Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Raise $3.94 Trillion

When you hear about the new Obama Budget that hit the wires today which forecasts record outlays for the current fiscal year of $3.94 trillion (up 32 percent from a year ago)... don't think it stops there.

The Obama administration also plans to spend $3.55 trillion in fiscal 2010, beginning Oct. 1 thru Sept. 30/10, with the deficit narrowing to $1.17 trillion (down from this year's record deficit expected to be at $1.75 trillion with this new budget).
“While we must add to our deficits in the short term to provide immediate relief to families and get our economy moving, it is only by restoring fiscal discipline over the long run that we can produce sustained growth and shared prosperity,” Obama said today before the budget was released. [link]

Now then, how do you raise that kind of money?

Taxes - no surprise there - seems to be their BIGGEST push. And, as many predicted, it isn't only the rich he's going after...
The budget proposes to raise taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 a year, generating $636 billion over the next decade. To do so, Obama proposes raising the top two marginal income tax rates to 39.6 percent and 36 percent, limiting itemized tax deductions and increasing taxes on capital gains to 20 percent from the current 15 percent.

Keep that little 5 percent capital gains increase in mind, folks.

Think it's hitting just the rich?

If you answered yes, then you need a wee bit more schooling in the arts of economics.

When the breadlines lengthen as more and more jobs disappear with this move, you'll probably see our B.O.B. leaders exclaim, "...we-ell, that's part of the 30% we told you would probably fail."

Keep in mind, this is just the FEDERAL budget.

Who knows what kind of tax increases you can expect in a trickle-down effect that will hit you at the State and local levels in what I believe will soon become the biggest tax grabs in the history of this nation's independence.

Before you start nicknaming me "Chicken Little" here's a little Bar Stool Economics I've been saving for all of you.

You may have seen this before, but even so, it is worth a revisit as we struggle to survive the Obama years...

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.” Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share”?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink their beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that's right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!”

“That's true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another American Tea Party

Is there a New American Tea Party coming to a city near you?

After Press Secretary Gibbs shot down CNBC'S Rick Santelli's rant from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor last Thursday, the rant flew round the world hitting major news outlets over this past weekend.

If you missed it on SquawkBox, here you go:

It seems that Santelli's rant has struck a nerve with certain politicians, and surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) hit home with many taxpayers here at home. Tea Party websites have been springing up all over the place, and from the expected (and the most unexpected) sources.
TCOP (Top Conservatives on Twitter) are coordinating simultaneous nationwide rallies and demonstrations for this Friday at noon ET in Chicago, Washington D.C., Fayetteville, N.C., Pittsburgh, Penn., San Diego, Calif., Fort Worth, Texas, Tulsa, Okla., Oklahoma City, Orlando, Fla., Omaha, Neb., Atlanta, Ga., and elsewhere in Missouri. More cities are joining in every day. [link to source]

I like the way the Orlando Tea Party website summed up the bailout protest being held in their area on March 21, 2009:
This will be a peaceful rally to unite our voices and express the love that we have for our great nation and the principles it was founded on. We want to make our politicians hear loud and clear that we are tired of the bailouts, the wasteful Washington spending and the push towards the socialization of this country! We want less government! We want to decide where our hard earned money goes instead of the elitist politicians in Washington taking it and using it to buy votes, doling it out to special interest groups and pork barrel projects! We want our constitutional rights preserved and protected, not trampled on! [link]

For a swelling list of cities, activities and more you can check out the TCOT Report through this link.

The Other Side of the Fence -- The Grass is Always Greener?
Just what are they smoking over there?

If you missed the Gibbs response to Santelli's rant, you can see it on YouTube through this link.

I found it amusing to watch Gibbs hold up the few sheets of paper (about 4 or 5 pages?) and wave it around as if it was to suggest the Bill/Plan was so simple. It probably is less convoluted than the 1,073-page Stimulack Bill for $789.5 billion (which some analysts have now calculated it actually adds up to more than $3.27 Trillion when all is said and done).

I guess it's a "save-the-trees" thing for bailouts now, because the draft for this foreclosure/housing/or-whatever-u-call-it (worth a mere $275 billion they say -- really?) bailout is actually available in pdf form, too... unlike the Big Bomb Obama signed and tossed at us taxpayers last week.

After watching the above Gibbs response clip, you might be curious... "Well, what is this plan that looks no bigger than about 4 or 5 pages?"

As Gibbs said, you can download it online from the White House website:
- link to Q & A
- link to "examples" sheet

Oh -- that's not the Bill you say?

Yeah... I couldn't find it either.

But the Q&A says it will be there around March 4... after it's signed.

Maybe a draft version is available (or will be after I post this). If you find it, feel free to post a link to it here in the comments.

So, I'm settling back, getting ready to watch Obama's first address to Congress and wondering;
- how many times will he say the word crisis?
- how many times will he say he/they won?
- how many times will he use the word necessary and/or need?
- and will he yet again say that the majority of the American public voted for all of this?

I've taken NLP courses. He's pretty good at it. I'm really curious to see how much of it he applies to his speech tonight.

Part of me feels sorry for him. Really.

Part of me is just plain disappointed in him.

Will he pound another nail in our financial economy -- the cross we all bear now -- or will he attempt to raise some spirits tonight?

I wonder...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Exposing Secrets in the Stimulack

I don't want to be an alarmist, but it's pretty hard not to be alarmed when you find the RATS they snuck into the Stimulus Spending Bill.

Beginning with the RAT Board...
When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target. [link]
Thanks to Lou (from Canada) for forwarding this article to me. I had no idea the language was snuck into this Bill. It's unfortunate that not a single Senator had time to read through the entire Bill before voting on it.

And today, BO announced Biden will be overseeing the Bill.

Is anyone else out there alarmed by all of this?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nancy Pelosi - The Most Hated Woman in America?

About The Soon-To-Be Most Hated Woman in America

When the Obama Stimulus joke fails, Nancy Pelosi, also known as Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, current Speaker of the House, the San Francisco democrat representing California's 8th District, will then officially become the Most Hated Woman in America.

Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul (see Washington Times EXCLUSIVE: Pelosi paid husband with PAC funds - October 1, 2008) have five children, Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul, and Alexandra. Nancy was a stay-at-home mother, beginning political volunteer work when her youngest began school and elected to Congress when her youngest was a senior in high school.

In case you weren't aware, Ms. Nancy Pelosi has been working on the title of "Most Hated Woman in America" for quite some time, in many parts of the globe. And her success at being "most hated" both in and out of the beltway has been duly noted by many, as this trip down memory lane might well reveal:

Nancy Pelosi: The worst Speaker in History (October 02, 2008 - American Thinker)
Here is how she handled the most crucial vote of her term, one that will definitely go into the books and one that may well serve as a benchmark for her speakership:
  • She delayed the process in the hope of stampeding the GOP into voting her way.
  • She allowed her cronies to stuff the thing full of every variety of pork imaginable.
  • She attempted to stick in a provision handing over 2 billion to ACORN, a crypto-revolutionary nut cult.
  • She announced the bill publicly in the tones of a Caesar proclaiming victory over the Gauls. (Making Steny Hoyer and Barney Frank look like complete idiots in the process -- no great accomplishment there, granted.)
  • She used the vote itself as an opportunity to insult and inflame the opposition. (Which she was depending on to vote it through.)
  • And then she had it blow up in her face the first thing Monday, voted down by the members of her own party.

Nancy Pelosi History | A Pattern of Self Interest and Failed Leadership (from the website "Impeach Nancy Pelosi")
Nancy Pelosi wasted no time promoting her ego. Immediately following the commencement ceremony as the new speaker of the house, the California Congresswoman declared herself "the most powerful woman in America" according to a report from the Washington Times. A related article in the Times, went on to describe how Pelosi was quite full of herself at an event titled a "women's tea." "All right, let's hear it for the power," she screamed as the jubilant applause continued.

Pelosi’s Pork Ladden Congress: A Culture of Deception (Dec 19, 2007 - The Conservative Post)
When the liberal Democrats won control of the House and Senate in 2006, Bug-eyes (aka Nancy Pelosi) promised the most ethical Congress ever.... One year later, and liberal Democrats are about as far from those predictions as they can possibly get. Under Bug-eyes leadership, the Democrats have gotten essentially nothing done. They have essentially wasted the taxpayer’s dollars all year long, attempting to hijack the role of Commander and Chief, while they tried their hardest to lose the war on terror.

The libs have been grossly derelict in their responsibility to pass 13 different funding bills to ensure the government continues to function in 2008, and they have held hostage desperately needed funding for our troops fighting al Qaeda overseas.

So it comes as no surprise, as the deadline for shutting down the government looms, that the do-nothing-but-harm Pelosi congress rammed through a massive 3,500 page omnibus funding bill that contains at least 8,000 earmarks… 8,000 earmarks that Pelosi, in all of her post election hubris, vowed would never come back. Put another way, Pelosi’s most ethical congress nearly quadrupled the wasteful spending earmarks over 2007.

What is Nancy Pelosi really up to? (China/People's Daily Online - April 14, 2008)
Ms. Nancy Pelosi seems to object to whatever China does. This time, China is greeting the incoming grand event of the Beijing Olympic Games with an enthusiastic, nationwide attention, and the country is striving to run an Olympics with the highest national standards required to show achievements of the three-decade reform and opening-up that was launched in the late 1970s, and the entirely-new concepts on international cooperation and a shared glory. But the US House speaker seems quite resentful of this.

This US House Speaker reproached (the IOCC) for having given China the chance to host the Olympic Games. In her view, China still has a lot of drawbacks, so the country is not entitled to host the Olympics. But Speaker Pelosi did not think that the hosting of Beijing Olympic games represents not only the affirmation of the international community on China's three-decade reform and opening up, but also the legitimate rights and interests for a big nation with one fifth of the global population in a century since the birth of Olympic Games.

And there are many more:

There are more. I tried my best to pick the "lighter" language items; a difficult job when researching her.

It's not surprising BO dances and jumps to what Pelosi dictates, if you know anything about the "Pelosi 100" that many say helped him get where he is now:
The Money Trail: Putting on the Ritz, VIP Treatment for Big Money Democrats (Aug. 27, 2008 ABC News)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) created the "Pelosi 100" for people "who contribute and raise $100,000 in personal funds," according to documents obtained by ABC...

Federal election laws permit individuals to contribute a maximum of $2,300 per candidate but contributors say the Democrats show how to work around the limit.

"They present us an entire menu and it can involve a million dollars or more spread around various candidates and committees around the country," said one wealthy lawyer who did not want his name used for fear he would be cut off from the VIP program.

In case you also didn't know, Nancy Pelosi's father, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., was a Roosevelt Democrat and three-term mayor of Baltimore, the first Italian American to hold that office.

It comes as no surprise then, that the so-called Stimulus Plan Pelosi and her cronies crafted, and then crammed through Congress, runs so parallel to the Roosevelt "New Deal" that most historians agree lengthened and deepened the Great Depression here in the USA.
As economist Henry Hazlitt wrote back in 1946, New Deal programs prevented the creation of the types of jobs which have the multiplier effect of successful businesses. Creating "work" prevented innovation and new jobs that would create other jobs. [link]

The Parallels Between BO and FDR
Believing that government played a key role in restarting growth, FDR, within his first 100 days as president, created an alphabet soup of new agencies that mandated actions or controlled public spending and impacted private capital flow within the U.S. economy. (The parallels between BO and FDR don't end there. Click here for more.)

Like FDR, both BO and Pelosi seem to truly believe they are doing the right thing with this so-called Stimulus Bill (or Recovery Bill, or Relief Bill, or whatever other sugar-coated name they wish to call it in the months ahead).

The truly frightening aspect in this case is that, while both believe they are doing what is best for this country, this time we happen to already be under a mountain of debt... unlike when FDR first stepped into office.

We don't have the luxury of being debt-free this time around.

If we end up with near 25% unemployment by the end of this year (BO's first year in office) like in FDR's first year -- get ready for something far worse than a mere repeat of the Great Depression.

If there is one thing you can draw from history, a lesson not learned is doomed to be repeated... and the more often the lessons need to be repeated, the harder the lessons become.

Mark my words, we all will be shaking in our boots if that 25% unemployment figure draws too close from this point forward.

And I truly believe it will... and that breaks my heart because I care so very very much for this beautiful, awesome country. I hate seeing it brought to its knees from within. When we lose our triple AAA rating... *shudder* ...I can't even...

Note -- I said when -- not if...

When the USA was Under Dictatorship Rule

I'm wondering if the NRA membership drive will roll out next.

No, I'm not talking about the National Rifle Association. I'm talking about Roosevelt's preposterous National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA) that buried the USA, preventing a vast majority of the country's businesses from being anywhere near competitive in markets, and which included exemptions for price-fixing (antitrust laws).
Touted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "the most important and far-reaching ever enacted by the American Congress," the National (Industrial) Recovery Act (NRA) was passed by Congress on June 16, 1933. That New Deal law was designed to promote recovery and reform, encourage collective bargaining for unions, set up maximum work hours (and sometimes prices) and minimum wages, and forbid child labor in industry.

For a short time, Title I of the famous NRA prescribed the drafting and establishment of a code system of fair competition for every sort of industry. Those codes had the force of law and were exempt from antitrust provisions. [link]

Companies that refused to sign on could not buy nor sell their wares and services to the Government. (Hmmmmm... sounding like the salary cap thing buried somewhere after page 800 in the Stimulus Bill?)

Since it appears that our new "wet behind the ears" President BO, takes his cue from Pelosi's group, handing financial powers in the Trillions of dollars to them while claiming to foster bipartisanship through his other hand, those who voted for him are about to see how CHANGE can go horrendously wrong when leaders care more about themselves and their own ideals, image and adulation, than they do about their Country and the people whom they serve.

Why should BO care?

BO will still get his entitlements, as will Pelosi, long after they are gone from the beltway.

The real question remaining is, will BO earn himself the title of "The Most Hated Man In America" by the time he is done with us all?

He's managed to earn that title within certain groups already when he carelessly commanded that the bombing of the USA Cole trials be stopped.

He further angered sectors of the public with his "I won" rhetoric... although I'm guessing, many of those sectors already harbored a certain amount of dislike toward him. Since gaining office, he seems to go out of his way on more than 4 occasions to jab at them, insult them and poke fun of them whenever he gets a photo op chance. And he calls that bipartisanship... drawing the country together... WTF? Is he trying to guilt them into agreeing with him? If he is, then his messiah complex runs far deeper than even he realizes.

It's too late to do anything now. BO will sign the Bill. All the rest of us can do now is duck and run for cover. Save your cash. Save all you can. You're oh so going to need it.

I predict the DOW will fall to about 6500 points before making a brief rally that will appear like we're in recovery, before it slides off a cliff crashing down to about 4800... possibly even as low as 3800.

If you think a small percentage of the population needs help now, just wait until you see how many will be needing a rescue about 6 to 9 years from now -- if we make it that far as a country.

For the record, I am NOT, nor will I ever be a registered Republican.

And no, I am NOT, nor will I ever be a registered Democrat.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Angry Mop

For regular readers of this blog, you might recall the little sing-song phrase our son came up with a few short years ago after attending (with us) a BZA meeting that, in my humble opinion, carelessly trampled on the rights of citizens throughout this area.

He (our son) was only 3 yrs. old at the time.

In a sweet child-like voice, he sat at his computer singing over and over:

"An angry mop! An angry mop! An angry mop!"

You see, he had overheard the phrase "an angry mob" at the meeting and with childlike innocence and glee, converted the phrase into a cartoon that stuck in his head... creating the small song that has lingered in my mind ever since.

I bring it up today because I'm thinking that's what we may need soon...

It will take "an angry mop" to clean up the mess.

You see, few taxpayers realize the full extent of the pledges our Government has made to supposedly fix the financial system and jump start the economy. We hear numbers like $1 or $2 Trillion here, $838 Billion there. What's the tally, really?

According to a recent Bloomberg story: We're on the hook for $9.7 trillion!

And that's before Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's vague plan for the remaining TARP funds and new TALF plan.

To give you some idea of what $9.7 Trillion could do:
The $9.7 trillion in pledges would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world. It's 13 times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office data, and is almost enough to pay off every home mortgage loan in the U.S., calculated at $10.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve. [link]

Think about it.


Just think about it for a minute.


You and I both know what happens when you use your credit card too much, or you need to borrow funds to pay for that emergency that came out of the blue, or...

We can't keep robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Eventually, even friends and family can't help.

Sooner or later, we have to pay for it.

The payment for this latest Stimulus Spending Bill will begin in approximately 10 years -- long after the current administration is gone. In addition, the deficits it creates during its term(s?) will be added to the balance. They have this endless pot (pit?) to pull from and don't really have to worry about paying for any of it.

Because, as they've reminded us several times over the past several weeks, they won.

"We won." the President says.

"We won." Pelosi says.

"We won." Several other Dems and their PR reps gleefully exclaim.

"We won." Millions of voters cried out with tears streaming down their faces.

Who lost?

The Republicans?

Get a grip, people.

For those of you getting your water from the watershed below Mattoon, Illinois... in about 30 years or less, you might have acid running through your pipes and into your homes thanks to this new Bill that shovels $2 Billion into that particular project that I've already called to your attention.

You don't want to listen? Then it's your problem.

It's not gonna happen?

Yeah. Okay... Guess you don't recall the small vibrations felt throughout the State after the teeny earthquake of late. Some of us discovered the fault line running through this region... and we care -- a lot -- about what could happen 1.3 miles underground.

Some don't care.

That's what makes those of us who really do care so frustrated, and yes, even angry.

Reminds me of another song.

"We didn't start the fire."

But, when the time comes, we're all going to be working really hard to put it out.

Maybe we shouldn't care, either?

Maybe we should just step right up and take a sip of that thar' koolaide y'all bin drinkin' lately.

Senator Schumer says the American people don't care about the pork built into the Bill.

I'd hate to make a man like that right.

So I guess this little work at home mom will just have to stand by, ready and waiting, with her mop.

Because there's going to be one hellacious mess to clean up.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Change you can really believe in.

Most Governments would like us to believe that they are the answer to world peace (and everything else?).

It's not our Governments that will make this possible some day.

This wonderful video, shot on location around the world with singers/musicians performing the very same song -- then carefully edited together -- paints the picture that can, and some day will, change the world.

You see, the truth is...

It's you.

It's me.

It's all of us.

That's the only change you can really believe in.

Have a super week ahead.

PS: Don't let them sell out our childrens' future.

What Is Your Price?

In most parts of the Arab world (including the Middle East) and throughout Asia, the term is "baksheesh" (aka bakshish). It's not considered unethical over there. It's simply a way of doing business in most parts.

What does that have to do with us?

Bear with me. I'm getting to it...

...starting with the many eyes and ears that are trained on the progress of the "Stimulus Spending Bill" being rammed through the Senate that, from what I hear, is about to be passed on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

After it passes, the American public will know what price each of their respective Reps have. Their price will be written into the Bill. It will be pretty easy to see how much an American politician costs in today's dollars.

For example, the price tag for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), appears to be $3.2 Million... although maybe it's a wee bit higher than that since I haven't read the entire Bill. Maybe he has other little goodies in there to sweeten the pot even more.

To be fair, that $3.2 Million will supposedly create 20 new jobs.

At a cost of $160,000 per job created, I've heard that's on the low side of what other supposed jobs will be created by the "Stimulus Spending Bill".

In case you haven't heard, this is the largest Government Spending Bill ever in the history of the WORLD, not just the history of the USA.

Now... I'm wondering... since most jobs are created by small business owners in this country, what would happen if the Feds simply gave each profitable small business $1 million dollars? Would that create far more jobs, far faster and at a far cheaper price tag?

Doesn't matter.

As some on the Hill have now admitted (including BO in his speech to Dems at their retreat last week), this isn't about creating jobs.

To paraphrase BO, "This is about spending money."

This is more about the Government saying they can spend our money far better than we can. Most of it won't be paid for by us. We'll be paying the interest payments... if we can afford it... before our dollar falls off a cliff.

Many of the youth who voted for BO will be paying for it.

Their kids will also be paying for it.

Perhaps even their kids' kids' kids will be paying for it.

Who knows how many generations it will take?

But I digress.

Back to the main theme, here's another quote for 'ya.

The 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881), once said, " is a great mistake to suppose that bribery and corruption are means by which power can either be obtained or retained."

Well, it seems that Russia doesn't believe the quote above. They've bought (dare I say bribed?) away from the USA... a valuable, highly strategic piece of real estate in the "war on terror." What was the price?
In a setback to the escalating U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan , the president of Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that his government will shut down the American air base in his country.

U.S. officials say that the Manas Air Base is vital to plans to send an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan , a linchpin of President Barack Obama's efforts to pacify the country.

The announcement by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev came in Moscow , not in his own capital, and shortly after the Russian government reportedly agreed to lend Kyrgyzstan $2 billion, write off $180 million in debt and add another $150 million in aid. Although the Russian government didn't release a statement about the decision, the timing and place of the announcement indicated that the Kremlin had been involved. [link]

The USA was only paying Kyrgyzstan a paltry $63 million per year to lease the Air Base in addition to employing more than 320 Kyrgyz citizens at the base. (Hmmmm, I wonder if those jobs are lost now?) [link]

In fact, if you haven't noticed, Russia is sitting back right now playing a carefully thought out chess game with BO. Not sure if you heard their little ship movements, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, if you think that chess game is taking some unusual twists, here's another game playing out.

In another region of the world, BO is being told exactly what he must do in order to retain the "special relationship" that exists between Saudi Arabia and the USA:
...condemn Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians and support a UN resolution to that effect; condemn the Israeli actions that led to this conflict, from settlement building in the West Bank to the blockade of Gaza and the targeted killings and arbitrary arrests of Palestinians; declare America's intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella for countries that sign up and sanctions for those that do not; call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shab‘ah Farms in Lebanon; encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace; and support a UN resolution guaranteeing Iraq's territorial integrity. Mr Obama should strongly promote the Abdullah peace initiative. [link]

Not to worry on that one though, since according to many journalists, rumor has it that the speaker of the above quote (namely His Royal Highness Prince Turki al-Faisal) is not too highly regarded these days.

Even so, it makes me wonder why the charges have been dropped against the alleged mastermind of the U.S. Cole bombing...

As many living in Asia and the Middle East already know, baksheesh isn't always in the form of money. It also comes in the form of favors. And it's not considered unethical over there. In fact, it's considered the standard way of doing business.

But lets move on and peep at yet another chess game just beginning.

History has taught us (most of us) how "protectionist actions" can quickly lead to trade wars. In fact, some believe such a position entrenched the USA deeper into the Big Depression.

For those of you who do not know, Canada and Mexico are now our largest trading partners. (Once upon a time, it used to be Europe.)

Canada has already cried out against the protectionist language embedded within the "Stimulus Spending Bill". But, by BO's actions, I'm guessing he doesn't know much about Canadians -- yet.

Here's a little tip 'fer 'ya, big guy.

Just like Alaska, you've gotta be pretty tough to survive in certain parts of Canada. Don't mistake congeniality for stupidity. You'll lose that chess game.

But which chess game does BO choose to put his focus on? Based on his actions, speeches and current travel plans to Elkhart, Indiana, he's decided to play chess with the American taxpayer instead, going out to campaign with the public for support of his "Stimulus Spending Bill" ...a Bill that several prominent economists (and many Americans) believe will do little (if anything) in the short term, and looks more like a free-for-all-spending plan to help BO get through his fourth year in the Oval Office, since the bulk of the spending seems to hit the street in that year.

Is he, per chance, merely campaigning for the next Presidential election?

As he and his cohorts in the House keep reminding us -- he won.

But for some reason, he just can't seem to stop campaigning long enough to actually lead, IMHO. He'd best start doing the job he was hired to do soon, paramount of which in his job description is to keep this nation safe.

But I digress (again)...

While BO hits a new campaign trail to convince all of us that he can spend our money better than we can, I wonder -- what is your price? What does he have to put into the package (or the speeches) that will make you swallow it?

Or what kind of fear-peppered doctrine can he intertwine into his rhetoric that will make you dance to the waters edge and gleefully wade into its depths drowning in the tsunami of Government debt about to wash over us all?

My apologies to the Pied Piper.

Maybe this is the "change you can believe in" that's heading our way.

Maybe it's not "socialism" as the far right (and even many moderates) are now crying out against. Maybe it's actually dictatorship.


George Washington once stated, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

I wonder what that particular GW would be saying now?