Shoes and Other Things I Have Never Understood About Women by Gregg Hilton

 

“Sex and the City” is now ranked among the best 100 TV shows of all time. The stars were Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall. It’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes — that’s why you sometimes need really special shoes now and then to make the walk a little more fun. . . I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live. I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!” – Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), HBO’s Sex and the City 

The night of Barack Obama’s 2008 election was painful for conservatives. I still remember the major points in his first address as President-elect, but the observations of my highly intelligent girlfriend took me by surprise. All of her comments were about Michelle Obama’s dress. Mrs. Obama did not speak, and I paid no attention to what she was wearing. I had no idea what my girlfriend was talking about, but the next day thousands of women were also commenting on the dress.

The Critics

I was reminded of this after receiving public and private messages today regarding the shoes worn by my friend Victoria Ordin. I do not understand the controversy and to me her shoes are similar to what any woman would wear to a social function.

I would never offer a moral judgment based on a persons footwear preferences, and it was cruel to refer to the Yale educated Victoria as a “a slut on a couch offering Lewinskies.” Victoria has now removed the red dress photo from her profile, and her mother (the former U.S. Attorney) is upset.

  • Cheri VanSwearingen and Courtney Jones Vickery both claim Victoria has “Tacky taste in shoes.”
  • Cheri also believes Victoria is a “disgusting spawn of Satan”, while Lisa Marie Allen accuses her of being a “privileged brat who has never accomplished anything.”
  • Pat Jones Combest of Asheville, NC calls Victoria a “disgusting ugly slut.” Victoria did nothing to any of these women. She does not know them, and did not call them any names. Her only sin is that she has a different political viewpoint
  • Cheri and Courtney are quick to condemn Victoria’s appearance, but neither of them will post photos of themselves.
  • Joanne Canda says Victoria’s shoes are from Payless.
  • Scarlett Severson Eichel disagrees and claims they are really from HSN.
  • Michael Wayne says her “F–k Me pumps” cry out “the oldest profession.”

I have no idea where any woman buys her shoes, and men rarely recognize the high end brands. I have not asked Victoria where she shops, but I know she earns $30/hour tutoring graduate students. I doubt she is spending $1000 on a pair of shoes.

American Women and Shoes

Women in the United States are spending over $18 billion/year on shoes, and despite the recession, the popularity of the most expensive brands continues to grow. The Wall Street Journal says “Shoes make women feel beautiful and they ignore the price.” Shoe icon Jimmy Choo says “How can you put a price on something which makes you feel special.”

According to Forbes:

Apparel is no longer the highest priority in women’s wardrobes: handbags and footwear have become the signature items used to project personal taste, wealth and style. . . a growing group of women are now willing to pay more for their shoes than ever before. Women consider footwear their signature item now. . .Paying $1,000 for a pair of shoes makes sense if she’s paying $7,000 or $8,000 for a Chanel suit. The shoes don’t bring up the total expense of the outfit by that much.

Sex and the City

The obsession many modern women have with footwear probably dates back to 1998. This is when mainstream America was initiated into the world of high end shoes with the premiere of Sex and the City. It was the first cable program to win an Emmy award for comedy.

The women in the series placed a high priority on expensive brand names such as Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik.  The New York Times referred to Blahnik, 68, as “the fifth character” in the series.

Jimmy Choo, 43, is a London based Malaysian-born designer. He rocketed to fame in 1990 with the patronage of the late Princess of Wales.

The attractive women in the TV program had admirable qualities but they were insecure. They were also caught up in a couture-centric, image conscious social life.

The series was a huge hit and the actresses became trend setters. The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, worked for the fictional New York Star and the name of her column was “Sex and the City.” She made a modest salary but still spent over $40,000 on footwear.

She claimed shoes were a tool of self expression, and they transformed her personality, which is something no man would say. Why do some women spend a small fortune on shoes and handbags?

Every survey demonstrates men do not notice, and they give these items a low priority. According to a poll of 3000 women paid for by Glamour magazine, the average woman will buy 469 pairs of shoes in her lifetime.

She will spend approximately $25,000 on shoes. The average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes, and buys seven pairs of shoes per year. The Glamour survey also says 6 out of 10 women admit to judging females based on their footwear. Over 25% of women keep their shoe purchases secret from their husbands of boyfriends who “wouldn’t understand.”

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Does U.S. Foreign Aid Make a Difference and Should It Be Stopped?

 

Halima, 12, was selling eggs on the street to help support her family. She had never attended school, but two years ago bags of Kansas wheat started arriving in her Afghan village. They were all labeled “USAID – From the American People.” Word soon spread that all children who attended school would receive a free hot lunch. It meant Halima’s parents would not have another mouth to feed, and for that reason they decided to send her to school. The program began seven years ago and literacy rates have quadrupled. Girls were never allowed to attend school under the Taliban.

The Senate Tea Party Caucus was officially launched yesterday with a two hour meeting open to the public. The Caucus includes Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT). Tea Party candidates such as Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have decided not to join the group. Senator Paul participated in numerous media interviews to mark the debut of the Caucus.

Rand Paul confirmed his opposition to the entire foreign aid program (which is 0.19% of the budget), and said America should eliminate all the assistance it provides to Israel. Foreign aid has never been popular, and this is especially true when the nation has a $1.5 trillion deficit this year as well as a $14 trillion national debt.  Senator Paul wants to abolish all aid because “nothing has changed in the poorest parts of the world.”

Senator Paul wants to abolish all aid because “nothing has changed in the poorest parts of the world.” He believes the money is being wasted, and that certainly did happen in the past.

Problems and Opportunities

Many Americans are not interested in the Third World or failed states which have been impoverished for years. Besides, the United States has plenty to worry about on its own.

African nations are far away and have so many problems. They are still beset with civil wars and strife. In the 1990s, Africa had more wars than the rest of the world combined.

During the Cold War, the United States was in competition with the Soviet Union, and foreign aid then went to dictators such as Mobutu in the Congo, Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Duvalier in Haiti and Stroessner in Paraguay. Mobutu alone stole at least $5 billion, and other problems include:

  • Corruption remains a problem and in recent years the presidents of Zambia and Malawi have both been charged with embezzling millions in aid funds.
  • The governments of Sudan and Zimbabwe are today letting their people starve.
  • There have also been mistakes. Over $2 billion was spent to construct roads in Tanzania, but transportation did not improve because there were no funds to maintain them.
  • From 1970 to 2002, over 70% of total government spending came from foreign aid in Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Sierra Leone. Progress has not been made in those nations, and they are unable to maintain their schools and clinic without aid.
  • The policy of donor nations has been to give these failed countries the basics. Food and medicine have been distributed and governments have not been asked to do anything. That has created a dependence on more aid. It is far better to have programs based on the power of markets, but that requires a long commitment.

Critics point to the failed states to demonstrate that foreign aid is useless, and poverty will never go away. Millions of people are still dying from disease, and Senator Paul and his allies now want Americans to give up.

What they will not acknowledge is that millions of people have been saved. The aid failures in the past decade have been relatively small, and the victories have been huge. African poverty and inequality is falling fast, and the continent is on track to halve poverty by 2020.

Foreign Aid Often Helps The American Economy 

Foreign aid is from the American people, but it is also for the American people. It is far more than charity, and it has proven to be a smart investment. There is substantial evidence demonstrating that foreign aid helps to create new American markets.

Long time aid recipients such as India, Indonesia, South Korea and Poland, are now major markets for American goods and services. The competitiveness of the United States is based on trade. One example of our changing economy is that Buick sales this year will be six times greater in China than in America. This is excellent news because the American taxpayers now own GM.

One out of five U.S. jobs now depends on international trade. Half of U.S. exports (almost $600 billion) are now going to developing counties. Almost 90% of those sales are from small to medium sized companies, and for every 10% increase in exports there is a 7% decrease in America’s unemployment rate.

Foreign Aid Helps Our National Security

Many people view foreign aid as a moral obligation to help the poor and feed the hungry, but the national security community supports the program because it helps to keep Americans safe and secure. That is why foreign aid is part of America’s official national security strategy. In addition, George W. Bush placed development aid alongside defense and diplomacy as a third critical pillar of national security.

America’s foreign assistance team works hand and glove with its military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and Central America. For example, by improving agriculture in Afghanistan we are helping to defeat the Taliban.

The home base of the Taliban in Kandahar is now exporting food for the first time in 40 years. The schools the U.S. has refurbished have replaced the Taliban’s extremist madrassas. Foreign aid has also moved farmers away from coca cultivation in nations such as Afghanistan and Colombia. In the regions of Colombia where the U.S. is involved, coca cultivation has dropped 85%. This is an essential part of the war on drugs.

The linkage between national security and foreign aid dates back to the Marshall Plan which helped in the post WW II recovery, but it also stopped the spread of communism to western Europe. JFK’s Alliance for Progress helped to stop the export of communist revolutions in Latin America.

As we have recently seen, impoverished states have been spawning grounds for terrorism, trafficking, environmental devastation, and disease.  Foreign aid is an important part of the mix because the military can’t secure a society alone. We learned this again in Iraq where we had to shift to a counterinsurgency strategy in 2006, and we had to do the same thing in Afghanistan in 2009.

Full Support From The Joint Chiefs of Staff

The most effective lobbyists for foreign aid have been the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) who have also emphasized how it bolster’s America’s national security. The JCS Chairman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he considers the education of women and girls important to our military goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and consequently to our security here at home.

Many studies support their observations. They have noted that a key to alleviating global poverty and its attendant ills such as fundamentalism and extremism is by empowering women and girls. The countries we are having the most trouble with are the ones who marginalize their females.

George W. Bush Completely Changed Foreign Aid

Senator Paul’s real target is President George W. Bush who quadrupled foreign aid. Bush increased the program from $2 billion to $8 billion where it remains today.

At the same time, Bush was successful in encouraging America’s allies to increase their aid, and they now provide $22 billion on an annual basis. This does not include assistance from non-profit and international organizations. The U.S. has the largest foreign aid budget, but as a percentage of our GDP, nations such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands are far ahead of us. Almost 60% of U.S. aid goes to Israel, Egypt and Colombia.

Bush completely changed foreign aid by numerous reforms and creating the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in March 2002. The program was designed to give millions of people the tools they need to build a better future.

The nations which receive MCA aid are those who have made a new commitment to fighting poverty by working in partnership with America to educate their people, encourage economic productivity and fight corruption. The only countries which receive aid are those who govern justly and meet a well defined set of requirements.

The 40 nations which have met the MCA or poverty reduction strategy requirements have an average growth rate of 5.9%. The Bush approach has been effective and amazing progress has happened.

It is also demonstrated in the declining number of child deaths, the advances made against HIV/AIDS, and the number of children going to school. A 2009 World Health Organization report credited the Bush administration with saving over 10 millions lives.

Foreign Aid is Making a Huge Difference

Significant problems still remain in the foreign aid program, and prior to the Bush administration billions of dollars were lost due to corruption. Nevertheless, significant progress was made by previous administrations.

The post World War II Marshall Plan gave $13 billion to Europe, which would be the equivalent of $100 billion today. It is still regarded as a tremendous success. Foreign aid also helped to lift millions of people out of poverty in South Korea, Taiwan, Botswana, Indonesia and Tanzania.

In the past 50 years, infant and child death rates in the developing world have been reduced by 50 percent, and life expectancy increased by about 33 percent. At the same time, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, and polio will soon join that list. There has been enormous progress in fighting river blindness, guinea worm, diarrheal diseases, and others.

Without the top three U.S. aid recipients, America has about $4 billion to distribute on an annual basis. The world will not be saved with that modest investment, but progress is being made and foreign aid should continue. Some of the milestones are:

  • In the past 20 years, the number of the worlds chronically undernourished has been reduced by 50 percent.
  • More than 3 million lives are saved every year through America’s childhood immunization programs.
  • Five and a quarter million people worldwide have a new lease of life since 2002 because of AIDS treatment.
  • Literacy rates are up 33 percent worldwide in the past two decades, and primary school enrollment has tripled.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of primary school age children enrolled in school increased from 56% in 1999 to 73% in 2009, the fastest increase of any region. Fifteen African countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, meaning they have an equal number of boys and girls enrolling.
  • The United States has brought safe drinking water to 1.3 billion people.
  • U.S. agricultural technology and practices have led to the most dramatic increases in crop production in the history of mankind, helping to feed a billion people.
  • 98 million less people were going hungry in 2010 compared to in 2009. Hunger is down in Ghana by over 75%. The decades of military rule are over in Ghana, and a pro-free market government has been making steady progress.
  • 23 African economies are now growing individually at 5% or more a year. In total 18 non-oil producing African countries have averaged growth of 5.5% during the past decade. Mozambique has had an amazing fifteen-year record of nearly 8 percent growth. Elsewhere, Egypt and Pakistan have tripled their incomes.
  • TB deaths are down from 1.8 million in 2007 to 1.3 million in 2010.
  • Measles deaths have fallen by 89% over the past decade after a massive vaccination program carried out by the United States in partnership with African governments, UNICEF and the American Red Cross.
  • The U.S. government and America’s non-profit organizations have distributed 122 million bed nets to protect families from malaria. Malaria incidences in west Africa have decreased by 49% since 2003, and the disease is no longer a major concern in Vietnam or Thailand.
  • During the past two decades, under-five mortality rates have declined by an average of 52% in Eritrea, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Ethiopia.
  • Forty-five years ago, Botswana was one of the poorest nations in the world. Then a free market was established and for three decades Botswana had the highest average economic growth rate on the planet.
  • Five years ago Liberia appear to be a failed state basket case because of civil war, corruption and poverty. Some people thought an aid program was not worth the effort. Liberia is still a poor nation, but it has made significant progress in all areas.
  • Foreign aid is not a never ending dole, and seven more nations have made enough progress to be removed from the assistance roles over the next three years. The first to go will be Montenegro in 2012. Countries which have been past recipients of aid such as India and Brazil are now donors.

Can America Afford Foreign Aid?

Over the past half century many people have claimed a foreign aid program was too expensive. Prior to George W. Bush, the aid program was cut repeatedly, and America does have a big deficit today.

Nevertheless, the critics are wrong in claiming the United States is carrying the world development load. Excluding the top three recipients, aid is only 0.09% of the budget. This is less than $4 billion and a considerable amount of that is helping security programs and the war on drugs.

The United States has received an excellent return on its foreign aid investment. In addition, we have never claimed aid is the only answer. The U.S. strategy includes trade, improved governance and business practices which foster private investment. Everyone also realizes it is essential to stop corruption.

All of these aspects are important, but aid is critical. U.S. assistance goes well beyond delivering food and medicine. It is a partnership with governments such as Ghana. We encouraged their transition to a free market economy and the result so far has been a 75% reduction in hunger.

Many people don’t care if millions of foreigners die, but what they don’t realize is that we are not saving any money by cutting back on foreign aid. If we stopped our aid programs, our allies would also stop or cut back.

The first victim would then be the growth of U.S. exports and the many transitions which are now taking place to a free market economy. Tens of thousands of American jobs would be sacrificed.

U.S. foreign aid goes well beyond food for peace. American aid programs have changed the world during the past decade by encouraging the establishment of fair business codes, viable commercial banks and reasonable tax and tariff standards. These reforms have allowed numerous American companies to enter the export market.

This isolationist strategy is what critics urged after the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan. We listened to their advice, and ignored Afghanistan in the 1990’s. We did next to nothing and the Taliban took hold. The subsequent military spending was a thousand fold of what any foreign aid program would have been. Once again, foreign aid is from the American people, but it is also for the American people.

Can we afford to do it? I think we can’t afford not to do it. Foreign aid today is a hand up, not a hand out. America is now encouraging economic growth policies. That did not happen in the past, but it is now an integral part of our development strategy. The Bush administration understood that good business is good development.

Laura Ingraham: 2011 Honorable Mention — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

HONORABLE MENTION: We included Laura Ingraham, 46, in the Honorable Mention category because she received so many votes. Over 1000 people nominated Ingraham and she definitely would have been included it if were not for the age restriction.
For the past decade she has been the most listened-to woman in political talk radio, and now appears on over 300 stations. She is smart and knows what needs to be said, and humor is one of her strong points. MSNBC suspended liberal icon Ed Schultz after he called Ingraham “a right-wing slut” earlier this year, and the story received huge national attention.
Ingraham is a Dartmouth and University of Virginia Law School graduate. She was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. She is author of “The New York Times” number one bestsellers, “The Obama Diaries” and “Power To The People,” as well as “The Hillary Trap.”
During the 111th Congress, Ingraham had a key role in generating grassroots support for the GOP agenda. She devoted several programs to the Ryan budget to cut the deficit by $6.2 trillion, and has always emphasized the importance of the Republican ban on earmarks. Ingraham was also a champion of the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” (CCB) to put the nation on a path towards a balanced budget. She has urged all candidates to sign the CCB pledge.
Her finest hour this year was the tremendous yeoman labor she devoted to the House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to address the debt ceiling crisis, and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Several conservatives said these initiatives were not sufficient, but she urged the right wing to accept them as a starting point. Republicans cannot get everything they want because they have to deal with a Democratic President and Senate. Ingraham said:
“While Boehner and Obama are dueling in the press, the Speaker has also been fighting some GOP members who are refusing to support his debt plan. It’s time to come together as a party, support Boehner, and declare victory. Now is not the time to squabble amongst ourselves, now is the time to call Obama’s bluff.. . .
“Opposing the Boehner plan is a very odd way to go about things if we have a common goal. We need to have a real and meaningful role, not just, I’m the spoiler here. I stood on principle, and everybody else is impure.
“You can stand on that soapbox and it might make you feel good for a moment. It might make you feel good to post things on Facebook, but in the end, does it actually advance our cause? Does it advance the cause of fiscal restraint, which I think we all have?”
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

The State of the Union – 1000 Points of Trite

 

The President had an effective introduction last night, but his 90 minute address was far too long. The best sentence was when be poked fun at government: “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

The rest of the speech was about what one would expect from someone who never ran a business, never made a payroll, and never had to worry about turning a profit. The President had several new ideas but what he does not realize is that the best way to spur the kind of innovation we need is for government to get out of the way, reduce our debt burden, and allow capital to flow to the most promising and productive enterprises.

My guess is that the speech was poll tested by Democrats and aimed at independent voters who are essential to the President’s re-election. The major disappointment was that the election mandate was ignored. It was revealed today that the 2011 deficit will be $1.5 trillion, the largest in history.

Our nation has a major fiscal and debt crisis but the President is doing nothing to address it. Despite the fact that the $814 billion stimulus did not work, the President is proposing more spending. The only difference is that instead of calling it a stimulus he is now referring to it as an investment. The cuts he proposed are in the wrong place, the Defense Department. There were no substantial non-defense spending reductions.

For the third year is a row, Obama promised to freeze discretionary spending. This means he wants 15% of the budget kept at its current bloated level. The GOP is going to do far better than that. The first Republican response will be cutting spending back to 2008 levels, and then to move on to 2006 levels. A freeze is not good enough. It still leaves us with us a trillion dollar deficit. The President ignored his spending freeze rhetoric during the last Congress, and we will wait to see his reaction when the reduced budget resolution is passed by the House.

This morning’s AP analysis says:

Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything. For example, he said he wants to eliminate ‘billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.’ Yet he made a similar proposal last year that went nowhere. He sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request, even though Democrats were then in charge of both houses of Congress.

The President said we need a “sputnik moment” in making investments and spurring innovation. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) we have already “had countless Sputnik moments in recent decades that have created little more than space junk. Congress continuously launches programs with great fanfare but rarely tracks or measures their progress. Then, when we want launch a new program we’re surprised when it overlaps with an existing program.”

The good part of the speech is that he called for a few things the liberals have always blocked. He promised to veto any bills that contain earmarks: “Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.”

The President does not have to worry because the House is already fully committed to not passing any bill with an earmark. I am glad the President made this promise, but that certainly was not his policy in the 111th Congress. In 2009, he was vigorously defending earmarks.

Other good points were promises regarding medical malpractice reform, eliminating the 1099 rules in ObamaCare, encouraging the private sector to develop nuclear power, and tax simplification for both businesses and individuals. You asked for it Mr. President, and you will get it from the House of Representatives.

Republicans will need your help in the Senate, and you will have to tell the Majority Leader to allow these issues to come to a vote. There will be no RINO problem on any of these issues. Republicans are united, but they need a minimum of three Democratic votes for Senate passage. The other problem is that these are only vague promises. Medical malpractice reform is an example. This is what the AP analysis says:

Obama has expressed openness before to this prominent Republican proposal, but it has not come to much. It was one of several GOP ideas that were dropped or diminished in the health care law after Obama endorsed them in a televised bipartisan meeting at the height of the debate.

Republicans want federal action to limit jury awards in medical malpractice cases; what Obama appears to be offering, by supporting state efforts, falls short of that. The president has said he agrees that fear of being sued leads to unnecessary tests and procedures that drive up health care costs. So far the administration has only wanted to study the issue.

Trial lawyers, major political donors to Democratic candidates, are strongly opposed to caps on jury awards. But the administration has been reluctant to support other approaches, such as the creation of specialized courts where expert judges, not juries, would decide malpractice cases.

The Verdict of History: Comparing The Bush and Obama Records

April 29, 2007: The National Day of Impeachment was organized by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Daniel Ellsberg and Cindy Sheehan.

The Bush Economic Record
President George W. Bush came into office with a recession and left with one, but his overall record is admirable. For 24 quarters we had steady growth, a record not matched by any other President. The Bush tax cuts rescued the economy and provided the nation with low unemployment and continued growth for 5½ straight years. The Dow Jones reached an all time high, and the tax cuts got America out of the dot com recession. Continue reading

The Verdict of History: Comparing The Bush and Obama Records

 

April 29, 2007: The National Day of Impeachment was organized by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Daniel Ellsberg and Cindy Sheehan.

The Bush Economic Record

President George W. Bush came into office with a recession and left with one, but his overall record is admirable. For 24 quarters we had steady growth, a record not matched by any other President. The Bush tax cuts rescued the economy and provided the nation with low unemployment and continued growth for 5½ straight years. The Dow Jones reached an all time high, and the tax cuts got America out of the dot com recession.

According to the CBO, the Bush tax cuts increased revenue brought into the federal government by 37% over projections from the time they were enacted in 2003 to 2006. In 2007, the CBO stated tax receipts were 11% over projected revenue. Bush’s average spending-to-GDP (19.6%) compares to Bill Clinton (19.8%), George H.W. Bush (21.9%), and Reagan (22.4%). It also shows that his deficit-to-GDP was 2%—half that of Bush 41 and Reagan.

Deficits under Bush, as a percentage of GDP, were lower than the average over the past 30 years. Even Bush’s 2008 recession was better than Obama’s “recovery.” Why weren’t even more jobs created on Bush’s watch? Because unemployment was at 4.5% for the majority of his administration. Economists consider a 5% rate full employment. It was a rate that had not been seen since the 1950’s.

Obama has now agreed to extend all of the Bush tax cuts and groups such as Moveon.org are silent. In 2004 the organization sponsored TV ads attacking Bush’s deficit, which now seems small in comparison to Obama. The amount of money the U.S. has borrowed since George Washington through George W. Bush is $9 trillion. The amount of money the U.S. has borrowed these past two years under Obama is $5 trillion.

The cruel attacks on Bush never concerned liberals or the media. No one cared about the tone of the political discussion back then. A popular movie was about Bush’s assassination, but there was no outcry about hate speech. Now the liberals are concerned about “uncivil” talk because their guy is politically vulnerable.

The Bush Impeachment Resolution

The real hypocrisy of the left is seen in the attempt to impeach Bush. At one time this campaign energized the radical liberals but now Obama is guilty of many of the accusations once directed at Bush. The National Day of Impeachment began with these words:

We gather today as Americans who cherish our Constitution. Patriotism is standing for truth. Patriotism is standing for the Constitution. . .  The Republic is in danger… Impeachment is a whole and living instrument of US Constitution. When those leaders in high office violate the Constitution, the right of impeachment should prevail. . . . Impeachment is crucial. – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

The first resolution of impeachment was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who served as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee from 2006 to 2010. It had 38 co-sponsors and its highpoint was when a similar resolution was supported by 166 lawmakers on a June 10, 2008 test vote. In July of 2007, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she “would probably advocate” impeaching Bush if she were not Speaker of the House.

The Democratic Party of Vermont and New Mexico both passed resolutions advocating Bush’s impeachment, and over one million people signed petitions demanding his removal from office. Several conservatives also advocated Bush’s impeachment. The most notable was libertarian Bruce Fein of the Heritage Foundation.

He was a founder of the American Freedom Agenda along with former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene, and Richard Viguerie. Their 10 point American Freedom Agenda was introduced in Congress by Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and it was in complete opposition to Bush’s war on terror.

Barack Obama never supported the impeachment campaign, but he frequently criticized the Bush administration for its “cowboy diplomacy” and alleged “shoot first, ask questions later” policies.  The impeachment advocates said Bush started two wars. The 9/11 attack started one of them, and the 17 UN resolutions Saddam Hussein failed to comply with started the other.

After two years several of Obama’s policies are now an acknowledgment Bush had a valid response to America’s global challenges. At the time the impeachment resolution was introduced, the liberals were claiming the Iraq surge would fail.

Now Obama has kept Bush’s policy in Iraq, and repeated the success of his surge in Afghanistan. The Bush and Obama surges involve the same number of troops. Some of the articles in the  impeachment resolution were:

  • Articles 1 through 4 charge Bush with illegally creating a case for war with Iraq. The UN Duelfer Report says Saddam Hussein’s WMD production capabilities were completely intact and they could have had another stockpile in about a week. Saddam was interviewed when he was a prisoner, and said he didn’t allow UN inspectors or the US to verify that large parts of his WMD stockpile had been destroyed because he would look weak to his neighbors.
  • The 12 hours of taped conversations with Saddam between the first and second Gulf wars revealed “He had not lost his appetite for, or interest in, weapons of mass destruction,” said Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project, a liberal advocacy group working to slow the spread of WMD. “To the contrary, he was almost obsessed by them. . . It certainly shows he was trying to deceive the U.N.” The recent Wikileaks documents also prove Iraq had significant WMD production capabilities and was intending to restart their program. The information was classified until Wikileaks made it public.
  • Articles 9, 10, 11 and 13 concern the conduct of the war. All of the U.S. military bases they claimed were permanent have now been turned over to the Iraqi’s. Obama has increased the use of the Predator drone program and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets by 80% over Bush.
  • Article 12 says the purpose of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to control the country’s oil supplies. America has not taken any oil from Iraq, and not one U.S. company has received a contract to produce oil. Iraq controls its own oil, and the “No Blood for Oil” accusation was always false.
  • Article 14 is about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson, and claims made by her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson. The Senate Intelligence Committee in July of 2004 concluded Wilson was a liar. We also know Valarie Plame was not working as a covert operative and Scooter Libby did not reveal her identity.
  • Article 16 is about “Reckless misspending and wasted US tax dollars.” The Obama administration has submitted projections showing $1 trillion budget deficits for the next decade. It is amazing Democrats would raise this as an issue.
  • Article 17 denounces Bush for not closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Former Vice President Dick Cheney today said Obama has: “learned from experience that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for, and he is now more sympathetic to the things we did. He’s not going to be able to close Guantanamo. If you didn’t have it, you’d have to create one like Gitmo. You’ve got to have a place to put terrorists who are combatants bound and determined to try to kill Americans.”
  • Article 18 concerns the treatment of detainees and torture. We are two years into the Obama presidency, and both rendition and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) are still legal and available for use. The authorization for EIT was withdrawn by the Bush administration and Obama formally ended the program, but he can bring it back at any time.
  • Article 19 says waterboarding was torture, and it was loudly denounced at the Democratic convention. The tone was different in May of 2009 when Attorney General Eric Holder said waterboarding is not torture. No Bush administration officials were prosecuted for allowing torture. Thousands of American soldiers, during training, received similar water-boarding and other interrogation methods over the past 15 years.
  • Article 20 claimed President Bush made end-runs around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to implement a “lawless” Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP).  Now the Obama Justice Department says the TSP can be used under the constitutional authority of the commander in chief. Presidents Lincoln, Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt all conducted similar surveillance by way of the same presidential and constitutional authority.
  • Article 21 claims Bush’s goal was overthrowing the Iranian government. Iran was never attacked during the Bush Administration, but Obama has ordered 12 bunker busting bombs which could be used in an attack on Iran.
  • Article 24 claimed the Patriot Act was a violation of 4th amendment rights, and Obama was part of the chorus criticizing the Patriot Act. It was set to expire in December of 2009 when Democratic super majorities existed in the House and Senate. Many people thought the Patriot Act would be repealed when Obama was elected, but they surprised us by enhancing it. Obama has done a great favor for conservatives. He has taken the Bush terrorism policies and had them codified in law. Former Bush attorney Jack Goldsmith says Obama’s  decision “to continue core Bush terrorism policies is like Nixon going to China.”
  • Article 25 charges the President with illegally spying on American citizens because of the NSA’s “warrantless surveillance.” The confirmation of former Bush NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden was opposed by then Sen. Obama because “he had overseen the illegal NSA spying program.”  Now Obama no longer believes the program is illegal. Hayden has reacted by saying: “There’s been a powerful continuity between the 43rd and the 44th president.  I don’t think it’s even fair to call it Bush Lite.  It’s Bush.  It’s really, really hard to find a difference that’s meaningful and not atmospheric. . . You’ve got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram in Afghanistan, and although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action.”
  • Article 26 condemned Bush for using presidential signing statements, but Obama has continued the practice.
  • Article 30 says Bush should be impeached for “Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.” The Bush and Obama positions are almost identical. Medicare Part D was a major campaign promise made by both Bush and Gore in 2000. Bush gave seniors a $15 drug in order to prevent a $30,000 operation taxpayer money would be committed to paying.
  • The prescription drug benefit was overwhelmingly popular with Congress and the American people. If Bush had opposed it, he never would have been elected President. Medicare Part D is coming in on or under budget. It greatly contributed to Bush’s deficit and it was not paid for. The Democrats advocated a more expensive program with no donut hole. Obamacare closed the donut hole, but it is still not paid for.
  • Article 32 charges Bush with “Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.” Former Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) was Bill Clinton’s climate negotiator, and was one of the original authors of cap and trade legislation. He led the Kyoto negotiations and was National Co-Chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. Even he says House Democrats went too far with their cap-and-trade national energy tax, and they were “out of control.”

What About the 2008 Recession?

The Bush administration recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis.  The Bush administration accurately diagnosed the problem in the lending market and they had a plan to address it. Bush wanted to tighten oversight with a new regulatory board for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government recipients for the express purpose of addressing bad loan practices, but Democrats blocked it.

The critics were wrong and Bush’s TARP program did not cost the taxpayers $700 billion. All the TARP money lent by his Administration will be paid back with interest, and he saved the U.S. banking system and the American economy from another depression. A free market market should punish bad decisions, but in September of 2008 the fate of our entire economy was at risk.

Where Are The Liberals Now?

The Obama Administration has maintained, renewed or expanded many of Bush’s War on Terror policies. Now that Obama agrees with Bush on these issues, they are all forgotten. The left never really cared about them, it was all partisan politics. Liberal author Glenn Greenwald makes a similar argument in Salon:

Obama has single-handedly eliminated virtually all mainstream debate over these War on Terror policies.  At least during the Bush years, we had one party which steadfastly supported them but one party which claimed (albeit not very persuasively) to vehemently oppose them.  At least there was a pretense of vigorous debate over their legality, morality, efficacy, and compatibility with our national values.

Those debates are no more.  Even the hardest-core right-wing polemicists — Gen. Hayden, the Heritage Foundation, Dick Cheney — now praise Obama’s actions in these areas.  Opposition from national Democrats has faded away to almost complete nonexistence now that it’s a Democratic President doing these things. What was once viewed as the signature of Bush/Cheney radicalism is now official, bipartisan Washington consensus: the policies equally of both parties and all Serious people.  Thanks to Barack Obama, this architecture is firmly embedded in place and invulnerable to meaningful political challenge. . . I genuinely believe that Obama and the Democratic Party owe a heartfelt, public apology to Bush, Cheney and the GOP for all the harsh insults they spewed about them for years based on policies that they are now themselves aggressively continuing.

Obama has won the War on Terror debate — for the American Right.  And as Dick Cheney’s interview last night demonstrates, they’re every bit as appreciative as they should be.

Conclusion

George Bush liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the terrorist training camps have been shut down. The 315 million people of the Middle East will eventually have a better life because of him, and the World Health Organization credits Bush with saving over 10 million lives in Africa.

Bush did not spend two years criticizing his predecessor. He made the tough decisions and kept our nation safe. He didn’t always succeed but he worked diligently on efforts such as reforming entitlement programs and trying to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It would have been far better for the nation if Bush’s reforms had been enacted.

For eight years when major decision points were reached, America was fortunate to have George W. Bush as its Commander-in-Chief. Even though his contemporaries were not, the verdict of history will be kind to him.

Tax Hike Passes By One Vote: Illinois is Nation's Worst Credit Risk

Illinois is the worst credit risk in the nation because for years its lawmakers have refused to adequately address its budget gap.


The Illinois legislature voted last night to increase the state personal income taxes by 67 percent and business taxes by 46 percent. Illinois now has the highest effective corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, and prior to the vote Illinois ranked 48th in job creation. All Democrats voted yes, and all Republicans in both the House and Senate voted no. The Senate passed the measure at 1:30 am by a 30 to 29 vote margin. Continue reading