Category Archives: Conservative Philosophy

Romney is right about the 47%

The Ed Morrissey Show,with Investors.com’s Andrew Malcolm, had a discussion about media bias on their September 18 broadcast – which highlighted how they still have some pull shaping the narrative, especially when it’s a concerted effort.  Thankfully, the proliferation of blogs have been able to blunt or outright debunk the various narratives the mainstream media disseminates daily.  Nevertheless, Morrissey mentioned that when the lack of security at some of our embassies was starting to gain traction – the “47 percent” video was released and the whole picture changed.  After all, when you have reports that the president decides to forgo intelligence briefings, which make him look weak and unprepared as commander in chief – then you must initiate secondary protocol.  And that’s what the left did.

Sadly, I passed out early last night due after a recent bout of insomnia, but Allahpundit posted about this “earth shattering” event on September 17.  The video has the Republican nominee saying:

‘There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…

‘And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 … he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.’

However, the exact number does vary. In February of 2012, Rob Bluey over at Heritage reported that 49.5% – or 151.7 million Americans – don’t pay any federal income taxes, which is up from 14.8% in 1984. Patrick Tyrrell, also at Heritage, posted on September 18 that 48.87% don’t pay income taxes.

Regardless, is this more controversial than when Obama said that rural voters “get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion?”

Romney does have the misfortune of having a horrible relationship with the press.  Granted, Americans didn’t like Bush, but he had a good relationship with the media thereby they allowed some things – de minimis things – skate by.  With Romney, everything is scrutinized.  However, Romney’s statement rings true.  The more people who aren’t responsible for a government they aren’t paying for leads to perverse behavior.  They have zero incentive to restrict it’s size  – which George Will remarked at CPAC in 2010 represents a “classic case of moral hazard.”

Additionally, there is entitlement/dependency agenda, which is why the left is so appalled. In the left’s eyes, the more people on food stamps or a government program represents an equalization of outcome that increases the public good.  Hence, why the Dependency Index has increased 23%under the Obama administration.  In fact, Tyrrell wrote:

The Index rises 3.28 percent in next year’s report, for which 2011 is the latest year the underlying data are available. It is adjusted for inflation, so it rises or falls because of spending in real dollars. The updated Index reveals:

  • Government dependency jumped 3.28 percent in 2011, with the largest increases in higher education loans and grants and in retirement spending.
  • This is the fourth year in a row that the Index has risen, rising 31.73 percent in that time.

 

After all, this is the administration that thinks food stamps are a form of economic stimulus. 

Lastly, 49 million Americans will become dependent on government-run health services once Obamacare is fully implemented.  An event that will also lead to 20 million Americans losing their health care coverage according to the CBO.

While the left will hammer Romney as being out of touch or racist, what he said isn’t controversial in the slightest.  There is an entitlement mentality and a dependency agenda peddled by the left that seeks to grossly transform the socio-economic fabric of this country.  With an increasing number of dependents and an incrementally smaller tax base to support them – Tyrrell and other conservative commentators warn that  ”…the conjunction of these two trends… concerns those interested in the fate of the American form of government.”

Also, “in last year’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, it was reported that 70.5 percent of federal spending goes to dependency creating programs—showing that the often-repeated mantra, ‘We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem’ could not be more true.”

For those of us who pay taxes, and yes I am one of them, the burden of the state is becoming increasingly heavier and changes need to be made to end this ”war on responsibility.”

 

Originally Posted on Hot Air.

U.S. Drops to 18th in Economic Freedom

If you’re a Canadian, you should be happy.  Our friendly neighbors to the north are riding high with their recent placement on the Economic Freedom chart at number five.  Meanwhile, the United States dropped ten spots to number eighteen on the scale.  Gateway Pundit posted about this story on September 19 citing The National Post which reported that:

The annual Economic Freedom of the World report, released Tuesday, has Canada tied in fifth place with Australia — up one spot from last year. Hong Kong remains at the top, Singapore’s next, then New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the United States, once a ‘standard bearer’ of economic liberty among industrial nations, spiralled 10 spots from the 2011 rankings to 18th place — its lowest position ever, and a huge drop from its second place spot in 2000.

Liberals will continue to say it’s all Bush’s fault.  However, did Bush add $5 trillion to the national debt in less than four years?  Furthermore, given that we have a new multi-trillion dollar health care entitlement – whose true cost periodically changes with the CBO– I’m sure that uncertainty levied upon small business owners had ‘no impact’ on the various indicators that calculate economic freedom (I’m kidding) Furthermore, The Economistpublished a column last February, which highlighted our over-regulated business apparatus, now looks prophetic.

 Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. Its strategy was sensible, too: improve transparency, stop banks from taking excessive risks, prevent abusive financial practices and end “too big to fail” by authorising regulators to seize any big, tottering financial firm and wind it down. This newspaper supported these goals at the time, and we still do. But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long. Just one bit, the “Volcker rule”, which aims to curb risky proprietary trading by banks, includes 383 questions that break down into 1,420 subquestions.

Hardly anyone has actually read Dodd-Frank, besides the Chinese government and our correspondent in New York (see article). Those who have struggle to make sense of it, not least because so much detail has yet to be filled in: of the 400 rules it mandates, only 93 have been finalised. So financial firms in America must prepare to comply with a law that is partly unintelligible and partly unknowable. 

Oh yes, a classic example of government trying to do too much, too fast leading to the inevitable confusion that big government policies exude.  Just look at education policy in this country.  Now,we’ve got a titanic battle with the blob on our hands.  Then, there is health care where all fifty state legislatures have passed, cumulatively,  almost 1900 mandates on benefits coverage – which has only increased costs in the succeeding years.  Yes, it’s a state issue – but given that Obamacare acts like one of these mandates on steroids – suffice to say it will yield the same results seen in all 57 50 states.  Lastly, “every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis.”  The leviathan is waiting.

As I reported in a previous post about the Fed bailout of the Obama economy, Penny Star at CNS News reported on September 10 that:

Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages – a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2009, the increase in the number of pages was the most over the last decade – 3.4 percent or 5,359 pages.

Over the past decade, the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new final rules, according to the draft of the 2011 annual report to Congress on federal regulations by the Office of Management and Budget. That brought the total at the end of 2011 to 169,301 pages.

That is more than double the number of pages needed to publish the regulations back in 1975 when the bound edition consisted of 71,244 pages.

Leaving out that fact that Obama added $9.5 billion in red tape last July – Star reported that “Seventy percent of the regulations were economic, accounting for $1.236 trillion of the annual cost. The other regulations were, in order of cost, environment regulations ($281 billion), tax compliance ($160 billion) and occupational safety and health and homeland security ($75 billion).”  Then, there is EPA administrator Lisa Jackson – who said the agency wasn’t  responsible for killing jobs.  Although, in 2008, President Obama did officially launched the “war on coal” and promised to squash any new plants under his tenure.  That sounds like killing jobs to me.

As Investors Business Daily reported last September:

 …Texas energy company Luminant announced that new Environmental Protection Agency regulations were forcing it to close several facilities, resulting in the loss of 500 jobs and 1,200 megawatts of generating capacity.

The company cited the cross-state air-pollution rule in its decision to cease operations at two electricity-generating facilities and three coal mines. Texas utilities have been ordered by the EPA to cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 47% from 2010 levels and nitrogen oxide by 8% and to do it by January. The head of the Texas Public Utility Commission says the rules could lead to rolling blackouts.

The rule affects more than Texas. It requires coal companies in 27 states to slash emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide by 73% and 54% from 2005 levels by 2014. ‘Just because wind and weather will carry air pollution away from its source at a local power plant doesn’t mean that pollution is no longer that plant’s responsibility,’ said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

[…]

Steven Miller, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, warns of job losses totaling 1.4 million over the next eight years and a 23% jump in electricity rates in states dependent on coal-fired plants. Well, Obama did promise he would make energy prices ‘necessarily skyrocket.’

500 jobs were lost – is that a lot?  Sadly, more lay offs are on the way, unless you’re a union worker.

Finally, there is the national debt and our exploding and unsustainable welfare state, which correlates with the size and scope of government.  As reported by MyGovCost.org back in February, “President Obama has permanently grown the size of the U.S. federal government’s budget by 16.5% during the four years he will have been in office by the end of his first term in office. The federal government’s spending is one-sixth bigger today than it was projected to be at this point four years ago.”

…Fantastic!

So, that certainly debunks what Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, said on This Week last January on why the economy had stagnated.  Yes, he actually said economic growth was impeded due to the rapid shrinkage of government.

Given all of these aspects of the Obama economic psyche, no wonder why we have a significant amount of our economic freedom.  Granted, there are probably many more issues that have lead to this epic fall, but it should get conservatives more enthused and more fired up to deny Barack Obama a second term.  While I’m not going to use the phrase the “most important election of our lifetime” – which I think should be retired forever – we certainly cannot afford another four years of the Obama administration.

In the meantime, we should be thanking the Fraser Institute for not incorporating government incompetence into their methodology for the Economic Freedom of the World Report.  I can only imagine where we would fall under this administration.

should we move to Canada – eh?

Originally posted on Hot Air.

CNN Anchor Tells Citizens United President David Bossie You Can’t Judge OWS By ‘Worst Members’

With Occupy Unmasked being released today in select theaters, the September 21 edition of CNN’s Early Start with Zoraida Sambolin invited David Bossie, producer of the film and President of Citizens United to discuss the film.  However, things got hazy towards the end of the interview where Sombolin shamelessly tried to convey the narrative that Occupy is a “peaceful” movement.

Sambolin, ironically, fed into the premise of the film itself – which centers on “the liberal establishment and mainstream media portray[ing] the Occupy Wall Street movement as organic and nonviolent.”   In arguing how you can’t judge a movement by its “worst members,” she mentioned how “Adbusters” promoted the notion of “Occupying” Wall Street and decided to defend the movement – while castigating the Tea Party as “racist.”  However, Bossie wasn’t going to let that form of abject slander slide.

SAMBOLIN: Okay, let’s look at the time line just because I really want to hone in on this. I want to really establish who started this. So July 13 “Adbusters” magazine calls for the September 17 peaceful protest. And on September 9, We Are The 99 Percent tumblr. September 17, the protest begin in Zuccotti Park. October 1, 700 protesters arrested in March across the Brooklyn Bridge. And October 5, 39 organizations including labor unions join Occupy Wall Street — 25,000 people march and mass arrests, and there are mass arrests. So the timeline really starts rather peacefully. 



BOSSIE: It does. I don’t say that it doesn’t. What I’m saying is, that the — that the insidious nature of this, and really, you know, within our film, we have undercover cameras inside of our film that show these people are organized by the unions and they’re paid by the unions to attend these rallies, too. So it’s a little bit disingenuous for everybody to think that they’re just peaceful demonstrators who show up for no reason.

SAMBOLIN: The movie trailer compares Tea Party coverage with that of the Occupy movement. The Tea Party has been accused of racism, of inciting violence. Take a look at some of the signs from the Tea Party rallies as well here. Do you think that it’s really fair to judge a group based on its worst members? 



BOSSIE: First of all, comparing the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street movement is just nonsensical. There’s no comparison. When the Tea Party movement has a single person who shows up with some crazy T- shirt or a button on, they self-police themselves and they kick them out or the media picks on them and make them – the face of the organization. That’s ridiculous. 

The Occupy movement – there’s nowhere in the Tea Party movement are they destroying American cities, running rampage over the police department and confronting the police. It’s just – not even close.

Bossie mentions union astroturfing at these events, but he could have mentioned the direct involvement some members of the media had in this event.  Folks – who were not only involved in propagating a false narrative of the movement’s organic roots – but strategized and discussed ways to destroy our free market society.  Yes – I’m referring to former freelance writer for The New York Times and Salon.com contributor Natasha Lennard.

Furthermore, to bash the Tea Party because they’re racist is beyond absurd. The most famous incident involved racial slurs being hurled at Rep. John Lewis two years ago during the health care debate, which wasn’t authenticated – nor did any camera catch the alleged event – yet the media decided to propagate this false narrative of racism anyway.

Lastly, concerning Sambolin’s statement that Bossie and his film take the “worst members” of Occupy to portray them in a bad light is egregious.

Did the Tea Party leave thirty tons of garbage lying around Los Angeles?  Did the Tea Party engage in serial rape within their encampments across the country?  Did the Tea Party peddle drugs and intimidate people with violence? Where was the widespread and in-depth reporting on the sanitary conditions these camps inflicted on local communities and the serial criminality?

The Tea Party has had zero criminal charges filed against their members – while Occupy has had a whopping 417 cases of illegal activity cited against them. These aren’t isolated incidents. As always, CNN wanted to show the worst of the Tea Party and argue for the best of OWS.

Originally posted on Newsbusters.

Taxation Without Participation

It’s easy to vote for higher taxes when you’re not paying.

Michael Kinsley described a “gaffe” as anytime a politician is caught telling the truth. This is particularly accurate for Republicans and conservatives as is demonstrated by the reaction to Mitt Romney’s comment regarding Obama’s base.

The setting was unfortunate — a $50,000–a–plate fundraiser — but the message was accurate. As he discussed campaign strategy — not governing philosophy — Romney explained: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it… And the government should give it to them…

Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect…so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful…”

Romney neglected to mention another solid portion of the Obama base: the welfare–industrial complex composed of government workers and associated special interest groups. The simple fact is the more people receiving government handouts, the more government employees you need to distribute the geetus.

The size of the two populations increases in lockstep as does the size of the Obama base. There is no exit strategy for the War on Poverty.

And this is nothing new, as Ann Coulter pointed out, “Democrats’ problem with welfare reform always was that if it worked, we would need fewer of these well-pensioned public employees, a fact repeatedly acknowledged by liberals themselves.”

Democrat “compassion” for the poor and underprivileged always comes with a healthy dose of self–interest. Just like any attack on Republicans while defending welfare programs is done with elections in mind. They know a reduction in dependency threatens to result in a reduction in Democrats.

Why do you think the Obama administration imitates Tupperware and throws food stamp parties to urge people to apply for handouts? Why did the number of able–bodied participants in the food stamp program double after Obama suspended the work requirement? Why do a record 8.8 million Americans collect disability checks? Why do federal unemployment checks continue for almost two years? And why is the Obama administration spending a record 15.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product on direct cash payments to individuals?

The answer is simple: Obama’s building his base. That’s why Democrats at their national convention had no problem with an Orwellian video that proclaimed, “Government is the only thing that we all belong to.”

Realizing this 47 percent voting block constitutes a problem isn’t a targeting decision made inside the Romney campaign. It’s an issue with the potential to rend the social fabric of the nation. It is a serious enough problem to offer Democrats a trade.

Conservatives agree to abandon photo ID requirements for voting if in return Democrats agree any citizen who is dependent on the federal government for his livelihood is not eligible to vote. This important reform would not mean a permanent loss of voting privileges and the creation of lifelong second–class citizens. On the contrary, as soon as the dependent citizen re–establishes financial independence the individual regains his vote. Regaining his vote acts as an incentive for personal responsibility.

When 47 percent of the populace is dependent on government benefits the nation is fast approaching a tipping point. Once the number passes 50 percent, American society will no longer have a crucial element of shared sacrifice. Instead the dependency block gets to vote for their share of increased benefits and taxpayers make the sacrifice. Even Democrats should be able to recognize that situation is unfair and inequitable.

For example, are McDonald’s customers allowed to set the price of a Big Mac? Do employees of Government Motors vote to set their own salaries? Do football teams get to vote on how many points the opposing defense will surrender?

There already exists a precedent for temporarily relinquishing the vote. Judges, Congressmen and even members of the city council are not supposed to vote or rule on matters in which they have a financial interest.

Naturally government employees would retain voting privileges. As would Social Security recipients, simply because seniors have been told since the program’s inception the money is not welfare. It’s not true now and it was a lie in 1935, but I’m not prepared to penalize seniors because the government misled them.

This reform would leave us with an electorate that bears the responsibility of paying for the government it advocates. Without this reform the Obamatrons continue to benefit unfairly from Taxation Without Participation.

In November one might cynically term Obama’s 47 percent “pocketbook voters,” only the pocketbook they’ll be voting is yours.

My Response To Obama’s #ForAll Photos

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The Obama campaign has had ‘prominent’ Democrats tweet photos of themselves with words written on the back of their hands, such as “Obama Care”, “Medical Research”, and “For Our Kids”.

My problem is that the important issues are not being addressed by the Obama Administration, as well as the Obama campaign.

So here is my response:

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What else needs to be said?

 

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Free Market Revolution

Amid the ire directed towards our government, our biggest corporate entities and each other, there are calls from all sides for dramatic change in the policies and politics of America. From TEA party activists, to Occupiers, to the weary long-time unemployed, there is a sense of urgency that something must change, and must change fast. Free Market Revolution is a hard and honest look at the current culture of dependency, the malaise of a once motivated people, and the events that have culminated in our current fiscal crises and ever growing discontent with a system that repeatedly fails to promote growth and prosperity… and offers the only credible and moral ( yes, I said moral) solution to our country’s woes.

In Free Market Revolution, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins break down the often repeated talking points that our current financial crises was caused by greed and deregulation. They speak factually and bluntly about the actual numbers of regulations that were added during the last and current Administration, and their roles in creating a recipe for guaranteed disaster in the housing market, the resulting credit and lending crises that has been fueling the greatest recession since the 1930s, as well the slowest recovery in modern history. The undeniable blame for the current business-killing climate is laid at the feet of big government and collective calls for more regulation, where it belongs.

Dispelled, is the myth that America operates under a capitalist, free market system and explained are the reasons why proponents of a purely free market have been incapable of offering a defense of capitalism that appeals to America as a whole: A moral case for capitalism as an economic system that creates opportunity, wealth, and security for all, without ignoring what the left has so effectively defined as “basic need” and “rights”. Critics of Ayn Rand, without fail, point to her lack of empathy for the poor as a means of demonizing a free market system. Capitalists have been unable to argue the emotional talking points and the morality argument presented by the left, giving way to even more cries for social safety nets and spending by the government to pay for those “basic needs”. Until now.

Free Market Revolution makes clear what capitalists, successful businessmen, and proponents of Ayn Rand’s free market ideas have always known: That the only moral economic system is one that allows for success or failure based on individual effort and self-interest. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins put forth the simple idea that an economy unfettered by overbearing regulation will stimulate innovation and regulate itself via competition and common sense. They handily dismiss the idea that all entrepreneurs and successful business owners are out to gain by nefarious means, and grant the reader the idea that working for your own prosperity is not only fundamentally human, but also fundamentally moral. It is time for supporters of a free market economy to point out that the free market has not existed in America and could not have caused our current fiscal crises. It is time to stop allowing people like Madoff to be the public image of corporate success, and time to stop granting merit to the idea that selfishness automatically means benefiting at the cost of another.

Free Market Revolution is a tool for free market capitalists. One that offers a logical argument to the more and more public and political shouts against free markets and cheers the morality of an economic system that should not need defending, but extolling. You can order your copy here!

Yaron Brook (@YaronBrook) is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and CNN.com, and appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, On the Money, and Closing Bell, among others. A former finance professor at Santa Clara University, he is the co-writer with Don Watkins of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com

Don Watkins (@dwatkins3) is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-writer with Yaron Brook of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com. He appears regularly on radio and TV, and his op-eds have appeared in such venues as Investor’s Business Daily, The Christian Science Monitor, FoxNews.com, and Forbes.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Lately, the phrase “Chose your neighbors wisely.” has become increasingly important.  For years, the significance as to what the government was doing, or how the government was growing, was a distant thought in my mind because my life itself was so busy and all consuming.  Like many people  I guess I had the mindset that our government was meant to protect us, and deal with all the cumbersome issues pertaining to our country.  I mean, honestly, how many of us sit there and read the bills and amendments and so on?   How many of us even truly understand the Constitution and the Republic we live in dispite the fact we take it for granite daily?

I realize now,  that most of us unknowingly sat idle, unaware, or preoccupied with our daily lives while the movement toward big government, economic downfall, and total government control grew out of proportion.  Its members blind-sighted us as they began to dismantle our Constitution from right underneath our feet.  Most recently, with the issue of gun control I have heard many people say, “I don’t like guns and I don’t own one anyway, so who cares?”  Clearly, the lack of knowledge pertaining to our Constitution would lead to that mindset.   It make sense to me why the liberal government controlled media, here in the U.S., chooses to portray people like Ron Paul as to far to the right, when in fact, he is one of a limited few who have a clear understanding of what is actually happening today in this United States of America.  Now realize this is not an endorsement for any one person or party, but rather an a wake-up call which will hopefully spark something in all American’s so they do some research, question, and find answers, as opposed to being “told” what they want to hear from either side.  It is truly a time in America to take the blinders off, and see for yourself what is going on with this government and our government in general for decades. Go out on a limb and see the movie 2016: Obama’s America. Learn about the author, read the Constitution, find out what all the talk is truly about, get involved in some way, most importantly teach your children.

I think for most American’s everything is black and white.  Rarely to they visit the shades of gray that make the mind ponder and question, for if they did, it would lead them to  research, learn about the issues, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as set forth by our forefathers. Rather, living in the black and white allows people to be led, misinformed, and it keeps them from visiting the elusive areas where the grays would eventually take them. That is precisely how we got where we are today, and why so many people are preoccupied with a sanctity they don’t even realize is disappearing before their very eyes.

The idea behind, “chose your neighbor wisely” was in an article I read recently.  While reading and doing further research I suddenly felt the sense of urgency behind that statement, and I knew precisely what it meant.  As our country proceeds in a direction of lost ideals and shattered fundamental beliefs, I have come to  realized my own importance not just as a writer or journalist, but as Oath Keeper sworn to protect the country and our Constitution and all it stands for.  We are all Watchmen in our right, but how many of you are seeing and truly understanding what the truth is, and are able to visulize the direction this Republic is moving?  How many even realize we, the United States of America, is not a Democracy it is a REPUBLIC ? How many people believe the fears that exist are just Republican’s using scare tactics?   How many Americans’ truly understand and see that the freedom they love,  cherish, and take for granite is gradually disappearing while government grows and its power becomes all inclusive?  The intrusiveness of our government, in our daily lives, represents the complete opposite of  the Constitution of the United States of American as well as the freedoms you think you have.

Don’t you feel as though you owe it it your kids and your grand-kids to seek out and find the facts on your own?  Isn’t it time to stop dismissing everything as some right wing radical ranting and raving, for lack of anything better to do?  Ask yourself if you sincerely believe government should control what you think, what you eat, learn, and speak?  Should they really be taking away rights set forth in the Constitution, but more importantly why are so actively pursuing these things in the first place?  Keep in mind these people running our country were put there by us, they are the same as us, so why are they getting richer, more controlling, and invading the lives of American’s?  Why is so important to them to create division in this country? Why?  What would motivate them to do this?  Why is government in education, banking, auto industry, or business anyway?  What is the motivation of this administration to destroy our economy, but more importantly what happens when they succeed?  Just trying to find answers to these questions, independent from the media, right, left, whom-ever will be an eye-opening experience — I guarantee it.

 

 

American Embassy in Cairo statement defends the wrong ideals

On September 11th, the American Embassy to Egypt in Cairo released a statement objecting to content that might hurt the feelings of Muslims.

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

“Respect for religious beliefs” is not a cornerstone of American democracy – the right of a religion to worship freely is. A true fundamental principle of the American way-of-life is freedom of speech. While a religion is free to practice as it wishes, as long is its practices do not infringe the rights of others, it is also the right of others to speak out against those practices they find disagreement with.

The Cairo embassy statement is in direct conflict with American values, but firmly in line with the apologetic line of the Obama administration.

Even the President’s own first statement on the Libyan embassy attack included an apology first and condemnation later as Obama said, “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”

It is perfectly acceptable for a free people to condemn the practices they see as wrong. Having the President and his State department defend one religion at the cost of free speech is weak and disrespectful of what makes America great.

If we may only say things that will never offend anyone, we will likely never say or do anything important or principled.

Political Suicide: Democrats Outshine Republicans Again

You know, I thought the rules change vote debacle at the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida could not be topped for arrogance by the establishment elitists but I was wrong.  The Democrats managed to top that raw example of tyranny and “in your face” arrogance toward We the People at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last week.  The Democrat establishment managed to actually outdo Joe Biden when it comes to “acting stupidly”.  Can you believe someone actually “out-dumbed” Joe Bite Me???

I am referring to the vote on a plank restoring “God-given rights” and acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to the party platform.  Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, chairman of the platform committee, offered an amendment to have the items restored.  It seems the majority of the Democrat delegates were opposed to the reference to God and Jerusalem.  I find myself in a bit of a pickle here.  I oppose the rule change made by the Republican Party and support the platform change made by the Democrat Party.  What I commonly oppose in these two seemingly uncommon events is the blatantly dictatorial way in which these things were accomplished by the ruling elitists of both political parties.

Both John Boehner in the rules change situation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKaXqoC4DjE) and Antonio Villaraigosa in the platform issue made decisions based on teleprompter scripts already there for them to read before either vote was taken (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/democrats-reinstate-god-jerusalem-israel-capital-party-platform-223437220–election.html ).  At least we can give Villaraigosa credit for trying three times to get it to go the way it was scripted but on the third try just denied what was obvious to anyone but a corpse.  I guess Boehner is much more experienced at shafting We the People than Villaraigosa.  After all, he has had years of experience doing so in the House of Representatives.

The main problem here is the method that the two parties have in common.  When a decision they want goes against the establishment they simply ignore the rules, and We the People, and do as they wish.  In Boehner’s case he ignored the wishes of the grassroots conservatives who are the very people they need to get elected.  He didn’t shaft the “moderate/liberal” base of the party; he shafted the conservatives who were instrumental in the 2010 election wins, and voters they desperately need in November. 

The Democrats on the other hand shafted their base voters.  The voice vote farce that restored God and Jerusalem to the platform alienated the radical base of the party while showing any “moderate” Democrat where the party really stands on the issues.  It is very apparent by the chain of events that the Democrat Party really doesn’t want God and Jerusalem in their platform but to omit them leaves the party vulnerable to any reasonable American with the brains to see their position.  This situation is probably the most blatant bit of pandering I have ever seen by a political party. 

The sounds from the arena in Charlotte were disturbing in that they showed how much the Democrat Party insiders hate God and Israel.  It was very apparent to everyone who has heard the audio and watched the video that the delegates were furious.  It is sad that a political party even has a controversy over God and Israel.  I started to say an “American” political party but then realized that the people representing the Democrat Party aren’t really American at all.

The United States of America was established based on Judeo Christian values, by men who were, for the most part, Christians and took time out to pray as they wrote the Constitution, took time out to pray and attend church services in the House of Representatives chamber, and valued the “protection of Divine Providence”.  They had no intention of creating a theocracy but instead created a Constitutional Republic based on biblical precepts.  For a political party, that claims to represent American citizens, to stoop to the level they have is abhorrent to everything our nation and our culture represents.

The United States has been driven to its knees physically, financially, and morally by liberalism.  We the People have accepted many immoral and unethical practices because we lost sight of our responsibilities under the very Constitution we hold so dear.  Christians have also been bamboozled by the “tolerance” song and dance that is nothing more than raw intimidation by evil people.  Liberals quoting “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone” is nothing more than an intimidation tactic from those who don’t believe in God and throw stones every second of every day.  Some, as demonstrated in Charlotte this week, have totally abandoned the law of our land and given themselves over to a Satanic possession that is destroying them and everything around them.  Others have sat on the sidelines and expected those we elected to public office to do what they promised to do without the supervision and demands that they adhere to the Constitution and the moral compass provided by the Holy Bible.

Last week the Democrat Party showed it has surpassed any perversion of the Constitution and American values that could be imagined by the Republican Party establishment, as bad as they are.  The behavior in that arena was beyond reprehensible to me.

Ronald Reagan once said that “when we are no longer a nation under God we will be a nation gone under”.  We are almost there.  The Democrat Party showed they have no interest in being “under God”.  The same Democrat Party that insists on accepting abortion, even after birth (partial birth abortion), stands against the death penalty for those who commit murder during a robbery, home invasion, or drive-by shooting.  Killing an innocent defenseless child is acceptable but executing a murderer is not.  How does that become acceptable to anyone with a soul, or a heart?

It is time for We the People to become even more adamant in our expression of our values and beliefs than we have in the last three years.  Since the TEA Party came into being many people have stood up and began demanding that elected officials listen to their bosses, We the People.  So far we haven’t had much luck as the establishment of both political parties ignore us and show the disdain with which they regard the citizens of this great nation.

We must take control of our government.  Voting is the first step but only the first step.  We can no longer sit on the sidelines and depend on members of Congress and the executive branch to do what is right without the daily input from We the People.  As a whole they have shown themselves to be selfish, unreliable, liars who rule over us as they see fit.  King George III isn’t sitting on a throne in Washington D.C., despite what politicians seem to believe.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

September 11, 2012

 

Why The GOP Shouldn’t Ignore Libertarians

“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism” – Ronald Reagan to Reason Magazine, July 1975

Both Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham made salient points this week by telling Republicans they needed to “shut down” if President Barack Obama is re-elected. The comments show a problem Republicans have had in convincing the Tea Party to support Mitt Romney.

It also shows the Republican Party has failed to listen to what has long been considered their conscience: libertarians.

What people have forgotten is the rise of the Tea Party wasn’t just a rebellion against the increased spending in late 2008, early 2009. The origins of the Tea Party can be traced all the way back to several of President George W. Bush’s decisions, including the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

This series of responses started shaking people, waking them up from their long slumber. They realized the U.S. was running into major problems, the government was expanding too quickly and things needed to be cut. The Tea Party rallies, and the candidates which followed, were proof people were starting to pay attention and getting active. Libertarians were starting to be heard.

But what’s happened since then?

Certainly, the libertarian caucus in US Senate has grown from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. It now includes Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson. Hopefully, reinforcements are coming with the possible election of Ted Cruz, Connie Mack IV, Richard Mourdock and Jeff Flake. But that’s only nine out of 100 senators.

The House looks no better, with Michigan Congressman Justin Amash replacing Ron Paul as probably the most libertarian member. South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy should also get praise for fighting for reigned in spending and cutting the government. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks has been considered libertarian at times, but that’s only three out of 435. Plenty of Republicans pay lip service to libertarian ideals (see: House Speaker John Boehner and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan) but don’t follow through.

The fact is Republicans need to listen to libertarians, especially in terms of government growth and the budget. The party which claims to be for “limited government,” allowed massive expanses during the Bush Administration. The original stimulus package may have been avoided if Congress had waited.

To be fair, libertarians have to take blame as well. The rise of social conservatism may have been held back a bit if libertarians did a better job at pointing out why some social policies are best left to states. There’s a reason why the Libertarian Party is known more for wanting to end the War on Drugs, instead of reduced spending, smaller government and more freedom. Organization and activism have also been major problems the Libertarian Party has failed to solve. This could be the reason why there are libertarians considering a vote for Mitt Romney, instead of Gary Johnson.

Ultimately, it may not be in the best interests of libertarians to leave the GOP. It’s possible libertarians will have to suck it up and keep trying to convince party leaders, elected officials and local activists why they’re right. Certainly the Koch brothers believe this and Rand Paul as well. For this to work, conservatives will have to be willing to listen and both sides will have to reach a consensus. It does nothing for Republicans to simply brush off libertarian concerns as a fringe element, or “hobbits,” but to ultimately sit down, look at what’s being said and move forward. There really are libertarians out there who want Republicans to succeed.

The solutions may be slightly different, but it should be a lot easier for conservatives and libertarians to come to an agreement. Certainly a lot easier than conservatives and liberals.

But if Republicans lose in November, what then? Will the party start listening to libertarians or blame them for their own failure? If it’s the former, things may turn out okay. If it’s the latter…the Republican Party may be doomed.

 

The Sole Moral Imperative And The Inherent Amorality of Collectivist Moral Philosophy

“Be fruitful and multiply.” That is God’s imperative to those creations that it made in its image. It is the sole moral imperative. In this piece I will be using the idea of being fruitful specifically, and will be using the biblical idea of fruitfulness as a synonym for Aristotle’s definition of happiness. Aristotle defines happiness as:

“Happiness (or flourishing or living well) is a complete and sufficient good. This implies (a) that it is desired for itself, (b) that it is not desired for the sake of anything else, (c) that it satisfies all desire and has no evil mixed in with it, and (d) that it is stable.” As provided by Notre Dame University Philosophy Department.

It is very important to understand what Aristotle means when he says happiness. It isn’t the personal metaphysical idea of happiness but an objective state of “flourishing,” and cannot be because of or via things that are evil. One is not happy if they are a trial lawyer for the mob, or a thief; basic arguments against individualist understanding of morality will claim that that is in fact the case. Although the argument is not accurate it is still incredibly effective. Aristotle’s view of ethics is that virtue begets morality and must be taught at a young age and developed. The more virtuous the person the more likely they are to act moral.

Nature is prescriptive. Nature applies directly to humans, even within human relationships and groups of humans. Even with thought and education and technology, nature is still prescriptive. We have to understand that bad things will happen, that we cannot prevent all of those things and that we exist within a larger natural system that acts on its own accord in response to stimuli just as we do. It is pure arrogance (Satan’s sin that caused god to cast him out from heaven) to suppose that we can create a system better than nature creates.

Any ideology that does not put primacy on the original moral imperative and the virtues that it requires is inherently amoral. The individual, or more accurately, every individual must take primacy. This not to say that individuals who hold collectivist moral ideas are themselves immoral, but their ideas are at their base immoral because they deny the sole moral imperative, which makes the use of said collectivist morality for evil not only possible but inevitable.

Aristotle’s ethics are virtue based. The virtuous individual is much more likely to be moral. Aristotle’s ethics are general purposefully, with the understanding that in this field even the best generalization are only accurate most of the time. For Aristotle’s ideas on ethics to work they must be extolled and taught to the individual from a young age. One can know what is right, but not do what is right, so in many ways teaching what is moral or not moral in a situation is basically irrelevant. If one understands the unfathomable dynamics and transient nature of reality, one would understand that no situation is completely the same. By giving individuals the virtues to both know and do what is right, you avoid the problems of simply teaching what is right. You also avoid, as a teacher, the possibility of being wrong, or simply unduly swayed in regards to the specific situation. This view of ethics and morality is the most practical and the most positive because it is from an educational perspective rather than a dictatorial perspective. Aristotle also contends in his basic moral understanding that things that are the most good are good in and of themselves:

“we call that which is in itself worthy of pursuit more final than that which is worthy of pursuit for the sake of something else, and that which is never desirable for the sake of something else more final than the things that are desirable both in themselves and for the sake of that other thing, and therefore we call final without qualification that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else.” –Nicomachean Ethics I

Aristotle’s predecessor Plato had a similar virtue based view of ethics but differed from Aristotle in that he linked it directly to his political view, therein negating the positive effects of virtue-based ethics. Plato, while he believed that virtue begets morality, thought that there must be some sort of educated scholastic elite to teach the others, and that the individuals desires must be suppressed to exist well within a collective. Although a logical assumption, there are some major issues. In nature packs and groups form to survive. If a pack leader or group leaders fail in keeping people alive, the pack reforms or disbands. An intellectual leader has no such objective criterion by which the individuals in the group can judge the leader. This system would also cause institutional morality where the success of the institution becomes of high moral value, thus causing moral decisions to be made for the sake of the institution, instead of because they were good within themselves. Plato’s mistakes are telling of the governmental tendencies that will pull moral philosophy away from virtue-based ethics in the future.

Thomas Aquinas translated Aristotle into the Christian understanding. He did so by acknowledging natural law, or the observable laws of reality, as part of the greater law of god and separating his three groups of virtues into god given and learned virtues. This will be important later when Rand is explained in relation to Aquinas. Aquinas will also be discussed in regards to charity later in this piece.

After Aquinas philosophers like Machiavelli, Hobbes and Bacon pushed virtue-based ethics aside. This more individualistic and developmental kind of philosophy proved quite inconvenient to the goals of thought that became popular after the middle ages. There was a shift from an inside out understanding to an outside in or top down understanding.  The popular wisdom became that it would be easier to just mold society through government, as Plato would have it, Hobbes being the most extreme example in his belief in a single monolithic totalitarian figure.  Libertarian thought, or classical liberal thought, eventually brought Aristotle’s moral outlook back into fashion.

For the purposes of this paper we will now end our discussion of the history of virtue based moral thought with Ayn Rand. She is an earthshakingly divisive figure, and rightfully so. Objectivism, her stark unapologetic philosophy is an evolution of Aristotle and is strikingly similar to Aquinas despite Rand’s well-known dislike for religion in general, as an institution. As described by Rand Objectivism is strikingly simple.

My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

  1. .                 Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
  2. .                 Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
  3. .                 Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
  4. .                The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

 

Rand’s focus on the primacy of the individual is designed so that the individual’s virtue develops, and that comes from doing the inherently good things. Aristotle believed that the highest goods were pleasurable and in fact the highest good was pleasure, which Aristotle considered to be the unimpeded activity of a natural state or when something good developed in oneself is turned on by something good in the outside world. So to have pleasure an individual must develop personally first, which is why the highest moral purpose is oneself, and why the primacy of oneself does not diminish the value of others, but in fact increases the chance each person will be moral and make correct ethical decisions.

Despite Thomas Aquinas’ moral and ethical philosophy being deeply rooted in his faith, Rand’s Objectivism still operates at its base with the same principals. If you remove the virtues cited by Aquinas that he believes to be infused or coming from god, you are left with the virtues that are of prime importance in Objectivism; the prime examples being the intellectual virtues of understanding, science, wisdom, art and prudence. Understanding is seen as basically using the obvious knowledge available to you to develop self-evident truths. Science is seen as the habit of drawing conclusions from the self-evident truths that you developed. Wisdom is seen as the organization of this knowledge. The previously mentioned virtues being the speculative issues, and much like objectivism only relate to that which can be understood and perceived within the physical or real world. Art is understood as the virtue of being able to make things. Prudence is understood as the virtue of knowing how to run ones life successfully. Art and prudence are considered the practical intellectual virtues and are of foremost importance in Rand’s Objectivism. These are all virtues that are not good within themselves, but are good when used in rational self-interest.

Aquinas sees charity as the greatest virtue, and sees all the religious or infused virtues as greater than the others. This is do to Aquinas belief that leading the virtuous life is done to honor god, while Objectivism refuses to use that which is not logically perceivable in reality in the decision making process. Objectivism stops making moral directives past what it can prove philosophically, which is why it is such a simple understanding. Despite Objectivism coming from a position where a higher power was irrelevant and Aquinas’ moral philosophy coming from a perspective where morality was in service to god, the basic understanding and practice is the same.

Aristotle, Aquinas and Rand’s basic premise is the only inherently moral premise. One must be virtuous to be moral, virtue is a habit and must be practiced and developed, the individual and the health and happiness of the individual are paramount to morality. The nature of life is too complex and transient to have any system or any axiomatic understandings guide your moral decisions, you simply have to practice a virtuous life and hope those virtues will put you in a good position to make the right decisions.

The Christian ethic is “love thy neighbor as thyself.” One has to love themselves first to love another. In an economic sense, one cannot be charitable without first being successful. In the Christian tradition charity must come from love, not from an ethical dictate. It is important to remember how Aquinas defined virtue, he defined it as such “Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power. Now a thing’s perfection is considered chiefly in regard to its end. But the end of power is act. Wherefore power is said to be perfect, according as it is determinate to its act.” The ends are specifically important, if one gives to a charity and that charity wastes the money, or fails in its goals, then it was not a virtuous decision. This is very important in regards to socialism and paying taxes. Paying taxes is not virtuous, and metrics of success within government programs are non-existent. To consider oneself virtuous for voting for higher taxes to “help” people and then paying those higher taxes, is amoral in its arrogance. The individual has to perfect his own power and is responsible for its carrying out. Socialist dogma in regards to morality reminds me specifically of a famous amoral character. “Are there no poorhouses? My taxes go to these institutions, and those who are badly off must go there.” It would seem despite all the crowing over the free market, Scrooge was a collectivist morally, and the socialist system gave him an easy way out. He has already been forced to be “moral,” but who is really amoral Scrooge or the government. Einstein would say the government: “Force always attracts men of low morality.” Scrooge never forced or coerced anyone into anything.

Because the individual and the individuals’ development is the most important aspect in the morality of each individual, any collective understanding of morality is at its heart amoral. It is not surprising that these moral understandings were discarded for the expediency of protecting grandiose understandings of a central government molding its individuals into a moral and material utopia. To Rand the utopia is simply impossible and to Aquinas it doesn’t exist in this reality, they had no reason to change what is true and objective for what is relative.  Aristotle is correct, what is best is simply what is good within itself, not what is done for the sake of something else. The greatest atrocities are committed for the sake of something else, some higher good, some good that is so good it is above mere individuals. The objective reality is that utopia can only be achieved if everyone simply became happy themselves, and the only philosophies that could achieve this are those that are virtue based, whether Aristotle, Aquinas or Rand.  Without the sole moral imperative there is no morality, just ideas and axioms that could be used for evil as easily as they can be used for good.

 

 

Social Security: Issuing Checks & Hollow–Points

Social Security, US Marshals Service, hollow-point bullet, real estate, government spending, Infowars.com

Some of the more excitable members of the conservative Internet commentariat sounded battle stations when they learned the Social Security Administration (SSA) wanted to buy 174,000 hollow–point bullets.

Had granny decided she was not going passively the next time Paul Ryan tried to shove her off a cliff? Were irate seniors busy sharpening the legs on their walkers in preparation for the coming conflict over paying for Social Security?

The Infowars.com website speculated, “It’s not outlandish to suggest that the Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest.” And the Daily Caller added the rounds have to be intended for domestic use, “since the SSA has never been used overseas to help foreign countries maintain control of their citizens.”

Which only makes sense when one considers how few foreigners are Social Security recipients, to say nothing of the lack of overseas Social Security offices.

Seeking to allay our fears, the SSA explained the ammunition was for the use of agents in the office of the inspector general that investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.

That answered the “whom” but failed to address the “why.” The previously alarmed still wanted to know why the SSA was ordering hollow–points, which are bullets designed to expand upon contact with the human body, consequently doing more damage to the target.

The answer was for safety reasons — the bystander’s, not the target’s. As a hollow–point expands it loses velocity, so those rounds tend to remain inside the target. Military, or full–metal jacket rounds, don’t expand as much and consequently a military round is liable to pass through the target’s body and bury itself in a bystander.

For conservatives this firepower controversy is only a distraction. The real issue at hand is why does the SSA have a police force in the first place?

Bureaucrats have an answer already prepared. These agents “need to be armed and trained appropriately. They not only investigate allegations of Social Security fraud, but they also are called to respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees, and customers,” explained an official web post.

But lets look at the numbers. There are 295 agents working in 66 different offices that made a grand total of 589 arrests last year according to the WaPost.

It works out to less than two arrests per year, per agent. That’s hardly a punishing level of enforcement and it compares poorly with the nationwide average of 21 arrests per year for police officers. And it certainly does not justify the cost of duplicating existing federal law enforcement capability.

A better question is why does the SSA have it’s own police force when the U.S. Marshals Service is fully capable of making the SSA’s paltry 589 arrests?

This is why the US has a trillion dollar debt, a bloated, mismanaged government and conservatives who despair of ever reducing its size.  Empire–building bureaucrats duplicate services and programs and a compliant Congress sends us the bill.

Besides it’s just possible that if the Marshals Service had a few more warrants to serve they would occupy themselves with productive endeavors and not have time to cost victims money in the real estate market, as events in Manassas, VA demonstrate. There the service has just presided over the second auction of the old Post Office building that was seized as part of the assets in a fraud case.

Proceeds from the sale of the building are to go to victims who lost money. The first auction was held in April and attracted a bid of $385,000 that was accepted by the auctioneer. Anyone who has ever placed a bid for stolen electronics on eBay knows that means the bidder now owns the Post Office! Except the normal rules of the marketplace don’t apply to the government, which neither understands nor encourages a truly free market.

The feds make their own rules.

So the Marshals Service rejected the winning bid, because explained the spokesperson, “We felt it was too low.” Any real estate agent worth his photo featuring calling cards will tell you a property is worth what someone will pay for it, not what some bureaucrat thinks looks better in the news release announcing the distribution of the money.

The bidders, bless their hearts, increased their offer to $400,000, a sum that was also rejected. And there the situation stood until last month when another auction was held and guess what? This time the winning bid was $355,000.

Assuming this bid is accepted, the Marshals Service’s marketplace ignorance will have only cost the intended recipients of the proceeds $45,000. Unless the Marshals Service intends to hold out for an even lower bid.

But this mistake is consequence–free for the Marshals, just as building an unnecessary police force only enhances the organization chart at the SSA. In the first instance it only costs taxpayers and in the second only tax dollars. And what bureaucrat cares about either?

Republican Tyranny in Tampa: What Happened and Why?

Republican Tyranny in Tampa: What Happened and Why? 

I just read on one of the social network sites I belong to that Ron Paul is planning a 3rd party run for President.  People have their panties in a bunch saying he will be the reason Obama gets re-elected.  I have a few thoughts to share and several questions to ask on this matter.  The questions I have need some answers from people who will take an objective look at what I write and respond with thought rather than emotion.  Put your partisan hat aside and read on.

For any who are not aware of the situation I will give a short “cliff notes” version of what happened at the RNC convention in Tampa.  The establishment was so afraid of Ron Paul that they threw the rules out the window for the benefit of Mitt Romney.  The Republican Party establishment, along with the Romney campaign advisors, managed to change the rules to allow Romney to “select” the delegates he desired and to disqualify those elected at the state level if he didn’t like who they were committed to vote for at the convention.  Essentially the “presumptive nominee” now chooses who the delegates are despite what the state conventions might have done to elect their own choices.  So, if I run for president and am the “presumptive nominee” I get to disqualify anyone I think might vote for a candidate who garnered enough votes in a state to have a few delegate votes at the convention?   How nice for me!!!  No more floor fights, EVER!!  This is the short version, not the epic story.

I thought the idea of the convention was to get together, and to work within the rules of the party to nominate a candidate for the presidential election; that it is the method to settle disputes and come out the other side in agreement.  Apparently I am under a misconception.  The result of this convention is an extremely fractured party with the Ron Paul delegation already being blamed for what could very well be the re-election of Barack Obama in November.  I have some questions that I hope readers will ponder objectively before they answer.

First of all, when Romney had a majority of the delegates sent by the states, why inflame passions by starting a big fight over changing the rules to silence what was obviously a minority of delegates?  Were they really trying to avoid a fight on the floor for the nomination or were they deliberately alienating people?   What about those whose delegates were aligned with Santorum or Gingrich?  Hasn’t the Romney camp and their establishment elitist allies just disenfranchised them as well?  Isn’t a party convention the place where these nominee fights are supposed to take place, in a fair, honest, and democratic way?  When the whole purpose of the convention was “unity”, with a strong and cohesive voice, why did they go to all of this trouble to keep passions enflamed and drive the fight to the general election in November?  I saw this same thing happen at the state convention in Oklahoma.  I was a Santorum supporter which left me without a dog in the fight.  The established rules of the party and parliamentary procedure were violated repeatedly in what I saw as a deliberate tactic by the party establishment to divide the party.  I was appalled at the way party officials behaved in Norman, Oklahoma.  And then I see what happened in Tampa!!!  Why was a war that didn’t need to be fought started?

If the Romney camp and the establishment who runs the party wanted a unified voice why did they not just allow the process to proceed and come to the end with everyone feeling like they had a fair chance, to “have their day in court” so to speak?  Why disenfranchise a huge block of party delegates, and the voters they represented in Tampa?  Could it be that the Republican Party would rather lose as they did in 2008 and then sit back and snipe from the bushes like they have been doing since the last presidential election?  Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010, and by that election control the finances of the government; yet they blame Harry Reid for their own failure to stop Obama when they have the power to do so.

In 2008 John McCain was a very weak, very liberal, candidate who picked Sarah Palin, a fiery conservative, as his running mate.  The McCain handlers repeatedly silenced Palin while McCain made a mess of everything he did. He irritated and alienated every group he was supposed to reel in with the “charm” that was to overcome his liberal leanings.  When he got his head handed to him on a platter by Obama the McCain team came out the very next day blaming Palin in a smear campaign that makes the Obama “blame Bush” tactic look like child’s play.  It was all too plain to me.  McCain ran a pathetic campaign and used Palin as the patsy to “save face”.

Now, in 2012, Mitt Romney has the same campaign handlers used by McCain in what was a huge disaster four years ago.  I wonder WHY????  Why is Romney using the same people who couldn’t get McCain elected over a nobody with less experience in politics than Sarah Palin?   Why does he take a bunch of losers and employ them in what I have been told is the most critical election in our lifetime?  Does this seem odd to anyone else or is it just me?

I also find it odd that what could have been a very positive and unifying convention was handled in a manner that caused more fractures than an earthquake.  Are the people who run the party really so stupid they can’t figure out how to handle something as simple as a vote of delegates?  Aren’t these people the “professional political experts” who know everything us “rubes” don’t know about politics?  If they are as smart as they are supposed to be, and would like for us to believe they are, why did the convention erupt in the chaos it did?  Are we looking at incompetence here or it is something more sinister? 

I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around the developments I saw at the convention.  All of this contentious atmosphere could have been avoided by simply following the rules and being fair about how the convention was handled.  Instead of fighting and blaming each other why are Republican Party voters not asking these questions of those who caused the problems in the first place, the party “elites”?  Are Romney supporters Romneybots who fear a fair hearing for others or are they “useful idiots” being used by establishment insiders with an agenda that has yet to be seen?

Who does this bickering between Romney supporters and Paul supporters benefit?  The obvious answer is Barack Obama and Democrats but does it go deeper than that?  What happens if all of us get together and support Mitt Romney, and he is elected?  Will Romney and Republicans make good on their campaign promises or are those promises more empty hot air to garner votes from desperate citizens scared of a 2nd Obama term?  Has John Boehner fulfilled any of the promises he made so we would vote for Republicans in record numbers in 2010? 

If you will take a real close and objective look at the promises made by Boehner prior to November 2010 you will find he has done nothing but posture and bleat without really accomplishing anything.  We the People have seen repeated votes to raise the debt ceiling; and one continuing resolution after another to keep government funded at the levels established by the Democrats while Republicans blame Harry Reid for not passing a budget.  That is like complaining about a drug addict not getting clean while handing him the drugs he uses to stay wasted.  Boehner and the Republican Party sit in the shadows, doing nothing, and snipe at Democrats.  Obama does nothing to improve our nation yet spends all of his effort blaming George Bush.  So, Democrats blame Bush; Republicans blame Democrats; and now the Romney camp will blame Ron Paul if he loses in November.  And while all this “blame game” is happening nothing gets done as our nation goes ever faster towards the cliff that leads to the abyss of financial ruin, ending in poverty and slavery for all of us.

Am I the only one who has figured out that neither political party has any intention of fixing what ails our nation?  Am I the only one who cares where we are headed as a people?  The politicians go right along living the high life off of the taxes we pay to fund their lavish lifestyles, while blaming each other for the problems.  Most of the tax money collected goes to government overhead, at the clip of about 72%.  They use some of the money, about 28%, to buy the loyalty of illegal aliens, poor people, the elderly, and anyone else they can buy; knowing full well that the goose that lays the golden egg is almost out of eggs.  They know we will collapse like Greece in a very short time but neither party is really doing anything to stop it are they?  They do nothing to solve the problems, but instead spend their time pointing fingers at each other.

So while we sit and snipe at each other and try to fix blame on Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, John Dummett (www.johndummett.us ), or any one of a dozen others who have a plan to restore liberty and financial stability both political parties and their high dollar financiers go on living life in style and laughing at us peasants fighting over crumbs.  What a sight we must be to those who are in control.  We the People fight each other while our enemies (Republican and Democrat elitists) sit back, laughing and waiting for the right time to drop the hammer of tyranny on all of us.

When We People should be looking to God for salvation from the evil foisted upon us by political parties most are looking to those same political parties for answers.  Way too many people are looking to Mitt Romney to save this nation just as many looked to Obama four years ago. Obama wasn’t the answer then, and Romney isn’t the answer now.  Prayer and only prayer will save our nation from the ravages of tyranny that is being brought by the Republican and Democrat Parties.

I hope those who read this will read it several times and get the true meaning of what I write.  I would really like some thoughtful answers rather than sniping and name calling.  I have posed questions about some serious issues that need thought put into them if we are to find reasonable answers that can be used to correct the situation.  Partisanship is not the answer here.  I don’t care if you support Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, or someone else, that isn’t the point.  We the People are on the Titanic but the politicians aren’t on here with us.  They have set themselves above us and have insulated themselves and their friends from the effects of the disaster that we are facing in a very short time if we don’t find some solutions.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

September 7, 2012

Have The ‘Thought Police’ Arrived At Providence College?

The bias police have arrived at Providence College. They may not be wearing brown shirts or steel tipped boots, but the school will have a “Bias Response Protocol (BRP) that will be enacted this upcoming semester. The story behind the creatin of this new protocl centers on a graffiti incident that allegedly had racial overtones. The criteria of the BRP was highlighted in an email ascertained though an anonymous source.

The first paragraph mentions the grafitti incident, but also states that the new protocols will help Providence College’s “efforts to create and sustain a campus community in which all feel connected, valued and respected, we are exploring the development of a process that would help us respond to any future incidents of bias and intolerance (or perceived bias or intolerance).”

The first paragraph mentions the graffiti incident, but also states that the new protocols will help Providence College’s “efforts to create and sustain a campus community in which all feel connected, valued and respected, we are exploring the development of a process that would help us respond to any future incidents of bias and intolerance (or perceived bias or intolerance).”

Does anyone in the real world think they can go through life without their feelings getting hurt?  More importantly, does it it require a bias protocol to address the issue?  Are the resident advisors unable to handle these types of situations without adding more pages to the handbook?  It’s nonsense.  However, the real interesting part of the email is the section where the school says “to be clear, this process is in no way intended to curb the free expression of opinions or ideas. In fact, we hope that an effective protocol will contribute to an environment that encourages dialogue around challenging issues.  Moreover, such a process would not replace any existing policies or procedures.”  

I had the chance to ask Shayna Kaufmann, a senior at Providence, a few questions regarding the new policy. She said that the new policy is “a large job description because humans aren’t objective. We can hardly provide each other with objective national news. That said, chasing down every incident of bias or intolerance could certainly lead to the hindrance of free speech. Most importantly, how the school decides to define “bias” and “intolerance” will determine whether or how the BRP will target conservative groups on campus or furnish the school with a ‘de facto thought police’ [to use your words].” Kaufmann’s concerns are legitimate.  Case in point, the Tom Tancredo fiasco in 2009.

Tom Tancredo, the former Congressman and Republican presidential candidate, planned on speaking at the college, but was banned due to his stance on illegal immigration.  Is that honoring “a campus community in which all feel connected, valued, and respected?” Mr. Tancredo ended up speaking on a sidewalk off of Providence College property.

According to Nancy Krause of WPRI, she wrote back in April of 2009 that “a statement released Monday…said Tancredo’s opposition to illegal immigration ‘directly contrasts’ with those of Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence. Tobin is a member of the school’s Board of Trustees. If a similar request to host a speaker on this topic is made in a future semester, the College will encourage and facilitate a format that allows for multiple points of view to be expressed, the statement said.”

So conservatives can come to Providence and speak, but only if a liberal counterpoint is also presented.  The college could have invited a pro-illegeal immigration activist after Mr. Tancredo spoke the following week. Overall, it’s an unconstitutional collegiate version of the Fairness Doctrine.

This is not an endorsement of Tom Tancredo, but anyone has the right to voice his or her opinion on a given subject.  College campuses that advocate a climate of tolerance, but ban people they disagree with is disingenuous in the extreme.  The free flow of ideas are essential to the survival of a liberal democracy. No matter how virulent those opinions may be to the public.

The fact that Tancredo was banned from speaking gives legitimacy to what William F. Buckley said about “liberals [who] claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

The new BRP protocol also adds to the complications conservative groups already have in liberal academia, especially when new ones are trying to be created.  On top of “bias alerts,” Providence has an unnecessary and strenuous review process for new student clubs.  My source said that “the process of starting a club on campus is to fill out a proposed club application. You would then present the club idea to the Student Congress Clubs and Organizations committee. If the committee passes the club, it will be sent to Steve Sears for review. If he passes the club as well, legislation will be written and presented to the entire student congress.”  It sounds like standard operating procedure, but if voting members approve a new club, it only receives proposed ‘club status’.

Then,”the legislation goes back to Steve Sears for approval.”  Here is where things get a bit hazy.   According to my source, “the club remains with its ‘proposed club’ classification for two consecutive semesters.  Following the two semesters, the proposed club will come up for review (again) with the Clubs and Organization committee. If the committee decides to give them recognized status (based on a number of criteria), then they will be passed to Steve Sears (again) for approval. If he approves, it goes back to the Student Congress (again) with legislation to make the club official. If Congress approves, the legislation goes back to Steve (again) for review, and if he approves it becomes a recognized club.”  Does anyone have any aspirin?  From Providence’s student handbook, it appears the bureaucratic nightmare my source described rings true.  Becoming an advisor to a club looks like it has its own nauseating procedure.

Providence College Student Handbook

Why so much red tape, Providence?

As a result, it should be no surprise that clubs, like the pro-family Anscombe Society, have struggled to achieve full recognition.  Kaufmann said that the club has remained in limbo since they “failed to send in their monthly financials – which only happened because the club’s exec board was never notified by Student Congress’ Clubs & Organizations Committee that doing so was a requirement. They didn’t know financial monthly reporting even existed.”  Perhaps, if the club review process was more streamlined, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

I asked Kaufmann if the “thought police” had arrived at Providence College?    It remains to be seen.  To be fair, Kaufmann did say that these protocols have yet to be drafted officially – so we’ll see how things play out. It all depends on how the student body, specifically the progressive wing, utilizes this new policy.  If it’s to snuff out conservative dissent and weed out fledgling conservative groups, which I believe is the intent of the BRP, then it should be a very interesting semester.  Welcome freshman!

Obama Needs to Stop Saying ‘I Am GM, Hear Me Roar’

If I have to hear left-wingers touting the “success” of the auto bailout one more time, I might as well toss a chair through my window.  It’s patently false to say that the auto bailout was a success.  Furthermore, it was more of an United Auto Workers union bailout than it was for the auto industry.  As Amy Payne of Heritage wrote back in June:

The Treasury Department estimates that taxpayers will lose $23 billion on the auto bailout. Sherk and co-author Todd Zywicki [both are economists for Heritage] find that none of these losses came from saving jobs, but instead went to prop up the compensation of some of the most highly paid workers in America. They write:

We estimate that the Administration redistributed $26.5 billion more to the UAW than it would have received had it been treated as it usually would in bankruptcy proceedings. Taxpayers lost between $20 billion and $23 billion on the auto programs. Thus, the entire loss to the taxpayers from the auto bailout comes from the funds diverted to the UAW.

The Obama campaign is touting the bailout in Michigan this week, crowing about saved-or-created jobs. What the bailout actually saved was the UAW’s heavily padded compensation packages; what it created was a massive taxpayer loss.

Sherk and Zywicki also analyzed the amazing size of the bailout in their June report:

President Obama handed the United Auto Workers $26.5 billion—more than the U.S. spent on all foreign aid programs in 2011 ($20.6 billion). The union collected 50 percent more than NASA’s $17.6 billion budget for 2011, more than Missouri’s state budget ($23.2 billion), and almost as much as Indiana’s state budget ($26.7 billion). The UAW subsidies cost twice as much as Congress spent last year on the Executive Office of the President, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch combined ($12.3 billion); more than the Department of Labor spent on job trainingprograms ($11.0 billion); and almost as much as the cost of keeping federally funded extended unemployment insurance benefits in place in 2012 ($30.1 billion).

Now, Republicans have their hands in this mess too.  It was under Bush that the seeds of “lemon socialism” were sown.  George Will often mocked the bailout saying at CPAC 2010 that he doesn’t understand why Bush officials felt so strongly about this.  He said that perhaps “they were haunted by the searing memories of the – continent wide urban unrest and civil disorders that accompanied the bankruptcy of Studebaker.”

However, Will aptly noted the market share isn’t where it should be if the bailout was paid for in his August 31 column.

Today, ‘I am GM, hear me roar‘ is again losing market share, and its stock, of which taxpayers own 26 percent, was trading Thursday morning at $21, below the $33 price our investor in chief paid for it and below the $53 price it would have to reach to enable taxpayers to recover the entire $49.5 billion bailout. Roaring GM’s growth is in China.

But let’s not call that outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, lest we aggravate liberalism’s current bewilderment, which is revealed in two words it dare not speak, and in a four-word phrase it will not stop speaking. The two words are both verbal flinches. One is ‘liberal,’ the other ‘spend.’ The phrase is ‘as we know it.’

However, let’s focus on the China element for a second.  Obama claims that Mitt Romney and the Republicans are complicit in the evil dynamics of outsourcing.  I don’t think liberals read Forbes much, but Paul Roderick Gregory wrote back in August 12 that:

To be exact: GM’s December 31, 2011 annual report shows General Motors of North America accounting for 98,000  of the 207,000 GM jobs worldwide. But 12,000 of these jobs are in Canada and 11,500 are in Mexico.  Accordingly, GM has 74,500 jobs in the United States and 122,500 abroad, even after Obama’s touted surge in Detroit jobs.  Almost two thirds of  GM’s jobs are in other countries.

GM’s outsourcing is not a slip. GM clearly states that foreign investment and  outsourcing of jobs are an integral parts of its growth strategy.

Grace D. Lieblein, President and CEO of GM Mexico, for example,  proudly announced in a GM Mexico press release:

’75 years ago, General Motors came to our country with a dream to fulfill: turning Mexico into a prosperous nation for the benefit of millions of families. Today, after 75 years into the adventure, we have achieved goals that seemed unattainable, thanks to the efforts and dedication of Mexican talent. During the 75 years GM Mexico has been in operation, the subsidiary has produced 7 million vehicles, 20 million engines, and 4 million transmissions. GM Mexico employs 11,500 direct and about 90,000 indirect employees.’

So it now appears that GM’s goal is to make Mexico prosperous, not the good old US of A! In the same press release, GM heralds its upcoming billion dollar investments in its Mexican plants (versus a $100 million investment in RochesterNew York). It should have saved the Rochester announcement for another day.

So, why does the left and President Obama continue to peddle a narrative that is patently false?  We haven’t been paid back for the UAW bailout – as indicated by the market price.  GM’s growth strategy is centered on outsourcing and building plants outside the United States.  A method of business he’s staunchly against and yet, the media seems silent on this issue.

It could be due to the dishonest diversion liberals in the media and on the Hill love to utilize against anyone who is against the bailout by threatening to ask him/her if GM and Chrysler should have gone bankrupt.  Yes, I do!

As Payne mentioned, “if the UAW had been treated normally under bankruptcy law, the automakers’ average labor costs would have fallen to the same levels as the foreign-based carmakers, approximately $47 an hour. While this is still 40 percent higher compensation than the average manufacturing worker, it would have reduced UAW members’ standard of living. And the Administration wouldn’t allow that. So while the UAW accepted huge pay cuts for new hires, the Administration kept the pay structure of existing UAW members at GM intact.”

Furthermore, “even Stephen Rattner, President Obama’s ‘car czar,’ has admitted that ‘we should have asked the UAW to do a bit more. We did not ask any UAW member to take a cut in their pay.”

Furthermore, we lost precious savings from a normal bankruptcy proceeding as indicated by Sherk and Zywicki.

In a normal bankruptcy, the pay and benefits of existing union members likely would have been reduced, probably to prevailing labor market rates. Only the taxpayer bailout allowed the UAW to avoid this. Moreover, one reason why the Senate rejected a bailout of the automakers in December 2008 was the UAW’s refusal to reduce their compensation to market rates.  But once the decision was made to divert already appropriated TARP funds to the task—a use that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson initially deemed to be beyond the scope of the legitimate use of the TARP funds—neither the Bush nor Obama Administrations pressed this point.

If the bankruptcy had lowered GM’s average labor costs down to market rates, its costs would have fallen by $800 million a year. Such concessions would have reduced operating costs and the size of the government’s infusion of funds into the companies. They would have also raised profitability and thus the value of the government’s stake in GM. These concessions would have saved taxpayers—in present value terms—approximately $4.1 billion

The most infuriating part of this whole debacle is the preferential treatment UAW received from the Obama administration.  In fact:

had the government treated the UAW in the manner required by bankruptcy law, the taxpayers would have been able to recoup their entire investment in the company. The program would have amounted to subsidized loans instead of a direct bailout. The Administration could have kept the automakers running without losing a dime.

Accomplishing this would have been straightforward. At Chrysler, the Treasury—not the UAW—could have received the $4.6 billion note and ownership of 41.5 percent of the company. At General Motors, the bankruptcy process could have operated normally, reducing GM’s compensation to market levels and raising the value of the government’s shares. The Treasury could have also received the $2.5 billion note, the $6.5 billion in preferred stock, and the excess shares of GM given to the union. The Administration could have directed the firm not to treat Delphi’s UAW members better than non-union retirees and put less money into GM. Had the Administration done so American taxpayers would not have lost $23 billion.

Concerning claims that millions would have lost their jobs through the bankruptcy process, Sherk and Zywicki aptly conclude that “General Motors and Chrysler would have had no difficulty filling entry-level positions even though they paid less than transplant automakers,” even under the threat of a strike, which wasn’t in the works in 2009.  It’s all nonsense.  Barack Obama and the Democrats needed to keep their parasitic allies in big labor happy at the expense of the American taxpayer.  I know this is old history, but until the media and folks on our side have the gumption to say that the bailout was a horrible episode of government intervention– we should keep on hammering away at this.  After all, it will probably be brought up in the debates.

Mr. President, stop saying “I am GM, hear me roar!”  The facts just don’t support your narrative.

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