Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Michael Bennet and the Shmoo

I just re-watched "Lucky Number Slevin" with Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley. If you haven't seen it and you like the mystery/gangster genre, I highly recommend it. In one scene, Morgan Freeman gives a wonderful monologue (as only Morgan Freeman can) about the Shmoo. The Shmoo is a wonderful creature from the L'il Abner comic. It essentially is all things to all people – it gives milk, produces eggs, its whiskers make excellent toothpicks, and it dies of sheer ecstasy, ready to be cooked, if looked at with hunger. Ultimately, the Shmoo was deemed bad for society. Since it provided for every need, people no longer had the will to work or provide for themselves, so the Shmoo was made extinct by giving everyone a picture of Andy Capp's mother with a hungry look on her face. Through the united will of the people, the Shmoo was no more. The Shmoo reminds me of the mythical Moderate Democrat, promising to do everything for everyone. The Moderate Democrat is pro-life while being pro abortion, spends money freely while being concerned about debt; they oppose war while supporting our troops; they're champions of small business while designing larger government entities to make small business suffer. In the end, their programs will provide for the people, taking away the people's desire to provide for themselves.

Speaking of the myth of the moderate Democrat, I recently received an email from accidental Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. In this email, he speaks about the deficit, saying:

"…if we don't get serious about bringing down the debt, our kids will be left to pay for today's irresponsibility, and our economy will suffer.

Our national debt now exceeds $12 trillion; a debt that poses enormous danger to our fiscal stability."

I could not agree with Bennet more. With the passage of Obamacare, our debt is now spiraling out of control. As a country, we are facing the loss of our AAA rating, meaning we will pay higher interest rates for our borrowed money. For individuals this is known as "exploding debt theory" – where the same amount of money borrowed now costs more due to increasing interest rates. Think about adjustable mortgage interest rates and the housing bubble. How did that work out for the country? Now imagine that on the scale of $13 trillion of debt (i.e. America's mortgage). More of our tax receipts will be going to pay for interest, leaving less to spend on government programs, like Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare. This effectively means we will need to either borrow more money, worsening the situation, increase our tax receipts to offset the rising interest, or a combination of the two. Already people in congress are talking about a Value Added Tax – or VAT – to help fund these programs. While this means more money for Washington, it means less money in all of our pockets; and in fact, it can reduce tax receipts as people under a VAT system will tend to delay or avoid purchases because of the added tax burden. A new TV is much less attractive when the cost just went up by 10 or 20%. A used car purchased privately is much more attractive when the $30,000 price tag on a new one suddenly becomes $36,000 with no additional value for the additional cost. Lastly, the 'black market' thrives under a VAT system, leading to an increase in organized crime.

This brings me back to Michael Bennet. I applaud his concern for our fiscal health. It would be more impressive if he didn't support every single act of wanton government spending that came down the pike for the last year.

He approved the stimulus.

He approved the GIVE act – expanding funding for volunteer programs

He approved the Omnibus bill

He voted against ending the TARP program

He voted for the Senate version of Obamacare (but against the amendment that would have had the congressional leaders purchase their health insurance through the same exchanges to which they're subjecting the public).

Then to really demonstrate his commitment to fiscal responsibility, he voted against the amendment that would have banned earmarks in years in which we run a deficit (effectively banning earmarks).

So forgive me if his concern for our financial security rings hollow. It's a desperate attempt to appear to have some conservative values only appeal to fence sitters and middle of the road voters who still believe the Moderate Democrat is real and not just a cousin of the Shmoo.

Just as the Shmoo was made extinct by the will of the people, so too must we unite and rid our congress of these pretenders to the conservative crown. It's time for Bennet to go.


P.S. For those concerned about the second amendment (hopefully everyone reading this) he voted to confirm Eric Holder and Sonia Sotomayor, two of the biggest threats to Second Amendment Rights (2AR). According to the Denver Post, in another act of chicanery he voted for the Thune amendment for concealed carry – AFTER the votes were there to defeat it, rendering his yes vote meaningless.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The End Of Days Is Here

This is it folks – after a year of arguing back and forth, both sides accusing the other of lying, after the creation of the Tea Party movement in response to government arrogance, after those opposing the health care legislation were labeled racists, Nazis, and un-American by the very people whom 'we' elected to represent us, the final vote on health care legislation may take place this week.

Facing the Democrats is the choice of a lifetime. On the one hand, they can vote with Nancy Pelosi and fulfill the progressive dream of government run health care. In their view, this is the first step on the path to a permanent majority. Step two is to give amnesty to 20 million illegal immigrants who will certainly benefit from this and other government programs (the Democrats opposition to English as the official language of the USA ensures those who don't speak English will require government assistance) and thereby ensure that Conservatives will never again see higher elected office.

On the other hand, choosing to vote for this legislation could be sounding the death knell for the Republic. Realizing this, people are angry and in the short term anyone voting yes for this bill is risking their career. Dick Morris is projecting Democrat losses in the house in excess of 30 seats regardless of how the vote comes out, and up to 80 seats if they use the tactic Louise Slaughter is advocating to pass the bill without a vote. Politicians are not known for taking the long view and this reality could have a significant outcome on the vote.

So then, we too are faced with the choice of a life time. We can do nothing and hope that things work out alright, or we can take action. I for one do not think I can look myself in the mirror if I do nothing and this bill passes. If I take action and it passes anyway, at least I will have been on the losing side and gone down fighting. But what can we ordinary citizens do?

First, call the congressman/woman for your district and tell them that you expect them to insist on a vote. Then tell them you want them to vote no on the bill. Tell them you will spend time and personal treasure to ensure that, if they vote yes they will be replaced come the next election. Send them an email as well. They likely won't hear or see either one; but their aides will. They keep count, and they want to stay in power.

Then do the same for the other congressmen and women in your state, and the vulnerable officials nationwide. Tell them that you don't live in their district or in their state, but you are watching and will work to unseat them in November. And, you will do so publicly in on-line forums, recruiting people to join you ousting them from office.

Also, consider donating to an organization like the League of American Voters. The LoAV is running ads in the districts of the most vulnerable congressmen and women. Again, according to Dick Morris, public pressure in these districts is mounting and many of the people who voted yes the first time around are now saying they're undecided. Even if you donate only a couple of dollars, it has a cumulative effect. Conservative causes have always relied on large numbers of small donations to get things done. The RNC, the NRCC all can use financial help; if you believe in the work a group does, lend them a hand!

The Democrats are going to have to choose between their progressive legacy and their careers. Our choice is to quietly watch events unfold on TV, or ensure that if they choose to ignore the voice of the opposition we make that voice as loud as possible.

As for me, I intend to raise my voice.



Donate to the League Of American Voters: https://www.newsmaxstore.com/contribute/lav/

List of swing votes in congress: http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2010/03/14/call-these-swing-congressmen-on-health-care/

Find your district, your congressman or woman, and lookup the others in your state & nationally: http://www.congress.org/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bringing Chicago To Mainstream America – Part 1 - Bullies and Liars

I remember when I read my first Ann Coulter Book several years ago. It was Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right and it was an eye opener for me. Until that point I hadn't paid a lot of attention to how the media operated. I wasn't very in tune with what was happening in politics, and though I voted Republican it more from force of habit than from force of principle. Slander changed all of that. I began to pay more attention to the 'tactics of the big lie' and I was amazed at how often it's used, and how successful it is. In life, there are some things you learn that you just can't unlearn.

To be fair, Coulter is a rabble rouser and her job is to stir up dissent, which she does very well using only truth and a sarcastic wit. The difference I see in her tactics and those of the mainstream media, is she speaks (or writes) honestly and from the heart. The media has an agenda and it matches that of the Obama administration. During the 2008 campaign Coulter was vocal about her disdain for John McCain as the Republican candidate (she started a mock support group called "Get drunk and vote for John McCain) and it brought forth some ire from those on the right; but as he's been a punching bag for Obama since losing the election (falling perfectly into the well planned "the election is over" sound bite from the health care debate for example) she may have been correct in her assessment. Regardless, she doesn't pander to anything but her own beliefs.

The media, however, is a puppet on a string for the Obama oval office. The Eric Massa scandal is an example. I don't know enough about Massa to know if he's a sleaze or a victim. I suspect as the days go by we're going to hear more and more about bad things he's done and likely we'll learn that he should be tossed out on his can. Arguably, so should the majority of people in congress (that the majority are Democrats is coincidental). Buy why the sudden bum's rush on an 18 month veteran of the House when Charlie Rangel's offenses festered for 18 years (and he still has his seat, if not his chairmanship)? Massa claims that this is what happens when you don't go along with the Obama program. The mainstream media have been reporting on his alleged misdeeds and downplaying the "why now" angle. Watching some of the news outlets over the last couple of days, much has been made of his no-so-quiet exit, but not as much has been said about the allegations of bullying by Rahm Emanuel. When I have seen it mentioned, it's in the context of "what a whacko this Massa guy is" and not "is Rahm really spawned from the devil?" Massa's descriptions were unusually specific, and given his record of voting against the grain of his party you have to admit there's a slice of credibility to his claims. On the other hand, he could just be trying to take someone down with him as he goes. The thing is, if the tactics that he says were applied really happened they've proven to be an effective ploy. Is it a coincidence that on the same day Massa announced that he was pushed out because he was voting against the health care bill, Bart Stupak, who has been strong in his stand against the bill (because of federal funding of abortion) now thinks a compromise is possible? Monday, while Massa was all over the news ranting about Emanuel chasing him down in the showers of the Congressional gym, Stupak said with regard to a healthcare compromise that "I think we can get there." Is the timing more than coincidental? Could he have been told "look, Massa is out – and you're next if you don't play along!"? You be the judge, but it fits in with the Chicago style politics, only now the arm twisting, back scratching, in-fighting, threat-leveling culture is riding high in the oval office and not just Lower Wacker Drive. It's entirely possible that this type of thing has always gone on to one extent or another, but I've never seen it played out unabashedly in the open like this. It's as if they don't care what anyone thinks….well, scratch that. Based on their response to public outcry over the health care bill, we already knew they don't care a whit about our opinions.

And the lies keep getting bigger and more front and center. Yesterday Obama lied to a crowd in Pennsylvania when he said the health care bill "brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion over the next decade because we're spending our healthcare dollars more wisely. Those aren't my numbers…" they're from the CBO estimates. Except that they're not from the CBO, so even that statement was a lie. The CBO has said that he was off the mark by a about $900 billion dollars, The $1 trillion savings estimate is for the SECOND decade of the plan, not the first, and that the numbers that went into the second decade's estimate are subject to "substantial uncertainty." What is in that $1 trillion? According to Fox News, $130 billion in premium savings, $200 in reduced payments to doctors and $500 billion in savings from Medicare. In other words, 83% of the estimated savings are from things that we have no evidence will be brought about. And this is one of the tactics of the lie. You say whatever you want about a topic. That's what people hear and repeat. When the correction comes, it's not opening segment news, it not on the front page. It's buried on page ten, or relegated to one cable news network that will say something truthful about the president. The correction is never as big as the statement being corrected.

President Bush caught flak throughout his presidency for being ineloquent. For his use of words like "misunderestimated" he was labeled a moron. The "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing it's idiot" bumper sticker was a best seller. The media has descended on Palin like a pack of hyenas on a fresh carcass over everything she says or does. Yet Obama has visited 57 states – wait, it was 58 – lies about his handling of the health care debate, and makes statements about his pet healthcare bill that are off by a factor of ten, and nobody in the mainstream media seems interested. There's no retraction from the White House, no one calling him on the carpet for carelessness with his numbers or saying he's an idiot for miscounting the number of states – TWICE…in one sentence!! No one, that is, except the converted. But the converted didn't vote for him in the first place.

Bush's creative use of the English language was amusing to some, embarrassing to others, but it wasn't going to bankrupt the nation. Obama's math skills just might.