Warning: This blog is political in nature.

If you are sensitive to political commentary,
please go back to my main Random Thoughts blog.

If you like political discussion, you may also like my Political Positions blog.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

That's Just Not Right

We are in the middle of a Congressional election campaign between a 28-year incumbent Democrat, Rick Boucher, and a challenging Republican, Morgan Griffith.

Somebody is sending out political text messages, without any identification, that are considered "smear attacks" against the Democrat.

Problem is, these messages seem to be sent BY the Democrat's campaign and his supporters, and Rick Boucher's Congressional office -- in official capacity -- is then claiming the Republican's campaign sent them. What is clear is that the Republican, Morgan Griffith, has categorically denied knowing anything about these messages or being involved with them in any way.

It's one thing to point out your opponent's bad actions.
It's quite another to do them yourself solely to blame him for them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Letter to Senator Mark Warner

I just received a letter from Senator Mark Warner. This is a reply.


Thank you for your email.

Thank you for letting me know that you strongly support additional bailouts for favored businesses.

I realize that the small business package includes some things that will be positive, like allowing those who choose to invest in capital to write off the balance more quickly. However, allowing the current tax rates to expire on most of these businesses (taxes on the "rich" who own these businesses and file personal returns that reflect the business income) will cost far more than this plan could ever save.

Moreover, the majority of the cost (which will have to be paid for, despite the claim that it doesn't cost anything) is for direct bailouts (loans) for favored businesses. The loan industry has no shortage of funds available. The $1.5b is minor compared to the $300b already available. This money will go to companies, like those you indicated, which are politically favored, and some of whom do not have a sound business model which would be required to otherwise get loans. And which will be required to actually succeed and to pay back the loans.

In addition, while the deductions on capital investment may reduce the short-term cost of business growth, the new healthcare regulations will greatly increase the cost of employees. In other words, recent regulations still create an environment that is strongly negative for jobs growth.

It is laws like these that have overseen the increase in unemployment from 7.2% under Bush to over 10% under Obama. These laws with more regulation and higher taxes have made things so bad that some experts do not expect unemployment to ever return to the low rates that President Obama inherited.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Louisiana and the Oil Spill

I just found out that Louisiana actually has developed a plan over the past years to contain oil spills to keep them off their coast and out of their sensitive marshlands.

Yet you hear a lot on the news about how the oil threatens the marshes. Which is the truth?

Actually, the oil does threaten the marshes, despite Louisiana's plans. Why?

Because for Louisiana to implement their plans, they have to have Federal permission.

And the Federal government is far more concerned with blaming BP, with fining BP, with shutting down oil drilling nationwide, with holding press conferences, and with having hearings.

Louisiana asked for permission within days of the oil leak starting. And, despite it now being over a month later, the Federal government has still not allowed Louisiana to do anything to protect themselves.

If we didn't know before, we know now. This isn't about fixing anything. It's not about taking responsibility, which BP has already done. It's about blaming. It's about repudiation. It's about publicly humiliating anybody and everybody that the current Federal administration doesn't like. And the oil leak continues.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Times Square Would-Be Bombing - Correction

My original post on Times Square has been corrected. Seems some of the facts were a little confusing, since the would-be bomber actually has close ties to BOTH major radical Islamic terrorist organizations.

Too bad Attorney General Eric Holder won't admit even the possibility of any "radical Islam" influence in the situation in Times Square. Might make keeping things easier to keep straight if the government would actually find out what's going on rather than trying to appease everyone who hates us. Or if they would even admit the intelligence findings that have already been released to the press.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bomber on no-fly list on flight: Airline's fault?

The government says that the bomber who was on the no-fly list getting on a flight was effectively the airline's fault.

The policy requires airlines check every 24 hours for a new/updated list. This guy was a new addition, so he got missed. And they are now changing the policy to require airlines check for new/updated lists every two hours.

But is it ultimately the airline's responsibility? Isn't that what the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is for? Every individual person goes through a security screening, and every individual person gets looked at by a TSA agent.

But the government says it's the private airline's fault, not the TSA that they oversee.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bomber on no-fly list still gets on flight

Faisal Shahzad, the man who set up the bomb in Times Square, was on the no-fly list.

Yet he got on a flight to Dubai, and almost left. He was apprehended from the plane, just before take-off.

And the White House Press Secretary says that the "security system" and its "fallback procedures" were "in place" and that "they worked."

The guy was on the no-fly list. He was minutes from taking off, when somebody happened to notice his name on the boarding list. And this is an example of how the system "worked"?

New York did an excellent job. The citizens noticed and reported the suspicious activity. The information on the vehicle was tracked down. But the perpetrator, who was on the Federal no-fly list, was still allowed on an international flight, right under the eyes of the Fed?

How many times do people on no-fly lists have to get on flights before somebody straightens things out?

(BTW: Oh, and how many news reports have you heard that mentioned that he's a Muslim who came from Pakistan and has ties to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Not many, I'll bet.)

Update: Sorry; it was a Taliban training camp he trained in last year. Corrected above.

Update 2: No, it actually was an Al Qaeda training camp. Confused because the Taliban took credit for the bomb, but it was Al Qaeda that he trained with. Seems he's actually related to both. Re-corrected.

Too bad Attorney General Eric Holder won't admit even the possibility of any "radical Islam" influence in the situation. Might make keeping things easier to keep straight if the government would actually find out what's going on rather than trying to appease everyone who hates us. Or if they would even admit the intelligence findings that have already been released to the press.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Oil Rig Sinking

Well, I feel a little bit better in one way, though not so much in another.

On the one hand, at least I'm not the only one thinking this, but on the other hand, if it's true, that's scary.

I just heard a local (relatively local, in Tennessee, but nationally-syndicated) radio host say that he was thinking the same thing.

OK, I'm leading in to something.

I was simply thinking that it seems quite a coincidence that we've had a lot of mining disasters in the past year or so. And now, we've had an oil rig sink, resulting in probably a bigger oil spill than the Exxon Valdez.

This particular oil rig survived the brunt of Katrina. We know it was in the path for that. It was probably in the path for a lot more, like Ivan (which I was in Pensacola FL during). And now the pressure from fire hoses from fire boats was enough to break it off its moorings and cause it to sink? Really? After an unexplained fire?

Is it just coincidence that we've had all these situations, right now as those in political power are pushing for restrictions and fees on fossil fuels?

Is it a coincidence that we had an oil rig mysteriously blow up and sink - and that the fail-safe auto-cap mechanism also mysteriously failed - and all without any ability to investigate what happened to either one?

And right after a President who has made no secret of his dislike of the petroleum industry, under strong pressure from members of his own political party, just approved research into off-shore drilling? A move that is now suspended indefinitely, making him look like he was on the right side all along?

A President who has worked all his political life among "community organizer" groups who are used to "heavy-handed" tactics to get their way?

A President who has worked all his political life in and around Chicago, the home of political corruption perhaps only second to New Orleans?

Which is, coincidentally, the home of the group he worked with most of his working life, ACORN, and their brother group, SEIU. And, coincidentally, where the oil rig incident occurred.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no conspiracy nut. I tend to believe people mean exactly what they say, until proven otherwise. And I tend to believe the Ockham's Razor theory - that if there are two possibilities, the simpler answer is more likely the correct answer.

But you also know what they say about something that seems like too much of a coincidence...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

33 Mine Accidents; Coincidental?

There have been 33 mine accidents so far this year, with associated investigations into operational safety, and it's only April.

President Obama hates coal mining. In a discussion on energy (back a while, concerning Cap and Trade), he said he was going to put coal mining out of business.

President Obama is very close with union thug organizations (SEUI and the group formerly known as ACORN).

Conspiracy fans could go nuts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arizona declares illegal activity to be illegal

Arizona just declared the federally-illegal activity of crossing the border illegally to be against state law.

Then President Obama promptly says that's unfair, and he orders the courts to look into the Constitutionality of the new law.

The Constitutionality of enforcing the existing law? Come on!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NASA: No More Gov't Sponsored Space Flight: A Bad Thing?

NASA only has two more planned space flights. All near-future space projects (by the US) have been canned. I was very discouraged to hear this. At first.

I am all for space flight. For lots of reasons. For one, I like scifi. For more practical issues, I would like to see us reach beyond our own planet, for research, for exploration, for resources, and for territorial expansion. And we have a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in the space program.

But should it be done by the government? Show me, where in the Constitution does the government have authority to fund exploration of any sort?

Exploration has historically, in our country anyway, been done by private parties. Individuals and businesses who have an interest in the exploration.

And we now have a commercial space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, with ships manufactured by Scaled Composites.

And now Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is promoting a Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. Do I have a problem with that? Its the state doing it, not the Federal government. The US Constitution only restricts the Federal government. The Governor expects this will create jobs and boost the economy, so sure, he can do that.

So, we are progressing to space. Just not on the dime of the Federal taxpayers.

Now we just need the researchers that NASA is keeping to realize that they need to put their dollars into US-based companies and organizations rather than in Russia and China.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Postal Service Reductions: A letter to my Congressman

A letter to my Congressman, Rick Boucher.


I am all for the proposed Postal Service (USPS) reductions in Saturday services. These reductions simply matches existing services offered by United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx).

Which brings up a bigger issue. Spin the USPS off as a private organization and remove the current competition restrictions on private businesses from non-priority postal delivery. USPS has outlived its purpose as a government-run organization, as private organizations have long-since proven capable in this space.

No regular-level postal employees will lose jobs, or not immediately, as only the administration will change. Private business leadership can be expected to soon bring the USPS into profitability through improvements in efficiency and cost reductions the current government affiliations do not allow. In addition, competition in the private space will provide the double benefit of improved service at lower prices.

At the very least, the USPS will benefit from an improved image. Many people and organizations, myself included, currently avoid use of regular postal mail due to its reputation for poor performance.

While private businesses such as UPS and FedEx consistently operate at a profit in the same market, USPS repeatedly runs in the red, with these large deficits covered by the generosity of the American taxpayers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthcare Bill: Now law, but fraudulent

There were lots of pleas for compassion going into the healthcare debates.

Every scenario has anecdotal evidence, that is, specific examples that seem to prove whatever the speaker wants to prove. Any businessperson knows that no decisions should ever be made solely on anecdotal evidence. Yes, there are people that have had huge bills due to lack of health insurance.

But did you know that most of the examples we've been given have not been accurate? Some of them have been made up, and others were blown way out of context?


The President said that people who want to get insurance on their own pay three times of that through an employer. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that's not so.

The President told the story of a man who had cancer, lost his insurance, couldn't get chemotherapy, and died. Not true -- the newspaper author of the story retracted it, but the President continued to tell the story after the retraction.

Lots of people say that people can't get medical care if they don't have insurance. They can get whatever care they need -- the law doesn't allow care providers to refuse care based on ability to pay. True, the person may get billed huge amounts (which they may never pay off, and which cannot legally be passed to inheritors), but they do get the care. Chemotherapy, heart transplants, whatever.

And just before the Congressional vote, the President introduced a small boy whose mother died of cancer after she couldn't get treatment without insurance.

Two problems with that. First, the mother was a member of a group dedicated to getting people to meet the needs of others by sharing from their own resources (a system some refer to, more-or-less accurately, as "communist"). But they wouldn't even meet the needs of one of their own members. You see, they wanted the government to meet the need, and not themselves personally, despite what they say.

But the government? That directly brings up the second point. She QUALIFIED FOR MEDICAID! But MediCaid didn't help her. She qualified for government healthcare assistance, but still didn't get it.

Yes, it's a tragic story. But the government-provided healthcare was already available, and this government-provided healthcare failed her.

And they want this already-failed system to be enforced on everyone else?!?!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthcare: They'll "Do Whatever It Takes"

Well, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have exposed a little more about themselves.

They have both said that they'll do "whatever it takes" to pass comprehensive government-regulated healthcare.

The problem is what it is "taking: things that are unconstitutional, and things that used to be considered illegal.

Things that are unconstitutional, like:

Requiring everyone to purchase something just for being a citizen.

Everyone makes the comparison with car insurance, but that's not accurate. For one, the law (which is state law, by the way, not federal) does not require comprehensive insurance; only other people are protected, not the owner. On the side of health care, other people were already protected from an individual's actions -- under criminal and tort law.

Secondly, auto insurance does not include wear-and-tear on the vehicle. That's the range of warranties and "extended warranties", and no state requires a car owner purchase or maintain an extended warranty on his or her car.

And things that are illegal, like:
Giving Congressmen Federal jobs if they promise to vote the "right" way. One Congressman has been promised the ambassadorship to NATO. One has been promised the administration of of NASA (they have an "administrator" rather than a "director").

These aren't "iffy" things like pork benefits to the Congressman's district that indirectly benefit the Congressman him/herself -- these are things that reasonably have cash value, since a job, even a cushy, appointed job, involves a salary. In fact, the cushy ones tend to have more monetary value than the others, since they also tend to have perks. NATO is based in Belgium -- a nice spot for a vacation home, from what I understand. And a vacation home paid for by other people that is, us, the tax-payers) is so-much-the-better.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to "kick through the door" to pass this regulation. The problem is that it's the door to someone else's house. And she knows it. And she doesn't care -- she wants in. And she wants everything you've got, so she can give it all away to her friends.

Get ready -- she's kicking on your door, and she's got a freight truck with her.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Harvard University: Obama will cause gas to be $7/gallon

Think we need to regulate CO2? You know, the gas that everybody breathes out? The gas that trees need to live? The gas that some claim is causing the non-existent "global warming"?

Harvard University -- not a conservative group, but the President's own alma mater -- and reported by the New York Times, another group not exactly known for conservative leanings -- says that the Obama administration's current proposals for CO2 reductions will cause gasoline to go to $7 a gallon.

$7 a gallon for gas?

Guess what's worse -- most gas is paid for by the middle class.

Do you drive an hour each way to work? Can you afford $10,000 a year just in gas to get to and from work? And that's just gas, not any of the cost of the car or maintenance.

Cost of shipping will skyrocket. Everything in the stores will cost a LOT more, because it has to be trucked in. Even if the stuff is made locally, it has to be driven to the store.

We can't afford CO2 regulation, whether it be by the EPA, "Cap and Trade", or otherwise. Real scientists say that it's probably not causing global warming anyway.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Government Projects ≠ Created/Saved Jobs

Please, our politicians, please realize that government public works projects do not create or save jobs.
  • First, most companies that do public works projects aren't in trouble anyway.
This is simply because the government is already their main source of work, and the government hasn't cut back in those projects when the rest of the economy cut back.
  • Second, these projects don't add jobs, or at least not in any notable numbers.
These projects just keep the current employees a little busier. The companies can't just hire people from other "construction" industries (which are in trouble) without completely retraining them - a framing carpenter doesn't know how to lay asphalt, and a residential housing engineer doesn't have expertise in bridge design.
  • Third -- and as the President has paid lip-service to -- most jobs are created by small businesses.
Government projects primarily go to large businesses. In fact, President Barack Obama has tried to put in legislation that requires most work of large projects go to unionized companies.

Why? The President has said -- over and over -- that he never makes a move without consulting the unions. He also -- and illegally, I might add -- gave the majority ownership of GM to the unions, rather than to the collateralized loan holders, those who were given -- in writing -- ownership of the company or property, in exchange for the risk of the loan. You know, like your home loan? How would your bank like it if you filed for bankruptcy and the court gave your divorced ex-wife title to your house free and clear, and only gave the bank 2 cents on the dollar? That's not only unfair to them, it's illegal. But President Obama did just that, or more specifically, he directed his appointee "car czar" to do that. Sorry -- off-topic rant.

If the government bought lots of goods from small businesses - pens, desks, computers, stuff like that, the business would get a boost from that, and might hire some people, at least temporarily.

If the government would reduce taxes on owners of small businesses, you know, the demonized "wealthy" who make $250k or more, since all sole proprietorship and partnership business revenue goes on the owners' personal tax returns, they might be able to hire more people.

If the government would declare that no new fees, taxes, or regulations of any sort would be placed on small businesses, they might have enough confidence to hire some people.

Oh, and concerning capital gains taxes: Small businesses don't have "capital," stocks or bonds, to have any capital gains taxes. All "gains" show up as regular income for the owner. Besides, capital gains taxes have been 0% for years. But those rates are expiring, and some people (like President Barack Obama) think they can get some political steam by essentially just not raising them back to where they were, for a small group that wouldn't be affected by it anyway.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union: Brief summary

Didn't comment yesterday on this - the State of the Union speech went late, and I didn't think to post then.

Summary: Lots of promises, most of which have already been repeatedly broken. Things like:

Full transparency. The President -- not just Congress and Senate, who have done it too -- has had closed-door meetings on healthcare. This is is not exactly an issue of national security, so that can't be used as an excuse. And he specifically promised that all discussions would be carried on C-SPAN, but not only were the meetings not on C-SPAN, but he didn't even allow the press to attend.

No favors or earmarks. Not only has he signed bills containing THOUSANDS of earmarks, he himself negotiated exemptions for unions from healthcare taxes.

Get all lobbyists out of Washington. He has appointed lobbyists to his own cabinet!

Allow gays to openly serve in the military. Whether you agree or not, he has promised it. And it came up a few months ago. And he specifically decided make the change. In the State of the Union speech, he said he would repeal the law -- but it's not a law, it's a policy. and as such, he can change that with a stroke of his pen. But he chose not to do it, despite his promises.

Oh, and he continued to blame his problems on Bush, uh, inherited issues. He has been President for over a full year now. They're his issues now. And many of the issues we have, he actually created himself. While the TARP program might have come under Bush (and I do blame Bush for it as well), he did vote for it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Political Contributions: Unions OK, But Companies Not?

The Supreme Court just ruled a law as unconstitutional that prevented corporations (which are legal "persons") from making political contributions.

And the Democrats are howling. They say that it is "un-American" for companies to make political contributions. Companies for whom their interests lie in smaller, less-restrictive government and lower taxes.

But those same Democrats say that is is perfectly fine for labor unions to make political contributions. Unions whose interests lie in more regulation and larger government, even at the expense of the companies who pay the bills.

Hypocrite much?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Harry Reid: A Politically-Correct Racist

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), one of the leaders of the Democratic Party, said during the 2008 campaign season that Obama would be acceptable as President because he was a "light-skinned...Negro" and that he didn't speak with a "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

In other words, Reid didn't want a black man as President. Obama was "close enough" to white to be acceptable.

In 2002, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R) said at a birthday party for Senator Strom Thurmond that he had voted for Thurmond for President. Since Thurmond had segregationist history, this was deemed so "racist" that Lott was forced to resign from his position and later from office entirely.

But Reid's statement, which is specifically anti-black, not just one which could be interpreted that way, is largely being overlooked.

I just sent this to my Federal representatives:
It has recently come out that Harry Reid said during the 2008 campaign season that Obama would be acceptable as President because he was a "light-skinned...Negro" and that he didn't speak with a "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

In other words, Reid didn't want a black man as President. Obama was "close enough" to white to be acceptable.

We do not need an overt racist in one of the most influential positions in American politics.

Promised Transparency? Clear as Concrete...

President Obama promised that all healthcare discussions would be televised live on C-SPAN.

The Congress did not do that, but the President could not control whether or not they would comply with his own promise.

This week, President Obama had healthcare meetings at the White House. This was his opportunity to fulfill his promise. Did he? Were all discussions carried on C-SPAN?

Not only were the meetings NOT televised, but no reporters -- at all -- were even allowed in the room.

But we know one thing that came out of the meeting. The unions were promised that they will be exempted from the taxes on "high-value" health insurance that everyone else will have to pay.

Letter to my Congressman and Senators: If the health care bill has any favors, please vote against it.

Letter to my Congressman and Senators:
If the health care bill has any favors, please vote against it.

The previous version had favors for Louisiana and Nebraska for the federal government to pay the state portions of Medicare and Medicaid.

President Obama has negotiated favors for the unions, opting them out of taxes that apply to everyone else.

If the health care bill has any favors, please vote against it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Charitable Contributions Should Be from Excess, Not Debt

Our nation has a long heritage of generosity. But we, as a nation, should not make humanitarian contributions to other nations unless we can afford to do so.

Individuals with sufficient means readily give to the needs of others. In times of many disasters, individual contributions have overshadowed even the huge amounts given by our government.

But as I write this post, our government is out of money. Our government is running at a deficit in the TRILLIONS of dollars. We cannot currently afford to give humanitarian aid out of the federal budget.

Each year, we, as a nation, give billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. We need to stop doing so, until we come to the point that we can again afford to do so out of our excess. It harms our country to borrow money, for example, from China to give to Haiti.

Again, individuals can -- and should be encouraged to -- give to those in need, whether domestic or international. There are many groups that aggregate funds and goods, and then provide them to those in need. A few examples are the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Our government does encourage such contributions though tax deductibility.

You can give to the Red Cross via their website (redcross.org) or by calling 1-800-Red-Cross. As I write this post, we are learning more about the earthquake in Haiti, for which you can contribute $10 directly via the Red Cross' International Response Fund by texting "Haiti" to 90999.

You can give via AmeriCares, either via their website (AmeriCares.org) or by calling 1-800-486-HELP.

Another humanitarian organization is Care. They can be reached either online (Care.org) or by phone at 1-800-521-CARE.

And Operation USA can be reached via their website (opusa.org), by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by mail at Operation USA, 3617 Hayden Ave., Suite A, Culver City, CA 90232.

But our government should not give directly until it can do so without further increasing our debt.

(Links for relief organizations are courtesy of Neal Boortz, an Atlanta-based radio host with a website at boortz.com; he has more information on Haiti relief efforts here.)

Cross-posted under Political Positions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old jobs, new jobs

85,000 people lost their jobs last month. I associate with them, as I have been without a job for 13 of the last 14 months.

But good news! President Obama has announced that he is going to direct the government to spend even more money to create 17,000 jobs with green energy!

So, 85,000 jobs were lost due to Obama's lousy economy, and we're supposed to get excited about 17,000 jobs he supposedly created?

Nevermind that this is done with our own money. Yes, that includes me -- my unemployment benefits are taxed as income.

Nevermind that these jobs are related to one of Obama's pet themes. Imagine the response if Bush had "created" jobs by sending more people to Iraq, and that if anyone wanted one of these jobs, all he/she had to do was enlist in the military.

Nevermind that the idea behind green jobs is global warming, an exposed hoax that keeps getting promoted while we've got historic low temperatures and record snowfalls, not to mention record low levels of pollution in this country.

Nevermind that these are union jobs, closely affiliated with Obama's friends at SEIU.

Nevermind that these aren't high-paying jobs, well, wouldn't be if the unions weren't involved.

Nevermind that historically every job in "green energy" has resulted in 2 1/2 jobs lost elsewhere.

Thanks, Mr. President. I'll just sit here trying to find a job (I've been told that my industry in this area has 100 applicants for every posted job) while I watch my taxes go up even more.