Category Archives: Politicos/Politics

Send in the Marines

I have a problem with this.  Using Marines in full dress uniform to hold umbrellas?  WHAT??  Have other presidents done this?  Probably, I don’t know.  But it needs to never happen again.  It is, after all, at the very least, against their protocol to hold umbrellas.  To me it just smells like O acting like a Czar, or an Emporer/Dear Leader, enlisting whatever peasant happened by to do his whim.  No thought to the protocol, or the pride, of these magnificent Marines.

Seriously, what were Obama and Erdoğan doing with their own hands that they couldn’t have hoisted their own umbrellas?  It would have been a really awesome thing if Obama had grabbed an umbrella and held it over Erdoğan, but there’s a part of me that just doesn’t think Obama has a paradigm for servanthood.   He certainly has a strange (and dangerous, as seen in the Benghazi disaster) approach to being a commander-in-chief.

So much ugh-worthiness from this administration this week.  But of all the scandalous things the O-ministration is up to these days, this awkward event spoke the most to me about Obama’s general attitude towards this country.

This country is in big trouble.  You do realize that, don’t you??

All men are created equal, but some men are more equal than others.

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Rich White Men Urinate On Black Women…By Ed Asner

Replace “rich” with “Jew” and it’s a Nazi propaganda video.  Everything that is wrong in America is become of the rich.  Everything that was wrong in Germany was because of the Jews.  The parallels between these two propaganda are myriad.  This is so disturbing.  What on earth is this video even supposed to be used for?  SHAME on everyone involved in it.  Extra shame on Ed Asner.  How can even be involved with a project depicting a rich white man urinating on a middle class black woman.  UNBELIEVABLE.

I think I hear black helicopters.

12/06/12 Update:  The teachers union removed and edited the video to remove the portion where the white rich man urinates on the poor black people.  Good call.  But the rest of the video is just as bad.  They’ve reuploaded the edited version.  Bad call.  They should have quit while they were ahead.


“Obama’s fools …

“Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.”

~  Xavier Lerma, PRAVDA


Picking a President

1. I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood. Proverbs 6:16-17
2. I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who curse them. Genesis 12:1-3
3. I will vote for the most pro-man-and-woman-marriage candidate, because God clearly establishes and defines marriage in Genesis 2:21-24
4. I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes that the purpose of government is to reward the good & punish the evil. Romans 13
5. I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
6. I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man does not work, neither shall he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
7. Finally, I will vote based as close as I can on God’s Word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts men in authority. Daniel 2:21

(The above is not original material, it was taken with permission from a friend’s facebook page, and from the Bible)

Go.  Vote.  Pick wisely.  God always keeps his promises.


Romney’s “Goose Cooking” Vote Cast By Michael Moore Should Not Be Counted

From twitter earlier today:

Romney – you see this? This is me cooking your goose. In Michigan. Where the trees are used to make ballots to defeat upic.twitter.com/hxmvyUxA.

Embedded image permalink

This was the picture that was linked.  To make sure we knew just HOW MM was cooking that goose, this image was ALSO provided:

Are you supposed to tweet a picture of your ballot?  Not in Michigan, you’re not.

MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT)
Act 116 of 1954

168.738 Voting; ballots; folding; deposit in ballot box; rejection for exposure.

Sec. 738.

(1) Before leaving the booth or voting compartment, the elector shall fold his or her ballot or each of the ballots so that no part of the face shall be exposed, and with the detachable corner on the outside. Upon leaving the booth, the elector shall at once deliver in public view the ballot or ballots to the inspector designated to receive the ballot or ballots. Except as provided in subsection (2), the inspector shall tear off the corner of the ballot, where perforated, containing the number and shall then in the presence of the elector and the board of inspectors deposit each ballot in the proper ballot box without opening the ballot.

(2) If an elector shows his or her ballot or any part of the ballot to any person other than a person lawfully assisting him or her in the preparation of the ballot or a minor child accompanying that elector in the booth or voting compartment under section 736a, after the ballot has been marked, to disclose any part of the face of the ballot, the ballot shall not be deposited in the ballot box, but shall be marked “rejected for exposure”, and shall be disposed of as are other rejected ballots. If an elector exposes his or her ballot, a note of the occurrence shall be entered on the poll list opposite his or her name and the elector shall not be allowed to vote at the election.
History: 1954, Act 116, Eff. June 1, 1955 ;– Am. 1996, Act 213, Imd. Eff. May 28, 1996
Popular Name: Election Code

Click for link for source

Apparently his ballot should be “rejected for exposure”.


What Happens If Obama Loses???? (We’re Blaming You Mom and Dad!)

Here’s a little ditty that lays it all out for you.  Enjoy!  (Are we being punked by this video?)

For those of you who can’t bear to watch the video, here are the lyrics:

Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea

We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair

It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!

12/23/12 Uupdate:  This video has disappeared entirely from the internet.  I cannot find the video footage anywhere now.  The ad was  an independent project by  Silverstein & Partners founders Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein. It was unrelated to the agency’s work.  It was a personal agenda piece.  These are the same people who brought you the “got milk” campaign and many other well known national ad campaigns.


What Happens If The Election is a Tie??

Think a Romney-Biden administration can’t happen??

Think again!

Here are some outcome scenarios you may not have given a thought to…


VOLT (Rhymes With Dolt)

I like to think of the Chevy Volt as one of the clearest examples of what is wrong with the Obama presidency.  In order to pay for this car that very few people want, Obama has put the taxpayer on the hook no less than four times for this unpopular vehicle.  Here’s how:

1)  Obama gave the company LG Chem $150 million of your and my money in the form of a GRANT (read “free to them”) to manufacture the batteries for the Volt.  Seriously, you have to read THIS about what an abject failure the plant is because of lack of demand for the Volt.

2)  It costs, what, a million bucks (hyperbole, folks, hyperbole) to built one of those toaster ovens?  They are being sold and leased tremendously under cost (sold at a little over half the cost of what it costs to manufacture it, leased at outrageously low cost), each one at a huge loss to GM.  The loss (negative profit) created on each of these vehicles is then spread out over the purchase price of the other vehicles that most people actually WANT to buy.  Not only is the cost of their new vehicle now more than it would have been, they have to pay more taxes on the increased cost of the vehicle.  HERE is a nice article dissecting the math for us…

3)  The Pentagon is buying the Volt to prop up the miserable sales.  I’m sure they’re being forced to in an effort to green up the military, as well as to help the Volt not look like the taxpayer funded Obama debacle that it is.  Does it come in camouflage?  Where does the Pentagon’s money come from?  Yes, dear fellow taxpayer…from your wallet.

4)  When purchased, the Volt comes with a $7,500 tax credit!  Money taken right out of the treasury in order to bribe someone to buy a car that is worth twice what they are going to pay for it.  ARGHHHH!!!

And there’s still the matter of the bailout that GM received from We The People.  Technically they have paid back the bailout money, as was outlined in the agreement.  But even though they have met the terms of the agreement, the stock that was used to pay a large amount of the bailout money back isn’t worth enough to equal the money given to them.  So technically, the Volt has cost us FOUR times at least.  You can read about that HERE.

I think that if I thought about it long enough, I could come up with half a dozen less direct ways this car costs us, but I will stop at four/five.

In whose universe is this good policy and a good way to spend our hard earned tax dollars (rhetorical non-question).  For shame.


FORWARD With Obama…

For those who don’t think Obama is steering this nation straight into socialism (on onto the path toward communism), you might want to take another look at what he has already accomplished.

In his own words…

For those who think “he doesn’t know what he’s doing”, you are wrong.  He knows EXACTLY what he is doing.  Stop calling him an idiot.  He’s brilliant.  He is calculating and manipulative, and a masterful truth twister.  And he’s a shameless liar.

He is NOT a failed president!!!!  As president, he has made great strides towards his goal…his goal being to fundamentally change America.  He has been greatly successful in his promise to do this!  He’s doing EXACTLY what he was voted in to do…he is implementing his agenda by every means possible.

The question is not “is Obama good for America?”.  Because if you believe in what Obama is doing then of course, you believe he is.  And if you are that person, this is not a plea to your sensibilities.  You think he’s awesome and doing great things.  And you’re smart and have thought it through and know what it is that you want.  I get that.  This post is for those who maybe aren’t so sure.  The question for those people is this…is this REALLY what you want for America?  If it is, vote for the guy and enjoy what he’s gonna do to you.  Not FOR you, because SOCIALISM and communism DO NOT WORK…and in the end, the ones in charge politically are the only ones who “succeed”…because they, like everyone else don’t have their own success, but unlike you, they have YOURS.  That is what the “shared success” we keep hearing about truly is.  You share your success with those in charge and their protégés, and with those in their lines of patronage.

If you believe that life isn’t fair, join the club.  It’s not.  But do you really think that it’s not YOUR job to help level the playing field?  It is, you know. It’s YOUR job and it’s MY job to rescue orphans and to feed the hungry and to care for widows.  It’s the responsibility of INDIVIDUALS to help each other.  Is that a responsibility you want to abdicate even more to the government and to bureaucrats?

If you have a little nagging voice in the back of your head that makes you question if you made, and continue to make, the right decision in supporting Obama, I think you need to listen to that little voice.  If you think at all that maybe he’s bringing something to America that isn’t at all what America is about, you need to listen to that voice.  Later, if you decide that what he’s all about is what you truly want, you can move things in that direction.  But once Obama gets a second term, it will be nearly impossible to return to what America once was.  Do you want America changed fundamentally even more?  Do you want an Obama who will have even “more flexibility” in doing what he wants in a second term???  He wants you to go forward with him, because he knows, he KNOWS, that if you do, there won’t be any going back.

Are you ready for that? Are you REALLY???

..


FACT CHECK SHAME

File this under “why you should do your own fact checking”.

I saw some snarky tweet about Romney’s yacht flying the Cayman Islands flag.  The media (Brian Ross of ABC) jumped right on that Richie-Rich-tax-dodging-off-shore-bank-account-money-hiding-flag-flying yacht in a desperate attempt to make Romney look bad on many fronts.

So, because I rarely believe something I read when I read it somewhere for the first time, and because Brian Ross has proven himself to be a maker-up-of-stuff, I got to fact checking.  It took me about 22 seconds to determine two things…

1)  The flag being flown from the yacht is the Bermuda flag, not the Cayman Islands flag

and

2)  The yacht doesn’t belong to Romney.

What makes the original lie, and the passed on lie as well, all the more terrible, is the kinds of corrections and retractions which have since taken place.  Instead of saying “Good grief, we were so wrong” and apologizing for a lack of journalistic ethics, most put up some sort of “it was fake, but it could easily have been true” apology.  Wow, getting tired of the “fake but true” defense.  I don’t even care all that much for Romney, but c’mon!!!


Pardon My Skepticism, Buuuuuuut…..

Do you ever get lost in the links on the interwebs?  I do.  I woke up much too early this morning and in the process of trying to activate my Google AdSense account (I need someone’s help on doing that, it’s like a different world in there), I ended up at an article on Examimer.com.

The headline reads: “‘Strong possibility’ tornado deadly fungus, secret morgues links to Gulf Plague”.

Read the whole article HERE, but in a nutshell, Deborah Dupre (“Human Rights Examiner”) reports on the fungus which has killed a number of Joplin residents post tornado.  IF we are to BELIEVE Ms. Dupre and her primary source, Ian Crane, (UKexoilmanwhistleblower), the fungus CAUSING the deaths was “evaporated” from the Gulf of Mexico and ended up being spread about in the tornadic winds of Joplin, MO.  The fungus eVAPorated from the Gulf after it was PLACED there by BP (British Petroleum) to break down the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill there last year…the spill having NOT been an ACCIDENT at all, BUT a PURPOSEFUL “depopulation event” created in an evil plot by BP (and apparently a large host of other co-conspirators) specifically in order to plant GM (genetically modified) organisms IN the water with the ULTIMATE and SPECIFIC  intent of killing hundreds of thousands of people with those very same organisms!!!

Really???  I mean, come on.  Forgive my incredulousness.  This is certainly a terribly ineffective and incredibly expensive way to go about creating a depopulation event if that’s what the goal was.  Additionally, it is not a method that can be at all controlled nor is there any reasonable way to predict an outcome.  I’m as big a conspiracy theorist as the next person, but this is a stretch.  It just doesn’t make any sort of logical sense.

And it must be pointed out that there are simply some basic problems with the premise of evaporation as a microbiologic dispersing agent.  First of all….this fungus (zygomycosis) is a terrestrial dweller.  And secondly, I’m pretty sure that evaporation happens at the molecular level and doesn’t support the lifting of heavy cellular organism up into the wind.  I could be wrong.

Lastly, it should be noted that infections from zygomycosis are common after natural disasters where dirt and decaying vegetative matter contaminate open wounds, especially after earthquakes and tornadoes.

I’m going to go out on a limb with this one and call it a CONSPIRACY FAIL.


Clunkers Program a Clunker – My Take

The “highly successful” Cash For Clunkers program is bad for lower income people.

An entire “generation” of good used cars is now lost to the car crusher.  This will drive up the cost of used cars in the near future for people who depend on them because the smaller inventory will lead to higher costs on the cars that do come to the used car market.  Not a good thing for those folks!  But I guess it’ll be a good thing for the sellers of used cars in the future….they’ll get more money for their cars than they would have had the program not existed.

And did you know that those who took advantage of the program will be taxed on the money they got as if it were income?

Yeah, SURPRISE!!!!


Arizona’s Law is an “Open” One and MSNBC’s Law is to “Conceal”

What do you think of this?

Now, while I’m a little nervous about people carrying guns near the president, that’s not the issue here.  Arizona is an “open carry” state when it comes to firearms. 

What bothers me about this brewhaha is that the footage that is shown in this MSNBC clip of a man with an automatic weapon slung over his arm and a handgun strapped to his leg is that they go on and on about white people with guns being a danger to the president, but what they don’t show you is this:

 

 

 

Get the picture?

 Yeah.  That’s the guy in the video.

 

 

If you’re gonna show footage of a man open carrying, and then espouse opinions about white people carrying guns and how it’s a danger to the president BECAUSE OF RACE, then you should probably tape a white guy, and not a black one, to use as your shocker video.  Shame on MSNBC for flagrant misreprentation and for lies of ommission.  Exactly WHOSE overtones are racial in this story???


No Quality OR Quantity

“The moral progress of a nation and its greatness should be judged by the way it treats its animals.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

While I think that perhaps Gandhi had a point, I wonder if he ever imagined that we in the United States (and other western nations) would squander the amount of resources that we do on our pets.  I am sure he was including food animals in his statement as well, maybe even wild animals, and so I believe that if the United State’s greatness was judged by the way we treat our animals we’d probably not be considered so great.

But I don’t agree so much with Gandhi.  I think a country’s greatness should be measured by the quality and the quantity of its toilet paper.  America is truly the land of toilet paper milk and honey. 

Have you ever traveled internationally?  If you have, depending on where you went, you will probably be nodding your head in agreement with me when I say that the U.S. has the awesomest and most available toilet paper that the world has to offer.  How often in a foreign country is there no T.P. (let ALONE seat covers) in the airport?  Is there EVER T.P. in the bathroom at the gas station (if there IS a bathroom available for public use at the gas station)?  At restaurants where there often IS T.P., isn’t it often rough and oddly colored?  You know what I’m talkin’ about!  Do any of you, like *I* do, always have a roll of T.P. in a ziplock tucked in your backpack when traveling out of the country??  (And wet wipes, too).  The worst toilet paper I ever used was in St. Petersburg, Russia, about 10 years ago.  It was milky grayish purple, unevenly cut, and about a #180 grit.  More like crepe paper.  Pretty much like this, only change the color:

I had to look through most of the stalls to find even that.  And this was at a cultural and performing arts center!  The best non-American T.P. I have ever used was in Malawi, Africa.  Malawi aspires for greatness and realizes that without great T.P., this is a pipe dream.

I recently watched “Sicko” for the first time.  I do not plan on dissecting all of the issues and problems in and about that movie.  Save one smallish little thing.  Michael Moore holds Cuba up as a bastion of excellence in socialized health care.  But what I want to know is, how can a country that runs out of toilet paper even begin to reeeeealllly be considered great in the health care arena???   The Cuban government slashed the amount of imports it’s allowing and has fallen short of the raw materials needed to keep its citizens in T.P.  These beleaguered Cuban citizens may not see it on the shelves of the local CommuMart again until NOVEMBER!!!  The government is encouraging people to use cigar wrappers as an alternative.  How hygienic can that possible be?  Oh, and in case you missed it, that also means they are encouraging smoking.  Just how many cigars do the parents of a family of four need to smoke in order to keep up with the toilet paper needs?  It’s too bad that Michael Moore wasn’t making his film during a T.P. shortage…perhaps his take on things might have been a little bit different.

Can a country who rations and runs out of T.P. really enjoy unlimited access to top-notch health care?  I somehow doubt it.  So let’s just stop comparing our health care to theirs.  And BTW (by the way), most of westernized and socialized europe doesn’t have such great T.P. either.

I’m just saying…


Sneyotches

We Americans are now being encouraged to forward e-mails (and the like) which speak out against Obamacare on to the White House.  That’s right folks, the powers that be want us to turn in our friends and family members who happen to have legitimate concerns, and have dared to voice them, over turning over 1/7th of the United States economy to the control of  “the man”.  The government can’t run education well, or the postal service well.  The healthcare programs that government already runs, namely MEDI-CARE, MEDI-CAID, and the VA, are hopelessly awash in inefficiency and drowning in fraud.  And we want to turn ALL of healthcare over to them?  To people who aren’t even going to read the bill that they are voting on?  Really?  I mean REALLY?????  Is it so subversive to want to SCREAM about what a bad idea this is???? 

And if you think I am making this up….click HERE.  This links you to the White House Blog where the address of where to send “fishy” disinformation found in e-mails or at URLs is provided.  Yeah.  You heard me.  Fishy disinformation.  Orwellian language my friends!

Am I willing to give the WH the benefit of the doubt on what I believe the intention behind this snitchy request is?  Not really.  Do I think that they simply want to see what the “misinformation” is that is out there so that they can work hard to educate us in the “facts”.  Not really.  Am I just crazy enough to think that perhaps they are more interested in taking names of those who dare to exert their First Ammendment right and are speaking freely?  Yeah, I guess I am.  And I suppose  some snitch out there will send them a link to my blog…sneyotch.  It reminds me of Russian school children under Stalin being encouraged to tell teachers of unapproved parental behaviors.  Not that I am calling anyone in power a communist or comparing them to Stalinists.  (Not yet anyway).  Just the spectre of of being “turned in” makes a person halt before opening mouth, or tapping keys.  That ain’t right.  It’s abridgement of free speech.  It’s not even all that subtle.

Welcome home Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  May no one ever abridge your freedom of speech again, abroad…or at home.


New Link!

I have added PJTV to my “Worthy Websites” in my sidebar.  You can be a paid subscriber, but there’s great free stuff to be had, and that’s what I go there for.

Joe Hicks is one of my favorite contributors, but there’s gobs of great stuff in there that might help us all get our political heads on straight and see things how they actually are, not how we “HOPE” they are.  There’s pure entertainment too, as the site is a “conservative entertainment” site.

Thanks to the Crack Emcee at The Macho Response for turning me on to the site, and to Panda Bear MD for turning me on to The Macho Response.  (The Macho Response can get a little raw at times-so people who might be offended by language and such, and TMI kids, and Luke should maybe stay out-but he’s a great read.  Panda doesn’t get a link cuz he never posts on his blog!)


Huh? Say WHAT???

HJ 5 IH

111th CONGRESS

1st Session H. J. RES. 5

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 6, 2009

Mr. SERRANO introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

————————- JOINT RESOLUTION————————–

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘Article– ‘The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.’.

 

The above is legislation that has been introduced that would, as you can read for yourselves, remove the presidential term limits we currently have in place.  Of course the states would still have to ratify any ammendments to the consititution.  This is not the first time such legislation has been introduced.  It’s never gone anywhere before, and chances are it won’t go anywhere this time.  But just the introduction of such legislation begs the asking of so many questions.  Like WHY for instance would we in the United States NEED a president for life?  Too many “presidents for life” have wreaked untold havoc on their nations.  We got RID of that potential after WWII when we saw the destruction that this much power gives a person.  Why on EARTH would we even have the discussion about turning that kind of power over to an American president?

This little bit of legislation could get interesting…but I hope it dies in committee somewhere.


What have we learned in 2,064 years?

 
 
“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.”

–  Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 B.C.

Evidently, nothing.

 


28.99%

My friend Donna is a small business owner.  She has poured heart and soul into her retail business for the past two years and has been starting to show regular profits. 

If you’ve been paying attention to things in the news lately, you know that Bank of America is one of the banks that should be out of business, but instead was handed over FORTY FIVE BEEEEEEELION dollars of bailout money. 

That’s 45 billion of your dollars, my dollars, and Donna’s dollars.  Now, Donna has been an excellent customer of Bank of America and has tied all of her business accounts to the financial giant (she did this before it became clear that the lunatics were in charge of the asylum).

And in thanks for all the bailout money it got from Donna, and in thanks for Donna’s excellent support of said institution, the interest rate on her small business credit card was jacked up to….yep, you guessed it….a whopping and usurious TWENTY EIGHT POINT NINE NINE PERCENT.

How many small businesses are out there who also got the “Dear Customer” letter?  Donna’s not sure how she’ll get rid of her business’ credit debt before this onerous interest rate suffocates her business.  That interest rate gobbles up the profits she is making.

I reallllly need a very good explanation as to why this country is not letting bad businesses fail.  Failure isn’t a bad thing!  In some circumstances it’s the BEST thing.  B of A should be dead and buried by now and not sticking its bony zombied hands into every single pocket that they can.

I ask you, who in their right mind would seek out B of A in the future with interest rates like that?  Will this cost it customers?  Certainly it must.  If it costs enough customers, will it do well as a business in the future?  Certainly it cannot.  If it continues then to fail as a business, will we again have to bail the Loan Sharks out?  I guess we will.  So, in order to keep from having to let the Loan Shark stick its skeletal hand into our left pocket, we have to let it stick it into our right one by doing business with it???  We can no longer vote with our feet when it comes to Bank of America (GM, Chrysler, ETCETERA).

This is stupid.  This needs to stop.  Bank of America should not get the “good try award”.  It needs to go away and if it figures out a better way to do business, then it should come back, but not until then!

We should look at it like Thomas Edison did when it took 10,000 attempts at making the lightbulb…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas A. Edison

If Edison were alive today and making the 8,972nd iteration of his light bulb, I’m sure the American government would be forcing us to buy bulbs that lasted 42 seconds even thought they were crap because Edison was “too big to fail”.  We might never gotten our light bulb.

How many bigger and better things are we going to lose out on because we are propping up businesses where being not good enough IS good enough and where there’s no incentive to be the best because you’re going get your money one way or the other?  And how many small businesses who are trying to be good enough, and maybe even trying to be the best, go out of business because these not good enough businesses aren’t allowed to suffer the natural consequences of being bad?


“Live Free or Die”

The following is the latest offering of “Imprimis”.  Imprimis is a publication of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.  It’s a small little magazinelette to which I subscribe.  The monthly offerings are usually very good, this one is a must read.  It’s long, but so very much worth the time it will take to read it. 

Live Free or Die

 

 

MARK STEYN’S column appears in several newspapers, including the Washington Times, Philadelphia’s Evening Bulletin, and the Orange County Register. In addition, he writes for The New Criterion, Maclean’s in Canada, the Jerusalem Post, The Australian, and Hawke’s Bay Today in New Zealand. The author of National Review’s Happy Warrior column, he also blogs on National Review Online. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling America Alone: The End of The World as We Know It. Mr. Steyn teaches a two-week course in journalism at Hillsdale College during each spring semester.

 

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on March 9, 2009.

 

 

 

MY REMARKS are titled tonight after the words of General Stark, New Hampshire’s great hero of the Revolutionary War: “Live free or die!” When I first moved to New Hampshire, where this appears on our license plates, I assumed General Stark had said it before some battle or other—a bit of red meat to rally the boys for the charge; a touch of the old Henry V-at-Agincourt routine. But I soon discovered that the general had made his famous statement decades after the war, in a letter regretting that he would be unable to attend a dinner. And in a curious way I found that even more impressive. In extreme circumstances, many people can rouse themselves to rediscover the primal impulses: The brave men on Flight 93 did. They took off on what they thought was a routine business trip, and, when they realized it wasn’t, they went into General Stark mode and cried “Let’s roll!” But it’s harder to maintain the “Live free or die!” spirit when you’re facing not an immediate crisis but just a slow, remorseless, incremental, unceasing ratchet effect. “Live free or die!” sounds like a battle cry: We’ll win this thing or die trying, die an honorable death. But in fact it’s something far less dramatic: It’s a bald statement of the reality of our lives in the prosperous West. You can live as free men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die.

 

My book America Alone is often assumed to be about radical Islam, firebreathing imams, the excitable young men jumping up and down in the street doing the old “Death to the Great Satan” dance. It’s not. It’s about us. It’s about a possibly terminal manifestation of an old civilizational temptation: Indolence, as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a republic. When I ran into trouble with the so-called “human rights” commissions up in Canada, it seemed bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of the alliance profess to be pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists; the other half are homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Even as the cheap bus ‘n’ truck road-tour version of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, it made no sense. But in fact what they have in common overrides their superficially more obvious incompatibilities: Both the secular Big Government progressives and political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential.

 

In most of the developed world, the state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood—health care, child care, care of the elderly—to the point where it’s effectively severed its citizens from humanity’s primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. Hillary Rodham Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child. It’s supposedly an African proverb—there is no record of anyone in Africa ever using this proverb, but let that pass. P.J. O’Rourke summed up that book superbly: It takes a village to raise a child. The government is the village, and you’re the child. Oh, and by the way, even if it did take a village to raise a child, I wouldn’t want it to be an African village. If you fly over West Africa at night, the lights form one giant coastal megalopolis: Not even Africans regard the African village as a useful societal model. But nor is the European village. Europe’s addiction to big government, unaffordable entitlements, cradle-to-grave welfare, and a dependence on mass immigration needed to sustain it has become an existential threat to some of the oldest nation-states in the world.

 

And now the last holdout, the United States, is embarking on the same grim path: After the President unveiled his budget, I heard Americans complain, oh, it’s another Jimmy Carter, or LBJ’s Great Society, or the new New Deal. You should be so lucky. Those nickel-and-dime comparisons barely begin to encompass the wholesale Europeanization that’s underway. The 44th president’s multi-trillion-dollar budget, the first of many, adds more to the national debt than all the previous 43 presidents combined, from George Washington to George Dubya. The President wants Europeanized health care, Europeanized daycare, Europeanized education, and, as the Europeans have discovered, even with Europeanized tax rates you can’t make that math add up. In Sweden, state spending accounts for 54% of GDP. In America, it was 34%—ten years ago. Today, it’s about 40%. In four years’ time, that number will be trending very Swede-like.

 

But forget the money, the deficit, the debt, the big numbers with the 12 zeroes on the end of them. So-called fiscal conservatives often miss the point. The problem isn’t the cost. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover them each month. They’re wrong because they deform the relationship between the citizen and the state. Even if there were no financial consequences, the moral and even spiritual consequences would still be fatal. That’s the stage where Europe is.

 

America is just beginning this process. I looked at the rankings in Freedom in the 50 States published by George Mason University last month. New Hampshire came in Number One, the Freest State in the Nation, which all but certainly makes it the freest jurisdiction in the Western world. Which kind of depressed me. Because the Granite State feels less free to me than it did when I moved there, and you always hope there’s somewhere else out there just in case things go belly up and you have to hit the road. And way down at the bottom in the last five places were Maryland, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the least free state in the Union by some distance, New York.

 

New York! How does the song go? “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere!” If you can make it there, you’re some kind of genius. “This is the worst fiscal downturn since the Great Depression,” announced Governor Paterson a few weeks ago. So what’s he doing? He’s bringing in the biggest tax hike in New York history. If you can make it there, he can take it there—via state tax, sales tax, municipal tax, a doubled beer tax, a tax on clothing, a tax on cab rides, an “iTunes tax,” a tax on haircuts, 137 new tax hikes in all. Call 1-800-I-HEART-NEW-YORK today and order your new package of state tax forms, for just $199.99, plus the 12% tax on tax forms and the 4% tax form application fee partially refundable upon payment of the 7.5% tax filing tax. If you can make it there, you’ll certainly have no difficulty making it in Tajikistan.

 

New York, California… These are the great iconic American states, the ones we foreigners have heard of. To a penniless immigrant called Arnold Schwarzenegger, California was a land of plenty. Now Arnold is an immigrant of plenty in a penniless land: That’s not an improvement. One of his predecessors as governor of California, Ronald Reagan, famously said, “We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.” In California, it’s now the other way around: California is increasingly a government that has a state. And it is still in the early stages of the process. California has thirtysomething million people. The Province of Quebec has seven million people. Yet California and Quebec have roughly the same number of government workers. “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” said Adam Smith, and America still has a long way to go. But it’s better to jump off the train as you’re leaving the station and it’s still picking up speed than when it’s roaring down the track and you realize you’ve got a one-way ticket on the Oblivion Express.

 

“Indolence,” in Machiavelli’s word: There are stages to the enervation of free peoples. America, which held out against the trend, is now at Stage One: The benign paternalist state promises to make all those worries about mortgages, debt, and health care disappear. Every night of the week, you can switch on the TV and see one of these ersatz “town meetings” in which freeborn citizens of the republic (I use the term loosely) petition the Sovereign to make all the bad stuff go away. “I have an urgent need,” a lady in Fort Myers beseeched the President. “We need a home, our own kitchen, our own bathroom.” He took her name and ordered his staff to meet with her. Hopefully, he didn’t insult her by dispatching some no-name deputy assistant associate secretary of whatever instead of flying in one of the bigtime tax-avoiding cabinet honchos to nationalize a Florida bank and convert one of its branches into a desirable family residence, with a swing set hanging where the drive-thru ATM used to be.

 

As all of you know, Hillsdale College takes no federal or state monies. That used to make it an anomaly in American education. It’s in danger of becoming an anomaly in America, period. Maybe it’s time for Hillsdale College to launch the Hillsdale Insurance Agency, the Hillsdale Motor Company and the First National Bank of Hillsdale. The executive supremo at Bank of America is now saying, oh, if only he’d known what he knows now, he wouldn’t have taken the government money. Apparently it comes with strings attached. Who knew? Sure, Hillsdale College did, but nobody else.

 

If you’re a business, when government gives you 2% of your income, it has a veto on 100% of what you do. If you’re an individual, the impact is even starker. Once you have government health care, it can be used to justify almost any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state has to cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you needing treatment in the first place. That’s the argument behind, for example, mandatory motorcycle helmets, or the creepy teams of government nutritionists currently going door to door in Britain and conducting a “health audit” of the contents of your refrigerator. They’re not yet confiscating your Twinkies; they just want to take a census of how many you have. So you do all this for the “free” health care—and in the end you may not get the “free” health care anyway. Under Britain’s National Health Service, for example, smokers in Manchester have been denied treatment for heart disease, and the obese in Suffolk are refused hip and knee replacements. Patricia Hewitt, the British Health Secretary, says that it’s appropriate to decline treatment on the basis of “lifestyle choices.” Smokers and the obese may look at their gay neighbor having unprotected sex with multiple partners, and wonder why his “lifestyle choices” get a pass while theirs don’t. But that’s the point: Tyranny is always whimsical.

 

And if they can’t get you on grounds of your personal health, they’ll do it on grounds of planetary health. Not so long ago in Britain it was proposed that each citizen should have a government-approved travel allowance. If you take one flight a year, you’ll pay just the standard amount of tax on the journey. But, if you travel more frequently, if you take a second or third flight, you’ll be subject to additional levies—in the interest of saving the planet for Al Gore’s polar bear documentaries and that carbon-offset palace he lives in in Tennessee.

 

Isn’t this the very definition of totalitarianism-lite? The Soviets restricted the movement of people through the bureaucratic apparatus of “exit visas.” The British are proposing to do it through the bureaucratic apparatus of exit taxes—indeed, the bluntest form of regressive taxation. As with the Communists, the nomenklatura—the Prince of Wales, Al Gore, Madonna—will still be able to jet about hither and yon. What’s a 20% surcharge to them? Especially as those for whom vast amounts of air travel are deemed essential—government officials, heads of NGOs, environmental activists—will no doubt be exempted from having to pay the extra amount. But the ghastly masses will have to stay home.

 

“Freedom of movement” used to be regarded as a bedrock freedom. The movement is still free, but there’s now a government processing fee of $389.95. And the interesting thing about this proposal was that it came not from the Labour Party but the Conservative Party.

 

That’s Stage Two of societal enervation—when the state as guarantor of all your basic needs becomes increasingly comfortable with regulating your behavior. Free peoples who were once willing to give their lives for liberty can be persuaded very quickly to relinquish their liberties for a quiet life. When President Bush talked about promoting democracy in the Middle East, there was a phrase he liked to use: “Freedom is the desire of every human heart.” Really? It’s unclear whether that’s really the case in Gaza and the Pakistani tribal lands. But it’s absolutely certain that it’s not the case in Berlin and Paris, Stockholm and London, New Orleans and Buffalo. The story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government “security,” large numbers of people vote to dump freedom every time—the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, and a ton of other stuff. It’s ridiculous for grown men and women to say: I want to be able to choose from hundreds of cereals at the supermarket, thousands of movies from Netflix, millions of songs to play on my iPod—but I want the government to choose for me when it comes to my health care. A nation that demands the government take care of all the grown-up stuff is a nation turning into the world’s wrinkliest adolescent, free only to choose its record collection.

 

And don’t be too sure you’ll get to choose your record collection in the end. That’s Stage Three: When the populace has agreed to become wards of the state, it’s a mere difference of degree to start regulating their thoughts. When my anglophone friends in the Province of Quebec used to complain about the lack of English signs in Quebec hospitals, my response was that, if you allow the government to be the sole provider of health care, why be surprised that they’re allowed to decide the language they’ll give it in? But, as I’ve learned during my year in the hellhole of Canadian “human rights” law, that’s true in a broader sense. In the interests of “cultural protection,” the Canadian state keeps foreign newspaper owners, foreign TV operators, and foreign bookstore owners out of Canada. Why shouldn’t it, in return, assume the right to police the ideas disseminated through those newspapers, bookstores and TV networks it graciously agrees to permit?

 

When Maclean’s magazine and I were hauled up in 2007 for the crime of “flagrant Islamophobia,” it quickly became very clear that, for members of a profession that brags about its “courage” incessantly (far more than, say, firemen do), an awful lot of journalists are quite content to be the eunuchs in the politically correct harem. A distressing number of Western journalists see no conflict between attending lunches for World Press Freedom Day every month and agreeing to be micro-regulated by the state. The big problem for those of us arguing for classical liberalism is that in modern Canada there’s hardly anything left that isn’t on the state dripfeed to one degree or another: Too many of the institutions healthy societies traditionally look to as outposts of independent thought—churches, private schools, literature, the arts, the media—either have an ambiguous relationship with government or are downright dependent on it. Up north, “intellectual freedom” means the relevant film-funding agency—Cinedole Canada or whatever it’s called—gives you a check to enable you to continue making so-called “bold, brave, transgressive” films that discombobulate state power not a whit.

 

And then comes Stage Four, in which dissenting ideas and even words are labeled as “hatred.” In effect, the language itself becomes a means of control. Despite the smiley-face banalities, the tyranny becomes more naked: In Britain, a land with rampant property crime, undercover constables nevertheless find time to dine at curry restaurants on Friday nights to monitor adjoining tables lest someone in private conversation should make a racist remark. An author interviewed on BBC Radio expressed, very mildly and politely, some concerns about gay adoption and was investigated by Scotland Yard’s Community Safety Unit for Homophobic, Racist and Domestic Incidents. A Daily Telegraph columnist is arrested and detained in a jail cell over a joke in a speech. A Dutch legislator is invited to speak at the Palace of Westminster by a member of the House of Lords, but is banned by the government, arrested on arrival at Heathrow and deported.

 

America, Britain, and even Canada are not peripheral nations: They’re the three anglophone members of the G7. They’re three of a handful of countries that were on the right side of all the great conflicts of the last century. But individual liberty flickers dimmer in each of them. The massive expansion of government under the laughable euphemism of “stimulus” (Stage One) comes with a quid pro quo down the line (Stage Two): Once you accept you’re a child in the government nursery, why shouldn’t Nanny tell you what to do? And then—Stage Three—what to think? And—Stage Four—what you’re forbidden to think . . . .

 

Which brings us to the final stage: As I said at the beginning, Big Government isn’t about the money. It’s more profound than that. A couple of years back Paul Krugman wrote a column in The New York Times asserting that, while parochial American conservatives drone on about “family values,” the Europeans live it, enacting policies that are more “family friendly.” On the Continent, claims the professor, “government regulations actually allow people to make a desirable tradeoff-to modestly lower income in return for more time with friends and family.”

 

As befits a distinguished economist, Professor Krugman failed to notice that for a continent of “family friendly” policies, Europe is remarkably short of families. While America’s fertility rate is more or less at replacement level—2.1—seventeen European nations are at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility—1.3 or less—a rate from which no society in human history has ever recovered. Germans, Spaniards, Italians and Greeks have upside-down family trees: four grandparents have two children and one grandchild. How can an economist analyze “family friendly” policies without noticing that the upshot of these policies is that nobody has any families?

 

As for all that extra time, what happened? Europeans work fewer hours than Americans, they don’t have to pay for their own health care, they’re post-Christian so they don’t go to church, they don’t marry and they don’t have kids to take to school and basketball and the 4-H stand at the county fair. So what do they do with all the time?

 

Forget for the moment Europe’s lack of world-beating companies: They regard capitalism as an Anglo-American fetish, and they mostly despise it. But what about the things Europeans supposedly value? With so much free time, where is the great European art? Where are Europe’s men of science? At American universities. Meanwhile, Continental governments pour fortunes into prestigious white elephants of Euro-identity, like the Airbus A380, capable of carrying 500, 800, a thousand passengers at a time, if only somebody somewhere would order the darn thing, which they might consider doing once all the airports have built new runways to handle it.

 

“Give people plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual torpor,” wrote Charles Murray in In Our Hands. “When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant. Such is the nature of the Europe syndrome.”

 

The key word here is “give.” When the state “gives” you plenty—when it takes care of your health, takes cares of your kids, takes care of your elderly parents, takes care of every primary responsibility of adulthood—it’s not surprising that the citizenry cease to function as adults: Life becomes a kind of extended adolescence—literally so for those Germans who’ve mastered the knack of staying in education till they’re 34 and taking early retirement at 42. Hilaire Belloc, incidentally, foresaw this very clearly in his book The Servile State in 1912. He understood that the long-term cost of a welfare society is the infantilization of the population.

 

Genteel decline can be very agreeable—initially: You still have terrific restaurants, beautiful buildings, a great opera house. And once the pressure’s off it’s nice to linger at the sidewalk table, have a second café au lait and a pain au chocolat, and watch the world go by. At the Munich Security Conference in February, President Sarkozy demanded of his fellow Continentals, “Does Europe want peace, or do we want to be left in peace?” To pose the question is to answer it. Alas, it only works for a generation or two. And it’s hard to come up with a wake-up call for a society as dedicated as latterday Europe to the belief that life is about sleeping in.

 

As Gerald Ford liked to say when trying to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the position European governments find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end will put those countries out of business. Just to get the Social Security debate in perspective, projected public pension liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8% of GDP in the U.S. In Greece, the figure is 25%—i.e., total societal collapse. So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I want my benefits. The crisis isn’t the lack of money, but the lack of citizens—in the meaningful sense of that word.

 

Every Democrat running for election tells you they want to do this or that “for the children.” If America really wanted to do something “for the children,” it could try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the Western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a leviathan of bloated bureaucracy and unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme. That’s the real “war on children” (to use another Democrat catchphrase)—and every time you bulk up the budget you make it less and less likely they’ll win it.

 

Conservatives often talk about “small government,” which, in a sense, is framing the issue in leftist terms: they’re for big government. But small government gives you big freedoms—and big government leaves you with very little freedom. The bailout and the stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher—and you make it very difficult ever to change back. Americans face a choice: They can rediscover the animating principles of the American idea—of limited government, a self-reliant citizenry, and the opportunities to exploit your talents to the fullest—or they can join most of the rest of the Western world in terminal decline. To rekindle the spark of liberty once it dies is very difficult. The inertia, the ennui, the fatalism is more pathetic than the demographic decline and fiscal profligacy of the social democratic state, because it’s subtler and less tangible. But once in a while it swims into very sharp focus. Here is the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from an interview with the Belgian paper De Standaard. Mr. van den Boogaard, a Dutch gay “humanist” (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding that the jig was up for the Europe he loved. “I am not a warrior, but who is?” he shrugged. “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.” In the famous Kubler-Ross five stages of grief, Mr. van den Boogard is past denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and has arrived at a kind of acceptance.

 

“I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.” Sorry, doesn’t work—not for long. Back in New Hampshire, General Stark knew that. Mr. van den Boogard’s words are an epitaph for Europe. Whereas New Hampshire’s motto—”Live free or die!”—is still the greatest rallying cry for this state or any other. About a year ago, there was a picture in the papers of Iranian students demonstrating in Tehran and waving placards. And what they’d written on those placards was: “Live free or die!” They understand the power of those words; so should we.

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