Sunday, October 23, 2011

America's useful idiots cheer their attackers

Imperfections notwithstanding, humans are a rather forgiving bunch. We've been known to forgive people who've stolen from us, damaged our property, or attacked us outright. We've forgiven con artists, robbers, and swindlers of all stripes. The more magnanimous among us can even forgive their rapist, or their loved one's murderer. A big heart is essential to granting absolution in lieu of vengeance. Therefore, when such forgiveness is accorded, the gracious party rightly earns public respect.

To revere a forgiving victim is one thing. But what would we think of someone who encouraged their assailant? What would we think of a woman who cheered her attacker during a sexual assault? How about someone who applauds while their neighbor is being murdered, or roots for the thief who's burglarizing their home, or praises the thug who's vandalizing their property? We'd think them foolish, if not tetched.

"C'mon," you say, "no one is stupid enough to cheer their attacker."

You could lose the farm on that bet. Blindly crediting people for common sense and rationality is a risky proposition. Americans regularly cheer their attackers, especially when the consequences from the attack aren't immediately perceptible or experienced.

Washington has been herding America into centralized despotism for generations and the Obama administration is quickening the pace. Eventually, we'll be left groveling before government for our every need, or begging from the foreign nations to whom our so-called leaders have indebted us. Who would cheer the charlatans who are selling us down the river? Listen to the
audience at an Obama rally.

Whenever President Obama proposes increased federal spending or another bankrupting entitlement program his supporters shower him with adulation. He promises a few hundred billion dollars for "shovel ready" jobs, or "green energy," or to keep teachers, police, and firemen on the job, and his audience glorifies him like a redeemer, as if he were riding a donkey down a road paved with palm branches. Such was the case when the President touted his $447 billion jobs proposal during a speech at North Carolina State University.

The President invariably claims his spending initiatives will be "paid for." The rhetoric is deceptive, if not a full-blown lie. Washington is overspending by $1.5 trillion annually, has accumulated a debt ten times that amount, and holds long-term benefit obligations that
exceed our total national assets. No federal spending is "paid for." Every dime is borrowed against the future incomes of the people who cheer Obama, like the students at N.C. State. Obama pledged debt to them and their children and they showered him with love and adulation in return.

Obama is sinking the country even further into unsustainable programs and unimaginable debts. His attack on our fiscal future is a repeated punch in the gut. And the "useful idiots" cheer him wildly, as if he is delivering us from evil.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protests capitalism and liberty

Opposition to crony capitalism, we're told, is motivating Occupy Wall Street. The protesters, we're told, are simply fed up with a business cycle wherein politicians push legislation to benefit large corporations, receiving campaign cash and other perks in return. In this the age of TARP bailouts, stimulus packages, and quantitative easing the complaint sounds reasonable, if we accept what we're told.

Many large corporations are unquestionably in bed with the federal government. Strange as it sounds, onerous government regulations offer some benefits to big businesses. For instance, regulations hinder start-up companies, preventing competition. Established companies possess the regulatory and legal experience, along with the political connections, necessary to navigate government's red tape. Small companies struggle just to gain a toehold, much less keep pace. Therefore, large companies have opportunity to bury small competitors beneath bureaucratic compliance and regulatory paperwork, and it's easier than direct competition.

However, a longing for free market competition isn't driving Occupy Wall Street. A movement dedicated to restoring market forces to our economy and breaking the bond between government and business already exists. If the occupiers actually supported such worthwhile goals they would ally the TEA Party. Yet TEA Party activists are routinely
demeaned as racist, sexist, and obsessively phobic.

Pundits can
compare Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to the TEA Party if they want. But the proof is in the pudding; occupiers have little in common with TEA Partiers. OWS may indeed hold corporate welfare in disdain, as does the TEA Party. But the similarity ends there. TEA Partiers also oppose the personal welfare state, the entitlement mentality that perpetuates said state, and the lack of personal responsibility that forms its foundation. Occupiers revel in entitlement, irresponsibility, envy, and wealth redistribution.

The occupations represent a segment of Americans diametrically opposite the TEA Party, a segment that is either oblivious to its surroundings or can't comprehend what it sees. Their motivations are similar to the demonstrators we've seen in European socialist democracies, notably Greece and Britain, where the economies crumble under entitlement's weight while the marchers demand even more.

Huddled in their de facto communes, the occupiers have no qualms with government choosing winners and losers, or funding more entitlement programs. They consider social spending obligatory and student loans are a basic human right. Punitive taxation on the "1-percent" is a matter of economic justice and everyone should have the job they like at the wage they desire. In short, occupiers expect Utopian results from more of the same irresponsible government spending and regulatory burdens that created the current budgetary and economic chaos.

The "99-percenters" aren't marching for freedom; they're clueless on the concept. Private property rights are a cornerstone of personal liberty. Yet they are anathema to the occupiers' worldview. The New York protesters see no contradiction in
squatting on private property, dishonoring the desires of the owner, and refusing to recognize the property owner's legal and moral right to tell the occupiers to pack up their autumn of love and head for the hills. Despite an agreement that zoned Zuccotti Park for public use, the park remains privately owned. Occupiers can chant, shout, and drum about freedom until the cows come home, but it means nothing until they've shed their open contempt for property rights.

The occupiers just can't grasp the contradiction in marching for freedom while demanding more government. As previously stated, Occupy Wall Street is about government growth. The only way to achieve their goals is to centralize authority, redistribute wealth, expand the entitlement attitude, and trust in a false promise. In the name of freedom the Wall Street occupiers are demanding cradle-to-grave collectivism. They're serving government at the expense of liberty, both for their fellow citizens and themselves.

The concept is unpopular, but you can judge people -- or in this case, a gathering of people -- by the company they attract. A quick glance at organizations aligning with OWS reads like a who's who of collectivism, from labor unions and to the
Communist Party USA. Some of the world's most repressive regimes are lending support, too. A general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard endorsed the OWS movement as a means to end Western capitalism. And Venezuela's socialist dictator Hugo Chavez has nothing but kind words for the occupiers.

Doubtful the typical occupier is a genuine, card-carrying communist. Most occupiers would likely balk at the idea of promoting communism, or even socialism. But progressivism, labor unions, militant strongmen, and dictators don't line up on the side of human liberty, and each has cast its lot with OWS. Can we then conclude that authoritarians see Occupy Wall Street's true nature much clearer than do the occupiers themselves? I think so.

The "99-percent" are a deluded bunch. First, 99-percent of our country isn't
consumed with class envy or "economic justice," however it's defined. Second, OWS protesters are simply the fertilizer from which state control of our economy, our culture, and the population overall will continue to grow. Occupy Wall Street is an instrument, a means to an end, with the typical occupier personifying everything Vladimir Lenin could've wanted in a useful idiot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dick Durbin tests the Water Balloon Theory

No one likes high bank fees, especially in an era of bailouts, Wall Street occupations, and Washington deciding which banks survive. So a $5 monthly debit card fee creates an ideal situation for a manipulative politician, and Sen. Dick Durbin is ready to reap the populist hay.

Bank of America initiated the $5 debit card fee and you'd have thought they'd reinstated debtor's prison. No sooner was the fee announced than
Durbin pounced.

Bank of America customer, vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank. Find yourself a bank or credit union that won't gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day. What Bank of America has done is an outrage.

Did Durbin forget that Bank of America never charged a monthly debit card fee until he legislated "fairness" into the banking industry? No, he didn't forget. He's just a hypocrite. Then, to cover his trail, this dim bulb encouraged a bank run that would, if fulfilled, result in Bank of America's insolvency.

Yesterday the federal government bailed out "too big to fail" Bank of America with 45-billion taxpayer dollars. Today Dick Durbin has declared B of A expendable. I don't know which is more insulting: the inconsistency, or Durbin's belief that Bank of America customers need his prompt to seek a new bank if they find the debit card fee egregious.

How can Durbin feign such self-righteous indignation over the debit card fee anyway? He
created it. Durbin's amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation placed an artificial cease-and-desist order on the debit card fees banks once charged. Bank of America predictably sought new revenue streams to replace those Durbin's amendment disallows. It's the natural action for an institution whose revenue is disrupted.

When a business is squeezed in one area it will redirect its quest for profits, a phenomenon clearly illustrated in my Water Balloon Theory. If you fill a long balloon with water and compress one area, the water will be forced to a new location. No matter how hard you squeeze, you can't contain the water in one place. It will always move to a spot of lesser resistance. The only way to stop the process is to compress the balloon until it bursts.

Sen. Durbin tried to disprove my Water Balloon Theory, but he failed. His attempt to constrain the bank's fee structure simply forced those fees to a new location. At Bank of America the bulge appeared in the form of a $5 monthly charge for debit card use.

The Water Balloon Theory remains intact. Exerting political pressure on businesses will push their hunt for profits in a new direction. Continually increasing said pressure will cause businesses to fail, just like a balloon. We should apply this theory whenever we're tempted to demand congressional action on a perceived unfairness. Otherwise we, like Durbin, will end up all wet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki's death spurs 5th Amendment debate

Anwar al-Awlaki's death has stirred an interesting debate. Can we celebrate his departure as one less al-Qaeda operative? Or, should we lament the killing of an American citizen abroad as another step on the slippery slope toward domestic tyranny?

The slippery slope argument doesn't lack precedent. Governments are notorious for targeting their own citizens. Nazi Germany systematically eliminated Jewish citizens, Stalin's Soviet Union imposed a famine on Ukraine, and Chairman Moa oversaw millions of Chinese deaths. Just this year Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Libya have trained government guns on their own people, killing them without trial. There's no denying the dangers of a government that recognizes no bounds.

However, the Constitution's Fifth Amendment forces our government to recognize boundaries, specifically that no one can be deprived of life without due process. So, how does the Fifth Amendment square with Awlaki's death? Despite living in Yemen, Awlaki was American born and a U.S. citizen. Does his death establish the
assassination of American citizens as standard federal procedure? One such death certainly doesn't place our government on par with history's most brutal regimes. But there are questions. Liberties and safeguards lost or surrendered are seldom regained.

Awlaki was an inflammatory critic of the United States. If he can be denied due process and killed because government leaders don't approve of his positions, could it lead to other Americans becoming government targets? If so, we're in grave danger. Pro-life activists and Second Amendment purists could be declared enemies of the state. Advocates for state's rights and a limited federal government would surely run afoul of the central authority. Should they be eliminated?

Anwar al-Awlaki's activities were certainly detestable. He was an al-Qaeda recruiter and jihad preacher who incited radicalism against the United States. But the Fifth Amendment question remains. Awlaki was an American citizen and his life was snuffed without due process of law. There've been other notorious Americans -- Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and the Unabomber -- who weren't killed without trial. What makes Awlaki different from them?

American citizens retain their constitutional protections whether they're home or abroad. Numerous Americans have engaged in questionable activities while overseas, including former President
Jimmy Carter. None became missile targets. In fact, not even al-Qaeda operatives in the United States have been denied due process, as Awlaki allegedly was. Two Minnesota women suspected of raising funds and recruiting fighters for the Somali jihad group al-Shabab were recently arrested, not bombed.

However, one key factor has thus far been ignored. One of the central government's fundamental functions is to address threats to the citizenry. If government lacks either the ability or the will to defend the nation it cannot maintain the security necessary for liberty to flourish. Therefore, common sense establishes a line beyond which threats to security must be eliminated, even when posed by U.S. citizens. Anwar al-Awlaki crossed that line.

There are stark differences between mere rabble-rousers and someone like Awlaki. The fact that Awlaki left the United States doesn't mark him for death. But he left his country for a region where a recognized enemy is known to reside for the purpose of joining and aiding their cause. Essentially, Awlaki chose to become an enemy fighter.

Awlaki actively recruited al-Qaeda operatives with his radical doctrines and sermons. His résumé includes the Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas Bomber, and the failed Times Square bomb plot. No doubt a rouge government could manipulate evidence to cast suspicions on someone it would prefer to eliminate. But there's no need for cloak and dagger conspiracies in Awlaki's case. His decision to become a foreign enemy made him a legitimate target.

Anwar al-Awlaki's fiery departure didn't compromise our Fifth Amendment right to due process. The deaths of Randy Weaver's wife and David Koresh at the hands of federal authorities were much more troublesome to the cause of liberty than Awlaki's.

The dividing line between an imaginary enemy of the state, someone targeted solely for speech or activities the state doesn't approve, and a genuine enemy of the nation is quite clear. If we fail to see that truth it's simply because we choose to ignore it.

Debating the strategic value in Awlaki's death is an endless argument. But he wasn't killed because he didn't blindly support the federal government. He wasn't killed because he criticized America's foreign or domestic policies, or because his religion was strange, or because he was a quirky hermit on a mountaintop. Awlaki was killed because he left his country to voluntarily join an identified enemy whose hostilities toward the United States are well-documented. He was a legitimate target and the Fifth Amendment needn't shed a tear at his wake.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The curtain rises on Obama Theatre

When the curtain went up on Obama Theatre's latest presentation, staged at a town hall meeting sponsored by, the performance was the same as it has always been. A theatre critic would describe Obama's act as tired, tedious, and repetitive. The President delivered the same stale routines and predictable themes upon which he's long relied. There was nothing new, nothing creative. His message was inescapably vacant and laughably sophomoric.

Yet one scene stood out, wherein an obvious
cast member sheepishly asked Obama, "Will you raise my taxes?"

Shouldn't we expect more dynamic dialogue from an Obama production? And such a tepid delivery on the part of the supporting actor! Where's the feeling? Where's the enunciation? Even a theatrical novice realizes that persuading Obama to raise taxes is like persuading Lindsay Lohan to party, Charlie Sheen to toot his own horn, or Pamela Anderson to take off her clothes.

The tax masochist recited his lines and relinquished the spotlight, which is common for co-stars in an Obama production. He was simply another supporting actor in the class envy song and dance Obama has performed on every stage short of Broadway. The leading man -- President Obama, defender of the powerless and champion of the downtrodden -- boasts a substantial résumé of similar performances. The town hall meeting was just his latest credit.

When Obama plays the advocate for affordable housing there's a
Henrietta Hughes in the audience. When Obama needs to demonstrate his powerful personality a smitten supporter swoons like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert. When Obama bullies the rich about paying their "fair share" a wealthy capitulator begs for a tax hike. And we're supposed to believe these displays aren't staged? Obama and his entourage of conspirators are as natural as FD&C Yellow No. 10 and as predictable as a date with Jenna Jameson.

The Obama Show grows more tiresome with each performance, especially when it includes wealthy stooges begging pathetically for an opportunity to pay higher taxes. For the umpteenth time, any rich person who thinks they own too little stock in the federal treasury can write a check to Uncle Sam any time they choose, and for any amount they deem fair. The fact is that Obama's affluent fawners aren't at all interested in
paying more taxes. But they don't mind everyone else paying a little extra to support the Obama agenda.

Obama and his interchangeable troupe of supporting characters are playing us for suckers and we should be up in arms. Yet a goodly number or our countrymen gobble up this indigestible tripe and beg for an encore.

The curtain goes up on Obama Theatre every time a wealthy person begs the President for the privilege of making greater contributions to the IRS. The intent is to convince Americans that surrendering their production to big government is both sensible and patriotic. But each dramatization is pure fiction, staged for the immature and gullible patron.