Friday, November 30, 2012

Should We Just Go Cliff Diving?

Since the election at the beginning of November 2012, most of the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC has been over the so-called "Fiscal Cliff".

Several conservative-minded economists have been talking about this for over six months. I seem to remember Steve Moore making mention of its possibility under the poor fiscal policies coming out of Congress and the White House as early as last May when I heard him speak at a convention in North Carolina.

The "cliff" isn't something new. It isn't some "where the heck did that come from?" surprise. Anybody who pays any amount of attention to fiscal policy and the economy has seen it coming for quite a while. In fact, it is partially responsible for many decisions made by larger US-based companies who increased their international outsourcing or, at least, decreased their domestic production rates.

The looming fiscal and economic disasters that will be caused by the PPACA just aggravate the situation. The PPACA is poised to enact what are effectively 21 new taxes on median income earners, some of them starting January 2013. Penalties against employers who don't comply with the new law are increasing under-employment as many employers are cutting their workforce or transferring many positions to part-time, under 25 hours a week.

The simple fact is that if fewer people are working, fewer people are paying payroll and income taxes. The simple fact is that if people are making less money, on average (as is the current case versus January 19, 2009), then the aggregate revenue is lower.
Obama and the socialists have a plan to increase that potential revenue. Instead of employing common sense and promoting an increase in the number of people participating in the tax base, they seek to, instead, increase the rates on those who employ them. That will mean a shrinking of that tax base. It will be an incentive to not produce. That will lead to even lower revenues.

The various CBO reports show clear implied tasks in the mission of restoring prosperity and avoiding this "fiscal cliff". Those tasks are simple. First, yes, the federal government must increase revenues. The trick will be doing so in a manner that will not reduce GDP. The only means to do that is to increase the tax base -- the number of people paying into the coffers.

The second implied task is that the government must cut its ridiculous spending. It must do so in accordance with the US Constitution. That is something that neither side of the aisle likes the idea of doing. Both sides have their little pet projects they want to spend our money on. Well, Mommy and Daddy provide you allowance, kids. We have told you that you must spend money on certain things (The US Constitution MANDATES military spending). With what is left over, you can choose one of several things. You cannot afford all of them. You sure as heck cannot afford to add to your "wish list". Some of  those things on your "wish list" are beyond your means and you may have to look at a more cost-effective alternative. However, the simple fact is that those of us who provide your allowance do not want to increase it. You have demonstrated you have enough trouble living within your means.

The CBO projects that the budget can be balanced, the deficit greatly reduced, and the national debt actually being paid off by 2020 if spending is cut by $1,000,000,000,000.00 a year. That is in conjunction with increasing revenues in a means that does not push U3 unemployment over 8% (at a 2006 Workforce Participation Rate) and allows GDP to grow over +1.7% . The most recent proposal from the socialists is predicted  to cause GDP to decline by up to -0.5% and push U3 unemployment as high as 9.1% combined with a declining WPR. Do not overlook the fact that the unemployed are not only not producing, but they are a burden upon tax-payers as well. Increasing employment means more people producing and fewer people sucking up unemployment benefits, thus a double-cut to the deficit achieved by increasing employment and workforce participation.

Courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

With the perceived stalemate between unicorn-riders and fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill, it begs the question on what our representatives should do. Well, it's obvious that tax rates should not be increased. Doing so will just further decrease GDP, decrease disposable income, increase unemployment, and fail to generate the revenue increases the federal coffers require to pay what it already owes.

The president's proposal also does not cut spending. It actually increases it. It may call for a smaller increase than in previous years. However, it does not include any actual spending cuts.

If  the conservatives cave-in, things will get worse. If they stand firm, the socialists will blame the eventual fall from the cliff on them. Well, their plan speeds us over the cliff faster, and into a deeper abyss. In the case of folding, those conservatives will lose their support. The rhetoric has already started with Saxby Chambliss's gaffe that was interpreted as a willingness to cave. Though it appears to be a lose-lose situation, it isn't.

Americans are exceptional. Those who produce will produce. Those willing to work towards prosperity will do so. Americans have a remarkable resilience and propensity to rebuild, better, stronger, and faster than before. America is traditionally a nation of "Six-Million-Dollar" people. The simple truth is that, in order to do so effectively, we need government to get out of the way. They need to cease being an obstacle. Instead  they need to be minesweepers and Bangalore torpedoes that get those obstacles out of the way.

It is starting to appear that the best way for that to happen and allow us to return to a state of prosperity is to allow them to implode. Let the government bus head over the cliff. The conservatives need to get off of that bus. They need to stand by and watch it, shaking their heads. In other words, NO COMPROMISE!

They need to force a reformed and simplified tax code that reduces marginal rates on median and upper wage earners. They need to provide motivation for lower wage earners toward upward mobility, as well as pay their fair shares instead of taking from those already paying more than their fair share. More than that, they need to employ at least $500,000,000,000.00 ($5 Billion) in spending cuts (not smaller increases, but actual CUTS).

They need to do so without taking a penny away from defense spending. That doesn't mean that defense spending is immune from reform. It requires reforms as well. Equipping, training, housing, feeding, and paying the force must be maintained or increased. However, there is plenty of waste in the defense department that can be cut, such as money wasted on windmills on US Army installations.

The same goes for the VA. Veterans sacrificed much already. Many continue to sacrifice. They earned every VA benefit. Some even deserve increased benefits. However, VA bureaucrat employees don't need tax payers to pay millions on vacations that are passed-off as "training conferences". No, that funding should have gone directly to providing those earned benefits to the veterans. (Note that congressmen who opposed fraudulent and wasted spending that did not directly provide for veterans were deemed "anti-veteran" by the IAVA.)

Social Security needs reform. It should be partially privatized. It should be individual accounts, and not part of the general fund. This does not mean throwing Granny off the cliff. What this means is that the federal government has already stolen Granny's purse, then decided to be charitable and give her a little bit of her money back as it sees fit, but never all of it.

The same goes for Medicare. Medicare should be treated as individual HSAs.  Again, this isn't throwing Granny off of a cliff. The federal government already stole her purse, with her prescription allowance inside of it.

Fiscal conservatives want to see these necessary reforms?  Do not cave to the impractical plans presented by the unicorn-riders and Animal Farm residents. Vote "Hell NO!". Don't try to slow the bus. It is going to go over, regardless. Look past that "cliff" towards mitigating the impact upon those smart enough to get off the bus. Look at providing life preservers to those who are willing to swim rather than drown. Everybody else, tell your representatives to stand firm. Get off the bus or go put on your swimsuits. It is looking like it may be time to do some cliff diving.

Courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The AARP Isn't Right

AARP, We rip you off for $16 a year to lobby the Federal Government to steal even more from you. Join Today, Lose Today, Lose More Tomorrow!

A couple of days ago, the American Association of Retired Persons sent me a little packet. I'd wonder what they were thinking, but it is clearly evident that they were not.

It seems they wanted me to buy some tote bag for $16. the bag came with a one year membership to their organization. Somehow their senile dementia must have kicked in because they claimed that I am eligible for membership.

Before I get into why I would never join this socialist collective, let's take a look at the more than obvious problems with this packet. They claimed that I am eligible. According to their own site and eligibility rules, I am not. They have a minimum age requirement of 50. I am nowhere near close to my 50th birthday. While I am retired from active military service, I am not fully retired. I call myself "retired" because I receive my hard-earned pension check from my military service. In addition, I refer to myself as "retired" because, for various reasons, I have "gone Galt". Those reasons are mostly private and personal and were decided after hours of discussion with my wife. Yes, there is a political reason, as well. It is not the primary reason, though it is on the list.

Whoever the marketing genius that decided I was a good candidate for recruitment was, he needs to go back to school.

The socialist support for senile seniors AARP offers membership benefits of insurance. Their site enumerates all sorts of insurance from health to auto. I guess they never heard of military retiree benefits that their organization cannot come close to matching. Even without those benefits, the USAA has services that the AARP cannot come close to matching for the money. I won't even bring up the fact that I more support HSAs to health insurance. I didn't see anything about HSAs on their site.

They also claim they can assist with lowering travel costs. They may want to look into how military retirees qualify for Space-A travel on MAC flights.

They also advertise their community services. I guess they failed to consider other organizations such as the VFW, The American Legion, and State Level VA offices. I have yet to see an AARP clubhouse or post. I have shaken hands with multiple Veterans' Service Officers from local VFW and American Legion posts. Not a single AARP community service volunteer has come to me and offered to help, regardless of my membership status.

Now I will address their claim for advocacy. They claim they will give me a voice in government if I join.

I vote. In fact, this year I was able to vote without using an absentee ballot. It was the first year I was confident my vote was tallied. That is my voice. I don't need some group of silver-haired socialists telling me what is best for me. I can vote. I can also write. I write letters to my representatives quite often. I have submitted editorials, op-eds, and letters to editors, some of which have been published. In addition, I write for a living. I also have a phone (another benefit they claim membership to the AARP will provide -- sorry, I already have one). I call those representatives. I have a voice. I speak to people and to groups. Sorry, I am not a feeble person who cannot think or speak for myself. The AARP does not provide any form of advocacy or voice for me that I either don't already have or cannot provide for myself.

When the time comes, I may consider joining AMAC or Generation America. I will not join the AARP, ever. Yes, Virginnia, there are better alternatives to the AARP.

Now come the less obvious problems. Those problems start with that "advocacy". They claim they will speak for me and my concerns. No they won't. They have supported every candidate that is against the US Constitution and against everything I supported and defended during my 24 year long military career. If they stand against the things I hold most sacred, how will they provide me a voice?

They have opposed reforms that would make socialist insecurity a workable and viable option. The money a working person pays into the fund is supposed to be theirs. The fact is that the AARP and the socialists in government don't see it that way. If those same funds were put into individual accounts and privatized, the value and payouts come retirement age would be higher. The proof is in Galveston County, TX where they did exactly that. Instead, the AARP supports maintaining a bankrupt and unconstitutional system that makes social security an additional income tax while working and a means of making retired people dependent upon the whims of the federal government. That is anything but liberty or the pursuit of happiness that Thomas Jefferson referred to in the Declaration of Independence. It does anything but "secure the blessings of liberty". It, as well as Medicare, promote slavery and dependency instead  of "promoting the general welfare". The AARP stands for a system that steals from Peter to pay Paul, after it takes its cut.

The AARP pushes its health insurance benefits. However, they also advocate the PPACA. The real irony here is that the PPACA creates a 15-member panel that will decide if a sick retired person really needs that surgery or that blood pressure medication, or if  it is better to just drug them with pain killers until they die. Granny is 75 and needs a bypass. The 15-member panel decides it is cheaper to give Granny aspirin and Percocet and let her die of a heart attack within the next six months. Why? Well, Granny is close enough to the average expected lifespan, despite the fact the bypass would allow her to live to be 85-90. Wait, if she lived that long, she would receive (maybe) Social Security and Medicare. Let's cut the costs of the 15 years of those benefits with aspirin, Percocet, and the "natural causes" of that heart attack.

The AARP also advocates raising taxes on working Americans, especially on those households earning and AGI of over $150k a year. That is not all. They also advocate raising taxes on pensioners who earned pensions over $150k a year. So, they wish to undercut fellow retirees who were smart enough and successful enough to earn those higher pensions. The AARP also advocates increasing taxes on IRA payouts. Some IRAs are tax-deferred. Others are not, but have reduced capital gains taxes on the back-side. The AARP wants tax increases on both ends. This also includes 401K and Roth 401K retirement accounts. So, they don't really want to see future retirees benefiting from the fruits of their individual labors. No, they advocate stealing from those individuals, now.

The AARP is a scam. They charge you $16 dollars a year for a tote bag and permission to tell you what you think. They charge you $16 a year to steal from you and advocate destroying our republic. They charge you $16 a year so they can advocate taxing people for health care in order to pay for abortions and other elective surgeries. They charge you $16 a year so your church can be forced to pay your children to not have your grandchildren. They charge you $16 a year to advocate taking away your rights as grandparents and your kids' rights as parents.

To the incompetent marketing AARP employee who thought I was one of his key demographics for recruitment, perhaps you should have dedicated just one tenth of the time researching your demographic as I have looking into the scam of an organization that employs you. You would have saved yourself some embarrassment. Keep on the lookout for that package you sent. I did return the application with some choice words. I also included those temporary membership cards. They sort of fell into our MC14MX Micro-Cut Paper Shredder (Google Affiliate Ad). I hope you like confetti.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Schools Indoctrinating Un-American Divisive Collectivism

That should read "Center For Overpriced Tuition, Socialist Indoctrination & Opposing Individual Prosperity"

A recent op-ed published by The College Fix discussed the syllabus for one of its political science classes. The indoctrination pontiffs demand that students use what they mislabel as "inclusive diction" in their oratory and written work.

The problem is that the so-called "inclusive diction" is anything but inclusive. First, the college demands that victims students not use terms such as Americans, US Citizens, or US Patriots. Instead, they have to label people based upon race, religion, or gender. This is allegedly meant to "include" all these separate little demographics into the whole of the collective.

Second, this policy labels people based upon a demographic trait, pigeonholing them into some special little collective, thus removing their status as among  the smallest and most important minority -- The Individual. The idea is to educate in the plight of these separate collectives as an approach to "social justice". The real issue is that social justice is one that looks beyond those demographic markers and applies to all individuals universally. Real social justice concentrates on individual natural rights:  Life, Liberty, and Property (also known as the Pursuit of Happiness).

This tactic is not new. It is just a more blatant and culturally invasive attack on individuality that started with the whole "PC" campaign. For those unaware, "PC" stands for "politically correct". If it were truly "politically correct", it would not use terms such as "African-Americans", "Jewish-Americans", "Female-Americans", "Naturalized-Americans", etc. It would use the blanket term "Americans". If a cultural divide were necessary, it would be "Tax-paying citizens" and "mooching-residents". However, those terms are contrary to the collectivist thought of the socialist left. You see, "PC" is only "correct" when the left forces its use upon conservatives. It's also separatist and divisive. It causes people to look at the differences, then to speak and act cautiously after recognizing those demographic traits.

I served 24 years in the military. The military works hard to eliminate prejudice, racism, and bigotry. Does some still exist? Yes. However, it is not tolerated and is punished when proven. Here is the difference. The US Army does not look at a Soldier and refer to them as an "African-American Soldier" or as a "Jewish-Sergeant" or a "Naturalized-Captain". They are Soldiers. Each is taken into account by their individual efforts and merits. The "whole soldier" concept is used. Soldiers are not promoted or punished based upon any "PC" collectivist demographic. I have sat on several promotion boards. Race and gender have never been discussed in deciding if SPC Snuffy is deserving of Sergeant's stripes.

These "inclusive diction" policies do the exact opposite.

The leftist indoctrination in collegiate undergraduate curricula is nothing new. It's been encroaching for decades, in fact, almost a century. However, in the last couple of decades is has become bold and blatant. This is a tragedy in political science courses as it causes a failure to present all political aspects. Everything is tainted towards a socialist mentality in many colleges across America.

One Soldier I know started his military career in the US Navy. He did his enlistment in Naval Intelligence. Upon completion, he used his benefits to garner a college degree as well as an eventual commission as an officer in the US Army. He originally intended to earn a degree in political science. He related the tale of why he changed his major. During one of the first classes in political science, his professor used the podium more as a pulpit to preach progressive thought than to educate. He spoke about the evils of using tax money for national defense, among other aspects of leftist-collectivist thought. The Soldier agreed with the teacher. He then stated that the money normally used on national security should then be used to educate US Citizens in Chinese, Russian and Spanish. The professor thought that use of tax funding for education was noble but it should be used to provide a "living wage" or some other leftist nonsense. Then he asked the Soldier why he chose linguistic and cultural diversity classes specifically. The Soldier, having come from an intelligence background, stated simply and truthfully that if we diverted the defense funding that is mandated by the US Constitution into other things and crippled our great republic's ability to defend our liberties that we'd soon be taken over militarily and economically by China, Venezuela, and/or Russia. The Soldier was told to choose another major or another college because he would NEVER pass a single political science class at that school.

The indoctrination into collectivism, statism, and socialism begins in elementary school and continues through high school. Students these days receive very little history education. Instead, they receive "social studies" meant to increase their knowledge of "cultural diversity". They are taught to be "sensitive" to the "special needs" of the [BLANK] community. "The 'Martian-Americans' have their special cultural needs, and you need to understand and be sensitive to the needs of their special collective.". The history and necessity for individual natural rights are not taught. In fact, the students are told those thoughts are "greedy and evil". The students are also told to be sensitive to the plight of the poor illegals who broke the law and invaded our country. They are their own special collective that "has a right" to a portion of a citizen's legally earned property and that portion of that citizen's life spent earning it. 

For those who seek a degree, particularly in political science, I strongly suggest getting a more balanced and factually accurate course of study such as that of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale utilizes books such as The Churchill Documents, Volume 14: At the Admiralty, September 1939 - May 1940 (Google Affiliate Ad). They present both conservative and progressive views of issues as well as the historical facts. They have two free online courses, as well. In addition, since your kids aren't receiving adequate education in US History, you may want to look into buying them some fun books that will fill those gaps. Callista Gingrich has a couple of great ones. She is the wife of Newt Gingrich and co-author of Ronald Reagan By Cohen, David Elliot (CRT)/ Robinson, Peter/ Gingrich, Newt (FRW)/ Gingrich, Callista (FRW) (Google Affiliate Ad). For even younger readers, Amelia Hamilton has now two books that teach counting and civics.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Generic Version of Cholesterol Reducer Recalled

India-based Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. May have accidentally added an ingredient to their generic version of Pfizer's Lipitor. The intent behind the accident may have been to add an additional ingredient intended to further decrease arterial plaque which can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks.

The accidental ingredient is microscopic shards of glass. The glass shards were inadvertently added to the company's 10, 20, and 40 milligram dose versions of the tablets and include both 90 and 500 capsule bottles of the drug.

Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. has issued a recall of the pills. The affected lot numbers are enumerated in a document provided by the company

Ranbaxy, a US subsidiary of the India-based parent company of the same name, is the largest producer of atorvastatin calcium, the generic version of Pfizer's Lipitor. Ranbaxy informed the Food and Drug Administration of the possible contamination and initiated the recall. So far, there have been no injuries or reported cases of ingestion of the tablets. If you use a generic version of the drug, please check your bottles against the list before taking the drug.

This is not Ranbaxy's first foray into the realm of FDA investigations. Since 2008, the company has been in at least 30 previous battles with the FDA and lost approval to import or produce those drugs, largely due to the firm's manufacturing processes.

Due to the recall, prices for the drug may increase for many prescribed the medication. The patients may need to purchase the more expensive Pfizer version of Lipitor. In the meantime, there will still be shortages as Ranbaxy produced a large portion of the market share of the generic atorvastatin calcium.

In the meantime, those who are or know someone at risk of heart attack may wish to read Surviving a Successful Heart Attack (Google Affiliate Ad), a good book to help with a long, happy lifestyle.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Parents & Kids Face Hard Fight Against Chipping

Courtesy of Facebook
Several schools across the US began inserting Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) chips, of the sort used in pets, into their school ID cards or other items students are compelled to bear and wear at government schools.

The main reason for the chipping of students is simply a means to justify higher allocations of tax money for their teachers and administrators, and, therefore, the unions. The school districts themselves support that claim. The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, TX stated they implemented the technology in order to combat attendance problems in the district. The chips are used to track the attendance numbers and locations of students allegedly to keep students in classrooms instead of truant or dropping out. If attendance falls below certain numbers, the schools in the district lose funding. The funding is based upon attendance. However, if the numbers rise, they get more funding. That funding goes to paying for more teachers and administrators, justifying their salaries. Those government indoctrinators then pay dues, or higher dues, to the teachers' unions. It is the same purpose as Julian Castro's sales tax increase to allegedly provide for better "Pre-K" programs at indoctrination centers.

However, the tracking technology extends beyond just the classroom, as sensors and programs that can track the RFID chips can then be used to track where the bearers go outside of school hours. It can track students as they go to religious or youth group programs not sponsored by the schools. It can track when parents take kids to the various doctors' offices, violating confidentiality laws.

Those who support the chipping program state that the RFID chips are no more intrusive than gps tracking programs on smart phones and computer tablets. The difference is that those trackers can be turned off and the batteries removed.

Students, along with many parents, who oppose the RFID chipped student ID cards and other items, face a spectrum of penalties. Some students have been threatened with suspension or expulsion. Others were threatened to be banned from extra-curricular activities such as homecoming events, dances, clubs, and sports. That begs the applicability of the mandates towards home-schooled students who wish to participate in taxpayer funded activities such as sports teams. Will they now be banned from these activities because they do not have RFID chipped ID cards?

One student, Andrea Hernandez, and her parents oppose the RFID chips on religious grounds. She was ordered to comply or face expulsion. Her religious views suggest the chips are part of "the beast's" method of tracking his minions as depicted in the Book of Revelations. Regardless of one's personal religious views and agreement or disagreement with that belief, the First Amendment supports their freedom to have that belief. Forcing the girl to wear the "brand of the beast" violates that Amendment. The courts have granted Andrea an injunction that forbids the school from expelling or punishing her for refusing to bear the RFID chip until the case completes its days in court.

Even the rather socialist leaning American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) finds the program "dehumanizing".

The "dehumanizing" in schools is nothing new. In several schools across the country, students are forced to walk with "hallway hands" in elementary and middle schools. In the Judson Independent School District, also in San Antonio, these students are compelled to walk with their hands held together and pressed to their lower backs, as though they are handcuffed. This is how prison inmates are also compelled to walk. The indoctrinators treat our children like criminals. This is not just done in cases where they misbehave. It is done as they navigate the halls from class to class or to lunch. 

Now is the time for a great entrepreneur to step up and make a lot of money. Someone should invent a card carrier that will allow the ID to be visible on its lanyard while blocking RFID transmissions. For now, if your child is issued one of these and you oppose it being worn and your child's movements being tracked by the government, get a small metal safe. Put the RFID ID cards in the safe. Drop your kids off at school and walk them to the door. Deliberately take the IDs out of the safe in front of the administration. Do the reverse when you pick them up.

If you wish to be more of an activist, cut the ID up in front of the school principal and remind that public employee that he or she is YOUR employee, you are their boss, not the other way around. Parents need to take a stance for their parental rights. For far too long, they have allowed the schools to usurp their parental authority and violate their natural rights. In doing so, they have allowed the government indoctrination centers to brainwash their kids instead of supporting their actual education.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Notes On The Current Crisis in Israel

The media, both old and new, mainstream and alternative, have been flooded with stories of the current violence in the Middle East, particularly in Israel.

First, though many claim that Israel somehow "stole" the disputed territories, no such country of "Palestine" was ever recognized.

Second, in 1967, Israel was attacked. They fought back, hard. Much of the "disputed land" was won by them in that war, a war they did not provoke.

Third, at one time, the countries we know today as Syria and Jordan were once part of the country of Israel. If one wants to play historian about aggression towards the Hebrew people, the nomadic Philistines (or Palestinians, if you prefer) invaded and attacked the Hebrew people many times throughout history. It was during one such invasion that a young Shepherd named David made his name, eventually succeeding the then King Saul of Israel to become King himself. David later passed his throne to his son, Solomon.

During the Roman Empire, and the days of Yeshua ben Yousef of Nazareth, Syria and Jordan were also under the principality of Israel and Jerusalem. The emperor even recognized Herod as King of those lands, though many Hebrews did not.

Historically, all of it is Israel.

Today is what matters. Today, Gaza and the West Bank are part of Israel, though given a certain level of autonomy. Jordan and Syria are their own countries. Syria is in turmoil under a tyrannic despot.

The Philistines (Palestinians) have religious freedom and a level of political freedom. In fact, under the Israeli political system, they have more political freedom than Hamas, the terrorist organization currently in control of their political system, would allow them if they were their own country. Hamas would most likely be more tyrannic and despotic than the Taliban.

The truth is that they do not want more freedom. They want to be enslaved, to submit, to their tyrannic, terrorist despots. Then they want all Jews subjected to genocide or enslaved to them. Then they want to dominate the globe, putting all under their thumb. They do not want religious freedom or tolerance. They want domination. They want to take away what others have worked so hard to create and build.

In late 2003, after my first tour to Iraq, I spent over a month in Jordan. I was there to share tactics and training for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. The Jordanian Army was to teach us their culture, the culture of Iraq, and how to best employ what they called "the soft power" to win "hearts and minds".

In our dealings, they told us that we surpassed them at door-kicking and use of force. However, they said we didn't know how to "fight the peace". They were correct. It wasn't that we didn't know how to employ a rule of law. It wasn't that we didn't know how to be compassionate and help people. No. In their perspective, we were too nice when we had to "lock down" an area. We didn't use enough threats of force. To them, in their culture, you have to show strength. You have to demonstrate the propensity to use force. You have to intimidate. You have to show that you are willing and capable of doing violence void of any compassion before you turn and employ compassion. From the cultural perspectives in that area, you are only compassionate when you can be mean, violent, and destructive and choose not to. You have to show the people that they owe you for doing the right thing. After all, you have that force because "Inshallah". It is all by the will of allah. So, then, it is the will of allah when you have it, can use it, are known that you could use it, and are compassionate instead.

Basically, you have to step on their throats with just enough force that they know their lives are in your hands before you an let them be free.

It's their culture. That was what the Jordanians taught us. That is what they mean by "soft power".

"Look, jackass, I have the ability to wipe you off the map. Now that you understand that you cannot possibly win if you fight me, let's negotiate."

Yes, the Jordanians pretty much told us that you have to put a gun to their heads before they will be willing to discuss a mutually beneficial agreement. If you can't crush them, why should they bother?

They asked the US to be more compassionate and empathic to the plights of the Philistines. Consider how their culture prefers compassion be implemented. Then consider how the Philistines conduct terror-attacks while using women and children as human shields. Compassion... .

The only way Hamas or the Philistines would come to a bargaining table to discuss diplomatic options is if they perceive they are losing and they could somehow turn it into more than just a mere Pyrrhic victory.

During that month, we had to listen to the diatribes of a Jordanian general. Of course, we received a daily dose of why the US needs to do something about Israel and all of the Philistine refugees that are stinking up Jordan. No, the Jordanians didn't seem too keen on having Goliath's descendants within their borders either.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twinkies' Final Death Rattle While Atlas Shrugging

They didn't build Hostess,
So they Destroyed it

On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Hostess, 82, died due to unnatural, Marxist clauses.

I guess this means that Lara Ferroni may have to update her book Real Snacks By Ferroni, Lara .

Bankruptcy court ordered Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union to return for a final attempt for contract mediation before allowing Hostess to begin liquidation.

Hostess had crunched the numbers. The new contract called for a pay cut up to 8% for some of the workers for one year. After approximately one year, the cut would have become a raise as the restructuring efforts turned the business around. The union declined.

The union also refused to budge on certain inefficient clauses of the contract, such as mandating that those workers who load Twinkies onto trucks can load only Twinkies, not loafs of bread. The inefficient clauses also included ones that stated that bread and Twinkies could not be loaded onto the same truck and would require two trucks, two drivers, and two different loaders in order to deliver the baked goods from the same plant to the same store.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused any concessions. The union represents just under 1/3 of the company's workers. The workers took an open, oral ballot to not accept any of the conditions. They voted to kill all 18,500 jobs. In contrast, the infamous Teamsters took a secret ballot, and voted to accept concessions and conditions of the new contract. This begs the question on how much intimidation, peer pressure, and outright lies the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union used on its workers. Then again, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union is proud that it mills grain and works with tobacco. Its name should make any food-producing company wary of the union in the first place.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 after it announced it could not meet the obligations to union pension funds outlined in its previous bankruptcy agreement. 

Hostess returned to bankruptcy court and informed the judge and the appointed trustees that mediation failed. Hostess is to liquidate its assets and go out of business. Big labor has killed the Twinkie. This may just be the beginning as other businesses collapse under the weight of Marxist unions. The PPACA has already led to many businesses cutting employees or reducing allowable work-hours. How long will it be before Obama issues executive orders forbidding businesses to close or fire any laborers? Atlas is shrugging.

Flower Foods, Inc, and the Tasty Baking Company, makers of Tasty Kakes,  are among the companies vying for Hostess's recipes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gore and Eco-Loonies Demanding Carbon Tax

Courtesy Climate SOS

The day after Obama was re-elected, a bunch of alleged ecologists marched on Washington, DC to call for increased federal regulations and sanctions against carbon-based fuels and products.

They claim that unless the government forces citizens and companies to work in conditions that are beyond currently available technology that our planet will burst into flames, the polar ice caps will melt overnight, and everybody will die.

The eco-terrorists also believe that enacting strict laws against carbon usage and emissions and putting placing an "environment-friendly", benevolent despotic dictator in charge of the world will end all wars, tyranny, human suffering, etc. Of course it will because we'll all be either enslaved or dead.

Of course, these are the same so-called scientists who ignore over half of the data-set because it doesn't fit into their agenda. Current scientific evidence shows that the global-warming theory may be incorrect. Other scientific evidence suggests that, though global warming may exist, that human intervention has not caused it nor will it prevent it. The bottom line is that global warming is still much in dispute within the scientific community. It is not a fact. It is still a collection of yet unproven hypotheses.

With the looming "fiscal cliff" that our federal government (as well as several left-leaning state governments such as California) are kicking in the turbo chargers and hitting the N2O switches to rush towards, Al Gore (not a scientist) is at it again. He is, yet again, suggesting the federal government introduce a "carbon tax".

Gore's argument is that such a tax will increase federal revenue sufficiently enough to cover the deficit and start paying back the national debt. He claims it will alleviate taxes on middle and lower income brackets. He also claims it will save the planet.

Al Gore has, yet again, proved himself to be an idiot.

First of all, most industries these days use plastics. The medical industry needs plastics in order to save lives. Plastics are necessary for preventive medicine as well. With the PPACA making health care less affordable, and less available, to the majority of Americans, such a tax will further decrease the quality of life and lifespans of our citizens.

Yes, Mr. Gore, plastics are made from petroleum. Some are made from soybeans, yes. But, guess what! The plastics made from soy are also carbon based!

Do you know what else is carbon based? Anything that is organic. That means lettuce, chicken, been, fish, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peas, milk, eggs, cheese, beer, scotch, wine, and bread.

So is the breath we exhale, which contains a high amount of CO2. So, it sounds as though Gore wants a tax on breathing.

Next, Al Gore fails to understand that any increased overhead, such as taxes and regulatory fees, get passed along to consumers. That means increased utility costs on homes. It means increased utility costs on businesses who will have to raise prices. It means increased portage and cartage costs and packaging costs for food items. It means increased costs in transportation just getting to work, meaning people will have less disposable income (since their net wages will be lower). It will means higher costs for farmers who need diesel, gasoline, and natural gas to cultivate and harvest food. it will mean that people who are just making ends meet will start falling short on paying for basic necessities like food, water, heat, clothing, and waste removal.

Furthermore, such taxes will lead to many companies having reduced capital. That means they may have to reduce production. That will mean fewer and  fewer available jobs. It will mean more people out of work and not paying income taxes (and unable to pay the other taxes).

Gore doesn't want to use "green policies" to avoid the "fiscal cliff". He wants us all to put on our Proud To Drive My Prius (Classic Thong) underwear and ride a turbo-charged Prius straight over it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meteor Showers and Marxist Terrorists -- 17 November

Readers get a double dose in one article today.

November 17, 2012 bears significance for multiple reasons.

The first is that at about 3am, sky watchers were treated to one of the solar system's greatest natural fireworks shows.

That's right science geeks, they're back!

Those unaware may want to turn their eyes skyward and east tonight (or early morning tomorrow) after the moon has passed to the western portion of the sky. Look towards the constellation of Leo. Expect to see at least 10 shooting stars an hour as the Leonid Meteor Shower puts on its annual show.

I first heard of the Leonids in November of 2001. I had just returned from an overseas tour and happened to be on leave in route to my next assignment. My father and I bundled up with some warm drinks and watched the shower for a few hours. At that point I was hooked. I now look for peak times and dates for the larger meteor showers.

To watch the meteors, you need to get away from the city. If you can get on the side of a mountain and face east, you'll get an even better view. The less full the moon, the better. The meteors normally are better viewed in the early morning. However, the times differ each year, depending upon the phase of the moon.

This year, they will be visible from November 16-20, best viewed in early morning hours between 3am and sunrise. 

While living in Arizona, and still in uniform, my Soldiers would cringe when the meteors flashed during Physical Readiness Training (PRT). I explained to them that the flashes were not lightening. Lightening without much clouds is relatively common in southern Arizona. When I told them it was the meteor showers, however, it became hard to keep their focus on their morning exercises.  

The second topic is a more serious one.

Many Americans have turned their eyes on Greece as a warning of where increasing socialist programs will lead our country. Their unemployment is at a record high. They have seen riots. They have watched their economy keep falling. Then they elected socialists into power to continue more of the same failure.

Heralding these policies are several left-wing extremist groups. One that emerged within the last couple of years is called "The Sect Of Revolutionaries" or by the acronym, EA, taken from its name in Greek. EA is not really that new of a group. They are just a repackaging of a terrorist group that was allegedly toppled in June 2002. However, EA began its operations in early 2003.

In reality, they are just 17 November (17N) with a new name, same mission, and updated tactics.

The group targets prominent businessmen, capitalists, and Americans, particularly those who served  in the US Military. They prefer up close and personal assassinations done with pistols, at close range, in rather public venues such as cafes and restaurants. However, they have conducted the occasional bombing operation.

The group came into being about the same time left-wing terrorist groups in the US began their horrific acts of terror. In the 1970s, the US had the Weather Underground, which was led by one of Obama's mentors, Bill Ayers. We also had the Symbionese Liberation Army whose most infamous member was Patty Hearst, daughter of media mogul Randolph Hearst. Patty Hearst's prison sentence was commuted by socialist Jimmy Carter and later she was pardoned by the leftist Bill Clinton.

Today, supporters and fans of these groups are now part of the very "establishment" they rebelled against. We have one of them recently re-elected to the office of President. One of his key advisers, Valarie Jarrett, is among others who grew up admiring these murderers. The list goes on and on as you look through the cabinet.

A year ago, those indoctrinated and molded by these groups garnered the support of Marxist labor unions, particularly so-called "teachers' unions" and the SEIU and started the "Occupy" movement. Their lauded "new" system of governing deemed "direct democracy" is nothing by a rehashing of Athenian Democracy, which failed as a government system a few thousand years ago. It's the same system that the left-wing Marxist groups such as 17N and EA demagogue in Greece. It's that same ideology of class warfare, stealing form those who earn and giving to those who are lazy.

In Greece, you have a current government that also grew-up infatuated with 17N in Greece. Acting as their unofficial strong-arm is this repackaging of 17N, the EA. Today is November 17th, the day commemorating their namesake's founding. Given the significance, expect to see something in Greece between now and the 23rd of December, as those are significant dates to the groups.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Media Spin, Taxes, a Cliff, & The Shrugging Titan

Several Mainstream Media outlets, such as Rachel Maddow, as well as their lap-dog liberal supporters in the new media, such as the Huffington Post, claimed that the CBO's report on raising Capital Gains Taxes, Income taxes on the more affluent, and other socialist/progressive fiscal measures would not harm our economic prosperity. If they had actually read the report and understood basic 100-level economics, it would be obvious that they are either incompetent or lying.

The CBO's report on raising CGT, overall, and income taxes on the "top 1%" (any household that earns an annual income over $250k) paints a rather dim picture. The bottom line is a projected drop of GDP by approximately 1.3%. The latest GDP numbers showed the GDP at 0.5%. A drop of 1.3% would mean a GDP of -0.8%. Given the increases in labor costs due to the PPACA, increased regulatory fees, and decreased production leading to lower profits, it is highly likely that real GDP could be in the negatives.

The report also states that the higher taxes will not generate enough revenue to even make a dent in the deficit. In fact, the raised rates will not garner an increase in revenue anywhere near the projected increases in spending.

That may appear a lot better than many countries within the so-called "Eurozone" who reported negative GDPs recently.

The report also did not take into account the recent market declines that started after the report was prepared. Less capital is already being invested. The CBO anticipated a decrease in capital investment of 2.4% after the tax rates increase. They did not see the drop starting so early.

Second and third order effects will lead to an even greater decrease. The CBO report did not address the fact that your middle-income-bracket wage-earners will now have lower propensities to save and invest. Those who believe that your average middle-income earner doesn't invest is somebody who has no idea what an IRA is or a 401K account is. They will have lower disposable incomes, therefore less that they can invest. The maintained low prime rate that was meant to reinvigorate the housing market leave low interest paid to savings accounts. So, the marginal propensity to save is also decreased.

Banks use the money in those accounts to provide loans and investments that generate capital. With less saved in their institutions, there will be less available to loan or invest.

The report states that average household incomes for the middle-income bracket will drop even further than it has over the past 4 years. It predicts an increase of unemployment of up to 0.5% more unemployed, with an even lower workforce participation rate. The Marginal Effective Tax Rate on middle income earners will increase under the additional 21 taxes that the PPACA will impose. Add that to the decreased wages, and Americans will see their disposable incomes dwindle to scraps as their standards of living decline.

Due to the PPACA, many businesses are shrinking their labor forces and reducing productivity. Some are reducing their workforces to under 50 employees. Others are reorganizing the positions to part-time positions working less than 25 hours a week. 

That is not prosperity.

That is the opposite of the American Dream.

What this means is that the raised tax rates will generate lower revenue, decrease productivity, and increase deficit spending. The only way to avoid deficit spending is to actually cut spending. That does not mean you will increase spending less. It means decreasing spending all together. It means wasting money on fewer subsidies. It means spending money only in accordance with what the Constitution intends -- national defense and defraying operating costs.

The way it's going, when the lazy come to beg for their daily fish, there won't be any. Not only will the fisherman not have one to give, he won't have one for himself. In fact, he'll owe fish to people who won't loan him bait or a hook until he pays what he is unable. That means three people are starving.
Tootles & Thanks For The Flounder

That is allowing the left to pilfer and waste the "blessings of liberty" for "ourselves and our posterity" that the US Constitution was implemented to secure. That means that Obama and congress are failing to do their job. Worse, they are doing the exact opposite of  their jobs. Their jobs are not to pilfer those blessings, but to make sure that nobody pilfers them, especially the government.

As some in government look to step on the brakes in order to slow our "progress" to that so-called fiscal cliff, others seek to grab the emergency brake. The socialists that cling to Keynesian economics and ignore the Laffer Curve look to cut the cable to the e-brake, while also attempting to step on a pedal. They think the gas pedal is the brake. It isn't, despite the left-wing lap-dog media's having labeled it as such. Changing a sign does not change the fact that the brake is the pedal on the left... and it is the left that must be stomped on hard! Stomping hard on the right one will just accelerate us towards that cliff even more.

As we head there, the center of gravity shifts and a titan struggles to maintain his grip on the unbalanced, cumbersome world. His trapezoids are cramping. His deltoids spasm. Atlas must either shrug or drop this fragile ball.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unions Bite Hand that Feeds Cream Filling

In January, I wrote about the struggles that Hostess was enduring regarding their pending bankruptcy.

In the reorganization and restructuring the bankruptcy brought, the company introduced new union contracts designed to keep the company from cutting jobs and production in an effort to repay debts and, once again, make a profit.

Hostess owed a ridiculous amount to pension funds. Their overhead was bogged down by unrealistic labor benefits demanded by the unions. These were aggravated by rising costs and federal regulatory fees on sugar. To add more to the pain of the sugar taxes and costs, fuel prices have increased, adding to the overhead costs in bringing products to market, as well as costs of production in paying for the electricity and natural gas necessary to produce their baked goods.

Hostess's answer was to cut the company's contributions to many benefits, including pension funds and health benefits. They also sought to reduce the number of allowable hours in an effort to reduce the labor costs associated with paying overtime wages.

The deal also called for an average 8% wage cut. The union inaccurately told workers the cut was closer to 32%.  

The various unions didn't like the deal. They threatened to strike.

Hostess told the unions that the company would not stop them from striking. However, the company warned that if production fails to meet levels necessary to cover operating costs of any plant, they would be forced to close the respective plant. That would mean those striking workers would no longer have a position of employment to be striking with.

The union went on strike.

The unions also refused to tell the striking union members about what Hostess has informed them. So the wonderful union lied to its members and hid the truth from them.

Given the current state of the economy and the number of jobs being cut from various companies across the country, this may not have been the brightest move the unions made. In fact, this may have been as dumb of a move as backing Obama for president.

The warning wasn't enough. Union workers claimed that their unemployment and union benefits were better than the conditions of the new contract. So, they increased their strikes.

The result was that Hostess went back to bankruptcy court and told they were no longer seeking Chapter 11 restructuring bankruptcy. The company is now closing all of its facilities and selling off the remaining stock.

The union bit the hand that feeds them, cream filling in this case. Now they won't be fed by that hand. At last estimate, as many as 18,500 jobs with Hostess no longer exist. Now those union members have no pension fund. They have no medical benefits. They have no overtime. They have no regular wages. They will not be paying any union dues. They have no jobs at all. And, they are no longer on strike, since they are just unemployed people picketing.

Atlas needed a Twinkie -- shrug.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Conservative Make-Over For GOP

Since the dust settled from the election results, there has been a lot of banter concerning how to repackage the Republican party. The answers are as clear as day that some pundits have missed them entirely. The largest key to repackaging is to stop mussing up the packaging that is already there. After that, it comes down to adjusting a couple of ribbons and bows, and streamlining some of the excess

First of all, candidates this past election had a narrative to defeat, not an opposing candidate. The opposition did a great job of presenting the candidates, such as Richard Mourdock, Mitt Romney, and Todd Akin, as candidates to run away from. The candidates didn't help themselves too much, either. They allowed themselves to become entangled with the very distraction narratives meant to chase voters away.

Let's make this simple.

Conservative candidates, who mostly come from the Republican Party, need to demonstrate that they are truly for less government intervention into private lives. Each tactic meant to scare voters away painted the candidates as not being truly for a more conservative application of government authority and intervention.

You may not realize it, but the TEA Party is actually growing. There are new members each day, even though the huge rallies in the parks are no longer on the news being portrayed as the anarchist riots that the Occupy movement actually was. It's time to go to the grass roots level and talk to them. Don't waste your time just speaking at large arena venues in so-called "swing states". Your grass roots base will get your message out, if you give it to them (and heed their advice on it). You do not do well telling conservatives what they want. You do better asking them to tell you.

On large case in point is the topic of abortion. It was not an issue in this campaign. It is not an issue in any campaign. Do not debate abortion. Do not step in that trap. Each time a candidate does it comes across as though that candidate wants to legislate morality. Roe v Wade happened decades ago. Those who run an anti-abortion platform garner only those voters who place abortion as a top-3 issue, or the only issue. It makes the candidates come across as though they do not support the First Amendment. For a party that supposedly more aligned with the US Constitution, it makes conservatives appear as hypocrites. It's been 40 years and Republicans are still falling into this trap. You would think they'd learn by now.

There is a saying, "It's better to sit silent and look like a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

Frame your answer this way "Abortion is not an issue. My moral and religious stance is against abortion. However, the decision was made and the reality is that there is little that can be done about it. So let's talk about the real issues."

The same goes with contraceptives. Do not let yourself be trapped into false memes of banning contraception. You cannot ban it. That is the truth. Why can it not be banned? For one thing, that is legislating morality. Remember, folks, abstinence is a form of birth control/contraception. Not only was this not an issue, it wasn't true. In this case, openly challenge the opposition to provide proof of their allegations.Take the lessons of Prohibition. All that amendment did was create a nation of criminals who violated that law.

The same-sex marriage issue is another dumb trap. It's simple, marriage is not a religious condition in this country. The First Amendment makes it this way. Your religious view of marriage does not apply. All that applies is the legal definition determined by our society and culture. To translate this into easy terms, this means that marriage must be defined, through law, on a state by state basis. All the federal government can do is insure that a couple's marriage in one state remains recognized in another, just as was the argument concerning inter-racial marriages in our past. The Supreme Court already ruled on that. If a same-sex couple is legally married in state X, state Y has to recognize it. In addition to the First Amendment, the Tenth Amendment also applies. Do not support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Do not get distracted by this issue. Instead, simply state that you "support the decision of each state to decide its legal definition of marriage and respect the first and tenth amendments in regards to this issue. All people must be granted equal individual rights and opportunities that do not infringe upon those of others." 

Educate fence-sitters on important issues. One such issue is how lowering tax rates while increasing the tax base works to generate greater revenue. Most people cannot even identify the Laffer Curve much less give a quick explanation on how it works. Candidates need to have that quick-guide ready to explain. it is simple math with a parabolic function. However, most voters don't want to recall freshman year high school algebra in order to know how a candidate intends to pay for all these government services while taking less out of their paychecks.

Be exciting. Bush may not have had the best "rock star" persona. However, he rocked it harder than Al Gore. Clinton went on television and jammed his saxophone. Obama has his little south-side thug appeal. Reagan showed he had a backbone, telling hecklers to "shaddap" and telling debate moderators to allow his opponents to speak. Mitt has boardroom appeal. That didn't translate too well to those outside of his base.

Newt Gingrich's highest debate performance ratings came when he challenged the media bias. He showed he was willing to fight. That is what people want, somebody who has solid beliefs, a plan, and is willing to fight for it.  Not only do the candidates need to be prepared to fight on behalf of their platform and base, they need to fight against false narratives. Meet them head-on. Expose the distractions and lies as what they are. Show proof that the common voter can understand.

Despite the fact that "safety nets" such as Medicare, Social Security, and Food Stamps are not responsibilities or authorities allowed to the federal government per the US Constitution (and the 10th Amendment), the fact is that people have gotten used to them. Conservatives and Socialists both have segments that embrace these things. The fact remains, though, that they are bankrupt. Come up with a platform that reforms these illegal federal programs and returns much of the running of  the programs to the state and local levels where they belong.

I can address item by item for pages and pages. The bottom line is that if the party that holds itself to be one of conservatives, it needs to actually be conservative. It needs to present a platform that demonstrates it will work for smaller government and less wasted revenue. That also includes demonstrating the desire to not force morality down people's throats. Make people know that you truly support them having more choice, more liberty, and more say in their own lives. Then show them how that leads to the opportunity for a more successful pursuit of happiness.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Proposal About The Electoral College

I've seen the arguments for and against retaining the electoral college. I have even engaged in a few discussion myself, leaning on opposite sides of the argument at different times. After my most recent discussion, an associate asked me to write about the discussion and the conclusions.

Please feel free to discuss, poke holes, or rant your views on the subject. In reality, no amount of discussion is likely to change the current system anytime soon. However, it is painfully obvious that the system does need some tweaking.

Arguments for or against the electoral college vary in reasons and views tend to switch based upon electoral outcomes. The losing side always seems to have some heartburn over the electoral college system, regardless of which side lost.

To change from the electoral college to a national popular vote would require a constitutional amendment that would likely never pass. It is already a difficult task to get congress to amend the US Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment, something that the framers of the US Constitution believed to be understood and not require an amendment, believing that checks and balances as well as responsibility and accountability would lead to a mostly balanced budget in the first place. Then again, they never counted on tax revenue to be used where private enterprise and charity should suffice. 

The US Constitution states that the States determine the manner in which their electors are chosen. They can be appointed. They can be determined by popular vote. However, nothing mandates that they must be a "winner-take-all" system. In fact, the electoral system was never intended to be a "winner take all" system for the states. The "winner take all" system is one that attempts to negate the electoral college system by reducing it to a popular vote.

The problem is that larger urban areas are dictating the votes for the less populated areas. That is the very thing that the electoral college was meant to mitigate. The winner take all system does not provide for a just and fair representation of the population. Chicago should not automatically determine the will of the people living in Cairo, IL.

Winner Take All just presents another case of the "tyranny of the majority" described in Federalist 10.

The states need a better system.

Winner Take All came about in 1824 as a means to deter and mitigate gerrymandering. The problem is that it actually increases and rewards it by giving the denser urban areas the means to decide for the more rural districts.

The better solution is for each congressional district in a state to determine who that electoral vote goes to. The electoral votes from the state should be split accordingly. Then, the two electoral votes allocated for the number of senators could be split. One could go for the overall popular vote from the state as a whole. The second could be an appointed vote from the state legislature as approved by the state's governor. 

This would provide for a better reflection of the "will of the people" while still allowing for adequate and fair representation.

It would also eliminate the "swing state" rut that has evolved where less than 20% of the states decide the whole of the election. Instead you will have "battle ground districts" across the whole country.

That will cause candidates to travel around the country instead of campaigning only in a couple of states that their advisers and the media declare as "key". The places they go to campaign will be more accessible to voters since they will be within traveling distance. You won't have voters in southern Texas having to travel to New Hampshire to hear the candidates speak.

It can also allow for the so-called "third party" candidates to have a greater propensity to garner an electoral vote here and there, again making the representation more fair and balanced.

The system also combats potential gerrymandering by making a person's vote valid only in their district of residence. If they attempt to vote elsewhere, the vote won't register. This will actually help against gerrymandering and voter fraud.

This system also allows for some of the popular vote as 50 possible electoral votes then go to popular vote, one each state. The representation also better enables the states to retain an important portion of their 10th Amendment rights, keeping 50 of the electoral votes determined by those state governments. Before the US Constitution was amended to change US Senator elections to popular vote, they were appointed by state legislatures with approval by the governors. That necessary influence by the independent states was stolen by that amendment. This process restores part of it without infringing upon individual rights to self-governance. 

The last positive note of this system that requires consideration is that it puts political decisions back where they should be -- at the grass roots level, in the homes of those governed.

The beauty of this system is that it would not require a constitutional amendment to implement. It could be passed as national electoral law forbidding "winner take all". The other option is for states to individually adopt this method. Regardless, it leaves the US Constitution intact without decades of bitter arguing over an amendment that most people would actually want, like the Balanced Budget Amendment has faced.

Those in favor of scrapping the electoral college always swing to prefer a national popular vote. The national popular vote is inherently flawed for a few reasons. The first is that it rewards voter fraud and voter intimidation. There is too little recourse and consequences are too light to deter these things. Voter fraud is not a new concept as ballot stuffing and dead people voting years after dying has been going on since colonial days. While there are modern means to mitigate its effects, the same technology has also enabled savvy criminals to better disguise their crimes. In order to present a better deterrent, higher penalties for Identity Theft, usually directly connected to voter fraud in modern times, need to be implemented.

The largest problem with a national popular vote is the very reason the framers of the US Constitution decided to utilize the electoral college in the first place. The national popular vote does not provide for fair and adequate representation to the states. The national popular vote would, for all intents and purposes, take away any say that states, such as Montana, have in the governance of the nation, ceding that say to more populous states such as Florida. The electoral college is meant to mitigate that effect. However, those in favor of a national popular vote will claim that the electoral college system is already doing that, allowing Montana only three (3) electoral votes. 

The last key point against a national popular vote is that the US Supreme court rightly decided that there is no constitutional right to vote in a presidential election. There isn't. Look in the document. There are no provisions for it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Annual Veterans' Day Address

My Friend SFC Christopher Edwards, a Hero to be Emulated

Veterans Day is important to me in a very personal way. For my newer readers, I am a veteran and a military retiree. My father is a Marine and a veteran of Vietnam. My brothers were both Navy. My grandfather was also a veteran of World War II who was in Military Intelligence, just as I was. My unlcle Michael Paulovich retired a few years ago, a USMC Colonel. My wife is a veteran, though she was injured during training and never had the chance to deploy. The list goes on and on.

My extended family is also comprised of veterans. The term "extended family", to most civilians, means in-laws, cousins, and those blood or legal relatives outside of the nuclear family. For those of us who served, especially those of us who served more than one term of enlistment, and even more, those who fought in conflicts see that term as something else. We are all brothers and sisters in blood, sweat, tears, arms, and bad D-FAC food.

Each year, I write something specific for Veterans' Day. Many times I tend to drag myself into melancholia while remembering those I served with who, like Schuyler Haynes,  paid the ultimate sacrifice. I also attempt to instill in the uninitiated what it means to be a veteran, and what this great republic means to us. One year I published a transcript of a speech I was asked to deliver to an elementary school.

To the majority of us, this great republic is something so unique and cherished that we are willing to fight to our dying breath to protect it. We don't fight for a president. We fight for ideals that were scribed into two important documents: The Declaration of  Independence and that supreme law of the land known as the US Constitution. We fight for these ideals because they are what protect our families and allow them the liberty and opportunity to prosper.

On this Veterans Day, much like most days, I wish to extend a deep gratitude for each and every American who has served this great republic:  those who served before me, those who served with me, and those who have served since. America owes you more than you will ever comprehend. What is more important is that they owe you more than most of them will even comprehend.

Thank You.

Those of you that have made it this far, I ask you to indulge me as I draw your attention to one veteran.

Americans, meet Christopher Edwards.

I met Chris when we were both stationed with 1st BN 6th INF, 1st Armored Division. Chris and I deployed to Albania together to help fight for the Kosovars that the Serbians were attempting to "ethnically cleanse". During my time in that assignment, Chris and I became close friends. I was his S2 NCOIC. He was my company's armorer. I was responsible for inspecting Mission Essential Vulnerable Areas (MEVAs) such  as arms rooms to insure potential breaches were deterred or mitigated. Chris very quickly decided that he wanted the arms room he was directly responsible for to be the example not only for the battalion but the entire brigade. That joint effort turned into off-duty camaraderie.

Chris would play hooky from home to play on my PS2. We both had an affinity for good cigars and scotch. On more than one occasion, we volunteered our services to provide security for various functions on the post, augmenting the MPs and the civilian contractors.

I got to know his family. I was there when his youngest was born. Chris and his wife were my family away from home. I left that assignment in December 2001.

Years went by. Chris and I sent the occasional email. However, as with most military people, the mission before each of us took precedence over keeping contact with old friends. It's an understood thing, as we have something more important to do. That is the life of a Soldier.

Then I read a story in the news. There was Chris. However, he no longer looked the same. His face was scarred and disfigured. His picture is the one at the top of this article. Folks, I do have to say, though, the blast forged a much more beautiful man than the Chris I had remembered.

The fact that Chris is still alive is nothing short of a miracle. While in combat, Chris suffered life-threatening injuries due to a roadside bomb. The blast should have taken his life. Make no mistake, it took its toll. Chris is lucky to be walking. He is lucky to be breathing. Most who suffered the injuries Chris sustained wold be content to take a medical retirement and sit in a little apartment living off pension and disability checks.

That is not Chris Edwards. Chris fought the medical boards and remained on active duty. Though no longer fit to deploy, he works tirelessly to get others ready to face the dangers of armed  conflict and war.

Chris is but one true hero and leader with a story such as this. There are many. They walk among us every day, not quick to brag. Most won't even acknowledge their sacrifices or contributions. That is not our way. We don't seek glory and accolades.

To my old and dear friend Chris, Thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for the leadership and dedication. Thank you for our liberty. Thank you for being a great man who was willing to sacrifice so much so that others may enjoy the blessings of  liberty.

To all who don't take the time to thank each veteran they meet, I give you Rapper "Soldier Hard"'s song "Shame On Y'all"...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do I Owe You An Apology?

I began pondering this essay a few weeks ago. With the presidential race in a statistical tie, I accepted the possibility of Obama's re-election. I actually fought against those thoughts, attempting to not let them deter my efforts to do what I could.

One of my current projects is the book I am writing documenting how my political philosophy developed over the decades and the influences and events that brought me to believe what I do today. The effort is one that hopes to share something with future generations how and why ideals similar to mine come to be. This election cycle will likely encompass at least one chapter of that book. But I wanted to leave a more personal note for somebody to find.

The original title of this essay was going to be "Do No Look For Me. Do Not Look For My Property, Intellectual or Physical. I Am Retired. I Have 'Gone Galt' Until The Country Ends Its Mid-Life Crisis and Grows Up." The problem is that I am a warrior to my very core. I cannot stop fighting those fights that need to be fought.

At this juncture, we can only extrapolate and interpolate what will become of our great republic. If left unchecked, socialism will destroy it. The republic will find itself like Rome in its final century, or like Greece in modern times.

These past few days I've been second-guessing my efforts. Could I have done more?


That led me to think I might owe some apologies.

To my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews -- I tried. I worked as hard as I could without sacrificing something else I highly value, my time with you. Maybe  I should have explained how important this election could be  to the future and asked you to understand -- and spent more time out there campaigning and working. 

To my wife -- You supported me with understanding. I pushed your patience and tolerance. I asked you to give up some evenings with me to give me latitude to do what I could during key events. I promised you that I had a necessary and hard fight that I needed to engage in. It turned out to appear as a folly. 

To my friends who have supported my efforts, seeking what they thought to be wisdom -- It seems I may not have really known as much as I thought. 

To Andrew Breitbart, Matt Kibbe, Tabitha Hale, Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity, Erick Erickson, Tony Katz, Adam Baldwin, Kurt Schlichter, Dana & Chris Loesch, Mary Chastain, Brandon Darby, Katie Pavlich, and all the others who inspired my voice to boom and my body to action -- I...

What were Andrew's words? "Apologize for what?"


I know several undecided fence-sitters my words and answers inspired to vote, and vote for the republic and against socialism.

I know the despotic lovers of socialism whose evil and oppression I exposed, leaving others to question the lies they were told/taught.

I know the time, effort, sweat, and money I gave (and more than many would say I could have afforded) to support the fight.

I will do it all again. I will take what I have learned and redouble my efforts. I will not be silent or silenced.

Now more than ever, we must defend the ideals we hold so dear, the truths we thought self-evident, though there are many indoctrinated to not see them.

Experience is the best teacher. I will bastion my family against the socialist tide, and prepare myself to help educate those it drowns. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

World Financial Market -- Is That Atlas Shrugging?

The day after Obama's re-election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 300 points. The morning of November 8, 2012, it continued its spiral lower.

The trend actually started late last week, prior to the election. While this demonstrates that the electoral news was not the only factor in the continued drop,  it did impact its continued trend.

The reasons analysts give are varied. In reality it is an aggregate of many factors coming to a head at once.

I want to caveat this by stating I am not an economist. I studied economics and once pursued that degree in college. I understand the basics better than your average citizen. But I am not an expert. This is just my lay analysis based upon what I have observed and what actual experts are saying.

The European economic situation is one of the largest causes. Greece appears even less able to pay off its debts as they report an all-time record high unemployment rate. This caused market problems and market timidity with European businesses and European banks. The news fed into American investors who backed off, or attempted to sell-short. The market fell more. Many investors around the world still look to the US market. Seeing the DJIA and NASDAQ fall here just increased the trend on the world scale.

Then we had elections on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

The re-election of Obama alone is not what is affecting the market. Some investors and funds may consider that a large decision to "Go Galt" and liquidate. By and large, though, Obama's re-election, alone, is not the cause.

The electoral outcome resulted in what appears to be a repeat of the past two years. We have a House with a Conservative majority who will seek spending cuts, fiscal responsibility, and a balanced budget. We have a Senate with a socialist majority who will not cut that spending unless it means cutting the one thing the US Constitution mandates federal spending be used to provide:  the military and national defense. They will block any spending cuts that will affect those whose votes they purchase by providing government subsidies. The result will be a stalemate.

Since Congress will likely continue in a stalemate, the executive branch (Obama) will issue executive orders directing more and higher regulatory fees in order to garner revenue.

Tax cuts that were made temporary, for some unknown and illogical reason, are set to expire. So Capital Gains and Income taxes are set to automatically increase. This includes the return of the 10% income tax bracket, meaning that many working poor will now face taxes they have not faced since the "Bush Tax Cuts" went into effect. That will make it unprofitable to expand many businesses, thus making GDP predictions reflect little to no growth. If companies aren't going to grow, or are punished for growing, production and prosperity will decline. Why would anybody invest int something that looks like it will lose money?

Then this affects not only your wealthy. Most working Americans in lower-middle-income-brackets and higher have some form of retirement fund. That fund may be a 401k or IRAs or Roth IRAs. These are usually linked to mutual funds, stocks, bonds, futures, and the like. When the market declines do to poor economic forecasts or a lack of market stability, those funds suffer. There goes the nest egg for middle-income-workers.

Also, there goes Social Security. Why? Well, less capital means less jobs and lower paychecks. Lower paychecks means less put into those private retirement funds. It also means less Social Security and Medicare revenue. 14% of $100 is $14. 14% of $50 is $7. See how that works? The less you pay into Social Security, the less you receive once you reach retirement age. So, that nest egg faces uncertainty and hard times as well.

Take all of that together with the poor performance of the European market and industries and you are looking at a bleak future. That bleak future becomes a self-licking ice cream cone and becomes a bad today.

Looking at that picture, many investors are scaling back in order to protect what they have left and wait until the market looks better. In essence, they are removing their resources from the pool. They are "going Galt" to a minor extent. The more who do so, the more the situation aggravates. Atlas starts to shrug.