Quote

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, July 18, 2011

JFK No Longer Clad In White Marble Toga?

 Throughout my growing-up years John F. Kennedy was ranked as being one of the best presidents this country ever had.  In some polls he's still way up there.  Being a student of history - and having had a suspicious nature about me - I always asked why.  What was it that Kennedy did that made him such a great president (as opposed - it should be noted - to his being a popular president)?

In reality, when asked, Americans generally have two answers: (1) he was an heroic PT boat captain in World War II (who managed to get his vessel sunk), and (2) he was assassinated.

(Okay, he said something memorable in his inauguration speech.)

And that's about it.

(Yes, the economy expanded admirably in the early 60's but he had little to nothing to do with that phenomenon.)

So it's kind of heartwarming to see history being revised.  To make it accurate.  Finally.

Thomas E. Ricks, writing in Foreign Policy magazine:
Was John F. Kennedy the flat-out absolute worst U.S. president of the 20th century?

As I studied the Vietnam war over the last 14 months, I began to think that John F. Kennedy probably was the worst American president of the previous century.

In retrospect, he spent his 35 months in the White House stumbling from crisis to fiasco. He came into office and okayed the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then he went to a Vienna summit conference and got his clock cleaned by Khrushchev. That led to, among other things, the Cuban missile crisis and a whiff of nuclear apocalypse.

Looming over it all is the American descent into Vietnam.

I think his track record kind of makes even old Herbert Hoover look good. [link]
Presidential polls weren't then what they are today.  But it can be noted that Kennedy's popularity soared after he was killed.  And that popularity even carried over to his successor - Lyndon Johnson - who was far more leftist than were the American people but who had ... walked with JFK.  Until Vietnam became too much for everyone to stomach and he left the White House in disgrace.

And then, of course, there were the books written - long after Kennedy's body was lain to rest - by his close friends - about the man's bigger-than-life life.

Does all this make John F. Kennedy a bad president?  Hard to say.  But the case can be made (and is - see above). 

This much is fact:  There is no good reason - assassination doesn't count - to consider him one of the great ones.

- - -

* The header comes from the title to a book I read many years ago about George Washington: The Man In The White Marble Toga.


** I'd put the general consensus that Bill Clinton, as president, was a political genius in this category  too.  Clinton, after all, is the genius whose only real legislative accomplishments when in office were both Republican initiatives - welfare reform and a balanced budget.  And, being the political genius that he was, managed - through his own efforts - to lose majorities in both the Senate and the House to the GOP (a feat not accomplished by any Republican president in the previous forty years), and to be impeached for being less than a genius when it came to how he treated his young, female employees. Such the genius.  Just exactly what a president would have to do to be considered a political doofus is unclear considering.

Welfare Queens Are Alive & Well

And living in Britain.

Prepare to be shocked when you read "The mother-of-14 without a husband who wants another baby to compete with her pregnant 15-year-old."

She has fourteen children and is living on the public dole. To earn the title "welfare queen" there's this: she doesn't seem bothered at all by the fact that she has no means of support other than the taxpayer.

Let the record show - this woman is white.

Let it also show: The entire western world is going bankrupt.

Environmentalists Are a Weird Bunch

They choose to buy drinking water in expensive eco-friendly Bisphenol A-free bottles.

Fine.

They choose to buy expensive, dangerous, inefficient light bulbs?

Fine.

They want to pay outrageous prices for really ugly and overpriced sandals?

Fine.

They choose to buy cars that end up destroying the environment (landfills, air pollution, lead poisoning, asphalt - take your pick), but choose not to talk about it?

Fine.

I really don't care what they do.

But why is it these weird creatures feel obligated to tell me how to live my life?

Bloggus Interruptus

Sorry.  I had to go and save a flying squirrel from the barn cats that had gathered around to play with it.

When last seen, the little guy was gnawing on my Carhartt leather glove as I was gently setting him or her under a tree at the edge of the forest.

The ingrate.

We're On The Same Page

We should all regularly tune in to the Cato Institute's website. Those who reside there know what they are talking about and offer excellent solutions for America's fiscal woes.

Here's a summary of topics recently addressed:
This Week In Government Failure
By Tad DeHaven

Over at Downsizing the Federal Government, we focused on the following issues this past week:
  • People here in Washington are now considering military spending cuts that they thought strategically unwise and politically impossible just a few years ago. And conservatives are joining in. [jf: that would include this conservative]
  • Federally funded spaceflight is the quintessential neoconservative project: a giant, wasteful crusade designed to fill Americans’ supposedly empty lives with meaning.
  • The Obama administration wants to send bureaucrats from federal agencies that are notorious for wasting other people’s money to help local bureaucrats do a more “efficient” job of spending other people’s money.
  • President Obama’s Fiscal Commission handed Republicans ready-made spending cuts on a silver platter — Republicans will never get better political cover for insisting on spending cuts than now.
  • $500 billion in cuts and a $500 billion debt increase would certainly be better than Senator McConnell’s chicken-out plan.
It should be noted that Obama, on more than one occasion, has told us that he's prepared to make cuts to federal spending.  But, maddeningly, and intentionally, he refuses to say where those cuts will be made.  Fellows at the Cato Institute have no such qualms (and aren't sleazy politicians).  They call for cuts and tell us where the axe should fall.

$500 billion?   Let the chips fly:


Just for starters ...

* Chart courtesy of Chris Edwards and the Cato Institute.
** Click on the image to enlarge it.

Delusions

This from Obama's budget director should frighten the soup out of you:

"The truth is this is a different situation the United States has ever faced. We've never gone into a situation where we didn't have enough money to pay our bills. We borrow 40 cents on a dollar right now. And if the time comes when we lose the ability to pay our bills, there will be a cash flow issue that is very real, and that's why it's critical that Congress take action before August 2nd."

Why is that particularly frightening?  (Besides the fact that we're spending far more money than we have on hand?)

Because the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, who many consider to be a really smart fella, is operating under the delusion that Congress raising the debt ceiling by August 2nd is going to change the fact that we will be borrowing 40 cents on every dollar his branch of government is spending.

The cash still won't be there.  The government will simply have given itself permission to ignore Accounting 101 rules and print and print and print and print and print ...

With geniuses like this managing the United States of America, is it any wonder we're in the mess we're in.

- - -

And this is just as shameful: "There will be a cash flow issue that is very real ..." He's budgeted the expenditure of $1.65 trillion next year that he doesn't have coming in. Cash flow? How about IOU flow.

These people are really starting to worry me.

It Wasn't Supposed To Be Like This

The entire world was to be at his feet.  Statues were to be erected.  Babies to be named in his honor.  Rivers were to reverse their flow.  His birthplace (in Kenya ...) would become the liberal Mecca.  The sun was to shine.  The mountaintops were to reverberate with the songs of praise emanating from the masses in devout praise.  Children would sing.  Birds would chirp.  Bunnies would hop.

So much for that bullshit:


Expect Obama to go back into pout mode.

* It never made sense to me back in the day when this guy's supporters tried to convince us that he was a man who walked tall and would be an excellent leader of the free world at a time when I was noticing that he wasn't even a leader in his own home.  That someone else there wore the pants.  Now Americans find out the truth.  He can't lead his way out of a phone booth.  Sadly for all of us, most are learning this fact a little too late.

You Don't Have Our Permission

The government is at it again:
BATFE WILL TAKE STEP TOWARDS NATIONAL GUN SALES REGISTRATION; NRA WILL TAKE BATFE TO COURT
NRA-ILA

On Monday, July 11, the Obama administration announced that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will soon begin requiring firearm dealers in the southwestern border states to file “multiple sale” reports on detachable-magazine rifles larger than .22 caliber. Under the plan, each dealer will be required to report, to the BATFE, any sale of two or more such rifles to a single individual with a period of five business days.

The administration’s decision, supposedly aimed at the trafficking of U.S. firearms to Mexican drug cartels, follows findings by Congress that the BATFE, in "Operation Fast and Furious," knowingly allowed straw purchasers to buy five, 10 or 20 firearms in single transactions and transfer them to higher-level gun traffickers working for the cartels. Disapproving of the new sales reporting scheme, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama administration to restrict the gun rights of border state citizens, when the administration itself knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.”

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox promised legal action to stop the BATFE from implementing the rifle sales reports requirement. “The Administration lacks the statutory authority to do this and the NRA will file suit as soon as ATF sends the first demand letters” to dealers, Cox said. The BATFE lacks the authority because Congress has specifically required similar reports only for handgun sales, and therefore implicitly rejected such a requirement for other guns.

The move has already sparked action by pro-gun federal lawmakers. [link]
Another effort at gun control.  This time in the guise of drug cartel control.

It's been proven conclusively that the guns that Mexico's drug cartels are using are coming from sources other than the United States (see "The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.").  So if this government effort was truly intended to stop the flow of guns to drug runners, it would be a waste of time.

But this isn't about drug cartels.  It's about guns.  Again.  As always.

The ATF has no authority here.  But that'll not stop it.

So the NRA is going to bring suit to stop its unlawful practice - once it starts.

Here's to the NRA for being there for us.