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Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We do, indeed, have a lot to be thankful for. I am amazed at how few these days remember to whom we owe thanks. Our Associate Pastor last Sunday referred to Thanksgiving as a secular holiday. If pastors don’t remember, then who will?

Here’s a video starring T. J. Thyne (Dr. Hodgins on Bones) that will make you smile.

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Civic Illiteracy

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has devised a quiz testing civic literacy. The average score is only 49%– though it improved to 78% online in November, perhaps because the online group is self-selected, and perhaps because elections improve awareness of civic matters for a while.

The most remarkable finding is that elected officials do worse than average, scoring only 44%!

You can take the quiz here. (I got 100%. Nana-nana-boo-boo.)

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Rangel on Taxes

Charlie Rangel is proposing lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%—a move that comes close to McCain’s proposal to lower it to 25%, but not so close to Reagan’s better proposal to lower it to 0%—while raising the top individual tax rate to 44%, applying on income over $200,000. One out of two….

Why do Democrats think, for example, that two-income professional couples are rich?

During the 1920s, a time of great prosperity, the top tax rate fell from 77% to 24%. The top rate, moreover, didn’t kick in until one reached very high incomes, ranging, depending on the year, from $100,000 to $1,000,000. That’s roughly $1.1 million to $11 million in 2008 dollars. I think raising tax rates is a bad idea at any income level. But if one is committed to raising the top rate, why have it begin at a level that is far from rich, and which, in the 1920s, would have been taxed at rates ranging from 16% down to 8%?

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Barack Obama evidently plans to endorse the Saudi peace plan—recognition of Israel in exchange for withdrawal to pre-1967 borders. That would give the Golan Heights back to Syria and split Jerusalem.

Since “land for peace” has worked so well before….

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Puzzling Juxtapositions

Have you noticed?

  • Obama won 52% of the vote—a “landslide,” according to the increasingly foolish mainstream media. California’s Proposition 8 also passed with 52% of the vote. Why is no one calling that a landslide?
  • Obama is said to have won because voters were concerned about the economy. But the stock market has plummeted since he was elected although there has been little economic news. Investors evidently see that his economic policies have a lot in common with those implemented under Herbert Hoover and FDR: raise taxes, restrict trade, increase federal spending, empower unions, and regulate.
  • The average UAW worker has a salary and benefits package worth almost $150,000. Two average auto workers who marry are likely to earn about $250,000 in salary between them. Shouldn’t Obama favor “spreading their wealth around”?
  • Thirty years ago, the average steelworker at the Ambridge (PA) plant made over $100,000 (in 1978 dollars!), due to lax overtime rules. The plant closed shortly thereafter. Maybe workers have been resisting unions, not because companies pressure them, but because they correctly note that unions tend to destroy the source of their jobs? In short, maybe workers realize that unions do not promote their long-term interests?
  • Why are those most concerned about monopolies and cartels among companies least concerned about monopolies and cartels among unions?
  • The likelihood of extensive and expensive regulation of carbon emissions, including scrapping over a hundred coal-burning power plants nearing completion and devastating coal-producing regions, has gone up dramatically, even while economic woes lower energy usage and evidence accumulates that the earth is cooling on its own.

On unions, consider these words of Meghan McArdle:

First, after the unions have put companies into an untenable position, they come to the rest of us looking for a handout to continue the unsustainable levels of pay and benefits. Almost everyone I know makes less than an autoworker, and has a whole lot less job security. Why should they pay autoworkers for the privilege of making cars no one wants?

I also really loathe and despise the way the unions use work rules and featherbedding to make their companies and industries less productive than they otherwise would be.

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binxpumpkinpatchBinx, Pumpkin, and Patch pass peacefully near the bottom of the stairs.

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Reaction Roundup

John Hawkins has an illuminating roundup of conservative blog reactions to McCain’s defeat.

Everyone in America knows the theme of Obama’s campaign—hope and change—even if no one knows what that really means. There was no theme to McCain’s campaign. “Country first”? That didn’t convey anything except McCain’s patriotism. And patriotism, even elevated to heroism, isn’t a political vision. It tells us nothing about where we go from here.

Will Obama succeed? I don’t know think we know what he would count as success. If his goal is to smash the capitalist system, then destroying the economy, producing a depression, emboldening tyrants abroad, and weakening democracy throughout the world may BE his goal.

My reactions to the election are like those of Melanie Phillips:

So the answer to my question turned out to be yes, America really was going to do this. A historic moment indeed. The hyperbole for once is not exaggerated: this is a watershed election which changes the fate of the world. The fear however is that the world now becomes very much less safe for all of us as a result. Those of us who have looked on appalled during this most frightening of presidential elections – at the suspension of reason and its replacement by thuggery — can only hope that the way this man governs will be very different from the profile provided by his influences, associations and record to date. It’s a faint hope – the enemies of America, freedom and the west will certainly be rejoicing today….

What this election tells us is that America voted for change because America is in the process of changing – not just demographically by becoming less white and more diverse, but as the result of a culture war in which western civilisation is losing out to a far-left agenda which has become mainstream, teaching American children to despise the founding values of their country and hijacking discourse by the minority power-grab of victim-culture….

So now we are promised a change in America’s fundamental values. And they really will be changed. Obama has said in terms that he thinks the US constitution is flawed. America’s belief in itself as defending individual liberty, truth and justice on behalf of the free world will now be expiated instead as its original sin. Those who have for the past eight years worked to bring down the America that defends and protects life and liberty are today ecstatic. They have stormed the very citadel on Pennsylvania Avenue itself.

Millions of Americans remain lion-hearted, decent, rational and sturdy. They find themselves today abandoned, horrified, deeply apprehensive for the future of their country and the free world. No longer the land of the free and the home of the brave; they must now look elsewhere.

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Rudyard Kipling on the Election

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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Vote!

We have a historic choice to make today, a choice between

  • strength and weakness
  • containment and appeasement
  • freedom and suppression
  • prosperity and depression
  • low taxes and high taxes
  • honesty and mendacity
  • respect for life and contempt for life

More broadly, we have a choice between the philosophy of John Locke on which this country was built—one based on individual liberty and individual rights to life, liberty, and property—and the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one based on the general will and the collective good.

Meanwhile, even this early in the morning, there is already evidence of massive and widespread voter fraud. It started in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, where there are 19 registered voters—and 21 ballots cast.

UPDATE: 100,000 people in Georgia are also registered in either Ohio or Florida.  Several have already been discovered to have voted in two states.  Good grief.  This is out of hand.

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He disapproves:

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise– whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team– is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated.

The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama’s trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges– very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in real world….

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of “spreading the wealth,” is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America’s future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble….

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown.

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