AShotAndaBeer's Blog

Politics, Firearms, and things that amuse me

Obama’s Here To Save The Day!

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For everyone who is worried about the gasoline prices we are all paying now, help is coming: President Obama is on the case!

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the Justice Department is assembling a team to “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation” in oil markets that might be contributing to $4 a gallon-plus gasoline prices.

Well, that’s certainly a relief, isn’t it?

On the plus side, he won’t have to look very far. Won’t even have to leave home. While commodities markets are quite complicated, they do still function on the principles of supply and demand. The lower the supply, and/or the higher the demand, the higher the price climbs. And this administration still refuses to allow resumption of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

To be fair, that isn’t the only thing that is affecting it. Summer driving season is upon us, which means more demand. There is unrest and full-out conflict in several oil-producing nations, which at least threatens to affect the supply. And, China and India continue to expand their automotive fleets, further pressuring the demand side.

And, there is the speculation market. Traders make bets by purchasing and selling units of future production. This can be, and sometimes is, subject to crooked manipulation, but only in the short term. If a speculative bubble gets blown up without the underlying economic conditions to support it, the prices would quickly come back down. I suspect that these Evil Speculators are who the President has in mind to make out to be the bad guy in this scenario. There’s always a Bad Guy for Obama to demonize and go after, isn’t there?

The “Green” movement has pretty much stopped any expansion of our domestic production, both drilling and refining. This has to change, unless we want to pay higher and higher prices for gasoline and diesel, which are already rippling through the entire economy driving the costs of everything.

Folks, windmills and golf cart-cars are not going to solve this problem. We need more production, more drilling, and yes, people need to conserve. As far as it goes, I don’t have a problem if someone wants an electric car. Perhaps they live close to their work to make it effective. For most of us, however, they are not practical. But we can make sure we are driving within the posted speed limits, keeping up proper maintenance, and driving easy to get as much miles per gallon as possible. That alone, however, is not enough.

Back in the Bush administration, they tried hard to open up the ANWR area in Alaska for drilling. Many fought tooth and nail to stop that, citing “trashing the environment,” there was a very small amount there and not worth it (claims I’ve seen widely disputed), and after all, it would take ten years before a drop of oil came out of the ground.

Guess what? That was about 10 years ago. If we’d gotten off our duffs back then and started the process, we would now be, or would soon be, using that crude to add to the world supply. Which would be putting at least some downward pressure on the prices.

So congratulations, Mr. President, looks like you are getting what you wanted: for energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” Hope you enjoy your one term.

Written by James Lee

April 21, 2011 at 16:56

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Obama’s “Spending Reductions”

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From the Washington Times, President Obama seems to have a firm grasp on just what is needed to help the Government get a handle on the crushing debt we have accumulated: “Spending Reductions.”

The president also called for undoing the Bush tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers, and for canceling other tax cuts many of them receive such as the mortgage interest deduction — which he called “spending reductions in the tax code.”

Emphasis mine.

Get that? “Spending Reductions” in the tax code actually means increasing taxes. Just like any good Liberal would do.

If one has been paying any attention at all to the debate, and the semantics involved, for the last decade or so, this shouldn’t actually come as a surprise. After all, they still scream and yell about Tax Cuts For The Rich That Weren’t Paid For.

That sort of language tends to get into the part of the population that pays half-attention to the political world. On the surface, it sort of makes sense, I mean, you can’t reduce your income without cutting out something (paying for it), after all, right?

The problem, however, is that it also reinforces the notion that the Federal Government is Mother, Father, and All Things To All, and how dare you try to take away their money. Everything belongs to the government, and what you get is what they allow you to keep for yourself, for the good of everyone else.

Here’s the thing: We DO have a serious budget problem, and Paul Ryan’s proposals only begin to address those problems. Don’t get me started on the bogus $38 Billion they just agreed to “cut.”

The biggest issue I believe is the fact that no one can even understand the numbers we need to address. I mean, I know what $100K is, roughly a house, if you shop around. I can picture a million or so. But once we get over that seven figures, it’s almost abstract. We don’t even grasp the concept of how much it is, how large a number it is.

People go bonkers when they learn they paid $5 Service Fee to use the ATM at the mall. But the same people’s eyes glaze over when the talking heads start throwing out “They cut $38 Billion from the budget.” “$4.6 Trillion (over 10 years, whatever that means).” Most of us simply do not understand the concept.

And on top of the confusion, Obama and the Democrats are going to start yelling from the rooftops about “Spending Reductions” in the tax code, which you will now know is simply how they are going to say “Raise Taxes” in hopes that you don’t know what it means.

We need to get serious about this, and get serious right now. Every single dollar that is spent by the government needs to be examined and questioned. Nothing should be left out of those considerations, not even Defense. Of course, we can’t leave our nation and the military vulnerable, or hurt the pay of military members, but there must be redundant capabilities, obsolete and unused programs still being funded, and the like that must be examined and trimmed as needed.

Until we get serious about this, we will keep hurtling towards that cliff of bankruptcy. And Obama seems insistent on stomping the throttle to get there.

***Update***

Just as I put this up, I find Allahpundit finds the CBO has taken the bogus $38 Billion in “cuts” and rendered them completely laughable. Really, guys? You pushed it to the brink, fighting and clawing, for a less than a rounding error?

Written by James Lee

April 13, 2011 at 17:25

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Donald Trump For President

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In recent weeks, New York gazillionaire Donald Trump has been getting lots of press, appearances, speculation, columns and internet attention on the idea that he might be gearing up to run for the Republican nomination for President.

He might be serious; on the other hand, he might just be after attention. After all, his TV Show “Celebrity Apprentice” is in the middle of its run right now, and as they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Either way, he is causing a buzz.

One of the many things he keeps bringing up the Obama “Birth Certificate” story; for those that have been living under a rock, it has to do with the idea that Barack Obama may have been born someplace other than Hawaii and thus not eligible to be President. He claimed he’s got private investigators searching for answers, and they (and he) can’t believe what they’ve found so far.

Now, as far as it goes, do not count me as a “birther.” For my own opinion, his mother was an American Citizen, and if there was anything strange, it would be a technicality. For example, one of the theories claims he may have actually been born in Kenya, and while she was a citizen, she would have had to file certain paperwork upon return to the Unites States, which she supposedly did not do. As a I said, a paperwork technicality.

(And just for the record, I do have suspicions about it, but only at what is there; something ’embarrassing,’ but not disqualifying; for my money, I’m betting that Barack Obama, Sr, may not actually be listed as the father, or something along those lines.)

Now, to be fair to Trump, he is also talking about a lot more than Birther Conspiracies; he is hitting economics, energy production, foreign policy, and general ineptitude of this administration to whoever will give him air time. Too bad all that is lost in the static of the birth certificate nonsense.

Now, I’m not one to tend to jump on the ‘Flavor of the Week’ of potential Presidential nominees. I think we have several good, winning possibilities to run against Obama. Heck, I’m thinking that my nearly blind Beloved Lhasa would give him a good run! But, just for fun, let’s look at Trump.

There are several things that make Donald Trump an attractive possibility. People often think that our Government, especially with the debt and economic factors being what they are, might benefit from being run like a business. And that would be one Trump’s strong points. He’s built an empire, lost it, and rebuilt again.

And while some might wonder exactly where Obama’s loyalties lie in relation to America and the Capitalist system we favor, there can be no doubt that Trump loves America, and loves the capitalist system. Add to that that one does not get to the level of business that Trump has without having at least a clue of how to wheel and deal to get jobs done. And, think about him across the table from some American adversary? I don’t think he’d give away crucial defense secrets in order to get a photo-op handshake.

Bottom line, I actually suspect that Donald Trump is probably playing the news cycle for publicity; on the chance he is serious, I actually don’t think he’d survive too long in the primary process. But, assuming he is serious, and somehow makes it to the nomination, I have to say, I would probably support him.

Well, that’s easy to say; I think I would support anyone on the Republican side, especially against Obama, with (at least) one exception: Should the crazy Representative from Texas Ron Paul somehow end up with the Republican nomination, I would NOT support him, and would likely stay home on election day.

**Update** This morning, I wake up to this: If he doesn’t get the Republican nomination, he would ‘probably’ run as an independent. This is not good; I’m all for anyone who desires and has the means to seek whatever office they choose, but the effect on things this time would be the same as 1992, when Ross Perot split off enough conservative-leaning votes to hand the election to Bill Clinton.

Written by James Lee

April 11, 2011 at 20:31

Posted in Uncategorized

Air Claire

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Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO, has just moved to the top of the Most Vulnerable Democrats in 2012. I think she was pretty vulnerable in the first place, due to her early, earnest, and strong support of President Obama and his agenda even back in the 2008 Primary days, and open support for the Health Control act and other agenda items. But this recent “scandal” (good luck getting the KC Star or the Post-Dispatch to use those words) should seal the deal.

Seems our good friend Claire would make trips on a private jet, billing the taxpayer for use of that jet, to make campaign, speaking, and other engagement trips. The Missouri GOP has filed ethics compaints, based on the fact that after a couple of layers of corporate entities, it turns out Claire and her husband actually owned the plane in question. At least one, perhaps more, of those flights turned out to be political in nature and not connected with her duties as Senator.

Now the other shoe has dropped; seems that there was a slight oversight in the record keeping and tax bills of that particular private jet. Come to find out, she (and/or her husband, and/or the shadow entity that actually held the title) didn’t pay the personal property taxes on that plane. OOPS! Nearly $300 Thousand later, the ‘mistake’ is found, and Claire, being the good, down to earth, regular folks she is, wrote a check and said she told her husband to “sell the damn plane.”

So, to date, she’s paid back upwards of half a million dollars for her transgressions in this matter, and probably hopes in the end, we all forget about it. No chance, Senator. I for one won’t let folks forget, all ten of you that read this.

Here’s the thing that really irks me; as a small business owner, fallen on hard times, I don’t get a break. I bust my rear half the time trying to make a buck to keep the business afloat, the other half of the time I’m hoping the next customer that walks in actually wants some service. As such, I’ve fallen behind in most of my bills, and taxes as well. It’s not as though I have tried to cheat the government, or pocket what isn’t mine, it’s been a matter of keeping the lights on and tools running, rent paid (as much as I can), and parts paid for.

I get no break; I get back on my taxes, they start calling immediately, adding assessments and fines, making it deeper to get out of. Of course, if I was loaded like our “regular citizen” Senator, and could just write a check when the heat came down, it would go away, but the means to do that are simply not there. So I keep struggling, and trying to catch a break.

She had the means from the very beginning. It’s not as though, by any stretch of the imagination, that she was pushing her finances to the limit and simply couldn’t afford for a couple of months to make the proper payments. She just didn’t do it. Or didn’t make sure her people took care of it. Whatever.

The thing that makes me the most angry is that she was the State Auditor; as such, she would know more than nearly anyone else in the state of Missouri that property taxes must be paid. And yet she just doesn’t bother, writes a check, and “oops, my bad!” when she’s finally caught. No sale, Claire, and it’s time you cashed out and went back to your private life. Sorry if that makes the jobs “created or saved” number look bad when you are unemployed after next year, but that’s the way it has to be.

**Update** BigGovernment.com documents that McCaskill’s tax problems go much deeper than a luxury jet.

Written by James Lee

March 21, 2011 at 21:36

Posted in Uncategorized

Hillary Steps Up (or, Someone Has To Do It)

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Yesterday, the United Nations authorized establishing a No-Fly Zone in Libya, to stop the dictator Khadaffi from using air power to strike at opposition forces, and civilians who happened to be in the way.

For nearly a month, this has been going downhill, gathering speed as it goes. President Obama at one point did issue a statement saying that Khadaffi had to go, but apparently couldn’t be bothered to actually do anything to work towards that end. Now, however, he will probably take credit for the UN deciding to do so. Or maybe it was his speech on bullying that pushed it all into place.

So while Obama is shining up the golf clubs and filling out his “brackets” on ESPN, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps into the void to lobby the UN to move on this issue, at least from my understanding.

After the election, when Obama decided to put Clinton in the State Department, I thought it was actually a pretty smart move, politically at least, on his part; if she had remained Senator, she would have been free to gum up the works of his agenda. In the Cabinet, however, she would work for him, and couldn’t very well stand in the way or purposely make him look bad.

I also predicted, nearly at the same time, that if Hillary decided to give the White House another run, she would have a big boost, if the timing was right, to come out to challenge him in the primaries. The gist of it: she needs a foreign policy goof on his part, she resigns in disgust and refuses to be part of his inept actions, and then for the ‘good of America,’ she sets up her run. The timing did have to be right, as well as the issue in question; too early, and everyone forgets. Too late, and she looks petty, and simply political. Too small an issue would also play against her in public opinion.

Now, however, I think that window is about to swing wide open for her. Even if she says now she has no interest in running for any other office, she can get away with it as if to say “I don’t want to, but I think my country needs me.”

This is not to say I would support Hillary Clinton in any way during the general election. She is still a left-leaning Democrat, though not as left as Obama is. And, to be truthful, I think she would be very effective in dealing with foreign nations as President, because she would continually have to prove to everyone that she had the, er, stones to take a stand.

But one thing for certain is that President Obama, despite his ineptitude, apologizing, tone-deafness, and big government takeovers of large parts of out economy, actually did accomplish something that I thought no one could ever do: Made me realize that, perhaps, President Hillary might not have been so bad after all.

Written by James Lee

March 18, 2011 at 08:40

Posted in Uncategorized

Three Independent Branches?

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From Fox News, via Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s page:

The Obama administration told the Supreme Court on Monday night it should stay away from a high-profile challenge to the 2010 health care law until after a lower court has had a chance to review the case.

Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal wrote, “there is no basis for short-circuiting the normal course of appellate review.” Katyal also says Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s case is problematic because he may lack sufficient standing to challenge the health care law.

Is there no limit to what these yayhoos think they have authority over? First, they think they can ram this whole Health Control thing through, forcing American citizens to purchase a product simply for being an American citizen. Then, despite a ruling that the law is unconstitutional, they claim they will continue to implement the provisions, thus violating the Constitution. And now, they suggest the Supreme Court shouldn’t bother reviewing it? Just where does the President think he is, China?

This is an old game, sure, but just imagine, for one moment if you will, then-President Bush suggesting that the Supreme Court (or any courts for that matter) shouldn’t bother taking up cases aimed at terrorist detentions. What might the reaction have been? Of course, the major media lined up to make us all think Bush was running rampant, ‘shredding the Constitution,’ and all that. Instead, they used existing law, went to court, and argued their case. Why can’t this clown do the same?

Written by James Lee

March 15, 2011 at 13:32

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Pushing the False Narrative of “Racist Republicans”

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James O’Keefe, of the ACORN pimp fame, has struck again, this time at the heart of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with National Public Radio and (apparently) the Public Broadcasting System being in his sights.

This has been out for a couple of days, and there’s really nothing surprising. To summarize, O’Keefe and his buddies set up a meeting with NPR fundraisers pretending to be part of a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, and caught the NPR Official on tape talking about how the Republicans, especially those Tea Party folks, were just “racist, racist people.”

There is a lot more, including how NPR would be just fine without tax money being poured into it, and such, but I’d like to focus on the above part.

Ever since President Obama won the Presidential election in 2008, the continuing cry from his supporters was that if you don’t like him, then the only possible reason for that must be that you are racist. And when the Tea Party protests got started, and growing, well, that was just a bunch of redneck racists who simply don’t like the fact Obama is black. Well, half-black, but we’ll not quibble.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Are there some out there that feel that way? I’m sure there are. I’ve spoken to life-long Democrats who, during the primaries, criticized Obama relentlessly on the fact he is black, urging support for Hillary. Fact is, there still is, and probably will always be, some who harbor discriminatory feelings for whatever reason, and there is probably no clear distinction across ideological lines for that sentiment.

They point out that there are no Black conservative voices out there. Which is wrong, to be sure, but there doesn’t seem to be too many of them. The few that do get publicity are called “tokens,” and derided as “sell-outs” and much, much worse by the same Liberals and Progressives that claim to be accepting of all and champion of the minorities.

But the Republicans, and Tea Party type people specifically, do not shun minority Conservatives. Walter E. Williams, a black economic professor, often hosts for Rush Limbaugh when he is out. Not many other guest hosts get the praise Mr. Williams does.

Thomas Sowell, a black conservative columnist, tends to get rave reviews on his writings.

J.C. Watts, former Republican Representative from Oklahoma, was very popular with the talk shows and such when he was in office, and still is today. If I’m not mistaken, was actually excluded from the Congressional Black Caucus. And from personal experience, he still rocks the house with Tea Party folks. I attended an event last year including Watts, Fred Thompson, and headlined by Sarah Palin, as well as other less-known names giving panel discussions. Second only to Palin, Watts got the loudest and longest applause, and the entire Events Center erupted in cheers when someone in the stands yelled “JC For President!”

Today, we have people like Nikki Haley, of Indian descent, Herman Cain, Allen West, and Marco Rubio winning elections last fall, with heavy Tea Party support. And at the same time, you find Leftist protesters at a gathering to denounce the Koch brothers saying that Justice Thomas should be “strung up” and “put back in the fields.” So you tell me.

If that track record is what we do when we “hate” minorities, I’d hate to see what could be done if we just quit bitterly clinging to our guns and bibles, and were more accepting of others, eh?

Give it up, Leftist Media. For decades, you’ve been pushing this idea that Republicans must somehow be racists. You’ve pushed it very hard for the last two years. It’s over. History, the records, and actions speak much louder than all of your platitudes and speeches ever will. And frankly, I think the term “racist” has pretty much lost any sting it ever had.

Written by James Lee

March 9, 2011 at 22:23

Posted in Uncategorized

Hot Off The Video Presses

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Literally minutes ago, Joe Dan Gorman released his latest thorn-in-the-side music video.

Send a message, hit his web page, and throw into the tip jar. Who knows? You might be the star of the next one!

Written by James Lee

March 9, 2011 at 02:32

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Too Many White Men in the Military

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A report from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, ordered by Congress in 2009, states the ethnic and gender makeup of the leadership ranks of the United States Military is not diverse enough. From the article:

Efforts over the years to develop a more equal opportunity military have increased the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities in the ranks of leadership. But, the report said, “despite undeniable successes … the armed forces have not yet succeeded in developing a continuing stream of leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve.”

This is the problem a lot of Conservatives have when military recruitment and promotion policies are being discussed by politicians, such as women in combat units, DADT repeal, and the like. Though the article does reference ensuring postings to units that help facilitate promotions “as long as they are qualified,” it appears the strongly hinted recommendations include changing the qualifications.

In our professional military, I suspect that the vast majority (including myself, back in the day), don’t give two hoots if the one in charge of a particular unit is white, black, purple, or a woman, as long as they are qualified for the post and can accomplish the mission. And, like many others I am sure, I can tell you about some who have risen through the ranks that leave you thinking “How in the heck did THEY get promoted?”

Our Armed Forces are tasked with one of the most important jobs in the world, protecting the United States and our Constitution from those who would see it undermined or destroyed. For that task, I would think we would want the absolute best personnel at all levels of service, and not be terribly concerned about the “diversity” makeup of the forces. While it would be wrong to pass over one who is capable due to some ethnic identity, it would also be wrong, and dangerous, to promote on a quota system just for feel-good policies.

And, for what its worth, the name of the “independent” commission, and the fact it was ordered by a Congress controlled by Liberal Democrats, tells me they started with an outcome, and went looking for data to support it.

Written by James Lee

March 8, 2011 at 14:03

Posted in Uncategorized

The World On Fire

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A lot has happened since I last took to the keys to offer thoughts on any events. Tunisia, Egypt, now Libya, going through uprisings and chaos, politicians here pandering and making only symbolic gestures towards accomplishing what we want them to, and upheaval in the Midwest over public union benefits packages.

I’ve refrained from saying much on the Middle East, as I’m not really up to date with a lot of the politics on the ground there. All I’ll say, though, is that in places like Egypt, I hope this is in fact the signal of a more open, free society, and the movements will not be hijacked by Ayatollah wanna-bes.

One thing is certain, though; it seems we were completely unprepared for what was coming. This goes deeper than simply President Obama or anyone in his administration, I suspect that whoever was President right now would be having some of the same problems. Career people at the various intelligence agencies and the State department should have at least been open to the rumblings; you don’t get thousands or even hundreds of thousands to march in the streets without some coordination, communication, something that someone should have picked up on.

Maybe Tunisia; small country, never heard much about, and things happened fast. OK, I’ll give them that one. Then Egypt started, and I know the Admin waffled on this one over the course of it playing out. Again, maybe can understand them being somewhat vague with their statements, as Egypt is a large key to our relations in the Middle East, and keeping the peace with Israel is a priority, so we would have to work with whoever came out on top of that little chess game.

Then came Libya. Depending on who you follow and/or believe, the situation ranges from peaceful calm to mass-casualty open warfare. After the first two situations, would you not think we would have had a bunch o’people scrambling to think things over and get resources (such as the Navy presence off the coast) into positions to be able to respond, or at least be able to get American personnel out of harms way?

In any case, the world is changing, and rapidly, and if we don’t pay attention to what is happening, we could end up being left out, taken by surprise, or in other serious trouble.

Written by James Lee

March 5, 2011 at 11:20

Posted in Uncategorized