Stop The Hate On BOTH Sides

I part ways with most conservatives on a number of social issues, but I hope I can still be seen as respectful of their religion in the process.

For example, I have no problem at all with gay marriage. If it makes people feel better to call it “civil union” or “domestic partnership” to preserve in their mind the definition of marriage between a man and a woman, it’s reasonable to me. But the fact remains that marriage, to the state, is a contractual commitment and obligation, and any two consenting adults should be able to enter into it, in my opinion. (Standard obligatory disclaimer: By “two consenting adults”, I do not mean a man and his goat, a woman and her twelve year old cousin, or anything other than exactly “two consenting adult” humans.)

However, we cannot let gay rights trample freedom of religion, either. I understand why some opponents of gay marriage fear the slippery slope. The lawsuit recently settled by eHarmony.com, in which they felt forced to provide services for same-sex couples, gives these opponents legitimate reason to be concerned. If a person of faith does not want to perform matchmaking services for unions they morally oppose, it is an outrage that they should legally be forced to do so. Thankfully, as the case was settled and not litigated to the bitter end, it should not set a poor precedent. I hope.

There are plenty of dating and matchmaking services out there that cater to all sexual orientations. I personally find it somewhat intolerant of eHarmony that they wouldn’t provide same-sex services, but I still think it should be their right not to. By the same token, should gay marriage become legal, churches should not be forced to perform the ceremonies. Unlike marriage, freedom of religion is explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights, so state intrusion into the religious sacrament of marriage should be off-limits.

We need more reasonable discussions with mutual respect on both sides, and fewer acrimonious discrimination lawsuits, to maintain the maximum rights for all people. But some groups in society really just need to agree to disagree, and leave it at that.

If you’re gay and a member of a religion that is intolerant of homosexuality, you have a choice to make, not the church. If they’re not allowed to force you to be straight, you are not allowed to try to force them into accepting homosexuality. Sorry. I feel badly for any person in that position, but the rest of the flock has their rights, too. I don’t agree with them either, if it makes you feel any better.

I hope someday the middle 70-80% of the country throw the fringes out on their ear, in order to have a civil and rational discussion on this issue and others like it, without the name-calling and bomb throwing. Until then….

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Stop The Insanity

Crossposted at Conservative Badlands.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, but expecting different results.

Yet, there appears to be growing consideration being given to revamping the 401(k) system, and possibly establishing a mandatory employee contribution into a government plan.

Wait, where have I heard this before? Social Insecurity, anyone heard of that?

We already have one bankrupt retirement entitlement system. Why the hell would we want another?

Part of the discussion involves removing the tax breaks from current 401(k) plans.

Wait. We have tax incentives to encourage savings, personal responsibility, and self-reliance in retirement. Well, we can’t have that under a Democratic administration, can we? No, it’s obviously better to pour even more of our money into a supposedly secure retirement fund administered by the government.

Never mind that this is the same government that raided Social Insecurity and bankrupted it.

Who are they trying to kid here? This is pure insanity.

I understand how severely the market crash affected many American’s 401(k) balances. My husband and I won’t be retiring as early as planned, and it is very disappointing. But, it was our investment decisions and we’re paying the consequences.

That’s life. Sometimes it kicks you in the ass.

But I have much more faith in our ability to recover from this debacle if the Feds just leave us alone to figure it out for ourselves.

If they’re that interested in providing a guaranteed return on a mandatory retirement plan contribution, do it with the money they’re already confiscating for Social Insecurity. Leave our 401(k) alone.

Vin Said It Better, But I Said It First

I had to chuckle a little to myself when I read today’s column by Vin Suprynowicz, where he said, in part. . .

“The socialists never enter the next round with the scoreboard “reset to zero” — they consolidate the gains of 1912 and 1932 and 1964 and 2008, digest their new powers and all the wealth they’ve confiscated from their victims, and then — swollen with all they have devoured — ask, “Play again?””

Compare that to what I said yesterday.

“This isn’t football, where (with the exception of the onside kick) they give us the ball back after scoring. We need to take the ball back, because once they score, the game is rigged forever in their favor. We can’t take the points off the board – not even if there is unsportsmanlike conduct.”

What can I say, great minds think alike.

The Here and Now

Obama won the battle. He will win the war if conservatives jump on the 2012 train.

We need the few representatives we have left in Washington to fight not only for us, but also for the country. No matter what kind of mandate Obama thinks he has, conservatives still need to fight him. Consider it a battle for the non-voters and even the unregistered.

The Republican senators will need the most courage of all.

We need the GOP be the Grand Obstructionist Party. We need to play some heavy-duty defense.

(Bleep) bipartisanship. We need them to defend our principles NOW before it is utter political suicide to try to reverse course later.

Take minimum wage, for example. No matter how ruinous the additional increase proposed by Obama would be to the economy, no realistic person would expect it to be reduced or repealed.

Healthcare? Once the government starts down the road of government-subsidized and controlled insurance, we will end up with a single-payer system, and sooner than many suspect.

They need to filibuster the incredibly inaptly named Employee Free Choice Act. What, may I ask, is freer than a secret ballot? The unions own Obama. We need to let them know they don’t own all of Congress yet.

We need leaders who can articulate to the general population why they’re not “giving Obama a chance”.

This isn’t football, where (with the exception of the onside kick) they give us the ball back after scoring. We need to take the ball back, because once they score, the game is rigged forever in their favor. We can’t take the points off the board – not even if there is unsportsmanlike conduct.

Forget 2012 for now. Our leaders, if they are indeed true leaders, will emerge.

We need to work right now with what we do have, to prevent our future candidates from going onto the field way behind and with the referees bought.

The Election May Be Over, But…

Many are not happy with the election results. I know I’m not. I do not trust Obama. Rahm Emanuel is hardly a unifying figure. Union officials are already looking for payback. Ahmadinejad can’t restrain his glee. It’s tough to be a conservative right now, looking at how far my country has been led astray.

But, I can be grateful that I live in a country where the transfer of power is peaceable. I have to love the democratic process even when I don’t love the result. And I am especially grateful for the wisdom of our Constitution, and the staggered terms of our Senate.

Emotions ran high this election cycle. Many Republicans took the fall for a subpar President – and not just at the national level. In Nevada, we lost some good people in the state legislature. Many did nothing to lose their election – except running with an R next to their name.

The prospect of Obama with Democratic majorities in Congress is troubling to me. But fortunately, an irrational electorate couldn’t throw out all of the Republicans in the Senate. We’re in the minority, but retained the filibuster firewall.

If Obama governs as a relative centrist in spite of his radical roots, great. But we need our Senators to fight back if Obama pushes anything too nuttily left.

We need courage. We need commitment to principles. We need our Republican Senators to stand up and not roll over. We need them to fight for America, and not worry if they’re called uncooperative or obstructionist. If it needs to be stopped, they need to stop it. They’re all we’ve got. If they forget what is on the line, we need to remind them, with vigor.

Those of us who opposed Obama are over 56 million strong. We are not insignificant. We do not need to buy into a mandate. We still need to fight for what we feel is best for the country.

The election may be over, but the real fight is just beginning.

Setting the Record Straight on Healthcare

Candidates stretch the truth in campaign ads all the time, but Obama’s fearmongering on McCain’s healthcare plan stretch more than the waistband of Michael Moore’s underwear.

Obama ads say McCain’s plan would tax employer paid benefits, and make it sound like it’s a tax increase. But McCain’s plan will not – I repeat, will not – result in a net increase in income taxes due to employer paid health insurance. In the vast majority of cases, the McCain’s healthcare credit will far exceed the taxation on employer benefits.

Do the math. If you have a healthcare plan for your family paid by your employer worth $12,000 and the employer pays the entire cost – the taxes on this benefit might be a high as $4,200 – if you are in the 35% tax bracket. Net benefit to this taxpayer is $800. No tax increase. A more likely scenario would be a taxpayer in the 15% bracket – the increase in tax of $1,800 is more than offset by the $5,000 credit for a net decrease in taxes of $3,200.

Obama’s ads are fundamentally dishonest because they exclude the tax credit for healthcare under McCain’s plan. You are far more likely to pay less in taxes under McCain’s plan.

There’s more information here and here at the Tax Foundation website.

The chart below is from the Tax Foundation.

Does it look like McCain is sticking it to the poor? Not according to the Tax Foundation. Their conclusion about McCain’s healthcare plan?

Health care costs and tax policy are major preoccupations of the American people, and that is reflected in the proposals of the presidential candidates. Senator McCain’s tax credit approach to health insurance would give every citizen a powerful incentive to purchase health insurance: $2,500 (individual coverage) or $5,000 (family coverage), no matter what the cost of the insurance. Moreover, it reduces systemic biases in our health care system that have contributed to high cost growth. The improved efficiency that should result from the McCain credit, combined with a powerful incentive to purchase health insurance and a beneficial effect for low-income people, would seem to make this policy particularly attractive to both sides of the political spectrum. Few government programs kill two birds with one stone, but the McCain health credit seems to be one that could.

One more thing. There are a number of tax calculators online that purport to show you what you would pay in income tax under the plans proposed by the candidates. Which ones can you trust? Simple. If it doesn’t ask you whether you have health insurance, it’s a crock. Why? Because most of us do have insurance. If the calculation doesn’t include McCain’s refundable tax credit for health insurance, it is misleading, to say the least.

I’d Vote For This Guy!

For anyone who wants to lay a vote for McCain at the feet of racism, I can’t imagine a conservative that wouldn’t vote for this guy. I think this may be the best video of the election season. Or ever.

Come on, Obama voters. Watch this and think about it.

He gets it. He really gets it.

Edited 11:20am

What I wouldn’t give to introduce Mr. Parks to this chick.

No More "But McCain…"

Is there a single Obama supporter out there who can respond to the concerns about their candidate without prefacing it with “But McCain (fill in the blank)”? I am beginning to think not.

Trust me, I am completely and painfully aware the Republicans nominated an imperfect candidate. McCain was not my choice. My reaction after Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney dropped out was not fit for polite company.

Both Obama and McCain voted for the bailout. I know that. And I am hugely disappointed that McCain did not make a stand for conservative principles at that time. Had he done so, I would be more enthused about his candidacy. Considering the market’s lackluster response to the bailout vote, I don’t think I’d be alone. So they both stink on that issue. But let us not forget that a greater proportion of Democrats voted for the bailout bill than Republicans – yet somehow, it is the Republicans who will bear the wrath of the electorate in the voting booth.

Both Obama and McCain have healthcare plans that will cost taxpayers dearly. McCain’s plan at least provides more choice to the healthcare consumer, and isn’t geared toward eventually steering us into government provided healthcare. (I went into some detail about why I think Obama’s plan does exactly that here).

Both Obama and McCain promise tax cuts, but I realize no matter who is elected, taxes may be raised instead – the bailout, the deficits, infrastructure issues, etc. – I’m a realist. I can at least be reasonably comfortable that McCain will direct our tax dollars toward actual governmental endeavors and our debt, instead of sending out checks to people who don’t pay income taxes at all.

And don’t get me started on the “But, Bush…” crowd.

Too late. I am sick and tired of the liberals who claim, “Well, conservatives had their chance, it’s our turn.” No, we didn’t. No true conservative would have pushed No Child Left Behind. No true conservative would have pushed the Medicare prescription benefit plan that is already exceeding cost projections. The very coining of the phrase “compassionate conservative” by Bush is an insult to the many conservatives who demonstrate their compassion on a regular basis with their own time and money, not the taxpayers’ dime.

Conservatives – real conservatives – still haven’t had their turn. That is partly a failure of the Republican Party, and partly the fault of all the Democrats who crossed party lines in the open primary states to vote for McCain. To them, I say, you know you liked him then. He’s still the same guy no matter what the MSM is feeding you. Turn out for him in the general. You owe us, having screwed with our nomination. Yes, I know there were Republicans in open primary states who went over to vote for Hillary, thinking she was the weaker of the Democrats – but they didn’t get their candidate. You did. Vote for him Tuesday.

We conservatives will continue to wait for “our” candidate, but we’ll still vote for McCain – this time – as a bulwark against even further creeping socialism.

Of Socialism and PB&J

Obama mocks the assertion that he is a socialist with the ridiculous comment that McCain would consider a kindergartener sharing his peanut butter and jelly sandwich with another student to be socialism.

I have two words for you, Barack. Hog and wash.

Your policies are like you going to school with your PB&J, only to have a teacher take away part of your sandwich to feed Jimmy. Jimmy has plenty of bread, peanut butter and jelly at home. But his mom doesn’t think it’s “fair” that you have Jif instead of the store brand, so she sends Jimmy to school with no lunch. The teacher doesn’t care why Jimmy has no sandwich – she just sees he doesn’t have one, and doesn’t think it’s fair either. That, my friend, is socialism.