Michelle Obama: The New Marie Antoinette?

August 9, 2010

It’s been quite a week for FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States) Michelle Obama and the youngest of the first couple’s daughters, Sasha. But more on that in a moment.

First, it’s good to be back. The two-week hiatus was a good opportunity to veg out and try to ignore the reality of our country’s abysmal economy, the unrelenting unemployment, the runaway train-ride towards being overwhelmed by illegal aliens while the federal government sues anyone who wants to enforce existing laws designed to combat the problem.  Ah yes, how nice it’s been to ignore it all. Kind of like, you know… being President.

AP Photo/Sergio Torres

As for the first lady, I’m so happy that Michelle had a chance to get away from the drudgery of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And Spain is such a great place to spread the wealth around, isn’t it?

Uh, perhaps for them but not, apparently, for us minions:

In July, Michelle Obama showed us all how concerned she was with the desperation of businesses in the Gulf states who are losing hundreds of millions of tourism dollars due to the BP Oil Spill. In a warm show of community unity, she traveled to the Florida Panhandle, hit hard by the oil spill and boldly stated that families who are “looking for things to do with their kids this summer… this is a wonderful place to visit.” And she sounded so sincere, didn’t she?

Then she went back to Washington to pack for a week-end trip in Maine. You may remember that was the trip where the family dog got his own chartered plane to join the family.

Last week, in true Marie Antoinette fashion, she jetted off on the Vice-President’s 757 Jumbo Jet with youngest daughter Sasha, a few dozen of her closest  friends, a complete staff of secret service  and attendants and spent the last 5 days in a luxury vacation area on the Mediterranean Sea in southern Spain…

But she’s back home now and all is well. If she hurries, she’s got just enough time to do a new PSA (Public Service Announcement) encouraging us minions to vacation in the Gulf of Mexico before she has to jump aboard Air Force One with the entire family for yet another vacation, this one on Martha’s Vinyard. I wonder if the dog will have his own jetski.

Of course, she’s entitled to a vacation, and all first families have taken them. My point is simply this:  Adding up hotel suites, private cottages by the sea, meals and transportation while there probably added roughly several million dollars to the coffers of Spain. It could have been the coffers of the businesses in the Gulf of Mexico.  And it would have prevented the inevitable comparison to Marie Antoinette.

But that would be an unfair comparison… While Michelle wants to put OUR kids on a strict diet, at least Marie Antoinette is purported to have said “Let ’em eat cake.”

Pass the twinkies…

Gerry Ashley


Dueling Billboards – Two Can Play At This Game

July 8, 2010

Stoutcat’s post yesterday included a photo of a Billboard taken by one of our readers that featured former President Bush waving (with his all too common “Deer-In-The-Headlights” expression) with the caption, “Miss Me Yet?”

As humorous as it was, it struck me that with the upcoming mid-term elections, the Democrats are about to unleash a barrage of Billboard Ads in an attempt to salvage their careers while helping Barack Oh-Bummer destroy what’s left of our economy. And if you think they don’t have enough money to mount their campaigns, no doubt Uncle Barack will find extra money lying around (remember only about 1/3 of the stimulus package has actually been spent).

With that in mind, it looks like some enterprising (and wealthy) person has decided to get a jump on the election season with this billboard seen in Marshall Texas:

Something tells me this is going to be an ugly campaign season.  But that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting.  Stay tuned.

Gerry Ashley


Rough Costs: Gulf Spill vs. Exxon Valdez

June 17, 2010

 

Well, there are yet more numbers out there describing the Gulf oil “spew.” Now, the experts are mumbling numbers like 60,000 barrels/day of oil loosed upon the wave and shore. A bit of quick math (42 gal/barrel) says that we’re looking at something like 145 million gallons total so far, or 13 times that of the Exxon Valdez.

Of course, there are so many unknowns… We don’t really know how much oil has been lost; we don’t know what nearly a million gallons of dispersants are going to do to the area; we don’t know what happens to such a deep ecosystem given the 5,000′ depth of the blow-out; we don’t know how much crude will reach the shoreline and the wetlands… But even if we simply use the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as a rough estimate, that was still a $4.5 billion cleanup–but Pricne William Sound is still feeling the effects. Using just that yardstick today ($654/gal), we’re looking at $95 billion, though that may in fact be just a fraction of the final amount.

And truth be told, the cleanup will no doubt reach a point of diminishing returns… For example (and this is just an example), BP might be able to remediate 75% of the damage at a cost of $40 billion, 80% at a cost of $50 billion, 83% at a cost of $75 billion, and 84% at a cost of $150 billion. Put another way, there will come a time when there just isn’t enough ecological bang for the (available) cleanup buck.

Obviously, that begs a nasty question… Just how many bucks does BP have? Try about $80 billion with their oil reserves. Uh oh. But as Reuters reported:

“The company generated cash of $7.7 billion from operating activities in the first quarter. Even after capital investment of $3.8 billion, it had $3.9 billion of free cash and the company says it has arranged significant credit lines…

“The upper end of analysts’ forecasts of total costs is around $30-$35 billion, with potential extra costs for lost fisheries business in years to come.

“Analysts say BP may not be able to cover such costs, and pay its dividend, out of cashflow alone, forcing additional borrowing.

However, the oil giant is believed to be able to do so without bringing its gearing levels above its targeted 20-30 percent range.”

My over-priced $.02 concerning the final cost of the cleanup? I’m guessing at best $50 billion—$100 billion if we’re lucky. (Who knows what it will amount to if the relief wells flop.) As the summer slogs by watch the shenanigans, follow the money, and watch out for PetroChina. Oh goody.

Alan Speakman


The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency – Part 8

April 28, 2010

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”   
– White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel  

Note to our readers: This the 8th installment of a series called “The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency.” Intended to illustrate just how Obama’s policies fail us, and the Constitution he swore to uphold, it is based on The 10 tenets for establishing and maintaining democracy, written by William J. H. Boetcker and originally published in 1942. To read previous installments, just type or copy “The Abject Failure” into the search box to the right of this article, then click “Search.”  

The more research I did to support this particular tenet, the more I realized that this tenet is, perhaps, the most complex to explain and properly cover:  

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.  

Photoshop by Josh Johnson

 Let me be clear about this: The United States is teetering on the edge of financial oblivion and it would be both factually incorrect and misleading to suggest the blame for this lies at the feet of the Obama administration.    

Neither the mainstream media nor Congress, nor most of the Presidential administrations over the past 40-50 years have been totally honest with the American public about this. But the numbers don’t lie, even if the politicians do: The amount of money the United States is committed to in either social programs or entitlements over the next decade is well over $100 Trillion (yes, with a “T”). Our own Alan Speakman of Grand Rants has written about this on a number of occasions. For a harsh look at the truth, read these pieces by Alan:   

This debt is principally the result of entitlements funded by Congress while you and I were not paying attention.  “Who’s going to win the playoffs?” became more of a concern to us than “What is Congress doing with our tax dollars?”  “What’s the number one song on the hit parade this week?” surpassed “Can we, as a nation, afford to do this now?” in importance. So, in a way, if you want to know who is most directly responsible for the economic crisis, we can all start by looking into a mirror.  

Even in years when administrations claimed to have a balanced budget, the deficit was, in fact, building in the background. Both political parties share the blame for this.  

In order to fully understand the nature of the beast preparing to devour our entire economy, here is a “quick-start” video to help get you up to speed. I urge you to watch it in its entirety.  When the video has finished, then please click on the link to read the rest of this installment to see how the Obama administration is heading in exactly the wrong direction… and why they are doing so intentionally.  

Read the rest of this entry »


The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency – Part 5

April 12, 2010

 

“If you want to test a man’s character, give him adversity. If you want to test his integrity, give him power.” Gerry Ashley

 Tenet #5: You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.  

 I know it might seem presumptuous to quote myself at the top of this piece, but that has been a long-standing tenet of my own and one I feel fits perfectly here. I coined that expression in 1978, after having spent some time in what was then the Soviet Union. I had been teaching computer technology classes to Russian scientists at The Institute for High Energy Physics  (outside of Moscow). Ironically, it was a quote from an interview I gave (upon my return) in praise of the Russian people I had met during my time spent there… and as an indictment of their political leaders.

I’m dumbfounded to find its level of applicability in America some 32 years later.

For those too young to remember, let me clarify that “Soviet Union” actually referred to a combination of countries known collectively as the “United Soviet Socialist Republic” (USSR). Please note the third word in that title. Although communist in nature, the countries operated under a socialist structure. The socialist structure stripped away any incentive for the individual to strive for excellence.   

Case in point: I had dinner with an architect while there. He explained to me that he had made the exact same salary for 20 years, regardless of the quality of his work. Not long before our meeting, a young man who had just graduated from university and gone to work with my friend, sitting at the next desk. He had a starting salary which was the same as that of my friend with 20 years’ experience.

Imagine the feeling my friend had, knowing that this young man straight from University was starting at the same level he was at after 20 years of service. Now imagine how much initiative the young man might have, sitting next to my friend and knowing that, no matter how good a job he does, in 20 years, he would be making no more money than he’s already making.  

That’s how it goes in a socialist state: The government defines the value of the position, no matter the level of experience… or the quality of the job performed.  By the way: The quality of their goods reflected the lack of incentive to strive for excellence. The only time the Soviet government strove for (and demanded) excellence was when the product was one which would be viewed by the West and would bring shame upon the Soviet system if it were substandard. Hence the amount of effort that went in to export products like vodka and caviar; hence the intense attention to (and support of) athletes who would be competing against other countries (such as the Olympic Games).

Get ready for that, America. That’s what Barack Obama’s vision is for us: The same level of quality of life the Soviets had 30 years go. And back then, the Soviet standard was about 40 years behind America’s. Do the math and it’s easy to see that the standard of living Obama wants to take America to is where we were 70 years ago.  Is that a goal we should have for our children? Our grandchildren? Ourselves

One wonders if Obama will place a similar level of importance on the quality of workmanship applied to our exports and international athletes. Perhaps the answer will be based on whether or not he feels he’s apologized enough for America’s past greatness.

One thing is certain: If what I refer to as Obamunism takes hold in America, he won’t have to worry about apologizing for America’s greatness any longer.  

Sadder still, that may be his goal.

Gerry Ashley


The Abject Failure Of The Obama Presidency

April 6, 2010

Obama’s failure as president may actually be his goal for victory in converting America to socialism.

Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.  Abraham Lincoln, 1864

 

In 1942, William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian minister, released a pamphlet entitled “Lincoln On Limitations”. This small publication included the above quote by Lincoln, but also included 10 well-thought-out statements written by Boetcker himself. Though these 10 statements have been incorrectly attributed to Lincoln by statesmen (including President Ronald Reagan), Boetcker’s proclaimations have become important guidelines in defining democracy …and how to maintain it.  

Now these words take on perhaps an even more important meaning, for they describe in clear terms, exactly how Barack Obama is systematically destroying all that Americans have worked hard to achieve – and died to protect for over 200 years.    

It could not be more clear:  

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.   

While the sentiments expressed may appear to be obvious, it’s clear that some people, including many of those in our government, just don’t get it.

But virtually every move the Obama administration has made since taking office counters the overarching philosophy of these 10 tenets.  He’s attempting to bring kick-start prosperity by taking the nation into more and more debt; he is weakening strong companies and families by burdening them with more taxes, punitive tarriffs, and regulations; by continuing and expanding the entitlement culture, he is stealing people’s initiative and independence; he is doing nothing to encourage people to save money and live within their means; and he is demanding that the government do for people what they will not do for themselves.

I don’t know how long America can stand against an onslaught from within.

Gerry Ashley

Note: In the days and weeks to come, we’ll be examining each of these principles in greater depth. If you have any thoughts or examples of how the government is working against these principles, let us know and we’ll include them.


At What Point Does It Become Treason?

April 5, 2010
allmoviephoto.com/gerry ashley

In Stoutcat’s current rant, “Oh, Well THAT Explains It“, she highlights yet another arrogant politi-thug who pisses on the Constitution and tells us it’s rain. Just another politician embracing the destruction of America as we know it. This time, however, this politician (Representative Phil Hare, Democrat, Illinois) actually let his guard down and stated ON CAMERA:

I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest.”

Finally, an Obamanite let’s the truth slip out.

But this begs the bigger question and it’s time to demand an answer from  what’s left of our Democratic Government: At what point do politicians’ actions that work against freedom and the constitution become treason?

Consider: 

  • We have a President who has nationalized two automobile manufacturers
  • He’s nationalized numerous banks and refuses to let go of government controls over those who have repaid their TARP bail-outs.
  • Barring a miracle (spelled “We, The People”), the healthcare system that has been the envy of the world will soon slip into third-world status because of legislation, which is at best, Constitutionally questionable, crammed down our throats in a manner that is, at best, legally questionable, involves shameless bribes for obtaining votes, and forces people to purchase government run insurance or face fines or even prison time if we refuse to do so.
  • Obama now has his sights set on granting citizenship to what could be as many as 40 million illegal aliens in a thinly-veiled attempt to win their votes to protect a scandal-ridden Congress in this year’s mid-term elections and in his own re-election attempt in 2012.  To all those immigrants who came to America in the legal way, this is a giant Obama middle finger sticking up at you… The same finger he waves at the flag, the Constitution, and  so many who came before him and gave their lives to preserve the America he spits on.
  • Obama will then attempt to ram “Cap and Trade” through, most likely in the same manner health care was handled. I’m still not convinced that everyone fully understands the impact of Cap and Trade if it passes. It means that corporations will be fined for using energy above a certain level (to be determined by the Federal Government). The fines are in the form of Carbon Credits which – surprise, surprise – are conveniently available through Al Gore’s company. This, coupled with Health Care Reform will cripple companies and, essentially, end the free enterprise system as we know it. It is nothing short of hijacking freedom and democracy. Not only will it become fiscally impossible to expand and hire more people,  it will result in numerous layoffs as companies scramble to stay afloat in Obama’s new world or simply pack it in and shut down. Yet, Obama continues to tell us that “creating jobs is my number one priority.” How sad that there are still so many naive people who believe him. And he’s counting on their ignorance to get re-elected along with the naivite of some 40 million new voters, formerly illegal aliens.  

What more will be done by Obama and the politi-thugs of Congress before we call it out for what it is: TREASON? And when the treason is being committed by our own government, who will stand and call it what it is? Who will hold these people accountable? Apparently, it will have to be “We The People” at the ballot box… assuming Obama doesn’t tamper with elections or, for “emergency reasons” postpone them as some suggest he might do.

Keep in mind what kind of sacrifice it took to win and keep freedom and democracy in this country. Since The Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, millions of lives have been lost or forever been changed in the winning of this freedom and Constitution we so love. All of those who gave their lives or their bodies to the cause deserve nothing less than to have their sacrifices honored and respected by those of us who have been the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.

Certainly the majority in Congress and the current Presidential Administration have failed to do so.

And so it is up to us to heed the call. For if we fail in the mission to pass along the same democracy and the same freedom to our children, we will forever be known as the ones who let the world’s greatest democracy (and greatest hope for others) slip away. And the ultimate shame on our souls will be if we let that freedom slip away at the hands of our own politicians, elected by our naiveté or ignorance.

It would be nice to think our democratic government would be there to back us in our efforts, but when it’s our own elected officials destroying the fabric of democracy, we must turn to the ballot box.  And so it will be. But if Barack Obama opens the floodgates of citizenship and voting rights to illegal aliens in an attempt to secure re-election for the thieves of democracy who place their interests above the country’s, well then, maybe it will be time to call home the troops who have installed democracy in Iraq and ask them if they can help restore it in America.  

Either way, it’s time to look into the eyes of our children and ask a very serious question of ourselves:

What will you stand for?

The answer should be given directly to our children, and our children’s children, with the knowledge that they will live in the land resulting from the consequences of our answer to that question.

Gerry Ashley