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$100 million in 90 Days

Posted in Government,President Obama by Ryan on the April 20th, 2009

President Obama will challenge the cabinet to find ways to save $100 million dollars over the next 90 days.  Yeah, you may need to read that again to be sure you saw “$100 million” correctly.  At this rate, we’ll be saving $400 million a year, while we spend beyond our means in excess of 1,000 times that much every year through 2019 according to President Obama’s budget request in PDF.  That isn’t the money from taxes I’m talking about, that is money we don’t have that we’re spending.  And 1,000 times is actually a floor that Obama’s proposed budget never intends to reach, it is projected to always be higher.  So unless the savings he is going to challenge the cabinet for the other 275 days a years adds up to something way more substantial, this is as ridiculous as it sounds.

President Obama is proposing more deficit spending than President Bush ever did, yet the Obama administration is going to try to sell fiscal responsibility?

A senior administration official described the edict as part of Obama’s “commitment to go line by line through the budget to cut spending” and “reform the government.”

It seems a poor trick, a ploy.  But at least we get some humor, as sad as it is from this.  Wait until you read what some of the departments are proposing.

The Department of Homeland Security’s plan to save an estimated $52 million over five years by purchasing office supplies in bulk.

The Department of Agriculture’s effort to consolidate 1,500 employees from seven locations into a single facility in 2011. It’s estimated to save $62 million over a 15-year lease.

We have been holding the private sector’s feet to the fire as the robber barons of this recession, while those that run the federal government give us little faith that they have any idea what they’re doing with our money.  The Department of Homeland Security has been around for years, part of a federal government that has been around even longer, and they’re just discovering the wonders of bulk purchasing?

Right Wing Extremism Report

Posted in Government,National Security,U.S. by Ryan on the April 17th, 2009

While news of this report circulated, many on the right were flabbergasted that this administration’s Department of Homeland Security would release such a report. There seemed to be an overall knee jerk reaction to it from many republicans.  However, I think that when one considers it as a report dealing primarily with white supremacist groups and the like, it seems plausible, but still in line with the juvenile mistakes Obama’s administration has been making since day one.  Some of the language is ambiguous at best, identifying extremists as advocating fundamental conservative issues such as states rights and abortion.

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Can you imagine a report during Bush’s administration that said to “be on the lookout for left wing extremists that advocate an anti-war opinion and favor impeachment of the President?” And on top of that, states for all to see that there is no evidence of anything bad being planned.

Overall, the report lacks a solid foundation when it comes to details and facts.  Jonah Goldberg seems to capture my feelings in his article at the National Review.

The problem with it is that it makes little effort to document or demonstrate its contention that “extremist” groups are resurgent, that they are right-wing, or that they may be formed from the ranks of “disgruntled military veterans.” Worse, it’s very sloppy about what qualifies someone as “extremist” in the first place. Basically, it’s fancy bureaucratese for: We’re guessing bad people will do bad things because the economy is bad and the president is black. But we have no real evidence.

Deficit Reductions. Right…

Posted in Government,President Obama,U.S. by Ryan on the April 17th, 2009

Charles Krauthammer has some of the most outstanding articles on current political discourse and happenings.  Wouldn’t it be great if he wrote more than once a week?

In this one, he talks about Obama’s budget claims and what not.  One of the best parts is where Obama is identifying huge savings down the road.

The boast that he had “identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.” It takes audacity to repeat this after it had been so widely exposed as transparently phony. Most of this $2 trillion is conjured up by refraining from spending $180 billion a year for 10 more years of surges in Iraq. Hell, why not make the “deficit reductions” $10 trillion — the extra $8 trillion coming from refraining from repeating the $787 billion stimulus package annually through 2019.

Clintons. Meet the Clintons.

Posted in Election 2008 by Ryan on the April 16th, 2009

Hillary’s surrogates are still soliciting contributions to get rid of her remaining campaign debt.  I cannot believe that the Clintons refuse to pony up and pay for their own involvement in politics.

The funniest part in the article has got to be:

The nation’s top diplomat has been steadily chipping away at unpaid campaign bills since suspending her White House bid in June 2008, when her debt peaked at $25.2 million. That amount covered $12 million owed to vendors, as well as the $13.2 million she loaned her campaign from personal funds.

Clinton’s campaign was unable to repay that personal loan by the time the Democratic National Convention convened in Denver, Colorado, last August, the deadline mandated by the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The former New York senator was forced to forgive the entire loan amount.

Forced to forgive her own loan.  🙂

Pirates vs. Industrialized Nations

Posted in National Security by Ryan on the April 14th, 2009

I find the current situation off the coast of Somalia surprising.  It seems a lot of people are discussing how the US Navy is not going to be able to manage patrolling an area that large.  I don’t see how massing uber-powerful warships will do much more than simply provide a mechanism of response, as the recent episode with the Maersk’s captain shows.  To me, the simplest solution seems to be to put several well trained and heavily armed professionals on these cargo vessels.  Some indicate this would only escalate the level of violence and weapons the pirates would employ.  So match them.  At some point, the extensive wealth and power of industrialized nations needs to show that it is futile for puny thieves to take people hostage.

Instead of spending however much money to patrol with however many warships, use those resources to simply blunt any sort of attack right there on the ship.  If a few determined merchant sailors can disrupt a pirate attack, imagine what a dozen urban trained soldiers with firepower can do.

In the scheme of things, it seems like this pirate thing is like gnats and we’re a human.  Instead of trying to swat at them with our giant hands when they bother us, lets just put some insect repellent on and see how they like it.

“A Childish Fantasy”

Posted in Foreign Policy,National Security,President Obama by Ryan on the April 7th, 2009

Charles Krauthammer has some choice words for Obama’s recent statements about nuclear weapons.

Again, Hat tip: Greg Hengler at Townhall.com’s blog

Obama’s Fantasy World

Posted in Foreign Policy,President Obama by Ryan on the April 6th, 2009

He hopes for the day that we don’t have nuclear weapons.

“Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped,” Obama said. “Such fatalism is a deadly adversary. If we believe that, then we are admitting that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”

Actually, they haven’t been used since they were created during WWII, despite massive proliferation.  They are in fact, an incredible deterrent. If we get rid of nuclear weapons, lets get rid of all weapons.  No more conventional weapons, no jet fighters, no tanks.  How? Just click your heels together and say “Yes we can,” three times.

Newt Gingrich perhaps sums it up best:

Hat tip: Greg Hengler at Townhall Blog