Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Right Stuff

“You have no power here.” King Theoden of Rohan to Gandalf the Grey; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Pundits, particularly those in the GOP machine, are wondering if the Conservative candidates, if elected, have the “right stuff” to make it through Congress unscathed and uncorrupted. The Capital’s polluted halls are filled with the ghosts of politicians who were bribed into compromise.

Last week, Rush Limbaugh warned against giving into this weakness. There is nothing in the Constitution that says our representatives must “go along to get along,” duck their heads, or swim for the middle of the cesspool.

Yet many of the representatives and senators are career politicians. They crave the coveted committee seats controlled by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader. Once they’re seated, they need not fear the voters. Congress is a closed-club. Only on the most serious of charges could they be impeached; an action the public doesn’t have the will for.

One only need to study the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste’s 2009 Congressional Ratings to see what a sorry record even Republicans have in terms of pork projects and earmarks. Some of the projects can be defended; but most are pure waste. It’s all about buying votes, the reason politicians, until recently were so dismissive of the public and particularly the Tea Parties.

The very cover of the Congressional Ratings book tells the tale: High-minded politicians march into the Capitol building, and come out chuckling pigs carrying sacks of taxpayer money. If the Conservatives do win, what will prevent them from suffering the same fate?

The New England and Mid-Atlantic states have an especially sorry record on pork. In New Jersey, other Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Distr), only one other N.J. Congressman rises above the 50 percent mark: Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Distr.) and he only manages a 63 percent – that would be a D minus in any educational institution. The Democrats’ records, of course, are abysmal.

Representatives in other states, such as North Carolina, fare much better and do better for their districts and their country. New York, on the other hand, has an abominable record for bringing home the pork. Only one member of the entire delegation (a Republican – Chris Lee of the 26th District – the Finger Lakes Region) manages to just get above the 50 percent mark. There are only two other Republican Congressman from New York – Peter King and John McHugh, whom Obama appointed Secretary of the Army. While McHugh has a good career record in general for voting down pork, his record was no better than any Democrat’s in 2009.

Is this the GOP’s idea of going along to get along? Are the younger middle class voters any better? Some pundit said it’s not a good idea to criticize potential voters. But as I’m not a politician, I intend to criticize away. Instead of watching Dancing with the Stars this week, take a good look at the 2009 Congressional Ratings booklet and see where your senators and representatives stand on wasting your money.

When you enter your vote, are you going to vote for what is right and decent? Or are you going to go along to get along?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Government Economics for Dummies

Roland E. Straten, Republican candidate for N.J.’s 8th Congressional district was recently challenged by a constituent, who asked if Straten (an economist) if he’d studied Keynes. Straten, ever the gentleman, said he was tempted to ask if the constituent had studied Milton Friedman, but he didn’t, presumably because he didn’t want to offend a potential voter.

Keynes was a New Deal economist who believed that government was the solution to recessionary woes. Friedman had originally been a Keynesian supporter of the New Deal and of government intervention in the economy.

Originally Friedman was a Keynesian supporter of the New Deal and advocate of government intervention in the economy. However, his 1950s reinterpretation of the Keynesian consumption function, a single mathematical function used to define consumer spending and calculate the amount of total consumption in an economy. It is made up of autonomous consumption that is not influenced by current income and induced consumption that is influenced by the economy's income level.

Friedman promoted an alternative macroeconomic policy known as "monetarism". He theorized there existed a "natural rate of unemployment" and he argued the central government could not micromanage the economy because people would realize what the government was doing and change their behavior to neutralize such policies. He argued that excessive expansion of the money supply (printing more money) is inherently inflationary, and that monetary authorities should focus solely on maintaining price stability.

He rejected the Phillips Curve (the lower the unemployment in an economy, the higher the rate of inflation) and predicted that Keynesian policies then existing would cause "stagflation" (high inflation and minimal growth). Friedman refuted the analysis of Keynes, who argued that monetary policy is ineffective during depression conditions and that fiscal policy — large-scale deficit spending by the government (the amount by which spending exceeds income over a particular period of time) — is needed to decrease mass unemployment. Though opposed to the existence of the Federal Reserve, Friedman argued that, given that it does exist, a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the only wise policy, and he warned against efforts by a treasury or central bank to do otherwise.

Friedman's political philosophy emphasized the advantages of free market economics and the disadvantages of government intervention and regulation, In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of licensing of doctors, a negative income tax, and education vouchers.  His books and essays were well read and were even circulated illegally, like Hayek's in Communist countries.

How smart was Friedman? Well, he graduated from high school at age 15 and went on to become an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He averred that the notion that FDR’s economic policies pulled America out of the Great Depression was a mystery. In 1976, Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics "for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy".

He was an economic advisor to U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Over time, many governments practiced his restatement of a political philosophy that extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with little intervention by government. As a professor of the Chicago School of Economics, based at the University of Chicago, he had great influence in determining the research agenda of the entire profession.

Keynesian economics have had a long-range, deliterious effect on the American economy, yet most Liberal politicians are guided by Keynesian economics (seeing that it serves as job security for them).

Bill Pascrell is obviously a Keynesian. He is an advocate of deficit spending money. What’s more, he’s your typical snake-in-the-grass politician, pulling all the usual Liberal political tricks, including having his people take down Straten for Congress signs.

According to Straten, Pascrell is mailing out “expensive, four-color brochures claiming that he is ‘independent.’ Apparently he does not want to be linked to either Obama, Pelosi, or the Democrats. He is all over the place campaigning, speaking long and loud, but saying nothing.”

If Straten wants to be heard and elected, he needs to speak longer and more loudly than Pascrell, and straighten out all those dummies who don’t know that the government’s role in economics and business should be extremely limited.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goosey Nite Politics

Two weeks to the Mid-Term elections. In thirteen days, we’ll see whether the Tea Party movement’s efforts were worth it. It’s also 9 days to Goosey Nite (Mischief Nite in normal places that are not New Jersey) and 10 days to Halloween.

What sage, what wit decided to place the elections so close to Halloween and Goosey Nite with its tricks-before-treating boondoggle? Things get pretty ugly in the two weeks before the elections. At the same time that little children are choosing their make-believe princess or hero costumes, older kids are picking out the scariest masks, and teens are stocking up on eggs, shaving cream, and toilet paper, the politicians, especially the Liberal candidates, are slinging the mud.

Well, at least the adult politicians promise you all sorts of treats, and then trick you. The teens smash your children’s pumpkins, ruin the paint on your car with eggs and shaving cream, and wax your windshield. Then their little brothers and sisters ring your doorbell the next day for the Halloween candy.

The candy is a relatively new innovation. It used to be the kids just played tricks. My mother remembers dressing up with her best friend in little witches costumes and ringing their neighbors’ doorbells. Then they’d run off and hide until the door was closed, then do a little witch’s dance on the front lawn.

The politicians ring your doorbell and promise all sorts of vague things. But they, too, for the most part, are wearing masks, particularly the career politicians. You really don’t know who they are or what they’re going to do.

The year 2006 was especially bad. A lot of devilish liberals and moderates were running around in Republican guise, ringing our doorbells and making promises. We thought they were Conservatives, but that was the trick. They were politicians for whom we’d never have voted had we known what they were.

Many Liberal voters also dressed in Republican clothing. They were “moderates,” they claimed, representing the more modern, more attuned, environmentally-conscious, socially inclusive, pro-immigration, ultra-charitable generation of the Republican Party.

Yeah, and I’m Molly Pitcher.

They agreed that they made too much money and that it should be taxed away from them. And us. We needed to be more socially diverse and inclusive. Their college professors told them so, so it must be true. It would be much easier to let the government control everything. Corporations are greedy. Money is the root of all evil. Humans are bad for the environment.

Politics is ugly. We need to agree on everything more. Since we’re the “evil, greedy Republicans” naturally, we’re the ones who must reach across the aisle to the Liberal (and every other sort of) Democrats. Let’s face it: we’re not hip. We’re not cool. We’re not young.

We’re not stupid. But yeah, we are older. And wiser. Not all of us drank the Kool-Aid. Or inhaled. We’re not into chanting mantras and bleating like sheep. Except my brothers, that is.

How can two grown men, six foot one and six foot four, respectively, have such spines of jelly? The one can do calculus in his head, but he can’t figure out that the country is going bankrupt, financially and morally. The other is tall and rugged, but he’s afraid the men in black would drag him away if he became involved politically. Well, he is pretty big looking. But our mother, when she was my age, was able to lift all six feet four of him off the floor right to the ceiling and put a choke-hold on him when he threatened her (he never did it again).

We aren’t going to get a second chance at this. You can’t just shrug your shoulders and say, “Well what can we do?” What we can do is demand better from our government. What we can do is hold our elected representatives responsible for how they perform. What we can do is read about who these characters are that we’re pressing the “vote” button for.

What we can do is stay informed on the issues and take the Media and our political adversaries to task when they get it wrong, when they lie, and when they try to destroy our country. We can wear tee shirts for the right candidates, put bumper stickers on our cars, and plant signs our lawns (if you have a lawn).

You can convince your friends to turn off the Liberal Media and ignore their websites. I change the channel every time I go to visit Mom. If you’re even braver, you can make phone calls for the Conservative candidates, mail literature, and tell your like-minded friends to stop sitting on their hands and get out and vote.

And if that doesn’t work, put the Mom-hold on the Liberal Liars, Moderate Morons, and Pandering Politicians who take our vote for granted. It may be Halloween, but they don’t scare us. Not anymore.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meeting Sarah Palin

“Sarah Palin wants to meet you,” the e-mail read. Wow, that was incredible. Sarah Palin wanted to meet me personally. But there were a few problems with the e-mail. First, it was addressed to my younger brother, who’s been using my e-mail address. What are younger brothers for.

It wouldn’t be surprising if she wanted to meet him; he’s tall, well-built, and ruggedly handsome. But she’s already got her first-dude, Todd, who already meets all those qualifications. If she wanted a bodyguard, though, my brother would fit the bill.

The second problem with the e-mail was that the writer wanted to meet me, or rather, my brother, in Anaheim, Calif. Wrong coast, dearie. We lived in Long Beach years and years ago when I was just a baby. We’ve been here on the East Coast ever since and I couldn’t afford the airfare out to California just to meet Sarah.

I’d love to meet her! But in my response back I said I’d just have to wait until she came East. She’s the best. If people read her book, they’d learn about all the lies the Media has told about her and about how Rahm Emmanuel bulldozed her with phony legal claims that she had to foot the bill for.

There was still hope to meet Gov. Palin. She was going to be at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally in August. Trouble was, I was a bus captain, and there were about 300,000 other people who were hoping to meet with her personally, too. There was too much of a mob between me and the stage, and I had to be back on my bus before my passengers mutinied. No time for autographs.

Then, I heard about how she’s on the Tea Party Express IV bus and will be blasting through New Jersey on Oct. 31st. Great, I thought! A real Tea Party Rally, where we could bring signs, American flags, and wear costumes. There’d be a lot of people there, but at least not the 300,000 there were in Washington.

Only the rally is going to be in Toms River. A bit of a ride from North Jersey. But for Sarah, I’d make the trip. It would be fun. I’d listen to all my best Halloween CDs on the way down – Phantom of the Opera, Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky. Go down early, come back early, so I wouldn’t be dead on arrival at work the next day.

But alas, when I finally unearthed the details, the rally is going to be at 8 o’clock – in the evening. A Sunday evening. Travel up and down the Garden State at night? Alone? I think not. There went another chance to see my political heroine, the greatest Conservative politician since Ronald Reagan.

I feel sorry for her, and I guess her family, traveling cross-country on a bus. It isn’t easy. She has three stops that day – Harrisburg, Pa., Wilmington, Del., and then Toms River. That’s a pretty hectic schedule; it’s a long ride from Harrisburg to Wilmington, and then to Toms River, and that’s just one day. The trek began in California a few days ago. I traveled cross-country by bus once when I was in my teens. I wanted to visit a friend who’d moved to California but I didn’t want to fly; it was a nightmare. My mom is a former bus driver who used to do the Atlantic City Run. At the 999th trip, she said, “No more!”

So it looks like I won’t get to meet Sarah any time soon. If she’s staying overnight in New Jersey and then heading on to Connecticut the next morning, maybe I could station myself at the park overlooking the GW and wave as she zooms by.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Red Tide is Turning

The New York Daily News allowed liberal commentator Bill Press (who is currently a blogger on the Huffington Post) to foam at the mouth in its editorial column about Glenn Beck’s one-man crusade against George Soros and the Tides Foundation.

It seems a man was arrested in Oakland, Calif., after a shoot-out with police. Byron Williams claimed he was on his way to assassinate the board of directors of the Tides Foundation for conspiring with Soros and Pres. Obama (with the help of oil services company Halliburton) to blow up the BP platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Press hacks away at what he calls a “bizarre” theory that Soros invested a $1 billion in Petrobras (which he did), in addition to the $2 billion the U.S. had loaned to Brazil for ultra-deep water drilling exploration (that’s taxpayer money). Then, the United States hired the evil Halliburton to sabotage the well so that Obama could justify cap and trade and the rest of his environmental hokum.

He further claims that the Tides Foundation is a little-known non-profit organization. Hard to believe that the left-leaning Press never heard of them.  Maybe if the papers like the Daily News did a better job of reporting the news objectively than promoting their favorite candidates and causes, people would have heard of the Tides Foundation.

Tides' mission is:  … to partner with philanthropists, foundations, activists, and organizations across the country and across the globe to promote economic justice, robust democratic processes, and the opportunity to live in a healthy and sustainable environment where human rights are preserved and protected.

We offer an array of services to simplify and amplify your efforts. From donor advised funds to fiscal sponsorship, from green nonprofit centers to programmatic consulting, from grants management to risk management and more, Tides gives you the freedom to focus on the change you want to see.

Each Tides organization pursues a distinct yet related strategy to promote the Tides mission. Tides Foundation works with donors to increase and organize resources for positive social change. Tides Center provides nonprofit management services to over 200 projects across the U.S. working to advance social change. Tides Shared Spaces operates and supports green nonprofit centers.

All these events are factual, common knowledge. But somehow, coming from Beck, the words are “poisonous.” Many notable left-wing politicians are in favor of making criticism of climate change illegal, including (among others) Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Press invokes Bill “I-never-had-sex-with-that-woman” Clinton to remind us that “the words we use really do matter.” According to Williams, “it was the things he exposed that really blew my mind.” Intones Press, “it’s no surprise that an unhinged person might decide to take matters into his own hands.”

Well, if Press is concerned about the impact of words on the “unhinged” and “delirious,” he might want to consider a few of these quotes from George Soros, himself:

“I Fancied Myself As Some Kind Of God.” “A passage in his book, The Alchemy of Finance, published in 1987, distinguishes Soros from all other financiers, ever. ‘I have always harboured an exaggerated view of my self-importance,’ he wrote. ‘To put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes, or, even better, like Einstein. My sense of reality was strong enough to make me realise that these expectations were excessive, and I kept them hidden as a guilty secret. This was a source of considerable unhappiness through much of my adult life. As I made my way in the world, reality came close enough to my fantasy to allow me to admit my secret, at least to myself. Needless to say, I feel much happier as a result.’”

Soros Admits To Delusions “Of Grandeur” and said that his “Goal is to become The Conscience Of The World.” “He [Soros] admits to what Kaufman calls ‘messianic’ ideals: ‘I have had these illusions, or perhaps delusions, of grandeur and they have driven me.’ He has also said that his ‘goal is to become the conscience of the world.’” (Anthony Gottlieb, “Who Wants To Be A Billionaire?” The New York Times, 3/3/02)

Soros: “So that’s what I’m all about. I am a kind of nut who wants to have an impact.” (Michael T. Kaufman, Soros: The Life And Times Of A Messianic Billionaire, 2002, p. 293)

Soros wrote that the September 11th terrorist attacks “could not have been more spectacular.” “Hijacking fully fueled airliners and using them as suicide bombs was an audacious idea, and its execution could not have been more spectacular.” (George Soros, “The Bubble of American Supremacy,” The Atlantic Monthly, 12/03)

Press claims that Beck has attacked Tides 29 times (is that all?) and “using his trademark blackboard” has accused Soros of using Tides to create “mass organizations to seize power.”

This should prove that Beck and the other right-wingers Press vilifies are crazy. Only Tides’ mission statement and Soros’ own eglomania prove that Beck & Company are absolutely right. They should lock Soros up in a padded room with Lex Luthor and throw away the key.