Tag: America

A Few Days in The Capital of the World

My blogging was light this week because I was visiting New York City with my extended family. I’ll be back up over the weekend with my thoughts on the RNC and so on. If you need some political meat to chew on, here’s the leak of the DNC’s internal e-mails which reveal an establishment — an a DNC chair specifically — who heavily favored Hillary Clinton, to the point of pushing garbage stories deleterious to Bernie Sanders. I expected as much. I’m still waiting for the big wikileaks bomb to drop in November when they reveal that Clinton put Trump up to running.

In the meantime, here’s a few thoughts from NYC:


The Right Wing Meltdown: Knock It Off

It’s been downright painful watching conservatives come to grips with the reality that Obama was re-elected. A couple of my favorite sites are about ready to go all Jonestown about it and I haven’t bothered to give them more than a cursory glance for the past week.

Everywhere it’s “Why, why, why?” and “We have to change everything we believe!” and “We just had bad luck, it means nothing, nothing I tell you!” and even “We have to secede, obviously.”

It’s a collective temper tantrum. Liberals think it’s all hilarious, I might add.

At the risk of sounding like a big twat (ha, ha, ha: shut up), I’ve never been more ashamed of us as a movement or group or what-have-you. This is not the End of America, for fuck’s sake. If you’re waiting for the collective breakdown and war (or, worse, hoping for it), settle down.

It’s not Morning in America either, mind you. Let’s not kid ourselves. This country is in for a brutal decade. But that doesn’t mean that America is fatally wounded. Our country has made a shitload of really bad decisions, run up too much debt, and divided itself on some ridiculous issues that never should have become government problems. We have the bad misfortune to be home when the papers are being served.

We’re getting ready for the next act of The Great Devaluation.  Real estate and college got overvalued, made a bunch of people rich, and then it turned out to be unsustainable in the first act.  We’ve been in shit, but only ankle-deep.  The next wave hits EVERYBODY where it hurts: Our money.  We don’t have enough and what we do have is going to be worth less, if not worthless.  Stocks are going to take a major hit, companies are going to tighten their belts, and more.  This is all coming about because we built everything on crap and let our “leaders” get away with mortgaging our future with insane entitlements, limitless wars, and low taxes.    Well, welcome to the future.

Emigration isn’t an option for me and I’m not really jazzed about the idea of joining up with some asshole warlord in Civil War Episode II: Attack of the Self-Entitled Douchebags.  If you’re good with all that, then go ahead and start digging your bunker and just start waiting.  I don’t care.

The Democrats are not up to the task of handling what’s happening and frankly, I don’t think the GOP was either.  It’s too late and I think this is one of those disasters of American history that just has to happen before we can move on, like Pearl Harbor (the actual event, not the film).  I don’t know how else we break our bad habits without imposed austerity.

Now, plenty of pundits and politicians are getting their silly asses on television talking about how we need to change this and that.  Stop apologizing for rape, let the Mexicans run wild, and admit that the wage gap is deliberately caused by evil, stinky men instead of market forces.  If you want to keep going for the two party system of Democrat and Democrat-lite, that’s a personal choice.  I don’t think we need to go that far.

It is time to compromise though.  I still don’t know how to work out a “peace accord”, but I do know that we can call a truce and take the time to retrench without retreating

First, taxes must go up on high earners.  We have to give that away and I see no way we win the Battle of Fiscal Cliff without some casualties.  Coddling the rich isn’t doing us any good if they can’t even buy a Romney presidency.   It’s totally symbolic, it’s not going to help the deficit or jobs, and it’s against our beliefs.  Too bad.  We’re taking a break from worshipping the wealthy while the American people enjoy having their demagogues to spread the wealth pain around.  I still think letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire is fitting, but we should “let” the Democrats talk us out of it if they throw in something worthwhile.

Second, it’s time to end the War in Afghanistan and reduce and reorient the military to stick with what it has done best since the 19th Century: Defend North America.  Yeah, I’m going all Pat Buchanan on this.  Israel: I am really and truly sorry.  But if we’re really heading into a Civil War, it would probably be better to have our guys back here, right?

Next, let’s bite our tongues when the President takes full credit for the deal.  Let him have this last big fuckin’ deal.  I think Boehner sucks, you do too, but lets go easy on him this one time.

The unsustainability of Medicare, Social Security, and ObamaCare is not going to be seriously addressed or resolved by the federal government at this time.  Everything I’m proposing here is with the assumption that it won’t.  We get to watch and let the Democrats totally own the disaster.  When it’s time for them to give some things up and save what’s left of the Obama legacy, they’ll know.

The one issue I don’t think we should compromise on is any immigration reform that requires amnesty for those already living here.  I think America’s natural xenophobia will kick back in as those lettuce-picking jobs start looking better and better as the unemployment starts to dry up.  Be patient on this one.


Finally, screw the Constitution of the United States of America.   I think it’s time we all acknowledged that the Constitution needs a redo.  It is failing us and the American people clearly don’t believe in it or care anymore except when they want to cherry-pick one amendment or another to suit their causes.   It is almost a dead fucking letter and there are no longer any peaceful means of binding our current government back to it.

You want to scare the hell out of the DC establishment?  It’s time to call for a Constitutional Convention, through the states.  They laugh at your pathetic secession petitions but they’ll stop laughing and choke when they realize that we’re about to change the rules to fuck them over.  This isn’t a temper tantrum.  It’s a cold, dead-eyed threat of a long-term solution.  Start demanding this at every turn.  Americans are going to love the idea soon enough, if the doomsayers are right.

Conservatives and progressives simply do not agree on what kind of country we should be and what the Constitution means and independents in the middle are too brain-dead and disengaged to care.  We’re not going anywhere as a people until we firmly establish a new concept of the relationship between the federal government, the states, and the people.   Our government cannot do it at this point.

The Culture Wars were driven by the Supreme Court making these decisions for us and they’ve done an awful job.  They’re completely unpredictable and they barely even use the Constitution as the basis for rulings anymore.  Congress has ignored its fiscal duties and its members serve to benefit themselves.  The Presidency is imperial in everything but name.  Whole industries are crippled with executive orders and psychotic bureaucrats.  This has to stop.  We need to accept that the old Constitution has done nothing to restrain all three out-of-control branches of government and quit acting like the Founding Fathers were flawless gods.   What they created was beautiful, but it isn’t working anymore.

We stop the Right Wing Meltdown.   The game is still on and what is happening in Congress is everything right now (even though the Petraeus thing is the most awesome scandal of my lifetime).  My advice is to comment on the Jonestown Blogs that the histrionics are done and it’s time for a Constitutional Convention.  Start getting that into the public consciousness now.

I’ve been preaching the importance of staying on task ever since last Tuesday’s electoral calamity.  This isn’t because of my sunny disposition or optimistic outlook.  I have neither.  It’s because the United States needs a vibrant pro-Liberty movement and we’re it.

No more embarrassing theatrics.  Do it FOR THE CHIIIIIIILDREN, you bastards.

I invite all denunciations and mental health referrals.   Sometimes, you just gotta rant.

Unemployment, Obamanomics, and the young.

While this news comes as no surprise to me, I wonder how many are actually getting it. Especially with the LSM constantly lying about recovery being right around the bend or happening. But the indisputable fact is that some of the people that where the most smitten with the collectivist community organizer and his message of “Hope & Change” now are the ones suffering the most from the politics that flow from those beliefs and policies.

Economy: President Obama surfed into office on a wave of support from the nation’s youth. And what did those young voters get in return? Sky-high unemployment, lower wages, fewer prospects and a student debt crisis.

It’s fair to say that just about everyone has suffered the ill effects of Obamanomics, which has produced growth rates during the 31-month “recovery” that are far below any in modern times.

But a new report out of the Pew Research Center shows that when it comes to economic pain, young workers trying to get a start in life have suffered the most. Among the grim statistics:

The unemployment rate among 18-to-24 year olds was 16.3% at the end of last year, compared with 8.8% for the rest of the working-age population. That gap in unemployment rates, the Pew study notes, is “the widest in recorded history.”

Meanwhile, the share of this population that’s managed to find work has fallen to 54.3% — the lowest level since 1948, the first year the government started collecting such data.

Young workers are also doing far worse than everyone else when it comes to income. Between 2007 and 2011, their real median weekly earnings fell 6%. By comparison, those between the ages of 35 and 64 saw earnings climb 1%, while everyone else saw earnings dip slightly by 0.1%.

I guess I could take consolation that there is justice in the universe and stupid people get punished for doing stupid things, but that is unfortunately not enough, since we all are paying for their stupidity. I told many people when Obama was elected, that I expected 4 years of Obama to teach most of his voters, but especially the young that broke in great numbers for him based on his thin resume and teleprompter skills, the same things 4 years of Carter did. I firmly believe that Obama is making many of us that experienced both time periods think Carter was not that bad.

The thing is that anyone that wanted to know the young where going to get hammered only needed to look at Europe, where they do things in a way Obama wants to reform America to be like, for proof. It is well documented that unemployment in Europe, even during boom times, is very high, and amongst the young in Europe is always sky-high. And there is no disputing that is a direct consequence of liberal policies and economics. Well, OK, liberals will dispute it: they always do. But the fact remains that government meddling to control wages, dictate benefits, and to control which businesses win and which lose, always results in an employment environment where employers have massive overhead and are forced to cut their losses, and the young suffer the worst. We have the same problem now here in America after 3+ years of European style Obamanomics.

And I don’t foresee things getting better for a long time, if they do, for most of us, but especially for the young. This will likely be the first generation of Americans to be worse off than their parents. The left would like you to believe that’s because they have not done more of that nonsense that has caused the problems in the first place, as the CNN article pointing out young people make less I link, does. And many amongst the young are buying into the anti-capitalist drivel by the “social engineering” class warrior, credentialed academic class that pretends people, by the virtue of being born, are entitled to anything and everything, at other people’s expense.

Here is some advice for the young joining the workforce: ditch the collectivist nonsense schools have been shoveling into your brains, and do that quickly quickly. It’s cool when you are young to actually let your emotions rule, and naïveté drive, your beliefs and actions. However, in the grown up world, believing in and acting out on this crap, only leads to failure followed by suffering, misery, jealousy, and greed. Unlike what the left’s bullshit has caused so many young people to believe, you are not entitled to a trophy just for showing, let alone being. Yes, the game is rigged against you. But you are a bigger fool if you believe the people that rigged it that way in the first place, when they use that class warfare nonsense to get you to believe they have the answer and want to help you. Fool me once: shame on me. Fool me twice… Well, you get the message. I sure hope you do, because if you don’t, the wounds are going to continue to be self inflicted.

Ad Astra

This is going to be a bit of a long rambling post. But it’s on a subject close to me personally and professionally.

As most of you know, I’m a professional star-gazer and a lifelong fan of space exploration. And right now, the state of space is in flux.

On Friday, the shuttle Atlantis blasted off for the 135th and final shuttle mission. The Space Shuttle has had a long and somewhat checkered history. On the one hand, it has cost billions of dollars and 14 lives. On the other, it has enabled the construction of a space station, the launch and repair of spacecraft that have vastly expanded our understanding of the universe and has fired the imaginations of millions. I remember watching the early launches and landings in elementary school and the thrill they gave us. STS-41-C, when Challenger captured and repair Solar Max, fascinated me. And I remember standing in a cold March morning, watching STS-109’s dawn launch from the VIP seats. It lit up the landscape right as the sun rose, arced through a cloud and thundered over the Atlantic. It was a spectacle that warranted near-biblical metaphors. As I’ve said many times, that is the way to waste taxpayer money.

It will be some time before we have any successor to the Shuttle. Three administrations in a row have bumbled around with their “plans”. And while private industry is gearing up to take over many launch duties, exploration remains on hold. I was born in 1972, the year of the last moon mission. I never dreamed that incompetent bumbling, political hackery and a singular lack of vision would keep us from fulfilling the promise that Apollo delivered. Yet here we are, in 2011, and the stars are further away than they were on the day I was born.

As disappointing as our manned space flight has been, however, NASA’s science programs have been as stunning a success. Voyagers 1 and 2 continue to send back data from the edge of our solar system with 33 years and 10 billion miles on their odometers. The Spirit rover, designed to explore Mars for 90 days, instead explored it for 2000. Hubble, now a grizzled veteran of 21 summers and 100,000 orbits, has changed almost every branch of astrophysics. NASA has launched or been partners in over 30 space telescopes, almost all of which have been spectacularly successful. (Take it from an insider: the builders know what’s on the line and engineer the hell out of their satellites. They are built to succeed).

Now how can I, a conservative-libertarian, support such things? Well, I have a personal stake, of course: I’ve had the privilege of working on and analyzing data from several space missions. But fundamentally, it comes down to my belief that basic science, pure science, is one of the few things government should be doing. de Tocqueville put in best in Democracy in America.

If those who are called on to direct the affairs of nations in our time can clearly and in good time understand these new tendencies which will soon be irresistible, they will see that, granted enlightenment and liberty, people living in a democratic age are quite certain to bring the industrial side of science to perfection anyhow and that henceforth the whole energy of organized society should be directed to the support of higher studies and the fostering of a passion for pure science.

Nowadays the need is to keep men interested in theory. They will look after the practical side of things for themselves. So, instead of perpetually concentrating attention on the minute examination of secondary effects, it is good to distract it therefrom sometimes and lift it to contemplation of first causes.

Applications are for the private sector; exploration needs the occasional boost from the public.

I can’t find the quote but de Tocqueville also worried that Americans, being so imminently practical, would not indulge themselves in great monuments and achievements for the ages. NASA, both in exploration and investigation, crushes that fear. Apollo was a greater achievement than all the wonders of the world put together. If humans ever do escape this planet and make themselves almost immune from extinction, it will be the greatest achievement in the history of history. Our satellites have found hundreds of new worlds and looked back to the dawn of the universe itself. Aristotle would be green with envy.

I bring this up, of course, because the House just unveiled their budget proposal for NASA, which cuts 10% of NASA science and ends JWST — NASA’s next big science mission. I have mixed feeling about this. JWST is massively over-budget and has had a myriad of technical problems, which has been hurting other missions. On the other hand, it would be an incredible mission if it took place and its backers insist the big problems are behind them. And the current proposal doesn’t move the money to other missions; it just makes it disappear.

As someone who supports steep budget cuts, I’m constantly looking for things to kill. And I’m glad the GOP is taking on ethanol, our bloated transportation budget and, just maybe, our outsized defense budget and entitlements. But basic science is one of the few things we should prioritize and one of the few things that was not run up in the recent budget explosion. I recently saw a talk from a NASA higher up. With the expected cuts, we will, by the end of the decade, have entire regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are as invisible to us as they were to cave men. A flat level of funding for 2012, with JWST continuation contingent on a top-to-bottom review of the program, would hold the line on the budget without hurting the future and darkening our electronic eyes, perhaps forever.

(Space science has its practical side, as well. Any time you are talking space science — from detector technology to control systems — you’re talking about things that have practical, frequently military uses. One instrument I’ve seen uses a holographic glass technology used for the Heads Up Display of fighter aircraft. Science is one of the few government endeavors that actually has an economic multiplier, although how great it is — estimates range from 2 to 10 — is debatable.)

The GOP talks a lot about American exceptionalism. As an insider, I can tell you that there are few fields where America is more exceptional than astrophysics. In terms of degrees granted, papers published, missions launched and discoveries made, we eclipse the rest of the world combined. Around the globe, America is astronomy. Can we not find a way to keep our budget under control without sacrificing that?

Feel free to blast me in the comments if you think that I’m just pleading for my own slice of the federal pie. But I’m trying to be as objective as possible. Even before this became my life — and who knows if it will be for much longer — I loved this stuff. As I said — this is the way to waste taxpayer money.