Weekly Musing 8-18-13
My Email List Grows I just hit 71,000+ folks nationwide who receive my Sunday Weekly Musings. I’m glad to add the emails that many of you send along. I don’t sell, segregate or share this list…it’s too broad and can’t be targeted by state or group. It just a conservative Republican’s commentary and news aggregator to help keep activists and interested people better informed…with your Sunday morning coffee:)
Stay out of Egypt & Syria The United States has NO strategic interests in getting in the middle of this mess. Unfortunately, we often get in the position of arming the worst elements of their society that cost us problems for decades. This “meddling” foreign policy is NOT helpful long term.
MI U.S. Senate Camp out. Dykstra reconsidering. Land is in. And yes, there are several others contemplating an entry. We need a concerted, fulltime effort to take this seat. A Michigan victory would go a long way towards stopping Obama’s liberal, unaffordable agenda!
Uniting Our Party Efforts are on their way by leaders of various factions throughout our party to unite our troops for the common good/goals. A little tolerance on the part of local activists from both sides would help. We need a united front to beat the liberal/socialist forces institutionalizing bad public policy.
Sending a Message to the Liberal Media
The RNC’s point – and it’s a good one – is that having political operatives who used to work for Bill Clinton question the GOP candidates in 2016 when Hillary Clinton is widely expected to be a candidate herself is a clear and convincing conflict of interest above and beyond the usual bias. Most liberal commentators have dismissed this as a non-issue, but these same people would be the first to complain if the moderators for the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debates turned out to be Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Thomas Sowell and me.
2016 President: Republican Outsiders Rising
Our most recent rating of Republican presidential contenders features a top tier of three notably different candidates: A Midwestern governor (Scott Walker) who is known best by the activists who will help decide the nomination; a leading national figure (Chris Christie) who has irked conservatives; and a firebrand senator (Rand Paul) with devoted supporters who would shake up the party’s platform and, perhaps, identity.
Obama’s Political Incompetence
Barack Obama is, by far, the most viciously partisan president in American history. Other presidents have been partisan, often deeply so, but were careful to take the high road so as to keep open lines of communication with the other party, without which governance cannot be successful in a democracy. Not Barack Obama. His incompetence in everything political except winning elections is now costing him (and, inevitably, us) big time.
History will not treat this man kindly.
Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s
President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic agenda is nonexistent and his foreign policy of empty rhetorical deadlines and red lines is floundering. And at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality.
Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”
Obama Suspends the Law. What Would Lincoln Say?
…unlike Lincoln, President Obama doesn’t welcome this congressional ratification. He has called the House bill that fixes the constitutional problem he created “unnecessary,” and he threatened to veto it. Why? Because the House also passed a companion bill that would delay the individual mandate too. For political reasons, the president doesn’t want to be in the inconvenient position of signing one bill that would give companies a reprieve from ObamaCare, while vetoing another that would grant individuals the same delay. The Democratic-controlled Senate will quietly kill the House bill and save Mr. Obama the awkwardness of having to veto it.
Faced with military exigencies, Lincoln did everything possible to enlist Congress’s support—and thus to follow the Constitution. Mr. Obama, faced with mere political and bureaucratic inconveniences, spurned Congress’s support and flouted the Constitution.
Michigan Freedom Fund lists 6 embarrassing Democrats
You’ve probably never heard of the Michigan Freedom Fund nor its operator Greg McNeilly, but it and he made a splash the other day by listing all the “embarrassments for the Michigan Democratic Party.”
Oh my, the list went on and on, just the way GOP strategist Mr. McNeilly envisioned it.
At the top of the list, he dragged out a 2006 campaign spending violation by Mark Schauer. Maybe you’ve heard of him, although 70% of the voters have not. He’s the likely D running against Gov. Snyder.
The Schauer campaign was fined $200,000 for allegedly “ disregarding campaign finance laws.” Hit number one.
Obama’s Policies Have Crushed the Economy
If you expected an analysis of how and why President Barack Obama’s policies hurt the job market for the young, think again. Believe it or not, CNN wrote a piece, supposedly explaining the tight job market, without using the following words: Obama, Obama administration, taxes, regulations, “stimulus” program or, of course, ObamaCare.
Apparently, CNN believes the country has been on autopilot for the last five years, with policy decisions by the White House having no effect, for good or for ill. Since CNN will not, let’s examine the major economic decisions by this administration and their impact on the job market.
Stopping Voter ID Is Not Civil Rights
The upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington is a fortuitous coincidence for groups determined to stop Voter ID laws such as the one just signed into law in North Carolina. To listen to Rev. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, the memory of that seminal moment in history when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. asked Americans to judge each other by “the content of their character” rather than by the “color of their skin” is an opportunity to relive the civil-rights struggle in which voter integrity laws will stand in for Jim Crow and segregation. But like the fake outrage expressed by Democrats and liberals over the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Voting Rights Act while mandating that the Justice Department acknowledge that it is 2013 rather than 1965, Americans should not be fooled by this scam.
The North Carolina legislation goes further than other voter ID laws in that it rolls back both efforts to make it easier to vote early as well as early registration for those under 18. But whatever one may think of those measures, the idea that any of this has anything to do with racial discrimination or efforts to re-impose the racism that once characterized America’s political system is absurd. No one is attempting to repeal the right to vote or to restrict the franchise. Those who are making this argument in an era when African Americans are voting in numbers similar to those of whites and when we have just reelected the first African American president of the United States are making a mockery of the legacy of the civil-rights struggle.
173 cases of alleged interstate voter fraud in Florida & Maryland
True the Vote (TTV), the nation’s leading voters’ rights organization, today announced new research findings of interstate voter fraud in Florida and Maryland. Florida and Maryland state election authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice were formally notified of 173 cases of voters casting ballots simultaneously in both states during federal elections.
“These 173 cases represent True the Vote’s continued effort to expose the fragility of our absentee voting systems,” True the Vote President, Catherine Engelbrecht said. “Last year Pew Research found that 2.75 million Americans were registered to vote in more than one state. We are unfortunately continuing to see the consequences of that startling statistic. True the Vote calls on Florida, Maryland and federal officials to investigate our latest research.”
The Budget Sequester Is a Success The Obama spending blitz is over and the deficit is heading below 4% of GDP
The biggest underreported story out of Washington this year is that the federal budget is shrinking and much more than anyone in either party expected.
Consider the numbers: According to the Congressional Budget Office, annual outlays peaked at $3.598 trillion in fiscal 2011. After President Obama’s first two years in office, many in Washington expected that number to hit $4 trillion by 2014. Instead, spending fell to $3.537 trillion in fiscal 2012, and is on pace to fall below $3.45 trillion by the end of this fiscal year (Sept. 30). The $150 billion budget decline of 4% is the first time federal expenditures have fallen for two consecutive years since the end of the Korean War.
This reversal from the spending binge in 2009 and 2010 began with the debt-ceiling agreement between Mr. Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in 2011. The agreement set $2 trillion in tight caps on spending over a decade and created this year’s budget sequester, which will save more than $50 billion in fiscal 2013.
Are Elections Decided by Chance? Interesting Read
Over the past nine months, the Republican Party has been consumed by a debate over how it should respond to Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012. Should it reach out to Hispanics? Should it move to the center? Should it try to differentiate itself from the Democratic Party by moving more to the right? Or perhaps it should attempt to redefine what “left” and “right” mean, possibly by embracing a more populist approach?
Let me step a bit outside of the proverbial box here, and ask a more foundational question: What if the GOP doesn’t need to change all that much? This grows out of an article I wrote in the immediate aftermath of the last election, showing that the state of the party wasn’t nearly as dire as many had made it out to be. It is nowhere near as weak as it was in the 1930s, and hasn’t begun to plumb the depths it reached in the 1970s. In fact, at the sub-presidential level, it is in pretty solid shape. Even at the presidential level, over the course of the past six elections, the GOP has lost the popular vote by, on average, 3.9 percentage points. Democrats, by contrast, lost by 9.9 points on average from 1968 to 1988.
Are Republicans Really Out of Step?
It’s almost taken as a given that the Republicans are out of step with public opinion on a wide range of issues. The party is certainly out of step with elite Washington opinion — both Republican and Democratic elites, for that matter — but it isn’t clear that this holds true nationally (at least in terms of perception). More importantly, it isn’t clear that the issues that inside-the-Beltway types and high-information pundits obsess about matter much to the American people.
To really get at public opinion as it relates to elections, it probably isn’t best to isolate a few issues. Rather, let’s look at some omnibus measurements of the parties. For this, I will borrow from two excellent articles from political scientist John Sides. As Sides notes, YouGov asked respondents throughout 2012 to rate themselves ideologically, and to rate the candidates ideologically as well. Note that Romney consistently polls significantly closer to the “
Obamanomics: U.S. Expats Balk at Tax Law American Citizen Renunciations Are Soaring
HONG KONG—The U.S.’s crackdown on global tax evaders is leading to a record number of people renouncing their citizenship, and its effects are being felt keenly in Asia—now the world’s wealthiest region by household assets.
A growing number of wealthy Americans in Asia—and others with green cards—are exploring whether to renounce their U.S. citizenship or give up their green cards to avoid onerous tax obligations.
A growing number of Americans are exploring whether to renounce their U.S. citizenship or give up their green cards to avoid onerous tax obligations.
Globally, more U.S. citizens have renounced their citizenship in the first and second quarters than all of 2012 combined, and 2013 is already on track to becoming a record year for renunciations. A total of 1,130 names appeared on the latest list of renunciations from the Internal Revenue Service, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer who tracks the data. That is far above the previous high of 679, set in the first quarter, and more than were reported in all of 2012.
Hillary Clinton’s theme, pre-2016: Women who break barriers
Hillary Rodham Clinton took to a Toronto stage in June before about 5,000 supporters, many of them women and many looking for a hint that she might run for president in 2016 — and she gave them one.
“Hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman president in my lifetime,” Clinton said coyly, making an implicit nod to the history she might make herself. “Our country,” she added, “has to take that leap of faith.”
Unlike during her 2008 presidential campaign, when she waited until her concession speech to fully embrace the historic nature of her candidacy, Clinton these days talks freely about women breaking barriers. She has woven a theme of women’s empowerment throughout almost all of her public remarks in the seven months since she stepped down as secretary of state.
Bankrupt? Detroit leaders still chasing away jobs
Newspaper headlines today herald the new high-tech jobs that Quicken Loans has brought downtown. But in a city with a low-skilled workforce, blue-collar industrial jobs are still essential to reducing the city’s 16 percent unemployment rate. Doug Rothwell, chief executive of Business Leaders for Michigan, tells the Detroit News that warehousing and low-tech manufacturing are key to the city’s immediate future.
But the evidence of Detroit Bulk Storage and American Axle is that the city’s political and union leaders are intent on chasing those jobs away.
The Fed, Lawrence Summers, and Money
Today, the Obama administration is considering nominating Mr. Summers as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. If the White House does so, Mr. Summers’s financial disclosure — including his recent consulting jobs, paid speeches and service on company boards — will be one of the hottest documents in Washington. Among the top contenders for the position, Mr. Summers has by far the most Wall Street experience and the most personal wealth.
How Putin Does It
The overarching objective of the Putin regime could be summarized as the recovery of political, economic, and geostrategic assets lost in the Soviet collapse. This is what might be called the “Putin Doctrine.” He is not a neo-Communist or a totalitarian empire-builder, neither a Peter the Great nor a Stalin. Instead, he seems to think his mission is to restore to the Russian state, at least partially, what he considers its patrimony, its crown jewels: ownership of politics, media, and courts; control over the economy—first and foremost, gas and oil; and unchallenged political, economic, and military dominance over the former Soviet Union.
Barring another world crisis and the resultant drop in oil prices, Putin may last till 2018. Yet when he then insists on continuing to rule, with his approval rating at its 12-year low and with millions of Russians already telling the pollsters that they are opposed to his running for another six-year term (which would make his total equal to Stalin’s 24 years), he is likely to precipitate a political crisis that could bring down the regime.
Taking on Sinophobia through education
In the midst of the chatter over China’s trade data report Thursday, there it was: Sinophobia.
“For better or worse, China has become the new linchpin of the global economy,” Investing Daily.com analyst Benjamin Shepherd wrote. Summing up the trade numbers, he said: “The old saw used to be that as goes the US, so goes the rest of the world. With China poised to become the world’s largest economy sometime in the next decade, that US-centric preconception will have to be revised.”
…Unlike the analyst who saw China’s rise as a “for-better-or-worse” proposition, Redford believes the US will help its own cause by educating citizens about the changing of the guard that is well underway.
“It is widely accepted that China will have a bigger economy than the United States within the next 20 years…and perhaps sooner,” Redford remarked. “Enough said.”
A Tale of Two Political Systems – A Chinese Perspective
As I was coming of age, something else happened. As if one big story wasn’t enough, I was told another one. This one was just as grand. It also claims that all human societies develop in a linear progression towards a singular end. This one went as follows: All societies, regardless of culture, be it Christian, Muslim, Confucian, must progress from traditional societies in which groups are the basic units to modern societies in which atomized individuals are the sovereign units, and all these individuals are, by definition, rational, and they all want one thing: the vote. Because they are all rational, once given the vote, they produce good government and live happily ever after. Paradise on Earth, again. Sooner or later, electoral democracy will be the only political system for all countries and all peoples, with a free market to make them all rich. But before we get there, we’re engaged in a struggle between good and evil. The good belongs to those who are democracies and are charged with a mission of spreading it around the globe, sometimes by force, against the evil of those who do not hold elections.
This story also became a bestseller. According to Freedom House, the number of democracies went from 45 in 1970 to 115 in 2010. In the last 20 years, Western elites tirelessly trotted around the globe selling this prospectus: Multiple parties fight for political power and everyone voting on them is the only path to salvation to the long-suffering developing world. Those who buy the prospectus are destined for success. Those who do not are doomed to fail. But this time, the Chinese didn’t buy it.
WHEN LITHUANIA ROCKED THE WORLD
Earthquakes are a horrible way of changing the physical landscape—but geopolitical ones can have marvellous results. Lithuania has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its declaration of renewed independence, when late in the evening of March 11th 1990, deputies of the “Supreme Soviet” of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic voted unanimously to dump the symbols of Soviet rule and to restore their country’s independence.
It seemed a hopeless gesture at the time. But the seismic shocks shattered the Soviet Union, bringing freedom, or at least the chance of it, to 15 new countries. It put Lithuania—literally—back on the world map, from which it had been wiped by its forcible annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940.
A poignant exhibition in the parliament building shows the mass murder, deportations, collectivisation, forced atheism and unrelenting propaganda inflicted on Lithuania under Soviet rule. It also shows the determination to resist. Particularly moving are the souvenirs created by Lithuanians in the Gulag, bearing national symbols and the red-green-yellow colours of the national flag. Possession of that flag, like humming the old national anthem, was a criminal offence.
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