Thursday, December 31, 2009

Final Rants of 2009

So many rants, too little time.

According to today's Rasmussen report, 58% of Americans approve of waterboarding to secure information from the Christmas Day Pantie Bomber. Yet, President O's Administration refuses to waterboard. An interesting aside, two of the Pantie Bomber's Yemeni Al Quaeda collaborators were released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia to attend art school. Mark Stein refers to this new terrorism policy as going from waterboarding to watercoloring. Now that's progress.

In the opening days of Constitutional Guardian I wrote of Davy Crockett's speech on the floor of the House during his first term. Congress was considering a $10,000 relief bill to aid the widow of a naval officer. The bill was expected to pass unanimously. Crockett stood in stern opposition to the bill and said the following: "...We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money."Where are the Davy Crockett kind of leaders now?

Again from Rasmussen (yesterday) 58% of Americans now oppose the health care bill, 78% believe the bill will cost more than projected. My bet, as soon as Americans understand what is IN this bill, disapproval will rise to close to 70%. The question is will the leftist ideologues care?

The federal government has bailed out GMAC to the tune of $16.3 billion and 56% ownership. The problem? Bad mortgages. At the risk of beating a dead horse...the government "encouraged" lenders to make those loans, how is government ownership and board seats going to prevent problems in the future? They did such a good job with Freddie and Fannie, don't you think?


Deficit rising exponentially each day...

Those who are watching have noticed that Ford (who refused government subsidies) recently posted a profit while General Motors is still inhaling cash.

Weak dollar...

H1N1 virus--where is the pandemic? And where is the vaccine?

"The system worked."

I guess it depends on what the meaning of "worked" is.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lead by Playing Golf--Another Obama First

I don't want to be distracted from the health care crime the Senate committed against the American people on Christmas Eve, yet the Christmas day terrorist attack in the skies over Michigan deserves our attention. Because, in essence, it is part of the same problem.

Irresponsible leadership.

President Obama continued on with his Hawaiian golf vacation for almost three full days before he took the time to inform the nation that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was “an isolated extremist.” Except the problem is, he wasn't. He is a self confessed, Al-Quada-connected terrorist. And to make matters worse, while the President was enjoying the links, his Administration was busy circulating the Sunday news programs saying things like: "the system worked." That from Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, earning her the nickname: Janet Incompetano. I hate to draw an obvious comparison but does Janet Reno and Waco ring a bell?

And, may I ask where the critics are that assailed President Bush during Katrina? Demanding he end his vacation and return to the helm? Rest assured, they are still with us, still peddling their form of editorial journalism at places like The Washington Post, which declared Obama's un-response to the terrorist attack: "low key." Below is an excerpt from the Post's, December 27th report:

"President Obama has performed a difficult but familiar balancing act over the past few days: ordering new security measures in the wake of an attempted airliner attack without excessively alarming the public -- or triggering an outcry from civil liberties advocates.

He has done so almost entirely out of sight. On vacation in Hawaii, tucked away in a lush neighborhood where his family is renting a waterfront home, Obama dispatched surrogates back in Washington -- chiefly Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano and press secretary Robert Gibbs, who appeared on the Sunday talk shows -- to reassure the public and explain his approach.

Yet even as the president avoided cameras and played golf and basketball over the weekend, his aides were quick to explain how fully Obama minded the aftermath of the Detroit case."

No longer can we call this editorial journalism. This pathetic pablum can only be called one thing: Propaganda. No where is the word "terrorism" or "terrorist" used. No where is the President's delayed response challenged. No where is the Homeland Secretary's absurd statement: "the system worked" denounced or even thoughtfully examined. There is no outrage over his "lush" waterfront home or the fact that he amused himself with golf and basketball instead of addressing the American people in the aftermath of the terrorism.

The standards traditionally used to measure not just President Bush, but all former presidents no longer seem to apply. Ignore terrorists, ignore the airline security of Americans, ignore the cold-blooded shooting of our soldiers at Fort Hood, ignore the unemployed, ignore the Constitution, public opinion, common sense economic policies and most importantly, the truth and you will be hailed as "historic."

The question is: historic what?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Fiddler-in-Chief

"Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times."--Gustave Flaubert

Don't get me wrong.

I am not happy, nor ignorant or naive about what is going on in Washington. If not for my Faith I would be a decidedly bitter creature this Christmas. So allow me to illumine a small ray of hope.

This drunk-on-power cabal we call our representatives, these men and women so obviously impressed by their own words and grandiosity will be a collective, nameless speck--a sideshow --when our history is written. Our president, on the other hand, will be front and center.
Recall: In AD 64 the great fire that broke out in Rome. Much of the city was destroyed and most of its inhabitants were left homeless. Scholars conclude the fire was set by Nero to destroy the unappealing buildings in Rome making way for the construction of marble palaces and monuments to himself. Historians of the time claim Emperor Nero was observed watching the fire, enjoying the spectacle he had created as he looked out over the city. From that the phrase, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned."
His self-possessed calm in the face of the devastation of so many lives seems remarkably cold-hearted to us. Yet, to him, the fire and destruction were part of a grander plan he had for glorifying his own name and carving a hallowed place in history for himself. Monuments to Nero. At the expense of the people.
But the citizens were mad. Hopping mad at the thought of their leader intentionally causing them harm. Incensed to the point of revolution, Nero needed a scapegoat and he needed one fast. Enter: The Christians. Nero blamed the Christians and the population, I supposed relieved to direct their anger away from the emperor were willing to believe that the Christians had done this horrible thing and so the unspeakable persecution of thousands began.
Where is the optimism and hope in all of this you are no doubt wondering?
Stay with me for a moment. When the truth regarding this health care monstrosity becomes known, when we begin to see the details of the depth and breadth of the tax increases, when the results of terrorist trials on our soil become evident, the sheer magnitude of the economic destruction and fear these policies create, will result in the need for a scapegoat.
But, those of who are informed by history (and good sense) will be wary of a leader who points fingers and places blame. A leader who seeks out private citizens to blame: companies that employ our neighbors, CEO's who manage global businesses to a budget each and every year, town hall attendees who object to a socialist experiment with our health care system, those who "cling to guns and religion." We will be wiser, calmer, better informed and we will hold our leaders accountable at the ballot box.
We won't fall for acrimonious and accusatory treachery. Instead when the fire is extinguished and the smoke clears, we will put our heads down and remove the rubble as we begin to rebuild our historical, and I believe God-given, government. It won't be easy. Never is. But we will do it because the stakes are too high to do otherwise.
So enjoy a Blessed Christmas with your families. Relax, rejuvenate. The fight will be long and harsh. We may lose our way from time to time in the wilderness of wily accusations and distortions. Yet, determined and united we will prevail, as those before us have done.
May God bless you richly as we celebrate the birth of His Son. Our Savior. And our true hope.
( of Nero)

Monday, December 21, 2009

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority..."

"A wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

The party of Jefferson has come to this: the most reckless, cavalier spendthrifts in the history of the United States. With no regard for public opinion nor for the debt burden they hoist onto future generations, this Congress and this Administration march determinedly toward a Marxist, Socialist agenda.

In America. The land of the free.

Alexander Hamilton anticipated a federal government run amok. In Federalist 33 he wrote: "If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. "

Government is our "creature." And, it is time to redress.

Patricia Hampl, in her 1999 memoir, A Romantic Education, wrote of her generation--the first of the Baby Boomers: "Perhaps no American generation--certainly not our parents who were young during the Depression--had a childhood as long as ours. The war (Vietnam is the war she is referring to) kept us young. We stayed in school, endlessly, it seemed, and our protest kept us in the child's position: we alternately "rebelled" against and pestered the grownups for what we wanted..." (7).

And now they are in charge. And they will have their way. They are still rebelling but no longer against the government. Now they rebel against us because they now find they love and must have the very power they rejected in their youth. Ironic to be sure. The Democratic party of the people is now the party AGAINST the people. The party that opposed big business, now IS big business. The government being the biggest, most inefficient business in the land. This generation of babies that wailed for their rights are now usurping ours.


Unlike those who wring their hands and say it is too late, I cannot accept their fatalism. If it be too late, then I will fight in vain. I still believe in the power of our Constitution, no matter how "injured" and I believe enough in our history to feel the fight itself is noble and necessary, no matter the result.

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority...take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution..."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Welcome to the Servile State

Well they did it. Though I, for one, am not surprised. Abuse of power is addicting and Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi (to name but a few) don't care one whit for the Constitution or the wishes of the people they serve. They care about consolidation of power. And they are determined to have it. One way or another.

So, Harry Reid finally succeeded in buying his sixty Democrat votes for the Health Care bill that a majority of Americans do not support. According to Rasmussen: "Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters are now against the health care plan working its way through Congress, while just 40% support it. Perhaps more significantly, 46% now Strongly Oppose the plan, compared to 19% who Strongly Favor it." We don't want it but they are going to establish it anyway. Why? Certainly not even they believe care will improve or premiums will come down. If they did they would implement the bill immediately instead of waiting till well after the next Presidential election. No, if history is any guide it is more likely because they simply don't like us having all that freedom and indpendence. Government's power increases the greater the monopoly it has over our lives.

In his 1913 book, The Servile State, Hilaire Belloc writes, "...the effect of Socialist doctrine on Capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters--to wit, the Servile State." (xiv)

Welcome to the Servile State courtesy of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. The new United States of America where health care is a right to be managed and dictated by a strong centralized government. Everything our Founders sought to avoid. Everything our soldiers since the Revolutionary War have fought to oppose.

F.A. Hayek penned the definitive treatise on political philosophy and economics in England in the spring of 1944, The Road to Serfdom. Hayek believed that the collectivist ideas of his peers to empower government, increasing its economic control would not lead to utopia as promised by the proponents rather, inevitably would lead to totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany. As a witness to the tyranny of the Nazi's (Hayek was Austrian and did not return to Austria after the Anschluss), Hayek saw the effects of collectivism first hand.

In 1956 writing of the socialist government established six years before in England (his new home), he wrote: "...the most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people." He goes on to explain that the change is slow--perhaps two generations before the alteration in character is noted. But, he emphasizes, the erosion will take place if government control is not tempered.

"The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit (emphasis mine)." (xxxix)

Hayek argues that the change need not be permanent if the people will throw out the party enslaving them and reverse course. So there is hope for us, too. If we rise to the challenge. If we regain our footing. If we remember what we are all about. If we value our unique place in history and teach the next generation the joy and empowerment of liberty, there is hope.

As Hayek reminds us, "Nobody saw more clearly than De Toqueville that democracy as an essentially individualist institution stood in an irreconcilable conflict with socialism" (29). And he quotes De Tocqueville on the subject of individual freedom: "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restrict it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere member. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." (emphasis mine)
So let us throw out the party of tyranny and collectivism. Let us stand for the individual and our strong tradition of individual liberty. Let us not allow them destroy our spirit or the America our Founders gave us. Not slip into the Servile State this Administration is so diligently pursuing.
In short, let us throw the bums out; and their Servile State along with them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Words Mean Something

Dear Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas,

Recently you were asked by a CNS reporter, “What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate that individuals have to purchase health insurance?”

And you answered, “Well, I just think the Constitution charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people.” As CNS rightly reports: The words “health” and “well-being” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution.
Senator Lincoln, words mean something.

Dear President Obama,
You have repeatedly told the American people your health care bill will not ration care.
According to an editorial written by Senator Tom Coburn in today's Wall Street Journal, "the Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost. An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill—composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members—will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program. Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients' access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production. It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns. And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers."
President Obama, words mean something.

Dear Kathleen Sebelius,
After the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advised women under 50 to forgo their annual mammogram screening you announced the recommendation was merely that and did not carry the force of law.

Yet, as Senator Coburn writes, "...the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713. The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans "shall provide coverage for" services approved by the task force. This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients. When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care."
Ms. Sebelius, words mean something.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Imagine for a moment, a Utopian land. One where the leaders of the government require their subjects to remit only ten percent of earnings for the maintenance of peace and order. Where the supreme ruler is bound by the responsibility to prudently steward those funds, to not abuse the right to tax his subjects. A land where abuse by the leader would result in sanctioned rebellion by the people because the leader (in breaking the bargain) lost his divine mandate to rule.

"Not possible!" you quickly reply. "No such land has or ever will exist."

But it did my friends. Established by Confucius, Chinese tax wisdom established the ideal tax at 10% and required the ruler to maintain this Mandate to maintain his rule. The Mandate was considered a divine contract that, if broken, would result in rebellion--"The Change in Heavenly Orders." The system lasted over 2000 years.

Confucius studied the previous centuries of tax abuse and determined that emperors should not have a free hand in tax policy. 10% was considered the just amount of tax. Confucius was followed by Mencius, the Second Sage. According to Charles Adams in For Good and Evil,

"Mencius wrote for the Chinese the doctrine of the sacred right of insurrection against bad government, as Thomas Jefferson did for the United States. Mencius regarded all government as coming from Heaven, which meant that all rulers were responsible to God and the people. The aim of government was to promote the happiness and well-being of the people. A heavy tax would not do that. And any ruler that left his subjects in misery deserved to be deposed. People were the most important element of a nation; after them came government workers, and finally last of all, came the emperor (48).

Look how far we've come. With unemployment hovering at 10%, our government will raise the national debt ceiling by $2 trillion to $14 trillion this week. According to the Wall Street Journal, that increase will last one year before another will be required. Since the democrats took over Congress in 2007 the debt ceiling has been raised by 39%. This next increase will add another 15%. More frightening, the federal budget has increased 50% since Obama has been in office. A bad combination: rising spending and increasing debt.

According to White House projections (which lean toward optimism), this year's debt will reach 61% of GDP and will rise to 68% in 2010. Consider your own balance sheet. How long could you sustain a debt to income ratio so large and so quickly rising? Remember, next year's 68% debt to GDP is before the Health Care and Cap and Trade bills, each requiring trillions of dollars of spending. There is only one solution to the problem if our representatives refuse to stop spending--more income. In this case more income means higher taxes on an already burdened citizenry.

Our founders considered the imposition of taxes without consent a reason to rebel, to declare "unalienable Rights" to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Yet, we may have to put those pursuits on hold for a bit. Our friends in Washington are digging a big ole hole and we are going to have to work hard--for generations, perhaps--to find our way out of it.

Aah for one Confucius in Congress.

(image courtesy of: )

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Government derives its power from the governed--A serious question about Obamacare

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending "America's game." The Army Navy Football Game in Philadelphia. (Go Navy! Beat Army!) It is an experience unlike any other. Despite the cold, despite the fact that our seats were in the top row of the top section of Lincoln Field, despite the fact that the game wasn't particularly spectacular, the atmosphere was remarkable. Never have I experienced such enthusiastic camaraderie and jubilance. And at the end of the hard fought game, winner and loser stood shoulder to shoulder in the tradition of the closing ceremony.

It was, in short, inspirational.

I also had the privilege of visiting Independence Hall. 9 a.m. in the cold drizzle of a grey Sunday morning, an articulate, well-informed tour guide took us through the two modest rooms (on the first floor) recounting the solemn and magnificent history of our founding. We stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was conceived, looked at the thirteen tables, quill pens at the ready, Washington's rising sun chair facing the tables, as our guide told of the debates of the Constitutional Congress, the determination of our founders to develop a superior framework of government--the greatest government the world had yet to see.

We wandered over to the Liberty Bell and looking at the lovely, simple architectural, the grandeur of the 200 plus year old Independence Hall (90% of the original bricks still standing) I thought of the parallel between the building and the documents conceived there. Simple, yet grand. Lovely to look at yet, solid and unyielding.

The phrase: Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...rolled over and over in my mind. The rest of the day. On the flight home. Government derives power from the consent of the governed.

Why is it then that despite the fact that according to Monday's Rasmussen Report 56% of Americans oppose Obamacare, the Congress still plows ahead determinedly as though pursuing a mandate of the people. When the numbers are considered more closely we see that 46% of Americans STRONGLY oppose the bill, yet only 19% STRONGLY support it. These numbers seem the most relevant to me. Perhaps because I assume that those with strong opinions are usually those who are the most informed. That assumption may or may not be correct but no matter because any way you cut the numbers Americans don't want this plan. The polls are all remarkably consistent: The majority of Americans do not favor this bill. Yet, our elected officials don't care. They have said as much. Nancy Pelosi told reporters according to a story in Politico, "We would do almost anything if it meant we would pass health care for all Americans (by) the Christmas holidays."

Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

"We would do almost anything."

And what of the Constitutionality of the bill? That doesn't seem to matter either. Heritage Foundation, in a piece posted Thursday, December 10th reported the following interchange between Ms. Pelosi and a reporter: "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Speaker Pelosi shook her head and before moving on to another question replied: "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
I believe there is nothing more serious than that question. Because I believe that "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
As our Founders did.
(Go Navy! photo courtesy of Pat Craner.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

God is a Conservative

Many years ago my mother called me and breathlessly exclaimed, "God is a conservative." How do you know this, Mom, I asked? She quickly replied, "Read Ecclesiastes 10:2. "

A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left.

I had to agree she had a point. And if God's word isn't enough we now have living proof that fools do indeed turn to the left.

I don't like using the word fool. Especially in print. And I have racked my brain, scoured my Thesaurus to come up with a more genteel word for those who would make us slaves to the state. But in my 50 plus years I have learned one thing, sometimes you have to get into the mire, sometimes you simply have to call a spade a spade. And those on the left are fools.

Only fools would pretend that human beings have the capability to meaningfully or permanently alter the temperature of God's earth. There is no scientific proof that this is the case and now we know that whatever "science" was being peddled as proof by the global warming kooks has been fudged and altered to support their theory. We know this because their emails have been exposed by a Russian hacker. Those of us who knew it intuitively, now have confirmation. In print. Global warming, climate change, by whatever name is a hoax.

The Waxman-Markey bill also known as cap and trade that was passed by the House (my, they have been prodigiously busy little creatures these past months) attempts to "control global temperatures by creating a “cap” on greenhouse gas emissions," according to the Heritage Foundation. The taxes applied to energy at every level of production if the bill is enacted into law, will cost the average American household (of four) $3,000 per year. It is also estimated the bill will cost 2.5 million American jobs by 2035 and "produce a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) loss of $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035" again according to Heritage.

But here is my favorite part: "according to estimates based on IPCC data (the authors of the hacked emails/fudged data are associated with the IPCC, it should be noted), the Waxman-Markey bill would only impact global temperatures by .044 degrees C (about .09 degrees F) by 2050." (Heritage) All of this spending and job loss and economic contraction according to the experts will reduce the earth's temperature by only 1/10 of one degree over the next 40 years.

Only a fool would fall for that.

(Picture of Bobby enjoying the snow in the California foothills is courtesy of my private collection of Global Warming Snapshots)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Morning Bell: The Definition of Economic Insanity


In January 2008, the United States economy employed 138.1 million people and the unemployment rate stood at 4.9%. But the powers in Washington thought deficit spending could boost a slowing economy, so Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed and President George Bush signed a $168 billion economic stimulus bill made up of temporary tax cuts and increased mortgage grantees for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By January 2009 that economic stimulus worked so well that the U.S. economy had lost 3.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate stood at 7.6%. Again the powers in Washington thought deficit spending was the answer, so Speaker Nancy Pelosi and newly minted President Barack Obama dialed up $787 billion in temporary tax cuts and permanent spending increases. Ten months later, the U.S. economy has now shed another 3.59 million jobs and the unemployment rate stand at 10%.

Undeterred by the complete failure of their past job creation efforts, leading leftist luminaries are again calling on the liberal majorities in Congress and President Obama to approve billions more in government spending for a third stimulus. Yesterday, President Obama hosted a “jobs summit” where academics, union leaders, and select big business leaders made their pitch for government largess. Among the ideas reported: Teamsters leader James Hoffa called for higher barriers to trade, President Obama insisted that all future aid to states go to preserving government jobs and not tax cuts, and others pushed to bring the “success” of Cash for Clunkers to a new Cash for Caulkers program.

These “new” ideas will fail for the same reason the past two government stimulus plans failed: governments do not create jobs. Only the private sector in pursuit of opportunity can create jobs on net. The best we can hope from government is that it keeps to a minimum the jobs it prevents and the income and wealth it destroys. President Obama does not understand this. At yesterday’s summit, Obama lamented the lack of job creation: “There’s a lot of money on the sidelines in the private sector. They are still nervous about whether they want to go ahead and take the risks that are inherent in a free market system.”

Wrong. Businesses aren’t nervous about “the risks that are inherent in a free market system,” they are nervous about the risks inherent in a government regulation dominated economy. Fred P. Lampropoulos, founder and chief of Merit Medical Systems Inc., told the President that businesses were uncertain about investment because “there’s such an aggressive legislative agenda that businesspeople don’t really know what they ought to do.” That uncertainty, he added, “is really what’s holding back the jobs.”

Uncertainty like health care legislation and cap and trade.

All Men Are Created Equal, But They Don't Perform Equally

All of a sudden we are living in a lowest common denominator world. We are being told everyone is entitled to health care, mortgages, whatever they lack. These are rights we hear. It was inevitable I suppose. A woman's "right" to abortion, to privacy (ironic in light of current health care proposals) started the snowball. But the fact is, we aren't entitled to any such thing. None of the above. Allow me to illustrate with a personal story.

During high school, women's gymnastics was the rage. Olga Korbut, Nadia Comenici these were my idols. Gymnastics was one of the few sports women could participate in then so I saved my money, bought a leotard and joined the team. What I didn't have by way of talent I made up for with guts and determination. I flew fearlessly over the vault, learned to master the forward roll on the beam (hold your laughter please) and despite the fact that I had little to no upper body strength, I hoisted myself onto the bars to complete the compulsory routine. To this day, I alone hold my high school's record on the uneven parallel bars: the only competitor to receive a complimentary one from a threesome of snickering judges (now you may laugh). But it was the floor routine I desired to master. I watched the girls who could do aerial cartwheels and back flip flops and believed that if I wanted it bad enough I, too, could perform the stunts. So one, day I closed my eyes, pointed my toes, lifted my arms in the traditional gymnastic salute and threw myself backward...onto my head. Crumbled in a heap on the floor. My humiliation was made complete by the coach who threatened to throw me off the team for trying a stunt without spotting, especially given my level of talent. "Some people are not meant to be gymnasts!" she hollered. "No matter how badly you want it."

Those words echo even now. No matter how bad I wanted to be a gymnast, I didn't have what it took. The judges didn't score on desire, they scored on talent. I was created equal to the other girls but my talent wasn't.

Some men, too, are not meant to be President of the United States.

It is one thing to campaign in the opposition, point out mistakes, make promises. It is another thing to execute. As you have undoubtedly heard by now this president's approval ratings are the lowest of any modern president at this point in his administration. The promises Obama made, as hollow as they appeared to many of us, convinced the majority during the campaign who now see otherwise.

I have been silent for a few days trying to compile a list of the atrocities we have witnessed in ten short months. I know I have missed a great deal--there is so much material. So, please write to add to the list. The pace has been dizzying for sure, but here is my best attempt:

  • Obama's must-have $787billion stimulus upon election;unemployment has risen from 7.6% at the time of passage to 10.0% at the end of November.

  • Eric Holder, Attorney General and king of the criminal pardon (Marc Rich) announced that the United States will try self-confessed, 9/11 terrorists in civilian courts, with the rights granted by the Constitution to CITIZENS.

  • Obama is so unable/unwilling/uncertain how to create jobs (though he is qualified to run the free world) he held a "Jobs Summit" and demanded the business people in attendance make recommendations to him on how to stimulate hiring.

  • The cold blooded shootings at Fort Hood by Major Hassan elicited an other-worldly response from the President as he went to the microphone to announce the tragedy but first greeted fellow Democrats attending the event and gave a "shout-out" to some one who wasn't even there. So bizarre, so utterly disrespectful to the dead and their families. Then after days of media coverage the investigation was dropped and we have heard almost nothing of Major Hassan and the politically correct culpability of our leadership.

  • Obama using the office of the President during one of the most severe recessions in modern history flew to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal for the Olympics (and lost). Talk about political paybacks...

  • Under Obama's stewardship, the annual deficit has risen from $422 billion at the end of January to $1.42 trillion at the end of October. This is before Cap and Trade and Health Care.

  • Obama's cadre of Czar's is unprecedented and the scandals surrounding not only the Czars but many in his cabinet are staggering. Remember Van Jones (self confessed communist), Anita Dunn (Mao worshiper), Geitner, Daschle and various other tax cheats.

  • Acorn. Acorn. Acorn. Despite the scandal, Eric Holder recently told an interviewer that the Administration believes they can continue to fund Acorn despite Congress' vote to cut funding. Huh?

  • Health care reform will not change your current coverage. Will not fund abortion. Presidential promises. You decide.

  • Corporate salaries limited, confiscated and determined by Obama's Pay Czar. Remind me where the authority is in the Constitution?

  • Obama bowing to the Saudi King, Emperor of Japan and Chinese premier. But not Queen Elizabeth. That he bowed at all is ridiculous of course. But do we see a pattern?

  • The gate crashers at the state 'tent' dinner. The possibility that his administration is as incompetent as it seems by that omission is too frightening to consider.

  • Finally, and sadly, the circus surrounding troop allocations for Afghanistan. This president's politicization of the troop surge has and will cost lives and is utterly despicable. I cannot say more except the irony and timing of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize is literary.

There's more I know. But I am exhausted from his performance. The Man-Who-Would-Be- President-But-Can't would do us all a favor if he found some community to organize and did so. But as a president? Suffice to say, I give him a complimentary one for that performance.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Because I said so!

Because we said so.
That's right. You just sit back and put your faith in us. Face it, we're smarter than you. We know what's good for you. We got it covered. We're smooth, cool, funny. Well groomed. Trust us.
Don't worry about those pesky Founding Fathers. They were a morally superior, suspicious of power, self-righteous lot. They trusted in God because they didn't have Ivy League trained public sector bureaucrats like us to depend upon. Listen, there are simply times when government must expand. When we must throw that ole Constitution out the window and modify the rules.
Don't believe us? Well, the great FDR did it. Economic crisis of epic proportions and "poof" new government powers. Rahm Emanuel reminded of FDR's brilliance us when we took control, we mean, when our Administration began to serve you, the American people. See him above thumbing his nose? He was explaining how we could use the economic crisis (that Bush caused) and magnify the severity so we could fleece, we mean, solve the problems of you, the American people.
When we stormed the capital, we mean, began our service to you, the American people, we inherited a mess. That George Bush was something wasn't he? Single-handedly, he destroyed the economy, destroyed our reputation among the socialist intellectuals in Europe and destroyed the housing market for a decade. Don't worry. We've got it covered. He left a big mess, but The President has a mop and though Ms. Pelosi refuses to mop herself, she barks orders like a Teamster (and her language is even more colorful!). And Rahm Deadfish Emanuel is a clever strategist. So far he has figured out how to keep funding Acorn despite Congress's decision to turn off the spigot so we can win elections even though you, the American people, aren't sure you want us to. Trust us, you'll change your mind. And what Acorn can't accomplish through voter fraud, we mean, voter registration, Rahmy boy will fix with the Census data, now that it is under his purview.
Don't you worry. You'll get used to us. You haven't had a chance to see Nancy's soft side. Seriously, she is as harmless as a bunny. And she loves flowers just as much. No, we mean it. She just spent $3,000 of your money on flowers in just a few short months. If that doesn't prove her love for beautiful things, we don't know what will. And that DC-10 she commands the Air Force to make ready for her flights back and forth to San Francisco is what you would expect for a public sector CEO. Unlike the private sector CEO's she's on important business. She is spending your money and she needs to be omnipresent to ensure it gets delivered to the people on our side, we mean, on the side of the American people. You'll learn to love her, we're sure.
Why? Because we said so.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Starve the Beast (you know who I mean)

There is much to think about. And to fret about. What with the President's Exit Without Victory speech last night in front of the pained, captive cadets of the United States Military Academy at Westpoint. We can wring our hands over the foolish and, frankly, reckless comments made by MSNBC (does anyone actually watch that network any more?) clown Chris Matthews that the president was making his speech in "enemy camp." Our esteemed military academy "enemy camp" for the Commander in Chief? Cut the microphone cord someone. Please.

Many have talked of the speech and the incoherent strategy being offered by the president after many, many, many months of ignoring the commanding general's request while President Obama consulted military geniuses like John Kerry, the final meeting including the president's budget director. We wouldn't want to get all out of control on the spending now would we?

We are sending 30, 000 troops so we can turn around and bring them home in eighteen months (Did you hear that Taliban leaders? Eighteen months and you have free rein.) Why not seventeen months some of you may ask. Why not nineteen months? I don't know, I guess because eighteen months coincides so nicely with Obama's run for re-election. And if I weren't so sick about the shameless politicizing of our troops (I have one of my own at the illustrious United States Naval Academy, Annapolis) this would make a fabulous Saturday Night Live skit.

So, honestly friends I need a distraction. And thank goodness Nancy Pelosi provided one.

$2993 of taxpayer money for flowers. Not for the whole year mind you. She spent, let's call it $3,000 shall we, just between June and October.

If this isn't fresh evidence we need to starve the beast and get behind her newly announced opponent I don't know what is.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Culture of Spending

In 1991, James Payne wrote a book entitled The Culture of Spending. In the front jacket of the book he inscribed for me a quote from the French author and psychologist, Gustave Le Bon: "In politics, the name of things are more important than what they are." I found the quote as I flipped through the book searching for a particular passage I remembered from my original reading of the book.

The original passage commented on the oft repeated view of those on the left that a dollar spent by the government is as good as a dollar spent by the private sector. Those of us on the right side of the argument understand intuitively and empirically that a dollar spent by the private sector generates growth (read: more jobs) while the same dollar spent by government creates a black hole of stagnation.

In a discussion with a staff member of the Senate Budget Committee on the question of redistribution of wealth, Payne was told: "It evens out. Everybody pays for everyone else's goods." That kind of thinking pervaded the Congress then and what followed was a mass redistribution of the Democrats in the House. We can only hope that kind of thinking today will result in the same redistribution in 2010. Payne explores that view below.

"Unfortunately, this is culture-of-spending ideology, not sound economics. When the government purchases what people can buy for themselves, two additional costs are introduced (emphasis mine): the cost of taxation, including the distortion of incentives governing production; and the cost of administration, including the distortion of incentives governing consumption. Calculating these costs is quite difficult but preliminary estimates suggest that for each dollar the federal government recycles through the taxation-subsidy system it wastes more than one additional dollar."

He goes on to explore the source and precise amount of this waste citing research studies on the taxation side of the equation (cost is about 60 cents for every dollar collected) and the disbursement side (50 cents for each dollar spent). The "bureaucratic rule of two." Government production of a typical good or service in 1991 cost twice as much as the same items produced in the private sector.

Imagine the cost differential now.

According to RealClearPolitics, through 11/30/09, 58% of Americans say the United States is on the wrong track. 38% believe the country is on the right track. Americans understand intuitively that the culture of spending being proposed in Washington is wreckless. It will only lead to disaster. And they feel this most acutely when it comes to their health care. A recent compilation of the polling data from Laffer Associates shows the trend of opposition to health care reform rose from less than 20% in January to over 50% by the end of November. According to Rasmussen the opposition to the health care bill is at 53% with 41% supporting it. 56% understand, though, that the bill instead of reducing health care costs as suggested, will drive prices higher.

The bureaucratic rule of two. Everyone but Congress seems to get it.