Archive for the News Category

Exploring the Roots Corruption: How did we get here, and how do we get out?

Posted in Constitution, Elections, Get Active!, News, politics with tags , on December 12, 2008 by Randy Streu

Though it is not completely without a sense of schadenfreude that I watch the Chicago Democrat party implode, this recent Blagojavich scandle has gotten me thinking about the nature of political corruption in general.  And about the simple fact that, as much as we’d like it to be, the Republican Party is not immune to the corruption of power, any more than the Dems appear to be.

In recent years, voters have seen more than our share of corrupt politicians, engaged in everything from prostitution and sex scandles to buying votes on the senate floor to the pay-for-play antics like those of the Chicago Gov. 

But where does it come from?   Frankly, I believe it comes, primarily, from two places.  First, as the saying goes, “power corrupts.”  You’d have to ask a psychologist about the effects being voted into a position of authority can have on the ego.  But I think we can agree that those effects are certainly evident in many cases.  Secondly, put simply, we the voters allow them to get away with it — often with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and occasionally, without even that.

Let’s explore this second point first, because I know some readers will have several probelms with the idea that we, the voters, are to blame for party and government leadership not holding politicians accountable.  Do you remember Bill Clinton?  That big, overblown scandal that occurred just because Bubba got a little head in the Oval Office?  People claimed that too big a deal was being made about the President’s extra-marital affairs.  Those merits can be argued (though, personally, I believe our leaders ought to be held to the highest of standards), but to do so misses the point entirely.  The problem wasn’t that he violated the sanctity of the Office, and potentially posed a national security risk by letting his intern go down on him in the National Holy of Holies.  The problem was simply that he broke the law.  He lied under oath.  That is a crime.  It is a small, white-collar crime, but illegal, nonetheless.  But the Gatekeepers of popular opinion (AKA the Mainstream Media), Congressional Democrats and even many voters chose to ignore this simple fact because, after all, he was the most powerful man in the world.  Surely such a small thing shouldn’t take down such a powerful person!

And it is precisely that attitude which allows corruption to flourish in state and national power center coutry-wide.  Those in a position of power should not be held to lower standards than the public, but higher.  Leaders lead.  When they fail to be good leaders, it becomes the duty of the citizen to disqualify them from the role.  And, if it is others in power to whom that duty falls, and they also fail in it, then it is our duty to vote them out as well, in favor of those with a correct view of authority.

The other problem goes back to that quote I mentioned: “Power corrupts.”  True enough.  But there’s that pesky follow-up: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  As more information about Blagojavich comes out, we find people talking about his “instability,” as though this were something about which many of those who helped get him into power already knew.  So why is it that they still worked to install him into the Governor’s chair?  Basically, because he was a Democrat. 

If it is indeed true that “power corrupts,” and that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” it must also follow that the more power given to a person or entity, the more potential for corruption exists.  In short, the most basic reason corrupt officials keep getting elected is because we don’t have any other options.

The Party system controlling American politics ensures that only a select group are presented to the voters for election, and of that group, only two are actually serious contenders for a given election.  George Washington warned of exactly this circumstance, and has since been poo-pooed by even Conservatives as “out of touch.”  Nonetheless, it is indeed the Party system which denies the voter a real set of options, and continues to make possible the re-election of those who would sell us out for financial gain, those who disrespect the office to which they are called to serve and those to dishoner their country and fellow countrymen by acts unbecoming leaders.

I will go into greater detail on the party system and how it has corrupted American government at a later date.  For now though, we work with what we have. 

And what we have is a dirty system, peopled by dirty politicias.  It is time for a cleansing, in every party.  It is time, if we must deal within a party system, to stop allowing those who disgrace America leadership to continue to do so.  They are not serving us, but themselves, and it is high time they were routed out.  It is time for voters to make it our business to know what our elected officials are up to, what they know and what they do with that information, who they talk to, and what decisions they are making.

It is time to clean house, starting with Blagojavich, and anybody we can take down with him.  And when we’re done with him, it’s time to move on to national politicians.  Get mad, folks.  Get very mad.  And then, get even.

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NPR: Wal-Mart Tragedy is… Wait For It… BUSH’s Fault!

Posted in Economy, News, politics, Stupid Media with tags , , on December 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Are there actually people who think this way?

According to NPR’s “Poet on Call,” Andrei Codrescu, the trampling to death of a Wal-Mart employee has been a long time coming — well, at least since 9/11.

And it wasn’t because of our collective sense of entitlement, borne by years of political correctness and official excuse-making for criminals, or because of our society’s loss of value in human life.  Of course not.

No.  It’s because George W. Bush told Americans to go shopping — and Americans, who disapprove of Bush, according to the Press, in near-astronomical numbers, all rallied to the cause with such fervor that they simply didn’t notice they’d killed a man.  They were too busy “Following orders.”

I’m astounded beyond words that this idiot is given a microphone.  Freedom of speech is one thing, but do we really have to encourage the mind-bogglingly stupid by paying them to talk in public?

The Obama Win: Come January

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, Energy, First Amendment, healthcare, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , on November 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a hard-won presidential election.  I won’t say it was well-played, because it was not — on either side.  But, the people have spoken and, sadly, it would appear they’ve grown weary of liberty, and have chosen instead to sacrifice it to the god of Financial Security.  History, it would seem, has not been as eloquent a teacher as Obama has been a communicator.  The irony is in how many of those voting for Obama were so very fond of paraphrasing Franklin: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have none and deserve neither.”  And yet…

Does that sound bitter?  It isn’t.  I’m not even angry.  Just sad.

Democrat rhetoric during the last year or so has shown us, I think, the directions we’ll be looking as a nation, come January 2009.  In spite of the closeness of the election, there will be talk of “mandates,” and the Democrat win (aka the de facto ‘mandate of the people’) will be used as justification for more and more federal intrusion, higher taxes, and fewer freedoms.

People who sincerely love freedom, no matter who you voted for, I sincerely hope you watch this new administration closely.  I hope you watch for the erosion of our liberty — and I hope that, no matter who you voted for, you will fight to keep that freedom when the time comes.  This erosion is going to come in many small ways, from many directions.  It’s going to come as a gift — a trojan horse: in the form of healthcare, new entitlement benefits, new Social Security rules.  But these small intrusions will turn into larger ones.  These gifts will soon reveal their costs.  And, once the mistique wears off — once the thrill of making history has worn thin — we will perhaps begin, finally, to see what we have wrought.

Watch for a re-emergence of the so-called “fairness doctrine.”  The idea that freedom of speech only applies to private entities who willingly give up their podium to the opposition, in spite of the fact that the opposition controls the majority of the mass media, and suffers under no such requirement.  Make no mistake; this doctrine has nothing at all to do with fairness, and everything to do with silencing criticism of the establishment.  Congressional Democrats have long been vocal about their wishes in this matter, and Barack Obama will, given the chance, seek to abide by them.

Watch for unreasonable mandates to appear, with an aim toward crippling the energy industry as we know it.  And understand that, before those “evil” energy corporations go bankrupt, it will be you and I who first foot that bill.

Watch for “free healthcare” to become a mandate to business owners to pay beyond their means for employee benefits — benefits which were not negotiated between employer and employee, or even between employer and union, but instead introduced, coerced and enforced by federal government.  And watch the prices for simple goods and services skyrocket as business owners try to comply with federal law without going belly up.  And when the market finally ceases to be able to bear the burden, watch for the unemployment rate to acheive new highs.

Watch for the government to sieze control over your 401(k) as a means of alleviating the damage done by the collapsing economy, and place caps and limits on your retirement earning potential.

Will all of this happen under Barack Obama?  God willing, it will not.  But none of this is outside the realm of possibility, and, indeed, most of the policies listed are either direct interpretations of Obama’s own policies, or policy suggestions made within the Democrat Party.

This is History’s sad truth about handing over liberty for the sake of financial security: it doesn’t work.  It never has.  The most successful communist/socialist countries are either, like China, finding that they have to embrace some forms of Capitalism in order to stay afloat, or, like Cuba, are home to a vast population of the impoverished — but at least they have nice hospitals.   Most, however, either never make it out of third-world status or, like the USSR, finally kill off enough citizens to render itself unsustainable.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
-Benjamin Frankin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1738

Psst. Hey, You. Yeah, YOU… the Media Think You’re Stupid

Posted in Elections, News, Obama, politics, Sarah Palin, Stupid Media with tags , , , on October 2, 2008 by Randy Streu

I’m sorry.  I just can’t let this go any longer.  After all, the media assault on all things Conservative isn’t anything new.  Why not just leave it alone, or let Rush Limbaugh talk about the Left Wing mainstream media?  They have been, in their elitist way, assuming that the vast majority of the viewing public is dumb enough to fall for their BS for a long time, after all — haven’t they?  So why poke that hornet’s nest now?

Well, a couple reasons, actually.  First, I have to mention tonight’s VP debate.  I know much has been made in some circles about the moderator.  But I have to ask… is there anybody out there that honestly believes Gwen Ifillwill be impartial tonight?  Ifill, of course, wants you to believe that doubts about her credibility are due to race.  “After all,” she says, “no one’s ever assumed a white reporter can’t cover a white candidate.”  Of course, never mind that she has written a book featuring Barack Obama, which is scheduled to be released on inauguration day.  Never mind that the election of that particular candidate would certainly have a positive effect on book sales, thus giving Ifill a financial stake in the outcome of this election.  There’s no conflict of interest here.  Of course not.

The media — or, certainly, various members of the media, would also have you believe that Sarah Palin is unqualified to fill the role of VP.  (I’m not going to provide a link here, by the way, and give these people more traffic.  If you don’t believe me, Google it).  This is the part I really wanted to leave alone; to let the citizenry parse out for themselves.  Unfortunately, it’s beginning to appear that many people are actually being duped by this line of attack.  I’m not going to argue it, really.  I’m too damned tired, and, by God, people should be able to figure this stuff out.  I am, however, going to rephrase what it is the media want you to believe. 

The media, and the Democrats (but I repeat myself), want you to believe that a woman who worked her way up from local politics to become governor of a state which supplies a vast amount of our nation’s oil wealth, who has worked out trade deals with foreign nations, and whose every step in her political career has been marked by difficult executive decisions is somehow less qualified for the office of Vice President than somebody who has a short career marked by making as few political decisions as possible — none of which were executive decisions, by the way — is for the office of President.

That is what you’re being asked to believe.  The media think you are stupid.  The question is, are they right?

Revenge!: Piping hot.

Posted in Economy, News, politics with tags , , , , on October 2, 2008 by heapotrouble

 For months, if not years now, both current nominees for President have ascribed to populist sentiments to advance their cause. According to John McCain, Congress is a ravenous, greedy beast residing in a cesspool of self serving corruption. Only he has the requisite virtue to defend your fiscal honor and cast out the demons from, and rebuild, a fallen Jerusalem.

 

Barack Obama, on the other hand, cast the ubiquitous and shadowy “rich” as the nemesis of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  Only he can bring forth to this continent the necessary policies that will enable the healing hands of benevolent government to force these effete, “fat cat” bloodsuckers off the backs of the noble working man.. Pay no attention that his proscription of “change” is the platform of policies the Democratic party has been trotting out for years.

 

Add to these provocations of class warfare the current market debacle and House of Representatives rejection of the Wall Street “Rescue” plan and you have, as Reverend Wright so eloquently posed, the “chickens coming home to roost.” Is it any wonder that the population is close to pitchforks and torches on this issue when we have been programmed to believe that this is nothing more than a theft of treasure from the hard working common man, who can not get ahead because of inherent injustice in the system, by the corrupt, for the benefit of those who won’t pay their fair share.

 

As one would expect after failure of the bailout plan to pass in the House, the excuse matrixes of both parties are excruciatingly well defined. However, beyond Speaker Pelosi’s attack speech, or Republican pig headedness, there is ample anecdotal evidence to believe that the Representatives that voted against the bill did so based on strident and overwhelming feedback from their constituency. Imagine that; Representatives representing the wishes of their constituents.

 

I don’t believe I have ever seen the American people so riled. Not even after 9/11. In typical congressional fashion, a non sequitur codicil was added to the bill to assuage voter anger. They would limit compensation for the executives who took over the failing companies that would be propped up by tax payer financed crutch.

 

If you crash a car, you pay a price. If you crash a segment of the US economy, you walk away with millions. Suppose you dropped off your ’67 Camaro at a body shop. Next day when you return to get your car back, you are directed to a smoldering pile of wreckage. “That will be $700,000,000,000 please.” You won’t pay the original mechanic, but you will pay dearly to anyone who can put your car back together.

 

We really don’t care how much the next wave of executives get paid if they can pull a recovery off. However, after all the money lost through costs associated with another stellar example of Congressional over sight, the Sarbaines-Oxley Act, there should be arrest warrants for, and the seizure of assets of, the executives responsible for the current market melt down.

 

No recovery bill will have the support of the electorate until there is a long humiliating “perp walk” by many, many Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” and perhaps even government officials who’s incompetence has led us to the current market situation.  It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Right now the American people are demanding theirs piping hot.

An Obama Link to Palin Smear Ad?

Posted in Elections, News, Obama, politics, Sarah Palin with tags , , , on September 22, 2008 by Randy Streu

The Nutroot corner of the Blogosphere has been abuzzing recently because of a YouTube attack ad against Sarah Palin.  The “facts” presented in the video are demonstrably false — but that’s not really the point.

What is the point is that the group who posted the video appears to claim to be just another “concerned citizen” with no agenda.  But fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy over at the Jawa Report have done extensive research showing that, not only is this ad created and run by a professional PR firm, but that this firm has ties to various members of the Democrat party, ties to liberal fundraising sources like ACTBLUE, and to Barack Obama. 

Jawa also calls into question whether a group with so much professional work under their belts would do what this company appears to have done without being paid — and if they were paid, whether such an arrangement goes against current FEC standards.

Read the entire report.  Make up your mind.  But something smells, and it ain’t halibut.

(h/t Erick Erickson at RedState)

Gov. Richardson: George W. Bush should have saved the economy from the Democrats — wait, what was the question?

Posted in Economy, Elections, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , on September 17, 2008 by Randy Streu

(cross-posted at RedState)

Bill Richardson was on Fox News this morning discussing Obama’s economic plan.  Not much to write home about, but if you had the stomach to sift through (or even *sit* through) the BS, there were a couple of gems worth noting.

 Fox: (after Richardson talks about CEOs and golden parachutes) isn’t it true, though, they were getting the golden parachutes during the Clinton years as well, while you were there?

Richardson:  Well, look, there’s no question about it: what we need is stronger oversight and transparency of these institutions, and my point is, Senator McCain was Chairman of the Commerce Committee that was supposed to regulate these entities.

Translation:  Um… er… ah… yeah, anyway, back to what I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted with fact…

Richardson: Look, I — I want to let businesses deal with their own market.  I think the AIG bailout, in my personal opinion, was the right thing to do, because you’ve got a hundred and 16 thousand employees… but we have an inconsistent policy…

I’m going to pause for a moment to just let that sink in… … …

And, we’re moving forward:

Fox: I know the — there’s the housing enterprise regulatory reform act of 2005, which he (McCain) sponsored, which Democrats killed… and in that reform act, Governor Richardson, he talked about his worry about the way real estate was going, the lack of — McCain — Senator John McCain, that is — and Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, specifically.
Richardson: Well, but, look: who was in the white house?  President Bush. Where was President Bush?  Look, you know, it doesn’t make sense just to assign blame.  I think what’s important is, where do we go from here.  At least Senator Obama has said, “these are the steps that I would take as President.”

Translation: You’re right, and President Bush should have saved the American economy from the disastrous fiscal policy of the Democrats — um, I mean, hey, you know, let’s not get into the finger-pointing.  You say it was the Democrats, I say the Democrats should have been stopped — but anyway, VOTE DEMOCRAT.

I think, to paraphrase Ronaldus Maximus, that it’s not that Governor Richardson is ignorant… he’s just not very bright.