Weekly Musing 6-2-13
Off the Grid! Sorry for the delay in today’s newsletter.
I took a long weekend with my boys and went into the Canadian bush for some fishing, bonding and camp set-up. With NO cell phones, TV or internet access…we hung out the “old fashion way”. We caught the tail end of the “black fly” season however the small mouths were awesome…several 2-3 pounders every day! A great weekend.
Evening Fog on Echo Lake in northern Ontario
Obama’s Scandalous Legacy – He has given Americans new reason to distrust the government.
Will all this lead to impeachment, as some have speculated recently? Probably not, and certainly not now. But not being guilty of an impeachable offense is a low hurdle for a president focused on his legacy. For a man who came to office with the goal of expanding the role of government to better our lives, it would be quite a comedown to leave office with the main accomplishment of increasing the nation’s distrust of government.
IRS targeted donors to GOP group too
In addition to targeting conservative-leaning nonprofit groups, in at least one case the Internal Revenue Service took the extra step of targeting a group’s donors as well, the Wall Street Journal reports:
Obama’s Dangerous Contempt for the Rule of Law
Whatever the investigation into misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service reveals, we already have all the evidence we need to understand President Barack Obama’s fundamental attitude toward the rule of law. That evidence is right there in the public record, and what it shows is indifference and contempt.
…The president’s routine violation of the law that he is supposed to uphold isn’t covered in the media as a scandal. It ought to be.
Eric Holder’s Incompetence
Holder is often a liberal. But his tenure will not be remembered for its ideological bent. At times he has displayed the legal sensibilities of a flower child. At other points, he has provided the legal justification for President Obama’s expanded drone war or pursued the broadest attack on press freedom in decades. No, Holder’s signature is not ideology; it is incompetence. He has spent five years learning from mistakes. It has been an expensive education.
Boehner’s shrinking power – Maybe?
So, yes, Boehner by recent historic standards and measures is a relatively weak speaker right now. But, in fairness, it’s not clear a more bullying or forceful leader would fare much better with this gang of Republicans or in this dysfunctional Congress.
Boehner runs a House in which many of the traditional levers of power are gone and of little use: earmarks for members’ districts, important committee assignments and the backing of party leaders for reelection. Most young conservatives don’t care about any of the three — and, in fact, see all of them as manifestations of what’s wrong with and corrupt about Congress and their party. They get more mileage from snubbing their leaders.
The Tax Man – The Bullying Pulpit
The federal government already has ample powers to punish people who have broken the tax laws. It does not need additional powers to bully people who haven’t.
What is a tax “loophole”? It is a provision in the law that allows an individual or an organization to pay less taxes than they would be required to pay otherwise. Since Congress puts these provisions in the law, it is a little much when members of Congress denounce people who use those provisions to reduce their taxes.
If such provisions are bad, then members of Congress should blame themselves and repeal the provisions. Yet words like “gimmicks” and “loopholes” suggest that people are doing something wrong when they don’t pay any more taxes than the law requires.
…The government’s power to bully has been used to extract billions of dollars from banks, based on threats to file lawsuits that would automatically cause regulatory agencies to suspend banks’ rights to make various ordinary business decisions, until such indefinite time as those lawsuits end. Shakedown artists inside and outside of government have played this lucrative game.
Someone once said, “any government that is powerful enough to protect citizens against predators is also powerful enough to become a predator itself.” And dictatorial in the process.
No American government can take away all our freedoms at one time. But a slow and steady erosion of freedom can accomplish the same thing on the installment plan. We have already gone too far down that road. F.A. Hayek called it “the road to serfdom.”
How far we continue down that road depends on whether we keep our eye on the ball — freedom — or allow ourselves to be distracted by predatory demagogues like Senator Carl Levin.
The Problem of Muslim Leadership
Another Islamist terror attack, another round of assurances that it had nothing to do with the religion of peace.
A murderer kills a young father while yelling “Allahu akbar” and it’s got nothing to do with Islam?
I don’t blame Western leaders. They are doing their best to keep the lid on what could become a meltdown of trust between majority populations and Muslim minority communities.
But I do blame Muslim leaders. It is time they came up with more credible talking points. Their communities have a serious problem. Young people, some of whom are not born into the faith, are being fired up by preachers using basic Islamic scripture and mobilized to wage jihad by radical imams who represent themselves as legitimate Muslim clergymen.
I wonder what would happen if Muslim leaders like Julie Siddiqi started a public and persistent campaign to discredit these Islamist advocates of mayhem and murder. Not just uttering the usual laments after another horrifying attack, but making a constant, high-profile effort to show the world that the preachers of hate are illegitimate. After the next zealot has killed the next victim of political Islam, claims about the “religion of peace” would ring truer.
‘Tea party’ tempest brewing
According to Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol, more than 350 tea party organizations are still operating; that’s roughly two-thirds of the number that sprang up in 2009 and 2010. And they have been recently reenergized by the outbreak of scandals and quasi-scandals in the Obama administration, including one that amounts to a political windfall: the discovery that the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
The approach of congressional primary elections makes the tea party a major force too. The groups have a track record of turning out in force for low-participation primaries, and adherents are an essential source for donations and volunteers in Republican campaigns.
Revive Detroit, sooner rather than later
The leaders of community, commerce and civil society are driving a transformation and forcing those in political office to do what it takes to save Detroit.
It is this broad consensus from those in and outside of the city that will be critical to the grand revival that is surely coming sooner rather than later.
How Romney could have won the popular vote
White and Hispanic turnout fell from 2004 to 2012, according to a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies based on newly-released U.S. Census data.
Had turnout equaled what it was in 2004, 4.7 million more whites would have voted in 2012, of which 4.2 million were not college graduates , according to the study.
Obama received five million more votes than Romney.
To earn the popular vote with blacks and Hispanics, Romney would have needed an extra 15 or 23 percentage points, respectively. But the statistics regarding whites demonstrated how closely the Republican candidate came to a plurality win.
With one percentage point of the white vote equating to 980,000 votes, Romney would have won the popular vote with a mere three percent greater turnout.
As China’s economic development continues and its regional aspirations expand, its military modernization has continued apace. This reality, and the necessity of the United States’ remaining a force in Asia-Pacific for the sake of regional stability, makes many in Washington uncomfortable. Indeed, the pressure to refrain from speaking openly about the issue has led some U.S. officials to begin referring to China as a national “Voldermort.”
It’s immensely counterproductive to avoid speaking openly and truthfully about the Sino-American rivalry and its future trajectory. By failing to acknowledge China’s military ambitions and their potential consequences for U.S. interests in the region, American policymakers are choosing timidity when resolute leadership is required.
The reality is this: Over the past decade, China has been developing military capabilities designed to deny the United States access to the waters and airspace of the western Pacific. Through the acquisition of anti-ship ballistic missiles designed to target American aircraft carriers, advanced aircraft capable of hitting U.S. and allied bases around the region, and large numbers of modern submarines, Beijing has clearly signaled its intention to subvert the balance of power that has anchored peace in Asia for six decades, and to do so in ways inimical to American interests.
U.S. relationship with China could prove most important of 21st century
We need to pay attention as China returns economically and militarily to a historical position of strength. It must be noted, China had the world’s largest economy, 18 out of the past 20 centuries.
More than 170 years ago, the military genius and ruthless dictator Napoleon said “Let China sleep; when she wakes she will shake the world.” Well clearly during the last 30 years, China has shaken off the century of humiliation, the hardship of the Great Leap Forward and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and are wide-awake and on a roll today.
Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share
My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.
On Facebook at:
On Twitter at:
My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:
Thanks again for all you do!