Monday, January 26, 2009

The Political Scene's of 2009

We're back and offer apologies for the absence. The Christmas holiday was extended due to unforeseen technology glitches. Albert Einstein once said (paraphrasing), the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. After 3 notebook computers (Sony, Toshiba and HP, and Windows Vista), I have converted to the stability of iMAC. Many might have thought that the absence was due to depression given the state of the markets and politics, which may have been justified given events of the past 60 days. Rest assured we have been observant of the political machinations around us and now have 7 days of the Obama Presidency under our belt - whew! What ride it has been and yet, will be.

Some passive commentary -

Our nation is laboring in the midst of a significant defining moment, an inflection point that few have seen in their lifetime. Even so, with perspective we are not in the midst of declaring our Independence, nor are we in the midst of the Civil War, World War II, or the Great Depression. Yes, we are facing challenging times with economic and societal decline, however I would submit that amid these difficult moments, we face an even greater challenge, a defining moment of ideology.

If ever there were a need for principled leadership in our society, it is today. If ever there were a need for leaders with experience and discernment in what truly matters, it is today. If ever there were a need for leaders who stand firm in what is right and good, it is today. And yet, at the behest of the media and an unknowing electorate, we are relegated to the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and yes, President Barack Obama, those who believe that the US Government is the answer to all our ills, not the American people; that people need not be accountable, for the government will reconcile and resolve our failings.

In his first 48 hours as President of the United States, Barack Obama held true to certain promises in the campaign, and in doing so has undermined our Constitution and security. In an effort to appease his left leaning advocates and the media, either by Executive Order or lack of leadership, Barack Obama has taken steps on that slippery slope, the path of which will lead to increased conflict in the middle east, further deteroriation of our economic vitality, subordination of the US as an economic superpower, and the dilution of our freedoms and liberties. With a hope that he would lead from a moderate platform, he has shown an inclination to the far left. I suppose it is best said, politics as usual in Washington. Now that I have vented, my hope remains that the actions taken to date are without substance and stand only as neutered offerings cast to the feet of the left.

Like unto Bill Clinton, the Obama administration is emerging as one built on marketing and appeasement without foundational principles to guide it - say what people think they want to hear without thought to what is right. The consequence of such failed leadership is a "holiday from history" where our nation and its peoples will be acted upon and not called to principled action, for the government absolves our accountability. The moral standards of natural law and Nature's God, are absent in our leadership in Washington and if we stay the course, we will see the transformation of our government as no longer a government for the people and by the people. The state and federal nation will be supreme and its people's subordinate.

Recent news posts are illustrative of these points -
1. Advisors within the Obama Administration are advocating the nationalization of the US banking system, and the disenfranchisment of all shareholders of banks. Yes, there have been some failed institutions, but the significant decline in our banking system is resultant more from failed policies and accounting dictates than poor management. For example, a large regional bank today declared their 4th quarter earnings, a loss of nearly $500 million. Notwithstanding the loss, $450 million of which was a result of imposed regulatory accounting dictates, the bank made money operationally for the year. The bank sits with very strong liquidity and capital reserves, but because of government imposed accounting dictates they took a loss that will most likely be recaptured when markets return to normalcy (a failed mark to market policy). The stock of this bank is off from a high of 70 twelve months ago to 12 today. These legislated and dictated policies are undermining solid financial institutions, and yet the answer from our legislative and executive branches of government is to consider nationalizing our banking system?
2. Barack Obama's answer to economic stimulus is to rebuild our infrastructure, most of which will not have an economic impact for many years. Needed, yes but economic stimulus, No. He further advocates governmental mandates and controls, ballooning the deficit by over $1 trillion. To quote Barack (again paraphrasing), this isn't a time to worry about the deficit. He believes we can spend our way clear - what if we did that in our own households. Principles are principles, be they our personal budgets or governmental budgets. Nancy Pelosi's solution to needed economic stimulus is to have the government advocate and distribute contraception and birth control. To solve our economic ills, she wants our population and nation to contract. For anyone interested in population contraction, look to the demography of Europe and Canada, all of whom are not reproducing their population, and then compare that with the explosive demography and population of the Islamic nations which is exporting its population to compensate for the shrinking European populations. Mark Steyn has an interesting read in "America Alone."

All of these points are compounded and reflected in the quote by James Madison, ""The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

To the Honorable James Madison, "thank you."

The unfortunate state of politics in the US can best be summed up by an experience I had years ago on the steps of the National Archives. After viewing the US Constitution, I walked to the entry of the National Archives and gazed upon the depth and breadth of Washington, DC. From 3 divinely inspired pages of the Constitution we have amassed a governmental bureaucracy that boggles the mind. Unfortunately, many of the political leaders of our day and in days past have become consumed more with power or the pursuit of such than purpose and civic responsibility and duty. I am reminded of a divine entreaty that applies metaphorically, "they draw near … with their lips, but their hearts are far …" Although they may have been well intended early on, many have become victims of the political power they aspire to, leaving fundamental and foundational principles aside. The consequence has led to a government that is encumbered with self interest over civic duty, power over principle - Democrat or Republican. It isn't fair to generalize, but the shoe seems to fit in most cases. The only difference between Democrats and Republicans in this paradigm (again a generalization, but applicable), is that the Democratic Party believes it is the government's responsibility and duty, as they are the most capable, to solve the ills of our nation, states and families, whereas the Republicans believe that government has a limited role in our Federalist society and puts the responsibility on individuals. Both parties have some valid points where certain individuals or entities have failed in their duty and taken undue advantage, and of course, we all know that the government is not the most effective or efficient in its course. Just because certain individuals have failed to do what is right, it doesn't entitle the government to take on the burden - better that we motivate individual responsibility rather than stifle it by deferring to Washington. I was undone when I read this morning a proposal by certain advisors to President Obama, that we should just nationalize the US banking system and disenfranchise all shareholders, for the sake of order - can you imagine? The failings of a few doesn’t justify governmental takeovers and disenfranchisement. We could have a long dialog alone on this issue and TARP.

Sorry for the tangential rant. In any event, the divinely inspired structure of our government has established the checks and balances of the 3 branches that govern our nation. When the checks and balances are compromised in one party's control of 2 branches, as citizens, we typically lose, be it Democrat or Republican. This because of the point made above of power over principle. We especially lose, if we are right leaning, when Democrats control 2 branches because we end up with a larger government with greater intervention and more entitlements. If we are left leaning, we still lose, but not to the same degree because in theory, government shouldn't expand under Republican principles. Although, under our recent "Republican" leadership (and I don't mean Bush), we all lost because of the power over principle paradigm with our Republican legislators run amok. This should stir the pot - George Bush will likely go down as one of our better Presidents (not that he hasn't made a few mistakes). That being said, if ever there was a concern for the compromise in our checks and balances, it is today. We are without in our ability to stave off the judicial appointments that will further undermine our Constitution, reverting to the traditional British model that the state is the master and the citizen the servant thereof. We will no longer be governed for the people and by the people. We are without in our ability to return to fiscal responsibility (not that anyone has done it right in either party these past 20 years). We are without in our ability to prevent a majority in our nation from being taken off of the tax rolls, and the relegation of the tax burdens on the few. When the many outnumber the few on our tax roles, we are left with an elected government that will appease the entitled with government privilege at the expense of those who bear the sole burden. People generally vote their pocket books over principle and when the majority is on the government payroll (literally and figuratively), they vote for the perpetuation of what serves their needs and wants. I could go on, but won't.

If ever there was a time to step back and set things right, it is today! Honestly, Nancy, Harry and Barack scare me when they are one in their designs, which will take us well down a slippery slope. Sorry, I respect Barack Obama as a good person in today's society, he just believes wrong. He is a product of an entitled society and will govern accordingly. Nancy Pelosi scares me beyond reason and is not one that I would even entrust with $1 (we could write a book on this one). Can you imagine, Nancy Pelosi as one of our leaders - elected by a few so liberal in the Bay area, scary. And then, Brother Reid. When will he realize that he is simply a pawn of the Washington power mongers - I honestly have to question his capacity.

Sorry for the pent up blog, but it has been awhile. They will now come more regularly.