Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notice Anything?

The attack on Mumbai is providing a lot of lessons for a lot of folks. We can only hope that some of them may be learned rather than ignored.

For instance, right at the onset we got reports that the targets were American and British passport holders; tourists and business people visiting the thriving metropolitan economic and cultural center of India. We’re spring-loaded by our own media to believe that everyone in the world hates us. (…because of the failed Bush policies, of course.) Then the bodies started showing up and they weren’t Caucasian. Lesson: terrorists are equal opportunity destroyers. No one is immune.

Then, we have been propagandized to believe that Islam is a peaceful religion and simply because we see a few hundred random examples of horrific terrorist attacks we shouldn’t automatically create a linkage. Oops, these guys are Muslims again! Page through the morning paper and check out what other areas are on fire today. Nigeria? Check. Muslims? Check. How about those pesky pirates? You know those modern day Jack Sparrows in djellabahs and Kalashnikovs. Somali? Check. Muslims? You bet! Anywhere you find, if you read the whole story you will encounter the “peaceful” adherents of the teaching of the Prophet aggressively seeking to apply the latest fatwa to the Infidels. Learn the lesson.

How about this one:

The Fallacy of Expecting Police Action

How many shootings/hostage-takings have we seen the SWAT team arrive in their snazzy black outfits, their cool black boots, their chic knit balaclavas, their fully tricked-out AR-15s, their belts festooned with gadgetry and gimmicks galore, only to cluster behind their vehicles drinking Starbuck’s and making cell phone calls to negotiate. No storming of doors, no room-to-room invasions, no dramatic swoop downs and rescues, nope. What we get is caution and waiting for the shooting to stop from inside the buildings. That, of course, can only mean that the terrorists are either finished with their work, or out of ammunition. But it insures that more people will die.

Lesson: there is only one immediate defense when the defecation hits the oscillating air circulating device in your vicinity. It is what you’ve brought with you and your own willingness to fight for your survival. Hiding, cowering, whimpering and waiting for the arrival of the cavalry is futile.

“Let’s Roll!”

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bargains Galore

I wouldn't leave the house on Black Friday for anything. It's a day to relax and sort of snooze, then sneak into the kitchen for a left-over turkey sandwich with mayo and cranberry sauce on whole wheat. Pair it with a Sam Adams and a good football game for life at its finest.

Yet, a lot of people do. For some reason they are compelled to join the lemmings on a march to the mall. I guess they are the same folks who gather in Times Square on New Year's Eve to be herded, abused, jostled and inconvenienced simply to act like a fool at midnight when a flashing ball of crystal and lights descends a pole. Stupid.

That's why I was dismayed on Friday at mid-day when I saw the emerging reports of death in a crush of shoppers storming a Wal-Mart in New York City, that bastion of culture, refinement and conspicuous boorish behavior. I seriously thought it had to be a hoax and would be retracted by the evening news. It wasn't.

Now the police seek surveillance video:

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The question is, what will they charge these fools with? It can't be murder. Those who may have pushed the victim were long gone by the time anybody got stepped on. Those who stepped on him were propelled by those behind who couldn't know what was happening in front. Those who propelled were apparently caught up in the frenzy which had festered since they set their alarm clocks to get out of bed in the pre-dawn darkness to go on this quest for bargains.

Maybe the charges should be levied at the public at large for fostering this sort of media event. Could someone explain to me what possible product at a Wal-Mart, at any price, could be worth that effort? Chinese-made crap at inflated prices, discounted to still provide a profit and which will ravel, collapse or malfunction within six weeks of Christmas?

And, what ever happened to the very basic concept of Christmas and the holiday spirit?

Can someone tell me?

Friday, November 28, 2008

First Christmas Card Received

Christmas wishes arrived in my inbox already:

The Cache

Hardly a day goes by now when we don’t see headlines about another huge chunk of money coming out of Washington to stabilize a bank, shore up credit, rescue somebody’s bad mortgage investments, save some neer-do-well’s house, or bailout an industry. Each time the number sounds vaguely familiar. Does $700 billion have a constant ring to it? Is it from that singular pot of federal money or is it another huge chunk being added to an exponentially increasing total? Is this $300 billion the same as that $300 billion? Are we dispensing the first, second or third trillion this week?

Has anybody asked where this money comes from? Do the booboisie think that there is some magic room in the basement of the Capitol building that is filled with stacks of million dollar bills? Don’t they realize that the magnitude of these amounts is such that even if there were such a thing as a million dollar bill, there wouldn’t be enough room to fit it in? Do they ever teach kids these days about the hyper-inflation of Weimar Germany with the photo of the little old lady pushing a wheelbarrow full of Reichsmarks down the strasse to the bakerei to buy her family brotchen?

Krauthammer points out the truth of the new economic realities here:

Results of Free Money

It’s scary, but it is totally on target. We have effectively abandoned the whole market relationship of supply and demand, risk and reward. The “invisible hand” that more effectively controls the economic scene has been totally removed from the picture to be replaced by the expedience of social engineering and political favoritism.

When you read Krauthammer’s piece pay attention to his example of Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the auto industry. The powerful senior senator from New York doesn’t care what the market wants in an automobile. He doesn’t consider what the people can pay for their transportation. He doesn’t apparently recognize that in the heartland there are a lot of folks who couldn’t complete their daily commute before their government mandated Volt expends its total charge. The plan he demands for a Detroit auto maker’s bailout totally ignores the market and imposes unrealistic desires in some sort of enviro-whacko’s wet dream.

The simplest and most effective solution to the current economic crisis is not more government regulation. It is laissez faire. It is a return to the belief that the free market works. Let companies choose what products they will build. Let them do their own market research and see if they can offer what the public will buy. Let them negotiate with workers to offer a wage that the workers will deem acceptable and which allows the company to make a profit. Let innovation, risk and creativity be rewarded, not by government handouts, but by market success. Let failures be punished by failure, not rescued by political intervention. If no one needs a buggy whip, let the company go out of business or redirect their efforts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Passed Unnoticed

Without fanfare, she came and apparently will recede back into well deserved oblivion.

Could this be the signal of a return to a higher standard of entertainment and cultural discourse? One can only hope:

You Probably Missed It

Why should the response surprise anyone?

Glider Pilot Victory!

As I put the final touches on the Robin Olds book, "The Name is Olds" I shake my head in wonderment at the incredible scope of his life. Many get one or two achievements in their life that are noteworthy. Robin is one of those individuals who has simply linked exceptional accomplishments continually for fifty years.

Take a look:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama Makes Critical Appointment

We've all been wondering with bated breath (something fishy about that!) what Barak Obama has in line for former President and now co-Secretary of State, Bill Clinton. Apparently in an informal press conference Mr. Obama leaked his intentions. The conversation was apparently quite candid with Mr. Obama acknowledging some things we've all felt.

Clinton Appointment Announced

Yep, you heard it hear first!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Name Is Olds

I've reached the final two weeks in the preparation of Robin Olds' memoir. His daughter Christina has done a remarkable job of sorting, organizing, editing and getting the writings of his life into a coherent readable package. We'll get it to St. Martin's Press, the publisher by the end of the month. It will offer readers an insight into a truly remarkable man's life.

Today, I'm working through a chapter on his F-4 experiences at Ubon during Rolling Thunder. He offers comments on what makes a fighter pilot different and in the process offers a quote from John Gillespie Magee that never seems to grow old.

It triggered memories of my childhood when I'd make a special effort to stay up late enough to watch the TV stations sign off. Some would do it with the national anthem, some with America the Beautiful, and some with a reading of the poem coupled with this video of a beautiful airplane in action:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Break The Windows

Possibly the best song he ever recorded:

If you want the best version he's ever done, find his 2007 release, "At the Movies" with some really great live cuts of his hits.

And here's a little more to feed the hunger:

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Far We've Come

It was the summer of 1968 and the country was on fire, literally. We were having race riots, anti-war riots, draft riots, ban-the-bomb riots and massive unrest for any reason that pops up on a given morning.

One reaction to the race riots was the development of an entire industry within the military called "Race Relations". Every installation got a race relations office and a small staff of suitably disgruntled minority NCO's to conduct a "program." I might have been one of the first to notice that while discrimination based on ethnicity was prohibited both by civil law and military regulations, I never encountered a single caucasian military member staffing any of the offices.

They did two things. They solicited complaints of discrimination. The verb here is important. They didn't accept or record or simply file gripes. They went searching for them. And, they taught mandatory classes on race relations. Everybody had to receive a training course.

We learned that you can't correct a military subordinate for not being clean-shaven if they get a doctor to certify they have pseudofoliculitis; a racially based skin rash caused by the act of shaving. You also can't mention that their hair cut is out of limits, if it is an ethnic style. You can't expect them to stop doing a fifty-five step "dap" greeting of their peers to render a salute. And, we learned a whole lexicon of new words that could be used to offend someone racially.

If you were prejudiced to begin with, it gave you new ammunition for being offensive. If you weren't it made you think that maybe you should be.

Take a look at this corporate experience forty years later and see how far we've come:

Training Day

Probably the most revealing phrase in that well written piece is:

It is not the intent of the alleged harasser, but the impact on the recipient.

You don't have to be prejudiced or mean or insulting or harassing or intimidating to be guilty. It is what the recipient thinks you said even if you didn't say it!

Doesn't that smack of "1984"?

Future Attorney General

It looks like the new administration might very well have Eric Holder running the Justice Department. The fear for many of us regarding an Obama administration has been a reversion to oppressive gun control policies. The position of Attorney General is pivotal in that regard.

That's why this item is so disturbing:

Another Verse Just Like the Other Verse

Mr. Holder's positions have apparently remained consistent over time. One can only hope that the linkages are clearly apparent to the confirmation process and that the loyal opposition is vocal in pointing them out.

Inelastic Markets

My good friend, Billy Beck over at Two-Four pointed to this:

Did you get that pivotal phrase? Did you hear the Congress-critter clearly state that "It's not your money!" when talking about funds that he and his cohorts are dishing out? Where does he get it if not from us?

The bailout of the "U.S. Auto Industry" is most assuredly the most disingenuous misnomer ever applied to a proposal by our government. Stop thinking of it as the US Auto Industry. It isn't! It is about the mismanaged Big Three and the United Auto Workers. The US industry covers a lot more manufacturers who aren't standing in line outside their corporate jets asking for a rescue package that would merely be a holding action against disaster. There are a lot of factories, design shops, suppliers and dealers that aren't part of the Big Three.

Let's start with some basics. People need cars. They will for the foreseeable future. Cars are a consumable commodity. They age and wear out. They must be replaced. Collapse of the Big Three wouldn't change that. People would still require cars and other companies with better designs, better management and better cost controls would supply them.

I worked for a short period in the aerospace defense industry. It is an example of another inelastic market. The military needs equipment and will buy it inevitably. Workers in the defense industry are always just one contract decision away from being out of a job. Lose the competitive bidding process and your company won't be ramping up for full-scale production. Does that create huge economic turmoil? Not at all.

Have a conversation with some folks on the production line, in the design shop, upstairs in the marketing department, or in the top management offices. You quickly find that they've moved back and forth between major manufacturers following the contracts. Ditto for their suppliers.

That is exactly what would happen in the auto industry. Are you experienced in automobile design, production, sales, repair, parts supply? Then you'll have a job with another company doing the same thing but maybe at a different site.

People will continue to need cars even if GM, Ford and Chrysler are simply fading lights in industrial history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Memories of World Travels

When you spend nine or ten years of your young adult life in various questionable places around the world, you develop the ability to identify with this song:

Credit Where It's Due

From a letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News today:

Recently, I filled my tank at $1.91 a gallon.
It's interesting that prices have plummeted just when the pro-oil George W. Bush-Dick Cheney administration is exiting, car sales are in the dump, the government is reassessing the automotive industry and a new Democratic administration has promised a renewed effort to develop alternative fuels. Quite a coincidence, don't you think?

Got that? In June the price of gas in our area was $4.20/gallon. Now it's about $1.95. It's been falling for six months in concert with the price of crude oil which has dropped from $147/bbl to about $55.

Is that because of supply and demand? You know, that ol' Adam Smith thing where people use less and supply is too high so the prices respond.

No, according to that twit it is the mere anticipation that the Messiah will do something. When the prices started downward, there was no economic crisis and Obama had just barely gained his party nomination. The probability of his election was a coin toss. Now, just two weeks after election and a full two months before he is able to make one presidential decision he gets full credit.

I despair for the future of the republic. With this level of ignorance it can't be long before the barbarians storm the deteriorating gates.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Important Assets

The trivia rather than the issues drove the last couple of years of 24/7 campaigning. We didn't get policy alternatives we got questions of how many houses you own, what your wardrobe cost, who your nanny was, where you were during the cultural revolution and whether or not Joe the Plumber is licensed to practice.

Now, that bastion of liberal e-journalism offers this penetrating piece:

Setting a Journalistic Low

The puns that can be generated from that simply overwhelm me. I apologize for the pun pair before the link. But, can you read through the piece (sorry again) and get to the last paragraph when the writer says, "the jig is up" without reflexively thinking that is a racist comment?

Really, how low can we go here?

Flim-Flam Man

We said repeatedly during the campaign that Barak Obama was an empty suit. He had a sparse resume, questionable associations and couldn’t speak without a teleprompter. He was well packaged, well managed and willing to promise the great unwashed an unending bacchanal of bread and circuses. There was little questioning of exactly how that could be accomplished within any reasonable fiscal constraint. The voters simply wanted “change.”

Along the way the candidate very successfully painted John McCain as “Bush III,” a continuation of the “failed Bush policies” of the last eight years. Anyone who has watched John McCain over his many years in Washington and particularly during the eight years of the Bush administration would know that was a ludicrous connection. Sen. McCain had bucked Bush on tax cuts without matching spending reductions. He had argued extensively and correctly for a revised Iraq policy. He had virtually leaped across party lines for a comprehensive immigration reform policy that was arguably a “bridge too far.” He had even offended his own party hard core with his quixotic quest for campaign finance reform. John McCain was many things, but he certainly wasn’t a clone of George W. Bush. Regardless, the Morlocks of the electorate sucked up the pabulum and accepted the unfounded assertion.

Now, he awaits coronation. He builds an administration. He names people for responsible positions in the Obamanation. He undeniably has neither the experience nor the connections among respected statesmen to choose from his own cadre. He simply hasn’t been there long enough. So, we’ve got Rahm Emmanuel and John Podesta as the first names released. Now we’re hearing strong rumors of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The fact that we are getting Clinton III and this isn’t change from the old, business-as-usual Washington in-crowd seems to be escaping the media and the masses. Bill must be laughing himself silly in the Playboy Mansion Long Island branch.

If Obama lacked qualification to be president, then how does Sen. Clinton have any credentials to be SecState? Does she have diplomatic experience? Has she studied international relations and foreign policy? Has she been in the United Nations delegation? An ambassador? She is a civil law attorney with a background of questionable dealings. She is a former first lady who has hosted a lot of White House social activities. She is a one-term senator. She is arguably famous now, but she isn’t qualified by any objective measurement.

It was clear when she “graciously” withdrew after recognizing that victory was impossible and her debts were becoming insurmountable that there had been a meeting and an agreement. The godfather had made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. I honestly thought it was a Supreme Court seat, but in retrospect recognize that she and Bill aren’t into delayed gratification. There’s no telling how long it would take the Clintonistas to engineer a death on the court. So, SecState is about as good as it gets, especially for someone who “abhors the military.”

Which brings up SecDef. The buzz is that the Messiah will be asking Bob Gates to stay on at Defense. You know the old dictum about not changing horses in mid-stream. We do have some wars on and consistency is good, at least until the dismantling can begin. But how long will it take for the public to notice that what is being delivered is “continuation of the failed Bush policies” on Iraq?

We are seeing the practice of telling the voters whatever it takes to get elected and then governing without reference to the promises made taken to a new level. This will set campaigns for the future a low-level target that it may be impossible to undercut.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Death of the Free Market

I start with a disclaimer. I've disliked American cars since the mid-70s. That's when they gave me a speedometer that only went to 85 even though the car would go much faster than that on the autobahns of Germany. I never knew how fast I was going. Any my catalytic converter was unsuitable for leaded gas in Europe, and I had to have the constrictor removed from the fuel filler so I could put the pump nozzle into the tank. The real issue was the lack of quality and dependability. They simply sucked.

I gave them one more chance in 1983 with an S-10 Blazer. It sucked as well. So, I bought cars from non-Big-Three automakers. They ran well, performed incredibly, never left me stranded and I loved them. Now those companies prevail in the market and most of them are (drum roll please!) MADE IN THE USA.

That's why I've got no sympathy for Detroit. They knelt in obeisance to the unions and paid outrageous wages to unskilled workers. The product reflects the lack of commitment of the protected union member and the bloated edifice of the corporate headquarters of the Big Three demonstrates the lack of concern for any sort of economies on behalf of management. The choice of consumers in the marketplace speaks for itself.

Read what Krauthammer says about the proposed bailout:

Unintended or Intended Consequences

The New Speak of American Politics keeps referring to it as a "bailout of the US auto industry" but that isn't it at all. The US auto industry is a lot more than the Big Three. Many other marques have factories, buy commodities and employ hundreds of thousands of US workers. It is a bailout of the supporters of the left. It is a bailout of unions and their heavy-handed coercive labor policies. It is a reward for the corrupt state and local politics of states in drastic decline of socialist governments like Michigan. And, it is an unconstitutional interference in the free market competition of auto makers.

It should not happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hum Along If You Wish

Probably not as memorable as a lot of hip-hop:

George and Ringo got sucked into backing up a Stones hit.

Loaves and Fishes

Remember the bible story about the loaves and fishes? Jesus preached all day and the folks got hungry. Sort of reminds me of a Lyle Lovett song.


Essentially the story boils down to a miracle involving a couple of fishes and some bread feeding a throng without any shortage. Until now we thought it was miraculous. Now, we’ve got it actually occurring before our very eyes. I speak of the magic of the federal mortgage bailout. This time around, we’ve got a lot bigger crowd. Jesus never gathered 300 million seeking a freebie. It takes the US government to do that.

Remember last month? Immediate action was required. Congress moved quickly with a $700 billion bailout for the sub-prime mortgage shysters. It was really $850B before it got out of the butcher shop, but that’s chump change when it comes to miracles. The miracle seemed to be that the knuckle draggers of Capitol Hill could act within less than six months. Hardly! The miracle has taken a bit longer to unfold but the scope is much broader.

What are we getting for that pie? Well, here’s how it’s evolving:

Go Back to Bed, We're with AIG

Our Unions Are Hungry for Lousy Cars

We're Number Two

Don't Leave Home Without Some

Collie Fornia Too

See how that works? You create a large pool of magic money. No one associates it with taxpayers or real people working. It simply is a miracle. It is so huge that average people can’t even begin to comprehend its magnitude. Then you start doling it out. The line to get some grows. Everyone is justified because that’s “fair,” isn’t it? If you save one company why can’t you save my pet interest? We want to live in a risk free society with reward only and no penalties for failure. That’s justice, isn’t it? Somewhere along the way there are going to be a lot of individuals whose mortgages get bought up and their debts forgiven. Gotta love it!

Now we’ve got Treasury Secretary Paulson with a checkbook and really very little regulatory oversight. He begins distributing loaves and fishes. You can rest assured that everyone will get fed and the pie will always have another slice for the next hungry mouth. Paulson’s no piker. This ain’t light lunch. This is a full blown banquet.

Remember Everett Dirksen? Maybe you’ve got to be really old like me and possibly you’ve got to come from Illinois. He’s US Senator who had the great deep voice so suited to brilliant oratory and whose most memorable pronouncement seems to have been, “A billion here, a billion there…pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

And you thought God was the only one who could work miracles!

Collapse of the MSM

Yesterday over at Two-Four, Billy Beck had an item about the impending financial collapse of the New York Times. Remember them? They used to be the unquestioned first source for news in America. They were the "Gray Lady" who set the standard of objective reporting. Then they succumbed to the dark side. The result?

Out of Cash

Apparently there are only so many times that you can fabricate the news to fit your agenda before even the American public will stop believing you. For younger readers, the old story of the boy who cried wolf might be applicable. For older ones, the military adage about one "aw shit" erasing a thousand "attaboys" is relevant. The NYT is several thousand attaboys in arrears.

Today we've got this item about the naivete of major news outlet MSNBC:

Why They Are Failing

Is it even for a second credible to believe that someone who could rise to be governor of a large, developing state might be so ignorant in the first place? Maybe from the rarified superiority of New York City that might be the view of the rest of use rubes, but it simply ain't likely. That's why it is so pathetic that they would rush the item to air without question.

The real question is why can't the MSM get over Sarah Palin? Why must they continue to chip with whatever dull tool they can find? Might it be that she is someone with so much potential for revitalizing the nearly defunct Republican Party that she simply scares the hell out of them?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Day

A few years ago I asked a class on this date what day it was. The answers astonished. Some said it was Tuesday. Some said it was November 11th. None knew that it was Veteran's Day.

I asked if the had ever heard of Armistice Day. None had. I asked if they knew of the end of the "War to End All Wars." None had. I asked if they knew what war that might have been. One volunteered "Vietnam." Another thought maybe Korea. I explained the significance.


Belated Happy Birthday Wishes

Yesterday was the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Established November 10, 1776 in Tun Tavern. Still looking pretty good:

Hand Salute! Semper Fi!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What "What the Captain Means" Means

For those who weren't in the business and might wonder what the title of a couple of pieces might signify:

What the Captain Means

Remember the rhetoric? He was from outside the Beltway, although quite deeply inside the Chicago Machine. He was a breath of fresh air; a change from politics as usual; the new visions of folks not deeply enmeshed in the nasty side of Washington.

That's why it was so strange and surprisingly unremarked upon, when the Messiah chose Joe Biden as his running mate. Not much change with a guy who snagged a carpet-bagger seat in the Senate 32 years ago and has been there ever since. No, but maybe that was an aberration. Change we could believe in was coming.

So, for Chief of Staff we've got Rahm Emmanuel. Remember him? A close Clinton confidant whose reward for loyal service as black bag hit-man was a safe seat in Congress. OK, maybe just a fluke. Change is really what it's about.

Oops, John Podesta on the White House staff? Remember him from the Clinton years? How about the others in the show-and-tell lineup at the "press conference" the other day? Paul Volker? Not a new face. Robert Reich? Still not a change. And, how about the potential of John Kerry at State?

Now there's this breaking news for Attorney General:

Winds of Change

Remember her from Clinton? I feel more secure already.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saw the Fork, Took It, Got Lost

Viewers of recent history wouldn’t have trouble acknowledging that Ronald Reagan forged a grand coalition of conservatism which capture the pride of the American people and swept the Republican Party into power. On the crest of the wave of free-market economic proponents, patriotic defense advocates, and ethical American families, he took the presidency and recaptured the Congress with what looked like a fundamental shift in the political landscape.

The belief that successful business of all sizes, big and small, creates wealth, jobs, stability, growth and quality of life benefiting everyone wasn’t a tough sell. The concept of America as a golden city on a hill which was worth defending didn’t take much effort either. It wasn’t colonial expansion but rather a role-model and inspiration for the rest of the world. The renewal of a moral society which could be proud of raising children, going to church, and comfortable with what is right rather than that which is crude and base empowered a previously silent majority. Who could argue against any of it?

What then happened? Where did they go wrong? Why does it appear that conservatives have lost their way?

They simply went to Washington and forgot who they were. Maybe they weren’t who they said they were in the first place. Maybe they simply told us they were different from the politicians we had been watching before but they really weren’t. What do they need to do to regain credibility with the electorate? Or, is it too late?

Walk the walk: When you run as a moral and ethical individual standing for what is good in America you actually have to live your life in accordance with those principles. You can’t send raunchy emails to Congressional pages, solicit sex in airport bathrooms or cavort with a series of long-legged, beautiful secretaries and lobbyists while the loyal wife stays home in the district taking care of the kids. Keep your libido in check for the duration.

Live within OUR means: Embrace the principles of fiscal conservatism. Learn exactly how the Laffer curve works and then apply that knowledge to your legislative behavior. You know that the people demand that government give them everything, but your ideology says that they don’t NEED everything. Set priorities and defend them. Don’t cave in to the tendency to buy your way into re-election. You will succeed without disbursing favors if you keep taxes low and the economy strong.

Live within YOUR means: You know what a Congressman makes. It is public knowledge. You get a budget to staff your office and you get a lot of perks for your position. You don’t need to let power go to your head and start riding the kickback gravy train. Randy Cunningham knew better, but he began to think he could get away with it. He’s now in federal prison. Ted Stevens knew better, but he became too arrogant to remember his duty and now he’s a convicted felon facing the same federal room and board as Duke. The public will reward your honesty with tenure. When you leave office your future financial well-being will be assured and you will look in the mirror and know you kept the public trust.

Get a backbone: Stand up for what is right. Learn what is important and what is fluff. Resist the pork barrel and wean yourself off of earmarks. Take a look at Rep. Jeb Hensarling or Mike Pence. They are among the few and their seats seems pretty secure these days despite not gorging at the trough. The people appreciate that and the position is defensible.

Stay out of the gutter: Everyone claims they campaign on the issues, but the reality is that everyone gets into the pig fight. The fighter pilot rule is to never wrestle with a pig. You can’t win, you both get muddy and the pig loves it. Give the opposition no dirt (see “walk the walk” above), and they won’t have any mud to throw. What they make up will be obviously false. Establish positions consistent with your conservative principles and present them when you defend your votes. Act as though you are making the decisions to govern a great nation rather than enrich your district and yourself. It’s not that tough and the voters will be refreshed by your behavior.

Raise the lowest, don’t lower the highest: We know the opposition runs on class warfare. They embrace the politics of envy. The rich must be brought down so that the poor can benefit. Conservatism finds nothing wrong with success and should be devoted to making success achievable for those with less. Help the working class aspire to wealth and create the stable, sustainable economic environment that makes that possible. It’s the better way.

Maybe America has deteriorated too far for this to work. I don’t think so. I still believe in the middle class; those people who prepare themselves, who work hard, who raise families and strive for success. They don’t want a handout, they just want the opportunity to be better. They want government to create the situation in which they can do that. Defend the nation, enable business, preserve our infrastructure, and then get out of the way and let the free market show us success.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Al Swearengen on Elections

This comes to me through New Paltz Journal which links to Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online.

I can only hope that the National Republican Committee is watching; that Sarah Palin is watching; that Rudy Guiliani is watching; that Newt Gingrich is watching; that John Boehner is watching; that Mitch McConnell is watching; that even Colin Powell is watching. This should be mandatory viewing for every Republican gathering for the next four years.

I'm Always Ahead

I Told You This Months Ago

I've had mine for several months now and absolutely love it. Wireless, convenient, quick, and despite the initial investment it really is a money saver because the books you get cost a fraction of the hard or soft cover versions.

If you're curious, there's a link on the right side to let you explore what the Kindle does.

Take Inventory

We often assume that the outcome of an election won’t really matter in our daily lives. We have enjoyed the luxury of choosing a pretty face in the horse race and blithely voting for whomever. Deep in our hearts we think that we could stay home or vote our emotions without much concern over whether or not our society would collapse around us. That gradually has changed.

You might offer the historical argument that it changed on August 6th 1945 with a nuclear weapon over Hiroshima. Or, you could say the change took place a few years later when the Soviet Union became a nuclear power and we began to watch the Doomsday Clock. Maybe it was the political turmoil of 1968 erupting in our streets and universities. But, then things quieted and we continued on our slide into antipathy and government by emotion. The video of the World Trade Center collapsing one September morning changed that forever. Now we know that it does make a difference whom we elect. Our future security depends upon it.

Despite that, we have failed to seriously take an inventory of what qualification the winner has for the office. We seem oblivious to what he really plans to do when given the reins of power. We’ve grasped the sound-bites and taken them into our lexicon without applying any analysis or reason. Joseph Goebbels rules. Simply say something, even if it is totally counter to observation, and if you do that often enough, it becomes reality. “New-Speak” of Big Brother’s 1984 is prevalent. Black is white, peace is war, and we believe it unquestioningly.

What is going to happen with regard to taxes under an Obama administration? It is absurd to believe that 95% of the people are going to get a tax cut. It defies simple math to think that government spending can increase by several trillions and it only needs 5% of the people to fund it. What will he REALLY do, now that he’s in office with an obviously leftist Congressional leadership?

What is going to happen in the global war on terror? Sen. Obama has repeatedly denied the efficacy of the surge in Iraq, touting as his greatest achievement his opposition from the start. Regardless of that, his stated policy will be to increase troops in Afghanistan—a surge—to deal with the situation there. How can that work? What happens in Iraq? Can we get someone with maturity in charge who can read the history of the Russian experience in Afghanistan? Can we get someone with a broad world view who relates Middle East stability to a counter-balance for Iran and security for global energy sources? Did I really read in the morning paper that the SecState choice seems to be between John Kerry and Dick Lugar? Ain’t no way even as moderate a Republican as Lugar is going to get that plum seat in the Cabinet.

Does he have a plan for Iran’s threat? How will he do the only thing he suggests, meet with Ahmadinejad, if the president of Iran doesn’t want to meet with him? Will a President Obama defend Israel? Will he do it in the event of an Iranian attack? Why did Jewish voters trust him? How will he strike terrorists in Pakistan, a sovereign nation, when they deny us access? And, what of Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia? Africa anyone? Hugo Chavez doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

How do you reduce our dependency on foreign oil while simultaneously refusing to exploit America’s domestic resources? How do you supply our growing electrical power needs with wind and solar, but not using nuclear energy? No drilling, bankrupting builders of coal-fired generating plants, no nuclear and some sort of diversion of money into an alchemy project to create “new alternative energy sources,” whatever that means.

What are his plans with regard to the environment? I don’t mean feel-good discipline in the US. I mean the overwhelming impact of the two big kids on the global block, India and China. Our contribution is a drop in the polluted bucket compared to those behemoths. Will he notice the broad range of defeat across the country in this election of enviro-whacko proposals? Or, will he continue to cater to the Gore crowd and implement policies that funnel our energy dollars down a non-productive rat-hole?

What sort of an administration can we expect with regard to First Amendment protections when we see the strong arm tactics his campaign employs against those in the media who might actually challenge some of the mindless assertions of his campaign? Are you folks in Orlando comfortable after the Biden/West interview? Is there anything “fair” about the “Fairness Doctrine” which muzzles one side and force-feeds the nation alternative views?

What really is the function of this domestic police/youth/service corps which he intends to create? What is going to happen to a military under an Obama administration which anticipates a 25% manpower cut and denial of new weapons acquisitions? Who defends? Who supplies? Where do the former defense contract employees work? Am I simply too history minded to liken this “domestic security force” which is equally funded, manned and armed with our military to the parallel organizations of Hitler’s brown-shirted SA and black-shirted SS? That’s not an isolated incidence. Consider Spain’s Guardia Civil and military; or Italy’s Carabinieri and military; or even Stalin’s political commissars within the military backed by the NKVD.

What has Sen. Obama ever managed, directed, operated or administered? How many people has he supervised? What size payroll did he budget for? How much profit or loss did his effort generate? What problems did he encounter? How was his leadership instrumental in facilitating “change”? What executive experience does he bring to the office?

Where are his writings? How do you edit the Harvard Law Review without leaving a legacy of work? How do you become a Constitutional Law professor at a major university without a curriculum vitae that includes extensive writings and records of professional presentations? Where are his undergraduate and graduate grades?

Where are his moderate, non-controversial, friends and mentors? We’ve heard about Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Pfleger and Alinsky. Now I want to find some reasonable people. So far Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff doesn’t reassure me on moderation.

We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months. We’ll see what the cabinet looks like. We’ll hear soaring rhetoric in another Leni Riefenstahl “Evening in Nuremburg” event at the inauguration. The real indicators will surface in February when we see what’s on the agenda. What is really going to happen in the first 100 days? Tax cuts? Another “bread & circuses” stimulus disbursement? A socialized medicine healthcare proposal? A summary redeployment from Iraq to Afghanistan? A nationalization of banks and key industries? Defense department budget cuts? A terrorist attack? Gun control legislation? Wage and price controls? An immediate enlargement of the Supreme Court to eliminate the waiting for resignations or deaths before making appointments?

The Chinese Curse is still operative. We live in “interesting times.”

Comes the Spring

So, shoot me. I'm in a rut!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Song For the Moment

Does history repeat itself?

Watch this and judge for yourself. There are remarkable similarities in style, surroundings, policy proposals, staffing and even staging:

Talking the Talk, Never Walking At All

On election day the reports pour in on major news web sites of election fraud accusations across the country. This is yet one more indication that the great experiment in an American republic is crumbling around us. One of the most noteworthy achievements of our founders and an accomplishment which has always separated us from the Third World and nominal democracies elsewhere has been a system of honest, visible elections which were uniformly trusted by the people followed by orderly transition of power.

Certainly there were 19th century examples of local elections that were corrupted and even violent, but the presidential race has seemed above such things. That's a rose-colored glasses view of history I know. The actuality was not quite so pristine.

Yet, today we see the accusations being cast almost as rapidly as the ballots. Its a bad sign.

Part of the cause might be attributed to the Gore/Bush fiasco in 2000 in which the Democrats simply decided to ignore the very clear procedures of the Constitution regarding an Electoral College as governing in favor of their own interpretation that somehow the popular vote made any difference. If you don't like the outcome change the rules, demand a recount, demand a re-vote, re-examine and grade the votes you've got.

The precedent carried forth into this past primary season where we learned watching those same Democrats that if you whine loud enough the rules can be rewritten after the game to change an outcome. Witness the banishment and reinstatement of delegates from Michigan and Florida to the Democratic National Convention. The rules simply are flexible guidelines. Change as needed to fit the most pressing desires.

Now, enliven your election day depression with this summary of what we appear poised to face:

David Limbaugh Observes the Prospect

I've got to go out to the store and buy some whisky and some ammo. Maybe I'll pick up a new gun too...

Monday, November 03, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

This recent video shows typical efforts by ACORN and the Obama campaign to round up last minute voters. The footage was captured in Chicago where Obama supporter, Mayor Richard M. Daley continues to use the same time honored practices his father pioneered in the days of John F. Kennedy. Mayor Daley acknowledged that the techniques have been refined over the years, but the method always brings results.

Similar voter roundups are going on in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The effort will continue right up until polls close. Remember, the next round up isn't until Thursday and that will be too late.

What the Captain Means

Dismantling the message with some pesky facts:

Kool-Aid Party Planned in Grant Park

In a world in which the medium becomes the message and language gets convoluted into meaningless babble which deeply stirs our emotion, we get a critical analysis like this upon occasion:

Thomas Sowell Comments

Just one of many frightening things in our future:

Isn't that special? Free enterprise can do what is needed to meet the market demand, but the Messiah's government will bankrupt them in return. But, we'll get energy independence by doing this sort of thing. Got that? No oil, no coal, no nukes. How in God's name will I be able to heat the cave next winter?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jeffersonian Wisdom

Where's Thomas Jefferson now that we need his sage counsel?

Here's some of it:

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

Sort of puts it in perspective. Or, maybe this:

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

And to remember for the future, maybe a year or two down stream when the "Civilian Security Force" is breaking storefront windows on the main street in town then going house to house to confiscate your guns:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

We would be wise to spend more time in our educational system reading some of the legacy of the Founders. We might be better able to make our voting decisions and less liable to be sucked in by a demagogue.



Thought For the Day

I'm thinking we'll be hearing this a lot in our immediate future.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Brigid Threatens to Publish

Don't look for this on the newstand near you, but if I did see it I'd buy it.

Gotta love a woman who loves guns, shooting, flying, cooking and has a literary and artistic talent on top it all. "Home on the Range" is her blog and it's linked on the right here.


Wingmen build a very special relationship. You endure combat together and you are responsible to each other. You pledge to keep the other guy alive with your support, your skills, your courage, your eyes, your weapons and your dependability. It's a team bonding and the prize is life itself.

Wingmen go to war together, go to the bar together and hopefully go home together when it is over. Here's a web site that brings together a group of wingmen who fought a very difficult battle and returned with honor at the end.

Read what they've got to say:

Wingmen For McCain

I'm honored to know several of the guys who contributed to that page. I trust them and respect them. I hope a majority of Americans do as well this coming week.