Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making sport while a foe can

By Wesley Pruden

Writing the obituary of a mortal enemy is cheap fun, but only the foolish man indulges such fantasy. He who laughs loudest rarely laughs last. This is a needed caution for some of our European friends who are eager to write us off before bad news turns good again.

Igor Panarin is an amusing professor and political "analyst" at something called the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he thinks America is doomed, exhausted, and about to go the way of Atlantis, or at least France. Some of his colleagues take him seriously.

"The American economy is already collapsing," he writes in the Moscow newspaper Izvestia. "Due to the financial crisis three of the largest and oldest banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

Here’s the rest of Pruden’s column

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Obama’s Arrogance is Troubling

As he puts together his administration in the days following the election, President-Elect Barack Obama’s political opponents have commented on his choices, which is normal and expected. Perhaps the commentary is harsher and more finely focused than many think it ought to be, and if that is so, perhaps it is because Mr. Obama’s flamboyant style and enormous ego have made him a vastly more tempting target than usual.

That Barack Obama has a high opinion of himself is neither a secret nor particularly unusual; politicians are most often ego-maniacs to some degree. But Sen. Obama takes the cake; he has taken the art of ego to an entirely new level.

A list of evidentiary items supports this position, among which are:

**He called his campaign plane “O Force One”

**He created a faux Great Seal with his name on it

**He took a “world tour” normally reserved for sitting presidents, and before he had actually accomplished anything other than declaring his candidacy

**Though he hasn’t been sworn in, or even officially elected yet, he has already created a more government—the Office of the President-Elect

All of the foregoing belies that Mr. Obama was so cock-sure of his eventual election to the highest office in the land—or was it that he was entitled to it?—that he took on the trappings of the office even before he won his party’s nomination.

His “soaring rhetoric” during the campaign suggested that merely being elected would represent a moment of the grandest, most transformative kind. When he actually accomplished something, winning the Democrat nomination, Sen. Ego spent a small fortune to recreate the Acropolis at Mile High Stadium, because accepting the Democrat Party nomination in the modest confines of the Pepsi Center, as the mere mortals who preceded him, was not nearly grand enough.

And then he declared it a great turning point in history: “Generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment.” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” he bragged (the use of the royal “we” did not go unnoticed).

In his mind he has already achieved success as president by merely running for office, by winning the nomination, and winning the election. Don’t trouble The One with unimportant details such as what he will do in his four or eight years to benefit America.

What Barack Obama does not seem to understand is that giving a speech before the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn not just by being a black man running for president, but by being a president with who has accomplished something more than being elected.

During the campaign objective observers found themselves wondering just who is Barack Obama? But that question has been replaced with a more important one: Who does Barack Obama think he is?

Clearly, he is possessed by an ego-centrism that is as transcendent as Mr. Obama thinks he is, and that should truly be of concern.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amazing "Pilobolus"

This is a very neat video, Pilobolus appearing on Conan O'Brien.

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Mr. Jefferson would be appalled at the size and scope of today’s government

When the Founders of our great nation put their lives on the line to escape the oppressive rule of the British Crown, they had in mind a government large enough to provide only basic services to the people who empowered it, a revolutionary concept for the mid-18th century.

They would be shocked at what has happened to their ideals and to the historic system they designed over the intervening 232 years.

Thomas Jefferson’s own words tell us the story:

"With all [our] blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens--a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801.

"[Some] seem to think that [civilization's] advance has brought on too complicated a state of society, and that we should gain in happiness by treading back our steps a little way. I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it." --Thomas Jefferson to William Ludlow, 1824.

"Government as well as religion has furnished its schisms, its persecutions, and its devices for fattening idleness on the earnings of the people." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Clay, 1815.

"When we consider that this government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these States; that the States themselves have principal care of our persons, our property and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801.

"It is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:122

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821.

"I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the people." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787.

"A... chief [executive] strictly limited, the right of war vested in the legislative body, a rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

"A noiseless course, not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1802.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weekly Published Column - United States energy policy remains a critical economic issue

Even though our attention for the last couple of months has been focused on the banking and auto industry crises, U.S. energy policy still looms as a critical issue.

Everybody except the Democrats in Congress understands that while we are trying to develop a sensible and effective energy policy, we have to avail ourselves of domestic supplies of oil and natural gas and get the United States out from under dependence upon foreign supplies controlled by OPEC.

Congressional Democrats have steadfastly refused to do the sensible thing, which is opening the offshore areas to drilling now and getting the development of the substantial oil and natural gas resources that belong to the U.S. underway.

In contrast to the Congressional leaderships’ previous position is a statement from Maryland 5th district Congressman Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, who told the Washington Times that his party will not push to reinstate a ban on offshore oil and natural gas drilling next year.

“I don’t think there is any intent at this point in time ... to return to the same position we where in” before the ban was lifted, Mr. Hoyer said. That’s a different position than enunciated as recently as September when the ban was lifted, at which time Congressional Democrats said they would work with the new administration to reinstate the ban after the new Congress convenes in January.

The American Petroleum Institute supports Congressman Hoyer’s position, saying that “the American public has made clear its strong support for increased access to untapped domestic oil and natural gas resources. At least two-thirds of Americans in recent exit polling said they supported offshore drilling.

Neither Congress nor the next administration should set unreasonable, arbitrary limits on leasing because such restrictions could remove some of the nation’s most promising oil and natural gas prospects for development, and the industry has proven it can develop these resources in an environmentally safe manner.”

The position Mr. Hoyer voiced is certainly a step in the right direction, but many details are left unaddressed, such as whether the Democrats will at long last let go of the obstructionist demand for oil and gas companies to drill first in the existing leased areas, where there is scant data indicating that oil or gas even exist, and also how near to coastal areas drilling will be allowed.

However, Mr. Hoyer also said that global warming is on the agenda in the near term which, combined with the fact that President-Elect Barack Obama unfortunately clings to a proposed cap-and-trade system, does not bode well for either economic recovery or a sensible energy policy.

Cap-and-trade measures work by setting a limit, or cap, on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. Businesses such as utilities and manufacturing companies that are able to emit less carbon dioxide than their cap could sell the excess emission levels to facilities that exceed their cap, which is the trade part of cap-and-trade. Those facilities that exceed their cap will suffer penalties. Over time, the cap would be lowered, requiring greater cuts in emissions.

Recent Congressional efforts to pass cap-and-trade legislation broke down because of concern over how much the program would cost, and which sectors of the economy would be most affected by it.

Mr. Obama recently said his presidency “will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process. That will start with a federal cap-and-trade system.”

Overall, the effect of a cap-and-trade system will be to impose rationing of coal, oil, and natural gas on the American economy, according to the Heritage Foundation, and given the position stated by Barack Obama and Joe Biden during the campaign, West Virginia’s coal industry will be negatively affected by the Obama energy policy.

Two factors are at work against the American people and their economy. First is a group of politicians in the U.S. Congress who believe that they know more about running businesses than those who actually run them. What results from these efforts to micro-manage business and the economy can be seen at its worst in the banking and auto industry crises.

Second is a headlong politically correct rush to reduce carbon emissions in the face of substantial credible studies that show doing so will make little if any difference in the global environment.

Reducing carbon emissions is a noble goal; as a matter of simple logic it makes sense to clean up manufacturing processes that produce pollution. However, what is noble is not always necessary or even sensible.

As time passes, evidence mounts that carbon emissions are not sufficient to bring about the end of life as we know it, as the environmental extremists keep screaming at us, and in fact is not even sufficient to warrant dramatic changes in the use of carbon fuels.

Environmentalism has taken on all the characteristics of a religion, and even has its fundamentalist, fanatical fringe which will do just about anything to turn people to its cause, even deliberately exaggerating the threat.

We cannot afford to be intimidated or conned into making foolish decisions about energy use.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Watching as America’s freedoms disappear

Thomas Jefferson once said that "the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." He could have been looking into a crystal ball focused on 21st century America.

He would have seen a government that has grown past what he and the others who worked so diligently to establish a nation dedicated to personal freedom to a degree that would have sickened him.

He would have seen a government with its dirty fingers jammed deeply in the pockets of the citizens it was established to serve, taking their money and using it to the benefit of other citizens, and which has grown so far beyond its intended limits that it controls how children are educated and how businesses operate, and has created a sub-class of citizens who have been taught to depend upon government for their very subsistence.

Another thoughtful American president, John F. Kennedy, noted before his life was cut short by an assassin that "every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people."

Why is it that so many Americans do not recognize what was so clear to Jefferson more than 200 years ago and to Kennedy 40 years ago?

The government of the United States over the years has inserted itself into the business of business so far that it bears significant responsibility for the debacles of the mortgage banking industry and the Big Three automakers.

Trying to legislate home ownership for people who could not afford to own a home set the stage for the excesses of mortgage bank and GSO executives.

Siding with labor unions and through over-stringent OSHA standards, environmental laws and fuel efficiency standards, and high corporate taxes, the government put extreme pressures on the domestic auto industry.

And now we have elected a President who openly wants to “spread the wealth around,” and who in concert with a heavily Democrat-controlled Congress will seek to give tax breaks to 40 percent of Americans, increase taxes on businesses and the most productive Americans, impose additional restrictions on carbon-based fuel use, impose a government-run health system, and a long list of other horrors that will give us even more government intervention in our daily lives than we already have.

Jefferson and Kennedy must be spinning in their graves, and wondering how much longer can the Great Nation survive?

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confusion on California College Campuses About the First Amendment

The following story posted on OneNewsNow raises eyebrows and curiosity about the quality of leadership at Yuba Community College District in Marysville, CA, and just how badly students may be misinformed by attending the school.

Court to decide whether campus evangelism a crime

The so-called "free-speech code" of Yuba Community College District is under federal court scrutiny.

California student, Ryan Dozier, decided to spend some time on campus sharing his faith and handing out tracts to fellow students, generating conversations about Christianity. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Heather Hacker comments on the situation.

"A campus police officer came over and told him that if he continued to do so without a permit that he would be possibly expelled or arrested, and so Ryan stopped immediately," she explains.

Hacker says Dozier thought the case was closed, but he was apparently mistaken. "Three weeks later he got a certified letter from the president of the college stating that his actions were the subject of a campus crime report," she adds. "Last time I checked, sharing your faith on a public college campus was not a crime."

But the letter informed him he could face expulsion if he shared his faith on campus again. ADF filed suit, and a federal judge has ordered the college to suspend enforcement of its highly restricted free speech policies until the lawsuit is resolved.

The President of Yuba Community College District is Mr. Paul V. Mendoza. Mr. Mendoza might ought to review what the United States Constitution says about freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For those who need a refresher, here’s the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Unless Yuba is not subject to the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Dozier has broken no legitimate law.

What part of the First Amendment do you not understand, Mr. Mendez?

And, what about the Federal Court? Can the judges there be confused on this issue?

It is California, after all.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

You Want Change? Try These Ideas

By Norma White

Each presidential candidate is giving his rendition of the changes he wants for America.

Here are a few that I believe all Americans want.

  • Limit Congress from serving more than two terms. That is all that presidents are allowed.

  • Stop Congress from voting for their own raises. How did that ever get started?

  • Stop paying for lawmakers' high-priced insurance premiums. After all, they are only part-time employees. They might pass some law changes on the insurance companies, if they had to find one.

  • Stop paying lawmakers their full salary after serving just one term, or at retirement. We need to get rid of that pension plan; they've let other companies get rid of theirs. You were lucky to get 40 to 50 percent of your salary after working somewhere for 35 years, but they get 100 percent.

  • Make Congress pay into the Social Security system. They make laws for it. If they spent some of their own money, they might be interested in making it solvent.

  • Stop handing out aid to illegal aliens. If we did, then Medicaid and the food stamp program would have enough money to aid the aged and the poor.

  • Secure our borders.

  • Stop allowing babies born to illegal aliens in the United States automatic U.S. citizenship.

  • Stop the abuse of our benevolent welfare system. We feed children free meals three times a day until they are 17. Churches give away good, clean clothes. Companies buy and donate school supplies. Emergency rooms provide health care at taxpayer expense and the food stamp program is buying food at home. What are parents doing for their children?

  • Have a computer program that cross checks Social Security numbers with fingerprints to stop fraud on many fronts. Use it on voter registration, too.

  • Stop bailing out mortgage companies and banks that give loans to people who cannot afford them.

  • Stop companies from paying CEOs and other executives outrageous salaries and bonuses while doing away with workers' pensions.

  • Stop all unnecessary spending so we will have the money for our nation's security, and to help needy and elderly Americans.

  • Stop permitting anyone to have a photo with their face covered on driver's licenses.

    Whoever wins the presidency will not be able to make these changes.

    Only members of Congress can do this, as they are the lawmakers.

    I don't believe Congress is interested in changing anything, do you?

    Norma White of Amarillo is a retired network engineer for Southwestern Bell.

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    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Obama Subject of Court Conference

    Justice Clarence Thomas has placed a discussion of Barack Obama's citizenship on the December 5th docket for conference, meaning a discussion of the merit of this particular case.

    A commenter at America's Right, who has been the leading source of excellent information on the various lawsuits, is requesting that we write directly to the Supreme Court:
    The Honorable Associate Justice
    Clarence Thomas
    United States Supreme Court
    One First St. N. E.
    Washington DC 20543

    Put docket # on Envelope 08-A407

    Ask him UPHOLD our Constitution with Full Disclosure as the only Constitutionally viable answer.
    One commenter said he/she was sending a copy of his letter to each of the nine Justices. Good idea!

    Here are some details just in from WorldNetDaily
    The Supreme Court's website listed the date for the case brought by Leo C. Donofrio against Nina Wells, the Secretary of State in New Jersey, over not only Obama's name on the 2008 election ballot but those of two others, Sen. John McCain and Roger Calero.

    The case, unsuccessful at the state level, had been submitted to Justice David Souter, who rejected it. The case then was resubmitted to Justice Clarence Thomas. The next line on the court's docket says: "DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 5, 2008."
    Jeff Schreiber at America's Right has followed this case closely. His post today reports:
    As for New Jersey firebrand and attorney Leo Donofrio, his application for an emergency stay was denied by Justice Souter, Donofrio was able to refile and resubmit it to the Justice of his choosing, and properly did so. Today, the docket for his action shows that after being put before Justice Clarence Thomas, the application will be discussed by the Court in a December 5, 2008 conference.

    Normally, during their term, the Supreme Court Justices conference on Wednesday (typically, but not always) and review the various petitions and applications before them, deciding which of the many such proceedings should be heard by the Court. I suspect that we could soon see a similar entry on the docket for Berg's case as well.

    Now, this does not mean that the Court has decided to hear either of these matters and, in fact, is fairly typical when it comes to the process. Still, for those hoping to have these cases heard on their merits, for those who feel these issues are more about the United States Constitution than Barack Obama, this is a step in the right direction.
    Please visit America's Right and WorldNetDaily for more.

    Source: Maggie's Notebook

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    Out-of-Touch CEOs Shoot Themselves in the Foot

    It should be obvious, even to the asleep-at-the-switch folks at the Big Three, that running a company that’s losing money hand-over-fist, planning to ask the taxpayers of the United States for help, and then flying their company’s expensive, plush private jet to Washington is, to be kind, not the smartest move.

    It wasn’t.

    "There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," New York Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman told CEOs Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee this week.

    The three auto companies told CNN that the CEOs' travel on expensive corporate jets was standard procedure, and all three have policies requiring their CEOs to travel in private jets for safety reasons. "While always being mindful of company costs, all business travel requires the highest standard of safety for all employees," Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish said in a statement. Not only is commercial air travel not safe enough for these guys, it is not expensive enough for their tastes, either.

    "They're coming to Washington to beg the taxpayers to help them. It's unseemly to be running around on a $20,000 flight versus a $500 round trip," commented Thomas Schatz, president of the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

    This display is an excellent demonstration of the attitude that has the Big Three in such a mess, a mess that will take a lot more than a multi-billion dollar loan to fix. U.S. automakers have not modified their business operations to fit the times, and their extravagant travel methods epitomize what’s wrong with the industry. But neither the CEOs nor the United Auto Workers seem willing to do what must be done: Declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    Contrary to what many believe, Chapter 11 doesn’t mean the companies are closing; they would continue to operate while they restructure, clean up their operation and get rid of excess expense.

    But restructuring means a likely change at the top, and Mulally, Nardelle and Wagoner have multi-million dollar contracts and cushy jobs they’d rather hold on to. Restructuring also likely means renegotiating the sweetheart deal the union has with the auto makers, and UAW president Ron Gettelfinger isn’t about to make concessions, even if it means running the Big Three into the ground.

    Fortunately, some members of Congress are intent on holding the auto makers responsible for their plight, and expecting something in return for some financial underpinning. Unfortunately, Congressional Democrat leaders don’t seem to be among them.

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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Democrat's Energy Philosophy Seems to be Improving

    Everybody except the Democrats in Congress seems to understand that while we are trying to develop a sensible and effective energy policy we have to avail ourselves of domestic supplies of oil and natural gas and get ourselves out from under the dependence upon foreign supplies under the control of OPEC. Congressional Democrats have steadfastly refused to do the smart thing, the sensible thing, the least expensive thing, which is to open the offshore areas to drilling now and get the process underway of developing the substantial oil and natural gas resources that belong to the U.S., as opposed to depending upon Arab nations, Mexico and Venezuela for so much of our oil.

    In contrast to the leaderships’ previous position is this from Maryland 5th district Congressman Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, who told the Washington Times that his party will not push to reinstate a ban on offshore oil and natural gas drilling next year.

    Mr. Hoyer said there will be serious discussion as to the "parameters" to which offshore drilling will be allowed, but Democrats will not try to back track after grudgingly giving in to Republican demands to allow the 26-year-ban to expire this fall.

    "I don't think there is any intent at this point in time ... to return to the same position we where in" before the ban was lifted, Mr. Hoyer said at the National Press Club in Washington last week. That’s a different position than enunciated when the ban was lifted in September, when Congressional Democrats said they would work with the new administration to reinstate the ban after the new Congress convenes in January.

    The American Petroleum Institute supports Congressman Hoyer’s position, saying, “The American public has made clear its strong support for increased access to untapped domestic oil and natural gas resources. At least two-thirds of Americans in recent exit polling said they supported offshore drilling. Neither Congress nor the next administration should set unreasonable, arbitrary limits on leasing because such restrictions could remove some of the nation’s most promising oil and natural gas prospects for development, and the industry has proven it can develop these resources in an environmentally safe manner.”

    This new position is certainly a step in the right direction, but many details are left unaddressed, such as whether the Democrats will at last let go of the demand to drill first in the existing leased areas, areas where there is almost no data indicating that oil or gas exists in those areas, and also how near to coastal areas drilling will be allowed.

    Then, there’s President-Elect Obama’s comment on cap-and-trade, which in these troubled economic times is even more harmful than otherwise.

    Only time will tell whether the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress will embrace a truly enlightened approach to the energy problem.

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Big Three Automakers Would Fair Much Better in a True Free Market

    Following the sub-prime mortgage banking crisis of a few weeks ago we are now confronted by a financial crisis that threatens the Big Three automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler. Detroit’s difficulties are somewhat the result of the business practices that have not changed with the times, outdated product lines, so-called “legacy costs” leftover from the golden age of the industry in the form of costly pension and health care plans for retired employees that contribute billions of dollars of expense, and other difficulties.

    Like the sub-prime crisis, however, the auto industry problems have been complicated by policies of the U.S. government. The industry, like all businesses, suffers from high costs of taxation. Taxing business raises prices to American consumers. Yet the tax-and-spenders in Congress cannot understand or will not admit that fact, and continue to maintain that corporations must pay taxes without caring that this makes it harder for their constituents to buy the things they want and need.

    In theory, businesses in a free market succeed or fail on their own merits. It is a simple equation: Auto makers make money by producing vehicles and selling them for more than the cost of producing them. When left to work without much interference, it works pretty well. But when the government gets its fingers too deeply into the business of business, as it invariably does, all manner of weird things can happen.

    The most significant factor in driving the Big Three to the brink of financial collapse, however, is the United Auto Workers union contract, which contains barriers to cutting costs and downsizing to profitability. Import autos put downward pressure on the price of domestic autos, while high wages, benefits and other elements of the UAW contract put upward pressure on the costs of production, and ultimately cause prices to be high and uncompetitive or, if prices are kept artificially low to be competitive, the companies are unprofitable.

    Unions are not universally bad, but some of their practices are reckless and wasteful. The UAW demands are a substantial obstacle for U.S. auto manufacturers that foreign companies do not have to deal with. The vast difference in labor costs between the Big Three’s expensive union workforce and lower-priced non-union workforces-about $25 per hour on average-means that U.S. automakers lose money on every vehicle produced in their northern union shops, while Toyota, Nissan and Honda make money on each vehicle manufactured in non-union southern shops.

    By holding labor strikes over the heads of auto companies, the UAW has managed to get them to agree to a monstrosity called a “jobs bank,” a surreal mechanism that pays nearly 15,000 workers to not work building cars while receiving wages and benefits that often reach $100,000 or more per worker per year. Many of these workers do volunteer jobs or go back to school, but the rest must clock time doing nothing at the workplace, and all of them collect a paycheck and waste their employer’s money. Every dollar wasted by the jobs bank adds to the cost of American made vehicles, making the Big Three uncompetitive or unprofitable, or both.

    How does the government figure into this idiocy, you may be wondering? Well, government policies favor labor in the labor/management relationship. Belonging to a labor union is a collective decision, rather than a personal decision. If you work in a place with 100 employees and 51 of them vote for union representation, in order to keep your job you must become a union member, even if you voted against the union and don’t want to join. And federal labor laws support this situation. Unions are now promoting so-called “card check” measures in both houses of Congress which would eliminate the sanctity of the secret ballot method of voting for or against union representation. More government meddling in “free market” business operations.

    There is strong opposition to the bailouts proposed by the federal government to correct these various economic crises, a major argument against which is that businesses should survive through smart decision making, not through government assistance. If bad business practices have put them where they are today, let them fail, or let them restructure, but government ought not to help them correct these problems.

    This view is grossly hypocritical: It takes the position that government must be neutral when the Big Three automakers are in trouble, but ignores government’s role in making it so much more difficult for them to succeed.

    Government bears more than a little responsibility for the problems the automakers now face, as it does in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. So it is a fair question to ask if the government does not have a measure of responsibility to help fix the problem.

    The federal government is too big, too expensive and too intrusive. Americans ought to demand that government stay out of business operations, except for setting broad principles to guard against abusive practices, and leave them alone to truly succeed or fail on their own merits.

    Stop punishing consumers through corporate taxation.

    Stop over-regulating business operations. Get out of the way and let employees and employers work out the terms of employment between them.

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    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Obama Warned of 'Huge' Terror Plot

    British security officials say intelligence experts are seriously concerned that al-Qaida will try to pull off a "spectacular" terrorist attack during the transition period from a Bush administration to an Obama administration.

    In fact, British Home Office Security Minister Sir Alan West raised the specter of a “huge threat” and noted that “There is another great plot building up again and we are monitoring this," according to the London Times.

    Bush administration officials also point out that terrorists have often struck during a time of official change:

    · The first World Trade Center attack came just weeks after President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.

    · 9/11 occurred less than a year after President George W. Bush took office in 2001.

    · British officials thwarted nightclub and airport plots soon after Gordon Brown became prime minister in June 2007.

    Earlier this week, CIA Director Michael Hayden said that al-Qaida remains the single greatest threat to the United States.

    According to the Times, al-Qaida has been experimenting with biological weapons, such as anthrax.

    And Vice President-elect Joe Biden warned during the last month of the presidential election: "Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle [of Obama].”

    Source: Newsmax

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    Truth and Consequences

    Click the Cartoon to Enlarge It

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    White guilt? Done; over; history

    The following was found on The Philadelphia Enquirer Web site:

    Tom Adkins -

    There go my fellow conservatives, glumly shuffling along, depressed by the election aftermath. Not me. I'm virtually euphoric. Don't get me wrong. I'm not thrilled with America's flirtation with neosocialism. But there's a massive silver lining in the magical clouds that lofted Barack Obama to the presidency. For today, without a shred of intellectually legitimate opposition, I can loudly proclaim to America:

    The Era of White Guilt is over.

    This seemingly impossible event occurred because the vast majority of white Americans didn't give a fluff about skin color and enthusiastically pulled the voting lever for a black man. Not just any black man. A very liberal black man who spent his early career race-hustling banks, praying in a racist church for 20 years, and actively working with America-hating domestic terrorists. Yet white Americans made Barack Obama their leader. Therefore, as of Nov. 4, 2008, white guilt is dead.

    So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. For more than a century, the millstone of white guilt hung around our necks, retribution for slave-owning predecessors. In the 1960s, American liberals began yanking that millstone while sticking a fork in the eye of black Americans, exacerbating the racial divide to extort a socialist solution to the country's problems. But if a black man can become president, exactly what significant barrier is left? The election of Barack Obama destroys the validation of liberal white guilt. The dragon is hereby slain.

    So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. From this day forward, my tolerance level for having my skin color hustled is exactly ZERO. No more Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America," Al Sharpton's Church of Perpetual Victimization, or Jesse Jackson's rainbow racism. Cornel West? You're a fraud. All those "black studies" programs must now teach kids to thank Whitey. And I want that on the final.

    Congressional Black Caucus? Irrelevant. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.)? Shut up. ACORN? Outlawed. Black Panthers? Go home and pet your kitty. Black separatists? Find another nation that offers better dreams. To those Eurosnots who forged careers hating America? I'm still waiting for the first black French president.

    No more quotas. No more handouts. No more complaining that "the man" is keeping you down. "The man" is now black.

    It's time to toss that massive, obsolete race-hustle machine upon the heap of the other stupid '60s ideas. Drag it over there, right between free love and cop-killing. Careful, don't trip on streaking. Just dump it. And then wash your hands. It's filthy.

    Obama's ascension also creates another gargantuan irony. How can liberals sell American racism, class envy and unfairness when our new black president and his wife went to Ivy League schools, got high-paying jobs, became millionaires, bought a mansion, and are now moving to the White House? How unfair is that? Now, like a delicious O. Henry tale, Obama's spread-the-wealth campaign rendered itself moot by its own victory! America is officially a meritocracy. Obama's election has validated American conservatism.

    So ... Wham!!!

    That's the sound of my foot kicking the door shut on the era of white guilt. The rites have been muttered, the carcass lowered, dirt shoveled, and tombstone erected. Dead and buried.

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    U.S. Electoral System is a Farce!

    Rumors of voting irregularities and examples of actual irregularities are fairly common in an election year, but 2008 was a banner year for crazy stuff.

    The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a shining example of all that is wrong with voter registration drives, is the most visible example of why things have to change in the electoral process. ACORN produced hundreds of thousands of registration forms in more than a dozen states, tens of thousands of which were illegitimate or fraudulent, spawning investigations into its activities.

    In the U.S. today, some voter registration organizations seem to think it is more important to register people to vote than it is to make sure that they are eligible to vote. They are so worried that someone who is eligible may not get to vote that they turn the system upside down and register thousands of people without regard to eligibility.

    These organizations couldn’t care less whether the targets of their registration efforts know enough about their government or the candidates and issues to make a sensible decision in an election; they just want to register them. An excellent example is this one: A woman at an Obama-Biden rally said that if she helped Obama by voting for him, he would help her. “I won’t have to work on puttin’ gas in my car. I won’t have to work at payin’ my mortgage,” she gleefully said.

    Radio and TV host Howard Stern sent one of his staff out onto the streets to interview people about the election, and found that most were Obama supporters. The interviewer asked why they supported Mr. Obama, but instead of asking if they supported Obama’s views, the staffer instead substituted John McCain’s positions, such as his pro-life stance and his view that we need to keep troops in Iraq. He even asked one if he supported Sarah Palin as Obama’s vice president. Yes, they said, all of that was OK with them.

    Even if the people in these examples are eligible to vote, they don’t know enough about their country, the issues, or the candidates to cast an informed vote.

    Haphazard registration efforts dump stacks of forms on state election staffs, clogging the system, making the job of determining the eligibility of thousands of registrants infinitely more difficult and more expensive, and, in the process, making it likely that some ineligible people will vote.

    Because our right to vote is so important, and because it is critical that voters know what they are doing when they vote, we must implement some common sense rules, such as:

    • Measures must be taken to assure that only eligible voters can be registered to vote, and after eligibility is confirmed, if the voter does not have an existing valid photo ID, one will be furnished free of charge.

    • In order to register to vote a person must be: interested enough to register himself or herself, unless physically unable to do so; able to prove where they reside; and able to prove who they are, how old they are, and that they are a citizen of the U.S.

    • Eligible persons must pass a test of basic knowledge about the United States and its government, and of the state in which they reside and its government before being deemed qualified to vote.

    • Measures must be taken to ensure that eligible voters vote only in the state/precinct where they reside, whether by first-person ballot or absentee ballot.

    • When entering a polling place an eligible voter must show a valid photo ID.

    Among things that must not be allowed are:

    • The mischievous and fraudulent voter registration activities of ACORN, and other similar organizations, which must be regarded as crimes with fines and/or imprisonment as penalties.

    • Allowing people to register and vote at the same time. Even though such ballots may be provisional, this inane process is one more opportunity for mistakes and fraud.

    • Helping people register to vote who don’t know or care enough about voting to register on their own must be prohibited, unless it is done by state election officials, and is closely monitored.

    • Early voting. We set aside specific dates for voting to occur, and all voting with the exception of absentee voting must take place on Election Day. Early voting enables people to vote while the campaign is still going on, and may result in premature decision making on the part of early voters. If we need more than one day to enable all eligible voters to vote without long lines and unacceptably long wait times, then we should have two or more Election Days after the campaign period is officially over.

    The liberalizing of America has introduced many negative concepts and behaviors to our culture, and torn down many of our most fundamental and most cherished traditions. Our electoral system has become fertile ground for fraud and manipulation that encourages people who are ignorant about their country and indifferent to the process to participate in choosing our leaders.

    We must restore its integrity so that we can have confidence that only knowledgeable and eligible people can vote.

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    More "Levity"

    Some new stuff at "A Little Levity."

    Stop by for a chuckle or two

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Enough, Already!

    Yes, Barack Obama won the election.

    Yes, he is the first black President of the United States, and yes, that is an historic event about which all Americans are justifiably proud.

    Yes, he is a dynamic presence whose “soaring rhetoric” inspires hope among his followers.

    But please, people, get a grip!

    Barack Obama is just a man. He’s not a god. He’s not the Second Coming. He puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like George Bush, just like Al Gore and John Kerry, just like Joe Biden and Dick Cheney, and, come to think of it, just like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.

    He may be a great president. But then, he may be a lousy president: We don’t know yet.

    He hasn’t been sworn in, and in fact hasn’t even been formally elected yet.

    All the gushing praise of Oprah and the French; the miraculous one-day transformation of America from “pariah of the world” to its former station as the greatest country on Earth; the fawning TV ads from AARP and NFIB; just because a black guy from Chicago with mysterious past alliances and secrets about his past yet to be revealed, with less real-life experience to qualify him for president than any president in history, won the longest election in our history … It’s enough to trigger the gag reflex.

    Please, America, slap yourself in the face; splash a little ice-cold water on it; pinch yourself. Try to see the rest of the picture.

    The guy had lots of help in winning, not least among which is the immeasurable assistance of a corrupt and discredited mainstream “news” media who selected Mr. Obama a long time ago and worked tirelessly for his election, as we have learned from numerous sources, most recently the ombudsman for the Washington Post, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who gets a chill up his leg when he thinks about Obama, and told the world that his job is to see that this presidency succeeds.

    But Barack Obama has enormous problems facing him, like an economic crisis brought on by the actions of his own party, which, incidently, controls Congress. And the threat of Islamic terrorism, which his predecessor has done a marvelous job of keeping at bay for seven years. And an increasingly more serious situation regarding Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. And an energy problem no one has done anything about for 30 years. And, the normal set of domestic difficulties every president faces.

    So, if you’re pleased that at long last we have a black president, fine. But you, and he, have to focus on reality now, and that is a much less pleasant topic that requires sober thought and real, as opposed to empty, leadership.

    Check back this time next year for evidence of how well your guy is doing. By then there will be something substantive to judge.

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    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Obamonomics in an Economic Crisis:
    Be Very Afraid

    Already President-Elect Barack Obama is hard at work putting together his administration. Depending upon whom you pay attention to, choosing Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff was either brilliant or not exactly what one would want from a man who says he wants unity in order to solve the nation’s problems.

    Mr. Obama has said that the first thing he wants to do when he takes office in January is to fix the nation's current economic problem, and with that theme in mind convened his economic advisory board. Of the many controversies surrounding the Obama election platform, perhaps the most disturbing is his economic plan which, as Joe Wurzelbacher easily got Mr. Obama to admit, is solid redistributionist theory. The abject danger of the Obama economic plan was significant enough back in August when he secured the Democratic nomination, but in today’s crazy economic environment, it is downright frightening.

    “The group, assembled to offer wide-ranging advice,” the New York Times tells us, “includes the billionaire investor Warren Buffett; [former Treasury secretary Lawrence] Summers and his predecessor, Robert E. Rubin; Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman; and Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google.” Some knowledgeable people there, but then the Times tells us that two additional participants are on board, one of whom is Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

    Let us hope that Ms. Granholm, as we hope with Mr. Obama, listens rather than talks in these meetings, as she, like Mr. Obama, can only contribute negative economic energy to any sensible discussion of what to do next. Evidence of this abounds, as demonstrated in a letter on Thursday urging Congressional leaders to get busy giving handouts to the states and the auto industry. Ms. Granholm wrote that “Michigan, and every state, needs swift action and leadership from Washington to address the short term challenges our national and state economies are facing.” Really: haven’t we had enough of that sort of thing?

    It gets better. Or worse.

    She expects Barack Obama and fellow Democrats to do for Michigan what she has failed to do as governor: straighten out Michigan’s economy.

    Early on she took some positive steps to reduce a $3 billion shortfall in the $39 billion budget, cutting spending, but when that proved too little to fix the massive problem she then resorted to the failed liberal policies of raising taxes and blaming businesses. And in order to get elected, she called on President Bush to put a cap on oil company profits.

    This isn’t the kind of advice that will make Barack Obama a successful president, unless being successful means converting our (mostly) free market capitalist system, the most successful economic system in history, into something that resembles Western Europe, which does not have the most successful economic systems in history.

    Mr. Obama doesn’t look good in the early going.

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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Thank Heaven this Nightmare is At Long Last Over

    The campaign was too long by at least half. Now that it’s over, the lament of the lovely Lillie Von Schtupp springs to mind: “I'm so tired.”

    Me, I’m tired of listening to campaign rhetoric.

    I’m tired of listening to Barack Obama’s weird elocution: The way his voice drops off in the middle of a sentence like it’s the end of the sentence; the way he so frequently mispronounces syllables with the “eee” sound, like “foreign pol-i-seh.” The prospect of four or, God help us, eight years of that is a horrible one, indeed.

    I’m also tired of hearing about mavericks, and “my friends.”

    Mostly, however, I’m disgusted with the corrupt and discredited media that apparently doesn’t even notice that it has abandoned it ethics and responsibility, or that it shafted the American people in the process of getting their guy elected. In fact, the media pretty much set up this election, not only favoring Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primary, but favoring John McCain in the Republican primary.

    You may remember that McCain was the media’s darling because of his maverick-ness in opposition to the hated conservative/Republican ideology, and the memory of how he was treated in South Carolina when he opposed Mr. Bush for the nomination. He was “the one” until, that is, their real favorite guy got the Democrat nomination.

    From that point on, John McCain was the red-headed step-child, and the media worked overtime to demonize him and Sarah Palin.

    Sadly, there is no reason to expect, or even to realistically hope that the media will return to its honorable station as the objective, balanced and accurate purveyor of dependable information any time soon.

    If that doesn’t make you tired, you clearly don’t understand the situation.

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    What Now, Barack?

    Everyone is focusing on the historic nature of the election, as if there aren’t really serious issues that demand attention. Well, maybe it’s okay to go a little bit crazy and take a day or two off from life’s problems to indulge in less negative pursuits, and even to celebrate recent events.

    On the other hand, the stock market that had a nice gain on Election Day took a dive the next day, perhaps signaling that the financial markets aren’t convinced that Barack Obama is the best man for the job.

    So, back to reality: Now that you’ve won the election, Mr. Obama, what’s your plan?

    You have inherited a down economy, which means that you really can’t implement the platform of tax increases for “the rich” or the tax cuts for the suffering middle class or the handouts to those who don’t pay income taxes without making the economy worse.

    You’ve got to be very careful, Mr. President-Elect, because the people you must depend upon to help you with the economic problem—the liberals in Congress like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the rest—are the ones whose idiotic philosophy is most responsible for getting us into this mess to begin with.

    You can’t really implement the cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions that will so dramatically punish the coal industry upon which we depend for so much of our electricity without sending energy prices through the roof, hurting the middle class that you say you want so badly to help, and damaging the economy of coal-producing states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Wyoming, Texas and Montana that depend to such a large degree on coal mining.

    And that’s just the beginning. More potholes remain in the road to fame or infamy.

    Proceed cautiously.

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    The Tyranny of Taxation

    Taxes have been in the news a lot during the campaign, as the two presidential candidates argued over which one has the best tax policy for America’s future. Most Americans will have judged the two plans on how each plan affects him or her, which, while being a normal reaction, avoids thinking about the broader perspective about how these philosophies of taxation affect the national economy.

    Our system is in general a free market capitalistic system where the wants and needs of society are provided for by the private sector where businesses of all sizes and descriptions produce what people need and want, and provide jobs by which people earn their living.

    All of the wealth in the United States is created in the private sector; government does not produce anything. It does not produce jobs, only business produces jobs. Yes, government does pay people to perform certain tasks, but those tasks contribute nothing to the wealth of America. In fact, government survives only by taking the production of the private sector, taking money derived from working and the production of goods and services to fund government actions. Government has nothing with which to fund its operations that it has not taken from the citizens it serves. Every dollar taken by government for its operations is a dollar removed from the private sector.

    Government’s role, according to the United States Constitution and the ideals of the Founders, is a limited one with only a few specific responsibilities to be supported by taxes as described in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which says, in part, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States ...”

    Most of the problems we see today with our government are due to the “general welfare clause” of Section 8, which has been folded, bent, spindled, mutilated, twisted, stretched and mangled into something that has been used to justify whatever some bunch of politicians and judges want to do. But the true idea of what “general welfare” meant to the Founders can be found by looking at how they interpreted it in the early years after the Constitution was ratified, and that is a far cry from the huge and intrusive government we have today, which makes a mockery of the intentions of the Founders.

    The concept of limited government is the primary reason that the Founders didn’t put things like welfare and a Department of Education in the Constitution, but it was also because they were wary of a large, powerful government, and didn’t need or want government to take care of them. These resilient and independent people carved a living out of rugged wilderness. The last thing they needed or wanted was a bunch of bureaucrats telling them how to live. It is to our national shame that rugged individualism has given way to dependence upon government to the degree we have today.

    Our Constitution originally did not include an income tax, providing for funding government’s limited activities through other forms of taxation. But as our government has grown beyond its intended limits, taxation has had to grow to support it. In order to raise enough money to support its voracious appetite government confiscates the earnings of everyday Americans through the income tax, which punishes success, and through taxes on businesses, which raise the cost of living for all Americans, and make operating a business more expensive, forcing businesses and jobs overseas.

    The income tax was added through the passage of the Sixteeenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1913, and has provided a money-raising mechanism that has enabled politicians to create and fund a long list of inappropriate government programs that were unimagined by the Founders. Funding these expensive programs sucks the life out of the private sector where the solutions to society’s problems are born and live.

    Taxes are a necessary mechanism for funding the essential operations of the federal government. The operative phrase here is “essential services.” Our government has grown well beyond providing essential services, and now indulges in numerous activities that are far outside the narrow parameters and intentions of the Constitution, as it was originally conceived and written.

    What should be happening, what must happen, is that spending must be sharply reduced, government must be pared down to something resembling what the Founders envisioned and we must begin paying down the national debt.

    However, if we believe the polls, Barack Obama will be elected president and the Democrats will gain stronger control over the Congress. The Obama tax plan calls for dramatically more spending, not less, and the Democratic Party is notoriously fond of tax and spend policies, and bears the substantial responsibility for where we are today.

    The prospects for reigning in our profligate government in the next few years are dim, indeed. The policies espoused by those likely to win this election will only compound the already fragile economic conditions we are experiencing, risking driving the economy into a deep and long-lasting recession.

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    Sunday, November 02, 2008

    Does Obama Really Plan to Spend $500 Billion on a Civilian National Security Force?

    During the campaign Barack Obama said the following: “We cannot continue to depend only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”

    We know from his previous comments that Barack Obama has little faith in or love for the American military. He won’t apologize for his position on the surge. And he never talks about leaving Iraq in victory; it’s only about leaving Iraq soon, without regard to what happens as a result. And Obama feels the military is so off course that he must rebuild it.

    This seems to be a common theme for the most inexperienced candidate ever to run for president: If it ain’t broke, go ahead and fix it anyway. He says America is the greatest nation on Earth, but it needs to be changed. Our military is the strongest, most professional and best in the world, but he wants to rebuild it.

    So his call for a civilian national security force is a real puzzle. What does that mean? What role will the CNSF play that the military, the police and the FBI do not already play? What national security role requires a special new agency? The military costs $500 billion annually. The civilian force will be “just as well funded” Mr. Obama said. How will it be funded? Where’s the money going to come from? The middle class who earn less that $100k? Who will members of this force be? How will they be trained?

    Such a force may well be unconstitutional, although one gets the feeling that Sen. Obama couldn’t care less, given his disdain for the document that is so badly flawed as to have ignored implementing a socialist government.

    Is it possible that Sen. Obama’s desire to augment or do away with Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms is at the root of this new force? Could it be that by creating the CNSF it will become the “well regulated militia” the Second Amendment mentions? And that by establishing this militia the Second Amendment can be twisted to imply that the militia replaces the right to bear arms among citizens?

    It’s a real mystery, and the mind can go many different directions in trying to imagine just what Sen. Obama has in mind. But then, it is his style to say things to get people all worked up without putting any meat on his ideas.

    This one might be too important to let lie, however.

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