Category Archives: Politics

A Fresh Face for NC

As a relatively new blogger, I was excited to get an invitation to participate in a blogger’s conference call helping to kick off the candidacy of Renee Ellmers, who is running for Bob Etheridge’s seat in the House of Representatives.

Honestly, I am normally a bit skeptical of these kinds of events, but since it isn’t everyday that a small time blogger such as myself gets invited to one of these, I took the opportunity to participate. As I began looking into who Renee Ellmers is, I became more interested in hearing about her candidacy.

Without regurgitating her bio (you can check out her website here), the part of her story that interested me the most is that she is not your typical politician, nor is she coming out of the typical politician “farm team” (that being a lawyer). She is a nurse by training and vocation, and up until recently has had no interest in running for public office. In what I suspect will be a story repeated throughout this country, Renee decided to get involved in running for office after the contentious debate over healthcare during the summer of 2009.

Renee’s candidacy is exciting to see for two reasons. One is that she is running to unseat a long-term Democrat incumbent in Bob Etheridge. Two, Renee’s candidacy is more of  what our Founders had in mind when they created a sense of civic virtue. Our Founders never intended for public service to be a career. Most of them saw public service as an obligation that one fulfilled, not a vocation in which you served long enough to draw a pension.

George Washington, I think, best embodies the ideal in this case. He was more than willing to serve his country, but he was always looking forward to returning home to his vocation of planter. He never saw himself as a politician or career public servant. He viewed his public service, both as a general and as President, as an obligation he owed to the country, and never saw his public office as something he was owed.

Obviously, I am not comparing Renee Ellmers to George Washington, but her story is one that I think he would recognize. She sees the country at a crossroads, and is very concerned about its direction and especially its impact on the next generation. As she put it on the conference call, being a mom is what really got her to run for public office. It seems that Renee sees holding public office is a way for her to help her country, and I suspect that, if she wins, she will always have one eye on returning to the medical practice that she and her husband run in Dunn, NC. If we can get a few more people like Renee in office, and a few more of the career politicians out, I suspect our government, and our lives will be the better for it.

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Don’t Tell Me…

Obama’s first State of the Union address is just a few hours away, and much of what the media (new and old) has focused on are what the President will say about issues such as spending and health care. Given the recent developments on these fronts, it easy to focus on them. However, one of the issues that the President will be bringing up is the issue of gays serving in the military.

This issue is one that has bothered the left for years, and is one of the things that is often cited as one of Clinton’s “sell-outs” amongst that group. Many of  you may not remember that the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a compromise between the Clinton administration (which desperately wanted gays to be able to serve openly) and the military (that desperately did not).

The problem with this policy, like so many coming from the left, is that it attempts to make the situation into something that it will never be (and probably never should be). In this case, the left wants to treat the military as a giant social engineering experiment. It looks at the military as an opportunity to test out its desired social policies, since the vast majority of those in the military would have to comply whether they liked it or not (you know, that whole chain of command thing).

The left conveniently forgets that the military is not just another large organization. As much as lefties may squirm at this fact, it’s reason for being is to defend this country, which usually entails defeating its enemies on the battlefield. This often requires actually killing another person (as opposed to Mirandizing them and sending them at an art therapy program). This business is hard, dirty work and requires several things that most other organizations don’t have a need for. One is a requirement to follow orders, no matter how seemingly trivial or insignificant. Another is a little intangible called unit cohesion. This can take on many forms, but for brevity’s sake, let’s define it as the need for the personnel within a unit to act as one.

Anything that causes damage to this unit cohesion is generally frowned upon. A great deal of time and energy is invested in developing and maintaining unit cohesion. One of the many arguments from the military at the time the policy was enacted was that it could damage unit cohesion at the small unit level (where it really matters). Like it or not, it was a serious worry, and probably remains so.

Now comes President Obama, who campaigned on (amongst other hare-brained ideas) to repeal “Don’t Ask” so that gays can serve openly in the military. Now that his great two-headed monster of health care reform (takeover) and cap and trade seem to be dead on arrival, he needs to do something to help placate his progressive base, which is becoming increasingly frustrated with his seeming inability to ram the progressive agenda home once and for all.

While it is unfortunate that the Obama administration thinks that making this change (which is very unpopular within the military) while we are prosecuting a war, it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. The left, of which President Obama is still a member in good standing (despite all this talk about spending freezes and populist anger), is pushing hard for him to make a substantive change that aligns with their goals. Someone on Obama’s team has examined the factors and decided that now is the time to push this policy change through. While it may excite his progressive comrades, it completely ignores the needs and desires of the military. Civilian control of the military is one thing, but continued meddling in the inner workings of the military, especially instituting grossly unpopular social engineering policies, is just another bad progressive idea.

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Yes, we ARE serious!

As I write this post, we are probably no more than 24 hours away from the government taking yet another move to further control its citizens and deny individuals the freedom to do as they wish. By all reports, what little resistance the Republicans could muster in the Senate has largely melted away, and for Christmas, the United States of America will take a large step towards government control over its health care system. For Progressives and other Leftists, despite their public protestations, this is as close to their dream as they have been able to come in the one hundred plus years of the Progressive/Socialist/Communist movement.

In the laundry list of repugnant items that are in the health care bills is the individual mandate. Out of all of the items within these bills, this is the one item that does the most damage to individual liberty. For those of you living under a rock, the individual mandate portion of these bills will make it illegal to NOT have health insurance that meets the criteria that will be determined by the Federal government.  That means that the government will now make the service of a private company mandatory to own/purchase in order to be a citizen in good standing of the United States of America. This, to put it mildly, is unprecedented (and no, Liberals, car insurance is NOT the same).

To any serious student of the Constitution, and of our country’s history, there is little evidence upon which one could argue that Progressivism is aligned with the Constitution. In fact, it is hostile to any instrument which places restrictions on the state (read that the government). As our current President has lamented, the Constitution is a list of “negative rights”. It defines what the Federal government cannot do, not what it should do. As such, the Constitution is despised by collectivists of all stripes, since it shackles the very thing they rely on to force others to bend to their will.

This explains the incredulousness of Nancy Pelosi recently when she was asked where in the Constitution is the authority given to mandate that the government force people to buy a particular good or service, in this case health insurance. Her reply to the question: “Are you serious?” In so many words, this is the answer given by every Senator or Congressman that has been asked the same question. The dirty little secret in all this is that, not only is it NOT in the Constitution, they do not care that it isn’t there.

One of the biggest lies that has been promulgated by the Progressive movement is that of the “living Constitution.” Being a product of the public education system in the United States, I was fed the lie throughout my education that the Constitution has to be able to change and grow with the times. Luckily, I had some matter left between my ears after my sentence, er, education, so I was able to deduce for myself that the living Constitution thingy was a load of Leftist poo.

Luckily, the Left has felt so sure of itself over this past year that it has abandoned many of the smokescreens and double-speak that it has used for years to cover up their true intentions. So, instead of feeding us some line about constitutionality and compassion and lawyers (apparently, Mary Landrieu did not get the memo), Ms. Pelosi felt she could reveal her true derision for the Constitution.

As we approach 2010, and an election year, it is important for all those who love liberty and respect the true, original intent of the Constitution to continue keeping score. We must deliver a message that is so clear and so unmistakable, so as to be noticed by even Ms. Pelosi.  Yes, we ARE serious…now answer the question!

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Filed under Conservatism, Constitution, Health Care, Politics

Today’s The Day

Well, it looks like today is the day on health care reform. After a summer of town halls, tea parties, back room negotiations and language changes, it seems that Comrade Pelosi has had enough of waiting around for the brave new world to arrive. It appears likely that there will be a vote on health care reform sometime this weekend.

I am not an expert at counting votes, and I have little insider knowledge to allow me to pontificate on whether she has enough votes to ram this through. I do know one thing: if it comes to a vote on the floor, she will have enough.

If it does pass the house and manage to pass the Senate, there is going to only really be one way to fix it and that is vote in conservatives (as opposed to RINOs) in the 2010 election cycle and vote in a conservative President in 2012. Even if the Congress goes back to Republicans in 2010, Obama would never sign something that repeals or significantly curtails the program he and the Congress are trying to ram down the American people’s necks.

There is some hope in the way of a state “opt-out”, but depending on how it is structured (assuming it makes it into some version of this monstrosity), it could be an empty promise for those states that tend to be conservative and don’t want to have this particular millstone around their necks.

We could go down the road about how we got here, the state of our society, etc., but that is another topic for another day. It is time to make those calls, emails, and even physical visits. Supposedly, there may be another gathering at the Capitol Building today. If you are near there, please go for those of us who can’t be there. Maybe we can hold this thing off again, as we did this summer.

Cross posted at RedState.

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What I Did On Summer Vacation, Part I

Yes, yes I realize that my summer break was a little longer than just the summer.  While the excuses are many, the important thing is that I am back and ready to resume my own little battle in the war of ideas.

Despite my extended absence on my blog, I was not just sitting idly by. Beyond calling and emailing my particular congress critters, I have been doing a good deal of reading. So today, to mark my return to the blog, I will do what countless schoolchildren have had to recently do: recite to the class what they did on summer vacation. In my case, I am going to offer up a short review of each book – not all at once, but interspersed in with other posts as we go into the fall (and probably winter) of our national discontent.

LFFirst up is a book by a writer that I hope is not unfamiliar to most of you. If he is, do yourself a favor and start reading his articles. It is Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, who writes for the National Review. I realize that this is not a new book, however it is new to me and, well, its my blog. At any rate, as you can probably guess by the book’s title, Goldberg’s main proposition is that liberalism (with a big L) lends itself to, or even creates, fascistic movements. He then goes on to lay out the historical case for why this is, moving from the end of World War I and the rise of Fascism in Italy, through the radicalization of the Progressive/Liberal movement in the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s, up to today with the Left’s focus on political correctness, multiculturalism, and identity politics.

The most important thing that I gained from this book (and why I highly suggest you read it) is that it really turns many of the orthodox views in political history and political systematology on their head. Having spent a good deal of my education (both formal and self-imposed) in these areas, this book was really an “aha” moment for me. It isn’t so much that Goldberg revises history in a way that fits my worldview (although he is often accused of being a “revisionist”), it is that his re-telling of these historical events makes sense when placed in the political context of the late 19th and early 20th Century. For example, he points out, through primary documentation, that Mussolini did not consider himself right-wing at all. He was a died-in-the-wool socialist. National Socialism, hence, was not a right-wing or reactionary political movement, but a primarily socialist one mixed with totalitarian components such as such as worship of the state. Goldberg also does a great job of documenting the war between the communists and National Socialists in both Italy and, especially, Germany.  His point is not that these were two political ideologies combatting each other from opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, it is that these were basically turf wars. They fought over the same piece of ground, ideologically speaking.

Here’s where Goldberg turns over an orthodoxy. Political Science 101 is that there is a spectrum of political ideologies that has the unique characteristic of being circular in nature. Think of a circle that starts and ends at the 6 o’clock position. This is where totalitarianism resides. At the 12 o’clock position is liberalism, it being the opposite of totalitarianism. Now, if you go around the circle to the right from liberalism, you arrive at fascism (or so the “experts” say). If you go to the left, you arrive at communism. However, either way, you have arrived at totalitarianism. The point is that fascism and communism are really the same ideology, just one is “right wing,” the other left. Goldberg points out the fallacy in this argument by his fairly thorough examination of fascism as a socialist movement. To Goldberg, the political spectrum is not a circle, but a line, and both fascism and communism are well to the left of the center.

Goldberg also details the Left’s love affair with National Socialism, and Mussolini in particular, in the United States. Quite frankly, this is not the sort of history you get from your average U.S. History class. He shows how both were looked upon father favorably until the onset of the Second World War. Many on the Left saw National Socialism as the next logical step from the vast amount of planning that had been put in place during the New Deal (a topic we will cover in another review). He also shows how the Left was able to manipulate the view that Fascism was not a left-wing movement, but a right-wing one during the post-War years, in order to distance itself from a political ideology that was now inextricably tied up with genocide.

Goldberg also does a good job of exposing the skeletons in the Left’s closet, such as eugenics. While this topic is generally swept under the rug in your normal history class, Goldberg draws a damning web between progressives and the eugenics movement that was alive and well in the United States until well after the Second World War. He also shows the direct line from the eugenics movement to that bastion of progressive ideology, the “pro-choice” abortion movement.

Quite frankly, I could go on, but my suggestion is that you read this book. Especially if you are as concerned about the direction the Progressives (read that Liberals, the Left, or the Democratic National Committee) are taking this country. As you can guess, Goldberg has taken a good deal of fire from historians in academia (since most of them are part of this very movement, or are at least supportive of its aims) (you can follow much of it, as well as his take on current events here – although the blog isn’t being updated as of August). However, it is hard to combat the prodigious amount of primary documentation he uses, especially on the whole National Socialist topic. This book also does a great job of filling in many of the holes that most have regarding U.S. History, especially this country’s political history during the 20th Century. Again, there is good reason, because it doesn’t make the Progressive movement look very good, and let’s face it, that’s who is writing the history (at least the textbooks).

So, do yourself a favor. Read the book, even if you consider yourself a “liberal”. It is hard to ignore the historical evidence, and it will give you a better understanding of the ideological conflicts in present-day America.

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On Independence

Today, we celebrate the 233rd “birthday” of our country. It is an auspicious day, one that our Founding Fathers felt would be celebrated in perpetuity with games, ceremony, and fireworks. I think that if they were among us today, they would be pleased that the quintessential July 4th celebration is a cookout with family and friends, and then watching fireworks together as a community.

However, one thing that we tend not to do (like so many other times) is ponder the words that propelled that generation – THE Greatest Generation (with all due respect to the other Greatest Generation) to fight a desperate war for five (more) long years against one of the world’s superpowers, and more to the point, against what many considered to be their countrymen. I think that, especially in the times we live in, it is important to hear those words with renewed thoughtfulness:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to altar or abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

There was nothing really earth-shattering about the ideas reflected above when they were written. They had been around for many years, some would say thousands. What was (and remains) earth-shattering was that for the first time, these ideas would become the foundation, the bedrock, of a new society and new form of government.

Many would argue that we, as a country, have never lived up to its promise. In many ways, they are right – our country has failed many times to live up to those ideals. The unfortunate part is that, because of our unique ability for self-flagellation, many people focus so much on the failings of America that they do not (or choose not) to see the good of America. If for nothing else, this country has given mankind the true understanding of the relationship between the individual and the state. We do not exist for the state – the state exists for us. The ideas promulgated in the Declaration resonate throughout the world.

In the times we live in, the words contained in the Declaration have become all the more important. I think that, if Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and the rest of their generation were here among us, they would be very disappointed with us. I suspect many of them would wonder why we let government become a more and more intrusive part of our lives, and how we have allowed a political class to be formed that, for all intents and purposes, does not serve the general Welfare, but their own narrow interests.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

They understood what it was to live in tumultuous times, so I think they would have a special understanding of ours. I also think that they would wonder amongst themselves when we would decide we had had enough. They would probably counsel that the American people had thrown off one yoke already, but that the beauty of the system they left us was that, instead of having to pick up a rifle to change the system, we have but to pick up a pen (or in many cases, an electronic polling booth).

I think that they would scoff at the idea that government has to solve all of our problems for us, rather than us solving them for ourselves. I suspect that they had had quite enough of government solutions, thank you, and would wonder why we are content to allow the same. In their eyes, the government was often by and large the problem, and that any so-called solutions offered by it would lead to more of the same.

 So, on this commemoration of the signing of that most auspicious document, let us all look at it with renewed understanding of its promises and our responsibility to help uphold them. Let us also work with renewed vigor to try and restore our government to its rightful place, not as our lord and master, but as our servant. And let us all try to live our lives, as Americans, as the founders wrote at the end of the Declaration:

And for the support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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Are You Kidding Me?

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Yes, I have been absent for quite awhile. My only excuse is busyness and trying to finish up an MBA degree. Never fear, in just a few short weeks, I will be free to opine on the issues of the day. However, since I am off today, I thought I would take a few minutes to pass along something that happened this morning.

I was watching the news (MSNBC……yeah, I can’t write that with a straight face, it was Fox) this morning, and they had a Representative on talking about the health care issue.

When the anchor asked him about a proposal on the Senate side to tax people’s health care benefits, except those who are union members, he said that union members are covered under collective bargaining agreements, and the government shouldn’t be getting in the middle of agreements between private parties.

I almost spit my coffee out onto the TV! This guy should get some sort of award for having the guts (gall?) to get on the television and say that (especially someone from the Democrat party). Let’s see…..

  • Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
  • T.A.R.P.
  • AIG
  • Chrysler
  • General Motors
  • The “pay czar”
  • “Cap and Trade”

I know, I  know….”but they took tax dollars, so we have a right to tell them what to do!” Really? Our government has a right to abrogate contracts? They have a right to strong arm a corporation into purchasing another? They have the right  to, essentially, determine who wins and who loses in the free market?

I hope that the readers of this blog are not so naive to think that your government did these things to “protect working class Americans”. That rhetoric is as hollow as it is played out…although I must admit the whole class warfare thing has worked out pretty good for Mr. Obama. The government is no more interested in your well-being as it is in giving back the power that we have so willfully given it over the past 75 years or so.

In the end, the health care debate isn’t really about health care…just as much as the “green” debate isn’t really about the environment. It is about power and control. I am sure there are people involved in the debate that mean well. But you know what the saying is about the road to Hell. And I believe that even those who say that the government should socialize medicine (or anything else for that matter) generally really think that is the best solution. But when that person is part of the government, they are going to “solve” problems in a way that increases the government’s power and control.

Power and control are a zero-sum game. If the government increases its power and control, ours as individuals necessarily decreases. There is no magic formula whereby the power over our own lives increases as the government’s power increases as well. It just doesn’t work that way. Governments are why the phrase, “give them an inch, they’ll take a mile” was invented. Out Founding Fathers understood this…that governments (of all kinds) become more tyrannical over time by their very nature.

So when the government tells me its wants to “help” me by reforming health care, please excuse my skepticism, because I seriously doubt that any government “reform”…of whatever area…is going to lead to a solution that is going to increase my control (i,e, freedom and liberty) over my own life.

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Filed under Economy, Freedom, Politics