Friday, October 25, 2013

The new entitlement class - artists

I was reading a piece in The Tennessean newspaper that “artists” were twice as likely not to have health insurance as the rest of us.  I rolled my eyes. I’ve known a few of these “artists.” They’re somehow not too proud to take a handout but much to proud to take a job.

I also learned from a caller to my radio show that the city of Nashville offers subsidized housing for these so-called “artists” so they can continue to work on their “art” while they wait for their government checks. I was reminded of what Nancy Pelosi said during the Obamacare debate way back when.  

“We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said of Obamacare, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”
In other words, let’s encourage people to be irresponsible. I arrived in Nashville, Tennessee back in the ‘80s, as many young folks do, all starry-eyed and eager to make it in the music business. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the radio business took off for me and I ditched my dreams of being the next big thing.
Art is a relative term. What some call art others call trash, whether it be paintings, dance, music or filmmaking. I would love to make films full time but I’m not going to quit my day job to do it. At least not yet. People like Nancy Pelosi think that’s unfair. I call it being responsible. I have a wife and kids to consider.
Let me be honest. Twice as many artists are without health insurance because they’re bums. I know that sounds harsh but it’s the truth. Somehow somewhere along the way they were convinced that it was their god-given right to sponge off the rest of us in order to allow them
the freedom to chase their dream. I’m, quite frankly, offended by the notion that there are people who value their dreams more than their responsibility. Nothing wrong with dreams. I have a few of my own but pursue them when you’re financially able. Just because you want to be an “artiste” doesn’t mean I have to subsidize it.  Or, at least, it used not to mean that. I guess now in this post-Pelosi world it does.
A good 98 percent of those trying to be an artist will fail and there’s a reason for that. A good 98 percent of that 98 percent are fooling themselves into believing they really have talent. Or maybe they’re listening to folks like Nancy Pelosi.
I’ve got news for the dreamers. Everybody has a secret dream. Everyone has this deep secret of being someone or something else. It’s perfectly natural. It’s perfectly healthy. Some of us will break out of our mold and become that new person we always knew we could be. Most of us won’t. There’s no shame in either. The only difference is in how we go about it. There are more important things than self-servingly chasing a dream. If you have a family you’re obligated to them first. Even if you don’t you should have enough pride not to become a ward of the state. Pelosi wants you to be just that.
Far be it from me to rain on your parade. If you think you have talent, whether it be in music or dance or painting or filmmaking, go for it. Just go for it on your own dime.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What is a statesman?

What is a statesman?  It’s a rather subjective question.  It depends on who you ask.  I’ve seen lists.  Some are compiled by historians, some are gathered from polls.  Here are some names that seem to pop up over and over.  Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, even Al Gore.  What is the one thing that threads all of these names together?  They were all deeply divisive and partisan.
The John McCain’s of the world today seem to think that statesmen are molded through compromise and bipartisanship.  The fact is a true statesman stands for something, whether it’s popular at the time or not.  A true statesman sticks to his or her guns.  They are unwavering in their dedication to their cause.  They are unapologetic for their stand.  Whether you agree with them or not you always – and I mean always – know where they stand.  There’s no shifting sand under their feet.  There’s no hint of compromise on basic, bedrock principles.  They stand for something and they stand firm.
Today’s politicians believe if they can just get invited to the next cocktail party held by a prominent member of the other party they’ll be regarded as a statesman.  What they don’t realize is no one at the
party thinks better of them just because they’ve extended a hand across the aisle.  Moving to the middle is behavior of someone who wants to be liked, not someone who wants to be right.  There’s nothing in the middle of the road but road kill.  No one respects a capitulator, least of all the one to whom he has capitulated. 
The tea party movement is full of uncompromising people who long for a country that hasn’t forgotten its roots.  They read the Constitution as almost a sacred text, an inspired agreement between our original states that lays out the boundaries of government.  These boundaries were long ago breached by those who deemed the population too simple-minded to possibly take care of itself.
People like John McCain hold the tea party movement in contempt.  He believes the “rancor,” a word McCain is so fond of using, is destructive to our nation.  He believes that those who will not go along to get along are obstructionists who stand in the way of duly elected majorities.  He fails to understand the role of the loyal opposition to constantly push back against things with which they disagree.  Nor does he realize that the very reason he was invited to the White House to talk compromise with the president was because of the tea party, not in spite of it.  Had people like Ted Cruz – a true statesman – not fought back against the establishment the rubber stamp RINO Republicans like McCain would’ve have stepped aside to allow the Democrat steamroller to do its thing.
John Boehner in the House is hardly any better.  Sure, he has surprised some by his steadfast position in the sequester fight and later the budget fight but Boehner has been operating from a position of fear.  He doesn’t consider himself part of the tea party movement.  Any chance given to talk about it he refers to it as “them” and “they.”  He simply found himself in a position where the more conservative factions of his caucus could possibly drum him out as speaker had he not listened to reason.
At the end of the day there is nothing noble in foisting more debt and socialized medicine on the American people nor is it any nobler to have put up a good fight only to cave in the end.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The nasty side of Barack Obama

This is unprecedented.  Since the 1970s the government has shut down something like 17 times but I’ve never known a president to close the ocean.  That’s exactly what President Obama did in a vindictive move to make the partial government shutdown hurt.  Over 1,100 square miles of the Florida Bay was placed off-limits to fishermen and the Coast Guard was sent to enforce the closure.  Just how much it cost to utilize national resources in this way is anybody’s guess.  One thing we do know.  It doesn’t cost a dime to leave the ocean – and the people who fish in it – alone.

But that’s not something that comes natural to a meddling liberal like Obama.  As you’ll recall, he also closed open-air monuments in Washington, DC that required no park supervision.  Again, it cost much more to close them than to leave them open.  Obama even had the park service close off scenic overlooks so tourists couldn’t stop and gaze at Mt. Rushmore.  Yeah, he closed overlooks; carved out slithers of asphalt that cost nothing to keep open.

Then there was the case of the elderly couple living on Lake Mead in Nevada.  The couple was thrown out of their home because even though they own the home itself they lease the property from the federal
government.  Chances are they’ve never seen anyone from the government on their property until now.  They were given just 24 hours to vacate.  What possible excuse could Obama have for that other than trying to inflict pain and blame it on the Republicans?

Apparently, that’s exactly what he’s doing.  While he was kicking people off the ocean and out of their homes he set up a website for people to share their shutdown heartaches.  He was compiling them and sharing them on the Internet.

This is probably the most childish thing I’ve ever seen any politician do and I’ve seen politicians do some childish things.  But it’s worse than just childish.  It’s downright mean-spirited and vicious.

Oh, and he allowed furloughed federal workers just 15 minutes to check their e-mail so they could read that he was working with Congress to solve the impasse.  What does it cost to let furloughed federal workers check their e-mail as often as they please?  Nothing!

If this is any indication of the debt ceiling negotiations we’re in for a rough ride.  Not raising the debt ceiling is being portrayed by Obama and the Democrats as economic Armageddon.  Of course, these are the same folks who cried wolf over the sequester and the government shutdown.  Starting to look like they lie a lot.

The fact of the matter is we have plenty of money to make the debt payment.  About 7 cents of every dollar goes to service the debt.  Money is continuously flowing into the treasury and we have plenty to pay our bills.  What not raising the debt ceiling means is we can’t go into more debt, which is a good thing.

We’re looking at about a $700 billion deficit this year.  Our national debt is around $17 trillion.  The American people have had enough.  In a recent Fox News poll 58 percent of the people were against raising the debt ceiling while only 37 percent were in favor of it.  To show you which party is the party of big spending, 78 percent of Republicans are against raising the debt ceiling while 57 percent of Democrats are in favor of it.

That’s exactly where the problem is.  Not only can we no longer afford more debt it appears we can no longer afford more Democrats.   

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Doubling down on the global warming hysteria

Is there any wonder that young folks are losing sleep.  Washed up rocker Bob Geldof continues to struggle for relevance with outlandish statements.  "We may not get to 2030," Geldof warned kids at the One Young World summit in Johannesburg, unless something is done about global warming.

Geldof told the young delegates, "There will be a mass extinction event.  That could happen on your watch.  The signs are that it will happen soon."  This is the same hysterical nonsense that has been recklessly thrown out by global warming alarmists for decades.  The bad news for them is "soon" has
come and gone a thousand times and none of what they've predicted has come true.

Let's review.  Al Gore told us in his dreadfully pessimistic motion picture that hurricanes would continue to grow in severity and numbers.  Neither has been true.  In fact, we've been experiencing an abnormally quiet period for hurricanes since Katrina in 2005.  Gore also warned that the polar bears were nearing extinction.  The truth is polar bear populations have exploded since the 1980s.  Gore and his Branch Algorian disciples told us there would be no sea ice in the Arctic by the year 2013.  Arctic sea ice has not only not disappeared, it's 60 percent larger than it was last year.  The doomsday prophets have predicted all sorts of mayhem if we didn't change our evil ways and none of it has come true.

But the torpedo under the water line to the global warming scare has been their very own climate models.  Way back when they were predicting dramatic temperature rise because of our relentless release of CO2 into the atmosphere.  The day of reckoning has arrived.  There are 73 climate models dating back to 1979, the year NASA launched a satellite to track temperature around the globe.  Even though CO2 has continued to rise, temperatures have not.  In fact, despite the IPCC choosing to ignore the obvious, global temperatures have remained steady for the last ten to fifteen years.  In other words, ALL of the climate models were wrong.

The IPCC tells us we can't draw any conclusions from just 15 years of data then, in the same report, tells us humans have been causing global warming only since 1950.  So, 63 years of data plucked from several million years is definitive but 25 percent of that time period is apparently irrelevant if it doesn't fit their political agenda.

You see, Geldof, Gore, et al use guilt as a powerful motivator to separate people from their money.  If you've been convinced you're destroying the planet you'll pay any price to repair the damage.  These hucksters of hysteria know that.

Perhaps Geldof should've picked a time a little further down the road.  The year 2030 is just 17 years away and Bob Geldof is now 62.  Like Al Gore and the IPCC, he may just live long enough to see how ridiculously wrong he was.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Government shutdown? What government shutdown?

What if they threw a government shutdown and nobody noticed?  The wolf-crying Democrats had secretly desired a government shutdown so they could blame it on the House Republicans and thus score some political points.  The only problem is no one really noticed.

What we did notice is, like all the sequestration wolf-crying, the disaster never materialized.  And as with the sequestration, I must say I was surprised and impressed by Speaker John Boehner’s determination to stand his ground.

Whether or not you really care about a government shutdown really says something about where you are on the political spectrum.  Far-left liberals were freaking out over a government shutdown.  Far-right conservatives wanted to see it happen.  I must confess that I was in that latter group.  Not because I wanted to see anyone hurt or even inconvenienced.  I just wanted people to understand what a non-issue a government shutdown really is.

Do you realize that the government has shut down 17 times since 1970?  Sometimes for several weeks at a time.  The only one I really remember was the face-off between Newt and the boys and Bill Clinton in 1995.  I remember that one so vividly because I had a ringside seat, broadcasting from the basement of the U.S. Capitol for the duration.  What I remember were the lies coming from the Democrats.  They claimed the Republicans wanted to cut Medicare and give a tax cut to their rich constituents.  The truth of the matter was the Republicans weren’t cutting anything.  They simply wanted to slow the growth of Medicare.

The news media piled on the Republicans and blamed them for the shutdown but I have no recollection of any negative repercussions from the government closing its doors for a few days.  In fact, it was the government shutdown that lay the groundwork for slowing the growth of the entire budget and getting Bill Clinton to sign welfare reform after using his veto pen on it twice before.  The end result was we had a balanced budget by 1998 expressly because the Republicans pushed the issue of spending restraint.  Without even cutting a dime, just slowing the growth, revenue was allowed to catch up with spending and we balanced the budget, no thanks to the free-wheeling, spend-like-a-drunken-sailor Democrats.  (No offense to you drunken sailors.)

Had 9/11 not happened we likely would’ve seen balanced budgets all the way through the Bush administration.  Can you imagine that?  Can you imagine not having to raise the debt ceiling?  Of course, President Obama says that raising the debt ceiling doesn’t mean we’re raising the debt.  Yeah, he actually said that.  No, Mr. President, I’m sure it means we’re getting ready to instantly balance the budget.

So, again the president and the Democrats are wolf-crying about the debt ceiling.  They say if we don’t raise the ceiling we’ll default on our debt.  Think about that for a moment.  We’re nearly $17 trillion in debt and they’re trying to tell us if we don’t go into more debt we’ll default on everything?  Please.  It’s like saying you’re making payments on a house and two cars and when the bank won’t approve your loan for a third car you’re going to default on everything.  It makes no sense whatsoever.

We’re bringing in over $2.5 trillion a year.  We have more than enough money to pay the debt payments.  We may not have enough money for all these liberal welfare programs but that’s the point.  If we don’t raise the debt ceiling it means we’ll have to live off what we bring in.  Is that such a horrible thing?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown: This ain't 1995

Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats made a gross miscalculation.  They thought no matter what happened the American people would blame a government shutdown on the Republicans.  After all, they were working off the template of 1995.  But the template from 1995 is obsolete.

In 1995 the issue was Medicare.  The Democrats had one talking point: "The Republicans want to cut Medicare and give a tax cut to their rich constituents."  You heard that from every Democrat at every turn.  Forget that it wasn't true, it was repeated so often and never challenged by the media that it stuck. The truth was the Republicans were merely trying to slow the rate of growth.  There was no cut in Medicare but that didn't matter.  What mattered was Speaker Newt Gingrich had become a lightning rod in American politics.  Even those who admired his guts and his leadership skills had a hard time dealing with his arrogance and his ego.  There is no Newt Gingrich to focus on in this current budget fight.

Secondly, the issue is dramatically different.  Medicare was an issue that resonated with everyone.  We all paid into the program and seniors were due what was coming to them.  To think that anyone would cut that (which they weren't) rubbed people the wrong way.  Couple that with the accusation that Newt and the boys were greasing the palms of wealthy donors with a tax cut (which they weren't) and you can see how they lost the argument.

The issue today is Obamacare, a program of which millions of Americans are terrified.  They've heard the reports of numerous companies cutting employee hours below 30 per week to get around the tremendous cost increases.  They've seen co-workers laid off in anticipation of its implementation.  They've witnessed the nightmare of the exchange launch.  They're happy with their health insurance now and they are frightened everything about it is going to change and change for the worse.

Like they did with their Mediscare tactics in 1995 the Democrats tried to create Obamascare.  It blew up in their faces.  Harry Reid was so sure a repeat of 1995 was inevitable that he got cocky.  A little too cocky.  He shot down every proposal for compromise from the House Republicans to the point that it became obvious he was the obstructionist, not the House Republicans.

Then came the kids with cancer.  Reid thought he had found the perfect photo op.  Kids with cancer were being locked out of clinical trials because workers from the National Institutes of Health were being furloughed.  He blamed the heartless Republicans of wanting to kill little children.  Then John Boehner outflanked him.  Boehner offered to fully fund the NIH with a stand-alone bill.  Harry Reid rejected the offer which led to a question from CNN reporter Dana Bash that encapsulated the whole government shutdown fight.

"But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" Bash asked Reid.  Harry's response?  "Why would we want to do that?"

Wow!  Frying pan?  Meet fire.

Then there were the World War II veterans.  They flew into Washington on Honor Flights, a program designed to take veterans near the end of their lives on a final trip to pay tribute to their fallen comrades at the World War II Memorial.  The memorial is an open-air park that's open 24/7, regardless of whether or not park employees are around.  Obama sent barricades to keep them out.  They ignored the barricades and visited the memorial anyway.  As one veteran said, "Normandy was closed when we got there, too."

What a powerful scene.  Men from the greatest generation who fought to save the world from the Nazis were being played by an egotistical, spoiled brat who was on the verge of being stripped of the chance to force-feed his socialist agenda down the throats of the American people.  The initial confrontation was a PR nightmare so what did the president do?  He doubled down.  The next day he had the park service erect a fence to keep the veterans out, a move that obviously cost much more money in the midst of a government shutdown than allowing these men to pay tribute to their lost friends.  They stormed the fence, too, leaving park personnel with the unenviable task of arresting 90-year-old men in wheelchairs.  As one park police officer put it, "I'm not going to enforce the 'no stopping or standing' sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans," according to  "I'm a veteran myself."

They whipped fascism in their teens and in their 90s they may very well have whipped socialism.

What Democrats hoped would be a story of mean, ole Republicans shutting down the government ended up being Democrats with a nasty streak who were willing to deny kids with cancer the care they needed and World War II heroes a chance to say a final goodbye to friends they lost on the battlefield just to score political points.

Make no mistake about it, Government Shutdown 2013 is Obama's Katrina.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.