Friday, October 31, 2008

Former Secretary of Agriculture on meeting with Kruzchev

This is worth your time, no matter what your political disposition.

Happy Halloween!

Photobucket

For another funny cartoon, see this post.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Plight of The Middle Class

Wow, these people are suffering. Evidently a combined income of $120,000/year or so is dang near poverty level. Reporting from my cardboard box, where I am fighting with another hobo to take my pull off the boxed wine, I certainly feel for these people and hope that Obama can ease their horrible burdens.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Divas and Oligarchy

A couple of news items came out over the weekend that truly disturb me. They’re about our very likely next President, Barack Obama.

Here’s the first story, (second version here) the lesser of the two. WFTV-Channel 9 (Orlando, Florida) anchorwoman Barbara West quoted the famous Karl Marx guiding statement of communism, “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs,” then asked Joe Biden in an interview, “"How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to 'spread the wealth?'” That’s a solid question for which many Americans want to hear an answer. Joe Biden answered, “He is not spreading the wealth around,” and then explained how Obama/Biden want to give the middle class tax cuts. Actually, Senator Biden, Barrack Obama didn’t just state he wanted to spread the wealth around once, but several times.

Here’s the part about this story that bothers me. “The Obama campaign earlier Friday suggested that future interviews with WFTV were unlikely before Election Day.” Oh, really? WFTV asked hard questions, so you will no longer interview with them? What a joke. Since when did the presidential candidate and his running mate become pampered divas who only deign to answer questions they like? When did the campaign shift from a serious job interview for one of the most important jobs in the world to a tour for a capricious rock star?

Here's the interview. Note Biden's demeanor as you watch it.



Here’s the next story that should bother you. It demonstrates the consistency of Barack Obama’s Marxist “Spread the Wealth” philosophy.



What’s the problem here? Obama suggests it would have been good for the Supreme Court to place itself in charge of spreading the wealth. He approved of the idea of breaking free of the basic idea of the Constitution as a document that sharply limits government rights (thus leaving the most liberty in the hands of the citizenry) and suggested it would be better to change it to a document that lists rights of the people. Note that that fundamental change means two very important things: (1) The government has the power to give people rights, and (2) the government has the power to TAKE AWAY PEOPLE’S RIGHTS! There’s a reason the founders called the basic rights unalienable and God-given. They wanted to make sure that no government could restrict them. That is why the Constitution carefully fences in the government’s powers—so the government can not limit yours.

That’s also why constitutions, state and federal, are designed to be hard to change. They must only be altered by the voice of the people or our elected representatives, never by unaccountable groups. This is why judicial activism is a massively bad idea whether you agree with the court decision or not. In the moment a court gains the ability to change the principles of governance and societal definitions, we are subject to the whims of small groups of judges who can change our laws by 1 vote margins! That means we cease to be a republic and we suddenly become an oligarchy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marriage

This is really by Mark, but he is too busy at the moment to post and may be for some time.

The English word "marriage" has meant the union between a husband and wife since about the Magna Carta. Its meaning is older than the United States. And in 2000, the voters of California re-ratified that meaning in Proposition 22. Yet the California Supreme Court found by 4-3 in May that a concept older than western civilization had to be changed. A single judge negated thousands of years of human history and common law. On November 4, we can fix that error by voting yes on Proposition 8, using the constitutional method to amend the constitution. If we fail to do this, what other words will the courts redefine? What other pillars of civilization will the courts decide are fanciful or unfair?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why people shouldn't trust Obama with the economy

For some reason, people tend to trust the Democrat candidate more with regard to the economy. This may be because of FDR's legendary performance during the Great Depression. Most people have never been told that it appears his policies extended rather than resolved the great depression.

What you should wonder is why, despite the almost certainty (if you believe the major media) of an Obama Presidency, the market isn't doing better. It's because investors have to have a reason to invest, and the motivation in our market is profit. Some investors may well be afraid of Obama being elected, because he seems to want to take more of that profit away. For an incredibly humorous and also easy to follow explanation, please visit Captain Capitalism's post on the subject. I promise you don't have to be an MBA to follow or enjoy this one.

It works less well than we thought

I've always said gun banning doesn't work. I like to point to the U.K. and Australia as prime examples. Turns out, I'm even more correct than I'd thought. Evidently the U.K. government has felt a great need to under report gun violence, since naturally they banned them with the intention of doing away with gun violence.

I guess the old, often mocked by the gun banners saying is true: If you ban guns, only criminals will have them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mr. Obama, surely you jest.

"Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions. " Source: Bloomberg, article here. I would suppose this would give Mr. Obama the power to regulate my breathing. After all I exhale carbon dioxide. Would the world perhaps be a better place without it? Well, not really. Since plants need abundant atmospheric carbon dioxide to photosynthesize, a world without it would be a world without life.

Surely no scientifically-minded person can vote for this man. It is reminiscent of the incident that caused Patrick Moore to leave Greenpeace. He had to walk away when they tried to begin a campaign to ban chlorine. He explained that it is a naturally occurring element on the periodic table of the elements, and so can not be banned. They decided to press forward with the campaign. He decided it was time to stop dealing with softheads.

Further, both presidential candidates evidently aren't following science very carefully. Scientific data isn't supporting the theory of human-caused global warming, and people are responding.

As a campaign issue, might I suggest both of our aspiring presidents drop greenhouse gas emissions and take up the border?

For the interested, Patrick Moore's full story on banning chlorine may be found in this transcript.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Suggests?

Congratulations, Sherlock. You might have mentioned this several months ago, Senator McCain. Then again, this is the part of the election season where people start paying attention.

Will they pay attention to this, however? Senator Obama discloses income from speaking fees on his tax forms during his time as an Illinois state legislator. Unfortunately, under Illinois law, that's illegal.

Although the change is minor, perhaps his poll numbers are beginning to slip because people are worried about his past and aren't ready for a socialist president.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Socialized Healthcare Fails

If you follow International news, you know that the U.K. has had to suggest privatizing at least parts of their health care system.. Canada's universal health care system is also in trouble, and many are insisting privatization is the only way to fix it.

You don't have to leave the U.S. to see socialized medicine fail, however. Here's a story about Hawaii dropping its failing universal child health care system after just 7 months.

Do you really want your health care in the hands of the people who run the DMV? The people who couldn't even run their own food service department? The people in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center?

This is America. When the founders formed this nation, they came up with an unprecedented system based on the best ideas of governance they either found in history or painstakingly developed.

Why in the world would this great country adopt on a national level a system that is failing in Canada, the UK and Hawaii?

History demonstrates Socialism doesn't work. In case people have forgotten the lessons of the U.S.S.R, we have only to look to socialized medicine to demonstrate that fact. As the wealthiest nation on earth, we should take care of everyone, and as the most innovative nation on earth, we can come up with a better solution than copying other people's failing systems.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why We Love Robin Hood

Some people have been describing Obama's tax plan as a Robin Hood plan. Well, not exactly.

Robin Hood stole from the rich in medieval England. He wasn't stealing from merchants who made their money fairly. He was stealing from the nobles, that is, the government, who had made their money through oppressive taxation. Robin Hood was taking back part of those ill-gotten gains and handing it back to the average person from whom it had been taken.

When did our attitude shift from anger at the government from taking and misusing our tax money to upset at those who have made their fortunes fairly?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What are the Odds?

This post isn't mine. You can find the transcript of this Glenn Beck monologue here. He makes some very important points, and it's worth reading.

What are the odds? What are the odds that in North Kansas City a couple would get a -- would get their credit card bill back... and they would find -- they are McCain supporters, and they would find on their credit card bill a $2300 donation to Barack Obama's presidential campaign? What could this guy -- you know what? I have to tell you something. I've had a "Come to Jesus" moment on Barack Obama and there's two ways to really look at this. There's this guy is surrounded by some of the most evil people you could possibly imagine. The signs are everywhere. I mean, it's one thing after another after another after another, and you could start to say, "Wait a minute, I'm not buying any of these excuses," or, or you could say, "Well, he's just the most unlucky guy ever." Now, I used to be at the "I don't think I buy any of these excuses." But you know what? After seeing that last credit card thing with the ACORN and you're like, "Okay, now somebody is stealing credit cards and making donations to the Obama campaign." You could say, you know what, everybody who's nefarious seems to be involved in helping this guy get elected. But that's just -- you know what it is. Luck. Because hard work, you don't -- look. The one thing I've learned is you don't really control your own destiny. People are going to do everything they can to keep you down. You don't trust -- you don't -- you won't be able to make it and that's what's happening to Barack. He's just trying to make it. He's just trying -- and think of the odds that he is overcoming. Think of the horrible -- look, you think you had it bad? You have no idea what life is like if you're Barack Obama. I know he's ahead in the polls and everything and I know he's probably going to do an unbelievable job at winning this November, but it's way closer than it should be. Why is that? Policies? No. He's hopeful, he's changish. Bad luck.

Think of this. I was just noodling this before I went on the air. Think of these things. Out of all of the women in America that he could marry, hundreds of millions of women that Barack Obama -- he's a good looking guy. He's fit, he's trim, he's smart, he's successfulish. He's -- you know, he's got a bright future, unless you know about his luck thing. Out of all the women that he could marry, the possible next President of the United States, he finds the one woman who's not proud of her country and wants to change its history? The one he happens to luck into. What are the odds? I mean, it's not like they were related at all on those things. It's just, he falls in love with her and he's like, oh, my gosh! And he probably didn't even know it until she said it on the campaign trail. It was like, oh, my -- I didn't know that. And then, you know, because this is the way all women are, (mumbling). And he's like, okay. And the new couple, you know, they're still happy; he doesn't know she's unhappy with the country. Well, they pick out a new church and they go there for 20 years. Everything seems great, except now they find out after he starts running for President that the pastor, a guy they considered, quote, family hates America. What? What are the odds? His wife doesn't like America. She's not -- she's never been proud of the country. Completely unrelated, a complete coincidence, the pastor hates America. Poor Barack Obama. I mean, maybe Reverend Wright and Michelle have something in common. Maybe they have been sitting around talking about it but she knew. But Barack, "Jeez, now we've got two family members that hate America." What are the odds? And not just people that hate America, but this pastor who was "Family," thinks America is a racist country where all the white people in the government are trying to kill all the black people in the country with AIDS. They invented AIDS. Now you not only have somebody who hates America but you have somebody who's crazy in your family and you didn't know it for 20 years. And by the way, if that were true, if the government were trying to kill all black people in America, black people, you should be very, very safe because it's a government-run program. I mean, you are going to die of natural causes way before the government could actually get around to actually killing you.

But then Barack Obama's luck gets even worse. I mean, that's, that's bad enough luck. At this point I'm thinking, come on, that's not a coincidence. I mean, he's attracting these things to him. No, no. Can't you see? You're not in control of your own destiny. You're destined to be a victim and a victim -- there's nobody who knows victims like Barack Obama.

Think of this. Okay, he's in that church for 20 years. Apparently the pastor would only say crazy hateful things about America not around the dinner table, not around his house and never, ever say things like U.S. KKK of A or, you know, G-damn America or anything like that. Only the times that Barack and Michelle were in attendance did he say things like that and apparently all of the friends that would have been shocked by something like that, they didn't attend that weekend, either, because nobody ever said, "My gosh, you should have heard what the pastor said this weekend; it was completely out of character." Nobody said anything. He didn't know. What are the odds? It's crazy. And that pattern went on for 20 years. That's how bad of luck Barack Obama has, 20 years. Every single time the guy doesn't show up for church, it's nonstop the government creates the AIDS virus. Unbelievable. What are the odds? How was he supposed to know that the pastor was a nut job? For two decades the Obamas missed every racist hateful comment toward America and so did all of their friends. The rest of the time, every time they were there, you know, he was talking about actual Bible stuff. The odds are unbelievable. And that's just the beginning.

Then Barack is like, "Hey, I want to be a state senator. Where should I have it? I mean, I could launch it from a park, you know, I could go to like a cool podium some place, maybe I can go to Pizza Hut. Where could I possibly -- and somebody says, hey, I know, you can go do it at my house. And he's like, really? Now, you would think to yourself, well, that's lucky. And I'm sure that's what Barack Obama was thinking, "I don't know if I have a place to do it, I don't know if I can get a park and a podium, I don't know if I can get into Pizza Hut and we'll have room for all the cameras. And this guy seems to have a big house. I mean, I don't know him, we live in the same neighborhood but we don't really talk." Okay, so he launches at his house, and it's this beautiful house. Turns out -- ready for this one? Turns out the guy is a home grown terrorist. I mean, who knew? I mean, besides everybody because the guy wasn't hiding it and it was in the New York Times, but who knew? I mean, Ayers had blown up buildings, even the Pentagon, which is wild because somebody else just blew up the Pentagon and you'd think that that would come up in conversation, you know, like when you're meeting him. "Hey, by the way, you're launching your campaign over at the William Ayers house. You do know that he's the guy who blew up the Pent..." that's how unlucky Barack Obama is. He didn't know. I mean, what are the odds? You've really got to feel for Barack Obama at some point. This guy just can't catch a break. He's just trying to do the right thing. He's just trying to organize his community. That's it. It's completely -- you know, the As aren't where the As are supposed to be and the Fs are over in the G slot and he's like, I've got to reorganize this whole community now. I'm busy. Can somebody throw me a bone and tell me who's a terrorist and who's not a terrorist? I mean, what are there? Only a couple of hundred domestic terrorists in America, maybe? I mean, I think I'm being pretty generous. Maybe a couple of hundred people? 300 million people in the country and you're like, "Oh, crap, I'm sitting with a domestic terrorist at his house launching my campaign?" It's incredible. This guy is Charlie Brown. You've got to feel sorry for him. He's a victim!

And you, you can relate to him because you're a victim, too. You'll never be able to make it. You need somebody to help you. And because he understands victims, he can help you. I just, you know, I just refrained this in my head and realized what are the odds? My gosh. But our story is just starting. It gets worse. It turns out Barack was on a board of community organization. He was the star. He was the man. He was the guy. They hand-picked him: "You need to run this." He could have picked any board. Any board could have picked him. Out of all the hundreds and thousands of boards, he happens to be sitting on the same one as the domestic terrorist! I mean, is that rough luck or what? You're like, "Oh, crap. The one that picks me is that one?" And then, and then he serves on another board with Ayers. I mean, he couldn't get more unlucky. Is he cursed? I have to -- I'm worried that maybe he's cursed. Does somebody have a voodoo doll against him?

Now, I don't want this all to be doom and gloom. I want you to know that they have hit some lucky patches, thank goodness. Otherwise, I mean, how could they, how could they go on just victims of all of these ill-timed events and chance meetings and friends that turn out to be practical enemies of the state or former prisoners? My goodness. Well, it's not all bad news. I mean, according to Barack and Michelle, they did have one stroke of luck. They got rich. You won't, you know, because you -- well, when they get in, well, they will help you get rich. But they just happened to stumble into it. It had nothing to do with hard work or anything. In fact, Michelle Obama put it, "It was like Jack and his magic beans." Man, I guess you have to be really unlucky for a very long time to get Jack and his magic beans to make you a millionaire.

So at least now they could put food on the table several million times, you know, although in a way that was bad luck because it hurt the medicine that you need the federal government to make it. "Wait, wait, wait, we were only lucky." Turns out federal government, you know, they weren't the ones that helped the Obamas get rich. Amazing, I mean just think of the odds, the odds in the other way on how unlucky they've been. They are the one couple who has been able to make it without the government. So now they had some money. Luck. Victims? Lucky victims, very unlucky but sometimes lucky victims.

So they decided to buy a new house because they have got money now and they are like, hey, let's buy a new house. That's the American dream. And his wife is like, no, no, that's the American promise. So they went out, they looked and they're like, we can't afford these houses, even for us millionaires, they can't afford these houses. But they got a lucky deal. They got an amazing deal. The seller decided to split their lot into two lots. This almost never happens. They're like, "We want to buy this but we can't afford it and they are like, hmmm, what could we do? You know what, I like you guys so much, why don't I split this lot into two. I wonder if there's anybody that wants to -- oh, my gosh, there's a buyer, and a buyer for the other half of the lot just showed up. It was incredible. Again what are the odds? So the Obamas bought one half and somebody else -- I don't know who it was -- bought the other. I mean, has anything ever like -- has anything happened like that with you? I never even heard -- again, very, very unlucky lucky victims. Because you know victimization is right around the corner. Right, as soon as they start feeling lucky, victimization sets in.

So it was so exciting because not only did they get the home for $300,000 under market value, and this is in 2005 when home prices were going through the roof. They got -- the person was like, I like you guys so much, I'm going to sell it to you for $300,000 less, and somebody else who we don't know yet is going to buy the other part of this lot. And on the same day that they closed on their new property, the buyer who bought the other side was closing on theirs. It was so exciting, and their new neighbor was nice. They got to know him. It was Tony Rezco. And out of the kindness of his heart, he paid the full price for the empty lot that had been sitting there for months, which made it possible for the Obamas to get a $300,000 savings. So lucky, those victims.

And then because Rezco is such a great guy, he was like, you know what, I don't want to live there. Why don't I sell my strip of land so you can have a bigger yard and no one would buy the lot that, you know, he was -- that Rezco paid for, nobody would buy it anyway. So he was like, "I'm not going to live there and there's nobody willing to buy it. Why don't you guys buy it." It's incredible. And what luck because Tony Rezco's a political fundraiser, you know? Now, here's the victimhood again. Little did they know, who would have seen this one coming. This political fundraiser who bought the land that he never lived on gave them this sweetheart deal. Apparently unbeknownst to the Obamas, he was into sweetheart deals with politicians, and just this year he was convicted of several counts of fraud and bribery and -- but that's not the Tony Rezco that Obama knew. He just knew the nice neighbor guy who bought the strip of land so he could buy a house. That's it. It was a really -- I mean, he's admitted that, boy, that was a stupid thing for me to do. I don't even know what I was doing there. So I mean, he's learned his lesson, you know? Nice guy, helps you buy and save hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know, turns out to be a bribe attempt or at least, you know, not this case but other cases like that. Not this one, but other ones. What are the odds? It's just horrible.

And as if his luck couldn't even get worse, the champion of the people, you know, the champion of the community organizers. "Wait, wait, wait, N doesn't belong there. That's where the O goes." And he's just trying to organize communities. Here he is, the champion, the Messiah of the people in an attempt just to help the community... organize, he decides to donate some of his campaign money to a group who's also out. They're just getting everybody... organized. But out of all of the groups, out of all of them, out of the gazillions of groups that are out there getting communities... organized, out of the phone books and phone books of every city in America you can page through, what's the one he stops on? My goodness, Charlie Brown, he finds the one that's committing voter fraud in every single swing state. What are the odds! And to make things worse, there are employees who are supposed to be nonpartisan wearing ACORN For Obama shirts, which doesn't look good... but once again you'll never get ahead because the system is stacked against ya and you want to talk about the number one victim in America. It is Barack Obama.

Oh, by the way, just have to throw this in. His mentor -- I mean, here he has a dad who abandons him and he's like, hey, let's do some father and son things. And he comes upon this mentor, this guy name Frank. He writes about him in his book. He just hangs with him and he teaches him and everything. It's great. Turns out that Frank is Frank Marshall Davis, a communist, a well known communist back in the Sixties, and he hates capitalism. What horrible luck! What are the odds! Out of all the fatherless mentors he could find, he finds the communist!

I just have to tell you, he's the most unlucky luckiest victim I have ever seen, but I just fall to my knees and pray that when Barack is elected, his bad luck streak of friends and associations finally ends. He wins that presidency and he's the luck -- I feel... feel... feel like the luckiest man... man... man... alive. It would be great, wouldn't it? Keep your fingers crossed. I hope he doesn't have any unlucky days at the White House.

Source: Glenn Beck, transcript available here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The WSJ on Obama's giveaway

The details of Obama's plan are fuzzy, but the WSJ did a pretty good job of showing how it's largely welfare for the people who don't pay taxes, and soaking the people who do work.

Sigh. Here's 1000 words on the topic:



As a private business owner, it's pretty clear I'm going to be hammered with the new plan if it goes through.

The Problem with Obama's Tax Plan

Barack Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around” may win him an election, but it won’t help our economy.

The history of revolutions is rife with promises to take from the rich and give to the masses. It’s a popular idea, but its effects aren’t usually positive.

In recent history, much of revolutionary wealth distribution has taken the form of the forcible redistribution of land. The result? The people handed the land, having no idea how to cultivate it and make it really produce, failed to grow enough food to sustain the nation, resulting in starvation.

Capital, whether in the form of land or money, doesn’t produce by itself. If governments take it from those who know how to make it grow and give it to those who only know how to squander it, we all starve.

Remember that only a very small percentage of the rich in the U.S. inherited it. Most of our rich made the money themselves. That means anyone with drive, ambition and a desire to learn can become rich through hard work. Most people just don’t want to go to that much trouble. It’s much easier to vote for a socialist who promises the same result without all the work.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Grim New World

As you think about current events, consider carefully your vote not just for the president, a race upon which we focus far too much, but for your legislators. The true power to make change lies with our legislators in both houses of Congress. Choose who you believe will make wise decisions to steer us away from catastrophe, and cast a determined, educated and heart-felt vote.

We knew that the current economic crisis was too big to leave the world in a pretty state, but we may have underestimated just how ugly it might get. Part of the fix several nations are considering may involve shutting down world financial markets while rewriting the rules that govern finances. World leaders are pledging joint action as they hammer out a solution, but government interference is a huge part of what caused the mess, so many of us have little faith government action is going to be the solution. After all, though he's long been vaunted as a savior during hard times, it now seems clear that FDR's policies lengthened the Great Depression by as much as 7 years. There's even discussion that fears of a Barack Obama administration and a filibuster-proof liberal Congress may well have caused the stock market decline of the past few days.

One bright note for our economy is that the price of oil is dropping, which has the potential to give us a large economic boost. American commerce and industry thrives on cheap energy. Unfortunately, not everyone is as happy with the idea. The Iranian and Russian economies thrive on expensive oil, as their oil resources are harder to extract and refine. A drop in prices might prove disastrous for the beleaguered Russian economy. The quickest way to raise the cost of oil is to increase uncertainty or damage the supply system. In a new show of aggression, Russia appears to be demonstrating a willingness to do just that. The Russian invasion of Georgia might appear to have been a very small matter indeed in a few months.

When speaking to a church school, Palin suggested the congregation ought to pray that our national leaders were making good decisions with regard to deploying our troops. Though I rarely delve into religion in this blog, what she suggested I recommend on a larger scale: pray to whomever or whatever you may worship that world leaders will be guided to make decisions that will make our current crises better, not worse.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Obama's Ayers Connection Matters

I get frustrated with how dismissive some people are being about Obama's Ayers connection. It matters because Obama chose the relationship with Ayers, and Ayers actually made Obama's political career.

Here's CNN's (not FOX) report on the Ayers connection:



Here's the account of John Murtagh whose home was bombed when he was a child, by Ayers' group:



Now, if you want to ignore all this and vote for Obama, fine. But know what we're getting into.

And here is the New York Times article about Ayers (that appeared on 9/11/2001 of all days):
''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.'' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago.
Note how Ayers was photographed for the story:





(Pictures found here.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fairness

If there's one word Mr. Obama uses a lot, it's "fairness."

That's a good word, because everybody knows America is built on the concept of fairness. That is, everyone should have unrestricted opportunity. No one should have their path to the American Dream blocked by race, origin, religious belief (unless you're Mitt Romney, of course, then it's okay), gender, etc. That's why various forms of discrimination upset us so much; it's an undermining of this basic principle.

The problem is that Mr. Obama isn't talking about that kind of fairness. What is described above, and what America was founded on, is equality of opportunity. We all believe in that. What Mr. Obama is describing is something we don't believe in: equality of outcome.

Here are some concrete ideas. See if you agree with them:

1. I believe that all students should be given a C grade, no matter how hard they study and how many answers they get right, or how little they study and how few answers they get right.

2. I believe that a race or sports game should result in a trophy for everyone involved, whether they practiced hard and gave their best effort, or didn't bother to practice and hardly tried during the event.

3. I believe that everyone should be paid the same, whether they have studied and worked hard their entire lives to achieve a position of responsibility, or have not worked at their education and have been lazy in the positions they've held.

Mr. Obama's view of fairness agrees with all three of those statements. For most of us, those statements are ludicrous. Of course the person who works hard should get the trophy over the one who is lazy. Of course the student who puts in the time and effort deserves an A and the one who doesn't should receive a lesser grade. Finally, of course the person willing to work long, hard hours to succeed merits higher pay than the one who clocks in a few minutes late, muddles through the most basic duties and leaves as soon as he can.

We believe in the idea that so long as the playing field is level, an individual should be free to distinguish herself through effort, and gain greater rewards and achieve greater success through hard work. That's very different from equality of outcome, which is also known as socialism.

As we look for change this election, it's important not to look to equality of outcome as a valid social model. Where it has been tried, the best result has been mediocrity. Remember clearly Mr. Obama's version of fairness, so clearly illustrated during a debate moderated by Charlie Gibson:

GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton," which was 28%. It's now 15%. That's almost a doubling, if you went to 28%.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15%.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.


That is, it doesn't matter if the idea is a good one or one that works, so long as it is "fair." That's change we don't need.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama Agrees With Me

At least about the cause of the current financial problems. My comments are pretty clear. It turns out that Obama said roughly the same thing last year, September 17, 2007:
Subprime lending started off as a good idea - helping Americans buy homes who couldn't previously afford to. Financial institutions created new financial instruments that could securitize these loans, slice them into finer and finer risk categories and spread them out among investors around the country and around the world.

In theory, this should have allowed mortgage lending to be less risky and more diversified. But as certain lenders and brokers began to see how much money could be made, they began to lower their standards. Some appraisers began inflating their estimates to get the deals done. Some borrowers started claiming income they didn't have just to qualify for the loans, and some were engaging in irresponsible speculation. But many borrowers were tricked into glossing over the fine print. And ratings agencies began rating bundles of different kinds of these loans as low-risk even though they were very high-risk.
(emphasis mine).

(Bonus Question: If they "previously" couldn't afford it, why can they now?)

Now, think about how stupid this whole scheme is for a moment. I have an investment so risky, I don't want to own it. I only want to own part of it, so I split it up and sell parts of it off. But if I don't want the risk of 1 such investment, why would I produce 10 of these investments and keep 10% of each? It's the same monetary commitment to a risky prospect, but it's harder to tell what my portfolio is worth, and I have less personal control over the risk (because I'm essentially trading my 10% risk for someone else's).

The only reason this whole thing got under way is because the Federal Government forced the lenders to make bad investments, and then didn't throttle back in time to put the brakes on. At least now McCain is hammering Obama over it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

General Guide for California's November 4, 2008

I've recently reviewed California's propositions, and I'm very disheartened. Most of these measures are to authorize the sale of bonds.

Bond measures in California tend to pass, but they shouldn't. A lot of people see the word "bond" and decide that they can raise funds without raising taxes, so they vote yes.

Unfortunately, bond measures do not raise money without raising taxes--eventually. Most bonds end up in a payback of 2 to 1. That's right, if we sell $1 billion in bonds, we'll have to pay back $2 billion over time. It's like using a credit card with horrible terms.

California is in deep financial crisis. We can't incur more debt. The legislature must reign in its spending and live within its means.

Please vote no on all bond measures. All of them.

The real heartbreaker here is Proposition 3. It sells bonds to build and renovate children's hospitals. There is no one who can argue that's a bad cause. It isn't. It's a very good cause, but we must do it another way, not through the sale of bonds.

Two other important measures are Proposition 6 and Proposition 11. Proposition 6 is a tough call. I absolutely support the police and want them to have the funds they need to do their jobs. I still have to vote no on this measure. The reason is that the measure locks in minimum spending at a specific level not tied to crime rate or population. California is losing domestic population, that is, tax base, at a tremendous rate. 90,000 people left California last year for other states in the U.S., a fact masked by newcomers from outside the nation. These new immigrants will be valuable tax base in time. Let's suppose before that happens, the forces driving Californians from this state cause a population emergency as has happened in Massachussets. If California's population dropped to 20 million, for example, there's no provision in this measure to reduce funding to an appropriate level for the reduced population.

Part of California's budgetary problems, besides the massive and undisciplined overspending by our legislature, is mandated spending. In fairness, voters have mandated spending because we don't trust our legislature not to blow tax money on the governmental equivalent of getting their nails done when there are no groceries on the shelves and the electricity bill hasn't been paid. Nevetherless, this mandated spending has the same flaws as Prop 6, and so has caused economic difficulties in implementation. Vote no on Prop 6. I support and appreciate our officers, but this is not the right way to assist them.

Proposition 11 is perhaps the most important measure on the ballot when it comes to the political future of this state. Please vote yes. If you vote on nothing else, please vote yes on proposition 11. The legislators are presently in charge of drawing their own voting districts. This is the proverbial putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, or having a bear guard the honey. The result of the current system is that despite a very low approval rating, our legislative seats never, ever change hands. Each politician is safe and will never be removed from office barring extreme circumstances. The process for choosing voting districts must be taken out of the hands of politicans and put back into the hands of the citizenry. This measure isn't perfect, but don't let perfect get in the way of good enough. This is the first step in building a better system that might actually be responsive to voters. Please vote yes on Proposition 11.

More information on election options is available at the website of the nonpartisan group "Citizen Voice." For more on all the issues, please visit their site here. For brief video debates on all the Propositions, please visit this page of their site.

Friday, October 3, 2008

U.S. Military Deployed Within Our Borders

This is a bit scary. "The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team...ill be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks."

The article points out that our military units have been used on temporary assignments in our borders, like the response to hurricane Katrina, but "this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities."

Given the current market woes, this may be a preparatory move to prevent any run on the banks. Let's hope things don't get that bad, but given that we are not aware of any other threat to the nation's security at this time, it's hard to imagine they're afraid of anything else. Though people are angry and afraid, they're not quite to the point of ejecting Congress by force, so this would seem to be a move based on the economic problems we're having.

Washington Car Wash Ban: The Future!

Recently, the state of Washington banned people washing cars in their driveways, a step they consider vital in protecting the environment. I sat down with Tim Green of the Washington state Department of Ecology to talk about the future of ecological regulations in Washington.

“Tim, how do you intend to help residents learn about the ban?”

“Well, we’re going to start an advertising campaign featuring noted ecologist Dumpster Muffin.”

“I’m sorry?”

“The Berkeley tree sitter. We’re going to put her on billboards and stuff with catchy phrases like ‘Your car washing runoff is a crime against Nature.’”

“I’m sure that will help. What are your plans for the future?”

“Next up we’ll be going after the biggest offender in causing runoff pollution. You see, washing cars is bad, but much more detritus, brake dust, paint chips, oil and so forth are washed from streets when it rains. We’re going to fine the crap out of Mother Nature.”

“I thought you were trying to protect her.”

“We’re trying to establish a relationship with Mother Nature that more closely resembles government interaction with taxpayers. We’d like to protect her against her will while taking as much of her money as possible.”

“I see. Do you have any other big plans to protect our waterways?”

Taking off the helmet he uses to protect his incredibly decalcified skull, Tim responds unflinchingly, “We’re going to ban going potty.”

“That’s ambitious.”

“True, but waste water treatment isn’t perfect, so there’s a lot of material released into rivers that just shouldn’t be. Also, we can save a lot of trees if nobody’s using bathroom tissue.”

“The logic is undeniable. Thanks so much for your time.”

Mother Nature could not be contacted for comment. Close friends say that she spends a lot of time rolling on the floor laughing since the global cooling scare of the 70s. They also mentioned she finds it incredibly ironic that after she's spent several millennia trying to weed out the weak and stupid among all species, we humans have chosen to elect ours to public office.

Mr. Clean and Turtlewax, makers of popular home car washing products, are suing Washington state Department of Ecology for infringement of their 1st Amendment rights of expression with regard to their feelings about car cleanliness. Car wash franchises, rumored to have been lobbying for this ban, are quietly donating to the Department of Ecology’s defense fund.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Real Bailout for Our Economy

Part of the current $700 billion package is lots of targeted tax cuts to entice Republicans with fiscally conservative constituents to vote for the bill. Some of the Democrats are complaining that there's no way to pay for tax cuts. Tax cuts aren't something Government pays for. They are us keeping more of what we earned. The government hasn't any right to assume our money is theirs. If that "income" decreases, government's job is to figure out how to live within its means, not steal more from the taxpayer.

We know the tax code is massive, unwieldy and full of traps and loopholes. I'm for a Fair Tax, but recognize how unlikely that is. So, let's emulate the very successful strategies of countries that haven't had the money for massive tax bureaucracies the way we have. Russia has a successful 13% flat tax, as do many small countries in the region. Let's dump our tax code for one that will fit on a 3 by 5 card, perhaps 15%. Let's suspend the capital gains tax (you know the one Obama wants to raise out of "fairness" even though that would deepen our financial crisis) for a couple of years to flood our market with foreign capital instead of nonexistent taxpayer capital. Let's drop the corporate tax to a low flat rate as well to stimulate domestic business productivity and attract foreign corporate headquarters to the U.S.

If we do these things, the government will have to live with less but the average citizen won't. Why should we suffer when they could solve this by reducing our tax burden and living within the available tax "revenues"?