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Monday, October 29, 2012

Economic freedom is the foundation of all freedoms

With the election right around the corner, it's time to get serious about what really matters.   Throughout this entire excruciatingly protracted campaign season, just about every issue has been trotted out as being important.  From reproductive rights to gay rights to illegal immigrant rights to animal rights to religious rights and so on, we've been bombarded with so many *-gates (Bindergate, Rapegate, Seamusgate, etc) that you'd think that these are the most important issues.  Not to offend too many, some of those are important issues that do matter.  My contention really isn't about how important they may or may not be, but more how  voters prioritize these issues over the most important issue around:  economic freedom.

Why is economic freedom so important?  To put it in its most basic terms, whoever feeds you has power, and control, over you.  Another way to put it is if you are dependent on someone else to provide for you, then you at their mercy.  While we all like to believe that those doing the providing are benevolent and uncontrolling, the truth is that any "freedoms" a dependent might enjoy is only because the provider allows it. Here's an example of this...

Let's say a sibling or best friend of yours just lost their job.  Being the good friend you are, you allow them to stay at your place rent free.  Heck you'll even pay for their cell phone bill while they try to get back on their feet.  Yet, before them moving in, you tell your friend/sibling that they have to obey your house rules.  One of the rules is no country music is to be played inside the house where you can hear it.  Even though your friend/sibling happens to love country music and listens to it all the time, they agree to the rule in order to have a place to stay.  In this example, as the provider, you're able to exert power and control over your friend/sibling - not playing country music openly - because they do not have the economic freedom to live anywhere else.  I deliberately chose a rather silly rule to point out that whatever the rule is irrelevant.  The point is the dependent all of a sudden has less freedom than they did before.

As Thomas Jefferson is famous for saying (paraphrased anyway): "A government big enough to give you everything you need is also big enough to take it all away".  In other words, if you rely on government to be your provider, then you're also subject to their rules and regulations.  And while it's nice to believe that our government would never infringe upon our other freedoms, it's also extremely naive.  One small example of this organizations designed as non profit 501(c)(3).  These are mostly religious and charity organizations that are tax exempt, a nice boon for non profits.  Yet one of the stipulations of a 501(c)(3) is they are severely limited, or completely prohibited, to any type of political activity.  Aside from not wanting to cause undue strife in a congregation, this is why you don't see any political signage on churches.     So basically, the government uses the economic value that tax exemption provides in order to exert some control over those organizations.

The more we give up economic freedom and depend more on the government to meet our needs,  the more we also leave our other freedoms at the mercy of governmental interpretation.   Religious freedom erodes (as we've been seeing with the HHS mandate) when we rely on government for too much funding.  Women's health issues?  You may have access to health care, but it has to be done the way the government says it will be done and not what you'd like to do.  And furthermore, our economic freedom as an entire nation puts us at risk on a global scale.  Without economic clout, other nations can exert more influence on us, which in turn affects our policies.  

Like it or not, your level of economic independence is directly related to all other freedoms you enjoy.  This is why bigger government solutions are not the way.  The smaller, limited government, as our Founding Fathers envision, gives Americans the most opportunity to achieve their own economic success and freedom and also reduces the amount of influence that can be exerted upon us by the government.

So while there's this scare about Romney overturning Roe vs Wade (which is a fallacy anyway) or that he'll kill Big Bird, these are making mountains out of mole hills while the real mountain - economic freedom - is being ignored as something that will always be there.  It won't if you continue to support candidates that clearly want power to tell everyone what to do (i.e. big government liberals).   And still not sure that's happening?  The proof is in the pudding.  Look at all the economic regulations and power being consolidated by the government.  They understand where the power is...do you?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Benghazi cover up gets even worse: operators in the area told "stand down"

The death of four Americans, including an Ambassador, at the hands of al-Qaeda should be serious business.  Up until this point, the outrage has been what appears to be an incompetent administration trying to blame their screw up that cost American lives on a Youtube video.  It's become increasingly clear that the Obama administration quite deliberately attempted to misled the American people.  And even after Hillary and the intelligence community went under the bus and newer information came out essentially exonerating the intelligence committee, the Obama administration has sleazily dodged, distracted, and discredited like every slimey liberal does when they get cornered.

While that is completely unacceptable of a presidential administration when we're discussing an incident that resulted in the deaths of Americans at the hands of an enemy, new information has come out that just upped the ante from incompetence to some serious, border line treasonous management.  As The Blaze reports, CIA operatives - including two of the former Navy SEALS that ended up dying - were told to stand down while the attack was occurring even though the CIA annex safehouse was a mile away from the attacks.  Furthermore, three urgent requests for military backup were denied while the attack on the ground was happening.  Remember, this attack was a 6 hour ordeal.

So let this sink in....

The incident was reported immediately by intelligence officers, who were told repeatedly to do nothing while the attack occurred.   All requests for backup were denied.  Remember this was an attack that lasted over 6 hours.   

Let me try this again:  al-Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States and the party responsible for the original 9/11 attacks, attacked the Benghazi consulate and we did absolutely nothing.  


There, does that make my point?

What makes this even worse is that two of the former Navy SEALs that were killed disobeyed direct orders to stand down (with some others that did survive) in order to help the consulate.  And you know what?  Their help probably kept more Americans from being killed as it was their assistance that allowed the staff to evacuate to safety.   In other words, they know something wasn't right and like true American heroes, they did the right thing and paid the ultimate price.

So let's piece this all together...
Normally, I don't subscribe to sinister conspiracy theories.  But let's look at the overall picture here:

  • Months ahead of time, repeated requests for more security in a hostile region of the Middle East were denied
  • The security forces that were in place were deliberately hampered by contracting the security out to a non US firm where it was stipulated that they not have firearms.
  • During the attack, on ground forces were told to stand down.  Repeated requests for backup were denied.
  • After the attack, despite plenty of intel rolling in within hours, the White House leads the public to believe the attacks were spontaneous outrage to a video on Youtube.  
  • To this day, 6 weeks after the attack, the administration still has not given the public any solid answers and instead evades as much as possible.
Like I said, I don't tend to put stock in sinister conspiracy theories.  But when I see what appears to be cries for help being ignored and denied and requests TO help being denied followed up with an attempt to cover up the truth behind the motivations and perpetrators of the attacks, then something is very wrong.  I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions on what that very wrong is.  But whatever you glean, there is one thing that continues to rise to the surface:

This administration has proven it cannot be trusted with the safety of its own Americans.  Whether it be sheer incompetence, or dark implications far worse, this alone should be enough to not vote for Obama.   The president's primary job is to keep Americans safe.   He has shown that not only does he not do that (through sheer incompetence or something terribly and deliberately worse), but he'll go to great lengths to avoid standing up for slain Americans.   

Obama supporters:   How can you stand behind such a man that deliberately misleads and lies to you about the tragic death of Americans at the hands of our enemies?  How can you sit there and believe that this man has your safety as his top interest?  


Enough is enough.  This is no longer a matter of "It's my opinion bro, leave me alone!".  This is now a matter of whether or not you support someone that willingly lets Americans die and tries to lie to us about it.  You don't have to support Romney, but this alone should be enough to withdraw your vote for Obama.

It's time we get this president out of the White House.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The brilliance of Donald Trump's "Big News"

In a fair world with fair media coverage and fair political and campaigning tactics, there wouldn't be a need for someone like Donald Trump and his publicity stunts.  But unfortunately, that's not the world we live in.  Now as a disclaimer:  I'm not a birther.  I believe that if Obama really wasn't born in the US, there's no way anything credible would have escaped the Clintons in 2008.  I'm not exactly a huge fan of Trump's "Big New York" style.  But, to write off the man as a nut job is about as big of a mistake as it is to write off Joe Biden as a worthless idiotic gaffe machine.  In both men's cases, they didn't get to where they are now simply by spouting conspiracies or manufacturing news cycle consuming gaffes.

To recap quickly:  Donald Trump is offering to donate 5 million dollars to a charity of Obama's choice if Obama releases his college and passport records to the public by October 31st.

Naturally, and predictably, the initial response has been general disgust at what's obviously another publicity stunt.  The overall "ugh" on twitter, from both sides, isn't a big surprise.  We all know it's a publicity stunt....but that's exactly what it was intended to be.  Remember, Mr. Trump rarely does anything by accident.  Sure, write off his birther stuff, but again to assume that this man doesn't know his own reputation in the public eye, and how to exploit it, would be folly.

Here's the brilliance:  It gets traction.  Using his own reputation, he's created a huge media buzz over it.  People, whether they like him or not, will talk about it - even if just disparagingly.  It'll get the word out.  So in one nearly 3 minute video, Trump has done the following:

  • Directly calls out Obama's hypocrisy about being the "most transparent president ever" by showing the whole country a man who touts transparency, but makes an exception for himself when it comes to his own past - which is fair game for any politician.  
  • Underscores the hypocrisy of Obama's redistributionist rhetoric and his support of Occupy's 99% vs 1% meme.  Here Obama has a chance to redistribute 5 million dollars of Donald Trump's wealth, who's easily part of the 1%.  Surely 5 million dollars to help the struggling middle class that Obama is supposedly fighting for would be worth releasing some meaningless college and passport records, right?
  • It cuts directly through the media filter.  There's no media to stop him from getting his message out.  He's not on an interview where he can be interrupted and distracted.  The video, up on Youtube for all to see, cannot be selectively edited without it being obvious by everyone.  It's brazenly out there for everyone to see.  
  • It's short and to the point, making it easy to consume for the general public.  There's no huge brain trust issues here, it's quite simple.
  • This will compete with whatever Gloria Allred has cooking up with the Boston Globe.  This is so obvious that Allred's "October Surprise" originally scheduled for this morning was pushed back to tomorrow (as to not let Trump steal her thunder).  Even then, Trump's ultimatum will still compete with whatever Allred is able to dig up, which is good.
  • Lastly it takes a page out of the Chicago political machine's own playbook and uses it against them.  Make a big outlandish claim to tie up news cycles - particularly anticipated news cycles that are designed to smear Romney.  

In a fair and balanced media world, stuff like this wouldn't be necessary.  But when you have a media all too happy to make big deals about Romney cutting some classmate's hair 50 years ago, selectively editing his talking about a convenience store chain to make him look out of touch, then push Big Bird, Bindes, and Bayonets while ignoring real issues like Fast and Furious, Libya, the economy, Obama's initial forays into coercing religious (read: Christians and Catholics) institutions into doing things against their religion, then there's an unfortunate need for someone to be so ridiculously grandiose in order to get the attention of the American people.

People will ask - people who may not follow the political scene so closely - why Obama's records are importnat.  They will ask what's the harm in releasing them.  They will wonder why Donald Trump made this a big deal - a 5 million dollar big deal.  It'll get people wondering.  And that's exactly what it's meant to do.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Taxes: What you need to know

Ahhh, taxes.  Generally speaking, the word itself is like kryptonite to a politician's career.  Rarely is the issue of taxes going to give positive ratings - even when the politician wants to cut them.  This election cycle, taxes are a huge issue.  While the economy is struggling, the last thing people want is to have more of their shrinking monetary value disappearing into government coffers.

This is why Obama's fear tactic of "Romney's going to raise taxes on you by $2,000 and raises taxes on the rich!" schpiel is so effective, despite it being egregiously deceitful (which we will cover in a moment).  One of the main purposes of this article is to explain taxes in a way that will show you why Obama's plan does not work, and has a history of not working, and why Romney's plan (yes, he has one contrary to leftist talking points) will work and has a history of working.  

The first thing you should know about taxes is that tax rates are inextricably linked to economic growth.  Tax rates can, and have been proven to, affect production.   This is what is called the Laffer Curve.  The basic ideas of the laffer curve is that there's an optimal point where the tax rate will yield the highest tax revenue (the money the government collects from taxes) and if you go above this rate, tax revenue will actually decrease because the incentive to produce shrinks while the incentive to save increases.  This happens so much that if you were to have a 100% tax rate, the revenue would be pretty close to 0 since why work and be productivity if the government is going to take it all away anyway?  Note that the Laffer Curve doesn't always advocate for lower taxes, but can should the current tax rate be higher than the calculated optimal rate (which can vary based on economic conditions).   The core take away here is that tax reductions can lead to more jobs and more tax revenue.  

The next thing you should note is that when tax policy is considered by Congress, the effects of the tax change on the economy are not taken into account.  They just believe that lower tax rates = lower federal revenue and higher tax rates = higher federal revenue.  This is important to understand because it puts into perspective how Democrats and Republicans tend to tackle fiscal matters.  Democrats, in their ever expanding government programs, simply see raising the tax rate to get more money to fund more projects.  And while Republicans try to work with what they have by not increasing rates and reducing spending, they're also not necessarily above raising rates to meet their own budgets, assuming raising the rates would equate to a proportional increase in revenue.  Neither side really considers the economic impact, or possibility, when considering tax rates.  Though when it comes to those taking the laffer curve into account, there seems to be more Republicans behind it than Democrats.

Let's put it into a simple formula:  F = T x I.  Federal Revenue = Tax Rate x Income.  Many do not consider, or believe, that the value of T will affect the value of I.  But, according to the Laffer Curve it does.  Know who else believed in the Laffer Curve?  Ronald Reagan.  "Reaganomics" as it's dubbed reverently by the right and derisively by the left,  led to a 25 year (1982 - 2007) explosion of economic growth the world has never seen.  It had its ups and downs, like a couple mild recessions, but overall it was his tax policies that nearly doubled federal revenue simply by slashing tax rates.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. If we were to apply the Laffer Curve to both Obama's and Romney's plans, you'd see the opposite effect of what the left is claiming what will happen.

First, when it comes to taxation and Obama's claims to not raising taxes on the middle class, let's not forget that Obamacare has plenty of hidden taxes that, while not hitting american families directly are going to hit businesses (with many already feeling the pain), which in turn affects employment and wages.   Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich will only exacerbate the problem since the rich will do what they always do when they feel the pinch:  save, not spend.  And in this case, spending would mean growing more business and  hiring people to meet those business requirements.  But that's not going to happen.  So the affect of Obamacare's increased burdens and the higher taxation on the rich?  A sluggish economy that doesn't go anywhere (kind of like it is now).  Not only does it not stimulate economic growth, it stifles it and might give slightly more money for the government to spend on whatever.  There are other economies that have practiced practice this type of high taxation.  The Soviet Union was one and you can see how well their economy turned out for them.  China is another, though they've grudgingly been embracing more free market ideas which have, not surprisingly, led to their economic boom.

Now, however, let's look at Romney's plan (yes he has one).   He's proposing a 20% tax cut across the board for everyone and a more competitive corporate tax rate.  This is where liberals amusingly claim he's going to increase taxes on the middle class.  It goes like this:  Because he wants to lower the tax rates, that means there's going to be less federal revenue to meet the budget and that the only plausible way to do so is to increase taxes on the middle class.  Aside from the fact that raising taxes on the middle class because he needs money after he just cut taxes them making absolutely no sense, the critique is missing the laffer curve component where the lower tax rate will spur enough economic growth to cover the perceived revenue gap. If we go back to our formula, you can say that Romney's plan lowers T so that it will in turn increase I enough to make F break even, if not increase.   And in the process of doing so, more jobs are created.  Once again, this has precedence with the Reagan tax cut that led to the biggest explosion of economic growth in human history.  Now I'm not saying Romney's going to usher forth another Golden Age, as his cuts aren't as ambitious as Reagan's were.  However, the same positive will definitely come from an economy that has been struggling to breath these last four years.

Once again, I want to reiterate that this is not a justification for full blown all out tax reduction everywhere because at a certain point on the Laffer Curve lower taxes will result in lower revenue.  I tend to believe we're on the high side such that some tax reductions will lead to growth and more federal revenue.  That's what Romney's plan is doing:

Lower taxes to increase economic growth and therefore federal revenue without having to raise taxes.  

It's been done in the past and it will be done again.  So next time you see about Romney raising taxes on the middle class, just remember the Laffer Curve and that the talking is an egregious deception.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2nd Presidential debate reveals media's desperation to save Obama

Last night's debate wasn't exactly how I had imagined, or hoped, it would go.  I hadn't imagined it'd turn into the slugfest that it did.  In a Town Hall meeting you don't quite expect the type of verbal brawling we saw from both candidates last night.   In addition to that, most of the answers turned into attacks on the other candidate.  Though Romney seemed to do this less than Obama did, he still did it (more on this later).   I had hoped Romney would deliver the knockout blow this debate that would send the Obama campaign into an unrecoverable tailspin.  Instead, unfortunately, Romney was a bit wobbly at times and missed some opportunities to make some points in the few opportunities Crowley allowed him to make them.  

Wait, did I just blame the ref?  I certainly did.  As I predicted in my previous post, Candy Crowley interrupted Romney 28 times and only interrupted Obama 9 times.  Some might say that's because Romney lies more, which itself is an utter fallacy.  While I'm not going to say Romney is completely 100% virtuous in presenting details accurately, to suggest that he's 3x times worse than Obama is ridiculous. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the Obama campaign, and Obama himself, has put out more egregious lies than Romney and his campaign.  The point is if you believe the tripled amount of interruption was some type of "truth crusade" instead of the blatant partisan favoring that it was, then you're smoking crack.  In addition to the interruptions, she allowed Obama 3 more minutes of speaking time.  In a debate such as this, 3 minutes is huge.

In addition to the interruptions, the questions that were asked had about a 2 to 1 anti-Romney to anti-Obama slant.  So what, these are the voices of the undecideds, right?  Think again.  Guess who chose which questions would be asked and in which order they'd be asked?  You guessed it: Candy Crowley.  In other words, she was able to stack the deck against Romney all the while making it appear as if this is what the undecided electorate really looks like.

And lastly, she even jumped into the debate herself a bit...such as fact checking Romney correctly calling out the president's assertion that they immediately labeled the Benghazi attack a terrorist act.  She even admitted that Romney was right after the fact.  She's even made the same point Romney has made prior to this debate.  Romney had Obama on the ropes exposing his dishonesty in front of the entire nation, but Crowley stepped in and dishonestly saved Obama.   In doing so, it allowed a Michelle Obama incited audience cheer that kept Romney from pursuing further.

This is the media's desperation.  They had one of their own hijack a town hall style debate in order to save their president from receiving another thumping so he has a chance to win.  They're jumping on all and any grenades that could expose the president in a way that will cost him election.  Yet, anyone paying attention to this debate could see what was going on.  It was so obvious, that those not normally tuned into the political scene will recognize the bias and see through the BS.  Of course, Obama's adoring base will refuse to admit it, but we all know they're pretty much a lost cause when it comes to swaying their vote.

So, while a CBS poll says Obama won the debate overall 46-39, you  have to scratch your head as to how that is considering that in the same CBS poll breakdown Romney won on almost all the major election issues:

  • Economy: 58-40
  • Health care: 49-46
  • Taxes: 51-44
  • Deficit: 49-36
  • Strong Leader: 49-46
Possible reason? Most people will only look at the top poll number, just like they only look at the top line U3 unemployment figure, but does not bother to look at the U6 figure (which takes underemployment and a bunch of other factors into account).  It's common in a business reporting world that the better the top line numbers look, the less chance that someone will dig into the details.  This is what seems to be happening here.

The constant threat of exposure and damage to Obama has forced many on the leftist media to trade in their credibility to take one for the team.  Only problem is that this could ultimately backfire in their face.

Which is where I come to the conclusion that Romney was the real winner tonight.  No, he did not land that much desired knock out blow, thanks in large part to Crowley and a few missed opportunities, but he held his own quite well.  He didn't back down when Obama came out swinging, showing the strength in not allowing himself to be bullied by strong arm tactics - something that many Republicans wish Paul Ryan would have done with Joe Biden.  He kept his cool while still managing to respond with appropriate veracity. So while he didn't deliver a knock out punch, he didn't step on any mines and allow Obama to gain any ground - which is exactly what he needed to do.   

As mentioned above, he also won on the major issues.  That, combined with his ability to handle himself in a 2 on 1 situation despite the president coming out swinging, Obama's inability to gain traction, and the exposure of the media's desperation via Candy Crowley makes him the winner.  All Obama and the media did was keep Romney from increasing his momentum.  And as we'll most likely see over the next few days, the polls will reflect this.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What you need to know about Tuesday's Town Hall Debate

The second presidential debate this election cycle is building a lot of press and interest.  After the trouncing Obama received at the hands of Romney in the first debate, Democrats are looking to see if Obama can rebound after apparently being caught flat footed.  Republicans are looking to see if Romney can deliver another victory that would almost assuredly be a knockout blow.  However, what many people might not know is how this debate is unique, how precarious it is for both candidates, and how its moderator, Candy Crowley, could undermine its value.

First off, what is a Town Hall style debate?  It functions just like a "Town Hall" meeting in which every day people will be able to directly ask questions of the person on stage. But in this debate setting, there will be two presidential candidates answering the questions.  Just like how the conventional debates give us a chance  to see a candidate candidly without all the usual spin, this gives the candidates a chance to see which questions matter to us (under the assumption that the questions asked are generally representative of our nation's citizenry as a whole).   And more importantly, it allows the country to see how a candidate interacts with 'every day people'.  

I find myself believing that Romney is going to be at a disadvantage here.  While I really believe all the stories I see about how people meeting Romney find him to be warm, genuine, and caring, those anecdotes aren't in the context of someone asking tough, pointed, big questions.   I've seen this all too often among successful businessmen.  Because of their success, they're pretty sure they have the right answer.  And when they encounter what they believe to be 'wrong thinking', they might take on a lecturing tone or disparage the person's assertion.  The problem is while a businessman tends to have the luxury to tell people underneath him 'tough answers', this won't really work here.  And while I do not doubt Romney's personal sincerity, he needs to be mindful to treat these people as the potential customers they are instead of potential employees.  The latter I think is what has turned people off in the past.  Even though his answers can be spot on and correct in delivering the truth, it's that "I'm right and I don't care if your feelings get hurt because of it" that makes people think he doesn't care.   Which he still does, but it's like when a parent makes the right decision that the child doesn't agree with, the child will still cry and probably not like their parents for a few minutes.  If Romney is going to pull this out, he will definitely need to empathize.  

As a slight, aside prediction:  Romney will end up doing well empathizing.   And it will surprise a lot of people since the media and the Obama campaign has done well to portray him as aloof and out of touch.

As for Obama, he'll have the innate advantage just because he's done so much to make himself look like a down to earth every day guy like you and me.  I mean, that's all he's been doing the last few months.  Interviews on the View and on Letterman.  Slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon.  Mucking it up with celebrities.  He's worked hard to be the coolest president in history.  So a town hall meeting where he can connect with people up close should be play right into his hands.  Right?  Well, not so fast.  If there's one thing that will do in Obama, it's his own arrogance.  See, just like how Romney is warm and genuine at his campaign events, Obama's coolness relies heavily on him being accepted up front and not being challenged.  And if you need an idea of how he changes when he is challenged, just look at his behavior at the first debate.  Like most "cool guys", he's great and all until you start getting on his case about not meeting his responsibilities and duties.  He's also come out and said he's not going to be so "polite" (toward Romney) this time around.  If Obama starts to get nasty with Romney, due to some tough questions exposing his failures, the public will pick up on that.  And if Romney keeps his cool while that's going on, it'll be just as disastrous for Obama as the first debate was.

There is one other thing you need to know about this debate is how influential a role Candy Crowley is going to have in it.  Unlike the original town hall debate in 1992 where the audience had pretty much carte blanche to ask whatever they wanted, this year's debate requires questions to be submitted to Ms. Crowley so she can pick and choose not only which questions get asked, but in what order they get asked, and also to formulate her own follow up questions.  This means that she will control the question narrative.  The implications are quite obvious.  She can easily choose the questions that are most beneficial to Obama while at the same time forming rebuffing questions meant to keep Romney on the defensive.

Prediction:  Expect to see Crowley ask far more follow ups of Romney and even interrupt him more (especially when he's about to get into the meat of his response).

In addition to this, and surprisingly, both campaigns are worried that she's going to essentially take over the question asking by asking more of her own questions as opposed to letting the audience ask their own.  Republicans are worried for the same reason they're always worred in debates: liberal favoritism.  The Obama campaign is worried that Crowley, also known for being "tough" and resistant to being badgered, might ask some stinging fact checking questions on Obama.  Naturally, the latter sounds delightful to me, this ultimately takes away from this being a debate where the candidates connect with every day citizens asking questions.

As I was saying when some liberals ridiculously claimed Raddatz the winner of the VP debate (I mean seriously, the moderator is the winner? Please), the moderator should be there to keep things civil and on track.  Nothing more, nothing less.  That's why they're called moderators and not interviewers.  Their presence, if doing a good job, should be transparent.   And while I know that won't be the case, it's still worth noting.

As to how it will turn out, it's very difficult to say. Both candidates have their potential pitfalls.  Romney with his businessman lecturing and Obama with his,well, academic lecturing.   People hate being lectured to.   Whoever does the better at empathizing will win.  While initially at a disadvantage, I think that will play out as a surprising strength for Romney when he does make that vital connection with every day voters.  And it will stand out even more so when he does it despite a president who'll fall back on pandering rhetoric and a moderator that will do her best to thwart him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

VP Debate: Biden's abortion stance highlights liberal Christian hypocrisy

Before I get to the above, I'll touch on the VP debate quickly.  While Paul Ryan wasn't as good as Romney was in his debate, this does not mean Biden was any better, let alone the winner.  His arrogance and blatant disrespect for Ryan put on national display the arrogant, snooty, smug, sleazy leftist caricature that rarely gets this level of public exposure.  Conservatives deal with it all the time, but now, thanks to Biden, it's broken into the mainstream for everyone to see.  This behavior, while definitely not giving the loss in the debate, will act as a slow erosion to Obama's campaign as down to earth moderate Democrats become turned off to supporting a ticket that touts a blame and make excuses, emperor has no clothes president and an arrogant, sneering wannabe aging liberal hipster.  And as a swing countermeasure, this can also piss off conservatives enough to help mobilize them through the next weeks.  I don't know about you, but laughing about the serious issues this country faces just reignites that visceral, righteous indignation that's been burning inside me for the past 9 months. 

But the part that really ignited my ire was his repsonse to the abortion question.  Both men claim to be Catholic and claim their religion has shaped their own values.  Yet, guess who didn't put his money where his mouth is when it came time to stand up for his own beliefs?  Yep, Biden.  Here's his divergent response:

“I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here,” Biden told Raddatz and the audience. “I do not believe we have a right to tell women that they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.”

Except that, I don't know, this decision kills babies.   It is infanticide.  So, by giving a woman a right to choose to abort a child, he's simultaneously taking the right to LIFE away from that baby.  I don't know about you, but letting a human being live trumps the exercising of rights in this case.  So what Biden is basically saying is an unborn baby's life is worth less than a woman's right to choose to kill it.  

Liberals howl and scream and squirm at the thought of being pinned down on abortion.  They'll try their best to spin it as Christian oppression.  But no matter how it's spun the bottom line is this:  Abortion is the murder of innocent babies.  Any excuses given, from my perspective, just looks like someone trying to justify such a deplorable act.  It is immoral and wrong and anyone that is ok with it has, quite frankly, a broken and corrupt moral compass.  

My favorite defense is how liberals will reach for the extreme situations (like rape), but let's face reality:  Abortion is vastly and widely used as a form of birth control much more than it is ever used in those rare extreme circumstances.  In other words, the vast majority of abortions happen due to women not wanting to deal with the consequences of poor choices made in the bedroom.  

I know that last statement will anger plenty of women.  Thing is, for the longest time I've not been outspoken about this because as a man I'll never know what it's like.  Yet, that was just an excuse for not standing up for my beliefs.  If it angers plenty of women, so be it.  It's the truth.  Abortion kills babies and is wrong, immoral, and evil.  

And now back to Biden and his hypocrisy.  What's worse than someone supporting the murder of innocent babies?  A Christian supporting the murder of innocent babies.  A Christian should know better.  And quite frankly, it puts into question for me whether they truly are Christian.  Do they not see how vile this is?  Do they not see how they've been tricked?  

Think about this:  Can you think of anything more vile than the murder of innocent babies?  Personally, I cannot.  Yet, thanks to morally corrupt leftist thinking, many Christians have been convinced that this is ok.  Let me repeat:  Christians have been tricked into believing murdering innocent babies is ok.  You want to talk about a victory for the enemies of Christianity? I guarantee you this tops the charts.  

Any Christian, liberal or otherwise, that supports abortion is a hypocrite, just like Joe Biden.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Five reasons why who's president matters

Over this weekend, I had a brief, but heated argument with a Ron Paul supporter who expressed his intent to vote for Gary Johnson, the libertarian party candidate.  As I've written previously, I feel that any Paul supporters that sit on their hands or vote for Gary Johnson is not only a wasted vote, but it's essentially a vote for Obama.  Yeah, there might be some siphoning of Democratic votes, but the fact that libertarian policies align for more closely with Republican ideology means that overall, the Republican candidate will lose the most votes.  

Hearing his support for Johnson, I asked him: "Do you not recognize the threat that four more years of Barack Obama represents?"  His first response was the same old, tired, uninformed "if you look at both of them, they're pretty much the same"  which is so hilariously far from the truth that I incredulously retort that their ideologies, and their moral compass, are miles apart.  In counter, his response was even more incredulous: "Who's president won't matter because a growing libertarian congress will keep him in check" which was followed up with a "it's not the president's job to set policy".   It was at that point that I inadvertently, and definitely not smartly, mocked him by telling him he needs come back to reality.  At that point, the argument was over and I've had a couple days to mull this over.

I hadn't expected the "who's president won't matter much" argument mainly because it's utterly ridiculous.  But then again, I should have seen it coming given the huge amount of ridiculousness being parroted by the left in the particular.  Libertarians, and Republicans, are definitely not immune to that either.  Either way, I've come up with reasons why who's president does matter...

Reason 1:  President shapes policy

Yes, the initial role of the president wasn't to set policy for the country.  That's the job of Congress.  In fact, the biggest role the president has is commanding our armies and coordinating our national defense.  That was the intent.  But what's  happened over the past century has shown that not only do people look to the president to solve the country's current problems, but the president is probably the biggest single source of influence on policy.  Presidents, when running for election, have to have a plan.   They have goals that help guide the direction they think the country should head.   No, they can't make everything they want happen, but to believe just because it wasn't in their initial job description that they don't or won't do this is ridiculous. Any candidate that ran for president that said "nope, that's not my job" won't ever get elected.  And any president that does get elected is typically held accountable for what they said they'd achieve.  That's the reality of the situation.  Presidents have been shaping national policy for at least the past century, if not longer.   You can argue that's too much power in the executive branch, but that isn't going to change the fact that it happens.

Thus, ignoring the president's heavy influence on policy as a means to justify a "who's president doesn't matter much" is just plain wrong.

Reason 2: The power of Veto

This should be part of shaping policy, but deserves its own reason.  The president has the power to veto any legislation that passes congress.  Thus, even if there's a congress controlled by conservatives and libertarians, a leftist president can essentially punt anything he doesn't like back their way.  But no problem, just override the veto, right?  Ok, that's cool, except to override a veto you need a 2/3 rd majority vote.  Essentially if a bill doesn't have overwhelming support, the veto either kills it or forces enough alterations so that it becomes palatable to the president.  And if the president is your ideological opponent, the changes could end up being radical enough such that the bill that originally passed is no longer recognizable.

This is one of the president's biggest influences:  the looming veto.  If congress knows that a president will just veto the bill, then they're forced to shape the bill to the president's ideological standards or somehow manage to get overwhelming support, which can be nigh impossible for big, nation shaping legislation.

Reason 3: Judicial appointments

This one is probably the longest lasting, though tends to go unnoticed.  Presidents have the power to nominate Supreme Court of the United States justices.  The Supreme Court is yet another buffer to keeping a congress in check.  They're the backstop to letting laws stand as constitutional or not.  And while it's very noble to believe the justices will remain impartial and objective, the reality again is that there's enough wiggle room in interpretation to allow one's ideological leaning to play a part.  And pretty much all of the more high profile controversial cases they tackle are all about interpretation since if it was an objective slam dunk, it'd have never reached the high court in the first place.

Also, it's noble, and naive, to believe a president will choose the most qualified, fair, objective person for the job.  As with Obama, his nomination of Elena Kagan underscores the partisanship that's involved in the nomination process.  For those that don't remember, Kagan was a lawyer with zero judicial experience who at one point, was part of pushing Obamacare (nepotism, much?) whom didn't even bother to recuse herself in the landmark Obamacare case because she knew it'd be a split vote.   The point is that whichever ideology has majority on the bench can have an impact that spans decades, again showing why who's president matters.

Reason 4: Agency appointments 

This one could have been lumped with judicial appoints into one single appointments, but I wanted judicial to have its own section because that effect is enduringly  lasting.  Agency appointments, however, have a tremendous influence and probably go the most unnoticed.  The president can appoint people to be the particular head of various government agencies.   And while congress is supposed to act as a check against appointees by confirming them, history has shown that appointees are very rarely refused.   The appointee has to have done something really wrong to be refused.  Ideology on its own is rarely enough.  So all a president has to do is find someone that's competent and clean enough to get confirmation.

Why this matters is that agencies have a form of control via regulation that can completely bypass congress.  For example, Obama, in his war against coal and oil, has used the EPA to impose business hurting regulations on the supposed "environmentally unfriendly" energy sectors while at the same time making it easier for the green energy companies they're trying to push.  Regulations such as this have a direct impact on the economy and how people do business.  Thus, even if a president's economic plan never makes it out of the House, they still can somewhat legislate via agency regulations.

Reason 5: Foreign Policy

And lastly, let's not forget foreign policy.  How a president represents our country and presents himself on the world stage is highly important.  This is a stage of worldwide national leaders which are on relatively equal footing.  The President of the United States is typically seen as the "leader of the free world" and also seen as the most powerful position in the world.   Does this mean that other nations will kowtow to him just because he's president? Of course not.  In fact, many will take any opportunity they can to dig at the president's world stage prominence.

If you can consider he's the leader of the United States and therefore he's everyone's "boss" (I use the term loosely because I'm sure some people might nitpick it), consider the world stage is where the president has to go out and show to his peers what he, and our country, is made of.  How he acts will influence our relationships with potential allies and enemies alike.   That influence will create ripples across the globe which eventually reverberate back to us.

A weak or appeasing president will just get exploited by both foes and allies (who want more influence of their own).  And if you think that doesn't affect us back at home, just consider that if a country believes they can walk all over the President of the United States will probably push for trade agreements that might heavily favor them and put the US at a disadvantage.  This isn't to mention our foes will feel emboldened to do whatever they like because they know the president is too weak to take bold action.

Our nations's standing in the world has an impact on every citizen.  It's not immediately apparent, but it's there.   And the president is THE person responsible for projecting our standing in the world.

Wrap up

Like it or not, the president is the most influential person in the country, and probably the world.   And while there are checks in certain places to keep them from running a country like an absolute monarch, to believe that such checks completely, or even significantly, neutralize the president's immense influence is just folly.   Yeah, that's not how the president was intended to be when the job was created, but that's how it is now and no amount of covering one's ears and going "LALALALA" is going to change it over night.  Limiting presidential influence is possible, but it's decades worth of legislation that will make it happen.

So yes, libertarians, feel free to "make your statement".  You have that choice and can justify it with the "whoever's president doesn't matter" pablum.  And when the reality of four more years of an Anti-Colonial Marxist unconstrained by re-election hits you in the face and things get worse, you at least have your principles, right?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1st Presidential Debate confirms Obama's lack of qualifications..

What happened in the first presidential debate in the 2012 election was nothing short of surprising.  To Republicans and conservatives, it was surprising because it showed a Mitt Romney that not only had the right answers, but a Mitt Romney that looked in complete command on the stage.  You could say he looked....Presidential.   To fervent Obama supporters, it was surprising because it showed a sitting president who stammered and bumbled for answers so much that he almost looked like he couldn't wait to bolt for the door when it was over.

For quite a few of us locally, our prayers were answered.  These debates are the only times where Romney can strut his stuff without any media or liberal spin distorting them.   These debates are also the only times you get to see how well a candidate knows his stuff.  We knew that if Romney had any chance to reach those unsure whom to vote for, or even those blindingly start struck by Obama, this would be it.  I fully believe Romney not only delivered, but over delivered in true "impress me" business fashion.

If you have any doubt how simultaneously this is a big victory for Romney and a big loss for Obama, you need to look no further than Obama's own supporters.  Within minutes, and in near virtual unanimity, Obama's supporters - including Bill Maher and a hilariously freaking out Chris Matthews - conceded victory to Romney.  Let this sink in.  These are people, including many in the media, who have done their level best to ignore or spin away Obama's failures while at the same time trying to find anything bad about Romney to talk about.  This is a media that was more concerned with Romney's chastisement of our administration's tepid response to Benghazi than it was about the administration's incompetence for letting it happen in the first place.  This is a media that was all too happy to talk about Romney's 47% comment endlessly despite their president was fund raising while the middle east burned.  For them, and other supporters, to admit defeat in such unequivocal terms just shows that Romney trounced Obama so bad, that they had nothing to spin on.  That is what you'd call a total victory, folks.

Naturally, there are some supporters that are hard at work doing damage control saying things like "this means NOTHING!" or that "this won't change people's minds!".   In other words, they're claiming it's a meaningless victory.  Aside from the fact that any time Obama's supporters trying to downplay a loss as meaningless means that it probably IS important, anyone that's really paying attention knows the truth:  it means a heck of a lot.  And here's why.

To sum it up, it shows a sitting president, despite four years of presidential experience under his belt, not really knowing what he's doing.  He couldn't defend his own ideas.  He couldn't effectively debunk Romney's ideas.  He showed how little he knows about the economy and how jobs are created.  It put on full 90 minute display what conservatives have been saying for years now:  he's not qualified to be president.  And even with 4 years (2 of them with complete Democrat control of Congress) to do things, his inability to even solidly get behind his own ideas reaffirms his lack of qualifications.  

Conservatives and republicans should use this victory to its utmost value over the next couple weeks.  While yeah, there are still two debates left, this one was the Big One about domestic policy.  If anything, bringing it up should get more people engaged in the next two presidential debates where they can see for themselves the stark difference between a presidential challenger and a president looking more like an unprepared challenger.  Yes, Mitt Romney will have to stay on his game for the next two debates, since Obama will undoubtedly come more prepared, though I personally suspect it will be more of the same.  You see, because the liberal media has been extra tough on conservatives and republicans, we've had to be on our toes constantly defending our positions and articulating our ideas.  And at the same time, there's not been much challenge to the other side, meaning they don't even know how to defend themselves and instead get mad that someone would dare challenge them.  You could see this quite clearly in Obama last night. 

Romney's performance will undoubtedly draw more of the undecided independents or disaffected Democrats to his side who finally got a chance to see him in action.  A couple more performances like this by Romney, and expecting a landslide on the level of Reagan vs Carter doesn't seem all that ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Centrists, and how liberals exploit them

As we're coming into the final month of this election season, an election season that's being seen as the most important in a generation, we're going to see the climax of political campaigns, pundits, and the media.   While the election happens in November, what happens in October is what will make, or break, a candidate's chances at the polls.  All the work and millions of dollars spent beforehand has been a tireless effort to build a foundation for what's going to happen in October.  And as such, my blog posts will definitely loop back to cover what I think are the most important things for deciding this election.

We'll kick this month off with a topic I've been waiting to discuss:  Centrists.  It doesn't seem like an important until you begin to see how permeating a centrist attitude exists in America.  But not only that, but once you see how the liberal left exploits centrism to their advantage reveals that it is, in fact, a big issue.

So what is a centrist?  Centrists commonly stylize themselves as the voice of reason.  The practical, down to earth types that seek common ground in solving problems.  Compromise, to most centrists, is the key to getting things done.  Centrist like to consider themselves the "sane" people, not swinging too heavily to one ideological side or the other.  They value their ability to identify and reject the more "extreme" parts of the right and left.

Note that centrists are not to be confused with independents, though some times they overlap.  The big difference is that independents, who identify as such, may hold strong, uncompromising beliefs that lean right or left, but are not necessarily in lock step with what's considered one of the traditional party's platform.  They're not always seeking common ground and instead rely on their own values instead ofy party affiliation to determine how they vote.  There are independents that are centrists just as there are Democrats and Republicans that are also centrists.

You've probably picked up by my description of centrists that I might not have a very favorable opinion of them.  The answer is yes, and no.  Do I believe compromise, seeking common ground, being down to earth and level headed is a good thing? Absolutely so.  It's an absolute must to have this kind of grounding to be a well adjusted, balanced person.  But do I believe that being this way is the only way?  Nope, I don't.  It's part of being a well balanced person, but not the only part.  Having been one myself, I feel I can speak to it with confidence.

This is where my opinion of centrists start to sour.  To me, when confronted with conflict, the initial reaction most centrists make is to "make peace" or find common ground, regardless of facts or truth.  To them, it seems more important to douse  a  heated debate than to actually weigh in on the debate constructively.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing to want to do as long as it's used intelligently.  Making peace or finding common ground just for common ground's sake is just as bad, and some times worse, than a heated debate. These people tend to think the problem is the vehemence of the debate, and not necessarily its substance.  That somehow confrontation itself is bad.  That expressing views passionately is to be avoided.  This is wrong thinking.  While expressing feelings strongly has its pitfalls that need to be minded,  there's nothing inherently wrong with it.  Many things can lead people to believing aggression in any form is wrong  (which is worth another post all on its own).  The fact is that there are people who wholly oppose all aggression, passion, and strongly expressed opinions regardless of context.

It's this inclination to make peace, find common ground, and rebuff strongly expressed opinions that liberals exploit.  It's quite a clever scheme.  If you've read my post on the Chicago political machine, then this will sound familiar.  If you could sum up this scheme into three words, it'd be "nobody is innocent".  This strategy's foundation is the assumption that no one is ever completely innocent of wrong doing.   It's something we can all agree upon.  No one is completely innocent of wrong doing.  Building on that foundation, liberals are able to engage in open and increasingly egregious practices.  Then when they're called out on these tactics, they simply go "hey, they do it too you know!", which somehow makes what they're doing ok since "everyone does it".  You can look at it as a kind of form of moral relativism.   The really clever part is how it shields their actions from further scrutiny.  By using a simple, binary argument such as "all politicians" lie, it makes all politicians look just as bad.  And if anyone wants to refute that statement, they then run into the problem of having to convince someone that it matters that one politician's lies are far worse, greater, and more deceitful  than the others - a more subjective, analog argument.  You see, the "nobody is innocent" line has been used throughout history as a means to justify horrid actions.  By discrediting their accuser, it typically insulates them from most, or any, deserved repercussions.

And should we take into consideration whether someone is a worse liar than someone else?  Of course we should.  Even though the act of lying itself is bad and shouldn't be done, someone who tells bigger lies more often is more likely to cause far more damage than someone who my have fibbed about watching the game on Sunday or got mixed up in how fast they finished a marathon.  If we didn't take varying levels of badness into consideration, then it'd be like saying the man who murdered the man who raped his child is just as bad as a serial killer like Jeffrey Dahmer.  So while both parties are clearly guilty of murder, it is wrong to suggest that they both are "just as bad".

So what does that have to do with centrists?  Quite simply, liberals will play the "nobody is innocent" card, which appeals to a centrist's instinct to "make peace" or find common ground.  So while a conservative may rightfully get angry that a United States Senator openly lied about saying Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, a centrist, having sensed the need to diffuse the angry conservative, will say "Yeah, but all politicians lie, you shouldn't get so angry!".  You see how that works? Now the conservative looks like an overreacting spaz while the liar in question gets away virtually scot-free.

Another example would be the grid lock in congress.  Many people see the Republicans as "extreme" and uncompromising on their positions, but they don't seem to take into consideration why they seem to be that way.  I'll try to put it into an example:

Let's say you're standing a few feet away from the edge of a cliff with your back to said cliff.  In front of you is another person who wants to get closer to the edge of the cliff to look at the view, but can't get around  you to do so.  Obviously, you're not too keen on getting any closer to the cliff than you have to.  Thus, you two strike a compromise:  You'll move back just a couple feet for a few minutes to give him a better view than he has now if he promises to retreat those two feet after the time is up so you return to relative safety.  You're giving up a bit of safety while he's giving up some viewing quality.  But, after the time has expired, not only does the person not back off like agreed upon, but he then intends to go all the way to the cliff's edge, which would undoubtedly push you off.

This is how I view the Republican's position.  They're not compromising because they feel they've already been pushed to the edge.  And there's evidence of that in how republicans continued to compromise on various issues only to have the Obama administration and Democrats not only fail to live up to their end of the bargain, but then incredulously push for more.  If you were to look at it from that angle, the Republicans' position might not seem so extreme.  The left exploits that perception to make those standing up for their principals look extreme in the eyes of the public.  They know that they can "compromise" to get what they want, renege on their end of the bargain, then call out the opposition when they are opposed to further "compromising" all the while their own deceitful tactics get washed away in the "nobody is innocent" ploy.  It's a nice neat package that has been in use for decades.

And finally, there's one last way that liberals exploit centrists.  And that's through the media.  If you need an example of that, how many of you automatically thought "oh dear, it's another extreme right wing nut job blaming the media" when you read the previous sentence?  If you did, then you've been the victim of one of the media's most dangerous tools.  As I've written about earlier, the media has the power to shape our cultural landscape.  They have the power to shape popular opinion....or "shift the center" if you will.

Here's a numerical illustration of what I'm talking about.  Let's say you have numbers 1 - 99.  Each number represents a place along the ideological spectrum.  1 is the ultra hardcore leftist.  99 is the ultra hardcore right.  Logically, 50 would be your center. The spectrum ranges might break down like this:

  • 1 - 9: Ultra Hardcore Left
  • 10 - 29: Extreme Left
  • 30 - 49: Left of Center
  • 50: Center
  • 51 - 70: Right of Center
  • 71 - 90: Extreme Right
  • 91 - 99: Ultra Hardcore Right
Everything's ok, until you add the media's influence.  Let's say they push an opinion that says "You know, 50 is not really center, it's more like 30."  As they push this opinion, people begin to believe that it's true that the rest of the country is like this, so "center" gradually moves to 30.  Upon reaching 30,  the ideological spectrum makes a dramatic shift:
  • 1 - 9: Extreme left (was Ultra Hardcore Left)
  • 10 - 29: Left of Center (was Extreme Left)
  • 30: Center
  • 31 - 50: Right of Center (was Left of Center)
  • 51 - 70: Extreme Right (was Right of Center)
  • 71 - 99: Ultra Hardcore Right (absorbed old Extreme Right)
As you see, shifting Center 20 points to the left has made extreme leftist positions seem more moderate or in the center while at the same time making moderate right look more extreme.  Even moderate left positions look more conservative.  The ultra hardcore leftists only look "extreme" now and the extreme right now look ultra hardcore.  

Therefore, by the media being able to shift the center to the left, they are able to gain the unwitting support of the centrists out there who like to believe themselves to be the pragmatic, open minded types opposed to extreme ideology.  Yet all the while, they're helping push a leftist agenda while simultaneously rebuffing a now "extreme" conservative agenda.  By adjusting center, the media has been able to not only directly demonize conservative opposition, but indirectly by having centrists jump on the confrontation grenade in the name of "keeping the peace".  

It's a frustrating thing to deal with, which goes to show how effective the left has been at exploiting centrist sentiment.  One thing I hope by reading this, is that when it comes to political confrontations, is that those that consider themselves "the voice of reason" centrist take a moment to put stock on why they think that.  Why do they believe their opinion is the practical, down to earth opinion?  Is it because that's what some talking head on CNN said?  Is it because that's what Jon Stewart would say?  If the answer traces back to similar sources, then I'd recommend that they try to broaden their base.  Look around.  And not just the normal leftist outlets.  Take the time to understand WHY they feel their beliefs are so pragmatic, that they're the obvious opinion to deflate extreme ideological fighting.  

I firmly believe tempering one's beliefs with self skepticism is the only way one can become a stronger person in character.  I also believe that most people, if they really examined their own beliefs, would be surprised to find out they lean conservative.  For example, the current Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, was originally a Democrat.  Her friends set up a lunch to try to convince her to switch parties, but she went in fully expecting to politely decline.  Yet, after the lunch, she told her husband "I'll be damned - we're Republicans", meaning that her ideology, which she thought was Democrat, was actually more Republican.   

But lastly, I hope centrists will wake up and not only realize they've been played, but get mad about it.  Get mad about it enough to vote against the party with the ideology that has led them around the nose so cunningly for decades.  This is not your run of the mill election, as I've been saying, and the people used to the comfy warmth in the center need to realize that even their values are in jeopardy.