Thursday, July 23, 2009

ObamaCare: power, ego and control

So, Obama says healthcare reform isn’t about him and it isn’t about politics. It is about a healthcare system that is breaking families, businesses and the economy. At least that’s what he says.

It’s more factual to believe that record deficits, unchecked borrowing and printing dollars like pin-up pictures would have more to do with our sour economy than medical spending. And let’s not forget the mortgage meltdown brought on by the government mandated manipulation of lending practices. But I’m getting off subject.

Even the most avid supporter of Chavez’s northern brother must wonder how Obama can say such things with a straight face.

Of course healthcare reform—better described as socialized medicine—is about him. It was about him when he first mentioned it, it’s about him now and it will remain about him long after it has been decided one way or the other. It is about his power, his ego and his self-righteous attitude, an attitude that bestows upon him and his cronies both the intellect and the moral authority to decide who should be treated, when, how and for how long. It is about being the sole arbiter of life and death, the god-like power Obama so craves and from whence his aspirations arise.

If this weren’t the case he wouldn’t be pushing so hard to see this measure become law before the details become public. If this weren’t the case he wouldn’t have told opposition Blue Dog Democrats, “You’re destroying my presidency.” It is about him, him and an agenda that would make Vladimir Lenin swell with pride.

Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who opposes the current healthcare proposal, doesn’t believe Obama made that statement to the Blue Dogs. Stupak said, “I can’t see him saying that. He’s got too much self-confidence.” But I think Rep. Stupak, like many Americans, just can’t believe a sitting president could be so sinister.

Obama’s persona isn’t one of self-confidence, Rep. Stupak. Self-confidence is virtuous. Arrogance is the more appropriate term for describing Obama’s drive for socialized medicine.

If this plan is so grand there’s no reason why the President himself shouldn’t participate. His lovely and gracious wife Michelle can select the “public option” when her next Pap smear is due. And President Obama should expose his children to the same “healthcare for everyone” that he and his ilk would so blithely impose upon, well, everyone else.

It’s only fair, isn’t it? But don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

Obama is promoting healthcare “reform” legislation that he hasn’t read and, for what it’s worth, is beyond the federal government’s constitutional duties. He is disregarding his oath of office, abridging his duty to his constituents and encouraging Congress to follow suit. Yet he accuses people who have read the proposal of lying about its contents.

Come to think of it, his actions extend beyond simple arrogance. Obama’s actions are tyranny in its purest form.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Climate change doomsayers reach a fevered pitch

I’m a traitor. That’s right, I’ve committed treason. And we’re not talking about the run-of-the-mill, sell-out-your-country kind of treason. That stuff is for amateurs like Benedict Arnold and the Rosenbergs. I’ve sold out the entire planet.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says so, therefore it must be true. The Times certainly wouldn’t print false information now that Jayson Blair is gone.

In fairness to Mr. Krugman his treason charges were aimed at congressional opponents of the cap and trade bill, not at obscure web columnists such as me. But no doubt his target is anyone with the audacity to question man-made climate change and the omnipotent government it promises. Mr. Krugman, climate change science is anything but settled and consensus does not make science.

Mr. Krugman points out that MIT research predict a nine-degree temperature escalation by 2100. That’s a compelling assertion; MIT is a prestigious and respected institution. However, Richard Lindzen takes a different view. He says the fears of man-made global warming are silly and amount to children hiding in dark closets trying to scare each other.

“So what?” you say. “Who is Richard Lindzen anyway?”

Oh, didn’t I mention that he’s a professor of atmospheric science at MIT? Excuse my oversight.

Of course, one dissenting voice could simply be the crazy uncle in the attic. But lunacy isn’t a qualification for a professorship at MIT. Eccentricity maybe. But not lunacy. Professor Lindzen is neither loony nor alone in his assessment.

Ian Plimer is a professor and geologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He says our climate is changing just as it has always changed and there’s nothing humans can do about it. He likens human-induced global warming to a religion whose prophet is Al Gore.

John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, takes a similar view, calling man-made global warming a “scam.” Coleman says that within 20 years the fallacy of today’s climate change argument will be apparent. By then, if we continue trying to “save” the planet, the change in our lifestyles and the damage to our personal and economic liberty will be irreversible.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year declared that global warming was real and the science was settled. However, 650 scientists disagreed, many of whom had previously supported the IPCC position.

Other knowledgeable scientists who don’t believe man’s activities are contributing significantly to climate change include Fred Singer of the University of Virginia, Sherwood Idso of Arizona State and Frederick Seitz, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Speaking of Mr. Seitz, his Petition Project has collected over 31,000 signatures from global warming skeptics. Obviously, merely signing a petition means nothing. Any unqualified person, someone like me, can sign a petition. But Seitz’s petition doesn’t include any old Tom, Dick and Harry.

Each signer is reviewed and well qualified to render opinions based on climate data, including more than 9000 PhDs. These global warming dissenters range in expertise from atmospheric and environmental sciences to physics, chemistry and general engineering.

The point isn’t what I know or don’t know about climate science. The point is that plenty of intelligent, qualified scientists don’t buy the “consensus” of their peers. That means the science isn’t settled at all and the consensus could well take us in a direction we don’t want to go.

Cap and trade forces us to sacrifice our individual and economic liberty to combat a problem that may not exist and is even less likely to be our fault. And it’s based on forecasting temperatures 100 years down the road when we can’t even predict the temperature in Manhattan two weeks from next Tuesday.

Indeed there is scientific opposition to the idea of man-made global warming. Those who claim otherwise are the deniers. They may be the ones guilty of treason, too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Good work has its enemies

It is said that no good deed goes unpunished. That adage is holding true for Crisis Pregnancy Centers. In fact, some CPC opponents are downright maniacal.

The National Organization of Women has accused CPCs of using scare tactics on pregnant women and disseminating false information. They claim CPC volunteers have harassed, intimidated and manipulated women, even to the point of lying about pregnancy test results so clients won’t seek abortions afterwards.

And get this, NOW says the CPC’s prime interest is sharing Christ and preventing abortions. I guess that’s meant to be an insult. But it’s sort of like insulting a little boy by saying his main interests are playing baseball and riding bikes.

It’s hard to believe that a ministry as simple, straightforward and uncontroversial as the CPCs could draw such venom from anyone, especially a group that claims to put women’s health first. Of course, NOW isn’t about women or their health. NOW is about preserving abortion-on-demand at any cost.

I suppose their shrill fabrications should be expected; it’s exactly what Jesus Christ promised. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you,” Christ said in John 15:18. And in Matthew 10:24, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

However, despite Christ’s promises of struggle, there’s another Scriptural passage that provides comfort for CPC workers who face unfounded criticisms, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Good works may not go unpunished in this life. But they don’t go unrewarded in the next one, either.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I agree with Pelosi? Yaaaahhhh!

News flash: Michael Jackson remains dead. Now, should the US Congress pass a resolution honoring the late pop star? Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) thinks so. She has introduced a resolution to honor the “King of Pop” on the House floor. But there’s a snag; she has little support.

Whatever Michael Jackson was or wasn’t in terms of being an entertainer, a dysfunctional father and an all-star weirdo, he was nothing if not divisive. In that area he has indeed found life after death. Jackson is dividing the House of Representatives and it’s not along party lines, or even racial lines.

For instance, when the House held a moment of silence following Jackson’s death many representatives walked out of the chamber. Democrats have expressed little interest in Lee’s resolution and she has but one co-sponsor thus far. Heck, even the Congressional Black Caucus doesn’t see fit to honor Michael Jackson.

Whatever you think of Michael Jackson the icon, Michael Jackson the man is not one who should be honored on Capital Hill. Congress should have better things to do than waste time debating an utterly worthless resolution honoring this contrary figure. And this is where I have to (this is going to hurt) join sides with Nancy Pelosi.

Essentially Pelosi said that the resolution was a waste of Congress’ time and would divert attention from more pressing matters. Considering that Pelosi’s legislative concerns include dictating our medical treatments and forcing higher energy bills on every productive American, a diversion may not be that bad. Even so, I have to agree with Nancy that the House floor isn’t the place for a resolution honoring Michael Jackson.

There, I’ve said it! I agreed with Nancy Pelosi on July 9, 2009. I’ve even put it in writing so liberals can hold it over my head from now until kingdom come. And although she’s (ugh!) right in this case, at least in part, it still leaves me felling hopelessly violated.

Pardon me while I go wash my hands.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time for the NBA to “look like” America

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has again been overturned by the very court on which she seeks to serve. That makes four out of six reviews in which the high court has reversed her opinions.

This case involved four white, New Haven, CT firefighters who were denied due promotions because no minorities scored high enough on the required test. Sotomayor’s ruling supported the town’s decision. She held that preparation and achievement should take a back seat to quota systems and racial bean counting. The Supreme Court, however, disagreed.

There was a time when I would’ve hailed the Court’s decision as a step toward the truly colorblind society that everyone demands in theory but scorns in practice. My mind has now changed. Preferences and quota systems based on race, age, or disability are entirely appropriate in certain situations.

With that in mind I forfeit my college eligibility and declare myself available for the 2010 NBA draft. What’s more, I expect to be picked. Otherwise a discrimination lawsuit is coming. And I’ve counted all the beans necessary to prove my claim, especially if Sotomayor is confirmed.

In 2009 only 18-percent of NBA players were white while whites have averaged about 75-percent of the total population over the last three census estimates. Blacks, conversely, are 12-percent of the population. Yet 77-percent of NBA players are black. Isn’t that appalling?

The NBA doesn’t “look like” America. It needs more white players in order to be racially balanced and representative of the population. Let change begin with me.

“But Hager, you can’t jump,” you argue.

Well, I’m not fast or quick either. I also can’t dribble or sink three-pointers and I’d probably curl up in a ball if I had to shoot a free throw in front of 15,000 screaming fans. So what?

“You’re not qualified for the NBA,” you continue. “You have nothing for Lebron James. You’d be embarrassed.”

That’s quite true. Again, so what? Being unqualified is a prime qualification in the world of racial quotas. And I can ease my shame with each trip to the bank.

“Wise up, Hager. You’ll be forty-five before draft day.”

Yes I will. No NBA team will draft an earthbound 45-year-old who hasn’t played competitive basketball at any level in 30 years. But age discrimination is also a fertile field for litigation, and my lack of vertical elevation is a disability.

With the right team of lawyers there’s no reason why this case can’t become a class action suit. Let’s achieve diversity. Not only can the white, the aged and the gravitationally challenged join the suit, but other races, too.

Hispanics and Latinos are 15-percent of the U.S. population but only 3-percent of NBA players. And what about Asians? Asians are 4-percent of the population but only 1-percent of NBA players. If Yao Ming’s injury forces his retirement, Asians can join the suit, too. Let me explain.

The way I see it, any group can join the suit as long as they’re underrepresented in the NBA by three or more percentage points related to their representation in the overall population. If three percent is a proper margin of error in polling data it should work for bean counting, too.

For the NBA to achieve racial parity and properly represent American diversity its players should be roughly 72-percent white, 12-percent Hispanic, 9-percent black and 1-percent Asian.

Oh, you don’t think people will pay $50 a ticket to watch the pitiful product such racial manipulation will undoubtedly produce? Neither do I. Too bad, isn’t it? Looks like the federal government will have to nationalize the NBA.

This most certainly sounds ridiculous, especially the part about me joining the NBA. But it’s the racial quota reality. All I’ve done is provide a mirror image of such programs.

Now, how much of a signing bonus should I demand?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A response to a Tea Party detractor

In an attempt to promote the Independence Day Tea Party I posted a short invitation on an Internet forum dedicated to Lincoln County, NC. I received the following reply from an anonymous respondent:

“Sorry, I was so busy that day and could not attend. I have a family, and a life to live and enjoy. Due the real purpose of the 4th of July Celebration, I can do that. Unlike your fan club of supporters, it has nothing to do with the real meaning of Independence Day.”

Really? Actually, you've missed the entire point. Everything in your post points to you. "I" was too busy. "I" could not attend. "I" have a family. "I" have a life to live. You have 364 days to do exactly what you want to do, thanks to what the Founding Fathers accomplished in Philadelphia in 1776 and on through Yorktown in 1781. Yet you can't spare a few minutes to take a stand for liberty, if indeed you understand the term?

You, and others like you, may someday find that you have “zero” days to do what you want to do, and no private property or wealth to do it on or with.

Just so you'll know, here's what a guy like me did on Independence Day. A guy who--you apparently believe--has neither a life nor a purpose, and therefore plenty of time to “waste” on such an event.

I spent nearly three hours at my church, at a project I helped create, praying to Almighty God for the present and future condition of America. Or, if you prefer, I prayed to He whom Thomas Jefferson referred to as “Our Creator.” I asked His divine guidance, that we will shun dependence on government, defined as the odd view that freedom means the opportunity to appoint rulers who will take from one American the fruits of their labor and grant them to another. I asked that He will grant Americans the spirit of liberty that burned so brightly in our Founders.

With that task complete I went to a small cemetery at the intersection of Brevard Place Road and Old Plank Road in eastern Lincoln County. Major General Joseph Graham is buried there. He served the Colonial Army during the American Revolution and was wounded in battle near Charlotte, NC in defense of the “grounds first consecrated by the glorious Declaration of American Independence.” Those words, barely legible 173 years after his death in 1836, are engraved on his stone.

I don’t know that God allows knowledge of such things in His glorious kingdom. But in case He does, I think I can spare a few minutes of my time to remember what Major General Graham did to establish this nation. If, in his eternal rest, Gen. Graham is allowed some degree of satisfaction in one obscure man’s remembrance it is certainly no waste of my time.

After visiting the General--and offering an apology for what an apathetic, selfish people have done with what he fought to attain--I went to the Charlotte Tea Party. While there I spoke to several people who are interested in returning America to its Constitutional principles. I agreed with some, debated with others and discovered both strength and flaw in the purpose, which is to be expected with anything touched by man’s hand. What we do will never be perfect.

Overall, the mood at the Tea Party was somewhat subdued, perhaps more so that I would have liked. A little more revolutionary spirit would’ve been welcome. But above all the crowd was quite respectful. I saw no vulgar slogans on T-shirts and heard little profanity. What did occur was tame compared to what you’ll hear on Comedy Central. The participants didn’t trash the park. There were no drunks in evidence and I saw no one hauled away in handcuffs, which is par for the course at a Leftist oriented rally.

After leaving the Tea Party I still found time to go swimming with my boys and have my family over for barbeque.

Yes, I think I have a pretty fair understanding of Independence Day. I realize that it isn’t all about me, just as I realize that other American holidays aren’t about me. Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Thanksgiving Day; they aren’t about me. Christmas and Easter surely aren’t about me.

Independence Day is about a group of people determined to be free from tyranny. In that pursuit they declared independence from the mightiest empire that existed in their world. They fought in faith and valor and established a new direction for mankind. One in which a citizen has the expressed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If I can’t surrender a few hours of my time to reinforce those principles, even in some small way, then I have no one to blame but myself when I watch those principles continue to decline.

From your comment I doubt that you have an understanding of liberty, or the purpose for which America was born. May the God of our Creation instill in you the message of freedom and independence He placed in our Founding Fathers. Indeed may He instill that message in all of us, before it’s too late.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A look through Obama’s crystal ball

Barack Obama promised change for America. He went to the White House with an agenda that had been partially concealed in the flowery slogans “hope and change” and “Yes we can.” But to the observant, the promise was more government, less liberty and an ideology that makes Jimmy Carter seem like Ronald Reagan.

Now everyone can peer through Obama’s crystal ball and see his vision for America’s economic future. It isn’t hopeful; it’s change for the worse. He wants America to emulate California.

He has praised California’s history of “energy efficient” mandates. California is producing jobs, according to Obama. And their economy is on pace with the rest of the country while consuming less energy.

Why is it that every time Obama speaks about producing or “saving” jobs the unemployment rate rises? And California’s economy is keeping up the rest of the country? Congratulations, I guess.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “What’s wrong with California? It’s warm, sunny. It has big trees, mountains and Hollywood.” All true. But California’s economy is nowhere near as attractive. Reasons abound why we should want no part of Obama’s “California Dreaming.”

First, Obama’s portraits of California are either misleading or downright false. The state’s budget is $26 billion in the red and their credit rating is the worst in the country. There’ve been no dreaded tax reductions, yet California has seen a steep drop in revenue. That’s because less people are working and more people are leaving.

California’s unemployment rate is 11.5-percent, fifth highest in the country and 2.5 times that of Nebraska and North Dakota. One-fifth of their manufacturing jobs had disappeared before the current recession began and their “dot com” boom was a bubble.

The state has suffered from the housing bust, too. Open space and anti-sprawl initiatives previously drove housing prices sky-high. Prices have now plummeted, eliminating more than $1 trillion dollars in private wealth. And yet homes remain unaffordable for most people. The great economic model that Obama would have America imitate is driving people out of the state.

California has become the land of population flight. People are leaving for other states faster than they’re coming in. And it’s not an anomaly; it’s a trend.

What’s driving people out of the Golden State? It's a combination of things. Traffic congestion doesn’t help. An eroding school system and unchecked illegal alien infiltration are problems, too. But among the best reasons to leave California is their exorbitant tax rates. State income taxes are among the highest in the nation and property taxes on a three-bedroom house can run $4300. But the state’s broke. Go figure.

You might also recall California’s blackout and brownout problems, which were blamed on the state’s deregulation of utilities. However, wholesale energy prices were deregulated while retail prices and power production were capped and controlled. Power companies were forced to buy electricity from other states, on the open market, and sell at a loss on a controlled market. Some deregulation.

This government manufactured situation prompted then-Governor Gray Davis to say, “Never again can we allow out-of-state profiteers to hold Californians hostage.” Better to be held hostage by the state, I suppose. Davis even threatened to commandeer the utilities and run them himself. Now, doesn’t that remind you of the Obama administration’s acquisitions in the automotive and financial sectors?

This is Barack Obama’s vision of economic prosperity? Contentment is high levels of government manipulation, rising unemployment, financial insolvency and an exodus of productive people. Housing prices should drop precipitously while remaining over-inflated, taxes should rise and every state should welcome an unbridled influx of illegal aliens. Oh, and we’ll enjoy these benefits with the occasional electrical brownout. This is preferable to liberty and self-determination.

That’s California as it exists today, Obama’s shining example for what America should be. Mr. President, put away your crystal ball.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Character matters, regardless of party

Another politician has been caught with his pants down--literally--and it’s becoming tiresome. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is the latest to think the grass is greener on the other side of fidelity. So, instead of exploring a run at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination he’ll be playing pinochle with John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer and David Vitter.

However, Sanford’s adultery isn’t the prime reason to dismiss his political viability. Even the staunchest of evangelicals knows that an affair doesn’t necessarily prevent someone from fulfilling a governmental obligation. Look at Israel’s King David.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba. He then manipulated his subordinates in a failed attempt to conceal his transgression. Eventually, his deceptions would have Bathsheba’s husband eliminated.

Talk about political intrigue. It seems our apples aren’t falling far from an age-old tree. Yet David retained his throne and to this day remains one of Israel’s most revered leaders.

It’s up to South Carolinians, the Sanford family and Sanford himself to determine his fate as governor. Neither the national media nor the main political parties should make that call. Even so, Sanford’s White House aspirations disappeared on a flight to Argentina, and not because of adultery alone.

Personal character does matter. It is indispensable in assessing presidential timber. Sanford’s indiscretions felled his tree. Beyond violating his wife, children and staff, Sanford violated his office. He vanished without properly delegating his authority or communicating his location. That’s selfish and irresponsible.

Elected officials are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sound harsh? Not at all. Thomas Jefferson once said, “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.” Contemporary politicos may argue with that point, but I’ll side with Jefferson.

Mark Sanford may be a private person. But Gov. Sanford is public property and he owed South Carolina better than he gave.

However, a word to the wise is in order. Democrats should tread lightly in using Sanford’s infidelity as a political tool. They’ll only end up with egg on their faces.

Bill Clinton had numerous affairs while Governor of Arkansas. Yet Democrats defended him to the White House and beyond. It was all about sex, if you’ll recall, and everyone lies about sex. Thus Democrats have no case against Sanford’s adultery. They must either defend his infidelity as irrelevant, like they did Clinton’s, or admit that adultery matters to them only when it’s politically advantageous.

Conservatives do believe that Sanford’s unfaithfulness--to both his wife and the governorship--matters. We’re not ready to sweep it away for convenience’s sake. Yet it’s disappointing to see his star flame out, not just for him but for the republic overall. He’s one of the few governors who properly understands the relationship between the states and the federal government.

Most governors grovel for federal funds, even though all federal funding is taken from their states to begin with. And they’ll gladly accept any federal diktat to get their paws on the money. Sanford correctly recognized that the “stimulus” money Washington promised had rightly belonged to his state first and could be used as the state saw fit. It is the proper federal-state relationship, and few there are with the guts to support it. That’s why Sanford was a rising conservative star. Not anymore.

For conservatism to regain its popularity, which the GOP has effectively squandered, its proponents must remain consistent. We didn’t excuse Bill Clinton, Jim McGreevy, Elliot Spitzer, or John Edwards. All were exposed and examined. Sanford is no exception regardless of whether or not he remains in office.

If we don’t demand character in our public officials it indicates a lack of character in our private lives. We shouldn’t excuse politicians who dishonor their office. And if we learn nothing else from all this philandering we should learn this: we cannot and should not look to politicians--who can’t even keep their pants up--to solve our problems.

We’re all human and humans fail. But it’s high time we established character as a prerequisite for public office. It’s high time we make it a part of our lives, too.