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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


by George Dienhart

Okay, CBS News is not quite as good a source as it was years ago (see Rathergate). In my defense, I found a report, via Drudge, that states the United States has sent a second Air Craft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

While significant, we have had a second carrier in the gulf many times. What is significant is this deployment has been confirmed as a warning to Iran. In fact, this appears to be part one of a two part final warning. Part 2 will be a letter from the State Department. Liberals will no doubt be warning us of a last gasp from a war mongering administration. The truth is Iran is a dangerous rogue nation that uses its Quds forces to attack Americans in Iran has stated numerous times that they would like to see Israel “wiped of the map”- and is now developing nuclear weapons. You know, the same nuclear weapons that can be used to wipe a nation of the map, say Israel, for example. To top it off the leadership of Iran believe that any nuclear retaliation against Iran will facilitate martyring Iranian citizens, which the Iranian government sees as a good thing.

This is behavior that would outrage the world, if it were not directed toward Israel; seemingly, good and logical people appear to lose their grasp on reality when confronting this problem. Most Europeans I have met believe Israel should stand on its own. If we had applied this way of thinking in the past, a map of Europe would be drastically different- I’m looking at you, France.

Regardless of the extreme left believes Iran is a problem that needs to be handled. Before millions of people die.

No recession- where is the MSM?

by George Dienhart

Just found this at the Politico website:

economy limped through the first quarter of this year at a six-tenths of
a percentage point growth rate as housing and credit problems forced
people and businesses alike to hunker down. The country's economic
growth during January through March was the same as in the final three
months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday - but
not the kind of statistic that economists define as a recession.
Although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to keep
growing - however slightly.'

Therefore, this settles it- no recession now. We will not know if there
is even a recession until after the election. The definition of

A recession is a decline in a country's real gross domestic product
(GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive
quarters of a year.

Notice today's report is for the first quarter. We will not get two more
quarters of growth until after the elections.

The real story here is that the economy continued to grow- even with the
decline of the housing and credit markets.

That is good news; we will see how the left spins it.

Give my regards to Broad Street...

by George Dienhart

Well not that Broad Street (I never liked McCartney that much anyway). I’m talking about Broad Street in Atlanta. I received this from the Georgia Public Policy Foundation today:

Media Advisory

April 30, 2008
Contact Benita Dodd (404) 256-4050

DOT Commissioner Abraham Keynotes 'State
Of the State DOT,' a Policy Briefing Luncheon

Atlanta - Funding challenges, inefficiency, bureaucracy and mismanagement: For Dr. Gena Abraham, who took the reins as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation amid controversy just four months ago, it's the second time around dealing with a government agency that "needs improvement."

The Georgia Department of Transportation's 14th Commissioner and the first woman to hold the state's top transportation post is tasked with overseeing 5,800 employees statewide, more than 9,000 projects and an annual budget of more than $2 billion. Georgia's transportation woes have brought the Department under close scrutiny of the Legislature, the Governor, Georgia's taxpayers and soon, judging by the headlines, the federal government.

Register for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation's noon Policy Briefing Luncheon on Tuesday, May 13, at Atlanta's Commerce Club to hear Commissioner Abraham talk about "The State of the State DOT."

Dr. Abraham became Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation in December 2007. Before that, she was appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in February 2006 as State Property Officer and has served as the Executive Secretary and the Director of the Construction Division of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC) since June 2003. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Construction Engineering and Management in the Civil Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Abraham has also served as Chief Engineer for the Georgia Building Authority. Before joining state government she managed construction across the nation for LaSalle Partners. Dr. Abraham serves on several boards including as Chair of the Georgia Land Conservation Council, Secretary and Treasurer of the Sapelo Island Heritage Authority, and a member of the MARTA Board, State Board of Equalization and the Capital Asset Management Advisory Council. She holds a bachelor's degree and doctorate in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Friday, May 9, is the deadline to register for "The State of the State DOT" with Commissioner Abraham. This luncheon is $30 for Foundation members/guests, $40 for non-members. Reserve your seat online at the Foundation's Web site or by calling 404-256-4050. The Commerce Club is located at 34 Broad Street, Atlanta.

Media interested in attending this event please contact Benita Dodd at benitadodd@gppf.org or 404-256-4050.
The Commerce Club is located at 34 Broad Street, Atlanta.

I’ll continue to focus on Transportation issues- this seems to be a good opportunity for everyone to focus on such issues, even if only for one day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Explosions are all the rage these days-

by George Dienhart
With their front runners campaign blowing up, the DNC raised the stakes by showing terrorist home movies blowing up our troops. If you are so disposed, the footage is here

Obama 'Outraged' at Rev. Wright's 'Ridiculous' statements

by George Dienhart
Not much here... Move along.
I guess I would be outraged to if a "friend" and "mentor" single handedly took down my presidential campaign.

Thump, Thump- Don’t worry, that’s just Obama under the bus…

by George Dienhart

It is a good day to be John McCain. That’s because the Rev. Jeremiah Wright bus/ media tour goes on- and Rev. Wright seems to be backing the bus over Barack Obama every chance he gets. Yesterday, I thought that this might be in co-operation with the Obama camp, but I think I am changing my mind on that. A representative from The Nation of Islam is currently escorting Rev. Wright, Jamil Muhammad. Thump, Thump. Rev. Wright announces his new book, thump, thump. Rev Wright calls Obama a (gasp) politician. Thump, Thump.

What really got me though, was this quote from Time magazine editor Amy Sullivan “As soon as the questions began, Wright transformed into a defiant, derisive figure, snapping one-liners at the unfortunate moderator tasked with reading the questions and stepping back with a grin on his face after each one, clearly enjoying himself.” It appears that Rev. Wright is not just throwing young Barry under the bus, but he is relishing each and every moment spent doing so.

Obama has finally commented on the Rev. Wright spectacle. 'Certainly what the last three days indicate is that we're not coordinating with him, right?'- Maybe, I am still not completely convinced.

This is not the only bad news for Obama. North Carolina is supposed to be an easy win for Obama- and a state he needs to win to get back on track. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley will endorse Hillary Clinton today. It is looking more and more as if she will close the gap in the Tar Heel state. This would leave the Obama campaign reeling on its way into Indiana, where Clinton is expected to win. Indiana is the last big prize. Obama losses in North Carolina and Indiana would practically ensure a brokered convention- allowing Hillary the time she needs to start picking off the superdelegates that pave her only path to the nomination.

I’m sure you are thinking that was a pretty bad day for Barry- but wait, there’s more. To be specific, there’s more from the Tony Rezko scandal. Seems Obama’s campaign is returning campaign contributions from Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae, the former Iraqi electricity minister donated six times to Obama in January, February and March. Why is this a problem? Alsammarae put up 2.7 million dollars in property to help bail Tony Rezko out of jail. With friends like these…

Cross-posted at IllinoisReview.com

It’s moving day

by George Dienhart

No, I’m not going anywhere, and neither are most of you. I’m talking about the Marines moving into Garmser Afghanistan, and the Taliban moving out.

Garmser is a rough area- the Brits and Canadians have been unable to remove the Taliban from the Northerly region of the Country. Most American troops have been operating (successfully, I may add) along the Pakistani border, in the eastern part of the country. Violence has been bad enough in Garmser to close the town market. The Taliban pretty much own the area, and have a munitions factory there.

With, the Brits and Canadians stretched thin, the DoD has deployed the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU- pronounced “mew” )to the area. A MEW consists of Infantry, Air and support elements. Currently the following units are attached to the 24th MEU

This is bad news for the bad guys. This is the same crew that cleared out Ramadi. That operation is regarded as one of the biggest successes of the Iraq campaign.
Go get ‘em Marines!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rev. Wright’s Traveling Circus

by George Dienhart

Another day, another controversy- it has become standard operating procedure for the Obama campaign. It was bad enough that Rev. Wright’s over the top remarks left Senator Obama reeling and grasping for explanations. It was worse when Sen. Obama came up with lie after lie to justify his association with Rev. Wright. Now we are subject to Sen. Obama’s worst nightmare- Rev. Wrights traveling circus. In the center ring, please give a hand to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Marvel as he offends everyone. Liberals rejoice as he blames all the worlds’ problems on America. Wonder at the spectacle as Rev. Wright turns on star church member Barack Obama. With all good circuses, viewers may be subject to some slight of hand- and this circus tour is full of it.

Could this latest round or Obama’s nightmares be preplanned? We have seen he is not beyond such political tricks- think back to the fainting supporters earlier in the campaign. The situation always followed the same script- and I do mean script. Five events, five fainters, five times Obama reacts the same way- right down to his words. Are the latest of Wright’s antics more of the same?

Let us jump to Wrights remarks at the National Press Club. When asked about his comments that "America's chickens are coming home to roost"- he refused to answer the question. He claimed that the question had been “nullified”- to wit. "Have you heard the whole sermon? ... No, you haven't heard the whole sermon. That nullifies that question". FYI for Rev. Wright- America has heard the whole sermon, and found that you may be a tad out of touch with reality.

Recently, Rev. Wright has claimed that Obama has distanced himself from Wright and his church. "(He) distanced himself from some of my remarks. ... He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was un-American." Interesting- Wright believes Obama is un-American because he distanced himself from Wright’s ridiculous claims. Wright does not have a problem with Obama refusing to wear a flag pin, or the subsequent flip on the subject, or the fact that Obama will negotiate with our enemies. No, Obama is un-American because he chose act as if he is breaking away from Wright’s influence.

What kind of influence? Let us think back for a moment:

  • God &$% America
  • The US of KKK America
  • AIDS is a secret government plot.
  • Inviting terrorists to contribute to the church newsletter.

I think it is clear why Obama want to look like he has distanced himself. If only he would actually distance himself. Obama has continuously lied and made excuses for this man, but know we see a new tact. Big bad Obama has forsaken poor Rev. Wright. Wright makes a national tour espousing how Obama does not return his calls or bring him flowers. You see, poor Rev. Wright is the real victim.

In reality, the American public is the real victim. An American public that has grown tired and is truly looking for change is poorly served by an Obama campaign that weaves the word change into every speech and dispatch, only to refuse to back up their statements. As usual, it is just more of the same bad behavior form the Obama Camp.

Cross-posted at IllinoisReview.com

Ted Turner is an idiot.

by George Dienhart

I am new to the area, having moved to Metro Atlanta a year ago. I did so knowing that Ted Turner is an idiot. He’s alway’s been an idiot. I’m not saying he didn’t build a successful business and make gobs of money, but that doesn’t mean he’s not an idiot. I’ve got two words to prove my point- Jane Fonda.

I do have more evidence to offer up. Ted’s most recent bout of worshiping the false idol Al Gore. A couple of weeks ago he stated that we would all be resorting to cannibalism soon. That statement was an embarrassment to everyone who lives in the state of Georgia. Like or not, the rest of the world associates Ted Turner and Atlanta almost as much it associates Oprah with Chicago or Trump with New York. The difference is, Oprah and Trump usually know when to shut up. Ted Turner does not.

Just recently Turner spoke up about the global food shortages- he forgot to acknowledge that these food shortages were caused by switching food crop land to biofuel crop land. This is they type of mess caused by people who call for more biofuel crops. People like Ted Turner in his speech to the World Trade Organization in 2006. So now Ted want’s humanity to curb it’s instinct to reproduce. Everyone, that is, except the Turner family. The mouth has 5 children.

What’s a Ted Turner paradise look like? Well it would be a world with only 350 million people. I’m not sure what he want’s us to do with the other 6 Billion Humans- maybe that’s where the cannibalism comes in.

AJC Swings for the fences hits a long single.

by George Dienhart

I think the Atlanta Journal Constitution had a good idea on building a website that ranks hospitals. The execution leaves something to be desired. The website keys in on customer satisfaction rating. That should be a component in rating hospitals. In explicably, the ratings appear to be un-weighted.

A hospital in a small rural area will most likely have a much higher rating than a hospital that performs riskier procedures. For example, small rural hospitals may concentrate primarily with stitching up clumsy children, as opposed to a major regional hospital that is doing heart transplants. Riskier procedures inherently carry higher mortality rates, which drive down customer satisfaction. What is my advice for the AJC? Weight the grades to take this in account, and build another site that measure quality of care based on benchmarks other than customer satisfaction.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Glass Houses

By George Dienhart

The Obama campaign has begun falsely accusing the McCain campaign of being behind the controversial ad that purchased, but yet to air, by the North Carolina GOP. This is clearly a charade, aimed at deflecting questions about Sen. Obama’s character. Has he demanded that the DNC stop attacking John McCain? The answer is no. The ad is unfair, in that it tries to link to statewide candidates in North Carolina to Rev. Wright. They are absolutely fair in linking Obama to Rev. Wright. My question is why is Obama criticizing McCain? McCain is actually demanding the NC GOP not air the ad. McCain has held himself to a standard that Obama himself is unwilling to conform to, yet the criticism continues to roll on from the Obama camp.

The sleaze and lies continue to ooze from the Obama Camp. He insists that he did not know what Rev. Wright’s sermons were all about, yet he was a 20-year attendee of Wright’s church services. He even commented on them a year before the controversy began. He sees nothing wrong with socializing with accused domestic terrorists and wants to negotiate with international terrorists. All this and he criticizes war hero John McCain.

Perhaps Obama should start trying to police his own behaviors, and shoddy instincts. His selection of friends has proven to be problematic to his campaign, and has shown the American Public that he has severely impaired judgment. Sen. Obama should concentrate on his own rather ample problems before focusing on Sen. McCain’s imagined problems.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chickens coming home to roost for the Democrats

by George Dienhart

I imagine things may be a little tense in the Obama campaign headquarters right about now. He is now tantalizingly close to a nomination that is his to lose. Problem is, he just may lose it yet. The delegate count stands at Obama 1714, Clinton 1589. First one to 2025 wins. There are about 727 delegates still up for grab- enough to put either over the top, or neither. There are 380 delegates yet to be chosen via the primary process. The remaining 347 are super delegates who are not bound to any vote. Here is a little breakdown of what I see happening:

I allocated the remaining delegates by analyzing existing trends in polling, the states election history and where I think the momentum will be. I also took into account fundraising, though I did not weigh it as heavily as I would have in the past. I chose to de-emphasize funding (to a degree) due to the McCain and Clinton comebacks.

As you can see, this is a nightmare scenario for the Democrats- no clear winner has emerged after the last primary. The Super Delegates- will choose the Democratic standard-bearer and that is super bad news for Democrats. If they vote for Clinton, they set their party back 20 years and McCain wins. If they vote for Obama, they vote against the last 16 years of Clinton rule, and McCain wins. As you can see, believe the damage is already done.

A Clinton candidacy delivers more of the same Clinton act- and it is an act that has left the voters both cold and tired. This is a scenario that consists of more Bill shenanigans, more Hillary temper-tantrums, and more losses in a war on terror that will be fought by the police, not our military. The public wants no part of this. While the general public has had enough, Clinton does have enough hangers on to continue to fund her in a guerilla campaign that cut Obama top the bone.

Nominating Obama means hearing more of Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers. More damnation and terrorism. More Freudian slips over what the liberal elitist Obama really thinks about the majority of the country. In short, an Obama Nomination sets back the Democratic Party for the same 10 years. On the funding front, Obama has enough cash to wield a club that will hammer away at Clinton- bringing up numerous scandals and flips.

No matter which Democrat is elected, Republicans win. The 10 years that this will cost the Democrats will cost them dearly- three presidential elections, and nominations for most of the non-newly appointed Supreme Court seats. We have heard of previous “conservative revolutions”- this one will make the others pale by comparison. We will not win back congress this time, but we will in the next two cycles. Either Democratic candidate will disaffect a huge swath of their base.

While as a Republican, I feel this is good for the country, it would have been hard to imagine only a few months ago. Obama was doing well- and Hillary was the Democratic Party’s past. Four months ago- a Hillary nomination was going a foregone conclusion. Even though this election will most likely result in another white, male president, it has been historic. Historically, no political party has ever damaged itself so badly, in what should have been an easy election. With the left-wing manufactured recession and an unpopular president, conventional wisdom tells us we should have a Democrat elected this cycle. History books will tell us otherwise- leaving Democrats to cling bitterly to memories of what might have been.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Saving education in America

by George Dienhart

Bill Bennett wrote a recent op/ed piece detailing why Catholic Schools are important. You can read it here. It is a well thoughtful and relevant piece, written about the Wichita model of Catholic Education. The Wichita model moves the burden of tuition from the families attending the school, to all the parishes that feed the school. Essentially, any Catholic family that wants a Catholic education is given that opportunity under the Wichita model.

While this would cause people to give more to their parish, the pay offs to society at large are far greater. A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute estimated that 300,000 students left Catholic Education to go back to Public schools in the 90’s. This was not due to dissatisfaction- quite the contrary as the Catholic Schools have about a 90% approval rate among attending families. This exodus occurred because of school closings. Many of these students were from inner city neighborhoods, forcing these children to move from safe venues of education, to inner city schools that teach nothing but hopelessness and fear. This was bad for society as a whole.

These Catholic School closings also put a strain on the public school that must absorb these students. Scant resources must be stretched even further. How can we fix this?

There are three possible solutions. One solution is school vouchers. Catholic Education is expensive, but still more economical than public schools. A voucher that takes ½ of the tax dollars meant to educate each student and allocates it to the school of the family’s choice would help everyone. For my own benefit, we will keep the numbers simple. Let’s say a school district has ten thousand students, each receiving eight thousand dollars. That is an 80 million dollar pot of cash. Now let us say two thousand students opt out. That leaves 74 million dollars for public education- liberals are screaming about an eight million dollar loss right about now. The magic lies in the math. The average amount of money available to spend for each public school child has risen from eight thousand dollars to nine thousand dollars. That is about an extra twenty five thousand dollars to spend on an average sized elementary school class. It could go for equipment, textbooks, or even teacher salaries. Vouchers would be as good for public schools as they would private schools.

Now the teacher’s union cronies can speak up- “That means fewer jobs for teachers!” No, however, it may mean fewer union jobs for teachers. This is a complaint born out of the self-interest of the unions. Competition means more private and parochial schools, which favor smaller class sizes. That means more jobs for teachers.

The second possible solution is the Wichita model, itself. In Wichita, the archdiocese made a decision. Catholic schooling would be free to all Catholics. The bishop asked all Church members to tithe from their salaries, this money then went into school operations. The program was a run away success. The Wichita Diocese figured out that parishioners are more likely to give to a program that will benefit their actual community. Wichita Catholics can now send their children to a Catholic School, free.

The third solution is a combination of the Wichita model and vouchers. This would help the Non- Catholics who wish to attend Catholic school do so. Catholic Schools have provided good educations for millions of students throughout the history of this nation, and this same institution now offers us a way to fix our schools in the United States- vouchers and competition. If you are Catholic, I recommend contacting you local Catholic school and asking them to look into the Wichita model. If enough schools pass this up through the ranks, your diocese will pay attention.

This may not seem to effect us much in Georgia, we haven’t lost a lot of Catholic Schools- we have, however, struggled to make our schools better. I live in what is supposed to be a good school district. This district has in the last year dealt with the following problems:

1. Not rolling out a math program quick enough to provide students math books. Last year 6th grade students at Booth Middle school did not have math books.
2. An alleged Pedophile teacher in one of the High Schools.
3. Young ladies allegedly planning a Columbine style attack on the fellow students at McIntosh High School.
4. Numerous security lockdowns.
5. Test score, that according to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, that are middle of the road for Georgia. This is compounded by high taxes paid by residents, and by the fact that Georgia schools rank 49th out of 50 states.

When I look around at a “good” school district in Georgia, I see school district that needs a little more competition from area private schools. Vouchers and the Wichita model for Catholic Schools could work wonders here.

High speed police chase- in Peachtree City?

By George Dienhart

Things are usually pretty quiet down here, but yesterday a Fairburn youth allegedly (have to protect myself, here) stole a car from the Wynnmeade subdivision and ran like the wind. The PTC Police did an excellent job in apprehending him, with an assist going to county sheriff. According to the Atlanta’s Fox affiliate, the suspect was armed. The youth wrecked the car and was apprehended a short distance from Peachtree Elementary School.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Obama colleague speaks up.

by George Dienhart

Having moved to Georgia from Illinois, I have some insight on the Obama campaign. In the coming months, I will share that insight. As a down payment on this analysis, I offer this quote from former Illinois State Senator Steve Rauschenberger:
“Barrack was one of the smartest people I ever worked with, but he was more interested in moving up, I never thought he was very engaged in the state senate, because he didn’t think that much of it.”

I know Sen. Rauschenberger- I was a paid staffer on his Illinois gubernatorial campaign. He is one of the smartest and most decent men involved in politics, in any state. If he says something about Obama, we should listen. The Obama campaign is quick to point out how much legislation Obama worked on in the Illinois Senate, but that is an illusion. Most bills in Illinois have 50 or 60 legislators “co-sponsoring” legislation. They have not worked on the bill, and do not intend to- this practice ensures that legislators can stump on issues that are important to the electorate. It spreads the wealth, enabling lawmakers to claim ownership of far more legislation than they could actually work on.

Obama has not shown anything other than a willingness to make you sacrifice for his ambitions. Don’t fall for talking points- an Obama presidency only ensures higher taxes and a more dangerous world.

Here's a little video:

I’ll see your air strike and raise you 12 thermonuclear devices…

by George Dienhart

While I find it interesting that Hillary Clinton has suddenly started pandering for the Jewish vote, It is the manner in which she is pandering even more interesting. It is positively Clintonian. No, it has nothing to do with Bill’s “shenanigans” with the opposite sex; it is Clintonian in the other way. First, let us look at what Hillary said- “their (Iran’s) use of nuclear weapons against Israel would provoke a nuclear response from the United States.” This is strong talk for someone that had earlier positioned herself as an anti-war candidate. She then went further- “if you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States, and hopefully our NATO allies, would respond to that.”

Now, I am all for a tough stance against Iran, but why has Hillary seen the light? That is where the pandering comes in. The Jewish demographic leans heavily Democratic, and she needs to lock down every voter she can. That has to be expected. The fact that she offered to Nuke Iran, while dragging along NATO for the ride, was more than a bit surprising- until I put some thought into it. This is typical Clinton foreign policy. Do nothing about a situation then act surprised when it backfires. Let police agencies handle what would be considered acts of war in times that are more sensible. Let Osama run wild, payday will come on someone else’s watch. This continuation of the Clinton Doctrine would mean the end of Israel.

How? This policy allows Iran to continue along on its merry path to nuclear weapons- Hillary, if elected, needs to do nothing. She just sits back, waits for the disaster, and then reacts after the fact. The truth is that there will be precious few 3 a.m. calls if the next president’s performance is up to the task. If he or she is not, then maybe there is a 3 a.m. call to inform the president that Tel Aviv no longer exists. Then what?

NATO will not participate in nuking Iran. Much of Europe is unsympathetic to Israel, at best. Most of Europe will not defend her. I also question whether Hillary will actually defend Israel- she’s great at sound bites, but seldom means what she says. Her response would most likely parallel Obama’s pledge of a “measured” response. This would be a disaster for Israel. The problem is that a measured response is defined by who is doing the measuring. For Obama, the measured response would most likely be strong words followed by strong (and insincere) apologies. I imagine that Hillary’s response would be similar.

Clearly, this problem needs to be handled before the catastrophe hits. If we disallow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, we are saving lives. This may entail taking preemptive action against Iran. Air strikes against Iran would save the world from a possible nuclear strike- not just Israel. While Israel is closest, Iran has other enemies- such as the United States.

No one thinks that the mighty Iranian Air Force is going to bomb New York or Washington, but an old freighter is cheap. It is also big enough to transport the most rudimentary nuclear device. A third tem of the Clinton Doctrine will cost us dearly; most likely, it will cost us an American city. If you live in New York, or Washington, you especially cannot afford to live under a President that will re-impose this tragic policy. It does not matter if that president is named Clinton or Obama, either way; we start down a dark and stormy path- a path paved in the blood of innocent civilians.

Cross-posted at Illinois Review

Monday, April 21, 2008

A richness of embarrassments.

By George Dienhart

Cross-posted at Illinois Review

What exactly was Jimmy Carter doing this week? The list is long:

Showing his anti-Semitism (again)
Undermining the U.S. Government (again)
Throwing a wrench into the Middle East peace initiative (again)
Coddling sworn enemies of the United States (again)

Anyone else see a pattern here? Jimmy Carter is the ex-presidential equivalent of a cutter. After a life of political failure, he is back on the world stage negotiating a peace accord for the Middle East. He is willing to put his own ego and need for attention above the need of his county. He was bad as a president, but he is a disgrace as an ex-president.

The interesting thing is that he is not negotiating not on the behalf of the United States, or even of U.S. ally Israel. He is not negotiating for any UN initiative. He is in Syria at his own behest, doing his best to be the center of attention. After meeting with Hamas terrorists, President Carter beamed while announcing Hamas had agreed to let Israel "live as a neighbor." Breakthrough? Not really, Hamas had played a frail and nearly broken Carter. Only hours after Carter had met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Mashaal vowed that he would not recognize a Jewish state. So much for Nobel Laureate Carter- he has returned to the diplomatic style that gave the world the Tehran hostage Crisis and a Soviet dominated world. In a nutshell, a miserable failure that Carter hails as a success is par for the course.

The story gets even stranger. The LA Times reports that the Tehran Times has even softened on President Carter. The Iranian English language paper published the following: “Now, finally, we have the welcome tonic of Carter saying what any independent, uncorrupted thinker should conclude: that no 'peace plan,' 'road map' or 'legacy' can succeed unless we are sitting at the negotiating table and without any preconditions.” Now that’s some team up, and I’d be willing to wager that it surprised even Carter. You know what they say, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”- what this tells us of the Iranian perception of President Carter is obvious…

Jimmy Carter's greatest hits
Stagflation- Economic stagnation with high rates of Inflation.
Iran- His refusal to properly support the Shah handed Iran to the current, even more brutal regime.
Hostage Crisis- Not only did he fail to free the hostages- he negotiated with their captors.
The Grinch- Well, not really, but he did ask people to turn off their Christmas Lights in 1979 and 1980. This was a bizarre effort to save energy. I am proud to share my childhood memories of a fully lit tree both years.
Afghanistan- Carter’s weakness was so evident that the Soviet Union tried to over run Afghanistan. This failed policy created thousands of out of work Jihadists who turned their attention to the West after the Soviet retreat.
A 21.5% prime lending rate.
Malaise- Though he never uttered the word in his most famous speech, the word sums up Carters “Crisis of Confidence” rather well.
Amnesty for draft dodgers.
At the height of the Cold War, he cut the defense budget by the then staggering amount of 6 Billion Dollars.
Carter gave away the Panama Canal.

More important than a billion dollar shortfall?

by George Dienhart

As I made my 90 minute commute from Peachtree City to work, my head started to hurt. Though the sudden headache was a little different from my normal commuter’s pain, it was connected to commute nonetheless. As the state falls a billion dollars short of making my everyday commute shorter, attention was focused firmly on the Department of Transportation. Was the media holding the board accountable for the billion-dollar gaffe? No, the media is outraged over Transportation Commissioner Gena Abraham’s choice in a boyfriend.

In all fairness, people should not date their subordinates. I am also quite sure that Ms. Abraham’s did not accept the Chairwoman’s position with the intent of landing a potential husband. She is guilty of falling in love with former Transportation Board Chairman Mike Evans, but when confronted with what could have been a potential conflict of interest, Chairman Evans resigned. Problem solved right? Not quite.

Seems that our erstwhile chairwoman was not a unanimous choice for her position- others were looking out for their friends. While Gov. Perdue selected her, others in the GOP were not happy with the choice, most notably House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram), favored a fellow State Rep, Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain). This infighting is one part of the problem, but as Oxy Powered Billy Mays is so fond of saying- there’s more.

Gov. Perdue brought in Ms. Abraham to minimize the bad choices and ridiculous expectations that previous Transportation Commissioners have made. She has spent the last four months trying to get a handle on her predecessor’s books. Previously the state had started road construction projects with state dollars, while applying the federal money to finish various initiatives. This is legal, and helps stave off inflationary pressure. The problem is not in the practice of this policy, but in the frequency of its use. The state of Georgia is now 4.2 billion in arrears on these projects. This is unacceptable.

With billion dollar shortfalls and other projects under funded by 4.2 billion dollars, awaiting federal funds that may never come, shouldn’t the transportation board attend to more important matters to than Ms. Abraham’s choice of boyfriend? Not according to Dana Lemon, who said she called attention to this situation because "there were some things that were on my heart that I know we needed to talk about, some outstanding issues that needed to be addressed for the betterment of the staff and the department." Wouldn’t getting a handle on the multibillion-dollar mess address the “betterment of the staff and the department” Ms. Leon apparently didn't think so…

Friday, April 18, 2008

Financial Services forum- Democratic President would be a disaster

By George Dienhart

Cross-posted at IllinoisReview

I ran across this at the excellent Politico website-

'On average, (Financial Services) Forum CEOs saw an 88% chance of recession this year with one out of three members putting that chance at 100%. ... The survey also showed that Forum CEOs believe that the turmoil in credit markets has not yet fully run its course.' But they gave the Fed good marks. They peg overall 2008 real GDP growth to just under 1% (0.92%).
***Rising protectionist sentiment and higher tax rates were seen as significant threats to growth.

The asterisks are part of the Politico piece. I did not add them. The Politico is a non-partisan publication. When they covered this forum, they did so in a fair and balanced manner. If the Politico reported that the top concerns were protectionism and higher taxes, then it is a good bet that those were the main points of conversation. They are also nearly guaranteed to accompany a Democratic president.

To translate- we now have an economy that will grow slowly (the 1% forecast above) over the course of the year. This means we most likely are not in a recession. The economy is growing, and will grow modestly throughout the year. The problem begins next year. After a Dem is potentially elected president. Both Hillary and Obama have rather grandiose spending plans, and neither will extend President Bush’s tax cuts. Both plan new spending to roll out their visions for health care. Both have spoken out against free trade agreements. This behavior is exactly what would be categorized as “Rising protectionist sentiment”. Both would willingly throw the nation into a recession in order to pander to voters. Either would be a disaster as president.

I recently heard a liberal state that Obama would "save the country from economic collapse?" A good conservative pointed out that President Obama would punish the rich (and the middle class) with tax increases. He would punish businesses with more tax increases. Oil companies would be the recipient of a “double-whammy” tax on their profits. Obama is curiously silent when it comes to Sen. McCain’s proposal to suspend the federal gasoline taxes. This real tax relief would be a boon not only to truckers, but also to suburbanites commuting to work. Sen. McCain points out that his plan would be a real economic stimulus. Extra money in the monthly family budget. Extra money that could be spent on mortgages. Lowering diesel costs would also lower the prices on everything that people buy that is shipped by the trucking industry. For those who are interested, that would be everything …

The eerie silence emanating from the Obama and Clinton camps on this matter is purposeful. Both remaining Democratic presidential candidates know that they cannot win with a good economy. If you are Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, to win, you need a recession. In typical Democrat fashion, they are more concerned with their own future than they are with your future. Not only do they keep repeating the recession mantra- they are happy to ignore the realities of simple economics and propose policies that will suffocate the economy. All in order to be elected. To these two politicians, a November victory is far more important than any pesky voter. The only thing that counts is power, and they are perfectly happy to see countless Americans taxed to the brink of bankruptcy to amass more power.

Conservatives know that tax increases don’t grow the economy, they only grow spending. I only wish that Democrats could learn this…