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July 01, 2010

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NERO FIDDLED WHILE ROME BURNED

Do you get the feeling that your government is focused on all the wrong things?

Friday the unemployment figures were released. Two crazy results--employers continued to hire less people than needed to break even with the nation's population growth and the census department laid off 125,000 workers. BUT, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.7% to 9.5 %. Does that make any sense? What the hell are we measuring? Someone wake this country up. Just because Congress decides to extend or not extend unemployment benefits has nothing to do with unemployment really. Somewhere around 15% of American's are out of work. Measure it, admit it and work to fix it. Jobs are created in America by small businesses. They need captial to operate. Banks will not loan it to them. Banks continue their massive recall of consumer and small business credit while extracting maximum interest rates. Consumer confidence is reeling once again. The markets are nervous.

Today the Federal Government will sue Arizona. The Federal government is supposed to protect Arizona--period. Do it and Arizona might just repeal the law. Making the announcement will be Holder and Janet, the former Arizona Governor who has failed to lead the Administration's efforts to help Arizona. By the way did you know that much of the unprotected border of Arizona is on Federal land? So the Arizona authorities cannot go in there. Only the feds.

Today I learned that NASA is tasked with improving relations with Muslims. We cannot even fix a leak 5000 feet from the surface of the Ocean that is endangering 20% of the US citizens and economy and we are worried about Muslim relations and sending missions to the Asteriods?

Today another 2.5 Million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf. 70 days after it started the world's largest oil skimmmer has arrived. Help has traveled at the speed of a diamond drill now within 100 feet or so from the leaking well. So far the Federal Government's biggest achievment has been to accept the resignation of one appointee in the Interior Department. And, pretend to look like they made BP give us $20B for damages. BP never said they wouldn't pay. Sort of like taking credit for the surge working in Iraq.

Today Iran continues to work on enriching uranium for the bomb and develop missiles to deliver them. Obama announced his long awaited sanctions that last week his CIA Director told the press would not stop Iran's weapon development. Today Obama meets with the Isreali PM. Probaly have a photo op this time.

Today Obama made a statement congratulating the new commander of the Afghanistan War on his new command. As if the retirement of his predecessor was something to be happy about. At the same time in Afghanistan John McCain was meeting with the commander to let him know that the rules of engagement for this war have to change. i.e. we should shoot the bastards rather than take the first round. No matter that our drones take out women and children when they strike at leaders in Pakistan and Yemen. But, when we fight in Afghanistan where the war is actually going on we have to take a bullet before shooting. No calling in air strikes or artillary strikes. Next time someone wants to tell me that Obama is Harry Truman because of the way he handled McChrystal I'll remind him that Harry dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan killing hundreds of thousands of women and children to help end the war. These guys carrying the guns for us? They're our children--give em a break.

Last week Obama passed out $2B for new solar energy plants. Where are they to go? California---Pelosi's state. Illinois---Obama's state. And, Arizona---hmmmm a little help for the image there? Poor Nevada---left out?

So the next time you think about all the things the new government is doing ask yourself if this is what you wanted it to do? Is this the focus you wanted? I know 15 Million people who think it would be nice to go to work. I know 8 Million small business owners who would like to put them to work. And, 30 Million illegal immigrants have a lot of their jobs with more pouring in every day and Obama holding the door open while the states try to close it.

A lot of Fiddling going on right now.

I'm not sure that America's prior 225 years were entirely smooth sailing. I remember the pictures of the soldiers in the Civil War when we debated the issues with bullets. I remember the pictures of the looks on the faces of the homeless in the Great Depression when America struggled to restart the economy. I remember the days during and after our days at the Academy when Americans struggled to decide on a strategy in the Vietnam War. During my adult life as a business leader I have endured 5 major recessions but none matched the Jimmy Carter years. Despite all this America is still the greatest nation by far on earth. And, perhaps to your point, Bo, we need to remember that. And, herein lies the problem I believe:
They say Presidents get too much credit for things gone well and too much blame for things gone bad. Perhaps. But, history has shown us that leadership eventually emerges from each crisis. Lincoln took us through the Civil War. Roosevelt aided by the economic stimulus of WWII ended the Great Depression. Ford restored trust in the Presidency after years of Johnson and Nixon. Reagan ended the debacle of the Jimmy Carter years of economic and foreign policy nightmares. Those Presidents who did these things suceeded because they were leaders who restored Americans' confidence in our greatness.
And, when Americans are confident things happen. Consumers buy. Business owners hire and expand. Inventors invent solutions to ever changing problems. Investors invest. And, people prosper. The government revenues grow without tax increases and hidden taxes. What has been missing for the past 18 years is leadership in the Presidency. Without it America falls into partisan debate and solutions are delayed. Someone once said "Lead, Follow or get out of the way." What all organizations need are leaders who make decisions and reverse themselves if they don't work. They don't make excuses or blame others. Let's look at the past 18 years:
Clinton--arguably the most brilliant President ever. But not honest enough to lead. He knows how to do almost everything right except be honest. Like Nixon, Clinton fell prey to his own vices and spent his last 5 years lying to America and blaming Republicans for trying to impeach him. Bush--arguably one of the best Presidents ever to handle the crisis of terror after an attack on our homeland by hidden agents. Unable to stop the ever increasing spending, unable to monitor the financial sector, unable to control his administration's expansion of the War on Terror to the implementation of Democracy everywhere and so fixated on protecting America that he forgot to be a moderate conservative. Obama--unable to bring himself to end the partisan world of the prior 16 years when Democrats and Republicans took each other on in a Civil War of public debate and name calling. And, instead uses his landslide victory given to him by a people so sick of the mindless, leaderless debate that they elect the first black President and give him a super majority in Congress. They are hopeful that a minority President will bring us together. Does he seek bipartisan end to the debate? No, he immediately uses the recession as an excuse to implement a new social agenda for America. And, for 2 years he has ignored all calls for rational, balanced behavior. Eighteen years without a leader. Intead of instilling confidence in Americans we have a President who tells us how poorly we have behaved internationally, how poorly the Republicans handled the economy,and how poorly we have invested in alternative energy.
Remember the last time any President really led. Ronald Reagan was considered not too smart. But Ronald Reagan knew exactly what America needed after Jimmy Carter. It needed to believe in itself again. He dealt with Iran. He called out the Soviets and challenged them in space and to tear down their wall. He dropped bombs on Qaddafi. He took out Noriega and jailed him in America. He kicked the Cubans out of Grenada. He dismantled parts of the government and slowed Federal spending. He fired the Air Traffic controllers when they stopped America's airplanes. There was nothing the American people believed America couldn't do and Reagan continually reminded us of that. And the economy turned around. And, he did it by having his own meetings with Tip O'Neill, the Democratic leader, and horse trading for the good of the country. Bipartisan leadership by a far right President and his advisary. Tip O'Neill didn't want any credit for occasionally giving in to the boss and Ronald Reagan gave all the credit to the "spirit of the American people". It worked.
So, Bo, I keep looking for that next shining face who believes he or she can give America it's confidence back. I see it in Sarah Palin but she simply does not reasonate enough with the people yet. She stumbles too much in her delivery and response to questions. But, she does have the belief in the goodness of America and it's entraprenuers to lead. There are others but most of them are just "anti Obama" types. All we can do is hope that Americans can slow down the "I" man in 2010 while we search for a leader for 2012.

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