Time magazine reported an interesting survey of Americans:

Nearly one-third of the country thinks adherents of Islam should be barred from running for President — a slightly higher percentage than the 24% who mistakenly believe the current occupant of the Oval Office is himself a Muslim.

So one in four surveyed believe that President Obama is a Muslim, and their belief is labeled by Time as being mistaken. But based on Islamic teachings, President Obama is a Muslim because his father was himself a Muslim. And because Islam defines someone born to a Muslim father as a Muslim, I have titled this article, “Our Muslim President.” He has certainly demonstrated that he has sympathies towards Islam and Muslims, and I’m sure that is due to his upbringing. No, I don’t consider him a Muslim. President Obama has stated clearly that he is a Christian, and I will accept his word on that.

But If you listen to any of his speeches, they are loaded with his view of himself and filled with “I,” “me,” and similar language more than I recall any other politician doing. So based on his actions and words, I see that President Obama believes in Barack Hussein Obama above and beyond any personal belief in Christianity or Islam he may have.

Let’s face it — President Obama is our Narcissist in Chief.

The following story caught my eye:

40 billionaires pledge to give away half of wealth

A little over a year after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett began hatching a plan over dinner to persuade America’s wealthiest people to give most of their fortunes to charity, more than three-dozen individuals and families have agreed to take part, campaign organizers announced Wednesday.

In addition to Buffett and Gates — America’s two wealthiest individuals, with a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — 38 other billionaires have signed The Giving Pledge. They include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.

Combined, the 40 billionaires will donate $115 billion to their favorite charities. Their billions will touch and bless the lives of so many people, and it will all be made possible because of their industry. A poor farmer in Bangladesh may make the same pledge, but his meager money will not have the same scope as the wealth of a billionaire. Having large amounts of money grants a person the ability to greatly bless people’s lives. And the billionaires’ pledge is very laudable.

Now let’s imagine the government has decided that at a certain point, the billionaires have made enough money. Congress could easily write a law taxing at 50% the existing wealth of all billionaires. Do you think President Obama would sign such a bill into law? Hell yes, he would! And let’s also imagine that Congress is spending these incoming billions in exactly the same way that the billionaires would have done themselves.

Are the actions of Congress laudable? Absolutely not.

See, in the first case, the billionaires are voluntarily choosing to give up their own money. In the second case, Congress is stealing the billionaires’ money. It doesn’t matter that the money is going to the exact same charities; the act of Congress remains one of theft, not of voluntary giving. True, it’s theft via law and the armed force of government, but it’s still theft. While Congress’ action would be legal, there is nothing either praiseworthy or moral about forcefully taking one person’s money to give to another.

When you get down to it, it’s the billionaires’ money to do with as they see fit, not the government’s. Every time I hear a liberal talking about taxing the rich, I realize that liberal has forgotten that it’s just not his money.

And now for the fifth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Chuck Asay.

Saddled with debt

Our government running up debt is a reality, and has been since before our country was founded. Article VI of the Constitution mentions that the new United States would still be responsible for all the debts incurred by the previous Confederation government. And pretty much every administration since then has run up the nation’s debt. But under President Obama deficit spending has ramped up to a whole new level. Here’s a telling graphic that is often posted at Gateway Pundit’s site:

Obama debt

Chillingly, the deficit run up by this administration in 2010 alone is close to $1.5 trillion. That’s in addition to what you see in the graph, which contains only figures up to 2009.

And what have we actually received for the $3 trillion deficit run up by President Obama’s administration? And how many generations ahead will be paying for this useless extravagance?

Here is the fourth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Lisa Benson.

Bush's tax cuts expiring

The tax cuts that President Bush pushed for are slated to expire January 1st, 2011. And for many Americans, it means a tax hike. You can calculate and see if that’s the case using this handy form from the Tax Foundation. I did a quick test and found out that I’ll be coughing up almost $2,500 more if the tax cuts go away. I don’t know about you, but $2,500 is a bunch of money!

But there is something else worth considering. Bush’s tax cuts have and will affect the overall economy. The tax cut law was signed by President Bush on May 28, 2003, and the effect was quickly seen. The GDP growth for the second quarter of 2003 was 1.10%, but in the third quarter, with the tax cuts in effect, the GDP growth was 2.25%. GDP growth more than doubled, thanks to cutting the top rates people had to pay. Also interesting is the growth of private investment before and after the tax cuts. The private investment rate two quarters before the tax cuts kicked in were 0.61% and 0.42% while the two quarters afterwards were 3.96% and 4.50%. When people realized they could keep more of their hard-earned money, they were willing to invest it in the economy. Since the tax cuts had been heavily debated for a while before their passage, it’s very possible that many businesses and investors held off purchases and big spending until after the tax cuts kicked in.

Let’s take a look at where we are now. We are almost a mirror opposite of 2003. Instead of anticipating tax cuts and postponing activities, businesses are anticipating tax increases and hurrying to do what they can to earn before the taxes go up. As I see it, the rush by businesses and investors to get while the getting is good is boosting this weak economy. Once President Bush’s tax cuts expire, there won’t be nearly as much effort to work for less. I see a deeper recession if the tax cuts expire, and I’m not the only one seeing it.

“In a worst-case scenario, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and failing to fix the AMT could result in (1.5 percent) of fiscal drag in 2011 on top of the 1 percent fiscal drag we expect to occur as the Obama fiscal stimulus package unwinds,” Deutsche said in a note to clients. “If the recovery remains soft/tentative through early next year, this additional drag could be enough to push the economy to a stalling point.”

The opinion runs counter to that of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who said earlier this week that allowing the cuts to expire would not cause the economy to re-enter recession. The administration has proposed letting most of the tax cuts stand, but eliminating the ones for the top-tier earners.

Deutsche compared the situation to Japan in the 1990s, when the government let tax cuts expire and cut stimulus, leading to another leg down in the recession and ensuring the nation’s “lost decade” of no economic growth.

Our Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that letting the tax cuts expire wouldn’t cause the economy to re-enter a recession. And government said that the multi-billion dollar stimulus would hold unemployment at 8%, but we are sitting at 9.5%. The administration doesn’t have a good record when it comes to foreseeing the results of their actions. Heck, our Treasury Secretary has a hard enough time just paying his own taxes.

How could we get out of our current recession? I have a plan that would do so in just three easy steps. But Congress would never do it because it means reducing their power. And they can’t have that.

Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.

Mexico's illegal alien hypocrisy

One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.

Baloney.

The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.

I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:

The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.

Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.

Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.

Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:

The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”

Here is the second in my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon. Today’s edition was drawn by Bruce Beattie last month.

BP dividend check

Look! It’s an oil-drenched bird bringing the guy his dividend check. Oh, the tragic irony!

Eh, not so much.

See, President Obama strong-armed BP into ponying up $20 billion to fund clean-up along the Gulf Coast and to help people whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected by the spill. But try as I may, I can’t find anything in either Section 2 or 3 of Article II in the Constitution that grants President Obama the authority to tell a foreign-owned company how to spend its money here. But much of what President Obama has done so far has been outside of his Constitutional powers.

But back to the dividend checks. The $20 billion isn’t coming from the coffers of BP. Instead, BP has suspended paying out any dividends to its stockholders to raise the money. So who is being given the bill for the BP payout? Could be you, if you own any BP stock or mutual funds that contain BP stocks, and about 40% of BP is owned by Americans. I sure hope you aren’t living off your investments, because President Obama has just taken some of your money.

What should he have done? There are billions of unspent stimulus money that should have been used. Then President Obama could have recovered the money by using the Justice Department to sue BP for any criminal negligence that contributed to the disaster. That would have freed up money to people harmed by the spill as well as keep paying out dividends to BP stock-holders.

OK, to get me back into the swing of posting stuff here rather than driving my wife nuts with my verbal ranting, [Yes please! --TPK] I’m going to use some political cartoons as a jump-off spot. I’m calling these posts Cartoon Wisdom.

First up, something by Lisa Benson.

Laser-like Focus

President Obama talks about having “saved or created” millions of jobs because of the multi-billion dollar stimulus. Back when the stimulus was being debated, the government put out some numbers of the jobs they expected to create. Now many months later, Republicans have checked out the reality of jobs in each market compared to what the Democrat stimulus promised would appear. Here is the table they published showing the prediction verses reality.

Industry

Administration Prediction of Job Creation by the End of 2010

Actual Change in Jobs since Stimulus (February 2009 – June 2010)

Construction

678,000

-853,000

Manufacturing

408,000

-707,000

Financial Activities

214,000

-310,000

Retail Trade

604,000

-286,800

Professional and Business Services

345,000

-211,000

Information

50,000

-158,000

Transportation and Warehousing

98,000

-155,600

Wholesale Trade

158,000

-135,400

Other Services

99,000

-72,000

Leisure and Hospitality

499,000

-69,000

Mining

26,000

-16,900

Utilities

11,000

-7,500

Government

244,000

+201,000

Education, Health and Social Services

240,000

+434,000

Total

3,675,000

-2,347,200

Over two million jobs lost in this economy, and yet President Obama is all to happy to claim that millions of jobs have been created or saved. Yeah. Right.

In every sector of the economy, jobs have been lost. But one sector has seen lots of growth, and that has been President Obama’s laser-like focus: government jobs. Interestingly enough, the list breaks it down into Government and “Education, Health and Social Services.” But here’s the dirty little secret: both sectors are government jobs.

But this isn’t a surprise to me since I have written about it already:

If you are uncertain how the current administration will react to some situation, just identify the action most likely to increase the government’s size and power, and you will know exactly how the government will act.

Yes, I’ve harped already about the United States being a representative republic and not a democracy, and I’ll continue to bring it up as long as the clueless talk about “our democracy.” Yes, I’m specifically calling President Obama and Elena Kagan, his pick for the Supreme Court, clueless.

Most recently I saw this mistaken idea of American democracy on Facebook. It was a simple link to StandForDemocracy.org saying, “Sick of corporate corruption? Join me and Stand for Democracy.” Ignoring momentarily the three planks that Stand For Democracy is calling for, here’s the list of partners:

Can you spot the common theme running through these groups? If you said that they are all liberal groups, you win the prize. So knowing their fellow travelers, let’s see what Stand For Democracy is standing for:

Overturn Citizens United:

Amend the Constitution to protect America from unlimited corporate spending on our elections by overturning the Supreme Court’s decision giving corporations the same First Amendment rights as people.

“Evil corporations. Evil!” I can almost see them holding up a crucifix and stakes to ward off the evil corporations. They don’t seem to understand that a corporation is nothing more than a group of people banded together. And people DO have First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s decision was a good one, but it means corporations can have a voice in government actions when those actions affect their business and their people.

Fair elections now:

Pass the Fair Elections Now Act, providing public financing to candidates who are supported by small donors so they can compete with corporate-backed and self-funded candidates.

Did you notice that there is no mention here of union-backed candidates? SEIU has emerged as a big player in the past two to three years. And the head of SEIU, Andrew Stern, was the leading visitor to the White House in the first six months of President Obama’s administration. But union money and influence is just fine for liberals because unions share their liberal vision. Corporations do not have the same monolithic political leanings, so they must be blocked. And this is fair?

Lobbyist Reform Act:

Pass legislation to end the overwhelming influence of corporate lobbyists by: prohibiting individuals from switching from corporate lobbying to government service, or vice-versa, within a 5-year period; stopping corporate lobbyists from giving gifts and providing free travel to government officials; and posting online the attendees and content of all meetings between lobbyists and government officials (or their staffs).

And here we have a third attack on corporations. Bad, evil, nasty corporations. Seeing a trend? Don’t get me wrong: I would love to have more transparency in government, but I don’t see it happening at all with this administration. Yes, President Obama talked a good talk about how his administration would be the most transparent, but his actions have put the lie to his words. I’m guessing that much like a stopped clock, this group has a good idea with transparency, but the idea of throwing more and more legislation at a problem is a quintessentially liberal big government idea. When confronted with a problem, I prefer the option of personal freedom over government restrictions.

But what do I know? Well, at least I know that we live in a representative republic and not a democracy.

Let’s suppose that you are an ocean diver with an air hose connecting your diving helmet to the air supply on the boat. And let’s also suppose that the manager on the boat is anxious for the job to finish faster. He’s not diving to help get the job done, but he is certainly willing to tell you how to do the work. And to motivate you, he steps on the air hose while telling you to work faster. Sounds pretty dumb, doesn’t it? How does choking off his life-giving air make the diver work better? The diver needs all the air he can get since cutting down on the air flow starves the diver of the vital oxygen he needs to work at his best.

Likewise, the government is guilty of stepping on the economic air hose every time it raises taxes, especially when companies are the ones being taxed. Corporate taxes depress economic activities just as standing on a diver’s air hose depresses that diver’s ability to work. Taxes are an economic punishment, and people will respond to punishments by doing less of that which is punished. It’s just basic human nature. So a government tax on business activities will result in fewer business activities, and in a time of a recession, do we really want to depress the economy further?

“But the government needs to tax businesses! The government uses that tax money to ‘prime the pump’ of the economy during a recession.” That’s the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes, but Keynesian economics just don’t work. You can see this by taking it to the extreme. If government were to tax businesses at 100% and redirect the results to ‘prime the pump’ of the economy, what would be the result? Sure, the government would pull in taxes the first year, but once businesses realized that the government was serious in taking all their profits, business owners would close their factory and office doors. Why would they work hard for no reward? And if businesses were to shut down, how much of an economy would be left? With a dead economy, the government would get nothing from taxing the vanished businesses, and nothing from a non-working public, so just how successful was “priming the pump?”

Let’s reverse it and see what happens: suppose government dropped the business tax rate to 0%. With no one stepping on their air hose, businesses would be unleashed to work as hard as they wanted to make money, and the economy would roar to life. After all, the economy is not the government handing out confiscated money, but it is businesses and people working for themselves. “But how will the government get the tax revenue it needs to run the country?” Well, if the government doesn’t need to “prime the pump” with confiscated money, its needs are smaller. But because a business is comprised of people, the government will still get taxes from the workers. And interestingly enough, when government has reduced tax rates on businesses and people, the total taxes brought into the treasury go up because the economy runs better with the government off its air hose. It happened with the tax rate drop proposed by President Kennedy and passed after his death. It happened with President Reagan’s cuts in 1983. And it happened again with President Bush in 2003.

Can you point to a time when government “priming the pump” has met with equivalent success? President Roosevelt is often held up as an example of triumphant Keynesian economics, but it’s not the example people think it is. The economy was certainly depressed when FDR entered office, but all the economically stifling actions he pushed for only succeeded in depressing the economy for a full decade. Likewise, the actions of the current administration have done little to stimulate the economy. Unemployment is hovering around 10%, and businesses are wary of hiring as the government continues to meddle, and the economy remains lifeless.

What is the solution for our current doldrums? If the government would step off the economic air hose by greatly lowering tax rates on people and businesses and drastically cutting back on government deficit spending, the economy would explode with activity. And when the economy is roaring along, the lowered tax rates will still result in increased revenue to the government’s coffers, money that the government could use to pay down our country’s debt.

How can I state this with such confidence? Simply because it has worked that way every time it’s been done. Let’s try an economic theory that has a proven track record.

In case you didn’t have enough already, here is yet another reason why I don’t look to Hollywood for scholarly political analysis:

Woody Allen has a strange take on the democracy that allowed him to become rich and famous.

Uh, no. The United States is not a democracy. It is a representative Republic. There is a difference, but one that is obviously missed by the writer of the article.

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia (that we translated), Allen says “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

But wait – there’s more!

The director said “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

Do you think President Obama could get the trains to run on time if given unlimited power?

I have no desire to see anyone become a dictator in this country, even a conservative Republican whom I support 100%. I want the government to do just those few things it is supposed to do, as outlined in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and nothing else. Simply put, I’m an adult, and I don’t need some government parental-figure telling me what I should and should not do. But I’m not an immature Hollywood celebrity who desires someone else control his every decision.