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Hu’s On First January 27, 2011

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A cliché is defined as a trite expression.  It’s often a figure of speech whose effectiveness has been worn out through overuse and excessive familiarity.  Yet a cliché is also a type of short hand: an instantly recognizable illustration that carries a wider meaning in a shorter phrase.  The recent triumphal visit by the Chinese President Hu Jintao has left many Americans wondering if Hu’s on first.

Most of us have seen something called a Chinese fire drill.  This is when a car, usually driven by teenagers, stops at a traffic light and everyone jumps out of the car for a blurred moment of deranged rearrangement.  The driver becomes a passenger, a passenger becomes the driver, a person from the back moves to the front, and the occupant of the coveted shotgun seat descends to the rear.  This is an apt picture of the current state of international affairs.

The once world-shaking empires of Europe suffering the effects of two suicidal wars and decades of social welfare rot now stand in line to collapse as History passes them by.  America, once the arsenal of democracy silently watched as China went from making our socks to making our I-pods, cell phones, and computers.  Now as the light is about to change China climbs in the driver’s seat and says, “Hold it down in the back seat!”  How long will it be before they’re saying, “Don’t make me pull this car over” if we keep impudently petitioning for a level playing field?

To watch our President bow, to see the communist flag flying at the White House it’s easy to believe China has assumed its place as the Middle Kingdom: the land between heaven and earth where Red Emperors sit on Dragon Thrones doling out cash to rescue the poor barbarians who can’t seem to balance their books.

Our trade policy, with the Chinese, resembles their famous water torture where drip after drip bores a hole in an upturned and exposed forehead rather than equitable relations between equals.  Another fitting illustration for our trade policy with China is death by a thousand cuts. Whenever something was a long time coming people used to say it was on a slow boat from China.  Now that almost everything in America comes here on a boat from China it’s beginning to appear that slow and steady has won the race.

For all the expertise of our mature government, that has had a century of international prominence, our negotiations with the novices from Beijing resemble more a bull in a China shop than anything else.  We are bested at every turn often surrendering our advantages with all the wisdom of a man with a royal flush folding because someone else is bluffing with a pair of eights.

You might ask what any of this has got to do with the price of tea in China.  The Bush dynasty, the Clinton Interlude, and the Administration at the End of the World have spent us into oblivion.  They’ve exchanged the reality of being the number one manufacturer and the go-to creditor of the world for the mirage of being a kinder gentler social welfare state with our hand out.  We politely ask if our East Asian Bankers could please in their infinite much appreciated kindness assist us in any of numerous foreign policy debacles, such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or North Korea.  Our imperious masters smile and say, “Not for all the tea in China.”

It’s imperative that the Red Emperors on their Dragon Throne eventually squelch or emasculate any competing systems that allow their populations to have true freedom.  As long as there’s freedom somewhere the inhabitants of slave states will yearn for liberty.  As long as those in chains can see others walking where they wish as they wish uneasy lays the head that wears a crown.  Consequently they must ultimately compete for mastery not co-existence.

So will our inscrutable financiers compromise?  Will they relent and give our goods the same open door we give theirs?  Will we convince them to abandon their mercantilist policies, which resemble nothing more than the policies we followed in the 19th century which led to our economic and industrial rise, and instead embrace our open border free trade policies which don’t seem to work so well for us?  The possibility of Mr. Obama’s kowtowing bringing compromise or even respect hasn’t got a China man’s chance.

So are all these illustrations merely an illusion, or has China built a great wall between our inept leaders and America’s ability to maintain its place in the first ranks of the world?  Look at our military stance with regard to China.  Our leaders make assumptions based on China’s publicly announced defense budget when people standing on the corner reading local papers realize their announced defense budget is the tip of an iceberg heading for the USS Titanic.

In the past decade the Chinese launched 30 submarines while our fleet of submarines has shrunk.  They’ve developed a stealth fighter that just by coincidence looks almost exactly like ours and while we’ve quit building the original they’re gearing up to turn their clones out like toasters.  And for a real game changer our peaceful trading partners have developed a ballistic missile which can take out our Aircraft Carrier battle groups anywhere in the world.

As we flush our power down twin drains fighting insurgents we call terrorists, the Chinese are preparing to stand toe-to-toe with America on the world stage.  Do they want war?  Their greatest military genius taught them long ago, “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

We watch as our hapless leaders bumble around like vaudeville comics dropping their hats and pulling at their ties as the scales of time tilt leaving America wondering, if Hu’s on first, “What’s on second?”  After years of deficit spending and leadership by the twin headed party of government growth it may end up that “Don’t Know’s on third.”  When will the lights go out?   When will our increasingly imperious banker call the note?  Perhaps only Hu knows Wen.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

The 8th Deadly Sin January 21, 2011

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He who hesitates is lost.

When we have the opportunity to accomplish something and we miss that opportunity because we fail to take action or we allow ourselves to be diverted from the best to accomplish the good that isn’t defeat it is capitulation.

To concentrate on attempting what cannot be accomplished while ignoring what can is beyond folly it’s culpably poor leadership.  It ranks right down there with decision of the captain of the Titanic to dismiss warnings of icebergs ahead because his ship was unsinkable.

To lose momentum is to gain inertia.

The new House majority is locked in a confrontation with an adversary shameless enough to use a senseless tragedy perpetrated by an obviously deranged individual for political gain.  An adversary aided by a mass media willing to present a surreal pseudo reality as if it were the real thing.  Thus it is useless to expect a level playing field.  Rolling a big rock up a steep hill is the order of the day.   All of which says it is time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.  Real work not symbolic work.

Reading the Constitution is good political theater.  Demanding that every piece of legislation explicitly state where in the Constitution it is authorized should have been standard operating procedure.  In fact most bills have always included a section pointing to the constitutional validation of the law.  In the end this will probably lead to a continuation of the over use of the words, “Commerce Clause” and “Necessary and Proper” which in effect mean, “Because we want to.”

Conservatives are confronting a relentless opponent who has gained strategic and tactical advantage.   An opponent, supported by the media, in control of the educational and entertainment establishments who has the cohesion of shared ideology and goals.  To make concessions and compromises merely hastens their goal of an unlimited government and central planning.

Ultimately what it is; is what it is. This sounds obvious doesn’t it?  The truth often is obvious, so obvious that it hides in plain sight and is either forgotten, overlooked, or missed.

Today what it is; is a political environment which ignores the Constitution and the limits it imposes.  We may wish it wasn’t.  We may tell ourselves it isn’t but it is.  It isn’t what we wish it was and it won’t become what we want it to be unless we take positive steps to build upon our enlightened past to change the revisionist present.  We must divert the flow of current events into a path that leads to the future we desire or we’ll end up in a future that repudiates our past and validates the present we now inhabit, one which in many ways will be the opposite of our constitutionally limited representative republic.

It will still be called the United States of America.  We will be told that we have the most freedom and opportunity of any people on earth. But the fact will be that we will have become the creatures of an unlimited government, the playthings of a faceless bureaucracy.

We can’t know what we don’t know but we can know that we don’t know.

He who writes the past controls the present and he who controls the present shapes the future.  We need to examine our own knowledge base.  Each of us needs to frankly admit what we don’t know and actively strive to fill in the gaps.

If we aren’t sure how we got here we must learn our own history.  If we aren’t sure how the economy works we must study economics.  If we can’t understand why our leaders do what they do we must examine political theory.  Americans were once known as the most politically involved and informed people on earth.  An informed and involved populace is the rampart of a free nation.  We must do the work, put in the effort necessary to take our place beside our ancestors as the guardians of liberty and the advocates of the limited government which alone can ensure its survival.

One can only do what one can do and one cannot do what one cannot do.

What am I calling for in the way of concrete actions by the new Republican majority in the House?  Don’t waste precious time doing things you think will placate the Tea Party.  Don’t spin your wheels in dead-end gestures as a way of tipping your hat to the newly activated voters.  Instead do what you can do.

Refuse to add to the deficit.  Refuse to grow the government.  In other words refuse to be an accomplice to the building of the social welfare replacement state.  Instead use your investigative powers to uncover the corruption that lies at the foundation of Chicago on the Potomac.  Use the bully pulpit of being an elected representative, of being the majority leader and speaker of the House to state the case that one side in Washington are working to establish an unlimited federal bureaucracy and one side wants to re-establish limited government.

Do what you can do don’t pretend to do what you know you can’t do.  Stand up and be counted or continue to do what you have done previously and eventually you might be counted out, at the ballot box.

There are latitudes to platitudes which often lead to the gratitude of the multitude and there are limitations to alliterations which leverage the legitimacy of literature.  Rising above the temptation to be catchy in an industry that rewards catchiness while striving to enlighten as well as entertain leads us back to the reality of what it is; is what it is.  And what this is; is a wake-up call to the new Republican majority in the House.

Act as a Conservative majority, a break upon the Progressive’s relentless advance toward the corporate state and the social justice welfare shabbiness it entails.  Stand-up for what you stand for don’t fritter away your present advantage for hollow compromises which merely serve to advance the agenda of your opponents.  Remember they see victory as anything bringing any movement in their direction.  They realize there is a tipping point and that it’s approaching.

One last word to the wise; don’t mistake the victory of the last election as a vindication of your past tactics or motives understand it instead as a last chance reprieve.  If you sell the birthrights of the American people for a photo-op and a friendly write-up in the media of record come 2012 you may be in for a shock.  Strike now while the iron is hot.  Do not commit the 8th deadly sin of procrastination or the voters won’t hesitate to try something else the next time around.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.


Grow The Economy Not The Bureaucracy January 15, 2011

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Business is like water. It follows the path of least resistance.  A fact which should birth shame in the hearts of all Americans is that for the last decade American Businesses have been in a mad rush for the door.  They’ve left America, once the epitome of free enterprise, choosing instead to establish them in Communist China.  Today Federal red tape and taxes are strangling American free enterprise.

Innovation is like lightning. It comes in a flash, burns white hot, and is impossible to bottle.  When free enterprise is stifled by government interference in the marketplace the incentive to develop and produce are stunted.  Americans have always been the can-do people.  We’ve always been the leaders in invention and innovation.  Our entrepreneurs have traditionally led the world in new patents and processes.  In 2011 many sources predict China will take the lead in high tech patents applied for and new industrial processes pioneered.  It takes thinking outside the box to find the new and provide the best.  In America today the Federal Government has set to work making the box stronger, to weaving a mesh of regulations and taxes, and turning the box into a cage.

The grand gesture, voting to repeal Obamacare presented by the House Republicans as proof that they’ve become true fiscal conservatives, is a hat trick meant to beguile the newly awakened and lull them back to sleep.   The smoke screen of denying funding as a way to stop the implementation is hollow argument offered by people who know better to people who should know better.  The aspects of the national health plan which are taking effect in 2011 do not require any funding.  They come in the form of regulations, fees and taxes.

Grid lock is the best we have to hope for from the 112th Congress.  The very idea that any repeals or rollbacks of the omnibus thousand page take-over bills will pass in Harry Reid’s Senate and be signed by Mr. Obama is laughable.  Not only will the Senate not validate the results of November 2010, it is working diligently to stack the deck with new rules to prevent the enlarged minority from interfering with the evolutionary changes the Progressives constantly seek to enact as they attempt to evolve past the Constitution.  What we need now is the party of “Hell no!” acting as a roadblock to the Progressives long march to the corporate state.  Reading the Constitution at the beginning of the session is a great act of showmanship.  Demanding that every piece of legislation contain a clause citing the constitutional empowerment for its enactment is long overdue.

However, what we need is a House that remembers that according to the Constitution all tax bills must originate in the chamber of the people.  What we need is more than showmanship and more than doing what should have been done since 1789.  What we need is a House that’s willing to to call out the other branches of the Federal Government when they exceed their constitutional powers.  The House has the power to investigate, subpoena, the power to impeach, and the power to bring suit in Federal Court.  They have the power to expose the Progressive juggernaut for what it is: an express on the road to serfdom.

Their economic plan is merely inflating the next bubble and praying that the rest of the world considers America too big to fail.  America is fast approaching the tipping-point as a global manufacturing power.  Manufacturing made-up 53 percent of the economy in 1965, it only accounted for 39 percent by 1988, it accounted for merely 9 percent in 2004, and the decline continues.  The warning signs are everywhere: a loss of a staggering 32 percent of manufacturing jobs since the year 2000, employment in the computer industry is lower in 2010 than it was in 1975, and we’ve lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  We are turning into merely a source of raw materials and a market for manufactured goods from China, which is the textbook description of a colony.

No matter what the rhetoric, no matter what the stated intentions, it appears the consequences of the last ten years work by the best government money can buy are the unintended consequences.  These political savants are so clueless that their answer to the problem of too much government and too much regulation is to appoint new committees, commissions, and expand the bureaucracy to study the old and recommend solutions that entail new regulations and more government.

This isn’t rocket science.  We aren’t trying to figure out the orbit perimeters of a sling-shot around the moon to reach Saturn.  This is Political Science and Economics: the arcane arts of who gets what, when, and how.

If we want manufacturing and innovation to grow reduce taxes to the lowest in the world and take the steel boot of regulation off the throat of free enterprise and watch our manufacturing base and our industrial output soar.  If you want more jobs stop stifling small business with uncertainty and watch the unemployment rate fall.  If we want more consumer spending instead of the next round of bail-outs and stimulus pay-offs to campaign contributors give the American people a one year federal tax holiday and watch consumer activity go through the roof.  In other words grow the economy not the bureaucracy.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.


Where Are The Jobs? January 8, 2011

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There were two reasons for the election of President Obama.  One, after one and a half terms of Bush the Younger, and a Republican shopaholic Congress and half a term with a Democratic shopaholic Congress people were desperate for change.  And two, the economy hit a speed bump in September of 2008.  Candidate Obama promised to control spending so our free economy could create new jobs.  President Obama has so far delivered the greatest spending binge in world history.

His answer to an economy stalled because of government induced bubbles and out-of-control spending was the massive omnibus stimulus filled with “shovel ready jobs” that it took him nearly two years to discover never existed.  Next he squandered his massive political capital seizing industries, ramming national health care down the throat of a protesting America, taking over the financial industry, the Internet, and establishing regulatory control over everything from cradles to graves.

Since his election, as the economy languished, the American people from across the political spectrum have sought leadership in the quest for a recovery.  And what has been the response of our Progressive President and his Progressive-dominated Congress?  Constant promises to focus on job creation to cover the enactment of a radical agenda designed to transform America.

In January 2009, seven days after taking office, President Obama gave his first state of the Union speech.  In this speech, after detailing how deep the Recession had become he said, “That is why jobs must be our number one focus in 2010, and that is why I am calling for a new jobs bill tonight,” and “People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay.”

In February of 2009 while some Progressive legislators were applauding President Obama for his focus on jobs others were petitioning him to actually focus on jobs.

By May of 2009 President Obama’s jobs deficit, which is the range between what has been promised and what has been delivered, reached 6.2 million and was growing by over 500,000 a month.  Holding a series of Jobs Summits at the White House the President continued to promise he was going to focus on jobs.  By October of 2010 the administration’s jobs deficit stood at 7.6 million.

In July of 2009 the promise by the President was for a focus on job creation.  And while Progressive think tanks such as the Economic Policy Institute lauded him for his focus on jobs, in December of 2009 Mr. Obama had to once again promise to turn his focus on jobs since the unemployment rate was stuck at over 9%.

In January of 2010 President Obama in his second State of the Union Address promised to renew his focus on job creation.  Also in January of 2010 the President announced he would spend billions to create green jobs even though no one is quite sure what constitutes a green job and they are projected to cost over 135,000 dollars apiece.  In addition, these are temporary jobs and many of them would be overseas?

By March of 2010 the President’s advisers were predicting an extended period of high unemployment.  Also in March of 2010 the President announced a multi-billion dollar bill to create jobs in small businesses. In April of 2010 the President promised to turn his focus on job creation. By September of 2010 some of the President’s key economic backers as well as over 300 economists were pleading with him to focus on jobs.  In December of 2010 The President announced that our economy is past the crisis point and that now it’s time to focus on jobs.

What has President Obama accomplished in almost two years in office?  One site proudly lists 100 accomplishments.  Another site lists 90 accomplishments.  An abbreviated list of nine is readily available. Another complains he is not getting credit for all he has done and lists the eight they feel are especially noteworthy.  Another site lists seven.

Taking the opportunity of one of his rare press conferences to remind everyone, “I am President,” he went on to list his latest lame-duck accomplishments, including passing the tax compromise package, ratifying the START nuclear disarmament pact with Russia, and repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.  He took the opportunity of reviewing his recent accomplishments to place these bi-partisan legislative victories in the context of November’s election saying, “in the wake of the November elections that we have the capacity not only to make progress, but to make progress together.”  Is this the progress you voted for?

Though all these accomplishments have gone a long way in fundamentally transforming America, with the current unemployment rate frozen at over 9 % it’s hard to say they‘ve created any jobs.  Perhaps it’s time to tell a President whose only private sector job made him feel as if he was behind enemy lines that except for more bureaucrats and make-work temporary positions government can’t create jobs.  At best it can create an atmosphere of freedom and then get out of the way.

We cannot borrow our way to prosperity.  We cannot tax ourselves to solvency.  And we cannot take one hundred dollars from a productive taxpayer, siphon off fifty dollars in handling fees, pay fifty dollars to a make-work employee and call that a job at least not outside the beltway in the real world.  Quit trying to remake America.  Quit taxing and regulating business to a standstill.  Let freedom ring, and then perhaps you’ll learn where real jobs come from: free enterprise.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

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