Patterico's Pontifications


The Judgment to Lead

Filed under: International,Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 11:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Candidate Obama said Afghanistan is “the war that has to be won” and, as he visited Afghanistan during the Presidential campaign, he spoke of the need to increase American troops in order to finish the job:

“Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said today that U.S. combat troops should be shifted to Afghanistan from Iraq.

“This has to be our central focus, the central front of our battle against terrorism,” Obama said on CBS’s Face the Nation program. “One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here.”

Obama’s position on Afghanistan was notable because he not only opposed the Iraq War from the start, he also opposed the surge that was ultimately successful. Thus, it will be a special kind of irony if President Obama denies General McChrystal’s request for more troops for Afghanistan.

Barack Obama didn’t run on a firm ideological platform or years of government experience and leadership. Instead, he ran as the smarter, wiser candidate with The Judgment to Lead, so it matters if his initial judgments are wrong. Candidate Obama said America needs to win in Afghanistan and he implied the way to win is by sending more troops. As long as President Obama continues to procrastinate or refuses to send more troops as requested by General McChrystal, it not only brings Obama’s initial judgment into question, he risks losing the war.

I want President Obama to succeed in Afghanistan and in the fight against terrorism. I hope his decisions result in a U.S. military victory, freedom for the Afghan people, and an Afghanistan that is an American ally in the region. However, at this point, I don’t trust his judgment.


PJTV Salutes …

Filed under: Government,Humor,Politics — DRJ @ 11:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This PJTV take-off on Bud Light’s successful Real Men of Genius series is funny. Sad, but funny:


Bankruptcies on the Rise

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 8:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

After reading a Denver Post article about a dramatic increase in recent and impending dairy farm bankruptcies as well as reports on a political skirmish in the Texas governor’s race over Rick Perry’s recession comments, I thought it might be interesting to compare past and current U.S. bankruptcy statistics.

For the 12-month period ending March 31, 2009, business bankruptcies increased 69% from the same period ending March 2008 and non-business filings were up 33%. Similarly, for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2009, increases continued for all types of bankruptcies. Monthly bankruptcy filings have also increased, especially since February 2009.

Maybe my internet skills are lacking but I had to hunt for this data. The federal court website that historically publishes bankruptcy statistics says “[q]uarterly and 12-month statistics are available approximately 2 months after the close of a quarter.” In the past, I’ve been able to find recent statistics at that website but the most recent data there now is for the period ending December 2008. I wonder why.


Washington Post Interviews James O’Keefe (Updated)

Filed under: Media Bias,Race — DRJ @ 12:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On the same day the New York Times published an article on James O’Keefe (the maker of and a participant in the ACORN videos), the Washington Post published this interview with O’Keefe that adds more details:

“[Hannah] Giles had not personally met O’Keefe when she called him in May, O’Keefe said. She had written about a video O’Keefe had produced that was aimed at Planned Parenthood, he said. They traded e-mails and messages on Facebook before O’Keefe finally drove south to meet her.

Though O’Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative, he said he targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives that turn out poor African Americans and Latinos against Republicans.

“Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization,” he said. “No one was holding this organization accountable. No one in the media is putting pressure on them. We wanted to do a stunt and see what we could find.”

However, it seems the race-based details were volunteered by a helpful Washington Post reporter or editor because now the Post has added this correction at the top of the article:

Correction to This Article

This article about the community organizing group ACORN incorrectly said that a conservative journalist targeted the organization for hidden-camera videos partly because its voter-registration drives bring Latinos and African Americans to the polls. Although ACORN registers people mostly from those groups, the maker of the videos, James E. O’Keefe, did not specifically mention them.”

No media bias there.

Bonus point: O’Keefe mentions visiting ACORN’s LA office when they were in California. If there are more ACORN tapes, as rumored, one of them may involve LA.


UPDATE: Even before the correction, Powerline and Mark Steyn were not impressed with the Washington Post’s report. And Andrew Breitbart says he won’t rest until Giles and O’Keefe “receive a grant to continue their partisan artistry from the National Endowment for the Arts.” Heh.

Will Gen. McChrystal Get the Troops He Needs? Is This a Hint?

Filed under: Obama,War — Patterico @ 7:53 am

Indications are that Gen. McChrystal will resign if he does not get the additional troops he says he needs to win in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, note well this quote from an anonymous Obama administration official, from the Wall Street Journal:

Stan McChrystal is not responsible for assessing how we’re doing against al Qaeda,” said the senior administration official. “He’s not assessing how the Pakistani military is doing in its counterinsurgency campaign. That’s not his job. So Stan’s report is a very important input into this overall strategy, but it’s not the only input.”

Note how the “official” omits the title “General” for the familiar “Stan.” It’s a subtle way of discounting the general’s message. Stanny-boy may have his opinion, but we don’t have to listen to ol’ Stanerino.

Obamanomics: Hidden Regressive Taxes

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:38 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama looked silly trying to deny that forcing people to buy health insurance is not a tax. Even the Associated Press was not buying it. Pres. Obama was willing to look silly on network TV because taxes are not popular — but the underlying issue is much bigger.

For example, Treasury Department officials think cap-and-trade legislation would cost taxpayers hundreds of billion in taxes, according to internal documents obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute through a Freedom of Information Act request. At the upper end of the administration’s estimates, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year. Indeed, Obama pal Warren Buffett had already criticized it:

Anything you put in that effectively taxes carbon emissions is — somebody’s going to bear the brunt of it. In the case of a regulated utility, the utility customers are going to pay for it. I mean, it’s going to become, in effect, a tax which we have decided is needed because the market system doesn’t really appropriately penalize something that hurts the future but doesn’t really hurt us tomorrow morning. But that tax is probably going to be pretty regressive.

Of course, Pres. Obama knows this, too. In January 2008, he openly admitted that his cap-and-trade proposal would make energy prices “skyrocket.”

Cap-and-trade is just one of several business taxes Obama has floated. However, the affected companies will not pay most of these taxes. Research shows that 70 to 92 cents of a dollar of business taxes comes out of employees’ pay.

The appeal of stealth taxation is why the Obama administration and other Democrats cannot bear to rule out a value-added tax, assessed on producers, wholesalers and retailers, despite the fact that this tax would also be hugely regressive.

Willie Sutton used to explain that he robbed banks “because that’s where the money is.” Liberals will always come around to taxing the middle-class because there are just not enough of “the rich” to finance their social engineering. But they cannot be honest about it, so they want to outsource tax collection for the nanny state to the business community (just as they have with payroll taxes). If that means Pres. Obama has to look foolish on network TV, it is a small price for them… and potentially a much larger one for the rest of us.


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