Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ah Hypocrisy...

So, I've been talking to some of my rather liberal friends lately, and their statements had me trying hard not to laugh in their faces.

They're completely against any kind of discrimination when it comes to race, upbringing, country of origin, etc... yet completely okay with discrimination by income. If discrimination is such a bad thing, why are we all not paying the exact same percentage (or even better, the exact same dollar amount) in taxes every year? Why are some people taxed far more (even after tax writeoffs) of a percentage of their yearly income than the rest of us, and why is that perfectly okay? It's still discrimination, and you're either for it, against it... or you're a hypocrite.

A Gentle Reminder

John Adams, our second president said “The Constitution is completely and wholly capable of governing a good and righteous people, and completely and wholly incapable of governing any other kind.” The freedom of this people depends on each individual maintaining high moral and ethical standards.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a French author, after visiting America said, published in his book Democracy in America, in 1835:

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers; and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies; and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce; and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good; and if America ever ceases to be good; America will cease to be great.

While church and state should be separate, faith and freedom are just as inseparably connected as goodness and greatness. Those who attempt to separate a people from God, are most assuredly attempting to separate them from the source of their freedom.

For more than five thousand years, man has attempted to extract himself from the primordial slime pit, by grasping for another sure hand hold. There is only one anchor for the souls of men, only one true hand hold. Of a truth I perceive, that when Moses came down from the mountain he did not have the ten suggestions.

Many now dismiss the objections raised by people of faith, to corrupt laws, simply because they could be religiously based. Should we legalize lying, or stealing, or murder, or adultery simply because these are mentioned in the ten commandments? If we base our answer on current practices, we have already done so.1 Objections based on religion are just as valid, if not more so; than objections raised on any other basis.

Why sit we in a stupor? Why do we suffer the corrupt to rule? Can sweet water come from a bitter fountain, or bitter from the sweet spring? When the evil engage in good, is it to be seen of men? Is it because they must have public support if they are to retain what they really want: the power to continue a corrupt agenda? If the wolf has been forced to don sheep’s clothing, take no consolation. Note how well the wolf feeds!

Awake, my soul! No longer droop in despair. Rejoice, and give place no more for the enemy of the soul, who is the enemy of freedom. Do not slacken our strength because of the enemy. Rejoice, and proclaim freedom again through out the land. Be clean America. Cleanse the inner vessel, and then the outer. Let freedom ring again, and again. Arise America, lest freedom perish from the earth forever.

How is it that people were able to see this 200 years ago, yet religion is made to be some evil fringe thing these days? Why is it that so many people are not just envious of success, but outright hostile to the idea that other people are successful through their own hard work yet must be punished for that success?

Look throughout history to the places where government is in total control of what people are allowed to do, how much people got paid by taxing certain people more than others (except for those people who paid off the local magistrate and/or tax collector to ignore their "extra" earnings), and all you get is shared misery, not shared success. China may look successful, but they have entire cities with no people, a populace that is miserable and artifically held back not just by the single child policy, but by their government's refusal to upgrade their method of farming and cattle-care to be more like what we have here. Why is that? Because it keeps their people in the place that those in charge want them in, it keeps them more compliant, easier to control.

Look at Europe, where they tried to meld an entire country of varying cultures and economic situations (not much unlike our own states) and they melted down faster than we have. It's amazing, when you combine working countries with those whose currency is worth very little suddenly those low-value countries bomb because they can't maintain their previous sales volumes (or levels of tourism) at the increased cost to their customers. Bu then, that's what happens when you end up with bureaucrats making decisions in industries and fields they have no clue how to operate.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gun Control Activists

Listening to gun control activists in Congress always gets me steamed, at the same time I get a huge laugh at their complete naivete. For starters, standard military magazine size is 15 rounds, there is no reason to restrict civilian magazine size to anything smaller. In the end, those expanded magazines were created because of restrictions against firearms that used easily changed mags.

That said, there is no reason at all to limit magazine size in the first place. The difference between a loaded and unloaded weapon is about half a second for anyone who actually practices. Given the time the Aurora shooter had prepared for his act, if he had spent a little more time training for quick mag changes the number of casualties would have been the same.

On top of that, they love to say they need more restrictions on illegal weapons. The problem with that is that in order to have a successful overthrow of the government if it becomes necessary (remember the Founders firmly believed that the citizenry should have the power to overthrow the government if it became a tyrannical one like that which they had just left) people need access to a wide range of weapons, they have to be able to effectively fight the State. It's what keeps the government from just making us a police state any time one party or the other gets total control of the government (yes, I really do "trust" both parties that much). Now, I'm not advocating for grenade launchers, tanks, etc for regular citizens, but banning "automatic weapons" is just plain silly.

Saying the cops don't have the same firearms is bull, they DO have automatic weapons, flashbangs, smokebombs, and such, they just restrict them to their SWAT teams. That is the choice of the municipality, guns are generally a one-time cost with minimal maintenance and upkeep if you actually purchase quality gear (not something the government is well-known for I'll grant you). Also, instead of trying to ban more and more weapons for non-military (thus preventing the cops from legally using them) they should open it up to citizens with reasonable background checks to confirm the person is not on medications to prevent stuff like bipolar, multiple personalities, and others that tend to cause instant anger and loss of control (ADD and ADHD do not fall into this category by the way, no matter what a bunch of lazy teachers say) along with ensuring they have no felonies involving domestic abuse, assault, or other crimes that prevent even military members from being issued firearms (there is a standard DOD form that lists all the disqualifiers) and problem solved. No civilian should have to meet more stringent requirements than the military.

In the end, it comes down to one thing; CRIMINALS DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW. I'll keep repeating myself until people get it.

Nanny State Tuesdays

Decided I liked being able to just post everything I came across instead of having to save a few items for the Tuesdays, so it's back to business as usual.

Don't Worry About Russia...

It's not like the U.S. showing weakness by downsizing our military and kowtowing to old enemies has had any negative effect with countries that have consistently shown an aggressive military posture against us. This is probably nothing...

Idiots in Washington must be looking for another Bay of Pigs incident. Between the Russians expanding their naval bases (Anyone notice they have had one in Syria forever?) and China expanding the area they considering their national waters (historically only 12 miles off your coast for the entire world) all the way down to the Phillipines and denying Indian ships entry into Vietnamese ports, you'd think our leaders up top would get the hint.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anti-Gun Twits, Check Your Facts

In this article, Bloomberg said if the laws aren’t changed, 48,000 people in this country will be killed by guns during the next presidential term.

Ok, let's start with the simple fact that more people die from car accidents every year than firearms. In the last 5 years there have been more than 35,000 deaths per year on average (2006/7 actually broke 40k).

Of the gun-related deaths on a yearly basis (about 30k on average), only 40% of them are homicides. Over 50% of gun-related deaths each year are suicides. Those people would have found another way. That leaves only around 3000 deaths each year to accidents, so we add those to the 40% for homicides and we get around 16k deaths per year by guns that were not self-inflicted. That is less than half the yearly deaths by car, but you don't see them screaming for less cars.

Heck, deaths in automobiles have been climbing as the number of small cars on the road has increased. Why is that? Because those things are death traps! Congratulations, you have a nice little smart car, you're saving the environment... when you or someone else screws up, you're also far more likely to end up dead or seriously injured. Hope you can afford the increased cost of insurance thanks to Obamacare.

On the flip side, as gun ownership goes up, crime rates go down. There are over 2.5 million defensive gun uses by civilians every year, 92% of them are resolved without firing the weapon (the criminal either runs or gives up). On the other side, out of yearly crime rates only 1 million involve firearms, less than half the number of DGUs. The "assault weapon" category of guns only account for around 1% of total gun crimes. I would like to remind everyone that following Australia's ban on firearms their crime rate has been increasing, whereas in D.C. following the repeal of the gun ban their crime rate has been going down. Some people will point at the increased number of "homicides," but they ignore that even self-defense gets counted in police records(justifiable homicide).

Most important of all, let us not forget... CRIMINALS DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW! If you make guns illegal or harder to acquire, the only people that will be negatively affected is law-abiding citizens.

Another fact; GUN FREE ZONES MAKE GREAT TARGETS! If you are intent on killing lots of people, all you have to do is look for the nearest place that doesn't allow firearms and you now have a target rich environment that is unlikely to be able to defend themselves. In most cases people will not try to counter someone with a firearm unless they are really close. The instinct for survival makes people want to stay hidden or run away, especially when the likelihood of death is greater.

According to the FBI violent crime in 2010 decreased by 6%, and property crime decreased by 2.9%. That'd be pretty consistent with increased gun sales per their national instant check system which puts the gun sales increase between 2009 and 2010 at around 13%.

Meanwhile you have places like Chicago, where handguns were illegal for the longest time and they are one of the deadliest places on Earth. Might be a reason for that...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Truth On Japanese Gun Control

Interesting post over on SuburbanBanshee today that gives a bit of background information for how Japan managed to be (mostly) gun-free. Information a lot of people who point to Japan for gun control are probably completely clueless about.

Friday, July 20, 2012

John McCain, You're An Idiot

"Senator" John McCain has just displayed his complete lack of understand when it comes to how infiltration and spy games are played. By discounting Michele Bachmann's letter requesting an investigation of those with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, or related to people with such ties, you're playing right in the hands of the enemy. It may well be that Huma Abedin is completely blameless, but the fact that she works for Secretary Clinton and has been dedicated to her job and a hard worker does not remove the fact that she might be a spy.

Given the FACT that the Muslim Brotherhood has been open for decades in its goal to infiltrate and destroy the West from within, and the FACT that Huma's father was an open member of the organization, and the FACT that her mother is an open member of the organization, I want to know how the heck she got a clearance in the first place! When having too much debt can get your clearance revoked, or denied outright during an initial investigation, specifically because they are worried of the member being easily influenced by an outside organization purchasing that debt an dusing it against you; what does it say when the person applying for a clearance is the daughter of not one, but TWO people openly members of a terrorist organization?

If you have a clearance and you want to get married to a foreign national you must submit information to the various investigative agencies on your spouse-to-be and at the minimum her immediate family. This is so they can look into them. My suspicion is that what happened with Huma was due to this investigation being hand-waved through the system because of her attachment to then Senator Clinton as her aide. As an aide to a senator she wouldn't have needed the clearance, so when Clinton was selected for Sec of State she brought Huma along with her and probably did her usual pushy Hillary routine to get Huma's clearance approved. After all, in the end it comes to the Dept of State and the DoJ to approve those if they don't use an outside agency (which is why the military does use an outside unaffected agency, several in fact).

Bachmann sent her request for an investigation into the possibility of Muslim Brotherhood operatives in our government to a Muslim member of Congress. That is not the act of an Islamophobe, as she has been labeled, it is the act of someone looking to get to the truth of the matter. If she was an Islamophobe she'd have gone to someone else over this.

That's the thing about spies, they tend to be very good at what they do, or they don't get anywhere except possibly 6 feet under. If Huma Abedin is guilt-free, fine, but don't discount her just because she has worked with Hillary for so long. All that does is show her dedication, the question is, to what cause?

*****Additional Note*****

For those who would discount Huma's connection because she was married to a Jew (Weiner's mother wasn't Jewish, so by their own tradition he is not a Jew by the way), or the fact she doesn't run around in a hijab you might want to read the Quran (or Koran, however it's spelled in English this week). It's pretty clear that any subterfuge is allowed when dealing with the non-believers, all sins are forgiven if the cause is just. The cause being the advancement of Islam. They can lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc to their hearts content, so long as the person isn't a follower of Islam, and many offshoots of that religion go even further to include those not part of their particular branch of Islam.

Just thought of something else too... if Huma's mother is so moderate, how come she is part of the IICWC? The same organization that posted on their website the following:

  • The IICWC position that the current laws criminalizing female genital mutilation be revoked.
  • The IICWC’s position demanding that the laws forbidding child marriage below the age of eighteen be revoked. No new minimum marriage age was given; the group stated that the marriage standard depends on the financial and mental ability and not dependent on a specific age.
  • The IICWC’s positions, as reported, demanding that the laws forbidding marital rape be revoked and that polygamy is a right for men.
  • The IICWC’s position that a health check-up before marriage be revoked since it is against religion and should not be part of the marriage contract.
  • The IICWC’s position that criminal responsibility triggering at age 18 be reduced to age 15. (Probably the only thing I'll ever agree with them on)
  • The IICWC’s position revokes the right of a woman to register her newborn by herself for a birth certificate because Sharia states that a child’s lineage is given strictly to the father and his paternal line. The child belongs to the father even if it was the product of adultery.
  • The IICWC’s position revokes the criminalization of physical and mental abuse of parents against children, so long as the punishment does not cause a permanent deformity or the beating is too extreme.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hey CNN!

You may want to think about hiring some different tax specialists for your crew. The fact that you let silly stuff like this article go through without bothering to correct Mr. Kleinbard and Mr. Canellos says you either need tax specialists, or if you already have them, you need new ones.

The fact that I can read through that article, and without being a tax attorney point out the lies and falsehoods in the article just proves my point. Let's start at the top, shall we?

Yelling at Romney for not releasing more of his tax returns. Guess what, there are only two requirements in order to be President. 1) You must be 35 years of age, and 2) You must be a natural-born citizen of the United States. There is NO legal requirement beyond that. Nothing that says he must release his tax returns. Heck, there is even an entire paper written on the requirements. Oh by the way, the law the Dems are putting through Congress right now, while I may agree with the idea, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. What they are attempting to do is modify the requirements listed in the Constitution without putting forth an Amendment to that document. Notice it's not in there? The reason they can make those requirements for members of Congress is because of Article 1, Section 5 that says they shall make their own rules for members. You may dislike it, but the requirement isn't there. Get over yourselves.

Going further into speculation about financial skeletons is just asinine. Did anyone bother to read the two years of tax returns that Mr. Romney did release? Those things make my yearly tax returns look like kindergarten assignments. Even if he wanted and planned to release 10+ years of tax returns, it's not something he can just pull out of nowhere and release to the public. The more likely reasoning is that he is reviewing them for possible errors before doing so. Anyone read up on how this man has acted for his entire life? I'm clean, from what I've found this man is spit-shined and polished.

"Romney's 2010 tax return, when combined with his FEC disclosure, reveals red flags that raise serious tax compliance questions with respect to his possible tax minimization strategies in earlier years. The release in October of his 2011 return will at best act as a distraction from these questions." Ummm, yea... if there were red flags the IRS would have been all over him like white on rice. Ask anyone that's been auditted, they'll tell you the same. The IRS doesn't play around when it comes to jacking as much of your money as they can, to hell with how it affects you or your family.

As far as Romney's Swiss bank account, your idiots killed their own assertions in the same paragraph. Notice the part that says "blind trust"? That means he can't touch it, it's under control of the trustee. When it comes to speculating on whether or not the US Dollar will depreciate in comparison to the Swiss Franc, it's a pretty good bet. What you're hitting him on is the fact that he sees reality and is profitting from it... wait, given Obama's recent statement about how business owners didn't build their business, that statement makes complete sense. They're just mad that they aren't profitting from it for doing nothing.

The 2009 Tax Amnesty... guess what, even if he partook of said amnesty program I'm not seeing the problem. After all, it's just money, his money I might add. It's not like he went and dodged the draft by leaving the country or anything. I do seem to recall one president we had that did that though... What was his name again? I think his name was William Jefferson Clinton and they told us it was no big deal because they'd been given amnesty by President Carter.

On to the IRA contributions issue. "An excess contribution that isn’t withdrawn by the deadline is subject to a 6% tax penalty each year that it remains in your IRA." Guess what, if you're willing to eat those taxes, you can keep putting money in. Why you would want to do that I have no idea. I suppose it would depend on how much your IRA was making in interest each year, but it's not illegal to do so if (like I said) you want to eat the yearly tax.

Third item the idiots mention is Romney's family trusts... guess what, if you have no facts to back up your accusations SHUT THE HECK UP! Innocent until proven guilty, remember? Or does that not apply just because Romney is successful and isn't a liberal Democrat?

Fourth item, "the complexity of Romney's one publicly released tax return"; 1) he has released 2 years of tax returns, not one. 2) That complexity might just have something to do with why he hasn't released more, as per my comment above.

Item five, "Finally, there's the puzzle of the Romneys' extraordinarily low effective tax rate.
For 2010, the Romneys enjoyed a federal tax rate of only 13.9% on their adjusted gross income of roughly $22 million, which gave them a lower federal tax burden (including payroll, income and excise taxes) than the average American wage-earning family in the $40,000 to $50,000 range." Hey moron, if you're going to use his adjusted rate, you might want to use the average adjusted rate of someone in the $40-50k range too. I for instance am in that tax bracket. My adjusted federal tax rate is 8.7%, look at that 5.2% less than Romney paid... Idiots.

"The principal reason for this munificently low tax rate is that much of Romney's income, even today, comes from "carried interest," which is just the jargon used by the private equity industry for compensation received for managing other people's money."

"The vast majority of tax scholars and policy experts agree that awarding a super-low tax rate to this one form of labor income is completely unjustified as a policy matter. Romney has not explained how, as president, he can bring objectivity to bear on this tax loophole that is estimated as costing all of us billions of dollars every year."

Here's a clue, if the government isn't spending it IT ISN'T COSTING US ANYTHING!! You see, in order for it to cost us money, first the government has to have it to spend. Since they didn't have the money, it didn't cost us a bloody thing. That's the bull they hand out every time someone talks about tax cuts. See, the way it really works is, they lower taxes and revenue goes up. Even on a static model where the government revenue went down, the lower "income" only means they have less money to spend, so they have to reduce their spending (just like the rest of us when we have less money available). It's that required reduced spending the Liberals can't stand, hard to buy votes when you have no money.

For the highest office in the land a clear and transparent reporting of his transcripts should be nothing more than routine.


On a side note, Romney's tax records for the last TWENTY years were reviewed by the McCain campaign during the 2008 election cycle where Romney was considered as a possible VP pick. Since nothing bad was seen there, this is obviously another of the media's wild goose chases, meant to do nothing more than distract from the fact that Obama has been an absolutely horrible president.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nanny State Tuesdays - Week 6

Go go federal food stamps! Enough said...

Newest illegal Executive Order from President Obama, signed June 6, grants authority to DHS to "satisfy [federal] priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, government, and privately owned communications resources.”

The major problem with this EO is that it authorizes the illegal seizure of private property, it also extends DHS power to the Internet... because DHS being able to seize control at the drop of a hat can't possibly be a bad thing... You look at all the EOs he's been passing and you'll see a rather scary trend. It's very easy to use these to remain in control if there is "mass rioting" following the November election. I'm not one for conspiracies, but any time the government extends sudden control over something, one after another, it should be making people wonder. Sadly, nobody seems to keep track of Executive Orders.

Figured I'd jump back to the past (1850 to be exact) where a French economist by the name of Frederic Bastiat pointed out all the ways that legal plunder, as he put it, could be committed. He listed:  tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. He then goes on to say, "All these plans as a whole -- with their common aim of legal plunder -- constitute socialism."

How is it that a French guy in 1850 can see this, and people today are unwilling to see it? This is a mere 2 years after Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto for crying out loud. Have people in this country really forgotten that it was free market capitalism that got us to where we are today? Don't get me wrong, tariffs and important taxes have their purpose, they make sure that the goods going into a country from somewhere else do not cause the downfall of the receiving country's economy, but they ARE a form of legal plunder, and should be looked at to ensure they do not place undue burden on our society.

We aren't a one world economy, so looking after our own interests is a good idea, but not at the cost of the citizens of this country. Tariffs and import taxes are paid by the ones bringing goods into this country and they help to protect our businesses. Minimum wage, subsidies, progressive taxataion (rather than flat and equal tax across the board), public schools (wherein the government decides everything that is taught and so molds the thought processes of successive generations) are NOT in the interest of the public, they are in the interest of those who rely upon the government to live. Those people in most cases are leeches upon society. They take money from those who produce and do not give anything in return. Wealth through such means is redistribution, nothing less.

The Government has now decided to get involved with the credit agencies. There goes any remaining impartiality they may have had. It's going to be kind of hard to downgrade the government's credit rating when they're constantly creating new regulations for you to follow and can make your business harder and harder to run. This is exactly how the government ended up in complete control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Law of the Sea Treaty (cont.)

So, back on May 23rd I posted about the Law of the Sea Convention passed by the U.N. Well, it has reached the Senate and is being pushed to be ratified. The following individuals have pledged support for the Treaty, thus breaking their oaths to support and defend the Constitution, and the sovereignity of this nation. They should be removed from office immediately, though we all know that will never happen. Instead they should be voted out this fall.

John Kerry (D-Mass.)
John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

When the final vote is made public I will add to this list to include all Senators who have voted for this disgusting piece of UN legislation.

Good news! According to a Washington Post article 34 Senators have now pledged to vote against ratification of the LotSC. Assuming none of them change their mind the Senate no longer has the necessary numbers to ratify this treaty.

Romney's NAACP Speech

It amuses me that Romney was actually willing to speak in front of the NAACP and yet Obama had just a recorded video and sent Biden. Along with the comments that Obama didn't need to show up because he's already got the black vote locked up are calls of racism against Romney because of supposed pandering for the black vote. So let me get this straight, one guy doesn't show up because of an assumption that due to his skin color and party affiliation he has the black vote locked up, the other shows up to talk to them as equals, tells them things he knows they don't want to hear but exactly what his plans are to fix things, and it's the second guy that gets called a racist?

On that note I'm posting Romney's speech (which was actually pretty good; I watched the whole thing live) because as I saw this morning all the news stations are too focused on the one time he got booed out of the entire speech (when he first said he'd repeal Obamacare, and yet not after he explained what he'd do to fix the problems it was supposedly passed to fix). Also, the one supposed gaff he had, where he said "End of quote" after finished an MLK quote... I say "end quote" practically every time I quote someone, just to prevent confusion when I continue the conversation so people don't think everything I'm saying is a quote. It's not actually that unusual for people who aren't trying to pull the wool over others' eyes by misquoting for their own benefit.


Thank you, Bishop Graves, for your generous introduction. Thanks also to President Ben Jealous and Chairman Roslyn Brock for the opportunity to be here this morning, and for your hospitality.  It is an honor to address you.

I appreciate the chance to speak first – even before Vice President Biden gets his turn tomorrow.  I just hope the Obama campaign won’t think you’re playing favorites.

You all know something of my background, and maybe you’ve wondered how any Republican ever becomes governor of Massachusetts in the first place.  Well, in a state with 11 percent Republican registration, you don’t get there by just talking to Republicans.  We have to make our case to every voter.  We don’t count anybody out, and we sure don’t make a habit of presuming anyone’s support.  Support is asked for and earned – and that’s why I’m here today.  

With 90 percent of African-Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community, and to address the NAACP.  Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between. 

But there is another reason: I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president.  I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color -- and families of any color -- more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.

The opposition charges that I and people in my party are running for office to help the rich.  Nonsense.  The rich will do just fine whether I am elected or not.  The President wants to make this a campaign about blaming the rich.  I want to make this a campaign about helping the middle class.  
I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help.  The course the President has set has not done that – and will not do that.  My course will. 

When President Obama called to congratulate me on becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, he said that he, “looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future.”  To date, I’m afraid that his campaign has taken a different course than that. 
But, in campaigns at their best, voters can expect a clear choice, and candidates can expect a fair hearing – only more so from a venerable organization like this one.  So, it is that healthy debate about the course of the nation that I want to discuss with you today.  

If someone had told us in the 1950s or 1960s that a black citizen would serve as the forty-fourth president, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised.  Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened.  Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have come down.  

Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way.  Many barriers remain.  Old inequities persist.  In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before.  And across America -- and even within your own ranks -- there are serious, honest debates about the way forward.   

If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone.  Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way.  The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community.  In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent.   

Americans of every background are asking when this economy will finally recover – and you, in particular, are entitled to an answer. 
If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the hope of a better life.  Instead, for generations, the African-American community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept.  Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide – but they are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools.   

Our society sends them into mediocre schools and expects them to perform with excellence, and that is not fair.  Frederick Douglass observed that, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  Yet, instead of preparing these children for life, too many schools set them up for failure.  Everyone in this room knows that we owe them better than that. 

The path of inequality often leads to lost opportunity.  College, graduate school, and first jobs should be milestones marking the passage from childhood to adulthood.  But for too many disadvantaged young people, these goals seem unattainable – and their lives take a tragic turn.  
Many live in neighborhoods filled with violence and fear, and empty of opportunity.  Their impatience for real change is understandable.  They are entitled to feel that life in America should be better than this.  They are told even now to wait for improvements in our economy and in our schools, but it seems to me that these Americans have waited long enough. 

The point is that when decades of the same promises keep producing the same failures, then it’s reasonable to rethink our approach – and consider a new plan.   

I’m hopeful that together we can set a new direction in federal policy, starting where many of our problems do – with the family.  A study from the Brookings Institution has shown that for those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and wait until 21 before they marry and then have their first child, the probability of being poor is two percent.  And if those factors are absent, the probability of being poor is 76 percent. 

Here at the NAACP, you understand the deep and lasting difference the family makes.  Your former executive director, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, had it exactly right.  The family, he said, “remains the bulwark and the mainstay of the black community.  That great truth must not be overlooked.”  
Any policy that lifts up and honors the family is going to be good for the country, and that must be our goal.  As President, I will promote strong families – and I will defend traditional marriage. 
As you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system.  I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed.  I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, “You know, there’s too much free enterprise around here.  Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.” 
What you hear, of course, is how do we bring in jobs?  How do we make good, honest employers want to move in and stay?  And with the shape this economy is in, we’re asking that more than ever.   
Free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class.  We have seen in recent years what it’s like to have less free enterprise.  As President, I will show the good things that can happen when we have more – more business activity, more jobs, more opportunity, more paychecks, more savings accounts.  

On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for the middle class.  And I don’t mean just those who are middle class now – I also mean those who have waited so long for their chance to join the middle class. 

I know what it will take to put people back to work, to bring more jobs and better wages. My jobs plan is based on 25 years of success in business. It has five key steps. 

First, I will take full advantage of our energy resources, and I will approve the Keystone pipeline from Canada. Low cost, plentiful coal, natural gas, oil, and renewables will bring over a million manufacturing jobs back to the United States. 

Second, I will open up new markets for American products. We are the most productive major economy in the world, so trade means good jobs for Americans.  But trade must be free and fair, so I’ll clamp down on cheaters like China and make sure that they finally play by the rules. 

Third, I will reduce government spending. Our high level of debt slows GDP growth and that means fewer jobs. If our goal is jobs, we must, must stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we earn. To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.  

Fourth, I will focus on nurturing and developing the skilled workers our economy so desperately needs and the future demands. This is the human capital with which tomorrow's bright future will be built. Too many homes and too many schools are failing to provide our children with the skills and education that are essential for anything other than a minimum-wage job. 

And finally and perhaps most importantly, I will restore economic freedom. This nation’s economy runs on freedom, on opportunity, on entrepreneurs, on dreamers who innovate and build businesses. These entrepreneurs are being crushed by high taxation, burdensome regulation, hostile regulators, excessive healthcare costs, and destructive labor policies. I will work to make America the best place in the world for innovators and entrepreneurs and businesses small and large.  

Do these five things – open up energy, expand trade, cut the growth of government, focus on better educating tomorrow’s workers today, and restore economic freedom – and jobs will come back to America, and wages will rise again. The President will say he will do those things, but he will not, he cannot, and his record of the last four years proves it.  

If I am president, job one for me will be creating jobs. I have no hidden agenda. If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him.  

Finally, I will address the institutionalized inequality in our education system.  And I know something about this from my time as governor.   

In the years before I took office our state’s leaders had come together to pass bipartisan measures that were making a difference.  In reading and in math, our students were already among the best in the nation – and during my term, they took over the top spot.  

Those results revealed what good teachers can do if the system will only let them.  The problem was, this success wasn’t shared.  A significant achievement gap between students of different races remained.  So we set out to close it. 

I urged faster interventions in failing schools, and the funding to go along with it.  I promoted math and science excellence in schools, and proposed paying bonuses to our best teachers. 

I refused to weaken testing standards, and instead raised them. To graduate from high school, students had to pass an exam in math and English – I added a science requirement as well.  And I put in place a merit scholarship for those students who excelled: the top 25 percent of students in each high school were awarded a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship – which meant four years tuition-free at any Massachusetts public institution of higher learning.   

When I was governor, not only did test scores improve – we also narrowed the achievement gap.    
The teachers unions were not happy with a number of these reforms. They especially did not like our emphasis on choice through charter schools, particularly for our inner city kids. Accordingly, the legislature passed a moratorium on any new charter schools. 

As you know, in Boston, in Harlem, in Los Angeles, and all across the country, charter schools are giving children a chance, children that otherwise could be locked in failing schools. I was inspired just a few weeks ago by the students in one of Kenny Gamble’s charter schools in Philadelphia.  Right here in Houston is another success story:  the Knowledge Is Power Program, which has set the standard, thanks to the groundbreaking work of the late Harriet Ball.  

These charter schools are doing a lot more than closing the achievement gap.  They are bringing hope and opportunity to places where for years there has been none.   

Charter schools are so successful that almost every politician can find something good to say about them.  But, as we saw in Massachusetts, true reform requires more than talk.  As Governor, I vetoed the bill blocking charter schools.  But our legislature was 87 percent Democrat, and my veto could have been easily over-ridden.  So I joined with the Black Legislative Caucus, and their votes helped preserve my veto, which meant that new charter schools, including some in urban neighborhoods, would be opened.  

When it comes to education reform, candidates cannot have it both ways – talking up education reform, while indulging the same groups that are blocking reform.  You can be the voice of disadvantaged public-school students, or you can be the protector of special interests like the teachers unions, but you can’t be both.  I have made my choice: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in the way.       

I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.  And I will make that a true choice by ensuring there are good options available to all.    
Should I be elected President, I’ll lead as I did when I was governor.  I am pleased today to be joined today by Reverend Jeffrey Brown, who was a member of my kitchen cabinet in Massachusetts that helped guide my policy and actions that affected the African American community.  I will look for support wherever there is good will and shared conviction.  I will work with you to help our children attend better schools and help our economy create good jobs with better wages. 

I can’t promise that you and I will agree on every issue.  But I do promise that your hospitality to me today will be returned.  We will know one another, and work to common purposes.  I will seek your counsel.  And if I am elected president, and you invite me to next year’s convention, I would count it as a privilege, and my answer will be yes.   

The Republican Party’s record, by the measures you rightly apply, is not perfect.  Any party that claims a perfect record doesn’t know history the way you know it. 

Yet always, in both parties, there have been men and women of integrity, decency, and humility who called injustice by its name.  For every one of us a particular person comes to mind, someone who set a standard of conduct and made us better by their example.  For me, that man is my father, George Romney. 

It wasn’t just that my Dad helped write the civil rights provision for the Michigan Constitution, though he did.  It wasn’t just that he helped create Michigan’s first civil rights commission, or that as governor he marched for civil rights in Detroit – though he did those things, too.   

More than these public acts, it was the kind of man he was, and the way he dealt with every person, black or white.  He was a man of the fairest instincts, and a man of faith who knew that every person was a child of God.   

I’m grateful to him for so many things, and above all for the knowledge of God, whose ways are not always our ways, but whose justice is certain and whose mercy endures forever.   

Every good cause on this earth relies in the end on a plan bigger than ours.  “Without dependence on God,” as Dr. King said, “our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest night.  Unless his spirit pervades our lives, we find only what G. K. Chesterton called ‘cures that don't cure, blessings that don’t bless, and solutions that don’t solve.’” 

Of all that you bring to the work of today’s civil rights cause, no advantage counts for more than this abiding confidence in the name above every name.   Against cruelty, arrogance, and all the foolishness of man, this spirit has carried the NAACP to many victories.  More still are up ahead, and with each one we will be a better nation.   

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

National Healthcare

Here's an example of a fantastic national healthcare system. Our neighbors to the north in Canada, and here's one from Britain.

I have a friend of mine in the military (a "fantastic" example of a government run healthcare system) that is having to wait two weeks just to get a general appointment at the local military clinic.

NHS systems only work marginally well for people with no medical issues. As soon as you have a problem, don't expect to get any help in a reasonable length of time.

Paul Krugman Hypocrisy

Here is something amusing to me. So according to Krugman Japan fell into a liquidity trap by lowering interest rates in the 1990s until they couldn't be lowered anymore. Yet now he is advocating that we need to keep our own interest rates at 0% AND purposely raise inflation to 4-5%.

Krugman had argued in The Return of Depression Economics (Released April 28, 2005) that Japan was in a liquidity trap in the late 1990s, since the central bank could not drop interest rates any lower to escape economic stagnation.

(CNN Money May 11, 2012) Now comes a group of progressives, led by Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman, who propose, you guessed it, more consumer borrowing and spending as the main solution to our economic woes. They advocate aggressive action by the Fed to keep interest rates near zero, as well as to raise the inflation target to 4%-5%. They argue that consumers, enticed by low interest rates, will borrow and spend more while those of us who have built up savings will start spending those savings rather than let higher inflation erode their value.

Ah the hypocrisy.


Sorry, got distracted this last week and forgot to post my Nanny State Tuesday. In the process of getting a podcast going along with a website for it so been a bit busy. Will try to get one up next week, but that aforementioned is taking most of my spare time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Arizona Goes For Another Hail Mary

Arizona is on the move again. This time with a couple of sovereignity motions on the ballot and on the way through their legislative process that would amend their state constitution to ignore any laws passed by the federal government that they deem are not allowed in the US Constitution. They even cited the idea that judicial review was not in the original document and was actually claimed by the court in an 1803 case (which is true, to a point).

Crony Capitalism Strikes Again!

You want an example of what I call crony capitalism? Here's one for you; the recently signed transportation bill also included a section that makes Roll-Your-Own cigarettes get taxed at the same rates as the big corporate brands. Since they cost about half as much, and don't include all the nasty chemicals found in store bought brands I can totally see why the big cigarette companies wouldn't like them. However politicians pandering to this crap is what qualifies it as crony capitalism. Making laws they know will drive the competition of their campaign financers (which is why I think corporations if they are going to be counted as people should be limited to the same amount in campaign contributions as a single citizen).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nanny State Tuesdays - Week 5

Not much going on this week, other than the bull$%^& SCOTUS ruling that Obamacare is a tax. Last I checked any time you get hit with a payment for doing something "wrong" it's a fine, not a tax. First time I can think of that the federal government has established the requirement to buy something or you have pay a "tax" into the general fund.

I realize not many people have actually read the entire bill (I did, my eyes are still bleeding months after I've finished). For those that didn't know, the tax that gets levelled on you if you don't have insurance that meets the government's requirements goes into the general fund not the Medicare/Medicaid fund. You do not get healthcare coverage from this. You do however lose a ton of funding for Medicare. Oh, you also get taxed if you have too good of a health insurance plan (what they call Cadillac healthcare plans). Nice, huh? If you make a decent paycheck and have really good healthcare you still eat a healthcare tax. Isn't that something in the vein of triple taxation by the way? Your company gets taxed, you get taxed on income, and then you get taxed again for having a good health plan.

Also, the ACA being upheld means a lot of part-time employees are going to be in pain shortly. I'd bet money that few people know the number of hours considered part-time has been adjusted when it comes to required healthcare coverage by their employer. Anyone who works 30 or more hours per week is considered full-time by the ACA, and thus must be covered by the employer unless they have less than 50 employees (that number gets reached very quickly when the majority of your employees are part-time), otherwise the employer eats a rather large fine ($2000 month if I remember right, I'd have to run back through the document to confirm). So if you have a part-time job you might want to plan to get another one, once that takes effect in 2014 you'll probably be losing hours.

The only positive thing to the mandate getting called a tax is that in 2014 as soon as someone pays the fine they can bring it back up in the Supreme Court as unconstitutional because it's actually a fine for non-participation. The SCOTUS is required to rule the document constitutional if it's a tax because a tax cannot be challenged until someone has actually paid it thanks to the Anti-Injunction Act.