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Monday, January 30, 2012

Rick Santorum in St. Louis

This afternoon I had the opportunity to hear former Pennsylvania Senator and Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum speak. It was a relatively small gathering, some 300 people in the Social Sciences Auditorium at St. Charles Community College, but the atmosphere was definitely charged.

Santorum himself seemed cheerful and upbeat, no doubt at least in part due to news that  his three-year-old daughter's health has been steadily improving since her hospitalization last week. His speech was animated and impassioned, his demeanor buoyant and jovial. He hit on the major issues and drove his points home with shrewd assessments and the occasional wisecrack.

Some highlights of the speech:

  • A solemn promise (with a wink and a smile) to never blame any of his problems once elected on the previous administration. "Anyone who is elected to the office of President should take responsibility for doing the job once he gets there."
  • A need to get rid of corporate taxes - especially for businesses that are trying to bring their companies (and the jobs that go with them) back into the United States.
  • A need to scale back the regulations that strangle small businesses as much as they help larger ones.
  • A commendation to Obama for doing what he said he would do when he campaigned in California. "He has certainly succeeded in raising the cost of energy. But in every nation in the world, the cost of energy is directly related to the quality of life. If we produce more energy in America, we will improve the quality of life in America. Oh, and we could do that by...building the Keystone Pipeline!"
  • The fact that American success really just comes down to the basics. Three basic qualifications: 1)work hard, 2)graduate from high school, 3)get married before you have children. They seem simple enough, even silly. But the fact is that people who meet all three of those qualifications have only a 2% chance of ever living in poverty and a 77% chance of being in the top 50% of earners in America. People who only meet two of those qualifications increase their likelihood of living in poverty to 74% and reduce their chance of being in the top 50% of earners to only 4%. 
  • One third of American students will not graduate from high school. "We are raising a generation of Americans who don't know what America is anymore." And this is because our education system is built to cater to bureaucrats in the Department of Education and the Teacher's Unions rather than to help parents educate their children.
His final assessment:
"If a Republican is not elected this time - and I mean a real, conservative, principled Republican - then I fear that Obamacare will go into effect. Dodd-Frank will continue to wreak havoc. And we will become an America that is completely dependent on our government.
We need to fix our economy. But we can't have a strong economy without strong faith and strong families."




And after the speech, once the crowd had dissipated, I got to say hello to Senator Santorum with Martin Baker, 2012 candidate for Missouri District 1. I got a smile and a heartfelt "thank you" when I handed the Senator a chain mail rosary for his daughter. Martin got a hearty handshake and a "best of luck running against Clay," and Santorum was out the door en route to Minnesota.

For more on Rick Santorum, tune in to The Dana Show on 97.1 FM Newstalk in St. Louis tomorrow from 12-3 Central or stream it live at 971talk.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sell crazy someplace else... we're all stocked up here

Today I realized that I was quoted by a progressive blogger. His intent was to show that the Gateway Grassroots Initiative (who I associate with but DO NOT SPEAK FOR) has a bone to pick with Ed Martin, whose political aspiration of the month is Missouri Attorney General. What I said was that Missourians should be concerned in light of the fact that this is now the third 2012 contest in which Martin has declared his candidacy. And I stand by that assessment, mostly because I believe that it is the duty of the citizenry to scrutinize all candidates for public offices. But this blogger dragged GGI into it for other reasons.


All this goes back a couple of months to the straw that broke the St Louis Tea Party Coalition. This particular blogger has it in his head that people left the STLTPC because they wanted to support Ann Wagner instead of Ed Martin in the heated contest for Todd Akin's soon-to-be-vacated seat in Missouri District 2. I would love to hear his explanation as to why the "ultimate GOP insider Ann Wagner"-loving folks (who broke off from the STLTPC in order to endorse her) have not done so. The Gateway Grassroots Initiative, composed almost entirely of the people who left the STLTPC at that time, has yet to endorse...ANYONE. No one associated with GGI is out ringing doorbells for Ann Wagner - which seems off, since according to him, that's the only reason they left the STLTPC in the first place.


So why does he keep selling that story in the face of obvious facts? The answer is, well, obvious. It's easy to believe that people would engage in that type of infighting over support for a particular candidate. It's easy to believe that people are petty and vindictive - and for the most part, as humans, we all are. What's darn near impossible to believe is the idea that there are people who are willing to stand on principle regardless of the fallout. It's hard to stomach the notion that, after claiming to leave the STLTPC because they didn't believe grassroots organizations should endorse candidates, GGI proceeded to walk the talk. And he just can't force his brain to wrap around the fact that GGI - Dana Loesch in particular because of the DLRS and her ties to CNN - has the influence to throw real weight behind anyone we choose to endorse and we choose not to endorse anyone because principles matter more than power.


So blog on. Quote me if you like. You're spinning your wheels looking for a catfight where there isn't one. But until you find something original to say, do us all a favor and go sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

St. Louis Welcomes Veterans

Today we took the kids downtown for a parade to celebrate our military. After the poor turnout at the parade last November for Veteran’s Day, I was apprehensive about the kind of crowd we might expect. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise when we had to park three blocks away from the parade route and fight large crowds to even find a spot where the kids could see what was going on.



More than once during the parade I felt grateful to have my camera as a buffer between myself and the veterans and their families as they marched by. More than once I had to check and then recheck the focus of my camera against the failing focus of my own eyes.



Shouts of “Thank you!” and “We love you!” echoed down the street as float after float passed by. After the Vietnam Veterans passed, an Air Force Veteran nearby said what I had been thinking: “You know, this might be the first ‘Welcome Home’ for them too.”



Every event for our military leaves me feeling torn – I am grateful for the opportunity to teach my children to show their appreciation for those who serve. But at the same time I am painfully aware of how little we offer them in return for their service.  Those Vietnam Veterans especially deserved more than a parade, and they deserved it a long time ago.



All the same, I am proud of St. Louis for being the first city to stand up and offer those who have served in more recent years the respect and honor that they have earned. May it be only the first of many such events.



Cut off the addicts!

Anyone who has ever lived with an abusive alcoholic knows the drill:


He's sweet and generous, accommodating and even helpful when he knows he's going to get a drink. He's still pretty magnanimous while he's drinking the first few. The problems exist when he is allowed too much or when he is cut off entirely.


Take the GOP establishment, for example: When they are given free access to taxpayer money, they are nearly as reckless in using it as Democrats. Sure, they are less likely to use it to fund things like abortion, but what about "No Child Left Behind," "TARP," bank bailouts, and any number of "green" initiatives such as the curly light-bulb mandate?


Enter the Tea Party, that mismatched and disorganized group of fed-up patriots who stood up and refused to be counted any longer as enablers...


When the Tea Party first burst onto the scene, the GOP tried to embrace them. "You're right, big government spending is bad." "We can quit any time we want to, stick with us and you'll see." And until the 2010 midterm elections, the GOP felt that they had done a decent job containing the Tea Party.


Once the "new class" moved in on Capitol Hill, congressional freshmen started doing the unthinkable: not only did they stand up against the Democrats, they also stood up against attempts by the established GOP to compromise with the Democrats. The GOP establishment realized quickly that if they wanted to be allowed even a few drinks a day, their allies were not in the Tea Party. And so the GOP made a deal with the devil, compromising on debt ceiling raises and tax cut extensions, to avoid the tee-totaling demanded by the Tea Party.


And now, in an election that stands to be one of the most important election cycles in United States History, the GOP sees their next fix slipping away. They see the Tea Party for what it really is, and they turn on it, viciously at times. They try to convince voters that the only way conservatives can win is to pick a more moderate, "electable" (read: establishment) candidate. They assist the media in bringing down the more conservative candidates, and then pretend that they did it "for the good of the Party." Why do you think the GOP establishment is so set on Romney? Because he's the best guy for America in 2012? Doubtful. More than likely it's because Romney's supporters tend to hate the Tea Party. And because he has a history of compromising moral ground to gain political ground. (He appointed liberal judges in Massachusetts because "conservative ones never would have been approved anyway.")


And the battered American public must choose. 
They can listen to the establishment: "We've been doing this for a long time, you need to trust us. We know what we're doing, and it's for your own good that we do it. Besides, if you leave you don't have anywhere to go - I mean, you know that a third party candidate can never win, so why bother trying?"
Or they can listen to the Tea Party: "The establishment needs you more than you need them. What they're really saying is that you aren't smart enough to choose a good candidate on your own, so they're going to do it for you. They are doing everything in their power to hold you back because they know that you have the power to stop them too."


The question we have to ask ourselves this (and every) election cycle: Do I trust myself more than I trust the government? If the answer is no, we have already lost the Republic.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Baker for Missouri District 1

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the fact that Missouri District 1 has been struggling under Democrat control since 1949. In fact, the District has been under the thumb of one family since 1969. From 1969-2001, District 1 was represented by William Lacy "Bill" Clay Sr. In 2001, he passed the reins to his son William "Lacy" Clay Jr.

During their tenure, both Bill Clay Sr. and Lacy Clay Jr. have watched while policies they have supported have compounded the problems already being faced by the St. Louis area. Increased regulations and corporate taxes combined with strengthening labor unions have caused an unprecedented flow of population away from the city and even from the state. Factories have been moved out of the city, out of the county, and even to other states or other countries to avoid oppressive regulations. Some entire businesses have been shut down entirely in the aftermath of government bailouts that were designed to "save or create" jobs - just apparently not in St. Louis.

Yesterday I questioned why, in the face of such obvious need, Ed Martin would step outside his own desperate district to launch a campaign elsewhere. The answer is as depressing as it is simple: most people actually believe, politically speaking, that Missouri District 1 is a lost cause. They believed that Bill Clay was their only choice, and that Lacy Clay was the natural successor. They believe that anyone who would dare to launch a campaign against a Clay would be destined for a quick defeat, and thus far history has proved them right. 

So what kind of man would launch such a campaign?

Martin Baker, for a start. 

So who is Martin Baker? He would tell you he's just a regular guy who sees a need in his own hometown. He would tell you that he is standing up because someone needs to stand up against the liberal policies that are taking our city - and our nation - down the wrong path. He would tell you that he is standing up because his faith and his education have taught him that occasionally the little guy has to stand alone for a difference to be made. (Think David and Goliath...)

But don't be fooled into thinking that Martin Baker is the "little guy." He is a fixture in St. Louis conservative circles, and co-founder of Move-On-Up.org, a social network for African American conservatives. He is a former Navy Seal (And he is probably yelling at me through his computer for telling you that) who looks at his time in service as something he owed his country rather than a feather in his own cap.

And please don't make the mistake of thinking that he is standing alone. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ed Martin for...what was that again?

Everyone in St. Louis knows Ed Martin. In 2010, he rose to prominence as a Tea Party darling in the Missouri District 3 Congressional race that he narrowly lost to incumbent Russ Carnahan (yes, one of THOSE Carnahans). Since then, he has remained a fixture in the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition - and a point of contention for many others involved with the group.

In early 2011, following a redistricting that eliminated Missouri's 3rd Congressional District, Martin announced his intentions to challenge Democrat Claire McCaskill for her US Senate seat in 2012. His decision was made in the wake of an announcement from former Senator Jim Talent (who lost the seat to McCaskill in 2006) that he would not be entering the race, choosing instead to remain in his position with The Heritage Foundation. (Talent is currently working as an adviser for the Romney Presidential campaign.)

Just four months after Martin began his Senatorial campaign, another announcement gummed his game. Long time Missouri District 2 Representative Todd Akin threw his hat in the ring, joining the campaign to unseat Clair McCaskill. Within days of Akin's campaign kickoff, Martin made a new announcement of his own: he would be dropping out of the Senate race and instead be seeking Akin's old seat.

The Missouri District 2 race, specifically the battle between Ed Martin and fellow Republican candidate Ambassador Ann Wagner, quickly became epic enough to be blamed for the recent schism within the St Louis Tea Party Coalition. Though that particular race only facilitated the problems already festering within, it became the tipping point for many involved.

But even that division seems now to be ireelevant, based on the whims of a mercurial candidate, since Ed Martin has changed course once again. This morning's press releases have him nailed down as a 2012 candidate for Missouri Attorney General.

But Missouri should be asking a couple of questions of Mr. Martin:

First, why has he never attempted to mount a campaign in his home district? Missouri District 1 has been struggling, strangling under Democrat control since 1949. The people in his own neighborhood are drowning under the weight of increased unemployment, and he chooses to step out on them to represent others.

Second, can we expect him to stay in the Attorney General's race if another, shinier candidate steps into the ring?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Did I tell you I'm running for reelection?

Last night's State of the Union Address, "An America Built to Last," was a farce. It was a Herculean effort in terms of pulling the wool over the eyes of the voting public, a massive exercise in forked-tongued double-speak and flat out lies. What was omitted from the speech screams nearly as shrilly as the hollow ring of what was actually said.  For your convenience (and, I'll admit, my own amusement) I will break it down for you here - what was said, what wasn't said, and what it all really means.


What he said: 
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. 
What he meant:
 Dude, did I ever tell you guys about the time I killed Bin Laden? I only bring it up because I wanted to remind you that I really do like the military. I don't want you to be confused by the fact that I spent the last two weeks silent while my administration condemned Marines for making a bad judgment call. 
Also, notice how I draw attention to the way the Armed Forces "work together?" You know how they do that? They do what they're told to do and they don't ask questions - sometimes they don't even ask questions when they should. I want you, the public, and Congress to "work together" the way the military services do - they shut up, quit whining, and do what I tell them to do. They're not concerned with personal ambition because they're not allowed to have any when there is a mission at hand. You guys should be like that too.
What he said:
In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly four million jobs. And we lost another four million before our policies were in full effect. 
What he meant:
It's been awhile since I've come out and said this, so I feel that I need to take this opportunity to remind you just one more time that this was all George W. Bush's fault. And the rich bankers too. OWS, this one's for you!
What he said:
The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now. As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place. 
What he meant:
You can't see the improvement yet, but trust me, it's here. And if you reelect me, maybe you'll get a chance to see it too. If you reelect me, I also promise to continue to bypass people who have the audacity to disagree with me by taking unilateral actions in the form of non-recess "recess appointments" and executive orders that don't need to pass Congressional muster.
What he said:
On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.
What he meant: 
Pay no attention to the Chrysler and GM workers who are still collecting unemployment checks. Pay no attention to the major factories that still stand empty in your towns. The auto industry was ,saved, I tell you!
What he said:
We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it. First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.
What he meant:
Major companies shouldn't get tax breaks. Unless they're GE. 
What he said:
Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing finance or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.
What he meant:
I'm going to create a few more government jobs. You're going to have to pay their salaries, benefits and pensions, but it will be ok because they're going to make sure you don't get cheated by China.
What he said:
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.
What he meant:
A vote for me will ensure that more money goes to the teachers' unions. There will be no safeguards put into place to ensure that the money actually goes to the teachers or the students rather than the union bosses. That isn't anything new, I just wanted to make sure you were clear on that point.
What he said:
Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right – eight years. Not only that – last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years.
What he meant:
What Keystone Pipeline?
What he said:
That’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.
What he meant:
Banks are bad. Banks are evil. Imma punish them. (S'up, OWS?)
What he said:
We will also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count. 
And tonight, I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 
What he meant:
More government jobs. Yes, you're going to be paying their salaries, benefits and pensions as well. But they're going to make and enforce new laws that mirror the ones that are already in place and should have been enforced by the DOJ before now anyway.
 What he said:
When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else – like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.

What he meant:
 Rich people owe you something simply because they have it and you don't. You can call it class warfare if you want, because if I were telling the truth, I would call it that too.
What he said:
Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.
What he meant: 
Did I happen to mention that I am running for reelection this year? Obama 2012!!!


That brings us to the things he left out: 
I let my administration run roughshod over the Marines who peed on the dead Taliban fighters because I was hoping that it would draw attention away from the fact that my Attorney General allowed American guns to be trafficked into Mexico, resulted in at least one dead American Border Patrol Agent.
I repeatedly blame House Republicans for budget standoffs when the Senate has gone over 1000 days without passing a budget - which was their job in the first place. 
I give money to failing companies like Solyndra while refusing to support job-creating projects like the Keystone Pipeline because I have bought into the Al Gore version of a greener America - even if it costs us our current version of America to get it.
Pay no attention to the fact that members of my party and even former campaign staffers are doing everything they can to create an environment that is conducive to continued fraudulent voting practices in the 2012 election.
So, what should we make of this? There are two possibilities:
First, President Obama has bought stock in the manure he's currently shoveling. If that is the case, then  we need to vote him out in 2012 and elect someone who has the ability to discern fact from crap.
The second alternative is that President Obama knows exactly what is going on. He knows that his policies will not have the effects that he tells us they will. If that is the case, then we need to vote him out in 2012 and elect someone who is a little less comfortable deceiving the American people.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Identity Theft with Intent...to Perpetuate Voter Fraud?

On January 20th, the Des Moines Register posted the following story
"A Des Moines man has been arrested after police say he used, or tried to use, the identity of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz in a scheme to falsely implicate Schultz in perceived unethical behavior in office.

Zachary Edwards was arrested Friday and charged with identity theft.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety issued a news release saying Schultz's office discovered the scheme on June 24, 2011 and notified authorities.

The criminal complaint says Edwards fraudulently used or attempted to use the identity of Schultz or Schultz's brother with the intent to obtain a benefit. No other details were given.

The case did not appear yet in online court records and no attorney information was immediately available."
It seems like a simple case of identity theft, right? Arrest the guy, try him in front of a jury of his peers, and hope he gets the maximum two years that he deserves...right? Or do you think that maybe someone should check into the possible reasons that Matt Schultz was targeted?


Well, it just so happens that this Matt Schultz is the guy responsible for vote-counting in Iowa. According to AlexInCT of rightthinking.com "Clearly Schultz is not one of those people that would turn a blind eye to the usual fraud democrats depend on to put them over in close elections."


So who is Zachary Edwards? According to the research done by AlexInCT, Glenn Reynolds and others, though much of Edwards' biography has been scrubbed from the interwebs, the Wayback Machine confirms that he was an Obama staffer in Nevada and five other states.


Combine his obvious affiliation with the current administration with the fact that the Soros-propelled SoSP (Secretary of State Project) has been attempting to insert friendlies into State Offices in order to put them in the position to count votes, and the result is obvious. Edwards' attempt to steal Schultz's identity was more than likely for one benefit alone: if Schultz were to step down in the event that his reputation took a hit, his position would likely be filled by a Democrat. A position in Iowa, a key state in 2012, that will require the person in that position to preside over vote-counting and possible/likely voter fraud.


Hmmmm.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guess which candidate is pushing violations of the Constitution?

I wish I could stop talking about Ron Paul. I really do. But I found that, over the course of the campaign, he has said a few things in debate that really concern me - and not on foreign policy issues this time. Rather, he has made some comments that speak to a grave and dangerous misunderstanding of the very Constitution he holds up as his dogma.


In the following video, from 17:30-20:50, Ron Paul discusses his stance on abortion.



He's right on about needing to get government out of medical care, and about the fact that care for a pregnant woman involves two patients. Where he goes off the rails is his claim that abortion should be a states' rights issue. 


Why is that a problem? He speaks repeatedly of what is and isn't Constitutional, but if he truly believes that an unborn child is a person (and he claims that he does) making abortion a states' rights issue is unConstitutional. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons are entitled to equal protection under the law. If the unborn child is, in fact, a "person," allowing states the opportunity to rescind that equal protection at will is a violation of the Constitution - one that Ron Paul vocally supports.


This reminds me a bit of my main problem with Newt Gingrich. He called himself a "Theodore Roosevelt Republican" and a "Realpolitik Wilsonian." If he doesn't understand the implications of those statements as a historian, that's pretty scary. If he does understand the implications, that's almost worse. The saving grace in Gingrich's case may be that he understands the voting public as much as he understands history - it is possible that he made those statements knowing that the average voter - even the average conservative - does not know the depth of damage done by Roosevelt and Wilson. They know about the National Park Service and San Juan Hill, and they know that Wilson tried to keep us out of World War I. Banking on that response from most voters, Gingrich's comments become less damning.


As for Ron Paul: if, as the Constitutional scholar and defender that he claims to be, he does not understand the blatant Constitutional violation his stance on this issue betrays, then we have a problem. If he does understand that it is a violation and holds the position anyway, perhaps we have a bigger one. It begs the question: what other positions might he be taking that either ignore or misrepresent the Constitution?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Off with his head!

Americans are used to people being beheaded in history books. 


For example, we know that in the Bible David cuts off the head of Goliath, and the head of John the Baptist is served up on a platter to Salome, the daughter of King Herod.


Islamic history included the beheading of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Muhammed.


European history counts dozens of beheadings from Britain alone on the orders of Richard the Third and Henry the Eighth. Mary Queen of Scots also met her end that way. France takes the prize, beheading some 40,000 (and killing countless others) during the Revolution, when their total population was 28 million.


And of course, no one can forget the fictional beheadings called for by the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.


More recently, Americans have been forced to observe the beheadings of Americans at the hands of Al Qaeda operatives. Soldiers and civilians alike have been subjected to this punishment, with many incidents being filmed and released by Al Qaeda networks.


Up until recently, however, beheading was something you read about. It was something you heard about if you were watching the CNN news-ticker. It was something you saw only if you frequented Al-Jazeera. 


There have been recent rumors about drug cartels beheading people to send messages, but those beheadings have been confined to Mexico and Colombia where the cartels have power, right? Not so much. Three separate beheadings in Arizona and Oklahoma over the past year look to be the work of cartels. Cartels. Beheading people. In the United States of America. Let that sink in.


And now ask why haven't we built that fence yet?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Congressional Baseball is never out of season

Imagine, for a moment, that Cardinals' starting pitcher Chris Carpenter goes to the mound and proceeds to strike out twenty-six batters in a row. The twenty-seventh batter hits an easy pop-fly into center field. Because the ball doesn't come directly to any of them, however, the out-fielders stand with their arms crossed  and watched the ball fall to the grass. The runner scores, and the Cardinals lose 1-0. Management proceeds to fire Carpenter over the loss.

Wait a minute, that doesn't make any sense, does it? Of course not. The Cardinals didn't lose because of Carpenter, who nearly pitched a shut out. They lost because their offense did nothing, and because their defense was complicit.

Think about that the next time someone blames the new (Tea Party) Republicans in Congress for the fact that we're not in better shape. We didn't elect them en masse in 2010 to hit home runs - we elected them to pitch shut-outs. And every time they have come close to doing just that (the debt deal, the payroll tax cut extension, etc), the game is thrown by establishment Republicans who would rather be complicit in the loss than concede the victory that they have as yet been unable to win themselves.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Start talking, or forfeit the game

I was all set to go out to breakfast this Saturday. I had tickets to an event that I was very excited about. I had friends who were going to be attending and a good friend, Dana Loesch, who was scheduled to speak.


But a few days ago, as I mentioned in my last post, a few Marines made a poor choice in Afghanistan and, as is wont to happen when Chaos Theory is applied, in O'Fallon, IL, we got stupidity instead of liberty.


After the story broke about the Marines, Dana talked about it on her afternoon radio show. She adamantly supported the Marines, saying that in their place she would "drop trou and do it too."


The storm that followed on Twitter and in the media was a conflagration of people screaming outrage at the treatment of terrorists (or perhaps it was the ethical treatment of animals they were calling for?) while calling for Dana's head on a platter. CNN quickly commented that she was allowed her own opinion but she did not speak for them.


Backed by Andrew Breitbart and others, Dana unraveled the hypocrisy of her progressive attackers.


In spite of the blatantly obvious smear campaign, the Illinois Policy Institute tucked tail and ran, dropping Dana like a hot potato. The Independent Women's Forum, which claims to "provide a voice for American women who believe in individual freedom and personal responsibility," was quick to silence Dana's. And Smart Girl Politics had no choice but to sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen.


Folks, this is our problem. "The sh*t hath hitteth the fan...eth."* What the progressives did to Dana this week is what progressives will do to silence the rest of us. They will isolate us. They will attack us. And they will do it because it works. They will do it because the Illinois Policy Institute would rather avoid negative publicity than uncover and stand up for the truth. They will do it because the voice of one person who is drawing fire is not one that the Independent Women's Forum wants to be seen as defending. They will do it because, time after time, when they do it, we pack up our balls and go home. Sure, we talk about the game being unfair. We talk about the rigged deck and about how they've got all the marbles. But when our compatriots are under fire we don't talk at all.


Start talking, or forfeit the game.


P.S. I did end up going to the breakfast. Afterward, I spoke at length with Kristina Rasmussen - Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute - about the reasons that Dana was asked not to speak. She said that the comments about the Marines were seen to be too inflammatory and that they had feared that the fervor surrounding those remarks would likely derail the purpose of the event. She didn't even seem aware of the massive attacks on Dana executed by MMfA on Twitter and other social media sites.


I should have asked Kristina if, considering the turnout, she felt that the organization had made the right call. Given the number of unclaimed nametags and the number of empty seats, she would have had a difficult time making that case.  


I am personally of the opinion that if there was malicious intent in removing Dana from the program it came from higher up than Kristina, but regardless, the damage was done. Whether or not the action was taken in response to the progressive push to get Dana fired, it looks like it was. Whether or not three independent non-partisan and conservative voices circled their wagons and threw Dana - a fellow conservative - to the wolves, it looks like they did. And whether or not MMfA won this round, it looks like they did


*10 Things I Hate About You

Friday, January 13, 2012

There but for the grace of God...

I'm sure by now you've heard the news. U.S. Marines made an inexplicably bad judgment call and chose to express their anger and frustration by urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters. They made an even poorer judgment call to capture the entire escapade on video. 


Since then there has been a virtual firestorm of hatred flying at the Marines - from Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton publicly condemning their actions to long Twitter streams filled with gems such as "Marines are barbaric, evil and violent. They should burn in hell." 


I'm sure that you have also heard that Dana Loesch, for having the audacity to stand up for the Marines, is the devil. I personally agree with the great Patch Adams (no, not that Patch Adams) whose response to the whole mess could be summed up in one sentence: "You weren't there, you don't know what you would have done, shut up."


I don't like what those Marines did. I think the action was deplorable. What's worse, it cuts the legs out from under us when we voice our own outrage when Taliban soldiers or terrorists mistreat the bodies of our dead. If we sink to their level, then we can no longer claim to be better than that which we fight against. (I am not equating urinating on a corpse with dragging dismembered bodies through the streets or decapitating prisoners on live video feeds, only saying that it damages our position if we claim to be better than that.) 


As Americans we do not treat others the way that we do because it is what they deserve. We do it because we hold ourselves to a higher standard even when we’ve been struck down, hurt or crippled. After all, if we sink to their level and treat their bodies the way they would treat ours - or even the way we would like to sometimes - then we are no better than those we guard ourselves against.


That being said, as much as the behavior of those Marines bothers me, the hypocrisy of those who are currently attacking them bothers me more. Dana does an excellent job of pointing out that hypocrisy, drawing attention to the fact that these same people who are furious with the Marines for letting off steam (admittedly in a fashion that is at best ill-advised) were silent when the bodies of 200 Air Force members were unceremoniously dumped in a landfill.


Even worse than that, in my mind, is the fact that these same people, who believe in their hearts that it's wrong and reprehensible to take a leak on the body of someone who until ten minutes ago was actively trying to kill you, also believe in their hearts that vacuuming an unborn child from a mother's womb is a perfectly reasonable action. 


Let me be clear: They would rather see a woman punish a helpless and innocent child for simply existing than see a few Marines take revenge on someone whose goal is to take the United States down a peg.


I guess what I'm really saying is this: While I am mad at the Marines for choosing to do something so stupid, I am madder at the culture that allows the mainstream media to get away with pointing a finger at the Marines who are guilty of bad judgment while giving a pass to people who are committing much more egregious acts on a daily basis.


And for those who insist that, if they had been there, they would not have behaved in such a manner, I have one thing to say: There but for the grace of God go we all.

Stop Buying Snake Oil!

A traveling salesman comes to town, offering a tonic that he swears will cure any problem you have. Fever, aches, pains, heartburn, rheumatism, arthritis, hot sweats, cold sweats...you get the idea.

Having suffered chronic pain for months with no hope of a cure, you jump at the chance to finally feel better. You take the tonic for a month, and though you don't notice any change you take comfort in the fact that the salesman told you that it could take some time to begin working. As luck would have it, just as you are shaking the last drops from your bottle, you get word that the salesman is back in town. You rush to his stand to refill your supply of the miracle drug.

When you arrive, however, there seems to be a bit of commotion. The salesman's assistant is doing his best to restrain a young man near the front of the crowd. 

"It's all lies!" the young man shouts. "This man promised my sister a cure and his snake oil killed her!"
Concerned that the young man will scare the salesman off, keeping you from acquiring your next dose of the tonic, you and a few others in the crowd help the assistant restrain the young man and move him away from the gathered crowd.

"You have to help me," the young man turns to you. "Let me go back and tell them the truth. I'm a doctor. I can help you if you're sick."

Angry at the audacity of the young man, you snap at him, "How can you discredit that great man. He has cured me of my chronic pain! Now, be gone! No one here needs your kind of medicine."

You stomp back to the salesman's cart, all the while fuming over the young man who nearly cost you the next month's supply of your cure. True, it really hasn't begun to work yet, but it will soon. You have no doubt of that...

Now imagine that the salesman is the GOP. For years you have been eating up their brand of big government solutions to small government problems as the only real cure for America's problems. You are the GOP voters. 

The screaming young man is the Tea Party - hated by the snake oil salesman (the GOP) because, as a legitimate doctor, he has the ability to expose him for what he really is, and hated by the patients (you, the voters) who bought the snake oil and would prefer not to see it proven that they have been made to look foolish by a fraud and a cheater.

The problem is that the screaming young man is right. But no one hates the real practitioner more than the snake oil salesman and the people he has fooled.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Intellectually Transmitted Disease (ITD) PSA

People don't think that I notice, but I do. 


I see the people shifting ever so slightly away from me when I sit down on a bus or a train. 


I see people choosing a longer line at the supermarket checkout to avoid standing too close to me.


I sit alone in the cafeteria at school while other students walk by, either avoiding my gaze altogether or immediately glancing away.


I overhear the gossip at school and sometimes even at church:


"Do you think it's catching?"


"I'm afraid she might accidentally touch me."


"Her whole family has it, you know."




Well, I'll be the first to admit that I have conservatism. And I'll probably do my best to infect you with it, to be honest. But unless you love liberty and learn to think for yourself, you're in no danger of actually catching it.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

There has been uproar recently over a prayer banner that was removed from a public school on  judge's orders. The question, as always, was whether or not hanging that prayer banner violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. 


The question in my mind is "why is that even a question?" The Establishment Clause does one thing and one thing only: It bars Congress from writing a law that "establishes" an official religion of the United States. Since the public schools are overseen by the state, this should be a state's rights issue under the 10th Amendment rather than an establishment issue under the first. But even if you insist on applying the federal statute in this case: hanging the banner in no way establishes any religion. Period. 


You say that it affirms the existence of God? Not really. It "affirms the existence of God" in the same way that a poster of Clifford the Big Red Dog on a kindergarten classroom affirms the existence of dump truck-sized house pets. You are free to believe it or not, but the presence of the poster does not mean that the teacher, the school board or the state believe it to be true.


But the issue really goes deeper than that. What is so offensive about the presence of a prayer banner that means nothing to you if you claim to be an atheist? (Let me take this opportunity to say that that I am not out to attack those who claim the title "atheist.") The amount of offense taken suggests that the person complaining has had his own religious beliefs attacked. But wait, an atheist has no religion...right? 


Not according to the courts, anyway:

Kaufman v. McCaughtry
2005. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that a Wisconsin inmate barred from reading scientific books was being unconstitutionally prevented from exercising his religion - atheism - which values logic and reason and the scientific method for study.
1961. Supreme Court states that for a philosophy to qualify as a religion there need not be a deity involved. Listed in the decision as religions with no deity are Buddhism, Taoism, and Secular Humanism, among others. 


The philosophy religion known as Secular Humanism also goes by another name: atheism.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of conversing with a truly devout atheist knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that atheism is a religion. The dedicated atheist will be sure to tell you as often (and as loudly) as possible how illogical it is to believe in the Bible since a)there is no God and b)even if there was one, there is no way to scientifically prove that he exists and the Bible is, in fact, his word. 


He will then proceed to tell you, with a straight face, that evolution is indisputable (even though spontaneous generation can't be duplicated, there are no fossils that even sort of indicate cross-genus mutation, and carbon dating is at best unreliable). 


He will also tell you that Global Warming is real and it is all our fault because we want industrialization and cars and hairspray (even though the earth's climate changed radically multiple times before humans even existed), and while he tells you this he will be texting a friend on his iphone.

To the Atheist, the process is the supreme being. Logic. Reason. Science. That which cannot be proven empirically has no meaning. While the Christian proclaims faith in that which he does not see, the devout atheist denies that which he does not see and belittles anyone who claims that it does, in fact, exist.

The irony is that the Atheist, in making science the de facto supreme being, actually takes many more leaps of faith than does the Christian. The Christian needs only to take one: God exists. If he exists, then the rest - the fact that he created our world and gave us his word that we might understand him better - and all that follows, follows without any additional faith required. 


The atheist must take a new leap of faith every time science advances. Why? Because science is not the study of facts or ideas that have been proven. Science is the study of ideas that have yet to be proven wrong. The possibility exists that everything we know about science could change at any time. The atheist has to either be prepared to change with the science, or have faith that it never will. History suggests that depending on the unchanging nature of science is likely to be an exercise in extreme futility.


I am not a Christian because I have a lot of faith. I am a Christian because "I do not have enough faith to be an atheist." (Norman Geisler, Frank Turek)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Hampshire Surprise

This isn't what you might think. There were no surprises in the GOP primary in New Hampshire yesterday. Romney won by a healthy margin (predictably), with Paul and Huntsman taking the second and third spots. A weakened Gingrich barely squeaked by Santorum to claim the fourth spot, and Perry (who conceded New Hampshire in an effort to campaign hard in South Carolina) drew 1% of the vote. 


As I said, no surprise there. Anyone paying attention could have predicted that spread with the possible exception of the order concerning Gingrich and Santorum. 


The surprise came in the primary that no one was watching. While everyone was paying attention to the infighting and name-calling that the GOP was more than happy to provide, there was also a democratic primary held in New Hampshire yesterday. Incumbent President Barack Obama ran virtually unopposed, and claimed a hefty 82% of the vote. The important thing to notice here is that 18% of democrats went out of their way to make a statement by voting against him. 10% of those were write-ins. 


For a little comparison - in 2004, George W. Bush faced the New Hampshire primary as an incumbent President. He got just over 79% of the vote. But wait, it sounds like he did worse than Obama did this year... until you realize that in the New Hampshire GOP primary in 2004, George W. Bush faced 13 challengers, none of whom received more than 1.2% of the vote. In 1992, facing one or two token challengers, Bill Clinton also won primaries with approximately 80% of the vote.


The difference? Clinton and Bush received around 80% of the vote with other candidates challenging them. Current President Barack Obama is winning by the same margins - with no challengers. Perhaps that bodes well for those that would challenge him in the future.

Convictions for Sale? Vote Romney!

Pragmatism: a philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning,truth, or value.

Hmm. Given that definition, I would have to agree with those who say that Mitt Romney is a pragmatist. But while Michael Gerson of the Washington Post praises him for it, I cannot do the same. While I agree that some decisions must be made with a certain degree of pragmatism or practicality, there is a danger in allowing all decisions to be made only considering pragmatism and practicality. 

The risk inherent in being a pure pragmatist is that no new venture can truly be undertaken. Every new idea will be hamstrung by the claim that the old ways work, and even modification of the old ways would likely lead to failure. Pure pragmatism leaves America undiscovered and humanity unevolved.

Pragmatism in politics is the same, except it's worse. The pragmatic approach to elections is to determine which candidate is likely to offend the fewest number of people - making him/her "electable." The problem here is that truth is very often offensive. The candidate that strives for truth then becomes the least electable because people find him offensive. The candidate that seeks to obscure truth in order to offend fewer people becomes the most electable. In the case of Romney, Gerson makes the following point:
"Romney has this advantage: In supporting him, no Republican is called upon to surrender his or her deepest ideological convictions. Romney is temperamentally conservative but not particularly ideological. He reserves his enthusiasm for quantitative analysis and organizational discipline. He seems to view the cultural and philosophic debates that drive others as distractions from the real task of governing — making systems work. 
His competitors have attempted to portray Romney’s ideological inconsistency over time as a character failure. It hasn’t worked, mainly because Romney is a man of exemplary character — deeply loyal to his faith, his family and his country. But he clearly places political ideology in a different category of fidelity. Like Dwight Eisenhower, Romney is a man of vague ideology and deep values. In political matters, he is empirical and pragmatic. He studies problems, assesses risks, calculates likely outcomes. Those expecting Romney to be a philosophic leader will be disappointed."
And Gerson may be right. Romney may indeed be a man of exemplary character...at home. But the voting public needs to be concerned with the character he shows when holding an elected office. For example, Romney explained away the criticisms of RomneyCare by suggesting that he had weighed the outcome and done what was practical and sensible - he went along with the majority lest they go along without him. Thus he did what was practical and pragmatic for Romney, not necessarily what was sensible for the people - after all, RomneyCare proceeded to bankrupt the state of Massachusetts, leading them to request a federal bailout in 2008.


Gerson also suggests that Romney is not terribly "ideological." So let's look at what the dictionary has to say about that:


Ideology:the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movementinstitution, class, or large group.


If pragmatism becomes the "body of doctrine" that is guiding Mitt Romney - as his time in office would lead us to believe - then pragmatism, is in fact his ideology. An ideology based solely on what is most practical at the time will give us a leader who waits until the chips start to fall before he places his bet - a Commander in Chief who waits to see which side is likely to win before he declares allegiance. It give us a President whose understanding of principle extends only as far as the political expediency of a given principle.

The risk inherent in electing a pure pragmatist is that we do need to surrender deep ideological convictions to do so. We place our power in the hands of someone who claims no such convictions. We give our voices to someone who has told us - in actions if not in words - that our convictions will be bought and sold in the name of political convenience.