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

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, , ,

PRICE IS RIGHT-SHACKLE THE LAME DUCK

Yesterday, Representative Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA), offered a resolution on the House floor aimed at eliminating the threat of a “lame duck” Congress passing yet more unpopular legislation prior to the 112th Congress being seated.  Unsurprisingly, House Democrats chose to delay a vote on the resolution of Rep. Price.

Watch the video below, then consider doing what I did.  Contact Representative Price to thank and support him in his efforts.  Without shackling a lame duck 111th Congress, the 112th Congress could find itself occupied for months in the task of trying to undo the additional shackles that the lame duck could force upon the Nation.

Filed under: lame duck congress, , ,

THE DNC & THEIR “CONTRACT ON AMERICA”

photo by Christian Science Monitor, 2010

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine unveiled an anti (?)-Republican advertisement campaign that seeks to tie Republicans to the Tea Party.  The advertisement, ostensibly, seeks to turn the American people away from Republicans (and toward Democrats?), because of their close ties with Tea Party ideas.   The ad lists the ten planks of the Tea Party “Contract From America” and then states that these are virtually identical to what Republicans want to do.  Hmmm—has it been lost on them that a majority of Americans are sympathetic to the Tea Party, if not outright members?  As I looked over what the DNC is calling “Contract On America”, I could only pray that the Republican Party is actually embracing these goals.  I think they are winning ones.

One caveat as you read the DNC “Contract” below—the annotation that follows each item is wildly inaccurate and madly spun from a Lefist point of view.  For example, the outcomes that the DNC states from repealing Obamacare, privatizing Social Security or phasing out Medicare are overstated at best.  Visit Representative Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” site for the true plan that the conservative Congressional Republicans are developing.

Oh, and by the way, in case you are concerned about #10, consider this:

Repealing the 17th Amendment would mean that another amendment would need to be passed in order to “undo” it.  The Constitution spells out four paths for an amendment:
* Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
* Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
* Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
* Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)
When an amendment is proposed in Congress, 2/3 majority in each house of Congress must pass it before the amendment is sent on to the States.  Then ¾ of the States (or their legislatures) need to approve it,  no matter where the amendment originated.  Not an easy process.  Huge majorities would need to agree in order for this to happen.  Like it or not, I think we are stuck with popular election of Senators.

Read the DNC advertisement below.  What do you think?  I think that the DNC advertisement has a lot for Republicans to like.  With enemies like the DNC, who needs friends?

THE CONTRACT ON AMERICA
1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)

Put insurance companies back in charge, repeal tax credits for small businesses, allow insurance companies to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions and to drop coverage when a person gets too sick and make prescription drugs for seniors less affordable.

2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether

Turn the guaranteed retirement benefits of America’s seniors over to Wall Street CEOs by putting Social Security at risk in the stock market or, as some Republicans have called for, phase out Social Security altogether and end a program millions of American seniors rely on for their survival.

3. End Medicare as it presently exists

Phase out and end Medicare as it presently exists for future generations of seniors — ending Medicare’s guaranteed healthcare benefits for more than 40 million American seniors — and replace it with a voucher system which will result in higher premiums and fewer services for seniors.

4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil

At a cost of nearly $700 billion, extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and big oil, which are set to expire and which have and will continue to explode the federal budget deficit.

5. Repeal Wall Street Reform

Roll back the toughest consumer protections ever enacted, allow banks to continue to grow too big to fail, and ensure that predatory lenders continue to utilize their most abusive practices.

6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes

Cap liabilities for those responsible for environmental disasters like the Gulf oil spill and let companies like BP decide which victims deserve compensation for the disaster and what the timeline for relief should be.

7. Abolish the Department of Education

Put the big banks back in charge of student loans and put an end to federal assistance for public schools.

8. Abolish the Department of Energy

End America’s investments in a clean-energy future and disband the organization responsible for oversight of nuclear materials.

9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

Gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act — which together protect our kids from air pollution and keep drinking water safe — and disband the watchdog that holds polluters accountable.

10. Repeal the 17th Amendment

Take away your right to pick your U.S. Senator.

Filed under: big government, , , , , , , ,

OBAMA: WE ARE NOT AMUSED

Yesterday, at a DNC fundraiser, President Obama opined that he was “amused” at the Tea Party protests.  Does this man stay up at night studying more ways to sound condescending and dismissive?  If so, he earns an A+ from me.  Mr. Obama, you have definitely mastered purposeful misunderstanding of the message of the Tea Party.  What a clever way to alienate us even further.  Kudos!

However, we are in good company.  There are many at NASA that were also alienated yesterday during Mr. Obama’s visit to Cape Canaveral where he announced changes to our space program.  Last night during his radio program, Mark Levin had a couple of calls from NASA personnel.  One was particularly interesting.  It seems, according to this NASA employee, that Mr. Obama bussed in 60% of the audience for his NASA speech.  The other 40% were union employees of the facility that he had given the day off.  No wonder there was cheering and applause when the POTUS announced that we are going to—Mars?!?  Obviously, none of the audience had any idea how ridiculous that announcement was.  Those who did were not invited to the event.  (Perhaps Mr. Obama knew that they all would be busy packing up their offices and worrying about finding other jobs).

On the bright side, if Mr. Obama continues to act in this fashion, (and I think it’s a good bet that he will—he just can’t help it), then he will become one of the best recruiters in history– for his opponents.  We are not amused right now, but in a few more months we could be downright mirthful.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Filed under: President Barak Obama, , , , , ,

HOW ABOUT A NICE CUPPA TEA?


It is a beautiful day here, warm and sunny.  Our local Tea Party held its second annual Tax Day Tea Party today.  There were, perhaps, fewer attendees this year.  However, with the many competing Tea Parties in the area, as well as the huge gathering in Washington, D. C., that was to be expected.  Still, there were more than 1,000 of us.  No “crashers” turned up, just regular “extreme” folks.  One of these stood near me listening to one of the speakers.  Despite the warm day, he wore a red windbreaker jacket. An olive green baseball cap adorned his head.  With difficulty, since he was leaning on a cane, he still managed to applaud with gusto as the speaker made his points.  At the end of the speech, he turned.  It was then that I saw the applique on his windbreaker and the one on his hat.  “Guadalcanal”, read the patch on his sleeve.  “1st Marines”, read the one on his hat.  I stepped over to him.  “Am I in your way?” he asked.  “No,” I said.  Then, after taking a deep breath, (I am really much shyer than I seem), I asked him, “Were you on Guadalcanal?”  “Yes, Ma’am”, he said in that tough, clipped military way.  I grasped his large, soft hand and squeezed it.  “Thank you, and God Bless you always”, I said.  I couldn’t see his eyes.  They were covered with dark glasses, but nevertheless, I could see that he was both surprised and touched as he smiled and nodded.  It was good that my eyes were shaded too, as I felt tears begin to sting them.  I quickly turned and walked away knowing that I had just had the honor of touching a true hero, and, that if we have such heroes as he sharing “High Tea” with us, then we are unstoppable indeed.

Take heart, stand firm and soldier on.  I know one Marine that is doing just that.  Semper Fi!

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Filed under: personal, , , , ,

REMOVING THE TUMOR OF BIG GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE A SCALPEL AND PLENTY OF OPERATING TIME

Yesterday, Mr. Greenspan testified that, “It was the global proliferation of securitized U.S. subprime mortgages that was the immediate trigger of the current [financial] crisis”.  He went on to say that Congress and U.S. Government Sponsored Agencies (GSEs) were responsible for this proliferation.  Curiously enough, there was no mention of Wall Street—no Goldman, no AIG, no Lehman.  An excerpt from his testimony follows:

“Of far greater importance to the surge in demand, the major U.S. government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pressed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(1) and the Congress to expand “affordable housing commitments,” chose to meet them in a wholesale fashion by investing heavily in subprime mortgage-backed securities. The firms purchased an estimated 40% of all private-label subprime mortgage securities (almost all adjustable rate), newly purchased,

1 In October 2000, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finalized a rule “significantly increasing the GSEs’ affordable housing goals” for each year 2001 to 2004. In November 2004, the annual housing goals for 2005 and beyond were raised still further. (Office of Policy Development and Research, Issue Brief No. V and others).

and retained on investors’ balance sheets during 2003 and 2004.(2) That was an estimated
five times their share of newly purchased and retained in 2002, implying that a significant
proportion of the increased demand for subprime mortgage backed securities during the
years 2003-2004 was effectively politically mandated, and hence driven by highly inelastic demand. The enormous size of purchases by the GSEs in 2003-2004 was not revealed until Fannie Mae in September 2009 reclassified a large part of its securities portfolio of prime mortgages as subprime.
To purchase these mortgage-backed securities, Fannie and Freddie paid whatever
price was necessary to reach their affordable housing goals. The effect was to preempt
40% of the market upfront, leaving the remaining 60% to fill other domestic and foreign
investor demand. Mortgage yields fell relative to 10-year Treasury notes, exacerbating
the house price rise which, in those years, was driven by interest rates on long-term
mortgages.
In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in February 2004, the Federal
Reserve expressed concern “about the growth and the scale of the GSEs’ mortgage
portfolios, which concentrate interest rate and prepayment risks at these two institutions.
Unlike many well-capitalized savings and loans and commercial banks, Fannie and
Freddie have chosen not to manage that risk by holding greater capital. Instead, they have
chosen heightened leverage, which raises interest rate risk but enables them to multiply
the profitability of subsidized debt in direct proportion to their degree of leverage.” The
testimony goes on to say that, “[t]hus, GSEs need to be limited in the issuance of GSE

2 FHFA Annual Report to Congress 2008, (Revised) Historical Data Tables 5b Part 2 and 14b Part 2.  (Originally published May 18, 2009, updated to include a significant reclassification effective September 3, 2009.)

debt and in the purchase of assets, both mortgages and nonmortgages, that they hold.” I
still hold to that view.”

Simply put, the massive tentacles of Big Government invaded the private sector with the intent of engineering a “socially just” housing market.

Of course, the housing market is only one private sector that the tumor of Government has, over time, penetrated.  Like a spinal cancer, Big Government has woven itself tightly into the very nervous system of the country.  Reducing it, let alone removing it, will take deft and steady hands relentlessly wielding a honed scalpel.  But as difficult and time-consuming as such an operation is, the alternative, i.e., to allow the tumor to grow, is crippling and, finally, deadly.

Paul Volker is not a huge fan of such an operation.  His solution is to bleed the patient in the hope of shrinking the tumor as a result.  Indeed, we have come to expect such a solution from the Social Democrats presently in power.  The VAT that Mr. Volker mentioned yesterday, (the same VAT that we can expect the Obama Deficit Reduction Panel to recommend), is the leech with which the patient is to be bled.

Fortunately, not all economists subscribe to this magical cure.  They point out that a VAT will further increase the size of Government, while concurrently reducing consumption and more deeply crippling our economy.  These economists agree that the deficit cannot be taxed away.  Instead, spending must be cut.  We in the real world know this is true.  However, we do not trust that Big Government politicians of either party will embrace such an operation.  It is a given that the Social Democrats reject spending cuts.  But, there are certain Republicans who also reject cuts, at least any that are meaningful.  Their message is, “trust us to manage Big Government more effectively”.  These do not want to surgically remove the tumor, they just want to monitor it and possibly excise a bit around its edges.  The patient is well beyond these measures.

Enter Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) with his economic “Roadmap”.  It has the potential to shrink Big Government without causing major chaos.  For it to be workable, however, true Conservatives who believe in smaller government must be elected in 2010.  In the interim it is important for Conservatives to educate the voting public about the differences between a “benefit” and an “entitlement” program.  Furthermore, they need to continue to hammer de-funding and/or refusing to fund the newest entitlement program, the ACA, until such time as it can be repealed.  Finally, Conservatives need to communicate not only the content of Ryan’s “Roadmap”, but also why it is superior to the redistribution policies of the Social Democrats.

Malignant tumors are both serious and dangerous.  They strangle life, they paralyze and they kill.  Big Government is a malignant tumor, one that should not be treated with leeching, palliative care and life support equipment.

Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , , , ,

SEE YOU IN NOVEMBER

Now, here is something to laugh (or at least smile) about.  Enjoy!

Filed under: congress, U.S. GOVERNMENT,

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS FORWARD

It was just announced that the Healthcare Reconciliation Bill has passed the Senate and is being sent back to the House for its vote.  The Republicans offered 40 consecutive amendments during the reconciliation “vote-a-rama” process.  All of them were defeated by the Democrats.  In total, 13 hours of voting occurred in the Senate.

We who remain adamantly opposed to Obamacare, owe the Republican Senators our gratitude.  Far from the way it was depicted in the mainstream media, the Republican amendments were neither futile nor simple obstructionism.  The votes forced by the Senate Republicans have put the Senate Democrats on the record as not only authoring these unpopular measures, but also continuing to support them.  Following is a partial list of the Republican amendments, from “The Corner” blog at NRO, that were defeated:

—Senator Gregg: Protect Medicare Savings

—Senator McCain: Remove Sweetheart Deals

—Senator Crapo: No Tax Hikes for Families Earning Under $250,000

—Senator Enzi: Strike the Employer Mandate

—Senator Barrasso: Requires Legislation Not Increase Premiums

—Senator Grassley: Requires President, Congress Enroll in Exchange

—Senator Alexander: Reduce Student Loan Interest Rate

—Senator LeMieux: Members On Medicaid

—Senator Coburn: Bars Sex Offenders from Receiving E.D. Drugs

—Senator Hutchison: State Opt Out

—Senator Hatch: Block Medicare Advantage Cuts

—Senator Collins: Waive Employer Mandate Tax

—Senator Thune: Strike CLASS Act

—Senator Cornyn: Remove New Taxes on Investments

—Senator Hatch: Protect Wounded Soldiers from Medical Device Tax

—Senator Inhofe: Protect Pediatrics and Disabled from Medical Device Tax

—Senator Crapo: Protect Cancer Patients from Medical Device Tax

—Senators Roberts, Inhofe, Brown, Crapo: Strike Medical Device Tax

—Senator Burr: Tricare and Veterans Health Programs

—Senator Roberts: Rationing

—Senator Roberts: Critical Access Hospitals

—Senator Vitter: Repeals Democrats’ Health Care Bill

It seems to me that the Republican Senators have laid a strong foundation for building successful campaigns in November by exposing some of the most egregious parts of the new Healthcare Law.  For their part, the Democrats, by opposing each and every one of these “fixes” have also helped our cause—so kudos to them too.  Give all these folks a hand for a job well done!

As for the POTUS’ grand PR tour—he continues to preach to his choir.  The rest of us sit safely outside  the real world where there are no walls to contain our voices.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , ,

WHY WE FIGHT

Dennis Prager succinctly explains in the video below the foundation that needs to underlie our ongoing battle.  Watch it thoughtfully, then watch it again.

Filed under: constitution, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , ,

MAPQUEST-ARE WE THERE YET?

I have a lousy sense of direction.  When traveling, I arm myself with a map, two sets of written directions and a list of landmarks.  I still lose my way.  Exits beckon to me.  Road signs confuse me.  Assuring remarks like, “Trust me, you can’t miss it”, terrify me.  I can panic even when I am not lost.  So, maybe being “directionally challenged” has made it difficult for me to follow the maps produced by the Obama Administration.  Am I lost?  Or, as I see each landmark pass, am I simply panicked for no reason?

During the past year, Mr. Obama and his comrades have manufactured a lot of maps.  Maps for the economy, healthcare, energy, housing, jobs, education, climate change and National security.  Although attractive in presentation, they appear to lack crucial elements.  Large areas are marked, “Unknown Territory” and “There Be Dragons Here”.  Compass points are skewed—true North is always oriented leftward.  Roads meander aimlessly and often reach a dead-end at a deep gorge marked, “Bridge Out”.  Nevertheless, the urgent message is that these maps must be followed or we will be hopelessly lost.  (I think I hear, “Trust me, you can’t miss it”—excuse me while I shudder).  Where do these maps really lead?  Where are we going?

Here is the most exasperating aspect of these maps.  They include no avenue leading to factual, rational discussion of how they have been drawn.  If one points out that such-and-such a road does not correspond to reality, or that a particular feature does not exist, or that there is no bridge spanning that river the response is to criticize the critic.  The cartographers will not engage in a meaningful analysis of their efforts.  Nor do they have an attitude open to correcting their mistakes.  Instead, they defend their maps with twisted statistics, partial truths and downright lies.  In the end, they are reduced to reiterating that failure to follow their roads will lead to ruin.  Moreover, we are promised that pursuing these paths will lead to a utopia filled with human goodness.  The way will be “difficult”, it is said, but nothing really worthwhile is easy.  For my part, I fear that these map-makers are related somehow to the Pied Piper!

It seems to me that the inability to deal with facts and specific details in an honest manner should alarm us.  Not only does it signal bad charting, it indicates even worse leadership.  Those who will not clearly articulate what our destination is to be, nor explain in detail the roads that will take us there, are either ignorant, or worse, diabolical.  I mistrust these maps.  More and more I believe that they mark the way to totalitarianism and slavery.

I see an exit marked “2010”.  It is beckoning me.  It doesn’t appear on the map.  That’s why I’m taking it.

Filed under: personal, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

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

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