Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On George W. Bush and War Criminality 1

Saddam Hussein attempted genocide on the Kurds. He invaded not just one but two of his neighboring countries. He repressed and brutalized his people to the tune that has rarely been chronicled in recorded history. And he continuously thumbed, with impunity, his nose at the U.N. I guess what I'm trying to say here, people, is that it's not exactly like we invaded Denmark or something....................................................................................................Now, was it necessarily a wise thing for us to have invaded Iraq and attempted to instill democracy there? I would personally (and, yes, vociferously, too) say, no. We had the son of a bitch well contained and could have battered him around as needed. Couple that with the fact that a) Iraq was multi-ethnic pseudo country with intractable hatred and b) Hussein was basically the only buffer that the Sunni countries and Israel had against Iran and, no, no sir, I really don't think that invading Iraq and STAYING was the most prudent of policies....................................................................................................But to site George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals, a designation that I most commonly associate with the likes of Pol Pot, Pinochet, the Third Reich, the Hamidian regimes of Turkey, Milosevic, and even frigging Hussein himself, seems, well, you know what it seems like.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr., on Communism

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

As I continue to plug along with my undergrad studies, consumed by work and schoolwork, once in a while I come across something amazing. For example, my entire weekend has been dominated by a 10-page paper on Martin Luther King Jr., particularly his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" essay that he literally wrote from the not-so-comfy confines of a Birmingham jail cell. Look it up.

I wasn't particularly excited to write about diving into the topic, nevertheless the choices were bleak - "Letter" or Barack Obama's post-nomination speech. I loathe Obama in every sense of the word so opted for MLK. To compare Obama to MLK? Oh the humanity...

Good: research has led me all across academia and I have found some extremely interesting things. For example, I read a 20-page essay by a professor that just happens to be an expert on MLK and Alexis de Tocqueville as well. I mean, she was quoting Tocqueville. My jaw dropped and hit the floor.

Bad: Liberal perspective on MLK abounds, most of it is simply boring to me. Good thing I have the liberty to choose my sources.

Interesting: Martin Luther King Jr.'s opinion of communism. In 1958 MLK published Stride Toward Freedom in which he gave his thoughts on everything from Gandhi to Hitler; from communism to... Nietzsche and a lot in between.

I found that MLK was squishy on Marx (in essence he thought Marx brought up necessary discussion on the problems with capitalism) but what interested me the most (of course) was his take on communism.


Second, I strongly disagreed with communism’s ethical relativism. Since for the Communist there is no divine government, no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles; consequently almost anything-force, violence, murder, lying-is a justifiable means to the “millennial” end. This type of relativism was abhorrent to me. Constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the mean.

Third, I opposed communism’s political totalitarianism. In communism the individual
ends up in subjection to the state. True, the Marxist would argue that the state is an “interim” reality which is to be eliminated when the classless society emerges; but the state i s the end while it lasts, and man only a means to that end.

And if any man’s so-called rights or liberties stand in the way of that end, they are
simply swept aside. His liberties of expression, his freedom to vote, his freedom to listen to what news he likes or to choose his books are all restricted. Man becomes hardly more, in communism, than a depersonalized cog in the turning wheel of the state. This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me. I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God.

Man is
not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.

I simply love the quote at the end:

---Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.

Doesn't progressivism, in its very essence do just that -- treat man as a means to the state's ends?

What say you, progressive statists and academic collectivists?

Image via Wikipedia.

Thoughts For Tomorrow... and the Day After, etc.

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

The Thanksgiving Holiday, and the long weekend that accompany's it for many draws to a close tonight. With its closing comes the Christmas holiday season,  and the many stresses associated with the Christmas holiday.

Add to that the economic stress, political polarization, and brinksmanship that is so commonplace in America today and it is a wonder we haven't split at the seems. But it is still early. Perhaps it will be the eventual outcome.

Rational Nation USA,  while maintaining the sites core beliefs , has recently reached across the seemingly great divide that separates today's liberals and all others in hopes of  finding common ground. Unfortunately there are few amongst the liberal camp that are interested in extending the same in return. For those of you who have,  you know who you are. I tilt my head in appreciation.

Many on the conservative side are guilty of the same that I have seen on the left side of the debate. Holding to ideological purity even when it makes little sense, and is lacking  in reason seems more important at times than actually solving problems. I leave it to you who are guilty of this to identify it for yourselves.

For me it has become tedious and time consuming. With the planned failure of the Supercommittee, yes, you heard me correctly,  the planned failure,  I have lost my faith completely in the process and in the leadership of this nation. Both parties are at fault and anyone who denies this is, to be polite, a fool.

So, as the Christmas hustle and bustle begins, along with all the stress it engenders, attention from this small corner of what was once a great republic will turn to addressing issues of personal importance... The ones within our control.

Have a Grand Holiday Season ALL. Rational Nation USA leaves you with this link, I hope all will contemplate its truth. Then do something constructive to alter the course our leaders have forced the nation upon.

And now this... Thoughts on Christmas sent by a concerned reader of this sight.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition -- Author Unknown

As the holidays approach, the giant ... Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods and merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the  house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Good Night, One and All.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tea Party Is Not So Different From OWS... So Sayeth Obama

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

So we can draw our own conclusions.

Indeed there are some valid concerns the OWS had in its beginnings. As the movement progresses,any similarities with the Tea Party protest have been lost in the muck of irrationality.

OWS has degenerated into a unguided and directionless movement against whatever anyone chooses to believe it is. Quite typical of the hard left and hard right.

Sad, truly sad. The saddest of all is the President's and the Democrat's apparent whole hearted support of the movement. Even given the visual confirmation as to the movement's dark side.

Planned Parenthood of NYC and LifeNews.com Bring the Abortion Debate to Thanksgiving Day Dinner

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

{updated 6:00 PM}

I read with some amusement the article in LifeNews.com entitled "Planned Parenthood Gives Tips to Promote Abortion at Thanksgiving". The article was linked to Planned Parenthood of New York City and was intended to vilify those who have a pro choice position on abortion. The gist of the LifeNews.com article was to claim Planned Parenthood of New York City was coaching supporters "how they can push abortion on their guests at the Thanksgiving dinner table." Which is why I found the article amusing as well as intellectually dishonest.

Coming from a family with a wide range of views on most issues, likely true for most families across America as well, I really cannot remember having the debate over pro-choice versus pro-life at Thanksgiving dinner. Ever.

Admittedly the timing of the Planned Parenthood of New York City's "Talking Turkey: 8 Easy Steps for Discussing Reproductive Health and Justice at the Holiday Table" was extremely ill conceived. LifeNews.com's response was equally as ill conceived. Thanksgiving, or any family holiday for that matter, is not the time to publicly revisit and point the difference we know exists with respect to the issue of pro-choice versus pro-life.

As I read the LifeNews.com article I could not help but recognize the attempt to further anger the pro-life base and in the process essentially engage in the same activities that they accuse PPNYC of.

So, being a pro-choice individual I decided to break it down and add some of my own commentary.

(From the PPNYC "tip sheet.")

The holidays are upon us! Going home or getting together with relatives for the holidays is always a stressful time, but if your family members are the type who regularly protest outside the local Planned Parenthood, you know that this holiday is going to be a doozy.

Luckily, we have some tips for surviving those awkward conversations. So read on, and bring some diplomacy and understanding to the table along with that pumpkin pie.

The lead is referring to those family members who may actively protest Planned Parenthood. So, the intent is obviously to help pro-choice individual if faced with a family member who is virulently anti-choice handle the scenario diplomatically and with reason.

Avoid bumper speak talk. A slogan might work for a poster or a button, but in a conversation it just leads to a heated back and forth. Try to steer clear of catchall phrases—they very rarely lead to common ground or change anyone’s mind.

This is just sound advice. Boilerplate stuff from either side of the issue serves only to shut down meaningful discussion. It is never wise to counter a boilerplate statement with another boilerplate statement of your own.

Remember the big picture. Debating when life begins or whether or not abortion is federally funded may get you nowhere. Instead focus on your shared values and the big picture... how the decision about when and whether to become a parent is a personal one. You never know, you just may find yourself actually agreeing with your relatives.

Well, the decision about whether a person should become a parent and when that time might best be is an individual decision. One bes made by the prospective parents. Everyone should find agreement on this point methinks.

Create a space for the listener. Ambivalence is normal. Reproductive health is not a black and white issue, and there is no one right or wrong way to feel. Be open and accepting of other people’s personal views, and instead focus on the distinction between your personal beliefs, and what should or shouldn’t be imposed on others. For example, “I might not personally choose to get an abortion, but I could never decide for another woman whether or not she was ready to become a parent.”

Reproductive rights and health are not black and white issues. Only to a completely closed mind reactionary are these issues black and white. When diplomatically and rationally handled most people can walk away from the conversation feeling comfortable. The issue really is freedom of choice and the right to exercise free will in making ones choice, within legal boundaries of course.

Learn to diffuse. There are some debates you’re just never going to win, and not all questions are created equal—in fact many are designed to start a fight. Instead of getting caught in the weeds, try to recognize when a question isn’t a real question, and transition back to what you feel is the bigger picture:

Question: “I don’t want my tax dollars going toward abortions.”

Response: “Actually, because of the Hyde Amendment, tax dollars can’t go toward supporting abortion. But I do believe that everyone deserves access to basic, preventive reproductive care, and that it’s important we support those services. No one should ever have to choose between paying rent and buying birth control.”

Just plain good common sense when faced with these sort of situations.

It’s all in how you frame it. In so many of these political disagreements, when things get heated we revert back to bumper sticker slogans instead of really talking about an issue. Instead, take a few deep breaths and try personalizing the issue, or evoking empathy.

Oftentimes it’s easier to dismiss abortion or other health care procedures as “bad” when it’s framed as a political issue. But when you’re talking about an individual woman making a personal decision, it’s harder to just write off. Also keep in mind that everyone doesn’t have to feel the same way about an issue to find something to agree on. For example:

  • I can accept someone’s decision to end a pregnancy, even if I wouldn’t make the same decision myself.

  • Each circumstance is different, so we should respect and support women and families who must make life-altering decisions about whether or not to have a child.

  • Ultimately, we all want healthy, thriving families and that is why we need policies that respect our ability to make thoughtful decisions and support us in our roles as caregivers and breadwinners.

Again, good common sense advice. Something both theadvocates of pro-choice and pro-life need to diligently observe. On a daily basis.

Know where you stand. It’s easier to talk about what you believe in if you know what you believe in and why beforehand. Ask yourself why you believe that reproductive rights, or sex education, or health care, are important, and you might be surprised at how universal your reasons are. For example, you may believe that sex education is important because you feel it’s the best way to protect young people. Or you might believe abortion should be legal because you could never make the decision about when someone else was ready to become a parent.

Isn't this one a given? I mean if you don't know where you stand and why by the time you would read material such as this it is likely toy never will know the where and why of it.

Below are some sample questions and responses:

Q) How can you support abortion?

R) The decision about when and whether to become a parent is an intensely personal one. I believe each woman has to make that decision for herself—and that no one can make it for her.

Q) Isn’t emergency contraception just another form of abortion?

R) I’m glad you asked me that question—a lot of people have that misconception. Emergency contraception pills actually prevent pregnancy before it begins. On the other hand, the abortion pill ends a pregnancy. I think emergency contraception is a great thing, because it gives people a second chance to prevent pregnancy—and I think everyone should be ready before they become a parent.

Q) Why are you anti-family and anti-baby?

R) I am very pro-family and pro-baby! I love my daughter, and she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. That’s why I truly believe that the decision about whether and when to become a parent is a sacred one, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Q) I don’t want my tax dollars to be spent paying for abortions.

R) [Note: you may be tempted to respond with “Well, I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on _________ (the war, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, etc.).” We recommend fighting that urge—you want to have a conversation, not just a comeback.] I think we can all agree that our tax dollars should be spent making sure that everyone has medical care. In my ideal world, no one would have to put off going to the doctor because they can’t afford it, and every child would have access to a pediatrician. I also believe that our medical care shouldn’t be based on how much money we make. Women who are poor should have the same ability to decide whether and when to become parents as women who have more money.

Q) I think sex ed should be left to the parents.

R) I totally agree that parents should be the main educators of their children when it comes to sex. Kids need to hear our values and our sense of what is appropriate for kids their age. But I also know that those conversations are hard to have—I remember my father stumbling over some of the very same questions my kids ask me now. And I think lots of parents put off the conversation or avoid it entirely. Honestly, all kids need information about protecting themselves from disease and unintended pregnancy—probably not for now, but for the future—and we need to make sure all kids get this information that could save their lives.

The potential questions, and possible responses are both reasonable and valid. Only through open and frank dialogue that is driven by reason rather than emotion can any sense be made of the debate.

It is clear that pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It should be that pro-life is not anti-choice as well. If you really stop and think in philosophical and ethical terms, given a understanding of science the answer to the questions that have driven a wedge for over thirty years really become clearer.

That’s it! Good luck, and remember, if things get really bad, you can always bring up something everyone can agree on, like how much we all love pumpkin pie.

Perhaps the pro-choice pro-life discussions are much better left at the doorstep before going in for that wonderful family dinner. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. Some things really are best left off the holiday dinning table.

Then of course we get, Planned Parenthood Gives Tips To Promote Abortion During Thanksgiving Dinner… and Planned Parenthood Site Urged Readers to Push Abortion at Thanksgiving Dinner Table.

Via: Memeorandum

Related Update:

(New York Times)

In August, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, announced new rules that included contraceptives for women in the package of preventive health care services that all insurers must cover without a deductible or co-payment beginning next year.

The policy follows the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. It will help drive down the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion by making birth control more accessible.

It was distressing but came as no surprise that the new rules prompted protests from Roman Catholic bishops and other church leaders. What is surprising, and even more distressing, is that the White House is considering caving to their call for an expansive exemption that would cover employees of hospitals, universities, charitable organizations and other entities that are associated with religious organizations but serve the general public and benefit from public money.

President Obama should stand firm against the church’s overreaching. Allowing a broad exemption for health plans sponsored by employers that object to contraceptives coverage would amount to imposing church doctrine on millions of women who may differ with the church’s stand on birth control and who may not be Catholic...

The new rules already contain an exemption for churches and other houses of worship, similar to provisions upheld by the highest courts in California and New York. Moreover, nothing in the rules requires religious objectors to use contraceptives or stands in the way of advocating against their use. {Read Full Article}

Indeed. When religious doctrine defines policy beware. They tyranny of religion is written all over history.

Via: Memeorandum

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Say it Often Enough.......and, WOW, You're Kidding?

Look, folks, I'm not a big fan of Fox News, either (Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, and Fox and Friends, especially). But when Politifact says that Jon Stewart's claim that "Fox's viewers are the most consistently misinformed viewers in the country" is false, then what? Do we simply disregard it, as many on a bevy of liberal sites are presently doing? Or, OR, do we take it up a notch and say that Politifact has in fact become PART of the conspiracy, this grandiose right-wing conspiracy? I don't know, folks, what do YOU think that we should do?.......................................................................................................P.S. Obviously there's a third option. The third option would be for all of us to realize that there is more than an ample amount of sorry crap to go around, and that ALL of us should in fact be better consumers of information (skeptical, in other words) Not that this is a theory that will ever take off, of course.

Happy Thanksgiving

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

First Thanksgiving

A hearty wish to all... Have a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving from Rational Nation USA.

As we enjoy the blessings of this day let each and every one of us reflect on how truly fortunate we are to live in a land where liberty remains a reality and we can be thankful we are Americans.

At least for a moment put political interests aside and wish our First Family the best as the President faces the challenges that confront the leader of the free world on a daily basis.

Facts About RomneyCare

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Major h/t to fellow blogger RightKlik for producing this informative video. Lets make it go viral by sharing it on your site, Facebook, and Twitter.

More here and here,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poll: Voters Want ObamaCare Overturned by the Supreme Court

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Given the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate it is not surprising voters want the Supreme Court to kill ObamaCare. Classical liberals and Libertarians especially understand the dangers of the individual mandates at the federal level.

USA Today A new poll shows that most voters want the Supreme Court to overturn President Obama's health care law, with opposition and support falling largely along party lines.

Overall, voters oppose the law by 48%-40%, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. Democrats support the Obama health care effort by 70%-19%, while Republicans oppose it by 86%-8%.

The Quinnipiac survey found independent voters opposed to the law by 45%-38%.

Of course, voters won't decide the fate of the health care law in the Supreme Court -- that's up to the justices, and they are likely to make a ruling by late June.

Whatever the court's ruling, health care figures to be a major factor in next year's election. The Republican presidential candidates have vowed to repeal what they call "Obamacare." {Read More}

Via: Memeorandum

The Confusion of Classical Liberalism -vs- Conservatism

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Thomas Jefferson, arguably one of America's foremost "Classical Liberals." Given the reality that many, if not most today haven't a clue what the term Classical Liberalism actually means in the historical reference the following is an apt definition and explanation of the term.

{Ludwig von Mises} 1. Liberalism

The philosophers, sociologists, and economists of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth century formulated a political program that served as a guide to social policy first in England and the United States, then on the European continent, and finally in the other parts of the inhabited world as well. Nowhere was this program ever completely carried out. Even in England, which has been called the homeland of liberalism and the model liberal country, the proponents of liberal policies never succeeded in winning all their demands. In the rest of the world only parts of the liberal program were adopted, while others, no less important, were either rejected from the very first or discarded after a short time. Only with some exaggeration can one say that the world once lived through a liberal era. Liberalism was never permitted to come to full fruition.

Nevertheless, brief and all too limited as the supremacy of liberal ideas was, it sufficed to change the face of the earth. A magnificent economic development took place. The release of man's productive powers multiplied the means of subsistence many times over. On the eve of the World War (which was itself the result of a long and bitter struggle against the liberal spirit and which ushered in a period of still more bitter attacks on liberal principles), the world was incomparably more densely populated than it had ever been, and each inhabitant could live incomparably better than had been possible in earlier centuries. The prosperity that liberalism had created reduced considerably infant mortality, which had been the pitiless scourge of earlier ages, and, as a result of the improvement in living conditions, lengthened the average span of life.

Nor did this prosperity flow only to a select class of privileged persons. On the eve of the World War the worker in the industrial nations of Europe, in the United States, and in the overseas dominions of England lived better and more graciously than the nobleman of not too long before. Not only could he eat and drink according to his desire; he could give his children a better education; he could, if he wished, take part in the intellectual and cultural life of his nation; and, if he possessed enough talent and energy, he could, without difficulty, raise his social position. It was precisely in the countries that had gone the farthest in adopting the liberal program that the top of the social pyramid was composed, in the main, not of those who had, from their very birth, enjoyed a privileged position by virtue of the wealth or high rank of their parents, but of those who, under favorable conditions, had worked their way up from straitened circumstances by their own power. The barriers that had in earlier ages separated lords and serfs had fallen. Now there were only citizens with equal rights. No one was handicapped or persecuted on account of his nationality, his opinions, or his faith. Domestic Political and religious persecutions had ceased, and international wars began to become less frequent. Optimists were already hailing the dawn of the age of eternal peace.

But events have turned out otherwise. In the nineteenth century strong and violent opponents of liberalism sprang up who succeeded in wiping out a great part of what had been gained by the liberals. The world today wants to hear no more of liberalism. Outside England the term "liberalism" is frankly proscribed. In England, there are, to be sure, still "liberals," but most of them are so in name only. In fact, they are rather moderate socialists. Everywhere today political power is in the hands of the antiliberal parties. The program of antiliberalism unleashed the forces that gave rise to the great World War and, by virtue of import and export quotas, tariffs, migration barriers, and similar measures, has brought the nations of the world to the point of mutual isolation. Within each nation it has led to socialist experiments whose result has been a reduction in the productivity of labor and a concomitant increase in want and misery. Whoever does not deliberately close his eyes to the facts must recognize everywhere the signs of an approaching catastrophe in world economy. Antiliberalism is heading toward a general collapse of civilization.

If one wants to know what liberalism is and what it aims at, one cannot simply turn to history for the information and inquire what the liberal politicians stood for and what they accomplished. For liberalism nowhere succeeded in carrying out its program as it had intended. {Read More}

If you continue reading the entire work your understanding of classical liberalism, and how it, more than anything the modern conservative movement represents {post Barry Goldwater to offer a reference)is the real champion of limited government and maximum individual liberty. Especially as pertains to property rights.

Interestingly enough the man to your immediate left represents classical liberalism more than any individual politician in either the republican party or the democratic party today. It is no surprise that both the democratic and republican party marginalize the man. He stands against almost everything the power base in both party's stand for. Which in a nutshell is larger and more intrusive government control over the life of the individual. In other words the trend backwards towards the belief the individual, or people in general serve the state. Which is, in a nutshell what the American colonies specifically and classical liberalism rebelled against.

Oh how history tends to repeat itself.

Via: Memeorandum

The Super- Committee's Failure... Politics as Usual... And the MIC

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs -Tyranny

Supreme Commander, Allied Forces WW II. President of the United States of America 1953 - 1961. A man of reason by choice. A man of war by necessity. Ultimately a leader with vision.

Fast forward to today. It seems our nation continually finds itself involved in conflict across the globe. Conflicts that in the final analysis have largely been by choice.

The United States spends more on the "defense" of our nation than the the total of the next seventeen nations who follow us in military spending.

The eighteen countries with the largest military budgets. See table below for actual dollar amounts.

It is clear that the United States has willingly assumed the role of "world policeman" and "protector of those in need of support." The cost to our nation has been staggering. Now to the point of this post.

The "Supercommitte" that was given the responsibility of finding 1.2 trillion in federal spending reductions over the next 10 years has failed. Automatic spending reductions, 50% defense and 50% domestic will occur beginning in 2013.

Does this really surprise anyone given the "state of war" that currently exists in our national political reality?

I have decided to accept the inevitably of the "draconian" cuts in projected defense spending.

(Reuters) - Automatic spending cuts that could result from a special congressional committee's failure to reach a deficit-reduction agreement could "tear a seam" in defense, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday.

The so-called super committee's failure on Monday to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit-cutting measures triggers up to $600 billion in additional defense cuts over 10 years beginning in 2013.

"If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense," Panetta said in a statement.

"The half-trillion in additional cuts demanded by sequester would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned." {Read More}

Brace yourselves for the onslaught of propaganda as to what the automatic "cuts" will allegedly engender. The case will be made that we are gutting our national defense and that military personnel will suffer in their efforts to accomplish the "mission."

As I said earlier I have resigned myself to the fact that the automatic reductions are going to occur. Our leadership is totally incapable at this point of doing the right thing because they have little to no integrity or logic.

So I did a bit of research, made some assumptions, and actually think maybe the trigger may not be such a bad thing. The numbers...

2010 United States total defense spending = $698.3 billion. Using this as a baseline, and assuming projected outlays were to stay relatively the same, the $60 billion reduction in projected spending in 2013 amounts to 8.633% of $698.3 billion. Given the winding down of the Iraq and Afghanistan engagements our cost should be significantly less. That is of course unless the next "engagement" is already on the table.

"Slashing" 8.633% from our military budget should be very doable. It is sensible, it is prudent, it is essential, and it won't hurt our ability to defend our nation one damn bit. But for those who seek to be the worlds policeman and the arbiter of influence and global power it is seen as devastating.

What say you?

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ron Paul Surging in Iowa and New Hampshire

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Ron Paul for President - 2012

Ron Paul is gaining steam. It now appears, based on polling in both Iowa and New Hampshire he has crossed the threshold and therefore should be viewed as a serious contender. It is within the realm of possibility Mr. Paul could take first or second in both states.

Ron Paul will now perhaps get the respect and exposure from the networks he so richly deserves. His message has been consistent. The only real constitutionalist in the republican field he is clear in his positions on limited government, curbing the MIC, the Federal Reserve, crony capitalism, corporatism and so much more.

Brent Budowsky of The Hill has an excellent analysis.

There are now multiple polls that show Ron Paul has gained support and has a legitimate chance to come in first or second in Iowa and New Hampshire. I would now call Ron Paul one of three front-runners in both Iowa and New Hampshire alongside Mitt Romney and a third candidate, currently Newt Gingrich. If Ron Paul wins Iowa, which he might, all bets are off. Also, most analysts miss the fact that many states have open systems where independents, and in some cases Democrats, can vote for a Republican nominee. This could give a further boost to Paul.

It is now time to give Ron Paul the attention he deserves in debates and throughout the political community.

For Paul this presents good news and new challenges as his positions are given the kind of wider attention I have called for. For example, his foreign policy positions could help him attract independents and some Democrats in open primary states, along with some Republicans, but they also conflict with the majority Republican view.

The campaign gets very interesting if Newt Gingrich joins Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Donald Trump in collapsing, which would give Paul a head-to-head contest with Romney. {Read More}

The prospects of Ron Paul finally being recognized by the MSM as a serious contender for the republican nomination for president is indeed exciting. If he ultimately goes to the convention as one of the top three, even if he doesn't get the nomination he would wield huge influence on who did.

A even better thought is that of a possible third party candidacy by Ron Paul. The man who understands the meaning of liberty, fiscal restraint and responsibility, constitutional governance, taking care of the home front first, and being consistent in his principles.

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Irresponsible Wheel Gets the Compassion, I Gather

I've been working in the geriatric field for about eleven years now. And, while most of that time has been spent in the area of therapeutic rec, I have in fact done some case management duty, too. One story, in particular, stands out.................................................................................................It was an 82 year-old woman with various health concerns (respiratory problems, especially) and whose husband lived in a convalescent home (she also had two daughters but they both lived out of state). Her only sources of income were Social Security and rental income from the apartment upstairs..............................................................................................Well, to make a long story short, the people who lived upstairs were absolutely miserable. They partied heavily, trashed not only the apartment but made a mess of the outside as well, and, on top of that, didn't frigging pay their rent, either. The old lady ended up having to take them to court to have them evicted (this, after they fell a good 6-7 months behind on their rent) and it was very stressful...............................................................................................But you know what made it even more outlandish? The judge (and, yes, the people eventually did get evicted) was seemingly more sympathetic to the dysfunctional family (yeah, they had a couple of kids, too) than she was to the poor old lady. I mean, I almost wanted to scream at the guy, "Dude, she's frigging 82 and on oxygen! How's about a little compassion for the real victim here. These people can purchase cigarettes and brewskis every day but they flat-out can't pay ANY of their rent (and, yes, the old gal was very reasonable about it - 'Pay me what you can', she would say and they paid her NOTHING)? Come on, man!"......................................................................................................You see what I'm saying, though? There's really something wrong with the system here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

At OWS ... Swank Hotels in the Picture for Some Protesters, and Leaders

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Another look at OWS and some of the forces behind it.

{New York Post) Hell no, we won’t go — unless we get goose down pillows.

A key Occupy Wall Street leader and another protester who leads a double life as a businessman ditched fetid tents and church basements for rooms at a luxurious hotel that promises guests can “unleash [their] inner Gordon Gekko,” The Post has learned.

The $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown last week hosted both Peter Dutro, one of a select few OWS members on the powerful finance committee, and Brad Spitzer, a California-based analyst who not only secretly took part in protests during a week-long business trip but offered shelter to protesters in his swanky platinum-card room.



“Tents are not for me,” he confessed, when confronted in the sleek black lobby of the Washington Street hotel where sources described him as a “repeat” guest.

Spitzer, 24, an associate at financial-services giant Deloitte, which netted $29 billion in revenue last year, admitted he joined the protest at Zuccotti Park several times.

“I’m staying here for work,” said Spitzer, dressed down in a company T-shirt and holding a backpack and his suitcase. “I do finance, but I support it still.”

During his stay, hotel sources said, he and other ragtag revolutionaries he brought into the hotel lived like 1 percenters. He would order up a roll-out bed to accommodate guests, they said.

“He’s here all the time,” a hotel source said. “We all see him at the protest.”

Spitzer denied sheltering Occupiers. He claimed he only invited in a blogger buddy living at the park to wash off his camp grime.

Meanwhile, Dutro, 35, one of only a handful of OWS leaders in charge of the movement’s $500,000 in donations, checked in on Wednesday, the night after police emptied Zuccotti Park.

While hundreds of his rebel brethren scrambled to find shelter in church basements, Dutro chose the five-star, 58-story hotel, with its lush rooms and 350-count Egyptian cotton sheets. He lives only a short taxi ride away in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. {Read more}

Makes ya wonder who is leading who. And, what the purpose really is. Power and money Redistributed. With just a different set of power players in charge.

Hypocrisy? Perhaps.

Via: Memeorandum

More OWS violence. Update...

(PJ Tatler) - Looks like the “Join us or else!” mentality is growing violent at Occupy Cal in Berkeley, where an (apparent) OWS protester assaulted a female student when she gave the wrong answer about going to the Occupation protest:

Man throws aluminum water bottle at UC Berkeley student’s face

A man threw an aluminum water bottle at a UC Berkeley student Thursday evening on campus, causing minor injuries to the victim’s face.

At about 5:09 p.m., the female student was approached by a man at “the northeast exterior of the Haas Pavilion,” according to a UCPD crime alert. The man asked the suspect if she was going to the protest on Sproul Plaza, and when the victim answered “no,” the suspect yelled at her.

“People like you are the reason that California is in debt,” he said, according to the crime alert.

The suspect then threw a full aluminum water bottle at the victim’s face. The victim then called UCPD and refused medical treatment for the bruise on her cheek. UCPD officers responded to the scene and checked the area, but could not locate the suspect.

The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic male in his early 20s, wearing a brown and green knit cap with earflaps and strings, a black coat and dark pants.

Via: Memeorandum

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Middle Class

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

OWS got me thinking today about the great American middle class. That group of hard working and intelligent people that propelled this nation forward to become the greatest {super} power the world has ever known. Those millions of individuals that worked diligently to secure their own as well as their nation's rational self interest.

Today we have a growing economic oligarchy. Then there is OWS. The dissonance, if not resolved has the capcity to destroy our nation.

(Middle Class) A nation’s productive—and moral, and intellectual—top is the middle class. It is a broad reservoir of energy, it is a country’s motor and lifeblood, which feeds the rest. The common denominator of its members, on their various levels of ability, is: independence. The upper classes are merely a nation’s past; the middle class is its future.

The middle class is the heart, the lifeblood, the energy source of a free, industrial economy, i.e., of capitalism; it did not and cannot exist under any other system; it is the product of upward mobility, incompatible with frozen social castes. Do not ask, therefore, for whom the bell of inflation is tolling; it tolls for you. It is not at the destruction of a handful of the rich that inflation is aimed (the rich are mostly in the vanguard of the destroyers), but at the middle class.

I'm wondering... Just what is today's modern liberals take on the above, as well as today's modern {so called} conservatives? It should prove interesting.

Via: Memeorandum

Gingrich and Romney in Statistical Tie in New Hampshire Polling.

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. Polling data shows Romney with 30% and Gingrich with 27% support among likely primary voters. The poll has a 3.57% margin of error.

The full scoop from the New Hampshire Journal.

...The latest NH Journal poll of likely Republican primary voters conducted by Magellan Strategies shows Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the January 10th primary. If the election were held today, Romney would earn 29% of the vote and Gingrich would earn 27%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to show resolve by earning 16%. Herman Cain gets 10%. No other candidate is in double digits.

This is the first time any of NH Journal’s polls have shown anyone candidate even close to Romney. It also shows tremendous movement for Gingrich since NH Journal’s October survey, in which Gingrich was in third place, but at only 10% versus Romney’s 41%.

When asked why people felt Gingrich was moving up in the polls, 44% of respondents cited his depth of knowledge on the issues. Ten percent referred to his strong debate performances while another 6% said they liked that he was challenging the media in those debates. Ten percent referenced his past experience as Speaker of the House.

A close look at the data shows Gingrich is actually leading Romney among certain important subgroups of the electorate. Among self-identified conservative voters, Gingrich beats Romney 34%-27%. Among self-identified tea party voters, he leads Romney 38%-21%. {Read More}

Newt Gingrich's recent surge in polling {across the board} just shows how fluid the race is. Newt is experienced, he is knowledgeable, and he is without question the best debater in the field.

Everything else aside {including his dalliances with members of the fairer sex while married} Gingrich does have a record of fiscal restraint. He, and his republican congressional associates were largely the reason President Clinton left office with a balanced budget. Something to consider as the field narrows.

A reader sent me the link to a 2009 Gingrich speech. I was impressed enough that I decided to put it up for my readers who may not have seen it.

The above it not an endorsement of Newt Gingrich. Everyone should continue to support the candidate who most closely represents their views as long as their candidate remains in the hunt for the nomination. But if your candidate drops out Newt is likely a better alternative than Mitt Romney.

Now I'm off to support the most constitutionally knowledgeable, philosophical consistent candidate running in the small r republican race to the that once great part's nomination.

Via: Memeorandum

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Formula For Avoiding Poverty

1) Stay in school (go to college or at least graduate high school).............2) Don't have a child out of wedlock.............3) Don't have a child until you reach the age of 20.............4) Don't smoke (a two pack a day habit in CT costs $15 dollars a day/$105 a week/$5,460 a year, increases health-care costs, and reduces productivity).............5) Don't drink heavily (for the identical reasons as to why you shouldn't smoke).............6) Learn to defer gratification, in general.............7) Get a second job if necessary................................................................................................P.S. According to a study cited by the March of Dimes, simply doing the first three will reduce your likelihood of living in poverty by a whopping 89% (64% vs. 7%)....It would really be interesting to see how the OWS movement would put its arms around this syndrome.

As Fiscal Responsibilty and Fidelity Goes... So Goes the Nation

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

In these Keynesian times, where spending and more spending seems to be the governments answer {and addiction} to everything, the following caught my attention. Yes it is a call for fiscal sanity and fidelity. And yes it is most assuredly a demand for accountability in government. It begs the question why are we as a nation still doing nothing to stop the hemorrhaging?

(Bankrupting America) We all have heard the classic Washington scandal of a Congressman being unfaithful. The indiscretion usually causes a public outcry leading to a public apology and resignation. But what happens when a member of Congress is unfaithful to the economy?

For decades Washington has spent far beyond its means. This overspending has saddled the country with a national debt of over $15 trillion – a point at which it is now hamstringing economic growth. And even now, as the economy begs for attention, lawmakers are unable to make things right.

As millions of Americans sit out of work and a recovery falters, isn’t it time Washington shows a little fiscal fidelity?

Certainly we must do something. We must do it soon. The solution must be balanced and nothing can be untouchable. So, great Supercommitee and Mr. President, put politics aside and do your jobs. Break the logjam. This nation needs action.

Rommey Not Walking Away From RomneyCare of Massachusetts

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Mitt Romney has said rather decisively he is not waking away from ObamaCare's model, RomneyCare of Massachusetts. While admitting that his healthcare hasn't worked out perfectly he still believes it was the right thing for the Bay State. There are many who disagree and for good reason.

Even given RomneyCare there seems to be a growing consensus among conservative pundits that Romney is going to be the GOP standard bearer in 2012. With his liberal Rockefeller style politics it is hard to get ones arms around just why his nomination is becoming almost a forgone conclusion.

From his recent interview with Neil Cavuto.

(National Review Online) Don’t expect Mitt Romney to backtrack on his Massachusetts health-care plan at any point this election cycle.

“I am sure there are many people who have calculated, and perhaps correctly, that the healthcare plan I put in place in Massachusetts is not good for me politically, and if I want to encourage my political future, I should say it was a mistake and walk away from it,” Romney told Fox News host Neil Cavuto in an interview set to air later tonight.

“You have seen a lot of candidates look at their biggest vulnerability, call it a mistake, and ask for forgiveness,” Romney continued. “In my case that wouldn’t be honest.”

He affirmed that he believes the health-care program was the “right thing” for Massachusetts then, although he conceded that it hasn’t “worked perfectly.”

“If it hurts me politically, it’s a consequence of the truth,” Romney added. “I am not going to walk away from that. It’s right for states to come up with their own solutions. I doubt other people are going try and follow the one we put together. Maybe learn from our experience. Maybe come up with something better. But the wrong course is to have the federal government impose its will on the entire nation.”

Asked if Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the Obamacare case, Romney said he was unsure at this point.

“I will take a look at her involvement,” he responded. “Typically a justice must recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest; I don’t know what her conflict might be. My view is this is a pretty clear cut case, where the federal government has intruded on the rights of states.”

On the one hand you have to respect the man for his candor. Even if you disagree with his position.

On the other hand his position that it is not the federal governments role to mandate healthcare to the citizens of all fifty states is based on the sound classical liberal principle of states rights.

In summation, we have a presidential hopeful that passed a health reform plan that Obama modeled his own plan after. He believes it was the right thing for Massachusetts when he introduced it, and apparently still does... Even given Massachusetts has among the highest health care costs in the nation.

Assuming that if he were elected he would hold true to his statement, repeated many times that he would repeal ObamaCare it is easy to understand why he has as much support as he does.

On the other hand {again} given what we know, can you really believe and trust in this man?

What say you?

Via: Memeorandum

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Maxine Waters Expounds on Crimes and Death at OWS Protests... "That's Life and It Happens."

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA

Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Maxine Waters. Anyone who has doubted her ability to think cogent thoughts should now have any doubt whatsoever removed. A stalwart of the "non thinking" fringe of the pandering democratic party had this to say about OWS activists turned criminal.

(CNSNews.com) - When asked to comment Wednesday about the deaths and crimes that have occurred around Occupy protests being held across the country, Rep. Maxine Waters said “that’s life and it happens.”

“That’s a distraction from the goals of the protesters,” Waters, who says she supports the Occupy movement, told CNSNews.com after an event at the Capitol sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“Let me just say this: Anytime you have a gathering, homeless people are going to show up,” said Waters. “They will find some comfort in having some other people out on the streets with them. They’re looking for food. Often times, the criminal element will invade. That’s life and it happens, whether it’s with protesters or other efforts that go on in this country.

“So I’m not deterred in my support for them because of these negative kinds of things,” said Waters. “I just want them to work at doing the best job that they can do to bring attention to this economic crisis and the unfairness of the system at this time.”

Video of her remarkably ignorant remarks.,

The Associated Press reported that there have been at least three deaths recently at or near Occupy encampments. A man was shot and killed near the scene of the Occupy camp in Oakland, Calif. A man reportedly shot himself at the Occupy camp in Burlington, Vt. And a man was discovered dead in a tent at the Salt Lake City, Utah, Occupy camp.

At the Occupy L.A. site—in the city where Rep. Waters' congressional district is located—five people have been charged with crimes, according to the Los Angeles Times. These include a man who allegedly exposed himself and masturbated in the presence of children.

In contrast to her support of the Occupy movement, Rep. Waters has been sharply critical of the Tea Party movement. In August, according to the Washington Post, she said, “[A]s far as I’m concerned, the ‘Tea Party’ can go straight to hell.”

So, Waters has a problem of apparently gigantic magnitude with the peaceful law abiding Tea Party movement. However, for the OWS scum and criminals? Well, that is a horse of a different color. She'll accept their behavior because after all “that’s life and it happens.”

I'm not sure who is more hypocritical and deluded, Waters or Pelosi. It's probably a toss up.

One has to wonder how irrational people such as Waters ever get elected to anything other than being the local canine pooper scooper.

Note to OWS

Look, folks, I have nothing against protesting - not even a little bit. IN FACT, I find it to be a very patriotic thing to do and something that makes us unique (just try doing it over in Syria, for example). But, really, do ya' have to frigging SLEEP in the park, accumulate all sorts of garbage there, publicly defecate, etc. (multiple reports of sexual assault, for example)? I mean, it's not as if the park existed simply for you and your indulgences. Other interests, believe it or not, DO exist; the fact that other people may in fact want to recreate there, the fact that the neighborhood businesses are being negatively effected, etc.. And, please, let me also remind you that there are a whole hell of a lot of other ways that you can make a difference these days. Organize and be tutors for inner-city kids. Work at a soup-kitchen. Volunteer at a local convalescent home (you're more than welcome to come to mine). Adopt a stretch of highway or interstate and beautify it. A lot of productive things - you know, in addition to the protesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

(Most) Democrats Angered by NYC Action to Clean Up Zucotti Park... and Restore Safe Clean Environment

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Occupy Wall Street. A protest movement against crony capitalism, corporatism, taxpayer funded bailout, growing income disparity, and a host of other lesser pet social peeves has finally been given the bit and bridled by Mayor Bloomberg and the courts. To which a welcome round of applause should be heard across the nation.

(The Hill) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s (I) decision to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters from a Lower Manhattan park is a blow to free speech, several House Democrats said.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, warned that in preventing protesters from camping out in Zuccotti Park, the city has “effectively removed [the protesters’] ability to be there 24/7.”

“The concern to me was that the occupiers can stay there but cannot set up permanent location, which kind of begs the question of, ‘Are they gonna have a daytime presence and then be gone [at night]?’

“I wish there would have been something done to accommodate the ability for them to stay there for the duration.”

While a few Democrats acknowledged that Bloomberg had a responsibility to ensure the safety and health of those in the park, others offered support for the demonstrators and concern that the mayor was going too far.

“I’m afraid that what the mayor says is temporary may tend to be permanent as they put up more restrictions,” said Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). “I’m very cautious [because] I’m very supportive of [the protesters], and if the city doesn’t keep its word [I’ll] have a lot more [to say].”

Bloomberg on Tuesday sent police forces into Zuccotti Park — the spot that launched the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement — to clear tents, tarps and other belongings in an effort to clean the area in the name of public health.

The mayor said the protesters would be “free to return” after the sanitation crews were through, but only without their tents and sleeping bags.

“Protesters — and the general public — are welcome there to exercise their First Amendment rights, and otherwise enjoy the park, but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags or tarps and, going forward, must follow all park rules,” Bloomberg said Tuesday in a news release.

So, just how is it a blow to free speech because the authorities are taking action to clean up the park. First, the city has a responsibility to maintain public cleanliness and secondly, don't all residents of the city have the right to enjoy the park grounds without the constant 24/7 distractions?

“Protesters — and the general public — are welcome there to exercise their First Amendment rights, and otherwise enjoy the park, but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags or tarps and, going forward, must follow all park rules,” Bloomberg said Tuesday in a news release.

Read this paragraph three times trying to find something unreasonable or nefarious in it. The only rational conclusion that can drawn is that it is reaonble and proper public policy.

Bloomberg’s plan initially hit a snag Tuesday when lawyers for the activists challenged the police action, causing the city to close the park until a court could rule on the complaint. Late Tuesday afternoon, however, a judge ruled that New York City and the park’s private owners could clear the protesters from Zuccotti Park and prevent them from re-encamping.

Hm, perhaps there is hope that the rule of law and private property rights will be preserved. Given the tenor of most of OWS crowd {referred to by some as the Occupoopers of Wall Street} and their ACLU attorneys, democratic politicians and democratic lawmakers we still have cause for worry. True liberty minded individuals must remain vigilant.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) agreed that New York City has a responsibility “to protect the health and safety of protesters and the community.” But the New York liberal, who represents Lower Manhattan, said the police have to balance those concerns with the “core First Amendment rights of protesters.”

“The city’s actions to shut down OWS last night raise a number of serious civil-liberties questions that must be answered,” Nadler said in a joint news release with state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D). “Whatever the courts rule, the city’s actions here must not be a backdoor means of ending the free exercise of protesters’ rights.”

Spoken like a true liberal ideologue Nadler is saying he supports protecting health and safety but is worried about the courts actually giving authorities the teeth to insure both. Basically saying nothing in the end.

Not all Democrats were critical of Bloomberg’s action. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), a prominent supporter of the Occupy Wall Street activists, said Bloomberg’s move is no threat to the larger movement, which he characterized as “the embodiment of the frustrations of the American people.”

“The movement will continue,” Larson said. “They’re still going to be able to go there. It’s just that there were some health issue and concerns of deterioration to the park...

See, there are some reasonable democrats. Been saying this all along. But it seems to get lost in the label game and hyperbole.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) delivered a similar message, saying Bloomberg’s decision to protect public health was spot on.

“From all indications, from many sources, it was becoming a health hazard [and] they had to clean it out,” Pascrell said. “[Bloomberg] told ’em not to come back with their bedding, because it’s only going to happen again. … I can’t fault him for that.”

Another reasonable democrat. Just what is going on here anyway?

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he was reluctant to comment on actions happening outside of his district, but voiced more general concerns that such moves could infringe on First Amendment protections.

“We always must remain careful about disrupting a non-violent, non-threatening protest,” Cleaver said. “That’s antithetical to who we are.”

As we return to reality. Read the full text of article here.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sorry, In a Foul Mood

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

So, NPR, the paragon of fine journalistic reporting that it is recently aired a bit of info on Ayn Rand. As to be expected it is about as balanced as a lopsided watermelon, and as factual as calling Obama a Marxist.

Driving home from work last night my thoughts were largely focused on the circus that American politics {and governance} has become. That and the fact politicians, lawmakers, bloggers, think tanks, and yes, what is considered the main stream media have lost sight of the need to present accurate data and unbiased reporting. Somehow this seems to have given way to the 30 second sound bite and two minute read.

What has become a pet peeves of late is the political label game. The use of political labels has grown so commonplace they are rapidly becoming meaningless. Sure labels save time, but the downside is they quite often don't represent the truth. Especially when the label is attached to a person or a complex concept.

Political labels distract from active thinking and allow for disengaging from truthful and meaningful thought and or dialogue. Labels do come in handy however for those who like to do a quick stereotyping of a political figure or concept they don't like or agree with. Generally political labels are designed to give a negative impression of a person or concept. This is especially true in today's political jungle with its shallowness and lack of critical thinking.

Democrats and Republicans alike share the blame for voter dissatisfaction and the present disdain for our political and economic systems. With Congresses approval rating at 13% can there be any doubt as to the accuracy this statement?

Yet rather than focusing on the problems confronting the nation with a razor determination to find 21st century solutions to the 21st century problems of a global economy we continue to remain satisfied with tossing about terms and concepts wrapped in meaningless little labels so one or the other party can remain in power.

It is easier to vilify Ayn Rand, Barrack Obama, Ron Paul,  or any other bogeyman (women) that suits the political thirst for power than it is to truly attempt to understand the depth of their thinking, determine how to best utilize the positives and solve the very real shared problems that face us all..

Ayn Rand would turn over in her grave if she saw how NPR misrepresented her philosophy. Just as Karl Marx would in his grave if he saw how The Cato Institute misrepresented him with their reference to the gulag.

We can all agree that honest disagreement is a healthy thing, and the attempt to influence the thinking of others is okay. We should also agree that the data used in the dialogue should have basis in fact, not faith or blind ideology.

Via: Memeorandum

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maximus Hypocritus... Nancy Pelosi

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Why just imagine! Nancy Pelosi made over 200% return on investment while blocking credit card reform for over two years. What a surprise. The champion of the people, a hypocrite as many of us have known all along.

Big Government - Former Speaker of the House–and current Minority Leader–Nancy Pelosi apparently bought $1 million to $5 million of Visa stock in one of the most sought-after and profitable initial public offerings (IPO) in American history, thwarted serious credit card reform for two years, and then watched her investment skyrocket 203%.


In early 2008, Nancy Pelosi and her real estate developer husband, Paul, were given an opportunity to buy into a Visa IPO. It was a nearly impossible feat–one that average citizens almost certainly could never achieve. The vast majority of purchase opportunities went to institutional investors, large mutual funds, or pension funds.

Despite Pelosi’s consistent railing against credit card companies, on March 18, 2008, the Pelosis bought between $1 million and $5 million (politicians do not have to report the exact amounts, only ranges) worth of Visa stock at the IPO price of $44 per share. Two days later, the stock price rocketed to $65 per share, yielding a 50% profit. The Pelosis then bought Visa twice more. By their third purchase on June 4, 2008, Visa was worth $85 per share.

How did Nancy Pelosi snag one of the most coveted initial public offerings in history? The facts are still emerging. Yet according to Schweizer, corporations that wish to build congressional allies will sometimes hand-pick members of Congress to receive IPOs. Pelosi received her Visa IPO almost two weeks after a potentially damaging piece of legislation for Visa, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, had been introduced in the House. If passed, the bill would have cut into Visa’s profits substantially by lowering so-called “interchange fees,” the 1% to 3% charge retailers pay Visa when customers use Visa cards for purchases. Interchange fees are a critical source of revenue for the four credit card companies–$48 billion in 2008, to be exact.


Nancy Pelosi is hardly the only member of Congress to be given IPOs, but Pelosi has been especially “lucky” at landing them. She and her husband have participated in at least 10 lucrative IPOs throughout her career. In 1993, Pelosi purchased IPO shares in a high-tech company named Gupta, watched the stock price leap 88% in 24 hours, then seized the profits by selling the stock the next day. The Pelosis did the same thing with Netscape and UUNet, resulting in a one-day doubling of their initial investment. Other fast and lucrative IPO flips included Remedy Corporation, Opal, Legato Systems, and Act Networks.

Schweizer says Nancy Pelosi’s financial disclosure forms typically mask the precise dates of her stock buys. He cites the Pelosis’ December 1999 stock purchase of between $250,000 and $500,000 in shares from high-tech company OnDisplay. A few months later, OnDisplay was bought by Vignette, which resulted in up to $1 million in capital gains for the Pelosis. What was unusual about the transaction is that Vignette’s IPO was underwritten by a major campaign contributor and longtime friend of Nancy Pelosi, William Hambrecht. {Read More}

Indeed. When will the voters of California learn?

Via: Memeorandum

Putin May Be On To Something... HOT!

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

This from Russia. Definitely racy. Maybe the US should talk to Putin about how we might increase voter turnout ;)

Mail Online - They've washed cars in skimpy outfits and torn their clothes off - all to promote the hardman of Russian politics, Vladimir Putin.

Now his model army has launched its latest charm offensive - with a steamy new advert, set to techno house music, encouraging people to go to the polls for the Russian parliamentary election on December 4.

In United Russia Party's latest offering, a stunning young woman, in a short dress, is seen walking into a polling station.

As she is being handed her ballot paper, a young man walks up alongside, where he checks her out. She walks off towards the voting booth and closes the curtain, but quickly whips it open to pull her suitor inside.

The camera looks at the gap between the curtain and the floor, to where their clothes fall - at which point the slogan 'Let's Do It Together' appears on the screen. {Read More}


Via: Memeorandum

Jon Huntsman... Deserving of a Second Look?

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Jon Huntsman. Another long shot republican hopeful. While not plugging him he deserves serious consideration. Not only is he the only republican candidate with foreign policy experience he is measured and reasonable.

A politician with executive experience, foreign policy experience and a message that will resonate with many if he can stays in the race. Huntsman doesn't have the baggage being carried by some others in the race for the republican nomination.

The Hill - Hours before the first Republican presidential debate to focus on foreign policy, Jon Huntsman released a web video to capitalize on the only issue where he has the clear advantage over his competitors.

The video starts with a montage of Huntsman's opponents making inaccurate or contradictory statements about other countries, while melancholy piano music plays in a minor key.

“So, yes they’re a military threat," Herman Cain says of China in the video. "They’ve indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capabilities.”

China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964 and has been considered a nuclear power ever since.

The video also attacks Mitt Romney for appearing to change positions on a timetable for U.S. withdrawal in Iraq, and Rick Perry for an incorrect statement about India.

“I think at some point the substance really does matter and you’ve got to have a commander in chief who actually understands the world in which we live," Huntsman says at the video's close.

Foreign policy is the one area where none of the other candidates can best Huntsman, a Republican who resigned as Utah's governor in 2009 when President Obama nominated him to be the ambassador to China. Huntsman also held the ambassador post in Singapore under President George H.W. Bush.

There area's of concern. Certainly his position on cap and trade and his spending record while governor of Utah deserve scrutiny and tough questions need be asked.

However, given a head to head comparison against Romney, who seems to be the pundits bet to get the nomination, Huntsman may be a better alternative.

From Huntsman's website. An analysis of his record.

Via: Memeorandum

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Labels, The Collective, and Politics...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Labels. A lot of people like political labels and being a part of one collective or another. Belonging to a group of like minded individuals does give a person a safe and comfortable feeling. It legitimatizes their beliefs and principles within a circle of like minded social beings.

However, in choosing to become part of a collective a person often {unwittingly}places restrictions on their ability to think critically and "outside the box" of accepted "conventional" wisdom. In other words "group-think" takes over the process of thinking so that "thinking" becomes a automatic response based in part or solely on ideology.

The different political parties are nothing more than collectives of people with differing political thought and ideologies with respect to government and its proper size and involvement in society. Whether you are a member of the democratic, republican, libertarian, communist, fascist, or whatever party you are a member of a collective.

All political party's exert peer pressure on the membership to talk the "party talk", and "walk the party" line. Even when it doesn't make a great deal of sense. The value placed on "party loyalty" generally exceeds the value placed on doing the right thing. This is the reality because every collective or party is agenda driven.

The Republican party base today is the party with the clearest yet narrowest focus, while the democratic party base has a wider but often less clear focus. In both party's it is the activists and ideologues that are diving the agenda.

What does all this mean? Other than the vast middle, those independents and moderates who keep the engines of society running getting screwed by both parties anyone's take is a relevant as the next.

Having spent perhaps too much time visiting sites across the political spectrum it has become ever more evident that this nation may indeed be facing the greatest societal challenge of its 233 year history. At the end of the day all the talk about philosophy, liberty, and proper governance won't amount to much if in the process we fail as a nation to come together and solve our problems.

The American people are looking to their leaders, the ones they elected to act as responsible representatives of the people of this nation and act wisely to solve our problems. Such action is long overdue and as a result now needed post haste.

Sometimes it pays to look in the mirror. Pundits and bloggers will continue to do "their thing." This is good and as it should be. We should all hope that it is done with an active mind. Not an open or closed one because both result in little getting done.

Via: Memeorandum