Archive for November, 2009

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The Pacific President

November 18, 2009

“As America’s first Pacific president,” said President Obama in Tokyo, “I promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain our leadership in this vitally important part of the world.”

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “There was a second incident here which was I thought interesting — when the president declared himself the ‘first Pacific president.’ That’s because, presumably, he grew up and spent some of his childhood in Hawaii and in Indonesia, and his mom took him on a visit to Japan, although all he remembers of that, as he says, was the ice cream.

The first Pacific president? Well, Teddy Roosevelt, he built the Panama Canal in order to make the United States a Pacific power, and he did.

Howard Taft, his successor, was the governor of the Philippines. And John Kennedy and George Bush Sr. were in the Pacific theater in the second World War, and, in fact, spent sometime in the Pacific ocean itself — Bush after having been shot down from his airplane, and Kennedy after having his ship cut in half by a Japanese patrol boat. So, these people actually spent time in the Pacific. But in Obama’s mind, it doesn’t any way match the experience of the baby Jesus, excuse me, the baby Obama growing up on some Pacific island.

The narcissism of the man is rather unbounded. But you see, everything in Obama’s life makes him world historical.”

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The Wrong way, the Right way and Norway

November 10, 2009

A small item in the October 31st edition of The Economist caught my attention:

“Norway’s huge oil reserves had cushioned it against the effects of the severe global downturn”

It started me thinking, so I searched for more about Norway’s economy.  An old New York Times article reported:

“In the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent.  By comparison, the United States is expected to chalk up a fiscal deficit this year equal to 12.9 percent of its gross domestic product and push its total debt to $11 trillion, or 65 percent of the size of its economy.  Norway is a relatively small country with a largely homogeneous population of 4.6 million and the advantages of being a major oil exporter.

So the picture was becoming clearer, it was exploitation of its natural resources, namely off shore oil and gas exploration that accounted for Norway’s economic prosperity.  Surely there must be a heavy environmental price to be paid or the United States would be similarly exploiting its vast energy reserves.

So I next researched the Environmental News Service and came across the results of this 2008 Study by the World economic Forum:

“DAVOS, Switzerland, January 23, 2008 (ENS) – A ranking of 149 countries based on indicators of pollution control and natural resource management released today at the World Economic Forum puts the United States in 39th place, behind Ecuador and Albania.

The top four countries are all European, with Switzerland ranked first and Sweden, Norway and Finland in the next three slots.”

In December the White House will be hosting a conference on jobs and the economy to “talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again.”  That’s not an easy task, but it’s not a complicated one either.  Real job creation is dependent on wealth creation.  We can’t stimulate or consume our way to prosperity.

There are only three ways to create wealth; mine it, manufacture it or grow it.  If we want to rejuvenate the US economy and lower unemployment, we’ll never do it by re-distributing wealth or manipulating wealth.  We won’t do it by encouraging increased consumption of wealth.  We must create it. In a land blessed with great natural resources and more freedoms ever known to man, we used to be pretty good at doing that.

Don’t confuse wealth manipulation (Wall Street), wealth redistribution (Washington) or wealth consumption (easy credit) for wealth creation.  There is a role for Wall Street to facilitate the creation of wealth, a role for Washington to promote the general welfare and a need for reasonable financing to let individuals and corporations to pursue opportunities, but if we don’t rejuvenate our ability to create wealth, those roles will be diminished as other nations go about the important work of creating the wealth of nations (something that the United States used to be very good at).

We currently pay our farmers not to grow food, we limit exploration of natural resources and we hinder our manufacturing industries.  Changes those policies in a responsible manner and you will see an explosion of prosperity.  It won’t be easy, wealth creation is hard work.  But it’s a simple choice.  Create wealth and prosper, or manipulate, redistribute and consume our way to mediocrity.

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The Commander in Chief’s Secrets

November 3, 2009

“The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, a former military commander there, has expressed deep concern to Washington about sending more U.S. troops, the Washington Post and The New York Times reported on Thursday.

The papers, quoting senior unnamed U.S. officials, said Ambassador Karl Eikenberry had sent classified cables in the past week expressing strong reservations about President Hamid Karzai‘s erratic behavior and corruption in his government.

The reports of Eikenberry’s dispatches come as President Barack Obama is considering boosting U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, where Karzai was returned to power last week after a fraud-tainted election.”

What’s wrong with this story?  We are a nation at war and this was a classified cable!!!!!

Have we become so callous regarding leaks from Washington that a classified cable from an ambassador in a war zone to the Commander in Chief regarding a commitment of troops to a combat doesn’t spark any indignation?

Doesn’t anyone recall the efforts that the United States has historically gone to maintain classified communication in times of war, and to the even greater effort that we have gone to intercept and break the codes of our adversaries (think the Battle of Midway).

There’s only three junctures where a classified cable can become public; 1) where it originated, 2) while being transmitted or 3) where it is received.  If this was a “classified cable” and we are at war, something is wrong.  Either; 1) the Commander in Chief can’t trust his ambassador in a war zone, 2) we no longer have secure means to transmit classified information during a time of war, or 3) the Commander in Chief’s staff leaked the information for political purposes.

The Constitution assigns the president two roles: chief executive of the federal government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. As Commander in Chief, the president has the authority to send troops into combat.  As chief executive, he enforces laws, treaties, and court rulings.

If Ambassador Eikenberry’s message wasn’t a classified cable, the Commander in Chief should inform us of that so we don’t have to conclude that our government can no longer keep secrets.  If it was a classified cable, it would be reassuring if the ambassador in the war zone was relieved of his duties or that resources where being put in place to insure that our government could safely transmit future classified messages in a time of war.

Otherwise, we’ll be left to conclude that classified information is being leaked from the White House for political purposes during a time of war.  So much for solemn  and thoughtful deliberations.