Archive for May, 2010

Freedom

As a Conservative, I take it as my duty and a challenge to discuss issues politely with Liberals in an attempt to help them see things in a more positive light. A very good and close friend since childhood is of the incurable type, and we have disagreed on politics vehemently for over 40 years. Our favorite pastime is drinking scotch and arguing about economics, domestic policy, and elections. Since he moved far away, I feel he is slipping badly without some extra scotch and informed persuasion. Therefore I must travel to his home in hopes of helping him begin his long recovery.Freedom on the Oregon Coast

There will be no new posts for a few days, so please feel free to peruse the site. I am certain you will find something to interest or enrage you depending on your point of view. Thank you so much for your support over the past several months. Let me leave you with a favorite quote that moves me deeply every time I think of my 7 little nieces and nephews:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan

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Drop in the Bucket

Obama is leaning hard on the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law that was passed in response to the federal government’s refusal to fulfill its obligations. He objects because in his opinion, the law has “the possibility of racial profiling” within it. How about the “possibility” of drug crime, property crime, human trafficking, kidnapping, murders, rapes, and gang activity that it might help prevent? Both his Attorney General and Homeland Security Secretary have admitted they never read the Arizona law after denouncing it for weeks. Obama’s mouthpiece says that the President has read it, but he is still complaining. Obama admits that immigration is a federal responsibility, but flatly refuses to lift a finger to address the problem.

The President  is pandering to the Hispanic vote even though nearly 80% of Americans support border enforcement. Below is one question from a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll that specifically asks if law enforcement can or should ask for proof of legal status.

35. Do you favor or oppose requiring people to show documents proving their immigration status if government officials have reasonable cause to ask for them?
Favor                        Oppose                                 (Don’t know)
18-19 May 10                    84%                             13                                                         2
Democrats                         75%                             21                                                         3
Republicans                      95%                               4                                                          1
Independents                  82%                             15                                                          3

Obviously President Obama and his Administration are poles apart from the will of the American people on this subject.

Last week Mexican Presidente Felipe Calderon flayed the Arizona law in front of a joint session of Congress. Democrats, including the Homeland Security Secretary, Attorney General, and Vice President arose and gave a standing ovation. These people are so far out on a limb, gravity is about to step in and teach them a lesson.

Listen very carefully to Calderon’s exact words toward the end of the clip: Of the weapons we have been able to trace, 80% came from the United States.” This is true, but only part of the story. Most of the weapons confiscated in Mexico’s drug wars cannot be traced because they came from places outside the US and no records of serial numbers are available. Many of the weapons captured like rocket launchers, grenades, machine guns, and automatic rifles are not sold in the US at all.

Now that you have seen Congressional Democrats making fools of themselves; take a peek at Calderon’s explanation of how illegals are handled in Mexico. The kicker is the last sentence – “We send back them!”:

It looks as if Arizona is enforcing nothing that Mexico is not already doing. Following a meeting today with Senate Republicans, President Obama announced he was requesting 1,200 National Guard troops to be stationed at the Mexican border.

That is not protection; it is merely a face saving pinprick. He wants to look tough while having as little resulting enforcement as possible.

Devil to Pay

Greek citizens are angry because their government spent and promised too much, is broke, and has had to reduce wages, benefits, and pensions. Ironically, one of the requirements of the proposed EU and IMF bailout of Greece is that it privatize its single payer health care system!

Based on concerns that this situation could spread to several other European countries, the Euro is weakening and stock markets are falling. With the massive debt being rung up by our own government, could the dollar be next on the list?

In the US; local, county, state, and federal governments have vastly expanded regulation and ladled on layer upon layer of additional “services”. They have hired too many, promised too much, and spent themselves into a descending spiral of debt. High wages, big benefits packages, and generous pensions are quickly threatening to bankrupt many cities and states. Huge entitlement programs are fast approaching insolvency at the federal level.

What will the American people do when the rubber hits the road and all these promises cannot be kept? They were promised these programs and benefits in good faith, and are bound to be extremely angry when they find out their “services”, wages, and benefits will be reduced.

United Airlines pensions were trashed a few years ago. GM and Chrysler pensions are still paying out only because the US government is supporting the firms with TARP money. Social Security went into the red this year. Many states’ pension liabilities are underfunded and approaching critical breakdowns. College students are demonstrating against tuition increases. What will happen when California defaults on its pension liabilities? Will LA become “Athens West”?

If we do not address these looming problems immediately, we may be seeing serious unrest in our own cities. We must elect LEADERS with the principles, backbone, and ability to start adjusting these situations before the ax drops suddenly. We need office holders with the guts to look the American people in the eye and say “Enough!” If these unrealistic and underfunded programs are not scaled back, they will fail, and there will be the devil to pay.

The Greek government made the Faustian bargain of buying loyalty and labor peace by spending future revenues that would never materialize. The citizens are now being told they will get less free stuff, and they are violently reacting. Are the millions of Americans who are dependent on or expecting free stuff going to behave any differently when the gravy train grinds to a halt?

If you have children you care for in your life, now is the time to think of their future. Political business as usual should go into the dustbin of history. It depends on you and your vote to determine whether it will be a peaceful readjustment over time or a blind plunge over a fiscal cliff into conditions that will make the Great Depression look like a cakewalk. Preventing such a future will require most Americans to sacrifice some of the future benefits they are expecting – that goes for you and me. Can you face and handle the truth?

Don’t wake up some morning and see scenes like the above playing out in our major cities. Your country needs your attention, your love, and your vote at this approaching crossroads of history.

Fix it Right

Social security is nearing its moment of truth. If this massive time bomb is not drastically modified before the fuse gets too short, we may well have a violent backlash. Say “Greece”. Future generations will realize they are being taxed beyond their capacity to pay to support growing numbers of retirees with Social Security benefits as they live well into their 80s and 90s. The graph below demonstrates the decay of Social Security deficit projections in just the past year. Where will that money come from?

CBO Social Security Deficits

There are three options:

1. Do nothing, allowing the future to unfold leading to national financial ruin.
2. Kick the can along to the next generation with tax increases and band aid fixes.
3. Fix it now- forever- while the popular inertia is behind the idea.

1 and 2 are already discredited having been practiced over the past 50 years. Buying votes from senior citizens over the past 3 generations and fearing their retribution every other November has brought the system to the breaking point. The third choice is the only realistic path and we may just be witnessing the grass roots support to get it done.

Social Security was passed as a self sustaining government run plan to provide a minimum level of benefits to retirees, many of whom were entering old age destitute from enduring the Great Depression. Over the years it was larded with additional benefits, recipients, and the billions collected from payers were squandered on present spending. The money was replaced with government IOUs. The system just went into the red and those IOUs must be covered through additional taxes, deficits, and borrowing.

One way to save the system would be to ratchet the retirement age up over time to the equivalent of what it was in 1935. If it was a fair age of eligibility then, it is fair now. In 1935 life expectancy was 61.7 and eligibility began at 65. Today the average is 77.8. Using the original formula, benefits should start at just under 82 years of age. Although many seniors would be able to work well into their 70s, expecting them to do so until 82 is not realistic.

An alternative would be to allow anyone to retire at any age but be eligible for only monthly benefits based on lifetime contributions, and accrued interest divided by the number of months actuarial tables show as additional lifespan. These benefits could be paid until death based on this formula since half the recipients will pass on prior, and half after the expected life years point arrives. The longer one works before retirement, the higher their benefits would be.

Neither of these ideas will be palatable to seniors, but something like this has to be done to save our young and unborn from the consequences of an overly generous and unsustainable retirement program. The follow-on benefit will be that a majority of folks approaching retirement age will be highly motivated to save and invest on their own behalf well ahead of reaching their golden years.

These are just a couple ideas from which to start discussion. However no such dialogue can possibly start; and this huge problem cannot ever be solved without a tectonic change of leadership in Washington. There may be a loophole in history forming right now that could lead to such a move. The growing rage at the grass roots level, if coordinated and successful, could well bring a flock of principled and courageous new legislators to Congress in November. They would join the remaining battle scarred incumbents who after fighting for their political lives may indeed be ready to do the right things.

Let us hope the power and inertia of the tea party movement does not metastasize into a third party fiasco, but instead elevates strong, fiscally responsible candidates from both parties into office. There are good Democrats in the field who are running far to the right of the present administration, understanding that courageously breaking with past party orthodoxy is the only hope of being elected. There are mediocre Republicans presently in office who will be broomed out as happened to Bob Bennett of Utah.

It is our responsibility as voting citizens to elevate to office those who swear to address this entitlement Tsunami immediately for the benefit of our nation and its future generations.

False Valor

This writer served in a Marine Corps Rifle Company IN Viet Nam for nearly a year and a half.  He was never “decorated,” just did his job as ordered and returned home to start a new life.  ‘Nuff said.

Richard Blumenthal struck a raw nerve with thousands of Viet Nam veterans by “misspeaking” a number of times about his imagined service “in” Viet Nam.  Oddly enough, a number of news stories over the years had also placed him “in” Viet Nam, and he never bothered to correct the record.  He appeared at a news conference apologizing for unintentionally misleading the public and proffering the excuse that he had not seen the news stories.  Now think about this for a moment: A high level elected official for over 20 years does not avidly read and save each and every news clipping about HIM that is spotted and collected by his staff and many supporters?  That belies the imagination.

He frequents the headquarters of the local VFW chapter. Is he a member? If so, he obviously got in by lying about his service since VFW members have to present a copy of their DD-214 Form proving participation in an overseas combat zone. How’d he pull that off – and when will they kick his butt out?

During the Viet Nam war, reserve forces were seldom if ever used in combat. It was well known at the time that if one could join the reserves of any branch, they would serve their military obligation in the comfort of their home state and not be shipped south with a rifle and some C rations for a year. Dan Quayle was pilloried for being a reservist as was George W. Bush. Naturally the reserves had waiting lists of young men who desired to avoid being drafted, but wanted to preserve their political viability for the future. We can be pretty certain that joining the Marine Corps Reserve took a bit more perseverance than opening a phone book on a lark and being put on a bus to Parris Island.

The book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Viet Nam War, in a footnoted statement revealed that fewer than 3 million actually went to Viet Nam during the war, but nearly 12 million state so on census forms. I do not know where these figures came from, but I have met a number of BS-ers and crackpots over the years whose stories fall apart real quick when quizzed up on details by one who was actually there.

In this age of warped moral relativism, it seems lying is acceptable behavior. It was not so 45 years ago when millions of us answered our nation’s call to serve and face the imminent dangers of a hot war. Blumenthal’s blithe excuses backed up by a bunch of effeminate hugs among him and some “useful idiots” (and God, it hurts me to see honorable Marine veterans being used like that) was nothing but Kabuki theatre aimed solely at saving his pathetic behind for an upcoming election.

I have deep respect for anyone who has proven his merit by graduating from Marine Corps Recruit Training and worn the uniform proudly until honorably discharged. I also admire Blumenthal’s record of being strong on veterans’ issues. However it is very hard to accept the apparent intentional embellishment of a decent record into a false, misleading, and fictional intimation of imagined valor.

If the citizens of Connecticut have any sense of decency, Blumenthal should be political toast. Let us hope so.

Your US Attorney General

Attorney general Eric Holder must have been born with his shoelaces tied together. The man cannot make a cogent statement about anything to anyone on any subject. Apparently a lifetime in the hothouse of PC groupthink has left him mentally two- blocked. Why in the world would a President who is trying to do the best he can for the country select and keep such a pathetic incompetent in the highest law enforcement office in the land?

President Obama and Mr. Holder have lost no opportunity to flail Arizona’s new law enhancing enforcement against illegal immigration. Obama says that American citizens will be harassed and rounded up when they take their kids out for ice cream. Holder insists that the Law will lead to all sorts of awful consequences including the dreaded “Racial Profiling.” He has gone way out on a limb criticizing the law numerous times. Now he gets quizzed up on it by a persistent House Member:

Repeatedly trashing a law that he knows nothing about, never having read it, is pretty dumb; not to mention embarrassing. Mr. Holder also seems to have a huge selective blind spot when it comes to radical Islam and the damage done and attempted by attackers with proven ties to Islam, radicalism, and overseas terrorism influence and training:

Holder is not a moron. In fact, he is “too clever by half.” Holder’s problem is that he is supposed to be protecting the American people – a fact that seems to have a pretty low priority in his mind and his Department of Justice. He is acting more like a slime-ball politician then a law enforcement official. How long and for what possible reason can he stay in office? One idea:

Holder makes an ideal foil, or lightning rod that deflects direct criticism away from President Obama. As long as everyone is stunned by what comes out of his mouth, what actions and/or inactions he is responsible for – no one has the time or attention span to dump on the President directly. Clinton kept the pathetic Janet Reno in office supposedly after she promised to try to keep the hounds at bay on his own legal problems. Obama obviously keeps Holder around so the hounds have an alternative target to bite.

If Obama does tie the can to Holder, be careful what you wish for. The next AG might not be any improvement.

Senator Who?

Washington State has a golden opportunity to replace a rubber stamp in tennis shoes with a truly unique and powerful individual as US Senator.  There are 11 candidates currently in the primary for the Republican nomination to face Patty Murray in November. Any one of them would be an exponential improvement over the representation we have now. Murray rolls over and votes with the Obama Administration nearly 90% of the time. They are squandering our childrens’ futures with more spending, borrowing, and unrealistic promises that can never be kept.

The only way to begin a turnaround at the federal level is to change our representation in DC.  Scott Brown proved it could be done by handily winning a Senate seat in heavily Democratic Massachusetts.  Various incumbents of both parties are threatened with losses in primaries and will not even get a chance to defend their seats in the general election.  It is time to send Patty Murray back to a classroom where the damage she can do will be limited to a few feeble young minds and not the entire nation.

This is the new Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie who defeated Democrat John Corzine last fall.  New Jersey is mired in debt with corresponding high tax levels and is bleeding wealth and businesses at an alarming rate.  Here Mr. Christie cogently answers one of his press adversaries who inquired about his “tone.”

Electing a dozen such men and women to the US Senate right now would be the best thing we could do to serve our nation and begin the necessary steps of reprioritizing our government’s activities before we begin to look like Greece.  Let us get to know our primary Senate candidates and elect someone with this level of honesty and courage.