Obama Foreign Policy?

President Obama’s recent address to the nation regarding his intention to strike I.S.I.S. forces begs a series of important questions.  While the thought of destroying terrorists that are hell bent on killing Americans and striking out at anything that is associated with democracy is laudable, we wonder, how were they allowed to get so far?

Certainly our intelligence agencies knew of this growing and very real threat some time ago just as they knew of the Syrian Government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.  Why did Obama wait for ISIS thugs to kill innocent Kurds and invade Iraq before making this pronouncement?

Why did he wait until innocent journalists were beheaded in full public display before adopting this strategy with ISIS?  Does it take “bad TV” for this President to act in a proper fashion?

He was quick to chastise Israel for simply defending itself against terrorists whose only goal is the complete destroy their country and their people.

He has shown his impotent, feckless nature with his response (or lack thereof) to Putin’s aggression towards its neighbors and his obvious goal of reuniting the Soviet Union.  Does Putin fear or even respect Obama?  We think not!

Why should we question President Obama’s foreign policy – he simply has none.

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Is The World a Safe Place Under President Obama?

Planes carrying innocent passengers are being shot down by Russian supported thugs.  Two more Ukrainian Army jets were blown out of the sky today by those same Putin stooges.  The Russian leader appears hell-bent on recreating the former Soviet Empire through annexation, terror and political maneuvering. And where is the American response?  Where is President Obama?  He’s on a west coast trip to raise campaign funds!

Obama’s abject ineptitude with regard to America’s national security continues to astound and this latest example highlights how low we have gone under his lack of world leadership. He should be telling Putin to get his storm troopers out of the Ukraine.  He should be letting Putin know that there will be real consequences for his actions.  But why would Putin believe him if he did?  Were there any consequences when Putin overthrew the democratically elected government in Georgia? Just silence.

When will America again be able to hold its head high in the face of tyrants?  We are afraid not for at least two more years!  In the meantime President Obama will likely continue to chastise Israel for its efforts to simply defend itself against the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization that continues to send rockets and terrorists to Israeli soil.  Clearly Obama lacks any semblance of backbone or common sense.

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Tuning in to Rhode Island’s Races

Although we tend to focus our attention on issues of national concern and will continue to do so, this does not mean that we avert our eyes with regard to issues and political races in our own backyard.  2014 is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating in recent memory here in Rhode Island and even in Providence.

Being such a heavily Blue state, we at ACSS have often had to look outside of the Ocean State to find issues that will be debated by evenly matched foes and political contests that provide any competitive level of intrigue.  Not so this year.

In the governor’s race we have a very competitive three way Democratic primary matching heavily financed and reasonably qualified (based on face value) candidates.  Gina Raimondo, the sitting General Treasurer, calls herself the architect of the state’s pension reform which, although a great idea at the time, is now making itself through the tangled web of the court system and the several legal challenges that threaten to overturn it.  She is sitting on a sizeable campaign war chest which is both an asset and a hindrance as much of that money appears to have come from Wall Street.

Angel Taveras is the popular Mayor of Providence and boasts of saving the city from the verge of bankruptcy due to the mismanagement of his predecessor.  He faces some serious questions about his actual reporting of those city finances as well as the problems that are inherent with a big city mayor: crime, schools, taxes, etc.

Clay Pell started the campaign as an unknown with a great name (his grandfather was the esteemed Sen. Claiborne Pell), a famous wife (Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan), and a family fortune that he has already tapped to the tune of over $1 Million.  He then proceeded to lose track of his message and then his car (yes, he actually misplaced his Prius!  However, of late he has been a constant presence on the airwaves and has reportedly been climbing in the polls.

Stay tuned!

On the Republican side, we have a very competitive two-way race featuring the current Mayor of Cranston, Alan Fung and Moderate turned Republican businessman Ken Block.  Thus far, Fung has faced a police ticketing scandal, a series of dubious if not awful TV commercials and questions about tax policy.  Fung was the prohibitive favorite among stalwart Republicans in Rhode Island (not that there are many) but seems to be doing his best to make this race competitive.

Block, on the other hand, has been gaining in popularity among Republicans but still has to answer for his support of Obama in the last two Presidential elections.  His long-time crusade to remove the Master Lever (straight ticket voting) from RI elections was recently rewarded with a law removing that arcane, democrat-friendly device.  His business background and track record of saving tax dollars in states where he has done business also appear to be appealing to voters.

Stay tuned!

In Providence, we are watching a fascinating race that features a three way (three legitimate candidates anyway) Democratic primary, a perennial Republican candidate and the reemergence of a Providence icon, former Mayor Buddy Cianci as an Independent.  Wow!

The Democratic primary pits current City Council President Michael Solomon, former campaign strategist turned candidate Brett Smiley and former Housing Court Judge Jorge Eloza.

Solomon faces a host of ethical questions including his being granted a six figure loan by the city, health violations at his businesses and an open records issue regarding a building permit.  He will have to answer for these and the other issues that are inherent with being a government leader in charge of budgeting, taxation and other city concerns.  Brett Smiley has been peppering the electorate with elaborate (and we assume expensive to produce) documents detailing his plans for a host of city issues.  It is our opinion that they are too detailed for the average voter to digest, offer few actual solutions and will likely be expensive to execute. He is also wearing his gay, progressive credentials on his sleeve (see his TV ads) which will play well on the East Side, but may be an albatross in other parts of Providence.  Eloza, thus far, has been relatively quiet with the exception of insuring that most councilman will be busy with primaries of their own against candidates he is believed to have prompted to run.

Solomon has the war chest and the more conservative voters, Smiley has the progressives and some personal wealth he is willing to spend, and Elorza will likely garner most of the growing Hispanic bloc of voters.

Stay tuned!

When we get Providence’s General Election, the presence of former Mayor Buddy Cianci throws all conventional wisdom out the door.  He was convicted of racketeering (although we are unsure how one can be acquitted of all underlying crimes and then convicted of racketeering) and served prison time.  But no one can question his love for the city and that Providence was a vibrant, successful city under his previous tenure.

Stay tuned!

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Obama’s Social Engineering Agenda

President Obama recently laid out his plans for the rest of his term with a speech that highlighted what he sees as the greatest challenge facing the United States: “Income Inequality.”

“I believe this is the defining challenge of our time,” Obama said in a speech at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress, a pro-Obama think tank. “It drives everything I do in this office.”

The growing gap between rich and poor can be closed by actions ranging from an increase in the minimum wage to better education to following through on his health care plan, Obama said. 

What he is really saying is that economic policies have failed miserably and that he needs a “stimulus” to help artificially recreate the middle class that he and his Democrat colleagues help to destroy. He calls for increased minimum wages, stronger unions and these so called “promise zones” that will pour federal (borrowed) dollars into neighborhoods he deems fit. Obviously Republican districts need not apply!

This all just once again big government democrats spending money that we don’t have to fix a problem that can actually only be fixed by NOT borrowing and spending more money! It is also a concept that smacks of socialism and its tenets of “wealth redistribution.” He wants to artificially recreate a middle class in this country without the normal inconveniences to its citizens like hard work, ambition and ingenuity. That is social engineering any way you slice it. Look at how well that worked in places like the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea!

He added: “While Democratic-Republican and liberal-conservative disputes about the economy won’t be resolved any time soon, Obama said that “it is important that we have a serious debate about the issues.”

As we have experienced so many times before with this President, that is code for “My way or the highway!”

It is clear that President Obama’s plan is to reduce “Income Inequality” by knocking a group down rather than creating an economy where others can work their way to success. All that this accomplishes is punishing the innovators, risk takers and the actual engine that drives the economy.  Actually that is only half. What it also does is create a class of citizens who are dependent on government assistance rather than true economic power. And that is truly scary!!

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Cold War v. 2.0

Let’s see. What has happened in the last week or so. President Obama and his Defense Secretary announced that they would be cutting back the size of America’s military to the lowest levels since World War II. The Government in the Ukraine fell and its leader disappeared to Russia. Russia then decided to mobilize troops near the Ukraine border for a “planned exercise”.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to send arms to prop up the terrorist regime in Syria while thousands of Syrians are being slaughtered. Meanwhile, we have lost an ally in Egypt and basically turned our back on our great friend Israel. Iran continues to build its nuclear weapons program, Afghanistan can’t wait to get rid of us and Iraq looks worse than when we went there. North Korea continues to thumb its nose at the world with its nuclear program and the Libyans attacked our embassy in Benghazi with no reprisals.

What is this setting up to be? That’s right a new Cold War. President Obama has created a Carteresque weakness strategy for America creating a void for Putin to exploit.

We need a Reagan strategy of Peace Through Strength, not what President Obama is doing.

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It’s Déjà vu….All Over Again!

Here we go again! Democrats and President Obama are attempting to extend long-term “emergency” jobless benefits, again. They first did this in 2008 with the stipulation that it was a one-time deal and that as soon as unemployment dropped to a certain level, these costly benefits would cease. Then they extended them again in 2009, and 2010, and 2011, and 2012, and did so again in 2013.

This costs real money! It is estimated that if these benefits are extended again it will cost U. S. taxpayers upwards of $6 billion. And how will it be paid for? One proposal seems to be increasing taxes on employers as was done in 2008 and never rescinded. Think about it. They raise the cost of hiring new employees onto employers because people are unemployed. Talk about a disincentive for those companies that make actually help solve the problem! But this has been President Obama’s, Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s mantra all along. Wealth redistribution!

Be careful of another common ploy used by the democrats over the years. That is when they say they will pay for some spending (see pork barrel) program with offsetting cuts in future years. The program gets passed and as the time comes to pay, it is deferred or legislation is passed to defeat the promised cuts altogether.

Don’t get us wrong, we recognize that unemployment benefits help struggling families survive and provide a small assist for an already struggling economy, but they must be offset with appropriate spending cuts, not new taxes. And eliminating tax incentives for industries that are actually helping the economy and hiring is no solution. $17 trillion and counting!!

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More Big Government Heading Our Way

If you don’t like Washington taking your money and wasting it on projects that make no sense and entitlements that don’t solve our fundamental problems, then you will probably be thrilled with President Obama’s plans for his second term.   If you like big government taking away your rights and dictating our behavior, then the next 4 years are shaping up to be your cup of tea!

In his recent inaugural address, President Obama outlined his plans for his second term and they scare us quite frankly.  They are not new to this President, they are simply being emphasized in a way that makes him appear emboldened beyond what the election results would indicate his “mandate” actually was.

A quick reader’s guide for Obama v 2.0 is as follows:

“Investments in clean and renewable energy” – More spending!

“Strengthening our education system for today’s economy” – Where is that money coming from?

“Closing loopholes in the tax code” – Raising taxes on businesses!

“Gun control” – Big government taking away individual rights!

“Immigration reform” – If Congress won’t act, he will, as he already has shown!

“Fix Medicare” – By only lowering cost of healthcare?  We doubt it!

Clearly President Obama was serious when he said to the Russian Foreign Minister “I’ll have more flexibility in my second term.”  Mr. President, we know that you think you have the ability to push this agenda, which will only hurt the United States more.  But we are hoping that Congress and the American people see things differently!

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What Have We Learned From “The Sequester”?

It has been nearly two weeks since President and Congress failed to reach a last hour agreement on a real spending plan for the federal government triggering automatic cutbacks known as sequestration.  And what has happened?

Are criminals running wild in the streets? No! Unless you are in Chicago which is an entirely different subject altogether.

Are children out of school due to massive teacher layoffs?  Not that we can see!

Has the Pentagon been invaded or US security been overtly threatened?  Not yet!

Have senior citizens been turned away from healthcare due to cuts in Medicare?  Not a chance!

Have Social Security checks been halted?  Not that we’ve seen!

So what have we learned?  Perhaps it is time to give President Obama his due since “The Sequester” was his tactic to force Congress to approve massive tax hikes which they refused.  Instead, his losing poker play has revealed the following:

  • Washington has a massive spending problem
  • Government can and should function with less and within its means
  • There is room for tax cuts to further stimulate the economy
  • The world will not come to an end if government spends less

President Obama never envisioned that it would come to this: actually having to make due with less and it not resulting in the end of the world despite his protestations to the contrary.

So maybe some good can come from this and he can learn a valuable lesson.  But that remains to be seen and, quite frankly, we are skeptical.

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Here We Go Again

As expected, the “can” that we kicked down the road in December is fast approaching once again.  That “can,” Washington’s inability or unwillingness to control spending and taxes, wasn’t kicked very far the last time.  So here we go again!

President Obama’s recent pleas for “us to work together as Republicans and Democrats” seem to ring hollow and offer no solution to what ails our country.  He has asked that Congress work with him to iron out yet another “temporary fix” to America’s budget conundrum.  The last thing we need is another temporary fix!

Even the least sophisticated economists are fully aware that U. S. companies, both large and small, are simply sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars of capital and are unwilling to invest until a true agreement on government spending and tax policies is reached.  This is stifling our economy at a time when job creation is virtually non-existent.  We cannot afford another 90 day budget band-aid!

We at Americans for Common Sense Solutions (ACSS) have come up with a radical plan.  A plan that is so drastic that it was first envisioned by a group of revolutionary malcontents.  In 1789!

Let’s have President Obama actually submit a detailed budget which outlines his spending and tax plans going forward.  And even crazier yet, how about Harry Reid order the Senate to actually vote on the plan, something he has refused to do since 2009!

What will this do?  Allow businesses and individuals to make decisions about their own spending and investments.  Allow for real, sustained, economic growth.  Allow for our country to regain the confidence of investors and trading partners alike.

So please Mr. Obama, no more kicking the can down the road.  The country’s feet are tired!

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Obama’s Hagel Nomination Sets Tone for Second Term: Arrogance!

President Obama’s recent inaugural address stressed themes like “cooperation, “working together” and “unifying as a country.”  But one of his earliest actions, the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, reveals his true attitude and how he will really approach his second term – with distain for all who opposed him!

President Obama knew full well that Hagel’s track record of distain for Israel, lack of support for U.S. efforts in Iraq, failure to support tougher sanctions against Iran, and his tacit support for extremist groups in the Middle East would be polarizing. But he nominated him anyway!  Is this his way of thumbing his nose at those who opposed the proposed nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State?  Or was this a way to continue his long-standing anti-Israel agenda?  We think both!

To say that Hagel’s initial appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was bizarre would be the understatement of this young century.  Did he not know that they would actually ask questions?  Did the White House drop the ball and fail to prepare this obviously flawed nominee?  Or did they simply not care and are dead set on plowing through this awful nominee in an effort to flex their muscles by leaning on the “mandate” that they mistakenly believe the recent election gave them? We are not sure, but we have our suspicions!

Of this much we are sure:

  • Chuck Hagel, like President Obama, is no friend of Israel.
  • Iran has little to fear if Hagel is nominated.
  • The United States Military will not be stronger under Hagel’s leadership.
  • The Middle East will not be safer place with Hagel in the Pentagon.

And this is one of the first acts of President Obama’s second term.  We believe that if he gets away with this wrong-headed nomination to a vital cabinet position, his arrogance and anti-Israel policies will only escalate.

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