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Monday, October 21, 2013

Have Americans Accepted Perpetual Tyranny?

As I sit before my keyboard this morning, mulling over the events of recent months and what they portend for America’s future, I find myself fighting a wave of discouragement. The foundation of what is good and great about America is not only being eroded, but is actively under attack. After a two week long fight in which they were excoriated by Obama, Democrats, and their obedient lapdogs in the press as “hostage-takers”, “legislative arsonists”, and “terrorists” who negotiate “with a bomb strapped to their chests”, Republicans surrendered and agreed to a deal in which they got nothing they asked for, and gave Obama another trillion dollars in borrowing power, unimpeded implementation of Obamacare (including keeping in place an exemption from Obamacare for Obama himself, members of Congress and their staff, and special exemptions for the labor unions which have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrats in recent elections).
It makes me weary to think about the suffering this nation faces now because of the decision to hand the reins of power to a man who despises the Constitution, who declared his intent to “fundamentally transform” our beloved America. It makes me wearier still to contemplate the increasing suffering we face with each passing day that we indulge our collective ignorance and apathy. Do we truly think we can borrow a trillion dollars per year indefinitely? That we can allow a president to paint his political opponents as not just wrong on the issues, but as racist, hateful, and evil, and that it will not lead to levels of animosity that will incite violence? What kind of president declares half the citizens of his country to be evil? How can he possibly think he can make such blatant character assassinations and still be able to unite the people of this country?
The answer is…he doesn’t. Obama is a poor leader, but a masterful politician. He knows that he has been an utter failure from a policy perspective (at least, based on what the average American would consider success); but he also knows that if he can stoke the fires of hatred and resentment towards a common enemy then he can deflect blame onto his political enemies for his myriad failures. It is a classic political technique used most effectively by tyrants.
Hitler blamed the Jews for all of the Germans’ woes, and the mad mullahs in Iran and the Islamic terrorist factions like Al Qaeda have Israel and America to blame for their ills. Chairman Mao had the intelligentsia, Josef Stalin the evil capitalists. In each case, persecution of a common enemy escalated to violence, the citizens temporarily sated by hatred of the common enemy; but eventually the common enemy is defeated or subjugated, and can no longer be used to explain the abject poverty and suffering of the masses. Obama has the TEA Party, Republicans, and conservatives, and he has stoked hatred for these groups since he first took office.
Obama blamed Republicans for the government shutdown, despite the fact that they passed the appropriations bills and continuing resolutions that would have funded the government. Senate Democrats refused to vote on them because it would have forced Congress to live under the same Obamacare rules as the rest of us. Obama blames Republicans for the massive and growing debt, arguing that the economy is stalling because greedy Republicans refuse to give in to demands for higher taxes. Of course, that claim is completely undermined by economic history, which has shown time after time that tax cuts lead to more gross revenues, but Obama also realizes that between a compliant press and an economically illiterate electorate, he will never be called on his lie.
So what is the end game? Why would Obama keep driving policies he knows to be disastrous for the economy, for health care, for immigration, for the rule of law? Easy…because he knows that the more that individual liberty is usurped, the more that families are broken apart (or never formed in the first place), the more jobs that are lost, the more homes that go into foreclosure, the more crime that takes place, the more these problems can be used as a pretense for government to step in and “fix” the problems (even though many of these problems are caused by government).
Yet what is the track record of government fixing problems? We’ve spent trillions of dollars in the War on Poverty, yet have more poor than ever before (although the “poor” in America live quite well compared to the poor anywhere else in the world). We’ve spent hundreds of billions in the War on Drugs, and have more drugs than ever, plus the highest incarceration rate in the world; and this war has been used as a pretense to destroy constitutional rights. Government power has been invoked to “fix” the problems with our health care system, yet premiums under Obamacare are skyrocketing, accessibility to doctors is shrinking, and for millions of Americans being dropped from their current coverage, Obama’s promise that if we “liked our insurance/doctor we could keep them” has been exposed as a lie.
"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
Does that sound like America today? Those words were written by California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who was at the center of a battle to get Bush nominees confirmed to federal appeals courts. She was finally confirmed as part of a deal brokered by the “Gang of 14”, but her nomination was vigorously protested by the NAACP,  the Feminist Majority Foundation, People For the American Way, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the National Organization for Women, who questioned her competence and called her “extreme right wing” in her views. Like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, world-renowned surgeon Ben Carson, and countless others, the political left simply can not allow minorities to disparage the idea that we can not only live, but thrive, without Big Government, which crushes freedom and wealth for the individual.
Janice Rogers-Brown grew up in the deep South, the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers, living in a state where Democrats were still clinging determinedly to racist policies of segregation. By her own admission, she was a staunch liberal in her youth, but as with so many who gain wisdom that comes from experience, in her adulthood she became an unapologetic conservative, seeing with her own eyes the destruction wrought by these liberal policies on her family, her community, and her country.
So as I sit and contemplate these things, my heart is just not in it, at least for today. I will never give up the fight, but some days I am just weary in my soul at the thought of what level of suffering we will have to descend into before we wake up and wage war to restore our freedoms. Every time I think about giving up there are two images that come into my mind that drive me on...the thought of my children growing up in a country that knows no freedom, and the thought of George Washington and his weary soldiers marching on Trenton in the dead of winter, many without shoes, a trail of blood flowing behind as many walked, without shoes, on jagged ice, the flesh ripped from their feet with every step...yet never giving up. That is what drives me on. So today I will hold my children, bask in their hugs, their laughter, and their love; but tomorrow, I’ll be back in the fray.

Monday, October 14, 2013

With Shutdown, Your Pain is Obama’s Gain

At the time of this writing, there seems to be some movement on the “government “shutdown” (the shutdown in which 83% of government continues to operate), mainly in the form of Republicans regrouping yet again to come up with yet another offer for Obama, every one of which he has thus far rejected, demanding the GOP unilaterally surrender before he will he “talk” with Republicans about issues concerning them, like a monstrous and growing national debt, entitlement spending which pushes America into bankruptcy, and Obamacare, which has been disastrous (to use CBS News’ description) and which is killing jobs and raising health insurance costs drastically.
Why would Republicans continue to negotiate against themselves, when it is Republicans who have fulfilled their constitutional obligations by passing four major appropriations bills and a dozen or so “mini-CR’s” (smaller Continuing Resolutions to fund every operation of government except Obamacare)? That would be because Obama and his media lapdogs continue to spin this as a “Republican” shutdown, regardless of the fact that it is the Democrat-controlled Senate which has refused to vote on these bills, demanding House Republicans pass a single, massive bill to fund ALL of government, including Obamacare.
With Republicans negotiating against themselves so often in trying to find an offer Obama would accept, it might make one wonder why we are still at an impasse, and why Obama still refuses to negotiate with them at all. In order to understand that, you first have to understand that Obama, all the way back to his pot-smoking college days, has been a disciple of leftist radical Saul Alinksy, who wrote the guidebook for other leftist radicals hell bent on destroying the social order. In his book “Rules for Radicals” (which he dedicated to Lucifer, or Satan, who was “the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom”), Alinsky exhorts his acolytes to understand that “…there can be no conversation with one’s opponents, for to converse with them is to humanize them.
Obama, a feckless and incompetent chief executive, but a master at political agitation, has attempted to gain ground against Republicans by refusing to negotiate with them on the one hand; and instructing his bureaucratic minions to make the shutdown as painful as possible on the other hand. Here is just a very, very small sampling of the pure pettiness, spite, vindictiveness and meanness of the tin-horn tyrant masquerading as America’s president, and the minions which do his bidding:
He closed off and barricaded the WWII Memorial, an open-air site usually open 24/7, and threatened to arrest these 90-year old veterans if they tried to get past the barricades to see the memorial before they died.
The Pentagon says that due to the shutdown, it is halting payments of death benefits to families of soldiers killed in battle, leaving their families with not only dead husbands and fathers, but no way of providing for themselves. These payments were authorized by the Defense appropriations bill passed by Republicans this summer, but Senate Democrats refused to vote on it. The White House, responding to massive public outrage over the injustice, wisely decided to make an exception to its “no negotiations” policy and sign a “mini-CR” passed by Republicans to restore the benefits.
Obama seems to take a special pleasure in harming the valiant members of the military that protect our God-given freedoms. In addition to halting death benefits, the grocery stores on military bases were closed (but Obama’s golf course at Camp David remains open), and Obama has forbidden Catholic chaplains from performing Mass on military installations, threatening arrest of priests that perform Mass, even when they have volunteered to do so for free. He has cancelled National Cemetery flyovers to honor our fallen soldiers. The traditional flyover by the Air Force Thunderbirds at the Air Force Academy graduation was cancelled but, not allowing the insult to stand, private pilots flying WWII-era planes performed over flights.
Obama has also upped the ante in his vindictiveness, making life miserable for Americans seeking to visit our national parks and monuments. He tried to close down George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, but was informed it is private property receiving no federal funds, so he closed off the parking lot which is jointly owned by the federal government. Not to be thwarted in their exercise of tyranny and pettiness, Obama ordered the National Park Service to barricade other open air memorials (such as the Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, MLK, Vietnam and Iwo Jima memorials. And just in case we peasants didn’t get the memo on who is king, Obama’s Park Service went around and REMOVED THE HANDLES from all of the water fountains, lest some weary traveler quench their thirst without government authorization during the shutdown (proving he is an equal opportunity oppressor, Obama has also ordered the memorial and cemetery closed at Normandy in France…to which one defiant veteran responded “Normandy was closed when we got there, too.).
Obama has also instructed the Park Service to block access to highway pull-offs in front of Mount Rushmore so that visitors can’t stop and view it, and he has closed access to the Grand Canyon, even after the state of Arizona offered to pay to keep it open. Obama also instructed that Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty be closed off to visitors, and he cancelled the famous Miranmar Air Show, which actually makes a huge profit!
Not content to rest of the laurels of his cruelty, Obama’s Park Service gave the elderly Joyce (77) and Ralph Spencer (80), along with sixty other families, 24-hours to leave their home on Lake Mead, which sits on federal land, banning their return until the shutdown ends. The Park Service has also been ordered to keep visitors out of private businesses across the country, actually having rangers park their cars to block the driveways of these businesses, even as the roads they sit on are open for travel. This is costing these businesses millions of dollars each day, and forcing them to cut staff in an already moribund Obama economy where unemployment remains brutally high.
On the first day of the shutdown, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting received a $445 million payment, yet Harry Reid, doing Obama’s nefarious bidding, still refuses to allow a vote on a funding bill for the NIH (National Institute for Health, which works to cure kids with cancer). The national Amber Alert website for missing children was shut down, but Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” website and Twitter feed is still running, thank heavens!. And of course Obama is still flying Air Force One to fundraisers and rallies around the country.
The bottom line is that Obama and the Democrats absolutely can NOT allow this shutdown to occur with the same apathy which greeted the sequester non-event, because it destroys their narrative that we must have bigger and bigger government just to manage our lives day-to-day. A shutdown that no one notices would be catastrophic for Obama. One park ranger, furious at Obama for these hateful theatrics in actively hurting the American people, revealed that “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as possible. It’s disgusting!” Yessir, I think that “disgusting” is an apt word to describe the Dictator-in-Chief currently disgracing the White House.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Earth’s Cataclysmic Destruction Postponed Indefinitely

Don’t you just hate it when you predict the end of the world and nothing happens? It’s a bit embarrassing. Not to worry though, because recent reports revealing the Earth is actually cooling have not deterred the Soothsayers of Global Warming Doom from still claiming that the end is near, even if it has been delayed just a bit. Sorry, I forgot…it’s not “global warming” anymore, it’s “climate change”; because up until a few decades ago the Earth had stayed at a constant 78-degrees for millions of years.  Then mankind, the great global parasite, invented cars and SUVs and coal-fired power plants, refrigerators and washers and dryers, computers and TV’s, and then everything went to hell in a hand basket. So here we are, destroying the Earth, all because we are too selfish to give up refrigerated food and convenient transportation, and unwilling to go back to living in hovels and eating salt pork.
You can imagine how devastating it was to the global warming doomsayers, who have for years now predicted a rapid acceleration in global temperatures leading to polar ice to melting, sea levels rising until it immersed the Empire State Building underwater, causing the deaths of thousands of innocent, cuddly polar bears who failed to master the art of surfing. Now, unless you hate the environment, please just forget that it was just forty years ago or so that these same environmentalists were predicting the “Coming Ice Age” which was going to turn the world into a giant ice cube, starving us all to death for lack of arable land.
As reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article, the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the science arm and supposed global authority on climate issues) latest assessment report reveals the Earth’s temperature increase has “paused” (for the uninitiated in climate scientist parlance, “paused” means “not increasing” or, more accurately “cooling”), and that this “pause” may have been occurring for the last seventeen years, a point grudgingly conceded by IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. In fact, the article points out that the effects of “climate change” over the next three quarters of a century will likely be to “extend the range of farming further north, improve crop yields, slightly increase rainfall (especially in arid areas), enhance forest growth and cut winter deaths (which far exceed summer deaths in most places). Increased carbon dioxide levels also have caused and will continue to cause an increase in the growth rates of crops and the greening of the Earth—because plants grow faster and need less water when carbon dioxide concentrations are higher.”
One of the primary arguments in favor of returning to an 18th century standard of living in order to save the Earth is the claim that the polar ice caps are melting away. Yet even here the facts have thwarted the preferred narrative of the Warmers. When Al Gore, the prophet of global warming doomsday scenarios (who has become fabulously wealthy, to the tune of more than $100 million, through his efforts to spread global warming fear), accepted his Nobel Prize in 2007, he repeated a claim by climate scientist Wieslaw Maslowski, who predicted that Arctic ice levels in the summer could "completely disappear" by 2013 due to the effect of man-caused carbon dioxide emissions.
It seems as if Gore and Maslowski were off by just a tad. And when I say “a tad”, I mean that NASA satellite photos show a massive sheet of unbroken Arctic ice “more than half the size of Europe,” as described by a recent article in Investors Business Daily. In fact, compared to this time last year, Arctic sea ice levels have increased by a whopping 60%, to the tune of nearly a million square miles. That is not a million square miles of total ice; that is a million square miles of NEW ice! Now, I am no math expert, but it seems to me that 60% more sea ice is more, by a wide margin, than “no” sea ice.
Sadly, the IPCC and global warming fear mongers have gone into full spin mode, trying to explain away this blindingly obvious failure of their predictions to come true, or even to come within a country mile of being true. It’s like that scene from the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is pulled back to reveal the diminutive Oz behind his complex contraption which makes him appear great and powerful and wise, screaming for us to pay no attention to the man frantically pulling levers and pushing buttons in an attempt to keep up the charade.
Warmers call us skeptics “deniers’, even comparing us to Holocaust deniers, who care nothing about the facts and are so greedy in our quest for wealth and pleasure that we are happy to see the Earth go up in flames from rising global temperatures (would those flames be extinguished by the rising ocean levels?), so long as we live high on the hog before The End comes. Yet, if the science was as “settled” as the Warmers claim, why have they been busted so many times falsifying data that does not fit their predictions, and colluding to misrepresent data that undermines their claims?
One believer-turned-skeptic is Dutch meteorologist Hajo Smit, a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee who several years ago revealed that “[Al] Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” So why such dogged determination to perpetuate a fraud when each day delivers more data undermining the claims? Maybe that is best explained by Jack Schmitt, who walked on the moon as an astronaut on the Apollo 17 mission before serving on the Norwegian Geological Survey and for the U.S. Geological Survey. Said Schmitt, “The ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities.”
And there is the rub. By scaring the world into thinking Earth is at risk of cataclysmic destruction without extreme intervention, politicians (supported by the scientists that give them credible cover, and who receive hundreds of millions in taxpayer-funded grants so long as they come to the “right” conclusions) have been able to wield enormous power over even the most mundane aspects of our lives. By increasing the cost of energy, and levying burdensome taxes on us for using fossil fuels, government takes ever greater portions of our earnings from us, making it ever more difficult to make ends meet, much less prosper. Then, government doles out small portions of our earnings back to us, so long as we subject ourselves to their centrally-planned social engineering schemes. By making certain purchasing and lifestyle choices more expensive, they can drive us like cattle into doing what they want, from buying electric or hybrid cars, to installing solar panels, to living in cities rather than in suburban or rural areas, and even to eating less meat.
Today, gas is twice as expensive as five years ago, due primarily to government efforts to artificially restrict a massive domestic supply of oil and gas. Electricity rates have “necessarily skyrocket[ed]” just as Obama promised he would do, having kept his promise to bankrupt the coal industry through the enactment of draconian regulations on fossil fuel-burning power plants. Even food prices climb higher and higher, impacted by the higher costs of energy required to grow/raise and transport the food we eat, and compounded by the insanity of diverting an enormous portion of our corn crops (a staple of animal feed stock, and a main ingredient in almost every food you buy) into the production of ethanol, which ironically burns dirtier than gasoline, causing greater pollution, and leading to damage in gasoline engines.
Hopefully, more Americans will read these reports and realize the hoax that has been played on us, and send those politicians who would control us into retirement for good.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Showdown at the OK (ObamaKare) Corral

On March 23, 2010, Barack Obama signed into law his signature legislative achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act, dubbed by friend and foe alike as “ObamaCare”. In doing so, Obama accomplished what socialist liberals before him, from Hillary Clinton to the Communist Party of America, had been unable to do…enact government-controlled, nationalized health care. It was a glorious moment for the government-is-god crowd, as they had finally attained the means to show the rest of us ignorant hoi polloi just how wonderful health care would be when run by a small, elite group of enlightened bureaucrats and bean-counters.
After waging a fierce battle in the courts, the Supreme Court eventually upheld the law, and specifically the legality of the “individual mandate” (which the Obama administration had alternately argued was a tax, and NOT a tax), with Chief Justice John Roberts discovering his inner emanations and penumbras in deciding that the individual mandate was indeed a tax, and therefore justified under Congress’s Article I taxing power.
Liberal Democrats had their victory, and ObamaCare would go forward as planned, and despite the fact that the law had never enjoyed majority approval by the American people, and despite the fact that it was passed without a single Republican vote (the only major legislation ever to be enacted without bipartisan support), Democrats would now be able to show the American people just how wonderful socialist, nationalized health care could be.
Except something unexpected (for them) and unfortunate (for us all) happened on the way to the victory parade…
Despite numerous instances of accounting sleight-of-hand, including stripping more than $700 billion from the Medicare program, double counting expected revenues, collecting revenues from day one while delaying costly benefits for four years, and a government takeover of the student loan industry (with proceeds used to pay down the Obamacare costs), the Congressional Budget Office cost projections for Obamacare doubled in just three years. Then the other wheels started to fall off as one by one, Obama’s promises were exposed as wishful thinking or outright lies.
Obama told us repeatedly that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance”. Yet with each passing week, that is exposed for the gargantuan lie that it is. This week, Home Depot announced it is ending health care coverage for 20,000 part time employees and sending them to the ObamaCare exchanges. In doing so, Home Depot joined a long and growing list of companies that are cutting health care benefits and/or dumping employees on the exchanges, including Walgreens (160,000 workers dumped), UPS (15,000 employees’ spouses dumped), Universal Orlando (500 employees), Trader Joes (all part time employees), Delta Airlines (which is taking a $100 million hit in a single year due to ObamaCare), and the Kroger grocery store chain (11,000 cut from insurance in Indiana alone, with more to come?).
Businesses, in an effort to stay profitable in a daunting economic environment, are finding ways to get around the punishing requirements of the Obamacare law. Many are cutting hours to 29 hours per week or less for most employees in order to stay under the penalty threshold which kicks in for uncovered full-time workers. Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster, dropped coverage and cut hours to 28 or less per week for many employees in order to stay under the required coverage threshold; 150,000 or Darden’s 200,000 employees are now part-time. Darden is joined in this move by other well-known companies, such as apparel maker Land’s End, movie theater operator Regal Entertainment (which operates more than 500 theaters nationwide), and a host of companies in the hospitality, retail, and food service industries.
Even former allies in the drive to pass ObamaCare have now turned against Obama and the Democrats. Labor unions, which contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to Obama and the Democrats, provide an army of campaign workers, and who were instrumental in shoving through the ObamaCare law, now are calling for major changes (special subsidies or exemptions for union health plans) or outright repeal. Unions who are now criticizing the law include the AFL-CIO, which calls the law “highly disruptive”, as well as Laborers International Union of North America, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and Unite Here, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, and the Operating Engineers Union. Even the union representing Treasury Department workers (including the IRS employees who are charged with enforcing compliance with the law) does not want to be forced into using Obamacare for their coverage.
In fact, the only people that seem to be happy with ObamaCare are members of Congress and their staff, who exempted themselves from the burdensome provisions of the law, even as they force the rest of us to suffer under it.
This week, House Republicans defied Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who had previously attempted to use arcane rules and a little trickery to pass a bill that would on the surface appear to defund ObamaCare, but which would still allow the Senate to strip out that provision and fund it in a compromise bill. After the backlash from his own caucus, led by Georgia’s Representative Tom Graves, Boehner was forced to wipe away his tears, put on his big boy underwear, and accept a spine transplant, and finally give into conservatives who demanded a bill be passed that will truly defund Obamacare, so long as the Republicans will stand strong and do not break ranks.
So now the stage is set for a showdown. Though Republicans only control one half of one branch of government, they control the one half of one branch that controls spending by government. Under the Constitution, all tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that not a single dime can be spent without the approval of the House. The bill passed by the House Republicans will surely be shot down in the Senate, and even if it passed the Senate, it would be vetoed by Obama. So where does that leave us?
If Republicans refuse to budge, and Democrats refuse to budge, then government shuts down. Then it becomes a game of chicken to see who will blink first and acquiesce to the demands of the other. The House bill funds every operation of government except ObamaCare, but the Democrats and the media will paint it as the fault of the GOP if there is a government shutdown; but the GOP must make this stand in order to save us from disaster.
The law is extremely unpopular, it has become enormously expensive, it is leading to higher unemployment, lower wages and benefits, and reduced GDP and job growth. Obama himself has unilaterally delayed or changed parts of the law, which he is not authorized to do under the Constitution. If the Republicans like Graves will continue to make the case to the American people, deflecting and countering the inevitable lies and vitriol poured upon them by Obama, the Democrats, and their media sycophants, this is a fight they can win, and winning this fight means that all Americans win.