Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Well, as I suspected the revelation of Mitt Romney’s taxes was underwhelming. After all, he’s a Republican so unlike his Democrat (Socialist, Progressive, Liberal, whatever) adversaries there was little chance of there being anything illegal or untoward there. However it really illuminated some interesting facts listed by Gary Dettloff and Michael Hamrick in The Washington Times at “Romney’s taxes are good news for America; IRS forms present a hardworking, disciplined charitable candidate.”
I recommend you read the article but one point particularly stands out:
"Mr. Romney gave more to charity than he paid in taxes. That is a rare thing, indeed. He gave away more than $7 million to his church and other charities. He paid more than $6.2 million in federal taxes.”
Please compare that with the charitable contributions of Barack Hussein Obama before stepping into the public eye and the remarkable increase (though still paltry by comparison) in giving when he started to run for President. Or Joe and Jill Biden’s paltry giving that averaged $369.00 a year for the ten previous years before he ran for VP. Of course that far outstripped Al Gore’s contribution of $353 in 1997.
I went back and reviewed my family’s giving and I misspoke, we have given nearly 15 times more than the Bidens on average on a smaller income. No wonder liberals want to squeeze more out of us – they can’t conceive that anyone would actually give of their own free will to the poor or disadvantaged.
Romney’s giving is Christian charity. The IRS redirecting my income to others is theft.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Well it appears that we are poised to relearn yet another nasty lesson at the hands of Democrats (Socialists, Liberals, Progressives, whatever). In their zeal to spend money on things that we don’t need and in ways that our Constitution never intended, President Barack Hussein Obama plans to savagely cut our military end strength.
Our Armed Forces are the envy of the modern world and have been so for about a century. Our young men and women enter into that tradition when they don the uniform. The overwhelming majority of nations have no such tradition and as a result their Armed Forces are little more than uniformed mobs. Even so called "modern" nations cannot compete with the military that
can field. I mean quality as well as quantity. Man-for-man (or woman-for-woman) we can whip any outfit in the world. America
However now after handing President Obama conditions that he didn’t earn and victories that he had no part in crafting, he levels his guns at the American soldier and Marine. His administration intends to focus the Nation’s treasure on things (research and development) rather than people.
One of the things that surprises me most when discussing this topic is that people do not understand how long it takes to create a viable military unit. Sure the privates and sailors who populate an infantry battalion or ship might only have been in the service for 6 months, but the rest of the unit or crew have a lifetime of experience. It is often said that the backbone of any military organization is its non-commissioned officers – and I assure you that is true. You can’t make a sergeant in a year or two. It takes years that include formal and informal schooling, practice, and supervised experience. His or her actions are monitored and evaluated by their seniors so that their performance is constantly critiqued and improved.
What about those seniors? The First Sergeant who is the enlisted leader in every Marine infantry company is the product of nearly two decades of such training, feedback, improvement, and life experience. Those that can’t meet the lofty expectations of a Marine First Sergeant have gravitated to other lives as former Marines or failed to be promoted and eventually left for other lives. When mobile training teams start training the fledgling armed forces of emerging nations like
Iraq or , there may be old guys around, but they aren’t steeped in the traditions of their service, they haven’t been molded by years of superior service, and they have not demonstrated their commitment to the Nation and their service. You can’t just “make” or even “train” a First Sergeant, you need to start with a superior person and put them through the entire infrastructure of traditions, schools, experience, practice, and leadership to “make” a First Sergeant. Afghanistan
What of the officers? Similarly, the Lieutenant that stands in front of an infantry platoon for the first time, may have only entered the service eight to ten months before, but he is product of either the military (those officers who rose through the ranks) or society where he or she came through a college or military institution. Those people self selected themselves for a life of service, difficulty, and perhaps danger due primarily to their love of country. They didn’t pursue a position due to class, clan, or religion, but out of patriotism. Officers are also trained, groomed, and molded by schooling, practice, criticism, and other experiences to take on ever increasing responsibilities. That young lieutenant who stands in front of a forty man infantry platoon at the age of twenty-two may in 16-18 years stand in front of a one thousand man infantry battalion. He will succeed not because of who his daddy is, or what church he attends, or what political party he belongs to, but because he has proven himself over and over again. He commands an infantry battalion because he also commands the trust and confidence of his seniors and his peers. You can’t make such a man overnight.
Now we stand ready to jettison all that experience for the false promise of peace. Haven’t we been through this before? The “War to End All Wars” - World War I comes to mind. Can no one in the Obama regime envision a war with
? A country with 545,000 active duty servicemen and 650,000 reserves. Might those 100,000 soldiers and Marines Obama intends to dump come in handy during such an event? You go to war with the service you have – didn’t we just learn that lesson? Iran
Every time I think that things have gotten as bad as they could get, Barack moves the goal post.
Monday, January 23, 2012
There are probably a number of colleges now that will have one semester courses in debate craft based around Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s response to CNN’s John King on Thursday night:
There are no shortages of Republicans that dream of having Newt do that to the teleprompter-in-chief. I’m still not sold that this scrappy debater is the right guy to sit in the Oval office.
Let the primary continue! I’m waiting for my Santorum sweater vest. I don’t know what I will do with it as it will be the only one I own.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
No doubt there will be “oohs” and “awws” when Mitt Romney releases his tax returns. He makes a helluva lot more money than the overwhelming majority of Americans. But beyond that trivia, what will a thorough review of Mitt Romney’s tax returns reveal? Well, thinking of my own returns here is what I think that you will find out:
1. The quality of his Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I haven’t done my own taxes in fifteen years. Though I don’t have the magnitude of Mitt Romney’s problems or the volume of his cash – quite frankly owning my own business makes taxes far too complex for the average Joe like me. I depend on the CPA who does my taxes to be honest and to advise me if anything I do looks even the least bit shady. My tax returns reflect my CPA’s professionalism, knowledge of current tax law, and what she requested from me.
2. How generous (or stingy) he is. When Joe Biden released his tax returns to the Nation during his run for Vice President I found out that on a much (much) smaller income my wife and I gave four to five times more to charity than Joe and Jill Biden did in each of the previous four years. I suspect that we will find out that Mitt and Ann Romney are very generous. History shows us that the people of the political right are infinitely more generous with their own funds than the people of the political left.
3. How sophisticated his advisors are. For the overwhelming majority of my life I have done my own financial planning. My results were mixed. A few years ago I started using the services of a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). So the major difference between my returns of several years ago and my recent returns is that my investment portfolio is more sophisticated.
“Money” magazine wasn’t making me a financial genius but using the services of a CFP might make me look like one. If my CFP made a case for me to buy shares in an off-shore investment product based in the Reading to reduce my taxes, I would probably run that by my CPA- but if she said “No problem, no red-flags.” I would do it. I suspect that Mitt’s advisors are pretty damn sophisticated. Caiman Islands
What we won’t find out is Mitt Romney’s commitment to the law or his sense of honesty. Indeed it is completely possible that Mitt Romney won’t be able to articulate more than a general approach to the structure of his estate and his tax and investment strategy.
My tax strategy is to pay the minimum tax specifically required by law while not sending up any red-flags that would alert the IRS to move against me. I pay every cent I owe and not a penny more.
My investment strategy is to maximize returns consistent with low risk and not to generate more taxable income than necessary. My favorite 1099 comes from my Virginia Tax Free Bond Fund account. Block #1 “Interest Income” is BLANK while block #8 “Tax-Exempt Interest” has a big number in it – I like that.
So with all that in mind the ONLY possible reason to demand Mitt Romney’s tax returns is to fuel class warfare. Shame on you Newt Gingrich.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Well it looks like I have to take a razor to the family vehicles to remove the Perry decals from the windows. I haven’t handicapped the race in quite awhile as I had picked my guy and I was just waiting for the rest of
to see things my way. Well as of 11:12 AM EST today that ain’t happening. America
Though I think that I am going to have to hold my nose and vote for Mitt Romney twice (once in March to prevent lunatic Ron Paul from taking the
primary and then again in the general election) it isn’t time to give in yet and I’m not going to roll my support to Mitt Romney. Virginia
Though I do think that Newt Gingrich is a true conservative and that he is both the smartest and most aggressive candidate in the race – I’m not sold yet. I think that Newt’s tactics and response to Romney have been deplorable while showing his berserker mode and that makes me uncomfortable. I also don’t want to relive Newt’s marital problems for the next nine months either.
That brings me to Ron Paul – he’s utterly mad. His foreign policy would actually be worse than Barack Obama’s. His domestic policy has some real potential, but even there he’s so unbalanced that there’s no way we could ever trust him in the Oval office. Given his record in Congress he’s been nothing but an irritant – a gargoyle who takes the stage whenever possible to run off at the mouth. Go home Ron and seek professional psychiatric care.
That brings me to former Senator Rick Santorum. Given the white hot hate that abortionists and homosexuals have for him – he’s gotta be good. If you really do gauge the quality of a man by his enemies, Rick has a bunch and they are the most vile and evil creatures there are. Baby killers and perverts. Truth be told, I would prefer that Rick had of run a rifle platoon or a State – but right now he just became my guy. There will be a Rick Santorum sweater vest in my closet shortly.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
This wasn’t a topic that I thought I would be addressing, but I think that in the current climate I must. While I understand the urge to urinate on Taliban prisoners, the act was wrong and it would have been my duty to prevent my Marines from committing such an act. I hope that I would have done my duty in that regard.
It is far too easy to fall into the trap of justifying this act by saying that the Taliban have done worse (they have repeatedly) or by excusing this as part of war. That’s a moral hazard we all should avoid. It was wrong and we shouldn’t attempt to rationalize it away.
At the very beginning of my career a combat veteran told me “never discount the potential ferocity of the American teenager.” I never forgot that caution. He meant that if left unsupervised and if not properly lead Marines could under the pressure of combat do horrible or deplorable things. It was my job as it is the job of all Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers to prevent that from happening. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a crap about the Taliban and their feelings. Rather my only concern is for the young Marines concerned. I want them to come home with their heads held high. It’s our duty to bring Marines (soldiers, sailors, airmen, or coasties) home in such a manner that they are proud of their service and themselves. To that end, defiling enemy dead is wrong and we have to prevent our men and women in uniform from engaging in such a practice.
However now that the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President’s press stooge have all weighed in with their opinion of the incident I see no way that these young Marines will ever be treated fairly. That my friends is very, very wrong.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows nothing of honor and she should shut the hell up. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Commandant of the Marine Corps should back the hell off and send a very clear signal that unit leaders in that Marine Infantry Battalion should deal with the violation as if the entire World wasn’t looking over their shoulder. It is unconscionable to do otherwise. It is the sworn duty of all these people to ensure that justice and not vengeance is done.
If the President of Afghanistan, the entire Muslim world, or anyone else isn’t happy with justice – they can go screw themselves.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
One of my favorite radio personalities is Chris Plante on Washington, DC’s WMAL. However life gets in the way and I don’t get to listen to him very often. However Wednesday was an exception to that rule as I battled my way North through traffic. The topic that was dominating the show was the battle between Mitt Romney and everybody else over the meaning of free market capitalism.
Chris took time to give an example from his own radio experience. He had the hot morning show in our area though the station’s owners, Clear Channel thought they had come up with a National strategy to save money by piping in Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and firing all the various local guys in their affiliates. Chris described how both he and his producer were brought in and laid off. He wasn’t bitter or angry. It’s the way business works.
However Chris got the last laugh as ratings for the Joe and Mika show tanked. Revenue plunged and the consumers drove management back to a profitable path. The strategy to have one pair of folks cover all of those local slots failed miserably and Chris Plante got his show back. To explain why Joe Scarborough had failed so miserably in the Washington, DC market Chris pointed out that:
“Joe Scarborough is to American conservatives what Chaz Bono is to American women.” (or words to that effect) I might not have captured them exactly as I was trying to write those words down while driving and laughing after blowing coffee through my nose.
I couldn’t agree more Chris. It’s great to have you back.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
I frequent a convenience store not far from my home. I go there because I am currently boycotting 7-Elevens because they use Citgo (Venezuelan) gasoline. Further, this local store is owned and operated by a very nice couple from
. They are polite, appreciate my business, and I prefer my money go to hardworking local small business owners. I also have breakfast in the little diner run by immigrants from India that sits across from the International House of Pancakes for the same reason. Greece
The Indian couple has had a rough road for the last four years and we commiserate often about the business downturn. This visit I was able to report a bit of an up-tick in my own business. It wasn’t big and it was offset by some vandalism and theft, but it was a bit of progress. The lady and her husband looked happy for me. I told them that I expected that once a Republican victory in 2012 becomes increasingly likely, business will pick up at an increasing pace. My Indian lady-friend responded that all the Republicans were doing was fighting.
I asked her “Isn’t it remarkable that when Obama could do anything he wanted to do, our economy deepened its dive and got steadily worse? But now that the Republicans are blocking Obama from implementing more outrages on our economy, we are starting to see it recover as bit.” I think she got it.
The fact that six successive years of George W. Bush were pretty damned good until Nancy Pelosi grabbed the Speaker’s gavel is at least prima facie evidence that government by adults is much better than the alternative. A sick economy under Bush became an economy in serious decline under Barack Hussein Obama. For two full years Barack had it his way all the time and ran roughshod over the will of the American people. Well that changed in 2010. John Boehner may not be Ronald Freaking Reagan, but he’s starting us on the long road back.
We need to get John some help in 2012.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I was embarrassed today in a meeting with my Delegate. I live in the
Commonwealth of Virginia and he and another Delegate were holding a “town hall” style meeting in preparation to heading off to next week for the opening of the General Assembly. Richmond, Virginia
The issue of “Eminent Domain” came up in the context of an amendment to our Commonwealth Constitution. Our Delegate was patiently explaining how that process works when he paused and said “Okay how many of you have read the Virginia Constitution?” I was embarrassed, I hadn’t and neither had the rest of the room. I had a copy of the United States Constitution in my hip pocket, but I hadn’t read my own State’s Constitution. You see we in the shadow of
are so preoccupied with National issues that sometimes we forget that first and foremost we are Virginians. I intend to remedy that fact. Washington, DC
Just look how elegantly that document begins:
Bill of Rights
Section 1. Equality and rights of men.
That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
I ordered my own copy today while I read it on-line. How many of you are familiar with your own State’s Constitution?