Tag: Thanksgiving

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2014

For seven years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: Mike Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters.

2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone.

2012: The Culture Warriors, Unions, The Poll Unskewers, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, MSNBC

2013: Healthcare.gov, the Platinum Coin, the Shutdown Caucus, the National park Service, Fiscal Cliff Panic Mongers.

For this year, I picked:

Jonathan Gruber: #3 was in the lead most of the year. Then #2 took over earlier this month. But the millionaire consultant from MIT has to take the top prize now. The thing about Gruber is not that he made comments that support Halbig. It’s not that he helped create Obamacare. It’s not even that he called the voters stupid. It’s that he revealed the ugly reality that undergirds of much of the progressive movement in this country: the belief that Americans are stupid, that leaders are wise and that the latter must lead the former to good choices through deception, obfuscation and coercion. The most common thing I read on liberal message boards after Grubergate was “Hey, he’s right!” There is a large section of the Left Wing that thinks we need to be ruled by a technocratic elite. Gruber pulled back the veil. And that he looked like a horse’s ass into the bargain was just gravy.

Lamenting Democrats: In the wake of yet another electoral shellacking, the professional whining class went into overdrive, trying to find something, anything to blame for their loss. Random articles about science topics would start with lamenting that evil Republicans were taking over the Senate. Robert Reich screamed that Republicans might use reconciliation to do stuff (reconciliation being a legitimate tactic up until November 3). A thousand articles sprang up about “how to talk to your crazy right-wing uncle/parents/cousin/neighbor/imaginary friend at Thanksgiving about Issue X” (hint: don’t).

I’ve been disappointed by elections. But I hope I never get to the point where the results of an election make me gnash my teeth and rend my garments in such hilarious fashion.

Barack Obama: The only reason his approval ratings aren’t at record lows is because of mindless Democrat loyalty. The economy continues to improve despite the Republicans rejecting every “jobs bill” he proposes. His party got crushed in the election. And his response to this was to … implement immigration reform through executive action (polls show Americans support the policy, but oppose the means). His White House is also becoming famous for what are called “bad optics” and would be called scandalous if Bush were doing it: fund-raising while the Ukraine is in turmoil, having a huge dinner while Ferguson is burning, golfing right after a press conference on an ISIS beheading. He has earned the low poll numbers. And earned a place on this list.

Jim Ardis: Earlier this year, Ardis persuaded a judge to launch a raid on a house because one of the inhabitants was … mocking him on Twitter. He apparently still thinks this was a fine idea. Jim Ardis … meet the Streisand Effect.

(One infuriating note: a judge has upheld the drug charges that resulted from the raid finding drugs in the house. Because warrants to arrest parody account holders are apparently just fine.)

Paul Krugman: Another year for Krugman, another set of factually-challenged opinion pieces apparently written by unpaid interns. My favorite was his assertion that Halbig represented “corruption” in the courts, a claim the indispensable Walter Olson demolishes here. As several bloggers noted, Krugman was a big supporter of the Platinum Coin Caper, where he said, essentially, that we should concentrate on the letter of the law, not the spirit, the opposite of what he’s saying now.

Note, also. This year is coming a cropper for things Krugmans believes in. The Picketty analysis of inequality appears to be badly flawed. And Keynesian ideas are failing all over the globe.

Dishonorable Mention: Wendy Davis, whoever is doing PR for the Ferguson Police, the Ferguson rioters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Secret Service, Mary Landrieu, Everytown USA.

Now the Golden Drumsticks, awarded to those who best exemplified what is right with the world. Here are the past awards, the first round from West Virginia Rebel.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

2011: Seal Team Six, Mark Kelly, The Arab Spring (ugh), the Technicians at Fukushima

2012: Down Ballots, The Sandy Responders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, Mathew Inman

2013: Francis I, Edward Snowden, Rand Paul, The American Military, The Institute for Justice

For this year, I picked:

Ebola Responders: In the face of a colossal healthcare crisis and one of the most terrifying diseases out there, Africa has been flooded with volunteers risking their lives to help. Hundreds of healthcare workers in Africa, including Humarr Khan, have been killed trying to comfort or save the dying. Even in this country, we’ve seen nurses and doctors work hard to care for Ebola victims, including two nurses who were infected in Dallas and mercifully saved by modern medicine.

Here’s a little thing about me: I tend to dislike movies about dystopias. Not because I think a dystopia won’t happen or because I’m ignorant about the dark side of human nature. I dislike them because they usually ignore the flip side of human nature: our capacity to be generous, brave and compassionate.

Francis I: He continues to shake up the religious world while adhering closely to Catholic doctrine. My initial impression of him remains unchanged. He is just a good man.

Rand Paul: Paul gave a speech earlier this year that was a rebuke to the neocons: defining a foreign policy that defends our interests while avoiding senseless overseas debacles. He is pushing the Republicans toward reforms of our criminal justice system, our surveillance state and our War on Drugs. I’m a bit worried whether he’ll hold up to the pressure of special interests, especially if he has Presidential aspirations. But right now, he’s doing good.

David Brat and the Republican Candidates: “A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it—it keeps him upright.” – Robert A. Heinlein. I’m not sure what to make of Brat at this point, but I think his defeat of Cantor is an important reminder to the Republicans of what will happen if the get stupid again. Among the other Republicans running for office this year, there was barely a gaffe to be heard. In fact, the biggest War on Women complaint was about Mark Udall, criticized by his own supporters for talking too much about the War on Women. In general, they stuck to the bread and butter themes of the economy, Obamacare and big government. Let’s hope they deliver.

The Supreme Court: It’s always a mixed year from the Court, but this year they gave us good decisions in Riley, Hobby Lobby, Harris v. Quinn, McCullen v. Coakley, NLRB v. Noel Canning, Town of Greece v. Galloway, Schuette v. BAMN and McCutcheon. They continued their streak of unanimously rejecting Obama’s power grabs. You can check on this year’s key decisions here. There are a few I had issues with but most were solid.

Honorable Mentions: marijuana decriminalization efforts, Scott Walker, Charlie Baker (anyone who defeat Martha Coakley gets a mention), the American military

Put your nominees in the comments. And I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

The Fantasies of Government

I found this story amusing, but not for the reasons Vox intended. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving back a week in the calendar. Vox goes into the culture war that erupted but I was more interested in his motivation for doing so:

Since the late 19th century, Thanksgiving had traditionally been celebrated on the final Thursday in November. But in 1939, Roosevelt’s seventh year in office, that last Thursday fell on November 30. And that left a mere 24 days of shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Retailers believed this would lead to less money spent on holiday gifts, and would therefore hurt the economy (and, of course, their own bottom lines). The solution seemed obvious — the date should be moved one week earlier, to Thursday, November 23. Roosevelt agreed, and announced on August 15, 1939, that he would do just that, with an executive proclamation.

Let your mind boggle. Our President thought that he could help the economy by adding some extra Christmas shopping days to the year. Because, I guess, people do their Christmas shopping until the stores close not until they’ve run out of money or gifts to buy.

The “stimulus” didn’t work for the reason Cash for Clunkers didn’t work. All it did was change when people spent their money, not if. But I want you to marvel at the hubris in FDR’s change to Thanksgiving: a belief that government simply telling people to shop seven more days would make them shop for seven more days. It’s a microcosm of every Keynesian will-o-the-wisp economic salvation that comes down the pipe.

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Want to wish all of you put there a happy Thanksgiving. Take this time to be with the people you love, if you can, and reflect on all the good we have. Tomorrow we can get back to bitching about how the political aristocracy is destroying our country and the world.

Be safe if you have to travel. Enjoy your day, but do not take unnecessary risks. If you have the chance, enjoy a good meal. Do it in good company.

On Thanksgiving day, a reminder to all

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Mine is going to be a rotten one. I will spare you the details of why and instead focus on one of the biggest problems I see us facing in America: the people that shape and spread the narrative are doing it to protect the ideological agenda, and it is only going to get worse until we admit that what they believe in, no matter how noble they pretend it is, is destructive.

Let’s start with some perspective of how what would become the exceptional American experiment was started. No, it wasn’t the pioneering, hard working, freedom & fortune seeking, and rugged individualist spirit that our early settlers and those that followed them used to first throw off the yoke of a government that treated the colonists exactly like our modern collectivist class warriors treats the productive – an unending source of income to pay for their insane ideas – and then forged the most exceptional experiment of progress and success in man’s history, but a failed experiment. Our first settlers embraced collectivism with gusto, and with near fatal consequences.

That hippy commune the early settlers embraced, out of a sense of moral superiority, turned hard working people into lazy slouches, and then followed disastrous consequences. In fact, our Thanksgiving Holiday would not exist but for the fact that these early settlers learned their lesson and abandoned the idiotic collectivist beliefs that almost cost them their lives. Today’s sanitized and heavily PCed version of how Thanksgiving is about how the natives and the first colonists all turned into a Kumbaya singing hippy commune tells exactly the wrong story about what saved the colonists and made America great.

And that problem of a hijacked and fabricated narrative to serve the left’s agenda persists and has reached epic proportions, culminating in the fiasco that let what is arguably, based on the facts and reality, not the bullshit the left spouts that lays blame everywhere but with them, the worst American president in our history, be reelected. Collectivists managed to convince way too many people that the economic downturn we still find ourselves in was not the fault of their social engineering agenda, but of the perpetual boogie man: George W. Bush. Too many Americans believe the economic downturn really was because of some deregulation during the Bush administration, and have no clue that the real problem was caused by well intentioned social engineering decades before.

During the late and now unlamented campaign of Mitt Romney, the candidate was urged by other Republicans to affect a “separation” from the policies of George W. Bush. They were said by Democrats to have brought on the financial crisis and the “mess” inherited by Barack Obama, which he has been unable thus far to clean up.

They might have done better had they moved years earlier to detach the Bush policies from the cause of the meltdown, since there was little relation between the two. The crash of late 2008 was caused not by Republican dogma, but by efforts going back many years on the part of both parties to facilitate homeownership on behalf of poor people. It seemed like the right thing to do. It pleased both liberals, who wanted to help the downtrodden, and conservatives, who took to heart the old Jack Kemp adage that rental cars rarely get washed.

In 1995, President Clinton launched his “National Homeownership Strategy” (Bush continued it as part of his “ownership society”), designed to increase mortgage lending to low-income Americans by requiring bankers to make loans to people with poor or nonexistent credit ratings. This drew in people who were unable to pay off their debts, and speculators, who were betting housing prices would keep rising forever. In retrospect, we can see it was bound to implode, and it did.

Actually, blaming Clinton, or the politicians of the Clinton years, is also not totally correct, because the whole “Community Reinvestment Act” social engineering fiasco that created the fundamental underlying problem that led to the economic collapse – a problem that still persists despite a 2000 page monster of a bill, ironically produced by the two people most responsible for the economic implosion in 2007, Chris Dodd and Barney Franks, passed to supposedly prevent this from happening again – was started as far back as the Carter administration. If one was to believe in the concept of Karma, the irony that something stupid done during what was considered one of the worst presidents of the 20th century, played itself out during that of another democrat president that is hell bent on stealing Carter’s claim to fame for himself.

The author of this article makes some interesting revelations when she points out that:

Twice, Bush tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and twice Democrats (Obama included) moved in to stop him. Especially culpable were Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Dodd claimed that the institutions were “fundamentally strong,” and Frank said he wanted to “roll the dice a little bit more in his situation” rather than impose stricter regulation on Fannie and Freddie. He did roll those dice, and they came up snake eyes at the end of the Bush years. The same could have just as easily happened in the Gore or Kerry administrations, had they existed, and it would not have been due to their policies, either. It was due to bad sense, bad judgment, greed and a lot of misguided good will.

Bush didn’t create the conditions that led to the crash; he inherited them from Bill Clinton, and a large cast of thousands all played their own parts. Republican policies had no role in the crash; and the Democrats’ policies would have had no role, either.

Where the author fails IMO, is the part where what democrats did or didn’t do wouldn’t matter. Fist off, it was the drive to social engineer our society, to create that giant commune run by government, that allowed people to think lending money to people that couldn’t afford it or where unreliable, would result in anything but disaster. We wouldn’t have needed all the bullshit that allowed Freddie and Fannie to become loan laundering operators, encouraged insane repackaging of bad loans, to then sell them as valuable assets, and created the whole credit default swapping business, if this attempt to ignore the laws of economics could actually work to change human behavior. While the republican party, especially during the GWB administration seemed quite content with the whole nanny state and its social engineering agenda, I do have to point out that this is a fundamental underlying principal and policy of everything that the democrats do: the drive to force society to produce equality of outcome for everyone.

And then there is the problem with how Frank and Dodd used the accusations of racism to shut down any attempt to turn this monster around. While the democrats would consider it insulting if you point out the fact that accusing anyone that tries to point out their collectivist policies are failures of racism, is itself another policy of the democrats. That doesn’t make it otherwise. If Bush is guilty of anything it is of folding when Frank and Dodd cried racism.

Finally, I need to point out that all the conditions that led to this economic implosion, the social engineering bullshit, was left untouched by the monstrosity of a bill architected by Dodd and Frank. Freddie and Fannie are still around, and doing more of the same, with the tax payer forced to bail them out still, while everyone pretends that regulation will change the laws of human behavior or economics. That bill is part and parcel of the democrat party’s policy agenda. And what they did is all but guarantee us we will sooner than later have to face this Hydra again. From the article about our original colony:

But the Pilgrims learned and prospered. And what they learned, we have forgotten and we fade. Now, new waves of ignorant masses flood into parks and public squares. New Platonists demand control of other people’s property. New True Levelers legally occupy the prestige pulpits of our nation, secular and sacred. And now, as then, the productive class of our now gigantic, colony-turned-superpower, learn and teach again, the painful lessons of history. Collectivism violates the iron laws of human nature. It has always failed. It is always failing, and it will always fail. I thank God that it is failing now. Providence is teaching us once again.

Let us hope we can learn and change so we can prosper yet again. My fear is we can not because the pendulum has simply swung too far. Ponder that as you celebrate Thanksgiving. I will be spending mine doing a lot of that and watching football considering where I find myself today, but that is a story for another time.

All Roads Lead To Obama

I was going to title this post, “All misery leads to Obama” but fair play dictates that he gets the praise if things go swimmingly in the next four years, but either way, he owns it all.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the time where we all reflect, take stock of the cornucopia of good fortune in front of us, I’m feeling hard pressed to orate any litany of blessings. For the right thinkers here, a stink sandwich slathered in grief with a dollop of misery on the side that he got served a few weeks back is hardly grounds for doing jumping jacks. But me being the eternal optimist, the glass half full type, the shiny side of the penny revealed itself. Our current situation absolves me of any responsibility; my side can now sit back and be provided for, we can marvel at the alacrity at which the president and his crew rights this ship. From now on any degree of bad news, misfortune or pain can be laid directly at his doorstep, no hem hawing, no equivocating, this is his rodeo.

I have already started practicing this dodge to some degree, and I kinda like it. One of my tennis buddies complains about the price of balls, I quickly retort ,”Yeah, everything has gone up in price in the last four years”, someone complains about the cracks on the court ,”It’s a shame all that TARP money was wasted on bailing out foreign banks, who can say ‘shovel ready’?” or when the conversation turns to the demise of the Twinkie ,”Too bad Hostess was not too big to fail, if they were a bank, a car company, an oil or drug company, the government could just intervene, giving those poor workers the wages they deserve”.

And here in California, what with prop 30 and a Democratic super majority, I can just sit back and witness the miraculous transformation before my eyes, from crappy to ecstasy, happy days will be here in no time. Just like Obama in his first 2 years, they get unfettered unchallenged power, an Oligarchy to do any damn thing they want, courtesy of the voters, misery will be a thing of the past.

Thursday we will be travelling to my mother in laws for Thanksgiving. Although my father in law died a few years back (a self made millionaire who had a work ethic straighter then a California redwood, and a staunch conservative), my mother in law is the MSNBC type who hates the Jooos. She will be getting a double whammy come tax time, that whole roosting chicken thing. Although we are pretty good at steering things away from politics, this year the first time I hear ,”it’s all Bush’s fault”, I will reply in kind.

Over at Breitbart they have a nice playbook for those requiring some help with liberals over the holidays;

As a public service to our readers, and as a gesture towards civility in our national discourse, we offer the following how-to-guide for surviving Thanksgiving dinner at the home of your triumphant liberal relatives:

I like most of these but will focus my retorts mainly of the notion that finally those snooty rich folks will have to pay their fair share, and she definitely qualifies. I don’t think she has a clue what she has wrought wrt her blown up finances. I guess I could keep my mouth shut and let it be a surprise, but then the estate gets a massive haircut and the other kids are pissed off.

On Friday we will be having our own Thanksgiving and I will be barbecuing a turkey. Is anyone doing something fancy or unusual with their turkey this year? I slather my turkey in mayo (which burns off during cooking and seals the whole bird in for a juicy smoky flavor). Anyone deep frying their bird and what stuff do you put in your oil? I have a smoker and a few years back after brining the bird I smoked it, that was also pretty tasty.

Timeless Lessons

World temperatures will ebb and flow, but one constant remains, human nature is what it is. He was wrong when then candidate Obama told Joe the plumber that it is good for everyone when you spread the wealth around, as wrong as that failed experiment with socialism when the Pilgrims first landed on Plymouth Rock, a noble endeavor, but clearly unworkable when you factor in the human condition. What’s mine is only mine if it stays mine, and it’s value is couched in my ownership, and my ability to produce that which is mine, an obvious V-8 moment. Spreading the wealth only insures that said wealth will be diminished.

The 104 people who arrived at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620, were organized under a charter which imposed a seven-year period of joint ownership. Thus, from the day they arrived in the new world, all clothing, houses, lands, crops, and cash were jointly owned. No matter how hard a man might work, he had little hope of personal gain for his effort.
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It led to a social order at odds with the dictates of human nature and what 19th century historian James Eggleston called a “sinking of personal interest …, in dissensions and insubordination, in unthrift and famine.”
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Governor Bradford wrote that common ownership “was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort.”
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While fishing helped make up the shortfall from the field, the “pinch of hunger” forced the Pilgrims to abandon their corporate charter in March of 1623. After “much debate,” Governor Bradford

allowed each man to plant corn for his own particular [for his own household] and to trust themselves for that … so every family was assigned a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number … this was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the governor or any other could devise.

Suddenly, these heretofore mediocre farmers made their own capitalist “great leap forward.” Authors D. James Kennedy and Charles Hull Wolfe report that while the Pilgrims planted 26 acres of corn, barley, and peas in 1621, and nearly 60 acres the next year, they planted 184 acres in 1623.

Bradford reported that “instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Under the new system of private enterprise, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”

You would think this would be one of those “duh” moments, but considering that they were all honorable men, held together with common values and goals, that each would understand how important his efforts would be to the collective. Yet, even starring at the specter of survival, a leopard can’t change his spots, nor can people. So each man did only what was necessary to get by, to match that which his neighbor did in effort and industry, giving new meaning to that Soviet euphemism ,”We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us”.

It did not work 400 years ago and it will not work now, especially here in America where our very heritage and history is rife with those throwing the dice. From those settlers in the early days along the Canadian frontier that constantly fought the French and the Indians, those placing their very lives in jeopardy to separate from the mother country, to those that risked it all to go West and settle in lands unknown, those that risk much and make it should keep the fruits of that work, to keep their reward.

As much as Obama would like us to emulate Europe, we will never be Europeans, or live like them.

Football Rules

Let’s ease into the week with this amusement from the WSJ. It’s 32 rules for family Thanksgiving touch football:

3. The game must be played before dinner. Nobody wants to play football after Thanksgiving. Nobody wants to wear pants after Thanksgiving.

11. Unless you live in California, Hawaii or Florida or some fancy place like that, the ground is probably going to be squishy with cold mud, and someone in your family is going to fall down face-first and ruin his or her Thanksgiving outfit. This is not cause for alarm. This is the highlight of the game.

And my favorite, in light of this weekend’s games that seem to foretell yet another BCS trainwreck:

31. If you win your game and stand undefeated, please let LSU know you’re available to play in the BCS championship.

I’m just hoping my bulldogs knock off LSU in the SEC championship game. God knows what the BCS will do then. Stanford vs. Okie State?