Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 9/11 Healing Fields

As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that occurred on September 11, 2001, it is interesting to note how various places across our greatest of nations choose to mark the occasion.  Some places are holding solemn prayer vigils.  Others, as per President Obama’s urging, are volunteering in any number of ways to help their communities.  In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg is hosting a ceremony to commemorate the event where clergy and prayer are sadly not welcome.

I, however, am lucky to live in a rather refreshingly peculiar state.  It is quite different from anywhere else I have ever lived.  The people here are generally rather conservative and tend to be quite patriotic, which suits my temperament quite well.  They typically honor that patriotism with respect and service towards others and our nation.  I live in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the next town over, Sandy, Utah, they have commemorated the attacks of 9/11 in a rather unique fashion.  The city has  erected what they call a Healing Field each year since 2003.  The beautiful verdant grassy field outside of the Sandy City Hall is lined with nearly 3000 American flags to commemorate the deaths of the 2,977 innocent victims that perished that horrible day, with the majestic Wasatch Mountain Range framing the background.  Each flag has a tag attached to it with a name and some biographical information for one of the victims lost that day.  See here for more information on this incredible Healing Field.

The field is nearly overwhelming when first seen.  This is even more so when you realize that the seemingly endless field of flags represents a fallen American for each single flag.

This year they will further be unveiling a new statue of the firemen that raised Old Glory in the midst of the rubble of the World Trade Center as a permanent memorial.  The statue will be entitled Hope Rising.

I happened by the place as I drove home from work today and spent a moment walking through the field while taking a few pictures.  It is amazing how an ordinary field can be transformed into such a solemn place.  I said a prayer to God that He will continue to show His love and mercy towards the loved ones that lost someone on that horrible day and further pray that we Americans will not forget that day and hopefully never have to suffer such an evil attack on our citizens ever again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Pseudo-Virtue of Tolerance

In this new progressive age in which we are living we are constantly lectured to by our leftist brothers and sisters about the absolute need for showing tolerance within our American society today.  Indeed, the necessity of practicing tolerance is preached from all levels of government, schools, social organizations, charities, and even some churches.  If one were to watch television for any prolonged sitting, it is a good bet that one would see a public service announcement stressing the need that we all act with tolerance towards one another.  Indeed, “tolerance” has been elevated to a virtuous level, or so it would seem. 

Now I understand the often altruistic intentions of many of those good folks that are decrying the need for tolerance in our society today, but unfortunately rather than improving society through our more tolerant actions, we seem to be debasing it often times and excusing actions and behaviors that used to be considered harmful, wrong, or sinful as just being part of the norm of everyday life now.  This sort of tolerance has defined deviancy down to the lowest common denominator often times.

Archbishop Charles Chaput formerly of the Denver Catholic Archdiocese and now of the Philadelphia Archdiocese is a brilliantly moral Christian man.  He also has a few critics because he is not one to bend Christian Catholic orthodoxy or doctrine, even if he were canonically allowed to do so, simply in appeasement to our new age demands to show greater “tolerance”.  Indeed Archbishop Chaput recently made a comment regarding this “tolerance trend” and put the non-virtue of tolerance into its proper perspective.  He stated,

“We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty -- these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it's never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil.”

What makes something a virtue?  Well, a virtue is something that when exercised is always for the truth and the doing of good.  Tolerance will sometimes fail to live up to that definition of virtuous behavior, if the very nature of something that is being tolerated is immoral or evil. 

Indeed, as a nation America has tolerated some great evils in its past regarding slavery and many of the actions towards our native American brothers and sisters, as some examples.  One can make the claim that many German citizens tolerated the initial abuses, for whatever myriads of reasons, in the rise of the Nazi Party and their systematic killing of the Jews.  Tolerance is not a virtue when the behavior one is tolerating is abhorrent, sinful, or evil.

The unfortunate irony of this call to tolerance is that often times those sometimes well-meaning folks espousing this pseudo-virtue are often the same ones showing a decided lack of tolerance towards those that disagree with their ideals or political agenda.  Indeed, one need only read the newspaper or turn on the nightly news to see myriads of examples of this intolerance coming from those that preach tolerance.

Often times our progressive friends will show contempt or disdain (certainly not tolerance) towards us conservatives and libertarians if we dare offer a contrary viewpoint on the veracity of anthropogenic global warming, gays in the military (or any LGBT issue), abortion, Christianity, radical Islam, evolution, just war, or government-compulsory wealth redistribution.  When it comes to many of these issues, to the typical progressive, their viewpoint is the “righteous” or humanistically moral one in their eyes, and thus they have no tolerance for those that would have the temerity to offer a differing opinion on the given subject at hand.  They are the moral, enlightened, and tolerant ones, you see.

So what then is the point of progressives espousing the need for all to be tolerant, even though they do not always practice what they are preaching?  Is it possible that there is something more behind this call for tolerance than simply a misguided altruistic attempt to get everyone to simply get along?  I am certain that many very good people have no other agenda than simply that aforementioned goal.  Unfortunately, I am also fairly certain that a not insignificant percentage of those tolerance-espousers are also trying to promulgate a more “tolerant society” that is in lock step with their political or world views.  In other words, they have an agenda.

This societal peer-pressured type of tolerance is seemingly being used more often as a form of control and censorship by the left in order to normalize what used to be unacceptable behaviors or ideals that were antithetical to American life.  The battle cry of “tolerance” thus becomes just another Saul Alinsky type of tool used to cow the timid conservative or the introverted libertarian into accepting what our western culture used to define as wrong, immoral, and in some cases just plain evil. 

It is my belief that we should all indeed strive to get along and love one another as we love ourselves, because every last one of us is indeed a sinner.  That said, when tolerance becomes a code word for cowing those from speaking out against what they know to be wrong simply to get along, our society will only continue to further slouch towards Gomorrah.   


Friday, August 26, 2011

Where Too Much of Our Taxpayer Dollars Go

I have two thoughts after seeing this video.  First, I strongly suspect that the gentleman being questioned by Judge Judy is not an atypical abberation of those receiving tax payer dollars, or "stipends" as he calls it, but rather makes up a significant proportion of those that we tax payers are supporting.

Second, I think Judge Judy should be on a short list for consideration for filling the next Supreme Court vacancy. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

...Says the Big Huge Hypocritical Pot to the Kettle

Does Barack Obama have absolutely no sense of shame whatsoever?  Wait!  No need to answer that question!  Just watch the video below that left me flabbergasted. 

Once again, Obama was right with some of his critical rhetoric when he was campaigning as Senator Obama.  Evidently when we elected him to be president, he forgot those principles upon which he ran and actually decided to try to trump all of the egregious governmental spending of his predecessor of whom he correctly chastised for having done so. 

I am sure glad that he was going to change Washington D.C.  I think we all just assumed that he meant in the opposite direction, instead of deeper into irresponsibility and fiscal insanity.  Indeed if by President Obama's accounting, George W. Bush was unpatriotic for his borrowing and spending, then does that make Obama's even greater spending in half of the time "treasonous"?

Breaking News

President Obama has just confirmed that the DC earthquake occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line apparently known as "Bush's Fault". 

The President also announced that Maxine Waters along with the Secret Service are conducting an investigation of the quake's suspicious ties to the Tea Party.

Conservatives have responded suggesting it was caused by the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Farrakhan Says American Soldiers Are Terrorists, Not Fort Hood Shooter

The vile, despicable, and frankly just flat-out evil Louis Farrakhan has really outdone himself this time.  While never being a bulwark of sanity or tolerance, this anti-Semitic, anti-military, anti-American has reached new depths.

In his latest diatribe he claims how, according to an old NPR report, female American soldiers are often the targets of rape and sexual harassment in astonishing percentages by their male counterparts.  Never mind the suspect numbers from the reliably progressive tax-payer-funded National Politburo Radio don't even come close to being on par with Department of Defense statistics, the execrable Farrakhan continues on to postulate that if male American soldiers are willing to rape female American soldiers, then they must just be having a field day in their capacity as an occupying army with the Muslim women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He further goes on to say that the soldiers that returned home to Fort Hood Texas had pangs of guilt for their actions and thus confessed these crimes to Muslim army major and psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan.  It was the constant and continuous confessions from these American soldiers of their wanton rape and abuse of Muslim women that caused Major Hasan to lash out in righteous rage against these terrorists and go on his murderous shooting rampage that killed 14 people and wounded 29 others in November of 2009, so says "Minister" Farrakhan.

Now, I imagine that there are indeed American soldiers that are guilty of such horrendous crimes, but they are extremely rare and punishment of such crimes when discovered is exceptionally severe under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  If anything is true it is that our brave American troops typically put themselves in great danger of losing life or limb in adhering to very restrictive rules of engagement specifically in order to protect civilian life. Our military is comprised of professional soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen.  They are not the hordes of Genghis Khan that Senator John Kerry accused them of being in Vietnam.  Having served in the first gulf war, I was very proud of the conduct and professionalism of the men I served with there.  The duty of the American military is to kill the enemy and destroy their ability to make war.  It is not to rape and plunder, nor has it ever been in our history. 

Atrocities occur, and when they do, they should be and are harshly dealt with accordingly.  Louis Farrakhan's implication that murder and rape are the standard operating procedure of the United States armed forces is disgusting and unsupportable by any evidence whatsoever. Woe to him who calls good, evil and evil, good, "Minister" Farrakhan.  

Now I am all for free speech, even of such falsehoods and outrageous and despicable fabrications as what Louis Farrakhan has just spewed forth here.  That said, how does this fool have any credibility with anybody other than those that want to believe these lies based on their faith in such things and an abject hatred of all things American?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Ranking the G.O.P. Nominees

Last evening, eight G.O.P. presidential hopefuls took part in the Republican primary debate in Ames Iowa, just ahead of the crucial-for-some Iowa poll.  This debate was a decided contrast to the previous one in that the questions asked by the moderators were tough and the candidate tried to better differentiate themselves from their opponents, sometimes by verbally attacking each other.  That said, following is my own interpretation and opinions on who I thought were the winners, who were the losers, and how I currently would rank them in my own order of preference for president.

 #1 Michele Bachmann – Bachmann struck me once again that she is a fighter.  She isn’t timid or worried about political correctness, while still coming across as a gentle lady.  She was the one that struck me as perhaps being the most principled on all topics, especially regarding our economy.  She has always been at the forefront of every fight on major issues in congress, and on the right side of those fights.  She is smart, savvy, and doesn’t come across as a “politician” in the usual connotation of the word.  Because of her fighting spirit and her uncompromising principled stand on the issues, she is currently my first choice for president.

#2 Rick Santorum – Santorum impressed me last night.  I have always admired him, particularly his strong pro-life stance, but last night he came across as more energetic and charismatic than the typical vanilla personality he has displayed in the past.  Santorum is right on all of the issues, particularly regarding his strong view of supporting states rights while still acknowledging that there are definitely core principles that should be enforced on a federal level for all states.  Rick doesn’t have a chance at winning the nomination, as even he admitted that he typically gets scant media coverage, however his performance last night rooted in principle makes him sky-rocket to 2nd place on my list.  He would make a good V.P. nomination, especially coming from the crucial swing-state of Pennsylvania.

#3 Herman Cain – Mr. Cain brings something to the debate that has been sorely lacking in the past.  He is a non-politician.  He is a no-nonsense businessman with a record of success.  He rightly points out, especially with economic matters, that we cannot fix the problem until we have identified and are working on the right danged problem.  I also am impressed with the fact that he is not afraid to rely on experts that know more than he does on subjects, particularly the generals when it comes to fighting in the Middle East.  Instead of BS’ing his way through some answer to make one believe he is a subject matter expert, he tells the truth.  That is refreshing and typically very un-politician like.  I think we could do far worse in fixing our economic ills than to elect this savvy straight talking businessman to the White House.

#4 Newt Gingrich – When it comes to issues, over-all knowledge, and proper historical context, nobody surpasses Gingrich.  His answers impressed me most and proved that he has the specific ideas and fire in the belly to be an excellent president.  He stated in the post-debate interview that the House should return to work on Monday and repeal the Dodd-Frank Bill that day, repeal Sarbanes-Oxley on Tuesday, and remove restrictions on energy exploration on Wednesday and then ask the Senate if they are going to remain on vacation until November or come back to work and fix the economy now.  Newt would be my first choice for president and would do an excellent job except for one major thing.  His personal life and political baggage are a mess and make him unelectable.  His poor choices and seeming lack of integrity in his personal life make him a non-starter.  Too bad, because things would get done and for the better, if only Gingrich would live by the values he espoused.  Nevertheless, Gingrich was the winner of the debate last night.

#5 Mitt Romney – I know it is conventional wisdom that the nomination for president is Mitt’s to lose.  I am not a fan of conventional wisdom in this case.  I thought Romney did a good job in the debate, looked, sounded, and acted very presidential and for the most part had good answers.  Unfortunately, I do not trust him.  Romney would even embarrass John Kerry in the flip flopping department, and on core principles (abortion and government health care for instance).  This makes Romney look like a slick used-car salesman that will say anything to get the sale.  A lot of conservatives aren’t buying his line.  Unfortunately, a lot of the establishment is and that is likely why he will end up being our nominee.  If Romney holds fast to his latest version of his truth, then things will likely work out fine for our country.  If he goes searching for approval in the polls and doing what is politically expedient, then we are hosed with a Romney presidency.

#6 Tim Pawlenty – I was never very fond of Pawlenty right from the start.  He strikes me as the consummate smarmy politician.  His attacks on Michele Bachmann in the debate last night only solidified my opinion.  He criticized Bachmann for not getting results despite her being at the forefront of every major political fight.  While Pawlenty is right about her lack of results, his implied solution is that she needs to learn to compromise.  Now compromise can be okay if it advances one’s important agenda without sacrificing one’s core values; however, political compromise simply to get “results” of some legislation passed in which to show that you have done “something” is exactly how we end up with horrible legislation like the recent debt-ceiling bill.  Pawlenty is more about having something tangible to point towards, rather than standing on certain core principles.  Pawlenty didn’t help his cause last night and is hopefully done accordingly.

#7 Jon Huntsman – Huntsman is the former governor of my current home state of Utah.  While he did some good things economically for Utah and did create jobs here, he is a big-government Republican of the worst type.  His support for TARP and for cap & trade are examples of this.  I don’t have a problem with his having served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China.  I do have a problem with the fact that he seems to think like Obama in that the answer to all of our problems can usually be taken care of with a government program.  Huntsman also did little to help his cause in the debate last night and hopefully can return to relative national obscurity soon.  Besides, he sounded as if he was going to cry last night as he repeatedly said how he was “proud to stand on his record”.

#8 Ron Paul – First, I was surprised at the vocal support that Paul received from the crowd last night, and indeed he is doing well in the Iowa polls.  Paul is a walking contradiction to me though.  He understands the economy and the systemic changes needed to fix it probably better than anybody else.  The problem is that his foreign policy is horrible and dangerous.  He “understands” why Iran wants nuclear weapons and evidently doesn’t think it is a big deal, despite the fact that their President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  I understand and can appreciate not wanting to get involved in foreign entanglements, but Paul’s call to neo-isolationism in this world of jihadists today is foolish and dangerous to America, not to mention an existential threat to the very existence of our only stable democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.

Well, there you have it.  T. Paine’s analysis of where the candidates stand for the Republican nomination in my own personal opinion.  I doubt seriously that this will fall in line with the media’s rankings or thoughts on who won the debate last night, and frankly I could care less.  I did come away last night feeling better about some of the top candidates in the field though.  I think any of my top four would do a good job as president.

 I am irritated that Rick Perry, who is going to run now, decided he didn’t need to jump in the race in time to partake in last night’s debate.  Perhaps that is a smart move politically, but it cost him points in my book.  It will be interesting to see who is left standing after the group gets whittled down in the next month or two.  Hopefully this isn’t merely an exercise of going through the motions because Romney has already been pre-determined to be the nominee.  We do not need another moderate politician.  We tried that with Dole, Bush, and McCain.  None of them were successful overall.  The left managed to nominate and get elected the most liberal senator in the nation to the White House.  After his incompetence and aloofness towards the handling of vital issues, I think a true conservative candidate is what is needed to repair the mess created by the man-child-in-chief accordingly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Progressives Redefining Civility

It was only a mere seven months back, and yet it seems like a lifetime ago, that on January 8th of this year a mentally deranged young man named Jared Loughner killed six people and injured several others in Tucson Arizona. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seemingly his primary target, but thankfully she survived. A federal judge and a nine year old girl were among the victims that did not survive.

Many of the pundits, politicians, and various talking heads from the left immediately received the DNC talking points memo on what their take should be on the event. Okay, not really, but the solidarity from the left immediately in the aftermath of the murderous rampage was definitely impressive. This heinous act was attributed to the right’s incivility in its political discourse. We need to stop with the hate speech, especially from the right side of the political spectrum, we were all subsequently lectured. We need to disagree in an agreeable manner. We all need to be civil. Are you hateful Republicans (I realize that 'hateful' and 'Republican' is redundant to the left) and various conservatives listening? They were talking to YOU!

Fast forward a little over half a year and evidently those appeals to civility in the political process can all be completely abandoned, at least for our brothers and sisters on the left.

President Obama made a beautiful speech right after that horrific event in Tucson last January. He eloquently stated, “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do, it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

One can only assume the Obama’s Vice President must not have been listening, or at least did not take to heart the soaring rhetoric towards civility as championed by President Obama that day. Indeed during the fractious debate over the recent debt ceiling situation, Vice President Joe Biden agreed with the vitriolic words spewed from Congressman Mike Doyle’s mouth at a two-hour closed door Democratic caucus meeting the other day when he proclaimed that the Tea Party was nothing more than “terrorists”. So much for civility towards those that think differently than we do.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists,” according to several sources in the room. Earlier in the day, Biden told Senate Democrats that Republican leaders have “guns to their heads” in trying to negotiate deals. So evidently in Representative Doyle’s (D) honorable opinion, a terrorist is someone that won’t let him spend any of the tax-payers' money! Amazing.

One can only imagine the outrage from the statist media and all good folks on the left had Vice President Cheney ever said such things about his political adversaries, and understandably and deservedly so. Indeed they likely would be calling for his resignation, again rightly so. Biden’s latest “gaffe” hardly attracts notice for even a day in contrast. Once again the double standards between the two parties is rather stark in comparison.

Aside from this disgraceful lack of civility, evidently the left has also changed the definition of one of the words in the English language yet again too. Now, according to our Vice President, various other elected Democratic officials, and many in the statist media, a terrorist also has the alternate definition of someone that believes in governing by the dictates of the Constitution, the curtailing of spending money we do not have, and the stopping of the creation of money out of thin air. Indeed, I think we should create a Progressive dictionary to which we could add this entry:

terrorist (noun): 1) a person who supports responsible government, especially regarding budget and debt issues. 2) someone who supports a balanced budget. 3) a Tea Party member. 4) a Republican that is not willing to negotiate their principles. 5) someone who is conservative. 6) anyone who does not support the Obama / Reid / Pelosi liberal agenda.

It is ironic that Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s return and first vote since being shot back in January occurred in the midst of this swirling storm of hateful and uncivil speech from some of her own Democratic colleagues. I guess civility is only a word denoting a tactic intended to silence opposition and dissent from the right and not actually something of which the left actually agrees with in practice. I guess that is another re-defined term that we can add to the Progressive dictionary too.

A Picture Instead of a Thousand Words

H/T: Carrie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt, Deficit, and the Un-Seriouness of Washington in the Debt Ceiling Debate

As someone that cares deeply about the future of our greatest nation on earth, and as a political junky, I have watched a lot of the debt ceiling debate on C-Span over the course of the last week. Of course from my “objective” perspective, the big government types of both parties are the ones at fault in this conundrum. While the Tea Party members of the house seem to be the only ones typically standing on principle, it looks like the latest deal now in the works will not contain many of the critical aspects with which they insisted must be included. With the loss of their support on this Reid/McConnell/Boehner Frankenstein compromise, one can only assume that the party leaders on both sides are looking at how to get this bill passed despite the Tea Party opposition. In other words they are trying to appeal to the Democrats and “moderate” big-government Republicans in the House of Representative. Therefore, business continues as usual in Washington D.C. and that compromise is NOT what our country so desperately needs right now.

Various reporting agencies have threatened downgrades in America’s triple A bond rating if our debt situation is not addressed. Indeed, Standard and Poors chairman of the company’s sovereign rating committee, John Chambers, has recently said that a minimum of "$4 trillion would be a good down payment… A grand bargain of that nature would signal the seriousness of policy makers to address the fiscal situation in the U.S.".

So what do our elected officials do in their “compromise”? Well the current bill that both houses of congress now seem hopeful about, and the White House has indicated would be acceptable to it, is estimated to be a $2.8 trillion dollar deal. Early reports say that $1 trillion in cuts in spending will be decided by lawmakers, while the remaining $1.8 trillion will be decided by a joint commission. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before! In attempts to appeal to the Republicans, there will be no tax hikes in the bill, while the White House will get its way and not have to address the issue again until after the 2012 elections. No indication of a balanced budget amendment were noted in the report, which will surely be a deal killer to many in the Tea Party caucus.

I suppose I should be happy in the fact that the debate has at least shifted to the proper perspective, thanks to the principled stand of the Tea Party Republicans. Indeed, President Obama had requested a clean bill authorizing the extending of the debt ceiling without any other provisions attached. Obviously, this did not happen; however, had those stalwart few not been there to declare “No!”, one suspects that this whole debate regarding the critical necessity of our cutting our debt would never have occurred in the first place. The Senate would have passed, and the House would have grumbled but reluctantly passed this debt ceiling extension otherwise, I suspect.

The ironic thing is that this bill still does NOT cut our debt one single cent. It simply cuts our deficit spending. In other words, there is no reduction in the $14.5 trillion in national debt that America owes. We simply are cutting how fast we are deficit spending and thus adding to that debt. No wonder that credit rating agencies are threatening to downgrade our bond rating.

The pernicious Democrats lead by Reid, Schumer, and Durbin in the Senate have been particularly disingenuous in demagoguing the issue in their strict adherence to partisan politics. They decry that they are not the ones preventing a deal being made and that they are serious about reducing our spending. This is unadulterated horse apples! The Senate Democrats, under Senator Reid’s majority leadership, have failed to even abide by their primary obligation in producing a federal budget for over 800 days. In other words, we are into the third year of funding our government through continuing resolutions because of the failure of responsible leadership in putting together ANY budget in the Senate, let alone one that actually would have us live within our means.

The House of Representatives, under Speaker John Boehner, produced and passed a budget that was guided by the well-thought-out and serious Ryan Plan. Further, they passed a serious bill that they sent to the Senate called Cut, Cap, and Balance that would begin the process of putting our financial house in order. The Democrats in the Senate and the White House have balked at these and tabled them accordingly, and yet have produced no plan of their own in response. They then have the audacity to state that it is the Republicans in the House that are stalling the process and playing politics. Sharon Angle may very well have been a bird of a different feather, but one can’t help but think that had she won her race against the politically intransigent Harry Reid , that we would indeed have had one less quack in the Senate.

Anyway, the deal is seemingly promising in its likely passage. The seriousness of the issues have been scuttled. The cutting of the debt in this deal will be non-existent, and the business in congress will continue as is typical. We will very likely be downgraded in our bond rating accordingly, despite this “wonderful” compromise deal, and frankly we deserve to be downgraded. When that happens, the Democrats and the President will claim that the stalling by the Tea Party in the House caused this to happen, and the sycophantic statist media will parrot that propaganda.

Unless the facts get out and people pay attention to the dire seriousness of the problem that we MUST cut our debt and not just our deficit, by definition the amount our government owes will only continue to increase. Indeed, if left on this current trajectory, our spending will equal our yearly GDP within a decade. No nation can long survive such profligate spending, and simply agreeing on a politically expedient compromise bill that does not address any of the root causes of the problem simply assures that the impending doom awaiting us will be here before we all know it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Senator Rubio Summarizes Obama's Failure of Leadership

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida summarizes succinctly President Obama's failure of leadership in the current debt ceiling crisis.  Ironically it is a failure of leadership that President Obama accurately pointed out as being a characteristic of his predecessor when then-Senator Obama refused to vote to raise the debt ceiling under President Bush's administration.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Giving In To Progressives

Over the course of all of the years that I have spent arguing with progressives, I have finally determined that I should no longer attempt to fight an inexorable force.  That said, I am now in agreement with some of their most ardent wishes as follows:

A. Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men.

B. Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women.

C. Allow those folks who want to abort their babies, abort their babies.

D. In three generations, there will be no progressives left in America.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Parable of the Three Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carvings and everyone would see the beauty.”

Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”

Finally, the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter,” and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don't need anything special from my tree. I'll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all for which he had prayed.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree did not think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. Indeed, if you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they had wished and prayed for, just not in the way they had imagined.

We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but with His unfailing sight and love, His ways for us are always best.

H/T Flamminio

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jim Meskimen Recites Shakespeare in Celebrity Impressions

This gentleman is truly remarkable with his celebrity impressions as he recites a Shakespearen monologue!  Enjoy!

H/T Carrie

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Utah 'Pre-Ratifies' U.S. Balanced Budget Amendment

Yesterday the Utah state congress passed a resolution to “pre-ratify” a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution should the United States Congress approve such a desperately needed measure. Utah is the first and currently only state to say that they will support such an amendment to the United States Constitution which will require our federal government to maintain a balanced budget and no longer run our nation via deficit spending.

Currently, 49 out of 50 states require either by state constitutional stipulations or other statutory means to maintain a balanced budget for their respective states. The push for a federal amendment to the Constitution has long been a pipe dream of many fiscally conscientious folks. Now that the U.S. debt is rapidly approaching $15 trillion and negotiations in congress to raise our debt ceiling yet again before the August 2nd deadline occurs, a critical part of Republican legislation offered in exchange for such spending increase authority is the passage of a federal balanced budget amendment. This is part of the G.O.P.’s plan to cut, cap, and balance the budget accordingly via legislation of that same name. Of course any amendment to the United States Constitution must be passed with at least a 2/3rds majority in both houses of congress and then be approved by at least ¾ of all state legislatures in the union. With the fiscal irresponsibility shown by our federal “leaders”, the time has seemingly now arrived when passage of such a bill is indeed finally a distinct likelihood.

The Utah House of Representatives passed their non-binding pre-ratification resolution yesterday for the U.S. Constitutional amendment by a 51 to 12 vote, while the Utah Senate approved it with only one dissenting vote, which was cast by Democratic State Senator Luz Robles of the Salt Lake District.

Coincidentally, it was the United States Senator from Utah, Mike Lee, that introduced the “cut, cap, and balance” act in the U.S. Senate after being approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by a 234 to 190 vote. Senator Lee authored, “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government,” and said that there are some members of Congress that are quite reluctant to support his amendment even though polls show wide public support for a balanced budget amendment.

When asked why, Lee said, “Because a balanced budget amendment would make politicians less powerful. It would make Congress as an institution less powerful.” Lee continued, “We need the balanced budget amendment to save the American people from this power. Every time we expand the power of the federal government we run the risk of interfering with the individual liberty of Americans.”

Mike Lee was the Tea Party candidate that upset former Utah U.S. Senator Bob Bennett in the G.O.P. primary last year. Bennett had drawn the ire of many fiscal conservatives within the state for his big government voting record and thus was challenged and summarily defeated for his seat in 2010. Lee has thus far proven to be a reliable conservative that has done what he had promised to do accordingly, including working with the other U.S. Senator from Utah, Orin Hatch, in trying to rally support for the United States Constitutional amendment for a balanced budget in the U.S. senate.

Utah’s state legislature’s pre-ratifying of this federal amendment will hopefully provide the impetus to the eventual passage by the U.S. congress and at least 38 other state legislatures accordingly. It would seem that only through constitutional means will the people of the United States be able to reign in the overspending by our elected officials otherwise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Two Different Americas as Seen in California vs. Texas

It would seem that the nation has become so polarized these days that often times conservatives and liberals don't even share a common language anymore.  While the following example is meant to be somewhat funny and tongue-in-cheek, there is definitely more than a grain of truth to it all.  That said, our polarized nation is neatly characterized by the typical Californian's vocabulary as compared to that of the typical Texan's.  (Austin notwithstanding.)  Cheers y'all!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Parable of the Pencil

Every once in awhile something unique happens by and catches my attention which causes me to slow down for a moment and take notice of it. The following artistry is just such a thing. An old navy buddy of mine sent me an email the other day that contained some pictures of the remarkable work done by this particular artist named Dalton Ghetti. His patience and steady hands must truly be remarkable.

Further, using Mr. Ghetti’s beautiful work as inspiration, there is indeed a parable here from which we can all learn.

A wise pencil maker told a brand new shiny pencil before he placed it in the box alongside other shiny new pencils that there were five very important lessons that it should consider and follow in order to have a fulfilling life.

The first lesson was that everything you do in life will always leave a mark.

The second lesson was that you can go back and correct the mistakes you make.

The next lesson was that what is truly important is what is inside of you.

Continuing on, the fourth lesson was that in life you will undergo many painful sharpenings, which will only serve to make you better.

The final and perhaps the most important lesson was this: To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

May the sharpenings in your life only make you better for having endured them. May you be aware and grateful of the wonderful innate things that make you special, and may you be open to always being guided by the hand of God as He uses you in your life to create a masterpiece.

H/T: Rex

Monday, July 11, 2011

Obama's Trading of Wisdom for Power

In a meeting lasting over an hour last Sunday evening, President Obama insisted once again that more than $1 trillion in tax increases must be a part of any deficit reduction package in the negotiations with Republicans on whether to raise the debt ceiling. In that session, President Obama vehemently rejected a G.O.P. proposal to cut $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and various other reforms and instead continued with his insistence on raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy as a significant component of any plan.

In light of the continuing horrendous jobs report regarding our nation’s unemployment rate and the severely anemic economic growth, this tact seems particularly imprudent. President Obama appeared to have understood the danger of such tax increases during a recession once upon a time. Indeed, in August of 2009, during a trip to Indiana to shore up support for his stimulus plan, President Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview that exact message. An Elkhart, Indiana resident by the name of Scott Ferguson asked a question of the President via Mr. Todd. His question was, “Explain how raising taxes on anyone during a deep recession is going to help with the economy.”

President Obama agreed with Mr. Ferguson’s premise in his response. “First of all, he’s right. Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes. So I guess what I’d say to Scott is – his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.”

One wonders what has changed between then and now as far as President Obama’s understanding goes? Indeed, if anything, unemployment and the economic crisis are in an even more dire situation that would suffer more greatly from the effects of such tax increases now.

Of course the whole debate on raising the debt ceiling so that the federal government can continue its unabated spending seems preposterous in the extreme too. Once again, this is a fact that Senator Obama seemed to once understand. While sitting as Illinois’ Senator during the Bush administration, Obama said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here’. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

Senator Obama was absolutely right- back then. Why the change of thinking on this now that he is president? Indeed President Obama’s economic advisor Austin Goolsbee argued at that same meeting Sunday night that a congressional refusal to increase the government’s debt ceiling, which currently sits at $14.3 TRILLION, would be “catastrophic” and a sign of “insanity”. Oh, how the times have changed now that Senator Obama is President Obama.

Of course, that was another topic on which Barack Obama’s wisdom on the subject seemed to devolve also. Indeed, back in 2004 after just having won his U.S. Senate seat, he was asked if he would consider running on a national ticket. His wise response back then was, “I am a believer in knowing what you are doing when you apply for a job, and I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now before having served a day in the senate. Now there’s some people that might be comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people.”

Despite Obama’s record as one of the most liberal members of the senate in his very brief career there, he did at least show some signs of wisdom back then in his words, if not always with his deeds. One wonders why the huge difference now and the diametrically opposed shifts in his points of view on these major issues since then? Is the imbibing of the elixir of power so intoxicating that what once seemed like wisdom in defense and representation of the people of the United States can now be abandoned in order to satisfy certain constituencies and powerful special interest groups to thereby hold on to that political capital and power that has been obtained? For President Obama trading that wisdom for power seems to be acceptable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

John Adams on the Proper Celebration of America's Independence

Founding father and then-future second President of the United States, John Adams, thought that America should have properly celebrated the birth of our nation on July 2 since that was the actual date that congress voted for our independence from Britain.  This was not to be though, and instead America’s birthday has been celebrated on the day that congress actually approved of the future third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson’s, inspired document of the Declaration of Independence. 
Regardless, John Adams noted in a letter to his beloved wife Abigail how he thought the celebration of America’s independence should be conducted for all future generations. 
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Sentiments to which I heartily say, I absolutely concur Mr. President!  Here is hoping that everyone had a wonderful Independence Day celebration yesterday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Americans' Disgraceful Lack of Civics and Historical Knowledge

A few days back a friend of mine forwarded this civics/history test that was conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The original test was administered to 2,508 Americans in 2008. The results were dismal. The overall average test score was a pathetic 49% correct. College Educators (professors & teachers and NOT just those with college degrees) only scored marginally better at 55%; still a failing grade. Indeed, over 70% of participants failed. Only 3.4% of participants received an “A” or “B” grade on the exam. I guess our education system really does need to grade on a curve to keep too many folks from appearing to be ignorant.

What really irked me, but actually did not surprise me greatly, was the fact that amongst those taking the exam were a statistically relevant portion of the population that had held or were holding elected office. Their average score was significantly worse than that of even the average American.

Those of you faithful readers of this blog will likely recall that in the past I have repeatedly decried the current abysmal state of our civics general knowledge, let alone that of our nation’s history.
It is because of this general lack of knowledge regarding how our representative republic was set up and is supposed to work, as well as the historical context and brilliance of our founding fathers in doing so, that leads folks today to vote for candidates that cannot even seemingly spell “Constitution” let alone have an idea as to the contents therein. The ultimate result of all of this disgraceful lack of knowledge regarding how our government is supposed to function is that we end up with a President who was supposedly a constitutional scholar and yet champions unconstitutional legislation and fails to abide by the dictates of that inspired document.

It is my opinion that every person running for elected office should have to pass an in-depth test of this sort prior to being seated. The only way to hold our elected officials accountable though is for us citizens to also know how the system is supposed to work and the history of our nation, as well as having a reasonable knowledge of current events. Those that do not know their history are doomed to repeat it, or so the saying goes.

This test is comprised of 33 questions and does not require too much time to take it. My own score was 100%. Granted, I am a civics/history/current events geek, but one would hope that a majority of our fellow Americans would at least be familiar enough with the government and the country's history under which they live that they could at least PASS this test.

Take the test yourself and see if you fair better than that of your typical fellow American!

H/T: Carrie. Thanks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tribute to My Dad

Today is Father’s Day.  For some reason I woke up today in a contemplative mood with just a slight touch of the melancholy.  You see, my father turned 83 twelve days ago, or at least he would have if he were he still alive.  As it is, he passed away when I was twelve due to a long and very arduous battle with cancer.  He was a young fifty years old when he died, despite the age that the horrible disease had visited upon his body in the waning years of his short life.

I occasionally stop and wonder what my life would have been like; indeed, what kind of man would I have become had my father lived and been there to guide me as I entered those teenage years and onward to today. 

My father had been married before meeting and marrying my mother.  He had a beautiful daughter, my half-sister, with his first wife.  Due to silly and needless family issues, I had not seen my wonderful sister since Dad’s funeral in 1978, that is until a few years ago when I decided to find her and have her be a part of my life once again.  While she has filled so many holes missing in my heart and soul, she has also recounted stories of which I was not aware about my Dad from when she was growing up.  My sister is obviously a few years older than I am and was grown and married when Dad passed.  

I had grown up thinking that Dad was a strong and honorable man.  It seems that he was not always of such sterling character when my sister was growing up with her Mom and our Dad.  I found this exceptionally hard to take initially, and was sorry and heartbroken for my sister and her less-than-ideal childhood, especially when compared to mine.  I wondered how could this man whom I loved and revered, who always had such a strong sense of right and wrong and demanded that my brother and I grow and act accordingly as young boys, could have lived such a very different life such as my sister described in her life.

It occurred to me that Dad had changed, for reasons I may never really know, into the father he became for me.  I do not know what moment or epiphany came to him, or if it was a gradual process over the course of years, but Dad was indeed the best father I could ever hope for as a boy.  He was strict, but also kind and loving.  He had tough standards and expected much out of everyone.  He was absolutely a man’s man, as was common for men of his generation.  He instilled in me a sense of honor and indeed was the one who insisted we go to church and learn of God, our heavenly Father, and what He would have us be.

Over the past years, I sorely wished that Dad was there so we could go on fishing trips, like he often took with my uncles and granddad.  I wish he could have taught me to golf.  (Dad was a scratch golfer and had two holes-in-one in his life; I assure you the talent is NOT hereditary.)  I wish I could have talked to Dad when I had questions about women, and my first girlfriend.  I wish Dad was around to be that strong hand that was needed as my little brother began to stray.  I wish he could have been there when I got married and when we had our baby girl.  I wish so many things, but then again, I look back and I am so grateful to God for the time I did have with my father.

You see, in spite of the man he may once have been, in my life he was exactly the man I needed him to be.  He was that role model that every boy absolutely needs.   He laid the foundation for my own sense of right and wrong, of fairness, of hard work.  He showed me how a real man should act and love.  He loved me, and I miss him so.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Never-ending Hypocrisy of Nancy Pelosi

The consummate politician (and I mean that in the worst possible context of the phrase), former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat down with Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Sunday talk show, Face the Nation,  a week and a half ago and once again proved that she and her Democratic colleagues should be held to a different standard than those that the "evil" Republicans are.  See the video for the particular moment that illustrates this "fact" so precisely.  Following is part of the transcript of that discussion:

Bob Schieffer:  You were talking in kind of a different way when unemployment went to 5% under George Bush.  What you said then,  ‘Americans are struggling with skyrocketing energy prices’ (gas was only $3/gallon then) and you said this morning… this is January 4th 2008, ‘This morning’s jobs report confirms what most Americans already knew- President Bush’s economic policies have failed our country’s middle class.’

Aren’t Republicans entitled to say you know, if you got gas was 3 dollars and unemployment was 5% and the president has failed the American people, don’t they have a right to say that this president has failed the American people?

Nancy Pelosi: Well if you want to go into the past, we can talk about the past all you want.  The public wants to know about the future.  What are you going to do to create jobs- good paying jobs-

Bob Schieffer: Well what are you going to do?

Nancy Pelosi: Well as I said, what the president has done has improved the situation from where it may have been.

Bob Schieffer: But the fact is that the congress has been in session since January and has done basically nothing.

Nancy Pelosi: Well you  can talk to Mr. Boehner about that.

Bob Schieffer:  So it’s all the their fault?  It’s not your fault?

So let me get this straight, Ms. Pelosi- 5% unemployment and $3/gallon gas under Bush equals a failed economic policy; however, 9.1% unemployment and $4/gallon gas under Obama equals "he kept it from being even worse" and "nobody cares about the past"?  In that amazingly audacious exchange in a long career of such hypocritical moments of yours, that one really is near the top of the heap.
One wonders what happened to the “fact” spouted by President Obama that his egregious and asinine spending was critically necessary in order to hold down unemployment below 8%.  I think America would today breathe a sigh of relief if the actual REAL unemployment rate were only 8%.  As for keeping energy prices low, Obama’s executive order to halt offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has only served to further increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Ms. Pelosi is quick to claim that they inherited a huge deficit from Bush, and indeed they did; however, Obama and Pelosi’s Democratically-controlled 111th congress have since added another $1.6 TRILLION to that deficit, while doing absolutely nothing to cut spending or create sustainable jobs anywhere in the country.  Indeed the signature piece of legislation passed by Pelosi and Reid along strictly partisan lines and then signed into unconstitutional law by President Obama has been estimated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to actually kill 800,000 jobs in the course of the coming years.  The fact that the law further doesn’t reduce health care costs, despite all of the Democratic rhetoric and promises that it would to the contrary, only further exacerbates the problem.

Once again, it would seem that being a Democratic elected official means that one can expect to be held to a different standard than that of their colleagues across the political aisle.  It means that only the vile and dastardly Republicans should be held to account for their statements and their actions.  Sorry Ms. Pelosi, but you are selling make-believe, and we don't buy that here.

Note: the section of the video for the transcript above is at 2:42 into it.  The entire video is good though in showing the dissembling, deception, and hypocrisy of the former Speaker of the House.