Wednesday, January 28, 2009
And I'm not being some "alarmist," this is included in our fancy, new stimulus package!
"Training Primary Care Providers: $600 million to address shortages and prepare our country for universal healthcare by training primary healthcare providers including doctors, dentists, and nurses as well as helping pay medical school expenses for students who agree to practice in underserved communities through the National Health Service Corps."
pg 10: http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/PressSummary01-15-09.pdf
Now, as lovely as the whole Universal Healthcare thing sounds to some, or how beautifully it is sold to us by our ever so trustworthy politicians, I just can not bring myself to trust my HEALTHCARE to the people that can't seem to figure out: how to improve roadways in a timely/effective manner or how to track billions of bailout dollars given away within the past 6 months.
Are there problems with the current American healthcare system? Of course!
Is putting the government in control going to magically fix it? Of course not!
While it doesn't often seem to make our front page, many countries are having problems with their wonderful universal healthcare programs. I believe it was in England that I recently heard they were beginning to privatize some hospitals, as the government ones could not handle the load on their own. I'm just not very fond of the idea of working (albeit not currently), then having to wait in line behind some loser who choses not to work and chooses not to take care of themself just for regular healthcare, or more pressing procedures and care!
Once again, those who speak in fear of "big brother" are encouraging and perpetuating the "nanny state."
Personally? I think we should consider illegalizing health insurance. Outrageous charges and insurance costs drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone. If we all were actually just working on the power of the dollar capitalism, could, once again, fix this.
(for the record, this is coming from someone who may very soon not have health insurance)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This legislation does follow the one financial principal we are all aware of: spend yourself out of debt. Right? I mean, in what reality does that actually work? "I can't afford my bills this month, so I'm going to go hit the mall, then all my problems will be solved!" That is the logic our government is currently using.
Personally, I have already called my 2 U.S. Senators (Cornyn and Hutchison) and my 1 U.S. Representative (Granger) and left messages regarding the Pres. Obama Stimulus Package: DELAY A VOTE or VOTE AGAINST IT!
Obama Stimulus Package Breakdown
January 26, 2009 - 11:16 ET
What is the money being spent on-general breakdown between infrastructure, tax cuts, etc…?
Some highlights of the package, by the numbers:
• $825 billion total (as of 1/15/09)
• $550 billion in new spending, described as thoughtful and carefully targeted priority investments with unprecedented accountability measures built in.
• $275 billion in tax relief ($1,000 tax cut for families, $500 tax cut for individuals through SS payroll deductions)
• $ 90 billion for infrastructure
• $ 87 billion Medicaid aid to states
• $ 79 billion school districts/public colleges to prevent cutbacks
• $ 54 billion to encourage energy production from renewable sources
• $ 41 billion for additional school funding ($14 billion for school modernizations and repairs, $13 billion for Title I, $13 billion for IDEA special education funding, $1 billion for education technology)
• $ 24 billion for "health information technology to prevent medical mistakes, provide better care to patients and introduce cost-saving efficiencies" and "to provide for preventative care and to evaluate the most effective healthcare treatments."
• $ 16 billion for science/technology ($10 billion for science facilities, research, and instrumentation; $6 billion to expand broadband to rural areas)
• $ 15 billion to increase Pell grants by $500
• $ 6 billion for the ambiguous "higher education modernization."
[Source: Committee on Appropriations: January 15, 2009]
Here is a further breakdown of the package:
NOTE: The following are highlights of the package; for the full 13-page summary from the Appropriations Committee, click here:
(as of 1/15/09)
$32 billion: Funding for "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste
$16 billion: Renewable energy tax cuts and a tax credit for research and development on energy-related work, and a multiyear extension of renewable energy production tax credit
$6 billion: Funding to weatherize modest-income homes
Science and Technology
$10 billion: Science facilities
$6 billion: High-speed Internet access for rural and underserved areas
$30 billion: Transportation projects
$31 billion: Construction and repair of federal buildings and other public infrastructure
$19 billion: Water projects
$10 billion: Rail and mass transit projects
$41 billion: Grants to local school districts
$79 billion: State fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid
$21 billion: School modernization ($15.6 billion to increase the Pell grant by $500; $6 billion for higher education modernization)
$39 billion: Subsidies to health insurance for unemployed; providing coverage through Medicaid
$87 billion: Help to states with Medicaid
$20 billion: Modernization of health-information technology systems
$4.1 billion: Preventative care
$43 billion for increased unemployment benefits and job training.
$39 billion to support those who lose their jobs by helping them to pay the cost of keeping their employer provided healthcare under COBRA and providing short-term options to be covered by Medicaid.
$20 billion to increase the food stamp benefit by over 13% in order to help defray rising food costs.
*$500 per worker, $1,000 per couple tax cut for two years, costing about $140 billion.
*Greater access to the $1,000-per-child tax credit for the working poor.
*Expansion of the earned-income tax credit to include families with three children
*A $2,500 college tuition tax credit.
*Repeal of a requirement that a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit be paid back over time.
*An infusion of cash into money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two.
*Bonus depreciation for businesses investing in new plants and equipment
*Doubling of the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and new equipment purchases.
*Allowing businesses to claim a tax credit for hiring disconnected youth and veterans
[Sources: Associated Press: Highlights of Senate economic stimulus plan; January 23, 2009; WSJ: Stimulus Package Unveiled; January 16, 2009; Committee on Appropriations: January 15, 2009]
When is the money being is going to be spent, and on what?
The government wouldn't be able to spend at least one-fourth of a proposed $825 billion economic stimulus plan until after 2010, according to a preliminary report by the Congressional Business Office that suggests it may take longer than expected to boost the economy. The government would spend about $26 billion of the money this year and $110 billion more next year, the report said. About $103 billion would be spent in 2011, while $53 billion would be spent in 2012 and $63 billion between 2013 and 2019.
• Less than $5 billion of the $30 billion set aside for highway spending would be spent within the next two years, the CBO said.
• Only $26 billion out of $274 billion in infrastructure spending would be delivered into the economy by the Sept. 30 end of the budget year, just 7 percent.
• Just one in seven dollars of a huge $18.5 billion investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be spent within a year and a half.
• About $907 million of a $6 billion plan to expand broadband access in rural and other underserved areas would be spent by 2011, CBO said.
• Just one-fourth of clean drinking water projects can be completed by October of next year.
• $275 billion worth of tax cuts to 95 percent of filers and a huge infusion of help for state governments is to be distributed into the economy more quickly.
[Note: The CBO's analysis applied only to 40 percent of the overall stimulus bill, and doesn't cover tax cuts or efforts; a CBO report outlining all of its costs is expected in the next week or so.]
• The Obama administration said $3 of every $4 in the package should be spent within 18 months to have maximum impact on jobs and taxpayers; if House or Senate versions of the bill do not spend the money as quickly, the White House will work with lawmakers to achieve the goal of spending 75% of the overall package over the next year and a half.
[Source: AP: Three-quarters of stimulus to go in 18 months; January 22, 2009; Bloomberg News: Much of Stimulus Wont Be Spent Before 2011, CBO Says; January 20, 2009; link]
Who will be spending the money? Will the states be receiving any money to spend, community organizations? Churches?
The economic stimulus plan now moving through Congress would shower billions of federal dollars on state and local governments desperate for cash:
• The House stimulus bill includes an extra $87 billion in federal aid to state Medicaid programs.
• It allots some $120 billion to boost state and city education programs.
• There's $4 billion for state and local anticrime initiatives in the legislation, not to mention $30-plus billion for highways and other infrastructure projects.
• $6.9 billion to help state and local governments make investments that make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
• $87 billion to states, increasing through the end of FY 2010 the share of Medicaid costs the Federal government reimburses all states by 4.8 percent, with extra relief tied to rates of unemployment.
• $120 billion to states and school districts to stabilize budgets and prevent tax increases and deep cuts to critical education programs.
Overall, about one-quarter of the entire $825 billion recovery package would be devoted to activities crucial to governors, mayors, and local school boards - making them among the plans biggest beneficiaries.
[Sources: Committee on Appropriations: January 15, 2009; Reuters: Roads, energy, states win in US stimulus plan;15 January 2009; Christian Science Monitor: States to win big in stimulus sweepstakes; House bill allots almost one-quarter of the $825 billion recovery package to states, localities. How will that boost the economy?; January 25, 2009; Link]
But wait... there's more!
Let's put this in perspective...
More Stimulus Proposal Facts
January 26, 2009 - 11:16 ET
Total Cost of Stimulus Legislation: $825 billion
How does this compare?
[Source: QUICK FACTS ON THE DEMOCRAT STIMULUS PROPOSAL; January 15, 2009]
• In 1993, the unemployment was virtually the same as the rate today (around 7%). Yet, President Clinton’s proposed stimulus legislation *only* contained $16 billion in spending
• The total cost of this one piece of legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government.
• This legislation nears a trillion dollars. President Reagan said the best way to understand a trillion dollars is to imagine a crisp, new stack of $1000 bills.
• If you had a stack four inches high, you’d be a millionaire. A trillion-dollar stack of $1000 bills would measure just over 63 miles high.
• In $20 bills, a trillion dollar stack would be 3150 miles high. That’s about the distance between DC and Trujillo, Peru.
• President-elect Obama has said that his proposed stimulus legislation will create or save 3 million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend about $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $42,000 a year.
• This bill provides enough spending to give every man, woman, and child in America $2,700.
• This bill will cost each and every household $6,700 in additional debt, paid for by our children and grandchildren.
• Although this legislation has been billed and described as a transportation and infrastructure investment package, but only three percent ($30 billion) of this package is for road and highway spending.
• Much of the funding within the proposed stimulus package will go to programs which already have large, unexpended balances.
• For example, the draft bill provides $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which already has $16 billion on hand.
• And, this year, Congress has plans to rescind $9 billion in highway funding that the states have not yet used.
• Deficit spending will not expand the economy. If that were true, then the current $1.2 trillion deficit -- the largest in history -- would already be rescuing the economy.
• $800 billion more will not change that.
• Trade groups state that every $1 billion in highway “stimulus” can be spent creating 34,779 new construction jobs.
• But Congress must first borrow that $1 billion out of the private sector.
• The private sector then loses or forgoes roughly the same number of jobs.
• Japan responded to a 1990 recession by passing 10 “stimulus” bills over 8 years (building the largest national debt in the industrialized world). Their economy remained stagnant and their per capita income went from the second highest in the world to the tenth highest.
Friday, January 9, 2009
All this excitement in the same week: while the Governor of Illinois (Blagojevich) was voted to be impeached, the Texas legislature is considering a state-wide smoking ban, all hell breaks loose in Gaza, Anne Coulter releases a new book (then is banned, and "un-banned" from NBC) and Bride Wars opens...
I mean, can you contain yourself?
I'm so confused as to whether I should be smiling, laughing or crying (you figure out which ones would warrant the reactions).
As I selected the name for my blog, I have pretty much committed myself to the organization of a group for young conservatives in North Texas. Be watching for news (and a start-up MySpace page) in the near future.
Thanks for reading.
I highly recommend reading them and sharing them. They address the current economic conditions and include links to related articles. They were all written before Nov. 4, 2008, but still hold some wonderful information and sentiments.
What Can I Do to Prepare?
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs; in other words, redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day, she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich, and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professor had to be the truth, and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends either because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened, then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."
Her father asked her, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend Audrey, who only has a 2.0? That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA, and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."
The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea! How would that be fair? I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work. And she's done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"
The father slowly smiled and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."
While I feel that in many ways the Republican Party has abandoned their party members and their conservative ideals in favor of being closer to the "middle," I do enjoy the sentiment here... at least this part is still true.
Oh, and for the record, this is NOTHING like any conversation my father and I every had... as he definitely tends to be more liberal than myself.
Last night, Chris (my boyfriend) and I went and ate a fantastic dinner at Ali Baba (off MacArthur and 114) then headed over to the Wal-Mart off of MacArthur and 635 for Glenn Beck's "The Christmas Sweater" book signing. While I am I huge fan of Mr. Beck (or GB as I sometimes refer to him), this book was not as high on my priority list as others, but contributing to him beating Stephen King on the NY Times bestseller list and actually seeing/touching him in person (swoon) swayed me.
I was excited that the parking lot didn't look terribly crowded as we parked and went in, though we found the parking situation was not indicative of the line (think starting right behind the registers at your standard "Super" Wal-Mart, going straight back to the main back aisle, wrapping to the next major front-to-back aisle, and almost all the way to the front). We were approx 2/3 of the way from the front. Glenn was scheduled to sign books from 8-9, but had been at a signing in Tyler from 5-6 (the assumption is that they were driving in his big, fancy, book themed tour bus... ). As could be expected given the time frame, he was late... almost 45 min late. While waiting, the line socialized, from a family in front of us, to a middle aged woman right by us (with her fancy camera that takes video and has a USB port built in and was sent on a mission by family members to get several books) to a young guy who sounded like he was from Boston (and used the word "wicked" way too much) but claimed to be from North Carolina (I'm still skeptical), referenced Rob Zombie and bought snacks. (Some of my favorite observations while in line: a man wearing an Obama shirt grocery shopping, sweet irony, and a movie with zombies on a plane, placed interestingly close to Snakes on a Plane)
Once he arrived (highlighted by a cheer rising from the front of the line) things went quick. We had been provided with a sheet of "rules" (which were soon referred to as the "Line Manifesto") preventing any hold ups like personalization or posed pictures. As I got to the front, Chris prepped with a camera to capture the moment. With a quick handshake and signature, I told Glenn what a huge fan I was. His response was "How huge?" to which anything else I wanted to tell him went out the window and I stammered about listening online everyday at work... he then quickly asked "Big enough fan to drive to Tulsa for my show tomorrow with golden circle tickets?" and pulled an envelope from his pocket. Shocked and caught off guard and trying to figure out how the hell to get out of work the next day (today) so I could get to Tulsa, all I could do was ask "What time is the show?" he noted my hesitation and obviously I was missing out on the offer, as I was being shuffled out of line, one of his "Team Beck" assistants answered me... and I realized it was too late, and I should have shut up and taken the damn tickets.
Walking out of the Wal-Mart with my signed book, I was berating myself for hesitating and asking Chris why the hell he didn't tell me to shut up and take the tickets. After a quick smoke, I decided to be one of "those people" and went back in for another glimpse (the line was about done) and a fleeting hope that I could still get those tickets... Seeing a young woman in uniform (Air Force maybe?) with the tickets in hand made me feel better. It appeared that those may have been the only set he had to give away... and, frankly, I'd rather them go to a service-woman that some random schmuck (since I was too dumb to take them). I took another picture as his appearance was obviously reaching its end, and as he was being ushered out by his staff and the Irving PD, I got to shake his hand again (note: good handshake and eye contact).
I have convinced myself that he may have actually noticed me, as I was the one offered the tickets before the person who ended up with them... Either way, I'm flattered. I wrote him an email this morning, as I said above that what I wanted to say went out the window when I was caught off guard with the offer.
I'll have to finish my current reads (interestingly it is Glenn Beck's An Inconvenient Book, which I would highly recommend), I'll have to emotionally prepare myself for The Christmas Sweater which is sure to be a tear-jerker (a Hallmark ad can get the waterworks going for me).
At the end of the day, this was my first book signing I've ever been to and I'm glad I went... and I'm more inspired than ever to get involved and make a difference.
Read the article below...
And people really want an "economic stimulus plans" round 2? What good did that do?
And the "Big 3" (who are hurting so bad, they flew to DC to beg for money in private jets) want a bail out?
And the folks at AIG are overdue for facials and pedicures?
And we have a $700 billion bail out in progress?
In a nation with a bad case of the "gimme's" we really need to open our eyes. It appears from the article below that Communist China has us in a headlock. Oh, but lets focus on making more environmental laws, increase taxes on corporations and spending like, well, Congress (I would have said drunken sailors but would hate to insult the sailors). If companies can lower the price of their products (preferably without cutting jobs) and if the American people have more of their OWN hard earned money in their pockets (regardless of how rich or poor they are), well, we'll still be in one hell of a pickle, but at least there maybe light at the end of the tunnel!
(Obviously I'm not so shortsighted to believe that these 2 items would magically solve the current economic situation, nor do I actually believe it is feasible that the US will pay off this debt in the next century, I just wanted to illustrate my point succinctly.)
China Tops Japan in U.S. Debt Holdings
Beijing Gains Sway Over U.S. Economy
By Anthony Faiola and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 19, 2008; Page D01
China passed Japan to become the U.S. government's largest foreign creditor in September, the Treasury Department announced yesterday, reflecting the dramatic expansion of Beijing's economic influence over the American economy.
China's new status -- it now owns nearly $1 out of every $10 in U.S. public debt -- means Washington will be increasingly forced to rely on Beijing as it seeks to raise money to cover the cost of a $700 billion bailout. China, in fact, may be the government's largest creditor, period. The Treasury does not keep records on domestic bond holders. But analysts said China's holdings are so vast that the existence of a larger stakeholder in the United States now seems unlikely.
The growing dependence on Chinese cash is granting Beijing extraordinary sway over the U.S. economy. Analysts say a decision by China to move out of U.S. government bonds, for economic or political reasons, could lead a herd of other investors to follow suit. That would drive up the cost of U.S. borrowing, jeopardizing Washington's ability to fund, among other things, a stimulus package to jump-start the economy. If China were to stop buying or, worse, start selling U.S. debt, it would also quickly raise interest rates on a variety of loans in the United States, analysts say.
Additionally, the more China invests in U.S. debt, the harder it becomes for U.S. companies to sell their products overseas. That's because China's purchase of U.S. bonds makes the dollar stronger, particularly against the Chinese yuan, which has been kept artificially weak to boost Chinese exports. The relatively weak yuan remains one of the biggest obstacles to U.S. companies tapping the market in China, particularly lucrative now as Beijing embarks on $586 billion in infrastructure and other stimulus spending to keep its economy humming amid the global crisis.
In the United States, Chinese influence is reflected in terms as basic as home mortgage rates. Since the U.S. government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September, China, which maintains the world's largest cash reserves of roughly $1.9 trillion, has shed about $50 billion in the companies' debt and mortgage bonds, according to people who track the data. With China shying away from buying more, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have had to pay more to borrow and have gotten less for mortgage bonds, pushing up rates for people seeking home loans just as the U.S. government is trying to bring them down.
"This is a sign of the growing interdependence between the Chinese and U.S. economies, but also a sign of a relationship that is not healthy in the long term," said Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "There are inconsistent policies on both sides of the Pacific that are working against a more flexible Chinese exchange rate and the reduction of China's large trade surplus. This is a problem for the United States."
In good times, U.S. companies tapped China as a bargain-basement manufacturing hub, helping lift hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. But China's torrid growth has also caused severe environmental damage from a rapid rise in pollution and industrial waste, even as it improved American lifestyles by putting cheaper televisions and microwave ovens within easier reach for consumers. In recent years, Chinese cash also became part of a massive surge in foreign capital to the United States that brought down interest rates and eased the credit terms that American financial institutions charged.
Now, in bad times, China is effectively co-financing the $1 trillion annual U.S. deficit and massive government bailout of the financial system. It is doing so in part with money earned from exports to the United States, which last year imported five times as much as it exported to China.
The surge in Chinese buying is part of a rush by panicked investors into U.S. Treasurys, an indication that lending to the U.S. government is still seen as among the safest investments in uncertain times.
"It is occurring in an environment where global investment prospects are less enticing," said Lawrence Goodman, head of emerging market strategy at Bank of America. "There is a movement for foreigners to seek safer haven investments like Treasurys versus more risk-oriented foreign investments."
China's investment in U.S. Treasury bonds surged by $43.6 billion to $585 billion in September, pulling ahead of the Japan, which now holds $573.2 billion worth. Overall, analysts say China's holdings may be $800 billion or more. China is thought to be purchasing U.S. debt through third countries, purchases that are not immediately recorded by the Treasury as being held by China, analysts say.
In contrast to Japan, one of the United States' closest allies, China is seen as less benevolent to U.S. interests.
Many economists are concerned about U.S. reliance on China for funding. By buying Treasury bonds, which are denominated in dollars, China is able to keep the dollar strong compared with the yuan. As a result, Chinese exports are cheaper relative to U.S. exports.
That is a friction point at a time when the United States needs manufacturing companies to be competitive in the global marketplace to combat the economic downturn. U.S. labor unions are already pushing the incoming Obama administration to urge the Chinese to take steps to strengthen the yuan, which could involve a broad sell-off by China of U.S. Treasury bonds.
"This is an unhealthy relationship," said Brad W. Setser, geoeconomics fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "The U.S. relies too heavily on subsidized financing from a non-democratic government. And China is still a poor country that has in turn invested too much of its national savings in the United States. There remains an underlying financial vulnerability if China were to scale back its purchases. It could deliver a shock to the United States."
An interesting poll from Zogby (below). It is a bit sad regarding the lack of knowledge of the general public other than on the sensationalized, tabloid-ish information. Does this mean that the current media groups are basically advocates for chosen political parties and candidates?
As has become quite evident, I am sure, I certainly tend toward the right, and call myself a conservative (Why? Because I believe in business, small government, the Bill of Rights, and the American Dream). I also consider it a personal obligation for all Americans to vote and to be at least moderately educated on their government. There are still people out there that do not understand that the Congress can be controlled by one party and the President be from an opposing party (though both will be under Democratic control come January). I'm not saying everyone should or does have the time, energy and motivation to do the listening, watching and reading that I do, but a simplistic, loose understanding of the 3 branches of government, who controls them and what their basic jobs are should be a personal responsibility of American citizens. It is not about who has the worst information about them out there... I don't think a completely "clean" politician even exists anymore, but why are both sides not evenly reported is the question...
Zogby Poll: Almost No Obama Voters Ace Election Test
Survey finds most Obama voters remembered negative coverage of McCain/Palin statements but struggled to correctly answer questions about coverage associated with Obama/Biden
UTICA, New York -- Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.
Zogby Statement on Ziegler poll
Only 54% of Obama voters were able to answer at least half or more of the questions correctly.
The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President–Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.
"We stand by the results our survey work on behalf of John Ziegler, as we stand by all of our work. We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. It was a legitimate effort to test the knowledge of voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in the Nov. 4 election. Push polls are a malicious effort to sway public opinion one way or the other, while message and knowledge testing is quite another effort of public opinion research that is legitimate inquiry and has value in the public square. In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election. The client is free to draw his own conclusions about the research, as are bloggers and other members of society. But Zogby International is a neutral party in this matter. We were hired to test public opinion on a particular subject and with no ax to grind, that's exactly what we did. We don't have to agree or disagree with the questions, we simply ask them and provide the client with a fair and accurate set of data reflecting public opinion." - John Zogby
"After I interviewed Obama voters on Election Day for my documentary, I had a pretty low opinion of what most of them had picked up from the media coverage of the campaign, but this poll really proves beyond any doubt the stunning level of malpractice on the part of the media in not educating the Obama portion of the voting populace," said Ziegler.
Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party, and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could "see Russia from their house," 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign. An answer of "none" or "Palin" was counted as a correct answer on the test, given that the statement was associated with a characterization of Palin.
Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden -- 83% failed to correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated international crisis during his first six months as President.
In addition to questions regarding statements and scandals associated with the campaigns, the 12-question, multiple-choice survey also included a question asking which political party controlled both houses of Congress leading up to the election -- 57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.
Obama: Says Energy Prices will SKYROCKET under his plan...
Before you get all excited about Obama "lowering taxes on the middle class" (really, redistibuting wealth and sending CHECKS, as in welfare, to people who don't even PAY taxes), you may end up with even less money in your pocket.
Below is a story, about an interview Obama did in San Francisco in January...
Don't you think energy costs are high enough?
So charging these companies more (and bankrupting them) is going to help employment, how?
Obama: Energy Prices Will Skyrocket Under My Cap and Trade Plan
P.J. Gladnick's post regarding the audio of Barack Obama telling the San Francisco Chronicle he will bankrupt the coal industry has already elicited the response of : "unbelievable" from a West Virginia coal official. Governor Palin included the issue in a speech at a rally in Ohio today as well.
During Obama's January 2008 talk with the San Francisco Chronicle, he also mentions how electricity rates would "skyrocket" (H/T to Hot Air's Ed Morrisey for focusing in on this)(my emphasis added:)
The problem is not technical, and the problem is not sufficient mastery of the legislative intricacies of Washington.
The problem is can you get the American people to say this is really important and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake, and climate change is a great example.
When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I'm capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations.
That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers. You can already see what the arguments are going to be during the general election. People will say Obama and Al Gore …these folks...they're going to destroy the economy.
This is going to cost us 8 trillion dollars or whatever their number is. If you can't persuade the American people that, yes, there is going to be some increase on electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage and changing light bulbs and more efficient appliances, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy that the economy will benefit.
If we can't make that argument persuasively enough, you can be Lyndon Johnson. You can be the master of Washington. You're not gonna get that done.
Given how long the media buried this story, it is apparent Obama was not confident the American people were willing to buy into higher energy prices for his green agenda.
—Kerry Picket is an associate producer with the Media Research Center's Eyeblast.tv video site.
Obama v. The Constitution
If you happen to be fond of the Bill of Rights, as I am, the following is scary. To keep it simple (and from being ridiculously long), I'll stick with my 2 favorite Amendments: the 1st and 2nd.
I find it ironic that the party that claims to be the champion of "freedom of speech" are the same ones that scream "racism" whenever someone questions Obama. I find it frightening that we are leaning closer and closer to having a Democratic Congress, Democratic President and a Liberal media. Where are we going to learn about contraversial issues? Or will they just be hushed under new incarnations of the "Fairness Doctrine"? Are we looking at the Sedition Acts again?
The FCC has sent letters to some of the nation's most prominent military analysts -- some of them pro-President Bush and pro-war -- suggesting they may have broken the law when they appeared on television stations to comment on and explain the war on terrorism.
Also, see my previous blog regarding the Fairness Doctrine.
As many will (should) recall, over this summer, our Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment DOES give Americans the right to own guns. I am a gun owner. I own one for several reasons, one being because I like the idea of excercising my Constitutional rights. I also believe in being able to defend myself. Have I had to shoot an intruder at my home? No, but believe me, I would not hesitate to do so. "Oh, guns cause crime" is the cry of so many anti-gun (or, anti-Constitution) activists. Do you really believe that your local criminal is going to the local gun store to have a background check run and purchase his traceable firearm before committing a crime? Do you think that taking guns away from people who purchase(d) them legally is going to stop criminals from using guns? I'd prefer not to be forced to be a victim. I prefer the option to defend myself.
ON GUN RIGHTS (from a NRA sponsored site):
• Obama voted to ban hundreds of rifles and shotguns commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
Illinois Senate, SB 1195, 3/13/03
• Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns
Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96, Politico, 03/31/08
• Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their homes
Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20, 3/25/04
• Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500 percent
Chicago Defender, 12/13/99
• Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
United States Senate, S. 397, vote 217, 7/29/05
• Obama opposes Right-to-Carry laws
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/2/08, Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04
Current Stock Market Downturn: "Priced In Obama"
So, you, like myself, may not have a huge investment in the stock market... maybe some old mutual funds or the beginnings of a 401k. Many people think "oh, those rich folks have plenty of money to pay taxes," but do you really think people will continue investing if the taxes on their investments (and cashing in those investments) goes up? Grandma and Grandpa's retirement, often in the stock market in a variety of ways, depends on the SUCCESS of those stocks, not the impact of heavy taxation on businesses and stock values.
Notice that the stock market is, overall, down presently. If this is "priced in Obama" that is not a good sign. As I have stated many times, I do not believe McCain is our nation's savior, but I do believe that his impact on the economy will be significantly more positive than Obama's.
Burnett: McCain Win Might Give Stocks 'Big Pop,' Market 'Priced In Obama'
CNBC Anchor says Obama win would not boost markets, but 60 seat majority 'matters' to Wall Street.
By Paul Detrick
Business & Media Institute
11/3/2008 11:11:37 AM
The writing is on the wall, even though the wall may not like it.
CNBC's Erin Burnett told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Wall Street was predicting that Sen. Barack Obama will win the presidency, but an upset from Sen. John McCain might boost it.
"This market has priced in Obama, has not priced in McCain," Burnett said on the Nov. 3 broadcast. "Some people say that if McCain were to have an upset and win the market might get a big pop, who knows, but down here the conventional wisdom is, is that Obama has been priced into stocks."
When asked to explain the term "priced in", Burnett said, "It just means the market expects it. So, if Obama wins the market probably isn't going to do anything one way or the other."
But Burnett said the markets were even more concerned about a possible 60 seat majority for Democrats in the Senate.
"Now, the one thing that the market is going to watch, um, is, is this filibuster proof 60 that you talk about. That actually matters, whether you are going to get Democrats across the board and get a mandate on that front. The market is watching that, perhaps even more carefully than the presidential side of the election," Burnett said.
Other financial experts have warned that about the election's possible economic repercussions. Dariusz Kowalczyk, an analyst for Honk Kong-based CFC Seymour, wrote in a research note quoted by the Associated Press that Democratic control of U.S. economic policy "would risk disincentivising entrepreneurship," and could have a negative impact on productivity and growth.
"Clearly, the investor class – which many pollsters define as those who have more than $5,000 invested in the stock market – is critical to a McCain victory," BusinessWeek magazine said Nov. 3.
The magazine spoke with Pat Consolmagno, an 87-year-old retiree in Englewood, Fla., who said, "Obama? I don't think he's got a clue." Consolmagno said she was backing McCain even though the investments she and her husband Joe own "are not worth what they were."
The Consolmagnos live off the "roughly $80,000 they get from earnings on their mutual funds and savings, Social Security, and a Chrysler pension."
"I don't think either [candidate] is a genius when it comes to the markets; we're just sitting here waiting to see what happens," said Pat Consolmagno.
As the discussion heats up regarding the United States' march towards socialism, particularly in the plans of Obama (and our ridiculously left-leaning and controlled Congress) I felt obligated to share some information on the failure of socialism...:
The first article I'm sharing was written in 1995. While the US has maintained "socialized" policies for decades (particularly starting around and after the Great Depression) moving closer to that system would destroy the hope that we offer to the world.
The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - June 1995
Features:Why Socialism Failed
By Mark J. Perry
In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.
A pyramid scheme is ultimately unsustainable because it is based on faulty principles. Likewise, collectivism is unsustainable in the long run because it is a flawed theory. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives.
In a capitalist economy, incentives are of the utmost importance. Market prices, the profit-and-loss system of accounting, and private property rights provide an efficient, interrelated system of incentives to guide and direct economic behavior. Capitalism is based on the theory
Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.
that incentives matter!
Under socialism, incentives either play a minimal role or are ignored totally. A centrally planned economy without market prices or profits, where property is owned by the state, is a system without an effective incentive mechanism to direct economic activity. By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail. Socialism is based on the theory that incentives don't matter!
In a radio debate several months ago with a Marxist professor from the University of Minnesota, I pointed out the obvious failures of socialism around the world in Cuba, Eastern Europe, and China. At the time of our debate, Haitian refugees were risking their lives trying to get to Florida in homemade boats. Why was it, I asked him, that people were fleeing Haiti and traveling almost 500 miles by ocean to get to the "evil capitalist empire" when they were only 50 miles from the "workers' paradise" of Cuba?
The Marxist admitted that many "socialist" countries around the world were failing. However, according to him, the reason for failure is not that socialism is deficient, but that the socialist economies are not practicing "pure" socialism. The perfect version of socialism would work; it is just the imperfect socialism that doesn't work. Marxists like to compare a theoretically perfect version of socialism with practical, imperfect capitalism which allows them to claim that socialism is superior to capitalism.
If perfection really were an available option, the choice of economic and political systems would be irrelevant. In a world with perfect beings and infinite abundance, any economic or political system--socialism, capitalism, fascism, or communism--would work perfectly.
However, the choice of economic and political institutions is crucial in an imperfect universe with imperfect beings and limited resources. In a world of scarcity it is essential for an economic system to be based on a clear incentive structure to promote economic efficiency. The real choice we face is between imperfect capitalism and imperfect socialism. Given that choice, the evidence of history overwhelmingly favors capitalism as the greatest wealth-producing economic system available.
The strength of capitalism can be attributed to an incentive structure based upon the three Ps: (1) prices determined by market forces, (2) a profit-and-loss system of accounting and (3) private property rights. The failure of socialism can be traced to its neglect of these three incentive-enhancing components.
The price system in a market economy guides economic activity so flawlessly that most people don't appreciate its importance. Market prices transmit information about relative scarcity and then efficiently coordinate economic activity. The economic content of prices provides incentives that promote economic efficiency.
For example, when the OPEC cartel restricted the supply of oil in the 1970s, oil prices rose dramatically. The higher prices for oil and gasoline transmitted valuable information to both buyers and sellers. Consumers received a strong, clear message about the scarcity of oil by the higher prices at the pump and were forced to change their behavior dramatically. People reacted to the scarcity by driving less, carpooling more, taking public transportation, and buying smaller cars. Producers reacted to the higher price by increasing their efforts at exploration for more oil. In addition, higher oil prices gave producers an incentive to explore and develop alternative fuel and energy sources.
The information transmitted by higher oil prices provided the appropriate incentive structure to both buyers and sellers. Buyers increased their effort to conserve a now more precious resource and sellers increased their effort to find more of this now scarcer resource.
The only alternative to a market price is a controlled or fixed price which always transmits misleading information about relative scarcity. Inappropriate behavior results from a controlled price because false information has been transmitted by an artificial, non-market price.
Look at what happened during the 1970s when U.S. gas prices were controlled. Long lines developed at service stations all over the country because the price for gasoline was kept artificially low by government fiat. The full impact of scarcity was not accurately conveyed. As Milton Friedman pointed out at the time, we could have eliminated the lines at the pump in one day by allowing the price to rise to clear the market.
From our experience with price controls on gasoline and the long lines at the pump and general inconvenience, we get an insight into what happens under socialism where every price in the economy is controlled. The collapse of socialism is due in part to the chaos and inefficiency that result from artificial prices. The information content of a controlled price is always distorted. This in turn distorts the incentives mechanism of prices under socialism. Administered prices are always either too high or too low, which then creates constant shortages and surpluses. Market prices are the only way to transmit information that will create the incentives to ensure economic efficiency.
Profits and Losses
Socialism also collapsed because of its failure to operate under a competitive, profit-and-loss system of accounting. A profit system is an effective monitoring mechanism which continually evaluates the economic performance of every business enterprise. The firms that are the most efficient and most successful at serving the public interest are rewarded with profits. Firms that operate inefficiently and fail to serve the public interest are penalized with losses.
By rewarding success and penalizing failure, the profit system provides a strong disciplinary mechanism which continually redirects resources away from weak, failing, and inefficient firms toward those firms which are the most efficient and successful at serving the public. A competitive profit system ensures a constant reoptimization of resources and moves the economy toward greater levels of efficiency. Unsuccessful firms cannot escape the strong discipline of the marketplace under a profit/loss system. Competition forces companies to serve the public interest or suffer the consequences.
Under central planning, there is no profit-and-loss system of accounting to accurately measure the success or failure of various programs. Without profits, there is no way to discipline firms that fail to serve the public interest and no way to reward firms that do. There is no efficient way to determine which programs should be expanded and which ones should be contracted or terminated.
Without competition, centrally planned economies do not have an effective incentive structure to coordinate economic activity. Without incentives the results are a spiraling cycle of poverty and misery. Instead of continually reallocating resources towards greater efficiency, socialism falls into a vortex of inefficiency and failure.
Private Property Rights
A third fatal defect of socialism is its blatant disregard for the role of private property rights in creating incentives that foster economic growth and development. The failure of socialism around the world is a "tragedy of commons" on a global scale.
The "tragedy of the commons" refers to the British experience of the sixteenth century when certain grazing lands were communally owned by villages and were made available for public use. The land was quickly overgrazed and eventually became worthless as villagers exploited the communally owned resource.
When assets are publicly owned, there are no incentives in place to encourage wise stewardship. While private property creates incentives for conservation and the responsible use of property, public property encourages irresponsibility and waste. If everyone owns an asset, people act as if no one owns it. And when no one owns it, no one really takes care of it. Public ownership encourages neglect and mismanagement.
Since socialism, by definition, is a system marked by the "common ownership of the means of production," the failure of socialism is a "tragedy of the commons" on a national scale. Much of the economic stagnation of socialism can be traced to the failure to establish and promote private property rights.
As Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto remarked, you can travel in rural communities around the world and you will hear dogs barking, because even dogs understand property rights. It is only statist governments that have failed to understand property rights. Socialist countries are just now starting to recognize the importance of private property as they privatize assets and property in Eastern Europe.
Without the incentives of market prices, profit-and-loss accounting, and well-defined property rights, socialist economies stagnate and wither. The economic atrophy that occurs under socialism is a direct consequence of its neglect of economic incentives.
No bounty of natural resources can ever compensate a country for its lack of an efficient system of incentives. Russia, for example, is one of the world's wealthiest countries in terms of natural resources; it has some of the world's largest reserves of oil, natural gas, diamonds, and gold. Its valuable farm land, lakes, rivers, and streams stretch across a land area that encompasses 11 time zones. Yet Russia remains poor. Natural resources are helpful, but the ultimate resources of any country are the unlimited resources of its people--human resources.
By their failure to foster, promote, and nurture the potential of their people through incentive-enhancing institutions, centrally planned economies deprive the human spirit of full development. Socialism fails because it kills and destroys the human spirit--just ask the people leaving Cuba in homemade rafts and boats.
As the former centrally planned economies move toward free markets, capitalism, and democracy, they look to the United States for guidance and support during the transition. With an unparalleled 250-year tradition of open markets and limited government, the United States is uniquely qualified to be the guiding light in the worldwide transition to freedom and liberty.
We have an obligation to continue to provide a framework of free markets and democracy for the global transition to freedom. Our responsibility to the rest of the world is to continue to fight the seductiveness of statism around the world and here at home. The seductive nature of statism continues to tempt and lure us into the Barmecidal illusion that the government can create wealth.
The temptress of socialism is constantly luring us with the offer: "give up a little of your freedom and I will give you a little more security." As the experience of this century has demonstrated, the bargain is tempting but never pays off. We end up losing both our freedom and our security.
Programs like socialized medicine, welfare, social security, and minimum wage laws will continue to entice us because on the surface they appear to be expedient and beneficial. Those programs, like all socialist programs, will fail in the long run regardless of initial appearances. These programs are part of the Big Lie of socialism because they ignore the important role of incentives.
Socialism will remain a constant temptation. We must be vigilant in our fight against socialism not only around the globe but also here in the United States.
The failure of socialism inspired a worldwide renaissance of freedom and liberty. For the first time in the history of the world, the day is coming very soon when a majority of the people in the world will live in free societies or societies rapidly moving towards freedom.
Capitalism will play a major role in the global revival of liberty and prosperity because it nurtures the human spirit, inspires human creativity, and promotes the spirit of enterprise. By providing a powerful system of incentives that promote thrift, hard work, and efficiency, capitalism creates wealth.
The main difference between capitalism and socialism is this: Capitalism works.
Some history of the failure of socialism in America (for a variety of reasons):
An interesting piece on "Risk Socialism" and Wall Street (interestingly written in April of this year... well before the recent "bail-outs"):
Yes, I have recently called people "socialists" (some are offended by this, some take it in stride, others with pride). The most accurate definitions for the current tendencies of our government seems to be: social democrats or democratic socialism (both with heavy Marxist influences and often work in the same political party)
Democratic Socialism: refers to all forms of socialism that follow an electoral, reformist or repath to socialism, rather than a revolutionary one... often tied to: strong welfare state, fiscal redistribution, some nationalization as well as class struggle
Social Democracy: often include support for a democratic welfare state which incorporates elements of both socialism and capitalism.
(details from Wikipedia)
Just some food for thought.
Side note on socialism: I just don't understand why one person has a right to the fruits of another's success...in the form of a check from the federal government, from another person's tax dollars.
Capitalism (yes, even imperfect capitalism) feeds innovation, drive, creativity and desire to succeed. No, success is not guaranteed, it is a goal (like pursuit of happiness is a right, happiness is not guaranteed). Systems, organizations, etc must be allowed to FAIL without the government propping them up every time.
I am going to butcher this quote, as I heard it and did not write it down, but the basics were this: Those who fail are not losers. Those who fail and do not get up and keep going are losers. (Glenn Beck)
(Thanks to www.glennbeck.com for the image)
The ideology that claims to champion Freedom of Speech beliefs, modern liberals, are leaning toward waging a direct attack on our 1st Amendement rights. (The First Amendment happens to be my favorite, followed by the 2nd... though it is hard to put an "order of preference" on such vital items)
In a new form of this frightening media control, it could expand to the web, including political blogs. So, would that mean that I (as in, me, personally) would have to give those I may "rant" about or attack in my little ol' MySpace blog the opportunity to respond? Obviously, writings like mine are probably not the top of the target list (considering my readership isn't THAT high), but the theoretically possibility and threat are scary!
Ok, so a great deal of talk radio is conservative (does it scare liberals that much for there to be dialogue about contraversial issues?).
A lot of entertainment/pop culture type shows are obviously liberal.
In general, our media tends to be liberal. It is just the way our media has gone.
Unfortunate as it may be that we can't have unbiased news, media, etc, governmental regulation of discussion of contraverisal issues (and which sides are revealed) is just unconstitutional.
If you don't like what the media is telling you, you have the right to CHANGE THE STATION! There are so many sources of media, I promise you, you can find something that appeals to your ideals.
Note in the stories cited above that there is evidence that shows that while the Fairness Doctrine was in place, media outlets were hesitant to even bring up contraversial issues as they did not want to risk getting hit by the FCC. How frightening is that? So, as Americans, we would lose our ability to discuss in a public forum contraversial issues tied to government and politics?
There are current rules regarding equal time (not part of this discussion).
I always find it amusing that the conservatives (who want SMALLER government) are constantly accused of fascism, Nazi-ism, etc... but liberals attempt to control our air conditioners, conversations and lives...
Friday, October 3, 2008
I have said on more than one occasion (as my boyfriend can attest) that I wish I had the time to dedicate to write political blogs on a regular basis, especially with regards to the upcoming election. Unfortunately, between work, a household and other activities, the time to do the necessary research and writing for such an endeavor is simply not there.
I occasionally make a politics related bulletin post, but choose to keep most of the articles, etc. for my blog... This is for several reasons, mainly because it has been made abundantly clear at this point that the majority of my MySpace friends are very left leaning, are just completely snowed by the media's interpretation of politics, are very uneducated on political issues or just don't care. Another reason, is that the majority of people are convinced that their decision is the correct one and will not be swayed, just argue. I am completely open to debate and discussion, but hurling insults and arguing are no fun. Quite frankly, some of the responses and posts I have seen online lately make me angry. I don't mean just huffy-angry, I mean furious, blood-boiling, sick-to-my-stomach angry. Thus, it is probably best for me to avoid such arguments.
I am very conservative in my politics (particularly on fiscal and defense issues) and in some areas tend toward liberal ideals. I am also a very, very proud American. I was not always this way. I was convinced until I was about 22 that I was liberal, specifically, a Democrat (I didn't vote for Bush the first time around). Through conversations with a wide demographic (outside of the subcultural world I had been imersed in for so long) I began to realized a lot of things. Many times we latch onto a specific issue without looking at the bigger picture or the reality of that issue even coming up for a decision. It is important to prioritize issues/stances to make a strong decision that makes the most sense for our nation as a whole. One of the groups that I had regular conversations with, who opened my eyes a great deal, was the staff and "regulars" at a cigar shop I worked at for many years in Fort Worth. The regular participants of conversations included: early-30s black man from Newark, NJ who had been raised Catholic, converted to Islam and spent a year or two in Senegal, a middle aged Jewish man from New York, who was married to a Catholic woman and had a family, early 40s blue-collar Texan from White Settlement, raised Southern Baptist with a love for history, an early 30s ceramics artist and teacher who also was a youth minister in a Methodist church, a wealthy, successful business man who came into the family business after recovering from drug addiction, and other various people, from students to sales staff to CEOs (and little ol' me, tattooed, in-college, and partying alot). Don't get me wrong, not all of these people agreed on issues, and not all were conservative, but as you can imagine, the conversations were very interesting.
I make it a point to stay as informed as possible. This requires me to look at a variety of sources. I like my local news station in the mornings, I listen to talk radio (usually 570 KLIF and sometimes 1080 KRLD) throughout the day, I check various stories from the AP and other sources, and I watch some commentary in the evening. I'd like to think I stay on top of things.
This is probably not the best writing I have ever done (I promise, I am capable of better), but its what I've got right now.
I think it is sad and unfortunate that a man, who by all accounts is a great public speaker, has swayed the public with flowerly language and ideas of the government doing everything for them. The media for some reason has latched onto him and in most cases refuses to see or report any of the many flaws in him.
Obama has spent his career not having a track record, choosing to not vote at all or only vote within party lines. McCain is far from being my favorite possibility, but I truly, deeply fear for the future of America in an Obama presidency. First, he (and many Dems) support the "Fairness Doctrine" which is a blatant infringement of the 1st amendment. Obama and Biden received some of the largest campaign donations in the congress from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (yes, the same folks partially responsible for the current economic mess). How can anyone trust a man who:
-says one thing on the campaign trail to the people, and something different to his high society fundraisers?
-has shown repetitive poor choices in who he associates with: Wright (outrageous racist "minister"), Ayers (terrorist, who wishes he had done more bombings) and Raines (made a ton of money and partially responisible for the current economic crisis) and plenty of others?
-refuses to admit any mistake, even simply saying that the surge worked? (like the war or not, it is simply a fact that the surge was successful)
-has no true understanding of how the economy works or the principles of the US? (when you tax the RICH, those who have expendible income, it HURTS the economy... these are the people who buy goods and services, invest and more. And why on earth are the rich more liable to pay taxes than everyone else? So is it now the American dream to be penalized for being successful? The rich pay the VAST majority of taxes already... don't have the statistics in front of me)
So many Obama supporters claim to be tired of the same old politics, tired of Washington insiders, etc. Obama has repeatedly proven to be an opportunistic politician, and Biden is certainly not a Washington outsider. McCain is an American war hero (and actually much more liberal than I would prefer), and Palin is actually a Washington outsider. She is more like the "average" American than the media dares admit.
I will not be bullied into voting for a man that I dislike the policies of because someone will think I'm "racist." I will not fall into line with many of the "subculture" (do I have to tear up my membership card?).
I will stand up for what I believe in: capitalism, the right of a nation to defend itself, the right of a nation to utilize its own natural resources, the plans of our nation's forefathers, the Constitution and AMERICA.
This is scary...
... and makes me a little sick to my stomach. Really.
Quote from Obama: "a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably."
That should scare the shit out of everyone out there. Translation? SOCIALISM! America is NOT a socialist country. It was not founded as one and was never meant to be one.
Do your research. Stop depending on a single source for all your news, be it CNN, MSNBC, or even FOX.
Oh, almost just as scary? According to a recent survey, only 47% of Americans oppose the nationalization of oil. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I don't exactly trust the government to do this successfully. I also, once again, believe in CAPITALISM, NOT SOCIALISM.
Keep in mind, all those "big, unfair, evil profits" made by the oil companies probably pay for your grandparents and maybe even parents retirement (they are PUBLICLY owned companies, the stockholders reap the biggest benefits).
So many are so "afraid" of big brother... but they want "big brother" to provide their healthcare, their oil and their money? That's fucking scary.
End of rant...
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
While I may waver in opinion on a couple of items, overall, I think he hit the nail on the head.
A Conservative Believes...
Commentary: Obama no, McCain maybe
By Glenn Beck
"A conservative believes that our inalienable rights do not include housing, healthcare or Hummers.
A conservative believes that our inalienable rights DO include the pursuit of happiness. That means it is guaranteed to no one.
A conservative believes that those who pursue happiness and find it have a right to not be penalized for that success.
A conservative believes that there are no protections against the hardship and heartache of failure. We believe that the right to fail is just as important as the chance to succeed and that those who do fail learn essential lessons that will help them the next time around.
A conservative believes in personal responsibility and accepts the consequences for his or her words and actions.
A conservative believes that real compassion can't be found in any government program.
A conservative believes that each of us has a duty to take care of our neighbors. It was private individuals, companies and congregations that sent water, blankets and supplies to New Orleans far before the government ever set foot there.
A conservative believes that family is the cornerstone of our society and that people have a right to manage their family any way they see fit, so long as it's not criminal. We are far more attuned to our family's needs than some faceless, soulless government program.
A conservative believes that people have a right to worship the God of their understanding. We also believe that people do not have the right to jam their version of God (or no God) down anybody else's throat.
A conservative believes that people go to the movies to be entertained and to church to be preached to, not the other way around.
A conservative believes that debt creates unhealthy relationships. Everyone, from the government on down, should live within their means and strive for financial independence.
A conservative believes that a child's education is the responsibility of the parents, not the government.
A conservative believes that every human being has a right to life, from conception to death.
A conservative believes in the smallest government you can get without anarchy. We know our history: The larger a government gets, the harder it will fall.
Those are the things a conservative believes in, and they're the things that I believe in. Now, if only I could find a candidate to match."