Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Auntie Em. You're Not in Kansas Kenya Anymore?
Originally posted November 2, 2008, but re-posted in light of this new development.

The following post is not about Obama's recently discovered Kenyan aunt who lives in public housing in Boston. Nor is it about the donations she was making to her nephew's campaign. It's about the fact that today Obama sent the $260 back to his aunt since it is illegal to accept donations from foreigners--much less illegal aliens.

So as you read this, understand that I'm not picking on his poor 56-year-old "Auntie Zeituni," his Kenyan father's half-sister, whom he included affectionately in his book, Dreams of My Fathers. "She was the first person to greet him when he stepped off a plane and arrived for the first time in Kenya. 'Welcome home,' Zeituni said, kissing me on both cheeks," Obama wrote." I don't think undue attention should be paid to Obama's aunt--no more than is paid to the other 10,000,000 illegal aliens living here--except perhaps in that she filed paperwork to stay but was denied and court-ordered to return to Kenya in 2004, an order she has defied for four years and counting.
I have no issue with Obama's alien aunt, and in fact, I Peter 2:11-13 gives Christians reason to relate to aliens in this world. I have addressed what might be a Christ-like approach to illegal aliens in this retelling of the Good Samaritan. The following thoughts are not about the aunt. The Republicans had nothing to do with this story, and like the Republicans, who have called this a "family matter," I'll steer clear of this touchy development... as it pertains to her. But as it pertains to Obama's pattern of denials... that's a different matter.
It should be noted that Obama cared enough about his sweet aunt back in the 80's to visit her in Kenya; he cared enough in 1992 to visit there again and introduce her to his wife-to-be; he cared enough about her in 1999 to fly her to Chicago for a visit while he served in the Illinois Senate; he cared enough about her in 2004 to fly her from Kenya (with only a temporary tourist visa) to D.C. for his induction into the U.S. Senate; he cared enough to take her call when she told him in 2006 that she never returned to Kenya after she came to see him sworn in. It was then she told him she was living in Boston. I think it's great that he has cared enough about this lady for 20 years. I just think it's strange that he hasn't cared enough for her.

Yesterday the "illegal alien" part of the story broke (Or did it break? I've not seen it on TV. Nor have I seen it--but for this puff piece-- in the Boston Globe that smeared Romney during the primaries for hiring "illegals.") And how did Obama respond? He did it again. He claimed to know everything but the inconvenient, controversial information about the person. He did it with Wright, with Ayers, with Rezko, with Khalidi, and now he's doing the same thing with his aunt; Obama claims he didn't know she had not gained citizenship or legal status.

Oh, really? The same sweet "Auntie Zeituni," you flew in on "visiting visas" for two events in your life? You didn't care enough to send her a card when she gained legal status through the INS (or to be present at her ceremony had she been sworn in as an American citizen)? We either have to believe you didn't care about the moment she became "legal" or that you knew she was illegal but you didn't care enough to intervene.

Again, I'm not raising questions about this sweet lady. I don't want her deported. If Obama gets elected, it would be wonderful if she has a seat of honor. Speaking of wonder...
I do wonder 'why Boston and not Chicago?' (Did she get work and housing with some help from Obama's Harvard-years network?) I do wonder how it is that an illegal alien qualifies to live in "public housing" underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. I do wonder how without a green card she is employed by the Boston Housing Authority. I do wonder how it is that not her but other foreign sources give money (large and small amounts) undetected. I do wonder how many other illegal foreign contributions were in Obama's $600,000,000 stash of cash. I do wonder if she or any of the other 10,000,000 illegal aliens have managed to find fake IDs and an address (or park bench to claim as their address) so they can vote.

I do wonder how much his aunt's living here affected his answer in this debate. Or if it helped motivate him during this speech at NCLR. Or if it affected his objectivity as he "played a key role in the crafting of the immigration reform bill.

Even more troubling are the many other unbelievable provisions Obama put in his bill that will give illegals the EITC, yes that's the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is the money taken from people who pay taxes given to those who do not in Obama's "Spread the Wealth" plan. Listen to the whole clip, and understand that it pertains to both Obama’s illegal immigration “give aways” and his future promise to spend your money to help Auntie Zeituni and the millions like her living here in defiance of our laws.

I'm wondering a lot of things about this overnight story, but I'm not going to touch it. I'm not going to do to Auntie Zeituni what the Dems and the media did to "Joe the Plumber." Hear that? Leave the poor lady alone, but feel free to shout a big "YEAH, RIGHT!" at Obama as you ponder this most recent denial of yet another inconvenient detail about someone near and dear to him. [Update Monday: Maybe "near and dear" was a stretch. When asked about his aunt by Katie Couric, Obama said, yes, she should be deported. Ouch! That's harsher treatment than he suggests for the other 10,000,000 for whom he supports amnesty. Poor Auntie Zeituni. No ticket to the inauguration for you. You better go hide with Uncle Omar. Although, I'm confident you have nothing to fear--your nephew will reverse his statement AFTER the election.]

End of original post from November.
Emphasis added March 31, 2009, after reading this article.
I hate to say "I told you so" so I won't....

First 4 comments below are from back in November...

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Problem with "Joe Cool" Mode

Paleez! Mr. President. Don't just say you didn't mean to offend The Special Olympics. Of course you didn't mean to offend--but not meaning to do something does not mean it didn't happen. Especially when you've decided to do it before one of the largest "Tonight Show" audiences in history. Own the mistake. Learn form it. And admit that the one problem with being in "Joe Cool" mode is that we get feeling so "cool" so "calm" so "collected" that we put our foot in our mouth.

If you haven't seen the clip, watch it again and see how the headlines have it slightly wrong:

Most of today's headlines are saying "After comparing his bowling to the Special Olympics on 'The Tonight Show'... " or something like that. It's actually much worse than that.

The President is not comparing his bowling to the Special Olympics--He is comparing the fact that Jay is saying "...that's very good" [snicker snicker] He is comparing that patronizing tone, that "grown up" telling the "special needs kid" he's good when he presumably is not good... that's when he says "This is like Special Olympics or something." He reaches toward Jay Leno's elbow and says "This IS LIKE" not "It WAS LIKE" .... He is referring to the present, to the fact that in his mind spectators at the Special Olympics "pretend" special needs kids are "very good."

It's always a bad idea to invoke the disadvantaged for a laugh, but I ask you, which is worse: Obama's comparing his average bowling skills to a program for special needs kids? Or revealing before millions of people in his best "Joe Cool" tone that we just pretend like Special Olympians have achieved something when in reality they don't measure up to what we "cool" people do in life.

Paleez! Mr. President. Of course, you didn't mean to offend, but in that moment your meaning was clear and your meaning was mean. That is forgivable. We've all done it. But own it. Learn from it. And give us some hope that in the future, when you're away from a teleprompter in the middle of some sort "crisis" that involves gaining confidence with another world leader, you'll remember that "President of the United States" mode trumps "Joe Cool" mode.

I have not watched TV or heard the radio yet today, but I dare say the one person who will be flooded with requests for feedback will be Governor Sarah Palin, the mother of a downs syndrome child. Her response will not be as cool as "Joe Cool's" but I'll bet she will be as graciously forgiving as what the spokesperson for the Special Olympics said today:

“It’s important to see that words hurt, and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seen as humiliating or a put-down of people with special needs do cause pain, and they do result in stereotypes."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Those Germans are Full of Beans!

I'm pretty sure this is not a joke.

"Not wanting to miss the boat, a German food company has now gotten into the act. Sprehe, a company that has all manner of frozen delicacies on offer, has come up with a new product it calls "Obama Fingers." Far from being real digits, though, the "fingers" in question are "tender, juicy pieces of chicken breast, coated and fried," as the product packaging claims."

Those funny Germans. What will they think of next? The company behind the product claims it is merely trying to pay homage to the popular president, but I'm afraid their product will fail like its many predecessors:

Who could forget Hitler Hams and Mussolini Alfredo back in the '40's? Or Nixon Nuggets in the 70's? Or Saddam Soda and Clinton Wings in the 90's? When will people learn that naming food after world leaders is as risky as tattooing your first date's name on your ring finger. Odds are you're going to regret it before the ink dries.

The author of the article says Americans will find racial overtones in the product name. Oh, Paleez! They said "fingers" not "toes." This product’s name is tasteless not but not racist. I can't believe some German marketing expert actually "thought it through." But this is one of many, many tacky things that will be done as the world "pays homage" or tries to cash in on the popular U.S. president.
I dare say they will all pail in comparison to the lampooning of President Bush that went without complaint for many years.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a can of Bush’s Baked Beans.
[The products in paragraph three are fictitious, of course.]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

S.C. Governor Evokes Zimbabwe
in Arguments Against Stimulus

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- The United States faces a Zimbabwe-style economic collapse if it keeps "spending a bunch of money we don't have," South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday.

"What you're doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don't have and send it to different states, we'll create jobs," he said. "If that's the case, why isn't Zimbabwe a rich place?"

Read the whole article here. It seems so obvious--it's scary!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Manchurian Candidate

To fully apprecriate this article by Kevin Hassett, rent that 1962 classic, The Manchurian Candidate. You will not only get to see Angela Lansbury play a villian, but you'll learn a cultural literacy term, "manchurian candidate," that is to politics what the term "Stepford Wives" is to the Women's Movement.

Based on the fictional work, a "manchurian candidate" is a brainwashed, blank slate "puppet" president who is manipulated into the White House to destroy the country from within. So complete was his brainwashing many years before his meteoric rise in politics that he doesn't even know he's being controlled by others on cue. At first read, I thought this article was over the top, but it makes more sense as you think about how counter-productive and anti-free-market so many of Obama's CHANGES are. Thank heavens we know he was never in Manchuria.

Manchurian Candidate’ Starts War on Business:
By Kevin Hassett

Back in the 1960s,
Lyndon Johnson gave us the War on Poverty. In the 1970s, Richard Nixon launched the War on Drugs. Now that we have seen President Barack Obama’s first-year legislative agenda, we know what kind of a war he intends to wage.
It is no wonder that markets are imploding around us. Obama is giving us the War on Business.

Imagine that some hypothetical enemy state spent years preparing a “Manchurian Candidate” to destroy the U.S. economy once elected. What policies might that leader pursue?

He might discourage private capital from entering the financial sector by instructing his Treasury secretary to repeatedly promise a brilliant rescue plan, but never actually have one. Private firms, spooked by the thought of what government might do, would shy away from transactions altogether. ...
There are two steps to accomplish that.

Discourage Innovation

First, one way the economy might finally take off is for some entrepreneur to invent an amazing new product that launches something on the scale of the dot-com boom. If you want to destroy an economy, you have to persuade those innovators not even to try.
Second, you need to initiate entitlement programs that are difficult to change once enacted. These programs should transfer assets away from productive areas of the economy as efficiently as possible. Ideally, the government will have no choice but to increase taxes sharply in the future to pay for new entitlements.

A leader who pulled off all that might be able to finish off the country.

Let’s see how Obama’s plan compares with our nightmare scenario.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been so slow to act that even liberal economist and commentator Paul Krugman is criticizing the administration for “dithering.” It has gotten so bad that the Intrade prediction market now has a future on whether Geithner is gone by year’s end. It currently puts the chance of that at about 20 percent.

No More Deferral
On the tax hike, Obama’s proposed 2010 budget quite ominously signaled that he intends to end or significantly amend the U.S. practice of allowing U.S. multinationals to defer U.S. taxes on income that they earn abroad.

Currently, the U.S. has the second-highest corporate tax on Earth. U.S. firms can compete in Europe by opening a subsidiary in a low-tax country and locating the profits there. Since the high U.S. tax applies only when the money is mailed home, and firms can let the money sit abroad for as long as they want, the big disadvantage of the high rate is muted significantly.

End that deferral opportunity and U.S. firms will no longer be able to compete, given their huge tax disadvantage. With foreign tax rates so low now, it is even possible that the end of deferral could lead to the extinction of the U.S. corporation.

If any firms are to remain, they will be festooned with massive carbon-permit expenses because of Obama’s new cap-and- trade program.

Obama’s attack on intellectual property is evident in his aggressive stance against U.S. pharmaceutical companies in the budget. He would force drug companies to pay higher “rebate” fees to Medicaid, and he included wording that suggests Americans will soon be able to import drugs from foreign countries. The stock prices of drug companies, predictably, tanked when his budget plan was released.

Obama will allow cheap and potentially counterfeit substitutes into the country and will set the U.S. price for drugs equal to the lowest price that any foreign government is able to coerce from our drugmakers.

Given this, why would anyone invest money in a risky new cancer trial, or bother inventing some other new thing that the government could expropriate as soon as it decides to?
Finally, Obama has set aside $634 billion to establish a health-reform reserve fund, a major first step in creating a universal health-care system. If you want to have health care for everyone, you have to give it to many people for free. Once we start doing that, we will never stop, at least until the government runs out of money.

It’s clear that President Obama wants the best for our country. That makes it all the more puzzling that he would legislate like a Manchurian Candidate.

(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

There's Something Happening Here...

What it is Ain't Exactly Clear...

Two days ago, Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke to a joint session of congress. There is an earnest optimism in his plea for the U.S (whom he calls the “indispensable nation”) to "seize the moment." I am including this portion of his speech, not because the hopeful tone is not welcome in these uncertain times, but because they underscore the global nature of the uncertainty and the need for a leader of unprecedented global appeal and charisma to step up and "save the day."

Like no other time in world history, their seems to be an immanent yearning for all nations to unite and march lock-step by the billions behind the man of their hopes. It is the global nature of this readiness to follow that is historic. Not until recent years could such a person, if he did exist, have the technological means to address virtually the entire world at the same time. I wonder who that person will be? It would take a leader who has both the prominence and the "blank slate" persona that would allow this diverse world to project its disjointed ideals upon a man and say "He's the one"? Hmmmmmm....

The title of this post, for what it's worth, comes from that hit from the Sixties, but I suspect that song's warning may play out quite differently next time around.

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