Putting the Brakes on American Decline

I originally wrote and posted this a few years ago and have gone back and re-read it since, and it still holds up.  Our big national problems are basically the same, only worse, so I felt this was worth a repost; particularly since it required only a few updates.

Baring stunning breakthroughs in longevity, I should probably be dead in 50 years or so.  But I care what happens to this country after I’m dead, and would like it to continue to be a great power.  Not just a good one, or an “OK power” but a great one.  So I thought of a couple of ideas that I think would help to guarantee American dominance through the 21st Century and beyond.  Not by any means a complete list of course, but just a couple of ideas to get us started.

Getting our fiscal house in order

This should be a no brainer, but given that we are heading for a 16 trillion dollar budget deficit, it’s clear that we are a nation that wants far more government than we are willing to pay for.  How we got in this situation is easy to see:  Republicans are no fan of taxes, but have made little headway (none actually) in cutting spending.  Democrats have a limited ability to raise taxes because the country doesn’t like to pay them, but have an unlimited appetite for Federal spending.  Add both parties in power; simmer for a few decades, and presto!   Of course that doesn’t even count the unfunded liabilities of our Social Security. Medicaid, and Medicare promises, that we have no ability to pay, now, or in the future.  That’s about 61 trillion dollars and growing.

The GOP has already put a proposal on the table to at least get the conversation started on that.  The Ryan Plan would convert Medicaid to block grants to the States and modify Medicare into a premium support plan that is similar to Obamacare’s exchanges to purchase individual healthcare plans.  It’s a start at least and it does reverse the debt to GDP ratio that the current administration has us on.

Any debt plan that doesn’t address the escalating costs of Medicare, Medicaid isn’t really a debt plan, it’s a stalling plan.

Fixing this problem should be a national priority of the first order.  It’s not of course but it should be.  The next place to start is with a balanced budget amendment.  We (both the Congress and the American people) have proven that we are not mature or responsible enough to handle an allowance without adult supervision.  We need some rules and that would be best one.  Just like we self righteously tell someone in credit card debt to cut up their cards, we need to cut up our national one.

In addition we need to redo the way federal budget is handled.  Social Security has a trust fund in theory.  In practice we spent the surplus from that year after year, for decades and in return gave the Social Security Trust fund an IOU.  Of course the days of the Social Security surplus are now over.  From here on out, we’ll be cashing those chits, not collecting them. But that’s not even the only one.  The federal gas tax is supposed to go to a transportation trust to fix our roads and bridges; infrastructure in other words.  What happened to that money?  Same place as the Social Security money, into the general pork fund.  I’m not an accountant, but even I know that taxes that are being collected for dedicated purposes, like the gas tax and Social Security, shouldn’t be spent on anything other than what was intended.  They should be in off budget separate accounts.  Fix these fiscal problems and maybe a dollar will still be worth a dollar 50 years from now.

Tapping into the brain drain

We are a nation of dummies.  We’ve allowed the K-12 educational system in this country to fall apart and since we still don’t have a national consensus on what the problem is or how to fix it, I don’t expect that to be solved soon.  However our system of colleges and universities are still some of the best in the world.  As a consequence they attract the best and brightest from all over the world to come and study. Foreigners dominate our technical graduate and PhD programs. On the world market, a degree from a US University still means something.  So naturally, as soon as one of these foreign students graduates from a degree program with useful technical skills, what do we do?  We kick his or her ass out.

We do have a Visa program to allow people with technical skills to come to this country, but we limit it to 65,000 per year.  That’s a drop in the bucket compared to refugees, family “chain immigration” and other categories that allow people in this country.

And that’s not even counting the illegals.

What should we be doing?  We should gradually increase the number of H1-B technical skills visas and reduce the percentage of the some of the other categories of Visas.  We should also make it easier to allow foreign students to convert their student visa to an H1-B.   Since we can’t produce enough home grown professionals and technically trained people, let’s just import them.  If we are going to maintain our economic dominance in science and technology, we need engineers, IT professionals, and scientists of all types.  We are able to provide domestically all of the sociology and feminist studies graduates that this country will ever need.  Maybe we should export those.

Another useful visa type is the E-2 Visa, which allows foreigners to come to the US to live as long as they invest and start a new business in the US.  The requirements on this visa are tough.  Although a spouse can come over on this visa, children can’t.  Also, if the business fails, you can be deported even if you’ve lived in the country for years.  It’s astounding to me that so many in this country want to give amnesty to people who’ve entered the country illegally, but people who’ve followed the rules, worked hard and done everything we’ve asked we can’t wait to give the boot to.

Between these two Visa types, we can get almost all of the high quality immigrants this country needs. This country is still the number one destination for immigrants worldwide.  As long as that is the case, we should take advantage and get the cream of the crop.  Long term, they provide a bonus to our country by generating upper middle class wages and paying upper middle class taxes.  You want to reduce poverty in this country?  Stop importing so many poor people and start importing an educated, English speaking middle class.

Tax haven to the world

With New York losing its battle with London as the financial capital of the world, we should be concerned that capital is finding other places more attractive than the United States.  We are losing to a European country?  There are a variety of reasons, the financial crisis, Sarbanes Oxley, and even Eliot Spitzer gets some blame for chasing away companies from New York.

And of course there is the tax treatment.  US corporate taxes are among the highest in the developed world.  Although personal income taxes in most of Europe are far above the US level, we make it up by kicking in the crotch the companies that provide jobs and economic growth.   I’ve always found it interesting that “socialist” Europeans want their businesses to succeed worldwide, while in the “capitalist” United States we hate and incessantly attack our most successful companies.  We attempted to break up Microsoft and investigated them for years for anti-trust violations; one of the most successful US companies of the 90’s.  One of the other successful companies, Wal-Mart, is on the liberal ‘sue’ list. You don’t see Finland attacking Nokia for having too large a market share of the cell phone market.

We need to redo our regulatory and tax structure to encourage capital to come to the US to invest, not chase it away.  There are several options to do this, such as the fair tax, or a flat tax.  We should have as a goal to reduce and gradually eliminate the capital gains tax.  Basically, whatever rules and regulations that successful tax havens have, we need to emulate them so people worldwide will want to put their money here.

These are just a couple of ideas and I’m sure other people have their own wish lists for what they would like to see and this is by no means a complete list.  But we need to start recognizing that the US continuing as a superpower isn’t inevitable, or even particularly likely.  It will take much effort and work to continue that status.

Beer Not Bombs!

Florida had overtaken California in the fruit and nuts department many years ago.  Stories involving kooky people doing kooky things used to be primarily a California deal, but these days Florida generates the nutty stories.  Florida even has its own tag on Fark.  Now we’ve even got our own domestic terrorist group.

Anarchism

Anarchism (Photo credit: anarchosyn)

“Prosecutors allege that three men were plotting to attack President Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Emanuel home and several Chicago police stations with Molotov cocktails.

The defense said that’s not true and all of this is a set up by Chicago police.

New details have been revealed about what was going on inside this apartment in the 1000 block of 32nd Street. Three protesters are now charged with several counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Brian Church from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jared Chase from Keene, New Hampshire and Brent Betterly from Oakland Park, Florida are each being held on a $1.5 million bond.

Each man has been charged with material to support terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives – a first for the state”.

So with our two terrorist contributions, Florida once again intrudes on the national consciousness.

Of course this isn’t the first time Florida has generated domestic terrorists.  In 2006 members of a Miami based Muslim group were arrested for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower.  Oddly enough, another Chicago target.  But those guys were still in the planning stages.  No serious preparation had been made.  These terrorists were actually in Chicago with their equipment.

According to the Illinois State Attorney’s office, these men were a member of a Black Bloc anarchist group.  These are the groups that travel the world showing up at various international conferences, such as the     G-8, or in this case, NATO, and basically commit street mayhem.  Politically, they are leftist, although they most often describe themselves as anarchists.

Naturally these were also Occupy veterans as well.

Although amongst the many kooky groups on the left, anarchism is probably the most marginalized, they are still the guys willing to go out and blow stuff up for their cause.  Whenever there is an international conference, they will show up in that city and start smashing windows.  However as a philosophy, anarchism (at least the modern variety) is pretty much devoid of any real public policy positions.  Worried about the financial crisis?  Smash a window.  Upset over the bailout of banks?  Poop on a cop car.  Don’t like the way the big Western economies dominate the third world?  Hit a cop.

It’s not really a program that many can get behind, although for the sake of inflating their numbers, the Occupy movement as well as any other lefty protest is always glad to have them.  But anarchists seem somewhat of a paradox on the left.  Most leftists are authoritarian statists.  They want to build up the state and just love to tell people what to do, whether it’s forcing them to buy a particular health insurance plan or restricting snack foods.  Anarchists want to smash the State altogether.  No military or cops.  Yeah we get it.  I can only assume that the lefty connection, besides the historical one, has to do with that.  Your regular garden variety liberal loves the Big State, but doesn’t have much use for the military, police, or border security; the primary functions of government.  Liberals are only interested in secondary and tertiary government functions like regulating everyone and distributing social services to supporters.

Although the various groups on the left embrace the anarchists and consider them part of the family of the left, it’s easy to do since they, unlike on the right, are never tarred with the violence committed by their anarchist cousins.  When the left commits violence, the blame goes squarely to the individuals, never the philosophy or politics that spawned it.  Meanwhile the media blamed the militia movement, Christianity, and Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing, and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was, within minutes of being reported, was laid at the feet of Sarah Palin.

That sort of lack of accountability on the left makes it easy for them to be fairly lackadaisical when their side commits violence.  Watch and see if any MSM connects these knuckleheads to the Occupy movement, even though they are Occupy members.

But what makes this a Florida story is that their defense is that the bomb making equipment was actually a beer homebrew kit.  Maybe when these guys get out of jail they can recover that equipment and go into business making some Occupy Wall Street labeled specialty brews.  They’ll have to get over their distaste of capitalism first, but I’m sure they’ll have many years in a Federal prison to ruminate on that.

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Once Upon a Time Season Finale

When the fall season came out with not one, but two TV shows based on fairy tales, I admit I was bit surprised, although I suppose I shouldn’t have been.  Networks tend to poach ideas from each other all the time, so I guess the bigger surprise would have been that there would have been any shows based on fairy tales.   But the one that was promoted the most was NBC’s Grimm.  Grimm was presented as a cop show with fairy tale criminals.  Sort of a Law and Order:  Fairy Land.  I barely caught one or two promos for the competing fairy show, Once Upon a Time.  My only impression from the few promos I saw of that was that it looked stupid and would be cancelled soon.  Still… my wife wanted to give it a try so I committed to watching the show for as long as it lasted, which I assumed would be 6 weeks tops.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the first episode.  Maybe I shouldn’t say surprisingly, but my expectations were rather limited so I wasn’t jumping up and down excited about watching the show. The basic premise is that the familiar fairy tale characters have, due to the evil queen’s curse, have been transported to small town Maine with fake memories; unaware of their former fairytale existence.    The show has many Lost-like elements, which isn’t much of a surprise considering that Damon Lindelof, former executive producer for Lost, has a producer’s credit for this show.  The show follows the familiar Lost template as well.   Each week’s story highlights the character’s motivations via flashbacks to the fairy tale world.  In the case of this show, the flashbacks really seem necessary to understanding the characters, unlike in Lost in which in many cases it seemed a little gratuitous.

So the season has been a neat little adventure as we the audience has tried to figure out which characters have memories of their past lives (4 by my count through the first season), can the curse be broken, and what happens if it is?

Some of my speculation has already been shot down.  Just throwing this out there, but I already thought ahead to the series finale in which it’s revealed that our “real” world was just created by the curse, and eliminating the curse would eliminate our world and re-establish the real, real world, the fairy tale world.  However the Mad Hatter episode firmly established that our world and the fairy tale world are just separate universes, amongst many alternate universes with differing physical laws.  Magic works in the fairy tale universe, but in our universe not so much.

Intriguingly, our knowledge of the fairy tale stories is explained by the Mad Hatter as creativity being some sort of bleed-over from other universes.  We know the Snow White story because some writer picked up the actual events and thought it was his original idea.  That’s a reverse twist on Robert Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast.  In Heinlein’s book, writers create alternate universes by imagining them.

Well, at least they’ve given us a basic idea of the structure of the Multiverse for this TV show; a necessity that isn’t required for most other shows. It doesn’t matter if Mike and Molly exist within a multiverse or not.

But on to the show (spoilers obviously):  Emma takes Henry to the Hospital where he is in critical condition while Emma is going through Henry’s bag she finds the story book which, upon touching it, unleashes some sort of flashback so that Emma suddenly believes everything Henry has been telling her all season about the fairy story characters and the curse, which, upon that realization, drives Emma bonkers to kill Regina who has just arrived at the hospital to see about Henry until Emma grabs her and starts thrashing her around the supply closet until Regina convinces Emma that Gold can help them save Henry so off they go to Gold’s shop where he is only too glad to help, telling Emma and Regina that he installed a back door to the curse and needs Emma to recover a decanter of True Love that’s in a Faberge egg inside…yes a dragon which is underground beneath a shop that Regina owns in the middle of downtown which has an elevator behind a false wall that leads to the underground lair of the dragon which Emma goes down alone somehow believing that Regina is really going to cut the elevator back on to bring her up so she arrives at the lair with Prince Charming’s (her father’s) sword and when the dragon awakes realizes that a sword doesn’t make much sense against a 40 foot high multi-ton fire breathing dragon so she pulls out her pistol and empties a clip into the dragon which actually makes less sense than the sword, forcing Emma to run around the lair dodging fireballs until she finally decides to pick up the sword again and throw it at the dragon which is naturally lesson number one in dragon fighting school because the dragon goes up in flames leaving the egg behind which Emma grabs and heads up the elevator which stops half way up (as if you couldn’t see that coming) with Mr. Gold’s head poking down the hatch with an honest sounding “just toss it up to me dearie,” which Emma believes because, heh, she didn’t really have any choice but meanwhile back at the hospital Jefferson the Mad Hatter releases Beauty of Beauty and the Beast fame from her cell that Regina had been keeping her in and tells her to go find Mr. Gold, who was the Beast in that particular side story so while Gold is back at his store unpacking the egg he just tricked out of Emma, Beauty walks in all confused since she doesn’t have any memory of Gold, but he sure has a memory of her and takes her out the woods to an old well but meanwhile Emma has untied the tied up and gagged Regina and they both rush back to the hospital only to find out Henry has just died, which causes Emma to go say her goodbyes to Henry by telling him she loves him and kisses him on the forehead which anyone who has been watching this show knows will fix anything and sure enough, with a big swoosh, Henry comes back to life and all over town, part of the curse is lifted as the townsfolk get their old, original memories back, which probably isn’t good news for Regina since now everyone remembers what she did to them so back in the woods Beauty remembers Gold is really Rumplestiltskin, her beast, as Rumpie/Gold tosses the bottle of True Love into the well which unleashes a CGI fog much like the original one that established the curse back in the fairy tale world and when Beauty asks Gold “Hey, whats up,” he replies that magic is power or some such which seems to be a pretty bad omen since Regina, back in her house after apparently losing interest in Henry after he came back to life, which is typical of adoptive parents, stares out the window at the purple CGI fog overtaking the town…

…and smiles.

Whew, out of breath!

So, this episode was not only great, it was a real game changer in at least three different ways.  First, Emma now believes in the fairyland characters, the curse, magic; the whole shebang.  And probably more important, everyone in town does too.  They all now know who they are, and bad for Regina, who she is.  Probably the biggest game changer though is the fog.  It’s not unraveling the curse enough to send everyone back home, but it’s suggestive that Gold referred to magic as power, and Regina smiling when she saw it.  That tells me that the fog is probably restoring magic, at least to a limited degree, to the town, and Regina knows that’s what it’s doing.  That also makes me think the whole dragon egg thing was a set up between Regina and Gold, working together to restore magic.  As the town’s two primary former magic users, they stand to benefit the most from getting magic back.  Why trying to establish magic in our world rather than just going back to their own universe I’m still unclear on.  Maybe they weren’t planning on a second season and that was a last minute re-write?

That being said, I did have some quibbles with the episode. I didn’t think Emma’s sudden belief was well earned at this point.  I’m assuming that touching the book brought some magic epiphany to her, but why now?  She has handled the book before with no effects.  There was nothing in the moment that should cause her to believe since she wasn’t witnessing any magic.  The act that brought her to the hospital could well have been quite a mundane one.  She knew at that point that Regina is not just a bitch, but a killer bitch since she now knows that Regina did poison that apple turnover and meant it for her.  But that’s just normal crazy in Snapped, the Oxygen TV show that has women going nuts and going kill crazy. That doesn’t lead one to think that magic exists.  I guess I’ll just assume it was a magical realization and leave it at that for now.

Secondly, why would Emma think that throwing a sword at a massive dragon would have any effect on the dragon at all?  Presumably Gold told her how to kill the dragon after the scene change, but then, why would she throw down her sword and pull out her pistol?  That pistol was only slightly more effective than throwing a bowl of oatmeal.  I suppose she could have just panicked and dropped the sword but she didn’t make a move again for the sword until she was out of ammo.

As season finales go, this was an extremely satisfying one.  Definitely looking forward to season two next Fall with totally re-ordered power struggle.

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Blood Will Tell

Columnist Mark Steyn has had a lot of fun with the latest Elizabeth Warren mini-scandal, dubbing her Fauxcahontas.”  So with that, most of the good lines have already been taken on the story about Warren identifying herself as Native American for affirmative action purposes on supposed 1/32nd Native ancestry based on “family lore.”  So I can’t top Fauxcahontas, but I can relate how this is a deeply personal story for me.  Like Elizabeth Warren, I too am Native American.  In fact, based on my family’s lore, I’m twice the Indian Elizabeth Warren is, since I supposedly have 1/16th Indian ancestry.

And before anyone says anything about my use of the word Indian, remember that’s our word.  I’m taking it back.  You palefaces can continue to refer to us based on the previously approved PC list.

Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressiona...

Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel; Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Cherokee Indian Princess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to my family’s lore, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side was a Cherokee Indian Princess.  I’ve been astonished with the amount of royalty the various Indian tribes got away with in those days.  Practically everyone I’ve met who has claimed Native ancestry has claimed it through an “Indian Princess.”  Three fourths of the Native population east of the Mississippi prior to the Trail of Tears must have been an Indian Princess. With so much of the population as female royalty, no wonder my people were pushed out of the East.  Too few warriors and too many princesses.  And those Indian Princesses must have really had a thing for Scot-Irish mountain hillbilly types.  I guess they were the bad boys of the 1800’s.

However, unlike Elizabeth Warren, I’ve never tried to exploit the suffering of my people to procure employment, as Warren apparently did as she professor shopped from one diversity starved University to another.  In fact, this story neatly ties in to the Derrick Bell story of two months ago.  Not that it was a new story, only the knowledge of the depth of President Obama’s previous relationship with Bell was new.  But as the Harvard Crimson related in 1998:

Harvard Law School currently has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American. The racial makeup of the HLS Faculty has been an issue before as well: in 1989, Harvard dismissed Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell after 18 years of teaching because the noted expert on race and law refused to end his leave in protest of the absence of minority women on HLS faculty.

So Professor Bell did get his wish, more minority women on staff.  Or at least woman. That woman was Native American Elizabeth Warren.

But unlike Warren, I’ve never tried to exploit my people and culture to get a job that wouldn’t have otherwise has been offered.  Instead, I’ve played the Peter Principle to navigate the job market.  But Warren, or as she is known by her Indian name, She-who-fakes-bankruptcy-studies, has tried to have it both ways.  Indian when moving up the academic ladder, then white when she reached the top of her field.

What’s astounding to me is that Harvard doesn’t seem to be the least bit embarrassed about its blond affirmative action hire.   What a world we live in.  Elizabeth Warren is  Indian enough to get jobs because of 1/32nd blood ties, but George Zimmerman, who is 1/8th black, is a White Neo Nazi killing machine.

Unfortunately, these race differences really matter to our society.  If George Zimmerman had looked like the son Obama never had, we most likely would never had heard of him.  And Elizabeth Warren, who looked as much (or as little) Indian as I do, parleys herself a minority hire.  As the old Jim Crow one drop rule comes back into vogue, in a new, weird way, “content of our character” seems to becoming less and less a goal and more of a distraction from counting tiny droplets of blood.  Maybe someday we’ll all need to have our DNA encoded on our ID cards, not for health reasons, but to make sure we qualify for every discount and set aside we’re eligible for.

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The Demands to Praise Obama

I like to participate on several political internet forums to debate politics.  A pointless pursuit you say?  Correct!  It is mostly a waste of time, and as the old meme goes…

However I don’t think of it as any sort of productive time, it’s more a relaxing hobby.  I do occasionally like to engage in a battle of the wits with political opponents.  At best, it feeds my ego that I’m the smartest guy on the internet, and at worst, it helps me hone my arguments and think about various angles to issues that I may not have thought of previously.

So not a total waste…

And occasionally it brings up some good ideas that I can expand on and write about.  Case in point, a long time internet debater of the lefty persuasion challenged me to say something good about Obama.  It’s not the first time she has made this demand, and during the Bush years, she constantly demanded that I criticize the Bush administration.  Easily done of course, but in the tradition of internet debates, it made no difference since a week later she would make the same challenge again, purposefully forgetting last week’s list; hyperlinks notwithstanding.  It was the Chinese meal of internet debates.

Although I can’t understand the psychological need for having her candidate validated by an opponent, since I didn’t feel the need to get her approval for any that I supported, I don’t mind taking advantage of it.  Has President Obama done some good things for the country?

The answer of course is an extremely qualified yes.

To elaborate, I need to go back to the expectations I had of him as President.  I fully expected President Obama to go full bore with a lefty agenda on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts.  However I wasn’t worried about domestic policy so much.  A wise Congress, counting its pennies, would bring the new President’s lofty spending agenda down to earth.

Clearly I miscalculated.

Throughout my lifetime Democratic Presidents even with a Democratic Congress had to fight tooth and nail for their priorities, so I was totally unprepared for a Congress that basically threw the checkbook at the President, telling him to have a blast.  On the domestic and spending front, Obama confirmed every hysterical fear the right had on Obama’s spending, both in dollar amount and actions.  The GM bailout could have gone in many different directions, but the President chose a path that included violating the law and getting an equity interest in the company; in other words, government ownership of the company; the very definition of socialism.

And I didn’t even mention the failed economic policy or Obamacare!

So when it comes to domestic policy, we did get the President that Hannity and Rush promised, but how about foreign policy?

Things didn’t start out great in that department either.

The administration let us know that Democrats were back in charge of the ship of state when President Obama went on his infamous apology tour, traveling from Europe to Latin America informing the world that America was sorry for being America.  Then, the administration added a real policy change to that by cancelling our missile defense shield in Europe.  And then there was Obama’s back and forth on an Afghanistan policy.  The Administration initially came out with a policy in March 2009 that emphasized counterterrorism as the primary military strategy, and then panicked when he found out the troop commitment that was required from his handpicked General to make this policy work.  This led to a political squabble within the White House that lasted months, with the White House pretending it had never decided on a military strategy in March of that year.  It took until December  for the President to finally unveil his new and improved Afghanistan Policy during a speech at West Point, which was a political contrivance that traded an increase in troops with a promise to withdraw by a date certain.  I’ll leave it to Obama supporters to decide if the administration kept its promise on that “date certain”.

So the first year of the Obama Presidency left a great deal for Republicans to criticize.

But there were some decisions that the President made the right call on, even if they were not particularly big decisions.  Obama supporters particularly turn to two decisions of the President to burnish his alpha credentials. The first came up early in his administration with the kidnapping of the captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates.  For any other President this would have been a minor footnote in the Presidential record.  However for President Obama’s sycophants, this was considered a major military victory.  President Obama authorized force to be used if the Captain’s life appeared to be in imminent danger.  Well, of course his life was in danger, and Seal snipers took out the pirates and rescued the Captain.  A feel good story if there ever was one, but considering that the Defense Department had twice tried to get the President’s authorization for the use of force,  (Really, the President had to sleep on this?) it doesn’t seem that the White House really got engaged until they got tired of dodging the Pentagon’s phone calls.  If the Pirates had been a bit more threatening earlier in the conflict, this story could have gone in a different direction.  However to an Obama supporter, this was equivalent to Obama personally storming the beaches at Normandy.

The other was of course, the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  The news of UBL’s death was probably the best news for Americans in the War on Terror in the past decade.  It was an extremely satisfying victory and on the first anniversary of his death, it still tastes pretty sweet.  But that’s not good enough for administration sycophants, who seem to think the decision to kill Bin Laden was the most difficult Presidential decision of the past century.  To me, as far as Presidential decisions go, it was the most obvious no-brainer of Presidential decisions in the past century.  I mean really, there would even be an option of not trying to kill or capture him?  Instead, the supposedly decisive Obama had to “sleep on it” before he could give the go order.  With all of the sleeping Obama requires to make a decision, he’s probably the most well rested President in history.  Yet Obama and his supporters continue to act as if only Obama could have pulled this feat off, never mind the SEALS who actually carried out the mission, and who it’s now being reported that they are a bit unhappy with the Commander In Chief’s grandstanding on the Bin Laden issue.  In fact, Obama as much as said that if Mitt Romney had been President, he wouldn’t have given the kill order.  Of course, without the intelligence derived by techniques the President vehemently opposed, there probably would have been no trail to follow that lead to that compound in Abottabad.

Way to not spike that football!

Interestingly, the same people who hit the roof over “Mission Accomplished” seem to have no issue with the President’s manipulation of this issue for his re-election campaign.

But… in spite of the President’s foreign and national security flaws, he has been aggressive in the War on Terror, even though he won’t use the term himself.  The President has, for the most part, had to jettison most of his academic left baggage when it comes to national security since he became President.  Not only has he double downed on killing terrorists, he’s embraced almost all of the President Bush GWOT policies.  Considering the differences between Obama and Bush, they’ve achieved a remarkable consensus on how to fight the war.

Why did he change so much as to accept and use almost all of the policies that he ran against?  That will probably be left to future historians to figure out, but I suspect his first national security briefing was a real eye opener, forcing Obama to reconsider dismantling the policies he had campaigned against.  There’s nothing like a nice load of crap in your pants to make you reconsider your assumptions.  Going against a lifetime of habit of thought couldn’t have been an easy one, but the country is much safer because he was able to make that leap.  So for that, thank you Mr. President, for helping to keep the country safe!