Monday, November 05, 2012

Conservatives have the gift of contentment

How happy you are seems to be mostly inborn  -- and the surveys repeatedly show that conservatives are happier than those on the Left.  It seems clear that this is no coincidence.  Leftism is ABOUT whining.  They are always dissatisfied with something and want to change or even "smash" something.

So it is no surprise that the evidence shows political polarity to be largely inborn too.  See the sidebar here.  You are largely born either conservative or Leftist, though aging has a conservatizing effect too.  Conservatives are just not upset by every little thing the way Leftists are. And that's a considerable gift.

So I thought that I might reproduce an excerpt from an email I have just received from a vocal Australian conservative.  He is not rich and life has not always been easy for him.  He sent me the following when I wrote to him and noted that I had not heard from him for a while:
One day, when I can, I'll tell you the crappy story of my life for the last five months which will explain why I so rudely disappeared from your view. With all that has happened though, I do consider myself a blessed and fortunate soul and I wouldn't be anywhere or anyone else.

I think that's rather wonderful.  He is a true conservative with a great gift for contentment.  I have it too.  With a severe iatrogenic illness that sees me under the surgeon's knife several times a year, I could conceivably be a moaner but I am content with my life too.  Always have been.

And I know another treasure of a man who is as poor as a churchmouse and always "skint" but he is very conservative, very active in politics and laughs his way though life.  He has a ball.


Obama campaign struggles to explain ‘revenge’ remark

The hate is clear

A seemingly offhand utterance from President Obama has turned into a major point of contention between the two campaigns, as Team Obama tries to explain what the president meant when he told a crowd of supporters that “Voting is the best revenge.”

It happened in Springfield, Ohio Friday as Obama was discussing the economic policies of the 1990s.  When Obama referred to “a Senate candidate by the name of Mitt Romney,” the crowd booed his opponent’s name — certainly not unusual reaction at political rallies of both parties.  Then Obama said, “No, no, no — don’t boo, vote.  Vote.  Voting is the best revenge.”

It was an ugly and small-minded moment, especially for the end of a campaign when candidates usually try to stress larger, optimistic themes.  Romney incorporated the “revenge” line in his speech in Ohio Friday night, saying that while Obama advises revenge, he, Romney, wants people to vote “for love of country.”

As Obama traveled to northern Ohio Saturday morning, campaign official Jen Psaki was asked about the “revenge” remark.  According to a White House pool report, Psaki said Obama had been speaking in the context of Romney’s “scare tactics” in Ohio.  The Republican is “frightening workers in Ohio into thinking, falsely, that they’re not going to have a job,” Psaki said, according to the pool report.  “And the message [Obama] was sending is if you don’t like the policies, if you don’t like the plan that Gov. Romney is putting forward, if you think that’s a bad deal for the middle class, then you can go to the voting booth and cast your ballot. It’s nothing more complicated than that.”

The problem is, the president was actually not speaking in the context of Romney’s highly-controversial ads about bailed-out Chrysler adding production of Jeeps in China.  In fact, Obama had not said a word about the Jeep controversy when he said “revenge.”  His speech had touched on Hurricane Sandy, on the progress the American economy has made in the last few years, on his national security accomplishments, on the choice Americans will make on November 6, on Bill Clinton’s record — on a lot of things, but not on Jeep.

And even after the “revenge” remark, it took Obama six paragraphs to get to his discussion of Jeep.  The bottom line is, while it is impossible to know what was in the president’s mind, he simply was not talking about Jeep when he told voters that “Voting is the best revenge.”



A Tale of Two Countries

Ben Shapiro

It has become an accepted truism in American politics that both Democrats and Republicans want the same things: a prosperous America, a strong America, an America true to principles of freedom and liberty.

Perhaps 50 years ago that was true.  Today, it no longer is.

The fact is that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are no longer arguing over means; we are arguing over ends. Democrats know that economic prosperity for the broad swath of the United States cannot be bought with higher taxes; even Bill Clinton recognized as much in the 1990s, which is why he lowered capital gains taxes dramatically after raising personal income taxes just as dramatically. Instead, Democrats argue, as President Obama did in 2008, that taxes must be raised "for purposes of fairness."

Democrats also know that American influence in the world can't be attained purely with negotiations, timetables and unilateral pullouts. Kind words don't win hearts, and they don't defend our friends from aggression. Democrats simply hope to be left alone. After all, as President Obama has said, America has demonstrated "arrogance" and sought to "dictate our terms" to other countries. And that just isn't fair.

Fairness lies at the root of the Democratic agenda. It's a leveling agenda, not a growth agenda. What's more, it's a philosophy of constant revolution since ultimate fairness can never be achieved in a world where we are all blessed with different gifts. The philosophy that prizes fairness above all else -- at least in material and cultural terms -- can never achieve human happiness, since such fairness can never be attained. And even if it (SET ITAL) could (END ITAL) be attained, it would require unbelievable levels of suppression. The human spirit is not built to serve the god of fairness.

Prosperity and strength lie at the root of the Republican agenda. Conservatives don't support lower taxes because we hate the poor.

Conservatives support lower taxes because lower taxes create prosperity for everyone. Individuals always know more about their lives than any bureaucrat does. They know more about their needs and wants. They know which products they require, and they know how to find the best deal. No government can better distribute resources than individuals making individual decisions can. Competitive markets have done more to create wonderful products and raise the quality of living across the globe than any other institution. Central planning does not create wealth. It merely redistributes poverty.

When it comes to America's role in the world, conservatism does not rely on America to be one among many. We must be proud of our role as a global leader. Our values (SET ITAL) are (END ITAL) superior to those of other countries. Our system, prizing limited government and preserving individual liberties, is the greatest system of government ever devised. Why would we run from the honor of leading? Why would we shirk that responsibility? Most importantly, if we wish to see the world a happier place, why would we deny to others the opportunity to share in our lot, especially if it preserves our interests to do so?

Mitt Romney knows all this. Barack Obama does not. That's why Obama suggests on Jay Leno that banks have to be regulated because they're "in it to make money." And that's why Mitt Romney knows that businesses must be encouraged to profit-seek, rather than punished for doing so. That's why Obama leaves American ambassadors to die overseas rather than giving an intervention order. That's why Romney knows that backing down in the face of foreign fire is a recipe for disaster, not peace.

The Democratic road leads to an end: Europe. The Republican road leads to an end: a resurgent, dominant America on the world scene.

We can choose to fade into oblivion, suffering from high taxes and broken promises, telling ourselves that the government will take care of us even as we go broke. Or we can choose to rise again, believing in the values that made us great. In less than a week, that choice is in our hands.



The Unintended Consequences of Cracking Down on Payday Lenders

Four years ago, Virginia lawmakers cracked down on payday lending. They limited borrowers to one payday loan at a time, and doubled the length of time they had to pay the money back. It worked. Payday loans plunged more than 80 percent. A few lenders left the state completely.

But it also didn’t work.  The reforms created a vacuum being filled by a new form of short-term lending: car-title loans.

In a payday loan, the borrower writes a post-dated check to cover the loan amount,   plus fees. In a car-title loan, the borrower puts up a vehicle as collateral. Since 2010 the number of car-title lending companies in Virginia has more than doubled. Last year, they made more than 128,000 loans, worth an aggregate $125 million. They also repossessed nearly 8,400 vehicles.

Legislation to cap interest rates on payday and car-title loans died last year. It likely will come up again. But some localities don’t want to wait. Officials in Chesterfield  want to ban such lenders from the county entirely. This is probably a fool’s errand; shutting down lenders won’t make demand disappear. Borrowers in need of quick cash may just cross jurisdictions – or turn to even more risky sources, such as the Internet.

It’s easy to understand Chesterfield’s position when you hear stories like that of Manassas resident Brenda Ann Covington. A while back she borrowed $1,500, and put up her 2005 Chevy Silverado as collateral. Somehow she ended up owing $4,100 – and could have lost a vehicle worth much more. On the other hand, there is no shortage of horror stories about commercial banks, either – as anyone burned in the recent housing bubble can attest.

What’s more, defaulting on a mortgage can destroy your credit rating. Defaulting on a payday or car-title loan won’t touch it. That’s one reason borrowers like storefront lenders: They “keep my payday borrowing separate from my other banking.”

There are other reasons: According to the financial-services journal American Banker, “borrowers may prefer to pay higher rates for small, short-term loans than to participate in credit union programs that have strings attached, such as a savings component. . . .  Borrowers also dislike that credit unions generally have shorter operating hours.” As a recent article in Regulation magazine – a publication of the libertarian Cato Institute – puts it: Storefront loans have “non-price benefits” that make up for the higher interest rates.

Yet those higher interest rates lead many to believe such “predatory” lenders are little better than leg-breaking loan sharks. Is that charge sustainable? Again, comparison is instructive. The banking industry’s profit margin is 5.2 percent. Payday lenders’ profits are only 2.4 percentage points higher. Both traditional banking and storefront lending are less profitable than pharmaceuticals, railroads, mining – or even regulated gas and electric utilities.

But wait: If, as critics allege, storefront lenders charge ridiculously high rates, then why aren’t they raking in money hand over fist? For one thing, they endure much higher rates of default than banks do. Just as hospitals must charge paying customers more to cover charity care, payday lenders must charge more to cover the welshers. (Banks avoid this problem by simply refusing to lend to bad credit risks. How does that help poor people?

Still, critics insist the interest rates charged by storefront lenders are so high they’re immoral. But it’s the critics, not the lenders, who are being dishonest. Here’s why:

Suppose Milton borrows $250 from a storefront lender and pays it back two weeks later. The lender charges a standard $15 fee to pay his employees, his utility bill, and so on. That is 6 percent of the loan amount. Yet critics want to express that as an annual rate – which, in this case, would be 156 percent.  This sounds outrageous. What it really tells us is not that the lender’s greed is huge – but that the loan amount is small. A $15 charge on a two-week, $10,000 loan has an APR of only 3.9 percent, even though the transaction charge is exactly the same.

Banks and credit unions don’t usually offer the sort of financial services storefront lenders offer. When they do, they end up charging similar sums. StretchPay, an Ohio-based credit-union alliance, charges an annual fee of $35 for loans up to $250. That’s an APR of 364 percent on a two-week loan.

Then there is microcredit – a Third-World financing revolution that began with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The idea is to lend very small amounts to poor people so they can start businesses. Microlenders have been criticized because, given the small loan amounts, the effective interest rates they charge also turn out to be pretty high – anywhere from 70 to 125 percent. But they don’t ask for collateral, either. That makes them look a lot like payday lenders.

There’s one big difference, though: While payday and similar lenders are reviled for preying on the poor, Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus were awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.



Sacramento Pastor Opposes Obama, gets threats

Can we expect black people will vote for a black president? In 2008, President Obama won more than 90% of the black vote.

But a Sacramento pastor and leader of the largest multi-racial congregation in the state says while he’s proud of Mr. Obama, the president won’t get his vote.

Dr. Phillip Goudeaux leads Calvary Christian Center’s 20,000 worshippers.  “I accepted Christ in my life. My relationship with Him means more to me the Democratic party, Independent, Republican, black or white,” Goudeaux told FOX40.

Goudeaux has pastored here for  three decades but it’s his more recent political stance that’s upset some in the black community.

His vote Tuesday won’t go America’s first black president.  “I’m going to support people who support life, marriage between man and woman, smaller government, who supports Israel,” he said.

Goudeaux feels so strongly, he’s traveled the nation to promote traditional marriage.

His outspoken views have not only drawn criticism but even death threats.

“Why don’t i have a right to speak my values without being hated on?” says Goudeaux.

Others in the black community like longtime friend and Pastor Sherwood Carthen have come to his defense.  “We’re diverse”, said Carthen. “We have thoughts of our own. And we don’t have the idea that you can put us in one box. One size does not fit all.”

Goudeaux’s views aren’t unique.  National polls show support for gay marriage among black people remains under 50 percent, indicating the community isn’t as homogenous as many think.

“They’re getting it all mixed up. I’m voting for values, my commitment to the kingdom of God,” said Goudeaux.

Experts say they expect similar voter turnout numbers from the black community this year.




Heh! Britain's major Leftist paper going broke:  "The publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers is close to axing the print editions of the newspapers, despite the hopes of its editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger to keep them running for several years.  The Guardian and Observer publisher has spent the last few years battling to stem losses of £44m a year. However, it has been slow to make savings and any money that it has clawed back has been spent on expanding its US and online operations.   However, trustees of the Scott Trust, GNM’s ultimate owner, fear it does not have enough cash on its books to sustain the newspaper"

Price gouging saves lives in a hurricane:  "In the evening before Hurricane Charley hit central Florida, news anchors Bob Opsahl and Martie Salt of Orlando's Channel 9 complained that we 'sure don't need' vendors to take advantage of the coming storm by raising their prices for urgently needed emergency supplies"



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist.  It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day.  It was only to the Right of  Stalin's Communism.  The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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