Archive for February, 2009

Here’s Another “Stimulus” for California

From an Instapundit Reader:

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) hosted “Congress at your Corner” from 9:30 to 10:30 this morning. The meetings are “part of McNerney’s effort to reach out to and hear from citizens in the 11th District.” I have never gone to anything like this before, but decided to go to express my displeasure about the stimulus package. Keep in mind that this is NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. The meeting was held in a local bagel cafe, and I was happy to see that the place was packed with probably about 50-75 people. The vast majority of them were extremely angry about the stimulus package. It started out with him taking questions from the crowd, but then they started a line for people to talk to him privately because things were getting “out of control”. Several people then asked if he would consider having a town hall style meeting with microphones, etc. We’ll see if that happens. I’m not betting on it.

During the first part, several people asked if he had read the stimulus package. At first he tried to ignore them, but eventually admitted he hadn’t. (No surprise there.)

Several people came with signs similar to what you see at the protest rallies.

When he started talking to people individually, he obviously did not want anyone else to hear. That did not go over well with the crowd. They were there to find out what he thought, and he wasn’t allowing that to happen.

When I got my time with him, I explained to him that even people who make $150k in Northern Cal. are not “rich” and should not be taxed as if they were. (A 1400 sq ft, 40 year old home here goes for over half a million, even after the housing slump. Then you add in real estate taxes, state income taxes, 10% sales tax, gas prices, utility costs, etc.) I also expressed my concern that about half the people in the country now pay no income taxes, so there is overwhelming incentive for them to keep voting for democrats and therefore higher taxes for the rest of us. He told me that he thought tax rates should go up for the very rich and that the top marginal tax rate should be 90%. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I asked in a voice that many in the room could hear if he really meant 90%, and he said yes. Several people asked me after my turn was over if they heard correctly what he said, and were amazed when I said yes.

I also asked how a congress that was very critical of republican ethics and vowed “change” could justify letting Rangel, Dodd, and Murtha keep their committee chairmanships with their obvious ethical issues. His response was that Republican’s ethics were worse because of their “unjustified aggressive war”.

This is just my small example of the anger and frustration of people in liberal Northern California.

I’m sure that the government representatives from California will be taking in enough illegal kickbacks that won’t be reported on their taxes that such a tax hike wouldn’t effect them at all.

The taxpayers aren’t happy and are getting MORE unhappy by the minute. $30 million for a California marsh mouse? High speed rail between LA and Las Vegas to be paid for by everybody else? $1.5 million for stamping out prostitution in Daytona? You ever tried to drive a whore away by waving money in his/her face?

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Stimulus to Be Felt By April 1

WASHINGTON – It took only weeks for the notoriously slow Congress to pass the $787 billion economic stimulus package. President Barack Obama signed it into law less than one month into his presidency.

So when should most people hope to start seeing the benefits of tax cuts in it?

By April 1, according to the President.

How appropriate. The entire “stimulus” package was a pork-packed joke, so having a tiny bit of our own freaking money graciously returned to us (woohoo! $13 a WEEK!) on April 1 seems about right.

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Can a Free People Willingly Choose Servitude? Sure Looks That Way.

Great article today in American Thinker: How Democracies Become Tyrannies

In the Republic, two young men, Glaucon and Adeimantus, accompany the much older Socrates on a journey of discovery into the nature of the individual soul and its connection to the harmony of the state. During the course of their adventure, as the two disciples demonstrate greater maturity and self-control, they are gradually exposed to deeper and more complex teachings regarding the relationship between virtue, self-sufficiency, and happiness. In short, the boys begin to realize that justice and happiness in a community rests upon the moral condition of its citizens. This is what Socrates meant when he said: “The state is man writ large.”

Near the end of the Republic Socrates decides to drive this point home by showing Adeimantus what happens to a regime when its parents and educators neglect the proper moral education of its children. In the course of this chilling illustration Adeimantus comes to discover a dark and ominous secret: without proper moral conditioning a regime’s “defining principle” will be the source of its ultimate destruction. For democracy, that defining principle is freedom. According to Socrates, freedom makes a democracy but freedom also eventually breaks a democracy.

For Socrates, democracy’s “insatiable desire for freedom and neglect of other things” end up putting it “in need of a dictatorship.” The short version of his theory is that the combination of freedom and poor education in a democracy render the citizens incapable of mastering their impulses and deferring gratification. The reckless pursuit of freedom leads the citizens to raze moral barriers, deny traditional authority, and abandon established methods of education. Eventually, this uninhibited quest for personal freedom forces the public to welcome the tyrant. Says Socrates: “Extreme freedom can’t be expected to lead to anything but a change to extreme slavery, whether for a private individual or for a city.”

Adeimantus wants Socrates to explain what kind of man resembles the democratic city. In other words, he wants to know how “democratic man” comes to be and what happens to make this freedom loving man eventually beg for a tyrant. Socrates clarifies that the democratic man starts out as the son of an “oligarchic” father — a father who is thrifty and self-disciplined. The father’s generation is more concerned with wealth than freedom. This first generation saves, invests, and rarely goes in for conspicuous consumption.[i]

The father’s pursuit of wealth leaves him unwilling and unable to give attention to his son’s moral development. The father focuses on business and finance and ignores the business of family. The son then begins to associate with “wild and dangerous creatures who can provide every variety of multicolored pleasure in every sort of way.” These Athenian precursors of the hippies begin to transform the son’s oligarchic nature into a democratic one. Because the young man has had no moral guidance, his excessive desire for “unnecessary pleasures” undermines “the citadel” of his soul. Because the “guardians” of the son’s inner citadel — truth, restraint, wisdom — are absent, there is nothing within him to defend against the “false and boastful words and beliefs that rush up and occupy this part of him.”

A 1960s revolution in the son’s soul purges the last remaining guardians of moderation and supplants new meanings to old virtues: “anarchy” replaces freedom, “extravagance” replaces magnificence, and “shamelessness” replaces courage. The young man surrenders rule over himself “to whichever desire comes along, as if it were chosen by lot.” Here Socrates notes the essential problem when a free society becomes detached from any notions of moral virtue or truth: desires are chosen by “lot” instead of by “merit” or “priority.”

For the son the democratic revolution in his soul is complete. In this stage “there is neither order nor necessity in his life, but he calls it pleasant, free, blessedly happy, and he follows it for as long as he lives.” Socrates gives a brief illustration of the young man’s new democratic life:

Sometimes he drinks heavily while listening to the flute; at other times he drinks only water and is on a diet; sometimes he goes in for physical training; at other times, he’s idle and neglects everything; and sometimes he even occupies himself with what he takes to be philosophy. He often engages in politics, leaping up from his seat and saying and doing whatever comes into his mind. If he happens to admire soldiers, he’s carried in that direction, if money-makers, in that one.

In short, the young man has no anchor, no set of guiding principles or convictions other than his thirst for freedom. His life is aimless, superficial, and gratuitous. The spoiled lotus-eaters of his generation have defined themselves simply by mocking all forms of propriety and prudence. What’s worse, as these Athenian baby-boomers exercise their right to vote, they elect “bad cupbearers” as their leaders. The new cupbearers want to stay in office so they give the voters whatever they desire. The public, according to Socrates, “gets drunk by drinking more than it should of the unmixed wine of freedom.” Conservative politicians who attempt to mix the wine of freedom with calls for self-restraint “are punished by the city and accused of being accursed oligarchs.”

As conservative politicians court suspicion so do conservative teachers and academics who stubbornly hold on to objective measurements of performance: “A teacher in such a community is afraid of his students and flatters them, while the students despise their teachers or tutors.” Conservatism becomes unpopular just about everywhere, to a point at which even the elderly “stoop to the level of the young and are full of play and pleasantry, imitating the young for fear of appearing disagreeable and authoritarian.”

The explosion of boundaries and limits extends even to national identity itself, so that resident aliens and foreigners “are made equal to a citizen.”

The citizens’ souls become so infected with freedom that they become excessively paranoid about any hint of slavery. But slavery comes to mean being under any kind of master or limit including the law itself. Says Socrates: “They take no notice of the laws, whether written or unwritten, in order to avoid having any master at all.” That is, any kind of “hierarchy” in a democracy is rejected as “authoritarian.” But this extreme freedom, according to Socrates, eventually enslaves democracy.

As the progressive politicians and intellectuals come to dominate the democratic city, its “fiercest members do all the talking and acting, while the rest settle near the speakers platform and buzz and refuse to tolerate the opposition of another speaker.” There are “impeachments, judgments and trials on both sides.” The politicians heat up the crowds by vilifying business and wealth and by promising to spread the wealth around. The people then “set up one man as their special champion” and begin “nurturing him and making him great.”

The people’s “special champion” however transforms from leader to tyrant. He “drops hints about the cancellation of debts and the redistribution of land” and continues to “stir up civil wars against the rich.” All who have reached this stage, says Socrates, “soon discover the famous request of a tyrant, namely, that the people give him a bodyguard to keep their defender safe for them.” The people give him this new security force, “because they are afraid for his safety but aren’t worried at all about their own.”

Socrates describes the early weeks of the new leader’s reign:

“Won’t he smile in welcome at anyone he meets, saying that he’s no tyrant, making all sorts of promises both in public and in private, freeing the people from debt, redistributing land to them, and to his followers, and pretending to be gracious and gentle to all?”

After a series of unpopular actions, including stirring up a war in order to generate popular support, the leader begins to alienate some of his closest and most ardent advisers who begin to voice their misgivings in private. Following a purge of these advisors the tyrant attracts some of the worst elements of the city to help him rule. As the citizens grow weary of his tenure the tyrant chooses to attract foreigners to resupply his dwindling national bodyguard. The citizens finally decide they’ve had enough and begin to discuss rebellion.

At this point in the dialogue Adeimantus asks Socrates incredulously: “What do you mean? Will the tyrant dare to use violence against [the people] or to hit [them] if [they] don’t obey? Socrates answers:

“Yes – once he’s taken away [the people's] weapons.”

Thus ends Book VIII of Plato’s Republic

I’d strongly urge you to read the whole thing but you probably don’t need any analogies drawn for you can see it in action. Those of us who just want to be left alone had better take action now.

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Obamanomics

Via Hot Air, and just too good not to pass on:

Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama’s victory celebration in Grant Park — despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions.

“The Democratic National Committee has not yet paid us,” Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city’s Office of Budget and Management, said Thursday after questions from the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re reaching out to them this week.”

Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Obama-controlled DNC, explained the reimbursement delay by saying, “We are still looking at various costs and bills.” She would not say whether parts of the bill are disputed.

The city spent $1 million on police protection for the rally. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications racked up more than $120,000 in expenses, including $19,500 paid to police official Neil Sullivan to quarterback election night logistics.

In late October, Mayor Daley assured that the cash-flush Obama campaign would reimburse the city for every penny spent on the rally. “We have a financial crisis,” he said at the time. “The City of Chicago could not afford $2 million on this because we’re gonna be laying off people, cutting back. That [cost] would really be unfortunate. . . . It’s a huge cost to the City of Chicago.

“This is not a presidential visit. . . . This is a political event, and they’ve agreed to pay for all those services — all the expenses of that. … It’s costly, but they raised quite a bit of money. There’s no [shortage] of money in that campaign.”

The day after the Nov. 4 election, Daley was asked again whether the Obama campaign would pay up.

“Yeah. I don’t know why you’re so negative. … What is this? He just won for president, and you say, ‘He’s not gonna pay his bills,’ ” the mayor said then.

On Dec. 9, the day the Sun-Times disclosed the $1.74 million tab, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt referred questions to the DNC.

Paxton confirmed then that the rally was a “DNC-sponsored event” and that the party was discussing the itemized bill with the city.

THE BILL

The bill for Barack Obama’s election night rally at Grant Park:

Police $1 million
Emergency Management and Communications Office $121,578
Fire Department $85,965
Streets and Sanitation $71,694
Transportation $49,659
Cultural Affairs $2,567
Environment $2,309
CTA $201,500
Chicago Park District $202,440
(Park District breakdown):
Giant video boards $68,900
Electrical $37,185
Sound $37,500
Stagehands $29,850
Portable toilets $12,500
Security $7,505
Stage rental $6,000
Bike racks, barricades $2,000
Heavy equipment $1,000
Total bill $1,737,712

Democrats are really, REALLY good at running up huge bills; not so good about actually paying them. After all, that’s what suckers taxpayers are for.

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Acorn Breaking and Entering Now

Some community activists could face criminal charges after breaking into a home in Southeast Baltimore.

Police were at the home Thursday night looking for fingerprints and other evidence.

The activists who staged the break-in belong to the Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now or ACORN.

After snapping a lock with bolt cutters, ACORN member Louis Beverly told supporters “this is our house now.”

ACORN staged the demonstration to protest the foreclosure crisis sweeping the nation.

The home in the 300 block of Ellwood Avenue used to be owned by Donna Hanks. She lost this home in September, after owning it since 2001. When things got tough she struggled to make her payments. Her mortgage? $1995 a month. Her income? $2200. Donna’s story is one that ACORN is taking a stand against.

“We feel that it was unjust, we feel as though she was strong armed robbed, we feel that Wells Fargo could have modified her loan and that is what we are asking for right now,” says Beverly.

Acorn chapters across the country are staging similar scenes to drive their point home. They want state governments to enact moratoriums on foreclosures until this crisis can be worked out.

ACORN says that they will move Donna Hanks back in despite the fact that she no longer owns the house. During the taping of this story a man by the name of William Lane told ABC2 News that he owns the house currently–and plans to sue ACORN. Source:

Well, ACORN has deep pockets; after all, Obama rewarded them for their voter fraud with several billion dollars.

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Fugitive Allen Stanford Being Hugged on By Nancy Pelosi

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Read the rest of the sordid tale at ABC News. It appears that the Stanford Financial Group was a money launderer for drug cartels while simultaneously supplying huge donations to the Democrats and bilking investors out of $8 billion. I wonder what sort of favors the Democrats did for him in return for the largesse?

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How Do You Prepare for If the Sh** Hits the Fan?

A few years ago, we were merely concerned with paying the house off and then putting more money into savings for retirement because social security was not going to be viable when we retired.

Now, SwampMan and I are really worried about the future. The emphasis on “green” energy means that our power bills will increase exponentially, perhaps out of our price range, while supply will decrease. High energy costs will drive what little remains of our manufacturing industry overseas. The only thing the stimulus plan will stimulate is rampant inflation. After all, there isn’t any point to saving if you expect your money to be worth far less in the future.

Now we wonder what is going to happen when the state can no longer afford the pension checks (that SwampMan would be the recipient of), welfare checks, and the unemployment benefits run out? This is not an idle worry. Pension plans are massively underfunded in most states. The present government (yeah, the one that continually reminds us of the “crisis” we’re in and talks down the market daily) is “hoping” to bring the unemployment rate down to 9 to 10% in 2 years by funding their favorite causes. Then there are the plans afoot to cripple the medical care system.

First things first, I suppose. Make sure food, water, shelter, and protection (maybe not in that exact order) are secured before moving on to what to do about energy.

Eastern European currencies crumble…..

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Vietnam Has 3rd H5N1 Case This Year

HANOI (AFP) — A 32-year-old man from northern Vietnam is in hospital with bird flu in the country’s third such case this year, officials said on Monday.

The patient from Ninh Binh province went down with high fever and respiratory problems on February 5 after killing and eating infected chicken, said Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the preventive health care department, in an official statement.

The man’s case was confirmed on Saturday at the Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases in Hanoi, where he is on oxygen support.

A 23-year-old woman from Quang Ninh province bordering China remains in critical condition after falling ill at the end of last month.

But an eight-year-old girl from the northern province of Thanh Hoa recovered after several days of hospital treatment.

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Bitch Slap a Politician Day

The more I think about it, the more I think we really, REALLY need a National Bitch Slap a Politician Day. A senator or congressperson goes into a restaurant and the waiter puts down his tray and SMACK! He/she complains to the manager, and SMACK! Calls a policeman and SMACK! and then is arrested for disturbing the peace and crimes against American taxpayers.

If the person in need of bitch slapping is Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Barry Obama, then kick their bony asses hard enough to leave a complete shoe imprint after bitch slapping them. I am totally disgusted and fed up with the lot.

When Vladimir Putin warns the U.S. about the dangers of socialism, we are truly screwed.

Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin has said the US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”.

“In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute,” Putin said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.”

Sounding more like Barry Goldwater than the former head of the KGB, Putin said, “Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.”

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The Generational Theft Act Will Be Signed Into Law Tuesday, February 17, or Bitch Slap a Politician Day

Plan an appropriate pork-filled menu to commemorate the occasion. I’d really like the politicians that participated in this obamanation of a bill be jailed, tried, and hung for treason. There are really, REALLY huge problems still coming down the financial pike, and the country won’t be able to handle them because Obama pissed away the budget for years to come on frivolous spending.

Oh, and that budget that it was so urgent to pass that the lawmakers voting on it weren’t even allowed to read it? WTF? Obama wasn’t even going to sign it until Monday, President’s Day Tuesday, Feb. 17. The whole country has just bought a pig in a poke without so much as a peek at the pig.

I’d like to designate Monday Tuesday as official Bitch Slap a Politician Day.

Update: Seems Obama needed a vacation from holding a job for TWO entire weeks! Damn at the stress from THAT.

After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway. Read the rest at the NY Post.

My heart bleeds.

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