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Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy: A Fair Trade?

I know it seems like I've been harping quite a bit on the Occupy protesters, and maybe I have. I thought about it, and here's why:

1)I am very close to St. Louis. We just had a great business boom thanks to four World Series games (including the final one) in the last two weeks. We could have had even more business, but the jokers parked in Kiener Plaza (pregame pep rally turf until the "SOCIALISM NOW!" signs arrived) most likely kept all but the die-hardest of die-hards off the grass - and away from the vendors.

2)I have friends who have devoted their lives - and a few who have GIVEN their lives (Leston 'Tony' Winters) - in order to protect the freedoms and the flag that these "occupiers" are ridiculing and abusing. 

3)I personally spent ten years of my life defending those freedoms. I am something of a free speech purist (I actually wrote a paper last year defending the Supreme Court decision to uphold the First Amendment Rights of the Westboro Baptist Church), which means that I truly believe Rousseau's statement: "I do not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." However, that does not mean that I believe we should sit silently by and allow the occupiers to be the only voice. We must counter Rousseau with Jefferson: "Error of opinion will be tolerated as long as Reason is left free to combat it."
Because I believe in what America is, I offered up things in trade that in retrospect seem unthinkable. I traded the early years at home with my young children for a trust fund baby's right to tell the world how evil his parents are by taking a dump on the American flag. I traded seeing my youngest daughter's first steps for the undeniable right that a group of men has to gang rape a woman at a protest site. I traded helping my kids with homework for a transsexual's right to promote Maoism. And the list goes on, ad (literally) nauseam.

So this Occupy madness strikes quite a personal chord for me. I watch the goings on in absolute shock most days. At the end of it all, I pray only for two things: First, that America is still strong enough to recover when the dust settles. And second, for my friends like Tony - that you guys who died to give us what we have can look down on the hell being unleashed in America and know that there are still a few of us left willing to fight to the death to get her back.

You keep using that word...

The "Occupy" protests have cropped up in many cities all over the United States in the last month. Since then, amid allegations of drug use, public masturbation, sexual assault and violence, those involved with (and supporting) the "occupy" movement have consistently used two phrases: "non-violent" (in reference to themselves) and "police brutality" (in reference to anyone who attempts to keep them in check). Having followed recent events fairly closely, I have come to the conclusion that they are using these phrases because they sound pretty rather than because they actually understand them.

Occupy DC: "non-violent" protesters push past a security guard (who was doing his job when he refused them access to the building), nearly crushing him. When he defends himself with mace, protesters scream "police brutality!"

Occupy Oakland: "non-violent" protesters are cleared from an illegal camp. They attempt to force their way back to the camp area, roughing up police in the process by firing paint guns and throwing paint bombs and anything else they can find (including tableware). Police respond with tear gas, and a few protesters are injured. Again, it is the "police brutality" that makes the news.

Occupy Denver: "non-violent" protester flips a police officer's motorcycle - with the policeman still on it. The cop, who thankfully was not badly hurt, chased him down and subdued him - to a chorus of "police brutality!" from those watching the event unfold.
Occupy's growing rap sheet...

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cumulative compromise

This morning, while listening to Allman in the Morning Show on 97.1 FM, Dr. Randy Tobler offered the following dilemma:
So do we vote our principles and nominate a hard right candidate, taking the chance that Obama might be elected again? We know that another four years of Obama's policies could possibly do irreparable damage to the Republic. But we also know that another four years of Obama's policies is likely to drive the nation much more solidly toward the right.
Or do we attempt to stop the bleeding any way that we can, and nominate a moderate. Do we compromise principle in order to keep things from getting worse?
That question, the same question that many Republicans and Conservatives (keep in mind, they are not always the same thing) are currently kicking around, seriously irks me. It irks me because it is a question we should never have to answer. It is a question we should never have to ask. But we have several problems that make that question an unfortunate necessity.

First, a precedent has been set - particularly within the Republican Party itself. They repeatedly offer up nominees who are deemed "electable" rather than principled. The true brilliance of this plan is showcased in the fact that once those people get elected (the ones chosen specifically on the basis of their moderate views), the party at large expects them to suddenly grow a conscience and principles - to the point of becoming angry with them when they (predictably) stray from a hard line conservative agenda.

Second, conservatives electing moderates also make it far easier for liberals to elect those on the far left. Why? Because Americans expect a little opposition in their politics. If the Republican candidate is a moderate, the Democrats have to provide the opposition. They cannot effectively do so with another moderate (a duel between vanilla and french vanilla is hardly a contest that will keep the spectators interested). Thus the more moderate the Republican candidates become, the easier it becomes for far leftists to be propelled into office wearing "moderate" labels.

So instead of standing on our beliefs, we allow ourselves to be convinced that a vote for the hard right is ultimately a vote for the opposition. But when we buy into that mentality, we aren't just compromising our beliefs - we are facilitating a society that rewards mediocrity instead of striving for excellence. We lower our standards to fit the given candidates rather than demanding that a candidate measure up to our standards. We are accepting the best that we think we can get rather than accepting nothing but the best.

The real problem lies in the fact that the overall effects are cumulative. Every time we compromise just one principle on the altar of electability, we lower the bar for the next moderate who enters the field. We blame the culture, we blame the liberals, we blame the influence of a left-leaning media - but much of the blame for the leftward slide of the Republic can be placed firmly on the shoulders of conservatives who are more concerned with the number of "R's" than with what each individual "R" really stands for.

Conservatives, for these reasons, have become resigned to the idea that in every election cycle we will be reduced to voting for the lesser of two evils. In order to get out of this rut, our only escape is to purge the evil from within our own ranks. This is not possible until we become willing to cede a single battle in order to win the war.

That is why, when faced with the panel of possible 2012 Presidential nominees, I do not ask "Which of these is best?" Instead, I ask (as should we all), "Are these the best we can do?"


Monday, October 24, 2011

Dentists, donuts, and union stooges

I had a dental emergency this morning - basically one of my lower left molars felt the need to implode, causing me serious amounts of pain. Anyway, I was fortunate enough to find a dentist (Webster Dental Care, if anyone is interested) that could take me first thing this morning.
By nine-thirty, I was leaving the dentist's office, quite pleased with the way events had transpired. Prescription in hand, I made for the nearest WalMart.

But first, a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee...

I saw the sign as I turned in to the parking lot - two men with the typical union umbrellas stood on either end of a giant sign that read "Shame on Lowe's" and made other references to a labor dispute. What made me giggle was the fact that the word "Lowe's" had been taped over the name of the previous business that they had protested... So effectively the sign said "Shame on <insert target business here>."

I didn't think much of it - other than developing a sudden and unexplainable urge to spackle something - and continued into DD for my coffee. 

As I pulled out of the DD parking lot and headed for WalMart, I passed two other men wearing union shirts and hats and carrying stacks of flyers. They were waiting for cars to stop at the stop signs and then walking up to the drivers' windows to hand them the papers. I stopped at the stop sign, ignoring their attempts to get my attention, and then began to pull away. One of them stepped off the curb and literally began to chase after my car, waving the flyers behind me. Both men began shouting about how evil I was for not supporting Missouri workers. I can't be sure, but I believe that several obscenities were hurled. And I think one of them mentioned my mother.

I wanted to tell them that the second they stepped off the curb - whether or not they were invited by the driver to approach the car - they were breaking Missouri state law. I wanted to tell them that I lived in Illinois. But I wanted my prescription more, so I let it go.

Some people who read this post will get annoyed at me for being anti-union. If anti-union and anti-a-hole are the same thing, then I guess I am.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The gift that keeps on giving...

A few days ago, I happened to mention Vice President Joe Biden in conversation. My friend, who shall remain nameless, rolled her eyes and proclaimed him "a tool." I shrugged and said, "I used to think so, but not anymore. In fact, I really like him lately." The confused look on her face was priceless. "Explain," she demanded. And so I did.

Joe Biden used to irritate me. I disagree with his politics,  I think he's fundamentally wrong on most important issues, and from what I've seen I doubt I'd even want to have a beer with the guy. (Well, I don't drink, but I think the analogy would stand if I substituted coffee for beer.) So why would I say that I like him if that is how I feel about him? Because Joe Biden is the gift that keeps on giving. Just about every time he opens his mouth, whether or not he realizes that the mic is live, he says something that makes even the least intelligent conservative look like the head of a think tank.
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, "Look, here's what happened...'" Which would have been quite moving if a)FDR had been President when the stock market crashed in 1929 (he was elected in 1932) or b)television had been past the experimental stages at the time. 
He famously asked Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, to "Stand up, Chuck, let them see ya!"
There are definitely plenty more "Bidenisms" I could draw from, but what really caught my attention is the drivel he has been spewing in the last week in a misguided attempt to promote President Obama's "New-Stimulus-Same-as-the-Old-Stimulus" Jobs Bill. Referencing statistics from the city of Flint, Michigan, Biden asserted that Obama's job bill and the additional funding it would provide for police manpower is the only thing standing between the innocent population and the virtual guarantee that they would come to physical harm. He cited FBI rape and murder statistics, statistics that don't quite add up according to the Washington Post. Yet Biden stands by his assessment, effectively doubling down on his own bad information. 

So yes, I enjoy watching Joe Biden, waiting for what gem of wisdom he will bestow upon us next.

Incidentally, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is in the running for the title as well. After all, it's because of her we're aware that "the evil Republicans are trying to make it a crime to be in this country illegally."

I couldn't write stuff this good if I tried.

According to Nan: Medical Care = Taxpayer-funded Buyer's Remorse

So, I lost an entire week due to midterms... Guess I'll just jump right in.

This past week, the House Republicans passed a bill that outlined in detail the fact that federal funding through the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. the abomination that is Obamacare) could never be used to fund abortion services. This bill should not even be necessary, as President Obama himself issued a statement declaring that exact sentiment in order to snake the votes of the Stupak Twelve. 

(If you recall, there was some doubt leading up to the passage of the A.H.A. as to whether or not the President had the support even within his own party to put the measure through. The holdouts were Bart Stupak and eleven other pro-life democrats who were concerned that the bill allowed for federal funding of abortions, something they could not allow. It was Obama's promise to issue a signing statement barring the use of federal funds through Obamacare for abortion - and perhaps an airport in Stupak's hometown - that ultimately caused the Stupak Twelve to fold.)

In the moments leading up to the vote on this most recent bill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi displayed her California roots, and in an Oscar-worthy display of histrionics pleaded with the House to let the bill die. "A vote for this bill," she whined, "is vote for women to die on the floors because they have no available treatment."

But Nan, a vote against this bill is a vote for Presidents to be allowed to waffle and rescind their own words without accountability. When there is once again a Republican in the White House, I'm sure that you will regret setting that precedent.

And for what it's worth - no one is voting against women receiving medical care. No one is voting against emergency treatment of women (or children or men, for that matter) in trauma centers regardless of their immediate ability or inability to pay. They are voting for two things: First, to remind the President that whether he likes it or not, he is accountable to Congress and to his own words. And second, to remind women that "medical care" and "tax-payer funded buyer's remorse" are not the same thing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Beat Wall Street (And you can too)

Wall Street wants Americans to be in debt. Wall Street wants Americans to suffer because of the debt that snowballs and causes them to struggle every day. Wall Street created a corrupt system based on keeping and growing their wealth that is designed to keep the poor little guy down. They must hate me, because I didn't fall for it.

When I first went off to college at 18, one of the schools I liked would have cost my $25,000 per year ($100,000 for a full four years). I had good grades, a great SAT score and a full list of extra-curriculars, but I still would have needed to take out at least half of the amount in student loans. Banks offered me the loans, chomping at the bit and hoping desperately that I would fall into their evil grasp. My parents, totally scammed by the system, offered to cosign my loans. After careful thought, I arrived at a decision: not wanting to be weighed down by $50,000 in student loans the moment I graduated, I turned down the loans and chose a school that I could afford. After two years, I joined the Army. They taught me several skills, paid me for my time, and are now paying for me to finish my degree - free of debt. Take that, Wall Street!

I decided, after joining the Army, that I didn't really want to be helping to finance a corrupt system by keeping my money in a bank that engaged in predatory lending practices and exorbitant fees. So I thumbed my nose at "Big Finance," closed my account, and kept my money safe and secure at a military credit union. Owned by the members, Credit Unions are smaller and more directly accountable to their customers - and they are still obligated to follow all federal laws concerning safe lending practices and deposit insurance.

When my ex-husband left a few years ago, he left me with the sudden need to find reliable (and affordable) childcare and no working vehicle. Because I was already broke, I knew that I couldn't afford to take on a car payment and an insurance payment (not to mention gas and routine or - God forbid - emergency maintenance). Sure, I could have taken out a car loan and gone into debt. I imagine that thought alone was causing them to wring their hands in anticipation. But once again, I held my ground against the oppressive, money-hungry crooks and walked to work for six months instead.

My financial situation was so desperate that I had credit card companies sending me pre-approved offers at least two to three times a week. I had the fat cats drooling so much that I had to dry the envelopes before I could even read the offers. But my stance was firm, and Wall Street failed again.

The fact of the matter is, Wall Street wants your money. Wall Street knows how to get your money. That's pretty much their job description. What Wall Street hopes you never figure out is that it's your job to learn how to keep your money. Stop whining and do it already, teach Wall Street a lesson!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A few random thoughts...

Today has been a rather long day, and tomorrow morning will likely come earlier than I would like it to. So I will depart this day with a few thoughts that have been cluttering up my mind today:

The Cardinals won tonight.

An eighteen month old will find everything in a room that is *not* childproof in less than fifteen minutes.

At the end of a long day, it's a good idea to know which pizza place delivers the fastest.

The clothes you want to wear tomorrow were in the load of laundry you meant to get to but forgot about.

When the OccupySTL crowd is juxtaposed with a public park full of Cardinals fans, carrying an open beer and screaming starts to look professional. (If I have to tell you which group had the beer, you have more problems than I can help you with.)

A day at the spa is more relaxing when your husband orders you to go.

Everything is less stressful in the eight hours following a good massage.

Ten pages of arguments concerning jury nullification is more than I ever wanted to read, much less write.

Coffee makes everything better. Even homework.

Did I happen to mention that the Cardinals won tonight?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Same problem, different solutions

From what I can decipher of the hodge podge of videos and crayoned signs, the chief complaint of the "occupy" movement is that Wall Street and the "big banks" are corrupt. Greedy bankers, investment companies and big corporations are abusing the system to fleece the little guy and take his money.

Many of the protesters, when pressed, will also concede that politicians are corrupt as well. They say whatever they need to say to keep getting themselves reelected, and then they use their position to further a personal or political agenda that may or may not be in the best interest of the people (and will generally net them a few hefty campaign donations along the way).

So far, I and many others in the Tea Party movement would agree completely. Sarah Palin addresses that very topic - crony capitalism - in her remarks on the "Defending the Republic" tour with Glenn Beck. 

But when we look for a solution, we differ. 

The "Occupy" movement wants the federal government to step in and regulate Wall Street/banks, forcing them to "return the money they have stolen from the people." Essentially, they want the government to advocate and enforce the redistribution of wealth from the proverbial 1% to the 99%.

The Tea Party movement, conversely, wants to remove government from the equation. If Wall Street cannot buy politicians to protect them with bailouts and regulations that favor the house, then they become accountable to the people. In a free market system, the people choose which businesses and corporations (banks included) survive. Regulations that falsely support businesses that should be failing allow those businesses to implement practices that would otherwise cause people to leave those businesses, causing them to fail. That type of regulation breeds corruption and leads to the crony capitalism we see today.

So why is the Tea Party's solution the "right" one? LOGIC.

"Occupy" wants to fix one corrupt institution (Wall Street) by giving more regulatory power to another corrupt institution (the government). They then expect that second corrupt institution to use its newly expanded power for good. Yeah. Because that has worked well in the past...
"Occupy" makes one other fatal mistake: They assume that making the government do something that they want (regulate and/or redistribute the wealth on Wall Street) proves that they have the power. All it actually proves is that they are willing to cede their power to the government to get a specific result. What they forget is that we must be extremely careful when giving power to the government - because without a revolution, the government is not likely to give that power back. 

The people do not prove their power by making the government do something that we want. Rather, we prove our power by keeping the government from doing something that it wants. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Kingmaker

About a week ago the unsinkable woman from Wasilla, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, announced on Mark Levin's radio show that she would not be seeking the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential election. She clarified further that she would not be entering the race as an independent candidate either. 

The reasons she cited were understandable - she felt she had more power and influence when working behind the scenes. She also has enjoyed the freedom she has to say what she likes when she likes and to whom she likes when she is not attempting to maintain a particular image as a candidate.

There were those who were terribly disappointed to hear this news, actor Michael Moriarty probably chief among them. There were also those who were simply disappointed that she didn't make the announcement a little earlier. Personally, I was hoping that she would wait just a few days longer. As I posted last night, I had the privilege of attending the "Defending the Republic" tour which featured both Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. It would have been exciting to have her make her final announcement live in St. Louis... (But I guess I will have to be content with a massive win for the Cardinals last night.)

There were probably a few lefty journalists who were salivating at the thought of a Palin Presidential campaign. The media, in the time since John McCain announced the relative unknown from Alaska as his 2008 running mate, has done a fairly thorough job of crucifying her in the court of public opinion. I took a Politics and Media class a year ago, (I signed up for the course as a joke to see how many liberals I could annoy, and look where THAT got me...) and of the twelve people in the class, nine were certain that Ms. Palin had made the following statement: "I can see Russia from my back porch." When I pointed out that the quote in question was actually attributed to Tina Fey from a Saturday Night Live sketch, their response was simply, "Well, she's still stupid." Having seen her speak live once and off-the-cuff in several television interviews, I would say it is fairly obvious that stupid is one thing she is most certainly not. But after three years of being skewered by the mainstream media, the general public doesn't know that.

And her intelligence is made even more obvious by her decision to stay away from the Presidential race in 2012. She knows that if she were to jump into the race, she couldn't hope to be anything more than a sacrifice fly. She would not win the Presidency. Odds are she would not even win the Republican nomination. The most she could hope to do is drive the debate, and she can do that just as well from outside the race. In fact, she can probably do it better. Without her own candidacy to worry about, she can focus on kingmaking. The 2010 election was proof positive that she has endorsement power. Nearly every candidate she threw her weight behind ended up with a ticket to Washington in November of 2010. Barack Obama, in contrast, couldn't get his people elected by accident. 

So Sarah is out of the race. The next question is obvious: who will she choose as the next President of the United States? Because whoever she chooses ought to start packing his things now.

Leopards on Wall Street? I didn't think so.

Over the last few days, the media has tried to draw some pretty serious comparisons between the Tea Party and the "Occupy" groups that started on Wall Street and have since cropped up all over the United States. They are suggesting that the two groups are virtually the same, although the Tea Party draws on the Bible and the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams for inspiration and the Occupy groups consistently cite Che Guevera and Karl Marx. They are calling Occupy a grassroots movement, even though it has been proven that protesters are being bused in for the event, and in some cases even paid to be there

The differences in their fundamental values and desires are, for the most part, polar opposites. Bill Hennessey did a fantastic job of outlining those differences in his blog yesterday.

As Hennessey mentioned, the only thing the Tea Party and the Occupy movement really have in common is our dissatisfaction with the bank bailouts. However, while the Tea Party is opposed to ALL government bailouts, the Occupy movement opposes any government bailout that is given to anyone other than themselves.
I would like to draw a comparison that I think makes a little more sense than the ones the media has been throwing out.

Imagine, if you will, that the Tea Party is actually a group of leopards. Leopards are generally solitary animals. In fact, just about the only time they really socialize is when they are concerned with raising and protecting their cubs. I'm not suggesting that the Tea Party is anti-social - rather, most of the people involved in Tea Party events will tell you that they got involved "because I had to," "because I need to preserve a strong, better America for my children," or "because I don't want my children to be forced to pay for my generation's mistakes." Very few of them envisioned, or even wanted, a life devoted to conservative political activism. In this case, their social activity is very much a function of protecting their children.

If the Tea Party is made up of leopards, then the Occupy movement is made up of monkeys. They swing from the trees, and when the group who went out and gathered food returns, they all surround the successful hunters and beg for food. The hunters share their food with their mates and favorites first, then may or may not share what is left with the others. Those who get little or no food sit on the outskirts of the group and grunt and throw things. They depend on other members of the group to groom their fur and remove parasites and insects from their skin.

What happened this past week is that the media realized that each monkey had one freckle. And instead of seeing a monkey with a freckle, all they saw was a spot that indicated that the animal was instead a leopard.

In the medical profession, there is a saying: "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses - not zebras." The media would do well to take this lesson to mean: "If it looks like socialism, think socialists - not Constitutionalists."

A Night To Remember...

I am exhausted. I got home after midnight, and I had no choice but to finish my psychology homework. After that, I had every intention of falling asleep before my head hit the pillow. Obviously this did not happen. (It is currently 2:03am CST)
I spent the evening at the Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck event, "Defending the Republic." The event was emceed by Jamie Allman and the speakers were introduced by Dana Loesch and Dave Glover, so I knew before I got there that it was going to be at the very least an entertaining evening.

During her introduction, Dana said something that really stuck with me. She talked about the tendency to measure candidates based on the lowest common denominator rather than measuring them based on the Constitution. And it occurred to me that I have used that same basic argument on a different topic. When arguing creation vs evolution on a forum where I used to post, I was accused (as many Christians are) of ignoring the science in favor of religion. I explained that I wasn't ignoring the science, I just wasn't using it to measure truth. "The Bible is truth," I responded, "and by it I measure the truth of all things." Dana is right - that is what we should be doing with our candidates. The Constitution should be the ruler by which we measure all candidates.

Sarah Palin also made one point that really hit home with me. She talked about her famous (now infamous) beef with the mainstream (lamestream?) media. She said that it drives her crazy when all that people want to talk about is the way the media attacks her. "I don't give a hoot what the media says about me!" she said. Her problem with the media is that Americans (to include her own son) have volunteered to fight, to risk their lives - some have given their lives - to protect one of our most essential liberties: the freedom of the press. But with that freedom comes the responsibility to provide the unfiltered and unvarnished truth to the people. When the press ignores that and reports only what they want to and only in the way that they want to, they abuse that freedom and they abuse the sacrifices of those who provide it for them.

After a highly amusing introduction from Dave Glover, Glenn Beck finally took the stage. He began with a rather disheartening story, then paused briefly midsentence. The crowd suddenly and inexplicably began to cheer. For a moment, Glenn looked confused. Then he nodded and said, "The Cardinals won, didn't they."
He talked about the crowds of people who are currently "occupying" Wall Street and many other locations across the United States. He talked about the hypocrisy of a President who basically endorses the protests and publicly decries the evil Wall Street "fat cats" and private jet owners - while he himself travels freely about the country in Air Force One and his wife flies separately in Air Force Two, he allows the taxpayers to foot the bill for his campaign stops disguised as "speeches to promote the jobs bill," and he holds $25k-$35k per plate fundraising dinners to which he invites the Wall Street "fat cats" he has just publicly insulted. (But if you think about it, the billions they stand to get in bailout/stimulus money probably help to take some of the sting out of being called a "fat cat"...)

But mostly, Glenn talked about the importance of God. He stressed the difference between claiming that God would be on our side and making sure that we were on His side. And he cried (well, he IS Glenn Beck) while reading Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural speech about rebuilding a nation without malice. We have to rebuild with that same attitude, be willing to get on our knees and pray for our ideological enemies, our political enemies. But mostly we have to remember that real change comes from the people, not the government. And people only change when God is in their hearts, and at the heart of the change.

Beck. Palin. Glover. Loesch. And a Cardinals win to top it all off. That's not an evening that will be easily surpassed. (And now I'm going to sleep. Seriously.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Washington DC (We Are Not the 99%)

I spent a lot of time looking at the "Occupy Wall Street" insanity yesterday. And it isn't just Wall Street. Mobs are cropping up all over the United States, in some cases invited to join the protest by state institutes of higher learning. Here in St. Louis, along with offering advanced degrees in exciting fields such as Union Thuggery and How-to Accidentally-Bitch-Slap-a-Citizen-Journalist, University of Missouri St Louis (UMSL) is now actively recruiting students to participate in OccupySTL. 
So far there have only been a few arrests at Kiener Plaza in comparison to the thousand or so in New York, but it's early yet...

I find the whole situation amusing because most of the people protesting are against the banks and Wall Street fat cats, but for Barack Obama. It's a wonder they can even see him, what with him being so deep in the pockets of Goldman Sachs...

But I digress. I have created a Facebook page for those of us who want to "Occupy Washington DC." Not by crowding the streets and obstructing the flow of capitalism, but by flooding it with our votes and our voices. Because I am not the 99%, and I believe that it will get done if I do it, not if I demand that someone else be made to do it for me.

Join me here and make your voice heard as well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Odd man out...for now, anyway.

"I am a 32 year old mother of four. I pay nearly $1000 per month so that my kids can get a real education rather than the substandard indoctrination we have come to expect from state schools. I go to school full time on the Montgomery GI Bill, which I earned by giving ten years of my life to the United States Army. My ex works cash only jobs to pay for his beer and his cigarettes and help to support his new girlfriend (and her two children), but of the $20,000 he owes in back child support, we have yet to see one cent. We have no medical insurance, so we have to pay up front every time we visit a doctor or dentist.
My husband is a small business owner, and if Cap and Trade passes his business will go under. Every time he has work done at the business and hires a private contractor to do it, his business gets picketed by Union Employees who may be getting paid more to picket him than he pays the guy painting his sign or fixing his roof. Because he consistently hires nonunion contractors, he has been on and off local business blacklists pretty much as long as his family has had the business."

Oh, and for the record: I AM NOT THE 99%

I sound like part of the 99%, right? I am definitely not part of the 1%, and I have the debt to prove it. I have been reading the personal manifestos of those who call themselves "the 99%." You can read some of them here: 
Many of these people find themselves in awful situations. Many of these people are not personally to blame for those awful situations. But the common thread in every picture, every post, is that ALL of these people are looking at their situations the wrong way. Each of them is demanding that someone else be made to fix the situation. Not one is willing to do anything more than write up a short blog and snap a picture in order to help themselves. They are willing to "Occupy Wall Street" when it involves sipping Starbucks and attempting to avoid arrest, but not when it involves getting an actual education and showing up in business attire with a stack of resumes.

Each of these people is also blaming the wrong party. They are blaming the job creators (business owners and corporations) rather than job restrictors (government regulations) that force those business owners to send jobs overseas. They are blaming the banks for giving out bad loans when the banks were ordered by Congress to make those loans available. And what about the people who KNEW they couldn't make the loan payments and took out the loans anyway? Do they not get some of the blame?
This woman, who posted this picture here, also posted a comment under it: "I have done awful things to make my mortgage payments…including selling my body. 
But I am no longer willing to sacrifice my remaining shreds of dignity on the altar of a faceless institution that gave me
an ill-advised loan to begin with.
Are you guys really THAT greedy?" 
 My question to her is this: YOU took out an ill-advised loan to pay for something YOU wanted but could not afford. Are YOU really that greedy?
They are blaming banks for charging a $5 per month debit card fee when Congressman Dick Durbin issued legislation demanding that the banks find ways to assess fees to cover their own losses (and then suggested that people leave the banks when they did exactly as he told them.)

As you have probably guessed, the "manifesto" at the beginning of this post is mine. But I don't blame the 1% for my situation. I blame my ex-husband for not taking care of his children. I blame progressive policy for the fact that Cap and Trade could single-handedly sink a business that has been around for nearly 100 years. I blame "No Child Left Behind" for the fact that a smart kid can't hope to get a good education in a public school. And I blame Union bosses for attempting to strangle private contractors when there is enough work to keep both of them busy without blacklisting businesses and petty picketing.

So where do I fit in? I'm not the 1%, and I refuse to claim association with "the 99%." For now, I guess I'm the odd man out. But something tells me I'm not alone, and that our voices are getting louder.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What I Didn't See Last Night (And I'm Glad Someone Else Did)

I left the St Louis Tea Party protest early last night. I was out there with my four children (missing my husband and my stepson) joining in protest of wasteful stimulus spending. We were gathered in Forest Park, just West of the History Museum and nearly directly across the street from the Carnahan home. Because of the two crowds gathered, one to protest Obama and one to catch a glimpse of their hero, we had to park nearly a quarter of a mile from where we stood. 

Just as darkness fell, just as we realized that the President and his motorcade would be arriving shortly, one child began complaining of a headache and two began doing a synchronized potty dance. I knew that it was time to go, so I got our things together and disentangled the kids from the crowd. We began the trek towards the car, and as we reached the edge of the crowd, Van Harvey stepped out and without question walked with us to the car. 

Sounds like a nice gesture, right? The gentlemanly thing to do? Wait until you find out what I didn't see...

This is what happened almost immediately after my departure. Not really a surprise. More on the story here:

I didn't see the crowd coming from the "blindly-support-Obama" end of the street. But they were headed for the big target, Martin Baker. They were headed for the guy they could easily hit with racial slurs and epithets. What could they possibly want with me?

I also didn't see the two or three Obama supporters who broke formation and headed toward me and my kids as we left the crowd. Van Harvey did.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'd Like a Little Party With My Tea, Thanks.

I picked my kids up from school today and drove them to Forest Park. The St Louis Tea Party Coalition was beginning to gather across the street from the home of Tom Carnahan as we arrived. A block away, a much larger (and louder) gathering was also taking place. Why all the excitement? President Barack Obama visited St. Louis today. He appeared at a reception at a hotel, and then proceeded to our location for a $25,000-a-plate fundraising dinner. 

When we arrived, people I didn't know offered American flags to my children. They struck up conversations about mutual friends, and introduced their children to mine. Within fifteen minutes, my kids were sharing their fruit snacks and cookies with kids they had just met, chasing each other around the trees at the edge of the golf course, and waving their flags at cars driving by. They held signs that protested wasteful government spending. "I owe the U.S. $30,000 and I'm only 5," "Where's my windmill?" and "Hot air fuels politicians, not nations." 

The family hosting the Obama fundraiser, the Carnahans, are political royalty in Missouri. And because of that, when Obama pushed his last stimulus, the Carnahan family received $107 million to fund the family wind farm. Trading favor for favor, the Carnahans then hosted this fundraising dinner for the President.

The group down the block from the Tea Party Group had gathered for a different reason. Hoping for a glimpse of the man they idolized, they too eagerly awaited Obama's arrival. But they waited to cheer on the furtherance of his failed policies, to praise his efforts to stir up class and race warfare, and to demand that he stick it to those evil rich people who just don't want anyone else to get any of the money.

The whole time I was there, the tone remained mostly civil. A few people from down the block came over to where we were, and I heard a few mumblings of "this is crazy," "these people are idiots," and "I need to get away from these people before I have to bust some ass." Let me point you back to the above paragraph and remind you that the "crazy idiots" who inspired "ass-busting" were sharing fruit snacks, carrying flags and demanding accountability for the uses of their tax dollars. The scandal! I can see how that would push someone right over the edge...

Because of a few very badly timed potty emergencies, we had to leave before the Obama entourage arrived. From what I heard, after we left, several of the Obama supporters advanced on the Tea Party gathering and proceeded to yell and curse at the peaceful protesters in front of their children.

I am of two minds on the subject. I told my kids before we got out of the car that people might say mean things to us because of what we were doing. I told them that some people do not have the ability to disagree with you without being nasty about it. That being said, half of me is glad that they didn't have to see my warning proved accurate tonight. I'm glad that they didn't have to witness their mother and her friends being called names that they are not allowed to say. 

But on the other hand, being called those names is what solidified in me the strength that I have today. My mother mentioned to me about a month ago that she didn't remember me being so outspoken politically even just a few years ago. I told her that's simply because I wasn't. But something pivotal happened to me three years ago: I had the audacity to vote against a black man. Because of that one simple action, I was labeled a racist, a bigot and several other names that I am not willing to repeat. When you are called names like that, you can have one of two reactions: You can back down, or you can learn to defend yourself and do it fast. Backing down is not in my nature.
 Surprisingly, the only *green* vehicle that showed up at the $25k-a-head fundraiser...
 Bill Hennessey, warming up the crowd.
Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, resisting much.

I know my kids will have to learn that lesson on their own, and I want them to see me live that lesson before someone puts them on the spot. Maybe it wasn't tonight, but I know it's coming. Bring it on. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

This one's for Jim...

After a morning buried in jury nullification - how it works for the justice system, and why judges should not counsel juries against it - I emerged just long enough to shuffle some children to and from school and do a little bit of grocery shopping. Once that was done, I was forced to dive head first into OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), its origins and its purpose. So you'll forgive me if I indulge in a little family time rather than the customary brilliant political analysis...

I spent the weekend steeped in politics. No, I didn't get a last minute ticket to TeaCon 2011. (I wish.) I spent the day Saturday holed up with the Martin Baker Campaign team. We talked strategy, kicked around slogans, and began to shape the roles that each of us were going to play in the upcoming campaign.

You would think that 12 hours of straight political strategy and such would be enough to make one a little crazy. And I guess, depending on what type of "one" you happen to be, that may be the case. Not me. I love it. I thrive on it. And I'm pretty sure that I drive my extremely tolerant husband insane with it on occasion.

Let me tell you a little bit about this man: He is a baker, so most days when he leaves the house I am just rolling over to find a more comfortable position in which to sleep for the next four hours. By the time I get up, he has already been working at a physically demanding job for three to four hours, and he'll be at it for awhile longer. Most days he leaves the bakery to go straight to the gym. Sometimes he sees the trainer, sometimes he kills himself on the machines. (of his own free will - insane, I know) Most days he still stays up until after dinner, helping me with school pick-ups without the benefit of a nap. Add in the days that he has to go back to the bakery for an hour or two, and you realize that he moves through life exhausted. And through the fog of that exhaustion, he sees fit to take on the responsibility of a wife, a son, and four other children who are only his by marriage.

So today I take a break from politics, from homework, from housework (I'm especially enjoying this part) to recognize the man who puts up with all of the insanity for a few minutes everyday with me. Sometimes he spends those few minutes snoring, but every one of those minutes is well worth it.