Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Playing the Debt Blame Game

From the floor of the Senate:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Is this another "horrible idea" floated by, as Betty McCollum has described, those "Tea Party Republicans" who simply want to drive the American Economy into recession and destroy the "full faith and credit" of the United States?
From Rep Betty McCollum's web site:
"Tonight's vote was nothing less than Republican game playing with our government's debt obligations. This is a dangerous game that puts our national security, the U.S. economy, and millions of jobs in jeopardy. Congress had an opportunity tonight to ensure there are funds for our troops in harm's way and to protect America's fragile economic recovery as Congress and the President work to address the long-term fiscal crisis facing our nation. Instead the House Republican majority is signaling to global markets that it is willing to gamble with the full faith and credit of the United States."
Does this meme sound familiar?  Heard it from the left, or far left ( example MSNBC) leaning mainstream media enough to make it a mantra you could recite in your sleep?  The Republicans are to blame for shutting down Government, blocking the ability to pay Government's Bills.  Perhaps this will come as news, news I am sure you might initially reject if you are of such a mind.  Clearly those of a mind with Rep Betty McCollum reject this notion, when its convenient, and would blame Rand Paul or Ted Cruz for, in her words, "National Security, U.S. Economy, and Millions of Jobs in Jeopardy".

But the initial statement above was from then Sen. Barack Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006, providing a screed against President George W Bush's request for a debt increase. However now he is on the opposite side of the debate, speaking with equal disdain in his recent speech Sep 15, 2013
“If we continue to set a precedent in which a president … is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills, the other party can simply sit there and say, ‘Well, we’re not going to put — pay the bills unless you give us … what we want,’ that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely,” Obama said.
House Republicans, seeking to defund and delay implementation of the president’s signature health care law, have sought to use the upcoming debt ceiling and government funding fights to extract concessions from the White House.
Obama says he is drawing a line in the sand.
“What has never happened in the past was the notion that in exchange for fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we are wiping away let’s say major legislation like the health care bill,” he told Stephanopoulos.
“Never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they’re talking about,” he added.
At that time, 2006, our National Debt was moving to $9 Trillion, now it currently is $16.7 Trillion, nearing double.  Each citizen owed roughly $45K, now its $52,864.93.  For a family of four, that's essentially the lifetime savings for the average American.

Every Democratic Senator in 2006 voted against the debt increase.  And in the house Betty McCollum has similarly been chameleon in her voting record:
McCollum, for example, voted against raising the debt limit every time it came up for a vote between 2002 and 2005. Since the Democrats won the House in the 2006 elections, though, she’s been a supporter of half-a-dozen measures with debt ceiling increases attached to them, including some straight increases, budget resolutions and three major economic recovery packages in 2008 and 2009 (the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac takeover, TARP, and the stimulus package).
Were his initial statements about George W Bush hyperbole, social gaffe, lack of of leadership, or is it as as Guy Benson stated entirely self interest:
Blowing through Obama ‘red lines’ isn't typically that big of a deal if you’re a foreign butcher.  This president usually gets more animated about defeating his domestic political adversaries, so don’t worry too much about the Hitler comparisons, Bashar; the administration has likened Republicans to terrorists and segregationists, so you only rank slightly above Mitch McConnell on the rhetorical hierarchy of evil.  In any case, Obama’s definition of preserving the “constitutional structure” tends to vary, and by pure coincidence, his conclusions often align with his immediate political interests.
That was $8 trillion ago.  Obama’s decision wasn't just throw-away symbolism, either.  Democrats fell just three votes shy of defeating a debt ceiling increase to “make a point” about Bush’s (comparatively modest) spending and borrowing.  Now, 2006 Barack Obama’s actions are being lambasted by 2013 Barack Obama as reckless threats to the republic.
Under President Barack Obama and Democrat Betty McCollum we now have a much more severe threat to our Country, one might say near double the threat under their "lack of leadership". A threat fed by the continual profligate spending of those who simply denigrate opposition rather than attempt to really work on the problems.   That's "lack of leadership".

And is it not reasonable to consider the crippling impact of the unpopular Obamacare in any discussion of debt?  Even Obama's favorite go to billionaire guy Warren Buffet has said, in an article released by Money Morning;
"What we have now is untenable over time," said Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama. "That kind of a cost compared to the rest of the world is really like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body."
Buffet does not believe that providing insurance for everyone is the first step to take in correcting our nation's healthcare system.
"Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage," he said.
Democrats, like Barack Obama and Betty McCollum, have never been serious about the debt.  To them it is simply a hammer to use to bludgeon opposition into following their desires, or get punished!  Yes we can do better.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria - Agreeing with Betty McCollum?

I currently find myself in agreement with the early Betty McCollum opposition to Syrian intervention. Probably not for the same reasoning, but the end result is agreed.  However will that agreement be longer than a fleeting moment?

Betty McCollum has always been consistently and vocally against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Sometimes to the detriment of truth to the American people (relating to the level of the Al Qaeda threat, while Betty McCollum has stated "Al Qaeda is not longer a threat", they really still are, as Lara Logan explains the lie).  But now that it is a Democrat President, and her mentor Nancy Pelosi is solidlyhere and here acting as a war hawk, seeking authorization for War, is Betty McCollum showing signs of reversing her heretofore solidly anti-war stance?

Betty McCollum voted against authorization for use of Military Force against Iraq.  She was steadfastly against Iraq and Afghanistan actions.  This action similarly based but one of its several rationales on use of chemical weapons. Later the evidence was found lacking, but prior to that point all intelligence agencies, notably the French, were saying they were there.  However at the time there were also UN approved authorizations, world wide acknowledgement, Congress voted 296 to 133 for action, the American people were predominately for such action as well.  Several months (18 or more) were spent working with the UN and Congress to provide diplomatic efforts and sanctions to try to get Saddam Hussein to change.

So is she changing her tone now?  This action has but one rationale, the use of chemical weapons.

2/9/2013 from her website she voices strong condemnation, no hint of intervention

I strongly support President Obama's efforts to work with America's western and Arab allies to stop the bloodshed. Though China and Russia have chosen to stand with Assad, the world will not. Already, nations across the Middle East and throughout the world are expelling Syrian diplomats, tightening sanctions, and ratcheting up pressure on the Syrian government. The time has come for President Assad to step down, and for the Syrian people to determine their own future.

 from her website hints at possible escalation, though undesirable
Now is the time for measures that will bring strategic pressure to prevent an escalation of the conflict, rather than add to the wanton violence of a situation already out of control. Unilateral U.S. military action against the Syrian regime at this time would do nothing to advance American interests, but would certainly fuel extremist groups on both sides of the conflict that are determined to expand the bloodshed beyond Syria’s borders.”

9/3/2013 from her website  hints at possibly being convinced
As I have stated previously, the U.S. should not take unilateral military action, but it is clear the Obama Administration is making significant diplomatic efforts to seek support from a host of nations, especially Arab League nations, for a limited military strike. President Obama’s plan can only be successful if the world is standing with the U.S.”

“It is my intention to return to Washington tomorrow, attend additional briefings, and consult with the Administration and Congressional colleagues.  President Obama must make the case and earn the support of the American people and Congress, including this representative, for limited and effective military action against the Syrian regime.  I applaud the President for fully engaging Congress in this critically important decision.”

So will she continue to be strident in her opposition for military action? Or will Betty McCollum follow her mentor Nancy Pelosi in now voting for Obama's Second War?  Her last statement would seem to indicate her evolution in thinking.  She also voted NO on on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval. Hinting at a new openness to military action by Democrat President Obama.

But wait, the verdict is still out on the validity of the basis for the entire argument.  Intelligence sources have been mixed at best.  There was an Israeli interception of Assad communication that would imply Assad was taking such an action.  However there have been UN reports (from Huffington Press) that the syrian rebels, many if not most now are Al Qaeda terrorists, may have been the source of the sarin gas, and a Russian report to the UN where Putin claims:
Russia says a deadly March sarin attack in an Aleppo suburb was carried out by Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, and it has delivered a 100-page report laying out its evidence to the United Nations. 
The later, Aug 21, sarin gas attack does seem more likely to be an Assad forces action.  However in this chaotic environment one would want to be a little cautious about exuberant behavior here.  There are no "good guys".

Nevertheless its getting embarrassing as previously anti war liberals jump forth to support Obama's Second War, with Howard Dean being one of the most recent nonsense talking heads.

Military action is not always a bad thing, nor one that should be dogmatically opposed.  But the mission rationale for US involvement, which seems sadly lacking, planning, both the action and the followup must be carefully planned, and well executed.  And here is where we see the most damning case against military action in Syria.  The utter incompetence of this CINC and his cohorts in the State Department.  A perfect military action can be not merely wasted but turned into a complete disaster by the political mismanagement that is evidenced in Obama's First War in Libya. An outcome that has benefited no one but Al Qaeda.  More on that next time.

Perhaps Betty McCollum needs some reinforcement about constituent views, which are overwhelmingly, 60%, against action in Syria.  If you would like to send her an email contact her here.

Update: bringing new meaning to the word fleeting, as I did a final look at email I found the Betty McCollum has made the transition to supporting military action.  Who knew.. http://roseville.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/rep-mccollum-supports-syrian-action-but-w...  Call and tell her your displeasure.