Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quick Hits - November 8-13, 2012

Everything old is new again....
A new Star Wars movie.

Odd-even gas rationing.

Iran is threatening us, and it’s open season on Americans in the Middle East.

The United States has a president who solves all our problems by making them worse.

What’s next, disco?
Not to mention ugly clothing fashions...

Powder blue tuxedo's anyone?  How about a hybrid AMC Pacer?

Or rather than looking at the nostalgia of the late 1970's, are we looking at the nostalgia of the mid-1990's?  Back in the era when, according to lefty pundits, higher taxes (thanks to the 1993 Clinton tax hikes) led to the economic boom of 1995-1999?

Throughout several of the Sunday talking head shows, we had pundits, when asked about the fiscal cliff being faced on January 1st, bloviate about how the economy soared during the mid to late 1990's when the personal income tax rates were 10% higher then than they are currently.

I'm continuously amazed by the incredible leaps of deductive reasoning and linkages that come from the minds of committed liberal progressives (fascists).  Bill Clinton hikes taxes in 1993 - then the largest tax increase in US history.  Not only does the tax increase not ignite an economic boom (which doesn't start until 1995-96) - but it is a major contributing factor for the 1994 midterm thrashing that the President takes - where he loses control of Congress.

Not until the President decides to 'triangulate' and work with the GOP led Congress - leading to a reduction in capital gains tax rates to stimulate investment - which then was used to fuel the internet boom - did the economy begin to take off.  That take off went on until around 2000 when the internet bubble burst - as the number of good ideas and investments disappeared and all that was left were ideas that had little to offer in terms of a viable business plan other than the word 'internet' or 'eCommerce'.

What is going to be fascinating over the next couple of years will be watching to see if the Republican Party will throw itself off a cliff in an effort to 'learn' from last week's electoral debacle.  My bet is that the GOP will continue to fundamentally misread the tea leaves, fail to learn from history, and spend far too much time listening to the progressive media pundits who clearly do not have the best interests of the GOP at heart with their irresponsible advice.  [They don't even have the country's best interests at heart with their irresponsible advice. Ed.]

In the past several days, we've got conservative bulwarks like William Kristol (Editor Weekly Standard) saying that hiking taxes on the 'wealthy' is not only 'fair', but a good move for conservatives.  Or how about Charles Krauthammer who believes that the GOP needs to adopt support towards an amnesty program is needed in order to gain more Hispanic voting support.  Even the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is busy practicing effective negotiating tactics by telegraphing his willingness to surrender on increased taxes in order to achieve a deal to 'avoid' the unavoidable - a fiscal cliff.

What has become clear from last week's election is that the President, deliberately, made this an election of the party bases - the big government / entitlement society statism social justice fairness protect a women's right to taxpayer funded contraceptives and abortions at all times - and racial divide (African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians vs Old White Guys) against the GOP strategy of needing to change course to avoid an economic collapse smaller government lower taxes capitalism and supporting the private sector.

Since over half of those under the age of thirty don't see anything wrong with socialism / statism - even as Europe begins to implode from their half century of embracing it - combined with the record numbers on food stamps, disability, extended unemployment, and other government programs - is it any wonder that the prediction of Alexis de Tocqueville made in his work, 'Democracy in America':
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
appear to fit so well with the circumstances today.  One can make a cogent argument that with his spending - and $6 trillion in new national debt, Barack Obama bought his re-election.

This is the challenge with the recommendations of the progressive pundits, Kristol, and Krauthammer as to how the GOP has to adjust in order to start winning national elections again.  When one is seeking to compete against 'Santa Claus' - it's a fool's errand to start going down the path to try to out 'Santa Claus' Santa.  It's also a fool's errand to surrender one's principles and try to adopt the principles of one's opponent.

Conservatives are supposed to stand for smaller government, lower taxes, liberty, freedom, individual accountability, capitalism, and the private sector.  We also stand for providing a safety net - a hand up to those who need it in order for them to recover or position themselves to try to advance themselves.  We stand for fairness - but not social justice.  We also stand on the rule of law.

How are we to remain credible if we are willing to surrender these principles in order to chase popularity - when our opposition will not only be more than happy to 'outbid' us with higher taxes, more entitlements, more government, and more division - but be equally pleased to point out our hypocrisy over our principles?

The GOP does have problems - and they match the problems that our nation has.

It's a problem when capitalism and the private sector is seen as the problem - and socialism / statism is not despite what history teaches us about capitalism and socialism / statism....or what we are supposed to be seeing with our own eyes as we look across the pond to France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, etc.

It's also a problem, as Winston Churchill once noted -
“All men are created equal,” says the American Declaration of Independence. “All man shall be kept equal,” say the British Socialist Party.
- and there is no fundamental difference between that British Socialist Party and the modern Democrat Party - except that the new 'equality' is defined in a manner that is based on the perception of equality as opposed to the reality of equality.

It's a problem when we're on a path where >15% real unemployment, trillion dollar annual deficits, sub 3% GDP growth, and 20% plus growth in government entitlements have become the new normal.

The National Review's Jim Geraghty, writing on his Campaign Spot blog, took a hard look at the results from last week's election - and the exit polls.  There were 120,556,000 votes cast in last week's national and local election.  This is out of about 225,000,000 eligible voters...so a little over 100,000,000 people who could legally vote - chose not to vote.  The GOP turnout / participation was down from both the numbers and level of both 2004 and 2008 - roughly 3,000,000 fewer voters in 2012 than in the 'down year' of 2008.

 Now, the Democrat turnout / participation overall was also down from the excitement of 2008 - but among key racial and age demographics, African-Americans, Hispanics, and those under 30 - the turnout was actually above that of 2008.

What we're learning from crunching the numbers from last week is that the decrease in GOP turnout combined with the increase in the above three demographics from 2008 for the Democrats is what delivered the slim victory for Barack Obama.

How slim was this victory?  407,000 more votes for Romney / Ryan in 4 battleground states - and we would be now talking about the formation of a Romney cabinet.  407K votes out of 120.556 million cast.  That's just 0.003% of all of the votes that were cast.  190,000 more votes for Romney / Ryan in 3 other states and they would have gone for the GOP - and we'd be looking at a near inverse of the results from a week ago.

The questions that conservatives need to be asking themselves and their party leadership is why was turnout down so significantly?  Why did the GOP get out to vote effort fail so miserably?

Was it the candidate?  Was it the GOP message and strategy to focus on the dismal economy?  Was it the decision in the latter debates to 'play it safe' and not go all out on attack mode?

While I was not entirely thrilled with the message or strategy of the Romney / Ryan campaign - I think that we are making as big of a mistake focusing on this as the lesson to be learned as we are with embracing the concepts of amnesty, higher taxes, and bigger government entitlements.

But messaging is part of the challenge we face.

What we (conservatives) are unwilling to face / address / acknowledge is the massive impact of the bias of the mainstream media towards defining and affecting the message that is being sent to voter.  This comes from not only what is being reported and focused on - but also what is NOT being reported and focused on.

It also comes from the fundamental lack of real education the majority of the people of this country has - particularly around history, economics, and civics.  We rarely teach critical analysis and reasoning anymore.

Last week, I participated in 'Parent's Shadow Day' at our local high school - attending a day's of classes with my daughter.  One of these classes was AP Euro History - a college level course on European history covering from the Renaissance to the present.  It should be a fascinating class.  But it's not.  Part of this comes from the teacher and his approach towards educating those in his class.  While he has some good ideas towards teaching the course - the bad ideas and laziness towards teaching far outweigh the good.

The class is boring...very boring.  The only real learning comes from the required reading from the textbook - and the requirement of comprehensive notes being taken from the reading.  The notes are graded - which is a good idea - but there is no lecture / discussion / analysis of the topic being covered in class.  What's covered in the class are 'group activities' that result in little learning, little critical thinking or analysis, and little ability to see or understand why some decisions were good or bad.  When speaking to some kids in the class and describing how I would approach those missing aspects - I saw a lot of enthusiasm from the kids.  They wanted to see / learn more about the topics and why decisions were good or bad....and how those lessons could contribute to making better decisions in the present and future.

The other part of the challenge that we face is the big one.  How do we, as conservatives, create and articulate a cogent counter-argument based on our principles that the masses can understand that does not pander to increased racial division, class warfare, 'Santa Clausism' of bigger government, and counters the massive negative campaigning and demonization that was a cornerstone of the Obama 2012 campaign?

We can't depend on the mainstream media to get the message out - and whatever message we conservatives attempt to employ will be attacked and ridiculed.  Yes, a rare 'great communicator' candidate might be able to do this - like Ronald Reagan - but given the differences we face today as opposed to thirty years ago, I have a real concern if Reagan could do any better today than what we saw from Romney / Ryan.

How do we get conservatives to turnout?  There are many flavors of conservatives.  We have fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national security / foreign policy conservatives.  We don't demand and enforce the ideological purity of the Democrat's - nor should we ever.  We are the one's who believe in real 'fairness' and real 'tolerance' - who can agree to disagree on some issues while focusing on the big priorities.  There is already one party of dogma - if the GOP can avoid becoming another party of dogma, then we can try to build a coalition to oppose the progressive agenda.

We lost last week because 3 million Republicans didn't see the need to vote - or the importance to cast their vote.  They put their dogma (or apathy) before the needs and interests of the country.  Perhaps they have decided to become takers - that they are 'entitled' or 'due'.  Or perhaps they decided to spite themselves and the country because of a lack of ideological purity from Romney / Ryan.

Either way - the dies's been cast and the Rubicon has been crossed.

We now have the co-chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Patty Murray (Progressive fascists-WA), saying that taking the country over the fiscal cliff on January 1 might be a good thing - that the resulting crisis / catastrophe will help the liberal fascists get more of their agenda adopted.  [Yes, never let a crisis go to waste - and if there isn't a sufficient crisis, create one.  The other guys, courtesy of the MSM, will get the blame.]


We are nearly 2 weeks from the crisis / disaster in the NJ / NYC metropolitan area known as Hurricane Sandy.  Are you appalled with the progress or lack thereof regarding assisting the millions affected by this natural catastrophe?  I recall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina the drumbeat of stories about New Orleans and the 9th Ward - the thinly veiled accusations of racism affecting the relief efforts - the attacks on the President over the ineffectiveness of the federal government to provide assistance and relief.  The stories of ridicule towards President Bush and FEMA Director Brown - 'You're doing a good job, Brownie'.

Then I look at other natural disasters outside of the United States.  The devastation around the Christmas Tsunami in the Indian Ocean which killed over a quarter of million.  The devastation of Haiti and Port au Prince after the massive earthquake.

Am I mistaken - or does the response / assistance of the US towards these foreign disasters seem better coordinated and organized than the domestic disaster response?  For the foreign response, our 'first responders' are the US military as well as government and private aid organizations.  But with these domestic  catastrophes, the first responders are the local government entities (city / county / state) along with the public utilities.  The federal government is supposed to step in and assist these local entities in their efforts - particularly around resources on a short term that they lack the ability to acquire.

But if we look around the devastated areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy - I'm seeing far more failures of these local and federal entities to assist those in need.  If not for the efforts of neighbor helping neighbor or private entity helping the local residents - far too many of these people would be in a far deeper crisis.  FEMA has been ineffective in exercising their assistance efforts - which have to go beyond just giving out 800#'s and closing assistance offices when the next storm rolls in.  Why are non-union utility workers being prevented from assisting by unions - unless they pay the union's off?  NYC can restore 80% of their subway system in a week - but NJ Transit / PATH remains effectively crippled 2 weeks later?  This is November in the Northeast - where is the federal government / military with generators and crews?  Where are the coordinated centers linking government and industry (insurance companies) to ensure that claims are expedited, clean-up accelerated, 'fairness' enacted, and rebuilding is accelerated?

I look at what is happening, and what appears to be are cases where none of the entities working to provide assistance have either developed a viable disaster plan, are exercising a viable disaster plan, or ever practiced / gamed a disaster to ensure that their planning and responses are effective and timely.

Instead, I see a moronic television talking head celebrating the disaster because it permitted the President to look Presidential in a few days of photo ops in the disaster area.

I see bloviating politicians and spokespeople patting themselves on the back as people continue to suffer.

I see yet another example of the state being unable to respond and operate effectively as we continue to put more reliance and dependence on said state.

Are we that captured by perception that we ignore reality?  If so, then we've lost our traditional values and groundings - and we are already fundamentally changed.

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