Weekly Musing 12-8-13
R.I.P. Nelson Mandela,
South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95.
Rose Bowl Bound – Michigan State Spartans
An unbelievable football game…MSU 34 vs OSU 24!
Code.org — Computer Science Education Week
Is your child’s school involved in this program?!? They should be!
Share this information with your children’s school, or sign up at home. We can’t afford to have the rest of the world move ahead of us…when we have the tools right here at home!
See what Newt has to say…take advantage of this opportunity!
NBC’s Chuck Todd Notices One Small Phrase That Has Seriously Undercut the ‘Whole Idea of Government as a Solution’
NBC News’ Chuck Todd said Sunday that the Obama administration has made an unmistakable “indictment” on the whole notion of “government as a solution” with one line in a progress report on the troubled healthcare.gov.
“While there is more work to be done, the team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness, and will continue their work to improve and enhance the website in the weeks and months ahead,” an administration report released Sunday states.
Todd, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said of the “private sector” mention: “That is an acknowledgement that, ‘You know what? If this was a government operation for a long time and it failed, now we’re bringing in the private sector folks.’ I mean, that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly…”
Can Democrats Recover From the Obamacare Catastrophe?
If Republicans don’t flub the coming fiscal debates like they did in the fall, voters will focus squarely on the health care rollout.
But it looks increasingly likely that Republicans will go along with a deal, averting a spending/debt-ceiling crisis, and not repeat the disaster of this fall. Avoiding such a fight would keep most of the public’s focus on Obamacare, and, in Republicans’ eyes, give them the gift that will keep on giving. At this point, that doesn’t appear to be an unrealistic expectation.
But what will happen next? A jaded observer might suggest that certain Senate Democrats may try to move the goalposts of a budget deal, pushing for additional Republican concessions to the point that House Speaker John Boehner can’t deliver enough of the hard-liners in his caucus, thus creating a repeat of last fall’s showdown. Of course, that is a highly cynical view, but it does not seem implausible that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid might try such a strategy. The catch is whether Democrats could potentially sabotage a budget deal without leaving any incriminating fingerprints. The cynics might be wrong but, then again, Reid has six Senate seats up next year in states that Mitt Romney carried by double-digit margins. We’ll see.
Seriously? The Republicans Have No Health Plan?
It’s arguably the favorite myth of progressives, the oft-repeated claim that Republicans have no health plan. Hence, President Obama was fully justified in ignoring them and proceeding to enact a comprehensive health reform law on a strict party line vote—something completely unprecedented in American political history. Karl Rove last week did an excellent job of countering that myth in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. For those who may have missed that piece, or those who want further details and links not feasible to include within the constraints of a printed op-ed, this post is intended to fill in some blanks.
Ten Conservative Principles
Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.
Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.
Dance of the GOP governors
Don’t look now, but auditions for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination are already underway in Washington. And the flavor of the moment is — governors.
First came Chris Christie, the pugnacious governor of New Jersey, who won reelection by a landslide last month and almost immediately headed to the nation’s capital for a burst of speeches and television appearances.
Days later, a less pyrotechnic (but equally combative) chief executive arrived to do the Washington media rounds: Scott Walker of Wisconsin. His message was the same: “If we can do it in Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere, even in the nation’s capital.”
The point wasn’t subtle. As broken as Washington is, the next president should be an outsider, a hardworking governor, say, who has managed to tame a rebellious legislature and balance his budget.
Broad Appeal: Cantor ponders the GOP’s future
Eric Cantor believes the Republican Party has much work to do.
“We have to broaden our appeal,” he said during a visit last week with the Times-Dispatch Editorial staff. The House majority leader, a Henrico Republican, said his party must make consistent and concerted efforts to improve its standing with women and minorities. That comes as no surprise to anyone who has glanced at the exit polls from the past few elections.
Republicans, he said, need to change the perception that they don’t care about everyday Americans, a task made tougher by Democrats perpetually promising bigger handouts and more government mandates, as if there are no costs in life.
Cantor recalled his father’s warning that it’s often tough being a conservative because you have to explain well-reasoned policies that actually work.
Nuance doesn’t always make a great first impression — and can be drowned out in a world awash in fast phrases, easy money and unexamined pitches.
The GOP, Cantor said, needs to be able to answer a basic question: “How do we address the fundamental problems that people have?”
The Suburbs Are the New Swing States
The older, denser suburbs outside our central cities have emerged as the major points of political cleavage in America, the places where Presidential elections are won or lost. “The key political fissure in American politics no longer runs across the country’s swing states,” I explained, “but zigzags through the rapidly growing ranks of what I call its ‘distress ‘burbs.'”
…With these bases locked down, the key political footballs – the new “swing states,” so to speak – are the swelling ranks of economically distressed suburbs, where poverty has been growing and where the economic crisis hit especially hard. There are now more poor people living in America’s suburbs than its center cities, and as a recent Brookings Institution report found, both Republican and Democratic districts have been affected by this reality.
Millennials Abandon Obama and Obamacare A majority of America’s youngest adults would vote to recall the president.
Young Americans are turning against Barack Obama and Obamacare, according to a new survey of millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are vital to the fortunes of the president and his signature health care law.
The most startling finding of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics: A majority of Americans under age 25–the youngest millennials–would favor throwing Obama out of office.
The survey, part of a unique 13-year study of the attitudes of young adults, finds that America’s rising generation is worried about its future, disillusioned with the U.S. political system, strongly opposed to the government’s domestic surveillance apparatus, and drifting away from both major parties. “Young Americans hold the president, Congress and the federal government in less esteem almost by the day, and the level of engagement they are having in politics are also on the decline,” reads the IOP’s analysis of its poll. “Millennials are losing touch with government and its programs because they believe government is losing touch with them.”
The results blow a gaping hole in the belief among many Democrats that Obama’s two elections signaled a durable grip on the youth vote.
More liberal, populist movement emerging in Democratic Party ahead of 2016 elections
As Obama struggles to achieve his second-term domestic agenda, a more liberal and populist voice is emerging within a Democratic Party already looking ahead to the next presidential election. The push from the left represents both a critique of Obama’s tenure and a clear challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential front-runner, who carries a more centrist banner.
Liberals, however, are fawning over Warren, who was the brains behind the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and focused on the economic condition of the working class when she was a professor at Harvard. In addition to calling for breaking up the big banks and expanding Social Security, she has proposed a range of new policies to cut student debt.
The case for repealing Dodd-Frank
It is not at all clear that what happened in 2008 was the result of insufficient regulation or an economic system that is inherently unstable. On the contrary, there is compelling evidence that the financial crisis was the result of the government’s own housing policies. These in turn, as we will see, were based on an idea—still popular on the political left—that underwriting standards in housing finance are discriminatory and unnecessary. In today’s vernacular, it’s called “opening the credit box.” These policies, as I will describe them, were what caused the insolvency of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and ultimately the financial crisis. They are driven ideologically by the left, but the political muscle in Washington is supplied by what we should call the Government Mortgage Complex—the realtors, the homebuilders, and the banks—for whom freely available government-backed mortgage money is a source of great profit.
…The Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, has received all the attention as the worst expression of the Obama presidency, but Dodd-Frank deserves a look. Just as ObamaCare was the wrong prescription for health care, Dodd-Frank was based on a faulty diagnosis of the financial crisis. Until that diagnosis is corrected—until it is made clear to the American people that the financial crisis was caused by the government rather than by deregulation or insufficient regulation—economic growth will be impeded. It follows that when the true causes of the financial crisis have been made clear, it will become possible to repeal Dodd-Frank.
Weaponry and espionage: A shot from the dark
Uncertainty over arsenals is growing as a result of increasing “clandestinisation” of munitions manufacture and transport, says Jim Thomas, a senior Pentagon official until 2007. Now at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, another Washington think-tank, Mr Thomas says missiles are now emerging from “dual-use” factories that also ship non-military goods, and from factories made to appear as producers of solely civilian ones. This makes it harder for “squints” (intelligence officers who study satellite and drone imagery) to identify munitions of interest.
Manufacturers are marketing and designing munitions with concealment in mind. A Moscow firm called Concern Morinformsystem-Agat has offered a system of four Klub missiles and an erector, with a control compartment for two operators, all concealed inside a standard shipping container. The “Club-K Container Missile System”, can be transported and fired from a merchant ship, freight train, or lorry. An expert at a European missile-maker says, “before you could see a Klub missile from space; now you can’t—you need spies.”
…Amid the growing demand for good intelligence, smaller countries see a role in helping allies. They may not be targeted by the weapons systems in question, says Todor Tagarev, a former Bulgarian defence minister, but passing nuggets along to bigger allies cultivates goodwill.
Outside the spy world, business is booming too. Big countries may be worried about the threat. But they see an upside too. It is their defence industries which are also the best source of countermeasures to the new weapons. Briefing an ally about threats can also be an implicit sales pitch. Seen this way, says the expert at a European missile-maker, insights from military intelligence are also part of defence-industry marketing.
DeRoche & Jealous: Don’t let partisanship hold the justice system prisoner
The political right and the left have to understand that the one-size-fits-all punishments and lifelong encumbrances on those involved with the criminal justice system have not only jeopardized the safety of communities, but, more important, torn apart families and contributed to an increasingly broken society.
Unfortunately, the recognition of this damage and the urgency to do something about it have been lost amongst the partisanship found on the campaign trail and in the halls of government. Thankfully, there are leaders in Washington doing what had seemed impossible: coming together on an issue that affects all Americans.
The Second Chance Reauthorization Act advances justice while seeking to reduce new crime. We encourage members of Congress to pass it.
Why Ukraine Matters
The past week has seen massive protests in Ukraine in response to President Viktor Yanukovich’s bungling of an EU trade pact. It is one of those seemingly obscure international events that are easy to miss, especially in the middle of the holiday season.
Yet the events in Ukraine matter and not just because what they bode for the future of Europe and an increasingly desperate Vladimir Putin, but because this is a story that will continue to resonate in the years to come.
Ukraine, by most standards, should be an economic juggernaut. It has ample natural resources, a highly educated, diligent workforce and is situated in an advantageous geographical position. So the story of Ukraine shows just how a country with everything going for it can suffer so much, just as it will hopefully show how a troubled society can finally find its way forward.
Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid
For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”
However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.
RNC Members – Christmas Parties & Lincoln Day Dinners
I have received several calls about Christmas/Holiday party invites and help with speakers for Lincoln Day dinner speakers.
Dave Agema is our RNC National Committeeman and Terri Lynn Land our RNC National Committeewoman. I’m sure they will be making the rounds to the various Christmas and Holiday parties around the state. They are the best folks to contact to attend your Lincoln Day Dinners and line up potential presidential speakers, congressional leaders and other national figures to speak at your events.
You can contact them directly at:
Terri Lynn Land
7955 Byron Station Court, SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
3299 Tomahawk Drive, SW
Grandville, MI 49418
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