Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Newest Democrat: Benedict Arlen

Today, we've seen the birth of America's newest Democrat, as (Benedict) Arlen Specter supposedly succumbed to 5 years of wooing by the British -- I mean Democrats. In a press conference this afternoon (covered by the New York Times), Benedict Arlen made several comments I'd like to present for your perusal, along with my own analysis.

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

That's really an interesting statement, particularly considering that this news comes on the tails of recent polling data showing that Specter trails Pat Toomey, currently his only challenger in the Republican Primary, by a 15 percent margin. In what amounts to a pre-emptive admission of his impending defeat, Specter claims:

"...I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate."

Isn't this attitude bothersome to anyone else? He's unwilling to be held to account by the very people who elected him!

On the whole, it's clear that he's making this move just to win re-election. Most pundits seem to agree that his re-election is all but certain in the leftward-moving state of Pennsylvania. But let's look a little deeper, and see how his story has changed over the past two weeks. The following comments were made 13 days ago, when Arlen adamantly denied that he would ever leave the GOP:

"If we lose my seat they have 60 Democrats, they will pass card check, you will have the Obama tax increases, they will carry out his big spending plans. Those 41 [Republican] seats are the only thing standing between a Democratic avalanche of higher taxes, more spending, and card check."

Okay, so let's get this straight: Arlen understands all of these bad things will happen if the Dems get 60 seats -- and he clearly sees the seriousness of these policies for America. Yet, he still chose to place his own re-election interests above those of his nation, moving the Dems one seat closer to their holy grail of 60 seats. Yes, I dare say... it's only his first day, and he's already acting far more like a Democrat than a Republican.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama-Care is Coming...

This is slightly old news -- but in the light of the recent developments concerning the rise of swine flu, the facts are now even more concerning than they were before. Last week, Fox News ran a story discussing Democrats' use of a parliamentary procedure known as "reconciliation" to push through Health Care legislation under rules that do not require a cloture vote in the Senate. Now, to be honest, I don't know the details of the specific legislation in question. This may be the full Obama-Care we were promised during the campaign or something less. But, the details of the legislation don't matter much. The fact is, they are shoving this legislation through in a manner that limits debate, and virtually eliminates the possibility that the minority would be able to block it, amend it, or propose alternatives to it.

Have no doubt that Democrats on Capitol Hill remember what happened to Hillary Clinton's Health Care plan more than a decade ago, when she was merely married to the President. And they are not so dumb as to fail to learn from the past. (A brief refresher: She released a ton of details on her plan, and they were available for public scrutiny for quite some time. Needless to say, the availability of clear information gave opponents plenty of ammunition to defeat the measure during debate.) Being clever enough to learn from the past, today's Democrats will not repeat the same mistake. Given the fact that this legislation is very controversial, it will be pushed through rapidly, with minimal debate.

Now, consider that analysis in conjunction with the seeming newfound panic over this Swine Flu, and remember the mantra of Rahm Emanuel (White House Chief of Staff):
You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

Believe me: If this serious situation escalates into a full-blown crisis, I can guarantee you that it will be used to induce a panicked claim that we "need" to Nationalize Health Care NOW, just like Congress "needed" to pass a 1000+ page Stimulus bill less than 8 hours after its language had even been agreed-upon, without so much as 5 hours of debate. We've already seen the Obama Administration's masterful use of panic-induced urgency to shove bad laws down our throats without debate. I don't know about you, but it sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This one, unlike the stimulus bill, is not too late to stop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Free Market: Greener Than You Think

The Free Market is the best producer of big, evil corporations who love to pollute, pillage, and destroy our environment for the sake of the almighty dollar and profits galore. Or so some people would have us believe.

But John Tierney of the New York Times posted an interesting piece, titled The Richer is Greener Curve. The piece outlines some recent research into the correlation of a country's GDP per capita and the country's pollution rates. The cornerstone of the piece is this graph:

Each line is an environmental Kuznets curve for a group of countries during the 1980s. The levels of sulphur dioxide pollution (the vertical axis) rise as countries becomes more affluent (the horizontal axis). But then, once countries reach an economic turning point (a gross domestic product close to $8,000 per capita), the trend reverses and air pollution declines as countries get richer. In this analysis by Xiang Dong Qin of Clemson University, the green line shows countries with strong protections for property rights; the red curve shows countries with weaker protections.

You can see his article for an explanation for the phenomenon. There is another observation in this graph that I'd like to point out.

Note that there are two different colored lines, indicating two different government attitudes towards private property rights. Since a free market cannot exist without strong private property rights, it stands to reason that the green line probably corresponds to democracies with strong protection for private property. By contrast, the red line probably corresponds to dictatorships and/or communist regimes, where private property rights are either trampled by their government or don't exist.

It is interesting to note that both curves follow the same general shape. But, the green line is consistently lower at all points along the curve. To me, the reason is pretty straightforward: If you own it, you probably don't want to pollute it, pillage it, or destroy it.

Yet isn't it interesting that most people, (political) parties, and politicians who claim to be "green" also do the most to restrict property rights?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama Succeeds: Restores Respect for America

While on the campaign trail, Obama promised that he would "Restore [the world's] respect for America." So, how's he doing so far? Let's look at just a few things he's done in the foreign policy arena since taking office:
  1. Snubs the United Kingdom. Not once or twice, but three times!
  2. Bows to a foreign monarch (Saudi King Abdullah).
  3. Flirts with Cuba, lifting travel restrictions, and limitations on monetary transfers to Cuba.
  4. Allows North Korea to fire a test missile over one of our allies without anything more than a wimper that "they didn't play by the rules".
So, barring my personal commentary on the above items, let's look at the world's reaction to these items:
  1. The British Media (which apparently has better memory than American Media) are outraged.
  2. French President Sarkozy mocks Obama. (It should be noted that it's almost as rare for a head of state to publicly mock the head of another state as it is for one head of state to bow to another.)
  3. Venezuela's "President" Hugo Chavez tells Obama "I want to be your friend".
This raises a few thoughts for me: I think he's certainly done a great job of restoring respect for America -- at least among Communist Thugs (like Chavez & Castro). And since C&C apparently "love" us now, I'm left wondering what Kim Jong Ill thinks of America now. The Administration took two weeks to garner sufficient support in the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution condemning North Korea's missile launch. And while Obama claims that "there will be consequences", I would ask "consequences for whom?" Our lack of decisive action on that front may ensure that our children will have to deal with a nuclear North Korea.

But, I digress ever so slightly. Compre the list of nations (and heads of nations) who have responded favorably to Obama's performance thus far with the list of those who have criticized it. I think anyone who loves America should be really worried that we are garnering the praise and support of those who hate our country, while we snub those who have long been our allies in the defense of Democracy. Perhaps we should ask why C&C suddenly love us. Do they heartily approve of the new Socialist agenda? Or do they like the unsustainable spending that will one day bankrupt us? Or do they just want to gain our trust so they can stab us in the back? Maybe they just love the fact that he's giving them everything they've ever asked for (and then some). Or maybe they're hoping to learn from the man who has done more to advance Socialism in less than 100 days than they have in years? Any other ideas? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

NO More!

It's just around the corner... two days away, in fact... The grand American tradition: Tax Day!

Just in case you've forgotten, you still have two days to finish adding up your receipts in a vain attempt to coerce your government to return some meager portion of the money they forcefully confiscated from your paycheck throughout the year. If you still have not completed this years' installment of the annual tradition, I wish you luck! And if you, like me, have already completed this year's trial-by-fire, then I truly do feel your pain (unlike a certain former President who comes to mind).

In either case, I want to take this opportunity to urge you to attend one of the many Tax Day Tea Parties that are undoubtedly going on in your area. For far too long, our government has abused the power we've vested in it. It's time that we stand together and say
"Enough is Enough! The Era of deficit spending, running up massive debt, confiscatory and punitive tax rates, printing money to pay for pet projects, and Big Government running our lives is over! We won't stand for any more tax hikes, bailouts, or needless spending!"
Both Republicans and Democrats have been complicit in doing the things listed above. Both parties are to blame, while you and I (and ultimately our children) are left with the bill. Enough is enough! We need to stand together, and begin to take back our country from those who have held it hostage for far too long. It's time we take back our country, and restore the principles that our Founding Fathers believed in: Liberty, Personal Responsibility, and most of all, Freedom -- the freedom to succeed without fear of punishment, and the freedom to fail.

To find a tea party near you, look at www.taxdayteaparty.com. Join me in saying "No More"!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ladies First...

So, President Barack Obama's first trip around the world -- the "I Hate America" express -- continues. I should be used to it, and I should probably even expect it; but I must admit: I am quite surprised that in every country he visits, the first official order of business is to seek the largest doting crowd he can, in front of the most microphones and video cameras possible -- to issue his official apology on behalf of the insideous country and the "arrogant" and "dismissive" people who elected him. (I only wish this didn't require two 747's, twelve teleprompters, and 500 staffers -- all graciously provided by the same "arrogant" and "dismissive" taxpayers who elected him.)

An interesting contrast can be drawn between Barack and his "ever-lovely" wife, who made the following claim on the campaign trail in February 2008:
“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country..."
One of the first things every American child learns in school (even in our union pandering educational system) is the phrase "ladies first". Michelle at least claims to be proud of her country. Assuming that statement wasn't a careless "slip of the tongue", she's at least publically admitted that she's proud of her country. While I certainly doubt that Obama will every truly be proud of (or truly love) his country, perhaps we can at least hope for some lip service from him. At least that would be better than the Jeremiah Wright sermon we're getting.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

In Passing

Rarely can bumper sticker slogans share intelligent political discourse. However, there is one that I saw today that does:


French Democracy in Action

While this blog is typically America-focused, I think it is worthwhile to keep an eye on world events, as they sometimes will demonstrate a threat to Democracy. I ran across this blog post that is just such a case. Since the post is a translation from a French article, let me summarize (as opposed to quoting directly):

It seems that French President Sarkozy felt that he could not count on the Democratic Process (the Will of the People) to advance The Will of Sarkozy. Sarkozy wanted a hotly-disputed piece of legislation passed, so he resorted to abusing the process of Democracy to get his own way. When a vote on the legislation wasn't expected until next week, he had the French Secretary of State push the National Assembly to vote on the measure. At 10:45 at night! And only 16 people present, because many had gone home for the night! Of course, the measure passed with 75% of the vote of those present. What an abuse of Democracy! Anytime our elected officials feel they have to resort to measures like this to advance their agenda, they threaten Democracy and Liberty.

Meanwhile, America's own, very dear, President Barack Hussein Obama (the Destroyer of Wealth) feels it his duty to apologize to Europe for America's "arrogance" and "dismissive" attitudes towards Europe. This gushing (and disgusting) love poem is a clear demonstration that Obama wants America to become more like Europe: more socialized, more regulated, less wealthy, and less Free. These European "qualities" are the very reasons that lovers of Freedom, like myself, sometimes view Europe with a certain amount of disdain. There need be no apology for the "arrogance" to step in and defend Democracy -- especially on behalf of those who trample on it.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools' Day

It's April Fools' Day. What an appropriate day to re-launch my long-idle blog and resume soap-boxing. Or at least attempt to do so. How appropriate, given that what has coerced me to act is a deep-seated concern for the direction that our new President and his ilk in Congress have begun to take my beloved country. I can no longer sit idly by and allow these idiots to destroy my country without warning my fellow Americans of where I see these guys, gals, and fairies taking us. Thus, this blog is resurrected as my warning sign: If we do not act to take back our country from the radicals driving us over a cliff, we may not be able to save our nation.


And thus, this blog is re-born on April 1, 2009. Dedicated to the August Statesmen... nay... I mean April Fools who have smitten my lethargy and resurrected my will to do something. May they evoke the same desires in all of us.