Friday, February 27, 2009

We Don't Need No Water...

Each day I grow more confused at the Obama administration's methods of dealing with disaster. Thus far, I have been witness to a spectacle reminiscent of a man yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and then expecting an orderly exodus onto the street. Day after day we are told of the impending collapse of our economy and way of life in what I can only conclude is a concerted effort to frighten us so badly that we'll accept whatever form of remedy Obama and Congress offer up.

Oddly enough, that remedy seems to come from a notion that since the roof is on fire, the solution is to ignite the foundation. For a party that complained bitterly - for eight years - about record deficits, spending in a deep recession seems an utterly odd way of fixing the economy and yet from the moment of Obama's inauguration and the cementing of a democratic trifecta in Washington, our government has laid rubber in making an aircraft carrier full of drunken sailors seem like fiscal conservatives.

The delicious irony is that the White House has released a PDF entitled "A New Era of Responsibility" and subtitled, "Renewing America's Promise". What promise was that, the promise to put an end to our lifestyles once and for all? Was it the promise to murder liberty in America?

Clearly something is wrong when an old liberal like Robert Byrd warns that the machinations of the new administration are a dangerous power grab. Obama once referred to our predicament as being in a bus headed for a cliff, but instead of yanking the wheel to avoid the plunge, Obama has kept his eyes and the wheel fixed straight ahead and has floored the gas pedal.

Aside from his apparent determination to spend us into oblivion, there are other ominous signs of that which Byrd warns, such as the blizzard of "csar" appointments, tax increases and moves to restrict gun ownership. Some members of congress - whether knowingly or not - also seem all too willing to aid in the demise of freedom through various versions of the Fairness Doctrine cleverly masked as something more palatable to the average American.

There has been some faint glimmers of hope from a few republicans recently, but for the democrats' part - as evidenced by Nancy Pelosi's gleeful seal impersonation during Obama's speech this week - there will be no resistance to Obama's ambitious restructuring of America. For as often as he say's that the roof is on fire, the democrats raise their champagne glasses and respond, "We don't need no water, let the mother______ burn".

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is It Sabotage?

There's something about the new president that the markets don't like, because the Dow Jones Industrials have gone down rapidly since he took the reins. Obviously, Obama's rhetoric doesn't contribute much towards optimism, but that won't stop his supporters from blaming George W. Bush anyway.

There is this curious penchant on the part of Obama, however, to interject himself at the most bizarre of times, and I speculate that there is little to contradict the notion that he is doing it on purpose. Today was a good example.

Obama had his first speech before a joint session of Congress last night, a sort of faux-State of the Union address. How did the markets respond to his message? In the first few hours, the Dow Jones was down almost 200 points, and the lower the index gets, the higher the percentage that 200 points represents. Wall Street did not respond well to last night's speech.

Then Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, spoke and reassured investors that there was no plan by the government to nationalize the banking industry. Throughout the day, the DJI fought its way back from a valley of 193 points down. In the last hour, it had struggled all the way back to even and even topped at 55 points up. Then Obama decided to add to last night's speech.

According to Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, shortly after the president spoke, the market shed it's slight gain and plummeted once again to close at 80 points down. "As we came close to the bell we got the curveball: our president came on TV," he said.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

God Gets Even With Oslo

After awarding Al Gore with a Nobel Peace Prize, God has seen fit to remind Oslo that the only one who controls our climate is He Himself.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Fiscal Madness Meets The Age Of Appeasement

Lest anyone get the wrong impression of this article before delving into it too far, the image of Neville Chamberlain is not totally indicative of the intent of this writing. I must also forewarn you, the reader, that while I am usually reticent in using profanity, I am spitting mad as I type. That being said, hide the children and hunker down, because there is breaking news that has unleashed the beast, and I may use language not fit for mixed company.

I was wary of a Clinton-Obama tag-team for obvious reasons, but I had no idea that they would attempt this level of havoc long before the first turn in the track; these horses have barely cleared the gates. Reuters, I learned just a short while ago, is reporting that our new administration is poised to offer $900 million to help rebuild Gaza after the damage caused by hostilities earlier this year.

First, from a patriotically selfish point of view, I would like to know where this money is coming from as we are actually having some financial troubles at the moment. Mr. President, have you noticed that the DJI is down substantially since your electoral victory in November? Has it dawned on you that perhaps $900 million for a foreign - and ofttimes hostile - nation at this juncture may be ill-advised? Are you going to ask Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, Bruce Springsteen or George Soros to cough up the money for this endeavor?

These are obviously rhetorical questions since it is ludicrous to think that those who whine the loudest about social injustice would consider paying dearly to end it. These are people who get paid to do tear-jerking commercials in which they beg the poor folks of America to cough up "just 39 cents a day, the price of a cup of coffee" to save the less fortunate. Does no one ever ask the Alec Baldwins of the world why they don't send a measly million and end poverty in Ethiopia once and for all? Does no one ever ask if 39 cents is enough to pay for the annoying commercials?

This article is not all about money, however, and I will get to the significance of Neville

For anyone unfamiliar with Chamberlain, he was of the mindset that Hitler was just a guy with a chip on his shoulder who could be assuaged with soothing dialogue. He believed that there was something Britain had done that angered the fuhrer and that a simple promise to undo it would suffice. It is much the same with the modern American liberal who believes that our misnomered "lavish lifestyle" is an affront to the sensibilities of Mideastern muslims who live in squalor. Tragically overlooked in this equation is the fact that poor muslims from the middle east are exploited by uber-rich muslims who send the poor out to die for them in the name of Allah. Notice that bin Laden never strapped up and attacked a double-decker bus.

And yet, here we are, on the verge of financial collapse - Obama's words, not mine - and we're going to spend nearly a billion dollars on people who hate us and our strongest ally in the region. One has to ask...why? With Obama promising to slash military spending, it seems the only explanation may be to offer a quid pro quo to Hamas and those sympathetic to them in the hopes that radical muslims will be less likely to attack us.

This is where I planned to curse. I'm pleased to say that you can let the kids back into the room. Odds are, if they're the offspring of conservative parents, they'll even grasp the article.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The First Month Of Hope

In just the first month of his presidency, Barack Obama has already succeeded in drawing a multitude of comparisons to former president Jimmy Carter. From a superb run up campaign based on a theme of hope and change, his administration seems to have abandoned hope for the sake of accelerated change. A more accurate description of his philosophy would be crisis intervention rather than hope because his rhetoric has been anything but optimistic.

To listen to Obama's secretary of state in Seoul, South Korea over the weekend, nothing is going right. De-emphasizing the issue of human rights in China, to the dismay of activist groups, Hillary Clinton had this to say (emphasis mine):

"But our pressing on those issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis."

Obama has used the word "crisis" ad nauseam as well, something that leading economists have been uneasy about in recent weeks, warning that the dour mood created in Americans is only exacerbating the problem. Perhaps that is by design, as the administration seems to have switched from hope to fear to achieve its lofty goals.

During the campaign, I wrote about Obama's philosophy of wealth redistribution, something that is coming to fruition right before our very eyes. The massive stimulus plan recently signed by Obama is blatantly redistributive as is his plan to intervene in the mortgage - dare I say - crisis. As bad as it was that the stimulus was being accomplished through borrowing, the Washington Post is reporting today that Obama is nearing completion of his first budget. In it, his plan is to pay for much of the stimulus and mortgage bailouts by raising taxes on the "wealthy" and corporations. That's right, in a deep recession, the administration plans to raise taxes.

In what some lugubriously refer to as a sinking ship, Obama's apparent solution is to poke holes in the hull. Combine that with an allied congress bailing water into the ship, and we have a real problem. Perhaps there is hope, though, after all. The American people have two years to witness the spectacle of doom, which should provide more than enough evidence that democratic control of the whole enchilada was not a wise choice.

Since 60% of the so-called stimulus money won't be spent until after January, 2011, Rep. Louie Gohmert is calling on the people to elect republicans to congress in 201o. He pledges that under republican control, congress can stop the spending at somewhere around $300 billion.

I am hopeful that republicans will have a rather easy time retaking both houses of congress in 2010, just in time to derail this administrative...crisis.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

First Jobs From Stimulus

Robert Reich was concerned in January that jobs created from the $787 billion stimulus package should not go to white male construction workers. As it turns out, that may be a needless worry on his part because the first jobs out of the box won't even be in the private sector.

The New York Times lead-in states, "Oversight will be boom sector as Obama aims to show money is well spent". Ironically, this oversight is going to cost plenty. It spends $350 million on tracking how the money is spent. What this means is that the first wave of jobs won't be in teaching or construction, but in the form of government auditors, attorneys and investigators.

Red flags should be raising in everyone's mind and alarm bells making it hard to hear as government continues to grow while private business and enterprise shrinks. $787 billion dollars for misnomered stimulus, coupled with $75 billion for mortgage bailouts with a potential $200 billion chaser if necessary. Further, it is estimated that roughly 40% of the people targeted for help with their mortgages are likely to lose their homes eventually regardless of the aid.

If anyone needs further convincing that this administration is stumbling out of the gate on the economy, consider this; Jimmy Carter likes the stimulus debacle. Granted, many people in mortgage trouble today were not directly affected by Carter's economic mishandling, but it should be easy enough to research.

Obama is changing America, alright, and at breakneck speed. He's got a long four years ahead of him to completely decimate the country. The question is, how far will he get before congress pulls the emergency break?

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Message Of Appreciation

Saturday will mark the first anniversary of Sanity Sentinel, and it's been only a short time since the viewership has begun to show significant growth. Part of that is my fault as in the beginning, I posted sporadically at best, but as I have focused more intently on constantly updated content, you have responded positively, and for that I just wanted to say a happy anniversary thank-you to all the readers who frequent these pages.

As the next four years stretch out before us, I am confident that there will be no short supply of subjects about which to write, and I hope you will all continue to enjoy and share our articles. While I am certain that not all readers here agree with me or the contributors listed in the sidebar, at least the interest has been there, and again, I am thankful. Our goal is to provoke thought and spur debate, as well as keep informed any who come here for information on the new administration and societal issues at large.

So here's hoping for an even more successful and enjoyable second year. I hope you all continue to enjoy it as much as I do. And remember, the nav-bar at the top of the page can be used to find archived articles by keyword, so if you're searching for information on a particular subject like, say, global warming, it can be found more quickly using the search pane.

Thank you, salud, and happy Sanity Sentinel New Year!

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A Wing And A Prayer

That seems to be the modus operandi of the new administration. Obama now wants to spend at least $75 billion on saving homeowners from foreclosure. Some reports indicate that this amount could be backed up by another $200 billion, but to listen to Vice President Biden's chief economic advisor, Jared Bernstein explain it, it sounds even more like no one in the administration has a clear strategy and that they are making it up as they go.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gee, Our Old LaSalle Ran Great

What great fun it was to watch the portrayal of Archie Bunker and his ditsy, doting wife as complete idiots on our television screens thirty years ago. Oh, how they made us laugh, mostly at ourselves, because it was we who were being lampooned by All In The Family. For me, it was a fun, introspective examination of the mindset of many parents of that time, and being a very young man then, something at which to scoff. Let's face it, Archie Bunker was the favorite dolt of the not-yet-arrived lobby which has laid siege on Washington today. In short, that lobby is now ensconced firmly in what is considered mainstream political thought, and we on the right have all been successfully painted as the incarnation of Archie.

It was actually a brilliant strategy by Norman Lear and his writers, something at which I can marvel and applaud, simply for its tactical success, much the same as any field general can appreciate the chess-like move of his opponent despite the losses incurred as a result.

For anyone reading this from my perspective, it is crystal clear that liberal foes consider anyone on the right as either a lovable idiot or a dangerous knuckle-dragger, much in the mold of Carroll O'Conner's character. Interesting in this assessment, however, is the hypocrisy required to subscribe to such a belief because while the left prides itself on tolerance and diversity when convenient, such qualities are cavalierly tossed aside for the expedience of "winning an argument". Conservatives are figuratively herded, by liberals on discussion boards, onto cattle trains destined for camps designed for annihilation.

What perplexes me, though, is how anyone can accept the portrayal of George W. Bush as a moron, even after eight years of leadership, while cheering the already painfully evident lack of leadership qualities of Barack Obama. His cabinet choices have already proven their toxicity, his fiscal plans will soon prove disastrous, and his once-lauded oratorical skills are eroding faster than the shoreline of a tsunami-stricken Indonesian village.

What's funny to recall is that the son-in-law on the show, as portrayed by Rob Reiner, was affectionately nicknamed "meathead" by Bunker. And yet Lear chose to make the meathead the brains of the show, the alleged "deep thinker", an exercise that eluded the patriarch, Archie. Reiner, to this day, has seized that mantel as though theater mirrors reality. Still, the idea has become the stock and trade of liberals everywhere. Spouting the most ridiculous tripe, they react with sanctimonious amusement when questioned.

One line of the theme song from All In The Family, was this:

"Didn't need no welfare state".

The mantra was personal responsibility with a helping hand when needed, and usually that helping hand was from friends and family. Today, Obama announced $75 billion in federal money - money they don't have - to help people pay their mortgages. People who have managed to stay current with their financial obligations get diddly. And everyone is supposed to smile. Somehow, I fail to see how this will foster community spirit. And Obama is all about "community".

Once, we knew how to take care of ourselves. Those were the days.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Hurry Up And Wait

Weren't we told that the economy was in such dire straits that we had to act, and we had to act now? Wasn't Congress in such a rush to ram this bill through both houses that they didn't even have time to read all 1,071 pages of it? Sure, they voted to "consider it read", but that means nothing; they didn't read it. But they sure did vote to pass it, whatever it was. We may have to wait to find out if it was actually what we were fed through the media.

The point is, however, that if this were so darned urgent, why is the president waiting until Tuesday to sign it into law? Priorities, people, priorities.

Obama, not yet a month into the job, needed a three day weekend. It's ironic that the bill needed an immediate vote so that the speaker of the house could jet off to Rome, while the now-passed thing sits and waits for the president to get done taking time off. I'm willing to bet that if President Bush had faced this situation, he'd be in Crawford...signing the bill!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in a hurry to see the damned thing signed, far from it, but it was chanted by Obama and the democrats that it was imperative to move quickly. Now? Ah, it can wait until Tuesday.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Made Us Americans

In these modern times we are reminded constantly of the origins from whence many of us came, ostensibly to quell the perceived anti-immigration sentiments of which we are accused. Our diverse - and sometimes remote - heritages are tossed back at us as a counter to our desires to stem the flow of illegals, yet the folks doing the pitching neglect to address that fact; that we are only anti-illegal immigrant. Our new neighbors who are either first or second generation immigrants have been quick studies of the liberal postures of those who have deeper roots, and they have formed an alliance that threatens that which made us a great nation.

Again, most of us are descendants of Europe and, to a smaller degree, other parts of the world. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the largest influx of our ancestors ever, but there was a completely different mindset back then. Our forebears were often refugees seeking a better place in order to flee oppression or bad economies, and once they got in, they were grateful. They did not have an easy time upon their arrival, and usually having little more than the clothes on their backs, were given nothing, either. They truly started all over and through hard work and perseverance, made lives and built families. More importantly, they became Americans.

Their main interests were in improving their lives and the lives of their children while strengthening their new country. They struggled, in many cases, to learn English and the customs of America. They were not preoccupied with their former countries and they did not attempt to remake America in the image of that from which they came. And they certainly never dreamed of asking for a handout from either the government or from a neighbor. To do so would have brought shame and an admittance that they were not self-reliant. Pride was not a dirty word.

Somewhere along the way, that line of thought has been been obscured to the point that criminal behavior has become an acceptable standard, often defended and even encouraged by people who misguidedly think that they are being kind and humane. Cities such as San Francisco and New York are known as sanctuary cities, places where people who have come here in violation of our laws can be assured that they are welcome, nevertheless. Organizations have placed water stations in the desert between Mexico and the U.S. so people sneaking into the country will remain hydrated. Border patrol agents get incarcerated for doing their jobs, and private land owners get sued for millions of dollars, simply for defending their property.

Everything we buy that comes with instructions has a multi-lingual manual. Many places we go to shop seem foreign. Walking into a mall sometimes feels like entering a country that is not America, where suddenly we can't understand the language being spoken by other patrons. Gone is the desire of new arrivals to conform to Americana, to learn the language and embrace the culture. I have often wondered aloud why someone would flee their homeland, only to come here and try to remake this country in the image of the one they fled. It's akin to leaving a crumbling house for a new one, only to immediately set about cracking the walls.

Americans have historically been an accepting people, both in our homes and in our country. We can't be blamed, however, for taking umbrage to those who disrespect our home. No one would tolerate even an invited guest walking on the sofa. Why should we be expected to embrace those who come here uninvited, only to soil the carpet?

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Dangerous Toys

Well, we're all gonna be safe from here on out -- the federal government announced a plan to examine toys nationwide for dangerous chemicals and elements. Lead was mentioned. Judging from the age of my parents' and grandparents' homes when I was a child, I'm quite certain I chewed on a few lead paint chips as a toddler (no comments about my current tendency to gnaw on windowsills, please -- at least I haven't reverted to slobbering, or not much, anyway).

These concerns for our safety are admirable. But long before the federal government became so maternal, most of we kids ate paint chips, fell off bicycles and conked our noggins without suffering longterm damage, rode red wagons and Flexi-Racers off short cliffs, ate bacon for breakfast every morning, and we survived. Some of us even fell headfirst out of garage attics and jumped off second-story buildings with homemade parachutes (sorry about the bedsheets, Mom).

The dangers of childhood are manifold. I first learned to weld using a tractor battery and baling wire in my parents' barn. I must have been six years old. Yeah, there was lead in the battery. And I burned my fingers. And set the barn afire. But I also learned a valuable lesson -- weld only on a fireproof surface. Sorry about the barn, Mom and Dad, but at least the cows and goats and pigs escaped, and at least I fixed my bike. And it only took you a few weeks to put a new roof on the barn, Dad.

When my own kids were youngsters, I tried very hard to locate a decent chemistry set for them (decent, meaning a bunch of bottles of stuff capable of creating smoke, small explosions and acids that might leave scars), but found it was impossible to buy such a chemistry set unless the buyer was an accredited terrorist. So I improvised, and we managed to make some nice smoke bombs along the way. Also, because I was for some time a contractor, I managed to show the girls how much fun it was to blow boulders and stumps on building sites. In contrast, my first childhood chemistry set, which I received in the mail as a reward for either selling 800 copies of Grit magazine in a month or 1,200 boxes of Christmas cards (I can't remember which), probably had stuff that would be locked up in a 12-layer-thick stainless steel safe in one of today's university labs. I'm sure there was lead in that lovely little wooden box filled with bottles and test tubes.

These days as a hobby I play around with making a bit of jewelry -- some of the solders contain lead (and, oh my God, CADMIUM!!!!). When a 2-ounce package of cadmium-containing solder arrives via UPS, included is a Hazmat information package that far outweighs the product I purchased. I promise I won't inhale the fumes.

Yes, I feel so much better knowing that Washington is watching out for us. But dammit, the good old days were more fun.

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How Congress Works

Or, How It Doesn't Work

Here, Rep. Price of Georgia asks how members can vote on an over 1000 page bill when they haven't had time to read it. He is told that it has been "considered read".
In other words, the Speaker admits that it hasn't been read, but the members voted that it was. These are the people making decisions and passing laws that affect all of our lives.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Not By Land Or Sea; They're Already Here

Somewhere around the 11th century BC, the Greeks learned how to defeat Troy after a futile 10-year siege of that city. Since her defenses proved impenetrable from without, the Greeks built the Trojan Horse as a faux-peace offering. When the gullible Trojans wheeled the giant structure inside their gates, they were slaughtered in the middle of the night by Greek soldiers hiding in its belly. Personally, I would prefer slaughter over enslavement, but that seems to be where we're headed.

The United States Constitution was crafted by some very brilliant men who were themselves fugitives from the very oppression they sought to belay with that cherished document. It began:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Make no mistake, the word "welfare" had an entirely different meaning in the 18th century. Of particular interest in the above caption, however, are the words, "provide for the common defence [sic]". That was the most important task bestowed on the federal government as designed by the founders. Today, the very people we elect to office - and who swear an oath to uphold the constitution - scoff at the notion of defense in favor of social programs of which they have no cause to pursue. Forgive me, but I consider that a violation of the oath.

Let's move more into contemporary times and things the Founders could never have foreseen, but remain tethered to the tenets of their vision, for without them, our nation is doomed.

This immense spending bill that Congress is currently attempting to ram down the throats of the American people is contrary to the very fabric on which this nation is sewn. To make matters worse, while these elected "leaders" delve into areas of our lives that were never intended to be delved into, they simultaneously denigrate defense spending, the one thing on which they were destined to concentrate.

Article 1, Section III of the Constitution outlined the method by which U.S. Senators would be chosen, and it was clear; each state in the Union was a sovereign territory as a member of the United States and each State's government (Legislature) would choose its Senators to represent that state. But in 1912, congress decided to move that responsibility to the people, a euphemism for "you and me". Anyone who has been conscious for the past few decades must realize that "the people" is not us, but the elites we send to the Capitol, in most cases over and over and over again, until the humble public servants become that which we feared in the beginning. On April 8th, 1913, Amendment 17 was ratified, and senators became the property of the federal government, no longer interested in the concerns of their home states save for what they could "get" from the big brother of the federal government, but more members of an exclusive club by which they could enrich themselves while pretending to work for the people.

The 10th amendment stated thus:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

And yet Charlie Rangel (D-Bronx), Chairman of the House Ways And Means Committee, said at a January 2009 hearing that state legislatures stood in the way of progress and needed to be bypassed, somehow. Don't believe it? Watch the video:

Next, add the language of this so-called stimulus package that the Obama administration and a friendly congress want to ram through the process, and a pattern clearly emerges; the big wooden horse is right outside the window as we prepare to blow out the lanterns and settle in for the night.

Still not convinced? Fine, we'll keep going in the hope that insomnia may save us yet. I realize that I may be preaching to the choir here, but there is more to explore.

Also buried within the voluminous stimulus bill are mechanisms to allow for intrusions into every American's medical records, again ostensibly for the "good of all". "Hey man, we're just trying to make your life easier" has become the catch-phrase by which people flop on the ground and willingly surrender like so many young elk when confronted with a massive alpha male during mating season.

I hope the choir is still awake, because I know that anyone of a different mind has long given up and accepted the offer of peace from the Greeks outside the gate and slumbers, albeit briefly, peacefully. To quote Jon Anderson, "Silly human race".

My parting shot will be to point out the attempts by the current controlling party to silence the opposition for good; the "Fairness Doctrine". Yep, the Dems are haltingly speaking out on how important it is for the "people" to hear both sides of the argument while neglecting to mention that those of my stripe have been force-fed a steady diet of the likes of Katie Couric and Charles Gibson for far too long. I have noticed that that which the controlling party deems "mainstream" has not borne the scorn of the FCC...have any of you?

Whether it be Paul Revere or some centurion of ancient Troy, someone must awaken the people within the walls before it's too late.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Give 'Em A Bargain

Any good business person knows that the best way to make more money is often to charge less. Sure, a high price tag is good for profit margins but if it repels customers to a high enough degree, it becomes worthless, thereby making the overall profitability drop to zero. Reduce the margin, draw in customers, and sell like crazy. Call it the tortoise and hare approach.

There is a town on Long Island in New York that has just embraced this simple philosophy, which is odd considering that government doesn't usually comprehend free market strategies. Quite the contrary, the practice most normally endorsed by the elected is to charge more as coffers dwindle; more in taxes.

Brookhaven Town may be the first to learn an important quality of capitalism - which sadly is at grave risk, but that's for another time - is such that when profits fall, sales are desperately needed to boost income. Understanding that the current economic climate has people choosing how to spread their increasingly limited resources, and facing its own budgetary woes, the town is experimenting with a half-off sale on outstanding parking tickets. That's right, Brookhaven is prepared, for a limited time only - call now, operators are standing by! - to fore go nearly a half million dollars if people will pay up now.

Here's where it gets confusing, though. If the town, which has the power of the county police force behind it, finds it difficult to collect fines from minor crimes to the degree that they have to offer a sale, what's to stop people from paying their property taxes on time in order to obtain the same deal?

Alas, I stray from my main point.

Ronald Reagan was one of few highly elected politicians to understand this basic principle of economics. Critics called his plan "Reaganomics" and sneeringly still refer to it as "trickle-down economics", something they insist on claiming was a failure, but the basic foundation is provably sound; the more money working people have as discretionary income, the more they will spend and the more the economy will benefit. And yes, it does work from the top down. Perhaps most important in this, especially at our current crisis, is that this model also means more cash spending and less credit spending.

The more money government seizes from individuals, the harder their everyday lives become. As we all know, nothing lasts forever, and things break. With less cash on hand, someone who needs a new refrigerator may have to buy it on credit and if times are that hard, those payments cut into an already squeezed budget. See the domino effect at work?

Government understands all too well the concept of living large on borrowed money, but they never have to worry about where the payments will come from; that's why they keep us common folks around. At least one small town may have stumbled across a painful truth, however blindly they may have found it. I just hope they absorb and store the lesson. Perhaps it could start a trickle-up effect...that's how governments usually work anyway.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why The Pendulum Will Swing In 2010

Remember when health care for all was the mantra of the left, a rallying cry for wanna-be socialists to grab the wheel of America's helm and yank hard to port? Remember how cruel was George W. Bush and every republican in elected life for ignoring the needs of a grossly misreported figure of 47 million "uninsured" Americans? Well, that will soon be fixed by the democrats and the new president's administration.

As part of the stimulus plan just passed by the senate by a vote of 61-37, health care - as envisioned by none other than Tom Daschle - plays a large role, but it's not the all-inclusive version that many wailing liberals had in mind. Betsy McCaughey - New York's Lieutenant Governor under George Pataki - had an excellent article in Bloomberg News on Monday. In it she writes:

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Bearing the brunt means that the federal government may decide that a 75 year-old person may be denied an MRI, e.g., because they may not live long enough to be a cost-effective investment. The language of the rules is more vague than that, however, but basically says that the Government will be making decisions based on the value of treatment on the basis of length of benefit.

That is why the elderly will be susceptible to rejection, but what of someone who is young and with a disease that will curtail longevity, but not kill immediately, who contracts another, more treatable disease? According to McCaughey's assessment of the rules, that person may face rejection purely on a cost basis.

So the plans before us now have everyone "covered", but it doesn't mean they'll get treatment. Sure, they may save a bundle on premiums, but they may not live long enough to enjoy the savings. Sorry.

Today, the stock market was performing blandly despite Obama's speech the night before, but shortly after his new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, began to speak, the market plunged and closed down 382 points on the day. Following on the heels of the worst January performance in the history of a new presidency, a pattern begins to emerge. The "stimulus package" is destined to fail, and Wall Street hates it.

53% of Americans who voted for Obama also got their first real glimpse of his extemporaneous oratory skills last night. He has only been our president for about three weeks, but people are going to become disillusioned with him rather quickly. Couple that with the behavior of the members of congress who run the show now, and the apparent resurgence of the republican party under Michael Steele's leadership, and as long as we survive the next two years, there will be figurative blood-bath come the elections of 2010. People opposed to what has been either attempted or accomplished will surge to the polls. People who invested all their hope in Obama will be raging in dissapointment, and the decreased "middle-of-the-roaders" will have to wait to see what is offered up on election day.

Anyone standing to the right of center on that day, staring idly at the clouds, had better pay attention because that pendulum will be swinging fast; fast enough to cause bodily injury that may not be immediately treatable unless republicans can undo the damage done by democrats quickly.

And they had better remember to vote this time around.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Want To Know How They're Spending 800 Billion?

You can click this first link for the whole pork barrel or just click on your State and on a city to see what it wants in the hand out. These are things that benefit only the locals of that city and should be paid by the locals. Folks, the Federal Goverment is trying to buy your vote for 2010.
You can search by keyword, federal program or by state. People are going nuts seeing what their states are asking for! This is urgent? Oh yeah, $17 BILLION for Puerto Rico????

Find projects by state or territory.
Alaska (46 projects) Alabama (318 projects) Arkansas (199 projects) Arizona (743 projects) California (1971 projects) Colorado (201 projects) Connecticut (449 projects) Washington, D.C. (8 projects) Delaware (7 projects) Florida (1752 projects) Georgia (266 projects) Hawaii (316 projects) Iowa (51 projects) Idaho (348 projects) Illinois (1031 projects) Indiana (713 projects) Kansas (139 projects) Kentucky (524 projects) Louisiana (433 projects) Massachusetts (266 projects) Maryland (54 projects) Maine (72 projects) Michigan (782 projects) Minnesota (335 projects) Missouri (403 projects) Mississippi (552 projects) Montana (57 projects) North Carolina (319 projects) North Dakota (61 projects) Nebraska (154 projects) New Jersey (261 projects) New Mexico (215 projects) Nevada (163 projects) New York (289 projects) Ohio (847 projects) Oklahoma (223 projects) Oregon (159 projects) Pennsylvania (352 projects) Puerto Rico (340 projects) Rhode Island (116 projects) South Carolina (271 projects) South Dakota (30 projects) Tennessee (103 projects) Texas (1240 projects) Utah (298 projects) Virginia (400 projects) Vermont (61 projects) Washington (368 projects) Wisconsin (358 projects) West Virginia (1 projects) Wyoming (85 projects)

KUDOS SleepLessByTheSea

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Round And Round We Go

Two days before the Israeli elections, and Hamas is back at it, shelling Southern Israel with rockets. With Benjamin Netanyahu the front runner in the polls, Hamas is clearly flirting with disaster here. Netanyahu is a member of the Likud party and while he still leads, that lead has been shrinking against a surging Yisrael Beitenu party. A competing hawkish party, Yisrael Beitenu means "Israel is our home", and it would seem unlikely that that party's candidate would long tolerate rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip or any other region.

After obnoxiously claiming victory in the three-week conflict with Israel, Hamas has apparently learned nothing from the reality of that time. Couple that with the long overdue awakening in the United Nations - they are finally going to investigate allegations that Hamas used children as human shields - and Hamas is likely inviting annihilation.

Israel attacked Gaza, after repeated rocket attacks on Southern Israel, in an attempt to stop Hamas' capability to launch any more, but since Israel was being careful not to harm civilians - something which ultimately proved impossible to avoid altogether - many tunnels used for smuggling weapons into Gaza were not completely destroyed and were reopened days after Israel withdrew.

One of the complaints of the anti-Israel crowd was that the blockade was causing unnecessary suffering for the Palestinian people. Needed supplies such as food and medicine were not getting through, causing cruel hardships on the population. While pro-Palestinian advocates blame Israel and point to the fact that Hamas was duly elected, why is the question never asked...why didn't Hamas use their cunning ability to smuggle in weapons toward smuggling in the necessities to ease their constituents' suffering?

That answer is obvious since, even as Israel halted hostilities for three hours a day to allow crucial supplies to enter the war zone, Hamas seized the shipments and sold to their own people that which they chose not to keep for themselves. Perhaps Hamas is just having some fun thinking that the election season in Israel is a soft time to attack, but they may find something coming which will be much worse than the damage inflicted in January.

And from all indications, they may have eroding support, both inside and outside of their little kingdom.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Formula For Catastrophe

At a taxpayer-funded retreat - in a resort that many of us could never personally afford - in Williamsburg, VA on Thursday, President Obama gave a speech to the assembled democrat Congressional Caucus in which he mentioned the word "catastrophe" in relation to our current economic woes. Once upon a time - oh, say, any time in the past eight years - that word was poison to democrats. Once upon a time they referred to such jargon as the lexicon of fear, often with dripping malice. My, how the political landscape has changed in just a few short weeks. The landscape that we once cherished at a gaze as beautiful and wondrous has begun to show signs of rapid decay. Democrats have taken over and well,...there goes the neighborhood.

So intent is this new president on his vision of redistribution of wealth that he embraces the ideologies of his advisers blissfully, and the majorities in both houses of congress are more than happy to push the sled. While I wail about the lack of actual stimulus in the "stimulus package", Robert Reich, Obama's economic adviser, had a hearing on the Hill designed to address such concerns. I was happy to see this but like any Louis Farrakhan sermon, it started out well and finished miserably.

Reich expressed his desire to see the stimulus monies go toward infrastructure, something with which I wholeheartedly agree, but then he stepped off the curb and was hit by a figurative bus. Watch what he says in the video below:

Forget the racial or class struggles; what of the most qualified people doing the work? Democrats blamed Bush for the Minnesota bridge collapse despite the fact that the state ended the year with a huge budgetary surplus. Does Robert Reich now suggest that we hand taxpayer money over to people who simply need a job to fix or build critical structures on which people depend everyday? Who shall bear the burden of culpability in the event of a major collapse if these neophytes pour the wrong concrete mixtures, use not enough rebar, not properly tighten an I-beam bolt?

Certainly, there will be experienced overseers and quality control people with expert knowledge of the processes, but what will the cost overruns be with laymen performing the work? How will such companies bid competitively under those circumstances? Proper planning is key to controlling costs, and no one in the fledgling administration seems to get it. And they are in too much of a hurry to try.

Perhaps even more chilling are the comments by Charlie Rangel, in response to Reich. Any states-rights advocate who watched the video above is probably convulsing right about now. He suggests that state governments need to be bypassed and the governors forced to succumb to the whims of the U.S. Congress. Forgive me, but that is NOT how the Founders set up our government, for as affectionately as we refer to our country as simply "America", we are still the United States of America. Each state is sovereign with a quasi-binding, gentleman's agreement to adhere to a loose set of rules on the national level.

This administration and its allied congress seek to undo all of that. That is a formula for catastrophe.

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Michael Steele Address Video

Michael sums up the republican point of view rather succinctly.
By the way...wasn't President Obama going to "cut taxes for 95% of all Americans"? I haven't heard him mention that since the inauguration.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Economic Stimulus Or Redistribution?

President Obama is adamant about getting the bogus stimulus package approved, and pronto. He and his democratic cohorts claim that time is a-wasting and we must stop debating and "get 'er done", ostensibly for the "good of the people". Others have a much different vision, however, namely the Congressional Budget Office. According to that body we would do well to tolerate a little pain now rather than endure a prolonged suffering down the road.

The CBO projects that the bill would indeed create an immediate and short-term growth burst but the hangover would make these seem like a fun party that we'll not remember. From their report according to the Washington Times:

CBOs basic assumption is that, in the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollars worth of private domestic capital, CBO said in its letter.

CBO said there is no crowding out in the short term, so the plan would succeed in boosting growth in 2009 and 2010.

The agency projected the Senate bill would produce between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent higher growth in 2009 than if there was no action. For 2010, the plan would boost growth by 1.2 percent to 3.6 percent.

CBO did project the bill would create jobs, though by 2011 the effects would be minuscule.

Surely the president must know this, right? So what's the rush? To quote him, "The time for talk is over. The time for action is now." It sounds like he's saying don't read, don't study, just do what I say immediately. I wonder why?

One of the ideas espoused by this former community organizer was economic justice. He even boldly referred to that as redistribution of wealth. Of course, don't take my word for it, just listen to this sound bite from his early days:

In this clip he actually laments his belief that redistribution will never be achieved through the courts. No problem, we'll just manipulate our way into the White House, gain a super majority in congress and basically seize a trillion dollars of the taxpayer's money to spread around under the guise of "stimulating the economy".

Sounds all too easy, I know, but it's not Barack Obama's single-handed, diabolical scheme; it's been well orchestrated by many hands working in unison. Obama is simply the vehicle used by the much more powerful, and hey, if people can believe that Bush and Cheney planted explosives in both towers of the World Trade Center with an iron-clad cabal where no one tattled, I am entitled to my own conspiracy theory.

It may be the stuff of fantasy novels, but think about it. This economic crisis was brought about by democrats who insisted that bad loans be made to poor people who had no chance to repay. They had a complicit media all too eager to trash President Bush, and they had big money in George Soros and bankrolling the candidacy of a smooth-talking young senator who also happened to appeal to black voters far more than any Clinton ever could.

Of the nearly trillion-dollar plan, only 12 cents per dollar will be for actual stimulus, the kind that creates jobs and helps the economy. The other 88 cents goes toward getting democrats re-elected in their districts and puts hard-earned money into lazy pockets. Here's hoping the republicans in the senate stand strong and trim this thing down by at least 88%.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Self Inflicted Wounds

I always shake my head in wonder when I watch a person or a group of people - no matter how large - consciously make decisions that are contrary to their own interests and then have the gall to complain about the results. My generation - the Baby Boomers - have done just such a thing, but what frightens me is the fact that many of us haven't had the good sense to realize the damage we have done. And so, we just keep reloading and shooting at our feet.

It was my generation that started this whole experiment of socialization back in the 1960's. I hasten to point out that while I claim them as "my generation", it was they who marched and protested without my approval or participation, so while I must admit that we are fellows in the Boomer crowd, I abide by nothing they have implemented in my name.

Barack Obama is moving with lightning speed to cast the United States in the mold of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela with his so-called "stimulus plan" and people are actually behind him on it. Never mind that 88 cents on the dollar - of which there are a projected 900 billion - will do nothing more than stimulate the libidos and avarice of many cronies of politicians. Only 12 cents per dollar will actually create jobs and provide actual economic stimulus. "Hurray", say the masses.

Another group of section-eighters are the immigrants to America, both legal and illegal. Most of them come here to flee the terrible conditions of their native countries, yet most still vote for liberal policies designed to remake America in the image of whence they came. I refer you to the photo, top right, once more. What are they thinking?

Barack Obama was elected president on the votes of these people because he promised change; change in the "politics as usual" approach in Washington, change from the corruption in Washington, and change from the rhetoric to which too many Americans have become accustomed. He has failed on all three counts, and he started before he was even sworn into office.

His initial cabinet selections were overloaded with holdovers from the Clinton Administration, something that signaled a departure from change, not the opposite. Then, underscoring his propensity for poor character judgement - as evidenced in the campaign but ignored by a willing media - he had three separate picks with tax violations. Ironically, the only one of the three who made it through confirmation is now in charge of the IRS. The other two bowed out gracefully.

Now, amid this economic crisis we are force-fed, the democrats and the new president are heading to the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, which boasts of “unforgettable golf, luxurious accommodations, first-class dining, a premier spa and an abundance of recreational opportunities both at the retreat and nearby Williamsburg.” What will all of this cost? We don't know just yet, but last year the costs were over $100,000 just for transportation, a photographer and cellular service. Yet the president is admonishing corporations.

One last, frightening thought about the nature of this trip; the agenda will include, in part, strategy sessions between the president and congressional heavyweights. A Quote from The Hill:

“This retreat is strategic planning for the country,” said Democratic Caucus spokeswoman Emily Barocas. “The president, vice president and three Cabinet secretaries will be meeting with the caucus to plan the direction we are taking the country in.”

Someone fetch my ammo...I still have toes left.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

500 Million Americans?

Nancy Pelosi is really pushing this so-called "stimulus" package. Every month, 500 million Americans lose their jobs. Ye Gods, it's worse than I thought!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama Finds Comfort In The Company Of His Peers

It was a storybook procession, this ascension to the White House. Everything rolled his way, nothing could stop him and no one dared ask the pertinent questions. But after two weeks of tasting the real world, our new president is finding that fairy tales don't always have a happy-ever-after ending, much less a beginning. It has been a harsh lesson for the fledgling leader, but the eye-opener has been more revealing for we the people.

Campaigning on a platform of hope and change - a clear attempt to capitalize on the poor characterization of the previous administration as somehow detrimental - Obama sailed through the primaries buoyed by the exuberance of an electorate all too eager to escape the evil clutches of George W. Bush. I wonder now how many of those souls are acquainted with W.W. Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw. I further wonder at what point they will endeavor to understand the correlation.

That is all speculation and something I am prone to explore, but there is evidence that Jacobs may have experienced a bit of prescience even he could not have foreseen. In the two weeks that Barack Obama has been President of the United States in official capacity, he has demonstrated judgement of character that should cause a blind man to blink. His cabinet picks have been exploding around him like IED's in the Middle East and the ones who have not represent nothing new or changed at all, namely his former Clinton administration selections.

Today was a particularly rough day for the new president, as two of his cabinet picks withdrew their names from consideration due to tax code violations. Certainly, Obama will face much more trying days in the four years ahead of him, so how he chose to deal with this bit of adversity is telling. It demands to be compared with hypothetical crises either here or in the Middle East, the latter which should be moved from the realm of hypothetical to probable.

After today's "really tough day", here's what Obama chose as respite, from Breitbart:

With little notice, the president and first lady Michelle Obama bolted the gated compound of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in their tank of a limousine on Tuesday. They ended up at a Washington public school, greeted by children who could not care less about the collapse of a Cabinet secretary nomination.

I seem to recall Bush being excoriated for reading to school children on September 11th, 2001, and that was an innocuous exercise at the behest of his wife Laura, a librarian. This current president actually sought refuge from the harried pressures of the job in the embrace of grade-school children. One child asked the new president who his favorite superhero was, to which Obama responded, "Spiderman and Batman". I guess the photo at the top belies an envy for his predecessor.

In any event, I am not comforted in the least at the prospect of a president - still in his first month - who needs solace from grade-school kids in the face of nothing more than bad cabinet picks. What happens when Joe Biden's predictions come true?

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Not Gaza, But Minnesota

This is the kind of thing you'd expect to see in the Middle East, not the Midwest...

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Death And Taxes

For Democrats, it seems, only one of these is certain, so we can eliminate the guy on the right; the one with the briefcase. Death comes to all whether we decide to go or not, but for Obama cabinet nominees the tax man only comes when they are caught.

Tom Daschle is the latest Obama nominee to be diagnosed with the affliction commonly known as tax cheat. And yet, simply because he is a democrat, he still has the full support of the new leader as well as that of his former colleagues in the senate. Daschle has been tapped by Obama to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Department of Health and Human Services is the principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans. It is comprised of the Office of the Secretary and 11 operating divisions.

Now, I can just envision a man like Daschle doling out good advice - or mandates - about what we should eat or drink for our own good while he dines at fast food restaurants at will. After all, why should he have to abide by his own rules dictated to the masses? Alas, I wander too far...

The Daschle debacle is merely another example of the elitist mindset in politicians. Timothy Geithner is now the head of the U.S. Treasury despite his own tax problems and Congressman Charlie Rangel is still the House Ways and Means Committee chair even though he, too, failed to pay taxes. But Daschle may have a bit of a problem clearing his confirmation process in spite of the dem majority. The reason is his antagonistic relationship with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who’s been in a long-running feud with Daschle.

Baucus, who came to Geithner's defense, has been mute regarding Daschle, so it's not as if ol' Max is being noble in his efforts to stymie Daschle, but at least may end up doing something right in spite of himself. And while Obama has been steadfast in his support of Daschle, it might be wise to remember the words of his own vice president a short while ago: Joe Biden told Katie Couric that paying taxes was the patriotic thing to do. I wonder if it will be chic now to accuse some members of the Obama cabinet of being unpatriotic.

And we must also consider how Tom Daschle felt about tax cheats a decade ago. He said, "Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter." Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

And also keep in mind, as this process goes forward in the media, that body's reaction to the paltry sum owed by an ordinary citizen in Joe the Plumber. Consider that $1200 in back taxes instantly rendered Joe a liar and not credible to criticize Obama. What does that say for Daschle, who owed more than one hundred times that amount? Why of course, it means that we should trust his judgement regarding our health, right?

It's time for Americans to wake up and realize that we are not the free society we always dreamed we were but rather a bunch of peons being ruled by an elite class of well-paid criminals. That's the very thing we fled well over 200 years ago.

A parting thought, courtesy of Jim DeMint of South Carolina: "...I can see now why liberals don't mind if the tax rate goes up, because they're not gonna pay it anyway."

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DeMint On Daschle's Tax Woes

From Politico:

Jim DeMint, republican senator from South Carolina was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and he was asked if Tom Daschle's tax problem was a disqualifier, to which he responded that he thought it might be. What he said in his explanation was perfect, though.
He said, "...I can see now why liberals don't mind if the tax rate goes up, because they're not gonna pay it anyway."


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