Weekly Musing 4-28-13
“Can you imagine how much the government would know if they learned from their mistakes”?
—Dr Ben Carson this week in Macomb County
R.I.P. John Long
This last week we lost a good friend and long-time party activist and operative John Long. After a long fight with cancer, he passed away this week after falling into a coma. John served as a key operative in the Republican Revolution in Michigan at both the state and national levels. He was a mentor, friend and ally to many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Pam Posthumus Signature Auction event May 8th
I’m looking forward to it again this year!!! I hope you can join us…for Michigan’s kids! Doors open 5pm at the Lansing Center
GOP faces Senate recruitment woes in key states
Republicans are struggling to recruit strong U.S. Senate candidates in states where the party has the best chances to reclaim the majority in Washington.
It’s a potentially troubling sign that the GOP’s post-2012 soul-searching could spill over into next year’s congressional elections.
The vote is more than 18 months away, so it’s early. But candidate recruitment efforts are well underway, and thus far Republicans have been unable to field a top-tier candidate in Iowa or Michigan.
Make Government Less Taxing
Americans don’t like things that are inefficient, costly or unfair. Our federal tax code seems designed to be all three, a failing exacerbated by a patchwork of economically distorting subsidies and preferences found throughout the code and elsewhere.
In a 2009 survey by the Tax Foundation, more than 80% of respondents felt the tax code was complex and that it should be completely overhauled or needed major changes. The only surprise about this result is that 20% could think otherwise.
…Fixing the tax code to make it encourage instead of discourage economic growth is critical for our nation’s long-term success as it competes in the world economy. Cutting Washington’s wasteful counterproductive efforts to take taxpayer dollars and hand them out to favored constituencies will not fully solve our deficit problem, but it would help. Putting the two together would be a strong start in solving our nation’s economic problems and making our system efficient, cost effective, and fair.
Obama’s Gamesmanship an OUTRAGE! Flying the Government Skies
Start with the Federal Aviation Administration, better known as the Postal Service without the modern technology. Flyers directly fund two-thirds of the FAA’s budget through 17 airline taxes and fees—about 20% of the cost of a $300 domestic ticket, up from 7% in the 1970s. Yet now the White House wants to make this agency that can’t deliver what passengers are supposedly paying for even more dysfunctional.
Ponder this logic, if that’s the right word: The sequester cuts about $637 million from the FAA, which is less than 4% of its $15.9 billion 2012 budget, and it limits the agency to what it spent in 2010. The White House decided to translate this 4% cut that it has the legal discretion to avoid into a 10% cut for air traffic controllers. Though controllers will be furloughed for one of every 10 working days, four of every 10 flights won’t arrive on time.
The FAA projects the delays will rob one out of every three travellers of up to four hours of their lives waiting at the major hubs. Congress passed a law in 2009 that makes such delays illegal, at least if they are the responsibility of an airline. Under President Obama’s “passenger bill of rights,” the carriers are fined millions of dollars per plane that sits on the tarmac for more than three hours. But sauce for the goose is apparently an open bar for the FAA gander.
What does Jeb Bush want?
No one doubts that if he ran, Jeb would start the race as the GOP frontrunner by dint of his record as governor, his policy chops and the power that his last name conveys in Republican politics. And yet, his last name is freighted with problems as well. Not only is his brother still viewed disapprovingly by a majority of the country but the idea of a third president from the same family might not sit all that well with voters. (That includes Barbara Bush, by the way; “We’ve had enough Bushes,” she told Lauer.)
Then there is Jeb himself who seems to be wrestling with whether he wants to re-enter the political arena. Bush and his allies note that he is, by nature, a policy guy who doesn’t enjoy the back and forth nature of modern American politics. But, Bush has done enough over the past few months — including refusing to rule out a run — to suggest that he is, at the very least entertaining the idea of running.
The race with Jeb is a very different one than the race without him. (We believe that if Jeb runs, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio doesn’t.) But, the contradictions and conflicting signals make it impossible to know just where he fits in (or doesn’t).
Dave Camp to brief House Republicans on tax reform
New committee polling, shared with POLITICO, backs that up, and shows that Camp and House Republican leadership are planning to argue that taxpayers are getting fleeced, while large corporations are taken care of. More than 80 percent of Americans agree with the following statements: “the complexity of the tax code benefits corporations and special interests who can afford lawyers and accountants at the expense of average taxpayers”; “the complexity of our tax code hurts the economy” and “I’m more angry about how Washington spends my money than I am about the amount of money they take in taxes.”
The poll found that this statement was also supported by upward of 80 percent of respondents: “We need a tax code that protects taxpayers, not special interests, by creating a simpler, fairer code without all the loopholes.”
Candice Miller implements Boehner-led cost-cutting saving millions in the House
“Believe me, I am totally aware that there is no sympathy for members of Congress. However, I think we should lead by example,” said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., a Detroit-area congresswoman who chairs the committee that oversees internal budget cuts.
Leading Democrats have chafed at the belt tightening, arguing it undermines adequate personnel resources for research and oversight. “We are past the point of cutting what we want, and we are now into cutting what we need — our ability to attract and retain expert staff,” said Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., in opposition to further committee cuts approved in March.
Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats
The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.
Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.
The language of terror
Obama has performed admirably during the Boston crisis, speaking both reassuringly and with determination.
But he continues to be linguistically uneasy.
His wavering over the word terrorism is telling, though in this case unimportant. The real test will come when we learn the motive for the attack.
Lessons from Boston and Chechnya – On Islam, Evil, Liberals, and Happiness
One of the greatest insights I learned as a young man came from reading Viktor Frankl’s seminal work, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a Jewish psychoanalyst who survived Auschwitz, where nearly every member of his family, including his wife, was murdered. His conclusion: “There are two races of men in this world but only these two. The race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man.”
Those “races” do not understand one another. But more important than understanding the indecent is overpowering and, when necessary, destroying the indecent.
Boston Marathon bombing lesson – political correctness kills
America is facing a jihadist enemy. It is an enemy that has proven it can inflict more civilian casualties on the United States than any other foreign enemy in almost 200 years.
Just last week this enemy killed 3 innocent people, wounded more than 100 and paralyzed a major American city.
Yet, our obsession with political correctness, with a strong desire not to offend our enemies makes our self-defense immeasurably more difficult.
The evil nature and intentions of our jihadist enemies are already clear. They hate us enough to pack pressure cookers with ball bearings, to hijack airliners and turn them into weapons of mass destruction, to wear underwear bombs, shoe bombs, and any other kind of bomb they can smuggle onto aircraft.
Yet we still can’t face facts. Consider these recent events:
A sad example of Freedom of Speech going too far! US imam calls on Muslims in US to wage jihad
The controversial imam of a prominent mosque in Arlington, Va., has urged immigrant Muslims in the United States to wage war for Islam.
“The enemies of Allah are lining up. The question for us is, are we lining [up] or are we afraid because they may call us terrorists?” Shaker Elsayed told a crowd of Ethiopian Muslims during a lecture at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.
Putting Lipstick on the Obamacare Pig
The Department of Health and Human Services has just handed out a $3.1 million PR contract to improve the public image of Obamacare. Advertising Age reports that the firm Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans the Affordable Care Act is good for them and convince them to enroll in a health plan.”
Obama officials insist the ads won’t be political, but critics recall that just before the 2010 midterm election, HHS spent $3.2 million on “educational” TV ads praising Obamacare. The spots featured the late actor Andy Griffith, a favorite of seniors, who told his fellow retirees that “more good things are coming” from Medicare. But FactCheck, a nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, noted that the ads made no mention of the dramatic cuts to 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients, who are likely to see their privately managed care scaled back. “The words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that ‘benefits will remain the same’ is just as fictional as the town of Mayberry was when Griffith played the local sheriff,” FactCheck concluded in July 2010.
Obama and Bush, distinct men with policy overlaps
Despite vast differences with President George W. Bush on ideology, style and temperament, President Barack Obama has stuck with Bush policies or aspirations on a number of fronts, from counterterrorism to immigration, from war strategy to the global fight against AIDS.
Even on tax policy, where Bush advocated lower tax rates for all and Obama pushed for higher rates on the rich, Bush’s tax cuts for the middle class not only have survived under Obama, they have become permanent.
Obama inherited from his predecessor two military conflicts, a war on terror and a financial crisis. He also inherited, and in time embraced, the means with which to confront them.
What George W. Bush meant for politics
That was the message that then Texas Gov. George W. Bush ran on when he sought the presidency in 2000, a mantra that was aimed at re-inventing the Republican party by casting it as caring and committed to core values, more interested in uniting than dividing. “We will prove that someone who is conservative and compassionate can win without sacrificing principle,” Bush said on the day he announced his presidential campaign in Iowa in the summer of 1999.
It’s ironic then that what Bush’s presidency ushered in was a period of hyper-partisanship, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in modern political history — and through which we continue to slog.
Karl Rove, Koch brothers lead charge to control Republican data
RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said GOP Data Center will work with other applications — not against them — partly by allowing them to interface with Data Trust. “There has been an appetite for one central open data platform for others in our party to access data and build innovative tools and applications that will help make our party better,” she said.
The Twidiocracy – The decline of Western civilization, 140 characters at a time
You can try, if so inclined. But unlike Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, the pope, the Dalai Lama, and the Church of England (which invited Twitter users to help select the next archbishop of Canterbury), you won’t find me there. I’m not on it, and hope never to be. I say hope, because the clip at which the Twidiocracy has infiltrated itself into every crevice of society might leave me no choice. In the dystopian future—which in the age of Google glasses is starting to feel like the dystopian present—I might be forced to join Twitter in order to, say, collect my Social Security e-check when the time comes. Though the likelihood of there still being Social Security in 25 years is much less than the likelihood of people endlessly tweeting about how there’s no more Social Security.
If you’re not following this, there’s an outside chance you still have an analog life that unfolds beyond the glow of a screen. That you remember a time, not all that long ago, when the social-media contagion of FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram hadn’t yet made us wonder how we used to talk to each other. A time when a phone was considered a communication device, not an extra limb. (A Stanford study found 75 percent of iPhone users fall asleep with their phones in their beds, only 2 percent less than the number of spouses who sleep with each other.) More likely, it just means you’ve been in a deep coma since Twitter’s birth in 2006. In which case, I envy you.
What’s Really Happening With Obama’s Voter Data
Exactly where the Obama 2012 data lives is complex, in some cases still undetermined, and mostly obscured. The receptacle for some of the information — which included voter-file data, social-media data, ad interaction and measurement information, email data, polling data, volunteer-profile data and competitive intelligence on GOP contender Mitt Romney’s media buys — remains unsettled in part because Federal Election Commission rules on coordination and campaign financing prevent the old Obama for America campaign from porting everything lock-stock-and-barrel to the new OFA that spun out of it.
2013 GPA Redistribution Video Contest Entry – Hillsdale College
Classic lesson in economics and public choice…enjoy!
I’ve been “hacked” a few times over the last few weeks and most recently someone is sending around an email from a “yahoo.com” account that has my name on it. It’s NOT me!
I ONLY use the following two email accounts:
I do have an aol and me account that are old and few people use it, and I don’t email from it.
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