Where’s the Beef?

The State of the Union the other night was the beginning of the end for President Obama.  As he stood up there and spoke about needing to change the politics of Washington, promised to veto any bills with earmarks, and move away from our dependency on foreign oil, I couldn’t help but flash back to 2008……when he promised all these things before.  It seemed like Obama had not been President for two years.  I don’t know if his speech writers forgot that he has been, or if he thinks he can trick the American people into believing that he wasn’t.  It was the same old story we heard for eight months prior to his election, with no signs of progress on any of the promises he “remade.”  Usually, even though the President may say all the wrong things, he at least can make it seem interesting.  Alas, this was not the case during the State of the Union.  Too bad Ted Kennedy could not be there to fall asleep again….(May God rest his soul).  There was no energy in the room, and even Democrats looked like they wanted to get the hell out of there.  Except for Biden, who for some reason found something in the crowd quite humorous.  The man had a goofy smile and was chuckling the entire time.

The fact is that this speech had no meat to it.  There was nothing worthwhile in it post the honoring of Congresswoman Giffords.  He maybe addressed the actual state of the country three-quarters through, but even then nobody believed that everything is going according to plan.  Maybe after the amazing speech in Tucson we all had too high of expectations, but we can expect great speeched from “the Orator.”  And what is this nonsense about the highlight of the speech being Sputnik?  Seriously, I thought it was the most detrimental part of his speech towards his agenda.  What resulted from Sputnik was the forward thinking of private industry.  The government did not give us the moon landing….private industry did.  Private industry was driven to research and manufacture what was needed, thanks to President John F. Kennedy’s (the last good Democrat) policies that gave the private sector initiative and rewards.  President Obama called for freezing spending while touting new programs he wants to start or expand.  Where I am from we call that hypocrisy.

I find it ridiculous that anyone could possibly believe a word he said the other night.   The fact is that he has made all those promises before and has had two years to at least attempt to keep them….and he hasn’t.  The speech was not on the state of the union.  No, this speech was about what empty promises he will give us if elected again in 2012.  This was the first official-unofficial campaign speech for 2012, and if this is a sign of what is to come than it is going to be a good year for Republicans yet again.

As for the responses…..

What can I say about Paul Ryan, except that he should have been Speaker of the House.  His rebuttal said exactly what needed to be said.  We don’t have time to try spending freezes.  America is in trouble.  During President George W. Bush’s Presidency we should have addressed the deficit, but now we HAVE to.  This isn’t game, and it is not about what is liberal and what is conservative.  It is about what America must do to restore its power in the world, and remain what Reagan called the shining city on the hill.  The best Republican response to the freeze I have heard was when your car is accelerating towards a cliff, you don’t put on cruise control….you hit the brakes.  Couldn’t have said it better myself.

And what can I say about Michelle Bachmann…While I am glad that she was allowed to speak after the State of the Union, I have to ask why her?  Of all the tea party candidates why her?  Having the Tea Party represented is a very good idea in that it  shows there is another group that is going to hold Republicans accountable.  We cannot return to the “Democrat-lite” that Republicans were under Bush.  And I also want to know who setting up the technology, because you should always, always be sure that even if you are reading your speech right of the paper you should at least look like you are looking at the camera!  And the charts were a little over the top….but then again so is Bachmann…

The State of the Union was not worth watching.  So if you were cooler than me and had better things to do (like going to that banjo concert with Grandma, or attending that lecture on how to efficiently use the school library), then do not worry because you did not miss anything.  Obama spent half of the more than an hour speech attempting to convince the American people, that he hasn’t been President for two years.  He made promises that completely contradicted each other.   Finally he campaigned for 2012.  This “meatless” campaign speech very briefly addressed the state of the country, and left many people such as myself feeling like those old ladies in the 1984 Wendy’s commercial.

Mr. President….”WHERE’S THE BEEF?”


Liberty for all….except when I don’t agree with it!

With all the rhetoric flying around the last few weeks over the mosque at Ground Zero and the recent promise of the Florida preacher to burn Korans tomorrow (September 11th), I felt that I needed to say something about this massive mess.  Double standards and insensitivity have dominated the debates and its time that both sides of this issue cool down and use their God given brains for a little bit.  Considering the fact that we are the United States of America and we hold the liberties of all individuals to the highest regard (despite what those morons in DC want you to think) and the fact that feeding radicalism on either side of the issue could have consequences on our troops,  paying heed to the sensitivity of the issues is dire.  First, I want to give my opinion on the mosque and then my opinion on the burning of the Koran.

Back when talk first began about the Ground Zero mosque, I knew that things would soon get out of hand.  I knew people would try to force the builders to halt the development and I knew that certain American Muslims would scream “bigotry” and “anti-Islam sentiment.”  The United States has a Constitution.  Our government is to heed this Constitution under all circumstances (arguably the government has not done so well at this in the least) to protect the rights of all its citizens.  This Constitution does not allow for the government to come in and stop a religious organization from building what they want or where they want.  If this Imam and his people want to build a mosque so close to Ground Zero they have every God-given American right to do so!  There is nothing anyone can do about it!  I find it funny that many of the people who are so venomously against this mosque are the same people who claim to “fight for the Constitution.”  It is hypocrisy in it most blatant form.  Now that being said, I think building a mosque so close to Ground Zero is a terribly bad idea and one of the dumbest things this Imam and his supporters could possibly think to do. You don’t think that this is a blatant attempt to stir up controversy and take a stab at the American people?  It is completely insensitive to even discuss building a mosque at an area still scarred by Islamic extremism.  I find it very odd that a group that calls for increased sensitivity to Muslim concerns and needs would be so incredibly insensitive.  We must respect the sensitivities of Muslims in America, but so must American sensitivities be respected by Muslims in America.  It is a two way street.

Moving on to the equally idiotic decision to call for the burning of Korans in Florida.  Again, this pastor is rightfully protected under the United States Constitution to do whatever he wants to the Koran.  And again, I think this is one of the dumbest things this pastor and his supporters could decide to do.  After whining and complaining about the insensitivities of the Ground Zero mosque supporters, these people go and do something so completely insensitive.  If a Muslim group decided they were going to have a Bible burning on Christmas, these same people would be spitting fire.  Again, if we expect Muslims to be sensitive to non-Muslims, than we have to be sensitive towards them.  I know the concept of two-way streets are a hard concept when so many cities have so many one-way streets, but really it’s easy enough.

What irritated me the most about both of these situations was the complete double standard that was set by both sides of the issue and the Obama administration.  People who were crying foul at the insensitivity of the mosque and demanded that people be more sympathetic to their wishes, were vehement supporters of something that did just the opposite of what they were demanding only weeks before.  The people who were the most adamant supporters of the utterly insensitive mosque, were the first ones flying off the handle about the planned Koran burnings.  If they only knew how dumb they looked.  The Imam who is so in support of the mosque goes on national television and claims that the burning of the Korans will cause the Arab communities to “explode” (his words not mine……probably not the best choice of words).  But his support of the mosque didn’t cause Americans to do the same?  You can anger non-Muslims, but non Muslims better not cross you?

The Obama Administration made the right choice in not trying to force the mosque supporters from building (although their reasoning behind it was a little out of tune), but they set such an incredible double standard with the Florida pastor.  When the mosque fiasco arose, the administration practically shrugged off the whole incident.  But when the pastor down in Florida plans his little barbecue, now it is a “national security threat?”  The administration talks about calling the pastor to Washington to “talk?”  What made the two events so different that they had to be handled in such drastically different ways?

These double standards on everyone’s part are unacceptable.  The Constitution does not provide more liberty for one party over another.  It provides a balance that we must use to weigh all issues independently.  It requires that we look at and treat both of these instances with the same light and in doing so we will see them for what they really are……incredibly dumb, insensitive decisions fully protected under the United States Constitution.  So everyone cool down.  Take a step back.  Think for yourselves for once and the country will thank you for it in the future .


A Chance for Real Change in Illinois

Looking at the maps of Illinois State Senate and State Representative Districts, I am reminded of something my young cousin drew for me when she was three or four years old.  It doesn’t make much sense, takes a lot of imagination to see what they tell you they have drawn, and both are probably drawn on the back of a restaurant menu in crayon.  The main difference between the two is motive.  My young cousin drew her picture with purity of heart and the intent of bringing joy to another person.  The legislature drew theirs with self-interest at heart and the intent of insuring their incumbency.  Illinois has a 98% reelection rate for incumbents.  With the absolute lack of accountability that this provides politicians, the doors are then opened for them to do as they please.  They are free to spend without worrying of the cost, to act secretly to make decisions that benefit themselves without the worry of transparency, and to blatantly turn a blind eye to the public without the worry of the voters’ wrath.  Redistricting Reform is at the core of nearly all other ethics reform.  Until significant changes are made in the way that our politicians gerrymander our districts, we will not get other needed reforms.  This is why I fully support the efforts towards the Illinois Fair Map Amendment.  This amendment to the Illinois State Constitution would take the politics out of drawing district maps, and place it back into the hands of the people.  I do so knowing full well that it will not be an easy task.  This amendment is an attempt of the people to beat back the powers that be.  But I say, why must the populace think of itself as being weak?  We have the power to change Illinois, not the politicians.  Already, the powerhouses, such as Speaker Michael Madigan, have attempted to shut down and belittle the efforts of independent groups who support this amendment.  Some may not realize it, and other choose to ignore it, but we are in the midst of a political war.  This is not a war between Democrat and Republican, but between the corrupt politicians and the people of Illinois.  It will take a fight against Madigan and his cronies to convince them that they are not control of this state, but we are!  We will see a rise in the mob tactics of the politicians to try to intimidate and scare people, but we can not let it work.  And it is from the front-lines of the war between mob tactic politicians and the people of Illinois, that I ask you to stand up to the corrupt powers and fight for what you know is right.  Go to the Illinois Fair Map website (ilfairmap.com) and read up on the changes it will make.  When you are convinced by the bi-partisan support (left and right reform groups, as well as the Republican Party leaders) and the need for change, please, print of the petition for your county/city and get signatures.  Every signature helps reach the goal of 500,000.  The goal is 500,000 because the politicians will have a harder time ignoring the demands of half a million Illinois voters.  The time for these power-hungry politicians that have done everything in their power to make our state a mockery, is now at an end.  Rise up, Illinois!  Rise up and take back your state!


Actions Speak Louder than Words

After watching the President’s State of the Union last night, I felt as though I had just gotten through an hour-long campaign speech….but that was because I had.  Obama last night promised to tackle the economy and tackle jobs.    He also promised to look at Republican ideas and said we needed to change the partisan, cut-throat politics that have plagued Washington.  He pledged to cut taxes and stop spending.  Also, the President pledged that if a bill crossed his desk that wasn’t to his standards he would send it back and tell Congress to fix it.  For a moment, I had forgotten it was no longer 2008.  Wasn’t it 2008 that Obama promised to tackle the economy and make that priority number one?  Wasn’t it in 2008 that he pledged to change the way Washington works?  And wasn’t it in 2008 that he pledged to cut taxes for the middle class and slow or stop deficit spending?  Finally, did he not say he would veto bills that had pork or bad policy?  Over the past year we have seen that actions do indeed speak louder than words.  The past year Obama has made Government Healthcare his priority.   And do not believe that he did not make Government Healthcare so important, that he could get something under his belt.  I believe everyone snickered, even Democrats, when he attempted to make that claim.  Because Obama did not focus on what would positively affect the economy, the unemployment rate has grown higher than that magic number that Obama promised it would not get above if the stimulus package was passed.  Instead of trying to create jobs, he taxed successful businesses more in order to bailout and take control of failed companies.  After touting bipartisanship and bringing change to the status quo of dirty politics by Obama during the campaign,  we have seen Democrats ignore the idea of Republican Congressman and use smoke and mirrors to attempt to push through their agenda on healthcare.  The special deals with the Unions and specific Congressman, such as Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have darkened his promises of change and hope.  After the largest increase in deficit spending that us Americans saw during the last administration, the current administration has increased it three-fold.  We saw reckless, flamboyant pork-barrel spending in the omnibus bill, as well as Republican and Democrat special projects attached to every page of every bill.

If Massachusetts was a big enough blow to the President that he actually begins to avidly pursue some of the things he proclaimed last night, then he might be moving more towards a more centrist policy.  I hope Washington becomes more bipartisan and less corrupt.  I hope Obama begins to give tax cuts.  I hope Obama gets rid of or greatly lowers the Capital Gains Tax.  I hope I am wrong in thinking that none of the things I agreed with from the speech last night will actually happen, but looking at the past year of his administration,  I am not counting on it.


Spending themselves into defeat

Over the Thanksgiving weekend talk began getting louder from Democrats about a second stimulus package.  The utter fact that this is being considered shows how out of touch the Democrat Party has become with the American people.  They just do not get it.  They do not understand what money is, and they do not understand why we are frustrated.  Nancy Pelosi stated during a conference call almost a week ago that:

The American people have an anger about the growth of the deficit because they’re not getting anything for it. … If somebody has the idea that the percentage of GDP of what our national debt is will go up a bit, but they will now — and their neighbors and their children — will have jobs, I think they could absorb that, and then we ride it out and bring money in,” she said. “But I think if anybody is asking the public, ‘Would you rather have a job or the percentage of GDP of our national debt would go up a little bit?’ I think that everybody wants a job.

The deficit of the U.S. Government reached an astounding $1.4 trillion the past fiscal year.  When is it enough.  If it wasn’t so devastating to the future of this country, the spending tirade in Washington would be laughable.  It WOULD be laughable that the U.S. is $12 trillion in debt.  It WOULD be laughable that as we are going bankrupt, Democrats develop new spending every month, with no look to increasing income.  It WOULD be laughable that Democrats ignore public outcries, claim that they know better than voters, and spend, spend, spend.  It WOULD be laughable that while our economy still suffers after the first stimulus package, they speak of firing up a new one.  It WOULD be laughable that while the economy continues to suffer and people keep losing jobs, the Democrats claim that the first stimulus has been successful.  It WOULD be laughable…..but it is not!  It is scary, and it is ludicrous.  It is not laughable that they are ignoring the future effects of their actions.  It is not laughable that our children and grandchildren have a lifetime of government debt in their future.  It is not laughable that we will soon no longer be working for our own profit, but to pay off our debts (in other words, slave labor).  How long will we, the American people, stand by and watch Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and President Obama take our money and flush it down the toilet?  I can do that myself thank you.  I don’t need to pay them to do it for me.

The simple fact that this second stimulus is being considered is a blow to the opinions of the American people.  With all the outcry from the first stimulus, government-run healthcare, and other reckless spending, these “voices of the people” (insert sarcasm here), are ignoring these cries.  They claim to know better than the American people.  They think us ignorant and confused.  But we are aware.  We are very aware and in 2010, they will also be made aware.  They will be made aware that we do hold their job security in the palm of our hands, and when they ignore us for their own power grabs, agendas, or plain stupidity, we will give them their pink slips.  Then, they will understand what they have done to so many over the two years.


Ownership Society

Any of you who may be political theorists will know what this post is about just from the title.  One of the required readings for the Political Science course that I have this semester is a book titled “The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party” by Ryan Sager (an excellent book that I highly recommend).  In one of the chapters, Sager mentions possibly my favorite female politician:  Margaret Thatcher.  He talks about how President George W. Bush attempted to apply her successful principles to America.  These principles are known as the “Ownership Society.”  Thatcher believed, as I do, that the private sector creates and supports the system the best when it owns the system.  She took the public housing in Britain that was being leased and allowed the renters to buy the housing, thus making the lessee the owner.  This was enacted due to the belief that people will respect and take care of something that they own more so than if they are just renting.  For example, when a group of my friends went to Florida they rented a car.  They pushed that car to its limits just because they could, and because if it broke….well why worry?  It’s not theirs.  Why, then, would this not apply to government handouts?  Do the people on this system care how they treat what they get, and how much of it is used?  Of course not, and in reality we cannot expect them to.  If you give a man a check and promise him that it will be there as long as he needs it, then he will not feel as strongly pulled to only spend what he must and save the rest (in other words, spend responsibly).  If you give a man a check and say this is his money to help him back on his feet.  It may not be there the next time, or as high.  This amount is what he gets, no exceptions.  If he misspends it, then it is gone.  If he has a stake in it, he will treat it with respect.

The Ownership Society is what America needs to try to find its way back towards.  President Bush tried to implement this, but did a very poor job in doing so.  The absolute failure of which was the first round of bailouts in late 2008.  As long as the executives believe the money will be there to bail them out, they will treat it like it is not their own.  As the United States moves towards a Nanny State, the people are feeling less inclined to move out of the holes they are in.  Every human being has the right to survive.  Not every human has the right to luxury.  When the government gives luxuries, or anything more than necessity, the lives people create are not their own.  They do not feel motivated to treat their lives as if they were to obtain those luxuries.  They become dependent on society, rather than their own will.  Now, this is not limited to a certain sect of the population.  Almost all of us, if placed in the situation, would find ourselves drowning in the welfare system.  It provides only the means for an individual to become stuck in the quicksand of social welfares.  It is far too easy, and the system is broken.  The welfare system can be adapted to a Ownership Society.  A system that will provide the way out of the quicksand permanently, rather than giving only a short breather before tossing people back in, will be the end to the growing income gap the United States is seeing.  A strong, nanny welfare state sucks people into a system of which only a few can escape.  Give the people a stake, and they will fight.  Keep government out, and let the American people run the economy.

Finally, I want to leave you all with something I heard from a prominent minister in the Chicago area.  I hear him speak at an event one night, and what he said seemed the perfect analogy to why, as moral beings, we must oppose the Nanny/Socialist state.  Picture American citizens as rocks at the bottom of a fast flowing river.  The river rushes over them, grinding them down until they are nothing more than sand.  The nanny state would attempt to save them by picking up the rocks, drying them off with a golden threaded towel……and then throwing them back into the river.  The state would then work against itself for an eternity.  What we are called to do as the moral beings we are, is to move the river; to stop the system from turning the American citizens into sand that gets carried away never to be found again.  The nanny state is not Christian, but manipulative.


It’s a Disease

When we see our honorable representatives in government spending all our money with no way to get it back, we tend to scream, pull our hair out, and want to break or hit inanimate objects.  But, this is the exact way we should not act.  We have to be understanding, and sympathize with our representatives, because the fact is that they have a problem.  Our representatives have a disease, and they just cannot help it.  Some experts claim that somewhere between 10%-15% suffer from this disease, but I believe that the percentage is closer to 75%-85% when it comes to our members of government. What we have to do is offer them help.  We have to reach out and give them a way to beat this disease.  This is why I support an  effort to provide counseling for all members of government to battle the spending addiction.  Because that is what is has to be….an addiction.  WebMD.com states the symptoms of spending/shopping addiction as being:

  • Spending over budget
  • Compulsive Buying
  • It’s a chronic problem
  • Hiding the problem
  • A viscous circle
  • Impaired relationships
  • Clear Consequences
  • Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely
  • Having arguments with others about one’s shopping habits
  • Feeling lost without credit cards — actually going into withdrawal without them
  • Buying items on credit, rather than with cash
  • Describing a rush or a feeling of euphoria with spending
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed after a spending spree
  • Lying about how much money was spent. For instance, owning up to buying something, but lying about how much it actually cost
  • Thinking obsessively about money
  • Spending a lot of time juggling accounts or bills to accommodate spending

Now the thing to remember is that people who have this disease, only have to exhibit a few of these symptoms in order for it to be confirmed.  Let us go through the ones they seem to suffer from, and you will see that they definitely suffer from this condition and deserve our sympathy.

Spending over Budget: this is an obvious one, that only needs an explanation of the national debt of $11,893,668,881,089.01 (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np)

Compulsive Buying: Pork Amendments.  When a bill comes to the House or Senate, it may be completely legitimate.  But due to the disease, our poor congressmen and women cannot defeat the “compulsion” to attach amendments onto the bill for pork barrel projects, such as the “Bridge to Nowhere” or other billions upon billions of dollars on unnecessary projects.  This could also apply for the representatives’ compulsion to spend money on everything that comes to their attention.

It’s a Chronic Problem: For decades our debt has been adding up, and not since the Clinton years has their been a balanced budget.  Spending increased significantly since and under the recent Congress and President has increased budget spending and the deficit by seemingly mythical numbers, with no signs of stopping.

Hiding the Problem: Our representatives know they have a problem, and so they try to marginalize or completely hide the spending.  For example, I will use the current healthcare debate.  With the announcement of each new proposed bill costing between 800-900 billion dollars that will be no cost to the public, but then offer no real numbers for how they will account for the aforementioned spending.  Also, there was the attempt to hide some parts of the bills in other bills to hide the true cost.

A Vicious Circle: It is sad to say that the massive amount of debt we have, has been answered by more massive spending “in order to stop the debt.”  When the economy began to collapse in late 2008-present, the answer to the problem has been to spend more money to solve the problem.  This has only added to our debt, causing talk of another stimulus package that will put us yet even further into debt.  This is the vicious cycle.

Impaired Relationships: Many of the relationships of our government have been hurt by their addiction.  On the domestic level, the constituents have all but lost respect for our representatives.  They are ignoring the voices of these constituents, and claiming they superior knowledge in order to allow for their spending habits.  This has caused a major rift between the constituents and their representatives.  On an international level, some of the strongest allies of our government have also expressed concern over the massive spending.  Our representatives ignore these concerns and continue to feed the addiction, in turn hurting foreign relationships.  They also lose a lot of once hard-earned respect our nation once had amongst foreign powers.

Clear Consequences: This national debt has clear consequences.  Utter failure.  The overspending of our representatives will destroy our country, unless they can be cured and drastically change the direction of the debt in this country.

The next three points in the above list do not completely apply (although the arguments over spending habits is arguable).  So on to the next on the list….

Buying Items on Credit, Rather than with Cast: Apparently that is what the Chinese are for…..

Describing a Rush or a Feeling of Euphoria While Spending: The spenders always smile when the President signs that spending into effect, I mean, Nancy Pelosi always has that euphoric look and cheesy smile on her face.

Our representatives show no remorse or guilt for spending the money that they are.  Therefore, this symptom is not present.

Lying About How Much Money was Spent: see Hiding the Problem. Also, putting a price tag on a bill that turns out costing much more when put into effect.

As you can see, our representative exhibit at least 10/16 of these symptoms.  That is more than enough to point to a spending addiction, which is a disease that we must cure.  It also seems to be infectious, as many representatives who enter into the government without this addiction, eventually become addicted to the spending.  We must make the effort to reach out to our representatives and offer them the counseling they need to recover from their disease.  It is not their fault, and therefore we must give them our sympathy…it’s just the way of government.

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