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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on 2011

 Why not start with a pinup-worthy photo of the husband - just because I can...
 We spent the last week of June in my old stomping ground, Ocean City, New Jersey.
 My 5-year-old protests wasteful spending at an Obama fundraising event. 
 Same event, different daughter.
 A tiny Geisha at the Botanical Gardens for Halloween.
 All of the little ghouls. And boys.
 This may be the last year that height and age fall in the same order...
 Everyone together, and (mostly) looking in the same direction.
 The smile before the attack.
How kids do government protests.

In the last year, things have changed dramatically. We have adjusted to new school schedules for both me and the kids. We spent a week this summer in New Jersey with family, and multiple weekends traveling to and from the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. I dealt with some of the worst health issues that I have ever had. I have spent the better part of the last eight months sinking my teeth into local politics, sometimes dragging my husband along with me for the ride. Jim and I made our radio debut on The Dana Show, talking about the family bakery (Kruta's Bakery in Collinsville, IL). I have spent the little spare time that I have building up inventory for a chain mail jewelry business. I have made new friends and begun new efforts, but that is only the beginning.

In the next year, I expect nothing less. We have plans to start homeschooling next fall, and I am currently writing a piece for a collaborative book. I have at least another full year of (increasingly difficult) classes ahead of me, and the Gateway Grassroots Initiative is just starting to pick up speed. The Congressional Campaign for Martin Baker (MO District 1) is also gaining momentum. I expect both the GGI and the Baker Campaign to carry me right with them - I don't weigh very much.

For all its good moments and bad moments, its ups and downs, 2011 is very soon to be the year that was. Reflect on it, and then tuck it away for safekeeping. Because the year that dawns tomorrow morning promises to be important.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today in Stupidity

Jon Hunstman attempts to make himself relevant:
"They pick corn in Iowa. They pick Presidents in New Hampshire."
Wow, Jon. Spoken like someone who is...losing in both places. 

Hugo Chavez, after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, claims that the United States is responsible. Based on Guatemalan chemical experiments done in the 1940's, Chavez extrapolates that the CIA intends to use cancer as a political weapon. 
When waterboarding just doesn't cut it anymore...

Iowa ad urges voters to "Vote Rogue" and write in Sarah Palin. What does that say about the pool of candidates if one has to "go rogue" to vote their principles?

Self-proclaimed "middle class hero" President Barack Obama spent more on dinner last night than I did on my family's car insurance last month. But it's okay for some families to not get toys this year, as long as they're together...right?

Breastfeeding moms stage a nurse-in at Targets across the United States. Seriously. 
To the moms: perhaps you should schedule your trip around your baby's feeding times rather than working their feedings into your schedule.
To the people complaining: If I have to watch you picking your nose or licking the french fry salt off your fingers at a stoplight, you can deal with the perfectly normal feeding process of another human being.

According to her daughter, Nancy Pelosi wants to retire but remains in Washington only at the request of her campaign donors. Recent polls place the collective IQ of said donors in single digits...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just go, California. Please.

I have long been of the opinion that we should be encouraging the state of California to secede from the Union - or perhaps, to just fall into the Pacific Ocean - but recent goings on in the Golden State have convinced me that a concerted effort ought to be made, and soon.

Recent laws have made it impossible to get any drug containing dextromethorpan without a prescription. That includes Robitussin, NyQuil, Dimetapp, and several other cold medicines. Before you say that limiting drugs that can possibly be used for recreational purposes is a good thing, let me remind you of this: when people have to get a prescription for cold medicine, they will now be more likely to visit a doctor or an emergency room for the common cold. The uninsured will most likely flood into already overcrowded emergency rooms, making it more difficult for those with genuine emergencies to get prompt and proper care. And the insured will present their cards at the doctors' offices, leading to massive increases in the cost of medical insurance. Massive increases in the cost of insurance leads to a greater number of uninsured, since more and more people will no longer be able to afford the bare minimum coverage. But wait, a nationalized healthcare plan could totally fix this...right?

California is also prohibiting the use of e-verify, a program designed to help employers determine the eligibility (based on immigration status) of potential employees. They will allow the use of the program only if it is required by federal law or becomes a condition for receiving federal funding. They are also expanding the California Dream Act, to facilitate the state (read: legal taxpayer)-funded education of the children of illegal immigrants.

However, California is paving new ground in education - becoming the first state to mandate the teaching of "gay history" in public schools. Curriculum is now required to include study of the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Any material considered to be discriminatory toward those groups is being banned. The problem here is that history is discriminatory. History is racist, sexist, and in some cases, downright evil. That is simply because we are talking about human history. If we attempt to "undiscriminate" history, we remove the humanity. We also lessen the reality of the mistakes made in the past, creating an environment that all but begs those mistakes to be repeated on a grander scale.

But the worst blow of all came with the law that struck down caffeinated beer. I don't drink beer, and I have recently given up caffeine. But the idea that the government feels that it has an interest in whether or not people choose to ingest two legal drugs at the same time (regardless of the stupidity involved) is a sad commentary on the continued overreaching that we have allowed of our government thus far.

So ask yourself this: if we just let California go, who would really get hurt?

Bringing my kids home

I have given a lot of thought to the idea of homeschooling in the last year, and after much consideration and prayer, I am planning to bring my children home next year. 
Several factors have gone into this decision, the main ones being the rising cost of a private education (especially when you happen to have more than the recommended 1.5 children) and the rapidly tanking quality of public education.Those reasons alone would most likely be enough, but the little things are starting to grate as well.

Such as:
In my state (Illinois) there are school districts that no longer allow children to bring lunches from home. In the interest of curbing childhood obesity - a laudable goal, to be sure - the state government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that school boards are better equipped than parents to provide healthy meals for their children.

Seemingly harmless social groups like the Girl Scouts of America (I was one, back in the day) are now teaming with NOW (the National Organization for Women) to encourage girls as young as ten to experiment with their own sexuality and to consider whether or not to disclose HIV status to any possible partners. And to add insult to injury, the GSA has now partnered with Media Matters for America. While it is good that they are encouraging young girls to be aware of media spin, they are suggesting only one resource for unraveling that spin - possibly the most biased resource possible. I'm going to miss their cookies.

No Child Left Behind is curbing my daughter's advancement. I have a seven-year-old who has been reading since she was four. She reads anything and everything, and she does her older brother's math homework faster than he can. Her class, even in a private school, cannot keep up with her. And because the focus is on getting everyone up to par, those who excel are left to do so on their own. Or stagnate. 

This fall, when their friends are hurrying out the door, my kids will be heading downstairs to our basement "classroom." They will learn history without censorship, revision, or political correctness. They will learn math without word problems that discuss union protesters. They will learn science that teaches theories as theories rather than fact, and that encourages them to question even the most accepted of "theories." And they will learn Latin. Because they can.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yo Herman, is that seat taken?

For months, the media virtually ignored Ron Paul. While I don't particularly like him, I do not think that he should be ignored. I firmly believe that the truth is the greatest weapon the public can have, and that the media should help to shed light on that truth. The sad fact is that the mainstream media is more interested in promoting a specific narrative than in doing what they, as "journalists," are tasked to do.

In recent weeks, to go along with a slight surge in the polls, Ron Paul has seen a surge in media coverage. Unfortunately for him, it was coverage that brought to light some very unflattering comments made in his newsletter years ago. Ron Paul brushed off the allegations, saying that the newsletters were written by other people and that he was not aware of their content until 2008 when the media used them to try to bury his campaign efforts. His supporters are saying that this new surge in negative media attention is a conspiracy to bring down his campaign with false allegations and rumors just as was recently done to front-runner Herman Cain.

But now, an actual letter signed by Ron Paul himself, used to advertise the newsletter in question, has surfaced that begs the question of how much of the content he was actually familiar with. The letter makes reference to the powerful "Israeli lobby," the "federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS," and tracking devices planted in the new hundred-dollar-bills.

The conclusions to be drawn here do little but raise more questions. Either Ron Paul wrote this himself, or he hired racists and extremists to do it in his name (either on purpose or by accident). If the former, then how likely is it really that his views have changed? And if his views have changed, why not say so? Why not say "I was younger then, and some of the things I believed were wrong"? If the latter, why did he not watch what was being written in his name and fire the people who were running the publication off the rails? If he, as the figurehead of his own publication, failed miserably at keeping a few writers in line, what can we expect from him as President? Congress and the Judiciary are likely to have stronger wills, more backing, and less fear than a few scribblers-for-hire.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thoughts from a noisy house

As much as I would love to sink my teeth in to the issues of the day and talk politics, I'm not sure that I am capable of doing so. There are workers on my roof, and I have reached the point at which I am no longer certain whether the excessive noise is confined to said roof or actually inside my skull...

But as long as I'm here:
Kudos to John Boehner for sticking to his guns thus far and demanding that the Senate come back to do the job they were elected to do. If the senators held any other job in America they would be fired for such conduct - leaving for a paid vacation before the project at hand was finished. It's kind of reminiscent of the Wisconsin lawmakers who fled to other states to avoid a vote they didn't like, only this time they have "Christmas with the family" to make their retreat a little more palatable to the populace. Also, begrudged congratulations to the mainstream media for doing such a good job snowing the general public that people are still blaming the Tea Party at large for the budget standoffs in Congress.

In other news:
Last night my son asked me what abortion was. Since he is only nine and I didn't want to get graphic, I simply said that abortion is when a doctor helps a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant to not be pregnant anymore. He immediately started to cry and asked, "But Mom, do the babies die?" "Yes, Son. Yes they do." A nine-year-old gets it. Why do we have to explain this to grown adults?

And please, for the love of God, can someone shake up the GOP primary field???

(Good gracious, it's loud in here.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

This week in Democratic wisdom...

Rod Blagojevich: Claims that he should get a new trial over juror misconduct. The "misconduct" in question? A juror - who was never told by the judge that her questionnaire was to be kept confidential - took a blank copy of the same questionnaire from the county clerk's office to show her students.

Joe Biden: "The Taliban is not our enemy per se." Unless they do what they have been doing up to this point and continue to make it harder for the current government to protect their people (and ours) from insurgents.

Hillary Clinton (Feb 2011): "The United States encourages and supports democracy...the people of Egypt will determine their own futures." Shouldn't be a problem for the United States (or, say, Israel) unless the unthinkable occurs and the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: "The House Republicans are so extreme that they will stop this bill and leave the middle class twisting in the wind." And yet she holds in high regard the Senators who have already left on a five-week taxpayer (read: middle class) funded vacation...

Eric Holder: Helps the ATF sell guns to the cartels and then hides his activity from the people whose tax money paid for the guns in the first place. When they ask him questions about the sanity of his actions, he claims that they wouldn't care if he weren't black.

Michelle Obama: Suggests that Christmas is not about the things you have, because sometimes you can't afford toys and that's okay. Says this immediately before departing with her daughters for a 17 day Hawaiian getaway. Wonder if she realizes that many of the Americans who can't afford toys are in that predicament because they are being forced to fund yet another $4 million vacation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Accidental Activism, Part 2

Once Obama was inaugurated, I still held out hope that things wouldn't get THAT bad. When the first 100 days included legislation that pledged United States taxpayers' money to fund abortion services overseas, I knew that I could not remain optimistic. 
Over the next year, in the shadows of debate over the healthcare reform bill, I educated myself. I listened to journalists and pundits on both sides. I read everything I could get my hands on - including the atrocity otherwise known as the "Affordable Healthcare Act." People who supported the healthcare bill kept telling me that if I would just read the right information, I would be in favor of it. But the more I read, the more I hated it. The more I believed with every fiber of my being that that one piece of legislation could very well be the straw that brought down the eagle.
My first experience with the Tea Party was shortly before the health care bill passed. A friend was involved with the Rolla, MO Tea Party, and I took the kids out to a protest.

I was so incensed at the thought that Americans were getting ready to willingly hand their rights back to the federal government, that I wrote my first ever essay on the subject. I started talking about the healthcare bill at work. I joined a forum on a page called "," which started out as an anti-Michael Moore website (that information alone made joining totally worth it) and had morphed into a forum for all topics. With members from all over the world, the Moorewatch forum boasted every possible ideology. It was there that I learned to apply my education and honed my debate skills. (Since then, Moorewatch has moved to "Right Thinking.")
One day, the Troop Clinic OIC (Officer In Charge) overheard me talking about it as I walked by. She then proceeded to inform me that "criticizing the President's healthcare bill was seen by some as speech that maligns the President," and that I could face administrative action. My response was, "Ma'am, with all due respect, the bill is Congress's, not the President's. And I have no intention of maligning the office of the President. My problem is not with any person, but rather with a piece of legislation - if it is not in keeping with the Constitution, there should be nothing restricting me from saying so." She left me with a repeat of her first warning, but to silence my newly found voice would have violated my conscience.
After the healthcare bill passed, there was a lot of talk about it within the military medical community. Soldiers were joining Tea Party groups en masse. The Marine SGT who started the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page was threatened with Court Martial, and the Chief of Staff of the Western Regional Medical Command (which I was part of) sent out a memo which on the surface seemed to say "don't say bad things about the President," but further examination revealed a veiled "don't you dare joint the Tea Party" message.

When I left the Army and came back to St. Louis six months later, I went back to school. I followed the Tea Party goings on on the local news (when they bothered to cover it), but forgot about getting involved myself.
Then one afternoon, while driving the kids to see their father in Rolla, I turned on the radio and tuned into The Dana Show on 97.1fm... 

Her guest that day was Andre Harper, and he was promoting his new book, The Citizen's Guide to Defeating the Mainstream Media. In fact, he was talking about a book release party that was to be happening that evening. I did some quick calculations in my head and realized that I could make it to that party...

That night I met Andre Harper, Dana Loesch, Christopher Arps and Martin Baker. I knew the minute I walked into that room that I was finished with my old life. My politics moved from the periphery to the central focus. And I got moving as well. To the St Louis Tea Party Coalition, to a position on Martin Baker's Congressional campaign team, and to the Gateway Grassroots Initiative.

What's next? Who knows? But I'm in.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Semi-serious handicapping of the 2012 field

Going into the primaries, Republicans and conservatives (again I say that they are not always the same thing) are desperately scanning the field, looking for the "right guy" to take on the nomination and go head to head with Obama.
Since we're now clear of the final GOP debate, I thought I'd do a little handicapping...Kruta style.

-gubernatorial experience, though he left Massachusetts in debt
-can attract the moderate vote
-stole John Kerry's hair
-appointed liberal judges while Governor of Massachusetts
-drew the blueprints for Obamacare
-supported gun control
-was a self-proclaimed moderate and progressive - until it became politically expedient to not be

-leadership experience as Speaker
-excellent record on right-to-life issues
-intellect that borders on ridiculous
-likens himself to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson
-supported No Child Left Behind and other progressive social programs
-supported the individual mandate

-fiscally brilliant
-as tired of government waste as we are
-honestly believes that Iran will not attempt to level the United States (or at the very least, Israel) if they are allowed to gain nuclear weapons technology

Michelle Bachmann:
-consistent in her conservatism on both fiscal and social issues
-congressional record that backs her words
-still fresh in Washington
-has leveled a few unfounded accusations - suggesting that Newt Gingrich's pro life record was less than stellar, and claiming that the HPV vaccine cause mental problems

Rick Perry:
-strong foreign policy ideas
-pro life and traditional family
-has never lost an election
-gubernatorial experience - and a strong record as governor
-used to be a democrat
-tends to place his foot in his mouth on camera and during debates
-mandated HPV vaccine (though he later said that was a mistake)

Rick Santorum:
-strong foreign policy
-strong pro-life record
-has won in a battleground state before (Pennsylvania)
-doesn't generate the necessary excitement to draw the vote

Jon Huntsman:
-gubernatorial experience (with a decent record)
-advocates a flat tax plan
-speaks Chinese
-could draw the moderate vote

So, how does that all play out? Huntsman might as well stay home, because if Republicans want a moderate they will vote Romney. Bachmann had a good start and has strong points, but ultimately she will get knocked out for lack of experience (and the few people who bought into the media's "but she's crazy" narrative). At this point, she seems to be cheerleading for Romney. Ron Paul's moment of opportunity comes if conservatives decide that Romney and Gingrich are both too moderate and everyone else is either too crazy or too unelectable. 
The real question comes down to what kind of voters will come out to the primaries. If Republicans vote based on perceived electability, the nomination will most likely go to Romney or Gingrich. If they vote based on conservative records and strong positions on the issues, it will go to Perry or Santorum.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Accidental Activism, Part 1

I never thought of myself as an activist. It never occurred to me that one day I would be up to my neck in a grassroots movement. I didn't sit in my high school study halls dreaming up slogans that would look good on a sandwich board. In fact, when I started high school, the sum total of my political education amounted to these two facts: 
1. Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans.
2. Bill Clinton was a sleazebag.
Both of these valuable pieces of information came from my mother, who liked Ronald Reagan (Clinton, not so much). My political education did not expand much in high school, or even when I first went to college. By the time my first Presidential election came around, in 2000, I was really without a political compass of any sort. But I had a moral compass, and that was enough.

While George W. Bush did some things that I will never understand (No Child Left Behind, TARP, and the stinking curly light bulbs), I never regretted placing my vote for him. I felt good about standing behind a man who fought to restrict embryonic stem cell research, who went to bed early on Saturday nights to be well rested for Sunday morning church services, and who had the strength to remain stoic while he finished that children's book even though he knew in that instant that America would never be the same again.

By the 2004 Presidential race, I was at least paying attention. A man came into the St Louis Bread Company (where I was working) wearing at least 3 pieces of John Kerry flair. When I asked what I could get for him, he winked and said, "We could use your vote." 
I politely told him that would never happen, but that I would gladly fix him latte.
He argued that Kerry was for women's rights. I told him that I don't support a woman's "right" to kill her own baby, could I get him a bagel? He said that Kerry was for the troops. I said, "Sometimes he is and sometimes he isn't. As an Army Reservist, I'd prefer someone who doesn't waffle on matters that affect my personal well-being." So HE said... "Well, you know that George Bush is stupid, right?" Huh. You don't say.

By 2008, I was on my way to being well-informed. I knew the issues and I knew the candidates, and I knew that Barack Obama was going to damage America, possibly irreparably. Of course, the fact that I had facts and logic that backed up my position didn't stop the stupidity that followed... Flash forward to Inauguration Day, 2009:
I was working in the xray department of the Troop Clinic at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. The trainees who were pretending to be sick sat quietly in the waiting room, watching the news coverage. Our outspoken receptionist, a retired Army nurse who happens to be black, yelled from her desk, "Would you turn that crap off? That man is the anti-Christ!" I heard her from my corner on the other side of the building. My receptionist, a Vietnam-era Sergeant (also black) had a different reaction: "How can she (the retired nurse) turn on her own kind like that?" I asked him what he meant by that. He said that since I was white, I would never understand. "You probably didn't vote for him anyway," he said.
"No, I didn't," I responded. "Because I disagree with his policy ideas."
"You just can't handle the idea of a black President."
"Actually, I don't care if he is black, green, or purple. I take issue with the fact that he is not pro life and his main goal is to force us into socialized medicine. Did you vote for him?"
He appeared indignant. "Of course I did!"
"And why is that?"
"It's about time there was a black man in the White House!"
Uh huh. And I'm the racist.

But a funny thing happens when your feet get put to the fire, when you get called names over the things that you believe. You either back down, or you learn to defend yourself. And backing down is something that I just don't have in my DNA.

to be continued...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Punch Above Your Weight

I understand that positions of political authority tend to make people think that their opinions are relevant and wanted. I understand that your ego can get a little bit inflated when audiences hang on your every word out of respect for your office if not for you.

But what does the American soldier need from his Commander-in-Chief? What the American soldier needs from his Commander-in-Chief is a Reaganesque promise to never suspend military pay in the event of government shut downs. He needs the confidence that his Commander-in-Chief will not use him as a political pawn whenever it is convenient, leaving his family in the lurch. He needs a Commander-in-Chief who performs his duties concerning soldiers as outlined by the Constitution and the War Powers Act. Marital advice? Thanks, Sir, but no thanks.

Newt Gingrich does the impossible

Newt Gingrich, in the space of one week, has done the impossible. He has made me favor Ron Paul. That being said, I want to make this part quite clear: I stand by every statement I have made concerning Ron Paul. I stand by my criticisms of his foreign policy (or lack thereof). All I'm saying here is that in a head to head match up between Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, right now I would probably have to side with Paul.

I know that statement will probably confuse many of my conservative friends, but it shouldn't. I have expressed my distaste more than once with conservatives who vote for candidates they consider "electable" instead of candidates they consider to be truly conservative. Newt Gingrich currently appears to be electable. His record, however, as I explored a few days ago, is not quite as conservative as he would like us to think. And constantly referring to himself as a "Theodore Roosevelt Republican" or a "Realpolitik Wilsonian" only further his progressive appearance. The former Speaker, as I have said before, is a brilliant man. It is highly unlikely that the implications of such statements have escaped him.

I have heard fellow conservatives say that they like Newt Gingrich regardless, and that if we manage to gain a majority in the Senate (and keep the majority in the House) we could easily reign in his progressive tendencies. But what does it say about conservatives if we are willing to give our voices to someone who will only speak our language IF we can manage to keep him on a leash? And what do we really expect Gingrich to do if (God forbid) we DON'T get that Senate majority in November of 2012?

What conservatives are effectively saying is that they want to buy a boat, and they don't care that the boat has a hole in it. They are banking on always having enough friends on hand to help them bail it out to keep it from sinking. With his big government solutions to small government problems, Gingrich is drilling holes in the boat. As he drills them, he carefully explains why the holes are helping to facilitate emptying the water, and then reassures us that as long as we keep bailing faster than he can drill we will be all right.

Ron Paul's boat doesn't have holes. And Ron Paul is not in the business of drilling them. His boat may be headed in a course that is slightly askew, but course can be corrected more easily than a boat can be unsunk. And the beauty of it is that we don't have to depend on the election of 2012 to give us a majority to keep Ron Paul in check. There would have to be a major upset in every House and Senate election for us to get a Congress that would NOT keep Ron Paul on a short leash.

But the upshot is this: I truly hate Ron Paul's foreign policy. I think it is absolutely wrong and dangerous for America. I believe that it places us at a much greater risk at the hands of other nations. But Newt Gingrich's record suggests that if he is allowed to implement his progressive public policies on a grander scale, he would place America in greater danger of being crushed under the weight of our own government.

Samuel Adams saw it coming...
"A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."
And a Gingrich Presidency would surely bring a continuation of the dissolution of principles - starting with those who vote for him when there may be a more conservative candidate in the mix. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Battle of the Half-wits?

Another day, another "Perry Gaffe" headline...

Why is it, do you think, that one man seems to trip over his tongue so regularly? Is it self-consciousness? Is it stupidity (as the media would like you to believe)? Or is there something more subversive at play here? I would suggest the latter.

Last week, Rick Perry made reference to the "country" Solyndra, when he meant to say "company." The press jumped up and down, rah-rahing on the sidelines and frantically waving their "Perry is Stupid" flags. But when Obama stood in his home state of Hawaii and claimed that he was in Asia, there were no flags. No ticker-tape. And no comment. 

Rick Perry couldn't remember the name of one of the three federal agencies that he wanted shut down. To me, that seems almost understandable, as there are so very many government agencies that should be on that list. But the press got out the flags then too, painting Perry as the duh-duh-duh-dummy. But their hero campaigned in 57 states without so much as a sideways glance.

Rick Perry was also criticized for flip-flopping the voting and drinking ages, and for suggesting that the Presidential election would be held on November 12 rather than November 6, 2012. Both seem to be simple mistakes that anyone could have made - especially when you consider that fact that when Perry was growing up, the voting age was 21. However, following a Kansas tornado that killed twelve people, Obama had this to say: "In case you missed it this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed."

The biggest gaffe Rick Perry has made in my mind, however was his statement concerning the heartlessness of people who don't support the Texas provision for in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Of course, none of the media outlets otherwise drooling over each slip of the tongue even bothered to really report that one - mainly because they agree with him. But in terms of insulting your would-be voters, I think the current President wins again. When asked why he had difficulty winning the votes of some in the working class, he responded: "It's not surprising that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."*

So why does the press not give equal coverage to the tongue-tripper-in-chief? Are they afraid he would respond to them the way he did to the reporter in a Pennsylvania diner? ("Why can't I just eat my waffle?") Why do they refuse to draw attention to the man who thinks we built an intercontinental railroad, who doesn't realize that Austrians speak English, who thinks that England and Great Britain are one and the same, and who truly believes that some of us have "made enough money?" This is the guy who, in one five minute presser that consisted of exactly two questions, racked up 2:47 worth of ums and ahs. Why is this not all over every newspaper? Every website? Every television news ticker?


*I really wanted to continue the Perry vs. Obama gaffes, but after hours of research on dozens of sites, I ran out of Perry gaffes. Seriously.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Roosevelt Republican?

The sound bites have been coming fast and furious this week after Glenn Beck compared Newt Gingrich to Barack Obama. Conservatives who support the former Speaker are furious that Beck doesn't see the obvious differences between the two over issues such as Dodd-Frank. While there are other examples of policy differences between the two, how deep is the chasm between the two of them really?

The answer, to those who were listening, came directly from the horse's mouth just last week, when Gingrich identified himself as a "Theodore Roosevelt Republican." Which begs the question: what *is* a Theodore Roosevelt Republican? And how *exactly* is it different from a Theodore Roosevelt Democrat?

First, I would suggest that by today's standards, Teddy Roosevelt would be what we call a RINO (Republican In Name Only), a moderate-to-liberal progressive who then uses the bait-and-switch method on the unsuspecting citizens who voted for him. He baits them on conservative-to-moderate smaller government principles, and then once elected he pulls the switch, offering instead big government solutions.

President Obama sets himself up to be the quintessential Theodore Roosevelt Democrat by effectively parroting the famous "New Nationalism" speech given in 1910 in the very same location.
"We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community."                       - T. Roosevelt, 1910
"It's not a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all society's problems. It's a view that says in America, we are greater together -- when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share." - Barack Obama, 2011
If that is what a Theodore Roosevelt Democrat looks like, what exactly is Newt Gingrich picturing when he claims to be a Theodore Roosevelt Republican? 

  • His votes for Medicare Part D and his original support of the individual mandate (which he walked back when it became exceedingly unpopular) align well with Roosevelt's progressive plan to implement a National Health Service and Social Insurance.
  • His support of legislation like TARP is necessitated by Roosevelt's antitrust laws which removed the "bailout/buyout" power from the private sector because people like J.P. Morgan had "made enough money."
  • His vote for progressive social programs such as "No Child Left Behind" betray a belief in the need for "social justice" that Roosevelt claimed could only be enforced by a powerful federal government.
  • The powerful federal government the Theodore Roosevelt helped to create allowed Gingrich to stand with Nancy Pelosi to pass the "Criminal Safezones Act," which served to do nothing but limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
So as a Theodore Roosevelt Republican, Gingrich allies himself with the opposition more often than not. He proposes big government solutions to problems that can only be solved by a reduction of government interference. 

In the 1904 election, Theodore Roosevelt faced off with Democratic challenger Alton B. Parker. On the issues the two men were nearly in lock step, and the election came down to charisma. This suggests that Theodore Roosevelt, the first genuine "Theodore Roosevelt Republican," would have been perfectly happy to have been a democrat. Given the indisputable brilliance of the former Speaker, it is not likely that Gingrich was unaware of the implications when he drew himself into the parallel.

So, Roosevelt Republican vs Roosevelt Democrat? To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Can we get a real conservative candidate to step in and call the whole thing off?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Disorganizing for America

Over the last few months - in fact, since the inauguration of Barack Obama - those on the right have complained about the Obama Administration using taxpayer dollars in order to fund what seems to be a continuous campaign effort on the part of the President. However, at this point I do not believe he is campaigning. Rather, he is chopping wood. 

Moderate voters drove Obama to victory in 2008, coming out in record numbers to propel him into office. His ideas and policies have slowly eroded away the support of moderates, leaving him barely hanging on to the far left. Even those on the far left are disappointed, claiming that his efforts have not been drastic enough. In order to win over enough of the moderates for a repeat victory in 2012, Obama has only two remaining options:

First, he can court the moderates through speech and policy. This would mean compromising with republicans in Congress. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not likely to support any measure that includes such compromise.

Second, he can attempt to drive a wedge into the American public. All he needs to do in this case is pick one or two hot-button issues (the wedge) and hammer them until there is a fracture in the populace. As that fracture spreads, more and more of the moderate voters will be forced to take sides. For him to attempt this strategy, he banks on the greater number falling out to his side.

If you have been watching the actions of the Administration and listening to the speeches of the President and those who support him, it is abundantly clear which strategy he has adopted. The continued race-baiting and slander of those who have done nothing more repugnant than disagree with the President's policies (like those who associate with the Tea Party movement) and attempts to draw average Americans into large scale class warfare (by continually preaching about "your fair share" that currently resides in someone else's pockets and by perpetuating the message of groups such as Occupy Wall Street) the President has clearly chosen sides. The only question that remains is whether or not the American public can see the wedge and hammer strategy for what it is.

Those of us in St. Louis are in a particularly good position to see this coming, as this is the very same strategy that recently fractured the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition. There were rumors that MO2 congressional candidate Ed Martin was the cause of the problem, but that is far from the truth. Ed Martin was just the wedge. The axe was wielded by the group of people who failed to separate the candidate from the cause, and then doubled down on that failure by making the candidate outweigh the cause. In their case, the strategy worked. And it worked quickly.

I have no doubt that President Obama and his team have the ability to cause a fracture in the United States. The question is whether it will be the kind of fracture that we can use to rebuild our nation, or the kind that allows us to double down on the failures we have already seen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yep, ignorance fits your ideology too

The question:
Why are republicans blocking the payroll tax cut? Isn't this the kind of tax shift that would be likely to create jobs while maintaining a balanced budget? Trickle-down economics is the centerpiece of republican economic strategy, isn't it? Isn't it a shorter "trickle" from employer to workforce than from investor to workforce?

My answer:
Not when you consider the fact that the tax increase included in the package is likely to land squarely in the lap of the small business owners/job creators. It has to be a tax cut that is across the board for the trickle-down concept to even be relevant. All the current proposal does is bail water out of one sinking boat by dumping it into another simply because it isn't sinking quite as fast.

And, of course, it went on from there. We'll call my sparring partners Fred and Ed to protect the innocent unprepared other guys.

It is hardly congruent with reality to say that someone's boat is sinking when they make over $1million a year.

Is it congruent with reality to say that the person who makes less than $1million deserves a tax cut that is subsidized by someone whose only mistake is too much success?
For example, my father-in-law owns a bakery. If the bakery makes over $1million in a year, the included tax increase will affect him. As do the ever increasing business taxes. Giving him a payroll tax cut is barely a drop in the bucket that would reverse the oppressive tax burden he is already under. Every time his taxes (business or personal income) he has to weigh the following options: take a personal loss, raise prices, fire someone, or work extra hours to avoid having to hire someone new. Every single one of his options is detrimental to the local economy. If he makes less, he spends less. If his prices go up, his customers have to pay more or he loses business. If he fires someone, the become a drain on the economy by becoming eligible for unemployment. And if he cannot hire anyone, he cannot help to decrease the number of people drawing unemployment currently.

1. The proposed tax plan would save your father-in-law a lot of money, because it would cut his payroll tax in half.
2. Corporate income taxes haven't increased since 1993. Didn't Glenn Beck tell you that?

The bakery is in Illinois, where the business taxes increased 22% just last year. And what good is a payroll taxcut if they more than compensate by gouging him on his personal income taxes? 
And to assume that since I disagree with you I must be listening to conspiracy theories only proves that ignorance is available to fit all ideologies

And that was when Fred and Ed decided it would be best to discontinue the conversation...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Workplace Violence: the New Terrorist Threat

I hate euphemisms. At a very basic level, they are simply deceptions. They are words designed to make us think something is not quite as bad as it is. But no matter the design, those words cannot effect change on the reality that is. After all, does the man who "shuffles off this mortal coil" not die? 

No one is better at euphemisms than politicians and the mainstream media. In fact, at times I think they may actually be in direct competition on that score.

For example, we all know that when President Obama uses the word "invest" what he means is that he plans to raise taxes, and they will probably be your taxes. But since it's really an investment into public education or healthcare or what have you, he expects you to be happy about it. 

When the media wishes to call someone a liar, instead of taking Rep. Joe Wilson's approach, they skirt the issue. "Well, the facts have been called into question." This tactic leads the public to suspect that the problem is in the facts themselves rather than in the idiot who chose to misrepresent them.

So what brings euphemisms to the forefront today? Yesterday I read about the fact that the White House has classified the attack on Fort Hood by U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan as "workplace violence." The reason they gave was the fact that they couldn't really call it a terrorist attack because there were "no real ties connecting Hassan to terrorist organizations." Except for the twenty or so emails exchanged between Hassan and Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader who was killed this past year in Yemen.

However, DHS head Janet Napolitano spoke just last week in direct opposition to the White House's claim. She lists Hassan with other so called "lone-wolf" terrorists, people who act alone and with limited or nonexistent ties to known terrorist organizations.

Euphemisms have been traditionally used in order to protect someone or something. We say that "Grandma went to Heaven" to protect a child from the reality of death. We say that the President's "credibility is being questioned" to protect the American public from the reality that not all Presidents are as upright as they would like to believe.

In this case, by calling Nidal Hassan's act of terrorism an act of "workplace violence," WHO IS THE WHITE HOUSE PROTECTING?

I feel safer already, don't you?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tempest in a Tea Cup

There has been much ado lately about what the Tea Party is and is not, so I would like to take a moment and sum up my thoughts on the matter. Keep in mind that although I associate myself with the Tea Party at large, I do not actually speak for anyone else involved in grass roots conservative politics.

The Tea Party is a closely knit band of brothers, but at the same time a loosely knit organization. The genius lies in its lack of top-down organization, an anomaly that only a true grassroots movement can create. It quite effectively turns the Tea Party into a political hydra, growing back two or more new voices for every patriot silenced by a maligning media. The Tea Party is a mismatched and disorganized group of pissed off citizens who have politically had it up to here. And the dangerous thing is that most of them are educated - in life experience if not institutes of higher (lefter) learning.

The Tea Party IS NOT a political action committee.The Tea Party is not campaign central for any particular candidate. And the Tea Party is not a prized endorsement waiting to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The Tea Party endorsing a particular candidate, especially as early as a primary, is somewhat akin to the Church endorsing a particular candidate. It changes the meaning of the meeting, the meaning of the worship. The Tea Party is a very diverse group of people who come together for one common cause. That cause is to wake up the nation to the disaster at hand, not to propel certain people into office. As soon as it becomes about one person, the focus becomes removed from the cause.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with candidates who associate themselves with the Tea Party (or a church, for that matter) or who embrace their ideals. But to do so with the intent of co-opting the driving force behind those ideals is disingenuous at best. At worst, it's devious and unforgivable. And somewhat reminiscent of the liberal tactics that those in the Tea Party have been fighting against from day one.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Flavor of the Decade

Ron Paul is the "flavor of the decade."

Heh. My first thought, after hearing that statement, was, "Well, that certainly explains my lack of appetite."

But seriously. By nicknaming himself in such a way, Ron Paul actually removes some of his own credibility. Sure, he did it to paint himself as the one with the most longevity as compared to "flavors of the month." But the problem is that if he fancies himself to be most in line with the Constitution and the way the Founding Fathers imagined our nation at its inception, he should be calling himself the "flavor of the nation." 

The "flavor of the decade" is still transitory and at the mercy of the notoriously fickle voting public. 

The "flavor of the decade" will pass, like the Backstreet Boys, parachute pants, Vanilla Ice, love-ins and bell bottoms.

The "flavor of the decade" will be remembered fondly by some, and will leave a foul taste in the mouths of others.

The "flavor of the decade," like any other fad, will not suck in everyone - only the suckers.

Warning: do not read this if you love Twilight.

About a week ago, I was accused of being a "hater" because I made the comment, "If the only good thing you have to say about it concerns the soundtrack, then it's a safe bet the movie SUCKS." (This was in reference to the new Twilight film.) And the accusation was accurate - I do hate Twilight. But it's not like I just hate it for no reason. I hate it because vampires are supposed to be evil and soulless, not sparkly. I hate it because Stephenie Meyer is better suited to writing for bad soaps. I hate it because Kristin Stewart is monotonous. And Robert Pattinson was so desperately awful that even the Harry Potter movie only hired him to drop dead.

And then I got to thinking about the other things I have said that made people call me "hater."

I analysed Ron Paul and his platform and came to the conclusion that I could never support him. I was immediately told (by someone whose position was that "not all Ron Paul supporters resort to ad hominem attacks in debates over the issues") that I must be horribly uneducated and that I couldn't possibly be in favor of a more Constitutional government. (Hater.)

Right before the health care bill passed, I said to a friend (who was in favor of the health care bill, though every time I referenced parts of it, he responded with, "well, I haven't read that part") that any elected official in the United States who was willing to circumvent the Constitution for personal or political gain should be tried for treason and hanged on the White House lawn. He said that he couldn't talk to me because I obviously advocated cruelty - the death penalty. I asked him how not advocating cruelty sat with his claim that he was pro-life and his vote for Obama, who began his presidency by authorizing American tax-payer dollars to fund abortions in foreign countries. (Hater.)

I guy I used to work with confronted me on the day of Obama's inauguration. He accused me of voting for McCain because I was a racist. I told him that I didn't care if Obama was black, green, or purple - I didn't like his policies. He huffed and puffed and told me that I just couldn't bear to see a black man in the White House. (Hater.)

So maybe it's true that there are a few things I hate. But it's not likely that I do so without reason.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rapid fire update

So, it's been awhile. A stomach virus for me plus three of the kids and pending final exams will do that...

So, Herman Cain is out. Taking bets here on how long it takes him to endorse Romney.

This just in: it is now politically correct to refer to the British as the "English"...but only if you're the President.

Craft fairs now involve more than just homemade items - it seems that Pampered Chef reps now qualify as "crafters."

Switching to decaf when your husband gets stuck with a week's worth of extra - long shifts and you and the kids get sick is poor timing.

Obama is "really sorry" about all those people who died in Pakistan. I'm sure they're taking that well.

Hillary Clinton has once again pissed off the Israelis. Good call making her Secretary of State, yeah?

Another dead at an Occupy camp. So glad they're just like the Tea Party.

Justice Department in a tailspin over Fast and Furious. They could save themselves the trouble and just give Holder up already. (another good hiring move on the part of the President)

And since everything seems to be completely under control, the Obamas are off to Hawaii for an extended vacation - though Congress may not get any time off if they refuse to cower before the President's latest threats regarding budget negotiations...

Business as usual, I guess.