"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Democrats vs. Americans

I have been following the ObamaCare debate for several months now, but have not posted anything about it on this blog up till now. That is largely because, being a productive American with a job and a family, I don't really have time to figure out what provision is in which House or Senate bill at any given instant. I mean, let's be honest here. Obama has been talking about his "plan" for months now, but he really has no plan. He has not presented any plan to Congress, and there have been numerous different Democratic plans circulating through various House & Senate committees for months (there are Republican plans too, but not one of them has gotten the time of day from any of the Democratic-controlled committees). I have plenty to say about many of the ideas and provisions in these plans, but what's the point? Because who's to say that any of those provisions will be in the final bill anyway? Why bother to waste time researching a bill that is likely to change dramatically in just a few days or weeks?

I mean, I hope none of you readers have bet any money on whether or not Congress will pass a bill with a "public option" in it. Because if so, I'm sure it's been quite a roller-coaster ride over the past few months. First the public option is a requirement, then everyone says it won't happen, then Obama says he supports it, then he says it's not essential for reform, then we hear that Pelosi insists on it, then we hear that Reid doesn't want it, then we hear that a Senate committee has passed a bill without it, and now lo and behold Reid has re-written the bill and voila! The public option is back! And of course, there are no end of qualifications to a "robust" public option such as triggers and opt-outs for states. And by the way, am I the only one who wonders why Senate committees even bother to go to all the trouble to hold hearings, reach a consensus, and vote a bill out of committee when the Senate majority leader is going to completely rewrite the bill afterwards anyway?

I wish I could say that this whole dog-and-pony show is all in good faith. But tragically, it's not. It's a deliberate attempt to confuse and deceive the American public. Let's cut through all the distraction about the public option and triggers and opt-outs and co-ops. The Democrats are up against two brick walls when it comes to health care reform. The first brick wall is that polls show that 80-85% of Americans are generally satisfied with the current quality of their health care. Yes, they think that some changes can and should be made to reduce costs and increase accessibility to health insurance, but they do not want fundamental changes to a system that already provides first-class quality of care. The second brick wall is that a majority of voters are not stupid, and they do not believe for a minute the Democrats' rhetoric that the government can create a huge new $1 trillion entitlement program without significantly increasing the deficit or significantly increasing taxes. They also do not believe that putting the government in control of health care will either lead to lower costs or higher-quality care. Of course, they're right, and simple logic and some basic knowledge of history confirms that they're right.

So the Democrats have a conundrum on their hands. Given the fact that they are agitating for a huge new government program that most Americans oppose, it would seem they have two options: listen to the American people and back off, or move forward with their agenda against the will of their constituents. Clearly, Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress have chosen the latter option. And their way of pushing this bill through is to muddle the issue as much as possible and tell as many lies and deceptions as possible to keep the American people guessing. Is there any other way to explain why a Democratic committee in the Senate voted down an amendment that would simply require that a final version of the bill be posted on the Internet for 72 hours prior to a final vote in order to make sure that voters know exactly what is in the final bill? If their intentions were honorable and their determination was to serve their constituents, why would they do this? Why has there been this push, push, push to pass some bill --any bill! -- as quickly as possible? Obama says it is urgent, but the provisions in most of these bills do not even begin to take effect until 2013! So you tell me why it has to be passed the day before yesterday. You tell me why members of Congress are being arm-twisted to vote in favor of a 1,000+ page bill they have barely even had time to look at.

Look at the bait-and-switch that is going on. The Senate Finance Committee comes up with a conceptual "bi-partisan" plan that has no numbers in it at all and is completely vague about all the details. They get the Congressional Budget Office to look at it and declare that this new government program will save our country $81 billion over 10 years, mostly because the costs are paid for up-front but the benefits do not take effect until 3 years later. Touting this bill as a moderate approach that doesn't increase the deficit and doesn't include a public option, the bill passes committee with all Democrats and one Republican voting for it. And then, a week or so later, suddenly we find out that Senate majority leader Harry Reid has completely rewritten the bill and it now includes the public option! (And by the way, the "opt-out" provision for states is a complete joke. Every state's taxpayers have to pay for this public option, so what state is going to deny them the benefits of it by opting out? I assure you, the taxes to pay for this option will not be optional.) So first you get the CBO to certify that the bill won't increase the deficit, and then you completely rewrite it to include an extremely expensive public option. And now I'm sure we'll see a big push to get "consensus" and push this bill through as quickly as possible. What a pathetic attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of American voters.

The way that Obama and congressional Democrats have tried to bully Americans into accepting their health care plan is truly disgraceful. When American citizens turned out in large numbers at townhall meetings to exercise their constitutional rights to petition their government and participate in democracy, they were villified and accused of being Nazis, "evilmongers," brownshirts, and thugs by leading Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. When health insurer Humana sent out a letter warning its Medicare customers of potential effects of ObamaCare legislation, the Obama administration gave them a gag order and opened an investigation into their company. And of course, Obama has especially targeted news organizations like Fox that have not properly fallen into line behind the president.

These are not the tactics of statesmen who want to be transparent and accountable to their constituents. These are the tactics of deceitful demagogues and power-hungry politicians who are determined to get their way and increase their power, regardless of what their constituents want. They think they can get away with it. I hope that the American people will prove them wrong, both by mobilizing now to oppose this bill and by voting all these bums out in the 2010 elections, starting with Harry Reid.

Barry's three favorite words: Spend, Spend, and Spend.


What's so great about federalism?

As a follow-up to my last post, I would like to explain why I see so much wisdom in the federal system of government, as it was originally set up in the Constitution. Since limited government and federalism are closely related, these reasons are very similar to my reasons for supporting limited government.

The federal system, as originally laid out in our Constitution, calls for two equal levels of government -- the central national government and the state and local governments. The state and local governments are now little more than lackeys to the national government, but it was not always this way. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The rights given to the central government in the Constitution are few and limited, while the rights given to the states and the people are numerous. This was a very wise way to set up the government because it avoids the concentration of power in the hands of a few people. The way I see it, massive central governments cause two types of problems.

The first type of problems caused by government are the result of having an unrealistic view of the limitations of people. These problems include the bursting of the housing bubble and rising college tuition rates, just to name a couple. The eagerness of many politicians to use government to solve problems reveals their foolish arrogance. I am just a 27-year-old computer science student working on a master's degree, but I can imagine that even if I had a Ph.D. in economics and experience as the CEO of a major corporation, I would still not have the expertise necessary to fix all of society's ills. Even if I had a law degree and a short political career, I would still not be qualified. (I'm talking to you, Obama.) I am not saying that Americans should silently tolerate the problems in society. What I contend is that government should not try to fix all of society's problems because it cannot do so, and the attempt will probably make things worse.

In the 1980s, economist Milton Friedman made a series of short films called Free to Choose. In one of these films, Friedman used an example to illustrate the complexity of the economy. He described all the products and labor which go into the manufacture of a pencil. The inputs include wood, metal (for the eraser-holder thingy), graphite, and rubber (for the eraser). The raw materials must be mined (in the case of the metal and graphite) or harvested (in the case of the rubber and wood). Then the raw materials must be shipped, processed, and assembled. As Friedman pointed out, no single person has the knowledge and expertise to carry out all the steps that go into the manufacture of a pencil, a simple device which people have been using for centuries. Therefore, it is ludicrous to think that a small group of politicians -- as compassionate and well-intentioned as they may be -- can regulate our $14 trillion economy, which includes millions of transactions each day.

Given the complexity of the economy, I trust the collective wisdom of the American people a lot more than I trust the concentrated wisdom of a few self-important politicians with an overinflated opinion of their knowledge and intelligence. (I have only touched on economic freedom so far. I am pretty confident that government intervention has caused many social problems as well. As the lazy authors of math textbooks say, this is left as an exercise for the reader.) By dividing power between the national and local governments, the founders of our nation have enabled more people to participate in the decisions which affect their lives. With more people comes a wider variety of experience and a smaller chance that government policies will be disastrous.

The second type of problems are caused by politicians who want to control other people. As many authors and politicians seem to point out, we live in a divided nation. I think that our nation would not be nearly as divided if these meddlesome politicians would let the people govern themselves under the powers mentioned in the 10th Amendment. (Note that I said the powers mentioned, not given. Our rights are given by God.) Then the tax-loving people of Massachusetts could have their welfare state without imposing their will on the citizens of Texas. Also, the citizens of Texas could ban gay marriage, while the more open-minded and progressive people in...Massachusetts again...could allow it.

Allowing the states and the people to govern themselves should result in a larger percentage of people who agree with the laws that affect their daily lives, since they are able to vote with their feet. If the laws of one state or community become too restrictive, then they can move to a neighboring state or community. However, moving to another state does not help at all if the same laws apply to the entire nation. (The alternative would be moving to Canada, I guess. The upside is that Canada has lots of Tim Horton's restaurants. The downside is that Canada is more highly regulated than the United States.)

I think that distributing political power widely among many people results in individual freedom, peace, and unity. The people and their elected representatives should not be so eager to throw their rights away.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Free Press 1; Obama 0

Another blow to Obama-style Communism....


Barry's Chicago Style


What Dede Scozzafava says about the Republican establishment

While the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey are getting most of the attention this election cycle, there is also a special congressional election taking place in the 23rd district of New York to replace a Republican congressman who resigned. The "Republican" in this race, handpicked by the GOP establishment and endorsed and funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is Dede Scozzafava. Here are the pertinent facts about Ms. Scozzafava. She is pro-abortion and supports gay marriage. As a member of the New York legislature, she repeatedly supported Democratic budgets, higher taxes, and bank bailouts. She supported the Obama stimulus bill, which every single Republican in the House opposed. She has close ties to organized labor (her husband is a union organizer) and she strongly supports "card check" legislation that would increase the power of the unions. She also has close ties to ACORN and is a personal friend of Bertha Lewis, ACORN's CEO. Although branded as a "moderate" by the media, she is down-the-line liberal on almost every issue. She has even been endorsed by the founder of the DailyKos website, who stated that she is to the left of many Democrats on social issues. Her latest antic is to file a false police report against a Weekly Standard reporter, which has resulted in calls for her resignation.

Thankfully, there is a real Republican in this race. Bill Hoffman, also a Republican, is running as a third-party candidate on the Conservative Party ticket. Hoffman, unlike Scozzafava, actually believes in conservative principles of less government and lower taxes and protecting human life. And he is running competitively in the polls. The sad thing is that the Republican establishment has not given Hoffman the time of day. Not only has Scozzafava been endorsed and funded by the NRCC (and the RNC), but this committee has even spent money making ads specifically attacking Hoffman. Scozzafava has a string of endorsements from GOP congressman and even from Newt Gingrich.

Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened. The Republican party raised a significant amount of money to re-elect liberal Republican Jim Jeffords in Vermont in 2000. Only a few months later, in April 2001, Jeffords switched parties and gave the Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate. Of course, he didn't give back the money. Then in 2004, the Republican party and all the leading officials, including President Bush and Rick Santorum, endorsed and raised extensive funds for liberal Republican Arlen Specter, who barely squeaked out a win over real Republican Pat Toomey in the primary. Now, Arlen Specter has joined the Democratic party as well (surprise!). In 2006, the RNC endorsed very liberal Republican Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island against a more conservative primary challenger. They not only endorsed Chafee, but also ran harsh negative ads against his conservative challenger, insisting that only Chafee could get elected in Rhode Island. And what happened? Chafee, the "electable" candidate, lost, despite giving assurances to various potential donors before the election that he might switch parties after the election. As can be readily seen, the Republican party establishment, including the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, has a history of endorsing very liberal candidates simply because they have an "R" after their name, and aggressively funding them even if they are running against conservatives.

If the Republican party continues to behave in this way, their funds are going to dry up. Voters are fed up with all the government spending, and they want real change in Washington. This is why the Republicans lost their majority in the first place. Sadly, many party leaders seem more concerned about electing anyone with an "R" after their name instead of standing up for freedom and conservative values. Isn't ObamaCare enough to make the Republican "leadership" develop a backbone? Where's the passion and the energy and principle with our supposed conservative leaders in Congress? Remember, most of the funds raised by the Republican party come from conservative donors who believe in conservative principles. If you are interested in making political contributions, I would strongly urge you to contribute directly to specific candidates that you support, instead of giving your money to the RNC or NRCC. If you give it to the party, it could end up going to support a candidate who has very different values from yours. Instead, target your support to candidates that deserve it, like Bob McDonnell in VA, or Bill Hoffman in NY, or Pat Toomey in PA, or Marco Rubio in FL.

Creigh Deeds, VA candidate for Governor, on Taxes


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A step forward for federalism?

The Obama administration has released new guidelines for the enforcement of anti-marijuana laws. According to the new guidelines, federal agencies will not arrest people who use marijuana in ways allowed by state laws, such as medicinal use.

I have to admit that I am surprised by President Obama's actions, since this new approach is a step backward from a centralized federal government. I am not too hopeful, though. The cynical side of me knows that Obama is perfectly content to expand government control in most areas while leaving the states to regulate other things which he deems acceptable for us plebeians to handle (including medicinal marijuana, apparently).

More articles:



Obama the Graceless


Monday, October 19, 2009

Obama vs. Fox News

The good news is that Barack Obama has suddenly grown a backbone and is demonstrating his ability to get tough with his enemies. The bad news is that his administration has not gotten tough against Al Qaeda, or Hamas, or Iran, or North Korea, or the Taliban, or Venezuela, or other dangerous enemies of the U.S. No! Obama has decided to focus his administration's full attention and firepower on the REAL enemy of the U.S. -- the Fox News Channel! It's about time this administration recognized and confronted real evil in the world.

Over the past couple of weeks, numerous top-level White House operatives have taken to the airwaves and the news pages of this country to condemn the Fox News Channel. These top-level operatives include Communications Director Anita Dunn, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Obama's closest political advisor David Axelrod. Even Obama himself has singled out Fox News for attacks on more than one occasion (which is more can be said about his public statements about Iran). The Fox News Channel has committed an unforgivable offense. They refuse to let the White House control them and they are -- oh the horror! -- willing to report news stories that might reflect negatively on the Chosen One. How dare they be an independent voice instead of being clones of all the other "good" networks upon which Obama has graciously deigned to give his stamp of approval! The president is shocked -- shocked! -- that Fox News refuses to be a clone of CNN and MSNBC and ABC News and CBS News and NBC News and The New York Times and Newsweek and all the other lapdog media outlets. Thankfully, Obama's minions are out in full force to helpfully inform Americans which news networks they should be listening to. Obama does not yet have the full powers needed to completely shut down uncooperative news sources the way his "amigo" Hugo Chavez does, but registering his strong disapproval is a good start!

There's a reason why Fox News has become Public Enemy #1 in the Obama Administration's quest to keep America safe and sedated. Fox News is the only TV news network standing in the way of Obama's quest to "transform" America (his words, not mine). How many news networks reported the Van Jones story? One -- Fox News. (Remember, having a open racist and Communist in a top-level White House position is NOT news.) Which news network broke the ACORN scandal and was the only one to report on it and show the videos for at least the first couple of days? Fox News. How many news networks reported the truth about Obama's radical czars -- John Holdren, Kevin Jennings, Cass Sunstein, etc.? One -- Fox News. How many news networks reported Obama's dropping of charges against Black Panthers who engaged in voter intimidation tactics in Philadelphia? One -- Fox News. How many news networks are reporting the fact that a top-level Obama Administration official gave a speech praising mass murderer Mao Zedung as one of her inspirations? One -- Fox News. The list goes on and on. Fox News is simply the only network that will report news stories that are unfavorable to the White House; the other networks simply bury obvious news stories that are politically harmful to Obama. No wonder Obama wants to destroy Fox News. To destroy Fox News would be a huge step toward squelching all opposition to his policies and creating a universally docile and submissive television media. (Pravda, anyone?)

Am I the only one who finds it shocking that a President of the United States is using his power and influence to try to silence a free and independent media outlet that is simply doing its job as a public watchdog and reporting obvious news stories that the President happens not to like? I know Obama is helping the waters to recede and the planet to heal and all, but should he really be using his power and influence to go after news agencies he doesn't like? With the exception of Nixon, this is unprecedented in modern American political history (although somewhat more popular among the Soviets). Previous presidents have complained about general media bias or specific news stories - but never have we seen an all-out blitz against a specific network. And then of course, there is the Fairness Doctrine, a proposal supported by Obama and many Democrats. This is a blatant attempt to shut down free speech and destroy successful radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin by forcing radio stations and programs to present "all points of view" and be "balanced." And who exactly sets the standard for what is "balanced"? Why, the government, of course! Mao Zedung, the hero of Obama's Communications Director, would be proud.

The good news is: the American public is not interested in having Obama tell them who to get their news from. Fox News is CRUSHING its opposition in the ratings. I'm talking more than twice the primetime ratings of MSNBC & CNN put together! That's dominance. And half of Fox News viewers are independents or Democrats. Thankfully, Fox News is courageously standing up to the President and the rest of the media, and they are being rewarded by the American people who still believe in freedom of the press.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rush Limbaugh & Racism

I was discussing the news story about Rush Limbaugh participating in a bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams franchise with a co-worker yesterday. (Rush has since abandoned the bid.) The thing that struck me about the conversation was my co-worker's casual assertion, "Rush Limbaugh is a racist."

Now there are a number of bogus racist quotations being attributed to Rush Limbaugh, including particularly outrageous ones where Limbaugh supposedly defends slavery and uses racially charged language about the NAACP. There is not a shred of documentation or evidence that Limbaugh ever made these comments. They were supposedly made years ago to a radio audience that numbers 20 million per week, which begs the question why they are only coming out now. Limbaugh has flatly denied ever making them. Yet CNN & MSNBC continue to report these and other unsourced quotes about Limbaugh as fact. It is not Rush Limbaugh's responsibility to prove he didn't say something. It is the media's responsibility to prove he did say it -- and to prove that it is being presented fairly in context. And they can't.

The only "racist" quote about Limbaugh that can be proved was his statement as a sports commentator for ESPN six years ago, in which Limbaugh accused the media of overlooking Donovan McNabb's incompetence as a quarterback because they wanted a black quarterback to succeed. Now I will readily concede that this statement was stupid and insensitive, but racist? This, by itself, seems very shaky evidence to build a case against Rush Limbaugh of being racist, considering that his daily radio show sidekick (Mr. Snerdley) and one of his guest-hosts (Walter Williams) are both black. The truth is, for someone as outspoken as Rush Limbaugh who has been on the radio 3 hours per day every day for decades, it is pretty easy to dig up a few old quotes, take them out of context, and magically produce evidence of racism.

I think this issue goes far beyond Rush Limbaugh. "Racism" has become a cheap word that is thrown around with little thought or evidence behind it. The New York Times accused Joe Wilson of being a racist simply for (correctly) saying the words "You lie!" to a president who happens to be black. Several famous people, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Cosby, have accused opponents of President Obama's health care plan of being primarily motivated by racism. Singer Dave Matthews has gone on record saying that large swaths of the American people are racist. Where is the evidence for any of these accusations? Is it now racist simply to oppose the policies of the president? Has "racism" now become a synonym for "Republican" or "conservative"?

There are two really bad results of this misuse of the word "racist." One is that the reputations of many good people are being destroyed. Once you are branded a "racist," it is often very hard to shake that label -- even if the accusations are completely unfair. All you have to do is make a politically incorrect joke that is misinterpreted by someone or a controversial statement that is taken out of context -- and suddenly you are a hateful bigot to be shunned by polite society.

The other sad result of this misuse of the word "racist" is that real racism is minimized and cheapened. Racism is a particularly ugly form of prejudice that is still very much present in our society. Unfortunately, when everyone is crying "racism" at the drop of a hat, it is hard to recognize and confront racism for what it really is. People are afraid to discuss racial issues honestly and openly because they think they will be accused of bigotry themselves. And so racial prejudice simmers under the surface and becomes even more deadly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zero Brains

I don't read a lot of news, but I saw this article on Yahoo. Zero-brains...I mean ... tolerance ... policies have claimed another victim. This time, the victim is a first grader in Delaware who brought some kind of camping silverware (a combination fork, knife, and spoon) to school to use at lunch. The student, six year old Zachary Christie, faced a suspension of 45 days. Fortunately, the school board had the sense to reduce his suspension.

My guess is that the kid brought something like this to school.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh, the humanity!
Hide your pudding, kids. He has a spoon!!!!!

People (most of them, anyway) are gifted with brains for making judgments. It is really hard to come up with a set of rules which work in every situation. When lawmakers and school administrators avoid using common sense to make decisions in favor of catch-all rules, silly things like can this happen. (Here's another prime example of administrators and lawmakers shirking their responsibility to use their brains.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bart Stupak Is My Hero

You won't often hear me praising Democrats on this blog. But I want to give a shout out to Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan. Stupak is a Democrat (and not a particularly conservative one either) who is leading the fight in Congress to eliminate taxpayer funding for abortion from the House health care bill. Now it's pretty lonely being a pro-life member of the overwhelmingly pro-abortion Democratic Party, but Stupak doesn't seem to mind and he doesn't intend to shut up about the issue of life. While President Obama prattles on about how his health care plan fulfills the biblical mandate to "help the least of these," Congressman Stupak is taking action to help the most truly vulnerable and defenseless members of our society -- unborn babies. While Obama & the Democratic leadership in Congress lie through their teeth about how there will be no taxpayer funding of abortion under ObamaCare, Stupak is calling them out on it publicly. Since several committees controlled by Democrats in both the House & the Senate have defeated health care amendments to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion, Stupak has now co-sponsored a similar amendment that he wants to bring to the House floor for an up-or-down vote. And guess who is refusing to even allow this amendment to be voted on? His own party's leadership! By being a voice for the voiceless, Stupak is getting the cold shoulder from the House leadership and from his Democratic colleagues and is doubtless forfeiting any future chance for statewide or national office. We need more politicians with that kind of political courage and moral principle. Bart Stupak is my hero.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Article if You Want a Laugh


Compassion & Government

My pastor preached an excellent sermon yesterday on Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan and emphasized our responsibility to show compassion and generosity to the poor. It was an important reminder for me to make sure that I am not closing my eyes and my heart to the needs of people all around me and that I am willing to give to others as the Lord has given to me. It also got me thinking about how this principle of Christian compassion relates to political issues, such as ObamaCare.

I don't have time to write much on this topic now. But I think it is often very problematic to take biblical commands directed to individuals about compassion & charity and attempt to apply them directly to the government. Don't get me wrong -- the government must stand for justice, and so obviously it must take action to prevent corruption and oppression of the poor. But government charity is something entirely different -- that is the government taking some people's money and giving it as a handout to another group of people. I'm not saying I'm against some sort of safety net for truly needy people. I'm not opposed to programs like welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid -- provided that there are incentives built into those programs to encourage people who are able to take responsibility for their own lives to do so. In the case of medical care -- we need to look and see who are the people without health insurance who really need it and what can be done to get targeted help to those people.

The problem is that government is a massive nameless, faceless collection of bureaucrats that cannot see people as individuals and cannot target help to their specific needs. Therefore it cannot really show true compassion in a biblical sense. Despite their sanctimonious attitude, politicians are not being compassionate by spending other people's money to help the poor. Government generally establishes a "one-size-fits-all" government program that operates inefficiently and wastes taxpayer money without really helping the people it is supposed to help. So much of poverty in this country today is really encouraged by the government. People become dependent on the government to take care of them and don't take responsibility for their own lives. Many people in this country today feel they have a "right" to certain things (a good job, health care, education, etc.) but they are not willing to work hard to get those things. They think these things should be guaranted for all by the government. And this situation creates anger among people who have worked hard and taken responsibility for their own lives, only to find increasing amounts of their hard-earned money taken from them in taxes to give to others who have not worked for it. The more extensive this wealth redistribution becomes, the fewer incentives people have to work hard and the less free, responsible, and productive a society becomes. France and the Scandinavian countries are excellent examples of this.

In the case of ObamaCare, I think compassion is only the ostensible motive. The real motive is increased government power, which explains why Obama & Congress have been so deceitful on the details of the plan and have worked so hard to push something quickly under the radar of public scrutiny. If 80% of Americans are generally happy with the quality of our country's health care system, there is no reason to do a radical overhaul of the whole system. There should simply be small, incremental changes made to try to lower costs and help the neediest people. The fact that Obama and Congress are instead pushing for radical, comprehensive changes that a majority of Americans oppose speaks volumes about their real, more sinister intentions.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Policy Agreement Test

This is actually something I wrote over a month ago and gave to a pro-Obama co-worker as a joke. A couple of people have heard about it and asked when I was going to post it...so here goes. Let me know your score! (And remember, some of the information may be a bit out of date.)

President Obama Policy Agreement Test
Got Hope?

1. Do you believe that the $787 billion Obama stimulus bill has been good for our country?
__Yes, I love a bill that is so filled with wasteful spending and that so balloons our national debt that it has a net negative impact on our economy.
__No. Only 12% of the spending in this bill can plausibly be considered to stimulate growth, which explains why it’s done little for our economy.

2. Do you support Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, which triples the budget deficit in just one year?
__Of course. To hell with our children and grandchildren!
__No, our national debt is reaching alarming levels.

3. Do you support passage of Obama’s cap-and-trade energy legislation?
__I’ll pay whatever it takes to reduce global temperatures 1/10 of 1 degree by 2050!
__No thanks. I’d rather not have my utility bills go up 20-50% in just a few years.

4. Did you report any of your fellow citizens to the government by emailing flag@whitehouse.gov?
__Yes. It’s important for Obama to collect personal information on his enemies.
__Absolutely not. This could have a chilling effect on free speech and dissent.

5. Do you support Obama’s proposed "public option" when it means you will be paying higher taxes in order to fund someone else's health care?
__Yes. I support wealth redistribution and believe that my hard-earned money is better off in the government’s hands than in mine.
__No. I already pay enough in taxes and I am satisfied with my healthcare because I can see MY doctor when I need to. Government involvement will not improve efficiency or quality.

6. Do you agree with Obama that CIA agents who followed the law should be investigated by the Justice Department?
__Yes. It’s important to be nice to mass murderers, even if it destroys our ability to defend ourselves against terrorism in the future.
__No! Those agents are heroes who saved thousands of American lives.

7. Do you support the Obama administration’s plan to turn September 11th into a national celebration of "green" energy?
__Of course. What better way to commemorate the greatest attack on American soil than by discussing ethanol?
__No way! This cheapens and politicizes one of the most solemn remembrances in our nation’s history.

8. Do you share Obama’s opposition to amending his health care plan to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion?
__Yes. Forcing a majority of Americans to fund with their tax dollars a procedure they find deeply immoral is excellent public policy.
__No. I prefer not to pay for a clinic to scald a baby to death with a saline solution.

9. Do you agree with Obama’s plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay?
__Yes. These unfortunate victims of American terrorism should be brought to America and deserve to have a good defense lawyer and an air-conditioned cell.
__Absolutely not. These terrorists should not set foot on American soil and do not deserve to be treated like American citizens.

10. Do you approve of Obama traveling to other countries and apologizing for the United States?
__Yes. It’s about time we had a president who admits America’s imperialism and tries to make amends for all the evil and violence we’ve done in the world.
__A thousand times no! I’m proud of my country and I want a president who defends our values and reputation to the world.

11. Do you support Obama’s appointment of the following individuals to TOP positions in his administration: Van Jones (self-described Communist who believes Bush caused 9/11), Cass Sunstein (supports outlawing hunting and phasing out meat consumption), and John Holdren (has advocated for forced abortions and mass sterilization)?
__Why not? I have no problem with those people making policy for our country.
__No. This just shows how radical and extreme Obama’s views really are.

12. Do you support Obama’s attempts to eliminate freedom of conscience provisions for medical practitioners?
__Sure. Any doctor who refuses to perform abortions should lose his right to practice medicine.
__No! Every medical practitioner should be able to decline to perform procedures that violate his conscience.

13. Do you support Obama’s attempts to control private companies by firing the CEO of General Motors and establishing a government office to dictate corporate executive compensation?
__Yes. It’s about time somebody reined in those evil corporations.
__No. The government does not have the constitutional authority to tell private companies how to run their businesses.

14. Do you agree with Obama’s attempts to politicize the Census Bureau by having it managed directly by the White House?
__Of course. It is vitally important for our president to use any means necessary to ensure Democratic majorities for decades to come.
__No. This is a brazen attempt to manipulate redistricting for political advantage

15. Do you agree with Obama that no one will lose their existing health coverage under his health care plan, even though the non-partisan actuaries at the Lewin Group estimate up to 114 million Americans will lose their existing coverage?
__Yes. I believe whatever Obama tells me, regardless of the facts.
__No. Proponents of government health care have said that Obama’s plan is a stepping stone to a single-payer system, and the statistics bear that out.

16. Do you agree with the provisions in Obama’s health care plan that slap all except the smallest businesses with a penalty tax of 8% of payroll for not providing "acceptable" employee health coverage and that create additional surtaxes on high-income taxpayers up to 5.4% of income?
__Yes. Rich people and evil corporations have a patriotic duty to send a lot more of their hard-earned money to the government.
__How stupid to significantly increase taxes on the wealthy entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporations that create new jobs for our economy!

17. Do you agree with Obama’s support for the radical government of Iran and their "right" to have nuclear weapons, while refusing to offer any support for democratic protestors in that country?
__Yes. Appeasement of dangerous totalitarian regimes is likely to work now, even though it has never worked historically.
__No. Obama’s position is both morally disgraceful and dangerous for our national security.

18. Do you support Obama’s policy of giving legitimacy to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas through diplomacy, funding, and rhetoric, while trying to force our democratic ally Israel to withdraw from settlements when it could threaten their national security?
__Yes. It’s important to be nice to terrorists and to bully our friends.
__Are you kidding? Obama’s actions are emboldening terrorists around the world and putting our allies in danger.

19. Do you agree with Obama’s attempt to ram his health care bill through Congress without debate and his tacit approval of the smears his Democratic allies in Congress have made against American citizens participating in townhall meetings?
__Yes. Dissent is only patriotic when it is against Bush.
__It is shocking that Obama’s closest allies are calling concerned Americans Nazis, brownshirts, and "evil-mongers," and Obama does nothing to stop them.

20. Do you support Obama’s decision to drop all charges against two Black Panther members who intimidated white voters in Philadelphia and blocked the entrance to a polling station?
__Yes. Voter intimidation is only bad when white people do it against blacks.
__No. I thought Obama was supposed to transcend racial politics.

Each "Yes" answer is worth five points, for a maximum total score of 100 points.
100 – Congratulations, Comrade!
90-99 – You have excellent socialist credentials.
70-89 – Your loyalty to the Chosen One is imperfect.
40-69 – Your mind is not sufficiently muddled – try watching MSNBC primetime.
20-39 – You are smarter than the average dummy.
1-19 – You might be considered a domestic terrorist by the Justice Department.
0 – You have been awarded the Common Cents Blog Freedom Award!

Thoughts on Peace

I wanted to do a follow-up to Some Dude's excellent post about the Nobel Prize. Some Dude pointed out the reality of evil in the world. In my view, the only way to have genuine peace and genuine freedom (which I think always go together) is for this evil to be confronted and either defeated or restrained in some way. Stated more clearly, sometimes war is the only way to achieve peace and freedom.

I think there are many examples in history of this. Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister of England during Hitler's rise to power in the 1930's, signed bogus treaties with the Nazis and returned to England saying "Peace in our time." Of course, there was no peace because appeasement of evil dictators does not lead to peace. The British prime minister who ultimately helped bring about peace and freedom to Europe was Winston Churchill, who was willing to confront and defeat the Nazi threat (with lots of help from the US). The reason South Koreans are able to live in peace and freedom right now is because we fought the Korean War to stop Communism from advancing. And more recently, Ronald Reagan's willingness to speak the truth about the evils of Communism and to stand up to it by means of military buildup, strategic military confrontation, and a refusal to sign unenforceable "peace" agreements resulted in the disintegration of the Soviet Union and collapse of the Berlin Wall. The legacy of Reagan's presidency is a significant period of global peace and a great rebirth of freedom in Eastern Europe. Remember these lessons from history next time you see a bumper sticker on a car that says "War is not the answer," or you hear Barack Obama trying to achieve peace through appeasement of Iran.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The dangerous idealism of the Nobel Prize

Alfred Nobel, the originator of the Nobel Prize, stated in his will that a portion of his estate should be awarded each year "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses." At first glance, Nobel's hopes for a world with greater "fraternity between nations" and "reduction of standing armies" are reasonable and good. We all look forward to a time without war. Even William Tecumseh Sherman, who made a career out of fighting wars, said that "war is hell". I cannot imagine anyone objecting to greater fraternity or brotherhood, and there can be no war without armies.

If the world were full of good-willed people with concern for their fellow man, there would be no need for civil authorities of any kind. All armies could disband. Police departments could close without risk. There would not even be a need for laws. However, Nobel's lofty rhetoric cannot stand against reality. People are inherently selfish and quarrelsome. Without some kind of civil authority to restrain them, they will impose their will on other people. This truth applies at the international level, as well as the personal level. In the absence of "standing armies", an aspiring dictator can easily take power and impose his will on other nations.

The reality of evil in the world is what makes this kind of idealism so dangerous. The unilateral disarmament promoted by President Obama could severely limit the ability of our country to defend itself from terrorists and other enemies. I am fairly certain that terrorist organizations are not willing to voluntarily disarm. People who kill civilians indiscriminately probably will not listen to moral arguments about fraternity and peace. They understand only force. For this reason, our country and its allies must project an image of strength and a reluctant willingness to fight, if necessary. This is not the message that President Obama sends with his idealistic rhetoric.

Coming soon...

...some thoughts about the environment and environmentalism. Just wanted to reassure readers that this blog isn't ONLY about Obama (although there's certainly plenty that can be said about him)! Thanks to everyone who has commented so far -- it's encouraging to hear from all of you.

Obama's "Accomplishments"...

Here is a list of proposals or as some liberals call "accomplisments" that Obama has done since being inaugurated. This list may not be positive but that is only because I cannot find one thing he has done that will revive the economy, promote liberty, or increase individual freedoms. Feel free to add to the list by commenting.

1. Apologize to the world for America being America
2. Allow the Bush tax cuts to expire in a time when they are most needed.
3. Propose an increase in corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and dividend taxes.
4. Proposing a government run health care system that will be similar to the failed post office.

I will add more, but right now I got to go.

Obama's "Safe Schools" Czar

One of the things a lot of people don't know about the Obama Administration is how radical Obama's czars are. These czars occupy cabinet-level positions in his administration, but are not confirmed by the Senate (like normal cabinet officials) and mostly sneak under the radar thanks to a largely compliant media. Van Jones, Obama's Green Czar, was already forced to resign for being a "9/11 truther" (someone who believes the Bush Administration caused the 9/11 attacks), for being a self-described Communist, and for making numerous racist comments. Then there's John Holdren, who has co-authored a book arguing for forced abortions and mass sterilizations to control population growth. And there's Cass Sunstein, who has recently advocated a ban on hunting and giving animals the right to sue their owners in court. This is not a joke.

One of the czars who has most recently come under scrutiny is Obama's "Safe Schools" Czar, Kevin Jennings. This guy wants to make our schools anything but safe. Jennings has spent his life relentlessly forcing the gay agenda on young children. As the former head of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, he gave a speech at their convention a few years ago urging his fellow teachers to promote homosexuality to school children "before the children have a chance to be prejudiced by their parents and churches" and using profanity to describe Christians. The GLSEN, Jennings' organization, has promoted all sorts of outrageous workshops and literature promoting sexual techniques to public schooled kids as young as 12 -- too outrageous for me to go into detail about in this post. Jennings wrote the foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education. I think you can guess what that book is about. As a teacher, Jennings admits violating the law by failing to report an incident where a high school sophomore who was sexually involved with an older man came to him for advice, and he simply told the kid to use safe sex techniques. Jennings has publicly stated he was inspired by a man who was a leading promoter of pedophilia and defender of the disgusting pedophilia group NAMBLA. Jennings has admitted to sneaking gay promotion in the back door of the schools in the name of "safety." Jennings now has millions of tax dollars at his disposal to promote his radical agenda in public schools around this country. You tell me: is this the hope and change we were looking for? Kevin Jennings needs to be fired immediately! And the president who appointed him should be held accountable.

Now I've heard it all....

Will someone please tell me one accomplishment -- just one -- that Barack Obama has done in nine months in office to merit getting the Nobel Peace Prize? So he gave a speech mentioning nuclear disarmament one time. Big deal. I could do that too. This is a disgrace, and it demonstrates what most of have known ever since Al Gore won this prize -- the Nobel Peace Prize is a joke and a political circus. All you have to do to win this prize is be a famous liberal and give a few good speeches about a fashionable cause like nuclear disarmament or global warming (excuse me, "climate change") and you're an automatic finalist.

Welcome to Common Cents

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