Posts Tagged ‘New’

The DC Role-Playing Game Continues Over the Fiscal Cliff

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Knuckle-draggers…

It’s as though it were a written script.  All the players are carrying out their performance with practiced expertise.  Given our past experiences with the leadership of both parties, one might guess that the outcome of the “fiscal cliff” crisis had been preordained.  It’s beginning to nauseate me to watch this same old crowd play the same old game without any hesitation.  Those of us who’ve watched these sorts of situations in the past have come to expect this sort of performance, as exemplified most recently the Debt Ceiling Deal of August 2011.  All of the actors know their lines, and the end of the plot will go as planned, while they throw in some plot twist for your entertainment.  As it seems we’re to be the endless butt of the insiders’ jokes, we might just as well prepare ourselves to be disappointed once again.  These people aren’t serious, and the leadership on the Republican side is downright hostile to conservatives, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they’re readying themselves to put another one over on us.  One can almost imagine the script, knowing the deal’s final composition has been determined already:

Boehner: “We’ll need to pass our own plan first, to blunt criticism from the knuckle-draggers.”

Obama: “I know, and I’m going to need to let Harry do most of my talking. Now John, just don’t be too rough on me in the press.  Throw in some of those tears-it drives your base berserk!  We’re still on for a round after the inaugural, right?”

McConnell: “I’ll let it leak to the press that I laughed at your offer.”

Reid: “Perfect! I’ll come out and say that the Republicans want to starve children and feed the rich their supper.”

Boehner: “Come on Harry, do you always have to lay it on so thick?”

Pelosi: “I just want to know if you’ll let me hold that gavel for a couple more years in 2013. We got rid of that dreadful Allen West, didn’t we?”

Biden: “Hey Barry, can I sit at the Resolute Desk while you’re in Hawaii? It’ll help me build my image for 2016.”

(Joint laughter.)

Obama: “Okay, John, let’s go with your plan.  You make the tough stance to get your folks aboard, but don’t blow it this time. They need to believe you gave it your all before caving.  The tears will help.”

Boehner: “Yessir, this ship is going down, and there’s no sense in getting people unnecessarily riled up. Let’s keep them busy with the deck-chairs, and when it all goes, they’ll never know what hit them.  Permit me to say, Mr. President, that you’ve been masterful this year.”

Obama: “Okay, we know what we have to do. We’ll say we did all we could. Questions?”

Boehner: “How long until we pull the plug?  Do we go all the way this time, ’cause I’d like to get sauced on New Year’s Eve.”

Pelosi(Laughing joyfully): “Oh, champagne! The bubbles always make me laugh.”

Reid: “I think we should keep them guessing, at least right up until Christmas.  We can probably work up another ‘Grinch’ deal with you as the star this time, Mitch.”

McConnell(Grumbling): “Why do I always have to be the heavy?”

Obama: “Because nobody’s going to buy a crying ‘Grinch.’ Other questions?”

Biden: “Has anybody checked out a 7-11 lately?”

All others: “Shut up, Joe!”

 Ladies and gentlemen, that queasy feeling in the pits of your stomachs can be explained not as some sort of premonition, but perhaps a little more like Déjà vu.  If it seems as though we’ve been here before, it’s only because we have, but in this case, even the names haven’t changed, because there are so damnably few innocents.  For those who may have forgotten how conservatives were betrayed in 2011, during the extended Debt Ceiling debacle, let me remind you that Speaker Boehner watched the House pass “Cut, Cap & Balance” knowing it would be killed in the Senate where he had already worked out the framework of a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama.  In short, while we were prodding our members to stand fast, he had already pulled the rug from beneath us, and as was disclosed during the aftermath, it was done at the urging of Mitt Romney because he didn’t want to have this fight impinging on what he assumed would be his Presidential campaign, a strategy history now proves had been a failure.  At the time the deal was struck in July of 2011, I along with many other conservatives urged the Congress to stand fast, because we knew that this was an election issue any Republican nominee ought not give away.

The truth seems to be that there is never a “good time” to do the hard things in Washington DC.  There’s always another election “right around the corner,” and there’s always another excuse to kick the can down the road a bit more.  Rational people will have known that there’s really no time like the present to take up these issues, and if the House of representatives won’t exercise the power we’ve given it, there’s not much point in having this collection of perpetual losers on the payroll.  If Boehner and his bunch aren’t up to the fight, either due to coziness with Democrats in the DC establishment, or merely as a result of cowardly political calculations, we must at long last send them home.

The so-called “fiscal cliff” and any sequestration is really a small divot compared to the disaster looming with more unbridled spending.  Republicans complain that the media complex will blame them, and it most assuredly will, but it will also blame them if they go along and the economy flat-lines as the result of tax increases on the productive segments of our economy.  It’s long past time to simply acknowledge that the media is going to blame Republicans, right, wrong, or indifferent, and there’s no point in wasting time with all of this whinging about the state of the media.  The media is what it is. It’s awful. Life’s hard. Get helmets.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any leaders currently serving in Washington who are willing to stand up and make a case. Instead, they’re looking to cut deals, any sort of compromise at all, and they’re willing to poke you in the eye while they reach for your wallets [again.]  Whether things are quite so collegial as my imagined exchange above, the fact remains that when all is said and done, more will have been said than done [again.]

This is the way things are(or aren’t) done in Washington. As you sip your coffee, watching the Sunday shows, know that somewhere behind the scenes, Boehner and the boys are cooking up another sell-out, and the script is already written.  As your country, your children, and the prospects of both are being bankrupted, you don’t need to wonder whether disaster can be averted. It won’t be.  Our leaders will cut a deal that will permit them to carry on the charade a little longer, purchasing only one more installment of delay for the coming disaster borne by their inaction.

Note: The site had been experiencing some difficulties with the comment system.  I now believe it to be repaired. Thank you for your patience.

 

 

 

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Thinking About The Presidency

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Too Much Power?

One of the features of the 20th Century and continuing in even more grand form now is the extent to which the office of President of the United States has come to represent the country at large.  Given the development of mass media, it’s not surprising, but in truth, I’m not sure it’s been entirely healthy.  We speak of presidents as “running the country,” but none of these characters, neither the worst nor the best of them, ever really run the country, or at least, that’s not what our founders intended.  The President and the federal establishment are supposed to be as remote in our daily lives as they are from most of us in geographic terms.  The notion of the President “running the country” is illusory in most respects, and a testament to the fictions propagated by government in collusion with media that we perceive things in this way.  We shouldn’t regard our government as such a fundamental part of our daily lives, but over time, people now view the presidency in this light.  It is time that we begin the discussion about returning the government and our elected politicians to their rightful place, but the trouble lies not only with the temperament of our presidents, but also with the character of the presidency.

Our present constitution was established in part to create a stronger federal government than had existed under the Articles of Confederation.  That government was considered insufficiently weak by those who saw flaws in its ability to bind the country together in issues of taxation and expenditure, particularly with respect to a common defense.  This left the presidency, merely an instrument of Congress, in a state of impotence, incapable of responding to changing conditions, or coordinating the new nation’s defense.  This was intolerable, and there were significant problems even collecting revenues.  Provisioning for the Army was unreliable, and there was little of centralized form in the execution of law.  The United States was at this time more like a version of the present day United Nations, or European Union, in the sense that it was strictly a treaty among the separate and sovereign states, with little of their powers delegated to the confederation except as pertaining to warfare and foreign policy.  Some critics today would suggest that it had certain advantages over our existing constitution for precisely these reasons.

The anti-federalists argued that much as our Articles of Confederation had perhaps been unduly weak as a reflex against the tyranny of the British empire, in much the same way, the proposed constitution was likewise unnecessarily and even dangerously powerful as a reaction against the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.  Patrick Henry and George Mason were among the most notable critics, and there can be little doubt that he considered the new constitution to contain too many weaknesses, loopholes they thought, through which despots could arise.  The anti-federalists had three central objections:  There was no “bill of rights”; there would be a centralizing tendency; the government would take on an aristocratic character.  While the new constitution was ultimately amended to quiet critics on the matter of a bill of rights, the other two objections have come into sharper focus as it is clear that the history of the 20th Century is one of the centralizing of power, and the death of the concept of citizen legislators, resulting in a permanent political class that rules seemingly in near perpetuity.  The anti-federalists worried about the presidency created in the new constitution arrogating to itself new and terrible powers not specifically proscribed in Article II.   Some would argue with good cause that they had been correct, since at varying times throughout the course of our country, successive presidents have tended to accumulate more power than their predecessors.

This is the curious problem that now confronts us:  We must elect a President who will exercise the power of that office to slowly, wisely return such excessive power to its proper jurisdiction, either in the Congress, or within the several states, but perhaps most importantly, with the people.  Of course, this will not be done without the will and legislative commitment of Congress, but the truth is that a new President, properly inclined, will be able to change and diminish not only the role of the President, but also of the Federal Government generally.  Our nation has become too focused on and dominated by Washington DC.  This is why our federal budget has exploded out of all previous bounds. This is why we are beset by a regulatory nightmare in our small businesses, in our homes, and in almost every other facet of our lives.  We must begin the process of deconstructing the federal establishment to a degree that permits us to function as a nation again without daily reference to Presidential, Congressional or judicial whimsy.

The office of President of the United States was created to remedy an over-weak central government, but it has been so thoroughly enlarged in its power that we must elect a person with the character and temperament to practice self-restraint in the exercise of powers not explicit in the Constitution.  We need a leader who will slowly, carefully devolve as much power as is prudent back to the states and the people.  Our current economic morass is evidence of the accumulation and centralization of power in the hands of those who run our federal government, and they have become a blight upon our economic future, and indeed, our lives.  One need consider only those EPA regulators who have banned inhalers for Asthma drugs.  Some people will die because they will have been unable to afford the new inhalers, but the regulators are unelected, and frequently unaccountable, and they create new rules by which we are governed without respect to how those rules may harm us.  President sign executive order implementing what are essentially de facto law, with the stroke of a pen.  Somewhere along the course of the last two-hundred years, we have lost contact with the stern warnings the anti-federalists about the arrogation of power and the aggrandizement of the presidency, never mind the general growth of a permanent political class that no longer much cares for the will of the people, or even the constitution to which they’ve sworn to uphold.  These are also questions we must ask the GOP candidates for nomination, because we will soon lose our country if we don’t reduce the reach and scope of the U.S. Federal Government and its powers.  It’s time to tear down this leviathan, before it kills all of us.

The Other Side of Class Warfare: Taking Society Down

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Society's Lowest Common Denominator

One of the most divisive and intractable problems we face in the U.S. is the growing poverty in our society.  More people are connected to the governmental umbilical cord than ever in history, and there are complaints emanating from all the usual sources that the wealthy segment of our society doesn’t pay enough for the privilege of their wealth.  I look at this from a completely different perspective, based in reality, and not in some grand socialistic dream about the good in humanity.  I know that humans are fallible and imperfect, and easily fall into a destitution of spirit even more readily than they do into a poverty of material things.  Encouraged to do so, many people are more than willing to live from the efforts of others and to subsist without reference to their own sloth.

I realize that what I am going to tell you will cause many to hurl derision in my direction, but it’s time that we tell the truth about who the real free-riders in our society have been.  Our country cannot thrive so long as the free-riders of whom we ask exactly nothing can collect by virtue of their unwillingness to contribute anything.  Our “welfare” system is becoming the largest segment of a rapidly growing government that rests not on a poverty of material things it provides, but on the grotesque destitution of spirit of those among those who these programs were intended to assist.

First, I’d like to address the question of entitlement programs, and differentiate among them on the following basis: Social Security, a program I think has thoroughly impossible problems, has been promised on the basis of individual contributions over a lifetime of work.  While it is clear that some substantial reform is necessary, and many  have been misled about the nature of the program, it is not the program I wish to discuss.  Instead, I’d prefer to focus on the massive programs for which there is no connection between benefits paid and the manner in which they are funded.  This includes the myriad programs that fall into the category widely regarded as “welfare,” and includes everything from public housing to Medicaid, among the more well-known, but includes also Pell Grants and Home Energy Assistance, and extends now even to Internet Service and Cellular Phones.

Over the last number of days, I’ve been verbally hammered via email and on the phone by those who have become disheartened at the things they now witness in their daily lives.  It’s not merely that these programs exist, or that they now provide every imaginable need, but that the recipients no longer appreciate them as a gift of a generous society.  Instead, they now view these benefits as a primary means of existence, and a right to which they are entitled to exercise.  Imagine subsisting in the belief that society owes you a living, based on no more exhaustive claim but for your existence.  It is to say “I’m here, so pay for me.”  If this seems stunning to some Americans who are less familiar with this sub-culture of economic dependency and moral depravity, it shouldn’t.  We have allowed our politicians to create a system in which they are rewarded with votes by providing material goods to people who produce nothing, owe nothing, and more, are being conditioned to believe that they possess an endless right to the wealth of those who produce the wealth of the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no doubt that by permitting government to become the great dispenser of benefits, we have built a monster that has taken on a life and a force from which we may not escape.  We have such stellar intellectuals as Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, and a former Obama White House flunky, who tells us a few things that ought to disqualify her from any office anywhere on the planet:

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’  No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.”

Do you understand her claim?  She is saying that society enables people to become rich.  This is a lie.  If society enables people to become rich, why aren’t we all rich?  Why? What’s the difference between one person’s wealth and another person’s poverty?  She doesn’t explain that, but she does continue to make absurd statements that reveal her poverty of understanding  of both economics and human nature:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.”

This bizarre and reckless politician is telling you that the roads came first.  She is plainly asserting that roadways came before commerce.  They did not.  Commerce was the reason the roads were built, and the people who were engaged in that commerce are the ones who built the roads.  If there was nothing to protect, we would not need police.  This asinine would-be Senator actually believes that “the rest of us paid for” all of these things.  She is lying.  Find for me the total number of dollars paid for any roadway by those who do nothing but take from this system?

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This is pure sophistry.  There is no instance in which her narrative is true.  We cannot  afford any more of this notion.  The people who have paid for those products are most frequently the people who had a hand in producing them.  This is a serious problem.  She is an advocate for free-riders who actually insists on bolstering the notion that free-riders are the great virtue in our system who somehow provide the ability of the rich to become richer, while nevertheless providing exactly and precisely nothing.

This must stop.  We must begin to strip such power from politicians. We must challenge this nonsense at ever turn.  We must begin to say “No” and mean it, not merely to these politicians, but also to the people who have become dependent upon them.  It simply ludicrous to suggest that the infrastructure depends on the payments of people who don’t pay, while people who do pay are compelled at gunpoint to build and provide  it.

We have a real problem, and this insufferable leftist demonstrates it quite well: The poverty we face is in intellect, philosophy, and spirit, and we can no longer afford the luxury of all of these programs.  We must end the welfare state before it ends us.  With each day it continues, it increases its own numbers as more people give up the will to earn their existence as they find themselves increasingly surrounded by those who will not.