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Challenger: 25 Years Later

There are few events of my childhood that I remember as starkly as the day that the Challenger exploded soon after takeoff in January 28, 1986.  Much like people remember the Kennedy Assasination 23 years before that, the incident was so shocking for so many young, especially because many were watching it live on TV because of the launch of the first civilian, a teacher, into space.

I felt a personal link to the tragedy.  Only a short few weeks earlier, I got to take my first visit to Florida, which included Cape Canaveral.  I saw Challenger, sitting on the launch pad, eagerly waiting its launch.

A quarter of a century later, space travel is still a frightening experience.  This past decades saw the loss of the Columbia Shuttle during re-entry.  We take for granted the space program, but the dangers lurk to this day.

As the shuttle program winds down this  year, it behooves us to remember the sacrifice and risk that our astronauts face as a daily routine.

President Ronald Reagan, in one of the the most memorable Presidential speeches in response to a tragedy, said it best:

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’


Egypt On Fire

The Middle East has been a tinderbox for decades.  In the past five years, we have seen significant uprisings in Lebanon, Iran, Tunisia, and now Egypt.  These protests all  have one thing in common:  people screaming for more self-determination.

The Egyptian riots are especially troublesome for the United States.  Egypt is one of our biggest recipient of military aid…more than even Israel.  In fact, some question whether Egypt as a nation could survive without American aid.

But that aid comes at a price.  Hosni Mubarak has been in power since 1981, taking control after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.  Mubarak’s stanglehold on the country wears thin, as he grows old, and rumors of his son ascending to the leadership position are rampant. Democracy activists feel this is their opportunity.  Mubarak is sick and weak, his son has yet to consolidate power, and with the economy in shambles, there may never be a moment such as this for Egyptian democracy.

Once again, the Obama Administration’s response is haggard at best.  Unlike the Iranian protests, where I and others severely criticized the President for his weak response, his tempered response at this time makes sense.  Ultimately, I believe we have to support the people of Egypt and not the regime, but this is a more delicate situation because of America’s long standing alliance with that country.

But at the same time, some of the comments coming from this Administration are absurd.  Vice President Biden on Thursday stated that Mubarak was not a dictator, and should not leave office.  That will be hard to swallow for Mubarak opponents.  Mubarak has been in power for 30 years, without serious opposition, and regularly jails his political opponents.  I wish someone would ask the Vice President what he would define as a dictator.

The opposition does not appear to be wavering.  Well known activists are outwardly claiming their support for their protests.   The most well known internationally would be Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt from Vienna on Thursday, and has called for Mubarak to resign .  He has said he would personally join the protests on Friday.

The question for the U.S. is clear:  as an ally of Egypt, is it time to slowly move Mubarak out?  Unlike with Iran and other hot spots, we have significant clout with the Egyptian regime.  Obama, like Bush before him, has said democracy is our ultimate goal, and self determination is a right of all.  If that is the case, maybe it is time we were more proactive.  Mubarak has not been a benign tyrant.  Egypt deserves better.

Obama is in a difficult position.  Unlike the Iranian protests, where I still believe he made a mistake by not declaring his support for the revolutionaries, in this case the United States has much to lose.  If Egypt falls into the wrong hands, it would further destabilize the region.  Obama must tread carefully, and so far, he has done little that I would be critical of.  But ultimately, a time will come when Obama must choose to stand with one side or another.  At that moment, we will see if Obama has the diplomatic skills to guide Egypt to the brighter future.  Ultimately, the question is whether Obama will rise to the occasion.


Now, Its The Conservatives Turn…

Lisa Benson, Townhall

President Obama had his chance to convince the American public of his way forward during his State of the Union address.  In a one hour speech, Obama largely ignored the biggest looming threat to America:  our deficit crisis.  This was the primary issue which cost Democrats the House of Representatives, and allowed John Boehner to become Speaker of the House.  The President’s tin ear is amazing.

So what now for Republicans?  The course is clear, as far as I am concerned.  Obama has presented a lot of rhetoric about controlling the deficit.  Now, this is where the rubber meets the road.  It is time for conservatives to shine.

How so?  Simply keep their promises.  If Obama means what he says, he will work with Republicans on the following:

1.  The Budget Deficit: First, Last, And Everywhere In Between

Republicans must focus on the deficit.  President Obama missed the golden opportunity of a lifetime.  Everyone knows our deficit is the iceberg on the horizon.  Obama has the popularity, trust, and backing of the American people to confront the issue, like no recent president.

And he voted ‘Present’.

Obama simply did not even confront the issue.  He had a few lines about the biggest looming threat to American stability and safety, and did not focus on any real solutions whatsoever.  For two years, we have heard from the White House that this President would confront the budget deficit.  And for two years, we leave disappointed.

But this is the Republicans golden opportunity now.

Obama has a lot of empty talk about reigning in spend.  Now, either make him walk the walk, or make him eat his words.

All signs point to worsening of our debt crisis.  The Congressional Budget Office, ironically on the day after the SOTU, released a report showing that 2011 will show the largest federal deficit in history: $1,480,000,000,000 in debt…or $1.48 trillion for those of you too lazy to count the number of zeros.   That is near 10% of GDP, the second largest debt in American history, only trailing fiscal year 2010.  The CBO predicts an additional $7 trillion in debt through 2021.

And it gets worse.  Assuming that Congress will make changes to the tax code and spending  that it always does (like continuing an exemption on the alternative minimum tax and continuing the yearly doctor fix for Medicare payments), the budget deficit would balloon to $12 trillion through 2021.

The CBO gets to the heart of the matter:

The longer the necessary adjustments are delayed, the greater will be the negative consequences of the mounting debt, the more uncertain individuals and businesses will be about future government policies, and the more drastic the ultimate policy changes will need to be. But changes of the magnitude that will ultimately be required could be disruptive.

That plays right into the hands of fiscal conservatives.  Obama and Democrats can whine about the disaster that will ensue if cuts are enacted…but the CBO now is steadfastly on the side of budget hawks.  It is time to cut as much as possible.  And if Obama stands in the way of that, so be it.

2.  Force the issue on entitlement

Remember, back in 2005, when George W. Bush tried to confront Social Security?  At that time, a young Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, suggested that it was unnecessary.  He stated that Social Security would remain solvent until the middle of this century.

Well, so much for that. The CBO on Social Security, 2011:

The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in benefits this year than it will collect in payroll taxes, further straining the nation’s finances. The deficits will continue until the Social Security trust funds are eventually drained, in about 2037.

Previously, CBO said Social Security would start running permanent deficits in 2016. In the short term, Social Security is suffering from a weak economy that has payroll taxes lagging and applications for benefits rising. In the long term, Social Security will be strained by the growing number of baby boomers retiring and applying for benefits.

It is now time.  This will be a costly battle for Republicans…but it must be done for the sake of the nation’s future.  Democrats have neither the will nor courage to take the biggest fiscal bomb on:  entitlements and the defense budget.

Obama proposed $75 billion in cuts to the Defense Department over the next five years…or approximately a 3% cut.  Republicans must do better.  Yes, we are pro-defense, but we must make rational cuts to our Defense Department.  Some cost savings will obviously come from ending the wars, but there needs to be more comprehensive long term effort to restrain the military’s budget.

Social Security is actually the easiest to fix intellectually, and the hardest to approach politically.  Everyone on both sides of the aisle know what needs to be done:  gradual increase in retirement age; slow decrease in benefits, especially for the highest earners; and possibly increasing the social security tax income cap from $106,000.  I would also propose privatization of a portion of social security, but that is a hard battle to win.  But these changes could easily be made incrementally over the next 50 years, in order to protect our seniors and allow young earners the time to adapt to the changes.  These changes would basically make social security fiscally sound for a century or more.

And of course, the last entitlement is…

3.  Medicare and Obamacare.  Force the issue on health care savings.

Obama continues to argue that Obamacare will save billions longterm.

Of course, the government’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, disagrees.  In testimony on January 26th, Foster claimed that it is unlikely that Obamacare will hold down costs. Additionally, Foster claimed that some of Obama’s biggest claims regarding the program, including the ability of people to keep their current insurance, is false.

Obama and Democrats are frankly dishonest on this whole issue.  What Obama doesn’t tell you is that savings only comes if the Congress makes $500 Billion in cuts to future Medicare spending.   Considering the vicious attacks that Paul Ryan is taking for trying to cut Medicare spending by $5 Billion, or 1% of the original mark, this is a red herring.For example, Congress unsurprisingly maintained current fees to doctors, which they do every year.  The cuts were actually supposed to happen under Obamacare.  Cost:  $19 Billion.


It is time to force Obama’s hand.  Either he needs to show a budget that demonstrates the $500 Billion in cuts, or needs to find another way to get that savings.

Obama has also opened the door to tort reform.  Immediately, this minute, pass medical malpractice tort reform, which Obama suggested he would consider in the State of the Union.  Make him veto a plan with malpractice caps, and then we will see where he really stands:  with those worried about costs, or with the trial lawyers.

Together, focus on these three measures show a devotion the concept of fiscal conservatism.  Some of the measures, especially things like Social Security reform and Defense budget cuts, will be painful to our side.  But leadership does not come without sacrifice.  It is time to hold our representatives accountable.   The time is now.


Obama State of the Union: Largely, More Of The Same…

Tonight pretty much sums up the Obama Presidency.

We have members of Congress looking for ‘dates’ so they can look like they are civil.  We have a President who will talk about entitlements, and then will avoid proposing any major changes to those programs.  And then Mr. Obama will talk about deficit control, and no doubt will propose more ‘investments’ which will do more to worsen the deficit problem.

That, in a nutshell, exemplifies the Obama Presidency.  It is more theater than reality; more rhetoric than action.

But the show must go on.

Obama will move forward in the only way he sees; by further cementing his liberal legacy of the past two years, and hold off conservative efforts to derail any of that legislation.  As E.J. Dionne states, Obama plans to ‘Legislate, Hold, and Build’.

So, in other words, for Obama, it is simply more of the same.

The argument is simple:  Obama will try to sell his legislative victories of the last two years.  He will spend the remainder of his term attempting to convince the unconvinced American public that the Obama agenda is setting America up for long term wealth creation, job creation, and overall stability.

Good luck with that.

Obama’s rhetoric has been spot on for the past few months.  First, he compromised with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts.  Then, he called for civility after the Tucson shooting.  Tonight, he will talk about moving the economy forward.  For example, the NY Times points out that Obama began talking about the desperate need to foster competitiveness and innovation in the pursuit of American jobs.

The problem is, for Obama these words mean maintaining current government programs and spending.  And that, simply, is not where the American public stands on these issues.  The American public wants answers about the growing deficit…and Obama lacks any answers.

Obama’s big answer to the deficit problem?  A 5 year spending freeze.  That will accomplish virtually nothing, after Obama himself has increased government spending by 70% in two years.  The Obama plan would save about $15 billion a year over 5 years…or the equivalent of how much debt we as a country run up in about 4 days.  That is the definition of useless.

Liberals argue that maintaing the rest of  this spending is essential to long term job growth.  Someone, namely the President, is going to have to explain how many of these programs are going to cost jobs.  Fine.  which of the following are the big job producers that Democrats are going to argue for?

  • USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annually.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annually.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annually.

Sure, there are programs that are much more controversial to cut, such as education programs.  But largely, these are programs that are good ideas…when you have the money.  And the American people have decided we don’t have the money, and are ready to turn off the spigot.

Democrats still don’t understand this political dynamic.  Americans don’t believe that government will save them, especially from their economic woes.  The public doesn’t blame Obama for the recession…but they also don’t believe he will provide solutions to get us passed the economic doldrums either.

And with that dynamic, the last thing Americans want to do is plow down several trillion dollars more in order to achieve…well, nothing.

So, let civility reign tonight.  Republicans and Democrats, happily dancing together, corsage in hand to their mate from across the aisle.  I am sure Obama will give a roundly lauded speech about hope, change, and civility.  But in the end, unless it is backed by real reform, it will amount to nothing.


The Long Road For Health Care Repeal Starts Here…

Today, the Republicans kept their first promise of this Congress, by passing a repeal of the Obamacare.

The long road begins here.

This is obviously largely symbolic. But symbols matter.  First and foremost, this was a key promise Republicans made to the American people in their quest to regain power over the House.  Promise made, promise kept.

My friends, let us be honest:  true and total repeal of Obamacare will be a long, hard slog.  The American people do not yet comprehend the long term damage that Democrats did by passing this bill.  This may take years, decades…and may be a battle that my generation will fight for the rest of their time.

But a few things are certain.  First, the public is on our side.  Significant majorities support repeal of this bill.  We don’t need to fight to convince Americans of anything, unlike the Democrats; they already align with our reality.  We simply need to keep the fight going, and keep demonstrating the falsehoods that made this bill possible.

Frankly, you simply should put Paul Ryan against any Democrat once in a while, and force them to fidget, like he made them do today in the House chamber:

This is a simple and complete evisceration of the budgetary realities of Obamacare.  No Democrat can withstand this barrage, because their is no defense.  Ryan simply takes the numbers, uses logic, and systematically demolishes every Democrat argument about the supposed cost-savings in this bill.

Additionally, this is only the first of several paths to the dismantling of Obamacare.  The courts are obviously the other.   26 states have now joined the lawsuit against the Federal Government, stating the bill is unconstitutional.  Along with the federal judge declaring it unconstitutional, these factors almost guarantee that at the very least, the individual mandate will go down in flames.

The second, and more difficult but also more permanent, is at the ballot box.  It would take massive luck and a level of competence I still don’t believe Republicans have, but taking the majority in the Senate, holding the House, and winning the White House likely would give Republicans the possibility of repealing the entire program by early 2013.  And of course, that would likely only come with use of reconciliation to remove the bill in the Senate and override a Democrat filibuster…a little bit of irony, wouldn’t you say?

So prepare yourselves for the long road ahead.  There is no short term fix to the enormous damage done by Democrats.  We must be stubborn, vigilant, and ultimately, we can succeed in this endeavor.  But today…today was the first step.


Long Term Significance of Obama’s Lame Duck Victories

Barack Obama had an excellent December, no question.  After the crushing electoral defeat in November, many thought he would slink away for the Christmas holidays, and try again in the new year.  Instead, Obama successfully repealed Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, ratified the START treaty, passed survivor benefits for the 9/11 responders, and extended the Bush Tax Cuts for all Americans.

Now, each has its supporters and detractors.  Liberals are joyous over DADT.  Republicans generally are happy with the Bush tax cut extensions.  Everyone supported the 9/11 bill, at its core.  And no one really cares about START.

But to heat the mainstream media, you would think that Obama had just saved the union. For example, watching MSNBC’s Morning Joe last month was basically like an invitation to the Obama fan club, or maybe his re-election committee.  No one, not one voice, thought that Obama’s actions was anything other than spectacular political prowess.

What utter nonsense.

The only surprise in the lame duck session was that the White House gave up so much on the Bush tax cut extensions.  Republicans could have waited until January to get those cuts extended, but simply didn’t want to deal with an intransigent White House as soon as it took power in the House.  For Obama, he knew that he was on the losing side of this issue, and simply made the best of a bad situation.  It was a no brainer for both sides, politicall speaking.

Philisophically speaking, however, this was one of the greatest admissions of failure of liberal ideology ever.  Barack Obama admitted that keeping tax rates low is an economic plus.  Their minor argument about the rich is a fringe discussion.  Barack Obama, ultimately, has now agreed with the primary conservative philosophy of the last half century; that the less government burden on the economy, the better, regardless of what the government is doing.

In short, Obama basically admitted that supply side economics works.  Obama has joined no less historic figures as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in that assessment.

Then, to compound the matter, Republicans were able to forestall another Keynesian attempt by stopping the $1.3 trillion Omnibus bill, which was so chock full of wasteful spending, even Democrats could not rationalize it, as numerous Senate Democrats defected to vote against the bill.

As for the other issues?

  • DADT was going to be repealed, either by Congress or the courts.  This simply doesn’t matter as a major issue; I presume the military, as usual, will do a fantastic job adapting.
  • The 9/11 responders bill?  This was always going to pass.  It might have done some damage to Republicans if it were dragged out for a while, or if the roadblock occurred when people were paying attention.  But with the Christmas holidays, no one cared.  And so, for most Americans…memories are short.
  • The DREAM Act, supposedly a cornerstone of the White House policy on immigration, died a final death.
  • And the START treaty…well, no one should care.  Sure, it is nice it got done, but it didn’t significantly matter one way or another.  It is an anachronism of the Cold War, nothing more.

We have already seen the public’s attentions span being diverted by the tragic events in Tucson, which had more effect on the public mood, as well as Obama’s approval ratings, than any legislative successes at the end of 2010.   So, as usual, the media’s proclaiming Obama’s resurgence, based on Congressional action in December, is once again an overstatement of immense proportions.


Krugman’s Failed Logic

This explains it...he was drunk when he wrote this piece!

Paul Krugman, who I continue to hold is the dumbest Nobel Laureate ever, continues his failed attempts at convincing anyone who is sane that he has a clue what is going on.

Today, it is back to Obamacare.

Krugman, in a piece artfully titled ‘The War on Logic’, attempts to dissect Republican arguments for repealing Obamacare.  I personally think the Op-Ed is appropriately titled…only the attack on logic is actually held within the editorial.

Krugman begins by stating that John Boehner, in recent analysis of what the cost of repealing Obamacare would be, is playing a budgetary gimmick.  I will let you read Krugman’s arguments here if you wish.  The irony here is, that the entire cost analysis of Obamacare was a gimmick in the first place.

Krugman points to a CBO report stating that repealing Obamacare will result in approximately $200 Billion in deficit spending over the next 10 years.  That is, factually, true…depending on how you calculate.  The entire CBO process is a game.  And in this game, Democrats fail to tell you two things.  All of the budgetary savings, every cent, comes from…tax increases.

Now, the irony of this little tidbit?  Krugman himself, as well as the President, last year argued that there were no tax increases in the bill.

So, first lie.

The second gaming of the system is with the CBO assuming that approximately $500 Billion in cuts proposed in Obamacare actually go through to fruition.  There is no evidence that such cuts will ever occur.  In fact, the first such proposed cuts, which would have cut heavily into physician reimbursements from Medicare, was recently pushed back…again.  The chance of these cuts going through is about the same as me winning the Nobel Prize for Economics this year.

So, second falsehood, if not an outright lie.

Krugman ironically ignores his own comments about Obamacare made last year:

1.  That the bill will cost more money than expected.

2.  That there are no real cost savings in the plan.

3.  That only with massive cuts to health care spending will the program result in budget cuts long term.

These are arguments Krugman himself has made over the past 2 years.  But somehow now, when Boehner and Republicans point out the falsehoods in the bill, it is they that are illogical.

In short, the only use of logic in the entire Krugman piece is actually in the title.  There is no logical forethought into Krugman’s assertions that the GOP is somehow falsifying reality…he simply implies it by stating it in the title, and presumes you, the reader, are too dumb to realize that no logical argument is ever made.

I present to you Paul Krugman…dumbest Nobel Laureate Ever.


The Real Lesson From Tucson

While the political left has spent much of the past week using the tragedy in Tucson to attempt to damage their political rivals, and as the media focuses on Sarah Palin, the real question and message of the events of the past week are being missed.

Jared Lee Loughner is a disturbed young man.  That much is quite obvious.  Whether he is legally insane will be left up to the courts.  But there is no question, now looking upon his life, that the warning signs were there.

We see this repeated, over and over again.  Whether it be Columbine, the Virginia Tech Massacre, or Tucson, these people in danger of committing these atrocities are not as hidden as one might think.

Loughner was known to local police officials.  School Administrators knew about his instability.  Even the military, which rejected him, suspected something was not right.  And that does not even include Loughner’s friends and family, who must of known much more than any public official could have.

And each of these entities failed to do anything; or maybe more important, were unable to.

Take Pima Community College, where Loughner studied.  They had met with county police five times about his disturbances in class.  Only after the fifth occurrence was he expelled.

Ben McGahee, Loughner’s Algebra teacher, knew the kid was unstable.  “They just said, ‘Well, he hasn’t taken any action to hurt anyone. He hasn’t provoked anybody. He hasn’t brought any weapons to class.'”

Loughner “scares me a bit,” wrote one of the students in an e-mail quoted by the Post. “Until he does something bad, you can’t do anything about him,” she wrote in a later message. “Needless to say, I sit by the door.”

And yet, no one could do anything.

In hindsight, the events of last Saturday were like an oncoming train with Congresswoman Giffords and others sitting innocently on the tracks.  Everyone that had the occasion to spend time with Loughner knew he was unstable…and could do nothing.

I believe in reasonable gun control.  But, is there any gun control law proposed or opposed that would have stopped this tragedy?  Possibly limiting accessability to high volume cartridges would have saved lives, but would not have saved Rep. Giffords; the first bullet wounded her.  But sure, you can discuss that.  The only law that may have helped is instant federal background checks; and in this case, even those would have failed.  Loughner was not a convict, and was not on any mental instability list…and therefore, would have passed all background checks in the United States.

I am in favor of background checks, but there is a more fundamental issue at hand. Background checks are useless unless the database has information to base decisions on.  In this case, Loughner was never reported to the database.

Those who confronted Loughner never made the next logical step, and force him to seek mental health help.  Many, like the school and colleges associated with Loughner, were very likely scared of retribution, especially from lawsuits.  They suggested mental care, but could do nothing more.  It was easier to send him on his way than force his hand and make him seek some psychiatric help.  As for the military, where Loughner was denied entry, it is uncertain whether they are even legally allowed to forward such material to the appropriate authorities.  And as for the police, that is even more dubious.  Why after so many incidents, did they not try to force him into the mental health system?

We need to be more open about these questions, and allow institutions to use more free will in determining when individuals need to seek mental health care.  In turn, we need to protect those same people from lawsuits.  There is nothing damaging in making an individual sit with a psychiatric health professional for a few hours, and determine whether the patient is stable, and worse, is a risk to others.

Until we come to face the reality that we do not intercede when necessary in these cases, we will continue to have incidents like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson.


Why the F-22 Raptor Matters

There has been much debate over the future of America’s next generation fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has taken an enormous gamble.  He has wagered that the F-22 is too expensive, and is unnecessary; and only spending on the next generation fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, makes military and financial sense.

I have long challenged this notion.  In fact, I called it gross negligence in a piece almost 2 years ago.  I have long believed that production of the F-22 should continue until full deployment of the F-35 was in effect.  Now, I think recent information goes to prove that I and others were absolutely right.

What evidence, do you ask?  Well, this:

Above is China’s new J-20 prototype stealth fighter plane.  This has been rumored to be in development for years.  But nobody in the intelligence community expected a working model at this point.

But here it is, flying.

The Chinese prepared the J-20 for flight before the meeting with Gates last week.   The C.I.A. and military intelligence did not expect a flying model for another decade.  A ten year discrepancy shows the utter failure in our intelligence services to know what is going on in Red China.

The F-35 was meant as a cost-effective replacement to the F-22.  And clearly, long term, that is what it will be.  When deployed, it will be the most highly technical airplane in the world, and likely will maintain air dominance well into the next century.


The problem is a simple one:  the Chinese are not playing by our rules.  Initially the F-35 was supposed to be deployed last year.   That deployment, according to some reports, has been pushed back until 2015, with full deployment not expected until 2026.

What we have is a possible gap in American air superiority.  With production of the F-22 winding down, there is the possibility that China narrows the gap by 202o.  China still has a long way to go, and many question how far they have come.  However, it doesn’t take much to change the balance of power.  Remember, we are unlikely to face China in an all out war…nobody wants that.  But nobody would be surprised if small skirmishes occur in places like Taiwan or North Korea, would they?  All China needs to do is to shift the balance of air power slightly in their favor, and that would allow them to use their powerful land based systems to further project their military power.

Without air superiority, U.S. naval ships are easy targets.  China has also beefed up their land-to-sea missiles, and now proclaim to have a missile that can destroy a U.S. aircraft carrier.  The Defense Departmnet implicitly admitted this as a fact, as they have slowly moved their aircraft carriers farther away form the Chinese mainland.

Maintenance of the F-22A Raptor fleet would have given the U.S. air superiority well into the 2030s, as the F-35 comes into full force.  However, Gates decision has now halted that overlap.  And China, playing by their own rules, has narrowed the gap significantly.

Only time will tell if that decision costs America.


Being Liberal Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

After a tragic weekend that saw the deaths of six innocents, and the likely maiming of a member of Congress, the left’s first response…is to blame the political right.

Paul Krugman started it out.  Within minutes of the tragedy, he had a blog post up, and had written a full editorial by the end of the day.  He immediately blamed the right for the atrocity…without any proof whatsoever.   In his deranged liberal mind, this simply had to be the cause of those right wing evil forces.

Then later Saturday, Keith Olbermann continued a similar tirade on MSNBC, which again, was ridiculous en face.   But of course, we now accept nothing but the worst from that fool.

There is no evidence for any of these accusations.  It is not like the shooter is a card-carrying member of the Republican Party, Tea Party, or any other known conservative group.  To the left, the knee jerk reaction is ‘simply logical’.

There is nothing logical about the actions of the left.

I can put a list a mile long of liberal pundits whose outright ignorance is staggering.  They continue, to this day, to try to blame the shooting, in some manner or another, on conservatives.  The sheriff in the case blame Rush Limbaugh yesterday.  Several Democrats blamed the Tea Party.  And there is no evidence that the shooter ever had interest in either.

The liberal thought process:  there is violence, the right opposes us; therefore it must be the fault of the political right.

Clearly, these people need to take some more philosophy classes, and understand the term ‘causation’.

This is not to say that the political right should not be self-reflective as well.  Clearly, rhetoric on both sides can be clamped down, while still having the political debate we feel is necessary to move the country forward.

But let us be clear:  the vast majority of the blame game has been played by the left.  Their absolute blindness to their own vitriolic attacks is staggering.  This was a crime of hate, and one could argue, a crime of terror.  To blame Sarah Palin, for example, is basically calling her a terrorist.  That is not vitriolic?  How about the fact that the shooter seemed to have become engrossed with Rep. Giffords in 2007…at least one whole year before Palin was known to the majority of Americans as a national figure?  How did Palin perform that magic act?

Liberals simply believe that everything they do is for the greater good.  When you believe that, it is almost like a religious mandate.  Their ability to self-reflect, especially after the tragedy of last weekend, is basically nil.  Even several days afterward, when the shooter appears to be more a mentally disturbed individual than one of any political flavor whatsoever, we get new accuasations of the Right causing this. That is simply a tool of idiots.  No one else with brain would reach such a conclusion, with the facts at hand.

To their credit, some liberals have tried to take a more measured tone.  Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, and even the women on The View have tried to shy away from the blame game.  Jon Stewart also chimed in, stating, “We live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn’t blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine,” Stewart said on “The Daily Show” Monday night.  Pretty sad when a comedian is the most rationale voice on your side of the aisle, no?

The unfortunate reality is that those who caution against blaming blindly seem to be in a small minority that want to hold back and reserve judgement.  Most of our political left simply wants to attack.

The sad reality is that it is now up to President Obama to give the liberal left any credibility in the face of this disaster.  He has also implied that the political discourse led to this tragedy, but not as openly as others.  Only he can save the face of the Left in this country, because so far, since Saturday, they have behaved more like a group of taddletale children than a governing political movement.

There is one upside to all this, politically speaking:  the public isn’t buying into it.   A CBS poll shows 6 out of 10 Americans do not believe political rhetoric caused this shooting.  That even includes a majority of Democrats, who you would think would be predisposed to the left wing rhetoric.  Once again, my faith in the public outshines my faith in our political leaders.

But one can be sure of one thing:  no matter how factually wrong people like Krugman, Olbermann, or the other ridiculous talking heads on the left are, you will never hear them apologize for being vitriolic, unfair, or downright evil.  Because, simply put, in their world being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.

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