Friday, November 28, 2003

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

It must have been weird for fiscal conservatives to have to cheer Ted Kennedy and other liberal Democrats as they threatened fillibuster on the $400 billion entitlement program that just passed the Senate. Of course, they were in opposition because the deal wasn't destructive, er, large enough.

Reuben Navarrette's Friday column is excellent analysis. It's almost as though I wrote it on Tuesday. He gave AARP its' due, and even the Democrats the punch in the nose they deserve, but could have given the GOP a bit more of the what for. Still, good stuff!
The Meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays celebrated nationally that I enjoy taking part in. Honestly- and I know how curmudgeonly this sounds- I find most holidays negatively disruptive to my average day. I prefer my average day to the average holiday, mainly because I find my self-esteem in my daily work than in my ceasing my work and making merry about things that do not matter to me.

I especially like the Independence Day celebrations, for obvious political reasons. I am always moved on Memorial Day, for the price paid willingly (usually) by our military. I try to work on Labor Day when I can.

I am not a religious man, so I do not get religious value from Christmas, Easter, or Hannukah. But isn't Thanksgiving a day of offering gratitude to God? Not for me.

Thanksgiving is a day for me to be grateful, God or no god, for my life and for those things in my life that bring me joy. I do not need religion to be grateful for Ame and my love for her. I do not need religion to feel joy at holding my niece for the first time. I do not need a the guidance of man's interpretation of an alleged deity to appreciate the warmth of my extended family. I certainly am not thinking of anything but myself and my son as I wait in excited anticipation for seeing Alex for the first time since June.

Gratitude is a privileged sensation to possess. It is rather akin to satisfaction. I am grateful for the progress I have made in my life. This progress was achieved through my effort and my skill, and little else. After all, luck is little more than opportunity meeting preparation.

I find depressing the notion that all gifts come from God, and that man is hopeless and helpless without the blessings of God. That perspective is the notion of the successful having hit life's lottery. Does man not have free will? Does man not make choices, good and bad? Are we merely pawns on a supreme being's chessboard? If so, I should be grateful for that, and give thanks? No thanks. I'll do it my way.

Take whatever value you can from Thanksgiving, and every other day. I try to do the same with Christmas, substituting the reunion with family over the celebration of the birth of Jesus. On the whole, though, living the average day in the present, means a whole lot more to me than commemorating something from the past.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Next, the Feathers

I give thanks this week for so much, but I will begin with the small political stuff.

President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Frist, and the rest of the GOP tar-wearers have just committed treason against the supporters of their party who have clung to the misguided, seriously outdated belief that the GOP is the party of small government. They may be a party of smaller government than the Democrats, but the Dems are the party of government just smaller than socialism.

I give thanks not for the $400 Billion price tag to this prescription drug plan masquerading as a Medicare reform bill. I give thanks not because my generation and those younger than I will have to pull the weight of the Gimme Gimme generation. I give thanks not because the Democrats have not a prayer in November 2004 of reclaiming the White House.

I give thanks because Bush, Frist, et al have just delivered the fiscal conservatives with a small degree of integrity, spine, or naked self-interest to the Libertarian Party.

This shall mark the finest Pyrrhic victory ever seen in American politics. Bush has purchased the votes for 2004 at the cost of the long-term viability of the GOP. Roll in the feathers, boys!

I know, I know... this analysis makes me a frothing lunatic. That's fine. Galileo was a lunatic... until he was shown to be correct. In January, I thought that the GOP would disintegrate by 2020, sending most of its members to the Libertarians, and the rest to the Democrats, leaving again two major parties, each with a starkly contrasted view. The Dems would represent collectivism, and the LP would represent individualism. With the Senate's passage of this hideous crapola, I will revise my estimate and predict that this split and consolidation will be complete by 2012.

Look at the postings on the Wall Street Journal for immediate evidence. Yeah, my response is in there. Why not spray gasoline on the Burning Bush?

Monday, November 24, 2003

Plenty O' Tar

I have my brush ready and a tanker truck loaded with tar. Line up the Republicans, please.

This is what passes for leadership from the "MBA President" on the domestic front: a hideous, monstrous redistribution of wealth from the healthy and young to the less-than-healthy and the more-than-young.

Give Bush this- he's consistent. He violates everything he should have learned in an Econ 101 class, beginning early on with steel, then with farms, then lumber, and now with prescription drugs. Mainly, the redistribution of wealth is inefficient to the economy despite the unexcelled efficiency in securing votes. Since spending has not decreased under this Republican president, this Republican House, and this Republican Senate, the money must come to the Federal budget in one of two other ways: via taxes or deficit spending. Shall we pay now or pay later? If the AARP is granted the ability to have their cake and eat it too, we'll go the deficit spending route.

Kudos to MSNBC for correctly noting the ploy by Bush, Frist & Co. as a drive for securing votes.

A dripping goo-wad of tar for the Senate Majority Leader, and bucket of the crud over the head of the President.

Now, line up the Democrats.

Only in the fantasy world that is contained inside Ted Kennedy's alleged mind could phrases such as these emerge:

He claims this $400 BILLION expropriation and transfer of wealth “starts the unraveling of the Medicare system.” Well, spit in my eye. If this begins the unravelling, what would be the booster? A trillion dollars?

And yet, I have to acknowledge that Kennedy is on to something here, even if unwittingly. From his Senate webspage, "Why would anyone want to make these destructive changes in Medicare, which has served senior citizens so well for almost forty years? The answer is a right-wing ideology that says government insurance is bad and private insurance is good."

Herein lies the difference between Republicans and Democrats, as Kennedy correctly nods to. A 'right-winger' believes that government insurance is bad, private insurance is good, and it must be funded by taking money from one set of citizens and giving it to another. A 'left-winger' believes that government insurance is good, private insurance is bad, and it must be funded by taking money from one set of citizens and giving it to another.

Ted, there's still plenty of tar in this tanker. Why not just jump in?

What needs to be challenged is the notion that one person's health care options are the responsibility of someone else. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats are willing to do this. Both believe that the right way for anyone to do anything is to take money form someone else to make it happen.

Ready to vote Libertarian yet? If not, what will it take? Where shall the line be drawn? Is it somehow not clear yet that Republicans and Democrats share the same basic premise for approaching domestic policy?