Since I wrote about Mexico’s hypocrisy, it’s time for a discussion of what is and isn’t hypocrisy. Look at the following situations and answer whether they are examples of hypocrisy:

  1. Your friend says she loves to get up early, but you find her asleep at 10 am on a Saturday.
  2. The chairman of the “No Computers” advocacy group loves to post on FaceBook.
  3. Your coworker who is always on a diet is seen shoveling chocolate chips into his face.
  4. Al Gore flies all over the world warning people about the evils of CO2.
  5. A video of Tiger Woods frolicking with dozens of naked women surfaces.
  6. The president of MADD is arrested for DUI.
  7. A mother finds her son watching porn.

Did you recognize that the even numbered examples as hypocrisy? The odd numbered ones are examples of people failing to measure up to their own standard or a social norm. They are certainly examples of personal failure, but they are not examples of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy happens when people tell others how to live their lives but without conforming to that same standard themselves.

And here’s a final example:

  1. Congress passes the health care reform bill, but Congress exempted themselves from the same bill.

Now that is clearly hypocrisy.

Michael Ramirez gets the trend in the open hand of diplomacy as presented by President Obama:

The open hand of diplomacy

He could have added Great Britian to the list as one of the ally nations being trashed by the current undocumented President.

Does it makes sense to play nice with the nations that hate us, and look with distain on those nations who are our allies? Yeah, I didn’t believe so either. But that’s what America gets when it voted for an unqualified neophite for president.

I took advantage of the FaxZero.com site to send the following fax to my Representative in the House:

Mr. Inslee,

Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

The majority of American voters are against having one-sixth of our economy taken over by the government. Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

The bill is not about reducing the cost of health care for Americans. Every time and in every place where socialized medicine has been instituted, it has led to an *increase* in costs and a reduction in services. Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

The bill will not fix our troubled health care system. It will only exacerbate the problems that were caused by government meddling in the first place. Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

The bill has little to do with “fixing” our health care system and everything to do with seizing power over this nation’s economy and the individual liberties of American citizens. Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

The bill will require everyone to pay for abortion on demand, regardless of our religious beliefs regarding elective abortions. This is government force overriding individual religious convictions, and it is unconstitutional. Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

If you vote against the Health Care Reform bill, this registered Republican will vote for you in November and encourage everyone I know to do likewise, because you will have proven yourself to be a man of honor. But if you vote for the Health Care Reform bill, I will mobilize and do everything legally in my power to see that you are not reelected this November.

Do ***NOT*** vote for the Health Care Reform bill!

Think he’ll get the message?

Since this is a pretty liberal district, I’m sure he will vote in favor of the bill. I’ve never voted for him before, but a No vote on this bill would be sufficient in itself for me to vote for him this November.

A year or so back, one of my nieces asked me what my plans were for the summer vacation. I explained that other than the one week I’d take off to attend the family reunion, I’d be working the whole time. I tried to explain that I only get about three weeks of vacation, and those tend to get used up around Christmas and the family reunion in the summer. Other than that, I work the whole year through. Since she’s still in school and her father is a university professor, she doesn’t understand how most people work hard throughout the year.

I say most people because not everybody does. But if you can’t tell the difference between work and recess, you are congressional material!

Based on Uncle Jay’s calendar, Congress had only 97 work days in 2007. By comparison, I have 253 work days in 2009. Boy, am I in the wrong business!

Thanks to government meddling in the free market and individual greed, we are living in serious economic times. During any economic downturn, the government has four basic options:

Reduce government spending – When a family has less money to spend, it just makes sense to cut back on the extra expenses. Yes, it might mean sacrificing your favorite morning pick-me-up, but do you realize that skipping your daily Starbucks drink could save you over $1,000 in a year? Do you have any other daily or monthly expenses that you could reduce? Not that the government lives in the real world. Can you remember the last time our government voluntarily cut back on its own expenses? Neither can I.

Raise taxes – Any time the government sees a need for more money, a cry will echo down the halls and rooms of D.C. to raise taxes, often targeting those evil, nasty rich. While campaigning, President Obama said that he’d only tax people making $250,000 a year, but that promise was quickly broken when he raised taxes on cigarettes. Most of the people who smoke make nothing close to $250,000 a year. Setting aside Obama’s broken promise, raising taxes acts as a damper on whatever is being taxed, so raising taxes on income will have the effect of damping people’s efforts to raise income. You can think of raising taxes as similar to placing a few stones into a hiker’s backpack. It’s unlikely that the extra pound or two will cause the hiker to give up altogether, but the added weight will make him work harder than he would have done. And that extra effort means less energy for other activities on the hike. That’s similar to raising taxes in real life. When people are already burdened with bad economic times, it’s a dumb idea to add to their burden with tax increases.

Borrow more money – The government can always raise more money by borrowing, but to do so, it would have to find someone willing to finance the debt by buying our bonds. In his excellent post, Peter Murphy explains that China, Japan, and Russia are not in the position to buy up our bonds. And as the economic problems echo around the world, the pool of people able and willing to finance our debt will shrink even more. But borrowing even more money while already deep in debt is foolish at best. If you are already maxed out on ten credit cards, will you be any better off financially if you max out another five? (And is it really all that wise to attempt to raise money from people who consider us their enemies?)

Print money – The government could just print more money. If the money were backed by something concrete like gold or silver, then producing more gold or silver would make it possible to print more bullion-backed bucks. But our money is fiat currency, meaning it isn’t backed by anything tangible, just the full faith of the U.S. government. But what tangible items does the government actually produce? I see government producing laws, regulations, press conferences, and scandals, but I don’t see anything of value actually produced by the government. It is the people of these United States that do all the real producing. So any additional money printed by the government is backed by the future productivity of the people, not the government. When borrowing money and raised taxes won’t bring in the needed funds, the only option left to the government is to print more money. So get ready for the coming looming threat of inflation.

100 Quintillion Pengo Bill

Americans haven’t had to deal with high inflation since the early 1980s, so the coming inflation may be a nasty surprise to those who haven’t been through it before. But it could be worse–we could experience hyperinflation, when the government shifts money printing into overdrive. The bill in the image above is a 100 quintillion Pengo bill, printed by the Hungarian National Bank in 1946 during its worst period of hyperinflation. Since there are no zeroes on the bill, allow me to make it clear just how much that bill is worth:

100,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengos

That’s 20 friggin’ zeroes! It’s no wonder they used text instead of numbers on the bill, or the peasant girl would have fled in shame. Unless our government reins in its rampant spending, we will see inflation hit the U.S. hard.

Hopefully, we won’t experience hyperinflation like that experienced in the Weimar Republic of Germany, when it was cheaper to burn stacks of money than it was to buy firewood. Don’t forget that the German hyperinflation damaged the Weimar Republic’s reputation and left it impoverished and dispirited, allowing a certain poisonous charismatic leader to be elected. And don’t forget the effort it took to remove him from power.

Burning money

It seems like every day I keep seeing reminders on TV about the great digital TV switch-over coming Feb. 17th. If you aren’t ready, your TV may not work! *gasp* *faint*

OK, so I’m not all that concerned, but the government is. Here’s a report on MSNBC explaining the problem with the switch-over:

The Nielsen Co. said recently that while 85 percent of households are ready for the digital transition, nearly 6 percent are not at all, and another 9 percent are “partially ready.”

“Partially ready” means “you may have four TV sets in the house, and three are connected to cable and one is an analog set that isn’t,” said Anne Elliot of the Nielsen Co. “It means at least one working TV set in the household would not be able to get a digital signal.” That set could be one that is “used in the kids’ bedroom to watch DVDs,” for example, she said.

So everything needs to be put on hold because of “nearly” 6% of the U.S. isn’t ready for the switch? I say, “screw ‘em.” But I’m a mean-spirited guy. If the final 6% haven’t gotten ready yet, and the switch-over is two weeks away, what are the odds that we will still have about 6% not ready when the next deadline comes? And thanks to the quick action of our government, the Feb. 17th deadline they mandated has been remandated to June 12th.

Confused about the digital TV switch-over? Happily, there is help:

There is no argument that life brings crises, and it follows that we have to handle each crisis as it comes. As I see it, there are four ways of responding to a crisis:

  1. Run away! The plan here is to run far enough away that the crisis won’t affect you. This works for avoiding incoming ICBMs, if you’re very fast.
  2. Do nothing! The hope is that if you ignore the crisis long enough, it will go away on its own. Often used by junior Senators from Illinois who commonly vote “present.”
  3. Fix it! Roll up your sleeves and just get the problem fixed. This is arguably the most difficult of the four options.
  4. Backstab! Why not take the opportunity to shiv an enemy in the back while the others are distracted?

Drop me a note if you can identify another way to respond to a crisis. There are, of course, combinations of the above responses. For Heinlein fans, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout” is doing nothing while appearing to be working hard.

Regardless of what people say, you can determine how seriously people view a crisis by their actions in response to it. Imagine if someone had to rush to the hospital to get some insulin for a co-worker in danger of slipping into a diabetic coma. If that person rushed to the hospital, grabbed the insulin and raced back, you would know that person was serious about fixing the problem. But imagine if the would-be rescuer took the scenic route to the hospital, picked up the insulin, then swung by the local 7-Eleven for a drink and a hot dog, and afterward drove through the car wash for some auto TLC. Regardless of what he might say to excuse his actions, you would know that either he doesn’t care about his co-worker’s well-being or he doesn’t take the crisis all that seriously.

So we come to our current financial crisis. We could try to run from it, but if the American economy tanks, the effect will ripple out to areas all over the world–so much for hiding. We could do nothing and hope that it will all just work out, but we have too many people in government and the media talking about how this crisis is as bad as, if not worse than, the Great Depression. Self-fulfilling prophecies are created this way.

I’m convinced that there are people in both political parties who really want to fix this crisis, but they are handicapped by having to work with some of the same people who were instrumental in creating the crisis or who turned a blind eye as the problems grew worse. I’m not sure that a fix can come out of Washington soon enough, as the stock market continues to tank day after day after day.

I say I don’t think Congress will be able to fix the crisis because there are too many people who see this whole mess as a great time to shiv their political opponents in the back. Just so I’m not mistaken, I’m speaking here of the leadership of the Democrat party, including Senator Barack Obama. The bitter partisan bickering by Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks volumes about how seriously she takes the crisis. Her actions in the past week show a remarkable similarity to the co-worker who dawdles with critically needed insulin. Each bit of pork added to the bailout bill is a little more proof that the author cares less about the nation than he does about his own pet project. The more I read Pelosi’s address to the House before the bailout vote, the more I’m convinced that she wanted it to fail. And I’m not the only person who saw it this way.

But I’m afraid there’s more to this partisan squabbling than the misguided idea that a financial crisis now will ensure Democrat victories in November. I believe we may be seeing the results of a deliberate act of sabotage. Jim Simpson of The American Thinker has an excellent article about the possible motivations of the Democrat leadership in Washington D.C. and around the nation. It is frightening how well Simpson connects the dots to reveal a group of people who hate this nation and want to see its downfall. According to his article, they seek a catastrophic failure of American government so that they can be well-placed in the totalitarian state that forms from its ashes:

Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress – with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?

Why?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent – the failure is deliberate. Don’t laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

You need to know what the Cloward-Piven strategy is, and what it will mean for the future of our nation. Read the whole thing. Then tell a friend. This nation needs to know the methods and goals of people like Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, and Senator Barack Obama:

As a young attorney in the 1990s, Barack Obama represented ACORN in Washington in their successful efforts to expand Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) authority. In addition to making it easier for ACORN groups to force banks into making risky loans, this also paved the way for banks like Superior to package mortgages as investments, and for the Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to underwrite them. These changes created the conditions that ultimately lead [sic] to the current financial crisis.

Did they not know this would occur? Were these smart people, led by a Harvard graduate, unaware of the Econ 101 concept of moral hazard that would result from the government making implicit guarantees to underwrite private sector financial risk? They should have known that freeing the high-risk mortgage market of risk, calamity was sure to ensue. I think they did.

And I believe they did, too. When people plan the overthrow of our nation in order to put their own pet Marxist ideas into practice, then yes, I do question their patriotism. In the parable of the tares, Christ talks about a man who planted wheat in his field, but while he slept, another came and planted tares in the same field. He identified the source of the tares in words that I see echoing in our current crisis: “An enemy hath done this.”

An enemy, indeed, in our time of crisis.

Democrats in Congress engaged in an unwitting April Fools prank this April 1st. Some members of Congress summoned the leaders of the five largest oil companies in the U.S. for a nice modern-day inquisition:

Top executives of the five biggest U.S. oil companies were pressed Tuesday to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits and why they weren’t investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar.

The executives, peppered with questions from skeptical lawmakers, said they understood that high energy costs are hurting consumers, but deflected blame, arguing that their profits – $123 billion last year – were in line with other industries.

“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said as his committee began hearing from the oil company executives.

With motorists paying a national average of $3.29 a gallon at the pump and global oil prices remaining above $100 a barrel, the executives were hard pressed by lawmakers to defend their profits.

The first thing I noticed in the article was that every Representative quoted in the article was a Democrat. But that’s not all that surprising, since Democrats in Congress have little to no clue about how the economy works. Let’s tackle the ideas in this article one by one:

“[O]il companies were pressed Tuesday to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits”–And why should the oil companies have to explain fuel prices and their industry’s profits to Congress? Oh, right. Members of Congress are being meddlesome busybodies for a grandstanding photo op. “Americans can tell we care about them because we were so mean to the oil businesses” may be applauded by liberals, who believe it is the government’s job to manage a company’s prices and profits. But government control of business is the definition of statism, as illustrated by the statist philosophies of fascism and communism.

“[W]hy they weren’t investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar”–It is the responsibility of the business itself to determine how it will best invest for its future. Unless you are a fan of big government or a liberal (but I repeat myself) who believes that government should dictate how a business spends its own money, you already understand that. I would have loved to see one of the oil executives ask the Congressmen about why they weren’t spending more of their own salaries on charities and other projects, but that would be just as wrong. After all, your money, whether you are a sanctimonious Democrat or a Big Oil chief, is your money. I have no moral justification allowing me to tell you how to spend your money, and you have no moral justification to tell me how to spend mine.

“[T]heir profits – $123 billion last year – were in line with other industries.”–Oil companies make about 5% profit in bad years, and about 10% profit in the good ones. This puts them in the middle of business profits. Just to compare, the defense industry earned a 6.8% profit in 2007, the oil industry earned 8.4%, and the pharmaceutical industry earned 20.9% profit.

But this talk of rising gas prices and oil company profits ignores the fact that the oil companies don’t set the price of gas. They don’t even set the price of oil. Even OPEC cannot set the price of oil, although they do their best to affect the price. The price of oil is set by the commodities market, but not even arrogant Democrat Congressmen are dumb enough to try to call commodities traders on the carpet.

Here’s the kicker: if the oil companies need to be called on the carpet for their huge profits, then what does about government’s obscene profits from gas taxes? Red Planet has a great cartoon showing the comparison between Exxon’s profit per gallon and the government’s tax on that same gallon. Who is making obscene profits now?

Obscene profits?

If Exxon and the other oil companies are making obscene profits at 10 cents on the gallon, doesn’t that make the government’s profit from that same gallon of gas four times as obscene? Not if you are a liberal Democrat who doesn’t comprehend the free market. To badly paraphrase Benjamin Franklin from 1776, a liberal Democrat has no problem with profit in the first person, such as “my profit.” It’s only in the third person — “their profit” — that they object.

Reread the article, and you will see this attitude evident in the attitudes of Democrat Representatives as they grill the oil executives. Heaven save us from these clueless, grandstanding liberals!

News flash! Congress is pondering a resolution mourning the loss of the RMS Titanic in 1912. Sure, Congress has passed two previous resolutions to mourn the almost 1,500 dead, but we really need a third resolution almost a century later to show that we really mean it this time.

Also in the news, Congress will soon put up for a vote a resolution condemning the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip in 1914. Sure, Congress has passed three previous resolutions condemning the assassination, but Congress really needs to pass a fourth resolution to show just how much the assassination disturbs the U.S. Congress.

And finally, Congress is gearing up to vote on a resolution to start using the word “genocide” when discussing the killing of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Sure, it’s almost a century later, and Congress has passed five other resolutions between 1916 and 1996 about the death of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, but Congress really needs to pass yet another bit of legislation to show just how horrified Congress is over the Armenian genocide.

OK, so I’m being silly. I made up the news stories about Congress working on Titanic and Ferdinand assassination resolutions to show just how silly it is to obsess over something almost a century old, especially when Congress has already griped about it before. Why are members of Congress so anxious to pass a resolution branding the death of many thousands of Armenians almost 100 years ago as a genocide?

The answer is simple: the Democrats in Congress are desperate to sabotage the war in Iraq, as explained by Thomas Sowell.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this resolution is just the latest in a series of Congressional efforts to sabotage the conduct of that war.

Large numbers of American troops and vast amounts of military equipment go to Iraq through Turkey, one of the few nations in the Islamic Middle East that has long been an American ally.

Turkey has also thus far refrained from retaliating against guerrilla attacks from the Kurdish regions of Iraq onto Turkish soil. But the Turks could retaliate big time if they chose….

In this touchy situation, why stir up a hornet’s nest over something in the past that neither we nor anybody else can do anything about today?

The Left has no plan to win the war in Iraq. The only strategy they have is running away, which is known in military circles as “losing.” Democrats have admitted that they cannot support the war because it is bad for them. They have hitched their wagons to failure, and now they are trying whatever they can to cause problems. And make no mistake, this Congressional resolution will piss off our ally Turkey and make fighting the murderous thugs in Iraq that much harder. Weren’t these the same Democrats the ones whining that we weren’t working enough with allies?

Sowell finishes up his column masterfully:

Unwilling to take responsibility for ending the war by cutting off the money to fight it, as many of their supporters want them to, Congressional Democrats have instead tried to sabotage the prospects of victory by seeking to micro-manage the deployment of troops, delaying the passing of appropriations — and now this genocide resolution that is the latest, and perhaps lowest, of these tactics.

Do you have patience? Can you do without for a while to ensure you get something much nicer later? After our previous move, we realized that we needed a kitchen table. We could have purchased a folding table and chairs for cheap, but my wife and I decided to save up our money each month and hold out for a nice table. After almost a year of saving, I wrote out a large check for a very nice hardwood table and six chairs. We could have had a table much sooner if we had been willing to settle for something cheaper in cost and quality, but we were patient.

When trying to teach the concept of delayed gratification to young kids, I offer them a choice: eat two cookies now, or get a big box of cookies in a few months. For some, the cookies in my hand are much easier to understand than the promise of many more at some distant time. But others, especially older children, are beginning to understand the benefits of patience. Adults demonstrate an understanding of delayed gratification with savings accounts, retirement funds and 401k accounts; you see it every time you hear someone say, “I gotta go to work. We need the money.”

How much are you willing to wait for something? I guess the answer depends on what you’re waiting for and how much you want it. I’m willing to wait a few minutes for my food at some fast-food place, but I wouldn’t wait half an hour. Yet I have no problem with waiting half an hour for my dinner at a nice restaurant. Usually, the bigger the payoff, the more I’m willing to wait. That seems to be common sense. But I have to wonder what sense House Democrats have when they narrowly pass a spending bill that would pull our troops out of Iraq by next year. By broadcasting their unwillingness to wait, they have let the militants in Iraq (and Iran) know that all they have to do is exercise a little more patience, and the U.S. troops will leave — in essence, handing over the reins of a newly-free country to terrorists and thugs.

For now, I give a hearty “thank you” to Speaker Pelosi and the other 217 craven members of the House for letting these murderous thugs know that all they need is a little patience.