This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. Our purpose is to advance civil society and the freedom philosophy and perhaps have a little fun while we're at it.

1/28/10

The State of Slapstick

While chatting with friends recently I mentioned that I would be keeping a long standing personal tradition alive on Wednesday evening by continuing to direct my attention elsewhere while the farcical TV comedy called "The State of the Union Address" was being aired.

I'm not sure if it was appropriately carried on Comedy Central, but if so, it would only be added to the ever lengthening lineup of un-amusing fare crowding out some truly funny stuff found there. Hillary couldn't be bothered to show up, and that is truly amusing.

Calling it an "address" is just being kind. It is a political stump speech for the already elected, and it's almost always boring. Oh, such speeches to joint sessions usually have a few interesting moments, such as last year when one semi-brave (and thankfully rude) US Representative audibly called the President a liar, or this year when a Justice of the Supreme Court did the same thing (albeit a little more tactfully) by mouthing the word "untrue" as the President made claims about the recent partial reinstatement of the first amendment. It should also be noted that the President himself set a new standard in rude-ness when he referred directly to the Court, a no-no in polite politics during an "address".

Meanwhile, over an excellent glass of Pinot Noir with my unpaid editor/proofreader before the speech commenced, we discussed the possibility of breaking the tradition, watching the whole thing, diligently taking notes and writing a compelling report for this blog. As suspected from other experiential evidence, that notion was proof positive that wine has higher alcohol content than desirable for optimal rational thought. After regaining my somewhat dulled none-to-powerful reasoning skills, I demurred.

Instead I have decided to leave the work to real professionals. Below you can view a short round-up of which gags worked and which didn't.

1/25/10

Turning the Tide or Sleeping with the Enemy?

An upheaval of abnormal proportion occurred within the Democratic Party in one of the most liberal states in the union last week. None of you missed the news, but let's review the happenings for the sake of perspective.

The state was Massachusetts, (I know it's a Commonwealth, but so what) and the event there created a blizzard of op-eds and a cacophony of know-it-all-noise  from talking heads on TV and radio. Each of them had their own analysis about what happened in the special Senatorial election and where it might lead. And bloggers of all stripes have certainly not wasted the opportunity to add to the din. So why on earth would this blog feel compelled to chime in?

 Because despite the "no spin zone" approach claimed by others (who actually just add their own spin) I never miss an opportunity to add the pro-liberty spin anytime I think it has gotten short shrift.

Replacing the departed hero of Chappaquiddick with another elite feelgoodist was certainly predicted by pundits to be a coronation of a party-anointed liberal-of the day, not an actual contest with the candidate of the (almost invisible and largely irrelevant) Massachusetts Republican Party. That state party richly deserves those descriptions. Amazingly, an actual election occurred and one liberal was selected instead of the other liberal. For certain there are differences between the two, but there are even more similarities.

The one big difference was that the winning candidate promised to huddle up with national Republicans to deny the Democrats a filibuster proof super majority just when the President and his politburo were on the verge of shoving phase one of the nationalization of the health insurance up an unmentionable part of the American anatomy. It seems that even the perpetually -government is the solution- delusional in the bluest of states have temporarily regained their sense of rational thought long enough to turn the Washington green light into a yellow one.

Do all of these developments mean we can un-cap a Samuel Adams Boston Lager to celebrate the success of the nascent "Tea Partiers" in bean town?
Well, kinda, as long as you chug it instead of sipping it so as not to linger in an illusion of victory. If you think the battle is won, or that new Senator Scott Brown is a friend to the concepts of individual liberty and personal responsibility, you will suffer the hangover even while you are still intoxicated.

Any conception that the Democrats in that state have converted to the GOP is preposterous to me. Not to mention an even more preposterous notion that the majority of folks there are changing from liberal to conservative.

My advice is to clink your mugs together and toast the unexpected help from a most unlikely ally. Then get out of the pub and put your helmet back on. Using a war metaphor, this was just the success of a delaying tactic in one skirmish of one battle. That battle isn't even over, much less the war. We can hope this aid turned the tide and we will now prevail in the battle, but it is by no means certain. (In the Frank Capra version we win the war)

Scott Brown remains an uncertain ally in the effort to save ourselves from socialized medicine.
Many do not know that he supported and voted for the soon to be bankrupt Massachusetts twin version of national Obamacare. Brown admits this himself. "In Massachusetts, I support the 2006 healthcare law that was successful in expanding coverage, but I also recognize that the state must now turn its attention to controlling costs".

So, thank you to the people of Massachusetts for waking up momentarily and electing the soft left  big government advocate instead of the hard left socialist devotee.

And a word to Republicans; if your party thinks it's future lies in supporting more Brown/Chaffee/Snowe republicrats, you will retain the minority status you so richly deserved and along with it your moniker as "the stupid party."

1/15/10

Tea and Grumpets


It's been three days since the Captain and "crew" returned from the recon mission to the "Tea Party," and the effects of the tea and crumpets have worn off so I'm ready to make my report on what we observed there. (OK, I made up the crumpets part, but I did imbibe several of their finest Miller Lites.)
I purposely waited a few days for any subconscious impressions to surface, but alas, no "heady" insights other than the initial ones have bubbled to the top of my beer glass mind.

I apologize in advance to all those who read this blog but don't live in Illinois (at least half of you). You may be even more bored than usual by this report.

The crowd at the gathering was pretty much as I imagined it would be, older and more thoughtful than the left-leaning media portrayal of red faced Obama haters with swastika emblazoned signs. Actually, they seemed more determined than irate. Grumpy seems like a good description, like how you feel after oversleeping and realizing that some situation in your life has deteriorated because of it.

The meeting itself was a crowded affair in a rather small venue. Average age of an attendee looked to be over forty (at least) to this untrained eye, and crowd size looked to be around 200-250 by an also untrained guesstimate. One of the people who introduced the speaker thanked about 400 for attending. I saw a few raised eyebrows in the crowd when he said that, but in fairness, it was the only thing I heard that seemed to be a stretch. I will also admit he may have been more on top of the crowd size from his vantage point. Keep in mind, this event took place in New Lenox, Illinois -- not exactly downtown Chicago.

The question of whether or not the group consisted of the tipping point people I referred to in my last post or a well organized group of political operatives leading some "useful idiots" seems to have been answered, at least to my own satisfaction. Although there were folks there who came because they support the candidate, my observation was that the majority came as ordinary citizens just looking for someone they could vote FOR rather than just voting against a different candidate or to "throw the bums out" only to replace them with recycled bums. Disaffected Republicans for the most part, I'm guessing, were the largest part of the crowd. A growing group nationwide and certainly in Illinois.

The speech by Dan Proft (candidate for Republican nomination for Governor) was a good one even though it was probably his standard stump speech. The place he most impressed was in the Q&A session. I never saw him dance the ole' politician tango even once. He got some uncomfortable questions and was straightforward and unapologetic in his answers. He offered specific proposals to address specific problems and put them out to be agreed upon or discarded. He had a grasp on reality as well as facts and figures.

When it comes to "political pizza," I have always been partial to having mine topped with a large amount of skeptical sausage. So before I offer you a slice of mine, my suggestion would be to check it out and see how it compares to what you have been ordering.

My own conclusion is that this guy deserves a close look. Unless you are somehow satisfied by how this state is imploding or think that everything is fine except for some small tweaking of things around the edges, you should (at the minimum) check out his website, spend enough time there to inform yourself about his ideas and then check him out elsewhere. My opinion certainly doesn't matter, only yours does. And even yours doesn't matter if it is uninformed.

Proft's website is here.  You owe it to yourself and your kids, not to mention your neighbors, to be informed. And if you find merit in what he says, you owe it to everyone in your circle, and maybe even everyone in your e-mail address book, to urge them to check it out as well, not necessarily to encourage them to vote for him but merely to educate themselves about his candidacy among the choices available.

George Ryan, Blago, Daley, Madigan and all the other usual suspects got us to where we are because we voted them into a position to get us here. It's unlikely that re-treads like Quinn, Andy McKenna or Jim Ryan, much less any of the other political operatives being endorsed by the Chicago area newspapers, will get us out of this sad state of affairs. Remember who they endorsed in the past and then let me know how those choices are "workin out for ya."

We got into this mess by oversleeping, and now it's time to wake up grumpy.

Here is a short video of some of the Republican primary candidates describing who they are. You can decide for yourself if any of the things they say are relevant to the direction of our state in the future.

1/10/10

Having Tea with the Captain


I have two close friends with the nicknames of Captain. Both are veterans of the war in Viet Nam and both are heroes as far as I am concerned for serving there while I was sleeping in a warm bed in Chicago. Neither would admit to being a hero, but that's how heroes are, so we will just leave it at that.

The more local of the Captains has introduced me to the idea of going on something of a recon mission next week. He heard about a meeting of some so called "Tea Party" people in our area and we have agreed to check it out. In theory, these folks are just ordinary citizens who have become disaffected by the direction the country has been traveling, particularly in recent times.

I would describe them as tipping point people. Those citizens who have been largely uninvolved, at least in any organized way, in political activism, but have joined some of the rest of us in the "enough is enough" crowd. Everyone has their own tipping point of course, but it's obvious to me that somewhere on that imaginary philosophical line is a median point that has finally been passed.

So, barring an unforeseen circumstance which would scuttle our recon mission, we will be attending the meeting to see if the theoretical people and the actual attendees are the same folks. And since I have been masquerading as a actual writer, it's a small step to become a pretend reporter for an evening as well, so I'll keep my ears open and try to make some mental notes and get back to you with a report in a future post.

In the meantime, there is a candidate for the Republican Party's nomination for Illinois Governor who seems to be the focus of the meeting. His name is Dan Proft, and having visited his website and watched his announcement speech, I found what he said to be intriguing. Saying and doing are different things of course, so this isn't an endorsement of his candidacy, absent more information.

The focus of this blog is concepts and ideas, not my personal preferences on politicians, so I will not be endorsing anyone here. I do have another blog, one which I created the day after tax day last year. It was created after attending the Tea Party Protest in downtown Chicago with my brother (and fellow outraged citizen) and predicting to myself that "Hey, this thing might have legs." I have never settled on exactly what that site would become because I have been mentally toying with several concepts for political activism. So I just registered the site name before all the good ones were taken. The URL of that site is http://americanteapartyvote.blogspot.com/ and I have temporarily named it The American Tea Party. Since registering the name, I have never posted to the site, but today I will post the announcement speech Dan Proft made there and although I don't expect anyone to hang their hat on my recommendations, if I ever endorse anyone for office, it will be on that site, not this one. The videos are informational on my part, not an endorsement. Again, more vetting would be required for that.

Until then, there is a U-Tube video on the right hand side of this site showing Profts appearence on WLS radio while making his first public announcement. The actual speech he made as his formal announcement will be found at the above URL or his website, Dan Proft 2010.

Now for a sip of tea with the Captain.

1/6/10

Primum non nocere


A Latin phrase that means "First, do no harm."

What if we elected people who took the same oath our physicians take? If you said the result would be "a smaller, constitutional government that defended our rights (the actual ones, not the ones people keep making up) and didn't end up taking our freedoms while making things worse", go to the head of the class. (Jefferson's concise explanation found at the top of this page sums it up nicely.)

Alternately, if you said, "anarchy and ruin", well, as Bill Engvall says; "here's your sign".

Hippocrates might have been a good choice for a representative if he wasn't busy inventing medical practice. Hippocratic medicine was supposed to be humble and passive. Which is the same idea the framers had for governing ourselves after we kicked King George's royal arse back to England.  Good 'ole Hippo had a splendid idea that would apply equally to both practices. According to Wikipedia, the translation for the above phrase was roughly; "given an existing problem, it may be better to do nothing than to do something that risks causing more harm than good."

The impending first step to single payer government run health insurance (President Obama's unabashed and well documented goal for America) is only a few days away and qualifies as a perfect example of the above principle. It's only one of thousands of course, but it's the biggest one in the history of our moribund republic.

This isn't your run of the mill slippery slope folks. This is a fatal plunge off the precipice of Mount America. Nothing is as personal as decisions about your health and once you have abdicated that responsibility to people in government, every other decision will be essentially irrelevant. And it's easy, they don't have to forbid you from buying your own insurance, they merely have to make sure it is not available. And make no mistake, that is the plan. They wanted that result all at once, but even if they have to do it incrementally, it is the goal.

Absolutely everything one does can be in some way linked to their health. From what you eat, to how you travel, to what activities you engage in, it all can be "regulated" for the good of the people. And no individual can be allowed to engage in anything that raises the costs for the group.

A federal "Nurse Ratched" making your choices for you? Think I'm cuckoo? Over the top? Hysterical?
Perhaps, but I fear a day when you may think I was too timid.

Such a conclusion would show that, indeed, they "did great harm". Harm fatal to our way of life, and maybe even our life itself.

You Can't Handle The Truth

Those of you who do not check the Drudge Report might have missed this video.
There is no explanation needed.




It's your freedom Americans.
Election day is coming.