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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Friday, June 27, 2008
Surprise! The Second Amendment Means What It Says!
by Cordeiro

221 years ago this September, the founding document of the United States became the Law of the Land.  Attached to main document was a list of ten amendments which came to be known as the Bill of Rights.  Since the Constitution's ratification, and specifically since Marbury vs. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS or The Supremes) has taken it upon itself to decide the meaning of the various articles phrases, and clauses which make up this truly inspired document.


Sometimes the Supremes get it right.  Sometimes they get it dreadfully wrong.  This week's decisions brought a little of both. In the Kennedy vs. Louisiana case, they blew it. Simply put, if raping a young child doesn't the offender for the Death Penalty, then I question the wisdom of those who set the qualifications.  I seem to remember a scriptural reference to tying millstones around those who "offend" little ones.


But I digress.


Yesterday, for the first time in the history of the Supremes, the Court took under its magnifying glass the Second Amendment which reads:


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. (Emphasis Added)


The issue posed by the case before the Supremes was whether or not the City of Washington, DC had violated the Constitution by enforcing a near-total ban on private gun ownership in the District.  Gun bans are supposed to reduce crime, but crime stats prove that if DC isn't America's Murder Capitol, its nearly always running a close second or third.


In short, DC is the city personification of the NRA bumper sticker which reads "When guns are outlawed, only Outlaws will have guns." Good thing in-laws can't have guns. That would be scary!


On the Gun Case, the Supremes broke along ideological lines with Kennedy as the swing vote. Gun control advocates had hoped for a different ruling whereby the Supremes would have effectively repealed the Second Amendment without the need for the long drawn out amendment process.  Five votes are much easier to round up than the vote percentage required by the Constitution. Congratulations, DC residents. You can now legally own a firearm.


Which brings me to my main point. You know it takes me awhile to get to it. Elections have consequences.  The list of issues upon which John McCain and I have differences is very long.  Having said that, the Supreme Court is my Reason #2 why I'll touch the screen for him in November. This case could have just as easily gone the other way depending on what Justice Kennedy had for breakfast on the day votes were counted.

The next POTUS will appoint at least one and probably two members to SCOTUS. Having seen BO's (no, evidently I can't refer to him in classic three initial presidential style) foundationless judgment over the course of this campaign, the closest I ever want him to get to a SCOTUS choice is casting his advise and consent vote in the Senate.


Here endeth the lesson.

Sunday, June 22, 2008
The Pickle Juice Cocktail
by Cordeiro
I once listened to a wise old man tell of his reaction to a Washington Post article in which the author spent the entire column bemoaning all that was wrong with the world. After having finished the column, the man stated he believed the article’s author had spent the week “sucking on pickles”.

The MSM, in general, is populated by Pickle Suckers. They spend their time looking for the worst of the worst to write, talk, or speak about because – in the end – the reporter’s axiom rings true: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Yesterday, the Associated Press – obviously lacking any real news to report – saw fit to fill its bandwidth quota with a declaration that “Everything seemingly is spinning out of control”. In it, authors Alan Fram and Eileen Putnam take the reader on a whirlwind tour of Katrina ravaged New Orleans and flood soaked Iowa and Missouri. The United States is gripped in a malaise fueled despair reminiscent of the Carter years. Want to get away? Your dollar is worthless and it costs too much to fly anyway.

No, you won’t find any solace in sports or TV. Between steroids and the writer’s strike there’s nothing worth watching. What is the conclusion of Fram & Putnam? Well, its not a rosy one:

Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now.

Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.
Fram & Putnam aren’t alone in their love of Pickle Juice. Last week ABCNews’ Sarah Namias opened up her column with this question:

Are we living in the last century of our civilization? Is it possible that all of our technology, knowledge and wealth cannot save us from ourselves? Could our society actually be heading towards collapse?
Is there no optimism at all in today’s media? Even the predictions of 1900 were not this dire and pessimistic.

Yes, dear reader, we’re all going to die. Most of us will be pushing up daisies well before the end of this century. ABC will broadcast Earth 2100 in September – just in time to convince voters the world will literally end if they put another Republican in the Oval Office this fall.

America looks to her President for leadership in troubled times. There’s a big difference between a candidacy built on empty rhetoric and one built on tested leadership. Ronald Reagan won two terms in the Oval because he made people feel good about America after the Carter debacle. Reagan made people believe America was the shining city on the hill – the example the rest of the world could aspire to.

I don’t get that vibe from Obama. I believe, as he looks out over America’s fruited plain, he sees through much the same lens as the pickle sucking MSM correspondents. He sees a country that eats too much, drives the wrong cars, and lives in better houses than it needs. Life is too good for too few.

Obama’s answer to this problem is not to improve life for the masses, but rather to worsen the life of those for whom life is better. Rather than increase wealth he will redistribute poverty. His plan for progress is to have America take a gigantic step backwards so the rest of the world can feel better about itself.

America needs a leader, not an empty suit that looks, acts, and is lost once the teleprompter goes dark. Spare me the pickle juice cocktail, Mr. Obama. I’ll stick to Guaraná.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Obama Timewarp
by Cordeiro

Barack Obama made yet another soaring rhetorical speech yesterday focusing on the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Actually, soaring isn't indicative of the rhetoric he employed.  "Dangerously Naïve" is a far better description.


Some people live their lives longing for the past. Barack Obama seems to be trapped in a September 10th world and wants the rest of American to join him in his Time Machine.  He beckons us back to an era where Clintonian foreign policy still reigned, the world was at peace, and everyone gathered around the non-carbon-emitting fire and sang Kum-bye-ya every night.


In Barack Obama's virtual reality there is no Global War on Terror.  American is not at war because war is wrong.  He's not even sure why we need a strong military – or a military at all for that matter because, according to the Obamessiah:


My approach is guided by a simple premise: I have confidence that our system of justice is strong enough to deal with terrorists. [Emphasis Added]


Yes, dear reader, Barack Obama wants to deal with the likes of Usama "Binny" Laden, Khalid "The Schnoz" Sheikhk Mohammed, and Ayman al-Zawahiri the same way he would deal with any run of the mill street thug.  Evidently to Obama there is no difference between petty crime and transnational terrorism. Either that, or he's seen one too many episodes of JAG.  Perhaps in Obama's virtual reality lawyers really are the best weapon against Islamofacist Murdering Thugs.


In the real world, where most of us spend most of our time, combating terror is not something best done in a courtroom. That strategy has already been tried and has already failed in spectacular fashion. In the years and decades prior to the early morning attacks of September 11th, America and her interests at home and abroad were under relentless attack by the same forces who flew the planes that Tuesday. Here is a short and by no means exhaustive list of terrorist attacks prior to 2001:


11/4/79 – 1/20/81 – Islamic radicals seize 66 hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran.  13 are released but 53 are held for the duration.


4/18/83 – 63 people are killed an 120 people injured when Islamic Jihad forces detonate a 400 pound truck bomb at the US Embassy Complex in Beirut.


10/23/83 – 242 Americans, many of them Marines are killed when Islamic Jihad forces detonate a 12,000 pound truck bomb at the Beirut barracks.


2/26/93 – First World Trade Center Bombings.  6 dead, 1000 injured.


8/7/98 – US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are simultaneously attacked by forces loyal to Usama bin Laden.  302 dead, roughly 5,089 injured.

10/12/00 – USS Cole is rammed by a small, explosive laden boat.  17 sailors were killed and 39 were wounded.


Again, this list is not an exhaustive list by any means, but the response of the United States – with very few exceptions - was to do nothing.


Yes, we got outraged. We stomped our feet.  Presidents (from both parties) swore that "the forces of justice would be brought to bear on the perpetrators of these savage acts."  Arrest warrants were issued, indictments were handed down, and yes some Islamofacist Murdering Thugs were sent to SuperMax.


The law enforcement agencies of the United States are among the world's most elite and professional but they are ill suited for fighting a war against a very determined enemy.  Wars are to be fought on the battlefield under the rules of war – not a courtroom under the rules of evidence.  We should not ask our police officers to do a job best left to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.  Most of all America cannot allow un-elected and un-accountable judges to exert unconstitutional influence in areas best left to generals and admirals.


We've tried Obama's ideas once. Simply put it was an ineffective strategy which led to disastrous results the ramifications of which are still being felt.  Obama boldly declares that he


refuse[s] to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States.  


Evidently, the only people allowed to lecture Barack Obama on national security are those who put in place the policies and rules of engagement which were responsible for the most disastrous attack ever to be leveled against the United States on her own soil.


Here endeth the lesson.




Monday, June 16, 2008
Obama's Pie Plan
by Cordeiro

Awhile back Michelle Obama took some well deserved flack for her comments that


in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.


Well, Blogfather Hugh did some research and found out just where Team Obama wants to start slicing and dicing your pie.  Everyone knows the Social Security system is in deep trouble.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the return on investment in that system is pitiful.  The actual ROI on monies put into the Social Security "Trust Fund" hovers someplace around 1%.  A monkey throwing darts at a stock chart could get a better return than that – yet we as a country still require workers to shovel 12.4% of their income down that proverbial rat hole.


Before I start getting snarky emails saying "Cordeiro, workers only pay 6.2% into the system!", let me remind you that you only pay half of the Social Security payroll tax.  Your employer picks up the other half.  If you're self employed, as I was some years ago, you get to pay the Full Monty.  Believe me, having to actually cut that check to the Treasury really, really, really, really sucks.


Where was I? Oh, yes, the rat hole.  The one good thing about the Social Security is that it has a cap.  Only the first $102K of your income is subject to the Social Security tax.  The rest of your income, providing you make any, over and above the $102K level isn't subject to that tax.  You get to keep it.  What a novel concept!


Unless, of course, America is foolish enough to put Barack Obama in the Oval Office Big Chair.  Obama wants that income not subject to Social Security taxes.  In short, he wants more of your pie.  I'm not making this up.  Here's Obama's own (website) words on the subject:


Obama believes that the first place to look for ways to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax applies to only the first $102,000 a worker makes. Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security and he will work with Congress and the American people to choose a payroll tax reform package that will keep Social Security solvent for at least the next half century.  (Emphasis Added)


I'll refer you to Blogfather Hugh for the nuts and bolts links about how many Americans would fall under Obama's new Pie Plan, but I'm now convinced Obama only understands one tax rate and that is MORE.


Social Security was never designed to become what it is today.  The system now represents an unsustainable transfer of wealth from one segment of the population to another.  No matter how you slice and dice the population pie, there simply won't be enough future wage earners to support the Social Security recipients in years to come.  Those of my generation (I'm 37) who believe they'll be able to get by on whatever meager Social Security check they'll receive during their golden years are simply foolish.  That's assuming the system will last until then – which at this point is looking more doubtful every day.


Guys and gals like me are left attempting to save for retirement, pay for kid's education, and all the rest of life's expenses with whatever is left after government gets done sucking the very life out of our paychecks.  The 100K mark is a big achievement in anybody's pursuit of happiness.  You'd think once somebody reached that level, the government could congratulate him/her and say "Great job – keep the change".


Barack Obama doesn't want to congratulate hardworking Americans.  He's bent on getting as much out of that paycheck as the Congress will let him.  Obama, House Speaker The Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Dusty Harry Reid (D-Circus Circus) share the same tax dream – MORE. 


That, dear reader, isn't a dream. It's a nightmare.
Here endeth the lesson.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
by Cordeiro

Now that the Democratic primary race is pretty much settled – or in other words barring a Howard Dean-esque immolation Obama is now the nominee – the candidates are now starting to trade jabs on actual issues.  The "right now" issue of this week is the price of gas.


It costs so much to fill the average American car today that there are loan sharks hanging out at every corner gas station.  Go to a mega station and you'll find it has its own bank branch just to handle the volume of cash it takes to fill a Suburban.  Everybody has an opinion as to why prices are so high – and almost everybody has their own ideas as to how to bring gas prices down to earth.  Some ideas are worth trying.  Other ideas are plain nuts. 


Obama's ideas are recycled from the 70s and 80s – i.e. Carter-esque.  A good chunk of the population wasn't around when Mr. Peanut went to Washington.  They don't remember spending hours in gas lines to fill the family station-wagon with the 10 gallon ration.  Well, if Obama gets his way history will repeat itself in short order.  Here are the highlights of Obama's "plan"


First we have the oft-toted liberal feel-good stick-it-to-the-man "Windfall Profit Tax" (WPT).  Here's Obama's pitch for the tax:


I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills.


Now here's what Uncle Jimmy said back in 1979 as he pitched the same kind of tax Obama is championing:


Unless we tax the oil companies, they will reap huge and undeserved windfall profits.


No matter how much perfume or lipstick you put on a pig, its still a pig.  Obama may try and change the façade of Jimmy Carter economics, but the underlying effects are still the same.


First of all, someone should sit Obama down with an undergraduate Economics textbook and explain to him that corporations like Exxon-Mobil don't pay taxes.  Well, they might pay taxes, but they push the cost of those taxes – like every other expense – down to the consumer.  So, in a sense, Obama will levy a tax on Big Oil which Big Oil will then pass right down the line to the very consumers Obama claimed the tax was meant to help.  The end result?  Government gets more money.  Tax payers have less money.  Big Oil?  Most likely Big Oil keeps doing exactly what it's doing right now – selling a product at market to the highest bidder.


How much money would be generated from a WPT on Big Oil?  Well, a brief glance at history shows us that WPT proponents claimed it would generate $320 billion over its lifetime.  After the WPT was finally killed off by Ronaldus Magnus in 1988, the tax had generated a paltry $40 billion.  Add to that the deleterious effect it had on the domestic oil industry and you come up with a net loss.


Obama's overall economic strategy can be summed up in one single word.  TAX.  He wants to double the Capital Gains Tax.  He wants to raise the amount of your income  subject to the Social Security tax.  And, true to the default setting of liberal socialist Democrats, he wants to soak the rich.


Barack Obama is no doubt a learned man.  He's got degrees from Columbia and Harvard Law to prove it.  He may well be an intellectual but in and of itself his education has not made him wise.  No country in history has managed to tax itself from a soft economy into a prosperous one.  That which a government taxes it gets less of.  Carter proved this.  Reagan's tax cuts actually doubled revenues to the US Treasury.  W's tax cuts had much the same effect.


The depths of Obama's economic naïveté have yet to be plumbed.  Personally, I'd rather he not do his supply and demand on-the-job-trainng in the Oval Office.


Here endeth the lesson.


Monday, June 02, 2008
E Tu, Scottie?
by Cordeiro

E Tu Scottie?


The egg timer continues to countdown to Scott McClellan's return from the relative obscurity from whence he arose.  This weekend he made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows in an effort to sell his book before it becomes fish wrap.


Interviewed by NBC's Tim Russert, McClellan pulled no punches in his harsh critique of W and his Administration – especially on the leftist's favorite club with which to beat the White House – that being the non-scandal bearing the name of Valerie Plame.


According to McClellan, Karl "Sith Lord" Rove should've been canned because he was behind the leaking of Plame's name to Robert Novak.  Rove was behind it all, in the warped reality in which McClellan lived.  Every conversation Rove had with anyone – including the White House grounds crew – was centered on discrediting Joe Wilson by revealing to the world that his wife worked at Langley.


There's only one problem with McClellan's logic – or lack there of.  Novak didn't get Plame's name from Rove.  This fact is not in dispute.  Novak got the name from former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.  To be entirely candid, nobody was ever charged with a crime in the Plame affair – despite media reports to the contrary.  Scooter Libby was tried and convicted basically of being stupid – lying to a federal investigator.  That's a process crime and would not have happened had there been no investigation.


Nice try Scottie.  Swing and a miss.  Most of us figured this out years ago.


Last week I wrote about McClellan having "gone native" in the DC beltway culture.  Evidently I'm not alone in my assessment.  His former deputy, Trent Duffy, wrote a scathing open letter in today's Washington Post.  Evidently McClellan no longer answers the phone or responds to email unless it comes from the MSM.  Duffy has some questions for his former boss.  Here are the best graphs:


All that aside, the revelations that you are "intrigued by Senator Obama's message" and that you don't know if you are a Republican anymore make me wonder if you ever had any convictions. If you were just drinking the Kool-Aid at the White House, have you now switched flavors with your newfound friends?


Perhaps you have had an epiphany. Maybe it is better to appease terrorists and let them fight us here instead of taking them on overseas. Maybe we should return our public education system to factories of mediocrity run by teachers unions instead of demanding and delivering educational excellence for our children. Maybe we should let the government ration health care and get between us and our doctors. And maybe we should raise taxes, punish individual enterprise and destroy the incentive for hard work to pay for more government programs.


Think about it. You may not be able to now, since you have conceded your inability to think clearly and independently inside a bubble atmosphere, be it at the White House or while on a media-frenzy book tour.


But do it anyway. On your own, without a publisher around. And let me know what you figure out.  (Emphasis added)


Well said, Mr. Duffy.  Don't hold your breath waiting for a response from your former boss though.


Here endeth the lesson.

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