Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Collection of Quotes on the Constitution and our Republic

Shamelessly lifted from another site:

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.
Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Thomas Jefferson

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
Thomas Jefferson

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
James Madison

Property is the fruit of labor...property is desirable...is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
Abraham Lincoln

When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.
Benjamin Franklin

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been about 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: '>From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.
Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747–1813)

It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation. And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers. They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless. As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men… Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
Ludwig von Mise

No matter what anyone may say about making the rich and the corporations pay taxes, in the end they come out of the people who toil.
Calvin Coolidge

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
Sir Winston Churchill

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
William Boetcker

The more one considers the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State.
Bertrand de Jouvenel

To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection, it is plunder.
Benjamin Disraeli

Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes.
Will Durant

The mounting burden of taxation not only undermines individual incentives to increased work and earnings, but in a score of ways discourages capital accumulation and distorts, unbalances, and shrinks production. Total real wealth and income is made smaller than it would otherwise be. On net balance there is more poverty rather than less.
Henry Hazlitt

When a self-governing people confer upon their government the power to take from some and give to others, the process will not stop until the last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare.
Kershner's First Law

To lay with one hand the power of government on the property of the citizen, and with the other to bestow it on favored individuals... is none the less robbery because it is... called taxation.
United States Supreme Court

The Constitution is a written instrument. As such its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted, it means now.
United States Supreme Court

The question is not what anybody deserves. The question is who is to take on the God-like role of deciding what everybody else deserves. You can talk about 'social justice' all you want. But what death taxes boil down to is letting politicians take money from widows and orphans to pay for goodies that they will hand out to others, in order to buy votes to get re-elected. That is not social justice or any other kind of justice.
Thomas Sowell

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
Thomas Sowell

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Ronald Reagan

The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country. A better educated electorate might change the reason many persons vote. If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn't see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly men.
Lyn Nofziger

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
Karl Marx

Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Society's needs come before the individual's needs.
Adolf Hitler

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. Karl Marx

Democracy is a form of government that cannot long survive, for as soon as the people learn that they have a voice in the fiscal policies of the government, they will move to vote for themselves all the money in the treasury, and bankrupt the nation. Karl Marx

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; … gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country... 10. Free education for all children in public schools...
Karl Marx- Rules of the Communist Manifesto

We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.
Nikita Khrushchev

More Thomas Jefferson Quotes:

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, it’s necessary consequence.

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things That Irritate Me #2

Cars with bumperstickers for candidates left on cars months or years after the election is over. Especially if it's the one that lost.

Yup. Which reminds me of another "Thing That Irritates Me" ... cars with multiple bumperstickers plastered all over the backs of them. Which is why I have my "one bumpersticker at a time" rule.

So I pick my messages carefully.

I just went out to http://www.makestickers.com/ and made me this one:

A quote from Suzanna Hupp.

At any rate, if you want to know how I did this one ... it's pretty easy. I used one of their templates. They had one with the stars and the minute man under "flags & patriotic", I just added my text (I used their "paintbrush" font). Default color. I've used these guys before. They're fast and reasonable.

If I get 'em by Saturday, Jeff, I'll bring one out to mom & dad's for you. I ordered 5.

A little side story on that bumpersticker rule ... we haven't removed our McCain/Palin stickers yet, though it's on the short-term agenda. Can't do it well when it's too cold. At any rate, we were driving through Indianapolis yesterday, and a car pulled up alongside of us on I-70. The driver honked. Nice looking young black man, smiled out his window, and held up a "VOTE OBAMA" political sign. He shrugged in mock sympathy, still smiling. It was good-natured. We laughed and waved, slowly nodding our heads in acknowledgement. He smiled and waved back and drove on.

In Defense of Social Conservatism

It looks to me like Randall Hoven's take on it is about the same as mine.

Only he got to it first. Not a bad job, either. American Thinker. Good site, incidentally. It's one of my highly recommended ones on the sidebar.

Things that Irritate Me

I don't know if I've done a "things that irritate me" post before, but here's one.

You go into a restaurant that markets itself as an ethnic restaurant. Mexican. Thai. Chinese. Whatever.

And you hear American pop music over the sound system.

Seriously. My brother and sister-in-law, and my wife and I went to a Vietnamese restaurant in St. Louis years ago. We walked in. The lighting was subdued. A few oriental people scattered here and about. Usually a good sign.

Vietnamese decor, and Vietnamese music playing softly. We sit down. We get our menus. And before long ... is that ... is that Michael Jackson????

They'd put the Thriller album on.

The waiter came to take our order.

"What happened to the Vietnamese music?"

"Oh, you like? We thought you American, you maybe like American music."

Eeehhruuuhhmmm ... no. We were enjoying the other.

He put the other back on.

But I notice it all over. Go in to a Mexican restaurant. They've got the place decorated to give you the feel of being South of the Border. But there's what passes for "R&B" these days playing on the sound system. It sort of spoils the effect.

Not so El Rancherito in Effingham, IL. That place got it right!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book 'em, Dan-o

Super Dan, over at the Daily Danet (sometimes in disguised as mild-mannered reporter "Mark" Kent), caught this over the weekend....
During the [Giants] game, the network aired a plug for an upcoming 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama. This is what the voiceover said: “[tick tick tick] Now that he’s been elected, Barack Obama shares his plans for the country.”
Now that he's been elected ... Obama's going to share his plans.

Yeah. So this was all a contest to find out what Obama planned to do with the country? Frankly, yes. Because "Hope" and "Change" weren't really very descriptive. But that's what people voted for. Now they Hope they hear what they wanted to hear. It's too late to Change their minds. We don't have do-overs in the adult world.

If you have never gone and read the Danet, he's on my highly recommended list.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Do We Do Now?

Several years ago, a friend, a history professor, told me he belonged to the NRA. He doesn't own a firearm to this day. He's never owned a firearm. I'm not even sure he's ever fired one. I had been thinking about it, and I owned at least one firearm at the time. He shamed me in to it. I joined right quick.

He said he joined because it was the best investment in lobbying for conservative government, conservative politicians -- that you can make. It's only $35 a year right now, and you get your choice of three monthly magazines they publish. I get America's First Freedom, but they have one that emphasizes hunters' interests and one that emphasises the interests of firearms enthusiasts as well.

Folks, for what's at stake, that's cheap. Which is what my friend told me then. Now you will get a lot of mail from them, mail soliciting donations, mail informing you of gun bills at the federal and state levels and postcards to send to your congress critters. I admit, I occasionally donate outside of my lifetime membership payments (I'm doing it on the EZ pay plan) just because I believe in what they're doing. (Actually, they'd get more money if you were NOT a lifetime member and just paid dues in the long run, but I'm sure I'll continue to donate when my lifetime membership is paid off.)

There's a lot of anti-gun money out there. Soros is one of the biggest financers of a world wide drive to ban firearms. The NRA is always looking out for these things, informing you, and lobbying on our behalf in Washington and on the local level. They're very diligent watch dogs. If they can count you as a member and (I know I'm repeating myself but this is at least as important) keep you informed, that effort is still more powerful.

So if you're smarting over the Obama win and wondering what you can do right now to counter balance what's coming, I urge you to join the NRA, and try to get someone else to as well.

It's going to be a big fight.

Click here to join now or Call 1-877-NRA-2000

Oh, and if you feel responsible enough, go out and buy a gun and learn to use it properly and to handle and store it safely. You can do it, and the more law abiding citizens we have actually exercising the right guaranteed by (not given by) the second amendment, the better.

Hope Won

Gack. I was driving out of my neighborhood the other morning and on the bumper of a car I was used to seeing an Obama sticker on ... was another bumpersticker that said :
Hope Won! Double gack! Like they were "Believing" Tinkerbell back to life or something. And now Tinkerbell is alive, and they feel all warm and fuzzy about it. Apparently it's some Oprah thing.

Great. S0 they really were just voting for "Hope™". Wing and a prayer? Hope that works out. So what do they get, Bob?

Dinner plates full of Hope™. Paychecks made to the order of Hope™. We can now Hope™ our enemies away. When we are confronted with bad guys, we can Hope™ their illegal guns aren't loaded instead of deterring them with our legal ones. Or we can Hope™ the police show up and stop the crime before we lose life or limb. Yup, another piece of "flair" to add to their bumper billboards. They can now say "isn't it wonderful" at parties and get nods of approval.

All is now light and hope, as The Lightworker™ Changes America into the Land of the Free Hope™.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Right to Approval

Thomas Sowell says what I've been trying to say. Only he does a better job. Which comes as no surprise to me.
Gays were on their strongest ground when they said that what they did was nobody else's business. Now they are asserting a right to other people's approval, which is wholly different.

None of us has a right to other people's approval.

Deja Vu All Over Again

So I'm reading Amity Shlaes' "The Forgotten Man" last night, and I get to this paragraph and something jumps out at me.

The book is a history of the Great Depression, with background on the lead-up to it and the cast of characters involved.

Anyway, this jumped off the page:
As the productivity gains sank in, the Dow marched upward still more aggressively, from 155 in February of 1927 to 200 by the end of that year. Many investors were now wilder than Wilson. New investors had discovered that they could buy shares without the cash to pay for those shares -- they simply borrowed on margin and hoped that the rise in the stock prices would cover their loans. The margin rule was not new, but the investors were. [my emphasis]
This is not all that dissimilar to what just happened in the real-estate/mortgage market. Real-estate prices were rising so fast and so steadily that people would buy property they couldn't afford, figuring the could sell it at a profit and cover the original loan. Combine this with the government, ahem, "encouraging" (closer to coercing) banks to give loans to people who wouldn't qualify for loans on their own merits out of some sense of "social justice". My guess is that nobody worried too much about it because a) real estate prices were spiraling upward, and b) the government implicitly guaranteed the loans anyway.

I noticed here in my own town over at least the last 10 years -- and at an even more frenzied pace the past 5 or so years -- housing going up everywhere as fast as it could be built. Huge condo complexes and apartment complexes. Big subdivisions with gigantic expensive homes. My wife and I often wondered aloud where all these people were going to come from. With the more upscale neighborhoods, we wondered aloud about where all the people worked in our community of ~100-150,000 that had jobs that paid well enough for them to afford these homes. We'd drive through or by 5 or 6 of these neighborhoods and say, "Ok, that accounts for bankers, doctors, and bigger business owners... where do all the rest of these people work, and what do they do?"

In short, since real estate was a sure bet and paid off big, people went nuts developing it. Too nuts. They overbuilt. And the dirty little secret here in America is this: population isn' t increasing that fast anymore. Over supply. Slowdown in demand. Prices crashed. People who had borrowed assuming that their equity would cover their losses in a worse-case scenario suddenly discovered they had ... miscalculated. Balloon payments came due. Variable interest rates (for those who financed at the bottom of the money market and at the same time maxed out their budgets) couldn't afford payments when the interest rates rose.

Packages of loans bought up by big banks and Fannie & Freddie suddenly had significant numbers of loans going bad, and the promise of the value of the real estate that backed them weren't looking good. And nobody wanted to get left with a rotten egg, so credit among the big banks that lend to each other got tight as each feared what the other wasn't telling them about their state of affairs. If I give you a billion dollar loan today, will you declare bankruptcy tomorrow?

Anyway, guess things really haven't changed much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prove It

A good friend of mine sent me this cartoon. He was amused. And I get it. I mean, there are people like this. But it's not the way I was brought up, and I was brought up in a pretty religious family.

And I was out reading this post at Morgan's Place (The House of Eratosthenes, for the uninitiated), where he made this observation:

It has become such a convenient narrative that religious folks are bigoted and intolerant. Too many people don’t care if it’s true or not. They’re meeting people by spewing this tired trope, making friends, and that’s all that matters to them.

This pushed me the last inch into posting this, which I was thinking about doing anyway.

Morgan's observation is consistent with what I experienced myself -- the reciprocal of what this cartoon says many times growing up and in College (where, frankly, I did a lot more growing up). And I think there is often just a LITTLE projection going on here with the hard core atheists among us. And I still observe it today -- as evidenced by this cartoon circulating causing knowing heads to nod all over the place.

The thing is, it's actually a false comparison. A baseball is a physical object and if you have one, it can probably be produced. With the question of God, we're talking about something that everybody knows can't be proven ... or disproven (if we're honest). Like I said, it's a false comparison.

I decided to turn the tables anyway and re-edit the cartoon to hold a mirror up to the people who look at this cartoon and think of themselves as somehow on the smart and righteous side of the argument.

I could just as easily say "I have a right to privacy".

And someone could respond "Yeah, prove it!" Or "I have a right to life. It is wrong for you to kill me just because you want to."

"Oh yeah? Prove it!"

One can be overbearing on either side of the argument, and the ones who protest the loudest usually are.

"Oh, so might makes right? Prove it!"



You know, the truth of it is, I was about there myself at one point in my life. By that I mean, agreeing more with the sentiment of the first cartoon. But I'm past that now. Because I don't have a need to make myself feel smart or seem smart to others to assuage my sense of self-worth. (Dang, been listening to Dennis Miller too much ;-) )

Maturity. Pass it on.

No Horse In the Race

Keith Olberman doesn't vote????

Apparently he was on The View, that bastion of mainstream thinking, and he told the ladies that he didn't vote because he didn't want to appear to have a horse in the race.

Now what in the world could possibly lead anyone to believe that Keith Olberman had a horse in the race?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Oh, this is too good ....

... the Fresh Prez of Bill Ayers ...

From Misha (who else?)

Google This

finnish documentary teacher obama mccain

Or just go here.

Yeah, home schooling is looking better and better.

Diantha Harris. Remember that name.

I Made a New HTML Tag

I was musing over at Morgan's Place
I made up a new word which would make a great new HTML tag. . Anything you put in BarackQuotes will not only be indented by the browser will also render a border of flowers, butterflies, rainbows and unicorns wrapped in a loop of elegant ivy.


I'm a big fan of Michael Ramirez cartoons. There's apparently another guy who has a similar style and bent on politics named Rick McKee.

This one came out Oct 23rd, and I hadn't seen it until a friend showed it to me today.


Mandate for Change

Behold the cultural contradictions of progressivism.

... something interesting happened on Election Day that didn’t get much attention. Bans on gay marriage were on ballots in several states, and they all won. In fact, gay marriage bans have ultimately passed in all 30 of the states in which they were on the ballot.

The ban in California was particularly intriguing. Proposition 8 would have failed in the Golden State if it were up to white voters, who opposed it by a 51-49 ratio. What carried it over the top was enormous support from black voters, with about 70 percent of them backing it. Hispanics also supported the ban by significant, though smaller, margins. In Florida, where a similar ban required a 60 percent margin, Amendment 2 just barely passed, getting 60 percent of the white vote. The cushion came from blacks, who voted 71 percent in favor, and Latinos, who voted 64 percent in favor.

In other words, Obama had some major un-progressive coattails. The tidal wave of black and Hispanic voters who came out to support Obama voted in enormous numbers against what most white liberals consider to be the foremost civil rights issue of the day.
The demographics may seem surprising at first, but when you think about it they're really not. These days blacks and hispanics are more likely to be strongly religious Christians than whites.

Of course I probably told you my own thoughts on this. There are no laws prohibiting gay couples from having ceremonies where they make life-long promises of fidelity and mutal responsibility to each other. There are no laws that I know of that prohibit gays from livng together (and if there are I think they should be struck down). I think gays can call it whatever they want: marriage, gayriage whatever -- what I'm against is having the legal definition of "marriage" expanded, mostly because that legal definition could and likely would lead to it being taught in schools as being "the same thing" -- which is counter to many, many people's religious beliefs and cultural standards, making it a church and state issue. The other thing that may happen, and things like this have happened in Europe - is the "hate speech" issue -- people merely exercising their rights supposedly guaranteed by the first amendment may find themselves on the wrong side of a "hate speech" lawsuit if they dare to merely state their opinion. "Oh, that would never happen." Not today. Not tomorrow. But it definitely would, eventually. Ask Piglet.

What it is harder for gays to do is to have their unions recognized as the same sort of legal contract that is assumed and enforced for marriages. But this can be solved by coming up with a superset word for legal purposes that include gay unions and heterosexual unions, and use that term in the laws. I'd even be in favor of replacing the word "marriage" as far as the law is concerned with some new word with a broader definition. This way any rights that are afforded to married couples could also be afforded to other types of domestic relationships as are afforded to marriage. What I and most other people, I believe, really object to is the re-definition of the word. Which is what the activists are really after. Forced acceptance through the power of the government. "My" solution has been proposed by others and rejected by the activists as not being good enough.

Anyway, the main reason for posting/linking this wasn't my rant (which you've probably read before) -- but rather the two facts that there is very strong resistance from the general population to this idea, and that just because a lot of people, especially a lot of people from certain demographic groups --- voted for Obama does NOT mean they buy all of his progressive policies by a long shot.

Michael Crichton - 1942-2008

I don't read a lot of fiction anymore. I read it voraciously when I was a kid, but as I always tell people I think College "cured" me of my recreational reading habit. Not saying that's a good thing, just a fact.

So I didn't read a lot of Michael Crichton. But I did see many very entertaining movies based on several of his books, and I was aware that he was a highly intelligent, very educated man. A man who knew the difference between science and consensus. An eloquent man who often spoke on one of my pet subjects, and that would be Anthropogenic Global Warming.

One of his more recent works was a book called "State of Fear" where he combined debunking of the Global Warming consensus with a wild tale, which may serve as a warning -- of massive "environmental terrorism", perseverance, and comeuppance. I did read that one.

At any rate, the WSJ published a lecture of his posthumously today -- one I will link to and encourage you to read.

Aliens Cause Global Warming

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


A Vietnam vet called in and told this joke:
We'd been out in the field for three weeks, and the sergant came out and told us, "guys, I've got good news, and bad news. The good news is, you're all going to get a change of underwear. The bad news is, Dave, you're going to change with Peters, Johnson you're going to change with ...."

Playing The Glad Game

Today we're playing The Glad Game.

We're first of all glad that we didn't have to endure the inevitible ... ahem ... "social unrest" a McCain win would have precipitated.

We're glad that it wasn't a razor-thin margin so we don't have to endure weeks or months of litigation over hanging chads and such.

We're glad the Democrats didn't win a supermajority in the Senate.

We're glad we (so far) still live in a country where we can have this conversation and say what we believe.

We're glad we can say that America elected a black president before any country in Europe did (take that, you racist Euroweenies!) [h/t: Morgan] (we do wish it were a different black president, but as the Stones put it "You can't always get what you want")

We're glad 55 Million people got out of bed to vote for a guy they weren't all that enthusiastic about precisely because they didn't want to have an America-Flogging, Redistributionist President.

We're glad someone like Sarah Palin can stir up the kind of empathy and passion that she did without putting on airs. We hope she sticks around and attracts like-minded politicians.

We're glad Barack Obama is not Joseph Stalin.

We're glad we won't have to spend the NEXT 8 years defending a Republican Party that had abandoned its principles and only gave lip-service to them when it suited their purposes. It was necessary. But frankly, exhausting. Now the Democrats can lie in the bed they've made for themselves.

We're glad that the Democrats are probably too late to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. (Thank you for sticking to your principles on that one, George W.)

We're glad we won't be getting multiple robo-calls on our telephones each evening ... for a while.

We're glad that a significant number of Democrats belong to the NRA.

That's all I can come up with for now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gas Under $2

Yup. $1.999 today here in town.

I remember wincing at $2.29 in 2005. It was generally around $1.89 before the big speculation bubble.

See, it wasn't Bush and his Evil Oil Buddies. It was Eeyor-ish speculators, helped along by news media.

I Voted

Put the sticker on my bumpersticker.

It's a bumpersticker sticker.

United States of Pajamas

The wife just called from the voting venue. There's a line. She said a lot of young kids (college age), half of them in their pajamas. Really.

Now we do live in a college town, so your mileage may vary. But if you don't want the country run by a bunch of kids in their pajamas, please get out there and vote -- and please vote for the guy the pajamas kids probably aren't voting for.

Me, I'm dressed for work. I have productive things to do today in addition to voting.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Decision Day

I was on my way home today and heard a caller on a radio show call in and say that undecided voters shouldn't vote tomorrow. If they don't know by now, then they're just clueless.

I am fairly certain it was an Obama supporter, and at first I was inclined to agree with him. There is something to that argument to be sure.

But in the end, he said something to the effect of if you haven't made up your mind by now, when are you going to make it up?

And something inside of me said ... "Well, they have until 7:00 pm tomorrow." Which is true. Those are the rules.

The first time I saw the movie "Brazil", I went with my good friend Sarah. We almost walked out of the movie. I didn't "get" it. That was then.

I own the movie now.

In the movie, there's an election going on. It seems a little bizarre, but if you've been paying attention to the last several elections it's not so bizarre as far as how well it relates to what actually seems to happen as opposed to something that makes sense.

In the movie, each candidate had a television network, each of which showed programming -- sitcoms, adventure shows, whatever. Not political coverage. And each television network got constant, instantaneous ratings based on how many people were watching each station at any given time.

At a certain time on a certain day, whichever television station had the highest rating -- well the candidate that television station "represented" won the election.

To me, Barack Obama is the ultimate celebrity candidate tailor made to run in that kind of an election.

I spent Saturday evening at a co-worker's housewarming party. She's Romanian. Her best friend is also Romanian, as is that woman's husband. Three of my other co-workers at the party are Chinese. Of all of the adults in the house, there were four native Americans (no, not "Native Americans" -- I mean people who did not immigrate here or aren't here on visas) and seven others -- all of whom had lived under Communism. There were some interesting stories. None of the ones they told were complimentary.

Communism, of course, is the ultimate Nanny State. Ultimately, the state runs everything for the Good of the People™, and dissent is not only discouraged but actively punished. Because it has to be, or the system collapses even more quickly

Socialism is generally perceived as Communism Lite™. Neither has worked for long anywhere it has been tried. This is because it stifles incentive by mandatorilly "spreading the wealth". What it ends up doing is spreading the poverty, while a party elite upper-class exclusively enjoys wealth and power. There is no such thing as social mobility in such a society. Horatio Alger is dead here.

One of the stories told by one of the Romanians was about the propaganda. The radio stations were, of course, controlled by the government, and they were dull and filled with such exciting news that, for instance "harvest is five days ahead of schedule". Nothing ever goes wrong in a Communist society. Nothing that isn't blamed on "evils" like Capitalism.

And then Chernobyl came up. And another of the Romanians happens to be a nuclear engineer. He told me something I hadn't heard before.

According to him, Chernobyl wasn't on the grid yet, and they were running a test. But not like you'd expect over here. Think about that "harvest is five days ahead of schedule story". Then imagine the pressure for the test to go right.

But the test didn't go right. The reactor was shutting down too quickly, and if it shut all the way down it would be a day and a half, two days before it could be brought back up. Alarms began to go off. But the test MUST NOT FAIL.

SO THEY BYPASSED THE ALARM SYSTEM. They turned it off. And tried to bring the reactor back up. And it started coming back up.... too fast. Only the safety systems had been disabled. And the reactor core got out of control. By the time they realized that it was out of control, it was too late.

When certain brave journalists dare to ask the wrong questions of the Obama Campaign, they've been cut off of interviewing their candidates. When certain journalists' newspapers endorsed McCain, their correspondents were kicked out of the Obama express. Democrats decry their loss of complete control of what the public hears through the largely (80%+) mainstream media, and wish to silence Talk Radio and possibly even regulate blogs through the "Fairness" doctrine.

Barack Obama wants a federal ban on Concealed Carry laws. Even though it's been shown repeatedly that they reduce violent crime and save lives.

Spread the wealth. Silence dissent. Infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

But he "loves" America. Well "America" isn't a group of people who live inside certain borders. America isn't a geographic region. America is the idea outlined by the Constitution of the United States of America. It stands for Liberty. It stands for Freedom. It stands for class mobility. It does not stand for universal health care and mortgage guarantees. It does not stand for government-created jobs. It does not stand for punitive taxation. It does not stand for world citizenship. And the Constitution was written to say what the federal government cannot do ... on purpose. It isn't a flaw. It was intentional -- by design.

[the Constitution] says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
No, it does not. And he makes it clear in the same interview that he laments that last part. It was designed to keep government out of our hair. Because the founders saw government as a necessary evil that needed to have strict controls placed upon it.

Which is ultimately why I'm voting for John McCain. Because Barack Obama doesn't love America -- not America the idea. He may love the people of America. Or he may love some vision he has of a different America. But not the America I was born in or the one I learned to love. He has contempt for that America.

Thought for Today

It's a blast from the past -- and old post of mine from 2005 that someone hit on Google last night. I've had several hits from people looking for things like "Tyranny of the Majority", and this one, "our fall will come from within". Good. People are thinking. And these hits are coming from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Even better.

Our downfall will come from within

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? -- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! -- All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." -- Abraham Lincoln, Jan 27, 1838

Why does this passage call out to me for attention? Simply this: no outsider can turn us into a USSR, a China, a Saddam Hussein-led Iraq. But as we, as a society slowly give up our personal responsibilities to the government, so shall we sign away our liberty.

Remember, Hitler was elected. Democratically elected doesn't necessarily mean good. In the end, we as a whole get the government we deserve.