Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget

What have we become now that we've forgotten the importance of remembering what happened 8 years ago today?

Every year on 9/11, I dig up what video I can find of the live newscasts as the events unfolded. I watch President Bush give his addresses. I watch the anchors and the assorted reporters and pundits all hastily brought in to cover the tragedy. Never before in American history could we watch such a tragedy literally unfold before our eyes.

I remember being stunned and wondering what, in our post-modern and tolerance above all other virtues, society and the body politic would muster in response to this. I raised a flag in the coming days as it became popular to do so. I gauged my response so that my anger and desire for retribution remained focused on the particular breed of Islam that bred this kind of hatred and not on those in my community that had the misfortune to have the name of their religion share a name with what the barbarians who enjoy killing innocent civilians call their religion.

Alas, memories fade and American memories fade faster than most. Today I watched President Bush's addresses to the nation during the period of mourning that surrounded the destruction of the World Trade Center, part of the Pentagon, and that field in Pennsylvania. Today I heard a man that was vastly different from the one that left office not 10 months ago and nothing like the man who occupies the office of President today. Today I heard a man speak with courage, resolve, and most of all genuine leadership. A man who knew what needed to be done, knew it would grow more and more unpopular as time went on, and knew he had to do it anyway.

Today, we have a sniveling coward in the Oval Office. We have a man who'd rather prostrate himself before those who would lead the barbarians of our time than stand up to them and punch them in the face himself if need be. Today we have a man who'd rather have us spend the day in service to our community rather than spend one minute remembering and allowing that remembrance renew our resolve to end this evil in our world. Today we have a would be tyrant bent on resurrecting the tired ideals of Marxism long after history rendered its verdict upon that failed ideology.

So what have we become on this day, 8 years later? Have we proven the bin Ladens, the Ahmadinejads, the Jong Ils, and the Chavezs of the world are right and that we don't have the resolve to resist evil for as long as it takes? Have we dropped the torch of freedom and liberty handed down to us from our forefathers because carrying that torch is too much of a scary and uncertain burden? Has the "sleeping giant" that Admiral Yamamoto so feared almost 68 years ago and that bin Laden's stooges 8 years ago awoke again gone back to sleep?

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the election of President Barack Obama demonstrate to me that 9/11 never happened as far as our country is concerned today. Today we are working to bring the subhuman slime that assisted in 9/11 and so many other acts of barbarism into the United States so they can be tried as common criminals. Today we are in the process of retreating from Iraq and Afghanistan, not because we've won or that the job is complete, but that there is an utter lack of political will to engage this enemy any longer. Today we mark the return to 9/10 thinking and 9/10 values.

To me, it is the final nail in the coffin that our government cannot and indeed must not be trusted to stand for truth and freedom. America is now on the path to abdicating our position in the world as the defenders of liberty and the sworn enemy of the tyrant and the oppressor and our leaders gleefully pull us faster and faster down that path. I see now that it is as the founders intended, the American People, who must be this world's defender of liberty. It is We the People who must oppose the tyrant and oppressor, even if that means opposing those we elected to "lead" us. America is not our government, nor is our government America.

Alas, too many people have forgotten this and I would dare say these people may inhabit what We the People call America, but they are not Americans. They've lost that spark like a caged lion does after years of captivity. They suckle off the entitlement teat and call themselves free. They try to tell our children that there is freedom to be found in oppression. They endlessly remind us of how flawed our system is. Yes, our system is flawed, but it is far and away better than what anyone else in the world has. Yes, there are those who abuse our system, both in and out of government, but those people are the exception not the rule.

So today, I remember. I remember the ones who died 8 years ago today. I pray for comfort to those who still grieve and rest in the promise that God will comfort those who mourn. Today I will remember the unspeakable hatred that sparked the events I remember this day. Today I will reject the barbarians desire to hide behind a religion to ward off responsibility for their atrocities and declare them to be outcasts of moral society. Today I will renew my call upon our leaders to remember this enemy hasn't gone away. Today I will remind our leaders that this enemy cannot be assuaged, negotiated, nor reasoned with. Today I will remind our leaders that America still has unfinished business to complete, no matter how painful or politically difficult, that started on this day 8 years ago. Today I will remind those who claim to lead us that if they neglect or sabotage their duty to finish what was started 8 years ago today, that We the People will see to it that we provide new leaders who will.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Declaration of War?

Go here and here first.

My first thought to these developments today is that they are typical of liberal Democrats ramming another piece of crap legislation down our throats. Then another thought struck me:

Could this be a Declaration of War against representative democracy in the US?

See Nancy Pelosi, and this Waxman character know this bill is filled to the brim with flaws, problems, and other things that ought to scare any freeperson in this world. There is growing concern, and plummeting polling numbers that show the more people learn about this bill, the less they like it. And that is what is so concerning.

President Eisenhower once said that "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." However, this kind of sentiment doesn't exist within the current leadership of our government. Fixing health care is important, make no mistake. However, a full blown goverment take over of a massive piece of our economy should only be considered after all other options have been tried and proven to fail.

So why is Pelosi, Waxman, and Obama so bent on getting this thing passed within the next week? The Senate, in a stunning act of sanity, has postponed things until the fall so there is no comprehensible reason for Pelosi and Waxman to be doing what they're doing. The so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats are doing their jobs, representing their constituencies. Waxman's pressure on them to roll over or get out of the way strikes me as a real step toward tyranny. When a representative cannot properly represent their constituents, we have lost any vestages of our representative democracy. When Pelosi decides unilaterally to ignore House procedures and force a floor vote, she has undermined the very nature on which our Federalist system is founded. This is essentially saying that unless you're part of the Democrat party elite, you are free to object until you're told otherwise.

I'm at a loss to see how this isn't a Declaration of War against our founding principles of how the federal goverment is supposed to run. Obama only got 52% of the popular vote. That isn't a landslide or a mandate. There weren't many blowout elections last November which means the mirage of a liberal mandate to radically alter our economy and our society just isn't there. Yet, Pelosi and Obama still believe the mandate is there and that mandate justifies any and all actions, any and all usurpations, and any and all methods to make their agenda happen.

Universal Health Care isn't something we can undo. Our government lacks the political will to change any of our existing entitlement programs (e.g. Social Security). Once Universal Health Care goes into effect, we're stuck with it no matter how bad it gets until the next violent revolution. I've studied enough economics to know that the law of supply and demand will not be denied and the proposed "fix" is long in ambition and has an extraordinary price tag, but when even the Democrat controlled CBO says this proposal won't fix a thing and, in fact, will make things worse, I'm left wondering "why the rush?" Why not work a little harder, and truly fix it rather than race a radical overhaul when only some maintenance and upkeep is truly needed?

I would expect that if this is successful, you'll see any remaining opposition to Obama and Pelosi's designs for America dry up and the only thing we can put our hope in is the awakening of the American people in November of 2010. If Pelosi and Obama have this little regard for their own people, what possible regard could they have anyone else?

Our fundamental representative democracy is in serious jeopardy. Those on the left have aligned themselves with the forces that want to see our style of governance destroyed. Even if you're in favor of Universal Health Care, do you find this kind of bullying acceptable? Is doing something here so urgent that we can't take our time and do it right? The actions of Pelosi and Waxman should be condemned by all Americans regardless of their stance on this issue. If it is allowed to continue, we'll turn into an oligarchy (see Orwell's "Inner Party" in 1984) ruled by a few on the top.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Another year and Easter

My apologies for a post that will be rather disjointed.

Birthdays don't bother me. I found out this morning that I have two gray chest hairs. My wife will chide me for getting old, but honestly, this is just part of life.

I'm trying to take stock of my life as I tend to do around my birthday. Yeah, I've got stresses, but I'm blessed. I have a mortgage on a house I'm not living in, but I have my family living with me. My life is pretty good right now and it's very easy to overlook that.

I have a daughter who is just amazing. Even though I have to discipline her, she makes me laugh more than she makes me angry. I love watching her learn. Watching her store the nuggets of information my wife and I pass on to her. I love watching her recall them and put them together in ways I sometimes marvel at. I love watching her play with other kids and seeing the compassion she has for others.

I have a son who seems to light up a room when he comes in. Even though I have to keep him out of everything, he fills me with pride as I watch him grow up. I love seeing his curiosity. I love watching him look at something, knowing he's working out how it works in his head. I love watching him run around like a little boy. I love watching him take an interest in what I'm doing, if nothing else than to have something with buttons to push.

Truth is, both paragraphs above could apply equally to both kids. They're alike in so many ways, yet profoundly different.

I have a wife that I simply cannot describe. Literally my other half. It is my joy to wake up next to her every morning. She is my great passion in life. I love coming home to her after work. I love her mind and the way it works. She may snore, but I'd rather try to sleep with her snoring than sleep alone. English lacks the vocabulary to express what she means to me.

I have so many other blessings that I couldn't catalog them all if I wanted to. I have a good paying job in the midst of an economic recession. I have a great place to live in one of the most picturesque areas I've ever been to. I have a new grill from Samsung (inside joke).

Most importantly though, I have salvation. My birthday usually falls near the Christian holiday of Easter. Easter has always been a curious holiday to me. Not curious in that I doubt any of the events surrounding Easter, but rather why it seems like a more perfunctory holiday. Christmas is obviously the big holiday on the Christian calendar. We certainly put a lot more effort into Christmas. Yet, Easter gets, depending on your family's traditions, a single meal, some plastic grass, a bunny that clucks like a chicken, and some candy. Sure Christians go to church, but they do that on Christmas too. Sure there is a big musical production for Easter, but more often than not, there is one for Christmas too.

Don't get me wrong. From a strictly religious perspective, I'm fully aware that Christmas celebrates a crucial event for Christians. However, Easter also celebrates at least and equally crucial event. Christ's birth is important and supernatural. Yet, without the atoning sacrifice made on Good Friday and the subsequent resurrection on Easter, Christmas is relatively devoid of merit. Conversely, without the supernatural birth and the gift that is Christ, Easter is not possible. It is this circular line of reasoning that leaves me with the question, why do Christians put significantly more effort into Christmas than they do Easter?

I could be cynical and quote Lewis Black, "its because our economy is tied to Santa's" butt. I could be flippant and say that since Easter occurs in the spring there is more to do at Easter time than in the dead of Winter like Christmas. The truth is, I just don't know. Maybe the answer is that Easter and Christmas are equally important, but we're far more comfortable with a cuddly little newborn than we are with our Savior, bruised, bloodied, and mutilated knowing we put Him there. Perhaps it is the promise of salvation reflected in Christmas that makes it so much more attractive than the reality of our need for salvation and the deeds required to make that salvation possible that are reflected in Easter. Again, I don't know. This is just a conundrum that plagues me this time of year.

All in all, I'm blessed. 2008 wasn't a good year for me, but 2009 is shaping up to be a much better year.


Change and I've come to be disgusted by these words.

It isn't that the Democrats turned these powerful words into a cliche. It isn't that we're finding out now that all we're really changing is back to pre-2000 mentalities and that our hope may only be found in the embracing arms of a cold, indifferent government. To me, it is how change came to the Republican party and left us without any kind of real alternative to the ever encroaching role of government.

In the late 1990s the Democrats took a lurch to the left that was fully cemented in the election of George Bush and the War on Terrorism. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the Republicans did what they usually do, the most idiotic thing they can think of. The Republican's became Democrat-lite. The rushed to fill the void of the center with new terms like "Compassionate Conservatism" which was just a cover to abandon fiscal conservatism. The target market became those in the political center. The people in the center spoke loud and clearly but said nothing, and the RNC stopped listening to Rush and the rest of talk radio which act as the pulse of the conservative community.

The Republicans then abandoned fiscal conservatism and occupied their time during Bush's presidency rubber stamping huge spending increases and a continuation of Greenspan's heavy handed FED policies.

The Republicans then abandoned traditional conservative values. They softened on abortion (with several pro-choice candidates running for President). They softened on gun control when Bush said he'd sign an extension of the Assault Weapons Ban (the utter failure it was). They stood firm on national defense but bungled post-invasion Iraq and dropped the ball entirely on Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Rush, Hannity, and the rest spent 2001 - 2006 complaining about how the Mainstream Media (MSM) wasn't giving Bush a chance and how the Democrats talk of bi-partisianship was not allowing the Republicans to lead which was what the people wanted.

Then in 2006 the unthinkable happened. Republicans who'd abandoned their principles and their voter base lost a bunch of elections. Control over the Senate and House went to the most radical of the left (if you think Nancy Pelosi from San Fransisco represents the majority of Democrats, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you). In response, Republicans just stopped showing up to the polls.

This is where the GOP really earns their title of "Stupid Party". After the stinging defeat in 2006, do Republican leaders go back and say "maybe this move to the left hurt us"? No. They go right on with the same song and dance. Talk radio at this point converts to water carriers hiding behind Reagan's admonition that Republicans shouldn't speak ill of one another in public. They do this because the two front runners for the Democrats for 2008 rightfully scare the living daylights out of any conservative. But rather than call the GOP out for its stupid shift to the left, they begin their soft campaigns. GOP officials then start encouraging liberal Republicans like McCain, Guilanni, and Romney to run and let guys like Huckabee run to be a social conservative balance (Huckabee is no fiscal conservative). McCain ends up with the nomination and talk radio and much of the conservative blogosphere conveniently forget that McCain is the reason why we have the term RINO (Republican In Name Only).

McCain accepts the nomination and throws conservatives a bone in his VP choice only to find out that women in Presidential politics tend to inflame passions. People blow hot or cold on Palin and Clinton. Not many are ok with either, they either love them or hate them.

McCain then refuses to do the work that the press won't do. We the People elect a man we know next to nothing about and what we do know should cast a serious pall over his candidacy (his associations with Black Liberation Theology, radical communists, and outright racists). We elect a man who won't even prove his citizenship. We elect a man whose experience at the federal level is three years, one and a half of which was spent campaigning for President. We elect a man who has never run a business, never really lead anything, has not one significant accomplishment to his name. The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media pushed a message of fear for 8 years. Fear over the rich getting richer while screwing the little guy. Fear over the loss of freedoms (I've yet to hear of a single American citizen whose freedoms have been impinged even a little). Fear that you might get sick and not be able to pay.

Then along comes the political unknown with his "Hope and Change" message. Positive, optimistic, and utterly devoid of substance. We the People, tired of hearing nothing but bad news, sense that good news is right around the corner and the press doesn't fail to deliver.

So now what?

Our government seems bent on spending money that doesn't exist to prop up the credit ponzi schemes for just a few months longer. Got financial trouble? Well, Big Brother is here to bail you out. Spent money you didn't have to buy a house you couldn't begin to afford? No problem, we won't let you get kicked out of your house, that's unfair. Ran your company into the ground cow towing to labor and producing overpriced products not many people really wanted? No sweat, you're too big to let fail. Believed being able to afford the payments was equivalent to owning something? Don't worry your pretty head about that, there's bailout money for that too. Opted for unnecessary luxuries over health insurance? No sweat, we're gonna take over the local hospitals and you won't have to worry because everyone will get health care for free (you'll never get good care because of waiting lists and shortages, but we refuse to be bothered with the petty details).

Paid your bills, were careful with your money, did the responsible things instead of living it up on borrowed money? Sorry, nothing for you. You're one of those who we desperately need now to pay for all the mistakes everyone else has made...and we're going to use the government to put a gun to your head and make you pay for it.

If you paid your bills, didn't go nuts with the credit cards, made smart decisions, drove a 10 year old car even though you wanted that nice new one, etc. you're like the dork in class who spent the semester paying attention. The rest of the class slept, talked, stared out the window, or otherwise goofed off. Now comes the final exam, except the teacher waits until 5 minutes before the end of the exam period and takes the dork's test, copies it, and gives it to the rest of the class before handing the dork, who did all the right things he'd been told to do (e.g. study hard, pay attention, etc.), a blank copy of the final exam and told him to start over.

How much longer will those of us who have tried to do the right thing all our lives wait to cast off the dead weight and let them survive or fail on their own? How much longer will we allow government to insist on equality of outcomes no matter what choices you made? How much longer can we afford government of the government by the government and for the government? How many more of these "abuses and usurpations" at the hands of our unrepresenting representatives must we endure?

Republican, or Democrat, it hardly matters anymore. Obama may not be a fiscal conservative, but Bush wasn't either. The last real fiscal conservative left office in 1989 and was succeeded by a series of Presidents who wouldn't know fiscal conservative principles if they walked up and introduced themselves. Adam Smith? Wasn't he the guy who played Batman in that cheesy 60's TV show? Milton Freidman? Didn't he write Paradise Lost? Modern Democrats are lost to the mirage of Marx and Lenin. Modern Republicans are lost to their own identity crisis.

You want change?

Let's start with over the next six years, 536 people in Washington DC lose their jobs. Not one person currently occupying an elected position should ever run for federal office again. Barney Frank lecturing corporate CEOs on fiscal restraint should paint a clear picture of just how severed from reality modern politicians are. Hey Barney, when was the last time you flew commercially? When was the last time you ever had to look at your family's budget before going out to a 5 star restaurant? Why can't you even answer a simple question about how much responsibility you have in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle? Let's enact term limits so that elected positions at the federal level can never become a career.

Let's pass a Constitutional amendment barring the federal government from allowing the federal expenditures to exceed some low percentage of the GDP except in a time of declared war. If that can't be done, then a Constitutional amendment demanding that government expenditures may not exceed tax revenues, again except in a time of declared war.

Let's set it up so that a politican's pay increases must be approved by two-thirds majority of his/her constituents. Let's end the gravy train of excesses our politicians enjoy on the backs of their constituents.

Let's remember that the free market, free enterprise, and personal initiative has turned our economy into the global powerhouse that it is, despite the current down turn. It wasn't government bailouts, public assistance, and other hand outs that made this country great. It is a strong work ethic and ambition that has us on top. Let's stop looking to government to solve our problems, roll up our sleeves and work these problems out on our own and stop waiting for a government solution.

Let's reassert the role of the federal government as largely an instrument of the state governments not the other way around.

Let's reassert notions of personal responsibility back into our society. There is way too much irresponsible behavior that is at best ignored and at worst subsidized by taxpayers.

Let's reward those who make good choices, pay their bills, and work hard with a greater percentage of the fruits of their labor. They are the people who have demonstrated their ability to be responsible and to be good stewards of the funds they receive. These are people to be emulated, not demonized.

Let's remind ourselves, through careful study of history, that when the Berlin wall fell in 1989, people ran (didn't walk, ran) away from the principles of socialism and communism and toward freedom and economic liberty. These people knew first hand the brutalities of socialism and communism, why do we think it would be any different here?

Let's put aside our hypersensitivies and realize that sometimes the truth is painful but that ignoring the truth has terrible consequences (as we are now finding out).

Let's stop looking for bogeymen and dark conspiracies around every tragedy. Let's remember that life has its ups and downs and the average person is too busy to actively seek your demise and that your paranoia that X (whitey, CIA black helicopters, etc.) is out to get you just isn't real.

Let's stop using our emotions to rule the day. Emotions are unpredictable and unreliable. How many times do we as individuals fly off the handle over something only to realize later that it really wasn't as big a deal as we thought? Why do we think governance should be run emotively?

Let's start realizing that some solutions to our problems are not expressible in a five second soundbite and might take longer than the next election cycle to fix. Just because our attention spans are measured in seconds doesn't mean the solutions to the problems facing society have to be overly simplistic. Sure, people like John Stewart make their living exploiting the soundbite mentality of our politicians, but John Stewart isn't a real journalist...he's a comedian (when did we forget that?) and really just a sarcastic little man trying to appear witty.

Let's reassert the understanding that our world is a dangerous place and that there are some people in this world who cannot be reasoned with. We couldn't negotiate with Hitler, why do we think we can with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Osama bin Laden? As was said in The Dark Knight, "some men just want to watch the world burn."

Let's get a grip on the fact that for all our focus on diversity, we're now more divided as a nation, less polite, and flat out less tolerant of others regardless of skin color, gender, or whatever identity politics group you're involved in. Instead of focusing on what makes us different, let's try focusing on how we're similar.

Now these are changes that will move us in a direction of prosperity and harmony.

The truth is that Republican party has lost its way. Maybe they can find it again, but in this day and age of people's votes being bought and paid for through the public treasury, my expectation is that the GOP will continue the slide toward liberalism. Remember, Obama's promise of change had nothing to do with Pennsylvania Ave. and everything to do with Main St. USA. While we wait to see all this play out as the 2010 mid-term election gets closer, a genuine voice of opposition to Obama's plan to remake America is absolutely crucial. Part of that opposition needs to be a reassertion of who the GOP is supposed to be.

History will be unkind to us if we fail.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The certainty of uncertainty

I'm moving my family to Denver, Colorado next month.

This move comes as the result of a job search that went in a wholly unexpected direction. With it comes the myriad of emotions that are now pushing me to the bring of manic-depressive behavior.

On the one hand, I am filled with the excitement and energy of the new possibilities of this new job and this new area. A new job to focus on, new professional opportunities, and better pay. A chance to meet new people and find out about a place that is just stunning in its natural beauty. A new state, with a different set of priorities and a different political realities. A better economy. Good schools for my kids and the potential to be able to spend more time focused on my family.

On the other hand, I am filled with the uncertainties and trepidations of severing ties in Michigan and setting up our life in Colorado. Dealing with the realities of selling a house in a state that has lead the country in economic down turns for the better part of a decade now. Dealing with trying to set up a place to live from 1,100 miles away with almost no money since our savings have been tapped out for quite some time now. Dealing with saying good bye to dear friends and loved ones. The anxiety of setting out to a new city where we know no one, have no family to speak of and no support system in place.

I am riding this crazy roller coaster and I desire almost more than anything to just get off. Maybe the two weeks where I am in Denver and my family is in Michigan will allow me to clear my head a little and gain a little perspective of what might be. Then again, two weeks without my family might depress me to the point where I am unable to see the good.

Through all of this though is the ringing refrain inside my head, "be still and know that I am God." I know I have not exactly been the model of trust that I should have been this past year. I have tried trusting, but when it there did not seem to be any end to our financial situation it became easy to despair. Now that the path out has been revealed, I feel compelled to not repeat the mistakes of a few months ago and not let all this anxiety overwhelm me. I pray for wisdom and hope it is delivered.

The reality is that I know what must be done. The path before me seems so plain and I have peace about this move. The anxiety I have now is really if I have the strength to endure. I know I must, my wife and kids depend on me, and I trust the the strength to walk this path will be given to me. I feel a little like Joshua as he is saying good bye to Moses to lead the Israelites into their new life. Sure, the path is plain, but the giants are so huge.

be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to the love of my life.

I can't begin to describe the amount of joy you've brought to my life. You've made every success we've shared that much sweeter. I cannot imagine my life without you in it anymore. The truth is, you've always been there. Even before we met, you were there.

I know we only officially celebrate your life one day a year. I celebrate it every time I think of you.

I wish I could adequately express what you mean to me. Gifts seem so superficial. Words seem so inadequate. I will merely do my best to show you each day for the rest of my life how much I love you and the difference you've made in my life.

Happy birthday my love.

A Thought on Reagan Conservatism

I'm remembering a year ago when McCain was a longshot candidate and the majority of the conservative blogs were still referring to McCain as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

Then I flash forward to the RNC. Sarah Palin is nominated as a strong pro-life, pro-gun, pro-small government, appeal to the Reagan conservatives in the party who were not at all enthused with McCain.

My thought is this. The modern day Republican party is looking more and more like the Democratic party of Kennedy and Johnson's era. The thought of larger government is not the anethma it used to be within Republican circles. Bush signs off on the largest entitlement spending in a generation and McCain has his name all over the greatest affront to the Freedom of Speech since the Constitution was written. Both men talk about goverment as though its primary function is to solve the problems of the individual American person.

The liberalization of the Republican party made the nomination of Palin somewhat of a conundrum to me. Sure there is the obvious tactical decision that was a stroke of genius and has the Democrats still searching for how to respond. However, there always felt like there was something more there. I toss out what follows to my readership (which consists exclusively of my wife).

The nomination of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candiate for the Republican party is a clear sign of where solid Reagan conservatives stand in the modern Republican party. We now make up a kind of second-class voting block. We must be paid lip service to and tossed the occasional bone to shut us up. However, the principles of smaller government are no longer part of the foundation of the platform. The GOP knows we'll never vote for a Democrat and won't risk voting for a third party lest the Democrat win. As such, we're a voting block that is safe to largely ignore.

In essence, during the late 90s, the Democratic party bolted for the ultra-left. They abandoned their heritage of providing a safety net for those in need for the cradle to grave "security" of hard core Marxism. They abandoned hope and determination as the keys to success for the victimization of identity politics and class envy/warfare. The problem is that the Republicans rushed to fill the void left in the center and took a profound shift to the middle.

The truth is that the modern GOP has abandoned Reagan conservatism. They have lost their ability to go before the media and hammer away at the folly of Democrat taxation and spending. They've lost their moral voice to offset the idiocy of the multi-culti crowd. The GOP is looking more and more like the Democrats of the 1960s rather than the Republicans of the 1980s. McCain's nomination is merely a proof of this leftward shift.

How does all this relate to Sarah Palin? John Garner, FDR's VP, fameously described the office of Vice President of the United States as not being worth "a pitcher of warm spit." The VP office really only really serves as a line of succession should the President become incapacitated or dies while in office. Sure the VP presides over the Senate, but the Senate Majority Leader sets the agenda and selects the committee chairmen. The VP doesn't actually vote in the Senate often enough to matter.

Could the GOP be grooming Palin to run in 2016? Possibly. Governors and former VPs have historically done much better as President than their counterparts elected out of the various legislatures. Palin would be a stark contrast to an aging Hillary Clinton should such a match up occur.

The unfortunate reality I fear is that Palin was really just meant to be a lightening rod to excite a bored conservative base for the Republicans without really giving them much in the way of a real voice (a cabinet member will have more influence). A battle standard to rally around. Even better a lightning rod to throw the opposition into a frothing rage and waste their energy attacking the VP candidate instead of the Presidential candidate. Just conservative enough to get Conservatives to believe that McCain might not be the RINO we've thought he is. Just enough skeletons in her closet to make front page stories in the NY Times and force the Democrats to respond, but not enough to take the spotlight fully off McCain.

As I said, her nomination was a stroke of genius. But I don't think her nomination bodes well for the future of lassez faire government in the US.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I've been gone a while.

Truth is, I'm too depressed about life to share my thoughts. In January, my employer told me that one of my jobs (I have two) was going to be scaled back significantly. The loss to my family's budget has been significant. We've managed to survive on some careful spending, our tax refund, and some minor contract work. I've been trying to find part-time contracting work, but that has proven so unsuccessful that I've had to resort to looking for new full-time employment.

My employer has been absolutely no help in assisting me in fixing a problem they arbitrarily caused.

Truth is, I've worked for the same employer for 8 years and I've never had a serious reevaluation of my salary. Just the standard-issue, "we have to give them something", 2% per anum. For those who are still living in their Y2K shelters, 2% doesn't even begin to cover cost of living anymore. I've also added a house and two kids to the family budget. Conversely, I've added significant technical skills and a Masters degree in that time as well. A look at shows I'm being paid $10K less than the 25th percentile for my job classification in my area (for those from Manistee, it means 75% of people with my same job in the town I live in make at least $10,000 a year more than I do). My employer tells me that there is no money in the budget for a salary adjustment. However, there is money for 2 Lacrosse, Cross-country, and track teams in the budget. There is money to send the executive staff to Arizona for "strategic planning". There is money to send the entire faculty to a resort for two days 200 miles away.

Truth is, what I'm hearing from the outside is that my employer is so unethical in their approach to employee compensation, that serious efforts to keep employees only come after an official offer has been made or actually accepted. I'm hearing from the recruiters I'm working with that some of them won't even look at a current employee where I work unless they're certain a counter offer won't be made or if one is made the candidate won't take it. Apparently, it is not uncommon to receive a counter offer as part of your outbound HR processing.

For me, it has come down to a point where I'm entirely jaded with respect to the work I do. Used to be, I'd learn a new skill or take on some responsibility mostly because my boss wanted me to do it. I did it thinking I'd get a reputation for being a "team player" and willing to pitch in wherever I was needed. What I've come to understand is that, for my efforts, I've secured a reputation of taking on responsibilities without compensation. When my old boss got promoted and the department needed a PHP developer who knew about Drupal, I got the call and inherited about half a dozen Drupal There wasn't even talk about paying me for the additional work. Conversely, the guy in the cube next to me takes on the SQL Server administration and there is a nice stipend attached to his pay check. Now I'm being asked to take on some pretty major pieces of software and I'm left wondering how I approach this situation?

I guess I'm mostly just tired of being told how valuable I am, but not valuable enough to work to keep me. I'm tired of groveling for work. I'm tired of sending resumes that disappear into the relentless data stream of the internet. I'm tired of working for peanuts.

I'm tired of the dark storm clouds circling over head. The lightning splits the sky and the winds are picking up. My family has done nothing wrong and I want to reassure them that everything is going to be OK. I just wish I believed it myself.

God will provide. While an important truth to cling to, it seems right now to be just a cliche or a mantra to be repeated as if the mere repetition of it will bring comfort. I can take little comfort from just words. "God will provide" has become to me the motivation to keep searching and keep working, not a hope that everything will be OK. I look around my house and see so much we don't need, but have built up rationalizations that we need. As such, "God will provide" doesn't include a lot of what has made my life comfortable and enjoyable.

I have a couple irons in the fire. One opportunity would require relocating to another state, the other is closer to home. Staying where I am no longer seems like a viable option. The job I worked so hard to get two years ago is now something detrimental to my family. The stupid thing about all this is that it is really just about money. Of all the idiotic things to lose an employee over, or to quit a fantastic job over, money has to be the worst. My employer thinks nothing of wasting the amount of money it would take to keep me here and yet, when I ask I'm scolded for even asking for a raise. My employer is so screwed up in its policies, I can't even ask my boss for a raise, he has absolutely nothing to say about it. The people who can make a difference are so unapproachable, I'm likely to get stopped before I get past the administrative assistant.

I wish I had something better to talk about. The Supreme Court recognized the 2nd Amendment as an individual right paving the way for some of the most drastic roll backs of gun control legislation in several generations. While I'm happy about such a development, I can't muster up any enthusiasm. It is an election year and we have to candidates so flawed it defies cataloging, but again, no enthusiasm. My employment debacle consumes so much of my thoughts and efforts that I can scarcely think of anything else. That's ultimately what I want. I want to think about my job, not my employment situation. I want to think about my family, and not see everything in terms of what we stand to lose. I want to stop apologizing to my son because of the likelihood that that he'll have to have someone else watch him and that he won't get the advantages his sister got. I want to stop feeling like everything I've worked for over the last five years was for nothing.

I hope the next month changes things for the better for my family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Supremes to Look At the 2nd Amendment

It looks like the US Supreme Court will take a look at the Second Amendment.

The case comes up by way of Washington D.C.'s outright ban on handguns. This is a similar law to what can be found in cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

At the core of the case is the argument over the Second Amendment and if it protects an individual right, or a collective one. This case is to the debate over guns as Roe v. Wade is to the debate over abortion.

One would think that a gun nut such as myself would be excited to have this case be heard. One would be wrong. There is little upside for gun owners here and a major down side.

There are three possible outcomes here. First, the Supremes could issue a ruling that is ambiguous. Second, the Supremes could issue a ruling protecting the individual's right to own firearms. Finally, the Supremes could issue a ruling stating that the Second Amendment only protects a state's right to form armed militias (the modern day version of the National Guard).

An ambiguous ruling would probably leave the status quo in place. Communities, and states wishing to ban guns could continue doing so, likely with some additional provisions being necessary before such a ban could be in effect or require them to at least allow some means by which people could legally acquire a firearm. Net result, lots of upset people on both sides of the issue and the debate rages on.

A ruling supporting an individual right to firearms would largely kill the anti-gun lobby. Gun bans in the aforementioned cities would probably have to be reexamined or overturned completely. This would obviously be a major improvement and after the dust settles, we'd all be better off for it. Our cities would be safer as statistically, increases in gun ownership and issuance of Concealed Carry laws have drastically reduced crime where those laws have been implemented. Net result, not much of a shift for most people outside of major metropolitan areas. Gun rights protected, but not really changed that much.

A ruling supporting the collective right interpretation would be disastrous. Decades of work to implement shall-issue concealed carry laws in 38 states could be repealed at the stroke of a judge's pen. Castle Doctrine laws protecting the rights of people to defend themselves in their homes, gone with the stroke of a judge's pen. Outright bans on firearms would carry the weight of the Supreme Court behind them. Gun confiscation would commence immediately in dozens of communities. Over time, with no armed populace to worry about, our government will slowly cut off the rights enshrined in the First Amendment. They'd use the same argument that the right to free speech doesn't apply to individuals, but to a collective right to say what we want. Net result, crime skyrockets and our society slips one step closer to tyranny.

One might argue that the individual right argument will win the day what with Bush's appointees on the USSC. However, individualism is a dying ideology in America in 2007. The Supremes will only rule in favor of the individual right if they perceive that by protecting an individual right, the rights of the collective won't be impacted. The Second Amendment is not a headlines grabbing debate like free speech or separation of church and state (it is Christmas time after all).

Keep in mind that Kelo (a recent USSC decision) took away our property rights in favor of collective property tax values. While the two newest members of the court were not there to make that ruling, neither have gone on record to demonstrate that Kelo was a bad ruling. The Supremes care very little for my rights as an individual. They have been codifying through their rulings or through their unwillingness to hear cases the steady erosion of individualism and the creeping expansion of collectivism.

If the case is to be won in favor of individuals, the case will need to be made beyond the scope of individual rights. It will need to unpack the wording of the Second Amendment and demonstrate the clear language contained within it. Unfortunately statistical data showing declines in crime in areas where laws enabling citizens to defend themselves are enacted will likely not be heard. Expect to hear that an individual's rights should be suspended "for the children", or to prevent the streets from "run red with the blood of innocents", or the laundry list of fear mongering tactics the gun lobby will take. Expect to hear from Police Chiefs from all over the country discuss how disarming civilians will make the police's job easier and everyone will be safer for it. Expect this to be the knock down, drag out fight that it is with our society's future hanging in the balance.

The framers of our Constitution understood that and armed populace was necessary for the survival of a truly free society. Their writings all point to that conclusion. An unarmed society cannot call its members citizens for they have no means by which to back up their words. They are subjects, ultimately submissive to the power of the state with no means to resist. The framers wanted a society of citizens. People who could stand on their own and use the implicit threat of violent revolution to compel the government to listen. When our society is disarmed, how will we convince our elected officials to truly listen to us? Our government can revoke our rights at any time. It is only the threat of violent revolution that compels our government to play by the rules.

"[The disarming of citizens has] a double effect, it palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of physical forces totally destroys the moral [force]; and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression." - Joel Barlow (a political theorist from Thomas Jefferson's time). This is a right we must protect. Our society is lost if we do not.

Are you a subject, or a citizen? I don't trust the members of the Supreme Court to make that decision for me. I am not at all excited they are taking this case up.