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February 17, 2011

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Make the spelling of his name Gadhafi. My error.

War everywhere you look--both foreign and domestic.

President Obama is now in Ohio for the 13th time to talk with small business people about the remaking of the RUST BELT into the new fiber optic, technology center of the country. Really? He was met at the airport by the new Republican Governor who is about to take on public unions and attempt to balance his budget. What will win out with the people as these conflicts unfold? Promises of "Win the Future" ? Or, "Save the Future" as addressed for the first time by the new wave of Republicans at the State Level in America?
The elections of 2010 resulted in a distinct message from the people of the country: stop the spending, incentivize businesses to hire and reform the entitlements system to ensure the fiscal stability of America. The president largely ignored the message. In his first two years he got what he wanted installed. It inspired a voter revolution. And, the result is now legislative war everywhere.

Overseas the middle east follows the predicted path as the people go to the streets and oust their dictators. Many paying with their lives to do so. While Quaddafi gives speeches defying the calls to resign and saying he'll fight to the death, the President sends Hillary out to delicately walk a line short of calling for Quaddafi's ouster and telling him to stop the violence against his people. What? Quaddafi is orders of magnitude worse than Mubarak and yet we told Mubarak to leave while we tell Quaddafi to stop shooting his people? By now Ronald Reagan would have him in handcuffs or his grave.

The two largest Union leaders in America have visited the White House about 50 times each since Obama took office. We really don't need that statistic to realize that the Unions are the base of the Democratic party. After all their members provide votes (they kept Senator Reid in office) and their dues provide campaign funds. However, this parade of visits reminds us who is influencing the behavior of the Unions in their battles with the governors looking for concessions to balance their budgets. This year is likely to be historic in the evolution of public union control of state politics.(Chicago being the exception) With control of a majority of state legislatures and governorships Republicans are intent on rolling back the control that public unions have on entitlements that are ballooning state budget deficits. If they are successful in getting public unions off mandatory membership, collective bargaining rights and shared benefit funding then union political power will diminish greatly by 2016 for sure. Perhaps even 2012.

These are interesting times but they were predictable. They are the result of passing the buck. For 50 years both parties have passed the buck on entitlements and this is just the beginning. States forced to balance their budgets are going first but the Feds will be next and that war will be more bloody because that one will not affect just 10% of America in public unions rather it will affect all Americans under the social security and medicare/aid system. In the Middle East the dictators sometimes referred to as the Royal families have passed the buck as well for generations. They had plenty of time to turn power over to the people but instead marched along with rich lifesyles and iron fisted control of the people. Now all is changing. It will all come fast. My crystal ball says the Senate goes Republican in 2012. If Obama continues to ignore the call for change and fights it then he could lose in 2012. And if he does then all he has implemented will go away. This morning Senator Reid called for a sit down and cooperation on a government funding extension bill. Another powder keg issue for the Democrats. Interesting times, my friends.

The Middle East is big puzzle for the West. Here we have the beginning of the attempt by middle east people to end generations of oppression. Egypt was relatively easy. In these dictatorial countries (as it was with the USSR) the military and the secret service usually have control and once the Dictators or authoritarian governments begin to lose control and the alternative is to kill or jail their people then it becomes a test of will to get the soldiers and secret police to fire on their parents, friends, cousins and brothers in the streets. Egypt was relatively easy: the US bankrolled the military and therefore the one on one relationship between the US Military commanders and their Egyptian counterparts influenced them to stay calm in the face of the people demonstrating in the streets.
Yemen and Pakistan could be similar. Perhaps even Saudi and Jordan relatively strong military allies of the US. However, the same is not likely to be true in Libya, Iran or Syria. Already you wee many more reported deaths in Libya where the military has no ties to the US military. Syria and Iran will be similarly brutal in their attempt to resist freedom demonstrations. Thus, a far trickier puzzle for the Admninistration to figure out. On one hand it is easier to know who the bad guys are with these regimes. On the other hand it will be more difficult to avoid hostilities in dealing with them. These Dictators are more likely to act as Saddam did although Saddam's fate is surely on their minds. It must be difficult to sleep in Libya with the thoughts of a laser guided cruise missile flying in your window.
And then there is Pakistan a nuclear country with about 78% of the popualtion against the US. We spend $5B or so a year to keep our ties to this military ally and yet they hold sanctuaries for the Taliban and Al Queda. If this country begins to implode the US will have little alternative but to attempt to get control of those nuclear weapons at all cost if india doesn't preempt us. So, the Google aided spread of information that may be fueling the march to freedom could result in a very delicate situation soon for Presidaent Obama and the US economy. For those of us old enough to remember the feelings in our "guts" as the USSR trampled the people of Hungry who demonstated in the streets, the next set of Middle East uprisings could be an ugly look into the mirror of history.
Gas is now at $3.18 and rising. Economic recovery will quickly yield to the onslaught of $4 gas if the increase continues. The courts have once again ordered the administration to act on drilling permits in the US. Very interesting man, this President. He publically slams the Supreme Court in his 2009 State of the Union speech. Ignores three court orders to resume offshore drilling. Sues the State of Arizona and is countersued. Is currently being sued by more than 50% of the states over healthcare. Bipasses the Congress and uses EPA to implement his energy plans. Interferes in the attempts of State Governors to protect thier borders and to balance their budgets. It appears that the separation of powers does not apply to this Administration in his mind. And, the result of his aggressive moves away from domestic oil production, coal production and natural gas exploitation when combined with threats to US supplies in the Middle East could end in a surge of energy costs that will put the economy in reverse.

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