Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Next In Line

It seems today that all of the major topics in the news are about the rights of the person or persons who are standing at the front of the line.

What I mean by that is that the citizens (and some non-citizens) of this great nation are all clamoring to be heard by the government... and demanding that the government grant them this right or that one. The sad thing about this, is that we have forgotten that the framers of the Constitution believed that our rights came from the Creator, not from government. They wrote the Constitution to give us the freedom from having to look to the government for our rights, and rather constructed the document to protect us from an overbearing, over-powerful body of legislature. They wrote to protect us from being infringed upon, not to grant us anything we didn't already have.

Over the decades, we have slowly replaced culpability and accountability with legislation, and thus seen our personal freedoms taken away and tucked under the wings of government... little by little... death by a thousand cuts. Think about it... it won't take you too long to come up with a list of laws that instruct us (and penalize us) in regard to our personal behavior... that behavior which causes no harm to others or to anyone outside of our direct care and responsibility. If you live out in the country, with nobody within 10 miles of your driveway, it's still illegal for you to drive down the road without wearing your seatbelt in order to protect yourself. Some states want to ban certain types of food or beverages because the government has deemed us too foolish to know better for ourselves.

We have lost all understanding of the origin of our rights, and how we are supposed to claim and exercise those rights. We are hell-bent on being the next in line in order to have our voices heard by the powers that be... so that we may be granted (or denied) basic freedoms given to us at birth. When granted, we dance and holler and shout "we're number one" or "I told you so" only to be shoved aside by the person or group in the number 2 position. Next, please. We have forgotten how to be human. How to live. How to love each other for all of our differences. We demand to be noticed and coddled and bronzed for posterity.

Whatever the topic of the day, our courts will decide for us... tell us that we're right or wrong... and then move to the next person in line. The most current victor will gloat and jump for joy, for a while. The disappointed will withdraw and hope the victors will go away now that they've had their day in the sun. Alas, there's always someone else standing in line, ready to seek their rights to be granted, and the only thing that will change will be the topic of the day. The process will always stay the same... unless we reacquire the ability to live in the time and place we are granted and do it to the best of our ability.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Presidential A-Go-Go

It seems that our President is, technically, a felon... once more. Yep, that's my take. You see, President Obama is in violation of a Federal Law that requires the President to deliver his budget to Congress on the first Monday of February of each year. At the time of this writing, he is in violation of that law in excess of 5 weeks and has no plan to present his budget until at least April, 2013... if at all. This shouldn't be surprising since he's missed this deadline in 4 of the last 5 years, and for the third year in a row... or that the Senate has yet to produce and pass a budget in 4 years. I know it's a tough job, and I'm sure that he's working hard at getting it done, but let's take a look at what he's been up to for the last 5 weeks, and a little bit before the deadline.

In the month before the deadline, specifically from Jan. 1 through Jan. 27, President Obama did little to nothing. Realize, of course, that he had lots to do to prepare for the inauguration... for all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the "most transparent" President in history. During this period, he did manage to have lunch with the Vice President 4 times and make 4 "personal announcements." He also managed to meet with our great friend and ally, Afghanistan President H. Karzai all day on Jan. 11. One can only imagine how much money was spent during that meeting.

In the week prior to the budget deadline, President Obama managed to have lunch with the Vice President once, lunch with Sec. Clinton once, fly to Las Vegas to give a chat about immigration reform to an undisclosed group, then fly back in the same afternoon (minimum Air Force One operational costs for that trip ring in at approximately $1.4-2.0 million, depending on exact air time and staffing). He also managed to conduct two interviews with Spanish TV reporters and present some awards for something or another. Clearly, the President was concerned about getting his budget completed and delivered the following week.

Since the deadline has passed, President Obama has managed to log no less than 20 more hours on Air Force One, over half of that coming on a three-day, three-state tour de force between Feb. 13-15. On those trips, he flew to a factory in North Carolina, a kindergarten school in Georgia and to Chicago to talk about his State of the Union Address (which he had already delivered two days prior -- just to be clear). Then on Feb. 15, following his clarification tour in Chicago, he flew off to West Palm Beach for a guys weekend with that well-known financial and marital guru, Tiger Woods. Nobody knows exactly what that 3-day jaunt cost taxpayers, but considering the extra security and staffing, it's got to be at least 20-bucks, right? The estimated Air Force One operational costs, alone, for travel during this time is between $5-6.9 million. Just a tiny drop in the bucket for someone so concerned about our financial woes.

Also during this time, Dear Leader made 3 more "personal announcements," delivered "remarks" on one thing or another at least 8 times, had lunch with Joe at least 6 more times, conducted at least 4 more tv/radio/media interviews (including an important interview with Al Sharpton), attended a Google+ Hangout to talk (more) about his SOTU Address, and presented some more awards here and there. Additionally, he found time to hook up with the Japanese Prime Minister and play host to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanai Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam. Oh, oh... and he managed to get down to Newport News, VA to deliver remarks about how damaging the sequester would be if "Congressional Republicans fail to compromise..." on budget matters. I always thought compromise meant both sides were giving a little.

So, it appears that the President has truly been a busy man, as would be expected. The one thing glaringly missing from the calendar during this entire time, aside from Snookie not visiting the White House, is that the President did not meet with his Budget Committee one, single, solitary time. For someone who finds it appealing to talk to the nation, and those whom he is supposed to serve, about budgets and such, he sure doesn't seem too worried about getting the job done, or in complying with the law.

My question is this... how on earth can any of us continue to take this President seriously? How can anyone feel vindicated in lecturing us, the public, or any other leaders on budgetary issues and fiscal responsibility when legal deadlines are flippantly ignored? How much longer are we really going to sit back and eat what this President and his ilk are feeding us? How long?

All of this, by the way, is easily discovered on the published White House calendar located at:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Blue Plate Special?

So, I read this entertaining article on the "sequester" this morning and really couldn't believe what I was reading, until I considered the source. Yahoo News has become so left-focused that many of their writers now pass off fluff like this without any shame whatsoever, simply to please the populace and encourage an attitude of complacency and ignorance... or so it seems.

There's a link to the article below, but here's just a taste of the scat that's passing as journalism on Yahoo News these days:

"…the blame falls more heavily on congressional Republicans than it does the White House. Peddling tax cuts as a solution for all human maladies including writer’s block, the GOP has thwarted every effort by Obama since the 2010 elections to stimulate the economy."
My wonder, considering the statement above is this: which party has faithfully passed a budget in each of the last 4 years and which has failed to do so? Which planet, exactly, does this writer call home? Has he been observing the same government that the rest of us have been watching?

While the article does have some valid points, most of it is political pandering and verbose. Sadly, many will read the article (or some of it) and go for broke in quoting the talking points as fact. This is what we're up against. Below is a link to the online article along with my response to the author.

My Reply:
Mr. Shapiro... methinks you are delusional. First, how... exactly... is Bob Woodward's claim exaggerated? Do you really believe that one of the most respected journalists in U.S. history (and I'm not a particular "fan") would not weigh this situation with utmost concern before making it publicly known? It's exaggerated only perhaps in the sense that one might consider the closest star to our planet, aside from our sun, as in our "neighborhood." I'd like to hear your explanation, not just your decree, that Mr. Woodward's claim is exaggerated (some proof or evidence would be nice, too.)

Second, if you can correctly recall... President John F. Kennedy did more to stimulate the economy of his day by doing exactly what most Republicans have been calling for... cutting taxes and broadening the base. It was Kennedy who said "ask not what your country can do for you..."

Third... Draconian? Really? Do you know much about Draco? Is 3% really catastrophic and severe in your world? If so, I suggest that there are more pressing problems that we all face. For enlightenment's purpose, 3% of a standard day is just slightly over 43 minutes, or not even enough time to catch the latest episode of American Idol. If the sequester cuts are to be considered Draconian, in the least, it is only because of the lack of comprehension on the part of the observer.

Lastly, when it comes to placing the heavier burden of blame on the Republicans, I can only ask this: which group of politicians has passed and presented a budget... a real, working budget... every year for the past 4 years, and which one has not? It's hard to talk about how much spending is going to take place and how much is going to be cut when there's no concept of how much there is in the pot.