Bill Whittle and why 2027 is an important year

Bill Whittle is a paragon of explaining Conservatism and how it works.

Under George W. Bush, the federal budget grew by leaps and bounds, and under Obama it has literally exploded. Even though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that our economy hits a brick wall in 15 years, Geithner admits to not even having a plan to avert our impending fiscal doom. And just for the record, the CBO made that projection with Geithner’s numbers.

Bill Whittle makes great videos which never fail to educate and this one is no exception. Please take a few minutes and watch, it is well worth your time.

 

 

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Public Sector Collectively Bargaining 101

Here are a few videos that delve into the ongoing debate about public sector unions and the abuses built into that system.

The first video is one I found over at floppingaces.net

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And here, from Conservative Hideout 2.0 is a video showcasing the class and tolerance of the left…

Virtual Capitalism

Now as of late, I have been having a bit of writer’s block. So I thought I would take this opportunity to bring something different to my readers. Okay, I will admit it. I play video games. Yes I, father of eight and grandfather of 3 play video games.

Before you all ask why I am explaining this, please bear with me for a bit and allow me a bit of leeway in explaining the game that I play the most. Then I will tie it all in with the real world that we deal in; that is politics.

Well I play one online computer game. It is my stress reliever, my moment of zen if you will. I play a game called World of Warcraft, or WoW for short. If any of you remember Dungeons and Dragons, then you will have a good idea of what type of game WoW is. It is basically a 3D version of D&D brought to life. A “virtual reality” type, role playing game. I love it, I play it and I am not ashamed to admit it.

WoW is an MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. You are online when you play the game with thousands of other people sitting at their homes, in front of their computers also playing WoW. It is an interactive, social networking type of role playing game – and it can be highly addictive.

In a nutshell WoW is set on a fictitious planet called Azeroth. To play the game, you choose a type of character you want to play, the race you wish it to be and then the faction you wish it to be. There are two factions, or “sides” in WoW;

  • The Alliance, consisting of Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Night Elves, Dranei and Worgen
  • And The Horde, consisting of Orcs, Taurens, Trolls, Blood Elves, Undead and Goblins. There are also classes of characters, such as warriors, priests, druids, mages, warlocks, etc…

Now before you head completely spins off your body, let me give you an example. My best character is a Dwarf Warrior, but you could make a Gnome Mage or a Night Elf Druid, an Orc Warrior, an Undead Priest, etc… Each class has its function and they are designed to work with one another on missions, called quests or in dungeons, called instances. You can only talk and interact with other characters within your faction, Alliance or Horde. As I mentioned, the game has a very social aspect to it, in that you can chat with others that are online as well. You can collaborate or compete with them in game. As you play, your character progresses through higher and higher levels. You control your avatar or “toon” via a first person or third person view.

You can obtain better items for your toon, such as armor or weapons. You can get these by doing quests in the game or by actually purchasing them. The game has its own currency; Gold pieces, Silver pieces and Copper pieces. 100 Copper equals 1 Silver and 100 Silver equals 1 Gold. There is an economy in the game, so this is where I connect the game of Warcraft with reality.

I explain all this because Blizzard, the company that makes World of Warcraft has been very successful with it; and for good reason. To date they have over 12 million subscribers to the game. Subscribers pay a nominal monthly fee to be able to log onto the game and play. Blizzard long ago realized that in order to make the game play interesting or fun enough to keep people paying and playing, they had to set up an in game economy. It would be real easy for Blizz to just give each player the items they need to play the game, but after a very short time, the fun would wear off. Instead Blizz has set up WoW as a free market economy.

You see, in the real world – in a free market economy such as in the United States, if you want something, you go to a vendor that sells what you need or want and you purchase it. WoW is very similar in that if your toon needs a new item, say a weapon for instance; then you have a quite a few different options.

  • Through different professions your character can learn to make some items and gear.
  • You can find a vendor in the game that sells it and you can purchase it if you have the correct amount of currency. Vendors are NPCs (non playing characters) which are AI or artificial intelligence – in other words NPCs are computer generated characters that you can interact with in the game.
  • You can complete quests that offer gear as a reward for completing those quests. Or you can group with other players and complete instances (dungeons) and what you need might or might not “drop” when you kill a certain boss in those instances.
  • You might also approach other players via the trade function in the game and negotiate a price for the item you need, that is if they have it.
  • Lastly, you can go the auction house that is in game and bid on items there. Now this is where it gets interesting, because you can make vast amounts of in game “gold” by knowing what items are valuable or highly sought after and you can obtain or make those items and sell them on the auction house.

I find it very interesting that Blizzard chose the free market system to model their in game economy after. The sheer skill needed to obtain enough gold to purchase the high level items your toon needs is considerable.

In addition, a black market of gold sellers has cropped up. People who have mastered the skills necessary to harvest vast amounts of gold (referred to as gold farmers in the gaming community) actually sell in game gold for real world money. Just Google “WoW gold” and you will see what I am talking about.

Now what really blows me away is when I am in game and notice on the chat channels that people are complaining about “Obama bashers.” They defend him and say things like, “So what if he is socialist? What is so bad about socialism?” All the while they are competing in a free market economy. Understand that the players in the game, not Blizzard set the prices on the vast majority of all items. This means that the in game economy is elastic and suffers the same trials and tribulations of real world economies; inflation, supply and demand, etc…

If Blizzard tried to implement the policies that Obama is attempting to force upon the American public, then the number of subscribers would drop greatly. For, to have everything provided by a centralized authority would take away all the goals and accomplishments that make the game fun to play. An epic sword that has a low drop rate is held in high regard because it is so difficult to obtain. A player might run a certain instance dozens or even hundreds of times to get the item he or she is looking for. If Blizzard simply provided it to the players, where would the satisfaction be?

I submit that if socialism was truly better than capitalism, then Blizzard and other game makers would not set up free markets for the players of their games. Cheat codes on some games make them less appealing because of the same reason.

I think the Obama administration and his economic advisers need to purchase subscriptions to World of Warcraft and play for a few months before making any more changes in the United States’ monetary policy. I mean, hey what could it hurt? Besides it would be fun to be online and stumble upon a virtual president. I would know it would be him because of all the virtual secret service…

Conservatism: What it is and why it is needed?

Conservatism is by today’s standards closely associated with Edmund Burke’s philosophy. I think it goes beyond that, in that it is more than merely a political doctrine. It is, in my estimation, a way of life, a code of conduct that associates one’s property with one’s liberty. For how can one truly be a free man when his property is not his to do with as he wishes? Russell Kirk, a man who has had a big impact on 20th century conservatism and has helped to shape it going into the new millennia was quoted as saying that conservatism is “the negation of ideology.”

How is that ‘negation of ideology’ translated into today’s conservative movement? By its very nature, conservative is derived from the Latin verb, conservare, meaning to preserve or to save. So how do we arrive at what seems to be an oxy-moron such as ‘modern conservatism?’ How does one combine 21st century thinking with a traditional approach to life and politics? It’s not that difficult, really. I think Kirk was onto something important when he called it ‘the negation of ideology.’ For if one is to look at the Statist’s modus operandi, it is clear that amassing power and expanding the role of government in the life of the “masses” is his number one priority. It has been said that the far left, which is the controlling faction of the Democratic Party at this time, is part and parcel with big government. In other words, the Democratic Party needs big government for power and big government needs the Democratic Party to exist. It is a symbiotic relationship that is troubling to say the least and dangerous in the extreme.

To be honest, some Republican Presidents have increased government spending as well. Let’s look at Ronald Reagan. He did increase government, but he did it in a slightly different way. Reagan dramatically cut the role of the Federal Government in domestic programs and shifted the focus to increasing the military. Of course, this is well known today to be one of the leading reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union.  So this begs the question, did Reagan increase or decrease the role of government in our lives? On the domestic front, he dramatically decreased it, so the argument can be made that he was a small-government conservative. If one takes into the account the expanded size of the Federal Government due to the military build-up during the Reagan years then the answer seems less clear unless you remember one key factor, our Constitution. It specifically calls for the Federal Government to provide for the common defense; it does not call for entitlements, or other socialistic programs. So in retrospect, Reagan was definitely a true conservative. It is very unfortunate that we do not have a true conservative in the White House at this time.

Obama is the most pure statist in American history to ever occupy the Oval Office. If you look at the unprecedented spending undertaken by this administration, then you see that we are on a course of financial ruin.

  • $787 billion stimulus package
  • $410 billion omnibus spending bill
  • $700 billion Wall Street bailout package
  • $3.6 trillion budget
  • $1.2 – $3 trillion for Obamacare

To assail his critics, Obama promised to find $17 billion in cuts from his obscenely bloated budget. If it weren’t so scary, it would be laughable. As Senator Judd Gregg (R N-H) said, “It’s as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spigot on at full speed.”

But it actually gets worse. Projections from the General Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office show that spending on entitlements will outpace economic growth from 147% to a whopping 331% by 2030. That means with our Gross Domestic Product at 72%, we will be spinning our wheels as a nation to try and cover the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention Obamacare which is a boondoggle of gargantuan proportions.

So what we, the American public have been stuck with is the bill for a pure statist’s Utopian dream. Can we afford this? Can our children or our grand-children? The answer is no. This is only one of the many reasons why we need conservatism so much right now.

Blog Debate – Sarah Palin & The Economy, Pt. 2

Okay T. Christopher posted a response to my opening remarks. Now I shall sit down and pen some thoughts in an effort to help further shape the debate and represent my side of this conversation. First of all, let me laud TC on his passion. He is up front with his beliefs and you know well where you stand with him, especially on this issue. That is commendable. However I do have a few opinions of my own.

TC said:

The very idea of Palin (at any point in the future) having an impact on the nation’s economy in my mind is tantamount to thinking cheerleaders have an impact on the outcomes of football games.  She can no more impact our nation’s economy than can Beck, Hannity, Coulter, or my seven year old nephew for that matter; but in the spirit of this “debate” I will forge ahead nonetheless and play along.

The premise of this discussion, as I understand it, is what effect would her policies have upon our national economy. Not whether she is fit for the job, nor if she can even get elected to the job, that of residing in the Oval Office. So while I see what TC is saying and understand his frustration with Sarah Palin, I find it hard to debate pure passion, rather than hard ideas as to what her effect might or might not be, ultimately.  But let me try.

TC said:

“She knows I want lower taxes, smaller government, etc, etc…  so she force feeds it to me day after day.  If she is the great communicator and conduit for relating to “everyday” Americans as everyone tells me that she is, shouldn’t she be the one to begin explaining to the American People how we as conservatives have come to those positions – or more importantly how we’re going to put talk into action?  If she is the common man’s woMAN of choice, why hasn’t she realized that the vast majority of her followers couldn’t connect the Tenth Amendment with States’ Rights if they were sitting with a copy of the Bill of Rights in their Right hand and the Declaration in their left because people like Sarah Palin have gone so long without referencing the two openly and honestly that they’ve all but become an afterthought.”

If Sarah Palin started right now, this instant giving detailed instructions on how to go about getting back to the concepts and principles of our founding, then all chances of her being a serious contender in ’12 would be for nil. If she isn’t contemplating on running, then why would she set out detailed instructions? I would also posit that Sarah Palin has to be not twice as good as the next “guy,” but three times as good. She is a female in a man’s arena, that of national politics and on top of that, she is a conservative female so the media hates her. That being said, to expect her to be on a soapbox saying, “Here is my plan” is expecting too much too soon. Her record speaks for itself on both the fiscal front and the transparency issue as well.

As for connecting the Tenth Amendment with States’ Rights, well I don’t recall Reagan ever doing that. I was in my 20s during his Presidency and looking back I know now that he DID protect States’ Rights, he just did it without saying so, I suppose. So for us to expect Palin to do anything different than that, is well…odd. She IS in favor of States’ Rights. She IS in favor of personal liberties. She IS in favor of smaller government. As I said, her record speaks for itself.

Speaking of transparency, in October of 2007 during a special session, Alaskan legislators – both Republicans AND Democrats wholeheartedly endorsed a plan that she called ACES. One of those nifty government acronyms, it stood for Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share. ACES was Governor Palin’s plan to finally, after decades of talk by administrations of both parties bring about the realization of the natural gas pipeline that I mentioned in my opening remarks. She did so in open to the public meetings and by having the oil companies bid for the project. This had the big oil companies furious, but in the end even they admitted that her legislation worked and even “significantly increased their profits.” I mention this again because if she is able to bridge the party line gap and bring big oil on board then her “seen through the who gives a shit looking glass sounds a great deal like President Obama’s Ten Letters he reads every night” transparency is more than a gimmick.

TC:

“Right now, I see Palin as a one trick pony.  If she can trade in the talking points and bone up on the rarely-used practice of strict interpretation and start to flesh out a few of her talking points…”

Should we take this to mean that her record in Alaska as both a two term mayor and the state’s Governor are to be discounted as mere talking points? On the contrary, I think she has a firm grasp of what is expected of her and what she expects from her government and given the chance, which is how this debate is framed, I think she would have a very positive impact on our economy.

Blog Debate – Sarah Palin & The Economy

Blog Debate Question:

My answer:

Sarah Palin is many things to many people, a lightning rod of unfair criticism for the left, a mother, a wife and among other things, a strong conservative. Not only that, Sarah Palin is a Reagan Conservative, so that means she is very fiscally conservative. Under the guidelines of the question above, with her self professed “Common Sense Conservatism” it would be easy to predict that she would have a very positive impact on the American economy. Therefore, I want to review her fiscal policies she enacted as both a mayor and a governor.

As Mayor of Wasilla, AK she cut property taxes by a huge margin of 75%, offsetting it with a 2% sales tax increase that had been enacted before she took office. Additionally she eliminated business inventory and personal property taxes. This increased the business climate in Wasilla, prompting the Boston Globe to quote a local business man who credits Sarah with making the town “more of a community…It’s no longer a little strip town that you can blow through in a heartbeat.” She also kept a jar on her desk with all the names of the residents of Wasilla in it and once a week, she would randomly choose a name, call that person and elicit their thoughts on how the town was doing. Her fiscal actions helped her to win re-election as Mayor with 75% of the vote.

As Governor, Sarah Palin continued her platform of smaller government and less taxation. She eliminated a personal chef position at the Governor’s Mansion, turned down $100 a day per diem checks for each First Family member – children included. Instead she accepted a $60 per diem for meals for her entire family. She slashed the state budget each year in office, eventually winning over the state congress and enlisting their aid in doing so. By eliminating the waste and pork in the state budget, she was able to increase education funding by one billion dollars, setting up “forward funding” so that local school districts knew how many state dollars there were for them to count on each year.

In her second year, there were record revenues because of the price of oil. Alaska’s revenue is closely tied to the natural resources in that state. In fact, their state Constitution holds for the utilization of natural resources as a “public trust.” This meant that when the price of oil went through the roof, the state’s coffers were bulging with money. A situation any Governor would envy. Palin resisted the effort to spend the money and grow government, instead choosing to stick to her fiscally conservative principles and continue to cut the budget. This policy enabled her to double the state revenues during her tenure as Governor of Alaska. She did so without a state sales tax or even a state income tax. Another anecdote of her fiscal responsibilities, she sold for over $2 million, a private jet that the previous Republican Governor had purchased.

When it came time for work on the Alaska “gasline” – natural gas pipeline, she chose to have the private oil companies compete for it in open to the public meetings instead of the closed door sessions that her predecessor conducted.

Now if you transpose Sarah Palin’s prior actions of fiscal responsibilities and transparency onto the national level, it would be easy to see that her tax cutting habits would help to jump start the economy by being a boon to small businesses. Her penchant for slashing budgets would mean that pork barrel politics would have nothing but lean times ahead. And finally, her idea of a truly transparent government would end the locked door meetings and the behind the scenes vote buying with taxpayer money.

These changes would be what the electorate was looking for but ultimately was deprived of when Barack Obama was chosen as POTUS. Confidence in government would increase; businesses would start hiring again, thereby lowering rampant unemployment and increasing revenue because quite simply more people would be paying taxes. As for the run away national debt, I believe that Sarah Palin would tackle that with the same Common Sense Conservatism that she has displayed all her life, both in public and private.

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