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Thursday, May 28, 2009

27. What's In A Name?

Tuesday, the California Supreme Court actually lived up to their role in government, well, at least six of the seven justices did. Instead of legislating from the bench, they ruled in favor of the majority of Californians who passed Proposition 8, the proposition which bans gay marriage. In their summary, they sent the measure back to the people. If gay marriage is to become law, they said, it must be the residents of California who approve the measure.

Bravo. It’s about time.

But this puts the gay community in a very awkward situation. For their future proposition to pass, they must now somehow convince the same people they have been demonizing in the past to vote for their measure in the future. Since the passage of Prop 8, here is a sampling of what I have seen on television from the pro-gay marriage crowd:

1. Near-rioting in front of the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles. The Mormon church has been a frequent target of anti-Prop 8 activists. But demographically, the churches most responsible for the passage of Prop 8 are the black churches and Latino Catholic churches.

2. During an anti-Prop 8 demonstration in Palm Springs, a small, elderly woman entered the crowd carrying a cross. A demonstrator wrestled the cross out of her hands, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.

3. Tom Hanks calling those who supported Prop 8 “un-American.” Although he later apologized, it’s pretty difficult putting that comment back in a can where it should have remained.

4. In San Francisco, during a Catholic mass, several drag queens dressed as nuns, entered the church and approached the altar to take communion. Again, this was a protest against the churches position on gay marriage, but it desecrated the altar and the sacrament and certainly won no converts to their cause.

5. Anti-Prop 8 groups calling anyone who disagrees with their position as “homophobes” and “hate-mongers.”

It is fascinating to me that anyone in the gay community would think that these actions would rally support for their cause. In fact, it has the opposite effect by polarizing and empowering those who oppose gay marriage. I would think that even Mormons who might have been sympathetic or even voted against Prop 8 now may change their mind after the near rioting outside of their temple.

Fred Phelps, a minister in Topeka, Kansas campaigns heavily against the gay community with his “God Hates Fags” website and organized protests. He is a vile, repulsive man. The gay community, understandably, denounces Fred and his disgusting demonstrations, yet they take his same approach by attacking those with whom they disagree. Is Fred winning over converts with his disgusting antics? If not, why does the gay community feel that it will work for them?

The gay community and its supporters claim this issue is about “rights.” It isn’t though, it’s merely about a word and that word is “marriage.” They could easily have the same rights as long as they use a word or phrase other than “marriage.” Calling it “domestic partnership” or “life partnership” would make all the difference. Polls within California have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of voters are sympathetic and would vote for such a measure. But once the proposition invokes “marriage” the attitudes of voters change. Their position is understandable since marriage has strong religious meanings, especially for Catholics and Mormons.

But this really isn’t about rights or even fairness, it is about money and political power. By keeping your group victimized and agitated you also keep them organized. As long as this remains a hot political issue, money will continue to flow into the Human Rights Campaign and other pro-gay marriage organizations. Take away the hot-button topic and you lose your financial support.

Respecting the beliefs of others and working toward a reasonable compromise is clearly not part of this movement. It is all or nothing. It has been decided that nothing short of “marriage” will suffice. So, more money, more anger, more protests, more victimization, more demonization and more finger pointing are ahead for California and the rest of the country.

What a waste.

Friday, May 8, 2009

26. Dem Bones

"De back bone connected to de neck bone
De neck bone connected to de head bone
Oh hear de word of de Lawd!"

I guess my biggest problem with liberal ideals is that they all seem disconnected from the reality that everything in life is interconnected. Each of their ideals can only operate in the pristine fantasy land in which liberals abide. Whether it be political or economic, each item exists in a separate little bubble and none of those bubbles apparently interact.

Since we are in a recession, let’s first start with economics. Liberals believe they can raise federal income by simply raising taxes on corporations. Sounds pretty simple, the companies pay more from their profits and the government has more money to spend. Of course, this ignores the reaction from the corporations and consumers. To maintain their profits, corporations will first consider raising the prices of their products to meet the higher tax demands. They may lay off workers, reducing their expenses. They may even consider relocating their facilities to another state or country with more favorable tax codes. In general though, raising taxes on corporations rarely increases revenues to the Feds. In fact, it is more likely to reduce jobs, which then in turn, reduces the taxes each of those employees would have paid.

How about raising taxes on rich people, something Obama and most liberals feel is a solution. Most of those rich people have options, just like the corporations. They may switch investments to municipal bonds to avoid taxes. As tax rates rise, the lower interest rates paid by muni bonds become more attractive and more profitable. They may shelter income by forming a foundation, something the Clintons and Michael Moore found as a good way to avoid taxation. How about moving money offshore? Whether legal or not, this is an option that the Kennedy family found to be quite appealing. In each case, federal and state revenues drop, not increase.

Yet when you mention these outcomes to a liberal, they dismiss them as irrelevant. It doesn’t appear that they really care about outcome – just revenge in some twisted way.

Unions are another banner which liberals proudly wave. Yes, unions do generally ensure higher wages for unskilled workers, but they are more than just a wage problem for corporations. In the 1940s, the vast majority of products in the world were manufactured in the US. Today the number is less than 25%. Unions drive jobs out of the country – that is a fact. Which is better, lots of jobs at $10 an hour or just a very few at $30 an hour?

The US currently imports more steel than it manufactures. The demand is here, but union, government regulations and taxation all drive the production elsewhere. Can’t liberals see the correlation? Are fewer American jobs what liberals really want? Apparently so.

Liberals often complain about jobs being shipped overseas. Guess what? When wages and taxes are lower and there are lower costs associated with less government regulation then the end price of the product is also lower. Guess who ultimately drives those jobs overseas? Bush? Reagan? Greedy corporations? Nope, it is the consumer. By buying cheaper, foreign made products it puts US companies in a position in which they can no longer compete. A liberal acquaintance of mine recently complained about the lack of electric and fuel efficient cars produced in the US. I’ll ignore for the moment that he drives a Japanese luxury import running on eight cylinders, but the reality is that these cars have been produced and have been available and no one bought them!! Detroit wasn’t producing big SUVs because they just liked the look of them, they produced them because of consumer demand.

Bringing these jobs back to the US is really quite simple and needs no government intervention – if all liberals would just dig deeper into their pockets and pay the additional costs of US made products and US made products only, the jobs would come rushing back. But say goodbye to cheap clothing, electronics, appliances and so forth, because US made products, especially those produced in union-only shops, will cost one hundred to one thousand percent more.

I attended a concert by the local symphony shortly after the election last year. I suspect that most of the musicians enthusiastically voted for Obama. I’m sure it never occurred to them that their salaries are paid, for the most part, by rich individuals and corporations. So, while they think they are “sticking it to ‘The Man’” they are actually damaging their own financial future. When the income of any organization or individual is reduced, whether by lower profits or higher taxation, the first thing they cut is their charitable contributions. I’m sure there will be layoffs coming to most of the orchestras, opera companies and other non-profit organizations in the coming years. Some will likely be forced to shut down.

What about our esteemed institutions of higher learning? They love students who major in art, history, women’s studies, cultural and race studies, poetry, philosophy, literature, humanities and so forth. Guess what? Aside from teaching these same subjects, there are no jobs waiting for these graduates except at Macy’s selling shoes. Our economy is demanding engineers and computer scientists and instead we are sending flower children into the real world. Computer jobs didn’t go to India and China just because of lower wages, job positions couldn’t be filled in this country because there wasn’t a large enough pool of qualified workers. As the demand rose, wages rose so high for the few US workers that did exist that it then became worthwhile to export the jobs.

Liberals want to believe that there are no consequences for any of their actions. They praise Obama for his massive spending spree while refusing to acknowledge the future cost to our economy including higher taxes for everyone, especially our children and grandchildren. When confronted with these facts, they immediately go into the same, tired, bizarre excuse that I’ve heard over and over again, “Well, what about Bush? What about his spending?” First of all, Bush isn’t president anymore – get over it. Second, I can only assume that since they approve of Obama’s spending, then they must have approved of Bush’s spending. If not, then they must believe in the child’s rule of “two wrongs really do make a right.” Third, just in case anyone wants to know, I was equally unhappy with Bush's spending and domestic policies.

I can give hundreds of examples just like those above, yet liberals will still reject the logic and continue living in their fantasy bubble world. With Obama as their head mouseketeer, leading their no-consequences parade, our economy will continue to collapse as talented individuals, companies and capital leave this country for economies more firmly grounded in reality.