Irony can be a beautiful thing. While The Beatles are commonly viewed as part of the counter-culture that fueled political unrest in the 60s and 70s, the lyrics of their hit song ”Revolution” call into question exactly what their political views may have been.
While the song may have served as a battle-cry for America’s counter-culture of past generations, and some of those same antagonists are now part of the nation’s Leftist ”Ruling Class” (which has undoubetedly helped to fuel the fire that is OWS) it is time to turn the tables. How fitting that those Lennon-McCartney lyrics now serve as an excellent portrayal to expose the utter madness that is Occupy Wall Street.
While I don’t pretend to know exactly what message The Beatles intended to deliver, I offer my own interpretation of their expressions to illuminate the matter. One thing is for sure, they didn’t seem to care for the evils of Communism, which clearly gives them a leg up over many of the loonies currently “occupying” cities across the land.
Led by a constant campaign of misinformation coming from government sources (primarily Democrats) and their Big Media parrots, most of the nation has long been ignorant to the scope of the mess that Washington has us in.
With the protracted battle over the debt ceiling, directly followed by Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. Government’s AAA rating, a greater number of Americans are finally becoming attuned to the fact that the nation has a genuine debt problem. In this sense, the downgrade and similar moves that are likely to follow are long overdue.
The central government’s spending addiction has finally grown so severe that it can no longer be obscured by double-talk, smoke and mirrors, or promises that spending will be cut someday in the distant future.
The issue is more than some political football. It is not a game, it is real, and it is time for an intervention of some sort. S&Ps downgrade may serve as a first step to breaking the cycle of denial.
Unfortunately, the junkies in the Obama Administration are persisting in their destructive behavior. Rather than owning up to the problem, they are desperately flailing about in attempts to excuse away the loss of our prized credit rating.
On Saturday, John Bellows, the Treasury Department employee who found S&P’s $2 trillion calculating error, used his employer’s U.S. Government website to blast away at the rating agency. In what appears a rather overt effort by the White House to “control the message”, the Obama gang appears to have floated a story highlighting Mr. Bellows noble efforts.
Though their objections did not seem to garner much mileage, the Daily Beast led the way with the rhetoric, shaping a storyline that presents Bellows as an unsung hero battling a rating agency which acted out of some irrational political bias. As it turned out, S&P determined that even with the $2 trillion correction, the debt situation remained so severe that its decision to downgrade was still the correct call.
Before attacking S&P, one would be wise to give Obama’s own numbers a cursory glance. As dire as the debt crisis may seem, anyone willing to examine the administration’s projections will find the situation is actually a good bit worse. The math is so simple, even The Daily Beast could follow along.
Upon visiting the White House’s Office of Management and Budget website, one is immediately greeted with a message from the POTUS himself. There, Obama informs us that, “Rather than fight the same old battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time to try something new. Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.”
Ah, but a mountain of debt is precisely what he has granted us, not only present day Americans but generations yet to come. Worse yet, he is not finished.
During Obama’s hay-day in 2009, the OMB projected 2011 government receipts at $2.685 trillion. Two years later that estimate has been severely downgraded to $2.173 trillion, reflecting a whopping 19% error in projecting revenue growth.
Though Obama’s original stellar economic team of Orzag, Romer, Summers and company all jumped ship, perhaps due to the lack of success reflected in the numbers above, we won’t find the feds boasting about it on taxpayer funded websites. Nor does the press have much inclination to offer any scrutiny.
As for The Treasury Department, while Bellows argued that, “The magnitude of this mistake – and the haste with which S&P changed its principal rationale for action…raise fundamental questions about the credibility and integrity of S&P’s ratings action”, they seem unable to locate any fundamental questions about the credibility and integrity of their Obama cohorts.
At present, though the economy is in the tank and teetering towards a double-dip recession Obama’s OMB is at it again, projecting an unrealistic 17% jump in tax receipts for 2012. This tactic allows for a relatively modest deficit forecast of $1.1 trillion for next year.
Either the Obama Administration is offering up completely bogus revenue projections or in the next few months they are planning on implementing the largest tax increase in American history and just haven’t bothered to tell anyone. It is one or the other.
While I am no economist, could it be that S&P is on to the mathematical sophistry routinely deployed by the Obama White House?
Beyond 2012, the OMB’s current projections anticipate 12% revenue growth in 2013, followed by 10% in 2014, 7% in 2015 and 6% in 2016. In sum, over the next five years, Obama’s current band of economic geniuses is speculating a staggering 43% growth rate in tax receipts to over $3.8 trillion.
What if they are wrong? If the OMB is incorrect in forecasting revenues for 2012 to the tune of 19%, as they were two years ago, even assuming their rather questionable growth rates for the following four years prove accurate, the unfortunate reality of compounding takes hold.
Again, using the government’s own numbers, this one potential “error” would result in Obama’s accumulated deficit projections for the next five years of $3.77 trillion almost doubling to an alarming $7.22 trillion. In sum, in five short years, Obama’s plans could add nearly 50% to today’s insurmountable debt of almost $15 trillion.
After two and a half years of experience, objective observations can only conclude that there is little reason to trust anything the Obama Administration offers, not in words, nor written proclamation. Standard and Poor’s seems to have caught on.
As you are currently reading alternative media, you probably already recognize that the entertainment-obsessed behemoth regarded as “the press” is anything but the free press that was intended way back when its rights were codified in the U.S. Constitution.
Any objective analysis of today’s traditional media industry can only conclude that the protection granted to the press in the First Amendment has been utterly wasted on it.
Here we confront the modern American dilemma – our ill-advised defiance of the Constitution. Much of the nation seems perplexed as to why our society no longer seems to work quite right but considers the continual assault on our Constitution to be virtually inconsequential.
The bold declarations contained in the Bill of Rights are clear, concise and axiomatic. But, more importantly, they are intended to bind government and ensure the Constitution’s efficacy. Once the tenets of the Bill of Rights are ignored or become twisted to mean something other than what was intended, the Constitution quickly becomes unraveled and is bit by bit rendered meaningless.
Unfortunately, we appear to have forgotten that those first Ten Amendments were necessarily added to our Constitution to guarantee its ratification. In sum, without the Bill of Rights there would be no Constitution. You cannot have one without the other.
That our system of governance no longer harmoniously works should be of no surprise. Once the rights which were codified to protect free men are considered flippant and left to the whimsical interpretations of the day, why should we expect anything less than trouble?
The problem is that large swaths of the population are indifferent about the whole matter. To our collective detriment, many a contemporary citizen has come to believe that government exists to provide for him. Blinded to the reality that he could ever possibly need protection from his government, he has become dependent and subservient. In essence, the state is now his master, because he has relegated himself to life as a lowly creature intended to serve at its will.
Rather than acting as an agent of protection against an intrusive government, today’s mainstream media — or Big Media, as I call it — at best merely seeks to entertain us. At worst, it has become an unofficial agent of the state, acting almost exclusively on its behalf.
Whether or not big media intends to promote the central government is irrelevant, for the net effect exists regardless. The point is that it has defied the system as it was designed, begetting a serious problem.
Fortunately, even those who torment us cannot defy the natural order of things. Again we find the rules of cause and effect at work. Alternative media was born from man’s innate struggle to be free, his natural resistance to the authoritarian nature of the state. The current rise of a new press is nothing less than the attempt to re-establish a free press – an essential component of a free society.
This too is easily misconstrued by an unsuspecting public, for the phenomenon is miscast, politicized by the advocates of big government. Having willingly assumed a supporting role in advancing the concept of infinitely expanding government, Big Media has been a central player.
Today’s large media outlets in conjunction with government, academia, and various corporate interests constitute what Angelo Codevilla succinctly identified as “the Elite Ruling Class” in his prodigious essay on the subject.
This relatively minute class is adept at manipulating that plurality of Americans who have come to view the state as an entity that does “for them” rather than “to them”. Once enough citizens buy into the charade, a self-perpetuating momentum is created. Over time, society becomes conditioned to adopt whatever this ruling class chooses to foist upon it. Anything goes, from “efficient” light bulbs to TSA pat-downs.
Used as a tool to keep the whole sordid system propped up, one of Big Media’s primary roles is to simply parrot big government’s daily proclamations, aiding in creating the perception of authority and omnipotence.
Of course, they do much more than that — constantly distracting the populace with endless circuses, and obfuscating the importance of what is happening in the world around us by presenting entertainment as information and information as entertainment.
Along the way, the protestations voiced through alternative media sources are merely presented as just more political squabbling. Reduced to just part of the overall noise in an age of too much information, sound objections are easily lost among the incessant trivial chatter.
Today, the dynamics of the whole struggle have become significantly more fluid as technology and social media rapidly change the relationship between citizens and their governments. From the Tea Party in America to political unrest in places like Egypt, the dramatic results are evident throughout the world.
In large part, alternative media has helped fuel the Tea Party movement, America’s latest manifestation of man pushing back against the state. As exemplified by Andrew Brietbart’s ACORN expose, these sources serve as catalysts, ultimately helping to animate the enormous discontent long simmering within the citizenry.
For the Tea Party to continue to advance its demands of smaller government and constitutional adherence, it must learn to wield this new media as a sword, just as the elite ruling class has done with traditional media outlets.
To maximize effectiveness, the new breed of constitutional conservative activists, like-minded legislators, and alternative media sources must all work in concert. It will prove incumbent upon conservatives to walk the walk. They must understand whom and what their dollars ultimately support — and then spend accordingly.
It will not do to keep propping up traditional media sources, their advertisers, and corporate interests who do the bidding of the ruling class. Starving the beast will prove essential to defeating it.
Of course, the other side has the right to their opinion too. It’s just they need to finance the dissemination of those opinions exclusively on the backs of those unfortunate souls who buy into their poppycock.
All hail the free press!
In the battle over the nation’s debt ceiling, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)recently took to the floor of the House to claim that Barack Obama is treated “disrespectfully” merely because of his race. Though Lee’s latest rant did not garner much mileage, perhaps it would be instructive to discuss the matter in a broader context.
Let’s cut to the chase – Is Barack Obama treated differently because he is black? You bet he is. Has he been treated “unfairly” simply because he is black? That would appear to depend solely upon what one might consider unfair.
Though Ms. Lee, and others who share her point of view, would have us believe that Mr. Obama is treated with disrespect due to his race, one could also make the case that he is more readily treated with kid gloves because of it. The nation’s dual obsessions with racial identity and political correctness have seen to that.
Indeed, the congresswoman from Texas, well known for not only generally outrageous behavior but cries of racism around every corner, has long sought to manipulate these tendencies, aiming to cement her name alongside America’s premier “Racialists” (promoters of racial division, self-victimization and segregation) – Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan move over.
Never mind that Ms. Lee and many of her buddies on the left side of the aisle routinely savaged Obama’s white predecessor, going so far as to accuse him of mass murder, burning him in effigy and even publicly calling for his execution.
When serving the racialist cause, facts are ignored just as readily as they are turned upside down, such as the delusion that Republicans stood against Civil Rights legislation, though recorded history tells us it was Democrats.
No doubt, Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2009 admonition that America is “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race was right on the money, albeit probably not exactly as the nation’s top cop envisioned it.
Racism is an ugly business to be sure, and yes, it should be honestly discussed but when it comes to genuine cowardice much of it appears to stem from white Americans who are afraid to criticize anything said or done by “people of color”. After all, such behavior would automatically earn one the disqualifying label of “racist” from the likes of Ms. Lee.
It is not difficult to conclude that open dialog will continue to elude as long as the reins of the conversation remain in the hands of those who consider it impossible for whites to legitimately criticize someone of another race without prejudice.
Ironically, while many of Obama’s racialist defenders promote themselves as racial purists it is more than obvious that there is more than the president’s darker skin at play.
Clearly, even within the broader Democratic group regarded as America’s homogenous “black community” Mr. Obama’s treatment is not predicated on his skin color alone. His liberal Democrat creds are also of critical import, for liberals are not so much for the advancement of blacks as they are strictly for the advancement of blacks who share their point of view.
To achieve the perspective necessary for a real and substantive dialog, perhaps we would all do well to walk a mile in the shoes of black conservatives. To whatever extent racism still exists, they are subject to the same mindless hate as all blacks and other ethnic minorities. But they carry an additional burden.
In having the temerity to think for their selves and ultimately reach different conclusions than most people who happen to share their skin color, these brave souls are routinely savaged by most members of their own race. Largely regarded as traitors, they are treated considerably worse than their white counterparts.
In other words, they are treated unfairly simply because they are black. Interestingly, there is a nary a peep of objection from Racialists over the disrespectful treatment that black conservatives suffer from their racial peers.
Among our nation’s best and brightest are the insightful minds of Doctors Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, inspiring orators such as Herman Cain, Apostle Claver and Kevin Jackson, courageous leaders such as Star Parker and Congressman Allen West; men and women who should be held on high by all peoples but are ignored, if not outright castigated by those from within what the federal courts have codified as their own “communities of interest”.
Conversely, misogynists who advocate killing cops in an expletive-laced rhyming fashion may be celebrated and exalted, at least as long as they vote the right way or stay out of political matters altogether.
So blinding is this dedication to racial identity among the nation’s liberal ethnic minorities that one does not even have to genuinely accomplish anything in their interests to garner support. Apparently if you are Barack Obama, talking the talk in that decidedly Sunday morning preacher tenor once in awhile will do just fine.
Obama has very little in common with most black Americans. While he is reported to be Christian the evidence is rather lacking. Publicly, he is more prone to show disdain rather than respect for the religion of the vast majority of our black countrymen.
When examining the public record; all he has said and done, his family’s background and those who he surrounds himself with, his beliefs seem to embody a mixture of atheistic Marxism, Black Liberation Theology and the Muslim faith. There is barely a trace to be found of the God who is worshipped by a broad majority of the nation’s blacks.
Though the black community consistently polls in opposition to homosexuality at a higher rate than any other ethnic class, true to his hard-left ideology, Obama vigorously courts the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual lobby. Not only does he seek to overturn our military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he is wavering on the legal definition of marriage as we speak.
When it comes to education, the popular Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, beloved by the city’s low-income black families, was previously shutdown under Obama’s leadership.
As far as jobs go, we find perhaps the most troubling betrayal of all. Since Obama has been in the White House, the nation’s unemployment rate among black Americans has soared from 9% to 16.2%, though it stands at only 9.2% for the nation as a whole.
While black Democrats are fond of demanding that the government act solely and specifically on behalf of their own race, curiously, a review of the current White House occupant’s record turns up a blank slate.
Given that polling consistently indicates the POTUS still maintains 90% support among black Americans, it would seem that many black Democrats treat Obama differently simply because he is black. On this count, the silence among the otherwise vocal racial identity crowd is deafening.
I have finally come to recognize that our world is actually divided into two parallel universes; Intertwined so closely in time and space so as to be indistinguishable they co-exist in a constant struggle, an ever raging competition for dominance over man’s existence.
In one universe resides reality, in the other, a pervasive “worldview” that is something very different.
The first universe rests upon reason and logic, here man judges his fellow man by his character and deeds. Subject to the inescapable boundaries of natural law, man is recognized as the creature that he is, has been and always will be.
In the other emotion reigns supreme. Here man is ever evolving for the better, ascending to some higher plane he presumes to ultimately be capable of altering what is.
In this universe empty words are equated with actions and intent is confused with results. Man’s judgment is swayed by any number of more superficial things; wealth, popularity, skin color, fashion, and the ability to entertain others to name but a few.
In the first, man easily distinguishes good from evil and acts accordingly. He is vigilant in his defense and knows that simply calling evil by another name does not negate its existence nor minimize its damage. When necessary he is more than willing to defeat evil by force, unafraid to exercise extreme prejudice.
While in the other moral ambiguity rules the day. Man pretends that he can compromise with evil, often presuming it is an easier path than confrontation. Obsessed with earthly pleasures and living in the now, he remains oblivious to the lasting consequences of his poor choices.
In the first, the rule of law reigns over all men. Man’s inalienable rights are paramount and cannot be swayed by contemporary philosophies or political currents. Order is maintained by the application of justice without favor or prejudice. Society is strengthened by a vigorous defense of morality while immorality is discouraged by the swift and equal application of punishment.
In the other the law of man runs amok. Consequently, chaos ensues. Here, anything goes, justice is twisted and manipulated by politics, power and money. Man uses the construct of government to grant himself authority over other men. Once man attains enough power, he merely holds himself above the law. Without the consistent application of justice, immorality is fostered and the cohesive society tears at the seams.
In the first, government is recognized as an authoritarian beast that when left untended continuously grows, subsequently intruding upon the individual. Here, man understands the simple equation that for every ounce of government there is a corresponding loss of liberty. As man inherently seeks to be free, a natural struggle between the individual and the state is constantly in play.
In the other, government is perceived as benign at best and strictly benevolent at worst. In this universe, man is not responsible for himself. He has ceded to the state. The state is man’s keeper and is thus empowered to coerce others on his behalf. As the state grows unabated in slow, incremental measures, man merely becomes conditioned to his consequential loss of freedom.
In the first, the individual cherishes responsibility, utilizing it to create opportunity for himself. Here, man applies his unique skills and talents to make his way in the world by producing a good or service that others demand. Succeeding by honest effort, he provides for his self while also contributing to the greater good.
In the other, man is often but a disgruntled victim, incapable of making his own way he is thus rightfully dependent on his fellow man. Ultimately, regardless of whether or not he can genuinely provide for his self others are obligated to care for him. Here, this behavior is codified, encouraged and glorified by the champions of the benevolent state.
In the first, man understands that learning and accumulating knowledge benefits him. He seeks to be informed so that he may make wise decisions. He empowers himself by the proper application of learning. Here, modern gadgets are but tools for man to use to his benefit, never a substitute for his own critical thinking skills.
In the other, information is presented as entertainment and entertainment as information. Man is obsessed with people and meaningless things rather than ideas or important events. Lacking basic learning skills, here man readily uses technology in place of learning. Becoming ever more dependent upon machines, he eventually loses the capacity to think for himself.
In the first, parents recognize they are ultimately responsible to adequately teach and provide for the children they bring into the world. Here, the benefits of discipline are mutually understood and rewards are not merely granted but earned. Children are guided to succeed, provided boundaries so that they may learn the value of respect, integrity and hard work.
In the other, the parental role is generally diminished if not altogether abdicated to the state. Rather than punished, destructive behavior is enabled so that children are free to “express themselves”. The priority is to feel good about one’s self regardless of efforts or achievement. Consequently the young are ill prepared to succeed in life, becoming easy fodder for those who would seek to manipulate them.
To be sure, clashes between these two perspectives are nothing new. Mankind’s history is dotted with them. But as time marches through our modern era these competing perspectives appear to be growing more and more distinct from one another.
Today, in America, we see these dueling “realities” creating constant friction, resulting in an increasingly divided populace, strained culture and inept government. A critical mass is building.
We would do well to pause and consider, can the two indefinitely grow apart and remain compatible? America appears poised to find out.
Those poor misguided leftists, the perennial gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Across the nation, as states struggle fiscally, Republican led legislatures are reigning in spending to balance state budgets. As a result, just as we witnessed in Wisconsin, Republicans at the state level are drawing a lot of fire from Democrats, Big Media, labor unions and other liberal constituencies.
For the rest of us it is a refreshing sight to behold– government actually spending less today than it did yesterday, eliminating government programs and reducing the number of public-sector workers where necessary.
A complete contrast to the way in which government works at the federal level such measures are foreign to those who are conditioned to the standard operating procedures of the runaway beast in Washington. Inside the Beltway government never actually gets smaller. When faced with budget dilemmas, the feds instinctively raises taxes, make promises to reduce spending someday, or perhaps go so far as to make reductions in future spending growth, calling it a “spending cut”.
For those demonizing the sensible belt tightening measures of Republican led legislatures they might consider taking out their frustrations elsewhere, how about Democrats in Washington D.C.?
While there are a myriad of factors behind the budget woes of various states, careful examination finds federal policy as a root cause over and over again.
Here in Texas, for example, the state faces a $12-15 billion shortfall in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. With a constitutional obligation to balance its budget and large Republican majorities swept in to power last November on the promise not to increase taxes, state spending is being dramatically reduced and the Left is livid.
First, it should be noted that the current spending reductions being debated in Texas have been inflated by the Obama “stimulus” package of 2009. According to CNN Money, the state used $6.4 billion of federal stimulus money to cover it’s shortfall in the 2010-2011 budget cycle.
Another way of looking at this would be that previous state budgets were enlarged to spend money that states typically do not have at their disposal. Federal stimulus dollars served as an additional source of revenue beyond what was available in state coffers – when government gets its hands on money you can count on it being spent.
The trouble is Washington didn’t have the money to spend either. In essence, the federal government borrowed money to provide temporary funding for spending that states otherwise could not afford. If not for the existence of these one-time borrowed dollars, surely, Texas lawmakers would have produced a smaller budget than the $182 billion budget they eventually passed in 2009.
Subsequently, state legislatures are now making necessary structural adjustments, resulting in spending cuts that are stricter than they would have been without the ill-founded infusion of federal dollars.
Mind you, that temporary stimulus funding from the feds was all new debt, every last penny of it. Since today’s deficit spending inevitably results in tomorrow’s tax increases, in the end, that irresponsible federal spending will likely result in higher taxes for all citizens. For leftist protestors who think the solution to state budget deficits is paying higher taxes, they can rest assured, we all will eventually.
Economists almost universally agree that the nation’s dramatic growth in deficit spending is hampering economic recovery. When Washington spends borrowed money it takes capital from the private-sector, dampening economic activity in general. Consequently, state and local sales tax receipts have suffered across the nation. In sum, federal policy is having a direct negative impact on the revenue side of state budget equations.
While there is no doubt that spending in Washington has been out of control for quite some time, under the one-party rule of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, deficit spending accelerated into hyper-drive. What the feds could not borrow they merely printed, consequently devaluing our currency and in turn shrinking the buying power of all Americans.
Making matters worse, as a commodity, the world buys oil in U.S. Dollars, creating a direct correlation in value. As Washington’s actions have shrunk the worth of the dollar they have driven up the price of oil, resulting in higher gas prices. As consumers necessarily spend more on gas they have that much less to spend on everything else, only further depressing sales tax receipts.
Let’s not forget, in their zeal to pass the onerous Obamacare scheme, not to mention threatening tax increases for a year and a half, Democrats in Washington effectively froze investment and hiring throughout the country. Though GOP victories last November stopped Democrat dreams of raising tax rates, Obamacare continues to be tied up in courts and its high costs continue to be exposed, further preventing business owners from investing and expanding.
But the federal government’s negative impact on revenues doesn’t stop there. In Texas and other Gulf states the on-going “permatorium” on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is another drag on the economy. As thousands of jobs have been affected and small businesses suffer, the resulting lack of activity can only mean less revenue coming into state coffers.
When it comes to federal policy, some states carry a heavier burden than others. As revealed in a Tax Foundation study, for every dollar Texans send to Washington the state receives 94 cents in return. Effectively, the central government has put the state in an inequitable situation, disproportionately harming the prosperity of her citizens and straining its ability to pay for services at the state level.
Unfunded federal mandates, particularly Medicaid, are driving some states to the brink of financial ruin. Obamacare only upped the ante. The state of California, for example, projects they will have to come up with an additional $500 million a year in increased Medicaid payments due to the new law.
Last month, Nevada State Senator James Settelmeyer summed up the frustration of many state legislators stating, “Nevada can no longer afford the federal mandates that are coming down…the national programs that are forced upon our state’s taxpayers that we have to bear, we just can’t afford.”
Due to the federal government’s refusal to secure the border with Mexico and genuinely deal with at least 12 million illegal squatters, state law enforcement, public school and healthcare service systems are being severely strained. The burden is particularly heavy in border-states, with as many as one million undocumented aliens estimated to be residing in Texas alone.
According to an extensive report by the Center for Immigration Studies released just last week, 70% of illegal immigrants in Texas receive some sort of public assistance.
If Americans want to ensure that government can provide the basic services that citizens feel they deserve, then the first order of business should be to ensure that we are not paying for services for those who are in the country illegally. Oddly enough, none of the groups you’ll find protesting budget cuts at state capitols are calling for this commonsense measure.
If Washington is going to insist that all immigration matters are their exclusive domain then individual states should be sending the feds the bill for dealing with the aftermath of their failure to effectively control immigration.
Ultimately, in some locales the federal government may prove to bear more responsibility for a state’s budget woes than the state itself.
Apparently, while I was consumed with minding my own business, raising a family and working hard, something happened. For most of my life, I considered myself a rather average American but over the last several years something changed. It appears that I have become somewhat of an anomaly.
Admittedly, I was becoming suspicious. The more aware I became of the world around me, the more I engaged in the responsibilities of civic duty the more I realized that I no longer fit in. It seems I am a stranger in my own country.
With politicos and Big Media defining the citizenry by neatly boxing us into little groups, followed by politicians pandering to us via the messages gleaned from these groups, I’ve grown more distant, detached and disenfranchised from the process. I just never fit comfortably into any of those little boxes.
Clearly, I’m no longer in sync with what passes for being an American, or at least that pervasive worldview that comes at us from all directions. What was formerly considered conventional wisdom has now been reduced to a handful of antiquated notions.
But there is some good news, upon reflection I discovered something extraordinary that I can take solace in. It seems that I’m of much greater value than most of my fellow citizens.
What I’m referring to are the fundamental moral obligations and economic responsibilities that each one of us bears; what an individual contributes to the greater whole of society versus what he or she takes in return. In this regard, it turns out that I‘m one hell of a bargain to the rest of society, call me a bargain citizen.
I go to work, earn my pay, pay my taxes and have never bothered to look to the rest of you for handouts or subsidies. I’ve managed to remain gainfully employed and largely educated myself. No Sir, no scholarships, student loans, unemployment payments or government provided training for me.
Though I must have benefited somehow from a public primary education, having been a property owner for most of my adult life I’m certain that I have settled that score with all the property taxes I paid over the years. Sure, I’ve had a couple of government-backed mortgages but I always made timely payments and eventually paid those loans in full.
I have never manipulated others to enrich myself, never sought undue influence or favor. I’ve never even contemplated filing a frivolous lawsuit – absolving myself of responsibility while driving up the cost of goods and services for my fellow citizens really isn’t my thing. In fact, I choose not to cheat, steal, harm others or behave in any manner that puts an undue burden on the amount generally regarded as “your fair share”.
Preferring the advantages of good credit I have never defaulted on loans, filed bankruptcy or done anything else that might drive up the cost of credit for my fellow Americans. I am fully insured and have always chosen not to reside in areas prone to hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, or wildfires.
I am the law-abiding sort, really not interested in consuming the time and resources of our law enforcement or justice systems. I’m a responsible driver so there’s no need to bother EMS personnel or other public services to clean up a mess on the roadways on my account.
I generally recycle, am mindful not to waste natural resources and I never litter. It has never been necessary to hire someone to pick-up after me as though I am a two-year old.
Though I enjoy donating to private charities, my donations to public charity have been much more substantial. I have been blessed to do better than most and was thus obligated to pay significantly higher tax rates than many of my fellow citizens (an unintended byproduct of choosing to do pretty well for myself). In fact, I have been known to be more than generous, indulging in paying excessive taxes by smoking, drinking, routinely using toll roads, and even playing the state lottery a time or two.
Not that I’m wealthy in a monetary sense. In fact, I’m no different than most citizens in the private sector who struggle through financial ups and downs.
One might think that my fellow Americans would be more appreciative of my approach to citizenship. After all, I’m doing all I can to help fill the public coffers while simultaneously holding down costs, going so far as to donate the maximum allowed by law to that bankrupt ponzi-scheme affectionately known as Social Security, even though the math indicates that my contributions won’t be there when I need them.
If anything, it seems behavior such as mine would be rewarded, publicly lauded, perhaps celebrated somehow. Not today. In fact, all things considered, our government and the court of “public opinion” treats bargain citizens in a most peculiar fashion.
My experience with the Economic Stimulus Package of 2008 provides a fine example. Hearing of the plan, I was initially excited. It seemed Washington was going to return $1,200 of my annual donations in the form of a tax rebate. Unfortunately, as it turned out, someone in Washington determined that I already had too much of my own money and was entitled to a rebate of no more than a few bucks.
After all, I was likely to do something as foolish as save it, maybe invest it. Apparently, some focus group data suggested that our consumer-based economy would be better served by giving my money to citizens who pay no income taxes whatsoever. Surely they were more likely to run out and purchase a big-screen television, the latest phone gadget or some other big-ticket item that I could do without.
Take notice of the type of citizens whose views are sought and sold in the public arena. Amidst the barrage of people who demand more from the rest of us you’ll have to search long and hard for any bargain citizen types.
In modern America such people are safely ignored, rendered insignificant, even demonized. My bet is that many of the citizens showing up at Tea Party rallies and town hall meetings are bargain citizens who have had enough with the present status quo.
Our Constitution was intended to guarantee the freedom and protect the unalienable rights of the individual. But there is a catch, for it clearly establishes that the only government suitable for a free people is a limited one. Therefore, it acknowledges that for man to be truly free, he must be responsible for his self.
While Wisconsin teachers throwing their own Greek styled socialist hissy fit is both telling and troubling, it also serves as a microcosm of various economic challenges, political battles and societal shifts all taking place simultaneously.
What to say about those lovable teachers and union drones protesting in Wisconsin? I must admit, I consider it bizarre that people believe they have a right to a pension and benefits to begin with, or even a job for that matter. Stranger still, the striking teachers in Wisconsin seem to believe that they have the right to extract it from tax-payers, regardless of whether or not the state has enough money to go around.
But the teachers’ egregious behavior went beyond refusing to show-up for work. Some took it upon themselves to infect young impressionable minds with their destructive (progressive) attitudes, dragging students along to their protests.
About now, I’m trying to imagine the position of the average hard working middle-class family in Wisconsin who just voted some grown-ups into office to instill some necessary fiscal discipline into state matters. Working in the private-sector, they probably pay twice as much as state workers do for benefits and receive less.
With teachers and school officials shutting-down the schools in protest, these tax-paying parents now find themselves having to take-off work to be home with a child who should be at school.
In sum, these teachers have provided a perfect example of why public employees should not be unionized. At the end of the day, tax-payers are effectively being held hostage by those intended to serve them.
It requires no more than basic math skills to understand the economic equations here. One only need take a cursory glance at American History to see that it was an independent spirit, not a dependent one, that built this greatest of nations. From Wisconsin, a look across the lake to neighboring Michigan clearly illustrates where union dominance inevitably leads.
Yet, these simple lessons are beyond the people hired to teach the young throughout an entire state, saying a great deal about the misguided priorities of today’s public education system. It also raises larger questions. Such as – Just when did we as Americans come to believe that others owe us that which we are not willing to provide for ourselves?
As we look across our nation, the fiscal state of government at all levels tells us that we have more government than we can afford. What’s going on in Wisconsin is just one indication of very real economic challenges confronting America. Taxpayers are increasingly realizing that government must spend responsibly and they’re putting people in office who will effectively deal with these issues. To delay is to only magnify the scope of sacrifice that ultimately must be made.
For teachers or any other public-sector employees who genuinely deserve what they believe they have a right to, they would do well to go and seek it out. No one else chose their profession or made career choices for them. There is a free-market out there. If you can find a better deal for what you have to offer, more power to you. You do have the right to pursue it.
With utter disregard, the reactionary liberal retort to dealing with fiscal reality continues to decry “tax cuts” for the “ultra wealthy”. Look around the blogosphere and news comment sections; they are infested with angry protestations that are long on emotion and short on validity.
For those who are determined to punish whoever they imagine is “wealthy”, they should examine the harsh realities taking place in like states like Michigan, California and New York where productive citizens and business owners are escaping in droves.
In short, the party is over and it’s time to tighten the belt.
Tea Party Reinforcements
As is typical, unions working in conjunction with leftist activist groups such as Organizing for America, (formerly Organizing for Obama…ahem!) directed the anti-Walker protest efforts in Wisconsin, complete with comrades bused in from out-of state.
Interestingly, the crowds were reported from 40,000 – 60,000. Surprise, surprise – Big Media is into projecting crowd sizes again, as opposed to the generic “thousands gathered” phraseology reserved for Tea Party events.
What has changed is mobilization on the Right. Conservatives intend to stay engaged, a recent shift that is not going away. Finally, by Saturday a smaller counter-effort was mounted by “Tea Party” groups, intruding upon the sacred protest ground that the Left formerly solely maintained. Though the Right also bused people into the state, it is worthy to note that conservatives muster volunteer troops, unlike their counterparts on the Left.
Teachers and Doctors – Honorable Professions?
We would like to believe that teachers and doctors are honorable individuals who have responded to a higher calling, guided by a desire to help others and care for their fellow man. While chances are likely that this holds true in most instances, let us not assume that it does for every professional.
In Wisconsin, a place known for its progressive activism, throw in a politically charged issue in and voila, suddenly hundreds of teachers and no less than five doctors were openly practicing deception that is shocking.
From an AP story Sunday morning that was quickly scrubbed as the scenario in Madison continued to unfold, we find this gem:
Doctors from numerous hospitals set up a station near the Capitol to provide notes covering public employees’ absences. Family physician Lou Sanner, 59, of Madison, said he had given out hundreds of notes. Many of the people he spoke with seemed to be suffering from stress, he said.
“What employers have a right to know is if the patient was assessed by a duly licensed physician about time off of work,” Sanner said. “Employers don’t have a right to know the nature of that conversation or the nature of that illness. So it’s as valid as every other work note that I’ve written for the last 30 years.”
Sanner and a handful of other doctors were found on the street corner soliciting free-passes like they were Halloween candy. In this instance the noble physician’s “assessment” of their “patients” amounts to assisting them with filling out a form on the sidewalk. The scene is played out over and over in various videos circulating the web.
This too represents change. Increasingly, the left has become ever more brazen with their tactics, seemingly unhinged as they are challenged from the right. With modern technology, it no longer matters whether or not Big Media cares to share what actually takes place. Conservatives now have the means to routinely expose the cheap stunts of their political adversaries.
Part of the problem of rising health insurance premiums is society’s insistence of including elective services in their health plans, made all the easier when someone else pays the bills. For anyone who believes that the demands of public employee unions are limited to tax-payers providing them basic services, think again.
From last August comes a tasty tidbit from Wisconsin, when the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association filed a lawsuit to reinstate benefits for erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis. The school district previously cut the benefit from their insurance plan hoping to save nearly $800,000 a year.
According to ABC News, “Officials said too many teachers were using the expensive drugs for recreation, swelling their insurance rates. An estimated 1,000 of the 10,000 school’s staff, which includes employees, dependents and retirees, were using the drugs.”
Wanna bet that some of the Viagra poppers in Milwaukee were among the throng intent on raiding empty public coffers in Madison last week?
While the BP-Horizon oil spill and the Obama Administration’s subsequent 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is common knowledge, the fact that the federal government has turned the tragic accident into an on-going economic calamity seems to be drawing scant attention.
Though the drilling moratorium was “officially” lifted over three months ago, it has merely been replaced with an on-going de-facto ban, but the full scope and damaging consequences of the federal government’s reactions to the gulf spill go well beyond deepwater drilling.
While the moratorium was limited to deepwater rigs, the work stoppage in the gulf was not. Due to new regulations and ever evolving permit processes, many shallow-water oil and gas drilling operations have been effectively shut-down as well. Mind you, there is no evidence that the rigs being prevented from operating are anything but safe.
During the 6-month hiatus, though most companies decided to ride out the situation, (believing the work stoppage was for a fixed period of time) no less than five of the 33 deepwater rigs that were in operation at the time of the spill moved to foreign shores to fulfill their intended purpose.
Now rig owners, the contractors who lease them and tens of thousands of workers find themselves subject to an indefinite waiting game as the federal bureaucracy generally mulls about. As rigs continue to sit idle, pressure is mounting for contractors to void existing leases and an increasing number of jobs are under threat.
Indeed, just this month, Marathon Oil terminated its contract on the Noble Corp’s Jim Day rig that arrived in the gulf in September. Similarly, deepwater rigs built by Pride International and the Maersk Group which were intended to set-up operations in the gulf have been re-directed elsewhere.
Less oil drilling in the gulf means less oil production in the gulf. In addition to drilling rigs sitting dormant, many of the hundreds of production platforms operating in the gulf have also been affected. From there, the ripple of economic death extends out to equipment, transportation, fuel and food suppliers, and other businesses that support the region’s oil industry and its workers.
The frustrations of Gulf Coast residents affected by the federal government’s actions were on full display earlier this month(seen here and here) as Oil Spill Czar, Kenneth Fineburg held a series of town hall meetings in Mississippi and Louisiana coastal communities. Many local businesses who were harmed by the oil spill are still suffering due to the government shut-down of the oil and gas industry in the gulf.
With no recovery in sight for our nation’s private-sector job market and government revenues (at all levels) consequently stagnating if not declining, it is troubling to find the federal government in the business of killing private-sector jobs in wholesale fashion, many of them good middle-class jobs.
Though it has been estimated that some 20,000 jobs have been lost due to the federal government’s actions, Lee Hunt, President of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), contends that job losses are only a part of the overall economic impact resulting from the continued ban.
The massive deepwater rigs that operate in the gulf generate around $500,000 per day in revenue, though numerous owners have reduced daily rates by as much as $200,000 to keep companies in place while the shut-down continues. Additionally, Hunt estimates that, “companies spend approximately another half million a day for consumables, transportation, maintenance operations and other costs” per rig.
All told, Hunt conservatively estimates that, there is a direct “$30 million a day negative impact to the economy” due to the deepwater shut-down alone. However, he said that considering factors including lower dividend payments, stock prices, lost wages and investment dollars, “the total enterprise loss is incalculable.”
Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, who is one among three commissioners over-seeing Texas energy policy, agrees, commenting, “People should be up in arms, it’s not as though we (America) can afford this much longer.”
So, where are the Democratic Party and Big Media on this development? The self-proclaimed champions of the “little guy” have fallen strangely silent considering the dramatic impact on jobs and prosperity in the Gulf Coast region.
When thousands of jobs are lost due to corporate lay-offs, it is the stuff of headlines. When the jobs of local and state bureaucrats are threatened unless they receive federal “stimulus” funding, a hue and cry goes out across the land. But when the government kills private-sector jobs, the sufferings of average Americans are suddenly of no import whatsoever.
Indeed, though local news outlets thoroughly covered Fineburg’s recent visit to the region, one would be hard pressed to find any national coverage of the controversial meetings which took place. A direct contrast compared to media coverage when the ire of Gulf Coast residents was directed at BP.
Official sources are projecting a 13% decrease in domestic oil production in 2011 and most industry executives now predict that it will take several years before production in the Gulf of Mexico returns to 2009 levels. Hunt predicts that by the end of 2011, only 4-10 deepwater rigs in the gulf will have returned to full operation. Troubling developments considering America’s already over-whelming dependence on foreign oil.
The shutdown in the gulf will also have a direct impact on the size of the federal government’s deficit. Though leftist politicos inside the beltway routinely demonize the oil industry, in truth, Washington reaps huge windfalls from the industry in the form of royalties and excise taxes.
In sum, there are two rather troubling realities which are completely at odds with the present course being pursued by an over-zealous federal government and the intrusive “Green” movement that sets the tone for much of today’s government policy.
First, energy produced from oil and gas is literally the fuel for the world’s major economies. As unpalatable as it must be for greenies, economic prosperity throughout the world depends on oil and gas.
Secondly, much of government’s revenue come from the exploration, production and usage of these hydrocarbons.
Whether the continuing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is due to deliberate government fiat or just gross bureaucratic incompetence, the results are the same. Americans should be outraged over such tyrannical acts and Congress should act immediately to end the Obama administration’s over-reach into this vital American industry.
Unfortunately, it seems everything is political. In reaction to Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona in which six innocent people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, among 12 others, was wounded, a familiar routine is quickly unfolding.
Any appropriate measure of solemnity in the face of a mass murder has immediately given way to mindless political rhetoric. Right on cue, media sources jumped to amazing conclusions about the motivations of the murderous shooter, Jared Loughner, and a feeding frenzy ensued.
The oft repeated drill is a reactionary broad-brush approach of smearing anyone or anything on the political right by associating them with the violent perpetrator de jour.
As one among many examples of the tactic, the Associated Press reported on Sunday, “…after her (Giffords) office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the midterm elections.”
“For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC. “
From what we know about this kid Loughner thus far, there are no indications that he is a Sarah Palin supporter, nor a consumer of Fox News or Limbaugh or anything else remotely smacking of conservatism for that matter. Even if he were, people cannot be held responsible for the impressions of a mad-man.
With scatter-shot precision, the AP continued, “Giffords is a moderate Democrat who narrowly won re-election in November against a tea party candidate who sought to throw her from office over her support of the health care law.”
While tying in the health care battle, AP conveniently scooped up the Tea Party in the process. By the end of the day, the internet was rife with inferences that somehow they, too, bore responsibility in the crazed actions of a disaffected dope-smoking loner.
Contrary to the accusations of commentators, politicos and their followers, ultimately, it is the scumbag killer who is responsible for his actions, not anyone else, certainly not Palin, Beck, Limbaugh or any other popular target of the left.
But the absurdity goes far beyond left-wing finger pointing and delves into the bizarre when the Communist thug Fidel Castro’s utterances on the matter are given weight. By Sunday evening, AP obviously found the Cuban dictator’s views relevant, reporting that he also denounced the attack.
“Even those of us who don’t share at all the politics and philosophies (of the Obama administration) sincerely desire that no children, judges, legislators or citizens of the United States die in such an absurd and unjustifiable way,” Castro said in an opinion piece titled “An Atrocious Act,”
The vaunted AP didn’t bother to point out the irony of such a point of view, given that it comes from a man who is responsible for imprisoning, torturing and killing political dissidents for over five decades.
In sum, Big Media’s coverage of the massacre and the accompanying leftist responses throughout the blogosphere and comments boards are telling.
The left’s accusations always reveal their methods and perspective. As in many previous instances, the left’s denouncements of “hate speech” from the right are full of mindless invective that sounds an awful lot like hate to everyone else. One can only imagine what they’re slinging around at places like The Huffington Post, the Center for American Progress or MoveOn about now.
As for Big Media itself, it is a curious thing. Their leftist tilt has been obvious for so long, their decline in both public esteem and wealth so steady, that their insistence in staying their chosen path seems to defy all logic.
Having observed this phenomenon for some 30 years, and having lived different phases of my life both within and outside the media’s sphere of influence, I have come to believe that there are, in fact, two worlds; one universe in which reality rests and then another one parallel to it.
In that parallel universe, perspective is shaped by AP, The NY Times, The Washington Post, all the major networks and 24-hr cable news outlets (just about anything consumed through television), most of what comes out of Hollywood, probably everything created by HBO, etc.
These outlets distribute a brand of “conventional wisdom” that is created and supported by leftist think-tanks, political operatives, unions, propaganda mills and government officials. Collectively, they constitute most of what Angelo Codevilla correctly deemed as “The Elite Ruling Class” in his prodigious essay on the subject.
Too many times now, I have stood and witnessed events with my own eyes and ears (including physical assault) only to find others perceive that something completely different took place. I have come to count on that opposing “point of view” always being the one propagated by the Elite Ruling Class.
In this modern age, it seems life is the accumulative experience of being continually marketed to. Whether it’s a product or service, a brand or fashion, an ideology or a candidate, it’s really all the same. The story of the mindless massacre in Arizona is no different. We are being marketed to.