Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Inner Banks Philosophy

Obama expresses his opinion of a banker's policy position. Why is it so common for Obama to display this subtle sign whenever anyone is saying something he disaproves of?

Does he really think we are so stupid we don't notice?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- The Spirit Of Christmas

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

There was a Christmas Eve many years ago that my wife and I shall never forget. We had moved to Richmond, Va., from our hometown in upstate New York six months earlier. My father had died unexpectedly the previous New Years Eve. This Christmas would be very difficult for all of our family, but particularly for Mom and my 17-year-old brother still living at home. We had to be there this Christmas to support one another.

A new job is what brought us to Richmond. I was taking over a sales territory that was in horrible shape, with a high salesperson turnover. The firm advanced me $300 per week against future commissions. This was supposed to pay for travel expenses to cover my territory and also to run our household budget. Commissions were settled up annually in January. My bank credit cards were maxed out.

We didn’t really have the extra money to travel home that Christmas but we could at least charge the gas we would need to my Gulf credit card. Perhaps Santa would leave a little cash in our stockings up north for the return trip.

My wife had us packed and ready to go by 3 pm on Christmas Eve. I had just returned from a last minute sales call. After I loaded the trunk, my wife and our 2-year-old son and I set out on the 550 mile, 10 hour journey to Oswego, N.Y. I hoped and a prayed that we would arrive without incident by one o’clock Christmas morning.

After crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, temperatures began to plummet. By the time we reached central Pennsylvania it was below freezing. Several moments later we noticed the car becoming chilly. Reaching under the dash I discovered the fan was blowing cold air. “Good God,” I thought. “It’s after nine o’clock on Christmas Eve; we’re still four hours from my Mom’s house and every repair shop has to be closed.”

It soon became too cold to continue. Not only was there no heat, we had no defroster. Trying to keep the windshield free from ice was next to impossible. We had no choice. We’d have to pull off and look for a place to stay.

Winding our way through this small country town in search of lodging, I thought I saw a light and someone moving around inside of an automobile repair shop. Could it be a mechanic was still working this late on Christmas Eve? I turned into the parking lot, got out of my car and headed for the front door. A middle aged man with a striking resemblance to my late father greeted me. “Can I help you son?” he asked. I told him, “We have no heat in the car and have a long journey remaining to reach our final destination.” He said, “Pull the car into the garage and let me take a look.”

We began to feel a little warmth again from the small space heater in the customer lounge. As I paced the floor, I was expecting the absolute worst news from the mechanic.

It was now almost 11 pm. Our son had fallen asleep in a blanket on his mother’s lap, while I continued to pace. We finally heard the mechanic close the hood of our car. He then reappeared in the waiting area. “Sorry it took so long son. It was a little bit more involved than I originally thought. You’re good to go.”

“I can’t thank you enough sir,” I said. “It’s been a terribly hard year, and in fact, well, you see, uh, would you allow me to please pay you with a personal check?” The mechanic smiled warmly while placing his hand on my shoulder. “You need to be on your way and get that little boy of yours tucked into a bed before Santa Clause arrives. I know your mother is worried sick about you. You owe me nothing other than to wish her and your brothers a very Merry Christmas from a simple servant of God.”

After thanking him profusely, we climbed back into our car to begin the final leg of our journey. After several miles up the road, my wife turned to me and asked if I had told the mechanic that Dad had recently died and that we just had to be with your family this Christmas. I answered, “No, I didn’t have a chance to tell him anything other than what was wrong with the car. “Well how then did the mechanic know we were going to see your mother and brothers for Christmas? He never mentioned your Dad?” A warm rush came over me that I had never experienced. I paused, smiled and said, “My dear, the only explanation I can give you is that the spirit of Christmas is obviously alive and well.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- If Every Day Were Like Christmas

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

I grew up only 35 miles from the campus of Syracuse University. I jumped at every chance to see the Saltine Warriors, as they were known back then, play college football in the venerable Archbold Stadium. Jimmy Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Jim Nance, John Mackey and Larry Csonka were but a few of the home team football favorites who trod upon that hallowed ground. Crisp fall Saturday afternoons provided countless memories I shall always treasure.

It’s only natural for a kid to like the same teams as their dad. Both of our boys are huge Syracuse fans. As a result we had more Syracuse apparel than we could wear. One day without telling anyone I decided to take the old college clothing that was gathering dust in the attic and stacked in the corners of closets and give it to the Salvation Army.

Months later as Thanksgiving approached, our family volunteered to feed the homeless and needy in the inner-city of Richmond, Va., where we were then living. As those being served began winding their way through the food line both boys opened their eyes in amazement. It seemed every third or fourth person waiting to be fed, was wearing “Syracuse Football” or “Syracuse Basketball Garb.” Dad, can you believe all the Syracuse fans there are in Richmond?” asked one of my sons.

Last week I had the privilege of being a Salvation Army bell ringer. For those who don’t know, the Salvation Army is one of the finest organizations in America. Its mission is “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” From disaster relief, to feeding, clothing and sheltering the needy, this organization has served on the front lines of rescue, recovery and deliverance since the 1800s.

Many retailers no longer permit this “Army” to deploy in front of their establishments. Others limit its presence to two or three times a season. They say that allowing the Salvation Army to solicit would open the door to every other organization demanding equal time. I don’t see it like that. The Salvation Army doesn’t solicit anything. The kettle is there next to the bell ringer for those who choose to give of their own free will. Other than “thank you,” “God bless you,” and “Merry Christmas,” few words are exchanged.

Although no one can really know for certain what someone has or doesn’t have financially, many of those most willing to donate appeared to have limited means. These were folks who pulled out a few coins, or a rumpled up bill or two from deep within their pockets, wallets or purse. It was joyful giving. These good people would often joke, “Well, you’re the third kettle I’ve given to today, but it’s a good cause and I want to do what I can.” There were others, some who appeared to have more substantive means, who either said they had already contributed or refused to even make eye contact.

America gives almost $300 billion to charities, with 65 percent of it coming from average people with limited resources. Part of embracing the American spirit has always been to help those that need a hand up. America is the world’s largest giver, donating twice as much as the country occupying second place.

Claire Gaudiani, a former president of Connecticut College, is the author of a 2003 book, entitled: “How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism.” She argues that we need charity because we can’t rely on government to fix all of our nation’s many problems. Why? Because government can’t afford to do so without taxing us at levels that could result in a taxpayer revolution. We’re beginning to see signs of that already.

There was a time before government social programs when families, churches and communities looked out for their own. The extended family was the norm. While we may never want to return to those times fully, we certainly can learn a thing or two.

When many of us who could afford to move from the small inner city homes with the tiny front porches or stoops, to suburbia with the large back decks and landscaped fenced-in yards, we may have gained more privacy, but sadly lost our kindred sense of community purpose. When we can no longer touch and feel the pain around us, we can become impervious to the needs of others.

I suspect many who contributed to the kettle I manned last week are front-stoop sitters. They see and feel the pain and poverty from the first row. Perhaps that explains why their coins and well worn bills were so carefully placed within this kettle of hope.

Giving generously and unselfishly shouldn’t be just at Christmas. Our burgeoning federal and state bureaucracies with their increasingly fragile and dwindling checkbook balances may be able to supply basic sustenance to those in need, but can’t possibly provide all of the nurturing necessary to heal and restore ones dignity and self respect. That job is the responsibility of the community of man; not just at Christmas, but every day of our lives.

Inner Banks Philosophy

“The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture — it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization.”

-- Oriana Fallaci

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Washington County TEA Party


The new TEA Party Revolution!
In Plymouth, this Saturday - December 12, 2009

Roanoke River Lighthouse

11:00 AM — 1:00 PM

Get involved!

Cris Farr - Americans for Prosperity
Timothy Johnson - Conservative Activist
Marcus Kindley – Fiscal Conservative Activist

Keynote Speaker:
Don Yelton – Host of Citizen Speaks TV

Monday, December 07, 2009

TEA Party Tops Republican Party

It is not organized as a political party yet, but the TEA Party movement is still getting strong support. This seems to indicate there is more division in the Republican Party than their leadership wants to acknowledge.

It all started with Karl Rove and George W. Bush selling the party on a hard swing left into what they called "compassionate conservatism", but which was really liberal extremism on domestic issues. Bush also persuaded Christian groups to embrace accepting government handouts to fund their efforts rather than depending on tithing. This has harmed these groups as they sought to reconcile their religious goals with political goals.

Though there is big gap between getting positive response to some emotion filled rallies... versus organizing political volunteers to create a party which exercises discipline and accepts the inevitable compromises that are required... as the Rasmussen Poll indicates, the Republican Party is clearly not serving the interests of most of its base.

Day Of Infamy

Bill is a friend who sends out daily a number of emails on various subjects. Today he sent out a great reminder of the fact it is Pearl Harbor Day. I had been looking for a posting for this infamous day in our history, and the link on Bill's email is just what I wanted. It is FDR's "Declaration of War" in response to that attack on our nation.

Declaration of War to joint session of congress.

It is important to remember - most of the Americans who died that day were victims of an element in our nation that refused to believe we needed to be prepared for war. World War II itself was a result of our lack of preparation. We seem to be slowly losing our remembrance of that lesson. Even 9/11 is starting to slip from the memory of some. The end of this great nation will be a result of that desire to forget the bad and only prepare for the good. Good times do end, usually because a nation allows itself to become weak.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- America Needs Debt Counseling

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

“Dandy” Don Meredith, a former Dallas Cowboy quarterback and retired analyst from Monday Night Football, used to say: “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts wouldn’t it be a Merry Christmas?” I used that quote last week during a conversation with employees of the dealership servicing my car.

As is my custom, I use the waiting time to visit the showroom and talk to shoppers, sales personnel and management. My kids often joke I’d talk to an open mail box. On this day, I was the only visible customer. In fact, I noticed but a few sales personnel.

“How’s business?” didn’t seem to be an appropriate ice breaker. I might have surmised everyone was out for lunch but given the time of day and our country’s economic morass, I knew better.

This is a very large Big Three automobile manufacturer’s dealership. I asked the general manager if the $3 billion federal “Cash for Clunkers” had been a success for him. He said the program was probably unnecessary at best and a bad idea at worst. He cited he had gas guzzling pickup trucks and SUV’s being traded in for newer models that increased mileage by only 1-3 miles per gallon; this in spite of a program that was not only supposed to stimulate sales but to get the gas hogs off the road.

The manager discussed other negatives. Similar to the mortgage crisis where home buyers were “qualified” to purchase homes they couldn’t afford, some car buyers are finding themselves in the same boat. “What was I thinking of?” is a frequent comment. “I can’t afford these payments,” is another. What does that mean for our economy down the road?

Many auto dealers now are required to send their banks all of their financial information every day. Banks who floor plan (finance) dealer inventory used to visit the lots three to four times a year to count cars. Some are now showing up three times a week. If the economy is supposedly turning around, no one has informed the bankers.

With all of the so-called programs to loosen credit, it isn’t happening. I was told about an 80-year-old who had financed many cars through this dealership. Now she was unable to secure financing. Her credit score was an exemplary 800 plus. She owned her own home. Her credit report didn’t have a blemish. Because she was not employed, the bank required a 50 percent down payment. This isn’t only tough on the customer, but the dealer who is trying to make sales to survive.

Many attempting to refinance their home are faced with similar hurdles. A friend with a credit score of 740 (very good) was unable to secure bank approval. “The banks didn’t even want to talk with me,” she said, “and I have a good job.”

Individual and corporate taxpayers, many with good credit, had their tax dollars go toward bank bailouts. Yet now some of those individuals find the bank doors being slammed in their face. Either the banks have calculated that things are worse than we’ve been told, or they are scrambling to pay back bailout money to escape further government scrutiny.

It’s not just the folks who are uneasy. The business community is equally anxious. Passage of the pending Healthcare Reform Bill and the looming Cap and Trade legislation can only further exacerbate a situation that has many businesses already wheezing from over taxation and regulation. Companies struggling to retain jobs and hopeful of one day creating new ones will only be further hampered by additional government burdens, perhaps making both of these fundamental business objectives little more than an opium pipe dream.

As we reflect on Christmas past, we as a nation have experienced great abundance. While not all have shared equally in our national bounty, the lives and welfare of most Americans have improved with each succeeding generation. In my view, it’s a mistake for our leaders to continue to embrace the concept of further emasculating the capitalistic engine of prosperity in favor of expanding government intervention into all facets of American life.

America has created a template for commerce that has served us well. It’s broken only because members of both parties of Congress haven’t always played by the rules. Yet, instead of trying to get fundamentally back on track, liberal and progressive Democrats are curiously abandoning the proven concept of individual and corporate freedoms that foster liberty and economic opportunity. Instead they are conditioning citizens to become followers instead of leaders, encouraging dependence over independence.

We can “if” and “but” and continue to try various purported spending cures for our malaise until the cows come home, when in fact the cure for what ails us is as obvious as the nose on our faces. Freeze spending immediately which will axe any spending initiatives that are not fiscally self-supportive from day one. We must then address the debt that continues to chafe at the loins of our independence. China alone holds almost $1 trillion of our national debt and another trillion in dollar reserves. Continuing to increase borrowing is only certain to hasten the day of our nation’s fiscal Armageddon.

Until we realize our sovereignty and freedom depend on our nation’s financial independence, we will continue to risk our future to a very dangerous international board game of Monopoly. Right now China is holding the bank and many of the major properties. It’s going to take more than a roll of the dice for America to get back in the game.

The most serious problem is the reality that the tax burden is going up, no matter what happens. When George W. Bush passed his tax cuts (most of them going to what are truly middle class), he failed to get them made permanent. As a result America is about to see our taxes increased substantially next year. Barack Obama likes to call this "undoing the Bush tax increases for the rich".

That sounds good. It covers a truly different reality. For several years now our taxes have been assessed at one rate. Next year they go up. Whether semantically this is a tax increase or (as Democrats argue) ending a tax decrease, the economic consequences are going to be a shattering of the economic recovery that should be starting to gather steam about that time.

This is going to happen whether the tax increases of the Health-Care bill pass or not. This is going to happen whether the tax increases of the Cap-And-Tax bill pass or not. This is going to happen whether the tax increases that are being stuffed into every bill that passes our extremist dominated liberal congress go into effect or not.

There is a great chance that Republicans will take control of congress next year. There is no chance that the amount of control will give Republicans enough votes to over-ride a Presidential veto. Therefore there is nothing that can be done. We are simply minimizing damage at this point. Republicans are actuallly haggling about what they believe and there is a good chance they will not be effective in countering the Obama regime as a result.

Debt counseling is a good idea. Unfortunately, the one person who really needs it has no intention of listening. That is Obama.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Inner Banks Philosophy

"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it."

- - George Washington - 1785

At this point in our history, it is clear we are not a United people. We are divided between tryants who wish to steal from those who are better off and redistribute their wealth, and those who are willing to work for what they get. There is no unity between these two disparate kinds of people. They do not even speak the same language.