Cartoons of the Day

I’m pressed for time today. Here’s a couple of items to hold you over while I scurry around doing errands.
This one is from Glenn McCoy.

And this from Michael Ramirez.

Y’all have a great day!

Continuing on the theme

I wrote about Culture Clashes yesterday. The struggle for supremacy between the “traditional” American culture, the statist/dependency culture and the invading islamic culture.  The expansion of that last culture is being actively aided and abetted by the statists.  They believe they can use islamics against the traditions that built this country.  So far, they have been successful because we, the members of that traditional culture have been complacent.

Continuing with this theme, I bring you a column written by Dr. Milton Wolfe, Obama’s cousin.  The subject? Control Freaks and how they attack our traditional culture.

WOLF: Is this still America?

Control freaks assault the land of the free

Culture Clashes

In his sermon yesterday, my Pastor mentioned something that triggered a stream of thoughts.  In passing, he mentioned Tradition and adherence to Old Testament Law.  He said more than once that repeated actions will eventually become a tradition and with other traditions can create cultures.

We have examples of three cultures, in conflict, here in the United States.  Eventually, one of those cultures will rise to supremacy.

The first culture is one that, in the past, was recognized by the old slogan, “Mom, Flag, and Apple Pie.”  It was the native American culture of Independence, Individualism, Family, Love of the Constitution, and the free worship of God.  That culture is under attack by the other two.

The second culture had its roots in the writings of Marx and Engels.  In the United States, its first appearance was the formation of unions and unionism in the late 19th Century.  Granted there were many justified reasons for the early unions, but the unions quickly merged their agendas to be concentrated attacks on the free market economy and capitalism.  My family was involved in those early days.  My Grandfather, Uncles, and Father were all miners.  My Grandfather and Father were stewards in the United Mine Workers of America. As the power of the central union grew, the aims, needs and purposes of the local unions were subordinated to the anti-business agenda of the central union.

After a lifetime involvement in the union, my Grandfather and Father withdrew.  Unions have been infiltrated and absorbed by that second culture.  Today, we see the strength of that second culture in the dependency class—those 49.5 percent of the people who are dependent on the largess of government in one form or another.

There is a third culture that has appeared in this country in the latter half of the 20th Century.  It is ignored for the most part by the dependency culture. They don’t see any real conflict between the two because they don’t see any areas of mutual contact.  Instead, when conflicts between the third and first cultures arise, the second culture sides with the third.  They follow that old adage, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In some areas of the country, that alliance is becoming more visible.

Case in point. The second and third cultures do not believe nor support the Constitution.  The second culture views the Constitution as an impediment to their agenda. The third culture views the constitution as irrelevant and contradictory to their culture. Frequently the second and third cultures join forces attacking the first. The most common point of attack is against the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The third culture detests freedom of speech.  They attempt to suppress it at every opportunity.  The second culture detests the free expression of religion—specifically Christian beliefs because those beliefs don’t support dependency but promote self effort and individualism.  

Together, these two cultures violate that portion on the First Amendment concerning the establishment of religion.  I say that because they now use the “rule of law,” or rather the Rule of Judges to promote a specific religion.


Pennsylvania Judge Throws Out Charge For Harassing Atheist While Calling The Victim A Doofus

There is a surprising story out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania that seems the perfect storm of religious tensions. You begin with Ernie Perce, an atheist who marched as a zombie Mohammad in the Mechanicsburg Halloween parade. Then you add Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim who stepped off a curb and reportedly attacked Perce for insulting the Prophet. Then you have a judge (Judge Mark Martin) who threw out the criminal charges against Elbayomy and ridiculed the victim, Perce. The Judge identifies himself as a Muslim and says that Perce conduct is not what the First Amendment is supposed to protect. [UPDATE: The judge says he is not a Muslim despite what is heard by most listeners on the tape. That being the case, the criticism of the comments remains.]

The case, however, then went to District Judge Mark Martin who not only threw out the charge of harassment but ridiculed Perce as a “doofus.” He also proceeds to not only give an account of his own feelings (and say that he was offended personally by Perce’s action) but suggests that Elbayomy was just protecting his “culture.” (Emphasis mine: Crucis) The judge not only points to the Koran in the courtroom but his time in Muslim countries as relevant to his deliberations. Putting aside the problem of ruling in a case where you admit you have strong personal feelings, the lecture given on the first amendment is perfectly grotesque from a civil liberties perspective.

This is not the most egregious example. It’s just the most recent. Mr. Perce, although an avowed atheist, was expressing a belief using his First Amendment rights.  Judge Martin and Mr. Elbayomy violated the First Amendment twice.  That is a direct attack against the Constitution and against the first culture.  The second and third cultures ignore and refuse to recognize that the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not Sharia law, nor the Koran.

These culture clashes will continue and grow in strength.  We are already at a crux between the first and second cultures. The coming election in November will be crucial in determining if the first culture, the one of traditions of reverence towards the Flag, Family, Freedom and personal beliefs against the second culture of dependency, statism, corruption and tyranny.

We see the second culture, the culture of the liberals and the dependency class, build traditions, expanding their culture that is contradictory to the native traditions of the first culture.  We all have a dog in this fight. We ignore these clashes at our peril.                 

Friday Follies for February 24, 2012

Gas Prices: A refinery fire in Washington state is the trigger, so says news sources, for the recent spike in retail gas prices. A fire last Friday at the BP Cherry Point site at Blaine, WA, is the trigger for the increases.  Gasbuddy.Com, a website that tracks gas prices across the country, says the fire halted production at the site.  The BP Cherry Point refinery produces 90% of the transport fuel for the west coast.

This weekend a major fire that started Friday at the BP Cherry Point Refinery in Blaine, Washington has left the refinery unable to take in its daily intake capacity (230,000 barrels per day), much of which arrives from Alaska. Approximately 90 percent of the crude oil refined there emerges as transport fuels making it the largest marketer of gasoline and jet fuel on the West Coast.

The refinery is on a massive sprawl of 3,300 acres and was built in 1971, making it one of the newer refineries in the U.S. Until this weekend, it was producing 3.5 million gallons of gasoline; 2.5 million gallons of jet fuel; and 2.2 million gallons of diesel per day. —

The suddenly cut in production was felt across the country.  West Virginia saw a $0.20-0.30 per gallon jump reports the West Virginia Gazette.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gas prices in Charleston rose between 20 and 30 cents per gallon on Wednesday.

According to, a company that tracks gas prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the United States and Canada, gas prices at most stores in the area were between $3.49 and $3.58 early in the day and had risen to $3.79 and above by late afternoon.
Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, said the cost from one of the area’s major suppliers went up 15 cents for gas stations, causing the higher prices. — WVGazette.

The West Virginia report also blames the crises with Iran and the transition to summer blends contributing to the increased prices.

Locally, here near KC, we could expect another ten to twenty cent increase in our gas prices before the weekend according to GassBuddy.  The price here has already risen twenty to thirty cents just this week.


My wife and I hit 65 this year.  Like it or not, we’re being forced to sign up for Medicare.  My former employer only provided health insurance until we reach 65. At that point we’re dropped and expected to join the Medicare crowd.  Frankly, I couldn’t afford to stay with my employer’s health plan, it was costing me $1400/mth.  Up to this point, the cost was covered by a savings fund created when I was working.  Contributions to that fund ended years ago with the merger of Sprint and Nextel.  Sprint had a pension plan, Nextel didn’t.  After the merger, Sprint didn’t have a pension plan either.

The survival and efficiency of Medicare is an interest for us. A vital interest you might say.  There have been several Medicare reform plans submitted recently.  One, the abomination called Obamacare, is now the law of the land if it isn’t repealed.  Obamacare will replace Medicare.  Oh, the name Medicare will continue but the fact is with Obamacare Medicare will cease as it currently exists.

Paul Ryan submitted a plan last year.  The left went into a frenzy over it.  It was a good plan but some better ones have emerged since.

Burr-Coburn: The Best Medicare Reform Proposal Yet

Many politicians (and many voters) duck the hard choices when it comes to Medicare reform. But what’s remarkable about the past year is that, in some ways, momentum appears to be building for real improvements to the program’s quality and sustainability. Based on a new proposal from Sens. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), the impossible seems within reach: the triumph of sound policy over interest-group politics.
If Wyden-Ryan and Lieberman-Coburn got together to do what many people did on Valentine’s Day, Burr-Coburn would be the result.
I’d previously called Wyden-Ryan a “game changer” for its utilization of two key reform principles, premium support and competitive bidding. Lieberman-Coburn hits the other key principles of reform, including cost-sharing and fraud prevention. As I wrote last June,

I have a lengthy essay in the Summer 2011 issue of National Affairs on Medicare reform, entitled “Saving Medicare from Itself.” In it, I discuss six core concepts for real Medicare reform: (1) preserving benefits for people aged 55 and older; (2) making sure that retirees share more of the costs of their care, and thereby a stake in prudent consumption; (3) means-testing; (4) indexing the Medicare retirement age to life expectancy; (5) aggressive fraud prevention; (6) allowing seniors to shop for value in insurance plans. The Lieberman-Coburn bill hits on many of these points in a way that well complements Paul Ryan’s premium support proposal.

Wyden-Ryan hits (1) and (6), while Lieberman-Coburn hits (2) through (5). Together, they comprise the most complete Medicare reform proposal, using bipartisan policy principles, that has yet been put together.
The plan includes these elements.
Premium support and competitive bidding
Burr-Coburn incorporates something quite similar to the Wyden-Ryan system of competitive bidding and premium support, in which retirees would be able to choose among private plans and a “public option” of traditional Medicare.
One key difference between Burr-Coburn and Wyden-Ryan in this regard is that Burr-Coburn implements competitive bidding and premium support in 2016, not in 2022. On the plus side, this six-year difference has a huge impact on the long-term cost savings of Burr-Coburn.
Increasing the retirement age
As with Lieberman-Coburn, Burr-Coburn gradually increases the Medicare eligibility age from 65 today to 67 in 2027. This will allow Medicare’s eligibility age to match that of Social Security.
Improving the Medicare benefit
One thing that most people don’t realize is that Medicare, designed in 1965, has significant gaps and flaws in the design of its insurance benefit. Medicare doesn’t cover catastrophic costs, forcing many seniors to buy supplemental Medigap plans for their own protection, and giving providers perverse incentives to favor expensive hospitalizations over more efficient outpatient care.
Burr-Coburn would combine Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (outpatient physician services) into a single deductible, with a unified deductible of $550, co-insurance of 20 percent of costs until a retiree had spent $5,500, co-insurance of 5 percent until he had spent $7,500, and full coverage above $7,500.
Burr-Coburn requires greater cost-sharing for people with higher incomes: a far superior solution to raising taxes to subsidize these individuals. Those with incomes above $85,000 as individuals or $170,000 as married couples would be subject to a higher cap on out-of-pocket costs: $12,500 instead of $7,500.  For those with incomes above $107,000 individual or $214,000 family, the cap would be higher ($17,500) and even higher ($22,500) with those making $160,000 as individuals or $320,000 as married couples.
In addition, the plan would charge lower Medicare premiums to lower-income seniors, and higher premiums to higher-income retirees.
Cost-sharing reform

One of the worst aspects of Medicare is the way it is almost intentionally designed to waste money. Medigap plans are a big part of this, by providing private-sector supplemental coverage that undermines Medicare’s ability to incentivize seniors to be mindful of wasteful medical spending.

Flattening the “doc fix”
One of the worst and most persistent problems with federal budgeting has been the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, a global cap on the growth of Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals.
Because the global cap doesn’t keep up with the rise in the cost of health care, and provides no incentive for doctors and hospitals to be more efficient in the way they provide care, Congress has had to routinely step in with “doc fix” legislation that jacks up Medicare spending.
Repeal IPAB, Obamacare’s Medicare rationing board
Obamacare’s vision of government-rationed health care was on full display with the enactment of its Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, a new bureaucracy that seeks ultimately to control which treatments seniors can receive, based on the board’s view of their cost-effectiveness.
There are several problems with this approach, despite its enduring appeal to central planners. First is that rationing has done nothing to control the growth of health spending, as Britain has shown. In addition, “cost-effectiveness” is subjective, and imposes a one-size-fits-all formula on a diverse country of 300 million people, who respond differently to different treatments. (For more on this topic, see my report on my appearance before Congress at an hearing on IPAB.)
Burr-Coburn repeals IPAB and replaces it with a system that allows seniors to voluntarily chose the benefits and plans that best suit their needs.
Is Burr-Coburn the best solution? No. It is significantly better than what we have and more so with what we’ll get with Obamacare.  What it is, is a good start.  I’ve heard many conservatives complain about the Bush Prescription Drug plan. What those conservatives fail to see is that it works.  In fact it is the only Medicare segment that uses market forces to control costs. It works.
My wife and I are in a gap at the moment. My retiree heath insurance ended in December. My Medicare won’t start until March, May for Mrs. Crucis. At the moment we’re paying our own insurance.  I’ve found that catastrophic insurance isn’t too bad, about $150 for the two of us each month. Our prescription drugs aren’t too high either due to the price pressure from the Bush Subscription plan. It does make us watch our medical expenses and plan what should be done, what must be done, and what we can skip.
All-in-all, that’s a good thing.  It makes me wonder how much medical costs would drop if we repealed Medicare all together?  It’s an idea to consider.

Events and Issues

Quote of the Day: “First of all, let’s not forget that four years ago, well after Romneycare was put into place, four years ago you not only endorsed me, you went on Laura Ingraham and said, ‘this is the guy who is really conservative and we can trust him.’ Let’s not forget that you said that,” Mitt Romney said to Rick Santorum at tonight’s debate in Arizona after the former Penn. Senator questioned the former Governor’s conservative credentials.  GOP Debates, Mesa, AZ, February 22, 2011.

Romney finally admits he isn’t a conservative. Else, why would he attack Santorum’s conservative credentials by attacking Santorum’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in the 2008 campaign?  Only if you think that Santorum was endorsing Romney’s non-conservatism.

In either case, I don’t see how Romney can win that particular argument.


Half of the people in the U.S. didn’t pay any income tax last year. Well, make that almost half, 49.5% according to reports. These are the folks dependent on government either through the various welfare programs or through the “Earned Income Tax Credit.”  I’ve heard one description of the Earned Income tax scheme as the Negative Income Tax. The Negative Income Tax is were the government pays you for not working.  Oh! Wait!  That’s welfare isn’t it?

151.7m people – 49.5% of the U.S. population – paid no federal income tax in 2009, figures show

By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 11:21 PM on 22nd February 2012

Only half of U.S. citizens pay federal income tax, according to the latest available figures.
In 2009, just 50.5 per cent of Americans paid any income tax to the federal government – the lowest proportion in at least half a century.
And the number of people outside the tax system could have climbed even higher since as the economic downturn has continued to bite and unemployment has remained high.

These are the people Obama is depending upon to win his re-election for a second term in the White House.
Sellout?  During the debates last night in Mesa, AZ, Ron Paul appeared to be tag-teaming with Romney against Rick Santorum.  There have been rumors for awhile of a possible deal between Romney and one of the other GOP candidates to nail down Romney’s nomination for President.
Now it appears a deal has been made.  Ron Paul focuses his attacks on Rick Santorum, diverting attention from Romney’s faults and flip-flops, and in return Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, is Romney’s pick for Veep.  I guess it’s one way for a Paul to get into the White House. Ron Paul certainly won’t.

Rand Paul says ‘it would be an honor to be considered’ as Romney’s veep (this explains a lot)

By February 22, 2012
On Wednesday, Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director and host of MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown,” rhetorically asked: “Just what has Romney promised Ron Paul.”
Nobody knows if some sort of bargain has been made, but it is interesting that Rep. Ron Paul has never really attacked Mitt Romney, yet he has frequently attacked more conservative candidates at just the moment they were beginning to pose a threat to Romney. (For example, consider his latest ad, attacking Rick Santorum.)
The timing has been noticeable.
Now, a Kentucky media outlet, WFPL News, might be offering us a clue:

Kentucky’s junior senator says it would be an honor to be considered as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

… After a speech in Louisville today, [Sen. Rand] Paul held that door firmly open, saying he wants to be part of the national debate.

… “I don’t know if I can answer that question, but I can say it would be an honor to be considered,” he said.

Of course, this could be much ado about nothing — just a politician answering a question. On the other hand, it is sure to spark more speculation that some sort of deal may be in the works between the Romney and Paul camps. It’s not as if Ron Paul’s campaign hasn’t stoked speculation. As the Dallas Morning News reported, Paul’s national campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, recently said: “Any Republican should have Rand Paul on his short list.”

On the surface, tapping Paul as veep might not make sense. But conservatives are refusing to go along and eat the dog food with Romney — and adding Rand Paul to the ticket would fire conservatives up – and ensure that Ron Paul drops any plans to launch a 3rd party challenge. And just imagine if Romney arrives at the GOP convention needing some of Paul’s delegates to win the nomination?

It’s not an absurd idea.

No, it isn’t an absurd idea at all.

Sarah Hoyt Rants

Today’s post will be short.  In fact, it’s a link to an essay written by Sarah Hoyt and I think it needs wider distribution.  I met Sarah Hoyt a number of years ago at a SF convention.  She’s a member of Baen’s writer stable, most of whom are very conservative with the exception of a single avowed Marxist (who writes using conservative values!)

With that introduction follow this link and read Sarah Hoyt’s rant about the current liberal attack.

Dispatches From Different Wars

Tuesday’s Topics

GOP 2012:  Ron Paul visited KC this last weekend. It was during the same period as the KC Republican Lincoln Days session but I don’t know if Paul appeared at that gathering.  But, from reports, he did gather a large group, a thousand or more depending on which source you read.

A few days ago, on CNN, Paul made this statement about social issues.

Crowley asked Paul. “Are you uncomfortable with this talk about social issues? Do you consider it a winning area for Republicans in November?”

“No,” said Paul. “I think it’s a losing position.

My immediate thought when I read this statement was—Loser.  Paul is so far from the conservative arena that it isn’t visible from whatever planet he’s currently orbiting.  His foreign policy is a joke, he’s so narrow focused on one topic, smaller government, that he ignores all the other issues that are serious concerns for the survival of the country.  I agree with his views on a smaller and restricted federal government but there is more that we have to battle than just that single subject.

Like I said, “Loser.”  Paul is the one GOP candidate that could cause me to skip checking a box for President when I vote next Fall.  He’s as dangerous for the country as Obama.  Paul is dangerous in different areas, to be sure, but the end result would still be the same as Obama, make our country vulnerable to attack from outside, emasculating our military, and the increased probability of war. Those issues would tie him in knots and he’d never get to address reducing the size of government.  

It’s the Bush Conumdrum.  What would have happened in 2001 if 9/11 hadn’t occured.  We’ll never know, but I doubt we would have had the massive spending needed to support the War on Terror.


The Cold War is returning.  Putin plans on spending $770 Billion to upgrade and refit the Russian military.

Putin to pump $770 billion into Russian military

AP by: AP
Monday, February 20, 2012
Russia needs to modernize its military arsenals to deter others from grabbing its resources, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in an article published Monday. …

“We mustn’t tempt anyone with our weakness,” Putin wrote in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Putin said the government plans spending about $770 billion over the next decade to purchase more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 600 combat aircraft, dozens of submarines and other navy vessels and thousands of armored vehicles.  Read the original article at AP

Obama and Hilliary want to help Putin pay for this expansion while shrinking our own military. Just how would Obama and Hilliary help Putin?  This is how.

Will U.S. give Russia energy-rich Alaskan islands?

WorldNetDaily by: Joe Miller, Friday, February 17, 2012

Obama’s State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to the Russians. Yes, to the Putin regime in the Kremlin. … The seven endangered islands in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea include one the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The Russians are also to get the tens of thousands of square miles of oil-rich seabeds surrounding the islands. The Department of Interior estimates billions of barrels of oil are at stake.

The State Department has undertaken the giveaway in the guise of a maritime boundary agreement between Alaska and Siberia. Astoundingly, our federal government itself drew the line to put these seven Alaskan islands on the Russian side. But as an executive agreement, it could be reversed with the stroke of a pen by President Obama or Secretary Clinton.

The agreement was negotiated in total secrecy. The state of Alaska was not allowed to participate in the negotiations, nor was the public given any opportunity for comment. This is despite the fact the Alaska Legislature has passed resolutions of opposition – but the State Department doesn’t seem to care.  Read the original article at WorldNetDaily.

Obama won’t let us drill for oil in our off-shore and inland territories but he will give it away to one of our most dangerous enemies. Just who are Obama and Hilliary working for?  It appears to be everyone who is an enemy of the United States.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick has announced to step down from at the end of his five-year-term in June, giving rise to speculation that the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, may be headed to replace him, which was immediately denied by her aide. 
I smell payoffs in the air.