april fools day

The funniest gag of the day (although I wasn’t fooled) was Jonah Goldberg’s description of President Obama’s visit with the Queen of England.

From the Corner:

Diplomatic jaws dropped across the continent yesterday when it was revealed that U.S. President Barack Obama had, once again, fumbled a routine protocal of international statecraft: finding the right gift for a foreign leader or head of state. In a private ceremony with Queen Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness bequeathed to the Obamas one of the earliest known copies of William Shakespeare’s Henry V. She also presented him with the framed orginal sheet music of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” To the Obama daughters, the Queen gave a dollhouse-sized replica of Windsor Castle with a functioning train station in the year of the compound. They also received a prize Shetland pony. Mrs. Obama was given a ruby ring commissioned and worn by Queen Victoria.

The Obamas, unfortunately, did not seem prepared for the occasion despite the row set off by the exchange of gifts between Prime Minister Brown and the U.S. President barely a month ago.  Mr. Obama rather unceremoniously handed the Queen a shopping bag from the Duty Free shop at Heathrow airport. It contained a signed paperback copy of Dreams of My Father, purchased at the WH Smith shop at the airport, a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch (black label), a CD of the Swedish band ABBA’s greatest hits (still in shrink wrap with a 2-for-1 sticker on it) and ten bags of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them.

The Queen responded in a rather flat: “How delightful.”

I really don’t understand why people actually believed this was true.  After all, the Obamas are much more thoughtful gift givers than that.  I’m sure they would have at least wrapped all those lovely gifts.  Apparently, the Queen received at least one really cool gift — a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook.  (She digs show tunes…and really..who doesn’t?) Oh yeah — and a personalized iPod full of videos of her US visit. Inquiring minds want to know.  What kind of iPod was it?  If you really want to impress with Apple-related swag, everybody knows that you buy the MacBook. Or a 24 inch iMac.  That’s fancy technology right there.  After all, we are talking about the Queen of England, not some run-of-the-mill peasant.

at least she’s not treasury secretary

Do we really need to point out that taxes aren’t optional?  Tax issues have hampered yet another Obama nominee — the one who might have been our VP — Kathleen Sebelius.  In her case, she’s only paying a little over $7000 in back taxes, chump change to the other Obama nominees.  If Democrats hate paying taxes so much, why don’t they LOWER them so that EVERYONE pays less?  It would benefit the middle class as well as the poor (the ones who actually make enough money to pay taxes).  Ah…but that would make sense.

what’s different

I don’t like federal interference in private industry.  Have I made that clear enough yet?  That means I would have been opposed to former Treasury Secretary Paulson, acting (I assume) on the orders of President Bush,  putting heavy pressure on the head of AIG to step down after AIG received one of their many sacks of bailout cash.  But somehow it doesn’t register quite the same way with me as President Obama forcing the GM CEO to resign.  Maybe I didn’t pay as much attention to AIG’s internal employee shuffling as I have been to what’s going on with the auto industry.  It’s just that the failure of AIG, while terribly detrimental to the economy (and many 401ks) in the short term, wouldn’t have nearly the impact of GM or another one of the Big Three closing up shop.  The Big Three are American institutions, and it would be harder to imagine an America without them than without one of the many insurance companies we have in this country.  Sentimentality aside, if we continue to interfere with the free market the way former President Bush has done with his bailouts,  and  the way President Obama continues to do with his multi-million dollar taxpayer gifts to various entities,  the economy will not improve.

Neither President had (or has) the expertise to make personnel decisions at insurance companies (Bush) or to make the right choice for the next GM CEO(Obama).  Thank goodness President Obama says he has no intention to run GM, and that he will draw the line at forcing their CEO to step down.  GM and Chrysler owners can also be thankful that their warranties are now guaranteed by the United States Government.   What a slippery slope it is for companies who take their fair share from the federal money tree — now the feds pretend to have the right to exercise direct control over these companies.   It’s a painful lesson to learn — next time the feds come with the offer of cash — the correct answer is: Just Say No.

I rarely link to Wonkette, due to the fact that it’s not exactly (hardly ever, in fact) family-friendly, but this quote is priceless:

Hmm, so this auto bailout problem, is it a good thing or a bad thing? Good, because the government should continue to withhold money from GM and Chrysler until they get their acts together. Bad, because GM and Chrysler cannot get their acts together without money, plus the demise of the manufacturing sector etc. President Obama assures us, however, that no matter what happens “we will not let our auto industry simply vanish.” This is liberal socialist code for “we will raise taxes on the wealthy and give everyone a free Geo Metro.” [Washington Post]

Awesome.   But see, Wonkette’s got it all wrong.  President Obama will give us all free bicycles, since he doesn’t want us using more fossil fuels, even in a tiny car like the Metro.   Just can’t wait for all my free stuff that my taxes are paying for…

change we have seen before

Apparently President Obama’s town hall questioners weren’t random citizens after all. Guess he figured what worked so well for President Bush would work for him too.

From the Washington Post:

But while the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Would it have been that much trouble to find a non-campaign person to ask him a question or two? Maybe President Obama is afraid of hearing from the average person right about now. I would be if I had to answer questions from the press and the public about the current economic policies of his administration.

reason reviews the “stimulus”

From Reason mag’s original analysis by Veronique de Rugy:

There are many more bad policies and spending decisions in the Senate stimulus bill, but even a cursory glance at the parts outlined above give a good sense of the overall legislation—and what is likely to be signed into law by President Obama.

And here is one more thing to consider: There is absolutely no evidence that any stimulus package in the past 80 years has goosed economic activity—not FDR’s during the Great Depression, not Japan’s during the 1990s, and not George W. Bush’s in 2001 and 2008. If anything, the economic evidence suggests that such spending packages actually intensified and prolonged misery.

Instead of rushing through legislation that will likely have no short-term effect on the economy, is guaranteed to have negative long term ones, and that serves the traditional interest groups that politicians are always busy catering to, the Senate should have cut spending like Ireland is now doing and cut marginal tax rates across the board. That would not only have stimulated the economy, it would have been fiscally responsible considering the massive entitlement crisis that is coming our way. But such legislation, alas, will have to wait for another day. Or another crisis.

Her analysis on the final bill is here, appropriately subtitled “The final stimulus package is the final insult to taxpayers.”

better to remain silent

But no…Chuck Schumer must speak and say something stupid.

Here he is:

Why else would the American people oppose this bill?  This stimulus bill will NOT fix the economy for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is that most of the new spending projects won’t provide any immediate benefit to the average person.  At least with Bush’s stimulus, taxpayers (along with non-taxpayers) got a tangible benefit in the form of a check as a result of that plan. The Republicans (and President Bush) spent too much taxpayer money on previous spending bills.  That’s been acknowledged many times.  But what President Bush started,  President Obama has spent much more taxpayer money on all this new stimulus legislation than even I expected him to do.  What do we get with the Democrats and President Obama? Money for special interests and ACORN.

very impressive

I’ve had doubts about President Obama since I first took a look at his campaign, but even I didn’t expect this level of confusion.

Now-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner –  isn’t too keen on paying taxes, even when it’s clearly explained to him how to do it.  It inspires such confidence knowing that our Treasury Secretary can’t handle his own taxes or even manage to find himself a decent accountant to keep track of those things for him.  This is the only guy who can solve the economy?  If so, we are in deep trouble.  Shame on the Republicans who voted to confirm him.

Former HHS nominee – Senator Daschle – married to a super-lobbyist,  didn’t consider the tax implications of having his own personal limo driver “kindly lent to him” by a friend with absolutely no strings attached. Is he the only one capable of forcing through universal health care?   That’s doubtful.

Watch as the former senator rails against tax cheats.  Good stuff.  Wish I could embed this video.

Former Chief Performance Officer nominee – Nancy Killefer, felled by nanny issues and tax issues.

Then there’s the botched handling of General Anthony Zinni.  He was reportedly offered the job of ambassador to Iraq by Secretary of State Clinton, then President Obama changed his mind and withdrew the offer.   Can’t say I understand the President’s reasoning here, especially when they have apparently decided to give the job to Bush’s assistant secretary of State for East Asia, Chris Hill. Is there something else we don’t know about him that’s fatally damaging?  Kind of makes you wonder, based on the current pattern of Obama nominees.

There’s more Cabinet members worthy of skepticism, including AG Eric Holder, but I think these are enough examples of the flaws in President Obama’s vetting process.  This is truly ethics and competence we can believe in.  Not to mention that great judgment Obama was always bragging about…

President Obama says “I screwed up” when talking about some of these picks.  Good for him.  He doesn’t get extra credit for taking responsibility for his mistakes.  I just hope that he’s a quick study on how to deal with our allies and our enemies.  Foreign policy is an area where a simple “Oops” or “I screwed up” may not be sufficient to obtain forgiveness from the American people.


All of the House Republicans voted against the stimulus package.  Good for them.  President Obama doesn’t need their support, and he shouldn’t expect it when the legislation being proposed doesn’t achieve (or come close to achieving) what should be the primary objective — stimulating the economy.  This is pork-laden legislation as well as some tax cuts to people who don’t EVEN PAY taxes (otherwise known as welfare).  Bad proposals are bad proposals.  It does the Republicans no political good to go along with all of President Obama’s plans, and it might continue to hurt them with the conservative base.  In addition to that, if this stimulus fails to get the job done (and it will),  the blame will be solely on the president and the Democrats.  That is, unless the Senate Republicans fail to follow the lead of their colleagues in the House.

not in my country

So President Obama has taken care of one of the items on the left’s wish list – closing Gitmo.  Congratulations to them.  I suppose it never occurred to anyone to question whether what we were told about the general care and treatment of the detainees there was accurate.  Instead we are content to assume that a few obvious cases of mistreatment there are representative of the whole operation at Gitmo.  I don’t intend to minimize any abuses that may have occurred, but I tend to find our military more trustworthy than alleged terrorists.  No way any of these detainees would have exaggerated or lied about their treatment .  After all, these are simply misunderstood young Muslim men who were just minding their own business when they were snatched away from their families for no good reason whatsoever.  Right.  The majority of Gitmo inmates are there for a good reason.  Also, I don’t know many other prisons that have made so many accommodations for their prisoners’ religious faith.  Many of them have special dietary-approved food, prayer rugs, and their own Korans. They even have scheduled prayer times.  How many countries would show American captives such consideration?  Answer: None.

There is some question about how many former Gitmo prisoners have returned to the jihad after their release.  The number is immaterial. I’m not saying this to defend those who may be exaggerating the numbers here. How many terrorists (or alleged terrorists, if you prefer that term) does it take to carry out terrorist attacks?  Not very many. So whether it’s 5%, 10%, or some other percentage, these are folks that I wouldn’t trust to stay on the straight and narrow after their release — and I certainly wouldn’t want former Gitmo inmates in my neighborhood (unless it was clear that they were never part of the jihad).

I question President Obama on this, because I don’t think he has thought this whole decision through.  What are the chances Europe will agree to take these former Gitmo detainees?  Even with President’s Obama’s awesomeness and great charisma, they will still say no to him on this.  I just can’t understand why they wouldn’t want all these pure and innocent Muslim folks in their countries.  Maybe they see something that the left in this country refuses to see.  Where will these detainees go?  This is an important question, and one Obama should have considered before pulling the trigger on this executive order.  He will need more than a year to figure out what to do with them.

One thing I know — the president’s sky-high approval numbers will come to earth in a hurry if he re-settles the former Gitmo detainees in this country.  It’s great that the president has so much faith in the virtue of these gentlemen, but I don’t trust them, and I bet that my fellow Americans would agree with me.  It’s a chance we shouldn’t have to take.  One 9/11 was one too many.