What Brazenness!

08/31/2007: Even before his gay sex/drugs scandal, I was never a fan of Ted Haggard. I had the same reservations about him that I have about every megapastor. Go ahead: call me unfair, even cynical. I’ve got big shoulders; I can handle it.

But the latest flap–with Haggard approaching New Life members and asking for money so he can pursue college studies–royally takes the cake.

Fact is, he hardly got thrown onto the streets: he received a nice severance package when he was forced to resign.

With his charisma, he could go to many corporations and make good money as an executive. Unlike the Church–which is bound to Biblical proclamations against sexual immorality–corporations are far-less concerned about one’s sexual inclinations.

That he is seeking financial donations from former parishioners–for something that is not a basic need, as there are poor people who could use basic money for food and shelter–is scum-low.

It is also proof that Haggard has not grown up. Which may be one of his most important underlying problems.

Big Government and Big Business: Two Big Pimps, With Us Being the Whores

Both political parties are in a 3-way affair with Big Business.

When Democrats accuse Bush of being in bed with Merck, Pfizer, and Halliburton, they have some leverage. It is hardly private information that Big Pharma loves the GOP, and we also know that the military-industrial complex (MIC) has been among the largest beneficiaries of our war against Jihadis.

Of course, the DNC isn’t without its financial ties. Marriage to Big Business is no longer a GOP thing; in fact, the DNC is every bit the equal of the GOP on that front.

The Republicans are in bed with Big Pharma, most of the energy industry, the credit card banks, and much–not all of–the MIC. (Although Raytheon was definitely schmoozing with the Clintons, as evidence by their China deals.)

The DNC, on the other hand, is in bed with trial lawyers and labor unions (including those for government workers), was (illegally) in bed with the Lippo Group–which was every bit as serious as the Abramoff scandal, George Soros, and execs Warren Buffett, Martha Stewart, and Bill Gates.

As for Big Banks, both parties have ties. Both Bush and Clinton hired top dogs from Goldman Sachs for their Treasury Secretaries. (Robert Rubin served under Clinton whereas Henry Paulson is the current SecTreas for Bush.)

Republicans and Democrats, after careers in Congress, often go on to positions at investment firms, lobbying groups, marketing firms, and even consultancies.

The underlying message: if you go along with the system, there are rewards. Go along, get along, and get ahead.

Those who buck the system–like Ron Paul (R-TX)–will find the system ganging up on them when they attempt to get into position to effect real change. Thankfully, Paul continues to thumb his nose at the party that has tried to defeat him for not being a team player. His constituents have grown to love his libertarian approach to federal government.

Ergo, carping about how this party is in bed with these big businesses and that party is in bed with that set of big businesses is moot: Big Business owns both parties, because to Big Business, Big Government is the ticket to keeping new competitors from eating up market share.

This is why Hillary Clinton once sat on the board of Wal-Mart in spite of not having any corporate managerial experience, and why Linda Gramm–wife of former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX)–once sat on the board of Enron.

Here’s a dirty little secret about Big Business: the last thing they support is free markets. That is because free markets are a threat to their dominance. Free markets encourage innovation, efficiency, and transparency. Each of those erodes large profit margins and moves markets toward perfect competition (very small–almost negligible–profit margins) as markets mature.

(This is why a new company like Google will have large stock appreciation for several years but eventually, as that market flattens out, they’ll start paying dividends as the stock price stabilizes. The dividends will attract different investors, such as retirees, as high-growth stockholders will no longer be able to buy the stock and then sell it for a quick profit.)

But big corporations–for obvious reasons–wish to maximize that high-growth period. That is because execs are paid in stock options.

(If I’m a board member or a CEO who holds 100,000 options, each giving me to buy 100 shares of stock at a certain price, it is within my interest to keep that stock price climbing as long as possible. It might even be within my interest to backdate those options–as the Wall Street Journal blew the lid on that practice–but we won’t go there.)

To keep that stock price nice and high requires more than a great business model. In reality, a really great business plan includes government as part of the strategy, as corporations team up with special interest groups, which pay lobbyists to prey on Congressmen and Senators–even the President–to pass legislation that favors their industry.

Make no mistake: this is the very same collusion that Adam Smith described in Wealth of Nations. The end-result: they keep prices high, and competitors out, so they can profit at your expense.

For them, Big Government is not the enemy; they are an integral part of the strategy to minimize competition. The ultimate loser is you and me.

GOP Fumbles on Pottygate

08/30/2007: After waiting to see what the fallout over Pottygate would be, GOP lawmakers are finally calling for Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) to resign.

To little, too late.

What Bush, McConnell (R-KY), Hastert (R-IL), and other party leaders fail to understand is that this is not a political matter; this is one of character. By taking a political approach to a character issue, they have stooped to the level of the very Bill Clinton they impeached nine years ago.

Except I give Clinton credit for one thing: at least he prefers the OPPOSITE SEX! We cannot say as much for the Grand Old Pederasts.

More GOP slogans for next year?

  • Working hard for Working Men!
  • Trust Us with Your Chlidren!
  • Redefining Sex Education!
  • We’ll Do for You What We Did for the Children!
  • No Child Left Behind..because We Want Their Behinds!
  • Don’t Want Your Boys to Fight in Iraq? Send them to Congress!

And no…I’ve got different motivations for my angst than the MoveOn.org folks have.

I’m a card-carrying member of the John Birch Society; I’m still the same God-and-country conservative libertarian I was 20 years ago. I’m pro-life, pro-gun, pro-free markets, and anti-tyranny.

Trouble is, the GOP never really was that type of party. Conservatives will wake up one day and realize that Reagan was an abberation–a good guy who got in the way of the system, and whose advisors worked hard to minimize his effect and almost succeeded.

And even in spite of Reagan, the Republican Party has always been the party of Eisenhower/Rockefeller elitists. Truth be told, the party has been closer to the “ketchup is a vegetable” sentiments of David Stockman than the “government is the problem” sentiments of Reagan.

That’s not to say the DNC doesn’t have issues at least as bad, but they are not the ones who have spent the last 30 years pandering to God-and-country conservatives.

I won’t be voting for the lesser of two evils this time. It is up to the GOP to prove that they are more than “the best house in a bad neighborhood.”

Right now, there is only one good GOP candidate, and that is Ron Paul (R-TX) who has less a chance of winning than Hell has of freezing over. But I’ll support him in the primaries.

And if the Republican candidate is an Establishment Man, I’ll vote Libertarian.

And please save the anti-Hillary scare-tactics for someone else. If she’s that bad, then we’re better off having unvarnished evil than the lukewarm elitists who wink and nod at pederasts.

Medved Spinning for the GOP

08/29/2007: Today, Michael Medved proves once again why he should stick to movie criticism, as he attempts to spin the case for the field of GOP contenders.

To be fair, he does a decent job of showing that the GOP candidates in prior elections were not exactly earth shattering. With the exception of the Reagan Revolution, none of the GOP fields were worth much. This also explains why, other than two terms of Eisenhower (1952-1960) and two terms of Nixon/Ford (1968-1976)–the former overrated and the latter a hideous chapter in American history–the Democrats dominated every Presidential election from 1932 to 1980.

I would even take it one step further: the Reagan Revolution is the only reason Democrats failed to win in 1988 and 2000, as George New World Order Bush won only by riding Reagan’s coattails–with boosts from Willie Horton and Dukakis riding a tank–and Dubya winning only because Nader took enough votes from Gore in Florida.

In spite of his otherwise decent presentation of past candidate fields, Medved fails to look at the real reason things are so bad for this field of candidates: like 1980, this country is at a crossroads.

We can move in the direction of more freedom, stronger defense, free markets, and smaller federal government. Or we can head down what Hayek called the road to Serfdom, which means less freedom, weaker defense, more socialism, and larger federal government.

The Democrats have shown where they want to take us, and they have candidates with clear vision who wish to take us there. Hillary Clinton already gave us a sneak peak at her grand scheme in 1993 and 1994; Obama has shown that his vision is compatible with hers, only less developed. They offer neocommunism with a light dose of GOP neoconservatism.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Ron Paul (R-TX), the GOP candidates hardly offer a serious alternative to the neocommunist agenda of the DNC, instead offering neoconservatism with a light dose of DNC neocommunism.

With both sets of frontrunners, the end-result is more Big Brother, more wars in which we win military engagements without getting real closure, and less buying power for the dollar.

That is why conservatives are pissed: the GOP has always talked about being the party of smaller government; yet, when their party controlled the executive and legislative branches of government, they made no serious attempts to pare down the size of government, instead spending at levels that would have made FDR blush.

The GOP has always talked about being the party of victory–pointing to Reagan’s Cold War record. Yet, after 8 years of Bush, we are bogged down in a nation-building exercise, as our military is forced to be the referee for a resurrection of World War I.

We have set the standard for victory so high that even a half-assed insurgency can beat it: to win, we must destroy the insurgency and maintain the stability of an incompetent government. For the insurgency, they merely have to survive.

As for social issues, the GOP has been all talk and no action. That is because GOP leaders don’t really want Roe v. Wade to go down; after all, if that happened, it would take abortion off the table in national elections and force the GOP to actually address issues for which they can really be responsible: like the atrocious level of government spending and endless wars…

The GOP loves to play with the issue of gay marriage because that is marketable; what they don’t realize, however, is that gay marriage referenda do not translate to GOP electoral success: last year, gay marriage Amendments won handily, but Republicans still got slaughtered in their elections.

(Only Bob Corker (R-TN)–who defeated Harold Ford for the Senate–prevented a complete rout by the Democrats. Had anyone other than Howard Dean been running the DNC, the Democrats would have picked up at least 70 seats in the House.)

Conservatives are angry because they know the GOP frontrunners are nothing but pander bears who will talk a slick talk, but–once elected–will do nothing to provide substantive change. They may not vote Democrat, but they may very well stay home.

(If Ron Paul doesn’t get the nomination, I will vote Libertarian.)

Four years ago, Dubya won re-election because he was able to convince the conservative base that a Kerry Presidency would be a disaster and that he–Dubya–could wrap up Iraq and get government back down to size. He has flopped. Badly.

The Democratic frontrunners–Hillary and Obama–are very hard lefties, but they have plenty of help from a GOP that is mired in corruption–think Ney (OH), Cunningham (CA), Delay (TX)–and gay/pedophilia sex scandals–think Foley and Craig.

They also have an incompetent President who has foisted a neoconservative agenda that is not sustainable in any military or economic metric–against whose record they can run. Just as Dubya ran against Clinton, Hillary can run against Dubya.

And–unless Hillary is caught with a live woman or a dead boy, she will likely win.

That is what Medved fails to see.

More Unintended Consequences…

08/29/2007: Researchers are now suggesting a link between high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and diabetes.

HFCS is the sweetener of choice in non-diet drinks because it is less expensive than sugar.

Sugar, on the other hand, is more expensive in large part due to prohibitive tariffs that we impose on imported sugar. This marginal cost advantage has led soft drink producers to use HFCS, which is a probable cause for diabetes and other contributing factors such as obesity.

That’s not to say that sugar is much better than HFCS; it is not. In fact, sugar contributes to a whole host of maladies associated with excessive junk food consumption.
On the other hand, in HFCS we have economically rewarded a far worse evil than the table sugar it replaced.

GOP Response to Pottygate Tepid

08/29/2007: GOP Senators are calling for an ethics probe of Larry Craig (R-ID), regarding his arrest and subsequent guilty plea on a lewd conduct charge.

Instead, they should be demanding his resignation, if not calling for his outright expulsion.

Fact is, Craig was hoping he could sweep the whole matter under the rug by attempting to keep a low profile, plead guilty on a misdemeanor, and then assume that–with a generic name like Larry Craig–he might be able to go unnoticed.

For political figures, however, there is no such thing as a “private affair”. Whether you’re JFK, LBJ, Bill Clinton, Newt, Hyde, Chenoweth, Foley, Hutchinson, or any philandering politician, your dark secrets will be exposed sooner or later. Count on it.