Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tiller's Killer Advances the Cause of Violence

Someone shot and killed George Tiller this morning, and that's about the worst thing that could have happened.

Tiller was world famous as the abortionist who "invented" the procedure known as "partial birth." You probably know how it works. It's basically infanticide masquerading as a medical procedure, its legality hanging on the slender threads of permissibility granted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tiller would all but deliver a child into the world, leaving only the head inside the mother, then would use scissors to kill the child, vacuum suction to eradicate the brains, and forceps to crush the skull, the remainder then evacuated.

It was, and is, a particularly heinous way to kill unwanted children who, in many if not most cases, would probably survive outside the womb. It's a very, very "late" term abortion.

I didn't care much for George Tiller. I thought he belonged in a prison cell. Unfortunately the State of Kansas brought a particularly weak prosecution against him earlier this year -- no real surprise there, given Tiller's generous political contributions to people like former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Tiller was absolved in that case, pretty much ruling out any further legal action against him.

Miscarriage of justice? Probably, but these things happen in a free society. It's the price we pay for making sure that no group or government ever runs roughshod over everyone else.

Most pro-life people understand this. They also understand that the real fight against abortion is not in the court systems or the legislatures. It's a spiritual battle against Satan and his minions. Our weapon of choice is prayer, and it's much more powerful than injunctions, subpoenas, indictments.

Or guns.

Someone took it upon themselves to circumvent all of us, pro-choicers and pro-lifers. Acting as judge, jury and executioner, they gunned Tiller down as he was doing his duty as an usher inside a church. (A church, for the love of God!)

By doing so, they became part of the very evil they probably sought to stop. Killing is not the antidote to killing.

By doing so, they denied George Tiller the possibility that in this life he might come to regret his actions and repent. Other abortionists have done so. With time and much prayer, perhaps Tiller himself could have been saved.

By doing so, they make it much more likely that government actions will be taken to strengthen and protect abortion. The entire pro-life movement will pay a price for this evil. This death will make Tiller a martyr for the cause of killing more babies in the name of reproductive freedom, and it will make our legitimate, peaceful cause much more difficult to achieve. This event will be used as an excuse to tar and feather the pro-life movement, especially if the gunman claims to be a Christian.

More than likely someone will step up to replace Tiller at his "practice," and so the killing of innocents will not abate for long, if at all. It merely cements attitudes and makes it that much more difficult to convert hard hearts.

The shooter has been caught, although no details have been released about this person. They will be tried. I hope that not a penny of pro-life money goes to defend him (or her), for that would not be proper. Let them use a public defender, or pay for their own attorney. Let justice be done. The only certainty is that they will be treated better than they themselves treated George Tiller. And better than Tiller treated the unborn who came to his clinics.

This is a tragedy, and there is no way to put a happy face on any facet of it.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Dirty Politics of Closing Car Dealerships

Our theme today is the erosion of individual rights.

Score another blow against the First Amendment and the right to freely express your political views.

From Mark Tapscott, over at The Washington Examiner:
Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?
It gets worse.
Also fueling the controversy is the fact the RLJ-McCarty-Landers chain of Arkansas and Missouri dealerships aren't being closed, but many of their local competitors are being eliminated. Go here for a detailed look at this situation. McClarty is the former Clinton senior aide. The "J" is Robert Johnson, founder of the Black Entertainment Television, a heavy Democratic contributor.

A lawyer representing a group of Chrysler dealers who are on the hit list deposed senior Chrysler executives and later told Reuters that he believes the closings have been forced on the company by the White House.

"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers. It really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President's automotive task force," said attorney Leonard Bellavia.'s Josh Painter has a useful roundup of what has been found so far by a growing number of bloggers digging into what could be a very big story indeed. Also, see my column on this issue and how it fits into the larger context dubbed by the Examiner's Michael Barone as "gangster government."

As part of Chrysler's bankruptcy agreement with the White House, the company plans to close roughly a quarter of its 3,200 dealerships. ... Many dealers contend the criteria being used to determine which dealerships survive is not clear and that many of those that are being closed in fact are profitable businesses, despite the current recession.
Folks, we are into unchartered waters here. This is like taking the dirty politics and gang-like mechanizations of Chicago to the nation as a whole.

Not only has our Dear Leader Obama managed to "federalize" two of the Big Three automakers, he's bankrupting political enemies by having his henchmen dictate who gets to stay in business and who doesn't.

This is way beyond the phrase "beneath contempt."

This is criminal. It may even smack of treason, since what they are doing shreds the Constitution in so many, many ways.

Please, America, wake up!

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Pelosi: A Safe Environment is a Human Right

Look out, here comes tomorrow.

"We have so much room for improvement. Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory ... of how we are taking responsibility" for solving climate change and creating healthy environments.

"I do see this opportunity for climate change to be ... a game-changer. It's a place where human rights — looking out for the needs of the poor in terms of climate change and healthy environment — are a human right."

"We are all in this together. The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries."

All of these quotes from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Chinese school children and to Chinese officials, this week.

The Associated Press noted that the trip was long on environmental policy and very, very skimpy on "her usual criticism of human rights" violations.

Instead, she proclaimed that "the right to a clean environment is a human right."

Once again this demonstrates how dangerous the concept of "positive rights" are to individual liberty.

"The right to a clean environment" becomes a human right, and governments consider themselves empowered to subject "every aspect of our lives" to regulation -- "inventory" is Mizz Pelosi's code word.

"People have a right to housing." Suddenly governments consider themselves empowered to jigger with real estate financing and markets. (What could possibly go wrong there?)

"People have a right to health care." Well, if you don't work to make money or to qualify for employer-provided health insurance, then the government must provide your health care -- after all, it's a right, isn't it?

But the more powers a government assumes to grant all these "positive" rights, the less room there is for individuals to assert their "unalienable" rights granted to them by Nature's God. There is an inherent conflict between a government trying to provide all the "positive" stuff it has declared, in its omnipotence, that people have a right to, and individuals merely trying to retain a sliver of their independence. It is an irreconcilable conflict. It can't be done.

That doesn't bother today's progressive leaders.

But it should bother you.

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The Sky High Cost of Presidential Politickin'

You'll be relieved to know that the Democratic National Committee is reimbursing the federal government for "100 percent of the legally mandated costs" of President Obama's fund-raising trips cross-country in Air Force One.

You'll be somewhat less relieved to know that 100 percent of the legally mandated cost is but a small fraction of the total debt incurred when the president travels, always on some bit of "official" business to justify writing a federal check for the trip.

To be fair, this is a problem that has grown into a monster with all presidential travel since forever. It's just getting worse. Now a president travels with the official 747, a backup "dummy" plane that uses every bit as much fuel -- and personnel -- as the official plane, and a C-17 cargo jet packed with presidential "necessities" like the armored limo and, at times, the official helicopter.

One example from 2006 is illustrative of the problem:
A 2006 report for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that during 2002, political campaigns reimbursed the federal government for $198,000 of the $6.5 million in flight expenses racked up by campaign-related stops made by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That's 3 percent of the total cost.

Taxpayers paid the remaining $6.3 million.

"The president and vice president can legally participate in campaign and fundraising events for candidates," the report said. "But when they do so, the taxpayer bears most of the cost."

That Obama is raising funds while in office is hardly unusual. Both Bush and Bill Clinton made similar political trips in their presidencies.
No, the problem is that no one seems to have any real regard for the long-suffering taxpayers of this country, and the damage that is being inflicted on our economy because the government, led by the president, has no inclination to save money.

So much for leading by example.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Secret Billionaires' Cabal to Limit Population Growth

A group of billionaires meets in secrecy to discuss a plan to limit the world's population growth.

Why the secrecy?
"They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government." (A guest who wished to remain anonymous.)
So how's that working out?

Maybe you'd like to know who some of these billionaires are, in case you ever wonder how often they conspire together for common accomplishment. Here are some details:

Some of America’s leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population and speed up improvements in health and education.

The philanthropists who attended a summit convened on the initiative of Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.

Described as the Good Club by one insider it included David Rockefeller Jr, the patriarch of America’s wealthiest dynasty, Warren Buffett and George Soros, the financiers, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, and the media moguls Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey.

Soros, Bloomberg, Buffet and Winfrey. And crazy Ted. No wonder I felt a tremor in the force, as if a billion wallets suddenly cried out, then were silent.

They gathered at the home of Sir Paul Nurse, a British Nobel prize biochemist and president of the private Rockefeller University, in Manhattan on May 5. The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at “security briefings”.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said the summit was unprecedented. “We only learnt about it afterwards, by accident. Normally these people are happy to talk good causes, but this is different – maybe because they don’t want to be seen as a global cabal,” he said.

Global cabal. Perish the thought.

Some details were emerging this weekend, however. The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an “umbrella cause” that could harness their interests.

The issues debated included reforming the supervision of overseas aid spending to setting up rural schools and water systems in developing countries. Taking their cue from Gates they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.

It always comes down to that, doesn't it. Too many babies from the Great Unwashed. And the prescription is always the same, as well. Abortion and contraception.

Another guest said there was “nothing as crude as a vote” but a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat.

“This is something so nightmarish that everyone in this group agreed it needs big-brain answers,” said the guest. “They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming.”

Translation: They need to control government agencies from the background, pulling the strings but not be seen as the active force behind the throne.

This is the same eugenics horse shit afflicting our world for the last century.

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Are You Ready for the Value Added Tax?

Forget the Fair Tax and tax reform in general.

Here comes the VAT -- the Value Added Tax. Economist Larry Kudlow responds to today's Washington Post report:
Everyone should closely read today’s Washington Post story on the value-added tax, or VAT. The cat is now out of the bag. For months I have argued that Team Obama and the Democratic Congress were going to be forced to consider a VAT in order to pay for their extravagant spending. Now borrowing almost 50 cents on every new dollar spent, the Democrats will at some point begin to deal with the politics of deficit reduction as a way of countering Republican criticisms about deficit expansion. And the VAT’s part of their answer.

Senate Budget Committee chair Kent Conrad calls the VAT “fundamental tax reform,” and he argues for a VAT plus high-end income-tax hikes. The WaPo story talks about a White House conference earlier in the year where “a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT.”
Kudlow notes that Obama "blew a big budget hole" in their plans with a cap-and-trade proposal that won't raise enough money for the federal government. Still, if we were talking the elimination of the income tax, a VAT might be a consideration. But that is definitely not what is being discussed here.
... this VAT tax would come on top of existing income, payroll, and business taxes. This is how the European countries and many others do it. And the VAT is a tax imposed throughout the economic food chain, at all levels of production, finally ending up inside the consumer pocketbook.

The VAT is a sure way to permanently depress economic growth. It’s also a sure way to Europeanize the American economy. But at some point, after the economy gains at least some cyclical economic-recovery traction, the Obama Democrats will want to re-label themselves as deficit-reduction fiscal hawks. Hence the VAT, a real bad idea.
He gets an "amen" from me.

What ever happened to that promise that 95 percent of the American people would not see their taxes raised?


Sotomayor Yearbook Post: Apathy or Calculation?

The question is not whether Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has socialist leanings.

The question is more interesting than that.

Does the White House not realize that posting her 1976 Princeton yearbook photo includes her tribute to Norman Thomas, the perennial candidate of the Socialist Party, or does the White House simply not care?

Or are they trying to create a firestorm over a 33-year-old yearbook entry in order to make the right look mean spirited?

Others weigh in on this HERE, and HERE and HERE.

If you'd like to read more about the late Norman Thomas, this is illuminative.

One of the quotes of Mr. Thomas:

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideas of Socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly."

Well, that's pretty much on the money.

Another quote, an echo of Nikita Khrushchev:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

Khrushchev told Eisenhower's Sec. of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, essentially the same thing, only he used the word "communism."

For all that, Norman Thomas, a magna cum laude grad of Princeton in 1905, was well-known and fairly mainstream, adopting a Christian socialism rather than the atheist model.

Of course, the end result is ever the same, and the Christianity gets lost along the way.


Vinegar & Honey

My grandpa said you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

Always listen to grandpa.

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Ltd plans to change its place of incorporation to Ireland from Bermuda, following an exodus of large multinational companies to Europe as the U.S. government plans to tighten tax rules.

Accenture said on Tuesday it does not expect any material change in its financial results or tax treatment, but said Ireland will provide economic benefits. Its board unanimously approved the move.

"A member of the European Union, Ireland offers a sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment," Accenture Chief Executive William Green said in a statement.

A company spokesman said Accenture is also moving because of continued criticism of companies incorporated in Bermuda.

I don't know why Tiny Tax Cheat Tim and President Obama thought they could get former American companies to "come home to papa" by threatening to raise their taxes, but it's not going to work.

And when Accenture's Mr. Green says that Ireland offers "a sophisticated ... regulatory environment," what he really means is stable, predictable. It isn't likely to change the rules on the whim of some socialist bureaucrat.

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Is This 'The Test'?

North Korea blows off a Hiroshima-sized atomic weapon, waking the American president from his slumber.

Of course, it's a test. But is it "The Test"?

At about the same time, Iran sails a "fleet" of armed ships -- okay, it's not a big fleet, but it's armed heavily enough to be a problem to the 20,000 vessels that navigate the vital oil artery, the Straits of Hormuz -- into international waters.

Of course, it's a test. But is it "The Test"?

The IRS reported today that tax revenues fell 36 percent in April, and that individual income tax receipts were 44 percent below last year. "Staggering," one credentialed economist declared. Oddly, over the Memorial Weekend, President Obama gave an interview in which he declared that "we are out of money" but suggested that the solution was to launch an incredibly expensive national health care system. On Tuesday the Chinese warn a top member of the U.S. Federal Reserve of their concern for the overtime runs of the printing presses here and the "monetizing of the actions of our legislature (Congress)." We are, in essence, buying our "debt" by printing more money, a tactic that has never, in all of history, worked.

We are, of course, conducting an experiment, a test. But will it be "The Test"?

Or are we testing China's patience to the breaking point?

Oil hits $63 a barrel, up from $36 at its low point a few weeks ago, and the Saudis declare that $75 to $80 a barrel is a realistic target now that the world is "recovering." Really? Is the world economy recovering, or is it the financial ability of the speculators to make derivatives bets on oil prices that has recovered?

And are they betting on armed conflict that drives the price of petroleum sky high?

Is this "The Test"?

North Korea is an ally of Iran. They have coordinated missile purchases, the transfer of nuclear power information, and who knows what else under the table. They have common goals, chief among them is the humiliation and eventual demise of the United States. This is their hyperbole, not mine. Are their current efforts coordinated? Is it but one more bluff on the world stage, or will something different happen this time?

Today the North Koreans announced that they will no longer be bound by the terms of the 1953 Armistice that ended the Korean War, and they threatened military action if anyone attempts to search their naval vessels for any reason. The likely target of any military action is South Korea, where 28,000-plus American military personnel are stationed. In response, the South Koreans moved a warship into position closer to the North and in proximity to a group of five disputed islands.

Russia, which borders the area, issued a statement that it fears any conflict on the Korean peninsula might "go nuclear." It said "the need has emerged for an appropriate package of emergency measures," whatever that means.

A few short months ago, shortly before the general election, then vice presidential candidate Joe Biden confided to a group that in the first six months of a Barack Obama administration there would be an international test of the new president's courage and resolve. "Mark my words," he said.

At that time, Mr. Biden was mocked by Republicans and chastised by Democrats for his alleged "gaffe."

At that time, I thought, "What does he know? Who has he been listening to?" I am going to repeat what I said recently: The problem with Joe Biden is not that he tells lies, but that he speaks on topics of the most inconvenient kinds and at the most inopportune times. Most of the time it is the truth, or at least the truth as Joe remembers it. (A good example is his declaration that when the stock market crashed FDR went on TV and calmed the American people. Not an intentional lie, just a bad grasp of history.)

What is so outrageous about the idea that America's enemies in the world will test a new president? Remember the incident early in the first George W. Bush term when China forced down a U.S. intelligence gathering jet? That was a test, although nothing so far-reaching as what we are seeing today. (By the way, in my opinion, Bush flunked that test.)

Bruce Kingner of the Heritage Foundation notes that North Korea's actions since the first of the year are dramatically different than in the last 15 years. The Norks, he says, "are playing a new game."
"Previous North Korean tactics were to engage in a slow buildup prior to an escalatory act in order to allow the US and its allies sufficient time to offer new diplomatic or economic inducements to buy Pyongyang back from the brink. On those occasions when North Korea carried out the act, it followed with several months of calm to allow all countries to become accustomed to the new elevated status quo prior to initiating the next lengthy provocation process."
Klingner believes they are trying to earn international recognition as a member of the nuclear club.

I hope it is as simple as that, but I fear that Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will see the results of their provocations, thus far, are but shrill rhetoric from the Obama administration, and little more. There's a lot of talk about "stern consequences" and "international pressure" but not a lot of teeth. Hand-wringing at the United Nations. Protests from China and Russia and a renewed call for a restart of the six-nation talks, which North Korea has rejected.

Perhaps it's another play for international aid. But it could be far more serious than that, and I have little confidence that the guys in charge will know how to react. Our options as a nation are not as wide open as they once were, but they are not insignificant either, depending upon the will of those who wield control.

Do they know this?

Remember the old bumper sticker, "One nuclear bomb can ruin your entire day"?

One North Korean nuke, detonated in South Korea, would be enough by itself to completely freak out the world economy for several weeks. Done in conjunction with a blockade of the Straits of Hormuz by Iranian navy boats, it could send a jolt through the American economy that might well plunge us into gasoline rationing and food shortages.

Understand, I'm not saying any of these things will happen. I'm just saying that these things are possible, and I worry that the American people are so distracted right now by domestic concerns that they may pass this off as just another bunch of idiots making a lot of noise.

What is one's best course of action? Be mentally prepared for any eventuality and, as calmly and quietly as you see fit, physically be prepared. Expect the worst, hope for the best, and pray that we not be put to The Test.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crossing The Line

When a county government decides that having 15 people over to your home for an evening Bible Study requires a costly "major use permit," a line has been crossed somewhere.

Maybe it's the constitutional guarantee of freedom of assembly, which states that people can gather with whomever they want for any lawful purpose.

Maybe it's the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of one's religious beliefs.

A San Diego pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home.

The couple, whose names are being withheld until a demand letter can be filed on their behalf, told their attorney a county government employee knocked on their door on Good Friday, asking a litany of questions about their Tuesday night Bible studies, which are attended by approximately 15 people.

"Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say 'amen'?" the official reportedly asked. "Do you say, 'Praise the Lord'?"

The pastor's wife answered yes.

She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding "religious assemblies" until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars.

And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, "and then it will get ugly."

No, it's already ugly.

Technically speaking, the Constitution bans Congress from passing such obtrusive laws, but in general the states have accepted the Bill of Rights when entering the union and they, and their subdivisions, violate them at their peril.

This is just another example of how far this nation has fallen in a few short decades. An incident such as this was unthinkable 50 years ago.

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Big Gov't the Antidote to 'Power Addiction'?

Expect to see more of these B&M ("Bitching & Moaning") stories from the press as the Green War against Sane People escalates.

In Britain, the extremely green-sensitive Guardian reports:
Britain's addiction to power-hungry gadgets could raise electricity bills by £100 per year for every household and hamper progress in meeting the country's greenhouse gas emissions targets, according to experts.

The proliferation of plasma televisions, high-end PCs and mobile phones is causing energy consumption to soar. These devices currently account for 25% of the electricity used by UK households and projections by the Energy Savings Trust (EST) show this will rise to around 45% by 2020.
So what are we supposed to do about it? Well obviously we can't do wind power or we'll kill all the goats, so the obvious answer is: Let Big Brother regulate it, of course.
Nobuo Tanaka, IEA director, said governments must regulate electronic devices to make them more energy-efficient. "Despite anticipated improvements in the efficiency of electronic devices, these savings are likely to be overshadowed by the rising demand for technology."
Forget about the marketplace doing its own self-regulation. Forget about people making informed choices and paying the consequences of those choices.

This ever-increasing demand for a government solution for every perceived problem (and in this case I don't even see a problem) would be comical if it weren't so dangerous to human freedom.

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But They Died to Save the Planet

The Great Goat Die-Off Mystery is solved.
After three years of intrigue and confusion, not to mention a death toll of 400, the great Penghu archipelago goat mystery may finally have been solved.

Officials investigating the unexplained deaths of scores of the animals on the windy island chain in the Taiwan strait believe that the introduction of noisy wind turbines could have given the unfortunate goats a fatal case of exhaustion.


It now appears that the turbines' ­high-volume, late-night, spinning was more than just an aural nuisance and could have induced terminal insomnia in the animals.
Sleep deprivation. Perhaps we should define it as torture after all.

I'm sure the goats would be happy to know that they died to save the planet.


A Government Motors Reorganization Update

Details are "leaking" on the proposed reorganization that is turning General Motors into Government Motors.

Here's a quick snap-shot.

Bondholders are owed $27 billion in secured debt. This is supposed to be ironclad stuff, and it would be in any other sensible universe. However ...

... Big Brother (the U.S.) has loaned GM $15.54 billion. This tail will wag the dog.

The Obama Auto Task Force proposes that the U.S. government wind up with a 50 percent stake in the company.

The United Auto Workers will be awarded 39 percent of the company as a reward for making concessions this past week on wages and benefits. Add it up: 50 plus 39 equals 89 percent.

For their $27 billion, the bondholders get a 10 percent stake in the company, and the bonds are being converted to common stock. At least they have something, you say? Consider this:
Debra June, a substitute teacher from Florida, reports today’s Wall Street Journal — will see her $70,000 in GM bonds swapped for GM stock worth about $280.
Or consider Dennis Buchholz:
... a 67-year-old retired tool-and-dye supervisor from Warren, Mich., has $98,000 in GM bonds. Mr. Buchholtz, who gets no pension, uses interest from the bonds that amount to about $600 a month to supplement his social security payments. About 10% of Mr. Buchholtz’s life savings is invested into GM bonds.
His new stock will be worth $392.

These are the people who are being demonized by the Obamatrons.

Who are the real demons here?

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Novak Takes Catholic Newspaper to the Woodshed

I don't read L’Osservatore Romano but I know that it is an influential voice for many, often reflecting guidance from various high-ranking Vatican officials. Mostly I read second-hand reports of its coverage of events.

Lately the Catholic faithful in America have had cause to wonder if the reporters and editors of this newspaper have completely fallen under the sway, at long distance, of President Obama's powers of persuasion, and unable to any longer decipher the political rhetoric of the pro-abortion left in this country.

Happily, for those of you who are interested in such things, Michael Novak has taken L'Osservatore Romano to the woodshed for its various inexplicable failings, and I gladly link to his article here. Perhaps Pope Benedict will be alerted to this growing scandal and exert some influence over that newspaper to get the story right from now on. As Novak says:
Why on earth, then, does L’Osservatore Romano side with the abortionists, and against the besieged, struggling minority of churchgoing Catholics who find abortion abhorrent, and an intrinsic and unrationalizable evil? Were the great pro-life popes of the past not fully serious when they called abortion an intrinsic evil?

We ask Rome for bread, and L'Osservatore Romano gives us stones.
Read it all.


Sonia Auditions for The Supremes

It used to be that justice was blind.

Now it's progressive. And comedic.

Nominee Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appellate jurist from New York, and daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, recently addressed a forum where she discussed her view of what appeals court judges do.
"Court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know this is on tape, and I should never say that, cause we don't make law, I know [Audience laughs, she smiles, waves her hands dismissively]. I'm not promoting it, I'm not advocating it, I'm ... you know ... [she laughs]."
Being a progressive-minded jurist in America today means never having to say your sorry for being empathetic, or that you rewrote the meaning of the law upon which you just ruled. Or as you might sing it, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me."

It means you trust your own experience as a member of this (fill in the blank) group, or that (fill in the blank) minority over what those stodgy old white, slave-loving Founding Fathers wrote into that old parchment "twenty centuries ago," (according to President Obama, today).

Is Sonia Sotomayor qualified to be a member of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Not according to the statement we quote above.

Will she be confirmed?

Most likely.

Will it matter?

Only if one of the conservatives leaves the court early.

Much prayer is in order.


Another Czar at the Obama White House

This time it's for "cyber-security."

I guess Cyber-Security Dictator didn't poll well.

President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a "cyber czar," a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation's government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.

The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.

A "czar" does not need Senate confirmation, and unless Congress complains or someone takes the administration to court, all this person and his loyal minions need are a few executive orders to really get the ball rolling on who knows what.

Naturally, you are less paranoid about such things than is the Oklahomilist, and so you query, "Why can't you just trust President Obama for once, damn you?"

Because, being an American devoted to foundational principles, I believe that every man, woman and child should learn to handle their own freakin' cyber security and not depend upon an all-knowing, all-powerful central government czar to do it for them. This includes private business networks. The key word being "private."

Remember when the left used to hit us over the head with our adversion to the word "diversity." And yet now when we wish to be "diverse" and have multiple systems they tell us that we need to get with the 21st Century and fall into an orderly line for inspection?

A "one system suits all" protection grid is the easiest one to compromise, or control.

Right now I consider access to the world wide web as one of the few effective tools I have as an individual American to raise my concerns, joining millions of other like-minded (and not-so ...) voices to deliberate the big and small issues of the day. Especially now that Congress has forgotten how to read bills and debate, it seems like someone ought to. I only get to vote every couple of years, and in Oklahoma's Second District it's not that big a thrill, so the cyber universe is important.

Naturally I want it protected, but I do not want it controlled.

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Religion of Peace Update from West Bank

Europe isn't the only place where Christianity is on the defensive.

In the Palestinian-run portions of the Holy Land, Muslims are flexing muscles of intolerance, starting with Christian cemeteries.
This week, 70 Christian grave sites in Jisna were vandalized, with the crosses on top of the graves found smashed off, local Christians told [World Net Daily].

Jisna is primarily a Christian village, but over the last 6 to 8 years, the town has seen a steady stream of Muslims, mostly due to Jisna's good quality of life. Two years ago, the first mosque was constructed in the village. If the Islamic influx continues, Jisna might go the way of so many other Palestinian cities, like Ramallah and Bethlehem, which used to be predominantly Christian but now have large Muslim majorities.


"Our freedom and our way of life is much more limited. At times we don't feel safe for us, our families and our Christian friends," the Christian said.

Just this week, a Palestinian Authority spokesman admitted to WND that Christians in the Palestinian territories are being "watched."

"We have been watching this Christian organization and for the moment there is nothing special in their activity," said Adnan Dmeire, spokesman for the PA's security organizations in West Bank.

Dmeire was referring to the Association of the Holy Book, one of the main groups that attends to the needs of Christians in the Palestinian territories. The group has been accused by both the PA and Hamas of carrying out missionary activities. A Bible store the association sponsored in the Gaza Strip – the only Christian bookstore in the territory – was attacked by Islamists several times. The store's owner, Rami Ayyad, was found shot to death in 2007, his body riddled with bullets.
Religion of peace, indeed, which is why any attempt to "internationalize" Jerusalem as a Holy City open to all three great faiths is doomed to fail.

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It Takes One (Ex) Marxist to Know Another

It's pretty bad when the former Soviet Union's favorite daily newspaper calls America "Marxist."

But that's what an opinion article in Pravda (Russian for "truth") contended recently:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.


The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Let's be fair in our analysis. There's a bit of nationalistic garbage in this guy's point of view, but when you take it on the whole, it's pretty accurate.

I love the line about American financial wizards "make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison." It's true. And our new government is putting our financial wizards to shame!

I'm not sure I buy into the bit about Putin warning Obama and Blair "not to follow the path of Marxism, it only leads to disaster." Why would he warn Blair, who is no longer in office?

This next is fascinating reading:

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

How delightfully non-PC!

The writer concludes with the observation that while individual Americans will keep thumping their chests, declaring how "free" they remain, "the rest of the world will only snicker."

I fear he may be correct.

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Another Soggy Tuesday in the Trenches

Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend.

I spent the first part of it driving 700 miles in a wide triangle that took me nearly to Dallas, back up to Oklahoma City, and then home. This included attending the final performance of "The Lion King" at the OKC convention center -- fabulous, by the way, and this from a guy who has never actually watched the entire Disney movie.

By the time we arrived home Sunday night, I had no desire to catch up on current events and had nothing to say about anything. That feeling persisted yesterday as one of my sons and his girlfriend dropped by. Plus there were graves to attend to.

It wasn't until fairly late last night that I saw that all hell was breaking loose again, with the Norks lighting off a Hiroshima-size nuke blast, swine flu killing its 12th U.S. victim, and Iran's deploying a "fleet" of six ships into international waters. A poll shows a majority of Israelis are ready to "pre-empt" Iran back into the 6th Century (where its religious leaders likely would feel more at home) and warning that Hugo Chavez is supplying the Iranians with uranium.

Which brings up the question, once the fissionable material is in Iran, does it then become Iranium?

None of these issues were resolved by this morning, sadly. Instead, things are worse.

Nancy Pelosi is practicing her personal brand of diplomacy among the China puppet masters by pretending to twist their arms so that they will embrace the shared sacrifice that is the progressives war on "climate change." (What she's really doing is getting secret marching orders from the Central Committee, which include a new mandate that Americans buy more body wash and skin lotions with amazing new chemical blends that cause fantastic body rashes. I admit that I do not have anything other than circumstantial evidence to back this claim up.)

And, of course, President Obama has nominated the first Hispanic woman to the nation's highest court. You'd think, from the way the media is rejoicing, that we were finally a color-blind society, instead of a judicially blind society. More on that later.

As I look out the window, I see that it's raining again.

Feels like it's raining all over the world.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thin Skin in the Game of National Security

I was in Tulsa on Friday taking care of a bit of business, eating at P.F. Changs, and spending an hour in chapel at my old parish, but I did get to hear a good portion of former Vice President Dick Cheney's AEI speech. (It would be a few hours later before I could review President Obama's version of the national security truth).

What struck me forcefully with the Cheney speech was my own reaction to what he had to say. I've always been a semi-agnostic on Dick Cheney: I didn't think he was the monster that the left and the media tried to portray him as, but I also didn't think his public persona was very helpful to his old boss. On Thursday, my perception changed. There was conviction in his voice. His words laid out a logical world view, one that I could understand and respect.

Compared to the self-serving, thin-skinned, theoretical weasel words of virtually every current politician in Washington, Dick Cheney stood like a giant among quarreling children.

A grownup was in town.

I happened to be inside a McDonald's enjoying a late burrito breakfast watching Cheney on a big screen TV, and I couldn't help but watch the other customers react to his words. At the end of his speech, several broke into applause. In a McDonald's! I'd never seen that before.

Later, watching the president, I realized that Barack Obama shares a common trait with the late Richard Nixon. Thin skin. Nixon didn't like criticism and brooded over perceived insults and critical comments from media pundits. He kept an enemies list. While he didn't have Obama's rhetorical skills, Nixon had his occasional moments of scripted eloquence but he preferred the "behind the scenes" of giving orders and getting results fed back to him. He preferred private control over public spontaneity.

It would not surprise me to learn that Barack Obama has an enemies list. Or that his brain trust, his handlers, have such a list. His speech, delivered in front of a fake Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (although it wasn't shown), was defensive from start to finish. It was a rebuttal speech, even though it was given in advance of Cheney's talk. Rebutting whom?

Perhaps the U.S. Senate. Members of his own party voted a resolution denying him the money he sought to close the Guatanamo prison. It went further than that. It states that no money will be forthcoming to transfer prisoners to the U.S. mainland. There were also statements from people like Harry Reid declaring that no money would be forthcoming to an administration that acted without thinking, without a plan.

The old saying, "The president proposes, Congress disposes," still applies. The constitutional separation of powers remains a stumbling block to unfettered "leadership."

So what does President Obama do?

He puts himself in front of the U.S. Constitution and then declares that Guantanamo prisoners are coming to the United States, at least some of them. Damn the Constitution, damn the Congress, full speed ahead!

The problem with the Gitmo prisoners, Obama declared, "is not my decision to close Guantanamo" but the decision to open Guatanamo in the first place. (Translation: It's Bush's fault, and I'm justified in doing what I want.)

What will happen when the public doesn't turn around on this issue, and the Democrat-led Congress, which has no stomach for tough fights with voters, doesn't cave in to Obama's desires in this matter? Will he move the prisoners anyway?

I'm afraid that he has an overwhelming need to win, and such an underwhelming appreciation of our venerable constitution, that he may attempt to "executive order" his way through this thing, to prove his superiority; to assert control.

I do not think the American people will stand still for this. They have been willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on many an issue, but on national security -- particularly issues of public safety related to terrorists like the ones who struck on 9-11 -- the American people remember. It hasn't been that long ago.

Obama asserts that the previous Administration made life worse for Americans by angering the cultured sensitivities of Europeans, and pissing off peace-loving Muslims by running roughshod over the likes of Khalid Sheik Mohammad. His new way will make people like us, he claims, and we will be happier with ourselves.

Perhaps. But after 9-11 while we suffered a few indignities at our airports, we were not attacked again under the rules laid out by the Bush administration. Mr. Obama is changing the rules of the game, and is betting that the other side will appreciate his modern sophistication in doing so. This is a critical bet that he is making, and while it's his reputation at stake, also on the line are American lives and the American way of life.

In his speech, Obama said, "my single most important responsibility as president is to keep the American people safe. ... We are less than eight years removed from the deadliest attack on American soil in our history. We know that al-Qaida is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it."

Americans will remember that statement if he is wrong in his bet and we suffer a terrorist attack. They will remember that he closed Gitmo, outlawed "enhanced interrogation techniques," and spent a considerable amount of time traveling the globe apologizing for the evils of America past. They will remember that he is cutting the defense budget at the same time he is running up unparalleled deficit spending.

They will also remember that he wrapped himself in the Constitution -- using it as a focus-group defined prop -- even as he was violating its spirit by exceeding his authority as president to push government's influence over vital sectors of the American economy.

It is a very dangerous bet in a very dangerous game.

God save the United States of America.


Friday, May 22, 2009

It CAN Happen in America: One Man's Tragedy

The old Stalin line about "one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic" could be recast today as "one Dodge dealership is a tragedy; 780 is a statistic."

Meaning, of course, that people don't pay attention until they can see the human side, the human pain.

A letter published in The American Thinker, should provide enough pain for a tragedy. I'm taking the unusual liberty of printing the entire missive:
My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.
On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler's insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.



This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.


I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.
I'm not sure there is anything can be done, but someone should try. Multiply this tragedy by 780, and then imagine what this out of control federal government is capable of doing in the next 42 months.

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Bad Headlines & The Price of Gasoline

As usual, the Tulsa newspaper got it wrong.

The headline said "Oklahoma loses 8 drilling rigs over last year"

The truth: Oklahoma lost 8 drilling rigs LAST WEEK!

What has gone down -- way, way down -- in the last year is drilling activity everywhere in the United States. By 50 percent.

According to Baker Hughes.

According to Forbes.

According to CNN.

The wholesale price of oil creeps steadily upward, while the price of natural gas continues to slump, due to overwhelming supply and lackluster demand.

There is an argument to be made that the price of oil has less to do with the supply and demand of gasoline or diesel than it does with the supply and demand of the U.S. dollar. Bernacke's printing presses are running round the clock. You ignore the laws of economics at your peril, so even as the demand remains listless we see the price at the pump slowly climb. This is the dollar's weakening, the intersection of another market.

A tank of gas in January that cost you less than $18 is now costing you more than $36. You're thankful it's not the $55 it cost last summer but you are uneasy that the relentless price rise will get us right back to where we were. If a weak dollar is the reason, you have every right to be woried.

If we once again have $4 gasoline without economic activity, including oil and gas drilling domestically, we will face the worst of both worlds.

Every one of those lost drilling rigs represents 20 to 25 jobs on the crews and service personnel required to make the rigs work. That's 200 people who are friends and neighbors. Nationwide there are 22,500 fewer roughnecks and related personnel with jobs today than one year ago. They won't get the headlines, and the "progressive" who now rule (and I use that term in its traditional sense) won't give them a second thought. We are going to "conserve" our way to energy independence, they proclaim. Higher prices and government mileage mandates are the key; lost jobs in the oil fields, refineries and oil equipment firms are but the price to be paid.

Besides, they'll have no trouble finding top-flight jobs in the food service or housekeeping industries.

Depending upon your fondness for the trucking industry, there is one aspect of today's pump prices that could provide a small ray of sunshine.

A year ago diesel was selling for $1 or more above the pump price of regular unleaded. This, it was said, was because of federal mandates to eliminate sulfur content at the refinery, the added cost placed onto the per gallon diesel cost.

Check the posted prices today. Diesel is selling for less than regular unleaded. The oil companies have slowly adjusted the pricing so that truckers are not bearing the brunt of the economic hit.

That's probably a good thing, and it may be the singular reason that price inflation has not shown up on the grocery shelves. Yet. Individual motorists have much greater latitude in how we use our vehicles, so we making the adjustments, or we will soon.

I do not know if this switch is voluntary, on the part of the oil companies, or if it is being dictated to them from Washington. Either scenario is feasible. I can understand how the oil companies might want to protect the trucking firms from collapse, since they are major customers and, without them, we might experience more economic upheaval than any of us care to contemplate.

But I could also see how the federal government wouldn't mind seeing gasoline rates increase on citizens in order to promote their tough new mileage standards, while at the same time "buying time" for the economy to settle down, or at least delay its collapse long enough to get the rest of Mr. Obama's progressive, socialist agenda enacted.

Anyway, that's how I'm seeing it today.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Second Thoughts on Recent Posts

A couple of followups.

Eliminating 'Voting with your feet'

1) A major drawback to the complete nationalization of the states' budgets is that people could no longer "vote with their feet" when conditions become unacceptable. For instance, I recently read where 10,000 millionaires have left California in recent years. Now some might consider this un-neighborly but in our free society we are guaranteed freedom of association, which includes the freedom to associate with people in other parts of the country. Leveling out tax rates nationwide would eliminate the incentive to go elsewhere, except out of the country. That would leave the U.S. looking like the old Soviet Union.

The Founders realized that individual states were the small laboratories of representative government, and that any one state might fail for a time. Yet the experience would be observed by other states and serve as an instructive lesson of what not to do.

California right now is that instructive lesson. Do not spend billions more than you have or eventually the piper comes a calling. If California is forced to do the hard thing, cut programs and budgets to the extent necessary, and to consider once "unthinkable" solutions like allowing oil drilling offshore which would raise tax revenues -- this is the only kind of tax that makes sense, one that creates jobs and wealth -- then it will survive this mess. It will thrive later. It will earn the respect of millions of registered voters (taxpayers).

The lesson of California will not be lost on the lawmakers in high spend-high tax states like New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

And if the progressives "nationalize" California's debt load with guarantees, that lesson will be exactly the wrong one, and every other state will take notice.

Correction on CAFE averages
2) In a post yesterday, "Mileage Standards on the Road to Hell," I referred to the new gas mileage target as 39 mph. The actual average is 35.5 mpg, still an abomination. The 39 mpg is the mileage that American autos will need to average, while the truck average will be 30 mpg, based on recent sales figures of cars and trucks.

How automakers will hit these targets without some sort of mandatory mechanism to force Americans to purchase unsafe-at-any-speed crap boxes on wheels is beyond belief, even with the corrected numbers.


California Voters 'Get It' - But Danger Lurks Ahead

California voters did the sensible thing Tuesday saying "No!" to increased taxes by voting down five of the six state questions that officials had promoted.

The surviving question, 1-F, bans raises for legislators and other state officials during years where there are deficit budgets!

This is all good.

Now the Governator and his Democratic allies are looking for salvation from that rising star in the East, the One called Obama. They want him to guarantee a new round of state borrowing.

This is very bad.

I'm trying to make this very simple for the learning impaired, those who can't seem to understand that you cannot grow government larger than a people's ability -- or willingness -- to pay for it.

If California can't afford its huge government, and the citizens don't want higher taxes, then the only real solution (and the only one that makes long-term sense) is to begin cutting the non-essentials and trimming back.

That will not happen if Obama the Generous and his progressive pals decide to spend your hard-earned taxes, and mine, on bailing them out. What incentive?

I hate to point this out, but some readers are also constitutionally impaired, that the federal government has never guaranteed an individual state's debt because it is not authorized by the constitution.

Not that unconstitutionality has stopped this administration thus far.

The American republic was established by 50 states with a clear separation of powers between the states and the federal government, and the people, and another system of checks and balances to prevent just such a proposal from happen. Rewarding California for its profligacy and lack of will would ultimately penalize every state, including Oklahoma, that balances its budget and manages to stay in the black through good times and bad.

Rewarding California would encourage states that do not over-promise and over spend to follow suit, if for no other reason than the fear of sucking hind tit (a farming term) on the federal sow.

It would also signal the death knell of our republic, as an overwhelmingly powerful federal government, which has learned that it can ignore the Constitution at its whim, becomes the "single payer."

I don't know about you, but I do not wish to pay higher taxes so that California can pamper the sea otters and pay their government retirees 100 percent of their salaries forever.

I don't think the people of California expect us to do this either. They expect their elected representatives to get real. They do not respond well to threats of intimidation, of releasing "rapists and killers" from the prisons to save money. That would be an act of lawlessness that surely would constitute a crime against humanity. Surely Gov. Schwarzenegger has more moral fiber than that. If not, he would richly deserve whatever punishment the citizens of California would improvise.

Shame on the national media for trying to ignore this story. They are so "in the tank" for President Obama, and so ready for federal intervention. This is tragic. Thomas Jefferson would be ashamed of them.


A Shot for Freedom Expected Today

At least there's one freedom defending organization with enough clout to successful navigate the legislative waters of Capitol Hill: the NRA.

The House should pass today the Credit Card bill (which will probably eliminate credit to many marginal applicants and increase costs to all others) which contains within it the Coburn Amendment -- yep, that Coburn -- that would allow citizens who otherwise legally meet all the requirements of their state's firearms laws laws to carry weapons in national parks.

The Senate already passed the bill with 67 votes, veto proof.
The bill would also standardize the gun policy of the various federal agencies that manage federal lands. For example, the Parks Service forbids firearms on its lands, whereas the Bureau of Land Management permits them. Thirty-one states already allow the carrying of firearms in their state parks.

"We have been working on this measure for close to a decade," said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association. "We think it's a reasonable measure that helps law-abiding people."

The anti-gun left is unhappy, but that's nothing new. The chief complaint is that rampant violence will now take place in national parks. Newsflash: a great deal of violence already does, and law-abiding citizens have had no legal means to defend themselves.

Arulanandam rejected [the] argument that the bill will cause more violence. "Citizens who behave in a lawful manner elsewhere in their states are not going to become violent all of the sudden just because they happen to be in a national park," he said.

Arulanandam cited National Parks Service statistics showing that visitors to national parks are victimized every year — murders, rapes, and robberies — and that the parks often conceal secret methamphetamine labs and marijuana fields. Given the relative scarcity of law enforcement within large parks, law-abiding visitors might find a firearm necessary in the event that someone tries to victimize them.

The anti-gun left contends that the numbers of murders, rapes, kidnappings, thefts and robberies are minimal compared to the millions who visit the parks.

I would contend that with the new regulation in effect, that number will drop even farther.

Also, the number of visitors include those people who drive into a national park, snap a few pictures and visit the tourist center, and then leave for the nearest town where there are, uh, more modern entertainments and conveniences. This type of visitor is not a high profile target. It's the one who camps in tent or RV, who spends a couple of days hiking on the back trails or reading on a blanket in front of tent, who becomes the real target of opportunity. If the National Park Service numbers reflected the statistics based on this, rather than total visitors, the numbers would not be so minimal.

I know whereof I speak on this matter. I have spent, and will continue to spend, a great deal of time camping and hiking in the national parks system. It will not trouble me to know that there may be someone in my campground who is trained and licensed to responsibly carry a weapon.

I might even become one of them.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Volando es Muy Peligroso a Veces

A Dallas TV station is reporting that there are hundreds of airline mechanics working at facilities in Texas who cannot read or speak English.

Since English is the official international language of pilots and the repair manuals of the aircraft they fly, not speaking English es un muy grande problema!

There is also evidence that hundreds of mechanics with questionable licenses are working on aircraft in Texas. Now there is evidence of repair facilities hiring low-wage mechanics who can't read English.

If mechanics don't speak English, the international language of aviation, they can't read the manual and they can't record their activities.

There are more than 236 FAA-certified aircraft repair stations in Texas, according to the FAA's Web site. News 8 has learned that hundreds of the mechanics working in those shops do not speak English and are unable to read repair manuals for today's sophisticated aircraft.

Former FAA inspector Bill McNease told News 8 he regularly encountered applicants for pilots’ licenses who tried to pretend they could speak English — but could not.

"When I was based in Dallas, I had that happen every week," McNease said. "It was not uncommon at all to have foreign flight students. We had mechanics, but I handled the pilot end of it. ... and I turned down people every week because they couldn't speak English."

"There are people [where I work] who do not know how to read a maintenance manual as they are spelled out, because they don't have a clue," said one certified aircraft mechanic who works at a Texas aircraft repair station. He wished to remain anonymous to protect his employment.


The root of the problem is money, mechanics say. A certified mechanic can earn upwards of $25 an hour in Texas. Technicians who can't speak English are often hired for less than $10, according to mechanics interviewed by News 8.

"I've been wanting to leave this company since the day I got there," said one certified A&P. "But with the economy the way it is, I've got kids to feed and I have to stay there. I don't want to be anywhere near one of those planes when it kills somebody."

Who would? Especially inside the plane.

On the positive side the story reports that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines require all mechanics and technicians who work with them to read, speak and write English. But that shouldn't even be something you brag about. It should be the standard for all.

Would it be insensitive to ask: "What the hell are we thinking?"

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Why the Wall of Separation Cracked at Notre Dame

The news media has proclaimed it, and for once they are right: President Obama conquered Notre Dame. At least that part of it that is represented by its "intelligentsia": the president, the faculty, indeed much of the student body.

How strange it is to witness this spectacle: a man who took months to decide where he wanted to attend church services, who has displayed very little regard or knowledge about Christianity, who "sat in the pew" for 20 years listening to a Black Liberationist preacher rant on the evils of white Christian America only to "repudiate" him when campaign necessity required it last year; now act as if he is privy to the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of 2,000 years of Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, he represented himself as "above the fray" of the fierce debate of those who opposed Notre Dame's granting of an honorary law degree to one who has defined his political career by advancing the pro-choice agenda of Planned Parenthood.

He brilliantly cast himself as something of a "secular pope" who would try to bring reconciliation to these warring parties, calculating that he could obscure the fact that he, Barack Obama, was the bone of contention in this debate, not its moderator.
Obama believes he has the power to declare that one kind of Catholics -- those who are his true believers -- are the authentic Catholic voice in America.

By his actions, Obama becomes the first president to take an oratorical sledge-hammer to the protective wall of separation as Thomas Jefferson actually described it. Jefferson, in an 1802 letter, reassured the members of the Danbury Baptist Association that the First Amendment of the Constitution erected such a wall to protect religion from the government. (Jefferson's "wall" has been turned upside down by revisionist jurists and modern anti-religionists and now, apparently, a sitting U.S. president.)

How does he get away with this horse manure?

George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, tries to give us some answers in an article published at National Review. It's a must-read if you are Catholic, and a good backgrounder for those who are not.
Passionate debates over doctrine, identity, and the boundaries of “communion” have been a staple of the American religious landscape for centuries: Trinitarians vs. Unitarians in 19th-century New England; Modernists vs. Fundamentalists in early-20th-century Presbyterianism; Missouri Synod Lutherans vs. Wisconsin Synod Lutherans vs. Other Sorts of Lutherans down to today.

Yet never in our history has a president of the United States, in the exercise of his public office, intervened in such disputes in order to secure a political advantage.

Until yesterday, at the University of Notre Dame.


What was surprising, and ought to be disturbing to anyone who cares about religious freedom in these United States, was the president’s decision to insert himself into the ongoing Catholic debate over the boundaries of Catholic identity and the applicability of settled Catholic conviction in the public square. Obama did this by suggesting, not altogether subtly, who the real Catholics in America are.
Weigel explains how Obama re-inserted the discredited "seamless garment" argument back into Catholic debate by praising the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, it's author. Cardinal Bernardin was a gentle man who sought consensus that, as Weigel explains, invariably ended in compromises that advanced the liberal or progressive positions of the moment, and rarely helped rank-and-file Catholics adhere to bedrock principles.

The "seamless garment" provided cover for cafeteria Catholics, who could be pro-choice on abortion but still claim they were pro-life because they were against the death penalty and/or nuclear war (as if you could find more than a dozen pro-nuke warmongers anywhere except inside North Korea or Iran).

Fortunately the bishops jettisoned the "garment" metaphor in 1998 in favor of a more robust "foundations of the house of freedom" which declared certain fundamental pro-life issues to be of greatest priority.

But the Chicago-based Obama campaign resurrected the "seamless garment" approach last year to wean away socially liberal Catholics to the camp of the new Messiah. Weigel explains:
So the “seamless garment” went underground for a decade, only to be dusted off by Douglas Kmiec and others in the 2008 campaign; there, a variant form of the consistent ethic was used to argue that Barack Obama was the real pro-life candidate on offer. As casuistry, this was risible. But it worked well enough that Catholic Obama-supporters on the Notre Dame board saw their chances and took ’em, arranging for the president to come to Notre Dame to complete the seamless garment’s dust-off and give it a new lease on life by presenting the late Cardinal Bernardin — “a kind and good man . . . a saintly man” — as the very model of a real Catholic in America.

Not the kind of Catholic who would ever criticize Notre Dame for bestowing an honorary doctorate of laws on a man determined to enshrine in law what the Catholic Church regards as a fundamental injustice.
Weigel closes with a warning:
Rather like Napoleon taking the diadem out of the hands of Pope Pius VII and crowning himself emperor, President Obama has, wittingly or not, declared himself the Primate of American Catholicism.

What the bishops of the United States have to say about this usurpation of their authority will be very interesting to see. Whether Obama’s Catholic acolytes will recognize a genuine threat to religious freedom in what they are already celebrating as their Notre Dame victory over the pro-life yahoos and reactionaries will also be instructive.
A president of the United States has no business as a referree, whether it's getting in the middle of a union tiff with an employer, or negotiating a fake bankruptcy between an automaker and its creditors, or telling the nation's largest church who is the more authentic member.

Obama takes the "No Boundaries" T-shirt pledge to heart, and I'm afraid we're in for a rough ride.

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