Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

236 Years is a Good Run

It's over.

Not the election; that's not what I'm talking about.

And not this blog, although this is my last post.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would do if Obama won re-election. This is not a snap decision, or an emotional reaction to a crushing defeat.

Mitt Romney won roughly half the popular vote, indicating that half the country believes we are on the wrong path and that Obama is the man responsible. Half the electorate felt that Benghazi, and Fast and Furious were more important than binders, bayonets and Big Bird. Half the electorate felt that Obama's, well, it's hard to call it a plan since we don't know what it is, vision was the wrong one for America. Half the electorate believed that what he wanted was antithetical to America's best interests. If a few more people, just a few thousand, had voted the other way, we would wake up in the morning to President Romney.

And I would still be writing this post.

Because the other half of American voters have looked at the past four years, and are happy with what they see. The President that brought us long term unemployment at record levels, the lowest workforce participation rates in decades, the most anemic recovery in history, $5 trillion in new debt with who knows how much to follow, quantitative easing as a permanent economic policy, disregard of Constitutional checks and balances, and the replacement of the rule of law with the rule of a man has won re-election. And all he had to do was promise to take money from those who earned it and give it to those who didn't. The American electorate has spoken and they are in favor of continued handouts from the federal government paid for by imaginary money printed out of thin air.

The character of the American voter has changed irrevocably. That smoke won't go back into the bottle. The people, bless their hearts, will continue to vote for the candidate that promises them the biggest slice from the public coffers and the smart candidates will give it to them in order to win elections.

Until, of course, the coffers are empty. Until there are no more wealthy people to tax.

Check out Greece if you want to know what comes next.

It won't be the politician's fault though. They'll find somebody else to blame when the money is gone; probably the rich because they are a convenient target. It won't be their fault either, but they'll take the blame because we, the people, will never place the blame where it truly belongs.

On us.

After Obama was elected, Michelle said that for the first time, she was proud to be an American. I guess that makes it fair for me to say that tonight, for the first time, I am no longer proud to be an American.

Not because we elected Obama, but because we knowingly re-elected him.

If it makes it easier for you to believe this is about race, as my former friend did, then so be it. If you want to believe this is just sour grapes, or an emotional reaction, fine. Believe what you want; it doesn't matter to me. What you or anybody else thinks about me is the very least of my concerns now.

You see, I know what comes next. The confluence of our politics and our economic policies can only lead to one place. I hope I'm wrong and that the current crowd of idiots in DC can accomplish something that nobody else in the history of the world has been able to pull off, but I'm not going to bet my life on it.

I believe we are heading into a time that will combine the worst parts of the Great Depression and the War Between the States. Making things worse, as America weakens, crippled by debt, a moribund economy, and a feckless foreign policy, I expect external attacks as well, not of conquest, but of destruction.

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If I were a Republican in Congress right now, my strategy would be simple. Give Obama everything he wants. He wants Card Check, give it to him. Cap and Trade? No Problem. An open door immigration policy with full amnesty? Coming right up! A revised tax code that forces the wealthy to pay their 'fair share,' to be defined of course by the federal government and the size of the deficit? At your service sir! Wage and Price controls to make sure that people don't make 'too much' money? What a brilliant idea!

Give him everything he wants. One of two things will happen. The progressives will turn out to be right, and we will have the most prosperous, secure, plentiful lives in the history of America, Or they will be proven wrong yet again and have nobody to blame for it.

And for those who believe we have a duty to stand up for the people and to work in their best interests, just point back to Nov. 6, 2012 and remind them, "This is what you voted for. This is what you wanted."

At last, people would come to realize that fiscal sanity is not selfishness; it's just good common sense.

On second thought, never mind. The media would still find some way to blame it all on Bush.

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Like I said, I hope I'm wrong; but I have to plan as if I'm right.

Reading over this post, it seems overly melodramatic, but I don't see anything I really want to change. Hard times are coming, and a smart man will prepare. I think I've got 2-3 years as we slowly coast down to desperation, but I am an optimist. A freak storm at the wrong time, a failure of that national power grid, or some other catastrophe could easily cause things to go south faster than I believe.

But they will go south. No country has ever been able to print their way out of a spending problem. Here's a quaint little fact for you. Paul Ryan's budget, the one Obama and the Progressives claimed was draconian , unbalanced, unfair, and would cause tremendous suffering if implemented, did not reduce spending by a single penny. It reduced future planned increases in spending, but did not ever bring spending below current levels. His plan resulted in deficits that were slightly smaller than Obama's, but still massive.

If picayune reductions in spending increases were demonized so strongly by Democrats and the media, then what are the chances that we will ever get spending under control in DC?

The answer is simple; we won't. We'll keep piling on debt, funding it by printing money, until the dollar breaks.

So I'm going to get ready for the day the bottom drops out.

Some people call it going Galt; others call it dropping out. This isn't a protest thing; it's a lifestyle change. I've got to prepare for a time when the things we take for granted, like food, shelter and electricity, can no longer be taken for granted. I call it being prepared.

I wish you all the best of luck. My biggest hope is that four years from now, I can sheepishly come back to this blog and admit I was just a little crazy that night, that I was overreacting.

But again, I'm not betting my life on it.

Take care.


Posted by Rich
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Her First Time

Lena Dunham suggests that for a woman, voting for Obama is like having sex for the first time.

Painful, bloody, awkward, slightly embarrassing, and you may regret it later?

I guess she's got a point!

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Excellent Question for the Final Debate

Right now, it is official US policy to use drones to attack and kill our enemies wherever they may be, whether they are on a battlefield, or sitting down to dinner at home. Even though this tactic endangers noncombatants, civilians, and innocent bystanders, it has become the favored tactic of the Obama administration because there is almost no risk. Americans don't read foreign news, so if a drone strike misses, or hits the wrong target, or kills a few innocent people, it doesn't get a lot of play in the papers back home.

I have said several times that one reason I cannot vote for Obama is because he believes he has the authority to use a drone to take out any US citizen that he has declared an enemy combatant, regardless of where they are, or what activity they were engaged in. Anwar al-Awlaki is a prime example of this. Awlaki was an American citizen who went to work as a propagandist and a recruiter for al Qaida. After killing him in a drone strike, the Obama administration leaked rumors that Awlaki had graduated to planning operation, but there was never any indication that he committed an act of war, i.e., took up arms against the United States.

But we killed him anyway, and most people were happy about it.

Then we sent in a drone to take out his 16 year old son at a barbeque. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was not a terrorist as far as anyone can determine but he was targeted just the same.

A teenaged US citizen, never accused, much less convicted of a crime, was killed, not on a battlefield, not carrying arms against the US, but eating a meal at a barbeque.

No court, no judge, no jury; just a secret order and a silent drone.

Folks, that scares the crap out of me.

Now here is where it gets interesting.

Mitt Romney shares nearly the same position as Obama.
All U.S. citizens enjoy due process and habeas corpus rights under the Constitution. Due process permits the use of deadly force against all enemy combatants, including citizens, who engage in acts of war against the United States on behalf of an enemy of the United States. U.S. citizens have no right to affiliate themselves with al-Qaida or other terrorist groups plotting attacks against our country from foreign shores.

As president, my top priority would be to protect the American people from all of our nation’s terrorist enemies, whatever their citizenship or country of origin. My preference would be to capture, interrogate, and prosecute any U.S. citizen who has engaged in acts of war against the United States. But if necessary to defend the country, I would be willing to authorize the use of lethal force.


Romney qualifies his statement slightly be referring to 'acts of war,' but then seems to include joining with or working alongside al Qaida as an act of war.

I have a very hard time stomaching that. Yes, we must defend ourselves, and yes, we must be proactive, but assassination of civilian targets? That's a step too far for me.

So I would love to see this question come up in the debate on foreign policy. I want to hear the future President justify targeting Americans for assassination. If you have the balls to do it, you should have the balls to stand up and admit to it.

Posted by Rich
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The Tennessean Endorses Romney

Really!
The next president must be the one with the best chance to get the crushing, $16 trillion national debt under control, coupled with the more immediate need of enabling a vibrant job market.

It is because the economy is paramount that The Tennessean endorses Gov. Mitt Romney for president.

What's really interesting is that as you read the endorsement, you can tell that the editors of the Tennessean really, really don't like Romney. Much of the article is devoted to all the reasons why they don't want to elect Romney.

Yet they give the endorsement to Romney, meaning they have that much less confidence in Obama.

I wonder how many Democrats feel the same way, yet won't say so. An how many of them will just stay home come election day.

Posted by Rich
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Excellent Discussion of Medicare Contrast Between Obama and Romney

This kind of discussion will never make it in a debate structured around sound bites, but it's the kind of information people need to vote intelligently.
The problem with calling an increase a cut just because it consumes a smaller share of the total economy is that it assumes that if the economy grows, Medicaid spending should grow with it. It’s essentially an argument that Medicaid should have a claim on a guaranteed portion of every dollar the economy produces.


Posted by Rich
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Remember the Sharp Drop in Jobless Claims?

You know, the one Obama crowed about in order to distract attention from his first debate, the Biden debacle, heck, his entire record over the last four years?

Gone.

Jobless claims jumped right back up to 388,000.

Here's hoping that Democrats don't count votes like they count jobs.

Posted by Rich
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Robb Allen Provides Perspective

There's a reason behind every traffic jam, and it usually involves pain for somebody. I'm guilty of forgetting this all the time. I pray that my reminders are always as gentle as this one.

Posted by Rich
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A Real Recovery!

From IBD:
The Obama recovery is so small that median household incomes have been steadily falling since it started, and there are 11 million more people on food stamps and 2.7 million more mired in poverty.

A recovery where people lose jobs, lose money, and sink into poverty...I don't think they are using the word recovery the way most of us would.

And then there's this graphic:
image


Posted by Rich
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Busy Week at Babble!

image
Three posts this week covering several topics, one of which features an old picture of me as a young boy celebrating First Communion.

Yes, they had cameras back then.

This week, I covered Obamacare and the lawsuits over its infringement of religious liberty, whether children should be taught about religion, and the idiocy of New York's soda ban, and how it is merely a symptom of a pervasive attempt to coddle us into subservience.

Go check them out here and let me know what you think.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nobody Dies

The picture linked below has resulted in no deaths. Not by stoning, decapitation, hanging, or immolation. In fact, nobody has been injured as a result of this drawing despite its offensive, incendiary nature.

It is obscene, derogatory, extremely profane, potentially racist, and certainly NSFW. It is not funny in the least, and has no socially redeeming value whatsoever.

It exists for one reason, and one reason only.

To demonstrate the profound difference between fundamentalists of different religions.

Remember, I warned you that it was profane, obscene, and offensive, and NSFW. It involves various deities in compromising positions. Despite the fact that I am a fundamentalist follower of one of those deities and find the image offensive, even as I understand the underlying message, I feel no burning desire to behead, stone, assault, or otherwise physically harm the artist.

For obvious reasons, this post will not be on Babble!

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Babble Post Is Up!

We wanted to get started by the 1st of September. We missed!. But the first post is now up and you can go see it here. I introduce myself to the other folks at Babble, and compare myself, favorably of course, to both Darth Vader and Scarlett O'Hara!

Fiddle Dee Dee, indeed!

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Defense of Standardized Testing

A few decades ago, the argument was that teachers could not be held accountable for their students performance because there were no objective measurements of that performance. The same argument was made regarding school funding. There was no real way to measure whether policies and programs were beneficial enough to justify their expense because there were no objective measures to use. Grades were inadequate because different school systems had different grading standards and criteria; an 'A' in one system might only rate a 'B+' in another. Passing in one district might be failing in another. Different curricula at different schools could not be compared across the board.

In short, there were no tools for managers to use to evaluate performance in our schools.

So the education profession got together to establish performance based standards and assigned them to certain grade levels. For example, mastering the ability to recite the letters of the alphabet was assigned to kindergarten; the ability to add and subtract two digit numbers to 2nd grade, and so on. This was important for two different reasons. First, the skills identified are all foundational, which is to say they form the basis for more advanced skills, like spelling, or multiplication. Second, mastery of these foundational skills can be easily assessed through objective testing.

And that, in a nutshell, is the origin of the standardized tests. There is nothing discriminatory about an objective test that assesses mastery of an ability. There can't be. Either the student has mastered the skill well enough to meet the standard, or they haven't. No bias, no politics, no subjectivity.

Basically, teachers are protesting to being held to objectively measured tests demonstrating mastery of fundamental skills as an unfair reflection of their teaching ability. They say it is unfair to hold them accountable for the performance of their students

Remember that the next time the teachers' union demands a raise because teachers are the most important element in a child's education.

Can't have it both ways folks.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Exposing Myself on Babble

So, I was invited to participate in a video dialogue with Diana Stone and Kristin Howerton of Babble Voices. We were reacting to Obama's acceptance speech which was kind of interesting because we were talking about it while he was giving it. On the negative side, the real time discussion meant I couldn't really concentrate on the speech. On the positive side, I didn't have to really concentrate on the speech.

I did some prep work before hand, looking up some facts and figures about Obama's spending and the unemployment situation, as well as a few other policy issues so I was fairly comfortable when we started. You can watch it below.

I think it went fairly well; it certainly didn't seem like we were talking for an hour, and it was a lot of fun. Kristin was the self admitted left of liberal representative, while Diana was a moderate leaning left, which left me as the sole voice of reason representative from the right. Catherine Connors was our able moderator, and other than a slight diversion where we discussed which of the candidates we would like to have a beer with (Obama won because Romney doesn't drink), we stayed with the speech fairly well, covering several topics.

Lissa watched it live and told me to stop swiveling in my chair, turn down the ringer on my phone, and "For goodness sake, clean up your office!"

Next up, getting the blog set up so I can start earning my paycheck.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, September 03, 2012

A Tale of Two Candidates

We have two men who are running for the Office of the President of the United States.

One candidate spends a lot of time talking about self reliance, independence, and liberty. He says that Americans can do the most when they have the most freedom, when government gets out of the way. On the other hand, when an employee's child disappeared, the candidate used the full resources of his company to assist police in locating the child and reuniting them with their family. According to the press, this candidate is a mean-spirited, disconnected, remote, greedy man who cares more for corporate profits than his fellow man.

The other candidate spends a lot of time talking about our mutual dependence, how success is earned not through individual efforts, but by the combined efforts of us all. He says that Americans can do the most when they look after each other, as if we were all brothers. On the other hand, when his brother's child fell ill, the candidate sat idly by and did nothing, while a stranger made sure that the child got the medical treatment he needed. According to the press, this candidate is a warm, compassionate, and caring man who is deeply concerned about the welfare of American citizens.

In case you are slow on the uptake, this post is not about the candidates themselves, but about the power of the media to create and sell an image that may have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Posted by Rich
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Excitement! News! Money!

I have some exciting news. Well, exciting for me anyway.

Last week, Katie Granju asked if I would be interested in taking on a paying job, blogging as a conservative/libertarian dad. As a conservative/libertarian dad, anything that generates income is automatically interesting, even more so when it involves something that I've been doing for free for over 10 years now.

She gave me the details, and set up the connection, and the result is that, starting this week, I will be blogging for actual money at Babble.com! Like Katie, I'll be blogging as part of Babble voices, and while I'm free to write about any topic relating to parenting, kids, etc, my area of concentration will be conservatism/libertarianism and how politics affects my family, with the obvious focus on the upcoming election. As regular readers can imagine, I'll have quite a few things to say on the subject!

I expect that we'll get the details worked out this week, and that the blog will be set up and running by Friday at the latest. Then again, this is a short week, so we'll just have to see. In the meantime, I have to come up with a blog title, a biography, a good picture for the byline, and a couple of topics to get things rolling.

One thing will be new to me. In all the years I've blogged, I've never done a lot of self promotion. I don't do a lot of cross posting; I don't leave links on other blogs, and I very rarely ever send out "for your consideration" emails. That just isn't my style.

But Babble is a professional outfit, which means they expect page views for the money they pay out, so I will have to start working to drive traffic to my posts there. So you can expect to see some Self promotion going on, especially during the first few weeks as I try to build an audience. For those of you who don't like to read posts that link to other posts, I apologize in advance. On the other hand, for those of you who want to see me succeed, please click through and read!

As I was telling Lissa about this last Friday, it struck me that this is my second real freelance writing gig. I had a couple of submissions to the KNS, but those were more or less one shot deals, not a long term thing. I've been covering high school football for The Mountain Press for several years now, and adding Babble into the mix, assuming I last more than a month or two, that is two, long term, paid writing gigs.

I think that means I qualify as a professional writer!

Which means learning to type is probably a requirement now.

Posted by Rich
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