Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Pilot or the Wizard?

I just read an excellent column by John Andrews over at TownHall, The Pilot or the Wizard?, and it inspired me to write this blog. In less than 2 weeks we should know who is the next President of the United States. I say should because of the "I take back my concession" gambit that Al Gore played in 2000. Now contrary to what you will read and hear, we are not going to know who is the next POTUS until after votes are counted. This has been a strange year. I remember before this year's Super Bowl every expert had already crowned the New England Patriots as this year's Super Bowl Champs. Guess what? All of these experts were wrong. The New York Giants won when it counted, during the game itself.

I hope that you enjoy the videos that I selected for this diary. I think they depict the crossroads that our country finds itself at. On the one road we have the munchkins, Democrats and media, exhorting us to "follow the yellow brick road" and be off to elect the wizard who will save the planet. On the other road we have a maverick pilot who punches out all the panhandlers who get in his way.

I encourage everyone to read John Andrews' column that gives 20 reasons why we should elect John McCain instead of Barck Obama. Here is an excerpt that I especially enjoyed.

The final and most important reason is character. The crusty old Pilot, airborne for all these years, has it beyond a doubt. The weaselly Wizard may or may not. The shadows enshrouding his resume, the special effects propelling his campaign, just make you wonder.

The Wizard’s voice is alluring, but what’s behind the curtain? These stormy days are no time to gamble. Trust the Pilot, America.

I agree completely, and I will be bitter if the majority of voters vote for Obama. I will not give the voters a pass on this one. There is no gun pointing at them when they close the curtain and cast their secret ballot. Contrary to anything any expert will tell you over the next few days, it is the voters who are in control of this election.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Straight Talk from Ayaan about the Free Market

Recently Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written an excellent article, Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character? in conjunction with her participation in the John Templeton Foundation's series of conversations among leading scientists, scholars, and public figures about the "big questions" of human life. There is right now a lot of conversation about what should be the direction for the country in terms of being on the right track to improve living conditions in the United States. An example of this discourse is evident by a question posed by JoeWurzelbacher to Barack Obama about the change he wants to implement if he is elected President. Obama's reply -
I think when you spread the wealth around it's good for everyone.
I encourage everyone to read the entire article, but I do want to highlight what I consider the real straight talk that she provides on this subject.

A socialist might measure moral strength by one's dedication to the redistribution of wealth. A liberal--by which I mean a classical, Adam Smith or Milton Friedman liberal, not a liberal in its American meaning of "pro-big government"--might be religious, and he might see the merits of income equality, but he will always put freedom first. This is the moral framework to which I subscribe.

To appreciate just how effectively the free market strengthens moral character, it is helpful to glance at economic systems that undermine or openly reject it. Everywhere Communism has been tried, for instance, it has resulted not just in corruption and sub-standard products but also in fear, apathy, ignorance, oppression, and a general lack of trust. The Soviet Union and pre-reform China were morally as well as economically bankrupt.

Or consider the feudal order typified by Saudi Arabia. There we see an absolute monarch, a religious hierarchy that reinforces the ruling family's hold on power, and several classes of serfs: the oppressed Shi'a minority, the vastly exploited underclass of immigrant workers, and women, who are confined and abused. The stagnation and oppression of Saudi society make it utterly immoral in the eyes of a classical liberal. Unlike Communism, it cannot even proffer the fig leaf of greater "fairness."

In a free-market society, where liberty comes first, individuals tend to be more creative and to innovate; in welfare states that assign priority to equality, the natural resourcefulness of human beings is perverted. To become successful, you must learn how to "work the system" rather than how to develop a better product. Risk is avoided, and individual responsibility is thwarted. Although superficially the system may appear fair, it promotes mediocrity and a sense of victimhood, and it discourages those who want to excel.

Free-market societies are under fire from environmentalists today for supposedly ruining the planet. But the passionate debate about global warming and the moral implications of waste and pollution has arisen only in politically free societies.

In the course of history, the search for perfect societies--that is, the failure to acknowledge human imperfection--almost always ended in one or another form of theocracy, authoritarianism, or violent anarchy. But for those who seek to work with human flaws of every stripe, and to increase the sum total of individual happiness, the free market, combined with political freedom, is the best way.

I put in boldface type some of the words she used in her straight talk that mean the most to me. This woman who was born a Muslim in the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia is an avowed atheist pro-choice and pro gay rights liberal who I respect and admire for her courage and her strength. She has written what I believe effectively in short concise and meaningful words, and all I can add to all that is one hearty AMEN.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Coming Backlash?

The title of this diary is from a recent article by Pat Buchanan at TownHall. I am not one of Pat's fans, especially when he writes as an apologist for Hitler's third Reich, but he does have a sharp political mind. Pat makes the distinction in this article between Barack Obama and George McGovern. an excerpt -

No Democrat has ever come out of the far left of his party to win the presidency. McGovern, the furthest left, stayed true to his convictions and lost 49 states.

Obama has chosen another course. Though he comes out of the McGovern-Jesse Jackson left, he has shed past positions like support for partial birth abortion as fast as he has shed past associations, from William Ayers to ACORN, from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to his fellow parishioners at Trinity United.

One question remains: Will a President Obama, with his party in absolute control of both Houses, revert to the politics and policies of the Left that brought him the nomination, or resist his ex-comrades' demands that he seize the hour and impose the agenda ACORN, Ayers, Jesse, and Wright have long dreamed of?

Whichever way he decides, he will be at war with them, or at war with us. If Barack wins, a backlash is coming.

This is the mystery that this year We the People need to wrestle with on election day. Had Barack Obama provided a clear paper trail of a record that former contender George McGovern brought with him then this would be another landslide election year for the Republicans. But no, Barack is where he is by "voting present" for the majority of his political career.

I personally have no dilemma in rejecting the younger mystery man in favor of the older man with a record of policies and politics that I sometimes disagreed with him on. I will go with the devil I know over the devil I do not know.

One thing that Pat did not expand upon is what would actually be happening in the US if the backlash is a President Obama resisting all of his ex-comrades' demands? Nobody knows for sure, and if John McCain is elected then the question is moot. I did stumble upon an excellent article by Sean Dorgan over at This is an article about Ireland evolved from one of the poorest countries in Western Europe to one of the most successful. It basically IMO is a report of how conservative policies and practices were put into place, and where conservatism is tried it works. an excerpt -

The political parties were not successfully addressing the gathering gloom. Fianna Fail, the opposition party since 1982, won the general elec­tion in 1987. When in government in the late 1970s, Fianna Fail had been largely responsible for the excessive and misguided public spending. This time, however, the party tried a different path. On election to government in 1987, they surprised many, including their own supporters, with a pro­gram of severe cuts in expenditure accompanied by some novel consensus-building and developmental measures. Within a few years, these steps began to show dividends, helped by a coincidence of other factors.

Smaller government became part of the road to success. There was surprise with the first moves to cut spending severely across a range of programs and abolish a number of government agencies. These steps were strongly criticized initially, espe cially when they seemed to affect (state-provided) health and social services, but the depth of the bud getary crisis allowed the momentum to be sus tained. The government was assisted by a consensus that had been built in the NESC, com prising business, farming, trade union, and social interest groups. The main opposition party, whose leader had been minister for finance before the election, also supported any measures that restored fiscal discipline.

A second element of the new government’s action plan was moderate wage increases in return for modest reductions in direct income taxes, in effect allowing take-home pay to increase more than the pay raise granted by employers. This three-year Program for National Recovery involved government itself, employers, unions, and farmers. This helped to break the spiral of inflationary wage increases and ensured industrial peace. The program also served to create agree ment on the nature of the crisis facing the state and on steps needed to deal with it. The wider benefits of consensus on development priorities and the shared efforts involved to achieve national goals proved to be of lasting value, and similar national partnership agreements have been put in place repeatedly up to 2005.

I know, I know, it is way too much for me to suggest that conservatism can be given a chance to work. Just count me as another one of those bitter folks from a small town who clings to his guns and his religion. I am not about to change what I believe, but I am willing to change my address if I have to give up more liberty and freedom.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do.-Ricky Ricardo

On some positions a coward has asked the question is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question is it right? And there come a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Bill Clinton

There are 31 House Democrats and 27 House Republicans who voted No on the bill on Monday and voted Yes on the bill on Friday. So what changed between Monday and Friday? A lot of pork was piled into this bill. David Freddoso wrote an excellent piece at NRO about these changes. An excerpt:

Some conservatives, as fans of lower taxes, prefer that the special tax-credit provisions (such as the benefit this bill confers upon wooden-arrow-makers) not be called "earmarks." "Calling tax cuts "earmarks" is very unhelpful and completely wrong from a fiscal conservative perspective", reads a memo from Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform. "There is no such thing as a tax earmark."

Indeed, narrow, targeted tax cuts are not the same as handouts of federal money. But if they are not "earmarks", the tax advantages for wooden arrows and other special interests are still pernicious. At best, they are an attempt by the federal government to manipulate people's behavior through the tax code. At worst, they are a successful attempt by various special interests to feather their nests by attaching tax wish-lists to must-pass legislation.

I don't claim any expertise on predicting how people are going to vote, but I am going to print out the list below to see if any of these incumbents lose their election this time around. I sense a loathing and distrust for current occupants of Congress and the White House. There is a Washington-speak that is spoken to us out in the hinterlands, and we are tired of hearing it.


Shadegg (R-AZ-3)

Pastor (D-AZ-4)

Mitchell (D-AZ-5)

Giffords (D-AZ-8)


Thompson, M. (D-CA-1)

Woolsey (D-CA-6)

Lee (D-CA-9)

Schiff (D-CA-29)

Solis (D-CA-32)

Watson (D-CA-33)

Baca (D-CA-43)


Buchanan (R-FL-13)

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18)


Lewis, John (D-GA-5)

Scott, D. (D-GA-13)


Abercrombie (D-HI-1)

Hirono (D-HI-2)


Rush (D-IL-1)

Jackson, J. (D-IL-2)

Biggert (R-IL-13)


Carson, A. (D-IN-7)


Braley (D-IA-1)


Yarmuth (D-KY-3)


Alexander, R. (R-LA-5)

Boustany (R-LA-7)


Edwards, D. (D-MD-4)

Cummings (D-MD-7)


Tierney (D-MA-6)


Hoekstra (R-MI-2)

Kilpatrick (D-MI-13)

Knollenberg (R-MI-9)


Ramstad (R-MN-3)


Cleaver (D-MO-5)


Terry (R-NE-2)


Berkley (D-NV-1)

New Jersey

Pascrell (D-NJ-8)

Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11)

New York

Kuhl (R-NY-29)

North Carolina

Coble (R-NC-6)

Myrick (R-NC-9)


Schmidt (R-OH-2)

Tiberi (R-OH-12)

Sutton (D-OH-13)


Sullivan (R-OK-1)

Fallin (R-OK-5)


Wu (D-OR-1)


Gerlach (R-PA-6)

Shuster (R-PA-9)

Dent (R-PA-15)

South Carolina

Barrett (R-SC-3)


Wamp (R-TN-3)


Green, A. (D-TX-9)

Conaway (R-TX-11)

Thornberry (R-TX-13)

Jackson Lee (D-TX-18)

Ortiz (D-TX-27)

Cuellar (D-TX-28)


Welch (D-VT-AL)