Friday, July 27, 2012

Not quitting, just re-directing my efforts

I want to thank those who have been reading this blog.  I hope its contents have pointed you toward sources that amuse, inspire, or provoke thought.  Due to several factors, I must reluctantly conclude the blog now.  I had intended to continue daily until the election, but the process of researching and compiling this blog convinced me that my efforts are better spent elsewhere.  I hope many of you will join me in volunteering to help at the local Republican campaign office.  But that’s not the true reason I am discontinuing the blog.

Primarily, I have become increasingly aware that the copyright issues surrounding online sharing are complex and often difficult to define.  A lot of it is gray area, and being a conservative, I tend to err on the side of caution.  My intent from the start has been to highlight (not steal) the work of others, and introduce that work to potential readers or viewers.  The last thing I want to do is utilize the work of others in a way that is unethical. Although I’ve tried to be very attentive to securing permission (explicit or implied) for everything I’ve posted, I’ve recently come across too many conflicting opinions that cast doubt on whether it’s possible to be completely safe posting anything other than one’s own words or pictures.

In addition, I have become happily aware that there are already far more people than I realized who are doing what I set out to do, and most of these people have blogs that are far superior to mine.  I have listed here several that I can recommend with enthusiasm; many of these also have extensive lists of other blogs that are equally worthwhile.  I hope you will visit these sites as often as possible, and stay engaged in the political process this year. 

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that what happens in this election will have long term consequences we cannot now imagine.  In my opinion, conservative political activism has never been more needed.  Unfortunately, liberals tend toward activism more than conservatives, and the ever-increasing number of people who depend on various forms of financial support from the government may be more highly motivated to campaign.  Not to mention that most conservatives are too busy working jobs, attending to family needs and otherwise taking care of business to be doing the hard work required to get the vote out.  But I hope the urgent need for action is becoming obvious even to conservatives, who rightly tend to mind their own business.  Recent polls suggest that we have good reason to hope for change WE can believe in this November. 

I want to close with some inspiring words passed along to me recently by one of our son’s cardiologists:

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations...

Thanks again for reading – and check out these great sites, along with other links recommended by them: 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why recovery starts with voting Republican

Contrary to what you may have heard Democrats saying, Republicans have a lot of good ideas about how to dig out of the hole our country is in.

Arthur Brooks de-bunks five myths about free enterprise

“The 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be a battle of two economic philosophies. One favors a greater redistributive and regulatory role for the government; the other prioritizes the values of free enterprise, including private property, individual liberty and limited government…In a society that rewards initiative and offers opportunity, free enterprise fosters aspiration and ambition. In a social democracy with economic stagnation, you find envy, resentment, unrest — just look at Greece and Spain…”  Read more here

Cal Thomas on the Stossel solution

“Why does inefficient, costly and unresponsive government continue to grow while the people and companies that could do the work much better are regulated and taxed to death?... Refer to Stossel's previous answer about government: ‘They want their tentacles on everything.’ They're about power…Instead of focusing on the familiar talking points from politicians, John Stossel's program repeatedly demonstrates that the way to a healthier economy and a stronger government is through the private sector, not government.” Read more here

Stephen F. Hayes on Paul Ryan’s “bracing message” about the solution to our country’s fiscal crisis

“Ryan’s presentation is compelling and easy to understand. He begins with a description of the coming debt crisis, briefly describes Barack Obama’s failure to address it, and then moves quickly to the five principles of his budget proposal…Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis. We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly. And that is exactly what Republicans pledge to do. Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified—especially when it comes to spending. So hold all of us accountable…”   Read more here

After veering sharply to the left for three years, isn't it time to try a right turn?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Under Obama, the U. S. economy continues to decline

Recent reports underscore the economic failures of the Obama administration

State and local governments, already struggling, are further harmed by shrinking federal funding

Christopher Rugaber of the Associated Press:  “U.S. states face long-term budget burdens that are already limiting their ability to pay for basic services such as law enforcement, local schools and transportation, a report released Tuesday said.  Aging populations and rising health care costs are inflating Medicaid and pension expenses. At the same time, revenue from sales and gas taxes is shrinking. And grants from the federal government, which provide about a third of state revenue, are likely to shrink, the report said.  Those challenges are made worse by a lack of planning by many states and the repeated use of one-time accounting gimmicks to cut costs, the report added.”

Bernanke is not optimistic

Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press:  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sketched a bleak picture of the U.S. economy Tuesday — and warned it will darken further if Congress doesn’t reach agreement soon to avert a budget crisis…The economy’s challenges go beyond the budget impasse, Bernanke said. Lawmakers must also produce a long-term plan to shrink federal budget deficits. Otherwise, he said the United States could eventually suffer a financial crisis marked by rising interest rates. Consumers and businesses would have to pay more for mortgages and many other kinds of loans.  ‘It would be very costly to our economy,’ Bernanke said.” 

Raising taxes won’t fix the problem 

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:  “…the Census Bureau and the International Monetary Fund both announced different signs of a weakening economy. Retail sales, the government's measure of consumer spending, declined in June for the third month in a row by 0.5 percent. Economists had forecast an increase of 0.2 percent. And the IMF revised its global growth forecast for 2013 down to 3.9 percent from its previous forecast of 4.1 percent… A tax increase, whether it takes effect in 2013 or 2014, would be the wrong way to help America recover from the recession, because higher taxes would further harm our slow rate of economic growth. They could tip the U.S. economy into another recession and discourage employers from hiring.” 

Four years ago, Obama had no economic track record. Now, unfortunately, he has one, and we continue to pay for giving him the opportunity. 

Are we smart enough to connect the dots?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Democrats want us to forget

It’s pretty obvious why Democrats want to avoid discussing the past three years, but their problems with history go back farther than that.

Bryan Jacoutot reminds us of why we don’t hear a lot about Obama’s pre-White-House days, and why Obama is foolish to bring up the past.

“The President appears intent on focusing attention away from his record in the Oval Office, and on to Romney’s past. But both candidates have a past…” Read more here

But the President isn’t the only Democrat who would like us to forget about the past 

Some members of the Cherokee Nation would like us to remember Elizabeth Warren’s past, and how she benefited from claiming Cherokee ancestry.  Then consider her indifference to the ongoing history of the REAL Cherokees.  Read more here and watch their video here

In fact, there’s quite a lot of history to be ashamed of in the Democrat party 

Kevin Williamson offers a detailed discussion of historical arguments against the popular notion that Democrats are the party of civil rights.  “…the Democrats have been allowed to rhetorically bury their Bull Connors, their longstanding affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, and their pitiless opposition to practically every major piece of civil-rights legislation for a century. Republicans may not be able to make significant inroads among black voters in the coming elections, but they would do well to demolish this myth nonetheless… Indeed, Democrats who argue that the best policies for black Americans are those that are soft on crime and generous with welfare are engaged in much the same sort of cynical racial calculation President Johnson was practicing when he informed skeptical southern governors that his plan for the Great Society was ‘to have them n***ers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.’  Johnson’s crude racism is, happily, largely a relic of the past, but his strategy endures…”  Read more here  

The past three years offer ample reasons why Democrats don’t deserve your vote in 2012, but if you want more, try going back a bit farther than that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Known by the company he keeps?

From the Democrat camp, increasing indications of desperation

John Hinderaker on the pathetic antics of MoveOn & company

So, what if the Left gave a party and no one came? That is pretty much what happened…The usual hatefulness was on display as liberals spewed their venom on the #kochparty [Twitter] feed…In normal times, one would expect a mainstream political party to distance itself from self-described terrorists like Andy Stepanian and raw anti-Semites like “OccupyGay.” But these are not ordinary times…Are smears against law-abiding Americans who have created tens of thousands of jobs coming from a convicted terrorist, or from the President of the United States? It is hard to tell; one is a mouthpiece for the other.”   Read more here

Who was in charge of casting for Obama's Ohio tour?

“An Ohio man who says he once lost his job and introduced President Barack Obama at a rally on Friday had been accused of stealing trade secrets by a former boss.  Court records show that Daniel Potkanowicz and a business partner in the Youngstown area were ordered to pay $500,000 to Clearview Window & Door after a judge ruled in 2009 that they had violated trade secrets.  The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown reports that the two partners have not paid back the money.  Potkanowicz told the newspaper that he didn’t want to talk about his past…” 

At least Potkanowicz isn't an official candidate -- check this guy

“A Democratic Party caucus chairman vying to become Missouri’s next secretary of state is a 9/11 Truther who has associated with a radical Muslim cleric and trafficked in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.  MD Rabbi Alam is an Obama campaign ally and Missouri-based Democratic activist who chairs the National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus (NDPAAC)…Read more here and watch an embarrassingly incoherent rant by this candidate here

"I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you." Attributed to Ann Richards who was, not surprisingly, a Democrat

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black conservatives trump the race card with logic

As the Obama campaign rushes to energize minority voters by painting Republicans as racists, let’s hear from some prominent black conservatives on Obama’s record

Mychal Massie:  I refuse to support any candidate whose campaign message consists of what he or she is going to give us. I will only support candidates who tell us that they will work to bring government back in line with the authority of the Constitution… Government under Obama does not have the constitutional authority to force its will on the Catholic Church or any other church. Government under Obama does not have the constitutional authority to use the promise of what they will give and deny as a way to ensure re-election.”  Read more here

Gregory Kane: “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is no longer a civil rights organization… what it is today: at best, an African-American subcommittee of the Democratic National Committee; at worst, a hatchet man for the Democratic Party… Not even President Obama takes the NAACP seriously anymore. That's why he sent Vice President Biden to speak in his stead.  Read more here

 Thomas Sowell:  If class warfare rhetoric about taxes leads to more votes for him, that is his bottom line, whether the government gets a dime more revenue or not. So long as his lies go unchallenged, a second term will be the end result for him and a lasting calamity for the country.” Read more here
For these writers, it’s clearly “content of character” over “color of skin.” 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In the Middle East, are we our own worst enemy?

Obama’s inexperienced blundering has made a bad situation worse

In a lengthy and detailed analysis, the Washington Post explains “where Obama failed” in the Middle East 

For a brief synopsis of the article, read Paul Mirengoff: “That Obama failed is a given.  As the Post puts it: ‘After a year and a half of politically costly pressure on Israel, Obama had nothing to show for it, except far less capital to work with at home and a damaged reputation among the Middle East veterans directly involved.’ Why Obama failed is not difficult to explain. As the Post’s article makes clear, Obama was clueless about the Middle East…Thus has our ‘smartest president’ turned out to be one of our most foolish…”  Read more here

Barry Rubin explains how one-sided media coverage obscures the factors involved in Obama’s failure 

“The bottom line is that there are only two permitted mainstream media positions: Either it is all Israel’s fault or it is simply an issue that is too tough and complex to resolve.” Read more here

We turn our backs on our only reliable ally in the Middle East, in order to gain…what? 

Diana West on the continued exclusion of Israel from the Global Counterterrorism Forum: “The best way to counter terrorism, the Obama administration has decided, is to counter it without Israel…Eleven member-states -- slightly more than one-third of the organization's membership - belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 56 Islamic countries working to impose Islamic law (Sharia) on the world. Six of those 11 members additionally belong to the Arab League. Both groups have defined ‘terrorism’ to exclude Israelis (and sometimes U.S. soldiers) as victims, and ‘terrorists’ to exclude groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah…All we have to do is see things the way the Islamic world does; pretend things like Israel don't exist (just as maps in Arab countries already indicate); and pretend that Islam has no role in the global jihad against Israel and the wider West…Our institutions now see the world from the Islamic perspective; and, as far as the sharks go, we're next.” 

With all the focus on the failed economic policies, are we overlooking other colossal failures?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday humor: Land of the free (ride)

Apparently, the words “free money” have instant credibility if you add “Obama” to the phrase

Thousands of people are using widely circulated, bogus “routing numbers” supposedly provided by Obama to pay for their bills

“A myth that President Obama is giving people money to pay their bills has prompted thousands of people across the country to try to pay for utilities, phone service and loans using bogus bank routing numbers…” Read more here

And after the passage of Obamacare, people were eager to get their free medical goodies

A quick Google search will reveal numerous online inquiries on “Where do I get my free Obamacare?” For one example, read here (be sure to read the lengthy answer provided by “Patriot”) 

And, after a massive outbreak of messages describing an existing government free “lifeline” phone program as the “free Obama phone,” the program “went rogue” and more than doubled its offerings, not bothering with verification of eligibility

“In some instances, the government is handing out multiple phones to the same people. And there’s no national tracking system keeping tabs on who’s enrolled—or whether participants even qualify… The rapid growth means the government is paying out a lot more money—$1.6 billion in 2011, compared with $772 million in 2008. An audit last year found that 269,000 wireless Lifeline subscribers were receiving free phones and monthly service from two or more carriers.”  Read more here

What’s funnier, the rumors themselves, or the fact that thousands of people believe them?  Come to think of it, maybe this stuff really isn’t so funny…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The U. S. economy: a problem of Titanic proportions

On the economic front, there’s bad news, and there’s bad news

Cal Thomas compares our fiscal predicament with the sinking Titanic:

“President Obama's attempt to spin the latest discouraging unemployment numbers as "a step in the right direction" is like telling passengers aboard the Titanic to ignore the sinking vessel and listen to the live music. A Wall Street Journal analysis of the June unemployment figures offers little comfort, nor does it produce confidence that the economy will improve before the election…President Obama has said we "can't afford to go back to the failed policies of the past," implying they didn't work. Those past numbers look a lot better than the ones he's posting…This administration has put America on a path to socialism. It's for Romney to make the case that the administration's "medicine" is actually killing us.” Read more here

The facts say Thomas isn’t exaggerating.  Associated press reporter Christopher Rugaber points out that U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years
“U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, adding to signs that economic growth is weakening…The slowdown comes as U.S. employers have scaled back hiring, consumers have turned more cautious, Europe faces a recession and manufacturing has slowed in big countries like China.  ‘This is not good,’ said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at BTIG, an institutional brokerage.” Read more here
And wages have dropped for only the 5th time IN 33 YEARS    

 “Unemployment ebbs and flows, but one measure of the nation's economic health, average weekly wages, rarely dips. Until now. In the latest demonstration of the struggling economy that threatens President Obama's reelection, average weekly wages fell in 2011, one of only five declines since the category was created in 1978 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics…”  Read more here

Can we really afford four more years of Obama?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The State of the Unions

 Power (back) to the People

It’s becoming clear that organized labor is no longer focused on protecting workers from abuse; it’s now about political power, bought largely with dollars obtained from mandatory union dues

“Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, a finding that shines a light on an aspect of labor's political activity that has often been overlooked.”  Read more here
(WSJ subscribers can access the full article, video, and interactive graph detailing union donations here)
And political recipients of union money are happy to reciprocate 

“…the government could have executed the [auto industry] bailout with no net cost to taxpayers. It could have—had the Administration required the United Auto Workers (UAW) to accept standard bankruptcy concessions instead of granting the union preferential treatment. The extra UAW subsidies cost $26.5 billion—more than the entire foreign aid budget in 2011. The Administration did not need to lose money to keep GM and Chrysler operating. The Detroit auto bailout was, in fact, a UAW bailout.”  Read more here
But voters – including union members – are waking up.  Are unions beginning to collapse?

“The unions realized that if they lost the mandatory dues and collection their membership would fall, and they were right. The Wall Street Journal reported that between March 2011 and February 2012 the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union in Wisconsin lost 45 percent of its dues-paying members. The unions’ failure to recall Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin marks the start of their decline… Many states are implementing bills and advancing efforts to defeat powerful union organizers to empower the workers instead. This is just the beginning; voters have had enough—others will follow.” Read more here

Will Walker’s leadership inspire others to stand up to union bullying? 
If so, Democrats lose big

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stupid Government Tricks, or How to Crash and Burn

As our country rushes toward the fiscal cliff, consider the following

Government officials don’t appear to understand how to apply basic mathematics to budgeting 

From a Wall Street Journal article on the recent bankruptcy of Stockton, CA: debt financing is not the city’s main cost driver. That would be labor costs, specifically retirement benefits. The city has a little over $300 million in general-fund backed debt, but an $800 million unfunded liability for pensions and retiree health benefits…Pension costs are about 40% of what the city pays on worker salaries and are also growing. The average firefighter costs the city about $157,000 a year in pay and benefits and can retire at age 50 with a pension equal to 90% of his highest year’s salary plus nearly free lifetime health benefits.” Read more here WSJ subscribers access full article here

Government employees make billions of dollars in mistakes, with most of that cash never recovered 

“Overpayments are a rampant problem in the unemployment insurance system. The federal government and states overpaid an estimated $14 billion in benefits in fiscal 2011, or roughly 11% of all the jobless benefits paid out, according to reports from the U.S. Labor Department…The Labor Department estimates that roughly half of its overpayments are recoverable, but falls far short of recouping that much. Historically, only about a quarter of the estimated ‘recoverable’ overpayments have actually been recovered, said Gay Gilbert, administrator in the Labor Department's Office of Unemployment Insurance.” Read more here

And some elected officials think that banning the use of food stamps to pay for tattoos and porn constitutes “humiliating poor people”
“Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has vetoed the state legislature’s attempt to ban the use of EBT cards — or food stamps — to purchase items such as tattoos, porn and jewelry… ‘I’m not going to do anything that makes vulnerable people beg for their benefits. This notion of humiliating poor people has got to be separated from how we make a program, and frankly separated and disposed of, from how we make a program work and work well,’ Patrick said…”   Read more here

Maybe we should concentrate instead on using our votes to humiliate the elected federal employees who allow such nonsense to continue

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Turns out it's not easy being green


With three wars and a slashed defense budget, does our Navy really need fuel that costs 7 times more? 

“Republican lawmakers have seized on the fuel’s $26-a-gallon price, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel…as a waste of precious funds at a time when the U.S. government’s budget remains severely strained, the Pentagon is facing cuts and energy companies are finding big quantities of oil and gas in the United States.”  Read more here

At least that green fuel actually exists.  That’s more than can be said for this EPA-required substance

“Federal regulations can be maddening, but none more so than a current one that demands oil refiners use millions of gallons of a substance, cellulosic ethanol, that does not exist. ‘As ludicrous as that sounds, it's fact,’ says Charles Drevna, who represents refiners. ‘If it weren't so frustrating and infuriating, it would be comical.’  Read more here

Meanwhile, another green project is in the red

 “Another energy firm backed by the Obama administration appears to be headed toward collapse. This time it’s a Nevada geothermal company that benefited from a $98.5 million federal loan guarantee that’s in the spotlight.”
Read more here

Can anyone think of an Obama-backed green project that’s a success?  Anyone?   Anyone?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Attack of the Clueless, part 2: signs of ignorance

Mid-week humor: more evidence that the Right is right

This sample of film clips gives an interesting window on some of the people we are up against in November... Virginia Chicago

...and in California - where even the mainstream network news couldn't resist showcasing the lack of coherence 

Should we be less afraid...or more?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gambling away our future

Obama’s slogan “Betting on America” only reminds us of what he’s gambled away 

Is this really what recovery looks like? 

“More workers joined the federal government's disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation's jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery." Read more here


Or look at it from a different angle 

“When President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, there were 142,187,000 people employed and 7,442,377 workers taking federal disability payments. That equaled about 1 person taking disability payments for each 19.1 people actually working. In May of this year, there were 142,287,000 people employed, and 8,707,185 workers taking federal disability payments. That equaled 1 worker taking disability payments for each 16.3 people working…”  Read more here

But it gets worse!  It turns out that a third of the few jobs added in June were temporary 

 BLS reported that Business and Professional Services created 47k jobs in June, almost 6-in-10 of the total jobs created. Over half of these, though, 25k, were at temporary employment firms.” Read more here

In November, shouldn't we force the President to cut his our losses and quit while he's behind?  He's betting we won't.