December 31, 2008 - 15 May 2009

Because I have very little happening in my life I thought I would do what all the media has been doing and that is comment on the First 100 Days. I'll preface my remarks by confessing - I did not vote for Obama, I did not vote for McCain. I did not trust Obama and did not know what he was going to do, I trusted McCain only slightly more and thought I knew what he would do; however, I did not wish to vote for either of them. In fact I have not voted for either the Democrat or the Republican candidate since the 1992 election. As I see it there isn't any real policy choice between the two parties and there hasn't been for many years. The Democrats had a sure win this election cycle - they would end up with a President that was to the left or a "centrist" that was running under the Republican banner but could have just as easily have contested the nomination as a Democrat. Well, with all that said let me get back to the First 100 Days.
  • First, at his inaugural Obama said that we need to "re-make" America. I didn't know that America needed to be "re-made". But, what concerns me the most is - What will America look like once he has "re-made" it? I can not think of one country in the world during the 20th Century that was a practising democracy that was improved by being "re-made".
  • Second, I thought the majority elected Obama because of his promise of change. He has changed the Executive Order regarding Guantanamo but placed the blame for releasing those held there on someone else a year from now. He changed the Executive Order regarding abortion funding however this was a "must do" by any Democrat - unrestricted abortion is now included with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the Democrat Party mantra. It is also supported by a vast number of Republicans and has become a very minor policy difference. In addition, it is absolutely necessary if a policy of government supported euthanasia is ever to become accepted - a permanent solution to the Medicare and Social Security funding problems. There is another solution that hasn't panned out (pun intended); that being the swine flu pandemic. But another may accomplish what the swine flu has not. Flu pandemics tend to kill the young (not yet of voting age and easily replaced by the surviving adults) and the old (which historically have voted Republican so their deaths solve the funding problem and strengthen the Democrat Party - a win, win).
  • Third, the massive bailout bills plus 3.6 Trillion budget is "change"? I see no change I see only one-upmanship - I can spend more that you can. The change will come when the debt must be paid back! We will see change when US Government debt can no longer be rolled over and must be paid back or is defaulted upon. Yes, we will see "change" but it isn't going to be what the voting majority thought they were going to get. The voting majority will then understand that change does not always equal progress or improvement.
  • Fourth, the financial sector of the US economy has now been socialized. Only a small portion has been nationalized but the sector is now controlled by the Federal Government and the executives have become "Obama kulaks". If they do not heed his directions they will be subject to the same treatment as the AIG executives and perhaps worse if fanatic Obama supporters move against these "kulaks" as they did in the Soviet Union. Governmental control will be strengthened as those executives that resign or commit suicide are replaced with people more in tune with the governmental policy. The US auto industry will soon be socialized or foreign owned - Ford has resisted taking any "bail out" money but within Obama's first term I predict they will join GM and Chrysler.
  • Fifth, it appears that Obama has picked up where former president Clinton left off by adopting an apologetic foreign policy. This my be the Democrat Party policy now and I was not aware of it. The media has been very quiet about Secretary of State Clinton's activities, or perhaps she has been very quiet, and are focused on what President Obama is doing in foreign policy/relations.
  • Sixth, I have received notice of my Obama "stimulus check", or direct deposit as the case may be, but it was for $250. What is this? I got $300 from the mean, greedy and hateful Bush Administration and only $250 from Obama? The stimulus tax cut for 95% of Working Americans is also going to be a big surprise for many of those same 95%. The "cut" is in WITHHOLDING of taxes not a cut in tax RATES. When 2009 taxes are filed during the 1st Qtr of 2010 those same Working Americans are going to find that their Tax Refund is smaller or their Tax Due is larger. This will come at the same time that Withholdings will go up more than they were cut because the Bush Administration Tax Cuts will automatically expire and Rates will go back up to the level they were at under the Clinton Administration. The 2009 stimulus package effects will only have begun to take effect in early 2010 and will be battling against these non-stimulating forces. What happens then? My guess - more government spending.
  • Seventh, I fail to see much change in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. During the first 100 days there were 86 US Forces killed in those two countries, if the death rate continues at that level it will result in 1,256 casualties during Obama's first term. This compares favourably to George W's first term although he did it in two years. However, I fear that the rate will increase rather than decline due to the policy of combat troop withdrawal in Iraq and adding "training" troops for Afghanistan. History may not repeat but someone said it rhymes; our history of placing "training" troops in harms way has lead to high casualties. I for one would not want to be the last US soldier to leave Iraq nor be assigned to train Afghan troops in Afghanistan. During the campaign Obama made an issue of George W's failure to capture Bin Laden and his promise to do so. Although he didn't promise to do it in the first 100 days I have not noticed any change in effort. He also said that if the Pakistan government didn't do more that he would expand the war into Pakistan. I don't think there has been any significant expansion but we are continuing to kill Pakistan civilians for which George W was condemned.
  • Eighth, we did get a new White House Dog!
I have continued to read but the poor economy has even effected that. As I have told you in the past, I have used Inter-Library Loans to acquire those books that my Pulitzer Prize winning authors have written and the Washoe County Library does not have. Well, the Library is undergoing some big budget cuts and has imposed a $3 per book fee for all ILL requests. My budget has not increased so I'll no longer be using the ILL service and will no longer read all that an author has published but rather all that the Washoe County Library has available. However, in the case of Upton Sinclair I have utilized another service that the Library offers and that is to suggest books for purchase. Upton Sinclair wrote eleven books refered to as The Lanny Budd Series; the Library had seven of the Series and I suggested they buy the other four which they now have on order. The third book in the Series was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and in my opinion if you read the Series you will probably get and very good idea of what Upton Sinclair was about - he was an unabashed Socialist, not a liberal, not a progressive - he called himself a Socialist. There are politicians today that could take lessons from him, not in what he believed but his honesty in what label he affixed to his beliefs. I have also read The Big Sky Series by A. B. Guthrie but it is not a series as written by John Jakes, James Reasoner or Upton Sinclair. Those three authors had a family(s) that provided continuity over the years that they wrote about with history as a background - the Big Sky series has a place as the continuity but even that is broken by the second book in the series, The Way West (winner of a Pulitzer Prize). The six book series places most of its action in the Great Falls/Choteau, MT area with the exception of book two. For a series I was disappointed; the individual books were good reads with The Big Sky being the best of the lot.

The only other endeavour of note during this period has been my preparation for a Road Trip this year. The 3rd International Teardrop Gathering (ITG3) will be in Minden, NE once again this year on June 18-20 and I have put together a three week trip plan. I had the plan developed before I started reading A. B. Guthrie but it so happens that I will pass through Choteau, MT where he grew up. My trailer has been repaired and is ready for another trip with slightly heavier torsion springs although the trailer weight has not increased. The builder and I both believe that the prior axles were defective and he did not want to put the same rated axles back on. I have replaced my cracked windshield, bought new tires and got my 30,000 mile service done (did it at almost 36,000 miles, but did it); these three item were quite expensive but I should be good for another 35,000+ miles. I'll report on the trip (Minden to Minden to Minden) later in the year with my next update.