17 September 2009

Con-se... Wait, What?

People who are raised learning there are no consequences for their actions cannot even fathom that any consequences ever exist:

Radical: "Tax the Rich! Take all their money and give it to the poor!"
Common-Senser: "And when that's all gone, what then?"
R: "Tax 'em more! Take all their money!"
CS: "It's all gone."
R: "Then take more from them!"
CS: "No, there is no more to take. It's all gone."
R: "Oh. Then we won't need money! Everyone will just trade. You know, barter."
CS: "You can do that now. You don't need to take money from anyone else."

This post inspired by "I'd Love to Change the World" by Ten Years After, specifically the lines "Tax the rich/Feed the poor/'Til there are no/Rich no more."

27 August 2009

Why I am Not a Revolutionary


Don't get me wrong. I am sick and tired of the "progressive" agenda. I am frustrated with the current crop of Congresscritters. I would like nothing more than to see the massive bureaucracy from Washington eradicated, and nearly every law passed since 1870 repealed. (That includes the 16th and 17th Amendments, and even portions of the 14th, by the way.)

However, I do not advocate revolution. First of all, the word brings to mind armed uprisings, bloodshed, treason (on both sides), and all manner of unpleasant things. Mostly, though, I believe that the revolution has been taking place for close to 150 years, and the evils mentioned above are the result of that revolution.

What I want to do is put down the collectivist revolution. The best way is in front of the ballot box, not behind the ammo box. We have the truth and common sense on our side. We must convince our neighbors who don't normally pay attention that they need to start, and they need to seek common sense answers. As Glenn Beck (and Thomas Jefferson) puts it, question with boldness. Hold on to the truth. Speak without fear. Become a counter-revolutionary, by countering the half-truths and empty promises of the collectivist revolution with truth, common sense, and resolve.

11 August 2009

Why Be Hatin' the Birthers?


Let me be clear: I couldn't give a hoot in hell where Barack H. Obama Jr. was born.

That being said, I do have questions. Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 uses the phrase (as I'm sure has been pointed out ad nauseum) "natural born citizen". I have seen one definition of that term, credited to a contemporary of Jefferson et al., as a person whose "parents" were both citizens of the country in question.

The point here is that this definition requires
both parents to be citizens of the same nation. As I have stated in the past, young Barry is truly an African-American, where Jesse Jackson (for instance) is not. Both of Rev. Jackson's parents were American citizens. One of Mr. Obama's parents was an African, a citizen of Kenya; the other was an American. This, therefore, fails the above definition.

I'm not saying that this is the only definition of the term, although it's the only one I've seen. But I do believe that people whose job it is to uphold and enforce the law--and the last I knew, the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land--should be interested in making sure we all know the correct definition.

And I just haven't seen any of that.

18 June 2009

Drug Deals

John Stossel recently published a blog item positing that a "War on Drugs" inevitably begets a "War on Guns". He concludes that anybody who opposes gun control, to be intellectually consistent, must also oppose the "war on drugs".

I agree, and I do. In my opinion the "war on drugs" is a waste of resources. It has not only raised a furor over the armament of the drug gangs, it's led to avarice and corruption. Somewhere along the line, somebody came up with the bright idea of confiscating assets used during illegal activity. These assets are then generally auctioned to the public, creating revenue for the governments. The more they confiscate, the more revenue they bring in.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not calling for drug legalization. Like the author of a comment on Mr. Stossel's blog, I see where making drug use, sales, and distribution illegal can be useful--even helpful--for society. The question is how aggressive enforcement should be. I have a proposal (surprise, surprise).

Drug crimes should be like seat belt crimes: a secondary infraction. When a person causes an accident, robs someone, or murders someone, and drugs are involved, the drug charges would serve to make the penalties worse.

02 June 2009

Localism: Fairness Lite, or Fascism?


Localism, as you probably know, is the name of a tactic the State Bureaucratic Apparatus (SBA) may try to use to curtail or eliminate the national syndication of radio talk shows. If you're not familiar with localism, here is a recent article about it from Broadcasting & Cable Magazine.) Since most successful shows of this sort feature conservative commentators, localism is viewed by conservatives as a method of squelching dissent to the collectivists and Progressives (represented by the Democrats). Localism would be enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Why does the FCC have the power to grant, refuse, or revoke broadcast licenses for radio stations? I'm fairly certain the chief purpose of the FCC originally was simply to ensure that two broadcasters in one locality were not attempting to use the same frequency. Perhaps decency guidelines were also part of the original mission. With modern popular music recordings, though, that's pretty much out the window. The FCC has probably been construed to have much more power because of the "interstate commerce clause" doctrine.

There has been an attempt recently by a number of states to try to push the SBA back out of the lives of citizens, by eliminating the invocation of the insterstate commerce doctrine. Montana's "in-state firearm" law is one example. If a firearm is manufactured, sold, and used entirely within the state of Montana, this law exempts it from any federal regulation.
Perhaps broadcasters can similarly use the concept of "local" to their advantage.

Radio stations, at least those not streaming on the Web, are local businesses. They serve a limited number of cities around their offices & studios; they accept advertising from other local businesses; they broadcast programming and advertising to a local market. Their product is made, sold, purchased, and consumed all within one local area. These are exactly the characteristics that localism intends to exploit for the SBA's purposes.

Wouldn't it be the pinnacle of localism for the radio stations to say, "The city or state has granted us the authority to broadcast on this frequency, simply because there are no other stations trying to use it. Our market is completely local, INTRASTATE, and therefore the FCC regulations do not apply to us."

30 May 2009

Why I Am (Still) a Registered Republican


I have seen several statements--on fliers, on television, on Twitter, on blogs--about becoming a Republican, or turning conservative. Many people have said that they've been a Republican since the Reagan years, or even because of Ronald Reagan. Others, like Dennis Miller, moved toward conservatism because of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. I respect that. Growing and changing one's mind is part of living.

There is a quote I've seen attributed to Winston Churchill that goes something like, "A young man who is conservative has no heart; an old man who is liberal has no brain."

Apparently I'm heartless. I'm sure you've heard tales of the "heartless conservatives." I guess I'm one of 'em. I have always believed in individual achievement bringing rewards, self-reliance, all those conservative ideals. I cannot remember ever wishing that some powerful entity would take wealth away from, for instance, Howard Hughes and give it to me.

Like many others, I am totally disgusted with the Republican party. There is a sizable portion of the party that seems to be for lowering taxes, but not for shrinking the State Bureaucratic Apparatus (what many people call "the government"). They believe that lowering tax rates will result in increased revenue, which they can then spend on their pet programs rather than the Democrats' pet programs. These people are not truly conservative.

So to the title of the post: Why I am (still) a Registered Republican. The fact is that there are two major parties in the United States, and anyone not running as a member of one of those two parties is not at all likely to win an election. Of the 535 voting and half-dozen non-voting members of Congress, only two identify themselves as Independent (and Joe Lieberman is listed as "ID", which I suppose means "Independent Democrat").

In the general elections, I have endeavored to find the candidate whose philosophy and positions most closely match my own. Most candidates that run as Democrats have a philosophy nowhere near my own. I have voted for Republicans, and for Independents (mostly the American Independent Party), and even for a Libertarian or two. But my county does not hold a primary election for independent and minor-party candidates.

I register as a Republican so that I can vote for the most conservative candidate in the primary elections. I have also started attending local "town-hall" meetings at the county's GOP headquarters. That gives me a chance to hear what our Assemblymen and State Senators are doing, and perhaps express my position for their consideration.

21 May 2009

The Test of Tolerance


The following quote was tweeted by a fine educator:

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”--Ralph W. Sockman

If conservatives are indeed in the minority, as the collectivists claim, the majority's "test of tolerance" has been failed time and time again.

Intolerance of George W. Bush. Intolerance of Dick Cheney. Intolerance of Rush Limbaugh. Intolerance of Carrie Prejean. The list goes on.

A correspondent tells me of a recent election where he/she, upon leaving the polling place, picked up a pamphlet from a table staffed by Republicans. There was, of course, a Democrat-staffed table there as well. Two of the Democrats accosted him/her, demanding that they be given equal time. They could not tolerate someone who had his/her mind made up, that did not agree with them.

Collectivists and statists realize that when given a choice, and an opportunity to think, most people reject their views. They know that they will never be able to control the masses if any other opinion exists. That is why they cannot tolerate the individualists' opinions, and will do everything they can to heap ridicule upon us.

I do not actually believe that conservatives are the minority. I believe that individualism and self-reliance are part of human nature, just as is the willingness to work to make one's own life, and the lives of his children, better. I thank God that I was born in a time and place where we can do just that, and I will do everything I can to preserve that for myself and the next generation. That is my test of courage.

12 May 2009

The Solution to High Healthcare Costs


Competition.

"But," you say, "there is competition already! We are free to choose whatever provider we want to see." Are you, really?

If you are not self-employed, it is likely that your health insurance is provided as a benefit of your employment. It is likely that your policy has a list of providers contracted to provide services at an agreed price. The phrase "usual and customary" really means "the price that the insurance company agrees to pay and the providers agree to accept." In other words, all the providers available to you effectively charge the same price. There is no competition there.

To bring true competition back to the health care marketplace, I propose as a first step that we do away with employer-provided health insurance. Insurers can still offer group plans, including some like the so-called "affinity" plans for social clubs, university alumni, and the like. People can choose to join one of those, or buy an individual policy as some insurers are offering now. The differentiators would be in what is covered and the limits.

To improve those options, I propose that we strongly discourage, if not prohibit, the price-fixing that is now called "usual and customary charges." In fact, I think price-fixing is illegal, and that is precisely what this practice constitutes. People could then shop around for providers they like that charge affordable prices. I realize that many people, especially younger people, make so few visits to the doctor as to make this difficult to do. Sure, one could ask prices over the phone, but that's only part of the story. Talking to friends and coworkers could help, or even referral services.

Please comment on this. And I hope you'll send all your ideas (they must be better than this) to your Congress-critters.

04 May 2009

Orwell Would be Proud/Humbled


Good/bad old/new Doublespeak!

Thanks to @hotairblog, from the Business & Media Institute comes this post about the "crackdown" on legal tax avoidance by U.S. corporations. It contains a couple of sentences about President Obama's speech Monday:

In his late morning speech, Obama condemned “corporate loopholes” and said that such practices “cost taxpayers” billions of dollars.

Obama also claimed that his changes would save taxpayers $210 billion in the next 10 years.
The President asserts that when American businesses use legal means to avoid providing revenue to the State, it costs taxpayers money. He also apparently said that forcing the businesses to provide revenue would save taxpayers money.

That's like saying, "Your Uncle Frank baked and sold a wedding cake for $100, and only gave me $30 instead of $35, so that costs you $5. If we force him to give me $35, it will save you that $5." Never mind that you will be forced to give me $25 regardless of what Uncle Frank does. Never mind that I'm not really doing much at all to benefit either you or your Uncle Frank. Never mind that I'm going to keep $15 for my own uncle and spend $45 buying a couple of Shamwows for somebody you don't even know, who doesn't produce anything or ever give me anything except votes. Your Uncle Frank is obviously a cold-hearted misanthrope who doesn't care if children go hungry.

Doublespeak at its finest/worst.

29 April 2009

Prevention or Persecution?


There was a story today about the government of Egypt deciding that, in order to prevent "the spread of swine flu", they would destroy all the hogs at hog farms across the country.

Now, many of you may be thinking, "Wait a minute. Aren't hogs 'unclean' to Muslim*? Why would an Islamic nation even have hog farms?" Well, according to the story, the hog farms are owned by, and produce pork for, the roughly 10% Christian minority in the country.

When I first heard the story, I thought, "This sounds like an attack on Christians by certain Muslim." There was no mention of possible remuneration for destroying these business owners' (hog farmers) stock in trade. Only that the hogs would be destroyed, leaving the hog farmers with no hogs to farm, and no way to continue business.

Update
Thanks to @infidelsarecool, who posted this story while I was writing this blog entry. The people who collect the garbage to feed the hogs are protesting in the streets because they are among Egypt's poorest, and they will be devastated if there is no market for their product. There is mention in the story of compensation for the farmers, of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (120 GBP, or about $177) per animal. But it's also stated that the farmers have "little confidence" they'd ever see any of it.

Maybe I'm wrong, but given that the consumption of pork does not cause this "swine flu", and in fact the H1N1 virus has never even been found in swine (as stated in the 2nd story), it seems to me that this so-called pandemic is being used as an excuse by governments around the world to accomplish objectives that have nothing to do with the health of their citizens.

Update 2 (2009/04/30)
I saw some tweets about Massachusetts passing a bill to authorize martial law in response to a pandemic emergency. While that is not explicitly stated in this bill, the proposed Section 2A, Paragraph (b) authorizes the governor to activate the "comprehensive emergency management plan" in case of a "public health emergency". It is unclear
whether this could include martial law.


*Because in Semitic languages, the -im suffix indicates a plural, I use "Muslim" as a plural rather than "Muslims".
†By "unclear", I mean I didn't bother to look it up, since I don't live in Massachusetts.

24 April 2009

They Just Don't Get It


Tea Parties
: They just don't get it.

Even some people who are sympathetic to the idea of lowering taxes and shrinking the bureaucracy don't understand them. I think it's because these people suffer from the "beltway" mentality.

Bruce Bartlett is a Forbes.com columnist. He has written a book titled
Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. Mr. Bartlett recently wrote a piece for The New Majority about what he calls the "tax tea parties." In this piece, he writes:

In my opinion, these tea parties had little, if anything, to do with current or projected tax levels.
I happen to agree with that opinion. However, Mr. Bartlett goes on to conclude that the protests were simply partisan Republican gatherings, and were designed to increase ratings for Fox News and radio hosts.

They just don't get it.

Maybe it's our fault. Maybe because of the nature of the protests--that they were real grass-roots, locally organized efforts, with no celebrity national spokesman--they just didn't pay attention. Or they got mixed messages. There were, after all, several themes to the signs even in the relatively small Carson City, NV protest.

For me, and for many others, we have just reached a point where we are sick and tired of the Statist Bureaucrats making plans and decisions about how we are to live our lives, and inserting their out-of-touch plans into our personal business. I did hear a very few folks in the media expressing this; Glenn Beck springs to mind. But it seems they were drowned out (if you can believe that) by the myriad voices intent on ascribing tax-only or partisan motives to our protests.

They just don't get it.

What's my point? I guess that maybe we just need to consolidate our message. I think that the TaxDayTeaParty.com website was a great resource for those gatherings. It is associated with the Don't Go Movement (follow Eric Odom on Twitter), and also Smart Girl Politics (Founded by Stacy Mott and Teri Christoph).

Maybe next time, they'll get it.

23 April 2009

Saving the Environment


In conjunction with "Earth Day", my company displayed signs about things to do that were environmentally responsible. Each was titled:
SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
ONE CHOICE AT A TIME
with the "O" in "ONE" represented by a little planet--centered on Australia, of all places!

This got me really steamed, so I wrote the little piece that follows. Since it would probably not be a wise choice to post it in my workplace, I decided to start a blog and present it here.

“SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT”

As opposed to what?
Spending it?
Abdicating it?
Relinquishing it?
Wasting it?
Ruining it?
Killing it?

How arrogant must one be to think we humans could accomplish any of these?

People who want to control your lives are counting on your emotional response to this language. They want you to give up your personal decision-making freedoms in favor of being told what’s good for everyone. They want to subject you to everyone else, which in reality will subject you to their will. They will decide what you can do based on whether it’s “good for you.”

Please think. Think what the logical consequences of this behavior must be. Think about what they say will happen, contrasted with what is actually happening.

On the first “Earth Day” in 1970, speakers quoted scientists as saying that:
  • Air pollution is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in just the next few years alone.
  • By 1980 the life expectancy of all Americans will be 42 years.
  • By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth by 1/2.
Since 1970, U.S. population is up 50%. Miles driven has increased by nearly 160%. Life expectancy? Well, you may be dead and not know it, according to those folks in 1970.

Saving the environment? How about saving our freedoms?

Please think.