236 Years is a Good Run
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.
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.
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.
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.
Her First Time
Painful, bloody, awkward, slightly embarrassing, and you may regret it later?
I guess she's got a point!
An Excellent Question for the Final Debate
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.
The Tennessean Endorses Romney
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.
Excellent Discussion of Medicare Contrast Between Obama and Romney
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.
Remember the Sharp Drop in Jobless Claims?
Jobless claims jumped right back up to 388,000.
Here's hoping that Democrats don't count votes like they count jobs.
A Real Recovery!
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:
A Tale of Two Candidates
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.
Why Dress Up Like a Giant Vagina?
Then he utterly failed to tell us any of them, which is typical of today's politicians.
He's right, though; we do need to face up to some hard truths, so let's look at one together, right now. We don't have to wait for the election, or for Romney or Obama to tell us because we already know that neither one would ever dream of telling us the real truth because it is too painful. So let's talk, just between us.
Here is a hard truth: There is no way we can restore fiscal sanity to our budget without severely cutting spending AND raising taxes on almost everybody.
Now you know why I said you will never hear this from a politician of either major party.
Let me show you why I say that, so you will know that I am not just making stuff up to scare you. All of the numbers I use will be linked to official government sources so you can verify them for yourself. And, I promise that there will be no complicated math beyond basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
First, let's look at spending and revenue, to get an idea of what our actual deficit really is. I'm not going to look at the budget, because there are significant chunks of spending that are off budget, and besides, we haven't had one of those in over three years anyway. Instead, I'm going to look at the actual National Debt. The site I'm using is the US Treasury Direct website. I'm using September 30 as my annual date since that is the final day of the US government's fiscal year.Plugging in the search criteria gives me the fol,lowing numbers:
Now, we need to modify one piece of data in our table. The first number in the list is only to date, meaning it is for a partial year. We have to extrapolate from this number to get an estimate of what the debt will be on September 30, 2012. What I'm going to do is determine how many days of the year have gone by (333) and divide the increase in the debt so far ($1.19 trillion) by the days gone by. This gives me the increase in debt per day. Then multiply by the total number of days this year (366, it is a leap year) to get the total increase in debt. Then I will add that the the existing debt on Sep. 30, 2011 to get my projection. My result is $16,096,705,624,820. So now our table looks like this:
Next, I'll determine the actual annual deficit by subtracting the past debt from the current and working my way backwards. For example, I'll subtract the total debt on Sept 30, 2011 from the estimated total debt on Sept 30, 2012 to get the deficit for fiscal 2012. And so on.
Taking an average of the last 5 years gives us an annualized deficit of about $1.4 trillion dollars. That's how much money the federal government spends than it takes in. Now I know that this number is significantly higher than what is reported by the White House or the press, and there's a good reason for that. We're not playing with Washington's phony number. We've bypassed all the "modifications" and "off budget expenditures" in order to look at the bottom line.
And it is pretty ugly.
The Obama plan to deal with this deficit is to raise taxes on the 1%, leave the middle class alone, and slow the rate of increase in government spending and hope to be out of office before the crash. The Ryan plan isn't much better. He wants to cut taxes on everybody, reduce the growth in government spending even more, and hope to be out of office before the crash.
There is not one major party candidate talking about the serious spending and tax reform needed to balance our budget, mainly because it would be political suicide to do so.
Let's look at Obama's plan for a moment to see what I'm talking about. In 2009, the last year the statistics are available, the top one percent of tax payers had a total adjusted gross income of $1.33 trillion. In other words, the government could have taken every penny of taxable income from the top 1% in 2009, and still run a deficit of $550 billion. There is simply no way that 'taxing the rich' will generate enough revenue to support continued spending at these levels, much less start to pay off the debt we've accumulated.
Check out the debt clock. Watching the numbers spin up should scare the crap out of you.
So, how do we get out of this mess? Well, look at the last row in the last table. Our deficit for 2007 was only $500 billion. (And it is a scary world when $500 billion can be preceded by the word only.) If we reduce spending back to the pre-emergency levels started in 2008, then we have a much more realistic chance of balancing our budget.
But it will still be a struggle. We would have to cut about $1 billion dollars from the Federal budget. It seems like it wouldn't be so difficult; we've only been spending at this rate for 5 years, but getting politicians to cut spending is not an easy task, particularly since they know that any real spending cuts will result in the end of their political careers. And even after cutting spending by $1 billion, we'd still have to raise our tax collections by roughly 57% to cover the ongoing deficit.
Now this doesn't necessarily mean tax increases. Economic growth will increase revenues faster and more painlessly than tax increases, but that doesn't come quickly or easily. Of necessity, there will be tax increases for everybody, not just the wealthy 1%.
So these are some hard truths. Our children will pay for the spending orgy we've been involve in. And I mean that literally, in many different ways. They will face an economic burden that has broken the backs of countries throughout history. They will face a lifetime of hard work, with no promise of security as they get older. They can expect little in return for their efforts except maybe, just maybe, a better life for their kids.
And that is the hardest truth of all.
The Big Lie Deconstructed
The Breitbart headline is hyperbolic, accusing President Obama of calling veterans enemies. The truth is somewhat less earthshaking as President Obama's 'Truth Team' is targeting veterans groups that are campaigning against Obama. That activity on their part opens them up for retaliatory attacks from the Obama campaign, and I have no problem with that on either side.
So what is the Big Lie I headlined?
Let's look at the link Breitbart used to back up their claim, which goes to an article from the Obama-Biden Truth Team. The tagline for the site is "When you’re faced with someone who misrepresents the truth, you can find all the facts you need right here—along with ways to share the message with whoever needs to hear it."
They are promising facts to counter anything coming from the right. Let's see how they do.
Swift Boat 2.0: Conservative groups behind false attacks on the President’s national security record
Swift Boat count: 1
False Attack count: 1
Actual content: 0
But it is just a headline.
When President Obama took office, the U.S. was engaged in two wars and and al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden was still at large. As commander-in-chief, President Obama refocused our priorities on the most significant security threats to the country and on fulfilling our promises to our servicemembers. Under the President, we have eliminated more than two-thirds of al-Qaeda’s core leadership—including bin Laden.
Did we win the wars? Don't know. Didn't tell us.
Is al-Qaeda less effective? By what measure? Don't know. Didn't tell us.
What are our priorities, and what activities were deprioritized? Don't know. Didn't tell us.
What promises to servicemembers were made and fulfilled? Don't know. Didn't tell us.
Well, maybe the facts will come later in the article.
But a new cadre of conservative groups are trying to “Swift Boat” the President by manufacturing false attacks about his national security record. A collection of super PACs and organizations are deploying the same “discredited” and “hardball smear tactics” against President Obama that were used to attack Sen. John Kerry’s military service in 2004. Each group follows the same pattern, identifying themselves as separate, nonpartisan former U.S. military and intelligence operatives who have a “civic duty” to attack the President. But who exactly is behind these attacks?
Swift Boat count: 2
False attack count:5
They are setting the stage here. Without either detailing the charges from these veterans groups, or refuting them, Obama's Truth Team is characterizing the charges both as false and as attacks, rather than accusations. They are also calling the charges discredited and smears without ever demonstrating anything. In short, there are no facts here relating to the charges, only the presumption, presented as fact, that the charges are false and maliciously presented.
The last sentence shifts the focus from the content of the charges to the people presenting them. That is an attack as well as a logical fallacy. They are hoping to discredit the message by smearing the messenger.
A closer look at each group reveals an interconnected web of Republican operatives who are launching “Swift Boat”-style smear tactics against President Obama’s national security record.
Swift Boat count: 3
False attack count:5
The 'Truth Team' is intent on linking these groups with the Swift Boat veterans who so effectively countered Kerry's attempt to portray himself as a military hero. Again, rather than dealing with the specific charges, they want to attack the messengers.
Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund
The partisan agenda:
Launch false attacks on the President over the operation that killed Osama bin Laden
Falsely claim President Obama is deliberately leaking national security information
OPSEC president Scott Taylor is a failed Republican candidate who lost his campaigns for public office in 2008 and 2010.
Spokesman Chad Kolton worked as a spokesman for the Bush administration, the Republican National Committee, and House Speaker John Boehner. Another spokesman Fred Rustmann appeared on Fox News during the Bush administration to—ironically—downplay the significance of leaks about CIA operative Valerie Plame’s undercover status, claiming it wasn’t “a big deal.” This serious breach of national security later led to four felony convictions for Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
OPSEC member Bill Cowan actually praised President Obama for making “the tough decision” to “go after bin Laden instead of taking the easy way out” before he joined a group attacking the President for that operation.
Swift Boat count: 3
False attack count:7
Here is where the 'Truth Team' truly earns the quotes I use when naming them.
First, the use of "partisan agenda." Politics is partisan. When Obama attacks Romney, it is based on Party ideology, not personal antipathy. Including the word partisan is an attempt to discredit the group for simply being conservative. Additionally, partisanship does not preclude other motivations, like patriotism, integrity, honor, or truthfulness. Partisan should not be a bad word, regardless of which side uses it.
But what I really want to address is the Plamegate reference because here, the 'Truth Team' issues some very clear distortions. Fred Rustmann was not talking about the political implications of the Plame leak, but the national security implications. Plame had not been in the field, or actively undercover in years. Her employment by the CIA was well known throughout DC, and was a very open secret. In fact, is was such a minor issue that the origin of the leak, Richard Armitage, a member of Colin Powell's staff, never faced charges for the leak, despite his involvement being discovered very early in the investigation. Scooter Libby was convicted of four felonies, not related to the leak itself, which he had no part of, but for perjury because his testimony was inconsistent. The implication of the 'Truth Team' that Cheney was at the heart of the leak, and that the leak did grave damage to US national security is simply false.
Finally, BIll Cowan fully supported taking out Bin Laden. He objected to all the leaked details after the operations, details that will make future operations much more difficult. The 'Truth Team's' characterization of this difference as a contradiction is either deliberately deceptive or remarkably obtuse.
The rest of the article continues in the same vein, answering no charges from the groups, just attacking the members of the group. As a final example, let's look at the last paragraph.
It is not surprising that the attacks these groups are launching lack any credibility. The President is committed to protecting our troops and our country’s security. The only way to mislead Americans about his record on national security is to resort to dishonest and overtly political smear campaigns that do a disservice to Americans who deserve to know the facts about the President’s record. As Arends said himself, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”
Following the link to the quote, we see that once again, the 'Truth Team' is distorting the truth. Arends full quote is:"Yes, it's the swift boating of the president, in the sense of using what's perceived to be his greatest strength and making it his greatest weakness."
Talk about changing the context.
And that is the Big Lie. Obama's propaganda team has put together no clear refutation of the charges. Instead, they start from a presumption that the charges are false, and attack the people presenting them.
The sad thing is that they will be effective because they are presenting this information to the true believer, not the unconvinced skeptic.
A Tax on Life
It no longer matters who the President is, or who controls Congress, or even whether Obamacare is repealed or not. All of that is immaterial, less than meaningless because what happened in the Supreme Court of the United States had nothing to do with health care, nothing to do with Republicans vs Democrats, or conservatives vs liberals. All of that mess was just a sideshow, a distraction to keep us from seeing what was really going on.
Chief Justice approved the individual mandate, in effect, by saying that it was obvious that the federal government had taxing authority over the inaction of individuals.
Let that sink in for a moment.
A conservative Supreme Court Justice, the Chief Justice, young and likely to preside over the course for a couple of decades, just ruled that the federal government has the authority under the Constitution to levy a tax on people who are not engaged in any activity other than breathing.
Can you hear me now?
Until today, taxation was dependent on economic activity. You had to buy, sell, trade, invest, or transfer wealth in order to be taxed. Or in the case of user fees, another form of taxation, you had to use something, a park, a road, a facility, a resource, or something. In effect, you had to have a transfer of value in order to be charged a tax.
Not anymore. Now you can incur a tax liability just sitting in a chair breathing.
The Supreme Court just said that you owe the federal government money because your heart beats, and they granted the IRS the full force of law to collect.
Are you starting to understand why Obamacare is small potatoes? Don't get me wrong, it's bad, but this is much worse.
- Participate in community service, or pay a
Buy a car from GM or pay a
Buy from a government approved list of suppliers or pay a
Buy something you don't believe you need, or pay a
Support these approved charities, or pay a
This is now the world we live in, where the federal government has the authority under the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, to tax you if you don't do what they want.
And if you think these taxes would never pass, well, you probably never expected Obamacare to pass either. Never underestimate the greed of the people. Pitched properly, every one of the above taxes could pass easily.
And this is the law of the land, thanks to the opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Tell me again how we are free.
Meanwhile, Back in the Real World
But that's okay, because the Chinese commitment to personal liberty and freedom is legendary.
But by all means, let's have a national discussion over whether it is appropriate to demand that a church buy rubbers for its employees.
I’m Pro Choice
I'm pro choice.
In fact, I'm all about choice. I think everybody ought to have the freedom to choose for themselves what they do and how they do it, as long as those choices do not negatively impact those around them.
And I think most women would agree with me.
They get to choose whether to have sex or not. They get to choose who to have sex with. They get to choose which acts they will perform. They get to choose when they will have sex.
And I'm all for it. Sex is a choice.
That being the case, then why in the wide wide world of sports should I have to pay for them to have sex?
Women are so strongly against men paying for sex, but they want us to pay for them to have sex?
I don't get it.
Look, I get that you want free contraception. You want to have sex without strings, without guilt, and without consequences. I get it; I really do. That's been the male fantasy for centuries.
But here's the deal. If you want it, great; go out and get it. But don't expect me to pony up for the rubbers/pills/IUDs/Norplants etc.
Unless it is my penis entering your vagina, I'm not responsible for any potential outcomes.
Your choice means your responsibility. If you choose to have sex with a guy who refuses to use a condom, then it is your responsibility to protect yourself. It is not my responsibility to run you down to the drugstore and pay for your birth control.
This is not a war on women; I happen to like women. A lot. My wife is a woman. I know that seems old fashioned in this day of gay marriage, open marriage, and gender transference procedures, but hey, I'm a sucker for traditionalism.
And my wife is not the only woman in my life. My mother is a woman, as is my sister, and my daughters, and I love them all very much.
I'm not at war with them, nor do I want to oppress them.
I just don't think it is my responsibility to fork over $20 so Sheila down the street can hang with the frat boys on the Strip without worrying about potential consequences.
If she chooses to have sex, then it is her responsibility to choose responsibly, and that means choosing a partner who will wear a condom.
After all, the pill doesn't protect against STD's.
If she can't make a responsible choice, then maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't be choosing to have sex.