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I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, in the 1970's. I learned that it's not okay for me to walk on other people's lawns - it's not my yard. I learned that it's not okay for me to take answers from another student during a test - I'm responsible for my own answers. I learned that if it's not mine, I shouldn't touch it. I don't have a right to other people's things. That's what private property is. Isn't America a place where we teach our kids to respect other people's things?

Respecting others' private property is a simple rule, and one that leads to peace, frankly. If I try to take something that isn't mine, like your blender or your iPod or your shoes, you'll get angry. And you should. Those are yours. If I take them, you feel insecure and violated. We have laws against that, and we prosecute people for these violations of privacy.

Do we want a society where private property rights are not respected? Where what you earn and what you have in your life is public domain?

Here's an exchange on MTV with Obama:

Our next question is from Matt from Iowa: "If your desire is to spread the wealth around, what incentive is there for me to try to work hard? If I am only going to get more taken away from me, the more money I make, why wouldn't I just slide into a life of relaxation and let rich people take care of me? And a lot of people are asking similar questions, and I wanted you to specify. What does this mean exactly?"

Obama: What is amazing to me is this whole notion that somehow everybody is just looking out for themselves. I mean, the fact is, we just talked about student loans. When young people who have the drive and the skill to go to college can't afford to go to college, how do you think we pay for scholarships or loan programs? That money doesn't grow on trees. It's got to come from somewhere, and the attitude that I have is that, if we want to grow our economy, the way it grows is from the bottom up. You don't just give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. What you do is make sure the tax code is fair. I want to give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans, but in order to pay for that, I'm going to take the tax rates back to what they were in the 1990s for people who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. Now for people who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year, if they are paying 2 or 3 percent higher in taxes, the notion that they're somehow going to stop working, or that this young man is going to not want to be successful, that just doesn't make any sense. Back in the 1990s, we created more millionaires, more billionaires, because the economy was growing, everything was strong, at every income bracket, people were doing well. So this idea, that somehow everybody is just on their own and shouldn't be concerned about other people who are coming up behind them, that's the kind of attitude that I want to end when I am president.

Obama just told millions of young people that if they don't have what they need, it's okay to take from others. "It's got to come from somewhere," he reasons. "Chump change" is what he calls what he takes from others.

So, do you believe in private property?

I believe in giving, by the way. I'm building a portal to help non-profits receive more donations and I'm giving that effort to to help the community. Free of charge. Hundreds of hours of time has gone toward this and I won't get a penny in return. I'm okay with that. I believe in what I'm doing.

While I believe strongly in giving, I don't believe in taking. Giving is a voluntary act. Taking is not. Taking is morally and fundamentally wrong.

Do you disagree?

If you vote for Obama, yours is a vote that disrespects property rights. Watch carefully how his calling the protection of one's private property "selfish" affects our youth. I know of young people who are gleeful about this. They're excited that they won't have to work as hard. Is that America, a place where people celebrate laziness? Growing up, I learned the value of hard work. How is Obama teaching modelling responsibility? Accountability? Merit? Does that matter to you?

It's not okay to take from others. For Obama to introduce the straw man of "somehow everybody is just on their own and shouldn't be concerned about other people who are coming up behind them" is ridiculous on its face. I don't know anyone who doesn't believe in helping others where they can. Nor does he. Obama is only trying to justify his confiscation of other people's private property.

If you vote for him, you agree with him. Which is why I think he'll lose tomorrow. I still have faith in American values.

Or, if I'm wrong, we'll get more of this:


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 11/3/2008 1:07:40 PM

Upbeat about Kicking Ass on Tuesday


I just got back from Minneapolis, where my son goes to college. And after my visit, I am profoundly upbeat that this great nation will deliver a McCain victory for my birthday, which is election day.

The only thing that concerns me at this point is the depth of fraud through ACORN and Obama's lack of credit card security on his campaign web site, which has allowed foreign and fraudulent contributions to be made. Hey, if the guy can't secure his own web site like every other business in America does, he sure can't secure this great nation.

I know a lot of Republicans, and all of them are voting for McCain.

I know a lot of Democrats, and several of them are voting for McCain. A few are even volunteering for him and Palin.

The news about Obama's aunt shows that the guy uses people in his life as props to bolster himself, but doesn't care about them after he's done with them.

The news about Obama's intentions to carbon tax new coal plants into bankruptcy shows that his intentions will hurt the economy deeply.

The big mo' is behind McCain, and I know a couple of people along with me who will be driving people to the polls on Tuesday.

So yep - I'm hyped.

Even if Obama is elected through his duplicity, I think Americans are fired up to reign in this lout and his socialist dreams.

Let's roll... :)


1 Comment
Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 11/2/2008 9:05:38 PM

The Bottom-Up Economy, as Repurposed by the Thief-in-Chief


Bottom up, citizen. That's right... bend over.

I'm gonna share some of my personal history here. A real-life example...

In 1990, I got out of the Army with a 30% disability. Feeling sorry for myself, I walked around with a cane and didn't work. I took food stamps and housing aid. I started college about 4 months later. But during this time, I lived off the government. I figured I was owed. Call it my own personal reparations.

I was also a devout liberal at this time. I wrote editorials to the Des Moines Register protesting the Gulf War and President Bush. They were published, and I felt like I had a voice.

I was just killing time until school started. I didn't mow my grass (I have a cane! My foot hurts!) and my neighbors thought ill of me. The guy next door flew a flag every day right outside his front door. I was a disgrace to him. He was a World War II vet. He would ask me why I didn't have a job and why I wouldn't mow my yard. I would explain my Army injury and he would shake his head. "You're not that hurt," he would grumble and return back inside his house.

I moved, started college, and there I found a lot of like-minded folk - professors and students. I was an English major. I was married and had three kids. Every month was tough and we were barely scraping by.

My foot was slowly getting better and the idea that I could not support my own family without government assistance began to grate on me. I could still hear that old man ask me what was so wrong with me that I couldn't work. I knew he was right. I started working for minimum wage at the college bookstore.

Prior to joining the Army, I had washed windows, and so I found that if I walked a certain way, I could manage a ladder without hurting my foot. As I had done in the past, I went door-to-door, asking if people wanted an estimate for getting their windows cleaned. I made extra money that way, and our financial situation improved a bit.

Here's the great question to ask: did the government assistance help me? Honestly, no, it hurt me. I rationalized the assistance, convinced myself that it was deserved, and propped myself pitifully and unbeckoned on the backs of others, expecting them to carry me and my family.

It wasn't until I took my situation in my own hands and worked to earn my own way that I gained in self-esteem and confidence. I realized that it was easier to be lazy and rationalize my dependence. Too easy. But I couldn't trade away my sense of self for it. My self-respect was on the line, and the disgusted words of an old vet woke me up.

While I received money from the government, I didn't create any jobs. I was a net drain on the economy. I made all of you pay my way. I'm sorry for that...

It wasn't until I determined to take responsibility for myself that a job was created - when I went around creating my own work through window washing. Which later led to many late nights and all-nighters teaching myself how to work on computers. The government didn't do that. That was me again taking responsibility for myself.

What's more, as people with money who created companies wanted to grow their money, they hired people like me who had expertise in skills that they needed. I went from working a minimum wage job in 1992 to making $75,000 in 1997. I had dropped out of college, so it wasn't the government or college that sparked my rise in income. It was me spending many late nights improving myself and rich people willing to hire me for my skills that increased my income.

The term for this is called "trickle-down economics." The formula is: I made myself productive and attractive to people with money, and then they hired me to help them make more money. In the process, I made more money. Substantially more. Minimum wage sucks, and the government didn't help me out of that. Nor did a degree from college.

Obama's using the phrase "bottom-up economics" these days. Former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Reich wrote about this recently:

The long-term answer is for America to invest in the productivity of our working people - enabling families to afford health insurance and have access to good schools and higher education, while also rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in the clean-energy technologies of the future. We must also adopt progressive taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

Call it bottom-up economics.

The article he wrote is longer than that, obviously, but what's missing is a common sense accounting of where the money for all this comes from. He talks about investing in the productivity of our working people, and then lists buying health insurance for people, rebuilding infrastructure, and clean-energy technologies. What does any of that have to do with productivity? It's spending - spending from some magic bag of money. Oh yeah - greater progressive taxation, at all levels. There's the magic bag. That equals productivity? How does any of that lead to greater income for anyone? They're all busy reaching into the magic bag of money...

Now here's the rub... the idea of a bottom-up economy was discussed before, but in a very different fashion:

This new style of business, birthed by the Internet, is ignored at any company's peril. In an excellent new book, "The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers," authors C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy describe the consumer's new role: "from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed, from passive to active."

In the bottom-up economy, presuming you know what the customer wants is the ultimate error. Prahalad and Ramaswamy instead call for "co-creation of value": The successful products and services from now on will be those developed jointly -- company and customer working hand in hand.

These are very different concepts, but they could look similar to someone who wanted them to appear that way.
  • A bottom-up economy, progressive taxation-style: non-consented, co-owned wealth and property.
  • A bottom-up economy, business/customer-style: consented, co-created value of products and services.
The first wants to even out wealth and reduce competition through compulsory participation. The latter wants to seek out competitive advantage by broadening volunteered consumer engagement.

But they're called the same thing, unfortunately. Which is what happens when you want to change society: you begin by changing the meaning of its words.

If elected, I'm sure that the Obama will work, as Hugo Chavez has worked, to re-educate us in his re-engineered words and phrases. Hence my cartoon yesterday, showing him searching for a phrase that can be turned into something more palatable than "spreading the wealth" and "patriotism" through higher taxation.

"I believe in you," is seemingly at the heart of both definitions of a bottom-up economy. But Obama would act as the Thief-in-Chief in the progressive model - a model that lacks universal freedom of choice, as the second model does. It is truly, therefore, theft. Which is why it has to be stopped. Theft can never grow an economy, bottom-up or otherwise.


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/29/2008 2:10:44 AM

Looking for Racism


The weirdest thing has happened to me. Yesterday, I started getting email saying that racists attended Sarah Palin's rally here in Des Moines. I attended that rally. I recorded it. Racism? Not a hint. Not a whisper.

So I deleted a comment left on my YouTube video of the rally, and answered the commenter saying that it was a ridiculous assertion.

I get more email today, and one says this:

Just saw your good video of the rally. Unlike some other videos you were further back. Partway during the rally, as she was talking economics some claim a woman yelled out in a rather quiet moment "he's a ("n" word"). I doubt that is what was said unless it was staged. Just wondering if you had anything to add.
I wrote back, saying:
I was there, recorded the whole thing, listened to it several times while splicing the video.

I yelled, "Communism!" at one point, which is the closest phonetic equivalent of what you suggest. That's plain in the audio of my video. It was about when she remarked how the media and Dems were tearing into Joe the Plumber, which is exactly what China and Russia do to dissidents. Obama clearly hates free speech.

Otherwise, if you know exactly where something racist was shouted, point me to the video and the and the minute:second and I'll compare it to my own. But I guarantee - had anyone there said it, the crowd would have beat the crap out of the bigot who uttered it.

So the person responds:
It's about 3:23 seconds after your video ends based on the following video:

The comment is yelled in this video at about the 6:32 mark.

So I watched the video, and someone in the crowd yells something, though it's a bit unintelligible. Off I go to my recording of the event.

Now check this out, because this is how hard you have to work to be The Left these days, searching for racism in everything like some hardcore Christians used to spend hours spinning records backwards to find satanic and subliminal lyrics that weren't there at all. But they would tell you they heard it!

I found the segment in my recording, amplified the woman's voice at the appropriate place, and then posted the video on YouTube. My splice/highlight is all of 19 seconds long. I'm not going to embed the video on beatcanvas.

From a Kos Kid's transcription of the event:

Palin: Obama...Barack Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. The lessons I believe we have taught our kids would start to erode. Those lessons about work ethic, hard work being rewarded and productivity being rewarded...

Women yelling off camera in audience: And he's a n-----!

Palin: And...and......lessons about, um, the virtues of freedom and independence while being generous and compassionate with others.

Let's imagine, for a moment, that someone actually yelled that. That doesn't even flow with the speech. To yell that is completely a non sequitur. Sarah's speaking about how we teach our kids a strong work ethic and the reward of hard work. What would that have to do with anything?

I asked my son, Aaron, who was neither at the event, nor knew of what I did while I worked at our main computer, to decipher for me what the woman shouted.

"A sinner?"

I clearly heard "inner" as well. In context, I think it's clear that the woman was going along with Sarah and said "Be a winner!" Which makes much more sense.

Try it now with that in the transcription:

Palin: Obama...Barack Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. The lessons I believe we have taught our kids would start to erode. Those lessons about work ethic, hard work being rewarded and productivity being rewarded...

Women yelling off camera in audience: To be a winner!

Palin: And...and......lessons about, um, the virtues of freedom and independence while being generous and compassionate with others.

Makes a lot more sense...

Here's the link to my 19-second, amplified splice:

Listen with the sound turned down somewhat. I crank it up in the spot where the woman yells. There's no "gg" there.

But here's the point of this ugly post: it is not those of us voting for McCain / Palin who keep bringing up race. Or slurs. Or anything remotely close to it. It's Obama's supporters.

If there is an aspect of this election that has a tie to race, it is unfortunately that the person who might be the first black president will also be a socialist. It's a deeply regrettable association, and the necessary and ongoing fight against Obama, should he win, will no doubt bring more accusations of racism.

Which is ridiculous, because it has nothing to do with his skin, but with his mind. It's how he thinks and what he believes that is offensive. And so race relations will be set back quite a bit for charges of bigotry being used as a strawman in the argument against his redistributionist agenda.

It's too bad that the Kos Kids and the rest of the Left can't actually hear what Palin is saying, because she's right: Due to socialism, "the lessons I believe we have taught our kids would start to erode. Those lessons about work ethic, hard work being rewarded and productivity being rewarded, and lessons about the virtues of freedom and independence while being generous and compassionate with others."

Lesson: Productivity and abundance brings generosity (unless you're Joe Biden), and socialism will negate that.

That's a lesson that the Left will miss because they can't hear her for the manufactured racism they want to hear. Like the wacko Christians who used to s


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/27/2008 8:25:59 PM

The Coming Culture War


There is a coming culture war in the US that is about to take place. It's gonna be huge and ugly. And unavoidable.

Whether Obama is elected or not, the left is closer to moving our country to a socialist state of redistributed wealth, replete with mandated handouts of private property. As Obama himself said:

The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.
The fact that an avowed and blatant socialist is currently ahead in the polls is frightening. More frightening, the press covers for this guy. How many people know of this audio transcript? What else that he has said is out there that we have yet to discover? The public is uninformed, and that's scary in this connected age with a media that within 24 hours can learn of a plumber's small tax liens, but can't report on Obama's consistent words in almost 2 years of presidential campaigning.

So yes, there is a culture war brewing. In a minor way, it used to brew here on beatcanvas when Bella still commented. "Economic justice" would have appealed to her, as I'm sure it appeals to others like her. But the majority of Americans don't like the notion of wealth redistribution. They'd rather see more opportunity created. That was the way here in America: earn your keep. Make your own opportunity. But due to a deep desire by the media to propel Obama forward, his agenda and his words were hidden and instead he was given the most flattering and tilted press coverage ever.

And because people are tired of politics, they'll tune this new information out. Which is unfortunate. I don't think ill of people who remain uninformed, but they'll likely be some of the ones whining the loudest when Obama's socialist agenda gets going, whether from the White House or from the Senate. The Left won't stop pushing this. And the media won't give it coverage.

Which leaves the fight to just us citizens.

I used to want to be polite about this. But the veneer of civilization is very thin, as Margaret Thatcher once said. When other people believe that they have a right to the property I've earned, that's theft. And I'll call a thief a thief and use my words and actions appropriately to fight any thief who threatens my family. I want my kids to grow up in an America full of opportunity with no ceiling to inhibit their talents and effort, not an America that mandates wealth management for its people.

Yesterday, someone subtly tried to let me know that he's tired of my politics. Okay - then ignore me, because I'm just getting warmed up and I'm trying to expand my influence. (I have a hunch that he voted for the socialist... which is disappointing, if true.)

So that's the culture war brewing: freedom and opportunity versus redistribution and ceilings. Which side are you on? And what are you going to do about it?


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/27/2008 10:28:44 AM

Sarah Palin Rocks the Rally in Des Moines, Iowa


One thing about the video itself: I held my hand above my head to get the video from above the crowd and the signs. Toward the end, my arm gets a bit tired...

Also, she makes a point that I didn't catch at the time about tax credits. Therein lies socialism...


1 Comment
Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/25/2008 9:22:41 PM

Sarah Rocks Des Moines Iowa, Part I


Sarah Palin came to Des Moines, and Tamara and I attended. I'll have video later, but a couple of points:

  • The biggest applause line was about Joe the Plumber. People are deeply fired up about Joe, and conversely worried about what an Obama presidency would mean to jobs and businesses.
  • I went around recording people about why they're supporting John McCain. Of the answers I got, two were simply this: I'm not. I'm supporting Sarah Palin. Anyone who tries to say that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin hurt the ticket is blind to the facts that she has strong support and brought a bunch of people to McCain (count me among them).
  • Senator Brownback reminded us before Sarah spoke that Zogby polls in 2004 showed Bush down five points to John Kerry, and Bush carried the state. This ain't over, which is why McCain / Palin are here in Iowa now. In fact, over the socialism issue, I bet that the right is far more pumped about McCain now than Obama's supporters are pumped about Obama. I saw fierce determination today in the eyes of a lot of people. And fear... Obama is now in people's wallets and purses, and that thief can take a walk.
  • Sarah made mention of the ACORN scandals, but not of the security loopholes in Obama's campaign web site. I don't think it's on their radar yet. How do we get it there?
  • Finally, there were over 8,000 people there. I know friends and family of mine who would have attended, but couldn't. 8,000 is a strong number, but support is much bigger than that number.
Off to ready the video...


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/25/2008 6:10:56 PM

Me, as Joe the Plumber



Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/24/2008 2:34:20 AM

Green Jobs or Snow Job?


Barack Obama makes the oft-repeated claim that he will create 5 million jobs via pursuit of green technology. He elaborated in the town hall debate that this is parallel to the Internet and how it and the personal computer created the boom of the 90's.

I know that "green technology" and "information technology" both have the word "technology" in them, but the similarity stops there.

Prior to the personal computer, people worked with pencil and paper.

Prior to the Internet, people shared information via the phone and postal mail.

It's really easy to see why the computer and the Internet propelled the economy - they increased productivity. These technologies allowed us to be faster, smarter, more connected.

How does green technology increase productivity? Will you be faster? Smarter? More connected to others?

The electricity you get today will be no different than the electricity you get from, say, nuclear or wind or whatever... green technology doesn't boost anyone's productivity. If anything, it might be more expensive just as some green products and organic foods are more expensive.

Here's a clear example of how his silly assertion has no foundation: Citibank won't hire an army of green technologists like they hire an army of information technologists.

So what jobs does he think this will create in a way that will parallel the 90's tech boom?

Obama is an economic simpleton who is going to throw the government at every problem he faces, which will decline productivity and reduce our economy.

And because he makes excuses left and right, everything will either be the fault of business or Bush or the Republicans. Or us, the people, because we're not doing what he wants us to do.

I really hope America sees through the sham that is hopenchange.


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/11/2008 8:45:56 AM

Brilliant Debate Analysis


From Ann Althouse:

McCain offered no defense of his party, only assertions that he had tried to get regulations passed. So, there he was, embedded in failure. He didn't stand by the principles of conservatism. Here's the transcript. The word "conservative" appears exactly once, when McCain said (about Social Security):
We know what the problems are, my friends, and we know what the fixes are. We've got to sit down together across the table. It's been done before.

I saw it done with our -- our wonderful Ronald Reagan, a conservative from California, and the liberal Democrat Tip O'Neill from Massachusetts. That's what we need more of, and that's what I've done in Washington.

I don't believe we really understand the problems or "the fixes," and I certainly don't believe that reaching across the aisle works magic. That's not a basis for solving a problem, but a technique that works to some extent when you have a solution.

Look at how McCain failed to promote conservatism. McCain brought up Ronald Reagan 3 times: once to say he opposed him about sending troops to Lebanon and the other 2 times to say it was wonderful the way he worked with the liberal Tip O'Neill.

McCain never presented the conservative alternative to Obama. He never even called himself a conservative last night. He was wandering all over that red carpet, microphone in hand, and I have the feeling, in retrospect, that he was truly bewildered, mouthing old phrases, trying to slip by. But one old phrase that was missing was "I'm a proud conservative." Remember when he used to say that?

Or did he? Remember this?

See? That was always the problem. And now, it's really showing. McCain has lost definition. He's stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats? I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress, but at this point, I'm more worried about McCain than Obama.



Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 10/8/2008 1:57:01 PM