Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Panty Bomber....Place Your Knickers on the Conveyor and Step away from the Machine

Even a hungover, nearsighted, cross-eyed, Spanish Fighting Bull could have seen this guy coming a mile away. Umar the Islamic Jihadist Terrorist, whose actions should have raised more red flags than even the Russian Army owns, tried to blow up a commercial flight to Detroit with a Panty Bomb. The myriad of red flags, any one of which would have been enough to have prevented you or me from ever boarding our flight, didn't even slow him down as he flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam and then on to Detroit .

Why is it that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a last minute, cash paying customer on an international flight, whose only carry on luggage was his Panty Bomb, was not subject to the same level of scrutiny that I received when I flew from Tampa to Newark NJ to attend my uncle's funeral? This, even though his father had called the US Consulate and warned them that his son was dangerous; a phone call that landed Umar on a terror watch list. I, on the other hand checked an overnight bag, wasn't on the terrorist watch list, wore only a pair of gym shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, ( Where I might ask was I going to hide a bomb in this outfit?) and carried only my wallet and a cell phone. Still it was deemed necessary that I undergo enhanced security measures. The reason? I booked the trip late. So what were Umar's excuses? Oh yeah, that's right, he wanted to blow up the plane!

The Obama Administration's Home Land Security Chief, Janet Napolitano, appearing on a Sunday morning news show looked tough in her leather jacket, but acted like a real wimp, suggesting that the government's watch list of over 500,000 names, one of which is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was just too large to search in an attempt to prevent a terrorist bent on killing all the other passengers on the plane from boarding. Where do they keep this watch list, and why is it so hard to search? Is it written in crayon, perhaps in poor penmanship on index cards and stored in the bottom of a draw of a desk in a little used basement office of an annex at homeland security ? I typed the word terrorist into the Google search engine as I wrote this piece, and it came back with about 37 million entries. How long did it take to perform this search? It took 0.12 seconds . It's not that the list is too long , it's that no one is watching the Watch List. So why do they call it a watch list if they don't watch who is on it?

Our politically correct system of airline screening is a Giant Joke, inconveniencing everyone, yet protecting no one. How can I tell? It's easy. I can't carry sunscreen in my suitcase when I go to Miami, but an Islamic Jihadist from Nigeria on the government's terrorist watch list, a person who's actions should have set off all kinds of alarms, can carry a bomb onto a plane and all they want to know is if he wants the chicken or the vegetarian dinner.

The folks in this administration, whose plan to combat terrorism amounts to a policy of talking nicely to terrorists so they like us, need to wake up and smell the PETN before hundreds more people die needlessly. The PC Crowd in charge, who this year can already take credit for the 13 deaths at FT Hood, narrowly missed another several hundred notches on their belt. If I've got this straight, it's okay to keep the list as long as you don't refer to it. That might be profiling and that is not politically correct. So, instead of targeting the few terrorists for enhanced screening, we are subjecting everyone who flies to an inadequate level of screening, inconveniencing everyone while protecting no one. Not a very bright thing to do, but a very PC approach and that's what counts. Right?

News Flash: that's not what counts. What counts is getting the job done, and the government is failing to provide the flying public the safety they promise . The Last Nut Job Islamic Jihadist who tried to use this type of explosive to blow up an airplane bound for the US had it hidden in his shoes, which is why everyone who now boards a plane is commanded to take off their shoes. Won't flying be fun when the folks at TSA start checking out Grandma's Knickers because of the Panty Bomber! What's next? Body cavity searches?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Return to Slavery ... One Progressive Step at a Time

Let's just call it what it is, as one of my favorite Economists Walter E.Williams writes in a recent Town Hall column:

"There is absolutely no moral case, much less constitutional case, for Congress forcibly using one American to serve the purposes of another American, a practice that differs only in degree from slavery, which we all should find morally offensive."

If you strip the health-care debate of it's sugar coated political buzz words such as mandate and public option, aren't we really talking about just another case where the government has decided to force you to labor for the benefit of someone else? At the rate we are going, how long will it be before you'll be spending more of your time working for others rather than yourself. Isn't that so very altruistic of you!

If the Health Care Police ( HCP), I assume they would be the ones in charge of enforcing the governments health care mandate, knocked on your door every other Monday morning and forced your college educated 22 year old daughter to work all day picking up trash on the side of the highway you'd be horrified. You'd want some answers! What dastardly criminal act could she have committed to deserve such a punishment, keeping her out of work all day and thereby depriving her of 10% of her income?

They don't do that in America, you say.Well, not quite yet anyway, but they will soon if the Democrats have their way with health care. She will be forced by the government to spend an equivalent amount of her earnings to purchase something she had decided not to. Is this not also a practice that differs only in degrees?

As a parent, wouldn't you want to talk to the prosecutor to know what crime your daughter had committed that merited she be fined upwards of 10% of her income? Shouldn't there be some kind of a trial to find her guilty before punishment is meted out, even if it is only a show trial like the one KSM is entitled to? Won't you be mortified to learn she has committed the most heinous of acts imaginable in our new Progressive Society? That's righ,t she is Guilty of working for an employer who does not provide health insurance, and has failed to purchase a government approved insurance policy on her own. Oh, the shame of it!

Your representatives in Congress are spinning a yarn that goes like this: legions of hospitalized young adults without medical insurance are the cause of the explosion in health insurance premiums. This in an attempt to justify a morally bankrupt and unconstitutional taking of private property. Their remedy? Mandate ( a pretty word that means to force) that all citizens must buy health insurance. That's what they would like you to believe , but that is not what the facts tell us.

The fact is that they are bullying healthy young people into to subsidizing health care premiums for those in poor health who have medical insurance, those with preexisting conditions who have been denied health insurance coverage and those who are not financially able to purchase health insurance . The Progressive Bullies in Congress always pick on the politically weak in society, in this case it happens to be young people, it's not like they are reliable voters anyway, and their perennial favorites, "The Rich"who will pay the freight to provide an insurance subsidy for the politically favored classes.

Will health insurance reform really be the rallying cry Progressives use to justify re-instituting a modern day version of Slavery in America ?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Presidents Economic Recovery Board... Are they Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

You wouldn't think so if you read the transcript from the November 2 meeting of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), the group responsible for presenting ideas to promote economic recovery to the President. It was a free for all of Government Interventionists and Central planners who would have made Joe Stalin proud. Fittingly, it was held in the Roosevelt Room, perhaps in honor of that other great believer in free markets, I mean central planning, F.D.R.

His economic wunderkinds put the children at B. Bernice Young Elementary in New Jersey to shame with their own tune whose chorus, “We need a price on carbon, mmm mmm mm, and then we need a cap “ was music to the President's ears. This gathering of mercantile songbirds was less a forum on serious economic ideas, than it was a murder of crows squawking praise of two mutually exclusive economic propositions: increasing manufacturing jobs by making energy green and expensive. This song doesn't work!! It's like singing the words to "Silent Night" to the tune of "No Sleep Till Brooklyn." Artificially raising the price of energy causes recessions and job losses in manufacturing. It doesn't promote economic recovery.

The President's solo first verse was sung while he patted himself and the others in attendance on the back, crooning, " We have pulled the economy back from the brink." No matter how many times I hear him sing this one, it just never gets old!

Jeffrey Imelt of GE recited a self-serving little ditty that only through greater exports will we be prosperous once again. Evidently GE is looking for additional government help in the export markets. A loyal green believer, he then added to this musical round with a verse from that old clean energy standard, Higher Energy Prices are an Economic Stimulus. This guy has pipes!

Songbird and publisher of the Spanish -Language newspaper La Opinion, Monica Lazano treated us with a spicy Latin hit called The Lazano Multiplier. It went like this: "One taxpayer dollar spent to support small business export assistance creates $500 in taxpayer gains." What this song lacks in economic reality it makes up for in it's fascinating rhythm.

John Doerr, Al Gore's dance partner in green deception and Kleiner Perkins added his voice to the chorus: We agree the most important thing we could do to have America lead in this industry and generate a lot of jobs fast is to put a price on carbon; a price and a cap on carbon.” It's a beautiful little tune of government intervention sung in the key of Green. He implored our leader that by raising up the cost of all forms of carbon-based energy, "... we could create hundreds of thousands, even a million jobs in a year, in a permanent new industry -- high-wage jobs, that are not going to be outsourced." I was spellbound as I waited to hear the next verse in this lovely song of hope and change. What hi-tech cutting edge industry would blossom in this new bright green era? What a letdown; he reached for a note and fell flat with that ridiculous dirge, "Cash for Caulkers," an earthy ballad of a million American workers caulking their way across this great land.

Could Mark Gallogy, investment banker extraordinaire and member of the President's Transition team, rescue this tune? After a hopeful start explaining that there has been little growth in US demand for electricity, he belted out his verse. Expecting a song of setting the free markets loose, I was crushed to hear the same sad sack melody called Put a Price on Carbon.

Paul Volker chirped in with a classic tune from years gone by, reminding Imelt and the rest that we need a more competitive business environment not just subsidies for exports. Ultimately, he too disappoints when he forgets his lines about how that can be done.

The longer it went on, the worse this song kept getting. Richard Trumka's version of God Bless the Recovery Act was worse than anything you could imagine. The balance of the meeting was dominated by Big Labor, whose song, We are the Champions looks good only on paper. Their real life track record in creating new jobs is outdone only by their ability to cripple every manufacturing industry they represent.

After getting to the end of the transcript, I'm convinced that the President would be better off with an advisory team of fifth graders. Why? Because with about a half hour's worth of economics 101 they would understand that the keys to our nation's continued economic success are low taxes, a stable dollar, and less government interference in the private sector. A concept that has eluded the President and his advisers!