Happy Mother’s Day!
Weekly Musing 5-12-13
First, for a few of the MOST important things in life!
Our “baby” Marius going to prom with his friends from Catholic Central.
Go Red Wings!!!
A Coverup Laid Bare
Americans finally got to hear from the State Department officials the Obama administration never wanted to testify. They are now called “whistleblowers,” but that’s only because their accounts of what really happened in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, were buried by the administration, apparently in the furtherance of Democrats’ election-year imperatives.
Soon after the testimony, Democratic office-holders took to the airwaves and the internet to assure liberal loyalists that there was nothing really “new” here. Republicans, by contrast, trumpeted the accounts of Gregory Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, and Mark Thompson before the House Oversight Committee as proof that the administration never told the truth about Libya.
Powerful Ad: The RNC Benghazi Attack Ad that Never Ran
…tells the story!
The Inconvenient Truth About Benghazi
Think of that. They can’t give answers when the story’s fresh because it just happened, they’re looking into it. Eight months later they don’t have anything to say because it all happened so long ago.
Think of how low your opinion of the American people has to be to think you can get away, forever, with that.
The Benghazi Talking Points
And how they were changed to obscure the truth
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom.
It was a preview of the administration’s defense of its claims on Benghazi. After pushing the intelligence community to revise its talking points to fit the administration’s preferred narrative, administration officials would point fingers at the intelligence community when parts of that narrative were shown to be misleading or simply untrue.
Graduates, Your Ambition Is the Problem –
Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State on Sunday would have perplexed the Founders.
Civic education in America took a hit on Sunday when President Obama, giving the commencement address at The Ohio State University, chose citizenship as his theme. The country’s Founders trusted citizens with “awesome authority,” he told the assembled graduates. Really?
Actually, the Founders distrusted us, at least in our collective capacity. That’s why they wrote a Constitution that set clear limits on what we, as citizens, could do through government.
Mr. Obama seems never to appreciate that essential point about the American political order. As with his countless speeches that lead ultimately to an expression of the president’s belief in the unbounded power of government to do good, he began in Columbus with an insight that we can all pretty much embrace, at least in the abstract. Citizenship, Mr. Obama said, is “the idea at the heart of our founding—that as Americans, we are blessed with God-given and inalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities—to ourselves, to one another, and to future generations.”
Legalized Fraud??? Democrats, Voting Rights Activists Strike Back on Elections Laws
Republicans several years ago seized the upper hand in the so-called “voting wars” by pushing voter ID and other measures that created new voting restrictions. But now Democrats across the country are fighting back.
This week, Colorado lawmakers sent Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, a bill that allows voters in that state to register at the polls on Election Day; creates an all-mail ballot system; and ensures that voters who move within Colorado don’t have to re-register at their new address. The Colorado law is especially broad, but it is only the latest in a series of victories for those who want to streamline registration and reduce long lines at the polls. The governor is expected to sign the measure, which has overwhelming support among Democrats.
Who is the real Gary Peters?
The millionaire former Merrill Lynch financial advisor donned a “We are the 99 Percent” button and marched up Woodward Avenue amidst angry unionists, anarchists and class warriors. Last week, the self-described political “moderate” and “independent” launched his campaign to fill the Senate seat of retiring Carl Levin. But if he is a centrist, why does Peters provoke such unusual disdain from even moderate Republicans?
His Occupy Detroit alliance is a glimpse at the real Gary Peters — an ideologically liberal politician who will do anything to stay in power.
Republican Young Guns Eye 2016
Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz each ascended to the U.S. Senate by riding a grassroots wave of enthusiasm to defeat the Republican Party establishment’s preferred candidate in a contested primary.
Now, still in the first half of their first terms, all three young conservatives are already taking steps toward 2016 presidential runs.
IRS apologizes for targeting conservative groups
The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.
Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.
In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.
“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.
IRS admits targeting conservatives for tax scrutiny in 2012 election
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.
Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people” were not driven by partisan motives.
Obama uses 2012 campaign tactics to sell healthcare law
Seeking to ensure his landmark healthcare law is successfully implemented, President Obama is reprising his 2012 election strategy in hopes of enrolling millions of uninsured Americans in health plans this fall.
The new campaign, whose outcome could largely shape the president’s legacy, is targeting young people, Latinos and women — groups that were crucial to Obama’s victory in November.
It will rely on some of the same tools that the reelection campaign pioneered for voter turnout, including extensive use of social media, mobilization of volunteers and data-driven outreach.
Even some of the same strategists are playing central roles, including Obama’s former campaign manager Jim Messina. Messina heads Organizing for Action, the grass-roots nonprofit group that evolved out of Obama’s campaign. The group has made enrolling uninsured Americans in health coverage a top priority.
The president, who faces rising anxiety from Democrats that a messy rollout could be politically disastrous for the party in the 2014 midterm election, tried again to reassure his supporters Friday.
Ted Cruz Seeks to Ban Illegal Immigrants in U.S. from Citizenship
“The amendments filed today to strengthen border security and reform our legal immigration system will not only bring meaningful, effective improvements to our immigration system, but also have a chance of becoming law,” said Cruz in a press release. “America is a nation of immigrants, built by immigrants and we need to honor that heritage by fixing our broken immigration system, while upholding the rule of law and championing legal immigration.”
The Republican dilemma on a map – An Interesting Analysis
We are years away from learning who will run in the 2016 race, but we already know one thing for certain ― the Republican nominee will start that campaign trailing in the Electoral College.
The party’s built in Electoral College deficit rises from a Republican strategy to concentrate our appeal in an ever-narrowing swath of the country. The map tells a tale of alarming geographic polarization that is beginning to threaten the party’s national relevance.
This regionalism is a fairly recent development. Only 28 years ago Ronald Reagan swept 49 states and won 57 percent of the popular vote on the strength of a broad coalition that spanned traditional party boundaries. When that coalition began to break it led to Republican losses in some unprecedented places.
Rise of the Republican Governors
A new liberal era? Not according to these reformers.
Since Obama first took office in 2008, Republicans have picked up a net nine governorships, bringing their total to 30 states, which hold nearly 184 million Americans. In 24 of those states, containing 157 million Americans, Republicans also control the legislatures. Democrats boast similar power in just 12 states, with a population of 100 million. Even Republicans’ unimpressive national showing last November didn’t reverse their state-level momentum.
When Will America Burst D.C.’s Bubble?
The centralized power and wealth in our nation’s capital are becoming so disconnected from the rest of this country that it is palpable to everyone except those who live in Washington.
In most people’s lives, the driving issue is economic security. Washington’s obsession is with social and cultural issues that drive bigger wedges between Us and Them.
It’s only a matter of time before the rest of America’s complaints will burst Washington’s bubble.
Information on the debate over “Common Core” – a classic state’s rights issue
The Common Core agenda aims to frame the educational paradigm with a progressive agenda worldview, limit parental involvement in order to take control of students within the system, and even record children’s personal data into a database (religion, etc) so they can follow your child as they grow – beyond their classroom.
Muzzling free speech about taxes
Government is violating one of the natural rights that the Founders said government is “instituted” (the Declaration’s word) to protect. This episode confirms conservatism’s premise that today’s government is guilty of shabby behavior until proven innocent. And conservatives enable such behavior when their unreflective denunciations of judicial “activism” encourage excessive judicial deference toward the modern executive’s impetuous vortex.
Syria: The Only Red Line Should Be To Stay Out
Syria is a civil war, not genocide. The killings are awful, but that is what happens in low-tech conflicts. Two sides, with the military balance steadily equalizing, are battling for control of the country. Such a struggle is unlikely to have a good outcome, whoever prevails.
Indeed, Syria’s two sides reflect the stark choice that Washington has faced throughout the Arab Spring. One side is stable dictatorship. The other side is a messy mix of democrats and authoritarians, in which the most radical elements are gaining influence if not control. Even if regime opponents win, the fighting is not likely to stop. Rather, Assad’s ouster would merely trigger combat over who would win control of the Syrian government, and whether there would even be a Syrian government in control of the entire country. Reprisals against regime supporters and religious minorities would be likely.
…Moreover, legally President Obama cannot act alone. The Constitution does not empower any president to start wars on his own authority. Explained Walter Pincus of the Washington Post: “There’s no [UN] resolution for Syria. Without one, or without Congress approving a Syrian resolution, there is no legal basis for U.S. forces striking Syrian targets.” But why would legislators facing multiple domestic crises want to plunge America into another unnecessary conflict?
The Syrian civil war will end badly.
Unfortunately, the U.S. can’t make it end any better. Washington should stay out of the conflict.
China may not overtake America this century after all
Doubts are growing about whether China can pass the US to become the world’s biggest economy this century amid warnings that the country’s 30-year miracle is nearing exhaustion.
The report warned that China’s 30-year miracle is nearing exhaustion. The low-hanging fruit of state-driven industrialisation and reliance on cheap exports has already been picked. Stagnation looms unless Beijing embraces the free market and relaxes its suffocating grip over the economy. “Innovation at the technology frontier is quite different in nature from catching up technologically. It is not something that can be achieved through government planning,” it said.
The Meaning Inside the Political Numbers
All of this analysis points to a robust competition between the two parties over the past two decades, with no permanent winners or losers and no emerging natural majority for either party.
Neither party is doomed; both face challenges. Republicans have a clear problem with Hispanic voters, and many Republicans, including several with presidential aspirations, are addressing it by supporting immigration reform. House Republicans, only two of them from Hispanic-dominated districts, seem less interested.
Democrats have a clear problem with clustering. They cannot expect to improve on their performance with black voters in the two Obama elections, and they need to expand their appeal beyond their clusters of support to win congressional majorities. That may be difficult since their party tends to be defined, as it was not in the breakout years of 2006 and 2008, by a liberal incumbent president.
Republicans are trying to do something about their problems. Democrats, with their man in the White House, seem more complacent. But both parties have reason to feel insecure.
The Coming GOP Civil War Over Climate Change
Republicans have been struggling with an identity crisis since the 2012 presidential election. In particular, the nation’s rapid demographic changes are forcing the GOP to come to terms with the newly powerful influence of Hispanic voters and to confront the issue of immigration. For now, climate change isn’t getting anywhere close to that kind of urgent scrutiny from Republicans, at least not in public. GOP strategists say that Republican candidates hoping to win primary races, where the electorate tends to be older and more ideologically driven, are still best served to deny, ignore, or dismiss climate change.
How a Bill Becomes a Mess
As Jonathon Martin puts it, “A step-by-step look at the gruesome business of legislating, taking the 2010 Dodd-Frank bill as a case study.”
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich
By Eric Metaxas, from the “New York Times-“bestselling author of “Amazing Grace” comes a groundbreaking biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century, a man who stood up to Hitler and the monstrous evil that was Nazism. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Fuhrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp.
A great book.
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