Wednesday, January 20, 2010
1) The guy who did this video should sweep the Academy Awards in every writing category.
Somebody needs to endow a Chair at one of the Ivy Leagues in his honor.
P.J. O'Rourke himself should offer his congratulations.
2) Massachusetts elected a Republican, and Jon Stewart rips Keith Olbermann.
People, we have passed through the looking glass.
Somebody needs to endow a Chair at one of the Ivy Leagues in his honor.
P.J. O'Rourke himself should offer his congratulations.
2) Massachusetts elected a Republican, and Jon Stewart rips Keith Olbermann.
People, we have passed through the looking glass.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The 2007/2008 War for the White House. There are those that say it’s the worst race ever, and those that say it’s the tightest race ever, and those, like me, who say it’s pretty much politics as usual: My Guy, Yea! Your Guy, Boo!
There is, however, one new phenomenon in this year’s race that baffles me— And I can say with confidence it’s new phenomenon in American politics. I’m speaking of the left’s searing hatred of a vice-presidential pick, Governor Sarah Palin.
Where does this come from? What is it about her that inspires such white-knuckled rage?
I’m a conservative, and I think Barrack, Joe Biden, and runner-up Hillary have goofy political ideas, but I don’t hate them. I’m happy to admit, in fact, that they are all smart, ambitious, inspiring to their followers, and savvy. I also admit to finding them to be elitist, affected, racist, and narcissistic, but I don’t hate them… it takes a lot to inspire that emotion in me.
But Governor Palin? If you have access to the Internet, you already know what I’m talking about-- there is fury amongst tens of millions of Americans at the mere mention of her name.
According to these haters, she’s not just “dumb,” she’s “an embarrassment.” She’s not just “unqualified,” she’s “proof that John McCain is an idiot.” She’s not just a “deeply religious,” she’s a “close-minded, hateful bigot.”
You betcha, to coin a phrase. A bigot married to an Eskimo. Happens all the time.
So why the hate? Poor Dan Quayle was the butt of a billion jokes, but people didn’t hate him. What are the reasons Governor Palin inspires such an emotion? Let’s explore a few ideas that come to mind:
She’s beautiful. No two ways about it, she’s “America’s hottest governor from America’s coldest state.” Not only is she beautiful, but she’s just had a fifth kid and still retains a body that would bode well in a bikini. I think her beauty is most horrifying to the shrieking feminists on left, who are far more comfortable with female politicos that angrily eschew things like “looks” and “fitness”: Madelyn Albright, Janet Reno, and yes—Hillary. “Pretty girls” are the butt of these “smart” women’s jokes, because “pretty girls” have it all handed to them on a silver platter, right?
Now don’t get me wrong… there are plenty of beautiful women who hate Sarah Palin, but it’s for a different reason. They hate her for her stunning, meteoric success—that she rose to become Governor in a male-dominated state, while remaining married to her blue-collar husband, while raising five children, while being involved in church and athletics—and now she’s potentially one heart-beat away from being President! Beautiful women just don’t do that… because they don’t have to, of course. Maybe marriage, a career, and school board-- but not that level of success. For a beautiful woman to see another beautiful woman put in such hard work—ugh. It’s hateful to be reminded of one’s decision to take the bench early, I guess..
She’s married to a man’s man. For the last forty years, the hard left has sought to recreate American men and American women as American human beings, as if we are somehow differentiated only by reproductive organs. Men should cry more. Women shouldn’t cry at all. Men should be sensitive. Women should be tough. Men should get manicures. Women should compete harder in sports. The destination is a mushy, gushy middle, where everyone is equal, and equally unattractive to the opposite sex.
And you know what? There’s been a lot of success in this area. Grim-n-grumpy feminists wake up in the morning with the Pilsbury Doughboy next to them. (Boy, that’s a turn-on). The Pilsbury Doughboy looks in the mirror and sees—surprise, surprise—what he’s become: Effete and helpless. Then comes Todd Plain. He works the nightshift. In the oil industry. In Alaska. He races snow mobiles. He’s got a flat belly. And he’d kick your ass in a bar fight. He’s everything the Grim-n-grumpies strangled out of their husbands, and both parties in the bed know it. That’s cause for a lot of hate.
She’s apparently happy. The twenty-year marriage, five kids, started life without a trust fund, didn’t marry money, works sixty hours a week—just two of these horrifying afflictions would have the hysterics on the left on meds and in therapy. And yet, Sarah Palin is not only surviving… she’s thriving. She seems to be happy. She talks about her husband as “still my guy.” She looks like she’s having fun when she gives speeches. What’s not to hate?
She’s low-maintenance. Sarah Palin can stalk, shoot, and field-dress a moose. She lives above the Arctic Circle. She snowmobiles with “her guy.” She ran against her own party to become Governor in an uber-macho state and maintains 80%+ approval ratings. She and her husband pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. They work as a team. She is, quite literally, the polar-opposite of Hillary Clinton. She seems to offer evidence that you don’t have to be a “bitch” to make it. She seems to demonstrate that a sham marriage is not a pre-requisite to making it big. She is hardest, meanest dose of reality a Hillary supporter could ever be forced to see… and the result is hate.
She makes clear the inexperience of Senator Obama. Barrack Obama has less that 200 days service in the United States Senate. He has zero executive-level experience. None. In fact, at one point he pointed to “his campaign” as his executive experience, as if running for President makes you qualified to be President.
Personally, I have no problem with Obama’s lack of experience. Hell, I think I could be President, sipping on martinis and taking advice from my hand-picked advisors. But the problem with Sarah is this—A leftist cannot rub her face in the dirt of experience without stuffing Barrack’s in there too. She has executive experience as a mayor and a Governor, and he has none. Zero. And the fact that Obama supporters are put in a position where they have no choice but to sound stupid and hypocritical in discussing Obama’s superior qualifications… well, hatred is the only viable emotion.
She is one of us. This, I think, is the thing that inspires the deepest hatred. You see, Americans love their champions and leaders up on a pedestal—invincible and removed. We like our sports heroes to embarrass and crush the challengers. We like our movie stars nothing less than perfect. We like our politicians to members of mensa, or brilliant orators, or war heroes, or fabulously wealthy aristocrats who’ve never worked. Why? Because we love our “stars” not for the light they shine down on us, but how far away from us they are. Sarah Palin reminds us of how little most of us have achieved—that 99% of us are mere scrappers, vying for 10,000th place. She is the American success story of a woman who took what she was given, and multiplied it one-hundred fold.
And for that, I love Sarah Palin. And even if she fades into political obscurity in the next two months, I will always remember 2008 as the year I was, probably for the last time, inspired by an American politician.
America has weathered a number of crises in the past 233 years, and rarely have we learned from those mistakes.
Our latest blunder in the making is our attempt to spend our way out of a deep and painful recession, despite the fact that FDR used the same strategy and failed miserably.
Why is this? Why have we failed so utterly to learn from our past? A child only touches a hot stove once, and – voila – lesson learned. Why aren’t we the people kindred souls with that child and those scorched fingers?
I think it’s because – in terms of evolution – we have it too easy. We, as a nation, have come so far, so fast, that our brains cannot adjust. We’re surrounded by decadent luxury, while most of the world is trying to figure out how they are going to avoid starving to death.
Gang, we the people are light-years ahead of the rest of the world. Our poorest people have clothing, food, and – 9 times out of 10 – shelter with a television. Our basic middle class lives like the elite of most nations, complete with car, cable, cell phone, fashionable clothing, vacations, and junk food. And our rich—well, let’s not even bother.
Is there anything wrong with this?
No! Our forefathers made it possible—It is our national damn-did-we-get-lucky birthright. It’s just that we, the human animal, aren’t ready for it. For two million years we’ve been very, very slowly refining our survival techniques, and suddenly in the past 100 years we’ve come to consider electricity to be necessary for survival.
Well, it’s not. It’s necessary for luxury, and sustaining the lifestyle “to which we’ve become accustomed,” but it ain’t necessary for survival. Ask the rest of the world.
The fact that we are where we are is the ultimate anomaly! It’s the miracle of miracles! The true testament to the brilliance that our Creator endowed us with! We should all be waking up – everyday – and staggering out into the sunlight and shouting, “Thank you, God, Buddha, Allah, Great Spirit, Great Pumpkin, for allowing me to be born in America!”
Do we? Nope, despite the fact that the saber-tooth tiger is dead; crops are grown in the grocery store; the cave has been replaced by a cozy little apartment; fire is created at the push of a button; the horse only needs re-shoeing every 40,000 miles; our clothing comes from hides that someone else acquired, tanned, and sewed for us; the weather is of no real consequence; and we’ve even gotten Madonna to move out of the country.
In short, all the really had work is done.
And because we don’t have to really take care of ourselves, we no longer take
responsibility for ourselves. Everything is “beyond our control,” it seems. Alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, gambling, pedophilia—these things are all “diseases.” If in doubt, we sue the manufacturer. If we choose a life of crime, we blame our parents and society. And if we need an opinion, we look to the television to provide it.
Here, I believe, is the madness of it: We the people are acting more and more victimized, when in fact we are the least victimized people in the world. In America, it takes exactly one generation to go from a black citizen being arrested for riding in the front of the bus to a black citizen serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It takes zero generations to go from being a computer nerd to the richest man on the planet.
Is this possible in any other nation? No. Why?
Because they didn’t have Thomas Jefferson and a team of the greatest thinkers in history create their nation from scratch. Their nations were created like, well, jello, where eventually over time things just sort of jelled into place. Then unjelled. Then jelled.
Socialism doesn’t work. Communism doesn’t work. Fascism doesn’t work. Anarchy doesn’t work. Feudalism doesn’t work. The world has been there, tried that…and only one system works really well.
The one created in the 1770s, which we are trying so hard to screw up. There are many, of course, who like to blame our strange state of affairs on specific entities and specific people: Our elected officials, our judges, our lawyers, our media, our schools, our social programs, our bureaucrats, our special interest groups.
But, as P.J. O’Rourke explored so brilliantly in Parliament of Whores, aren’t “they” actually “us?”
Where do “we” end, and “they” begin? We elect them. We pay their salaries. We watch their news reports. We read their magazines. We use them to sue each other. We live our lives in accordance with their decisions and their opinions. So what do we do?
Perhaps we study and restudy history, and look for an answer there. It worked, after all, for our Founding Fathers, as they used the lessons of history to create our constitution. Learning from the mistakes of others is a great, painless way to solve most problems, and perhaps we could try using it.
Then again, perhaps America some sort of bizarre divine experiment, on a collision course with destiny, unable to alter our direction, incapable of learning from past examples, unable to remember that fire burns, and the saber-tooth tiger bites.
And if that’s the case, let’s just hope someone learns from us.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
On January 20, Barack Obama became America’s first black President.
It was a day for the history books, not just for America, but for the world. Blacks comprise a mere 12-13% of the population, and yet we the people elected a black man to lead our nation— the entire globe should take note of what human rights and equality can make possible.
At President Obama’s inauguration, civil rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery prayed these words: “…in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”
People, I can’t take it anymore.
We just elected a black man as the PRESIDENT, and this black man prays for the day—future tense—when “white will embrace what’s right.”
Reverend Lowery, let me give you a little nugget of truth: Remember your work back during the Civil Rights movement?
How y’all took on the racist policies of the country through peaceful resistance?
This may come as a tremendous shock to you, but not only were you right—you prevailed.
Yes, change came slowly, and affirmative action was needed for many years, but ultimately the righteousness of your cause prevailed.
Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream has been realized, and in 2008 men are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Of this I am positive.
Why? BECAUSE WE JUST ELECTED A BLACK MAN AS PRESIDENT.
Your problem, Reverend Lowery, is that you don’t want a man judged by the content of his character. Or by how hard he works. Or by his intellect.
Why? Because you see men only by the color of their skin: They are either white, or not white. And for some reason, you believe that being black should be a meal ticket—a get-out-life excuse, where unemployment, out-of-wedlock births, crime, drug use, and laziness are accepted as an acceptable response to past injustices and current self-image.
Well, it ain’t.
And the folks I feel sorry for are the MILLIONS of middle and upper-class blacks who have to listen to you, year-after-year preaching your broken record message that “the Man is keeping us down.”
These folks have long since broken free of the shackles that bind YOU, and decided to succeed—in spite of the fact their great-great-great-great-great grandparents were slaves. Despite the fact that America was a largely racist nation up until the Civil Rights movement opened so many eyes. Despite the fact that some percentage of America still believes those racist views.
What else could they do? It was either succeed, or spend another generation in poverty.
Thankfully, these Americans decided it was time to move on—from you, and the insulting policies of the liberal elite, and the ghetto mentality espoused by the Rap music community.
Let me tell you the story of a black man in America, born at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement.
He came from a broken home of mixed-race parents, who largely abandoned him. Despite this, he studied hard, and graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, magna cum laude.
He worked a low-paying job as a community organizer, got married, had two children within the confines of that marriage, and got into politics.
Along the way he learned to orate like an educated man, eschewed the “coolness” associated with being “one of the homeboys,” and kept his eye on the future. Oh, AND NOW HE’S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
It is clear, Reverend, that you believe all of us bigoted whites get up each morning and before leaving for work make out a list of People-to-Oppress Today.
But then how do you explain Obama slipping by? Was he so super-human that he simply overcame, through force of will, a nation of whites committed to his destruction?
Did he get to take his law exams in ebonics?
Maybe he has a low testosterone level, thus children with multiple women wasn’t necessary?
Or do you think it’s possible he put his best foot forward, every single day for 47 years?
And that he ignored the teasing about “talking like a white man?”
And that he resisted the advances of comely young admirers because he was committed in marriage?
Do you think it’s possible that even some of us white bigots “embraced what is right” and encouraged this promising young man to strive for great success?
Because of you and your supporters, Reverend Lowery—from Al Sharpton to Jim Clyburn, millions of young blacks will miss the entire point of President Obama’s election.
You will be so wrapped up in reaching for hand-outs, and trying to norm ghetto life, and discussing Barack’s blackness that you will cause these young people to miss the story of his excellence. Barack didn’t overcome racism—he overcame an unstable home life, and a ton of extremely hard college classes, and the poor pay of being a social worker, and the boredom of shaking hands to win votes.
He didn’t overcome white America… he overcame life.
I did not vote for barrack Obama. I cannot think of one thing we agree on.
I believe he is the most unqualified President since Ulysses S. Grant.
And I think a huge chunk of the people who voted for him couldn’t have told you the name of his running mate on a bet.
But I do admire him. And I hope he’s the greatest, most successful President in history, because he’s inherited a hell of a mess from President Bush, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.
And while he may have stood on your very shoulders to even see his dream of becoming President, he’s there now. And he’s no longer standing on your shoulders. So don’t make him serve his term with you and your fellow racists on his back.
The following was written less than a month after the election of President Obama. He was inaugurated more than two months later. You be the judge. Was I right?
Well, it’s all over but the taxin’. The Chosen One has been chosen, and America is in for some big changes.
Although I fundamentally disagree with everything President-elect Obama stands for, I can take comfort in one primary reality— he never lied about who he is, or what he stands for.
He spoke eloquently for over a year about his dislike for our nation as it is, and the hope he held for the nation he could create. And he won. No one was tricked by his good-looks or his lip-biting, feel-your-pain delivery.
He explained what he stood for, and the majority of Americans stated, “Yup. I agree. That’s what I stand for, too.”
Let’s examine those issues, shall we?
Spreading the wealth around—He made it quite clear to Joe the Plumber that spreading the wealth around was a good thing, and something he planned to do. In a 2001 radio interview on Chicago public radio, he stated that one of the tragedies of the Civil Rights Movement (and of the Warren Court) was the failure to address the need for the redistribution of wealth.
When a reporter asked President-elect Obama if he regretted the “spreading the wealth around” comment, he stated flatly, “No.” Given that spreading the wealth is the bedrock of both communism and socialism, I gotta give President Obama credit—he says what he thinks.
Big Government— This is a governmental philosophy that both Obama and McCain shared-- no matter who won, we were going to get even bigger government-- just twelve years after Bill Clinton declared, “The era of big government is over.”
Obama clearly believes a bigger government can fix our national ills, despite the fact that the last eight years has seen stratospheric spending. The House and Senate from both parties got everything they wanted, and yet here we are.
When you are running against the record of George W. Bush, and holding his policies up as what not to do, shouldn’t your plan be different than his? How can the cure for out-of-control spending be more spending?
But, as always, Obama was very straight-forward on where he stood.
Rejecting Patriotic Symbols— There was, indeed, no doubt that Barrack Obama wanted nothing to do with Old Glory. He blatantly refused to wear an American flag lapel pen, and was never shy about speaking up about it.
He also removed the American flag from the tail of the plane and replaced it with the Obama logo.
Do such symbols matter? I’m sure that’s a personal decision—but at least President-Elect Obama made his feelings clear.
Racial Issues— President-elect Obama’s opinions on race were fearless. Absolutely fearless.
Barrack called the uber-racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright his “spiritual mentor,” and sat through twenty years of sermons in a church where the preacher proclaimed America to be the “US of KKK.” In the wake of Rev. Wright’s hateful, Anti-America sermons being exposed, Barrack gave a brilliantly crafted speech during which he sounded sad and reasonable and explained we need to understand the source of this racism, and work to heal it. (Please see redistribution of wealth above).
When President-elected Obama was forced to defend his comments from that speech concerning his grandmother, he then referred to her as “a typical white person,” who has a fear of black men “bred” into her.
Even the Huffington Post went ballistic on that remark, asking what the response would be if Hillary Clinton had referred to “a typical black person.” For those who need translation, let me say this— Racial relations have been healing for almost forty years-- Our new president intends to tear the scab off that wound, and start cutting deeper.
Like all of his beliefs, however, he laid it out for those with ears to hear.
Taxes— In a debate with Hillary Clinton moderated by Charlie Gibson, President-elect Obama made clear his views on taxes and class warfare. Mr. Gibson explained, “President Clinton cut capital gains taxes to 20%. President Bush cut them further to 15%. In both cases, revenues to the government via capitol gains taxes grew. How does this reality square with your plans to increase capital gains taxes”
The Chosen One responded, “Charlie, we said we would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, we just elected a man who stated publicly that seizing money from the rich is more important than additional tax dollars that might help the poor. And he was willing to admit to it.
Foreign Policy— President-elect Obama has stated from the get-go that he plans to sit down for “conditional” talks with Iran and North Korea.
I’m sure this makes folks like John Stewart feel all warm inside, but what do you think it will accomplish? News flash-- Kim Jong-il is insane. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is insane. Barrack may also want to meet with the guy at the Med U who thinks he’s Elvis, but that meeting isn’t going to make the guy any less insane. And as for the future of our support for Israel? The holiest place in the Christian world? You be the judge. But remember, President-elect Obama didn’t hide his thoughts from you.
Things fall apart-- As for this new America, it appears I am now the stranger in a strange land, bitterly clinging to my guns and my religion.
The American voters have stated that the values my parents worked so hard to instill in me are passé, and that personal achievement and personal responsibility are no longer desirable.
It seems my four years of service in the Legions was for naught-- for it was my job to defeat the expansion of communism, yet we are now rushing to embrace the “lite” version of that very ethos. The center could no longer hold us together, and things have fallen apart.
At least I can say this: There will be few surprises. President-elect Obama did not hide his agenda.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In this ever-increasing age of big government, we the people are allowing our rights as Americans to be eroded by Big Brother in Washington. George Bush started this return of “Federalism,” and Barack Obama has taken the baton and is running like a seasoned athlete in peak form. Our Founding Fathers went to a great deal of inconvenience to ensure these rights were built into the Constitution, but somehow we’re allowing them to be whittled away. And most people don’t seem to care.
There is, however, one right you should care about above all—the Second Amendment, which states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Some gun opponents like to argue the meaning of “a well regulated militia,” claiming this wording refers to the government’s right to “regulate” the militia, and thus the ownership of firearms. Arguing over the wording is their right, of course—but it’s a right they have only because individual Americans retained the right to possess arms, and over the next century these civilians came running when the call went out for the militia to assemble.
But let’s not get bogged down in the technical argument. It’s tedious, and ventures down way too many intellectual rabbit holes— Let’s allow the Supreme Court to decide (and re-re-re-re-decide) the technical argument. What I’d like to discuss briefly is why the Second Amendment is important to our nation, and is still relevant in 2009.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee presented a three-part resolution to the Continental Congress stating that the Colonies should be free states. Everyone liked the idea, but the writing lacked gravitas, so they sent it to a committee-- and everyone knows what happens there. The chances are good that the document would still be in committee today, and we’d actually care the dysfunctionality of the Royal Family, but someone in the committee had the foresight to turn the re-write over to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wisely edited the original document with a match, and began over.
According to historian Alan Axelrod, Jefferson admired the work of English philosopher John Locke, and Locke had (years earlier) listed three “inalienable rights” in his writings: Life, Liberty, and Property. Jefferson agreed with Locke’s first two, and listed them accordingly. However, Jefferson clearly did not believe the third of Locke’s “inalienable rights” needed to be listed as an “inalienable right.” He believed them to be “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
We know that Jefferson got the idea of “inalienable rights” from Locke. We know he considered them at length. And we know he decided that, in America, listing property is an “inalienable right” was not necessary.
Why? Here’s my take on Jefferson’s thinking: Locke was an Englishman, and in England your personal property was not safe from the “Above the Law” King. If you owned the nicest horse in the kingdom, and the King decided he wanted it, he could send over a few knights to simply take the horse. Why? Because he’s the King, and you (the “subject”) had no way to defend yourself from his Royal Thugs. In Locke’s English mind, this was a violation of “natural law,” and the English people deserved to feel safe in their rightful ownership of property.
Jefferson, already formulating in his own mind what “the United States” would be, knew that there would be no such thing as a thieving, untouchable King, and the nation would be a nation of laws— a place where residents would be citizens, not subjects.
Laws would rule and guide, not the child of some genetically redundant warlord. This was a new-to-the-world concept—free men, self governance, and real rights for the individual—and the Declaration of Independence needed to explain the coming rebellion to the leaders of other nations.
Imagine the confusion:
Advisor: … so these Americans will govern, well, themselves.
King Vitamin: Yes, yes. But who shall rule?
Advisor: Well, my King—they will.
King: They? Who is they? Who will have my job in these States?
Advisor: No one, my Lord.
King: You can’t have a kingdom without a King.
Advisor: Right, my King. It won’t be a kingdom. It will be a Republic, where they elect men to speak on their behalf in a forum of discussion and compromise.
King: Madness! We manage as a kingdom because we know my every thought is ordained by God, and my decisions are above the law!
Advisor: Strangely enough, my King, my former boss said those very words, the night before you chopped off his head and ascended to the throne.
King: Don’t be contrary. God told me that he and my brother were no longer speaking. It was my duty to become king. Oh, well. I know King George—he’s hardly a gravity scientist, but he does have a decent army. It’s hard to resist the will of the King when he has guns, and you have only root vegetables to defend yourself.
Advisor: Actually, My King, almost every man in America owns his own gun.
King: Ha! King George will confiscate those guns prior to the rebellion!
Advisor: I don’t think you’re quite tracking along with this new concept, my Lord.
And in the end, that was that—the average Colonist was armed—and armed with the same weaponry as the King’s thugs. Our ability to even become a free state hinged completely on the fact that “the people” were armed, and were able to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. Now if our very independence was even possible because the populace was armed, why would Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers seek to then disarm the population?
At this point, many anti-gun readers are thinking one word: Relevance. They feel this right is antiquated, regardless of the Founders intent. The people simply no longer need guns.
To that, I respond with the name George W. Bush—the man those very same people believe to be the most evil man in modern history. Some called him a fascist, some say he orchestrated 9/11, some say he tried to turn America into a dictatorship, and some say he would have refused to leave office if he could have pulled it off.
Hey, let’s say that’s all true! That Dubya did want to initiate a governmental takeover, and rule for life. Then why didn’t he??!! Lenin did. Hitler did. Mussolini did. Castro did. Pol Pot did. Mao Tse-Tung did. Ho Chi Minh did. Kim Il-Sung did. Ferdinand Marcos did. Idi Amin did. Manuel Noriega did. Slobodan Milosevic did. If all these evil men did, why didn’t George W. Bush?
Because he couldn’t: The right of the people to keep and bear Arms still exists, and our government fears us. Might be a good idea to keep it that way.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Before starting, let me clarify: I am, indeed, a capitalist. Capitalism inspires men to achieve great things, as they are rewarded for their efforts. I am a capitalist. A capitalist, I am.
I have, however, been thinking about the capitalism we are practicing in this country in 2006, and I think we have some problems. And I’m not sure we can fix them.
You see, I believe capitalism can only work long-term if it is held in check by a deeply-held moral code. Why? Because when morality begins to slip, so slip the weak towards the base human lust for money and power.
This concept isn’t new, of course. Back around the turn of the century, our nation was virtually held hostage by the greed of the Robber Barons like Gould, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan.
These guys were, in case you don’t know, thieves and liars of the highest order. It was a time when the nation was expanding westward, politicians and cops were on the take, and cheap immigrant labor was pouring into the country. The Robber Barons simply figured out the playing field, burned their morals at the alter of the almighty dollar, and went to work. As history now tells us, their system of kickbacks, bribes, extortion, and outright murder had them richer than Bill Gates will ever dream of being.
The Robber Barons reign of terror in the United States was so bad, it could have led to a revolt by the masses, and the nation may have collapsed into communism… the dictatorial Soviet Union kind.
Fortunately, one man with a moral code, President Teddy Roosevelt, came along and broke up the trusts and monopolies, and sent the Robber Barons to bed with a spanking and no caviar. The moral code of one man saved our nation.
Today, our corporations are operating in much the same way as the Robber Barons. Enron, Global Crossings, Tyco, the list is long. Too long. Employees look the other way, bigwigs cook the books, Wall Street rewards the process, and lawyers protect the whole lot of them.
Even in cases where no one is actively committing a felony, the corporations often act without morality… consider all the people in last five years that have seen their pensions go poof, while company executives received multi-million dollar bonuses for structuring the deal that made the pension go poof. Of course, it’s not just Wall Street that eggs on this behavior: It’s a well established fact that Wal-Mart doesn’t make most of their money selling to you… they make it by getting their suppliers to mortgage everything to meet their expansive orders, after which Wal-Mart “re-negotiates” the price down to where the supplier is working for no profit, and struggling to stay afloat.
Wal-Mart: Meet our price, or we’ll stop ordering.
Small Supplier: Stop ordering? I built a new plant specifically to fill your orders!
Small Supplier: You knew that… you helped me refine the manufacturing specs.
Wal-Mart: Oh, in that case, let us rephrase the demand: Meet our price, or die.
This is not capitalism. This is business anarchy.
Even many small businesses are infected by the attitude. Have you noticed how many small businesspeople are no longer satisfied if you, the other business, make any money whatsoever? It’s fine for them to score big with their idea or land development or service… but who are you, trying to make profits from your work? It seems that every deal these days must have a winner and a loser… win-win has become an unacceptable outcome.
Could all of this be because we, as a nation, aren’t going to church anymore?
Consider Europe, which is practically socialist now. Friend, the Europeans invented the modern capitalism we practice… they are the ones that exported it to the New World. So what happened? Perhaps they had a big meeting in Switzerland and declared, “Enough of this being rewarded for the fruits of our labors and ideas. Let’s all reinvent ourselves as second-world, McSocialist nations, where we stop being significant.”
Do you think? Me neither.
So what happened? Hard to say, but one thing’s for sure: Christianity has pretty much died off on “the Continent.” Could that be part of it? That with so few Christians around, the morality holding capitalism in check died out, too? And left to their own human devices, things got ugly? That little guys had the motivation beat out of them by the amoral big guys? And big guys got so lazy and arrogant that they quit even trying to hide their greed and corruption? And 1+1 equaled a decline into McSocialism?
Yes, I’m sure an economist would poke holes in all my ideas, and would claim the market always corrects itself, and the shareholder must get paid, and I’m just griping because I didn’t invent the Pet Rock.
But here’s a fact: We’re the most successful capitalist country in the world. And we’re arguably the longest, most established example of truly successful modern capitalism. But we’re only 225 years old.
Every empire in history has imploded.
Every single one. Most recently, the collection of nations we call Europe.
Why? Why does this happen every time?
I believe it’s because every empire reaches the point where its moral code falls apart, and the empire self-destructs.
But Alexander, and the Greeks, and the Romans, and the Moors, and all the other ancient empires at least had an excuse: They didn’t have God come down and give them the New Testament. They didn’t have God’s Holy Spirit available for counsel. They didn’t have Jesus Christ, and the ability to say, “What would Jesus do?”
I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that not one single person directly involved in any of corporate America’s recent scandals asked themselves, “What would Jesus do?”
Can you imagine all the pain that could have been avoided if they had? Imagine how much better we’d off we’d be if all of us would ask ourselves that question during our daily work: “Okay, this single mother of two has cancer, but the treatment will be expensive… and technically I can deny the claim because her employers failed to file their 2005 SRD forms by the deadline. Hmmm… improve the corporate profits, or pay to treat her cancer?
Gee… I wonder what Jesus would do?”
Of course, the amoral capitalist always has a comeback: “It’s business.” “Law of the Jungle.” “Kill or be killed.”
Please. As if it takes a Colt .45 Peacemaker and a steely nerve to lie on a spreadsheet, or screw an unsuspecting person in a business deal.
Here’s a newsflash for the “Law of the Jungle” types… if you think you’re a real gunslingin’ businessman, go do business with some L.A. street gangs. Get them to commit to a deal, then short them on their percentage. They’ll be real impressed when tell them who your law firm is.
It has been said that democracy can never survive as a permanent form of government, as eventually the people will come to understand that they can vote themselves benefits out of the public coffers. I’m beginning to think unregulated capitalism cannot survive as a permanent economic engine, as those without morals will eventually realize that those “bound” by morals are unprepared to deal with well-planned, methodical treachery.
What’s the alternative? I don’t have one.
Maybe Jesus does. What would Jesus do in this situation?
Ah, yes! He’d probably invite us all to one of His weekly business seminars… He holds them every week at His house.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
In the coming months, I will offer commentary on the new Era of Hope.
Prior to beginning this series, allow me a one-time blanket analysis, offered for the sake of avoiding the but-but-but-Bush response that every liberal feels obliged to offer whenever the New Order is criticized.
By putting these facts on the table, perhaps we can then consider the politics of 2009 and beyond.
So, let us begin: Every word that George W. Bush said or implied for eight straight years was a lie, except when he answered "yes" to the question, "Are you an evil, racist, homophobic, violent fascist intent on taking over the world?"
He invaded Iraq because he likes to kill children.
He personally and single-handedly caused our economic meltdown because it would make him and his friends richer.
He spent weeks at a time reveling in drunken blackouts, and turned all decision making authority over to Dick Cheney.
He cheated his way through Yale, and wears a bracelet that reads, "What would Hitler do?"
He personally oversaw the torture of every individual incarcerated at Gitmo. And for fun he would watch old videotape of the suffering caused by Katrina.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the Democrat party, and some of the change we can believe in.
Following President Obama’s speech to Congress, Joe Biden hit the road to defend his boss, and weigh in on the policies he outlined. On the CBS Early Show, the host informed Vice-President Biden that the show received a question from a viewer named Lisa Hendrickson who asked, “for clear details about how the stimulus package is really going to help small business."
Here is the first half of Vice President Biden’s response:
“I would recommend that woman call my office directly, and I will be able to guide her as to what pieces of this package would be directly helpful to her. For example, it may very well be that she's in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren't able to get to her, there's no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair, may very well be that she's in a position where she is unable to access the -- her energy costs are so high by providing smart meters, by being able to bring down the cost of her workforce.”
Brilliant. And so very connected to the struggling small businessman. I remember just last week I was at a meeting with a client, and we were discussing the challenges he was facing.
Me: Your big seller is what?
Client: Hawg feed. And crystal meth, or course.
Me: Do you have a sense of why sales have dropped?
Me: Hmmm. No idea at all?
Client: Well, there’s one thing.
Me: Tell me—
Client: We was dynamite fishin’ last summer, and on accident we blew up the bridge ‘et runs over the crick to mah trailer. You kin still git there, but it takes a 4x4.
Me: Ah, the humanity! You’ve encountered the age-old accessibility issue!
Client: Any idears?
Me: None! It would take a miracle—or a miracle worker!
But the Veep’s keen insight into the trials and tribulations of small business went even deeper! His connection to their plight borders on spiritual— In fact, I used his ideas the very next day when meeting with a local car dealer client.
Me: Look, you’re sales are off by 78%—but that’s just a symptom—we need to get to the real problem. This spread sheet says your biggest payables are inventory; payroll; P&C insurance; advertising; health insurance; maintenance and cleaning; repo costs— but where’s your electric bill??!!
Client: It’s on the next page. Next to the line item for key chains and koozies.
Me: Yes! I see the problem, right here! Clearly what we need to do is cut your electric bill by 35 percent! What do you think of that?
Client: That would be great.
Me: What would you do with all that money?
Client: Hire a marketing consultant that isn’t an idiot.
Me: You’re a hater—I bet you don’t even care that Polar Bears are drowning.
After the Vice President of the United States suggested repairing “the bridge across the creek” might save America’s small businesses, one can’t help but ponder what the reporter would ask next.
You or I would have followed up with, “Mr. Vice President, are you just drunk, or as crazy as an Outhouse Mouse?”
But the show’s Hostess, stunned at being so close to one who personally knew The One, could ask nothing tougher than “By the way, do you know the website?”
Time for the Veep to redeem himself. He stammered, said he was embarrassed, then looked offstage to an aide and said, “You know the website number?”
The website… number.
Needless to say, I picked up my telephone and called that website immediately. After they answered, I did a search on the keywords “small business,” and a total of zero matches were found.
Madness! I assumed, of course, this to be the work of a graffiti hacker, who’d removed all the hopeful small business information from the website—so I decided to inform the VP. I must’ve whipped my horse a hundred times as I drove my buggy to the Post Office, where I posted an overnight e-mail to them, complete with tracking and insurance.
I haven’t heard back from the VP, but I’m certain I will—that’s the way this Administration rolls. They don’t just solve problems—they personally solve your specific problems.
At a Town Hall Meeting, Henrietta Hughes told the President she needed housing, but was on a two-year waiting list.
The One told her to speak with his staff after the meeting, and they’d square it away. (Everyone on the waiting list for housing, please take one step backwards.)
Now VP Biden is available to discuss infrastructure and energy policy with every small business owner who has a phone.
It occurs to me that all Bill Clinton ever did was feel your pain—under Barack and Joe, however, the White House will not only feel your pain, they’ll discuss it, analyze it, and massage it with money until it all goes away.
Sad news, my fellow Americans. The Republic has reached its tipping point, and well, it’s done tipped-- and there’s no way to put the spilled milk back in the bottle.
We are now a socialist country, complete with socialized banks and socialized medicine coming next. We’ve even nationalized some private industry.
How can this be? Those are tactics for Banana Republic dictators to prop up their failing nations, not national policy for the greatest nation in history—am I wrong?
Yes, I guess I am wrong. And I find the whole mess to be depressing, because it never should have been allowed to happen. Socialism is un-American. Period.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being a socialist if you live in a country that allows for socialism, but the United States does not.
The United States was, in fact, founded by some very independent, risk-taking, hard-working, leave-me-alone men. We know this because they left us some paperwork on the issues, primarily in the form of a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution of the United States.
In the event one of my readers is a socialist, and hasn’t really studied the timbers that were used to build our nation, here’s a little background:
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee presented a three-part resolution to the Continental Congress stating that the Colonies should be free states. Everyone liked the idea, but the writing lacked gravitas, so they sent it to a committee-- and everyone knows what happens there.
The chances are good that the document would still be in committee today, and we’d actually care whether Prince Harry is in rehab again, but someone in the committee had the foresight to turn the rewrite over to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wisely edited the original document with a match, and began over.
According to historian Alan Axelrod, Jefferson admired the work of English philosopher John Locke, and Locke had (years earlier) listed three “inalienable rights” in his writings: Life, Liberty, and Property.
Jefferson agreed with Locke’s first two, and listed them accordingly: Life and Liberty. However, Jefferson clearly did not believe “property” to be a true “inalienable right.” In reality, Jefferson believed them to be “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Get out your mental highlighter, because this is important.
We know that Jefferson got the idea of “inalienable rights” from Locke. We know he considered them at length. And we know he decided that, in America, listing property as an “inalienable right” was not necessary.
Here’s my take: Locke was an Englishman, and in England your personal property was not safe from the “Above the Law” King. If you owned the nicest horse in the kingdom, and the King decided he wanted it, he could send someone over to just take the horse, and rape your maid. (Or rape your horse, and take the maid, if he preferred).
Why? Because he’s the King and the King is above the law-- even if it’s your property. In Locke’s English mind, this was a violation of “natural law,” and the English people deserved to feel safe in their ownership of property.
Jefferson, already formulating in his own mind what “the United States” would be, knew that there would be no such thing as a thieving, untouchable King, and that people might be truly free.
Because of this, Jefferson specifically deleted “property,” and replaced it with “the pursuit of happiness.” If owning a ton of stuff makes you happy, you were free to “pursue property.” If owning nothing and living a Grizzly Adams existence was what you desired, grizzle away.
According to Jefferson, your pursuit of the good life is what deserved protection.
Note, however, that he specifically wrote the “pursuit of happiness” and not just “happiness.” Why? Because failure and unhappiness are both potential outcomes of any pursuit. So here in this country, all the Founding Fathers wanted to offer was an equal shot at happiness—and in Colonial America, “happiness” was pretty easy to define-- you either achieved some form of happiness, or—Anyone? Anyone?
Correct! You starved to death. And that was that. You either succeeded in fending for yourself, or your failures were buffered because you were part of a supportive community or church, or… you died. Period. Three options.
Is this nice? Compassionate? Kind and gentle?
No, it is not. In fact, it’s too mean for even a cold-hearted conservative to stomach. So, over the centuries, we slowly (so very, very slowly) built a nation that offered a safety net for the sick, handicapped, oppressed, and even the lazy. We became a country where the government would support you if you were nothing more than lazy!
From 1981 to 1989, our nation was led by a President named Ronald Reagan. Despite a very conservative platform, Reagan was a fairly popular President—even his detractors respected his leadership, and he and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill waged ideological skirmishes over the path of the nation—back and forth, give and take. It was a pair of strange bedfellows who made America a better and stronger nation. It was a time when it was fun and interesting to discuss politics with those who held different views.
I would say it was the high-water mark of the empire.
George H. W. Bush, Sr. followed Reagan, and it’s been downhill since then. At some point in the past 20 years, politics got uglier. Meaner. Disagreement gave way to hate.
And as politics found its way into the gutter, gutter dwellers found their calling-- and thus they have worked their way up in the ranks, as candidates and consultants and media pundits. Political Action Committees got into the business of king-making, an industry greased by billions of dollars in crooked fundraising and payola. It got bad, fast.
And during this century, the wheels have come off entirely.
Our government grew so out of control and corrupt that it enabled a charismatic young newcomer named Barrack Obama to arrive on the scene, and successfully pitched the message, “Let’s change everything. Let’s become a nation where we take from the rich and give to the poor. Let’s proclaim health care as right. Let’s dispense with the tough guy act, and try to understand and embrace with our enemies. Let’s stop acting so sovereign, and act more like members of the global community. And let’s grow the government to the point where we can deliver to every man, woman, and child the one thing that they deserve: Happiness.”
The masses elected that young newcomer, because they want that happiness.
And now they have hope—hope for a future that will offer not a level playing field, but a playing field designed to cater to the average instead of the exceptional. America will now be a nation that doesn’t reward achievement, but instead will spread the wealth around.
It’s all quite lovely.
Except that it’s un-American. I’ve got the paperwork to prove it.
Friday, January 8, 2010
During the past seven years, a new phrase has worked its way into the lexicon of the left—I support the troops, but not the war.
I’ve listened to it for quite some time now and failed to address it, filing it under the category “too moronic to discuss.” With the election of Barack Obama, however, it is clear that well over half our nation has no understanding of the military whatsoever, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to bring them up to speed.
First and foremeost, a news flash for the support-the-troops-but-not-the-war gang: Every single serviceman currently serving in the military enlisted or reenlisted while the country was at war.
Since the military’s job is war, and war is designed to kill people and break things, it’s pretty much certain that every single serviceman took their oath knowing that violence was part of the package.
For the contrarians in the crowd, let me dumb that down a bit: How many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines do you suppose joined up thinking, “I disagree with this illegal and immoral war, but—hey, sign me up anyway. I’m willing to risk life and limb for a per-hour paycheck of less than minimum wage.”
If your guess was zero, step forward and collect your prize.
Look, I’m quite sure there are servicemen who regret their decision to join, and now want us (and themselves) out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but that kind of military mind-changing has been happening since armies first clashed with rocks and saber-tooth tiger teeth. War is horrible, and wanting to be home is a sane response to an insane situation. Wanting to come home, however, should not be confused with the sense of purpose and duty these brave individuals felt when joining.
Now, if 100% of our troops joined while the nation was at war, what can we conclude that means?
Logically, it means that those young men and women thought it through, and decided the war was righteous. They decided the cause of fighting fundamental Islamic terrorism at its source (instead of here in America) was worth the risk.
They decided, “You don’t get to blow up the Twin Towers, then live in peace. This is America, and we will not abide such behavior. Someone’s got to pay, and I’m willing to be the one who collects that debt.”
Is this barbarous? For the John Mellencamps’s who view America as nothing more than a geographic location, it surely is. For the Keith Olbermann’s who believe America is the problem, not the solution, it surely is. And for the Michael Moore’s who believe America is an evil empire, it’s more than barbarous—it’s imperialistic murder.
But what is it to the troops?
It’s duty. Honor. Country.
You see, not-the-war gang, our nation still gives birth to these rare souls—men and women who don’t need input from the United Nations or The Huffington Post to determine right from wrong.
They don’t care about geo-political deal making; they don’t care about Sunni vs. Shia squabbles over who should have inherited Mohammad’s camels; they don’t care who’s getting what oil from where. They know America was attacked, and thousands of innocent men, women and children were murdered.
So somebody’s got to pay.
And if you ask our combat troops about collecting on that payment, 95% of them would say, “Afghanistan? Of course. Iraq? Sure, why not. Oh, no WMD’s were discovered? Gee, I’ll just have to soothe my aching conscience with the knowledge that Sadam Hussein, who murdered over 50,000 Kurds and ran rape/torture rooms for political opponents, is now dead and in hell. And maybe I can get through the day knowing that Islamic terrorists are still flooding into Iraq like lemmings to the sea, and by killing those animals here I know they won’t make it to my homeland.”
The men and women on the front lines of this war simply don’t care that Bill Maher thinks the war is bad.
They don’t care that decades ago, before they were born, America was in bed with Sadam.
And they certainly don’t care about the opinions of the pinot grigio and foie gras crowd.
When they joined the military, they cared about duty, honor, and country. Now that they’ve experienced the horrors of war, they probably care more about the man on their left and their right. But let there be no doubt they care about winning, and returning home with honor.
And you, Mister and Miss Not-the-War, sound like morons when you fail to comprehend this very basic foundation of an all-volunteer military.
A hypothetical situation for all the not-the-war supporters: You find yourself sitting next to an Iraq War veteran in a bar, and you hear him talking to the bartender about the media’s coverage of the war, and how demoralizing it was to hear the Democrats proclaiming the war to be lost, unjust, illegal, and pointless. You hear him speak of the losses his unit suffered, but also of the good he feels they achieved.
What do you do?
You want to speak up, but—oops, you are no longer oh-so-bravely poised behind your computer screen, able to comment anonymously. And you’re not surrounded by a crowd of fellow protestors, bolstered by mob bravery and the thrill of being anti-establishment.
It’s just you, and him.
So what do you do? Do you speak up, and tell him you supported him, but not the war?
Of course you don’t. He stands for something, and is willing to put pain, mutilation, and his life on the line to defend his beliefs. You stand for nothing but your own “feelings,” and are willing to put nothing on the line. Perhaps you will go home and post on your blog about what you “felt like saying,” but you won’t actually say anything.
Want to know why?
Because physical violence is scary. And a weak man is always afraid of a hard man.
The same holds true for nations. And we know these Islamic fundamentalists are, if nothing else, hard men, backed by hard governments.
And if you won’t even face down an American veteran with your beliefs, what makes you think you and your equally impotent political leaders can face down Muslim terrorists?
But, hey—feel free to keep that I-support-the-troops-but-not-the-war sticker on your car.
Maybe you can use the sticky side to stop some of the kids’ bleeding them when the war comes to an elementary school near you.
In an editorial for CNN, Governor Mark Sanford recently opined that the November election wasn’t a rejection of conservative ideals—it was a rejection of elected Republicans who refuse to govern according to conservative ideals.
Within the piece, the Governor added, “during our time in the wilderness, it's my hope that we go back to the basics of conservatism.”
That would be my hope as well—but our recent lurch towards socialism has gained some significant traction.
The past four years have been a perfect storm of frustration, spun up by corrupt business, narcissistic politicians, and a press corps that would be more at home in an advertising agency than in a news room.
The socialist branch of the Democrat Party seized (quite brilliantly) on this frustration, stuck the Republicans as the heavies, and began beckoning we-the-people towards their promise of pork in every trough— and turning off the pork spigot once it starts flowing is going to be tough for several reasons:
Men like Lindsey Graham:
Lindsey Graham is the symbolic face of the new Republican Party, a man far more committed to his own ideals than those of his constituents.
From the day he arrived in Washington he’s been a McCain Mini-Me— he sold out President Bush regarding the appointment of conservative judges so he and Mr. Maverick wouldn’t have to change the precious little rules of their Senator’s Club.
He’s fought for Mr. Maverick’s Amnesty Scheme, despite crushing opposition here in South Carolina. (He has pronounced that South Carolinians who disagree with him are “bigots.”)
American Spectator rated him “the worst Republican Senator.”
And with his Senate seat on the line, he voted absentee so he could be with Mr. Maverick on election night-- in Arizona! Dear Lord, are you kidding me? He didn’t even bother to stay here for his own election?
The arrogance of such an act is beyond mind-boggling, but such is the behavior of incumbent politicians. Let me give Mr. Graham his due—he’s certainly no Harry Reid, and he’s strong on defense, but since when does that earn you a Senate seat from one of the most conservative states in the Union?
He is, quite simply, betting that the press generated by his “reaching across the aisle” maneuvers will increase his “name recognition” enough to ensure his re-election, despite his failure to stand for the ideals of his constituents. Oh, and his gamble was right— Mini-Me just won six more years on the Gravy Train.
As a middle class scrapper, I have one thing to say to the wealthy: Good for you. Barack Obama, however, has a slightly different message: Cough it up.
His message to you comes as a result of a brilliant mathematical gamble. You see, right now 33% of Americans pay zero income tax—and Barack did the math and said, “If I flat out promise to steal from the rich and give to the poor, I’ll lock up 33% of the voting public.”
So, he did.
Do you understand how brilliantly evil that is? And how blatant he was about pitting the poor against the rich? He looked ‘ol dreaming-of-a-better-life Joe the Plumber in the eye, and said, “You don’t like it? Tough. I think it’s better to spread the wealth around.” When asked by a reporter if he regretted making the statement, he laughed! Laughed, and said, “No.”
So, starting with 33% of the vote, all he had to find was another 18%.
When you add in his promises to senior citizens, environmental groups, global warming alarmists, and anti-war voters, then add in idealistic liberals, the white-guilters, the Bush-haters, and the UN-lovers, that 18% was no problem for a guy as well-spoken as Barack.
Now let me ask you: Even if we are in a depression where people are literally starving to death, do you think any of the people in the groups described above would be willing to say in 2012, “Barack was wrong. I was wrong. I’m going to vote for the conservative candidate that’s running.”
Not likely. It will take an all-out message and media war to re-explain to these folks the principles that conservatives (and the Founding Fathers) stand for.
I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up on the generation that will soon be running our nation, but trust me—the news ain’t good. In fact, American businesses are now retaining consultants to teach them how to deal with the “entitlement attitude” that’s so prevalent among our precious snowflakes.
Kids are going to white-collar first-job interviews and requesting additional vacation, flex-time, and work-at-home days. So why the consultants? Because companies are giving up on waiting for the traditional hard-charger to walk through the door—they’ve got to appease these kids, because all of them want the special treatment! And these are new college grads, expecting to be treated as executives!
America is a great country because legal immigrants came here and worked like dogs to realize the American dream; some got lucky, and realized it first-generation, while others simply passed along a better life to their children… but one thing unified our great American melting pot for 200 years: Hard work. Remove that from our national psyche, and we will quickly be replaced by nations willing to do the work we aren’t.
The bias of the American media is well known: Fox and talk radio are conservative, and the rest range from mildly liberal to clearly Marxist. But the problem is this—News is no longer news; it’s show business.
Pundits and anchors pretend there is a journalistic chasm between them, but there isn’t-- at least not one the average American can understand. The 24–hour news networks have turned pundits and anchors alike into movie stars, and it’s impossible to tell anymore what one “heard on the news” and what one “heard a pundit say.”
The mix of news and opinion is so thick that it’s also impossible to tell anymore what’s not being said or reported. Consider a telling moment from a recent Charlie Rose Show on PBS—Rose, Newsweek’s columnist Evan Thomas and editor Jon Meachum, were viewing a re-run of Obama’s victory speech, and Thomas stated “There’s a slightly creepy cult of personality about all this.”
No one denounced the remark—in fact, the three discussed how elusive Obama is, and how little is really know about him.
What??!! Is this a new revelation? Or something you’ve believed for months? How come it’s never been discussed by Newsweek? Or reported as fact by Newsweek? Which of you represents news? Which of you represents commentary? And which of you kept these beliefs to yourself because you were afraid it would “hurt” Barack Obama in the election?
There is hope: Right here in South Carolina we’ve got a conservative heavyweights—Senator Jim DeMint. In terms of governing by conservative principles, he is above reproach.
But—and this is a big but—you rich folks are going to have to dig deep and give big, because the media is not going to tell the story of why conservativism matters. As a result, that story—a story of self-reliance and fiscal responsibility, and personal excellence-- will need to go around the media filter, and that costs a ton of money.
Fortunately, we still live in a free country, so the choice is yours: You can write checks to the men who represent achievement and capitalism, or you can wait for a socialist nation to take it from you.
In 1967, psychologist Martin Seligman conducted a behavioral experiment involving dogs which offered up a startling discovery, the result of which gave rise to the concept of “learned helplessness.”
In a nutshell, Seligman discovered that if you shock a dog with electricity enough times—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzt!—the dog will cease to resist the punishment. It will simply accept the shock as part of its reality, and fail to take evasive action—even when evasive action is possible! I love dogs, but it’s a good thing we humans are different from them.
Can you imagine the fate of mankind if learned helplessness was part of our psyche? How would we move forward, striving to become a freer nation and a better people? Where would we be without the desire and ability to fight back?
Take for instance Timothy Geithner, who is undergoing confirmation hearings to be the Secretary of the Treasury, a position which will place him also at the head of the Secret Service and the IRS. In case you missed the news, he failed to pay $34,000 in self-employment taxes from 2001 to 2004, and after being caught by the IRS, he, uh, continued to fail to pay them. Clearly this is—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
The Republicans should, of course, fight the idea of a tax cheat heading up the IRS, but Lindsey Graham stepped forward to defend him. Since when do Republican Senators side with partisan Demo—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
I’m also amazed at the rubber stamp being offered to Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, given the list of questionable and international contributors to Bill Clinton’s library. How can you wave America’s big stick when you have direct financial ties to—Zzzzzzzzzzzzt!
I think it’s important also to understand the “Rule Changes” Nancy Pelosi has enacted in the House, which essentially prohibit the Republicans from even offering input on a proposed bill. This is a reversal of the Rule instituted by Newt Gingrich, which provided the Democrats with fair say, and flies in the face of the non-partisan politics preached by Oba—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
America’s problems are hardly all due to Democrats. The Republican President led the charge to nationalize the banks, bail out the insurance companies, and rescue the Big Three, despite the fact that basic free market principles allow for both success and fail—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Speaking of opposing parties, can someone explain to me why Sarah Palin was cast as America’s most hated woman because of her “lack of experience, speaking style, and ambition,” yet just a few months later, you know, Caroline Kennedy is, you know, being considered for, you know, Hillary’s Senate Seat while the media fawns over her pedigree and volunteer work as—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
I’m also still amazed at how quickly the American media attacked and demonized Joe the Plumber for asking Barack Obama a simple question. The question wasn’t even a hard one, and Barack was happy to answer it. It’s almost like the media feels they alone have access to the First Amendment, and when—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Speaking of the First Amendment, I’d like to voice my concerns about Leon Panetta being chosen to head up the CIA; other than his vocal pledge to ban torture, even during a ticking-clock scenario, why is he even being considered? Shouldn’t the head of the Central Intelligence Agency have at least a day of background in intelli—Zzzzzzzzzzzt!
As of today, two days before the inauguration, we still have Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean serving time in jail for shooting a convicted drug dealer, based on testimony by the same drug dealer they shot. We also have United States Marines on trial for “murders” committed on the battlefield, as attested to by Iraqi combatants. How can we ask men to defend our nation when—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Riding into the tower of power with President Obama is, of course, the one-man brain trust known as Joe Biden. During the campaign season, Mr. Biden claimed the Obama administration would pursue prosecution of the Bush Administration for War Crimes, much to the delight of the left. Now, it’s possible my Dad taught me wrong, but the idea of a seated Senator calling the President a war criminal is—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
So I’m taking a stand. I’m—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Reality check: These days I find myself getting immune to talk radio—even the shows hosted by the non-yelling, common sense commentators. I have been a long-time listener to talk radio—because I enjoy hearing the opinions of intelligent commentators and guests—but the reality of 2008 and early 2009 has ruined the experience.
Why? Because there’s so much blatant corruption and partisan hatred on the part of both parties, the commentators have no time to discuss anything else. As they run through their stacks of the latest mind-blowing news, I find myself saying, “Well of course that happened. What else can you expect? There’s not an ethical human being within 25 miles of that decision being made.”
Even worse, I sometimes find myself saying, “Whatever.”
My buddy the Reverend Peet Dickinson pointed out something to me that I never noticed prior, and the reality of his observation is striking: Jesus never offered commentary on what form of government He supported.
It seems like He would have supported a democracy or a republic built on human rights and self-evident truths, but He never weighed in on the issue—other than to point out that human leaders have no other authority than what God has given them.
But how can this be? How could the Lord not have an opinion about the form of government that rules over humans? How could He not be passionate and angry about those corrupting the system? How could these new developments not bother him?
Peet explained that, too: Humans are involved in government, so corruption and sin are inevitable. Jesus saw that end game 2,000 years ago.
I thought, until this month, I was fully jaded by news coming out of Washington, DC.
What could shock me? There’s nothing new coming out about the economy, other than the words of blithering bureaucrats who believe 2 +2 can equal 5, provided enough people feel confident that it does.
There’s nothing new about Barack Obama’s policies, because he’s doing exactly what he promised he’d do: Spread the wealth, increase the size of government, engage foreign dictators, and turn his back on Israel.
The Cap and Trade Tax passed the House. Unemployment continues to skyrocket. Mr. Geitner says the economy is improving— despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of the “it’s got to be passed before you even read the bill” stimulus money is in play. And the mainstream media continues to herald Obama, with Newsweek’s Evan Thomas recently stating Obama is “sort of God.”
There’s nothing new to see here, people—move along.
Then, I started getting shocked again.
First up, the Supreme Court nullified the law of the land. This might well be one of the most important legal moments in American history. Don’t know anything about it? Why would you? The media didn’t report on it, and unlike me you have a life—it’s necessary to listen to “hate-radio/TV” and read the “hate-news” sources on the internet to discover little nuggets like the Supreme Court nullifying contractual law, which is the very glue that holds our entire economy together.
The short-short explanation is this: When a company like GM wants to raise money, they do so by selling bonds. These bonds don’t pay that much interest, but that’s because there’s very little risk involved.
Why? Because if something went terribly wrong at the company—something even as bad as bankruptcy—the bond holders get repaid first. Period.
These bondholders specifically choose not to enjoy the potentially higher return of owning stock, because they don’t want the risk associated with it. Paying bondholders first has been a part of business since the development of the stock exchange, and is supported by the rock solid foundation called “contractual law.”
This agreement that bondholders are paid first has never been violated. Never. Not once.
When Barack’s administration put together the plan for the bankruptcy of GM, they said, “Hey, those GM bondholders never did anything for us. But the unions have, so let’s reward them! Let’s just screw the bondholders, and give a big chunk of the new GM to the unions.”
As illegal as cold-blooded, no-motive murder. But the Supreme Court would never allow it, right?
There’s an old saying that goes, “The Supreme Court sees the election returns, too.”
I never bought into it, because—well, their job is almost sacred. They are the last resort for justice, and the court of no appeal. Sure they may be politically partisan when they can get away with it, but something as air-tight as contractual law? I figured all nine justices laugh the proposal out of court.
Nope. The conservative-leaning Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of Obama’s plan, and in doing so have set precedent that “a contract is legally binding, unless it fails to suit the whims of the government. Then, we’ll make it up as we go.”
We the people have lost the court of last resort as a legal compass.
The second shocker to get my attention was Obama’s firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin, whose job it is to oversee AmeriCorps.
In case you didn’t know, an Inspector General (IG) is an independent position, appointed to serve as a watchdog over a specific area. Like the justices on the Supreme Court, an IG is chosen, then left alone to do their work. In an effort to protect the independence of IG’s from big-fat-meanie Presidents like George W. Bush, a Senator named Barack Obama co-sponsored a law stating the President had to provide Congress with 30 days notice if he was planning to remove an IG, along with the cause for removal.
But for President Obama? He’s above even the laws he co-sponsored— He simply announced he’d lost confidence in Walpin, then advised Walpin he could resign or be fired.
After Walpin resigned, then spoke out about it, the White House went Joe-the-Plumber on him, and told the national media that IG Walpin was senile, and had to be removed. Since Walpin’s firing, the Administration has also overseen the firing of Inspector Generals Judith Gwynne and Neil Barofsky—all while knowing full-well their actions were illegal.
We the people have a President so far above the law, he breaks the law in the light of day, for all to see. And Congress is either powerless to stop him, or complicit. How many laws can be publicly broken by the President before we cease being a nation of laws?
The last issue I’ll address is Obama’s Czars.
I’ve never given much thought to the Czars of the past, because there were only a couple, right? A “Drug Czar,” and I think there was an “Intel Czar,” but who cared? I always assumed it was just a title that indicated we had a guy who was “ultimately responsible,” and could focus entirely on that one niche without the usual pressure to play politics.
Now that Obama has appointed over 18 Czars, the issue has become one of interest.
And here’s the rub: The appointment of a Czar puts a new player in the chain-of-command—an unelected, uber-powerful bureaucrat, who takes his seat without the advice and consent of congress, devoid of public testimony and confirmation. A Czar answers only to the President.
Czar is actually a wonderfully descriptive word, because the Czar is, well, a Czar. He rules his area, answering to no one. Only the President can fire him. And the position is both un-American and unconstitutional.
Why is it a big deal?
Because we need Congress and the President breathing down each others necks. We need oversight and accountability. We need them “checking” and “balancing” each other, lest one become too powerful. Partisan politics is good—because as PJ O’Rourke opines, on a perfect day they cancel each other out and leave us alone.
Sadly, our elected officials stand for nothing and, seeing that President Obama still retains good polling numbers, they choose to do nothing about this proliferation of Czars, in order to avoid irritating The Chosen One.
And that sort of wraps it up: When it comes to a moral, legal compass, we’ve lost the Supreme Court, the Executive Branch, and the Legislative Branch.
At the time when this column was submitted, a number of juicy tidbits were available for discussion: North Korea, and their intention to “wipe America off the map.” Iran’s week of slaughtering their election protestors. Governor Mark Sanford’s infidelity. Sarah Palin’s resignation. Michael Jackson, and his judgment by a very different jury. And Warren Buffet’s declaration that the economy is in “shambles,” with no “green shoots” in site.
So why did I choose the issues above?
Because these issues are not politics or news as usual—they are the rock on which we built this nation. We are altering the very DNA of our Republic, and you can’t UN-mutate a change like this.
Worst of all, we are norming illegal, above-the-law behavior at a breakneck speed, and the average American doesn’t care. In fact, the average American doesn’t even vote. The average American couldn’t identify Nancy Pelosi with a gun to their head.
And those of us who do care about the law and the Constitution aren’t a large enough group to reverse the tide. The barn door is open, the plane has crashed into the mountain, and creek has passed the flood stage.
My advice? Get right with your family, your friends, your neighbors, and Jesus—those will be the only things you’ll recognize about America a few short years from now.