May 15, 2009
On May 11th, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he was running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. On the same day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chaired by Senator Cornyn, endorsed Governor Crist. It is inappropriate for the NRSC to endorse a candidate in a primary race. There are two other candidates, Dr. Marion Thorpe (former Chief Medical Officer of Florida) and Marco Rubio (former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives).
The endorsement of Governor Crist is a symptom of two larger problems in the GOP. The first problem is that the Party’s elites have bought into the mainstream media’s contention that in order to win, Republicans need to nominate “moderate” candidates. I put the word moderate in quotes, because many within the Party believe that so-called moderates are actually not Republicans at all. Some call them R.I.N.O.s (Republican In Name Only). Some call them “Democrat-Light”. Still others call them the “right-wing of the Democratic Party”. Whatever you call them, these candidates either don’t win elections or they win but infuriate Republicans by supporting and enacting legislation and policies that are more like those put forth by Democrats and liberals, than Republicans and conservatives.
The other problem is that the GOP elites, whether they be in Washington, D.C., Tallahassee or any other state capitol believe that they know better than the grassroots, rank and file, members of the Party that actually campaign, fundraise and vote for candidates. After the Tea Parties in April many Republican “leaders” said they saw, heard and understood what the people were saying. They said they understood that the GOP had lost it’s way and had strayed away from the conservative principles that made us successful in the past. The fact that they’re recruiting and endorsing candidates like Charlie Crist, Tom Ridge and Carly Fiorina would have to lead a conservative to believe that they haven’t gotten the message at all.
It is the opinion of some that winning an election with a candidate that has an “R” after their name is more important than electing candidates that actually embrace Republican/Conservative principles. That is not the opinion of the majority of the rank and file Republicans. We’re tired of the R.I.N.O. candidates that pay lip service to us to get elected and then betray us once they’re in power. The result of this disconnect between the elites and the grassroots will be nasty primary fights that may ultimately lead to general election defeats. It is almost an absolute certainty that the primary between Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio and Marion Thorpe will lead to a rift in the Florida Republican Party. But the fault lies squarely with the Governor and RPOF Chair Jim Greer. The people have spoken, but nobody in Washington or Tallahassee is listening.
May 6, 2009
Everyone knows that gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed over the last year. Thousands of “how dare they” editorials and columns have been written by the liberal-progressive wusses in the mainstream media on the topic.
The gun buying has prompted the Department of Homeland Security to issue the following warning to law enforcement: “Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement”
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s outrageous report titled, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, ignored the concerns of civil libertarians and her own Homeland Security lawyers, and labeled as potential terrorists pro-lifer’s, veterans, federalists and Americans who oppose illegal immigration.
Janet “Reno” Napolitano seems to be preparing to immortalize herself with her very own Waco, except this time around, Napolitano wants to target law-abiding American citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
Last week, Lt. Col. Allen West answered Napolitano’s slur of veterans in an email sent to supporters, and posted on the Palin Drone blog.
The weenie Obamabots in the liberal press are trying to portray increased gun buying as some sort of anti-Obama revolutionary plot. It isn’t. I know some people that have recently armed themselves for the first time, and the election of President Obama had nothing to do with their decision to purchase a weapon. Sure, there are some gun enthusiasts buying weapons in anticipation of more draconian and unconstitutional gun laws.
When any country faces the possibility of economic collapse, the citizenry arms itself. Not to overthrow the government, but to protect themselves and their families from the rising crime and lawlessness that usually accompanies an economic depression. The lawlessness feared by many may or may not materialize, but a prudent person plans for even the remote possibility that things may not work out as well as we all hope.
Yesterday, a friend sent me a really cool, somewhat racy ad that illustrates my point. (Warning: This video may not be suitable viewing for weak pacifist males, hoplophobes, liberals, and wimpy “the police will protect me” progressives.)
Now that I’ve posted this video, I guess I’m going to end up on one of Napolitano’s watch lists. But rising crime is a real possibility and I tend to adhere to the old saying “ I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.”
Paul Valone, of the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner, says it even better in the closing of his excellent piece, Armed self-defense & ‘The Stopwatch of Death’, by quoting Clint Smith, founder of Thunder Ranch and one of the world’s foremost authorities on armed self-defense: “I may get killed with my own gun, but he’s gonna have to beat me to death with it, ’cause it’s going to be empty.”
May 4, 2009
Many conservatives like to believe that the rapidly fading fortunes of the liberal-dominated print media is in large part due to conservatives turning to the alternative media for unbiased reporting and/or reporting with a more conservative spin.
While there is some merit to the conservative claim, it isn’t the decisive factor that many of us would like to think.
In this case, the conservative theory on the downfall of the print media is more schadenfreude, directed at an age-old antagonist, than actual analysis.
That’s not to say the media isn’t biased, because it is, and the conservative spurning of traditional media is real, and has had an effect.
The popularity and ratings dominance of Fox News on cable TV speaks for itself.
But there are bigger and even more revolutionary forces at work in the world of print journalism, and anyone with an interest in politics needs to understand what is really going on.
I have been asked many times over the last few months why I’ve chosen to write a blog online for the Sun Sentinel instead of trying to get published in the print edition. The Shirky piece has the answer, and Shirky should be required reading for everyone in the media, and for those who regularly interact with the media.
According to Shirky: “ Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism,” and, “When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society,’ the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.”
So in my own small way, I’m trying to do “whatever works,” in service to conservatism, online, at the Sun Sentinel.
It is interesting to note that with only the rarest exception, everyone who has asked me the “why online instead of print” question has been over 50 years old. Hardly anyone under 40 has asked me that question. The under-40s don’t have to ask. They already know the answer.
May 1, 2009
Editor’s Note: This blog was written prior to the Tax Day Tea Parties that took place all over the nation on April 15, 2009. However, as the Tea Party movement continues and more tea parties are being planned for the near future, the thoughts of this blog are just a true today as they were prior to April 15, 2009.
Across the country, there are hundreds of Tea Parties being held this April 15th. These Tea Parties are being held for a variety of reasons, many of which can be found at: http://taxdayteaparty.com.
The original Boston Tea Party was held in Boston Harbor in 1773 predominantly to protest the British Government’s exorbitant taxation on Tea, which the colonists had to buy from Great Britain, but it was a sign of larger things, including, but not limited to violation of the colonists’ right to be taxed by their own elected representatives.
In our current political situation, many people are angered because our government has routinely and continually disregarded what many people believe to be common sense decisions by obligating our national budget for projects and actions that we do not believe in, and where no amount of “creative accounting” can come up with money to pay for, without obligating our children and grand-children for humongous debts.
Other people are angered and frustrated by politicians who seem to want to be politicians because of the power inherent in the position, although I think a greater number of our current crop of politicians want to be congressmen because of the awesome benefits, including but not limited to, medical care, retirement benefits, and the fact that they are members of a very select group of people – out of 300 million citizens, there are only 435 representatives and 100 senators in the entire country.
Many advocates of the Tea Parties suggest taking the day off – the problem for most of us is that we all have jobs – you know, someone has to work to pay for all these things the government is promising to everyone.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard a variety of suggestions about how to conduct one’s self at these Tea Parties. I have to be honest – I haven’t heard anything from any of the mainstream media, but I don’t watch much of the “big 3 news channels” because I have become tired of their continual leftward-leaning portrayal of everything from the weather to traffic to immigration to the Global War on Terror (yes, I know that it is now called something else, but “a rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet”, so I will continue to call it what it is).
As angered and frustrated as many of us are, I think we need to be careful about how we show our anger and our frustration. There are rumors of groups of far-left liberals planning to crash the various parties in an effort to portray conservatives as far right (which we are), as illogical (which we aren’t), as uncaring (which we aren’t), and as out-of-touch (this is open to debate).
In all of this, I think that conservatives’ biggest issue is that we don’t talk about what we want – we expect that other people will see our side, based purely on logic and common sense, not realizing that many people deal with politics from a much more “emotional” aspect – now I may be blowing smoke here, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence to refute my beliefs.
Personally, I am going to the Tea Party in West Palm Beach, FL, to meet other people who are as frustrated as I am, and to show by my presence that I am angered and frustrated by my government’s refusal to look at the beliefs and knowledge of a large part of the country’s population. I am not taking a sign. I am not wearing a t-shirt with a logo about my lack of faith in my government.
If asked why I am there, I will say “I want to show our elected officials that I am frustrated that they are not listening to me and to the hundreds of thousands of people nation-wide who believe as I do.” I will continue with “I believe that people, and especially politicians, who do not know their history doom the entire country to repeat it – none of the situations we are currently facing are new – they have all been dealt with in the past, and from history we know what works and what doesn’t. As long as we keep doing the same wrong things, we will continue to get the wrong results.”
I might also add if it seems appropriate that I believe that each and every one of us has a God-given right to “… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”, but that comes with a couple caveats. The first is that no one is guaranteed the right to be happy, only the right to pursue happiness. The second is that someone else’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness MUST end when it starts infringing on my right to the same, and vice versa.
Happy Tea Party to everyone!
April 28, 2009
In a related story, fiscal conservatives believe in balanced budgets (this is why the current conservative movement should abandon its love affair with Ronald Reagan, he of the unacceptable peacetime budget deficits). Individuals, businesses and the government should not spend money they don’t have. Fiscal conservatives reject the notion that short-term budget deficits are a necessary policy tool to fight recessions. Government borrowing reduces the amount of capital available to individuals and businesses, prolonging and deepening recessions. If government prints money rather than borrows it, it devalues the currency, creates inflation and forces individuals to work harder to maintain the same standard of living. It would also be wise for the federal government to balance the budget and use some of the surplus to pay down systematically the national debt. Morally responsible policy would require the generations responsible for much of the debt to bear the burden of paying it back.
Fiscal conservatives should push the federal government to adopt a policy of sound money. The balanced budgets mentioned above are the foundation. The Federal Reserve should drop its dual-goals of low inflation and full employment. The Federal Reserve should maintain a base interest rate that is higher than the rate of inflation. Abandoning reckless free trade agreements in favor of trade policies that better protect US citizens and workers would help reduce the trade deficit and buoy the value of the currency. When the US was at the height of its economic hegemony, it had trade rivals, not trade partners. The US should not fear a trade war. It has won in those in the past, and with the right policies, it will win them in the future. A return to the gold standard would be the ultimate sound money step. However, fiscal conservatives need not be ideologically pure on this issue if they can achieve implementation of the aforementioned policies.
Fiscal conservatives should fight to eliminate GSEs, or government sponsored entities. GSEs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac essentially insure investors against the risk of loss. Unfortunately, subsidizing mediocrity and providing safety nets for failure encourages more of both. In addition, the process of creative destruction that is vital to the prosperity of any nation is interrupted or derailed.
Other ideas fiscal conservatives should consider supporting are the decriminalization of marijuana (tens of billions of dollars wasted fighting this “threat”), a non-interventionist foreign policy that includes bringing our troops stationed overseas home (empire maintenance is threatening to bankrupt and collapse us, as it did to the Persians, Greeks, the Romans, the Holy Romans and the British), eliminating farm subsidies and the phasing out of Social Security (retirement is not a right, and it is probably an outdated 20th century phenomenon, anyway). Fiscal conservatives should push for legislation that supports the production of energy from all sources, including (especially) nuclear, oil, oil shale, natural gas, coal, hydroelectricity, wind and solar. The US can and should be the world leader in energy production. Fiscal conservatives should become production-huggers who stand up to tree-huggers and cloud-worshippers.
The fight ahead will be difficult and the opponents will be tough and determined. For the future of this country, fiscal conservatives have to win this argument. The long term alternative is likely learning Chinese and professing allegiance to the People’s Republic.
April 24, 2009
George W. Bush and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson engineered the $700 billion corporate welfare program known as TARP, the largest upward transfer of wealth in our nation’s history. GWB presided over the largest expansion of government in our nation’s history since the one over which LBJ presided. This expansion of government included increased federal involvement in education (No Child Left Behind) and health care (growth of Medicare and Medicaid). GWB opened a two-front war, championed the outdated expansion of NATO, increased foreign aid to unprecedented levels (including the most aid ever sent to Africa, even as that continent continues to devolve into a diseased, corrupted, war-torn, terrorist-harboring disaster) and failed to enforce our borders, allowing millions of illegal immigrants to undermine our nation’s workers. Despite record federal tax revenues, GWB signed into law budgets that ran the largest deficits in history (apparently all that spending did not include an allocation for an ink cartridge for George’s veto pen). GWB, at least tacitly, endorsed a cheap money policy that debased the value of the dollar, making it harder for working citizens to save and encouraged further crass and needless consumption. Sadly, the list continues. Predictably, the economy capitulated.
Even more predictably, the mainstream media and the useful idiots on the left (namely young Democrats, Hollywood, “academics” and deadbeats drunk on entitlements) “logically” concluded that not only had conservatism failed, but that it was directly responsible for the nation’s current economic mess (if one doesn’t believe this, he or she should read every Thomas Frank column in the Wall Street Journal). Thanks to GWB’s incompetence, conservatism got discredited during an era in which liberalism ran amok (with any luck, President Obama’s apparent incompetence will do the same work discrediting liberalism, though one suspects all of Obama’s failures will be blamed on Dick Cheney and/or Rush Limbaugh; more on that in a future blog).
Believe it or not, the purpose of this blog is not to bash GWB (one expects that writers far more talented than this column’s author will write 40-volume encyclopedic odes to his incompetence) because it is obvious to all literate people that Congress, on both sides of the isle, was completely complicit. Complicit as well were the voters who failed to hold congressional RINOs accountable for their profligacy (one could blame Democratic voters as well, but experience indicates that not much is to be expected from Democrats). The purpose herein is to inform Let’s Get Loud of the difficulty of the task ahead (after all, GWB was supposed to be “one of us”). However, the task will be easier if fiscal conservatives can first define fiscal conservatism and then unify the message as they seek to spread it.
Begin with the basics. Though this is not news to anyone, fiscal conservatism starts with a belief in low taxes. Taxes on businesses should be drastically lowered or eliminated. As many already know, businesses pass on their taxes in the form of lower dividend payouts to investors, higher prices to customers and fewer jobs/lower wages to workers. In this calculus, the workers bear the brunt of the burden as businesses are loathe to injure investors and alienate customers. In addition, the capital gains tax should be eliminated. If it is not eliminated, it should be indexed for inflation. Not indexing capital gains taxes for inflation allows the federal government to steal wealth through manipulation of the money supply (and manipulate and steal it will). A massive, pro-growth tax cut in the federal marginal income tax rate on earned income would help as well. This blogger endorses scrapping the income tax system in favor of a consumption-based tax system, but is not dogmatic about it. Point being, tax rates and the method of taxation are central to fiscal conservatism.
The other side of low taxes is a small federal government and strong states rights. Fiscal conservatives believe that the states are Petri dishes of policy development for the greater republic. States should use policy to compete for talented residents and capital. May the best states prosper and the worst states adjust policy accordingly.
April 6, 2009
On March 26th, at a press conference to announce that a Chinese Company was signing a lease for its new tower, the Port Authority of NY/NJ also announced that the 1776 foot tall tower would no longer be called the Freedom Tower, but instead would be called One World Trade Center.
The Port Authority claims that Freedom Tower isn’t marketable for them. But as someone who lost a loved one in the actual One World Trade Center on 9/11, I find this change completely inappropriate. It diminishes the memories of those who died that day. It also forgets that the actual footprints of the One and Two World Trade Center are not going to be built on. They will be a void of buildings as a reminder and memorial to the victims, as well as a place for people from all over the world to come, pay their respects, reflect, remember and for those who were not born yet to learn about what happened that day.
As former NY Governor George Pataki said, “The Freedom Tower isn’t going to be One World Trade Center, it’s going to be the Freedom Tower,” because no matter what the bureaucrats call it, it will be known as what the American People call it.
With that in mind, I encourage anyone who reads this and agrees that it is just wrong to use One World Trade Center as an address or a name for the Freedom Tower to contact your Congressman and Senators and urge them to protest this. Contact the Port Authority of NY/NJ, write letters to the editor and pass this note along to your friends, family and co-workers.
Less than 8 years after the attacks of 9/11, it seems that some have already forgotten what happened to NYC and the US. They seem to have forgotten that for many of us the memories of that day can still make us cry. That some of us will never forget and don’t want anyone else to forget. The phrase “remember Pearl Harbor” still resonates 68 years later. I hope that the phrase “9/11 Never Forget” will resonate for at least as long. I know it will for me.
September 11, 2001 is this generation’s December 7, 1941. It should be treated with the same reverence and respect, no less.
April 3, 2009
I’ve heard President Obama compared to Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and even Ronald Reagan. I don’t really see the comparisons, except maybe a little with FDR who also tried to use government spending to get us out of an economic downturn.
The only US president that I really think you can make a comparison to is Jimmy Carter. A president who was seen as weak by our enemies and couldn’t deal with the tremendous economic recession and inflation he faced.
Obama’s policies to this point actually make me think more of Hugo Chavez. Like Chavez, Obama is trying to nationalize businesses and grow government. It’s as though the President and his liberal/socialist allies in Congress don’t believe that Americans can be self sufficient. They believe that government is the answer. I don’t know what the question is, but they believe they and their policies are the answer.
What seems to be left out of the liberal plan is the realization that socialism has never worked in any nation where it’s been tried. The same people that want bigger government, higher taxes and less personal responsibility from the public, are the same people that passed a $787 billion “stimulus” plan without even reading it. Then when it became public knowledge that the spendulus plan included a provision that grandfathered in bonuses for AIG executives and others, these members of Congress feigned populist outrage and proceeded to write and pass an unconstitutional bill to tax these bonuses at 90%!
People need to wake up and recognize that those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. High taxes, deficit spending and bigger government lead to more deficits, higher inflation and bigger less efficient government.
The devaluation of the US Dollar, due to inflation, has allowed Russia, China, France and the UN to float the idea of an international currency to replace the Dollar. This and the so-called “manmade global warming” crisis are just excuses to move toward a Global Government via the UN. If that doesn’t scare you, you need to stop and think about all the “good” the UN has done recently. Whether it’s ignoring the genocide in Bosnia (which the US and NATO stopped) or the current genocide in Darfur, the UN has been impotent in defending the weak and the poor. We could also look at the “oil for food program” where billions of dollars were funneled back to Saddam Hussein while senior UN officials were enriching themselves. Is this the organization we want running the world? I think not.
This is our country and we value US sovereignty. We have the rights given to us by the US Constitution, for now. But if we allow the UN to run things the Constitution will be void. Imagine, freedom of speech GONE. Imagine a guy in a blue UN cap coming to your door to collect your guns. It isn’t that far fetched people. They say Obama transcends politics (yeah right). They say he’s post partisian and post racial. What he may really be is post sovereignty, post national and post constitutional.
March 30, 2009
Dear Senator whatchamacallit (paste in your senator/representative’s name)
I heard today that President Obama is seeking the ability to take over companies that MIGHT fail.
It doesn’t matter that he only wants this power over companies “like” AIG – this is a travesty!
Please do your part to restore the free market to the United States and to help rebuild the independent spirit that built this nation.
We do not need more bail-outs, we do not need more assistance going to stop foreclosures on loans to people who never should have had them in the first place, and we most definitely do not need to increase the tax burden on people who are paying taxes.
The best thing you can do for this country, and for your constituents (who put you in office) would be to vote no on anything that detracts from the free market, detracts from capitalism in this country, or infringes on the freedoms of people in this country.
To this point, the Obama regime has grown the deficit by over 9 trillion dollars (more than 11 trillion according to the CBO) – that is more than $100,000 for each man, woman and child in this country. If you stop and think about it for a few minutes, there are people living in houses that cost less than one person’s tax burden, and whole households can live for 2 years or more on that amount.
Please look at any bill coming to you as if you were making less than $20/hour and you have to support a family on what your government leaves you.
March 27, 2009
The premise that led to the bailouts and the TARP programs was that the companies the government was helping were “too big to fail”. Armed with that assumption, the Bush Administration led by Secretary Paulson began what has become an ongoing cycle of fear mongering, bailouts and scandals, costing the American Taxpayers literally trillions of dollars. The Obama Administration, aided and abetted by the Democrats in Congress has only compounded the problem with out of control spending and new taxes. These are debts and deficits that our children and grandchildren will have to work to repay.
But are these companies really too big to fail? If so, why were they allowed to get so big that their failure could so damage the nation’s economy?
Since we’re talking about “bailouts” let’s use the analogy of a sinking ship. Even if the ship is as large and expensive as an oil tanker, at some point, if it’s apparent that no amount of pumping (or bailing out) can save the ship, they let it sink and accept the loses.
That’s what has to happen to GM, Chrysler and any banks or insurance companies, including AIG, that can’t survive in the free market. They need to file for Chapter 11 and restructure themselves and their contracts. If they can’t then they have to file for Chapter 7. Will there be short-term pain? Yes, but compared to the long-term burden we’re placing on future generations, it’s a small price to pay and it’s the right thing to do. It’s the principled thing to do.
If in fact any of these companies is truly too big to fail then Congress is at fault for not using anti-trust laws to break up that company in the name of competition and national security.
I don’t believe any company is too big to fail in a capitalist, free market society. The government shouldn’t be in the business of deciding winners and losers in the United States of America.