Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skip This Post

If you have no interest in politics, please skip this post. :)

(Alternatively, why I need a radio show of my own; it's so much easier and faster to just say all this stuff!)

The following are numerous reasons why President Obama will either break many of his campaign promises or slowly but surely push this country toward a future that will be hard to reverse and horrible to try and keep. It's also worth noting how the same actions are analyzed depending on who is carrying them out - President Bush or President Obama. I suggest to anyone to take a few minutes and read the last few posts on Best of the Web, which is the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto's daily commentary. He sums up a few of the same points perfectly.

Before getting to the stimulus, which is obviously most important, it's worth discussing a few other issues.

Torture: While campaigning, Obama promised, with much support from the hard left, banning torture of terrorist suspects to find out information. Claims of how US soldiers waterboards countless prisoners and other horrible techniques became rallying cries. In reality, however, the US only waterboarded 3 Al Qaeda members in 2003, and learned credible information from each; in total, less than 100 prisoners were subjected to any harsh techniques (sleep deprivation, cold). Recently, President Obama signed into law a piece of paper banning such practices and limiting the CIA to use only what is in the Field Manual (which is what is done to almost all prisoners already). At the same time, he appointed a task force to determine if the Field Manual does not allow them to go far enough in situations where more information might be gathered. In other words, Obama is merely changing the law to a higher level of allowance for torture while decrying the same practices under the Bush administration.

Remember those "illegal" wiretaps that so many complained about, and the Bush administration argued were perfectly legal (and limited solely to people contacted from overseas by known combatants)? Well, the same court that supposedly would have a problem with it ruled that Bush was completely within his rights. Whoops. Meanwhile, President Obama now gets to do the same thing without criticism. This is good for America, but it's sad that it was another false drop in the bucket poured over Bush's tenure in office.
Speaking of Bush hatred: This piece on Bush hatred and Obama euphoria is fascinating in its approach.
It is not that our universities invest the fundamental principles of liberalism with religious meaning -- after all the Declaration of Independence identifies a religious root of our freedom and equality. Rather, they infuse a certain progressive interpretation of our freedom and equality with sacred significance, zealously requiring not only outward obedience to its policy dictates but inner persuasion of the heart and mind. This transforms dissenters into apostates or heretics, and leaders into redeemers. Consequently, though Bush hatred may weaken as the 43rd president minds his business back home in Texas, and while Obama euphoria may fade as the 44th president is compelled to immerse himself in the daunting ambiguities of power, our universities will continue to educate students to believe that hatred and euphoria reflect political wisdom.
World opinion was supposed to be a great Obama strength. But... eh, not so much:
  • Iran. Since President Obama's inauguration, Iran has launched a satellite into space and declared (with an assist from Russia, which is providing the nuclear fuel) that it would complete its long-delayed reactor at Bushehr later this year.
  • Afghanistan. This is the war Mr. Obama has said "we have to win" [...] Germany will not, and probably cannot, commit more than 4,500 soldiers to Afghanistan [...] The French have no plans to increase their troop commitment beyond the 3,300 now there. Mr. Obama, by contrast, may double the U.S. commitment to 60,000 troops.
  • North Korea. [...] In late January, Pyongyang announced it was unilaterally withdrawing from its 1991 nonaggression pact with the South.
  • Pakistan. Perhaps the most unambiguous of the Bush administration's successes was rolling up the nuclear proliferation network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, who was kept under house arrest for five years. [...] Mr. Khan was released last week, ostensibly by order of a Pakistani court, plainly with the consent of the government.
  • Russia. [...] Russia will continue to build military bases in Georgia's breakaway republics. It will press ahead with the fueling of the Bushehr reactor.
  • The Arab street. [...] so far his efforts at outreach have been met with derision from Arab hard-liners and "liberals" alike.
Of course, at least Obama's White House would be transparent and cooperate more with the press... oh, wait:
But Ben LaBolt immediately bristles when asked to spell his name, refuses to give his job title, and says he is going “off the record” until I stop him to explain that the reporter grants that privilege, not the other way around—a basic journalistic standard that LaBolt seems unaware of. He soon hangs up without even hearing what I called to ask about. [...]

During our brief conversation, Shapiro, like LaBolt (whose name Shapiro did not recognize), started one sentence with “off the record.” Told that the journalist grants the privilege, and that none would be granted here, Shapiro expressed surprise. His surprise was double-barreled, at both the idea that the reporter issues any privilege and that any reporter would decline to talk “off the record.” [...]

Then there's capping executive salaries. Sure, it might make sense if you can cap every single executive salary in the country... but you can't. So... if you're smart and talented, and you know that in Bank A you can make a maximum of $500,000, but in Banks B or C you can make $40 million, where are you going to work? This is particularly important when one consideres the lifestyles of such people, and how far half a million doesn't really get them.

...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is yet another reason why government never competes well with private business, and shouldn't be in the business of private business. Idiots, indeed.

Finally, there's the census. Why, oh why, would a President wish to control the census of the United States of America? Why should a President even be involved in something that should be completely disassociated with the political machine? But the White House now is involved - in the census that will determine the rearrangement of representative districts for Congress, or the way government spends money. Hmm.

I think I'll save the stimulus for another time. Y'all can start reading again. :)