Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Miss Me Yet?"

In response to the billboards and other media with a smiling George W. Bush with the caption “Miss me yet?”, I’d have to say “No”.

Oh sure, I suppose I could miss W in the way a woman being tortured and killed might miss the old boyfriend who slapped her around but broke no bones.

But really, miss Bush?

TARP started on his watch.

No Child Gets Ahead – Oops, I mean No Child Left Behind.

Implementation of another huge social welfare program, Medicare Part D, was on his watch.

The coining of the phrase “compassionate conservatism”. I always resented the implication that us regular Goldwater-Reagan conservatives are not compassionate.

With a Republican Congress for 6 of his 8 years, he accomplished no meaningful conservative reforms or significant cutbacks in the growth and reach of the Federal government into areas best governed by states and local communities.

While I think he governed with the best of intentions and isn’t the Anti-Christ as portrayed by many in the far left, he didn’t come close to embodying true conservative values.

No, I don’t miss him.

In a way, he made things worse for conservatives, due to the common misconception that being Republican means a person is conservative. We have the Far Left telling us conservatives had our chance and our conservative policies failed.

No, we haven't had our chance. Conservative policies didn't fail because they were not implemented.

Don't get me wrong. Obama is far worse than Bush. Things got worse under Bush when the Democrats took over Congress in 2006. W is not entirely to blame. But I really can't say I miss him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Needs Socialism?

If one calls Obama a socialist in mixed political company, there is always the progressive who (with a haughty sniff) insists you don't know what socialism is, and you should look it up in the dictionary. America, they sneer, isn't anywhere close to socialism, since we still have individual and corporate ownership of the means of production.

Within the strict definition of the word socialism, they are correct. However, the policies of the Obama administration accomplish the same end - removing control of commerce from individuals, and in doing so, reduce if not eliminate the value of investment in private enterprise.

Healthcare "reform" is a prime example. With the passage of Obamacare, the Federal government literally dictates what insurance products may and may not be sold, what customers they must sell to, and how much profit they are allowed to keep from these sales. Who needs socialism when the government can simply micromanage an industry legislatively?

Take the auto industry. What good is owning an automobile factory if you want to produce gas-eating fire-breathing muscle cars but government says you must build econoboxes? With further increases in CAFE standards from a target of 35.5 mpg in 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025, it's getting there. For every Corvette and Cadillac sold, they'll need more and more Cruze Ecos and Volts built to meet the average. Profit margins are greater on Cadillacs and Corvettes, but GM will be allowed to sell fewer and fewer of them. By regulation, the Federal government negatively impacts the earning capacity of a major industry. Who needs socialism when government can instruct industry to ignore consumer demands and instead supply the product the government thinks citizens should buy?

There is also the manner in which Obama took the GM bankruptcy out of the courts and into his own hands to turn over a large part of the ownership of GM to the UAW at the expense of bondholders. Who needs socialism when the government can ignore the rule of law in order to turn over industry to workers?

The Obama administration has made significant changes to the regulation of the financial industry. Banks made huge investments in the programming and infrastructure that allows greater numbers of merchants to accept debit and credit cards. These investments were made on the premise that the costs would be recouped by fees collected from merchants at the point of sale. Merchants across the country agreed to pay these fees. That is, until major retailers were successful in lobbying Congress to cap the merchant fees as part of financial system "reform". The end result? Retailers save billions, banks stuck with the bill. Add to that the continual efforts to dictate mortgage terms and retroactive revision of loans already entered into. The inviolability of a contract is a cornerstone of a capitalism system. Who needs socialism when the government can reach in to change contract terms at will?

Through regulation, legislation, and executive fiat, this administration is engaging in a form of virtual eminent domain. There is no physical, legal "taking" of property, but rather the encumbrance of private enterprise with expensive and counterproductive mandates. The impact of this insidious process erodes the value of business ownership. With the overreach of the government into the private sector, businesses can't rely on contracts entered into by parties of their own free will, but must deal with the risk that government may arbitrarily change these terms, possibly to the detriment of both parties. Neither can businesses operate in the most sensible and cost-effective manner, sensitive to consumer demands. Instead, they are stuck with costly and inefficient mandates and restrictions on what consumer demanded products they are allowed to manufacture. Without the freedom to control the means of production, legal title becomes increasingly meaningless.

This process did not start with the Obama administration, but it has escalated, and it seems to have become increasingly accepted by voters and legislators. This trend cannot continue. This election is critical. We must elect a President and legislators who respect the rule of law, respect free market capitalism, and respect the rights of business to manage themselves responsibly for the benefit of their owners, their employees, and their consumers. If we let Big Government continue to make slaves of business enterprises, it will make slaves of us all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Voting Rights AND Responsibilities

There are no rights without responsibilities. This is as true of the right to vote as it is other rights we hold dear. Our right to vote is infringed upon when it is not counted or when it is cancelled out by a fraudulent vote. It is not infringed upon by requirements that merely require one behave as a responsible adult.

Voter ID is a prime example. Many States are making the attempt to prevent voter fraud by requiring voter ID at the polls. In response to criticism that the poor, disabled and/or elderly may not have valid state ID, states have offered to provide a government issued ID free of charge. This is not enough for the Left. The requirement to show ID such as a birth certificate to secure a valid state ID is also apparently too much of a burden for the disadvantaged. But while it certainly isn't against the law to have misplaced your birth certificate or naturalization papers, responsible adults in this country should have this and other important paperwork and know where it is. Parents should be responsible with their children's birth certificates or other evidence of citizenship until the children come of age. This is nothing more than common sense. Having these documents or securing them when you need them is just part of the privilege of being an adult in this country. It is time to start treating all people as adults, not as children who cannot be counted on to do their homework without supervision. The only exception I might consider making is when communities and public records are destroyed by natural disasters and documents are therefore not replaceable. If the Left wishes to focus its GOTV campaigns on people who are for one reason or another lacking either state-issued ID or the documents needed to secure one, then it needs to focus as well on helping people get those documents too. For that matter, the Republicans could make a sincere effort in that area. If you can provide a ride to the polls election day, you can provide a ride to the DMV or help someone get a copy of their birth certificate ahead of time.

I'm originally from Nevada, where voters are required to register 30 days before an election in order to vote in it. I oppose same day voter registration. In my opinion, it is an invitation to fraud, as it makes it possible for people to register and vote at multiple locations. It is up to the individual to pay attention to deadlines and register on time. A voter is no more disenfranchised by the requirement to register ahead of time than they would be trying to vote the day after the election.

There is currently outrage on the Left due to the state of Florida attempting to purge its voter rolls of non-citizens. The Left would have you believe that people are going to show up at the polls and be denied the right to vote with no warning. But all Florida is asking is for people who may not be citizens to verify their legal status. They are being notified there is a question, well ahead of election day, and being given ample time to respond. I simply do not see this as unreasonable. "But what if someone doesn't get their notice?" the Left whines. Two points. One, this has been all over the national news, so I have no doubt it is big in the local news also. If a voter has any reason at all to think they might be part of the purge, all they probably have to do is call and ask. Two, maybe they didn't receive it because it was sent to the wrong address. If it was sent to the wrong address, it means the voter didn't properly update their voter registration with their new address, as required by law. So it all comes back to personal responsibility. Naturally, since Obama, Holder and his DOJ see absolutely everything through racism-colored glasses, they're screaming that the voter purge is targeting minorities. No, it's targeting possible non-citizens fraudulently voting in U.S. elections. Has it occurred to the leftists that perhaps, just perhaps, non-citizens residing in the Florida just happen to be minorities in a greater percentage than the general population of the state? It's not as if there has been a steady stream of Northern European immigrants to Florida in recent years.

I liken voting to serving on a jury. We have the right to a jury trial, and by extension, the people have a duty to serve on juries when possible. If you are chosen to be on a jury, you will be thrown off the jury if you snooze throughout the trial or fail to follow the rules of the court. So it is with our right and the duty to vote. We The People are the judge and jury of our elected officials. Those who sleep through the electoral process or don't follow the rules may end up not exercising their right to vote, i.e. be thrown off the jury. And that is no one's fault but their own.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

I understand there are many Republicans who supported Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum in the primary who feel Mitt Romney engaged in a scorched earth campaign against fellow GOP but is now treating Obama with kid gloves, relatively speaking. But primary tactics are necessarily different from those for the general.

In the GOP primary, Romney was the perceived frontrunner from the beginning, and therefore, he was taking heavy fire from everyone else in the race. In addition, each primary state campaign was a sprint, while the general is a marathon. The time he needed to make an impact in each primary state was much more limited than it is for the general election in November. Anyone who is frustrated by the perception Romney is too nice now, have patience.

Primary voters are more engaged in the voting process than the average voter. The average voter isn't really paying a great deal of attention to the race right now. However, the fact that you are reading this, that you found your way to my average-citizen little-nobody blog, indicates that you are much more engaged, involved and informed than average. (Not to say this little blog is all that, but to find me in the boonies of the internet takes a little effort.) Romney doesn't need to shoot off all his cannons right now, and it would be a bad idea to do so. You don't want all of the negative information about Obama to be old news in September and October. It may be old news to us, but not to the average voter.

I've seen some speculation that Romney may select his Vice-Presidential candidate well ahead of the convention. If he does, it may be for the express purpose of having the VP candidate serve as the attack dog, while Romney stays above the fray. I can see such a strategy working, since Romney does have to fight the mean old McScrooge meme and it could serve him well to "play nice". This is pure speculation on my part, though, and I may be way off base.

Maybe Romney is just letting the economy speak for him for now. The most recent employment numbers are devastating to Obama. But what is more important than mere numbers is each individual's perception of the economy. There are few people in this country who don't know someone who is out of work (perhaps long term unemployed), underemployed, or has given up looking. There are few people in this country who are not aware of the impact of rising gas and grocery prices on their family budget. No matter how much Obama spins the numbers, people feel the impact of his policies, and no matter how much he blames Bush for what he inherited, people increasingly feel the statute of limitations is up and Obama owns the economy after over three years and trillions spent (allegedly) to try to fix it.

After Tampa, after Romney has the national spotlight cast on him in the convention, and the public is engaged, I think we'll see a far more aggressive campaign by Romney. We've seen a preview in web ads by Romney, the RNC, and SuperPACs. From what I have seen so far, it's really a cakewalk to make Obama look like the inept and irresponsible President he is. It will be brutally effective once the Romney campaign is making huge ad buys in swing states. I think we should take a deep breath, and let Romney run his campaign as he and his advisers see fit. He's proven he can take out other Republican candidates. I think we'll see some kick-ass ads on the air once people are paying attention. The Romney campaign has an absurdly wide vein of Obama incompetencies to mine. The broken promises, green crony capitalism, the state of the economy, and possibly the overturning of Obamacare by the Supreme Court will be exploited when the time is right. If needed, I'm sure we'll see more about Obama's radical associations and appointees. If by mid-September you don't see Obama simply eviscerated in TV advertising, come back here and tell me what an idiot I am. In the meantime, hang tight.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apparently The Ability To Read Makes Me A Far-Right Wingnut Extremist

When did our Federal legislatures lose their reading comprehension skills? Was there a virus going around in 20th century DC that rendered brains (of both legislators and many constituents) incapable of understanding the very clear language of the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Whatever happened, apparently the ability to read at an eighth grade level makes me a frothing-at-the-mouth, throw-granny-off-a-cliff far-right wingnut extremist.

It's not that I lack compassion for the poor, the sick, or the elderly, or hate children and education. Aside from the Constitutionality, it's common sense that families, churches, towns, cities, counties, and individual states are far better equipped to effectively deal with these issues directly without the heavy hand of the Federal government issuing one-size-fits-none mandates.

There are some people who argue that We The People elect our representatives in Congress, and therefore, they should do what voters want, period. If blue state voters want greatly expanded Federal powers and send progressives to Congress and they outnumber true conservatives, then we live in a democracy and the will of the people of is being done, so basically, we the people don't care about the Constitution, so it should be disregarded.

However, all members of Congress take an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution when they take office. They should respect the Rule of Law and the Constitutional framework we have in place to protect rights and freedoms against both the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of the minority. And by the way, it's not democracy, it's a Republic "if we can keep it".

Our Founders quite wisely realized that as society changed we might need to tinker with the Constitution, and provided us with the means to do so.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

We have successfully amended the Constitution many times. It is admittedly a difficult process to go through, but rightly so. We as a nation should not lightly cede power to the Federal government.

This is just my (radical right wing-nut Tea Party nut) opinion, but if We The People want the Federal government in control of education, healthcare, toilets, lightbulbs, farming, automobile fuel efficiency standards, etc., then we should go through the Constitutional amendment process. And if we as a country are not willing to approve a Constitutional amendment allowing Federal authority in an area, then it remains a right reserved to the States and the People. Simple, right?

As a practical matter, I don't know how much political will can be mustered to roll back any Federal overreach enacted so far. Far too many have become complacent and accustomed to begging the Federal government for assistance when the States find a matter difficult to deal with. Far too many don't appreciate the wisdom of our Founders. Far too many just want their handouts.

But it is incumbent on conservatives and Constitutionalists to try to restore respect for the Constitution. It is incumbent on us to elect state and local representatives with the courage to solve problems at the local level without running to the Federal government for help. It is incumbent on us to elect Governors and Attorneys General who will fight back against Federal intrusion into state matters.

I only hope it isn't too late.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twittergulag Guide

I know a lot has already been written in various blogs about Twittergulag. But one more can't hurt.

What is Twittergulag?

Twittergulag is different than Twitmo. Twitmo is just a temporary suspension of your ability to send tweets. It ends quickly. Your posts and follows are not affected. All it means is that you've been tweeting fast and furiously and Twitter is telling you to slow it down. Twitmo is no big deal.

Twittergulag on the other hand is suspension of your account. Your tweets disappear while you are on suspension. No one can follow, and you can't add followers. In fact, your follow lists disappear from your profile. Anyone clicking on your username will be advised that you are suspended. You need to take action with Twitter to try to get unsuspended; it does not happen automatically as is the case with Twitmo.


Twitter has various algorithms, all deep dark secrets, that serve to alert them to spammers. Spammers are suspended. You may trip the algorithm quite innocently, by initiating contact with a lot of people in a short time. If you have little original content but are constantly replying to people, so that most of your tweets begin with "@", it can look like you're a spammer. New users should take care to post their own original content on a regular basis, to assure Twitter you're not a spambot. Also, when replying to someone, put text in front of the @mention.

That's normal suspension. However, you may also be a victim of false spam flagging. This is when a group of people with whom you've interacted all block and report you as spam within a short period of time. Enough false spam reports and it's off to the gulag with you. You need to be vigilant about being baited into a conversation with too many people with whom you disagree over a short time. It's been rumored that the people doing the false spam flagging delete their own tweets where they've reference you, making it look as if you are the one harassing them without reason.

We're all on Twitter to express our opinions and get the truth out there. We all want to counter the false narratives of the other side. So how can we refute the lies and distortions if we can't respond to the people spreading them?

If you're lucky, the matter about which you're arguing is being identified under a single hashtag or two. Just use the hashtag. Say what you need to say. Feel free to reference a disagreeable user, but don't address your tweet directly to them. You might want to play it a little safer by not using their user name at all.

For example, instead of replying '"@libahole, you've been drinking the #stoprush kool-aid" reply "Seems a certain libahole has been drinking the #stoprush kool-aid" or "Hey @libahole, you've been drinking the #stoprush kool-aid".

The false spam flaggers will try to get you replying to many of them in the same tweet. Avoid this at all costs. If you mention several unfriendlies several times, their spam reports will be given more weight. It's important to remember that spam reports are taken more seriously if there has been interaction. Spam flagging an account where there has been no interaction is not nearly as effective in tripping the spam algorithm as when there has been direct contact.

Help, They Hauled Me To Twittergulag Anyway

Despite your best efforts, maybe a few too many tweets in the heat of a spirited disagreement, you've been hauled off to Twittergulag. What to do?

First, file a report with Twitter support. You can't do this if signed into the suspended account, so sign out, go to Twitter support and file report that your account has been suspended. Next, watch your email for the response from Twitter. You MUST respond to this email to even get them to review your suspension. Explain you violated no terms of service, that you think you may have been falsely flagged for spam, and then, be patient. It takes time for them to get to you. Do not send repeated emails, that just gets you sent back to the bottom of the pile.

Next, get a new account with a different e-mail. Report the suspension using #twittergulag hashtag. There are many concerned fellow conservatives watching this hashtag who will make noise about any unfair suspensions due to spam flag abuse, and are fighting for an end to this kind of abuse of the system. Your new name will get retweeted by many conservatives and you'll likely pick up new followers. So there is a bright side :-)

Other Resources

Like I said, a lot has been written and tweeted about Twittergulag. I just wanted to compile some of the most useful tips and tricks I've seen and heard about, on Twitter and on blogs.

For more information, I recommend:

Happy Tweeting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Good Old Days?

For some random reason, a playground ditty from my childhood sprang to mind.

Glory glory hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
Hid behind the door with a loaded .44
And teacher don't teach no more

Typical of the 70s. What would happen today? It's just wrong on so many levels.

At first, it sounds like it might involve religion. That would bring the ACLU down on the school faster than a trial lawyer on a drug with nasty side effects.

But wait, corporal punishment meted out by a teacher? Parents must be called, investigations must be launched, angry mobs caterwauling for the firing of the teacher must be formed. Of course, the union would ensure the teacher would be paid while on administrative leave as the case wends its way through the system.

Yet further outrage would be generated by the threat of gun violence. The student might be suspended or expelled, forced into counseling or alternative school, social media use scrutinized, zero tolerance and bullying penalties applied...

Glad I'm not in school these days. "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese..." might not even be safe.