Thursday, December 24, 2009
Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To All My Conservative Friends:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
"proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale....
"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
"But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation,...I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms.
"So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace....
"But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.”
-- President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize speech, Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009
"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction....
"North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
"Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom....
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
"We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction....
"We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.”
-- George W. Bush, State of the Union speech, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2002
Hat tip to Bill Kristol, this is really his post
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
On the other hand, the crossing of these "streams" strikes me as a cause for celebration:
Slowly but surely, America is becoming aware of the danger to our nation posed by our president's extremism.
H/T to NRO for the Ghostbusters' allusion.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Funniest thing I've read in weeks. All this talk about Sarah Palin lately has got me thinking, the two best things about a 2012 Palin presidential victory (aside from ending our long national nightmare) would be the absolute JOY of rubbing the noses of the Obamatologists in the fact that their guy, their savior, their Messiah had been beaten by Sarah freakin' Palin.......and watching Andrew Sullivan's head literally explode, as I'm sure it would. If it ever comes close to happening, I hope someone gets a camera on him 24/7 so we can catch it on film.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Mi, In, Oh, Pa, Ny, Va, Nc, Al, Fl, Az, Nm, Mo, Ar, Ok, Tx, Ia, Sd, Mn, Mt, Co, Ut, Nv, and Id.
So what? She's on a book tour, she's bound to be all across the US. Of course. But look at just which states she's visiting, between them, these 23 states have enough Republican Delegates to carry the party nomination for President. Interesting. There's more: how do you suppose those 23 went in 2008? On the surface it's a pretty even split, especially considering Obama won: 13 states went for Obama, and 10 for McCain. Delving a bit deeper, however, one might notice that in 2008 Obama flipped 9 states that had gone for Bush in 2004. All 9 of these states are on the book tour. Now Sarah Palin might not be considering a presidential run in '12, or she might. I think she definitely needs to work on strengthening her policy credentials before she starts campaigning in earnest if she does decide to run. However, if she is contemplating a run, this book tour is a brilliant stroke, putting her in touch with exactly the type of grass roots people needed to do all of the on-the-ground work for a campaign, in a relaxed, "oh hey, howyadoin, goodtomeetcha, hope you like the book" atmosphere where Palin's natural friendliness and charisma are huge assets, a full year before such a campaign would begin in earnest. If she does decide to run, her primary opponents just might find themselves facing an energized, boots-on-the-ground, grass roots constituency eager to turn out for Sarah before they even get going, and they might find these people overrepresented in the red or traditionally red states crucial to winning the Republican nomination. Like I said, I dunno what Sarah Palin intends, but to steal a line from Artie Johnson..."Verrry interesting".
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The last line of the video resonates with me. Speaking of the experience, one vet says "I can't say enough about it, and I can't say enough thanks".
No, sir, it is we who can not say enough thanks to you.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Read this letter from the JCT (Joint Committee on Taxation). Now ponder exactly what it says there. If any American citizen or legal resident of the U.S. fails to purchase a qualified health insurance plan, they will be taxed, fined up to a quarter of a million dollars or imprisoned for five years. First of all, that's not just a mandate to get health insurance, oh no. it mandates that every American be covered by a qualified plan. What makes a plan "qualified?" I dunno. Neither does anyone else. That's to be determined by a panel of unelected government bureaucrats*. This is exactly what they did in Massachusetts, and the result has been a disaster. Every medical special interest group immediately poured millions of dollars into lobbying to get their particular specialty mandated, and the state has been nothing if not obliging. Bleeding heart economic illiterates have rushed in to make sure that the "greedy" insurance companies couldn't do things like cap costs or charge deductibles deemed "excessive". The state obliged. "Well, we can't have people being excluded from coverage for any reason" liberals wailed. So ordered, said the state. And so on. Folks, these things cost money. What has been created is an ungodly price spiral. Many insurance carriers left the state. Those that stayed have had to raise prices several times. Massachusetts now has the highest health insurance rates in the country, and all of the private carriers left have notified the state insurance commissioner that rates will be going up 29-50% next year. The average family in the Massachusetts is now paying upwards of $20,000/year for their coverage**.
So what's the significance of this? Aside from meaning that health insurance is going to get a lot more expensive, this puts paid completely to the canard that the President has been incessantly chanting for the last 6-8 months" "If you like the coverage you have, you can keep it.". No, you can't. That's a lie. A flat out, bald faced, so-full-of-shit-that-your-eyes-are-turning-brown, lie, Mr. President. The bill plainly says, and the JCT memo linked above confirms, that citizens and legal aliens (but not illegal aliens, notice that? Other portions of the bill give illegals access to medicare or qualified health plans, but the penalties and fines don't apply to them. To quote Artie Johnson as Wolfgang the German Soldier, "Verrry interesting") will be forced to purchase a health plan that covers exactly what the government wants covered, and if your current plan, the plan that "you like", doesn't qualify, you'll have to switch to one that does or face the consequences.
Which brings me to my second point. Note the consequences: taxes, fines and jail time. That's right people, if for any reason you don't purchase a qualifying plan, than it's off to the gulag for you! Are you a committed Catholic who won't buy a qualified plan because it mandates abortion coverage and that's against your moral code? Jail time! A Scientologist who just can't support psychiatric treatments being mandated? Off you go! Maybe you just can't afford the plan, even with all the subsidies sure to be offered? Throw 'em in the clink! As unthinkable as these scenarios may seem, THAT'S WHAT THE BILL ACTUALLY SAYS. It's....mindboggling, and frankly it's anathema to everything that this country has stood for for the last 233 years. The Federal government says buy this or go to jail. That's as American as borscht.
*That would be one of them tahr "death panels". Think that name's a political conceit, a ploy of Sarah Palin's to grab headlines for herself? I don't. I would bet that Jayden Capewell would disagree with you...except he was allowed to die, in the hospital, because he didn't meet the guidelines for treatment established by the Orwellian named NICE organization. OK, that's in the UK, that would never happen here, you say. Think not? Barbara Wagener thought not too. Then she was told that her state run insurance plan wouldn't cover the drugs needed to treat the cancer she was fighting....but would happily pay for her assisted suicide. I know the term "death panel" is offensive to some. I can understand that. Unfortunately, it does have one thing going for it: It's accurate.
**Massachusetts has even moved to stifle the market response to their draconian mandated coverage. One company (Full disclosure: The insurance company in question is one of the ones that I personally represent, although not in Massachusetts) went to the Insurance Commissioner of Massachusetts and said "Look, these mandated plans are getting very expensive. We'd like to sell a simpler plan, a more basic major medical plan, that doesn't meet your mandates. We'll tell people that, and even get each and every one of them who applies to sign a disclaimer stating that they A) understand that our plans do NOT meet your mandated coverage level and B) that they will thus still be liable for the fine levied on people not carrying qualifying plans ($75/month)." The Insurance Commissioner agreed, approved the plans for the state, and these plans started selling like wildfire, because they cost maybe half of what the mandated plans cost. Even with the $900/year fine, people were able to insure themselves adequately and save a huge amount of money. The Attorney General of Mass. went nuts. What? Choice? This company was offering the citizens actual choices in their health insurance? That just couldn't be allowed, oh, no, no, no, and so the AG's office started a huge 3 cornered legal fight between itself, the insurance company in question and the Insurance Commissioner's office, eventually driving that company out of the state, and depriving consumers the right to purchase a product that THEY preferred to one that the state mandated. Unbelievable.
President Obama elected not to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, but my sources have smuggled out to me part of the speech he would have delivered had he been there.
Twenty years ago today, thanks to the leadership of General Secretary Gorbachev, the mutual suspicion between East and West Germany came to an end. The Cold War was a bitter time for many, particularly in my country, when paranoia and unfounded animosity toward other systems of government impeded peace and progress. Due to unfounded fear and misplaced priorities, my country sometimes supported regimes that did not deserve support. At the same time, the Eastern bloc nations also made mistakes. They were sometimes too quick to assume the worst about us without giving us the benefit of the doubt. After all, while decision makers in Washington DC may have made many dreadful decisions, I was only in grade school at the time.
Thankfully, that time is past. Now, we can move forward together to create a world in which distinctions between command and free economies are gradually erased, and in which nuclear swords will be beaten into solar plowshares.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Strange as it may seem, I feel bad. Jimmy gives me so much, and all of it on a visceral level. Pure, unadulterated love. That's a heady wine to consume. All of it, all the time. "DADDY!" when I walk in the door, rushing to my arms to be swept up into an embrace. "Daddy, my car broke, please fix it", absolutely no doubt in his mind that I can somehow mend the cheap plastic toy, broken in his exuberance. When I'm laying lazily in bed, he hops in, "Let's play tent!" and we dive under the covers, imagining ourselves threatened by bears and tigers and the dreaded "Blair Witch" (a role I, with gleeful malice aforethought, usually assign to my wife), all the while cooking the imaginary meat from our imaginary conquests into a stew for us to share. A pillow is the fire, the TV remote the pot (and woe be to me if I attempt to serve food from the wrong pillow). Imagination rules the day, and it usually ends with giggles and hugs and lots of tickling. It is, quite simply, as close to heaven on earth as I can imagine. Better than recognition from my peers, better than a bonus at work, God help me it's better than sex with my wife (how crazy is that??!?).
So why do I feel bad? I feel bad because there are so many kids out there that don't get that from their fathers. I want to hug all the children of the world to my breast and tell them, love them, show them, that they are valuable. (You may now commence throwing rotten vegetables at me for my hubris). The child in Baltimore city that doesn't know his or her father because his or her mother is "stuck" with them after a single night of selfish pleasure. The child of a hard rock miner in Appalachia who beats his kids in a drunken rage, lashing out against his personal demons. The child in Africa who is destined to be brutally raped because she had the misfortune to be born into a society that holds the weird superstition dear that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS, and never mind that the "virgin" in question is no more than 6 years old. I bleed for all of them, because I AM THE FATHER. In a just world my righteous anger would swell to unimaginable proportions and consume the guilty in a cleansing fire.
Sadly, we don't live in a just world, we live in this world. Each night I must go to bed realizing that there are literally billions of kids who do not have a daddy, or worse, who are afraid of their "daddy".
But here's the thing. Here's the nub, the fundamental fact that so many men miss to their, their children's and society's detriment. Almost everyone likes to fuck. It's hardwired into our human genome. I have no problem with that. But...but...sometimes the fucking results in children, and if you embrace that not as a hazard of sex but as a blessing........then your life can be enriched to a degree not thought possible when the fucking was all that was on your mind. Why so many men miss that is beyond me, and it makes me sad and often angry. How stubbornly selfish do you have to be to miss the very big and wonderful forest for the ultimately inconsequential tree? I just don't understand it now, and I never will. Jimmy IS the light of my life. I work every day to cherish, to nurture that light. As far as I'm concerned, that IS my reason for being. How sad for the children who don't have that kind of dad. How unbelievably tragic for those men who willfully refuse to embrace the gift given them in their child. How unbelievably tragic. For all of us.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Tonight I went to Senator Cardin's town hall meeting at my alma mater, Towson University. The meeting was scheduled for 7, I showed up at 5 as I wanted to get far enough up in the line to get into the 500 seat auditorium. It was a good thing I did, too. I was maybe 100-150 people back from the door, and people closed up fast behind me. The turnout was generous, I estimate maybe 1500-2000 people showed up. The door to the Fine Arts building was on a rise, people not in line were standing down below, lining the road and waving signs and flags.
I thought the turnout was very good considering the temperature was 95 with a heat index of over 100 at 5PM. I brought a gallon jug of water and drank a little over half of it in line. Most of the people in the line around me were against Obamacare, but a few union members were just one or two spots behind me. They were cordial, but talking to them was like talking to brick walls. Example:
Me: "Government health plans have caused tremendous financial problems in every state where they have been implemented: Tennessee, Maine, Hawaii, Massachusetts.."
Union Woman: "Do you know why South Carolina is bankrupt?"
Me: " (!?) No...."
UW (triumphantly): "Not from health care!"
Me: "Oh kay....."
Meanwhile, a couple of their companions in their bright yellow union shirts were going down the line handing out fliers saying "All we're asking for is an honest, respectful conversation in there. That's what Democracy is all about." The fliers warned of "TEABAGGERS and DITTOHEADS" and went on in that vein. At least they were honest and respectful, right?
Those of us in line were told that we would not be allowed to bring signs into the meeting, and this was enforced upon all participants, pro and con, which was fair. One thing did bother me a bit. We were told by a security guard that we could put our signs over next to the building and pick them up on the way out. A number of people did so, and shortly thereafter, a different security guard went over to the signs and ripped them all up and threw them in a trashcan. I questioned him about his actions, stating that we had been told to put them there to pick up on the way out. He was mildly confrontational about my questioning him: "That's littering! It's a crime!" His whole attitude radiated disapproval over the signs. I told him that we had been told that we could leave them there to pick up later, to which he responded: "Do you want me to get a cop to tell you it's littering?". I answered in the affirmative, and he went away 'to get a cop' but never returned. *shrug* Petty Napoleon. No big deal, they were just signs.
At about 6 the doors opened and we went into the auditorium. I have to give the Cardin camp credit, they let the first 500 people in, they didn't pre-admit a large group of supporters to pack the house the way some Congresscritters are reported to be doing. It was a packed house.
I got a seat in the front row, right side, but later a lady came down and told me the seat I was in was supposed to have been reserved for her as she was staff. She moved me to a seat marked "Reserved for elected officials", front row center stage. I never knew it was so easy to get elected! I sat next to Bill Frank, the Republican delegate from Maryland's 42nd Legislative District.
At 7 Senator Cardin came out. Before he was introduced, he has a young mother tell a sob story about how she had a special needs child, and it took her 2 months to get her health insurance through MHIP. Senator Cardin took the stage and spoke for about 20-25 minutes, running through a slide show of Democratic talking points about Obamacare. The reform on the table, he said will provide coverage for 47 million uninsured people, require preventative coverage for everyone with no co-pays, cover mental health treatment the same as physical ailments, mandate low deductibles, eliminate yearly or lifetime maximums on insurance plans, allow you to keep your coverage if you liked it, not requiring you to go on the public plan, eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions, cap the ability of insurance companies to raise their rates and it would cost considerably less than our current system. I think there was something in there about everyone getting a pony that poops candy too, I'm not real sure, I just know that he promised everything to everybody at a much lower cost. Oh, and that meant taxes wouldn't go up either.
The crowd was....skeptical. Nobody started any chants to drown out the Senator, although the crowd was quite vocal in it's expression of disbelief with some of the more outrageous claims. Their numbers probably mirrored those outside, 3/4s opposed, 1/4 supporting. I have to give Senator Cardin credit for soldiering on, he kept to his prepared notes (although I believe he truncated them a bit, he clicked through the last few slides of the power point presentation really fast) and promised to answer questions as soon as he finished his remarks. People queued behind the mics to ask their questions, and Cardin stood up on stage and answered them. Unfortunately, his answers were not......helpful. Hell, I'd like to say that at times he flat out lied, but I don't want to cast unjust pejoratives at the man. Still, I find it hard to reconcile what he said with what I know to be the truth. Example: Asked if the plan would cover illegal aliens he said "Absolutely not". Fine, except earlier he has touted Obamacare as being needed to cover "every one" of the 47 million uninsured, and 20% of those people are illegal immigrants (as per the Census Bureau report that that number is based on). Example: Asked what section of the Constitution provided the legal basis for government takeover of the health care industry in America, he replied "Article 1", which is....questionable at best. (Article 1 Section 8 does enumerate the powers of Congress, but health care isn't in there and I would counter that the 10th Amendment clearly puts the kibosh on claims that it is within Congress' powers. I know, I know, I'm out of the mainstream on this one, and the SCOUS doesn't agree with me either, but damnit, I'm right!) Example: When it was my turn, I asked him how he would ensure that my employer wouldn't drop the health plan that I like (the one he had repeatedly promised that I'd get to keep) if my employer determined that it was more cost effective to drop the plan and put me on the public option. His answer was "We've done studies that reveal that it would be most unlikely for an employer to do that". Huh? The Lewin Group has released a study determining the exact opposite, and plain common sense backs them up. If it's cheaper for a business to shunt it's employees to a public option, why wouldn't they?? It doesn't make sense! Example: One person asked the Senator "Could you please answer my question with a simple yes or no Senator? Are you willing to put yourself and your family on the same plan that you want for the rest of us?" Senator Cardin: "I'm 65, I'm covered by Medicare. So you see, I personally am already covered by a public option." He then droned in that vein on for about 30 seconds while the crowd called for him to answer yes or no. He didn't.
And so it went. Lots of talking points, not much of substance (to be fair, no final bill has gotten to the floor, but Cardin never manned up and said "This is what I want: Point 1, point 2, point 3, etc..". Lots of dodging the specifics in favor of platitudes. He did put himself out there on the firing line, and he didn't stack the deck, so props to him for that.) When the meeting was over, I went outside. Amazingly, there were still hundreds of people lining the street with their signs and flags. People were driving down the street, past the demonstrators, then making a u-turn and driving back, honking and waving their signs. It was like a scene straight out of American Graffiti. The union folks had gone home, all that was left were little islands of pro-Obamacare supporters in a sea of their opponents. It was, however, all very civil. The pro-Obamacare folks were standing in knots, talking amongst themselves and sometimes civilly debating their opposite numbers. The anti-Obamacare folks were waving the Gadson flag, cheering, driving and honking. The atmosphere was very similar to that at a homecoming rally, everyone cheerful and determined. The temperature had dropped, there was a very real feeling of solidarity amongst the people left, and standing amongst them, one really could feel that the people there were truly and honestly reveling in being a living example of grass roots democracy in action. Petitions were being signed, informative fliers were being distributed, numbers were being exchanged, promises were being made and, for at least one fleeting moment on a hot August evening, ordinary citizens of the United States of America were turning out to Make Their Feelings Known.
Sign taped to a guardrail outside the event.
Honking and yelling in support of representative democracy.
One of the islands of pro-Obamacare folks in the sea of opposition
This is the lighted sign in the back of a pickup that was circling back and forth. Ehrlich is Bob Ehrlich, the former Republican governor of Maryland. When he was elected in 2002, the state was facing a large budget shortfall. In four years he erased that deficit and when he was voted out in the anti-Bush fervor of 2006, he left a huge rainy day fund behind. His successor, Democrat Martin O'Malley, promptly spent that fund on wasteful entitlements and Maryland is once again in the red. This truck got large cheers each and every time it circled around.
President Obama and the DNC have gone to great lengths to tag people who oppose their takeover of the health care system as an unhinged angry mob. That's a label that many are happy to sport.
Again, I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures. You'd think a $300 cell phone would be able to take hi-res images, but apparently not. To sum up this post, what we saw in Towson today was true grass roots activism. The citizens of America don't like what's being forced down their throats. Good on them for finally, FINALLY, waking up and smelling the obamanation before them. If they (we) continue to care, we might actually make a difference. Keep up the good work people, the fight for our rights, the fight for our lives, has just begun.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
The PBS show Inside Washington featured a clip of me questioning Senator Cardin at the town hall meeting. You can view the clip here, the moderator goes to me at about 6:30. Notice that I am classified as "not wacky". High praise indeed.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I thought long and hard about how to greet you folks today, and I finally decided that I would usurp the traditional greeting the President uses-My fellow Americans. So, my fellow Americans-because that is what we are, right? We are all Americans, united not only by our love of country, but also in our concern for the direction our current political leadership is taking us.
I would like to take a moment to remember those colonists who, on December 16, 1773, decided to take to the streets and docks of Boston to perform an act of civil disobedience that serves as the namesake for our gathering here today. Those brave men felt compelled to consign the cargo of tea carried by 3 ships of the British East India Company to Boston Harbor in protest of an unjust tax, levied upon them without their consent. Unlike those patriots, we seek today no destruction of property, our other motives, however, are identical. Like them we feel burdened and crushed beneath the unjust dictates of a government that has forgotten that it answers to us, not the other way around. We Americans are not mere cash cows, existing solely at the convenience of those in power in Washington, to be milked of our rightful property and goods on demand. We are not cogs in an unthinking machine, expected to serve up what we have rightfully earned for politicians to squander. These tea parties are a defiant and bold statement, shouting out to Congress, reminding them again of that one fundamental truth: You work for us, and by God it’s time we reminded you of that simple fact!
In this simple declaration, we have history on our side. The entire basis for our great republic is that our leaders derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Those are the exact words set forth in the Declaration of Independence, 233 years ago. Tell me, do you feel that Washington is exercising “just powers” today? If not, then what ever happened to the “consent of the governed”? Where and when did we sign up for this?
It’s also found right there in the preamble to the Constitution, stated boldly and simply in straightforward language: WE THE PEOPLE, of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Those are the rock solid ideals upon which the United States was founded, who can blame us for today forcibly insisting that our government honor them?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who seek to demonize us for doing just that. They are not subtle in their outrageous and unfounded claims. They seek to belittle and dismiss our just expression of our First Amendment rights as a meaningless gatherings of rednecks, racists and Republican stooges. I state today for the record that this movement is the province of no single political party, ethnic group or religious belief. We stand here today representing ALL Americans, male and female, black and white, Asian and native. ALL Americans, gay or straight, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan and Atheist. We must NOT by our silence allow our opponents to don the mantle of moral superiority that they have not earned. They seek, as they always do, to marginalize our voices and to demonize our just cause. Identity politics are their stock in trade, if we allow them to factionalize our message, we shall surely lose our voice. Our message must remain coherent, our stand united, or Ben Franklin’s simple statement upon signing the Declaration of Independence will surely be our epitaph: “We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately”.
Just this past week, the House of Representatives passed the largest tax increase in history under the guise of “cap and trade”. On the horizon are bills seeking to gut the finest medical system in the world, to bail out irresponsible homeowners with taxpayer money and to deny all of us our Second Amendment rights to bear arms. The statests in power now are not stopping in their quest to push as much of their leftist agenda on us before we can push back for freedom in 2010. They imagine that they see the light at the end of the tunnel heralding the dawn of their socialist utopia. I’m here to tell you, and you are here to show them, that the light they see is the headlamp of an express train called freedom!
I’m going to end this the same way I began it. My fellow Americans, as we get ready to celebrate the 233rd birthday of our nation this Saturday, please remember that the United States of America has always been a beacon of freedom, a shining city on the hill, an example to the world of the very best mankind can be. Our task today is to make sure that America continues to live up to that standard for the next 233 years, and beyond, truly ensuring the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
Thank you and God bless the United States of America!
Monday, June 22, 2009
If you don't want to watch someone dying, watch it. If you think that her death has no bearing on your life, watch it. If you want to go on living your life, oblivious to the cost other people are paying for freedom, a cost, I might add, that your ancestors were willing to pay so you could sit in your comfortable home, surrounded by your loved ones, watch it. Watch the video, and witness Neda's death. You and I and everyone else, complacent in our comfortable lives, have no idea what it is like to put yourself on the line for values and rights we take for granted. Watch the video and bow your head in honor of Neda's sacrifice. Watch the video and witness someone who paid the ultimate price for her love of freedom. Watch the video and feel shame at your easy life. Watch the video, and look at Neda's eyes. She knows she is dying, and from that fleeting bastion, she hands the torch of freedom to you. Watch her eyes. WATCH HER EYES AS SHE DIES.
Now ask yourself: Would you be willing to hazard your life for freedom? If not, why not? What else better are you going to do with your life?
Monday, June 15, 2009
Believe it or not, this scene was repeated in not one but two cities yesterday. In Tehran the issue was fair and free elections. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected in a sweeping landslide, opposition leaders claim that the vote was rigged. While I'm certainly not naive enough to believe that any of the candidates would have substantially changed Iran's basic intransigence in international affairs (the real "power behind the throne" is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and he's dedicated to a nuclear Iran and the destruction of Israel), I am encouraged that the citizens of Iran are willing to go to the mat for their perceived right to vote in a fair election. From such tiny acorns, great forests of freedom can eventually grow. Iran has, in it's people, it's history and it's resources, the ability to be a first world nation. The only thing keeping it from that status is the unfortunate policies of it's ruling council.
In Los Angeles, people rioted because the Lakers won the NBA title.
Photo credit: Tehran Live
Photo credit: L.A. Times
I've never been ashamed of my country compared to Iran before. It's an odd feeling.
Friday, June 5, 2009
If you have spent time in Washington:
Conservative…you are part of the problem.
Liberal…you have experience.
If you don’t have time in Washington:
Conservative….you have no experience.
Liberal….you represent change.
If you have wealth:
Conservative …you are greedy and a cheat who had advantages in life.
Liberal…you are successful and your life story is an inspiration.
If you don’t have wealth:
Conservative…you are low class.
Liberal…you are disadvantaged.
If you went to college:
Conservative…your academic pedigree is scrutinized.
Liberal….your degree speaks for itself.
If you didn’t go to college:
Conservative…you are un-educated.
Liberal…you are an artist/activist.
If you own a business:
Conservative…you are a profiteer.
Liberal…you provide jobs to the community.
If you are working class:
Conservative….you’re just a (insert job title or trade).
Liberal…you are a proletariat who finds strength in numbers.
If you believe in the wisdom of the constitution:
Conservative…you are narrow minded.
Liberal…you are a civil libertarian.
If you believe in individual freedoms:
Conservative….you have made peace with inequality.
Liberal….you are for choice.
If you take to the streets to voice your opinions:
Conservative…you are a thug.
Liberal…you are a demonstrator.
If you are religious:
Conservative….you are a fundamentalist.
Liberal…you are spiritual.
If you are serving in the military:
Conservative…you are a mindless killer.
Liberal…you wear the uniform of your country.
If you are popular:
Conservative….you have blind sheep followers.
Liberal…you are leading a movement.
If you are attractive:
Conservative…you are shallow and empty.
Liberal…you are stunning and a trend setter.
If you are un-attractive:
Conservative…you are just ugly.
Liberal…you are too intellectual to be concerned with your appearance.
If you enjoy an outdoors lifestyle:
Conservative…you are a hick.
Liberal…you are earthy.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
On the other hand, I also firmly believe that the man he killed was one of the most evil men in America today, and we as a country are better off without him in it.
Abortion is the one issue that I have changed my opinion on the most in the last twenty years. About twenty years ago, there was a referendum on the ballot here in Maryland to ensure that abortion would remain legal in the state even if Roe were to be overturned. I went out and lobbied in support of that resolution, even volunteering to hand out literature at a polling place in Towson. I was young, passionate, and completely wrong in my beliefs. I thought that anyone should be able to have an abortion, on demand, for any reason or for no reason at all. What was all the fuss about, I reasoned, we were only talking about a small collection of cells, it's not like it was an actual person or anything, and if I'm completely honest, I'll admit that I wanted abortion available to my sexual partners should the unanticipated happen and they turned up pregnant. I wasn't anywhere near ready to be a parent, but I sure liked to screw, abortion seemed like a tailor made, no harm, no foul, get-out-of-jail-free card if the unthinkable happened. At the time a baby was just another hazard of sex, much like herpes or the clap or the worry that she would have second thoughts the next day and not want to sleep with me anymore.
Yea, I was a selfish idiot.
So what has changed since then? A couple of things. Number one, I grew up a bit and realized that what was convenient for me was not the end all be all of existence. Number two, as part of my personal maturation process, I came to understand that other people were as important as myself and that babies were, surprise, actual people. Number three I married a wonderful woman who was, at the time I met her, a single mother. SHE hadn't chosen the easy way out when she got pregnant with our son (I adopted him several years ago), even though my son's biological father had tricked her into getting pregnant (he poked a pin through the end of the condom he was using), for what reason I'll never know because he didn't even contest the adoption. Number four, my wife and I had a second son and he has become the apple of my eye, nurturing his life and growth is the absolute best thing is my life, and number five I have come to realize that personal responsibility is the one true bedrock that is absolutely required for someone to be a complete person. All of these things combined have changed my personal opinion of abortion from "It's always the woman's choice, and should be forever and ever amen" to "weakly pro choice but anti abortion".
The problem with abortion is that it is all too often used as a dodge to avoid responsibility for one's own actions. Sex is fun, almost everyone likes it, and I have no problem with that. Sometimes sex results in pregnancy. Such is life. If one engages in the fun of sex, one should be prepared to accept the consequences of that act if a pregnancy results. Drinking is fun, but if one drinks and drives and kills an innocent bystander, then one has to live with the consequences of that, why is sex any different? All too often abortion is used, as I saw it for myself lo those many years ago, as a get-out-of-jail-free card, as a way to avoid taking responsibility for one's actions.
Abortion is a choice. I think in almost all cases it is a bad choice, an easy choice, and I really think we would be better served as a society if we could honestly call it what it is: killing an unborn human. The aborted fetus is a nascent human life, and as such it has value. Pre-viability it's value is subordinate to that of it's mother, which is why I do not have a problem if an abortion is performed because the mother's life is in danger, or because the fetus has been determined to be malformed or otherwise defective, but baring that, abortion needs to be called what it is: the termination of a viable human being. Calling abortion anything else is just dishonest, if you're aborting a viable fetus, you are killing what will be in the fullness of time a baby. I might not like it, I will speak out against it, but I do recognize that a fetus is potential life inside a woman, just as I realize that it has to be subordinate to her existing life. Just be honest about what exactly abortion is.
POST viability, however, all that changes, and that is why I think Dr. (what a pathetic joke of a title that is) Tiller was an evil, evil man. Dr. Tiller made a living, a very good living, he was a millionaire many times over, killing viable humans for the convenience of the mother. This is inexcusable. Once a fetus is capable of life outside the womb, it becomes an entirely different category of being. It becomes a person. Consider the procedure: Dr. Tiller pierces the baby's brain, killing it. The mother then expels the dead baby from her body. If that baby was located just one foot over, outside the mother's body, what he did would be unconscionable. Because this completely viable, living human being happens to be inside a woman's body, we say it's OK. It is quite simply, sick. I don't like abortion, in fact I hate it, but I still recognize that it is not my place to dictate to others what they can and can't do, and as long as the fetus is not viable apart from it's mother, it remains her choice whether to nurture it or to kill it. Once it becomes independently viable, however, all bets are off. After that it is entitled to the protections of personhood, including the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, just like the rest of us. Somehow I don't think that being murdered and burned as medical waste meets the standards of that basic human right.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.
True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.
Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.
First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their “right” to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our “democracy”. Pride blind the foolish.
Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different “branches and denominations” were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the “winning” side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the “winning” side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.
The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.
These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?
These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.
Then came Barack Obama’s command that GM’s (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of “pure” free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.
So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a “bold” move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK’s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our “wise” Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.
Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper…but a “freeman” whimper.
So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set “fair” maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.
The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.
The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker."
Now it IS Pravda. Propaganda from the get go. However, there are some real nuggets of truth in the article that the media here refuses to even examine. How are we as citizens supposed to protect ourselves against the excesses of congress and the blatantly unconstitutional actions of the executive branch if the fourth estate refuses to even inform us of them? Fortunately we live in the information age, and there are a myriad of non-traditional news sources and bloggs out there that bring these things to light, but how many people actually read them? Despite the many voices crying in the wilderness, I am afraid that the majority of the American people cluelessly go about their lives, ignorant of the details of what is really going on, told everything's fine by the evening news and the NY Times. If the last six months haven't stirred mainstream America out of it's complacency, what is it going to take?
On that note, here's a blast from the past, a commercial that in retrospect is screamingly funny- so screamingly funny that it takes a moment to realize that you're actually shrieking with horror. Warning, lock your irony meters in a lead lined box before viewing, if exposed to this ad, they WILL explode and kill you.
Friday, May 15, 2009
My Memorial Day
I sit here at my computer on the night before Memorial Day, and ponder what my day will be like. I intend to take a little trip, you see, and like any intelligent being, I am planning it in advance. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be overcast and rainy, but rather than dampen the mood, I imagine it will enhance it. It is altogether fitting that the weather reflect the somber yet joyful emotions required for my trip. I plan on visiting my local cemetery.
I see myself strolling through the even graves, row upon row. I shall consider all the lives represented by the seemingly endless markers, and I imagine I will be drawn to one or more adorned with the flag of the United States. As I peer down upon the hallowed resting place of a man or woman who gave a portion, or perhaps, all, of their life in service of this country I will remember. I will remember how lucky I am to be well fed while so many in this world go to bed hungry. I will remember the privilege I enjoy of living among others with the freedom to live, be happy and prosper. I will remember that there are places where a group of government thugs could tear me from my home and family to imprison or kill me, with nothing more than a whim or the whispered suggestion of wrong thinking to condemn me. Most of all I will remember that the liberties that I so blissfully take for granted were paid for at a terrible price.
At some point during my stroll, I will probably fall to my knees and silently pray to a God whose form I am not sure of, asking that the fallen never be forgotten and entreating him for the strength within myself to make sure their sacrifices were not in vain.
I will commend the courage of the 4,435 who died standing up to the most powerful empire in the world, saying 'Enough! All men are created equal!"
I will regret the passing of those 2,260 who, in the War of 1812, gave their lives in a war which was fairly pointless, but none the less validated the United States as a power to rival those in Europe.
I will cherish the memory of 13,283 who followed the lead of a heroic few Texans and stood off an invading Mexican army.
I will weep bitter tears as I consider that 558,052 American men, women and children paid the ultimate price while fighting each other, and the result is a union that would never again be questioned. These people died in the cause of unity, and the nation they fought to save has gone on to lead the world.
I will consider what it must have been like for the 2,446 who died fighting a minor European power in 1898. Historically, the Spanish American War may be trivial, but they answered the call all the same.
I will give endless thanks that I did not have to experience the absolute horror of trench warfare in Europe, while honoring the 116,708 who were killed doing nothing less than standing against the Kaiser's crack troops, fresh from the Eastern front, expecting to roll the Allies into the channel. WWI could easily have been a German victory without them.
I will stand in awe of the willingness displayed by 407,316 ordinary men and women who left their homes and paid the ultimate price to ensure that fascism did not engulf the world and lead to the darkest time in history. The everyman of WWII is an amazing concept, yet that is how it has been throughout history. Just plain folks doing their duty.
I will reflect on how 33,651 Americans passed the torch of freedom from their failing hands to a little country called South Korea, proving that they may look different and speak what to us is a very strange language, but they are no less deserving of freedom than we.
I will ponder the plight of the Vietnam veteran, along with his 58,163 comrades who did not come home. How must it have been, to go to an unknown place, to fight and die for a people who often didn't want them there. How terrible to come home to a population who scorned them, whoes only answer to the anguished plea, " I answered the call, I did my duty" was all to often a turned back?
I will rejoice that only 293 Americans were called to sacrifice themselves in 1991, but remember that thousands of opposing troops, people who do not have our freedom to set the course their government takes, died as well.
I will remember that the cost has been great, but celebrate that the results have been greater. As I raise my eyes again, and peer at the carved stone remembering only one such life, I will whisper from the depth of my soul the two words that are completely inadequate, and yet are all that I have to offer.