While on the tour of college campuses and late-night talk shows that serves as his campaign trail (despite seeming more appropriate for an aging rock band trying to make a few bucks off its past glory), President Barack Obama has been railing against tax cuts.
Not just criticizing tax cuts but ridiculing them. Since he knows that Americans generally prefer tax cuts to the tax hikes which he supports, he's resorting to childish attacks on Republican policy as "tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds, tax cuts to improve your love live. It will improve anything according to them."
From the "even a broken clock" files, Obama may be on to something here.
The far-left magazine Mother Jones is making a splash, or what Democrats think is a splash, with video from a private fundraiser held in May for Mitt Romney. During the event, Romney spoke about the large minority of Americans who are dependent on government and pay no income tax and are therefore unlikely to favorably receive the Romney campaign's message, at least on the tax cut issue.
The left is now calling them the "secret Romney tapes," trying to raise images of Richard Nixon and late-night sweaty-brow conspiracies. In response to this clip being released, Mitt Romney said he hopes that whoever took the video will release all of it -- hardly the sign of a man afraid of his words. (Several video clips from the fundraiser are here, but each is edited -- in a way I suspect is most pleasing to the Obama-supporting editor. Still they are worth listening to.)
In a late-night press conference on Monday, Romney said that his words were "not elegantly stated," but he stood up for the basic ideas. As well he should.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
On a pretense of anger about an anti-Islamic film, "ultra-conservative" Muslim "protesters" attacked the U.S. embassies in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday. (Short video of the Cairo mob here.)
In Egypt, some of the protesters scaled the embassy walls, went into a courtyard, and took down the American flag. They tried (and failed) to burn it, then tore it up, and then put up a black Islamic flag.
My immediate question is this: Why did the first terrorist to touch our flag not have his head blown off? Or perhaps: Why did the first terrorist to touch our flag not receive a "warning shot" to the arm or leg, and the second terrorist, who presumably was not impressed by the admonition, not then have his head blown off?
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
My friend and colleague, Mike Rosen, the dean of Denver talk radio hosts, received the following letter from a listener. Please read it, and then afterwards I will give you a little more information about it. (I have corrected minor spelling errors.)
Got your letter this morning. Whatever the future holds for America as a result of the election, I can take it, if the rest can, but I think this election showed that the majority of Americans are not concerned about their individual liberty and freedom, about how much the national debt is, or whether it is ever paid, about (another) term for any man, but what they want most is their security, and the majority of Americans are bleating like little lambs for their security, not for their freedom or for their liberty. And let me add, that when people get a sense of insignificance, when they begin to believe that the affairs of men are controlled by forces too great to be influenced by their individual effort, their belief in popular government is shaken and the people become broken in spirit, disappointed, pessimistic, and fatalism results.
No Bess, as long as great numbers of people can be kept dependent upon their government, and as long as we have the money to keep them dependent, there is not much that you and I can do, but the ultimate result of such a program is that America will drift into a national dependent socialistic controlled state under what we have thought was our liberty, and freedom will no longer be ours in America. I am almost 55 years of age. I won't be here many more years, but oh how weak and spineless we of our generation have been to try and preserve all these great things our forefathers gave to us.
The other night I had a dream, my home had been destroyed, my wife and child were in a concentration camp, my money had been taken from me, my rights as a freeman had been taken from me. I had no rights. I was a slave. Then I awoke, then I realized what freedom had meant to me, but it was too late.
This is a morbid dream, I know, but it has happened to millions of people in Europe, not a thousand years ago (but within my lifetime.)
Keep this letter, read it two, three, or four years from now. My prayer is that I am wrong.
This letter was sent to Mike by an 88-year old listener. Although it could plausbily have been dated 2009 (except that there was no incumbent running in 2008), it was written by the listener's father (to his sister, the listener's aunt) on November 8, 1940, three days after FDR won a record third term in office. Mike's listener noted that her father died at the age of 57, or about two years after writing this note.
In the note, in the first paragraph where I put "(another)" the letter says "a third", and near the end where I put "(but within my lifetime)" the letter says "but within the past few months." (I changed these just to leave a little suspense regarding when the letter was written.)
It is, to me, remarkable to read someone of that generation complain how little those of his time had done to defend freedom, though the context is someone who died before the end of WWII. Keep in mind that this is not someone who would have been a soldier in WWII, but was substantially older, probably born in 1885 and lived through World War I and most of the Great Depression.
In any case, this letter reminds us of Santayan's warning that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It makes one wonder whether our young people being taught so little about our own political history is part of an intentional strategy of the left. (Actually, I don't wonder that much; I believe it to be true.)
For the record, I do have a slight question about the letter given that it is dated late 1940 which is earlier than the existence of concentration camps, or at least their use in the Nazis' genocide, was generally known in the US. To be sure, some of the camps, including Buchenwald and Dachau had been around for years by 1940, with Dachau having been opened in 1933. That said, the mention of FDR's having won a third term adds credibility, and I am inclined to believe that this letter is real. I have also verified through public records that there is an 88-year old woman with the name (and in the town) signed to the e-mail to Mike. Therefore, regarding concentration camps, "Bob" was probably just more aware of world events than the average person, much as a depressingly large percentage of today's Americans are geopolitically illterate.
Yet again, President Obama has snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the Jerusalem Post, "The White House has rejected a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to meet US President Barack Obama in the United States this month..." with the White House apparently saying that the meeting just won't fit into Obama's schedule.
This is about far more than protocol or wounded feelings.
The Middle East is (or at least seems to be) perilously close to violent chaos, with our enemies emboldened by Obama's obvious dislike for Israel, sympathy for Palestinians and other Islamists, and general weakness.
His refusal to meet with Netanyahu speaks both to his disdain for Israel generally and Netanyahu specifically, but also to this president's perverse priorities, which lead him to miss a majority of his national security briefings despite the world being an increasingly dangerous place.
Israel is not a ward of the US state, but they are our long-time very close ally and we have a real strategic interest in their survival and prosperity. Barack Obama either doesn't understand or doesn't care about any of that. And by his words and (in)actions, he raises the chances of death and destruction across the region.
It's not just Jews who need to abandon Barack Obama en masse. It is any person who wants to avoid bloody, perhaps nuclear, war in the Middle East.
The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started off like any other work day for me...and more importantly for my New York-based business partners and employees. My office was in downtown Chicago, but our NYC office was at the northwest corner of Rector Street and Trinity Place, just across Trinity from the old Trinity Church cemetery.
As usual, I was watching CNBC, shortly after the market open, as I was a partner in an options market-making firm and in charge of our Chicago operations.
CNBC cut to news of an airplane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. I immediately picked up the phone and called my business partner, Steve, whose office windows faced in the direction of the World Trade Center.
Not surprisingly, Steve had no real information; nobody did. We didn't know whether it was an accident or an attack, and it was still well before either tower collapsed.
But while I was on the phone with Steve, trying to keep him updated on anything I could gather from the news as he dealt with the increasing local chaos, he saw the second plane fly by and heard it crash into the South Tower.
Although it took nearly an hour for the South Tower to collapse (it fell before the North Tower), that time -- which must have seemed like an eternity on that day -- seems to me now like the blink of an eye, and I reall remember nothing of it except that Steve said some of our employees were walking over to the towers to see what was going on. I remember hearing later that some of my employees witnessed the gruesomeness of people throwing themselves out of high windows to get away from the flames.
I hung up with Steve for a while, but called back shortly before the tower collapsed and (at least, this is how I remember it) was on the phone with him as he started describing to me how his building was shaking and a few windows were cracking. I heard Steve yell out into the office to tell all the employees to take cover as Steve himself got under a desk. Fortunately, the building's structural integrity held as one tower, then the other, collapsed a short distance away.
As for this part, I don't remember whether I was on the phone with Steve (which I doubt) or whether he told me afterwards -- after all, phone service was soon lost and cell phone service was overwhelmed.
Power was lost and people who were managing the building told Steve that the NY Fire Department had told them to keep everybody in the building.
Thus, Steve and a couple dozen of our employees (we had more, but most of them were out of the building already) were stuck in the building for some hours. Eventually, FDNY personnel came to get them and led them out. They walked through dust and debris that came up to nearly knee-high, and Steve remains convinced to this day that he saw body parts.
The usual routes home were mostly unavailable. Steve and others got to the Staten Island Ferry, which was still running, and got off Manhattan. After many hours, Steve was eventually able to get home. He was understandably in shock the next time we spoke. I can't imagine -- and don't want to imagine -- going through what he went through. The area of our office was uninhabitable for weeks, but the stock market closed for just the rest of the week, opening on Monday. So our New York personnel moved to Philadelphia for a while, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange created a place for American Stock Exchange traders to work. I managed the traders from Chicago in one of the most difficult work experiences of my life, but something that was a tiny inconvenience and effort compared to what our NY traders and employees were going through.
Time seems to have mostly healed the wounds of those terrible hours and days for my friends and former colleagues. But even for me -- and I wasn't even there -- an indelible mark remains with the images of falling bodies, debris-filled streets, and people diving under desks as building windows cracked around them.
We were incredibly fortunate that none of our employees suffered serious injury or death that day, but no doubt a different sort of scar remains for many of them.
My thoughts are with everybody who lost a loved one on that terrible day, and with the heroic first responders who risked life and limb to do what could be done.
Barack Obama's muddled thinking, so typical of a radical environmentalist's hatred for oil and other things that improve human life, leaves him with an energy policy that only a Democrat (but not one from an energy-producing state) could find satisfactory.
This is not some sort of theoretical debate with unknown policy impacts. It is not a fundamentally trivial make-believe issue such as the "war on women."
Instead, there are few policy issues as critical as this to all Americans, especially to those of modest or fixed incomes: high oil prices function as a massive tax increase, and a tremendously regressive one at that.
Low-income Americans spend about 11 percent of their income on energy while the top 20 percent (by income) of households spend less than seven percent. Again, this is only direct energy spending. When you include the cost of other things people must buy, particularly food, whose costs rise with higher energy prices, the regressive nature of rising fuel prices becomes all the more dramatic.
Particularly in the northeast, oil prices directly correlate to the cost of heating one's home in winter. (That part of the country tends to use more heating oil where other areas use more natural gas, propane, or electric heat.)
For 25 years now, analysts have noted the devastation that high energy prices cause to our nation's least well-off residents: "On some days, many of America's poorest households must choose whether to heat or to eat. This kind of choice is beyond the comprehension of most middle-class Americans.… But for the poor… it remains a daily part of their lives."
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Barack Obama and his supporters at the Democratic National Convention will mostly avoid the topic of unemployment, as unfavorable a subject as that is for Democrats' reelection chances. Still, we will inevitably hear a mantra like "the trend is in the right direction even if slower than we'd like" as an argument to give Barack Obama another four years so he can "finish what he started."
Beside the illogic of suggesting we give a failure four more years to fail further, one approach to unemployment data offers a very different lesson from the positive spin Democrats will give it.
In particular, the Obama team wants you to look at this chart, showing his entire term thus far, hoping that you focus on the modestly declining unemployment rate over the past 20 months.
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Matt Taibbi's recent anti-Romney screed published by Rolling Stone magazine entitled "Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital" has been the talk of the left-wing media, from the DailyKos and Huffington Post websites to MSNBC. It has also caught the attention of Business Insider, which says that the article "has tongues wagging. And for good reason."
Taibbi paints a picture of Romney and Bain Capital as ruthless mobsters, or (though he doesn't use this metaphor himself) as vampires who swoop in on unsuspecting companies, bribe the management to destroy the lives of their employees, saddle the company with debt, and then fly away with incisors dripping and bank accounts brimming as the company's life-blood drains away. It is an image that is far more surreal than real, but with just enough of a microscopic grain of truth to convince those with little understanding of finance and investing -- and helped along by a pre-existing bias against people involved in that field -- that Romney's world, and thus Romney himself, is to be feared.
For those of us who have even a modicum of experience in the world of private equity investing, Taibbi's article is a caricature that would be laughable if it weren't so angry, vicious, misleading -- and, unfortunately, accepted as at least plausible by many Americans whose personal experience doesn't allow them to recognize it for what it is: ignorant twaddle little different from the mindset of the Cuban murderer Che Guevara who wrote that "In capitalist society individuals are controlled by a pitiless law usually beyond their comprehension."
Normally I would rather have a root canal than read Taibbi's radical ramblings -- after all, I can hear the same siren song of ignorance and class warfare by watching Obama campaign videos --but his tirade demands a response because, paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, it includes much that so many liberals know but which isn't so.
Please read the entirety of my (rather long) article for the American Spectator here:
After months of allowing the Obama campaign and their useful idiots in the media to define Mitt Romney (and more generally all venture capitalists) as heartless predators, Romney is finally fighting back.
During the last evening of the Republican National Convention, the campaign released a slew of pro-Bain videos, some of which you can watch below and all of which are available on Romney's YouTube channel.
I found them effective antidotes to the Democrats' Big Lie that Romney and Bain's modus operandi was to raid corporations, saddle them with debt, close them down, and cause cancer in the employees' spouses.
Romney's job-creating career is truly remarkable. And his impact on the 2002 Olympics, as told by grateful Olympians on Thursday night, is inspiring and suggests precisely the kind of leader this nation needs, now more than ever.
But perhaps most impressive -- from my perspective as someone who has had very modest success in "private equity" investing -- was the degree to which Romney learned not only the details of the businesses he invested in but also learned and cared about those companies' employees. And not just the CEOs but employees right down the line. If there were ever a venture capitalist who was not a heartless predator, it is Mitt Romney.
The Romney campaign has also launched -- and I hope you'll share the link widely -- a new web page laying out Romney's "Sterling Business Career" on which they discuss companies that Bain Capital helped begin, fixed, or rescued -- one of which was Romney's former employer, the consulting firm Bain & Co.
The tag line for the web page, which is also reachable at business.mittromney.com is "Governor Romney's work at Bain Capital was about fixing companies that were broken and giving new companies a shot at success."