Monday, November 24, 2008

I Need More Cowbell

From Kathryn Lopez at NRO:

Does This Belong on a T-Shirt?

From a $50 donor: "NRO: Yelling 'Stop' at History while banging on a cowbell."

Kumbaya for Republicans?

Net Right Nation has this piece that talks about Gov. Huckabee's prescription for future electoral success is to oust all versions of Libertarianism. While Huckabee may have a certain amount of charismatic charm, especially to the Social Conservatives, I disagree with him vehemently that we need to remake the Constitution into an updated version of the Bible.
But I suppose that I am not so different, in my piece below, Wedge Issues, I thought that for the Republicans to succeed, they would have to minimize the influence of Social Conservatives, since so many independent and undecideds are swayed by the MSM portrayal of SoCons as narrow minded bigots, who want to keep women barefoot and pregnant, force you to worship their versions of the Deity and keep gays in the closet where they belong. This is totally unfair and untrue, but the power of the MSM is not to be underestimated in their efficiency to create a false narrative that is believed by the masses.
But then I read this, "A Libertarian Defense of Social Conservatism" and I had my Road to Damascus moment. Some of the good bits:
The most obvious point to me is that it is the do-gooding liberals who are telling us all what we can and can't do. The religious right usually just wants to be left alone, either to home school, pray in public or not get their children vaccinated with who-knows-what. Inasmuch as the "religious right" wants some things outlawed, they have failed miserably for at least the last 50 years. Abortion, sodomy, and pornography are now all Constitutional rights. However, praying in public school is outlawed, based on that same Constitution.

Just think for a moment about the things you are actually forced to do or are prevented from doing. Seat belts. Motorcycle helmets. Bicycle helmets. Smoking. Gun purchase and ownership restrictions. Mandatory vaccines for your children. Car emissions inspections. Campaign ad and contribution restrictions. Saying a prayer at a public school graduation or football game. Trash separation and recycling. Keeping the money you earned. Gas tax. Telephone tax. Income tax. FICA withholding. Fill in this form. Provide ID.

For the most part, the list just cited is post-1960. Neither Pat Robertson nor James Dobson ever forced any of that on us.
and on the hot topic of abortion:

Let's talk about the unavoidable issue: abortion. Who made it a federal issue? The ACLU and then the Supreme Court. Before 1973 it was left to the states; some allowed it, some didn't. Different states could adopt different criteria. Some might allow it under all circumstances. Some other none. Some at 12 or 20 weeks. Some might define "health" of the mother in different terms.

But all that flexibility was halted with Roe v Wade. Since 1973 abortion has been a Constitutional right. Do you know where that right is found in the Constitution? In these words of the 14th Amendment: "[No state shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Those words, according to our finest Constitutional scholars, mean it's OK to shove scissors through the skull of a baby and suction its brains out, as long as that skull has not yet left the birth canal. I'm sure you see that in those words of the 14th Amendment. Look hard, into the penumbras and emanations - it might take a little imagination.

Regardless of what you think about abortion, to find it in the 14th Amendment is an act of ink-blot reasoning. It might almost be OK, if it meant the court said we have true sovereignty over our own bodies. But the court explicitly said otherwise.

The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court's decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past... We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified...

So you do not have the right to do with your body as you please. Neither women nor men own their own bodies. That's what Roe v Wade said. In short, the decision was not "pro-choice". It was pro-abortion, pure and simple. That is the only choice it protected.

If taking abortion out of the hands of the federal government and putting it back into hands of the states, where it is legislated per each state's popular sentiment, let it be. I can stand that kind of "social conservatism." It sounds like federalism and democracy to me.
and finally, on the point that I mentioned in Wedge Issues,
I am not dead set against gay marriage. I'm mildly against it, but if it comes to an honest vote in my state and passes, I can live with that. But so far, every single time the issue has gone to a popular vote, the people voted it down. The only reason it is legal in two states right now is because of the courts in those states; a mere handful of robed Merlins made the decisions.

I also think it a bit risky to redefine such a fundamental institution that has been defined as between one man and one or more women in every successful civilization I know about, for the last 6,000 years or so. How about we use federalism and the states as laboratories before we dive head-first into opaque water on this one?

This last point is where I think libertarians and SoCons should be in absolute agreement, that the problem is not a creeping agenda of the Left, it is the interposing of two state's supreme courts on the will of the people, leaves all of us at risk. Whether gay marriage or abortion, these are purely court creations that do not reflect the will of the people. It is understandable why SoCons are concerned about this recent abuse of power by courts and feel the need to make laws and constitutional amendments to take back the powers that the courts have usurped. Even Democrats realize how tenuous these court made manifestations of their agenda are when they try to extract pledges of support for Roe from Supreme Court nominees because they know that it was wrong even if they believe it is for the right reason.
A useful and winning technique would be to combine the SoCons and libertarian's fear of intrusive government and unwarranted court created "rights" in unity to reverse the growth in government.
What libertarians and SoCons need to resolve is what is the proper method to avoid "cultural suicide" that is the greatest fear of the SoCons. My suggestion would be to change the entire Republican apparatus. Both Republicans and Democrats have optimized their ability to turn out their base. But outside of elections, what do the parties do other than pester us for contributions to this or that urgent need to get "our man/woman elected?" What the Republicans,whether libertarian or SoCon need to do, is to live exemplary lives, and demonstrate the advantages of their lifestyle and their choices. But more than that, what is needed is that personal assistance that only real people can provide, not bureaucrats or agencies. Conservatives have already been recognized for their generosity. If a single mother was to be helped by a SoCon couple in some way, it would also expose the single mom to the advantages of a stable dual parent relationship, in other words, what she doesn't have. It doesn't take a government to tell her that when she can see it with her own eyes.
If we can make a personal connection with the disaffected, without "preaching" but in the spirit of kindness and generosity that government cannot provide, we have a chance to expand the electoral base and move people out of their conditions much more effectively than any agency or program has ever done.
Who knows, together at a very minimum, we could close down the Departments of Education, Homeland Security and Energy, transferring any regulatory powers to the Commerce Department where there would at least be a fig leaf of constitutionality, and recall those judges who have superimposed their views on the rest of us, regardless of the law.
Well, at least I can dream, can't I?

New Addition

I have subscribed to an email list called Americans For Limited Government. They have created Net Right Nation and call themselves "America's Blogging Headquarters." Give them a look, they certainly do seem to have some good articles.

Some Sage Political Advice

From Dave Barry. Read and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fearing the Truth

Much mention has already been made of Mr. Ziegler's documentary about Media Malpractice, and How Obama Got Elected. In a discussion about the mindless following of "The One" that Rob Natelson started on Electric City, an anonymous poster left a link to 538 which claims that the poll was a "push poll" in order to get the answers that the person contracting for the poll wanted. Some of the complaints that 538 uses to justify their position are the questions that were used. Here are the questions, and the comments from 538:

"Which of the four [candidates] said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket?"

"Which of the four [candidates] started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground?"

"Which of the four [candidates] quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism?"

"Which of the four [candidates] won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot?"

As should be obvious, the veracity of several of these claims is -- at best -- debatable, yet they are apparently represented as factual to the respondent. It is not clear whether the respondent is informed of the "correct" response after having had the question posed to him.
Veracity is debatable? I especially love it when the sample from the clip uses Obama's own voice to make the statement. Biden's plagiarism is well know to anyone who was paying attention and is over 40. And of the other two questions, the last one, if I remember was actually in his book.
The ferocity with which Zogby is being attacked is indicative that people are starting to realize they voted for the pig in a poke, and now they are going to be responsible. Time to get out the razor blade and start scraping on that Obama bumper sticker.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Union Boss Security Act

Montana Main Street Blog has been addressing the issue of the Card Check method of unionizing workers. Matt Singer rises to the defense of the union bosses to collect the dues of workers by forcing them to sign the union card in their presence. It seems that in a secret ballot, the unions keep losing.
Singer of Left in the West is singing "Look for the Union Label" by claiming that all workers need to be unionized, and that the only fair way to do it is by the union bosses forcing employees to give up their right to a secret ballot. Matt feels that workers can be intimidated by management in order to prevent unions from forming. In support of that, Matt offers this:
In fact, one former Bush Administration official summed up his opposition to card check by saying, "[Corporations] have no chance to retaliate" against workers trying to organize. Retaliation, of course, is already "illegal," but the laws are so meaningless that Labor Department officials talk about it as though it is legal (the equivalent of ONDCP opposing a law because it would give pot smokers no chance to light up in the privacy in their homes).
Matt links to a site in support of this factoid. Which then links to this site in support of the assertion. Except, when you chase the links down, it wasn't a Bush administration official as Matt said, it was an audience member in a Q&A session. I am sure that Matt was just being lax in his reliance on web sites that support his opinion.
Unions are becoming as obsolete as the dinosaur, and this travesty of a law is their last hurrah. With this ability to coerce workers who would rather be left alone, the union bosses will ensure a continuing stream of revenue in the form of dues, that they will use in support of Democratic candidates for office. It has worked well for them, they have paid hundreds of millions of dollars of your hard earned pay to get their pals elected.
Maybe that is why the workers don't vote for unions in the privacy of the voting booth.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wedge Issues

Wedge issues are those arguments that are meant to split support for the opposition. Gay marriage has been used by the Republicans for sometime to split the blue collar Catholic voter from the effete elites who actually rule the Democratic Party. Now it seems that the Republicans are coming to grips with gay marriage as well. The social conservative position is very well (if not succinctly) put by Mike at The Last Best Place. While I agree with most of his post, the strength of his argument comes in the defense of the traditional definition of marriage. It is compelling, intelligent and well supported by thinkers of most of recorded history. But I am not so sure that his strong defense of traditional marriage denies that gay marriage can also have many of the same benefits.
Marriage is not a biological construct. It is more an economic and political construct that has the benefits of providing for a future of the human race. Historically, polygamy has been used for the better part of time, probably because of the low rate of survival of women in giving birth, and the short lives and violent deaths of young males. But at a micro level, polygamy and its lesser used sibling polyandry, are inherently imbalanced in the relations between all of the parties. There will always be the first wife, or the first husband, who agree to the subsequent marriages because it gives them control over the newbies to the relationship. But even in Western culture, we have arranged marriages, political marriages, marriages for the unification of property, shotgun weddings, mail order brides, Britney Spears and even the concept of a "starter marriage." All of these have had the support of authority and sometimes even the blessings of the religious powers. But that doesn't mean that these marriages are all equal in their application and construct. Perhaps one of the greatest problems that we have in Western Civilization starts with the Medieval notion of romantic love leading to marriage. This notion automatically creates unrealistic expectations of the marriage.
Since the period of human gestation is so long, and the helplessness of a newborn requires so much more, the need to have a stable structure that creates the newborn and cares for it is essential to our species survival. Marriage is the best system that we have to provide for that future, but it calls into question the reason to have marriage after a woman enters menopause. So obviously, marriage is much more than that.
Society benefits from marriage, in that it establishes clear relationships, removes issues of property holdings, and is the basic political building block. When two people come together in a long term relationship, it brings two equal but different selves to agree to cooperate for their mutual benefit, the benefit of any children and the community as a whole. But it is also a statement of commitment that society has agreed to honor. A vow to love, cherish and honor, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer until death do us part, used to mean something. Unfortunately, marriage has now come to mean that "I will love you until I get bored or something better comes along." And that is what I think most social conservatives have a problem with, and I would have to agree with them on that point.
Marriage has significant economic benefits for the spouses. If one of the pair has benefits that are extended to the spouse, the other spouse now has the opportunity to take risks to enhance their economic viability through either a new enterprise, or staying at home to raise and school the children. But it is the legal standing of the spouses that allow this to happen. By putting a bar to use of this protection, are we not also denying the opportunity to gays?
One of the arguments against gay marriage is the perceived transitory nature of their relationships. But isn't that a chicken and egg problem. If they had gay marriage wouldn't that allow for more stability. Even if it didn't there are numerically a higher number of divorces among straight couples. In fact, it is not gay marriage that is trivializing the concept of marriage, it is the heterosexual community and their flip attitudes toward marriage that is the trivializing effect.
For marriage to regain its status as an important institution in our society, we need to make it harder to get married, thereby insuring a minimum commitment, and harder to get out of a marriage, insuring a longer lasting commitment.
Set a nationwide standard of waiting six months for a marriage license. This would prevent those who marry in haste and divorce in leisure. And do away with no fault divorce. Right now, if one party wants a divorce, the other spouse has no say in the matter. I would return to the concept of divorce as a tort. If you want out of the marriage, you surrender all of your property rights to the other spouse. That would go a long way toward lowering the divorce rate.
But the most important thing that we can do is to remove the judges who start these problems. The supreme courts of Massachusettes and California have found a right that has lain hidden all of this time. In California, the people have rightly exercised their authority over the constitution of that state to overrule the supreme court. To make matters worse, the supremes have decided to hear a case to determine if Proposition 8 is itself unconstitutional. If that happens, we have changed from a democratic republic to a rule by the judiciary.
Gay marriage advocates need to appreciate that while they may feel their rights are being withheld arbitrarily, they must also work to remove the use of the law to coerce people away from their fundamental beliefs. Whether it is the orphanage in New Jersey that Mike cited, or more locally, the demand that the pharmacist in Glendive carry birth control pills, they are using the law to change deeply held values, and that is a violation of the Constitution's right to freedom of religion.
I say that both sides need to back off using the law to foist their beliefs and values on others in either the name of tolerance or tradition.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Phone Phishing?

Everyone who has an email account has had billions of dollars worth of offers if they would just assist the poor daughter of a deposed Nigerian dictator by giving her a safe account that she can park her money, and as compensation, you will receive a share of the wealth. Outside of repetitive stress disorder from hitting the spam button, these are not much of a problem as long as you ignore them. But lately, I seem to be under attack by phone.
It started on Monday when I was called at work, and a robo-caller let me know that there was no problem with my credit card (no card name mentioned) but that I could get a lower rate and to take part in this lower rate, all I had to do was to punch the number 1. I was ticked off that I was getting a robo-call at work, and I am on the "Do Not Call" list, so I punched 1 and waited for a real person. A woman picked up at the other end and wanted to know if I wanted to lower my credit card rate? First, I asked her what my credit card balance was. She said that she couldn't release that information to anyone but the cardholder. I told her my name, but didn't list any of the credit cards that I used. After a few seconds, she came back and told me that my credit card balance was $36,000.
"What?" I said, and then she said it was $78,000, again I repeated my brilliant comment "What?" Then she said that it was $108,000. Now, at first I thought I might be a victim of identity theft since I pay off my card balance every month. But then I thought about it for a second, and realized that she had no real information on me, that there was no way that she could figure out how to spell my name to check my account, and the fact that she didn't even want to know my account number made me think that this was some sort of in person "Phishing."
Phishing is an attempt to get you to release important information to the questioner so that they can use it in identity theft.
I informed her that I was on the Do Not Call List, and that using robo calls is a misdemeanor punishable by $500 per event. She then asked me if I knew where she lived, and guessing from her accent, I would say somewhere in the South, but I told her that it wouldn't matter, as the FBI can find her. I also threatened her and her employer with a lawsuit for invading my privacy, harassment, and fraud. She told me that I was abusing her right to privacy by pressing the number 1 during the robo-call, and she hung up.
Amusing, but to follow it up, we have been receiving calls at home about out delinquent account from some so called "collections agency." I ran our credit reports and there are no delinquent accounts or pending legal actions, so I figure this must be another form of phishing.
Off the top of my head (DISCLAIMER, this is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer, this is just common information, and is designed to inform the public of their rights, if you have any legal questions, contact your lawyer.) when doing debt collection, they have to send you written notice of the debt and inform you that you have thirty days to dispute the debt. You can also demand written proof of the debt. The creditor cannot pursue any actions against you if you provide written dispute until that is resolved.
Whatever you do, don't give out any personal information, credit card numbers or bank account numbers over the phone.
Just doing my good deed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Very Special Club

Jack the Blogger, has a great post on Veterans Day that is well worth the read. Since 1973, you have to want to get into the military in order to serve. They would reject you if you were too old, or too young, too tall, too short, too fat or (at least in the 70s) too thin. You couldn't have a criminal record, which I found amusing (Sorry kid, your felony aggravated assault means we just don't want you).
Most of the time, you had to have at least a high school diploma to enlist and continuing education was always required. In order to get into the Sergeant Majors Academy, you had to have at least two years of college minimum, and most had a bachelors degree that they obtained while working full time. Officers had to have a bachelors degree to enter and were expected to get a Masters degree as a minimum with many getting Ph.Ds.
Once in, you had to keep on the promotion track by being competitive for higher rank. Officers especially could serve for 10-12 years and be told that their service was no longer needed. The old movie ideas that an enlisted man could hide out at a lower rank doing the absolute minimums are also out of date. Up or out is a vicious career management tool, but it does seem to work.
Once in, you quickly learn that there are very few jobs that employ a 40 hour week. In fact, the first job I had as an officer, we averaged 120 hours a week on the job. One week, I counted that I had worked for 148 hours, although, I did sleep for five of those hours (not all at once).
I have jumped out of planes in the middle of the night carrying 120 pounds of gear, and couldn't see the ground until I smacked into it. I have been hypothermic to the point of utter exhaustion and only wanted to lay down and sleep, even though I knew I would die. I have climbed rain slicked cliffs, rappelled out of helicopters, and stood at ground zero while Patriots intercepted Scuds coming my way.
But the greatest thing that I have done while in the military was to serve along the finest human beings that I have ever met. I don't know if the military is self selecting men and women who are selfless and generous, or it is the tradition that changes them into these wonderful human beings. But I do know that the civilian side has nowhere near the generosity, kindness and helpfulness that I had in the service. We took care of each other.
Jack asks all citizens of this great country to thank a vet. I have always felt awkward when someone who has never served thanks me for my service. But I have also felt great pride when a fellow veteran thanks me for my service, and I feel very good about thanking another vet for their service. I value their opinion much more than that of someone who wasn't there.
So to all of those who have served in whatever form or fashion, from one vet to another, Thanks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Anniversary Deutschland

As this article notes, November 9th has an awful lot going on for it in Germany. The end of the Monarchy, and establishment of the Weimar Republic, KristallNacht, and the end of the divisions of East and West Germany. At the time that the wall came down, I was here in Missoula teaching ROTC at the UofM, so I only got to see it on the television. But I had been in both East Germany and East Berlin before the wall came down, and I remember the changes that occurred were dynamic, but not always positive.
Before the wall came down, I would venture through the driving corridor, which required that we had to go through the East German checkpoint, and then through the Russian one. We weren't allowed to do anything with regards to the East Germans because of the Status of Forces Agreement which dated back to the end of WWII. When we got to the Russian side, I had to get out and present my papers to the Russian soldier, who I doubt could read a word of what was written on my travel papers. Afterwards, I was to go into the pass control office which had a window like at a bank, but it was painted shut. I slid my papers under the window and listened as the People's Copy Machine recorded all of my important data. After a few minutes, the papers were slid back and had been duly stamped.
While I was waiting, I started looking around in the waiting room. Brezhnev's picture was still prominently displayed even though he had been dead for sometime. I think that it was Andropov who was Premier at the time, but at the gateway to the socialist paradise, they still had an out of date photo of their dear beloved leader of the communist party and government.
When I got back, my wife told me that the guard had been circling the vehicle looking in at her and my two kids. They had been smiling and waving, as kids are wont to do, but this particular guardian of the Soviet state had no sense of humor for such antics.
East Germany was significantly different from the West. In the West, you could always find the American barracks because they still had the bullet holes from the last time the Germans undertook urban renewal. Towns were densely packed, and it was hard to find anyplace, except near the border, where towns were less than 3 miles from each other. East Germany on the other hand, had collective farms, so they had mile after mile of fields punctuated by the barracks like structures for the farmers who worked there.
East Berlin was a real trip. At least one third of the population was in uniform, and it was my guess that half of the remaining ones were undercover something or another. But the thing that I noticed most clearly, was the color of socialism isn't red, it's gray. The sky was gray, the buildings gray, even the people were gray. There was no sense of anyone having any fun there. Just a sense of dreary toil for no purpose. But I guess that is what socialism is really about anyway.
In any event, 19 years ago, after the introduction of the Pershing IIs, the GLCM, the M-1 Abrams, the M-2 Bradley, the AH-64 and other improvements, the Soviets gave up.
Now this is something especially amazing. Normally empires don't fall quietly. In their death throes, they can become extremely violent. I don't know why that didn't happen, but I sure as heck am grateful.
Germany is united again. A country the size of Montana with over 90 million people in it is a very densely packed country. And while some worried that the Germans might reorganize under another Hitler, I am not worried about it. The youth of Germany are only going to continue to invade the beaches of Spain and North Africa. They are not interested in territorial aggrandizement, but in the aggrandizement of comfort.
But happy anniversary on this Wiedervereinigungs Tag! Best wishes for the future.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This is Ridiculous

Before he is even swore in, there are those calling for the impeachment of Barak Obama. Further evidence of the trivializing, or as I prefer to call it, the Wulfgarization of politics.
It serves no purpose, other than pseudo intellectual masturbatory fantasies, but then that explains Wulfgar, so I guess they are just his alter ego.

One More Try

Earlier, the California Supreme Court found that there was a right to homosexual marriage in their constitution, which obviated the law passed by referendum that said marriage is between a man and a woman. Yesterday, the voters of California passed a constitutional amendment restoring the original referendum's intent. Now, "cvil rights advocates" are filing suit in California to overturn the amendment.
While I don't really care who marries who, so long as they don't scare the horses, the fact is, that I feel no need to tell anyone who to marry or not marry based on sexual preferences. I tried talking my son out of marrying his wife, but he persisted, even though I am sure that the marriage is doomed. But that is my son, someone with whom I have a very special relationship. So how can I tell people that I don't even know not to marry? Actually, the best argument against anyone marrying, is that it is the leading cause of divorce.
But the interesting thing about the article mentioned above is that the California Supreme Court went specifically against the expressed will of the people of California by finding a "right" that was carefully hidden from the eyes of the layman, detectable only by those with the right kind of legalistic scholarship of mind.
But the amendment is to their state constitution. Under the division of labor known as the system of checks and balances, the supreme court could only interpret the law, not create it, as they did earlier. For their supreme court to find that the amendment passed in response to their earlier ruling is unconstitutional will create its own constitutional crisis. After all, it is the province of the legislature to promulgate laws, not the supreme court. For the court to take on this task is deliciously fun, having made an excrement sandwich with their ruling, they are now being asked to garnish it with mayonnaise.


To all of the successful Democratic candidates across the nation starting with President Elect Obama all the way to my fine opponent, Theresa Henry. You have won, and now have full control.
I disagree that the election was a referendum on maximizing individual liberty, but believe that it was just the final throes of 2006 and a blame the Republicans mentality that was successfully promulgated by a Main Stream Media that so desperately wanted their candidate to win that they flushed their credibility. Not that Republicans didn't deserve it to a certain extent. The growth of government under Bush would make even the hardest Left Democrat blush with envy. Throw in such useless and dangerous actions as the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security and the imposition of certain elements of the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, Prescription Drug Benefit plan, etc. and you have a harbinger of the growth in government control that is going to expand even more in the next few years.
But we should also not forget those few things that Bush did right. Contrary to public opinion, from a geo-strategic point of view, the invasion of Iraq was justified and if allowed to mature will become a very valuable ally against the depredations of extremist Muslim fanatics, like the ones in Somalia who stoned to death a 13 year old girl because she had been raped. The much reviled tax cuts stimulated an economy that was lurching around after the bubble and the assault on the economy from 9-11. Before the Democratic Congress, unemployment was running at well under 5% and real wealth was increasing across the board in spite of Mark T.'s assertions to the contrary. Bush and company should have not let the powers that be obstruct the implementation of controls on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The fact that they didn't push the issue harder shows that even they did not realize the severity of the crisis that was to ensue.
I expect that the Democrats will be frustrated by their inability to solve everyone's problems immediately. There will be those who will blame Bush as an excuse for failure to accomplish anything. You get to do that until June. After that, it's going to be your baby. In the words of the SNL investment banker "FIX IT! JUST FIX IT!!"
I will not succumb to the personal attacks that the Left have employed for the last eight years (Selected, not Elected) even though it would be easy to do. But I will oppose those policies that I think are dangerous vigorously. I will do it with out ad hominen attacks, just to show the friends on the Left how a grown up reacts to disappointment.
In a way this is a very liberating election for me. There is the chance, albeit small, that the Democrats will bring about all of the improvements that they have promised and at no great cost to individual freedom, dignity or economic costs. And if they succeed, I will applaud them. On the other hand, if they do as I expect, and use heavy handed tactics that will destroy individual liberty and choices, I will be ready to help change the makeup of Congress in two more years.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

They are Afraid of You

Sen. Schumer in his own words:

It is only speech that they disagree with that they equate with pornography. Personally, I find everything that Sen. Schumer says to be pornographic. Does that mean I can keep him off the public airways? If only it were so.
What he forgets is that there is no longer a monopoly on the dissemination of information. I do believe that one of the new Congress's acts will be to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine." And that will have an even bigger effect on their ability to govern than the Don't Ask policy that was Bill Clinton's first act.

let Me be Perfectly Clear

In his own words:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Final Comments on the National Election

The end is near, and many candidates for public office (myself included) are heaving a sigh of relief after all of the hours, the doors, the meetings. Don't get me wrong, I personally found meeting voters to be invigorating, it's just that after working all day, to get home, have a bite with the wife (The Good Democrat) it is easy to want to just say the heck with it and stay home. But instead, you go out get in the car and move on to the next block to spread the message. At the national level, the difference is that you get on the plane and jet off to somewhere that you have a scheduled appearance, trying to brush up on the local tidbits of information that will help make the connection with people who are already excited to see you. For me, the election has lasted seven and a half months. For Obama, it seems to have been for the last 47 years.
But tomorrow, the end will be here, and the voters will have made their choices, subject of course to the lawyers interpretation of the votes. Right now, Obama is solidly in the lead, and most of the media show him ahead by a seemingly insurmountable lead. But what bothers me, are the undecided voters. How in the Hell can you be undecided after all this time? Undecideds make up anywhere from 6% to 19% in some polls. My theory is that the undecideds are either obtuse, and will just flip a coin, or they are secretly McCain voters, but don't want to advertise it so that they don't get into an argument over their choice.
McCain was not my first choice, nor my second, nor . . . oh heck, I am still ticked off at him for McCain Feingold, McCain Kennedy, and McCain et al, that are further encroachments by the nanny state into our lives. But I am more worried about the direction that an Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate will want to go for the next two years. Admittedly, their excesses will be necessary for the rebirth of the Republicans who will be propelled into office if they can just come up with a coherent and intelligent message beyond "We are not Democrats."
Newt, where are you, now that we need you more than ever?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Almost Makes Me Miss Jimmy Carter

Last Spring, while driving to Kalispell, I was listening to a radio talk show that featured then Democratic Congressional Candidate Jim Hunt. Hunt was talking about the need to increase the CAFE standards, or the average fuel ratings for automobiles. He said that due to the high price of fuel at that time, he had to park his pickup and buy a Prius, and that his wife was no longer running around in her SUV. The irony seemed to be lost on him that pricing changed his behavior much more effectively than legislation did. Now, as noted below, Obama wants to raise the costs of using coal fired plants to such a level that it would "bankrupt" anyone who sought to produce energy from coal.
He wants to use a cap and trade system to make the production of CO2 so expensive that it would reduce their emissions, and then use the money to promote "green energy" solutions. This scheme seems to be the heir of the fairy tale "carburetor that gets 100 mpg." The only reason that it is not available to the general public is that the oil companies bought the patent and are hiding it from us the consumer, or so the fable goes. This ignores logic and facts, so it is a prime candidate for an urban myth because people want to believe in it. Forget that any such patent would have to be open to the public because you have to research to make sure that there is not a pre-existing patent when you apply for one for your invention. Not to mention other countries that have much laxer intellectual property rights laws would ignore such proscriptions.
It's the same for "green energy." If someone could develop a solar panel that achieved even 60% efficiency, they would be the richest person on earth. How about cold fusion? Again, no radioactive waste, unlimited power, no drawbacks, and if it could exist, it would. But the idea of using tax policy to create technical developments is just stupid.
The power to tax is the power to destroy. Government doesn't create technological breakthroughs. Yes, I know that Darpa is a government agency, but it is not mandated to produce certain scientific breakthroughs. Instead, smart people are allowed wide latitude to follow their interests and to see where they go.
Which brings me to the title of this post. Much as I thought that Jimmy Carter was a micromanager in the finest traditions of Hyman Rickover, even he would have recognized that tax policy does not create technological advancements.
Just goes to show, Obama isn't even as smart as Jimmy Carter. Going to be interesting if he gets elected.

Out of Context?

Obama made a statement last January, that seems to say that no one will be able to build a new coal fired power plant, because it will bankrupt them to do so. This quote has only now surfaced, (it was hidden in plain sight) and Gov. Palin is using it to beat him about the head and shoulders in those critical states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. An Obama spokesman says that the quote is taken "out of context." But then, just about every stupid thing that he says is "Taken out of context."
And people claim that because news organizations belong to corporations, they are automatically biased in favor of conservatives. Hah!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bad Luck

From Instapundit, which is quoting Heinlein:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

Class warfare, or even just class envy will prevent people from creating any new wealth. But at least, we will all be "sharing."