Join us for debate at our Facebook Group, Liberty Cafe!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The TSA Intruder Song

They're climbing in your crotches
Snatchin' your raisins up
Tryna pretend their securin
So you better hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your gradmama

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There Was a Fed Chairman Who Swallowed a Fly

…that eventually led up to a printing press! Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to respond to a number of things that have been in the news recently. However, Peter Schiff has done my job for me. Yesterday, he published an absolutely brilliant blog on the Fed’s most recent quantitative easing package better known as “QE2.”

Last week, there was an op-ed piece (written by Tim Egan) published in the New York Times depicting how President Obama saved capitalism. The New York Times does employ more than its share of intellectually challenged writers, but this article was pure tripe. It would be ill-mannered for me to suggest that the author really believes what he wrote.

In a nutshell, Peter Schiff’s column puts the falsehoods written in the NYT article into perspective, but I’ll sum up the main points:

Egan touted the growth in the stock market between 2008 and 2010. This extremely ignorant position ignores the declining value of the dollar, as the dollar and stock market have an INVERSE relationship. There is no growth when the market is measured in cheaper dollars. It’s obvious that Bernanke can easily fool leftists into thinking there is positive growth, which has been the exact intention of quantitative easing. I know people easily forget history, but the last two economic crashes came from this type of monetary policy and deception. Also, it’s noteworthy point out that when the exact same policies were the norm under the Bush Administration; the country was going to hell according to the left. Now all of a sudden, it saves capitalism!

In response to the bailout of the auto industry, there is no mention that Ford saw this crisis coming and managed to restructure itself WITHOUT the help of the government. In addition, it is wild speculation to suggest that more than 1 million jobs would have been lost. Perhaps GM and Chrysler should have merged. Some jobs would be lost, but how many jobs are lost or never created due to the propping up of irresponsible companies? If society longs for new opportunities, then it must let go of the past. GM could have dissolved or sold off GMAC, since the company has turned more into a creditor than an automaker. Egan also neglected to mention the opportunity cost of such a decision as well as the high labor costs that have had a negative impact on the competitiveness of these companies.

Perhaps the most ignorant statement in the column is when Egan suggests that record low interest rates are good for capitalism; and this should end all serious-minded discussions about Obama’s ideology being that of a socialist. This tells me that Egan doesn’t know the definition of capitalism or socialism. Egan doesn’t realize that free market capitalism has been DEAD for over a century. Economic policy steered by a central bank/planning committee is the type of market steering that is NOT present in free market capitalism. Government interference does not occur. Egan, like most leftists, does not understand the difference between “capitalism” and “crony capitalism,” or “statism” – the latter being a form of socialism. In this case, former President George W. Bush was just as much of a socialist as Obama.

Egan also mentioned record corporate profits in his column. While it’s true that the earnings outlook is very optimistic, the bigger picture reveals a bleak outlook. These profits are being derived from cheap money and the Fed’s influx of cash. None of it is real. There are some companies with record revenues, but eroding profit margins. I wouldn’t suggest that Egan doesn’t know the difference between revenue, profit and profit margin. Perhaps he ran out of time or felt an illustration of this point wasn’t necessary. Peter Schiff took the time, and I quote the following:

“In the 16 months since Bernanke assured us that QE1 would not jeopardize price stability, oats prices are up 40%, concentrated orange juice up 45%, gold and rice up 50%, corn up 55%, coffee up 60%, copper up 70%, sugar up 90%, and cotton and silver up 100%! (The sluggish Dow Jones Industrials are “only” up 30%.)”

I do think it is safe to say that Egan hasn’t followed the CRB index, which spells out inflation better than anything. Has anyone noticed that their grocery bills are rising? I anticipate that crude oil prices will be climbing into the mid $90 range very soon.

Cheap money doesn’t translate into growth. Cheap money doesn’t allow innovation. Growth and innovation are what creates jobs, and neither is currently present. The actions taken by the Federal Reserve will not allow companies to take risks, and it suggests that businesses know that the economy is much sicker than the lies being told. That’s why jobs have not come back, and they will not come back until the Fed reverses course.

The CRB index indicates inflation and a guarantee of eroding profit margins, which will eventually send the stock market into a downward spiral. Ben Bernanke and leftists devoid of business and economic intellect can pretend that companies are just “sitting on piles of cash.” Businesses are seeing their hiring costs rise and their purchasing power weakened. Egan missed the fact that healthcare costs have gone up at least 10 percent since Obamacare was passed since he still thinks it will lower costs. Businesses are having difficulty dealing with the increases in benefit costs and payroll taxes – specifically SUTA liability (State unemployment tax).

I don’t know what planet Egan and other leftists live on, but it’s certainly not Earth. The business world does not suffer from the amnesia that seems to have taken hold of leftists and establishment politicians who applaud the current economic policy and Ben Bernanke. I’m certain that the chief economists in the business world understand the fact that the Fed only knows how to blow two asset bubbles 1) a stock market bubble and 2) a housing market bubble. The economy has suffered from both of these bubbles popping in the same decade. The attempts are now being made to recreate the stock market bubble of the late 1990’s. Commodities speculation is running wild, and soon will come the crash. If Obama wants a second term, he had better hope the crash comes after 2012. Either way, the economy will be worse in 2012 than what it is now if the insanity is not put to a stop.

On a lighter note, I finished Peter Schiff’s parity on the classic nursery rhyme. Do consider that I’m poetically challenged! However, this simple tale will allow children and some commentators on the left to understand my point!

There was a Fed Chairman who swallowed a dime
I don't know why he swallowed a dime - perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman swallowed a quarter,
Would have been better if it were mortar;
He swallowed the quarter to inflate the dime;
I don't know why he swallowed a dime - Perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman who swallowed a dollar;
He didn’t holler after swallowing the dollar.
He swallowed the dollar to inflate the quarter,
He swallowed the quarter to inflate the dime;
I don't know why he swallowed the dime - Perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman who swallowed a bond;
Too bad it wasn’t a magic wand!
He swallowed the bond to inflate the dollar,
He swallowed the dollar to inflate the quarter,
He swallowed the quarter to inflate the dime;
I don't know why he swallowed the dime - Perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman that swallowed a stock;
as the health of the market goes tick tock!
He swallowed the stock to inflate the bond,
He swallowed the bond to inflate the dollar,
He swallowed the dollar to inflate the quarter,
He swallowed the quarter to inflate the dime;
I don't know why he swallowed the dime - Perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman who swallowed a house,
Why not a mouse?
He swallowed the house to inflate the stock,
He swallowed the stock to inflate the bond,
He swallowed the bond to inflate the dollar,
He swallowed the dollar to inflate the quarter,
He swallowed the quarter to inflate the dime;
I don't know why he swallowed the dime - Perhaps he'll die!
There was a Fed Chairman who swallowed a printing press...
He’s dead, I guess!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bloody Optimism

What should be hanging over the front door of Congress:
Abandon hope all ye who enter here

The GOP took the House. Great.

Are they going to do what's necessary?

Probably not.

But thank God that there isn't a rubber stamp Democratic Congress anymore.

But that doesn't mean the Republicans won't screw it up. Tea Party congressmen don't make up enough of the new Republican majority to matter. It will be up to the establishment GOP, specifically the Speaker-elect, to realize the road were on is not paved with the Fed, bailouts or half measures.

He needs to put up that sign. He needs to tell his people that all they might have is one term. One term to do great things and save a country. One term to turn around decades of wrong.

But I doubt he'll do that.

But at least the Dems aren't in full control anymore.

That's optimistic, right?

The Class-Filled Classless Utopia

To the left...

Whites = white skin regardless of ethnic background
African-Americans = black skin regardless of ethnic background
Asian-Americans = slanted eyes regardless of ethnic background
Latinos = Spanish speaking regardless of ethnic background

and now it just hit me that...

LGBT = anyone who isn't straight regardless of sexual orientation

It's all about broad class, isn't it? I thought gay was men, lesbians women, etc, but apparently if you're anything but straight you're part of the LGBT class. Politically, it works wonders to get people organized. Individual rights-wise... it destroys people's individuality through mass peer pressure. That's why if you tell a lefty that you're gay and conservative, they look shocked. Same goes for black and GOP or any other combination that doesn't equal minority and Democrat. Like ethnicity, the left fail to realize there are lines between gays, lesbians, bis and transgenders. Human nature is to be tribal and these tribal lines appear in all things.

That's why I read GayPatriot. You get a non-party directed view of gay conservatives and their issues with both sides. Read it. You'll love it if you love freedom.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rally to Restore Reality

The day after President Obama was elected, I told advocates of the principles of limited government not to despair; as Obama would make the best case for the cause in decades. More (but not nearly enough) people are becoming very attuned to economic policy, but that tends to happen when one in ten people are out of work and the grave threat of our debt exceeding GDP is now a mathematical certainty. Too bad it had to get to this point.

Last night’s elections were historic. Washington has a lot of energetic new faces who have vowed to restore fiscal sanity. I extend major congratulations to Rand Paul of Kentucky, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. And now for the buzz kill…

History serves an important purpose. If we wish to know where we are going, let’s remember where we’ve been. Once upon a time, it was 1994. A much younger, naïve and idealistic “me” enjoyed the left-wing media drowning in their tears over the election results. For the first time in four decades, Republicans won control over both houses of Congress and had a commanding gubernatorial majority. Who can forget the disenchanted faces of Peter Jennings and Cokie Roberts? Let’s take a twenty minute journey back to 1994…

ABC News Election Coverage - Part 1

It will be interesting to see if Obama’s speech today will mirror former President Clinton’s. Clinton took some of the blame for the defeat, but quickly noted that the results were not a vote against policies. People were simply fed up with the process and feuding in Washington. My money is on Obama repeating most of the tenants of this speech verbatim, along with a reminder for people to continue to be patient with “hope and change.” (Anyone recognize Fox’s Britt Hume reporting in the video?)

The results of 1994 about mirrored last night’s results, as several of the same states had GOP gains.

ABC News Election Coverage - Part 2

This video is worth the watch, as we see a newly elected George W. Bush as Governor of Texas, who ironically asked the federal government to “leave Texas alone.” Too bad he didn’t subscribe to that position as President. Cokie Roberts was quick to point out her opposition to a balanced budget amendment, as she wondered if newly elected GOP governors would give up the siphon of federal funds. Fair and balanced journalism at its best!

Before we warp back to the present, who could forget Rush Limbaugh’s television show?

The Day After: “Thanks for the Memories”

I certainly won’t miss Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, or any of the other “comrades” who were sent packing last night, but now it’s time to get serious …

History has indeed repeated itself. Unfortunately, it is very likely that the ugly part of this history will repeat – the reality that the GOP will fail to deliver just as it did in 1994. Remember the Contract with America? Look at the empty promises for yourselves. Who would have thought at the time that the 104th Congress would have helped Bill Clinton and prominent Democrats devise an asset bubble that would bring the economy to its knees in 2008? Mr. Newt Gingrich was hired as a top consultant to Freddie Mac. Don’t believe me? Allow me to put you on the path.

I referred to myself as being idealistic and naïve in 1994; however, in my shameful defense, at least the 1994 Republicans had a better selling product. The current GOP Pledge is very weak and full of holes, as I pointed out in my recent column. This is largely due to the fact that the establishment leadership survived the brunt of last night’s attack. In 1994, Democratic Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, actually lost his seat. At the time, 134 years passed since a sitting Speaker had lost their seat in an election. However, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (thanks to Sharron Angle shifting the focus OFF the economy) will still be alive and well in Congress although the larger problem lies with establishment Republicans.

John Boehner will presumably take Pelosi’s place as Speaker of the House. However, how can the public be confident in a man to be fiscally responsible whose voting record reeks of fiscal irresponsibility? Let us not forget Boehner’s overwhelming support for the bailouts and TARP.

I believe Boehner’s drunken, emotional speech last night will give Saturday Night Live plenty of much needed comedic material; but the following speech is no laughing matter for those deeply concerned about the country’s economic woes.

Boehner’s Bailout Rally Cry

There he was in 2008 begging for support on the bailout bill - an “imperfect product” by his own admission. Rather than dazzle his listeners with economic know how (which is obviously absent) he suggests that a “mud sandwich” will save the economy. He really believed he put “America first” by pledging support for this bill. Am I supposed to be excited about his recent promotion and confident that he will put the country on the right fiscal path? Give me a break.

Hopefully, the history I have provided here will jog the memories of those who were dancing in the streets last night looking just as foolish as the “Obamabots” did in 2008. Some inroads have been made, but we need to see a lot more before I’ll be sipping champagne. While I’m excited about the victorious candidates I mentioned earlier; at the same time, I’m deeply concerned that their efforts will either be blocked by the establishment or they will BECOME the establishment. However, if these dedicated folks follow the current path of New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, it will be possible for America to be put back on the path to prosperity. Christie has shown it can be done, even in the most impossible areas. Their success will give way to more like-minded candidates in 2012, but their task will not be easy.

If the GOP is to gain any kind of steam, then their members need the political courage to have an adult conversation of the following nature with the American public. It begins with a revelation that the entitlement days are over, which includes but is not limited to the following:

• Raising the retirement age for social security as well as introducing private investment options
• Discontinue extending unemployment benefits, as it RAISES hiring costs
• Eliminate thousands of government jobs and modify government employee retirement plans to emulate a defined contribution plan
• Require federal and state governments to balance their budgets
• Enact REAL healthcare reform, which goes far beyond the repeal of Obamacare. Americans need to be told that insurance as access to healthcare is severely flawed and is directly responsible for costs spiraling out of control. Reducing the role of insurance companies through high-deductible plans along with tort reform are the places to begin.
• Eliminate the current severely progressive income tax in favor of the Fair Tax. The days of punishing success, innovation and investment need to come to an end.

Who can honestly say that they are confident in the GOP to bring forth this message? Most of these measures are not even listed in their “Pledge.” Who will have to political guts to tell people out of work that their unemployment benefits are being cut off, that they need to pay for their OWN healthcare and work LONGER before they receive any social security benefits? (Anyone follow France’s news lately?) Who has the economic knowledge to ward off the predictable leftist backlash, when they chant their tired, silly rants such as “tax cuts for the wealthy,” and “people will die in the street?”

Do people know and fully understand what needs to be done? Will all who claim that they want the size of government shrunk and entitlements reformed continue to hold this view if it affects them personally? Can the government worker, who voted to eliminate their own job, really understand that their skills can be better used in the private sector; or will they regret their vote? Does the CPA understand that there is more to life than the tax code if they lose their job explaining the tax code to people? How about all of you in the financial sector who are making a fine living off of complex, job inhibiting government regulations – are you ready for a different job description? There are a vast number of people who have relied on big government to make their living, many of whom don’t even realize this reality. Are we ready for REAL change, or do we get scared when this change affects us directly? Are we as a country done eroding our liberties by running to the government for safety in uncertain times; and worse, RELYING on the government to provide economic prosperity? The latter is something the government will NEVER be able to do, as the opposite occurs in each instance it tries. Yet it doesn’t stop elected officials from talking about how they will “create” jobs with their magic wand.

When I am convinced that most of the country will answer “yes,” without a shadow of a doubt, to the aforementioned questions, then I’ll have something to celebrate. More people have begun to open their eyes, as I predicted in 2008, but we are not yet there as a society. Until then, I’m afraid that the efforts of our new, energetic faces will not be enough to overthrow the status quo. The voices of our select few will be overshadowed by the words “work together,” “compromise,” “avoid gridlock” – the very words that got Republicans in so much trouble the last time around. I’m afraid the GOP still doesn’t get it and perhaps never will…

Jerry Brown's Victory Rally

Congratulations, California!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Brain Dead Voting Bloc Now Reality

WASHINGTON (GP News) – In an unprecedented move by President Obama, those voters previously disenfranchised by their inability to be conscious now have the right to vote through proxies by new executive order.

“No longer will those in vegetative states, comas and various other debilitating states be discriminated against,” said the President in a prepared statement to an empty press room. “Just because someone doesn't have the brains to vote doesn't mean they can't vote.”

Paul Dane, Chairman of the Committee For The Lucidly Impaired, hailed the move as President Obama's contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Speaking for his comatose mother-in-law, “Free at last! Oh my God, we are free at last!” Dane, a resident of Oregon, then left the hospital to vote for Proposition 45, a law that would allow for immediate euthanasia of elderly patients in vegetative states.

Surprisingly, the Republicans have responded quite tamely. RNC Chairman Micheal Steele told GP News that he “supported the expansion of freedom” to those who previously could not vote. While questioning the legality of using an executive order, Steele reminded the reporter that he was black, so he knew everything about being oppressed, especially by those in his own party. After that statement, Steele then asked if the interview was off the record.

GP News called several new voters in an attempt to get a more broad sampling of opinions, but no calls were returned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rebel Inside Voices

In the fat years and the lean years, the ideologues, the partisans and the activists never stop believing they're the oppressed. Republicans held Congress for years, spent like wolves in the hen house, but now lays blame for it all on Democrats. Yet, Democrats have ruled Congress for almost every session since World War II, but its the Republicans who block all their pet projects dreamed up by the proto-fascist heroes or their current corrupt jawboners, and not America's keen resistance to overbearing government (when we recognize it). Why does this happen? Because, I believe, American political culture, and culture in general, has become fully invested in victimhood.

Sometime ago, probably at the beginning of the leftist Cultural Revolution in the 60s, the idea of the eternal struggle against the Other (in their case, sanity) became mainstream. The New Left (democratic socialists, front group communists, etc) and the New Right (neoconservatives, big government conservatives, etc) both took and ran with the idea they were the ones who held the American idea AND were oppressed by the government or mass movement. It works well. Americans love to root for the underdog. Mr. Smith, Rudy, Rocky; American heroes in media are usually ones who start from nothing and achieve everything. These stories aren't always false. President Obama himself was born to an impoverished (and somewhat mentally damaged) mother. Obama used this story to his benefit to gain the love of even his political enemies. Yet, it clouds the fact that he was raised by well-off grandparents (who he threw under the bus) and became the center of the Chicago political machine way before even thinking about running for President. Like the President, the Democrats and the Republicans are hardly oppressed, and in fact do a lot of oppressing themselves, and that both ideologies have a long history with massive funding from think tanks, oligarchs like George Soros (by the way, f**k you, Jimmy Carter) and wealthy private citizens. People like Nancy Pelosi, who've got millions, and Micheal Bloomberg, who has billions, can hardly start complaining about being held back. Being the mayor of a city as giant as New York City, or being a American Congressman, makes you more powerful than 99.5% of the rest of the world. Shut up and actually lead for once.

But this infection has also hit we noble citizens as well. We sympathize with the party out of power. We feel the words of a politician recalling a past trauma though it doesn't explain his voting record. Americans give more in private donations than anyone else. We are too emotional for our own good. We are too nice to our political leaders and we suffer for it by being gipt out of our earned labor, our futures, our standard of living and our freedoms. If we were harder on our leaders, inflation wouldn't have destroyed the American family by forcing both parents to work for a good living. If we were more hawkish, the debt wouldn't be at $14 trillion. If we were meaner, they'd fear crossing us by putting a majority of teens out of work by raising the minimum wage beyond what most small business can afford.

It's nice to believe you're the rebel, even if you're a straight-line Democrat or Republican. But you're not, dear reader. You're part of the mainstream. You're okay with Social Security, like the Republican Party. You're a-okay with Obamacare, like the Democratic Party. You may think the Tea Party is racist and is oppressing you from having a big government view, like many leftist anchors... commentators.... no, wait, MSNBC anchors.... believe. You may think Fox News is the next Paul Revere. But none of it makes you the next American revolutionary. It makes you part of the problem.

The problem isn't Glenn Beck or Jon Stewart or the liberal/libertarian/socialist/atheist/agnosticwhatever Bill Maher. It isn't that Nancy StretchyFace has no clue what's in any of the bills her cronies write for her, though that's a big issue. The overall problem is the complanency of the citizenry with short-term programs and short-term issues when the entire facade of central banking and demcoratic socialism is coming down around them. Most people don't have a plan for that. Most people won't know its happened under the paper mache arches that held up the last 100 years of the American Republic are at their feet and our leaders are no where to be seen.

The name of the game is LONGVIEW, people. Not who has whose seat in 2 years, but what structure the American government NEEDS to be in the next 20.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Elections and Ideas

I've been away for a while. Personal and business problems have kept me busy, but I hope to shoot off more frequent posts. But, as always, life in reality comes first before life on the virtual page.

Yet, this time away from writing has given me thoughts (GASP!). Like, the GOP won't fix anything when they gain whatever power they'll get from the upcoming elections. They hoot and hollar now, but like 1994, little change will come from it. It may be little good change, but we don't need little. We need big. We need a massive reduction in the federal government's spending, size and power, but all we'll get probably is maybe another 10-year tax cut, or maybe a shot at Obamacare repeal, or maybe... yeah. If all three of you fans have been reading this blog steadily, you'll know that Michelle and I (mostly Michelle) have been spilling out the details on why we need this hard change economically. The Fed has been f**king up the economy since its inception, taxes are overly complex and oppressive, politically connected corporations use lobbying due to over regulation and get little turfs carved out for them by friendly Congressmen (coughBARNEYFRANKcough), unions suppressing American innovation for lifetime comfort on your dollar; crap like that. Even if the cutesy named “Wave” happens, and the GOP takes everything but the kitchen sink, I doubt they'll do what is necessary, or hold to even 1/10th of whatever promises they've made this cycle. No one should forget 2002-2006. It's just how it goes, no?

I voted straight Republican on my mail-in ballot. I'm thinking I should of voted otherwise.

And this has nothing to do with the good people who support the GOP or some of the better people who are holding office that are GOP. This has to with the fact that our economic changes need to happen quick, not piecemeal. Giant debt, massive government brick walls, an elite in Washington; these things didn't happen overnight. This goes back to the tail end of the 1800s and the Progressive Era. Teddy, Woody, Franklin, and the rest of their lot. The idea of “progress” swept over all the nation, not just a small cabal. But it died, or so it should have. But a bad idea 100 years ago affects us now. We have two houses of Congress at the behest of voters, not one. We have a unaccountable cartel of banks running the economy and encouraging the government-backed risk and government-ruled social justice crap that tanked us in 2008. We have giant liabilities called “handouts” people will fight and kill over. None of this is sustainable. None of this is freedom.

And none of this will get fixed when it should if we let the GOP establishment, and yes, even the Tea Party, keep the status quo through naivety.

When President Obama talked about change, but what he really meant was nostalgia. He threw back to the days of proto-fascism, state-run society and organic nations.

When WE talk about change, we talk about real change. Adaptation to a new world that has left the industrial era of mechanical dreams and world peace. We live in an increasingly decentralized world. Central powers are declining. Alliances crumbling. Nations that'll survive will survive by cutting the fat off their budgets and their societies. That means less entitlements, more freedom. Harsher responses to attacks, less wars of ideals. We've done a lot of good in the last 100 years, but it can't last. Afghanistan needs to be our last hurrah in to good-deed wars. We need to let Europe sit on its own. Our bases need to shrink, though not disappear. The next war, God help us if we have one with Iran, needs to be about two things: vengeance and victory. Democracy isn't a war goal, its a dream of think tanks. We simply can't afford another Kosovo War or 1994 Haiti or Panama.

Our future goal should be maximizing freedom, because the freest of nations will survive the next decade of economic turbulence. Those like China, building cities where no one lives to use surplus labor, will die quickly. We do not want to be China.

Government Gone Wild: Teenagers Banned from Trick-or-Treating in an Illinois Town

Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville Illinois believes the long arm of government should enact his father’s views regarding the age when kids are too old to trick-or-treat. The Mayor told ABC News “When I was a kid my father said to me, 'You're too damn big to be going trick-or-treating. You're done.’ When that doesn’t happen, then that’s the reason for the city governments to intervene.”(*) Therefore, if you are over the age of 12 and trick-or-treat in Belleville Illinois, you will be fined $100. It seems that other townships in several states are quickly following suit.

I understand the position of single mothers and senior citizens. It can be very frightening to have obnoxious teenagers ringing your doorbell, especially when it is dark outside. They could also be adults who can force their way in to rob the person’s home. It is often very difficult to tell just who it is underneath the costume.

Halloween never did much for me as a child and as an adult. I always ended up wrestling the shaving cream out of some punk kid’s hands who thought it was comical to douse people in shaving cream. My kids do not share my view; they absolutely love it, although they are rapidly approaching that “cut-off” age.

Nevertheless, in spite of my views and those who agree that high school kids are too old to be trick-or-treating; I absolutely abhor the idea of the government robbing people of their freedoms. In my neighborhood, there are subdivisions that get so into the day, the intensity of the decorations rivals Christmas. Adults dress in costumes to greet the trick-or-treaters. There are mobs of kids of all ages having a good time and not causing any trouble.

When the long arm of government reaches in, there is great loss of individual freedom. If you detest Halloween; then close up your house, and don’t answer the door. It might be a good day to catch up on all of those errands in which you’ve been procrastinating. It is one’s right to dismiss the day. Nervous single mothers and senior citizens may decide who they open their door to on an individual basis. Those who love the day can go all out. The bottom line is FREEDOM.

Why do some people’s viewpoints trump others and prevail because one is in a position of power to make their views law? The argument always goes back to safety. The news will report on the poor old lady who was robbed for opening her door to who she thought were innocent trick-or-treaters. Playing on the people’s raw emotions of outrage, the knee-jerk reaction is to support such a ban. The truth is people’s homes are robbed every single day. Therefore, people who never outgrow Halloween and wish to do no harm have to surrender their right to celebrate.

I quote Benjamin Franklin: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” The magnitude of the erosion of people’s liberties ranges from minor incidents such as Halloween ordinances all the way up to the Patriot Act.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Thinking of Voting the Status Quo this November 2nd? Think Again…

Several people have sent me this very well written article published on Hot Air (*). While everything written is factually correct, there is quite a bit missing that would give voters a better perspective. Therefore, I’m going to add the missing pieces to this article since it is vitally important that people vote INFORMED this election. Before I delve into this, I will disclose a few “disclaimers” with the hope to avert subsequent commentary based on false interpretations of my position and purpose of writing this article.

First, this article is not being written to bash George W. Bush or lay blame solely on him for the current economic situation. The following is being written with the intent to better inform people and demonstrate the danger of putting establishment Republicans back in power.

Second, it is important to note that the “genius” idea of “affordable housing” is solely attributed to leftists. This was the Democrats’ baby from day one; however, it got by with “a little help from their friends” on the other side of the aisle.

Lastly, I am not in any way suggesting that people vote third party, or that a third party is the solution. I have never nor will I ever devote myself to ANY political party. What I am suggesting is to NOT vote the STATUS QUO. If you live in a district that has a solid Republican running (i.e. a Meg Whitman, a Pat Toomey, a Rand Paul); then by all means, vote for that candidate! Sadly for me, Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in the union run by a strong political machine; and there is clearly no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have run this state into the ground, and the Republican establishment has done an excellent job keeping candidates who are serious about shrinking government off the ballot. Therefore, I will be voting straight Libertarian until I have viable option, or when candidates with a libertarian view can successfully infiltrate the Republican Party.

Now that my position is clear, let’s get into the task at hand…

The first section on Andrew Cuomo, the current New York gubernatorial candidate, is spot on. In a nutshell, leftists had a dream of giving everyone a home, regardless of whether or not they could actually afford it; and they would get taxpayers and the Federal Reserve to finance this dream. Cuomo did play a major role in expanding the power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Perhaps his opponent, Carl Paladino, should focus on bringing this issue to light instead of making absurd statements about homosexuals.) The comment Paul Krugman made was also a nice touch to illustrate the insanity of these policies and his ineptness as an economist.

In the next part of the article where props were given to the Bush Administration is where we run into a problem. While it’s true that President Bush and some Republicans tried to pull back the reins on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; these attempts were pathetic, misguided and very half-hearted. Why? The answer is that it was very difficult for President Bush to reverse his position after he spent the first two years of his presidency touting these very policies. Need proof? Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

The following video is part of a speech Bush gave way back in October of 2002. He addressed the gap between Black and Hispanic home ownership relative to overall home ownership. He was proud to announce that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will address the “shortage of capital” needed to close this gap and that a low-income home buyer could have “just as nice of a house as anyone else!” Of course, taxpayers will finance all of this, which he alludes to in the next clip.

Video One

The first clip, “Video One,” was not one of Will Ferrell’s better impersonations on Saturday Night Live; but for those who doubt that George Bush would actually say what he did, I’ve taken the liberty of finding clips of him in the flesh…

Video Two

“Video Two” was a speech given by Bush on May 17, 2002. In this video, he talks about not one but TWO government entitlement programs designed to assist people in buying a home they cannot afford. The first was the “American Dream Down Payment Fund” where he actually admits that this program will be funded by the taxpayers! Even the most devout leftists know better than to say that directly! The second was the “Single Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit,” whereby each state received a $1.75 per capita in tax credit dollars in 2002, with an index for inflation. This, of course, was yet another misguided government program designed to encourage real estate developers to build in economically distressed areas.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he talked about the importance of the role of the federal government to provide affordable housing. His intention was to get a “sustained commitment” from the private sector. How was that achieved? That’s where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came into play. The idea was to expand capital by having the government put a stamp of approval and guarantee reckless lending. Banks loaned money recklessly because the government guaranteed their idiocy!

If you are getting indigestion, I recommend you stop the video because your stomach won’t be able to take the last part of the clip. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Not only does he foolishly imply that the federal government empowers people, he goes on to say that we must “use the mighty muscle of the federal government along with state and local governments” to encourage home ownership! I honestly don’t think one would hear that come out of Barack Obama’s mouth. The MIGHTY MUSCLE of the federal government?? Why in the world did the left despise this man? They should have embraced him!

Video Three

I never took it personally when I was called an “economic charlatan” by a former graduate school professor, as “Video Three” demonstrated the prominent line of thinking at the time. It was very obvious that my opinion would be considered daft, especially when I voiced it long before 2007.

Here we have the Bush Administration, who by this time tried umpteen times to “rein in” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, denying the impending economic disaster. At this point in time, it was obvious to many prominent classical liberal economists the magnitude of the disaster that was coming our way. The problem is Bush already slept with the left on this issue. The Democrats, namely Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, who sat on the congressional financial committees, were indeed blocking any attempts for reform. However, Bush couldn’t take it a step further because he was treading on dangerous ground in the sense where he had to “180” his position and admit that the policies he flaunted were going to be responsible for a major economic meltdown. That’s political suicide, especially when the left would jump all over him for reneging on his word to help minorities; and leftists knew very well who they can blame (and still blame) when things came crashing down. Due to the fact that Bush was worried about the post-911 economy, he thought inflating investment in the housing market was the way to go. When it became obvious that disaster was looming, what was his answer? More REGULATION and more government expansion, as the next video illustrates. Oh how that works so well. I wonder if he idolized Herbert Hoover because his legacy is that of a modern day Hoover.

Now, it is time for the grand finale. Please stay with me my Republican cheerleaders! It really is for your own good that we travel backward in time.

Video Four

“Video Four” takes us to late 2007, where Bush still believes that the fundamentals of the nation’s economy are sound. In the meantime, our dollar is worth less than a roll of toilet paper, gas prices are shooting through the roof and inflation is everywhere. The man still had the audacity to suggest that the subprime market was “innovative.” He cited the problem with adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMS) rates rising, but he didn’t give the real reason why ARMS rates were rising – INFLATION. I also wonder just where Americans got that “overly optimistic assumption” regarding the performance of the housing market.

He then proceeds to demonize those “irresponsible lenders,” who were only playing by the rules the government laid out for them – the very rules he advocated during the first few years of his presidency. On top of that, he has the arrogance to ask lenders to renegotiate the terms of these loans so they could hold paper with sub-par rates of return, which only leads to future economic turmoil. This is certainly not a sympathy vote for the lenders, as they should have moved beyond their short-sighted view of temporary government security. That will cause your demise every time.

The real kicker here is when he clearly stated that it is not the job of the federal government to bail out the lenders and investment houses. Interestingly enough, one year later, he came on national TV and said we had to “abandon the free market to save it.” He ended up signing into law one of the largest financial bailouts on record.

In the latter half of his speech, he talked about more government programs to combat the crisis – specifically “FHA-Secure.” It is important to note that all this program did was keep the prices of homes inflated; and worse, moved MORE people into federally backed loans. Further expanding the role and influence of the government in the housing market was Bush’s answer when it should have been the opposite. So much for reining in the role of government sponsored enterprises! They should have been ABOLISHED.

All I ask of everyone who reads this column is to HONESTLY answer the following questions:

• Can you see President Obama giving these same speeches, and are the positions exactly the same? Do you understand that Obama has simply expanded on these very same policies?
• Are you confident that establishment Republicans will rail against reckless government spending and the current Obama agenda? Have you read the GOP Pledge to America?
• Are you able to now see how establishment Republicans have laid the groundwork for the current economic state?
• Will you admit to the danger of blind partisan voting?

The latter question is probably the most important, as it is ultimately responsible for the current tyrannical government.

Once again, the purpose of this column was not a Bush-bashing session. I am also aware that George W. Bush is not on the ballot this coming election; BUT the establishment Republicans, some who played a role in helping the leftists in this country achieve their dream, ARE on the ballot! For your own sake and for the future of this country, do not vote blindly this election.

Leftists cannot enact their agenda in this country without help, and the Republican establishment gave them plenty of help all through Bush’s eight years. Government interference in the housing market goes all the way back to FDR. The Carter administration resurrected and expanded the role of government in the housing market; and it was former members of the Clinton Administration (all mentioned in the Hot Air article), that are directly responsible for sowing the seeds of the current economic meltdown. It is very true that Democrats were the masterminds of a scandal that would make Bernie Madoff envious; but the beauty of it all for the left was that they had a staunch ally in George W. Bush to keep those dreams alive. They also had a perfect scapegoat to blame when it all came crashing down. Let’s not re-elect more scapegoats.

How many people believe that these policies were solely Republican? The left has done an excellent job in indoctrinating people into believing this foolish nonsense. Note some of the commentary on the videos. However, Republicans are just as guilty for going along with the plan. What ideology does the Republican establishment stand for? We just saw a Republican President talk about the “MIGHTY MUSCLE” of the federal government! With rhetoric like that, why fear Obama? After seeing these clips and understanding the history, one can only conclude that A) establishment Republicans are clueless stooges or B) their ideology is a less extreme form of socialism. Neither sits well with me, and it should be a grave concern for American citizens that all we have is a choice between social engineering of varying degrees. It is important to understand that every economic meltdown that has occurred over the past century has been a result of government social engineering and market steering gone bad.

For all who think that a Republican takeover of Congress is all that is needed to stop the Obama agenda in its tracks had better wake up and smell the coffee and brush up on history. Until we as a nation come to grips with the fact that government will not solve wealth inequality (it will only contribute to it), right social wrongs, pad our retirements and cure all of our ills, government will only work to erode what little liberties we have left. Until people stop falling for these populist tactics and get educated, brace yourself for more of the same.

Please vote INFORMED this election…


Friday, October 22, 2010

The NPR’s Firing of Juan Williams: The Authoritarian Left at their Best

Poor Juan Williams. Recently, he found out that if you stray the slightest bit off message, the far left will destroy you. They’ve been known to eat their young in these situations in the past. Juan has also experienced what journalists and commentators on the right have experienced for years – left-wing outlets taking one line out of context and painting the person as a racist, a bigot or intolerant. Apparently, those on the left do not like what stares back at them when they look in the mirror. Juan has now come to this realization, and he told George Stephanopoulos that he “always thought the right wing were ones that were inflexible and intolerant and now I’m coming to realize that the orthodoxy at NPR, its representing the left.” (*)

The NPR has fired their only black, objective journalist; and the reason went far beyond his comment about Muslims that was taken completely out of context. The issue that they so desperately try to hide is the fact that Juan works for and makes regular appearances on the Fox News Channel. After all, leftists cannot attempt to indoctrinate the public about how the network is heavily biased, which makes it the furthest thing from “fair and balanced” if Juan Williams shows up there! Their attempts have had no success, as Fox destroys leftist media outlets ratings wise; and they don’t need taxpayer dollars to do so. The only people who currently hold this extremely ignorant view are people who have not watched Fox News outside of Media Matters clips that appear on “You Tube,” as the network employs a very long list of left-wing contributors who appear regularly on commentary programs.

I disagree with Juan more often than I agree, but he is one of few journalists on the left who have integrity and objectivity. Unfortunately, that’s what gets you into trouble with the George Soros’ of the world. Juan’s firing shows just how much of a tizzy the authoritarian left is currently in; and at times like these, they show their true INTOLARENT colors. I disagree often with conservatives and have been engaged in fierce debates, but there is only one group of people who will go to the gutter as NPR CEO, Vivian Schiller, did when she questioned Juan Williams’ psychiatric health. If she made the right decision, then why assassinate the man’s character? It was also noteworthy to see how she slipped and pathetically tried to cover herself when she said that Juan’s statement was “not compatible with a news analyst on NPR,” which she quickly changed to “the role of a news analyst on NPR’s air.” See her comments along with Bill O’Reilly’s interview below:

The O'Reilly Factor 10/21/10

Juan Williams firing was the most COWARDLY action I’ve seen by the left in some time, and unfortunately Mr. Williams had to learn the hard way. It is impossible to have a logical, rational conversation with these people about very complex issues. I’ve seen it first hand at Liberty Café, my Facebook political discussion group. Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg (who to my surprise came to Williams’ defense) walked off their own set, when they became too entangled in their web of political correctness. Frankly, it’s beyond embarrassing when people who preach tolerance can take their degree of intolerance to an unprecedented level.

George Soros can continue to pump millions of dollars into the NPR, Media Matters and all other left-wing outlets; but his efforts will be for naught. The authoritarian left cannot hide who they really are; and when they have two out of three branches of government monopolized, their ideas as well as their leadership will be challenged and criticized. Now we have seen how they respond to criticism by attempting to silence and publically degrade all who oppose them.

Since the NPR is receiving plenty of money from George Soros, I think it’s time that this supposed “non-biased” organization stop receiving TAX DOLLARS. I expect legislation to be introduced in Congress immediately. It is quite clear who the NPR and all public television networks take their marching orders from. I’m all for the existence of left-wing media outlets; I just demand that they get PRIVATE funding.

I extend major kudos to those on the left who defied their zealot leaders and came to Mr. Williams’ defense and called this action for what it really was. I also would like to see Fox News make room for Mr. Williams’ to have his own television show in addition to the promotion he just received.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The GOP “Pledge to America” – An HONEST Analysis

In the short time that the Republicans have unveiled their new pledge, the commentary from the left has been more than amusing. President Obama calls it “irresponsible.” A writer for Newsweek Magazine says it is “unlikely to inspire.” A writer for the Huffington Post claims that the pledge was written by a lobbyist working for House Minority Leader, John Boehner, who lobbied on behalf of large corporate conglomerates such as AIG, Pfizer and Exxon. Shame on all of you who think I don’t read left-wing publications with interest!

Have you grown tired of nonsense being countered with more nonsense? President Obama’s entire presidency has been more than irresponsible; therefore, he should be the last person to use this term. This administration’s absurd economic policy, which just so happens to be an expansion of George W. Bush’s economic policies (what Obama now decides to call irresponsible), along with their insistence on ramming through VERY unpopular legislation doesn’t even make a dent in defining their irresponsibility. The column in Newsweek had a few points in between countering rhetoric with more rhetoric. As for the claim in the Huffington Post, it might be true. However, there’s a great deal of hypocrisy in not reporting on the lobbyists who wrote the healthcare reform bill, the cap and trade bill, the financial reform bills and the economic stimulus packages. Where was the outrage when this legislation passed (with the exception of the cap and trade bill that never made it)? Where was the outrage when President Obama filled his cabinet with lobbyists, after talking about cracking down on lobbyists? If the writer acknowledges the problem of the Washington lobby and is outraged by its influence, then why be so one-sided when calling it out? The truth is partisan loyalty trumps the writer’s alleged concern, and that’s why America is in dire economic straits.

Countering nonsense with more nonsense and empty rhetoric that rallies a political base has always been the way of politics; however, this method has become dangerously dominant over the past decade. If you wish to read an honest, in depth analysis of why I think the GOP’s pledge is a very poorly written document, then make yourself a “cuppa” tea (or coffee), sit back and grant me a small fraction of your time while I attempt to summarize and analyze the GOP’s 40+ page pledge.

Folks can make up their own mind over whether or not the rhetoric in the first 13 pages is exciting. That record has been played over and over before every election cycle. I’ve already memorized the lyrics; therefore, I wasn’t deeply moved. It’s basically the same talking points – different election. This column will focus specifically on their game plan.

Part I: “A Plan to Create Jobs, End Economic Uncertainty and Make America More Competitive.”

Catchy isn’t it? The title itself is an oxymoron because the government CANNOT put together a plan to create jobs, end economic uncertainty and make America more competitive because the government is the reason why there are no jobs, America is losing its competitive edge and economic uncertainty exists! I had a small glimmer of hope that the very first sentence on page 14 would inform the readers of this “minor” detail; however readers had to go through an entire page of more rhetoric before getting to any kind of specifics. A noteworthy talking point that stood out was the following:

“It is time to end this liberal Keynesian experiment and stop the attacks on our employers that prevent them from investing in our economy. We need private sector jobs, not more government.”

All right, everyone put the pom poms down, and let’s take a walk down memory lane. I wasn’t aware that the “liberal Keynesian experiment” began AFTER Obama was elected. Where is the apology from the GOP establishment for enacting “liberal Keynesian” policies all through George W. Bush’s presidency? From the two failed stimulus packages that Bush signed into law, to the bailouts (defended by Bush going on national television stating that America had to “abandon the free market to save it,” to touting the expansion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (PRIOR to his reversal of his position in 2003), to doubling the size of our national debt, to the late Senator Ted Stevens’ comment about “earmarking our way to a supermajority” to making the federal income tax code even more top heavy…all REEK of Keynesian polices. I’ll never understand the left’s pure hatred of George W. Bush. His economic policies were mostly in line with left-wing economic ideology. The larger point here is that economically astute voters have not forgotten about the GOP’s sudden economic dementia that occurs when the party is the majority in government.

Now before people say “it’s time to let go of the past because they have learned their lesson,” let’s get into the specifics of their plan.

The GOP has vowed to stop ALL tax hikes that are set to take place once the Bush tax cuts expire. How nice of them to let people continue to be overtaxed! Nowhere in this plan is there a repeal of the corporate income tax – a tax that is paid solely by CONSUMERS. It may be a bit of a stretch to promise repeal of the income tax all together in favor of a consumption tax such as the “Fair Tax;” however, it is more than disappointing that there wasn’t even a promise of serious debate and education on this topic.

Next is a plan to “Rein in the Red Tape Factory in Washington, DC.” The plan states the following: “To provide stability, we will require congressional approval of any new federal regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more. This is the threshold at which the government deems a regulation ‘economically significant.’ If a regulation is so ‘significant’ and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first.”

I can’t tell if there is an attempt at humor here or if these people are really serious. First of all, ANY regulation that is unnecessary HARMS job creation, so why even write it let alone vote on it?! Why the $100 million cap? Is regulation that costs less than $100 million any less burdensome on small businesses? Some of the small businesses they claim they are trying to protect do not have a market cap of $100 million! Excessive government regulation not only impairs job growth but also STRENGTHENS the bond between big business and government. Since “corporatism” is often confused with “free market capitalism,” why not take the time to educate the public about the difference? Perhaps the answer to this question is that this pledge was written by lobbyists who have no interest in a free market economy that would effectively diminish their power.

Last on the GOP’s “jobs plan” is the promise to take action to “Repeal Job-Killing Small Business Mandates.” Finally there is something in which I agree. Since our elected officials didn’t bother reading the health care legislation, they did not come across a mandate in the bill that requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchases that run more than $600. I cannot fathom the cost of compliance for such idiocy nor can I fathom that the IRS will be able to sift through the enormous amount of paperwork to catch all of this alleged unreported income.

In summary, this plan doesn’t even scratch the surface in what needs to be done to turn America’s economy around. There is not a hint of the Austrian economic perspective present in this plan in spite of criticism of Keynesian policies. It’s simply more of the same. Now, onto the next segment of the plan…

Part II: “Stop the Out of Control Spending and Reduce the Size of Government.”

Tea Party people – NO, just no; and shame on all of you for letting the Republican establishment into your movement! If any of you are sold on this next section, gullible isn’t a strong enough word to describe your character. Now that my mini-rant is into print, let’s examine the GOP’s plan. The first segment did not address this point. In fact, some of what was written in this current segment will EXPAND spending and government:

“Over the past three years, non-security discretionary spending (the spending that is approved each year by Congress outside of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Veterans Affairs) has increased a staggering 88 percent. As a result, we now borrow 41 cents of every dollar we spend, much of it from foreign countries, including China, and leave the bill to our kids and grandkids.”

It’s not possible to conclude with certainty that the GOP holds the position that the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budgets are perfectly sound and not in need of spending cuts. However, there was no mention that these departments need to be analyzed and trimmed down (since they continue to grow at the same staggering levels as non-security discretionary spending). Therefore, I’m perplexed as to why only some departments were mentioned when we are on the topic of shrinking government and stopping the “out of control spending.” The GOP has always had their “pet” government departments, unfortunately. Any family can attest to the common sense fact that their budget cutting attempts will fail if only SECTIONS of their budget are examined. The Department of Homeland Security did not exist prior to George W. Bush’s Administration. So now we are expected to believe rhetoric from a party that created an entire new wing of government “for our safety,” and that this same party will shrink government and stop the out of control spending. This is sort of along the lines of believing that an alcoholic will undergo rehab after just one more drink.

“Economists have warned that all this borrowing runs the risk of causing a damaging spike in interest rates, which would cripple job creation.”

The establishment didn’t listen to us from the years 2000-2006 because… ?? Unfortunately, I cannot fill in the rest of that sentence.

“Congress should move immediately to cancel unspent “stimulus” funds, and block any attempts to extend the timeline for spending “stimulus” funds.”

Good. Just make sure all party members who voted FOR the funds, in the first place, are on board with this new and exciting idea.

“Cut Government Spending to Pre-Stimulus, Pre-Bailout Levels.”

This one has to make staunch Republicans feel like Chicago Cubs fans. The Cubs haven’t won a world series in over a century; and it make take over a century for Republicans to understand Finance 101. Allow me to start chapter one: Top number equals revenue, and the bottom number equals expenses. If the top number is bigger than the bottom number, this is good. If not, this is bad. If the bottom number was bigger during the time of “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels,” exactly how is this stopping the “out of control spending?” We don’t baby step to these things people. Why not follow through on an empty promise from the 1994 snow job – that being a balanced budget amendment?

“We must put common-sense limits on the growth of government and stop the endless increases.”

There is no common sense is growing government – PERIOD. Therefore, government cannot be grown in a common sense manner. The GOP still cannot wrap their mind around this simple concept, nor will they ever be able to escape the label of the “socialism lite” party. We won’t even get into the smoke and mirrors game behind the GOP’s FALSE claim that the budget was balanced in the late 90’s that created a surplus.

“End TARP Once And For All”

Good. End a program that your party started. Bravo!

“End Government Control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac”

No. That statement should read ABOLISH Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Government sponsored enterprises are government controlled! Whether or not these institutions are quasi-public, is IRRELEVANT. The minimal thing the GOP can do is to TRY and fool the public into believing that this document doesn’t smack of economic ignorance.

“Impose a Net Federal Hiring Freeze of Non-Security Employees”

Why just non-security? We can’t even have an honest conversation in this country about our wide-open borders and what is REALLY contributing to the crime and violence that takes place. There is no discussion about removing the bureaucracy involved in hard-working immigrants obtaining citizenship and how our drug laws contribute to violence on the borders. Let’s have those conversations first before we keep hiring government security workers to deal with an impossible situation. That wastes money and takes dollars away from the private sector as well.

The only noteworthy piece in this entire section is the pie chart of government spending.

Of course, there was absolutely no mention of the Federal Reserve, the harm its existence has caused by creating every economic bubble and crash in the past century, nor was there any mention of its abusive powers. How could anyone expect that from a party when their President appointed Ben Bernanke?

Part III: A Plan to Repeal and Replace the Government Takeover of Healthcare

Although I agree with most of what was written in this section, with a few MAJOR exceptions; I have a problem taking this plan seriously. This might have something to do with the fact that Mitt Romney, a Presidential hopeful from the 2008 campaign, started the exact same plan the Obama Administration passed in Massachusetts. How does the ‘ol saying go? I was for it before I was against it? Well, it applies here, but let’s run it down:

“Repeal the Costly Health Care Takeover of 2010”

Good, but best of luck. President Obama will never back down on this plan regardless of its growing unpopularity, so the best course of action would be to question the constitutionality of the bill through our court system. The bureaucratic maze on page 29 is a good sell.

“Enact Medical Liability Reform - Skyrocketing medical liability insurance rates have distorted the practice of medicine, routinely forcing doctors to order costly and often unnecessary tests to protect themselves from lawsuits, often referred to as ‘defensive medicine.’”

Spot on, but the dire need for tort reform preceded the passage of “Obamacare;” but, better late than never. The question is, how serious can the lawyers in Congress be about such reform, especially when these lawsuits are a cash cow? Nevertheless, defensive medicine is something I’ve written about extensively in several columns on the topic of healthcare reform. It’s one of the primary reasons why costs are very high.

“Purchase Health Insurance across State Lines”

Although this won’t make the system worse, it won’t do as much to improve it as people think. The health insurance market is effectively an oligopoly. Until we remove the use of insurance as ACCESS to care, all this will do is spread the existing out-of-control costs more uniformly between states. The solution to healthcare goes far beyond this issue.

“Expand Health Savings Accounts” (HSAs)

I’m honestly on one hand when I list the good things that the Bush Administration accomplished. However, the Bush Administration deserves MAJOR kudos for at least getting the ball rolling in the right direction on healthcare reform. Unfortunately, for every step forward his administration went, it also went two steps backwards – an example being Medicare Part D. Nevertheless, the creation of HSAs, which are attached to high-deductible insurance plans, are the first step in removing the misuse of insurance in our health care system. Insurance was never meant to be a means of access to health care; it is merely a SAFEGUARD against catastrophe. The misuse of insurance is the largest factor as to why costs have spun out of control, as it has effectively created the “all you can eat buffet” approach to healthcare. With the expansion of HSAs, people who already have them will enjoy even lower costs, and by returning the use of insurance to its proper role, everyone will enjoy lower costs and BETTER care.

“Ensure Access for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions”

Just when they are doing so well, the bottom falls out. This section should have gone into explaining high-deductible insurance further, and why these plans must replace the current system. This is what people do not understand. The costs will NOT come down when insurance plans are required to cover everything under the sun. This is BASIC economics. The GOP wishes to expand high-risk pools, but the problem is people cannot afford this insurance in the first place; and their expansion will NOT reduce the cost of coverage, which backs lawmakers into providing subsidies. What do we know about costs when the government subsidizes people? Yes, they go UP, as referenced by the costs of Medicare and Medicaid.

The pledge goes onto say that they will “make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick.”

First of all, the reason why people are denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition is because some people only purchase health insurance when they get sick. This means they have NOT paid into the pool, so others who have paid will be paying for this person’s care. This is yet another reason why insurance as access to care is flawed. Again, that should be the focus of this segment instead of this populist drivel. High-deductible premiums cost LESS, which means more people could afford them. Also, if people pay for healthcare as they use it, they will make wiser decisions, which will bring DOWN the costs. The lower cost of high-deductible insurance will insure more people, thus diminishing the pre-existing condition problem.

Second, the elimination of lifetime spending caps sounds good, but it will severely escalate costs. The individual should be empowered to choose their level of insurance – not the government.

Lastly, this bit about insurance companies dropping people because “they get sick” is more populist nonsense. Is the Democrat’s pledge or the GOP’s pledge? This is straight from Obama’s playbook. People are dropped because their care exceeds their spending caps, BUT that is the level of coverage the person PURCHASED. They are not dropped because they get sick! That’s a gross misstatement of the facts. There are also people who abuse insurance, and these people SHOULD be dropped or at least investigated, as they raise the costs for everyone else.

If the GOP wishes to put people in charge of their own healthcare, then the promotion of high-deductible insurance is the correct approach. The last part of the plan effectively EXPANDS the power of government, the very thing they promise not to do; however, the contradictions are glaring in this document.

The bottom line is no one is going to be able to afford health insurance coverage if the government continues the “all you can eat buffet” approach to health insurance. Eventually, the end result will give the leftists in this country the power to allow the government to move to a single-payer system. That’s been the ultimate goal of the Obama Administration. The lawmakers in Congress are wise enough to know they won’t get there in one step, but they’ll get there faster with the GOP’s help.

Part IV: “A Plan to Reform Congress and Restore Trust”

This section isn’t worthy of much commentary, as it’s more of the same election-time rhetoric that makes one drowsy. The only thing I will comment on is the pledge to “adhere to the constitution.” Out of all of the empty rhetoric, this stands out as the most hypocritical. Neither party has adhered to the constitution; otherwise, our federal government would not have grown to its enormous current size. For example, the commerce clause has always been an argument for the federal government to intrude into the private sector. The plea to adhere to the constitution is only heard in two instances: 1) in attempts to stop the other party’s political agenda (in favor or a more or less extreme version of their own) and 2) near election time as a means to fire up voters.

As for the rest of the empty talking points in this section, make yourself another cup of coffee or tea to get through it on your own.

Part V: “A Plan to Keep our Nation Secure at Home and Abroad”

Rather than reading an economist’s perspective on foreign policy, I’ll defer to our foreign policy specialists to get into the “nitty-gritty” of this issue. I will, however, briefly comment on a few issues:

First, I am in agreement with passing clean troop funding bills. This would help make more prudent spending decisions when irrelevant legislation is pulled out of military funding bills. A most recent example of this would be the repeal of DADT and non-military spending proposals being placed in a military funding bill.

Second, I believe that non-U.S. citizens who are alleged terrorists should NOT be tried in the same court system that failed to convict O.J. Simpson and Rod Blagojevich. In all seriousness, these people are not American citizens, and they do not represent any of the military of any foreign government. Therefore, the laws of the constitution and the Geneva Conventions do NOT apply.

Last, states should have more rights and flexibility to deal with border security issues.

Part VI: “Checks and Balances”

This section is filled with more campaign rhetoric. Checks and balances did not apply when the GOP was the majority power for 6 years. The GOP accused President Obama of campaigning on an empty platform. It seems that Republicans are making the same pathetic attempt.

Part VII “Speak Out”

The last section encourages people to “speak out.” I have spoken and sharply criticized this new pledge. Republicans have never been able to convince me that they provide a smaller, limited government alternative. They have only created the illusion that there is a distinct difference between themselves and Democrats. Sadly, advocates of a limited government and a free market still have no choice at election time based on this pledge. If you are a leftist, you should be thrilled to see that no major harm will come to your policies.

I’ve outlined the major inconsistencies in this pledge, and I encourage people who care about the future of this country to do the same – SPEAK OUT and hold your elected officials and hopefuls ACCOUNTABLE. Carefully examine their voting records to see if the action matches the rhetoric. Do NOT get caught up in looking to see if a “D” or and “R” is after a person’s name. If history hasn’t shown you that this mentality is disastrous, then brush up on your facts. This election should NOT be about a plan to remove Obama from office, or simply put some of his policies on hold. If people want to “take this country back,” then it starts by removing the ESTABLISHMENT. This pledge is NOT an acceptable alternative to the current administration. It’s simply campaign rhetoric and provides not a shred of proof that anything will change in the near term and in post-2012. My concern is that so many people are getting caught up in getting Obama out of office; they are not paying attention to who they will be electing into office this November. It is this near-term shortsightedness that has gotten America in so much trouble in the past.

Independents decide every election. Last election, independents were fed up with George W. Bush and Republicans – mainly because of the reasons I outlined in this column along with a growing disdain of prolonged wars in the Middle East. Due to the fact that John McCain ran one of the worst campaigns in recent history, no one paid attention to Obama’s platform (except his staunch left-wing advocates). No one realized that Obama wished to expand the very policies they just voted out. History repeats itself over and over. When Republicans move further to the left (Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush being prime examples), left-wingers’ unfounded disdain successfully gets their candidate elected – mainly because of blind voter outrage.

Those who truly believe in the ideologies in which America was founded cannot make that same mistake again. Voting blindly, for the “lesser of two evils,” or out of anger does not solve America’s serious problems. People have to ask themselves if they truly believe in the ideologies they uphold:

• Are people really serious about not depending on the government? Are people ready to pay for their own healthcare?
• Are the unemployed ready to do away with prolonged unemployment benefits so businesses will have fresh capital to expand in order to create jobs as opposed to paying higher hiring costs?
• Are people willing to work hard and save their money instead of wanting access to cheap credit?
• Are people willing to live within their means?
• Do people who work in the financial sector and make plenty of money off of the tax code and complex regulations ready to use their education and skills in a manner that can help businesses grow instead of comply with an overbearing government; and would they not show bitterness in having to compete for new jobs?
• Are lawyers done making money off of ridiculous anti-business, anti-growth laws?
• Are we willing to lift the regulatory and collective stranglehold so America can become a nation that produces?

If we cannot answer “yes” to the aforementioned questions, then are we really a society that wants all of the large safety nets and cushions that Western European countries offer coupled with the American lifestyle? The truth is, both cannot co-exist as our current level of spending and debt indicates. If Americans want those safety nets, then they will need to forego their freedoms and lifestyles, as this charade cannot continue. If there are enough people who believe in the free market, limited government ideology, then America will see a new wave of politicians begin to surface since voting records will be carefully examined. In addition, we may consider taking chances on newcomers that “dabble in witchcraft” and support people like Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Christie has fought the good fight against collectivism and big government by fighting some of the strongest unions in the country and remaining incredibly committed to fiscal responsibility.

What’s it going to be America? We have the power to decide.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hats off to Andrew Breitbart!

Like most people who are attuned to our nation’s economic ills, I’ve been in a rather apprehensive mood about politics lately. I’m concerned that establishment Republicans may prevail this November over some of the new, energized faces who are challenging these dinosaurs. What I find even more troublesome, is what I witnessed in this video.

Andrew Breitbart Confronts Hateful Protesters At Right Nation 2010

How can a protest that has a clear ambition of “stopping the hate” be filled with people who hold hateful signs and spew hateful rhetoric? Beyond that point is something even more disturbing; these people were planted by unions that have strong ties to the Democratic Party. If that’s not enough, NONE of these people could defend their position when asked.

People’s ideologies, as much as they differ from mine, have never bothered me so long as they can articulate and defend what they believe. Dissent is what makes America thrive because it flaunts an individualistic manner of thinking as well as a system of checks and balances. I host a multi-viewpoint discussion group, Liberty Café, on Facebook because everyone should have a place where they can persuade people as well as defend their point of view. However, if a person is told to go somewhere and protest an event, and they don’t have the slightest idea why (or they are basing their dissent off misinformation), then this is part of the herdish mentality that poses a direct threat to our individual freedom in America.

Besides no one being able to answer Brietbart’s simple questions, notice how the people disbursed when they were told to disburse. There wasn’t even a hint of individual thinking present in this group – the only exception being ONE woman who came on her own free will. She was briefly interviewed at the end of the clip.

Most the signs being held were very unoriginal. I have plenty of my own criticisms concerning Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement; and as creatively challenged as I am, I could have come up with something better. But then again, I do own my mind.

One sign that did stand out to me was the gentleman who held the sign that said “Tea Baggers - Corporate Dupes.” This was very comical and disturbing at the same time. I wonder if this gentleman, who proudly pays his union dues, ever questions the manner in which his donations are used. Does he mind being told how to vote, told how to think, being trapped in permanent dependency; and does he question the role, the fringe benefits, as well as the salaries the people in the top of his union receive?

Is he concerned at all about their political ties? Does he mind that the dues that he pays directly funds the campaigns of connected politicians? In fact, if he is part of the SEIU, over $65 million of his and his fellow members’ union dues went to fund the campaigns of politicians in 2004. These are candidates that he doesn’t know about and may not have supported.

I wonder if he supported the corporate bailouts, which almost anyone who aligns themselves with the tea party strongly opposed. After all, wouldn’t a corporate dupe support such a thing? In fact, the politicians who benefitted from his union dues voted not only in favor of these bailouts, but also directly contributed to the housing market monopoly (vis a vis Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that crashed the market in 2008. As Breitbart rightly pointed out, these people will be the last to find out that they are the ones being duped.

This is the kind of mind-numbed idiocy that boggles me. The protesters in this group, who cannot think for themselves, wait for their marching orders from a corporate hierarchy, and put their entire future into the hands of the most greedy and controlling people in America have the nerve to say that people who advocate limited government, free market principles – the very principles in which America was founded, are duped. These are the people who contribute to the EXACT kind of corporatism in which they claim they oppose. The sad irony is they don’t even realize this truth.

Kudos to Mr. Breitbart for his bravery in coming to my city of Chicago, which I firmly attest has a leftist stranglehold, and confronting this crowd full of mindless sheep. I don’t believe anyone has successfully broken up a union-organized crowd in this manner.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lester Burnham: American Hero

One of the greatest dramas I've ever seen is American Beauty. Lauded by tons of critics, winner of a dozen awards, on the lists of countless “Best of...”; its already been turned upside down in interpretation. It's a satire, a drama, a love story, an attack on middle America. It's everything to everyone. I haven't read all reviews and essays on it, but I haven't come across anything that has taken a more face-value interpretation of the movie. Specifically, that Lester Burnham, the hero of the movie because he rejects the materialism and hollowness of suburbia, is in fact a new icon of traditional marriage and alpha male behavior.

Let's summarize: 40-year-old Lester has hit his mid-life crisis with the speed of the space shuttle. Caught between his monotone job at a media magazine, insecure daughter Jane and cold wife Carolyn, Lester has felt hollow and “dead” for years. But, as he tells the audience in the first act, “its never too late to get it back”. Lester does this by becoming infatuated with Jane's flirty best friend Angela, buying pot from his new neighbors' son, quitting his job and blackmailing the company and pretty much doing whatever he wants. The movie also has several sub-plots including affairs, courtships, homosexuality, death, beauty, etc, but our focus is the lovable “Les”.

When we first see Lester, he wakes up like many of us do: completely unenthusiastic with what is to come in the next 10-14 hours. Dressed in a two-piece pajama outfit, which has vertical stripes akin to prison bars, he gets into the shower for a daily dose of his happy time. He calls it “the high point of my day”. Through a window, he watches his wife out in their garden, already in her work clothes, trimming roses. She chats idly with their very friendly neighbor Jim, and his lover... Jim. Lester's morning ends with his briefcase opening up on him after being nagged by Carolyn about being late. The look she gives him is as cold as liquid oxygen. Suffice to say, Lester could die in his sleep and he wouldn't be the only one happy with the death.

Between this sequence and the Angela catalyst, we are shown how much Carolyn is defined by status and work. When Lester tells her that his employer is making everyone write out a job description to find out who's worth keeping, she immediately tells him to write it. We don't hear the entire conversation, but it can be assumed he mentioned that a manager at the magazine lost $50 000 of company money on a hooker. During dinner, Carolyn plays old jazz and big band tunes much to the chagrin of her husband and daughter. She steamrolls their objections with a “I cooked dinner” defense. The next day, Carolyn, a realtor, shows a house to several people, but none bit at the juicy apple. She reacts to this failure badly, crying hysterically and slapping herself in an empty room of the house. But as fast as she began she stops, silently walking out of the room.

In the movie, Carolyn is made out to be the bad guy, and she is on so many levels. Her careerism, her materialism, her coldness towards her husband are all bad things, but she isn't entirely to blame. Lester is the man, the husband, the protector and provider. As a husband, its Lester's job to take control and direct the family. But he didn't. Somewhere, he let his responsibilities go and let Carolyn take hold. I noticed that Lester's actions are mostly defined by his relationship with Carolyn. Would Lester need to have a infatuation with a teenage cheerleader if his wife was more loving? Probably not. Though I'm not excluding that a major driving force of his change is to sleep with Angela; Lester was, before and after seeing Angela, controlled directly and indirectly by the actions of his wife. His relationship with Jane is not outside this, either. His long ignoring of his daughter is paralleled by his wife's, except she isn't remorseful about it. In fact, she celebrates not being the hated parent when Jane rips Lester for his lax affection, but later smacks Jane for questioning her love.

While the movie does skewer suburbia like so many other movies do, Lester doesn't really rebel so much as he takes his rightful place in the household. Yes, he starts smoking pot, quits his corporate job (dunno how “corporate” in the IBM sense a media magazine is, but whatever), plays 60s music and insults his wife by calling her a “money-grubbing freak”, but he also gets $60 000 from his job through blackmail, buys himself his dream car and chases after a young woman. Not exactly the icon of anti-corporate America. But what he is though is the icon of born-again masculinity and traditional gender roles. After “finding himself” through lust, pot and a giant set of balls, he begins to dominate his wife. Before, her screeching voice yelling “LESTER” would literally make him slump, but later in the movie he is taking her on and surpassing her control of the relationship. He becomes attractive in her eyes once again because he's standing up for himself and emitting alpha behavior, not because he's got a new car or dresses differnetly. Eventually, they almost rekindle their love life until Carolyn freaks at a couch almost getting stained. In one of the many loved scenes from American Beauty, Lester slams a pillow over and over and yells “Its! Just! A! Couch!” and “its just stuff”. Yet, just a minute previous, he congratulated himself for buying a perfect 1970 Pontiac Firebird that no doubt chewed up a good portion of his $60 000. While this materialist hypocrisy is never pointed out by the script, it does make me smile that only Carolyn, the materialistic wife, is hated for her materialism, while Lester, the “rebel” husband that buys classic cars, gets a pass. I don't think writer Alan Ball, a gay, new agey, leftie sort of guy, meant it to be that way, but that's how it came out. And because of that, Lester loses a big edge of his written anti-establishment persona and becomes a more realistic, more American, more alpha male hero. A rare find in Hollywood.

From my perspective, Lester goes from shlub to stud in every sense. He loses the accountant-style clothes that were no doubt suggested by his wife and takes up more blue collar outfits. He stands straighter, losing his “Walter Matthieu” walk. He works out and takes care of himself. His behavior goes from soft-spoken mumbler to stern voiced, though it doesn't always work out the way he wants. He quits taking orders and starts giving them in the family, with his wife and, most importantly, with himself. These are all things that staple the traditional gender role of a man. Of course, the provider role goes out the window when he quit his job, but in today's world, the provider role is considered shlub unless backed up by the more masculine behavior that was Lester's persona change. Otherwise, he'd just be a piggy bank with a penis.

And that isn't exactly a rare cage the modern American male lives in, is it?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beyond Repair

There are some things in history that you can't take back. The Roman exile of Jews from the Holy Land. The Fall of Constantinople. The Leauge of Nations. Nevile Chamberlain.

We've crossed this point with Iran. For months, nay years, the West has had a multitude of chances to remove Iran as a international threat. Having it as a regional threat was no biggie. It's been one since 1979. But for some odd reason, probably fueled by leftist internationalism, anti-war hysterics and other utopian ideals, the West has allowed this backwards, may I said crudely “pigf**king” nation, to evade, deny and spit in the face of international power so it can create the atom bomb.

This is nothing against the Iranian people. They've always been a very civilized, very metropolitan people, even when up against our Greek forefathers. The Iranian people have shown they do not want this 7th century theocracy as their government, but Western betaness and Iranian force has overridden the will of a proud people.

Like the fall of the Holy City of Constantinople, Western navel gazing and Western apathy has created a scenario where barbarians have gained the ability to influence the entire globe and not just their rustic corner of the planet. Few people outside those addicted to foreign policy have any clue of the consequences of Iran and Russia fueling the Bushehr reactor.

In less than five years, this all means...

This means Hezbullah now has nuclear weapons backing their demands on beautiful Lebanon.
This means Hamas has nuclear weapons beside its run down Gaza Strip.
This means Iran can dictate world policy.
This means the West cannot attack Iran.
This means fanatics must be taken seriously.
This means the Middle East, no matter what major power resides, is now Iran's.

I write this warning like a apocalyptic fanatic, but I tell you I am not. Look back to Hitler, not in crimes but in appeasement. Look back to Western apathy to the Holy Byzantine Empire and its centuries long fight against Muslim fanaticism. Western ignorance or Western sympathy for the imperialistic Muslim nations of said times ALWAYS ended in imperialistic Muslim dominance of the region.

This is nothing against moderate Muslims. I have a ton of respect for your religion, more than most know, but Iran is not your symbol, archon or leader. It is the enemy of civilized Islam. It is the enemy of civilization itself. Yet, our weakened, hateful West has taken upon itself to author its own demise.

We live in an awesome world. Most of us will live to see 2050, if not after. But, sadly, with the actions of today's leaders, 2050 will be a much harder, violent world than anyone could imagine.

100 years ago, in 1910, the world was still unstable. Empires fought, people died and revolution spread.

I will bet my honor, my faith and the respect of those who read this seriously that by 2020, like 1920, the world will be re-shapen by the ignorance, the stupidity, the statism and the utopianism of today's leaders.

Give the world five years, all the signs will be there.

Give the world ten years, and you can't miss it.

We'll all live to see these days. Alas, we'll all want to return to the year of post war, when international cooperation in the guise of the UN was still believed in.