Monday, February 28, 2011

List of Grievances in The Declaration of Independence

Some remarks by Rob Tracinski at The Intellectual Activist and TIA Daily from last year's Tea Party in Charlotsville.

...Let's take a look at the Declaration of Independence. I was at the July 4 Tea Party in Charlottesville last year, and one of the things that I really liked is that Joe Thomas

began the event simply by reading the Declaration of Independence, and when you read through it like that, you notice a lot of things that people don't tend to pay enough attention to. People tend to remember the philosophical part at the beginning, about individual rights and the consent of the governed, which was the theory behind the American Revolution. And I wish a lot more people would read that part and take it seriously. But we tend to skip the middle section, which is the list of grievances that the American colonists had against King George III and the British Parliament.

Unfortunately, that list is still relevant and timely today. For example, take this issue of taxes. One of our Founding Fathers' chief complaints against King George was that "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." Sound familiar?

As the old saying goes, taxation without representation is slavery—but taxation with representation isn't that great, either. And so we find that we don't need a swarm of officers to come all the way across the Atlantic to eat out our substance. We can summon our own army of domestic parasites.

That is the unique achievement of the current administration. Barack Obama has presided over an economic boom and a rising tide of prosperity—ifyou work for the government.

Recently the news came out that, for the first time in America's history, the number of government employees exceeded the number of employees in "goods producing industries." Now I want to point out that "goods producing industries" is a very broad category. It includes things like logging and mining and agriculture, and not just manufacturing. The number of government employees has already exceeded the number of employees in manufacturing, long ago. Does anyone know when that happened? According to my research, it happened back in 1990.

So the number of people who make things are now exceeded by the number of government bureaucrats whose job is to prevent things from being made. And some of these government jobs are pretty plush: another report revealed recently that while the rest of us were in a recession, the number of government jobs paying more than $100,000 per year increased by almost 50%. Government jobs paying more than $150,000 more thandoubled.

It used to be that if you worked for the government, there was a tradeoff: you got better benefits, but the pay was lower. Not any more. Another recent study concluded that government jobs pay much more on average than the private sector. And you also get job security. The federal government is hiring, but what about the state governments? They can't take on trillion dollar deficits because they can't print money like the federal government can. Yet on the state level, there has been no decrease in government jobs during downturn, while overall unemployment is 10%. So if you're in the private sector, there's a significant chance you lost your job in the last year. If you're in the government, you're safe. Oh yes, and when they shoved through the health care bill, the Democrats also sneaked in a federal takeover of student loans, which includes a provision that makes your student loans go away after ten years—again, if you work for the government.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Policy Sure to Impoverish Us All - Obama Hates Oil/America

Why does Obama hate oil so much? Why Why Why? Could it be that oil and all the products that are derived from it represents American freedom to travel and ingenuity? Could it be that Obama resents American freedom and ingenuity...our can do spirit? What else can one make of this administration's utter disregard for the fact that America needs oil to function and that we have abundant oil and that we need to drill for it. Ask yourself what it accomplishes. Only one thing - to make us impoverished and to force us to downscale our lives as a consequence.

The day before President Obama was inaugurated, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.83, the Heritage Foundation notes. Today it's well over $3 and on the way to $4. Prices for this February and last December were the highest ever for those months.

While we sit on abundant oil and natural gas reserves, prices at both the wellhead and the pump are rising on fears of spreading Mideast turmoil and short domestic supply. But then, maybe that's the plan.

The silver lining for this administration in the gathering storm over the Middle East may be what it's doing and may yet do to energy prices. The average price for gasoline jumped nearly 12 cents a gallon last week to $3.287, according to AAA. But at the White House, that's not necessarily bad news.

...The administration's hostility to fossil fuels is documented. Immediately on taking office, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah. Recently, in a stunning land grab, Salazar issued an order allowing Bureau of Land Management officials to place land with "wilderness characteristics" off-limits to energy development. Some 6 million acres in energy-rich Utah would be affected...

...John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, told Platt's Energy Week Television that Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012 based on the uncertainty of world events, the lack of domestic supply and increased worldwide demand fueled by countries like India and China.

Democrats once accused Big Oil of deliberately restricting supply to enrich itself. Now the Obama administration may be doing the same on purpose — a policy sure to impoverish us all. READ "Does Obama Want $8 Gallon Gasoline?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"I Have Never Had a Feeling Politically that did not Spring from the Sentiments Embodied in the Declaration of Independence"

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 22, 1861

On Abraham Lincoln's inaugural journey to Washington, he stopped in Philadelphia at the site where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. One of the most famous statements in the speech was, "I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence."

President Lincoln's Speech:
I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place, where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. I can say in return, Sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful.

Unions Should Disintegrate Into the Dust-Heap of History

Finally the day of reckoning with entitlements has come. After more than 50 years of some people getting transfers of cash from other people it's time we the people went on strike. Why should I be working to support the lifestyle of a union member? Do you get that? NO MORE UNIONS! Most people get a job by interviewing, landing the job, doing good work on the job and then getting rewarded with a paycheck. Union members join a club where their job is guaranteed and their wages are higher than most people's wages in the private sector and they don't even have to prove that they are worthy of holding on to the job. Is that American? NO! Like other bad ideas - socialism, communism, fascism, Gadhafi - it's time the Unions disappear into the dust-heap of history.

"Rubicon: A River in Wisconsin," Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, February 25

At the federal level, President Obama's budget makes clear that Democrats are determined to do nothing about the debt crisis, while House Republicans have announced that beyond their proposed cuts in discretionary spending, their April budget will actually propose real entitlement reform. Simultaneously, in Wisconsin and other states, Republican governors are taking on unsustainable, fiscally ruinous pension and health-care obligations, while Democrats are full-throated in support of the public-employee unions crying, "Hell, no."

A choice, not an echo: Democrats desperately defending the status quo; Republicans charging the barricades....

Here stand the Democrats, avatars of reactionary liberalism, desperately trying to hang on to the gains of their glory years—from unsustainable federal entitlements for the elderly enacted when life expectancy was 62 to the massive promissory notes issued to government unions when state coffers were full and no one was looking.

Obama's Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"The Left Is Running Out of Utopias"

The Democratic lawmakers who have gone on the lam in Wisconsin and Indiana—and who knows where else next—are exhibiting a literal fight-or-flight response, the reaction of an animal facing a threat to its very existence.

Why? Because it is a threat to their existence. The battle of Wisconsin is about the viability of the Democratic Party, and more: it is about the viability of the basic social ideal of the left.

It is a matter of survival for Democrats in an immediate, practical sense. As Michael Barone explains, the government employees' unions are a mechanism for siphoning taxpayer dollars into the campaigns of Democratic politicians.

But there is something deeper here than just favor-selling and vote-buying. There is something that almost amounts to a twisted idealism in the Democrats' crusade. They are fighting, not just to preserve their special privileges, but to preserve a social ideal. Or rather, they are fighting to maintain the illusion that their ideal system is benevolent and sustainable.

Unionized public-sector employment is the distilled essence of the left's moral ideal. No one has to worry about making a profit. Generous health-care and retirement benefits are provided to everyone by the government. Comfortable pay is mandated by legislative fiat. The work rules are militantly egalitarian: pay, promotion, and job security are almost totally independent of actual job performance. And because everyone works for the government, they never have to worry that their employer will go out of business.

In short, public employment is an idealized socialist economy in miniature, including its political aspect: the grateful recipients of government largesse provide money and organizational support to re-elect the politicians who shower them with all of these benefits.

Put it all together, and you have the Democrats' version of utopia. In the larger American culture of Tea Parties, bond vigilantes, and rugged individualists, Democrats feel they are constantly on the defensive. But within the little subculture of unionized government employees, all is right with the world, and everything seems to work the way it is supposed to.

This cozy little world has been described as a system that grants special privileges to a few, which is particularly rankling in the current stagnant economy, when private sector workers acutely feel the difference. But I think this misses the point. The point is that this is how the left thinkseveryone should live and work. It is their version of a model society.

Every political movement needs models. It needs a real-world example to demonstrate how its ideal works and that it works.

And there's the rub. The left is running low on utopias...READ at (The Intellectual Activist by Rob Tracinski).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Laws and Laws and More Laws

When men are caught in the trap of non-objective law, when their work, future and livelihood are at the mercy of a bureaucrat's whim, when they have no way of knowing what unknown influence" will crack down on them for which unspecified offense, fear becomes their basic motive, if they remain in the industry at all-and compromise, conformity, staleness, dullness, the dismal grayness of the middle-of -the-road are all that can be expected of them. Independent thinking does not submit to bureaucratic edicts, originality does not follow "public policies," integrity does not petition for a license, heroism is not fostered by fear, creative genius is not summoned forth at the point of a gun.

Non-objective law is the most effective weapon of human enslavement: its victims become its enforcers and enslave themselves.

...The which cannot be formulated into an objective law, cannot be made the subject of legislation-not in a free country, not if we are to have a "government of laws and not of men". An undefinable law is not a law, but merely a license for some men to rule others.

"Vast Quicksands" in The Objectivist Newsletter, July 1963 - Ayn Rand

My how little has changed except the speed with which we are using our own ropes to hang ourselves.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fighting the Mullahs With Fun? Great Idea!

The Iranian youth should have a revolution of fun and see if the mullahs can combat that! What a wonderful and powerful idea by the playwright Tom Stoppard. The Wall Street Journal has a great article on this concept.
  • In "Rock 'n' Roll," the playwright Tom Stoppard proposes that rock music more than anything else—the arms race, dissident intellectuals, economic decay—brought down the communist system because it came from an unanticipated source for which the politburo theorists had no answer. Their enforcers could counter explicit resistance, but their ideologues never prepared defenses against the onslaught of pure fun.

Some 70% of Iran's population is said to be under the age of 30, so it seems natural that Valentine's Day has caught on in a country where the young keep trying to find non-state-mandated rituals to call their own. The state, for its part, continues to respond with a Whack-a-Mole approach to any social ripple not dreamt of in its philosophy.

Theocratic regimes invariably suffer from the same besetting sin: As the world evolves, they must either revise their antiquated doctrines or try to hold the world rigidly in stasis. Iran's ruling mullahs keep choosing the latter option. And with mosque and state firmly conjoined, there's no stray detail of daily life so arcane that the scriptures can't be mobilized to rein it in.

The Iranian state has pronounced against unauthorized mingling of the sexes, rap music, rock music, Western music, women playing in bands, too-bright nail polish, laughter in hospital corridors, ancient Persian rites-of-spring celebrations (Nowrooz), and even the mention of foreign food recipes in state media. This last may sound comically implausible, but it was officially announced by a state-run website on Feb. 6. So now the true nature of pasta as an instrument of Western subversion has been revealed.

The regime's posture turns the smallest garden-variety gestures into thrilling acts of subversion. Slipping a Valentine card to a girlfriend takes on the significance of samizdat. Every firecracker set off during Nowrooz diminishes the police state's claims to omniscience. The mullahs have appointed themselves the enemy of fun; as a result, wherever fun herniates into view, it is a politicized irruption of defiance....READ "Iran Bans Valentine's Day" at The Wall Street Journal.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Will Cuba Be the Next Nation to Demand Freedom? It is Time for Their Time in the Sunshine of Freedom

As we contemplate the situation in Egypt and the other countries rising up against tyranny let's not forget the tiny island just a few miles off our shores - Cuba which probably has the worst tyranny of any as well as one of the longest. Anastasia O'Grady writes about Cuba and the ghoulish and murdering Castro brothers. Cubans are a creative and good people and deserve freedom.

...Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks brought Cuba to my mind. Why does a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appear to be a far-off dream? Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers—Fidel and Raúl—and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime's significantly more repressive model. In the art of dictatorship, Hosni Mubarak is a piker.

That so many Egyptians have raised their voices in Tahrir Square is a testament to the universal human yearning for liberty. But it is a mistake to ignore the pivotal role of the military. I'd wager that when the history of the uprising is written, we will learn that Egypt's top brass did not approve of the old man's succession plan to anoint his son in the next election.

Castro has bought loyalty from the secret police and military by giving them control of the three most profitable sectors of the economy—retail, travel and services. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow to them every year. If the system collapses, so does that income. Of course the Egyptian military also owns businesses. But it doesn't depend on a purely state-owned economy. And as a recipient of significant U.S. aid and training for many years, the Egyptian military has cultivated a culture of professionalism and commitment to the nation over any single individual.

In Cuba there are no opposition political parties or nonstate media; rapid response brigades enforce the party line. Travel outside the country is not allowed without state approval. If peaceful dissidents with leadership skills can't be broken, they are eventually exiled. Or they are murdered....

The military dictatorship was helpless to contain the bad publicity.

In a similar fashion, when the Ladies in White—a group of wives, sisters and mothers of political prisoners—walking peacefully in Havana were roughed up by state security last year, the images were captured on cellphones and immediately showed up on the Web. It was more bad PR for the Castro brothers and their friends like Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Spanish President José Luis Zapatero. economy. And as a recipient of significant U.S. aid and training for many years, the Egyptian military has cultivated a culture of professionalism and commitment to the nation over any single individual...READ at WSJ "Will Cuba Be The Next Egypt".

Monday, February 07, 2011

American Government Officials Snitching to Russia (our enemy), About Britain (Our Friend)

The United States is now a snitch for our foes and a turncoat against our friends. It is a sad day in America when the administration gives out sensitive military secrets about our friends to our not so friends like Russia. This is how low America has come down that we betray our friends in the name of what? Hilary Clinton did it among others in our state department. Is this disgusting and deserving of being accused of anti-American activity? I should say it is. But then we have a President that is part and parcel of this anti-American sentiment. How sad for America that our own American leaders are paving the way for our downfall. There is only one thing we can do. We must get patriots back into the highest offices of the land. It's either that or the fall of America.

If you want to understand how this anti-american sentiment can exist among Americans read the book: "Underdogma" by Michael Prell. It will explain a lot of things that make no sense to a sane person.

Alliances: When spies give military secrets to a foreign power, it's espionage. When an American president does it, betraying an ally to befriend a longtime foe, what do we call it?

According to diplomatic cables obtained by Britain's Daily Telegraph, mined from the thousands of classified documents released by WikiLeaks, the U.S. government agreed to provide Russia with information on the British nuclear deterrent as part of the deal behind the ratification and signing of the New START treaty.

Specifically, the Telegraph reports, the U.S. provided Moscow with the serial numbers of each Trident missile in the British ballistic missile submarine inventory. The Russians presumably already know how many Tridents the British have but can't be sure. British policy has been to refuse to confirm the exact size of its relatively tiny arsenal.

Last year, British Foreign Secretary William Hague disclosed that Britain had "up to 160" warheads operational at any one time, but he did not disclose the total number of missiles and warheads in its nuclear inventory. Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems, says: "They want to find out whether Britain has more missiles than we say we have, and having the unique identifiers might help them."

The State Department denies this, and spokesman P.J. Crowley said via Twitter that the U.S. simply "carried forward requirement to notify Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty." So why did we, according to the Telegraph, have to ask Britain in 2009 for permission with detailed and classified information on the British Tridents, permission that was reportedly denied?

Indeed, according to one leaked memo, "the Russian Federation will receive unique identifiers for each of the missiles transferred to the UK, which was more information than was disclosed under START." So the State Department seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The British have quietly gone along with the State Department explanation, but then why wouldn't they? It wouldn't serve the new government of Prime Minister David Cameron well to acknowledge, after a series of snubs and insults from this side of the pond, that the U.S. had just thrown it under the strategic bus.

That we would betray Britain's nuclear secrets would not be surprising, since we are quite willing to betray our own. Before a recent U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced: "Beginning today, the United States will make public the number of nuclear weapons in our stockpile and the number of weapons we have dismantled since 1991."...(read The Betrayal Of Great Britain at IBD)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How The FDA Stifles New Life-Saving Drugs

Did you know that our government is the major roadblock to the discovery and production of new critical life-saving drugs? At every turn we are seeing how Washington rules and regulations prevent Americans from moving forward and no area is more onerous than in the field of medicine. Read this excellent article by Dr. Paul Hsieh.

America has a serious drug problem, but it’s not one most Americans have heard of. The problem is not illegal drugs, but rather a critical shortage of many life-saving legal drugs. And the federal government is about to make things worse.

During the past year, medical professionals have received alarming reports about critical shortages of important drugs. These drugs aren’t the common over-the-counter medications that consumers purchase in their local drugstores. Rather, the shortages are in various injectable drugs typically administered to seriously ill patients in hospitals.

Melly Alazraki of Daily Finance reports that the shortages include “vital medications such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, analgesics (painkillers), anesthetics and more.” ABC News details how Minnesota cancer patient Mark McKee was suddenly told at a scheduled chemotherapy session that the hospital did not have enough of the critical medication doxorubicin for his prescribed treatment. Despite the fact that his tumor had grown recently, his doctors told him he had to settle for a significantly reduced dose and hope that “something may be better than nothing.”

Of course, various factors can contribute to the shortage of any specific drug — for instance, a manufacturing problem at a key factory or difficulty obtaining a particular raw material from an unstable foreign country. But as ABC News notes, often the problem is simply that “the production cost outweighs the profits.” And a leading cause of this problem is the federal government, specifically in the form of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA regulations impose an enormous financial burden on drug companies. In a detailed critique of the FDA, pharmaceutical industry writer Stella Daily Zawistowski observes that the FDA drug approval process currently costs companies approximately $800 million “from the time a molecule is discovered in the laboratory through animal trials and multiple stages of trials with human subjects.” Furthermore, the 20-year patent clock starts “ticking” once the drug is discovered, even though the drug approval process often takes more than 10 years. Hence, a company that spent enormous sums developing a new drug might enjoy less than half of that theoretical 20-year patent life to recover its initial investment before other companies start selling chemically identical cheaper “generic” versions.

In addition to stifling the development of new drugs, Zawistowski emphasizes that the FDA also distorts the market for the types of drugs being developed. It’s generally faster and cheaper for pharmaceutical companies to get FDA approval for “copycat” drugs that are minor variations of already-approved medications than to get approval for groundbreaking new drug categories. Hence, we see a plethora of cholesterol drugs, sleep aids, and antidepressants — and fewer advances in other vital categories, such as antibiotics effective against drug-resistant bacteria. In fact, UCLA medical school professor Dr. Brad Spellberg has warned that our pipeline of these vitally needed new medications is nearly empty because the FDA is “a huge impediment to getting a new antibiotic to market.”

The FDA drug approval process is so onerous that many experts believe that certain drugs currently in widespread use would never have been approved by today’s FDA — including penicillin, aspirin, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). In 2010, the FDA approved a mere 21 drugs — what the Wall Street Journalcalls “a relatively modest figure” and a continuation of the “drought in recent years.”

The Obama administration has acknowledged that the slow pace of new drug development is a problem. However, their response is not to reduce government barriers to private drug development — but rather to create a new government agency to supposedly “fix” this problem. According to the New York Times, the Obama administration will create a “National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences” within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to “help” promote new drug development. But many scientific and industry experts are deeply skeptical that this new program will succeed. (read more at Pajamas Media)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Caught With His Pants Down - Our President

News reporters and analysts are starting to question why the President was caught flat footed regarding the Egyptian uprising. Yes indeed. And where is his leadership now by the way? Mute in the White House. Well it appears that Obama was informed about Middle East trouble over a year ago. He was derelict of duty then and he still is derelict in his duty to protect American interests. Are you surprised? I'm not. This is truly the first anti-American president we've ever had. No one comes close. Read the article below and see the comparison with Ronald Reagan and his troubles with Iran. Iran knew they did not have a patsy in Reagan. Obama on the other hand is responsible for this mess because the Middle East smells weakness and understands that Obama is NOT Ronald Reagan.

One of President Obama's own nominees has revealed that the CIA briefed him on impending trouble for the Mubarak government. A stronger president surely would have acted.

In October 2008, less than a month before Barack Obama's election, Investor's Business Daily warned — and not for the first time — about the dangers of electing someone president who would project the image of a weak America to our enemies around the world.

"An early sign of the coming greatness of the Reagan presidency," we noted, "was that within an hour of the former actor's taking the oath of office, the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamofascist regime in Iran released the 52 U.S. hostages it had been holding for 444 days."

As we pointed out, "Somehow, Ronald Reagan's lack of foreign policy experience didn't give Tehran the impression it would be a good idea to find out what he was made of; the mullahs already knew."

Now it's been revealed that Obama was warned about instability in Egypt. During testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked associate deputy director of the CIA Stephanie O'Sullivan when, and how well, the president had been briefed on the country's impending unrest.

O'Sullivan, who is Obama's nominee for principal deputy director of national intelligence — the No. 2 post in the massive, multi-agency U.S. intelligence community — told Wyden: "We warned of instability but not exactly where it would come from," and "we didn't know what the triggering mechanism would be."

The briefing warning of what now looks to be a revolutionary crisis in Egypt "happened at the end of last year," O'Sullivan said. READ : WHEN DID THE PRESIDENT KNOW IT? at IBD.

Mr Obama: Remove Our Chains and Leave Us to Our Work

With the Middle East spinning out of control where is our President? With our economy going down the tubes where is our President loosening up restrictions on businesses, lower taxes and espousing freedom of trade? With our schools graduating dummies by the millions where is our President protecting America's future brain resources? While small businesses are closing at rates faster than you can snap your fingers where is our President removing the barriers to entrepreneurship? Where are you Mr. President? Loosen the chains that bind us and we will grow our economy....we will make it possible to create jobs.

Job creation is not what government does well. We all know that by now. Here's an article by Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal- "A Presidency to Nowhere".

No president before Barack Obama has been so right and so wrong.

When in his State of the Union speech Mr. Obama said, "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," citing the emergence of global competition from the likes of China and India, he was right.

Minutes later he proposed to cover the country with high-speed rail and companies making solar shingles.

High-speed rail and solar shingles? If that's the president's idea of meeting our Sputnik moment, then Houston, we have a problem...

...For a while Tuesday night, it appeared Mr. Obama would replicate Bill Clinton's almost sci-fi ability to absorb his opposition's best ideas, such as welfare reform, and re-infuse them into the body politic as his own. But no. We got high-speed rail and solar shingles.

Barack Obama believes what he believes. The ideas he came in with are the ideas he will go out with, and nowhere in that speech was there a fully formed policy idea reflecting authentic belief in the private economy....

...Once past the Reagan moment, the Obama policy menu had three entrees: clean energy, education and infrastructure. This was lifted, almost verbatim, from the Obama budget message two months into his presidency: "Our budget will make long overdue investments in priorities—like clean energy, education, health care, and new infrastructure." He extolled "new jobs that pay well" such as "installing solar energy panels and wind turbines."

This isn't a vision. It's an obsession.

Sending the completed trade agreements with Colombia and Panama to Congress for ratification should have been a lay-up for a president seeking the center. That's not happening.

What's ahead? Mainly one thing: November 2012....(read at WSJ)