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Friday, January 29, 2010

Fraud and Waste

Well another months has gone by and we just heard the State of the Union speech. I was waiting to hear the president mention in the speech that he was moving ahead with the effort to cut fraud and waste in the medicare and medicaid system. After all, there is supposed to be a half trillion dollars of waste and fraud in that system -- enough to pay for over half of his proposed health care reform package. Surely there is no constituency for waste and fraud -- or at least there is no large constituency for such things.

The truth is that Obama has no intention of ever going after the purported waste and fraud. His actions make that clear.

Nine months

There are nine months left until the 2010 elections in November. It is hard to imagine that it so long until then since the campaign seems now to be in full swing, especially since Obama's highly political state of the union speech. Certainly the fund raisers are hard at work. My phone is ringing every day with calls from both the Democrats and the Republicans. Since I am not a big contributor to political campaigns, I can only imagine the push going forward towards those who have given big bucks in the past. The search for candidates continues apace. Every day there are new surprises. Beau Biden will not run. Three quarters of the Arkansas delegation is retiring. Mike Pence will not run, etc.

By September we will have actual campaigns moving forward. Right now, it appears that the Democrats will still try to blame Bush for everything that is bad. This will not work. The Republicans will point to all the bad that the Dems have wrought and claim the right to victory. This too will not work. Hopefully by the time September rolls around we will see candidates who respect the voters enough to put forward an actual reasoned set of principles and plans for action to deal with our problems. That will let the voters decide how they wish to move forward.

My hope is that we will see a sizeable group of candidates who pledge to cut spending -- not just reduce the rate of growth but actually to cut spending.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The official SOTU Bobblehead doll

There are countless analyses of the State of the Union Address delivered last night by Obama. I prefer to focus on something much more important. During the speech, Obama was backed by Pelosi and Biden. Almost without stop, Biden sat there and shook his head yes at everything that Obama said. At first I thought that Biden had been told to do that for emphasis. Then I thought that he had been told to do it on occasion and misunderstood. Finally as the minutes of head shaking continued, I realized that Biden was going for the record. He wants to be in the Guiness Book of Records for most head shakes during a state of the union address. I have no doubt that he set the record last night. The only other possibility is that Biden was doing product placement for the new Joe Biden Bobble - head doll.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The bidget deficit commision

Today the Senate voted to kill the proposal for a so-called deficit reduction commission. For once the vote was bipartisan -- roughly half of the Democrats and half of the Republicans voted against the proposal.

The outcome seems correct to me. The plan was to have the commission reveal its plan only after the November elections and then to have it voted upon before the new Congress takes office. So we were to have a commission meeting in secret come forth with a plan which could include cuts in social security and medicare as well as major tax increases that would then be voted upon by large numbers of Congressmen who were leaving office. To describe this as anti-democratic does not do it justice. Essentially, the plan was one to remove all chance that the people would have a say about what is to be done. It would also absolve representatives and senators from having to take responsibility for their votes.

It well may be that the current crop of people in congress do not have the courage to do what is right for the country. If so, they should be replaced. We have seen enough anti-democratic moves like the back room secret deals to give billions to Obama's allies to last for many decades. There is no need to add yet another one of these.

Mass Hysteria

After Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy's senate seat, the media has analyzed every aspect of the race a come to the predictable conclusions. The liberals think Martha was a poor candidate, Obama thinks he did not explain his policies clearly or often enough, Sean Hannity is certain that this was a wholesale repudiation of everything Democratic, and -- well you get the picture. The truth is that there are as many explanations for the result as there are voters. One thing, however, is certain in my opinion: Brown tapped into anger at the Washington establishment (read that as the Democrats). It takes a fundamental shift in attitudes to get a Republican victory in Massachusetts. Only massive anger could produce that.

Given this fact, I find it amazing that Obama is keeping on the same course. It is as if he does not understand anything of what transpired. Maybe he doesn't!

Monday, January 25, 2010


President Obama's good friend Hugo Chavez is criticizing the US for sending troops to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquakes. To say that the man is a jerk does not do it justice. Venezuela does nothing to help, but Hugo feels it appropriate to criticize the efforts of those who are doing the most.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Plouffe spoof?

This morning the New York Times reports that Obama has asked David Plouffe to come back to oversee the Democrats fall campaigns from the Whitehouse. While Plouffe is a master of nuts and bolts political stuff, his reappearance says a lot about how Obama plans to govern moving forward from here. Just yesterday, Plouffe's column from the WaPo was highlighted on Real Clear Politics. Plouffe's first item on his list of things that must be done for the Obamacrats to succeed in November? No surprise -- he says that they have to get the healthcare bill passed. If Obama listens to this advice (and it looks like he will), he will spend the next few months working on this toxic mix of anti-job, pro-regulatory, pro government intrusion bilge. The fact that the bill is strongly opposed by a majority of Americans seems to have been lost on this group. They truly believe that Americans just do not understand the bill and that once they have explained it better, all will come to support it. It is either one of the most brilliant strategies in political history or else it is a ticket to oblivion to the Democrats majorities on Capitol Hill. I vote for the latter, but only time will tell.

In any event, the selection of Plouffe seems to mean that a true pivot by Obama towards the center and towards action (as opposed to words) on unemployment and the economy is unlikely to say the least.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Can't they do anything right?

Today's spate of announcements by both Democrat and Republican senators that they plan to vote against Ben Bernanke's reappointment as Fed chairman gives rise to the question as to whether or not the Obama White House can get anything done. How can it be that we are now just a few days before the end of Bernanke's term and there still has been no vote in the Senate on the appointment. Are the Obamacrats so caught up with healthcare that they cannot even arrange to get a critical appointment completed? Is is better to give speeches in Ohio about how Obama supports job growth or is it better to actually get confirmation of a man whose appointment is critical for continued economic stability in the US? Obviously Obama opts for the speech. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Bernanke himself is critical, although he did a good job once the financial meltdown started. Rather, I am sayting that a rejection of the Fed Chairman thus leaving open the position of Fed Chair will liikely lead to a massive sell off in the markets with the result that more and more people will be put out of work. Oh well, Obama can always give another speech. At least the teleprompter industry must be doing well. My guess is that Obama uses one made in China.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Campaign finance reform

Today's decision by the Supreme Court strikes down the limits on speech by corporations and unions which barred them from promoting particular candidates within the period before the election. To say the least, the decision is completely in line with the First Amendment. Indeed, the idea that a corporation could be prevented from speaking in favor of a candidate while an individual could not be so limited was a distinction which always seemed in clear violation of the Constitution -- given, of course, the well settled precedent that corporations and other forms of associations like partnerships and unions have free speech rights.

While I am sure we will see the usual howls of protest from those who favor government control, this is a healthy result for the country in my opinion. Only with the free exchange of ideas by ALL can we truly reach the best decisions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Amazing even for the Obama administration

According to Yahoo news, in testimony this morning, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that he was not consulted on whether the Detroit Christmas bomber Abdulmutallab should be questioned by the recently created High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG.

"That unit was created exactly for this purpose," Blair said. "We did not invoke the HIG in this case. We should have."

So, after weeks of sloughing off complaints that the administration should not have allowed the Detroit bomber to be treated as an ordinary criminal, the head of all US intelligence admits just that. How can the administration go on ignoring the complaints now? Indeed, since this issue was one of the main ones that propelled Brown to his win in the Mass Senate race yesterday, one would think that Obama and his minions would now focus renewed attention on this sore spot. Apparently not!

Some day, I hope that we once again have a government that actually thinks that keeping Americans safe is more important that the sensibilities ond supposed rights of those who are trying to kill Americans. My guess is that we will have to wait three years and a day for that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rothenberger switches view

Just a few days ago, political analyst Stuart Rothenberger switched the Mass senate race from leaning to the Dems to a toss up. today, he switched it again. Now, he has the seat rated as leaning to the Republicans. Let's hope he is correct!

for those who missed it

here is Brown's speech from yesterday when Obama was in the state campaigning for Coakley. It shows why Brown may well win:

Thank you very much. What a privilege it is to share the stage with John Ratzenberger, Lenny Clarke, Doug Flutie, Curt Schilling, Fred Smerlas, Steve DeOssie, and many, many others - and my favorite singer, Ayla Brown.

As you know, Curt Schilling made the news just a couple of days ago when my opponent didn't recognize his name. Of all the many false accusations she's made in this campaign, one of the strangest was to call Curt Schilling a Yankee fan. Let me properly identify the guy she's been smearing on the radio: His name is Curt Schilling, formerly of the World Champion Red Sox - you know, a baseball team that plays at Fenway Park.

Doug Flutie, what can I say, great guy, great career, and I am proud you are here. John Ratzenberger, a wonderful actor, you brought a lot of laughs to us during your many years with Cheers. Fred and Steve, you are legends and good friends. Ayla, thank you for again sharing your beautiful voice. Millions have seen her on national TV, and going through this campaign I've got an idea of what Ayla went through on "American Idol." She had to deal with Simon Cowell, and I had to deal with David Gergen.

Our campaign is going strong, and the finish line is in sight. The day of decision is almost here. The whole nation is watching, but the choice on Election Day belongs to you and no one else. Friends and fellow citizens, I'm Scott Brown, I'm from Wrentham, I drive a truck and I'm asking for your vote.

When we started this campaign just a few months ago, the political machine wrote us off. A Senate seat in Massachusetts, we were told, was already spoken for - and this special election was just a minor detail that wouldn't get in the way. The political machine already had a short-term placeholder in the Senate. Now all they needed was a long-term placeholder, and everything had been arranged.

Well, there was just one little problem with that plan - the independent-thinking people of Massachusetts wanted a real choice, and they - and you -- have made this a real contest.

The voters are doing their own thinking, and the machine politicians don't quite know how to react. So they put in a distress call to Washington, and the next thing you know, Air Force One is landing at Logan.

My first response is very simple: Democrat or Republican, the president of the United States is always welcome in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Now, it wasn't exactly a scheduled visit. Sort of a last-minute thing. The political machine controlled that Senate, he was told, and it was going to stay that way.

Well, the party bosses gave the president some bad information. This Senate seat belongs to no one person and no one political party - it belongs to the people of Massachusetts.

Maybe they also told President Obama that I had no chance at all. After all, who ever heard of guy from Wrentham getting elected to the U.S. Senate? But as the president might remember, upsets like that have been known to happen.

The president may recall as well how much he used to talk about a new kind of politics - about campaigns based on conviction, instead of just false and small-minded negative ads. Well, as long as he's paying a visit, he might want to talk to Martha about that. Not only are her ads negative, they are malicious. How quickly the politics of hope have become replaced by the politics of desperation. Shame on Martha.

Before the president rushed to the scene, we saw my opponent standing with a former president, the governor, the senior senator, the appointed senator - the whole party establishment, right on down the line.

At the beginning, it felt like me against the machine. But guess what? I was wrong. It's us against the machine.

I don't need an establishment to prop me up. I stand before you as the proud candidate of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents across Massachusetts, north and south, east and west.

The party machine is in high gear for my opponent. The establishment is afraid of losing their Senate seat. You can all remind them that this is not their seat, it is yours.

Should I have the honor of representing our state in Washington, D.C., I will serve no faction but Massachusetts. I will pursue no agenda but what is right. I will be nobody's senator but yours.

One of the great advantages of being independent is that you meet voters of every kind. And you learn what people are really thinking about the big issues facing our state and our country. The political experts are still wondering how this little campaign of ours grew so fast and gathered so much strength and momentum. The reason is simple.

We do not want a senator whose only question on health care is to ask Harry Reid, "How do you want me to vote?" Massachusetts wants real reform, and not this trillion-dollar Obama health care bill being forced on the American people.

This bill would raise taxes. It would cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars. It would be unfair to our veterans. It would destroy jobs, and run our nation deeper into debt. It is not in the interest of our state or country - and as your senator, I will insist we start over.

I will work in the Senate to reform health care in the right way, the honest way. No more closed-door meetings behind the scenes. No more arrogant party leadership. We can do better, and as the 41st senator I'll make sure of it.

In health care, we need to start fresh, work together, and do the job right.

On the question of taxes, my opponent this week endorsed yet another tax increase. She summed up her whole approach by saying, quote, "We need to get taxes up."

She has it exactly wrong: We need to get job creation up, and taxes down. I will work in the Senate to put government back on the side of people who create jobs - and as John F. Kennedy taught us, that starts with a tax cut for the American people.

As a lieutenant colonel and 30-year member of the Army National Guard, I will keep faith with all who serve, and with our veterans, too. I will work in the Senate to defend our nation's interests and to keep our military second to none.

In our debate, my opponent insisted that there are no longer any terrorists in Afghanistan. Maybe the president can pull her aside today and explain the basics: There are still many terrorists in Afghanistan, Martha! They are at war with the United States, and for the safety of this nation we must defeat them

As an attorney, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.

Raising taxes, taking over our health care, and giving new rights to terrorists is the agenda of a new establishment in Washington. And they think you're on board with all of it. They think they own your vote. They're sure they can't lose. But on Election Day, the Bay State will set them straight.

We are witnesses, you and I, to something historic. We have run a race never to be forgotten. We are in a cause that deserves all that we can give it. In these final forty-eight hours, let us see it through to victory.

All along, I have counted on the goodwill and support of independent-minded people like you, and never more than right now. I ask for any help you can give, and above all for the honor of your vote.

In return, I make this pledge to you and to every citizen of Massachusetts: If I am entrusted with the people's seat, I will give everything that is in me to be a good and faithful senator, and to make you proud.

Thank you all very much.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brown vs. the bored: The education comes on Tuesday

The news out of Mass. continues to get better. I keep readng articles about how fired up the Brown voters are and how bored and disinterested the Coakley voters are. If this is really the case, Martha may lose just on the intensity gap. Let's hope so!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Boxer tops

Rasmussen has announced the results of its latest polls in the California Senate election for 2010. As of now, Senator Boxer is leading her potential Republican rivals by 3-6% depending upon the opponent. Carly Fiorina runs the best among the Republicans. The news from the polls, however, is not that Boxer is ahead. In January this does not mean much. Rather, the big news is that Boxer gets 46% in each of the three polls. Normally an incumbent that is below 50% in polls of this sort is considered to be in trouble. After all, the populace already knows Boxer well and less than half support her. Undecideds tend to break heavily for the challenger in races with an entrenched incumbernt like boxer. Simply put, Boxer's seat is truly in play. Maybe she will be forced to let people call her Mrs. Boxer rather than Senator. She truly deserves the new title.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Coakley is holding and Obamathon

With her candidacy sinking faster than the Titanic, martha Coakley has managed to convince the folks at the white House that president obama should come to help her campaign in the final days before the Tuesday's election. To say the least, I am surprised that Obama would agree to do this. Coakley is in full melt down mode. the latest poll shows her now with just 39% of the vote, nearly a dozen points below her previous level. Indeed, the polls have been moving down for Martha so fast that it is unclear where her support level really is. Unless she stops the bleeding, she could lose in a landslide. However, even if she stops the bleeding, she still appears to be substantially behind. Turning that position around would require more than just a visit by Obama. In other words, Obama is lending his credibility to Coakley's victory push at a time when she is no longer likely to win. If she loses the election, it will be more proof that Obama has no ability to drag Democrats into office on the strength of his campaigning. As a result, Obama loses some power. Nice move Obamacrats!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reiding the tea leaves

Harry Reid's poll number continue to fall in his bid to be re-elected to the Senate. Today's Rasmussen results show Reid with only 36% support against either Republican Sue Lowden or Denny Tarkanian. Reid is behind by 12% and 14% respectively. Given Reid's rat like personality, his ability to mispeak at will ("Obama has no Negro dialect" - tea party goers are "evil mongers", etc.), his business dealings with his sons who are all lobbyists, his hiding the Senate actions from the public, and his pushing a colossus of disaster in the health care bill, I have only one questiion: Who are the fools that comprise the 36% that still support this man? I only hope he decides to stay in the race, so that he can be publicly repudiated by his state in November. His legacy shold be a big defeat --he certainly has earned that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scott Brown

I watched the debate between Brown and Coakley in the special election in Massachusetts and I was extremely impressed with Brown. It seems that Coakley was completely out in left field, while Brown was focused and insightful. How could someone actually claim that there are no more terrorists or Taliban in Afghanistan and still hope to be elected to the senate? that had to be Coakley's low point for the evening. Who does she think is killing the US servicement who are dying in that country? Are the deaths all due to traffic accidents? She is an idiot in my opinion. Just imagine what would have happened if Sarah Palin had said the same thing!

It has been quite an amazing ten days

I left for vacation about a week and a half ago and expected things to be relatively quiet. Boy was I wrong. It now seems that Scott Brown has a chance to take the senate race in Massachusetts, Harry Reid is a closet racist, Team Obama can't even manage the TSA, Obama still cannot bring himself to get committed to the war on terror even when the USA is attacked, Obamacare is not the steamroller that it appeared after the Senate passage, Democrats are sinking quickly with sure Republican pickups appearing in places like North Dakota, and, well, you get the picture.

There is a little less than ten months until the November elections. Much can and will happen by that time. Still, things look better now for the GOP than at any time since 2004 in my opinion.

This, of course, leads to the a very difficult choice for Republicans. Should they stand by and watch the Democrats commit suicide, or should they present their own program for the recovery of the USA and allow the voters to choose? I vote for the program and the clear choice. Power should not be an end in itself for a political party or one ends up with nonsense like we are getting now with the Dems. After all, does anyone believe that the current healthcare bills would stand any chance of passage if Democrats voted on the basis of what is best for the country rather than what they perceive to be best for their party? I doubt that any but the most committed ideologue could believe such a thing. Republicans need a program which increases job growth, not just the mantra of lower taxes. They also need a program to reduce government spending and the size of the deficit rather than just announcing the goal. The GOP also needs to have its own view on the healthcare system which it announces. A party view on the War on Terror issues also must be presented. Obviously, the GOP cannot speak with one voice since it does not hold the presidency and has no clear leader as a result. Nevertheless, a coherent set of shared values and positions would go a long way towards restoring the ability of the GOP to heal the damage that it did to itself during Bush's second term.

One last thing is also needed. Republicans need to project a sunny optimism about the country. Not because some consultant tells them to do so, but because they actually believe that things can and will get better. Nastiness may excite the base, but it is a major flop with most people.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010

I want to wish you all a happy and healthy 2010.

I will be away for about two weeks on vacation. Hopefully, things will get along without me until then.