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Saturday, October 1, 2011
Excellent news on the War in Afghanistan front: Haji Mali Khan, the brother-in-law of Haqqani founder and all-around bad guy Jalaludin Haqqani, was captured without resistance in Afghanistan's Paktia Province this morning. Khan was a senior leader within the Haqqani network, who managed bases and oversaw missions.
This capture will significantly impair the Haqqani's ability to launch attacks in Afghanistan, which have slowly become more hazardous to Afghan and Coalition forces than Taliban fighters in the past year. Hopefully, we are able to gain valuable intelligence and disrupt Haqqani operations from this capture.
With the news that we killed Anwar al-Awlaki yesterday in Yemen and captured Khan today in Afghanistan, maybe the American citizenry will realize we're winning our fight against Islamic Jihadism, and stop calling for our soldiers to return home before the job is done.
What say you?
But the hatred that has been aimed at Herman Cain is like none other that I have ever witnessed. Why exactly the Left hates Mr. Cain can only be guessed at. Whatever the reason, it is not based in reality but on hatred.
And now there's this: there are liberals calling for his assassination or, at the 'very least,' his death. It is so disgusting and disturbing on so many different levels that it boggles my mind. Here are just a few examples that I found:
This comment came from a News One article which called on Herman Cain to be quiet (expletives obscured):
White Republicans are RACIST BIGOTS" (expletives obscured):
Bank Robber Just Wants Healthhcare." The person's insane suggestion? "Shoot Herman Cain:"
|Note: 4,693 fans|
an article about Herman Cain's thoughts on the Ground Zero Mosque, also known as the Park 51 Project:
|Notice: Six "Likes"|
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Late Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation into the ATF "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scandal.Please bookmark!
The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell - who led Fast and Furious - and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O'Reilly are long time friends.
ATF agents say that in Fast and Furious, their agency allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to be sold to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. At least two of the guns turned up at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
ATF Manager says he shared Fast and Furious with the White House
The email exchanges span a little over a month last summer. They discuss ATF's gun trafficking efforts along the border including the controversial Fast and Furious case, though not by name. The emails to and from O'Reilly indicate more than just a passing interest in the Phoenix office's gun trafficking cases. They do not mention specific tactics such as "letting guns walk."
A lawyer for the White House wrote Congressional investigators: "none of the communications between ATF and the White House revealed the investigative law enforcement tactics at issue in your inquiry, let alone any decision to allow guns to 'walk.'"
Friday, September 30, 2011
It's an odd email, to be sure. Here are the oddest parts (emphasis mine):
Subject: What's stopping you, right now?...Please, Mr. Vice President, stop talking down to all of us. Although, I have to admit, if Mr. Biden is this upset, it could mean that the White House is worried about the GOP winning come 2012. Either that or Joe is angry all the time...
If you know you're going to donate to this campaign eventually, what's stopping you from doing it right now?
If you're going to be a part of history in 2012, it's time to get off the sidelines...
And what you're capable of is incredible -- if you decide to do it.
From: Joe Biden (email@example.com)Please bookmark!
Subject: What's stopping you, right now?
To: "XXXXXX XXXX" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Friday, September 30, 2011, 3:58 PM
I need to ask you one last thing before tonight's midnight deadline:
If you know you're going to donate to this campaign eventually, what's stopping you from doing it right now?
If you're going to be a part of history in 2012, it's time to get off the sidelines.
So, before midnight, will you chip in what you can and say you're in?
This has never been about Barack and me.
We're just two guys. It's folks like you out there who will decide this election.
And what you're capable of is incredible -- if you decide to do it.
P.S. -- That deadline also applies to the dinner Barack is having with four supporters. Donate today and you'll be automatically entered for the chance to be there.
Andrew Klavan, normally pretty good, writes an article proclaiming that Obama Is Wrong, Not Evil. Klavan correctly writes that “Without free individual choice, without that crucible, a culture becomes flaccid, passive, unproductive, violent, and morally dead, a place-marker waiting to be conquered by the next group inspired by a moral vision.” That sounds like a list of pretty catastrophic things to happen to a culture. So what if we have a president, as we do, who gives every indication that he would like to restrict, if not do away with, huge amounts of our culture’s free individual choice? Speaking about the Obamas and 9/11, Klavan states: “I’m sure they feel pretty much what we all feel . . .” And how, exactly is Keven sure of what Barak and Michelle feel?
State leaders on Friday set Florida's 2012 presidential primary for Jan. 31, bucking national party rules and ensuring that several other states will leapfrog Florida and set earlier elections.Please bookmark!
The move was intended to ensure that America's biggest battleground state has a major voice in picking the Republican nominee, much as it did in 2008, when Florida's late January primary effectively clinched the nomination for John McCain.
"It is more important for states such as Florida not to be on the back end, but to be on the front end of these primaries," said former state Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee, a member of the primary committee, who initially called for Florida to set its primary for Jan. 3.
"This is about getting the most Floridians involved at the earliest possible time," said state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, another committee member. "Florida has more voters than all of those states combined and has an incredible amount of diversity. It is a reflection of the national interest and Florida ought to be an early state."
South Carolina's GOP chair, Chad Connelly, had harsh words for the Florida decision.
"Today's decision by Florida is hugely disappointing and could have been avoided," he said. "Rogue states have once again dictated the presidential nominating calendar. I call on my fellow RNC members and all Republicans to strongly condemn Florida's decision to hold their primary on Jan. 31.
Reporter- Over night, our time, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed... What do you think about that? Was that a victory for President Obama?
Congressman Paul- Let's hope not. I don't think that's a good way to deal with our problems. He's born here. Awlaki was born here. He's an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. Nobody knows if he ever killed anybody. We know that he might have been associated with the, uh, underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually, we now have an accepted practice of the President assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. I think it's sad.
What would the people have said about Timothy McVeigh? We didn't assassinate him. But certainly he had done it. We put him through the courts and they executed him. But to start assassinating American citizens, without charges, we should think very seriously about this.
Reporter- Does that only apply to American citizens? I mean, would you say the same thing about bin Laden?
Congressman Paul- Not exactly. You know, because he was involved with, you know, 9/11...
You can watch the exchange here:
Few expect him to run, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is essentially even with President Barack Obama in an early look at a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup.Please bookmark!
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that Obama earns 44% support in the matchup, while Christie attracts 43%. Six percent (6%) prefer a third option, and eight percent (8%) are undecided. These numbers place Christie in the same league as other top GOP hopefuls within single digits of Obama including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain.
However, just 26% believe the first-term governor is likely to run for the White House, a figure that includes only five percent (5%) who think he is Very Likely to run. Twenty percent (20%) of all voters think Christie should run for the White House, but nearly twice as many (37%) say he should not.
Among Republicans, 32% say he should run, 25% hold the opposite view, and 43% are not sure. Just 31% of GOP voters believe he is even somewhat likely to run, while 44% see a Christie campaign as unlikely.
“As Rick Perry has recently demonstrated, it’s easier being on the outside with people begging you to run than it is to actually run a campaign,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “Running for president is a unique role in America, and there’s no way of knowing how a candidate will perform unless they actually try it.”
Senior Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen early Friday morning by a CIA-led U.S. drone strike, marking the highest-profile takedown of a terror leader since the raid on Usama bin Laden's compound.
Fox News has learned that two Predator drones hovering above al-Awlaki's convoy fired the Hellfire missiles which killed the terror leader. The operation was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command, under the direction of the CIA.
"AQAP has lost its ideological leader, which is a huge blow," a former intelligence official who has tracked al-Awlaki for years told Fox News.
Al-Awlaki was a U.S.-born Islamic militant cleric who became a prominent figure with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the network's most active branch. He was involved in several terror plots in the United States in recent years, using his fluent English and Internet savvy to draw recruits to carry out attacks. President Obama signed an order in early 2010 making him the first American to be placed on the "kill or capture" list.
The Yemeni government and Defense Ministry announced al-Awlaki's death, without giving details. But American sources confirmed the CIA and U.S. military were behind the strike on al-Awlaki, whom one official described as a "big fish."
The US-born radical Islamist cleric and suspected al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen, the country's defence ministry has said.
A statement said only that he died "along with some of his companions".
Mr Awlaki, who is of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007.
The US has named him a "specially designated global terrorist" for his alleged role in a number of attacks and he is said to be on a CIA hit list.
He is described by US officials as leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
He has been implicated in the US army base killings in Fort Hood, Texas, the Christmas 2009 Detroit airline bomb attempt, and a failed bombing in New York's Times Square.
|As alive as a doornail|
However, after Herman Cain's landslide victory at the Florida Straw Poll last week, the "racist" label that liberals had been sticking to everyone had clearly been showed as a fraud. Mr. Cain is the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and has been a Tea Party favorite for months. He also happens to be African American, but the voters at the Poll did not care. In the end, Mr. Cain ended with 37% of the vote, more than twice as much as anyone else.
So the Left was clearly stuck in a quandary of what label to stick Mr. Cain with. The lie they came up with? Herman Cain is racist against himself. A simple Google search reveals an explosion of such sentiments.
From a forum in Topix:
a Video Game forum:
Daily Kos (expletives obscured):
Earlier this week, Mr. Cain stated that African Americans are "brainwashed" towards voting for Democrats. Mr. Belcher quickly turned around and stated that those comments were "racist and bigoted:"
stating: “[Cain] is not somebody that is knowledgeable about African-Americans as a whole. He’s an individual," and his comment was “a racist statement.”
It is now official: the only way not to be labeled a racist by the Left is by blindly toeing the line. Whatever you do, do not think on your own, regardless of your race. Liberals do not care; if you don't agree, you are a raaacist.
And at least these comments hold up the "civility" lie that the Left was pushing earlier this year. Oh, wait. It's the opposite. Conservatives are civil while liberals write comments like these (obscenities obscured):
|Click on picture for better quality|
Gov. Chris Christie is seriously rethinking his months of denials and may launch a campaign for the White House after all, a source close to the governor said tonight.Please bookmark!
In the last week, Christie has been swayed away from his earlier refusals to run by an aggressive draft effort from a cadre of Republicans and donors unhappy with the GOP field, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Christie has a small window of opportunity to make his final decision, and some political experts think he has only days to declare.
Critical deadlines are approaching, such as the Oct. 31 filing date for the crucial Florida primary.
The governor on Tuesday lashed out at President Obama’s leadership during a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. — at which audience members implored him to run, He did not say he would run but stopped short of saying no.
At a campaign rally here today for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Christie continued to criticize Obama’s leadership, but ignored several questions from reporters about whether he would seek the White House.
“If you’re looking for leadership in America you’re not going to find it in the Oval Office,” Christie said today in Baton Rouge.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
This time, however, the language of the email is still friendly, but instead of small talk, the email first takes a semi-passive-aggressive turn, then simply tries to guilt you into giving money to Mr. Obama's campaign. Here is a short excerpt, emphasis mine:
I know we've been sending you a lot of email lately. That's because we're staring down a critical fundraising deadline tomorrow at midnight.In other words: expect to get more emails. Oh, and the least you could donate is $3.00 while we work to reelect our President while eating crap food and cheap coffee. You're welcome.
You know what that means for your inbox, but let me give you a sense of what that looks like around here.
The staff and I are working around the clock, powered by too much coffee. It's been way too long since we called our moms. And we've all had more pizza and bad takeout in the past few weeks than anyone should have in a year...
That's why we've been emailing this week, and that's why I'm obligated to remind you once more that the deadline is coming up in a matter of hours.
|Obama 2012: "We need your money, jerk"|
From: Rufus Gifford, BarackObama.comPlease bookmark!
Subject: Why we've been sending you emails
To: "XXXXXXXXXXXXX" (email@example.com)
Date: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 2:34 PM
I'm the national finance director here at OFA.
I know we've been sending you a lot of email lately. That's because we're staring down a critical fundraising deadline tomorrow at midnight.
You know what that means for your inbox, but let me give you a sense of what that looks like around here.
The staff and I are working around the clock, powered by too much coffee. It's been way too long since we called our moms. And we've all had more pizza and bad takeout in the past few weeks than anyone should have in a year.
No one's complaining; that's what we signed up for. And we're not doing this just because it's our job to make sure the campaign has the resources it needs. We're doing this because it's part of what defines this movement.
From the beginning, we've refused to take money from D.C. lobbyists and corporate special interests. Our operation is fueled by people inspiring each other to take ownership of this campaign.
That's why we've been emailing this week, and that's why I'm obligated to remind you once more that the deadline is coming up in a matter of hours.
If you're able to, will you chip in just $3 today?
For all of us here at HQ, and all of the staff and volunteers across the country counting on these resources, I really appreciate your help.
National Finance Director
Obama for America
The leftist, staunchly anti-US stalwart Chavez went into the Military Hospital in Caracas on Tuesday morning, the report on the newspaper's website said, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the case.Please bookmark!
"He was in fairly serious overall condition," a source told the Miami-based Spanish-language daily. "When he arrived, he was in quite serious shape and that is why he was brought in for emergency care."
Venezuela's Information Minister Andres Izarra appeared to deny the report in a posting on the micro-blogging website Twitter.
"Those who should be admitted are the journalists of the Nuevo Herald, except into a madhouse (instead of a hospital)," Izarra tweeted, without providing further details.
On Sunday, Chavez sought to assure Venezuelans he was healthy, telling them that cancer-fighting chemotherapy treatment has not left him with any debilitating side effects.
Chavez returned to Venezuela late last Thursday following what he described as a fourth and hopefully final round of chemotherapy in Cuba.
Chavez, 57, had a cancerous tumor removed on June 20 in Havana, but officials have provided little information about the nature of the disease.
At least he was until he accused the United States Military of brainwashing him into supporting the ongoing War in Vietnam at the time. The media destroyed him and Republicans fled from him - he ended up getting just 4,400+ primary votes - nearly 11,000 less than George Wallace.
With this in mind, it's easy to understand why current front-runner Mitt Romney is so cautious on what goes on within his campaign and what's said by himself on the stump. He knows what the blowback of saying off the wall, or unprepared comments can do to a campaign over night.
This is one of the reasons why Romney will ultimately win the nomination.
He is not Michele Bachmann, who repeats whatever fits her narrative for the day without checking her facts, nor Rick Perry, who omits certain facts when attacking his opponents. He talks straight on the campaign and doesn't hit below the belt during conflict with his opponents.
As much as some hate the phrase - Romney is Presidential - it perfectly describes him, because he has seen what works and what doesn't work in political campaigns for over four decades now, and it's just who he is.
What say you?
The signature legislation of the Obama Administration, the Affordable Care Act, came under damaging assault Wednesday from a Kaiser Family Foundation survey that found it has already partially contributed to increasing health care costs.
The Kaiser survey helps to shed some light on why so few employers are hiring, as health care costs for employers are spiraling upwards.
The survey found that insurance premiums rose by 9 percent in 2011. Healthcare costs for a single worker went up on average from $5,049 to $5,429, and for a family, costs rose from $13,770 to $15,073, on average.
The survey also found that some provisions of the Affordable Care Act already in place -- including the allowance for young people up to 26 years of age to remain on their parents insurance policy -- contributed to 20 percent of that increase.
But other factors are also contributing to the rising costs of health care. They include the prices of new technologies, research and development for new prescription drugs and the proliferation of chronic diseases like diabetes.
The aging of the baby boom generation is also placing a tremendous strain on the health care system, as baby boomers have begun qualifying for Medicare this year. The survey found that with better treatments and drugs, they may live longer than previous generations and impose huge costs on the system as they age.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain makes it clear in his new book that Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters annoy him with their “stupid” questions about the Federal Reserve.Please bookmark!
Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, writes that Paul’s supporters are “threatened by me” and are “trying to destroy me on the fact that I was once affiliated with” the Federal Reserve.
Cain was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1995 and 1996.
The Daily Caller obtained an advance copy of Cain’s book, “This is Herman Cain,” which goes on sale Oct. 4. In the manuscript, Cain claims Paul’s campaign “sends one of its ‘Paulites’ everywhere I show up.”
Paul is a proponent of auditing the Federal Reserve.
“I get the same stupid question at almost every one of these events,” Cain writes. “I know it’s a deliberate strategy. How can a person randomly show up at a hundred events and ask the same stupid question to try to nail me on the Federal Reserve? It’s really becoming annoying more than anything else.”
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Orders for long-lasting goods unexpectedly fell during August, the second drop in three months as manufacturers struggle with a bad economy.Please bookmark!
Durable-goods orders decreased by 0.1% from the prior month to $201.76 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 0.2% rise in orders during August for durables, which are goods designed to last at least three years.
The drop followed a 4.1% surge in July and a 1.1% decline during June.
"The numbers portray a manufacturing sector that at worst, is treading water, and at best, slowly moving forward," IHS Global Insight analyst Patrick Newport said.
In an encouraging sign within the otherwise uninspiring report, a barometer used to gauge spending by businesses on equipment rose, indicating the U.S. might avoid a second recession.
With 21% of likely Republican Caucus goers selecting Mitt Romney as their preferred candidate in the latest American Research Group survey of 600 Iowans, the former Massachusetts Governor has taken the lead over Ames, Iowa Straw Poll victor Michele Bachmann (15%) and Texas Governor Rick Perry (14%) in the first of the nation caucus.
Mitt Romney - 21%.
Michele Bachmann - 15%.
Rick Perry - 14%.
Ron Paul - 12%.
Newt Gingrich - 8%.
Herman Cain - 6%.
Sarah Palin - 4%.
Rick Santorum - 2%.
Jon Huntsman - 1%.
Buddy Roemer - 1%.
Gary Johnson - 0%.
Unknown/other - 16%.
I'm not actually sure what the political response to this will be, but the Romney campaign has to be pleased with these results. Romney is now leading in both Iowa, and New Hampshire according to recent surveys, which indicates momentum towards his steady campaign.
What say you?
Holy God in heaven, what a moron:
Advocates for the unemployed have cheered a push by the Obama administration to ban discrimination against the jobless. But business groups and their allies are calling the effort unnecessary and counterproductive.Please bookmark!
The job creation bill that President Obama sent to Congress earlier this month includes a provision that would allow unsuccessful job applicants to sue if they think a company of 15 more employees denied them a job because they were unemployed.
The provision would ban employment ads that explicitly declare the unemployed ineligible, with phrases like "Jobless need not apply." As The Lookout has reported, such ads appear to have proliferated in recent years, prompting an inquiry by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have introduced similar measures. Obama said recently that discrimination against the unemployed makes "absolutely no sense," especially because many people find themselves out of work through no fault of their own.
Advocates for employers oppose the proposed ban. "We do not see a need for it," Michael Eastman of the Chamber of Commerce told the New York Times.
Lawrence Lorber, a labor law specialist who represents employers, told the paper the president's proposal "opens another avenue of employment litigation and nuisance lawsuits."
But now there is a new candidate being touted by disappointed Republicans: Al Simpson, the former three-term U.S. Senator from Wyoming and co-Chair of the Federal Deficit Commission, who just turned eighty a few weeks ago.
No, please don't laugh - I'm not kidding.
With articles in the Billings Gazette and interviews on Neil Cavuto's Fox Business show, supporters of Al Simpson have gotten their message out, but the question is whether most Republicans actually want to hear.
We already have nine candidates running for President, if not more, and the last thing we need is someone who is eighty years old and who offends the social stool of conservatism in the hunt as well. I understand a desire for someone like Simpson - who doesn't care about other opinions and wants to reform entitlements now - but not the actual man.
At least we wont have to wait long for Simpson's decision, because he will be on Neil Cavuto's Your World tonight on Fox News and I doubt he'll play the dog-and-pony show like other politicians. So the hopes of all those Simpsonites will likely be snuffed out tonight.
What say you?
Florida is now expected to hold its presidential primary on the last day in January 2012, a move likely to throw the carefully arranged Republican nominating calendar into disarray and jumpstart the nominating process a month earlier than party leaders had hoped.Please bookmark!
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon told CNN on Tuesday that a state commission exploring potential primary dates is likely to choose January 31 to hold the nominating contest.
If that happens, it would almost certainly force the traditional early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to leapfrog Florida and move their primaries and caucuses into early- to mid-January.
"We are expecting to meet on Friday from 11 to 12, and I expect that they will pick January 31 as Florida's primary date," said Cannon, who helped select members of the nine-member commission.
States are required to submit the dates of their primary and caucuses to the Republican National Committee no later than Saturday, but most states are expected to choose their dates by the close of business Friday.
And just yesterday it was discovered that the IRS had given Solyndra a "favorable ruling" just weeks before it received half a billion dollars in Stimulus money, raising questions about whether the Obama White House was pulling strings for the company with other governmental departments.
Now there is this. According to a report released today, a year and a half after being granted an enormous government loan, Solyndra violated the terms of that loan and technically defaulted on it. This should have frozen the loan that the energy company received, thus not allowing them to use up the rest of the money the government had given them. However, that did not happen.
In the new contract that the Energy Department created, private investors agreed to give $75,000,000 to the struggling company. On top of that, the new terms stated that, should Solyndra be liquidated, the private investigators would be paid ahead of the government. In other words, if there was any money remaining with the company, the money taxpayers gave to Solyndra would be repaid last, if at all.
It is ironic that the government decided to give Solyndra extra money and easier terms not when they were succeeding, but after it was readily apparent that they would likely go under. The fact that possibility is included in the new contract is damning enough.
If the loan was not restructured, which happened officially in early 2011, it would have saved taxpayers over $50,000,000. The energy company had gone through approximately 90% of its loan by this time, but after they violated the terms, they technically had no right to take the rest of the money. However, the Energy Department's intervention allowed Solyndra to use up the rest of the money.
These new discoveries, on top of the ones already out in the open, could further inflame a situation that is inflamed in the first place. This report means that the government not only ignored warnings in 2009, but actually knew that Solyndra was on the cusp of failing and allowed the company to use more funds and allowed the company to violate loan-terms and get away with it.
With 1,096 essays for "60 Minutes" under his belt, Andy Rooney will deliver his 1,097th on Sunday's broadcast. And it will be his last as a regular contributor.Please bookmark!
The 92-year-old Rooney will announce his departure at the end of the program, where he has been featured since 1978, CBS News announced on Tuesday. It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career with "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer.
"There's nobody like Andy and there never will be," said Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and "60 Minutes" executive producer.
He called Rooney's contributions to the program "immeasurable," and added, "It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on '60 Minutes' when the urge hits him."
Rooney began speaking his mind on "60 Minutes" in July 1978 with an essay about misleading reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend.
"Car for car," argued Rooney, "it's one of the safest weekends of the year to be going someplace." In fact, fewer people die of all causes on that weekend than at most other times, his research told him. And since "fewer people are watching television over the Fourth," he added, "I suppose fewer die of boredom."
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Here's the text of the speech:
Mrs. Reagan, distinguished guests. It is an honor for me to be here at the Reagan Library to speak to you today. I want to thank Mrs. Reagan for her gracious invitation. I am thrilled to be here.
Ronald Reagan believed in this country. He embodied the strength, perseverance and faith that has propelled immigrants for centuries to embark on dangerous journeys to come here, to give up all that was familiar for all that was possible.
He judged that as good as things were and had been for many Americans, they could and would be better for more Americans in the future.
It is this vision for our country that guided his administration over the course of eight years. His commitment to making America stronger, better and more resilient is what allowed him the freedom to challenge conventional wisdom, reach across party lines and dare to put results ahead of political opportunism.
Everybody in this room and in countless other rooms across this great country has his or her favorite Reagan story. For me, that story happened thirty years ago, in August 1981. The air traffic controllers, in violation of their contracts, went on strike. President Reagan ordered them back to work, making clear that those who refused would be fired. In the end, thousands refused, and thousands were fired.
I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations but as a parable of principle. Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. Those who thought he was bluffing were sadly mistaken. Reagan’s demand was not an empty political play; it was leadership, pure and simple.
Reagan said it best himself, “I think it convinced people who might have thought otherwise that I meant what I said. Incidentally, I would have been just as forceful if I thought management had been wrong in the dispute.”
I recall this pivotal moment for another reason as well. Most Americans at the time and since no doubt viewed Reagan’s firm handling of the PATCO strike as a domestic matter, a confrontation between the president and a public sector union. But this misses a critical point.
To quote a phrase from another American moment, the whole world was watching. Thanks to newspapers and television – and increasingly the Internet and social media – what happens here doesn’t stay here.
Another way of saying what I have just described is that Americans do not have the luxury of thinking that what we have long viewed as purely domestic matters have no consequences beyond our borders. To the contrary. What we say and what we do here at home affects how others see us and in turn affects what it is they say and do.
America’s role and significance in the world is defined, first and foremost, by who we are at home. It is defined by how we conduct ourselves with each other. It is defined by how we deal with our own problems. It is determined in large measure by how we set an example for the world.
We tend to still understand foreign policy as something designed by officials in the State Department and carried out by ambassadors and others overseas. And to some extent it is. But one of the most powerful forms of foreign policy is the example we set.
This is where it is instructive to harken back to Ronald Reagan and the PATCO affair. President Reagan’s willingness to articulate a determined stand and then carry it out at home sent the signal that the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who could be predicted to stand by his friends and stand up to his adversaries.
If President Reagan would do that at home, leaders around the world realized that he would do it abroad as well. Principle would not stop at the water’s edge. The Reagan who challenged Soviet aggression, or who attacked a Libya that supported terror was the same Reagan who stood up years before to PATCO at home for what he believed was right.
All this should and does have meaning for us today. The image of the United States around the world is not what it was, it is not what it can be and it is not what it needs to be. This country pays a price whenever our economy fails to deliver rising living standards to our citizens–which is exactly what has been the case for years now.
We pay a price when our political system cannot come together and agree on the difficult but necessary steps to rein in entitlement spending or reform our tax system.
We pay a price when special interests win out over the collective national interest. We are seeing just this in the partisan divide that has so far made it impossible to reduce our staggering deficits and to create an environment in which there is more job creation than job destruction.
This is where the contrast between what has happened in New Jersey and what is happening in Washington, DC is the most clear.
In New Jersey over the last 20 months, you have actually seen divided government that is working. To be clear, it does not mean that we have no argument or acrimony. There are serious disagreements, sometimes expressed loudly—Jersey style.
Here is what we did. We identified the problems. We proposed specific means to fix them. We educated the public on the dire consequences of inaction. And we compromised, on a bi-partisan basis, to get results. We took action.
How so you ask? Leadership and compromise.
Leadership and compromise is the only way you can balance two budgets with over $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes while protecting core services.
Leadership and compromise is the only way you reform New Jersey’s pension and health benefits system that was collectively $121 billion underfunded.
Leadership and compromise is the only way you cap the highest property taxes in the nation and cap the interest arbitration awards of some of the most powerful public sector unions in the nation at no greater than a 2% increase.
In New Jersey we have done this, and more, because the Executive Branch has not sat by and waited for others to go first to suggest solutions to our state’s most difficult problems.
Being a mayor, being a governor, being a president means leading by taking risk on the most important issues of the day. It has happened in Trenton.
In New Jersey we have done this with a legislative branch, held by the opposite party, because it is led by two people who have more often put the interests of our state above the partisan politics of their caucuses.
Our bi-partisan accomplishments in New Jersey have helped to set a tone that has taken hold across many other states. It is a simple but powerful message–lead on the tough issues by telling your citizens the truth about the depth of our challenges. Tell them the truth about the difficulty of the solutions. This is the only effective way to lead in America during these times.
In Washington, on the other hand, we have watched as we drift from conflict to conflict, with little or no resolution.
We watch a president who once talked about the courage of his convictions, but still has yet to find the courage to lead.
We watch a Congress at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign style politics at the Capitol’s door. The result is a debt ceiling limitation debate that made our democracy appear as if we could no longer effectively govern ourselves.
And still we continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office. We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans and to a watching and anxious world community.
Yes, we hope. Because each and every time the president lets a moment to act pass him by, his failure is our failure too. The failure to stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson Bowles Commission, a report the president asked for himself…the failure to act on the country’s crushing unemployment…the failure to act on ever expanding and rapidly eroding entitlement programs…the failure to discern pork barrel spending from real infrastructure investment.
The rule for effective governance is simple. It is one Ronald Reagan knew by heart. And one that he successfully employed with Social Security and the Cold War. When there is a problem, you fix it. That is the job you have been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it for you.
We pay for this failure of leadership many times over. The domestic price is obvious: growth slows, high levels of unemployment persist, and we make ourselves even more vulnerable to the unpredictable behavior of skittish markets or the political decisions of lenders.
But, there is also a foreign policy price to pay. To begin with, we diminish our ability to influence the thinking and ultimately the behavior of others. There is no better way to persuade other societies around the world to become more democratic and more market-oriented than to show that our democracy and markets work better than any other system.
Why should we care?
We should care because we believe, as President Reagan did, that democracy is the best protector of human dignity and freedom. And we know this because history shows that mature democracies are less likely to resort to force against their own people or their neighbors.
We should care because we believe in free and open trade, as exports are the best creators of high-paying jobs here and imports are a means to increase consumer choice and keep prices down.
Around the world– in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa and Latin America—people are debating their own political and economic futures–right now.
We have a stake in the outcome of their debates. For example, a Middle East that is largely democratic and at peace will be a Middle East that accepts Israel, rejects terrorism, and is a dependable source of energy.
There is no better way to reinforce the likelihood that others in the world will opt for more open societies and economies than to demonstrate that our own system is working.
A lot is being said in this election season about American exceptionalism. Implicit in such statements is that we are different and, yes, better, in the sense that our democracy, our economy and our people have delivered. But for American exceptionalism to truly deliver hope and a sterling example to the rest of the world, it must be demonstrated, not just asserted. If it is demonstrated, it will be seen and appreciated and ultimately emulated by others. They will then be more likely to follow our example and our lead.
At one time in our history, our greatness was a reflection of our country’s innovation, our determination, our ingenuity and the strength of our democratic institutions. When there was a crisis in the world, America found a way to come together to help our allies and fight our enemies. When there was a crisis at home, we put aside parochialism and put the greater public interest first. And in our system, we did it through strong presidential leadership. We did it through Reagan-like leadership.
Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism. Today, our role and ability to affect change has been diminished because of our own problems and our inability to effectively deal with them.
To understand this clearly, one need only look at comments from the recent meeting of the European finance ministers in Poland. Here is what the Finance Minister of Austria had to say:
“I found it peculiar that, even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone, that they tell us what we should do. I had expected that, when [Secretary Geithner] tells us how he sees the world, that he would listen to what we have to say.”
You see, without strong leadership at home—without our domestic house in order—we are taking ourselves out of the equation. Over and over, we are allowing the rest of the world to set the tone without American influence.
I understand full well that succeeding at home, setting an example, is not enough. The United States must be prepared to act. We must be prepared to lead. This takes resources—resources for defense, for intelligence, for homeland security, for diplomacy. The United States will only be able to sustain a leadership position around the world if the resources are there—but the necessary resources will only be there if the foundations of the American economy are healthy. So our economic health is a national security issue as well.
Without the authority that comes from that exceptionalism—earned American exceptionalism—we cannot do good for other countries, we cannot continue to be a beacon of hope for the world to aspire to for their future generations.
If Ronald Reagan faced today’s challenges we know what he would do. He would face our domestic problems directly, with leadership and without political calculation.
We would take an honest and tough approach to solving our long-term debt and deficit problem through reforming our entitlement programs and our tax code.
We would confront our unemployment crisis by giving certainty to business about our tax and regulatory future.
We would unleash American entrepreneurship through long-term tax reform, not short-term tax gimmickry.
And we would reform our K-12 education system by applying free market reform principles to education—rewarding outstanding teachers; demanding accountability from everyone in the system; increasing competition through choice and charters; and making the American free public education system once again the envy of the world.
The guiding principle should be simple and powerful—the educational interests of children must always be put ahead of the comfort of the status quo for adults.
The United States must also become more discriminating in what we try to accomplish abroad. We certainly cannot force others to adopt our principles through coercion. Local realities count; we cannot have forced makeovers of other societies in our image. We need to limit ourselves overseas to what is in our national interest so that we can rebuild the foundations of American power here at home – foundations that need to be rebuilt in part so that we can sustain a leadership role in the world for decades to come.
The argument for getting our own house in order is not an argument for turning our back on the world.
We cannot and should not do that. First of all, our economy is dependent on what we export and import. And as we learned the hard way a decade ago, we as a country and a people are vulnerable to terrorists armed with box cutters, bombs, and viruses, be they computer generated or man-made. We need to remain vigilant, and be prepared to act with our friends and allies, to discourage, deter or defend against traditional aggression; to stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons and the means to deliver them; and to continue to deprive terrorists of the ways, means and opportunity to succeed.
I realize that what I am calling for requires a lot of our elected officials and a lot of our people. I plead guilty. But I also plead guilty to optimism.
Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in what this country and its citizens can accomplish if they understand what is being asked of them and how we all will benefit if they meet the challenge.
There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a country and as a people, are up for the challenge. Our democracy is strong; our economy is the world’s largest. Innovation and risk-taking is in our collective DNA. There is no better place for investment. Above all, we have a demonstrated record as a people and a nation of rising up to meet challenges.
Today, the biggest challenge we must meet is the one we present to ourselves. To not become a nation that places entitlement ahead of accomplishment. To not become a country that places comfortable lies ahead of difficult truths. To not become a people that thinks so little of ourselves that we demand no sacrifice from each other. We are a better people than that; and we must demand a better nation than that.
The America I speak of is the America Ronald Reagan challenged us to be every day. Frankly, it is the America his leadership helped us to be. Through our conduct, our deeds, our demonstrated principles and our sacrifice for each other and for the greater good of the nation, we became a country emulated throughout the world. Not just because of what we said, but because of what we did both at home and abroad.
If we are to reach real American exceptionalism, American exceptionalism that can set an example for freedom around the world, we must lead with purpose and unity.
In 2004, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama gave us a window into his vision for American leadership. He said, “Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us — the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of ‘anything goes.’ Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.”
Now, seven years later, President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election. This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy. Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others. Trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard. Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream. That may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America. What happened to State Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the “dividers” he spoke of so eloquently in 2004? There is, of course, a different choice.
That choice is the way Ronald Reagan led America in the 1980’s. That approach to leadership is best embodied in the words he spoke to the nation during his farewell address in 1989. He made clear he was not there just marking time. That he was there to make a difference. Then he spoke of the city on the hill and how he had made it stronger. He said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.”
That is American exceptionalism. Not a punch line in a political speech, but a vision followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world. Not a re-election strategy, but an American revitalization strategy.
We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes and, once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish.
Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century. We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less.
Thank you again for inviting me—God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America.