Haven’t posted in a while. Demoralized. A couple of months ago, I thought to myself, “Well, this isn’t as bad as I thought.” Recently, that’s changed to, “Wow, this is far worse than I could have imagined.” Banks and car industries nationalized. Embryos being harvested for stem cells. Massive deficits. Weakness on defense and a rollback of liberty throughout the world (sorry, Iranian protesters, that we weren’t there for you). Huge increases in utility prices, at the cost of American manufacturing competitiveness. The prospect of socialized medicine. A census that violates the people’s privacy and will feature ACORN going door to door.

…and it’s only been 6 months. How much worse is it going to get? The mind boggles.

What is there to say? I told you so? It was no secret what Mr. Obama was–the community organizer, the Senator who had a more liberal voting record than the one avowed Socialist in the Senate. Everyone knew who he was, but the 52 voted for him because he talked pretty. As Public Image Limited said, “This is what you want, this is what you get.” I only hope the 52 enjoy their years of economic hardship that Mr. Obama’s transnational progressive policies are designed to bring.

No Reagan without a Carter. I just hope we make it until then. Awful, just awful.

Having said that, I’ve got a camera full of pictures I need to upload. I think I’ll stick with those for a while.

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Oh, it’s been a fun couple of weeks, news-wise:

  • The aggressively stupid DHS “right wing extremists” memo was released
  • Mr. Obama had a nice grip-and-grin with Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez
  • The Taliban advanced to within 60 miles of the Pakistani capital
  • The head of the DHS revealed her ignorance on the most basic facts about the 9/11 atrocities
  • We’ve decided that it’s better that thousands die than that we dunk a terrorist scumbag in water
  • We’re going to release Uighur terrorists from Club Gitmo into the US, with a nice little stipend (commit jihad against the West, win the lottery. That makes perfect sense)
  • We’re going to release old pictures of the abuse at Abu Ghraib next week, to further inflame the world over an issue we addressed years ago
  • Oh, and there’s a new variety of influenza in Mexico that’s killed 60 people

And there’s more. All very depressing, and it makes one long for the day when the grown-ups return to the White House. Still, we’re only 100 days in, so why spend the outrage at the beginning?

That last bullet point is a little worrying. There’s not enough information in yet to form an idea of how bad it will be. The majority of people think that those who practice preparedness are panickers. It’s actually the opposite–people who are prepared WON’T panic when things are bad. They won’t be the ones at the grocery store at the last minute. They won’t be the ones clogging the way out of town after a disaster strikes. With that in mind, be prepared for trouble. At the very least, be prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks:

  • Have two weeks of any prescriptions you need
  • Have two weeks of cash on hand, in case the banks close (that’s a lesson people learned after Hurricane Katrina)
  • Have two weeks of water (you can store it in old 2-liter soda bottles); replace it once a year; store enough to wash with, too
  • Have two weeks of food (if it’s not ready-to-eat, you’ll have to figure out a way to cook, too)
  • Have a way to use the bathroom
  • Have two weeks of baby and feminine supplies, as needed
  • Have two weeks of first aid supplies
  • Have candles and oil lamps
  • Have cards and games to stave off boredom, and a wind-up radio
  • As far as influenza goes, buy face masks and latex or nitrile gloves. Use hand sanitizer. Cover your coughs

On top of that, be prepared in general:

  • Develop your physical fitness as best you can
  • Pay down your debt
  • Save money
  • Always keep the gas tank at least half full

There’s not much to it. If it’s not the flu, something else will happen–a storm, an earthquake. These things happen; why not be prepared?

Which isn’t to say you’ll do everything perfectly. Exhibit A:

dsc00095It’s the Great Tomato Slaughter of 2009. I’d raised them from seeds under a grow light. Now that the weather has warmed, I thought I’d put them in the windowsill to get some natural light and start hardening off.

Little did I know that the wind would be so strong. I came home to find most of them on the floor. Seven of the eight will probably survive–the stem on the eighth is broken, and I suspect it’s going to die. The plastic bin has bell peppers and echinacea, none of which are looking too hot. I’ll probably move them to the garden on Sunday and see if they make it, and start a new batch in case they don’t. Fortunately, that’s an option–if things had already gone bad, I’d be in a world of hurt.

And yes, those ARE chopsticks I’m using as stakes.

These things happen. Still, it makes you think about how you practice your self-sufficiency. I’ve been doing this for 3 years, and I still screwed up.

The following is from Reason TV, by way of the puppy blender. It lays out, in 2 minutes and 43 seconds, just how massive the Bush-Obama (but mostly Obama) spending increases actually are. It’ll make you want to stick a screwdriver in your face, but don’t. One, you can’t afford the screwdriver with the tax increases that are coming and two, the government needs you around to pay taxes or the Chinese will foreclose on the Statue of Liberty.

By the way, have you ever noticed about how when TOTUS or Gibbs or Geithner are questioned about this unprecedented deficit spending, they always reply that, well, the Obama administration started with an already pretty big Bush deficit? Has anyone in the media EVER followed up on this irrational line of thinking? “Well, I was already $10,000 in debt, so I decided to make things better I’d go $100,000 in debt.” Bush’s bailouts were wrong, and I said it here back then, but in his first few months as President, Mr. Obama has achieved a literally incomprehensible deficit.

Thanks, 52.

Incidentally, besides attending a tea party protest next Wednesday, there’s NOTHING you can do about this. The Democrats can force through anything they want for the next 2 years, at least. What you _can_ do is take care of yourself. The tax increases will begin next year. This year, pay down debt, build up savings, buy tangibles. You do have some control over your own situation, and it behooves you to be as self-sufficient and independent as possible.

Millionaire Socialist Michael Moore is a big fan of Mr. Obama’s recent firing of the head of General Motors.

In the link above, he describes a vignette where he went to see The Constitution at the National Archive.

What he doesn’t mention is what part of the Constitution gives the President the authority to fire the CEO of a private business. The powers enumerated to the Executive Branch are quite limited, so I’ll include them below:

Article II – The Executive Branch Note

Section 1 – The President Note1 Note2

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

(The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the 12th Amendment.)

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

(In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheses has been modified by the 20th and 25th Amendments.)

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4 – Disqualification

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I missed the part where the firing was constitutional.

But remember, folks–Michael Moore has earned every penny of his bloated…savings account. Why, it would be wrong to cap how much money HE can make. He’s an ARTIST, for Pete’s sake. He’d grab his Big Mac and a torch and pitchfork were the executive branch to ever attempt to cap his salary. He’d be screaming about tyranny if Bush had ever fired, say, the head of Air America (or perhaps, more aptly, the head of National Public Radio, since they take taxpayer money).

Funny how that works….

If something is wrong, it’s wrong regardless of whether it was done by someone you like, Mr. Moore. It just goes to show, if you give this kind of power to the government, you cannot be surprised when they wield it against you. The government that has the power to give you everthing can take everything away.

I was not in favor of bailouts for anyone, regardless of whether it was President Bush or Mr. Obama doing the bailing. I don’t believe in “too big to fail” and I was convinced from the outset that GM was doomed. Regardless of all that, Mr. Obama had no authority to fire Mr. Wagoner.

Glenn Beck made the point today that what we’re seeing isn’t so much Socialism as Fascism–not the Fascism that ends in concentration camps and guys calling themselves Il Duce, but an unhealthy alliance of business and government, and increasingly onerous rules put on the people for “the national good.” I’ll need to think on that for a while. Mr. Obama is the child of two Socialists, was mentored by Socialist Frank Marshall Davis growing up, wrote in his books about how he identified with the Socialists in college, became a community organizer, got his start in Chicago politics with the socialist New Party, worked with Socialists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, and was rated a more liberal Senator than the Senate’s one avowed Socialist. That’s a lot of evidence for Socialism rather than fascism. I think Mr. Obama’s meddling in business is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s an interesting theory, though, and there’s obviously a continuum there.

N.B. This is NOT saying “Obama is Hitler” or “Obama is Mussolini.” Obviously, this tendency has been growing in government for some time, under both parties. The rot is going deeper, that’s for sure, but it can’t be placed solely at Mr. Obama’s feet.

TOTUS held an Internet town hall meeting this week. In it, he jokingly noted how many people had asked about the legalization and taxation of marijuana as a way to help the economy. You can see why they would: Attorney General Holder had noted that the Justice Department was going to stop raiding medical marijuana clinics in California. I myself had noted to liberal friends that my opinion of Mr. Obama would go up, slightly, if he were to legalize marijuana, which is less harmful than alcohol and whose Prohibition has caused problems similar to our misguided attempts to go dry.

Mr. Obama, who noted in one of his two autobiographies, Dreams from My Father, that he used to smoke weed and snort cocaine, said no can do.

Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though

I wonder if he could articulate why he holds that position. For what it’s worth, the late, much missed conservative philosopher William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote eloquently against prohibition and for legalization (he also admitted that he’d smoked dope in the past).

For what it’s worth, I find the “medical marijuana” argument to be a pointless red herring–sure, it has medicinal properties, but people want to get high. That’s fine, as long as, similar to the enjoyment of alcohol, one’s indulgence does no harm to another. Also, under no circumstances should one start to find Jay and Silent Bob funny:

The first President to decriminalize pot will be a Republican. Bet on it. It’s a freedom issue for me, and I also think taxation of marijuana is fair, and would be a good source of revenue, although of course it won’t come close to paying off the trillions in debt that future Americans will be saddled with.

Still, it’s been a tough week for liberals–first he harshes their mellow on the weed, then he announced he’ll continue the war contingency operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He’s just disappointing all sorts of people lately.

Doubleplusungoodthink

March 27, 2009

It’s a matter of obvious fact that our President gives a rousing speech. Ironically, President Bush was probably a better off-the-cuff speaker, but Mr. Obama, as he reads those carefully chosen words in that confident baritone voice off of the TOTUS, does make one FEEL reassured. That’s why a lot of Republicans and centrists who are now feeling huge buyers’ remorse for voting for the most liberal member of the Senate pulled the lever for him.

He’s a wordsmith. So, what are we to make of the recent changes in the American lexicon?

The late George Carlin had a comedy piece (which I could not find on YouTube) about euphemisms. It was about how “shell shock,” that powerful, evocative, two-syllable phrase eventually became parsed out of all meaning into “post-traumatic stress disorder,” an eight-syllable phrase, with a hyphen no less, but without the punch of the original.

The “Global War on Terror” was a weaselly phrase to begin with. Terror is a method, not an enemy. Many of us wanted it to be the Global War on Islamic Extremism. Still, the words themselves were clear. Global, war, terror–ask an 8-year-old what those words mean, and he or she can give you a valid answer.

Now, apparently the new phrase is “Overseas Contingency Operation.” We’ve gone from five or six syllables to 11. Has it gained us any meaning? Overseas, that’s a clear word. I wonder what we call it if terror strikes us, or Canada, or Mexico, though. Contingency, though. What does that mean in this context? Unpredictable? May or may not happen? Ask an 8-year-old what an overseas contingency operation is, and you’ll get a blank look. Still, forget the 8-year-olds–do any grow-ups know what this phrase is supposed to mean, or has all the meaning been parsed out of it? I’ll go on record–I know what the individual words “overseas,” “contingency,” and “operation” mean, but I have no clue what those words put together into a phrase are supposed to signify.

Still, it could be worse. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano now eschews the word “terrorism” for man-caused disasters. So, we should be grateful we’re not having Overseas Contingency Operations Against Man-Caused Disasters (that’s OCOAMCD for all of you home gamers).

We also apparently don’t have “enemy combatants” anymore, either. I don’t believe I’ve read where a new term has been invented for those guys yet. I’m just hoping it’s not “friends we haven’t met yet.” Again, “enemy combatant” was pretty weaselly, since they could have just as easily been called “unlawful combatants,” using the terms of the Geneva Conventions, which would have made it obvious that they were deserving of none of the protections of those accords. Still, what was truly problematic about the phrase–if they’re on the battlefield, shooting at you, is it not obvious on its face that they are enemies and combatants?

Carlin was a liberal. So was Stanley Kubrick, who included this bit of dialogue in “Full Metal Jacket”:

Lt. Lockhart: [reading] … we have a new directive from M.A.F. on this. In the future, in place of “search and destroy,” substitute the phrase “sweep and clear.” Got it?
Private Joker: Got it. Very catchy.

Carlin and Kubrick knew what Rush Limbaugh says: “Words mean things.” That’s nothing new. George Orwell knew it decades ago when he wrote 1984. Newspeak wasn’t just a language, it was a way to influence people’s minds and instill the party line. A language that grew smaller in vocabulary every year, it was designed to make a person not think.

It’s not just Obama, since I’m apparently a Coughlinite and an a$$hole according to some of my six readers for dissenting from him. It’s Congress. If the left had a problem with the PATRIOT Act, what is someone like me to make of:

  • The Employee Free Choice Act, which takes away the secret ballot from workers?
  • The Freedom of Choice Act, which mandates abortion be the law of the land, regardless of what individual states’ voters may think of it?
  • The Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record Sale Act, designed to take 2nd Amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens and named after a youth murdered in Chicago in 2007. That’s Chicago, folks, where it was already illegal for Mr. Holt’s killer to own a handgun. Imagine that–the law not stopping a criminal from doing as he pleases.
  • The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, which in part funds a study on whether “volunteerism” should be made mandatory

I like words. I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be, but I try to be clear. I also like to know what a person means when they say something. This new language seems designed to obfuscate and deflect, to invert meaning in much the same way that “freedom is slavery” and “war is peace.”

Oh well, I guess we’ve always been at war contingency operations with Eastasia. I’m off for some Victory Gin.

You have to give the Democrats credit–THIS is how they won. Young people, and ACORN, and any number of lefties actually going out there with missionary zeal and telling people about how The One has a wonderful plan for their lives. The Right couldn’t match that: due to a flawed primary system, we ended up with a candidate very few of us could get worked up about. Republicans were excited about Giuliani and Thompson, but they both ran the saddest and most pathetic of campaigns. I gave every dime I could, and I held my nose and voted for John McCain Sarah Palin, but only because I KNEW what 4 years of Socialist rule would do to this country. The Republicans didn’t bother to try to warn the people, and the left did the above–send shiny, happy, positive, well-scrubbed youth out to spread the good news.

Is it all a bunch of Alinskyite hogwash? Sure. Are many of The One’s youthful supporters going to put down the bong and go and ring doorbells every weekend over something as dull as a trillion-dollar budget? Probably not. But some will, and as the video points out, it’s not so much to get support for the budget as it is to populate that database with people who can be counted on to support Mr. Obama. It’s a creepy cult of personality, and it has a specific goal–get Obama re-elected in 2012. I have to hand it to the Community Organizer–he’s probably the most successful community organizer the world has ever known.

These are the people who will be doing the census next year–leftists who love to populate their databases. Should be a fun year. What could possibly go wrong?

Please, please, please let one of these naifs come visit the Gulch. I’d love to plumb the depths of their knowledge about the Obama Plan. I suspect it won’t take long.

Wow, that’s a lot of logo in that video. Take a drink each time you see the O. See you at the Betty Ford Center.

Sign the petition against Mr. Obama giving the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame

I graduated from Notre Dame. In order to attend, I had to go $20,000 in debt with student loans. I had scholarships that were contingent upon me making As in all of my classes. I had to hand write thank-you notes to my benefactors every semester. I spent 10 years paying off my debt. I worked two jobs during the summer, and one job every day after class. I did all that because, despite being poor, I wanted a world-class Catholic education.

While I was there, Billy Joel was still banned from having concerts on campus because one of his songs has the line “You Catholic girls start much too late.”

Now, less than 20 years later, Notre Dame has invited a man who has voted for unlimited abortion on demand and infanticide, a man who by executive order just gave federal funding for the harvesting of human embryos for parts, and a man who has said he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act if it is placed on his desk to speak to the class of 2009.

This is obscene. I knew, from receiving the alumni magazine, that the liberal rot was going deep (after all, scant years ago they invited Islamic terror apologist Tariq Ramadan to be a professor), but I never thought Notre Dame would sell its soul for so small a price. I feel sick that I sacrificed so much to attend a school that has so lost its way.

I hope the price was enough for them, for they are NEVER receiving another dime from me. If they are willing to invite the most pro-abortion President in American history to send off the class of 2009, they have betrayed the mission for which Father Sorin set up Our Lady’s University. Father Malloy and Father Hesburgh would never have done such a thing.

On a somewhat lighter note, the TOTUS gives us his perspective on Mr. Obama’s invite.

Wow. It’s a good thing we elected a smart, urbane sophisticate like Barack Obama to be President, rather than this Alaskan hillbilly to be Vice President, right?

This one hits close to home. My brother is mentally retarded. Still, he knows some things–he knows that he has to balance his checkbook, that he can’t spend money he doesn’t have. He works for a living. And he can bowl a hell of a lot better than 129. The President really has very little call to be condescending toward Special Olympians.

Still, there’s no point in getting too upset about this. It’s not the first crass, tone deaf, and stupid thing Mr. Obama has said, and it certainly won’t be the last. After all, he’s tired. He’s been working so hard hiring people for the Treasury Department making his Final Four picks and appearing on comedy programs. It tires a person out–which is why he’s going to Camp David for the weekend.

Instead, make something good come out of it. Donate to the Special Olympics.

A couple of days ago, Mr. Obama, by executive order, dramatically increased government funding for embryonic stem cell research. What that means is that your and my tax dollars are now going to be used to open up new “lines” of embryos to be created, grown, destroyed, and then harvested for cells for others.

Before this executive order there had not been a ban on embryonic stem cell research. Private concerns could do as much as they’d like. President Bush provided federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on a few lines of embryos already created and destroyed. And, indeed, there had already been federal funding for forms of stem cell research with no ethical issues attached to them and with proven results–adult stem cells, cord blood stem cells, etc.

Part of my philosophy as an Objectivist is to never initiate force against another. I’m not a pacifist, not by a long shot, but I will never willingly be the aggressor. By this executive order, Mr. Obama is forcing me at the government’s gunpoint to become the aggressor against the most defenseless of human life, to pony up money for these lives to be used for spare parts.

He’s doing it for three reasons:

1. Government subsidizes failure. Just as the wasteful, polluting ethanol industry would go broke if it had to actually compete in the marketplace rather than be propped up with subsidies and mandates, so too with embryonic stem cell research. If it were the miracle cure so many say, businesses would be pumping billions into it. I’d still find it immoral, but I wouldn’t be compelled by force to participate in it. Embryonic stem cell research couldn’t get enough private donors, so now it is being subsidized and mandated by the government.

2. Mr. Obama has an abiding contempt for the most defenseless among us. He has swung far past the “pro-choice” area that many people of good will reside in to supporting the most ghoulish and extreme procedures, including partial-birth abortion. He voted against the Infants Born Alive Protection Act, which stated that if a baby survived an abortion, it should receive medical care. Mr. Obama voted that such babies be denied treatment and left to die. Soon enough, he will pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which again would compel people to take part in the initiation of force against the innocent. When that happens, Catholic and other religious hospitals will either resort to civil disobedience or shut down. Whatever path they choose, I will support them with my whole being.

3. Progressives always start with idealism and move toward eugenics. Woodrow Wilson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Bertrand Russell, Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells–all great progressives, all in favor of using “science” to advance the human race through eugenics. Given the history of the previous century, pardon me if I don’t jump for joy when we, by executive order, remove inalienable constitutional protections from some human life in order to harvest them for parts.

It’s all quite depressing, and sickening, and disheartening. Change! we can believe in, indeed.