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.

6/27/11

Medicare Can be Saved, But Not by Dorothy and the Wizard


Elections are coming, and sooner than we think. And they will have consequences. Voting for a status quo candidate like Barack Obama or a Republican clone like Mitt Romney (and a few others) will assure that we do nothing of any consequence to change the downward spiral of large government programs like Medicare.

You can let people scare you into thinking that everything will be OK if we just elect people who will protect you from bad old penny pinchers and those who would toss you into a chasm of neglect by changing the program instead of keeping things as they are. Unfortunately, that isn't an option even for those living in a dream world where they continue to dance along the yellow brick road to a sure solution provided by a wizard promising change, but never actually delivering it.

Hoping for a solution without a change is childish. An actual solution to a problem requires two things: admitting there actually is a problem and then having an actual plan to address it. Both are lacking in current "leadership."

Obama did not cause this problem, but people who think like him did. (That includes John McCain, so no one would have dodged a bullet on this by electing him last time.) And expecting those of that mindset to fix the problem that they made by keeping everything the same is at least as childish as expecting to get back to Kansas with the help of a non-existent wizard with no plan. At least he had a balloon for himself, but like Dorothy, we will be stuck in the midst of munchkins. Unfortunately our small statured people are mentally that way and in elected positions, so not much hope there.

Fortunately there are adults with an actual plan. The video below presents one such plan and it also will allow you to escape from my crazy analogy which may have you tearing your hair out just about now.

6/23/11

A “Right” to Stolen Property? Huh?

June 23, 2011 by Dan Mitchell

I’m often amazed at how the political class concocts new rights that can only be fulfilled by trampling on genuine freedoms.
In a previous post, I mocked Finland for deciding that broadband access was a human right (which presumably means Finns were being oppressed before Al Gore invented the Internet).
Another post sarcastically noted that European courts decided that free soccer broadcasts were a fundamental right (meaning Europeans were being oppressed before TV was invented).
But these two posts might lead people to think that only Europeans are stupid enough to create non-existent rights. Rest assured, this is not the case. Politicians from all part of the world are perfectly capable of making decisions that are economically foolish and morally depraved.
Consider President Evo Morales of Bolivia. His government decided to grant amnesty to people who purchased stolen cars. You may think I’m exaggerating, but here’s an excerpt from a news service report.
According to Bolivian Customs in the first ten days of the amnesty, effective until next July first, a total of 70.248 “chuto” cars (as illegal vehicles are called in Bolivia) have been presented for legalization to which another 6.000, with the wrong paperwork, must be added. …President Morales justified the legalization of contraband cars arguing that the ‘chutos’ are purchased by “poor people” who want “to improve their status” and prefer them because they are ‘cheaper’. “We all have a right to have a car” said President Morales.
In a just society, of course, there is no such thing as a “right” that can only be provided by stealing another person’s property. And that’s true even when the government is the middleman in the transaction.

Dan Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
He also blogs at International Liberty

WhatWeThinkandWhy has express permission to republish his posts on that fine blog which is also linked to on the sidebar so that you may see new posts as they are filed. Be sure to visit his site often, it's terrific.

6/21/11

Why is Granny Throwing Her Kids Under the Bus?

Recently I posted a short piece about a hilarious video that some goofy people made that showed a guy pushing an old lady off a cliff. I say goofy because it was apparently meant as a serious attempt to make people think that any reduction in spending increases or any rational Medicare reform was proof that mean old Republicans and other evil doers were trying to kill Granny. 

It was titled Unintentional Humor is the Best Kind and if you missed it you can revisit it here and have a good laugh. The video backfired of course, at least with anyone of average intelligence.

So what's with the title of this post? Surely I'm not going to accuse old people of intentionally screwing their children and grandchildren, am I? No, I'm not.

But I am going to try to illustrate the point that it's not Granny or any other older Americans who have been paying into Social Security who will be left holding the bag when that system finally collapses if it's not reformed in a meaningful way, and soon. It's her kids and grand kids who will come up empty because that's who is paying her monthly check in the Ponzi scheme farce we call Social Security.

Despite what liberal activists (AKA the mainstream media) have been trying to lead us to believe, absolutely no one from either party has floated any reform proposal that would cut any current recipient's benefit or raise the age of retirement for anyone near the filing age. And it would be political suicide if they did, so no one need worry about that in the short term. (It's the monetization of that debt they should be terrified of.)

The reason for this post is that I got a heads-up on another fine article written by American treasure Dr. Thomas Sowell from a family member who stays current on rationally thought-out articles and knows of my penchant for reading anything Sowell puts to page. Many thanks to son-in-law Bob for pointing me to one I hadn't seen yet.

The article is short and super readable, just as all Sowell articles are. The combination of his intelligence and writing skill make it one you won't want to miss, particularly all you liberals who read this blog. (OK, I can't resist mixing a little humor into every post.)

The Missing Money by Thomas Sowell

One of my earliest memories of revulsion against war came from seeing a photograph from the First World War when I was a teenager. It was nothing gory. Just a picture of a military officer, in an impressive uniform, talking to a puzzled and forlorn-looking old peasant woman with a cloth wrapped around her head.

He said simply: “Don’t you understand, madam? The village is not there any more.”

To many such people of that era, the village was the only world they knew. And to say that it had been destroyed in the carnage of war was to say that there was no way for them to go back home, that their whole world was gone.

Recently that image came back, in a wholly different context, while seeing pictures of American seniors carrying signs that read “Hands off my Social Security” and “Hands off my Medicare.”

Read the rest..

6/20/11

Presidential Candidate Governor Gary Johnson Answers The Debate Questions

After CNN decided that they would invite non-declared potential candidates to their version of a Presidential debate while excluding a seriously qualified and formally declared former two term New Mexico Governor, I decided that someone deserved some answers. That someone is you, the American voter.

Of course Johnson deserved to be in the debate (such as it was), but more importantly, the country deserves to have the chance to find out about the positions of ALL the candidates, particularly those that champion the kind of positions that are entirely different from the ones that got us into the potentially fatal mess we currently find ourselves in. It is, after all, the purpose of debates.

I don't know whether the party that nominates people like John McCain, Bob Dole, George W. Bush or the rest of the cookie cutter big government stiffs they usually nominate has enough sense to start bailing out the sinking ship of state by nominating a sane candidate for a change, but it cannot happen unless you know something about the candidates and vote in the primary, or voice your preference to pollsters and friends.

A few of the candidates actually believe in the US Constitution and the limits on government found in it, but I'd be shocked if many people knew who they are. If they do, it's certainly not because CNN or any of the other left leaning "news" outlets are interested in having people decide for themselves.

So I'm doing my part by posting this video so you can find out from the source how Governor Johnson would have answered those questions if he had been given the opportunity at the time. Then you can decide whether you have the time to actually watch it or the inclination to pass a link to it along to others on your email lists so they can do an end-around on a media that doesn't want you to be exposed to some straight-forward answers to the questions others were asked.

Alternately, you may decide that the Governor is a nut and CNN was correct to filter your information. At least it will be your call, not some liberal decision maker at CNN who is terrified that people will be informed about a candidate who can attract significant support from other Democrats. Governor Johnson has that kind of appeal to Democrats, who elected him twice in a state that has twice as many of them as Republicans.

The old Republican party will give you a Romney, a Pawlenty or some other "same as before" candidate if you let them. Then you can decide whether you want the fast road to ruin that Obama offers or a slower painful death with another GWB type.

Not a great decision to have to make.


6/15/11

DC or Chi-town, the Scent is the Same

While visiting loved ones in Maryland earlier this year I had a chance to visit DC for the first time. Even as a person who is totally cynical about political power, I was impressed. It has some beautiful places if you love history as much as I do. And it has a "feeling" about it.

I was even a bit impressed as the Presidential motorcade came roaring down Pennsylvania Avenue while my daughter and I happened to be standing on the median strip. Just think, I was within just a few yards of President Obama!

Well, maybe I wasn't exactly as giddy as I'm making it seem about being in proximity to a car that may have had the President inside. Maybe I just liked all the sirens and motorcycle cops. After all, I have personally met hundreds of greater men after sixty- one years in this realm, and none of them sent that tingle up my leg like pretend newsman Chris Matthews got when he met our hope and change leader.

Even though I admire many people, my theory is that all people will disappoint you if you get to know them well enough. That's why I try to stick to ideas instead of personalities when I write on this blog. The concept of freedom has never disappointed me.

One of the things I remember remarking to my daughter as we strolled along in the most powerful city on earth was that, "It's easy to see why people come here with good intentions and soon become convinced that they are special." The fatal conceit is an epidemic here.

As it turns out, if you want to see how DC works, or smells, you can save the airfare and stay in Chi-town because the "Chicago Way"* has arrived in the nation's capital as the Illinois community organizer took his roadshow east. In all fairness, the corruption has always been there, it just didn't go by that name before.

In Chicago, where the last Mayor (King Richard Daley II) has stopped "mayoring" so he can cash in on all the favors he is owed by past recipients of public largess, things have always been fixed. And the money flows both ways, particularly at election time. And at contract time, and at hiring time.

The last Mayor's son was recently caught making over $700,000 on a WI-FI contract/scam at the airport. And it's all legal, at least in the corruption capital of Illinois. It's also legal to threaten to take your business and leave when your legal bribe to the new Mayor Emmanuel and the recently elected Governor Quinn failed to get you the same tax "waivers" as other big companies got. That is what the CME Group is doing.

The CME Group made a "contribution" of $90,000 to the Governor's Campaign, which apparently was not enough to get them the same deal (so far) as Sears and Caterpillar got. They also gave a whopping $200,000 (the single largest payoff) to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's campaign even though he was a virtual lock to win the election after being part of the Daley/Obama Chi-town deal-o-rama.

CME chairman Terry Duffy said "I thought it made a lot of sense." (to make the contribution/downpayment on future favors, he is in the futures business after all) According to the Chicago Tribune he said Rahm had "Chicago roots, knowledge of Washington and a desire to raise the city's international profile." That would whittle the potential donee list down to a few hundred thousand people I guess.

I can just imagine what the conversation in that meeting sounded like when he proposed (successfully) to spend 200 grand of the company's money citing those reasons. I guess I have been in enough of those exchange meetings over my forty-two year career in the markets to have that kind of imagination. Of course it's all legal, these people aren't stupid, only immoral.

I won't waste another second talking about the legendary corruption in Chicago because anyone with a working nose can smell the stench of rotting government here even if they are upwind of this political hellhole.

But the point of all this chatter is that these deals are also being made in DC by the "change" President. I'm certain no one is surprised and many of the dimwits who vote for these people in Illinois are sure to say that this kind of thing is OK, "because that's how things work."

Now a story has been published on the web by a group named iWatch News that lays out the huge numbers of "contributors" (now called "bundlers") who have profited from helping get things changed. Apparently all they wanted changed was who was getting the plunder, not the act of plunder itself.

In iWatch's article they point out that "as a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests. Kicking off his presidential run on Feb. 10, 2007, he blasted “the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests,” who had “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.” We’re here today to take it back,” he said.

They go on to say "More than two years after Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events."


I think you should read the story for yourself, it could save you a trip to DC. But if you want to know how to get there, just stick your nose out the window and follow the stench east.

*"The Chicago Way" term was coined by Tribune writer John Kass

6/13/11

I'm Too Busy to be Alarmed

I'm sure the guy in the video below must be exaggerating. I mean, it couldn't be true could it?  Obama and GWB and all those guys on MSNBC and CNN (etal) must be right that this is not a big issue.

Why else would they ignore it and quibble over bigger issues like gay marriage and the like? Why else would we be wringing our hands over whether the government is correct about our our dietary selections?

"Chicken Little" theories about whether the planet is getting warmer and whose fault that might be must be more important, right?

I dunno, I'm just a Teablogger passing around alarmist videos that readers send me. You figure it out. Or go ask ten of your friends what they think is the most important issue in the country right now. Or ask ten people on the street the same question.

I have to go find out why LeBron James and company lost the NBA championship if he is the best player who ever lived. After that I'm going to see if I can get one of those swell jobs with the NY Times sifting through Sarah Palin's emails looking for things that might embarrass her. Or maybe I'll see if I can find out if a NY congressman can keep his job (spending more borrowed dollars) after he wagged his wiener on twitter.

You figure it out, I have more important things to do.



Hat tip to Homer for another great video find.

6/8/11

Liar, Liar, Your Car's On Fire

When I was a kid the rhyme was about your pants being on fire, but since Obama (and his economic mentor GWB before him) hasn't bailed out any clothing companies, the ditty had to be changed a bit.

Our guest columnist Wes Messamore ran a piece yesterday on his excellent blog The Humble Libertarian about the lies being told by Obamanocchio concerning the bailout of union thugs and the idiot management at Chrysler and Government Motors. There were quite a few whoppers, as usual.

And Wes wasn't the only one who noticed. The Washington Post ran a story  pointing out all the semi-clever deceptions and half truths that splintered off Geppetto's wooden President in Ohio last week while mysteriously courting the only people who will never turn their backs on him at election time.

I'm not a political wizard but I find it odd that candidate Obama would spend time trying to convince unionists to vote for him when they are already a sure thing. But he tricked the children once already so who am I to question his tactics?

One thing is certain, the puppet master for our needle-nosed leader is none other than the unions he bailed out with your money. When he told Joe the plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around, poor old Joe probably thought he meant transferring it from rich to poor, not from the non-union worker to the union worker.

Maybe Joe should have aspired to build electric cars that no one buys instead of fixing toilets that always have to be flushed twice.

6/6/11

Gary Johnson's Campaign Protests CNN Debate Exclusion, You Should Too

The following post was taken from the Gary Johnson 2012 website. 

 

In my opinion it makes the argument very persuasively that the people who make the decisions at CNN have made a rather large error by excluding the former Governor of New Mexico from the upcoming Presidential debate, the very purpose of which is to give exposure to the candidates, their positions and their track records so that people can decide if their candidacies merit consideration. 

 

It's bizarre to say the least. Unless of course CNN is trying to mold the Presidential field instead of report on it.  


After you read it and all the excellent points and historical facts that are contained in it you can also watch Governor Johnson being interviewed about the subject on Fox News in the video below. In my opinion it's worth your time to learn about someone who is quite different from any other candidate of either party. 

 

If CNN won't do it, this blog will take up the job. It will serve them right when this blog gets bigger than their network because of their hubris.



June 6, 2011, Santa Fe, NM – A senior advisor to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign, Ron Nielson, today sent the following letter to CNN concerning Governor Johnson’s exclusion from the June 13 New Hampshire primary debate:

“The Gary Johnson for President campaign has been overwhelmed over the weekend with phone calls and emails all asking the same question: How is it that Governor Johnson is being excluded from the June 13 New Hampshire presidential primary debate?  Of course, they are asking the wrong people.

“Having heard nothing to the contrary from you, the debate sponsors, we assume the decision not to invite Governor Johnson was based upon your “objective” polling criteria.  Certainly, you have to apply criteria.  We get that.  However, the idea that inclusion – or exclusion – from a critical debate in a critical state will be based entirely upon polling arithmetic, seven months before a single vote is cast, is not only absurd, but counter-intuitive to the very purpose of a debate.

“At this point in the process, a candidate’s ranking in the polls is almost entirely a factor of name identification, news coverage by outlets such as yours, money, and/or previous exposure on the national level – including that gained from previous unsuccessful campaigns. In short, relying solely on polling numbers at this stage simply grants an enormous advantage to “establishment” candidates – and excludes a successful two-term governor whose express purpose in running is to give Americans an alternative to business as usual, and who actually has a track record to back it up.

“Given that poll rankings at this point are largely the result of decisions by the elite media, such as CNN, about who and what to cover – and to whom to give precious air time, it is more than a little ironic when those same media use those poll numbers to deem certain  candidates deserving and others not.  That irony is not lost on Republican primary voters who most assuredly do not want media elites pre-selecting  their candidates for them.

“Consider:  In early 1991, then-Governor Bill Clinton was in 11th place in presidential primary polling with 2%.  By November of 1991, he was only at 6%,  a fact which led one commentator to later observe:  “If the front runners in the 1992 Democratic primary had been successful in excluding all the “non-serious” candidates, Bill and Hillary Clinton would have never made it to the national stage.” The “frontrunners” in 1991, by the way, were Mario Cuomo and Jerry Brown.

“And there is this excerpt from a memorandum sent to supporters by the Mitt Romney campaign in 2007: “Carter, Dukakis, and Clinton were all governors of small states who began their campaigns with low national exposure and went on to win their party’s nomination. At this point in 1975, Carter was polling at 1%; in 1987, Dukakis was polling at 1%; in 1991, Clinton was at 2%.”

“In short, applying your criteria, the ultimate nominees in several modern elections would likely not have been invited to a CNN debate.  And in each case, they were Governors of relatively small states who simply had not enjoyed the advantage of the national media’s attention – a rather precise description of Governor Johnson.  The polls were not predictive then, and they are not now.

“The fundamental unfairness of relying solely on polling criteria aside, there are obvious problems with the polling criteria themselves.  Even the most extensive and professional political polls carry margins of error from 3-5%.  When reporting polls in which candidates are separated by margins within that range, the news media invariably points out that those candidates are essentially tied or the race is “too close to call”.  While we have not seen your precise calculations, based on the polls we have seen, we have to assume that the “margin” between Governor Johnson and some of those who were invited to the debate were equally “too close to call”.  Yet you made a call – and decided to exclude Governor Johnson.

“Adding to the mystery of your arithmetic is the simple fact that Governor Johnson was not even included in much of CNN’s own polling during the month of April – one of the time periods you used to determine eligibility.  It is hardly surprising that a candidate would not fare well in a poll in which he was not included.

“Debates play an important role in the American political process.  They uniquely provide an opportunity for voters to hear, see, contrast and compare candidates – on a level playing field uncluttered by funding, name I.D., past notoriety and public relations machines.  Rather, they are about credentials, ideas, philosophies and policies.

“By those measures, a two-term Republican governor from a Democrat state — who turned a deficit into a surplus, vetoed 750 bills, and successfully governed from a philosophy many, many Republicans are today seeking – deserves a chance to participate in the June 13 debate.  Early and largely irrelevant polling arithmetic certainly should not trump the obvious:  Gary Johnson has a record, a resume and the proven accomplishments to merit inclusion among any serious gathering of Republican candidates for president.
“We respectfully ask that the decision to exclude Governor Johnson be revisited, and that the American people be given an opportunity to hear a voice on June 13 that otherwise will not be heard.

Sincerely,
Ron Nielson
Senior Advisor
Gary Johnson 2012”





Don't be timid about passing a link to this story around, it's not right to allow these news organizations to pick and choose what we hear. Particularly when we need to pay attention like never before.