Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank God for WikiLeaks!

The biggest classified data dump in history shows that the world is a messy place full of two-faced liars, double-dealers and genuinely bad people.  The US is not one of them. 

France is defending the US. Why? Because unlike the liberal pollyannas, the French know the world is a messy place. Friends spy on each other, people say one thing in public and another in private, and sometime you gotta play dirty to get the bad guys.

Much good comes out of this massive leak
The double-dealing weasels of the world are revealed. Saudis and other nasty Gulf kingdom potentates want us to do their dirty work and bomb Iran.  They still reserve the right to criticize us and Israel publicly, while privately cooperating with both countries.

China really is running a global computer hacking ring, as well as facilitating North Korea missile transfers to Iran.  Afghan leaders have sticky fingers, pocketing hundreds of millions in foreign aid.  The worst revelation about the US is that our foreign diplomats make candid assessments of government officials they interact with.  The spying charge is BS.  All diplomats do that.

Stop the leaks? Go to the source and kill it
Bradley Manning needs to be put before a firing squad or hung by the neck until dead. Traitors to this country deserve nothing more. The publishers of the leaks (New York Times, BBC, etc) are merely America-hating dung beetles, and we knew that already. The real culprits are those who betrayed our country's trust by leaking the documents. 

Despite what the citizens of the world at the Federation of American Scientists say, divulging classified information under the guise of whistleblowing is a childish utopian fantasy and a nightmare for national sovereignty and security.

We have a divided government charged with challenging and investigating one another.  That is how abuses are checked.  If we are so corrupt that this no longer works, then the whole democratic experiment has failed.  Pissants publishing secret information won't redeem it.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Time to Get Serious, America!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


It is hard to believe nowadays, but the words libertarian and liberal both have roots in the word liberty. 

Roger Cohen is the rare American liberal who still stands up for our constitutionally protected rights, while casting a jaundiced eye on the government that is supposed to protect them.

Mr. Cohen has written an excellent article criticizing airport security, big government, and the damage they are doing to our society.  All excerpts are from his NY Times article, The Real Threat to America:

Like most of us, he doesn't see government as evil, but more as a blundering behemoth that tramples our rights while trying to "save" us.

He also displays an understanding of human nature that our founders displayed when they crafted our divided and limited government...
Give a bureaucrat a big stick and a big budget, allow said bureaucrat to trade in the limitless currency of human anxiety, and the masses will soon be intimidated by the Department of Fear.
More ominously for America, even to those of us who think the fascism charge is thrown around a little too loosely...
Lavrenti Beria, Stalin’s notorious secret police chief, once said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” The T.S.A. seems to operate on the basis of an adapted maxim: “Show me the security check and I’ll find you the excuse.”
Cohen understands where the strength of America lies:
America is a nation of openness, boldness and risk-taking. Close this nation, cow it, constrict it and you unravel its magic.
To those on the left who scream about conservatives not caring when it was Bush trampling our liberties, I concede the point.  But we conservatives are waking up now; the very illiberal "liberals" are falling asleep.

The lefties won't listen to conservatives or libertarians, but I pray they listen to Roger Cohen.

NY Times - Roger Cohen, The Real Threat to America

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Education and Wisdom

Education is knowing a tomato is a fruit
Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad

* - E-mail philosophy.  I do not know the source...

Friday, November 26, 2010

How Israelis Secure Airports

The federal government's ham-fisted approach to "security" betrays an intellectual bankruptcy.  We let anybody and everybody in, and then treat loyal Americans like suspicious criminals.

Independent foreign correspondent Michael Totten explains how Israel does it.  But first, he briefly describes the sinkhole our unimaginative security "experts" have fallen into.
While armies tragically tend to fight the last war, the TSA looks for the item the most recent terrorist used. 

Terrorists have yet to use the same weapon twice, and the TSA isn't even looking for whatever they'll try to use next. I can think of all sorts of things a person could use to wreak havoc on a plane that aren't banned. Security officials should pay less attention to objects, and more attention to people.
He goes on to explain how Israelis profile and categorize people, subjecting the more suspicious to polite but rigorous questioning.  Totten is all for this approach even though he himself falls into the suspicious category every time he travels through Israel because of his extensive Middle Eastern travels.

While we have had various terrorist incidents since 9/11, Israel has had none.

For humorous TSA bumber stickers, go visit What Makes Us Right?

Michael Totten - How Israelis Secure Airports

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer

Proclamation of National Thanksgiving

George Washington

City of New York, October 3, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

PBS Rediscovering George Washington

Here's a nice YouTube recitation and picture montage of President Washington's address:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The US Travel Association's statement on TSA tactics hits the nail on the head
"We certainly understand the challenges that DHS confronts, but the question remains, 'where do we draw the line'?
Our country desperately needs a long-term vision for aviation security screening, rather than an endless reaction to yesterday's threat," the statement said.
"At the same time, fundamental American values must be protected."
Thank God somebody is still standing up for American values.  Lord know the feral government no longer does it.  Why is the US Travel Association speaking up?  Because TSA tactics are bad for business.  The massive government takeover of airport security has not made us safer, just more pissed off.

Airlines and airports have an inherent interest in keeping terrorists off of their planes.  A security failure means passengers and employees killed, and aircraft destroyed.  To government bureaucrats it's just another oopsie.  Think I'm being too harsh?  OK.  How many government bureaucrats got fired because of 9/11?  Reprimanded?  Demoted?  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.

On a related note, here's a humorous oldie but goodie about terrorist threat levels...


The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats, and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved". Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross". The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940, when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance". The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards". They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender". The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing". Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides".

The Germans
have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs". They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans meanwhile, and as usual, are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies "just in case".

doesn't have any alert levels.

New Zealand has raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA". Due to continuing defence cutbacks, New Zealand has only one more level of escalation, which is "I hope Australia will come and rescue us".

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!", "I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "The barbie is cancelled". So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

* - I don't know the origin of this.  Looks like it came from Australia

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Janet Napoleonitano's Waterloo

Like all tyrants in history, she has overreached... no pun intended.

While I believe in thanking God for my friends, I also remember to thank Him for my enemies as well.

For the past ten years I've been working in the shadows, helping my fellow Americans to wake up to approaching tyranny - sometimes successfully, sometimes not. So here comes along this petty Napoleon wannabe, a jumbo shrimp, waking up millions to the truth behind overbearing government. This is far more than I could even accomplish with a Soros-like budget. While tempted with envy, I will instead say "Thank you, Janet!"

Minimum-wage TSA thugs are arousing the ire of a majority of Americans by feeling around inside our pantaloons, all in the name of safety and security.

When confronted by stories of border-line molestation by TSA, what does she do? Order down-the-pants explorations by blue gloves. When the uproar by the public doubled behind Mr. "Don't touch my Junk", she then telegraphed to us that to refuse this indignity would put us under a civil $11,000 fine. Overreaching, digging in, and arrogant. If I had a choice between stupidity or arrogance in an enemy, I would chose stupidity. In this case, we have both!

The wise revolutionary realizes that positive political change is like baking a cake. First, critical ingredients and philosophies must be added to the batter... then mixed throughout the body politic. Then comes the addition of heat. Don't worry, the tyrant will supply the heat. In the fullness of time the cake will be ready.

Right now the critical ingredients of rediscovering the Constitution and distrust of elitist bureaucrats are working their way throughout America. Janet and Congress just turned on the gas stove. Now comes the patient part as people turn from being soft and soupy in conviction to being fully formed with a backbone. A time to try men's souls is at hand, again.

And speaking of heat and anger, imagine this is one of your family members going though the new-fanged and Chertoff-lobbied X-Ray machine:

Yes, these machines do store the images, despite TSA's vocal denials and lies.

I just recently watched a video clip of a young boy being stripped and felt up by a TSA thug, while what I assume was his father watching. What kind of father puts up with this kind of public molestation?

Freedom has a cost. It has been said that tyranny is only felt by those who resist it. You have a choice: resist or submit. You will have to decide between one or the other, and by virtue of not deciding, you will have already decided to submit to evil authority.

Don't interrupt your enemy while they are making a mistake. What stops me at this time from taking action is knowledge what TSA is doing is converting millions of clueless Americans into Constitutional conservatives, one blue glove at a time. The time is not quite right to put these thugs in their place - but that will not always be so.

There will come a time in the future when you will have to chose between deep conviction or cowardice. The choice may cost you everything except your dignity. Now is a most excellent time to count the cost, not when the decision point is thrust upon you.

So, why is Napolitano pressing ahead with even more violations of the 4th Amendment? Here's some possibilities:

Follow the Money. When Napolitano was governor of Arizona, there was a plague of radar photo vans and cameras installed throughout the State. These raked in millions into an overspent budget. Now we have discovered the Michael Chertoff Group to have peddled these X-Ray scanners to TSA. I'm waiting to see the donation money connection to the DNC, or perhaps to Napolitano herself. Stay tuned.

Elitism. As Silverfiddle likes to say, elitists just want all us little people to shut up and do as we are told - life would be so much better! Instead of empowering airline passengers or private companies, always the answer with elitists is more and more intrusive government! If only you got all the eggheads together in a room and decided for the rest of us... versus a Ronald Reagan-like trust of the American people and our collective common sense.

Nature of Power. Similar to elitism, tyrants and tyranny are quite predictable. Do you think the Internet censorship bill being passed has anything to do with copyright protection? First they go after those who mock and ridicule them. Then those who actively resist them. Note to self: throw rocks at the tyrant from a concealed position while wearing a mask. It will only make the tyrant more angry, which is the intermediate goal. Remember what Saul Alinsky said: ridicule is a powerful weapon, and one not easily defended against.

In the end analysis, this battle was over before it started. There's no way that Napolitano's TSA can have any lifespan beyond a decade after what they have already done. There's just too many aroused Americans and too few elite. The unintended consequence (the title of a good book by the way) to all these underwear excursions is a public turned to the Constitution and perhaps, even, a privatized Israeli-style airport security. It's Janet's Waterloo and she doesn't even know it yet.

- Hugh Farnham

* - Napoleonitano photo chop courtesy of Chicago Ray

Monday, November 22, 2010

We're All Crazy Now

Here's a sad commentary on our "spreadin' it around" society...

WASHINGTON (AP) - Government auditors say raising the retirement age for Social Security would hurt low-income workers and minorities, and mean more disability claims by older people who are unable to work.

The projected spike in disability claims could end up hurting Social Security's finances. That's because disability benefits are typically higher than early retirement payments.  (AP – Raising Retirement Age )
Our progressive government grabs with great rude swipes, then finds the giving hand is palsied.  A system this ripe for such abuse is self-evidently broken.

This is not a "lazy poor" screed.  Government “help” destroys personal initiative and prudence, turning good people into goldbricks.  Good little squirrels who horde their nuts watch helplessly as government raids their stash to give handouts to irresponsible grasshoppers.

In a related story...
(Reuters) - More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.  (Reuters – Mental Illness)
I'm done.  Here's some (very vulgar) sanity from Sam Kenison, may his soul rest in peace...

Thanks to John Nolte at Big Hollywood for the excellent article, Would Sam Kenison have survived in today's brave new PC world?  John Stewart is a mealy-mouthed wimp compared to Kenison. Sam was a true comedian and social satirist.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

World Peace Through Inner Peace: The Ten Commandments

Our economy is not improving, millions still cannot find work, and many believe it will get worse.  We may end up with the small government we've been demanding, and much will be demanded of us in return

Government at all levels is financially, intellectually and morally bankrupt.  Conservatives, libertarians and Tea Partiers are demanding radically less government.  We may end up getting it, if only because government will no longer be able to borrow money to fund their on-going invasion and occupation of our lives.

World peace starts with inner peace

Joyful individuals make up a harmonious family, which then joins other families to constitute a well-ordered community.  And communities are the building blocks of states and nations.  Like a house, a community cannot be built from the top down.  It must be built from the foundation up.   

Fundamental change will challenge us as individuals, as families, and as communities.  We will be required to muster levels of self-sufficiency, prudence, and cooperation not required of Americans since The Greatest Generation was in diapers.

The Ten Commandments show us the way

Catholics, Protestants, and Jewish people all agree on the commandments, they just divide them up in different ways.  In fact, "According to Jewish tradition, G-d gave the Jewish people 613 mitzvot (commandments)." (Judaism 101).  I mention this because I don't want the discussion to get bogged down in who's got the "right" set of commandments. 

The Ten Commandments tell us how to worship God and how to deal with one another. Traditional Judaism teaches that the first tablet contains the commandments concerning our duties to God, and the second tablet lists our duties to others.  The commandments are God's prescription for individual, family and community harmony.

Get Right With God

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before me 

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain 

Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy

A person who has lost connection with God is adrift, chasing shadows and filling the emptiness with false idols.  Ever notice how those who abandon God inevitably end up building a golden calf?  If you lost your credit cards and your ability to buy flashy consumer goods, shopping sprees, nights on the town and vacations, could you cope?  How many of us could not?

Family is the fundamental building block of society

Honor your father and your mother 

We have social problems in this country because we have broken families.  We all want to belong, and if a kid is alienated from his own family or if the family is dysfunctional, he will find another family.  It could be church, scouting, or even a welcoming family down the street, but more often it is gangs or loose groups of fellow alienated adolescents, all on a downward spiral.

Parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children.  School teachers, religious education teachers, social workers and scout leaders are all secondary.  God grants parents a grave responsibility when he allows us to create life.

Respect other families
God's prohibition of theft and murder is easy to understand.  Respect for life and property are essential to a prosperous society. The remainder of the commandments can be seen as not just the duty we owe to others, but also duties that uphold the integrity of the family.
You shall not commit adultery

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.
When an adulterous relationship involves two married people, two families are harmed.  Coveting a neighbor's spouse or any of his or her stuff just causes problems, often leading to the breaking of other commandments, irresponsible consumption, and family dysfunction.  Bearing false witness (lying) destroys trust, which is the lifeblood of a prosperous free market and free society.

God's Law:  Sublime, yet simple to understand
What struck me most as I contemplated this topic is that even the irreligious or atheistic can see the wisdom of these commandments, even if they do not agree with them all.  Indeed, Western society is based upon the values contained in God's law, even though secular documents provide our legal foundations.

Governments can make laws, but it takes a responsible people to make a prosperous society.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gord's Still Golden

Mrs Silverfiddle and I went to see folk superstar Gordon Lightfoot in concert last week.

We started off the evening by leaving the kids and our cares behind.  We enjoyed drinks and dinner next to a big stone fireplace at an Irish pub and then walked to the concert hall in the crisp darkness .

Gordon packed the place.  Lots of old geezers with long white hair, but I was surprised to see so many people my age, as well as quite a few youngsters.  I shouldn't have.  I myself was a child when "The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald" hit the top 10.

Gord came out to a sparse stage, leader of a 5-piece band holding a 12-string.  The crowd whistled and cheered as they led off with a most righteous rendition of Carefree Highway.  They were tight with not a hint of rust.  Over 40 years together does that to a band.  The "youngster," keyboardist Mike Heffernan, has "only" been with the band since 1980.

Lightfoot alternated between the 12-string, which I couldn't identify, and a Fender 6-string.  He had both capo'd up and I don't think he ever took them off or adjusted them up or down.

I was a little shocked to see how skinny Gord was, and his voice, while still solid and pitch perfect, had a kind of old man sound to it, but then he's 72 years old.  It did not detract from the awesomeness of seeing this folk legend live.  It was not a raucous flick your bic concert, but rather a thoughtful, appreciative affair, with respectful silence during each song and grateful applause after.

I am an amateur singer/songwriter, and I always enjoy live music, especially when it is by someone so talented.  Having been in bands and also having performed solo in the US, Europe and South America, I appreciate the work it takes to perfect a 20-30 song set and bring it to a live audience.

It also warms my heart and gives me encouragement to see musicians in their "old age" out there having fun and making people happy.  When I came back from a year in the desert I was depressed to realize I didn't have the range I used to have.  It was almost to the point that I could barely sing; it was like I had a permanent sore throat.  I figured I was getting old and got really depressed.  My wife pushed me to go to the clinic and it turned out the Middle East had given me some kind of allergy that was easily countered with Claritin.

Voice restored.  Almost.  Time had taken a toll, even with Claritin's help.  No kidding, I used to be able to sing "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes.  Yes, the female part.  But I no longer can.  So, I am willing to cut some slack to an immensely talented artist like Gordon Lightfoot who no longer sounds exactly as he did in his 20's.  Our voices change with the passage of time, and he's rolling with it, adjusting his style and pleasing his fans. 

That's all we can do really...  Roll with it.  And that's what Lightfoot's music is all about.  Listen to Rainy Day People, Circle of Steel or Summer Side of Life, and you'll know what I mean.  Gordon Lightfoot is living life and doing what he loves at 72 years old.  I pray I can do the same.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Teach Your Children

God gave us dominion.  Teach you kids to hunt tasty creatures
Blind Ideology is killing the Democrats.  It would have killed the GOP, if libertarian and free-thinking tea partiers had not infiltrated the ranks.

I decided long ago that my kids would not fall prey to the progressive indoctrination that infests every corner of society.  Teaching kids how to think, instilling in them a moral code, and giving them some historical context for evaluating events goes a long way towards raising an ideologically-bullet-proof person. 

Know how to think
Logical, critical thinking is the most important skill. An easy way to introduce yourself to logic is to do a sudoku. A simple explanation of the syllogism is also a good start. Add to that some examples of logical fallacies and you now at least have a logical framework to analyze what someone is telling you. There are on-line resources that can get you started.

Know what you believe
A person with no moral code is a fire. Could do good, could do bad, depending on which way the wind blows. Any religious person should start with their religious texts.  For Christians, that's The Holy Bible, Old Testament and New Testament. The Bible contains every note in the key of life. It starts with God creating mankind and quickly goes downhill from there. The story of God leading the ungrateful Hebrews out of bondage is a story of each ungrateful person's struggle with obeying Our Creator.

For those agnostics and atheists, there are many non-religious moral codes out there. Pick one.

The 'bible" of American government is The US Constitution.  You can't call yourself a good, patriotic American if you've never read it.  Go here to visit Silverfiddle's Constitutional Resource page.  Proposed legislation and government action should be evaluated against this document.

Read history and the classics
I think history is the best teacher. Read enough and you will learn that there is indeed nothing new under the sun. You will also see that whatever you are going through is not the superlative event of its kind in the history of man. Things have been better, and things have been worse. We're living in higher luxury now, but the basic human condition has not changed.

Churchill's The History of English Speaking Peoples, The Story of English, Gibbons' The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Bill Bennett's America, the Last Best Hope are good starters. Be sure to read things you think you will disagree with; it will stretch your brain and maybe change your mind.

Finally, a healthy dose of skepticism never hurt anyone.

See my List of Great Books Here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

America Loko: Housing and Hangovers

This is the stupid state to which our society has fallen...
The aftermath of the party, at which police found students passed out all over the house and rushed nine to the hospital, has renewed calls for bans on the drink Four Loko, which combines as much alcohol as a six-pack of beer and the equivalent of one cup of coffee.
"One girl was sitting on a bench and she fainted, and my friend and I were like, 'Oh my god, oh my god.' We rushed out to help her and I gave her CPR," said one freshman who was at the Oct. 8 party but asked not to be identified. (ABC News - Four Loko)

College kids chug enough caffeinated booze to drop a horse, and people stand in slack-jawed amazement that some were hospitalized.  Dingbat college officials and government nannies pass up an opportunity to punish the kids and teach them a lesson.  Instead, they go after the manufacturer of a legal product.

What do the kids learn?

"I can get drunk and stupid without owning the consequences"

The kids should be arrested and prosecuted for underage drinking.  Parents should demand the firing of university officials who allow this to go on inside campus walls.  And dim bulb politicians like Governor Gregoire should be hounded from office for thinking a ban on Four Loko is a solution .  They've obviously never heard of Red Bull and vodka, Rum and Coke, or Irish Coffee.

The real "problem" here is that the drink is powerful and the alcohol taste is masked by other flavorings.  People get stupid and chug them, resulting in vomiting and passing out.  People did this before these drinks appeared on the market and they will continue doing it the old fashioned way now that the drinks are banned.  You can't fix stupid, on the individual level or at the government level.

I've got a housing hangover, let's get high again

It's no wonder "solutions" such as the four Loko ban are so popular.  These same "adults" cry and howl about those evil predatory lenders who shoved billions of dollars into the hands of irresponsible homebuyers.  These same dolts who decry the housing bubble are now trying to reinflate it.

The deleveraging by our households and businesses is not a pattern to be arrested, but good prudence to be celebrated.
Larger, more liquid corporate balance sheets and higher personal saving rates are the reasonable and right responses to massive government dissaving and unpredictable government policies.
The steep correction in housing markets, while painful, lays the foundation for recovery, far better than the countless programs that have sought to subsidize and temporize the inevitable repricing. (WSJ - Kevin W. Warsh)
Whether you're a clueless college kid or an irresponsible homebuyer, getting high has consequences.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA is a Joke - Privatize It

Thousands Standing Around has earned some new nicknames:

The Security Asshats
Touching and Scanning at Airports
Touching Sensitive Areas
The Sleazy Administration

Trust them, we're told.  They're professionals.  As if that were a legitimate excuse for having our 4th Amendment rights violated. 

Remember when a TSA slug in Florida got arrested for beating down a fellow TSA slug? 

Why?  They were trying out the full-body porn scanner on one another, and one guy's package was embarrassingly small.  The others teased him incessantly, leading to the subsequent parking lot beat-down.

Our idiotic, suicidal and apologetic government refuses to profile, or even deny citizenship to terrorists, so we all must now be treated as criminals and strip searched.  Welcome to progressive America!

This useless bureaucratic carbuncle known as TSA was the price George Bush had to pay to democrats in exchange for implementing real security measures like hunting terrorists down to their fetid hidey-holes, torturing them, and killing them.

Time to disburse the Thousands Standing Around
John Stossel relates a conversation he had with Israeli security consultant Rafi Sela.  Israel privatized airport security in 1995, and there has not been one hijacking.  Sela points out the inherent flaw in the TSA model:
"The problem in America is that from day one the US decided to hold the stick on both sides. Which means it's both the regulator and the operator, which is unheard of in [Israeli] security… [here it] is all done by private contractors.”
Get it?  Our government provides the "security" and also evaluates its compliance.  Wouldn't you love a gig like that?
According to a leaked 2004 TSA report obtained by USA Today, inspectors packed hidden bomb materials in everyday carry-ons to test security. Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% -- but San Francisco screeners, who work for a private company instead of the TSA, missed only 20%.

In their publicly available report, the TSA concluded that “privately screened airports have met the standard articulated in ATSA that contract screening operations perform at the same level or better than federally screened operations.”

Again, it’s because you can fire a bad contractor, but you can’t fire the government.
So a better model would be to privatize security operations and shrink TSA down to a small bureau of security professionals who set the standards contractors must follow and monitor and test them for compliance.

* - This is a repost from back in May.  I'm getting 200 hits per day on it (I think because of the picture) so I thought I'd "Front Page" it...

CNN - TSA Follies
Stossel - Privatize TSA

UN Panel of Rapists, Torturers and Murderers Criticizes US for not Doing it Right

Another stinking pantload from the International House of Rape and Corruption...
The United States will come under the spotlight at the UN's top human rights assembly's for the first time over the coming week along with other countries that face scrutiny by the Human Rights Council.
Some 300 US civil liberties and community groups in the US Human Rights Network on Monday called on the Obama administration to bring "substandard human rights practices" in the United States into line with international standards.
Whatever this group of petty potentates and pedophiles is for, I am against. Whatever they are against, I am for.

The most infamous group of thieves, torturers and murderers dare criticize the greatest and freest nation of God's green earth? Hah!

America should proudly wear this as a badge of honor.  And while we're at it, we should run the American quisling collaborators out on a rail.  Let them go live in Saudi Arabia or Cuba for awhile.  Maybe that will help them get their minds right.

Breitbart - United Nutsacks Criticizes Greatest Nation on God's Green Earth

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Angry Islam Incompatible with European Liberalism

Europeans are increasingly unwilling to tolerate Muslim intolerance

The liberal media in this country are wringing their hands over increasing European intolerance. They worry that anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise even in Sweden...


"...home of the Nobel Prize and known as the "conscience of the world" for aiding refugees and pioneering laws for women's equality and gay rights. Yet even here, the Swedish Democrats made it into the Rikstag by tapping into a surge of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment sweeping across many nations in Western Europe, propelling right-wing and nationalist parties to their biggest gains in years." (WaPo)
Are our ink-stained scribblers and enlightened cognoscenti really too dumb to realize that Islam is the greatest threat to Europe's famed and admirable liberalism? Muslims are not known for championing women's equality and gay rights.

A Swede put it simply:

"The Swedish are tired of walking around in their own neighborhoods and feeling like they're in Saudi Arabia," said Ekeroth, an intense 30-year-old and founder of the new Anti-Islamic Fund, which promotes criticism of radical Islam. "It is time for the Swedish to be comfortable again in their own country."
Angry Muslim replaces Ugly American as #1 Threat to Europe

There is disorder in the European house. Europeans were living comfortably and peaceably in the home they had built, settling upon a live-and-let-live liberalism that has kept the peace for 65 years.  Ugly Americans demanding everybody speak English used to be the main disturber of Europe's peaceful repose.

Now, denizens of the Olde Continent are shocked and horrified to see that the Muslims they generously invited in have become a pack of wild animals let loose in the house. The beasts have found high perches upon couch backs and china cabinets and bare their fangs at common European behaviors and customs.

Because of these newcomers, Europeans must change their behavior?

How is that right? A people have a right to their culture, and nobody has the right to forcibly change it from the outside. This is especially so when the culture is beneficial to mankind, not a threat to others, and has been decided upon by the people. Europe's culture meets all three criteria.

"It isn't racist to want to preserve your culture," said Leif Johansson, a 64-year-old carpenter. "I'm open to immigration, but these people come without a thought to integration, no interest in learning Swedish or being part of Swedish society."
Precisely. No nation should be compelled to commit national suicide. But what else could the agenda be of a people who move in and angrily demand conformance to their strange and violent politico-religious freak show?

Europe may finally be fed up. I pray they are, and I pray we learn a lesson here before it's too late.

Monday, November 15, 2010

TSA: Totally Scorning Americans

Tyner points out that every terrorist act on an airplane has been halted by passengers.

"It's time to stop treating passengers like criminals and start treating them as assets," he said.

John Tyner is the man who got ejected from a California airport for refusing to let TSA agents grope and fondle him.

Tyner responded "OK, I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying."

"This is not considered a sexual assault," replied the supervisor, calmly.

"It would be if you were not the government," said Tyner.

"By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights," countered the TSA supervisor.

Read John Tyner's own words and see the YouTube viral at Lew Rockwell

Finally, for a refreshing antidote to this wasteful government BS, go read Art Carden's call to abolish the TSA or go read Jed Babbin's excellent piece.

TSA:  Touching Sensitive Areas
Source:  Sign On San Diego

Self Sufficiency

The GOP just took back the House of Representatives, and President Obama's Debt Commission has issued a preliminary report.  Serious talk of serious budget reform is breaking out all over, and progressives are panicking.

They say all the slash and burn is crazy talk...  Well, anyone who thinks we can continue down our current path of handing everything out to everyone is also crazy.  You can't raise taxes high enough to pay for it all, and there will come a day when the US government can no longer borrow more money.

The Wall Street Journal and  Bloomberg each have a good article on the debt panel recommendations.  As Alan Simpson says, they did indeed harpoon almost every whale.

Ethanol is Immoral.  Farm subsidies need to go.  Poor farmers with small plots of land don't qualify anyway; it's the corporate farms that get your tax money.  We also need to demand an end to the ethanol and flex fuel subsidies.  Government takes our money and starves people to feed cars, driving up the price of food in the process.  It's immoral.

I agree with cutting social security benefits, but that must be accompanied by a strong, stable dollar policy so our savings are not eaten up by inflation.  Additionally, interest and dividends should not be taxed.  If you want us to do for ourselves more in our old age, stop stealing our nest eggs by taxation and inflation.

I also agree with slashing government bureaucracy and programs, but that needs to be accompanied by lowering the bar to employment and new business creation.  A job is the key to self-sufficiency,but government regulation and taxation are chasing jobs overseas.

DoD Cannot Be Exempt

National defense is one of those rare government functions that is actually mentioned in the constitution.  Christopher Preble writes of a growing conservative rift over just what and how much our military should be doing overseas. An increasing cohort of conservatives argue that cutting back our overseas interventions and commitments will make our military stronger and the nation safer. 
Of course, cutting spending without a corresponding reduction in commitments is a recipe for overburdening service members taxed by too frequent deployments to far-flung places. But it is already obvious that most of what America spends on its military—often erroneously labeled "national defense"—really defends others who can and should defend themselves.
It's time for advocates of free markets and limited government to recognize that a vast military presence around the world is utterly inconsistent with those ideals. If we agree that government intervention domestically often has unintended, harmful consequences, we should recognize that the same principle holds true internationally, in spades.  (Christopher Preble - WSJ)
The budget battles and government downsizing skirmishes have barely gotten started, so strap it on troops!  We've just begun to fight.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is Gays in the Military Really about Gay Marriage?

My opposition to gay marriage is a definitional one.  To Western Christendom, marriage has traditionally meant one man and one woman.  I support partnerships that deny gays none of the rights of married people save the name of the relationship.

The constitutional rights argument is specious
The military discriminates against women, old people, the handicapped, drug users and convicted criminals.  You surrender many rights when you put on a uniform, including the right to free speech, free assembly, and freedom from search and seizure.  You go where they tell you to go and do what they tell you to do.  You shut your pie hole when they tell you to, and you submit to random drug tests and room inspections on demand.

Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell will not be the end, but the beginning.  I wonder if it isn't a Trojan horse for smuggling gay marriage inside the walls of Mainstream America.   

Is Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell Really About Gay Marriage?

Allow gays to serve openly, and the disparity in treatment between a traditional family and a gay partnership will be glaring.

Military members receive additional monetary, food, housing, moving and medical benefits to support spouses and dependents.  Boyfriends and girlfriends don't count.

This is significant since military people move frequently with the government picking up the tab.  A single person with a significant other receives reduced benefits and must pay out of pocket the cost of moving and housing and caring for the partner. 

This can be a major factor when stationed at a remote location.If the significant other is even allowed there, she can't be housed, or seen at the clinic, or even go shopping in the military community. The military is a self-contained world, and military life is much harder when "family members" are shut out of the system.

Allowing gays to serve openly is only step one

The obvious disparity in benefits and treatment of significant others will spur a whole new debate on fairness and marriage and civil unions.  The US Military led the way on civil rights for people of color, and the homosexual lobby is hoping for a gay repeat.

Think this through all the way to the logical end, and Christianity, or any religion that teaches that homosexuality is wrong would now be in a very precarious position, with concepts like hate speech and discrimination hurled at it.

I support equal rights for all, to include the right of people to hold, teach and espouse traditional religious beliefs that do not conflict with our constitution.

Update:  I've posted quite a few articles on this subject.  I am a libertarian who believes in equality for all, and I am also a Christian who believes marriage is a life-long commitment between one man and one woman.  So it appears that I'm kinda stuck in that mushy middle I so often criticize.

Concerning gays in the military, I agree with combat veteran Uncle Jimbo:
“If I am lying by the road bleeding, I don’t care if the medic coming to save me is gay. I just hope he is one of those buff gay guys who are always in the gym so he can throw me over his shoulder and get me out of there.”
Here are links to my previous posts:

DADT should be decided by military necessity and effectiveness, not political correctness
Judge Walker's Rape of Reason
Gay Rights, States Rights
New Hampshire - An Ominous Harbinger

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Liberal Self-Loathing

Liberals don't view Islam as a threat to our culture.  Indeed, I think most on the left hate our culture anyway and never stop to ponder that it could be replaced with something worse.

Here's a typical dhimmi-lib comment...
On both sides of the Atlantic, a rising tide of xenophobic hostility toward immigrants is threatening to swamp the foundation of liberal democracy.(James Carroll - Xenophobia)
No, you pinko dhimmi dingbat, militant Islam is threatening to swamp the foundation of liberal democracy, one honor killing at a time.  Just ask a cartoonist or filmmaker.  Only a liberal idiot would consider it xenophobic to deny entry into civilized society those who want to destroy it.

DL Adams at Big Peace calls it what it is...  Liberal self-loathing.  Not only of themselves, but of their culture as well.
Can there be a greater societal self-loathing than that encouraged by the multicultural notion that our democratic, open societies are corrupt failures because some who come to our shores do not like what they see and will not assimilate?
Their snooty liberal disdain for everything Western endangers us all.  Their warm embrace of everything antithetical to our Western values make liberals too dangerous to ever again assume any position of power or responsibility.
The facade of multiculturalism crumbles when a group will not assimilate into a host culture. Ongoing Islamic terrorism and growing Muslim agitation against European host laws, cultures, and systems in favor of the cruel, hatred and violence of Islamic Sharia law are the stones that have finally shattered the empty glass house of multiculturalism.   (DL Adams- Multiculturalism)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fannie and Freddie Must Die!

The news media is bringing us more ignorant hand-wringing over Republican threats to sell off Fannie and Freddie...

What they fail to realize is that government intervention in the mortgage market doesn't lower costs, it just "spreads them around."

“Without government backing, private lenders likely would charge higher interest rates and demand more stringent lending standards.” (Wall Street Journal)
So what’s the problem with that? We would also then have less defaults due to people buying houses they can’t afford.  Government intervention masks the free market signals and creates distortions in the market, resulting in trillion dollar housing bubbles.

Freddie and Fannie are scams that transfer money from the treasury to private banks
“Standard & Poor's estimated in a report issued Thursday that the cost of rescuing the mortgage giants could reach $280 billion and an additional $400 billion would be needed to capitalize any entities that replace them.”

“Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers $134 billion since the government took them over through conservatorship two years ago.” (Wall Street Journal)
They’ve actually cost us more than that. That figure is just over and above what these crony crapitalists normally cost us in a given fiscal year.  Government has no business in the mortgage market.  And don't give us that "interstate commerce" or "general welfare" crap, you progressives!  Your perverse "regulations" have allowed banks and mortgage companies to make irresponsible loans and stick the taxpayer with the consequences. 

Spreadin' it around
“The firms were created to buy mortgages from banks, freeing them to make more loans. Fannie and Freddie guarantee the loans and sell them to investors as securities, a process that has lowered borrowing costs and made 30-year loans more widely available.”  (Wall Street Journal)
Pure ignorance.  Freddie and Fannie did not lower borrowing costs, they merely shifted them to the federal government, who in turn “spread them around,” forcing taxpayers to shoulder the burden.

Why is the federal government “freeing” private banks and mortgage companies, but not grocery stores or bicycle makers?

Big Government advocates justify it by lifting up home ownership for all as a lofty goal. Why?  There's nothing wrong with renting, I did it most of my adult life.

Government bumbling caused this crash. Time for the bureaucratic poobahs to stop meddling in the private lives of the citizenry and instead start cleaning up the fiscal and regulatory mess they have created.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in Canada, where we pause on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the WW I Armistice.  The day has grown into a tribute to all veterans of all wars. 

This is a beautiful musical tribute to veterans by Canadian musician Terry Kelly. It is unabashedly patriotic, whether you're Canadian or American, and don't be surprised if it brings a tear or two. I know I can't help it, especially when that line of veterans appears out of the past. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Simple Solution

Everybody's talking about what the GOP should do.  They only control one half of one branch, so we're fixin' to see just how much scrap they have in 'em.

If I had a magic wand, here's what I would do. 

1) Much smaller military footprint overseas.  Beef up foreign intelligence, specifically HUMINT.  Our spies need to get in bed with all kinds of stinking third world bad guys and pay those dirty rats and a moles to ferret out terrorist plots.  That's how the  recent plot was foiled.  And they need to do it without fear of some America-hating congressman blowing the whistle on them because they talked to a drug dealer.  If you wanna know what the bad guys are up to you've gotta rub elbows with 'em.

2) Stop domestic spying on innocent citizens, including the nude porn scanners and genital groping at our nation's airports.  No X-Ray vans, no drones (except on the border).  Profiling works:  do it.  That includes deciding who to let in to our great nation and what activities they can engage in while visiting.

3) Freedom of Religion.  Convince the religious right (with whom I generally agree) that they don't need the force of the federal government to push their agenda.  It's not even constitutional in many cases.  The federal government's only duty to Christians (or Muslims or atheists) is to protect their equal rights in the public square.  If God is so great (and I firmly believe He is) He can survive in the marketplace of free ideas without official sanction from Uncle Sam.

4) Bring back the 10th Amendment.  Dial back federal government involvement to the pre-Wilson days.  Let the states and local communities take care of education, the poor and society in general.  We are not a one-size-fits-all nation, but that is what the federal politburo continues to peddle. 
Janet Daley, conservative columnist at Britain's Daily Telegraph adds some key points...
If ordinary citizens are to be expected to take back more control and moral responsibility, then some pretty basic things will have to be on the table.
First, they must be allowed to keep significantly more of what they earn. The lowering of taxes cannot be a vague intention or a pious hope. It is a sine qua non of a more self-reliant, independent, morally resourceful private life.

Second, indigenous populations must not be forced to compete with unlimited low-wage imported labour. If working people are to fend for themselves and support their own families without help, they cannot be under-bid for employment by migrants who, as often as not, have no dependants and no permanent obligations in the host country. The uncontrolled movement of peoples around the globe is problematic for welfare states... (Telegraph - Janet Daley)

I would add to that...

A strong, stable dollar that isn't manipulated by politicians for political gain.  This would provide citizens a reliable store of value, reducing our dependency upon the state

A government that favors no industry over another and that makes simple laws that apply to all, and a government that punishes those who break the laws.

Remove the taxpayer-funded Wall Street safety net.  The dangerous gambling will stop immediately.

What would you do?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We are a Tea Party Nation

Most Americans agree with the tea party agenda, they just don't realize it. 

Frank Luntz wrote an informative article in WaPo last Sunday.  The GOP leadership would do well to study it.  Democrats who stubbornly cling to the idea that we the great unwashed are too stupid and ungrateful to appreciate all they've done for us to us should read it as well, but they probably wouldn't get anything out of it...

Americans' agenda is simple. In broad terms, they want the government to spur job growth, but not by subsidizing more government jobs with taxpayer dollars. They want Washington to balance the budget and reverse the growing influence of government on daily life. They want the government to encourage success, allow failure, punish those who break the law - and then get out of the way.  (WaPo - Frank Luntz)
Based upon his extensive polling, he has identified five issues that each enjoy a minimum of 60% public support.  He also points out that these are tea party issues, so it looks like its not such a fringe movement after all...

(1) Balance the budget as quickly as possible through meaningful spending reductions, a hard spending cap and a constitutional amendment so that it never gets unbalanced again.

(2) Eliminate all earmarks until the budget is balanced, then require a two-thirds vote by Congress for future earmark legislation. 

(3) Keep taxes down by requiring supermajorities for increases, and eventually enact tax reform with a simple, low, fair rate that drastically reduces the length of the IRS code.  

(4) Create a blue-ribbon task force that engages in a complete, line-by-line forensic audit of federal agencies and programs to end waste and reduce red tape and bureaucracy.

(5) And require Congress to provide specific constitutional authorization for every bill it passes so that the government stays within the boundaries imagined by the founders.

Progressives will never go along with this.  Take away government, you take away their power to control us, their reason for being, their ability to get elected by handing out taxpayer-funded goodies.  This is why they obstinately refuse to see the facts:  To do so would destroy their world.

Let's Roll, America!

Monday, November 8, 2010

No More All-White Presidential Tickets

Identity Politics elevates gender, color and culture above competence.  It is an insult to all Americans, especially minorities

Politico ran a perfunctory post-election puff piece on the new stars of the GOP.  Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, John Kasich (who's really an old star reborn).  Pretty standard stuff, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Politico saying anything positive about conservatives.  I'm also glad to see the GOP getting props for fielding some awesome minority candidates.  Then I saw a quote I just could not believe...

  This is what caught my eye:
“The bottom line is that after 2008, you can never go back to an all-white ticket,” said Susan MacManus, political science professor at the University of South Florida. (Politico)
This is so wrong on so many levels.  

First, it is white guilt paying obeisance to liberal political correctness.  No more all-white tickets because pointy-headed liberal social engineers say so?  What if they are two awesomely qualified white lesbians who are extremely liberal?  I bet they'd make an exception...  It amazes me that the most unthinking propaganda parrots can be found roosting in the ivory towers of academe.

Have you heard the one about the Muslim, the one-legged lesbian, and the Black Hispanic walking into the DNC Headquarters...

This is bald-faced tokenism, a rank condescension to "people of color."  To think that the only way you can get a group of people to vote for you is to run "one of them," is a horrid thought.  Break down our demographics into its hundreds of sub-groups, and you quickly see the absurdity of this.
Treating people as a collective interest group instead of as individuals is revolting.  All Blacks and all Hispanics are not liberal, and *gasp!*  they all don't think the same!  Worst of all is how liberals lump disparate groups together under the "minority" or "people of color" banner.  Their latest adventure in racial and cultural profiling has them treating Blacks and Hispanics as though they were cooking products sitting on a shelf at the supermarket in the "Ethnic Foods" aisle.

"After the Obama debacle, you can never go back to a black candidate." 

That is my conclusion, based upon the professor's logic.  Let's see how that flies...

This is what's wrong with liberalism, it has strayed so far from Dr, King's sincere message regarding content of character over color of skin. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wire Brush

Like an old piece of ironwork that is covered with layer upon layer of paint and corrosion, our federal government needs to be wire brushed down to constitutional bare metal

Grandpa Silverfiddle started life as a tenant farmer and ended up a gardener and handyman after retiring as a machinist.  He loved gardening and fixing things up.  He went to work for an elderly lady who owned what looked almost like a walled estate.  I walked by it every day on the way to school.  I'm sure the placed was a jewel when it was built back at the turn of the century, but time had taken its toll, and grandpa was fixing it up little by little.

He put me to work one day on an ugly section of thick wire fence that ran between two sections of stone wall.  It looked all fat and lumpy and I would pass by it on the way to school wondering what it's purpose was.  Well, after scraping away a bajillion layers of paint and rust, I found that it was a gate.  The hinges, once freed and oiled, worked great, and that big globby looking thing at the top was actually a fairly intricate piece of ironwork complete with scrolls, curlicues and delicate fluting.  It looked pretty good when I got done with it, a fancy piece of the past.

The US Constitution is smothered in bureaucracy 
Our beautiful constitution is so accreted with layers of legislation and judicial corrosion it is no longer recognizable.  Our problems stem from the federal government trying to be all things to all people. It has burst its constitutional bounds.

The statists of both parties sold us on 20th century one-size-fits-all bromides that have clearly failed.

We are a diverse nation, and that calls for robust local and state governments, with the federal government retreating to within the bounds of it's constitutional duties: Defense, borders, national infrastructure.

Leave health care, schools and public assistance to the states and local communities.

Below are a whole bunch of links to smart people who say it way better than I ever could.

USA Today - Government's Role

Philip K. Howard - Drowning in Law

Peggy Noonan - Why we Resent the Elites

Walter Russell Mead - Tough Choices for Dems

William D. Cohan - Make Wall Street Risk it All

Philip K Howard - Clean Out Government

Big Government - 10 Suggestions