About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Holiday Message

Thanks to one of the many doctors in the readership who sent this version of Andrea Bocelli joining the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing The Lord's Pray.  It was so good I looked up & found another version with an introduction by David Foster. 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Christmas Scale

Thanks to our Midwest subscriber for sending this Christmas message.  It has an O. Henry-like surprise ending. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mike Huckabee Answers "Where Was God?"

As a follow up to being asked "Where was God?" just hours after the inconsolable murders @ the elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut last Friday Mike Huckabee offered this answer on his FNC program Saturday night.
 
I invite readers to respond by providing their own answer to the above question (also often asked – "how did God let this happen?") & will post the responses accordingly.
 
The RTE readership has many deeply devout people as well as atheists so we should get a good cross section from which we can all learn.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Electorate's Mirror Image

"I'm afraid that we're going to have either hyperinflation, skyrocketing interest rates, something.  I have lost my faith we can do it voluntarily."  the late Senator Warren Rudman speaking about the country's fiscal problems which he thought could not be solved without a crisis
 
click on images to enlarge
 
Following the above list of BO's destructive anti-American records the fiscal cliff & sequester are his next ruinous steps - maybe BO cannot believe himself the predicament he has put the country & the Republicans in – the American people will be further hurt by the fiscal cliff & sequester per his design & the Republicans will get the blame thereby strengthening BO's hand.
 
As a reminder the fiscal cliff is an economic precipice, created by law in summer 2011, that threatens to cast the U.S. back into recession.  It is a fiscal hit of up to $720 billion over time, starting on or just after January 1, 2013, caused by the immediate expiration of a host of tax rate cuts and the onset of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over time mostly in Defense.  The sequester was an outgrowth of the original fiscal cliff concept – it is the mandatory mindless automatic spending cuts that kick in starting in 2013 if lawmakers can't find comparable cuts by then.  Although the fiscal cliff does include substantial spending cuts it does not necessarily include the mindless sequester & that is why I separate them.
 
A refresher on how we got here includes Republican fiscal ineptitudes under Speaker John Boehner's leadership that started in February 2011 & continues even today.  The issues include continuing resolutions to fund the government, negotiations re spending cuts, the debt ceiling, & extending Bush era tax-rate cuts – the expiration of which BO now admits will hurt the middle class & not just the wealthy as he claimed all during the campaign.
 
The focus of disappointment started on February 18, 2011 in the House when 92 Republicans joined every Democrat in voting to defeat an amendment that would cut an additional $22 billion from the 2011 FY $3.8-trillion spending plan.
 
Most freshmen Republicans campaigned in 2010 on cutting spending $100-billion their first (calendar) year in office & repealing &/or defunding ObamaCare to whatever degree possible.  This was soon watered down to mean cutting $100-billion on a pro rata FY basis as a negotiating starting point that would be reduced from $100-billion to $61-billion to $38.5-billion & to postpone the fight re defunding ObamaCare.  The $38.5-billion spending cut number, proudly announced by Boehner, turned out to be only $300 million of real spending cuts or less than 1% of what was announced.  This was the Republicans first bite @ the financial responsibility apple.
 
The second bite came in the summer of 2011 with another Republican capitulation in which the debt ceiling was raised by $900-billion (as BO wanted) in return for $756-billion in unspecified spending cuts over the next ten years with over 90% of the cuts coming way late in the out-years thereby rendering them useless & meaningless.  The August 2, 2011 Budget Control Act established the unconstitutional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, aka the Super Committee, whose mission was to make an additional minimum of $1.2-trillion cuts in federal spending (a trivial amount in the total scheme of all the planned spending over the next ten years) – but if the Super Committee could not agree than the sequester of mindless automatic spending cuts, like the Graham-Rudman bill of twenty years ago, would be made starting in January 2013 – right after the November election.  The Super Committee's work ended in failure with the following statement -  "After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline."
 
After seventeen months to work things out to avoid the fiscal cliff & sequester absolutely nothing of substance has changed & now we are just a few days before the Christmas Holiday break with the fiscal cliff & sequester ready to needlessly further ruin many people's lives – all per BO's design.  Our elected reps didn't make the right thing happen then so what would make anyone think they are going to now?  Please note I said "the right thing" not some phony last minute political deal with such tricks as counting as a budget cut the $6.2 billion savings for not spending money left from the 2010 Census – like Boehner did in 2011. 
 
Congressman Frelinghuysen provided me with the following report that shows BO is not a serious negotiator @ all - "Instead of cutting spending to use the revenue to pay down our debt, the President suggests using $50 billion for a new 'stimulus' package, an extension of unemployment insurance that already provides benefits for 99 weeks, a one-year deferral of the 'sequester' across-the-board budget cuts which will do nothing but postpone the difficult decisions the President and Congress must make."
 
A recent poll shows that although most people don't want their taxes raised 65% of respondents think it is OK to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Even more entrenched are the people who don't want their government programs touched.  Election winning politicians are a mirror image of the electorate & that is the problem the nation is facing in this fiscal cliff & sequester matter.
 
As bad as the imminent fiscal cliff & sequester are they are really just a mini test of our resolve to face our larger problems & we have no reason to believe this is going to turn out good with BO in the position of power wanting more spending & the Republicans not being able to find principles to unite behind.
 
Congressman Ryan's budget plan of April 2011 – generally regarded as the most fiscally responsible budget presented in years - would still increase the national debt by some $5 trillion over the next 10 years and continue $400 billion annual budget deficits through at least 2021.  This was one of my problems with Ryan in the last election & it will be again going forward.
 
The fiscal cliff & sequester are just a drop in the bucket for what lies ahead in a seemingly never ending problem expressed in tens of trillions of dollars.  The real problems & big money are in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and veterans' benefits – & these programs are virtually untouchable.  We see above that our elected reps are just not interested in solving our economic problems & neither is the majority of the electorate. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Something Is Different This Time - & It's Evil

"Doug - I feel really bad in the face of all that's happened in the last month and continues to happen with the government of this country. The Republicans rolling over for BO; the actions of that despicable House Leader; the conservatives being kicked off committees; Sen. DeMint's retirement from the Senate; the founder of Freedom Works quitting. It's time to find Galt's gulch!" – from a long time subscriber of RTE
 
"...freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, & handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children & our children's children what is was once like in the United States where men were free." – President Reagan
 
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." - Daniel Webster
 
click on graph to enlarge
 
Like many of us the above quoted long time subscriber knows that something is not right in America.  The real problem is that something is different this time.
 
Something different happened in November 2008 & it was confirmed last month – & that something is evil & a deliberate deception to overrun our country.  The last four years has not been about the usual sort of things the two parties argue over & take turns winning elections over.  These years have been about robbing liberty from people by increasing government dependency & promoting destructive class warfare & envy & there is no end in sight re this pursuit & no foreseeable practical solution.  Naïve Republican pundits think they just have to lick their wounds & wait until the next election or two & the tide will turn in their favor as it always has – but this is a fallacy because BO is so far along in the first two of The Five Points of Citizen Control:
 
Citizen Control Point #1 - provide seemingly free education through government schools where the graduates are little more than illiterate & not proficient in math or science.
 
Citizen Control Point #2 – have an anti-American hostile media tell the uneducated people from citizen control point #1 what the news is.
 
The Republican Party is in disarray having just lost an election that Laura Ingraham said should have been "a gimmee election" where the Democrats ran an incumbent who had the worst pro-American record (by design) of any president ever but the Republicans ran the most flawed candidate I ever saw.  The problem is that BO is not pro-America & the Republicans don't know how to deal with this – hence the frustration with our subscriber's message that many of us share.
 
Mitt received the votes of only 27% of the Hispanic electorate & there is no reason to believe that proportion will increase in the fastest growing sector of the electorate. Republican plans to promote citizenship for illegals is as ill founded as anything they are considering in trying to regroup – just who do they think these new citizens will vote for?
 
Democrats are playing Death Of Democracy like a fiddle & the Republicans have no come back.  The above graph shows that there are 109.3 million privately employed people whose taxes outright support or @ a minimum subsidize 87.3 million people.
 
The following table is based on four scenarios of a single Mississippi mother with two young children.  The first scenario is for the woman to work one week per month for minimum wage, the second is for her to work all year for minimum wage, & the other two are for the salaries shown.  Thanks to the government programs the woman has more disposable income working the full time minimum wage job than working the $60,000 per year job.  The first scenario beats the $30,000 per year job by over $4,000.

The above graph & table show that BO is certainly spreading the wealth around but he wants more legalized theft through taxes to support even more government dependency – but that is only part of the evil.  BO's incessant desire to raise the tax rates on the top 2% of income earners – his idea of millionaires & billionaires who make over $200,000 per year – is grounded in his wanting to punish successful people by targeting them so others will not want to follow their example.  Mark Levin writes in Ameritopia "...disparaging & diminishing the successful & accomplished becomes an essential tactic."

This deterioration will continue until BO runs out of "other people's money" – until we have less people creating wealth & ever more people wanting their fair share of its redistribution.  BO wants everyone equally miserable.

The speed with which we turn this around, if ever, depends on how fast the majority of people of substance are willing to properly address the above problems by reapplying the common sense principles that have worked all of their lives – like ensuring the education of our children re the heritage of our country & speaking of the benefits of having the self-respect of having a meaningful job that supports a family.

Not taking this approach are some congressmen supporting House Speaker Boehner in the fiscal cliff discussions who are now saying that elections have consequences & they should (erroneously) revisit their stance on taxes as if that would solve anything – the problem is still too much spending not low taxes & increasing taxes will result in more spending. 

For instance twenty-year Congressman Jack Kingston (R., Ga.) is no help when he said "The election was a sober reminder that not every other person in America shares our views."  With this attitude we might as well just about give up.  His constituents who voted for him are not interested in his adopting the position of someone else in the national majority.  How about just supporting the principles, if any, that you ran on?

The solution to America's economic problems can have a peaceful ending – just follow the four points presented on RTE several times – implementation of premium support for Medicare, replacement of the wage inflation index with the CPI for initial Social Security benefits, implementation of the "cut, cap, & balance" budget program, & of course enactment of the FairTax.  Click on Four Points Highlight The Needed Change In Mindset for all of the details.

So the peaceful solutions are out there as indicated by the four above if only our elected representatives had the nerve to apply them.  But many people in Greece, Wisconsin, & now Michigan prefer violence to solve their problems requiring police to show up in riot gear as evidenced by the right-to-work protests in Lansing.  Michigan, the birthplace of the UAW, has a union share of workers that is about 50% higher than the national union share of workers.  The passage of the law making Michigan the 24th right-to-work state has not gone down well.  Click here to see a violent attack on AFP personnel & equipment.  Statists are pro choice when it comes to taking an unborn from their mother's womb but not for allowing a worker to choose whether or not to join a union.

With all of the evil described above – & the hopelessness of finding leaders who can & will address it - there is no wonder that the subscriber first wrote above with such despair that she is calling for the help of John Galt.

The above quotes by President Reagan & Daniel Webster along with the words of the great libertarian George Mason provide the ultimate solution for lovers of liberty & the rule of law who will not see their freedoms & life savings disappear like with the assessment of wealth taxes & confiscated bank accounts.  Mason wrote "...that whenever any Government shall be found inadequate, or contrary to these Purposes (common Benefit, Protection, & Security of the People, Nation, or Community), a Majority of the Community had an indubitable, inalienable, & indefeasible Right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such Manner as shall be judged most conducive to the Public Weal."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Education Post Follow Up

As a follow up to the last post - Education Improvement Needed To Avoid The Middle-Income Trap – please click here to see a video, narrated by Bill Whittle, that summarizes the original post graphically.  ACTA has named the video The $200,000 Fraud?
 
 
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Education Improvement Needed To Avoid The Middle-Income Trap

"A properly educated workforce is an issue of deep concern to business, especially to manufacturers.  Our worry isn't just that our children are being educated poorly; it's that they're being educated poorly in the subjects most relevant to our economic well-being.  There isn't enough focus on science, technology, engineering, or math in our schools."  Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical CEO
 
"We have jobs going begging for...the ability to write a coherent letter, use correct grammar while speaking, understand basic mathematics, interact well with clients, & show up for work regularly...&, voila, you have an electorate that is incapable of understanding or caring what it takes to obtain & maintain a job, let alone the impending fiscal nightmare heading squarely @ them."  Julie Adamen (writing in the WSJ) – operator of an employment service that works with small businesses
 
"We need to make more of an effort to get parents involved in teaching reading & teaching them how to help children make sense of words they do not know."  Leslie Russell a reading specialist in Chesapeake Virginia following the announcement on Thursday that only about half of U.S. 4th, 8th, & 12th grade students knew what they are supposed to know on a new vocabulary section of the National Assessment of Education Progress exam
 
click on tables to enlarge
 
The American Council of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA) recently completed their study of 1,070 college institutions for 2012 – 2013, entitled  What Will They Learn?.  As in past years it is an excellent resource that should be checked by both parents & students before the final decision on where to go to college is made.  In fact it should be the starting point.
 
Now not only do employers like Dow's Mr. Liveris (see quote above & graphs) have trouble finding qualified technical people to offer jobs to but the colleges are also not turning out graduates who know the basics about our country meaning that the country is becoming very different from the one most of us grew up in if for no other reason than the young adult citizenry is so much differently educated today than during previous generations.  This is the most central problem facing America today for people who see value in holding on to our heritage.
 
For instance according to ACTA more college graduates know more about Lady Gaga than George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.  Carrying this line of questioning a little farther ACTA found that less than half of college graduates (48%) knew George Washington was the American general @ Yorktown.  None of the other options (Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and William T. Sherman) were even Revolutionary War figures.  Only about half of graduates (53%) could identify the right to a speedy and public trial as not part of the First Amendment & more than 40% of graduates did not know that the Constitution established division of powers between the states and the federal government.
 
This is not funny even if you don't think about it.  In fact it really shows the path we are on.
 
Only 21 colleges and universities (less than 2%) out of the 1,070 included in the ACTA study earned an "A" grade for having at least six of the seven key courses required by ACTA for graduation.  The seven crucial subjects outside the major ACTA required of all graduates were: composition, U.S. government or history, economics, literature, college-level math, science, & intermediate-level foreign language.  Colleges are evaluated on "A" schools requiring 6-7 courses, "B" schools requiring 4-5, "C" schools requiring 3, "D" schools requiring 2, and "F" schools requiring 0-1 courses.
 
I thought you went to college to learn something that would give you a solid foundation for the rest of your life.  When I went to Engineering School decades ago my curriculum would have earned an "A" from a school that currently is graded "C."  As Carol often says to me about a number of things – "what the hell happened here?"
 
As employers, like Dow Chemical, complain about a lack of skilled workers record numbers of college graduates with tremendous student loan debt remain unemployed – showing that parents, students, & colleges & universities are all to blame for failing to prepare their graduates for success after graduation.  The above ACTA website will help to eliminate this – but parents & students have to go first & not accept degrees from well known colleges with high costs who teach nothing of value.  For instance there are some "A" graded colleges on ACTA's list that cost between a third to half of what just about all of the name universities cost.  The question is always what can you do with your education; i.e., can you get a good job to support your family, increase your standard of living, & simultaneously increase the standard of living for your fellow countrymen that automatically happens if you do the first two thereby raising the living standards of America.
 
My friend, Anne Neal, president of ACTA recently wrote to me "This study shows that while students, parents and taxpayers are paying a lot, they're not getting a lot in return.  Students are graduating into one of the most inhospitable job markets in American history & a time of challenging civic responsibilities; & they're doing it with record debt. What Will They Learn? examines which schools are making a solid commitment to a broad academic foundation, and which ones simply don't make the grade. Regrettably, too many do not."
 
In summary, colleges & universities flunk when it comes to strong general education requirements leaving gaping holes in the knowledge & understanding of college graduates.  The ACTA program provides the information needed to reverse this terrible trend.
 
The three schools that received a perfect seven for seven rating from ACTA were Thomas Aquinas College, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, & the University of Dallas.
 
The other eighteen "A" graded schools were:
 
Baylor University
 
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
 
City University of New York - Brooklyn College
 
Colorado Christian University
 
Gardner-Webb University
 
Kennesaw State University
 
Morehouse College
 
Pepperdine University
 
Regent University
 
St. John's College (MD)
 
St. John's College (NM)
 
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
 
United States Air Force Academy
 
United States Coast Guard Academy
 
United States Military Academy
 
University of Georgia
 
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
 
University of Texas - San Antonio
 
Meanwhile many Americans are caught in what Professor Peter Coclanis & many development economists call a "middle-income trap"  - meaning a situation where economies stagnate after reaching a certain middle level, usually because their manufacturing & labor costs no longer allow them to compete with lower-cost producers, but their work forces aren't skilled enough to compete higher-up the value chain.  To paraphrase – "I'm pretty expensive & not very skilled." 
 
Professor Coclanis reports that Bangladesh textile workers earn 18.5 cents per hour & work fifty hour work-weeks minimum.  I have pointed out several times before that it is only through constant brainwashing that the government will take care of you that would allow someone to become so ill-prepared to support themselves that they are now competing with third world people who make pennies a day.
 
I have also presented on several occasions how value producing jobs are created by using the metaphor Professor Robert Carbaugh of Central Washington University presented to me that thinks of the world economy as a ladder with the U.S. currently on the top rung & developing nations with low tech labor intensive jobs like Bangladesh on the bottom rungs. The other countries are in between. All countries try to climb to the next rung. This works well if the topmost countries create new industries & products, thus adding another rung to the ladder like when we replaced horse drawn carriages that used buggy whips with cars. Older industries can move overseas while new jobs are generated @ home. It is when innovation stalls @ the highest rung that the portion of Americans near the bottom of the income distribution must compete with workers in developing countries. This is what we are facing today as far too many Americans are poorly educated with skills so limited that no employer can use them as explained above.
 
Please contact me if you would like help re the ACTA website.  Higher education in America is one of my two passions – the FairTax is the other.
 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Most Outrageous Way To Share A Coke

Thanks to our Mid-west subscriber for sending the link for a video that has gone viral with just under 2-million views & growing.  The video shows the creativity of some engineering students who were tasked by Coca-Cola to come up with the most outrageous way to share a coke. 
 
You may want to watch this twice to fully enjoy the feat.  Even people who prefer Pepsi enjoy the video.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Responses - Government-Dependent Mindset - From Food Stamps To FEMA - Expected & Deserved

Below are three responses that not only reinforce the original subject message but also offer their own solutions for correcting the needed government-dependent mindset problem.  All three responses are in agreement re the definition & statement of the problem.  The question is, when the source of funds dries up, will the reaction of the government-dependent people in America be destructive like the current government-dependent people in Greece has been or will Americans have learned from the Greek experience & avoid metaphorically falling down the same flight of stairs?  The answer to this question will make all the difference in the world.
 
---Response #1 From A Resident Of A Town On The NJ Shore---
 
Doug - You hit the nail on the head. This is why it is going to take such a long time and incredible effort to fix this mess. The average American's mindset is to have the government take care of them. The idea of being independent and not looking for a handout is foreign to them. Americans have become conditioned to expect their "Uncle" (Sam that is) to take care of them.
 
I got disgusted watching the TV news and seeing people whining; "who is going to take care of me?"  How about taking care of yourself?
 
So far the liberals are winning and by a large margin. The "greatest generation" and the baby boomers are a lost cause.
 
The good news is that people on our side are starting to catch on. The only way this will turn around is for things to get bad, where the rich can no longer subsidize or refuse to subsidize the poor (Atlas is shrugging) by checking out.
 
For this reason I look at Obama's victory as not the worst thing to happen. Let these fools (Obama, Boehner, Pelosi and the rest of the gang) have their way. Once they can no longer take care of the masses, the masses will turn on them. Won't be pretty but that is life isn't it?
 
At that point if we have done our job to educate the young people on freedom and free enterprise our opportunity will come, but only if we start cultivating the young. Wasting one's time on their elders and the fools in Washington and Trenton is a colossal waste of time.
 
---Response #2---
 
Doug - many significant points in your post about a very disconcerting current U.S. mindset. This mindset needs a drastic change and very soon (like 2013). How?

Educate as many people as you can about:

The pending economic collapse if we do not change course with those currently receiving government benefits other than SS and MC. They are the ones who will be hurt the most.

The need to improve economic productivity. This is the number 1 key variable in long term economic prosperity. We will not get there by increasing taxes. Rather deep cuts in spending and tax rate decreases are the answer. We must cite numerous empirical evidence in simple terms so our deeply economic illiterate citizens can comprehend.

Block all BO initiatives that are debasing our currency (per Lenin the quickest way to destabilize a country rendering it ripe for dictatorial power .. Maybe a BO goal).

It is very disheartening that only 21 of 87 newly elected Tea Party Congressmen stuck to their principles in last Spring's debt talks. Why can't our elected representatives pledge to do what is best for the U.S. for 1 term then go back to the productive private sector?

Re Food Stamps: do you know that BO's administration spends taxpayer $ advertising to Mexicans how to apply for food stamps if they illegally cross the border to the U.S.? This is pure politics - get more dependent people here, further debase our currency, expand Democrat Party base to ensure perpetual government control.  Instead why not encourage more foreigners skilled in technology to enhance our economic productivity, with visas and green cards and encourage ultimate citizenship?  Democrats do not support this because it will weaken their power.

In sum there is much room for improvement.  All who are passionate about getting our core nation's principles back and passionate about once again leading the world in economic prosperity: get to work to drastically change the mindset before it is too late.
 
---Response #3---
 
I agree, at this house we received only minor small branches downed while the neighbors had large trees blow over - thank goodness none fell on the buildings.  We were out of electric for 5 days and since I was the one with a generator the two neighbors plugged into the same generator to keep refrigerators charged. As fuel got low we banded together to find fuel whether it was siphoned from the lawn equipment or autos or finding a station pumping - we all made it.  If we waited for government we would still be waiting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Government-Dependent Mindset - From Food Stamps To FEMA - Expected & Deserved

  206 buses sitting in a flooded parking lot in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina
 
The reading aloud of The Constitution of the United States (minus the four clauses pertaining to slavery) on the House floor that began John Boehner's Speakership on the first day of Congress assembled in 2011 was the high point of the One Hundred Twelfth Congress.  This meaningful exercise was done to acknowledge the eighty-seven Tea Party Members who had been elected in November 2010. 
 
Now we find that the elected Reps should have gone slower when they read the eleventh & fourteenth amendments so that House Minority Leader Pelosi would know the difference between them.  Nancy's confusion re these amendments just about tops her "are you serious" answer to where in the Constitution ObamaCare is authorized. 
 
But we can't blame Nancy for the things that quickly went downhill following the reading of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment as sixty-six of the eighty-seven Freshman Republicans deserted Tea Party standards by income-tax filing day 2011 & voted in a way they thought was best for their congressional careers – click on Only 21 Of 87 Freshman House Republicans Are Still With You for all the details including who voted for what @ that troubling time that was very instrumental in getting us into the pickle we are in today.
 
Following Hurricane - now better known as Super Storm - Sandy blowing through NJ, I had three separate occasions to see how the above type of mindset that disregards the Constitution & our founding principles of limited government & personal responsibility has given way to government-dependent thinking.
 
1.  On election day eve I received a call from a pleasant enough woman who called to remind me to vote for a certain local Republican candidate.  Our conversation shorty turned to how I made out during & after the storm.  I said that I had some water in the basement & although it was a pain @ the time it really was minor compared to neighbors who had trees fall on their houses.  The woman proceeded to give me suggestions re how to make application to FEMA & even provided a location & phone number for me to call.  I repeatedly assured her that was not necessary but I was most taken by her government-dependent mindset that was revealed as part of a Republican get out the vote call.
 
2.  Several days later I had occasion to call a government office located in another state.  The conversation quickly turned to Hurricane Sandy & when I told this woman that I had water in the basement she asked if the government helped me clean it up.  I told her that Carol & I cleaned it up with the help from a neighbor.  The woman was is a state of disbelief & asked if an insurance company came to help.  She thought of everyone but us doing the work.
 
3.  I have received several invitations from my Town & Republican Congressman to call a FEMA hotline that is open to residents who need legal help related to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. 
 
The legal hotline is probably well intentioned like the women in the above points 1 & 2 definitely were but all of these experiences were cut out of the same cloth as the recent radio & TV government advertisements letting people know where to sign up for food stamps. 
 
This government-dependent mindset is preying on us & many just take it for granted not understanding how destructive it is to our freedom.  Far too many people overwhelmingly believe that government should do everything for us never recognizing that government can't because it is actually made up of regular people (like all of us) with no magical powers let alone any incentive to make everything right.  People's hopes in government are pinned to a fake that doesn't exist because government bureaucrats have no incentive to make anything right. 
 
Just like the terrorists are taught to hate when they are 3 or 4 years old, the American people have been brainwashed, mislead, & hoodwinked for decades to believe that a government program is the answer to every problem imaginable.  This march of fifth column statists has bred the dependence we have for government.

Chicago was rebuilt after its fire, as was Galveston after its hurricane, & San Francisco after its earthquake - all without a dollar of government money.  In fact until the Civil War, virtually every president regularly vetoed legislation because he thought some bills were unconstitutional - mostly for violating the Spending Clause of Article I, Section 8.  Savannah was not offered any federal government help to rebuild after its devastating fire that destroyed the entire city in the late 1700s because the Congress did not think it had the constitutional power to help a city - the fire did not affect the general (that is national) Welfare of the entire United States – a constitutional principle one of my favorite presidents, James Monroe, applied during his presidency of 1817 to 1825.  The philanthropy & charity of the American people coupled with the free market capitalistic system that has made America the envy of the world restored these cities.
 
Please contrast the points from the preceding paragraph with today's government-dependent mindset.  All of the above cities were restored through acts of genuine charity & free enterprise with the affected people taking control of their lives & property.  Early in our Republic people learned to take care of themselves since they are the only ones they can really count on anyway, as everyone finds out sooner or later as they go through life.  Instead of fostering the above type of self-reliant individual responsibility, we have people like NJ's Governor Christie already applying for & receiving over $29 billion of federal aid -  the governor may very well add to this sum & says NJ "expects & deserves"  federal government help to rebuild after the damage caused by Sandy.
 
With re to Hurricane Katrina – 1) Although he didn't use any of the resources (over 700 buses & Amtrak trains that offered to help) available to him, the New Orleans Mayor blamed the federal government for a slow response in evacuating people.  See photo above of 206 school buses famously sitting in a flooded New Orleans parking lot, & 2) FEMA spent almost $1-billion on prefabricated homes that wound up sitting & rotting when it was discovered the homes were in violation of FEMA's own regulations. 
 
There is a better way than people all over the country continuing to move into hurricane alleys in trailers with the mistaken notion that government will take care of them when disaster strikes.
 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Responses - George Washington's First Thanksgiving Proclamation

"Doug - one of your best posts of the year - thanks so much. This post is so very needed today.. I just sent the link of Washington's address to all of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Spread the true meaning of Thanksgiving!" is a good example of many of the responses I received re the subject Thanksgiving posting.
 
Below is a very unique response - an extremely thoughtful one - from a long time subscriber of RTE who, along with her husband, did everything they could in 2012 to help elect candidates of substance & who are currently working with the youth in their neighborhood to provide them with knowledge about our heritage & history that is not being taught in the schools.  I called her to thank her for the message below & during the call she told me they don't like the way it is going in the schools & are not taking any excuses so they are teaching America's founding principles & heritage by home schooling these children accordingly in the afternoon – with the parents approval of course.
 
Carol & I consider it an honor to receive such an inspirational message – they know in their heart of hearts they could not have done more for America which in turn I hope encourages & heartens similar work from the rest of us.
 
Hello Doug,

In this past election cycle my husband and I decided to take your advice & get behind a candidate at the local level that we thought shared our values. We supported this person with funding and a lot of our physical work.

So as we approached election day, even though our person was not on the ticket, we at least had the knowledge that we had done everything we could as citizens. I baby sat for moms on my street so they could vote, I found out (with your help) where my neighbors could vote (our polling place had to be changed because of power outages), I made hand-written notes by flash light at night with voting info and left in every mail box up and down my road, & we stood in line for 2 hours to cast our own vote.

After reading George Washington's first Thanksgiving Proclamation, I am reminded that God is not neutral, He is not "politically correct." History shows us that God abandoned the Hebrews time and time again when they no longer followed his teachings. I believe it was a miracle the way in which our country was forged, but when we no longer are a tribute to His Power and Grace as a Nation, then what are we to expect?

"In God We Trust"; do we? Is there any place in our country where we can look today and find traditional values being displayed or God forbid proclaimed? TV, music, movies, print media, fashion, schools, town hall meetings, the mall, at football, soccer or baseball games? Even churches, yes churches have been infested with statists' ideals and are passing over traditional Christian values we held dear for so long. I defy you to write me back and tell me where I can go today and see traditional Christian values being displayed!

We deserve what we got. God has 3 answers to prayer; "Yes; No; & Not yet." I also know from history that God will preserve "a Remnant."  I babysit my neighbors kids a couple of days a week till she gets home from work. I'm getting some books, DVDs & games that are directed at their age group to teach them the basics of government & American history.

Things are going to be very different and hard for these little ones. They are going to need strong core values and a firm foundation.

Just doing what we can.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

George Washington's First Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanks to Anne Neal, President of American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), for sending George Washington's first Thanksgiving Proclamation issued on October 3, 1789.
 
Do you believe this proclamation could ever be decreed today?  The proclamation is a prayer that conveys the return to excellence that is so sorely needed in our country & our lives.
 
 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Relevance & Need Of A Viable Third Party

"What the President's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, & then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, & that strategy worked.  It's a proven strategy...give a bunch of money to a group &, guess what, they'll vote for you...Giving them free stuff is a hard thing to compete against."  Mitt Romney speaking to a group of donors after the election with a similar message to the one he delivered to donors last May re "the 47%"
 
 
By reciting Death Of Democracy messages to donors, like above, it is a wonder that Mitt had any donors @ all during the last campaign.  Every democracy in history has ultimately fallen into ruin by the above quoted principles that Mitt obviously knows so well. 
 
The miserable Republican results from the 2012 election are best illustrated by the popular-vote statistics & the above table - Mitt got one million fewer votes than McCain did in 2008 & that from a voting age population that had increased by over ten million people in the last four years.  Couple this with losses in Mitt's two home states of MA (61% to 38%), NH (52% to 46%) & Ryan's home state of WI (53% to 46%) & you can see the rejection of these candidates by the voters.  Worse yet – Ryan won his House reelection seat by the lowest margin in the last twelve years 55% to 43%.  Ryan had won his last six House races with over 60% of the vote including 68% in 2010.  Ryan's actual voting record instead of his reputation may have caught up with him once he joined Mitt.
 
Each of us can decide for ourselves what the lesson, if any, is from the above statistics & table.
 
Some frightened Republican pundits think the lesson is to somehow reach out (pander) to minorities & everyone else Mitt offended during the campaign & tell them Republicans are really for them after all.  The problem with this deceitful approach is that as they appeal to the masses they are probably losing many in the conservative voting block base faster than they are picking up new supporters.
 
Other just as frightened Republican pundits, who fear the future irrelevance of the Party, have decided that the lesson is to take the gloves off & blame Mitt more & more for the loss.  These pundits are envisioning the hopelessness going forward with the establishment Republican Party in a country where the majority is best described as financially conservative & socially liberal.  Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed this out many times during the campaign & yet people who really should have voted for Gary based on their beliefs were brainwashed into voting for one of the lesser of two evils from the two major parties who each had terrible candidates that conventional wisdom said could win.  The point is that between the Tea Party & the Libertarian Party we already have two other parties to consider & the sooner we recognize these parties as distinct from Democrat & Republican the better off we will be.
 
The results of the recent Two Quizzes posting confirmed that if not a majority @ least many in the RTE readership follow this financially conservative – socially liberal profile which in turn can be classified simply as libertarian.  
 
The hopelessness of the last election persists if no viable alternative develops & if the bluebloods of the establishment Republican Party continue to nominate candidates like Mitt, McCain, & Dole who pander for votes in a way that is not believable to Hispanics, Asians, blacks, homosexuals, single women, young people, & the poor – all groups that went for BO in large numbers & as such are now the groups who control the policies in our country.  Who would ever believe that such Republican candidates could all of a sudden be for homosexual rights, comprehensive immigration reform, abortion rights, free student loans, & expanded welfare?  We don't need two give-a-way parties.  Let left-wing liberals vote for Democrats who support forcing taxpayers to pay for big government social programs & right-wing conservatives vote for Republicans who support laws that restrict personal behavior that violates their ideas of traditional values.  If the rest of the people vote for candidates who are financially conservative & socially liberal we will have established a viable third choice which is the last thing the two major parties want.
 
Now a viable Party that will replace the establishment Republican Party or @ least produce candidates who will be competitive with the Democrat & Republican Party candidates must connect with all of the people in the aforementioned groups who supported BO on the one thing we all have in common; namely, the desire for the self-respect of having a meaningful job that supports a family – if we have lost this human dignity & self-respect than all of this message is beyond our time.  A candidate who will compete against the "gimmee" Democrat & Republican candidates will have to be credible – not one who has been on every side of every issue for the last eighteen years.  
 
For instance, on the deeply divisive issue of abortion which even many libertarians disagree on – try this approach - "The government should neither use tax dollars to pay for or encourage abortions, nor to discourage or prevent them.  Organizations & individuals on both sides of this issue should voluntarily contribute towards providing education or procedures they deem necessary. Doctors & hospitals should be allowed to perform abortions or not based on their own moral convictions, without any government sanctions or penalties. Women should be allowed to make such personal decisions without government interference."
 
I don't know how you could get any more reasonable than the above passage in quotation marks that was taken from Ken Kaplan's website.  Ken was the Libertarian Party candidate for NJ senate & FairTax supporter that Carol & I voted for on November 6.
 
In essence, with this sort of tolerance everyone is free to pursue their own salvation with "fear & trembling" with no one but God Almighty sitting in judgment – otherwise the fight on earth goes on forever with no winners & all losers. 
 
Isn't it better to have liberals & conservatives mind their own businesses & vote as they see fit with the rest of us not caring how judgmental either of them are.  In my preferred plan individuals have the right to do as they please, in action or speech, as long as they do not infringe on the same rights of others.  These government hands-off principles carry forward & apply to all of the other issues as well & work best when you leave the intolerance of the Democrats & Republicans behind.
 
Now none of this eliminates the need to get back to the bedrock basics of educating our youth regarding America's heritage or selecting new candidates who know & can articulate the message of the benefits, including having a more fulfilling life itself & returning to the excellence of our founding principles (particularly self responsibility & free enterprise) so that the government-dependent people can more readily recognize the inevitable economic collapse of the country BO has in mind for them & all of us.
 
Instead of being disillusioned & voting for current major party candidates who pander to one interest group @ the expense of another how about looking for & finding candidates in a Party you can feel good about voting for who just tell you what they believe in & let the chips (& voters) fall where they may? 
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Results - Two Quizzes

In sending out the subject quizzes in the last post I mentioned that these "quizzes ... may tell you more about yourself than you actually know."  For instance one white Democrat reader who voted for BO both times wrote that his analysis is that "he is a very liberal black man."
 
Below are eight additional responses that give a good cross section of the results received.  RTE has a very diverse readership – the one thing I have found over the years is that any one who subscribes for a few months & reads the posts with an open mind does become more libertarian. 
 
Based on these nine results & the others you can see how the Republican Party ran into trouble in the last election – many voters are strong financial conservatives & liberal on social issues.  More about this in upcoming posts but in the meantime thanks to everyone who participated.  These types of quizzes are fun & insightful.
 
1.  Quiz #1 shows that I am Conservative Republican.  Quiz #2 says I am Libertarian.  Thanks, I did learn something about myself!
 
2.  Hi Doug - I came up "very conservative " (but I hate that term!) on Quiz 1.  Quiz 2 I came out a 60 on personal and 80 on economic and a "libertarian"
 
3.  Hi Doug - On the first quiz, I came up as a Moderate Republican, Quiz #2, Centrist.
 
4.  Scored liberal.
 
5.  Scored very conservative Republican on first Quiz & right on the line between Conservative/Centrist on the second Quiz.
 
6.  Here is my score: Quiz 1 Conservative---- almost at the end of the scale.  Quiz 2 Centrist---at the top right corner between Libertarian & Conservative.
 
7.   Political Quiz:  Economic Issues: more conservative than a Tea Party Republican; Social Issues: more liberal than a liberal Democrat; Overall: Between moderate Republican and Average Republican.  Second Quiz:  Personal Issues: 70%;  Economic Issues: 90%; Recommended Political Party: Libertarian.
 
8.  Not surprisingly I ended up on quiz #1 a moderate to strong Republican.  On economy I was off the charts Republican. On social issues I was moderate to liberal Democrat.  On quiz #2 I was a 90% Libertarian.
 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two Quizzes

Below are two quizzes that may tell you more about yourself than you actually know.  I know a man who took a similar quiz a few years ago who found out to his horror, in his case, that his answers most paralleled those of Dennis Kucinich.
 
Both quizzes take only a minute to complete & instantly provide an analysis of your responses.
 
Quiz #1 – answer twelve multiple choice questions & you will see where you fit overall, on economic issues, & on social issues.  The analysis also compares your answers to those of other demographic groups by party, age, sex, race, religion, & BO & Mitt.
 
Quiz #2 – answer ten multiple choice questions & you will see whether you are centrist, statist, liberal, conservative, or libertarian.
 
Please let me know how your analyses work out.  I know many people in the readership – people who are big government statists & those to the right of the Articles Of Confederation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How To Turn The Election Results Around

"I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy & to a renewed greatness..."  spoken by Mitt Romney as part of his concession speech after the 2012 presidential election
 
    click on graphs to enlarge
 
Many Republicans & Conservatives have done much soul searching since Tuesday's presidential election concerning how BO won reelection & what they could have done differently.  There are many avenues to go down in this regard including the inexcusable one about the Republicans not having a good ground game.  Getting demolished by the Hispanic vote is another.
 
The left graph above shows the increase in the share of the Hispanic vote since 2000.  This increase in & of itself is not the problem.  The problem is that BO got the support of 67% of Hispanics in 2008 & that support increased to 71% in 2012.  The Hispanic vote decided the elections in @ least Florida, Virginia, Colorado, & Nevada. 
 
The best authority I know re Hispanics' influence on election results let it slip a few months ago that Mitt would lose the election if he did not get a higher percent of Hispanic votes that McCain got in 2008.  McCain received 31% & Mitt's share fell further to an abysmal 27%. 
 
The right graph above shows more directly another problem.  The Cuban-American vote for Republicans has fallen by a third since 2000.  This is attributed to the influence of the older generations dying off & being replaced by people who have a natural affinity for the apparent benefits of the Democrat Party.
 
A high percentage of Cuban-Americans are highly educated & successful in business & as such there is a degree of tension between Cuban-Americans & some other Hispanic groups.  This fact does not help the rising Cuban-American Republican star Senator Marco Rubio win over Hispanics in general.  I know of this tension first hand having worked for a Cuban-American engineer & also having many Cuban-American friends who were engineers & designers.
 
TV pundits have spent the past several days giving many wrong-headed opinions re how the Republican Party can reverse their skid not only with Hispanics but also with blacks, single women, young people, & the poor – all of whom strongly supported BO & also are government dependent to one degree or another.  The emphasis should not be on how to restore the Republican Party to its once prominent position but rather how to move America forward from the pit we are in.   This results of Tuesday's election clearly shows the two-party system no longer works for America – even the strictest Republican has to admit it failed this last time. 
 
People are people & I believe that most, but certainly not all, would prefer having a real life rather than merely existing waiting for the next government handout.  We are doomed if a significant number of the people who voted for BO would turn down the self-respect of having a meaningful job that supports their families.
 
As Governor Romney stated in his concession speech "the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy & to a renewed greatness."  The immediate problem that has to be admitted before it can be corrected is that the majority of the electorate just voted against this principle.
 
In order to turn around the anti-American result of Tuesday's election the over 1-million people who voted for Gary Johnson plus the 58-million people who voted for Mitt plus the additional 2-million people who voted for McCain in 2008 who did not vote for Mitt in 2012 (I know there is some overlap in these figures) must get back to basics – & this starts with the education of our youth.  The young people who voted for BO are not dumb – they just don't know anything – especially about our founding.  Jay Leno & Jesse Waters prove this every time they present a video asking young people simple questions re America' heritage.  Although these videos can be humorous the young people in them who vote are as much, if not more, to blame for Tuesday's result than any one else.  People aged 18 to 29 made up almost 20% of the electorate & 60% of them voted for BO.
 
We must ensure that our youth is knowledgeable about our heritage & history.  Parents – don't accept any excuses.  If the schools are not teaching America's founding principles & heritage the way you think they should be taught than home school your children accordingly @ night.  Parents & concerned citizens can also run for election to their school boards plus any number of other innovative ways to get involved including joining or starting PTAs & PTOs.  If the teachers' unions are a hindrance work around them yourselves or with private tutors.  We need our youth to have a bedrock foundation re our heritage not one of quicksand like we have today.  If young people don't have the foundation to know what they are missing they will never miss it.
 
Simultaneous to the needed improvements to the education of our youth we need new candidates who know & can articulate the message of the benefits, including having a more fulfilling life itself, of returning to the excellence of our founding principles (particularly self responsibility & free enterprise) so that the government-dependent people can more readily recognize the inevitable economic collapse of the country BO has in mind for them & all of us.  The establishment Republican Party has not run a candidate for president since 1984 that met this standard.
 
The above prescription requires work - especially from people who know in their heart of hearts that they did not fulfill their civic duty over the years – a duty that is required to keep America free.  The speed with which America can be turned around is a function of how fast BO's supporters see that his plans are not in their best interest & how fast an inspirational leader comes forward to offer an alternative of substance.  The current government-dependent mindset that is so entrenched has to be changed.  We can use the economy continuing to stall as a weapon in our favor – painful as it is for the people who just voted for it.  But with the right leader we can reverse course – once the entrepreneurial spirit is truly released following libertarian principles & people are put back to work in meaningful jobs the piddling $16-trillion debt & all of our other economic problems will disappear quickly. 
 
In this regard I am glad to say that current Congressman Mike Pence (favorably highlighted on this blog for years) was just elected Governor of Indiana.  Governor-elect Pence (had considered a run for president in 2012 but instead ran for governor) has all of the traits (including being able to speak) of leadership we need – he is graded "A" by the National Taxpayers Union & like most of such people is a long time FairTax supporter.   The type of inspirational message Mike is capable of delivering coupled with some executive experience as governor would put us on the desired path to prosperity four years from now. 
 
Governor-elect Pence is the type of leader I am looking for – not one of the many currently being talked about who fit some ethnic, racial, or gender classification or are favored for some other politically correct reason made for TV – but rather Mike is one of merit, substance, & accomplishment.
 
But speaking about the next four years let's not forget that elections have consequences & the American people just reelected the biggest enemy this country has had since King George lll.  We are in a hole & it will get deeper before we see our way out of it.  BO is a foe, not just another patriot with different freedom loving ways & ideas, but rather a foe who intends to continue his destructive plan of having the America we grew up in vanish right before our eyes until it becomes irreclaimable.