Tag Archives: China

Flashpoint China: The Perils of U.S. Debt

Chinese poster featuring Marx, Engels, Lenin, ...

Chinese poster paying homage to communism

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As the Red Dragon of communist China grows into an economic powerhouse, someday soon it will almost inevitably create a confrontation with the red, white and blue beacon of freedom known as the United States, and the supremacy of communism or democracy will come to a head.

Such a confrontation is not desired and saner minds can and must help to prevent it. But we live in a world that despite great technological advances, in fact in some ways, ironically because of technological advances, is more dangerous than it has ever been before. And in this dangerous world are many flashpoints, flashpoints that can be easily sparked by the erratic tendencies of regimes such as those in Iran, Syria, Myanmar, North Korea and others as well as unstable governments in nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The risks that these and others nations present can be responsible for triggering a domino-like series of events that that could easily spark a Sino-American confrontation that at least challenges America in the Pacific, where the United States has deeply vested economic interests in nations such as Taiwan and Japan.

The likelihood of such a confrontation is very real and for many reasons.

With instability in the Middle East raging on, and as China continues its rise into an industrial superpower that consumes more and more fossil fuels, its increasing access to such things as oil, could force China to aggressively claim access to more reliable sources of energy, such as the vast gas and oil rich deposits that are contained in disputed sections of the China Sea.

Another flashpoint could be a Chinese attempt to consume and pilfer the economic rich island nation of Taiwan.

Any series of events, anywhere in the world could force such circumstances of confrontation. The situation is so real that China has even created a new missile that can make Aircraft carriers, the instruments which help provide American supremacy in the Pacific, obsolete.

Given the complete incompatibility of communism and democracy and all the variables which exist as possible flashpoints, how the confrontation may present itself is not quite as important as how we cope with it.

In the beginning stages of such hostility, how would we cope with it?

To answer that questions, let us base the scenario on circumstances as they currently exist.

As we stand now, the federal debt stands at $13.4 trillion dollars. That figure does not mention the $110 trillion dollars that exists in the unfunded mandates of Social Security and Medicare liabilities. Of that debt, China holds nearly $850 billion in American treasury bonds. Of that, the Chinese have recently and discreetly turned them into notes that will mature in less than 11 months from now.

That being the case, as soon as tensions rise over a surprising Sino-American confrontation, China will more than likely begin to sell off their $850 billion in U.S. treasury bonds. The result of that would be a worldwide sell-off that would stream through the American bond market and fuel investors fears over inflation. As hours and days passed, Americans may very well begin to withdraw their deposits out of banks, money markets funds and other assets, such as life insurance policies.

Not long after that, the Federal Reserve would be forced to arbitrarily invest what would be virtually non-existing trillions of dollars to cover its obligations.  That would spur on high inflation and push us into the realm of hyperinflation, something that given the lack of confidence in the financial markets because of the events of 2008 an 2009, would be an almost certainty.

With hyperinflation started, the U.S. government will have virtually no economic credibility and the dollar will become worthless. And the irony of all ironies is that in regard to national security, the U.S. would not even have the ability secure fuel for its military. It would have to deplete our national reserves and eventually China would have won economic and military supremacy before the first shot was even fired.

It should be understood that I am not a fan of doomsday scenarios and I am not suggesting that confrontation with China is inevitable. But even without a Chinese military threat, given the instability of the world, any series of events could set off the type of economic scenario presented here. I repeat, could. Not will. But could. But the question becomes how long can we live with such a possibility?

We once thought that terrorism was a major problem in places like Israel and other far off lands but not here in America. Then it happened, here, and it became a priority.

If we ever want to avoid the unimaginable from becoming very imaginable, we must eliminate that which makes the impossible quite possible. We must pay down our massive debt. Most Americans do not realize that our debt, a net negative accumulated by both Republicans and Democrats, hangs over us like a sword of Damocles, threatening to unravel more than our supremacy in the world, but our very existence and way of life.

It is time that we realize that as difficult as it may be to control spending, we must do so and we must do so now. And how we do it is just as important as doing it. It must be done by the means of our free markets which will grow our economy in a way that, unlike federal spending, is sustainable and produces the opportunity for wealth to be created and spread through increased employment, stable financial markets, and solid money, not credit and speculation but cold, hard, cash.

And as such a trend for free market, economic growth increases, the federal government must do its part and slash spending, downsize government, create spending limits and reassess how our money is spent and where it goes. We will need to take measures such as a moratorium on all non-essential foreign aid, adopting constitutional spending limits, overhauling our existing tax code and most of all, by putting an end to the notion that the federal government can spend our way to prosperity.

Paying down our massive federal debt will require willpower. It will require us to consider it a national security issue, because it is. Ridding ourselves of our debt will require disciplined leadership in both the House and Senate, as well as the White House. It requires a President who is armed with a well inked veto pen and the guts to say no

And without a bipartisan effort to promptly and effectively tackle the debt, I believe that it is up to Republicans to declare an economic national emergency, one that brings a complete halt to the direction in which Democrats are taking us. One that tackles our debt now, not later, when it just might be too late.

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White House Denies Approving the Raising of the Communist Flag of China on the South Lawn

Bookmark and Share   The White House has denied claims that approval was given for an event on the South lawn of White House that will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the communist People’s Republic of China.

ChinaDailyAccording to China Daily, a Chinese-American news publication, the Fujian Society stated that the White House signed off on the event on its South lawn and also granted the group the permission to raise the Chinese flag on the South lawn for the event.

On Friday, September 11th, the White House stated that the report was false and that the celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the PRC is going to be held at the Ellipse, on the side of E Street opposite from the presidential residence.

The White House’s confirmation that the event, as stated to the public by those organizing it, was erroneous and not sanctioned by the President is, to say the least, a welcome development.

However, the fact that the original claims were plausible in the minds of those who were aware of the event, says a lot about the Obama administration. It is an example of just how disrespectful many believe the administration is towards our own flag, sovereignty and national pride.

ChineseTributeBut it must be stated that the denial of allowing the communist flag of China to fly over the White House lawn is welcome news from the administration. We are just left to wonder why it has taken three weeks for the President and his administration to set the record straight.

POLITICS 24/7 is delving into the matter and through the Fujian Association, we hope to be able to prove that our President did in fact not ever consider endorsing a celebration of the 60th anniversary of communism in China and that they never even gave thought to allowing the nation’s communist flag to wave over the grounds of the White House.  Hopefully we can confirm that the delay in supposedly setting the record straight was due to incompetence in the White House Press office and not due to  the obvious backlash that the President would have received if he did actually approve of the celebration on the South lawn of the White House.

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Tribute To Communism On South Lawn of the White House

Bookmark and Share   Stop the presses, hold your horses and keep your pants on.

On September 20th the national flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be hoisted above the South Lawn of ChineseTributethe White House in Washington, D.C..

According to Chen Ronghua, the chairman of the Fujian Association of the United States,  his group has applied for permission to hold a tribute to the establishment of the PRC and to raise the Chinese flag, all on the South Lawn. Ronghua adds that the application was approved and he claims it was approved because of what he calls  “sound Sino-US relations” and because China is a responsible country.

Not only do I question celebrating 60 years of hardcore communism, I also have to question the judgment of the White House. This raising of the communist flag of China at the White House will be the first time a foreign nation’s flag will be hoisted to commemorate a country’s founding,

Although there is no violation of the U.S. flag code here, there is an ethical and moral violation. Do we really want to celebrate communism? And do we really want the Chinese flag raised on the South Lawn of the White House for such a celebration?

Respect dictates that we do present the flags of other nations at the White House during ceremonies marking the arrival of dignitaries from other countries but this is not a summit.   Chinese President Hu Jintao, or Premier Wen Jiabao are not gracing us with their presence. This is unprecedented and it is uncalled for.

Chen Ronghua says “It was always my dream to raise a Chinese flag in the center of Washington, D.C.”. Well no offense to you Chen, but it is not my dream for a Chinese flag to be raised on the lawn of the White House.  That to me is the opening scene of a bad movie. It is also not something that I think American veterans of any age or of any war would be interested in seeing. 

Most, if not all the Chinese restaurants I go to don’t even hang the Chinese flag in them, yet here we are waving it on the lawn of the White House..

What message will this send?

Is it a show of friendship with China?  Well I have no problem with the Chinese, and I am not against the Chinese people.  But I do have a problem with their communist dictatorship and the human rights abuses of their communist government.  Furthermore;  I would think and hope that our President does too.

Not only do I think it inappropriate for the White House to allow a commemorative services of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, I find it blasphemous to allow its flag to wave over the White House lawn without it being for a visit, in goodwill, from one of its leaders.

If President Obama condones and allows this, there will be no good reason to deny anyone the right to compare the President’s policies with socialism. If he allows this “celebration” and flag raising, one will seriously have to wonder where his loyalties lie.

I have never before been compelled to actually associate President Obama with anti-American sentiments. He is our President. He is our leader and I do not want to think that any leader in America is un-American but a salute to communism approved by the White House, at the White House, will not make me question this sentiment, it will begin to solidify that sentiment.

I understand that President Obama wants to show the world that we are a friendly nation. I know that President Obama hopes to spread goodwill, but between recently going out of his way to wish all Muslims a happy Ramadan on behalf of, not just himself, but all Americans, and now celebrating Chinese communism, I have to say enough is enough.

Since taking office, President Obama has stood on foreign soil and apologized for America and bowed down to Saudi kings. He has refused to acknowledge our plight against Islamic fundamentalists as a war on terror and he has downplayed our nation’s role in promoting freedom.

Now he celebrates communism.

Enough is enough!

I am tired of being denounced for calling socialist programs, socialist programs. I am fed up with being told that I must embrace my enemy and I will be damned if I celebrate communism or allow its celebration at the White House.

This is still America!

It is time for our President to stop promoting socialism, embracing our enemies as though they were our friends and to stop celebrating communism. If this is the type of anti-American activity he wants to participate in, fine. It’s a free country.   Resign from office, go back to palling around with Bill Ayers and part hearty with Fidel, Hugo and Kim Jong Il, but do not run my country that way.

Take a stand America.  Write your letters to the editors, call into to your local radio stations and your elected representaives and let them know that you will not tolerate this.  Tell your elected officcials that you will hold them accountable.  Let them know that if they let this tribute to the communist government of China to go on without at least strong, public condemnations from them, than you will condemn them to defeat in their next election.

Don’t let the atrocious behavior of the ruling regime in  Washington go unanswered.

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ARE DEMOCRATS REALLY CONCERNED WITH HUMAN RIGHTS?

Bookmark and Share     Just wondering.

Now that Democrats have gained full control of the federal government what happened to their wealth of human rights advocacy?

mask20chinese20flagRecently Secretary of State Clinton went out of her way to let China know that the United States will not let human rights concerns hinder our cooperation with China.

Now, I contend that liberal thinking is hypocrisy based but this recent Democrat commitment confirms it.

But beyond their hypocrisy is their insincerity. Republicans can not make any moves without being accused of human rights abuses and even when Republicans lead efforts that advance human rights, liberals deny credit and the ensuing results.

The fact that millions were freed from oppression and torture in Iraq with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein meant nothing and liberals did nothing but accuse President Bush of waging a useless war. At the same time, they shunned him for not throwing us into civil war in Rwanda.

And what of Rwanda? Where is the liberal urgency to advance human rights there now that they are in charge.

Leadership certainly changes ones priorities, doesn’t it?

What caused Democrats to withdraw their concerns with human rights?

Could it be that achieving them through the political process is a lot harder to do than talking about them?

Or could it be that human rights are nothing more for liberals than a political tool to be used to pull at the heart strings of a compassionate electorate?

I am sure that the people of China are pleased with the new administration and our new Secretary of State. I am sure that the students who risked their lives to participate in protests at Tiananmen Square are glad to know that the worlds beacon of freedom is willing to sell them out for cheap sneakers.

Now I am not suggesting that the Bush administration advanced the cause of human rights in China with any great leaps or bounds but the liberal mentality of people in the Obama administration had them cursing George W. Bush for attending the Olympics in Beijing. Many of them wanted him to boycott the Olympics all together and prohibit our athletes from competing.

The uproar against our participation in the Beijing Olympics reached a fevered pitch during the summer of boycott2008, but now, in the winter of 2009, with the shoe of leadership on the other foot, the Obama administration came right out and said that human rights in China will have no bearing on our relationship and there is not a peep of protest offered by the left.

In the mean time the Chinese government continues to torture prisoners, deny citizens due process, suppress and torture women, limit speech, the media, independent organizing and freedom of association. All this is added to an undying commitment to suppressing religion which has led to the raping of Tibet that includes the actual raping of Tibetan women, the destruction of over 6,000 monasteries and restrictions prohibiting the practice of their religion.

In the face of all this, Democrat leaders have been able to say that it doesn’t matter. If such a statement came out of a Republican administration, liberals would be tying the knots in nooses made to fit the neck of every member of the President’s cabinet.

So which is it? Do human rights really matter to liberals? Do they mean what they say or do they just say what it takes to look concerned?

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When Coca-Cola was first introduced to China, the company had some difficulty spelling the product’s name in Chinese, while keeping the same pronunciation (“ko-ka ko-la”) … the first attempt translated to “bite the wax tadpole.” Finally they arrived at something which translated to “may your mouth rejoice,” and now Coke is selling quite a bit better.

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THE TOP 10 POLITICAL HAPPENINGS OF 2008

With the new year here, we have the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and to thank the passage of time for resolving some situations. While some happenings in 2008 came and went, other events of 2008 still require time, time that will absorb much of 2009 and even beyond.

So today, before we forge ahead with the rest of this new year, we reflect on the events that shaped politics and the politics that shaped events, by presenting to you the 10 most significant political stories of the year that helped to get us where we are today.

TONY SNOW

TONY SNOW

10. – THE DEATHS OF TIM RUSSERT and TONY SNOW

TIM RUSSERT

TIM RUSSERT

Both of these men loved politics. For a time they were both involved in politics on different sides of the aisle and during  a different time they covered both sides of the aisle in politics . Tony Snow started in print and broadcast journalism delivering political news and commentary and ended his career in politics as the Press Secretary for President Bush. Tim Russert began in politics working for a political legend, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and ended covering politics on NBC. As host of Meet The Press, Tim became a part of every American household and despite his personal left leaning tendencies Tim Russert was respected for probing questions that were leveled at liberals and conservatives alike. Tony Snow was also a partisan. For decades he was a favorite in conservative circles, yet when delivering a news story people of every party carefully listened to the insightful delivery of facts that he presented. His last major endeavor was one that helped provide the White House with the ability to properly convey the right messages. Tony served as Press Secretary for 17 months. Probably the most understandable 17 months of the Presidents two terms in office. Tim Russert died after suffering a massive heart attack on Jun 13th at the age of 58 and Tony Snow died after battling colon cancer on July 12th at the age of 53. In life they shaped politics and political opinion. In death, they left us a legacy of lessons and examples to follow.

 

 

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

9 . – IS THAT CAMPAIGN MONEY IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?

 

The Empire State helped to set a tone for 2008 when early in the year, New York’s Governor, Elliot Spitzer got caught up in scandal. After serving only 14 months in office the rising Democrat star found himself standing next to his wife announcing his resignation. Suspicious transfers of money in and out of Spitzer’s bank account led federal investigators to believe that he might be taking bribes. However their probe discovered that for over several years Spitzer wasn’t taking bribes, he was paying out at least $80,000 for prostitutes. The period covered his tenure as New York’s Attorney General as well as his brief time as Governor. The happiest people of all in this episode were David Paterson and New Jersey. As Spitzer’s Lieutenant Governor, Paterson, became New York’s first African American Governor, and the nation’s first legally blind one. New Jersey was just happy to know that they were no longer the only state in the region to lose a governor because of sexual scandals and illegal conduct.

 

 

8. – WEEKEND AT KIM’S

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

 

Around August rumors began to circulate that North Korea’s obscure and, to put it kindly, eccentric leader, Kim Jong-Il, was dead. Since then no reputable sources have either seen him or heard from him. Not that that is unusual, few people have ever heard or seen Kim Jong-Il, but what is unusual are recent decisions that Kim Jong-Il supposedly made to eliminate efforts to develop nuclear power. Did Kim make that decision? Is North Korea really abandoning nuclear ambitions? Or is North Korea propping up Kim Jong-Il, like a bad, out of sync, Korean version of “Weekend At Bernie’s” while a different, unknown, brain dead ruler is pulling the strings and, at the same time, trying to pull the wool over our eyes? All jokes aside, the sensitivity of the situation is a dire one. Chaos on the Korean Peninsula could create a ripple effect that no one can afford. Dramatic events could alter sensitive relations with South Korea and negotiations with the United States. All of which could result in tensions throughout the world including those involving hard feelings between North Korea and Japan. And let us not forget North Korea’s greatest ally, China. With their booming economy, the Chinese are ambitious. Knowing who is in charge of things could be helpful in 2009.

 

 

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

7. – BID WELL FIDEL?

 

In 1959 Cuba took on the face of Fidel Castro. Just 90 miles off of our shores, Cuban communism and Castro were too close for comfort. As much as we didn’t like it, invasions, coups and even assassination attempts did not eliminate Castro’s hold on power. However, time did reduce Castro’s influence. As time changed most of the world, Castro and Cuba didn’t but the logistics which helped to make him a thorn in our side did change. The, once feared communist Soviet-Cuban relationship lost it’s potency as the Soviet Union lost it’s hammer and sickle. As time went by, our concerns with Cuba focused more on human rights for Cubans than defense from Cuba. So it was still welcome news when, in February, we discovered that an ailing Fidel Castro was resigning from office. Not that it mattered much. Before stepping down, Fidel told the Cuban Communist Party that they were too elect his brother Raul to be the new Commander in Chief. The event did not change things very much but after almost 50 years in power, and events such as the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elian Gonzales and other disconcerting situations, as minor as the effects of this change may be, Fidel’s painstakingly slow departure from the world stage is welcomed and ranks as the seventh most dramatic political occurrence of 2008.

 

 ant1georgis1a2

6. – THE GEOGIAN-RUSSIAN WAR

 

It was not a battle that reshaped Europe again but the surprising developments that caused the Russian Army to invade a neighboring, breakaway Republic with internationally recognized sovereignty, gave us all a glimpse of reality. It may not be the Soviet Union anymore but a bear by any other name is still a bear and the vulnerabilities of newly formed and reformed European nations and those with relatively new freedoms still offer some new Russian leaders the same old reasons for wanting control. The incident helped to demonstrate that freedom in parts of Europe is still a fragile concept.

 

 

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

5. – THE EBAY APPOINTMENT

 

2008 ended with a story that will carry well into the first months of 2009. As President-Elect Obama vacated his seat in the U.S. Senate, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich began a private auction process to determine who will fill the vacancy. As investigators, under the direction of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, investigated Blagojevich for numerous improprieties, they discovered that he was basing his appointment to the senate seat on who could give him the most for it. Blago wanted either a “cushy union” job, a high paying cabinet position or at the very least an enormous financial campaign contribution. After being arrested the Illinois state legislature began impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich and he began digging in his heals refusing to resign. The events have the potential for drawing in some big name co-conspirators and participants. From Rep. Jesse Jackson, jr. to President -Elect Obama’s incoming Chief of Staff, Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuelle, many reputations may yet be questioned in this scandal. And to make things even more interesting, Blagojevich took the opportunity to raise the stakes and named Roland Burris, a long time, old line, liberal Chicago Democrat party machine hack to replace Barack Obama. Not at all concerned with peoples faith in government, or the integrity of the process, Burriss accepted the tainted appointment and in doing so, puts the United States and it’s Democrat leader, Harry Reid in the position of denying to seat someone that would be the only African American in the United States Senate. So coming in as the fifth top political occurrence in 2008 is the story that will keep on bleeding and keep us reading…..the process to replace a Barack Obama in the senate.

 

 

4. – BRINGING OUTSIDERS IN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

 

One of the most important political decisions made in 2008 was John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President on the Republican ticket. It was a controversial choice for some and one of the only right decisions made in the opinions of others. No matter how you see it, it remains one of the most spoken about political stories of the year. Beyond the newsworthiness are the implications. For many it was a sign of the fact that government needs thinking that is as far removed from the Washington D.C. mentality as Alaska is from Washington D.C itself. Many Americans are tired of Washington politics and want common sense as opposed to the one hand washes the other, old boys bureaucracy that we perceive as screwing us more than helping us. Sarah Palin embodied, and still does embody, that thinking. She is a political outsider who became a Governor by opposing the political class while representing the working class. Without abandoning conservative Republican principles, Sarah Palin fought against corrupt Republican and liberal politicians. Although picking Sarah Palin for Vice President may have been the right decision for John McCain, trying to restrict and control her wasn’t. By trying to script Sarah Palin, the McCain campaign lost out on the greatest advantageous quality Palin brought to the ticket…….her anti-establishment, outsider qualities. As McCain lost the election for President, Sarh Palin won exposure. Exposure that has made her a person who conservatives look forward to advancing the cause and for Americans to have to consider for national leadership in the future. So at number four in 2008 is the selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President. Thank you senator McCain!

 

 

ant1oil23. – “OILS WELL” IN THE ECONOMY?

 

The price of oil ranks third on our list of top stories. As prices for a barrel of oil soared to heights in excess of 150 dollars a barrel , gas prices flew up to over 4 dollars a gallon and the ripple effects raise the cost of everything from milk, eggs and bread to lumber, air fares, and life in general. The high cost of energy generated heated debates over domestic oil drilling, and pushed issues like immigration and terrorism off of the front burners in the race for President. Based upon the duration of the immediate negative effects of the price of oil combined with its ripple effects on the economy, its control of the political agenda and the long term policy initiatives that it created, oil prices is number 3 in ‘08. It is also likely to become a top story again, at least around August of ‘09, when the now delightfully low prices we see rise back up.

 

 

2. – THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

 

Putting all political opinion aside, Barack Obama ran a long hard campaign, that Republican strategists are dissecting in order to reproduce in elections of their own. The Obama campaign not only effectively tapped into voter dissatisfaction, they organized it and organized it well. Their utilization of the internet was exemplary and their ability to win favor through eloquence and style over substance and fact was done to political perfection. Despite some pitfalls such as Bill Ayers, ACORN, Rev. Wright, admitting a desire akin to socialism by stating that he wanted to spread the wealth, Barack Obama won big. To do so his campaign raised historic amounts of money and more than just raising that money, they spent it right and put it to good use. A use that mobilized the forces well enough to produce his substantial victory. The election of President-Elect Barack Obama comes in second not only because of how he won but because he did win. His victory marked the election of America’s first African American President. Like any other first, it is notable and in this case it is profoundly notable. It demonstrates an undeniable ability for our nation to overcome racial differences and the evidence of decency overcoming prejudice is promising. The effects of President-Elect Obama’s leadership are yet to be seen but the lessons learned and points made by his election are unquestionable.

 

 

ant1bailout21 . – BAIL OUT MANIA

 

POLITICS 24/7 considers the 700 billion dollar bailout that the federal government approved to be the most profound and important story of 2009. Not only was the suggested need for this bailout indicative of our wrong ways of the past, it signaled a continuation of wrong ways in the future. Our promotion of spending as the answer to all of our problems has created generations ands a government that spend beyond our means. The 700 billion dollar bailout meant to solve our problems didn’t solve our anything, it just provided a quick fix. It did however, create more problems. It has called upon more people and more industries to put their own hands out. The bailout set in motion a sense of government control that has taken freedom, with all of it’s risks and promises, out of the free market and it has helped to move America closer to the socialism that we have fought against in the past. Many major events come and go in politics. What we once saw as earth shattering developments often become something that we later laugh about but we fear that bailout trend established in 2008 is no laughing matter for any time.

 

2008 was an intense year. There were many events and some of the most dramatic ones did not involve politics. Human nature played a role in all of them though and hopefully our better instincts will drive the events and politics of 2009.

With that in mind we wish everyone a happy new year and hope that our better instincts help to make each and every day better than the last.

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