Progress Despite Progressives

bridezilla-ball-and-chainWith the regimented applause and witty comebacks that assailed the State of the Union Address behind us, this seems like a great opportunity to clarify one basic point.  Regarding this president, his ideology, his administration and the oft touted economy of which he so boldly speaks when he reminds us how much he has helped the folks:

Economic progress made during the last 6 years has been IN SPITE of the actions taken by this progressive administration and those of similarly minded disposition.  However, arrogance knows no shame.  While the policies have been detrimental, the administration still waves the banner of success.

In 2012 the president stated, “First of all, we are drilling,” he said. “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. I want everybody to listen to that — we have more oil rigs operating now than ever.”  This is so misleading that Webster’s is now using this quote as the number three definition for the word “demagogue”.  Fuelfix.com rates this as “half-full”, partially accurate or, in more direct terms, DISHONEST.

As noted here, “Oil production on federal lands — those under the president’s control — fell 6 percent since 2009, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, while production on private lands increased 61 percent.”  So while the feds (which means the executive branch, which means the president) have limited, denied or otherwise halted permits for drilling on the land that they control, drilling on property where they have no jurisdiction (because of that pesky Constitution) has risen.  This PRIVATE SECTOR success has been co-opted by the administration.  A sort of have your oil and eat it too.

Moving on.

Last fall the president was repeating this gem of sophistry: “We’ve created more jobs in the United States than every other advanced economy combined since I came into office.”  Now, when the entire world of advanced economies is going through an, huh-hemm, “Economic Downturn”, growth in jobs created is generally a good thing.  But comparing the two economies, saying that ours is going better than theirs, does not make our growth substantial.  It just makes it less bad.  Bloombergview.com has this on Europe, “since the global financial crisis of 2008, the U.S. and the U.K. have seen output grow more slowly than in previous recoveries. That’s nothing to boast about. Still, six years on, gross domestic product is higher in both countries than it was at the pre-crisis peak. Europe’s output remains 2.4 percent below that benchmark. And the gap isn’t closing.  All three of the euro area’s biggest economies — Germany, France and Italy — are failing. Germany’s output actually fell in the second quarter. So did Italy’s, for the second consecutive quarter. (Whether this is a new recession for Italy or a continuation of the old one is debatable.)”  Doing better that Europe is not an accomplishment, it is the bare minimum in order to avoid catastrophe.

Misdirection is a regular game for this administration.  Whenever the new unemployment numbers come out, some spokesman regales us of the great news that unemployment has fallen.  However, as usual, that’s not the whole story.  It is the dishonest, half-full, half truth.  In reality, these numbers do not account for people who are working in underemployed, part-time jobs or those who have simply given up looking for work altogether, which has been on ongoing epidemic.  Politifact notes, “the idea that long-term unemployed Americans are increasingly leaving the labor force is supported by an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by FiveThirtyEight.com’s Ben Casselman. The data led him to conclude that “the share of the long-term jobless who are giving up their job searches has been rising steadily, even as the job-finding rate has remained largely flat.  This puts a damper on the notion, stated by Obama, that “we’ve put more people back to work” in recent years.”  In the end, Politifact says, “we rate Obama’s claim Half True.”

It is common knowledge that if it walks and talks like a duck then it probably is one.  Politicians are the poster-people for deception and finesse when it comes to communicating with the people.  But this guy was supposed to be different.  The most transparent president ever, healing our ills while the ocean tides recede.  Instead, we have a president who plays both sides against the middle, supporting policies that limit growth while still claiming victory when Americans find success despite his actions.  He takes credit for the work that he has sought to hamper, that the folks who are still working have accomplished.

Just check your common sense at the door and everything will be as sunny as a day on a Hawaiian golf course.  The economy is better, when compared to terrible economies.  Jobs and production have risen, when you don’t count the jobs and production that have quit entirely.  Looking through the opaque lenses of the Glasses of Politicity grants the viewer the necessary tunnel vision to accept the logic of a leader who has intentionally misled his people.

After all, if his infallible policies aren’t infallible, what does that say about the state of our union six years later?

And more personally, if someone ties your hands and then takes credit for your work, how much longer would you have the spirit to go on?

American Sniper: Hollywood’s Finest

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Over the past year alone, there has been no shortage of progressive Hollywood lowlights.  There was Sony’s decision to pull “The Interview” when faced with hacking opposition from the tyrannical cowards of North Korea.  And while the vast majority of outspoken celebrity personalities should be applauded for condemning the action and defending free speech, it makes you wonder: did Sony consult no one before acting because apparently exactly no one, from the president to Ben Stiller, agreed with this duck taping of the First Amendment?!?!  Next up are the oblivious comments made at a party thrown for President Obama in Hollywood, by a renowned actress, as to the comparative difficulties of a working mother who is also an actress making $15 million a movie, as opposed to a “normal” working mother.  The implication being that the former carries more challenges.  And as Harry says to Lloyd, “just when I think you can’t get any dumber” there’s the recent hoopla regarding the Oscars, diversity and the short term memory loss of last year’s winners.

But all is not lost as Hollywood does have a way of finding the magic of redemption.

On the surface there’s nothing groundbreaking about the film “American Sniper.”  A critically acclaimed, award-winning star teams up with a critically acclaimed, award winning star-turned-director to make a major motion picture based upon a critically acclaimed, bestselling autobiography about a military hero.  Hell, just throw in some fast cars and a dash of cleavage and you got a sure-fire box office smash, regardless of any shallow writing or fidelity to the actual story.

But the beauty of “American Sniper” is in the integrity it maintains throughout the film.  Very little screen time was wasted on superfluous explosions and none on gratuitous nudity.  Instead, the director and lead actor created a fully realized character that was in fact a real human being worthy of a big Hollywood hit.  They dared to portray a truth rarely seen about the enemies that our military faces: they are aggressive combatants in plain clothing, some women, some children.  They showed us the inner conflict of a veteran among veterans who’s skills as a SEAL and a sniper were used to protect his fellow soldiers.  They showed us that indeed, war is hell but that it is also, at times, an unavoidable consequence of world events.  They showed us one man who loved his family and his country.  And it worked beautifully.

This is a film that through its titular character loves the United States.  It does not promote or glorify war nor does it get into the politics over the invasion of Iraq.  It’s more personal than that.  It follows one man driven by his love of God and country, his duty to something greater than himself and his ability to defend those who fight beside him.  And he is very good at what he does, the absolute best of the best.

This is the triumph of the individual over the great horrors through which he has lived and the battle to find himself once again.  This story of sacrifice, greatness and redemption holds true to the values that make family and country worth fighting for: honor, love and integrity throughout.  It also inadvertently, for a brief moment, redeems an industry suffering under the spectre of progressive ideology.

It is the reason I go to the movies.

Altruistic Education

Atomic_Smile_by_JohnnyMuffintopEarlier this week the president revealed the next of his myriad plans to enact social justice and fundamentally transform the country.  This time he proposes that the federal government subsidize, meaning pay for, the first two years of schooling for students at a community college.  The feds will use the only source of income available them: tax dollars provided by individual citizens which are then to be directly transferred to other individual citizens as opposed to supporting the infrastructure and providing for the common defense, the legitimate duties of government. This scenario is the bloody glove, the one-armed man.  It exposes the nefarious, destructive ideology of progressives, like this president, who believe government to be the savior of the people.  Ironically, because the government creates no wealth, it must first take in order to give.  Only then will the state, and the supporting politicians, claim to be the benefactors of the people and deride the very individuals who made the actions of government possible.  The rich must pay their fair share and success is only possible through the benevolence of government.  Remember, you didn’t build that. President Obama has publicly announced this altruistic proposal, meant to tug at the heart strings, in order to further the social justice cause of equality of outcome as the proper measure of a society.  And he has done so without divulging the specifics, like, you know, the actual cost.  The famous Pelosi-ism at work, you have to pass it to know what’s in it. And to those who counter this proposal with skepticism or criticism there is no real debate or any interest in the inclusion of differing ideas.  There will be only attacks by the demagogues who have wrapped an immoral proposal in the cloak of the greater good. How much will it cost?  “We dunno, stop hating you racist hater.” How many people will be subsidized?  “We could guess but it doesn’t really matter.  The more the merrier.  I mean, the rich can afford it, that’s why they’re called the rich.” Should the government be transferring income in order to rectify subjective social inequalities, essentially making it an expensive middleman between private citizens?  “Duh! Abso-friggin-lutely! Social Security, Medicare, War on Poverty, War on Drugs, etc.  All would work perfectly if only the government had more power to help.” What is the current debt of the United States?  “…stop hating you racist hater.” Every student of Economics 101 knows that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch…or free anything at a community college.  In order for one student to go to school for “free”, someone must pay for the books to be read, the professors to profess, and to keep the lights on and the toilets flowing.  It all costs money.  And, wouldn’t you know, the reason for the high costs of college, driving the need to give out free education, is none other that our omniscient benefactor. According to the objective analysis found here, “It all goes back to two well-intentioned federal goals: first, that a college education should be within the reach of every American, and second, that if students borrow money from the federal government, they should repay it. Most of us would agree that both are noble goals. But the consequences of both have been stunning. As a result of the first, the money began to flow; over the last 30 years, inflation-adjusted federal financial aid has quadrupled. Total student debt has now reached the $1 trillion mark, more than the credit card debt of every American combined. The federal deficit in the recently ended fiscal year totaled $1.3 trillion; the debt load carried by college grads now stands at more than two thirds of our nation’s massive budget shortfall. According to the College Board, over half of all full-time undergrads at public colleges and universities are now full-time borrowers. At private nonprofit schools, a whopping two-thirds have loans.” So this proposition seeks to alleviate the second goal of repaying debt and stick to keeping education within reach for everyone, now for “free”.  And this from the folks who can’t design a website.  Or fill potholes. If the government would stick to its expressed duties and leave the rest to the citizenry, we would be better off both socially and financially. Private loans, scholarships and donations, along with hard work, ambition and dedication, would provide for education if people were allowed to use their own money as they see fit.  When the federal government involves itself, whether it be in education, the faltering mail service, subsidized Amtrak or renewable energies, more problems arise.  It is the inevitable result of an all powerful entity, who has no competition and cannot go broke, playing with other people’s money.

A Government Despite Politics

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“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.  In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

– James Madison, The Federalist, no. 51

Along the tumultuous road of political self discovery I have read and met all different sorts.  Some quite amazing, filled with enlightening pearls of wisdom.  Some boorish, obstinate and filled with poop.  A good friend who goes to great lengths to stay informed, learn and spread the truth, and who shares similar views, once offered this reflective adage:  “I wish I could go back to before I started learning about politics.  I was much happier.”  While not exactly a revolutionary epiphany (the same idea has been expressed ad infinitum as “Ignorance is bliss”) it does expose a cynical insight that relentlessly stalks well-meaning, law-biding and constitutionally-minded patriotic seekers of truth.  It also explains the omnipresent disgust felt by The Folks, which invariably and oh so ironically leads to the wide breadth of misunderstanding among the electorate fuels the false, fraudulent and overall poor application of government that exists in the United States today.

The Last Best Hope was created to promote the truth.  I encourage everyone, once informed, to take an active interest in the governance of this nation.  It is my goal to expose as many people as possible to the toolbox of constitutional principles that are the bedrock of our government.  Pro-constitutional principles will flourish when communicated clearly and without reservation; and following such principles will significantly limit, though admittedly not eliminate, the putrid, pugnacious politics from productive governance.

Believe it or not, governance differs from politics <insert sardonic laugh>:

Government is the necessary choice that humanity makes when faced with the uncertain future, in opposition to anarchy and, in our republic, the tyranny of both a mob and a despot.

Politics is the game; the “strah-TEE-jer-ee” that erodes good government.

“Playing politics” has lead to an almost universal disintegration of any respectful relationship (never mind trusting or mutually beneficial) between elected officials and citizens.  Governance, and by extension politics, has become an opaque, esoteric endeavor.  This behemoth bureaucracy bestows unwarranted authority upon unqualified yet credentialed officials and permits the unencumbered ability of said officials to control all aspects of business and private life.  It is exactly this burdensome ability to arbitrarily influence our society that can and must be restrained.

If our elected or appointed officials do not possess the power and ability to corrupt, it stands to reason that corruption can be limited: irrelevant earmarks, pork-barrel spending, fatuous studies, undue influence over business, etc. etc. ETC.  An educated citizenry, hip to the business-as-usual methods of complacent, can-kicking politicians, has the ability to restore the power to its proper base: with the people.

These high-information voters may not understand the entire layout of the federal budget but they can, through simple but focused informative study, learn what continuing resolutions really mean and what the difference between mandatory and discretionary spending really is.  They will learn practical politics, reflected in our two-party system; expand their platform to encompass multiple issues; learn the value of having a broad, united base of support; use moral-suasion to win over hearts and minds on what used to be divisive social issues and recognize that while such issues are held close by strong conviction, it is the fiscal profligacy that will doom this nation and make moot any rights to abortion or marriage.

It is my resolution to assist to create such high-information voters who will become righteous citizens, empowered to compel rigid adherence to the Constitution by our “leaders”.  Each article written will strive to inform and motivate the described action so that readers transform feelings of impotence into a genuine belief that We the People, the Constitution and voting matters.  The primary focus will be on the constructive actions that can move us toward such a government and exposing the deleterious actions that hinder or directly contradict such a goal.

Is this possible?

I recognize the shades of idealism peppered with delusion that some may find in my ludicrously lofty ambitions.  However, despite the cynicism that accompanies political study, I still see the United States as mankind’s hope for a better future.  Without this nation as a constitutionally-minded, free-market oriented republic, the world will become a stark, dark, desolate place where the value of the individual has become as inflated as the currency once printed with impunity.  Hope for a life better than the one born into will fade.  The tired, poor, huddled masses will have nowhere to go as the American Dream dissolves into a Global Nightmare.

***

Yes, we have many problems in this country: social, financial, racial and sexual.  Some substantial, some provincial.  No, the Constitution is not a panacea that will spread Kumbaya throughout the land.  But it can serve it’s purpose as it was designed to: guide the leaders of the United States as a blueprint for effective, freedom-based, rights-respecting limited government.  There is an amendment process to make changes as well as job descriptions for every elected office.

There will be disagreements and politics will play it’s part but the informed, high information voters will form a formidable force to counter and corral formerly unruly politicians.  The inspired electorate will take the reins to direct new leaders with Constitutional priorities.  It will be a fundamental transformation away from the progressive invasiveness of the last century encouraging genuine, substantial and wisdom based hope to affect real change for the future.

Wishing You All the Best for a Happy New Year!

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

– Ronald Reagan