they did not necessarily reflect policy. Aside from the fact that such an excuse is weak at best, something is fundamentally wrong when the nation's top intelligence director - an individual President Obama claims to meet with daily, if not regularly - is publically contradicting the commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile, while the Obama administration couldn't decide if it thought Gaddafi was gaining or losing ground, French and U.K. leaders were actively taking the lead to intervene. Obama's problems didn't stop there, as other Democrats joined in on the mixed messaging.

On the same day that President Obama dismissed Clapper's testimony, former-president Bill Clinton threw another wrench into Obama's Democratic toolbox of confusion. While Obama and Hillary Clinton were remaining reserved in their consideration of a no-fly zone (a proposal that was, sadly, mulled over for weeks, with little action occurring as a result), Bill Clinton was far from coy in separating himself from the administration's stance. In reference to the no-fly zone, he said, "We have the planes to make an appropriate contribution to this. I wouldn't do it if [the rebels] hadn't asked. We should do it."

The former president was right to call for a no-fly zone. Unfortunately, while President Obama continues his "on the job training," real life situations require viable and swift action. Perhaps Hillary Clinton summarized the administration's stance best when she explained what was preventing officials from more rapidly intervening to stop Gaddafi: "Absent international authorization, the United States acting alone would be stepping into a situation the consequences of which would be unforeseeable."

What, exactly, does it mean for "consequences to be unforeseeable?" European leaders were already leaps and bounds ahead of the U.S. in their discussions about how to handle the crisis. No one was asking the U.S. to act alone. To the contrary, the administration should have been taking the lead to mobilize international partners to action. Instead, President Obama allowed the situation to fester for more than 30 days and virtually refused to take the helm. In the end, his fear over the world's perception of a U.S.-led initiative led him to cede a viable role in the process.

President Obama's perceived lack of interest and energy in dealing with this international crisis makes the U.S. look weak and unprepared. History shows all too well what happens what world leaders appear weak in the eyes of brutal dictators. Diplomacy - the president's most beloved method for dealing with maniac foreign leaders - did anything but improve the situation. Gaddafi continued his assault, assuming that President Obama and international partners would do little to stop him.

Last week's military strike likely serves as a reality check for Gaddafi. That said, one cannot help but leave this situation a bit worried about the president's leadership capabilities. From the federal budget to Libya, a lack of attention, action and clear communication strategies seem to plague the administration. The president should focus on getting these items in order should he plan to receive the American people's blessing for a second term come next November.

Nuclear Power: Japan, America & Beyond

The tragic crisis in Japan is still unfolding, thus no one is in a position to definitively assess the nuclear damage, cleanup efforts and the final toll the disaster has had on the Asian nation. For many understandable reasons, individuals and governments across the globe are beginning to question whether nuclear is a safe and viable energy source. That in mind, it's important we maintain composure when assessing the pros and cons of nuclear energy here in America. Back in Feb. 2009, The Heartland Institute's Dr. Jay Lehr produced a recap of nuclear power's safety record. While there have certainly been blips (not to mention what seems to be a "worst case scenario" in Japan), the overall safety and history of this viable power source appears to be in relatively good standing.

Interestingly, now that media outlets have milked the nuclear crisis for ratings, they are finally beginning to look into Japan's regulatory policy and the impact it may have had on the safety of the reactors (I emphasize "may" here).  The Wall Street Journal produced an intriguing piece highlighting that fact that Tokyo Electric Power Co. may have a history of problems with its safety regulations.

No one knows for sure where this crisis will lead and how Japan's people will be impacted in the long haul.  Certainly, America should be cautious in addressing our energy needs, but that cautiousness should go for individuals who stand on both sides of the nuclear debate, no?

We the People: This Week's Polls Provide Intriguing Insight

It's been a wild (not to mention tragic) few weeks in American politics.  In the midst of the chaos, some intriguing poll results have emerged.  Here's a quick recap of some of the findings I deem most astounding/interesting:

  • According to CNN, 70% of Americans "...say that the [Arizona] incident does not make them more likely to support stricter gun control laws."
  • Overall, Americans do not blame Sarah Palin or her web site (which included the infamous target map) for the shootings.  Only about three in 10 Americans place a viable level of blame on Palin/her site (as per CNN).
  • Real Clear Politics' average has President Obama up a tick or two, with his new approval rating standing at 48.4%; 45.6% of the nation disapproves of his job performance.  While many seem fixated on his Arizona speech and the traction he's gained from that, Obama likely gained greater support following last month's tax compromise.
  • And, when it comes to health care, the nation is still divided (though, the angst over the bill's passage seems to have subsided).  In a recent AP-GfK poll, 40% of those surveyed support the bill, while 41% oppose it.

In Defense of Junk Touching From The Right

The incessant anger directed at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) this past week has been grossly misdirected.  While it’s a healthy exercise to question government policy, the demonization and rabid overtures that have been spewing from my compatriots seem so over the top that I simply cannot hold my silence.  Why some Americans appear to be rallying en masse against the government’s efforts to keep citizens safe is beyond me.  Safety is paramount; obsessive compulsive fear of the government should not supersede rational discussion, nor should it hamper necessary policies. In light of the chaos that has ensued, I cannot help but wonder if the current outrage over TSA regulations is rooted in an exaggerated manifestation of conservative views on government control and intervention.  As a conservative, I have a healthy (in my view) take on the need for small government and common-sense principles.  That said, rallying against the TSA’s efforts flies (no pun intended) in the face of the latter.  The conservative movement would do itself justice to curb the partisan malignancy that lay behind at least some of the explosive reactions we’re seeing.  While Big Brother certainly isn’t the answer to America’s woes, a weak or complacent transit security policy is a danger – to say the least.

Following the passage of The Patriot Act, liberals went ballistic at the prospect of “losing personal freedoms.”  This over-the-top insanity still rings on in some leftist circles.  Now, we have conservatives returning the charge from the other side of the aisle.  Listen and listen carefully – the TSA (and the federal government) has nothing to gain by seeing you in the nude and/or frisking you. And not for anything, but judging from the provocative media our nation gleefully consumes, we’re certainly not a nation of prudes (not that I’m happy about that fact, either, seeing as I’m somewhat prudish).  Why the sudden shame?

Let’s get a grip, people.  These provisions are for our safety.  Is there room for improvement?  Sure.  Should the government continue looking for alternatives, while considering behavioral profiling, etc.?  Absolutely.  But, if we (conservatives) are going to complain about weak Obama administration policies (and trust me, Obama has implemented a plethora of executive ridiculousness), we need to recognize if and when something viable and praise-worthy has been done.  In the case of airport security, I commend the president and federal officials for protecting the American public (gasp).

Interestingly, in recent years Americans have held favorable views of the TSA.  A 2009 Gallup poll found that 70 percent of the American public felt that the government was “doing an excellent or good job protecting air travel.”  Flashing forward to Jan. 2010, a McClatchy-Ipsos Reid poll found that 51 percent of Americans were willing to give up some liberties if it meant protecting and securing the nation from terrorist attacks.

That same poll found a major decrease in the proportion of Americans who felt safe when flying as compared to a similar study conducted just three years prior.  If Americans feel less safe and are open to giving up “some liberties,” why are basic screenings creating such a stir?  If anything, the Obama administration has taken terrorist threats seriously and is making provisions to secure citizens.  Just before the media had a heyday with airport security “horror stories” last week, a CBS News poll found that 81 percent of the nation supports having full-body scanners at American airports.

One final note: Let’s not demonize TSA agents and treat them like they’re the enemy.  These individuals are hard-working Americans who are carrying out orders and working to their capacity to keep us safe.  Are there TSA employees who have been and will be inappropriate?  Absolutely – just as there are renegades and delinquents in any profession.  Demonizing agents is no way to prove a point.  Conservatives, let’s use the common sense we peddle so regularly and calm ourselves. The Obama administration has, indeed, delved into far too many arenas, but airport security is the one area where control actually benefits you (and not the government).

Feel free to direct hate-mail and accusations of RHINOism to billy@pathufindmedia.com.

In Case You Missed It: Be Quiet on the 9/11 Mosque

Time Magazine's Mark Halperin has an important public service announcement for Republicans: Do the right thing and drop any and all calls against the Ground Zero mosque. His convictions appear so strong on the issue that he literally correlates GOP "misuse" of the situation with jihadist victory. If you missed the insanity, you can find it here. While Halperin is not necessarily a liberal (controversy ensues on his views/this issue), his piece illustrates a common tactic of the left - reversing rational thought and framing it in such a way that the opposition is purposefully backed into an inescapable corner. Let's get a grip. Opposing the mosque has absolutely nothing to do with letting homicidal terrorist fools "win" and everything to do with exploring the moral compass through which the Cordoba Initiative has arrived at its decision to build near Ground Zero. The now infamous mosque project has become a sore for Democrats in a hotly contested election year. Perhaps this is one reason why Halperin pleads so mightily for Republicans to leave the issue alone. Unfortunately for the left, the GOP has little control over public perception on this issue. Americans disagree with the mosque's placement near Ground Zero, regardless of what conservatives say (or don't say, for that matter). Even Harry Reid is hip to this reality. Halperin seems to believe that Republicans are driving public perception; this is incorrect on all counts. The American people are outraged and they want answers, explanations and assurance that nothing is awry.

Aside from the aforementioned tenants, there are a number of irritating elements in Halperin's article. Of course, no words at all are devoted to questioning why the Cordoba Initiative has chosen to build a massive monument to Islam just blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood. Halperin's article is limited to telling Republicans why they should silence themselves on the issue. Before I continue, allow me to clarify something. I'm all for religious freedom; I'm not attacking Islam, but I am questioning the intention, knowing the sensitivities involved, of planning to build a mosque at that location. Naturally, Halperin is more concerned with providing advice to Republicans than he is in actually getting to the bottom of the issue at hand -- why the Cordoba Initiative is obsessed with placing an Islamic beacon at the center of America's greatest travesty.

And another note -- I recognize that most Muslims are peaceful. That's not the point here. In the end, the Cordoba Initiative has every legal right to build, but the moral implications of doing so at, near or around Ground Zero are evident. Whether leftists agree, the vast majority of the public sees the move as insensitive; it is widely opposed by nearly every measure. Should plans for the mosque forge on, there will be a great deal of resentment, which will, in turn, damage reconciliation efforts. If those individuals who wish to build truly care about bridging divides between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans as they've stated, they'll choose another location. Wouldn't this spread the goodwill that Halperin seems to believe can only come if conservatives remain silent?

Aside from the asinine notion that conservatives should simply back away from questioning the mosque's moral implications, Halperin inserted a number of slaps, digs and generalizations. For instance, he claims that the GOP has avoided dealing with social issues, while focusing wholeheartedly on Obama's spending habits. In his letter to Republicans he writes,

Up until now, you have restricted yourself as much as possible to an economic message, eschewing social issues and foreign policy as you try to establish contrasts for the electorate between your brand and the Obama-Pelosi-Reid record.

Unfortunately for this political analyst/journalist, who has obviously paid little attention to conservative proposals, the GOP offered a detailed alternative to ObamaCare, which the administration and members of the leftist media brigade simultaneously ignored. But, the bombshell (allow me to channel Nancy Grace) comes at the end of the piece, as Halperin writes,

It isn't clear how the battle over the proposed center should or will end. But two things are profoundly clear: Republicans have a strong chance to win the midterm elections without picking a fight over President Obama's measured words. And a national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner -- the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.

Did you catch that, America? Holding a president accountable for his own words will literally hand victory over to our enemies. When leftists and their enthusiasts in the media are prepared to allow students to recite the pledge without designating the words "under God" unconstitutional, idiotic or bordering on the illegal, I'll take their advice on matters of religious freedom. Until then, I'll stick with the notion that the Cordoba mosque is perfectly legal, but overtly insensitive and morally damaging to reconciliation efforts. Moving the mosque would be a sign of goodwill and would do wonders for Muslim/non-Muslim relations in our post-9/11 world.

With that in mind, don't give up. Make your voices heard, but do so respectfully and without making Islam the target. Focusing on the Constitutional and legal rights of the Cordoba Initiative, while illustrating the moral conundrums the project will create is a viable and common sense way to treat this issue. Don't let Halperin or anyone else for that matter tell you otherwise.

(Originally published at HuffingtonPost.com)

‘By the People’: Ed Norton and Hollywood’s Mindless Obama Praise

Amy Rice and Alicia Sams’ documentary, “By the People,” provides a lens into Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.  A guided tour of sorts, the film delves into the Obama’s biggest milestones, while ignoring glaring contradictions and blemishes.  Perhaps two words can best describe it: snooze fest.  Teamed with the films vapidity and its lack of new, unexplored material, there are some intriguing conflicts of interest surrounding its production.

By the People” is a praise initiative that doesn’t offer much beyond what politicos and Obama enthusiasts already know: Obama was a regular Joe who, through a series of (unfortunate for the American people) events, captured the presidency.

While Hollywood’s insane obsession with anything and anyone left of center is never a surprise, one should ardently question why HBO, after purchasing the film for seven figures, has chosen to ignore other intriguing political stories.  Why not balance the film with another special or documentary that explores the McCain-Palin campaign?  One could argue, as I’m sure HBO would, that the focus of the film is on to the winning candidate.  Fine.  Argue away, but anyone with a pulse knows we’d be hard pressed to see a similar accolade to a Republican victor.  Furthermore, Sarah Palin’s initial book sales prove that she’s a brand worth exploring.  So, why not go for it?

And then there’s the timing of the film’s release.  The network chose to air the documentary at a time when majorities oppose various elements of the president’s agenda and smack dab in the middle of some highly-contested state and local races.  Add the film’s timing to some of the more bizarre, behind-the-scenes connections and you can begin to triangulate relationships and allegiances.

First, let’s consider the film’s producer – famed actor Edward Norton.  While one should never be surprised by a Hollywood celebrity’s urge to support leftist inclinations, in this case there’s a twist.  To bring the film to fruition, Norton worked with Ari Emanuel, the brother of Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.  Last November, Gawker reported the following:

“… at one point it looked like some of film’s distribution proceeds might be headed back in the general direction of the Obama camp. As of eight months ago, Endeavor Agency’s Ari Emanuel was the agent for the film. Emanuel, of course, is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, just named Obama’s chief of staffHe was also an Obama fundraiser…”

So, Edward Norton shopped the documentary with Ari Emanuel, a man with a vested interest in Barack Obama’s campaign – and, a guy with key access to top government officials.  Unbelievable.  Perhaps most hilarious is Variety’s coverage from early 2008: “Norton said the motivation behind the film was not to glorify its subject.” Anyone out there actually believe that?  According to Rice, “When we shot the final scenes in the Oval Office, [Obama] he asked us, ‘What do you guys need?’  It was incredibly special. I got choked up.”

Is Rice sense-retardant?  She was creating a documentary that was more than favorable to the Obama camp.  Of course he was more than willing to assist!

As a professor, one of the main listening skills I work to instill in my students is the ability to determine what a speaker isn’t telling an audience.  Often times, some of the most intriguing information is embedded in omitted material.

At the beginning of the film, in footage circa 2006, Barack Obama is asked if he plans to run for the presidency.  In response, Obama says he is unsure and explains that he plans to look into how he would best serve the country.  Considering the foreknowledge that he might run, it was odd that the filmmakers chose to lead with this.  In fact, it was two years earlier, in 2004, when Obama said that he would not run in 2008, citing his inexperience.  Call it poor research on the filmmakers’ part or purposeful exclusion, but the words “Obama” and “American presidency” were uttered well before the 2006 midterm elections.

Here is Obama’s 2004 response to the question, “So, why have you ruled that out – running nationally?”:

“I am a believer in…knowing what you’re doing…when you apply for a job…”

“If I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket…I would essentially have to start now…before having served a day in the Senate. Now there might be some people who would have no problem doing that, but ah…I’m not one of them.”

We all know how good Obama is at keeping promises.

Now, let’s talk about the film’s contents.  Of particular interest and concern is the control Obama has over America’s young generation.  In the film, David Axlerod explained that one of Obama’s main motivations for running stemmed from his urge to show children that “anything is possible.”  In political terms that means, “We’ve found our voting bloc!”

When speaking about the Iowa caucus, Axlerod said, “These kids are going to win it for us…they thinkthey’re changing the world…we need more of that.”  Robert Gibbs awkwardly intervened, saying, “The good news is, I think they are.”  The latter statement was an attempt to bridge the divide between Axlerod’s campaign analytics and the need for more audience-friendly interaction.  In the end, it’s evident that Obama and Co. were intent on exploiting young Americans, a tactic that worked wonderfully in their favor.

Race was another theme that appeared periodically throughout the film.  Interviews with citizens positioned Obama as the most unlikely of all candidates to win, with respondents stating that the nation wasn’t ready for an African-American president.  Ironically, liberals are the main culprits who railed on and on about how ill-prepared the nation was for this advancement.  As a conservative, I was more than ready, pending the individual capturing the top spot had the qualifications to perform the job.  Barack Obama did not have those needed elements.  Needless to say, the filmmakers didn’t speak with many people who thought it was, indeed, possible for a black man to win the presidency.

The entire film centered around the “emotional” impact Obama has had on America’s young generation.  As a 26-year-old young guy, I’m not feeling it.  Throughout the film, campaign workers cried fervently, chanted Obama praises and gave their all for “change they could believe in.”  While this is their right, the film itself was less than objective.  And I’m fine with that as well, but it would be an extraordinarily overdue kudos to democracy to see HBO (Honoring Barack Obama) air a similarly fair-minded film that centers on Palin’s historic run or McCain’s heroic life story.

Watching Hollywood and the Democratic elite pat each other on the back is getting old.  HBO and other media companies should consider being more fair minded and delving into the other side on a more frequent basis.  In the case of “By the People,” though, the media and entertainment cronyism will take your breath away.  No wonder Obama picks fights with the media who disagree with him.  He’s become accustomed to lapdog media and liberal Hollywood.  Let’s hope these institutions challenge him a bit more here on in.

Get a Job New Yorkers -- Just Like Obama!

It's practically impossible to tell the difference between The New York Times and The Huffington Post.  Aside from occasional whit (sorry “Grey Lady,” but you lose the battle on that one), the outlets mirror one another. Sure, The Huffington Post doesn't come in print (and who knows how much longer theTimes will), but the ideologically-driven content one finds in both outlets is leftist – and that’s being kind.  Today, as I was perusing the Times' site, I came across an extremely curious headline: “Job Seekers at the Library, in Obama’s Footsteps.”

My initial thought was, “Ugh, another piece praising stimulus spending,” as I figured the library was offering something flagrantly expensive that Obama and his minions had crafted (like free massages for those seeking employment, or some other irrelevant and audacious expense – think “bailout”).  Sadly, I was wrong.  After reading the article, being mad at Obama was impossible.  See, the Times had aimlessly inserted his name in an article that had absolutely nothing to do with him – whatsoever.  Misleading?  I think so. 

Here's my theory – American media haven't yet gotten over their blatant Obama fawning, which is why an article intended to educate New Yorkers about an amazing, new job-search tool invokes the president's name.  The article commences with the following lede: “Jobless New Yorkers are being invited to follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama, starting at a Midtown branch of the public library.”

To provide some context, the New York Public Library created “Job Search Central,” an excellent resource that will surely help New Yorkers find employment.  That said, how this translates into the exuberance the paper attempts to invoke in its insinuation that using said system will allow us to “...follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama...” is perplexing.

According to the Times,

“In an interview four years ago with American Libraries magazine, Mr. Obama recounted how a librarian at the mid-Manhattan branch of the library helped him locate the organization in Chicago that hired him as a community organizer in the mid-1980s.” 

The next lines read, “That was before looking for work became a predominantly electronic exercise.”

Almost in-step, the Times sort of admits that it has drawn a weak comparison between the new, technologically-advanced system and the old, no-frills job search tool (i.e. an elderly librarian, most likely) Obama used to find his community organizer position.  Then why invoke his name at all?  I’m sure librarians have helped everyone at one point or another.  Obama gets mentioned for talking to a librarian and Bush got coverage for choking on a pretzel.  Go figure.

The piece is reflective of a love-obsessed high school girl who constantly talks about her crush.  We get it, media.  You love him.  He's your golden boy.  Enough already! 

But in all seriousness, the library does, indeed, have an excellent resource for those of you out there who are seeking employment.  As reported by the Times, the library's director claims that about one-third of its 1,900 daily visitors are looking for positions in some fashion.  Clearly, the resource is extremely valuable, especially considering the current fiscal climate.

Thank you, New York Times, for the heads up, but next time leave out Obama.  Thanks!

"The Scorekeeper" on Red County!

I have officially joined forces for a new podcast with RedCounty.com!  Yesterday, we released the second episode of "The Scorekeeper." As host, I focus on the GOP's winner and loser of the week.  There can only be one on each side, so the competition is tough.  But, if we're going to talk about renewing the party, we have to delve deep to find the heroes who will help us progress and the zeros who are dragging us down!

Aside from my new weekly show (available every Monday), be sure to check out Red County's new, slick design, great content and the other four shows that come from some great conservative minds!  Click here to check out "The Scorekeeper" or surf over the Red County's main page.

Obama, Democrats Refuse to Listen to the American People

Talk about failing to learn life lessons.  After battling for governmental control, Obama is making lofty decisions that stand firmly against the will of the American people.  While he has experienced extremely high approval ratings for his performance these past three weeks, digging somewhat deeper into the polls showcases a substantive shift in public opinion.  From climate change to corruption -- to funding for overseas abortions -- Obama and the Democrats are paving the way for future electoral defeat.

In an era when millions of Americans are suffering job losses and struggling to meet their most basic needs due to corruption and greed, Obama has pursued individuals who have defaulted on their taxes and evaded general responsibilities to serve in his cabinet.  In no particular order there was Tom Daschle ("was" because he has now officially bowed out of consideration as a nominee for the position of Health and Human Services Secretary), who failed to pay over $130,000 in taxes.  Obama had this to say in response to the outcry surrounding the potential cabinetee (as per FOX News):

"Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I," Obama said. He added that the "mistake" should not diminish the "many contributions" Daschle has made to the country. 

Then comes Nancy Killefer, who also withdrew her name for consideration for the position of "chief performance officer."  Killefer would have been the first to take this position, but tax problems also hampered her ability to accept it.  And then there is Bill Richardson, who -- according to FOX News -- withdrew his name over an alleged kickback investigation:

"Obama's first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors."

The confusing part of the nomination conundrum centers upon Obama's promise to root out corruption.  So far the only rooting that's been done is for earmarks and fiscal irresponsibility (i.e. a stimulus plan that calls for $600 million for government vehicles and funding for overseas abortions).  

Aside from these shining examples of hypocrisy stands America's new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who belatedly paid $34,000 in income taxes.  The irony behind this clearly centers upon the fact that Geithner, a man who did not pay his own taxes in a timely manner, is going to advise President Obama on all things economy: government fiscal policy, and domestic tax policy, amongst other responsibilities.  And I thought Gregory B. Craig's (Obama's White House counsel) defense of a presidential assassin was an embarrassment to the Obama Administration.  Talk about one-upping one's self.

Clearly, the American people should have some concerns.  One could argue that the aforementioned examples simply result from human error.  But, upon examination there is a pattern building here that is disturbing at best.  Even when one looks beyond the drama surrounding nominees and confirmations, the Democrats are making decisions that rail against the will of the people.  

Unfortunately, Democrats have a habit of complaining about Republicans so fervently that they eventually convince the people, through the liberal media, that Republicans are ill-equipped to lead (and some are, but it's nowhere near the proportion of Democrats).  Then, when they finally convince their way into office, they spend the majority of their time undoing every conservative regulation they can get their hands on, while failing to take the time to formulate their own policies. It's the ultimate na-na-na-na-boo-boo, only the Democrats are willing to throw money at any problem that their undoing of well-meaning conservative policies doesn't immediately solve.  

Just look at Obama's major decisions thus far.  According to polls released this week, the majority of Americans stand against Obama's first two executive orders.  As for the first of these orders -- the president's decision to provide funding to family planning organizations overseas that provide abortions -- 58% of Americans disagree with Obama; only 35% support the decision.  

And when it comes to the closure of Guantanamo Bay, 50% of the American public opposes, with 44% supporting his decision to close Guantanamo's doors within a year.  While his approval rating is currently high, the American people are already making it known that they disagree with his far-left agenda (these two orders are precipitating facets of his worldview).

Understanding ultraliberals is a daunting task.  They will protest in the streets when Americans go overseas to defend inherent freedoms, but when it comes to international infanticide, they sit on the sidelines and stand idle.  At the least, you'd think they'd at least spout off about the need to support the domestic abortions they support so fervantly before shipping funding off to other countries.  Apparently funding clinics that provide abortions in Zimbabwe is more important than funding our crumbling educational system.

Obama needs to get with the program.  Instead of holding press conferences to tell us how he'd never have a lobbyist serve in his administration right before backtracking and hiring a lobbyist, he should spend his time making meaningful and well-planned policy.  We need him to succeed, but with uncollected decision-making at the helm, success isn't on the horizon.

Letting History Judge President Bush Accordingly

As President George W. Bush's presidency approaches its final days, historians are already discussing how future generations will view America's 43rd president. According to a recent piece by CNN's Ed Hornick, contemporary historians view the administration as "incompetent," "battered," and "unlucky." While these labels may, indeed, fit the Bush Administration to varying degrees, there is little talk of the administration's successes.

While I am sure that the mere mention of the word "success" in connection with Bush's name will result in fits of dismissed rationality for some, ignoring these accomplishments creates a historically inaccurate depiction - one that American media outlets have worked, perhaps inadvertently, to reinforce.  Regardless of where one stands politically, it is virtually impossible to ignore the fact that George W. Bush's accomplishments are rarely recognized.

Since 2003, Bush's approval ratings have suffered and declined steadily, landing him with the highest disapproval rating for any president in American history. When commenting on this less than stellar accomplishment, CNN's polling director Keating Holland recently said, "That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating." But, even with negativity surrounding Bush at every corner, his supporters are still out there.

The day before the 2008 election, Andrew Breitbart wrote about his general liking for Bush and said, "President Bush...will be judged by history - not by vengeful Democrats, hate-filled Hollywood, corrupt foreign governments, an imploding mainstream media or fleeting approval ratings.

There is no doubt that the United States is confronted with a plethora of issues that some claim were created, fostered and exacerbated by President Bush. From the financial markets to the war in Iraq the view, both domestically and internationally speaking, is grim at best. Even with these issues in mind, the failure of many major media outlets to discuss some of the shining successes that have been brought about by this president is disconcerting.

Social Security Reform

This is, perhaps, an anomalous area of exploration, mostly because Bush's efforts to transform the Social Security inevitably failed. Still, it is important to note that he did propose a plan to amend the system. Again, regardless of where you stand politically, his acknowledgement of the dire realities that are to come if the system is not fixed should be noted.

After all, this is a serious issue. According to Facing Up to the Nation's Finances, "...the board of trustees that oversees the Social Security system projects that the program's expenditures will exceed income in just 10 years (2017). The Social Security Trust Fund provides a cushion against these needs, but by 2042, the trust fund will be exhausted as well and the system will only be able to cover about three-quarters of the benefits promised."

In the end - as is the case with most subjects in Washington these days - ideological dissension (both inter and intra party) got in the way and Bush's plans to privatize Social Security failed. Regardless of the end result, he does deserve some credit for raising the issue and attempting to amend it.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is one of the most important areas of Bush's success that has gone vastly uncovered. Back in March 2008, Bob Geldof penned an intriguing piece for TIME Magazine about George W. Bush and America's commitment to the African continent.  While Geldof disagrees with Bush on a multitude of issues, his piece opened up necessary dialog surrounding HIV/AIDS and the legacy of America's forty-third president.

According to Geldof, "Bush...initiated the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist." The Bush Administration has also fought tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS (the U.S. provides a substantial amount of funding for the Global Fund). Unfortunately, the American people remain vastly unaware of these advancements.

George W. Bush's commitment to Africa should not be eclipsed by negative commentary or partisan political angst. While one may not agree with the aggregate of George W. Bush's domestic or international policies, there is no contesting the positive impact he has had on the African region.

After all, Geldof points out that in 2003, only 50,000 Africans were taking antiretroviral drugs. Even more unconscionable, these people were paying for their own medication. But today, treatment is much more widespread. In fact, there are 1.3 million individuals receiving medicines free of charge, which can mostly be attributed to George W. Bush and his Republican administration.

Homelessness

While mainstream media outlets have virtually ignored President Bush's work in the homelessness arena, coverage is surely deserved. The reality is that the Bush administration's efforts to curb chronic homelessness have been highly successful. A chronic homeless person is defined as, "...someone with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more or for four or more episodes in three years."

According to Frank Greve of McClatchy Newspapers, President Bush initiated a program entitled "Housing First." Unlike traditional programs that require individuals to go through months of treatment and counsel prior to being granted housing, "Housing First" does exactly what the name states - it gives shelter to those in need before taking other actions. Through this program, the Bush administration offers rent-free apartments to chronically homeless persons.

According to Greve, "The "housing first" strategy gets much of the credit for a 30 percent decline in U.S. chronic homelessness from 2005 to 2007. The number fell from 176,000 to 124,000 people, according to the best available census of street people."

National Security

In spite of all of the pain, anger, resentment and frustration that many feel as a result of the War on Terror, the fact remains that the United States has not sustained an attack on our soil since 2001. Unfortunately, too many Americans overlook this reality - particularly those on the Left. After all, it is relatively easy to forget the potential threat of calamity when one is safe enough to no longer worry (knock on wood) about potential internal attacks. Breitbart also pointed out this obvious yet all-to-frequently unexplored notion:

"The fact that the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, far exceeds the most wishful expert predictions of the time. Perhaps facing another al Qaeda-led barrage would have reinforced our need for national unity, caused us to recognize the gravity of the Islamist threat and fortified Mr. Bush's standing at home and abroad. Yet, thankfully, that never happened. And Mr. Bush has been punished for this obvious success."

At the end of the day, no matter how much Bush's critics forge against his tactics, American soil has undoubtedly been well-protected. There has definitely been a lack of credit in this arena, as critics have focused (many times rightfully) on his blunders in Iraq and on what some call his failure to properly cope with domestic issues. Still, this feat is massive enough to warrant at least a partial congratulatory note from the American electorate.

History will, indeed, be George W. Bush's most benevolent judge. While proponents and opponents will rail for and against the Bush administration's policies, contemporary views cannot possibly create the well-rounded and realistic interpretation that is needed to properly or efficiently evaluate.  Surely, President Bush was faced with profound difficulties and tough choices. While his administration often fell short, ignoring the positive accomplishments he has made both domestically and internationally is simply unacceptable.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor William Hallowel is a journalist, blogger and the founder of Pathufind Media.

No Record Turnout

A Conciliatory Scandal and the Public’s Right to Know

Back in April 2008, Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Wallsten penned a piece entitled, “Allies of Palestinians See an Ally in Barack Obama.” While it appears as though the vast majority of the American electorate overlooked the article in the days following its release, its contents are creating a stir months later and just days before the 2008 presidential election. The title of the Times piece alone should raise concern for anyone who believes in the importance of America’s continued devotion to the Israeli people. But it is the contents as they relate to Obama’s associations and the handling of related video footage that raise additional concerns about the future state of America’s national security under an Obama administration.

Let’s start with the basics. According to the Times, Barack Obama attended a going away party for a man named Rashid Khalidi back in 2003. Most Americans are probably unfamiliar with Khalidi. Wallsten described him as, "...an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights..."  Compared to some of the other descriptions I’ve read, the former is complementary. CampusWatch had this to say:

“… Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi…has held a fundraiser for Obama. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.”

Click here to finishing reading this piece...

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