Saturday, December 28, 2013

Expecting a Different Result

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The insanity that is the Congress of the United States of America continues.......

Well, after more than 5 years of Continuing Resolutions we finally have a "bipartisan" budget agreement.  Problem is, it's a sellout of promises made earlier to stand on the principle that federal spending needs to be curbed.

It's the usual story.  The Republicans agreed to Democrat demands for increased spending (in this case, an easing of the spending cuts mandated by the sequester) in return for future reductions in spending.  Haven't we seen this movie before?  In order avoid potentially being labeled as "against the poor" by cutting funding for social programs, the Republicans compromised the principles they were elected on.  Future spending decreases never seem to materialize.

Establishment Republicans insist that this deal was necessary and will enhance electoral chances in 2014 and 2016.  It avoids a government shutdown for 2 years, taking a potential talking point away from Democrats.  Since when have Democrats relied on reality when leveling charges against Republicans?  Besides, the budget deal doesn't address the two biggest upcoming financial battles:  the extension of federal unemployment benefits and the debt ceiling.  Does anyone believe for a minute that these issues won't factor into the next two national elections regardless of the ultimate result of the debates?

Barack Obama has said that he will not negotiate with Republicans over the raising of the debt ceiling next year and Nancy Pelosi has already said that the priority of the next Congress should be the extension of unemployment benefits.  So, for all the triumphant declarations by establishment Republicans over the bipartisan budget deal, it's all going to go for naught.  After the first of the year we will be subjected to frequent news reports of the division between Democrats, who want an open-ended promise to continue to fund benefits without conditions, and Republicans, who insist that any future expansion of spending be offset by reductions elsewhere in the budget.  Calls for fiscal responsibility will be met with accusations of callousness towards the needy, and Republicans will (again) be faced with the choice of standing by their stated principles of fiscal responsibility or caving to Progressive Democrat demands in an attempt to avoid pissing off some "essential voting demographic".

The steps of the dance never change, the song remains the same, and We the People always end up paying the piper.

If the Republicans were serious about "re-branding", about re-establishing their relevance, they'd realize that voting contrary to the values and desires of their constituents is counter-productive to their stated goal of regaining political dominance.  No one is going to support any political party if they don't believe they can rely on their commitment to the principles of their constituency.

However, if Republicans keep faith with the people they were elected to represent, they will earn the loyalty of their voters.  Even if it costs them electorally in the short term, adherence to the principle of a smaller, limited government that lives within the means of it's citizens and takes as it's primary duty the preservation of individual rights, NOT the assumption of extra-constitutional powers aimed at controlling and regulating the lives of individuals (for their own good, of course) they will begin to regain the respect and support of constitutional conservatives and maybe even some Democrats (the more responsible ones, anyway).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013


 _ _ _ _ _ _MAS!

Notice anything missing?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they're at it again.  The secular Progressives, determined to eliminate any reference to religion in the public square have resumed their annual event, the "War on Christmas", claiming that any public celebration of the holiday should be curtailed out of "respect" for those who don't hold the same religious beliefs.  They're oddly silent on the subject of respect for those who hold traditional Christian beliefs and their right to celebrate a traditional Christian holiday.

This year, an atheist group, the so-called Freedom From Religion foundation erected a billboard in New York City proclaiming, "Who Needs Christ During Christmas? Nobody!"  Seriously?  Without Christ, you simply have "-mas".  Everyday New Yorker's disagree with the sentiment expressed.
The board of an elementary school on Long Island, NY decided they needed to avoid hurting anyone's feelings who isn't Christian during their annual holiday concert.  To that end, they creatively edited the Christmas Carol, pardon me, Holiday Song selected for the children to sing in the production (it was Silent Night) to omit any and all references to Jesus, Christ our Savior, the virgin birth, & holy infant.  Surprisingly, even on liberal Long Island this didn't go over well.  Apparently, the parents were not aware of the editing of the carol and voiced their displeasure to the school board that they would dare tinker with a traditional holiday theme.  The board defended their decision on the grounds of not wanting to offend any non-Christians in the audience.  I guess it's OK in their view to offend Christians who might not appreciate the elimination of nearly all religious references from what is, after all, a Christian hymn. 
They've promised not to do it again.
And, in Vancouver, Washington two young girls were booted from the property of their local WinCo grocery store for caroling.  The girls' intention was to “give a warm fuzzy feeling to anyone who walked by".  However, a store employee booted them from the property allegedly because their holiday jingles might offend patrons who don't celebrate Christmas, despite the fact that the girls sang both traditional religious and secular songs like Jingle Bell Rock and Silent Night.  When one of the girl's mother contacted the local news outlet, KATU-TV, to report the incident a reporter was sent out to cover the story.
For the follow-up, the reporter accompanied the girls back to the store to see if maybe the whole thing was a simple misunderstanding.  The reporter was given the name and phone number of an attorney for the store.  When contacted, the attorney in the end stated that the girls would likely be allowed to return to the store to resume singing Christmas carols to the customers.
Every year, it seems, there is some individual or group determined to prevent any public celebration of the Christmas holiday.  Well, there will be none of that "Happy Holidays" PC here.  The holidays are Christmas and Hanukkah. (I don't want to hear anything about "Kwanzaa").

We aren't celebrating the equinox (when was the last time anyone sent you a "Happy Equinox" card?).  We are celebrating one of two religious traditions.  The most widespread in the U.S. is, of course, Christmas.  Whether you observe the holiday for it's religious significance or not, the "reason for the season" is the birth of Jesus Christ.

In fact, the tradition of giving gifts is a direct reflection of the story of the three kings (the three wise men) who traveled to see the Christ-child bearing valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  When we exchange gifts, whether we know it or not, it's in remembrance of gifts of the magi.

I've never understood the hostility of the atheistic, secular left to the traditional celebration of Christmas.  What harm is it to them if there's a Menorah, or a Nativity Scene, or a Christmas tree in the town square?  What do these groups gain out of lodging lawsuits against towns for their Christmas displays?  What harm is done them if there is a production of a Christmas play at the local school or (heaven forbid) church?  If an individual parent has objections to the content of the Christmas play, they are free to keep their child at home.

If they don't agree with the religious significance of the holiday, fine.  They are under no obligation to say "Merry Christmas" to anyone.  It would be nice, though, if they could somehow muster up the common courtesy to reply to someone else's Christmas wishes with a simple "Thank you".  They do not have the right to force others in their town or city to not celebrate the holiday as they wish, because they feel somehow offended at being "left out".

They will trot out the canard that the setting up of a Christmas display on "public property" somehow violates "The Separation of Church and State".  Problem is, it doesn't.  There is no such clause in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States of America.  The First Amendment reads, in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". [Emphasis added]  In short, there is no basis in law for allowing one group of people to prohibit others from celebrating Christmas (or any other religious holiday) in any way, even on town, city, municipal, or even state and federal property!

The colonists separated from the rule of England partly  because of the demand of the King that they all celebrate the State's religion ONLY, and only in the manner prescribed.  They wished to be allowed the freedom to worship God as they saw Him and in the manner they deemed appropriate.  With that history behind them, the founders went out of their way to provide for that freedom when they set up the governing documents of the new country.  What they did not intend, was that some future religious observance could be derailed and prohibited over the manufactured outrage and complaints of a handful of malcontents, or in some cases, only one.

There is a very large gap between the town allowing a Christmas display with the baby Jesus and the wise men, or a cross or menorah or any religious symbol relating to the holiday, and the State's Establishment of an Official Religion and imposing it on the people.  No one is going to descend on an atheist or agnostic household and frog march them into the church of their choice to observe Christmas services.

Americans have the Constitutional right to our celebration of Christmas.  Progressives, atheists, and others  who demand that such displays be removed and prohibited from the public spaces have absolutely no right to demand that we conduct our lives to accommodate their personal prejudices.

I would like to take this  moment to wish all of my rational readers and their families the merriest of Christmas's, a Happy Hanukkah, and the most joyous and prosperous New Year!

To the secularists and progressives who seem to be determined to ruin our traditional holiday celebrations and erase any mention of religion (except, perhaps, Islam.  Can't offend them, can we?) from the public lives of Americans I can only say one thing.............................................................................


[Publisher's note: As I can reliably expect similar events to play out in the ensuing years, this post will probably become something of a tradition on this blog.  At least until the Progressives agree to allow others the same "1st Amendment rights" they demand for themselves.]

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Random Act of Journalism

"A random act of journalism."  That's a line I borrowed from Rush Limbaugh.  It's a term he uses whenever one of the major media outlets reports any news story that doesn't support the official narrative (i.e., conservatives don't like the poor/gay/old/minorities, the rich don't pay their fair share, government has a duty to provide, etc.), much less exposes the lies of the establishment left.

This particular "random act of journalism" comes to us via CNBC and has caused a bit of a stir.  Headline: "The Rich Don't Pay the Most Taxes, They Pay ALL the Taxes".

Really?  How can this be?  Everyone knows that the rich aren't paying their fair share and that it's the lower and middle classes who are getting the short end of the stick.  However, according to the latest CBO (Congressional Budget Office) report that's just not true.  Buried in a chart on page 13 (Table 3) detailing the breakdown of Federal Income Taxes by quintile, the top 40% of taxpayers pay 106% of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 40% pay -9%. 

The top taxpayers actually overpay so that the bottom feeders can take advantage of generous transfer payments like the child tax credit and the EITC, which pay a "refund' to taxpayers that don't even owe taxes.  In fact, when it comes to federal taxes, the top bracket paid 69% of the total last year. The bottom bracket paid 0.4%.  These numbers aren't from  some radical, right-wing think tank.  They're from the 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures.

Compounding their offense, consider the following information quoted directly from the article on  "For most income groups, average federal tax rates in 2010 were near the lowest rates for the 1979-2010 period.  The exception was households in the top 1 percent, whose average federal tax rate in 2010 was significantly above its low in the mid-1980s.  It does not look to be getting better. The CBO said that since 2010, new taxes have been added which will raise rates for everyone, with the biggest increase hitting the 1-percenters. They could end up with their highest federal tax rate since 1997 this year."

So much for the "rich" not paying their fair share.

Of course, this did not sit well with the rest of the mainstream financial media.  The liberal-leaning Business Insider ran a rebuttal on Yahoo Finance denouncing the CBO's study.  Their story, "No, the Rich Do Not Pay All the Taxes." repeated the claim that "the poor pay taxes, too."  They even go so far as to claim the report on the CBO's study is "completely false".  Really?  Who are they accusing of lying, the government, the CBO, or CNBC?

Taken from the article on Yahoo Finance: ".... people with low incomes who don't pay federal personal income tax do pay lots of those other taxes: payroll tax, state income tax, sales tax, property tax, excise taxes, and more."  Everyone else pays those taxes, too.  And if you aren't paying any net federal income tax, odds are you aren't paying any net state income tax, either, and are, in fact, receiving the individual state's version of the federal transfer payments.  Their argument is completely irrelevant.

Then they go on to make the truly incredible claim that "Workers bear the burden of employer-paid payroll taxes and part of the burden of corporate income taxes."  Seriously?  The definition of "employer-paid payroll taxes" is that the employee isn't paying them.  I can't even imagine how they came up with the idea that employees bear part of the burden of corporate taxes.  The entire article reads as a giant "Not uh!", the kind you'd expect from a couple of little kids.  Kinda pathetic, really.

What was left out of both articles is any mention of the largest form of transfer payments the poor receive.  For example, in my home state of Vermont the median wage is approximately $35,000/yr and the total welfare and low income assistance programs can total up to appx. $34,000 per household!  If we were to extrapolate that out nationally and factor those monies into the equation of who bears the true burden of taxation, we might even find that Mitt Romney's controversial 47% figure wasn't all that far off, after all.

None of these self-professed "low income advocates" want to acknowledge that the source of the funding for all those social-justice programs IS the taxpayer.  They've told the lie of  "Federal funding" so often they've begun to believe that Washington somehow has access to a cornucopia of cash that is capable of funding forever increasing largesse to be handed out at their discretion.

There is some small reason to hope that may be beginning to change.  If a liberal outlet like CNBC can publish a report that goes against the progressive narrative, declines to demagogue the evil rich, and actually dares to report the truth of how much they really pay, it's at least a small light in the darkness.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another Bright Spot

Several weeks ago, I related the story of young Mr. Joey Prusak, the manager of a Dairy Queen in Hopkins, Minnesota who repaid the $20 that was stolen from a blind customer.  This week, I have another remarkable young person to tell you about.

Miss Madison Root is only 11 years old, yet she already outshines many a decade (or more) older.  Like many children young people, she has braces on her teeth.  She decided that she wanted to do what she could to help pay for them.  This being the Christmas season, she came up with the idea of harvesting some of the fresh mistletoe grown on her uncle's farm and selling it at the popular Portland Saturday Market.  The Portland, OR event sounds much like a cross between the popular Farmer's Markets & Craft Fairs in my home state of Vermont.  She gathered up her mistletoe and prepared 100 bags for sale.

This is where young Madison ran headlong into government red tape and overbearing officials.  She was told that she couldn't sell her wares without getting the proper government permits and paying a fee.  What made this even more egregious was the existence of a few panhandlers (beggars) just feet away.  When Madison pointed to them and asked the officer why they were allowed to beg without a permit and she was prevented from earning money, she was told that she could beg if she wanted, she just couldn't sell her goods (earn money) without permission from the government.

What kind of a world are we building?  When young people who have the work ethic and morality to want to earn what they need and show the initiative to develop their own business are actively discouraged from doing so, in favor of begging for handouts?

This could have been the end of the story.  Most 11 year olds (hell, even I, myself) would have said "Screw it." at this point and left, saying to myself "Well, I tried.  Sorry Dad.  I wanted to help you pay for my braces, but they won't let me."  But, no.  She persevered.  Obviously, the cost of any permit fees would have eaten up most, if not all, of what she could have expected to earn from the sale of only 100 bags of mistletoe.  But she refused to quit.  And word got out.

Eventually, her situation was brought to the attention of the producers of Glenn Beck's radio show and to, the news site affiliated with the show.  Mr. Beck interviewed young Madison about her situation, later calling her "one of the best interviews 'ever' to be conducted on his radio show."  And, as he also did previously with Joey Prusak, he decided to see what he could do to help encourage this budding entrepreneur. 

What he did and the response from his listeners was nothing less than astounding.  He arranged for Madison's mistletoe to be offered for sale through one of his websites, The Marketplace by The Blaze.  They initially offered, not 100, but 1,000 bags of mistletoe, hoping to sell it by the end of the day.  They sold out within the hour.  Beck then tried to arrange for an additional 1,000 bags.  They sold out again and the limited-time sale for Madison's mistletoe is now over (although, there are still many worthwhile items remaining for sale).

When Mr. Beck asked Madison where she learned to be such a self-starter and an entrepreneur, she said that her entire family always had "some business" going on and her father was an entrepreneur and small businessman.

This is exactly the type of attitude we need to have fostered in our young people today to combat the indoctrination of the attitude that it's impossible to succeed and you need government in order get by.  This little 11 year old girl, by herself, has put the lie to all of the Progressive Liberal propaganda against the idea that you should pursue your dreams and that you can succeed on your own.


UPDATE:   A staggering 3,000 orders were placed within 6 hours of the 11-year-old’s interview on the Glenn Beck Program.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday

Once a term that simply denoted the fact that the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, the day after Thanksgiving, marked the point in the calendar year that most retailers broke even on their expenses for the year and moved "into the black", Black Friday has gained a much more notorious reputation.  This year was, unfortunately, no exception.

Forget the idiots camping out in front of the local mall overnight (or longer) for the "privilege" of being first in line.  I'm talking about supposedly rational, mature adults fistfighting (and worse) over consumer goods of sometimes questionable value.

This past Friday, there were multiple reports of violence at malls around the country, including one report of a shopper using a taser against another bargain hunter, a shooting, a knife attack, people injured in stampedes and the crush of a mob converging upon the announcement of an "unadvertised special".

Could someone, anyone, please explain this phenomenon to me?  With small words and pictures?  I just don't get it.  We are opening a season intended to foster "Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men" with a celebration of over-aggressive consumerism.  People willingly commit violence against one another in order to obtain that must-have gift necessary to show a loved one just how much they care.

Philosophically and morally, it's no different than a mugger assaulting someone on the street to finance his Christmas shopping.  Or, if I were to be political, government showing how much they care about the poor by confiscating someone's property in order to "spread the wealth around". 

Maybe that's where this kind of behavior got it's start?  If it's OK for government to rob Peter to pay Paul, why shouldn't these people feel justified in using any means necessary to get what they feel they "deserve"?  It's a philosophical disease.  One that destroys people's inborn desire and ability to achieve and to provide for themselves and their families and replaces it with a belief that no one should be allowed to have anything better or more than they do.

Not that this is anything new.  Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids(tm) back in the 80's?  Parents were pummeling each other to grab a stuffed doll for little Susie.  Nice role modeling, folks.  The biggest difference then was that news reports were near universally condemnatory, asking the question "What's wrong with these people?"  Now it's just an unremarked item on the evening news, no more important than the weather report.

As bad as these incidents are, more troubling still is the increasing acceptance by the general population that it's more or less expected behavior.  In fact, I'd wager that a Black Friday that went off without violence would be the real news maker.  It would certainly be the exception to the rule.  Which is perhaps the most discouraging news of all.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Death of the Republic

This past week, the Progressive Democrats in the Senate, in an unprecedented, nakedly partisan power grab, voted to upend more than 220 years of tradition, change the rules and effectively end the right of dissent for the minority party in the Senate by eliminating the filibuster for Executive appointments.  Using procedural motion, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led his majority to vote to allow debate to be cut off with a bare majority vote, instead of the 60 vote threshold the rules usually require when confirming Presidential appointees.  With that vote, they have set the stage for the end of the Republic, in favor of a Democracy.

As is typical, the Progressives/Statists shrug off as irrelevant the blatant hypocrisy of their actions.  It was just a few years ago, during the term of George W. Bush that they were all up in arms over the possibility that the Republican might do what they just did (here's the difference, the Republicans never even proposed to vote on, much less pass, such a rules change). 

Sen. Reid: The filibuster encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail. It also separates us from the House of Representatives -- where the majority rules.  And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government...Separation of Powers...Checks and Balances. 

Mr. President, the filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check.  This central fact has been acknowledged and even praised by Senators from both parties.

Mr. President, the right to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls the Congress and the White House.  In these cases, the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.

Right now, the only check on President Bush is the Democrats ability to voice their concern in the Senate.

If Republicans rollback our rights in this Chamber, there will be no check on their power. The radical, right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees...the President's nominees in general...and legislation like Social Security privatization.

And that is why the White House has been aggressively lobbying Senate Republicans to change Senate rules in a way that would hand dangerous new powers to the President over two separate branches -- the Congress and the Judiciary.

Unfortunately, this is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior by this White House and Republicans in Washington.

Then-Senator Obama: Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to think about the implications of what has been called the nuclear option and what effect that might have on this Chamber and on this country... I urge all of us to think not just about winning every debate but about protecting free and democratic debate.

If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party, and the millions of Americans who asked us to be their voice, I fear that the already partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything. That doesn't serve anyone's best interests, and it certainly isn't what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.

I recognize that the filibuster can be used for unfortunate purposes. However, I am also aware that the Founding Fathers established the filibuster as a means of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority -- and that protection, with some changes, has been in place for over 200 years.

Then-Senator Joe Biden: We should make no mistake. This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party, propelled by its extreme right and designed to change the reading of the Constitution, particularly as it relates to individual rights and property rights. It is nothing more or nothing less.

The nuclear option abandons America's sense of fair play ... tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may own the field right now, but you won't own it forever. I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing." [emphasis added]

Apparently, all that has changed with the change in occupancy of the White House.,

Like spoiled children and other incompetents, when they can't win the game playing by the rules, their answer is always to change the rules so they can win.  Preferably unopposed.

As justification for this naked partisan power grab, Sen. Reid and Pres. Obama claimed it was necessary to combat "obstructionist" tactics from the Republicans.  Apparently, when they were busily holding up Bush's nominees they weren't being obstructionist, they were just being good stewards of the people who elected them to office.  Here are the facts:  according to the Congressional Research Service, the average number of days from nomination to confirmation for first-term circuit court nominees (including the D.C. Circuit at the heart of the Nuclear option), was 277 days for George W. Bush. For Obama it has been 240 days. Republicans have confirmed 215 of Obama's court appointments. They rejected two

Mr. Reid also bemoaned the lack of business being done by the Congress, saying that "the American people deserve more".  If Harry Reid wants to find obstructionism, he need look no further than his lectern, where bi-partisan passed House bills have gone to die for the last 5 and a half years.

What this means for us regular folks is this: there is now de-facto one party rule in Washington.  There is absolutely nothing the Republicans can do to slow down Obama's great march forward into Socialism/Marxism/Communism/Collectivism.  Nothing.  Obama now has a free hand to nominate whomever he will for the District and Appellate Courts, as well as Cabinet appointments and Department heads.  Even the most extreme nominees will get a pass, unless they are even too far outside the mainstream for your run-of-the-mill liberal (don't count on it).

When it comes to anything meaningful, the opposition may as well call in sick.

Does Obama want to nominate a Socialist union organizer to the NLRB?  No problem.

Does Obama want to nominate someone who thinks businesses are evil and that all coal & nuclear power plants should be shut down in favor of "green energy" to head the EPA?  Done.

Does Obama want to nominate out-spoken collectivists who believe that the Constitution should be discarded in favor of a "more modern document that reflects the realities of today".  Nothing to stop him.

He is now free to pack the courts and the bureaucracy to an extent that FDR could only dream of.  Keep in mind that once these appointments are made, they can't be unmade.  I know of no way, short of impeachment, to remove  a sitting judge from the Federal court.  As for the bureaucracy, yeah, a different President could, I suppose, replace the head of the EPA, the DOJ, etc. and every President is entitled to name his own Cabinet, but what about the mid-level bureaucrats that will be installed throughout all levels of government by those who get appointed in the interim?  Very little of what happens in the regulatory arena originates from the top.  The EPA has many "environmentalists" in it's ranks working below the surface.  Even if the President nominates and installs a head of the EPA who has a reasonable opinion of businesses and businessmen, his/her underlings are the ones who make sure directives are followed (or not).  There are many things that originate from the top that never see the light of day because of opposition by the liberal rank and file.

The impact on the court system is even more troubling.  If Obama is able to appoint even a handful of Progressive, "social-justice" judges to lifetime appointments, we'll never get back to a court system based on an equally and impartially applied set of objective laws.  Everything will be eventually decided with a lean towards what's deemed "fair".  Legal matters concerning monetary awards will no longer be decided according to the letter of the law or contract and the individual merits of the claimants.  Judges will feel empowered to decided based on their individual notion(s) of "social-" and "economic justice".

For now, nominees to the Supreme Court are untouched by the change in filibuster rules.  Look for that to change, should Ginsburg or one of the other liberal justices signal their readiness to retire.  Also, legislative filibusters still require 60 votes to bring and end to debate.  Given the long list of legislative complaints listed by both Pres. Obama and Sen. Reid, look for that to change, should they face opposition to some favorite piece of liberal claptrap legislation designed to extend federal control over our lives even further.

What's perhaps most troubling is the lack of real outrage from the Republican leadership.  Both Sen. McConnell and Speaker Boehner have been more than a little tepid in their remarks so far.  Perhaps they both see eventual advantage for themselves in what the Democrats have done?  I have actually heard so-called conservative Republican pundits opining that this could actually be to their advantage, that it could make it easier for them to repeal Obamacare and to pursue their agenda when (if) they gain control of the Senate in the next election.

Let me get this straight.  This could actually be a good thing for the country because, when the Republicans get in power they can break the rules even worse???  Aside from the fact that there is little, if any difference between a Progressive Democrat and a Progressive Republican, we are supposed to be "a nation of laws, not of men".  If rules and customs that have near the sanctity of law after having stood since the establishment of the institution of Congress can be waived at whim by a simple majority of 50%+1, there is no rule of law.  There is no protection for the minority against the tyranny of the majority.  There is nothing to stop the 50.1% from voting to take anything they want from the 49.9%.  That's what "Democracy" is.  Limitless power for the majority.  Mob rule backed by the power of government.

We have one last chance to pull the ashes of America out of the Progressive inferno:  Republicans must get mobilized for the 2014 mid-term elections.  Obama and the Progressive Dems (as well as some Progressive Republicans) will have nearly 12 months to impose their will on the rest of us, but we can limit the damage by taking back control of the Senate and keeping control of the House of Representatives.  Regardless of what you may think of "RINO's", this may very well be a time to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils.  Should the Democrats hold the Senate, or worse, should they both hold the Senate and gain seats in the House due to conservatives sitting out, America as founded will cease to exist.  It's entirely possible that the Senate will never be the same as it once was.  If it is to have any chance of being restored to it's rightful place in the balance of power, the first action taken by the Republicans upon gaining control of the Senate should not be to immediately push for their agenda, to "get some of their own back", but to immediately vote to  restore the super-majority threshold for Presidential nominees.  If they are the statesmen they pretend, if they have the honor and integrity we should demand of all of our representatives, they will do this.  If they don't, they will have shown that what many have thought for years is true; that there is no difference between the Republican and Democrat parties, we are all just grist for their power mills.

So goes the Republic.  It was a nice dream while it lasted.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Property Rights and Government

This is going to be a short one today (the boss changed my schedule at the last minute, so I don't have as much time as usual to post. I'll try to get more into it later, if I have 'net access.)

I just found out that the EPA has been sued by 7 states' Atty General, not to protest the imposition of some new mandate, to protest the lack of administrative ruling.  Apparently, they have decided the EPA has been remiss in their duties by not taking steps to regulate the burning of wood for home heating.

The use of wood (a completely "renewable resource") for home heating has been on the rise in recent years as the cost of heating with fuel oil has gone up and using natural gas is impractical for rural areas.  Saying that the EPA must act to regulate the emissions of these wood-fired boilers because of the particulates they put out in wood smoke, they are suing the department to create standards similar to those proposed for new coal-fired power plants.

The proposal would directly impact lower-income Americans in rural areas financially by requiring them to either spend money they don't have on expensive retro-fits to existing stoves and furnaces or on the purchase of new, hi-tech systems.  People are already having a hard enough time making ends meet in this economy, now individual states are actually suing the federal government to make things even harder???

The most disturbing part of this to me is that one of these AG's is Bill Sorrell, the Attorney General of my home state of Vermont.  Imagine!  We who are living in a rural state where heating with wood is as much a tradition as tapping maple trees for sap to turn into syrup for breakfast and raising cattle, a state where a majority of the population relies on wood heat as an economical alternative to oil, have a member of our government demanding that the Obama administration levy new costs on a populace already treading water.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Land of the Free?

If you are planning a family getaway, vacation, or golf outing you may want to cross the state of New Mexico off your list.  If you do decide to travel to, or through the state, I'd advise using public transportation.  Driving yourself may result in dire, unforeseen consequences.

I don't know what's in the air/water in the town of Deming,NM, but the police have gone insane.  Or perhaps it's something worse; racial discrimination resulting in police brutality w/homosexual overtones.

What follows are the stories of two men, Timothy Young and David Eckert, and the unbelievable ordeals they endured at the hands of the local police.  63 year old David Eckert's day of torture and sexual assault began when he allegedly "rolled through" a stop sign in Deming on Jan 2, 2013.  Officers pulled him over, ordering him to get out of the vehicle.  One of the officers asked to physically search Mr. Eckert's person and he refused to consent, since he had done nothing wrong.  The officers then applied to a county judge to approve a search warrant and authority for a body cavity search, alleging that Mr. Eckert appeared to have "clenched his butt cheeks" and that their K9 "hit" on his car seat (the dog is not certified in drug detection), leading them to believe he could be concealing drugs in his anal cavity.  Based on such a weak standard of "probable cause" the judge approved the warrant.

The officers transported their victim to a local hospital, where the ER doctor refused to perform the procedure, saying it was "unethical".  Undeterred, they then went to the Gila Regional Medical Center, in the process crossing the county line, rendering the warrant invalid.  While at the facility, Mr. Eckert underwent a 12 hour ordeal during which he was forced to undergo 2 x-rays, 2 "digital" anal searches (think, prostate exam), 3 forced enemas & bowel movements, and forced colonoscopy under anesthetic.  NO EVIDENCE OF DRUGS WERE EVER FOUND.

Pouring salt in the wound, he later received a bill from the medical center for $6,000 for the cost of medical procedures he never consented to.  The medical center has also threatened to  take him into collections.  They may sue him for the cost of his humiliation and assault!

Timothy Young's mis-adventure began when he allegedly failed to use his signal when making a turn on October 13, 2013 in Lordsburg, NM.  In the course of working this traffic stop Leo, the same K9 that "hit" on Mr. Eckert's vehicle in January, triggering a search for non-existent drugs, also "hit" on his vehicle.  As in the case with Mr. Eckert, the police "armed with 'probable cause' and a search warrant" took Mr. Young to, again, the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, NM where he was subjected to repeated x-rays and anal cavity searches.  As in the previous case, no evidence of drugs were found and no valid search warrant was in effect.  Both men have filed lawsuits against the police departments, the  judge approving the warrants, and the medical center and it's staff. 

Mr. Eckert's attorney, Albuquerque civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy, has raised the spectre of racial discrimination in his case, saying "Maybe the officers who did this don't like him living in their community," said Kennedy. "He's a white boy, a scraggly white boy, and all these officers are Hispanic. It's a New Mexico thing."  Atty Kennedy is also representing Mr. Young.

I don't know enough, none of us do, to paint these officers and the department with the racist tar brush; has to wonder if there would be such a suspension of judgment if the ethnicity was the reverse, with white officers allegedly mistreating a Hispanic.  Somehow, I have to believe that, if such were the case, there would've been much more national attention brought to bear and the condemnation would've been immediate and widespread.

Lest you believe that you'll be ok on your vacation as long as you avoid Deming, NM, there's this companion story out of El Paso, TX detailing the story of  a New Mexico woman who was allegedly stripped-searched, vaginally probed and then taken to a hospital for more invasive examinations after crossing back into El Paso from Mexico in December.  The biggest difference between this case and the cases in Deming, NM is that the Border Patrol never bothered to seek and obtain a search warrant before taking this woman to the hospital in El Paso, TX where, "after being stripped and vaginally probed, the woman was allegedly subjected to X-rays, scans and a forced bowel movement."  As with the other incidents, NO EVIDENCE OF DRUGS WAS EVER FOUND.

A spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case or on its policies for conducting such searches.

Travelling in the southwest any time soon?  Drive carefully, obey all traffic laws, remember to ALWAYS use your turn signal, and no day trips into Mexico for souvenirs. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

In Obamacare We Trust (Not so much)

The slow motion train wreck which is the roll out of the mis-named "Affordable Care Act" continues.

At the time I'm writing this, the entire site has "gone dark" in order to effect repairs to the more than 500 million lines of code.  Not to worry, though.  Obama promises that his administration will have everything up and running by the end of November, the fact they've been working on the site for more than three years already notwithstanding......

It's clear to most (other than the usual statist cheerleaders) that Obamacare can never work as advertised; that perhaps it was never intended to.  Many have begun to join the "conspiracy theorists" in positing that the failure of Obamacare and the resulting chaos is fully intended, that it was designed to engender such outrage, consternation and fear in those who rely on health insurance that the country would clamor for the creation of "single-payer", government-run insurance (Medicare for all).  Even the heretofore reliably enthusiastic mainstream press has begun to report stories on the debacle that is the ACA; from hugely increasing premiums and deductibles, to doctors and entire healthcare organizations deciding to forego participation, to states declining Obama's "generous" offer of 100% federal funding (for the first three years) if they will only agree to a massive expansion of Medicaid rolls.

Many outlets (not just Fox News) are reporting on and highlighting the many lies of Obamacare.  From the promises "If you like your current health plan you can keep it." to "My plan will lower premiums $2500/yr for the average family." to "This plan will not affect anyone who currently gets their insurance through their employer.", the President is finally being called on his "misstatements".

When chief Obama advisor (who many say is the true "power behind the throne") Valerie Jarrett made the outrageous claim that the fault lied with the insurance companies, that nothing in the ACA forced them to cancel policies and increase premiums, she was quickly called on her lie.  It was pointed out that the ACA actually forces insurance companies to cancel policies it deems "inadequate", regardless of whether the subscriber who chose that particular plan was happy with it or not, and requires them to offer so-called "comprehensive" care plans which are much more expensive to run and administer.  I guess Obama and his followers think that the insurance companies should take it upon themselves to underwrite the increased costs of the Obamacare-required plans out of the goodness of their hearts?  (Wait a minute!  Obama, and others, have gone on record decrying what "greedy insurance companies" have done to American healthcare.  According to them, insurance companies don't have a heart.)

Obama, himself has had to address his past statements and has attempted to "walk back" what he said.  He and his spokespeople have taken to saying that the plans that are being cancelled are "substandard" and that what he meant was that if you had adequate insurance that you liked you could keep that plan.  What has only gotten limited play so far in the media is the fact that, less than six months after the passage of the ACA, achieved through the promises of the administration, there was a small alteration made through the regulatory process of HHS that severely reinterpreted the clause that allowed for the grandfathering of existing healthcare plans.  This new regulation that wasn't subject to congressional review specified that such grandfathering would only apply as long as the plans remained "unaltered".   Any alteration (apparently even those required by Obamacare) would void the grandfathering provision.  Under the definitions of alterations, ANY change in the plan would void their protections.  Any change in coverages, coverage limits, premiums, co-pays, or insurance providers will invalidate "grandfathered" status even if such changes amounted to improvements and would be beneficial to subscribers!

However, there is ONE segment of the health insurance industry that will be largely unaffected by the change in the grandfathering provisions of Obamacare:  UNIONS.  Yep, that's right.  Buried deep in the legalese is a provision included in the HHS rulemaking that specifically excludes from potential loss of grandfathered status "plans that are the result of collective bargaining".  If you are a member of a union and changes to your healthcare coverage are negotiated as part of your overall package in collective bargaining agreements, the legal requirement that such a change force participation in the Obamacare exchange doesn't apply.  It appears that all the fuss earlier this year by unions, complaining that they should be exempted from Obamacare taxes and surcharges and that their earlier exemption, obtained in return for their support of Obamacare, should be made permanent, along with the "big news" that they were denied any extension of their waiver was largely a smokescreen.

Here's a pull quote from an article sent out to HR officers in June of 2010:

"Unlike the normal grandfathering rules that apply to other group health plans, changing the insurance issuer during the period of a collective bargaining agreement will not cause an insured union-negotiated health plan to lose it's grandfathered status."

So.  If you like your current plan, you can keep it.  Not so much.
If you like your doctor, you can keep seeing him.  Not so much.
Your premiums will be reduced by about $2500 per year.  Not so much.
If you get your insurance through your employer, nothing will change.  Not so much.
The ACA will lower costs by fostering competition.  Not so much.

Obamacare:  an improvement in management and delivery of American healthcare.  Not so much.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We've got the "War on Christmas".  We've had a ban on the contribution of baked goods and confectionery treats to school holiday parties and fund raisers.


No Halloween costumes.  It's insensitive to other cultures.

My goodness, how could I have been so blind?  I never realized that the innocent portrayal of fictional characters, political figures, and Walter Mitty-esque alter egos was symptomatic of hidden attributes of racism and (perhaps) an unconscious desire to denigrate others.

The University of Colorado at Boulder has joined other schools and universities in asking students and attendees of Halloween celebrations on campus to avoid costumes that  "perpetuate racial, cultural and gender stereotypes".

Students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities have similarly been asked to make sure their Halloween costumes are inoffensive, as well.

Do you, or does your child, have fantasies about being a cowboy in the mold of, say, the Lone Ranger?  That's a problem.  You should nip it in the bud.  After all, the Lone Ranger wasn't a "real" cowboy, was he?  Besides, what happens if someone in the school/at the party happens to be an Indian (excuse me, "Native American")?  You wouldn't want them to be offended, would you?  (Dressing up as an Indian wouldn't be any better.  You'd be demeaning their culture by pretending to a status you don't deserve.  You see?)

Here's an idea, what if two friends, one black and one white, dressed as a stereotype of the other?  That would be hilarious!  Imagine it.  The white guy (in blackface), untied sneakers, jeans hanging half off his ass exposing boxer shorts, gold chains, a hoodie and an oversized "lid" (ball cap); the black guy (in whiteface) "shit kicker" boots, baggy overalls, white t-shirt with a pack of Marlboros rolled into the sleeve, uncombed hair and novelty teeth? 

If nothing else, watching the heads of all the liberal progressives at the party explode would be worth the price of admission.

Included on the list of suggested no-no's this Halloween:
"Ghetto" (either white or black)
"Gansta" (see above)
Crime (officer or criminal)
Sex worker (?! What kind of parties are these?  I guess we can't afford to offend the "culture" of the sex worker)
"White trash" (Blue jeans and white tank tops are outlawed?)
"Hillbilly" (get rid of the novelty teeth, Billy-Bob)

Progressives seem determined to squeeze every bit of laughter, fun and frivolity out of our lives.  It's Halloween!  No mature, rational adult can find offense in a costume innocently donned for a party or trick-or-treating.  It takes some real dedication to find offense in a Caucasian co-worker dressing up in a silk kimono for the office party.  Or a husband/wife team attending a party as a pimp/prostitute.

Oh, well.  At least we've still got Casper, Frankenstein, Dracula, Werewolves, and Zombies.

Wait, I think I hear complaints from the Alliance to Defend the Dignity of Imaginary Creatures.........




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back to Work

Well, it's the end of another vacation.  After a typical visit to the Indian run casino (typical = I got "scalped"), it's time to get back to work.  Coincidentally, Washington is also getting back to work.

I wish I could say I was surprised that the GOP caved.  Disappointed?  Absolutely.  Surprised?  Sadly, no.  It was clear from the beginning that the Republican establishment was not interested in doing anything so radical as keeping campaign promises.  Sen. Cruz took more damage from "friendly fire" than he did from the inanities of the Progressive Democrats.

How was the "deal" done?  Follow the money.  In spite of the claims that "earmarks" were a thing of the past, there are several attached to this "clean CR".  Including (surprise, surprise) a huge funding increase for a dam project on the Ohio river which just happens to be located in the jurisdictions of two of the "negotiators", Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the #2 man in the Senate (take that either way) Democrat Richard "Dick" Durbin of Illinois.  Just how large was the increase?  Try $1.125B!  The original amount appropriated was "only" $775M.  The new total of federal (taxpayer) funding is $2.9Billion.  You won't get a thank you card, but I'm sure they appreciate your generosity.

Of course, we can all be reassured  by the statements from their respective spokespeople that they had nothing to do with this additional provision being inserted into the agreement.  No less an authority than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada confirms, "This is not an earmark."

Also included in the "clean CR":  an extra $350M in flood aid through the Federal Highway Administration for damaged roads and bridges to the state of Colorado (the Federal limit is $100M), an extra $294M for the VA, $100M extra to prevent the furlough of air traffic controllers and inspectors and extra money for NOAA, as well as authorization for up to $636M for firefighters.

None of this has anything to do with the "reopening of the government" or "paying America's bills".  Still think "bipartisanship" is such a good thing?  Virtually no one holding office in Washington D.C. today has any commitment to principle.  I have more respect for the ultra Progressive, self-proclaimed Socialist, Bernie Sanders, I-VT than I do for McConnell, Boehner, or any of the other RINO Republicans who failed to keep faith with the people who voted them into office (in part) on their promise to get rid of Obamacare.  While I despise his politics and policies, at least Sanders hasn't lied about his agenda.  He believes in government first, last and always and makes no apologies for that fact.  Too bad there's nobody like that on our side promoting the ideas of self-sufficiency, honesty, integrity, and true self-respect.  You know, "traditional American values"?

Senator Cruz has said that he believes that in the next fight, Senate Republicans will learn from their mistakes in this fight and hold firm in the face of hardball tactics by Senate and Congressional Democrats and that the Republicans in the House will follow suit.  I don't see it happening.

I admire the guy.  Both he and Mike Lee have not wavered in their convictions; have not wavered in their determination to see Obamacare stopped, defunded and dismantled.  But I don't see how they can hope to engineer a different outcome when faced with the same fight again next year in January and February.  It might've been different if they had managed to force any real concessions out of Obama and the Democrats, but they quite literally "gave away the farm" last week.  For crissakes, they couldn't even force the passage of an amendment requiring Congress to abide by the same law as the general public, ie, the 75% taxpayer-funded subsidy of their Obamacare premium payments.  If they couldn't even manage to get THAT through, what makes them believe that it'll be any different next time?  The victory the Republicans have just given the administration will, and should, convince Obama that there will never be any significant opposition to his/their agenda.  All they have to do is refuse to "negotiate" and blame any resulting shutdown or economic/political upheaval on the other side. 

The Republican "leadership" has woven the noose(s) for their own hanging.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Taking the Day Off

As the stalemate in Washington continues, I'm not wasting any of my time.  There's no need for me to relate the obvious proofs that Obama and the Democrats are more than willing to see Americans suffer, if they can see some potential political gain for themselves.  The only ones who can't see that are the ones who either also see some gain for themselves or have accepted the propaganda whole; who have "drunk the Kool-Aid", and neither of these groups can be helped or reasoned with.
I'm not going to belabor the obvious and I'm not going to beat my head against the wall.  Besides,  IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!  Fuck'em all.  I'm taking the weekend off from relating the dirty side of life in America.  I'm taking some money out of the bank and heading down to a local Indian resort/casino for some much-needed R&R. 

If you need me, I'll be in the poker room.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

They Jumped

And it's about time, too.

It may be too early to tell for sure, but it's beginning to look like the Republicans may have found their spine.  The Republicans in the House, anyway.

The caucus stood together in their insistence that Obama and the Senate Democrats negotiate on the issue of Obamacare implementation and the issues of the CR and upcoming debt ceiling debate.  Predictably, Obama and the Dems are shrilly denouncing "heartless" Republicans for shutting down the government and "hurting millions of regular Americans".

Setting aside, for now, the fact that the much-anticipated roll out of the ACA has thus far been an unmitigated disaster, it has become clear that it is, in fact, the Obama administration that has actively sought out ways to make sure that their "regular Americans" feel the maximum pain and encounter the most inconvenience the government can possibly inflict.  Keep in mind, this is the same government that actually instructed bureaucratic officials to make the impact of sequestration as painful as possible and actually refused attempts by department managers to lessen the impact of the mandated budget cuts.

The Republicans in the House have sent several appropriations bills over to the Senate since the beginning of this fight.  Democrat Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate, has refused to bring any of these proposals to the floor for a debate, much less a vote.  He has said, when challenged, that he's not going to get "trapped" into doing things piecemeal.  He has said that he doesn't know where the House Republicans get the idea that they can "pick and choose" what parts of the government to fund.  It's called the Constitution, Harry.  The Separation of Powers specifically vests the power of the purse in the hands of the House of Representatives.  There is nothing in the Constitution about "clean CR's".  If we still had a government and a Congress that followed the rules of the Constitution, we'd have a general budget proposal generated by the House and the Senate.  The competing budgets would go to committees made up of representatives of each body and a compromise would be worked out.  Once that was done (usually well before the budget deadline) it would be the responsibility of the House of Representatives to write up and pass individual appropriations bills dealing with specific aspects of the budget, detailing the funding levels and sources.  It would then be up to the Senate to pass the appropriation bill as written or to insert amendments of their own and send it back to the House.  At that point the appropriation would go to a similar conference to have a compromise worked out before it was presented to both chambers for a final vote.  That's the way it works, Harry.  At least, that's the way it would work, if your side had done it's job once in the past 5+ years and passed a budget.  But then, you'd have to go officially on record as to how much you want to spend and on what.  A never-ending series of CR's conveniently obscures all of those details, doesn't it?

To put pressure on Republicans, the Obama administration went public with the story that sick children with cancer were being turned away from clinical trials funded through the National Institute of Health, saying that Republicans would rather see sick kids suffer and die.  The Republicans responded by passing an appropriation bill to fund the NIH.  Not only did the Senate refuse to take up the legislation, Obama himself  vowed to veto any legislation other than a "clean CR".  The same for the national parks and memorials.  80 and 90+ year old WWII vets were barred from visiting the WWII Memorial on the Mall in Washington.  This is an open air memorial that is not regularly staffed.  The Obama administration order barricades set up and guards posted to close access to these vets.  Some Republican Congressmen who were accompanying this particular Honor Flight wouldn't stand for this and took the barricades down and invited the vets to proceed.  The reaction of the Obama administration was to import higher fences and additional guards.  The WWII Memorial is now more secure and has more guards than the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya!  All to prevent octogenarians access to the memorial honoring their service and sacrifice.  If he is willing to show such disrespect to "the greatest generation", there is no limit to what he'll do to the rest of us to force compliance and obedience to his dictates.

This administration has made a political calculation that they can succeed in the implementation of their agenda by making the people as uncomfortable as possible and blaming the Republicans for being "obstructionist".  We, The People, are nothing more than that.  Political calculations.  Pieces on a game board to be manipulated according to the whims of the party in power in furtherance of their social engineering agenda.

For now, House Republicans are keeping faith with their constituents and with the promises they made in the last election to do what they could to impede Obama's march "forward".  If they can stick to their guns until the 17th (the expiration of the current "debt ceiling") we may finally have a chance at the real "fundamental transformation" of the culture in Washington, D.C. back to a true Constitutional Republic and a government that stays within it's Constitutional limits.  At the least, people may finally realize, just as they did with the predicted disaster that would result from sequestration (odd, isn't it, how that's not even mentioned in the news anymore?), that a government shutdown isn't the end of the world as we know it and that maybe, just maybe, we can stand on our own two feet.


For those who don't understand the referent of this blog's title, it refers back to a comment I made in an earlier blog post about the previous debt ceiling debacle:  Geronimooooo.  You can find it in the archives, if you're interested.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

True Colors

"I intend to speak in support of de-funding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand."-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R) Texas

With those words, the Tea Party-supported freshman Senator from Texas took to the floor of the Senate and embarked on a 21 hour, 19 minute exposition against the President's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare".

The speech wasn't entirely about Obamacare, of course.  No one could speak that long without resorting to repetition that would soon become mind-numbing.  He filled in with references to popular culture (quoting from "Duck Dynasty"), to the influence of his father, and he even read the Dr. Seuss classic, "Green Eggs and Ham" to his children.  Not surprisingly, out of 21 hours of material to choose from to make their reports, the national news media (the "Lamestream Media") decided almost universally to concentrate on green eggs and ham in an effort to ridicule and diminish Sen. Cruz and his argument.

Helping in this effort at media smearing are several of the establishment Republican power brokers.  Every single Republican who ran in the 2012 election ran on the platform of getting rid of and/or de-funding Obamacare.  The House of Representatives has held more than 40 (largely symbolic) votes to repeal the legislation, safe in the knowledge they were protected by the fact that the Senate would never even see the legislation.  They're very brave, when there's no one around to hold them to account, but now there's Sen. Ted Cruz.  Like Sen. Rand Paul before him, Sen. Cruz dared to take on the establishment.  He kept faith with those whose votes elected him for the express purpose of getting rid of Obamacare by any means necessary.  Unlike establishment Republicans, who are busy crafting excuses why they can't do anything ("We only have one-half of one-third of the government, there's nothing we can do."  "Obama will veto any bill that de-funds or repeals the legislation, anyway.", etc.) Sen. Cruz has been busy looking for ways to make it possible.  Instead of telling his constituents that they need to "be patient" until they have a chance to "take back the Senate in 2014" (if you remember, the Republicans did remarkably little to advance the causes of liberty and fiscal responsibility when they held all three branches of government), he has stepped up to the plate to promote actions, rather than empty speeches and never-to-be-fulfilled promises.

"This is the first time I've seen when Republican leadership is actively whipping the Republican conference to support Harry Reid and give him the power to enact his agenda. I'm quite confident this is not what Texans expect of me."--Sen. Cruz

In the process, he has stepped on some big Republican toes.  There's a culture in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, that junior Senators and Congressmen should "be seen and not heard" until it's time for them to vote along with the rest of the party faithful.  Following the path blazed by Sen. Paul before them, Sen. Cruz and others have flouted that "tradition" and in the process have overshadowed other, older, more senior members.  And they don't like it one bit.  Sen. John McCain of Arizona once famously called these young enthusiastic Tea Party freshmen "Wacko Birds" for their outspoken promotion of traditional conservative ideals.  Oddly, Sen. McCain was greatly offended when Sen. Cruz referenced that comment in his epic speech, saying that he and his associates were "proud Wacko Birds".

Getting back to the national media's treatment of Sen. Cruz.

Not one major outlet (excepting, perhaps FoxNews) reported even one of the many substantive points made in this speech.  Instead, they focused on the farcical interludes with Dr. Seuss and Duck Dynasty, followed by  the remarks of Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D) Nevada that they had just witnessed hours of "wasted time" (not so, Harry.  Sen. Cruz's remarks were called a "faux filibuster" by the mainstream media precisely because his speech did not hold up any Senate business). 

For the viewers who didn't watch the majority of the speech and only saw the "highlights" of green eggs and ham, it did seem like a complete waste of time.  Entirely as intended.

Many websites have listed quotes and "talking points" taken from Sen. Cruz's remarks.  As an illustration of the deliberate attempt to misrepresent the Sen.'s speech, I'll use one such quote from the political blog and website, Politico.  One of their favorite quotes: "The moon might be as intimidating as Obamacare."  Doesn't make any sense, does it?  Here's the full quote:  "When President John F. Kennedy told this country “We are going to send a man to the moon.” There were a lot of people who said it can’t be done. It’s impossible. It cannot be done. And yet John F. Kennedy had the vision to say Americans can do things whatever we set our mind too….We get to Obamacare and what do all of those voices say: It can’t be stopped. It can’t be done. We cannot defund it. Now, Mr. President by any measure, Obamacare is a far less intimidating foe than those that I have discussed. With a possible exception of the moon, the moon might be as intimidating as Obamacare."

Reads a little different when put into context, doesn't it?

One of the most significant points made by Sen. Cruz in his speech, unreported by the major media, was just how much working people could expect their health insurance premiums to rise if/when Obamacare is fully implemented.  As reported via FoxNews and the Society of Actuaries,   "According to the Society of Actuaries, America’s leading organization of risk-analysis professionals, the cost of medical claims under Obamacare – the driving force behind the rise in insurance premiums – will increase by 32 percent nationwide.  The cost of medical claims is up 62 percent in California. According to the Executive Director of that state’s own Obamacare exchange, health insurance premiums for individuals are rising by between 64 and 146 percent.  The day the exchange opened, the average 25-year-old nonsmoking male in California saw his monthly premium rise from $92 to $184.  In Tennessee, the average premium for individual females is doubling. For men, it’s tripling. One Kentucky family famously saw their premium triple overnight."

Funny, isn't it, how the American media conveniently omits such important information?  The administration has put on a full court press, using all the avenues available to them to sell Obamacare to the public, hoping to quell the same kind of public outcry that  derailed their quest to limit the 2nd Amendment protections for legal gun owners earlier this year.  That's to be expected.  What's so discouraging is the enthusiastic willingness of our other so-called "representatives" to join them in their propaganda efforts.

As of this writing, the Senate voted for cloture 79-19.  The Republicans didn't "stand together" until it didn't matter.  The Senate then voted to pass the measure, stripped of the de-funding language, on a party-line 54-44 vote.  (That way, Republicans can still represent themselves as having voted against it)  The measure now goes back to the House.  The last chance to stop this rests with the Republican caucus (Rep. Boehner has already said he won't do anything to cause a shutdown).  If the rank and file stand firm, they can pass a bill with different language to restrict the implementation of Obamacare, they could refuse to pass the Senate version, or they could tie a one-year delay in the implementation to a vote on the debt ceiling (I wouldn't hold my breath, we saw how they folded like cheap lawn chairs in the debt ceiling fight last year).

In taking a stand, in keeping faith with his constituents and following through on his promise to do everything he could to get rid of Obamacare and restore the Constitution to primacy, whether or not he is successful in this particular fight Sen. Ted Cruz and his associates have shown their true colors.  In intentionally misrepresenting the issue, excusing themselves for not following up on their promises (while managing to exempt themselves from the obligation of following the mandates of Obamacare themselves), the national media and establishment Republicans have shown theirs, as well.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Bright Light in a Darkening World

If you follow social media you may already know about this story.  With the exception of a few outlets it hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention in the national media until just lately.  That's a shame.  Events such as this should be the lead in any news broadcast, ahead of stories of scandal, crime, violence & corruption.

This is the story of young Mr. Joey Prusak (below):

This Story of a 19 Year Old Dairy Queen Employee Standing Up For a Blind Man Will Touch Your Heart

19yr old Joey is an employee at a Dairy Queen in Hopkins, Minnesota and has worked at this same restaurant for nearly 5 years, rising to the position of manager.  On the surface, he's the typical all-American kid.  It was what he did last Tuesday that was so atypical that it has now garnered the attention of so many, not just in Minnesota but nationally and even across the world.

Like most small town fast food outlets and restaurants this Dairy Queen has it's "regulars" whom Joey has gotten to know over the years.  One such customer is a blind man who comes in frequently and on this particular day, after placing his usual order and paying with his debit card he happened to drop a $20 bill out of his pocket.  He wasn't aware of this, BUT the "elderly lady" behind him certainly was.  In fact, she picked up the twenty and as Joey watched, certain that she was going to give it back to the blind man who dropped it, she put it into her own purse!

She stole money from a blind man.

Joey says he was “shocked” and “sickened” by what he saw happen to a blind man at the hands of an elderly lady.  He was so disgusted he decided to take matters into his own hands:

“She walked up to the counter and I asked her to please return the $20 bill to the gentleman. She looked at me like ‘what are you talking about,’” Prusak said, recounting the incident to TheBlaze. “I asked her again to return it and she said, ‘No, it’s mine I just dropped it.’ I told her I’m not going to serve you if you are going to be disrespectful as you are stealing someone’s money like that.....She started getting really angry … started swearing and whatnot. I stayed relatively calm, I deal with customers on a daily basis. She kept swearing though and I asked her to leave the store. I told her if you aren’t going to return the money, you need to leave right now.”

She then "stormed out".

Witnesses to the confrontation say that it's what happened next that was the most unexpected:  "Once the "lady" had left, Mr. Prusak walked over to the gentleman, who had been seated nearby and witnessed (listening) the entire thing and gave him $20 from his own wallet, saying, 'Sir, on behalf of Dairy Queen, I would like to give you the $20 that you happened to drop on the ground as you walked away from the counter.'”

Mr. Prusak didn't think much about it at the time, it was just the right thing to do.  “I felt it wasn’t right that he got ripped off by someone like that lady,” he said. “It just wasn’t a right situation, you know?” 

What a guy.  At the tender age of 19, he's developed a depth of character and courage that many never achieve.  What made this story go viral was the anonymous letter one of the witnesses sent to Dairy Queen corporate, since posted Facebook, on Reddit, and below:

This Story of a 19 Year Old Dairy Queen Employee Standing Up For a Blind Man Will Touch Your Heart

Since the incident, Mr. Prusak has been flooded with congratulations (he got a personal phone call praising his actions and an  invitation to attend the annual shareholders meeting from none other than Mr. Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen, and it was reported by NPR that talk radio host Glenn Beck offered to buy this young man his own franchise outlet and have him run it, since the young man related to Mr. Beck in an on-air interview that his goal in life was to someday be a business owner) and the store has been more than flooded with customers coming in to patronize the store and meet this remarkable young man.  He has also been gifted by many who have handed him $20 bills in appreciation for his actions.  He's not keeping this money, it's being donated to charity.

With all of this, the one thing that has meant the most to Joey is the reaction of his boss.    “He wrote me in a note and put it in an envelope and goes ‘you’re the type of man I’m proud to know.’ That meant a lot to me.”

Joey, you're the type of man we are ALL proud to know.


Praise for this young man crosses ideological boundaries as few news items ever have.  Whether conservative or liberal, all are impressed by his actions and his self-effacing modesty.  Follow these links to other stories covering the remarkable Mr. Prusak:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

American Exceptionalism

"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation."--Vladimir Putin

The left, as well as some presumed conservatives on the right, such as Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump are lauding the opinion piece penned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and published in the New York Times.  Many are saying that he comes across as more presidential than President Obama, more reasoned, statesmanlike.  There is no doubt that the Russian leader has completely schooled Obama in foreign policy and in what used to be known as "geo-politik", but this uncritical acceptance of such a statement, much less it's approbation, is unprecedented. 

American Progressives and Liberals have long detested the very idea of "American exceptionalism", believing it to be nothing more than unwarranted braggadocio, an offense to the sensibilities of other country's citizens.  That we were saying that we, personally, were inherently better people than others.  This goes hand-in-hand with the oft-repeated refrain that America is an unjust country, that we "steal" the world's resources and give little or nothing in return, that we oppress weaker nations, that we seek to "impose democracy" (an oxymoron) on others.

The proof of the superiority of the American system of government and capitalism shown in the greater freedoms and higher standard of living afforded to it's citizens notwithstanding, the American Left has continually maintained that we need to be more like Europe and shouldn't have it so much better than so many.  "It's not fair."

It's exactly fair.  In fact, America IS exceptional.

The vast majority of human history is one of abject poverty.  Of rule by various dictators using degrees of violence, oppression, intimidation, and confiscation to keep the "commons" in line and producing for the aristocracy.  A history of slavery.  America came into being as the first society purposefully created on a philosophic axiom of the supremacy of the individual's right to conduct his own life.  The first society to declare that "all men are created equal".  No matter how far we were from the full realization of that goal, the very proposition was 180 degrees from the norm.  America was the first country to specifically declare slavery illegal, (hundreds of thousands of Americans fought and died to make it so) something many other countries have failed to do to this day.

Rush Limbaugh had a great monologue on Thursday pointing out the error made by most of those who are critical of the idea of American exceptionalism.  I'm just going to quote a few passages here.  You will be able to access the whole thing through the link at the end of this post:

".....what American exceptionalism is not: It is not that we are better people.  It is not that we are superior people.  It is not that we are smarter people.  It is not that God loves us and hates everybody else.  It is not that God prefers us.  It is not that God doesn't prefer anybody else."

"The vast majority of the people of this world since the beginning of time have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that's taken for granted every day in this country.  Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them.  Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water.  It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things.  Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world.  The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations -- and then along came the United States of America.  Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that."

"For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population.  This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION -- e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is."

"The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened.  That's American exceptionalism."

The left doesn't hold the founding principles of this country in the same regard.  Obama certainly doesn't.  When he was once asked whether he holds the same attitude of American exceptionalism as the majority of past Presidents, he demurred, saying that he had an opinion of American exceptionalism that was the same as people in other countries believe themselves to be exceptional.  In other words, America is no different, no better, than any other country.  That's part of what his plan to "fundamentally transform America" was all about.  His intent was to begin to level the playing field by bringing America down to the level of other countries.  He is uncomfortable with the notion of America being the sole superpower, preferring that America be simply "one of many" when it comes to world and international relations.  He has succeeded beyond his wildest imaginations.  This week may very well have seen the end of America as a superpower, with Russia emerging as the world's leading influence. 

Barack Hussein Obama may go down in history as the American President who succeeded in accomplishing what no foreign power ever could:  the dismantling of the only country ever to guarantee the individual rights and freedom of it's citizens and a reversion to command and control totalitarianism.


You can access a transcript of Rush's monologue here.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bringing Back the Real History of America

While the world waits to see whether Barack Obama, President of the United States and Constitutional Scholar, will violate the Constitution's "Separation of Powers" clause and order acts of war in defiance of a vote by Congress denying him the authority to order military action against Syria (as of right now, even though one draft resolution has been passed out of committee in the Senate, it has yet to be approved by the full Senate and it's by no means certain the administration will achieve the necessary 60 vote threshold for passage; he is nowhere near the numbers of votes he needs in the House.  His supporters maintain he has the right to order action even without Congress' approval), which even some Democrats have said would trigger a true Constitutional crisis and potentially put Obama in danger of Impeachment, I stumbled on some positive news.

One of the reasons why America has drifted so far from it's founding principles is the work over the past century by Progressives to alter and "reinterpret" the history of this country being taught to schoolchildren.  For instance, the early explorers who discovered the "New World" have been depicted, not as brave adventurers expanding the frontiers of civilization, but as "white European oppressors" who enslaved and destroyed the indigenous people.  Columbus' reputation has been changed from the man who discovered America to that of an evil criminal.  Given all of the indoctrination they are subjected to, it's no wonder that many graduates of the public (government) school system have such disdain for the founding of the country, the founding fathers, and it's foundational legal document.

Riding to the rescue is Rush Revere.

No, it's not a joke, although the reactions by the left to Rush's publication of a children's book are quite amusing.

For those who don't already know, Rush Revere is a character created by Rush Limbaugh to promote his line of iced teas, a business he started a couple years ago to document the difficulties in starting up a small business in America today and the fact that it was still possible to succeed in spite of the obstacles put in place by the government (It's great tea, btw).

Rush has long lamented the state of education in the public schools.  Particularly the mis-education of elementary and high school students as to the true history of this country and it's founding.  He believes, and I agree, that students are no longer being taught the truth.  Instead, they are being indoctrinated in Liberal/Progressive orthodoxy and a hatred of the founding principles of the United States.  Instead of having pride in their country and optimism in what is possible for them to achieve, they are being taught that America is a terrible place, full of racism and unfairness against minorities and unjust advantages for a lucky few.

To combat this, Rush has put together a new children's book (intended as one of a series) called "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans".  While aimed at the 10-13 age group, the author says it's meant to be entertaining (and informative) to all.  He especially hopes that parents will read/share the book with their kids. 

Rush hadn't come out with a new book in decades and had been petitioned by many to write another one.  He resisted all entreaties (even by his friend, the late Vince Flynn) until his wife Katherine asked him,  "Look, you care about kids. You care about education. Why don't you write a children's book?"

The result has been nothing short of astounding.  Rush announced his new book Thursday.  By Friday, it was listed at number one on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble's bestseller's lists.  As a pre-order!  I don't mean number one on the pre-order lists.  Number one in sales, period.  The book isn't even available until the end of October.

OK, here's a brief outline of what the book is about:  The main character, Rush Revere, is a middle school teacher with a horse named Liberty.  The horse has the singular ability to travel through time.  Rush Revere and Liberty travel back in time to witness historic events and they bring a couple students with them on each trip and return to the classroom and relate what actually happened.  Full details will have to wait until the book actually comes out but it's already received hysterical rants from the left, who have said (paraphrased)  "After all of the time it has taken us to finally expunge from the record the lies of the founding of this country, we've got Limbaugh who's gonna go back and try to reestablish what has taken us all these years to get rid of......But I have to admit, and you all have to admit, the guy's a genius. He's just an absolute genius."  "But don't be fooled why Limbaugh's doing this. He's not doing this 'cause he cares about the kids, and he's not doing this to reverse the historical record, and he doesn't really want to sell any books. He's doing this to make us mad. He's doing this to make liberals mad." And there were countless posts like this.

"He's doing this to make us mad."  As if Rush has nothing better to do than devote months of effort and who knows how much of his own money to write a book just to irritate liberals.  Why?  He accomplishes that for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, now.

Rush has stated that there will not be overt political influences in these books.  That his whole purpose is to reacquaint American youth with the truth of our founding and the truth of the real greatness that is the American system of individual liberty and government of, by and for the people.  Using historical documents and research, these books will tell the true historical account of what it was like in England that drove people to literally risk their lives in a cross-Atlantic voyage in small ships to a destination that, it was said, didn't even exist; what the living conditions were like on those ships, what it was really like in the Plymouth Colonies, and what they eventually had to do in order to succeed.  Included in these stories will be the retelling of the real story of Thanksgiving, something that has always driven the left nuts every November when the story is posted on Rush's website and told by him on Thanksgiving Day.

The whole idea of the book(s) is pure genius.  The concept of a time-traveling horse will grab the imaginations of young people and get them interested in the stories told, and at the same time, the concept means that the series is virtually limitless in scope.  Rush Revere and Liberty can literally go anywhere, anytime, to witness any event.  The number of volumes to be written is limited only by how far Rush wants to go with it.  There's no limit to the material.

Imagine, schoolchildren being exposed to historically accurate information about the true greatness of America and it's founding ideals and principles!  It boggles the mind.  When you consider the reaction in the classroom when teachers promote a story line at odds with what their students have learned through these books, and they get questioned on it.....?  At the very least, the controversy will drive many kids to investigate for themselves.  The best of all possible outcomes.

You want a chuckle?  Check out some of the reactions from the party of "diversity of thought" and "tolerance":

And, to be fair, some more positive thoughts:

The book is available for pre-order on Barnes&Noble and Amazon.