By: Alan Levesque
First Published at: The Daily Pamphlet
Thank God for the nanny state. What would we do without it? In the absence of the nanny state we would be out in the cold with nobody to tell us what to eat, drink, drive, wear, think or feel! We would drive big pickup trucks with no thought given to how the people in France felt about it and our fingers would be perpetually orange from eating salty treats! We would eat until we were full even if that might offend somebody in a third world country. We would heat and cool our homes to a comfortable temperature when surely we should be sweating in penance for our many sins against the planet. We would speak the truth, which is usually not politically correct, instead of dancing around issues. We would raise our kids as God intended rather than following some arbitrary guidelines set by a bureaucrat. In short, without the nanny state we would be lost and forced to just live our lives free from the interference of elitist busybodies intent on sticking their snouts into every facet of our existence "for our own good."
I don't know about you but I get mightily offended when I read about legislative proposals or executive orders that intend to curtail my freedoms based on the assumption that I am too stupid to make my own choices. It is not governments place to enact legislation or issue executive orders for the sole purpose of "guiding" my decisions or anyone else's for that matter. If I want to eat a two pound meatloaf buried in liquid cheese and wash it down with a quart of soda, that is my business. If you want to eat a beansprout for dinner and drink a glass of deionized water, that is your business. I will feel sorry for you but I won't try to stop you. Why? Because it isn't any of my business what you eat. It doesn't concern me in the least. I also reject the false argument that if you don't eat healthy I might have to pony up some tax money for your bypass surgery in twenty years. How much would my percentage of your surgery be? My guess would be pennies. That's a risk I'm willing to take in order to eat as I like.
This brings us to a new development in Massachusetts. The Democrat Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has issued an executive order banning "sugary drinks" from all city properties and functions. The ban is to include sports drinks, soft drinks and juices with added sugar. These items will no longer be available at city run meetings, events, concession stands or vending machines. The Mayor has stated that many Boston residents are overweight and he wishes to make healthy choices easy for them. Isn't that special? The Mayor who has had trouble keeping his own weight down and has had a host of health issues including Crohn's disease, stated at his City Hall presser announcing the order that “I haven’t had a glass of soda in two years.’’ Well good for you sir. I would salute you but I don't want to spill my soda.
It is believed that this executive order could cost vendors as much as 20% of their business as people opt to bring their drinks from home instead of purchasing from them. So the new rules are not only tyrannical but unfriendly to business as well! Fantastic. This appears to be yet another case of a crusading public servant foisting their belief system on a public that just doesn't want it. Of course people can still drink their sodas, but if they want to purchase a sugary drink on city property, the answer will be clear. No pop for you!
By: Alan Levesque
First Published at: The Daily Pamphlet
Often you will hear people in the present administration and in Washington talk about reducing our dependence on oil. At first this sounds fantastic until you realize that they didn't say they wanted to reduce our dependence on foreign oil but simply oil. That's it in a nutshell. They want oil gone. Period. This is why calls to exploit our own God given resources are met with new regulations, denial of drilling permits and mocking derision. While the politicos in Washington have enough faith in science and technology to call for minimum mileage standards that may not even be possible to achieve given current technology, and call for the development of "alternative fuels" and other things that may still be fifty years off in the future, they see no irony in also believing that science can not harness the power of coal or our own oil reserves safely and in an environmentally conscious manner. When the government wants the scientific community to develop unicorn snot as an alternate fuel source, scientists are geniuses but if it is suggested that we could use clean coal technology, or drill for our own oil, scientists are not smart enough to pull it off in the governments view.
I don't have a problem with ending our dependence on oil, domestic or otherwise. As long as there is an immediate and suitable replacement, most thinking people would be on board for this. You see, this is America. We love our cars and trucks. It's a cultural thing. Most of us love the sound of a throaty V8 engine. When you hear the word Mustang do you think of horses or horsepower? A train or two isn't going to cut it for most of us. We require personal transportation in the United States. Much of the country is not set up for mass transit and in most cases the economies of scale are not in place to make it profitable. Like I said, we require personal transportation in the United States. That being the case, we require fuel for our vehicles. Presently, we use mostly gasoline, which of course is derived from that dreaded oil. Getting off of oil would likely produce some beneficial side effects. We would no longer need to be as actively involved in the Middle East for one thing. Might this make us safer and more secure? Quite possibly as unfriendly oil producing nations would have less of our money to fund terrorist groups and other actions against us. If we had a homegrown substitute for gasoline it would boost our GDP and our deficit would be a lower percentage of the GDP. It would create jobs. How many jobs would be created is hard to say as some people would simply transition over to a new industry but it would certainly create some jobs. What if the replacement for gasoline was cheaper than gas or at least stable in price? This would have the net result of allowing people to keep more money in their pockets as their energy costs went down. This would create a ripple effect as the money was spent elsewhere in the economy. This would also calm the markets and remove some of the uncertainty that is holding back the American economy.
So what do we do about this? I'm calling for a "moonshot" type program to get the United States off of foreign and or domestic oil. I'm calling for the federal budget to be stripped clean of all unnecessary spending and the savings allocated towards this undertaking. The benefits of replacing gasoline and diesel with a homegrown equivalent liquid fuel would be enormous for our country. There may be some unintended consequences, but overall I believe it would be a good thing. It would also be far less expensive than you are probably thinking. Why is that you ask? I'll tell you why. It is because we already have this miracle fuel and we have quite a bit of it at that. We presently have two quadrillion cubic feet of known reserves. Put in perspective, this is more energy than all of Saudi Arabia's known oil reserves. It is estimated that we have enough of this fuel right now to last nearly 200 years. That's right, 200 years. Plus we're finding more of this fuel every day. Your car won't go as far on a gallon of this fuel but it only costs about $2.50 per gallon ( about $1.50 per gallon with a home fill unit) and the price is stable and would likely come down once fully exploited.
What is this miracle fuel? Natural gas. The United States has been called the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas." That's how much of it we have. At present about 22% of the electricity generated in the United States already comes from natural gas. Natural gas is clean burning and costs about 70% less than foreign oil. Millions of cars in Europe already run on natural gas and many fleet vehicles within the U.S. do as well. Why do we need a "moonshot" to make this happen? Simple. While the technology exists and is proven, and we have the gas, there doesn't appear to be a recognition on the part of government of the need to do this or the political will to do it. There are some hurdles to overcome. Some are regulatory hurdles and some are infrastructure related. While any internal combustion engine can be converted to run on natural gas, kits are only available for a select few models of vehicles utilizing a select few engine families. Presently, converting your existing car or truck is an expensive undertaking and there are few places that are certified to do it. There are only about 1500 fueling stations nationwide making the act of "getting gas" more difficult. There are home fueling stations available but we need more public fueling stations.
To make this work we need to fast track the certification of more repair facilities to perform conversions on existing vehicles. This would lower the price considerably and there is legislation pending in Congress that would allow for tax credits for converting an existing vehicle. There are tax credits already available for purchasing a new natural gas powered vehicle. Conversion kits need to be made available for many more engine families. Getting a kit certified costs as much as $200,000.00 right now. This really is an insignificant amount when you realize that this would likely be done by large auto makers who could amortize the expenditures over a number of years. Also there is a finite number of engines which would cap their costs. The benefits of getting in front of this could be huge for an automaker and well worth the expense. Perhaps the government could back off on some of their more egregious regulations and mandates to the automakers in exchange for the automakers footing the bill for this? More pumps need to be installed across the country. This is a case where the government needs to get involved. People will not convert unless and until they see the natural gas pump right next to the regular unleaded. Station owners will not install the pumps until people start pulling into their filling stations demanding it. It's a catch 22 and it appears that some incentive will need to be put forward to get the station owners to act.
There needs to be a coordinated effort on the part of business and government to educate people and make this happen. Natural gas is our best hope to become truly energy independent and it is only a matter of time before attitudes and the free market catches up to this fact. The sooner we do this, the sooner we can start reaping the benefits. Or we could simply do nothing and wait for the scientists to capture the power of unicorn snot.
By: Alan Levesque
First Published at: The Daily Pamphlet
It's strange to see violent protests in America. We are by nature a country that recognizes and respects the legislative process. While many people made their views known regarding the egregious Obama care law, it was passed against the will of the American people and for the most part they took it in stride. Sure, they vowed to work towards its repeal and or replacement but stopped short of the type of lawless behavior we are now seeing from the radical left in Madison, Wisconsin in response to attempts to curtail public employee union power.
It is interesting to note that upon passage of the Obama care law, the collective left told conservatives to "suck it up" and to "stop being cry babies" despite the fact that it was a horribly flawed law that could not be passed without a great deal of shenanigans and accounting tricks. In one voice the left stood up and gave a collective "Nana Nana Boo Boo" as we were told to "sit down and shut up" and that they had won. Now that the Birkenstock is on the other foot we are told that they won't accept the legislative process. They plan to obstruct Governmental business by squatting in the capitol rotunda and blocking the movements of legislators. They are moving to recall legislators as well as the Governor. I stated earlier that it's strange to see violent protests in America and it is. It is also a part of American history and part of the fabric of our great nation that people have the right to peaceably assemble. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be peaceable assembly. The apparent goal here is to achieve their ends through fear and intimidation and Republican legislators have in fact received death threats. So much for the new civility. I guess that only applies to Republicans and independents.
We have witnessed first hand, all manner of crimes against property and person in the last few weeks. From trespassing to battery, the far left is out in force attempting to advance their twisted agenda. Some high minded theories floated by the left this week included the supposition that people are not entitled to the money they earn, that the country is not broke but in fact is flush with cash, and my personal favorite, that wealth is a national resource to be shared by all. Of course all of these theories, beliefs and fantasies are factually incorrect and wholly inconsistent with the founding principles of the country. The fact that Americans can even utter this nonsense with a straight face is blood curdling. The mask has been removed from the far left and they are now showing their true colors and they are not red white and blue. They say that they are patriotic and only want what's best for the country but the philosophies being espoused are pure unadulterated Marxism. I do not believe that anybody pushing a Marxist agenda for the United States can possibly have her best interests at heart. One has to wonder how these same people are going to react to the events and circumstances that are most certainly heading our way soon. Food and fuel prices are through the roof. Cities, faced with declining tax revenues are cutting back on road repairs and other essential services. Will those on the left who feel that they have been "unfairly" hurt by these circumstances take to the streets demanding to be given the fruits of others labors? I sincerely hope not but fear that they will.
It's ironic that the same supposedly altruistic people who talk about "sharing the wealth" are willing to exhibit some very ugly behavior to keep what they feel is rightfully theirs and take what is rightfully yours. That is, in effect what they are doing in Madison right now. Concessions aside, they want, and expect, the taxpayers, many of whom no longer have any hope of a comfortable retirement, to pay for theirs. They want, and expect, the taxpayers, many of whom no longer have any health insurance, to pay for theirs. It is this mentality that causes me great concern. How did people raised in this country come to have these attitudes? Where did they learn these ideologies? Is this just the beginning of a very frightening trend? It reminds one of a spoiled child who gets a toy and then has it taken away. The spoiled child will have outbursts and behave in unacceptable ways when he or she is denied what they want. I believe there is more to this than just the right to collectively bargain. The toy in this case is a Democrat controlled Congress, Senate and Executive branch that the left believed would usher in some new era of prominence for them along with retribution for conservatives. Now that it has simply ushered in incompetence, malaise, inflation and insecurity, part of their toy in the form of the Democrat controlled congress, has been taken away and they are angry and acting out. Further exacerbating this anger is the now ongoing conservative ascendancy and the creeping realization that the Democrat controlled Senate will likely go Republican as well. At this time it's even money whether President Obama can be reelected. The wheels are coming off the gravy train and even Casey Jones couldn't stop it at this point.
The left is cornered, and like any dumb animal, they will lash out when threatened. They obviously feel that the time to strike is now while they still hold some power and sway with the electorate. They feed on sympathy. The problem for them is that they have exposed themselves as the petulant children they really are and it's giving the average hard working American agita just watching the spectacle. With so many in the private sector struggling right now, I believe sympathy for people with steady, secure, well paying jobs is going to be in short supply. The protesters might have overplayed their hand this time.
The story goes that Benjamin Franklin was standing outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia after the constitutional convention had ended. A lady walked up and asked the great man, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Ben Franklin thought about it briefly and responded, "a republic, if you can keep it."
And so began the greatest experiment in governance ever undertaken. The republic Ben Franklin feared for, has lasted 220 years and is still going strong. Yes, it is presently being sorely tested but it is still intact and I believe will remain that way far into the future. The sad thing, is that many people in this country, don't even know what a republic is, much less that they live in one. Many people will tell you that the United States is a Democracy. While there are elements of Democracy woven into the fabric of our country, it is absolutely not a Democracy in the strictest sense. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Paper No. 10, "Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking."
In other words a democracy allows for mob rule where the majority always gets their way. If the majority votes to take away your land, you lose your land. If the majority votes to outlaw your business, you lose your business. It's that simple and this is what Madison was referring to when he talked about a democracy being "incompatible with the rights of property." The founders were well aware that a democracy will eventually implode as the majority votes themselves largess from the treasury and special privileges. This is why they set the country up as a representative republic. read more »
By: Alan Levesque
Recently our soon to be former Speaker of the House made the following statement:
“Giving $700 billion to the wealthiest people in America does add $700 billion dollars to the deficit. And the record and history shows and does not create jobs.” Putting aside for the moment that most third graders have better English skills, let’s examine this absolutely ridiculous statement. Mrs. Pelosi wants us to believe that extending the current tax rates for all Americans is GIVING them money. Since you can’t give something that isn’t yours, she is in effect making the case that the money belongs to the government in the first place.
I would like to take this opportunity to enlighten and educate Nancy Pelosi on this matter. I will use short words and easy analogies in the hope that she can grasp the concepts presented. The first thing that needs to be understood is that if I earn $100.00 it is MY $100.00, not yours Nancy. You didn’t drag yourself out of bed at 4:00 A.M. and earn it. I did. It is mine not yours. If my tax rates go down, you are not giving me anything, you are simply taking less of my hard earned money.
Now, let’s go on to our next lesson. The deficit. A deficit is the difference between what you take in and what you spend. Deficits are caused by OVER-SPENDING not under-taxing. To illustrate, let us assume that you owe $10,000 on your mortgage, $5,000 on your car and $1,000 on your credit card. Remember we are using small round numbers to keep this simple. It’s hard to think in trillions! These numbers add up to a total of $16,000. We will call this $16,000 your deficit. It is money that you owe. Now let’s assume that your salary is tax money being taken in. This should be simple for you to understand since your salary IS tax money being taken in. Now let’s further assume that your constituents suddenly buy a clue and vote you out of office at which point your salary stops and you are no longer taking in “tax money.” Does your deficit get larger? No, it does not. You still owe the same amounts on your house, car and credit card. Now let’s assume you use your credit card to buy Botox and you spend $1,000. You will now owe $10,000 on your mortgage, $5,000 on your car and $2,000 on your credit card for a total of $17,000. Did this additional spending make your deficit get larger? Yes, it did. Your $16,000 deficit is now $17,000. See how that worked? It looks like spending causes deficits. Unless you add to them by spending, they stay the same. Simply amazing. read more »
By: Alan Levesque
In recent days, the “Death Panel” controversy has been revived. At first glance, the idea that the Government is “out to get us” appears to have merit. With talk about “end of life” counseling, the “Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research” and the “National Coordinator of Health Information Technology,” many of our fellow conservatives have woven a web of intrigue worthy of James Bond regarding this issue. On the surface it all looks plausible as there is just enough truth there to make you believe. But, like a car that looks great from fifty feet away you must get up close and really do a thorough inspection to see the rust spots, mismatched parts and Bondo. At the core of the revived “Death Panel” scenario are three separate and distinct entities. Proponents of the “Death Panel” theory are basically putting these three entities together like a jigsaw puzzle and making assumptions involving the supposed nefarious purposes of the entities. Let’s examine each in turn and see how, or if, they fit together.
The first thing we will examine, and the reason for the renewed interest in “Death Panels,” is “end of life” counseling. This is nothing new of course but a provision in the health care bill would have allowed it to be billed by the physician and medicare would have had to pay for it. This caused an uproar when Governor Sarah Palin coined the term “Death Panels” in response to this part of the Obamacare bill. The Democrats, amid much public outcry, responded by removing the “end of life” counseling portion of the bill which enabled it to more neatly fit down our throats as it was passed into law. Now the subject has come up once again as it has been revealed that “end of life” counseling has been added to the Medicare regulations. If you can’t legislate, regulate! It appears that the administration was content to pass anything when it came to health care knowing that they would just bypass congress and rule by fiat through the regulatory process. The author of the “end of life” counseling portion of the Obamacare bill, Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, sent an email to his supporters crowing about their “victory” but also cautioned against telling anyone about it for fear of stirring up the “Death Panel” controversy. The email went on to say that “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch.” The openness and transparency just brings a tear to my eye. “End of life” counseling allows the patient to make decisions about his or her care prior to the time when the need for care becomes critical and the patient may be in no position to make their own decisions. In and of itself, “end of life” counseling appears to be a good thing. read more »
By: Alan Levesque
Glenn Beck has become a problem. Oh, not for me or his millions of fans mind you but to the countless liberals, progressives and useful idiots out there in “pundit-land” who believe they are somehow imbued with an intellect superior to that of most mortal men. The problem for them is that Mr. Beck beats them at their own game. A man who continually states that he is not a journalist, seems to routinely be ten steps ahead of the mainstream media. Glenn Beck was predicting that the Federal Reserve would monetize the debt at the same time the Fed were claiming they would never do such a thing. And then, as if by magic, the Fed monetized the debt. Mr. Beck recently stated that socialists and Islamic extremists were working together to overthrow the Mubarak government in Egypt. This was mocked in the mainstream media as well, with Beck being tagged with a number of unflattering adjectives not the least of which was “Looney Tunes” courtesy of Chris Matthews. Then came the recent New York Times article stating that socialists, liberals and The Muslim Brotherhood were in fact working together, proving Beck right once again. I call this phenomenon “Manifest Sanity.” That is to say, that Glenn Beck is insane, until his predictions manifest themselves, at which time he becomes sane.
What is the mainstream media’s reaction to being outwitted by this self described “Rodeo Clown” who never finished college? Why personal attacks of course. The main issue for the mainstream media seems to be that not only is Beck a staunch conservative, but he’s not “in the club.” You know the club I’m referring to. The ivy league, corduroy sport coat wearing, pipe smoking, educated to the point of stupidity, elite club. Gripped by professional jealousy, they just can’t fathom how a person they regard as inferior to them could be so popular and so right most of the time. I think his lack of an “approved” ivy league pedigree coupled with his admittedly troubled past, encourages some left leaning media types to pounce on him with personal attacks. It’s a textbook case of “if you can’t beat them, smear them.” read more »
By: Alan Levesque
Ernesto Guevara de la Serna. You may know him as simply “Che” but the former is actually the name given to him upon his birth in Argentina. A few of his more memorable quotes appear below:
“I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.”
“In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm”
“Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and
beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent,
selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.”
I am able to get a pretty good idea of what this man was about by reading the above quotes. Apparently, many people in this country are not so similarly able. Or, more frighteningly, they are, and actually agree with his philosophy. I decided to write this article after seeing a video of a woman shouting about revolution, capitalism and imperialism. She appeared rather angry and I noticed that she was wearing a “Che” t-shirt. I wondered whether she realized who this guy really was. I concluded from her rhetoric that she was fully aware and further concluded that there was no helping someone like this.
By: Alan Levesque
On this, the 100th anniversary of his birth, it seems only fitting to pay tribute to one of this countries greatest presidents. I was 19 years old when Ronald Reagan took office. Being politically naive, and having had my opinion of Republicans shaped by Watergate, the main stream media and my Democrat friends and family members, I was not altogether happy about the outcome of the election. I was a registered Democrat like my parents and believed that the Republicans were tools of big business and out to get the little guy. Surely the Republicans must be evil. I ate up every morsel of nonsense that the main stream media saw fit to feed me. I was a useful idiot.
Then along came Ronald Wilson Reagan. I thought at the time that he would make a terrible president. And why wouldn’t I believe that? The narrative being advanced at the time was that Reagan was not too bright. He was a warmonger. He was just a “B” movie actor. Of course these were gross distortions, but at 19 years old, I believed them.
In the years that followed, I became wiser and my opinion of our 40th president changed drastically, until I came to believe, as I do now, that President Reagan was, much like the founders, a gift to this country from God. This was a man of humble beginnings who rose to hold the highest, most powerful office in the world. Despite being the most powerful man on the planet, he had an abiding faith in God and was humble and self deprecating. He believed in hustle and hard work. One need only to look at all the extracurricular activities he was involved in while in school to see this. He was a talented artist. He had a quick wit and was a charming man who was difficult to dislike. He was actually a brilliant man and deep thinker as evidenced by the fact that he wrote most of his speeches himself. His speech “A Time for Choosing” was both eloquent and prophetic, as in it, he warned against many things we are experiencing today. President Reagan was an optimist and it was an optimism borne out of his love for America. He truly believed that this was the greatest place on Earth and that no matter what was hurled at us we would overcome it simply because we are imbued with the American spirit which Reagan believed was indomitable. read more »
By: Alan Levesque
Recently I was asked how I felt about women serving our country in combat roles. Since I had only briefly considered this issue in the past, I had to give it a bit of thought and sort out some things in my mind. There’s quite a bit bouncing around up there so this process took a few days. I will state for the record that as a man, my protective instincts go on high alert just thinking about this issue. While having our young men wounded or killed in battle saddens me greatly, the thought of young women dying in battle seems for some reason to be even more horrific.
Most men my age were brought up believing that fighting wars was “a mans job.” We were taught directly and subliminally that women were weaker than men and couldn’t handle the rigors of certain occupations such as police officer and firefighter. As of this writing there are approximately 6,200 women working in the United States as full time, paid, career firefighters and there are estimated to be 35-40 thousand female volunteer firefighters. Fighting fires is very dangerous and very physically demanding but it appears that the women have simply adapted to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. One female firefighter stated that she had to gain 10 pounds of muscle through heavy workouts in order to get through the training. Female firefighters have risen to become Battalion Chiefs and a small number are Chiefs. While there have been problems along the way, it appears that women have proven that they can in fact be effective firefighters.
While numbers fluctuate and it is difficult to arrive at an accurate estimate, it is believed that there are slightly over 100 thousand female police officers working in the United States at this time. As women made inroads into the field of law enforcement, many of the same things were said about them as were said about the female firefighters. Once again, it appears that the women proved everybody wrong and have excelled as police officers. A woman is just as capable as a man when it comes to handling firearms and any perceived shortcomings with regards to physical confrontation can be overcome through self defense or martial arts training. It could be argued that women in general have some attributes that could actually make them better suited to police work than men. read more »