The Loss of Conservatism

WASHINGTON - APRIL 18:   Republican presidenti...
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If the major news media has succeeded today in discouraging conservatives from voting, the trifecta will be complete – Legislative, Executive, and Media.

The blame for such a loss can be spread to many people. Let’s start at the top.

I like President Bush, and I threw my entire support behind him for the Iraq War. I think he is a good, honest President. But as a communicator, he failed. The left managed to brand him with a paint of hate, and Bush stoically didn’t respond. Terrible mistake. He also mistakenly believed he could appease the left with vastly expanded programs; Medicare, prescription drugs, No Child Left Behind, etc. Soon the spending of the Republicans put the spending of the Liberals to shame.

McCain reflects that belief that if we’re more liberal, liberals will like us. They don’t. And they can out-liberal us any day of the week. The real reason Republicans are losing is that once in power, they forgot they were the party of limited government. Just like the elder George Bush losing office because of his broken “No new taxes” pledge, the Republicans are being voted out of office because they are too liberal.

Americans won’t stand for the ultra-liberal policies about to be imposed on us, but by the time the Democrats are tossed out, the next incremental step toward a socialist nanny-state will be firmly in place. We’re about to lurch to the left

But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

They’ll be able to do this because they hold nearly fillibuster-proof majorities, a far left puppet president who will vote “present” rather than tackle hard issues, and an ecstatic liberal news media. Toss in the liberal court system they will immediately appoint, and conservatism will be a little-remembered philosophy confined to the flyover states.

Conservatives, we did this to ourselves by trying to out-liberal the liberals. I sure hope we learn the lesson this time. We only win when we hold to our conservative principles. We didn’t do that thel ast 4 years, and we’re about to pay heavily for it.

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The Scariest Part of Tuesday's Election

It can be summed up in this little quote:

Democrats are looking ahead to expanded power.

New New Deal. Unfettered ability to impose government oversight, appoint activist judges, raise taxes, and spend whatever they want on whatever they want.

I am so not looking forward to the next 4 years.

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Bailouts and Earmarks

As we all know by now, Congress failed to pass the Bailout Bill on Monday for $700 billion (a number, apparently, the US Treasury just made up). If they pass it, they saddle taxpayers with the debt and socialize the banking system. If they don’t pass it, they tell us civilization will end as we know it and we enter the Next Great Depression.

Are those the only two options? Great Depression versus Socialism?

So what was wrong with version of the bailout that didn’t pass? Tonight, Congress will attempt to pass a revised version, so let’s see what they added (via)-

New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill
– Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
– Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
– 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.
Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
American Samoa (Sec. 309)
– Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
– Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
– Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
– Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
– Railroads (Sec. 316)
– Auto Racing Tracks (317)
District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
– Wool Research (Sec. 325)

Ah. Obviously, Socialized Banking will be much more palatable if we buy more Puerto Rican rum. American Samoans and Indian Tribes who will be receiving earmarks will be happy to know that Puerto Rican rum will be cheaper. And Nascar, while they didn’t get beer subsidies, got some help with auto racing tracks.

I think, though, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that there are now earmarks for wooden arrows designed for use by children. I assume that the children from Indian tribes will be provided with wooden arrows and Puerto Rican rum, then told to drive around a race track and shoot each other while drunk. There’s money in there, too, for Film and Television to make it into a movie.

That alone justifies eliminating capitalism and socializing the western banking world. The bill should pass now.

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US Government Restricts Free Speech and Expression of Religion

The “separation of church and state,” such as it is, should keep the government from imposing a religion upon the people of this country.

But regulations that squelch the speech of pastors? Can the US Government tell pastors what they can and cannot talk about?

There is no law that I’m aware of that restricts the speech of pastors, but IRS regulations in place for over 50 years threaten to withdraw the tax-exempt status of churches that speak on politics. I am convinced this is a contributing factor to the decline of morality in the USA. The churches are the center of what we consider moral in the country, and if the pulpits are silent, immorality blossoms.

Some pastors have begun specifically defying this regulation by specifically mentioning candidates by name. Their goal is to overturn the IRS regulation through the court system. Listen: all rules and regulations in this country should follow the US Constitution, right? Here’s the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution –

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That tells me that the government can’t pass any laws on what churches can and cannot say, anymore than they can tell newspapers what they can and cannot print. Read that amendment and explain to me how it could be interpreted otherwise.

If you’d like to read more, the Alliance Defense Fund is spearheading this project.

“Pastors have a right to speak about Biblical truths from the pulpit without fear of punishment. No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley.

It’s a government restriction on the freedom of speech and the expression of religion. I cant see how anyone could interpret the Constitution any other way.

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Mortgage Meltdown

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I had been thinking this, but hadn’t seen anybody writing about it.

Sub-prime mortgages have led to a financial crisis. The blame for sub-prime mortgages generally get laid on the greed of the mortgage bankers, but is that all there is to it?

Twenty years ago I remember the push to get banks and lending into low-income minority neighborhoods. There was a push at the time to make mortgages easier for those who could least afford them because it was good for the neighborhood.

Stan Liebowitz’s book, Housing America: Building out of a Crisis, puts the blame back on the federal government. I agree – without the government pushing banks to lend to risky people, there would have been less risk. Simple, no?

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Update from A Mortgage Fable

– The Community Reinvestment Act. This 1977 law compels banks to make loans to poor borrowers who often cannot repay them. Banks that failed to make enough of these loans were often held hostage by activists when they next sought some regulatory approval.

Robert Litan, an economist at the Brookings Institution, told the Washington Post this year that banks “had to show they were making a conscious effort to make loans to subprime borrowers.” The much-maligned Phil Gramm fought to limit these CRA requirements in the 1990s, albeit to little effect and much political jeering.

Washington on the Brazos

I’m a wee bit sunburned. You know the drill; a) go outside, b) get burned, c) reflect that sunscreen would have been a good idea.

At least, those are the steps if you’re a guy. Women tend to reflect on the sunscreen part first.
US Quarter
We spent the day last Saturday at Washington-on-the-Brazos Texas State Park and had an enjoyable day in the sunshine. Learned a few things about Texas history; I didn’t realize Texas was voluntarily part of a Mexican Republic until Santa Anna became a dictator. I didn’t know enough about Mexican history, I guess.

Anyway, true story coming up, and you’ll understand what my wife has to put up with. We get out of the car, walk along a path, and I find a quarter. Bight and shiny, too, not all dirty like you’d expect a quarter found outside would be.

“Wow! Do you know what this is?” I say to my wife.

“A quarter?” she replies.

“No! It’s Washington-on-the-Brazos!”

She rolls her eyes.

I continue unmercifully. “Quick! Keep looking for Benjamin-on-the-Brazos!”

More Coffee Benefits

More good news for coffee drinkers… I think.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day helped protect older women against some age-related memory decline, French researchers said on Monday, giving women more reason to love the world’s most popular stimulant.

Men did not enjoy the same benefit, they said.

“The more coffee one drank, the better the effects seemed to be on (women’s) memory functioning in particular,” said Karen Ritchie at the French National Institute of Medical Research, whose work appears in the journal Neurology.

They found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee per day, or its caffeine equivalent in tea, retained more of their verbal and — to a lesser extent — visual memories over four years.

These women had a 33 percent lower odds of having verbal memory declines and 18 percent lower odds of having visual and spatial memory declines, compared to women who drank one cup or fewer per day.

Some studies in mice have suggested that caffeine might block the buildup of proteins that lead to mental decline.

Yet one more… what was I saying?

Oh yes. Yet one more reason to drink coffee – to improve your memory. While that’s great news for women, I’m not so sure it’s great news for men. Don’t wives remember what men did far too long already?