Obama embraces the Bush legacy
Though the headlines from the President's speech mostly focused on his promise to end all U.S. combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010 -- and withdraw U.S. forces fully by the end of the following year -- there was considerably more to it than that. For starters, Mr. Obama again acknowledged that our forces in Iraq had "succeeded beyond any expectation," not least his own.
Mr. Obama was also rightly generous in his praise of outgoing U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, "two of our finest generals." All three men were Bush appointees, and all were instrumental in devising, advocating and implementing the surge strategy that Mr. Bush pursued amid the derision of his critics, including then-Senator Obama.
President Obama also recognized that Iraqis themselves have made significant political progress, and that "there is renewed cause for hope in Iraq." That's a far cry from his message of last July, when he told reporters, after visiting Iraq, that "So far, I think we have not seen the kind of political reconciliation that's going to bring about long-term stability in Iraq."
But more important than Mr. Obama's implicit repudiation of his own positions as a candidate (and the implicit vindication of Mr. Bush's position, to say nothing of John McCain's) is his decision to maintain a sizable U.S. military presence in Iraq -- in the range of 35,000 to 50,000 troops -- past the August 2010 "withdrawal" date. That "transitional force" is roughly the size of the U.S. military presence in South Korea through the Cold War. And its mission, involving training of Iraqi forces, U.S. force protection and "targeted counterterrorism missions," largely describes what the U.S. is already doing in Iraq.
Most of Iraq's provinces are under full Iraqi security control, and U.S. forces will be out of all Iraqi cities and towns by this July, as stipulated in the Status of Forces Agreement that the Bush Administration concluded with the Iraqi government last year. By making it clear a sizable U.S. force will remain in Iraq, Mr. Obama is showing a commitment to Iraq's continued democratic progress and should help deter a revival of ethnic tensions. He's also making clear the strategic advantage of having a stable U.S. ally in the heart of the Persian Gulf.
Obama's Budget Will Harm Small Businesses and Destroy American Jobs
Simplistic Leftist theory gets it wrong again
Few would suggest that Barack Obama would intentionally kill American jobs and persecute the small businesses that create them. Unfortunately, that's precisely the effect of his new budget and tax scheme. By raising taxes on small business and reneging on his campaign promise to provide them capital gains tax relief, he will punish the very entrepreneurs that create most American jobs and market innovations.
Obama, of course, would righteously protest that he seeks to help small businesses, and will only raise taxes on the "wealthy" earning over $250,000. The simple truth, however, is that most taxpayers filing above the $250,000 benchmark are not individual fat cats or trust-fund babies. Rather, over 65% of them are actually small businesses, which file as individuals rather than corporations because they have fewer than 100 shareholders and do not pay dividends. Small businesses constitute 99% of employers, and employ over half of all private-sector employees in America, and many of them file above the $250,000 threshold.....
According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), which defines "small businesses" as those employing between 3 and 199 people, these entrepreneurs employ over 50% of the nation's private-sector employees and account for over half of American non-farm private gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, given the dynamic nature of our economy, these small businesses create approximately two-thirds of net new jobs and provide the first job for most new entrants into the workforce, according to the NFIB, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the United States Census Bureau. In fact, America's small businesses would comprise the world's third-largest economy (after the United States and Japan) if standing alone, and represent an astounding 99.7% of all employers in America.
If Obama really wanted to stimulate the American economy and create jobs, he would stop punishing small businesses with tax increases that falsely target "the rich." Instead of repeatedly shoveling billions of dollars to well-connected big businesses that employ armies of lobbyists but refuse to correct their defective business models, he might provide relief to small entrepreneurs like those who created Wal-Mart, Apple or Microsoft. Instead of raising taxes on small businesses, he would honor his campaign promise to cut them. Instead of futilely attempting to preserve jobs at failing giants, he would provide the incentives for the smaller businesses that create jobs. Along the way, he might consider reducing payroll taxes or providing tax hiatuses for new small businesses until they successfully transcend their fledgling early stages.
President Obama and Congress, your massive spending bills are only worsening the market and harming the economy. If you really want to restore American innovation and begin creating jobs again, stop targeting supposedly "rich" small businesses and raising their taxes. You'll be amazed at the economic growth that follows.
There is a new website called A Faithful Soldier which may be worth a look. It honors everyone in the US military all around the world. Dog tags are sold on it and 15% of all proceeds is said to go to a charity (Soldier's Angels) which helps injured soldiers or families of those that lost their lives in the military. The tags could be personalized with either your name or someone you know in the military and could be good as gifts.
A good comment here on the huge political bias in the reports by snopes.com -- something I have myself mentioned two or three times.
Where are all those "Green jobs"?: "California's unemployment rate jumped to 10.1% in January, the highest since 1983, as employers in the nation's most-populous state cut 79,000 jobs in the month. Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday declared a state of emergency to address California's third-straight year of drought, ordering officials to take steps to reduce urban water consumption and to expedite water transfers throughout the state. The rate, released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department, is up from a revised figure of 8.7% for December 2008. The national jobless rate for January was 7.6%. There were 3.3% fewer jobs in California than a year earlier. The report said there were 1,863,000 unemployed Californians, up 754,000 from January 2008."
A few fountains of bias to dry up: "After 150 years the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News landed on readers' doorsteps yesterday morning with the headline "Goodbye, Colorado". It is Colorado's oldest newspaper and the largest-circulation daily to succumb to the crisis in the newspaper industry. The 144-year-old San Francisco Chronicle is in danger of closing "within weeks", making San Francisco the first big city in the United States without a major daily paper. The Seattle PostIntelligencer and Tucson Citizen could also shut down if no buyer steps forward. Analysts predict that other titles will follow the 210,000-circulation Rocky Mountain News because of the economic downturn and the flight of advertising and readers to the internet"
Good demographic news from Israel: "According to the CBS, the country's Jewish population is getting younger and the Arab population getting older. The number of annual Jewish births increased by 45% between 1995 (80,400) and 2008 (117,000), as a result of aliya from the USSR, the shift by the Soviet olim from a typical Russian rate of one birth per woman to a typical Israeli rate of two-three births, the rising secular Jewish rate and the sustained high Orthodox and haredi rate. The number of annual Arab births has stabilized - since 1995 - at around 39,000, reflecting a most successful integration by Arabs into the country's infrastructures of education, health, human services, commerce, finance, culture, sports and politics. The fertility gap is down from six births per woman in 1969 to 0.7 in 2009, and the proportion of Jewish births has grown from 69% (of total births) in 1995 and 74% in 2007 to 75% in 2008. The downward trend typifies, also, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria due to large scale emigration, entrenched family planning, reduction of teen pregnancy, rapid urbanization, expanded education especially among women, record divorce rate and higher median marriage age. The Westernization of Arab fertility rate (3.5 births per woman in pre-1967 Israel and four in Judea and Samaria) is apparent throughout most of the Arab and Muslim world."
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)