The Right Slant 2011
Romney pleads the Tenth
: Mitt Romney correctly spins RomneyCare with a state's rights, Tenth Amendment approach. (491)
Obama's gutsy no-brainer
: Obama had no alternative to killing bin Laden. It was the correct, but not gutsy, decision. (493)
America's Black Monday
: Roe v. Wade remains one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history. (1191)
Sundry thoughts on the Christmas Season
December 23, 2011
T Merry Christmas! If the greeting offends, consider this your invitation to stop reading and engage other activities.
T Each December heralds renewed assaults on our Christmas traditions. We must forego any Christmas themed activity on public property to maintain the separation of church and state, a concept credited to Thomas Jefferson. True, the Founders wisely avoided establishing a Church of America. However, Jefferson's words don't indicate a man interested in silencing religious expression or debate:
Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them; they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only.
Engaging in pure and open religious expression would, in Jefferson's mind, elevate genuine religion. Can we not apply Jefferson's approach in determining the nature and spirit of the season? We can. Therefore, I conclude America recognizes December as the Christmas Season, not the "holiday season." If not, why aren't there seasonal television specials titled A Charlie Brown Hanukkah and How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa?
T The Nativity couldn't unfold in today's America as it did in ancient Bethlehem. Depending on Joseph's age, he could be charged with statutory rape for allegedly impregnating his teenage fiancé. He would surely be charged with kidnapping for transporting the underage Mary across state lines, from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Once in protective state custody, Mary would've received counseling and family planning advice from the nearest Planned Parenthood facility. Thus we would have the Greatest Story Never Told.
T Consider the shabby treatment Rudolph received from Santa and the reindeer. The reindeer snubbed Rudolph because of his shiny nose, and Santa wouldn't even consider Rudolph for the sleigh team for the same reason. But once the fog rolled in and Rudolph's perceived liability became a needful asset Santa asked, "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" Then "all the reindeer loved him." Rudolph must've been an exceptional sport. Else he would've told Santa and "all of the other reindeer" to kiss his rosy-red nose.
T Many people experience a mild depression known as the post-Christmas blues. For all of the intense preparation, the excitement lasts but a few hours. Yet you can find hope and optimism among the cold leftovers, shredded wrapping paper, and bulging credit card statements. After December 25th you won't be exposed to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Jingle Bell Rock, or Holly Jolly Christmas until at least next Halloween. If you still have the blahs, try seeking next year's Christmas joy in a tiny stable rather than a big box store.
T Why is there a Holly Jolly Christmas anyway? Anyone who has ever tried to plant, prune, or trim that prickly stuff can tell you there's nothing "jolly" about holly.
T Christmas is often abbreviated as Xmas, which most Christians find an offensive indicator of the holiday's escalating secularization. Actually, Xmas is neither new nor insulting. The abbreviation dates to 1551. The "X" is the Greek letter "chi," which is the first letter of ×ñéóôüò (Christos), the Greek word for Christ. The "X" is a direct reference to Christ, not a replacement for Him. Furthermore, crosses used for crucifixion came in several configurations: T, …, l, and yes, X. When you see Christmas abbreviated as "Xmas" remember its origin, think of the "X" as representing Jesus' cross, and refuse to be offended. Doing so entails dual benefits. You'll be happier and your antagonists will be suspicious.
T In traditional America, immigrants came to our shores seeking a new life in the great melting pot. They retained their heritage, but they adopted and celebrated American culture and tradition. Those immigrants were determined and resourceful. In contemporary America we celebrate diversity, and immigrants are uncommitted and demanding. However, in the spirit of Christmas, I will make peace with modern multiculturalists: a Merry HanuKwanzMas to all, and to all a good night!
Santa Claus ain't coming to town
December 21, 2011
No need to watch out
You might as well cry.
Go on and pout, I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus ain't coming to town.
There won't be any reindeer, or sleigh for you to see.
We've banned them all so we can prove our great sensitivity.
It's no joke! The North Pole's favorite son was banned
from his annual appearance at the Hollings Cancer Center in South Carolina. Said spokeswoman Vicki Agnew: "Because of our state affiliation, we decided not to have a Santa presence this year." The Center, Agnew continued, wanted to be "more secular and respectful to all beliefs. People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment."
Doesn't that make perfect sense? We can't have the State promoting biblical characters like Santa Claus, now can we? After all, according to the Book of Blitzen, Chapter Three, it was Santa Claus who led the Israelites out of the Arctic Circle, parting Rudolph the Red-nosed Sea along the way. And the Gospel according to Comet tells how Santa came to grant strength to the lame, sight to the blind, and knowledge to the foolish.
Ms. Agnew contends the decision wasn't "meant to be cold." If that's true, then it was meant to be stupid; it's the only other plausible explanation. What a shame Vicki Agnew wasn't there when Santa was bringing knowledge to the foolish; she could use a miracle.
Oh well, 'tis the season. America has come to herald each Christmas with renewed assaults on common sense. We ban Santa Claus and prohibit nativity displays. We purchase "holiday" trees from big box stores whose clerks are instructed to greet us with the innocuous "happy holidays." Schoolchildren participate in "winter celebrations" rather than Christmas plays. And we endure it all so as not offend the perpetually offended. Has Christmas ever genuinely insulted anyone who wasn't seeking insult to begin with?
Frank Cloyes, the Center's volunteer Santa, wonders when all this politically correct nonsense will end. "Let's have a little joy in our lives," he said.
Mr. Cloyes can take some solace. The Hollings Center revisited
their lunacy after South Carolinians revolted. However, his fundamental complaint remains unresolved. Political correctness is the antithesis of joy, existing only to prevent joy and prohibit fun at every turn. Life must universally suck for PC multiculturalists to be satisfied. And the nonsense won't end until enough people summon the courage to tell hand-wringing busybodies like Vicki Agnew to go jump in a hole. In the meantime the Priests of High-minded Sanctimony will continue sacrificing America's cultural and spiritual traditions to political correctness, their god most high.
So you better not count on seasonal cheer.
It hasn't a chance with bureaucrats near.
Santa Claus ain't coming,
Santa Claus ain't coming,
Santa Claus ain't coming to town.
The GOP field: A wolf without teeth?
December 20, 2011
Can we say 2012 is a golden opportunity for the Republican Party? What case can the Democrat incumbent present for reelection? The economy is anemic and job growth remains sluggish despite announced declines in unemployment rates. Republicans have the momentum from 2010 and enjoy popular support for repealing Obama's signature achievement: ObamaCare.
Voters seem to like Obama personally. Yet their political ideals are more commensurate with conservatism. Sixty-four percent
of Americans view big government as the country's greatest danger. Republicans are expected to hold such views. However, when 64-percent of independents and a sizeable number of Democrats also fear big government, Obama -- the commissar of czars -- has a problem.
Reasons abound for Republican optimism. So, you'd think the Republican Party would be drooling like a hungry wolf circling a wounded sheep. But further examination indicates the GOP may be a wolf that lacks teeth for the kill.
While voters prefer the generic
Republican to Obama, only one GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, leads Obama in head-to-head
polling. And his "lead" is within the margin of error. According to Rasmussen's December surveys the President enjoys leads of five points over Newt Gingrich, seven over John Huntsman, eight over Ron Paul, and double-digits over everyone else. The logical question is why voters would prefer an unidentified Republican over Obama but favor Obama above an identified Republican? There are several explanations.
First, Republican candidates are under a media microscope. Any faux pas generates instant negativity. Another reason is the incessant sniping. While negative ads are productive, pettiness is a drain on approval ratings. Once there's a nominee and the GOP targets Obama's record the named candidate will fare better. The easiest explanation is that no votes have been cast, meaning the polls are subjective. But a fourth scenario seems most plausible.
The Republican Party's preferred candidates haven't, as yet, generated excitement. Voters are ready to ditch Obama for a Republican. But they don't hear a consistent GOP message that reflects their current mood. Something is missing in the top tier, be it message, articulation, attitude, or believability.
A steady majority of voters believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction
, charging headlong toward an all-powerful central government. Yet they possess little faith in the GOP's dedication to fundamentally altering the national course.
The antithetical poll result isn't doomsday for the GOP. But it does indicate the electorate's mindset. There's no interest in another Bob Dole, George Bush, or John McCain-style candidate. Voters distrust the burgeoning central government and its disastrous economic machinations. Opportunity knocks for a candidate who articulates a coherent message of fiscal discipline, national sovereignty, states rights, free markets, and international strength sans adventurism. In short, there's support for a Republican with conservative teeth.
Obama is the weakest of sheep. But if the Republican wolf expects to gum him out of office, get set for four more years.
Chasing threats while ignoring tyrannies
December 17, 2011
The most effective hiding place is often in plain sight. The human mind is more attuned to detecting potential threats than recognizing ones openly presented. For instance, a woodsman tramping through brush is wary of snakes. But while walking a cleared path the woodsman may fail to notice a snake until the last moment. Like a snake, the State is striking openly at our liberties while we're focused on possible threats among the briars and brambles.
that Anwar al-Awlaki's death presented a threat to every American. Awlaki, you might recall, was an American citizen until killed in a targeted drone attack. His demise portended open season on typical American citizens who espouse ideas the State deems subversive. On the surface the argument appeared plausible.
Awlaki was an American citizen, but he was hardly typical. He wasn't targeted for opposing big government, occupying Wall Street, or criticizing U.S. policies. Awlaki dumped America for an area of Yemen known for hostility toward his homeland. Once there he allied with an organization that had declared and demonstrated its belligerence toward the United States. Awlaki willingly joined a foreign enemy on foreign soil, making himself a target in the process. That's quite different from killing American citizens on U.S. soil for alleged subversions. Anwar al-Awlaki's death established no precedent through which any governing body can legitimately execute an American citizen without due process.
Another example is the reaction to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
). The law provides for indefinite detention of people engaged in terrorist activities, without trial, until such hostilities cease. Critics contend H.R.1540 authorizes military detention of any American citizen the State desires. Such warnings strike a chord with advocates of gun rights, pro-choice activists, and protesters of government from all political persuasions. But are the criticisms accurate? Maybe not.
Subtitle D, Section 1031(a)(d) of H.R.1540 authorizes the military to detain "covered persons" without trial until hostilities cease. So what constitutes a covered person? According to Sect. 1031(b)(1)(2), a covered person must have been involved in the 9/11 attacks, be a member or substantial supporter of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces, and have committed hostile acts to aid those forces. Also, 1031(e) specifically states that no part of H.R.1540 can "affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens," or "lawful resident aliens."
Section 1032(a)(2)(A)(B) further restricts military detentions only to persons authorized under Sect. 1031 and clearly identified as members or affiliates of al-Qaeda and their allies. Only if subsection (B) were misapplied to include citizens engaged in sedition or outright revolt could the perceived threat materialize. Even then the rules change little. Since its inception the central government has enjoyed the authority to suppress insurrection. Finally, Sect. 1032 (b)(1)(2) plainly declare that the military's detention authority under H.R.1540 does not extend to U.S. citizens or lawful resident aliens.
Of course, laws can be changed, meaning H.R.1540 could someday become an imminent threat to fundamental liberty. The same can be said of Awlaki's demise. However, neither example allows the State to kill Bill Jones for his limited government activism or indefinitely detain Joe Smith because he criticized the State. While slippery slopes are legitimate concerns, indiscriminately incarcerating or assassinating citizens isn't a slippery slope; it's a headlong leap over a cliff. Slippery slopes aren't so noticeable.
People will react when they perceive assaults on basic liberties. Wouldn't detaining or killing citizens without due process be an open invitation to rebellion? Therefore, it makes no sense for the State to employ such tactics. It's much easier to grow tyranny a bit at a time, in plain sight, until the public becomes accustomed to abuses and willingly accepts blatant despotisms.
Both Awlaki's killing and H.R.1540 are like snakes in the brush. Both examples may be dangerous, but the dangers are more perception than reality. Because the threats are perceived we are more suspicious and willing to consider their potential dangers. While our eyes are focused on detecting the large snakes in the brush, we're ignoring the smaller vipers on our daily path; vipers that are continually poisoning our liberties.
Not much is said these days about Transportation Security Administration procedures that border on sexual predation. Yet their invasive tactics continue to expand. TSA agents recently detained a teenage girl because her purse displayed a decorative depiction of a revolver
on the outside and were accused of strip-searching
an 85-year old woman. It doesn't stop there. The TSA is conducting random detentions and K-9 inspections of interstate
tractor-trailer and bus traffic. We'll eventually become so accustomed to encountering uniformed federal agents that their presence will be routine.
Such occurrences aren't unique to federal authorities. A Michigan sheriff has conducted indiscriminate checkpoints
on busy highways. An Ohio sheriff's office faces civil proceedings for strip-searching a woman
. Now, strip-searches aren't new and are sometimes necessary. But male officers assisted in stripping this woman, who was then left naked in a cell for six hours. Even if a woman deserves arrest, are we comfortable with our wives and daughters being subject to strip-search at the hands of male officers?
The first known arrest of a U.S. citizen using a Predator drone
aircraft recently became public. But both federal and local authorities have previously utilized Predator drones, equipped with technology capable of determining individual activity from 10,000 feet, inside U.S. airspace. Furthermore, cameras
are nearly as common as traffic signals on metropolitan street corners. While only the naïve expect privacy in public places, the possibility of constant surveillance should give us pause.
There's no need to seek affronts to liberty in the death of one defector to Yemen, nor do we need find them in legislation where their existence is, at most, miniscule. Assaults on our liberty are happening right before our eyes. Why scour the bushes to find a snake when there are vipers aplenty in our path? Freedom would be better served if we were more attentive to obvious threats than to those existing in perception. Threats to liberty aren't always found in targeted enemies or slippery slope legislation. Too often the greatest threats are encountered daily, hiding in plain sight.
A date that still lives in infamy
December 7, 2011
It seemed a normal Sunday morning for Oahu's military contingents. Early risers were out for morning chow, Sunday services, or the beaches and golf courses. Some would sleep in, burdened by the lingering affects of a late night. No one awoke anticipating war on 07 Dec 41. But the plan of the day changed when the first Japanese warplanes swarmed over Hickam Field, Schofield Barracks, and Battleship Row.
Within hours, well-trained Imperial Japanese Navy pilots had decimated the Pacific Fleet's battleships, destroyed hundreds of aircraft and buildings, and killed thousands of men. The attack drove a nation still reeling from a decade of economic depression to the edge of panic. Rumors swirled and West Coast residents feared a Japanese armada would appear on the Pacific horizon at any moment. In terms of national horror, only the War Between the States exceeds Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
You're fortunate if you've been privy to a firsthand account of the raid. I enjoyed that opportunity with Bill Rudder -- a Gastonia, NC newspaper man and inventor after the war -- who was an electrician with the 259th Q.M. Detachment assigned to the 7th Bomber Command at Hickam Field on 07 Dec 41. His contribution won't place him alongside Alvin York or Audie Murphy in American military lore. But Bill was there, he fought, and he lived to tell his story.
After realizing Pearl Harbor was under a genuine attack Rudder and two buddies, John Strickland and Sanford Garrett, rushed to the armory. They were given Springfield bolt-action rifles, an infantry staple from the First World War. Once armed and having overcome problems loading the Springfield, Rudder aimed ahead of a Japanese aircraft and sent a .30 caliber slug hurtling into the Hawaiian sky. He hit nothing, but jokingly claimed to have fired the first American rifle shot of World War II. Undeterred by his miss, Rudder joined fire on another Japanese plane, which trailed smoke and crashed at Fort Kam
. Rudder later examined the wreckage, finding American-made Philco tubes in the Japanese plane's radio.
In the above photo Mr. Rudder's vehicle is seen parked at the base of a flag pole while a bombed building burns in the background. According to Mr. Rudder, the tattered American Flag was the result of repeated machine gun fire from Japanese fighters. What a story.
Bill Rudder won't commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. In fact, few men remain who witnessed America's entrance into the Second World War. The youngest Pearl Harbor survivors are in their late eighties and their numbers are dwindling. As they die, so too will die their innumerable stories of anonymous bravery, stories like Bill Rudder's.
The last American veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, passed away last February. In May, the world's last known WW I veteran, Claude Choules, died in Australia. When the last "Bill Rudder" dies America's firsthand connection to WW II will be forever lost, just as our connection to the "Great War" is lost. Pearl Harbor, 07 Dec 41, will remain a date that lives in infamy. But it will live as factual history, lacking the personal reference to which we've been accustomed. It will be a great loss.
The question of character
December 3, 2011
If a political candidate's personal conduct doesn't reflect their public character, said character is only as good as the nearest camera lens. That seems the reality, as determining political character becomes more and more a matter of party affiliation than genuine ethics.
For instance, Republicans roasted Bill Clinton for his womanizing ways. Yet many are excusing Herman Cain for what seems equivalent behavior. Democrats reverse the roles. Although Cain's guilt remains unconfirmed, Democrats treat him like the Devil incarnate. Clinton, conversely, could philander to his heart's content while Democrats marveled at his ability to lie. Is it too much to ask for a little consistency?
Herman Cain's credibility faces a stern test from Ginger White, a supposed 13-year mistress. Cain supporters are left wondering if their candidate is a scoundrel or the victim of an elaborate media smear. Either way no one should be surprised. Scoundrels abound in political circles and newsrooms have a history of intolerance toward Republicans. But media bias doesn't mean a candidate is immune from personal investigation. That fact appears lost on Cain's attorney
, who said of the purported affair:
This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.
The explanation seems founded in privacy rights and liberty. What happens between candidates and their spouses is their business. But when marriage vows are compromised it raises questions about a candidate's honesty and integrity. Thus the lawyerly explanation is just spin and illusion, as one of our distinguished Founding Fathers would attest. Thomas Jefferson said, "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." For my money, Jefferson's logic applies to anyone aspiring to assume a public trust as well. There is no private life for anyone who desires to become President.
Extramarital affairs aren't automatic disqualifiers from public office, as Jefferson himself would confirm. Furthermore, waiting for a perfect candidate is itself an exercise in imperfection. However, seeking public office means exposing one's life to public scrutiny. Any situation that speaks to a candidate's trustworthiness becomes the public's business. If a candidate genuinely expects privacy on the campaign trail the public should question not only their credibility but also their judgment.
Since lawyers speak for their clients we must assume Cain's counsel spoke for him. Therein lies a problem for Herman Cain's teetering
candidacy (an announcement is due today). Whether the various allegations against him are true or false have taken a back seat to a greater principle. When a man would assume a public trust he must consider himself public property. Transparency hardly seems an unreasonable requirement for a prospective leader.
A picture worth a thousand Squatters
November 23, 2011
It began as a gaggle of unnoticed activists, grew to national status, and became a cesspool of licentiousness
, and violent
threats right before our eyes. Big Labor and the Communist Party USA support
its murky agenda, as do domestic and international
statists right up to President Obama. Welcome to Squatting Any Street.
Amidst the slogans and chants emanating from impromptu communes across the country, the only clear message from Squatting is that banks suck and Squatters are entitled
. Other than that, Squatting Any Street's message has been incoherent. Yet no internal chant or external criticism can define Squatting with the clarity of a single photo taken at Squatting Los Angeles.
Plainly, this protester is upset. His sign implies that the greedy banks, the greedy rich, and the responsible people all suck. The wealthy become rich when everyone else gets hosed. End of discussion.
His view is common among Squatters. The mythical possibility of legislating economic fairness has consumed leftist orthodoxy since hotdogs became synonymous with ballpark concessions. Yet foreclosure, while an undesirable course, is the natural result of an unpaid mortgage. Squatters may believe banks foreclose indiscriminately to pad their bottom line. But with real estate values in decline, what profit is there for banks to possess properties worth less than their liens?
Notice the Squatter's contrasting message. If the banks got rich while homeowners were unfairly foreclosed, from what were the banks bailed out? Their profits? One Squatter with one sign exposes a fatal flaw common to Squatters. It's impossible for banks to simultaneously be both rich and poor. Expressing anger toward both circumstances is putting two and two together and coming up with six.
Only a failing bank can receive a government bailout. When a solvent institution receives government funds it is a subsidy. Truly, neither subsidies nor bailouts are part of a free market economy. But there's a distinction between them. Is it too much to ask Squatters to determine their message before they protest? Anyway, TEA Partiers were railing against both personal and corporate entitlement long before the first Squatters pitched their tents.
A single sign has illustrated the degree to which Squatters have missed the point. They blame free markets and capitalism for bank profiteering on both sides of the housing bubble. But banks can't simultaneously be rich enough to be greedy corporations and poor enough for bailouts. The concept contradicts itself. Government's "fair" lending regulations drove banks to issue risky loans. Government then mitigated the risk with subsidy assurances. The housing crash wasn't the fault of free markets or capitalism. It began, grew, and culminated with government's usurping of the free market.
Squatters should realize that without the federal government's politically-driven manipulation of the housing market the banks wouldn't have issued so many ill-advised loans, the housing bubble would never have existed as it did, and Squatting Any Street would be as academic as the nearest tent city.
One more precedent for tyranny
November 19, 2011
From the minute the Affordable Care Act was signed into law it was destined for the Supreme Court. Lower courts are split on the issue, with some contending ObamaCare oversteps
federal authority while others accept it as the central government's legitimate
function. The stakes will be high when the Supreme Court hears arguments next summer. Either ObamaCare will be scraped, establishing precedent to dismantle years of unconstitutional federal actions, or it will be upheld and liberty will again yield to tyranny.
From a limited government perspective it's difficult to see how the law can stand. The Constitution was written to restrain the central government, insuring it could legally act only within specified guidelines. Yet when courts, which are part of government, are the last arbiters of constitutionality, the guidelines are often blurred. Legalese supplants original intent, ensuring the Constitution lacks solid meaning. Jurisprudence is reduced to a legal playground where obvious liberties and logical conclusions yield to manipulation.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman's recent opinion upholding ObamaCare's individual mandate represents such an abuse of judicial oversight. And lest Silberman's decision be dismissed as another wacky ruling from a pinko judge, understand that he's a Reagan appointee, an associate of Clarence Thomas, and considered a forceful conservative jurist. However, his decision represents nothing liberty can admire. In fact, Silberman's opinion confirms how the federal behemoth consumes those who enter its lair, regardless of said person's original ideals.
Federal authorities -- whether legislators, executives, or judges -- become part of a governing apparatus where there's no benefit in limiting federal power. Fueling the bureaucracy becomes the goal and the central authority is enabled to act as it wills. On page 29
of his ruling Silberman concludes that Congress has the right to force citizens to purchase health insurance under the Commerce Clause. If he's correct, every conceivable economic transaction is subject to congressional oversight. In fact, according to Silberman's opinion, people retain neither economic liberty nor individual rights. We aren't endowed by our Creator with unalienable and self-evident rights, but are granted privilege as the central authority finds pleasure. The entire experiment in self-government is turned upside-down.
Consider Congress' constitutional authority to "regulate commerce . . . among the several states," found in Article 1, Section 8. In Judge Silberman's opinion, "to regulate" means "to adjust by rule or method . . . to direct . . . to order; to command." The definition is technically accurate, prompting Silberman to assume an unlimited ability for Congress to affect commerce, even to the point of forcing citizens to engage in commerce that doesn't yet exist. However, Silberman's opinion flies in the face of the Founder's vision.
James Madison, considered the Father of the Constitution, would reprimand Judge Silberman. Madison described the federal government's constitutional powers as "few and defined" while recognizing those remaining in state hands as "numerous and indefinite." Madison found Congress' authority to regulate commerce only within its enumerated powers and not beyond. Consider, too, his assessment of the General Welfare clause:
With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
If the Framers considered Congress' ability to promote the general welfare constrained only to specifically delegated constitutional authorities, why would they empower Congress to regulate commerce at every turn? The idea is preposterous when liberty is held as a right of human existence. Yet it's perfectly sensible when the purpose is expanding government at freedom's expense.
While Silberman recognizes the Framers' distinction regarding what commerce Congress can regulate (p.29
), he invokes judicial precedence to override the Founder's vision. To support the decision he writes, "Supreme Court jurisprudence over the last century has largely eroded that [the Framer's] distinction." What should be apparent is the lack of judicial authority to amend the Constitution through convenient interpretation and erroneous application.
Doubtful Judge Silberman meant to highlight a problem inherent to judicial activism, yet he did just that. Relying on precedent involves a fatal flaw. If one foolish ruling precedes a second foolish ruling, a foolish precedent is established. Subsequent rulings based on the foolish precedent will necessarily be of equal or greater folly. Precedent is therefore no substitute for original language when ruling on constitutional matters. Ironically, Silberman cites one of the most foolish, anti-liberty precedents in U.S. history to support his ruling.
According to Silberman, Wickard v. Filburn
(1942) confirms Congress' power to force citizens to purchase health insurance. Filburn, a farmer, violated federal law when he grew more than his allotted quota of wheat, not for open sale but for his family and livestock. The Court unanimously upheld the law under the pretense that had Filburn not grown the excess wheat he would've purchased it on the open market. His action contradicted Congress' interest in preserving the national wheat price and supposed authority to stimulate commerce. Remember, foolish precedent equals foolish rulings, and foolish rulings produce foolish regulations.
If Congress can force the public to purchase health insurance because health care affects the overall economy, it can force the public to purchase anything. Automobile sales affect GDP. Can Congress then compel a citizen to buy a car? Can Congress also force an individual to buy a subsidized model from a subsidized manufacturer, say a Chevrolet Volt? Under such a pretence, the economic decisions the central government can force upon the public are infinite.
What's more, in light of Silberman's ruling based on Wickard v. Filburn, there's no private act government cannot manage. A homeowner has no right to remodel their residence due to the work's affect on the construction market. A car owner has no right to perform maintenance due to the affect on repair businesses. A landowner can't even grow tomatoes for personal consumption without undermining produce prices. Every economic act becomes a matter of privilege rather than right. The Court's decision on ObamaCare thus carries implications far beyond health insurance. At issue is whether citizens enjoy inalienable rights or the federal government holds unlimited authority.
Rejecting the individual mandate would undo a century of federal expansion based on foolish judicial precedent. Rulings like Wickard v. Filburn would be exposed as twaddle and the concept of constitutionally limited government would gain a foothold. Overturning ObamaCare means far more than overturning ObamaCare. It offers a sliver of hope that liberty has not perished.
Upholding federal authority to force individuals to buy government approved products is yet another blow to freedom. The foolish precedent will become further entrenched and every American will suffer as a result.
The stakes are high. The Legislative and Executive branches, combined with a generally complicit Judicial branch, have placed the Framers great experiment in self-government on life support. The question is whether the Supreme Court will establish a new trend based on liberty or follow the century-old precedent toward greater tyranny.
A case for free market bank regulation
November 9, 2011
Bank of America (BAC) has rescinded
its plan to charge customers a $5 monthly debit card fee. Shall we praise bank regulators for their swift action in preventing the exorbitant charge? Well, no. Then we'll credit politicians for legislating against greedy, big bank profiteering, right? Wrong again. The free market drove BAC to drop the debit card fee.
Several banks have floated similar debit card fees -- some already assess the monthly charge -- and each met the same fate as BAC. Customers informed their financial institutions that they would rather pull their assets than pay the fee. Banks responded in predictable fashion. Banks need customers to remain solvent; therefore they heed their customers' complaints and outrages, whether or not they are reasonable. That's the free market in action. Unpopular fees and programs are abandoned just as surely as profits are taken. Everything depends on what the market will bear.
The $5 debit card charge was never a product of free market capitalism. It was the result of political machinations, most notably on the part of Sen. Dick Durbin
. Durbin's amendment to the Dodd-Frank bank reform legislation placed an arbitrary cap on debit card interchange fees, which banks impose on retailers for each swipe of a customer's card.
Banks collect this fee to maintain their electronic networks, retailers distribute the fee among their customers, and customers enjoy the convenience of cashless transactions. Such business-customer relationships aren't invariably perfect, but they are at least agreeable between the involved parties. Once politicians meddle in that relationship, as Durbin did, unintended consequences become the norm. Enter the debit card fee. Yet the fact that Durbin made matters worse didn't stop him from telling BAC customers to "vote with their feet."
Well, bank customers have voted with their feet, or at least threatened to do so. I'll wager that not a single disgruntled customer walked into their bank and said to the teller, "Dick Durbin told me to withdraw my money." Blowhard politicians aren't necessary for customers to decide what fees they should or shouldn't accept. Customers needn't occupy public parks for banks to hear their complaints. The only thing necessary to kill the monthly debit card fee was for customers to exercise their free choice in an open marketplace.
Markets compel businesses to please their customers or risk losing them to more amenable competitors. Banks couldn't collude on behalf of debit card fees, even if they so wanted, because they're more interested in retaining current customers and attracting new ones from institutions that assess unpopular charges. The mere threat of losing customers was enough to render debit card fees a poor business decision. When market forces reign there's no need for protests, tents, and signs, nor is there a need for pandering politicians with superhero complexes to deliver customers from corporate evil.
However, markets move both directions. Just as the market wouldn't tolerate debit card fees, which are noticeable, the market may tolerate other fees that aren't as noticeable, just as it once tolerated the higher interchange fees. No one considered the interchange fees retailers paid on debit card transactions until government placed price controls on them. The banks then looked to other areas to recoup the lost revenue, which led to the debit card fee. Since the market has rejected the debit card fee, banks will look for another way to boost revenue.
Frankly, a $5 debit card charge is benign in and of itself. If a customer uses their card 50 times per month the average cost per transaction is a paltry 10 cents, a rather innocuous expense for the convenience of using a debit card system. And make no mistake; customers aren't paying the banks for the privilege of using their own money, as the populist argument holds. Customers pay for the use of the bank's computer and network systems, all of which cost money to purchase, operate, and maintain.
There's little purpose in defending or criticizing the banks, their customers, or the debit card fee. The marketplace spoke and a verdict was rendered. Customers preferred to seek new institutions rather than pay their banks a monthly debit card stipend. Banks would rather have more customers paying smaller, less recognizable fees than have fewer customers paying larger, high-profile charges. Both entities weighed their options and arrived at a conclusion with which they could live. Markets may not always react as swiftly as they did in this case. But they will always react, and they will produce the best possible compromise in any given situation.
All businesses attempt to maximize profits while all customers seek the best value for their money. These interests combine in a free market, making astute businesses profitable while rewarding prudent customers with quality services, all at an agreeable price. Government interference upsets that balance, imposing undesirable results on everyone.
Will Perry's fumble put him on the bench?
November 11, 2011
Did Rick Perry's fumble -- forgetting the name of an agency he wants to eliminate -- seal his fate? The pundits think
so; there's just no way Perry can recover. Even though he has campaigned for months, stating his opposition to education, commerce, and energy bureaucracies on innumerable occasions, he's finished. But does a momentary brain freeze disqualify someone from high office?
There are better reasons for voters to avoid checking Perry's box. His position on illegal immigration rubbed many conservatives raw. Perry widened that rift when he said opponents of granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens "have no heart." Rick Perry's campaign has unquestionably stalled. But he isn't losing conservatives because he fumbled at one debate.
The GOP hierarchy would love to make Rick Perry disappear, too. Bluebloods have little time for candidates whose platform centers on eliminating entire federal agencies. They have no time whatsoever for candidates who overtly flirt with seceding from the union. Such posturing doesn't sit well with the Republican powers that be, the same powers who've stuck us "staunch conservative" presidential candidates like Bush I, Bob Dole, Bush II, and John McCain.
There is precedent for believing Perry's campaign is finished. One blunder cost Dan Quayle his political career. He misspelled "potato" and no one has seen or heard from him since. However, the Quayle story unfolded in a different era. Recent history suggests a change of attitude since his day.
One fumble is no longer an automatic ticket to the electoral bench. "Qualified" politicians and great orators routinely drop the ball. Yet they've lived to gaffe another day. Barack Obama, oft-hailed as the most articulate and intelligent President in American history, has put the ball on the ground more times than Brett Favre
Obama once claimed his healthcare overhaul
would bring greater "inefficiencies to our healthcare system." He told a suburban audience that his health insurance reforms would reduce premiums by 3000-percent
. Obama expressed his desire to campaign in all 60 states
and equated his bowling skills to a Special Olympian. What's more, the Orator-in-Chief is quite ordinary without his teleprompter. None of these fumbles placed Obama on waivers.
For Rick Perry it's a different story. One fumble means he's unqualified to be president. Why? Because he isn't glib? Because he isn't a great debater? Because he isn't polished, focus-grouped, and completely canned? I'm not endorsing Perry. But if that's the reason he's out of the race it's time to re-examine the qualities we seek in a President.
Substance, ideas, and honor trump style, platitudes, and empty promises -- the common fare dished out by "articulate" candidates -- every time. Have we become so superficial as to admire candidates who speak in sound bites and parrot rehearsed answers to scripted questions, both with rapid-fire predictability? If one memory fumble sends Perry to the bench, I say it speaks worse of the voters' intellect than of his.
Herman Cain has arrived
November 5, 2011
Political candidates are nowhere until their ethics are challenged, their morals are questioned, or their character is assassinated. No one can be considered a viable candidate for elected office until they're targeted for destruction. Judging from this week's news, Herman Cain has arrived.
A story that began with two women
alleging "inappropriate behavior" has grown to include a third woman, female staffers
from a conservative talk radio show in Iowa, and hush money
from the National Restaurant Association. Yet the details about what occurred, if anything, have thus far been silenced, if they're known at all. With each "revelation" the Cain saga seems more and more like Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings.
If you'll recall, Anita Hill offered no credible evidence of "inappropriate behavior" on the part of Thomas. It was a case of "she said" so "he did." The seriousness of the charge trumped the nature of the evidence. But at least we knew the accusations against Thomas, and his accuser. All we know about Cain is that anonymous women once accused him of misconduct, which could mean anything from a passing compliment, to a wink, to a grope.
No claim against Cain has, as yet, become public
. But the lack of details hasn't prevented the media -- namely Politico -- from running with the story. Funny how the public's need to know is quickly served whenever scandal descends on a conservative, especially when that conservative's popularity has been steadily rising.
The media had little interest in Bill Clinton's sordid and sundry escapades. Juanita Broaddrick was treated like a stalker, Paula Jones was dismissed as trailer trash, and media outlets had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Lewinsky affair. Reporters and anchors marveled at Clinton's uncanny aptitude for misrepresentation. The dominant media also ignored John Edwards, at least until the National Enquirer broke Edwards' sleazy story and it grew too big to cover-up.
Not even the civil rights activists will come to Cain's defense; he'll have to exercise his demons alone. If he were a proper black man, one firmly planted on the leftist plantation, he could play the race card. But as a black conservative, Cain isn't black enough to charge racism. He's fair game. Assassinating a conservative's character is always in season, regardless of their race.
I'm not necessarily defending Herman Cain's innocence or endorsing his candidacy. But he does exhibit some likable qualities. For example, he's a Washington outsider without political experience. We need another politician with experience in creating trillion dollar deficits and multi-trillion dollar debt like Eliot Spitzer needs a dose of Cialis.
Everyone has skeletons in their closet. A political candidate's skeletons are held in reserve until said candidate gains momentum. There's simply no need to waste time and effort demeaning an also-ran. The fact that Herman Cain is the eye of a media storm means he's now considered a viable candidate.
Wanna buy 3,200 aircraft carriers?
November 1, 2011
Government spending and national defense are among the key topics whenever Ronald Reagan's legacy is discussed. Reagan is credited with rebuilding the military into a force capable of projecting America's presence anywhere in the world. He is also criticized for increasing the national debt even though federal revenues increased during his administration, which is an indictment of Congress' long-term lack of fiscal discipline.
Today's America can only long
for the late Ronald Reagan's leadership. Then again, perhaps he's still on the job. A portion of his legacy can help us appreciate our military prowess while simultaneously understanding our unimaginable indebtedness.
The Gipper would certainly be pleased with the USS Ronald Reagan
(CVN-76), a state-of-the-art warship right down to the life rafts. The USS Reagan
epitomizes the term "supercarrier
." With a 90-aircraft air wing, fire and forget missile defenses, and various radar, jamming, and countermeasure systems, the Reagan
is adequately equipped to fulfill the former President's defensive strategies.
Since its commission in 2003 the Reagan has indeed impressed America's military might on all who see her. She's a crowning achievement in technology, maneuverability, speed, and reliability. For some Americans the Reagan represents the nation's commitment to excellence and innovation, and complements the former President's "peace through strength" ideology. But the USS Reagan stirs emotions on the other side of defense spending, too.
To Americans critical of military spending, the USS Reagan represents waste and a bully mentality. She is a $4.5 billion floating testament to misplaced national priorities. A progressive peace activist might argue that the USS Ronald Reagan is a budget-busting monument to America's military-industrial complex.
The Reagan is justified in Congress' constitutional duty to "provide and maintain a navy" (Art. I, Sect. 8). Even so, for the purpose of honest debate, a few points must be conceded to the Pentagon's detractors. Certainly there's waste in the defense budget, waste that can be trimmed without sacrificing needed upgrades, unit cohesion, or overall preparedness. Also, $4.5 billion is a pile of bucks no matter how you stack them, meaning the Reagan can illustrate our record budget deficits, federal spending, and national debt. But not in the way defense critics think.
What could each American household do with its share of the Reagan's
$4.5 billion price tag? You might take the family out for pizza, but that's about all. Based on Census Bureau statistics
for 2003, the USS Reagan
cost each American household only $40.43, meaning the ship's construction had little impact on Washington's chaotic finances. However, it can help us understand the vastness of federal spending.
Any attentive person knows the federal deficit has grown unchecked, reaching $1.3 trillion
in both 2010 and 2011. What isn't so obvious is that each $1.3 trillion in deficit spending would buy 288 aircraft carriers built to the same specs as the USS Reagan
, with spare parts to boot. The federal government spent $3.6 trillion last year alone, a total that could build the Reagan
800 times. Based on the accumulated national debt -- currently $14.8 trillion and closing in on 100-percent of GDP -- we have borrowed enough money to provide the USS Ronald Reagan
with 3,288 sister ships, again with spare parts leftover.
If many aircraft carriers are a good policy, are bigger aircraft carriers a better policy? Just how big would the USS Reagan be if its size were measured in federal spending? Dividing the ship's final construction cost by its overall length ($4.5 billion/1092 feet) shows that each foot of the Reagan cost the taxpayer $4.12 million. How much carrier can we then buy? Well, that depends on the chosen model.
The "Annual Red Ink" class, based on our $1.3 trillion deficit, could build a "supercarrier" measuring 315,533 feet from bow to stern. And that's the dove version. A more hawkish model, the "Yearly Expenditures" class (based on $3.6 trillion in annual spending), sails at an overall length of 873,876 feet. Now that's a "super-supercarrier." Not enough? Try the "National Debt" class, a genuine "super-duper-supercarrier," boasting a flight deck 3,592,233 feet long.
The USS Reagan's actual 1092-foot long flight deck is impressive. But the enormity of a carrier deck based on the aforementioned numbers is unimaginable. For ease of comprehension let's convert the feet into miles and apply the results geographically.
The "Annual Red Ink" class of aircraft carrier would be 59.75 miles long, approximately half the length of Long Island, NY. The "Yearly Expenditures" class, at 165 miles long, would stretch from Atlanta, GA to Montgomery, AL. Saving the best for last, a pilot on the "National Debt" class could travel from New York City to Myrtle Beach, SC and never leave the flight deck.
The point of this illustration isn't that America should've constructed 3,288 aircraft carriers. The point is to highlight the central government's disregard for its fiduciary duties. Washington spends a trillion dollars like the rest of us put change in a Coke machine. Slick-talking politicians can continue their lies, pretending to understand the fiscal mess they've created. But thanks to the USS Ronald Reagan and a 13-digit calculator, politicians can't continue bankrupting this country while believing the public is ignorant of the disservice they're committing.
America's useful idiots cheer their attackers
October 18, 2011
Imperfections notwithstanding, humans are a rather forgiving bunch. We've been known to forgive people who've stolen from us, damaged our property, or attacked us outright. We've forgiven con artists, robbers, and swindlers of all stripes. The more magnanimous among us can even forgive their rapist, or their loved one's murderer. A big heart is essential to granting absolution in lieu of vengeance. Therefore, when such forgiveness is accorded, the gracious party rightly earns public respect.
To revere a forgiving victim is one thing. But what would we think of someone who encouraged their assailant? What would we think of a woman who cheered her attacker during a sexual assault? How about someone who applauds while their neighbor is being murdered, or roots for the thief who's burglarizing their home, or praises the thug who's vandalizing their property? We'd think them foolish, if not tetched.
"C'mon," you say, "no one is stupid enough to cheer their attacker."
You could lose the farm on that bet. Blindly crediting people for common sense and rationality is a risky proposition. Americans regularly cheer their attackers, especially when the consequences from the attack aren't immediately perceptible or experienced.
Washington has been herding America into centralized despotism for generations and the Obama administration is quickening the pace. Eventually, we'll be left groveling before government for our every need, or begging from the foreign nations to whom our so-called leaders have indebted us. Who would cheer the charlatans who are selling us down the river? Listen to the audience
at an Obama rally.
Whenever President Obama proposes increased federal spending or another bankrupting entitlement program his supporters shower him with adulation. He promises a few hundred billion dollars for "shovel ready" jobs, or "green energy," or to keep teachers, police, and firemen on the job, and his audience glorifies him like a redeemer, as if he were riding a donkey down a road paved with palm branches. Such was the case when the President touted his $447 billion jobs proposal during a speech at North Carolina State University.
The President invariably claims his spending initiatives will be "paid for." The rhetoric is deceptive, if not a full-blown lie. Washington is overspending by $1.5 trillion annually, has accumulated a debt ten times that amount, and holds long-term benefit obligations that exceed
our total national assets. No federal spending is "paid for." Every dime is borrowed against the future incomes of the people who cheer Obama, like the students at N.C. State. Obama pledged debt to them and their children and they showered him with love and adulation in return.
Obama is sinking the country even further into unsustainable programs and unimaginable debts. His attack on our fiscal future is a repeated punch in the gut. And the "useful idiots" cheer him wildly, as if he is delivering us from evil.
Occupy Wall Street protests capitalism and liberty
October 18, 2011
Opposition to crony capitalism, we're told, is motivating Occupy Wall Street. The protesters, we're told, are simply fed up with a business cycle wherein politicians push legislation to benefit large corporations, receiving campaign cash and other perks in return. In this the age of TARP bailouts, stimulus packages, and quantitative easing the complaint sounds reasonable, if we accept what we're told.
Many large corporations are unquestionably in bed with the federal government. Strange as it sounds, onerous government regulations offer some benefits to big businesses. For instance, regulations hinder start-up companies, preventing competition. Established companies possess the regulatory and legal experience, along with the political connections, necessary to navigate government's red tape. Small companies struggle just to gain a toehold, much less keep pace. Therefore, large companies have opportunity to bury small competitors beneath bureaucratic compliance and regulatory paperwork, and it's easier than direct competition.
However, a longing for free market competition isn't driving Occupy Wall Street. A movement dedicated to restoring market forces to our economy and breaking the bond between government and business already exists. If the occupiers actually supported such worthwhile goals they would ally the TEA Party. Yet TEA Party activists are routinely demeaned
as racist, sexist, and obsessively phobic.
Pundits can compare
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to the TEA Party if they want. But the proof is in the pudding; occupiers have little in common with TEA Partiers. OWS may indeed hold corporate welfare in disdain, as does the TEA Party. But the similarity ends there. TEA Partiers also oppose the personal welfare state, the entitlement mentality that perpetuates said state, and the lack of personal responsibility that forms its foundation. Occupiers revel in entitlement, irresponsibility, envy, and wealth redistribution.
The occupations represent a segment of Americans diametrically opposite the TEA Party, a segment that is either oblivious to its surroundings or can't comprehend what it sees. Their motivations are similar to the demonstrators we've seen in European socialist democracies, notably Greece and Britain, where the economies crumble under entitlement's weight while the marchers demand even more.
Huddled in their de facto communes, the occupiers have no qualms with government choosing winners and losers, or funding more entitlement programs. They consider social spending obligatory and student loans are a basic human right. Punitive taxation on the "1-percent" is a matter of economic justice and everyone should have the job they like at the wage they desire. In short, occupiers expect Utopian results from more of the same irresponsible government spending and regulatory burdens that created the current budgetary and economic chaos.
The "99-percenters" aren't marching for freedom; they're clueless on the concept. Private property rights are a cornerstone of personal liberty. Yet they are anathema to the occupiers' worldview. The New York protesters see no contradiction in squatting
on private property, dishonoring the desires of the owner, and refusing
to recognize the property owner's legal and moral right to tell the occupiers to pack up their autumn of love and head for the hills. Despite an agreement that zoned Zuccotti Park for public use, the park remains privately owned. Occupiers can chant, shout, and drum about freedom until the cows come home, but it means nothing until they've shed their open contempt for property rights.
The occupiers just can't grasp the contradiction in marching for freedom while demanding more government. As previously stated, Occupy Wall Street is about government growth. The only way to achieve their goals is to centralize authority, redistribute wealth, expand the entitlement attitude, and trust in a false promise. In the name of freedom the Wall Street occupiers are demanding cradle-to-grave collectivism. They're serving government at the expense of liberty, both for their fellow citizens and themselves.
The concept is unpopular, but you can judge people -- or in this case, a gathering of people -- by the company they attract. A quick glance at organizations aligning with OWS reads like a who's who of collectivism, from labor unions and MoveOn.org to the Communist Party USA
. Some of the world's most repressive regimes are lending support, too. A general
in Iran's Revolutionary Guard endorsed the OWS movement as a means to end Western capitalism. And Venezuela's socialist dictator Hugo Chavez
has nothing but kind words for the occupiers.
Doubtful the typical occupier is a genuine, card-carrying communist. Most occupiers would likely balk at the idea of promoting communism, or even socialism. But progressivism, labor unions, militant strongmen, and dictators don't line up on the side of human liberty, and each has cast its lot with OWS. Can we then conclude that authoritarians see Occupy Wall Street's true nature much clearer than do the occupiers themselves? I think so.
The "99-percent" are a deluded bunch. First, 99-percent of our country isn't consumed
with class envy or "economic justice," however it's defined. Second, OWS protesters are simply the fertilizer from which state control of our economy, our culture, and the population overall will continue to grow. Occupy Wall Street is an instrument, a means to an end, with the typical occupier personifying everything Vladimir Lenin could've wanted in a useful idiot.
Dick Durbin tests the Water Balloon Theory
October 11, 2011
No one likes high bank fees, especially in an era of bailouts, Wall Street occupations, and Washington deciding which banks survive. So a $5 monthly debit card fee creates an ideal situation for a manipulative politician, and Sen. Dick Durbin is ready to reap the populist hay.
Bank of America initiated the $5 debit card fee and you'd have thought they'd reinstated debtor's prison. No sooner was the fee announced than Durbin
Bank of America customer, vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank. Find yourself a bank or credit union that won't gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day. What Bank of America has done is an outrage.
Did Durbin forget that Bank of America never charged a monthly debit card fee until he legislated "fairness" into the banking industry? No, he didn't forget. He's just a hypocrite. Then, to cover his trail, this dim bulb encouraged a bank run that would, if fulfilled, result in Bank of America's insolvency.
Yesterday the federal government bailed out "too big to fail" Bank of America with 45-billion taxpayer dollars. Today Dick Durbin has declared B of A expendable. I don't know which is more insulting: the inconsistency, or Durbin's belief that Bank of America customers need his prompt to seek a new bank if they find the debit card fee egregious.
How can Durbin feign such self-righteous indignation over the debit card fee anyway? He created
it. Durbin's amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation placed an artificial cease-and-desist order on the debit card fees banks once charged. Bank of America predictably sought new revenue streams to replace those Durbin's amendment disallows. It's the natural action for an institution whose revenue is disrupted.
When a business is squeezed in one area it will redirect its quest for profits, a phenomenon clearly illustrated in my Water Balloon Theory. If you fill a long balloon with water and compress one area, the water will be forced to a new location. No matter how hard you squeeze, you can't contain the water in one place. It will always move to a spot of lesser resistance. The only way to stop the process is to compress the balloon until it bursts.
Sen. Durbin tried to disprove my Water Balloon Theory, but he failed. His attempt to constrain the bank's fee structure simply forced those fees to a new location. At Bank of America the bulge appeared in the form of a $5 monthly charge for debit card use.
The Water Balloon Theory remains intact. Exerting political pressure on businesses will push their hunt for profits in a new direction. Continually increasing said pressure will cause businesses to fail, just like a balloon. We should apply this theory whenever we're tempted to demand congressional action on a perceived unfairness. Otherwise we, like Durbin, will end up all wet.
Anwar al-Awlaki's death spurs 5th Amendment debate
October 4, 2011
Anwar al-Awlaki's death has stirred an interesting debate. Can we celebrate his departure as one less al-Qaeda operative? Or, should we lament the killing of an American citizen abroad as another step on the slippery slope toward domestic tyranny?
The slippery slope argument doesn't lack precedent. Governments are notorious for targeting their own citizens. Nazi Germany systematically eliminated Jewish citizens, Stalin's Soviet Union imposed a famine on Ukraine, and Chairman Moa oversaw millions of Chinese deaths. Just this year Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Libya have trained government guns on their own people, killing them without trial. There's no denying the dangers of a government that recognizes no bounds.
However, the Constitution's Fifth Amendment forces our government to recognize boundaries, specifically that no one can be deprived of life without due process. So, how does the Fifth Amendment square with Awlaki's death? Despite living in Yemen, Awlaki was American born and a U.S. citizen. Does his death establish the assassination
of American citizens as standard federal procedure? One such death certainly doesn't place our government on par with history's most brutal regimes. But there are questions. Liberties and safeguards lost or surrendered are seldom regained.
Awlaki was an inflammatory critic of the United States. If he can be denied due process and killed because government leaders don't approve of his positions, could it lead to other Americans becoming government targets? If so, we're in grave danger. Pro-life activists and Second Amendment purists could be declared enemies of the state. Advocates for state's rights and a limited federal government would surely run afoul of the central authority. Should they be eliminated?
Anwar al-Awlaki's activities were certainly detestable. He was an al-Qaeda recruiter and jihad preacher who incited radicalism against the United States. But the Fifth Amendment question remains. Awlaki was an American citizen and his life was snuffed without due process of law. There've been other notorious Americans -- Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and the Unabomber -- who weren't killed without trial. What makes Awlaki different from them?
American citizens retain their constitutional protections whether they're home or abroad. Numerous Americans have engaged in questionable activities while overseas, including former President Jimmy Carter
. None became missile targets. In fact, not even al-Qaeda operatives in the United States have been denied due process, as Awlaki allegedly was. Two Minnesota women
suspected of raising funds and recruiting fighters for the Somali jihad group al-Shabab were recently arrested, not bombed.
However, one key factor has thus far been ignored. One of the central government's fundamental functions is to address threats to the citizenry. If government lacks either the ability or the will to defend the nation it cannot maintain the security necessary for liberty to flourish. Therefore, common sense establishes a line beyond which threats to security must be eliminated, even when posed by U.S. citizens. Anwar al-Awlaki crossed that line.
There are stark differences between mere rabble-rousers and someone like Awlaki. The fact that Awlaki left the United States doesn't mark him for death. But he left his country for a region where a recognized enemy is known to reside for the purpose of joining and aiding their cause. Essentially, Awlaki chose to become an enemy fighter.
Awlaki actively recruited al-Qaeda operatives with his radical doctrines and sermons. His résumé includes the Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas Bomber, and the failed Times Square bomb plot. No doubt a rouge government could manipulate evidence to cast suspicions on someone it would prefer to eliminate. But there's no need for cloak and dagger conspiracies in Awlaki's case. His decision to become a foreign enemy made him a legitimate target.
Anwar al-Awlaki's fiery departure didn't compromise our Fifth Amendment right to due process. The deaths of Randy Weaver's wife and David Koresh at the hands of federal authorities were much more troublesome to the cause of liberty than Awlaki's.
The dividing line between an imaginary enemy of the state, someone targeted solely for speech or activities the state doesn't approve, and a genuine enemy of the nation is quite clear. If we fail to see that truth it's simply because we choose to ignore it.
Debating the strategic value in Awlaki's death is an endless argument. But he wasn't killed because he didn't blindly support the federal government. He wasn't killed because he criticized America's foreign or domestic policies, or because his religion was strange, or because he was a quirky hermit on a mountaintop. Awlaki was killed because he left his country to voluntarily join an identified enemy whose hostilities toward the United States are well-documented. He was a legitimate target and the Fifth Amendment needn't shed a tear at his wake.
The curtain rises on Obama Theatre
September 29, 2011
When the curtain went up on Obama Theatre's latest presentation, staged at a town hall meeting sponsored by LinkedIn.com, the performance was the same as it has always been. A theatre critic would describe Obama's act as tired, tedious, and repetitive. The President delivered the same stale routines and predictable themes upon which he's long relied. There was nothing new, nothing creative. His message was inescapably vacant and laughably sophomoric.
Yet one scene stood out, wherein an obvious cast member
sheepishly asked Obama, "Will you raise my taxes?"
Shouldn't we expect more dynamic dialogue from an Obama production? And such a tepid delivery on the part of the supporting actor! Where's the feeling? Where's the enunciation? Even a theatrical novice realizes that persuading Obama to raise taxes is like persuading Lindsay Lohan to party, Charlie Sheen to toot his own horn, or Pamela Anderson to take off her clothes.
The tax masochist recited his lines and relinquished the spotlight, which is common for co-stars in an Obama production. He was simply another supporting actor in the class envy song and dance Obama has performed on every stage short of Broadway. The leading man -- President Obama, defender of the powerless and champion of the downtrodden -- boasts a substantial résumé of similar performances. The LinkedIn.com town hall meeting was just his latest credit.
When Obama plays the advocate for affordable housing there's a Henrietta Hughes
in the audience. When Obama needs to demonstrate his powerful personality a smitten supporter swoons
like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert. When Obama bullies the rich about paying their "fair share" a wealthy capitulator begs for a tax hike. And we're supposed to believe these displays aren't staged? Obama and his entourage of conspirators are as natural as FD&C Yellow No. 10 and as predictable as a date with Jenna Jameson.
The Obama Show grows more tiresome with each performance, especially when it includes wealthy stooges begging pathetically for an opportunity to pay higher taxes. For the umpteenth time, any rich person who thinks they own too little stock in the federal treasury can write a check to Uncle Sam any time they choose, and for any amount they deem fair. The fact is that Obama's affluent fawners aren't at all interested in paying more
taxes. But they don't mind everyone else paying a little extra to support the Obama agenda.
Obama and his interchangeable troupe of supporting characters are playing us for suckers and we should be up in arms. Yet a goodly number or our countrymen gobble up this indigestible tripe and beg for an encore.
The curtain goes up on Obama Theatre every time a wealthy person begs the President for the privilege of making greater contributions to the IRS. The intent is to convince Americans that surrendering their production to big government is both sensible and patriotic. But each dramatization is pure fiction, staged for the immature and gullible patron.
MSNBC attacks achievement
September 24, 2011
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) might think twice before agreeing to another appearance on MSNBC. What's to be gained from discussing issues with an interviewer whose mind is the political equivalent of a black hole? Credit Fleming for trying, but he must realize that MSNBC is nothing more than an outlet for left-wing activism.
MSNBC's Chris Jansing scolded
Rep. Fleming for opposing Democrat tax policy. Jansing asked Fleming to explain his own high income -- his business interests gross $6 million annually -- but paid no attention to his answer. Fleming took more than his "fair share" and that's all that mattered. The condescending
Jansing continued to prod Rep. Fleming:
You do understand, congressman, that the average person out there who's making maybe 40, 50, $60,000 out there, when they hear you only have $400,000 left over, it's not exactly a sympathetic position. You understand that?
It's difficult to tolerate someone so arrogant in their ignorance as Chris Jansing. An honest interviewer would've at least listened to Rep. Fleming's explanation of how his gross receipts are dispersed, especially since she raised the issue. But not Chris Jansing; she heard from Fleming only what she wanted to hear. Like so many journalists she played the role of ideological puppet, as if the DNC had a hand in her back.
Sadly, Chris is partially correct. Too many Americans
aren't sympathetic when a deceitful, immoral, and fiscally irresponsible ideology deploys government to steal their neighbor's earnings. And I can give her one big reason why. Look around your newsroom, Chris. Then look around the newsrooms at the vast majority of broadcast and print media. Finally, Chris, look in your own mirror.
Journalism sold out long ago. Rather than providing balanced information, journalists promote a vision in which one person's failure is the result of another's achievement. The predominant American media now serves an ideology bent on expanding the State, making it no different from the operatives at TASS and Pravda during the Soviet Union's heyday. You understand that, Chris?
Thinly veiled media attacks on achievement are common and predictable. Thus the question isn't how to reform the media, but how to undo the petty jealousies and animus toward achievement Democrats and their media apologists have created. As long as this mindset exists politicians will parlay class envy into electoral success, never fully explaining who the "greedy rich" are or what constitutes their "fair share."
Certainly Chris Jansing's brand of journalism is secure in the First Amendment, wherein she and her colleagues can compromise their profession to their heart's content. But there's a funny thing about freedom; it runs both ways. Those of us in the great unwashed are equally free to criticize media propagandists whenever they're encountered.
Achievement has its attackers. But let it be known this day, achievement has its defenders, too.
The problem with Paul
September 21, 2011
As Social Security is considered the third rail of national politics, Ron Paul is the third rail of the Republican Party. Paul's detractors are vehement in dismissing the Texas representative as the party's loose nut. Contrarily, Paul's supporters are dedicated to crowning him the savior of the GOP and the United States overall.
If Paul is as inconsequential as the haters claim, they needn't work so hard to dismiss him; he'll render himself irrelevant. But the GOP hierarchy cringes when Paul speaks because he's correct on so many issues. Audit the Fed? Ron Paul has a calculator. Worried about federally controlled healthcare delivery? Dr. Paul supports free market solutions to rising healthcare costs. Tired of burdensome regulations and Washington's shredding of our Constitution? Paul promotes personal liberty and states rights, viewing bureaucracy like a drunk at a Baptist picnic. His position on limited government offends Beltway Republicans who've fallen in love with federal largess.
Ron Paul is crystal clear on America's domestic problems. However, when it comes to foreign policy, the more Ron Paul talks the more his fatal weakness is exposed.
That's not to say Paul's foreign policy positions
are total flawed. For instance, Paul suggests a non-interventionist policy would save money. He's obviously correct. Fewer foreign engagements would require lower government expenditures. Besides, acting as the world's policeman isn't a conservative principal. Conservatives weren't interested in policing the world when Clinton engaged the Kosovo conflict and Libya is on no one's agenda. Paul's non-interventionism doesn't necessarily equate to a refusal to defend the United States.
On terrorism, Paul believes America's presence in Muslim lands provokes hatred toward us. Paul reasons, "What would we do if another country . . . did to us what we do to all those countries over there?"
Well, what would we do? We'd fight, of course, just as we did following 9/11. Were another country to establish a military presence on U.S. soil we would summon every weapon from pitchforks to Tomahawk missiles against the foreign occupier. Americans would demand all-out war against the infiltrators. Should we not do unto others as we would have them do unto us?
Paul believes our "foreign occupations" spurred the 9/11 attacks. There is some credibility in his assertion, for the prior mentioned reasons. However, "foreign occupation" falls short in explaining the reason Islamists choose violence. The culture reflected in the jihad movement relishes conflict. If there were no Israel, Islamists would find another justification for violence. The Muslim Brotherhood was anti-Zionist
before the post-war establishment of Israel. If there were neither a United States nor an Israel, another enemy would spark the fanatic's flame. Even in biblical history, pre-Islamic Arabs and Persians fought not only with Jews but with each other. Any reason, provocation, or insult, whether real or perceived, can stir Islamist violence.
America certainly isn't perfect; we've made foreign policy blunders. Whether for better or worse, the United States has propped-up unpopular dictators to further our interests in the Middle East. If an outside interest so meddled in our affairs we'd be seething and rightly so. But the problem with Ron Paul, his fatal flaw, is his belief that America will be safer if we bring all troops home and adopt a quasi-isolationist foreign policy.
Paul's view of international relations is similar to the one America held prior to World War II. The U.S. thought neutrality was an option in an increasingly hostile world. Thus Hitler's Germany went from a defeated and demilitarized nation to a burgeoning and aggressive war machine. A huge price was extracted, in blood and money, for our ambivalence. Is the next Third Reich on the horizon? Maybe not. But protecting U.S. sovereignty relies on the ability to respond quickly to gathering threats.
A strong and ready military is essential to our survival, but not necessarily the "neo-con" view of militarism. While America can and should promote liberty and a better opportunity to an oppressed world, we aren't responsible for overthrowing dictators in every third-world hellhole. Suppose we follow Thomas Jefferson's advice: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Was Jefferson averse to the aggressive use of force? Ask a Barbary pirate.
America would be better served if all its military engagements were defensive in nature. This is especially true if we continue fighting wars like police actions, which has become our standard strategy regardless of the party in charge. Yet an aggressive foreign policy must remain an option for dealing with demonstrable threats. The jihad has a track record of attacking the United States
and her interests
, at home and abroad. America must confront Islamists even if it means acting preemptively, unilaterally, or overwhelmingly. The reason for Islamic terrorism is found in the prejudices and cultures of the Islamists, not on an air base in Riyadh.
This is the problem with Ron Paul. On domestic, economic, and constitutional issues he is right on target. Ron Paul is correct in believing the United States isn't responsible for forcefully establishing freedom and self-government throughout the world. But Paul is dangerously wrong regarding how America must deal with external threats in the modern world.
President Ron Paul isn't the answer. Federal Reserve Chairman Ron Paul? Now that has a nice ring to it.
Lemonade Wars: The State battles entrepreneurialism
September 7, 2011
The United States is a nation of cultural icons. Some places, symbols, and activities shout "America" with the voice of three-hundred million citizens: the Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium, an Independence Day cookout. High on the list of those iconic symbols is the front yard lemonade stand. It represents the essence of budding entrepreneurialism and self-reliance.
Only the heartless can deny the joy of buying a lukewarm glass of "ice-cold" lemonade from an enterprising youth. The lemonade stand, and similar entrepreneurial adolescent pursuits, is the stuff of Americana, pure Norman Rockwell. Not only are the young shopkeepers cute, they're participating in an activity as old as mankind. The lemonade stand proprietor has entered the world of capitalism, where merchant and customer voluntarily exchange items of value. Tragically, the child's lemonade stand, like capitalism, finds itself increasingly in the State's regulatory crosshairs.
Governments are targeting neighborhood lemonade stands throughout the land of the free. The reasons behind these "lemonade raids" are similar no matter their location. Young businessmen and businesswomen, like their mature counterparts, are running afoul of local codes and health ordinances, lacking required permits and licenses, or tripping over bureaucratic red tape. When even the childhood entrepreneur can't escape the overbearing and burdensome tentacles of government's regulatory octopus, what chance has the adult?
The Massachusetts State Police closed
a 12-year-old boy's green tea stand because he didn't secure the requisite permits. Coralville, Iowa conducted a veritable raid
on unsanctioned lemonade stands. Police in Midway
, Georgia closed a lemonade stand because the three girls who operated it failed to obtain licenses and permits that cost $50 a day. A similar instance occurred in Appleton
, Wisconsin. Villa Rica, Georgia police sent a Girl Scout
troop home because they didn't have a peddler's permit to hawk their cookies. In New York, a city councilman summoned police to an unauthorized cupcake
As would be expected, the various government agencies responsible for protecting the public from these snack food speakeasies defended their decisions, as well as the regulations that preceded them. The New York councilman, Michael Wolfensohn, said all vendors must conform to local ordinance, even if the "vendors" are two kids with a pan of brownies. Wolfensohn called police because they're "trained to deal with these sorts of issues."
And all this time you and I thought police were trained to deal with suspected criminals, not with people trying to make an honest dollar. Unless selling brownies for profit is a crime, or the teenage dealers were pushing hashish brownies, there's no reason for the police to be involved, save to investigate Councilman Wolfensohn for impersonating an intelligent human being.
A spokesman for Villa Rica defended the town's ordinance as a safety issue, enacted after a previous incident where a child seeking charitable donations ran into traffic. While no one wants a youngster to become a traffic statistic, the official explanation defies logic. Are we to assume a peddler's license would prevent an exuberant child from rushing into the street? Children chase balls, pets, and other objects into traffic every day. The presence of a permit will do nothing to curb potential harm to children. Parental supervision and oversight will further safety far more than will a peddler's permit, and parents were present when the Girl Scout cookie sale was shuttered.
One side affect of the crusade against lemonade stands is the fear of police each incident instills in children. Subjecting children to police questioning over trivial incidents, like unlicensed lemonade stands, compromises the trust for police officers we attempt to teach our children. In defense of the officers themselves, most weren't enthused with confronting the treat-bearing scofflaws. In both the Villa Rica and Appleton cases the responsible police departments issued apologies and made amends.
If the examples offered were isolated events we might let them pass. But they're not isolated
. There must be an explanation for government's hostility toward adolescent entrepreneurs. Liberty certainly isn't served when police departments are transformed into lemonade stand task forces. But is there benefit to the State? It would appear so. Over time, children will become accustomed to such bureaucratic meddling, and police presence, in their daily business. The cause of liberty is curtailed while the power of the State intensifies.
Children aren't becoming wealthy selling lemonade by the drink. Nor are their lemonade stands a threat to established businesses, which shouldn't expect protectionist policies in a competitive market anyway. But a child gains valuable lessons in capitalism and self-reliance when they operate a lemonade stand, or any similar part-time business. There lies the problem for the State. Self-reliance is the antithesis of collectivism, as collectivism relies on an ascending State.
Doubtful there's a widespread government conspiracy to socialize the under-16 lemonade market. The lemonade stand per se isn't a threat to government power. However, genuine independence -- learned in youth -- is a danger to the State's authority. The State's natural bent is to restrain self-reliance, and the easiest way to accomplish that goal is to stifle individualism before it starts.
The State has examined the neighborhood lemonade stand and, through necessity rather than conspiracy, deemed it a menace. In fact, the State has examined entrepreneurialism and found it dangerous, except for those entrepreneurs who are willing to play ball with the State. The message is clear. Anyone desiring to enter the business world must do so with the State as a not-so-silent partner. Otherwise, their enterprise will be fined, regulated, egregiously taxed, or closed outright. The decision rests less on the rule of law than on the State's arbitrary and heavy hand
What better way to prepare tomorrow's entrepreneurs for the collectivist marketplace than to deny them the ability to operate the simplest of businesses today? Certainly boys and girls can't afford the permits, licenses, insurance policies, and health code upgrades that would put them in compliance with government regulations. However, introducing youth to the bureaucratic swamp is a lesson that serves the State long term. Children become indoctrinated to the concept of the State meddling in all affairs, personal and private. It's a highly effective tactic, for the State.
Some youth will realize the road to business success in America's increasingly socialist economy is to grease the palms and oil the skids of various government councils, boards, and commissions. These few learn to grant deference to the State in earning their individual livelihoods. Others will become discouraged with entrepreneurial pursuits. They will see bureaucracy for the monolithic obstacle to economic advancement it has become, and consider the regulatory burden too heavy to bear.
The State wins in either circumstance. Those willing to conform to the State's mandates acknowledge the State's authority over the individual's ability to exercise life's most basic liberty: the right to earn a living. The nonconformist entrepreneur, who rejects both the idea of begging a bureaucrat for the right to earn a living and being subject to the State's burdensome regulatory oversight, withdraws from the proprietor sector of the marketplace, becoming a wage-earner.
Both the willing conformist and the resigned nonconformist are easier to influence, regulate, and control than the self-reliant entrepreneur. Properly indoctrinated, people view the State as the ultimate arbiter of the ability to earn a living. Whether that authority is considered just or amoral is inconsequential, as long as the State's authority is acknowledged. And it all starts at the lemonade stand.
Democrats and Republicans created the Tea Party
September 9, 2011
If you were born in the 1960s, educated in the 1970s, and emancipated from parental dependence in the 1980s, the ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans were clearly defined. Democrats favored high taxes, government regulation, and wealth redistribution. Republicans advocated low taxes, limited government, and private charity. During the 2000s those lines were blurred.
Republicans gained control of the federal government for the first time in memory. For conservatives the results were underwhelming. The hope was for Republicans to curtail government's growth and influence. Instead, they expanded the federal role in education, healthcare, airport screening, and law enforcement. Budget deficits grew, partially due to wars fought for righteous reasons but with murky objectives, and partially due to tepid efforts at entitlement reform.
Republicans performed so poorly in implementing the party's traditional platform that Democrats campaigned against a spendthrift GOP in two successive elections. Democrats prevailed, quickly revealed their true nature, and exponentially expanded the Washington's fiscal irresponsibility. No astute observer would've expected otherwise.
Despite the constant media harangue over the supposed lack of bipartisan cooperation, politicians of both main parties are alarmingly close in their basic governing philosophies. Washington politicians increasingly, and regardless of party, depend on Washington solutions to validate their worth, secure their status, and increase their authority. But outside the legislative arena the contrast between Democrats and Republicans remains quite clear.
indicates that 71-percent of Republicans, and 55-percent of unaffiliated and third party voters, oppose federal programs that create jobs from thin air. On the other end of the spectrum, 54-percent of Democrats think it's a jim-dandy idea for Washington to spend money it doesn't have on jobs the markets aren't demanding. And how do we know the markets aren't demanding those jobs? If they were, the jobs would be created with private wealth and investment.
As the poll indicates, Republican voters still favor limited government and self-sufficiency. Democrat voters are identified by their support for bureaucracy and entitlement. This isn't a problem for Democrats, whose leadership promotes a fast track to government intervention, perfectly reflecting the base's innate liberalism. But GOP legislators too often favor a slow path to big government, directly contradicting the memberships' allegiance to traditional Republican orthodoxies.
The TEA Party was born precisely because the lines between Democrats and Republicans were blurred. The movement reflects the mood of conservatives who are shunned by a blueblood Republican leadership, a leadership that has opposed genuine conservatism at nearly every turn, even to the point of dismissing as archaic the venerable Reagan philosophy.
There's clear public support for traditional Republican concepts. The Republican candidate who best articulates self-reliance, limited government, and free market philosophies has a leg-up for the party's presidential nomination. What's more, he or she gives the GOP its best chance to unseat the highly vulnerable Barack Obama.
The crisis of hysteria
September 1, 2011
According to polling from Rasmussen Reports
, 81-percent of Americans followed the media coverage preceding Hurricane Irene, with 63-percent the reporting favorable reviews. At face value there appears nothing but positives in these poll numbers. But should sensationalism and hysterics warrant positive marks from the public?
Hurricanes are one of nature's most potent forces and ignoring them is unquestionably foolish. Therefore it was perfectly sensible for people to keep an eye on Hurricane Irene, especially if they or their loved ones were in her path. Yet, there's cause for concern when 63-percent of the public believe the coverage of Irene wasn't -- pardon the pun -- overblown.
Playing Monday morning meteorologist isn't difficult. But even the slightest attention to Irene's pre-landfall progress revealed that she was never the catastrophic storm the news and weather media billed her to be. Irene wasn't gaining strength as she tracked north. In fact, she was steadily weakening
. By the time she struck North Carolina's Outer Banks she was a Category One storm, rather common as hurricanes go. While the track may have been unique, there was no need for the newsroom panic that accompanied Irene's approach.
Certainly Irene was no simple summer squall. A hurricane is a hurricane. To the people who lost their property, or their very lives, Hurricane Irene was serious business. But the reports on Irene's pending destruction sounded as if the storm was the offspring of a weekend rendezvous between Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina. So it goes when the media gins up a crisis of hysteria.
No matter the coming attraction the media will present its potential danger as the end of civilization as we know it. Hurricane Irene was merely the latest illustration of the bombastic partnership that exists between the media and various governmental bodies. The two form an unholy alliance with a track record of sensationalizing harmful situations and fostering public fear.
According to an article titled "Refugees Escape Ravages of Climate Change" (the Journal of Environmental Health, 2003) global warming and environmental destruction would produce 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Entire island chains would disappear beneath rising seas. Zafar Adeel, of the United Nations University, echoed the dire prophesy in December 2006. Where are those 50 million climate change refugees now? What islands have disappeared? The UN's prediction of mass refugees resulting directly from global warming proved to be -- if you'll pardon another pun -- hot air.
Disease is another catastrophe routinely manipulated in media and governmental circles. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) surfaced in Asia in early 2003 and was immediately treated as the Black Death reincarnate. News viewers were inundated with nightly videos of Chinese people cowering behind facemasks. In reality, the only thing pandemic about SARS was the media panic
. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed only 8,098 SARS cases worldwide and 774 deaths, mostly in China
. Influenza and tuberculosis killed
more people than SARS.
If the SARS scare was the only example of the media over-dramatizing microbial threats we might grant them a pass. But the story is too common to dismiss as a singular mistake in reporting, or even an instance of poor judgment.
Bird flu was the dread du jour in 2005. Before anyone knew how serious the strain was, or would become, the media
compared it to a 1918 flu outbreak that killed 50 million people worldwide and half-a-million in the United States. Government organizations, notably the World Health Organization (WHO), joined
the media cacophony. The public was berated with prophesies of widespread suffering and death. But bird flu's reality never lived up to the hype and the threat dissipated just as quickly as it came.
Swine flu was another crisis that never quite materialized. World Health Organization flu expert Keiji Fukuda warned that a H1N1 pandemic could infect
up to 2 billion people worldwide. The panic was on. Media outlets filled space with ominous predictions of widespread suffering and death. The world seemed poised for a plague of Biblical proportions. But, like SARS and bird flue, swine flu didn't cooperate with the doomsayers. It was soon discovered that swine flu wasn't as serious as first reported. Thousands, not billions, were infected and relatively few died.
While diseases and natural disasters are nothing to ignore, they're also nothing to manipulate for ratings and political advantage. Yet potential threats to humanity, of which we should be aware, are routinely exaggerated to the point of absurdity. The reason is clear. Crisis benefits both the media and government. Sensationalism sells news and promotes fear. Under the threat of possible harm people will exchange their liberty for government's oft-empty promise of security. The worse a looming disaster appears the more people will hang on the media's reports and demand government action. Hysteria breeds ratings for media outlets and dependency on government.
There's nothing wrong with reporting potential disasters or planning for unpredictable scenarios. Preparation is common sense and people should be aware of imminent or possible threats. However, journalism and bureaucracy have a long history of blowing biological and meteorological threats completely out of proportion. Informing the public of anticipated events is mundane. Thus cataclysmic crises are created whether or not they exist.
The language used to report possible harms, whether in the form of disease or natural disaster, can be a greater threat to public safety than the dangers themselves. The so-called experts have cried wolf so often that their credibility is shattered. The media and governments bear a responsibility to maintain the public's trust. That bond has been sacrificed to the pursuit of ratings and authority.
The next danger will surface soon enough. Maybe it will be another hurricane, or the tropical rainstorm drenching the gulf coast. Flu season is just around the corner. Whatever the source, the media and government will the treat that threat like a combination of Pompeii and the Chicago Fire before it reaches a serious level, further eroding the public's trust. When a crisis worthy of widespread hysteria does arise, will anyone pay attention to their warnings?
Send out the clown
August 23, 2011
A rodeo clown wears some of the most garish outfits imaginable. But who would expect ordinary from someone who'll willingly tease a 2000-pound bull that's wearing a bucking strap around his groin? While unquestionably odd, the rodeo clown's wardrobe is functional, which is more than can be said of Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-FL) attire. One glimpse of her costume will send a bull scrambling for his sunglasses.
Western wear isn't unacceptable congressional dress, nor should it be. The cowboy look is an integral part of Americana. But the Technicolor edition of a dude ranch reject is a step too far. Even if Rep. Wilson offered substantive solutions to the obstacles facing this country, in particularly the black community, it would be difficult to take her serious when she looks like a Dodge City pimp. Not to worry, Wilson offers nothing in terms of discourse.
Rep. Wilson blames racism for high unemployment among blacks, especially young males. The least she could do is spout rhetoric as flashy as her wardrobe. Instead she plays the race-card, excuses irresponsible behavior, and promotes big government solutions to undesirable circumstances. In fact, big government is a chief contributor to the condition she laments.
Government decided it was a good idea to establish a minimum wage without regard to market realities. However, employers can't retain employees who produce less benefit than the cost of their employment. Therefore businesses are forced to dismiss underproductive employees, who are typically young and inexperienced. This reality is especially evident among young black men. Cost verse benefit is a simple economic concept, yet it's lost on Rep. Wilson.
Governments at all levels have complicated the business climate, making entry difficult. For instance, operating a taxi cab in an urban area is a viable service young black men could offer. Yet cab license fees can reach six digits
. How many young men, of any race, can afford such an initial outlay? Similar obstacles face other young, black entrepreneurs. It's not racism that erects these obstacles, it's big government.
Rep. Wilson ignores other factors limiting black economic success as well. No one forced young black men to adopt a rap culture that degrades women, devalues academic success, mocks the rule of law, and dismisses family responsibilities. Racism isn't the source of a 70-percent illegitimacy
rate among Black Americans. It was big government that replaced the black father, leaving young black men rudderless. Liberal policy has released generations of black men from their parental duties.
Finding common sense in modern government is yeoman's work. Representatives like Frederica Wilson only complicate the task. There's no reason to take someone serious when they make less sense than a pantomime presentation and dress like the Phantom of the Grand Ole Opry.
South Florida voters sent in this clown. Here's hoping they'll send her out again.
Investing in government is a losing proposition
August 23, 2011
There's no questioning Warren Buffett's ability to invest. People who sink their money in dry oil wells and earthworm farms don't become billionaires. Buffett is one of those rare people who can spot a winner, act on it, and turn a tidy profit. Thus he's amassed a sizeable fortune. What's wrong with that? Ask Warren Buffett.
Buffett is one of the "super rich." He controls vast capital resources and he enjoys his wealth. But he doesn't believe he or his super rich friends pay enough federal income tax. The tax code, according to Buffett, includes too many loopholes through which the super rich can shelter their earnings. According to Buffett's own assessment, he pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than do the people who work for him. To rectify that disparity he looks to the federal government -- under the leadership of Barack Obama, the man he endorsed for president -- to equalize the playing field.
Right on cue, one of America's wealthiest men echoes the White House's call for "shared sacrifice." However, Buffett's apparent love for taxation isn't new. The Oracle of Omaha is known for endorsing higher income
taxes and the estate tax
, as are many of his super rich friends
. But there's something dangerously wrong with this mindset. If the super rich are indeed concerned with the fiscal struggles lower economic classes face, they have the means to singly address the issue. Why do they need government to do for them what is well within their individual power?
Buffett lamented his "low" tax bracket in a recent New York Times editorial
. According to Buffet's numbers, America's 400 richest people reported a combined taxable income of $90.9 billion in 2008, an average of $227 million each. If the top 400 contributed half their incomes to people of lesser means, they could make instant millionaires out of 45,450 of their countrymen. Such charity would be private and voluntary, without a dime being filtered through the federal government, except for the gift taxes of course.
I'm not suggesting wealthy people actually surrender any portion of their fortunes to anyone for any reason, nor am I denying their authority to do so. Indeed wealthy people, including Warren Buffett, have entered a compact
to contribute at least half their fortunes to charitable causes. That's fine; their wealth is theirs to disperse as they please. But no wealthy person need lobby government to tax their incomes and redistribute their wealth when they alone are perfectly capable of doing so.
On the other hand, let's suppose Buffett succeeds in raising taxes on America's top earners. What then? Well, for starters, even if the federal government had confiscated every nickel of the $90.9 billion the top 400 earned in 2008 it would barely dent the federal deficit and wouldn't scratch the national debt. In fact, $90.9 billion dollars will fund government spending, which exceeds $3.6 trillion annually, for only nine days. We can share the sacrifice until everyone sings Kum Ba Yah and still not solve our fiscal ills.
For Warren Buffett to scratch out an editorial about being under-taxed is utter nonsense. No one who pays a tax based on their earnings, whether great or meager, is under-taxed. Washington receives enormous revenues no matter the income tax rate. Buffett's own numbers prove that lower tax rates create more revenue for government. Decide for yourself if that's beneficial.
Citing IRS data, Buffett points out how the top 400 earners in 1992 produced $16.9 billion in taxable income and paid 29.2-percent in taxes. As mentioned earlier, the top 400 earned $90.9 billion in 2008, but paid only 21.5-percent in taxes. In using these numbers Mr. Buffett misled his readers, prompting them to believe the rich paid fewer taxes in 2008 than in 1992. Actually, only $4.93 billion in taxes were collected on the 1992 incomes while $19.54 billion were collected on the 2008 incomes.
The highest earners obviously netted more income and paid a lower percentage in taxes in 2008 than in 1992. But they paid more in real taxes, meaning Washington received more actual dollars. Furthermore, America's wealthiest people have for years
shouldered the highest percentage of the tax burden.
There's nothing to be gained in demonizing wealthy Americans. As long as their wealth isn't the product of criminal endeavor, shady dealing, or government cronyism, it's no one's business how the rich became rich or how rich they became. Class envy dogma is as disingenuous as it is deceptive, and it's equally disingenuous for multi-billionaires like Warren Buffett to preen and crow about the need to pay more taxes. Such rhetoric seeks public admiration for offering a fraudulent solution that ignores our fundamental fiscal problems, government's profligate spending.
If Mr. Buffett harbors guilt over his vast wealth he can write a check to the U.S. Treasury anytime he wants for any amount he deems suitable. There are other options at his disposal, too. He can shun the tax loopholes and shelters he considers an unfair advantage. He can ignore the accountants and lawyers whose advice reduces his taxable income. Each action is unilateral and voluntary; each can be pursued without infringing on his neighbor's liberties. There's no need for Buffett, or anyone else, to invoke government's heavy hand to dispense private wealth.
The rich are too poor to satisfy Washington's spending appetite. Like a gluttonous eater, Washington gorges on the fruits of productive Americans from all income levels. The federal government could gobble up Warren Buffett's net worth
in less than a week with room left for a hearty dessert.
Even if raising taxes on the rich increased government revenues there's no evidence to suggest Washington would properly manage those funds. Warren Buffett is a wise investor. But he's dead wrong if he truly believes higher taxes on the rich will improve life for the lower or middle income classes.
Bearing no faith or allegiance to the Constitution
August 13, 2011
Before taking a seat in Congress, all elected Senators and Representatives must swear an oath
of office. In summary, they are required to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, bearing full faith and allegiance to our nation's foundational law. Their oath confirms their willingness to bear these duties freely and without reservation. It seems the vow was changed when the people weren't looking.
Too many members of Congress, predominately the Democrats, regard the Constitution as an obstacle, not as a sacrosanct document they must support and defend. They bear little faith, and less allegiance, to its directives. The Constitution, now a "living" document, has devolved into a legislative and bureaucratic playground where anything goes. Alleged representatives have decreed the federal government above
the restraints imposed by a 200-year-old parchment. There are no constraints, no delegated federal powers, and no reservation of non-delegated powers for the states and the people. Anyone who dares question Congress' obvious contempt for the Constitution is dismissed
as a crackpot.
Our once-revered Constitution is now reserved for political grandstanding and posturing. Otherwise, it's increasingly irrelevant to the central government's actions. Federal disdain for the Founding Father's crowning achievement was thoroughly displayed during the debt ceiling debate. Rep. James Clyburn, a high-ranking but woefully inept Democrat from South Carolina, encouraged President Obama to "sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment" to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally
, bypassing Congress altogether. His colleagues reportedly applauded his proposal.
Ironically, Clyburn and his political kin once condemned a president for usurping congressional authority. That president was accused of going to war unilaterally, ignoring Congress' power to declare war under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The accusations were pure demagoguery. U.S. troops weren't deployed to either theater, Afghanistan
, via presidential decree. Congress voted on both wars, expressly granting authority to the president to use military force as he deemed necessary.
The same legislators who falsely accused a previous Executive of abridging congressional authority encouraged the current Executive to do just that. Politics, not principles or delegated duties, drove these legislators' interest. The Constitution, and their oath to uphold it, became an afterthought. The disingenuous nature of James Clyburn and his ilk is thereby established. But are their claims about the 14th Amendment accurate? Does the Constitution enable the Executive to raise the nation's debt ceiling arbitrarily?
Sen. Barbara Boxer agreed with Clyburn. "As far as the 14th Amendment is concerned, I urge every American to get their Constitution and read it. It says the debts of the United States shall not be questioned."
Boxer is correct in one regard. We should read our Constitution, all of it, especially the 14th Amendment. There, in Section Four, are Boxer's words, but only in part. Predictably, she hasn't born full faith and allegiance to the document. The Constitution's language regarding the public debt doesn't support her position, so she simply ignored the words she found politically inexpedient.
The 14th Amendment indeed addresses "the validity of the public debt of the United States." However, that debt must be "authorized by law." Raising the debt ceiling naturally increases the government's access to revenue. Therefore, to be authorized by law, any attempt to increase the federal government's ability to borrow must arise in the House of Representatives in order to comply with Article 1, Section 7. Furthermore, according to Article 1, Section 8, "Congress shall have power . . . to pay the debts of the United States" and "to borrow money on the credit of the United States."
The 14th Amendment itself grants the President no authority to increase the nation's indebtedness by a single penny, or to secure debt in any manner. Section Five of the 14th Amendment explicitly entrusts authority for enforcing the article's provisions to Congress, not to the presidency. The President can do nothing in regard to the public debt of his own volition. In fact, neither the President nor the Executive branch is mentioned in the 14th Amendment's text, save for the recognition of voting rights.
I hope Sen. Boxer is satisfied. I read my Constitution and found her in utter violation of both the document's spirit and language. She, Rep. Clyburn, and their nefarious left wing cabal are totally ignorant of the Constitution's division of powers and authorities, or they've born untrue faith and allegiance to the same in blatant violation of their oath of office. Barbara Boxer, James Clyburn and their cohorts should be expelled from Congress. So should any Senator or Representative, regardless of party or ideology, who so disregards their oath.
The Legislative Branch is far too comfortable shifting their constitutional duties to the Executive Branch, when it's politically convenient. Such an arrangement, allowing a single public officer to make key decisions, may expedite government activity. But it's not how representative government functions. It's dictatorial, pure tyranny. The Founders designed our Constitution to restrain the central government, compelling it to move deliberately. It should never be unfettered and able to act on the whims of a single authority.
Our representative republic is in perilous condition. By and large, congressional delegates possess contempt for the Constitution they've sworn to uphold, and for the electorate they represent. Too many Representatives and Senators care nothing about constitutional checks on federal authority, the separation of powers, or their responsibility to the public's trust. They pledge loyalty to a document they haven't the slightest intention of honoring, making them liars from the moment they utter "So help me God." Yet they have the audacity to lecture the population as if we're ignorant or irresponsible.
Our Senators and Representatives, especially Barbara Boxer and James Clyburn, should read the Constitution. It's past time they bore full faith and allegiance to its principles, as their oath demands. Said oath of office has not changed. If Congress members honor their vow they can remain the people's delegates in a representative republic. If not, they are despicable tyrants who should be removed from office without delay.
Judge Judy tackles entitlements
August 8, 2011
Arguments persist over just how America arrived at insolvency's precipice. There may not be a single reason, program, agency, policy, or bureaucracy to shoulder the entire blame. The fact that we're here is the culmination of a methodical, long-term process. However, there's one culprit that is central to nearly all government expansions, and thus to our fiscal deterioration. It's one that every productive member of society from the street sweeper to the CEO should blame . . . the bum.
A bum is everything the name implies, from irresponsible slacker to societal parasite. However, America is afraid to blame bums for their lowly condition; it's politically incorrect. People who were yesterday's bums, loafers, and freeloaders are today's disenfranchised and less fortunate. They are the losers of life's lottery, relegated to poverty because someone else stole a disproportionate share of America's prosperity.
Thank God for television's Judge Judy. She isn't afraid to blame the bum for being, well, a bum. Her public courage has earned my respect and gratitude. She should earn yours, too. Watch the video and you'll agree.
Judge Judy is 100-percent correct in her assessment of both the plaintiff and defendant. The two parties in this case exemplify greed in its purest form, the "me" attitude that hampers America's economic growth and leads to fiscal insanity. Their general disdain for self-sufficiency reflects the core of the entitlement mentality. One sues to collect rent that she herself never paid. And the other considers government grants and subsidies a birthright. These two people, and millions like them, are drains on society, contributing nothing while believing themselves entitled to their heart's desire.
According to a quote attributed to economist Arthur Laffer, "When you tax something you get less of it. When you subsidize something you get more of it." Liberal politicians have done a thorough job of taxing
productivity and subsidizing
unproductiveness. Therefore they have generated an ever-increasing segment of the population with no compunction about living off the production of their neighbor, as the two people in Judge Judy's court demonstrate. And Judge Judy wants to send the aforementioned video to Congress, as if most members care?
Congress, through 40-plus years of various welfare, entitlement, and Not-so-Great Society programs, created the parasites in her courtroom, people who believe they're entitled to enjoy life's necessities, pleasures, and perks at someone else's expense. Such entitlement parasites are the liberal voting base, and an exponential expense to the rest of us. Not only has the entitlement mentality become a drain on federal revenues, it has deprived the marketplace of what the entitlement recipient would've otherwise produced. We lose on both counts.
Go ahead and send the video Judge Judy, with my blessings. But frankly, you're wasting your stamp.
America's chickens are roosting in a train wreck
August 4, 2011
Rev. Jeremiah Wright infamously declared that America's chickens had come home to roost. He was speaking of the 9/11 attacks, and his opinion brought him well-deserved scorn. The loosest of canons in the Trinity United Church of Christ may have been justified had he said America's chickens would roost in the Congressional Rotunda or the Obama White House.
Like hens and roosters, our alleged representatives preened and crowed over the debt ceiling deal they hammered together earlier this week. They've mugged for the cameras of a cooperative media, patted each other on the back, and flashed the "thumbs-up" sign. After finishing their latest work -- "on behalf of the American people" -- our federal rulers were all smiles while mopping their brows as if they had just dug a four-mile ditch through rocky ground.
Washington may view their latest contribution to American insolvency as reason to spike the football and exchange high-fives all around. But those of us in the great unwashed see their work as one collective mooning from 535 juvenile delinquents, plus one gigantic bird-flipping from the Delinquent-in-Chief. We've been had . . . again! Washington dug a ditch, no doubt. But through that ditch will flow a torrent of red ink, drowning yet another generation of unborn Americans in a debt they didn't create, authorize, or deserve.
The entire debt ceiling debate was predicated on falsehoods
. Didn't our betters tell us a debt ceiling increase was essential to preventing default and maintaining the nation's stellar credit rating? Wasn't increasing our debt the only way to prevent a stock market collapse? Washington employed a scorched earth strategy on the American people, using misrepresentations and utter lies to instill a false fear in the population. Moody's
promised a wait-and-see attitude toward the latest Washington spending spree and Standard & Poor's issued a downgrade
, exactly what the debt ceiling increase was promised to prevent. If our credit rating sinks it will join the New York Stock Exchange, which has faltered since government announced it had approved itself for a new series of loans.
Factually, can extending the national debt breed confidence in America's national creditworthiness, considering the current debt isn't being repaid? If you or I attempted a similar stunt we'd be arrested, tried, and jailed for credit fraud. At the least we'd see our credit lines cancelled and be forced to live within our means. However, to our federal house of lords, living within our collective means makes as much sense as the evening news from Jupiter's third moon. Nothing has changed. Washington will go on pretending it can borrow its way out of debt, which is as logical as trying to dive out of the ocean.
Not even the numbers make sense. Of course, it's difficult to imagine numbers in the trillions. So let's put them in perspective. If each dollar of the current $14.57 trillion national debt equaled one second of time, the total debt would equal 462,011 years. And we don't have a debt problem? The figures Washington elites have tossed about don't add up, either.
The debt ceiling deal
promises spending cuts of $2.1 trillion over 10 years, or $210 billion annually. Conversely, the government can now borrow an additional $2.4 trillion, which will satisfy Washington's credit appetite only until 2013. We can add another $3.3 trillion in federal tax revenues
to what Washington will “borrow” over the next 16 months. If the intent weren't to spend the entire $3.3 trillion, the borrowed funds wouldn't be necessary. And if the borrowing will only feed the government beast for 16 months, the intent must be to spend all revenues, both collected and borrowed. Thus Congress and the White House plan to blow through $5.7 trillion by January 2013, an average of $356 billion per month.
Math isn't my strongest subject. Maybe it isn't yours either. But this much I know; $5.7 trillion dollars spent in less than a year-and-a-half exceeds $2.1 trillion saved over ten years. And we must accept on faith that the promised “cuts” will actually materialize. Faith, in this case, may as well be a synonym for naiveté. You might have faith in the innate goodness of the snarling pit bull inside your neighbor's fence. But stick your leg through the gate and the dog will gnaw it to the bone. Government is gnawing us, too, in the wallet and elsewhere.
The debt ceiling plan is pure fantasy. J.K. Rowling couldn't have written it better. The spending reductions don't exist. They're a magician's trick, at best only slight reductions in the rate of growth. The new debt limit, which will undoubtedly be raised again once it's reached, is our rulers' solemn pledge to spend this nation into oblivion.
The federal government is a runaway train, hurtling down a steep grade and gaining speed. With the cliff in sight, Engineer Obama is pushing the throttle full forward while Senators and Representatives from both parties shovel coal into the firebox. If we don't pull the brake, hard and quick, the most dynamic economic engine the world has ever known will be a smoldering hunk of mangled steel. All the while our federal chickens cluck, strut, and preen over their latest bipartisan compromise.
Rev. Wright may be proven a prophet after all. America's chickens are coming home to roost . . . in a train wreck.
Live to spend, spend to live
August 5, 2011
Vice President Joe Biden sticks his foot in his mouth so often that he's developed athlete's tongue. The news flash comes when Biden doesn't say something eccentric, unpredictable, or just plain stupid. So it was no great revelation to hear he'd accused Tea Party Republicans of behaving like terrorists during the debt limit debate. It's also no surprise that he denied making the comment that everyone within earshot clearly heard.
That's just Joe being Joe, right? He has a long history of uttering inanities at the worst possible moment. Sometimes his gaffes unintentionally reveal hidden truths. While Biden was merely blowing his usual hot air with his "terrorist" comment, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) can't make the same claim. He pulled a "Biden" in the same meeting, and inadvertently revealed a not-so-secret truth about Washington politics.
Doyle also called congressional conservatives -- unquestionably an endangered species -- terrorists. But he went a step farther, revealing far more about the D.C. mindset, and the Democrat Party, than he intended. Opined Rep. Doyle
, "This small group of terrorists have [sic] made it impossible to spend any money."
Impossible to spend any money? If that doesn't summarize the bedrock problem in both Washington and the Democrat Party, what does? The United States faces annual budget deficits of more than $1.5 trillion, a national debt at 98-percent
of GDP and growing, unfunded liabilities (SSI, Medicare, etc.) in excess of $114 trillion, and a reduction
in our credit rating. Those realities should offend everyone. But a politician complains about the possibility of not spending the taxpayer's money. No wonder America's fiscal house is in such disarray.
Of course, you can blame Republicans for overspending, too. And you'd be right. But for Republicans, overspending is born of cowardice. They're afraid of being blamed for cutting a favored program, or of receiving unfavorable press. Therefore, they sacrifice genuine Republican principles on the altar of federal largess. For Democrats, spending doesn't result from cowardice; it's an addiction.
Ironically, Doyle's comment is completely bogus. Tea Party supporters aren't terrorists and they haven't made it impossible to spend money. In fact, the day hasn't been invented when Washington experienced difficulty spending. Running a deficit? Spend some money. A recent debt ceiling increase? Spend more money. Demonize your enemies, perhaps by calling them terrorists? Spend still more money.
Theoretically, Doyle's intent was to demonize the few conservative Republicans that still remain in Washington. But he has committed a "Biden." While attempting to slander a political opponent, Doyle exposed his party's soul, and that of Washington overall. Politicians live to spend and spend to live. They are drawn to the next federal program like a heroine addict to the next injection. Mike Doyle has affirmed the obvious; being a Democrat is to scorn fiscal discipline and financial restraint. If only fewer Republicans shared his view.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Big bark, little dog!
August 2, 2011
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is like a little dog, maybe a dachshund. She charges her adversary, teeth barred and yapping viciously, until realizing the other dog is larger. The realization sends her scurrying for cover, where she yelps, snarls and whines. While this analogy may seem ridiculous, it perfectly illustrates Schultz's “confrontation” with Rep. Allen West and her political persona in general.
Schultz bit Rep. West during a speech on the House floor. Well, more like she nipped him on the heel. She never mentioned West by name, yet he was obviously her target. During a rambling, platitude-laced diatribe about the debt ceiling, Schultz accused Rep. West of denying Social Security checks and Medicare payments to senior citizens. West responded directly to Rep. Schultz, telling her exactly what he thought of her unprofessional tactics. Like a yapping, obnoxious little dog, Schultz tucked her tail and ran for the cover of her supporters, who were quick to oblige.
The President of Emily's List, Stephanie Schriock, issued a thinly disguised fund-raising message in which she described West's response as angry, threatening, sexist, and demeaning. “We don't have to tolerate this kind of behavior,” she wrote, demanding a formal, public apology from Rep. West.
However, it was Schultz's choice to play rough. She wasn't genteel, professional, or ladylike toward Allen West. Rather than face West directly, Schultz hid behind the House microphone and her leftist supporters. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, like a dachshund, proved to be all show. She barked a good fight, but that was all. Schultz should've heeded West's admonition to “shut the heck up.” But once safe from West, she feigned ferocity once again.
Schultz accused House Republicans of using the debt ceiling debate to establish a dictatorship
. Conservatives, she charged, planned to inflict pain and suffering on as many Americans as possible. How she arrived at this conclusion is anyone's guess. But logic played no part in Schultz's accusation. It seldom does. She was again the angry dachshund on the attack, barking loud, creating commotion, becoming an annoyance, and accomplishing nothing.
Rep. Schultz can play the tough poser. But the threat she presents is as miniscule as her understanding of dictatorships.
Dictatorial powers are invested in a central figure, not a legislative body. No dictator worthy of the title allows outside forces to exercise more than a token influence on governmental decisions. Dictators rule without regard to outside opinion. Anything resembling a deliberative body is a smokescreen, a rubber stamp. And there's no room for citizens' representation.
Schultz can sniff all she wants. She won't find the dictator's mindset among genuine Conservatives. But, ironically, her Democrat
colleagues seem ready, even eager, to yield dictatorial powers to the Executive Branch.
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) finds nothing controversial or inconsistent about a Democrat President unilaterally bypassing the representative body. He's not alone; other Democrats echoed Clyburn's sentiments. In fact, many Democrats have encouraged President Obama to act unilaterally in spending the public's money and increasing the public's indebtedness. True, Obama himself hasn't acted on his colleagues' wishes. But he's made it clear, in his own words, that wielding absolute power has entered his mind.
The seeds of dictatorship are present in Rep. Schultz's party. A Democrat president dreams of making his own rules while alleged representatives encourage him to assume authority his office doesn't legally possess. Did Schultz fail to notice her colleagues' support for authoritarian rule, or conveniently ignore it? Perhaps she's too busy barking at imaginary dictators to focus her attention on the tyrannical attitudes residing within her own party. Or, more likely, she shares their thirst for despotism.
Rep. Schultz is the perfect example of an absurdity. She's a belligerent party hack with a blind eye for the obvious. She possesses the courage of a Doberman when unopposed, but can shrink into a whining whelp at a moment's notice. Like a dachshund, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a general nuisance who makes a big show, does nothing, and runs for cover when challenged.
Stark reality on the debt ceiling
July 27, 2011
The debt ceiling debate is a political charade. Democrats are simply doing what they've previously done. The threat about a government shutdown is an empty political bluff. No reasonable person can claim the government hasn't acquired too much debt. So, extending the debt limit means the government's credit card doesn't run dry.
This opinion of the debt ceiling debate sounds like a synopsis of the Rush Limbaugh Program. But it's not. Actually, California Rep. Pete Stark provided this analysis
of the debt ceiling debate. And just so there are no misconceptions, let's affirm that Rep. Stark has no political commonality with Limbaugh.
If governing left is described as walking westward, Pete Stark has one foot in the Pacific Ocean. A brief review of his record
provides all the testimony required to convict Pete Stark as one of Congress' most fervent liberals. He is a man in love with his position; a man superior to his great unwashed constituency. In short, he is the kind of politician we would expect to manipulate the debt limit extension for personal gain.
This is Pete Stark, who once quipped
to an ObamaCare opponent, “I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth the waste of urine.” This is Pete Stark, who believes the federal government faces few, if any, constitutional restraints
. Rep. Stark is a Washington insider, thoroughly versed in political grandstanding and gamesmanship. For him to call the debt limit debate a “political charade” is like Bill Clinton declining a bimbo's phone number.
Pete Stark's candor confirms what the astute observer has long believed about the debt ceiling. Political chicanery is driving this crisis. The Beltway establishment, at work in both political parties, is using the debt ceiling to sow doubt and fear in the American public. Politicians are defending their turf, forecasting calamitous ruin unless their way is followed. The elderly will die, the nation will default and ruin our bond rating, and total chaos will ensue. It's all spin, a dastardly charade.
Debt ceiling or not, revenue will remain available for the federal government's essential obligations. Federal revenue
averages $180 billion to $210 billion per month. Debt interest
and Social Security
payments consume about $100 billion per month. Moody's threat to lower the United State's AAA rating is tied more to Washington's failure to reduce
deficit spending than failing to increase debt. So, if the debt ceiling isn't raised and the projected calamities ensue, we should blame government demagogues (mostly liberals) whose political security depends on creating public fear and paralysis.
Only Pete Stark knows if he intentionally exposed Washington's manipulation of the debt limit debate. Purposeful or not, he was right on target. What we're witnessing is a charade, pure political theatre. Americans are being led down a primrose path by blind guides whose only concern is spinning the situation for favorable media play and campaign talking points. That is the debt ceiling debate's stark reality.
Liberals rise to a new low
July 23, 2011
The left wasted no time in spinning the attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life for their political advantage. Uncivil dialogue
, liberals argued, had prompted the attack. The fact that Giffords' assailant was apolitical, or even leaning left, didn't matter. Leftists heeded Rahm Emmanuel's advice, capitalized on a crisis, and demanded political civility as they define
Apparently, liberals believe any criticism toward them or their positions constitutes uncivil dialogue. However, a running discussion about raping
conservative legislators -- and how in need of being raped they are -- represents cutting-edge political commentary, protected free speech. “Raped” may sound like a strong word. But how else can we define “hate” sex?
Former Air America “comedian” Marc Maron (henceforth, Marc Moron), said on HBO's “Real Time” with Bill Maher, “I hope Marcus Bachman (Michelle Bachman's husband) takes all that rage into the bedroom with her. I hope he f---s her angrily, because that's how I would.” Fellow panelist Dan Savage chimed in about “f---ing the s--t out of Rick Santorum.”
Here's the situation as it exists. When conservatives challenge liberals on their anti-freedom, big government, authoritarian policies we're inciting violence. But when liberals snicker about the violent rape of conservative representatives it's a legitimate avenue toward a political point. Marc Moron dismissed his perverted insanity in exactly that fashion. “It's a political statement I'm trying to make,” Moron explained.
Citing Moron as an example of Air America's vapid programming eliminates all doubt as to why the network failed. But one thing is certain, if he ever has sex -- hate or otherwise -- with Michelle Bachman he'll have to use force. Rep. Bachman is an attractive, intelligent, successful woman. Moron is today's prototypical liberal, a condescending, insufferable, sniveling little pervert. And Dan Savage is even worse. What more needs to be said about a “sex expert” who wistfully details the violent sodomy of a male congressman?
Imagine the left's reaction had a conservative directed such a reprehensible “joke” toward a liberal legislator? What would leftists say if Rush Limbaugh talked about “hate sex” with Hillary Clinton? The DNC would demand Sean Hannity's arrest if he said “let's bone that Barney Frank boy” on national television, as Savage said
One point must be granted. It's believable that a depraved little toad like Moron would fantasize about committing sadistic sex acts on Michelle Bachman, or Sarah Palin, or Nikki Haley. These prominent conservative women are physically attractive. Name a prominent liberal woman who induces even the most fleeting erotic thought? Anyone want a turn at Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, or Barbara Mikulski? Frankly, I would rather drink from a sewer pipe than have even consensual relations with one of those barking hags.
I would like to believe that Democrats and their media puppets wouldn't condone the vile, near-criminal “hate sex” and homosexual puke Moron and Savage spewed on Maher's freak show. But I'm not so naïve. In fact, neither the propaganda press nor the Obama White House -- both central figures in spinning the Tucson shooting -- have uttered a peep of censure toward Moron, Savage, or their equally slovenly host, Bill Maher. In fact, some leftist media outlets defend
Don't think for a moment that these three stooges are fringe elements. Maher, Moron, and Savage personify liberalism's core and represent the mainstream in Democrat policy. And the Democrat figureheads in Washington and the media have the gall to demand political civility and bipartisanship? Why would any human being, regardless their party affiliation, want to cooperate with such disgusting maniacs?
Dealing intelligently, morally, and maturely with stupid, wicked, and infantile adversaries is a fool's errand. Honorable and ethical people have no common ground with contemporary liberalism (a.k.a. Regressives). Today's liberals are psychotic liars, pathological degenerates, and detestable tyrants -- directing a legion of useful idiots -- whose greatest character strength is their filth and decadence.
Manufactured racism is the greater evil
July 21, 2011
Racism has evolved. Historically a social barrier, it has become a contemporary political tool. That's not to say racism is nonexistent. Racism exists aplenty, in and toward all races. Our world is filled with people who harbor illogical hatred based solely on race or ethnicity. Race relations would take a giant step forward if only we would acknowledge this basic fact. But as long as demagogues can parlay even the most innocuous example of “racism” into political points, race relations will suffer.
Such demagoguery was recently displayed in Wildwood, New Jersey, sparked by a “Whites Only
” sign in a hotel parking lot. The sign was immediately declared a racist act, perhaps even a hate crime. No other explanation would suffice. But common sense and economic reality suggest that public racism played little to no roll in posting the sign.
What business owner would risk a policy of public segregation, even if it reflected their private views? The economic consequences are too great. As it happens, the offending sign wasn't erected with the hotel's cooperation or knowledge. It was apparently a tasteless prank, perpetrated with gutless anonymity. Sans demagoguery, the sign would've been a non-story. But a demagogue surfaced in the form of Wildwood mayor Ernie Troiano, who seized the opportunity to prove his racial tolerance.
Mayor Troiano apologized on behalf of Wildwood, calling the sign “the worst thing anybody can do to anybody.” Troiano added, “For someone to do that, that's a sick person.”
The Mayor's contentions are demonstrably absurd. There are innumerable acts one person can commit against another that trump an anonymously posted “Whites Only” sign in an obscure hotel parking lot. In fact, screaming racial epithets at the top of one's lungs pales compared to mankind's capacity for genuine inhumanity.
It's far worse for a man to rape
three women in front of a five-year-old girl while the child begs the assailant not to hurt her mother and sister. Caging and starving someone until they begin to eat
their own skin is an affront far greater than racism. So is beating
an old man to death with his own cane, or drugging a man, tying him to a bed and severing
his penis. For an 11-year-old girl to be kidnapped
and subjected to 18 years as the “wife” of a maniacal degenerate also exceeds racism in terms of incivility.
A “Whites Only” sign in a hotel parking lot is a minor inconvenience compared to the horrific torture humans can inflict on each other. I'd rather be called a cracker any day than to endure the previously described abuses. And when it comes to a “sick person,” whoever posted the “Whites Only” sign pales in comparison to the Ted Bundys, Jeffrey Dahmers, and Charles Mansons of this world.
Only a fool would declare racism extinct. Every race and ethnicity under the sun practices racism to some degree. But modern racism is less about promoting petty bigotries than about gaining political advantage. Without racism, liberals can't depend on 90-percent of the black vote in any given election. Without racism, politicians and bureaucrats would be forced to seek genuine solutions to problems they now tackle with insipid phrases like social justice, equal educational opportunity, and undocumented immigrant. Without racism, hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have nothing to hustle.
Society cringes at the mere mention of racism. Our culture has been conditioned to avoid challenging even the most banal racial allegations. Small wonder we fail to recognize how thoroughly racism has been politicized. Authentic bigotry is an undeniable character flaw. But manipulating racism for political advantage is a far greater character flaw than racism itself.
As long as people like Ernie Troiano are ready to apologize on behalf of an entire city for the action of an anonymous idiot, there will be racial division. As long as politicians and social activists gain advantage from manufactured bigotry, there will be racial strife. Racial manipulation is a grave evil and a greater danger to American culture than authentic discrimination.
A society's greatest weapon for countering the race hustler is to confront their agitation outright. Shouting discrimination should never serve as conclusive evidence that racism has occurred. Making this approach a reality won't be easy; it will demand courage and discipline. Anyone who follows this path can expect to take some arrows. But it's the only path that can possibly lead to racial harmony. Continuing to treat every racial allegation like a Klan lynching will only produce further racial division.
Cap, Cut and Balance was preferable, but still flawed
July 20, 2011
If there were an elephant in your swimming pool would you need to call attention to it? An elephant is difficult to miss and impossible to intentionally ignore. So the problem isn't in realizing the elephant's presence, but in removing it from the pool. Federal debt presents a similar predicament, dominating an economy like an elephant does a swimming pool. The question is what can be done about the debt elephant?
One idea for addressing Washington's spendthrift habits is a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Theoretically, under constitutional mandate the federal government would be forced to balance annual expenditures with receipts. However, requiring the federal government to balance the budget and forcing it to control spending are quite different.
A balanced budget amendment without spending controls is a disaster in the making. Once ratified, politicians who favor tax hikes could argue the Constitution mandates tax increases to meet projected spending levels. To be useful, a balanced budget amendment must respect the Constitution's spirit of limited government.
Cap, Cut and Balance addressed the fear of constitutionally imposed tax increases. Modeled after H.J.RES.1, it limited federal spending to 18-percent of GDP, required a supermajority to raise taxes, and introduced a balanced budget amendment to the states. With egregious taxation and federal spending limited, a balanced budget amendment could finally fulfill the promise its proponents have long claimed.
Of course, optimism plays well in an ideal world. Reality is far from ideal. Cap, Cut and Balance passed the House with relative ease. But it had no chance to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and would never have escaped Obama's veto pen. Democrats will support nothing more than token spending reductions. Thus any compromise on a balanced budget amendment would lack spending controls, making it a constitutional mandate for tax increases. Such a scenario would suit Democrats just fine.
But problems existed even in the House version of Cap, Cut and Balance. It would've increased the debt ceiling by 18-percent, to $16.7 trillion. To put that number in perspective, consider each dollar as one second in time and do the math. A $16.7 trillion debt equals 529,553 years. Chew on that number, if you can do so without choking. Furthermore, a balanced budget amendment would have, at best, only symbolic effect until ratified by 38 states (U.S. Constitution, Article V). Before the proposed amendment could become part of the Constitution the debt ceiling could be raised several more times.
Was Cap, Cut and Balance mere political theatrics, a distraction orchestrated to divert the public's attention from the federal elephant in the swimming pool? Or did it represent action toward curing Washington's debt addiction? Actually, it was both. While easily the lesser of all current evils, Cap, Cut and Balance remained flawed nonetheless.
Romney pleads the Tenth
July 16, 2011
Mitt Romney's candidacy boasts several strengths. He is a successful businessman, an accomplished politician, and an articulate speaker. Romney is also perceived as economically
conservative. In addition to those qualities he is photogenic, which is more essential to contemporary office seekers than a coherent platform. But Romney has drawbacks as well.
Some of Romney's flaws aren't actually flaws, such as Mitt's oft-criticized Mormon beliefs. Pundits contend America isn't ready for a Latter Day Saint president. That argument is familiar, and erroneous. Experts made the same case against a Catholic president just before America elected JFK, and against a black president before Obama. Thus Romney's Mormonism is a moot point.
An equally empty argument concerns Romney's lineage. Mitt's Mormon ancestors practiced polygamy
. However, Romney has been married to one wife
since 1969. His “family values” appear impeccable. Mitt is no more a polygamist via ancestral link than a descendant of Jefferson Davis is a slaveholder. His heritage, too, is a moot point.
A legitimate criticism of Romney is his indecisiveness, as columnist Steve Chapman alleges in a recent editorial. Chapman's main contention
is Mitt's willingness to change position at the drop of a hat and then deny having done so. Indeed Romney has a history of being a walking contradiction. He tried to out-liberal Ted Kennedy in a 1994 Senate race. Once pro-choice, Romney became pro-life. Once in favor of banning semi-automatic firearms, he became pro-gun. Yet to become pro-life and pro-gun are solid conservative changes.
Romney's true Achilles Heel isn't indecisiveness, religion, or heritage. It's the Massachusetts healthcare overhaul he fostered. One of the key arrows in a conservative's anti-Obama quiver is opposing ObamaCare. Can Romney distance himself from his Massachusetts system, after which ObamaCare was modeled
? He can and he has. Furthermore, Romney's defense is based on solid, conservative, pro-Constitution grounds.
Romney has cited the Tenth Amendment in reconciling Massachusetts' healthcare plan with his criticism of ObamaCare. He contends the Constitution grants the central government no authority to deliver or mandate health coverage, nor does it prevent states from doing so. Thus Romney's state program is defensible while Obama's federal program is not.
Granted, the conservative position is to remove government entirely from healthcare, making Romney's Tenth Amendment defense a technicality. But Romney can claim to have acted in the interests of Massachusetts. This position doesn't necessarily defend government managed healthcare, but rather the right of each state to experiment with laws that fit the citizens' desires. Favorable laws are retained while unfavorable ones are repealed. The entire nation suffered no loss of liberty under RomneyCare, as it will with ObamaCare.
Mitt Romney is a politician first and may be blowing smoke with his Tenth Amendment stance. But any candidate who makes a Constitutional argument for state sovereignty should please conservatives. To reject Romney's defense entirely is to repudiate the principle of limited government and state sovereignty upon which our nation was created.
Outraged or shocked at Casey Anthony verdict? Think again!
July 9, 2011
Social media is abuzz with condemnations
for Casey Anthony. Celebrities are tweeting their outrage while media pundits from Joy Behar to Bill O'Reilly air their displeasure with the Anthony verdict. The court of public opinion had Anthony convicted and all but executed. Anger toward Casey Anthony united this country like nothing since Pearl Harbor. How could the jury disagree with the majority? But disagree they did.
The prosecution couldn't produce sufficient evidence to erase the jury's reasonable doubt about how Caylee Anthony died, or at whose hand. So Casey will go free
, in complete agreement with America's judicial system.
We the people empower the State to execute offending citizens, or imprison them for life. To balance that power, the State must bear the burden of establishing guilt. Were accusation, or public opinion, the primary evidence for determining a person's guilt the right to life, our most basic liberty, wouldn't exist. A State-induced, mob mentality would serve America no better than it did Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or Islamic caliphates.
Yet the calls for Casey Anthony's head are myriad. From Twitter to Facebook the protests rage, virtual vigils are held, and Casey Anthony is strapped into an imaginary electric chair. She knows whether or not she killed her daughter. But the State didn't prove her guilt to the jury's satisfaction. So Casey will be freed. There is no appeal, no re-trail. She cannot be “subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”
I didn't follow the Casey Anthony trial. I think publicly airing criminal proceedings cheapens our courts and transforms them into quasi-reality dog and pony shows. Courts are serious, not a judicial version of American Idol. Their purpose is to try the charged and determine guilt or innocence to the greatest degree possible within an imperfect, human system. Most of the time they work. Sometimes they fail. That's life; get over it. When courts become public entertainment they're no longer tools of justice and tranquility, but of tyranny.
Nothing in Casey Anthony's acquittal indicates she is guiltless. Casey prefers partying
to parenting. She's a maternal nightmare, similar to Susan Smith
and Andrea Yates
, and exceeds the Octomom for irresponsibility. She's no matron of motherhood. But for many of Anthony's detractors, condemning her for considering Caylee an inconvenience is somewhat hypocritical. Why is a child's death, for the sake of convenience, considered evil only when it offends the public?
More than a million babies die for the sake of their mother's convenience every year. Had Casey Anthony aborted Caylee she would've been a heroine to the pro-abortion activist. The only difference between Casey Anthony's alleged crime and an aborted pregnancy is the timing. The underlying attitude is the same. At least Caylee's accused killer stood trial. Where's the media, celebrity, and public outrage for the unknown babies sacrificed to convenience in abortion clinics every day?
Another interesting twist on the Anthony verdict is the eagerness with which her detractors want her punished. The nation is angry at Casey Anthony. Therefore, she should fry like scrambled eggs. But the condemnations contradict the normal attitudes our social superiors have towards accused, and even convicted, murderers.
Many of Casey's harshest critics are altogether opposed to capital punishment. When an accused murderer is convicted, activists demand tolerance regardless of either the perpetrator's brutality or prior record. Social activists excuse duly convicted murderers as products of an unjust society. They piously remind those of us in the great unwashed about the danger of executing an innocent person, even when the condemned has been tried and found as guilty as John Dillinger.
Those voices are quiet in the Casey Anthony aftermath. Or, they have joined the self-righteous calls for Casey's guilt and execution. And they hold this opinion about someone who was tried and exonerated in criminal court? It's a double standard that defies all reason.
Blatant inconsistencies are evident in the public's reaction to Casey Anthony acquittal. The State didn't convince a jury of Casey's guilt, meaning she's innocent. Calling for her head is an affront to our fundamental liberty. Abortion activists believe pregnancies represent an inconvenience to women. Yet they're angry toward Casey Anthony for, allegedly, considering Caylee a drain on her lifestyle. And “open-minded” opponents of executing duly convicted murderers are convinced that an exonerated defendant should bite the dust.
The nation's reaction to Casey Anthony's exoneration confirms that a lack of consistency is the only constant in contemporary public discourse.
The Poser-in-Chief visits Iowa
July 2, 2011
Less than 18 months before a general election a sitting president arrives in Iowa
and we're supposed to believe he's on an economic mission? Pardon me, but I've seen more believable posturing. President Obama's trip to the Hawkeye State had nothing do with economics and everything to do with receiving mail at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue until January 2017. However, Obama's Iowa appearance should have an opposite effect. He provided America several reasons to grant him a change of address.
Obama chided Washington for its partisanship, calling on Congress to seek common solutions. But was he sincere? Only the most naïve would accept Obama's olive branch without first considering his motive. There's no genuine compromise in a liberal's conciliatory tone. By Obama's definition, bipartisan cooperation occurs when conservatives concede their positions, abandon their ideals, and relent to his agenda. Any hint of liberal compromise is a ruse, a means toward an end.
Obama was quick to rub Republican noses in his 2008 victory. Why should conservatives, who won in 2010, compromise with a president who exemplifies hostility toward their basic beliefs? Obama's idea of stimulating the economy is to enlarge the federal government, a concept Republicans claim to oppose. Conservative Republicans, especially, have no reason to cooperate with his administration.
Obama waxed eloquent on the “Made in America” theme during his speech at an Iowa manufacturing facility. “I want the cars and planes and wind turbines of the future to bear the proud stamp that says `Made in America,'” the President chirped. But Obama's actions betray his rhetoric.
Obama may want industry to thrive in supportive, organized labor states like Washington. But in conservative, right-to-work states like South Carolina, not so much. Obama's National Labor Relations Board is suing Boeing for building a new aircraft manufacturing plant in Charleston, SC. The President can utter grandiose
words about protecting American jobs until the cows come home. But as long as the NLRB suit against Boeing proceeds
, Obama's words are cheap.
The President appeared to recognize the components of economic dynamism that exist in America: workers, companies, industries. But coming from Obama, the praise is banal, populist rhetoric. He finds no value in America's producers unless their achievement results from government nurturing. Toward that goal Obama supports a half-billion dollar partnership
between industry, academia and the federal government, allegedly to spur domestic manufacturing. But what opportunity exists for manufacturing to advance when allied with entities -- academia and government -- that hold free markets in utter contempt?
Obama's motives are apparent. The President visited Iowa to counter a field of Republicans who seek his job. Obama presides over an administration that must rely on credit to conceal its profligate legacy. His hostility toward private enterprise is rivaled only by his cultivation of the public sector.
Maybe we can understand Obama's posturing to some degree. Posing is a President's only option when honesty means defeat.
Democrats are the butt of the Weiner jokes
June 23, 2011
Anthony Weiner left the House of Representatives as the butt of a thousand jokes. And why not? Any man named “Weiner” who spreads his digitized anatomy around the Internet should expect ridicule. Yet while the Weiner saga overexposed a congressional member, the Democrat Party emerged the biggest joke of all.
Anthony Weiner is a man of poor judgment and unmitigated arrogance. Internet anonymity is a long shot even for the most obscure person. Add celebrity to the equation and privacy dissipates like a vapor. Only a man of indescribable juvenility and pomposity would believe he could beat the stacked deck. Weiner lost his bet, with his own party calling his hand.
No one would've batted an eye had Republicans called for Weiner's resignation. Manipulating promiscuity for political advantage is somewhat a tradition in Washington. Democrat's struck the David Vitter and Mark Foley scandals with the venom of a thousand cobras. But Republicans had little to say about the Weiner matter.
Republicans were content to let Democrats rebuke Anthony Weiner. Their silence was a wise strategy, leaving Democrats caught in their own web. Defending Anthony Weiner would've again exposed the Democrat Party's lack of moral conscience. In showing Weiner the door the Democrats have screamed their hypocrisy at the top of their collectivist lungs.
What did Anthony Weiner do that was worthy of resignation? So he sent risqué photos to a few women, some of whom were willing
participants. Sure, he exercised poor judgment, loose morals, and complete dishonesty. But such depravity is common fare in Washington. If every irresponsible, immoral, or lying politician were forced to resign few would remain on Capitol Hill. Frankly, Democrats showed exceptional gall in demanding Weiner's departure.
Anthony Weiner is far more virtuous than one of the Democrat Party's ultimate heroes, William Jefferson Clinton. All Weiner did was engage in cyber sex: a text here, a photo there, his Congressional member everywhere. But it doesn't appear he touched another woman. Clinton touched another woman, and another, and another, and another: Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky.
Bill Clinton didn't waste his time on sexting and exhibitionism. He settled for nothing less than the genuine article. Not only did he and Lewinsky have an affair, but the affair occurred in the Oval Office on the taxpayer's dime. Yet the Democrat Party excused not only the Lewinsky relationship but also Clinton's other escapades. Not even feminists, who preach hellfire and brimstone against self-indulgent men, would criticize
Clinton for routinely objectifying women.
But didn't Anthony Weiner lie during his press conference? He did. Weiner's claim that his Twitter account was hacked is akin to Newt Gingrich blaming his adulterous affairs on his love of country. Weiner lied, but Clinton lied worse.
Bill Clinton waved his finger in America's face and lied like a used car salesman. But he wasn't finished. Clinton also denied the Lewinsky affair in a sworn deposition. Sexual contact itself was redefined under Clinton's watch. Oral sex was no longer sex; it was stress relief, like visiting a massage therapist. What's more, the Democrat Party and their blind apologists excused both Clinton's adultery and dishonesty. They explained how everyone lies about sex. If promiscuity and falsehood were acceptable behavior for Clinton, why weren't they acceptable for Weiner?
Anthony Weiner made several mistakes that led to his downfall. First, he erroneously believed his electronic erotica would remain anonymous in a techno age. Second, Weiner thought the best cover for an immoral act was another immoral act. But his greatest error was becoming embroiled in a congressional sex scandal and thereby embarrassing his party.
Anthony Weiner has learned a hard lesson: Congressmen are expendable, Presidents aren't. The same Democrat Party that defended Clinton to the ends of the earth tossed Weiner aside like last week's leftovers. It may be Washington politics as usual, but the hypocrisy makes Democrats the ultimate butt of the “Weiner” joke.
Three rails of pacifism, and each is off-track
June 18, 2011
No person is easier defeated than one who holds nothing worthy of defense. The board of directors at Goshen College, a Mennonite school in Indiana, fits that category to some extent. But the Mennonite pacifism is at least partially pure. Secular pacifism can't make that claim.
Mennonites are traditional pacifists, shunning war and confrontation no matter the provocation. In that spirit Goshen has deemed the Star Spangled Banner inappropriate
because it incorporates war and military power in national defense. The national anthem therefore violates the school's religious standards and will no longer be heard at Goshen's sporting events.
Goshen is within its rights to bypass the national anthem, although their decision will doubtlessly offend many Americans. But simply possessing that right doesn't mean Goshen deserves a free pass. Their pacifist doctrine contains inconsistencies that warrant examination.
The Mennonite pacifism
is based on their understanding of Jesus Christ as a peacemaker. Jesus didn't kill other human beings; he didn't fight wars. Thus his followers must also shun violence no matter the provocation. No doubt Jesus was a peaceful man. But did Jesus exemplify a pacifist, peace-at-all-cost attitude? Maybe not.
Jesus didn't yield when resistance was warranted. He repeatedly and publicly chastised community and religious leaders for their hypocrisies. Jesus was anything but meek when he physically drove the frauds and con artists from the Temple courtyard. Furthermore, Jesus gave credence to the idea of a just conflict when he said, “if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I might not be delivered.”
America isn't a kingdom. But it is our sovereign slice of this world. Sorry Mennonites, but Jesus didn't teach absolute capitulation as a tenet of discipleship. In fact, his teachings prevent no one from participating in their own defense.
The Mennonite attitude toward war is a moral pacifism, even if somewhat naïve. Their passivity is based on a quest for spiritual purity; it is their constitutional and ecclesiastical right. Secular pacifists, conversely, practice a pacifism that is unclear, indefensible, and inaccurate.
Intellectual pacifism deplores warfare not because of religious beliefs but philosophical ideals. This person never considers war a valid response to any provocation. War, in the intellectual pacifist's mind, is invariably based on lies. Not even America's role in World War II
is immune from this viewpoint.
According to intellectual pacifists, Germany posed no threat to the United States, their army couldn't have crossed the Atlantic, and Americans wouldn't be speaking German if not for our military adventurism in Europe. But their arguments are untenable.
Germany didn't possess the amphibious capability necessary to cross the Atlantic and assault America's east coast. However, Germany's desire to confront the United States dates to the late 19th Century. That dream became an obsession for Hitler. According to James Duffy's book, Target: America: Hitler's Plan to Attack America, Nazi Germany had both ambitions and plans for striking the United States.
Germany's “Amerika Bombers” were long-range aircraft designed and produced to varying degrees by Messerschmitt, Junkers, Heinkel, and other German aviation firms. As the name implies, those bombers were intended to fly transoceanic raids on the U.S. mainland. Germany also considered occupying the Azores as a refueling station for the Amerika Bombers. Another strategy employed seaplane bombers, with submarines serving as seaborne refueling stations. Germany was also developing rocket propulsion, hoping to produce guided or piloted missiles that could reach New York.
Certainly the value of such raids, had they materialized, would've been more psychological than strategic. But Germany unquestionably desired to strike the U.S. mainland. And the idea of a ground assault on the U.S. wasn't ignored either.
Germany attempted to forge relationships in South and Central America, including Mexico. The objective was to secure a base for launching a ground offensive across our southern border. Was such an invasion feasible? The U.S. military thought so. Furthermore, had intellectual pacifists met the theoretical Nazi offensive the only thing stopping Germany's northward march would've been the Canadian border.
Intellectual pacifism ignores contemporary belligerence, regardless its source, just as it still ignores Nazi Germany's aggression. Their worldview contradicts the venerable truism, “If there's nothing worth dying for there's nothing worth living for.” What, then, is the intellectual pacifist's reason for being?
On pacifism's third rail is the immoral pacifist. The immoral pacifist differs from both the moral and intellectual pacifist, but is closer aligned to the later. Neither a thirst for spiritual clarity nor an innate preference for surrender drives the immoral pacifist. Political expediency motivates their attitude, which is personified in the anti-war marcher.
This mindset selectively deploys anti-war sentiment where it can best serve a political goal. For instance, leftwing ideologues used the Iraq War to demonize President Bush, claiming he waged an unauthorized and illegal conflict. Both charges were lies. Congress authorized
military force against Iraq and the operation was conducted within those guidelines.
The Iraq War protester has been conspicuously absent since a preferred president, President Obama, joined the United States to the Libyan fray. And Obama is waging an illegal
war. He authorized military action without Congress' consent. He has ignored the timelines for unilateral presidential action outlined in the War Powers Act and obfuscated
Congress' attempts to understand his adventurism. Yet the immoral pacifists are deafening only in their silence.
The moral pacifist can be challenged with their own religious doctrines. Yet they can defend their pacifism on ecclesiastical grounds. For the intellectual pacifist there are fewer defenses. Their pacifism isn't grounded on a quest for spiritual truth but a combination of foolhardiness and ignorance. No logic is apparent in the intellectual pacifist's dismissal of all war as unwarranted. There's no defense whatsoever for the immoral pacifist. Their objectives are political, based on falsehood and opportunism.
Ironically, Goshen College's ban of the Star Spangled Banner fulfills its commitment to higher education. The board's decision laid bare the three rails of pacifism, none of which secure a nation's sovereignty. In fact, any nation trying to run on pacifism's track is hurtling toward derailment.
Government receives the most bang for the preschool buck
June 17, 2011
There's a study for all occasions and all occasions warrant a study. Otherwise, grant money would remain unspent. One study
recently targeted preschool education, finding preschool classes provided benefits to students even into adulthood. Sound odd? Not really; many are the preschool skills that serve us in our latter years.
Counting to ten helps determine the number of fingers we have remaining after a day of sawing lumber. Identifying basic colors is essential to stopping, yielding, or proceeding at traffic intersections. And tying one's own shoes is beneficial in both social and business settings. It also looks great on your résumé.
Such are the lessons from preschool. Still, the study's proponents claim preschool gives taxpayers the “most bang for the buck.” Lead researcher Arthur Reynolds says preschool classes produce a $90,000 return on a $9,000 investment (the cost for 18 months of preschool). That's not a shabby ROI. Most of us would take a ten-fold return on our 401k and never bat an eye. But when we take a closer look at the study's statistics, the results seem mixed.
For instance, adults who had attended preschool earned annual salaries only $800 higher than those who didn't. Just 5-percent were more likely to graduate high school, and only 4-percent were more likely to attend a four-year college.
Actually, preschools teach rudimentary lessons that were once taught at home, including homes with low incomes. The practice has eroded since the federal nanny state usurped the role of father in most such households. Preschool offers little to a child of average, or even slightly below average, learning ability. It does, however, remove children from the home, allowing politically correct education requirements to be instilled at a younger age.
I hate to sound like a soldier in the tin foil hat brigade, but I'm suspicious of government's motives. Whenever a study touts the virtues of earlier government involvement in our children's lives, the suspicions grow. A young mind exposed to the concept of government as a god-like provider learns to believe government's function is to meet individual needs. Once those views are ingrained in the mind, a child will view government as the source of liberty and rights through adolescence and into adulthood.
Education has long been a tyrant's tool. Hitler used education to indoctrinate the Hitler Youth. Stalin, too, leaned on education. The Soviet
leader called education “a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” American preschools won't likely turn out the next generation of Brown Shirts or Young Pioneers. But preschools can sell children an unrealistic vision of government and liberty.
Preschool's benefits may well extend into adulthood. But benefits are more for the state than the child. Seldom in human history have governments served goal's other than their own. Why believe government preschools break from tradition?
Sarah Palin, the media, and the First Amendment
June 10, 2011
The Constitution's First Amendment clearly and properly protects the press from government intrusion. However, does the First Amendment allow reporters to ignore laws, or guarantee their access to a citizen's every move? Ask Sarah Palin.
Palin recently made news
for reasons other than her unusual version of Paul Revere's ride. The controversy centered on her One Nation Tour, whose bus drivers apparently didn't win any safe driving awards. Palin's drivers ran red lights, recklessly exceeded speed limits, and changed lanes without signaling.
Ignoring traffic laws isn't best practice, but it's hardly unique. Drive a mile on the nation's highways and you'll witness similar, or worse, disregard for traffic laws. The question is, why reporters are so familiar with the One Nation Tour's driving habits? If you answered, “The reporters were doing the same things,” take a gold star.
Reporters committed the same traffic violations for which they criticized Palin's troupe. Even while describing the experience as “harrowing,” reporters remained quite blind to their own role in creating dangerous situations. Even in today's warped social climate, where traditional standards are deemed passé, two wrongs still won't make a right. Reporters are no more immune from traffic laws than are Palin's bus drivers.
However, reporters excused their part in creating a “rolling menace” as the price required for keeping pace with Palin. Palin's advisors failed to divulge the tour's schedule. Lacking the itinerary, reporters had no alternative but to trail the One Nation Tour at all cost. What a load of bull!
The lack of an itinerary provides no excuse for reporters to exacerbate the traffic dangers blamed on Palin. In fact, the media is just as guilty as the Palin entourage, if not more. The media's zeal to cover Palin is predicated not on idealistic notions of journalistic integrity or public disclosure but on the hope she will commit an embarrassing faux pas. What's more, the media has no right of access to Sarah Palin's itinerary.
“But the fourth estate has an obligation to keep tabs on politicians, government figures, and candidates,” journalists may counter. I agree; that's why the Constitution recognizes the free press. The media should scrutinize everyone who fills, or seeks to fill, public positions. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.”
But Palin isn't filling a public trust. She is no longer the Republican nominee for Vice President, the Governor of Alaska, or the Mayor of Wasilla. Sarah Palin hasn't declared her interest in any public office either. She's a media personality no doubt. But she isn't a public official whose decisions can directly affect our liberty. Anyone who patronizes her does so voluntarily. Therefore, reporters have as much right to your local barber's itinerary as they do Sarah Palin's.
It's truly amazing the lengths to which the media will go to cover every movement of a woman they routinely label as the world's biggest idiot. If Sarah Palin is as dumb and irrelevant as the media claims, why cover her tour at all? Why not simply let her go her way in anonymity? Such an approach, if adopted, might cause reporters to miss an opportunity to portray Palin as the total loon they believe her to be. No wonder she didn't grant journalists access to her itinerary.
Reporting on the whereabouts of celebrities -- and Palin is a celebrity -- isn't the reason the First Amendment protects the free press. The media's right to investigate politicians and bureaucrats who directly affect America's liberty is unquestionable. Should Palin again seek or assume a public trust, she'll become fair game. Until then the media enjoys no First Amendment access to her agenda and no right of any kind to mimic poor driving habits.
Basic civics courtesy of a Syrian protester
June 6, 2011
Politicians and media experts readily adopt the latest notions, often without question. No one wants to miss their seat on the politically correct bandwagon. Toward that end media personalities and worldly politicians gush and swoon over the so-called Arab Spring. However, rhetoric and wishful thinking aside, the jury remains out on the forces driving Middle East protests and the emergence of westernized constitutional republics in Arab lands.
Consider what is known about the Arab democracy movements. The Muslim Brotherhood's
legacy belies the moderate agenda with which it has been credited, instead promoting violence, Sharia Law, and a general anti-Zionist bent. A Libyan rebel leader
spent six years incarcerated at Guantanamo prison because of his links to Islamic extremists and the powers behind Syrian and Yemeni uprisings aren't likely to prove better.
Arab Spring will likely bloom into Sharia Summer and Islamist Autumn, the result being greater authoritarian rule than Arabs previously experienced. But there's at least one Arab protester who seems to understand the idea of deposing tyranny. In fact, America would do well to heed his simple civics lesson. This one man, a Syrian Kurd opposed to Bashar Assad's rule, held a simple sign
espousing a profound message. His poster read, “Rights are not given as charity.”
Such a concept of rights and liberty is becoming rare within American politics. Rights are increasingly defined as a function or extension of government with human liberty existing only when government reigns supreme. America has largely forsaken the Jeffersonian view of liberty sanctified in the Declaration of Independence, wherein freedom is a gift from our Creator, a divine and inherent right. It doesn't exist at the whim of presidents, legislators, or bureaucrats.
Mankind possesses liberty from birth, just as we're born with a beating heart and lungs capable of processing our life's breath. The human spirit is free until subjugated via direct force or subtle coercion. Enter government, which often shows precious little regard for the inalienable rights of man: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, attaining said happiness isn't guaranteed, as success and fulfillment are individual, not collective, determinations. Government cannot pledge happiness or achievement to one person without denying those pursuits to another. For instance, when government provides food, shelter, or clothing to one person as a matter of right, another person's property rights must be ignored. The so-called contributor is denied the right to benefit from their production and to determine its proper use.
Governments are ideally instituted to secure and protect the innate rights of mankind. Yet such administrations are the exception rather than the rule, and too often temporary in duration. Governments are inclined to oppose liberty at every turn. Restraining liberty, often to the point of bondage or death, is government's natural progression. Government must subside for liberty to flourish. So too, liberty must yield for government to ascend. When legislative bodies expand in scope they transform into ruling bodies, assuming a self-perpetuating identity.
Civil authorities are no more content with merely securing the blessings of liberty, as Jefferson described a government of just powers, than drunkards are satisfied with a single gin and tonic. A metamorphosis takes place. Governments instituted as benign protectors of liberty become imperious sovereigns dedicated to regulating every aspect of human behavior until freedom and individual decision are eradicated. Public charity is a proven, useful tool for manipulating the decline of the individual in favor of the state.
The Heritage Foundation's
2010 Index of Dependence on Government reveals disturbing long-term trends in America's dependency on governmental charity. From housing and medical care to welfare and education, Americans are ever-increasingly dependent on government. Liberal politicians, bureaucrats, and social activists have sold dependency as a human right and the provision for personal need as a charitable act of government. Surging dependency signifies a people willingly surrendering their liberty birthright and a government capitalizing on the population's apathy.
The Syrian protester hasn't likely considered the profundity in his message as applied to American concepts of liberty. He does, however, understand human rights aren't a matter of government charity. Liberty exists even when the possessor doesn't embrace its presence and when governments fail to respect its existence. No government, via charity or other device, can grant that which we possess by matter of birth.
America stands at a crossroads in our understanding of rights. On one hand we demand less government, lower taxes, and greater individual choice. On the other hand we love liberty only until it interferes with a favored Washington program. Then all bets are off.
If America is to retain freedom, and preserve it for our posterity, we must become reacquainted with liberty's core concepts: individual responsibility, self-motivation, and basic respect for self and others. Let's begin with a civics lesson from an anonymous Syrian. Apparently, he possesses substantial wisdom regarding rights and their origins, a knowledge woefully lacking in the land of the free.
The Left wages war on the poor
May 21, 2011
Professor Walter E. Williams' writings are required reading for anyone interested in preserving individual liberty and a free economy. Prof. Williams has long promoted both doctrines with a no-holds-barred approach, rendering big government proponents defenseless. In his pursuit, he recently targeted the nefariousness of the minimum wage
Williams derides the minimum wage for its inherent discrimination. Minimum wage laws establish pay scales above the productivity levels of youthful and inexperienced workers. Therefore unskilled workers are denied the experiences necessary to climb the employment ladder. Williams believes a minimum wage discriminates against the poor, especially young black men.
Prof. Williams summarized his position thusly:
The best way to sabotage chances for upward mobility of a youngster from a single-parent household, who resides in a violent slum and has attended poor-quality schools, is to make it unprofitable for any employer to hire him. The way to accomplish that is to mandate an employer to pay such a person a wage that exceeds his skill level.
Minimum wage laws have massive political support, including that of black politicians. That means that many young black males will remain a part of America's permanent underclass with crime, drugs and prison as their future.
The minimum wage's deleterious consequences for those it purportedly serves are disastrous even if unintentional. If purposeful, wage manipulation is downright sinister. And the results are intentional, for the minimum wage isn't the only area in which progressive policies have suppressed the poor.
Who stands to profit when the poor -- whom the Left constantly references but never bothers to define -- are priced out of the labor market? If you answered, "Politicians, big government activists, and social engineers," take a gold star. Advocates for an expansive welfare state find their perfect pawn in the poor. The perpetually impoverished have an equally perpetual need to blame someone for their status. Leftist leaders manipulate the needy to enhance their own political and social positions.
The Left utilizes poverty and leverages "the deserving poor" against "the greedy rich" to create an electoral advantage. Leftist politicians preach grand solutions to the impoverished voter. Such voters can attain quality schools, crime-free neighborhoods, affordable and adequate housing, and an equal piece of the wealth. All the poor need do is elect Leftist politicians and each desirable outcome is theirs for the taking. But where are the results?
Once the votes are tabulated and the poverty-fighting politicians take office the poor are no better off than they were beforehand. Programs will be initiated and money will be spent. Yet, the poor will realize no distinguishable improvement in their condition. Scholastic achievement doesn't increase, housing remains substandard, the destitute often resort to crime, and wealth continues to flow to more productive individuals.
Left-wing policies, sold under the misnomer of compassion, have created a disastrous scenario and declared a de facto war on the poor. Conservatism, free markets, and right-wing ideologues, aren't responsible, despite the Left's demagoguery. The poor suffer as a direct result of Leftist populism, which brings destruction on the very people wealth redistribution policies pretend to benefit. The poor receive nothing in terms of upward mobility. Instead, indigence warrants only enough benefit to ensure continued dependence on government.
The impoverished aren't merely victims of inadequate central planning; they are prisoners of war. The Left has convinced the poor that government programs and policies are the antidote to poverty. In reality the opposite is true and the poor are relieved of nothing but their liberty and self-esteem.
If the intent behind government anti-poverty initiatives is to alleviate poverty the programs are miserable failures. However, entitlements are an unrivaled success in weakening the individual and empowering the Left. Leftists have generated a growing
and perpetual voting bloc inextricably bound to big government. To genuinely solve the poverty issues on which progressives campaign would equal political suicide.
While robbing a population of their initiative, confidence, and motivation is a cowardly and dastardly strategy, the effectiveness is inarguable. For instance, the poverty rate
declined steadily following World War II until Lyndon Johnson's Great Society declared war on the poor. Poverty's decline came to an abrupt halt and the rate has since remained constant, as has the impoverished voter's allegiance to the Democrat Party.
No matter the topic -- education, housing, healthcare, or wages -- you can bank on government's lofty assurances never producing the promised results. Anti-poverty programs are designed to malfunction. Accepting the Left's anti-poverty rhetoric is as sensible as accepting a train ticket from Heinrich Himmler. In supporting the Left's initiatives, the impoverished are purchasing the shackles for their own restraint.
Washington and the media spawned the “deathers”
May 10, 2011
More than a week ago Navy SEALs ushered Osama bin Laden to his everlasting calling. A rush of boots, the pop of small arms fire, and he was gone. Word has it that Osama remains dead. Or does he?
Conspiracies are popping up like lost relatives at a lottery winner's doorstep, as are the attempts to discredit anyone asking questions about bin Laden's demise. The situation is similar, in nature if not degree, to the "birther" movement. Osama conspiracists even have a nickname, "deathers."
Generally speaking, conspiracy theories combine overactive imaginations with the need to explain the unexplainable. However, the White House's delay in producing Obama's actual birth certificate prompted skepticism concerning his birthplace and his qualification for office. Thus "birthers" were born. Likewise for the White House account of bin Laden's death. Just as a lack of White House transparency fueled the birthers it now fuels the "deathers," who can posit some interesting questions.
Why did finding bin Laden take so long? U.S. military and intelligence agencies possess satellite surveillance technology capable of determining the coin toss at next year's Super Bowl, assuming there is one. Why couldn't we find the world's most infamous terrorist? Osama bin Laden's prompt burial at sea did little to squelch the conspiracists, either. We saw photos
of the dead Uday and Qusay Hussein, and of Saddam himself. Why not bin Laden?
Conspiracists can legitimately argue a captured bin Laden is more valuable than a dead bin Laden. A live al-Qaeda leader would be a wealth of intelligence information, ripe for the interrogating. The federal government could easily fake bin Laden's death. Then he could be spirited to some remote corner of the globe for unencumbered questioning.
Would releasing photos of a deceased Osama bin Laden quell the conspiracies and satisfy the "deathers?" Probably not. Conspiracists will claim the pictures are forged products of the Photoshop age. Some may allege the bin Laden in the photos is a double, not the genuine article. Besides, releasing photos is of small benefit when the White House can't so much as get its story straight
We were told how bin Laden died during a fierce firefight while using his wife as a human shield. In one account bin Laden's wife was wounded, in the next she wasn't. Then she was shot, but only in the leg. Was she a human shield? Or did she charge SEAL Team Six? Osama bin Laden was armed; then he wasn't. Was he reaching for his AK-47 when he was killed? Or, was he captured and summarily executed, which he richly deserved?
Considering the conflicting reports emanating from Washington, and dutifully parroted in the media, who can say with certainty what occurred in Abbottabad? Too much contradiction, too much swirl. No evidence, regardless its strength, will mollify the skeptics now. Photos and DNA tests can be faked
while making each seem credible. Also, reports of Osama bin Laden's death
aren't new; they began circulating within months of 9/11.
I believe bin Laden is dead. Does my opinion relegate the conspiracists to the far corners of Crackpotistan? Not entirely. When conspiracy theories become commonplace, the government and media are condemned more than the conspiracists. Contradictions and lies on the part of the federal government combined with a compliant media, over time, have fostered a public mistrust toward both parties. Frankly, neither entity is more credible than the tinfoil hat brigade.
Spin, swirl, and bias are par for the federal government and most media outlets. Phraseologies, like "quantitative easing" and "integrative complexity," breed distrust. Such phrasing is intended not to enlighten the public but to conceal an agenda the public would oppose, or worse, ridicule. Small wonder mainstream news reports and the federal government's official statements create suspicion.
Whether people believe bin Laden died last week at the hands of Navy SEALs or ten years ago of natural causes is of little consequence. Good riddance to bad rubbish. And if he's alive and under interrogation at a black ops center? Happy waterboarding! What's truly shameful is how once-revered institutions have instilled such distrust in the population that every government action and media report spawns a conspiracy theory.
Are the "deathers" piloting black helicopters? Maybe so. But Washington and the "mainstream" media needn't point fingers. They birthed the "deather" movement.
Obama's "gutsy" no-brainer
May 7, 2011
President Obama made the correct decision in sending Navy SEALs into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. But was it the "gutsy call" the media, and the administration itself, has led us to believe? Logically and politically the President had no alternative.
Little courage is required to condemn a man directly responsible for the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor. No man in recent history has deserved U.S. retribution more than Osama bin Laden. Once the al-Qaeda leader's whereabouts were confirmed there was no decision to make. Any post-9/11 President who held bin Laden in his crosshairs and failed to fire would instantly become the greatest failure in presidential history. Obama received an approval ratings bounce, as would be expected. But the decision that precipitated that bounce was a no-brainer. As more Americans examine the situation, especially in light of the conflicting accounts emanating from the White House, they will realize that Obama had no option aside from the course he chose.
Imagine the political fallout had Obama forsaken the opportunity to take bin Laden. News of such magnitude wouldn't have remained a secret, not even with a compliant media. Had Obama wavered on taking bin Laden his 2012 goose would've been cooked. His indecisiveness and tepidness would be confirmed. Furthermore, inaction would've fueled the Obama-is-a-Muslim theories. Had Obama knowingly allowed Osama bin Laden to escape he would've been lucky to carry the Haight-Ashbury and Greenwich Village precincts in his reelection bid.
Capturing bin Laden wasn't an option either. Obama couldn't send the al-Qaeda captain to Guantanamo, a black ops interrogation center, or subject him to anything other than normal criminal proceedings without expressing profound hypocrisy. Imagine Osama bin Laden on trial near Ground Zero, before a jury of Council on American-Islamic Relations peers, with an ACLU lawyer at his side. No, capture (though preferable in terms of intelligence) wasn't a political option. Osama had to die.
Make no mistake; President Obama issued the appropriate order. His decision to attack bin Laden directly, rather than with missiles or air strikes, would've been correct even if the mission had proved unsuccessful. But in reality, his order to kill Osama bin Laden was an easy call. Who among us wouldn't love to have issued the "Go!" command to SEAL Team Six?
A "gutsy" call? Only if you believe shooting down Admiral Yamamoto's plane during World War II was a difficult choice. "Gutsy" is the media's latest catchphrase, strategically repeated to promote an Obama foreign policy achievement. Frankly, his decision was one every American should expect from any President, regardless their party or ideology.
Recognize Obama for acting presidential. But "gutsy" describes Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan. "Gutsy" describes the Navy SEALs and pilots who entered Pakistan and made this mission work. They are the heroes worthy of high praise. Gutsiness comes easier when safe at the White House surrounded by the Secret Service.
Thanks to Political Derby editor Jason Wright for inspiring this column.
The case of Lindsay Graham vs. Free Speech
May 4, 2011
All rise! The Court of Historical Accuracy is now in session, the Honorable First Amendment presiding. The Court will entertain arguments in the case of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) vs. Free Speech. At issue is the protected status and free application of speech during wartime.
Sen. Graham, hereafter the Prosecution, alleges free speech is invalid when it denigrates a national enemy. The Prosecution reserves belief in free speech, but also claims said speech must be approved in order to be free. In summary, Prosecution alleges
, “free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy.”
Free Speech, hereafter the Defense, intends to prove that free speech indeed protected derogatory attitudes toward America's World War II enemies. The Defense calls as its first witness Moe Howard, Curly Howard, and Larry Fine, a.k.a. the Three Stooges, in You Nazty Spy
The Three Stooges displayed no fear of inspiring der Fuhrer, his Nazi regime, or the Axis in general. In You Nazty Spy they satirized dictatorships, Hitler's rise to power, and the gullibility of the entire population of “Moronica,” which represented pre-war Germany.
Your Honor, the Defense contends that Moronica's Dictator Moe Hailstone (Hitler), Field Marshal Curly Gallstone (Goering), and Propaganda Minister Larry Pebble (Geobbels) could've offended and thus inspired Nazi Germany. The Defense will also prove that You Nazty Spy wasn't an isolated example of uncensored speech during World War II.
Dictator Hailstone and his henchmen broke treaties and double-crossed allies, just as Hitler did to Chamberlain and Stalin. I'll Never Heil Again bristles with jabs at the Nazi regime and “der Fuhrer” himself. Hailstone and Moronica's allies fight over the world, with the Japanese representative taking frequent snapshots during the melee.
Your Honor, the Defense submits Moronica as de facto Nazi Germany and Hailstone's dictatorship as personifying the Hitler regime. The Defense argues the Three Stooges did willfully and with forethought mock and ridicule both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, that these entities were enemies of the United States, and that the Three Stooges' actions could've inspired enemy forces. Furthermore, since the Three Stooges' testimony was filmed, distributed, and viewed during the World War II era and remains available 70 years after the fact, free speech protects similar conduct today. Your Honor, the Defense also charges the Prosecution with intentionally misleading the public about the application of free speech during wartime, past and present.
The Prosecution has maliciously revised history and perpetrated fraud to cause the public to doubt their memories. In summation, the Defense believes the Three Stooges' testimony verifies the validity of Free Speech and the allegation of prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Sen. Graham. Defense requests that Graham answer perjury charges in the Court of Public Opinion.
The Defense rests.
Sen. Lindsay Graham: Fool, liar, or historically ignorant?
May 1, 2011
During a recent appearance on Face the Nation, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) addressed free speech in relation to the current war effort. Apparently, words and activities that could incite or motivate an enemy are beyond the First Amendment's protection. Government can then silence such speech. Frankly, that is a foolish and utterly un-American idea. But it isn't as foolish as Graham's use of World War II to justify his position. "During World War II," Graham explained, "you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy."
Such a claim would be news to the World War II generation, who weren't the least bit concerned with whether or not their attitudes inspired their enemies. In fact, they went out of their way to denigrate the Nazis and the Japanese at every opportunity.
Has Sen. Graham never seen a poster from the WW II era? Those posters appeared throughout the United States and they were anything but complimentary toward the Germans and the Japanese.
One WW II poster depicts the Axis powers firing on Jesus Christ as he hangs on the cross. On another poster a Nazi is thrusting his bayonet through the Holy Bible. An anti-Japanese poster displayed the "Tokio Kid" (Misspelled intentionally?) with slanted eyes, big teeth, round eyeglasses, and devilishly pointed ears. A war bonds promotion poster shows an aggressive Japanese soldier holding an all-American girl at knifepoint. The caption reads, "Keep this horror from your home."
Inciting? I think so. Obviously, Sen. Graham hasn't paid much attention to WW II posters. He must not have watched cartoons, either. A wide array of animated characters, from Popeye to Donald Duck, took turns poking the Axis in the eye.
In Daffy the Commando
, Daffy Duck took on a ranting Nazi officer and his bumbling subordinate, Shultz. In one scene the German commander springs to attention and shouts "Heil Hitler" when a skunk crosses his path. After making a total mockery of the Nazi army Daffy drops in on a Hitler speech and conks der Fuehrer on the head with a mallet.
Popeye the Sailor deployed to the Pacific Theatre in You're a Sap, Mr. Jap.
He tangles with two stereotypical Japanese sailors, each with a penchant for treachery. The Japanese promise peace, but attack Popeye when he turns his back. A not-so-subtle reference to Pearl Harbor, perhaps? Popeye eventually eats his spinach and gives an entire Japanese battlewagon a thorough whipping. You're a Sap, Mr. Jap
poked fun at everything Japanese from their manufacturing quality to their doctrine of honorable suicide. It ended with the Rising Sun being "flushed" in the ocean.
In Her Honor the Mare
, Popeye's nephews disguise a horse as a house painter to sneak the nag into the house. The "painter" looks like Hitler -- an obvious insult to Adolf's artistic aspirations -- with the face drawn on the horse's backside. Sen. Graham can draw his own conclusions about inspiring the enemy. But to me, the animators were calling Hitler a horse's ass.
Walt Disney joined the anti-Axis animation parade with Der Fuehrer's Face
, in which Donald Duck dreams about living in the Third Reich. The cartoon begins with an unflattering Nazi marching band and a song that resembles someone breaking wind "right in der Fuehrer's Face." Everything in Donald's home is a tribute to the Nazi police state and he's forced, at bayonet point, to read Mein Kampf. Then it's off to work for Donald, where he'll "Heil Hitler" in forced servitude at a Nazi munitions factory. The cartoon ends with Hitler being hit in the face with a tomato.
None of these print and animated insults could've provoked the enemy? Senator Graham is either ignorant of this nation's attitude toward our enemies during the Second World War, a complete fool, or a dastardly liar. Choose the lesser of the evils, if there is a lesser between ignorance, foolishness and dishonesty. Whichever you choose, there is one certainty; free speech wasn't limited so as to avoid inspiring the Germans and the Japanese. In fact, the Greatest Generation reveled in insulting their enemies at every opportunity and their war ended just fine.
The good guys won World War II, in case Senator Graham needs reminding. There were no focus group plans for appeasing our adversaries. Victory didn't come from seeking common ground with Hirohito or proving to the Nazis how we meant no harm to their Fuehrer and his concentration camps. We won because we put victory above the nonsensical notion that offending our enemy was off-limits.
Sen. Graham isn't ignorant of America's attitudes toward the Axis powers. But he'll promote a historically false perspective and believe Americans are foolish enough to accept his dishonesty.
Arrogance and narcissism reign in King Barack's Court
April 27, 2011
Arrogance is defined as an inflated degree of self-importance with a supplementary contempt for others. Narcissism describes a person totally infatuated with their own persona and possessing an overblown sense of ability or worth. Arrogance and narcissism are somewhat synonymous. Yet there is sufficient difference between the terms to apply both to the persona our current Commander-in-Chief embodies.
President Obama is a walking contradiction. Acts he once considered an abuse of authority are but policy recalculations when he exercises them personally. Other presidents have overstepped their authority. Obama, however, is uniquely intelligent and supremely qualified to properly wield powers he once considered abusive and to rule a free people. “Rule” isn't a word chosen at random; it's a term Obama himself has used to describe his administration.
Barack Hussein Obama doesn't see himself as merely the United State's 44th President; he is her liege, King Barack the First.
Obama's use of signing statements
confirms his narcissism and arrogance. Obama's position on signing statements is similar, but in mirror image, to John Kerry's position on the Iraq War. Remember how Kerry voted for the war prior to voting against it? Obama was against presidential signing statements before he used them.
Before his coronation Obama considered signing statements beyond the president's constitutional authority
. He pledged not to use such statements to circumvent Congress, a charge he leveled at his predecessor. However, when Obama's signing statement accompanied the recent budget deal he had to redefine his position.
King Barack has changed
his mind. Signing statements aren't beyond the president's power after all, as he stated when campaigning in 2008. But such executive statements shouldn't be abused in the way his predecessor abused them. Note the arrogance and narcissism. Other chief executives have abused the signing statement. Obama, however, possesses the virtue, wisdom, and sound judgment necessary to exercise the signing statement effectively without crossing the line into abuse.
Obama further displayed his royal manner in his refusal to comply with Congress' ban on White House czars. Worse than his contempt for Congress, a feeling with which most Americans can empathize, is his disregard for the U.S. Constitution.
The President, according to Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, will appoint various officers of the United States subject to the Senate's review and consent. The language represents a problem for czar appointees, who aren't presented for Senate review. The President may also appoint inferior officers, which could be interpreted to include czars, at his discretion. However, such discretionary appointments can be made only if Congress has empowered the presidency to make them. A Congress that can grant discretionary appointment authority to the president via legislation may revoke that authority in like manner, as this Congress did in the budget bill.
Yet the czars remain and Congress' duly passed law is ignored
. King Barack the Arrogant and Narcissistic simply snubs Congress and the Constitution's directives on presidential appointments.
Instances abound to confirm His Majesty's elevated sense of worth and authority. Obama also thumbed his nose at a judge's decision
declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. If you or I ignored such a ruling we would be arrested. But people of superior intellect and insight, like King Barack, can't be bothered with trivialities, such as court rulings, that would apply to those of us in the great unwashed.
Arrogance allows Obama to travel on the publicly-funded Air Force One at $70,000 per flight hour while demonizing corporate CEOs for flying privately-funded aircraft at a fraction of the cost. Narcissism vindicates King Barack the First when he compensates
his supporters with taxpayer provided stimulus cash while praising his administration's exemplary ethics.
Signing statements aren't the problem, be they issued by King Barack or a simple president. But a President serves within the office's authority at the pleasure of the governed. A King serves at his own discretion, believing the contemptible governed are beneath questioning or comprehending their ruler's decrees. Rulers embody arrogance and narcissism individually and simultaneously, a feat thoroughly possible in the Court of King Barack the First.
This column first appeared at American Thinker.
A ride on the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl
April 22, 2011
County fairs and traveling carnivals were once the prime entertainment for rural Americans. A staple attraction at those amusements was the Tilt-a-Whirl. For the uninitiated, the Tilt-a-Whirl platform simultaneously tilts and rotates while each passenger car spins independently. The Tilt-a-Whirl can be a dizzying, stomach-churning experience that leaves passengers incapable of determining a proper direction.
Don't fret if you've never had the pleasure of riding the Tilt-a-Whirl. You can live the experience, multiplied exponentially, simply by listening to a leftist (Regressive) politician. But be forewarned; the dizziness, nausea, and lack of a coherent direction you'll experience on the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl is hazardous to your liberty, fiscal solvency, and your very sanity.
Buckle up tight. Your ride on the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl begins with mindless meanderings and banal rhetoric from Nevada's Sen. Harry Reid. Reid recently accused
Republicans of legislating to bar women from cancer screenings. But that's not all. Reid claimed preventing such screenings was the GOP's top priority.
Did Reid hit the nail on the head? Did Republicans win the 2010 mid-term elections with a platform built on fiscal responsibility, rejecting Obamacare, and preventing women from getting cancer screenings? Sure they did, I remember it now. Denying cancer screenings to women has always been a winning campaign strategy. Certainly it played a prominent role in the GOP's November victories and its current House majority.
Sen. Reid has reminded everyone just how determined Republicans are to impose a lingering demise on women. Scare tactics? Nah! Just a little spin, as is common aboard the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl. Are you feeling a little nauseous? Hold on tight; this ride has just begun. And, as the saying goes, you ain't seen nothing yet!
Rep. Louise Slaughter's unintelligible drivel makes Sen. Reid seem a Greek orator. According to Slaughter, the current Republican House is the worst ever, a veritable gang of Nazi storm troopers bent on killing women. She didn't merely insinuate that Republican policies would intentionally deprive women of cancer screenings and lead to premature death, as did Reid. No, not Slaughter. Republican legislators want to kill
women outright. Slaughter thinks the Republican attempt to revoke Planned Parenthood's taxpayer-funded subsidies is akin to how the Nazi regime ruled Germany.
With no due respect to Rep. Slaughter there hasn't been a single Planned Parenthood facility where "Jew owned" has been painted on the doors and windows. The Gestapo hasn't stormed Planned Parenthood offices, seized workers, tattooed them with serial numbers, issued them lab coats with the Star of David on the back and carted them off to concentration camps. Also worth noting, just for Slaughter's information, is the fact that more death results at Planned Parenthood facilities, via abortion, in one hour than at every Republican convention since the dawn of time. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood was born from a mindset
(the Birth Control Review
, April 1932, p.108) similar to the one that drove Nazi Germany.
However, neither fact nor logic will deter Louise Slaughter from her swirling, spinning, talking points. Thus the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl rages on. Are you dizzy, perhaps queasy and disoriented? Take some Dramamine before the next example of leftwing nonsense.
Sen. Charles Schumer thinks you're a flea
. At least he thinks the conservative legislators you elected are fleas, which makes you a flea by proxy. Schumer sees the conservative legislators this way: "What we have here is a flea . . . wagging a dog." Schumer means a few conservative Republicans (the fleas) are determining the government's (the dog's) direction. Nancy Pelosi agrees
, encouraging Republicans to take the party back from the radicals, with "radical" identifying anyone opposed to leftist dogma, or who helped depose her as House Speaker. Pelosi extended this advice to the Republican Party "so it doesn't matter so much who wins elections." Then, Pelosi reasons, America can pursue its shared goals and do what's right for children and seniors.
Pelosi is correct in one regard. If Republicans adopt her advice it won't matter a whit who wins future elections. Still, I can't recall Pelosi expressing indifference to the 2006 election results, which made her Speaker of the House. And I fail to recollect a single instance where Sen. Schumer opposed obstructionism when that tactic benefited his party or his ideological bent.
In these few instances the mindset driving the leftist agenda is laid bare. Conservatives are Nazi sympathizers who hate women and would kill them if possible. Republicans should eschew the conservative doctrines that once distinguished them from Democrats. Conservatives must relinquish their principles and allow Democrats to have their way. Otherwise they are obstructionist, power-mad, Nazi zealots.
The Democrat Party's survival depends on spin and swirl, wielded expertly by people for whom shame is a non-issue. They are perpetual operators of the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl. Leftists ignore the problems their policies have created and have thus rendered Congress impotent for correcting them.
Don't think for a minute that Reid, Slaughter, Schumer, and Pelosi are fools. Granted, their rhetoric is sophomoric. But they are masters at manipulating an inattentive electorate, utilizing even the most outlandish of arguments to peddle a totalitarian agenda. The sad realization lies not in leftist politician's apparent foolishness but in the multitude of useful idiots who swallow liberal vacuity hook, line, and sinker, year after infuriating year.
The ride is finished, for now, and you may disembark the Regressive Tilt-a-Whirl. But accept a word of caution on your way out the gate. Dizziness and disorientation are common to your experience, and you'll likely suffer sufficient nausea to light up the city of Las Vegas. The more you ride the Tilt-a-Whirl the less bothersome these symptoms become. They're just as severe each time. But liberal politicians are banking on your becoming so accustomed to them you'll no longer notice the spin.
In defense of Western Culture
April 15, 2011
Imagine what the world would be like had the United States fought the Second World War as we have the “war on terror.” Thankfully, Americans then weren't tepid in war, nor did they care if their attitudes agitated the Germans and Japanese. The World War II generation sought nothing less than total victory. If the enemy was offended, well, so be it. Times have certainly changed.
The United States has sunk to new depths of political correctness. We're so conscious of offending Islam that our culture is becoming its sacrificial lamb, methodically slain on the altar of a mythical
peace with radical Muslims. Political correctness wields undue influence on our attitudes, exacerbating our insatiable desire to placate
our enemies even at the expense of values we ostensibly hold dear.
Enter the politically incorrect Rev. Terry Jones. Government
, and religious
leaders sang Jones' condemnations, and rightly so, when he ignited his copy of the Koran. But what duplicity! What has happened to our zealous defense of free speech? Burning offending items is a protected First Amendment right, is it not? Perhaps free speech exists only when desecrating items of significance to the United States and Western Civilization.
Wise and insightful protesters are engaging in dissent when they burn the flag of the United States. In fact, torch the American flag and you'll become a folk hero to the same people who censure Terry Jones. Offending religion is equally acceptable, so long as the religion is associated with Western culture. For instance, an eccentric "artist" submerges a crucifix in urine and receives rave reviews for cutting edge artistic expression. But let that same "artist" sink a statue of Muhammad in a jug of whiz and see what happens.
One peek at the riots in Afghanistan should serve to indicate how Islamists respond to the degradation of their beliefs, be the offense real or perceived. Remember the outrage when Dutch cartoonists depicted Muhammad as a bomber? Remember Salman Rushdie, or Molly Norris? Rushdie lived under a death order for ten years and death threats forced Norris to surrender
not only her profession (she was a cartoonist) but her very identity.
The only surprise in the Afghan response to Terry Jones is that anyone was shocked at all. This isn't the first time Muslims have deemed destruction the proper avenue for venting their anger at the enemies of Allah. In fact, reactionary violence in Islamic lands is the norm, not the exception. Amazement at the Islamists' overreaction to Terry Jones is akin to tossing a rock in the creek and being stunned when it sinks.
In fairness, we must recognize that the Afghans didn't entirely escape
blame for their violence. But shouldn't we be troubled when a single insignificant minister pulls a boneheaded stunt and more outrage is directed at him than toward widespread violence perpetrated at the Taliban's behest? Explaining how Jones' bonfire doesn't justify mob scenes becomes something of an afterthought, an obligatory complaint offered without sincerity. There's no reason for Westerners to apologize to a people so ignorant they will toss Molotov cocktails on their neighbors and attack unrelated entities in response to one person's alleged blasphemy.
I'm no fan of book burnings regardless the literature serving as the fuel. Burning books indicates a vapid intellect, a mind void of purpose and reason. But Jones' campfire did nothing to threaten Islam as a religious doctrine. It did, however, reiterate the Islamist's propensity for committing horrendous violence to the glory of Allah. The appalling aspect is seeing so many ostensibly intelligent Americans tripping over each other for the opportunity to apologize to an enemy. We're too interested in avoiding the appearance of "Islamophobia" to recognize the pattern of our enemy's behavior and the threat they pose to Western culture.
When Fourth Division troops advanced from Utah Beach's D-Day landing zones, the 101st Airborne paratroopers greeted them with this advice: don't trust the Nazis. America wasn't afraid to identify and aggressively target our enemies during World War II. We're afraid to do so now. Could those divergent attitudes explain why complete victory in World War II took less than four years while the "war on terror" drags on ad infinitum?
The United Caliphates of America?
April 10, 2011
If the United States had fought the Second World War as we have the “war on terror” we would now speak German east of the Mississippi River and Japanese west of it. Thank God Americans weren't concerned about offending the sensibilities of Hitler and Hirohito in 1942. The World War II generation put this country first and settled for nothing less than defeating our enemies. Times have changed.
Either the United States has succumbed to unbridled political correctness, or we've lost heart to the point we'll sacrifice our culture and our very survival to the mythical concept of peace with Islamic radicals. Perhaps it's a little of both. Political correctness influences our attitudes to an unreasonable degree. But a greater problem is our insatiable desire to placate
our enemies, even at the expense of values we allegedly hold dear.
When Rev. Terry Jones ignited his copy of the Koran our government and media rose to condemn his intolerance. Ah the duplicity! What happened to free speech? I thought burning an offending item was a protected First Amendment right. Perhaps free speech extends only to desecrating items of significance to the United States and Western Civilization.
Insightful and wise protesters can burn the flag of the United States with impunity. In fact, torch our flag and you'll become a folk hero to the same people who condemn Terry Jones. Offending religion is just as acceptable, so long as the religion is prevalent in Western culture. For instance, submerging a crucifix in urine is hailed as cutting edge artistic expression and the “artist” is an eccentric genius. Try sinking a statue of Muhammad in urine and see what happens.
Why do we abandon our heritage, sacrifice our culture, and belittle our values? What is honorable in elevating depraved ideologies above our own?
I'm no fan of book burnings regardless the literature serving as the fuel. But where is the condemnation for the Muslims who are using Jones' campfire as their latest excuse to commit horrendous violence for the glory of Allah? And why are so many ostensibly intelligent Americans tripping over each other for the chance to apologize to an enemy? We're too interested in avoiding the appearance of intolerance toward Islam to recognize the threat radicalization poses to America's future, or even our own assaults on our liberties.
When Fourth Division troops advanced from Utah Beach's D-Day landing zones the 101st Airborne paratroopers greeted them with this advice: don't trust the Nazis. America wasn't afraid to identify and aggressively target our enemies during World War II. Isn't it time we revived our ancestors' attitudes before we awake in the United Caliphates of America?
Two lessons from Rev. Terry Jones
April 7, 2011
To say the United States faces problems is an understatement. The economy is stagnant. Congressional authors of $1.5 trillion budget deficits haggle over a few billion bucks as if that sum is significant. Lethargy is rewarded and productivity is demeaned. Number among those problems our inability to properly assign responsibility and to recognize enemies.
The case of the eccentric Reverend Terry Jones supports this theory. Jones and his diminutive flock put the Koran on trial, found it wanting and burned it at the stake. Call the mock trial a witch hunt if you like, but the actual burning was nothing more than symbolism. No one was injured and no property, except Jones' copy of the Koran, was damaged. Yet Jones' protest sent Afghanistan into a frenzy and America's intelligentsia scrambling for the nearest microphone, eager to blame Terry Jones for Afghanistan's violent reaction.
This may come as a shock, but the flame-throwing Terry Jones is absolutely correct in denying
responsibility for Afghanistan's bloodshed. Yes, Jones burned the Koran with full knowledge his act was controversial and outrageous. However, does such desecration justify rioting, arson, and killing on the part of offended Muslims?
Bill O'Reilly and General David Petraeus think so, and they've joined voices with like minds to publicly denounce the otherwise obscure Terry Jones. Jones' one-book bonfire was hateful and intolerant, the critics charge, and endangered U.S. troops serving in Islamic lands. Their arguments ring hollow. Jihad has a long history of outrage against anything Western. Had Jones' mock trail exonerated the Koran, Islamic radicals would've invented another outrage to justify their hostility. Torching a Koran excuses Islamic riots no more than closing a Japanese restaurant validates the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Where Terry Jones is correct and his opponents are wrong is in assigning blame for the Afghan violence and in recognizing the deficient morals Islamic fundamentalism espouses. Jones rightly blames the Afghans themselves. They alone rioted, pillaged, and killed their countrymen. Yet America's brightest minds refuse to blame Afghans for the carnage wrought in Islam's name. Gen. Petraeus, in fact, believes the Afghan brutality may be justified
. Why? Because an insignificant someone half a world away burned a book? Pardon me if the roiling “Muslim street” seems a mite oversensitive.
Are Muslims then bound to silence when their favored texts and shrines are marginalized or desecrated? Of course not. But when their outrage induces indiscriminate killings it says plenty about their ideology and the danger it poses to civilization worldwide. Were Islam the sole religion to suffer an insult Muslim anger might be understandable. But that scenario is as far removed from reality as the east is from the west.
Christians are offended when alleged artists submerge crucifixes in jars of urine and smear elephant dung on paintings of the Virgin Mary. Christians don't, however, retaliate with arson and murder. Both Christians and Jews would be offended if an obscure imam burned the Bible or the Pentateuch. But would either Christians or Jews embark on a homicidal rampage? Hardly, for such a response contradicts the tenets of both doctrines. Yet within Islam violence follows offense as surely as dogs trail the butcher's wagon. What's more, violent overreaction is expected from Muslims. Otherwise, Western “leaders” wouldn't be falling all over each other to placate Muslims with apologies for our intolerance.
Ample evidence exists to convince even the harshest skeptic that vicious responses to perceived injustices are harmonious to Islamic tradition. American cartoonist Molly Norris surrendered
her career, and her very identity, after her work offended Islam. A fatwa forced Norris to become what George Orwell termed a “non-person.” Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses
prompted the “religion of peace” to place a bounty on his head. Now there's a bounty on Terry Jones' head to the tune of $2.4 million.
Name a time when Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Sikhs resorted to violence as readily as do Muslims. Under Islamic Law both non-Muslims and Muslim apostates can face stoning or decapitation for their heresy. And Terry Jones is labeled a militant? Tell me, has Rev. Jones commandeered an airliner in the name of Christ? Has he lopped the head from an unrepentant sinner? Has he convinced young men to don dynamite-laden vests and detonate at bus stops for the glory of God? Friends, violence was an Islamic hallmark long before Jones struck his first match.
Burning books is a vacant gesture that, of itself, accomplishes nothing. Even so, the pyromaniacal Terry Jones has granted America a genuine favor. His irreverent act reminds us of both the virulent intolerance common to Islamic fundamentalism and of our own tendency to lay blame on everyone except those responsible. Rather than condemnation, America should extend gratitude to Terry Jones for highlighting two more flaws we desperately need to correct.
What a difference a war can make
March 30, 2011
How times have changed! The United States isn't the imperialistic, blood-for-oil war machine that it was just a few years ago. We've shed the “I ride alone” image and become acceptable in the world community. Every charge levied against the United States following the Iraq invasion is yesterday's news and America can again wage a just war. All we needed was a change of party at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Remember the arguments against President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein? Those arguments aren't heard today, now that a Democrat administration has led us to war in Libya. Oh, I know President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton don't consider the Libyan no-fly zone a war, but it is a war. When bombs are dropping, missiles are launching, guns are firing, and people are dying, that's a war. No question about it. Ask any Korea or Vietnam veteran to describe a “police action.”
While hardline pacifists are stridently against the administration's “rush to war” in Libya they have gained little traction
compared to their efforts to demonize the Iraq War. Dennis Kucinich, Code Pink, Michael Moore and the usual culprits are screaming. But few among the Democrat leadership and their media allies seem to care. The reason is that their opposition to the Iraq War was political, not principled. Now, to borrow from Jeremiah Wright, the Democrat's chickens have come home to roost. Factually, George Bush was on much firmer ground with Iraq than Obama is with Libya.
Bush's detractors accused him of rushing America to war with no clear objective. Actually, Bush's agenda was quite clear. The United States would depose Saddam Hussein and then help Iraq hold elections and establish a constitution. Those goals were accomplished. Admittedly, not all subsequent events unfolded as planned. Iraq's elections produced Shiite majorities, which is the same ideology that holds sway in Iran, and their constitution amounts to Sharia Law. But each goal was reached.
President Obama has no clear objective in Libya. First he said Col. Gaddafi must relinquish power. Then he said Gaddafi could remain in control if he promised to play according to Hoyle. Obama has since reversed course again, and Gaddafi must go. We're unsure of our objective, if indeed we have one. Even identifying our enemy is harder than in Iraq. Gaddafi is a loon no doubt, an unpredictable despot with a terrorist history. But the rebel forces we aid in Libya are linked
to al-Qaeda and could prove worse than Gaddafi.
For a proper perspective on our current alliance, look at World War II. What if America had fought Nazi Germany in Europe while joining forces with them on the Russian Front? The scenario sounds ridiculous. But that's what we're doing with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Libya.
Bush was accused of acting unilaterally in Iraq. But his coalition for the Iraq War included more countries
than Obama's coalition in Libya. What's more, Bush built his allies. Obama joined a work in progress and is quite comfortable passing the leadership role to NATO.
Did Iraq attack America? According to Democrats and their media lapdogs Iraq did not. However, reality intercedes with their convenient fantasizing. Iraq did attack the United States and our interests. Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait, a move outside their borders that threatened international trade shipping routes. Hussein agreed to cease-fire terms upon Iraq's expulsion from Kuwait. He violated those terms flagrantly and, yes, attacked American forces directly. No-fly zones were established over Iraq as part of the cease-fire. Iraq, however, fired on American aircraft patrolling those zones, directly violating the agreement.
Gaddafi's government hasn't directly attacked U.S. interests in years. In fact, in the last ten years the Libyan government acknowledged responsibility
for the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to restitution for the victims, renounced terrorism (supposedly) and abandoned its nuclear and chemical weapons
program. Furthermore, Bush's critics charged him with involving America in Iraq's civil war. So what's happening in Libya? Vacation Bible School? Obama bears more guilt for interceding in a sovereign civil war than did Bush.
The Iraq War began without Congressional authorization. Or did it? Congress adopted a resolution granting President Bush the authority
to use force, at his discretion, to combat terrorism wherever he determined it existed. And Congress authorized President Bush to use force directly against Iraq
to ensure compliance with resolutions outlined in the Gulf War cease-fire pact.
The Obama administration simply began dropping bombs and firing missiles into Libya. No consent was sought from Congress. No strategy is evident and there's no meaningful definition of victory. All we really know is that American forces are preventing a humanitarian disaster in Libya, where a mad dictator is killing his subjects. Wasn't the same true in Iraq?
Does anyone honestly believe Saddam Hussein didn't kill his own people? Tell that to the Kurds, upon whom he used chemical weapons. Tell that to the victims of the torture chambers U.S. troops uncovered after Hussein's fall. What's more, if humanitarianism serves as criterion for American air strikes, the bombs should soon fall on Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, North Korea, and a host of other unruly nations and authoritarian regimes.
The arguments used to implicate Bush as an international war criminal should also apply to Obama's decision to bomb Libya. I'll concede that America entered Iraq with some unrealistic expectations, but we weren't meddling in their affairs. Hussein's actions demanded our response. But even Robert Gates has found no compelling U.S. interest in warring with Libya.
Nothing mentioned thus far should promote sympathy for Muammar Gaddafi. He is a despot and an enemy of the United States. I'll loose no sleep if he disappears beneath a Tomahawk missile. I also support our troops' safety and their mission's success. Alas, there's no appearance of a mission to support, no clear objective. The rebels receiving our support may be a worse enemy than Gaddafi; Obama has abandoned our military leadership role to NATO, bypassed Congress, and surrendered
our sovereign authority to wage war to the United Nations.
The outrage that greeted the hawkish Bush has dissipated. The peace marchers who were the darlings of dissent when Bush was the target are today as irrelevant as Keith Olberman. Few people, if any, are denouncing American imperialism or Obama's military-industrial complex. Obama hasn't been labeled a Nazi and I've yet to see the first effigy go up in flames.
Yes sir! What a difference a war can make!
On Smart cars, prostitution and sports babes
March 24, 2011
General observations on current events.
Are Smart car drivers really so smart? The Smart car itself is constructed from aluminum foil and rolls on wheels the size of Krispy Kreme donuts. I recently witnessed one of these roller skates racing down the Interstate, darting in and out of traffic and between 40-ton tractor-trailers as if its operator was driving a Sherman tank. And still the owner displayed a vanity license plate that read “BRAINY.” He should hold that thought; it will sound great during his eulogy.
Every time Obama tries to appear fiscally responsible he reveals his poor poker skills. When the budget chips are down he talks as if he's holding four Reagans. But when his cards are on the table we find he holds nothing but a pair or Carters.
John Lennon's toilet fetched $14,740 at auction. Now, what does the winning bidder do with such a prize? Is it an investment, a status symbol, or a tourist attraction? I would guess the latter. You've heard of innkeepers claiming “George Washington slept here.” Well, John Lennon had to go somewhere, didn't he?
If you think a person's looks are inconsequential consider tennis player Anna Kournikova and race car driver Danica Patrick. Kournikova never won a major singles title and Patrick has but one career victory. Tennis and racing have far more accomplished stars. Still, Anna and Danica are readily recognizable because they are physically attractive.
The United States is experiencing high unemployment, a stagnant job market, rising fuel prices, raging debt, and the onset of inflation. What, then, does it say about other countries when their citizens are sneaking into this country in search of better opportunities?
Believe it or not, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton can serve as excellent examples for children. They are proof positive that wealth and fame do not equal wisdom and respectability. Anyone watching their antics must conclude that playing the fool isn't cool.
Leftists think it sensible to restrict people under age 21 from buying a handgun or a glass of beer. They also support distributing condoms in schools, teaching teenagers sexual activity is expected, and protecting a youth's “right” to an abortion without their parent's knowledge. Where do they get off calling conservatives ignorant?
If we truly desire appropriate election reform there is one change we should implement for the coming election cycle. Beginning with 2013 each new administration and congress should be seated on April 1st. What day could be more suitable?
Many people scoffed when the EPA declared carbon dioxide a greenhouse pollutant. But it's no laughing matter; the EPA ruling opens the door for more federal regulation. What is funny--with funny meaning odd--is how often scientific consensus and climate research supports government growth. If I didn't know better I would think Big Science and Big Government are in cahoots.
Heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships are, in definition and action, opposites. So, if heterosexuals are described as “straights” does it not make sense to describe homosexuals as “crookeds?”
Someone who uses Twitter excessively is called a “tweeter.” Wouldn't it be more descriptive to call that person a “twitterer,” or simply a “twit?”
I'm no more interested in opening a debate over legalizing prostitution than I am over legalizing drugs. However, there are inconsistencies in policing prostitution that confuse me. When an undercover vice officer accepts money from a john in exchange for services that aren't rendered, haven't those officers obtained property by false pretences, or at least engaged in false advertising?
It is time marketing geniuses retired the redundancy “free gift.” When an item is free, the fact that it's a gift is understood. Conversely, when you pay for an item it is neither free nor a gift. Still, this cheap gimmick creates business, which says more about the consumer's lack of intelligence than the marketer's lack of integrity.
Gingrich took one for the team
March 18, 2011
Among the first lessons a young baseball player learns is the importance of getting on base. As his skills improve he learns the various methods for accomplishing that task. One of those ways is to get hit by a pitch. It's an effective, albeit painful way to reach base. That's why a hit-by-pitch is called “taking one for the team.”
Newt Gingrich must've played a little ball in his day, mastering the art of getting on base and carrying that proficiency into adulthood. During his political career Newt has done everything necessary to put America first, and he's definitely reached base.
Gingrich's adventures in Adulteryland are fairly well chronicled
. He cheated on two sick wives, divorcing them both before marrying the mistresses. But how can we blame him for his Clinton-like escapades when he did it all for us? During an interview
with the Christian Broadcasting Network the probable 2012 presidential candidate blamed his indiscretions on his passion for America. He was stressed; the affairs helped him perform at his best.
So Newt took one (maybe more?) for the team. But you won't find stitch marks on his forearms or the name “Rawlings” imprinted on his back. Indulging one's carnal pleasures isn't exactly taking an Aroldis Chapman fastball
between the numbers.
In the same interview Gingrich sought God's forgiveness
, and presumably the public's, too. Strange as it sounds, he's right. God will forgive the repentant: you, me, and Newt Gingrich. However, a vital element in absolution is realizing that forgiveness grants no right to continue wallowing in failure or to avoid the consequences of one's actions.
Conservatives weren't eager to hear Bill Clinton's lame explanations for his bimbo eruptions, especially the Lewinsky episode, nor were his shameless lies dismissed with impunity. Sure, Clinton remained president. But he paid a price in public ridicule and confirmed his reputation as a manipulative womanizer. John Edwards also earned mockery for his affair with Rielle Hunter.
Democrats can't make an issue of Gingrich's trysts; they set the bar low when they excused Clinton's philandering. But are Republicans themselves ready to overlook Newt Gingrich's affairs when they so readily condemned Clinton and Edwards? Or should the GOP choose a candidate who strikes a positive image, one that commands respect and breeds trust?
There's no question that Newt Gingrich espouses solid positions
on a host of issues. He is experienced, savvy, and an expert communicator. However, this matter goes beyond personal failures, which everyone experiences. It's about respect for the voter's intelligence. Gingrich will be hard pressed to sell conservatives the insulting notion that his adulteries resulted from patriotism. To resurrect a favored conservative phrase from the Clinton years, “we should expect more from a president.”
Personally, I hope Newt has made peace with God. Gingrich would make a fine cabinet member in a future GOP administration. But blaming his failures on a passion for America sounds childish if not a little loopy. Maybe during his playing days (baseball that is) he took one for the team while he wasn't wearing a batting helmet.
Truth is the first casualty in Steve Israel's politics
March 14, 2011
An old proverb regards truth as the first casualty of war. Logically, for truth to become war's casualty it must be present to begin with. War is then a level above politics, at least in the way Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) practices the craft.
It's no surprise to find Democrats spinning the standoff between Wisconsin's Senate Republicans and public employee unionists. But Rep. Israel's spin is so unbelievable that he has abused even the politician's privilege of dancing around the truth. He sounds like a cheating child who's tossing a tantrum because his playmates won't play fair.
Rep. Israel's rearrangement of reality was unveiled in a fundraising email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Israel blasted Wisconsin Republicans' “blatant assault on worker's rights,” especially since the reorganization of public employee collective bargaining rules passed without Democrat participation. He called the GOP's tactics “outrageous” and “unconscionable.”
But what right have employees lost, save the “right” to pay tribute to labor unions in order to earn a living? As for the Democrats' absence, no one overthrew their caucus and exiled them to Illinois. Democrats ran for the tall grass of their own accord. Oh, and while we're on the subject of unconscionable, it was Rep. Israel's congressional colleagues who employed bribery, clandestine Christmas Eve votes, and threats to bypass the voting process altogether in order to enact ObamaCare.
Outrageous and unconscionable? Look in the mirror Steve.
Was anyone inspired at the site of marching Wisconsin teachers? Steve Israel was and thinks you should've been, too. But why? These teachers walked out on their pupils, proving their allegiance to unions exceeded their concern for students. These teachers called in sick when they were perfectly fit and trashed the capitol grounds in Madison. Inspirational? Please!
Rep. Israel hailed the “Wisconsin 14” as a reminder to everyone of what it means to be a Democrat. Democrats abdicated their duty to Wisconsin's taxpayers when they went into hiding. They ran away rather than deal with the consequences of their lost majority. This is what it means to be a Democrat. And Israel calls the “Fleeing 14” heroes? Cowards I say, the whole lot of them. And remember, it was one of their own, Steve Israel, who said Wisconsin Democrats exemplified the party's highest standards.
The “Fleeing 14” weren't concerned with public employees. They were concerned with securing continued support from unions in the form of campaign donations. The real issue in Wisconsin wasn't “worker's rights.” It was union monopolies. Wisconsin can now become a right to work
state where employees can't be forced to pay tribute to labor unions in order to attain jobs.
In short, Wisconsinites may soon be liberated, free to make their own decisions regarding employment and unionization. Wisconsin's Republicans upheld the concept of individual liberty and free association, which Democrats routinely oppose. And Steve Israel proved that truth was never part of the Democrat's rhetorical war.
Seeking humor in assassination
March 11, 2011
Blaming journalists for biased reporting isn't unique. Adherents to all political ideologies accuse the media of aligning with their opponents. However, Washington Post syndicated columnist Esther Cepeda gives conservatives a leg-up in proving leftist favoritism in the "mainstream" media. Either that or she's a total dunce.
Ms. Cepeda has issues
with the audience at Rep. Paul Broun's (R-GA) town hall meeting. Apparently, the audience laughed when one constituent asked, "Who's going to shoot Obama?" In perfect media fashion Ms. Cepeda parlayed the incident, which the Secret Service investigated and deemed a poor joke, into a blanket hatred for Obama based on his race and a "perceived socialist slant to government" since he took office. What happened, she lamented, to the outrage against such incendiary language after Gabrielle Giffords was shot?
Esther Cepeda finds no humor in jokes about assassinating President Obama. I'll second that motion. But where was she when jovial leftwing pranksters had George W. Bush all but in the grave? It would be naïve to think she suffers from poor memory. More likely she has selective memory, or she's a prejudiced media stooge.
First, no one has forgotten about Rep. Giffords or her battle to recover from the Tucson shooting. It's just that rational observers quickly realized that blaming the representative's injuries on conservative speech was a media generated myth. Second, Ms. Cepeda should know that crude comments about presidential assassinations didn't originate with Obama's inauguration.
The left's outrage over tasteless references to presidential assassination depends not on some newly discovered high moral plane but on who's in the crosshairs. Remember how President Bush's opponents treated him? He was labeled an international criminal and accused of single-handedly initiating a war Congress had authorized
him to wage at his discretion. Yet Bush was an evil tyrant, a blood-thirsty liar and a despicable fraud. He was Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Kahn and Attila the Hun all rolled into one genocidal package. The left did more than joke about Bush's death; they fantasized about it.
Review a photo gallery from an Iraq War protest
march and you'll find plenty of knee-slapping calls to punch Bush's ticket to the Great Beyond. His opponents had no qualms with a movie depicting his death from a sniper's bullet. In fact, Peter Dale broadcast such a film
(Death of a President
) on British television. Dale found the film "serious" and "thought-provoking," even defending the use of Bush's likeness rather than a fictional president because "it's absolutely legitimate to deal with contemporary named figures."
Ha! I get it! Quite the card that Peter Dale.
Amazingly, Dale's attitude is tame compared to British columnist Rod Liddle. Liddle said the movie depicting Bush's death would strike a popular chord in Britain and predicted the actor who played the assassin would drink free in any British pub. The movie's theme, according to Liddle, was entirely reasonable.
What a jester! And the jocularity surrounding Bush's demise wasn't confined to crackpots at anti-war rallies and movie sets. It was available in printed form, too.
also hinged on threatening Bush's life. The main character, named Jay, pulled no punches with his hatred for George W. Bush or his desire to kill the president in a variety of torturous ways. "I'm going to kill the bastard," Jay railed at one point while promising Bush would be "one dead armadillo" at another.
How's that for civility, Ms. Cepeda? Where was your outrage when Bush was the bull's eye of death by a thousand jokes? Did you not care, or were you simply ignorant of this leftwing merriment? The latter is difficult to swallow.
I doubt Ms. Cepeda is a fan of the conservative media. Therefore it's equally doubtful she would review such outlets to discover the left's witty jabs at Bush. But she needn't have soiled her hands with World Net Daily, Town Hall, or Newsmax to uncover the premise behind Death of a President and Checkpoint. She didn't need to scour the archives at the Weekly Standard, National Review, the Limbaugh Letter, or (God forbid) Fox News.
The reactions to the previously mentioned movie and book appeared in the Washington Post, with nary a sign of condemnation from the writers, I might add. Yes, Ms. Cepeda, the same Washington Post that employs the cesspool of columnists in which you swim. Feeling slimy, Ms. Cepeda? Perhaps a bit foolish? You should! But I'll bet the farm you don't.
Ms. Cepeda's outrage rings as hollow as Obama's promise to wisely spend the public's funds. Crass jokes about killing presidents aren't new, they didn't originate with Obama's ascendancy, and they arise from all points of the political spectrum. Vitriol isn't the "knuckle-dragging" conservative's copyrighted material. Put aside your self-righteous indignation, Ms. Cepeda, and open your eyes to reality. The left is to spiteful venom what Fort Knox once was to gold bullion.
If Cepeda and her "progressive" media cohorts truly find no humor in joking about a president's death the newspapers and airwaves should've been flush with condemnation when leftist cranks and nutcases openly advocated for Bush's demise. Did it slip their minds? Or did they find more pressing matters to attend? Hardly! Most media outlets simply weren't too concerned when Bush was the dead man walking. Maybe there is humor in assassination only when the president has an "R" beside his name.
Government sharks feed on Big Tobacco
March 3, 2011
Sharks are among nature's most amazing creatures. They are quick, graceful and superior hunters. But above those qualities they are relentless. The scent of blood can drive sharks into a feeding frenzy that continues until their hapless victim is totally consumed.
Come to think of it, government is similar to a shark. That's not to say the two are twin brothers mind you. Government moves quickly only when jumping to conclusions and embodies the grace of a blind, three-legged hippopotamus wearing snowshoes. Brothers they aren't, but cousins indeed. Government is a relentless and thorough predator. Like sharks, government utterly devours wounded prey.
Government's shark-like demeanor has been illustrated by its voracious appetite for tobacco companies. First blood was drawn when government determined when and where tobacco could be used. But government wasn't satisfied. Legislation then dictated how, when and where tobacco products could be marketed, restrictions that predictably increased with time. But government wasn't satisfied.
Through lawsuits and coercive settlements government forced tobacco manufacturers to compensate customers for healthcare costs and damages even though smokers continued to use a product the health risks of which have been common knowledge for 50-plus years. But government wasn't satisfied. Government then forced the cigarette makers to fund campaigns designed to prevent people from using their perfectly legal, albeit unhealthy, products. Still it wasn't enough; government's feeding frenzy continues.
As long as scraps remain on Big Tobacco's carcass the government shark will not relent. It will consume every bite: meat, gristle, fat, bone and all. Tobacco companies will next fund advertisements in which they're forced to admit
to committing fraud and mischaracterizing their products.
The Justice Department has devised a list of “corrective statements” that tobacco companies must publicly announce. In one statement the cigarette companies will disclose lying about light and low tar cigarettes in order to maintain their markets. Another government prepared statement compels the companies to acknowledge manipulation of nicotine levels so as to sustain addictions and create a perpetual customer base.
Each corrective statement- -in print or broadcast form- -will announce which tobacco manufacturer sponsored the ad and that it was released “under order of a federal district court.” A more fitting disclaimer would reveal that cigarette makers produced the ad under coercion, or direct threat, from a government more akin to the defunct Soviet Union than to the United States of America.
Tobacco companies are fighting the government's dictates. But they have as much chance to avoid their fate as a wounded seal has to escape a Great White. Legal challenges are a dead end thanks to judicial activists such as District Court Judge Gladys Kessler
. Kessler has publicly declared her desire to force the industry to fund the government's “corrective statements.” Big Tobacco has no reason to think that Judge Kessler, or any judge of like manner, will grant them a fair shake rather than ruling according to predisposed attitudes?
It's not my desire to defend tobacco companies or the use of their products. Tobacco in any form is a good habit to avoid and the health risks are the worst kept secret of the last half century. However, tobacco isn't an impossible habit to kick; millions of people have done so, including me. I forsook smokeless tobacco cold turkey after using it for fifteen years. For a smoker to think light cigarettes mitigate the ill health effects of tobacco indicates a foolish person, or someone intent on rationalizing their habit.
We have far more to fear from government intrusions than from tobacco peddlers. Big Tobacco never forced a single soul to smoke; it was a personal choice for which the smoker bears ultimate responsibility. Conversely, government can force our actions through fines, imprisonment, or even death. We should be wary of government's willingness to publicly vilify any private company, even one as politically incorrect as tobacco, just as a swimmer should be wary of doing the breast stroke in shark-infested waters. Just as government has denigrated tobacco it can denigrate any company or industry it chooses for any reason it deems necessary.
Actually, governments are more dangerous than sharks. Stay out of the water and the shark risk is mitigated. Where can one go to avoid government's feeding frenzy?
George Washington said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Sharks or fire, the victim is consumed just the same.
Colonel Gaddafi needs a promotion
February 26, 2011
Any dictator worth his salt holds a rank or a title befitting his position. Hitler was der Fuehrer, Stalin a Premier and Castro the leader of the people's revolution. Despots invariably come packaged with lofty monikers, either by personal choice or popular declaration. So what happened to Col. Muammar Gaddafi?
Gaddafi is no doubt the perfect thug. But he falls short when it comes to image. Gaddafi has ruled in Tripoli since shortly after Thomas Jefferson's forces persuaded the Barbary pirates to give up the ship. Yet the highest rank he has attained is that of colonel?
No disrespect intended toward colonels, mind you. Some of America's greatest military leaders wore the silver eagle at one time or another: Pershing, Patton, Ridgeway, McArthur, Eisenhower, Schwarzkopf. But each one moved on to general before making their reputation and securing their fame. Few are the colonels who are household names.
Sure, there are some. Col. Sherman T. Potter of the 4077th M.A.S.H. comes to mind, as well as Colonels Hogan and Klink from Stalag 13. A colonel managed Elvis Pressley, at least for a while, and Col. Sanders is famous worldwide. There were also the Kentucky Colonels of the defunct American Basketball Association. Yet “Colonel Gaddafi” lacks the requisite pizzazz we would expect from an iron-fisted dictator who has ruled for half a lifetime.
Col. Gaddafi, your grip on Libya is tenuous at best. Still you've vowed to die
rather than surrender. If the time is nigh for your departure to the land of seventy virgins grant yourself a promotion before you go. I assume you possess that authority, and it's only fitting for a tyrant to outrank his military generals.
Pick a new title, Colonel. Call yourself a Six-star General, or High Commander of the Libyan Revolution. How about Exalted Excelsior or Perpetual Potentate? Or you can go the acronym route. How about the Sympathetic, Understanding, Caring, Knowledgeable and Excellent Ruler of Libya (S.U.C.K.E.R. for short)?
Chose anything you like. But don't die a colonel. You don't want to be the lowest ranked despot gathered around Satan's fireplace. The other dictators--the ones with cool titles--will laugh at you. “Hey, Col. Gaddafi, fix me another cup of brimstone.”
Your boasts are bold, Muammar. You'll fight to the last drop of blood. Judging from the mobs in your streets, the defection of senior diplomats
and air force pilots
, and the fall
of one city after another you'll probably get your chance. Don't disgrace history's great dictators by checking out of here a mere colonel. Go out with a new title, something grand, eloquent and memorable.
Libya's Supreme Sultan of the Ceaselessly Shifting Sands. Now there's an epitaph any tyrant would envy, and it'll look great on your tombstone. What's more, a Supreme Sultan won't spend his eternity fetching cups of brimstone for Chairman Mao.
WWRD: What would Reagan do?
February 24, 2011
Event the casual observer will notice the regularity with which President Obama invokes the ghost of Ronald Reagan. When Obama speaks about American leadership
he'll call on Reagan. If he's focusing on fiscal
solvency he'll call on Reagan. Both are ironic, since America has become tepid internationally and experienced exponential spending growth under Obama's administration.
Obama cites Reagan rather easily for such a decidedly leftist president. You have to wonder how many people are falling for his bluff. Obama needs to alter his image if he desires to prove his affinity with Reagan. The union showdown in Wisconsin grants the President an opportunity to achieve that goal. Failing to follow a Reagan course will confirm Obama's rhetoric as politically-driven hot air.
Thousands of Wisconsin's public employees, most notably teachers, have walked off their jobs. Union bosses claim the employees are demonstrating for their collective bargaining rights. Actually, they're staging a de facto wildcat strike. Employees have called in sick when they aren't ill, and doctors are allegedly providing excuses so those employees can receive their sick pay. In short, the public employees and their sympathetic physicians are irresponsible, undependable liars
. The protesters are receiving paychecks from public funds under false pretenses, which make them cheats and thieves as well.
Many Christians wear “WWJD” bracelets. When they face a moment of truth they ask, “What would Jesus do?” Wisconsin is a moment of truth for Obama. A “WWRD” bracelet will remind him to ask, “What would Reagan do?”
He needn't guess. History shows him exactly what President Reagan would do under similar circumstances. When air traffic controllers walked off their jobs in the summer of 1981 President Reagan told them not to let the door hit them on the way out. Controllers called Reagan's hand and discovered that he wasn't bluffing. If Obama truly desires credibility as our 40th
President's disciple--a President whose popularity
is waxing, by the way--he can build it in Wisconsin.
Obama, however, hasn't embraced the attitude
toward Wisconsin's public employee unionists that Reagan held toward air traffic controllers. Actually, he has taken a diametrically opposite position. Not only has he refused to denounce the protesters, he has embraced them. And for what cause other than the unionists' demand that Wisconsin continue to fund their wants with money the state doesn't have? That's not Reagan-like, Mr. President.
To be fair, Obama can't follow Reagan's example in practicality. The Madison marchers are state employees whereas the air traffic controllers were federalized. But he can adopt Reagan's attitude. Don't bet the farm on that happening. Obama is light years from filling Reagan's legacy in this area, or any other for that matter. Each reference he makes to Reagan is as much smoke and mirrors as his claim that healthcare reform reduces the deficit or the stimulus package created jobs.
If Obama possessed even the slightest interest in emulating Reagan he would support Governor Walker's attempt to restore fiscal discipline to Wisconsin. The Governor's plans aren't unreasonable. In fact, they reflect nothing more than what millions of private sector employees deal with every day. Poor economic conditions affect private sector pay and benefits. Budget constraints should have a similar affect on the public sector. Carrying a union card and paying a monthly tribute shouldn't shield public employees from fiscal reality.
What would Reagan do? He would support Gov. Walker's attempt to address Wisconsin's fiscal reality. He couldn't deal with these strikers like he dealt with the air traffic controllers, considering they are state employees. But he wouldn't hold them up as the supreme example of America's work ethic either.
What will Obama do? He'll cater to the unions who keep his campaign coffers flush with cash and he'll bolt from any proposal that promises to slow government's growth. Obama will prove that his budget hawk rhetoric is as empty as Nancy Pelosi's head and that the only commonality he shares with Reagan is having parked his derrière in an Oval Office chair.
The Middle East reaches a fork in the road
February 19, 2011
A fork in the road tells travelers that their current path has ended. The travelers are then compelled to decide among the four choices a fork presents. The first options are obvious; choose one of the new paths. The third option is to be satisfied with their current position and remain at the fork. The fourth option is to return the way they came.
Egyptians have followed Hosni Mubarak's path for more than a generation. But autocratic rule has little respect for the individual and can carry a people only so far. Egypt has reached the end of Mubarak's path. They arrived at the proverbial fork in the road and must choose from the four options.
Eliminate the third and fourth alternatives. Egyptians have no interest in revisiting the past or maintaining the status quo. The street protests and Mubarak's subsequent resignation prove their desire to go in a new direction, with both the right and left fork presenting a series of unsettling unknowns.
How much time will pass before the wisdom in Egypt's selection is manifest? Will their new path equal greater freedom, or produce a more caustic brand of totalitarianism than experienced under their former ruler, as did Iran's revolution in 1979? How will Egypt's new direction affect its relationship with the West, particularly the United States? As of now there are no adequate answers, only opinions.
Captain Ramius (Sean Connery, the Hunt for Red October) stated it so well, “A little revolution now and then is a healthy thing, don't you think?”
American history began in revolt against a tyrannical sovereign, only our revolution was bloodier than Egypt's has thus far been. Thus Americans admire the underdog, the courageous few who will thumb their nose at the despot. However, as much as we would love to see liberty flourish in the Arab lands, allegiance with the protesters is premature. That fact hasn't kept President Obama from singing their praises.
Obama said that “Egypt will never be the same.” He is correct, change is coming and Egypt will be different. Yet neither he nor anyone else knows how the transformation will unfold or what future waits down either fork the Egyptians follow. Free elections, democracy in action, don't guarantee freedom.
For instance, one of the Iraq War's key objectives was to depose a dictator and establish a democratically elected government. Such a government would, theoretically, produce a free Middle Eastern state with close ties to the West. That mission is complete. Saddam Hussein is gone and Iraqis have chosen their path. But the result hasn't been the Jeffersonian Republic we had expected or hoped for, at least thus far.
Post-Saddam Iraq is a Shiite Muslim theocracy, governed by the same religious doctrine that guides Iran's Ayatollahs. Liberty, particularly religious liberty, isn't common under such rule. Iraqi Christians have suffered repeated assaults on not only their religious liberty but their very lives. And the Shiite attitude toward women is in no way conducive to freedom.
Egypt's new path could lead in a similar direction. What's more, Egypt isn't the only predominantly Muslim nation facing a choice. Many such nations stand at a comparable fork in the road. In each case--Algeria, Tunisia, Bahrain, Iran, etc.--protesters are targeting authoritarian regimes. Their uprisings have brought the United States to its own fork in the road.
Americans admire the revolutionary spirit and desire for self-determination. But revolts are worthwhile only when they result in free nations with peaceful intentions. It's too early to determine that freedom and peace are coming to Egypt or to the Middle East overall. In fact, there's little reason to believe either fork will foster greater liberty, prosperity, or peace with Western Civilization within the Islamic world.
Middle East protesters have no apparent desire to retrace their steps or remain at the fork. They will choose one of the paths ahead. But it's quite possible that both paths will lead them to another, perhaps harsher, form of authoritarian oppression. Let's not be hasty in pronouncing 2011 the year Arabs and Muslims chose the road to liberty.
Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
February 5, 2011
If fluff and folderol were electrical energy the Super Bowl could power America for the next millennium. The “event” has become a tiresome six-day carnival followed by an equally tedious six-hour pre-game show on Sunday afternoon. Each year the halftime show is more garish than last. Add Meatloaf, Korn, Vanilla Fudge and Cream to this year's Black-Eyed Peas and your Super Bowl party is fully supplied.
Somewhere amidst the nonsense is a football game, which is what the Super Bowl is all about. Green Bay and Pittsburgh are so similar and evenly matched that the actual game should help football fans forget the over-hyped media circus. One thing is certain; there'll be more yellow (uniforms, not flags) in Super Bowl XLV than in any game since the Steelers beat the Rams in 1980. Uniforms, however, are the only thing “yellow” about the Packers and Steelers. Both bring hard-hitting, aggressive, blitzing defenses to Dallas.
When Pittsburgh has the ball
Statistically the Packers match up well against the Pittsburgh offense. Green Bay ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and second in scoring defense. The Packers love to pressure the quarterback, recording 46 sacks during the regular season (second only to Pittsburgh). Thus opposing quarterbacks completed only 56-percent of their passes (4th) for 6.5 yards per play and recorded a league worst passer rating (67.2).
Green Bay must apply that pressure Ben Roethlisberger if they're to be successful. Big Ben is tough and he's no stranger to the Super Bowl spotlight. But he can't do a thing when he's on his back. The Packers have reason to believe they can hit Roethlisberger hard and often. The Steelers line allowed 78 QB hits and 43 sacks, both ranked in the bottom third of the league. Also, inured Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey is out for Sunday. His replacement had exchange issues with Roethlisberger in the AFC Championship Game.
Pressure on Roethlisberger opens opportunities for Green Bay's secondary to make big plays. The Packers allowed only 16 touchdown passes (4th) while recording 24 INTs (2nd). Their chances increase immensely with a pick or two, especially in the red zone where Pittsburgh converted only 51-percent of the time during the regular season.
The opposite holds true if Roethlisberger has time to throw. Few teams went deep as well as Pittsburgh. Green Bay wasn't exactly susceptible to the long ball, but they surrendered enough pass plays of greater than 20 yards to cause some concern in that area. Big Ben will use his strong arm and big play receiver Mike Wallace (21 yards per catch, 10 TDs) to test the Packer secondary.
Pittsburgh's offensive advantage lies in the running game. The Steelers weren't the league's top rushing team, but they did manage 120 yards per game and more than four yards per carry behind 1273-yard rusher Rashard Mendenhall. Green Bay ranked only 18th against the run and surrendered 4.7 yards per attempt (28th). Green Bay's task isn't hopeless, however. Pittsburgh will find running in the red zone difficult. The Packers gave up only six rushing TDs all year (3rd) and, as stated earlier, the Steelers weren't great inside the twenty.
When Green Bay has the ball
There's no reason whatsoever for the Green Bay Packers to run the football Sunday night. James Starks did a fair job late in the year. But the Packers leading rusher, Brandon Jackson, averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. They ranked 24th in yards per game, 25th in yards per carry and rushed for only 11 touchdowns (18th). The lone bright spot for Green Bay's running game is ball security; they fumbled only four times in the regular season.
Pittsburgh is by far the NFL stingiest run defense. Opponents rushed for only five touchdowns, averaged three yards per carry and 60 yards per game. Forget about the lethargic Packer running game breaking a big play. They had only four runs of more than 20 yards all year while Pittsburgh surrendered only one such run. Anything positive Green Bay can muster on the ground is a huge plus. But only a breakdown on the Steelers part will make that possible.
The lack of a running game places the Packers chances squarely on Aaron Rogers. He'll be harassed by the only pass rush to exceed Green Bay in QB sacks. Advantage Pittsburgh. Their pass rush won't be slowed by the anemic Green Bay ground game. But Rogers is a strong-armed quarterback who is highly mobile and throws accurately on the run. There will be some opportunities if Rogers moves outside the pocket.
Green Bay's advantage comes in completion percentage. Rogers had a 65-percent completion rate while opposing quarterbacks connected on 61-percent of their throws against Pittsburgh. The Packers need to make the passing game their form of ball control. Third down at any distance is tough against the rush happy Steelers. But Rogers can buy time with his feet and the Packers have enough receivers to spread the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers must contain Rogers in the pocket where they can hit him often and force a fumble or an interception.
Neither team excelled on special teams, nor are there exploitable disparities between them in any area of the kicking or punting game. If there's a special teams edge it belongs to the Steelers. Pittsburgh connected on 78-percent of their field goal attempts while Green Bay converted just 70-percent. That doesn't seem like much, especially when neither team plays home games under kicker-friendly conditions. But the open end of Heinz Field makes it the NFL's toughest venue for converting field goals. That degree of difficulty plus an eight point edge in accuracy percentage equals a clear advantage for the Steelers.
How does it end?
Aaron Rogers will have a sound game and the Packers will move the ball. But without a ground game to slow the Pittsburgh pass rush Green Bay will become one-dimensional, making it difficult to sustain drives. The Steelers should simply play their defense; stuff the run and pressure the quarterback. An interception or two will be more than the Packers can overcome. Pittsburgh pressure will make it difficult for the Packers receivers to finish their routes. Third and five or greater is Green Bay's worst enemy.
The running game is the key for Pittsburgh. They needn't be dominant on the ground; just good enough to tire the Green Bay defense and counter their blitz. A few well-timed draws or screens should benefit Pittsburgh, taking pressure off Roethlisberger and opening up deep routes for Mike Wallace. If the Packers blanket Wallace on deep routes Roethlisberger can find Hines Ward and Heath Miller underneath.
Pittsburgh will hoist its seventh Lombardi Trophy, solidifying their status as the NFL's most successful franchise of the last forty years. The defense will play the major role, but the quarterback will get the glory. Ben Roethlisberger, despite his off-field drama, earns legendary status in the Steel City with his third Super Bowl title, equaling Troy Aikman and Tom Brady. He also moves a step closer to joining Bart Starr, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the most successful championship signal-callers in NFL history.
Final score: Pittsburgh Steelers 20 Green Bay Packers 14
Statistics and league rankings: NFL.com
Death by a thousand firecrackers?
February 2, 2011
People in Dearborn, MI can breathe a little easier; a mad bomber is off the streets. Roger Stockholm
is safely locked in the jug, charged with issuing terrorist threats and possessing explosives.
Stockholm, a 63-year-old Californian, was arrested outside the Islamic Center of America. In his car was a veritable arsenal. Well, it was an arsenal if a cache of Class-C
fireworks constitutes an ammo dump. Apparently, Stockholm intended to bring down the Islamic Center with a battery of Black Cat firecrackers. Even so, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said after Stockholm's arrest, “I think the society he wanted to impact is safe.”
Really Chief Haddad? Safe from what: putting out an eye or losing a finger? It's difficult to imagine Stockholm inflicting mass casualties or widespread damage with explosives that can be bought at a convenience store. And just what was his plan of attack: illuminate the target with sparklers and utilize bottle rockets for suppressing fire while deploying M-80s to blow the mosque apart brick-by-brick? Sure, fireworks can be dangerous. But this case seems a mite overblown.
In my youth my friends and I played with similar weapons of mass destruction. No model airplane, Hot Wheels car, or plastic soldier proved a match for our FDTs (Firecracker Demolition Teams). Yet the only times we inflicted casualties was when we'd stuff firecrackers in anthills. We never damaged so much as a dog house, much less a mosque. Furthermore, today's M-80s aren't comparable to those of yesteryear, which would instantaneously transform a wooden birdhouse into toothpicks. Destroy a mosque? If Muslims want to play the terror victim they'll have to do better than this.
When it comes to plotting terror attacks Roger Stockholm is a rank amateur compared to Islamic militants. Stockholm chose roman candles. Muslims pack a skiff with high explosives and sail it into the hull of a U.S. Navy warship. Stockholm had a carload of firecrackers. Muslims detonate remote control car bombs in the midst of open-air markets and have elevated the dynamite vest into a demolition art form.
Admitted, Stockholm does appear something of a crank. But in this case he's guilty of no more than poor judgment and possessing illegal fireworks, which makes him as much a terror threat as a 13-year-old kid on summer vacation. So what purpose is served--other than the obvious comic relief--by terrorism charges against Stockholm?
Perhaps this is the latest attempt to prove that terrorism isn't exclusively Muslim. Of course, no one has claimed it was. Not all Muslims support terrorism. It's unlikely a majority of them do. Yet it's undeniable that a significant number of Muslims find their epiphany in converting the world to Islam one suicide bomb at a time.
If Islam's best counter to the Muslim terrorist stereotype is a 62-year-old kook with a carload of fireworks they have precious little evidence to offer. I suggest they go back to the drawing board.
The war that will not end
January 31, 2011
Thirty-five years ago the last U.S. soldiers left Vietnam. Yet the war continues because Vietnam's veterans returned home to contempt rather than appreciation. Even today a celebration
in their honor--held near Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, NC no less--can't escape the longstanding divisions.
Fayetteville's mayor organized this “homecoming” celebration. But he also invited Quaker House
to participate in the festivities. Quaker House represents a pacifist, anti-Vietnam War attitude, a fact readily recognized by the organization's director, Chuck Fager. Fager defended his group's participation on the basis that anti-war sentiment is a historical aspect of the Vietnam era. While he's factually correct, he has missed this event's point.
Not every celebration needs to be a history lesson. The Holocaust is a historical fact of World War II. Selling out neighbors to the British was common during the Revolutionary War. But we don't recognize Nazis on Victory in Europe Day or Tories on Independence Day. These examples are extreme, yet the inclusion of an anti-Vietnam protest organization in a Vietnam veteran's recognition ceremony is equally inappropriate.
The mindset represented at Quaker House had its day. Protesters received the hero's treatment during the Vietnam War. Sure, they had their share of detractors. But media coverage gave protesters far more favor than was their due. Why can't the Fayetteville celebration honor the soldiers who did Vietnam's dirty work? Why should they share the spotlight with an organization promoting anti-Vietnam War films featuring the traitorous Jane Fonda, which is Quaker House's plan?
Mr. Fager, stay home and keep your sympathizers with you. Keep your films in the can and the North Vietnamese Army's favorite vixen off the screen. This is the soldier's day, not yours. Fayetteville's mayor shouldn't have invited you and you should gracefully butt-out.
People can disagree with why Vietnam was fought and how it was managed. They're free to question and second-guess Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, or whoever. But the men who fought, bled and died in those steamy jungles didn't deserve the anti-war protester's scorn.
The Vietnam soldier fought the communist expansion in Southeast Asia. They won the battles in a war where political considerations denied them victory. Vietnam's ultimate outcome wasn't what their efforts earned. There was no justifiable reason for a misguided generation of Mao disciples and slovenly hippies to spit on them and called them “baby-killers.”
Vietnam veterans gave what they had and proved that America wouldn't sit idly in the face of communist aggression. They fought under restraining rules of engagement against an enemy that knew no rules. And they did so at the behest of a government that tied one hand behind their backs before sending them afield.
Sure, efforts have since been made to recognize and honor the Vietnam veteran's service and sacrifice. But they deserved a proper homecoming when they returned from Southeast Asia. A little extra recognition now is more than justified.
Is President Obama a racist?
January 28, 2011
What would you think of evidence that suggested Barack Obama is a racist? And what if that evidence indicated his prejudice wasn't against white people but against blacks? And what if that evidence were supplied by Rev. Kojo Nantambu, President of the Charlotte (NC) NAACP?
Nantambu recently declared Charlotte a bastion of racism and called on parents to hold their children out of school on Martin Luther King Day. According to Kojo, the black community is “appalled and incensed” with the school system's “disdain and disrespect” toward them. What so upset Kojo and the NAACP?
MLK Day is a scheduled school holiday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools held class anyway, needing to make up for snow related closures the week prior. Said one parent who honored the boycott, “I think he (King) would have wanted all of us to protest today. I think this injustice (sic).” Attendance was down on MLK Day and about 100 people shouting “No justice, no peace” marched in uptown Charlotte.
Perhaps, by now, you're wondering how Kojo's diatribe paints America's first black President as hostile to black equality? Take a guess where Obama observed MLK Day. If you answered, “At a school,” take a gold star. Not only did Obama visit Stuart Hobson Middle School in the nation's capital, he took Michelle and his two daughters with him.
Apparently the President isn't alone in his “disdain and disrespect” for black Americans. Stuart Hobson is an 86-percent black school in an 87-percent black school district. Should we then conclude that Stuart Hobson students, parents, and the predominately black community are racist against themselves?
In all honesty, MLK Day is a holiday at Stuart Hobson and those who attended school, Obama included, were participating in volunteer projects. But sometimes the absurd is best illustrated by absurdity. This is one of those times.
Just as there was no racism on the part of the Stuart Hobson community or the Obamas in participating in school centered functions on MLK Day, there was no racism involved in the Char-Meck decision to hold class. President's Day is also a designated Char-Meck make-up day. What's more, President's Day isn't even a school holiday; it just happened to fall on a teacher work day. Memorial Day, too, is a snow make-up day. Charlotte schools will also hold regular class schedules on Lincoln's, Washington's and Jefferson's birthdays. Now, explain to me how MLK Day has been singled out or disrespected due to racism?
Equally incredible is Kojo's charge that Charlotte is a hotbed of racism. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is 64-percent white. Yet that racist, white population elected a black mayor and black mayor pro tem. Black residents are well-represented on the city council, county commission and school board, too. Oh, and Charlotte employs a black police chief.
Kojo's outrage may earn him 15 minutes of fame. But beyond that it's utterly nonsensical. Does anyone think Dr. King would want his legacy honored by keeping black children out of school when one of the changes he sought was greater educational opportunities for black children? Isn't it more logical to commemorate King's life by attending classes instead of cutting them? I doubt King would feel honored when kids waste his day rather than seizing its opportunities.
Kojo Nantambu's racism charges have nothing to do with genuine discrimination. He's exploiting racism to increase his social standing and relevance. Kojo, and those like him, conveniently find Klansmen around every corner. Yet who demagogues the problems facing black communities--illegitimacy, educational failure, drugs, gangs--while offering no viable solutions? He should recognize these problems as matters of personal behavior, not conditions imposed through systemic racism.
Kojo has manipulated a non-issue and found racism where none exists. He did so for purely selfish reasons. It's a repugnant tactic that everyone should repudiate regardless of their race, color, or creed.
Obama's “say anything” address
January 26, 2011
The State of the Union address to Congress is a presidential duty per Article II, Section Three of the Constitution. Obama fulfilled that duty Tuesday night in a literal sense; he delivered an address to Congress. But frankly, his speech was dull, uninspiring and said little about the state of the nation. He sounded more like he was on the campaign trail.
His was a politician's speech meant for an audience of politicians, long on focus group rhetoric and short on vision and honesty. Obama delivered a vapid concoction of talking points and spin. He said nothing that he meant and meant nothing that he said, save the central theme of his oratory, that government growth and national prosperity are synonymous.
We should've expected nothing else. Obama won office via a campaign predicated upon change and immediately doubled-down on his predecessor's worst decisions. He uttered lofty words about transparent government, an end to cronyism and the need for fiscal discipline. Instead we received a boatload of czars with unspecified powers and no public accountability and a healthcare bill that was debated, passed and signed into law without being read. Obama filled his staff with cogs from the Chicago machine, the Federal Reserve and Goldman Sachs. He and the Democrats drove an already unseemly federal budget to levels that make the spendthrift Bush administration seem like the progeny of Ebenezer Scrooge and Jack Benny.
It wasn't partisan bickering that voters rejected last fall. It was Obama and the Democrat agenda; make no mistake about it. Tuesday's speech was his feeble attempt at image rehabilitation. But why believe him? Why trust him on any subject, even when his words may have sounded plausible?
Oh, he appeared Reaganesque when he spoke of American resilience, ingenuity and determination. Or did he? Actually, Obama sounded distant and unconvinced when addressing the nation's attributes. He portrayed research, innovation and advancement as impossible dreams without government's intervention, as if Americans are too lazy and stupid to achieve on their own.
He insinuated that voluntary exchange represented in the free market is insufficient to address the country's future needs. Obama made it quite clear that we cannot be trusted to make the proper decisions, with “proper” defined as the choices our rulers in Washington prefer that we make. America's greatness, therefore, is dependent on having an all-encompassing central government at its core.
The President alluded to his preference for “robust” debate. Yet that call rings as hollow as Nancy Pelosi's cranium. Debate itself is fine, as long as his opponents eventually agree with him. However, there's little common ground between Obama and conservatism. Obama considers government the answer to most every problem while conservatives find government the cause of most every problem. The two philosophies are polar opposites.
Tuesday evening was a microcosm of the Beltway culture, an evening long on political theatre, posturing and grandstanding. Obama's speech attempted to employ Ronald Reagan public rapport to promote Lyndon Johnson policies. Instead he appeared hollow and disingenuous. The worst part was he wasn't acting alone.
The Republican Party was entrusted with halting the Democrat assault on liberty, not taking them out on dates. Yet there they were, giddy as teenagers in a corner booth at the Norman Rockwell Memorial Malt Shop. The entire charade, if charade it be, was appalling. Frankly, I hope the prom night atmosphere was a false pretense; we've endured enough insipid displays of bipartisanship. Republicans were hired to stop the Democrat's statist governance, not compromise with their collectivist vision.
The entire evening was a fraud, a detestable hoax presented to the American people as unity. The only believable promise was the central theme. Obama pledged government first, government last and government at all points in between. But more government cannot solve the problems government growth has created. Only liberty, tempered with a higher sense of personal morality and responsibility, can ease the burden this country bears.
Politicians are known to say anything, promise anything, and do anything. Obama is a politician, as are his Democrat colleagues and, I fear, too many Republicans. The only theme that can be trusted from Tuesday's State of the Union Address is the call for greater federal control over our lives. Let us not be deceived by the disingenuous blather fomenting from Washington's blind guides and demagogues, regardless of their party or position.
A line from a song of the 1970s sums up the situation pretty well: I'm tired of hypocrite freaks, tongues in their cheeks, turning their heads as they speak. They make me sick and tired.
America's Black Monday
January 21, 2011
On January 22, 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to the Constitution and American jurisprudence from which we've yet to recover. That was the day when seven black-robed justices overstepped their authority and plucked a right to abortion from the 14th Amendment, where no such right had previously existed.
Wading through judicial opinions is taxing even for those schooled in law and legal precedent. For the rest of us, we have about as much chance to comprehend this maze of legalese and obscure rulings as we do of deciphering faded Egyptian hieroglyphics. The endless references and cross-references confuse with regularity, even if not intentionally meant to do so. Yet even the slightest diligence, research and application of common sense will reveal Roe v. Wade for the fallacy it is.
The plaintiff in Roe v. Wade alleged that Texas' abortion laws, as they existed in 1971, violated privacy guarantees found in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. While there's no doubt that Americans enjoy the privacy and freedom to determine their sexual activities--we owe deference not to governments but to Divine Authority or personal conscience for our intimate choices--there's neither reference nor inference to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. That would necessarily include the cited amendments. The U.S. Constitution therefore grants no authority to the federal government to act on the matter of abortion.
One may attempt to form a case for federal oversight based on the authority to regulate interstate commerce found in the Constitution's Article One, Section Eight, a clause already bastardized beyond imagination. But in the Roe complaint there was no interstate commerce to regulate, rendering even an oblique application of the commerce clause a moot point.
Abortion is not a subject in which the federal government enjoys authority to speak, regulate, or legislate. The Constitution's silence becomes each state's gain. The Tenth Amendment explicitly grants authority to the states or to the people in all areas where the central government is not specifically authorized to act. Therefore Texas, and all other states, reserves the right to regulate abortion to whatever extent represents the ideals, perceptions and morals of their citizens.
Ample precedence existed before the fateful Roe v. Wade decision to support the state's rights view on abortion regulation. Each state had governed abortion as it saw fit for well over a century before the Supreme Court inserted itself into the equation. As Justice William Rehnquist cited in Section II of his dissent
The fact that a majority of the States reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those States, have had restrictions on abortions for at least a century is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not "so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental."
There was no longstanding precedence affirming abortion as a fundamental human liberty that would warrant Court action in its defense. A right to abort a pregnancy is not a self-evident truth, as is the right to speak freely, to petition the government, or to bear arms in protection of self, family and liberty. Ironically, these latter liberties--all essential--are under constant assault from the very factions that consider abortion rights an integral part of a document in which no such right appears.
The fact that states had possessed authority over abortion law until the Roe decision further refutes the idea of abortion being a fundamental constitutional liberty. States had exercised regulatory authority over the performance of abortions since prior to the Civil War, which necessarily meant before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. It cannot be said that the drafters of said Amendment then intended to remove from the states authority over subjects not addressed in its language.
One of the chief arguments Roe supporters present is the need for easy abortion to protect a mother's life. On the surface this reasoning has validity. There's no doubt that each person owns their life--at least in relation to their government and fellow man--and cannot be legislated into surrendering that life without due process of law. This is essential to liberty and enshrined in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. However, only pure ignorance on the part of abortion supporters can justify citing the protection of the mother's life in defense of Roe.
The Texas law that Roe v. Wade overturned did not outlaw abortions under all circumstances. That reality circumvents the most cited argument for abortions, if indeed protecting the mother's life is the Roe supporters' prime concern, which is debatable. The overturned Texas statute, enacted in 1857, provided for an abortive remedy when the mother's life was at risk. Thus the pro-abortion “life of the mother” argument is rendered moot, for no mother's life was jeopardized by the Texas law. This fact was recognized not in the Rehnquist dissent but in Section 1 of Blackmun's majority decision
Another of Blackmun's rationale seems equally contradictory. In Section VI (4), Blackmun cited English law in evidence for his opinion. The British Parliament had passed legislation in 1967 that greatly liberalized the use of abortion as a medical treatment. In addition to protecting the mother's life, the British law also took into account the mother's physical and mental health as well as the prospects of both for the fetus. In other words, the British legislated in favor of abortion on demand. Blackmun basically inserted the British law into the U.S. legal system, subverting state authority and the legislative process.
Abortion remains a divisive issue mainly because of Blackmun's activism. Notice that the British altered their abortion laws through their elected representatives. The various states comprising the United States saw their abortion laws altered by judicial diktat. The American people had no voice whatsoever in the direction an issue of such moral, personal and religious sensitivity would progress. It was imposed sans the consent of the governed, a fundamental overstep of judicial and federal authority.
The best avenue for addressing the abortion issue to everyone's satisfaction is to overturn Roe v. Wade in its entirety. The ruling represents a poor application of the Constitution, if indeed the states have sovereign authority over all powers not delegated to the central government nor constitutionally prohibited to the states and the people. And they do, for although the Tenth Amendment is routinely compromised and ignored, it hasn't been repealed.
Without Roe v. Wade each state enjoys sovereign authority to establish abortion protocols representative of their citizens' moral and ethical conscience. Under such a scenario people can move to a state where their positions are adequately represented, whether their views on abortion side with the Southern Baptist Convention or the National Organization of Women. Under the current condition, everyone must live under the onerous decision rendered by Blackmun and his six activist colleagues.
Abortion law under Roe v. Wade does not reflect the consent of the governed. It represents the tyranny of the judiciary and it's wholly at odds with both the concept of a free people and the idea of a representative republic of sovereign states.
Dr. Hoyer diagnoses the TEA Party
January 14, 2011
Steny Hoyer's time as the House's second in command is complete. But he didn't accept his demotion quietly. Instead he delivered a psychological evaluation
of TEA Party activists. Dr. Hoyer's diagnosis: “My presumption is they have unhappy families.”
Thank you Dr. Hoyer. Your keen insight has revealed the true mental state driving the TEA Party. TEA Partiers hate their mothers. They have low self-esteem due to incessant emotional and physical abuse suffered at the hands of their domineering fathers. Likely as not they want to wed their siblings, or perhaps their family pets. The root causes of their familial dysfunctions are limitless. But obviously TEA Partiers were forced to eat too many Brussels sprouts when they were young.
There's only flaw (only one?) in Dr. Hoyer's dysfunctional family theory. Steny Hoyer isn't a doctor.
includes a substantial list of accomplishments. He holds two degrees, both from prestigious universities. Hoyer has served on numerous boards and caucuses in both the private and public sectors and he's a career attorney. But nothing in his background qualifies him to render a psychological evaluation on Aunt Matilda's Miniature Schnauzer, much less on a grassroots political movement comprising millions of individuals.
Someone on the congressman's staff must've realized the nature--and possible repercussions--of his gaffe and made an attempt at damage control. According to an Investors.com article, his office released this statement:
Mr. Hoyer clearly meant that everyone has to compromise sometimes as part of a family and that compromise is necessary to successfully govern. He obviously was not referring to the personal family life of a large group of people.
Yeah. And then there's the one about the goose that laid the golden egg. Hoyer's “clarification” spins like a category five hurricane. And spin is exactly what one might expect from an attorney who is also a left-wing politician.
If Hoyer didn't intend to snipe at his political opponents, why comment on the TEA Party at all? He certainly wouldn't have reached into his “Li'l Shrinks Junior Psychologist Kit” for a psychopathic connection between political activism and family contentment. Had he really meant to highlight the TEA Party's lack of interest in compromising with Democrats he could've said so. It's not like that's a guarded secret or deep revelation. In terms of discovery, uncovering acrimony between the TEA Party and liberalism isn't exactly Columbus' landing at San Salvador.
Hoyer's statement wasn't meant to question the TEA Party's willingness to reach across the aisle. He meant to discredit his opposition to the greatest possible degree. That's how demagogues operate; casting dispersion on threatening opinion is a fundamental tactic of the tyrant. It's Orwellian in theory and totalitarian in practice.
Well, it appears I'm psychoanalyzing Steny Hoyer's motives. So what? My qualifications for determining another person's mental state are at least on par with his. After all, I'm not a doctor.
Jared Loughner: Timothy McVeigh reincarnated
January 14, 2011
The similarities between the 2010 election results and those in 1994 are evident. In 1994 frustrated voters vented their disgust with a Democrat administration's leftist direction and gave Republicans control of Congress for the first time in decades. What happened in 2010? The American people again rejected a hard-left push from the Democrat Party and Republicans won overwhelmingly. Within months of each election the Left used an unspeakably violent act to falsely portray conservatives as vicious, unstable cranks.
It was Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. It's Jared Loughner and the Arizona shooting in 2011.
Before anyone concludes that I'm launching a conspiracy theory let me state that I don't believe the Left orchestrated either the Oklahoma City Bombing or the Arizona shooting. But their reactions to both tragedies prove that they've learned Rahm Emmanuel's lesson quite well: a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Arizona, like Oklahoma City before, has fueled a left-wing crusade the sole intent of which is to denigrate and silence political opposition.
To the Left, human suffering equals political opportunity. It was so with Oklahoma City, and with Hurricane Katrina, and with the Jena Six. They demagogued the massacres in Stockton (CA), Killeen (TX), Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois. Now they're demagoguing the Arizona shooting. It's shameless, and it's time to call the Left on their duplicity.
Democrats and their media allies seized the moment when Timothy McVeigh struck, just like they're doing now. Before the rubble had cooled at the Alfred Murrah Building they had blamed everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress. Before Arizona's first victim was eulogized the Left was blaming Sarah Palin, talk radio and the “new media” for pushing Jared Loughner over the edge.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) went so far as to blame
the Arizona rampage on the First Amendment. He thinks there are just too many media outlets and too much information available to those of us in the great unwashed. We simply lack the intelligence to distinguish his truth from our concocted fantasies. The accusation is perfectly clear. Conservatives are half-cocked knuckle-draggers ready to go off at the slightest provocation. We must be led on a government leash.
The prevailing media
sings the chorus with equal intensity. Leftist commentators and journalists dissected the influence that conservative discourse played in driving Loughner's rage. Their conclusion: Anyone espousing conservative thought, debate, or activism shares culpability for Loughner's massacre. Even after acknowledging that no evidence exists to link Loughner to conservative positions or personalities, the Left continued to promote the connection.
Democrat strategists used the Oklahoma bombing to silence conservatives and quell the support for a smaller federal government that existed in 1994. There was no factual basis for their argument. McVeigh himself was something of a loner and neo-Nazi sympathizer--not a constitutional conservative. But the accusations had an affect. The game plan is the same with the Arizona shootings and Jared Loughner now. The similarities between the Left's manipulation of Oklahoma City and Arizona cannot be dismissed, nor can they be allowed to flourish.
Little information has been verified concerning Jared Loughner's political inclinations. The most credible evidence paints Loughner as a mentally unstable recluse motivated more by occult interests than a political agenda of any stripe. And nary shred of evidence has been presented to link Jared Loughner to conservative causes or right-wing rhetoric. Ironically, there is more hearsay evidence
to link Loughner to left-wing radicalism than to right-wing conservatism.
Yet leftists continue to spin the Arizona tragedy for political advantage. It is they who are using incendiary language to divide our nation. It is they who exploit duped followers with blatant lies about political opponents. This time, unlike the spring of 1995, conservatives must hold the line against the Left's baseless attacks.
Democrats aren't appalled by the so-called “inflammatory rhetoric” coming from conservative politicians, talk radio hosts, or the TEA Party. They fear the substance behind the arguments. Therefore those voices must be marginalized by whatever means necessary. This time conservatives must stand their ground. History may repeat. But the end result must be changed.
Reading the Constitution was a worthwhile stunt
January 11, 2011
Considering Washington's modus operandi anything that happens in the District warrants a grain of salt. In the last ten years Republicans spent
money and expanded federal power in ways that would've made previous Democrat leaders green with envy. Their profligacy allowed Democrats to paint the GOP as a party of big spenders, helping Democrats to victory in `06 and `08.
However, the spendthrift methods the GOP had employed apparently didn't sit well with the Democrats. Upon regaining government's reigns they set out to prove
that Republicans remained, by comparison, the party of limited government and fiscal sanity. Thus neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are as good as their rhetoric, making cynicism a proper response to Washington theatrics.
With both parties growing government and its related red ink, it's perfectly normal to dismiss the House's reading of the U.S. Constitution as a publicity stunt. Were Republicans simply catering to budget hawks and Tea Party activists while Democrats were trying to prove that they realize the Constitution exists? Both accounts are likely. But if the Constitution's vocalization was a self-serving political stunt, it was a worthwhile stunt. Let's look at three reasons why.
Foremost, the Regressive Left's outright contempt for the supreme doctrine of American government was prominently displayed. Liberal-leaning media commentators referred to supporters of our founding document as possessing a fetish
. Sure, some Democrats participated in the reading. But some
found nits to pick or other things to do. And really, there's little wonder that leftists aren't enthused about reading the Constitution.
The Constitution, as written, limit's the central government's authority, clearly defining the areas where Congress can exercise its due influence and where it cannot. Regressives think big government is good and bigger government is better, thus ignoring the Constitution makes perfect sense for them. Conversely, conservatives believe that the government governs best when it governs least. If that makes for a Constitution fetish then label me a pervert and we'll continue.
Another reason to applaud the Constitution's reading is because it forced ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (yes, everyone realizes she's the ex-Speaker, but I love using the phrase) to acknowledge the document. Last year, following the healthcare debate, a reporter asked then-Speaker Pelosi what part of the Constitution authorized Congress to provide or require healthcare coverage. She became incredulous
. However, the reporter's question was serious and reflected the views of many Americans. Pelosi learned that lesson last November.
Granted, reading even a small segment of the Constitution is to Pelosi what holy water is to Count Dracula. And merely reading the words will do nothing to reshape her collectivist mind. But at least she's been forced to publicly recognize the document before her next premeditated subversion.
A third reason this stunt makes sense it because it reminds Congress that it's a representative body and not the U.S. House of Sovereign Lords. These 435 men and women take an oath to abide by the Constitution. They make no vow to circumvent the amendment process or to ignore the document when it proves inconvenient. Isn't it then sensible that representatives pay homage to the principles they swear to uphold? A representative Congress does not rule arbitrarily. A representative Congress cannot enact just law while exceeding its granted authority. Again, there's no guarantee of compliance. But due deference was offered, which is at least a starting point.
Among the first acts of the 112th Congress was to read the U.S. Constitution on the House floor for the first time in our nation's history. Perhaps it was simply a stunt, albeit of some value, intended to placate a restless and concerned electorate. Or was it something more, a repentance for Congress' errant past? We can hope the latter. But keep the cynicism handy and call it an act of eternal vigilance. That is, after all, freedom's price.
The five myths of Regressive politics #5: Conservatives stifle dissent
January 8, 2011
Whenever conservatives question stale Regressive talking points they are accused of stifling dissent. Of the five myths discussed in this series--racism, poverty, sexism and environmentalism being the first four--this is the greatest myth of all. Once again, apply the slightest common sense to the Regressive's accusation and it melts like ice on a blistering sidewalk.
What represents today's most popular conservative media outlet? If you answered talk radio, take a gold star. Talk radio is conservative equal time, offsetting the Regressive dominated media. If Conservatives stifle dissent, the greatest vehicle for promoting limited government vanishes in a flash.
Where would conservatism be if there were no Rush Limbaugh, no Sean Hannity, no Jason Lewis, or no hundreds more conservative radio hosts in local markets from coast to coast? Where would they be without free speech? Conservative talk radio wouldn't exist and the Reagan Revolution would've long since withered away. Free speech kept conservatism viable during Bill Clinton's early presidency and stoked the 1994 Republican Revolution.
Conservatives want to quell free speech and stifle dissent? Why not just cut off our right arms? Please. Can't Regressives do better than that?
The left's accusations about stifling dissent arise from the Conservative's attitude toward content. The right to free speech compels no one to listen; audiences must be earned. Conservatives recognize this fact. But Regressives adamantly declare that their right to speak includes a right to force others to listen. This is the First Amendment, Regressive style.
Insubordination infuriates Regressives. Thus they despise having free speech employed to challenge their motives and ideologies, such as the Iraq War protests. When those protesters were challenged they accused Conservatives of stifling dissent. Actually, Conservatives were engaging in debate, something most Regressives avoid like the plague.
The left is where censorship exists in its purest form. The university, long a bastion of leftist elitism, has been home to speech codes for more than 20 years. Any discourse that may offend a protected class is summarily banned. “Hate speech” is the code word on campus.
Furthermore, it is the left that fosters the legal love affair with “hate crimes” legislation. Crime is crime, and few crimes there are that are born of a desire to do unto your neighbor as you would have them do unto you. Therefore hate crimes are but another means to the same end, that being the abolishment of speech, thought, opinion, belief, or content that does not follow a Regressive doctrine.
Yet another cause for left-wing resentment toward free speech is their utter failure in exercising it. Air America is exhibit A. The Regressive radio network launched in 2004 to counter conservatism's talk radio dominance. No problem thus far. However, the network struggled from the womb, went bankrupt in 2006 and ceased operations entirely in 2010. Air America's leadership blamed the collapse on a stagnant economy. Yet the network never generated a dependable audience or a steady revenue flow, the absence of which is a perfect recipe for bankruptcy. Their flimsy excuse begs the determination that the left's disdain for talk radio stems from jealousy.
The Regressive playbook is based on blind allegiance to banal talking points. Since such arguments can't stand scrutiny the left must control the debate. Therefore they accuse conservatives of stifling dissent, the very tactic they deploy at every turn.
A “gay-friendly” military demands a cultural transformation
December 30, 2010
Our country is based on individual liberty, meaning people can interact as they will. As long as a chosen act doesn't compromise our neighbor's liberty our actions remain our personal choice. That includes what two people may deem proper behind closed doors. Gay activists, seemingly, would welcome such a concept. But that's seldom the case. Cultural norms must yield to accommodate homosexuality.
Gay activists experience problems with the subject of privacy, for they generally aren't content to interact privately. Gay activists prefer flaunting
their sexuality and forcing others to accept and support their sexual decisions. Oppose their lifestyle and you're instantly equated to the white-robbed segregationists from the early 20th
Century. However, open homosexuality presents cultural problems extending beyond questions of right and wrong. These issues will come to a head in our military when “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” becomes “Don't Ask, Do Tell.”
Politicians, bureaucrats and military leaders have weighed in
on both sides
of open homosexuality. These high-level dialogues focused primarily on military preparedness and unit cohesiveness under such a policy. While such discussions are valid, they ignored fundamental issues that affect both qualities. Lest we forget amidst the swirl of self-congratulatory open-mindedness, heterosexual and homosexual service members must now interact openly on a daily basis.
Men and women don't share living quarters, showers and other personal facilities for several reasons, chiefly sexual privacy and cultural morals. Integrating men and women in intimate situations is an invitation to sexual advances, including those of the unwelcome variety. Can anyone believe that similar indiscretions won't occur between gay or lesbian and straight service members?
Yes, there are methods for dealing with unwanted sexual attention. But such rules can also govern current heterosexual conduct. Therefore, if it's sensible for straight men to shower and bunk with gay men, and straight women likewise with lesbian women, shouldn't heterosexual men and women shower and bunk together, too? Isn't segregating them according to their heterosexuality a form of discrimination? Besides, think of the recruitment campaign we could create.
Integrating straights and gays is a unique dilemma. Can the Pentagon keep everyone free from sexual harassment while simultaneously preserving modesty and privacy? Ordering straight men to room with gay men is equivalent to ordering women to room with men in general. The same holds for rooming straight women with lesbians. Bunking lesbians with straight men won't work either. Men and women would still be integrated in intimate conditions even though the women, being lesbians, wouldn't be interested in the men.
Another possible solution is to have gay men shower and bunk with straight women. No, that's totally unworkable. Women could feel threatened (perhaps aroused?) by the gay men's presence. Another downside to this proposal is the number of straight servicemen who might suddenly declare their homosexuality so they could join the straight women in the shower. Or, we may have straight women declaring lesbianism so they can shower with the straight men. Each scenario is downright confusing.
Regardless of an individual's gender or their sexual attraction there invariably exists the possibility of feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable, compromised, intimidated, threatened, or violated from the opposite sex's presence in personal situations. Every relationship, every interaction, is muddled when time-honored gender and sexual boundaries are erased. And we haven't even considered the affect bisexual and transgender personnel will have on the aforementioned interactions.
Is there an option that will satisfy everyone? The Pentagon can provide separate facilities for each gender and sexuality. Or, all personnel can exist in one communal environment where accommodations resemble Roman bathhouses. Men, women and transsexuals, heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals can shower to the rhythmic refrain of the Village People's In the Navy.
Pandora's Box is open wide. The potential outcome is an abundance of fraternization and sexual harassment charges from and toward all genders and sexual preferences. Only one bet is safe: I'll wager that gay activists will dismiss any sexual harassment complaint lodged against a gay service member as baseless homophobia on the part of an intolerant heterosexual. Any takers?
Thoughts and questions on various matters
December 31, 2010
A large number of Americans believe that less productive people deserve more and that more productive people deserve less. If that weren't true, politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Charles Schumer and Patrick Leahy couldn't get elected dog-catcher, much less to Congress.
No matter the dictates of multiculturalism and political correctness, Christmas remains the prime reason for December celebrations. “Prove it,” you say? Alright. How many people would tune in to watch the annual presentation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa?
Is it possible to sell our fellow citizens on the virtues of individual liberty and personal responsibility when so many have become quite comfortable in the veritable bondage of government dependence?
Whether a person considers a political advertisement a truthful assessment of a candidate's positions or an unsubstantiated attack on their character rests solely on whether their preferred candidate is the ad's target or its originator.
A sticker on a bottle of lamp oil reads, “Danger! Do not drink!” What purpose can this warning serve? If someone is so dense as to drink lamp oil, that person isn't smart enough to read and understand the warning label.
Here is another undeniable truth of Interstate driving. You must travel 75 miles per hour to pass the same car that you were about to run over when traveling at 50 miles per hour.
No matter the trade or profession, and regardless of the employer, each shift claims to do all of the work while the other shifts laze about accomplishing nothing.
Are the people who think Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators are dangerous zealots who must be countered by the Fairness Doctrine also the people who consider Keith Olberman a reasonable, logical and balanced reporter? If I were a gambling man, I'd wager yes.
The long-term trend toward greater judicial activism, legislative hostility and public apathy bode poorly for our constitutional republic's future. The 2010 election results can be a positive step toward correcting the first two problems, but only if it means we have rid ourselves of the third.
Not being big on conspiracy theories, the “birther” movement holds little interest for me. However, I do consider Hawaii's certificate of live birth a redundancy. Isn't the fact that someone is standing in front of you proof positive that the person was born alive?
When then-President Bush escalated the entitlement system (Medicare Part D) and stated that he was abandoning capitalism (TARP) in order to save the free-market system he threw open the door to Barack Obama's presidency. When Obama escalated what Bush began (Stimulus, Healthcare Reform) he set the table for last fall's Republican gains. Voters are now left to wonder which party will screw-up bad enough to lose in 2012.
Do whitewall tires still exist? And while we're on the subject of tires, when and why did sporty white-letter tires decline in popularity in favor of the nondescript black wall?
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have made nice livings peddling ordure under the mantle of social justice and civil rights. But have no fear; anything you've retained from Sharpton's or Jackson's rhetoric can be remedied with a dose of Ex-lax.
The bikini is far more than an eye-catching cultural icon; it is an economic anomaly. Bikinis represent one of the few transactions (lingerie being another) where customers willingly pay more to receive less.
Anyone so naïve as to believe buying carbon offsets from Al Gore's companies will halt climate change would also buy air from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India and top soil from Chernobyl.
Why do people tie their shoes together and toss them across electrical power lines? It's a waste of time and shoes. Plus, it's done so frequently it can't even qualify as an original prank.
Congress has investigated numerous baseball players for lying to Congress about steroid use. Why, then, can't we charge Congress with lying to us about the sub-prime lending fiasco, bailouts, stimulus, healthcare reform and pretty much everything else Congress does?
The five myths of Regressive politics #4: Conservatives hate the environment
December 31, 2010
Biased news reports and mindless Regressive propaganda routinely support the notion that conservatives are anti-environment. Can we pause the rhetoric for a moment and think logically? If conservatives intend to destroy the earth, and succeed, where will conservatives live? This Regressive allegation is nonsense, appealing only to the vacuous mind.
It is a conservative principle to use resources wisely, not wastefully. Compare the word “conservation” to “conservatism”. Both are rooted in the preservation and protection of that which exists. Thus it's natural for conservatives to exercise judgment when managing resources. When environmental debates arise, conservatives will examine the various arguments and produce a viable, rational conclusion. Take climate change for instance. Conservatives see the issue without the green-colored glasses the Regressives favor.
I will say, with full confidence, that conservatives have no intention of cutting down the last tree or poisoning the sole remaining stream. There's no right-wing plot, latent or overt, designed to foul the lone uncontaminated particle of air or consume the final bite of food with no thought for the future.
Charging conservatives with anti-environmentalism is actually paradoxical. It's an endorsement of conservatism if we are as destructive to the environment as Regressives claim. Everyone, regardless of political ideology, needs air to breathe and water to drink. If conservatives have learned to live without these necessities then we can certainly devise a more innovative course for America than can the Regressives.
As for the Regressives themselves, are they really concerned with the environment? Or are they simply using environmentalism as a bridge toward greater statism? If enough people become convinced that using natural resources--oil, coal, trees, fish, whatever--is environmentally destructive, then the power of government can be exercised to “protect” those resources from “exploitation.” Property rights then decline in direct proportion to government's ascent.
The only viable option for protecting natural resources, according to the green activist, is placing them off limits. Thus Regressives oppose environmentally dependent industries with fervor akin to how Nazis opposed Jewish shopkeepers, with the hunting, coal, oil and timber industries centered in their crosshairs. Using a natural resource often means wading through a maze of bureaucratic regulations. These positions render Regressives the worst enemies of the causes they claim to defend.
For instance, sport hunters have a vested interest in protecting wildlife and habitat. Without both there's no game to hunt or fish to catch. Therefore sportsmen pay excise taxes on their equipment, benefiting both game and non-game species. Timber companies are idle without an abundant supply of mature timber. Thus common sense demands that the timber industry replant the forests they harvest.
Successful environmental dogma depends on a lack of analysis from its disciples. Only a complete idiot would believe that conservatives intend to destroy natural resources and render the earth uninhabitable. Maybe that's why the notion is so popular among Regressives.