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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Business Community Will Enthusiastically Embrace Palin Candidacy

                            "Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
                              if you find it, there will be a future,
                              and your hope will not be cut off."
                                                       - Proverbs 24:14 ESV

My prediction is that the day Sarah Palin announces her candidacy for the presidency of the United States of America, the business community will respond to it positively.

Last August 15, Starbucks' Howard Schultz, the CEO of the world's largest coffee chain, urged his fellow business executives to sign a pledge to "withhold any further campaign contributions to the President and all members of Congress until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing." This is yet the strongest and clearest rebuke of the leadership of Pres. Obama and ugly, hyper-partisan status quo in Washington. Not even two weeks after Schultz made the call, over 100 CEOs of companies like AOL, Intuit, Whole Foods have signed on.

Among the declared Republican presidential candidates, the former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney so far has a lock on donations from most of the Wall Street crowd, given his executive background as one of the founders of a consulting firm called Bain Capital. He is considered the frontrunner now but his healthcare law in Massachusetts centered on individual mandate requirement, which President Obama said was the model for Obamacare, does not sit well with the general electorate. Mr. Romney is also famous for his ever-changing stance on issues, from abortion to gay rights to immigration, gun rights  and global warming. Some of his statements are also too insincere and too odd to be to be taken seriously, like claiming that he, too, is "unemployed" (he is worth $264 million), or when he said that his five sons are supporting the country by campaigning for him. So he might be a favorite among the Wall Street boys and the Washington elites but he has a long way to go to win over average voters.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, on the other, is currently the media's darling and is taking over Romney for the frontrunner status.  There is truth that 40% of jobs created in the nation have been in Texas but critics and supporters alike are debating the nitty gritty of Gov. Perry's "Texas Miracle". As much as he lambasts government as the "problem not the solution", from December 2007 to June 2011, private-sector employment have declined by 0.6% while those in the public sector have increased by 6.4%. One out of every six workers in the Texas is employed by Uncle sam. Of the private sector jobs added, 40% pays just the minimum wage and 9.5% of its workforce are paid the minimum wage or lower. The state also benefited from the presence of several military  installations (funded, again, by the government) and the $25 billion in federal stimulus money, third largest amount after California and New York.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin, in the course of her public service, has done everything that Howard Schultz has demanded from our lawmakers on his call to his fellow business leaders: a bipartisan, balanced long-term debt deal that addresses both entitlements and revenues and strong leadership to to accelerate job creation and growth. Her record speaks strong, loud and proud: (1) on the budget front: Her FY2010 budget of $10.57 billion is  a billion less than her predecessor's. She vetoed half a billion dollars in spending, the biggest in state's history, and cut spending by 9.5% all while the state is flushed with surplus. Most politicians wouldn't have the stomach to cut spending even when their coffer is in the red fearing voters' backlash but Gov. Palin actually put away $5 billion in rainy day savings account!, (2) on entitlements: She reformed the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) by creating a tiered system for current employees that allots their pensions according to seniority. She also enacted a totally new system for those who are newly employed while honoring past commitments which she was legally bound to do. She did this by "swapping  unsustainable defined benefits, which are more like glorified Ponzi schemes, for a more prudent defined contributions system" , and (3) on the job front: From Dec. 2006 - June 2009, Alaska was ranked 2nd in the nation in job growth. With her signature natural gas pipeline project  20,000 energy jobs were created, although work has been stalled because the Obama administration is witholding the permits. It is important to point out that these oil- and energy-related jobs are funded mainly by private investments, which means, little to no government money  infusion (money that we have to borrow from China and other countries or print out of thin air).

Perhaps the biggest exclamation point to her prudent and forward-thinking policies is when Alaska was awarded a AAA credit rating while S & P downgraded America's to AA under the Obama watch. And all these she would not have been able to accomplish without reaching out to the Democrat Party.

Going back to Howard Schultz, when it comes to Sarah Palin's handling of the budget (by controlling both ends of debt and revenue sources), entitlement reforms and jobs creation, he can very well check off all the boxes. He may be a big Democrat Party supporter but if he compares the fiscal and economic records of Pres. Obama, the declared Republican candidates and Sarah Palin, lay them down on the table side-by-side, we could surmise that Schultz' brilliant business-mind and conscentious heart will beat "Palin 2012!".

Monday, August 22, 2011

In Defense of Sarah Palin Defending Orrin Hatch

          "Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me,
            and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen."
                                                                                               - Genesis 13:8

(Update as of 5/25/12: Redux: Some conservatives and Tea Partiers are crying in protest over Sarah Palin's endorsement of Sen. Orrin hatch. See here why she is right - again.)

Put it down under the category: The Unrealistic, Impossible-to-Pass Purity Test

Some conservative bloggers and pundits, to the amusement of the Left, were up in arms over the recent defense of Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah by Sarah Palin. Some in the Utah Tea Party are fielding a challenger to the six-term senator because of his penchant for compromising with the Democrats.

The Tea Party has been, and is, a force of good to this country. They forced our elected representatives to be accountable for their votes and actions. They brought to the forefront of our national conversations  our precarious fiscal state and made Washington focus on smaller government, reduced spending and lower taxes. But our government does not revolve around one issue only. Some issues are worth standing firmly on the ground for while on some, we have to be willing to meet halfway. For our nation's sake, we should not demand that our representatives be pure conservatives nor pure progressives, guided by their own pure ideologies.

A top Pentagon brass, Admiral Mike Mullen, once famously said that the biggest, single threat to our national security is not Al-Qaeda, China, Iran or North Korea. It is our DEBT. That's why  balancing our budget should, and must be,  at the top of our country's priorities.

It's worth pointing out that Gov. Palin did not go all out in defending Sen. Hatch's entire legislative record. She praised him, specifically, for leading the fight on advancing balanced budget and fiscal reforms for the past two decades.

It's also worth remembering that Sarah Palin  accomplished a lot as governor of Alaska because of her ability to work with the Democrats.  She left behind a state with a healthy savings of $5 billion, a successful gas pipeline (AGIA) and a lower budget with a 9.5% real reduction in spending, among other things, all done with transparent, bipartisan outreach. Bill Clinton, as well, was able to leave behind a  $127B budget surplus with the help of a Republican Congress. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that paved a wider path to the realization of MLK's dream.

There will never be one elected official whose record and  positions on all issues all voters will agree with all the time. Republicans will always think that the GOP platform is the only way forward for our country while the Democrats would fight to the last vote for their progressive agenda. But digging deeper into their parties' heels just does not make sense. It'll only make America worse off than where we are right now. If  PURITY in ideology is what we demand in Washington, history would be frozen in time: blacks would still be sitting in the back of the bus and drinking from water fountains for colored people only, women still could not participate in politics or even own a home,  and draft would still be enforced. Compromise is good where and when it matters.

The Tea Party may not like it that Sarah Palin defended a Republican with a history of reaching across the aisle but she never promised to be a "pure" conservative. She is after all, and always will be, a COMMON SENSE CONSERVATIVE.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tale of Two Bus Tours

                      "Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look, and
                        ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is:
                        and walk in it, and find rest for your souls ..." 
                                                                                    Jeremiah 6:16

The sequel to Sarah Palin's road trip, the One Nation bus tour, has just wrapped up and she again took America along for a ride to highlight our nation's history and historical sites to remind us of the principles that founded this country. As with its first leg, although the stops at its destinations have been short, the reception had been warm, judging from the crowds that swarmed around the former governor. Even reporters from some not-so-friendly media were quite contented with the no-holds-barred exchange they had with her. Could it be that the door is cracking a bit for a "fundamental restoration"  of objective and unbiased reporting from our local and national journalists?

Aboard the One Nation bus, Sarah Palin made a stop at the state fair in Des Moines, mingling with the local Iowans, listening to their views and stories. Forget about the fly-on-the-wall. That fat butter cow was a better witness to some very interesting conversations and Q-&-A's that took place there as people munched on their fried twinkies and octodogs.The bus also rolled into Illinois in the Land of Lincoln in Springfield and in Dixon, the boyhood town of Ronald Reagan.  Reagan once said, "While I take inspiration in the past, like most Americans, I live for the future." It's a clear reminder of what this bus tour is all about. Re-learning from our history to guide our country to a better tomorrow. This road trip also led her to Missouri, the birthplace of the much-loved witty Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) and former President Harry Truman. It's quite fitting that Sarah Palin would be paying homage to Truman who in 1948 fought against the pollsters and the smart boys of the media who bluffed the voters with their propaganda blitz, called their bluff, told the people the TRUTH and won the election."  The bus rested its engine after making a stop at Kansas City, Missouri with Sarah Palin paying her respects to our WWI vets.

Meanwhile, President Obama has embarked on a road trip of his own. The White House touted it as a jobs bus tour for the president to "talk to folks about growing the economy, creating jobs ". Jobs creation: Americans have heard that line before. In fact, this is the seventh time that  this administration has pivoted to focus like a laser beam on jobs creation. The last six times the president tried to "save or create" jobs, the results were eerily the same: more unemployed Americans. Back in January 2009 when he took office, the unemployment rate was  7.6%. Now it stands at 9.1% .

On the trail, the President promised to put forth a specific economic plan next month when the Congress comes back from recess. He should have waited until September to hit the road when he is ready to present his concrete proposals on getting us out of this economic quagmire. Or not do a bus tour at all at this time. He could have just announced from the White House that a major announcement on jobs creation is coming up and save the taxpayers a bundle of money to pay for his trip, security details and his million dollar high-tech ride. With no specific programs and policies to tell his audience, the President cruised the Midwest to simply vent out his frustrations on a divided Congress who refuses to bend to his biddings, the Tea Partiers who insist that Washington balance the  budget and cut spending and just about everybody else that gets in his way instead of offering ways on how the country can move forward together. His proposals currently on the table are the patent reform bill (!)  - just exactly what the people in the unemployment lines are clamoring for in time of a recession, and his favorite dream green jobs (like the manufacture of the electric car, Volt, that even his Hollywood friends are not rushing to buy). Clearly, this junket has nothing to do with creating jobs for the American workers. It really is all about saving just one job - Barack Obama's. We might as well call it The One's Job Bus Tour.

Back in 2008 the voters hitched their wagons on Barack Obama who promised to lead us on a fundamental transformation of America to a  post-partisan, post-racial and a more perfect union. He pledged to usher an age when  "the rise of the ocean will slow and the planet will heal."  Yet, for all his lofty vision, he could not even dig the country out of the ditch. He has stopped long ago talking about driving the car, holding on to the car keys so he could get us out of this economic gutter. We are now deeper in debt, less respected in the world, even more divided as a country. The ditch is now a sinkhole and if Americans do not wise up in the next election, we could end up in blackhole.

The One Nation tour's mission got it right. God has shed His grace on this country. He has blessed this country with independent, most innovative and the freest people on earth and the richest resources to sustain us all. We need to go back to the basics and be reminded of the old-fashioned values and ethics that made this country exceptional. We are a nation founded in hard work and common sense principles of fairness and practicality. We do not need a government playing God demanding that things be done the Washington way, twisting the Constitution to force their own agenda on us, telling us what to feed our children, stifling our ingenuity with endless regulations and  providing us with every imaginable social services  from cradle to grave. The government should not devalue its people's work ethic by making workers reliant on endless uneployment insurance checks instead of paving the way for job creation. This is America where everything is possible for anybody willing to make it so. The government's role is to create a healthy, competitive environment where free market can thrive and allow its people to make all that is possible to happen.

The fact is America goes on a road trip herself every four years.  Destination:  Presidential Election. Each time we find ourselves at a fork in the road. Do we turn left or right?  Do we want more of the same or do we change direction? A candidate once reminded the voters that elections have consequences. 2012 will soon be upon us. Many campaign bus tours will soon take off. The question to us Americans is: Who do we want behind the wheel?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mortgaged Promised Land

Just for laughs ... this is from my husband's friend's Facebook post:

"5000 years ago, Moses said to the Israelites, "Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land."

When Welfare was introduced, Roosevelt said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land."

Now the government has stolen your shovels, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land to China

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Longest Unemployment Record That Didn't Have to Happen

                                "In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only
                                            to poverty."   - Proverbs 14:23

The U.S. has just broken the record of the longest average unemployment run in the nation's history, according to Catherine Rampell in a post in New York Times. American workers never had it this bad even during the Great Depression.

President Obama will embark on a jobs bus tour in the Midwest from August 15-17. It's deja vu all over again as the administration pivots to jobs creation for the seventh time and will focus once more like a laser beam on improving our unemployment numbers. But really, a battery-operated Buzzlightyear's laser beam lasts longer than this White House's attempts to put people back to work. Having no business nor executive experience prior to running for President, Obama just seems clueless and out of touch of our economic reality. His policies do more to spread fear and anxiety among the business community. His speeches showcase him as a champion to the "poor", chastising the "rich" for sitting on their cash and not paying enough taxes. But these "rich" people are the business owners and job creators who run the wheels of our economy. Really, how many "poor" people do you know provide employment to others? The government is better off reforming our tax codes so that businesses do not use the loopholes to stash away their profits in foreign countries or to simply game our tax laws to avoid paying taxes here at home. Business owners, like Bernie Marcus of Home Depot, are also complaining of getting choked with regulations that impede their investments and stop them from hiring new employees. Whether it's Obamacare, or new EPA rule, or a tax increase threat, President Obama's constant overhauling of business laws and regulation creates reservation among job creators to make plans for expansion or even daily operations.

As far as I can remember, and this is true among most households, it has always been a job that provided for all the things that we needed in our everyday lives.  As a little child, my father's job and my mother's home-based businesses brought food to our table, paid for school expenses, provided roof over our heads. My own job, when I was single, paid for my apartment and my social life. I was even able to help a little bit for my younger sibling to go to college. These days, it is my husband's job that fills our kitchen pantry, pays for our insurance, the mortgage , our cars, my children's Wii and Xbox. It seems to me that a lot of our country's problems can be addressed if only people have decent jobs to support themselves, without government hand outs. As the old saying goes, "If you need a helping hand, it is at the end of your arm" - not Uncle Sam's.

In my previous post, "What Excites You About a Palin Presidency?" , I had talked about how the right energy policy could turn around our upside down economy. Opening up ANWR, as advocated by former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, could create an upwards of a million jobs. Think about that - a million individuals earning their own keeps, without welfare assistance from the government! The ripple effect on our economy would be tremendous. That would be a million workers paying for their own health insurance without Obamacare, a million households paying for their own mortgage without any housing assistance from Uncle Sam, a million people buying their own foods without food stamps. God has given us all that we need to sustain ourselves- physical abilities and skills to do work, thinking brains to innovate and rich natural resources to provide for our needs. We just need the government (specifically, this White House) to get out of the way.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't Let That Boat Sink You

                           "The wise stores up choice food and olive oil,
                             but fools gulp theirs down." - Proverbs 21:20

My family was in a park one day, watching people drag their kayaks and tow their boats out to the water. Even in silence I could read my husband's mind. He loves to fish, wants a boat, wishes for one every year as soon as the first summer sun ray hits his skin. He likes to say that he could spend days out in the open fishing with the kids and stock our freezer to the brim with all the fish and seafood that we all love to eat.

My husband is a great provider. We never lack food on the table, there is always money for books and things that the kids need for school. We have a lovely house. He has a big, detached garage which he calls his "Garaj Majal" with shelves of tools that even our contractor-friend salivated over. We do indulge in some stuff for a fell-good treat but that is more exception than a rule. I'd draw the line, though, when it comes to a hobby boat.

You buy a watercraft and you would, of course, have to get yourself a trailer to tow that beast of a thing. A dealer might throw in a trailer to seal the deal but you know that a clever dealer would find a creative way to tack in extra fees to cover the price of the trailer. Nothing is honesty free when you're in a store. Then, of course, you would also need someting to pull that boat if you ever want to enjoy it in the water: a pick-up truck. A monster one for more hauling power. Then add to the bill the yearly registration and insurance costs for your three new acquisitions. Your male neighbors might drool in envy for that glistening boat but for half of the year, that big money drainer just sits in front of your house freezing in cold weather. Park it beside a bush and it'll soon be home to beehives and cobwebs. Living in the Northwest when people still wear light jackets while the rest of the country swelters in heat waves, that pricey toy just sits on your driveway longer than it'll ever hit the water.

Father-and-son and daddy-and-daughter moments are priceless but in this uncertain economy, splurging on something big and expensive as a boat just does not make sense. I want a boat that can keep us financially afloat that would not drown our bank accounts. I do encourage my husband to go rent  one once in a while or join fishing tours to satisfy that itch for game fishing. As for dinner, I could hit our stores for some good salmon and tilapia to bake and grill. Our local butcher woul even gut and scale the fish for free! Now that is a deal that's hard to beat. So for now, until the day that we have excessive amount of money to throw in the wind, my family will stick to clamming, waiting for mother nature to roll in the tides and  wash those shells ahore. Digging for clams are lots of fun for the kids and you don't need a boat for that! Clam bake, anyone?

I hope that our president and representatives in Washington would think about our "boat situation"  before spending the taxpayer's money. The debt ceiling debate divided the country even more - between those on the liberal side who believe that we should take on more debt to pay for programs and services that we simply cannot afford and the Tea Partiers who would like to stop the government from spending money that we do not have.Whether you're taking stock of your financial state from a  kitchen table or from the chambers of Congress, charging unnecessary expenses on endless credit cards and indulging on limitless spending with borrowed money will eventualy bring the house down.

On our way home from the park, we passed by a man cutting logs in his front yard, obviously saving them for the cold winter days. That is something Washington would do well to remember.The idea of feeding firelogs to a woodstove is to warm the house, not to burn the house down.