Friday, November 30, 2012

Give ‘em What they Want!

It’s a sign of the times…

Republicans Wisely Break with Grover Norquist

Any time CNN praises you for being wise, you know you've lost your way...

The GOP is Toast

Pandering to Latinos will not work, nor will becoming a wing of the Democrat Party.  Standing their ground will only earn them opprobrium and blame. Democrats will get the credit and the GOP will get the blame no matter what.  Obama's hosanna choir in the press will make sure of that.  The Republicans are stuck, mired in a quicksand swamp of their own ideological perfidy and squishiness. It’s hard to talk about the Democrat welfare moochers when your own corporate and farm subsidy moochers also have their snouts in the trough.

My advice?

Stand aside and give President Obama and the Democrats everything they want. Boehner can come out and announce that they don’t agree, but they will not stand in the way of the will of the people.
While they are at it, they can launch some fiery Marxist fusillades at Wall Street before descending from the stage. The Big Banksters threw their money Romney’s way this time, but they bet on Obama in 2008, so at best they are like vampire bats, untrainable, going after harmful pests as well as the livestock. Firing loud broadsides at them wouldn’t accomplish anything, but it would be entertaining and allow the depressed and over-stressed party to blow off a little steam.

The rich?

Screw ‘em! 45% voted for Obama, and the majority of them were too stupid to convince their peers, so they get what they deserve. If the Dems want to go full-Krugman and slap them with a 90% tax rate, we should cheer them on. See: How the Party of Lincoln became the Party of Plutocrats

The American people voted for Obama’s policies, so the GOP should stand aside and let the Democrats deliver them. Let’s all recline in the arms of Uncle Sam and enjoy living the life of Julia.

We will hold a referendum in four years.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Will Obama Clean Up Wall Street?

William Cohan has written an interesting article over at Bloomberg.
Despite the fact that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (C) were among Obama’s top 10 financial backers in 2008, we were hopeful we would see a change in the system whereby bankers, traders and executives were rewarded every day to take huge, asynchronous risks with other people’s money. (Sweep Wall Street Clean)
The key to “cleaning up Wall Street” is to make the risk-reward equation symmetrical

Recent events have shown that Wall Street sees no downside to reckless gambling. They rake it in when they win, and We The People pay when they shoot craps. That needs to change. Making the top management of all companies personally liable for losses would be a great first step. You want to see the community police itself? The specter of having to hock the Ferrari and sell the homes in The Hamptons and in Aspen tends to focus one’s mind, as does the prospect of going to jail for financial malfeasance.

We used to hold the bankers responsible in America. It’s why they were jumping out of windows during the crash of 1929.  

That is my recommendation. Here are Cohan’s:

Erskine Bowles for Treasury Chief
For Treasury secretary, the best choice is Erskine Bowles, who has distinguished himself as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Although it is true that Bowles was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and thus rubbed elbows with Rubin and Altman, he isn’t in that Rubin orbit. He understands Wall Street -- he founded a small eponymous investment bank and a private-equity firm, Carousel Capital, and was a partner at private-equity giant Forstmann Little & Co. -- and did a fine job serving as president of the sprawling University of North Carolina system.
More important, he has spent the past year shaping his commission’s report -- despite Obama’s having ignored it -- into legislation that Congress can take up immediately to try to resolve the budget deficit and the looming fiscal cliff, the more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for next year. He has a proven record of bipartisanship, working well with Alan Simpson and the other Republicans on the commission. Appointing Bowles to Treasury would show that Obama is serious about getting the country’s fiscal house in order and finding a more productive relationship with Wall Street. (Sweep Wall Street Clean)
Eliot Spitzer for SEC Chairman
To address the vacuum of accountability on Wall Street, Obama should appoint former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as the new chairman of the SEC. I’m not joking.. Having prosecuted Wall Street misdeeds as New York attorney general a decade ago, he knows where the bodies are buried and won’t be afraid to dig them up. As a cable-television host, he has proved to be the news media’s most aggressive and informed critic of Wall Street. (Sweep Wall Street Clean)
I agree with him. If Obama is serious about cleaning up Wall Street, he’ll appoint these two men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The 28.4%

(c) André Karwath
Remember,  this picture will be found identifying posts addressing the roots of classical liberalism, republicanism, and the Republican Party today.

Welcome to the Electoral College

That's all it takes to become President folks, 28.4% of the vote.  All you need to do is win 11 states:  California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina for 270 electoral college votes.
Now I did a little research and according to the US census bureau there are 234,564,000 of us of voting age.  Now those 11 states have a voting age population of 133,225,000... but that's 57% you may say, true, but you only need to convince 11 more than half of them to vote for you. That's only  66,612,511 and that is 28.4% of the voting age population and you thought Florida in 2000 was bad.

So why have an Electoral College at all?

There was a very good article in Huffington Post by Carl Creasman. Professor of History at Valencia College.
The Founders NEVER saw the president as someone that represented the citizens or stood in their places as a representative. Instead, to the Founders, the president was supposed to be someone slightly detached from the passions and zealotry of "the masses" and provide a more, reasoned, comprehensive approach of, well, someone who is an executive...
The Founders' point was that there needed to be a way for us to have a chief executive who did answer to the people through the states, but not one who had to somehow participate in a popularity contest. Often, the best leader must make decisions and choices that the majority simply will not like. The Founders wanted to have a leader who would do that with few fears as to what the people might think.

A Republic - If you can keep it.

The founders thought the Republic such an important facet of government that it is specifically called out in Article IV. Section 4. of the Constitution: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government"

Why? A few of them made their viewpoints known:

Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.  ~James Madison
It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity. ~Alexander Hamilton.
To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, —the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it. ~Thomas Jefferson

What's wrong with America? Too much Democracy.

Representative Democracy Good, Popular Democracy Bad.

The intent of the electoral college was to insulate the presidency from the vagaries of popular opinion, to enable the president to make decisions that would not necessarily be popular with the population at large.  As we weaken the republican aspects of our government the United States moves closer and closer to popular democracy and our political situation degrades closer and closer towards everything we were warned about.  Politicians represent not their constituencies but the mob.  They don't need to represent their people, only an electoral majority of their people.  You vote for what keeps you in office, not for the general welfare and good of the country as a whole.  Politics has devolved into factionalism, we no longer debate ideas, we enforce platforms.

I'll leave you with two final thoughts, and to be honest, the second is from Viburnum:

The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians. ~Benjamin Disraeli
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. ~Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From the Heavens to Hell



The reasonable expectation of privacy. 

Police are investigating an incident at a Berks County hunting club in which someone on the hunting grounds allegedly targeted a mechanical flying object rather than a living and breathing one. The drone, nicknamed “Angel,” was recording a live pigeon shoot on Sunday around 3 p.m. when investigators say it was suddenly struck by gunfire.

The story centers around a Berks County, PA hunting club and their local self appointed wildlife Gestapo…a group calling itself SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness).

By the group President’s own admission, they have driven the owners/users of the property well inland, so to speak.

"The pigeon shooters are basically going into hiding," said Steve Hindi, president of SHARK. "So they're using a ring that's up a hill and completely surrounded by trees. So the only way you can get to it is through the air."

The case raises some interesting questions in an undoubtedly murky area of the law.  The title here “From Heaven to Hell” comes from an article in the Atlantic on the same subject.  The original common law position on property rights was “ad coelum et ad inferos” or “to the heavens and hell”

No matter your opinion on shooting pigeons let out of a box, this case has the potential to impact all of us.  If I am tanning naked (god forbid) in the privacy of my own backyard, is my neighbor committing trespass if he flies his radio-controlled aircraft with an HD camera over my lot snapping pictures? 

The advent of aeronautics pretty much wiped out the theory of “ad coelum et ad inferos” so we are left with the legal restrictions for aircraft (mind you, drones don’t necessarily fall in this category)…and the nearest thing that meets the described situation is:

FAA regulations in 14 CFR 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes states:

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

b)  “Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.”

So if it were a Cessna and not a drone they could approach no closer than 2000 ft at a minimum altitude > 1000 ft..

There are plenty of fourth amendment cases on which the courts have ruled on the reasonable expectation of privacy, in your house, curtilage, and surrounding lands but the 4th amendment applies to the actions of the government, not other citizens.
So you have to ask yourself, what is your 'reasonable expectation of privacy'?  I can put up security cameras that capture my property and may overlap yours... what if I put a camera on a pole on the fence line pointed at your pool?
If someone were flying a drone with a camera over my house in the middle of 100 wooded acres, I'd be inclined to shoot it down too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Political Chinese Fire Drill

(c) André Karwath
The picture above is of the Pansy, from the French pensée, meaning thought. The flower is symbolically representative of the Age of Enlightenment and the Freethought movement and Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason and empiricism and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas.  This picture will be found identifying a series of posts addressing the roots of classical liberalism, republicanism, and the Republican Party today.

Role Reversals

The New Left redefined the term ‘liberal’ at the same time that the Moral Majority redefined the term ‘conservative’.  Where the founding fathers adhered to classical liberalism, advocating civil liberties, political freedom, limited government, economic freedom, and republicanism, liberals of today stand virtually as the antithesis of what was once liberalism.  Likewise, the conservative movement in this country that was built upon maintaining the libertarian and republican principals of our founders has made a pronounced shift towards the theocratic right.  Both parties have also become more Federalist, advocating a larger centralized government with more power and control to the disadvantage of our civil liberties and our states.

It is the job of centralized government (in peacetime) to protect its citizens’ lives, liberty and property. All other activities of government tend to diminish freedom and hamper progress. The growth of government (the dominant social feature of this century) must be fought relentlessly. In this great social conflict of the era, we are, without reservations, on the libertarian side.” William F. Buckley, 1955.

Originally, conservatives in the United States were to be found in both parties and the modern conservative movement coalesced around opposition to the New Deal.  The big political shakeup began in the sixties, with the Nixon-Rockefeller compromise prompting a schism with ‘Goldwater’ Republicans; while Civil Rights legislation prompted Southern Democrats to battle the New Left for control of the Democratic Party.  

The Chinese Fire Drill

The shift in conservatism within the Republican Party from classical liberal and republican ideals to the social conservatism of today can be traced directly back to the political party controversies of the sixties and seventies.  With Goldwater Republicans stressing Judeo-Christian values in opposition to communism, the Republican Party became more attractive to Southern Democrats and evangelicals.  As the Republican Party moved towards the authoritarian right, libertarians moved to the left finding refuge in the ‘new’ Democratic Party or within their own nascent Libertarian party.

Today's Right

From Falwell’s Moral Majority, to Robertson’s Christian Coalition, to Dobson’s Family Research Council, to Graham’s Vote Biblical Values campaign the Christian Right has a pronounced influence on the Republican Party platform.  The key question we need to ask ourselves is this pronounced influence positive or negative when it comes to getting out the voters and getting the vote?  Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Linda McMahon, Tom Smith, and John Koster all embroiled themselves in controversy over abortion and rape and all fell flat on Election Day, soundly trounced by their pro-choice Democratic opposition.

The critical issues facing our nation today are not religious in nature they are financial, economic, libertarian, and republican, the Republican Party needs to return to its roots.  We are not the Christian Reform Party! If we attempt to be, we will continue to get our ass handed to us by the electorate.

This article kicks off a series examining where we came from, where we are, and perhaps where we need to go.  We seriously need to decide what is most important to the Republican Party and the nation, and what we can and are willing to compromise on.  Look for the pansy to highlight articles on this them, and as a second added benefit I am sure it will separate out those of us too immature to resist 'pansy' jokes.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words

© 2012 M. E. J. Newman

Checks and Balance

You don't have a right to vote for President!

Art 2. Sect 1. Clause 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

"The Congress would have two houses: the state-based Senate and the population-based House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the President would be elected by a mixture of the two modes." James Madison.

In Federalist #10 he argued "the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority".

Succumbing to the whims of populism, the electoral college is now awarded based on popular vote in 48 of the 50 states.  So much for that check.

The Senate now stands at 53-45 with 2 independents.  Prior to the 17th amendment turning the senate from the representatives of the states to effectively a 'super' house of populism, senators were appointed by the state legislatures. A good map of the legislatures political breakdown can be found here:

As shown on the map linked above, there are 31 Republican controlled legislatures, 17 Democrat, and 2 split legislatures.

One can assume that if Senators were still appointed by legislatures, the make up would be 36D-64R, quite a difference from the popularly (or populistly) elected 53D-45R. So much for that check.

Although congressional seats are apportioned based on population, the congressional districts are apportioned geographically.  This geographical apportionment is what explains the house makeup of  194D - 233R. The House remains the last existing check against populist tyranny.

As Jersey pointed out so astutely a week ago, the people in the cities don't give a rats ass what the rest of us think.

"If you Flyoverland cons think people from the NYC area give a rat's ass what you think about anything that goes on where we're from, or what our gun laws should be, or how FEMA handles Sandy, you're as naive as you are hick." Jersey McJones.

 We don't all live in cities and populist democracy will only represent the urban population centers, as Jersey implies... the rest of us can just screw off, and THAT folks is the problem.  Unfortunately, the other side of the urban bourgeoisie is that they are perfectly willing to dictate what goes on where we're from, or what our gun laws should be, etc., all for our own naive, hick good of course.

The preservation of the Republic necessitates, well, the preservation of the Republic as a republic. Under a populist urban dominated democracy the good people of Flyoverland will eventually rebel against the chaffing yoke of the city-states. The problem must be fixed before then.

Since I first wrote this article the following story has appeared in the news:

While meaningless in the big picture, it does indicate a restless undercurrent of seccesionism, and the list of states may surprise you. People, at least some people in 20 states are so seriously pissed off at the Federal Government that they are willing to go to, or at least voice this extreme.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving?

Jennie Brownscombe (1850-1936)

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

As Governor of Virginia Thomas Jefferson issued the following proclamation:

I do therefore by authority from the General Assembly issue this my proclamation, hereby appointing Thursday the 9th day of December next, a day of publick and solemn thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God, earnestly recommending to all the good people of this commonwealth, to set apart the said day for those purposes, and to the several Ministers of religion to meet their respective societies thereon, to assist them in their prayers, edify them with their discourses, and generally to perform the sacred duties of their function, proper for the occasion.

Given under my hand and the seal of the commonwealth, at Williamsburg, this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779, and in the fourth of the commonwealth.

No Presidential Proclamation?

During the eight years that he was President, Thomas Jefferson refused to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation.

In his second inaugural Address in 1805 he stated:

In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the power of the General Government. I have, therefore, undertaken on no occasion to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State or Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.

In a letter to the Reverend Mr. Miller 23 January 1808 he further explained his reasoning:

I consider the government of the US. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U. S. Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.

I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted. But I have ever believed that the example of state executives led to the assumption of that authority by the general government, without due examination, which would have discovered that what might be a right in a state government, was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the US. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.
The entire letter may be found here:

A Distinction between State and Federal Government

Clearly Thomas Jefferson had no issues with Thanksgiving, but he did make a distinction between permissible actions for the state and federal governments.

Lighter Fare?

Many years ago on a cold and drizzly November day I had the pleasure of attending a Thanksgiving Dinner with the Pilgrims at the Plimoth Plantation. If you are ever in New England this time of year I highly recommend it. Word of advice though, I had far more fun with the Wampanoags than with the Pilgrims.




Friday, November 23, 2012

“Retailers have basically ruined every holiday”

Martin Lewis suggests we all jump off the obligation-laden, rampant retail-oriented consumerism of giving Christmas gifts.  Give it up altogether he recommends, for all but close family members.  And even then, he asks, do kids really need all that stuff?

I agree. Headlines like this make me sad:
45% Would Rather Skip Christmas
Why? Because it costs too much. The Gift of Jesus Christ our Savior is a free one, but many no longer celebrate his birth, so it has become a secular event for them. It is a shame how our entire lives have become so commercialized.

Halloween, once a night for kids to have innocent fun shaking down strangers for candy and throwing eggs at their houses, has been taken over by adults dressed in ridiculous and slutty costumes and is now "the second-largest commercial holiday, with Christmas being the first."

There is an easy remedy: Don't participate. I put retail madness in the same category as pornography, professional ball sports and Jersey Shore: It may be readily available, but that doesn't mean I have to indulge in it. I can ignore it and enjoy my life in my own way with my family, teaching my kids to tune out the soul-destroying, time-wasting, human interaction-killing distractions as well.

My advice to those feeling financially overwhelmed by Christmas? 

Fight the power! Tell the retailers to stuff it. Ignore them. Bake cookies and wrap them for friends if you must, and explain to you kids that you just can't afford a mountain of presents, but that you love them very much. Trust me, they will appreciate a few well-thought out presents more than a glut of junk. Find fun free things to do, watch the Christmas movies on TV and sing along with the Christmas songs. Gathering with friends and family and counting your blessings doesn't cost anything besides the price of food and drinks.

If your children eventually decide they do want to indulge in pop culture and retail pursuits (and they will), great! Hopefully you will have taught them to distinguish the good from the bad and to keep such things in their proper place, and that is somewhere down the ladder way below God, family and friends.

Hugging the latest gadget from Best Buy just doesn't compare to the warmth of human interaction, although I've seen a few people embrace an Xbox with an ardor that bordered on pornographic...

* - If any of you were as naive as me, believing this is a new phenomenon, I refer you to the timely article, Roosevelt's Movable Feast Sparked Outrage in Year of Franksgiving

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Thanksgiving TSA Opt-Out Week!

By Hugh Farnham

It's that time of the year again.  Dragging your roll-around through terminals, the lines, the bad airline food and... getting a nude-ray photo of your body courtesy of the Federal Government. 
Most citizens don't know it is their right to "opt out" of going through the millimeter ray scanner.
These nude-ray scanners have a very salty past and there are many reasons to say "No":  
-   Potentially these scanners, especially the X-Ray backscatter units, could contribute to a higher risk of cancer
-  Having the Federal Government take a naked photo of you is a gross violation of your 4th Amendment rights (and no, I don't believe the machines immediately erase the photos)
-  The procurement of these machines is a scandal in itself, with Chertoff, the former head of DHS, working as a lobbyist to get these funded
- The TSA is more about getting compliance and submission than actually finding terrorists.  After billions spent, how many real rabid terrorists have they found?  0.

As you go through the security screening line, if you are told to go through the scanner simply say "I exercise my right to Opt Out".  The TSA screener is then bound to honor your request and you will be sent through secondary screening.  Without the X-Rays.

In 2010, when the Opt Out Week first started, the TSA shut down the scanner machines rather than face confrontation over the use of them.  We will see what they do this year.  Please share your experiences here at Western Hero.

Travel safe and happy holidays to all our readers of Western Hero!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

California: Canary in the Coal Mine

America's Future? Look to California

For those not paying attention, California became a one-party state this past election. The Republican caucus of the state’s House and Senate has shriveled to such insignificance that the GOP can no longer oppose anything.

The State of California:

"the state’s unemployment is among the highest in the country, and is trending down very slowly"

"Large parts of the state, notably in the interior regions, suffer unemployment in the 15% range and high"

"Old-style liberals might point out that California’s progressive policies have not done much for the working- or middle-class folks often trumpeted as its beneficiaries. Instead income inequality has grown far more than the national average."

"the state, with 12% of the nation’s population, account for one third of its welfare cases."

"Domestic migration has been negative for 18 of the past 20 years; immigration from abroad is at the lowest point in the past two decades."

"In terms of growth in college-educated residents, only San Diego managed to add more than the national average from 2000 to 2010; both the Bay Area and Los Angeles were considerably below." (See “The U.S. Cities Getting Smarter The Fastest“)

"California, remarkable for its population growth over the past century, now is heading toward “zero population growth,” notes economist Bill Watkins; the state now barely grows 1% a year."

"Los Angeles, the state’s largest urban area, grew less, in total numbers, in the last decade than at any time in the last 100 years."

Add to this their crushing structural debt, and well… You get the picture. Progressives have turned America’s promised land into hell on earth.  Today's Okies are heading in the opposite direction, with club-wielding state revenue thugs at the state line attempting to block their exit.

California is now a pure progressive experiment.  The Petri dish has been sterilized of GOP taint.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

* - All quotes are from Joel Kotkin’s article, The Crack Up of California. It’s worth a read.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Build Your House Upon Sand

You Paid to Rebuild John Stossel’s House—Three Times!

Stossel, an opponent of government-sponsored irresponsibility, explains...
Real insurance means private companies make bets about floods with their own money. But America has little of that.
I know this first-hand. I built a beach house because government encouraged me to take the risk. Private insurance companies wouldn't insure most of us who built on the edges of oceans, and those that did charged high prices. "Too high," said Congress, "so government must insure everyone!" They said they'd price it so taxpayers wouldn't lose—but as usual, they were wrong. Even before Sandy, federal flood insurance was $18 billion in the red.
And worse, cheap insurance encouraged more people to build on the beach. This is an absurd subsidy that should immediately be abolished.
As Paul put it, "Rich people get insurance subsidized by poor people, build on beaches.... Their houses get washed away, and poor people pay to rebuild.... It's a reason we're totally bankrupt."
Yes, it is. My house eventually washed away, and you paid. That's wrong. (Natural Disasters and Big Government)
The federal government has encouraged all of us to build our houses upon the sand. People with common sense will understand this analogy. Big government statists will not.

See Also, from the left:  We Need to Retreat from the Beach

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dime Store Cowboys

The Medals They Carried
It is a sad fact that while over a decade of war has hardened our military rank and file, our admirals and generals remain political wine stewards in ridiculously over-adorned uniforms, resembling more their third-world counterparts than a General Eisenhower or a William Tecumseh Sherman.

Ralph Peters, Lt Col, USA (Ret) points to a creeping sickness in our senior officer corps:
Misbehavior, double standards and outright criminal acts have become epidemic among our senior officers. There have been dozens of investigations or prosecutions. Our nation’s military leadership is sick.(General Failure)  
After delving into L’affaire Petraeus as well as the electronic indiscretions of General Allen and the whole Real Housewives of CENTCOM saga, he gets to the heart of the matter…
And these cases are peccadillos compared to the charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne: the forcible sodomy of female subordinates and a host of other nasty sex violations.
On Tuesday, we learned that four-star Gen. William “Kip” Ward, former head of Africa Command, will lose a star and pay a fine of $82,000 for cheating on government travel. Had Sgt. Peters done that, I would have gotten a dishonorable discharge and, probably, jail time. (General Failure)
He also lashes out at the hypocrisy and double standards of Petraeus and his fellow military strongmen…
The general held himself up as a paragon of self-discipline and model family man. In Iraq and then Afghanistan, he rigorously enforced “General Order No. 1,” which prohibits our troops from fraternization, all sex, alcohol consumption, the possession of pornography and, generally, from any activity that might make the boredom and terror of this kind of war more bearable. When our troops screwed up, they got hammered.
Generals can take a weekend in Paris and get drunk (as Gen. Stanley McChrystal did), but the grunt who goofs in a firefight faces a court-martial. (General Failure)
He nails is, and this is why I think it all ultimately weakens us:

The military is already an insular and unique group with its own culture and mores. Active duty personnel do enjoy civilian friendships, but for the most part, military hangs with military. We’re a family. I hope that scandals like this involving social climbing civilians will not serve to increase suspicions of civilian entanglements and close the ranks even more.

One of the prominent features of every State Department social function I attended in Latin America was ‘The Circle of Generals.’ The host nation’s generals would show up, but they kept to themselves, literally forming a tight circle, and avoiding all but the socially-mandatory interactions. They had learned to not mix their business with anything else at all, further isolating them and their forces from the people they were supposed to be serving.

Also, I agree with Peggy Noonan.  The awe-demanding Cult of Military, if continued at a blaring volume, sopping up retail freebies and basking in the glory paid in blood by an exclusively small subset of brothers and sisters, risks poisoning public good-will towards all of us who have ever served.  This would redound to the detriment of the minority that really has fought and sacrificed, and who need our help because they didn't retire with a six-figure pension, lucrative book deals, a college degree, and a military analyst position on cable TV.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

All Hail, His Fraudulency

By Hugh Farnham

I was asked a couple of weeks ago by a lieutenant who I thought would win the election.  In lieu of voter fraud, I said, it will most likely be Romney.  

Voter fraud is a silent staple of American politics and has been for the past half century or more.

American Institutions:  Baseball,  Apple Pie and... Voter Fraud

It has been said the close race of JFK and Nixon in 1960 was won by the corrupt hand of Mayor Daley of Chicago.  Remember that city name.
Nixon wanted to fabricate a landslide in 1972 and employed a dirty tricks campaign to accomplish this.  Watergate was part of that effort.

Obama's "victory" in 2008 was by a margin easily concocted by illegal immigrants and ACORN registrations.

His Fraudulency

As I wrote in 2008, 7.7 million votes separated Obama from McCain and vote fraud played a major part.  David Simcox estimated almost 3 million illegal immigrants voted in that election - and add in the out-of-state voters and ACORN fraud you have potentially 9 million votes.  All illegal and fraudulent.

Where there's smoke there's a fire.  Ponder these billowing clouds of smoke, courtesy of Joseph Farah:

- In Philadelphia, GOP poll inspectors were forcibly removed from polling locations.  Guess who got 99% of the vote in those precincts?  As Rush commented recently, not even Saddam Hussein or Hugo Chavez gets those kind of percentages - at the point of a gun.  Apparently the Chicago Machine is mightier than a strongman's firearms.

-  There was a systemic denial of military ballots to our service members overseas, despite a Congressional program to prevent this very thing.

- In one Ohio county Obama won with 108% of the voters registered.

- Eric Holder's DOJ blocked states from implementing voter ID laws and Obama didn't win any states that actually implemented ID requirements.
This president was raised within the Chicago political machine.  What we are seeing is this corrupt machine expanded to the national level.

We need to wake up to reality here and reclaim our Republic.  Get involved with your county and precinct as a volunteer.  

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”  - Plato

Thursday, November 15, 2012

God Save the Elephant

The Elephant is Dead

The Republican model needs to be shattered, and the shards swept into the trash, and then burned. And then pulverized, and then launched into outer space, along with the country clubbers whose inept captaincy capsized the ship.

Step 1 of the rebuilding effort 

Stop talking about religion. The anti-abortion plank should stay, because it is a legitimate point of debate over the fate of human life in its most innocent form, but any politician caught uttering the word rape should immediately be sodomized with the microphone he used to blurt out his moronic remarks. He should then be horsewhipped, branded with garish and graphic naked women tattoos on his face and forearms, and released into the angry feminist heart of academia, where he will be made to endure lectures from stern women sporting armpit hair and PhDs in Gender Studies.

Towards a More Libertarian GOP

The GOP must abandon its agenda for the last millennium (does anybody know what the GOP stands for?) and adopt a simple libertarian one. How libertarian? No more so than the founding fathers. They have a ready-made list of issues known as the Bill of Rights. Granted, we don’t have to worry about the government quartering soldiers in our homes, but many amendments need to be loudly and repeatedly restated and expounded upon.  Does it bother anyone on the left besides Nat Hentoff and Glen Greenwald that the 4th Amendment is dead?

Throw in the rest of the constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, and you have an excellent program for electoral success that cuts across all racial, cultural, religious gender and sexual preference lines. The Left-Right model is old and needs to be scrapped. The new debate is where to place the boundary between sovereignty of the individual and sovereignty of the state. Liberty is a winning issue. The GOP should try it.

The God Thing

Here is what the GOP position on Christian morality should be:

We support the right of all churches and religions to preach their message in the public marketplace of ideas, and we reject all government violations of their religious beliefs.

This is not controversial. Unitarians, Methodists and Episcopalians are free to perform gay marriages, while Baptists, Mormons and Catholics are equally free to refrain from doing so, as they preach the evils of homosexuality. It’s an ecclesiastical and theological controversy, and therefore no business of the state.

That’s it. No more. The GOP should not be a Christian party, but rather The Constitutional Party. A staunch defense of the Constitutional rights of all Americans is the best way to preserve your own religious rights.
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's (Mark 12:17)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

They're Ba-ack! ~ Get Whiggy Wit It!

The Modern Whig Party

Conservative Liberals?

Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Millard Fillmore to name a few.
"The party was conceived in 2007 by active-duty service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, who then started recruiting nonmilitary members when they came back home. They resurrected the old Whigs' symbol, the owl, and chiseled out a platform centered on fiscal responsibility, energy independence, education, states' rights, separation of church and state, and support for veterans. In other words, a Republican head with a Democratic heart."  Andrew Dubbins - Slate.

 The Modern Whig Party: A few thoughts.

Whigs do not argue about whether government should be “big” or “small”, but whether it is doing its job.
Idea parties have failed, personality parties have failed, so we designed a process or "methods" party to minimize that chance.
The owl throughout history has had powerful meanings. The owl represents knowledge, wisdom, foresight, and intelligence, something Washington and American politics in general seem to lack.

Independent Thinking, Meritocracy, and Integrity

1. Fiscal Responsibility
2. Energy Independence
3. Inward Economics
4. State's Responsibility
5. Social Acceptance
6. Education & Scientific Advancement
7. Veteran's Affairs
8. Electoral & Government Reform

A Few Highlights

Affirmative Action: should be based on income level, not race, ethnicity or gender.
Church & State:  The business of forcing Christmas trees and reindeer ornaments off of city hall property is ridiculous, at the same time, government cannot favor one religion over others.
Fiscal Responsibility: Neither government nor corporations or households can be exempt from the basic rules of accounting.
Health Care:  Should be available, portable and affordable for all citizens... we do not believe recent health insurance reform legislation will reduce health care costs. More research and work needs to be done on this subject, and legislative changes will have to be made.
Reproductive Rights: It should be handled at more local levels of government where common ground might be more easily found.
Same Sex Relationships: Each state can determine the extended rights of same sex couples based on their own local values.  

Taxes: The tax code needs to be drastically simplified and made more equitable... passive income should be taxed at the same rate as earned income above a certain income threshold.
These highlights are significantly condensed from the Whig positions.  I'm not trying to frame them, merely conserve space.  By all means, please go here: and read it all.

The Owl is Coming!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where did all the Whiteys Go?

Romney received around 57.8 million votes in 2012. In 2008, John McCain received 59.9 million. Romney got over 2 million fewer votes than McCain.
Obama received 60.6 million votes in 2012, almost 9 million less than he received in 2008.

Romney won independents by 5 points, and they made up 29% of all voters. McCain didn’t win independents.
What does this really mean? That’s where the hurt comes. It appears to mean that our side lost because we failed to turn out our side. (Paul Kengor - McCain beats Romney)
I am uninterested in the post-election naval-gazing, but I find analysis of the numbers fascinating, and Sean Trende is one of the best. He’s not a Carl Rove that tells the base what they want to hear. He is a numbers guy who knows how to read them and explain them. He blogged about the polling discrepancies we saw pre-election, and he was one of the few who did not jump on the “the polls are wrong, Romney will win” bandwagon.

He analysis of this year’s election result numbers suggest that this was not a demographic tidal wave, sweeping the old and the white out in an undertow to oblivion.
The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator. (The Case of the Missing White Voters)
White people are still out there, they just didn’t vote at 2008 levels.
if our assumption about the total number of votes cast is correct, almost 7 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. This isn’t readily explainable by demographic shifts either; although whites are declining as a share of the voting-age population, their raw numbers are not. (The Case of the Missing White Voters)
He goes into an in-depth analysis of Ohio, finding that the biggest drop in voting happened in heavily white, blue collar and high unemployment areas of the state.

Yuval Leven expounds on this finding:
the story of this election is not massive turnout of the Democratic base but exceptionally depressed turnout of a portion of the electorate that, when it votes, tends to vote Republican.
Those were after all the two parts of President Obama’s cynical and substance-free campaign strategy: to work the most intensely committed and reliable parts of his base into a frenzy while persuading the least committed and reliable part of the Republican base (white working-class voters) that Mitt Romney didn't deserve their support so they should just sit it out.
using any low and mendacious tactic required to tell working-class voters (especially white, Midwestern ones) that Mitt Romney was an evil and uncaring plutocrat—was by far the more successful and important. Those voters were not going to support Obama, but they could be kept away from Romney, and evidently they were. (The Election and the Right)
This is not a Rovian cry of “Obama suppressed the white vote!” President Obama’s team did what campaigns do, so it is far from unprecedented. They won fair and square. And how dumb do you have to be to let a few campaign commercials talk you into staying home? These were GOP voters that the party and the candidate could not motivate to get up off of their asses and go vote their own interests.

Levin’s message: Don’t pander, present your core beliefs, and run with a positive message of who you are. Romney was a clean slate to many, and millions of dollars of attack ads successfully painted him as a rich plutocrat who not only wants to fire you, but who will kill your wife as well and make your raped daughter carry that baby to term. And it worked, because Romney and the GOP failed to define their candidate and their message.

 Such is politics.

See also:  The voters Who Stayed Home

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bread, Circuses, and Common Sense

"Bread and Circuses" from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative."

Some 1900 years ago the Roman poet Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (Juvenal) wrote:

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

Populism, or populist democracy has been around for a long time, it comes when you vote for politicians who promise you things you know you can't have.

"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them a general favor; long a habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom.  But the tulmult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."  ~Thomas Paine, Common Sense.

Common Sense... a quality we seem to have lost when evaluating political pitches.  We lack common sense when we believe someone who tells us we're going to cover millions of people with medical insurance on the same number of doctors and facilities, and it is going to save us money.

We lack common sense when we believe someone who tells us we are going to raise enough revenue to cover the deficit by lowering taxes. Common sense dictates you pay off debt either by spending less, or earning more.

Next time some politician tells you something that doesn't pass the common sense test.... boo them offstage. We have to stop rooting for the home team like its a sporting event and start holding our 'players' accountable for their actions. 

And... if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Face it, both the Republican Party and Democratic Party are seriously screwed up, in some ways the same, in others different.  But as long as we keep filling the stands and cheering nothing will change.

I don't want to hear what is wrong with the other party.  I'd like to offer you the opportunity to tell us what you think is wrong with your party. Let's stop talking about 'them' and start talking about we.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This Veterans Day

Thank a vet by donating to The Wounded Warrior Project or another worthy cause that serves those who have served.

Better yet, the next time a politician wants to get his war on, using bellicose language and beating war drums, stand up and tell him to STFU.
Beware those beating war drums who have never been to war.
Wars don't just kill people.  They cause much more damage as well, most of it permanent.  Divorce, mental trauma, physical disability.  The cost is high, and it needs to be paid when America is in grave and imminent peril, but the bar must be set high.  Higher than congress set it for George W. Bush.

And if we must go to war, then we go General Sherman on their asses or go home.  Our fighting men and women deserve no less.

The final way you can honor our veterans is to ask your congressman and senators why we are still in Afghanistan, propping up Ali Baba Karzai and his 40,000 Taliban thieves, and training and arming pigs and cockroaches who kill our troops.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Your Government at Work

Now that President Obama has been reelected, can we talk about what a crappy job FEMA has done?

Source:  FEMA Office Closes due to Weather

And if New York and New Jersey had sane gun laws, Sandy Looting would not be happening.

A rare Western Hero business note:

This is a rare Saturday post, don't expect more of them. We may also discontinue Sunday posts, so if you surf over here one Sunday and nothing is up, don't panic. We'll still post Monday through Friday. We do have a post scheduled for this Sunday, so please stop by.

Also, after much cajoling, arm-twisting, and threatening to burn the whole damned thing down because I'm tired and half-crazy, I've finally talked my fellow Western Hero authors Finntann, Viburnum, and Hugh Farnham to step up and start blogging again. They all have wonderful and subversive minds, as well as encyclopedic knowledge, so I expect them to kick it up a notch, as my culinary hero Emeril is fond of saying.

Friday, November 9, 2012

More Than a Good Night's Sleep

"When you climb in bed with government, don't be surprised if you get more than a good night's sleep"  -- Ronald Reagan

Ever had a crazy girlfriend? I did. A couple of them. The hell of it is, you don’t know she’s crazy when you first meet her. If things are really going good, you overlook her mental derangement at first, or maybe you’re even turned on by it and enjoy going crazy with her. But in the end, it’s nothing but ugly.

Catholic bishops crawled in bed with Uncle Sam years ago, happy to urge us to outsource Jesus’s works of charity to the all-powerful, all-benevolent Federal Government. Nothing says “Love your neighbor as yourself” like turning over your wages to a faceless federal bureaucracy and voting Democrat.

All was sweetness and light until the Democrats began urging the killing of babies in the womb. Uh oh. But it was Uncle Sam’s final act of political sodomy that despoiled this cozy bed: Demanding that Catholics, and even the Catholic Church provide birth control and abortifacients to its employees. That had the perverse effect of driving the bishops into the arms of a Mormon.

Life turns strange when you mix your religion with politics. Kinda like that crazy girlfriend…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Want Candy!

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
-- John F. Kennedy

I looked at a flagpole this morning, and the bald eagle had been replaced with Thelma and Louise.  -- Dennis Miller

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don’t Cry for US Argentina

Conservatism in America is not dead, but it is finished as a political philosophy.

John Galt is Dead

This isn't an Ayn Rand novel. There will not be a resurgence in 2016, led by the John Galts who have been hiding in the hills with their money-making inventions the past four years.

America is all out of John Galts. Atlas didn't shrug; he crawled in bed with Uncle Sam.  Corporate welfare turned their shields into begging bowls. Our pusillanimous business owners and CEOs, looking like grade schoolers in their poorly fitting Captain of Industry and Brave Capitalist costumes, will quickly fall in line. They will release the trillions they’ve been sitting on. And Obama will gobble it up and waste it, but they will get their pats on the head and a sliver of the state-controlled pie, as the economy staggers along the path of jagged and uneven marginal growth.

Welcome to the New Normal

I’m not predicting doom. This is still America. Like the beautiful disco diva Gloria Gaynor, we will survive. We are America and we will truck on, but we will grow to resemble our sagging, flagging cousins across the Atlantic. Higher taxes and more of them must necessarily follow in order to stave off a fiscal calamity.

A Greece-style collapse will still happen eventually, but the massive tax increases must come first. The malefactors must build up their emergency funds against the advent of the inevitable clean getaway. Crony crapitalism and political patronage will proliferate, leading us down the path of Argentina and Venezuela. Obama-scale government interventions in the private sector don’t work unless accompanied by German-style government-business-union “partnerships.”

This was Conservatism’s High Water Mark

If we couldn’t sell a conservative, small-government message with a moderate-friendly candidate running against an imperious ruler many perceived to be a crypto-marxist, or at best constitutionally-challenged, then small-government conservatism it is a spent force. Many conservatives will drift to the middle looking for morsels, while the rump right will meet the fate of its European cousins, enduring a meager existence as either principled cranks or angry extremists.

The Apotheosis of Obama

We voted for an ever-expanding, activist government, and Obama will give it to us good and hard these next four years. BHO will eclipse FDR and LBJ, emerging as the Great Demiurge of Progressive Statism

The People Have Spoken

Obamacare is untenable and they know it. They’ve always known it. It is just a bridge to a nationalized health care system, which will quickly follow.

Higher taxes are inevitable. Republicans will lose the fight over more and higher taxes. They will be viewed, rightly, as the obstructionists. The people voted for Obama’s grand projects. How dare the Republicans be so fiscally irresponsible as to block the means to pay for them? Government Debt is at $54,000 for each US citizen. Not raising taxes will be considered the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

Democrat mouthpieces in the press, their subornation complete, will openly demonize and vilify Republicans, causing mid-term losses in the House and Senate for the party, leading it to abandon any tea party pretentions and revert back to its pre-1994 crouching, servile posture of go-along-to-get-along.

In addition to much higher taxes, we can also expect…

* More regulations
* Higher gas prices as government taxes it more
* Resurgence of unionism as Card Check and Closed Shops rule the land
* The end of Internet anonymity
* Government crackdown on offensive speech
* National gun registration
* The Constitution is officially a living document
* A progressive, statist Supreme Court for the next generation

One bright spot: We conservatives and libertarians are now the subversives.

Oh, and GOP, you can kiss my ass.  I hate your party more than the Democrats.  At least the Donkeys know who they are and aren't suffering a perpetual identity crisis.  And they know how to grab what they want.  The typical Republican politician couldn't grab his ass with both hands and a mirror.

FrankJ at IMAO has said it beautifully.  Cheer up!  

Here’s a blog post to help soothe your soul:
Teresamerica – Soul Searching, The Constitution, and the Election

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The First Bank Bailout


Quite awhile ago, and I apologize for the delay, I was asked by one of our readers (FT) to do a post about the history of bank bailouts.  I was quite surprised to find that they go back virtually to day one.  I had originally intended to simply create a list, but was astonished by the vast number of panics and bailouts, in banking, commerce, and industry.  It seems we have been corporatist for a very long time.  Below is the first, and probably the most interesting story, given the fact that this one was a virtual economic dual between the Secretary of the Treasury and his assistant. 

In 1791 Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton began the conversion of existing US debt to what became known as the “Sixes”, 6% 10 year deferred bonds (Interest would commence in 1801).

On July 4th 1791 the Initial Public Offering (IPO) for the Bank of the United States took place. The price of sixes rose from 90 at the IPO to 112 by August amid a flurry of speculation.  The price of Sixes then began to fall and by August 17th had fallen to $100.  Hamilton obtained authorization to purchase $400,000 in US public debt in order to to support the bond market.  He authorized the Bank of New York (of which he was founder) to purchase $200,000 and the US Treasurer in Philadelphia to purchase $150,000 stabilizing the bond market.

Concurrent with the events of 1791 William Duer, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury began a speculative move against stocks held by the Bank of New York and attempted to corner the market on Sixes.  As Duer attempted to drive the price of stocks up, the Livingston family (one of the wealthiest NY families) attempted to drive the price down by withdrawing gold and silver from the banks.  This created a credit squeeze with interest rates soaring to as high as 1% a day.

Meanwhile the Bank of the US (BUS) was suffering from the credit over expansion and its cash reserves declined to $244,000.  In response to the drain on reserves the BUS contracted its discounts by some $620,000. Hamilton transferred public funds from the Bank of New York to the Bank of the United States to keep it solvent.  The price of Sixes dropped from $125 on March 5th to $95 on March 20th, a drop of 25% in two weeks.

William Duer imploded, three million in debt, and took refuge in the city jail from the mobs in the streets on March 23rd.  Walter Livingston who had cosigned $200,000 of Duer’s notes soon joined him.  In April Alexander McComb, another Duer associate, defaulted on half a million in stock and joined them in prison. Commerce in New York virtually ceased and land values in Pennsylvania dropped by half.

Hamilton spent the remaining $50,000 authorized in 1791 and requested more authorizations.  He also directed the Bank of New York (he was founder, remember) to purchase up to $1 million in public stock, using the US Treasury to guarantee half the amount.  Total injection by the Treasury into the market came to $243,000.

On May 17th twenty-four broker-dealers of New York met under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street and signed an agreement to trade with each other on preferential terms… the origin of the New York Stock Exchange.