The Rednex Response to the State of the Union

All I can say is that I would need to be a professional blogger to comment on all the statements, opinions, and rhetoric that I heard during this speech.  Literally, 15 minutes into the speech and I already have a page and half of notes for things I feel I should comment on.  By the 30 minute marker, I had abandoned all hope of being able to cover the speech with any semblance of granularity and decided to just cover the topics I felt most important.

First off, let me state, that was one hell of a campaign speech Mr. President, but gave us little information pertaining to the real State of the Union.  I liked the ideals of job creation, restoring the economy, establishing improved benefits for current and returning soldiers, and the overall tone of “America First”; however, the speech left me with more questions than when you started, as most campaign speeches do.  The biggest question being, HOW??

To recover funds distributed during the bank bailout, you propose a fee on the biggest banks to recoup the remaining monies outstanding, but what will that fee amount to?  In addition, you mock the banks stating:

If these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.

However, have you forgotten the pay increases that have went to government bodies within the last year.  Why not focus on decreasing the increases, upwards of 541%, that have occurred within capital hill during your one year in office?  Do you not remember, that it wasn’t at the will of the people that the banks were rescued, but via an unpopular policy expansion decision by your administration.  You berate the banks by stating,

“We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy”

but it must be a short memory that allows you to forget that it was the Democratic policy, pushed by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and others, that forced the banks to make those risky decisions.   Thru the Community Reinvestment Act, banks were forced to loosen credit criteria and make loans to people unqualified, and ill prepared, to handle such loans.  Banks were further encouraged by Fannie May and Freddie Mac to participate in these subprime loans by increasing the scope of these “flexible” credit standards in which these government entities would guarantee.  In addition, you talk of using the $30B repaid by banks from the bailout to invest in community banks.  How will that money be invested and doled out?  What steps will be taken to ensure that the money given to the smaller banks will not be used in the same, fraudulent manner that the large banks used those funds?  What steps taken to ensure that the funds are split equally and not just to community banks in areas supportive of you?

You talk of job creation, you pat yourself on the back for the “amount of tax cuts you have enacted”, you even point out the Republican side for not applauding you for those tax cuts.  The reason they did not clap is due to the fact that the policies you wish to enact will increase taxes on most American Families.  They did not refuse to clap out of spite, but because they knew that you are misleading in your statements.  Again, with this knowledge, how do you propose to create jobs?  You talk of the millions of jobs saved, but is that number before or after the counting of jobs in ghost districts that do not exist, or the double counting of jobs for people that worked temporarily only to be displaced within weeks?  With policies proposed like cap and trade, the health care bill, and others that will, by the CBO’s accounts, raise taxes and further hurt the American family, by what method will this reverse the double digit unemployment that plagues us now?  The same unemployment rate the stimulus bill was to keep under 8% if enacted immediately?  How is your new, proposed “job bill” going to succeed when your first attempt was an adjunct failure?

You talk of  building trust with the American voter again thru transparency and accountability.  Again I ask you, how?  Will it be via more broken promises to ensure that the health care debate will be publicized on C-SPAN, but instead spent the majority of time in back rooms closed to the public resulting with shady deals to buy votes, such as the Cornhusker compromise or the Louisiana Purchase?  Will it be via your promise that the Economic Recovery act will be removed of earmarks and pork barrel spending, but actually resulted in billions to pet projects and activities that had little to no impact on the recovery of our economy?  How then Mr. President, do you plan on rebuilding the trust?  How do you tout accountability, when Congress has complained that they have no idea to where stimulus or TARP funds are being distributed?  How can you restore accountability when TARP funds were not used to buy up toxic assets, as promised to the American people, but instead used to buy stock and pave the way for a government take over of the banking system?

You ask for bipartisan support in congress, but in a direct rebuke to the Republican leadership, you stated:

Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.

This sounds great in a campaign speech, but it seems that you are the one that needs to be reminded that you were elected to serve the citizens.  You have ignored the voice of the people since you were elected.  You proceeded with the bank bailouts, even though you state that you hated it.  You proceeded with the auto bailout, even when the citizens protested.  You push forward with cap and trade, despite the fact that it will raise energy prices and taxes on American families.  You gloss over the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who ran on a promise to defeat the health care bill that you continue to try and ram down our throats, as a sign that people were angry at George Bush.  Regarding health care, your own leader, Nancy Pelosi, stated after your address:

If the gate is open, we will go thru it.  If the gate is closed, we will climb the wall.  If the wall is too high, we will pole vault over it.  If we can’t jump high enough, we will parachute behind it.  We will get healthcare passed for the American people.

Her statement is a slap in the face to the American voter who has shown via polls, tea party movements, and the election of Scott Brown that they do not want this health care bill passed. So my question is how will you foster this bipartisanship that you request?   Will you finally see that the Republicans aren’t just saying no to Democratic policies, but instead following the dictates of the people.  When will you realize that Americans do not want this healthcare?  When will you allow the Republicans to bring their viable, patient oriented ideas to the table and stop this government take over of our health care system,?  You asked, “If anyone has a better idea, let me know”, but yet you’ve dismissed the Republican party to the sidelines and ignored their proposals of better ideas.  When will the government get out of our banking, auto, and energy industries?  With all of your talk of “I will”, “I came”, “My administration”, “My goals”, “My direction”, you forget the most basic of principals, which is there is no “I” in “Teamwork”, Mr.. President.  When will you lead by example and begin to listen to the American people?

You stand before Congress and the American people and preach about the evils of the gridlock within our political system.  You defiantly declare that you came to Washington to change the way our political process works.  My question to you is how?  Need I remind you that you had complete control of Congress for the last year?  That with proper leadership, you could have enacted any change you so wished, but instead, we just received more of the same.  The same back room deals, the buying of votes, and the expansion of big government.  Even with “the largest majority in history”, your party has defied your promises and made you look like a fool.  So how will you change the gridlock that is paralyzing our political process when you are unable to even control your own party?    You cannot place the blame on the Republicans because, as stated, your party held unprecedented control.

You speak of campaign reform, admonishing the Supreme Court for “reversing a century of law that you believed would open the floodgates of special interest, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections”.  A admonishment to which Justice Alito responded by mouthing “Not true”.  Not a Joe Wilson moment, but I wish it would have been.  You lied Mr. President.  You stood before your people, and your country, and lied.  Even as you stand there and lecture our Supreme Court, you forget the amount of foreign aid that was funneled into your campaign financing.  You forget the investigations that showed the Nigerian man, who within his own border, raised over “$900,000” for you, the infamous “Mr. Doodad” that was also illegally contributed to your campaign, or the other $3.38M in questionable contributions that your agency refuses to reveal.  So again Mr. President, how do you plan to reform when the very practices you preach against helped finance your way into office?  How can the American voter believe you when you stand before us and lie to place the blame on the Supreme Court for something you took part in and was partially responsible for your election?

You speak of your desire to enhance the security of this country.  While I like your ideas regarding the increasing of care and support for our returning and active veterans, I worry that your promises are empty based on your efforts so far.  When you take actions, such as the cancelling the development of the next air superiority fighter jet, I worry if you honestly have the security of this nation, and it’s soldiers, in mind.  You speak of your will to crack down on terrorists, but again I ask how?  You all but ignored your commanding general in Afghanistan in his pleas for more troops, else “We risk defeat” for months, then only giving him a fraction of his ask.  You bring terrorists within our borders for trial, rather than putting them before military tribunals as appropriate.  You grant terrorists Miranda rights, affording them the same rights of the citizens they wished to harm, thereby increasing risk that they may go unpunished.  You place blame on our military system, declaring to the world that the US tortures it’s detainee’s, when it’s been proven over and over again that this is yet another lie.  So how can the people trust that our national defense lies at the top of your priority list, when your past year has shown evidence to the contrary?

Lastly, you condemn both sides of the aisle, by stating:

Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. We can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past.

Issuing a call upon this statement, to again work on repairing the “trust deficit” that the American people have with our government.  Again, I ask you how?  You have defined your first term in office by re-litigating the past, as you put it.  Even this speech itself, was bloated with condemnation and blame placed upon the prior administration.  You take no responsibility for your own actions, but instead, push the fault on to those before you.  You accuse the past President for the overwhelming deficit over his 8 year term, but make no mention how your administration quadrupled that deficit within one year.  You posture that Bush was responsible for the housing bubble, but ignore the fact that it was the policies of your own party, against the advice of Bush’s administration, that were the cause.  So while eloquent, your statements drip with hypocrisy when every day you place the blame for failure on everyone but yourself.  The American people are tired of the excuses.  We’ve grown weary of your blame without personal responsibility for your policies.  You were elected under promises of change, but your personal agenda of socialism is not the change that people want.

Maybe the best recourse would be for you to sit and truly listen to your own words, rather than just reading them off a teleprompter.  It’s time to stop with the rhetoric and begin with action.  Take control of you party, stop the lying, and start listening to the American people.  It’s time become the leader you were elected to be and follow the promises you made.  You are one year into your Presidency, so time to stop placing the blame on the past and realize that your destiny is now in your hands alone.  Your campaign slogan has lost all meaning President Obama.  You are no longer “Change we can believe in”, but instead “Change we fear”.  You have only three years to reverse the damage done.  It’s time to stop preaching to those in Congress and for you to step up as our President.  Only you can determine how history will remember you.  If this speech serves as foreshadowing, you will be remembered as the President big on campaign promises, but lacking in actions.


The Definition of Marriage and it's place in Legislation

The debate surrounding the definition of marriage and how it pertains to the gay rights movement has been steadily growing for years.  The latest volley reported by Fox News, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), an openly gay lawmaker, has sponsored legislation that would allow for gay partners of Federal employees to have access to the same benefits as married spouses, to include survivor annuities, health insurance, and travel & relocation benefits to name a few.  President Obama has expressed his support for this measure, with the Senate Homeland Security and Gov't Affairs Committee voting on Dec. 16th to forward the bill for full vote.

Addressing this issue, we need to break the argument into two distinct, but related, parts: The definition of marriage and the assignment of benefits based on that definition.

First hurdle is the definition of marriage and how that pertains to government and legislation.  We must understand that marriage is not a public, nor declared, institution; it is a religious one.  Marriage has existed long before the creation of the US Government and therefore we have to look at how a such an institution would be included in government recourse.

That said, most all religions in the world define marriage with different variations among all of them.  Some allow for the taking of more than one wife, some dictate that the union should outlast life, etc.   For the Judeo-Christian ideal, marriage is defined as the union between a man and woman with a life long commitment as a covenant before God.

Rednex Note:  The actual definition is much more involved than listed above.  Rather than listing all scripture, I condensed for the sake of length of article.

So with this definition, what bearing does it have on the current national debates.  The answer is very simple, it has no bearing what so ever.  I know that answer will surprise many, so let me explain.  As stated above, marriage is religious institution, not one of the state.  As the United States was built on Judeo-Christian values, it's very easy to see how the ideals could percolate up thru our governing system and be seen as state institutions, but to believe so would be inaccurate.  In fact, the First amendment provides for a separation of Church and State :

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

                                                             1st Amendment, Bill of Rights

Now, the purpose of this amendment is provide a separation of church and state, not a exclusion of religion and state.  Meaning, the intent of this amendment was to prevent the government from the forcing of one religious ideal (national religion) onto the citizens, but it doesn't provide for a freedom FROM religion, but that's subject for another rant.  In the matter of marriage, for the Federal government to define marriage, it would be in direct contradiction to the First amendment based on it being a religious institution.  Likewise, Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District vs Grumet, upheld that the First Amendment upheld a restriction on the state level to do the same.  Thusly, based on the above, the Government (Fed or State) has no power to define the act of marriage or it's conditions.

Now comes the second part of the argument, while the Government does not have the power to define, they DO have to power to regulate benefits based on the institution, such as the awarding of property after death, parental transfer rights, etc.  However, no where in the Constitution is Congress granted the power to determine such awards.  If not explicitly granted in the Constitution, then the 10th amendment comes into play which states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

                                                             10th Amendment, Bill of Rights   

The 10th amendment allows two very important fundamentals within our Federal structure: A check and balance against the power of an overbearing government by placing power in the hands of the States and the allowance for the act of social experimentation within the states.

The idea of state's being the incubators for social experimentation was proposed by Ben Franklin and in my belief, one of the most far reaching, future insights by our founding fathers.  By preserving the power to the states, we allow for a "test" mechanism that allows for the state to determine and set policy without affecting the citizenship of the nation as a whole.  As an example of action, look to the differences between California and Texas in terms of electrical policy.  While Texas is moving towards a system of deregulation and less state control, California moved in the direction of strict regulation, price setting, and control.  As a result, we have seen California suffer in the terms of it's policy decisions, while electricity has become cheaper and more accessible within Texas.   This has lead to other states starting to follow the Texas model, providing for a better policy direction for the nation as a whole.

The same type of social experimentation should be performed in the arena of same sex partner benefits.  Let the states most passionate about it (California, New England States, etc) enact the policies allowing for the inclusion of same sex partners.  If the idea proves beneficial, their populations will grow, their economies flourish, and other states will follow suit for fear of losing constituents.  Likewise, should the policies fail, then only the states participating will be hurt, leaving others virtually unaffected.  In the end, it will be the people that decide and set the direction, not a subset within governmental control

As for the matter of Federal benefits, it's my personal belief that the taxpayer should not be responsible for paying for benefits for anyone other than the person hired, regardless of straight, married, single, gay.  The Fed hired a person, not that person's wife, kids, or partner.  If a federal employee wishes to have their family covered under the same benefits, then they should be required to pay the differential for inclusion.  Using this method, the matter of relationship would hold no consequence.  As a federal employee, I could cover my neighbor under my benefits during hard times, should I wish to fund the effort.  In this case, sexuality or the acceptance of martial status, becomes moot, saves the taxpayers money, and puts all on a level playing field.  Now many would state that they would be unable, or unwilling, to pay this offset, but this is a much bigger discussion.  Should we move this direction, the total expenditure of the fed would come down, so should taxes.  In addition, we also restart the health care debate and impacts on citizens, best saved for another time.  If unwilling to pay the differential, then the employee should find employment within an enterprise that provides more in line with their needs, rather than relying on the taxpayer to front that cost.

In summary, the idea of marriage belongs where it first evolved, within the religious context.   As such, it's definition has no place, or relevance, within governmental debate.   As for the assignment of benefits, that is a matter left to the states for decision, since, constitutionally, the Fed has no power to interject itself.  Lastly, you will notice I made no mention of private enterprise here.  Private enterprise should be left to do what ever it feels necessary to attract and maintain the people required for it to succeed.  Should they wish to provide, or deny, benefits to same sex couples, they have only to answer to their bottom line and personnel turnover rates.  Should they reside in a state that wishes to legislate such measure, then it would be up to the company to decide to comply or move to a state in line with their policy belief, leading to the free market argument made above.  Again, the proposal of social experimentation, free market, and competition would be the decider of policy, not the moral stance of government stepping outside it's limitations.        


The Second Amendment and the meaning of Militia

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Never in history have 27 words sparked so much debate and controversy.  What is the true meaning of these words?  What did the framers have in mind when they made this the 2nd amendment of the constitution?  While all will agree that the basis of this amendment is to provide the right for American people to keep and bear arms, the phrase "well regulated militia" has put into play the question of exactly "which" Americans should have that right.

Personally, I am a strict Constitutionalist.  I believe that our Founding Fathers were men far beyond their time when it came to the establishment of history's most successful and free government, therefore, we should strictly adhere to their words with little to no interpretation.  However, I also realize that none of the Founding Fathers are alive today to tell of their intent, so some interpretation must be made.

Gun control advocates surmise that the words "well regulated militia" intends to limit gun rights to only those that are actively participate in state militia's, meaning military groups raised and controlled by the states.  Gun control opponents however, contend that the phrase is meant in a general sense, applying to all "able bodied people".

To fully understand, I think we have to look at the timing and purpose of two of this country's most important documents: The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The US Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, and laid the foundation for the legal authority for the existence of the United States of America, as well as, establishing the framework defining the relationship between the federal government, the states, and it's citizens.  The Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments, was proposed by James Madison and went into effect four years later on December 15, 1791, as an answer to state concerns that threatened the ratification of the US Constitution due to a belief that the Constitution failed to safe guard the basic principals of human liberty.

That being said, the 2nd amendment was meant to amend the constitution so as to protect a liberty sought after by the states.  The exact provision(s) of the constitution that were to be amended were as follows:

The powers of Congress:

To provide for the calling forth the milita to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrection and repel Invasions

                                                                    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15

To provide for the organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

                                                                       Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16

The powers of the President:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States

                                                                           Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1

So what about these provisions so offended the states that an amendment was needed to allow for ratification?  Well, we have to look at history to fully understand.  We, as a Country, were just coming out of the Revolutionary war.  The term "militia" during this time, meant the same as it did within the text of the constitution, which was a group of trained citizen soldiers under the control of the government (king), to be used in times when a standing army was not present.  If you read the words of the constitution, the founders had the same meaning here.  In addition, we must remember that Cornwallis used the meaning to disarm the citizens, by stating that a militia was not necessary as the British Army was present for the defense of the states.  Had American citizens relinquished their arms as mandated by Cornwallis and not fought, the Revolutionary war may have ended very differently.  The states were very aware of this fact and wished to prevent a second coming of this denial of liberty.  It was a belief that armed citizens WERE the method by which to regulate a specialized militia.

Take for example, our current National Guard.  Many gun control advocates point to this as the example of the "well regulated militia" that the founders had in mind when drafting the amendment.  However, we must remember that the National Guard is an arm of the Federal Government which may be utilized by states when needed.  The National Guard is under the control and influence of the Federal Government, as prescribed by the above listed articles of the Constitution.  How can a people be expected to use the militia as a method of defense against a tyrannical government if that militia is within the power of the Government?  It cannot, which was the purpose of the 2nd amendment to these provisions! 

You must also look at the wording of "the right of the people" shall not be infringed.  Through out the constitution, the usage of "The People" was meant to convey a general understanding of all citizens of the United States.  The preamble begins with "We the People", and surely no one believes that the founders were only speaking for a specific group of citizenship, but instead were referencing all.  In fact, most of all amendments of the bill of rights use this verbiage to make general reference to all citizens.  Why would anyone try to interpret this phrase differently in the 2nd amendment, than they would in the 1st, which guarantees freedom of speech as a "right of the people".  In the context of the 2nd amendment, the phrase was meant to convey a right to all citizens as a condition of "general militia" composed of all able bodied people to defend their liberty.

This idea of "general militia" was tried and proven in our courts of law under the 1990 Supreme court case of Perpich vs Department of Defense.  Within this case, Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich sued the DOD claiming that it was unconstitutional for the DOD to order the Minnesota National Guard to perform duties outside the state without the Governor's consent.  The Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Perpich by defining a difference between "special militia" as in the case of the National Guard, and "general militia" which they defined as "private citizens with privately procured and owned arms".  So, if we have precedent defining a general militia, how could the 2nd amendment be considered meaning anything but?

Lastly, there is the argument that "well regulated militia" was meant to mean that the groups of citizens must be "well trained and willing" to perform the duties of the militia.  That without this, private citizens could not be considered within the scope of protection.  However, you could liken service in the militia to that of Jury duty.  Jury duty is considered a condition of citizenship.   No one could claim that most jurists are "well trained", nor that many are willing.  However, when called, it is a duty of being a citizen to perform.  Likewise, the duties of a general militia are the same.  While we have an army (like we have lawyers) to protect us, should a time come when we must be protected against the army, or outside enemies, that the call to militia would be made.  In addition, within jury duty, it is made up of common citizens with certain parties being exempt, such as Police Officers, Jailers, Lawyers, Judges, etc.  The reason for the exclusion is that they are too close to the process and likely to be swayed.  Again, a comparison could be made to the militia.  The militia must be composed of common citizens who are not under the influence of the government (Army, National Guard) that could be attempting to derive us of our liberties.  One cannot expect an arm of the government to be used to protect us from said government.  This would be within the calling and realm of a generalized militia made up of people of the community.

After all of this, we need only look at the quotes of the framers and influential individuals of the time to see their true intent:

What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.

                       Rep Elbridge Gerry (Mass.), Annuals of Congress (1789)

"...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights...

                       Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 46

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.

                       Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Dec. of Independence

That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms...

                       Samuel Adams, Debates in Convention of Commonwealth

The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

                       Thomas Jefferson

Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms

                        James Madison, Federalist Papers

The right to arms is absolute and guaranteed.  You need only look at the words of the founders of our country  to see their intent and purpose.  The last measure of protection against an overbearing government is born by the rights of the citizens to bear arms.  Should our armies fail, the armed citizenship is the only hope for self preservation.  We must value and protect these rights as there may come a day in which this basic right becomes the difference between existence and extinction.

Lastly, we as citizens, must stand to ensure that this right is left preserved wholly and completely.  Gun control in any form is an attack upon our freedom.  Many will say that gun rights are plausible, but that a limitation of type of arms should be enforced.   Make no mistake that this reasoning is also an attack and lessening of the power.  To allow a limitation of arms, is in essence, the disarming of the people.  Do I believe that common man should be allowed the use of "military" type weaponry?  Yes I do!  If we allowed the government to limit the type of arms available, then we are left defenseless against all attack.  Should congress state that the allowance of a sling shot constitutes a right to arms, but limits our ability to maintain auto/semi automatic rifles, then what chance do the citizens have against a standing army, either domestic or foreign?  We, as citizens, must take the stance to prevent this erosion of our liberty.  To stand by and not fight delivers us to the yoke of oppression of which we will have no recourse.  It is my opinion that the Framers made this amendment second only to the right to free speech for a specific reason.  They did so because of the sheer importance it has to perseverance of free men.


What can Brown do for you?

It's a message that was spread across Massachusetts, and in stunning victory, a message that the people of Massachusetts decided in which to put their faith.

Man, what an exciting time in politics.  First off, I wish that writing this blog were my only job.  There has been so much I've wanted to say since this historical election, and make no mistake, it was historical; however, my job and life has prevented me from doing so until now.  So bare with me, I've got a lot to say today.

History and Massachusetts just seems to go hand in hand.  From the start of the Revolutionary war in Lexington, Ma, to the Boston Tea Party, to the election of Scott Brown, this state seems to be the launch point for key moments in American freedom and independence.  In the biggest political coup in my lifetime, the bluest of blue states have determined that a Republican is the best person to represent them.  Not since JFK's election in 1952 have they felt in such a way and as thus, represents the ending of a dynasty in the North.  To quote a phrase from talk radio, "Camelot has fallen."

Yes, while the election itself was historical, it's my belief that the impacts of this election will be the studies of political students of the future.  The vast implications that this could have on the political landscape are almost too much to comprehend.  Yes, there will be immediate impacts, such as the ability for filibustering to be put into play for the blockage of the healthcare bill & cap and trade, balancing of power within congress, etc, but it's the longer reaching ripples of this stone that I'm more interested in.

The election of Scott Brown to the Massachusetts senate was not a Republican victory, but yet a victory of the people.  We've already heard the excuses and reasoning for the loss from the left

Rednex note:  My favorite being that Brown's win was attributed to the failed policies of the previous administration. Right, they were so angry at George Bush, they elected a Republican.  That still makes me snicker.

to the victory cries of the right.  Neither have right here in my opinion.  This victory was warning shot across the bow of the political machine by the people of this country, "Listen to us or we will find someone who will!".   The news is already showing that many Democrats have heard the message with calls from key Democrats, such as Finstein (D-Ca), Weiner (D-NY),  Frank (D-MA), calling for a slow down in the health care debate and a call to get more in touch with the people.  However, the most important question, what will the Republican party learn from this win?

Larry Kudlow, National Review Online's Economics editor, put it best in his article "Are Republicans listening to Scott Brown's message?"  Following Larry's lead, I will add my take.

Sen. Brown ran on a simple conservative message:

  • Following of JFK's  across the board tax cuts  to stimulate business and the economy
  • Reduction of big government and a recall to state power
  • Strong military and defense required to strength and protect America
  • Call for health care form, but in a logical, reasonable effort

These fundamentals are what resounded with the people of Massachusetts and won him the election.  In a direct antithesis of the Obama administration's direction, it was message that led people to put their trust in Sen. Brown and that will provide the future direction of this country.  Republicans are missing a prime opportunity to cash in and take the lead.  Brown has proven what the people want, so it is now in the hands of the Republican party to rally and show that they understand the will of the people.

As stated by Kudlow, Republicans MUST take up Scott Brown's message if they wish to succeed. Gone is the excuse that Democrats are in complete control, as with Brown's victory, they now have the power to demand a seat at the political table.   They must take an immediate and finite stance against any measure that will increase the taxes on the American people.  They must rally against the explosive growth of government that is prevailing in the Obama administration and push plans for reduction and control.  They must push for reform in a financially responsible way, utilizing the policies they have previously touted but were ignored by the Democratic party.  Unless they learn the lesson of this victory and hear the cries of the American public, they will suffer the same defeat in 2010 that Coakley was witness to this week.

Republicans - The ball is in your court and your excuses gone.  The people have spoken and the bugle sounded.  Have you heard the call or will you simply rest on your laurels with the misguided assumption that Brown's win points to a Republican return?  To do so would be a grave mistake.  The people are not angry at a party, but a lumbering, stumbling, growing government that refuses to follow the dictates of those it serves.  The vote of 2010 will not be voted along party lines, but according to the voice of the people.  Those who choose to listen and abide will survive, those who don't will fail under the weight of the monster that they helped create.


Haiti - Deserving of aid, but not from the Fed

On Jan 12th at 4:53PM (local time), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti causing massive damage and loss of life.  Major buildings collapsed, including the presidential palace and the National Penitentiary.  With the collapse of the penitentiary, over 4,000 inmates escaped adding to the pressures of the Haitian police force, which usually numbering 4,000 is down to 1,500, with many presumed dead or unaccounted for.  While an official number of deceased has not been released, there are estimates that the death toll may end up being as high as 100,000.

This was truly a disaster of epic proportions for the small island nation.  Looting is rampant and many are left homeless and worried about the safety of loved ones and neighbors.  We've all seen the commercials of various organizations, such as the Red Cross, NFL, and others requesting for people to donate to the cause.  The American people have responded in force, with USA Today reporting that the amount of private donations is on track to break records and even surpass the charity given after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.  Charity of  which totaled $6.47B, thus proving once again, that Americans are the most charitable citizens in the world.

My heart goes out to all those affected by this earthquake.  I take pride in the fact that so many Americans have stepped up to provide relief in a time when they are hurting financially.  However, my support ends when President Obama agreed to send $100M in aid immediately (with more in the coming months) and that Haiti would be a "top priority" within his administration alluding that this disaster would not be another Katrina.

Well of course it won't President Obama!  Katrina was on US soil and affected your constituents, Haiti did not.  Katrina fell under the responsibility of the federal government, Haiti does not.  The facts are simple, America does not have the funds to support the relief effort for the Haitian people.  We are borrowing money from the Chinese to pay our bills and to fund the disastrous policies that your administration is putting in place.  We are now using that borrowed money to "invest" in an area where we will never, ever see a return.  I'm all for the charity of the private citizen helping those in need, but I am completely against the federal government forcing us to be charitable at the point of the taxation sword.  For each penny you spend, for every dime of relief you provide, the American citizen pays an estimated 5x in taxes.  It is not your right, nor within your power, to force the people to provide.

We have dealt with this situation before.  In 1794, the US Congress was faced with a similar situation with regards to the funding of aid for Haitian refugees after the Haitian revolution.  During this time, James Madison led the votes against the granting of assistance by denying that the Federal Government had within it's powers, the authority to provide benevolence.

From the Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, page 170 (1794-01-10) [3], Madison's speech was summarized:

"Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Most notable in this speech was Madison's quote, " I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Please appeal to our past Mr. President and learn the lessons of our history.  Once again you are stepping outside your authority and becoming less a President, but more a dictator.  The constitution does not grant you the power, nor the right, to provide charity upon the backs of the American citizen.  Step aside and handle the issues that now face the country of which you were placed in charge.  We have climbing unemployment rates, critical deficits, terrorist attacks upon it's people, and a albatross of a depression.  Step aside and let the American people do what they do best, which is provide charity to the world.  We do not need you to do it for us.  Instead, we need you to handle the problems at home, not try to gain world favor by taking the lead in matters outside your jurisdiction.


Want to make real money? Join the Fed!

Well the Christmas and New Year's season is over and it's back to the grind.  While I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season, it's now time to get back to the reporting of the mismanagement of our government.

The newest news: The way to make real money in this recession is to join the federal government's payroll.  That's right folks, in a time where the government is taking over private enterprise and demanding the limiting of pay and bonuses for private sector employees, when the adjusted unemployment rate is reaching 17%, the federal employee is sitting above the turmoil when it comes to pay.

In a story released by USA Today on 12/10, the number of federal workers making a six-figure income has exploded over the last 18 months from 14% to 19%, NOT including including overtime and bonuses!! Think about that for a second, at 19%, nearly 1 of every 5 federal workers is making over $100,000.   It makes me wonder what the 7.3M unemployed Americans think about that?

Just to condense the facts of the story for you:

Defense department civilian employees earning $150,000+ increased from 1,868 in 12/2007 to 10,100 in 06/2009.  That is an astronomical leap of almost 541% within a 2 year period!

The Department of Transportation only had one person earning over $170,000 18 months ago, but today, there are almost 1,690 earning this generous wage.

In a bill expected to be signed by President Obama, these federal workers are expected to receive another 2% pay increase this year, while the private sector is expected to see only a <1%.  This doesn't take into account the step increases (for longevity) averaging 1.5% per year.

Average salary for nation's 1.9M federal workers: $71.000. Average salary for nations 108M private sector workers: $50,028. 

To be fair, some of the bonuses were enacted by President Bush (3% 2008, 3.9% 2009), so it's not President Obama specifically that I'm ranting about, but big government in general.  At a time when many Americans are out of jobs and all Americans are feeling the bite of a failing economy, our representatives see it as acceptable to vote themselves, and their staff, pay increases.

When will our Government learn to be "representative" of the American people?  Why should so many hurt and suffer, when the government that caused the financial mess to start, continues to thrive?  I fear that the only resolution will come in November 2010, when the backlash against this waste is decisive and impacting.  We must have long memories here.  We must remember that while our neighbors, and ourselves, went without, the machinery of big government was well oiled with the taxpayer money of those suffering.  Much like the health care debate, the fed is exempt from the program, and with this story, it would seem that they are also exempt from the realities of an economic recession.