Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Financial Reform Funny Business

If there's one thing I can say about the Left, it's that they love to fail to shoot for the moon and then achieve their ultimate goal through smaller steps. Crap and spayed...I mean cap and trade is their latest attempt to change the way we do business in America. With the initial failure of the crap and spayed...cap and trade effort, the Left regrouped and found another path to the same destination.

And the recent financial reform bill opened the door for it.

According to the Washington Post, the financial reform bill made a "winner" out of commodity exchanges, citing the fact that the bill would increase business for said exchanges. What does that have to do with crap and spayed?

The Chicago Climate Exchange.

For those unfamiliar or partially familiar with it, the Chicago Climate Exchange is a group where businesses can trade carbon credits as they would stocks. In short, the carbon credits become a...commodity. Therefore, the Chicago Climate Exchange would be a...commodity exchange. And thanks to the financial reform bill, they stand to make a lot of money off crap and spayed.

Like I said, the Left loves to shoot for the moon and fail, only to succeed in piecemeal fashion later.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Left(ist) Hook

Politics isn't exactly known for being the nicest game in town, but it seems as though the Left has gotten rather punchy lately. Whether it's Vice President Joe Biden calling the owner of a custard shop a "smartass" for asking Biden to lower his taxes to the head of the AFL-CIO calling Fox Business Channel host Neil Cavuto an "asshole" it seems the Left has decided to pull off the kid gloves and attack anyone who might have a contrary opinion. Wow. And they're supposed to be the tolerant ones?

I attribute a large portion of this vitriol to the fact that they haven't been able to do things they've wanted, due in large part to people like Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, and others exposing the true face of the Left. In response, the Left has attacked these folks, with the results being...well, let's just say the word "impotent" comes to mind. They have the power to do some things, but they lack the knowledge to use that power effectively. Instead, they try to force their ideas down our throats instead of persuading us.

Then, you have to consider that the Leftist approach to life is juvenile at best. Leftists are in a permanent state of arrested development in that they tend not to react intellectually to an issue. For them, every issue is a matter of ego. If they support a certain position, they feel morally and intellectually superior, no matter how dumb that position actually is. Take climate change, for example. They think that if we stop offshore drilling and develop alternate fuel sources that they can "fix" the planet's climate change woes. Yeah, but try telling them that weening us off oil right now without a viable alternative (and, no, ethanol is not a viable alternative) is stupid, and they'll get downright mean. It's because they've invested so much of their ego towards the cause of their choice that they don't see how people might not agree with their take on how to address the cause.

As the summer gets hotter, expect the Democrats' attacks to be on the rise. They're bracing for what can only be a Congressional butt-kicking for the ages by lashing out against those who they need to stem the tide. Smart move, kids. Let's see how that works in 2012, okay?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Betray-Us to Please-Save-Us

Remember a couple of years ago when the Left fell all over themselves to criticize General David Petraeus before he testified before Congress about the Iraq War? even put out a full page ad in the New York Times calling him "General Betray-Us" because they disagreed with the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush's actions to get into it. Petraeus showed great restraint in dealing with pinheads like Hillary Clinton who indirectly accused the General of lying to the American people.

Now, in the wake of the General McChrystal situation, who does the Left turn to? General Petraeus.

Interesting pick, to be sure. After the Left hounded Petraeus, it has to be sweet vindication for him to be chosen to pick up the pieces and push ahead. In Petraeus, the Obama Administration will get a competent leader who will do what he's told and suck up any criticism, warranted or otherwise. He should serve the President well, just as he served President Bush.

But there's a part of me that isn't sure that the pick wasn't more political than practical. With the McChrystal situation adding to Obama's current mountain of woes, he needed someone who could help solidify at least some of his waning influence and that people wouldn't attack so readily. And, much to the Left's chagrin, people actually like Petraeus.

But here's the thing that the Left really can't stand to admit: Obama's copying George W. Bush again on the war. Time and time again, Obama has run to the Bush strategy when dealing with war matters, and after criticizing Bush during the campaign for doing the same things. Instead of promoting change, Obama's war strategy has been the status quo. The Left knows this and it eats them up inside because they supported Obama's change and bashed Bush's status quo. Now that the two have merged yet again, they may have to eat their "Betray-Us" words.

Ultimately, time will tell whether the Petraeus pick was for the purposes of winning the war in Afghanistan or winning the PR war at home. For the sake of the troops, let's hope it's the former.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal and the Media

I may torque off a few readers with this, but I'm going to agree with President Obama's decision to remove General Stanley McChrystal from command of the Afghanistan operation. The reason is simple: McChrystal was in a position of influence, which creates a higher expectation for the person in that position. To vent in front of a reporter, even in jest, is bad form and worse strategy. If he's brought up on charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for his actions, I will take no issue with McChrystal being held accountable.

Now, there's a question that I haven't seen asked by anyone else except Newsweek: Was the General on the record at the time he made the comments? This is an important question because it reveals much about the intent of the Rolling Stone reporter. If someone is on the record, that means the person being interviewed gives permission for the reporter to use his or her words in a story. If the person is off the record, the reporter is not to use the subject's words in any way, shape, or form.

Where this comes into play with the McChrystal situation is that the General should know that the UCMJ prohibits an active member in the military from criticizing the President, Vice President, and other government officials. Although it's to be assumed that unless he says otherwise, he should consider himself to be on the record, there's an expectation that the reporter use his best judgment when it comes to deciding whether something is on the record or off. Just because a source doesn't come out and say it doesn't relieve the reporter of the responsibility to use his or her best judgment.

I have to tip my hat to Newsweek for asking the question, but the response from the reporter doesn't quite address it well enough, in my opinion.

It was always clear that you were a reporter and you were, in essence, on the record? And more, the entire article was thoroughly fact-checked, yes?

Yes. It was crystal clear to me, and I was walking around with a tape recorder and a notepad in my hand three-quarters of the time. I didn’t have the Matt Drudge press hat on, but everything short of that it was pretty obvious I was a reporter writing a profile of the general for Rolling Stone. It was always very clear.

Not quite, Mr. Reporter. Just because it's clear to you doesn't mean it's clear to your subject. That's when you have to use your best judgment, even if it means your story loses some of its punch. Judging from your response, I don't get a sense that you did your job and you let your desire for a story or to push a particular point of view get in the way of being a responsible journalist.

Even if the publication you work for is Rolling Stone.

In either case, McChrystal and the reporter used bad judgment, and so far only one is losing his job, and rightly so. Now, will the other get the same punishment?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BP = Bonehead Play

I've criticized the President in this blog for his frequent activities unrelated to the Gulf Coast oil spill and his seeming detachment from the seriousness of the issue. Even the hint of such a notion would be enough for most leaders to do as much as they could to look engaged.

Well, now I have to take BP CEO Tony Hayward to task for his actions this weekend. Hayward spent time on Capitol Hill defending his company, only to head back to England to...attend a yacht race. Even Joe Biden's saying that's a big gaffe, Mr. Hayward, and he wrote the book on making big gaffes. (Either that or he plagiarized it.)

Hayward's actions show the same kind of short-sightedness in leadership that President Obama has exhibited countless times since the oil spill began. The only difference? The press still likes Obama. They already don't like you or your company, Mr. Hayward. Why give them more of a reason to run you into the ground?

This hurts BP in another way, that being in making their case before the world. Up until now, BP has been the target of a lot of criticism, valid and otherwise, for its handling of the Gulf Coast situation. They haven't lost the PR war yet, but they have been keeping pretty even. Hayward's actions blow that out of the water completely. On top of the PR nightmare of the spill, now BP has to deal with the "let them eat cake" image that the Hayward story creates, with only a slight push from the media. Dude, if you were looking to screw over your own company, mission accomplished.

As someone who just defended BP in my previous post, I am stunned at the thoughtlessness exhibited by BP's President. Given the circumstances, I think they would have been okay with you skipping this year's yacht race. Now, you've done potentially fatal harm to BP's company reputation. Just one piece of advice for you, Mr. Hayward.

Dust off your resume and start asking for job references.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Support BP

It seems that BP has been used as a political pinata lately for anyone and everyone with an ax to grind. Want more regulation of the oil industry? Talk about BP. Want to pass crap and spayed...I mean cap and trade? Talk about BP. Want to score cheap political points in an attempt to look and sound like you care about the environment? Talk about BP.

Yet, we're not hearing very much from the other side of the debate, whether it's out of fear, apathy, or what have you. It's time we stop that. Now is not the time to be silent, but the time to roar in the face of outlandish bullcrap about BP.

I support BP because I understand the pressures they're under to address the issue in the Gulf, pressures both internal and external.

I support BP because they're not out there grandstanding for the public. Instead, they're quietly reminding people that they're doing what they can while working on the problem far more than their vocal opposition is. If talk could plug the hole, the Left would have had this leak taken care of in a day or two. Unfortunately for them, it's not, and BP's the one doing the heavy lifting while the Left jacks their jaws at every opportunity.

I support BP because most of their franchises are locally-owned. If you boycott BP, you're hurting the small businessman and their customers. Yep, your attempt to "make a statement" will wind up putting a mom and pop operation out of business and won't hurt the main company at all. Not to mention, you're most likely going to cause more trouble for the people who rely on those BPs for their gas and other services. Makes you look a lot less like a group looking out for the little guys, doesn't it?

I support BP because I see how the Obama Administration has hamstrung their efforts to clean up the mess while simultaneously raising the bar for them to act.

I support BP because it's frightfully easy to bash a faceless corporation based on what limited information we have, but it's a lot harder to give them the benefit of the doubt as we all learn more about the circumstances behind the explosion.

I support BP because the fact is what happened on that oil rig is the exception, not the rule. Believe it or not, drilling for oil has gotten more environmentally friendly than its critics lead you to believe. To toss aside offshore drilling because of a unique situation is hardly smart policy.

I support BP because behind the corporate logo is people of all walks of life, blue collar and white collar, all trying to make a living. How anyone in good conscience can punish them for actions they didn't take is beyond me.

I support BP because we're going to need them and other oil companies to keep producing until we can develop effective and efficient alternatives to oil. Killing them off now before there's a viable replacement is folly, regardless of where you stand on this issue.

I support BP because their President showed far more restraint on Capitol Hill than I would have at the sanctimonious asshats trying to score cheap political points by only giving one side of the story.

I support BP because I feel they've been maligned enough by people who know too little about them to make an informed statement. The talking airheads can dish it out, but ask them to come up with viable solutions to what BP is doing and watch them sputter like the dolts they are.

Finally, I support BP because at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now for the Independent Response

My fellow Americans, last night President Obama gave a speech about the situation in the Gulf of Mexico due in part to BP and offshore drilling. Although he talked tough and sounded like he genuinely wanted to solve the problem, I have to say I was unimpressed. We've heard this same rhetoric from him since Day One, and what has it gotten us?

A worsening oil spill, and a President who is too busy trying to sound like Rambo to act like a President.

Seriously, does anyone whose lips aren't affixed to the President's backside take him seriously when he sounds like Lex Luthor going after Superman? It would be one thing if Obama had overtly taken the lead on this issue early on, but it's another when it seems he showed up every so often between fundraisers, vacations, and begging for votes to talk tough and then go back to being disconnected from the situation. As it stands, Obama's tough talk has the opposite effect; instead of making him look and sound serious, it makes him look impotent and foolish.

If the President is serious about working towards a solution, he needs to be much more visible in doing it and much less visible in sounding like he wants a solution.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why Nationalizing BP Won't Work

Just when you think the Gulf Coast oil spill couldn't get any more surreal, Rosie O'Donnell had to weigh in. On her radio program, she said that President Obama should use his authority and seize BP's assets as a means of getting them to clean up the oil spill. And her sentiment is echoed by any number of Leftists.

Which should be the biggest red flag that it's a horrible idea.

Let's set aside the logistical nightmare that comes with an American President trying to take over a British company and just look at the reasoning behind the notion that nationalizing BP would somehow make the oil spill get cleaned up faster. As great as Leftists think government is, most of the time government intervention winds up being less effective and more complicated. Just ask the car dealers who participated in Cash for Clunkers how government intervention in a business worked.

The reason government intervention in business doesn't turn out so well is because it strips the good parts of business out of the equation and replaces it with bureaucracy. Under the influence of a bureaucracy, even the simplest tasks require near-Herculean efforts to complete. If you doubt me, spend a day at the DMV. And here's the twist: there are no real benchmarks to hit. When you're in government, your standards are set low enough that you could be dead and still excel. Try underachieving in the private sector, and more often than not you'll find yourself unemployed. Then, you can get a job in the Obama Administration and everything will be fine.

Plus, there's a noticeable lack of innovation in government. BP has chemicals that they've used to clean up other oil spills, but what has the government done to match that? That's right, kids. Nothing. Not even a bad idea of using a giant sieve. Just creative ways to blame others for their own incompetence. (By the way, the EPA has already told BP not to use the chemicals they would normally use. Brilliant!)

And here's the real twist. We've seen government intervention in the Gulf right now, and for the most part, it's been ineffective. Seriously, sending the Attorney General to an oil spill? That's one of the dumbest things I've seen government do, and given the current crop of Congress-critters, that's saying a lot. What was he supposed to do? Sue the oil?

Throw blame at BP all you want, but having the federal government take it over isn't the answer. Let me advance a radical hypothesis for you Leftists reading this.

Get out of the damn way and let BP clean it up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kicking...or Kissing?

Recently, President Obama said he was going to Wall Street to find asses to kick due to the Gulf Coast oil spill. Tough talk, to be sure, but I'm not convinced given other "tough talk" Obama's utilized in the past.

Take, for example, Obama's comments after the recent UN sanctions against Iran. Even though the sanctions were watered down by China and Russia, Obama still came out and tried to portray them as tough sanctions while at the same time trying to convey to the Iranian people that the sanctions weren't really against them. That was, at best, milquetoast. And when you consider that Iran mocked the sanctions shortly after they were approved? Let's just say Obama doesn't exactly come out as looking like a strong leader.

Then, there are Obama's comments about Israel. Obama has talked tough about Israel, one of our staunchest allies in the Middle East, regarding the recent incident involving a flotilla and alleged humanitarian aid ships heading for Gaza. What did Israel do? Ignored Obama's tough talk, citing self-preservation as central to Israel's continued actions.

When Obama talks tough, the world doesn't seem to listen. So, when Obama goes to Wall Street, does anyone think they'll be scared? I don't. If anything, Obama may want to show a bit more deference to Wall Street for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that he'll need Wall Street's help to rebuild the economy. But the biggest reason?

Obama's suckled at the teat of Wall Street, and they won't forget that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I'm not usually the type to advance conspiracy theories, but I got to thinking today and it lead me down an interesting rabbit hole.

It came out earlier this week that the Obama Administration is in favor of a measure that would prohibit citizens from filming police stops. On the surface, it's not that controversial and might help the police do their jobs. What was striking about this announcement is that it came out a day or two after news of Israel boarding an alleged aid ship headed for Gaza was released.

The two issues may not seem connected, but they are in one significant way. Video footage can condemn the guilty and exonerate the innocent. If one cannot shoot video of an event, those who wish to keep it covered up can control the message. In short, they can create the reality of the event and sustain it as long as they can cut any opposing view off at the knees.

You know, just like the Obama Administration and its fans attempts to do?

Now, here's where things get a little scary. Let's say that Obama gets his wish to have a civilian force just as strong and as well-funded as our military. Since it wouldn't be a real military force, it's entirely possible that Leftist lawyers could argue that such a force could be considered to be like the police, thus falling under the auspices of the no filming allowed idea. That means this civilian force could be untouchable.

I hope I'm wrong, but if it makes me the Mayor of Crazytown to connect these dots in the way I have, so be it. But if I'm right, this could be the thing that makes Obama no different than Hugo Chavez.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Can One Man Do?

When Barack Obama was running for President, his supporters said that he was smarter than George W. Bush and talked about how good it would be to have an intelligent man at America's helm after Bush. Now, less than two years later, Obama's supporters are stuck saying that Obama couldn't have been prepared for the mess George W. Bush left.

Take the Gulf Coast oil spill, for example. After over 40 days, even a number of his supporters are starting to wonder if he's on the ball. When James Carville starts openly questioning you, you know the Left isn't happy with you. This has left Obama's supporters asking, "Well, what would you have Obama do?" The question is designed to show that not even Obama has all the answers and that the people who are questioning him are hypocrites because they don't have answers.

Allow me to fill that void, my fellow Obama critics.

1) Send down the Environmental Protection Agency after the spill happened. One of Obama's first actions after the Gulf Coast oil spill happened was to dispatch people from...the Department of Homeland Security. What were they going to do? Arrest the oil spill? Set up a color-coded system to let people know the threat level of the spill? Maybe the best thing to do would have been to send down people whose job it is to address ecological matters. Maybe a government group like...oh I don't know...the Environmental Protection Agency? I know it's a stretch, but maybe Obama could have send them down first thing.

2) Spend some Super Fund money. Part of the EPA' s budget is a little thing called Super Fund, a fund designed to help clean up ecological disasters. I'm sure some Super Fund money could be released to buy clean-up equipment that should have already been bought and in place. And I'm pretty sure an oil spill constitutes an ecological disaster.

3) Encourage BP. Since the beginning, Obama and his supporters have attacked BP at every opportunity, saying, "It's their spill." That has yet to be discovered in full, but that hasn't stopped Obama from laying the blame at BP's feet. Yet, who is doing most of the work in the Gulf Coast? BP. Instead of criticizing BP, the President could show some leadership and become BP's biggest fan. Being negative at this stage doesn't help the situation.

4) Listen to the states impacted by the spill. Is there a reason Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is being ignored by the federal government? Because of the length of time for the oil spill to get clean, Jindal wants to build sand berms designed to protect Louisiana's wetlands. Yet, the Obama Administration hasn't seen fit to give the green light? With hurricane season just starting, the more the Administration drags its feet, we could be seeing the Gulf Coast oil spill spread out a lot more. Jindal's request isn't out of the ordinary, nor is it out of the question. Obama would be well-served to listen the people like Jindal and not to his Leftist base.

5) Be a visible leader. One of the biggest knocks against Obama's handling of the oil spill is that he doesn't seem to be all that engaged. He does small, meaningless things, but usually in private and far away from the media's eyes. Obama may think this makes him look deliberate and thoughtful, but in truth, it's made him look distant and thoughtless. With America being fans of visual media, it's increasingly important that leaders actually appear on them. Obama didn't even mention the oil spill for nearly 10 days after it happened. That's far too long in this media environment. A lot more visibility could have helped him appear more like a leader and less like a President in a bubble.

See? Five suggestions on what Obama could have done, and I'm not even a graduate of Harvard Law. Then again, given some of the bozos that have come out of there, I might have been able to come up with these suggestions because I didn't graduate from Harvard Law.