Nov 3, 2010

Hey, Washington: Compromise was NOT the objective!

Here it is with the election not even 24 hours old, with many races still to be called, and I am already fed up with the liberal spin on their loss of the House of Representatives. Just as in 1994, they are trying to frame this rout as a call for compromise, a call for more civil discourse in Government, a call for cooperation so as to make this a ‘productive’ congress.
Let me be crystal clear:

I did NOT vote for compromise.
I did NOT vote for gridlock.
I voted to ROLL BACK big government.

I voted for a return to Constitutionally limited government. By that, I mean that everything not explicitly authorized by the US Constitution should be eliminated. That means the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, the HHS, the FEC, the FCC, the FDA, the EPA, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, and many, many others got to go.  It doesn’t mean that we need to shut them all down immediately, but they eventually need to go.
If, for the next two years this Congress could simply go through all the existing laws and regulations with an eye to repealing about the last 80 years worth—and not pass any new laws—I would be a happy American. Think about it: if we could just get rid of the harmful subsidies (sugar, mohair, agriculture, etc.) as well as  all the Government Sponsored Enterprises (Fannie, Freddie, CPB, Import-Export Bank, etc.) and the Federal Reserve, we would save hundreds of billions of dollars a year. That would be some meaningful spending cuts which would reduce the deficit.
Yes, we need to address and wind down Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and all the other unconstitutional Ponzi schemes and welfare programs, but with the Federal Government’s current size and scope we have such a target rich environment that we need not address those really controversial issues for some time.
In short, compromise in the way the MSM portrays it—some sort of hyper civility—is not even on my radar. I know that in reality gridlock is the best we can probably hope for in this election cycle. As for rolling back big government, with only the House I expect nothing major will be accomplished in the end. But stopping the progressive machine as soon as possible is not a minor achievement, either.
If there is one area where I would welcome true compromise, it is in the regulatory arena. I fully expect Obama to pretend to move to the center on legislative issues since the Conservatives in House will (hopefully) prevent any new initiatives, and thus exploit his regulatory authority to implement his progressive agenda. If any compromise is possible, I hope it can be found in leveraging the self interest of those liberals in the legislative branch to reign in the regulators in the executive branch. After all, those unelected regulators have been slowly eroding the power of the legislative branch. Another possible area of compromise would be the repeal of the Patriot Act and other areas of Government overreach. Finally, a compromise might be possible to rollback the collusion between big government and big business. Big businesses have been manipulating the Federal Government for decades to eliminate competition, drive up prices, and increase profits. All of these areas are open for Conservatives (vice Republicans) to reach a compromise with the Liberals (vice Progressives) in the 2010 Congress.
We can only hope, stick to our principles, and take the Senate and the Presidency in 2012.

Jun 14, 2010

Ripping Off the Taxpayer. Who Do YOU Blame; DC or Wall Street?

Here is a short video (4:26) that should really get your blood boiling:

The important question here--or at least the one that truly distinguishes an individuals mindset--is 'Who do you hold most responsible?' The criminals in Washington DC or those on Wall Street? In this case I don't think that anyone can help but choose either one or the other. One perspective I choose to use is 'who is--or is not--doing their job?'
The job of Wall Street is to 'maximize shareholder value', or to put another way, make money for those who own stock in the company (Goldman Sachs, in this case) without violating any laws.
The job of the FDIC--and the politicians in Washington who hire them--is to protect taxpayer money and get the economy working again.
In this case, Goldman Sachs did their job. The taxpayer got taken to the cleaners. Again.
Just as anyone else who can spend other people's money, the politicians care more about the appearance of 'doing something' than protecting our hard earned money.
So to sum up, the politicians created the problem, and then go to Wall Street and throw more of our money away so they can look good.
I would be interested in your thoughts...

Feb 2, 2010

Your Wheelchair is a Chariot: Mornings at the Pentagon

This is a really great story about what it really means to be in the military. As some of you may know, I am retired military. What most don’t know is that my father was retired military, too, and had been blown up losing his arm and leg. Needless to say, I was very familiar with wheelchairs, and learned by about 7 years old how to do ‘wheel stands’, and race. To me, the following story means more than I can express.
The post has a bit of history on the web, and has been reposted many times according to Google.  A link to the original story from Memorial Day, 2007 is here. Regardless, I just received it today, so it is new to me. If anyone can fill me in on more of the history, and if the ceremony is still in practice, I would sincerely appreciate it. (H/T: Tom Aderhold)
Mornings at the Pentagon
By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY McClatchy Newspapers
Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.
This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year long tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.
Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.
"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.
This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends, who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.
Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.
The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.
"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.
"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.
"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.
"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.
"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30... Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.
They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.
"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.
These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.