Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama's State of the Union

I forced myself to suffer through the anointed one's state of the union speech last night and have come to the conclusion that Obama is even more arrogant than Bill Clinton. First of all, is there ANY need to drone on for an hour and ten minutes on anything? Second of all, while Obama was "feeling our pain", which he incidentally helped to create in large part, he also exuded a smug and arrogant demeanor in parts of his speech. Overall, he did not come across as very presidential and rather seemed to be back on the campaign trail once again. That being said, below are my thoughts on the good, bad, and the ugly from this mess of a speech.

The Good (as Obama stated; whether he is being honest and actually intends to carry out these things is a completely other matter.)

1. Will grant small business tax credits

2. Will eliminate capital gains tax for small businesses that reinvest

3. Call for more nuclear power plants

4. Call for more offshore gas and oil development (I don't believe this for a second!)

5. Call for more clean coal technology (Yeah, I doubt this too.)

6. Call for doubling exports in the next five years. (Good suggestion but no specifics given.)

7. Enforce trade agreements. (Well, duh!)

8. Starting in 2011, freeze all discretionary government spending for the next 3 years (good start but needs a hell of a lot more cuts than this to even make a tiny dent in the deficit.)

9. Restore pay as you go law (ABSOLUTELY!)

10. Earmark reform - all earmark requests listed on a single website before a vote. (Great idea!)

The Bad/Ugly

1. Bank bailouts - "not popular but necessary" (Not when you reward Goldman Sachs especially)


3. Call for placing fees on biggest banks (This will only decrease lending and increase our costs)

4. "Taxes not raised by a single dime" (His policies, whether called a tax or not, have drastically now and certainly in the future taken more money from our wallets)

5. Tax-payer subsidizing of high speed railroads etc. (Let private industry fund this, if viable)

6. Clean energy products (Again, if this is viable, private industry will lead the way)

7. Call for passing an energy and climate bill (This is one of two biggest job and economy killing ideas he has proposed, let alone the fact that a climate bill is not needed!)

8. Obama's arrogance and smirk after proclaiming the "overwhelming scientific evidence" shows that climate change is occurring. (Thanks Al Gore Jr., but this is NOT so and you know it!)

9. Cookie cutter federally mandated education reform. (Let this be done by local or state jurisdictions)

10. Call for $10K college tax credits and Pell grants where debt is forgiven for student loans in 20 years (10 for those in public service). (This only encourages the government to pick up the tab for loans that are already the highest defaulted by type.)

11. Health insurance reform (Yes, but not anything like what Obama or the Democrats want. He asked for suggestions. Go to the GOP website for REAL suggestion that will work!)

12. Iran and North Korea are more isolated (No they are not. Both are still belligerent, antagonistic and dangerous. Obama has done nothing to lessen this!)

13. Call for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the armed forces. (This is hugely disruptive and provides for a large issue in discipline and morale of troops if enacted.)

14. Scolding of the Supreme Court on recent decision regarding corporate freedom of speech. (Whether this is something agreed upon or not, a state of the union speech is not the place to scold a co-equal branch of the federal government!)

President Obama near the end of his speech said, "America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity." It is too bad that these lofty words are often betrayed by the actions of Obama and the Democrats with their dependency-creating policies and their lack of support for the affirmation of life and American values. Unfortunately, the state of the union, regardless of our president's speech last night is not good right now. Hopefully, it will begin to get better come November though.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

America Rising

Mugged by Ultrasound

I wanted to share another email that my brothers at the Knights of Columbus have sent out this last weekend. Please be warned that the following text may be graphic and disturbing to read.

Further, I am proud to say that the Knights are a part of the effort to fund the purchasing of ultra sound machines in order to help reduce the amount of abortions conducted in our country.

Lastly and most importantly, I pray that God is with those considering abortion as an option so that they may change their minds, and that He will comfort and show mercy and His love to those that have undergone this horrible procedure.

Mugged by Ultrasound

Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life.

Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.

In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade, second-trimester abortions were usually performed by saline injection. The doctor simply replaced the amniotic fluid in the patient’s uterus with a saline solution and induced labor, leaving it to nurses to dispose of the expelled fetus. That changed in the late 1970s, when “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) emerged as a safer method. Today D&E is the most common second-trimester procedure. It has been performed millions of times in the United States.

But although D&E is better for the patient, it brings emotional distress for the abortionist, who, after inserting laminaria that cause the cervix to dilate, must dismember and remove the fetus with forceps. One early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that although all of their staff members “approved of second trimester abortion in principle,” there “were few positive comments about D&E itself.” Reactions included “shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear, and sadness.” A more ambitious study published the following year, in the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan’s findings. It found “strong emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional disquieting dreams.”

Another study, published in the October 1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions to abortion.

Such studies are few. In general, abortion providers have censored their own emotional trauma out of concern to protect abortion rights. In 2008, however, abortionist Lisa Harris endeavored to begin “breaking the silence” in the pages of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. When she herself was 18 weeks pregnant, Dr. Harris performed a D&E abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her forceps:

Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes—without me—meaning my conscious brain—even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling—a brutally visceral response—heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.

Harris concluded her piece by lamenting that the pro-choice movement has left providers to suffer in silence because it has “not owned up to the reality of the fetus, or the reality of fetal parts.” Indeed, it often insists that images used by the pro-life movement are faked.

(Pro-choice advocates also falsely insist that second-trimester abortions are confined almost exclusively to tragic “hard” cases such as fetal malformation. Yet a review of the literature in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that most abortions performed after the first trimester are sought for the same reasons as first-trimester abortions, they’re just delayed. This reality only intensifies the guilt pangs of abortion providers.)

Hern and Harris chose to stay in the abortion business; one of the first doctors to change his allegiance was Paul Jarrett, who quit after only 23 abortions. His turning point came in 1974, when he performed an abortion on a fetus at 14 weeks’ gestation: “As I brought out the rib cage, I looked and saw a tiny, beating heart,” he would recall. “And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human being—a human being that I just killed.”

In 1990 Judith Fetrow, an aide at a Planned Parenthood clinic, found that disposing of fetal bodies as medical waste was more than she could bear. Soon after she left her position, Fetrow described her experiences: “No one at Planned Parenthood wanted this job. .  .  . I had to look at the tiny hands and feet. There were times when I wanted to cry.” Finally persuaded to quit by a pro-life protester outside her clinic, Fetrow is now involved in the American Life League.

Kathy Sparks is another convert formerly responsible for disposing of fetal remains, this time at an Illinois abortion clinic. Her account of the experience that led her to exit the abortion industry (taken from the Pro-Life Action League website in 2004) reads in part:

The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with [the doctor’s] curette, so he had to pull the baby out with forceps. He brought out three or four major pieces. .  .  . I took the baby to the clean up room, I set him down and I began weeping uncontrollably. .  .  . I cried and cried. This little face was perfectly formed.

A recovery nurse rebuked Sparks for her unprofessional behavior. She quit the next day. Sparks is now the director of a crisis pregnancy center with more than 20 pro-life volunteers.

Handling fetal remains can be especially difficult in late-term clinics. Until George Tiller was assassinated by a pro-life radical last summer, his clinic in Wichita specialized in third-trimester abortions. To handle the large volume of biological waste Tiller had a crematorium on the premises. One day when hauling a heavy container of fetal waste, Tiller asked his secretary, Luhra Tivis, to assist him. She found the experience devastating. The “most horrible thing,” Tivis later recounted, was that she “could smell those babies burning.” Tivis, a former NOW activist, soon left her secretarial position at the clinic to volunteer for Operation Rescue, a radical pro-life organization.

Other converts were driven into the pro-life movement by advances in ultrasound technology. The most recent example is Abby Johnson, the former director of Dallas-area Planned Parenthood. After watching, via ultrasound, an embryo “crumple” as it was suctioned out of its mother’s womb, Johnson reported a “conversion in my heart.” Likewise, Joan Appleton was the head nurse at a large abortion facility in Falls Church, Virginia, and a NOW activist. Appleton performed thousands of abortions with aplomb until a single ultrasound-assisted abortion rattled her. As Appleton remembers, “I was watching the screen. I saw the baby pull away. I saw the baby open his mouth. .  .  . After the procedure I was shaking, literally.”

The most famous abortion provider to be converted by ultrasound technology, decades ago, is Bernard Nathanson, cofounder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, the original NARAL. In the early 1970s, Nathanson was the largest abortion provider in the Western world. By his own reckoning he performed more than 60,000 abortions, including one on his own child. Nathanson’s exit from the industry was slow and tortured. In Aborting America (1979), he expressed anxiety over the possibility that he was complicit in a great evil. He was especially troubled by ultrasound images. When he finally left his profession for pro-life activism, he produced The Silent Scream (1984), a documentary of an ultrasound abortion that showed the fetus scrambling vainly to escape dismemberment.

This handful of stories is representative of many more. In fact, with the exception of communism, we can think of few other movements from which so many activists have defected to the opposition. Nonetheless, the vast majority of clinic workers remain committed to the pro-choice cause. Perhaps some of those who stay behind are haunted by their work. Most, however, find a way to cope with the dissonance.

Pro-choice advocates like to point out that abortion has existed in all times and places. Yet that observation tends to obscure the radicalism of the present abortion regime in the United States. Until very recently, no one in the history of the world has had the routine job of killing well-developed fetuses quite so up close and personal. It is an experiment that was bound to stir pro-life sentiments even in the hearts of those staunchly devoted to abortion rights. Ultrasound and D&E bring workers closer to the beings they destroy. Hern and Corrigan concluded their study by noting that D&E leaves “no possibility of denying an act of destruction.” As they wrote, “It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment run through the forceps like an electric current.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 2nd Amendment and Left-wing Hypocrisy

This editorial was forwarded to me by a friend. Evidently this incident occurred in late August of last year in North Carolina and serves as another example of left wing hypocrisy in this country.

Long time Anti-Gun Advocate State Senator R.C. Soles, 74, shot one of two intruders at his home just outside Tabor City, N.C. about 5 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor for the politician's home county said.

The intruder, Kyle Blackburn, was taken to a South Carolina hospital, but the injuries were not reported to be life-threatening, according to Rex Gore, district attorney for Columbus, Bladen and Brunswick counties.

The State Bureau of Investigation and Columbus County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting, Gore said. Soles, who was not arrested,declined to discuss the incident Sunday evening.

"I am not in a position to talk to you," Soles said by telephone. "I'm right in the middle of an investigation."

The Senator, who has made a career of being against gun ownership for the general public, didn't hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger and he was the victim.

In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the "Do as i say and not as i do" anti-gun activist lawmaker picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was a self-defense shooting. Why hypocritical you may ask? It is because his long legislative record shows that the actions that he took to protect his family, his own response to a dangerous life threatening situation, are actions that he feels ordinary citizens should not have if they were faced with an identical situation.

It has prompted some to ask if the Senator believes his life and personal safety is more valuable than yours or mine. But, this is to be expected from those who believe they can run our lives, raise our kids, and protect our families better than we can.

I would like to add that this is not atypical of the left with their elitist attitudes. California's Senator Diane Feinstein has long been an anti-gun activist and yet reportedly has her own hand guns.

The same is true with many Hollyweird leftists. You may recall Rosie O'Donnell purportedly inviting Tom Selleck to come on to her TV talk show years ago to plug a new movie he was doing at the time.

Mr. Selleck was a spokesman for the NRA back then and Ms. O'Donnell decided to ambush him about his support for our 2nd amendment Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The public debate that ensued in the following weeks brought to light the fact that Rosie, while not owning a gun herself, hired an armed body guard to protect her. Again, evidently only the rich and powerful should have the right to defend themselves. Just another rare instance of liberal hypocrisy for you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Baby Girl

Today my baby girl turns eighteen. Where in the world did these past eighteen years go to so quickly? Heck, it seems like just yesterday that I brought her home from the hospital with her mom. She really has grown up so quickly from being the funniest little girl into the beautiful young lady that she is now. (Thank God that she got her beautiful looks from momma!)

I am very proud of the person she has been in the past and has become in the present. She has always been very bright and had a quirky sense of humor. (No idea at all where the humor part comes from! :) )

More importantly though she has always strived far harder than most people I know to do the right thing, particularly when it comes to being a good Christian and helping others. (That she gets from her mom too.)

I have seen her dedicate so much of her time to help those less fortunate than her simply for the joy of doing so. She spent her last two summers helping out people living at two of the poorest Indian reservations in the country by doing any number of things from taking care of children there to helping paint houses of the people living there. She WANTED to spend part of her summer vacation doing this.

Her sense of justice is more highly tuned than mine ever was at her age, and perhaps so even at my current age. I have tried to teach her what I know over the years, along with her mom. In doing so, it is not unusual for her to end up teaching me even more than I ever taught her. She truly has grasped the best parts that we had to offer as her parents. I am very proud as her Father, and thankful to God to be blessed with such a wonderful daughter.

Happy birthday, honey! I love you with all of my heart!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Brown Can Do For You?

Well the impossible and unthinkable for the Democrats actually happened! The liberal lion of the senate, Ted Kennedy, "who worked his whole career so that we might have universal health care" must be rolling in his grave as Republican Scott Brown pulled out a very unlikely win in what is arguably the bluest state in the nation. He will sit in the "people's seat" that was formerly held by Ted Kennedy.

Senator-elect Scott Brown has promised that he will be the 41st vote needed to deny the Democrats in the senate the ability to overcome the filibuster and thus proceed with their illegal health care legislation. This is a huge reason why Scott Brown will be senator.

The Democrats are panicking and looking at options of how they can still pass their ugly health care bill despite this huge set back. They are seeing if they have the votes in the house to pass the senate's version, with the promise to go back and "fix" the items that aren't socialist enough for the left later on down the road. By doing this they would only need 51 votes in the senate.

Democrats, let me tell you something right now. This election absolutely was a referendum on Obama-care. If you proceed down this path and pass this in its current form or worse, you will absolutely reap what you sow. Come November the Republican margins in the Senate and House of Representatives will be even larger than they are already trending currently.

Of course, I expect the brilliant Democrats in congress, that know what is best for us, will ignore the people's will in this. The unemployment rate in November will spike up sharply as a result, but only for these congressional Democrats. Now THAT is some change I can believe in!

Dumb and Dumber

I heard some commentary the other day that basically made the point that I have been making for years. It seems that the Democrats and the state-sponsored media have this evil and slanderous penchant for portraying all Republicans as ignorant and/or down-right stupid, while all Democrats are portrayed as enlightened and brilliant.

This never holds more true then when one examines our presidential and vice-presidential candidates and office-holders in the last few decades.

The case has always been made by the left, and echoed in the redundant left-wing socialist media, how "brilliant" such Democrats were from Carter (the intellectual), to Clinton (the Rhodes Scholar), to Al Gore (the saviour of the planet), to John Kerry (the Brahmin intellectual), to the anointed one, Barrack Hussein Obama.

Contrast that with the characterizations of their Republican counterparts. Gerald Ford (couldn't even walk without tripping and stupidly pardoned Nixon). Ronald Reagan (simpleton and "amiable dunce" that provoked the USSR). George H.W. Bush (office place holder and not really qualified for office). George W. Bush (the "true village idiot" that followed his own whims without knowing what he was really doing; also was so dumb that Cheney and Rove had to run and control things).

And then the latest slander job was done on Sarah Palin. Here is a successful governor that stomped out corruption in BOTH parties in her state, cut un-needed expenses and was wildly popular with both parties in Alaska that was touted as nothing more than a stupid, un-educated hokey mom. (She got her degree in Idaho? Why she is not even an ivy league graduate!)

Well do you know what? Forget for the moment that none of the lies perpetrated by the left regarding the intelligence of any of the Republicans mentioned are true. Rather lets look at the HUGE failures that these intellectuals of the left have wrought.

Carter by any standard ranks as one of the poorest presidents in the history of the republic. His economic policies were such abject failures that he was responsible for the creation of a new economic term... stagflation. His appeasement of the Soviet Union was dangerous at best, and his fecklessness lead to our embassy in Iran being held hostage for more than a year.

While Clinton was no doubt smart, his complete lack of any moral compass, and his ambition to hold on to power regardless of the cost let him bob back and forth on the sea of the latest poll's opinion. Our nation bobbed up and down with him accordingly and many opportunities to do great things were lost by Clinton's lack of leadership.

Gore, who has delusions of grandeur, decided after inventing the Internet that he would save the planet with false and largely debunked science intended to do nothing more than line his own pockets through fear mongering. His arrogance made him declare the debate on global warming was over and then he brow-beat and used Alinsky tactics to demonize any of those that would dare speak contrary to this "brilliant Nobel-prize winning" politician. He was a political opportunist that changed from pro-gun and pro-life as a congressman to being anti-gun and pro-abortion as a senator on the rise. This kind of brilliance, America does not need.

John Kerry, who had college grades (along with Gore's) that were lower than George W. Bush's, always portrayed his elitist intellectualism without having a single significant accomplishment to point to as fruition of his intellectual work. This man always was a stuffed suit and got where he was through lying and connections.

And finally our eloquent and yet incompetent current president. The community organizer that sounds brilliant, as long as no one unplugs the teleprompter has accomplished even less than what John Kerry has. That is, unless, you wish to count the destruction he has done to our republic through his Marxist, un-Constitutional, and un-American polices. Obama, when looking at his resume, was not even fit to run a fortune 500 company let alone the greatest country in the world.

No. As far as I am concerned, I will side with the Republicans that have restored the economy several times now, won the cold war, liberated millions of people from tyranny, and by and large stuck to American values and the U.S. Constitution.

You leftists can keep your economy-killing, dictator appeasing, terrorist rights supporting, Marxist brilliant intellectuals.

I'll side with the dummies that have actually made this country, and the world, better off.

Obama's Latest Memoranda

I saw on the news this morning that President Obama issued a memo to the various secretaries in his administration that no government contracts are to be awarded to any company that owes federal taxes or has cheated upon them.

Now I absolutely agree with this policy and commend this action; however, doesn't this smell just ripe with hypocrisy, especially when one looks within Obama's own administration?

First and foremost on that list is Obama's treasury secretary, Timothy Geitner. Here is a man that is ultimately in charge of the treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, who had some "tax irregularities" and had failed to pay owed back taxes. Somehow this coming to light did not disqualify him for the job of which he is now incompetently doing. How about revoking the government job of Secretary of the Treasury to this previously independent contractor, President Obama?

The list of tax cheats and avoiders that fill this administration, even in high positions, should be an embarrassment to the President. Apparently tax laws are only meant for the common people though.

Obama said that by doing this he hoped to collect over $5 billion in back taxes from various companies that do business with the U.S. government. Again, while this is a good idea of which I am supportive, that amount of money is less than pennies compared to the trillions Obama and his Democratic henchmen are spending.

If the purpose is to cut the federal deficit, how about spending tax payer's dollars (OUR dollars) on only those things that the Constitution specifically authorizes the government to do, Mr. President? Oh yeah, and clean up your own White House before issuing memorandum aimed at others.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Grim Reaper

Dear Mr. Grim Reaper,

So far over this past year, you have taken away my favorite dancer, Michael Jackson, my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite comedian, Soupy Sales, my favorite pitchman, Billy Mays and my favorite sidekick, Ed McMahon.

Just so you know, my favorite politicians are Barack Obama, Joe Biden , Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Thank you,

T. Paine

PS: This is just a joke for all of you fan's of socialism/Marxism out there! So chill!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Archbishop and the Speaker

I received a timely email in light of a recent posting of mine regarding Nancy Pelosi and her statements defending abortion and how that position is not in conflict with Catholic Christian teaching, so says she.

The email text is to follow but I wanted to identify the source of the email I received as being sent to me via the Knights of Columbus, which is a fraternal organization of Catholic gentlemen which has the purposes of supporting Christ's commandments, the Catholic Church, and the community at large through charitable activities. (I am a proud member of our parish's council.)

Here is the text of the email:

San Francisco, Calif., Jan 13, 2010 / 05:46 pm (CNA).- Archbishop George Niederauer responded today to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent comments that she has "some concerns about the Church's position respecting a woman's right to choose." Justifying her decision to support abortion by citing her free will "is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching," the archbishop insisted.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi told Newsweek's Eleanor Clift in a December 21, 2009 interview that she disagrees with the Church on certain issues but considers herself a "practicing Catholic."

"I have some concerns about the church's position respecting a woman's right to choose. I have some concerns about the church's position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they're probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will," Pelosi said.

Archbishop Niederauer countered in his January 13 column, "Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom." God gave human beings the capacity to choose between good and evil in order to give them the gift of freedom, even at the cost of many evil choices, the archbishop said.

But this gift of freedom, the freedom wrongly cited in justifying a woman's right to choose, among other fallacies, does not justify the position that "all moral choices are good if they are free," insisted Archbishop Niederauer, because "the exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything."

Addressing those who advocate for "reproductive choice" while claiming to be Catholic, Archbishop Niederauer emphasized, "it is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right."

The belief in the validity of arbitrarily determining right and wrong is widespread both in and outside of the Church, the archbishop noted.

Touching on the meaning of one's conscience, the San Francisco archbishop described it as "the judgment of reason whereby the human person, guided by God's grace, recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. In all we say and do, we are obliged to follow faithfully what we know to be just and right."

"As participants in the life of the civil community," Archbishop Niederauer wrote, "we Catholic citizens try to follow our consciences, guided, as described above, by reason and the grace of God. While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."

Thank you, Archbishop Niederauer, for your vocal and public stance on this, sir!

The Coalition of Unions and Democrats

It would seem that the socialists in congress have needlessly worried some of their largest supporting groups with their attempts to draft illegal health care legislation. Since it was the Democrats' intentions to tax the so-called high end "Cadillac" health care plans at an exorbitant rate in order to help fund their socialist scheme in the guise of improving health care for America, it evidently spooked the United Auto Workers Union, Service Employees International Union, and the AFL-CIO Unions, since all of their health care plans would fit into that category.

Fear not though, you union thugs that act as de facto political action committees for all causes Democratic! Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Dear Leader evidently have now met with the heads of these three huge powerful unions and worked out a deal whereby their health care plans will now be exempted from the draconian Cadillac plan health care tax that the regular citizens of the United States will still have to pay.

Of course, the state-sponsored press has not reported this anywhere that I have found yet though. Yep, the most corrupt and opaque congress and administration, perhaps in our nation's history, is trying to get all it can out of the process before they are permanently kicked to the curb for at least a generation. (or so I hope!) It makes one wonder if we can last until November and what damage these crooks will do between then and now!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cicero the Conservative

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." ~ Cicero - 55 BC

I think that modern-day Democrats would call Cicero a "mean-spirited un-compassionate Conservative" based on that quotation. It also sounds like after 2000 years of socialistic tendencies of certain people and the resulting failures of the nations that took those foolish philosophies into practice has taught us absolutely nothing. We rush to repeat the mistakes of those people from over two millennium ago, and all of the others between then and now that have failed accordingly because of such folly.

Democratic Politics as Usual and Scott Brown

I heard today that word has slipped out unintentionally from the bastion of integrity that is our senate majority leader, Harry Reid, that should Scott Brown (R) win the vacant Massachusetts senate seat instead of the Democratic candidate next Tuesday, that the senate will wait to certify the results thereby seating then Republican Senator Brown until AFTER the health care legislation is completed and signed into law.

Of course the purpose of this is so that the Democrats can maintain their filibuster-proof majority and pass this egregious un-Constitutional health care monstrosity. Never mind that precedent in the senate has always been to certify and seat special election winners within a day to a week at most after such elections. The Democrats don't want to risk this though because the current Democrat seat-holder appointed to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Tedd Kennedy's death is reliably in the Democrats' camp on this issue. The Democrats have said they will delay certifying Brown, if that is the outcome of the special election next week, for months if necessary so that health care may be passed.

It is ironic considering that Tedd Kennedy came to the senate as the outcome of a special election many many decades ago and was certified by the senate and seated the next day. Sounds like politics as usual to me, but the wrath of the American voters is coming this Fall, and I bet Senator Reid will reap his just rewards then.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"It's The People's Seat."

Scott Brown is the Republican candidate running for the senate to fill the vacancy created upon Ted Kennedy's passing. He is running against the Democratic state attorney general for this seat in what is arguably the bluest of all states in the nation.

And do you know what?!? Polls show he has a real chance of winning! If he were to win or even pull off a narrow defeat, certainly THAT should terrify the Democrats in the coming November elections when they cannot even hold what they deem is "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the state of Massachusetts.

Regardless of the outcome next Tuesday, I really like what I have heard thus far from Mr. Brown. He does indeed get it that We The People are his boss, should he pull the upset win.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Catholic Church and Illegal Immigration

I love my Church. I love the Catholic faith with its rich traditions and Christian teachings along a nearly two millennium line of apostolic succession from the days that our Lord walked the earth as fully man and fully God. I love that the Catholic faith has always been steadfast in it doctrines of faith in words, if not always deeds. (We are, after all, a church made up of sinful men and women.) That being said, I still have a few issues with my beloved church and some of its moral teachings.

I am not sure that I am right, and in fact I likely am wrong in my thinking, but it really irks me that the Catholic Church in the United States seems to be so strongly pro-immigration of the illegal type. This has bothered me for some time but was brought to the forefront anew this weekend when at the end of Mass, Monsignor got up at the ambo and said that next week the diocese of Salt Lake (which encompasses all of Utah) would be handing out pre-written post cards to us that are addressed to our two senators and congressmen.

The post cards in question are stating how the need for comprehensive immigration reform is needed so that the millions of "undocumented immigrants" living in the shadows of our country can be brought into our society legally. The thought is that thousands of these post cards from parishioners throughout the diocese will flood our representatives' offices so that they will renew their quest for the "right kind" of immigration reform.

Now I absolutely agree that our immigration policies are horrendous and are in desperate need of overhaul, but the legislation our Church is wanting here is to grant amnesty to those that have broken our immigration laws; laws which are even more stringent and far more heavily enforced in the main country from which a majority of these immigrants have come.
While our immigration law is poor and needs to be overhauled so that a reasonable amount of people can indeed enter, work, and live legally in our country, it strikes me as foolish and unfair to those that have entered legally for us to grant amnesty to others that chose to not obey our laws. Its not so much that it punishes those that have played by the rules but rather it rewards those that chose not to do so.

Now I am not unsympathetic to the plight of many poor immigrants, and indeed had I been born in Mexico City or Tijuana and had a family to support, I might very well have risked the same perils many illegal immigrants have encountered in coming to this country. I would hope that I would have done so legally had such been my situation, but I truly do not know. Regardless, this does not mean that those coming here illegally are justified in doing so.

I know, as I am sure most people do, both sides of the argument as to the benefits and detraction's of illegal immigration. Yes, immigrants tend to do more of the menial and tedious jobs that most of us spoiled Americans will not and they do indeed contribute much to this country. However, the burden that is placed on our schools, hospitals, prisons, and welfare programs, just to name a few, far outweigh the economic benefit of excusing their illegal entry into the United States.

This issue is particularly difficult in Salt Lake as there tends to be a very large contingent of illegal aliens here and absolutely most are very good people in the whole. Further, our Bishop John Wester is the chairman for immigration for the Catholic Church in the United States and thereby places a lot of emphasis on reform that is favorable to "undocumented workers". Now I think Bishop Wester is a very good and loving man and is honestly doing what he thinks Christ would want done, but unfortunately this heathen Catholic that I am is just not able to follow the logic behind it. It is something that about which I have prayed.

Many cynical people say that the Church is so pro-immigration of this ilk because a vast majority of the immigrants are Catholic and help to revitalize the Church and fill its coffers. I would like to think that while this may be partially true, this is not the main reason for the Church's support at all.

I feel the best option is to enforce our border security to stop the flow into our country and to impose draconian fines the very first time on those companies that are caught knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. If this is done consistently and without prejudice, the jobs for illegals will dry up and the immigrants will likely return home once their primary reason for coming here no longer exists. We then need to re-evaluate and adjust accordingly the number of immigrants that can be allowed to enter this country each year in order to fulfill the work needs of our companies and farmers.

This will bring the otherwise good people that come here into the country illegally to become a part of our society and to not have to worry about hiding in the shadows or being exploited by those evil enough to do so. It seems to me that this would be more merciful and caring in the long run to our immigrant friends.

But again, perhaps I am mistaken and Bishop Wester and my beloved Catholic Church is correct in their position on this. I honestly am not sure. What do you think?

Let's Talk About Faith

I occasionally read the New York Times just to keep abreast of what the left-wing nut jobs are thinking. As Sun Tzu said, "Know your enemy!". Usually it evokes responses of laughter or the occasional conniption fit from me. I am sure my blood pressure is always elevated by the time I am finished with this readership-loosing rag, but every once in awhile there is some actual good reporting and on VERY rare occasions a thoughtful and insightful editorial is to be found. This happens to be a rather good one for a surprising change that was written by Ross Douthat so I thought I would share. Enjoy!

Let’s Talk About Faith

By ROSS DOUTHAT of the New York Times

Published: January 10, 2010

Liberal democracy offers religious believers a bargain. Accept, as a price of citizenship, that you may never impose your convictions on your neighbor, or use state power to compel belief. In return, you will be free to practice your own faith as you see fit — and free, as well, to compete with other believers (and nonbelievers) in the marketplace of ideas.

That’s the theory. In practice, the admirable principle that nobody should be persecuted for their beliefs often blurs into the more illiberal idea that nobody should ever publicly criticize another religion. Or champion one’s own faith as an alternative. Or say anything whatsoever about religion, outside the privacy of church, synagogue or home.

A week ago, Brit Hume broke all three rules at once. Asked on a Fox News panel what advice he’d give to the embattled Tiger Woods, Hume suggested that the golfer consider converting to Christianity. “He’s said to be a Buddhist,” Hume noted. “I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. ”

A great many people immediately declared that this comment was the most outrageous thing they’d ever heard. Hume’s words were replayed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, to shocked laughter from the audience. They were denounced across the blogosphere as evidence of chauvinism, bigotry and gross stupidity. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann claimed, absurdly, that Hume had tried to “threaten Tiger Woods into becoming a Christian.” His colleague David Shuster suggested that Hume had “denigrated” his own religion by discussing it on a talk show.

The Washington Post’s TV critic, Tom Shales, mocked the idea that Christians should “run around trying to drum up new business” for their faith. Hume “doesn’t really have the authority,” Shales suggested — unless of course “one believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize.” (This is, of course, exactly what Christians are supposed to believe.)

Somewhat more plausibly, a few of Hume’s critics suggested that had he been a Buddhist commentator urging a Christian celebrity to convert — or more provocatively, a Muslim touting the advantages of Islam — Christians would be calling for his head.

No doubt many would. The tendency to take offense at freewheeling religious debate is widespread. There are European Christians who side with Muslims in support of blasphemy laws, lest Jesus or the Prophet Muhammad have his reputation sullied. There are American Catholics who cry “bigotry” every time a newspaper columnist criticizes the church’s teaching on sexuality. Many Christians have decided that the best way to compete in an era of political correctness is to play the victim card.

But these believers are colluding in their own marginalization. If you treat your faith like a hothouse flower, too vulnerable to survive in the crass world of public disputation, then you ensure that nobody will take it seriously. The idea that religion is too mysterious, too complicated or too personal to be debated on cable television just ensures that it never gets debated at all.

This doesn’t mean that we need to welcome real bigotry into our public discourse. But what Hume said wasn’t bigoted: Indeed, his claim about the difference between Buddhism and Christianity was perfectly defensible. Christians believe in a personal God who forgives sins. Buddhists, as a rule, do not. And it’s at least plausible that Tiger Woods might welcome the possibility that there’s Someone out there capable of forgiving him, even if Elin Nordegren and his corporate sponsors never do.

Or maybe not. For many people — Woods perhaps included — the fact that Buddhism promotes an ethical life without recourse to Christian concepts like the Fall of Man, divine judgment and damnation is precisely what makes it so appealing. The knee-jerk outrage that greeted Hume’s remarks buried intelligent responses from Buddhists, who made arguments along these lines — explaining their faith, contrasting it with Christianity, and describing how a lost soul like Woods might use Buddhist concepts to climb from darkness into light.

When liberal democracy was forged, in the wake of Western Europe’s religious wars, this sort of peaceful theological debate is exactly what it promised to deliver. And the differences between religions are worth debating. Theology has consequences: It shapes lives, families, nations, cultures, wars; it can change people, save them from themselves, and sometimes warp or even destroy them.

If we tiptoe politely around this reality, then we betray every teacher, guru and philosopher — including Jesus of Nazareth and the Buddha both — who ever sought to resolve the most human of all problems: How then should we live?

It’s reasonable to doubt that a cable news analyst has the right answer to this question. But the debate that Brit Hume kicked off a week ago is still worth having. Indeed, it’s the most important one there is.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Excommunicating Pelosi

I was reading a posting on a Catholic blog regarding our Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and her continuing habit of misrepresenting Catholic theology. You see, Ms. Pelosi has been very public in her statements in support of abortion and saying that this is not necessarily in conflict with Christ's teachings through his Holy Catholic Church.

Needless to say that is unequivocally false and Ms. Pelosi knows it! Evidently she has had multiple conversations with the bishop of her diocese on the subject and yet continues to hold firm to her position.

The Catholic blog I was reading stated that in such a case excommunication was probably not in order.

First, let me digress a moment and say what excommunication is. Excommunication is done so that a parishioner is no longer allowed to partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist... Holy Communion. It does not mean that they are kicked out of the church, as everyone has a right to enter God's house and thereby hopefully repent of their sins... especially those that have been excommunicated.

And that gets to the point of excommunication. It is up to the bishop of each particular diocese to choose whether to excommunicate a parishioner and this is never done for light reasons as it is indeed the most serious penalty the Church can impose. For Catholics this means that an excommunicated member would no longer be able to partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist and receive the actual presence of our Lord in doing so.

A Bishop is supposed to use excommunication only as a last resort if he thinks by doing so it will serve as a wake up call and bring the straying parishioner back into the faith in accordance with Christ's teachings. If, by excommunication, it would only serve to drive the person in question further astray, then the penalty should not be used.

This is where I have issues with this. Perhaps I am a bad Catholic or perhaps I simply am still too ignorant of all of the aspects thereof, but I find that excommunication for someone such as Nancy Pelosi is indeed in order here.

Ms. Pelosi, in light of her status, power, and access to the bully pulpit, has incredible power to persuade people. When she knowingly espouses an evil as acceptable and claims that it is not in conflict with Catholic teaching, she is committing an egregious sin.

How many cafeteria Catholics, luke-warm Christians, or those that are ignorant of Christ's teachings have justified supporting or even getting an abortion because of Pelosi's public statements?

If her Bishop were to excommunicate her, this would show the people across our nation that Pelosi is indeed wrong. I would hope that this would bring her back into the fold of the faith, but even if not, for the Catholic church to stand by and not admonish her severely and publicly only serves for the Church to be complicit in this act of evil in my opinion.

Finally, I do not hate those that seek or have had abortions. I rather feel profoundly sorry for them and pray for them. I suspect that most people having had abortions are often conflicted and troubled for the remainder of their lives for this act. I shudder at those with the lack of conscience that are not troubled by this.

That being said, it is our duty as human beings, and certainly as Christians, to protect innocent unborn life and by allowing Nancy Pelosi to continue to spout her support of abortion, and then have the audacity to attribute it as being permissible under the Catholic faith, well I think the time has long come for the excommunication of our Speaker of the House. One would hope this happens soon so that more evil can not be promulgated under the false notion of being permissible by Christ's own church.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our National Debt

It would seem that those we have elected to govern us are either oblivious about our national debt or flat out just don't care as long as they can expand their own power base. And this goes for both Republicans and Democrats! I suspect it is actually the latter rather than the former. They KNOW what they are doing and don't care.

The Republicans lost any semblance of having the high ground on fiscal matters when they ran congress during George W. Bush's presidency. So as a reward, we got the Democrats taking over and President Obama coming in and then consequently spending more than the previous 43 presidential administrations ever did...COMBINED.

Time is running out if we don't fix this problem. With 12 Trillion dollars in official debt and an actual amount of debt far closer to $74 Trillion dollars for our nation, we will not long survive if we do not pull back on the reigns and preferably shoot the damned nags pulling the wagon that is our congressional spending.

With 300 million people in this country, each person's share of the debt to bring us to a balanced check book would be just shy of a half million dollars per person. That would make for 1.5 million dollars for me, my wife and youngest daughter still living in our house. I don't know about you, but I don't have that much money in my account, and despite the Democrats' efforts to the contrary, I refuse to give up all that I have earned in taxes for their asinine and un-Constitutional spending.

Several trillion dollars of our financed national debt is coming due in a year. When we try to go and refinance it, at what will almost assuredly be a higher interest rate, we will only exacerbate an already dangerously critical problem.

I would suggest that congress and our enlightened president stop spending ANY money on everything except that which is explicitly authorized under the United States Constitution. And those things which are authorized, it would be a danged good idea to cut way back on budgets for those items too. We sure as hell do not need to be adding illegally legislated health care costs and cap & tax costs to a nearly bankrupt budget already.

I suspect it is already too late and our country will indeed fall within a generation because we the people will not hold our representative government accountable. We will go the way of the Soviet Union and their ruble currency. The only way this doesn't happen is for us to educate people and demand an end to this right NOW.

I have permanently attached a counter to the top of this blog to show what our debt as a nation is. It is critical that we find a way to make this start counting down the other way... and damned soon, or the end of the great American experiment in self government will come to an end.

Obama's LIES about Health Care debate LIVE on CSPAN

So much for the most "transparent administration in history". Perhaps they will televise the debates on C-SPAN on health care AFTER they pass this abominable legislation. The only good thing is that I don't think the House and Senate will be able to reconcile some moster hybrid bill that they will be able to pass... Thank God!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trailblazers; Struggling to Remain Excellent

My poor Portland Trailblazers have had a very rough season thus far. There is so much talent and genuinely good chemistry on the team. They are athletic, unselfish, and boy can they play some basketball! They continue to fight with the Denver McNuggets for the lead in the Northwest Division of the NBA, and all of this despite the fact that they have been plagued with injuries and illnesses.

Now I don't mean that just one or two key guys have gone down for a bit. My Trailblazers have lost up to seven guys at any one time during this season thus far, and that doesn't include a short stint where even Coach McMillan was out sick. Too make matters worse, it would look like our two centers, Przybilla and Oden are out for the entire season with their injuries.

It is enough to make a grown man cry, even though the last time I did that was when the evil Bulls cheated and beat the mighty Trailblazers in the NBA Finals back in the 90's.

As of right now the Blazers are still without Batum, Przybilla, Oden, Fernandez, Blake, Outlaw, and Aldridge. Despite this they still have a respectable record and have managed to beat some very good teams along the way, their current two losses to scrub teams notwithstanding.

Anyway, several of these guys are on the mend and set to return soon. Once they do, the Western Conference had better watch out because I suspect things will be back on track in Rip City!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

These Freedoms We Hold Dear

I have always been impressed and utterly amazed with the brilliance of many of our founding fathers of this most exceptional nation ever founded in human history. As I have stated in previous posts, there are many reasons why the United States of America is so exceptional when compared to every other nation on this planet. Our freedoms, as protected by our founders when forming the foundation of America and its government, is perhaps the most important of them all.

Our founders set the foundation for a nation that was not based on a monarchy or even a class system as were most European nations of that era. With a strong reliance on John Locke, our founders believed in natural law and that our rights were derived from God and not from other men, and especially not from government.

The founders in their brilliance created a masterpiece in our United States Constitution which had the purpose of limiting the powers and rights of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. In other words, its purpose was to tell the government what it specifically was allowed to do and what it was not allowed to do.

Further, the Constitution specifically enumerates the rights of We The People that the federal government must enforce and cannot usurp. Those rights and duties that are not specifically enumerated as being under the purview of the government are reserved to the States or the people, as per the tenth amendment to the Constitution. The federal government is not authorized to regulate or legislate on any issue not specifically authorized in the Constitution, or so it is use to be and should be still.

Evidently our federal government has forgotten our history and has chosen to ignore the wisdom and profound law of the land in our Constitution. They do so at their own peril and even more importantly at the peril of our nation. It was for the exact same usurpation of rights, egregious taxation, and soft tyranny that our founders risked and fought a revolution after declaring that they no longer would live under the rule of a tyrant king.

They stated this in the following excerpt from the United States Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. (emphasis is mine)

With such timeless wisdom espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the fact that there are scores of millions of Americans that still know, honor, and are willing to sacrifice to ensure that this greatest of all nations does not end up on the ash heap of history, one has to wonder if President Obama and those in congress that continue to govern against the will of the governed see the potential dangers they are fomenting on our country.

Now I am not one that has ever been radical enough to think that a new revolution could occur in my lifetime in America, but if those in power continue to thwart the Constitution and the will of the people with their hoax and chains they can believe in, then perhaps a real tea party could indeed be the result of their intransigence.

For those neo-liberal statists out there, beware! Believe me when I tell you there are a hell of a lot more Americans that know and love their country than there are of you one-world Utopian types, and we will not allow America to become just one more of the many other un-exceptional nations of the world.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Caught in a Full Nelson

It would appear that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s latest vote for cloture of the health care debate in the senate has definitely not endeared him to his constituents in the cornhusker state.

You see, Senator Nelson is a blue dog Democrat, meaning that he is supposedly a conservative Democrat. Theoretically that is the only kind of Democrat that could be elected in the conservative heartland of the country, but he showed his true colors when he allowed Senate majority leader Harry Reid to in effect bribe him with payola for his state if he would agree to be the 60th and final vote needed to end debate on the un-Constitutional, and thereby illegal, health care legislation the Senate was proposing.

Perhaps he is hoping that the voters will forget his egregious vote when he comes up for re-election in 2012, but somehow I don’t think people are going to forget this vote. As President Obama’s spiritual advisor and friend of twenty years (Reverend Wright) said, “the chickens will be coming home to roost”!

Rasmussen just released results from a poll conducted on December 29th of Nebraska voters and they are decidedly very unhappy as a whole with Senator Nelson. While Senator Nelson won his seat in 2006 with an overwhelming 64% of the vote then, this recent poll pitting Senator Nelson against incumbent Republican governor, and potential opponent for this seat in 2012, Dave Heineman would win right now with a 61% to 30% voter margin.

Nebraskans’ approval rating of the recent senate health-care deal is at 17%. 64% of them oppose the health-care overhaul proposed, which includes 53% of them strongly opposing it.

Even if Senator Nelson were to try and redeem himself by ultimately voting against the final reconciled health care bill when it comes up for its final vote, 47% of Nebraskans say they would still vote for governor Heineman for the senate versus 37% for Senator Nelson.

Now I realize that a lot can happen in the next few years, but I suspect come November 2012, Nebraska will most likely have a new senator representing it in Washington D.C. Such is the price one pays when one goes against the overwhelming opinion of one’s constituents. Sounds like a well-needed house cleaning of an opportunistic power-grubbing senator to me, and good riddance to this first of many Democratic casualties to come in 2012!

My Dog

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. She has her food prepared for her. She can eat whenever she wants, 24/7/365. Her meals are provided at no cost to her. She visits the doctor once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her. She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep. If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. She has her choice of luxurious places to sleep. She receives these accommodations absolutely free. She is living like a queen, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of her costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head; Holy Crap, my dog is a Democrat!

Consequences of Your Vote

This story was sent to me by my beloved mother-in-law. While I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the story, the sentiments and the results thereof I can guarantee you are quite authentic! This story makes a point that I have long tried to make myself over the years. Raising taxes on "the evil rich" only affects the myriads of small business owners in the country in that they either go out of business or end up passing those costs on to us consumers. In the end, we the people end up still paying the tax increases placed on "the rich". Far better to cut all unnecessary and un-Constitutional spending...

The Employee Meeting:

I would like to start by thanking you for attending this meeting, though it's not like you had much of a choice. After all, attendance was mandatory. I'm also glad many of you accepted my invitation to your family members to be here as well. I have a few remarks to make to all of you, and then we'll retire to the ballroom for a great lunch and some employee awards.

I felt that this meeting was important enough to close all 12 of our tire and automotive shops today so that you could be here. To reassure you, everybody is being paid for the day --- except me. Since our stores are closed we're making no money. That economic loss is mine to sustain. Carrington Automotive has 157 full time employees and around 30 additional part-timers. All of you are here. I thank you for that.

When you walked into this auditorium you were handed a rather thick 78-page document. Many of you have already taken a peek. You were probably surprised to see that it's my personal tax return for 2008. Those of you who are adept at reading these tax returns will see that last year my taxable income was $534,000.00. Now I'm sure this seems rather high to many of you. So ... let's talk about this tax return.

Carrington Automotive Enterprises is what we call a Sub-S - a Subchapter S corporation. The name comes from a particular part of our tax code. Sub-S status means that the income from all 12 of our stores is reported on my personal tax return. Businesses that report their income on the owner's personal tax return are referred to as "small businesses." So, you see now that this $534,000 is really the total taxable income - the total combined profit from all 12 of our stores. That works out to an average of a bit over $44,000 per store.

Why did I feel it important for you to see my actual 2008 tax return? Well, there's a lot of rhetoric being thrown around today about taxes, small businesses and rich people. To the people in charge in Washington right now I'm a wealthy American making over a half-million dollars a year. Most Americans would agree: I'm just another rich guy; after all ... I had over a half-million in income last year, right? In this room we know that the reality is that I'm a small business owner who runs 12 retail establishments and employs 187 people. Now here's something that shouldn't surprise you, but it will: Just under 100 percent ... Make that 99.7 percent of all employers in this country are small businesses, just like ours.

Every one of these businesses reports their income on a personal income tax return. You need to understand that small businesses like our s are responsible for about 80 percent of all private sector jobs in this country, and about 70 percent of all jobs that have been created over the past year. You also need to know that when you hear some politician talking about rich people who earn over $200,000 or $500,000 a year, they're talking about the people who create the jobs.

The people who are now running the show in Washington have been talking for months about raising taxes on wealthy Americans. I already know that in two years my federal income taxes are going to go up by about 4.5 percent. That happens when Obama and the Democrats allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. When my taxes climb by 4.5 percent the Democrats will be on television saying that this really isn't a tax increase. They'll explain that the Bush tax cuts have expired .. Nothing more Here at Carrington we'll know that almost 5% has been taken right off of our bottom line. And that means it will be coming off your bottom line.

Numbers are boring, I know ... But let's talk a bit more about that $534,000. That's the money that was left last year from company revenues after I paid all of the salaries and expenses of running this business. Now I could have kept every penny of that for myself, but that would have left us with nothing to grow our business, to attract new customers and to hire new employees. You're aware that we've been talking about opening new stores in Virginia Beach and Newport News . To do that I will have to buy or lease property, construct a building and purchase inventory. I also have to hire additional people to work in those stores. These people wouldn't immediately be earning their pay. So, where do you think the money for all of this comes from? Right out of our profits .. Right out of that $534,000. I need to advertise to bring Customers in, especially in these tough times. Where do you think that money comes from? Oh sure, I can count it as an expense when I file my next income tax return . But for right now that comes from either current revenues or last year's profits. Revenues right now aren't all that hot ... so do the math. A good effective advertising campaign might cost us more than $300,000.

Is this all starting to come together for you now?

Right now the Democrats are pushing a nationalized health care plan that, depending on who's doing the talking, will add anywhere from another two percent to an additional 4.6 percent to my taxes. If I add a few more stores, which I would like to do, and if the economy improves, my taxable income ... our business income ... could go over one million dollars! If that happens the Democrats have yet another tax waiting, another five percent plus! I've really lost track of all of the new government programs the Democrats and President Obama are proposing that they claim they will be able to finance with new taxes on what they call "wealthy Americans.."

And while we're talking about health care, let me explain something else to you. I understand that possibly your biggest complaint with our company is that we don't provide you with health insurance. That is because as your employer I believe that it is my responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace and a fair wage and to do all that I can to preserve and grow this company that provides us all with income. I no more have a responsibility to provide you with health insurance than I do with life, auto or home owner's insurance. As you know, I have periodically invited agents for health insurance companies here to provide you with information on private health insurance plans.

The Democrats are proposing to levy yet another tax against Carrington in the amount of 8 percent of my payroll as a penalty for not providing you with health insurance. You should know that if they do this I will be reducing every person's salary or hourly wage by that same 8 percent. This will not be done to put any more money in my pocket. It will be done to make sure that I don't suffer financially from the Democrat's efforts to place our healthcare under the control of the federal government. It is your health, not mine. It is your healthcare, not mine. These are your expenses, not mine. If you think I'm wrong about all this, I would sure love to hear your reasoning

Try to understand what I'm telling you here. Those people that Obama and the Democrats call "wealthy Americans" are, in very large part, America 's small business owners. I'm one of them. You have the evidence, and surely you don't think that the owner of a bunch of tire stores is anything special. That $534,000 figure on my income tax return puts me squarely in Democrat cross hairs when it comes to tax increases. Let's be clear about this ... crystal clear. Any federal tax increase on me is going to cost you money, not me. Any new taxes on Carrington Automotive will be new taxes that you, or the people I don't hire to staff the new stores I won't be building, will be paying. Do you understand what I'm telling you? You've heard about things rolling downhill, right? Fine .. then you need to know that taxes, like that other stuff, roll downhill. Now you and I may understand that you are not among those that the Democrats call "wealthy Americans," but when this "tax the rich" thing comes down you are going to be standing at the bottom of the mud slide, if you get my drift. That's life in the big city, my friends ... where elections have consequences.

You know our economy is very weak right now. I've pledged to get us through this without layoffs or cuts in your wages and benefits. It's too bad the politicians can't get us through this without attacking our profits. To insure our survival I have to take a substantial portion of that $534,000 and set it aside for unexpected expenses and a worsening economy. Trouble is, the government is eyeing that money too ... and they have the guns. If they want it, they can take it.

I don't want to make this too long. There's a great lunch waiting for us all. But you need to understand what's happening here. I've worked hard for 23 years to create this business. There were many years where I couldn't take a penny in income because every dollar was being dedicated to expanding the business. There were tough times when it took every dollar of revenues to replenish our inventory and cover your paychecks. During those times I earned nothing. If you want to see those tax returns, just let me know.

OK ... I know I'm repeating myself here. I don't hire stupid people, and you are probably getting it now. So let me just ramble for a few more minutes. Most Americans don't realize that when the Democrats talk about raising taxes on people making more than $250 thousand a year, they're talking about raising taxes on small businesses. The U.S. Treasury Department says that six out of every ten individuals in this country with incomes of more than $280,000 are actually small business owners. About one-half of the income in this country that would be subject to these increased taxes is from small businesses like ours. Depending on how many of these wonderful new taxes the Democrats manage to pass, this company could see its tax burden increase by as much as $60,000. Perhaps more.

I know a lot of you voted for President Obama. A lot of you voted for Democrats across the board. Whether you voted out of support for some specific policies, or because you liked his slogans, you need to learn one very valuable lesson from this election. Elections have consequences. You might have thought it would be cool to have a president who looks like you; or a president who is young, has a buff body, and speaks eloquently when there's a teleprompter in the neighborhood. Maybe you liked his promises to tax the rich. Maybe you believed his promise not to raise taxes on people earning less than a certain amount. Maybe you actually bought into his promise to cut taxes on millions of Americans who actually don't pay income taxes in the first place. Whatever the reason .. your vote had consequences; and here they are.

Bottom line? I'm not taking this hit alone. As soon as the Democrats manage to get their tax increases on the books, I'm going to take steps to make sure that my family isn't affected. When you own the business, that is what you're allowed to do. I built this business over a period of 23 years, and I'm not going to see my family suffer because we have a president and a congress who think that wealth is distributed rather than earned. Any additional taxes, of whatever description, that President Obama and the Democrats inflict on this business will come straight out of any funds I have set aside for expansion or pay and benefit increases. Any plans I might have had to hire additional employees for new stores will be put aside. Any plans for raises for the people I now have working for me will be shelved. Year-end bonuses might well be eliminated. That may sound rough, but that's the reality.

You're going to continue to hear a lot of anti-wealth rhetoric out there from the media and from the left. You can chose to believe what you wish .. .but when it comes to Carrington Automotive you will know the truth. The books are open to any of you at any time. I have nothing to hide. I would hope that other small business owners out there would hold meetings like this one, but I know it won't happen that often. One of the lessons to be learned here is that taxes ... all taxes ... and all regulatory costs that are placed on businesses anywhere in this country, will eventually be passed right on down to individuals; individuals such as yourself. This hasn't been about admonishing anyone and it hasn't been about issuing threats. This is part of the education you should have received in the government schools, but didn't. Class is now dismissed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics

For me there are few men out there that are more astute with their insights, more brilliant in their analysis of nearly any issue, and just down-right funny than Ben Stein. Needless to say, I am a fan of his. With that being said, I found an old article he had written that seemed like a good one with which to start out the new year.

Published: July 13, 2008

AS my fine professor of economics at Columbia, C. Lowell Harriss (who just celebrated his 96th birthday) used to tell us, economics is the study of the allocation of scarce goods and services. What could be scarcer or more precious than love? It is rare, hard to come by and often fragile.

My primary life study has been about love. Second comes economics, so here, in the form of a few rules, is a little amalgam of the two fields: the economics of love. (I last wrote about this subject 20 years or so ago, and it’s time to update it.)

In general, and with rare exceptions, the returns in love situations are roughly proportional to the amount of time and devotion invested. The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated, if only roughly, to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship.

If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back. (This assumes, of course, that you are having a relationship with someone who loves you, and not a one-sided love affair with someone who isn’t interested.)

High-quality bonds consistently yield more return than junk, and so it is with high-quality love. As for the returns on bonds, I know that my comment will come as a surprise to people who have been brainwashed into thinking that junk bonds are free money. They aren’t. The data from the maven of bond research, W. Braddock Hickman, shows that junk debt outperforms high quality only in rare situations, because of the default risk.

In love, the data is even clearer. Stay with high-quality human beings. And once you find that you are in a junk relationship, sell immediately. Junk situations can look appealing and seductive, but junk is junk. Be wary of it unless you control the market.

(Or, as I like to tell college students, the absolutely surest way to ruin your life is to have a relationship with someone with many serious problems, and to think that you can change this person.)

Research pays off. The most appealing and seductive (that word again) exterior can hide the most danger and chance of loss. For most of us, diversification in love, at least beyond a very small number, is impossible, so it’s necessary to do a lot of research on the choice you make. It is a rare man or woman who can resist the outward and the surface. But exteriors can hide far too much.

In every long-term romantic situation, returns are greater when there is a monopoly. If you have to share your love with others, if you have to compete even after a brief while with others, forget the whole thing. You want to have monopoly bonds with your long-term lover. At least most situations work out better this way. ( I am too old to consider short-term romantic events. Those were my life when Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were in the White House.)

The returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment. If you are getting less back than you put in over a considerable period of time, back off.

Long-term investment pays off. The impatient day player will fare poorly without inside information or market-controlling power. He or she will have a few good days but years of agony in the world of love.

To coin a phrase: Fall in love in haste, repent at leisure.

Realistic expectations are everything. If you have unrealistic expectations, they will rarely be met. If you think that you can go from nowhere to having someone wonderful in love with you, you are probably wrong.

You need expectations that match reality before you can make some progress. There may be exceptions, but they are rare.

When you have a winner, stick with your winner. Whether in love or in the stock market, winners are to be prized.

Have a dog or many dogs or cats in your life. These are your anchors to windward and your unfailing source of love.

Ben Franklin summed it up well. In times of stress, the three best things to have are an old dog, an old wife and ready money. How right he was.

THERE is more that could be said about the economics of love, but these thoughts may divert you while you are thinking about your future.

And let me close with another thought. I am far from glib about the economy. It has a lot of pitfalls facing it. As workers and investors, we know that many dangers lurk in our paths.

But so far, these things have always worked themselves out and this one will, too. In the meantime, they say that falling in love is wonderful, and that the best is falling in love with what you have.

Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail: