Shades of Gray

SOTU – The “post-rally” review

Posted in Barack Obama, Budget, D.C., Economy, SOTU, United States of America, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on January 29, 2010

I consider myself an educated man. I like to read. I can speak and write fairly well. I can usually tell within 2-3 minutes of meeting a person if there will be a need for a second meeting. I keep telling the folks that I manage that knowledge is a good thing. I seek out new knowledge every day. I recently learned that I need to look for employment elsewhere, since my current employer is not a good fit. That is good knowledge to have, right?

I only have about 45 hours of coursework (I think, I haven’t checked my transcripts in at least 5 years) towards an AA degree in Business Administration, however, I believe that a diploma is only worth the paper it is written on.  We all know college graduates that can’t think their way through the $1 menu at Wendy’s. Anyway, in my mind knowledge is king. The more knowledge you have, the better. If you are not receiving the knowledge you want, then it is up to you to make a change, not someone else. A caveat that I must include here is that how you use the knowledge you have gained speaks to your moral character, and to a large degree, the way that knowledge was presented to you. Now that I have said my piece about knowledge and the inherent good and bad that comes with it, I will continue on to the subject of this post.

To be honest, I missed the first 15 minutes of the SOTU Rally because my 3-year-old daughter decided to find out just how loud (and long) she could scream “nobody will help me get to bed” before my wife or I gave in and went back into her room and “helped” her (after she was already tucked in, along with her horse, elephant, giraffe, frog and dog.) I lost after 45 minutes, but only by default. My wife had a headache and said she couldn’t handle it at the moment. I am still positive that I am smarter than a 3-year-old, even though she did break her record by 10 minutes.

I was actually anticipating this speech. Can you believe that? I don’t know why I keep thinking, “This guy (and the people who pump him his information) can’t be THAT bad. He must sincerely be trying to do what he thinks is right for the country.” After listening and watching the jack-in-the-box show by Nancy Pelosi (even VP Biden was giving her sideways looks) and the right (ironic, isn’t it?) side of the chamber, I can comfortably say that President Obama (and by association, his staff) is pissed off at the people of the United States. Either that, or he is so ensconced in his cocoon of non-stop campaigning and speeches and photo ops (160+ flights on Air Force 1 in a single year? Really?) that he cannot remotely understand what the hub-bub is about. You know what I think? I think he is stunned that his popularity has fallen – even a little. At the beginning of his Presidency, he was confident in his speeches, with no idea how to lead this Country. Now? He still is confident in his speeches, with no idea how to lead this Country.

Did he really say he would not “give up” onUniversal Health Care? Even after the majority of polls ( I cannot read them all) tell him that the folks he is trying to help would rather he give up on Universal Health Care?

Did he really ask anyone with a better plan to “let him know” when the GOP has a website (http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare) with just what he is looking for? 

Did he really, in all honesty, tell the SCOTUS that they f’ed up on Campaign Finance Reform? And not know that he was so badly mistaken in his understanding and subsequent representation of the decision? He is a constitutional lawyer, right? I wonder who vetted that part of the teleprompter…

Did he really say he was proposing a spending freeze (on a small portion of the budget) and then go on to say he was pushing forward with Cap & Trade (more spending), Universal Health Care (lots more spending) and taking $33 billion of “recovered money from the banks” and spending it on other stuff? Seriously?

As I typed earlier, I consider myself an educated man. It does not take a college degree to ponder what President Obama said and not wonder what in the hell he was thinking. Do you think he even bothered to scan the speech before it was loaded into the teleprompter? I see contempt for the workings of our government (even as politically damaged as they are), contempt for the people of the United States (even as economically damaged as they are) and a serious case of weknowitis. Simply put, he thinks the system sucks, he thinks the people denouncing his policies suck and he wants everyone to get out of the way and let him and his people handle it, because they know what is best for us.

I have never met this man and I know I do not want a first meeting let alone a second. He scares me.

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No We Can’t

Posted in Washington, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 19, 2009

The WH has taken a plan to charge war veterans private health insurance carriers for service related injuries off the table, according to Nancy Pelosi, thanks to a phone call from the President while on his way to California today. 

How could the Obama cabal (thank you, Mr. Gibbs) not understand that Americans, especially war veterans, would find this plan unacceptable? Is the magnitude of proposed health care reform clouding the judgement (and moral sensibility) of the White House? The $ savings being mentioned add up to approximately $540 million.

Is that all it takes to insult our war veterans? I can’t keep count of the total lack of respect the White House is showing to anyone that enters the sacred domain. It doesn’t matter who it is that comes to call, be it foreign dignitaries or American citizens.

I guess we should be pleased that it only took a couple of days for them to come to their senses. Give the administration a couple more days to decide who to blame for coming up with the plan.

Another day, another classless mistake.

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Just Because

Posted in General, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 18, 2009

Now this is funny.

 

Obama/Urkel

Obama/Urkel

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A Fraud You Can Believe In

Posted in White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 18, 2009

Oh, my – what a statement. Really gets the blood flowing, doesn’t it? Keep reading….

The hopes and prayers of the American people have finally been answered with the election of a new president: A fraud they can believe in.

Yes, and even as Barack Obama demonstrates he is a fraud, phony and hypocrite par excellence — who also happens to be in way over his head — the American people still believe in him. Yes, love is grand and his approval rating is still miraculously high. If the truth were known, that approval rating would be sinking lower than the stock market, home prices or the economy.

I doubted he was the Messiah, but now I’m not sure. When a president can be the greatest wealth destroyer in history and still maintain high approval ratings, maybe he does have supernatural powers. What’s more he is god-like. It is said God so loved the poor that he made many of them; Mr. Obama is almost outdoing God by turning so many into poor people.

As I surveyed the disaster that is the Obama administration, I was surprised by how many memorable statements of the past put the present and the president into such clear perspective. I have a weakness for books of quotations and I was re-reading that fascinating book by Robert Byrne titled, The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said.

In it, I came across the quote that describes our recent American history so perfectly. Will Durst, a comedian, put it perfectly when he said, “Voters want a fraud they can believe in.”

Click here for more.

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Homeland Insecurity

Posted in Homeland Security, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 18, 2009

Guess who really is making our Country a bigger target to the world? Dick Chaney may be throwing around some sour grapes but a few of them stuck to the wall.

The Russians and the Chinese have just both announced military buildups, and the Iranian nuclear threat was described as, “real” — “dangerous.”

Venezuela offered an island off its Caribbean coast as a support base for strategic Russian bombers.  Cuba could be used to base Russian aircraft, too.  North Korea threatened war.

Osama bin Laden called for a renewed jihad.

What did Obama do?

He ordered the Secretary of Defense to prepare for the most far-reaching reduction in the Pentagon’s weapons portfolio since the end of the Cold War, according to aides.

Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Robert M. Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month.  Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said.

More cuts are planned for later this year, after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.

He’s only doing what he promised he’d do (video).  Sometimes, about some things, you can take this guy’s word to the bank.

And then:

The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries.  The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion.  “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.”

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, “This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle’ given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies.  I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America’s veterans!”

Talk about a kick in the gut! Is Obama going to go to the ‘other’ wing of Walter Reed and talk to recovering soldiers about his plans? Obama would certainly see some change he could believe in there. This policy is the most morally offensive action Obama has championed. He is looking to generate $540 million? Why must our injured military be forced to bear yet another burden? Obama has no shame.  

And witness how the Obama administration portrays themselves to the country (and the rest of the world.)

“The country looks to the President on occasions like this to be reassuring to the nation.  Some Presidents do it well, some Presidents don’t.”

That’s how ABC’s Peter Jennings assessed President George W. Bush’s performance on Sept. 11, 2001.  The criticism was superficial, shortsighted and unfair, given that President Bush’s finest moments came in rallying the country after 9/11 — not scapegoating the previous administration.

Bush didn’t spend the next few months claiming that he “inherited” a national security mess, nor did he complain about the economy which faltered in two of the final three quarters under President Clinton before contracting again in Bush’s first year.

Likewise, President Reagan didn’t whine about the soaring unemployment and burgeoning inflation that awaited him after President Carter’s tenure.

These men understood that they campaigned for the opportunity to serve as President and to lead by making difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions.

That’s why Obama’s transformation from a candidate of hope and change to a president of gloom, blame and opportunism is so disappointing — even for those who didn’t buy what he was selling as a candidate.  His ability to truly inspire 53% of the voters seemed, at least, refreshing.

Now, the Obama team takes every opportunity to complain that they “inherited” a deficit, an “economic crisis,” and “a big mess.”

No hope, just bellyaching.

Does anyone still think this guy knows what he is doing? It seems that since he has nothing to campaign for – other than his ill-conceived and hackneyed policies – he is spinning his wheels trying to look busy. Will Bush be blamed for the failure of Obama’s policies? Do not doubt for a moment that he will not. President Obama has no problem standing before our nation and ‘reading’ a good speech. He does, however, have a problem speaking the truth. He is certainly not being upfront about his radical upbringing, his 20 year ‘active’ membership at a radical church, his working relationships with radical terrorists, and his continued radical friendships.

Anyone care to guess what will come out of the Oval Office next? 

Obama wants your guns – just ask him

Posted in Guns, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 18, 2009

The  Washington Times  recently questioned the Obama administration’s policy redirecting federal $ from the post-9/11 program allowing pilots to carry firearms.

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now PresidentObama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.

Nothing is perfect, sure – but why do away with program now?

Since Mr. Obama’s election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers – the pilots who have been approved to carry guns – indicate that the approval process has stalled out.

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews.

So – follow me here – extrapolating this Obama administration policy to a logical conclusion, the only people who will have guns will be Law Enforcement, the Military, and bad guys. What about the rest of us?

Arming pilots after Sept. 11 was nothing new. Until the early 1960s, American commercial passenger pilots on any flight carrying U.S. mail were required to carry handguns. Indeed, U.S. pilots were still allowed to carry guns until as recently as 1987. There are no records that any of these pilots (either military or commercial) ever causing any significant problems.

Screening of airplane passengers is hardly perfect. While armed marshals are helpful, the program covers less than 3 percent of the flights out of Washington D.C.’s three airports and even fewer across the country. Sky marshals are costly and quit more often than other law-enforcement officers.

Armed pilots are a cost-effective backup layer of security. Terrorists can only enter the cockpit through one narrow entrance, and armed pilots have some time to prepare themselves as hijackers penetrate the strengthened cockpit doors. With pilots, we have people who are willing to take on the burden of protecting the planes for free. About 70 percent of the pilots at major American carriers have military backgrounds.

I really don’t see the problem here. Do you? There are no independent polls in which the public is demanding that pilots disarm. Exactly why is it that this kind of crap takes precedence over fixing our economy?

Only anti-gun extremists and terrorist recruits are worried about armed pilots. So why is the Obama administration catering to this tiny lobby at the expense of public safety?

The hole this administration is digging for our Country will be deeper than we can imagine.

White House concerned about backlash over bailout?

Posted in Bailout, White House by Wayland Abernathy III on March 17, 2009

It seems that folks in our White House are looking for ways to get out from under their bailout policies already; or at least explain away any direct involvement with those policies and their relation to the President’s agenda. It seems that people are actually complaining about what the President is doing. Can you believe that? What nerve…

The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Barack Obama’s agenda.

Hhhmmm. What gave them that idea? I bet it didn’t come up in the 8:30am conference call with “The Lefty Gang.” And to add to the fun:

The administration’s sharp rebuke of the American International Group on Sunday for handing out $165 million in executive bonuses — Lawrence H. Summers, director of the president’s National Economic Council, described it as “outrageous” on “This Week” on ABC — marks the latest effort by the White House to distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger.

Sorry, folks, but you cannot get far enough away from the abuses that have been piled up. Guess what? There’s more fun to be had:

“We’ve got enormous problems that need to be addressed,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview. “And it’s hard to address because there’s a lot of anger about the irresponsibility that led us to this point.”

“This has been welling up for a long time,” he said.

That would be hilarious if this wasn’t just another way to show the American people that Obama is “doing what’s best for the Country.” Is Axelrod saying that “a lot of anger”, in the form of a populist backlash, is keeping President Obama from moving forward with his agenda? So now, the American people are to blame for holding up the gravy spending train? Is he serious?

Mr. Obama’s aides said any surge of such a sentiment could complicate efforts to win congressional approval for the additional bailout packages that Mr. Obama has signaled will be necessary to stabilize the banking system.

As it is, there have already been moves in Congress to limit compensation to executives at banks and Wall Street firms that are receiving government help to survive.

Yes, he is serious. This just isn’t funny anymore.

Why can’t Congress limit compensation to themselves before they try to force any business to do so? Congress is receiving government help to survive, too. And why can’t they seem to get through the vetting process without missing the obvious stuff? Don’t they have staffers that know what they are doing – yet?

An Employee Retention Plan (PDF) was in place between AIG and many of their executives. Whether these contracts would hold up under scrutiny remains to be seen. To date, a copy of a contract has not been submitted for perusal. Check out the letter that AIG CEO Ed Liddy sent to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (PDF).

Enjoy the hearing by the House Financial Services Committee tomorrow at 10:00 am EST. Seems to me that Barney Frank continues to direct his hollering at the wrong people. Someone should throw up a mirror in front of the dais so the comments reach the proper party.

To continue:

A New York Times/CBS News Poll in February found that 83 percent of respondents said the government should cap the amount of compensation earned by executives of companies that are getting federal assistance.

Mr. Obama’s advisers argued that to at least some extent, this was a sentiment they could tap to push through his measures in Congress, including raising taxes on the wealthy. They pointed out that in his speech to Congress, Mr. Obama denounced corporations that “use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet.”

Has Nancy Pelosi incorporated herself? She and many others in Congress, across party lines, “use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet.” I’m just sayin’….

Still, aides acknowledged the risks of a backlash as Mr. Obama tries to signal that he shares American anger but pushes for more bail-out money for banks and Wall Street.

For all his political skills and his capturing of the nation’s desire for change in the 2008 election, Mr. Obama, a product of Harvard Law School who calls upscale Hyde Park in Chicago home, has shown little inclination to strike a more populist tone. The danger, aides said, is that if he were to become identified as an advocate for the banks and Wall Street, people could take out their anger on him.

“The change now is you have a free-floating economic anxiety that has expressed itself in a kind of lashing out at those being bailed out and people who are bailing out,” said Michael Kazin, a professor at Georgetown University who has written on populism. “There’s not really a sense of what the solution is.”

“I do think there’s a potential for a ‘damn everybody in power’ kind of sentiment,” Mr. Kazin said.

Very insightful, don’t you think? Thanks for stating the obvious, Mr. Kazin. We appreciate that.