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When taxes are low, the economy is strong. More people move money from one person to another, from one business to another. Moving money is the driver of profits, and profits are the source of tax revenue. When taxes are low, tax revenue is high.
When taxes are high, the economy is weak. People hang on to their money. Businesses hang on to their money. Worse, some businesses go out of business, and some people lose their jobs. That means fewer people and businesses have any income at all. When taxes are high, tax revenue is low.
Free market capitalists believe in economic freedom. Leftists, progressives, socialists, communists – in other words, most democrat politicians – believe in government control of the economy.
So then, why do democrat politicians appear – at least on the surface – to support tax cuts in the form of tax rebates and tax credits? Aren’t these “lower taxes” and shouldn’t that mean “more revenue” and “economic freedom”?
First, go back to the big picture. In order to enact tax rebates and tax credits, you must begin from a baseline of high taxes. After all, if taxes are already low, what is left to lower further from rebates and credits? Therefore, democrats want the baseline to be higher taxes across the board.
Now, when taxes are high, the economy is bad. This creates an economic crisis. What does a crisis do? It gives the government an excuse to act – for your own good, of course. So the democrats propose targeted rebates and credits, as relief for the poor, to help the economy – never mind that the economy is bad because of democrat supported high taxes overall.
So, why give targeted cuts instead of just lowering taxes? The answer has two components:
First, targeted tax cuts allow politicians – and this applies equally to republicans and democrats – to buy votes. Need votes in the heartland? Give subsidies to farmers. Need votes in the rust belt? Give bailouts to automakers. Losing support among the poor? Give them rebate checks. This then allows you to create class warfare for political gain. Soak the rich; help the poor. Or the other way around. All political groups do this.
Second, targeted tax cuts allow the government to control what segments of the economy prosper, and which die out. They are not simply an economic tool, but a policy tool. Want to promote an environmental policy platform? Raise everyone’s taxes; then give tax credits to “green” industries. Want to support the LBGT alliance? Offer tax credits for health care for same-sex domestic partners, while opposing them for non-married heterosexual couples. By the way, that last one is current law. I am not making this up to bash gays. I don’t give a darn about sexual preference. But my wife and I did pay more in taxes before we got married because she put me on her employer’s insurance plan, while same-sex couples doing the same thing did not. But I digress.
And now, you can see just what it is that the left wants to do with tax policy: use higher taxes to cripple the economy, creating an economic crisis that requires government action, and allowing government to rescue only those segments of the economy that meet the political agenda of the left.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just, you know, lower taxes for everyone, let the economy recover on its own, and then allow the people to choose politicians who advocate for policy choices independent of the economy? If you want environmental or civil rights or agricultural policies, then win elections based on the merits of your positions. Don’t use an artificial economic crisis that you yourself created to advance an agenda behind the scenes.
By now, you have probably heard a lot of GOP establishment elitists lamenting the primary victory of Christine O'Donnell. Now they are attacking her with far greater zeal than they have ever displayed against actual liberal democrats.
She is conservative. She is pro-life. She is pro-gun. She is Christian. She is small government. She is anti-tax. She is for free markets. She is against Obamacare. She is against stimulus spending. She is against cap and trade. On pretty much every policy, she is exactly where the GOP platform says a GOP candidate should be.
So why do they hate her? Simple: she is not one of them.
Here is how the elitists - and by this, I mean the Washington insider elitists of BOTH parties, not the average voter, and certainly not the average conservative - see her:
She is an idiot. She is a crazy, insane, fool. She is a bible-thumping hypocrite who until last week was sacrificing babies to satan. She is an ingnorant, stupid, uneducated hick who didn't go to a real university, and who barely even graduated at all. She is white trash. She is a redneck rube from poor breeding mouth breather bitter clingers and not from a nice old money establishment family. She is a lightweight who can't win an election because she has made mistakes in her past, been involved in legal battles, and doesn't have a lot of her own money. And worst of all, she is just a pretty face, a cute smile, pretty hair and fun glasses. Kind of like that other horrifyingly bad candidate, Sarah Palin.
Oh, and speaking of witch which, Sarah Palin rushed in to endorse her and help her win the primary. That bitch witch.
That is what the elitists think. And that is why they hate her. But it isn't why they attack her so much. The attack her not out of hate, but out of fear. And why? Because her campaign is now a referendum on Sarah Palin. And they fear Sarah Palin.
The elites dread one thing more than just about anything else, and that is Sarah Palin becoming President of the United States. They don't fear it because they fear her policies or what she may do as President - well, except for one thing: flushing out all the elitists from power.
The elitists fear that the Tea Party movement will clean house, and all the elitists in power will no longer have power. Plain and simple. And to the elitists, Sarah Palin IS the Tea Party. And Christine O'Donnell is Sarah Palin by proxy. Defeat O'Donnell, and defeat Palin.
So whenever you hear some pointy headed certified smart person claiming to be a good conservative Republican and ranting about how horrific Christine O'Donnell is and how stupid the Tea Party is for nominating her and how she will lose her election, just remember what they are really saying: we hate Sarah Palin, you stupid ignorant bible thumping bitter clinger white trash idiot.
If you believe in what the Tea Party stands for, support Christine O'Donnell. If you think Sarah Palin is your friend and not your enemy, support Christine O'Donnell. If you think it is time to make good on Nancy Pelosi's pledge to drain the swamp, support Christine O'Donnell. If you believe Washington is broken and the establishment elitists are to blame, support Christine O'Donnell.
If none of that applies to you... well... just come clean and admit you want to elect committed marxist and Reid lap dog Coon instead. I'd respect you more if you were at least honest about it.
The Mrs. and I were watching TV when we heard a loud “thump” come from outside. The sound was easily identified: it was the unmistakable thump of a bird strike on a window. I ran over to the other room from which it sounded like the strike occurred, and looked down from the large window to the ground nearly two stories below, and saw what looked like a dead female goldfinch.
I ran down to see if it was dead, or worse, dying. From a distance it looked dead. As I got closer though, I could see it convulsing. I thought I would have to put it out of its misery. But even though the voices in my head were telling me to kill quickly and be done, another voice, a quieter voice, a softer voice, a harder to hear but at the same time crystal clear voice, said “don’t give up on her yet.”
I reached down and gently picked her up. It looked like she was a goner. One of her legs was curled up tight under her belly and rigid. Her head was turned to one side. Her eyes were shut. She was breathing, but also convulsing. “Put her out of her misery.” “No, don’t give up on her.”
I very, very carefully looked her over. No blood. As gently as I could, I moved her wings. No breaks. With one delicate finger, I lightly stroked the side of her head. It moved, but didn’t flop. Not broken. Then one eye opened up and looked at me. Her beak opened and closed a little with her breaths. It was almost like she was trying to chirp, but couldn’t. I just held her softly and walked around the yard with her, keeping her secure and in the warm sun.
We walked like this for a few minutes, as I continued to wonder if she would die in my hands. She was still shaking. One eye was still closed. One leg was still pulled in tight under her belly. Then that leg moved, and her claw held gently on to my finger. I could almost hear her say to me, “don’t give up on me.”
We went to the deck, where I sat with her in my hand. After about ten minutes, she was sitting upright. She was still clinging on, still doing nothing but breathing. But her other eye opened back up, and she started moving her head a little from side to side. The Mrs. came and sat with us in tears. Very carefully, she slid her hands under mine, and I slid my hands out of the way. She held the finch for another ten minutes or so, watching carefully. Then I took her back.
We aren’t veterinarians. We don’t know how to care for birds. And we have two hungry cats inside the house. Trying to bring an injured finch inside wasn’t an option. And finding a vet on a Sunday would have been a challenge. I decided the only thing to do would be to try to let nature be a healer.
I wanted to find a safe place for the finch where she could rest, and hopefully recover. It had to be a place where all the local cats wouldn’t find her. It also needed shade and cover from the crows and jays that would surely kill and eat her if they saw her. I knew just the spot. I went to our large rhododendron bush and found a branch about five feet up, with some dense branches under it to confound the cats, and plenty of canopy above to prevent death from above.
I placed my hand with the bird against the branch, and gently nudged her with my other hand until she stepped over. Then I watched for a few minutes to make sure she wasn’t going to fall. But she appeared to be clinging securely and breathing regularly. And then I had to let nature take its course.
I spent most of the rest of the day doing tasks outside. Every now and again, I went over to the rhododendron to see if she was still there and still alive. Each time I checked, she was in the same spot, but still breathing. Then, after a few hours, when I came to see her, she saw me coming and flitted up to a higher branch. The next time I came, she flew out and disappeared into a neighbor’s yard.
I have no idea what became of her after that, but she was strong enough to fly away and alert enough to respond to my intrusion. So I can only assume nature is healing her. This much is certain: she would never have survived if I hadn’t helped her. She was completely helpless at first, and would have been easy pickings. But there is a bigger lesson here:
I didn’t give up on her, even though at first glance it looked like she was suffering horribly and in the throes of death. I am sure many of you reading this would have also tried to save her – that is what compassionate humans do. But I am also sure many of you would have killed her out of compassion. We do it all the time when animals are injured. We say we are putting them out of their misery. We say it is the humane thing to do. I was very tempted to do just that – but I didn’t.
What happens when we give up on little things? What happens when we tell ourselves to just go ahead and kill and bury the injured little bird? How far are we from doing the same thing – not to little birds, or pets, or wild game or livestock – but to people? When we can’t spend a few minutes of time and make a small effort to stay with a little bird in what might be its final moments, how can we expect to spend months of time, thousands of dollars, endless hours of doctor visits and treatment and therapy on a person when “experts” say the person will never survive, or will never walk, or will never talk or eat again?
The lesson from the little bird is, don’t give up. Everything can get better if you give it a chance and don’t give up. Instead, we as a society are moving dangerously in the other direction. Oregon has physician assisted suicide. The FDA is threatening to pull the plug on medicines that may prolong life but are not “cost effective.” How much further do we have to go before “death panel” stops being a shibboleth and starts being an official government office?
Some day, I will surely be in a situation where I have a difficult decision to make about myself or a loved one. Continue the treatment, or accept defeat. Pull the plug, or keep fighting. Do, or do not. Well I may not know what the future will bring, but I know this much: when decision time comes, I am not going to listen to the “experts” telling me to take the easy way out. I am going to listen to the birds.
The photos don't do it justice - just can't really capture the true colors with this camera. But anyway...
Notice as you approach, the bedroom walls have a soothing soft green paint now:
That's also a new light on the wall, but that's a story for another day. This is bathroom day. Come on over:
We're on a budget, so some things have to be put off for now, like the window and shower door. But it is still a whole new room!
Not that you can really tell, but that's a new Kohler commode. It will flush anything, just like in the commercial. No need for the sexy plumber lady to come over here! See that trim around the paper holder? Wondering what is up with that? Well, apparently they don't make new holders like they used to. All the holders we saw sit deeper into the wall than the 33 year old holder we were replacing. And for some reason, there is some extra wood in the wall there. So, our choices were cut into the wood on the exterior wall, or make the new holder a frame to stick out a little. So I cannibalized some trim from the old vanity and build a little frame. Since it was reclaimed, it matches the existing window, door and baseboard trim. A decent solution for now, if I may say so myself...
And check out this tile:
The colors in the photo really don't do it justice. In real life, it is so rich with reds, pinks, purples and greys. LOVE it! And love the grout, which is hard to see, but it really accents the purplish tones of the tiles. And the hues really compliment the espresso stain on the vanity:
Again, not the best color reproduction. We should probably invest a better camera with a much better flash. Any suggestions that won't bust the budget?
Anyway, we went with a lower profile vanity. This one gives back a few inches of floor space, which really makes the room feel quite a bit bigger than before. And it still has plenty of storage.
Here is another view:
Again with the color. The walls are actually a very nice soft plummy lavendery color, and not nearly as pink as these pictures suggest.
But the best thing of all is: NO FLUORESCENT LIGHT BOX!
Whoever originally thought that putting fluorescent lights in bathrooms inside huge bulkheads with nasty plastic lenses was a good thing: I hope you are burning in hell now.
Also, the new mirror is a medicine cabinet. Much more convenient than before.
All in all, a huge transformation! Now... what to tackle next?
Ding dong! (Actually, more like a grandfather clock chime before the hour bells). And the front door opens...
Come on in! Welcome to our new home. It's pretty empty right now, but soon it will be filled and full of happiness and joy!
To your left, there is a hallway that leads to the bedrooms and guest bath... But first... Ahead is the living room:
And check out the fireplace on the other side of the living room:
Come on in and take a closer look at that stonework:
And if you look back, you can see that skylight above the foyer:
Come check out the other rooms:
Step up into the dining room:
And through these pocket doors, into the den:
OK. back to the dining room:
And did you see this huge window in the dining room?
You're right, it is awfully bright - it takes the eyes a minute to adjust...
Behind you is the kitchen, laundry, a future bathroom and the garage. First, check out the laundry:
Behind that is the site of a future bathroom. The former owners did manage to install a toilet, but so far that is the only thing in there:
And of course we have a garage. Look, our new SUV fits in here, no problem:
And there are closets in the garage:
The previous owners put in shelves and left us a few things:
And there is a workbench. Look, I got some new tools!
OK, back inside. Have another look into the den from this side:
So here is the kitchen:
Look up at those skylights:
Again, it takes a minute for the eyes to adjust to all that natural light!
Look at all this workspace:
And the stainless steel range with ceramic cook top. Someday, we'll replace this with natural gas (we already have gas heat). But this will do for now:
So let's go back through the foyer and down the hall to the living areas:
Check out the big linen closet in the hallway:
And here is the first bedroom, which we will use for our office:
Come on into the room:
You're right, it is a little dim in here, as the sun is on the other side of the house right now. Let's flip on the light and... OH MY GOD, THE COLOR!
Yes, the walls are pink. And not even a nice pink. And the curtains... well, this will all go very, very soon. I promise! Hey, check out the closet space:
OK, so come see the second bedroom, which we will make the guest room:
Yes, it is the same color. And with a matching wallpaper border, even. But hey, no curtains!
Wow, let's take a closer look at that wallpaper:
And more closet space:
OK, let's check out this guest bath:
Oh. My. There is... carpet... and linoleum... together... doing some sort of French curve thing... well, that will go away eventually:
And the vanity... is... brown... (yes, those are my feet. what do you expect on this blog? I'm standing on the tub to take this picture):
Speaking of the tub, here is the shower contraption therein:
And the wallpaper... wow...
OK, enough of this... into the master bedroom, quick! As you walk from the hallway into the master, there are closets on either side. Here is the left closet (as you face back into the hall):
And as you come around the corner, you can see the closets and also the master bath:
Oh my. The master bath looks even more... interesting... than the guest bath. Let's check it out!
Yes, that is a fluorescent light box. And check out this vanity:
And check out this wonderful toilet, complete with interesting riser base:
I tried to get a closeup of just the wallpaper. But the camera said "no." Oh well, check out the view from the master bedroom window... you don't even need to think about the bathroom behind you when you see this:
Come, take a closer look. See our gazebo? There's a hot tub in there! And look at that rhododendron!
OK, that's all for today. Come back later, and we'll show you some of our updates!