Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Dissolution of the Social Compact

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Is America Breaking Down?

On Tuesday evening, Mark Levin posed a question on his radio show that bears serious consideration by we conservatives, and I think it’s time we discuss it.  It’s not a matter of winning any longer, but whether we can stave off disaster.  What Levin wondered aloud was whether our nation might be saved at all. He asked if it is too late, because there are too few people remaining who will oppose the advance of statism.  Are we too few?  Is it too late?  Is the America we had known doomed?  If so, what will we have instead?  Our Republic stands on the brink of collapse, and the question we now face is what we can do about it.  The signs are all around us: If we don’t turn things around in 2012, it may be that we never will.

Identifying the problem we face is simple, and it’s really what Alexis de Tocqueville proposed when he wrote that if the Democracy In America.  Among all of the other important and prescient things he warned, these may have been the two we should have etched in stone on the steps of Congress, and on every class-room door in the country:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

That helps to describe our predicament, and this punctuates it:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

Our nation is now just more than 200 years on from the adoption of our current constitution, and it seems that the cause of Tocqueville’s warning is being realized before our eyes.  Barack Obama is effectively a dictator, overturning laws by failing to enforce them, and by promulgating regulations that have no legal basis in authority under our Constitution.  Our people, a majority of them, live substantially by taking from others, and those who produce their living have been indoctrinated to supine servitude.  This isn’t the nation of our founding, and our current president’s enmity to the constitution to which he has sworn an oath demonstrates our dire situation.  Many judges no longer see any reason to restrain themselves to the content or context of the laws on the basis of which they’re allegedly ruling, and they reach out to international case law for precedents that conflict with our own constitution.  Under these conditions, our Republic cannot survive, much less flourish, and we are headed for darkness.

Part of what my professional life entails is the process of evaluating threats and vulnerabilities, and projecting organization capabilities for confronting them.  Applying that technique to our current situation, for individuals who consider themselves conservative, never mind libertarian, I think we’re going to see a revolution of radical statists, and I believe this has been the aim of George Soros and his pack of radical cohorts.  Our options are going to be just three, and you had better begin to consider them:

  • Submit – Accept the country is going to become a radical socialist state complete with a police-state front
  • Flee – Leave the country in search of friendly shores that will accept you
  • Fight – Take up arms against i, risking life, limb, and property

These aren’t pleasant options, no matter which we consider, but let’s look at them.  To submit would mean to maintain immediate physical safety, but it also means giving up virtually all personal sovereignty.  I’m not cut out for this option, because I’m not one who respects claims of arbitrary authority over my life, or the way in which I choose to live it.  I’m not one who abides by theft, whether carried out by a hoodlum in a darkened alleyway, or in the open by a federal bureaucrat.  I don’t accept the idea that my life, liberty, and property are rightly subject to the aggression of other men, whether alone, or as a mob.  This means that for me, I’m not inclined to submit, but every person will be forced to make their own choices.  I fear too many will lie down in order to avoid harm, because in point of fact, the last century has been a progression of this sort of incremental surrender.

I don’t wish to surrender my country.  I’m not the sort to flee from tyranny, although I must admit that I’ve done so before.  I live out in the country precisely because I could not abide the growing tyranny in a municipality that orders its residents to have so many shrubs, so many trees, and what sort of decorations they can place on their own properties.  I could not abide it, so I moved a short way out of the city, and in a matter of a decade, that city annexed properties quickly advancing upon me.  At that point, I moved my family and my horses to an even more remote locale, and set up the farm where I expect that I will find some peace for the remainder of my days.  This won’t be the case, however, if the federal government becomes the sort of coercive police state that leftists desire.  There will be no escape to the country, and the only choice will be to flee the country altogether.

As I’ve reported, there have been some people, including filmmaker James Cameron who have fled to New Zealand, but the problem for most of us is that few can afford that move, and countries like New Zealand are smart enough to refuse easy immigration.  Where then shall we go?  The geographical isolation that has served America as a protection promises to serve now as a prison.  Canada?  Mexico?  These are our choices, and neither looks very promising to most Americans.  I can’t imagine that Mexico will offer much promise, and Canada won’t absorb us all.  In my view, this sort of flight isn’t feasible for me, or for most Americans, which then brings us along to the option nobody wants to consider.

Fighting a counter-revolution is a deadly affair, particularly when the power of government is in the hands of the revolutionaries.  From the outset, they will have command of the entire military, the police, and indeed, the entire array of government institutions, and since the media serves the revolution in most important ways, they’ve already created a willing propaganda arm.  They control the horizontal and the vertical, so communications will become an impossibility.  How do you wage a war against such a force?  How is it possible to win?  There is a very good reason that peoples the world over flee from or submit to large scale national social tyrannies:  These are easier than fighting.  These pose less danger.

What sort of country have ours become that we must even consider the revolutionary tyranny that is now creeping toward us, gathering inertia?  I do not wish to seem as though I’m a doomsayer, but the truth is that we’re in very real national distress.  Across the vast expanses of this country, there are probably fewer than one in six who I would consider committed patriots who believe we should maintain this republic as framed by our constitution, but still fewer who are willing to fight to preserve it.  I doubt we could must five million patriots who would step forward and take up arms in defense of the republic, and make war against the people who have slowly usurped our system of government.

I am not asking or urging anybody to do anything, except think.  I’d like you to consider the meaning of all of these things, and what you are willing to do to preserve what we all claim to love so dearly.  Is our liberty to be abandoned without a fight?  Is our freedom really to be eclipsed in this generation?  Why are we going on quietly about our lives?  The Tea Party was launched with the intention of creating a push-back, but the Tea Party has been largely silent in the last year.   The problem is that without some rallying cry, we’re sliding more quickly toward the national catastrophe that now awaits in the gaping maw of the social welfare police-state.  The other problem faced by those who would be inclined to fight if it comes to it is that we don’t have a single bright line for the trigger for a fight.  What is that trigger?  What is the thing that if the government undertakes, we would immediately respond with war?

This reminds me of the story of Wyatt Earp standing down a mob:  “Sure, you’ll get me in a rush, but who wants to be first?”  This is a question nobody likes to consider, because nobody wants to be first.  Perhaps that will change, and perhaps it’s not yet as bad as that implies, but at some point, we’ll reach that climax at the pace in which we’re now rushing toward tyranny.  All I’m suggesting to my fellow Americans is that now is the time to think these things through.  What will we do in defense of our constitution when those sworn to uphold it decide instead to set it aside?  What will be that condition under which we will no longer abide the transgressions?  It’s easy to make brave oaths, today in the shrinking protection our liberties provide, but if our social compact is to be dissolved, it will no longer be a matter of oaths but instead a course of actions that we must consider.

 

Mitt Wins Home State

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

He's Smiling - Are You?

Mitt Romney won handily in Arizona on Tuesday, and managed to pull off a narrow victory in Michigan.  While some are again saying “it’s all over,” I disagree with that view.  Romney would have done more for himself had he won Michigan as handily as Arizona, and this makes it anything but a deal-closer, with Super Tuesday only a week away, and Ohio being the biggest prize on the day.  He is trailing in Ohio, with Santorum in front, and there’s still a good chance that this goes all the way to the convention.  Romney doesn’t need to win, but win big, and he’s simply not getting the level of support from conservatives.

Conservatives remain unimpressed with Romney, and every time he gets the chance to stick his foot in his mouth where conservatives are concerned, he seems to bite down with zest.  This leaves us with a problem, however, and there’s really no way around it: The broad conservative base doesn’t trust Romney, and even if he is the eventual nominee, or somehow manages to win the presidency, it’s going to be with a minimum of conservative support.  While many conservatives are saying they will support him if he is the nominee, it’s said in the form of a shrug.  That will make for an uphill fight in the general election, and it’s not a position in which conservatives had hoped to find themselves only a year ago.

Romney’s record is spotty at best, and conservatives know it.  The conservative base has flirted with supporting a string of candidates as an alternative to Romney, but the truth is that they haven’t settled on one who they can support with the fervor they need to win at the polls. If this continues, Romney will wind up as the nominee, and if so, it will be a difficult campaign that will take on the appearance of going through the motions among conservatives.  As many have noted, there’s simply no reason to be excited about Romney, and if he’s what we’re stuck with in November, we may well lose.

I realize many are unhappy with the situation, but the truth is the truth.  If Super Tuesday comes and goes, and Romney is able to win the lion’s share of primaries, it may well be close to over.  The problem is, most conservatives aren’t thrilled at the prospect, but they’re not doing anything to demonstrate the ability to defeat him consistently.  They have jumped from one to the other to the next in perfect unison with the media talking points, and the only conservative who bucked the attempt to destroy him at all was Newt Gingrich, but only because it took more than one attempt.  If Gingrich doesn’t perform well on Super Tuesday, it’s hard to see how he goes on. While it’s still an open question as to who will be the nominee, the window of opportunity is closing.  We’re running out of time to mount a serious challenge to Romney, and Santorum is the top dog at the moment in that pursuit, but I’m not sure he’s the right one.  We have little time to rethink this, or face the prospects of a Romney candidacy, and a like second term for Obama.

Making Mess of Mess-Halls

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Approval of the Queen?

You can’t call them “Mess Halls” any longer, but the term may be making a comeback, since the Army has taken to restructuring its dining facilities so as to make them healthier. Here we have a bunch of do-gooders inflicting their ideas about nutrition on the Armed Forces. Living nearby Fort Hood, I’ve had an opportunity to ask a few soldiers about their view of all this, and it isn’t generally pleasant. Gone are the days of basic training mess-halls in which the object was to get in, consume all you could in as short a time as possible, and get out before some Drill Sergeant decided a soldier was taking too long. No, now they have “dining facilities” and the food is label with color-coded warnings as to its nutritional value. According to CNS News, the same people who didn’t like our color-coded Terror Alert system are now inflicting it on soldiers’ meals.

Of course, you might have guessed by now that Michelle Obama has been involved, and true to form, the First Lady is happy to project her own notions about nutrition on others.  In this case, dietitian Lt. Colonel Sonya Cable is pushing a different “green initiative,” as it is her job to see to it that the old mess-halls become richer in vegetables, and poorer in fried foods.  This is the sort of nonsense we now have in the military, as the truth is that trainees in Army Basic Training should be consuming calories at a rate that makes vegetables a poor choice for the new recruits.  They need to pack in all the calories in a meal they can get, except for the relative handful that should be viewing basic training as an opportunity to burn off excess.

Cable’s thinking is to come up with a color system to label foods that pushes healthy food, with a system of labels.  Red is for the fried foods, and sweets, amber is for the middle-of-the-road dishes, and green is for the things that are viewed as the best alternatives, but even with this system, there’s some realization that this may not be entirely feasible:

“I had some folks say to me, ‘Well, why on earth did you even include the red ones to begin with?’  Two reasons – one, we’ve got soldiers who have racehorse metabolisms that they needed every calorie I could get into them.  And by taking off the ‘red’ we just found that we couldn’t get enough calories in them.”

No kidding.  Welcome to the real Army, Colonel.  Of course, reading some of her other thoughts, it became clear to me that this is one Army officer who probably doesn’t understand much about soldiering from the perspective of the recruits going through Basic Training at Fort Jackson or elsewhere.  Trainees don’t sit on their duffs for eight hours, do physical training once or twice per week, and then go home to sit on their backsides for the evening.  Why this didn’t dawn on Lt. Col. Cable is another matter, but then you realize she’s in tune with Washington-speak, when she reflects on her previous visit to Ft. Jackson:

“My eyes got opened very quickly that it really is a community,” she said, about her visit to Fort Jackson, S.C. seven years ago to observe its dining facilities.  “We talk about a village that raises a child.  Well a community develops a brand new soldier, too. And that’s what we found there.”

Now the liberal planners are designing nutrition programs for the Army.  Perfect!  That explains a great deal, because they’re more interested in fads popular with DC social circles than in what actually works.  Cable took the First Lady on a guided tour of a dining facility at Ft. Jackson in January, and she reports that this program that started with basic training sites has now spread to other training facilities.  In short order, this will spread throughout the services, and one more part of Obama’s fundamental transformation will have been completed.  The liberal mindset must tinker with everything, and that Michelle Obama is even distantly involved should encourage us to pause on the subject in reflection about the direction of our military, and its purpose.

Romney: “I Want to Maintain the Progressivity”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Progressivity Advocate

Mitt Romney doesn’t seem able to help himself.  Every time he’s given an opportunity to distance himself from his progressive politics, he sidesteps it and goes on to reinforce the view of him as a liberal Republican.  Let’s stop kidding ourselves about all of these claims that he’s really a conservative.  He’s not.  He wasn’t a conservative when he ran to the left of Teddy Kennedy in his attempt to capture the US Senate seat in 1994, and he wasn’t a conservative when he ran center-left in his gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts in 2002, and he wasn’t a conservative in his governance there.  There is no evidence by which to conclude this cat has changed his stripes, and I have lost patience with all of the excuse-makers who pretend that Mitt Romney is a conservative.

Watch the video here(Note-the recording volume was very low):

Whether it’s Romneycare, or his willingness to pander to leftists on the question of the “progressivity” of the income tax, Mitt Romney is no conservative, and he isn’t fit to serve as a Republican president.  Perhaps he should reconsider and run on the Democrat side, and challenge Obama for that party’s nomination, because he certainly seems better suited to it.  I don’t think we should send another big-government liberal to replace the one we have.  Rather than just changing teams, it’s as though it’s the same old team:  The party of Big Government.

It’s true that he wants to cut taxes, but his plan entails all the usual gimmicks that phase in entitlement reforms long after it will matter.  Talk about cutting the rate of growth in benefits, or delaying benefit eligibility by raising the Social Security retirement age is simply more pie-in-the-sky nonsense to which we will never be witness, because by the time it will go into effect, even if Romney won and served eight years, few of those changes will have been implemented, and in the mean time, we will see our country continue to slide into the pit of indebtedness.

We can’t afford any more big-government liberals, whether they have a “D” or an “R” next to their names, and what Romney is offering here is more tinkering around the edges that will do just a little to stimulate economic growth, but will continue to borrow at an unabridged rate, and what we will get as a result is another lost decade, and perhaps the death of the Republic.  At best, Romney promises to undertake actions and implement policies that will act to slow our decline, but that’s all he’s really offering.  I remain unimpressed, and the fact that he’s neck-and-neck with Santorum in his home state of Michigan demonstrates that many conservatives agree.  Mitt Romney is no conservative, and his unwillingness to make even the moral argument for eliminating progressivity in the income tax system says all  I need to know about what sort of president he will be.

Romney’s good for only one thing, and that’s “minding the store,” but what he won’t do is to improve its efficiency, or do anything to stave off bankruptcy.  He’ll keep things going because that’s all he knows how to do, but he lacks the passion and vision, and frankly, the philosophical clarity to lead the country away from the brink of disaster.

A Little Tutorial on Obamacare – Video

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Mandates Galore

We’ve heard a good bit about what the 2,700 pages of Obamacare holds in store for the American people, but I’m not sure you will have known all of these details.  This video is astonishingly detailed, and if you haven’t seen it before, taking the ten minutes necessary to view it will certainly be an eye-opening affair for those of you who’ve not seen this.  Suffice it to say that if this isn’t repealed, we’re going to lose all of our liberties, and with it, the entire country.   Take the time to watch this.  If you weren’t worried about healthcare before, you will be afterwards:

Pam Bondi Admits It: Romney Will Push Romneycare

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

A Job in Mind

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said a mouth-full in an interview with Greta Van Susteren On the Record. She effectively admitted that Mitt Romney will only seek to repeal such parts of Obamacare as are in conflict with his own ideas, so that we’ll see a push for Romneycare nationwide. She makes several dishonest arguments, but one thing that is certain is that she already believes she has a job lined up in a Romney Administration. After all, she helped deliver the critical Florida primary. After all, where would Romney be now if he had lost in Florida?  Voters in Michigan and Arizona beware!  Romney is who so many have suspected all along: A big-government liberal from Massachusetts.  Watch the video here:

It’s bad enough to be ruled by Barack Obama and his friends in the Democrat party and throughout the far-left establishment, but to find that Republicans have the same notions is simply despicable, and here, Bondi confirms it.  While she pretends this is a states’ rights issue, it’s nothing of the sort.  This isn’t about federalism, but about the nature of one’s right to one’s life and liberty.  To attempt to push this line explains why Romney wouldn’t back away from Romneycare, and used the same poorly-formed argument to excuse it:  He intends this for all of us.

Rather than talking for two weeks about contraception, perhaps we should have been spending a little more time vetting Romneycare and Mitt’s intentions, but then again, maybe mis-direction has been the point.

Romney and Santorum: Dead Heat in Michigan Polls

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Close in Michigan

This shouldn’t have been close.  In 2008, Mitt Romney won in Michigan by nearly double-digits.  The very idea that the son of a Michigan governor should happen to find himself in this position demonstrates how thoroughly many conservatives have tired of establishment candidates.  What should have been a walk-over won’t be, and instead we’re likely to see a terribly close contest that may come down to the wire.  If Romney loses in Michigan, he might as well go home, because if he can’t win here, and convincingly, I don’t know how you can argue he will ever beat Barack Obama.  There’s also an Arizona primary on Tuesday, and at the time of this writing, that contest is not nearly so tight, with polls indicating a big Romney lead.

After getting the endorsement of another Republican governor, with Jan Brewer endorsing him over the weekend, but she seems to have more pull with Arizonans than Nikki Haley demonstrated with South Carolinians.  There is also a healthy Mormon segment of the vote in Arizona, so taken together, Romney probably will maintain that edge.  Let us also remember he has the endorsement of US Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain, who was able to stave off J.D. Hayworth in a primary challenge in 2010.  I expect that he will win there comfortably, but if it closes up significantly, it will hint at the continued weakness of Mitt Romney.

Romney needs to win Michigan on Tuesday, but conservatives need Rick Santorum to win.  There is certainly reason to believe Santorum could pull it off, not merely because of the closeness in the polls, but also because he’s doing particularly well among evangelical Christians in the state.  Naturally, Romney has a significant cash advantage, as he has had throughout this primary season, but as has been seen in some states, that advantage doesn’t necessarily equate to victory if the grass-roots activists in a state begin to push for somebody else.  If Romney can pull off an unexpectedly large victory in Michigan Tuesday, he’ll certainly retake the initiative, but if it’s very close, or worse, he loses entirely, it may be a show-stopped.  Tuesday’s  returns will offer us a good deal of insight into the rest of the primary season.  If it’s close, it’s not over by a long-shot in the run-up to Super Tuesday, and if it’s a blow-out, it may well signal a consolidation in favor of the victor.

Iran Prepares for War

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I have been told that Iran is led by “rational actors,” but I see little evidence of it.  In order to acquire their own nuclear arsenal, they are making plans to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, and to carry out attacks on US air bases in the region in order to hold off the Americans who they are expecting will at some point attack them.  Meanwhile, they still seem to intend to strike Israel, and wipe them out, so it’s difficult to see them as rational. One could make the argument that they’re merely prepa for a US or Israeli strike, but the continued promise to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth is the most troubling thing of all.  If they do obtain nuclear weapons, Iran’s leaders may well be just irrational enough to use them.

According to the WND article, the Iranians are preparing to make attacks on US air assets.  Such a strike would be more likely than most Americans think to disrupt our ability to respond to threats in the region:

The Guards’ publication Mashregh, in a warning to America, revealed a detailed plan to attack U.S. bases in the region, including, in Kuwait, two air bases, Ali Al Salem and Ahmed Al Jaber, and the U.S. military camps of Buehring, Spearhead, Patriot and Arifjan. Also targeted are U.S. air bases in Afghanistan, the super U.S. base Al Adid in Qatar, its other super base at Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates and Thumrait Air Base in Oman.

Such an attack could certainly cause chaos, or worse, but it would almost certainly send the US scrambling, and it might open a window of opportunity for the Iranians to make good on their promise to close off the Straits of Hormuz, at least for a while.  That might be enough to hamper our logistical chain, making it difficult to carry on war-fighting operations.  At the same time, the Iranians have armed a number of small, fast boats with explosive warheads that would be delivered by ramming in suicide attacks:

The Guards have also armed hundreds of speed boats with high explosives for suicide attacks against U.S. Navy assets and the shipping traffic in the Gulf. Sources within the Guards also reveal that the Guards have been training pilots for suicide attacks against U.S. assets in the Gulf by using smaller planes loaded with explosives.

Rational?  I wouldn’t have considered the Japanese all that rational in 1944-45 as their young pilots rammed aircraft into our warships in Kamikaze attacks, yet this is the same sort of mindset we now face.  We’re in particularly bad shape, because just as this threat is rising, our military is undergoing vast cuts, and we have poor national leadership across the board.  Barack Obama has shown no willingness to take on the Iranians, but we know he’s capable of making apologies.  This president is so unwilling to defend America against its enemies that there really is no precedent in American history.  If Iran’s leadership decides it’s willing to wage a war in order to protect its nuclear weapons program, they may win.  If you think the Ayatollahs are irrational, what must we conclude about the man Rush Limbaugh has called “Imam Obama,” who now leads our country into a blind alley?  How rational is Obama?  For our country, the prospects are too frightening to consider.

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Wyoming Preparing for Disaster; Washington DC Making One

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Considering "Doomsday"

Leave it to the good people of Wyoming to bring enough pressure to bear on their politicians that they have now actually begun to prepare for the worst crises that could arise, as they consider the condition of the Federal government, its debt, and the potential for civil unrest.  They’re even considering what to do about their armed forces should the worst occur, and this landlocked state is now considering how they would acquire an aircraft carrier.  That may seem just a little hard to swallow for some, but I think it speaks to the willingness of their legislature to prepare for the worst.  I believe the measures are prudent, and if only we could get the politicians in Washington DC to see it their way, there might well be a chance we’d avoid at least any “man-caused disasters.”  The sneering elites in Washington think this is high comedy, but for down-to-Earth Americans, not only in Wyoming, but elsewhere across the expanses of “fly-over country,” there is a keen awareness of how much trouble we’re facing.

In Washington DC, they have your money upon which to rely in order to continue their spending habits.  Out in Wyoming and around the country, state and local governments have seen a general reduction in revenues.  Property values are down, so property tax receipts are also reduced, and with so many homes in foreclosure, there’s been a corresponding rise in delinquency on property taxes owed.  In Washington DC, they just print up another batch, and they don’t have to worry about the cash because they can always raise taxes, or borrow more.  This is at the heart of the disconnect between the permanent ruling class in Washington DC that sees no emergency looming, but instead suspects it can make due on your back indefinitely.

Thankfully for the people of Wyoming, their legislature is at least considering the worst scenarios.  While we can ridicule the idea of a Wyoming armed force including an aircraft carrier, perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing, and instead checking with our own state and local governments to find out what sort of preparations they’re making.  Chances are, they’re not.  At this point, while Wyoming commissions a little money with which to study the matter, the Federal Government continues to the brink.  Spending, and borrowing, and regulating our lives has become its sole purpose judging by what they’ve done in the last few decades, but when it comes to the things it ought to do, the Federal government has no shortage of excuses.

Rather than mocking the Wyoming legislature for its so-called “Doomsday Bill,” perhaps the thing to do is to instead ask our own state and local officials what they’re doing to prepare.  They’ll baffle you with their local Office of Emergency Management, but I doubt any of them are thinking as broadly or constructively as the legislature of Wyoming.  They’re considering things like issuing their own currency if it comes to that, and how to deal with the worst behaviors of other men.  That’s not a bad starting point, and I wonder if while the elites in Washington DC are laughing now, should the worst arise, would the people of Wyoming have the last laugh.  It’s time for the laughing boys in DC to get the hint and take their cue from the folks in Wyoming, and begin to prepare this country for the hell that it coming, and that they’re creating.  They won’t, of course.

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What If Christians in America Reacted Like Muslims in Afghanistan?

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

One Thing Leads To Another

I can’t help but notice that the President and his friends in the leftist establishment press are offering a dangerous precedent for anybody who wants to notice it.  As Barack Obama apologizes to the Taliban, Afghans, and Muslims everywhere for the inadvertent burning of a few copies of the Qur’an, the reaction is even more strident and increasingly violent.  The more violent they become, the more Obama and his friends in the press grovel, to the extent that he’s now got the entire military chain of command making apologies and running around in panic that they have offended Islam.  Watching all of this, I had a sudden thought:  What would happen if American Christians reacted to the contraception mandate in precisely the same way?  Would Obama grovel before them too, or like his bowing all over the Middle East, is that reserved solely for the Muslim world?  To watch this president in action is to observe a slow-motion train-wreck, if you believe he’s incompetent, but I no longer hold that view.  No president could act so recklessly.  If Christians reacted in a more vociferous manner, would President Obama apologize and grovel for them too, or would he crack down on his own countrymen, as I suspect?

This display couldn’t be more disgusting, and yet, given the way Christians and others of faith(excepting Muslims) are treated by the current administration, maybe that’s the answer:  Americans of faith are simply too docile, and too willing to “turn the other cheek.”  Of course, as Americans of faith have long since discovered, when it comes to the Obama administration, and the mainstream media, turning the other cheek has begun to give the appearance of somebody watching a tennis match.  Christians particularly have taken a beating from this administration, and Obama’s willing accomplices in the media carry out shameless attacks on people of faith under the general auspices of “reporting the news.”

I realize Christians are not very likely to “go Taliban” as the Afghans have been doing this week, but the reaction of the Obama administration may offer a bit of a clue.  I’m not advocating violence, of course, but maybe it’s time to put together a “million Christian march” or some such thing to remind the administration Who is in charge.  Apparently, the administration is quite fearful of the mess now ongoing in Afghanistan, and at the rate things are going, I can see us evacuating via helicopter off the roof of our embassy there.  Not satisfied to turn the fight into Vietnam out in the field, the liberals are accomplishing the seemingly impossible: We’re going to wind up with video out of Afghanistan very much like we saw as the United States evacuated from Saigon, leaving people desperate to escape clamoring to be lifted out too. Leftists everywhere will celebrate.

Of course, the way this country is being led into the ground, Christians may not have to do much.  If the Occupiers have their way, they’ll create a similar scene at the White House, and Barack Obama will fly out in Marine One, leaving the likes of Biden and Carney to fend for themselves among the restless natives.  This is the state of our rudderless nation as Barack Obama takes one victory after the other and converts them into complete disasters.  His apologies have done nothing but to encourage the mobs of angry Afghans, and it’s a disturbing picture when you realize they are merely acting out on the basis of that which they believe.  Call it irrational if you want, and yes, they’re barbaric murderers who have killed Americans in their blood-lust, but consider this:  Barack Obama is begging their forgiveness for a “wrong” that has been shown to be an accidental insult, and not the act of malice.

What are we then to make of a president who acts with malice toward the people of faith in his own country? He insults Catholics, demeans Christians, and tells them their faith must be subservient to his government, while the government he leads and administers bows in surrender and supplication before the rioters in Afghanistan.  How is an American Christian or Jew to take this, realizing that he does the same at home, since we cannot say “Islamic Terrorism” with respect to Major Nidal Hasan, but instead call it “workplace violence?”  Is it not stunning to see an American president who evinces respect for foreign savages who practice a religion he does respect, while he ignores the consciences of Americans who practice a religion he apparently holds in contempt?

This is abominable, sickening behavior, not only by the murderous thugs in Afghanistan, but also by the irresponsible administration in Washington DC.  Where a decent President would have ignored the incident in his official capacity, knowing that to acknowledge it would give it more gravity and not less, and in a situation in which a responsible president would have loosed the dogs of war in their own defense, Barack Obama not only has harmed us, and especially the troops under his command, but he has ignored the chance to deliver a lesson to the Afghans who now rise up in open rebellion against us over a mistake.

Any decent respect for our country and its position in this world would have led him to treat this entire incident differently, but he has no respect, neither for the country nor for the office he occupies.  Just once, I would like to see him react in a similar fashion when Americans of faith were rightly offended, rather than working to offend them more thoroughly in the next instance.  Until Barack Obama leaves that office, our nation will suffer one disaster after the next, and all of his making, and as I wrote this past week, I no longer believe the line that it’s all due to incompetence.  He’s intentionally paying respect to those who have none for us, and he’s one of them in spirit, if not in open worship.  While he reaches out to offended Muslims the world over, he turns his backside to us, and the moon you’re being shown isn’t the crescent common to Islam.

 

Jeb Bush Pushes the Narrative of a “Party of Fear”

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Jeb Denounces Campaign of Fear

Jeb Bush is worried about the Republican Party, and The Hill is reporting on some of his thoughts on the primary campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination.  Among everything else Bush said, there were a few nuggets that should be subjected to scrutiny, as it is increasingly clear that the former Florida governor has parted company with the conservative base of the party. This is a troubling development in my book, because it raises questions about the continued narrative that Bush would be the favored outcome of a brokered convention.  He seems to think that the current crop of GOP contenders are appealing unnecessarily to fear, but I suppose if you live in the Jeb Bush bubble, there’s nothing for anybody to fear.  We’re steaming toward catastrophe, and he will have a lifeboat, but the rest of we passengers on the Titanic know that Captain Obama is steering directly for the iceberg.

“I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I’m wondering — I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are,” said Bush, according to Fox News. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.”

I honestly don’t know what Bush is talking about.  He is being intentionally vague, but I noticed this much: Mr. Bush isn’t a conservative, and he seems to be hinting that the party is moving to the right.  It’s not.  The party has moved slightly leftward, but the problem is that Mr. Bush has been on the leading edge of that slide, and in fact, it’s probably accurate to say he’s been helping to pull it in that direction.  I’m not one of those who bought into the myth that George W. Bush was more conservative than his father, George H.W. Bush, or that Jeb is more conservative than either of these.  You get an indication of this when you look at his remarks on education, that he made to the National Center for Policy Analysis luncheon in Dallas on Thursday, suggesting he doesn’t like the talk of eliminating the Federal Department of Education:

Mr. Bush said, “I’d like to hear more about how important it is that we create a high growth economy where there’s more prosperity and job creation, that we transform our education system.  And what generally the questions are, what do you think the federal role is?  They answer that, that’s fine.  The policy is how do you transform the education system.”

He also cautioned against moving too far to the right:

“I think it’s important for the candidates to recognize though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition.”

I don’t care what Mr. Bush has to say.  Let me say this one last time:  No more Bushes.  I am finished with the Bush clan, and the reason is simple:  They pose as conservatives, but they have shown they are moderates at best, and I’m simply not interested in any more of their governance.  Everything his brother George W. Bush did on the domestic front led to the awful outcome of losing the House in 2006.  You’re free to disagree, but I can state with certainty that there’s absolutely no chance I will ever vote for another member of the Bush family. I don’t believe in political dynasties in America, as a matter of principle, just as I don’t believe in monarchies.

All of this highlights a serious problem in the Republican party, that most readers here will have noticed long ago:  The moderate wing of the party continues to drag us leftward, to the extent that in some ways, many of the presumed establishment leaders of our party frequently have more in common with the Democrats.  Of course, in the end, Governor Bush went on to explain how he believes there will be no brokered convention, and that the nominee will come from those already in the race, stipulating that there’s no way he’d be the nominee by such a process. (Video courtesy CBS 11 DFW)

I don’t see anything wrong with suggesting that the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated.  I can’t find the word “education” anywhere in our Federal constitution, so I don’t know where that authority arises, or why the Federal government has become involved.  Conservatism would not have created a Federal Department of Education, but apparently Jeb Bush would have done so, and the evidence may be his own brother’s conduct in creating the No Child Left Behind program.  This serves to demonstrate that Jeb Bush is not so conservative as he thought, but the important nugget for us is to understand that fact even if Mr. Bush doesn’t.

Bush contends that the candidates may be moving “too far to the right,” but for my tastes, they could move a good deal more.  Still, I’m less interested in temporary positions that will be dropped when the candidate is chosen.  That’s what the party rightly fears from the likes of Mitt Romney, or from any more of the Bushes, because we’ve been there before.   The truth is that the party has been sliding left for a long time, and that which Jeb Bush considers “conservative” is to the left of Franklin Roosevelt in most important ways.  I realize the party will not be reformed overnight, and I know with people like Mitt Romney leading the drive, it’s likely to get a good deal worse before it gets any better, but I’m not interested in any more talk about moderation.  We’ve moderated ourselves directly off the left edge of the map.  Mr.  Bush may not be fearful, but conservatives know better, because what we fear isn’t a particular event, but the loss of our prosperity and the character of the country upon which it had been based.

Will Inexpensive Gasoline Ever Return?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Can Gingrich Deliver?

This is a question leftists are now asking in response to the fact that Barack Obama’s policies have resulted in the most expensive February gasoline prices we’ve ever known. Rather than treating it as an economic question, they tend to discuss it as a matter of politics, and mostly as a matter of damage control. Newt Gingrich is promising that if he is elected, he will work to reduce the price of gasoline to less than $2.50 per gallon, but what the liberals contend is that such a reduction isn’t possible, but more importantly, even if it were feasible, it’s not desirable. Let me make it perfectly clear for those of you who have questions about this issue, because it’s something we should examine in looking at the potential nominees: Newt Gingrich’s intention to reduce fuel prices to sustainably lower levels is an important national initiative in which government can play a role, and it offers a chance to boost the US economy in a way that nothing Obama has done will ever accomplish.

In previous articles, I’ve discussed with readers the important relationship between economic growth and the price of energy. By taking note of this fact, and addressing the issue in his campaign, Gingrich has signaled that he’s more in touch with the economic problem with which our nation is now confronted. Over the last dozen years, nothing has had a greater influence on economic prospects than the cost of fuels. Not financial market collapses. Not terrorist attacks. Not government spending. If you want to view the track of economic growth, all of those things have had short-run effects, but nothing undermines the economy more thoroughly than increases in the cost of energy. The reasons should be obvious under even superficial examination.

Everything humans do requires energy. Recognizing this fact is critical to economics, because as energy costs increase, there is a direct effect on the cost of all other commodities, and all other services.  There are no exceptions to this fundamental, structural fact of life.  More, since some items require much more energy to produce, and consume more energy along the entire chain from raw material to distribution, any increase in energy costs quickly ripples through the market.  As such, this creates a drag on production, but also consumption, since energy needs tend to come first in one’s priorities. If you’re an employee, you must travel to and from work.  This is something most employees share as an expense from which there are few option in relief.

For that employee, his or her pay is not likely to react to his or her costs.  This fact means that at energy prices increase, the people who will feel it hardest are those who must engage in commerce, but whose compensation is least elastic with respect to the costs they must absorb.  Most businesses can react by adjusting prices, although the competition they face places pressure on them to  delay passing along costs to customers as long as possible.  This was evident in the trucking industry and more broadly throughout the transportation sector when fuel prices first exceeded the three dollar mark a few years ago.  This gave rise to a new phenomenon called the “fuel surcharge,” and it was intended to show that they weren’t simply jacking up prices without justification, but instead that their costs had dramatically increased. The point of all this is that there is no way to avoid the fact that for most people, and most businesses, you can’t easily augment your income simply because your costs have risen.

This being the case, there will be choices to be made, and all of those involved will need to decide which of their ordinary expenditures may have to be curtailed.  New projects and investments are delayed, and necessary repairs or upgrades are put off indefinitely.  What this means is that economic activity is curtailed, and therefore, fewer jobs are created, and thus unemployment rises.  As this happens, it feeds back on itself because  when unemployment is high, the average employee’s negotiating power on wages diminishes, and this makes the average person even less able to spend money on all of those things that create increased economic growth.

After a time, if this continues, the quantity of fuels demanded will begin to contract, and this will lead to the prices falling again, but there is a lag until economic activity recovers.  Clearly, if this is the cycle, then what we should see is precisely what we have seen over the last few years: An economy that fails to launch because just as it begins to heat up, the corresponding increase in energy prices causes a clear diminution of the economic growth.  The only way to combat this is to increase our energy resources, and to make safe such resources as we already enjoy.

Back in the 1990s, one of the things from which the American economy benefited was the reliability of OPEC members to undercut one another on production quotas.  The quotas were intended to maintain a higher price point, but as prices went upward, one or more member nations would get greedy and cheat on the quotas.  This increased the supply in the market, and the prices would inevitably fall.  This was in an era when China’s demand in the market was relatively negligible, but since then, their bite out of the production pie has done nothing but increase proportionally to all others.  It was also an era when OPEC was more fractious, and most of their members couldn’t coordinate on much of anything for long.

What Gingrich recognizes is that our economy cannot function properly, and in a healthy way without the energy we need at a price we can afford while still building economic activity, buttressing the points made by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  His stated goal of seeing a reduction in gasoline prices is the right thing to do, and he recognizes that it’s not just a matter of reducing the price to that point for a day or a week, but in making that the effective ceiling even as the economy roars back to health.  That will require that we develop new sources of energy, and not just empty promises of “green energy.”  President Obama can mock “Drill baby, drill” if he likes, but the truth is that developing domestic oil resources is critical to getting this economy moving in a sustained way.  In short, we can’t merely increase the temporary supply on a short term basis, but must increase it in a structural sense: We need more wells, we need more oil-fields in production, and we need to develop other alternatives simultaneously.

This flies in the face of what leftists want and believe.  They believe the ultimate goal should be to reduce consumption, but the only way to do this without eliminating people is to substantially reduce their standard of living.  In short, their plans demand we return to a pre-industrial state where most people do not consume much energy.  Wave goodbye to your electronics, your hobbies, and your lifestyles if these lunatics get their way.  There’s no way to have what they seem to promise, and they know it. There is no rational way to grow or even sustain an economy while cutting the use of energy in any dramatic fashion.  Can efficiencies be found?  Absolutely!  Can they be created by dictate or order?  Absolutely not!

This is the difference in the position between Barack Obama and somebody like Newt Gingrich who actually recognizes that wishes are not the same as facts, and that nature is not to be cheated.  You cannot build a modern, technologically advanced culture with prosperous people and a growth-based ethos when governmental policies are mandating a reduction of energy consumption.  Nature doesn’t respond to arbitrary wishes, and yet that is the stance of the leftist, who thinks a government mandate can overwhelm the forces of nature and the rules of physics.  The disparity in the two positions demonstrates their relative fitness to the presidency, and by no measure is Obama suitable to his office.  Whether Gingrich is qualified remains a question to be answered, but on the matter of his understanding of the critical importance of energy, it’s clear he passes the test. We can have inexpensive fuel again, but it will require a comprehensive effort by the President and Congress to remove obstructions to the growth of the energy sector that is so vital to our future.

About Obama’s Travel Costs…

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Travel In Style!

There are those who insist that we need the dollars and cents to fully grasp what this President’s jet-setting ways are costing us, and how much he’s putting on our national tab as he flies here and there.  We won’t know the full extent of the costs, but we can begin to get an idea when we consider only the hourly operational costs of Air Force One, the President’s own plane.  The cost per hour to operate the VC-25(a modified Boeing 747 airframe) is $179,750.00 according to ABC News, and while they admit that this doesn’t include the crew, since they’re military and would be paid in any case, it doesn’t even speak to the advance teams of Secret Service, the cargo planes that haul the presidential limousines, or any of the other costs.  In a short trip to Florida, the cost exceeded $674,000 just for Air Force One.

In this time of crushing deficits, and economic hardships, it’s hard to understand how he justifies this as he’s using the plane as his primary transportation for campaign fund-raising.  Has this guy ever heard of a teleconference?  We can do those things now, you know.

Is Iran a “Rational Actor?”

Friday, February 24th, 2012

"Rational Actor?"

When you see that even scientists have become so irrational, you know you’re not dealing with an ordinary regime, or rational actors who can be counted upon to follow norms of behavior as we perceive them to be in the West.  The Israeli National News is reporting that the Iranian nuclear scientist who was assassinated in Tehran in January was very  much concerned with and focused on the annihilation of Israel, according to his widow.  Whether she was prompted into this statement by the Ahmedinejad government, or whether she volunteered the information on her own, this speaks to the plainly irrational desires of that regime. There are those who suggest that there’s no proof Iran is an irrational actor, but I think that flies in the face of more than thirty years of evidence to the contrary.

Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and they continue to back operations by Hezbollah along with others throughout the Middle East.  More, their current dictator and his theocratic overseers are so-called “Twelvers” who believe in the 12th Imam and a theology that specifies the end of their “oppression.”  These are people who have beliefs more irrational than the worst cultists you’ve ever known in the West, and yet there are those who think we can somehow negotiate in good faith with them.  Worst of all, their leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, professes a devout belief in this theology, and says that the oppressors are the “Great Satan” (the US) and the “Lesser Satan” (Israel.)

For those who suggest we can deal with such thinking, I’d remind them that nobody took Hitler and his occult beliefs and practices seriously outside of Germany until it was much too late.  I wonder if these same critics would contend that Hitler had been a “rational actor.”   The Iranian dictator is a maniac, and to pretend he’s less dangerous than he is would be to subject this country to unnecessary risks and a threat of serious harm.  This guy is no more rational than David Koresh, but Koresh had a few rifles, and for that Janet Reno laid siege to his Mt. Carmel compound.  This mad-man is seeking nuclear weapons, and has already tried to carry out political assassinations in the US.  By what standard can anybody conclude he is rational?

GrizzlyFest Winter Session Live

Friday, February 24th, 2012

On Saturday, the 25th of February at 1pm EST, 10am PST, GrizzlyFest’s winter session will kick off on several websites, including this one!  There will be a link at the top of the MarkAmerica.com homepage, and you will be able to tune in right here for the event. Here’s the schedule:


Part 1: The Watchdogs

Sarah Nuckles, transportation commissioner who blew whistle on $344 million vote-buying scam in So. Carolina
Adam Andrzejewski, founder of For The Good Of Illinois, a watchdog group putting government checkbooks online.


Part 2: Crony Capitalism 101

Peter Schweizer, Stanford fellow, author of Throw Them All Out
Luigi Zingales, Univ. of Chicago professor and co-author Saving Capitalism From the Capitalists


Part 3: Sudden and Relentless Reform

Rebecca Kleefisch, Lt. Gov. of Wisconsin, facing recall election for challenging public sector unions
Scott Beason, Alabama state senator, challenging 10-term incumbent Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus


Plus: On-the-Ground Update from American Grizzlies United & Thomas Schmitz

Join your friends in the Palin Movement to hunt for real reformers!

Learn more about our Grizzly Fest Guests here.

 

Occupy Wall Street’s Newest Member: Mitt Romney (Video)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Mitt Occupies Arizona

This is absurd and ridiculous.  Here we have candidate Mitt Romney doing his best Barack Obama imitation, but Ron Paul won’t take the slightest swipe at him in a debate?  I’m sorry, but this sort of class-warfare rhetoric has no business in a Republican nomination fight, and to hear this from the mouth of Romney tells me all I really need to know.  He doesn’t want the 1% to get the same charitable deductions and home mortgage deductions as “middle-class” Americans?  I have a question for Governor Romney, who is unwilling to make the logical or moral argument for keeping one’s wealth:

Why not, Mitt?  Why are you ashamed of your wealth?  Why are you afraid to claim a right to your property and wealth?  Why does greater wealth imply a lesser claim to it?  This is bizarre and absurd, and it’s another reason the Republican party should never nominate this self-defeating fool. He’s already ceding the argument to Barack Obama. If he’s willing to go this far now, what will he do if he gets the nomination?  Grovel?  Will he openly apologize for his personal fortune?  Will he apologize for the fortunes of others?  This man doesn’t deserve to keep his own wealth, because he doesn’t know how to logically defend it against jackals.

H/T RightScoop:

This is despicable.  Mitt Romney should be ashamed.

 

Many Notice the Paul-Romney Tag-Team

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Santorum Sandwich

It’s not surprising to me that while the Washington Post inadvertently proves my point about the Santorum double team carried out by Paul and Romney in Wednesday night’s debate, they fail to understand that Santorum represents one leg of the conservative stool, as the media celebrates Paul and Romney attacking a leg on which Santorum is not really resting.  First of all, let us be clear that Ron Paul is not conservative.  He’s libertarian.  Second, let us be likewise clear that Romney is a liberal masquerading as a moderate.  For Paul to attack Santorum from the right is no surprise, at least on economic and liberty grounds, but for Romney to join in is a bit like being attacked by Barack Obama for being too liberal.  There’s something annoying about an attack from Romney on earmarks, as he’s lobbied for them in his own gubernatorial career.  It’s an inconsistent attack demonstrating Romney’s desperation that shows how willing he is to recalibrate himself to situational demands.

More, the double-team(and this gives that term new meaning) clearly demonstrates that Santorum was the victim of a set-up Wednesday night.  The questions were scripted, the audience was stacked, and Paul and Romney carried out their hit.  The thing many people are missing, including the Washington Post, is that in truth, Santorum actually managed to bear up well.

One of t he things people claim is that they want politicians to tell them the truth.  I think that’s a bunch of aimless happy talk, because when they do, they are frequently crucified for it. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, what Santorum said on Wednesday night about politics being a “team sport” is true: You simply can’t get legislation through if you’re a perfect purist.  Witness Ron Paul.  His legislative agenda witnesses few actual successes, but it’s easy to be uncompromising in this context if all one is really doing is making a political statement with no actual intention of implementing one’s ideas.

Of course, some compromises aren’t really that at all, but are instead complete surrenders. Knowing the difference between real compromise and surrender is important to succeed in a legislative branch that consists of 536 voting members(when the Vice President presides over the Senate.)   When Santorum admitted that while serving as Senate Republican Conference Chair, he had to push bills he didn’t necessarily like, that’s true, I’m certain.  The problem is, most Americans don’t know that position exists, or what its holder does, if they’re familiar with the term at all.

This is a year when such nuances may not matter to voters.  Instead, many seem caught up in the huff-and-puff of the media memes of the day, as they come and go. Details don’t matter, and I think this is what Romney’s banking on. As I concluded some time ago, this whole primary season seems to be a scripted affair, as one after another of the alternatives to Romney have been pushed hard, obtained front-runner status briefly, and been ditched with a clearly coordinated effort to keep Romney out front.  Go back to the beginning, and look at the charts.

Bachmann went up, won the straw poll, and was chopped up by Perry’s entrance as she was portrayed as a wide-eyed loon with simple picture selection in the media. Combined with a few gaffes on her part, she was quickly eclipsed.  Perry rose, and became front-runner, and stayed there until an “oops” moment in a debate that added to his previous weak debate performances, and soon he too was on his way down.  Then we had the rise of Herman Cain, and right on cue, as he had attained the top of the polls, here came the stories claiming he was guilty of this, that, and the other. Down he went, and then along came Gingrich.

In Iowa, Paul, Santorum and Romney all hammered on Gingrich, and this sent him downward, but the problem is that Newt wouldn’t stay down, so they hammered on him a bit more, Drudge going nuclear, and Rick Santorum wound up the beneficiary.  Today, Santorum should realize what has been done as they are now doing to him what they did to Gingrich, and Cain, and Perry, and Bachmann, and anybody else who rises to challenge Romney.  The most disappointing part to me is how willing conservative voters have been to be driven along in this way.

It’s bad enough that it’s been plain for some time how this is being managed, but when I see Santorum and Gingrich getting sucked into this, I think they’re both missing the point.  They’re both being picked off, one at a time, but rather than put their heads together to cut off the head of the snake, they spent too much time going after one another.  Finally, I think the two of them are beginning to realize it, and if Santorum didn’t see this last night, he never will. If he’s smart, he will try to form a strategic alliance with Gingrich much as Paul has done with Romney.  This is what Gingrich began to do before he was ambushed in late January, when he brought along Cain and Perry in support of his candidacy.

If Romney and Paul can get together for their own nefarious reasons, it might be time for Gingrich and Santorum to consider the same. I think it’s fair to suggest that a strategic alliance aiming at the elimination of Romney is a good idea, but the only way they’re going to do that is to begin exposing Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney likes to talk about his time in the private sector, and his management of the Olympics, but he avoids talking about his record as governor, except to tell us he managed to balance his state’s budget four years in a row.  What he doesn’t advertise is the fact that it is required under law.  Santorum made that point in Wednesday night’s debate, but I think the significance is lost on some people.

Will Romney ever face the sort of examination the others have undergone?  It’s looking unlikely, as the media is saving all its best dirt for the general election.  Bank on it. I Paul and Romney succeed in making this a two man show, Romney will win the nomination, and Paul will be able to exact some sort of promise for his role.  I think it’s fair to say that if Gingrich and Santorum don’t wake up to this reality, they’re in big trouble. While most clear-thinking Americans have noted the apparent Paul-Romney tag-team, the two people who most need to notice it and work against it have not: Gingrich and Santorum must start to think about how to coordinate a bit. Knock out Romney, and it’s a new ball-game.

The Influence of Cultural Conservatives in 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Bully Puplit?

One of the more annoying themes to begin in earnest during the rise of Rick Santorum has been the idea that cultural or religious conservatives should shut up and go hide in the big tent’s closet.  For those of who think of themselves as moderates, and may look with disdain on cultural conservatives, I have a message from the back, and moderates just might want to pay attention:  The Republicans did not win in 2008 without cultural conservatives, and if you want to know who stayed home, making it more critical than ever that McCain capture more moderates and independents, let me give you just a hint:   It was the cultural conservatives who moderates don’t like, but without them, Republicans cannot win the Presidency.  More than just pat them on their heads, and placating them before banishing them to the periphery of the so-called “big tent,” moderates had better learn to speak to their issues, and show that they mean it. These cultural conservatives won’t always know the nuances of every piece of regulation ever written, but they know who’s who when it comes to their issues, so before dismissing them, moderates might wish to think again, because cultural conservatives are losing patience.

It’s not that they’re what moderates tell themselves are a bunch of back-woods Bible-thumpers, but then again, the centrist wing of the party doesn’t understand them mostly because they refuse to engage them.  Some moderates may be suffering from a problem of narrow-mindedness that is almost as severe as some liberals.  You see, cultural conservatives are people who believe that one’s actions, and one’s life should be consistent with one’s beliefs.  This does not mean they’re holier-than-thou, but it does mean that by conscious choice, they try very hard to be devout.  They are not infallible, and they know none are, but at the same time, they recognize that one cannot lead a virtuous life without choosing to follow through on their ideas about what is virtue.  In short, they work very hard at living their lives in a manner consistent with their firmly-held beliefs.

I’d like to put this in context for some moderates who don’t quite see it this way, and who don’t understand how anybody can get so anxious over cultural issues like abortion.  The best way to do this is to create an analog that permits one to see it as through their eyes, and to do this will necessarily require that we propose something as shockingly depraved to moderates as the issue of legalized abortion is to cultural conservatives.  Let us imagine that a movement arose to repeal the prohibition on slavery, now enshrined in the Thirteenth Amendment.  You wouldn’t stand by for that, and you’d rightly raise Hell over it.

For many cultural conservatives, each day that abortion is permitted under law is a day of life in Hell on Earth, writ large by the silence in which it takes place.  When they see a woman walking toward that clinic, they see a crime against humanity every bit as severe and morally depraved.  Understand that I’m not trying to change your mind about the issue, but instead, I’m merely suggesting that you consider the impact. How would you feel as you watched your country return to slavery?  To people of faith, who believe each human life has unique, inherent value, what legal abortion permits is every bit as obnoxious to liberty and justice, and the rights of people.

It has been stated that strong cultural conservatives cannot win the election, but let me state to the knowing of the world:  This is a dastardly lie.  Ronald Reagan was unabashedly pro-life.  Both George the elder and the younger claimed to be pro-life.  It is fair to say that without this position, there is a fair chance that the younger would have lost in Florida, and thus the election of 2000.  Moderates can pretend to themselves that the cause for a significant vote against Republicans originate with cultural issues, but none of the available evidence really supports that.  Yes, there are a few at the margins of the moderate middle who can be swayed a little either way, but in most elections, this is not the driving issue, and you must understand that for any competent candidate, this will not be the most important set of issues in 2012.

Cultural conservatives don’t expect moderates to lead with cultural issues as their standard, but they do expect that when a Republican president arrives in office, at each opportunity to replace a federal judge, it will be one who views such matters in the context of a strict constructionist.   As I see it, it’s not too much to ask, and if you happen to be a particular fan of that ludicrous ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade, you have other issues, because even if you believe abortion should be legal, Roe v. Wade was the most convoluted, concocted and moronic ruling to issue forth from the court in the 20th century, with only the Kelo decision challenging its blatant idiocy in the 21st.

Moderates who favor abortion have another choice, but they’re playing a game.  The game is that they support it, but are unwilling to go through the constitutional amendment process.  Why?  For the same reason people fear to ever run the New Deal and Great Society programs through a similar constitutional process:  They wouldn’t pass.  The feminists know it, based on the Equal Rights Amendment, that was eventually doomed by its failure to pass muster before its expiration.

My intention here was not to get into the weeds on any particular issue, and I have discussed abortion particularly since that is the cultural issue most reference.  What it is my intention to point out is that moderates who are so consistently uncomfortable with cultural conservatives had better get over it, because the conservatives have been putting up with the moderates patiently in election after election, for the most part, but if the moderates hope to overcome the voters who now begin to outnumber them as beneficiaries of the welfare state, they had better grasp that now more than ever, they need a working coalition with cultural conservatives, and the same old pat on the head may well not be enough any longer.

Obama Makes Appeal on the Basis of Race

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Cynical Appeal

This should be a Saturday Night Live skit.  Here we have the President of the United States making a purely race-based appeal to African-Americans in support of his campaign.  The whole notion of identity politics is bad enough, but to see that he’s actually launched this in order to support his campaign speaks to a sort of twisted sickness that is the root of our national problem:  This video is divisive by virtue of its very existence.  The sad part is that with a liberal media backing him, nobody will question this.  I can’t believe the United States has fallen to the point where somebody like Barack Obama can make this sort of appeal and nobody will even remark on the underlying sick nature of his proposition.  African-Americans should vote for him because he’s African-American.  That’s the message. Watch:

Wednesday’s Arizona Debate and Why Mitt Romney Lost

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

CNN Debate: The Last Round-up?

The whole debate was set up as a “get-Rick” affair.  Gingrich shined and seemed to return to pre-Florida form, and Romney seemed to fall back to the same place despite an audience reportedly stacked in his favor[again.]  Santorum was honest about his failings in most respects, and one might even say he was a bit pragmatic.  Romney pressed an idiotic argument about earmarks after admitting that while he headed up the Olympics, or serving as Governor, he actually sought them out.  It’s an impossibly self-contradictory argument to suggest earmarks are bad while going to the federal government to ask for them, but Romney did worse than that.

When John King asked interrupted Romney to repeat the actual focus of the question, Romney said he would answer as he damned well pleased, though in other words. The question that had been asked was what misconception the candidate would most like to correct.  Romney began giving his generic, flowery stump speech, and he received a few boos from the audience in response.  The problem is this:  Romney could have taken the opportunity to say “Many people think I’m not conservative enough, but that’s not true because…” but he didn’t.  Why?  Simply, it would admit a negative about him everybody in the room knew all too well: He’s not conservative.

The other problem he had in this debate was the frequency with which he was a yes-man.  On a number of issues, he pointed to one or more of his opponents, and said effectively: “What he said.”  He would use his time to more or less restate the positions of his opponents with whom he agreed, but he offered very little new or in any way unique in his expressions of general agreement.  I kept wondering:  “Well, if you agree with these guys, why do we need you?”  In this sense, Romney did nothing to differentiate himself from the other two, which is the problem many expect in the general if he gets the nomination.  He’s simply too willing to agree, and he has nothing to offer that places his own signature on any issue.

In contrast, Santorum was hammered at every opportunity, by Romney and Paul.  Gingrich, who served in Congress, knew full well the truth of Santorum’s argument about what it sometimes takes to get a thing done in Congress, and there are some political realities with which one must contend.  You often will not get the things you want, and you may have to swallow some bitter pills to see your priorities enacted.  This is why legislative processes are often compared to the making of sausage:  It isn’t pretty to watch.  Nevertheless, Santorum took the brunt a few times, despite the fact that it was undeserved.

Ron Paul needs to go home.  After what I learned earlier in the evening about his betrayals, and how he’s clearly helping Mitt Romney, it’s time for Paul to go home.  He won’t, but he should.  He played Romney’s attack dog on Santorum throughout the debate, and it was so obvious that I waited for him to break out a Romney campaign pin.  It was shameful.  I’m surprised Santorum held his cool so well as he did.

Romney lost the debate, whether the voters watching from home noticed or not, and it was sickening to see him rely on Paul for the Santorum double-team.  His unwillingness to engage with his own answers, or offer anything unique to them should give you a sense of what sort of miserable President he would make, and when he had an opportunity to correct misconceptions about him, rather than exploiting it, he gave a stump speech.  You think this guy can beat Obama?

Ron Paul Won’t Touch Romney in Debate – Now We Know Why

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Like Father Like Son?

It’s all coming down to this:  Ron Paul is staying in this race in order to assist Romney, because he wants his son to be on the Presidential ticket with Mitt Romney.  As he travels around stumping on the basis of his limited government position, all he’s really angling for his to get his son on the ticket with the most liberal candidate in this race.   I wonder if the people who are supporting Ron Paul know this, because if not, they’re in for a big surprise.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  Talk about opposites:  Ron Paul wants Mitt Romney because he’s considering his son for the VP slot, but the problem is that the only way he can do that is to defeat Rick Santorum, and in tonight’s debate on CNN, the elder Paul had every chance to criticize Romney, but he didn’t, and instead spent his time hammering Santorum.  This is not a coincidence, as the article linked about makes plain.

I like many of the things Ron Paul stands for in the domestic arena, but the problem is that I now know he’s a shill candidate, and it’s been increasingly clear for some time.  This is a sell-out of the first order because irrespective of whether the younger Paul is on the ticket, the problem remains:  Romney can’t win, but even if he did, Rand Paul will be nearly powerless to effect policy changes, and virtually none of Ron Paul’s positions will be adopted.  If Ron Paul’s supporters are willing to stand for that, frankly, I don’t know what to make of them any longer.  Romney’s presidency would be the antithesis of everything Ron Paul has advocated.

At the conclusion of the debate on CNN, Anderson Cooper came on as the stage emptied of the candidates, and I watched with interest as Mitt Romney got up and directly went to shake Ron Paul’s hand and exchange a few words with him.  He should have kissed his backside instead, as Paul never failed to attack Rick Santorum throughout.

Now that I better understand Ron Paul’s actual agenda, it’s easier to walk away from him. He may be willing to settle for a campaign that ends with getting his Senator son on the Mitt Romney ticket, but I certainly am not.  This is why people become so frustrated with politics:  Politicians sell them out while soliciting their donations, and broker behind-the-scenes deals for the sake of personal expedience.  Unreal.

Governor Palin on Hannity: “A Boiled Egg is Hard to Beat” – Video

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Sarah Palin: Steal Sharpening Steal

Governor Palin appeared on Hannity on FoxNews on Tuesday evening, explaining why she thinks this process of vetting is far from over.  Hannity asked her a number of pointed questions, on a variety of topic revolving around the primary season, including whether the process should end soon, since it seems they’re damaging one another more than the President.  She answered with a play on words:

“A boiled egg is hard to beat.”

Asked about the possibility of a brokered convention, she made it perfectly clear as to whether she thought she would have any role in it when Hannity asked about her willingness to step forward:

 

“The establishment will never come to me, I know that for a fact.”

They discussed the attacks coming at Rick Santorum, and went on to explain that people should stand with Santorum on the question of good and evil in this world.  More, she stressed the very topic she’s discussed before, and I have explained at length in these pages about the direct link between our economy and the availability of energy resources, and how the lack of the latter throttles the former.  You can watch the video here:

 

Who Died and Left Trump King?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

What Does He Feed It?

I’m tired of this guy.  Every time you turn around, he launches the next act in his circus, and frankly, it doesn’t impress me.  Now Donald Trump comes along to tell us that if Santorum is the nominee, he will consider running.  I don’t care if he does run.  Here comes this un-serious huckster  to tell us who the Republicans should nominate?  Thank you, but I don’t think I’ll be taking any political pointers from Donald Trump.  First he was in. Then he was out.  Then he was considering it again. Then he endorsed Romney, and I’m sure I missed two or three other changes of his mind along the line somewhere.  I know there are those who say this guy is just great, but I don’t see any evidence of it.  His fortune is immaterial to running the country, and his opinions on issues simply don’t impress me.

Trump talks in tough terms about China, but the problem is that China isn’t nearly our biggest economic concern.  It’s easy to create a bogeyman upon whom you can heap all the blame for your troubles, but it’s a much more difficult chore to address structural problems in our own country created by runaway government spending, particularly when the bulk of that spending is on various forms of hand-outs to the electorate to whom you must appeal.  More, what Trumps seems to propose is an aggressive approach to the trade deficit that could provoke a trade war.  In essence, what we have in Trump is a politically and socially liberal wealthy businessman who wants to interfere with trade.  Can I interest you in Herbert Hoover, because minus the bad hairpieces and the TV show, it’s the same profile.

I know there are many who really like Donald Trump, but I’ve examined some of his business dealings, and his reliance on the state to condemn land and other manifestations of eminent domain to develop his properties, and I find him unacceptable.  Add to this the fact that he’s little more than a sloganeer, and just ahead of a carnival barker, and I simply cannot take him seriously, but my fear is that with the state of the field on the GOP side, he might get far more traction than he deserves.  The fact that he now speaks of short-circuiting the process now that it looks as though his boy Romney won’t have such an easy path to the nomination speaks to the sort of intellectual dishonesty of which this man is capable.

Love him or hate him, it seems “The Donald” is going to stick around at least long enough to truly muck things up, and like many, I’ve long since concluded that he’s merely pulling for Barack Obama but disguising it all the way.  I don’t trust him, or anybody he endorses, and I don’t think he knows the first thing about our constitution, or governing.  I do think that the Donald and Chris Christie would make an excellent ticket for the Blowhard party, although it’s difficult to say who would produce the most wind.  Stay home Donald.  You have nothing to offer serious voters. Nothing.  His meddling in this process is nothing but an obstruction to an honest contest.  Small wonder he endorsed Mitt Romney.

Re-Run Romney

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Plateau: This High But No Higher

It seems as though everybody but Mitt Romney and maybe Karl Rove have noticed that Romney is now simply an obstruction to this process.  Here’s the dynamic, and it’s the thing you must understand about this nomination race:  It’s Mitt Romney versus a coalition of people who think he’s awful.  The majority of the party has been leaping from front-runner to front-runner to avoid Mitt Romney, and there’s good reason for it:  He’s not a conservative.  Conservatives  know what the GOP insiders seem not to have noticed:  We won’t defeat Barack Obama in 2012 with a warmed over 2008 re-run who will be unable to contrast himself with Barack Obama in any credible way.  Let me put it another way:  I know there is an element in the Republican party who thinks this guy can win, but the truth is that he can’t, and I can give you several very conclusive, take-it-to-the-bank reasons he will never be the President of the United States.

He has a history of governing as a liberal.  You need only examine his record in Massachusetts to understand that Mitt Romney is not going to motivate voters in battleground states.  Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will go for Obama in a big way because Mitt doesn’t do anything to get out the critical vote of the conservative base in those states, and without them, he’s toast.  He can’t win because he’s rightly seen as a squish, and a malleable Massachusetts liberal, and when people look at him, they think: “John Kerry.”  He’s a wealthy white liberal from a liberal state, and that’s an appeal that simply won’t fly with mainstream conservatives.  Sure, he’ll pull in the desperate anti-Obama vote, but he won’t pull hard enough at the margins, and when those about the middle compare him with Obama, and having voted for Obama once, they aren’t apt to change their loyalties at this late date for somebody they will see as Obama, but without the personality.

He will not do well in the South.  He may pull a large number of votes from those who detest Barack Obama, but he will not energize the conservative Christian base of the so-called “Bible Belt” to ensure victory.  If he can’t win in the South, he may well not win anywhere save Utah, where his religious affiliation will play an undeniable role with the overwhelming power of the Mormon Church in that state.  Basically, you can replay McCain in 2008, and strip away some of the states in the South that will under-perform for Romney in a way that will make McCain’s loss look like a near victory.  There is a certain element of distrust among some Christians about his Mormon religion, but that’s really secondary to their concerns about his long record of flip-flopping on issues of cultural import.  Most Christians in the South will go vote for him out of  a sense of patriotic duty, but the margins by which they will remain home is likely to promise not only a Romney loss, but a potential to lose the House as well if too many stay home.

Mitt Romney has no color or personality.  He’s flat in his delivery, and plastic in his verbiage.  He avoids “red meat” that is the stuff of firing up one’s base, and it is this critical problem that makes it inevitable that the base that already doubts his ability will tend to say to themselves come November 6th: “Why bother?”  He’s going to be dependent upon others on the down-ballot to get people to the polls, because his dispassionate manner sells like ice-cubes in Anchorage in January.  It’s also not likely that he will be able to gather much steam from his VP selection.  He may well make the cynical play by trying get Marco Rubio to join his ticket, but honestly, I don’t see that coming out well, in the long run, for Marco Rubio.

Romney is too cautious.  It’s part of the reason he comes across as bland, but one doesn’t need to take giant risks to stoke one’s electorate at least a little.  If this guy couldn’t bus in people to support him at events, as he has done a few times already, he’d be talking to mostly empty rooms.  He has the star power of a candle in a thick fog, and he has no imagination, at least none I can discern, and listening to one of his presentations is like going to the annually required equal opportunity briefing most companies hold in some form.  You’ve heard it all before.  You heard it last year.  And the year before.  And four years ago. And before that.  He’s like a bad television re-run that goes on an on, over and over, like the ten thousandth airing of Star Trek, the Next Generation.  You don’t hate it.  It’s better than everything else on at the moment, since you’re stuck here, but you know all the lines, and you know already how the story comes out.

Mitt Romney is a re-run, and to the extent that he is, he’s old hat, and there’s no chance whatsoever that the American people are going to replace a cultural icon, Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, with this boring, straight-laced, risk-averse man.  I think it was Tammy Bruce who I first heard put this in context, and at the time, it was part of the reason she saw Sarah Palin as the answer to the riddle on how to defeat a cultural icon.  You need another cultural icon, but unless you liken Romney to Gordon Gecko, which is exactly what the Democrats will do, there’s not one chance in a billion that Romney will ever attain that status.  Without that, and with no personality, he’s doomed, and with him, perhaps our entire nation, as Barack Obama’s wrecking crew only accelerates after a re-election.

Embrace it, and understand that what Gingrich has said on the subject is true:  Mitt Romney should consider getting out, particularly if he cannot win in Michigan.  It’s close, of course, but in truth, it should be a Romney blow-out, and that’s the one thing that it will not be.  Now, it turns out that one of his co-chairs in that state is caught in a scandal involving an  FBI probe.  This won’t help after one of his supporters in Arizona has been caught in an unrelated scandal, and with all this piling up, it’s not looking so inevitable for the Mittster just now.  Mitt won’t win in November, which is why we should make every effort to avoid nominating him.  He’s not up to the task, and frankly, we don’t need another re-run to know how this will come out.

“Re-Run Romney.”  He’s no better the second time around.