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  • Taxes Solve Everything Right?

    President Obama on Thursday proposed a tax on the 50 largest banks that took TARP money last year. Obama said, “We want our money back.” On the surface it may seem reasonable – to some – to impose a tax on the “greedy” banks that took so much taxpayer money and caused our current financial crisis. 

    But what’s left out of the president’s argument is that the banks have already paid back two-thirds of the TARP money they borrowed with interest. Also missing from the discussion is the fact many of them didn’t want the TARP money in the first place, but were threatened by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson into taking it, regardless. In addition, several were told that they couldn’t pay back the money last year, after their balance sheets came back into line.

    The irony in all of this of course, is that the banks wouldn’t even be in this predicament if it hadn’t been for the unwelcome intrusion of the federal government in the first place. But thanks to Congress – dating back to the CRA Act of 1977 signed into law by Jimmy Carter, and further accelerated by Bill Clinton’s loosening of any reasonable restrictions previously contained within – banks were forced to make high-risk loans to borrowers who could never hope to repay them. Add the thuggery of organizations like ACORN into the mix (whose actions were sanctioned by the federal government in the name of “fairness”), and it’s easy to see how we arrived at this precarious financial destination.

    Back in 2005, some sane members of Congress, including Senator McCain, along with President Bush sounded the alarm for reform in the hopelessly corrupt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, instead of demanding accountability and reining in these organizations, Congress ordered them to make even more bad loans – backing them with hardworking taxpayers’ money.

    President Obama’s proposed new tax would be in effect for ten years, and like most taxes, wouldn’t necessarily go away after the TARP funds are repaid. Predictably, the banking industry is opposed, declaring the tax to be punitive and unnecessary. Equally predictably, President Obama resorted to his typical class-warfare tactic by condemning the “massive profits and obscene bonuses” of the banking industry’s top earners as an excuse to exert even more government control.

    For the moment at least, we live in a capitalist society, where the free market determines what is appropriate and what is “obscene”, not the government. Banks are comprised of divisions, some of which may profitable while simultaneously, others may be floundering. If the market determines that a high-achieving employee who greatly contributes to the success of his bank or financial institution merits a million-dollar bonus then his company has a choice: either pay him what he’s worth, or lose the valued employee to a competitor that will.

    It seems that Democrats think that taxes solve everything. But history has shown that when you keep taxes low you actually create a greater revenue stream. When taxes are low, companies have more money to expand their businesses, and hire and retain high-quality employees. When taxes on individuals are lower, they have more money to purchase things, thus keeping the engine of the American economy – small business – growing. But this is a lesson lost on people that believe that government is the answer to all the nation’s ills. “Cap and Tax” environmental regulations and the Healthcare “reform” bills are just the two largest examples of the attitude that government and higher taxes are the answers to our woes.

    The polls clearly show that the American people are ahead of our so-called leaders on this issue. The people know that they can better decide how to spend their hard-earned money than ideologues like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama. And they know for sure that in these troubled economic times, they can’t afford any more taxes that are designed to change our behavior, not improve our nation.

    The $787 billion “stimulus” didn’t create private sector jobs that would grow our economy and the tax base. What it did stimulate was the growth of government and the salaries of government and union employees. This growth of the federal government only leads to more regulations, fees and taxes that will ultimately prevent small businesses from recovering and in turn our economy as a whole from recovering in a timely fashion. Government doesn’t create wealth; government creates bureaucracy, waste and more dependence on government. It’s a vicious cycle and clearly it is unsustainable. 

    Steven Rosenblum

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  • District 19 Spoke, The Governor Listened

    In a very smart and politically savvy move Wednesday, Governor Charlie Crist issued an executive order rescheduling the April special election for Congressional District 19 to April 13th, 2010. Originally the Governor had set the date for April 6th, which is the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Shalom International and radio host Joyce Kaufman joined U.S. House candidate Edward Lynch (R) in urging the governor to change the date so that observant Jews would not be disenfranchised in this special election.

    Monday evening, before the Broward Republican Executive Committee meeting, Lynch met with the Governor and a handful of others to discuss the issue. Lynch urged Crist to change the date of the special election to avoid disenfranchising any voters and to increase voter turnout. Meanwhile Lynch’s primary opponents were downstairs, badmouthing Lynch and spreading foolish and disingenuous rumors about him. While they apparently had plenty to say about Mr. Lynch personally, candidates Curt Price and Joe Budd were noticeably silent on the issue of their potential future constituents being unable to vote on April 6th.

    Shortly after hearing about Crist’s announcement, candidate Lynch issued the following statement, “It is official, I applaud Governor Crist for changing the date of our special election to April 13, 2010. 3 days after I met with the Governor he made sure that all people will have the opportunity to vote. While our opponents were working the room slamming me, I was sitting with the Governor, taking care of the people’s business… I want to also give credit where it is due and I would like to say thank you to Shalom International and, of course Joyce Kaufman for working so hard on the election date issue as well.”

    While this writer has his differences with Governor Crist on many issues, I give him credit for doing the right thing in this situation.

    Steven Rosenblum

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  • I Don’t Make Promises… (I Can’t Break)

    “I Don’t Make Promises… (I Can’t Break)” is the title of a song by artist Shannon Curfman. I chose this song as the opening for my Blog Talk Radio program ‘Conservative Republican Forum’ (which airs Saturdays at 6PM Eastern) because it seems that politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are incapable of telling the truth to their constituents. It seemed very appropriate for a show about politics in America today.

    Republicans lost their majorities in the House and Senate, as well as, the White House because they didn’t keep their promises and acted like Democrats, abandoning fiscal responsibility and expanding government in both size and reach. They deserved to lose and opened the door for Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama to breeze into power.

    When Barack Obama ran for President he promised the nation change we could believe in and many, though not this correspondent, believed him. Candidate Obama promised the most transparent White House in history. He promised that negotiations and deliberations would be on C-Span for the public to see. Obama also promised that there would be no earmarks in any bill he signed into law, “none”. We were told by this president that if his “stimulus” weren’t signed into law that the unemployment rate would soar over 10% and that if it was signed into law that the unemployment rate wouldn’t go above 8%. He said that all bills would be posted on the Internet for a week, so that the public would have the chance to read and comment on them before they were signed into law.

    Almost a year into his first (and hopefully only) term it seems that President Obama doesn’t make promises that he can’t break. The only change he’s brought to Washington is an increase in deficit spending and a tremendous expansion in the size of the federal government. The White House wouldn’t even release a list of visitors to the People’s House until a Freedom of Information Act request forced them to so and the President’s transparency taskforce met behind closed doors with no media allowed. The healthcare bills in both the House and Senate have been written, in secret, with no Republicans being allowed to participate. The no earmarks promise has been broken repeatedly, as has the promise to post all legislation on the Internet before being signed into law. The “stimulus” was passed without even the members of Congress reading it and yet the unemployment rate is over 10% nationally and much higher in many states.

    It seems that the only promises that are being kept are the ones that Obama and company have made to their cronies, like SEIU and GE. Those are promises that most of us would prefer he break. SEIU was allowed to write the “stimulus” bill which is why union employees, especially those working for the federal government, are getting raises while people all over the country continue to lose their jobs. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, whose NBC and MSNBC “news” divisions have been in the tank for Obama from day one, is on the president’s Economic Council and was appointed to the board of the New York Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, when he was in China Obama negotiated a deal for GE to manufacture wind turbines to be sold to China.

    So I suggest that from now on, instead of playing “Hail to the Chief” when President Obama enters a room, the band should instead play “I Don’t Make Promises… (I Can’t Break)”.

    Steven Rosenblum

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  • I’ll See Your Double Standard, And Raise You A Dubai!

    The Dubai debt crisis has been extensively covered by the American media in the context of a financial meltdown, and that is an important part of the story, but it isn’t the whole story. The Wall Street Journal had a solid account of the financial aspect of the Dubai debt crisis last Friday titled, Dubai: A High Rise, Then a Steep Fall. The Dubai story that the mainstream media is telling is the familiar tale of a financial bubble leading to an orgy of unsustainable, tacky excess that would make Scott Rothstein’s bathroom look like it came from the pages of Town and Country, and the now all-too-predictable crash, where everyone loses a fortune. Not getting much of a mention is the story of worker slavery, sexual slavery, child slavery, debtor’s prisons, a censured press, political prisoners and environmental destruction on a massive scale.

    The Independent from the UK published a solid investigative piece in April called “The dark side of Dubai.” Revealing is the following exchange between the author and a couple of British ex-pats: My patience frayed by all this excess, I find myself snapping: doesn’t the omnipresent slave class bother you? I hope they misunderstood me, because the woman replied: “That’s what we come for! It’s great, you can’t do anything for yourself!” Her husband chimes in: “When you go to the toilet, they open the door, they turn on the tap – the only thing they don’t do is take it out for you when you have a piss!” And they both fall about laughing.

    The UK Guardian published this piece in October 2008 , “’We need slaves to build monuments,” which gets its title from the following quote: “We need slaves,” my friend says. “We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids – they were slaves.” Want more proof? Just type “Dubai + slavery” into Google and check the results. Dubai allows foreign investors, has property rights, no income tax and looks the other way when Westerners drink alcohol.

    Dubai before the crash and even Dubai after the crash is the fashionable new international model for Islamic moderation in the Arab world. Spend some time reading the Brit pieces and then try to comprehend that, according to published reports, celebrities and investors as diverse as Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Donald Trump, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Roger Federer, the Beckhams (Posh Spice and that soccer guy), and scores of American hedge funds, corporations, investment groups and wanna-be jetsetters have invested in, attempted to invest in or spent a significant amount of time in Dubai. Forget the idiocy of investing in a vacation spot located in a desert without a drop of fresh water, or the stupidity of using your investment capital to buy bonds issued by a bunch of guys who only 30 years ago were riding camels and eating scorpions.

    The moral bankruptcy of the Western world’s cultural, business and political ruling class is enabling a medieval theocracy built on slavery abroad while lecturing the rest of us with their cheesy pop culture morality at home. That’s the true scandal of the Dubai story. Here is David Beckham’s (he regularly vacations in Dubai) public service announcement on children with AIDS for UNICEF , Tiger Wood’s PSA on fatherhood (he reportedly developed a golf course in Dubai), and Angelina Jolie (who bought one of Dubai’s artificial islands) for World Refuge Day, and my New Year’s wish for all the Dubai sheiks and Dubai investors: I hope Dubai defaults on its debt and investors choke on the bonds. I hope the crappy artificial islands of “The World” sink into the sea and that the sands of the desert reclaim the stain upon the Earth that is Dubai.

    Jack Furnari

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  • And The Brits Are The Nice Ones!

    According to the Daily Mail, British officials claim Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were kept informed by No. 10 Downing Street at all stages of discussions concerning Megrahi’s (the convicted Lockerbie bomber’s) return.  They go on to say that Obama’s and Clinton’s reaction to the prisoner’s release was “disingenuous” insofar as it implied that they were not aware of these discussions.
    I think we all can agree that the British have a well-earned reputation as being polite to a fault.  For the Brits to refer to Obama and Clinton as “disingenuous” would be like us saying they’re “bald-faced liars.” We’ve all known this of Clinton for fifteen years, and Obama since at least his inauguration.
    Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end of Europe’s love affair with President Obama.
    The full article can be viewed at:

    Michael Dorstewitz

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  • Conservatives Converge In Palm Beach

    This weekend, at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, a veritable who’s who of conservative power-players and heavy-hitters converged to discuss, debate, relax and honor three their own. From Thursday, 11/19 to Sunday, 11/22 the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s ‘Restoration Weekend’ drew together conservative politicians, pundits, authors, analysts and icons from around the nation.

    Some of the speakers and guests that attended this gala event were: the host David Horowitz, former-Speaker of the House-Newt Gingrich, author-Ann Coulter, former-presidential candidate and US Senator-Fred Thompson, Phyllis Schlafly, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, State Representative Adam Hasner, Pamela Geller-of Atlas Shrugs, House Minority Leader-John Boehner, Democratic Strategist-Pat Caddell, Scott Wheeler, Andrew Klavan, George Gilder, Jonah Goldberg, Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney, Steve Moore-of the Wall Street Journal, Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Bawer, Congressmen Ed Royce and Thaddeus McCotter, Major General Paul Vallely, Liz Cheney, Michael Ledeen, Dave Bossie and US Senator Jim DeMint.

    There was a great award ceremony where former-presidential candidate, Senator Fred Thompson was the keynote speaker. His speech though well received and insightful, wasn’t very stirring. Ann Coulter, not known for gushing over anyone, gushed over recipient of the Annie Taylor Award, Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly is a conservative icon. In addition to being a brilliant strategic thinker, she also almost single-handedly defeated the E.R.A. Ms. Coulter spoke highly of her hero for about 10 minutes in a very heartfelt introduction. It was an excellent introduction and fascinating for showing Ann Coulter in a different light. Also honored were the filmmakers that exposed ACORN, Sean O’Keefe and Hannah Giles.

    Newt Gingrich gave a speech about how the Republican Party can take back control of Congress. The former speaker had some interesting tactical ideas. However, the Speaker’s “moderate” streak was on full display, as he suggested that if a district was so heavily Democrat that “a Republican could never win”, then rather than running a Republican we ought to support a “moderate” Democrat. His suggestion that Republicans should challenge Democrats from dogcatcher to the Senate seemed contradictory, but the crowd gave him a standing ovation for it.

    The fantastic Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota gave the best and most well received speech. She made no secret of the fact she believes Al Franken stole the US Senate election from Norm Coleman. She spoke of being the left’s number one target (maybe number 2 after Sarah Palin), speaking not as a victim, but pointing to the fact that the left knows it’s ideas are failing and that their arguments fall short, so they attack the messenger. Bachmann got 3 standing ovations from a receptive audience that obviously would like to see her lead the conservatives back into the leadership of the House GOP. After her rousing speech the crowd inundated Rep. Bachmann, looking for photo-ops and the chance to shake her hand and thank her for her efforts.

    Also in attendance was candidate for the US House of Representatives in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, Edward Lynch. Mr. Lynch met with Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Thaddeus McCotter, Fred Thompson, Major General Paul Vallely and others to discuss issues including: defense policy, healthcare, illegal immigration and how to mount a successful GOP sweep in 2010, starting with District Nineteen’s special election on April 6th.

    Lynch looked every bit like our next congressman as he discussed the serious issues that confront our nation, with seasoned legislators, military experts, veterans (including 3 Congressional Medal of Honor winners) and authors. Major General Vallely was extremely impressed with Lynch’s grasp of the issues and his positions. This may explain, in part, why the general recently gave Edward his endorsement.

    The panel discussions and lectures included “Obama’s Radical Transformation of America”, “Culture Panel: Is Hollywood Changing?” and “How to Win in 2010″. There was a moving tribute video celebrating the late Ron Silver and then there was the great Citizens United Film Festival, which included ‘Perfect Valor’ and ‘Ronald Reagan Rendezvous with Destiny’. The Freedom Center’s ‘Restoration Weekend’ was a fantastic gathering of some of the best conservative minds in America. It was a pleasure having this group of exceptional Americans in our backyard.

    Steven Rosenblum

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  • One Year Away

    Greetings fellow South Florida riders, South Floridians, and Americans, here we are for another monthly installment of our Wheels on the Road (WOTR) political assessment. By the time this piece goes into print WOTR will have celebrated 10 years being the definitive voice of the South Florida biker community. However, more importantly, we will be one year from what will be the most critical mid-term election in our Nation’s history.

    In the national elections of 2008 we experienced a repudiation of the Bush administration, clear, got it, and can actually understand why it happened. I also realize that America experienced a “Momentary Lapse of Reason”, to borrow the title from a Pink Floyd song. We were so angered from the previous 8 years that we forgot what Leadership looks like. We became so enthralled with a tele-prompted speech giver that we fell head over heels in affection, adoration, and blind admiration.

    What is it that we have actually fallen for in this short period of time?

    There are clear lines of separation being drawn in America. These are lines which define our “Principles of Governance”. Everyone that knows me realizes that I am a Conservative first and foremost, but what does that mean?

    My definition of Conservatism is the interaction between life, society, and governance which promotes the advancement of the individual by adhering to the foundational Constitutional principle of Liberty. That philosophy, ideology, drives how I examine any issue which confronts our Republic.

    The opposing perspective is a post-modern liberalism which has truly morphed into a socialist ideology. It is a philosophy that centers not on the individual, but rather the collective. It is a principle of governance which seeks to gather us together as a horde dictating what we shall eat, drive, consume, and even think. It is rooted in an intellectual elitism which believes they know what is best for everyone else, an American politburo.

    The Conservative believes in the empowerment of the individual. They believe that the constitutional mandate of “promote the general welfare” means setting the conditions for the success of the American citizen. It means unleashing the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit which made this great Nation what it is, in just 233 years.

    When one reads the US Constitution it becomes clear that this is a document which outlines what the federal government should not do…..however, it does set forth its mandates, “establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty”

    The Liberal, on the other hand, misreads “promote” to mean “provide welfare”, which after nationalizing production is a socialistic tenet, expansion of the welfare state. The Liberal does not believe in an American spirit but rather that we are victims.

    Liberals want to create despondency and dependency because they see government as the “nanny-state” and to have individuals successful is the anti-thesis to their goals and objectives. They see groups, the collective, defined as victims, and have them dependent upon an outside entity, government. This enables them to enslave, not empower, and the result is the 21st century plantation….leading to their consolidation of political power.

    The Conservative sees America truly as a land of equal opportunity. It is a place where a young fella from inner city Atlanta can be the Captain of the High School Football and Track teams. He can be the student body President and JROTC Battalion Commander. He can go onto college and earn a degree and Commission as an Officer in the US Army. He can further his education by earning two Master’s degrees. He can lead Americans in combat and retire as a Lieutenant Colonel and run for US Congress.

    That is an opportunity that exists for anyone having the determination and drive to excel, regardless of the group from which one emanates. Yes, Conservatives believe that there should be a safety net, but it should never become a hammock….thereby resulting in individuals who just “lay up sorry”.

    In contrast, the Liberal believes in equal achievement, that some external decider must be interjected to create certain results and engineer outcomes. They believe that every kid gets a trophy and that we don’t keep score. It is a philosophy which felt that home ownership was a right, not a privilege. Liberals do not feel that standards are necessary because it is about social and economic justice, which means redistributing the assets.

    In America, our progressive tax system is an example of how these lines of separation have been constructed. Here we have a 35-40% of the populace which does not pay into the tax system…and a few members of Congress and the Obama administration as well. This becomes the liberal target group for promises of “manna from heaven”, all at the expense of the 60-65% who carry the responsibility.

    You can have free education, free healthcare, and “cash for clunkers”, free whatever your hearts desire and we the Liberals will just take it from those making over $250K or whatever we arbitrarily establish. We will extend unemployment benefits and raise them so that you don’t have to work, just stay dependent upon the nanny-state. We will tax, borrow, and print more money, anything to keep you dependent and enslaved; after all you are a victim, unable to live the American dream.

    One year after electing President Barack Hussein Obama and having Liberals in charge of House of Representatives and Senate the lines of separation are clear.

    Similar to the French Revolution, we had the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat. In America in 2009, we have the Production class versus the Entitlement class. Michael Moore’s new film is just evidence of the hypocrisy of Liberals, and their insidious un-American design.

    The objective of the liberals is simple to understand, expand the entitlement class to maintain power, at the expense of the production class. When you have a built in 35-40%, all one must do is coopt some 10-15% useful idiots, and voila, you have the 52% secured by Obama a year ago in the Presidential election.

    The problem with this paradigm? It has never been successful anywhere in the world! As in the book by Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”, the production class will eventually stop producing, shrink, and even move away creating a societal collapse.

    We are one year away, the lines of separation have been drawn, on which side will you find yourself? The greater question is actually, which side will win in 2010 and decide the future and legacy of our Republic, these United States of America……production class versus entitlement class.

    The choice is yours, empowerment or enslavement.

    Lt. Col. Allen West

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  • “O” Can Blame It On Rio

    In October, the triple O’threat of Oprah, Michelle Obama and the “One” Barack Obama jetted to Copenhagen, Denmark to try to charm the International Olympic Committee into giving the 2016 Games to the O’Trio’s home town of Chicago, Illinois. Oprah and Michelle wined and dined the committee members and later the President arrived to make his pitch. Michelle made a heartfelt speech in which she said, “Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad’s lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis and others for their brilliance and perfection…” Of course when Carl Lewis participated in the Olympics the First Lady was in her 20’s, but we’ll let that pass. Maybe her dad’s lap was bigger than we think. But most of her speech, like that of her husband’s, which followed hers, was about her. She said “I” this, “me” that and “my” that over and over, making the proposed Chicago Olympics not about the City of Chicago, or it’s people, but about the Obamas. Whether this obsessive self-centered diatribe was intentional or just a natural inclination of the Obamas I can’t say for certain, but it was ironically correct. Had the Windy City received the nod from the IOC it wouldn’t have been the taxpayers of Chicago that would have profited. No, from the beginning, the winners of Chicago 2016 would have been the Obamas and their cronies. The Obamas would have had a moral and political victory while Mayor Daley, Valerie Jarrett, their real estate developer friends and scores of others in the Chicago Democrat machine would have been the ones to make big money, while the taxpayers of Chicago got soaked for hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Historically, most cities that host the Olympic games lose money. Sydney, Australia and Atlanta, Georgia are just two recent cities that lost millions all for the “prestige” of hosting the vaunted international competitions. Calgary, Canada where the 2010 Winter Games are to be held, is already deep in the financial hole and has used up 98% of it’s reserve fund with months yet to go before the games begin.

    Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley originally said that taxpayers wouldn’t have to foot the bill for the Games. Then he amended that a bit and said that Chicago’s taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for them. That was an interesting change in phrasing since, according to reporting by Michelle Malkin, Valerie Jarrett (also known as Obama’s other brain) who was the unofficial White House Olympic Czar, had already arranged a meeting for herself and Chicago 2016 committee member Lori Healey with the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to arrange HUD loans for the construction of the Olympic Village. So it seems that, in fact, the American Taxpayers (including those in Chicago) would have been stuck paying for at least a portion of the Chicago Olympics, had they come to pass. Also of note is that Valerie Jarrett may not have completely divested herself of her shares in Habitat Company, a development company that was bidding to build the Olympic Village.

    In the end, the International Olympic Committee dropped Chicago in the first round of the final four, much to the shock and dismay of the O’Trio and their followers. In the aftermath of the defeat President Obama, his ego bruised, congratulated the winning city of Rio DeJaneiro and tried to get back to pushing his healthcare agenda on the nation. He and his fringe media allies, completely ignored the fact that he had spent thousands of US Taxpayer dollars to fly to Copenhagen to lobby the IOC, something no American President had done before. He and they dismissed the fact that at a time when we’re fighting two wars, unemployment is over 10% nationally, the economy is in trouble and his healthcare plan is on life support, he dropped everything to shill for his adopted hometown and his political cronies. But others like US Senator Rowland Burris (D) IL, appointed by disgraced ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill Obama’s vacated seat, rather than criticize Obama for wasting time and diminishing the prestige of the presidency, blamed former President George W. Bush for Chicago’s defeat. He indicated that Bush had hurt the image of the United States in the international community and that that ultimately was what caused the IOC to vote against Chicago.

    I look at it a bit differently. I tend to agree with Rush Limbaugh, who remarked that perhaps it was President Obama’s “apology tour” that hurt Chicago’s chances. After all, Obama spent the past 9 months telling the world what a terrible and arrogant nation we are. Why would the IOC want to grant what they consider to be an honor on such an “unworthy” country? They probably decided that if they were going to let a city that’s riddled with crime and corruption host the Games, they might as well give to Rio DeJaneiro, a city in South America where the Olympics have never been held. To quote the title of a mediocre Michael Caine movie, “Blame it on Rio”.

    Steve Rosenblum

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  • Drill Here, Drill Now

    If we should have learned anything from the oil embargoes of 1972, ’73 and ’79, it is that we must develop the vast natural resources with which our country have been blessed.
    If we should have learned anything from the lack of success of the Department of Energy, brought into existence by Jimmy Carter as a response to OPEC’s oil embargoes, it is that government is wholly incapable of meeting the challenge. It must be done by private American industry.
    Apart from BP’s recent discovery of oil in that region, we have known for decades that the Gulf of Mexico is probably the largest depository of natural gas in the world. In addition, the northern slope of Alaska quite probably has the biggest deposit of crude oil in the world. Yet Congress continues to sit on its hands and bemoan our fate. It refuses to drill because “we won’t see results for five years.”
    This is ridiculous for at least three reasons:
    1. The price of foreign oil will immediately drop as a reaction to our own drilling for domestic oil. We saw this happen just last year, and all we did was to discuss the possibility of drilling.
    2. The same, tired argument was used in the 70s; had we drilled then, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion now.
    3. Development of a practical “green” energy will take much longer than the five year estimate Congress has given to develop new oil & natural gas fields. When is the last time anyone has looked at solar panels? On a clear, sunny day, a single large panel will turn on a light bulb – that is it.
    Every time someone brings up the subject, I am reminded of Aaron Tippin’s song, “Drill Here, Drill Now.” America, it is time for us to wake up and follow Mr. Tippin’s advice.
    Michael Dorstewitz
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  • Yet Another Slippery Slope Against Freedom

    Freedom is lost a little bit at a time, in dribs and drabs, and the justification most often used to steal the rights of a free people is “it’s for your own good.”

    There’s no need to look abroad or to the national stage for examples of politicians abusing their office in misguided attempts to control the lives of free people.

    Palm Beach County has its own budding totalitarian in Tax Collector Anne Gannon.  In a move panned and ridiculed by many, including the Palm Beach Post and New Times, Gannon has decided that the Tax Collector’s Office will now refuse to hire anyone who uses tobacco products on a regular basis.

    The ban on hiring smokers is simplistic and stupid, but I hope everyone realizes that it’s also dangerous.

    I won’t bother to rehash all the other behaviors that can increase health care costs, like obesity, pot smoking, drug use, motorcycle riding, alcohol, eating fried foods, or that under Gannon’s ban, the tax collector of Palm Beach County couldn’t hire President Obama because it has already been done elsewhere.

    Gannon’s latest quote on the controversial policy to the Palm Beach Post’s George Bennett – “Private behaviors carry public costs” – and her full comments to Bennett, spell out her intent: to use the employees of the Tax Collector’s Office as guinea pigs for her own Orwellian social experiments.

    In an era of rampant STDs and HIV, promiscuity is a private behavior that increases health risks.
    Will Gannon soon decide to peek through the bedroom windows of county employees? Does getting an abortion increase health risks? Having children is a choice that increases health care costs. Will Gannon limit the number of children county employees can have? Aren’t tiny electric cars more dangerous than larger cars? Should we ban Mini-Cooper drivers from employment because they’re more likely to get flattened in an accident, thereby increasing health care costs?

    I could go on and on about the choices free people make every day that increase health care costs, but I think I’ve made my point.

    Smokers are one of the canaries in the mineshaft of civil liberty and freedom. This is much more than a slippery slope. If one accepts Gannon’s reasoning, one accepts government oversight of every other private and legal behavior in the name of lower health care costs. To be concise, one must accept tyranny.

    Of course, Gannon’s smoking policy isn’t really about health care costs. Gannon’s smoking policy is about a small-minded, inconsequential and invisible bureaucrat trying to prove her political relevancy not only to all of us, but to herself. Talk about an epic fail.

    The Tax Collector’s Office is a constitutional office that just screams “outsourcing,” and if any group wants to put a referendum on the ballot to that effect and save taxpayers some money, count me in.

    Jack Furnari

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