Headline Would Make Most Veterans Smile

I firmly believe that surviving veterans of World War II would be jubilant to read the headline shown in the doctored photo above:  OBAMA QUITS.

Seriously though, I salute all who’ve worn the uniform of their country on this day we commemorate the sacrifices made at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

Democrats Ignore Basic Economic Facts

Foster Friess

By Foster Friess, Guest Blogger

Democrats are fond of talking about the Clinton era budget surplus President George W. Bush “squandered” and the terrible financial mess President Barack Obama “inherited.” Both arguments ignore a few basic facts. First, presidents don’t control spending, Congress does. Second, outside events have to be taken into account before you assign praise or blame.

President Bill Clinton had the lucky combination of a time of peace, a Republican controlled House of Representatives and a booming economy, including the gains from internet stock insanities. Since all spending bills originate in the House of Representatives, credit for the budget surplus could more fairly be given to Speaker Newt Gingrich and the “Contract with America” than President Clinton.

President Bush had been in office less than nine months when the cowardly 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center occurred. Blaming Bush for the deficits that followed is akin to blaming President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) for the sudden increase in federal spending after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The chart above shows the deficit when each party was in control of the House of Representatives. Democrats are blue while the Republicans are red. The graph indicates a clear trend. Since 1974 – the year the budget process began to implode – the Republicans controlled the House for 12 years and the Democrats 24 years.

In 8 of the 12 years the Republicans controlled the spending, the deficit went down the following year and the 4 years it went up were all in the years immediately after the 9-11 attack. Despite the huge blow to the economy and the expenses of fighting two wars, deficit spending peaked in 2004 and was declining sharply until the Democrats regained control of the House in 2007.

Meanwhile, in 18 of the 24 years the Democrats controlled the federal purse strings, the deficit rose the following year.

The Democrats, not the Republicans, have had firm control of both houses of Congress for the past four years. During their first two years, we had the near financial collapse on their watch. For the past two years, the Democrats have added the White House giving them carte blanche to promote their legislative agenda in Washington.

Instead of focusing on the economy, the Democrats have passed a series of unpopular and expensive bills, which added regulatory uncertainly to an already shaky marketplace. Until employers know how health care reform and the overhaul of the entire financial market structure will impact their business, they will not be hiring. Only four months from a new tax year, the people who actually create jobs and drive the economy have no idea what their personal taxes rates will be in 2011.

It seems to be dawning on the American people that President Obama and the Democrats now own this economy and blaming it on George W. Bush, whose name has not appeared on a ballot since 2004, is getting old.

President Obama certainly inherited a financial problem, but a case can be made that the tax and spend Democrats on Capitol Hill have only made it worse. A $1.6 trillion dollar deficit for the year, an ineffective and wasteful $800+ billion stimulus package and a 9.6% unemployment rate gives the impression that when it comes to boasting the economy the Democrats are out of their depth. During a recession, government should be encouraging small businesses instead of loading them down with new regulations adding to labor costs and raising taxes.

Are the Democrats in over their heads? With less than 60 days left in the current fiscal year, they haven’t even been able to write a budget for 2010, much less create a long-term recovery plan.

How did we get into this mess? The deficit spending death spiral began with the passage of the “Congressional Budget Reform and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.” Before its passage, other than times of war, deficits were rare and small. Presidents would routinely not spend money Congress had appropriated. This bill stripped the Executive Branch of the ability to “impound” funds, turning the U.S. Treasury into a cash cow that Congress is more than happy to milk.

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to impound funds Congress had voted to spend. He declined to build gunboats on the Mississippi River because he thought they were inferior. For the next 160 years nearly every president, including FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy, exercised their executive power by declining to spend money for military equipment that Congress had appropriated but they thought unnecessary.

In 1968, President Richard Nixon, horrified by the excesses of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” spending on domestic programs, began impounding funds on a massive scale never seen before. This fiscal restraint earned him no friends on pork addicted Capitol Hill. In 1974, with Nixon badly weakened by the Watergate Scandal, Congress passed the Impoundment Control Act which effectively ended any future president’s ability to impound funds once authorized by Congress.

The lack of fiscal responsibility has resulted in an explosion of “earmarks” for expensive and wasteful pork barrel projects being inserted into essential bills. With the ability to simply not spend the money off the table, a president’s only options are to either sign or veto. Since the shameless members of Congress have no compunction about attaching tons of wasteful pork to critical legislation, too often it is quietly signed into law with the hope no one will notice.

In 1970, before the passage of the Impoundment Act, the Defense Bill had 12 earmarks. In 2010 it had 1,720. When President Dwight Eisenhower proposed the first highway bill in the 1950s, it had two earmarks. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan vetoed the Highway Bill because it had 121 earmarks. His veto was easily overridden. The most recent highway bill contained an estimated 6,371 “special projects.” It passed 412 to 8 in the House of Representatives.

The party that controls the House controls the spending. When you go to the polls this November be sure to pull the lever for a true fiscal conservative, Democrat or Republican, and not someone who is trying to buy your vote with your grandchildren’s money.

God Bless,

Foster (:>)*****

EDITOR’S NOTE: Foster Friess promotes private-sector solutions to benefit society and curb an increasingly intrusive government. Through the Express Rider network of like-minded influence-leaders, FosterFriess.com provides a conduit to educate and empower citizens on issues transforming America.  To read previous BMW posts written by or about Foster Friess, click here.

Treatment of Climate Change E-mail Scandal-ous

First, a BBC News headline reported, Hackers target leading climate research unit. Ten days later, a new headline from the stodgy-and-liberal media outlet reads, Inquiry into stolen climate e-mails.

BBC News Climate Change Headline 11-27-09What’s wrong with those headlines?  They focus on something far less important than the fact that the e-mails exchanged between researchers at the UK’s East Anglia University appear to prove manipulation of climate change data on a global scale.  Why does that matter?  Because that data played — and continues to play — a significant role in the worldwide push for climate change legislation such as the soon-to-be-considered Copenhagen Treaty.

Below, I’ve prepared the headlines and lead paragraphs for five never-before-published “breaking news” articles about major events in history that mimic the aforementioned BBC News treatment of the climate change e-mails scandal:

  • Loss of 70 Million Means More Room for Modern Chinese People (Oct. 1, 2009):  Quick to dismiss the loss of 70 million of the country’s citizens since Chairman Mao came to power, Chinese citizens say they are thankful to have so much extra room on the 60th anniversary of the country’s communist revolution.
  • NYC Buildings Damaged by Aircraft (Sept. 11, 2001):  New York City’s skyline suffered considerable damage today after a pair of civilian airliners crashed into the World Trade Center buildings.
  • Hostages Should Have Known Better (Nov. 4, 1979):  Who’s to blame for 52 people inside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran being captured by Iranian revolutionaries?
  • Was Limo Driver Going Too Slow? (Nov. 22, 1963):  Many Americans were scratching their heads today, wondering if the driver of a limo should be held responsible for the chain of events that left one dead and another wounded in downtown Dallas this afternoon.
  • Was Equipment Failure ‘Seed’ of Japanese Fury? (Dec. 7, 1941):  Hours after Japanese Zero aircraft waged an attack on Pearl Harbor, some are wondering whether anger about having to fly substandard equipment may have caused the Japanese navy pilots to snap.

What’s Wrong Is What’s Missing 66 Years Later

In today’s edition of American Minute, William J. “Bill” Federer highlights the words of an American president following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and points out what is wrong with America 66 years:

“DECEMBER 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

Thus spoke President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor by over 350 Japanese aircraft. Five American battleships and three destroyers were sunk, 400 planes were destroyed and over 4,000 were killed or wounded.

President Roosevelt concluded: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory…We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”

FDR continued: “Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

In 2004, the World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. Of the over 500 words inscribed on the Memorial, FDR’s phrase “So help us God” was not included, nor was any was other reference to faith.

For pointing out the glaring wrong, Bill, you also point out what’s right.

‘We All Came Home Alive!’

On this 66th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I have the opportunity to share more of my father’s reflections about his personal experiences during World War II with readers of this blog.

Gas! PosterThis opportunity came about as a result of a school project undertaken by Mykaela, a 12-year-old school girl from Kentucky. A couple of weeks ago, Mykaela contacted me after reading several posts about my father’s experiences as a soldier serving in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II (My Father’s War Stories from World War II). She had an assignment to interview a World War II veteran, but didn’t know any, so contacted me.

After exchanging e-mails, we arranged for my father, now living in Texas, to answer her questions about World War II. Those answers appear below:

Q1: Where were you when you first heard about Pearl Harbor?

A1: I was a senior in high school and was living with my parents. We did not subscribe to a newspaper but got our news from a tabletop radio. I remember (the news) came as a “news flash”. “Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor. We do not have the details yet but will give them to you as soon a they become available” Later, the president, Mr. Roosevelt, came on the radio with an address to the nation. In his address, he came forth wth the words that everyone has heard over and over by now: “This day, the 7th day of December, 1941, will go down in history as a day of infamy etc…”

Q2: What were your feelings?

A2: I was a boy of 17 years of age. My feelings were of both fear and excitement. The fear of the unknown future. The excitement of the anticipation for whatever was going to happen. At age 17, one does not comprehend all of the future events that could come and many more that would come with a declaration of war. There was also the feeling of anger at what the Japanese did to our military men in Hawai.

“Avenge December 7? PosterQ3: Did you see any signs of fear, anger or rage?

A3: There was the feeling in the community of being double-crossed, violated, tricked, and lastly, of anger at the enemy for their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Many Americans boys were killed by that attack while the Japanese diplomats were smiling in Washington, D.C., and pretending all was going well within the Japanese-American diplomatic relations. As the people took the time to digest what had happened, they did become more angry and wanted revenge.

Q4: What did people so during the next few days?

A4: During the days that followed the attack, I think the people began to realize that this was not just a news item. It was real. Parents of sailors killed at Pearl Harbor began to receive telegrams from the Defense Department saying, “We regret to inform you that your son, (John or Robert or Harold or ??) was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. His remains will be shipped to you etc…”

Q5: How was life different during the war?

A5: Soon after the attack, material things in civilian life were much the same, but it was not long before many items were available only in small quantities. A few months later, gasoline, coffee, cigarettes, sugar and most anything else was rationed. People stayed home, launched paper drives, metal drives and did anything else to help make the tools of war. A young man who was not in uniform came under close scrutiny by his neighbors and the local draft board. This group of people decided who was going to be drafted next.

Ration Stamps PosterQ6: What items were the hardest to get for your family?

A6: Sugar and coffee for the table along with gasoline and tires for the car. These were items that I remember my parents said were very hard to come by.

Q7: What slogans and patriotic posters were being shown?

A7: On posters: “A slip of the lips may sink a ship.” “Uncle Sam wants you” which had a picture of Uncle Sam pointing directly at you. “Buy Bonds”.

Q8: Describe V-E (Victory in Europe) day and V-J (Victory in Japan) day. Where were you then?

A8: I was in a convalescent camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., on V-E day and at my parents’ home on V-J day. There was intense excitement, especially on V-J. day. After V-E day, people were worried that soldiers who had been in Europe would have to go to invade Japan. This worried the soldiers as much as, or more than, civilians. With V-J day, they were relieved of that worry. Now they were ready for their sons, daughters, husbands, sweethearts all to come back home so they could take vacations, go on picnics, etc.

Q9: How did the people feel about the atomic bomb?

A9: The American public was tired of their boys being killed fighting the Japanese who were fanatics. They would not surrender but would kill themselves first. This was a part of their religion. The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima first. The Japanese government would not surrender, so a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki a week later. “If the bomb would stop the war, then drop it” was the feeling in the U. S. It was anticipated two million of their soldiers and civilians and one million of our soldiers would have perished in an invasion of Japan. After all, it was they who started the war, it was they who killed Chinese civilians as well as soldiers, it was they who marched captured American soldiers to prison camps but provided no food or water for them on that march, and it was they who killed the prisoners who could not keep up on that march.

Q10: What should an 8th grader remember about this war?

A10: I would say remember there are bad guys in this world who want to control the world and will do anything to do it. Sometimes we have to fight for freedom, but it is worth it!!

After providing Mykaela the answers above, my dad ended his response by noting what, I suspect, was a bittersweet feeling shared by many Americans of what has become known as “The Greatest Generation”:

“I had three brothers in that war. We all came home alive!”

I’m glad they did! Thanks for writing, Mykaela!