Posts Tagged ‘war’

Obama has not ‘inherited’ anything

Barack Obama cannot get through a paragraph without whining that he inherited all the nation’s woes from the Bush administration.


There are two definitions of inherit:

1. to receive assets as a result of the death of a person pursuant to a will or intestate succession state law

2. to receive, by being conceived, genetic characteristics from a biological ancestor

Neither applies to Obama. George W. Bush did not die and, if he had, he sure as hell would not have left any assets to Barack Obama. Obama admits to being a cousin of Dick Cheney, but cousins are not descendants and Obama surely is no descendant of Bush.

Obama SOUGHT the position he is now in

Unless you are one of the Menendez brothers or Anna Nicole Smith, you do not seek an inheritance. It just happens to you without the slightest effort on your part.

That sure as hell does not describe Obama’s behavior since the year he decided to go into politics at age 23. He has been busting his ass off, neglecting his family, and bending every effort to achieve the highest political office he could achieve. He desperately chased the three political offices he has held. He was not selling insurance for Allstate when he got a call that his uncle George died and left him the White House

Inheritance, like elective office, is optional

When you are told you are to inherit assets as the result of the death of their prior owner, you’d better make sure you want them before you agree to accept them. In the case of real estate, the property in question may be underwater (mortgage bigger than current market value) or contaminated with toxics like asbestos or underground waste that would cost more to clean up than the property would be worth afterwards. The same is true of businesses or other assets that may have been pledged as loan security. A corporation might have tort or other types of liabilities that would cause you to say no thanks to the executor of the estate.

Heirs can just say no to the receipt of any particular assets offered to them as a result of someone’s death.

Barack Obama could have declined to run for president or, after being elected, he could have declined to take the oath or, after inauguration, could have resigned.

Not only did he not do any of those things, he did the opposite. He cited all the nation’s problems as reasons:

• why he wanted the job
• why he should be elected to fix those problems
• why the party in power in the White House should be replaced by him

Now he tells us the prior administration left him a mess. Isn’t that the exact same mess he spent all 2007 and 2008 talking about and asking us to put him in charge of? He told us he was an expert on that mess. He told us he was the best person in the country to fix it.

Now, those exact same things are his all-purpose excuse for not fixing it.

During World War II, the French were famous for blaming all sorts of inefficiencies and shortages on the war with the all-purpose excuse “C’est la guerre.”

Obama’s version of that is “C’est le Bush Administration.”

Quit the whining and get to work! You wanted the job. You got the job. Now do the job. Find ways to get it done and stop making excuses for not getting it done. If the mess left by the previous administration is too much for you, resign. If not, shut up and start producing some real results.

The Bush administration never had your Congressional majorities and indeed spent half of their time in office with a minority in Congress, yet they got far more done. Literally, the only laws you have enacted were two earmark laws—the earmarks you promised would end if and when you got elected.

The plain fact is you suck as a president. You had one of the three biggest Congressional majorities since 1900. The others were FDR in 1932 (Depression) and Carter in 1976 (Watergate).

Democrat Lyndon Johnson got far more done than you (e.g., Civil Rights Act of 1964, Great Society) with normal Congress’s and a much bigger war (Vietnam with 553,000 U.S. troops in country). Why did Johnson and Bush get far more done with far fewer Congressional party mates? Because, unlike Barack Obama, they knew what they were doing as a result of many years of real experience. You stumble around the Oval Office like a guy groping for a towel after leaving the shower with soap in his eyes.

As I said in my job interview article early in the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama could not get a job as an unpaid volunteer youth basketball coach, McDonald’s night manager, or Army second lieutenant—literally—if he applied for them with the same resume but no celebrity.

Bush was president, not king

Bush was not king from 2001 to 2009. He was merely president. There was also a Congress. What happened or did not happen between 2001 and 2009 was the responsibility of both the president and the Congress. Obama himself was a U.S. Senator in that Congress from 2005 to 2009—2/3 of a six-year senate term. The two parties were tied or the majority party went back and forth. The most senators the Republicans ever had when Bush was president was 55, not the magic number of 60. Barack the “magic negro” managed to render the magic number of 60 anything but magical by spending every month when he had that magic number pushing for a health care bill that required even more than 60 Democrats because the Democrats themselves could not all support the various hodge podge versions that were bandied about.

Who made the mess?

Did Bush alone create all the challenges facing the nation in 2009 and 2010? As we all know, he did not. He could not.

The mess facing the nation was created by all the Congresses and presidents since around 1928. Before then, the federal government was too small to make huge messes. They just ran the Army and Navy and post office and customs.

The mess is the accumulation of laws like social security (FDR), Medicare and Medicaid (Johnson), Medicare Part D (Bush II), war after war after war (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Obama). It is also caused in part by quasi-governmental organizations like FNMA, FHLMC, Federal Reserve. And it was caused by people outside the U.S. like Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, North Korea, North Vietnam, Iran, Saddam Hussein, Mullah Omar, Osama Bin Laden, and so on.

Almost all presidents have blamed their predecessor to an extent for the problems they face. But none of them have done it so many times or for so many months as Obama.

What Obama really means by the word ‘inherit’

Aside from the inaccuracy and incompleteness of Obama’s whining about inheriting the mess, he intends a whole new, very dangerous meaning to the word. To Obama, the allegation that he inherited the problems currently facing the country means:

1. The existence of the problems alleged by Obama on inauguration day is not his fault, which is generally true.
2. The continued existence of those problems is neither his fault nor his responsibility to fix. There seems to be a silent implication that Bush and Cheney have to somehow come back and clean those problems up.
3. The appearance of additional, similar problems after inauguration day are also due to Bush/Cheney because the problems that have arisen since Obama took office are somehow the offspring of the problems Obama “inherited.”
4. The worsening of the problems Obama inherited from Bush/Cheney is also not Obama’s fault nor his responsibility to fix because those problems would not exist if Bush/Cheney had not created them and left them unfixed.

In short, Obama is absolved from either blame for, or of any obligation to fix, any problem that could, in any way, however remotely, be traced to Bush/Cheney.

Obama sees his entire responsibility to be scolding the ROW (rest of the world, i.e., everyone but Barack Obama), especially the prior administration and “Washington” and “Wall Street” for all of their mistakes and shortcomings. He will sign an occasional bill and make a zillion speeches, but otherwise, “somebody” needs to clean up this mess.

For the record, it is the job of each president to manage the federal government in the best way possible and the correct total amount of time each president should spend pointing out the deficiencies of his predecessor is 0:00. What’s done is done. The president’s job is the situation as he finds it on inauguration day regardless of its origin. If you call a washing-machine repairman, and all he does is complain about the manufacturer of the machine or the previous repairman, you would rightly refuse to pay him.

Not suited for the job

I have been saying since before the election that Barack Obama wanted the title of president and the celebrity of president, but that he never had any interest in actually doing what the president has to do. Ronald Reagan, a former two-term California governor, knew what chief executive meant, wanted the job and did the job, not perfectly, but he knew what he was getting himself into and handled it rather well. Hillary is a policy wonk and loves that stuff.

Obama is the opposite of a policy wonk. He is a dilettante, perpetual graduate student. He enjoys talking about this stuff, but not to the point where he is going to bother to do his homework so he knows what he’s talking about. Like the Pope, Obama is always pontificating. Unlike the Pope, Obama has no authority to pontificate.

In my book How to Manage Residential Property for Maximum Cash Flow and Resale Value, 6th edition, which just came out, it tells a tale of two employees of mine. Both were resident managers of apartment complexes I owned. The managers of my Greenbriar Apartments loved the job. They had been there for decades. They had written an article for the local paper once about how great the job was because of all the different people they met from around the country and the world who were tenants there. Never a dull day. Every day was different and so on.

Then there was the other manager I had briefly at my Las Brisas Apartments. She complained bitterly of being bothered all hours of the day, stupid tenants, impossible list of things to do, and so on. She demanded her pay be double or some such. I fired her after about three weeks.

Both managers were describing the exact same job—albeit at two different complexes. One saw the glass as half full; the other, half empty.

My books says when you hire an employee who complains bitterly about those aspects of the job which are normal, fire her or him. It is not that she is wrong when she says a resident manager of an apartment building gets “bothered” at all hours of the day. They do. The issue is whether it is a “bother” and whether they appreciate also being off-duty all hours of the day when nothing in particular is happening. Those who are as well suited for the job as they should be are not “bothered” by the tenants coming to them with maintenance requests or other issues. They see it as what they get paid for and recognize that the compensation is fair for the time required. I would not even say the complaining manager is a bad person. But they sure as hell need to find another job.

The generic version of this is the manager who complains that they are “always putting out fires” or that they can never get a full team of the “right people.” If they could just get the “right people,” everything would be fine.

If the guy who complains that they have no time for anything but putting out fires at work, and he is a fireman, fire him. More broadly, if organizations always worked smoothly, there would be no need for managers. A manager is to people, when the maintenance man at a factory is to the manufacturing equipment. If the equipment never broke down there would be no need for a maintenance man. By the same token, managers are the maintenance men of human organizations. If everybody always did the right thing, organizations would not need managers.

President of the United States is a people manager job. The current holder of that job incessantly complains about the mess and the problems and the recalcitrant Congress and voters.

Complaining about the job description!

He is complaining about the job description! What president did not have to deal with such things? Throughout our history there have been wars and financial crises. There’s a list of all U.S. wars at this link. And there’s a list of business cycles since 1854 (all booms and recessions) here.

Barack Obama could not have had more notice of what the job of President of the United States involved. Now he complains bitterly about precisely the job for which he told us he was the best qualified person. He is unqualified for the job and unsuited for it. The plain truth is he never wanted the job in the first place, only the title and prestige and celebrity of it, and he wants it even less now that he has it. He should resign (after first getting Biden to resign and appointing Wes Clark or Hillary or some such the new vice president).

Do not complain about the job description after you take the job. Read it before you apply. If you don’t like the job description, don’t apply for, or accept, the job.

Barack, lead or get out of the way. Whichever you choose, quit your adolescent whining.

RAND Corp.: ‘How Terrorist Groups End…’

On 7/29/08, RAND Corp. released a 200-page study titled How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaida. It says the “War on Terror” should be ended because it is not even close to the right approach.

Military has a minor role

It says much the same as I do, namely that reducing terrorism requires a combination of police, intelligence, finance, diplomacy, politics, and military force. Furthermore, it agrees with me that military force probably plays a minor role akin to that of civilian police SWAT teams. That is, when the terrorists behave militarily—massive into significant size groups using heavy weapons or simply where we have located them—the military is needed to attack them.

Modern history of terrorism

The RAND study looks at the history of terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006. Those that went out of business did so mainly because of police and intelligence work, not military action. In one of my Web articles, I said that terrorism is a publicity stunt. Sending the military after them and declaring “war” on them gives them more publicity.

Politics is also a factor that I have mentioned but not emphasized. RAND found that terrorist groups with narrow political goals often switched to normal political means to achieve their goals. Terrorist groups that want to take over the world, like al-Qaida, cannot be satisfied by any political accommodation. Religious terrorists take longer to defeat than secular.

10% of terrorist groups took over a country. 7% were defeated primarily by military force. The rest generally splintered, fell apart, were defeated by normal anti-criminal police and undercover work, or still exist.

As I have said in my articles, terrorism is rarely a military problem therefore the military is only rarely the solution. Using the military to solve a non-military problem costs zillions of dollars, alienates friend and neutral alike, and exposes our troops to death and injury by hit-and-run or accident in ways that they would not be exposed if they stayed out of areas where terrorism is prevalent.

Credit and blame

Our military deserves great credit for trying to accomplish these missions in spite of inadequate personnel, training, equipment, and resources, but our military leaders, including the civilian ones, should be punished for their failure to recognize and admit the problem is beyond the military’s ability to solve.

Progress, without regard to speed, is not enough

Progress is not victory. Neither the patience nor the pocketbook of the American people is infinite. Obama’s position, to withdraw from Iraq, is probably correct, but for the wrong reasons. His policy of sending more troops to Afghanistan is essentially the same as Bush’s policy, which is probably just as wrong in Iraq as it is in Afghanistan. Both wars fall under the RAND study’s scope and relevance. All three major political figures—Bush, McCain, and Obama—are wrong on the wars. They treat them as a symbol of various political postures. In fact, they should be treated as dirty jobs and addressed with the most cost-effective means, not with means that work well in a political speech and allow the politicians to wrap themselves in the flag.