Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blessedly, Tuesday evening it will all be over – the nasty, distracting, character-assassinating advertising, the name-calling, the gutter-sniping – and for the next 12 months we can try to recover from what has been the most contentious, nastiest election in my memory. And then we have to get ready to do it all over again.

If the Republicans win control of one or both houses of Congress, they had best not forget why Democrat candidates and lost they won: because the American people have rejected the liberal/statist direction that the Democrats have taken the country since winning control of the Congress in 2006.

Much like the transgressions against the Colonists by King George and the British Parliament in the mid-18th century that prompted the original tea party in December of 1773, the behavior of the US government over the last four decades has – finally – raised the ire of the citizenry, resulting in the grass-roots uprising that calls the Boston Tea Party’s to mind.

The Boston Tea Party got the attention of ol’ George, but that wasn’t enough to resolve the problems that drove those colonists to cast the tea into Boston Harbor, and the smart money says that this uprising will not resolve the issues that drove these normal, everyday Americans to attend political rallies for the first time in their lives.

Where in the sixties the Viet Nam War protestors were regaled for standing up against what they viewed as their government’s improper military adventure, today’s protestors are roundly condemned by the ruling class and the media. This is partly because the tea party movement scares the crap out of them, and partly because they do not understand why people are upset. So, their natural reaction is to demean, insult and condemn them as right-wing whackos, and racists, and Nazis.

If only there were as much concern from the Left for getting absentee ballots to our loyal military personnel and guarding against vote fraud as there is over the patriotism shown by the tea party movement.

At the core of this movement is major dissatisfaction with the performance of our government. Most polls have similar results to those of Real Clear Politics, which show, unsurprisingly, that more people disapprove of President Obama’s performance than approve of it, 48.4 percent to 46.4 percent, and only a piddling 19.5 percent approve of Congress’ performance, while a stunning 74 percent disapprove.

And, 61.4 percent think the country is on the wrong track, against only 33 percent who think we are on the right track. What the movement is all about is the hijacking of their government by a bunch of leftists who think government is the answer, regardless of what the question is.

The economy is still uppermost in America’s collective mind, with unemployment at 9.6 percent, 20 percent above where President Obama said it would be after the stimulus bill was passed, and the tepid 2.0 percent GDP figure last Friday tells us all we need to know about the failure of the Democrats to deal effectively with economic challenges.

As for the stimulus, data from the US Department of Labor Statistics shows that only the federal government gained jobs from the stimulus, with a 10 percent increase, while local and state governments showed small declines. However, the private sector is the only area where jobs really count, and the stimulus produced a 7 percent job loss.

The preference of the aloof ruling class for government over the private sector is reflected in the compensation data of the public and private sectors. While in 2009 the average combination of salary and benefits in the private sector was just over $61,000, state and local government employee compensation was nearly $70,000, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But federal workers made out like bandits, with average compensation more than double that of private sector employees at $123,000.

The people in the tea party movement want common sense reform to their government, moving it back in the direction of the government the Founders created, focusing on the broad principles of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states' rights and national security.

All those who win on Tuesday had better read and heed the tea party message, focus on straightening out the mess liberals have created, and put party and incumbent politics in File 13.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Next Tuesday is our opportunity
to begin to restore America

The mid-term election is a week away, and many Americans are looking forward to Nov. 2nd with great hope and anticipation, for two reasons. First, they are fed up with the reprehensible and appalling gutter tactics and personal attacks of the campaign, but mostly they look forward to electing candidates that will bring substantial changes to the political landscape that will stop the nation’s headlong rush toward a command economy.

Our country is in deep trouble, and not just from the insane spending that has occurred since 2008, nor from the government takeover of auto manufacturers and banks, and not even that government has failed to do what needs to be done to foster a real recovery and job creation. The most serious problem is that the government is out of control, with elected officials running wild, refusing to follow constitutional principles, and enacting laws and instituting policies that are dangerous and harmful.

The country is controlled by people who appear not to understand what their country is all about. They either don’t know its founding principles or don’t respect them, and they want to tear down the government that was established more than 230 years ago and replace it with a system like that of the lesser countries of the world. They want bigger government, more powerful government, and more government control.

But America did not become great because it had a large federal government that controlled the minutest aspects of its citizen’s lives; it became great because it had precisely the opposite kind of government, the government outlined in the US Constitution, and the government under which the United States grew to be the greatest nation on Earth.

Of the casting off of Constitutional limits on government’s appropriate function, size and power Dr. Robert Higgs, author of Crisis and Leviathan, writes, “In the past century, the first five such critical episodes in the United States were: World War I; the Great Depression; World War II; [and] a multi-faceted set of crises associated with the civil-rights revolution and the Vietnam War.” More recent events contributing to the expansion of government size and power are post-9/11 events, the housing bust of 2006 and the ensuing recession, he wrote.

Responsibility for the growth in the scope, size and power of the government lies at the feet of our elected representatives, who through their legislative and administrative malfeasance caused it to happen. Primarily it was the work of career politicians in Congress, as they abandoned their duty to the Constitution and their constituents in order to be re-elected, and who became immersed in the incestuous relationships that the desire for power and prestige rely on.

And now the American people have realized the threat their own government poses to their liberty, and they are fed up with it. There is a great hew and cry among the citizenry to replace those who haven’t been listening to their objections to the recent legislative agenda. They want people in office who are not cloistered away in Washington, and because of their isolation no longer understand what life is really like outside DC. They have forgotten for whose benefit they are paid too much money and receive too many benefits.

The people now see they made a serious mistake at the polls in 2006 when they elected liberal Democrats to Congress that would forsake their oath of office and undermine the Constitution.

And they made another mistake in 2008 when they elected an appealing and charismatic black man to manage the country who had no experience managing anything. Barack Obama won election with the phrase “change that you can believe in.” They didn’t realize that what he really meant was “change WHAT you believe in,” and they now strongly reject that notion.

To borrow from a notorious racist demagogue’s comment right after the 9/11 attacks and apply it to the unpopular liberal agenda, now “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Next week the country can take a big step toward fixing this problem by defeating liberal Democrats in Congress who support the wild-eyed proposals that have moved America further than it ever has been from its original design. Measures like cap and trade, the financial transaction tax, card check, and the health care reform that will destroy the very system it purports to repair, and take down the insurance industry along with it.

In order to put an end to the liberal statist agenda that threatens our freedom we must elect Republicans, or more conservative third party or independent candidates at every opportunity. But we must make certain they realize that the change we demand is not just a change in political party rule, but a change in how things are done. And be sure they understand that if they don’t do the country’s work any better than the Democrats, if they get comfortable in the Washington scene the way other incumbents have, they’ll be sent home to find honest work, too.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

It's true: Idiocy reigns

Are you one of those that still believes government is benevolent and is the answer to most or all of our problems?

Or, are you convinced that things are terribly out of whack in our country?

If the latter, do you think you've heard it all?

Do you think things can't get any more absurd?

Do you think when you read or hear crazy stuff that it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between reality and farce?

This story from from is darned good evidence that government at all levels, and in many places in America, has grossly exceeded its boundaries.

A single, 31-year-old woman in Michigan who posted a note on her church bulletin board seeking a "Christian roommate" to share her residence has been cited by the state for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against those of other faiths.

The complaint signed by Tyra Khan, a "Civil Rights Representative" of the state of Michigan Department of Civil Rights, surfaced when the Alliance Defense Fund announced today it was representing the woman.

ADF spokesman Joel Oster confirmed the organization sent a letter to the state explaining that such housing rules don't apply to people living in their own homes and wanting to share their resources.

"[Tricia] is a single lady looking for a roommate. She is not a landlord. She does not own a management company. She does not run an apartment complex. She is a single person seeking to have a roommate live with her in her house," the letter said.

"She is not prohibited by either federal law or state law from seeking a Christian roommate. Neither Title VII of the US Fair Housing Civil Rights Act of 1968 nor the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act No. 453 prevents a woman like [her] from seeking a Christian roommate."

The letter asked for an immediate dismissal of the case, but Oster confirmed to WND today that he had not received a response.

WND contacted the agency's spokesman, Harold Core, who said the case had been determined to be legitimate and the investigation was continuing.

He said section 604C states it is a "violation to make, print or publish or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference" for a list of nondiscrimination categories, including religious belief.

The complaint specifically alleges the woman's statement, "I am looking for a Christian roommate," prevents people of "other faiths" from contacting the woman and making arrangements to share her home with her.

The message to Mr. Core and everybody else at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights is: Take your citation and stuff it where the sun don't shine! You have no authority over who people choose to share their home with!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Obama administration’s policies are
killing jobs, not creating jobs

One of the major failures of Barack Obama’s presidency is that he has not kept unemployment at eight percent or below, as he told us the $787 billion stimulus package would do, or even reduced the unemployment rate below 9.5 percent after more than a year-and-a-half in office.

Given the pain the unemployed feel, one might expect the President to be doing everything possible to foster job creation. But his actions, and those of the administration, prove that assumption to be incorrect.

Immediately following the Deep Water Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and unleashed a torrent of oil into the Gulf, Mr. Obama imposed a six-month ban on all drilling. Based upon the performance of the thousands of drilling projects past and present that have gone along without serious problems, this action was completely unwarranted, but the ban’s defenders said it made sense to stop drilling and evaluate the other deep water projects to be sure there would not be a repeat of this disaster, even as predictions of substantial job losses were reported in the news.

Months later, the ban was still in force, and had shut down all deep water projects, and caused rig owners to relocate their platforms to productive areas outside the US, and slowed down or halted shallow water projects, as well. This over-reaction severely damaged the economy of Gulf States, as shown by a study by two Louisiana State University professors that estimates the economic losses from the ban at $2.7 billion.

The ban put thousands of oil and natural gas industry workers in the unemployment line, as well as thousands more workers in related jobs. Curiously, the Interior Department knew this would happen. Among Federal court documents examined by The Wall Street Journal was a July 10 memo sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that said, in part: “a six-month deepwater-drilling halt would result in ‘lost direct employment’ affecting approximately 9,450 workers and ‘lost jobs from indirect and induced effects’ affecting about 13,797 more.”

The administration ignored this dire warning, adding to the high unemployment afflicting the nation. And now the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to tighten air quality standards for ground level ozone threatens even more jobs.

The EPA wants to lower ozone from 75 parts per billion to a range of 60 to 70 parts per billion, which may seem a small and manageable reduction. However, Kyle Isakower, vice president of regulatory and economic policy at the American Petroleum Institute, said that the standard “is being set so close to background levels that essentially the only way to reach attainment here is to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) down to 60, 70, 80 percent or more of current levels. So you're really talking about virtually shutting down most, if not all, commercial and transportation use in this country.”

And Don Norman of Manufacturer’s Alliance/MAPI has researched the nation-wide ramifications of such an action. “I took a very detailed study conducted by NERA consulting, which was limited to 11 states,” he said, “and tried to expand the results for the entire nation. I found that the annual attainment cost is estimated to be just over $1 trillion per year between 2020 and 2030. This is equivalent to 5.4 percent of projected GDP in 2020. GDP itself would be reduced by approximately $677 billion in 2020 and further, we'd have significant losses of jobs, something like 7.3 million based upon current Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for the labor force.”

Those huge numbers ought to get your attention. The $677 billion in lost GDP is 86 percent of the amount of the Obama stimulus, and the 7.3 million lost jobs is about half of the number of total unemployed persons reported in September. It is small comfort that these severe losses in GDP and jobs won’t occur for a few years.

Clearly, Mr. Obama’s background as a community organizer and as a law school lecturer did not provide him even the most elementary understanding of economics, and everything in his performance as president indicates that economic principles are as foreign to him as speaking Martian. Or perhaps they are just less important than other things.

If President Obama really wanted to create jobs or help the economy recover would he have done what he did in the Gulf and let the EPA do what it intends to do? Reasonable people may conclude that his agenda instead is to do whatever it takes to force the US to adopt alternative energy, and apparently no cost is too great to accomplish this goal, even if it means transforming the most successful nation in history from an economy that is still mostly free and market-based into a centrally-planned, government-dominated economy not unlike China, North Korea and Cuba, or the socialist economies of Europe.

When he said he would fundamentally transform the country, most thought it meant healing racial and political divisions and straightening up the government. Now it appears he meant something completely different.

The world has plenty of government-run economies; it has only one United States of America. Let’s keep it that way.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some federal judges are badly confused
about the U.S. Constitution

Some federal judges are as unconcerned with the intent of the U.S. Constitution as many members of Congress and the administration, as last Thursday’s ruling on Obamacare shows.

A lawsuit that was filed in Michigan claimed that the mandate contained in the health care reform bill forcing people to buy health insurance exceeded Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate trade.

But Federal Judge George Caram Steeh said the mandate to get health insurance by 2014 and the financial penalty for not buying coverage are legal, because Congress was trying to lower the overall cost of insurance by requiring participation.

Well, there you have it: all that is required for Judge Steeh to rule that a law is constitutional is that someone had good intentions behind their actions. I wonder why Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison didn’t think of that.

His reasoning goes like this. "Without the minimum coverage provision, there would be an incentive for some individuals to wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care, knowing that insurance would be available at all times," he said. Translation: If the government didn’t force everyone to buy insurance, some people would exercise their right not to buy it, and we can’t allow that.

The judge seemed more concerned with approving the rationale for what Congress did than in determining whether it comports with the intent of the Constitution, a question which has been completely ignored in matters of recent over-reaching legislative and executive behavior. And that begs the question: What is the point of the Constitution if judges, presidents and members of Congress don’t understand it, pay no attention to it, or interpret it out of existence?

Judge Steeh’s ruling demonstrates why we need to impose term limits on the federal judiciary.

If he thinks the Commerce Clause can be stretched to fit any circumstance motivated by good intentions, perhaps he ought to look around at the chaos health care reform is already causing, and re-examine the wisdom of the rationale he strayed so far from Constitutional intent to approve.

The health insurance provision already placed nearly a million low-wage or part-time workers at risk of losing their coverage because their employers would be encouraged by the increased costs involved to drop coverage rather than bear the cost of increasing it to the dictated standard. And the same cost increases will occur for those who do not get their insurance through their employer. So much for keeping your coverage if you are satisfied it.

So far thirty companies – including fast food giants McDonald’s and Jack in the Box, and the insurance company Cigna – have petitioned and been granted exemptions from the requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services, and will therefore not drop coverage for those employees. Fortunately for them this is an election year, and a million people losing their health insurance right before an election would be a big problem for Democrats.

According to some critics all of this confusion and disruption, and that which will surely follow, is part of a plan. They believe that the bill is designed to create so many problems that insurers will be leave the market, and so much chaos will ensue that the federal government will have to ride in on its white horse and save the day, forcing single-payer government-provided health coverage down our throats.

Whether government-controlled health care is either the goal or the result of the reform effort, the entire process is a significant reason for the anger and disgust that has driven the Tea Party movement. The drafting and passing of the health care reform bill was ugly and partisan, and a majority of the American people recognized the bill’s problems and opposed its passage, all to no avail.

So vile and disreputable was this process that every Representative and Senator who did not vote against it should be voted out of office and sent home. And while we’re at it, let’s rid ourselves of all those who support the cap and trade bill that will raise everyone’s taxes, increase the cost of everything from energy to building materials, and damage the economy of energy producing states. And also send home those who supported the $800 billion stimulus bill that has nationalized parts of the auto and banking industries, created the longest stretch of unemployment above 9.5 percent since 1948, put the nation at tremendous economic risk, and for all of that has produced virtually nothing positive.

Let’s also include those likely to support the financial transaction tax supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and being discussed (quietly) by Congressional Democrats that would put a one percent tax on all banking transactions like deposits and withdrawals, transfers between savings and checking accounts, ATM withdrawals, and loan payments, among other transactions. And for good measure let’s include those who support the freedom-robbing card check measure that will be sneaked in for a vote in the lame duck session after the election.

There is no time like the present. For all 435 Representatives and 37 Senators, that opportunity is three weeks away.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Going Rogue, Part IV:
Guess what the EPA is going to regulate now?

Maybe you’ve seen that email that tells you about a harmful chemical and asks you to sign a petition to ban it. The email tells you that the chemical – dihydrogen monoxide – is the main ingredient in acid rain and is capable of causing suffocation if too much of it is ingested. Some of the email readers are horrified, sign the petition and forward it to their email list to warn others of this threat.

The email is a joke, but the non-chemists among us may not realize that. You see, dihydrogen monoxide is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, or H2O: water!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stricter standards on another pollutant, particulate matter, which can foul air and water, cause breathing problems and impair visibility. What horrible substance is the EPA trying to protect us from now? Dust.

This may seem as much a joke as that H2O email, but the EPA is deadly serious about this one, and is at it again, indulging in rogue behavior that punishes businesses unnecessarily, makes life both more expensive and less enjoyable, and is generally over-stepping its bounds in the furtherance of its highly ideological agenda.

Kelsey Huber, writing for “The Foundry,” a blog of The Heritage Foundation, explains that “when EPA regulations were first applied to particulates in 1971, they were created to target soot,” which consists of carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of coal, oil, wood and other fuels, and soot actually is harmful, in sufficient quantities. “Dust,” on the other hand, is merely soil that has gone airborne.

Apparently, soot is no longer a problem, or perhaps the agency just realized that it wasn’t creating enough turmoil for the country. We can’t be sure. In any case, the EPA now wants to regulate dust. Why?

Well, the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to reassess national air quality standards every five years, and new regulations are scheduled to be in place by 2011. A federal agency under statist control cannot let that deadline pass without imposing new regulations and increasing control over its subjects.

Mr. Huber continues: “From this regulation, several problems arise. First, while human activity can create dust, it is also … a natural occurrence. How can it be effectively regulated?” A fair question.

Dust occurs pretty often, like when a car drives down a gravel or dirt road, or when kids play baseball, or when the wind blows across dry ground.

Further, Mr. Huber notes, the people most affected by dust clouds are those who cause them, and they already try to minimize dust out of a sense of self-preservation. He believes that regulating this natural phenomenon will stifle farm productivity and cause wasting of other resources. These regulations mean that people could be fined for not meeting particulate matter standards while still practicing good land management on their own property.

Of course, anytime some government body imposes new requirements on businesses, one result is an increase in the cost of doing business, and in this case the cost of domestic food products will rise accordingly. When a farmer works his fields producing the food we eat, that may stir up some dust. Is the EPA going to fine farmers for planting or harvesting food if in the process of doing so they kick up some dust? Does that mean that farmers will have to water fields before working them? How much is that going to cost in additional water use and time? Some crops, like corn, cannot be harvested that way.

Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said the regulations under consideration would prove twice as stringent as the current standard.
"It would be virtually impossible for many critical U.S. industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best management practices to control dust," she said.

In an attempt to forestall this ill-conceived initiative a group of Senators has written to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, suggesting she replace the EPA’s seemingly manic desire to regulate everything we do with a little common sense, and to recognize the harm the agency will do if it pursues these regulations.

Whether this effort will succeed depends upon whether it is possible for the statist ideologues at the EPA and in the Obama administration to put their ideology on hold and allow common sense to rule the day. History is not on our side on this one.

The liberal and statist policies that got us where we are cannot get us where we need to be. What the EPA proposes will be just as effective as the measures the White House and the Congress have put into effect to stabilize the economy and get unemployment down, which is to say, it will impede private sector activity and may well worsen an already bad situation.

Years ago the US resisted and defeated the threat of communism because we had leaders who recognized the threat. The threat today is statism, and instead of resisting this threat, today’s leaders embrace it.

As Pogo famously said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Old News: Politics Can Be Repulsive

The closer to the election we get, the nastier, more vicious, malicious, mean, spiteful, cruel and dishonest things get.


Alan Grayson, (D-FL) ran an ad criticizing Daniel Webster, his Republican opponent, claiming he dodged the draft. In reality, Webster received academic deferments while attending college — during which time he was in the ROTC. Webster tried to enlist after graduation, but he failed his medical exam and was ineligible to serve. Grayson lied in his ad, claiming Webster “refused the call to service.”


In another ad the subhuman Grayson distorts religious comments by Webster.

"So, write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife. I have verses for my wife," Webster said to a religious group. "Don't pick the ones that say, 'she should submit to me.' It's in the Bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do.”

In Grayson’s ad, he deliberately distorts Webster’s comment, claiming he said, “Submit to me,” and other similar smears, and calls Webster, “Taliban Dan.”

Grayson is behind in the polls by about seven points, which explains his desperate efforts to slander his opponent. But a person of character would not dive into the gutter as Grayson has.

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