Revenue isn’t the problem

Yesterday’s post dealt with the precarious financial situation Uncle Sam is in.  Interestingly, today I happened to stumble onto U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the “Best States for Fiscal Stability.”

The top three are Tennessee, Florida, and South Dakota, in that order.  What do all of these have in common?

They are three of the eight U.S. States that still don’t have a personal income tax.  Tennessee does tax dividend — investment — income, but not wages.  But it relies mostly on sales taxes to pay its bills.  So why is it so stable?

For one thing, its Constitution requires a balanced budget.  Spending in a given year cannot exceed revenue collections and reserves.

Maybe Uncle Sam should take a trip to Nashville before he has to face the music.

UPDATE: as I was saying

The value of the vote

Caution: this is a long post; that’s why it has a “jump break” on the front page of the blog.

It’s ironic that Bernie Sanders brought this up while I’ve been re-reading Heinlein’s Starship Troopers:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he thinks every U.S. citizen, even the convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, should be allowed to vote in American elections.  Sanders offered his stance at a CNN town hall Monday when asked whether he thought felons should be allowed to vote while they’re incarcerated, not just after their release.

He was pressed on whether it was appropriate to enfranchise sex offenders or someone convicted of a heinous crime like Tsarnaev, who with his brother carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that left three dead and injured hundreds more.

“Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said in response to a question about restoring felons’ voting rights.

It appears Sanders is saying everyone should have the privilege of voting, regardless what they’ve done in their lives.  That’s not merely wrong, it’s disastrously dangerous.  Unlike the (poorly done) movie of Starship Troopers, the book discusses in great detail the importance of the franchise.  Indeed, the book is highly controversial for presenting a futuristic society in which the only full citizens with voting privileges are military veterans.  Pardon the excerpt from one of the book’s classroom discussions:

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Our duty

The highest duty of a citizen is not to protect freedom for himself.  It is to preserve freedom for future generations.  I firmly believe the past few years have shown there are more threats to our Constitution and way of life from within our country than from without.  Those threats must be exposed and dealt with.  We owe it to our descendants.

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Rogues Gallery copy

Thomas Paine

A shift in the narrative?

I can only hope that Conrad Black is correct, and that the majority of people are waking up to the fact the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) have been projecting false realities as smokescreens since late 2016:

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

Black concludes that “Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.”  Call me a jaded pessimist, but I think it might be too early to say that with any certainty.  Just because Trump’s enemies’ narratives are unravelling doesn’t mean they are any less committed to removing him from power, or at the least trying to hobble his freedom of action through “lawfare.”  Their actions over the past two years define the term “subversion.” Meanwhile, Trump’s base (including me) is increasingly exasperated that those miscreants have yet to see any semblance of justice applied to them, and that States and cities continue to defy the Federal government by declaring themselves “sanctuaries” for unauthorized invaders.

No, we haven’t “survived” anything yet.  We just don’t know how long the fuse is on this particular powder keg, or whether anybody can unlight it.  And yes, it’s appropriate to compare it to the crisis of the Civil War.  These are not ordinary political differences.  They are instead existential in nature.

Stay tuned, boys and girls.  In the meantime, ask yourself how prepared you and your loved ones are if the explosion does occur, and take action accordingly.

Satan’s scribes

 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  John 8:44

Trump’s rallying cry of “fake news!” doesn’t resonate with Middle America because of any personal charisma.  It resonates because Middle America figured it out long before a person running for office was willing to say it out loud, repeatedly.  Traditionalists have known for some time that reporters will go to great lengths to cast them as villains, dangerous throwbacks who are out of touch with the present.  It stands to reason, then, that anyone who appears to speak for them on the national stage will be excoriated for it.

Despite presenting an opportunity for sobriety and excellence, the election of President Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media, which have never reckoned with their role in Trump’s elevation and eventual selection, and which have subsequently treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth. I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers…

When a headline reads “Lawmaker Involved in Scandal,” one can immediately deduce that the lawmaker is a Democrat. Why? Because if he were a Republican, the story would make that clear in the headline. Without fail, stories that begin with “Republicans pounce” are actually about bad things that Democrats have done or said, while stories about bad things that Republicans have done or said begin with “Republican does or says a bad thing” and proceed to a dry recitation of the facts…

Which brings us to the press’s most infuriating habit: its selective defense of American institutions… Institutions matter until the Supreme Court rules in a way that annoys the editors of the Huffington Post, who immediately cast the same judges who yesterday were beyond reproach as “illegitimate” or “corrupt” or too male or too white or too Catholic or too rich or too mean. Institutions matter until the economy produces results that irritate Paul Krugman, at which point the system is held to be “rigged.” Institutions matter until Barack Obama wants to change the law without Congress, at which point the story becomes what the president wants and not whether what he is doing is legal. Institutions matter until Donald Trump wins an election, and then the entire system needs junking and is probably being run by the Russians anyway.

Read the entire piece excerpted above.  Nowhere has this consistent slant of the press been more visible than in the propaganda “coverage” of the Mueller investigation…

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By any means necessary

The Democrats clearly do not intend to honor any facet of our system of government that does not result in their gaining power.  Senator Marco Rubio sounds the alarm:

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Broward County – a heavily Democratic area whose supervisor of elections illegally destroyed ballots in a previous election.  (Why is she still in the position?)  Broward County – a heavily Democratic area home to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who (among many other things I don’t have space to list here) stated publicly there are “many things” that can be done to rig an electionBroward County – a heavily Democratic area known for being home to the “Broward Cowards” — Sherriff Israel’s police force that failed to actively intervene during the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.  (Like the supervisor of elections, the Sherriff still has his job, despite losing a vote of confidence by his own department’s union.)

The problem is not limited to the whisker-close races in Florida, either:

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema took a narrow 9,610-vote lead over GOP Rep. Martha McSally Thursday evening as Arizona’s election authorities counted more ballots in the state’s uncalled Senate race.

…depending on the results in Arizona and Florida, the Republican majority in the next Senate could be as small as 52 seats or as big as 54. That spread could be significant on legislation and judicial confirmations over the next two years…

Especially since Senator-elect Romney will undoubtedly take the RINO role previously held by the late Senator McCain, poking his finger in his own party’s eye when it suits him.  President Trump announced before the election that the Federal Government would look closely at improper actions and allegations of fraud.  I sincerely hope they are doing so, and are prepared to make very public examples of anyone found putting their thumb on the scale.  We keep hearing that Trump’s election somehow made Democrats lose faith in our Constitutional system.  As one writer points out, that’s not the case.  They haven’t lost faith in it… they just don’t like how it gets in their way.  That’s why places like Broward County will try to continue “finding votes” until they have enough to get the election results they wanted.

This is outright attempted electoral theft.  It cannot be tolerated.  Period.  The public must demand accountability for this process.  If the Arizona and Florida races are shown to be stolen by the Democrats, the Senate MUST refuse to seat the alleged winners.

Americans have long been cynical about their own elections — but have been willing to abide by the results of record.  If that ceases to be the case (and the Democrats’ collective tantrum after 2016 was a huge step in that direction), we will have anarchy in very short order.  Are you prepared for that contingency?

“No borders, no wall, no USA at all!”

That’s what Antifa hoodlums chanted in Washington D.C. last weekend while trying to pick fights with anyone who looked remotely to the political right of them. While they were mostly mindlessly chanting as directed, one could give them credit for succinctly expressing the formula they and their fellow travelers are using to kill the United States. Because without any borders, without any walls, there won’t be a U.S.A. at all. Or any other nation, for that matter.

And that’s the real goal of the globalists. Too many people think “globalists” is just a quasi-conspiratorial term, but it’s a very real phenomenon. A significant number of Western leaders act as if they owe more loyalty to their transnational peer group than they do to the people they supposedly serve at home. The same holds true of most transnational corporations, whose leaders are more concerned with international access and profits–even if it means bowing to autocrats–than they are with domestic considerations or notions of representative government. This has created a political and technocratic worldwide “ruling class” and, as writer Sarah Hoyt points out, a developing version of the same sort of neo-feudalism that existed under communism:

…communism was not discredited where it counted. There were no long-running exposes of exactly how bad it was in the Soviet Union, or the other communist countries, nor of the massive number of people – at least a hundred million, but quite likely more – that these regimes sent to their graves. There was no explanation about how imposing this kind of regime from above always leads to a quasi-feudal existence, in which the functionaries at the top are kings and everyone else serfs because it has to. Because the people at the top are still human, which means they not only have no idea what is “each’s need” or “each’s ability” but they have their very own greed and desire and other issues the same as any robber Baron. Only at least the robber Barons had to establish some industry, create some empire, finagle some monopoly. Those at the top of the planned economy have full power and cart blanch to JUST rob.

The development of this international club goes a long way explaining the horrified reaction to the election of Trump. The constant harping on his personal moral failings conceals the real anger: he doesn’t play “One World” with the other would-be aristocrats. From all appearances Trump is implementing the promised “America First” policies he campaigned on. Such nationalism—particularly from a key center of power like the U.S.—is intolerable to the globalists.

So they have unleashed their modern brownshirts – the Antifa (another Orwellian misnomer, since they are quite fascist in their attitudes and activities). These street brawlers, like their Nazi forebears, are an army of “useful idiots” to break down the fabric of representative governance so it can be replaced with something more to the totalitarian’s liking. Most of these black-hoodie footsoldiers have no idea they are helping destroy the very system that makes their self-absorbed grievance-mongering possible:

…Antifa, an assemblage of the psychotic and the helpless and mostly both, people who couldn’t catch a clue if the clue was on crutches, people who – from the exemplars caught and exposed – either exist in the sheltered bubble of Academia or in the equally sheltered bubble of their parents’ basements, people who, if they have any job it’s the equivalent of barista.  These people, who would have trouble existing in the relatively harsher environment of Europe… only survive because the US is so prosperous and so secure that – outside of a few Democrat fiefdoms like Chicago or East St. Louis — it’s almost impossible to get yourself killed for gross and offensive stupidity…

Perhaps Antifa activists should reflect on the fate of D.C. denizens Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, whose belief that people everywhere enjoy the same basic goodness and resulting security led to their deaths on a bicycling trip through Tajikistan:

…Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own [wrote Austin] By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.”

This same misguided idea that “people are basically good” – which runs completely counter to the Christian worldview – is the foundation upon which the idea of communism (and globalism, its current incarnation) is built. It fails to take into account, as Hoyt pointed out, the inherent fallibility of our decisions, as well as the self-interested motives that often color them. This is one of many reasons globalists are opposed to authentic, evangelical Christianity. The Bible makes clear “there is none righteous; no, not one,” and the litany of accounts in its pages go on to prove even the most well-intentioned people will always be flawed.  As a result, the Founders understood that nobody should wield unchecked power over others.  Barack Obama’s famous “I have a pen and phone” statement of intent to use executive power to achieve what he could not through legislation ran completely contrary to American tradition.  And yet he had his supporters, his own cult of (manufactured) personality.

Perhaps, then, from a Christian perspective Antifa is best understood as a cult. They have a worldview, require professions of “faith” from their fellow travelers, and viciously ostracize any who challenge their viewpoints. Unlike other cults, however, this one is not just a danger to its own members. Left to themselves, they will bring our nation crashing down.  They seek to erode patriotism, faith in our Constitutional institutions, and any sense the U.S. is special.  Nations cannot survive without these.

The United States has never been perfect. But it has resulted in more opportunity, peace and prosperity for more people than any other nation in history. It has yielded to the temptations and sins of great-power politics, but nevertheless on balance has been a positive influence in the world. The system of human organization from which it springs is an infinitesimal rarity in all of history. As such, it is worth defending, lest this part of the world cease being the “last, best hope for mankind,” and revert back to what history shows is the default result of unfettered power over the masses.