Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Un-United States? Not Hardly

If you follow political blogs and listen to talk radio you are inundated constantly with the mantra that the country is divided. The Republican Party is known as Repugs. The Democratic Party has been called the Demonrats and worse. If you immerse yourself in the shouting match on the internet you must be convinced that civil war is only moments away.

Well folks, you would be both right and wrong.

The fact is that by measurable standards a large percentage of the American people simply don't care about politics any further than it affects them personally. I call this the WIIFM effect.

This table shows the voter turnout for the elections from 2000 to 2008. It is a subset of the voter turnout stats going back to 1960. Take a look at the numbers. Look at the years where voter turnout exceeded 50% and correlate that to the major events of the time.

Year Voting-age
Voter turnout Turnout of voting-age
population (percent)
2008* 231,229,580 NA 132,618,580* 56.8%
2006 220,600,000 135,889,600 80,588,000 37.1%
2004 221,256,931 174,800,000 122,294,978 55.3
2002 215,473,000 150,990,598 79,830,119 37.0
2000 205,815,000 156,421,311 105,586,274 51.3

But, remember that tables and stats can be misleading. Take 2006 for example. Of the 220,600,000 potential voters only 135,889,600 or 61% actually registered. The turnout was 80,588,000 or 36.5%. I don't know how the source came up with 37.1% but that illistrates that the measuring process can be corrupted as well. To continue, of the 135,889,600 registered voters, 80,588,000 actually got out and voted. That is 59% of the registered voters.

So, in '06, when the pendulum began to swing back to the left only 61% of the eligible population bothered to register to vote. And of that 61% only 59% of them actually voted. If that were congress they would not have been able to break a filibuster.

It boils down to sixty-three and a half percent of the voting age population simply didn't care enough to vote. And of the ones who at least cared enough to register, almost half of them decided on election day that it just wasn't worth it.

Voters need an incentive to get out there. In '08 there was a higher percentage of turnout. Using the candidates promises and the debates, the WIIFM principle pointed to bigger government and less personal initiative. It also pointed to a population grown weary of an ongoing war. And, just to historically accurate it validated the electoral trend of removing the war-leaders when the public decided they'd had enough.

So, don't despair. On any given day it's just the extremists on both sides being loud and everyone else simply doesn't care.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get involved and make a difference. If not you, then who?

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuesdays' Economy and Other News

Actually, let's go to the "other news" first. It's funnier that way.

Biden Bombs Barack: Potentially Explosive Joke is a Dud.

We all like to take potshots from time to time at other peoples expense. There are jokes for Lawyers, Mortgage Bankers, Accountants and Plumbers. But what if your target is both your boss and the President of the United States?

Vice-President Joe Biden was delivering the commencement address at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado when a gust of wind blew his teleprompter down. Not one to miss an opportunity to redirect a potential negative Biden quipped, "What am I gonna tell the president? I'm gonna tell him his teleprompter is broken. What will he do then?"

The Cadets laughed and apparently cheered the joke. Mr. Obama is known for great oratory and sticking like glue to the script supplied by "Teleprompter One". Hopefully the man holding the office of President will not attempt to command detonate Mr.Bidens sense of humor. And hopefully the men-in-black were not taking names of which Cadets laughed and cheered.

Moore on Moore: Woman Who Attempted to Shoot President Ford Free on Parole.

More (pun intended) after the Jump

Sara Jane Moore, the failed assassin of Gerald Ford in 1975, has been set free on parole. In an interview she has said that "it was wrong". Well duh sweetheart. If you had thought of that in '75 you would not have spent birthdays from 46 to 77 (or is it 80)in the slammer. A realist could have told you that assassinations of heads of state rarely solve what you see as the problem. Check out her interview here.

GM Likely to be Bankrupt on Monday: No Loans, No Credit, No Firm Deal (Yet)

General Motors is being touted as too big to fail. Unlike the little guys (that's us folks) or Small Business, the .gov is moving heaven and earth to get bondholders to accept valuable assets and stock. We can look forward to the fed likely owning 70% of the auto giant and allegedly intending to take it public again in 12-18 months.

If this were you and I, we'd already be facing foreclosure or debt consolidation loans. The problem is that no one is going to want to extend credit to anyone. Common sense tells us that if the .gov were backing consolidation loans or refinance offers to taxpayers there would be public outrage.

Now since the .gov is heavily into borrowing itself, regulating credit card company policies, and considering allowing Congress to be the bank regulator: We are going to be in a fine mess. But there's nothing to worry about. The stimulus package is going great, just ask the cops in Ohio.

Here is the real deal from a realist. Credit is going to be harder for us as individuals to get. Credit is going to be harder for us as a nation to get. Interest rates are going to rise as secured bond holders worry about Presidential Intervention on the Corporate Debtors behalf.

Don't expect Mr. Obama to forgive your student loan debt. Instead watch out as our individual tax debt increases to pay for the economic insanity.

Foreclosure on the Governator: CA Hoping for Federal Bailout.

GM isn't the only victim of gross financial mismanagement and crushing debt. California (the State) is as well. According to the Governator they have about four weeks worth of cash left. Essentially as CA attempts to raise revenues, they want the Fed to back up their loans. When or if the fed does just that, will China be our lender?

The Bottom Line:

With the fed in control of banking, poised to take over the auto industry, and possibly co-signing for a so-called sovereign state how can anyone say we are not moving toward a socialist society?

Your freedom to succeed is being eroded via three great motivators.

The first motivator is "being taken care of" by your [insert authority figure here]. Too many people are all to happy to turn over their problems to the government looking for an easy solution. The problem is that when the government fixed it for you, the freedom to make those decisions went away for everyone else as well. Freedom, Independence, and Liberty are entwined. Hurting one hurts them all.

The second motivator is the fear of success. In today's America if you succeed you will be penalized. Your tax debt will go up. You will be demonized by special interest groups. Why should we strive to create a successful life experience only to be punished for it unless nominated to the supreme court.

The final motivator is that you really are in this by yourself. Realistically you cannot fight city hall unless you form a team. So long as the government keeps you isolated in dependence on them you cannot organize. So long as American philosophy, history, and government are not taught at school you don't even know the extent of the damage.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor: The Right Choice for the Supreme Court?

There's one person who has alienated parts of his base as reality collides with his stated agenda. Now, Mr. Obama has nominated an Hispanic Woman to be the next USSC Associate Justice. Is this a payback for the folks who felt let down by his first hundred odd days?

Sonia Sotomayor is currently a sitting judge in the appellate court system. She went to the right law school and has punched all the right tickets. But is she the right woman for the job?

Mr. Obama stated:
"First and foremost is a rigorous intellect, a mastery of the law, an ability to hone in on key issues. . . . Second is a recognition of the limits of the judicial role . . . that a judge's job is to interpret, not make law," he said. "Yet these qualities alone are insufficient. We need something more."

What's also needed on the high court, the president said, is "experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live."

Not much to go on there. The only error in the soundbyte is that a Judge isn't supposed to interpret the Constitution or any law arising from it. A judge is supposed to apply the law as written. I hope that during the Judge Sotomayor's confirmation process, that is brought out quickly and often.

I'm afraid that I don't know of the lady enough to oppose her. But, one of the first things I found when googling her for quotes is...

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.


This month, for example, a video surfaced of Judge Sotomayor asserting in 2005 that a “court of appeals is where policy is made.” She then immediately adds: “And I know — I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know.”

Both quotes strike me as a person who has an inflated sense of her own importance in the world. Hopefully, as time goes on I will be proven wrong.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Realist: Bush, the Worst President Ever? Not.

Even after Obama was elected people are still filled with hatred over the two terms of President George W. Bush. Those people with any intellectual honesty will admit that historically speaking there are many others to fit the bill.

read more | digg story

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bush, the Worst President Ever? Not.

Americans with partisan political views never cease to amaze me. Even after Obama was elected people are still filled with hatred over the two terms of President George W. Bush. Yet, when viewed historically, Bush can't be considered the worst president ever by anyone who is intellectually honest. Let's look at some other candidates.

The creation of the Department of Homeland security was in full accord with the Constitution. Other "homeland security" measures taken by previous presidents are not. How would you feel today if an ethnic minority, say young men of middle eastern decent, were targeted? What if 110,000 of them were excluded from an entire coastline? And, what if they were placed in camps under the watchful eyes of the US Army? Lest we forget, FDR did just that with Japanese Nationals, and Americans of Japanese decent. (Japanese American internment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Or, for those interested in the rule of law and the Bush administration, how about the suspension of the privilege of Habeas Corpus? President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, did just that as he marched troops into Maryland on multiple occasions.

Imagine if todays President did such a thing. How great would the outcry be if elements of the Minnesota National Guard were sent to Texas to ensure the outcome of a statewide election? What if they arrested anyone critical of the government? What if those people were imprisoned without trial on an island in New York? President Lincoln did all of these things in Maryland and across the Union and yet he is hailed as one of our greatest Presidents of all time. (Abraham Lincoln and Maryland - Abraham Lincoln's Classroom; Teaching American History in Maryland - Documents for the Classroom - Maryland State Archives; The American Gulag by Thomas DiLorenzo)

And, since we are a nation that will judge our politicians as much by what they say as what they do, consider this. George Bush is often vilified because he commented that a dictatorship would be easier. Or, let's not forget the pronunciation wars over the word “nuclear”. What would we say and think if he threatened to summarily execute anyone not in compliance with the law?

President Jackson was furious over South Carolina's attempt to nullify a federal tariff in 1850. He was so angry that he “threatened to lead an army to South Carolina and hang any man who refused to obey the law.” (Henry Clay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Partisanship is subjective. But, before we condemn a person to the trash heap of history, let's look at history first.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday's Spy Report

Today's free time is limited so I have three things to ask and share. Comments are always welcomed since you just can't tell if anyone is reading this stuff. Here goes.

Thing One: Why aren't the constituents of Madame Speaker calling for her head on a platter? Or if not her head, her resignation? I don't get it. There is no way for citizens to recall a Member of the House of Representatives. And, if you think she will be impeached for lying, then you are not a Practicing Realist. What I don't get is why her district at least isn't up in arms. I guess being a sheep is better than being a sheep dog. One thing we need in this country are more statesmen and less politicians. Which leads to thing two...

Thing Two: Sent to me via email by Secret Agent Jimmy the Greek (not his real name of course) knowing full well that the internet is covered in monitors and Big Gubmint Stoolies. But, you can't keep a good citizen down. JTG risked life and broadband to help remind us all of how things ought to and can be. The Patrick Henry Caucus.

Thing Three: My good friend Jimmy Margarita of Buffetville noted in an email sent under the guise of a mild mannered message that our new AG still doesn't get it. The part of the quote is "shall not be infringed". Excerpted from the highly classified email:

This takes literally 2 clicks to complete. Please vote on this gun issue question with USA Today. It will only take a few seconds of your time. Then pass the link on to all the pro gun folks you know. Hopefully these results will be published later this month.. This upcoming year will become critical for gun owners with the Supreme Court accepting the District of Columbia case against the right for individuals to bear arms.

First - vote on this one. Second - send it to other folks and ask them to VOTE! - then we will see if the results get published. Vote in the USA Today poll - click on the link below. The Question is: Does the Second Amendment give individuals the right to bear arms ?


In all seriousness, both of the emails were real and the senders names remain private property, theirs. But, if we are not vigilant, private property and privacy may well go the way of small gubmint and fiscally sane policy. Shortly thereafter we may also lose out on the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Oh wow. The Republicans and the CIA have taken off the gloves and are going after House Speaker Madame Nancy Pelosi. Heh. Could not have happened to a nicer lady at that. Who says equal rights are not here and now?

If I sound gleeful it's because I have been saying for as long as I have been blogging that all pols are corrupt to some degree. All pols lie like a dog in sunshine. Anyone who is a realist instead of a partisan understands and tempers their political view with that.

Madame Speaker hath been speaking with a forked tongue concerning the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA. She was vocal, public, and vicious. She wanted to publicly charge and then try officials from the previous administration who allowed, condoned, authorized, or rationalized these techniques.

Now the story is out that she was well aware of not just generalities but of specifics going back to 2002. Of course she has said "uh uh, not me, I didn't know" in about fifty different dialects of polspeak (aka CYA). But, rather than keep secrets, the CIA is leaking them on the good speaker. Former Speaker of the House Gingrich chimed in his two bits by ripping off a bloody bit of Madame Speakers hide as well.

"I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said.

He continued: "I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I've seen in my lifetime."

"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowist of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior."

"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses,” Gingrich said. “The fact is she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth.”

Once again, the way to catch a pol in a lie is to watch their lips. If they move, you got em.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Newsbytes for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a minor Mexican holiday that has caught on big here in the USA. There is other stuff going on in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Let's take a fast look, and then go whack a pinata or two.

The Almighty Fed in the form of Mr. Obama has pretty much decreed that business in the USA will run on the Chicagoland model. In a recent speech, Mr. Obama decided that paying higher taxes was the price to avoid villification if you were a corporation that earned money overseas. Now, I ask you; Why should anyone pay taxes on income earned outside the country that doesn't make it into the country?

In his speech, he talked about "dodging responsibilities while ordinary Americans pick up the slack". I have a question for him, his dunderheaded advisors, and the average guy that is also paying taxes. Does anyone really think that raising taxes is going to stop avoidance or evasion? Keep Reading Please. It gets better from here.

In that same press conference I think it was Treasury Secretary Tim (Avoid the Taxman) Geithner who talked about adding five or six hundred IRS agents to the payroll. That's just what we need, more government employees in an agency that could be cut down to a minor office within the Treasury Department if the Congress had a lick of sense.

For those folks who just haven't gotten it yet.... If the USA switched to the Fairtax we would be far better off. There is no avoidance. You pay your tax at the point of sale or service. No loop holes. No more public embarrassment for our officials who have to stumble through confirmation hearings trying to explain their own tax problems away. But, the Realists among us know that our Congress and the White House owe too many of their handlers favors that can only be repaid by ravaging the tax code.

And, to add further insult to injury, the people who are "picking up the slack" according to Mr. Obama are being set up to hang by that rope next April 15. You see, the government is overpaying some people the "make work pay" tax credit.

If you:
  • Are Married and both you and your spouse work -or-
  • You personally work two jobs (In today's economy how many fall into that category?) -or-
  • Are a Retiree having taxes withheld from your pension payments -or-
  • Social Security Recipients with jobs providing taxable income

There is a really good chance that you will be "overpaid" by hundreds of dollars thanks to flawed withholding tables introduced by the above mentioned "tax credit". So, look for a lower refund next year or having to pay. I personally fall into the first three of the four groups. How do you fit in?

All this can be found here. And from that source two major quotes just jump right out and slap me in the face.

The Internal Revenue Service acknowledges problems with the withholding tables but has done little to warn average taxpayers.

Obama has touted the tax credit as one of the big achievements of his first 100 days in office, boasting that 95 percent of working families will qualify in 2009 and 2010.

The message I get from the above is that the IRS, at Mr. Obama's order, knowingly rushed to implement these flawed withholding tables. They are aware of the problem and are not making an attempt to warn people about it let alone actually correct it.

Thanks Mr. Obama. This is truly change I can believe in.