Posts Tagged ‘Optimists’

Senate confirms John Kerry for secretary of state

by Doug Powers on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

This is article 76 of 118 in the topic Obama Appointments

Headline for right-leaning optimists: John Kerry leaving the US Senate

Only three Republicans voted against confirmation:

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of state Tuesday afternoon, with three Republican “no” votes.

The vote was 94 to 3, clearing the way for Kerry to formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday.
Three Republicans voted against Kerry — Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Three Republicans? The 2008 Detroit Lions defensive line gave their opponents stiffer resistance.

Washington Democrat Patty Murray and N. Dakota Republican John Hoeven were absent from the vote, and Kerry voted present.

There will be a special election in Massachusetts on June 25 (primary April 25th) to fill the open Senate seat:

Candidates will have four weeks to collect the 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey has already announced he will seek the seat. Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is considering running on the Republican side.

Back to the Kerry confirmation, here’s Texas Sen. Cornyn’s “no” vote simply explained:

Seung Min Kim @seungminkim

Cornyn spox says he voted no b/c Kerry has “long history of liberal positions that are not consistent with a majority of Texans”

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An Optimistic America

by Alan Caruba on Monday, May 21st, 2012

This is article 687 of 1298 in the topic 2012 Elections

I have always been an optimist. And, I hope, a realist. Of late though, I have been entertaining some pessimist thoughts about the future of America. This runs contrary to one of the enduring attributes of Americans because, like me, they too are optimists.

The great value of national elections is that the issues affecting everyone’s future get discussed. The election of 2008 was an alarming indication of the power of the mainstream media to bamboozle voters. Aided by McCain’s near total lack of charisma or even energy, the media’s wholesale devotion to getting a completely unknown and unvetted Barack Obama elected was and is scary.

One reason for optimism is the way the current campaign to reelect Barack Hussein Obama is struggling to distract voters from the worst record of incompetence of any modern president since Jimmy Carter.

As Obama campaigns non-stop around the nation he never mentions Obamacare, the failed “stimulus” of 2009, or the outrage of the Fast and Furious program to run guns to drug cartels in Mexico. I would put money on the Supreme Court declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. And, with that, goodbye Obama. Feeling a bit more optimistic now?

The problems Americans face today have been put in place by successive Congresses over decades and the blame falls equally on both Democrats and Republicans. Too much socialism!

The 2008 crisis of the housing mortgage and the banking meltdown is the result of government sponsored agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that own half of all the mortgage loans made. There is no reason why the government should be in the mortgage business that for most of the nation’s history was the providence of the banking industry. It was the “bundled” mortgage “assets” that seduced many banking institutions to purchase them.

The nation’s tax system is shot through with special breaks to various elements of the nation’s economy and includes the highest corporate tax of any nation on earth. It requires legions of lobbyists to maintain the special favors and it ignores the lower corporate tax rates that have made other nations more competitive than ours in the global marketplace.

The problem with America is not that it has millionaires and billionaires, but that it does not have more of them. They and other wealthy Americans pay the bulk of all income taxes while some forty percent of Americans pay nothing. That level of inequality is criminal. So is the tax system. It must be reformed as it threatens to make criminals of all who must deal with it.

The failure to reform Social Security and Medicare is yet another problem threatening the economy as a smaller workforce is required to pay for a growing aged population. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 64% of voters would prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes. The findings are consistent with findings since 2006. Just 25% want more services.

The hollowing out of the nation’s military power is a major concern because a strong military is vital for the defense of the nation and, by extension, peace in the world.

Ours has a geriatric fleet of fighter and transport airplanes and a naval fleet that hasn’t been so small since the end of World War II. Our missile system is growing moldy in its silos.

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The Militarization Of America

by John Myers on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This is article 154 of 301 in the topic US Military
The Militarization Of America

A U.S. Marine crosses a bridge during a security patrol in Afghanistan.

America is a declining empire trying to resurrect itself through military intervention and armed occupation.

The more than $1 trillion decade with Iraq has finally ended. But neocon dreams of democracy for Iraq did not pan out. Iraq has a corrupt, shaky and ineffective government. Thousands of people continue to die in sectarian violence as Iraq wallows in a bloody civil war.

As for Afghanistan, most of the original terrorists in al-Qaida who planned 9/11 are either dead, in prison, on the run or holed up in Pakistan. Washington tells us that Pakistan is our most trusted Muslim ally, ignoring Peter Bergen’s 2011 New York Times bestseller The Longest War: The enduring conflict between America and al-Qaeda. Bergen writes that Pakistan has consistently been found to be “one of the most anti-American countries in the world.”

It seems obvious that the continued occupation of Afghanistan — a country that has defeated the armies of the Russian tsars, the British Empire and the Soviet Union — is doomed to fail.

We Need Cronkite

What makes news today are celebrity overdoses, dirt on Presidential candidates and the best new reality series. But consider what Walter Cronkite said on Feb. 27, 1968, following the Tet Offensive: “It seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.”

Cronkite made this statement four years into that war. America is into its second decade of fighting in Afghanistan, and even a stalemate now seems impossible.

If the goals of victory were the killing of Osama bin Laden and the almost complete destruction of al-Qaida within Afghanistan, then victory has been achieved. But if the neoconservatives still believe we can institute a democratic government in Kabul, they are either naïve or initiating wars simply for the sake of war.

For decades, our government has been arrogant in imposing Western principals and ideals. Washington cannot understand that Afghanistan, a tribal and Muslim country, will not accept Western ideals any more than we would accept a prescript declared on us by a foreign power.

Imposing On Others

I am a peaceful fellow who is past middle age. I always tried to either walk or, better yet, run away from a real conflict. But if armed Chinese soldiers occupied and patrolled the streets of my city, I would clean the barrel on my hunting rifle. I am willing to bet that a great many of you would do the same to resist foreign occupation.

Yet Washington thinks American ideals should be welcomed with outstretched arms. Some of this has to do with the experience of World War II and how Europeans welcomed the United States as a liberator.

Here is the catch: The period 1925 to 1945 was an aberration — 20 years of dictators. Consider that before Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, much of Europe had thrived for decades with democracy.

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Playing the Percentages

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, February 12th, 2012

This is article 20 of 82 in the topic Redistribution of wealth/socialism

After occupying the headlines for far too long, Occupy Wall Street was dispersed by a combination of inclement weather, mayoral irritation and having served their purpose. Occupy Oakland will go on doing what it can to depress the economy of an already economically depressed city by attacking its ports. The other Occupations are being moved along back to the Starbucks that spawned them.

As committed Warmists, the Occupiers might have expected that temperatures in the northeast and the midwest in November and December would feel just like a day at the beach in Santa Monica. But while the manipulated hockey stick graphs might have been on their side, the weather wasn’t. Neither were the already overstretched urban budgets turned inside out by having to pay for police overtime, electrical generators and cleanup duty. But most of all they had served their purpose as a launching pad for the Obama 2012 campaign.

The job of the Occupiers was to move the 99 and 1 percent memes into public consciousness, which in between the homeless camps, the rapes and the cardboard signs, they managed to do. Or the media did it for them. Around the time when well-meaning idiots began wearing 99 percent buttons, I thought of getting a 100 percent button. But the 100 percent button wouldn’t have been very accurate. It implies that we’re all in the same boat which is not the case.

The percentage debate is so much nonsense because the issue isn’t class, it’s position. OWS wanted the rest of the country to pay for a small government subsidized middle-class that would either work directly for the government or in occupations supported by government funding. The rich weren’t being pitted against the poor. University grads were pitting themselves against the remnants of the aspirational working class.

Optimists see the glass as half-full and believe that with some effort it can be filled up all the way. Pessimists see the glass as half-empty and want to drink it all, before someone else does. Economic pessimists are also redistributionists, striving to secure their position within a shrinking economy. Economic optimists believe that wealth can come from outside the existing system and don’t see the need for redistribution.

The economic pessimists of the left are acting like stranded castaways who keep bringing up cannibalism as the only way. OWS and Obama 2012 sound like the Donner Party, campaigning on who should get eaten first. Rarely has an incumbent campaigned on economic pessimism. It’s all the more startling when a candidate who ran on hope is now running on hopelessness, but the only way to beat the call for change is to convince people that change is hopeless. That change will leave them even worse off. Economic pessimism is the ideal tool for the job.

The Republicans claim that things will get better while the Democrats whisper that they will only get better for people who aren’t you. Forget about opportunity and vote for someone who will cut you a big slice of the leftovers so you can ride out the decline and fall of the West.

Obama 2012 and OWS is about patronage and their 99 percent slogan broadens the promise of patronage to everyone. Like Ivory’s 99/44 clean or most other 99 percent advertising slogans, it’s a clever fraud.

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Conservatives Get Stupid, Again

by Michael R. Shannon on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

What a let down. Here conservative Republicans were so close to respectability and even acceptance in polite society. In Prince William County, VA where I live, conservatives convinced themselves we’d come far from that time in the recent past when the WaPost described evangelicals (essentially another word for conservative Republicans, since there is considerable overlap among the two demographic groups) as “poor, undereducated and easily led.”

Then piled on with this description of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, “People are sometimes caught off guard by [his] intellectual competence because of his rural Arkansas habits (he and his wife lived in a trailer while the governor’s mansion was being renovated) and his outspoken evangelical views.”

Not those rural Arkansas habits again! What was Huckabee thinking when he moved into one of those tornado–bait tin cans? I happen to know there’s a Hilton in Little Rock.

Conservatives, who are frequently optimists in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, chose to focus on the progress we’ve made since 2008. Why Gov. Huckabee is currently living in a house that doesn’t require you to check the pressure rotate the foundation every 5,000 miles. And nationally Republicans — if not all conservatives — have an almost–anointed presidential candidate who is articulate, thinks double–wide is an unfortunate term for the overweight and has perfect hair.

Why Mitt Romney looks just as good as that Democrat intellectual giant, John Kerry, without all the annoying French mannerisms.

Then last week all our hope for acceptance came crashing down. In a “news story” wailing about the clout Northern Virginia lost in Richmond when the GOP took control of the Senate, the WaPost complained, “Northern Virginia senators also worry about their ability to block legislation on social issues that play very differently in the more racially diverse, better-educated and liberal Washington suburbs than in more rural parts of the state.

It was only a passing reference that spoke volumes about ingrained, institutional prejudice. The phrase is simply elite shorthand that means we’re back to: Liberals = Smart and Conservatives = Dumb.

I hope to visit the WaPost newsroom one day, because I’m convinced its map of Northern Virginia still manages to leave Prince William County (PWC) out, much like the maps of the Palestinian Authority never seem to include Israel.

This county is in the top ten nationwide when it comes to household income, we boast the satellite campus of George Mason University — where taxpayer–subsidized “arts” groups can perform — and residents frequently shop at our very own Wegmans grocery store; yet we’re still pickin’ on the banjo with the rest of the Deliverance caucus as far as the WaPost is concerned.

And the really ironic element in this assault on the conservative intellect is the bias is based on geography, which I thought was forbidden in elite circles. Here we have an organization, which has never met an illegal alien with a sob story that it wouldn’t put on the front page, denigrating an entire class of human beings because their point of origin is South of Alexandria.

What’s next? The ideological equivalent of E–Verify for conservatives, along with a refusal to issue a Virginia licencia de conducir so they can’t drive in Richmond?

Have a heart.

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How Dumb Do They Think We Are

by Dr. Robert Owens on Friday, January 20th, 2012

This is article 494 of 1298 in the topic 2012 Elections

I’ve been called a fascist by communists and a communist by fascists. I’ve been called a pagan by Christians and a Christian by pagans. I’ve been called an optimist by pessimists and a pessimist by optimists. All of us have been labeled by others. We’ve all been called this by that and that by this, we’ve all had people try to insult us by how they refer to us, but when people insult our intelligence they are usually showing their ignorance.

The actions of the second-stringers, stand-ins, and understudies from the theater of the absurd who now pass for leadership in our Republic not only insult our intelligence, they act as if the American people have the IQ of a potted plant and the attention span of someone riddled with ADD. There is one good thing about people who insult our intelligence; they’re probably misunderestimating the true level of our understanding.

Our President tells us that killing the Keystone Pipeline is no big deal. Instead he tells us “However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they’re going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.” Making decisions that kill the opportunity to create real jobs is offset by the jobs created by extending payments made to those who are unemployed. That doesn’t make sense to anyone outside the beltway

At the same time this oxymoronic newspeak pours from the White House, the valiant leaders of the loyal opposition in the House vote to deny our spendaholic President another trillion all the while knowing that they already gave him the money last year.

You see, according to the debt increase law which was supported by all of the Republican Congressional leaders, the debt limit is automatically raised fifteen days after the president officially notifies lawmakers that the government is close to the current $15.2 trillion cap. That is unless Congress votes to deny the borrowing increase and the President signs the bill. This is where the Republican leaders add insult to injury by staging a symbolic vote to hold the line against an ever rising debt they already approved. Their powerless measure passed the House with ease. Yet they knew all along it was DOA in Harry Reid’s Democratic-controlled Senate. And even if by some miracle it was voted on and passed by the Senate, President Obama would veto it guaranteeing the increase will go through as planed and the debt will grow by another 1.2 trillion.

While Mr. Obama may work day and night to kill projects that might actually provide some work for the rest of us he has no problem investing billions of our dollars in green energy boondoggles that turn a profit for his donors and cronies. Then when the flimflams are about to be exposed as the money pits they are, on the eve of an election, the Energy Department which turned a blind eye to the initial foolish investment suddenly becomes involved and the announcement is delayed until after the marks, I mean voters, have cast their ballots.

In foreign policy our Commander-in-Chief announced the date for our withdrawal from Afghanistan at the same time he announced the same type of surge he was against in Iraq.

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