Thursday, October 10, 2013

What Do We Stand For?

by / Personal Liberty Digest

What Do We Stand For?
At the very edge of oblivion, some men reflect; others snivel and cry. I have spent many years now studying the societal strengths and failings of modern American culture, and I have to say that most citizens within our once grand Republic will do far less reflecting and much more crying when the bell tolls.

This is not to say that I believe the fight is lost. Far from it. In fact, I would consider myself an optimist amongst many of my peers in the liberty movement as to our chances of defending Constitutional freedom today. There is a very strong core within our country that still embraces the ideals of individualism and independence. The problem is that those who are awake face each day surrounded by lunatics and the giggling blind. It’s difficult to find solace within the asylum of the “mainstream,” so we begin to assume we are alone.

Even worse, we sometimes have to deal with misguided and biased people who join the liberty movement not to stand upon any solid fundamental principles, but to attempt to impress their own twisted world views upon us as if they “know better.” You would think that the concept of freedom would be simple to understand and grasp. But for some people, it is like plunging into a trigonometric wonderland of confusion.

As the United States, led by the Administration of President Barack Obama, moves toward yet another possible war in the Mideast, using covert terrorists as proxies and enacting violent policy based on dubious or nonexistent evidence and far-flung accusations, I realize that with all the blathering voices out there telling us what to think, what to do, what to fear, whom to admire, whom to worship, how to live and what to aspire, perhaps it is time for each of us to solemnly question what we stand for and what America is supposed to stand for.

Really, think about it. What are we here for? What purpose do we serve in the grand scheme of things? What are our defining principles?

Have we lost track of ourselves as Americans so completely that we cannot even explain in a reasonable fashion what kind of people we want to be and what kind of world we want to live in? Are we so busy squabbling with each other that we have no time to examine the foundation upon which we all rely?

I think it is safe to point out that for many decades the actions of our government have not represented or reflected the ideals of the public. I can’t say I’ve met very many people who would voluntarily or happily cheer the course of our Nation. Much of what is done in our name is not done for our benefit or for the benefit of our children. Most of the crimes committed by our government are crimes we would never want to be remembered for as individuals.

If this is the case and if deep down we all want a much different legacy than what is being created for us, what would this legacy be? I believe that most Americans would not argue with the following list of virtues.

Enduring Individualism

Most Americans want to be in control of their own destinies. The sad reality, though, is that many Americans believe themselves to be in control of their own destinies when they are not. They believe they are informed when they are actually ignorant. They believe they are rich when they are actually poor. They believe they are self-sufficient when they are actually as helpless as newborn babies. They believe they are courageous when they are actually cowards. And they believe they are righteous when they are actually guilty of numerous crimes against their fellow man. One cannot be an individual unless he understands himself and his own weaknesses.

True Independence

Americans want to see themselves as independent and self-reliant, yet many of us go about pursuing this independence in backward ways. Socialists view an independent life as a gift granted by society through the tool of government. In other words, they believe that the collective is responsible for supporting and sustaining the individual and that the individual owes the collective allegiance for its efforts. Objectivists tend to treat independence as a kind of “get out of jail free card,” as if true individuals should care only about themselves and their posterity and that there should be no consequences for their own harmful actions.

What both sides can’t seem to fathom is that independence is about responsibility. It’s about responsibility to one’s self, to make one’s own way in life without the constant aid of a nanny state. It is also about responsibility to one’s inner conscience, which warns us not to maliciously violate the life and liberty of others. Whether on the left or the right, Americans have forgotten that real independence comes with strings attached.

This administration is really beginning to get on my last nerve and I have about reached my limit. Every time I hear the insane rhetoric being spouted by the President, the Democrats and of course the lamestream media, with respect to the catastrophe that we all face over the debt ceiling and government shutdown, I want to scream.

The political posturing and game playing going on makes one want to scream “ENOUGH!” This has become a contest over how to annihilate the enemy, (Republicans) and gain political advantage in 2014. It has nothing to do with fixing the problems that we have, nothing to do with negotiations and deal-making and nothing to do with what is best for the American people. The galling thing about all of this is that Obama is depending on Americans to be brain-dead and ignorant about the realities of what a shut-down and default really mean.

He stands up and gives speeches about what horrible things face us. Economic disaster, recession, global meltdown, these are just a few of the bullet points he wants to sear into the brains of American people. He continues to make false statements about the reality of the situation. When October 17th comes and goes, we will not go into default. There is revenue coming in to the government every day and it can easily pay the interest on our debt. Plus, he can prioritize expenses and fund what he wishes to fund or not.

The other falsehood that he is hoping the American people buy is the fact that raising the debt ceiling doesn’t put us deeper into debt.

“So let me explain this. If Congress refuses to raise what’s called the debt ceiling, America would not be able to meet all of our financial obligations for the first time in 225 years.
And because it’s called raising the debt ceiling, I think a lot of Americans think it’s raising our debt. 

It is not raising our debt. This does not add a dime to our debt. It simply says you pay for what Congress has already authorized America to purchase.” Huh? If raising the debt ceiling doesn’t raise our debt, how did we get 17 trillion dollars in the hole?

Another fallacy is the doom and gloom scenario. He is still hoping that by saying things like this, people will believe him and turn on his opponents.

Now the last time that the tea party Republicans flirted with the idea of default, two years ago, markets plunged, business and consumer confidence plunged, America’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time, and a decision to actually go through with it, to actually permit default, according to many CEOs and economists, would be — and I’m quoting here — “insane, catastrophic, chaos” — these are some of the more polite words.Warren Buffett likened default to a nuclear bomb, a weapon too horrible to use. It would disrupt markets, it would undermine the world’s confidence in America as the bedrock of the global economy, and it might permanently increase our borrowing costs which, of course, ironically would mean that it would be more expensive for us to service what debt we do have and it would add to our deficits and our debt, not decrease them.”

He is betting the farm that this fear-mongering will work, but maybe he better re-think it. With the nightmare stories coming out of Obamacare and the realities of that mess, people are taking a closer look at what he is saying. His words about “keeping your doctor”, “lower premiums” and “health care for all” are turning out to be huge lies and the shock of the truth is hitting people square in the face.

I’m sure he and his minions have a fail-safe plan just in case things start to go south. If the American people are not falling in line behind him then he will just have to inflict a little more pain to make them see the light.

I can just imagine the strategy sessions going on among the likes of Harry Reid and this administration when it comes to deciding what in the government to shut down or default on. Like a military battle, they are planning their attacks and deciding what will cause the maximum distress and the most pain for Americans. Just last week a Washington Park Service Ranger was quoted as saying, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can, and it’s disgusting.”

Also, in some of his recent speeches it almost sounds like he wants the stock market to crash. If he continues “talking down” the markets that may end up being a reality.

The final straw for me came when military families of fallen soldiers were denied funding for the burials of their loved ones. Families are to receive a 100K death benefits package and they were denied because it was not specified in the bill passed by Republicans for other military benefits.

Usually President Obama is quick on the trigger in writing Executive Orders when he can’t get his way, but this time he was probably assuming that no one was paying attention to this military story, or that the media would tear out the throats of the GOP for this oversight, so he ignored it. Once it became a big deal, he pleaded ignorance and vowed to solve the problem.

However, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel knew; and most likely so did Obama. They were just assuming things would go their way and damage would not touch them. It turned out that they did get blamed and they went into full fledged damage control.

So, maybe we aren’t as dumb as they think we are. Maybe that ignorance they are counting on is not going quite as well as they thought. I can only hope that Americans are starting to see the truth---it sure has taken long enough.
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.

Americans didn't ask for Obamacare, they don't want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren't accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work -- or firing them -- to avoid the law's mandates.

Contrary to Obama's promises, it turns out: You can't keep your doctor, you can't keep your insurance -- you can't even keep your job. In other words, it's a typical government program, but this one wrecks your health care.

Also, the president did raise taxes on the middle class in defiance of his well-worn campaign promise not to. Indeed, Obamacare is the largest tax hike in U.S. history.

Among the other changes effected by this law are:

 -- Obamacare will allow insurers to charge 50 percent higher premiums for smokers, but prohibits insurers from increasing premiums for those with HIV/AIDS. 
-- Nationally, Obamacare will increase men's individual insurance premiums by an average of 99 percent and women's by 62 percent. In North Carolina, for example, individual insurance premiums will triple for women and quadruple for men.
-- Health plans valued at $27,500 or more for a family of four will be taxed at a rate of 40 percent.
-- No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.
-- A 62-year-old man earning $46,000 a year is entitled to a $7,836 government tax credit to buy health insurance. But if he earns an extra $22 in income, he loses the entire $7,836 credit. He will have more take-home pay by earning $46,000 than if he earns $55,000. (If he's lucky, he already works for one of the companies forced by Obamacare to reduce employees' hours!)
-- Merely to be eligible for millions of dollars in grants from the federal government under Obamacare, education and training programs are required to meet racial, ethnic, gender, linguistic and sexual orientation quotas. That's going to make health care MUCH better!
-- Obamacare is turning America into a part-time nation. According to a recent report by economist John Lott, 97 percent of all jobs added to the economy so far this year have been part-time jobs. Ninety-seven percent!
-- Obamacare is such a disaster that the people who wrote it refuse to live under it themselves. That's right, Congress won a waiver from Obamacare.

Responding to the people's will, House Republicans first voted to fund all of government -- except Obamacare. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

Then the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but merely delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

Finally, the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but added a requirement that everyone live under Obamacare. No more special waivers for Congress and their staff, and no waivers for big business without the same waivers for individuals.

Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it. So as you can see, Republicans are the big holdup here.

A longtime Democratic operative, Karen Finney, explained the Democrats' intransigence on MSNBC to a delighted Joan Walsh (aka the most easily fooled person on TV) by comparing House Republicans to a teenager trying to borrow his mother's car. "No, I'm not negotiating!" Mother says. "It's MY CAR!"

This wasn't a stupid slip of the tongue that other Democrats quickly rejected. Finney had used the exact same metaphor to a panel of highly agreeable MSNBC guests the day before. (MSNBC books no other kind of guest.)

The left thinks the government is their car and the people's representatives are obstreperous teenagers trying to borrow the government. Which belongs to Democrats.

That's not how the Constitution views the House of Representatives. To the contrary, the House is considered most reflective of the people's will because its members are elected every two years.

As a matter of fact, the Republicans who mistakenly assume they have something to do with running the government represent most of the people who pay taxes to run it. So it's more like a teenager who is making the car payments, maintaining the car insurance and taking responsibility for registering the car being told: "It's not your car."

But the Democrats refuse to even negotiate. It's their government -- and if you Republicans think you're going out dressed like that, you've got another thing coming! Needless to say, they absolutely will not consider the Republicans' demand that Democrats merely live under Obamacare themselves.

Instead, Democrats say "the Koch brothers" are behind the effort to defund Obamacare.

They say Republicans are trying to "burn the whole house down" (Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz); "have lost their minds" (Sen. Harry Reid); are trying to negotiate "with a bomb strapped to their chest" (senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer); are "legislative arsonists" (Rep. Nancy Pelosi); and are engaging in "blatant extortion" (White House press secretary Jay Carney).

The MSNBC crowd calls Republicans "arsonists" every 15 minutes. They ought to check with fellow MSNBC host Al Sharpton. He knows his arsonists! In 1995, Sharpton whipped up a mob outside the Jewish-owned Freddy's Fashion Mart with an anti-Semitic speech. Sometime later, a member of the mob torched the store, killing seven Hispanic employees.

Every single Democrat in the country uses the exact same talking point: We "refuse to negotiate with a gun being held to our head."

Which means the Democrats will not negotiate at all -- not now, not ever. House Republicans have already passed three-dozen bills defunding, or otherwise modifying, Obamacare. Senate Democrats and liberal commentators had a good laugh at Republicans for passing them.

Now they're paying attention!

If you are in the minority of Americans not already unalterably opposed to Obamacare, keep in mind that the only reason the government is shut down right now is that Democrats refuse to fund the government if they are required to live under Obamacare.
That's how good it is!

Mike Lee: Government Default Unconstitutional, Won't Happen
By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will allow the nation to default on its debts because it would violate the Constitution, Sen. Mike Lee tells Newsmax.

He also says the Obama administration's decision to freeze death benefits for the families of fallen soldiers is "tragic" — and part of an effort to make the government shutdown as painful as possible.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Sen. Lee outlines the Republicans' strategy to deal with the shutdown: "Last week the House passed something that would allow us to keep our active duty military personnel paid. It came over to the Senate and in a matter of minutes we passed it unanimously."

See Mike's video below...

"So we've followed that up now in the House by passing several other provisions including one making sure that veterans' benefits will continue to move forward. Another is keeping our national parks functioning. Another is keeping the District of Columbia's government functioning. The list goes on and on," Lee said.

"We need to start passing those and bit by bit we can get the government funded. We can get probably 98, 99 percent of the government funded and then we can focus on the issue where the real controversial points remain."

Concerning the debt ceiling and the possibility of a government default, Lee observes: "I don't think either side will allow the U.S. to default, especially when you understand a default constitutionally isn't even permissible. A default would happen if we stopped paying the interest or principal on our national debt, and the 14th Amendment prohibits that from happening. So one way or another, default is not going to occur."

Lee maintains that President Barack Obama does not have the power to raise the debt ceiling on his own, as some legal scholars have suggested.

"This is a law. It's a law that has to be enacted by Congress," he says. "We have a debt ceiling now and in order to raise it, Congress has to act.

"The 14th Amendment simply says that we have to honor the debts that we as a nation have incurred. But we've got more than enough money coming through the door every month to make sure that we pay the interest and principal owed on our national debt. The amendment does not give the president the power to raise the debt limit on his own."

Lee has said that certain federal agencies have acted intentionally to cause undue hardship to make a political point. One of the worst examples is the decision to freeze death benefits for families of fallen soldiers.

"It's tragic," he says. "It's embarrassing. It is probably the very best argument that anyone could make against Obamacare, or for that matter, against any other significant expansion of federal power.

"We've seen that this administration is willing to utilize the immense power of the federal government in order to make this shutdown as painful for the American people as it possibly can. It's willing to use its own power against the people in order to procure a particular political advantage. That's not acceptable.

"There's no reason why we should be willing to add to federal power control over our nation's healthcare system. When you put the government in charge of something as personal, as intimate as a person's healthcare decisions, you give the federal government immense power that it should not have."

Lee describes the tone the president has adopted in the budget debate as "strident, and he says it is not supported by the American people. "It's a really aggressive approach to say, 'I want you to fund everything or I will allow you to fund nothing — I won't let you do anything at all and I'll make a lot of people suffer in the process.'

"That is not a defensible position. It certainly isn't sustainable, politically or otherwise, and he will come to regret it."

AP Poll: Obama Approval Plummets to 
37 percent                        
Image: AP Poll: Obama Approval Plummets to 37By Todd Beamon

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh attacked survey results released on Wednesday that blamed Republicans for the federal shutdown while burying the news that President Barack Obama's approval ratings had plunged to 37 percent among Americans surveyed.
"The point is, once again, there is no media, there is no news," the conservative host said, according to a transcript of his afternoon program. "This is the Democrat Party with activists disguised as journalists.

"And it's not some outlier poll," Limbaugh continued. "You have to read over halfway down into that story to learn that. I haven't seen it anywhere else. It's been on AP, but have you seen anybody else pick that up? It's just classic."

The article was on the Associated Press-GfK survey of 1,227 probable voters conducted Oct. 3-7, with a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

"Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll," the report began. "It's a struggle with no heroes."

The article then disclosed that 62 percent of respondents "mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown" and that "the poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats.

"Rather, it's a sizable — and divisive — force among Republicans," the AP report said.

But in the seventh paragraph appears the first — and only — reference to Obama's new approval ratings: "Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it.

"Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent."

The report was published by such mainstream media outlets as The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and National Public Radio.

The information appeared in the seventh paragraph of The Huffington Post's story and in the eighth paragraph of those published in The Washington Post and on NPR.

Limbaugh charged that such coverage was wrong about what was actually occurring in Washington.

"If you are a conservative media guy inside the Beltway, you're convinced that Obama's winning everything," he said. "If you're a conservative media guy inside the Beltway and you're subjected to that narrative each and every day, you think the Republicans are really getting shellacked. You think they're taking it on the chin.

"It's the exact opposite," Limbaugh said. "It's the exact opposite of what's happening outside the Beltway."

"The president's at 37 percent. The shutdown is going on. Now we learn that five military families were insulted profoundly with the way the deaths of their service-member relatives were treated.

"It is obvious that this administration is acting purposely to inconvenience and to harm people it considers its political enemies," Limbaugh said.

Further, Limbaugh contrasted the coverage of Obama's new 37 percent rating with coverage by Wolf Blitzer of CNN of its poll on March 13, 2006, when Republican President George W. Bush's rating hit a new low of 36 percent.

"The president's job-approval rating has taken a downward turn again, falling to only 36 percent," the Blitzer excerpt began, according to the Limbaugh transcript. "This represents his lowest rating ever in the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll … The president's poll numbers are pretty bad, pretty awful right now, rock bottom …"

"Today, Barack Obama's approval number's at 37 percent, and they are not talking about it," Limbaugh said Wednesday. "The AP story in which that poll result is announced has the following headline: "Poll: GOP Gets the Blame in Shutdown." They have a poll that shows that 71 percent of the American people are blaming the Republicans for the shutdown.

"In the same poll, 50 percent are blaming the Democrats for something, but the media says: ''Look, 20 percent spread. Boy, the Republicans are really taking it on the chin for the government shutdown.'

But the poll does not say people are upset with the shutdown.

"It's journalistic malpractice," Limbaugh concluded, "except it's not — because it's not journalism."

Among other findings, the AP poll showed that more than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation's debt in coming weeks.

Indeed, the poll showed that everyone making headlines in the dispute has earned poor marks for their trouble, whether Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, or Republican John Boehner, the House speaker, both with favorability ratings of 18 percent.

And much of the country draws a blank on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas despite his 21-hour Senate speech before the shutdown. Only half of the poll respondents were familiar enough with him to register an opinion. Among those who did, 32 percent viewed him unfavorably, 16 percent favorably.

Other findings in the AP Poll:
  • Sixty-eight percent said the shutdown is a major problem for the country, including majorities of Republicans (58 percent), Democrats (82 percent) and independents (57 percent).
  • Fifty-two percent said Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans to end the shutdown; 63 percent say Republicans aren't doing enough to cooperate with him.
  • Republicans are split on just how much cooperation they want. Among those who do not back the tea party, fully 48 percent say their party should be doing more with Obama to find a solution. But only 15 percent of tea-party Republicans want that outreach. The vast majority of them say GOP leaders are doing what they should with the president, or should do even less with him.
  • People seem conflicted or confused about the showdown over the debt limit. Six in 10 predict an economic crisis if the government's ability to borrow isn't renewed later this month with an increase in the debt limit — an expectation widely shared by economists. Yet only 30 percent say they support raising the limit; 46 percent were neutral on the question.
  • More than 4 in 5 poll respondents felt no personal impact from the shutdown. For those who did, thwarted vacations to national parks, difficulty getting work done without federal contacts at their desks, and hitches in government benefits were among the complaints.

"So frustrating," Martha Blair, 71, of Kerrville, Texas, said of the fiscal paralysis as her scheduled national parks vacation sits in limbo. "Somebody needs to jerk those guys together to get a solution, instead of just saying no."

Blair's nine-day trip to national parks with a tour group won't happen if the parks are still closed next month. "I'm concerned," she said, "but it seems kind of trivial to people who are being shut out of work."

In Mount Prospect, Ill., Barbara Olpinski, 51, a Republican who blames Obama and both parties for the shutdown, said her family is already seeing an impact and that will worsen if the impasse goes on.

She's an in-home elderly-care director, her daughter is a physician's assistant at a rural clinic that treats patients who rely on government coverage, and her husband is a doctor who can't get flu vaccines for patients on public assistance because deliveries have stopped. 

"People don't know how they are going to pay for things, and what will be covered," she said.

"Everybody is kind of like holding their wallets."