Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Character is a perfectly educated will.
- Novalis, German Poet (1772-1801)

national debt

Over the past year, Obama’s budget proposals have been so completely ridiculous, so completely beyond the realm of serious consideration, that not a single member of Congress, not one Republican, not one member of his own Democrat party, could bring themselves to vote for them.

Obama’s budget proposals were shot down 97-0 by the Senate in May 2011, 414-0 by the House in March of this year and 99-0 by the Senate in May. That’s a collective 610-0. Not one single vote, not even one Democrat has gotten on board with any of Obama’s budget proposals. Never in the history of American politics have we seen a president’s budget proposals so roundly rejected by Congress.

Undeterred by his previous budgets going down to defeat after unanimous defeat, here comes the latest bit of drivel from the White House website outlining the president’s next budget proposal to Congress:

We must transform our economy from one focused on speculating, spending, and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating, and building. That begins with putting the Nation on a path to living within our means – by cutting wasteful spending, asking all Americans to shoulder their fair share, and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs.

Source: White House Office of Management and Budget Website

From a candidate Obama who once assailed the Bush deficits as “unpatriotic” and then upon becoming president, promptly added to the $4 trillion Bush debts another $6 trillion in half the time, Obama’s rhetoric about the necessity of “living within our means” may ring hollow to most, but for those who doubt that Barack Obama has finally gotten serious about reversing our plunge into an abyss too deep to climb out of, witness the unveiling of Obama’s new tool for trimming government spending:

Obama's Budget Cutting Scissors

photo credit: Obama Clock

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America Held Hostage - The Iranian Hostage Crisis

33 years ago today, the radical jihadists of Iran took 52 American embassy workers and held them hostage for 444 days. The Iranian hostage crisis became all-consuming for President Carter as he worked through the final days of his presidency to secure their release, but perhaps it was the American election of that “crazy, trigger-happy cowboy” Ronald Reagan two months earlier that did the most to secure our people’s release. It was only after Reagan was inaugurated that – in a final insult to Carter – the Iranians gave our hostages up for release.

It’s now been 1,383 days since Obamanomics took hostage of our economy here at home. After spending our $10 trillion national debt all the way to an astronomical $16 trillion and seeing unemployment rise despite the orgy of spending, after promising to be a uniter and turning out to be The Great Divider, after watching Iran progress four years closer to having nuclear weapons and radical Islam on the rise in the Middle East with the assassination of our first American ambassador since Jimmy Carter was president, this presidency has been an unmitigated disaster.

For the president who promised us, "If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition," it's time to make those prophetic words come true.

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Jenny just may be the smartest 13-year-old in America. In fact, I thought her analysis in comparing and contrasting the two presidential candidates was so brilliant, I was compelled to transcribe and share the full text of her video here as well, so you can share this webpage complete with video or you can just email the text. However you share it, please do pass along Jenny’s grading of the candidates with every undecided voter you know.

I need to talk to you about something very important. My name is Jenny, and I’m thirteen. My future, and the future of Tommy, Heather, Kelsey and all the other kids in my class is in your hands. Here in Mrs. Jackson’s class, each student gets to be the teacher for a day and today is my day and as the teacher, I decided I wanted to talk about the election on November 6.

In school, we track success by the grades that show up on our report cards, so I decided we should look at the report cards for President Obama and for Governor Mitt Romney, and since I’m not old enough to be a Democrat or a Republican, I’m just going to look at the facts.

For the president, let’s look at the war on terror. President Obama has been doing some good things to keep us safe, he got Osama bin Laden and he’s gotten many Al-Qaeda leaders using unmanned drones. But in the Middle East, there are lots of problems. The recent tragedy at the U.S. Consulate where the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed is horrible. Hopefully we’ll find out why they weren’t protected.

I’m not so sure about the president’s leading from behind strategy. How does that help us?

Now let’s look at Governor Romney. In 1984 he started Bain Capital. It’s a great American success story. They helped companies that I like, like Dominos Pizza, Dunkin Donuts and Staples. My parents buy from all three of them. They’ve created jobs, thousands of jobs, and sure, some companies didn’t do so well and laid off employees, but this is a free enterprise system and some companies do not make it.

Good companies that take care of their customers do well and the not-so-good companies go away. Competition is a good thing, it makes us all better. That’s why America is so successful compared to other countries.

Some people talk like profit is a bad thing, but it’s really a good thing that makes more jobs possible. My dad owned a company that went out of business when he was younger. He says he learned from his mistakes and now his company is doing really well with lots of employees. The marketplace is exciting and full of opportunities but there are risks and there’s no guarantee of success in any business. This is free enterprise at work.

Okay, what about the economy? It’s not looking too good. There are twenty-three million people unemployed today. That’s horrible. Business owners have too many new rules and regulations to follow. The president wants small business owners to pay more in taxes. My dad said there’d be more in demand and he’d hire more people if things weren’t so shaky.

Did you know that corporations are sitting on over $500 billion in cash? That’s “billion” with a “b”. If our president supported business, these companies would invest that money and create new jobs and lots of opportunity.

Let’s talk about the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. In February 1999, Governor Romney was called in to be Mr. Fix-It when out of control spending threatened to sink the games. It was a mess, sort of like our government’s money problems. He brought much needed transparency and opened meetings to the public. He cut spending on just about everything – no more catered food for board meetings and instead, pizza at a dollar a slice.

The games were a great success. It was difficult yes, but Governor Romney has a track record for tackling very difficult problems and finding simple solutions.

And hey, he donated his $1.4 million salary to charity.

What about health care? In January 2009, Obama had control of the White House, the House and the Senate. We were in the worst economic crisis since the Depression. Instead of helping businesses create jobs, the president poured our country’s resources into creating Obamacare. In class, we call it the bill that nobody read. Does that make any sense?

The majority of the citizens said no, and the other party said no, and the doctors said no. Today, the bill that nobody read is becoming one of the largest tax increases in history.

How about being Governor of Massachusetts? After fixing the problem at the Salt Lake Games, Mitt Romney was elected governor. That was an accomplishment by itself, a Republican governor surrounded by Democrats? The legislature was 87% Democratic, but he worked with everyone there from 2003 – 2007. It was difficult, but he didn’t blame the previous governor. He focused on the future, he turned a budget deficit into a surplus and held the line on taxes. He didn’t knock it out of the park, but he did a good job.

Now on energy – in 2009, gas was $1.89 a gallon, now it’s around $3.83 a gallon and that’s a bummer, because I’ll be driving soon. Everyone agrees that energy independence would make us safer and improve the economy. President Obama stopped the Keystone Pipeline that would bring oil to the U.S. from Canada and make us less dependent on the Middle East and he stopped drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and gave tax dollars to other countries like Brazil to drill offshore. I need help understanding how this helps the U.S.

How about free enterprise? So if I can get an idea about how to help people, I can start a business, hire workers and play a part in the success of other people. The United States is about opportunity and personal responsibility.

Free enterprise is what created all the wealth in the United States. That’s why people from every country in the world dream of coming to America.

The president has made it hard for people to do business in America. Governor Romney is pro-business and pro-America.

Now, let’s look at the deficit and out-of-control spending in 2011. Government spent $3.6 trillion but only brought in $2.3 trillion, so we spent $1.3 trillion more than we brought in. Do that math. The president promised that he’d cut the deficit in half and he’s doubled it. Mr. President, that’s fibbing.

My dad says, if you want to get a difficult problem fixed, you’ve got to hire a guy with a proven track record of success. Mitt Romney has a proven track record of success.

So based on all of the facts, here are the report cards:

Jenny - The Smartest Thirteen-Year-Old in America

You decide who should be the next president of the United States. Your vote is very important and remember, the future of Tommy, Heather, Kelsey and all the other kids across America is in your hands.

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Obama's Job Approval Drops Seven Points in Three Days

In the most precipitous decline we’ve seen in over a year, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 7 points in three days, according to the latest polling from Gallup. The president now has a 46% approval rating.

This spells big trouble for the president, because there is no more accurate predictor of an incumbent’s vote percentage on election day than his job approval rating.

Even more troubling for the president, the one thing which he did have going for him was his likeability rating, The fact is, the vast majority of Americans would love to see the first black American president succeed and earn a second term, which is why we’ve seen an unprecedented disparity between Obama’s high likeability ratings vs. his mediocre job approval numbers.

He may be getting a failing grade on job performance, but up until this point, Obama’s likeability factor was his one saving grace. People still liked him and still wanted him succeed.

Well what a difference a few months makes. When stripped of his teleprompter, Obama has now begun to lose a very large portion of the good will that he had enjoyed from most Americans.

On August 24, Obama enjoyed a 54% to 31% likeability gap over Mitt Romney.

Just two months later, in a poll after the final presidential debate (and I’m not talking about the first dabate where Obama lost by the worst blowout in Gallup polling history) after the third and final debate, post-debate polls showed Romney in a tie with Obama in the all-important matter of likeability.

And before you totally dismiss the likeability numbers as a valid part of the equation for who will win the presidency, ask yourself this – if Al Gore hadn’t come off as a guy who would lecture us all as a bunch of dim-witted school children every time we invited him into our homes via TV, I think he would have won that election.

So the economy sucks, the 3/4 trillion dollar stimulus that Obama promised would have unemployment down to 5.4% at this date but instead still hovers near 8%, the deficit he promised to cut in half has he has instead managed to double, taking a $10 trillion dollar national debt that took 232 years to accumulate and raising that debt to $16 trillion in less than four years, along with his use of executive privilege to stonewall investigations into the Fast and Furious operation which killed over three-hundred Mexican citizens as well as a U.S. border patrol agent, and then finally Benghazi, where against all intelligence flooding in to the administration within hours of the attack, for weeks the administration tried to cover-up the killings of our U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans as a spontaneous attack that arose over an amateur YouTube video (claiming the chosen date of 9/11 mere coincidence) with Obama going so far as to condemn the video six times in front of the U.N. while refusing to condemn or even make mention of the true nature and threat of Muslim terrorism in the world, for all these reasons, just to name a few, this administration has been a complete and total disaster.

So what’s an a failed president to do when his administration has nothing but failure and broken promises to run on?

Adopt the strategy he tried to pin on his previous opponent when Obama ran in 2008 on a platform of rainbows and puppies and HOPE and CHANGE.

If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

Big Bird. Binders full of women. Bayonets. Sandra Fluke. He’s even resorted to juvenile name-calling, resorting to made-up words such as “Romnesia.”

No grand visions or solutions proposed, just the small, petty and desperate attacks of a man with no record to stand on.

What a difference four years makes, from the lofty ideals of HOPE and CHANGE to a petty and vindictive campaign focused on little wedge issues devised to split the country over small issues and garner enough single-issue voters to cobble together 51% of the vote.

For the man who sold himself as the one candidate who could unite red states and blue states into a United States of America, Barack Obama has become the most derisive and divisive candidate we’ve ever seen.

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No one can take away from Barack Obama the fact that his accomplishments as president are unprecedented. Even Obama’s self-aggrandizing use of the word “unprecedented” is unprecedented. After calling the Bush deficits “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” on the campaign trail, it took Obama only three years and two months to increase the national debt more than Bush did in his entire eight-year presidency, but perhaps even more impressive than that feat was Obama matching GWB’s full two-term presidency in rounds of golf over his first nine months!

Of course, George W. Bush had the disadvantage of having a conscience and feeling it would not be right for the president to be seen golfing while soldiers were dying on the battlefield. Quoting the former president:

I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.

Source: Politico

Thankfully for Barack Obama, he has absolutely no qualms about being seen playing golf while our soldiers die. For the man who was handed a Nobel Prize before having accomplished anything as president, who then promptly expanded the War in Afghanistan to the body count of more than twice as many soldiers dead under his presidency than under Bush’s, Obama’s ability to focus on his golf game without distraction must be seen as all the more impressive. Barack Obama now stands just one round away from the milestone of one-hundred rounds of golf played. It’s tough being king, but someone’s got to do it.

So while we applaud Obama for achieving yet another remarkable presidential milestone, we must also marvel at the fact that it’s just one of the many achievements for which history will remember this president. As devoted as he’s been to his presidential golf game, Obama has still found a way to squeeze in an unprecedented amount of lavish vacations and more fundraisers than the last five presidents combined. Is it any wonder the man is portrayed on mainstream media magazine covers wearing Superman suits and sporting airbrushed halos over his head?

Obama: Golfing, Fundraising, Vacationing

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin