THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

One helluva way to run a railroad…

…or our country!

Filed under: economy,

MARCO RUBIO’S CLOSING AD INSTILLS HOPE

Here is Marco Rubio’s closing ad for his U.S. Senate race in Florida.  It is outstanding!

Please take a couple of minutes to watch, and then redouble every effort to take back our country on November 2nd.  Electing dedicated conservatives like Marco Rubio can provide the power to roll back the statist agenda that threatens our American character and freedoms.

Pray that all of us who love our Country and believe that it owes its existence to God will take action to remember in November.

Filed under: Conservative Movement, Marco Rubio, November 2010 midterm elections

70 Percent: The Myth of the Consumer Economy – By Kevin D. Williamson – Exchequer – National Review Online

70 Percent: The Myth of the Consumer Economy – By Kevin D. Williamson – Exchequer – National Review Online.

Filed under: economy

The Democrats’ Alice-in-Wonderland Tax Guide

The Democrats’ Alice-in-Wonderland Tax Guide.

Filed under: Uncategorized

A 9-11 EVENT WORTH NOTING: 50th ANNIVERSARY OF YOUNG AMERICANS FOR FREEDOM

Quinn Hillyer has written a wonderful retrospective on the founding of Young Americans for Freedom in Sharon, Connecticut on September 11, 1960.

As we approach the 9th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on America tomorrow, it is worth noting that YAF will be holding an event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate their founding on this same day.  The focus of the founding group was on the rise of Communism as the most important threat to America and her freedoms.  Today, both Terrorism and the increasing growth of Statism threaten American freedoms just as profoundly.  The Sharon Statement rings just as truly now as it did in 1960.  And, it is ever more important that the principles and values it contains are conveyed to the youth of our nation.

“The Sharon Statement

Adopted in conference at Sharon, Connecticut, on 11 September 1960.

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution- the division of powers- is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistance with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?”

Mr. Hillyer’s father made some notes during the original gathering at Sharon, Connecticut.  In my estimation, his ideas on how to best share conservative ideas with others are the best blueprint for acceptance of these.

“Don’t use labels,” he wrote. “Start off talking about policies. Labels frighten; policies bring agreement.” And “emphasize that conservatism is non-conformist” — counterintuitive, but oh so true, and also a good sales point for college students who typically like to think of themselves as non-conformists even as they actually conform their thoughts, actions, and clothing to the reigning liberal orthodoxy.

As we draw ever nearer to the 2010 Midterm elections, we would do well to study and incorporate his ideas, as well as the ideals of the Sharon Statement into our encounters with those who do not understand what conservatism is and may, therefore, believe that they could never embrace it.

Here’s wishing the Young Americans for Freedom a Happy 50th Birthday and many more to come!

Filed under: Conservative Movement, , ,

The Next Hoover – Article – National Review Online

The Next Hoover – Article – National Review Online.

Filed under: Uncategorized

FAVORITE QUOTES OF THE DAY AFTER LABOR DAY

After spending the past several weeks in “cancerland”, I was able to peruse various sites today to see what I’ve been missing.  My favorite quotes are below, along with links to the entire article in which each appeared.  Enjoy!

[T]hey’ve [Big Labor] instituted schemes where teachers receive raises for not dying over the summer.

Keynesian politicians don’t realize (or pretend not to realize) that economic growth occurs when there is an increase in national income. Redistribution plans, by contrast, simply change who is spending an existing amount of income.

If we are going to talk about “the policies that created this [economic] mess in the first place,” let’s at least get the facts straight and the names right.

Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool [on 8/28] were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them.

The only path back to robust growth and prosperity is to stop this [Obama’s] agenda dead in its tracks, and then by stages to reverse it. These are the economic stakes in November.

…the administration remains clueless, hinting that it may seek another “stimulus” costing billions. This bunch is either willfully doing damage to the U.S. economy, or completely incompetent.

[Allen] West: I would absolutely support repealing all of Obama-passed legislation.
For those interested, his website is http://www.allenwestforcongress.com.

If Keith Fimian wins the [Virginia] 11th, the GOP will far exceed their electoral success of 1994. You can follow the Fimian campaign itself at KeithFimian.com.

The Labor Day sprint to November has begun. The game is afoot.

(Note to Harry [Reid]: Repeating oneself is bad enough, repeating vague platitudes about “failed-policies-of-the-past-and-the-need-for-a-new-strategy”– like someone else we know — is downright pathetic.)

Filed under: November 2010 midterm elections, , , , ,

Rush Monologue: Life is Not Fair

Yesterday, Rush gave this monologue on his radio program.  When my children were young(er), I used to tell them, “fair is not equal”.  Rush puts it in similar terms.
His words are worth reading and worth sharing.

Filed under: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT,

Will New Jersey Do the Right Thing On Cap-and-Trade?

From the Americans for Prosperity Blog comes the item below.  Mr. Lagerkvist was on Fox News last evening outlining AFP’s fight to not only obtain information about this in NJ, but also to overturn it there and keep it from spreading across the Country.  NJ elected Chris Christie to eradicate this sort of secrecy and corruption that continues to steal wealth from all of us.  Time to act, Governor Christie!

By Phil Kerpen
Published August 04, 2010 | FoxNews.com

Cap-and-trade is stalled in Congress but it’s already up and running in 10 Northeastern states – and it isn’t pretty. With a drumbeat building in New Jersey for repeal of the state cap-and-trade legislation and attention in the global warming debate being increasingly focuses on the states, this could be a key turning point in the state-level fight over global warming taxes.

Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog has blown the lid off the secretive – and possibly corrupt – working of the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced like the name Reggie), the nation’s only currently-operating cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases and the model for a the proposed national program.

Read the rest at FOX Forum.

Read more: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/080410-will-new-jersey-do-right-thing-cap-and-trade#ixzz0vjdht3rp

Filed under: RGGI, , , , ,

MENENDEZ & PASCRELL: CLUELESS IN NEW JERSEY

With the mid-term elections less than 90 days away, I find myself fantasizing about what New Jersey might be like if she were represented in Washington by individuals who actually could read and do math.  By extension, what might the entire Country look like?  Alas, despite the election of Chris Christie to the position of Governor of the Garden State, I am resigned to the voters returning Representative Bill Pascrell,  8th District, to Washington this November. The 2012 re-election of Senator Bob Menendez is more doubtful, even if he dodges the recall action now in process.  However, having lived in New Jersey for the past 25 years, I have learned to never underestimate the hypnotic power of politicians who have  “Ds” after their names over the New Jersey electorate.

There was a time when I attempted to correspond with both Rep. Pascrell and Senator Menendez.  (To my credit, I had never tried to write or call Senator Lautenberg.)  I stopped these futile efforts over a year ago out of a desire to keep my sanity intact.  As a result they stopped sending me e-mails and newsletters and making “robo-calls” to my home.  A kind of peaceful co-existence reigned among us.  Last week that peace was broken.  My fault, I have to confess.  The potential of a “lame duck” Congressional session this fall was just too tempting.  I took aim and fired off letters in conjunction with a petition from Freedom Works on the issue.

Here is the letter that Freedom Works sent, with my comment appended at the end:

July 30, 2010

Dear Representative Pascrell,
Dear Senator Lautenberg,
Dear Senator Menendez,

Dear Member of Congress,

I continue to hear rumors about a potential “Lame Duck” session that could be held right after the November elections and before the new Congress is sworn-in.

I fear that despite a very different political make-up in Congress, elements of the far Left will view this as their last chance to enact threats to our liberty including:

1. The Cap and Trade Energy Tax Hike!
2. Another “Stimulus” Bailout Scheme!
3. More Tax Hikes at a Time when we can Scarcely Afford them!

This would go directly against the will of the people – having had their say in the November Elections – and I urge you to oppose it as the worst kind of political, dirty-trick.

Should a lame duck session surface, I will be watching your vote very closely on cap and trade, additional taxpayer-funded bailouts, any attempts to increase taxes, and any other policy proposals that erode more of our freedoms and expand the reach of government.

H/T to Rep. Tom Price for his Resolution addressing this issue. I strongly support his efforts.

Sincerely,

Okay, here is a little test.  What is the main idea of the above letter?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Below is the answer of Senator Menedez:

Dear Mrs. Hurley:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about legislation addressing climate change.  Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this critical issue.

I understand your concerns about the potential economic impact of this legislation.  Like you, I believe it is vital that we carefully consider and prepare for how a program to reduce global warming pollution will affect the daily lives of those at every income level. Before supporting any energy legislation, I will be looking for significant investments in consumer rebates and energy efficiency to protect consumers and businesses from energy price increases.

However, when thinking about our energy and global warming policies, I think it is critical that we stop and recognize the fundamental choice we are facing.  We can either act now and gradually lower our emissions, or we can delay action and make the inevitable switch to cleaner fuels suddenly and in an economically disruptive manner.

Embarking on a new energy path now would mean rebuilding our manufacturing base by creating jobs in clean energy technology right here at home, reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign energy, and cutting global warming pollution.  As your Senator, I believe moving forward on energy independence and clean energy is the only sensible path for New Jersey and for America.  I have complete confidence that if we in Congress can take on our toughest energy and climate challenges, then our entrepreneurs, engineers, and workers  can make America the leader in clean energy technology that will power the 21st century economy.

On this issue, as with any issue, there are many different views.  Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.  I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.

Sincerely,

His response begs the question, “Is a real person actually reading his correspondence, or does his office use computer software that uses predictive logic to generate (mis)responses?”  It is good to know, I guess, that Senator Menendez is consistently “mis-responsive”.  The letter I had sent previous to the one last week concerned Obamacare legislation.  Senator Menendez replied by telling me that he did not support funding for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  Remember, that a majority of New Jersey voters elected this guy—crazy-making, isn’t it?

Shortly after the exchange with Senator Menendez, I received a call from Representative Pascrell inviting me to join a “Telephone Townhall” meeting with him.  With some difficulty, I was able to resist his invitation.  However, the next day, I received from Representative Bill, a copy of his newsletter—the first one he has sent me in two years.  I tried not to read it; I really did.  But this latest newsletter looked so appealing.  Glossy paper, full color, so unlike the black and blue newsletter that he had previously sent.  So, I read it.

Representative Bill began with a warm, personal letter (my comments in italics):

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

For the past 13 years, I have had the honor of serving the residents of the 8th Congressional District.  As your representative in Congress, it is my priority to make sure you stay informed about the actions of your government in Washington.  (Notice his priority to inform us of Government actions instead of requesting that his constituents inform him about what actions to take.)

In this Congress, we are working hard to turn around the economy, and the results are starting to show.  After 22 straight months of job loss, we have now seen our economy create private-sector jobs for 6 months in a row.  (Omitted in this statement are any statistics that describe the impact these private-sector jobs have had on unemployment, almost nil, and how many more jobs that the private-sector would need to create in order to appreciably reduce unemployment.)
Not only has the Recovery Act helped stem the tide of the recession, but it has included the largest tax cut for any two-year period in the nation’s history allowing over 3.2 million N. J. families to receive tax cuts. (Emphasis is in original text.  More about the alleged tax cuts can be found below.)

We can see the impact of the Recovery Act right here in the 8th District, with the bridge improvements on I-280, the resurfacing of Interstate 80, (Okay, aside from the wasteful expenditure for the “Recovery Act” PR signs, I can support these.) and a Head Start program in Montclair.  (Ummm, Rep. Bill just lost me again.)
With the help of the Recovery Act grants, we are taking America in a new direction—creating good American jobs, providing the lowest taxes in 60 years for the middle class, and helping small business competitively expand.  (Wow, who knew?!?) Times are still hard for families in the 8th District, and I will continue working to get our economy back on track.  (Oh, no, Rep. Bill, please don’t, you’ve done enough already, really you have.)

As Americans we are all affected by these issues and now is the time to voice our thoughts towards finding common solutions.  (Really?  We can “voice our thoughts”.  Is this to be done before or after you inform us “about the actions of our government in Washington”?)

Warm Regards,

Inside his glossy newsletter, Representative Pascrell informs us that he is “delivering tax cuts to working class families and over $311 million to the 8th District from the Recovery Act to create jobs and build the foundation for our future.”  He then specifically accounts for only ~$107.6 million of the money that the 8th District received from the Recovery Act.  (Approximately 34.6%).  It has been spent on such things as education, energy efficiency and green jobs, water quality, sewage efficiency, road and bridge projects.  Approximately 7% of the $311 million went to educational-related items.  (Read: NJEA)  By contrast, Law Enforcement received .08%, yes you read that correctly, 8/100ths of one percent of Recovery Act funds.  Over 21% of the Recovery Act funds went to environmental and green energy-related projects.  About 6% of the $311 million was spent on road and bridge projects.  So where did the other 65.4% of the money go?

Reading on, it becomes clear that a large, undisclosed, portion of the $311 million was spent on “health care”, i.e., support for Medicaid, medical technology and senior nutritional programs.  Whatever remained of the $311 was spent on that “largest tax cut for any two-year period in the nation’s history” that allowed “over 3.2 million N. J. families to receive tax cuts.”  Following is the list of “tax cuts” bestowed on “over 3.2 million N. J. families”:
 Expansion of the child tax credit
 Expansion of the college credit
 The Homebuyer credit
 The Small Business tax credit of renewable energy production
 The Small Business tax credit that allows an immediate tax credit to be claimed for capital equipment purchases
Reduction in withholding
 One-time $250 payment to seniors, veterans and the disabled in the 8th Congressional District.

There is one, teensy-weensy problem with the above list, aside from the reduction in withholding, (which has negligible or even negative consequences), none of these items are “tax cuts”.  They are “tax credits”.  The Heritage Foundation explains the difference between these two.  In short, “tax cuts” allow taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn over a period of time.  “Tax credits” are temporary, perhaps even one-time, benefits given to specific individuals that meet particular requirements.  I suppose that Rep. Bill can be forgiven for not knowing the difference; nearly all the Democrats confuse these two terms and seem to use them interchangeably.

Near the end of his newsletter, Representative Pascrell invites the reader to check out the funding amounts at the “Recovery.gov” site.  Being a glutton for punishment, I did.  Clicking on the state of New Jersey on the map gave me the following information:
 Total awarded (to the State of New Jersey)     $5,122,510,000
 Total received (through 6/20/10)                         $2,442,720,000
 Recipient Reported Jobs (between
April 1-June 30, 2010                                                                22,885

At this point I intend to re-instate my “no contact” rule with Senator Menendez and Representative Pascrell.  I much prefer writing to those who are not clueless.  And, if it looks as if I’m weakening, will someone please force me to re-read this post and then remind me of von Hayek’s words:
“We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.”

Filed under: NJ Federal Representatives, , , , , ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905

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