January 2009

I hope as many people as possible see the new “Pledge” video made by Hollywood celebrities including actress Demi Moore and her boy-toy Ashton Kutcher, of “Punked” fame. You can view it for yourself, below:

Now, I might be unsophisticated and naive, but I have never had the urge to pledge my fealty to a president or a political leader. But this video is a prime example of just how crazy the Obamabots truly are. I have never seen a cult-of-personality zeal similar to this since the old newsreels from the 1930′s in a certain central European country. And I think we can all agree that that didn’t turn out very well. If you watched the video closely, you could see the true lunacy and insanity of these Hollywood elites. In a way, it is silly and amusing, but in another more serious way, it is frightening.

The ideas of community service and personal responsibility are noble endeavors…but don’t these folks understand that millions upon millions of Americans have already discovered these concepts, and furthermore have been practicing them for years and years and years? It (for the most part) didn’t take a political candidate, raised to cult figure prominence by an adoring press and media, to help them decide to do good works for their fellow man. I imagine they do what they do because they love their God and their fellow man!

My question is, what stopped these celebrities from doing their good works for the past eight years? For example the one young lady pledges to plant 500 trees. What happened, did George Bush hide her shovel or something??

And doesn’t the other young lady who pledges to stop drinking bottled water realize that she’s not just “saving” plastic or harming (what she considers) the fat-cat, plastics-grubbing CEOs, she’s advocating putting so many average Janes and Joes who earn their livings in bottling plants and by driving trucks, etc. in the bottled water industry out of work through her action? Is hers REALLY a good pledge?

It is pathetic that these folks needed to get their way, politically and ideologically speaking, for them to come into full blossom in their public service. Their candidate won, so they are going to enforce their ideology with their service. Again, where were they for the past eight years?? I petition you that TRUE, sincere service and volunteerism doesn’t require an idol…it comes from the heart. It doesn’t serve, nor is it driven by,  an ideology. Their service might have smacked more genuine and authentic if they had chosen to serve at a time when a president that they disliked or disagreed with was in office. But their “pledges” smack of a DNC-driven marketing ploy — you know, pure political propaganda for pure political gain.

You mean to tell me that if John McCain had somehow won the election, that these folks would have folded their tents — taken their bats and balls and gone home — because they weren’t specifically asked to volunteer and to serve. Are they that shallow or that stupid?

To me, the most sickening part of the video is at the very end where they pledge themselves to President Obama. What’s up with that? Maybe they need to brush up on their 10 commandments:

  • Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

What do I know…I’m not a beautiful-person liberal. I’m just a nobody who didn’t need a golden calf or political totem to prompt me to serve my community and my fellow man!

But this video, and the pledges within it, were a call to action for me to make my own pledge:

I pledge to reduce my consumption of the “products” that are produced by Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Acknowledging that the production of these various products waste considerable natural resources, despite the claims that some movie productions, for example, are “carbon neutral”, I have a responsibility as a private citizen to help reduce the wasted energy during production and the wasted energy during the consumption. This wasted energy would include that required, for example in the case of a motion picture:

  • the energy it takes to drive to and from the theater,
  • the energy it takes to heat/cool the theater,
  • the energy it takes to show the actual motion picture,
  • the energy to prepare and sell tickets and concessions.

The wasted energy can be considerable, so I pledge to reduce my part, and to encourage others to do the same.

I can see that the products that Hollywood and the entertainment industry offer have an enormous carbon footprint, if all things are considered on the production end AND on the consumption end. For instance, just consider how much energy is wasted by the countless televisions used to view the end product of the entertainment industry in each American’s home. I know my pledge will do some good in this world, and yet I don’t have to publicly acclaim my allegiance or fealty to a political figure or to a political party or cause. My actions will speak solely for themselves!

And just maybe a useful residue of my pledge will be that I will not have to suffer through the self-righteous and venal videos expounding the crazy political causes and viewpoints of rich and spoiled Hollywood celebrities. Perhaps my humble pledge will help to remove these parasites, whose voices are heard in disproportionate volume to the remainder of citizens, from the political process once and for all.

One can dream, can’t one?

Sometimes I can’t help wondering if we haven’t collectively fallen down the rabbit hole and emerged in an Alice In Wonderland-esque world where right is wrong, left is right, and up is down. This feeling is strongest when I see the very people who planted the seeds of doom in regards to the mortgage lending meltdown and crisis have been placed in charge of fixing this situation. I’m left wondering if there is any justice or fairness in this world.

Take this afternoon when I saw Barney Frank (D-MA) riding herd over a Congressional hearing regarding the disposition of the remainder of the $700 billion in bailout funds. He and his Democratic House cohorts are shameless in their blame of everyone else, yet they take no blame for their part in this economic mess. This is even worse because there are countless YouTube clips of the likes of Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) defending the actions of Fannie and Freddie, as well as the actions of the Congress to make mortgages available to those who obviously couldn’t pay for them. In fact, even though this crisis has occurred and negatively affected so many people, several of the Democratic legislators at today’s hearing were only interested in making sure that homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages did not get evicted or lose their homes.

This topsy-turvy attitude from our legislators is disturbing. They are obviously taking sides with those who helped get us into this mess in the first place. And the lack of remorse and contrition from these Democrat demagogues is appaling. And galling.

The only way to right this situation is to “unelect” these fools. Each day that they are allowed to legislate and to run committees and form investigative panels to fix the problems that they caused in the first place is one too many.

I beg you to do the right thing. I beg you to send them home once and for all, and for good.

It didn’t take long after the election for president-elect Obama to renege on one his oft-repeated campaign pledges — that businesses get a tax credit for each job created or saved. I say oft-repeated because this campaign bromide was used as an applause line at many campaign venues.

Well, today this tax credit pledge for businesses has gone the way of the dodo bird. It was eliminated because Congressional Democrats didn’t like this idea of giving tax credits to businesses, and it wasn’t popular with Congressional Republicans because they felt it didn’t go far enough to stimulate business growth. It also wasn’t favorable to the IRS because this agency advised that it would be difficult to determine how many jobs were saved or created. The IRS was concerned that this tax credit would be abused.

So, quicker than you can say “Change”, this much-touted campaign pledge is gone. So long business stimulus! You’re probably asking yourself, “Where is the hypocrisy?” Well, Obama and his minions have been advertising that his $800+ billion stimulus package will “create” as many as 4.1 million jobs. (This equates to approximately $200,000 spent per job created — not such a good return on the investment, wouldn’t you say? But that’s a mere detail to be worked out at a later date.) This 4.1 million job number originally stated at 2.5 million jobs, but the Obama team performed the requisite political alchemy to get the higher, desired number.

My question is “How does the president-elect (and his advisers) know that 4.1 million jobs will be created…and were the jobs created a direct result of the stimulus package?” Obviously, the answer is that the 4.1 million job number is a SWAG (scientific wild-assed guess) by Obama and his economic advisers. Presidents do not create jobs. Presidents do not stimulate jobs. NOTHING a president does, with the exception of vetoing tax and regulation legislation, aids in the creation of a single job. Obama is being quite politically opportunistic in his claims of this number of jobs that his stimulus plan would create.

He was also being quite politically opportunistic in his jettisoning the campaign promise of giving the business tax credits for job creation. After all, how could he or his administration take credit for the jobs created if they were unsure of the actual numbers that were created? And these jobs would be created directly by industry, and not with some government goody or give-away.

I can’t help but being aghast at the level of hypocrisy and political gamesmanship that Obama and his proto-administration have exhibited on these two issues. On the one hand, he sees no problem in spending just shy of a trillion dollars to perhaps (maybe, pretty please) create (fingers crossed) 4.1 million jobs. On the other, he was willing to abandon his longstanding campaign pledge of the business tax credits without so much as a raised voice.

Obama is willing to fully embrace a bailout scheme that will ultimately cost American taxpayers and their progeny’s progeny a lot of hard-earned tax dollars. Perhaps because he will win accolades for his bold, decisive action (as well as his thorough disdain for other people’s money). His abandonment of the business tax credit won’t be remembered — the mainstream media won’t allow this story to linger very long. But Obama’s actions in regards to these two issues reveals a great deal about the man, and goes a long way in filling in some of the blanks about Obama and his personal integrity.

So, in the end, what we’re left with is the power and the glory of the bailout…and massive brownie points for Obama. And when the last kleig light dims, we’re left paying the freight, only to wonder if it was all worth it.

President-elect Obama thinks so! However, I think a lot of the rest of us are still firmly seated on the fence on this one.

Have you noticed that it is imperative that we act “fast” in order to prevent ominous and catastrophic effects from the economic recession that we are presently encountering? You see, according to the Obama administration and their economists if we don’t act fast, we stand to lose millions of jobs and run the risk of thousands of businesses closing. Furthermore, we stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues.

In the minds of Obama and his advisers, we are standing on the precipice of economic Armageddon with 4 toes on each foot hanging over! So, we need to act fast. Act with alacrity. Begin the economic healing with all due speed.

I think you get the picture.

But why so fast? What benefit will we get if we act quickly? Unfortunately, this has not been explained except with lofty warnings and hand waving. I think that the “economic stimulus”, or as I like to term it the “Great Societal Economic Bailout of 2009″ is a means to try and restore an individuals confidence in the economy and to coax consumers to begin free spending anew.

Remember, an economy is pure a human contrivance. And economy does not occur in nature. It does not obey many laws beyond supply and demand. In the final analysis, an economy is always held hostage to human emotion and feeling. If you are concerned that you might lose your job, you will obviously be reluctant to spend any money that you have beyond procuring the barest of essentials. The theory of the stimulus is that if individuals have some extra cash, they will spend it and thus boost the economy. Of course, that is only a theory.

But a wild-card in the proposed “stimulus” is the creation of millions of jobs sponsored by the government for the improvement of transportation infrastructure and other public works projects. This might be viewed as a good thing — the unemployed get paid and the rest of us get the fruits of their labors in the form of improved roads and bridges. It also might be viewed as a colossal boondoggle intended to increase the size of our government, even though the  intent is for the jobs created to be “temporary.”

But a key question is what do we REALLY get for our money? What is the cost benefit analysis? What is the return on our investment? (Oh yes, we are in the end investing OUR money to “stimulate” the economy.) How long will it take the US taxpayer to recoup the estimated $750 billion to $1.2 trillion that will be used for the stimulus? How many new jobs will be created and how many jobs will be “saved?”

Listen, when we individually invest our hard-earned money, we look for satisfactory answers to the previous questions before we put our money to work. Our tax dollars are similarly hard-earned, it’s just we don’t get to directly handle them. Rather, we trust our government to invest them in a satisfactory, rational manner. So shouldn’t we expect our elected representatives, in this case president-elect Obama for his tera-colossal stimulus package, to answer the tough questions regarding our return on our investment?

I hope Obama (and his proto-administration) doesn’t think that the majority of American taxpayers are naive enough to think that the motivations behind the stimulus are purely in the public’s interest. After all, a natural residue of any government spending (and particularly in the case of an approximate trillion dollars in spending) is support for the spending politicians from those who directly benefit from the spending. It is a quid pro quo that cannot be overlooked: This gain in political capital for the politicians is a natural part of the equation. And this political capital will certainly bode well and further bolster the standing of a freshman president, so he will do everything in his power to insure that the stimulus occurs…and fast.

It is very easy to spend other people’s money freely. All it takes is a shake or two of the money tree that I’ve mentioned in previous entries. In a perfect world free of human failings, it should be expected that our elected representatives give us proper justification and adequate accounting of the expenditure of our tax dollars. If they don’t do this, then we should be ready, willing and able to demand this justification and accounting…and that it be provided in a transparent form that is understandable and digestible by the average taxpayer.

Our new leader may want to act quickly, but we shouldn’t let it be so fast that we are left to give our input or objections AFTER the stimulus has already occurred. It is the duty of our elected officials to serve our interests and concerns, and take them seriously. However, don’t hold your breath! This stimulus package is set to pass through the legislative process at full speed, to “help us out.” I’m afraid this will happen regardless if we want the help or not or whether we see problems with the help. If we have any objections, I’m sure it will be suggested that we get with the program — that the government knows what’s best for us.

God help us…

President-elect Obama promised change we could count on. I think we can hold him to his word: He is going to use megatons of change, to the tune of almost a trillion dollars, to try and dig us out of this economic mess in which we’re presently mired. I don’t have direct knowledge of this, but methinks Mr. Obama believes that in addtion to a Rose Garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, that there is a fairly sizeable money tree as well. I think he’s prepared to shake this tree often, and vigorously, to help cure the problems — economic and social, that affect American society.

It’s easy when you’re in a position of leadership to use your ability and your power to throw money at a problem or at problems. There is some statistical chance that there may be success, but unless the problem is thoroughly understood…the chances for a money-induced recovery is slim. This is the case with most well-intentioned social programs originating in Washington, like Depression-era “relief”, Social Security, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs and the myriad other socioeconomic programs that have sucked money from our wallets like an Earthbound financial black hole. It seems that it is easy to create a program and the attendant “relief.” All the politicos and government administrators involved give each other self-assured nods and pats on the back for a job well done. Money is then spent and spent and spent and spent, regardless of the initial projections…with no decrease in funding and most likely funding increases to satisfy the requirement, forever.

You see, unlike the private sector and the rest of the real world, politicians and their tool of implementation, the government, will not meaningfully reconsider or terminate a failing social program or funding stream. In short, they never admit defeat. Because the admission of defeat could lead to public skepticism, and worse, to the “unelection” of the party or parties admitting defeat. So, when the money starts to flow, it is unlikely that the money will dry up. This perpetuates the contemptible individual-government co-dependency that we all are on the hook for funding, and which we observe daily with dismay and disgust. Remember, reputations and legacies are on the line and must be preserved at all costs, regardless of the effect on the hoi polloi.

Enter our president-elect. He’s obviously a young, aggressive guy with a monumental ego and a dusting of hubris far beyond that of a single mortal man. He fancies himself an amalgamation of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. In this light, he sees himself as being someone who can handle and solve large problems for the greater good and, of course, for maximum personal glory. The issue is that Obama has been presented a problem more vexing than the Civil War and more challenging than the Great Depression: the Great Economic Crisis of 2008. He’s prepared to do ANYTHING to solve this crisis. Even though the crisis was initially born of hubris, stupidity and arrogance within his own political party, rather than acting to chastise or punish the guilty parties involved (which would actually correct the problem), he will “solve” the problem with all the money deemed necessary.

Naturally, the solution means that our plucky president-elect will take a firm grip of the trusty old money tree, and shake, shake shake. What the hell, it’s not his money. We can all just work harder and make more. Not that the blood, sweat and tears that it took to earn this money in the first place matters to the “Shaker In Chief”: He’s going to save us from the crisis no matter the cost and whether it hurts us in the long run.

Ahh, but that’s the nature of politics. Results don’t mean as much as intent. Regardless if he spends a trillion dollars (a trillion has twelve zeroes after the one) and the effort comes to naught, he will be applauded for his efforts by his supporters because he was bold in his implementation and he tried everything that he could.

I sure hope our grandchildren’s grandchildren appreciate his efforts as THEY pay off the residue of his actions. Perhaps they will look upon him as a savior of our society and our economy…or maybe not. Only time will tell.