Tolerance and Civility Reach a New Low

Immediately following the shooting in Tucson at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.” I couldn’t agree more.

Although my agreement is on a very, very different level.

The so-called “dangerous” things being done by conservatives? Sarah Palin famously Twittered, “don’t retreat, reload!” in response to losses to liberal candidates. Later, her PAC website showed 20 Congressional districts won by liberals and had them in a very simple version of crosshairs. This is a tactic used by businesses the world over in marketing material, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have used it. Considering that I know what real crosshairs look like, that goofy little circle with a simple cross over it just seems a little silly. But Harry Mitchell knows what they look like…he used them in his original ad when he ran against JD Hayworth:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqB4tyvxWKA]

I haven’t heard a peep from Mitchell about the ad. I have heard a lot of wailing from liberals who demand that we as conservatives learn to be more civil, but I have yet to come across a single liberal willing to call out those in their own ranks who make comments that are overt – telling conservative leaders to die, wishing aloud that they’d kill themselves, and in some cases simply saying they’d like to kill those leaders. If you need any evidence here you go:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcqrHLZGDg&feature=player_embedded]

My personal favorite of all of the Twitter screen captures was from @YaboYyChris: “If ppl vote for mitt romney for president i would kill ppl, having a mormon as president is horrible.” Then there was @CaviarChick, who said, “Sarah Palin needs to choke on a d*ck and die wit her dumb *ss!! #DieSlow I’m sending shoots at ur head bitch!!” And there was @OhLawdyShawty, who Tweeted, “Sarah Palin needs to be shot. Matter fact I’ll do it my got damn self.”

Where’s Olbermann, who you can hear in the voice-over demanding apologies from every Fox News anchor he doesn’t like, to condemn this trash? Where is his frequent guest, Janeane Garofalo, who wastes no opportunity to make crass jokes about hatemongering conservatives (yet never has an ounce of proof that we’re hateful racists)? Where is Chris Matthews? Where is Rachel Maddow? Not one of them is going to question any of this. None of them has the guts to call out their own ranks. Not one of these liberal media shills has the spine required to stand up and admit that the most hatred and vitriol comes from their own people – and the best they have against conservatives is shaky at best. The video posted above shows at least 50-75 messages of hate and death threats; they couldn’t collect nearly that many from conservatives against their idols.

Maxine Waters was caught on camera last week saying “the Tea Party can go straight to hell!” Shortly thereafter, Andre Carson was recorded saying, “these Tea Party people…would love to see some of us hanging on a tree!” Then, on Monday, AFL-CIO thug Richard Trumka flew to Detroit on Air Force One with President Obama for a Labor Day rally. At the rally, the warm-up speaker was Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. – and he had some pretty hateful, violent rhetoric himself:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6gHfhwShhA]

Yes, you heard him correctly…he said we’re at “war”, said “Mr. Obama, we are your army”, and ended with, “let’s take these son of a bitches out” (yes, he said it incorrectly, and if it were Bush we’d still be hearing about how he can’t even swear correctly).

If this is tolerance, if this is civility, then I must have missed the memo. Of course, if you were to call these people out for their blatant hatemongering, they’d say that they are justified by all of the hate coming from conservatives. I know it makes no sense, and most of our readers will know that it makes no sense, but that’s their mentality – tolerance for me but not for thee.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz went on Fox and Friends and tap danced until pressed one too many times. Then she finally made the following excuse: “are you kidding me? Really Gretchen? How many times have you called out coarse language at tea party rallies? Almost never.”

We all know what the liberal ideal for the perfect leader is. He would be an animal lover, so much so that he’s a vegetarian. He would understand the frailty of our planet and consult with scientists willing to help draft government policies that limit emissions and incursion into fragile ecosystems. He would care about the hard-working citizens and hype unions as an indispensable part of society. He would also call out the old school members of the government who are holding the citizenry back and demand that more be done to help the poor in their society, all while calling for peace.

The world had that very leader once already. His name was Adolf Hitler. He called for tolerance and peace while engaging in behind-the-scenes thuggery, forcing himself on the populace. By the time he was in power, the majority that didn’t want him had said and done nothing for too long – and they couldn’t do a thing about it.

We are, slowly but surely, headed for the same thing. Liberals are headed in the exact same direction that Nazis did. We cannot allow this to continue. If Hitler were here today and had anything to say about the Tea Party, I’m sure he’d love the most recent hatred to come from liberals – a game where you can murder famous conservative figureheads. The company that created the game counts The History Channel, NASCAR, and Red Bull among its clients.

I’m not a Tea Party member. I tend to agree with a lot of what they say, though. I don’t protest; I write. I think. I’m not interested in shouting across picket lines at people who are completely brainless. I tell you what, though, liberals – you want me? Come and get me. I’m not hard to miss.

(Special thanks to Jennifer Leslie of Smart Girl Politics Tucson for some of the links posted here!)

As Long As We’re Using Nazi Comparisons…

Liberals love to compare conservatives to Nazis. They point to Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, abortion rights, gay rights, and a host of other unpleasant issues and call us Nazis. Bush has been compared to Hitler on so many occasions I lost count. It strikes me, however, that they don’t realize who Hitler was and what his Nazis did.

What makes a conservative a Nazi? I don’t really see the parallel, and believe me, I’ve tried. Nazis were essentially socialists; if you read the writings of Marx and Hitler back-to-back, you can hardly tell the difference. Nazis believed in forsaking all for the motherland, but doing so in a fashion that can’t be called conservative by any stretch of the imagination (at least not by today’s standards).

What does conservative mean today? Limited government. Free market values. True Constitutionalism. No entitlements. Real freedom – not the version we’re being spoon-fed today. It’s frustrating to see the direction my country is headed in, with years of unemployment benefits, social security, medicare/medicaid, and welfare (not to mention federal funding of Planned Parenthood) sapping us dry. That goes right along with all the wars we’re fighting, the open borders and the illegals who flood through them in droves.

Bush has been painted as Hitler simply for supporting a federal marriage amendment. How can that be, considering the numerous parallels that can be drawn – and proven – between today’s Obama supporters and honest-to-Hitler Nazis? Pretty much the only similarity between conservatives and Nazis that can be drawn is the fact that both are heartily patriotic. That’s about where it ends.

Nazis believed in providing for all. All who were capable to work would work for the good of all. As a result of the collective effort, good, strong Aryan Germans would have everything a human being in civilized society could want – a house, a car, food, even a regular vacation was on the agenda to make sure German citizens could unwind and the work wouldn’t get old. The idea was that the nation would flourish because of the work of the collective. There was no such thing as individualism, and parents had absolutely no say in the raising of their children. When 13-year-olds came home from the Nuremberg rallies pregnant, outraged parents remained silent in the end for fear of the Gestapo.

Essentially, the government provided everything while the people lived in bliss. At least that was the way it was supposed to work. Let us handle the tough decisions, the leaders said. We know better.

We all know how Nazi Germany ended. Eventually, rhetoric about doing all for the good of the people turned into doing all for the good of the motherland, which turned into conquest, which turned into Shoah (the Holocaust). By the time all of the anti-war protesters realized that they’d been had, it was damn near too late to stop the murderous rampage of the swastika across the globe. Anti-war sentiment is certainly not new to this day and age. They wanted peace back then, too.

Today’s liberal Obama-loving masses frighten me on a level that no liberal ever has. During the elections liberals gushed that they wouldn’t have to pay for their mortgages or put gas in their own cars anymore. Hope and change, they cheered. A new age of tolerance was to be ushered in and all of the financial difficulties of the past would disappear in the blink of an eye because the Big O would ride in on a unicorn that shat rainbows and give us world peace.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way. TARP turned into an even bigger fiasco from day one of his reign when he extended the bailouts to insurers and American automakers. Unions, known for their thuggery, are today’s brownshirts. They carry out strikes and hold violent protests to strong-arm both government agencies and private businesses into giving them more than your average worker. Most recently, union members have been arrested for sending death threats to Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin. Liberals are appointing people to high positions without requiring serious experience (Elena Kagan, anyone?).

Like Nazis, liberals believe in the government being big and strong enough to regulate everything and provide for those who can’t (or won’t) provide for themselves. There’s no such thing as freedom in such a concept. The Nazis didn’t believe in freedom. I don’t believe today’s liberals do, either.

Nazis believed in the “creative power of the worker.” So do liberals.

Nazi beliefs were firmly rooted in racism and antisemitism, yet they denied such notions as foolish at first. Democrats also have the same background; see the correlation? Only after they established their grip on Europe did the Nazis openly allow their racist beliefs to turn into policy.

Now, tell me…who said this: “As things stand today, the trade unions in my opinion cannot be dispensed with. On the contrary, they are among the most important institutions of the nation’s economic life. Their significance lies not only in the social and political field, but even more in the general field of national politics. A people whose broad masses, through a sound trade-union movement, obtain the satisfaction of their living requirements and at the same time an education, will be tremendously strengthened in its power of resistance in the struggle for existence. Above all, the trade unions are necessary as foundation stones of the future economic parliament or chambers of estates.”

Obama? No. Robert Byrd? No. Bill Clinton? Nope.

It was Adolf Hitler – in Mein Kampf. Reading that book is, at times, almost like reading the modern liberal manifesto.

Hitler disregarded Christianity and had a known affection for Islam. So do liberals today.

Hitler believed in social justice being carried out by the government. So do liberals.

Hitler believed in a one-party government. Deep down, so do liberals.

Hitler believed in destroying capitalism and the free market partially through price fixing. So do liberals.

Hitler called businesses “cartels” and accused them of exploiting the poor. So do liberals.

Hitler believed in making “unearned income” illegal – basically abolishing new acquisition of wealth. So do liberals.

Hitler believed in the government providing for you once you reached senior citizen status. So do liberals.

Hitler believed that giving to the poor needed to be a legal mandate. So do liberals.

Hitler believed in a form of tolerance that really only tolerated Aryan beliefs. So do liberals.

Hitler believed in gun control. One had to have a government permit to own, much less carry, a gun. Only those considered politically trustworthy got permits for guns. Liberals…well, we all know what they think.

Hitler believed in eugenics. By proxy, so do liberals – in their hailing of Margaret Sanger, an avowed believer in eugenics, as a practical saint.

Hitler believed in what amounts to tribalism – showing pride in your heritage. So do liberals…in the form of cultural pressures to give more to minorities.

Hitler and many of his followers were vegetarians and believed in returning to a more natural form of existence. He was intent on creating national parks to preserve nature. One of the scientists he based the Nazi credo for nature on was Ludwig Klages, who wrote during WWI about how mankind was headed toward deforestation, increasing extinction of certain species, the evils of whaling and destruction of Earth’s ecosystem. Hello…liberals? PETA? Greenpeace? Al Gore???

Liberals might claim to abhor Hitler’s brand of antisemitism, but they can’t deny their campaign against Israel. Why else would so many people be willing to defend murderous jihadists after they blow up bar mitzvahs, weddings and bus stations?

I could keep going forever. The most frightening similarity, to me, came with Obama’s campaign. The Big O proclaimed “Hope and Change”, promising that things would be different. One of the Nazis’ favorite slogans is more than just eerie in its parallel:

“Alles muss anders sein!”

Loose translation? “Everything must be different.”

Do Democrats Hate Poor People?

All too often, the issues facing our country are discussed in purely political terms with partisan ideology at the center. This guarantees that opinions will be formed purely on emotion, and not the facts. If the issue is illegal immigration, Republicans hate Mexicans. If it’s education, Republicans hate children. If it’s welfare reform, Republicans hate poor people.

So on that note, let’s examine how Democrats fare under the same level of scrutiny, shall we?

 

Hating Mexicans

In America, we have immigration laws – like them or not. They are in place for a reason, mainly to ensure that we know who is coming here, and that we can accommodate the increase in local, state, and federal services their presence requires. Currently, we let roughly 1 million immigrants into America legally, almost 2,800 per day. Think about it: 2,800 people per day that need jobs, housing, food, education for themselves or their children, drivers licenses, social security cards, and many other necessities. Now add to that another 1 million who come in illegally, or overstay their visas. These are people we don’t know. They could be anyone from a hard-working farmer to an Al Qaeda terrorist – and anyone who tells you differently is wrong. If we don’t know who they are, then we don’t know how they aren’t. Now, while some people will say it’s racist to single out Mexicans in the illegal immigration discussion, let me explain why that is by showing you the country of origin of those living in the U.S. illegally, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

#1 – Mexico: 62%

#2 – El Salvador: 5%

#3 – Guatemala: 4%

#4 – Honduras: 3%

That’s quite a drop-off from #1 to #2, isn’t it? Also bear in mind that these 4 countries equate to 74% of our illegal immigration problem, and they all enter the U.S. through our border with Mexico. So it’s not racist to talk about our southern border, it’s REALITY.

So, don’t like the laws? Change them. But until then, the government’s job is to enforce them. And that’s what Republicans want. They want a secure border. They want legal immigration. They want those here illegally to be deported when caught, according to the law.

Now we can argue immigration reform all day, and I’m one Republican who thinks it is impossible to deport the 15-20 million people here illegally. However, until we actually pass immigration reform and discover a way to handle all of these issues, we have no choice but to enforce the laws.

But what about Democrats? Do they hate Mexicans too?

Many liberal Democrats argue against raiding businesses that hire illegals. Why? Because they will be deported, and working for $3 per hour in unsafe conditions is still better than Mexico.

Really?

If that’s the case, isn’t the problem Mexico? And if everyone with the motivation to work hard leaves Mexico, who will be left to fix it, other than the drug cartels?

So these liberals would rather have illegal immigrants working in unsafe conditions, unable to report accidents, earning slave wages – simply so they don’t have to return to their home country?

Appalling.

Slavery was wrong in the 19th century, and it’s wrong today. But you don’t hear anyone saying that liberals hate Mexicans, do you?

 

Hating Children

Education is a hot button issue that is frequently distorted into an ideological war of emotions, when in fact there is nothing emotional about it. Schools exist to educate. Period. And on that measure, they are failing.

Since 1970, our education system has flat-lined on achievement in reading and math. Despite that, we’ve increased funding exponentially with zero results. Zero. Absolutely no movement of the needle. So the answer is more money?

“Since 1971, educational spending in the United states has more than doubled, from $4,300 per student to more than $9,000 per student, adjusted for inflation.” – “Waiting for ‘Superman’”

So if money is the answer, why has money not been the answer? And does wanting the correct answer constitute hating children? Of course not. Does putting your own selfish agenda ahead of the success of our children, and our nation, constitute hating children? Judge for yourself.

Many of the obstacles to fixing our education system reside with those controlling it: Teachers’ unions.

Do not confuse teachers’ unions with other unions, or you will fall into the same trap of thinking with emotions. Unions were created to help workers negotiate for better pay and working conditions, against giants of industry who were profit-driven. Education is a non-profit endeavor, paid for by tax payers, and therefore there is no evil CEO to demonize.

There are many things that will help toward improving our education system, including the use of technology to lower the cost of educating our children as a whole, rewarding the best teachers while coaching or removing the underperformers, adequately preparing middle school children for high school, and high school children for college, and making school districts accountable to parents and tax payers.

Unfortunately, teachers’ unions do not want technology to lower the cost of education our children, because it will result in a need for less teachers – even though our school districts are wildly under-staffed as it is.

Teachers’ unions also do not want teachers to be treated differently, in any way. So rewarding great teachers, and firing bad ones, is completely off the table.

Furthermore, these unions resent standardized tests, as they do not believe the performance of students has any bearing on how qualified a teacher is. After all, they can’t make the kids learn.

In fact, according to “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (the two most organized unions) spent $55 million on federal campaigns over the past 20 years, and 90% of it went to Democrats. So, if teachers’ unions are in the way of improving education, and they donate almost entirely to Democrats, do Democrats hate children?

Let’s pretend you own your own business. Would you want to keep your good employees, and get rid of the bad ones? Would you want to reward your best people with incentives to perform well? Would you expect a return on your investment? Well none of that applies to education, mainly because of teachers’ unions.

Apparently, if you support school choice, merit pay for teachers, and accountability to parents and taxpayers, you hate children. But if you want to give those controlling our education system more money, after a 40-year track record of failure, well… you’re a kid’s best friend. (Read: nightmare)

 

Hating Poor People

Almost a full 50% of Americans pay no income tax. Now just to clarify, most do pay it in their paychecks, but they get it all back on their tax returns. And while they do contribute to Medicare and Social Security like all Americans do, this 50% of Americans are far more likely to need Medicare and Social Security than those who do pay income tax.

With that said, the answer to everything these days seems to be: “Tax the rich – or you hate poor people.” I guess it is perfectly okay to hate rich people. After all, rich people are the ones hiring the rest of us. But it’s not all rich people that are evil blood-sucking greed-mongers. What about actors? Hollywood is gluttonously wealthy, yet you don’t hear liberals screaming for them to hang, do you? Nobody blames the ills of society on Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, do they? Yet from June 2009 – June 2010, they were the two highest paid actors in Hollywood, earning $75 million and $53 million respectively.

“But it’s different,” they’ll say, because people pay to go see Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller, which justifies their huge salaries. Of course that argument doesn’t seem to work for the rich guy who created Wal-Mart, an outlet in which millions of Americans pay to buy things – justifying his huge salary.

You see, it’s all about emotion. The guy who runs the business must be exploiting workers, while Johnny Depp makes people smile. Of course if Wal-Mart went out of business tomorrow, we’d see how many people would be smiling when all of their employees were out of a job, and the public could no longer buy a pair of jeans for $8 or an entertainment center for $69.

If you wanted to raise taxes on soda and bottled water, would that be good for poor people whose grocery bills would go up? Well, that’s what Democrats in New York and Nevada want to do.

Does it help or hurt poor people when gas is $4/gallon? Wouldn’t drilling for oil inside the U.S. help bring those prices down? Many Democrats are against drilling in America, even though they love beating up Republicans for going to war for oil in the Middle East. If we had more drilling here, Democrats would have one less thing to blame on Republicans – so obviously that’s out of the question.

 

Conclusion

There are many things to dislike in our country, and even some things to hate. There are a lot of things to love about American too, but most people take those for granted.

To think that Republicans hate Mexicans, children, and poor people, simply because of their political views is just plain ignorant.

I don’t think Democrats hate Mexicans, children, and poor people either. But they do hate Republicans – and that’s really what all their bitching is about.

Unions vs. America: The Final Battle?

The events taking place in Wisconsin regarding collective bargaining agreements, there’s no better time to address the relationship between unions and businesses. When labor unions began in the late 19th Century, they were desperately needed to represent the interest of workers in America against the exploitative nature of industry. Over the years, these organizations helped institute minimum wage laws, child labor laws, 8-hour work days, vacation time, sick time, and more. These were well-intentioned measures, and most Americans are happy they exist today. But making sure workers have basic rights is not what labor unions are about today. They are about profit, greed, and political influence.

Today, most labor unions are very similar to the “evil corporations” they so frequently rail against. They claim big business doesn’t care about its workers, only profit. But are unions any different? They need members to pay dues, or they cease to exist. Clearly they are also profit-driven. They believe industry has too much influence compared with the working class. But unions have far more influence than their numbers would suggest, given that only 8% of Americans are in unions. And what do many of these labor organizations do with the hard-earned dollars they take from their members in the form of dues? They give them to politicians running for office – almost exclusively in the Democratic Party – whether their members support them or not.

The issue with unions today is a simple math problem. For years, unions have negotiated pretty good contracts for their workers. These contracts typically result in higher pay, better benefits, and more perks than non-union employees receive. As years go by, these contracts are renegotiated over and over again, raising wages and increasing benefits and perks each time. Then, when we have an economic crisis like the Great Recession (2008 – present), companies can no longer afford the expensive contracts they negotiated when profits were good. As the costs of these labor contracts rise, profits must rise along with them – or something needs to give. Either the union agrees to make concessions, or the business goes bankrupt.

This face-off is happening all over the country, including in Wisconsin. During the economic crisis, some unions have agreed to work with businesses to arrive at a mutually-agreeable solution to the problem of expensive contracts and low profits. But that is not always the case. Unions were willing to do very little in the case of Ford, GM and Chrysler, so the companies had no choice but to declare bankruptcy in order to restructure their organization and renegotiate labor contracts. Who are the labor unions helping if their own greed causes businesses to fail? It’s clearly not the workers, who end up out on their collective-bargaining asses when their company closes its doors.

We see this problem everywhere in America, and frankly it is out of control.

In government, collective bargaining agreements are paid by tax dollars. When federal, state and local government experiences drops in revenue due to high unemployment and a slow economy, unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are unwilling to give up a dime. Governments are then forced to fix their budget issues while suffering under the strains of paying these high-priced contracts – which would never have been agreed to under the present conditions.

In business, the unions’ unwillingness to cooperate often results in businesses going bankrupt or closing altogether. This may be good for the individual unions who get to show off their “power,” but it’s bad for their members who have no jobs, and bad for America. If businesses go away, so do our hopes of putting Americans back to work. Industry should not be allowed to exploit workers, but unions should not be allowed to exploit industry either.

In education, unions may be the largest contributor to our failures. Without declaring financial exigency (think bankruptcy), universities cannot renegotiate their contracts with tenured professors. In K-12 education, unions demand more and more money be spent on education, yet they ensure that very little ever makes it into the classroom. Nevada is the perfect example of the problem with education, since it has the lowest graduation rates in the nation. The Clark County School District (CCSD), which covers Las Vegas and surrounding areas, is the 5th largest school district in the country. Only 11% of its operating budget makes it into the classroom, yet unions and education officials are screaming bloody murder over impending budget cuts. The University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV), where I am currently a student, has $647 million in total operating funds for this year. Under budget cuts proposed by newly-elected Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, UNLV will see a cut of $47.5 million (or 7%). Unions and education officials, as well as Democrats in the state legislature, are twisting the numbers and telling Nevadans that the cut is 29%.

Americans won’t put up with this nonsense much longer.

They see what is happening in Wisconsin, and realizing that this is a battle between greedy unions and over-taxed taxpayers. They see teachers shutting down schools so they can protest, instead of educating their children by DOING THEIR JOB! Fire these teachers for abandoning their positions, and replace them with unemployed Wisconsinites who put education above greed.

Americans are starting to see the damage unions can do when they put greed ahead of their original purpose – protecting the basic rights of employees.

This is not an issue unions can win, unless they are willing to work with businesses and governments to achieve mutually-agreeable solutions. Bankrupting businesses and governments through unreasonable demands during this economic crisis won’t earn them any support from hard-working American taxpayers.

We will learn as these battles unfold exactly how much power unions will be allowed to have in America, and how the outcomes will affect their power in the future. We will also see how this will affect the Democratic Party, with which labor organizations are closely aligned.

With unemployment at 10% nationwide, there are plenty of Americans ready and willing to take the jobs of ANYONE who strikes. Perhaps it is time to call their bluff.

NYC Mayor Harasses AZ Over Gun Laws Despite Layoffs

On January 23, the Crossroads of the West gun show in Phoenix, Arizona became the target of an investigation. Neither Arizona authorities nor federal authorities carried it out. It wasn’t a journalist, either. Private investigators, hired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at a price tag just over six figures, entered the popular gun show with the intent of trying to buy guns and making it appear illegal. Hidden cameras caught the PI’s telling gun sellers point-blank that they couldn’t pass a background check. We don’t know if any sellers told the hired hands to take a hike, but we do know that at least two guns were sold to them.

All of this is going down in the face of the biggest layoffs in the city’s history.

600 NYC firefighters are about to get their walking papers and 21,000 teachers are slated for the same fate thanks to the city’s budget shortfalls, yet Bloomberg is paying top dollar for what amounts to little more than political posturing. Bloomberg already runs a city that bans handgun ownership, but he’s been pushing for more stringent gun laws in the state for some time. The Tucson shooting provided the backdrop he had hoped for and, like any good liberal refusing to let a good crisis go to waste, Bloomberg joined the rest of the harpies in doing the gun control rain dance. The stunt he pulled right here in my city was his swan song.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ORGlpb_HfE&feature=player_embedded]

Here’s the kicker: in Arizona, private sellers can be prosecuted for knowingly selling guns to those who cannot pass background checks. In this case, however, they can NEVER be prosecuted. Bloomberg didn’t notify Arizona officials that the investigation would be going down. So, because he has no jurisdiction, none of the illegal sellers will be held accountable. They can keep selling just as they did on January 23. The law is in place for a reason – breaking the law is supposed to result in penalties designed to deter people from selling guns illegally. Bloomberg wasn’t interested in bringing those sellers to justice. He wanted to accent his point, and in political terms, it is perfectly acceptable to ignore the law if it helps you win an argument.

I’m curious…how many teacher or firefighter jobs could have been spared by the money blown on this peacockery? Since we know that more layoffs will come because of governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget cuts, how many police jobs could have been spared the chopping block before those layoffs were even considered? How many officers need equipment that money could have purchased? How many bait cars could have been bought? How many investigations, rape kits, overtime hours could have been paid for with the money he flushed on this excursion?

What amazes me is that Bloomberg’s spokesman said, “The background check system failed in Arizona, it failed in Virginia and it fails in states around the country. If we don’t fix it now, the question is not whether another massacre will occur, but when.” In the video above, Bloomberg makes much of the fact that the gun purchased – a Glock 17 with two high-capacity clips – is the same weapon used in Tucson. The myth is busted, however. Most people have been led to believe by Bloomberg and most of the press that Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, was only stopped when he ran out of ammunition in one high-capacity clip. That is a patent lie. His weapon actually jammed precisely because of the clip he was using. All clips feed rounds into a gun chamber with a simple spring-loaded mechanism; the shorter the clip, the better the spring works. With a little practice and several smaller clips, Loughner could have held off every unarmed person for some time. The larger clip had a spring that was longer and had less loading power, resulting in a mis-chambered round and an opportunity for two unarmed people to wrestle him to the ground. The loading problem is an issue I have experienced when testing larger clips, so I have never bought one.

The background check system would not have stopped Loughner from getting a gun, even in New York. He had no criminal past and had not been determined legally mentally unfit. The only thing that would have stopped him before he killed five people would have been a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun and shooting him. In a day and age where people freak out at the sight of a person carrying a gun on their hip, though, why should anybody in a liberal bastion like Tucson actually have the balls to fight back and defend themselves?

God knows we don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable.

Liberals treat traditions like Michael Vick treats dogs

Only twenty percent of Americans self-identify as liberals, but that doesn’t stop them from having a very loud voice in the media, and in our political process. Simply look the annual budgets of groups like the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – groups that represent heavily Democrat-leaning segments of our population – at $21 million and $40 million respectively. The NAACP boasts 750,000 members and donors, while HRC claims to have 750,000, which when combined represent less than 5% of the American population. Even the most generous accounts estimate that African-Americans represent 13% of the population, and openly gay Americans at 3%. Clearly these groups, and many other leftist organizations, have more than 16% of the influence in our government, politics and media, and it is often aimed at our most treasured traditions.

There is no time of year when liberals exercise their disproportionate voice more, than over the holiday season. Groups like PETA speak out against eating turkey on Thanksgiving, going so far as to use children to advance their vegetarian agenda. But being vegetarian isn’t good enough for PETA, because milk, eggs, cheese and numerous other products are still made by exploiting animals. Atheists, who claim 50 million Americans among them (14% of the population), routinely speak out against Christmas. They believe it is an oppressive holiday, celebrated by intolerant and ignorant Americans who worship false gods. They have no problem telling Americans that God does not exist, but have a big problem with people saying “Merry Christmas.” Christmas may be the biggest religious holiday of the year, but it has also turned into a “Hallmark Holiday,” for those who don’t subscribe to its religious significance. At the very least, Christmas represents giving, sharing, and spending time with family and loved ones. How can that be a bad thing?

Holidays aren’t the only traditions that liberals have a problem with. Religion, marriage, family and patriotism are all areas where liberals are at odds with most of America. Many liberals see religion as a joke, or farce, presenting many philosophical arguments as to why believers are deluding themselves as to the existence of God. Marriage, which culturally has always been between men and women, is being slowly altered into whatever they “feel” is a reasonable facsimile. A man in Japan even married an Anime character last year! Family, which historically and culturally has been represented by two opposite-sex parents, has been re-imagined as a hodgepodge of different shapes and sizes due to failed commitments, teen pregnancy, and selfishness. Even those who believe in same-sex marriage and parenting can admit that having two parents is better than one, and that children should not be the accidental consequences of poor judgment. Unfortunately, liberals find strength in victimhood, and overcoming challenges – even when they are self-imposed (See: Social Justice).

Our president, Barack Obama, gives us an unending list of traditions thrown by the wayside. He ended the White House tradition of holding a public ceremony on the National Day of Prayer – an annual observance for people of all faiths. There are some that see no problem with this, citing the separation of church and state. But that didn’t stop Obama from hosting the first Seder at the White House, or a Muslim dinner celebrating Ramadan. Then he chose to skip out on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that symbolized freedom for an entire generation of Eastern Europeans and Americans alike. He opted to not lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day this year in favor of a vacation in Chicago. President Obama, and the White House website, made no mention of the 66th anniversary of D-Day this past June. Then, as honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, decided not to speak before the group on their 100th anniversary, instead choosing to appear on The View. Finally, Obama ended a long-standing tradition in sports by not calling to congratulate the World Series Champions after their victory in 2009, or in 2010 when the San Francisco Giants won their first title in 56 years. Obama did invite both teams to the White House, as he has done to countless teams and athletes since taking office. In fact, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post illustrates how big of a sports fan Mr. Obama is by recalling his 44 rounds of golf, 16 off-site basketball sessions in addition to countless games on his home court, and a total of 45 sports-related events hosted at the White House (“about six times the number of news conferences he has held,” according to Milbank).

Perhaps it is the sports fan in Obama that prompted him to call Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, and thank him for giving Michael Vick a second chance. He may have also thanked Lurie for maxing out to him in 2008. But seriously, he doesn’t honor the National Day of Prayer, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the 66th anniversary of D-Day, the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts, or the last two World Series Champions – but a man who ran a dog-fighting ring resulting in the hanging, drowning, electrocuting and shooting of dogs deserves Obama’s attention? Keep in mind, at least nine dogs were killed at “Bad Newz Kennels,” and 48 of the 66 dogs seized from his property had been starved, tortured and severely injured. Yes. Thank you for giving him a second chance Mr. Lurie. I’m sure it has nothing to do with his ability to bring Philadelphia a championship, and everything to do with Vick’s remorse.

America is a free country, and if liberals don’t like our traditions, they don’t have to observe them. However, actively rooting against them is infringing on the basic personal freedoms that liberals claim to fight for. As Americans, we have the right to free speech, which means if I want to say “Merry Christmas,” that’s my right. I also have the right to be as patriotic as I want to be on July 4th, eat turkey on Thanksgiving – or any other day of the year, and choose to practice my faith. Liberals may not understand many of these traditions, or why they are important to many people in our society, but that’s too bad. A lack of understanding is no justification for intolerance – something liberals should practice as much as they preach it.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

As 2010 comes to a close, we can look back at the last two years of the Obama administration and huge Democrat majorities in Congress, and sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Part of that look back will include the lame duck session, and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) – a policy put in place 17 years ago by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. The opinions of most Americans on the DADT policy can be classified into four distinct views:

Many people, a significant majority in fact, oppose DADT and support gays and lesbians serving openly in our military. Some Americans disagree with this viewpoint for many different reasons – some of which are valid. Of those who wish to see DADT go away, some would like to see it repealed immediately, while others believe we should go to great lengths to ensure that military readiness and efficiency is not compromised. On the other side of the issue, there are people who believe DADT is a good compromise which allows gays to serve, while protecting the military from political correctness and the liberal gay agenda. The fourth view is outright opposition, harkening back to a time when homosexuals were actively rooted out of the military. Those who hold this view are somewhat rare, but they exist nonetheless.

Repeal DADT Now!

The loudest voice for repeal comes from those on the far left, including the Gay Left and the myriad of organizations that encompass them. These are people who generally oppose military action abroad, support deep budget cuts within the Department of Defense, and the defunding of several aspects of our military apparatus. It seems counter-intuitive that these people would be so concerned with what goes on inside the military, but they do so under the umbrella of equal rights and equal treatment under the law. While their efforts seem noble, they often discount legitimate concerns offering few real solutions to the inevitable challenges repeal would naturally produce. Their hearts may be in the right place, but very little thought goes into the logistics behind repeal, mainly because they do not fully understand how the military works, or how these challenges may manifest themselves.

Repeal DADT – Responsibly

I am one of the many people who believe DADT should be repealed, simply because all Americans should be allowed to serve – and risk their lives – for our country, so long as they meet the physical requirements of the job and follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It seems as though a majority of Americans fall into this category, feeling that the policy should be repealed responsibly, as we are in the middle of a two-front war, and a global fight against terrorism. While the definition of “responsibly” differs from person to person, it generally includes waiting until combat operations cease in Iraq and Afghanistan, or ensuring that military readiness is not impacted by repeal. I favor the latter. These people understand that repealing DADT will be an enormous undertaking by the military, and do not want to see one mission or one soldier’s safety compromised by a hasty decision or poor timing.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is Working

There are those that believe DADT is a good policy, and should remain in effect as it is. There are many people in this group who have legitimate reasons for wanting to keep the policy in place, such as navigating the logistical nightmare of living arrangements and battlefield hygiene as just two examples. Other issues brought forward by this group, such as working alongside gay soldiers and keeping sexuality out of the military – which I will address shortly – may have been blown out of proportion and over-politicized.

“God Hates Fags”

The final group is a small, but boisterous, segment of the population. By now, almost everyone who watches the news has seen images of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) protesting military funerals, and unleashing a unhealthy amount of anti-gay propaganda in the process. According to their website, which is actually www.godhatesfags.com, the WBC admits to engaging in 44,819 pickets in 816 cities, even employing children in their horrific displays which include signs bearing slogans such as “Pray for more dead soldiers,” “Thank God for Sept. 11,” and “God Hates Fag Enablers.” These people, of course, are on the extreme end of the spectrum, but I use them as an example to illustrate that there is real bigotry out there, and it should not be tolerated. These actions are neither Christian nor do they represent the intentions of our founding fathers, who valued personal freedom, and our Constitution which guarantees it. Those who have an intense dislike of homosexuals believe that homosexuality and the military are incompatible. They support a return to the 1981 Department of Defense policy, in which gays were flat-out banned from serving. There are many valid arguments against repealing DADT, especially during wartime, but hating gays isn’t one of them.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

For some, this issue is seen as a battle against the “homosexual agenda.” For others DADT is seen as a partisan issue, and victory over pro-repeal Democrats and President Obama is of utmost importance. In speaking publicly about this issue over the last year, I’ve heard some interesting arguments both for – and against – repeal. Most of the arguments for repeal are based on what people perceive as a “right” to serve in our military. No such right exists. Our military is the most formidable fighting force on our planet, a fact that has kept us safe from foreign aggressors, and helped ensure tranquility and prosperity here at home. The military has always decided who can and cannot serve, with help from its Commander-in-Chief – our president. We could pretend that repealing DADT will create no challenges or conflicts, but we would be deluding ourselves in a dangerous way. While our military is extremely professional, and it has overseen racial integration and the inclusion of women, it did so for the most part during peacetime – and still faced challenges.

Troop morale, unit cohesion, the ability to conduct successful missions, and the safety of our troops – both gay and straight – should be our top priority, and that of our government. With that said, a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) estimated that nearly 17,000 men and women were discharged for homosexuality during the 1980s, and another 14,000 were discharged under DADT since 1993. Together that’s 31,000 service personnel – about 2% of our Armed Forces – with whom we have invested time and money in training, discharged from the military. That number includes good soldiers, officers, career veterans, and those trained in Arabic, many of whom were guilty of simply being gay.

The comfort level of serving alongside gay men and women is one legitimate concern, but the Pentagon’s own DADT study seems to have put that to rest. Of the roughly 400,000 military members and spouses surveyed, only 29% cared enough to respond, and 70% of those believe that repeal would have a positive impact or no impact at all. Of those who responded saying that they already believed someone they worked with or served with was gay, 92% said it was a positive experience. This seems to show that those currently serving will do just fine with DADT repeal. However, there are other issues which require greater examination.

Some believe there is no place for sexuality in the military. This is an argument I’ve heard often, especially from conservatives, yet it confuses me greatly. Clearly there is plenty of heterosexuality in the military. Men frequently talk about “hot chicks” and other things of a more sexual nature not fit for publishing here, yet no one advocates for a DADT policy for straight soldiers. It seems as though these opponents do not understand the meaning of “openly gay.” There is a clear difference between “being gay” and “engaging in homosexual acts.” For example, if a soldier is an orthodox Jew, he is allowed to serve as openly Jewish – meaning that he does not have to hide or lie about it. However, the military prohibits soldiers from wearing non-military issue hats while on duty, which prevents the orthodox Jewish man from wearing a yarmulke. If the Jewish soldier refused to follow the UCMJ and wore a yarmulke every day, he would be reprimanded, punished, or possibly discharged if he refused to comply.

The most relevant arguments I’ve heard against repeal have to do with the logistics involved in living arrangements, showers, battlefield hygiene, and personal conflicts. Currently, men and women have separate accommodations, for obvious reasons, but how do you add gays into the mix? When President Truman desegregated the military, a large majority of Americans were against it, and many white service members wanted nothing to do with black soldiers. There are stories of race riots on Navy warships during the Vietnam War, and sexual assault is an “epidemic” according to the GAO. Surely these are not reasons to ban straight white men from the military, and neither should they be reasons to ban blacks, women or gays.

The ultimate lesson from all of this is that implementation of repeal should lie in the hands of those in charge of our military. Even though Congress has passed repeal, and the president has signed it, it must be approved in writing by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, followed by a 60-day waiting period, before it takes effect. This allows the military time to carefully implement repeal. This is preferable to having repeal pass through the courts. In the meantime, as everyone in our military honors their duty and follows the law, we will undoubtedly hear from those outside the military with an opinion on this highly emotional issue. Some are already insulting members of the military by insinuating that they cannot rise above sexual orientation and do their jobs professionally. Others are urging soldiers to quit the military, and urging parents to discourage their children from seeking military service. On the other hand, some institutes of higher learning like Yale and Columbia are reconsidering ROTC programs because they will no longer create a conflict with their non-discrimination policies.

In the end, DADT will soon be a thing of the past. Gay service members can now return to duty to fulfill the remainder of their contracts. Will they? Who knows, as many believe DADT had become a way out of the military for some. Either way, it is the right thing to do. This is America, and in this country we are supposed to believe that “who you are” is more important than “what you are.” As Barry Goldwater famously said, “You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.” No one today would suggest that African-Americans be removed from the military, and it is my hope that decades from now, the same can be said for our gay soldiers.

Death Panels and Brewers and Nazis, Oh My!

I have some of the most interesting conversations with liberals. Sometimes, like tonight, I’m both amused and think I should beat my head against the wall for all the good I’m doing. I thought you might like to hear about this one.

Remember during the big debate over nationalized health care, when Sarah Palin started talking about death panels? We all remember what happened. The Keith Olbermanns and Rachel Maddows of the left-wing press laughed until they cried, accusing her of using fear-mongering tactics to scare conservatives into being against universal health care. Well, things sure have changed since then. Jan Brewer, governor of my current home state of Arizona (yes, I still consider myself a Texan – AZ is my second home), has been forced to make cuts across the board to try to balance the state budget. Among those cuts are major cuts to AHCCCS, the state-funded health care system for the poor and uninsured. Democrats around the country have decried Brewer and ordered that she stop her DEATH PANELS and undo the cuts she signed for.

Don’t hold your breath, folks…the fact that liberals are now using the term themselves is about as close as we’re ever going to get to an apology. We’ll never see them give that sheepish look and hear them say, “okay, so…they do exist!” It ain’t gonna happen. Suggest, however, that they stop being as hysterical as they’ve accused us of being, and they go monkeynuts. Take a look:

Mel Maguire: Here and I thought death panels didn’t exist.

Dorothy Wellington: It is my prayer that Arizona will not become a “Hitler State.” Yourself and many others are on the right path and God’s will, will be accomplished.

Barbara Friedkin: She is a irrational woman cruel B—- Karen…Watch this!!! She is one sick blood thirsty! Bitch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5muf5oBSppA

(Note, the video she linked had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation.)

MM: Please, Dorothy, do not demean the realities of Hitler’s Germany by claiming that we’re on the path to becoming a “Hitler state”. It isn’t just childish, it is disrespectful to those who survived the horrors that Hitler visited upon the world.

BF: I am a child from a polish survivor family. This is just how it began there!

MM: Really, Barbara? Seriously? It began with the government making cuts to health care? You are delusional. Nazism took hold because the government was broke and the people were so desperately demoralized after they were forced to abide by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI that they welcomed a charismatic individual who promised to give them their pride back.

BF: Really Mel It sounds like Sarah Palin to me! I am a student of the Holocaust. There were many reasons for it. First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

MM: Barbara, as I recall Sarah Palin was the first to bring up the notion of death panels – and liberals verbally flayed her for suggesting it was a possibility. Olbermann and Maddow laughed her off as a loon, saying she was being hysterical a…nd there would be no death panels in universal healthcare in the US. Now, as we can see, even when the government isn’t in control of all health care, those death panels DO exist. I haven’t heard a single liberal admit their mistake.

If you’re a student of that barbaric time in recent history, you’d know that the Jews call it Shoah, not the Holocaust (calling it that is an insult to Judaism as it refers to a burnt offering in Greek). While the quote is a powerful one, quoting Niemoller doesn’t justify you calling what’s going on now the next step toward a second Shoah. That is a hysteria that most conservatives point to when they try to prove that all liberals are insane.

BF: Mel it is waste of my time to even go there but the death panels she spoke of were end of life wishes that everyone should have in place and are MANDATORY UNDER ALASKA LAW! SARAH SIGNED THE BILL IN ALASKA AND HAD A DAY TO CELEBRATE IT! Go get an education but I sure you are against that too. http://pubrecord.org/politics/3560/palin-backed-end-of-life-counseling/

(Stop and read that last comment one last time. She is referring to a law that Palin signed that required that the elderly and terminally ill be counseled on advance directives by their medical care providers.)

MM: Unlike you, I have an education, hon. The death panels she was talking about were bureaucratic groups that exist in every government health care organization who convene to determine what they are capable and/or willing to pay for. Pay attention, sweetie. End-of-life counseling is a far cry from the death panels she talked about and what’s going on now. You didn’t even read three lines into that article you linked.

BF: Mel we got it you are a selfish self serving individual who has no interest in his community. We got it. You can’t handle the truth! It was the end of life counseling that she referred to as Death panels.

MM: An “advance directive” is what we in the health care field use to determine what a person’s legal wishes are. Yes, some people need counseling on the legal issues. I went on a call once for a man who died peacefully, surrounded by his fam…ily, after a long illness. According to his family, it was his wish that he die at home exactly as he did – however, because he didn’t understand what the law says about that sort of thing, the police had to round up the family, keep ’em in one place, question them all (and there were quite a few of them – including children) and investigate the man’s death.

Advance directives for those who are nearing the end of life due to either age or illness are important, believe it or not. Legal counseling on those issues is a good thing.

BF: Did they see your picture before they let you in their house. What are you afraid of Mel?

MM: Barbara…I would try correcting you again, but you are apparently so convinced of what you’re saying that you’re not going to listen or admit that you may have misunderstood the issue. I’m not afraid of anything. I’ve been stabbed, had guns pointed at me, been thrown off the second tier of an inmate housing unit, attacked with bare fists, thrown furniture – I have no fear, particularly not of a liberal who shows up for a battle of wits completely unarmed.

BF: IT IS YOU KIDS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS I HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVIST SINCE I WAS 16! MEL YOU ARE ONE ANGRY KID I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO.

There was a courageous gal named Karen also responding, but to cut down on the space, I only brought one part of the conversation over (it is all cut-and-pasted, spelling errors and all). Click here to read the entire exchange.

Common Sense Conservatism: The Size of Government

Conservatives, including Republicans and Libertarians, believe in small government. But how many Americans truly understand what that means? Many Liberals point to our support of smaller government, and say that conservatives are against any and all government aid to those less fortunate among us. The fact is the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government limited powers, and they routinely overstep their authority at our expense. The Constitution clearly states that any rights and responsibilities not expressly given to the federal government, fall to the states and to the people. Over the years, the federal government has put its hands in just about everything – all paid for by us. Regardless of political ideology, the growth of government produces costly and inefficient government, constantly at odds with our definition of freedom.

Let’s play a game. I want you to think of a number – the amount of money you spend on stamps each year to send mail through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). If you’re like me you’ve switched to online banking and other technologically efficient methods of paying bills, but even I use snail mail 4-5 times per month. At 44 cents per stamp that’s around $25/year, give or take.

Have you figured out your number? Great, now I’d like you to increase it by $26.81. Of course you may be asking why your total is $26.81 higher for no reason, and I’m glad you asked. That’s the amount of DEBT the U.S. Postal Service incurred last year, per taxpayer. So if you’re a tax payer who mails 4-5 letters per month, you’re actually paying 88 cents per stamp instead of 44. The USPS has actually accrued $11.8 billion in debt over the past three years. Too bad there’s a law preventing competition with the Post Office. Welcome to big government.

Have you ever taken a ride on an Amtrak train? If you haven’t, you’re really missing out! Amtrak offers rail service to millions of Americans nationwide, complete with rundown equipment, surly conductors and consistently late arrivals. Just the level of efficiency you’d expect from a government-run outfit. One thing you may not know is that Amtrak is in debt, costing taxpayers an astounding $32 every time a passenger boards a train. That’s right! Amtrak costs the government, meaning you, $32 per passenger in subsidies. Pretty crazy, huh? Well, you didn’t think incompetence was cheap, did you? The most alarming example of this incompetence is the $462 in subsidies per passenger on the Sunset Limited route from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Tickets for this route are several hundred dollars even with the government subsidy, and 72,000 passengers use it per year! Has anyone ever heard of Southwest Airlines? $304 round-trip, no cost to tax payers!

By now everyone has heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) had a very large role in our current economic woes. In 1977, Democrats passed the Community Reinvestment Act, designed to increase lending from banks to low-income people in their community. Home ownership was at 63% in 1993 and by the end of the Clinton administration it had increased to 68%. According to the American Spectator, the New York Times “reported in 1999 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were under pressure from the Clinton administration to increase lending to minorities and low-income home buyers.” Many of these home-buyers could not afford monthly payments unless they were given extremely low interest rates, thus the Adjustable Rate Mortgage was the perfect solution. With low introductory rates, buyers could afford monthly payments. Even though they were told their rates could go up, that was an afterthought to having their own home. When those rates did go up, the payments were no longer affordable, and people began to default. These mortgages were then traded on the open market as mortgage-backed securities – only as good as the mortgages themselves. Thus when the mortgages were defaulted on, widespread financial turmoil ensued as many banks, financial institutions, hedge funds and 401k plans invested in them.

In mid-2008, before the economic collapse, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally sound. He said they were good long-term investments. These two GSEs owned almost half of all mortgages, and when those loans started going belly-up, so did our economy. Barney Frank then co-authored the new Financial Reform Bill which was passed into law, giving the government unprecedented control over the financial industry – and it doesn’t cover Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac! How much sense does that make? Now Congress is considering a bailout for these two mortgage giants. It’s a wonder Barney Frank still has a job.

When I was a little kid I remember commercials advocating for healthy eating habits. They talked about the four food groups and the importance of fruit and vegetables. There was even one with a horse that brushed his teeth to avoid gingivitis. I can’t imagine ever having a problem with the government advocating for healthy eating habits or good hygiene. However, today our government no longer wants to be an advocate, they want to be the enforcer. A segment of the big government crowd wants to ban trans-fats and sodium from the food we eat, remove toys from kid’s meals, and tax unhealthy food like soda and candy.

I won’t sit here and pretend that trans-fats are healthy, or that high sodium makes for a good dietary choice. But is it the government’s role to prevent us from making our own decisions? Don’t I have the freedom to choose between a KFC combo meal and an all-organic salad bar meal from Whole Foods? What problems are solved by legislating healthy choices? Is it the toy in the Happy Meal that is harmful to children? Or is it the fact that parents choose a McDonald’s Drive-thru over cooking an actual meal? How about this made-up headline: “Toys banned in Happy Meals; Calories decrease by zero.” Meanwhile, if I want to choose some heart-healthy pomegranate juice over a soda I pay three times as much! The government should be an advocate, not an enforcer. It doesn’t have the right.

The government is even involved in the cars we buy. CAFE standards are designed to increase average MPG among car companies, resulting in increased cost for vehicles and making it harder for car companies to turn a profit. Those costs, combined with unrealistic compensation packages for their union employees, led to a collapse of Ford, GM and Chrysler and costing thousands of American jobs in the Rust Belt. Furthermore, these standards have forced automakers to produce far lighter vehicles (about 500lbs lighter), which result in a 1.1% increase in fatalities per 100lb decrease in vehicle weight, and a 1.6% increase in serious or moderate injuries per 100 lb decrease in vehicle weight. The government’s own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admits that the doubling of fuel efficiency between 1975 and 1985 resulted in average weight being reduced by 1,000 lbs, causing 2,000 additional deaths and 20,000 additional serious or moderate injuries. Where’s the outrage? Not only has CAFE been disastrous for Americans who get into accidents, but it has done NOTHING to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, as it has increased from 35% to 50% since CAFE was implemented. Furthermore, penalties incurred by car manufacturers for failing to meet these standards are passed on to consumers. According to the NHSTA, this has amounted to $654 million since 1983.

President Obama’s stimulus package cost more than the entire Iraq War, and failed. His trillion-dollar health care reform law doesn’t do a single thing to control health care costs, instead premiums are going up all over the country. His Cap and Trade bill threatens to kill manufacturer jobs, sending more U.S. companies overseas to escape oppressive regulations and financial penalties simply for existing. The government continually oversteps its bounds and sends us the bill. The list of unfunded mandates passed onto the states is too long to list. Medicaid, No Child Left Behind, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act are just a few policies passed by the federal government, with the insurmountable cost hoisted onto the backs of individual states that are going bankrupt under their weight.

When it comes to the actual responsibilities of the federal government, it has a spotty record. The government has failed to secure our borders and deal with illegal immigration, yet it sued Arizona when the state tried to make up for the government’s negligence.

When the 13 colony-states established the federal government it limited its powers, to avoid the very situation they escaped from in England. Each state was supposed to retain its autonomy on matters that were not of national concern. Conservatives believe in this arrangement as laid out in the U.S. Constitution. The federal government shouldn’t tell us which light bulbs to buy or what to eat, nor should it tell us who we can and cannot enter into a relationship with. It shouldn’t take our money for programs and services that it has no right to create, nor should it tell private industry how to run a business. The larger government becomes, the smaller the individual is.

So here we are approaching the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats are in trouble, because they haven’t been listening to the American people. They’re in trouble because they’ve continued to grow the size of the federal government at a time when our country is already $14 trillion in debt. Democrats aren’t afraid of running out of money, because they can simply raise our taxes. They’ve even managed to convince some people that taxes are necessary in order to continue providing goods and services. But increasing taxes on those of us who still have jobs, or on businesses that are still open, does nothing to fix our economy and put people back to work. It only serves to keep the government from realizing it needs to STOP!

Small government principles are good for everyone. Keep government small. Keep it out of our lives. Keep it out of our pockets. The solution to our problems isn’t higher taxes, it’s less spending; it isn’t bigger government, it is smaller government; and it isn’t government in every aspect of our lives – it’s FREEDOM.

Common Sense Conservatism: Education

May 16, 1980: a day that will live in infamy. It is the day the Department of Education began operating as an autonomous Cabinet-level department. The national graduation rate peaked a decade before President Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education at 77.1%, and has enjoyed an almost uninterrupted decline since, currently hovering in the high 60s. That means three out of every ten students, and almost half of minority students, won’t graduate. The State of Nevada ranks dead last in graduation rates for two years running, as only 47% of high-schoolers graduate.

Everyone agrees that our education system needs to be improved, and liberals and conservatives disagree, as usual, on how to address the challenge. The liberal position typically includes additional funding, even though spending on education has skyrocketed since 1980 with no results to show for it. Conservatives have proposed a number of ideas that routinely get shot down:

“The Party of No” supports School Vouchers, so parents can send their children to the school of their choice, regardless of cost.

“The Party of No” supports Open Enrollment, so parents can choose better performing schools, instead of the one closest to their home.

“The Party of No” supports Charter Schools, which are free from many of the restrictive and costly regulations placed on traditional public schools in exchange for producing measurable results.

“The Party of No” supports Empowerment Schools, which allow for more local control of curriculum, and less micro-management from the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, “The Party of Yes” routinely opposes all of them. Teachers Unions across the country have frequently opposed School Vouchers, Open Enrollment, Charter Schools and Empowerment Schools. And why do teachers unions and many Democrats oppose these choice options? Because they threaten the status quo, which unions and Democrats have worked very hard to establish over the years. Let’s dig a little deeper:

The best example of the successes of school voucher programs is our nation’s capital. The Washington DC public school system ranked 46th in the nation in 2002, and remains below 50% when charter schools are excluded. The District also spends the most money per pupil, at roughly $28,000, proving that money won’t solve our education crisis. Six years ago, Washington DC began a school voucher program that allows low-income parents to take their children out of poor performing schools, and put them in private schools regardless of cost. In fact, the average cost of a voucher is around $6,500, ONE-FOURTH of the cost of enrolling the same child in the public school system that only graduates 48% of kids.

Not only has the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program helped more than 3,000 students, it has done so with significant savings to taxpayers. So why do unions oppose it? And why did Democrats in Congress, and President Obama, END THE PROGRAM? Teachers Unions believe that if school vouchers give parents the ability to send their kids to private schools, there will be fewer students in public schools. Fewer students mean fewer tax dollars, which when combined will lead to fewer public schools, fewer public school teachers and fewer union members paying dues. That’s pretty obvious, and it’s simple math – even if 52% of public school students in DC can’t add and subtract. It should also be noted that a large portion of dues paid to unions are spent attempting to get union-friendly politicians elected, who then continue to oppose common sense reforms like school vouchers.

So is the program worth saving? Does it work? The answer is a resounding YES! The latest report from the Department of Education shows that students who used their vouchers had graduation rates 21% higher than those who did not receive them. It doesn’t take a high school diploma to see how amazing that is. The fact that there are far more students seeking vouchers than there are vouchers to give, clearly illustrates the need for expansion. Liberals believe the public school system will collapse if vouchers remove tax dollars from poor performing schools, but conservatives see it differently. Perhaps if public schools feel the need to compete for students and tax dollars, they will do better in providing a quality education. If the end result is the building of more private schools, and the complete collapse of the public school system, I’m all for it. We should not tolerate a 48% graduation rate when we’re spending $28,000 per pupil in a failing school system. Our goal should be to provide a quality education at a practical cost, which is an area where public schools fail.

Survival is a powerful instinct. I can’t blame teachers unions for opposing these common sense reforms, because they will most definitely result in a less-robust public school environment for them to control. I also can’t blame them for opposing these ideas on the grounds that they will show how truly ineffective our public school systems are. However, we should care more about the students and their results, than about the politics. Whatever reforms work best should be implemented – even if they are advocated by conservatives.

Today in Nevada, the state hardest hit by low graduation rates, U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle is being labeled a radical because of her belief that the Department of Education should be abolished. Is that a radical idea? I’m sure President Carter had the best intentions when he put education in a prominent position in our federal government. But like everything our government does, financial cost always keeps pace with inefficiency. Since 1980, the Department of Education has produced significant cost increases and graduation rate decreases, all in the name of a failed one-size-fits-all approach to education. Do we really need 4,800 bureaucrats spending $80 billion a year (of our money) to fail our kids?

If someone asked you for $1,000, and told you they’d send you back $500 and tell you how to spend it, would you give it to them? That’s exactly what the Department of Education does. It takes our tax dollars and sends a fraction of them back to us with strict instructions on how those dollars must be spent. Do you honestly believe bureaucrats and politicians in Washington know better how to educate the children of your hometown? It isn’t radical to want the Department of Education to be downsized, and returned to the fold of the Department of Health & Human Services. It isn’t radical to want local control over local school systems. And it isn’t radical to want a better education for our children, at a lower cost, with more choice and accountability.

When it comes to education, the Democrats are the “Party of No.” Unfortunately, they get a free pass. Why? Because the vast number of educators and administrators in our nation’s school system are Democrats. They don’t want to call out their own. Meanwhile, the “Party of Yes” built a $578 million school in Los Angeles while Democrats in Washington passed a $26 billion spending bill to save teacher jobs. Apparently a high-tech swimming pool, vaulted ceilings and a marble sculpture of Robert F. Kennedy are more important than teaching students English, Math and Science. Believe it or not, the school cost $78 million more to build than the Olympic Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China. The L.A. Unified School District has a $640 million budget shortfall, and a 35% drop-out rate, with 3,000 teacher layoffs over the past two years.

Really?

REALLY?

I’ll leave you with a question. What percent of a school district’s budget (not counting expenditures for capital projects or equipment purchases) should go to the classroom?

If you said 13%, welcome to Clark County, Nevada. And people think spending more money is the solution.