Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Marine Christmas Poem

New Christmas Poem

Twas The Night Before Christmas,
He Lived All Alone,
In A One Bedroom House Made Of
Plaster And Stone.

I Had Come Down The Chimney
With Presents To Give,
And To See Just Who
In This Home Did Live.

I Looked All About,
A Strange Sight I Did See,
No Tinsel, No Presents,
Not Even A Tree.

No Stocking By Mantle,
Just Boots Filled With Sand,
On The Wall Hung Pictures
Of Far Distant Lands.

With Medals And Badges,
Awards Of All Kinds,
A Sober Thought
Came Through My Mind.

For This House Was Different,
It Was Dark And Dreary,
I Found The Home Of A Soldier,
Once I Could See Clearly.

The Soldier Lay Sleeping,
Silent, Alone,
Curled Up On The Floor
In This One Bedroom Home.

The Face Was So Gentle,
The Room In Such Disorder,
Not How I Pictured
A United States Soldier.

Was This The Hero
Of Whom I'd Just Read?
Curled Up On A Poncho,
The Floor For A Bed?

I Realized The Families
That I Saw This Night,
Owed Their Lives To These Soldiers
Who Were Willing To Fight.

Soon Round The World,
The Children Would Play,
And Grownups Would Celebrate
A Bright Christmas Day.

They All Enjoyed Freedom
Each Month Of The Year,
Because Of The Soldiers,
Like The One Lying Here.

I Couldn't Help Wonder
How Many Lay Alone,
On A Cold Christmas Eve
In A Land Far From Home.

The Very Thought
Brought A Tear To My Eye,
I Dropped To My Knees
And Started To Cry.

The Soldier Awakened
And I Heard A Rough Voice,
'Santa Don't Cry,
This Life Is My Choice;

I Fight For Freedom,
I Don't Ask For More,
My Life Is My God,
My Country, My Corps.'

The Soldier Rolled Over
And Drifted To Sleep,
I Couldn't Control It,
I Continued To Weep.

I Kept Watch For Hours,
So Silent And Still
And We Both Shivered
From The Cold Night's Chill.

I Didn't Want To Leave
On That Cold, Dark, Night,
This Guardian Of Honor
So Willing To Fight.

Then The Soldier Rolled Over,
With A Voice Soft And Pure,
Whispered, 'Carry On Santa,
It's Christmas Day, All's Secure.'

One Look At My Watch,
And I Knew He Was Right.
'Merry Christmas My Friend!
And To All A Good Night.'

This Poem Was Written By A Marine.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Raising Taxes = Less Tax Revenue

As various state governments experience budget shortfalls or general mismanagement, they turn on their constituents to bail them out. Unfortunately, the public is often smarter than their representatives...

In Chicago, an increase in tax on bottled water fails miserably and hurts inner city businesses:
Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are trickling in -- at a rate nearly 40 percent below projections -- exacerbating a budget crunch that has already prompted Mayor Daley to order $20 million in spending cuts. January collections were $554,000. That's far short of the $875,000-a-month needed to meet the city's $10.5 million-a-year projection. Wendy Abrams, a spokeswoman for the city's Budget and Management Office, said it's too early to sound the alarm. "Since January is generally one of the coldest months of the winter, we don't think January collections are a strong indicator of potential revenue for the remainder of the year," she said.
David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchant's Association, acknowledged that bottled water consumption rises with the temperature. But that doesn't explain away what Vite calls "enormous increases" in suburban bottled water sales, particularly in stores near the Chicago border.

Maryland picks a fight with smokers with an increase in taxes to $2/pack:
Residents of Maryland's Washington suburbs can shop in nearby Virginia, where the tax is only 30 cents a pack, and save at least $15 per carton.The Maryland pols are so afraid this is true that they've made it a crime for residents to carry two packs of cigarettes that weren't purchased in the state.

In other words, the state says it's legal to smoke, so long as you use cigarettes that the government can tax and thus become a financial partner in your bad habit. But if you dare to buy smokes across state lines, you can be fined.

More info on Public Enemy No. 1.

Tobacco taxes always increase revenue?

Not in South Dakota:

The increased tax on cigarettes produced $11.1 million for the state in the past two months, about $300,000 less than state revenue officials had estimated.

Not in Alaska:

In 2004, tax revenue from tobacco sales was at $838,666 but has steadily dropped and is predicted to fall to $514,425 by 2011.

Not in Pennsylvania:

While the amount of cigarette tax revenue decreases, the state also is owed about $9.3 million in cigarette and $1.1 million in sales and uses taxes Pennsylvanians are to pay when they purchase cigarettes online from companies outside Pennsylvania.

And where to go next?

Blair Candy Controller William Ajay said the business isn’t against government programs, but he doesn’t want to see one product beaten with taxes.‘‘Fast food — they’re starting to demonize that. It’s just a matter of time,’’ Ajay said.
Pat Dandrea agreed that fast food and other products may be next on the list of items to tax when the state needs money.‘‘Then they’ll come after glasses and lawnmowers,’’ he said. ‘‘It hits everyone. Look out on your cheeseburger at McDonald’s next year because they must get the money somewhere.’’

Not in Tennessee or New Jersey:

Tennessee has collected $47 million less than projected after a recent tax increase, and New Jersey’s cigarette tax revenues actually decreased between fiscal years 2006 and 2007, despite a cigarette tax increase.

Not in Maryland (also, see above):

Preliminary figures kept by his office show a drop-off in tax stamps on cigarette packs at the wholesale level from about 132.2 million in the first half of last year to about 99.5 million in the first half of this year.

The nearly 25 percent decline exceeds a 17 percent drop-off that fiscal analysts in Maryland had predicted when the tax increase was approved last year.

Although the higher tax rate has increased tobacco tax collections significantly, the larger-than-expected decline in sales means the state could be short of its budgeted revenue by $40 million to $60 million this year if current trends continue. The state had been projecting about $440 million in revenue from the tobacco tax this year.

William R. Phelps, manager of media affairs for Phillip Morris USA, said he is not surprised that tax collections are not meeting expectations in Maryland. During the special session, his company distributed research showing that revenue met projections in only eight of 40 states that raised tobacco taxes between 2003 and 2005.

As a counterpoint, here's some relentless optimism on Maryland's tobacco tax. Further down, lost amongst all the cheering and self-congratulation:

While the new revenue generated by the tax increase will go into the state’s general fund, the Legislature plans to use a portion of the revenue to expand access to health care for more than 100,000 uninsured Marylanders by making health insurance more affordable to small businesses and expanding Medicaid eligibility to lower income parents and other adults. Unfortunately, the Legislature did not allocate any of the new revenue for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Long before all the smokers have quit, died, etc., state governments will have to start looking somewhere else to make up for $14.9 billion.

With Gas Prices This Low...

National Average: $1.89 (lowest price since February 2005) (via) just don't hear much hype about ethanol anymore.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

American Automakers Bailout?

Click on this link to read an article that clearly articulates the situation and solution of the U.S. automakers.

Thank you.

If We Lose This Battle, We May Lose the War

Wise men have always understood than men of equal intelligence, equal brilliance, and equal learning may hold differing viewpoints on the same issue. To hold these differing opinions under the same circumstances requires that the men with differing opinions must, in the end, be seeking differing goals out of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

This is the situation in which we find ourselves today, we have a radical left-wing President-elect supported by a Democrat Congress that is, in turn, supported by the radical left-wing of the Democrat party. I repeat, Congress is not supported by mainstream (or even "Main Street") America, but rather driven by their own leftist avant garde agenda.

I implore you to consider carefully how closely the present leftist agenda in the newly elected federal executive and freshly reinforced Democrat Congress reflects that agenda set forth by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels in The Communist Manifesto.

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes: Understand here that the intent is the "nationalization" of private property for "public purposes." We are seeing the first steps being taken in this direction with the acquisition by the federal government of "stakes" in U.S. banks.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax: Increasing taxes on the so-called "rich" has been the hew and cry of the Democrats for years. However, in the recent election cycle Obama made it his war cry.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance: The Obama administration has already laid out its plan to increase the "death tax" to 55%. That would put the U.S. half way to the goal of the "abolition of all right of inheritance," would it not?
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels: Here's one the Democrats have not seized upon, as yet. The question is, how long will it be before those who stand for the U.S. Constitution and its original intent are labeled as "rebels"? Will the government then seize their property in "self-defense"?
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly: Is not this the direction in which we are headed with the $700 billion placed in the hands of Henry Paulsen to "rescue" the U.S. citizenry from the present "crisis"? NOTE: This "crisis" itself is entirely the making of the long-term philosophies and encouragement of the liberals and Democrats.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State: With a history of undermining privately owned and individually operated transportation (the personal automobile) through policies that have made them increasingly expensive to own and operate; and, over the same period, being powerful advocates for "public transportation," I believe we can see that the leftist Democrat agenda is certainly showing tendencies in this direction.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan: This is indicative of a plan for the federal government to take more and more of the private economy under its control. In just the last several months we have seen moves in two specific areas: banking and automobile manufacturing. However, we have a "promise" from the President-elect and the record of prior attempts by Democrats in Congress to take control of the healthcare sector of the U.S. economy.
  8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture: Was it not Barak Obama's words that he would establish a "citizen army"? The similarity of language is stark and frightening.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country: Here is the one missing point from the presently exposed leftist agenda of the Democrats.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools: Of course, "public school" education is only for the masses. It's not good enough for the Obama's, nor is it good enough for most of the Congressmen and Senators that are such "supporters" of "public education" for us, "the teaming masses." Of course, the purpose of the "free education" has proven to be more for indoctrination than for education, for surely we are witness to the fact the average product of "public education" is far better indoctrinated than educated by almost any measure.

Fellow citizens, if you love this great nation as I do, I beg of you that you stand up with me and fight against any acts of this Congress or the forthcoming federal Administration that would tend along these lines. Arm yourselves with the knowledge of the telephone numbers, fax numbers, and addresses of your Congressmen and Senators, House and Senatorial committee members of pertinent committees, and support with your finances organizations that are taking historic stands against the onslaught of leftist legislation and actions.

We must fight for those who do not yet see! We must fight for the generation that has been indoctrinated by public education -- for those who foolishly thought that a vote for Barak Obama was like casting a vote for an "American Idol" contestant.

We must fight NOW! For I fear that if we lose this battle now, we may lose the war. So much damage may be done and so many things my be cast into law that will be virtually impossible to reverse in the future if we do not now take a firm stand.

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Excuse to Do Anything or Everything

Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama's new Chief of Staff declare, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”

Throughout history, those who wished to take despotic actions that the citizens would otherwise reject have moved rapidly to take those actions in times of crises. Almost any crisis will do as an excuse for those bent on moving government in directions counter to the long-term interests of the people. In recent history we have seen Hitler was one such opportunist, leveraging Germany's post-World War I economic failures as grounds for taking drastic Socialist actions.

Rarely, however, are despots so candid as President-elect Obama's emerging administration. Rahm Emanuel (quoted above) enunciates this crisis-based opportunism precisely.

The present Democrat-controlled Congress, brazenly encouraged by its recent victories at the polls and the most radically left-wing President-elect in the history of our nation, is poised to take just such actions. Using the current economic crisis as its excuse, the left-wing radicals presently sitting at the helm of our national legislature are prepared to take control -- one way or the other -- of the U.S. automakers in order to "remake" them according to their leftist and eco-Nazi agenda.

Under the euphemistic term "retooling," the Democrat leftists intend to force Ford, Chrysler, and GM to produce cars for "the green economy." As in the former Soviet Union, the only cars that will be available from U.S. factories will be those that meet approved "government designs." You can be sure that if these leftists have their way, protectionist measures will be put in place to assure that foreign auto manufactures will be priced out of the market, as well.

Next on their list of "crisis" measures will be steps to assure that gasoline prices are pushed higher again. And, of course, a grasp at another huge portion of the U.S. private economy -- the "nationalization" of healthcare.

Please take action now to stand against these kinds of actions by the current (and future) Congress and the Obama administration. Write and call your Senators and Representatives.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing

How Is This Happening?

From "The Patriot Post" and worth spreading:

When the pundits signed off on Election Night knowing that Barack Obama had won the White House, there were still four Senate races up in the air. Oregon's Gordon Smith later lost to Democrat challenger Jeff Merkley and Georgia's Saxby Chambliss faces a 2 December runoff against Democrat challenger Jim Martin. On election night in Minnesota, incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman led purported comedian Al Franken by only a few hundred votes. In Alaska, convicted felon Ted Stevens still held a lead of about 3,000 votes over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

Oddly enough, Republican leads tended to vanish during post-election counting. When Alaska counted 60,000 of the 95,000 early voting, absentee and disputed ballots left after Election Day, Stevens' advantage disappeared, and Begich won by nearly 4,000 votes. The 85-year-old Stevens' 40-year Senate career is now over, though it would have been better for Republicans to run him out of town on a rail. He would then have been replaced by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

More mysterious, though, is the situation in Minnesota, where a recount is under way. Franken has steadily cut into Coleman's lead through oddities such as finding absentee ballots in the trunk of a car and "miscommunication" from election officials in two liberal strongholds which added more than 350 votes to Franken's count. Interestingly, the additional vote total for Franken from these sorts of "errors" is larger than the sum total of mistakes in all the other congressional and state legislative races combined, and the two Senate race miscommunications were the only ones from the local electoral boards in question -- all the other races were unchanged. Indeed, it's most curious that nearly every mistake has favored Franken.

Franken's recount strategists are also calling on the state to do a complete recount and to re-evaluate ballots initially thrown out, including the assumption that any disputed vote for Obama would naturally indicate a Franken vote, despite the fact that Al trailed Barack statewide by double-digits. The question becomes whether Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (a Democrat and ACORN supporter) can prove his counting is honest.

If Coleman loses, the only obstacle remaining for a filibuster-proof 60-seat Democrat majority in the Senate is Saxby Chambliss. Democrats meanwhile ensured that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) stayed on the reservation by striking a bargain leaving him as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as well as head of the Armed Services subcommittee in exchange for sworn loyalty.

Public school: good enough for the public

As a follow up to an earlier post on school choice hypocrisy, a study released by the Thomas Fordham Institute shows that urban public school teachers are more likely to enroll their children in private schools than the general public.

In Obama's hometown of Chicago, the study found that 38.6% of public school teachers sent their kids to private schools as compared to 22.6% of the general public. In fact, across America, public school teachers enroll their children in private schools at twice the rate of the general public - 22% to 10%.

Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem makes this connection:

Employees at Health Clinic X and their families are offered medical care at no additional cost as a benefit and yet most employees of Clinic X pay out-of-pocket for medical services at Clinic Y.

The NEA itself has gone so far as to label school voucher bills as "misleading" and refer to private schools as "unaccountable" and unable to meet "highly qualified standards". All the while, their own employees are more than willing to roll the dice and place their own children out of reach out the "highly qualified standards" set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NEA's assault on school choice for parents continues with these two gems:
  • A voucher lottery is a terrible way to determine access to an education. True equity means the ability for every child to attend a good school in the neighborhood.

And if there are no good schools in the neighborhood? Should all children be allowed to fail equally at underperforming schools?

With this quote, the NEA seems to believe that education is a zero sum game. This kind of thinking pervades liberal ideology (taxing the rich, Affirmative Action, etc.), under the misguided notion that one person's success is directly related to someone else's failure.

  • Vouchers were not designed to help low-income children. Milton Friedman, the "grandfather" of vouchers, dismissed the notion that vouchers could help low-income families, saying "it is essential that no conditions be attached to the acceptance of vouchers that interfere with the freedom of private enterprises to experiment."

At this point, the NEA decides to use a direct quote from Friedman as damning evidence, when in fact, it makes a completely opposite point. Friedman was trying to ensure that the voucher situation would not help only one set of people: poor, rich, black, white, urban, suburban. No conditions means the freedom for any parent to make the best choice for their child's education.

If public school teachers don't use public schools, why should you?

Worth Considering At This Time

"If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs." --Theodore Roosevelt

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." --W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama's Limousine-Liberal Hypocrisy

Worth repeating:

"Barack and Michelle Obama are poised to commit a classic act of limousine-liberal hypocrisy -- in this case, turning their backs on tens of thousands of inner-city kids in Washington, D.C. Public schools, it seems, are good enough for poor and middle-class families, but not for rich families like the Obamas.

"In July, when he addressed the NAACP's annual convention, Sen. Barack Obama expressed his devotion to American public schools, vowing he would not 'walk away from them' by supporting school-choice programs like Sen. John McCain did. ... There were 59,616 students enrolled in the D.C. public schools in 2006, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If McCain's plan to increase by 2,000 the number of vouchers available in the District were enacted, taxpayers would still be spending $15,798 per student per year to send more than 55,000 kids through a school system where about nine out of 10 students do not learn to read or do math at grade-level proficiency by the time they 'graduate' from elementary school.

"What is Obama's plan to deal with this? Spend $18 billion more in federal tax dollars on public education (as he promised in his campaign) -- and send his own kids to extremely expensive private schools. Currently, Obama's two daughters (ages 7 and 10) attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where tuition is $18,492 for grades 1-4 and $20,286 for grades 5-8. When Michelle Obama visited Washington this week, she toured only two prospective schools for her daughters: Sidwell Friends, where lower-school tuition is $28,442; and Georgetown Day, where tuition is $27,445 for grades 1-5."

Credit to columnist Terence Jeffrey as reported in "The Patriot Post" 17 Nov 2008, Vol. 08, No. 47.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are U.S. Automakers and Congress Telling the Truth About Jobs?

“The auto industry supports one of every 10 jobs in the United States,” Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has said multiple times in her pleas for a bailout of the Detroit Three.

Is it true?

Click here for the real story!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is This What Suicide Feels Like?

On January 26, 1837, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on the subject of "The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions." Much of what he said has great pertinence for the U.S. citizen on this date in 2008.


"We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them; they are a legacy bequeathed us by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed, race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves us, of this goodly land, and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; it is ours only to transmit these--the former unprofaned by the foot of an invader, the latter undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation--to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

"How then shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect the approach of anger? by what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

The might of the U.S.'s military and industrial capabilities makes it virtually invulnerable to external foes. However, if we are the author and finisher of our own destruction, who is left to stop it?

"As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Despite President-elect Obama's self-aggrandizement and apparent self-delusion about being like Abraham Lincoln, he is no Abraham Lincoln. "Father Abraham", as he was known, cherished and preserved the U.S. Constitution and respected the limits of the federal government. He would not have tolerated -- let alone promoted -- an activist Federal court, and he loved and preserved life, even the life the weakest of the common citizen.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing

[Invite your friends and relatives to read this blog if you believe in what it has to say. Thank you.]

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Warning from Alexander Hamilton - The Federalist Papers #1

It was Alexander Hamilton that warned citizens so many years ago that we must be watchful, for he said, "... dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."

It was just such speech as Hamilton describes that has been the ladder upon which every socialist and communistic threat to the liberties of the people first climbed within reach of their despotic control.

We must beware lest obsequious speech and the promise to "rescue us" in the time of economy emergency become also the steps by which our American liberties are overrun by liberal politicians hungry for ever larger governments and ever more control over the economy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bailout for the U.S. Automakers?

An announcement was made today that Congress is presently preparing legislation to bail out the U.S. automakers. Like the bailout of the mortgage industry, the act is both senseless and needless.

Also, similar to the mortgage industry bailout, this proposed bailout is not really for the U.S. automakers, it is a bailout for the United Auto Workers union. The same union that has driven the U.S. automakers to the brink of collapse now wants their Democrat friends to throw taxpayer money at the problem so the union leadership -- or unions, in general -- will not suffer the consequences of their years of wrong-headed thinking.

Participants in unions should wake up to realize that unions only benefit two groups of people:
  1. The union executives -- those who draw a salary predicated solely on having established a monopoly on labor in some factory or industry.
  2. The below-average workers -- because above-average workers could, in the absence of the union, most likely negotiate a better wage and benefits package for themselves individually.

As we are seeing, however, in the real long-term, unions benefit no one!

  • Unions do not benefit the consumer because they cause prices to rise faster than the rate of inflation in almost every instance.
  • Unions do not benefit the worker because they ultimately make the businesses and industries they dominate to become less and less competitive, ultimately reducing the workers' wages to zero as increasing numbers fall victim to unavoidable layoffs.
  • Unions do not even benefit the union executives in the end -- although they will bleed the union workers and their captive industries for as long as possible -- because when all the workers have finally lost their jobs, then the union executives will also finally lose their jobs.

Do not take me wrong. I am not opposed to groups of workers organizing to strike or negotiate for better working conditions. However, each worker should be able to negotiate their own agreement with the employer as to wages, benefits, working conditions and work practices. They should not be coerced to pay some worthless executives to come around to aid in making the workers' employers less competitive and less successful in the marketplace.

Now, back to the bailout.

Three Steps the Government Could Take to Save the U.S. Auto Industry Without a Bail Out

  1. Reduce corporate and personal income taxes immediately to give the U.S. consumers more money in their pockets to spend on durable goods. Note: The U.S. consumer pays both the corporate income taxes and the individual income taxes. Don't let political tom-foolery trick you into believing anything different than that.
  2. Lift needless federal regulations that cost U.S. automakers millions of dollars while providing absolutely zero value-add to the consumer. The CAFE standards, for example, are absolutely without justification. U.S. automakers should be able to make cars and trucks that consumers want to buy. If the politicians and environmental groups can hoodwink enough consumers into believing they are "saving the planet" by buying a hybrid or some other fuel-efficient automobile, then the automakers will manufacture such vehicles in response to that consumer demand. We do not need the government to tell us what kind of vehicles we ought to buy.
  3. By executive order, liberate the U.S. automakers from the ridiculous union contracts to which they are presently bound. Allow the automakers to hire and fire at will and to negotiate compensation plans with each worker individually.

These three simple steps:

  • Do not require the U.S. taxpayer to be burdened with additional bail-out debt;
  • Would stimulate the economy; and
  • Will not lead to the nationalization of private industry.

This approach is safe, sane and reasonable -- all of which are reasons that the Democrat leadership and Republicans that have lost their bearings will reject them.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Open Letter

04 November 2008

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
FAX 202.456.2461

Senator Norm Coleman
320 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
FAX 202.224.1152

Representative Jim Ramstad
103 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
FAX 202.225.6351

Esteemed and Honorable Gentlemen:

I am well aware that your offices likely receive thousands of comments and letters. Some, I am certain, from genuine “kooks”. I am also aware that the “proper” thing to do is to write just a few sentences for, we are told, that anything more than that will not get read.

Perhaps that last part is a contributor to the problems that plague our current political system and had led the United States to its current unfortunate state. I dearly love this great nation as, I am certain, do you. This letter is not intended to be specific finger-pointing but, rather, what I hope to be a pouring out of my heart with some thoughts that might be of some value in returning the United States to its former glory and greatness. (Here I trust God that something has not been irretrievably lost.)

I say it will be a pouring out of my heart, but I believe also that it will be considered, perhaps, harsh. But is “harsh” not sometimes the thing that causes us all to awaken – to consider where we have been or where we are going?

The Republicans – over the last 100 years or so – have, seemingly, not understood, or at least not taken action on, the underlying nature and intent of the leftists that are among us. Perhaps this is, in part, due to our unwillingness to recognize these leftists for what they are.

I would first contend that if we are unwilling to name a matter by its real name, we are greatly disadvantaged in dealing with the matter at hand.

Here I take the liberty of enumerating a few specific areas where, I believe, we are specifically at risk due to Republican inaction over the last century:

  1. Republican officeholders have been unwilling or unable to recognize that leftists are willing to take everything the right will give without making any bona fide concessions on their part. This is precisely the same tactic taken by every leftist government or political group that has existed since the rise of socialism as codified by Marx and Engels. The political negotiations of the left are almost never with any general intent other than to take advantage of the gullibility of their opponents and their opponents foolish willingness to yield in the name of “reaching across the aisle.”

  2. Republican officeholders have been unwilling or unable to recognize that leftists, if given the opportunity, will endeavor to control the education of children from the cradle to adulthood in order to indoctrinate them to socialist concepts. The Republicans have collaborated with the leftist – perhaps unwittingly, but collaborated nonetheless – in a program of federally funded education that has permitted the leftists to dominate education from preschool through graduate school.

  3. Republican officeholders have been unwilling or unable to recognize that the leftists will always endeavor to divide in order to conquer. Leftist rhetoric will always pit Blacks against whites, rich against poor, women against men, and more in order to intimidate those on the right from taking any public stand against the leftist agenda. This dialectic is a false one, but unless the Republicans are willing to take a strong stand against the lies beneath these false dichotomies and expose them, their mouths will be forever shut.

  4. Republican officeholders have been unwilling or unable to recognize that leftists will endeavor to control the press in order that they will be free to drive forward with their agenda under the protective cover of what (even in this nation) has become nothing more than propaganda. It is certainly not "news" or "journalism". Unless the Republican officeholders are willing to take the issues directly to the American public in public forums or via (now) the alternative media, the Republicans will forever be handicapped by this disadvantage.

I believe we can blame the current state of affairs in the U.S. on the bulk of Republican officeholders who are, for the most part, spineless – unwilling or unable to stand up to defend what is best for this great nation. They are unwilling to suffer “bad press” because re-election is their primary (or, seemingly, their sole) goal. It appears that they no longer have a heart for the greatness of our nation. They no longer understand or support the U.S. Constitution. Most of them seem to have no willingness to PAY THE PRICE for speaking the TRUTH.

Great leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were willing to pay the price of “bad press” in order to fight for what was best for the nation. They did not move “to the center.” Instead, they took their arguments to the people and move the people to the position that was in the best interest of the nation.

My hope from this letter is only that some of my heart – if deemed worthy – would be shared with other Republicans. I do not count the job of being a politician in today’s world as “easy”, but if our nation is to survive as something more than another mediocre political entity that populates the world stage, we must find men among us who are willing to take a stand for something other than re-election.

Please, do not take this as negative, but rather as I place it in your hands as constructive criticism. Consider it. Even, pray about it.

"I am opposed to Socialism because of its inhumanity; because it saps the vitality of the human race which has no vitality to spare; because it lulls to indolence those who must struggle to survive; because the theories of good men who are enthralled by its delusions are made the excuse of the wicked who would rather plunder than work; because it stops enterprise, promotes laziness, exalts inefficiency, inspires hatred, checks production, assures waste and instills into the souls of the unfortunate and the weak hopes impossible of fruition whose inevitable blasting will add to the bitterness of their lot." – Edward F. Adams

Very truly yours,

Richard D. Cushing

Monday, November 3, 2008

The War Within - A Rebuttal

An acquaintance asked me if I would read Bob Woodward's book The War Within, and I told him that I would if he would do me the favor of reading my rebuttal. He also said that he would do so.

Well, I actually meant to provide a rebuttal after I had read the book. However, he asked me if I presently had a rebuttal. The following is my reply to this good gentleman:

I haven’t read the book, yet. However, I do know a bit of what it is about.

The fact that there has been – or even continues to be – in-fighting in the Bush administration’s White House certainly does not come as a surprise to me. While I have not studied all of the presidential administrations that existed during times of war, I know of some. All of those of which I am aware certainly had their share of in-fighting and even skulduggery. Wars wreak havoc in politics. No one likes war. Outstanding leadership – both military and civilian – is difficult to come by, and even more difficult to obtain in the realm of politics are those who are not willing to sell themselves and our nation out in the long-term in exchange for political gain in the short-term.

Personally, I believe that Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest U.S. presidents of all time. Yet, within his own cabinet there was nearly constant dissension – most of it driven by the political expediency of wanting better numbers in the polls (or, at least, that’s the way we’d describe it in today’s world).

Seward, who early did not value Lincoln’s abilities as a leader, even tried what amounted to a ‘coup’, attempting to shame Lincoln into essentially turning the administration over to him (Seward) while permitting Lincoln to remain as a ‘figurehead’ in the office of the President. Lincoln did not dismiss him. Instead, Lincoln showed both his great grace toward all men (especially Seward), demonstrated his own leadership in a quiet and non-public way, and allowed Seward to remain at his cabinet post.

I’m not sure that George W. Bush’s poll numbers have ever reached the extreme low that Abe Lincoln’s numbers reached. It’s hard to make a precise comparison, but when you consider that ALL of the Confederate states’ population probably rated him near zero and probably less than 35% of the Union population approved of his administration at some points, it would be difficult to imagine that Lincoln’s poll numbers would not have been worse than George W.’s.

Even before there was a President of the United States, the Continental Congress and General George Washington were all put through the grist mill of negative public opinion when things went badly during the American Revolution.

And, of course, if World War II had been treated by the mainstream press like the Vietnam War or the Second Gulf War has been treated, it is highly likely that we’d all be speaking German today. For sure, France would still be speaking German and there’d be a lot fewer Jews dotting the landscape of the world, I would venture to say. The total losses in the Second Gulf War do hardly bear comparison with lives we spent on D-Day alone in our efforts to turn the tide in Europe.

Even Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson took his hits in the polls and, while LBJ ruled his White House with an iron fist and little was heard outside the White House about dissension, I don’t believe for one minute that there was not some controversy within under those circumstances.

This is no longer “the greatest generation”! Most of MY generation have lost sight of America’s greatness! No other nation in the history of the history of the world has spent more of the blood of its men and women to obtain peace and liberty for others – asking NOTHING in return. The young men and women reporting and writing in today’s mainstream press are, for the most part, ignorant of history (American history to be certain, and for the history of the world – forget it, they know virtually nothing). As a result they have ‘facts’ without ‘theory’, and facts without theory begets no ‘knowledge’. Thus, though they are full of ‘facts’ they ‘know’ nothing as it really is.

Do NOT mistake me: I say that America is “great”, but I do NOT say that America is “perfect”. As long as there are flesh-and-blood men in government, there will be no lack of faults and defects. Abe Lincoln was one who confessed such with frequency in his letters and papers.

Do we think things could have been done in a better way in our war with Iraq? Certainly! There is no doubt and Monday-morning quarterbacking is easier (and more certain) than coaching the game in real time! But consider how many generals Lincoln went through before he found General Ulysses S. Grant – and how much anguish he went through with the lives of young men lost, and the grief he suffered at the hands of his detractors. Should this war be any different of necessity?

And, even after Lincoln found Grant, and Grant proved himself successful, still Lincoln’s opposers complained that Grant “drank too much whiskey.” Lincoln’s wise answer was (to the effect): “If I knew what kind of whiskey he drank, I’d send a case to every general in the Army.”

No, indeed, I do not doubt Bob Woodward’s accounts (not having read them) of a “war within”, but history teaches me that this is not the critical factor nor the matter by which an administration is to be judged by the longer view of history. In fact, the man that has the courage of his convictions, the one that does not sway in the winds of public opinion, the one that is most like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and even John Kennedy (who the Democrat party would barely recognize as a Democrat today) will inevitably be troubled in their administration by those who would cater more gladly to the winds of political opinion or those who covet “good press” rather than true virtue.

This does make one wonder, however, what kind of ‘courage’ would cause a senator to vote “present” 130 times, does it not?

-- Richard

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's All About Your Money?

On Sunday, 26 October 2008, the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) published in its "The Wall Street Journal Sunday" section an article by Shelly Banjo entitled "Obama vs. McCain: It's All About Your Money". I do not doubt that this article by Ms. Banjo sets forth a reasonably equitable presentation of the candidates' positions on
  • Short-term Economic Relief,
  • Income Taxes,
  • Estate Taxes and AMT,
  • Health Care,
  • Investments, and
  • Retirement and Social Security.
What troubles me is what the article does not say!
Remember, although the Democrat party has, throughout this election cycle, sought to hammer home the concept that this economy belongs to George W. Bush, the real downturn in the economy has occurred in the last two years. These are the two years during which the Democrat party has controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
But the issue of our economy goes much deeper than this. The devastating blow to the U.S. economy was delivered by the collapse related to sub-prime mortgage market. This is a market that was conceived, originated, and advocated by the Democrat party and managed by Democrat party appointees to Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. It was also almost exclusively party-line votes that thwarted attempts by John McCain and President George W. Bush to apply new controls and investigate the risks associated with the growth of the sub-prime mortgage market.
Today's economy is a product of Democrat party politics and does not belong to George W. Bush!
Want proof of this assertion? Ask yourself why the Democrats are not clamoring for hearings on Capitol Hill to investigate the causes of the greatest collapse in the U.S. economy since The Great Depression. More importantly, ask yourself why you are not writing to your Congressmen and Senators pressing for an investigation of these matters.
However, I digress. Return with me to "The Wall Street Journal Sunday" article.
What is missing from this analysis are questions like these:
  • Just how much good will Obama's planned short-term economic relief do if Democrat fiscal policies and controls more broadly applied continue to discourage capital formation and job creation?

  • Just how much good will Obama's income tax cuts for the "middle class" do if broader Democrat fiscal polices lead to increasing layoffs and driving more U.S. companies to seek lower-cost off-shore production capabilities?

  • Just how much good will Obama's health care initiatives do for those who have been laid off from their jobs due to Democrat fiscal policies that disincent job creation while simultaneously leading to other economic declines in the U.S.?

  • Just how much good will Obama's fight to keep Social Security in the hands of the federal government -- rather than allowing investors the choice to privatize their retirement funds -- if the Democrat party remains utterly unwilling to address core issues in Social Security that will inevitably lead to its demise?
All the apparently "good" things proposed by Obama's economic proposals are dependent on other economic factors remaining the same. However, we have many years of history to demonstrate that Obama's declared approaches to the economy (in general) lead to negative -- not positive -- outcomes for everyone.
Obama may not believe in "trickle-down economics", but I can assure you that if business investment risk is not rewarded via appropriate market-based returns, we will all see the effect of "trickle-down poverty" resulting from massive unemployment and more and more corporations moving their operations to nations that offer a more favorable tax and investment environment.
-- Richard