Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Debt Battle is Joined

Today we watched President Obama outline his plans for reducing the deficit by $4B over 12 years and we got something different from him for a change, the truth. Gone was the “Change We Can Believe In” and replacing it the hard core leftist Democrat demagoguery and class warfare we have seen since the New Deal. His solution “framework” is to tax the rich otherwise senior citizens will go without healthcare and food. It is all the fault of the Bush tax cuts, which he didn’t mind so much 5 months ago when he signed an extension or his trillion dollar stimulus pork fest. No, the president has seen the way to economic salvation and it is Tax and Spend. Welcome home to leftist land Mister President.

In President Obama’s wonderful world increasing taxes has no negative effect on growth, something he has discovered since he decided in December that extending the Bush tax cuts was essential to maintaining the recovery. He is going to cut an additional $400B from defense, 3 weeks after starting America’s third war in the Middle East. How to make the other cuts? According to The Politico a senior administration official stated “The exact design of that we’d have to work out, obviously.” Working it out is a fine idea, we recommend it strongly.

Ironically the president himself set up a Commission of Deficit Reduction, however when they came back with bipartisan recommendations as to how to reduce the deficit, he chose not to embrace a single recommendation they made. It seems President Obama prefers to live in his imaginary world where economic realities are optional and his Hope is enough. When that fails, he turns to the old democrat standby of class warfare.

The President also set as the official target of leftist attack Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and his dramatic plan to balance the budget by cutting $6 trillion over 10 years, $2 trillion more than the President two years sooner. I have to admit I have concerns over the Ryan plan, especially over the achievability of the cuts in discretionary non-entitlement spending. Yet Representative Ryan is the first person in almost 2 decades to have the courage to put forward a plan which faces the reality of entitlement spending the need to constrain it. Ryan’s plan surly will evolve over time, but he has taken the first real step forward to realistic restraint in Washington.

So the battle over fiscal responsibility is joined and we can only hope that this will be the foundation of the 2012 campaign. The choice will be clear between fiscal responsibility and democrat fear mongering. The American people will have a choice and the future will be dependent on that choice.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Congress, Politics, Spending

50 Years of Human Spaceflight

Fifty years ago today, on April 12, 1961 the Soviet Union won the first leg of the Space race when 27 year old Soviet Air Force Colonel Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth. More significantly on that day humanity took its first step beyond the home world where life itself began. Three weeks later US Navy Commander Alan B. Sheppard road Mercury Redstone 3 on a suborbital mission and the race had been joined. For the next decade man’s initial exploration of the cosmos was defined, if not driven, by the race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The science and engineering discoveries of that decade, and the four that have followed have been breathtaking. One cannot understate the economic impact on the United States of the advancements realized by the space program. Yet it was the political rivalry between the then super powers which drove the race into space. That race marked its unofficial end on July 20, 1969 when the Stars & Stripes were unveiled by Neil Armstrong on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility. The flight of Apollo 11 has been described by Stephen Hawking as the most significant event in the history of mankind.

April 12, 1961: The Dawn of Human Spaceflight

In the years that followed the space race waned and mirrored the relationship between the two super powers. At the height of détente in July 1975, just 6 years after Apollo 11 put America on the moon, US Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Stafford shook hands with Soviet Air Force Colonel Alexei Leonov after the docking of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. Ironically it has been reported than Colonel Leonov had been selected to lead the first soviet lunar landing mission which never occurred. The 80’s saw the return of the rivalry as the US Space Shuttle rocketed past all other spacecraft before, or since, in terms of its capabilities on orbit. So capable was the space shuttle that in 1988 the Soviets test flew their own “Buran” space shuttle. It was only coincidence the Soviets claimed that their shuttle appeared identical to the American Shuttles. As the cold war ended, the American and Russian programs joined forces to construct the International Space Station (with limited involvement of the Japanese, Canadian and European Space Agency). Again, politics played a driving role in determining both the direction and aggressiveness of our space program. But one thing remained unchallenged from the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon through this very day as the space shuttle ends its 30 year run: America has been the world leader in space technology and exploration.

The impact of the space program over the past 50 years cannot be understated. Things we take for granted like transoceanic phone service, live TV transmissions and our ever present Satellite navigation systems are a direct result of developments in the space program. Computer technology and miniaturization were driven forward in years in what otherwise would have taken decades. Yet perhaps most important in hide sight was the contrast in the Soviet and American space programs and how the US program came to symbolize that which was right with America. While the Soviet conducted their program in secrete, reveling both their successes and hiding their failures after the fact, we conducted our program in full view of all humanity. As a 5 year old I remember my father keeping me up that July night to watch Apollo 11 and then taking me outside and pointing at the moon and saying “remember tonight, there are men on that moon” (I missed the significance at the time as I just could not see them there). Apollo 13 has come to symbolize the strength and resilience of the American spirit where “failure is not an option”. All who were old enough in 1986 remember where they were when the Space Shuttle Challenger was lost live on television, but we also saw how Discovery returned to flight in 1988. As President Ronald Reagan said in an address to the nation on the night Challenger was lost “We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest in space.”

Apollo 16 Commander John Young's Leaping Salute of the American Flag, April 1972

That brings us to today, the 50th anniversary of the birth of the era of space exploration. What has been done over the last half century will pale in comparison with what the future holds for mankind.

Today we watch with some sadness as the space shuttle program passes into history having seen it’s time come and go. The US and Russia have been joined by the Chinese as the only nation to have placed humans into space, but the Indians, Japanese and Europeans all have openly discussed joining that club. However one nation will leave that group in just a matter of months, the United States. With the end of the space shuttle program, and President Obama’s cancelation of the Constellation program which would have continued US manned orbital flight and led us back to the moon and on to Mars, the United States will for the first time in half a century have neither the capability to place humans in space, but will not even have a viable replacement system under development. While the President claims to have put the future in the hands of the private sector, he has done so without viable funding. When the next flag is placed on the moon or mars, it will not be American, but rather most likely Chinese. Barak Obama simply does not understand what it means for America to lead. He does not understand that great nations do great things. He does not realize that space is the high ground to America’s defense, or if he does he simply wants to abandon it to other nations. President Obama’s failure of leadership has abandoned our leadership in space and conceded it to the Russians and the Chinese. What those countries could not win in the Space Race, Barak Obama has willingly given them. Let us hope that those with better vision and commitment to America’s leadership reverse Obama’s mistake before the damage is irreversible. If not, America will not a leader, let alone the leader as humanity continues to explore the final frontier.

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Filed under American Leadership, Barak Obama, NASA, Space Flight

Time for a Reality Check

While at some time today it will become clear if a deal is reached on the FY2011 budget, the media rhetoric is out of control and straight from the White House talking points. We need to keep in mind that this is the Fiscal Year 2011 budget which for the federal government began October 1, 2010.  Already are half way through the fiscal year and congress and the president are only now coming to an artificial faceoff over the budget. Shame on all of them. How would my mortgage company (or yours) respond if I waited more than 6 months into my year to get my financial house in order? It is the President and Congress’s job to get a budget in place and if there is going to be a deadline it should be September 30, the day before a Fiscal Year begins. Its time a government ran like any other institution and if there is no budget in place, it should close down on October 1st, period. The first step in restoring fiscal stability to our country is to force government to get things done on time like the rest of us.

All the hyperbole coming from the talking heads on cable news today is focused on how the Republicans in congress are playing chicken with the President and the nearly invisible Senate democrats. Forgotten is the fact the drama of today is the direct result of the total failure of the 111st Congress to get a budget in place by October 1st 2010 when FY 2010 began. Forgotten is the 111st Congress was controlled by strong Democrat majorities in BOTH the House and Senate as well as having a Democrat in the white House who would sign anything they sent him. Moreover, the commentators forget the Senate Democrats had one of the largest majorities in the past century. The current situation is a direct result of

The Democrat Controled 111st Congress and President Obama Failed to Pass a Budget by the Beginning of FY 2011 on October 1, 2010

the failure of the democratic leadership to get its job done before it went off to campaign for the November 2010 elections. Indeed Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laid out the democratic strategy in an open mic moment of honesty when he laid out the Democrat strategy to blame the Republicans for any shut down. Seems the media loved chuck’s strategy so much they are singing his song today, in harmony.

What the people of the United States need is a budget on time. Let’s have the political arguments in full view of the people in the months leading up to the beginning of the fiscal year. If Congress and the President cannot meet one of their core responsibilities, let the people pass judgment upon them at the voting booth. I am not a big supporter of legislating by way of the Constitution, but it may be time to say the government must have a budget in place by the beginning of the fiscal year, period.  Today we are simply getting a demonstration of what is structurally wrong with Washington. The American people deserve better.

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Filed under Budget, Congress, Leftist Myths, Media, Politics, Spending