Monday, October 5, 2015

The Lefts Inconsistency in Blaming Inanimate Objects for Tragedy

     As per usual with a tragic situation, the bodies of the dead in Oregon had hardly reached room temperature and the screams of the terrorized injured had barely subsided before President Obama, et al latched onto the tragedy in an attempt to push a political agenda. The president made outrageous statements about the shootings in Oregon, just as he has done with every other shooting that has happened during his misguided presidency, which would lead one to believe that there was not a shooter at all. The president's characterization of the dead and injured was that they became that way as a result of the firearm used, not the human agency involved in the act.
     It is a fascination that reaches beyond the scope of reason how the Left in this country seamlessly takes the position that an inanimate object can do so much damage, seemingly without much involvement from the evil intent of a human being. No other object but a firearm receives this kind of desperately illogical analysis by the Left. If someone plays a musical instrument poorly, it is not the instrument which is blamed for the bad music. If a person paints a uninspiring picture, the Left does not blame the paints or the canvass. And a house or building that is shabbily built is not, in the opinion of those on the Left, the fault of the tools used.
     In every aforementioned case, as well as others, the blame for undesirable results is always blamed, as it should be, on the human agency involved. But somehow the gun, to the mind of those on the Left like our president, becomes like the magic flute in that children's fairytale. To those on the Left, firearms of every stripe have the ability to become animated on their own. Not only that, but they somehow have the influence and power over human beings to cause them to do evil. In the world of the Left, there is not human agency when it comes to firearms.
     If we were to carry the Lefts belief about guns to other areas, we would blame the computer for identity theft, the camera for child pornography, and slim jims for car break-ins. Unfortunately the Left is not an ideology of common sense. If it were, those on the Left would not become so exercised over these shootings, not because they are not tragic, but because the overall trend over the last 25 years has been a mitigation of gun violence, not an augmentation of it. In fact, as the nation has added almost 100 million guns in the last 25 years, gun violence has been cut in half, according to data from the Justice Department.
     The statistics also show, and the Left never acknowledges, that two thirds of all homicides committed with a firearm are suicides. I guess I will never understand the Left, who somehow have more compassion for nine lives in Oregon taken by a mentally ill evil man, than they do for the three thousand lives taken in the same day through this country's legal infanticide. Not only does the Left support the taking of those innocent lives, but the harvesting and selling of their body parts for profit. But then, it is not those Mengele-like doctors at Planned Parenthood who are to blame, but the medical instruments they use.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Whisper Sweet Nothings in My Ear Conservatism

     It has recently occurred to me that there are two main drawbacks to living one's political life in an echo chamber. The first is that in being constantly bombarded with one's own beliefs, the senses become dulled and flaccid. The second is that echoes never solidify into solutions, they just create more echoes. It disheartens me that so many of my fellow conservatives have chosen to firmly occupy space inside a political echo chamber, resisting any attempts by truth or common sense to extricate them from this vacuous crucible.
     It seems that some in the conservative movement have substituted the substance of solutions for the vapidity of sweet nothings being whispered in their political ear. They seem willing to ban the torpedoes of real solutions in favor of emotionalism spoken in a language their hearts understand, but which is foreign to their intellectual sensibilities. The whisper-sweet-nothings-in-my-ear form of politics is the only explanation I can find for the popularity of candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
     Both men say the things impressionable conservatives want to hear, yet in the echo chamber there is no room for the substance of results. There is only more and more echoes, building to a fevered and completely emotional pitch as one would experience at a Grateful Dead concert. In some cases the feeding of this echo chamber is characterized as "standing on principles." As if this is always a good thing. Sometimes the principles one stands on are not the right principles, then "standing on principles" is just pigheadedness for the sole sake of being pigheaded.
     Once one steps out of the echo chamber a whole world, brimming with ideas and solutions, can be realized. No more is the individual trapped in a relationship with self where political charlatans can advantage their political careers on the back of the individual's "principles." Not that principles are a bad thing, just the opposite. But principles that one never challenges are not principles as much as they are dogma. And dogma in politics is shorthand for achieving nothing.
     So I would implore my fellow conservatives to look at the good a candidate does and not whether they make you feel good. Step out of the echo chamber and intellectually process new information. It is only then that you will be able to truly see reality as it exists, not how you wished it existed. It is only then that you be able to see the destruction wreaked by the whisperers of sweet nothings in your ear, and your conservatism will be even stronger and more dynamic.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ted Cruz and the Art of Machismo Politics

     The more time that passes, the more it is evident that Senator Ted Cruz is the anit-politician. I do not say that as a compliment to Mr. Cruz, but as a recognition of it being a character flaw of the man. Polical skill has recently become a parahia on the Right among some conservatives. But political skill is how ideas, both conservate and Leftist ones, are transformed into public policy. No idea can be advanced in a representative republic without those representatives having political skill to guide them through a purposely complex process.
     One of the core tenets of political skill is being able to bring others who oppose you at least partially over to your side. A politician can not do this if he causes his fellow legislators to have acrimonious feelings towards him. This is true of the members of the other party, let alone members of one's own party. Mr. Cruz has not only turned off Democrats in the Senate, but also members of his own party. Not exactly a skillful way of advancing ideas to becoming policy.
     Ted Cruz seems more interested in the feel-good politics of "standing on principles," rather than actually achieving the end goals of those principles. It is what I call machismo politics. It can also be characterized as the puff-out-your-chest style of politics. Machismo politics does not follow the tenets of good political skill, i.e. coalition-building, but rather focuses attention and energy on the show of strength, instead of the hard work of winning minds and hearts of your own party as well as some members of the other.
     Mr. Cruz's favorite tool of machismo politics is the government shut down. This tactic has never worked to actually achieve the goal or purpose of the respective shut down, but it makes Mr. Cruz and his followers feel good. They can demarcate themselves from those who are not as morally superior in the other party, as well as in their own party, without ever having to face the consequence that their "standing on principle" has actually hurt their cause.
     The recent flap about funding for Planned Parenthood is a good example of a situation, that left to his own devices, would have seen Mr. Cruz shutting down the government. This would have had a two pronged effect. One, it would have taken the focus off the harvesting of organs by Planned Parenthood specifically and the abortion issue in general, which is a fight that conservatives are winning. Secondly, a shutdown would have placed focus on the actual shut down for which Republicans would have been blamed. Making the election of a Republican candidate in next year's presidential election less likely, and therefore making the defunding of Planned Parenthood less likely.
     But this is the other facet of machismo politics, the instant gratification that is gained by its practitioners by doing "something" now and not having to engage in the heavy lifting of implementing a longer term strategy. Politics is a tough business. One is constantly engaged in the convincing of others that your ideas are better, or at least worthy of consideration. Standing on the floor of the Senate and calling people liars and making public pronouncements that members of your own party are inextricably linked to the worst aspects of the other party, is not leadership politics, but machismo politics. And machismo politics is destructive, not only to one's own party, but to the nation as a whole.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Yin and the Yang of the Trump Tax Plan

     Presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan yesterday, and unlike his plan for immigration or anything else, it actually had quite a bit of detail. Unfortunately that detail was a combination of populous pandering and commandeered shop-worn ideas of recent conservative thought on the subject of taxes. So I am in the position that I disagree with the former of Mr. Trump's plan, and agree with the latter. In other words, it may surprise some of my regular readers, I find myself at least in partial agreement with Donald Trump.
     I will engage in analysis on the dichotomy of my opinion on the Trump tax plan by first expanding on the parts of his plan with which I agree, and then follow it immediately with a counter part of his plan with which I disagree.
     The lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% is an idea that every Republican presidential candidate supports, and would indeed incentivize American business to remain in America and create American jobs. However, Mr. Trump's insistence on "punishing" business by taxing (read: tariffs) over-seas profits would mitigate the positive benefit of lowering the tax rate, and may quite possibly cause an economic downturn as the Smooth/Hawley legislation did that was signed by President Hoover in 1930.
      The Trump tax plan calls for the reduction of tax brackets from the current 7 or 8 to just 4. This simplification of the tax code is again something that every Republican presidential candidate supports. However, the manner in which Mr. Trump revises the current tax system puts more of the tax burden on fewer tax payers in order to garner him populous appeal with the middle-class. Mr. Trump has suggested just the opposite of what will make this country economically strong, i.e. narrowing the tax base instead of widening it.
     Under the Trump plan the top earners would pay a lower rate, but would pay a larger percentage of the total tax burden. Currently, about 38% of people pay no federal income tax at all, under the Trump plan that would increase to around 50%. This means that those who are paying taxes will necessarily shoulder more of the burden. And many of those are business owners who will be less likely to hire workers. Not to mention that every study that has been done on tax cuts clearly shows that cuts in the middle and the bottom have very little stimulating effect on the economy. Cuts at the top end, according to the studies, provide the biggest shot-in-the-arm to economic growth.
     Mr. Trump does call for the repeal of the inheritance tax (death tax), but again, all conservatives, and most certainly all the Republican presidential candidates, are in favor of this. The Trump tax plan is designed more to garner support for the candidacy of Donald Trump than it is to implement a pro-growth, fair tax system that this country desperately needs. His plan perpetuates and augments the current system which has the top 5% of wage earners paying 70% of the federal taxes in this country. This is not only a dis-incentive to growth, but it is inherently unfair and not conservative. But then coming from a man who was a Democrat up until 10 minutes ago, I am not surprised.


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Boehner Resignation and the Radicalization of the Tea Party

     Since Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced his retirement at the end of last week, I have listened and read the cacophony of criticism against him, and the joy his resignation brings to some of the more extreme aspects of the conservative movement. Not that Mr. Boehner has been a great Speaker, but nor has he been the failure that some in our Party have tried to cast him as. I think in judging Mr. Boehner's performance as Speaker, one must recount the demands of conservatives from before the Republicans were given the majority in the House of Representatives.
     The group that many see as the true conservatives in the party is the Tea Party. At its inception in the early part of 2009, when it was germinated by the words of Rick Santelli of CNBC, and spawned by the extreme actions of the new president, the Tea Party was about restraining federal spending. The name was an acronym that represented the words Taxed Enough Already. I supported the Tea Party and its goals of reigning in government spending.
     Most conservatives will tell anyone who will listen that the Republicans were given the majority in the House in the 2010 mid-terms specifically to repeal ObamaCare. But the even larger issue at the time, for anyone who is interested in an accurate recounting of history, was the out-of-control spending by the federal government. The annual budget deficit was almost one and a half trillion dollars, with no end in sight. And President Obama and his Democrat majorities in both houses of congress were hell-bent on letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2011, which would have meant an immediate tax increase for 99% of working Americans.
     In steps John Boehner as the newly elected Speaker of the House with a comfortable Republican majority in that body. Over the next four and a half years Mr. Boehner and his Republican caucus saved the Bush tax cuts from expiring, thus helping 99% of Americans to keep more of their own money and removing another threat to the economy from a president who seemed committed to destroying it. Mr. Boehner and his majority also did exactly what members of the Tea Party, et al were screaming for them to do, i.e. they cut the budget deficit by 70%, and cut federal spending the most any congress had since the Eisenhower administration.
     The two aforementioned accomplishments should have been enough to at least garner Mr. Boehner a certain amount of respect from all Wings of his Party. The fact that he orchestrated 40 votes to repeal ObamaCare, passed over 300 pro-growth bills (80% of which had bi-partisan support), passed and got President Obama to sign the most far reaching anti-human trafficking bill ever, worked with President Obama to pass a trade bill which the president's own party was against as well as one of the most strident Democrat constituencies (the unions), and he stopped the president on legislation such as card check and carbon credits, should have earned him at least a competent grade from conservatives.
     Some have criticized Mr. Boehner (as well as Mr. McConnell) for not defunding Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has been federally funded since 1970, and it is only since the surfacing of videos showing its practice of harvesting baby parts for sale that conservatives have been so vocally against its funding. The defunding battle is one in which there can not be success for conservatives until there is a Republican president who will not use his veto power against it. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood is a worthy battle, the strategy of allowing a government shut-down is not worthy of the fight. That is why the National Right to Life organization is against it.
     The fulfillment of the original goals of the Tea Party, and their subsequent moving of the goal posts to ever more unrealistic goals, has come at a cost (at least in my mind) of their legitimacy as a voice for the conservative movement. They began on the Right side of the political ideology circle, but have moved so far Right on that circle that they now occupy a space on the Left side of it. We allow our emotions to dictate our politics at our own risk. And when we engage in the absolutism of making what is perfect the enemy of what is good, we hurt our cause and the cause of Liberty in this great country. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

You Are a Member of the Establishment If...

     Words are funny things. Their definition can fluctuate depending on the person using them. In the world of politics, words are used to advance an agenda or cause the retreat of an opposing agenda. Even for those on the same side of the political ideology circle, words can be used to demarcate persons who are "true" to the ideology from those who are pretenders to it. One of the most overused words on the Right is establishment. It is used by many as a pejorative against those with whom they disagree on one issue or another.
     Writing this blog and commenting on social media about political issues has exposed me to being too conservative for some and too far Left for others. I have found the most harsh criticisms have emanated from those with whom I agree with on a majority of the issues facing this nation. I have been called derogatory names for even suggesting reason in the face of ideology, and rationale in response to unbridled political zeal. For anyone reading this who are not clear as to whether they are part of the establishment, or part of the politically pure unadulterated Right, following is a list of issues and the appropriate responses for anyone interested in avoiding the dreaded label of establishment.
     Illegal Immigration: If you believe in any solution to this problem short of mass deportation and the building of a huge wall on our southern border, you are a member of the establishment.
     Muslims in America: If you do not believe that every member of the Muslim faith are head-chopping, women-abusing, Sharia-law imposing, pedophiliacs, and bestiality-practicing evil bastards, you are a member of the establishment.
     President Obama: If you do not believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim hell bent on destroying America because he was born in Kenya and never actually achieved the academic accomplishments he said he did, you might be part of the establishment.
     Government Shut-Downs: If you do not believe that the constitution gives the right and authority to congress to shut down and defund parts of government in order to advance a political agenda when your Party is in the majority, you may be part of the establishment.
     Congressional Republican Leadership: If you do not believe that Republican leadership in the House and the Senate are exact copies of Democrats, and have done nothing but support the Obama agenda, and you further refuse to ignore the 70% cut in the deficit among other accomplishments, you are a member of the establishment.
     Term-Limits: If you believe in the vision of the Founders for a legislature consisting of duly elected individuals with no restrictions of choice put upon the voters, and you support the self-government model which does not impose term limits on members of congress, you are a member of the establishment.
     Well there you have it, a partial list of some issues which will allow you to determine if you indeed are part of the establishment or not. For further evidence of membership in the establishment, just tune into your nearest self-proclaimed leader of the conservative movement. There is no shortage of these folks on talk radio, on cable TV, or on social media. If you have any confusion about your matriculation into the establishment, these helpful folks will set you straight.   

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Does The Holy Father Know?

     Pope Francis has embarked on his adventure to the United States of America, and in so doing has received both accolades and admonitions from both the Left and Right. The Left does not like his talk of religious freedom and pro-life convictions, and the Right does not like his advocacy for global warming and wealth redistribution. It is hard to understand where this Pope stands on the issues, or maybe more to the point, he should not stand anywhere except keeping alive the message of Jesus Christ, of whom he is suppose to be the direct successor.
     It is easy for the Pontiff to criticize capitalism in America, remain silent on communism in Cuba, and preach wealth distribution as a means to solve poverty in the world. I say it is easy because it really does not affect the Holy Father one bit. He, like many in the clergy hierarchy of the Catholic church live cloistered lives, not so much participating in the world, but watching from a different planet and passing judgment. The Vicar of Christ has traded the simple robes and sandals of a savior for the opulence of Vatican City and the protection from the outside world it offers.
     So, for instance, it costs Pope Francis nothing to give stern warnings about America taking in refugees from around the world, because he knows that Vatican City will not be held to the same standard. It is quite effortless for Francis to advocate for distributing others wealth around the world when his lifestyle will not be impacted by such a redistribution. Somehow the Church, and most notably Vatican City, will escape the rigors of redistribution and receiving immigrants, legal or illegal.
     Pope Francis can play the compassionate man of God while having personal chefs and drivers. He can preach to others about "social justice" while not getting his hands dirty by speaking against the specific injustice of the atrocities being committed against his flock by members of a different faith. He can preach the false gospel of man-made climate change because it is easier than dealing forthrightly with abortion, and the murdering and organ harvesting done by those who support this barbaric practice. The Pontiff lives in his bubble of misperception spoon-fed to him by his handlers and  advisors.
     Growing up Catholic I was taught that the Pope was infallible on matters of faith. Of course back then the Pope's pointy hat did not tilt to the Left. Pope Francis has not only limited himself to matters of faith, but has made political pandering part of the faith. His virtual removal from the real world is necessarily a result of his position. He has no more concept of the world's problems, and apparently the difference between good systems of government from evil systems of government, as does a small child or an alien from another planet.