Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bigoted Anti-Bigot Organizations

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) primary mission is to fight against racism, bigotry and related injustice.  Yet they appear to have lapses in judgment when they classify who is a danger and who is not.  World Net Daily has a point on article describing the careless classification of most conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians as “a threat” by the SPLC.

Below is an email I sent to this group expressing my views to them:

Regarding your reports expressing concern about "right wing extremists": Truth is, there is a disproportionately larger number of Americans who are not associated with any "hate or extremist group" who simply believe the policies of Obama and his Democratic Congress are very bad for America. It appears that your organization is disingenuously lumping these folks together with your "hate groups." Please distinguish those who exercise legitimate public debate, concern, and anger from those who would commit violent acts. Additionally, it is exceedingly odd that fascist Muslim terror groups and individuals, with a clear record of committing or intending to commit acts of terror in this country are not identified by your organization as "hate groups" or "hate incidents." Why is that? Greater care in what appears to be bigoted bias in your classifying people and groups is in order.

Oddly their web site  is sprinkled with photographs of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Branch Davidian fiasco as they discuss the dangers posed by conservatives – as if the Twin Towers and             9-11 never existed.

Do you suppose they care about these distinctions?

Friday, September 25, 2009

If it’s for “peaceful purposes”, why hide it?

What’s wrong with Iran developing nuclear energy? After all, oil resources will be depleted one of these years. Why should we single Iran out to stop their nuclear development?

For example, last year Brazil announced their intention to revive their nuclear capability for peaceful purposes. Why didn’t the world seem to be concerned about that?

I would be all in favor of Iran developing a nuclear capability if it weren’t for a few small details:

  1. Iran is an Islamic nation, the core of the Islamic world, practicing a form of Islam that has an avowed hatred of Jews and other infidels around the world.
  2. Their leaders and many among their population have vowed to eradicate Israel; they deny its right to exist.
  3. Their leaders and many of their people deny the holocaust ever existed; thus they are deniers of reality.
  4. They have hidden their nuclear facilities in attempts to keep their efforts secret.
  5. They have resisted world demands for inspections and have not been forthcoming with their program.
  6. They are concurrently developing a medium and long range missile system capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Their Shahab-5 missile is capable of delivering a warhead a distance of 5,500 km or 3,400 miles, far enough to reach most of Europe with a 1,500 pound warhead. It’s a bit disconcerting to note that there is little information on the internet on the Shahab 5 and 6 later than the early part of this decade. Even Russia is suspicious of Iran’s intent.
  7. They have every motivation to deliver nuclear weapons by unconventional means (suitcase or truck bombs) to further the Islamic terror campaign.

Aside from these problems, sure Iran, go right ahead. The problem with world sanctions is that they tend to be too little too late, and unenforced. Their nuclear facilities and “will to pursue nuclear” should have been eradicated several years ago.

Here’s more on Iran’s new “secret” nuclear facility on Atlas Shrugs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

E-mail to the President about my wife’s healthcare plan…

I fired off this e-mail to the White House this evening after I heard from several news sources today that Medicare Advantage Plans are thought to enrich the pockets of insurance companies and will be eliminated by the President’s health care plan.

My wife is covered by a Medicare Advantage plan -the only affordable plan she is eligible for. I understand the Presidents health care plan will be funded to a large extent through cutting or eliminating Medicare Advantage policies. This runs counter to the President's statement:

"Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”

It appears a change in her coverage will be required by the President's plan. Am I misunderstanding something or is the President being less than honest?

Our Medicare Advantage Plan is a great policy for the money – we are happy with the coverage. But the President’s plan requires us to change what we have to something unknown. Was the President:

a) Misinformed?

b) Being disingenuous?

c) Practicing Islamic Taqiyya?

d) Being misleading?

e) Obfuscating?

f) Merely lying?

Gee”, as in “golly” might be the best response - “all of the above.”

First it was the coal industry that Obama vowed to destroy through his cap and trade program. Next the takeover of banks, and the the auto industry. And now the health insurance companies. What's next? What other businesses and industries does this President wish to take over or destroy?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why “Free Trade” is Destroying America

Free trade seems to have almost universal favor among both liberals and conservatives. Why, I wonder. Most likely because we all relish cheap goodies, cheap electronics, appliances, cars, tires, pet food, just about everything in Wal-Mart. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Haiti, India – they all make things cheaper “over there” than we do over here.

Do you ever stop to consider why they make things cheaper? Salaries are a lot lower there, true. Does it matter to anyone WHY they are lower? Equal protection laws, minimum wage laws don’t exist in these other places. They do here. Nor do the plethora of environmental regulations exist “over there.” They don’t give a hang about the snail darter or cross-eyed Smelt. They don’t care a lot about child labor laws. “Over there” they don’t have a President who vows to kill their coal industries, the cheapest source of energy.

We have an abundance of laws protecting our air and water quality which dramatically increases our manufacturing costs. And we are obsessing over "global warming" by proposing to reduce our "carbon footprint" at a cost of hundreds of billions - an action that will have the same impact on reducing the earth's temperature as throwing an ice cube at the sun.

Sure, let's pour on more costly environmental and energy conservation regulations on what little industry we have left.

Is there a smell of hypocrisy in this? Let’s send most of our manufacturing jobs overseas so we can get things cheaper here while we continue to increase our manufacturing costs to improve our environment while other countries increase their unfair advantage over our workers by making things cheaper because they don’t have the regulations we have. Whew!

What is the end game of free trade? We promote consumption instead of production. We import everything. We create a pristine, energy efficient environment, and make nothing? We create pure air and foster abundant diverse rare species for all of us to enjoy while we all hike, golf and wait in unemployment lines? What do you think this will do to our balance of trade over the next several years? The picture isn’t pretty. It is as if we are all drunk on consumption and can’t see reality.

I’m not understanding this. For insights from one who knows a lot more about this topic than I, take a look at this essay from Pat Buchanan titled Globalism vs. Americanism.

Here is a great quote from his article, and the definition of the hypocrisy in all this:

Where they have tilted the playing field against us, let us tilt it back again. Transnational companies are as amoral as sharks.

The General Vs. The President - Update


While this original blog post assumed some connivance by the "media", this could be either White House or Military connivance. Here's an article detailing some interesting speculation of how and why the story was leaked.

McChrystal is deadlocked in a battle with Obama to get the resources to carry out the mission the President directed only five months ago. Obama is indecisive - balking - perhaps changing his mind. The General is frustrated, perhaps angry, and growing desperate to not lose excessive troops and fail in the mission. Any manager caught in the catch 22 of being responsible for completing a project and having essential resources withheld midstream can relate to the General's problem. I still believe it is a waste of lives, time, and money to attempt to change the "hearts and minds" of those dark-age souls. There is nothing to build on. The most we need to do is empower the CIA and special forces to keep an ear to the ground over there to track what is brewing that could directly impact our nation.

Here is my original post...

Why does the Washington Post have this much information? Here are my side bar comments to the latest Washington Post review of a confidential US war strategy document:

McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'
Top U.S. Commander For Afghan War Calls Next 12 Months Decisive

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 21, 2009

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.

An urgent, confidential assessment? Hardly. How do these things get “obtained?”

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.

This is great. The public and the enemy get to review this confidential assessment at the same time as the President. Peachy!

…he repeatedly warns that without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely. McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.

“Corrupt government?” Sounds familiar. Corruption is relative, like everything else - a matter of degree. The Afghan government must be really corrupt.

He provides extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency, which he calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan's prisons to recruit members and even plan operations.

Muslims “recruit members” from within the prisons? They do the same thing in US prisons. Why should it be any different in Afghanistan?

McChrystal's assessment is one of several options the White House is considering. His plan could intensify a national debate in which leading Democratic lawmakers have expressed reluctance about committing more troops to an increasingly unpopular war. Obama said last week that he will not decide whether to send more troops until he has "absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be."

After 8 years in Afghanistan our leaders don’t have clarity about what the strategy is going to be? After 9 months in office, our President doesn’t have absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be? How bazaar is that? How can we explain that? For starters, I take a look at the Obama book “The Audacity of Hope.” In it he speaks of his Muslim heritage, but not once in the extensive multi-hundred entry index to that book does the word “Islam” or “Muslim” appear. And nothing in the context of the reasons we are in the midst of two wars. This gives me a sense that he is either oblivious to the nature and threat of that fascist movement or he is deceptively part of it.

The commander has prepared a separate detailed request for additional troops and other resources, but defense officials have said he is awaiting instructions before sending it to the Pentagon.

Sounds like a General butt protection measure. Don’t send what he really recommends until the recommendation is approved. That’s creepy. Sound eerily like the Vietnam methodology: another freakin’ political war. If that’s the case, get our asses out of there! Hussein Obama has already declared he has no intention of winning.

Senior administration officials asked The Post over the weekend to withhold brief portions of the assessment that they said could compromise future operations. A declassified version of the document, with some deletions made at the government's request, appears at

Asked to “withhold brief portions of the assessment?” It sounds like the trustworthy Post has the entire classified document. Again, how do they do that? Why?

Here is the essence of the decision to be made. McChrystal makes the distinction:

McChrystal makes clear that his call for more forces is predicated on the adoption of a strategy in which troops emphasize protecting Afghans rather than killing insurgents or controlling territory. Most starkly, he says: "[I]nadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced."

“Without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced.” From the sounds of the “new strategy” the mission shouldn’t be resourced either. The new strategy is to spend our resources (several hundred billion over the next several years) on making the Muslims in Afghanistan happy. The problem with that is we have to become like them for them to become happy. Becoming “like them” means we have to become Muslim or become subservient to their religion, their culture, and their Sharia law.

How about a different “new strategy.” Learn about the historical fascist teachings of Islam and understand that that “religion” is in the midst of an Islamic reformation that is reinstituting Muhammad’s original teachings and militaristic practices of the dark ages. Then decide what we want to stand up for – decide whether our own values and religions and culture are worth standing up for and fighting for. This is where our confusion lies. Only after we do that will we have the motivation to really defend and fight for what we believe in. Until then, we our pi—ing our resources away.

We have a lot to do to keep our own house in order. We don’t even have enough understanding of Islam to do that.

There is a lot more to the Post article. Read it here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aid to Enemies; Betrayal of Allies

Obama continues his insane Husseinness.  It is becoming even more painfully obvious that his prior sucking up to Islamist, socialist, and communist nations were not isolated events.  That is his continuing practice – with a vengeance!  It is not enough to become buddies with Chavez and his friends, Hamas and other Islamists in the middle east and in the USA.  It is not enough to turn our backs on Israel.

So now we have the dismantling of our defense shield in Europe.  We have our long time allies saying Obama betrayed them.  We have millions of Americans saying “what the hell are you doing?” (I don’t have a link to that sentiment yet, but I see it coming real soon.)

Most of us agree that American is stretched too thin and cannot continue to be the worlds’ cop. But, if we want to note another clear divide between liberals and conservatives in this nation, it is all about how we sprinkle our resources around the world.

Liberals tend to treat enemies like friends and friends like enemies.  Aid is cut off to those most likely to be our friend and aid is increased to those who have declared us their enemy.

Conservatives tend to treat enemies like enemies and friends like friends.  We think helping our friends and cutting off assistance to those who declare us “infidels” and wish our destruction are good ideas.

Obama wants to buy the love of our enemies.  He naively believes if only we are nice enough to them, they will embrace us – their fundamental reasons for their “former” disdain will melt away.  But that is not enough for him.  We also have to demonstrate to our enemies that we are backing down from aiding our friends.

This practice might pluck the heart-strings of the half-thinkers for a few months while they hear the heaps of praise from the fascist nations who are the beneficiaries Obama’s misspent gifts.  Talk about waste of taxpayer dollars.  Shooting ourselves in the foot would be more cost-effective.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hypocrisy of House Censure Rules

What is the difference between clapping, hissing, cheering, booing, yelling “right on, man” or yelling “liar.” All are disruptive. How many agonizingly long minutes have political speeches been extended because of painfully disruptive applause? Exclaiming “liar” took only about a second. Booing is disrespectful but happens all the time.

The Free reports that under section 370 of the House Rules and Manual it has been held that a Member could:

• refer to the government as “something hated, something oppressive.”
• refer to the President as “using legislative or judicial pork.”
• refer to a Presidential message as a “disgrace to the country.”
• refer to unnamed officials as “our half-baked nitwits handling foreign affairs.”

Likewise, it has been held that a member could not:

• call the President a “liar.”
• call the President a “hypocrite.”
• describe the President’s veto of a bill as “cowardly.”
• charge that the President has been “intellectually dishonest.”
• refer to the President as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
• refer to alleged “sexual misconduct on the President’s part.”

Fortunately we still have free speech out in the real world. Too bad we don’t have free speech in Congress. Fortunately we can still call a spade a spade, we can still say Muslims are best known today for their terrorism, intolerance and their oppression of women without being censured. We can still speak the truth. We can still call someone a liar if they really are. Too bad Congress can’t do the same.

As an added bonus to this blog entry, I present to you a timely piece from a very wise commentator, Charles Krauthamer he titles: Does He Lie? Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Entitlement Mentality and Early Retirees

I’ve heard some folks complain about their inability to get health insurance when they retire before the age of 65, the age when they would become eligible for Medicare. In fact, they will use this alleged “deficiency in the system” as a reason to support excessive federal involvement in or “socialization” of the health insurance system.

There are many perceived inequities in our current healthcare system.  But the health insurance gap for those who choose to retire before age 65 is not one of them.  The age one retires is most often a choice.  If a person retires at age 63 1/2, he has 18 months of COBRA to carry him through to age 65.  But if he chooses to retire at 62 or 55 why should he be “entitled” to insurance subsidized by taxpayers?  Early retirement was his decision.  He wasn’t forced to retire early. Just because we have the option to begin collecting reduced social security payments at age 62 does not mean we should also be entitled to subsidized health insurance at age 62.  The system wasn’t set up to do that, and there is no inequity in the way the system was set up.

In fact, if the system is changed at all, it ought to be changed to reflect the increasing longevity of retirees by increasing the age of Medicare eligibility.   The chart below shows male retirement age in 1950 to be almost 67, while life expectancy was less than 65, leaving zero years in retirement.  Based on CDC data

In 2005, the average retirement age was a few months less than 61, and the life expectancy was 75, providing 13.5 years in retirement.  These facts make the Medicare program something it was never intended to be: A medical plan for those who don’t need to retire and are healthy enough to continue working.

If there is any question why Medicare is underfunded, it is because of the entitlement mentality of existing and future recipients.

Will workers feel entitled to receive discounted insurance at age 50 or age 30?  Yes.  It is happening now.

The prevailing motive of many who are in favor of government option health insurance is their desire for something for nothing paid for by others from an increasingly socialized federal government – a desire to be “entitled” at someone else’s expense.

Refusing coverage for preexisting conditions is another matter. The two areas where there are inequities – refusing insurance to those with preexisting conditions and prohibiting insurance company competition across state lines which arbitrarily reduces competition – should be corrected.  That can be accomplished through legislation without excessive government intervention or unfair government competition subsidized by taxpayers.

9-11: What if Obama Was President?

Several thoughts about where we are eight years after September 2001.

Can you image if 9-11 occurred during an Obama presidency – knowing the radicals, the “truthers”, the Muslims he is surrounded with?  Among the American people there would be an exactly opposite proportion of people thinking it was an “inside job” as opposed to a bona fide terrorist attack than there is today.  He would lose ALL credibility with the majority of Americans.  With Obama’s leanings - his past associations and his current advisors - his allegiance to this nation and any actions to overcome (if there were any) would all be suspect, and rightfully so.  His current practice of siding more with the nations of Islam than with our historical allies would certainly add fuel to the distrust fire.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to watch this Glenn Back memorial broadcast from yesterday, 9-11-09.  And then scroll down to see the “change of heart” I’ve had about Islam since 2001.

In the months after the attack, there was a contest sponsored by the committee charged with designing the 9-11 memorial that is to occupy the Twin Towers site.  I entered that contest.  The heart of my proposal was to have a multi-culture cultural center featuring the worlds  major religions:  Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto.  I suggested that these centers would feature the things these religions share in common, focusing on peace and love and mutual respect – all in harmony fighting against violence and inhumanity.

In retrospect, I realize how naive and stupid that suggestion was.  Why?  At the time I thought one religion was unjustly “tainted” by the actions of a few misguided radicals.  I thought there could be a “healing” if only we could all understand the true nature of Islam, the religion of the pilots who killed over three thousand Americans.  But over the years following the attack I gradually learned there is one among those major world religions with a false face:  Islam.  I learned it portrays itself as a “religion of peace” but at its core it is a fascist political system that seeks world domination.  Their majority is comprised of ordinary folk who conduct ordinary lives, with sympathies toward and support (both overt and covert) for their radical arm seeking the spread of their religion – “evangelism” by whatever means has an effect, including intimidation, threats, violence, terror, murder, economic disruption, honor killings and every other means taught by their psychotic mastermind Muhammad.

Those who see my rants about Islam and consider them ignorant and extreme should know that I came from a place eight years ago when I, too, thought Islam was a religion of peace like all others.  But the facts I learned about that religion over the past eight years flipped my perception.  Those who still hold the same naive understanding I had really need to take the time to learn the basic historical teaching of that religion.  They will come to the conclusion, as I have, that the roots of Islam are in conquest and domination by violent means – that is the “reform” movement of the 1.3 billion Muslims today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First “Impeach Obama” Sticker Sighting

This sighting occurred in Stuart, Florida.  It is fitting the sticker is affixed to a plumber’s truck.   IMGP5728_edited-2


I expect to see many more similar sightings in the near future.

Mexicans and America’s Future

I had an enlightening experience this past month that verified a growing perception I have about America’s future.

We had some landscaping projects to do in our yard.  The first portion was done by a couple of guys employed by a reputable landscape company.  One was a 20-something white fellow, and the other appeared to be a 40ish white Barney Fife type.  The younger did 90% of the work, but needed a lot of coaching from yours truly, the property owner, to do the job correctly.  Even at that, the workmanship was sloppy.  The Barney Fife guy just stood around watching.  While the work was being done, I half jokingly asked the younger guy what his assistant was supposed to be doing, and he replied that he doesn’t do anything.

So I tried a second reputable firm to do the next set of landscaping tasks since the first one was unimpressive.  They sent over a team of Mexicans.  I must say, every one of them worked hard 100% of the time, they knew what they were doing without coaching, and they had a good time between themselves while they were doing it – they enjoyed their work.

Granted this is just one instance.  But it may be a representative microcosm of the difference between us “native” Americans who take their work for granted and those who are relative newcomers trying to make a go.

In fact, it may be this “new blood”, whether Mexican, or Honduran, or Guatemalan, or Vietnamese, that represents the future vitality of America.  There may be something to the perception that these newly Americans do the work that complacent Americans won’t do – and they do it better in some instances. These folks might very well represent a future hope and strength of our nation.

Note: There is no justification for praising the idea of “illegal aliens doing the work Americans won’t do.”  I was assured by the supervisor of the Mexican team that they have been “in country” for several years and the firm feels strongly about hiring only bona fide US citizens.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We have the Pluribus, but where’s the Unum?

I don’t agree with any commentator 100% of the time – some more or less than others.  Patrick Buchannan is no exception.  He says some pretty outrageous stuff about Israel and World War II.

But on the topics of American culture, the perils of open borders and free trade, and his book “The Death of the West”, he is being proven to be right on target.

His current article about the algae bloom-like divisions in America is worthy of notice.  He nails it with his on-target observations about the unity we used to have – our formerly shared religion, heritage, culture, music, and sense of morality.  This has all changed.

Read below…

Is America coming apart?
Posted: September 10, 2009
7:53 pm Eastern
© 2009 

Flying home from London, where the subject of formal debate on the 70th anniversary of World War II had been whether Winston Churchill was a liability or asset to the Free World, one arrives in the middle of a far more acrimonious national debate right here in the United States.

At issue: Should Barack Obama be allowed to address tens of millions of American children, inside their classrooms, during school hours?

Conservative talk-show hosts saw a White House scheme to turn public schools into indoctrination centers where the socialist ideology of Obama would be spoon-fed to captive audiences of children forced to listen to Big Brother -- and then do assignments on his sermon.

The liberal commentariat raged about right-wing paranoia.

Yet Byron York of the Washington Examiner dug back to 1991 to discover that, when George H.W. Bush went to Alice Deal Junior High to speak to America's school kids, the left lost it.

"The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," railed the Washington Post. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was called before a House committee. The National Education Association denounced Bush. And Congress ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate.

Obama's actual speech proved about as controversial as a Nancy Reagan appeal to eighth-graders to "Just say no!" to drugs.

Yet, the episode reveals the poisoned character of our politics.

We saw it earlier on display in August, when the crowds that came out for town hall meetings to oppose Obama's health-care plans were called "thugs," "fascists," "racists" and "evil-mongers" by national Democrats.

We see it as Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, "You lie!" at the president during his address to a joint session of Congress.

We seem not only to disagree with each other more than ever, but to have come almost to detest one another. Politically, culturally, racially, we seem ever ready to go for each others' throats.

One half of America sees abortion as the annual slaughter of a million unborn. The other half regards the right-to-life movement as tyrannical and sexist.

Proponents of gay marriage see its adversaries as homophobic bigots. Opponents see its champions as seeking to elevate unnatural and immoral relationships to the sacred state of traditional marriage.

The question invites itself. In what sense are we one nation and one people anymore? For what is a nation if not a people of a common ancestry, faith, culture and language, who worship the same God, revere the same heroes, cherish the same history, celebrate the same holidays and share the same music, poetry, art and literature?

Yet, today, Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a skirmish in a French-Mexican war about which most Americans know nothing, which took place the same year as two of the bloodiest battles of our own Civil War: Antietam and Fredericksburg.

Christmas and Easter, the great holidays of Christendom, once united Americans in joy. Now we fight over whether they should even be mentioned, let alone celebrated, in our public schools.

Where we used to have classical, pop, country & Western and jazz music, now we have varieties tailored to specific generations, races and ethnic groups. Even our music seems designed to subdivide us.

One part of America loves her history, another reviles it as racist, imperialist and genocidal. Old heroes like Columbus, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are replaced by Dr. King and Cesar Chavez.

But the old holidays, heroes and icons endure, as the new have yet to put down roots in a recalcitrant Middle America.

We are not only more divided than ever on politics, faith and morality, but along the lines of class and ethnicity. Those who opposed Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and stood by Sgt. Crowley in the face-off with Harvard's Henry Louis Gates were called racists. But this time they did not back down. They threw the same vile word right back in the face of their accusers, and Barack Obama.

Consider but a few issues on which Americans have lately been bitterly divided: school prayer, the Ten Commandments, evolution, the death penalty, abortion, homosexuality, assisted suicide, affirmative action, busing, the Confederate battle flag, the Duke rape case, Terri Schiavo, Iraq, amnesty, torture.

Now it is death panels, global warming, "birthers" and socialism. If a married couple disagreed as broadly and deeply as Americans do on such basic issues, they would have divorced and gone their separate ways long ago. What is it that still holds us together?

The European-Christian core of the country that once defined us is shrinking, as Christianity fades, the birth rate falls and Third World immigration surges. Globalism dissolves the economic bonds, while the cacophony of multiculturalism displaces the old American culture.

"E pluribus unum" – out of many, one - was the national motto the men of '76 settled upon. One sees the pluribus. But where is the unum? One sees the diversity. But where is the unity?

Is America, too, breaking up?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Healthcare reform: A matter of trust...

...and Obama doesn't have mine.

Given who Obama has surrounded himself with over the past 20 years, and who he continues to surround himself with in the White House, he could propose Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Megyn Kelly visit me in cute little nurses uniforms and I wouldn’t trust him any more than I could trust Hugo Chavez.

He could propose the most benign, capitalist, user-friendly healthcare reform in the world, and I would mistrust it. Obama has demonstrated too many not-so-hidden agendas in his national socialist policies.

I’m suspecting that an increasing number of Americans are beginning to feel the same way.

If we’re paying adequate attention, there won’t be ANY reform until the next president. I can only hope. That’s the kind of hope I can believe in.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Our Problems: More "Us" than Obama and friends

Rick Newman has an excellent article documenting many themes I have presented in Muccings over the years.

  • We (our younger people especially) don’t want to work – we think we are too golden for that
  • A larger proportion of us than in the past don’t want to sacrifice
  • Too many of us are uninformed – and informed only by our uninformed pop cultural icons
  • Too many of us feel “entitled”; entitled to the “best” and entitled on someone else’s dime

Read the excellent article below and see if you agree.

4 problems that could sink America

American ingenuity has solved daunting problems before and could again. But it would be a mistake to assume that American prosperity is on a preordained upward course.

[Related content: financial crisis, Barack Obama, recession, health care, China]

By Rick Newman, U.S. News & World Report

If we're lucky, the recession is winding down, and life will start to feel a bit more comfortable before long. But that doesn't mean things will go back to the way they used to be.

The global recession that began in America's housing market has shaken the world's economic order and possibly knocked the United States down a notch or two. The spendthrift American consumer is out of money. American wages are flat. Despite some hopeful signs, the U.S. economy could muddle along for years.

Meanwhile, actions in China -- rather than in the United States -- may have been the trigger for a global economic recovery. Many other nations will grow faster than the United States over the next few years and command an increasing share of the world's resources.

"The message to Americans," says Mauro Guillen, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, "is you need to redouble your efforts to be more competitive."

American innovation has solved daunting problems before and could again. But it would be a mistake to assume that American prosperity will continue on some preordained upward course. Nations rise and fall, often realizing what happened only in retrospect.

Here are four problems that are undermining our future prosperity:

We don't like to work

Sure, now that jobs are scarce, everybody's willing to put in a few extra hours to stay ahead of the ax. But look around: We still expect easy money, hope to retire early and embrace the overly simplistic messages of bestsellers like "The One Minute Millionaire" and "The 4-Hour Work Week."

Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn't sending as much money our way as it used to, which makes it harder to do less with more.

Kids in Asia spend the summer studying math and science while American mall rats are texting each other about Britney and Miley.

White-collar jobs are now migrating overseas just like blue-collar ones. Kids in Asia spend the summer studying math and science while American mall rats are texting each other about Britney and Miley.

"We need a different mind-set," says Guillen. "People need to invest more in their own future. Instead of buying stuff at the mall, spend the money on evening classes. Learn a language or skills you don't have."

I recently interviewed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, who transformed his father's neighborhood liquor store into a $60 million business anchored by the Web site An overnight success? Hardly. Vaynerchuk has big plans, and he works at least 16 hours a day to achieve them. "If you want to work eight hours a day," he says, "you're going to get eight-hour-a-day results. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't want to hear you bitch about money if you're only willing to work eight hours a day."

Vaynerchuk is only 33, but he has something in common with John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard mutual fund company, who's 80 years old. I talked to Bogle recently about how Americans need to change their approach to work and money. He told me this: "We need more caution, more savings and we may have to work harder. Maybe we need more people who like to work and don't count down every day till retirement."

Nobody wants to sacrifice

Why should we? The government is standing by with stimulus money, banker bailouts, homeowner aid, cash for clunkers, expanded health care and maybe more stimulus money. And most Americans will never have to pay an extra dime for any of this. Somehow, $9 trillion worth of government debt will just become somebody else's problem.

When he was campaigning, candidate Barack Obama dabbled with the "personal responsibility" theme, and in his acceptance speech in November he called for a "new spirit of sacrifice." But now that he's in office, there's less interest in such quaint ideas.

During Obama's prime-time news conference about health care reform in July, a reporter asked the president if ordinary Americans would have to give up anything in exchange for better, more widely available care. Obama's answer: "They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier." Hooray! Something for nothing! He may as well have said, "Here's a magic pill that will make all your problems go away."

Obama's plan is to get a tiny portion of the American public -- the wealthy -- to pay higher taxes for the benefit of the majority. Hey, while we're at it, let's see if we can convince 1% of the population to bear the entire responsibility for fighting two open-ended wars that are supposedly in the interest of every American. It would just be too uncomfortable to tell the middle class that if they want something, they need to earn it themselves.

We're uninformed

The health care smackdown -- sorry, "debate" -- is Exhibits A, B and C. The soaring cost of health care is a problem that affects most Americans. It's shrinking paychecks, squeezing small businesses, bankrupting families and swelling the national debt.

Yet outraged Americans seem most concerned about fictions like death panels and government-enforced euthanasia, while clinging to the myth that our current system of selective availability and perverse incentives somehow represents capitalist ideals.

But let's take a break from that burdensome issue to examine the likelihood that President Obama was born in a foreign country and hoodwinked America into believing he was eligible to run for president.

People who lack the sense to question Big Lies always end up in deep trouble. Being well informed takes work, even with the Internet. In a democracy, that's simply a civic burden. If we're too foolish or lazy to educate ourselves on health care, global warming, financial reform and other complicated issues, then we're signing ourselves over to special interests who see nothing wrong with plundering our national -- and personal -- wealth.

The iCulture

We may be chastened by the recession, but Americans still believe they deserve the best of everything -- the best job, the best health care, the best education for our kids. And we want it at a discount -- or better yet, free -- which brings us back to the usual disconnect between what we want and what we're willing to pay for.

Rationing is a dirty word, so we can't have a system that officially rations something as vital as health care or education. Instead, we have unacknowledged, de facto rationing that directs the most resources to those with the best connections, the most money or the savvy to game the system.

What keeps the rest of us content is the illusion that we, too, will eventually be able to game the system -- as long as the government doesn't interfere.

Solutions that serve some public good -- like Social Security and bank deposit insurance in the 1930s and Medicare in the 1960s -- usually require everybody to give something to get something. If it works, the overall benefits outweigh the costs.

Good programs leave individuals the option to pay more if they want more. Bad programs promise more than they can deliver. But often we don't know that until it's too late.


Update: Just a day after posting this, the veracity of this article was confirmed in a small way via a brief conversation in a restaurant with a recently retired couple and their 30-something daughter. During the course of conversation about current events, the trio showed vague understanding and no insight, and the daughter was entirely clueless as so many of us remain.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Discrediting “Green”

The continuing existence of Van Jones as Obama’s “Green Czar” is discrediting both the “green movement” and the office of the president.

Not that that green movement has much credibility among thinking Americans in the first place. Several examples:

- The highly debatable global warming policies: – should we sacrifice our coal industry, our greatest source of energy – to achieve the ridiculous objective of reversing global warming that we are not causing and which may not really exist? Spending billions in increased energy costs, all in the midst of “the great recession?”

- Reliance on technologies that do not exist or are premature to provide any significant source of energy or cost savings. The compact fluorescent bulb (life expectancy is highly inflated and disposal is a nightmare) and windmills (where’s the multi-billion dollar grid to connect them?) come to mind.

- This “green” thing is a half-baked populist fad, unhinged from any reliable cost/benefit analysis or economic feasibility - driven by a heard mentality headed for a cliff.

Van Jones is its perfect leader. An avowed communist, radical ties throughout most of his life up to and including the present. His defenders say he gave up his communism two years ago. Not very likely. He continues his associations with fellow radicals in the White House.

The green movement has enough problems with credibility without Van Jones. This man discredits the cause.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Challenging evening with liberal friends…

Frustrating, because they don’t like to talk “politics” - no discussion allowed.

We had another wonderful time with these great friends this evening, playing cards, munching and talking small talk.  Two bits of “small talk” provoked some interesting deeper insights.  Incites might be more to the point.

One was a short discussion about the direction of music from generation to generation.  I brought up the increased vulgarity, lack of melody, harmony, general musicality and sense of discipline and musical talent as we experience in the rap, hip hop and heavy metal of much of today’s Top 40 compared to the music of 30 to 50 years ago.  Our friend corrected me and said “vulgarity is your term.  What’s vulgar to you isn’t vulgar to others.”  I agreed with that.  Some people are more vulgar than others and may not consider what they do and say to be vulgar.  But then I went a step further and asked our friend “if the music and behavior of subsequent generations is increasingly rebellious and vulgar in the eyes of the previous generation, will there be a point when that vulgarity becomes so vile and demeaning that it is damaging to society – becomes destructive – even to the point of threatening its very existence?”  She dismissed that prospect by reminding me that every new generation goes through this “rebellious” phase.   That’s when I quit my end of the conversation realizing she is a moral relativist.  To her there is no “right or wrong”; no distinction between good behavior and bad behavior; there is no behavior or attitude that will bring the culture down.  It all just “is.”  She just dismissed one of the major reasons for millennia of failed civilizations.  How can you argue with that?  So I didn’t.

The next tidbit of conversation was during a Cat Stevens song.  I mentioned it would be interesting to hear his conversion experience to Islam.  Our friend pondered that comment for a moment after the cards were dealt, and then mused “it makes sense, because Cat Steven’s songs were often about peace.”  I questioned that conclusion when I said “it sounds more like an oxymoron to me – converting to a religion that is certainly not known for peace.”  She countered with great surprise giving her view that Islam certainly is a peaceful religion.  Then she said “look at Christianity and the Crusades.”  I reminded her that was over a thousand years ago and expressed my own amazement that anyone today would consider Islam a religion of peace instead of the violent fascist political system Islam is today.  She dismissed my thoughts as just focusing on a few radicals. 

Knowing they don’t like to discuss politics, I exercised an uncanny amount of self-discipline and didn’t expound on the true nature of present day Islam.  It was enough for the moment that I planted seeds of bewilderment that anyone would think of Islam as “peace loving.”  If she was open to anything, I would certainly share these websites with her: The Religion of Peace and Jihad Watch and a couple of my previous posts here and here.  If I could, I would pry open her brain and pour the content of these sites into her.  But I think there may be some sort of Teflon coating on the synapses that prevents absorption of new information.