Friday, October 31, 2008

Virtue of selfishness

It’s time to preach the ‘virtue of selfishness’ because human nature’s natural pursuit of self-interest leads to the good for all. Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish economist, set the concept into motion. His idea that the presence of the "inner man’ to provide the necessary restraints to private action - should be revived. His idea that competition is an institutional mechanism to reconcile the disruptive possibilities inherent in a blind obedience to the passions alone which pits one person’s drive for self-betterment against another’s - should be revived. According to Smith, humans as creatures are driven by passions but at the same time self-regulate by their ability to reason and - no less important - by their capacity for sympathy. Selfishness is a virtue.

Where have all the selfish humans gone? To Obama rallies where they forsake their natural tendency to do good? Smith’s idea that men are "led by an invisible hand...without knowing it, without intending it, ( to) advance the interest of the society" - has been replaced by the idea that the ‘invisible hand’ is government. Liberals like Obama hold onto government as the guiding force in citizens’ lives and onto the Marxist idea that the engine of evolution is ultimately the struggle between contending classes. Obama also encourages racism in blacks vs. whites. Obama believes that only government interference and control will solve class and race warfares and end the struggle. Smith, on the other hand, holds onto the idea that the primal agency in history is "human nature"driven by the desire for self-betterment and guided (or misguided) by the faculties of reason (sympathy need not be excluded).

I refuse to believe that all the humans have gone over to the camp of the enemy, Obama, where self-interest and the virtue of selfishness have been abandoned.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The madness of crowds

The crowds greeting Barack Obama on the campaign trail base their allegiance on amorphous hopes. They bring with them feelings of citizen discontent and distress over conditions in America. Most of their present unrest, unfortunately, has been fed and promoted by a media who support Obama for President. Even though their man is a blank slate, followers use their imagination to fill in the blanks according to their needs. Devotees project onto him what they wish without analysis or care. His calls for socialism and government paternalism are irrelevant. In a 1960 book studying crowds and power, an explanation is offered that a crowd is based on an illusion of equality and its quest is for that moment when"distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another that people become a crowd." With John McCain’s crowds, there are few illusions and many realistic expectations. McCain supporters bring with them diverse points of view which call for rational answers to present problems. But Obama’s ‘people,’ despite his aura of detachment and superficial eloquence, imbibe of their Messiah’s false, magical potions. If he loses next week, they will be in for heartbreak, perhaps insane confusion. Obama’s crowds are only a fist and footstep away from becoming mobs. Then the change they have been hoping for could become grim reality.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

3/3 gone

The right to life is only 1/3 of what Obama’s change for America will take away. Add liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Obama offers the hope of a forced and ‘fairer’ re-distribution of wealth that implements the Marxist motto, "from each according to his capacity, to each according to his need." Obama might re-phrase it as an ‘economics of dependence ‘(on government), but the classic, socialist intent remains the same. You young, ignorant voters must understand that socialism is wrong and unworkable.

Government interference can do no right. Take the simple example of the recent spate of EMS helicopter crashes. Forget that there are more emergency flights and quicker medical responses than ever. The Federal Aviation Administration says that officials are not acting quickly enough to prevent accidents. How does one prevent the unpreventable and unpredictable? Follow the government’s suggestions, of course. 1. Install a system to warn of the danger of a crash. 2. Evaluate the formal risk of a crash. Following these suggestions, how should EMS technicians behave in a emergency which per se requires immediate action?

Contradiction, red tape, bureacracy and hypocrisy add up to an incompetent government that Obama hopes will change your lives. If you intend to abandon personal responsibility and moral choices and instead fund your ambitions and dreams with the contributions of your fellow Americans - Obama, the false prophet’s, for you. But if you choose to feel good about your own accomplishments justifiably meriting genuine self-esteem, the true Messiah will support you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guess who?

He who speaks with forked tongue
Splits words and ideas from reality.
His prongs look golden and smooth
To those who hear the Prevaricator speak.

Forked tongue like a tuning fork
Vibrates to a momentary, hopeful
Song of change, regardless of hidden
Ramifications of wealth re-distribution.

Love in the airways works its alchemy
On receivers of his divisive message
Wherein the Devil inhabits the details.
Beware the bearer of appealing lies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama's October uprising

His words from 2001 are out - the U.S. Constitution according to the Messiah Obama, is a "charter of negative liberties." This document, being unacceptable as definitely anti-Marxist, must not be allowed to persist according to Obama. If elected President, wouldn’t integrity demand that Obama refuse to swear to uphold it? How then can Americans allow him to become our next President? Good question. The answer has already been given by elite, liberal and socialist, universities such as The University of Chicago who capped Obama with a Constitutional law professorship which rendered him ‘qualified’ to teach the Communist party line. With eloquence and in language couched in glittering generalities, Obama preached his Lenin speech in Berlin last year. Eight days may not be enough to derail his train to the gulag, a ride designed not only for the rich while their wealth is being re-distributed, but also for the poor and middle class who will need to be ‘rehabilitated’ in order to appreciate life in the changed new world of Obama where who enter there, "abandon hope."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm back

Lord of all, Pantocrator, Jesus Christus, ICXC, to thee I give thanks. In 1932, newly elected Franklin D. Roosevelt said that "the Presidency is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership." After 9 days of visitation rights with a 1 yr.old grand-daughter, I would like to update FDR’s thought to include motherhood as another sanctuary of guidance and command. P.S. In 9 more days, Lord, from Obama, not our Messiah, deliver us. Amen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Big brother Obama

As far back as 1838, the future President and Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, reminded us that our revolutionary forefathers established in our Constitution "the proposition of the capability of a people to govern themselves." Until now.

Back in 1910, a Manifesto of an Italian Futurist ( a movement unhampered by tradition) claimed that war was "the world’s only hygiene." Until now.

Now, in the world of Big Brother Obama, the government alone will incapably govern people. Our world’s best medicines will be pacifism and diplomacy. Will we recognize - should we acknowledge - the new America?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama manifesto

Liberals deliver large doses of non-reality. Parents with vegetarians instead of infants. A leader named Barack Obama with manifestos instead of a statement of dedication as a public servant. Income inequity designed to lower the standard of living for all Americans through socialism.

Since the time modern man surpassed the Neanderthal, progress has been marked by tribal, trading, and warring superiority. Until now. The Messiah Obama preaches a new world order. Liberal, independent and deluded Democrat buyers, beware! Socialism’s just around the bending of citizens’ liberties, the perversion of God-given rights and the abandonment of self-sufficient humanity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Short but not sweet

Due to the rise and fall of circumstances surrounding the visiting 1 yr. old granddaughter, I’ll keep this short but not sweet. The world according to Obama looks increasingly bleak. Forget about whatever the motor-mouth Biden, whose brain detached from its spinal cord years ago, said about darker times of sacrifice ahead. Worry about the re-incarnation of Marx and the re-institution of his socialist message: from achievers according to their means, to the undeserving according to their needs. Worrying will only be ½ of quotidian life in Obama’s world. The remainder of each day, every wealthy citizen will be concerned whether he or she will next be targeted to make society a little fairer paying increased taxes in order to spread around the wealth of the wealthy (duh!). Is this Obama not a brilliant and just Messiah?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hail to the chief

Yesterday’s blog’s hiatus was due to my life being governed by a 1 yr. old grand-daughter. Coming 20 hrs and oceans away from Australia, she and her mother are visiting with me, my husband and her sister, who arrived simultaneously from Germany, 12 hrs. away. The education lesson is ongoing. No matter what the encyclopedia prints about the need for good teachers to improve learning, it’s the proper, prepared parent that helps delineate the differences between children. Darwin who fathered 9 children, insisted that women deserve a secondary role in evolution, the family and society. Well, my daughter knows that from Darwin’s world she’s come a long way. Diapers do not create for her a subsidiary role. Hail to the chief as teacher and student.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The crusade for socialism

France was the first country to find inspiration for a Crusade in 1095 to liberate Christendom from the Moslem infidels. 8 Crusades originating from Western Europe from 1095 to 1291 followed. France has moved, however, from Christian feudalism in the Middle Ages to socialism in the 21st century.

John Milton’s "Areopagitica" of 1644 instigated a different kind of crusade, against censorship. His work remains the classic statement of the arguments against censorship. He asked for truth "in a free and open encounter," which would overcome error. He believed it is a positive good for mankind to be exposed to error; only in this way may virtue be tested, strengthened, and made adequate to the trials of earthly life. All this rests upon a Christian view of the world in which truth may indeed win out in its encounter with error. Man must not only act virtuously, but he must also personally choose to do so; he must be prepared to be exposed to alternatives, as inevitably he will be, and he must choose rightly if he is to merit and secure eternal salvation. Milton also stressed a reliance upon due process of law as the vital concession that the community makes to reason. "Due process provides the ground rules for that free and open encounter in which truth may indeed prevail over error. The liberty of the press consists in laying no previous restraints upon publication, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published." A major step in the Anglo-American response to censorship problems may be seen the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

After last night’s final debate between truth and error, we must admit that another crusade, to establish socialism in the United States has already begun. It has been inspired by liberalism and is led by aristocrat, King Obama The royal knight sits astride a shiny black horse, caparisoned in trappings as golden as his rider’s eloquent speech, prancing around questionable, unethical issues and spurs his mount to gallop over the rights and freedoms of the rich from whom he will steal in order to give to the middle class. The poor already possess benefits from government’s kingly largess.

Virtue won’t triumph on the battlefields of this present crusade. The free press will only report King Obama’s victories. Americans will not win their salvation; instead our country gradually will slink elsewhere carried in a handbasket. Due process will be handled by liberal judges who legislate from the bench. The Christian view of the world will be tolerated only if it accepts a socialist agenda. Most Kings of history felt they ruled by divine right. King Obama will be no exception.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

America's future

Who claimed he was "the luckiest man in the world," even as he knew he was dying? Lou Gehrig. Who now aims to become president even as he champions the unlucky but knows luck had nothing to do with his rise to power? Barack Obama. Who represents ‘America past.’? Duh! Who represents ‘America present’? Duh!

What will America’s future look like when criminals and Barack Obama cannot ‘fess up’ to wrong-going and malfeasance? What in ‘America past’ was the Christian thing to do, in ‘America present’ has been replaced by the politically-correct, acceptable and amoral course of action.
What will America’s future hold for us men and women who claim Lou Gehrig as a true, American hero? We know the truth behind the duplicitous Barack Obama. We know that I and millions like me still hold out for ‘America past’ before liberalism, socialism and Communism re-named as progressivism slowly led us to ‘America present.’ Today a ‘different’ Lou Gehrig would lay claim to victimhood, a disability check and a candlelight vigil after he ‘crossed over.’

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lost of ideals

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles . Every citizen must uphold hem. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American."

January 20, 2001, George W. Bush, in his inaugural address.

Election time, 2008, America has never before been so disunited by blood or birth or soil or political ideology. We are separated by different ideals formed by our disparate backgrounds. Our interests pull us apart and drag us down to levels of incivility (usually from the left) teaching false notions of citizenship ( such as uninformed voting and voter registration fraud, again usually from he left). Every child must be re-taught the principles for which America once stood: self- reliance, freedom of choice, love of country and knowledge of its history, duties of citizenship, personal responsibility and moral living. Too many immigrants, unfortunately, have been allowed over time to avoid learning these ideals. Too many Americans over more than one generation haves also abandoned them. Now, 2008, election time, we confront the great divide. The great chasm yawns.

To my mind appears the vision of the twin stone lions at the entrance of the New York library - Patience and Fortitude. I wish they cannot be transmogrified as spirits capable of entering each individual American. Patience and fortitude infused into each individual citizen will be necessary in the years ahead if we hope to retrieve or resurrect the ideals for which we stand. Post President Obama, the disuniting of America will only intensify. Our halcyon days are far, far beyond the winter solstice, about December 22, 2008.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The end as we know it

With Obama’s election, America will end as we knew it. We will be Europeanized and socialized. Punishing tax rates, complex regulations in energy, telecommunications, air travel and business, selective subsidies in farming and commodities, bailouts to banks and auto companies, welfare to non-savers, over-spenders and the unemployed - the list will go on and on. Responsible citizens will gradually be turned off. Then I enter. I am the lone conservative in America who symbolizes our lost world. Do we wish to retrieve any part of it? Can we move forward? By 2012, Sarah Palin and I may be the only two reason and common sense driven women in America, unselfishly concerned about our country’s loss of greatness, politically motivated to assist in her resurrection. Sarah will still be young; I will still represent the correct moral choices. By 2012, solutions will seem extreme in order to return to the golden mean. But America’s worth it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Are we being had?

Are we being had?

The following rules for revolution are supposedly gleaned from a secret Communist headquarters in 1919. They are probably fictional, but they still read true. Apply them to America today. Assess them in terms of the Democrat candidate, extreme liberal, Barrack Obama with his message of hope and change.

“Get control of all means of publicity : Get them interested in sex, books and plays and other trivialities.” Certainly our culture has debased marriage and sex through Rap, Hip-Hop, the content of TV sitcoms, shameless reality shows and the artificiality of beauty contests and American idols.

“Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.” Citizens face a crisis or panic each week, sometimes via public service announcements. Division is favored over unity: red state vs. blue state, main street vs. Wall Street, big Corporations vs. small business, the greedy rich vs. the hard-working middle class, mean-spirited conservatives vs. the compassionate, big government liberals.

“Destroy the people’s faith in their natural leaders by holding these latter up to ridicule, obloquy and contempt.” Who cannot notice that the media and liberal Democrats despise President Bush? He has prevented a 2nd terrorist attack for 8 years, but he gets no credit. He has been aided by a Democrat Congress in rampant spending, but he gets all the blame. In contrast, Obama’s nonexistent leadership skills are unquestioned. “Corrupt the young. Get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial, destroy their ruggedness.” Liberals have managed in some states to mandate that middle schools teach safe sex and lesbianism. They ridicule Bible thumpers and devout Christians but not devout atheists, militant Muslims or global warming alarmists. Have you noticed today’s sissification of men and slutification of women?

“Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and a ruthlessly as possible.” Where has virtually every restriction of behavior originated? Answer, with liberals. Note their rules against crosses, Bibles, clotheslines in yards, public smoking, trans fats, Wal-Marts, the ROTC, conservative professors, calories in fast food and carbon footprints. In the name of fairness in a democracy, liberals want no one free to be stupid or smart or to determine his or her own destiny.

“By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit, produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.” Government spending is obviously out of control when 150 billion in pork is added to the 700 billion dollar bailout bill. Yet it was Democrat liberals that enshrined sub-prime lending into law. When Republicans tried to raise red flags demanding oversight of the abuses, Democrat politicians (and the law) protected and encouraged the practice which just grew worse for over a decade. Continuous talk of a ‘bad’ economy, depression, recession and inflation doesn’t help.

“Foment unnecessary strikes and in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of government toward such behaviors.” Yes, union workers and their strikes are sacrosanct to liberals. Yes, Attorney General Janet Reno under President Clinton, took ‘responsibility’ for the deadly, fiery disaster at Waco, Texas before she went back to work. If a crime wave erupts, it is explained away as an outburst of victimization.

“By specious arguments cause the breakdown of the old moral virtues: honesty, sobriety, continence, faith in the pledged word...” Have you noticed that a lie has been re-defined as a “misspeak.” That excuses are ubiquitous for bad behavior that is never labeled as sin? Have you noticed that ‘honest’ home buyers didn’t pay their mortgage payments, often for months on end before repossessions or evictions? That liberals claim soldiers are too warlike? That our society rationalizes drinking and hook-ups of college students as inevitable? That all Ten Commandments are now passe?

“Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view to confiscating them and leaving the population helpless.” In large, Democrat cities like New York and Chicago, the public has been forbidden gun ownership. Too bad criminals still manage to possess them.

These rules read like the perfect penned play book for a revolution. Yet liberals and socialists have implemented them over the years without a revolution. Their candidate, Barrack Obama, does not represent change, instead he represents a continuation and exaggeration of the same rules. Even Obama’s associations with revolutionaries like Ayers and Dohrn and Reverend hate-mongers like Wright and Phleger are deflected by the media who want their Messiah in the White House.

For many Americans, however, real change after the election might be forthcoming. In any vintage American film, rugged, fed-up individualists would have come after their oppressors with pitchforks to toss them out. After an Obama win, voters will discover they have been deceived, their liberties discarded, fairness re-defined.. In short, they’ve been had! Then it will be time for the 3-pronged pitchforks, symbolizing sons (and) daughters (of) liberty.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


"Shamanism is thought to be one of the links between humanity’s present and its remotest past. Some scholars trace nearly all religions traditions to a common origin among the Aryan cultures that emerged in the interior of Asia some 8000 years ago, a region known in Tibetan Buddhism as Shambala, or the Center. Along with its implicit belief in the reality of the spirit world and its influence on daily life, it includes rituals of possession and exorcism, all features shared by many primitive regions of North America, Africa, Oceania , and even Europe."

So, as author Christian Kallen notes, homo sapiens apparently yearns for and attaches his existence to a higher, spirit world. Enter Ra, Zeus, Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, Thor, etc. A simultaneous need for a shaman intermediary seems innate. Enter, 2008, Obama and out of current necessity, me. About half of Americans (voters for Democrats and Obama) irrationally reach beyond the grasp of reason. They lunge at the false prophecies of their semi-black god, Obama. They cannot hear, see or speak the evil of his liberalism, his socialism, his voodoo shamanism. Consequently they abjure any relationship to the rational god, the god who as a force for good favors individual virtue and responsibility over excuses of victim hood, self-gratification or collective guilt.

Oh great spirit help us! Oh exorcise the demons of lies and distortion from the daily, destructive liberal preaching of Obama and his minions including the media! Oh, as shaman who shames, may my message be heard by just enough Americans to tilt the balance of power away from the shaman of darkness in this upcoming election!

Who but I can now help Americans to believe that the center can hold? Even if my message comes off as a downer, I say there’s still reason to hope for positive not negative change in America. The ‘non sense,’ ‘non thinking’ approach to reality of liberals and socialist revolutionaries like Obama, contradicts the better spirit of Americans who repudiate hopeless capitulation. Like animals, humans naturally feed their addiction to food. Americans, I believe, will naturally feed their addiction to optimism, their relationship to the true God who creates us to take care of ourselves and our destinations, not depend upon the false god of government and Barrack Obama. Upright Americans, I believe, still discern the presence of the good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm free

To those additional 40 viewers at my blog site this week, to Sarah Palin who is too busy to listen right now, to the ½ of America that will not vote for liberalism, socialism and Barack Obama - I say, "You need me."

I’m free to be your candidate for President in 2012, one electoral outcome or another. We Americans are better than what the media wants us to believe of ourselves. We have more common sense than the what the media and liberals attribute to us. With confidence we know our image in the world to be one of Dr.Jekyl not Mr. Hyde.

The trio of the conservative principles - a strong defense, free markets and family values - still represents the soul of America, the spirit of an American, the essence of what it means to be an American. No spin or lie can make me change my mind. Why would we ever want it to change? The other America under liberalism will never see the light of hope through its veil of denial and distortion. In spite of the hypocritical contention of Barrack Obama, division, not unity, is the name of the political game. So America, you need me. Turn me loose with every other rational, hard-working, responsible American and we’ll move this country forward. No creation of liberalism from the present economic crisis to present moral decay, to conciliation with an enemy to political correctness has the power to impede our movement onward and upward.

As a ‘revolutionary’ candidate, fashioned by a life of both reasoned enjoyment and denial, I say to virtually every broken government institution, except freedom of choice, "Get rid of it." Our debased popular culture - get rid of it. Our failing public schools - get rid of them. Every government loan, subsidy and giveaway program, get rid of it. Anti-immigrant feelings that deny the necessity of immigrants - get rid of them. The present income tax system, get rid of it, to be replaced by a simple across the board 25% tax on each and every citizen as their duty to their country. Oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, don’t get rid of them, use them; they are God’s natural gifts to the United States of America. Compulsion to acquire health care, get rid of it. Compulsion to attend college, get rid of it. Compulsion to abandon our free choices of food, drink, drugs, guns or sex, get rid of it. The liberating corollary to getting rid of what is stupid and unfair in our society today is the allowance of individuals to pay the consequences for their actions. Bad behavior? Get rid of it by condemning it and punishing it. A little suffering is necessary, transformative; a lot of punishment (even death for capital offences) is a societal necessity.

Doing the right things never causes depression. Instead, it results in satisfaction and optimism. America’s turn down the road toward government help and personal irresponsibility is the wrong turn. The percentage of Americans who reject this wrong turn, I believe, is huge. I’m free to lead even if I’m merely a symbol of hope and change. Symbolism and ideology precede action. America has nothing to loose but government’s chains and everything called success to gain.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

2 not-of-a-kind

An egotistical ‘big’ mouth tried to warn his fellow Americans against all revolutionary manifestos that envisioned a fundamental break with the past and a fundamental transformation in human nature or society that supposedly produced a new age. He felt that all such utopian expectations were illusions, driven by "ideology," the belief that imagined ideals, so real and seductive in theory, were capable of being implemented in the world.

Another egotistical ‘big’ mouth tries to convince his fellow Americans that his socialist, revolutionary manifesto offers hope and change from the past and a fundamental transformation of human nature into a more fair and equitable society, a participant in a new, global age. His utopian illusions are driven by Marxist ideology and his belief in envisioned ideals, so real and seductive in theory in their appeal to gullible youth and deceived adults. He may be capable of actually implementing them in America imitating those already implemented elsewhere in the world.

From Constitutionalist and Federalist founding father, John Adams, to socialist party member and extreme liberal presidential candidate, Barack Obama - we’ve come a long way. From the intellectual hedonism ( insatiable writing and thinking) of Adams to the physical hedonism of Obama ( 45 minute workouts, 6 days a week and bumming ciggies for his addiction), we’ve come a long way.

A line from a novel - fake but true - puts this stark contrast into perspective. The book’s protagonist says his living like a millionaire is the "last phase of bourgeoises capitalism, which will eventually collapse." Adams not only embraced individual achievement and monetary success (what today we would call bourgeoises capitalism) but also remained confident that America’s constitutional checks and balances would prevent excessive executive power. Obama lives like a millionaire, a bourgeoises capitalist, but preaches social and economic equality under a socialist system with the goal of eliminating bourgeoises capitalism in the name of the common good.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


PATP, just what our middle school children need, another acronym, representing a ‘positive action ticket program’ as described by a principal of a local school. Bribery will apparently get pupils somewhere when hard work and study habits can’t. Radio talk show host, Glenn Beck, confirmed the status of America this morning by presenting us with a choice. Do we purchase a small or a large handbasket with which to carry our country into Hell? That’s where we’re going. Last night’s ‘useless’ debate proved that our two candidates would reach out to both the left and right hand of government for a dole. No leader, no visionary emerged. No Democrat or Republican (forget conservative) spoke, rather a socialist and a wanna-be-loved compassionate politician. The childish PATP program simply reinforces the present condition of our society. Incentive comes not from within our youth and our leaders but from externalities.

We have arrived at a state in which the mind starves while the body is overfed. Physical and mental laziness (born out of the spoiled nature of our culture) contributes to the present obesity epidemic. Food replaces boredom and absence of intellectual pursuits. At-home food preparation might be a first step in alleviating national ADD. What good is a juvenile or adult PATP program to rescue that lost world above our human shoulders which evolution took million so years to develop and mere decades to vacate?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rules for revolution

Bogus or real propaganda (from the secret communist headquarters in 1919), the following rules for revolution suggest to us Americans that change may be right around corner of the upcoming election. Each requirement for revolution has already been met by the liberals’ socialist agenda.
A. Corrupt the young. Get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial, destroy their ruggedness. ( today’s culture )
B. Get control of all means of publicity and thereby:
1. Get people’s minds off their government. Get them interested in sex, books and plays (films and T.V. and music) and other trivialities.
2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance. (a crisis or panic a week via the media ).
3. Destroy the people’s faith in their natural leaders by holding these latter up to ridicule, obloquy and contempt ( Bush and now McCain and Palin).
4. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and a ruthlessly as possible. (regulation of behavior as against crosses, clotheslines in the yard, public smoking, trans fats, Wal-Marts, the ROTC, conservative Professors, calories in fast food, carbon footprints? A recent Congressional bailout stripping individuals of their free choice and personal responsibility?)
5. By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit, produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent. ( Government mandated sub-prime mortgages and ignored bad credit. The media thrives on fostering fears of recession, depression and on doom and gloom.)
6. Foment unnecessary strikes and in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of government toward such behaviors. ( union workers are sacrosanct according to liberals; misbehavior is excused as victimhood ).
7. By specious arguments (liberals just lie) cause the breakdown of the old moral virtues: honesty, sobriety, continence, faith in the pledged word, ruggedness. (check out today’s sissification of men and slutification of women).
C. Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view to confiscating them and leaving the population helpless. (gun ownership restrictions,of course, have not prevented violent crimes).
This reads like the perfect penned playbook for disaster. In any early American film, rugged individualists would have come after their leaders with pitchforks to toss them out. After an Obama win in the upcoming election, pitchforks might again be necessary to turn the liberals out. Voters will surely and eventually discover they have been deceived, their liberties discarded and fairness re-defined. In short, they’ve been had!

Monday, October 06, 2008


Beria, a U.S.S.R. communist politician, executed by Stalin in 1953, was supposed to have said: “If we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation, we will have won that country. Therefore we must continue propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of citizens in general of teen-agers in particular.”

Is not a similar brainwashing being attempted by Obamaists with America’s youth in this 2008 election? Love for their leader substitutes for love for country. Meaningless words, appealing propaganda and loyalty to government substitute for personal responsibility, realistic patriotism and moral change. After playing with their minds, Obamaists display youth chanting, singing and saluting like Hitler youth (Hitler, of course, being first, fast master of cognitive re-orientation).

Abraham Lincoln did speak these words: “Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises. “

I know, Obama does not look like a tyrant, but his socialist agenda speaks for one. His abhorrence of American exceptionalism and his promise of government intervention and regulation into citizens’ lives, more than plants the seeds of despotism; it guarantees a full bloom of dictatorship and socialism masquerading as a fairness doctrine. Blind, unthinking allegiances engendered in youth marching to his music are just the first steps. Good thing, John Philip Sousa is dead.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Curtin falling

Clouds showering
Winds howling
Sap bubbling
Bees swarming
Flowers blooming
Birds nesting
Squirrels scampering
Corn failing
Tomato crushing
Garden weeding
Apple pressing
Nectar hanging
Jelly freezing
Herb picking
Fruit harvesting
Cucumber pickling
Walnut gathering
Grass mowing
Flea chasing
Pleasured walking
Rainbow dreaming
Sun searing
People watching
Interrupted reading
Sunsets dripping
Leaf raking
Bodies aching
Souls singing
Autumn rising

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bone bank

Tasty biscuits squirreled away,
not scratched into the ground
like a burial under a mattress,
but turned over to alpha wolf,
aka mom, to bank for hard times
on a nondescript, latched away
closet shelf; biscuits barked for
and wagged from a humane neighbor
with an endless supply of milk bones -
four pre- noon her personal best -
to deposit into the bone bank
of her guardian. Savannah’s semper paratus.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The third option

Karen Benater of Spring, Texas offers a third option to "more of the same" or "something new, and possibly better" according to columnist Peggy Noonan for this election year. "It’s the option staring us right in the face: start taking personal responsibility in our own lives and in our involvement in our country’s affairs. We have become a culture obsessed with blaming others, in particular the government, and not taking personal responsibility. We each have a responsibility to vote, pay off our debts, save our own money and teach our children that no one owes them anything. I do not expect my government to give me hope, to take care of and educate my kids, buy my home or pay off my student loans. Those responsibilities are mine... I am an American and I am proud to be here. ... The day I hate America is the day... I will pack my bags and leave. ... Since when have our leaders become our enemies?... Our world is different (after 9-11). Not because we were ‘under Republican stewardship,’but because we were reminded that we do have enemies. Let’s be clear about who they are."

Yes, Karen, your expressed opinion in the Wall Street Journal yesterday solves the present financial and moral crisis in America. Let’s be clear who are our enemies: #1. The terrorists who wish to destroy us and the America for which we stand and #2., the liberals who wish to destroy us and the America for which they do not stand. We must employ your third option, Karen, from Spring, Texas - a name that reminds me it is not figuratively springtime in America, it is literally fall. It is an autumn election one month hence, a time to exercise your third option of personal responsibility. Vote against the Obama/ Biden’s socialist agenda of governmental interference in every aspect of our lives. After the election, vote with your consciences to live responsibly as Karen suggests no matter who wins the White House. Freedom still exists; when it ceases to exist, I’m with Karen, I will pack my bags and leave my beloved country because it left me.


FROM OF 10/2/08

I have previously discussed at length the extent to which the public mood has focused on the issue of integrity in this presidential election. If anything, the recent credit crisis has heightened that concern - frankly, the public doesn't understand the crisis and isn't convinced the candidates do, either, but wants reassurance that the next President will be above outside influence in dealing with its aftermath and preventing similar economic crises in the future.
Now, you may not be interested in the integrity issue, or at any rate may be voting primarily on other issues; certainly I have other things much higher on my priority list. But if this is truly an election about who has the independence to bring about change in Washington, this is an issue the campaigns cannot ignore.
One of the most basic ways in which a candidate can demonstrate the integrity voters are looking for is to build a record of standing up to corruption and waste - and doing so even when it appears in his or her own party, or on the part of his or her own allies or backers. This is not just a matter of honesty and prudence, but of toughness and courage. Let me offer a contrast between the two tickets on this issue - an Integrity Gap that Obama simply can't surmount and can only hope to obscure. If you look at the record of the McCain-Palin ticket and compare it to the Obama-Biden record in this regard, it really is no contest. I will start with the junior members of the two tickets. Governor Sarah Palin, in her short career, has fought many battles against her own party's entrenched interests; Senator Barack Obama, in a career of similar length and scope, has consistently looked the other way, and worse. Sen. Obama simply lacks the courage and the record of accomplishment of Gov. Palin. Today I will look at Gov. Palin's record; in Part II I will deal with Sen. Obama. Part III will deal with the senior members of the two tickets, Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Biden.
On the surface, Sarah Palin's career path looks much like Barack Obama's: both spent around a decade laboring in the vineyards of local politics before seeing their careers abruptly go up like a rocket all the way to the center of the national political stage. But look closer, and you will see all the difference in the world in the choices they made to get there.
I. Sarah Palin: The Whistleblower Who Took The Statehouse
I should add up front, as you'll see from all the Hat Tip links below, that I am very heavily indebted to Beldar for all the work he's done on Palin's career in Alaska. Additional supporting links marked with an asterisk.
A. The PTA Mom
Sarah Palin is, let's face it, an unlikely force for political change. In contrast to Obama, Palin didn't start off with two Ivy League degrees, a surplus of idealism, and an armload of theories about political and social organization; she seems hardly to have considered a career in politics at all. In high school, she was a jock, earning early plaudits as the point guard on an underdog state championship basketball team, playing the championship game with a stress fracture in her ankle. * * Her husband says she was shy in high school and not someone he would have pictured having a political career. She seems to have been an indifferent college student, more interested in sports than studies, and worked after college as a sportscaster before marrying, having children and helping out her husband's commercial fishing business (another example of the toughness that would serve her well in politics: continuing to help Todd on his fishing boat after breaking several of her fingers). Her entree into politics was the PTA, and from there the City Council in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, a fast-growing suburb of a few thousand people near the state's largest city, Anchorage. A lifelong Republican but not previously a political activist, she was elected to the City Council in 1992 after getting involved in a citizens' watch group that wanted Wasilla to have its own police force, ousting an incumbent, as she did in all of her significant races:
She did so by going door to door to campaign, pulling a red wagon with her son Track in the back. She ran her campaign out of her kitchen... Within weeks of her election, she'd taken on another councilman who had a city contract for garbage pickup that favored his own company.
Why do I mention Palin's apolitical roots? Because they help explain three things about her that become important later. One, how she's been able to stay grounded to have a normal, non-political person's reactions to the kinds of things politicians get inured to seeing. Two, why her views on reform, corruption and waste were not a pre-designed program but the evolving product of those reactions kicking in over time in response to things she observed first-hand. And three, how she was able to make the most important decision of her political career - to walk away from it all on principle with the significant chance that she was ending her career in politics.
B. Mayor of Wasilla
In 1996, Palin was elected Mayor of Wasilla, ousting the incumbent mayor, who had previously supported her. As Beldar explains, citing Palin's biographer Kaylene Johnson:
[Mayor] Stein had ignored the sentiments of Wasilla residents who'd approved term limits in 1994, and he continued to take advantage of a loophole exempting incumbents (he'd been mayor since 1987). Palin had originally crossed Stein by voting against a pay increase for the mayor's position shortly after she was first elected as a city councilman in 1992; accordingly, in 1996, she campaigned against him with a promise that she would start trimming the city budget by taking a voluntary pay cut as mayor (Which in fact she did.). She also promised to reduce property taxes. (Which in fact she did.) And she promised to promote new economic development that would increase the local tax base and permit higher levels of city services. (Which, again, she did.)
This was not the last time she would face a tough campaign against more experienced opponents. But while the 1996 race bore the early hallmarks of Palin's fiscal conservatism - as she battled to avoid expanding the city's budget - she was still a conventional Alaska Republican, supported by the state GOP establishment. Palin's success in Wasilla marked her as a leader among her peers, helping get her "elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors."
Alaska, of course, has a major addiction to federal pork-barrel spending; for years it has led the nation in per-capita federal dollars, and still does. Alaskans will tell you that there are reasons for this, not least the fact that the federal government owns so much of the land in the state. Then-Mayor Palin was no exception to this process; like many local officials, and perhaps more successfully than most, she sought to relieve the tax burdens of her own constituents by lobbying the federal government for funds for Wasilla, in 2000 even retaining a Washington lobbyist - the former chief of staff to Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens and law partner of Stevens' son Ben - to represent the town. Unsurprisingly, this brought home the bacon, over $6 million in fiscal year 2002.
It was during Palin's two three-year terms as Mayor of Wasilla that she began a long practice, which I noted here and which Ed Morrissey discusses here based on New York Times and Washington Post profiles, of firing lots of people, basically anyone who cost too much, didn't get on board with the things she was trying to accomplish, was publicly insubordinate to her leadership, or was a holdover from prior administrations. As I've noted before, one of the principal obstacles to real change in any public-sector job is the inertia of entrenched incumbents; sacking them is a good way to get bad press and stir up lawsuits and trumped-up investigations, but it's also evidence of the unsentimentality and independent streak that any genuine reformer needs.
Term-limited out of running again for Mayor, Palin in 2002 ran for the Lieutenant Governorship, but when long-time Republican U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski entered the Governor's race, other more experienced and better-known candidates shifted into the Lt. Gov. field, and Palin was defeated in a crowded 5-way primary. She nonetheless impressed observers as a coming star by posting a strong second despite being badly outspent by 3 opponents.
C. The Oil and Gas Commission
Following her loss in the Lieutenant Governor's race, Palin was out of a job, and as promising but unemployed politicians often do, she accepted an appointment from the powers that controlled her state party. In February 2003, she was tabbed by Murkowski to chair the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, a regulatory body with jurisdiction over the state's most important industries:
The commission and its 21 staff members usually labor in obscurity unless they are responding to a serious oil-well accident or violation. Founded in territorial days and modeled after commissions in other oil states, the AOGCC is a regulatory board charged with protecting public resources when oil or gas is developed. The AOGCC has three basic functions: to ensure that producing oil and gas fields achieve maximum recovery; to ensure that wells are safely constructed and operated; and to protect groundwater when oil and gas wells pass through aquifers or when drilling wastes are legally disposed underground.
The job was a plum patronage position, paying $118,000 a year, doubling her salary as Mayor and for the first time making her the family's chief breadwinner. The Anchorage Daily News has a lengthy and extensive description of the events that followed, as Palin uncovered significant ethical improprieties at the AOGCC, focusing on Alaska State GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who the ADN noted had "played a major role in Gov. Frank Murkowski's election":
[S]he focused on ethical lapses by fellow Commissioner Randy Ruedrich, who was also (and unfortunately still is) the statewide GOP chairman. Ruedrich was refusing to complete and file disclosure reports that would have detailed his personal dealings with energy-related companies. When Ruedrich ignored her complaints, she went to the state attorney-general, Gregg Renkes. When Renkes ignored her (and threatened her with prosecution if she became a public whistle-blower), she went to the GOP governor who'd appointed her, Frank Murkowski. Murkowski was then, of course, one of the troika of Grand Poobahs of Alaskan GOP politics, along with Congressman Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens.
When Murkowski ignored her too, however, Palin resigned.
Think about that again. Palin wasn't independently wealthy, although her family is now well off; her husband made good money as a commercial fisherman and working in the oil fields, but with four children to raise, their status as a two-income family was undoubtedly financially important to them. Yet she was walking away from a plum job with a six-figure salary that had given her a more than 60% pay raise from her job as Mayor. Palin herself had worked only in politics since leaving her sportscasting job some 16 years earlier, and by picking up a crusade against the state's most powerful political figures, she stood an extremely good chance of burying her promising political future for good. But she was willing to walk away from all of that at age 40 to do the right thing. If you can picture Barack Obama doing that, you have a very vivid imagination.
As the ADN article explains, her investigation involved a fair amount of sleuthing by Palin, including a review of Ruedrich's computer files after he quit the AOGCC. There were a variety of ethical issues involved, including matters tied up in a number of criminal investigations, multiple conflicts of interest, failure to file required disclosure forms, and use of AOGCC time, facilities and resources to conduct Ruedrich's partisan activities with the GOP. While some of these issues may seem minor in isolation, they obviously added up. Palin's resignation in January 2004 eventually freed her to go public:
[W]hen Ruedrich settled state ethics charges June 22 by paying a record $12,000 civil fine and admitting wrongdoing, Palin said she finally felt some measure of vindication for bucking Ruedrich and members of her party. Over the months leading up to the settlement, Ruedrich had been saying the accusations were overblown, while other Republicans, including Murkowski, complained Ruedrich was unfairly targeted, primarily by the news media.
Originally muzzled by the confidentiality provisions of the state ethics law and unable to explain publicly what she had tried to do about Ruedrich, Palin found herself attacked from both sides: Ruedrich's opponents accused her of complicity with him, and his allies said she was providing ammunition for Democrats. She quit the commission in frustration on Jan. 16, months before the state's secret investigation and its formal charges became public.
And her dogged determination made her further enemies but resulted in ultimate vindication:
She wrote a famous op-ed for the state's largest newspaper ...And ...continu[ed] to direct public attention to the scandal.
She was helped along by criminal investigations that have since ended up with indictments and convictions of several public officials. Renkes was forced to resign as attorney-general. Reudrich ended up agreeing to pay a substantial fine for his ethics violations - not just the noncompliance with the disclosure forms, but substantive violations based on too-close ties with and favors from VECO, the drilling contractor that's been at the center of most of the Alaskan ethics scandals - and to quit the Commission.
Palin was unsparing even on the man who had appointed her:
After slamming Murkowski for "hiring his own counsel, paid for by the state, to investigate his long-time friend, confidant, and campaign manager [Renkes]," Sarah concluded by writing, "Despite those in Juneau who think otherwise, it's healthy for democracy to ask questions. And I'll bet there are hockey moms and housewives all across this great state who agree."
The result was a thorough burning of her bridges with the state party:
By that time, Palin was an outcast. The state Republican Party in May had just reconfirmed its support for Ruedrich, after party leaders assured the central committee that charges against him had been overblown by the media. Even Murkowski had voiced support for Ruedrich, calling him a "survivor."
One of Palin's Mat-Su mentors, district Republican chief Roy Burkhart of Willow, still thinks she went too far. When Palin came to him for advice, he said in a recent interview, he said she should pass along the evidence, which appeared serious enough.
"The impression I got was she didn't want to do it," said Burkhart. "But the evidence was there, and it was going to be worse if she didn't do it."
And she wasn't afraid to cross party lines to take a stand on ethics:
In 2005, she continued to take on the Republican establishment by joining Eric Croft, a Democrat, in lodging an ethics complaint against Renkes, who was not only attorney general but also a long-time adviser and campaign manager for Murkowski. The governor reprimanded Renkes and said the case was closed. It wasn't. Renkes resigned a few weeks later, and Palin was again hailed as a hero.
D. Taking Down Murkowski
Murkowski, meanwhile, was in the process of alienating the Alaskan public with a variety of high-handed and self-interested moves that came to symbolize the way in which the Alaska GOP establishment treated federal and state office as their personal property. One of the more egregious examples was his appointment of his daughter Lisa to fill out his term in the Senate. Palin considered running against Lisa Murkowski in 2004, but decided not to in deference to her son Track's reluctance at the time to endure a statewide campaign, although she did deepen her rift with the Murkowskis by endorsing one of Lisa Murkowski's primary opponents. Yet Palin's name ended up getting misused on Murkowski's behalf:
A measure of Palin's growing political stature came in the closing weeks of Lisa Murkowski's campaign against Tony Knowles. Voters started getting recorded messages from a chirpy woman saying, "Hello, this is Sarah," and urging their support for Murkowski and the Republican team. The calls were paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Palin sent out e-mails telling people it wasn't her. When she heard the recording, she told a reporter, "She sounds chipper and annoyingly nasal, so I realize now why people think she's me. Ugh."
By 2006, Palin was ready to take on Gov. Murkowski himself, and despite entering the race as a serious underdog, and even with the third candidate in the race out-fundraising her by 3-to-1 margin, wound up scoring 51% of the primary vote (Murkowski finished third with just 19%). Palin made clear she would be cleaning house:
On the night she won the party nomination, she asked for Ruedrich to step down as Republican chairman -- he declined -- and also called for the resignation of national committeeman Sen. Ben Stevens.
Moving on to the general election, David Dittman, "a consultant to Palin's 2006 campaign," observes that Palin was "[o]utraised by her well-known Democratic opponent [former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles] .... Dittman noted, "She didn't have the support of the party. She did not have the support of labor unions, environmentalists, the oil industry. She did it all by herself." Knowles was no makeweight opponent; running in a year when Democrats swamped Republicans in one traditional GOP stronghold after another, Knowles had been a two-term governor who only left the office in 2002 due to term limits and ran on a platform of superior experience, and Palin also faced a third-party campaign by Andrew Halcro, formerly a Republican state legislator. Palin's lead in the polls dropped as low as two points just days before the election (*), but ended up winning 48-41.
E. Governor of Alaska
Palin was sworn in as Governor on December 4, 2006. In the nearly two years she has been in the office, she's made strides on multiple fronts to combat waste and clean house, becoming in the process the most popular of the nation's 50 governors. The job's not done, and like anybody with a record of actually governing, Palin has her critics on this or that issue. But her record on issues of public integrity and wasteful spending is one to be proud of on issues large and small.
(1) The Perks
Just as with the pay cut she took as Mayor of Wasilla, Palin chose to start at the top with her budget cuts in Alaska. Gov. Murkowski had infuriated voters and the State Legislature by insisting on buying a $2.6 million jet; Palin campaigned against the plane and famously put it up for sale on eBay, although the eventual sale required hiring an aircraft broker so as to try to limit the losses inflicted on the state by Murkowski's folly. Palin cut $45,000 in costs by eliminating the day-to-day services of the gourmet chef at the Governor's Mansion, arguing that she and her family could cook for themselves (although the chef was apparently still under contract with the state for official receptions). Palin also cut her per diem reimbursements by the state by 80% from her predecessor, declining to claim all the expenses she could legally have had reimbursed.
(2) Adventures In The Pork Barrel and The Bridge To Nowhere
In the past few years, there's been a growing public outcry over wasteful pork-barrel spending in general and "earmarks" in particular - i.e., riders to federal appropriations bills that direct that money be spent on particular projects. Technically, earmarks don't necessarily increase the amount of spending in a bill, but of course the expectation of being able to insert earmarks (sometimes with little public disclosure and debate, and often for projects favored by people with financial interests in them) inevitably inflates the amount of money appropriators are inclined to start off with in a bill, which is why John McCain (among others) has described them as a "gateway drug" to overspending. The online "porkbusters" coalition was formed to help combat pre-existing efforts by McCain and Senator Tom Coburn to highlight particularly abusive projects.
The most notorious earmark in recent memory was a bridge connecting the town of Ketchikan, Alaska to nearby Gravina Island, which has only 50 residents and is presently connected to the mainland by ferry. The bridge was dubbed "the Bridge to Nowhere," and McCain and Coburn, among others, made it nationally famous.
Gov. Palin was not one of the early heroes of this battle, and in fact continued to support the bridge as a candidate. But her ultimate decision in office to pull the plug on the bridge subjected her to criticism from the state's Congressional powers and other proponents of the bridge, while making her an instant hero to the many people who had fought against the project for years. At the time, everyone understood what Gov. Palin had done. It's entirely proper for her to take credit for that decision, and no amount of revisionist history can change those facts. Least of all from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who supported the bridge out of a craven desire to protect their own pork projects.
a. The Bridge to Nowhere
The McCain campaign produced, belatedly, a detailed fact sheet with a chronology of the bridge dispute here, and if you are familiar with the saga, it checks out. Wikipedia, as usual, has an uneven and slanted account but one with a lot of useful links to primary sources.
The way transportation bills work in general is to distribute funds by state, and earmarks in the bill then direct funds to particular projects. The original controversy over the bridge earmark was in 2005, when the transportation bill included a $223 million earmark for the bridge, supported by Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski, Gov. Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young, who at the time chaired the House Transportation Committee. Gov. Murkowski's wife, in fact, owned land on Gravina Island that would go up in value if the bridge was built. Coburn brought the controversy to a head with a bill to strip the earmark and the funds from the bill and redirect the money to rebuild a bridge in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Ted Stevens gave a melodramatic speech threatening to quit the Senate if the bridge was defunded, and he and Young essentially threatened to retaliate against other Senators' pork projects in their own states; as Kos put it at the time, "the reason senators would vote against these amendments is because if any of them pass, it puts every single pork project in their own states in danger." In the end, Coburn got only 15 votes (McCain was absent, but supported the Coburn amendment) - Barack Obama and Joe Biden both voted "no." * Kos accurately summed up the vote thus:
Simply unconscionable. Those who voted against these amendments have zero credibility on issues of fiscal responsibility. Zero.
Obama and Biden also voted to support the final transportation bill that included the bridge earmark, but it was eventually stripped out in negotiations with the House in response to the outcry. (You can go here for Deroy Murdock's PowerPoint presentation on Obama's and Biden's role). That left the decision on how to fund the bridge up to Alaska's governor, subject to some limitations on how much of the transportation money could be allocated to the project. Gov. Murkowski set aside either $91 million or $113 million, depending on which sources you cite, but as of the end of 2005 there wasn't enough federal money for the project to be built, and cost estimates were starting to rise to over $300 million.
Enter Sarah Palin, then a private citizen and candidate for Alaska Governor. Of course, the core of the pork barrel/earmark problem is people in Washington trying to buy support back home with taxpayer money; Governors and candidates for Governor don't create earmarks, and Mayors in particular rather understandably like to agitate on behalf of their narrow parochial issues. Even today, Palin notes that her decision to kill the bridge was largely motivated by a desire first and foremost to protect state taxpayers:
After taking office and examining the project closely, realizing the Feds were not going to fund it as Alaskans had assumed was the case, I cancelled the project...Alaskans will have to prioritize for the Knik Arm Crossing if it is truly a top state priority because Congress won't fund it either.
That said, those of us who find the pork/earmark dynamic appalling understand that state/local politicians who support federal pork barrel spending are part of the problem, and those who resist are part of the solution; so her views on the matter are certainly relevant.
Now during her campaign, Palin did two things. One, which is entirely understandable although something she's reversed herself on when addressing a national audience, is to object to the rhetorical device of calling it a "bridge to nowhere," which naturally irked the residents of the Ketchikan area. Hence, her photo op with the "Nowhere" T-shirt and criticism of "spinmeisters".
And second, she supported the bridge project itself. See, e.g., here, here, here and here.
Palin entered office in December 2006 with the federal funds in hand but discretion whether to use them on the Ketchikan Bridge or less wasteful projects, as a result of the funds being provided without being earmarked. And from then on, as her budget team reviewed the project in the context of competing priorities, she began casting a more skeptical eye, building up to her killing of the project. 11 days into her term, she proposed her first budget which included no additional funds for the "Bridge to Nowhere" saying, "We need to make wise, sensible choices." State funds would have been needed because the federal dollars were not enough to keep up with the escalating cost estimates for the bridge.
In February 2007, National Review noted that the bridge's cost estimate had reached $395 million and that opponents were encouraged by Palin's hesitancy to fund the out-of-control project:
"This projected increase [in the bridge's cost] comes at a time when the governor has asked for all agencies to reduce spending by 10 percent," a spokesman for the governor tells National Review Online. Needless to say, building a half-billion-dollar bridge between a town of 8,000 and an island of 50 is not on her list of state transportation priorities.
That leaves the Alaska DOT stuck between the local officials who want the bridge and a governor who hasn't set aside any money for it. Add a congressional delegation unable to bring home the bacon like it used to and it's no surprise that morale at the department has cratered. According to the AP, Gov. Palin's transition team discovered a department in which obtaining "federal earmarks in congressional appropriations trump all other priorities... and the state suffers as a result." The team's advice? Alaska needs to go on a diet from federal dollars and focus on "developing a state-funded transportation and maintenance program."
* The necessary state money was not included in the state budget in May, and the DOT put the project on hold in August. Finally, on September 21, 2007, Palin officially killed the bridge project, although her statement was couched in conciliatory terms:
"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," Gov. Sarah Palin said in a prepared statement.
She directed the state transportation department to find the most "fiscally responsible" alternative for access to the airport.
Palin on Friday said the Ketchikan project was $329 million short of full funding.
"It's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island," Palin said.
"Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened," she said.
The DOT will prepare a list of projects across the state where the $36 million in federal funds that was set aside for Gravina Island could be used.
Palin's decision instantly split those who had followed the saga, but nobody had any doubt who killed the bridge. ABC News reported on September 21, 2007:
Friday, the state of Alaska officially sank the Bridge to Nowhere. Governor Sarah Palin, also a Republican, said "Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport." "But," she said, the bridge "is not the answer." Palin has told state transportation officials to look for the most "fiscally responsible" alternative.
The McCain press release collects some of the immediate commentary:
September 22: Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan: "For somebody who touts process and transparency in getting projects done, I'm disappointed and taken aback ... We worked 30 years to get funding for this priority project."
September 24: "Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today celebrated a major victory over one of the most infamous pork barrel projects in recent history, the 'Bridge To Nowhere.'"
September 26: Anchorage Daily News Editorial: "Gov. Sarah Palin won few friends there with her decision to drop plans for the bridge, but she made the right call."
September 27: U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, criticized Gov. Palin for killing the bridge and described their relationship as "a little frosty."
Sen. Stevens on Palin's decision: "(It) may well jeopardize further funding by the Congress of any bridges in Alaska, which I think is a dangerous precedent."
September 30: Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka: "Improving access to Gravina Island has been an economic priority for the community of Ketchikan, the state of Alaska and our congressional delegation for over 30 years. I'm shocked that the governor would ignore the significant energy, work and financial resources already invested in the project."September 30: Lois Epstein, head of the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project, a watchdog group that monitors public transportation projects, praised Palin's action: "The move ensures that this controversial bridge will not be built."
Instapundit, who had given his megaphone to the Porkbusters crusade, wrote on September 22, 2007 of Palin's Vice Presidential prospects that "I certainly like her action on the Bridge to Nowhere" Alaska Democrats campaigning against Ted Stevens continued to credit Palin for stopping the bridge until she was tabbed as McCain's running mate. And here's Newsweek in October 2007:
In an interview with NEWSWEEK, Palin said it's time for Alaska to "grow up" and end its reliance on pork-barrel spending. Shortly after taking office, Palin canceled funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere," a $330 million project that Stevens helped champion in Congress. The bridge, which would have linked the town of Ketchikan to an island airport, had come to symbolize Alaska's dependence on federal handouts. Rather than relying on such largesse, says Palin, she wants to prove Alaska can pay its own way, developing its huge energy wealth in ways that are "politically and environmentally clean."
Writing during the election, Jim DeMint, himself a former earmarker who has sworn them off, credits Palin with killing the bridge, as does Tom Coburn himself.
It should be noted that Palin's action didn't only save money for state taxpayers. State transportation needs and requests are not a one-time thing; as noted in some of the quotes above, projects like the Ketchikan bridge send state politicians back to the federal well year after year. By eliminating the bridge and routing the money to other transportation projects, Palin saved federal taxpayers in two ways. First, she took more projects off the list for future requests to Uncle Sam. And second, she insured that - unlike famous long-running "Big Dig" type projects elsewhere in the nation - she wouldn't be coming back to future Congresses to cover additional cost overruns. By being a good fiscal steward to the people of Alaska, she also helped save money for the nation as a whole.
Talk, in politics, is cheap. When it came time for Palin to make decisions, she, and only she, finally killed the "Bridge to Nowhere." Had the funds remained earmarked, as Obama and Biden voted to keep them, she would not have had that option (that's what happened to the highway that was to connect to the bridge). Palin's is the courage and integrity we need.
b. Palin, Pork and Spending
Put in its larger context, Palin's killing of the Bridge to Nowhere is part of the broader picture of her effort to wean Alaska off its dependence on federal pork barrel spending in general and earmarking in particular. From the Anchorage Daily News, a description of how that has brought her yet again into conflict with the powers that be in the Alaska GOP:
Palin has increasingly distanced herself from earmarking since she made her first trip to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress for money in 2000. And over the past year, it has been the leading source of tension between Palin and the state's three-member congressional delegation.
Last year, when Palin announced the state was abandoning plans for the so-called "bridge to nowhere" in Southeast Alaska, she was met with what could kindly be described as a frosty reception from the delegation.
Her move embarrassed Stevens and Young -- Stevens even complained publicly this spring that "the issue of earmarks and the way they handled the bridge money" made it challenging for him, Young and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ask for any special federal set-asides for Alaska.
"It is a difficult thing to get over right now, the feeling that we don't represent Alaska because Alaska doesn't want earmarks," Stevens said in an interview at the time.
H/T This is hardly a cold-turkey approach, but the numbers demonstrate that she has been making headway:
For the 2007 federal budget year, the administration of former Gov. Frank Murkowski submitted 63 earmark requests totaling $350 million, Palin's staff said. That slid to 52 earmarks valued at $256 million in Palin's first year. This year, the governor's office asked the delegation to help them land 31 earmarks valued at $197 million.
...Palin recognized that Alaska's coffers were overflowing with revenue from oil profits and it was almost unseemly for the state to press so aggressively for federal money, said John Katz, who heads Gov. Palin's Washington, D.C., office. In December of 2007, Palin's budget director put out a memo urging state officials who were assembling their department spending plans to reserve earmarks for compelling needs only, in an effort to "enhance the state's credibility."
"When she took office, we talked about the state's reliance on federal earmarks and she made it clear for several reasons she wanted to significantly cut back on that reliance," Katz said.
(2008 requests here, h/t).
The battle to cut back on earmarking is also part and parcel of a broader effort by Palin to bring some fiscal sanity to Alaska. Palin took a buzzsaw to the budget in her first year, including numerous line-item vetos of items inserted by the GOP-controlled legislature: "The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, 'may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.'" In 2008, she used line item vetoes to strip $268 million in wasteful pet projects from the state's budget. (H/T) * Her nearly half a billion dollars in vetoes over two years "were deeply unpopular with legislators of both parties."
As is often the case with efforts to cut the budget, Palin's hatchet hasn't cut down every last tree; for example, she "cut funds for 40 sports-related projects around Alaska, saying sports was not an essential government service," but found $630,000 in the 2007 budget for the Wasilla sports complex that had been one of her main accomplishments as Mayor, arguing that it would serve an additional public function as the town's emergency shelter in case of an earthquake, forest fire or other disaster. And of course, there have been a flood of stories complaining about this or that program she cut or capped the growth of. But as I always say, you don't have a budget until you have said "no" to everyone at least once. Palin has definitely shown that she is willing to say "no" to protect the taxpayer.
(3) Big Oil & Gas
When you talk about powerful interests in Alaska, there's nobody bigger than the oil and gas companies. Palin, of course, has been a huge advocate of more oil and gas production in Alaska and nationwide, and often refers to the oil and gas companies as the state's partners (in a sense they are literally business partners), but she's also shown in office that far from being a puppet of these industries, she's willing and even eager to drive a hard bargain with them on behalf of the taxpayer and limit the influence of any one particular company.
A prime example of this was her renegotiation of the state's severance tax, a tax imposed on oil and gas companies by the state that owns the land they drill on. This is different from taxes on corporate activity generally, and is basically a matter of the state acting like a market participant to drive a hard bargain; Palin raised the base tax from 22.5% to 25%, and made a point of renegotiating in public, arguing that the tax had been previously set behind closed doors between Murkowski and industry lobbyists. USA Today notes that the oil companies were not happy with the new fees:
Oil executives said the law amounted to a $6 billion tax increase this year and criticized it ...They said it would cost jobs and reduce investment in exploration.
From the same article:
Palin got tough with major oil producers in other ways, too. She moved to revoke ExxonMobil's license to develop oil and natural gas at Point Thomson on the North Slope, arguing the company had sat for too long on the site without developing the reserves. ExxonMobil says it will begin drilling this winter, but the state says the plans are inadequate.
As even the New York Times described this battle:
One of her most significant accomplishments as governor was passing a major tax increase on state oil production, angering oil companies but raising billions of dollars in new revenue. She said the oil companies had previously bribed legislators to keep the taxes low. She subsequently championed legislation that would give some of that money back to Alaskans: Soon, every Alaskan will receive a $1,200 check.
Then there's the pipeline project intended to develop Alaska's vast natural gas reserves, which "had been a top economic goal for the state for nearly two decades" - Gov. Murkowski had never delivered on his promise to get the pipeline deal done, but "had offered the major firms exclusive contracts to build the pipeline and had agreed to freeze oil taxes for 30 years and natural gas taxes for up to 45 years." Palin, having run against Murkowski's coziness with the three main producers, decided to open the process to formal bids, a move that didn't go over well with them:
The three major North Slope producers - BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil - have panned Ms. Palin's approach as too restrictive, and say they prefer to negotiate a deal directly as they did with her predecessor, Frank Murkowski.
Eventually, this January, Gov. Palin settled on TransCanada, a Canadian company. The $26 billion project is "what analysts say could be the largest private capital project in U.S. history." The deal required her to call a special session of the state legislature, signing the bill on August 27. Once again, Palin had asserted her independence from the state's largest vested interests, and in so doing broke a longstanding policy logjam. It still faces challenges, as the disgruntled Big Three are threatening to build a rival pipeline:
The Palin administration now stands in a nerve-racking faceoff with the multibillion-dollar oil industry interests that have for 40 years been the bedrock of the state's politics and economy. Who blinks first -- Palin, or companies like BP Alaska, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil -- will determine who controls transport of Alaska's massive untapped gas resources and future tax revenues for a state dependent on petroleum revenues for 85% of its budget.
Most analysts are predicting that it won't be Palin who yields.
"She has been more adversarial with the producers than any previous governor," said Democratic state Rep. Mike Doogan, whom Palin courted -- with cupcakes -- to power her oil program through the Legislature this year.
(4) Putting Her Own Stamp On State Government
As Fred Barnes noted last year:
Political analysts in Alaska refer to the "body count" of Palin's rivals. "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah," says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called "Voice of the Times," which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct.
Palin sent the message from the very beginning who was in charge:
Days after she was sworn in as governor, Sarah Palin began to clean house at the department of natural resources, firing and demoting several top officials and eventually appointing a new director at the agency that oversees the energy companies that provide the state with 85% of its revenue.
The shake-up was an early sign that this newly elected Republican governor was not like any of her predecessors -- she was determined not to cave in to the energy industry, the state's lifeblood.
More examples? Her firing of an aide who had a messy affair and covered it up; her sacking of the entire state Creamery Board in a dispute over $600,000 in state funding. Palin's been unafraid to make waves, removing people who stood in the way of her policies and working to change the ethical climate.
One of Palin's major priorities in her 2006 campaign was ethics reform, and in July 2007 she signed a new ethics bill that took a number of steps forward in requiring disclosures and limiting sources of compensation for public officials. The new law had bipartisan support behind the new Governor's leadership, including a State Senator who is now a prominent Obama supporter:
State Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, said the law closes several loopholes and includes a ban on outside compensation for official acts. It also bans legislators from accepting campaign contributions as bribes.
"It's my further hope that by signing this bill we will close a shameful chapter in Alaska's history," French said during the signing of the bill at the Alaska Public Offices Commission in Anchorage.
Now, the ethics reform bill, under the circumstances, is more an example of bipartisan leadership than of courage or independence, as it did not exactly incite a groundswell of opposition, and some people even wanted it to go further. But Palin has also shown her willingness to put pressure on, or cut ties entirely with, powerful people in her own party as she seeks to remake the Alaska GOP into a cleaner organization.
For example, Palin has injected herself into the state's Congressional races. She cut ads for her Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell, in his primary challenge to Don Young, a race that was so close it took weeks to resolve it despite Young's status as a hugely entrenched incumbent. As Matt Moon explains, Palin's backing was one of the reasons why Parnell entered the race with a huge advantage, and his loss was largely the result of being out-campaigned by Young, which doesn't change the fact that Palin made a significant effort to throw her personal prestige behind removing one of the icons of corruption in her own state party. We'll get in Part II to how this stacks up to Obama, but of course the short answer is that he never tried anything remotely comparable.
Palin's often been cold-blooded about cutting off former friends and allies who had ethical troubles, as even a hostile Salon profile notes:
Alaska state Rep. Victor Kohring, another key Palin supporter during her political rise in Mat-Su Valley, found this out after he became a victim of the FBI's oil corruption sting operation. Kohring, who used to accompany Palin on her campaign jaunts, angrily points out that he was abandoned by his fellow Christian conservative before he even went to trial. The former Alaska legislator, who now resides in the Taft minimum security prison outside Bakersfield, Calif., communicated his views of Palin through his friend, Fred James. Kohring, said James, feels "betrayed" by Palin.
I've discussed above some of her specific breaks with Ted Stevens; for another example, in 2007 she again demanded the resignation of his son Ben from his role as Alaska's representative on the Republican National Committee. Granted, despite their many battles, Palin hasn't entirely cut ties with Stevens, who after all remains the state's senior senator:
Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.
Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens's endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.
At last check, Palin was pointedly declining to either support or oppose Stevens or Don Young in the general election: "Ted Stevens trial started a couple days ago. We'll see where that goes." Not precisely a hard line, but after Palin's multiple feuds with Stevens and her backing of the primary challenge against Young, she's already gone about as far as you can expect any Governor to go to make clear to the voting public her disapproval of the methods of the leaders of her own party's Congressional delegation in her own state.
All of these moves, of course, have made her enemies. This post is long enough already without delving into the whole Tasergate/Troopergate investigation, but to focus on the relevant point for these purposes, the investigation was touched off when Palin sacked Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who broke openly with Palin over her efforts to cut his agency's budget:
* 12/9/07: Monegan holds a press conference with Hollis French to push his own budget plan.
* 1/29/08: Palin's staffers have to rework their procedures to keep Monegan from bypassing normal channels for budget requests.
* February 2008: Monegan publicly releases a letter he wrote to Palin supporting a project she vetoed.
* June 26, 2008: Monegan bypassed the governor's office entirely and contacted Alaska's Congressional delegation to gain funding for a project.
This is all of a piece with Palin's willingness to butt heads to get control of the budget, to the advantage of the taxpayer. Hollis French, the Democratic State Senator and prominent Obama supporter, is effectively controlling the investigation, which was designed to release its report five days before the election and which would be essentially guaranteed to do zero political damage to Palin if it was released at any other time (you can tell this by comparing how much time Palin's critics spend discussing the investigation's procedures as opposed to its underlying facts). Anyone remotely familiar with the history of political reform can tell you that this sort of vendetta is exactly the risk you run when you try to bring about genuine change in the public sector, and why so many politicians shy away from necessary confrontations that create enemies of people like Monegan. The investigation is just another badge of Palin's fearlessness.
As we look back over the last four years in national politics, this much is certain: we needed more people like Sarah Palin in Washington.
In Part II: How Barack Obama climbed up the greasy pole of Chicago machine politics without upsetting any applecarts.
Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:00 PM Politics 2008 Comments (37) TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 02, 2008


"And for the support of this .?.. with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." The Washington bailout out is not in the spirit of our Constitution. No lives of Senators are jeopardized today. Their fortunes, those things which befall them as their lot; good or bad luck are not on the line. And only 25 of the 100 Senators showed a modicum of sacred Honor. Furthermore, divine Providence is apparently on a Sabbatical. What is to be done?

A black October day, dawns on an America in which pork and abandoned principle fly their flags over this once great land. Note the lipstick in the preferred shade of harlots, is smeared on the pudgy- faced lips of the Congressional pig. No trained hog could count to 700 billion with his cloven hoof; nor can any Senator (or, I assume, Representative in the House voting today). Neither can any American, I assume, fathom the enormity of the number. But undoubtedly our founding Fathers would have comprehended the tryanny of government over citizens’ choices. Their lives depended upon the success of their ‘revolutionary’ venture. The loss of their lives and/or their property too. Most importantly, however, their sense of integrity and honor depended upon the righteousness of their cause. Their pledge of commitment relied upon the hand of God.

An alien god oversees Washington politicians now. Who is he or she? Only Fortuna knows.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Random thoughts from main street

Five harmful influences in China: flood, drought, unseasonable weather, pestilence, insects.

Seven necessities of Chinese life: Firewood, rice, oil, salt, soybean sauce, vinegar (for the yin yang contrast in cooking) and tea (the froth of liquid jade).

A Ms. liberal Fascista in charge of tobacco control in India declares: "Smoking is an infringement on people’s right to live." This she ass expresses her insane opinion that the "asthma problem comes by inhaling second-hand smoke.")

The current money crisis comes not from a failure of capitalism (as envisioned by the left) but from the dictatorship and blackmail of liberal Democrats to banking and financial institutions over more than a decade.

Some percentages of youth (usually male) over 15 who smoke around the world: Greece and Russia 50%, U.K., China, France, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., 25 % to 40%.

Conclusions? Smoking, tea, natural disasters, liberal insanity - the great equalizers.