Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt: Winning After the Fall

We all know that the Egyptian government is very likely to fall. It appears that the United States government is unable to decide if this is good or bad. Good or bad at this time does not matter. What matters is winning the peace and ensuring freedom for the Egyptian people.

Take a good, long look at Egypt. I understand that many of us are worn out by the constant drama of the Middle East, but this will affect us sooner rather than later. If I were to recount, or even just list, the drama of the past 40 years in that region then you would probably not complete this blog. So, let’s just take a hard look at Egypt, keeping in mind that this is evolving rapidly and what I write may only be relevant for a few hours – or days, if I’m lucky. The key is that it is still “evolution and not “revolution”.

Background: President Hosni Mubarak has led Egypt since the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. Sadat was killed by Egyptian troops who were members of the Islamic Jihad, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

Mubarak, now 72, was the vice-president at that time and has been a reliable ally to the US government and reasonable in his dealings with Israel. The US has supported Mubarak for those reasons and because he has lent some stability to a region where it is a rare and precious commodity.

Egypt holds a major position in, not just regional, but world affairs. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states willing to sign peace treaties with Israel, so the idea of a new Egyptian government has a significant impact on Israel and, by extension, the United States. In addition, Egypt controls the Suez Canal through which the US moves its naval assets in the region. More importantly to American consumers, up to 2.2 million barrels of oil per day can be shipped through the canal, and up to 2.3 million barrels of oil can be pumped daily through the Suez-Mediterranean Pipeline beside the canal. A total of approximately eight percent of the world’s trade passes through the 121-mile canal that connects the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

A closure of the Suez Canal area would cause an increase in petroleum prices as well as probable delays in delivery and possibly shortages. OPEC says it will increase production if the canal if closed, but the delay in oil deliveries caused by the 4,000 mile trip around the Cape of Good Hope will still be cause price increases.

The harsh truth is that our foreign policy is driven by pragmatism, not idealism. I’m not complaining; it’s simply a fact. When Vice-President Joe Biden stated that Mubarak is “not a dictator” he was merely hewing to the standard Washington line.

It is apparent that Mubarak's time has come and that a new Egyptian government is needed. We also cannot afford to throw up our hands and hope for the best. It's time to let the protesters know that we will support them in their goal of having a Western-style democracy. We do not need another Iran. We need to be pro-active and support our own principles.

In an interview, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made the point that protestors have two separate objectives. First is the toppling of Mubarak’s government. This is a goal shared by a wide range of groups from Coptic Christians, who make up approximately 20% of Egypt’s population, to the radical fringe group Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who have been outlawed in Egypt for decades.

The second objective is the formation of a new government. This is where the factions will differ greatly and the shape of the new government will vary depending on who calls the shots. Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei has asked for Mubarak to step aside, and he is seen as a possible catalyst in the construction of a far less oppressive, pro-western government. ElBaradei would likely receive the support of the Coptics whose patriarch encouraged their active participation in the demonstrations. If ElBaradei’s name sounds familiar; it should. He was the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when the US was searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Muslim Brotherhood did not begin the protests, but is seeking to take advantage of the situation. It has been an organization since 1928 and its members and former members played major roles in the founding of Islamo-Fascist groups from Hamas to al Qaeda to, as mentioned earlier, Islamic Jihad. MB membership levels are unknown, but they have two huge advantages over any of the pro-western leaders. They are organized; and they are violent.

There are additional factors to consider. The Egyptian military is very Americanized. They have shown restraint in dealing with protestors and will likely be a major player in deciding the shape of the new government.

The leaders of the protests are mostly Egyptian men under the age of 30, a group hard hit by unemployment. The age of the protestors is no surprise because two-thirds of Egypt’s population is under the age of 30. Demographically Egypt is the youngest and, at 80 million, most populous Arab nation. Youth is wonderful but a lack of life experience can be fatal. If this government is changed, these young people must also "win" the government from stiff, radical competition.

This youthful nation is different than one might expect. Just this year, Egyptian Muslims formed a human barrier around Coptic churches to protect Christian worshippers from further violence after the bombing of a Coptic service days earlier by radical jihadists.

Muslim Brotherhood members have gone on Iranian television, blamed Israel for Mubarak’s continued leadership and taunted the Egyptian army and police. The MB is already calling for Egypt to turn its armies toward Israel. Could the MB actually turn Egypt into another Iran?

Fringe element or not, don’t be dismissive of the idea. There is a history of new pro-western governments submitting to well-organized, violent zealots. Do you know these names? Manuel Urrutia Lleó? Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky? Imre Nagy? They might have been the George Washingtons of their respective countries. Instead, after winning the revolution, their governments were all subverted by well-organized, violent, anti-western forces.

The US needs to support the Egyptian people or risk losing another country to violence and oppression. It is a time to be respectful of Egypt's situation but openly available to provide help as needed in the formation of a new government. A new Egypt can remain an ally while becoming still more stable and a peaceful influence in a region that needs peace and stability.

More on Manuel Urrutia Lleó and his role in Cuba in a following blog.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Economy Strikes Back

When it comes to running the country, left wing politicos have more morally corrupt ideas than an imaginative college freshman stranded on a desert island with nothing but Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry and an industrial-size barrel of Wesson Oil. There are two differences though. First, the three castaways won’t spend your retirement funds and your kids’ college tuition money while telling you to “go along or go to jail.” Second, the college freshman won’t spend his spare time trying to run an economy he doesn’t understand while taking some citizens’ money and giving it to other citizens.

I’m not the first to say it, but Congress has a spending problem. I’ve seen cats in a field of catnip who display more self-control. It’s time to free the economy: reduce regulations, reduce spending and get out of the way.

The ugly truth is that no matter how ridiculous or specialized a Congressional spending item is, there is someone who will scream bloody murder if that item is cut from the budget. Understand that someone was influential enough to get that silly item put in the budget to begin with, so chances are someone in Congress will listen when the wailing begins. There is no such thing as a painless reduction in federal spending and that’s what Congress is hoping for. Guess what, Washington? The Great Pumpkin ain’t comin’ this year, either.

To reduce the federal budget is going to be painful, but it must be done. Freezing our spending levels, as President Obama suggested, will not work and neither will timid reductions of spending. Put down the paring knife and pick up the cleaver.

The argument is going to be that it took years to raise federal spending to this level so it will take years to reduce it. That is wrong and a non-starter. The more quickly we reduce spending, the less painful the overall result will be.

It’s not a matter of trimming programs. It’s a matter of cutting entire programs. Programs which are outside the scope of the federal budget need to be completely scrapped. Hello and goodbye to the Department of Energy and the Department of Education, a whole bunch of subsidies and regulatory restrictions that benefit some special interest groups at the expense of taxpayers. And that is the beginning of the beginning.

One thing that can be done that will have an effect within 18 months: “Drill here, Drill now, Pay less.” Directional drilling from existing oil platforms can be used and we can see a domestic oil production increase that soon. In the meantime, drop ethanol subsidies.

Subsidies for ethanol can be immediately scrapped and I’m sure Archer-Daniels-Midland will recover nicely. Less expensive cereals, milk and beef will be the result of canning that failed experiment and American families can use that reduction in food prices. Corn was never, ever the best source of ethanol, but even if we used better sources, such as sugar cane, the government would still have to subsidize ethanol and that’s an expense we can drop. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should all want bread.”

This is no time for sacred cows. Fire up the grill and let the slaughter begin – with absolutely no apologies to the PC Police. It’s time to be honest. This is a real crisis. Not the namby-pamby “crises” that liberals evoke every few years. The economy is now our enemy. We abused it in such dire fashion, that I can’t blame it. Debt is about to lay waste to our country and the federal government has been encouraging it to do so for over 70 years.

There are many other federal programs and subsidies that can be terminated immediately. While Congress is at it, they should also look at regulations which are unnecessary and negatively impact businesses. I wonder if the country is ready for “Free the Economy” bumper stickers. I think it’s about time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brief Reviews of the SOTU, Oil Prices, Latest CBO Report and More

Here are a few thoughts on some interesting topics that might not make an entire blog, but are of interest. Think of it as a tour of some issues.

While libertarian and master science fiction author Robert Heinlein’s statement, “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him,” was made years ago, I have yet to see a better description of President Obama’s health care legislation. The Nanny State attempts to justify its existence by telling perfectly competent citizens what to do, but cannot hide its own addiction to money.

Many pundits are complaining about a lack of specifics in President Obama’s speech, but state of the union addresses are not for specifics. Note that the speech lasted over 70 minutes while the President gilded generalities. For him to make the specifics of our horrific economy sound better than the reality would have taken days, a swarm of government lawyers, a thesaurus, an unabridged dictionary, a willing suspension of disbelief and a pocketful of hallucinogenics. Be glad he stuck to generalities. Life is too short for boring fictions.

The latest Congressional Budget Office’s report on the deficit came out this morning and projects a 2011 deficit of $1.5 trillion. This is 50% higher than the original projection of $1 trillion. As expected, the extension of the Bush tax cuts is being blamed rather than reckless spending.

The timing of the release of the CBO report is interesting. If the report had been available yesterday the President might have been forced to pay more attention to the federal deficit – especially the part where he advocated keeping our current spending levels for the next five years.

During the SOTU, President Obama specifically mentioned those tax cuts in relation to the deficit, “And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.” It seems like the President, but not the media, had access to that report before his speech. Did the CBO temporarily withhold their report at the Administration’s request? Hmmmmm.

Obama did call for a simplification of our tax codes, but nothing specific. Here is my suggestion for a reasonable goal: Americans with average intelligence and high-school diplomas should be able to complete their own tax returns without assistance and be certain they paid the least taxes legally possible. This is a goal that is attainable several ways, including a switch from an income to a consumption tax.

We are in the worst economy since the FDR Administration. The mainstream media has covered nearly every aspect of this except for one thing: Where is the nearly endless coverage of the homeless we had during the Reagan and Bush administrations? There is 9.4% unemployment, there is a major housing crisis and the only homeless person we hear about is former radio announcer Ted Williams because he has “a golden voice”.

Are we to believe that there are fewer homeless people than under Republican administrations? The media would have you believe so because of their lack of coverage. Just remember that the easiest way to alter the public’s perception are the decisions on what stories are covered. Some might call it self-censorship. I do.

Three dollar a gallon gasoline looks bad now, but I predict that in six months it will look good. Growing political unrest in the Middle East like that in Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt and Yemen; the continued blockage of oil production in the US; and, the failure to pursue currently available fuel alternatives all will contribute to the increasing petroleum prices. Oil speculators will take advantage of this opportunity to reap profits and push prices even higher.

The possibility that the Federal Reserve System might bail out deadbeat states needs to be halted. We already know the Fed lends money to prop up foreign banks while our own economy is in trouble. It’s past time to audit the Fed and I’m still waiting for someone to tell me why that’s a bad idea.

Finally, do you remember when Democrats accused Republicans of favoring Wall Street over Main Street? The Dow hit 12,000 today. Democrats will likely claim credit and use Wall Street as a proxy for the economy to claim we are better off. Personally, I believe the stock market surge that began in August was because of the apparent, then-upcoming, GOP majority in at least one house of Congress. Let’s hope the market is right and the GOP can slow or halt government expansion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The SOTU on Truth Serum

My fellow Americans, tonight I’m going to be straight forward and rather than hold a political rally or berate the judicial branch of government, I’m going to stick to the state of our union.

Let me begin by discussing our foreign relations. We’re involved in two wars in which we are not fighting other countries, but are fighting against religious zealots who wish to destroy our nation, our culture and our right to religious freedom. They cannot defeat us on the field of battle and have chosen to sacrifice innocents through the practice of terrorism.

Their way of winning is to control our actions through fear. With that in mind, I am asking that we develop less intrusives means of screening potential terrorists at our airports and increase interdiction at our borders.

In the past, I gave deadlines for our withdrawal and had to retract those promises because reality is a harsh mistress. The war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are different. In Iraq, the people have shown a real interest in freedom. Many Iraqi policemen have been killed by suicide bombers, car bombs and IEDs. Still, they continue to sign up to be policemen and serve their country. For this reason, we will continue our commitment to the people of Iraq, but they need to understand that we cannot remain in Iraq over a long period of time. Americans will leave Iraq when we believe it can remain stable on its own.

I know many of you want us to withdraw from Iraq immediately, but we cannot afford to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. To leave now would jeopardize all we have accomplished and leave a free Iraq at the mercy of internal terrorists and oppressive theocracies such as its neighbor Iran.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has shown himself to be an opportunist and a coward, unable to commit to the freedom of his people. Karzai has continued his relationship with members of the Taliban, narco-terrorists and drug warlords, such as his own brother. A free country cannot be built on the foundation of such a corrupt state. We will not begin withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan at this time; however, because we need to invade northwest Pakistan where we are fairly certain that Osama bin Ladin is hiding like the coward he is.

While we do not wish to destabilize our ally Pakistan, we also know that the continued presence of bin Ladin will definitely cause the collapse of that government. We are asking the Pakistani government to clear all of its troops from that region until such time as we are convinced that bin Ladin is dead, captured and in our hands, or located in another country. In addition, we ask that civilians offer no resistance if they do not wish to be harmed. We have been patient long enough and we will bring all available resources to bear so that this criminal will be brought to justice.

In the area of trade, free trade only works if it is free on both sides. Our trade agreements with China now hinge upon the opening of China’s markets and proof that they are cracking down on the multi-billion dollar piracy of American trademarks and copyrights, especially intellectual properties such as software, music, movies and patents. This must end or we will close down our markets completely to goods of Chinese manufacture. Currently we have a $200 billion trade deficit to China. They need us more than we need them.

On the domestic side, we are in trouble.

We are approaching our debt limit of $14.3 trillion dollars. Over the past decade we have spent a tremendous amount of money in an attempt to make the country prosperous. That idea, which I was convinced was a good one, has failed. We must allow the private sector to grow. In order to do that, I am proposing three things.

First, I want to meet with a committee of committed deficit hawks from both sides of the aisle. We will consider all things, with the exception of the commitments we have made retirees and those within 10 years of retirement. We will look at all government subsidies and sweetheart deals. As a sign of commitment from our party, I will ask for the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, and related laws, which cause our government to spend far more money than necessary to appeal to our union friends.

Second, I will form a group similar to the Grace Commission to examine regulations and see which ones can be either revamped or repealed to make it easier to do business in this country. We have handcuffed business and asked it to carry far too large of a burden in unnecessary regulations.

To show my sincerity, as of now I am withdrawing my Executive Order restricting the drilling of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, I am asking Congress to withdraw some of the more onerous, previous restrictions on all offshore drilling. I will also ask Congress to come to a compromise about Anwar. We will separate the areas of interests to tourists and reasonable environmental concerns, while allowing small footprint drilling for oil.

Also, concerning energy, I am asking the energy companies to construct three additional oil refineries. We will waive any unnecessary regulations while maintaining necessary controls to protect the environment. In exchange, I ask the oil companies to construct at least two of the three away from areas likely to be impacted by hurricanes.

I will also ask the auto manufacturers to lend us a hand. The American people were generous with their assistance and now we need help. I ask that 50% of all internal combustion engines made in the US, be altered to accept concentrated natural gas as fuel. This will result in lower uses of petroleum and we have natural gas in abundance.

Finally, regarding energy, I will ask Congress to consider a law rewarding retail manufacturers for installing energy stations for electric automobiles in their parking lots. The technology is available to allow consumers to swipe a credit card so that their vehicle can be charging as the customer shops. Enough of these retail outlets across the nation will increase the viability of electric cars and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

Third, this is a much longer term solution, but I will ask for another committee to review our income tax situation. For individuals, sole ownership businesses, partnerships and S-Corporations any person of average intelligence with a high-school diploma and a decent command of the English language should be able to complete a tax form and have 100% certainty that they have accurately completed their forms and paid the proper amount.

In exchange for this, I ask the following from conservatives. All farm subsidies to C-Corporations should be ended as of the end of this fiscal year. Credit Card companies will not be limited in the interest rates they charge, but they cannot change the interest rates on money previously lent to consumers, so that prior balances remain at the same rate of interest. Penalties for late fees can be increased to help compensate for this loss of income.

I also ask for a bill to subsidize medical schools’ expansion and interest free loans to students in medical schools. In return, while I do not favor making malpractice lawsuits go away or capping damages, I do favor limiting them to situations where real malpractice or negligence can be shown. This should help lower doctors’ insurance rates while simultaneously allowing the protection of patients.

Finally, I ask for a real review of our health care system. Republicans and Democrats agree that the current system is broken, but disagree on the solutions. Let’s find the common ground and enact those laws so that improvements can be made.

Thank you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Tyrants Have You Either Way: The Death Tax

Most recently there was the “Breath Tax”: a governmental punishment of the living, a health care bill to make you ill, a taxation on your inhalation. First, though, was the “Death Tax”: a governmental punishment of the dead, a terminal take before the wake, a last confiscation before the final destination. For now, let's look at the latter also called the inheritance tax.

If a person works hard enough to “shuffle off this mortal coil” with a certain amount of assets, some believe it is that person’s duty to leave a portion to those not of his choosing. How natural that a man leave behind something for those things he loves: his family, his church, his civic organization, or his favorite charity. How unnatural that he should leave something behind to his government which, through taxation and regulation, made the accumulation of his wealth so difficult.

A cynical man, such as myself, is not beyond pointing out that the liberals’ concept of the death tax takes power from individuals and gives it to the favorite tool of the left, the federal government. It is no surprise that the idea rests – actually, it lounges arrogantly – upon the thoughts of communist hero Karl Marx. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Does that sound familiar? It should; Marx made it popular after stealing the phrase from Louis Blanc.

Blanc’s statement is based on the class-warfare concept that there can be no win-win agreements. One side must always take advantage of the other and individuals can never mutually profit from a business deal. Based on this, if you die wealthy then you have cheated others significantly and so the taking of your assets should be legal and is even just.

As he has stated on talk shows repeatedly, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) thinks that because a person is dead his wishes while alive no longer have merit, and neither do the current wishes of his heirs. However; if that’s true, then why doesn’t Schumer encourage the government simply take all of the money from all estates of all sizes? His logic dictates this should be the case. And if the government has use for half of your money, then surely it has a use for the other half.

Why don’t liberals advocate that Washington take it all? Why not take 100% of even the smallest inheritance? They don’t yet dare commandeer an entire estate, because they are afraid voters will look at their rationale and reject every bit of it. It is our willingness to concede the incorrect Marxist principles that emboldens them to pilfer at all from the dead.

Senator Schumer, and his other liberal allies, attempt to make the point that the dead person made the money, not his family and therefore the family has no right to that money. Yet, the family was deprived of the use of that money during the deceased’s lifetime, because they could not consume what he was investing. In real life, unlike the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of Obama’s health care package, money cannot simultaneously be “invested” by a government program while being spent elsewhere.

Schumer’s thoughts beg another question: Why should the government get the money? I have yet to see anyone in the media ask Schumer this simple question. If the individual, not the family, earned the money, then the government certainly did not earn the money, so why should it get a penny? And if the government does get it, why not the local government? Why should the federal government be able to confiscate the result of a man’s life work? Perhaps someone will ask Schumer this question, because the family is the smallest and oldest political unit.

It was the sacrifice of the family, as well as the individual, that made the accumulation of wealth possible. The government in no way suffered because the investment of the deceased created jobs, funded research, developed technology and created additional wealth. This is apart from the taxes and fees the man and his family paid. The government benefitted from the family’s sacrifices and Senator Schumer wants them to be deprived again.

Schumer might further argue that if it were not for the government the deceased would not have had the opportunity to make money. This may be true, but the individual paid taxes during his lifetime for that opportunity and was not rewarded by the government for creating jobs that created additional taxpayers. In fact, the successful person is offered no more government services than anyone else, but pays more money for them while alive, because of the “progressive” federal income tax also based on Marxist class warfare.

If Schumer’s arguments are the best arguments the liberals have, then they have none. Audacity alone is not reason enough to allow the continued theft of the hard-earned wealth of individuals. The left have become so hungry for money that they have turned our federal government into licensed grave robbers.

It appears that the inheritance tax is a device to prevent capital accumulation. In fact, it destroys capital which lessens investment, which harms the economy. The wanton destruction of capital is an attack on our society and our ideals, not the wealthy.

The truly wealthy will always find legal ways to avoid high taxation, but those attempting to become wealthy, especially small farmers and small businessmen, will receive the punishment of the government’s mistaken actions. The American ideal of leaving each generation of a family more financially able than the last through hard work and judicious living is being trampled in the rush to redistribute the wealth of the middle class. It is past time to end the inheritance tax.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Modern Prometheus

A very famous literary work subtitled “The Modern Prometheus” showed what happens when good, far-reaching, intentions are combined with arrogance to the point of hubris. For now, let’s just remember that in Greek mythology, Prometheus was a son of Zeus who befriended mankind by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mankind. He made things much better for man but was severely punished.

Last year, Democrats rushed through a health care plan with more holes than Swiss cheese used for target practice by a platoon of sharpshooters carrying Thompson Submachine guns. It wasn’t just the GOP that the Democrats, particularly the US Democrat House leadership, brushed aside; it was also a large portion of the American public. Now that there is a GOP majority in the US House and now that most folks have figured out that there are a lot of problems and a lot of additional expenses, the Democrat tone has changed.

“Let’s sit down and work this out. I’m sure we can come to an agreement. We both know that you like some of our ideas. There’s no need to throw away all of this work.” Reasonable words, soothing words, and words that when put into context are, oh so very, easy to reject.

It’s about relative power in relationships and about timing. It’s also about a few assuming that they know what is best for the people of this country, better than the people themselves.

If Democrats wanted to compromise on government health care or to even debate government health care, that opportunity was last year. As you remember, Democrats had absolutely no interest in allowing Republicans to debate, much less amend, their 2,000 page bill. The Reality Check Moment was former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing in front of reporters telling the nation that in order to know what was in the mysterious, impenetrable health care act, it would have to be passed first. Pelosi might as well have said, “Trust us. We’re from the government and here to help you.”

Oh, wait. Sorry. That IS what she was saying. Nancy Pelosi is no longer a joke. She has specialized. She has actually become the punchline to a joke. Congratulate her when you see her, will you? It's a big step up for her.

I won’t go into the many other examples that show Democrats were in suicidal haste to pass their bill. They are easily found and there are far too many to list. What is clear and incontrovertible is that Democrats made no actual effort to even consider other ideas. There was no offer to compromise or to debate.

When President Barack Obama met with Republicans, he rejected all of their ideas because he said that they were not “revenue neutral”. This means that the GOP did not play games with numbers the way that the Democrats did.

Now we know that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf was not pleased with the manipulation brought forward by the Democrats. The CBO is often cited by Democrat leaders as a “neutral” body whose econometric models are without political bias. The problem for the CBO is that when they construct an econometric model they are restricted by the assumptions given them by Congress. What that means is, "Garbage In, Garbage Out."

If congressional leaders say, “Our model needs to assume that the economy will grow by an extraordinary rate for the next ten years, then that – though it is ridiculous – is what the CBO must do. If the CBO is told to assume that Medicare money can be spent multiple times, in multiple places, then that is what the CBO must do. This is why Doug Elmendorf raised a ruckus about the assumptions made by the Obama administration and by Democrat congressional leaders – he did not want the CBO to look like fools. I don’t blame him.

So the GOP, rather than mine through more than 2000 pages of regulations, looking for the occasional nugget of gold will likely want to scrap the whole plan. Most Americans agree and that is why the Democrats are sweetly asking for a compromise now that the health care plan has passed.

The Democrat line is that people need Obamacare whether they know it or not. While the Democrats claim to be Prometheus, bringing a great benefit down from Mt. Olympus, others of us will look upon them instead as “The Modern Prometheus” and understand that hubris is no substitute for knowledge. We remember that “The Modern Prometheus” was the subtitle for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s great work, “Frankenstein”. The Democrats have indeed released a monster among us that must be stopped.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cracks in the FunHouse Mirror, Part II

We like feedback and many of us require it so we can feel secure. Most of us need a mirror in order to properly shave or to apply makeup or, in Eddie Izzard’s case, both. We want to know how we’re doing. We see this desire in children, loved ones and co-workers. We seek affirmation from people whose opinions matters to us and often from authority figures. Here’s a warning to TEA Partiers and other conservatives and libertarians: Don’t expect an honest reflection from the left or from the media.

As amazing as it seems, there are still those who expect a true accounting from mainstream media, and even more astounding, from the left itself. It will never happen. The hatred of the TEA Party has become such an obsession for the left that it is a part of their identity. For the left to confess that it was mistaken, even in part, regarding its most high profile opponent is to admit its own shortcomings.

As for the media, the TEA Party Fanatic has become a part of their cultural mythology. In that myth put forth by political liberals, where logic and reality are unheeded suggestions, the TEA Party is full of violent, ignorant, stupid, homophobic, trigger-happy racists who hate all government but aren’t cool enough to be anarchists. And the facts to support this myth are . . . apparently unnecessary. Logic and facts are, after all, tools of an oppressive western civilization that liberals hate almost as much as they despise the TEA Party.

The latest example of the left’s political necessity and the media’s cultural myths is the reaction to the murder of six people in Tucson, including a federal judge, and the shooting of an additional 13 people, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Because Giffords is a Democrat, the immediate outcry from the left and their pet media was to blame the rhetoric of the TEA Party and other conservative sources. That fact that the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, did not even vote in the last election and, reportedly, did not watch news or listen to talk radio, was no obstacle to the left’s politics and mythology.

The reality check question is, “After the shooting in Tucson, has the condemnation of the political left fallen more on presumed shooter Jared Loughner or the members of the TEA Party?” Loughner has largely been given a pass by the media and the left, while the accusations falling on the political enemies of the left has continued unabated.

Even without admitting its errors, one would think that the left would have slithered away into its hole and cut its losses. The left is counting on the usual attention span of the public, and here is where reality has sharp teeth: the TEA Party and its allies are now paying attention and there will be no neutral ground for Democrats in 2012.

Those who failed to call for a halt to the unsubstantiated attacks will be held accountable just as those who voiced that same heated, hateful rhetoric. Their feedback will be given in November of 2012.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mayor Shaheen states grand jury believes Walker possibly murdered

According to the Warner Robins Patriot, Mayor Chuck Shaheen has told the Warner Robins City Council that a grand jury believes that former mayor Donald Walker may have been murdered.

This is not the bombshell. The bombshell is that Shaheen states that the grand jury also suspects Donald Walker's wife, Patricia Walker, of the murder and that Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans helped cover up the murder. Radio Station WRWR has been playing the audio of the meeting between Shaheen and the city council this afternoon on its local talk show.

City Attorney Jim Elliot has confirmed that he accompanied Mayor Shaheen to a grand jury meeting at the request of former Houston County District Attorney Kelly Burke last March. Elliot would not comment beyond stating that he was present, at Shaheen's request, as the grand jury asked Shaheen questions.

Patricia Walker and Brett Evans both supported Shaheen's opponent Chuck Chalk in last year's mayoral race. There has been continued and open animosity between Shaheen and Evans and between Shaheen and members of the Warner Robins City Council.

Questions still remain:

Why did Shaheen wait ten months to drop this bombshell?

If the grand jury believes Patricia Walker guilty and Evans an accessory, why has no action been taken?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cracks in the FunHouse Mirror, Part I

There was no mourning on the “Professional Left”, just gleeful expectation at the opportunity to undermine a particularly effective foe. When the editorialists of the New York Times launched their attacks on the TEA Party, the name of the vile, worthless shooter in Tucson was still unknown – as were his political beliefs. It didn’t matter and, frankly, I don’t believe it would have mattered, regardless of facts.

Here’s a reality check question for you: Since the Tucson shooting, have you seen more verbal attacks on the presumed shooter, Jared Loughner, or on the Tea Party movement? Just ponder that for a moment. Does this strike you as people upset that lives were violently taken, or does it appear more likely that political hacks are not allowing “a good crisis go to waste”?

Liberals are ambitious in political matters. They are not content to simply take an excuse to attack conservatives and libertarians; not when larger matters are at hand.

We all knew that the TEA Party would be blamed for the shooting in Tucson. It was as certain as the sun setting in the west, though a lot less pleasant. Then, the left followed swiftly with attacks on our rights as free human beings.

Why does the generic response from the generic left always seem to involve a restriction of God-given rights? Within two days, there were hysterical calls to restrict first amendment (speech, including “symbology”), second amendment and tenth amendment rights. Sadly, I’ve probably overlooked some others.

The left wants to use a, “troubled” I think is the preferred term now, man as an excuse to steal more of our rights as the country mourns. This is equivalent to a burglar breaking into your home while he knows you’re at the funeral of a loved one. Let’s face it; it’s just plain creepy as well as disgusting.

If I fail to communicate anything else, I hope you will remember this: Our laws – federal, state and local – are written for sane, responsible adults. Yes, there are exceptions for criminals, for incompetents and even for irresponsible people – but those are noted exceptions. We cannot afford to write laws that assume everyone is a criminal; that everyone is not sane; that everyone is incompetent. We certainly cannot use one unstable young man as an excuse to strip us of our rights.

To do so is to repudiate everything that Thomas Jefferson believed. It is to repudiate everything this country is founded upon. It would be a declaration that man is not capable of ruling himself - a “Declaration of Dependence”.

Loughner wasn’t political; he was unstable. We now know that Loughner was registered to vote as an “Independent” and that he didn’t even vote in 2010. In addition, Loughner’s friend Zach Osler stated, “He [Loughner]did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.”

Some people will wait for an apology from the left. It won’t come, because the reaction to Tucson is about many things, but truth is not one of them.
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