Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Making Jersey Drivers Pay the Toll for the World Trade Center

With the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks less than a month away, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had announced that the $8 toll on the Hudson River Crossings will increase to $12. N.J. Gov. Christie and N.Y. Gov. Cuomo announced that they had approved the Port Authority’s toll hike request, but at reduced increase, to be implemented incrementally, in order to pay for the restoration of the World Trade Center site.

According to the Wall Street Journal, instead of the prospect of a $12 toll on the George Washington Bridge, a hike of $4, the new proposal would increase E-ZPass tolls on the George Washington Bridge, above, and other Hudson River crossings by $1.50 beginning next month, a much smaller jump than originally sought by the Port Authority.

“The cost of traveling between New York and New Jersey by car will likely go up next month, but not by as much as previously proposed.

“The two governors who control the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday evening said they are aiming to raise tolls on the agency's Hudson River crossings by $1.50 next month for drivers paying with E-ZPass, a significantly smaller increase than the agency sought earlier this month.

“Tolls would then rise by 75 cents in each of the following years until 2015, for a total increase of $4.50. The previous plan included a $2 increase in 2014, for a total hike of $6. Fares on the PATH train would increase 25 cents every year for the next four years, according to the joint proposal by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The agency had previously proposed hiking fares on the PATH train to $2.75 from $1.75.

“The new plan, which will likely be approved on Friday by the authority's board, comes after a familiar trans-Hudson dance that often takes place between the Port Authority and the two governors who control it.

“First, the Port Authority proposed a larger-than-expected increase. Then the governors express outrage and dismay, and propose a much lower increase—a figure much closer to what the Port Authority had been considering internally for the past year.”

This kind of sky-is-falling tactic used to be called a bait-and-switch, making New Jersey drivers relieved that their commuting costs will only rise by a $1.50 per month, instead of $4. Small comfort in a bad economy.

No one needs to tell New Jersey commuters – or New York City residents – that the World Trade Center needs to be rebuilt. We’ve known that for ten long, sad years. We’ve watched and listened as the Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, and the Lower Manhattan Community Development Board dillied and dallied, argued, negotiated, threatened, cajoled, and dithered as the years past and the costs ran higher than the skyscrapers they were building.

We citizens knew the construction should have been completed at least five years ago. It wasn’t and the costs predictably mounted, exponentially. No one listened to the public because a bureaucracy doesn’t need to listen to the citizens. We’re expected to keep quiet, pay the bills, and be happy that the tolls aren’t as high as they had threatened they would be. Aren’t we the luckies?

Freedom isn’t free. We Americans know that. Maybe that’s why they decided not to name the centerpiece tower, The Freedom Tower. It’s anything but. No one expected it to be free. We expected we’d have to pay; we didn’t expect that the governors of New Jersey and New York would be wagging their fingers at us for delays that weren’t our fault.

The only problem New Jerseyans have is that this is pretty much a one-sided deal. New Jersey sends the brunt of commuters through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and over the George Washington Bridge. Fittingly, the tolls are on our side of the Hudson River. Where is the average New Yorker’s share in this venture? The World Trade Center is on their side of the river.

Perhaps Manhattan paid enough of a price having the 9/11 attacks occur on their island. In the end, it’s the bureaucrats and politicians, the lawyers and community organizers who held up construction. Yet they’ll have front row seats at the ceremonies when the site is officially opened.

New Jersey, which had a front row seat to the horrible spectacle on September 11th, will be in the back of the bus.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hug A Thug

Kyle Smith, in his column in today’s New York Daily News, notes:  “In England, the shopkeepers have swept up the broken windows and the goons have temporarily retreated home to enjoy their new tracksuits and tellies.  What lessons have the country’s leaders learned from a days-long crime orgy?  That’s it time to finally confront a torched civil culture by forming ranks, marching bravely up to the fire and feeding it with a bit more therapeutic welfare funding.

“Prime Minister David Cameron, a former PR Man who still seems to think that issuing a press release makes for a brisk day’s work, …denounced the crime spree as ‘sickening’ and said a ‘slow-motion moral collapse’ must be put right.”

“Cameron promised a double-fisted response, which he dubbed the ‘security fightback” -- Wham! -- and the ‘social fightback’ -- Pow! . . . wait, what?  In other words, Cameron’s Conservatives offer no change on this from longtime Labor PM Tony Blair, who in 1992 famously promised to be 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.' Because we all know cops should keep hugs as well as handcuffs at the ready."

Smith goes on to write, “[Cameron’s] ‘social fightback,’ meanwhile, turns out to be a program to identify the 120,000 “most troubled” families and somehow heal them with, one supposes, therapy, counseling and sympathetic noises. He vowed to ‘develop a plan to help get these families on track.’”

Smith cites as an example of misguided socialism Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange” about a gang of drugged-up, violent sociopaths.  The 1962 book was made into a famous film by Stanley Kubrick (“2001:  A Space Odyssey), starring Malcolm McDowell as the anti-hero Alex, who is institutionalized after his murderous rampages.  However, Kubrick cut Burgess’ final chapter, Ch. 21, from the end of the film.  The chapter signifies the age of 21, at which Alex matures and, realizing everything he’s thought and done is wrong, turns his life around.  (An interesting side note:  David Prowse, the physical Darth Vader of Star Wars, plays a good guy bodyguard in this film).

Whatever good Burgess tried to do, Kubrick left in utter chaos.  1962 seems to have been the year for chaos; that year, the film version of West Side Story was released.  If you want to know what sociopathic thugs think of socialists, socialism, and social workers, pay attention to the musical number, “Gee, Officer Krupke.”  The joke is on us, and the socialist writers knew it.  Which is why Sen. Joe McCarthy wanted to have them blacklisted.  Walt Disney agreed, for which Hollywood sought for years to besmirch his good name and find a way to overtake his company, which they finally have, and now peddle television stories about the wonders of teenage pregnancy and release feel-good movies about environmentalism.

Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger’s novel, came of age in 1951, about ten years earlier, fueling teenage confusion, angst, alienation, language, and rebellion.  Then there was the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean and Natalie Wood (who would later star as Maria in West Side Story).

During the 1960s, race riots in our major American cities, the adults of that generation were told they had to support the Great Society programs – buy off the minorities, in other words – if we wanted peace in our cities.  The bill has come in for that price and it will bankrupt our nation.

The minorities now have as fair a chance, through changed employment laws and educational opportunities, at getting a job and living the American Dream as anyone.  Only our businesses and corporations were taxed so heavily to support the Great Society that there are now no jobs for them to work at, much less the rest of us.  Taxation, bureaucracy, lax educational standards, exorbitant benefits, and zero population growth have driven our jobs overseas to countries with larger and more desperate populations willing to produce at lower wages.

In Europe, they are reaping what socialism has sown.  What sort of crop socialism will yield in America is yet to be seen.  Like a wild, aggressive plant species introduced into our country’s fertile soil, the Conservative Tea Party has been trying to root out the infestation, though the alien species has had a forty year period in which to take over our cultivated fields.

The trick is to get at the plants while they’re still young sprouts and cross-breed the strain until the invasive contaminant is neutralized, and the growth bred back to its more productive state.  That would seem to be what George Washington, the farmer, would suggest, anyway.

You don’t hug a thug or wheedle a weed; you yank it out of the ground.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Bus Stops Here

Greyhound One, they’re calling it; or Bus One.  Obama has taken to the campaign trail early, both to save his struggling current presidency and pave the way for 2012.

Greyhound One is an ironboound, armorplated, blacked-out behemoth, much like his Obamacare package that was steamrolled through Congress.  There is no transparency in Greyhound One.  Not that you’d expect him to ride in a clear-windowed vehicle any more than Pres. Kennedy should have been driving (against his wife’s wishes and his astrologer’s warning) in an open limousine through Dallas in November of 1963.

Bus One, however, is the perfect allegorical symbol of Obama’s “transparent” presidency.  He only rides in it for show, no one can see what’s inside, and it looks like a very long tank.  Diesel buses are also notorious polluters.  They’re efficient in the long run, but like the fluorescent bulbs, they waste enormous amounts of energy getting started, so it’s easier to just leave them running.

Once the bus stopped in Decorah, Iowa, Obama’s mitigating speeches to Iowa’s moderates about reforming entitlement programs did nothing to soothe the founder of Iowa’s Tea Party, Ryan Rhodes.  Rhodes demanded to know whether he agreed with his vice president that Tea Party activists were comparable to terrorists.

According to Fox News, Obama did not directly answer the question.  Instead, he fired back that he knows better than anyone what it’s like to be slammed for his political views and was not about to accept a lecture on the topic.

“Now, in fairness, since I’ve been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric," Obama said.

Obama did say he would discuss the matter further with Rhodes after the event. And the duo was spotted in an animated conversation a few moments later.   Rhodes later told Fox News that the president denied that the vice president ever made such a statement.

Rhodes said. “If he doesn’t want to even admit what was on TV nationally -- all over the place -- then how can you have a conversation?”

Fox News says, “The incident stems from a private meeting Biden attended, at the height of the debt ceiling debate, with House Democrats who were angry that Republicans were not meeting the president halfway. One lawmaker, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., went so far as to say that Republicans affiliated with the Tea Party had behaved like “terrorists” during the debate.

“Some Democrats familiar with the meeting said at the time that Biden had appeared to agree with the sentiment expressed by Doyle and others as a way of moving the conversation along and convincing Democrats to support the final compromise. But Biden himself denied to CBS News that he had uttered the word ‘terrorist’ in the meeting in the context of the Tea Party.”

Rhodes added that Obama brushed him aside. “Then he said, ‘We can't have a conversation because you're saying I called you a terrorist,’” recalled Rhodes. “The fact is it demonstrates the deep divide that he is unwilling to negotiate without going after the other side. The whole day was about going after Republicans and talking about how unreasonable they are.”

The private conversation between Rhodes and Obama was partially picked up by a TV camera, but the audio was tough to make out. Obama in general seemed to be saying the incident with Biden was misconstrued and that if Rhodes wanted to insist that the word “terrorist” was used then they were never going to see eye-to-eye.

Obama may not have called us “terrorists” but he and his own “lackeys” have called us just about every other colorful metaphor in the propaganda book to discredit Conservatives and convince uncertain Moderates that the Liberals want only the best for the country, while Conservatives are guilty of “brinksmanship” – that is, playing chicken with the economy.

The black, armor-clad bus is a sign that the bus will not stop here, there or anywhere and will run over any obstacle on its way to establishing progressive socialism as the United States’ de facto form of government.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Discouraging Word

Listening to Michelle Bachmann’s interview with Fox News’ Mike Wallace did not exactly inspire Conservative confidence in the self-appointed Tea Party representative.  When he asked her, more than once, if she would compromise with the Democrats if she became President of the United States, she waltzed and danced around the question.

Finally, when he pressed yet again, she responded through pressed lips, that she would.  She added that unless we had a more balanced Senate and House of Representatives, she wouldn’t have much choice.  Ronald Reagan was faced with Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress and it is said that he, too, compromised.  But he never used the words nor hailed a compromise with the Liberals as some sort of “victory” for the union.

A huge government is gradually replacing the evil corporate raiders the Media and educators have taught young American students to revile.  They leave a good deal unsaid in their criticisms of the U.S. Constitution and the Founding Fathers, such as the farmers and tradesmen of Colonial America understood that governing was an enormous job, but that their federal representatives  would only be acting on the country’s behalf in a very few, limited areas, and at all in their individual lives.  Local and state communities were left to govern for themselves within their borders.  And that was okay.

Politics are still local but that isn’t too say that the average person isn’t knowledgeable about or interested in foreign affairs, or that they can’t comprehend the issues.  On the other hand, there are all too many intellectually lazy people who only want to be left in peace to mow their lawns, make cupcakes for the church bake sale, and play with their kids.  Their attitude is:  let the whole government take over the whole shooting match.  Who cares?

Well, the problem is issues like Smart Development/Agenda 21, the banning of everything from peanut butter to incandescent light bulbs, the skyrocketing debt which has its source in overfunded entitlement programs, zero percent interest rates for which taxpayers will foot the bill.  The list is endless.

We (the Tea Parties) must take that list to the sleepyheads in our communities, pry their eyes open if necessary, and get them to understand that our freedom is going away.  We’ve got to make them understand that there’s nothing “selfish” about freedom.

We must disabuse them of the notion that they must “compromise,” that they must go along to get along in the interest of the “greater community.”  Socialism is not going to bring happiness to anyone (except the elite Socialist leaders).  Great Britain is a socialist nation.  Do they look happy to anyone?  Did the Polish immigrant who had to leap from her burning apartment building look “happy”?  Socialism is about the surest way to guarantee the growth of “selfishness” that can be found in the philosophy books.

The “common people” want to turn their heads while our country is being destroyed.  We must make them look.  They must take responsibility for it, one way or the other.   We must let them know that a shrug of the shoulders is just not going to do.  Neither is name-calling.  But if they wish it, then let it be so.  We’re not crazy – they’re lazy.  We have every right to demand that they stand up with us to defend our country.  That’s what this is all about after all – shifting the burden on to those who are willing to work.

Why we gave up on the rallies, I’ll never know, except that the work fell to a few who naturally got tired.  When you get it right down to it, getting out in our communities is the only way you’re going to reach them, and the message must be strong and to the point.  No dilly-dallying about being “non-partisan.”  In our area, there’s a local store that sells Tea Party bumper stickers.  You can probably find them on the Internet.  Buy some and stick them on your car.  Stick them our family’s cars.

Get yourself some Tea Party tee and sweatshirts.  One enterprising group of ladies uses sticky notes when they go shopping.  The Morristown Tea Party sells patriotic buttons on their website.  Be creative.  Get the message out to these people:  we are through “compromising”.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sticks and Stones

At a recent Tea Party meeting, a former political candidate lamented the viciousness of the press, particularly a local newspaper editorial which had labeled him, despite having an advanced degree, “stupid.”

The Liberals are adept at psychological warfare, weaned on Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays and Bertrand Russell, they’ve honed their viciousness to a fine, though low-brow art. Sitting behind shelves of books, they label anyone who dissents from their opinion as “stupid.”

The candidate should not have taken it too much to heart, though he would have been right to take exception to the derogatory language. Even the newspaper couldn’t deny his credentials; but he was still “stupid.”

The comment was not an insult directed at him but what we could call a “talking point” to its readers, many of whom attend the large, local university. Not quite mature, in fact still in the throes of approval-craving adolescence, still clinging to their high school mentality, attitudes, and culture, and being gently nurtured by their Liberal professors, “stupid” is an all-purpose pointer for dismissing the person without having to bother thinking about what they have to say. In other words, ignore this guy; he’s “stupid.”

The Tea Party is undergoing a virtual, verbal barrage. We’ve been called many things since our first rallies in early 2009. We were: tea-baggers, nut-jobs, sheeple, racists, homophobes, crazies. We were told we were stupid, ignorant, uninformed. The Liberals made fun of our signs, our occasional costumes, our age (mostly older).

Still, we’ve withstood every verbal attack. In the early days, Tea Partiers were told they had to be non-partisan, that they should be moderate, not Conservative. They claimed we were trying to form a third party. If anything, we were – and are – trying to reform the Republican Party.

The current propaganda is that we’re “extremists,” an argument calculated to frighten moderate Republican voters, who are deathly afraid of offending their Liberal Democrat friends. “We’ve got to try to say something nice about Obama” in order to be fair-minded. Says who? The Liberals? What nice things did they say about Pres. Bush? Not many.

What’s truly funny is how the Liberals – especially Obama – is trying to channel Ronald Reagan. To those of who were old enough to remember, the Media was unrelenting in their criticism of Pres. Reagan. He was the butt of every comedian’s lame jokes. They accused of him being senile, they made fun of his acting career, they called him a war-monger for calling out the Russians at the Berlin Wall. They hated him. If my friend, the former candidate, and the Tea Partiers feel slighted, they’re in excellent company.

Today, Obama accused the Republicans of being Tea Party “lackeys.” Imagine that; politicians listening to their constituents.

Walter Lippmann, in his book Public Opinion, groused, “They [the Founding Fathers] did not, as some writers have supposed, intend to balance every interest so that government would be in a perpetual deadlock. They intended to deadlock local and class interest to prevent these from obstructing government.”

Lippman quotes James Madison, writing in Federalist No. 51, “’In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men,’ wrote Madison, ‘the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable to government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.’”

However, the Founding Fathers only meant that the republican leaders were only to have decisions of national import, that affected the nation as a whole, not over the individual lives of men – and women. The Constitution provided a system of checks and balances, a three-part government, with an executive, judicial, and legislative wing. Originally, the House of Representatives was created to represent small groups of communities within a state. The Senate was originally designed to represent the State as a whole, selected by the State legislatures, not the people themselves.

Amendment XVII of the Constitution, ratified in 1913 under Pres. Wilson, upset that balance of power. To the average person, it might not seem to matter; they’re still elected by the popular vote. However, the popular vote makes no account of representation and actually favors the more populated, poorer cities over the tax-paying suburbs. What’s more, the amendment effectively excluded states from national decisions made in the U.S. Senate, such as impeachments and the appointment of Federal judges.

Of the two houses of Congress, Senators are considered to be the more prestigious, better educated, and more experienced. They’re more likely to win their party’s nomination for president. Since the 1913 law, however, they’re also more likely to be Democrats or liberalized Repubicans since their elections depend mainly upon poor constituents in crowded cities. Since the 1960s, they can also depended upon higher educated, but also immature, more highly-brainwashed college graduates in both parties.

Still, we common-sense hobbits must carry on. Never mind their arguments about the Constitution and its principles being old-fashioned. They’re no more old-fashioned than the socialist arguments of Jean Jacques Rousseau. There’s nothing newer about the progressive socialist democrat’s ideas than those of republicans. Pure democracy doesn’t work. That’s what the Founding Father’s learned with the Articles of Confederation.  Tyranny doesn’t work; that’s what the colonists learned. Communism doesn’t work; that’s what the Puritans who landed in Plymouth learned, the hard way.

Socialists like Lippmann made a great psychological study of groups of people, propaganda, and how to manipulate the emotions and weaken the minds of those people. The first thing they have to do is assume the high-ground. The second is to start hurling psychological stones to convince their prey to yield, sort of like the cat who terrifies the mouse with its hypnotizing rings around its green eyes.

They’re just words. The good thing about words is that anyone can use them. Anyone can pick up a book or newspaper and read it. The Liberals are terrified of the idea that the common man might take up the habit of reading for himself. That would make the common man uncommon, and the uncommon man is a danger to the Progressive. A mass of uncommon men and women educating themselves would be a thing unheard-of in the entire history of the world: a people who could think for themselves.

Luckily, the Liberals think such a thing is, at best, a fantasy. They think it’s “stupid.”