Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy Rest In Piece

Senator Edward Kennedy died yesterday. And I didn't blog it. I figured that too many other news sources would be reporting the good senator's death and so also figured that another blog post would simply be lost in the crowd. But today, I have to comment on his death and how it might affect all of us in the united states. For example one has to ask will there be another senator arise to take his place as the “Lion of the Senate”? Or perhaps, is it possible that a conservative politician could step into his shoes? All these realities have to be measured by the Senate and by what's going on to day here in America. Mr. Obama, commented that senator Kennedy was the greatest Senator of this century. I don't know that I agree with that. The reality is that no one can predict exactly how his loss will influence the way the senate conducts their business.

Since the democrats are in power, his loss will not create a vacuum that has to be filled in immediately. But I do foresee that other, more liberal, politicians will step up to take his place and try to use his name and fame to further their own positions.

There will come a time when the Kennedy name is no longer dynastic within American politics and I think today might be the day that starts. In many ways the Kennedy's are considered to be America's first family. Obviously since we don't have a monarchy or a royal family the analogy is not quite apt. But, in my entire life I cannot think of a time that there was not a Kennedy on the national scene and doing things that they believed were the right things to do. So no matter how much I disagree with the good senators policies and procedures, I really do hope that he will rest in peace.


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health Care Debate Still Raging

Depending on who you listen to the health care reform initiative is either dead, on life support, or strong as an ox. Amid charges of socialism there appears to be a huge divide on what Americans want. Some, such as the organization known as CREDO are up in arms that a public option might be off the table. Folks from both sides are accusing the others of lying.

The Reality Check: Any mandatory program that takes your hard earned dollars is theft by government. And, just because it's been done in the past by the income tax and social security doesn't make it right.

Speaking of "doing it in the past doesn't make it right today".... Anyone notice how it was perfectly patriotic when GWB was portrayed like this?

The Associated Press: Rep. Frank lashes out at protester for Nazi remark: "Rep. Frank lashes out at protester for Nazi remark

(AP) – 4 hours ago

DARTMOUTH, Mass. — Rep. Barney Frank lashed out at protester who held a poster depicting President Barack Obama with a Hitler-style mustache during a heated town hall meeting on federal health care reform.

'On what planet do you spend most of your time?' Frank asked the woman, who had stepped up to the podium at a southeastern Massachusetts senior center to ask why Frank supports what she called a Nazi policy.

'Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it,' Frank said.

Frank noted that her ability to deface an image of the president and express her views 'is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated.'"

In another perspective, the President is reaching to religious leaders and deploring the lies and false statements of his opponents. But, take a look at the emphasized text in the next two excerpts. Who is lying?

Obama Calls Health Plan a ‘Moral Obligation’ - "Obama Calls Health Plan a ‘Moral Obligation’

WASHINGTON — President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system."

Obama camp deploys more fake doctors – Could there be other falsification about healthcare reform?: "Obama camp deploys more fake doctors – Could there be other falsification about healthcare reform?
August 19, 6:09 PMPittsburgh Conservative ExaminerJosh Geldrich

First, pediatrician Roxana Mayer turned out not to be a doctor, but actually was an Obama campaign delegate and now a real estate saleswoman claiming to be a physician asks Barney Franks softball questions on healthcare reform.

At a town hall in Massachusetts operated by Representative Barney Frank , Ms. Sheila Levitt of Newton MA, claiming to be a doctor, asked Barney Frank some rather soft-ball questions about the controversial healthcare plan.

Only one problem, Sheila Levitt isn’t registered or listed with the Massachusetts Board of Registration on Medicine."

Reality Check: Both sides are ratcheting up the hysteria factor. Right now, the majority of Republicans are opposing health care reform simply because it is a Democrat program. If both sides wanted to truly reform health care in line with the Constitution, they would start with tort reform and eliminate mandatory participation. In other words, butt out for the most part.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Votes are 68 to 31 to Confirm Sotomayor

Sotomayor is in. We knew it was a sure thing given the majority voting numbers. Now, she is one of the untouchables. What I find interesting is the focus of the media coverage. Take a look at the opening paragraph from this Washington Post Article.
Senate Votes 68 to 31 to Confirm Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court - "The Senate, in a vote laden with history and partisanship, confirmed Sonia Sotomayoron Thursday as the 111th justice and the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court."
Here is what jumps right out at me.
  • At 68-31 it was pretty much a party line vote.
  • The focus is on her race/ethnicity rather than her record.
I don't see this as a win or loss for anyone. She's a liberal replacing a liberal. So, the balance of the court really isn't affected. Hopefully all the racial bs will stop in due course.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

I Want You: To Report Your Fellow Citizens

Here's an excerpt from the letter Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas sent to the President.
I write to express my concern about a new White House program to monitor American citizens' speech opposing your health care policies, and to seek your assurances that this program is being carried out in a manner consistent with the First Amendment and America's tradition of free speech and public discourse.
It goes on to say:
Yesterday, in an official White House release entitled "Facts are Stubborn Things," the White House Director of New Media, Macon Phillips, asserted that there was "a lot of disinformation out there," and encouraged citizens to report "fishy" speech opposing your health care policies to the White House. Phillips specifically targeted private, unpublished, even casual speech, writing that "rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation." Phillips wrote "If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"
Spin it any way you want it comes down to two points.
  • The .gov just asked you to inform on anyone who is opposed to the health care reform as envisioned by Obama.
  • If the Bush admin had done this the opposition would have been howling at the moon.
An excerpt from the official response. Read it all and draw your own conclusions. I will be contacting my Reps and extending Kudos to one and asking the others why they are not howling at the moon. It likely won't do any good, but one can hope right? You need to strongly oppose this on the principle of "It aint none of the governments business".
'Nobody Is Collecting Names': White House Responds to Charge It’s Monitoring Speech of Health Care Reform Opponents - Political Punch: "As ABC News’ Rick Klein was first to report, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was quite taken aback by White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips’s request that if citizens “get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy,” they “send it to'"

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Midweek Review

Here it is the middle of the week already. And, if you string together some of the news stories you can see some trends.
Clinton May Pave Way for Talks With Spotlight on Kim (Update3) - "The success of the former U.S. president in securing the release of reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling eases strains created by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and the regime’s refusal to return to negotiations, former U.S. officials said."
I want to give Former President Clinton props for getting the young ladies out of the NK. I don't think much of his character. And I wasn't a fan of his in office. But, he went in and did what needed doing to bring the women home. I hope they learned from their experience. And I'm really happy for thier families sakes. Good Job Mr. President.

Sotomayor worthy of high court? Senate set to continue debate - "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Debate is scheduled to continue Wednesday to determine whether federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor will become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
If confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would be the nation's first Hispanic on the Supreme Court and it's third woman.
As the Senate considers her nomination, hundreds of supporters of Sotomayor are expected to rally at Upper Senate Park in Washington."
We know that her confirmation is a lock. And I'm glad to see that at least her supporters are getting out there and making noise on her behalf. I'd like to see more dogfighting though. I'm not a fan of mudslinging in general, but the opposition has accepted the inevitable and rolled over. Instead they should go down fighting. Her appointment is so important that a microscope on her judicial career is warranted.

Obama to announce $2.4 billion in electric vehicle grants - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive - "The goal of getting the U.S. solidly back into the race to become the leader in the production of electric cars gets a boost today. President Obama is headed for Indiana this morning where he will announce $2.4 billion in funding for electric vehicle manufacturing.

Of the total, about $400 million of the total will go to buy thousands of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles for demonstration projects. Another $1.5 billion will go to trying to foster an advanced vehicle battery industry in the U.S. And the remainder, about $500 million, will go to makers of electric drive components, power system and the other parts needed to make electric vehicles."

This bugs me. Grants are all well and good from private entities. But not the .gov. I'd far rather see loans instead of grants. At least then there is a chance of getting something back into the treasury. Plus, this program comes from the stimulus which is anti-Constitutional at best. The bottom line is that most Americans won't buy an electric car unless it is sexy. If I were in the Oval Office and just had to satisfy political reality by throwing cash at something related to transportation I'd throw it at mass transit. Less gas guzzlers, and a chance to remove a bit of gridlock as well. Of course, in the perfect world the .gov would obey the letter of the constitution and stay out of it except perhaps in an advisory role.

The Associated Press: 'Clunkers' rebates look likely for another month: "WASHINGTON — The Senate has cleared the way for a vote extending the 'cash-for-clunkers' program, which offers car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 for trading in their gas-guzzlers for new, higher-mileage models, setting aside Republican opposition to the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he had several very good conversations with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and there is 'a significant majority' that wants to move forward with the legislation."
You have to credit the Democrats for being aggressive. As the minority they fight delaying actions that stop, stall, or otherwise try-to-block whatever doesn't fit thier ideology. As the majority, they pay lip service to bipartisanship and then steamroll the opposition. You can't help but respect the folks for playing hardball.

What to do? Call or write the key legislators and let them know that the programs are not in Americas best interests in the long term. In the short term try to convince them that mass transit is more important than privatly owned autos. In this case, Mass Transit isn't only subways and busses in the metro areas. Mass Transit as far out into the suburbs and even fringe rural areas would be good. Mass Transit of Goods within the cities or from city to city would be great.

Thanks for reading, have a good 2nd half. - Phil

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Obama's Middle Class Tax Hike?

I got this in an email this morning. Since I am babysitting my two adorable grand daughters I didn't get to really look into it. Here's the excerpt:
"We should reduce the tax burden on working people. The middle class...needs a government that is working to create jobs and opportunity."

This was President Obama on April 15 reinforcing his pledge to not raise taxes on the middle class, and to focus on job creation.

But on Sunday, Obama's advisors began laying the groundwork for a middle class tax hike that will end up killing more jobs.

Failing to defend President Obama's pledge not to raise middle class taxes, White House economist Larry Summers said "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what." This was echoed by Treasury Secretary Geithner, saying the administration is "going to have to do what it takes" to decrease the deficit.

I guess I will have to admit that my personal makeup causes me to have an automatic gag reflex when the pols begin to speak. If the rest of the McUSA family even notice this, I will be surprised. We'll into more detail after the jump.

The first problem I have is that I don't think it is a function of the feds to create jobs. I think it is the function of the feds to stick to the mission statement of the constitution and get out of my way. I guess I am just approaching old fogey-ism but I think my efforts get me nothing, but my results should be able to garner everything.

On the quote by Summers and Geithner, I am not surprised. Many a great leader has used his or her subordinates to do the dirty work. This tactic is used literally from bedroom to boardroom to briefing rooms in the pentagon and is right at home in the oval office. This allows Mr. Obama to remain above the fray. If he gets called out, then he has several learned advisers whispering into his ear that he can blame.

Folks, any tax is theft. If someone takes your money without your consent and has the ability to enforce the taking with force..... hence theft. But, the government must operate. In order to operate it must have money. It's a vicious circle and there is only one way to break it.

Eliminate all Taxes that are not voluntary or pay per use. Start with all variants of the Income Tax. Enact the Fairtax and if needed a National Property Tax. Keep the gas tax as it is a voluntary pay per use. Heck, even though I oppose the double standard keep the vice taxes as well. The point is that no matter your ideology or political affiliation you, and only you, should decide what taxes you pay. The Vice President might think it's patriotic to pay more taxes. I think it's bunk.

Do these five things and you can help to make a difference.
  1. Join
  2. Join the local fairtax group in your area.
  3. Notify your Member of Congress that (no matter the political ideology) you support a fair, voluntary, inclusive method of taxation. If you want to be a [insert label] that's fine. Labels don't change the reality check that all realists can see: Our income tax is corrupt, broken, bloated beyond measure, and the agency that services it needs to be hauled down a notch.
  4. Notify the members of the House Ways and Means Committee that you want open hearings discussing the pros/cons of the fairtax v. the income tax.
  5. Talk to your friends and neighbors and get them to do it as well.

Fact is that if only you and I do it, it won't get done. But, there is a slim hope that if one in ten Americans do it, it might get done. Right now, I'll settle for might.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Local Blogger Introduces Animal Farm 09

The Motto of my Blog is stated at the top banner and again in the bottom of the posts. Face the Facts, Get Involved, Make a Difference. FTFGIMAD is more than a catch phrase. Your label (lib, con, neolib, neocon, godless commie, pinko-pansy-communist-bedwetter etc) is your personal philosophy or core values. Being a realist means that you actually face the facts as they are (being reality based) and use your core values to try to attempt change. Here is a blog post from a guy in Lubbock Texas (just up the road from me) who professes to be a liberal and isn't afraid to slam the local government and quote a "conservative". Good to go dude.

Unofficial Lubbock Blog!: Fair and balanced...: "Yeah, I'm a 'liberal' but I'm a lot more fair and balanced than Rupert Murdoch's media whores (FOX)-- I'm posting a link to a column written by a CONSERVATIVE because there is too much truth in it to ignore. I've also got to admit that I'm disgusted by the Democratic majority and not very happy with the Obama administration (I hoped for some pure radicalism and I'm getting Bush-Lite). Here is the link:

This is a good read."
This is an excerpt from the link shown above. When you read it, do some comparisons with history. It doesn't matter what label you choose to crown yourself with. The loss of your civil liberties in the name of (fill in the blank) is egregious (that means bad for the 8th grade dropouts) in the extreme (very bad for the 9th grade dropouts).

"Animal Farm - 2009" by James Quinn. FSO Editorial 07/27/2009: "The United States has gradually degenerated from a Republic based on individual liberties to a socialized oligarchy run by an exclusive few. The country was founded upon the platform of individual rights. We declared our independence from Great Britain because of excessive regulation and taxation. Americans fought for the right to live their lives free from the subjugation of an overbearing governmental body. The Founding Fathers declared our independence with these immortal words:"

You're gonna have to read the rest on your own. Remember, Silence is Consent.
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