An ultra-conservative's views on this and that

25 October 2018

Depends on your definition of "suffering"

An acquaintance of mine posted this screed on FB:  "8 years of suffering under Barack Obama"

It starts out fairly innocous:

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”
Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

I won't address each point, but I will dissect the obvious ones:

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

And what made the bailout controversial?  Was it that it circumvented bankruptcy laws, and in so doing, violated centuries of contract law?  Obama insinuated the federal government into what should have been a cut-and-dried bankruptcy process:  GM files for bankruptcy, and a court rules GM's creditors be paid off.  This link tells it better than I could, but in short:  With bankruptcy, the secured bond holders would have the best chance of getting the most back on their investment in the company paid off first.  The UAW, with their pension fund (an unsecured creditor), was less deserving.  Instead, the Obama administration screwed over the secured bond holders into accepting 29 cents on the dollar, versus the UAW getting 40 cents on the dollar.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.
This requires a liberal reading of "lone-wolf":  Nidal Hassan, who shot up Fort Hood, was in contact with al-Awlaki.  The administration classified the shooting as "workplace violence" instead of terrorism, despite Hassan's identifying himself as a "Soldier of Allah".  Hassan's attack was motivated by radical Islam.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
He only had to violate the airspace of another nation to do so.  Granted, Pakistan is hardly a reliable ally in the war against terrorism, but they weren't declared state sponsors of terror.  So to violate their airspace was an example of the leftist mindset of ends justifying means.

For all the inadequacies of the Affordable Care Act, we seem to have forgotten that, before the ACA, you could be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition and kids could not stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26.
 
It blows my mind how many people don't comprehend how the notion of catastrophic insurance works.  There's a pool of money, paid into from premiums by all the customers of the insurance company.  If you have a pre-existing condition, it means you are more likely to need access to that pool of money.  In some cases, it's guaranteed to draw money out of the pool.  If I, as a healthy person, am less likely to need access to the pool of money should my health suddenly change, shouldn't I pay less than someone who is a greater risk to depleting the pool of money for others who might need it?  And is there a point to "insuring" someone who is a guaranteed risk?  And how the hell is a 26-year-old a kid?  If we recognize 18 as the age of an adult, and you're no longer allowed to claim a person 18 and older as a dependent on your taxes, how is it logical that they are still a health-insurance dependent?  It makes for messy law.

Obama approved a $14.5 billion system to rebuild the levees in New Orleans.
After the city of New Orleans squandered millions in funds in the years before and after Katrina.

He expanded funding for embryonic stem cell research, supporting groundbreaking advancement in areas like spinal injury treatment and cancer.
This was a reversal of the Bush policy to not fund federal funds for the pie-in-the-sky promises of embryonic stem cell research, as a nod to the moral implications of research on otherwise viable embryos.  Obama made federal funds available before there was any tangible proof of the benefits.  That's not surprising, considering his administration's willingness to direct taxpayer dollars to projects that never stood a chance of convincing private investors to fund them, and for good reason.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
For doing nothing!  He'd been in office for weeks.  The award was seen as a snub of Bush, and Obama proceeded to show he was not deserving of a "peace" prize with ordering unilateral military action around the globe.  Lest we forget he committed the U.S. military to actions in Libya, never even providing the courtesy to provide advance notification to Congress, something I recall Chuck Schumer being bothered by, and mentioning that Obama's predecessors had done.

He was the first president since Eisenhower to serve two terms without personal or political scandal.
Operation Fast and Furious, which arguably resulted in Border Patrol officer Brian Terry's death?  The IRS denying or slow-rolling 501c3 organizations with a conservative political affiliation, versus "progressive" organizations not encountering similar resistance?  The attempt to freeze Fox News Channel out of the press pool, an action that prompted their rivals to object to?  How about the dubious investments in "green" energy companies like Solyndra that resulted in the waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.  And let us not forget that the whole "separation" of children from their illegal immigrant "parents" was a program started and enforced under Obama.

You can claim his administration was scandal-free, only if you severely limit your diet of news coverage or suffer from a faulty memory.

23 June 2018

High emotions masquerading as logic

So my FB friends never fail to disappoint in the weakness of their arguments regarding the border situation.

First of all, every nation in the world has the right to enforce laws governing who may enter/exit.  Our who may work within the borders.

But to the leftists, the U.S. must be excluded from this rule.  Since every attempt to enforce our immigration laws is either racist or cruel or both.

Let's start with the emotionally charged topic of "separation".  I've learned from my lefty friends that there is no greater sin than separating children from their parents at the border.  I mean, there's no other times we take children from their parents...

Except when the children are being abused or living in an unsafe home environment.  Or the parent or parents are incarcerated for committing a crime.

Like, say, sneaking across the border and violating the sovereignty of a country.  And then attempting to work in that country.  Oh, wait.

Or how about when some of the people in the country illegally drive drunk and murder someone with their car?  Which they don't have any insurance for, and which isn't registered to them.  If they can leave the scene of the accident, they will.  And law enforcement has to explain to someone's loved ones how finding and catching the lawbreaker will be next to impossible, assuming they haven't fled home.

But the leftists cry about children being "ripped" from their mother's arms.  Except, that, while seemingly cruel, the "mothers" aren't really the mothers.  Sometimes they are smuggling the children in as part of a trafficking network.  Big surprise, someone willing to sneak across the desert and cross the border is also willing to lie to the federal agents who catch and detain them.  And the "relatives" we place them with may be willing to lie to federal agents as well.  A recent report found thousands of illegal immigrant children, subsequently placed with family within our borders, to be "missing":  the federal is no longer tracking them.  Did the family move?  Or was something more extra-legal happening?

But the point is moot, since President Trump has issued an executive order to no longer separate children film their "parents".  Instead of keeping the kids somewhere with games and activities, now they'll be housed with the adults who knowingly broke the law and are consequently kept in a place that looks more like a prison and may be in violation of the law Congress passed during the Clinton years.  Signed into law by President Clinton.  And enforced by Clinton.  And President Bush.  And President Obama.  And President Trump.

So I've no doubt we'll see a lawsuit arguing how we can't keep children with their parents in a prison.

Because leftists aren't interested in enforcing immigration law.  And Democrats, wanting to gain and stay in power, are all too willing to support an open-borders policy with an eye to the future.  It's no coincidence that they oppose requiring photo ID to vote.  Or that they support amnesty and a speedy path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  Because the illegals will reward them with votes.

But you just keep kidding yourself that Democrat politicians have your best interests at heart...

Finally, I'd like to address the latest rash of comparisons of our ICE and Border Patrol agents to the Nazis.  Really?  Has no one heard of Godwin's Law?  And I defy the leftist drama queens to point to an instance where the hard-working, law-abiding American citizens that comprise our agencies charged with securing our borders have summarily executed illegal immigrants.  Or put them in cattle cars to extermination camps.  Or would follow an order to violate the human rights of people.  I have a feeling all I'd hear are the sounds of crickets.



25 February 2018

With the left, the ends always justify the means

I'm a member of the NRA, unlike most if not all of the recent mass shooters.

So why is the NRA being targeted with this campaign to get other businesses to  sever their the civil-rights organization?  Because the <strike>gun-control</strike> gun ban advocates can't win the argument fairly.

So they paint arguably one of the biggest advocates of the Second Amendment as killers of children and the recipients of blood money.  For nothing more than advocacy.

To the left, the symbolism of toppling the NRA represents a key battle in their war on Second Amendment rights.  Defeating or neutralizing the power of the Second Amendment's champion means they can start fixing a constitutional right they don't like.  The hell with the fact that their measures are:

- useless
- unconstitutional

So removing the NRA becomes necessity.

I've noticed the gun-grabbers are not above hyperbole, deceit, and distortions coupled with appeals to emotion to persuade an uninformed public and their elected representatives that "we must do something", even if illegal and uneffective.

So why would they want the NRA to exist to check them on the facts?

16 February 2018

Parkland

The shootings in Parkland, FL are terrible.  Just as terrible as every other act of senseless violence.  And they happen too often.

That's about the extent of where the leftist gun-grabbers and I can seem to find common ground.

Recently, they've adopted a new tactic.  They've always, as if on cue, made their emotional appeals to institute "common-sense" gun control, or something similarly-named.  But they've always been short on the details.  The more rabid (and, as it turns out, more honest) among them will put forth their simple platform:  Ban guns.  Confiscate them.

In the wake of the tragedy, the politicians and pundits of a more conservative bent will call on an end to politicization of the deaths to drive the gun-grabber agenda.  They will say the political discussions have no place on the stage when parents and guardians are still being called down to the morgue to identify their children (which is, incidentally, absolutely right).  They will offer "thoughts and prayers", which can seem like an empty platitude.  And it sometimes is, but it's our human nature to want to find some way to console the grieving family and friends of the deceased.

As I said, the leftists have amended tactics recently.  Now, they will tell the "thoughts and prayers" crowd what they can do with their "thoughts and prayers".  They will push back against the call for common decency and implore anyone who will listen:  "If not now, then when?  Someone must do something!" they will cry.

We are doing something.  We're letting the loved ones grieve in peace.

What you, the gun-grabbers, are asking us to do, is make big decisions while emotions are still running high, without the benefit of calm, reasoned, logic-filled discussion that can temper the nasty side effects of rash decisions.  Side effects that are much more likely to be seen when logical reflection is allowed to participate.

But that's kind of the idea, isn't it?  Because you, the gun-grabbers, know that if we have time to think about your proposals, and give them careful thought, we would never accept them.

So you exploit grief instead.  You're despicable.

As to my proposal?  Well, it involves analyzing the factors that make these mass shootings all too common:

  • Preponderance of firearms, often illegally obtained
  • Mental health and criminal background of the shooters
  • Environment in which the shootings occur
  • Reaction of the shooters when faced with resistance (e.g. being challenged by someone else with a firearm)
The US has a lot of guns, no doubt about it, but increases in legal gun ownership have correlated to a decrease in violent crime.  When a certain percentage of the law-abiding public is armed, muggers, rapists, and other violent criminals will only prey on that public as long as the risk is outweighed by reward.  A would-be victim that is able to respond with deadly force presents a risk to the health and/or life of the predator-- in other words, the risk goes up.

But what if certain environments reduce the risk to the would-be predator, by legally requiring would-be victims to render themselves defenseless?  Usually, this disarming of law-abiding group is done in the interests of perceived safety:  Discharge of a firearm, even accidentally, can endanger lives on board a crowded airplane, in a crowded shopping mall, or in a school.  In the last example, we're also dealing with young people who have mental and physical abilities on par with mature adults, but often lacking the self-control and ability to think clearly in emotionally-charged environments, so we acknowledge these environments' restrictions are sensible, and we accept rendering ourselves and/or our loved ones defenseless as part of an implicit social contract whereby we get something in return:  Rapid transportation to a desired destination, acquisition of materials or services, or an education for ourselves or our progeny.

But it only takes one to violate that contract.  With minimal risk and high reward.  In the case of the scum that conduct mass shootings, that reward can be revenge, some sort of perverse pleasure, or the desire for immortality through infamy.  Both the risk and reward are timely:  A shooter can achieve his/her reward in the time before resistance exponentially increases the risk.

So in our closed system, what increases the risk sooner?  Removal of the means of violence?  As I said, there are a lot of guns in the U.S.  Nobody knows the exact number, but it is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions-- a minimum of 1 gun per capita.  Confiscation, even if not constitutionally prohibited, would be a Herculean task.

What other controls are at our disposal?  Reducing the access to guns from the mentally ill and criminals?  We have background checks in place to do just that, but they are built on a system developed by flawed human beings-- some people who shouldn't have access to firearms slip through the cracks and end up with them anyway.  Also, because our nation is founded on the notion of individual liberty, we must respect the rights of other, including the undocumented but nevertheless enshrined "right" to privacy-- the health records of our citizens are private, and while disclosure of those records for our mentally ill citizens may serve the interests of the State, our courts have often ruled that the State must demonstrate a compelling reason why they should go against the natural tendency toward individual rights trumping the interests of the State, as per the spirit of the Constitution.

What's left to adjust, in hopes of preventing these terrible tragedies?  Increasing the likelihood of the shooter being met with resistance, and sooner.  Much data exists to show when most of these scumbags encounter armed resistance, be it a cop, soldier, or average citizen with a gun whom had refused to be slaughtered without a fight.  But with the "resistance in street clothes", there's an element of unpredictability:  an environment of defenseless victims can be just that until it's not.

Risk versus reward.

15 November 2016

Just saying

I think my Facebook friends list will shrink before the end of the year, if my politically-different-thinking "friends" don't stop inadvertently linking me to the  Nazis.

Invocations of the Kristallnacht?  Look in the mirror, morons, those aren't Trump supporters out there rioting.

Bewilderment at half of the U.S. being racist for voting for the man?  Take a Xanax, folks, and consider the possibility that people voted for him, or against his main opponent, for a variety of reasons.

Yes, the list will definitely shrink, but I won't necessarily be the one doing the friend-culling.  All I have to do is unashamedly state my political views, and the counter will drop. 

And you know what?  I don't care.  If these people are unable to function in civil society and accept defeat like adults, I'm better off not having that negativity around me.

And why haven't I yet?  Because while I'm OK enduring the hatred that would be directed against me, I may unavoidably draw my wife into the cesspool, and that's just not something a loving husband does.

09 November 2016

Suck it up, snowflakes (Part 1)

It's been about 24 hours since the U.S. elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, and I just see more of the same whining and sniveling that I saw after the 2000 and 2004 elections.  People taking to social media to broadcast their demoralization and emotional exhaustion.  Teachers giving students a pass on coursework or exams because of their devastation at losing.

Suck it up, snowflakes.  This is not the end.

One of my Facebook friends, the wife of a former co-worker writes:

 Yes, I'm disappointed that my candidate lost. But that's not it. I have a whole lot of experience losing contests before, and my feelings today aren't about being a poor sport.
I'm devastated to learn that so many of the people around me condone (or at least don't condemn) sexual violence and hate speech against anyone who looks or acts 'different.' I'm afraid for the safety of my friends and my children. The author of this article does a beautiful job expressing what so many of us are feeling today.
I voted in the election, not so much for Trump (I would've preferred Ted Cruz), but against Hillary Clinton.  Trump has made some controversial statements, to be sure, but what's the saying about people in glass houses?  Hillary Clinton's party contains some real creepy characters:  Most notable has to be Joe Biden.

Set aside that Biden has been a fixture on the Washington scene for decades, and the most sensible foreign policy an elected official can pursue is to seek the advice of Joe Biden, and then do the exact opposite.  Biden's behavior as a vice president has ranked high on the creepy scale.  See the following links for well-documented instances where Biden engaged in behavior that would earn him a trip to HR in most large companies:
  • http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/joe-bidens-woman-touching-habit/article/2560311
  • http://time.com/3713264/joe-biden-stephanie-carter-shoulder-rub/
Then there's Ted "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy, a man who avoided the scandal of a woman drowning in his car as he swam to safety due to 2 things:  His last name, and the "D" next to it.

Ok, now on to what my acquaintance writes:

I'm devastated to learn that so many of the people around me condone (or at least don't condemn) sexual violence and hate speech against anyone who looks or acts 'different.'
So what are we defining as "sexual violence?"  If Michelle Obama is to be considered a source, it seems to encapsulate Mr. Trump merely talking about what he'd want to do to someone of the female persuasion.

So they have on tape, making a statement that, though awkward, conveys the sentiment that a lot of "red-blooded males" may have at times in our lives:  We see a sexually attractive woman, and the blood rushes from our head to a point somewhat south of the border.  We revert to our primitive selves a little bit.  I'm sorry that my acquaintance and the other not-Trump people out there take offense to this or will be surprised by this, but most if not all straight males will have at least one of these moments during their lives, where our inner cavemen crawls out, and we think about fulfilling a biological imperative without first wanting to talk about our feelings.

But what differentiates most of us from most of the animal kingdom is that we don't act on it, or we don't act on it without consent from our would-be partner.

Yes, what Trump said about a woman over a decade ago is despicable, and as members of society, we are right to criticize him for it.  But to take the logical leap from that to my acquaintance considering the people who voted for Trump to be condoning or not condemning "sexual violence" is ridiculous.  Newsflash:  People can condemn Trump's statements and still vote for him.

31 December 2015

So long, 2015. Welcome, 2016!

It's that time again.  Time to reflect on 2015:


  • January:
    • Boko Haram massacres 2,000 people.
    • Our pet Flemish Giant, Goose, turned 6.  It was his first birthday that he had without his twin sister Dori.
  • February:
    • Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock in 3 seasons of Star Trek, guest-starred in Star Trek:  The Next Generation, and played the character in 8 Star Trek films, dies.
    • A blizzard hits our little corner of Iowa and dumps a ton of snow on us, just in time for my sisters to visit from Florida.
    • My sisters make the trek from Florida to Iowa to meet their new little nephew for the first time.  He has lots of smiles for them and becomes quite talkative.
  • March:
    • The NASA probe Dawn enters orbit around dwarf planet Ceres.
    • ISIL effectively annexes Boko Haram.  Still a JV team, Mr. President?
    • A suicidal airline co-pilot locks the pilot out of the cockpit and crashes Germanwings flight 9525 into a mountain.
    • We finish the dormer attic in our house, giving us a new spacious den upstairs after having to relocate our computers to the front living room when our son was born.
    • My father's plane catches fire after a gear-up landing.  He escapes unscathed, but his plane, and the logbooks and computer in the backseat, are a loss.
  • April:
    • A magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal kills over 9,000 in Nepal, India, China, and Bangladesh.
    • Percy Sledge, who once topped the charts with When A Man Loves A Woman, dies.
    • My wife and I celebrate our second anniversary, the first one as parents.
    • My wife, her parents, and our son are thankfully OK after being rear-ended by another car while sitting in traffic.  It is the second vehicular collision my son has been involved in since his birth.  I put my old airplane headset on him and he relieves the stress that evening with infectious laughter.
    • My in-laws celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • May:
    • Ireland legalizes same-sex marriage by popular vote, becoming the first country to do so.
    • Grace Lee Whitney, who played Janice Rand in the Star Trek franchise, dies.
    • Blues guitarist B.B. King dies.
    • The 70th anniversary of V-E day.
  • June:
    • Corruption in FIFA
    • ISIL, the "JV team", kills almost 300 people in one day in a series of coordinated attacks.
    • Actor Christopher Lee of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Dracula fame, dies.
    • Composer James Horner (Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan) dies.
    • Actor Dick Van Patten dies.
    • Fatherhood is the joy you experience when carrying your sleeping son off to bed when he falls asleep in the living room.
    • My father, shopping for a new plane, visits us in Iowa. 
    • Our son enjoys his first family vacation to Okoboji, IA.  Upon our return, I manage to slip and fall down the stairs from the attic.  I luckily ended up only with a spiral gouge in my right arm and some stiffness in my right leg, but nothing broken or sprained.
  • July:
    • Greece defaults on its debt, choosing to pour gasoline on the fire that is their economic crisis.
    • NASA's New Horizons probe visits Pluto.
    • Cuba and the United States re-establish diplomatic relations.  Still waiting for the reimbursement from Cuba for the nationalization and seizure of American companies' property...
    • Omar Sharif, Alex Rocco (Moe Greene from the Godfather), and Roddy Piper (They Live) die.
    • My folks visit Iowa.  I drive my father up to Minnesota to look at a plane.
  • August:
    • Part of Malaysian Airlines MH370 is finally found.
    • Director Wes Craven dies.
    • A crew from the EPA causes a spill of 3 million gallons of water polluted with mercury, arsenic, and other toxic metals from a closed mine into the Animas River, a (former) source of drinking water for 3 states and at least one Indian reservation.  Unsurprisingly, the EPA encountered a lack of compassion or cooperation from the states and municipalities in the area that they had bullied and fined for far lesser sins.
    • Goose, our beloved Flemish Giant "puppy-bunny", dies.  For the first time in 11 years, there are no rabbits for me to care for, save the wild ones in the backyard.
    • My father purchases a new plane in Minnesota, and I fly back to Iowa with him.  It had been 26 years since I had last sat right-seat with him.  This time definitely felt different, probably because I could see over the instrument panel.
  • September:
    • Volkswagen gets caught cheating on diesel emissions tests
    • Russia starts staging air strikes against ISIL, showing Putin to be more of a man than Obama.
    • Yogi Berra, famous New York Yankees ballplayer.  "It ain't over till it's over."
    • Took our son on a trip up to Minnesota.  Picked up equipment for my dad's plane on our way up.  Delivered several bags of hay from Goose's "estate" to my fellow rabbit friends in the Cities.  Our son also got a chance to see many rabbits playing on the mats.
  • October:
    • My son and I hit the streets for his first Halloween.
  • November:
    • ISIL kills 130 in Paris in terror attacks.  Still a JV team, Mr. President?  There are indications that at least one of the terrorists may have entered France by posing as a Syrian refugee.
    • RIP Fred Dalton Thompson, former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, actor, and one-time presidential candidate.  As an actor, I think my favorite role of his is as Rear Admiral Joshua Painter in The Hunt for Red October.
    • My son celebrates his first birthday with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents from Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.
    • We suit up our son and take him around the snow-covered backyard on his sled for the first time.
    • Our first airline travel as a family.  Thanksgiving with my folks and my sisters and their families was enjoyable, but the trip left me wondering if installing and removing a infant car seat from an airplane would be a fitting punishment for some misdemeanors.  Still, our little one got to meet his uncle and two of his three first cousins on my side.  In addition, he befriended my sister's dog, we learned that he likes the taste of tea and doesn't like the taste of lemons or dark German beer.
    • My mother-in-law goes in for knee surgery.
  • December:
    • Jihadists open fire at a Christmas party in San Bernadino, CA, killing 14. Predictable response from the Obama regime?  "We need tougher regulations on guns." Seriously?
    • COP21 summit results in a climate agreement that causes a bunch of "journalists" to behave like enthusiastic sports fans.  Objectivity?  We don't need no stinkin' objectivity!
    • Remember the Animas River being polluted by the EPA?  Yeah, now they're saying they're not responsible.  Being a government bully means never having to say sorry (until a judge orders you too, which would be a nice outcome to this ongoing saga).
    • RIP Robert Loggia.  I will always remember him as Frank Lopez from Scarface.
    • RIP Natalie Cole.  I'm sorry she's dead at a relatively young age, but I wonder how long it is until someone sings with her in a posthumous duet.
    • RIP Wayne Rogers.  I enjoyed his performance as Trapper John McIntyre on MASH, though he was still enjoyable to watch in his other career as a financial analyst on Fox Business Network.
    • I spend my 40th birthday having a quiet dinner of Spaghetti-Os with my son.  In retrospect, I couldn't have asked for a more fun evening!
Farewell, 2015.  Here's to 2016!