Thursday, December 09, 2010

“Bipartisan Compromise” Gets Attacked From Both Sides: Where Are The Moderates?

President Obama has agreed to extend all of the current tax rates for two years, in a “grand compromise” with the GOP. The deal includes extending unemployment benefits another thirteen months, which the Dems have been pushing for. There are several more provisions that are popular with one side or the other, but that’s not the aspect of this deal that I want to focus on. The reaction to it, by partisan pols and media people, is worth examining.


Rush Limbaugh thinks the GOP could’ve gotten more, that they have much more leverage than they realize, but won’t use it because of past experiences (link). He also notes that “Republicans do not run the House; they don’t run the Senate; they don’t run the White House, so in that limited context it’s a good deal.” (link) As the “biggest dog on the (conservative) block,” he is “barking” against “the deal,” which is to be expected. Still, as a regular Rush listener, I didn’t hear real outrage from him.


Meanwhile, the left is apoplectic, and it may be more than just “barking.” Katerina vanden Heuvel’s column (link) sums it up: “Obama: On the way to a failed presidency?” She borders on becoming a “birther,” according to James Taranto of the WSJ (link), with this line: “This daunting project is not a matter of ambition or appetite–or even unconscious Kenyan socialism.” I think Taranto’s just poking fun, but Obama’s accomplishments have emboldened the left to push for more than he can deliver. There is open rumbling about a 2012 primary challenge from the left, but seriously, anyone further left than Obama would be unelectable.


It’s expected for the furthest right and left people to criticize any compromise, but what does one make of the President’s statement, calling the GOP “hostage takers?” When James Rosen of FOX News asserted, on the O’Reilly Factor, that Obama’s formulation of that statement might embolden terrorists, he was laughed off the air by Bill O. Still, the choice of words by our President was far from “bipartisan,” to say the least.


Granted, Obama called his own left-wing critics “sanctimonious,” but when he himself is using such extreme rhetoric, he can’t be surprised when CNN’s liberal commentator James Carville says he “capitulated.” In the same segment, conservative Tony Blankley seemed to defend Obama, while acknowledging that neither side got everything they wanted. Perhaps the similar response from several prominent conservatives adds to the perception that the President “got rolled,” or that this is a bad deal for the Dems.


One Dem who supports the deal is Sen. Joe Leiberman, though he’s actually an Independent that caucuses with them, after his own split with some on the far-left of his lifelong party. Leading the Dem opposition are Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Senate, and Rep. Bernie Sanders in the House. I know Sanders calls himself a Socialist, but he’s also an Independent that caucuses with the Dems. On the GOP side, Sen. Jim DeMint is leading the opposition, and in the House, Rep. Michelle Bachman is the “point person.” Both are favored by the “Tea Party” movement, which is calling for fiscal discipline.


All of these opponents seem to be acting out of principle, whether from the right or left. The difference is that the left is whining harder, and exposing themselves as “out of touch” with the reality of public opinion. A perfect example is the lib who wrote this on the Huffington Post:



“Yet, what you told us last night is that you couldn’t imagine the average American family getting by on $3000 a year less than it currently has.


Mr. President, if you had asked the American people (instead of deciding this question for us), I think you would have found almost unanimous agreement that it was worth spending $3000 over the 12 months of 2011 – $250 per month – to break the backs of those who were trying to blackmail you… those who were holding our future – as well as yours – hostage.”



(Hat tip to Mr. Taranto for the link) What all of this points to is a problem that’s been developing for years: Where are the moderate Democrats? Judging the reactions from both sides, the GOP is looking like the centrist, moderate party. I think the President is seeing this, which is why he took the deal. He is obviously a far-leftist, but now that he’s “hit the wall” of public opinion, he’s probably more interested in holding on to the parts of his “progressive” agenda already passed, than pushing his whole party back into the minority in 2012.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

POLITICAL COLORS

Once upon a time “Leftists” were labeled as “Reds,” as in Communist. Now, the “Right-wing” of America is labeled “Red” and the Commies have gone “Green.” It’s interesting that the Dems have chosen “Blue” as their color, because when combined with “Yellow” (as in journalism), it makes “Green,” as well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Corrupt "Working Families Party" Hollywood Dupes

Andrew Cuomo accepted the endorsement of the Working Families Party, which is a thoroughly corrupt appendage of New York State's corrupt liberal kleptocracy. They are wholly owned by ACORN and the public sector unions, and exist solely to advance a "big government" agenda.

Cuomo made a speech, saying that the WFP would have to conform to "his" agenda, if he was to accept their endorsement. They gave him their ticket, but who do they answer to if they lied? Nobody. It's a "wink and nod," folks! Cuomo doesn't expect them to support lower taxes, or spending restraint.

Whether Cuomo sides with their agenda or not is not important. I can't vote for him because he acceded to running on their party line. I will never vote for any candidate on the WFP line, whichever other "major" party cross-endorses them. I have shunned GOP candidates on this basis as well.

The name "Working Families Party" suggests that they represent, and advocate policies that will help "working families." Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than detailing the corruption and job-killing policies they promote, I'd like to expose how they use "well-intentioned" Hollywood liberals to promote their destructive agenda.

First, watch this video of Matt Damon supporting the WFP. He makes a promise that if the WFP gets over 200,000 votes, he will make another video, wearing a NY Yankees cap. As Damon is a famous Boston Red Sox fan, this is baseball "treason." What motivates him to this end? He says that the WFP is fighting for lower Metrocard prices, and better health care, among other things. Noble goals, but there's one problem: The WFP's union founders are the reason that the MTA and NY's healthcare system are reaching into working families' pockets for more money!

He instructs us to "vote for the candidate you want, but vote for them on the (WFP) line." This is so that the party gets enough votes to be guaranteed a spot on the next election cycle's ballot. This enables them to force the state Dems to the left, and become more involved on the national front. Damon mentions the that "they're the ones who helped push Democrats to pass meaningful health care reform." How's that working out for "working families?"

If Damon takes a "light and funny" approach to his pitch, Cynthia Nixon's WFP video ("Miranda" from "Sex in the City") comes off as an earnest, if somewhat scripted appeal. I had to laugh at this line: "They look at the records of all of the candidates running for office, and support the ones who will do the most to improve our lives." As any "politically aware" NY'er knows, all you had to do to get the WFP endorsement is pay the right people. It used to be the WFP's "private" political consulting firm, Data and Field Services, until that was exposed.

Ms. Nixon compares the WFP to Tiffany and Niagara Falls, as the premier political party in the state, if not the world. She mentions Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman by name, which is interesting. Cuomo is a lock to be the next Governor, but even the liberal Ed Koch has endorsed Schneiderman's opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan. State Sen. Schneiderman is a symbol of Albany corruption, which is why he's a perfect fit with the WFP.

As a former "upper west side liberal," I understand their mindset. It's just a shame that they are either dupes themselves, or duping numerous "knee jerk" liberals to continue voting for parties that are crushing real working families. The data is out there, and it's blatantly obvious: the liberal agenda is driving New York, California, and several other states into bankruptcy. The cost of living in "liberalworld" is much higher than in the rest of the nation. The WFP is in the camp of those who are making the problem worse.

We're seeing a national reaction to the WFP's, and other radical-left groups' increased influence since President Obama took office. It's called the "Tea Party" movement, and though it's not a political party, it is definitely a political force. Corrupt interests have, and will continue to try to use it, as they have the WFP, but at this point, the Tea Party seems more honest about their goals: fiscal responsibility (controls on government spending; ending bailouts), enforcing constitutional limits on government's power (repealing or otherwise defeating Obamacare, as one example), enforcing existing laws eqally across the board, whether on immigration or financial contracts, and most importantly, knowing what's actually in a piece of legislation before voting on it, so there's no excuse for lying to constituents.

Individuals who identify with the Tea Party are skeptical, even of candidates they support. We want all politicians to know that they are on "lifetime probation," and will not settle for less than a full hearing of, and fight for these principles. We may not have many "celebrity videos," but we've got Chuck Norriss and Ray Stevens on our side. We'll see how this plays out in NYS, but I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NY STATE NEEDS A REVOLUTION: LEAVWORLD'S 2010 ENDORSEMENTS!

New York State government has long been known as "dysfunctional," with "corrupt" being a quick second thought. For a long time, people have lost faith in the electoral process, and given in to the left-wing coalition that has a big "ground game." This year is somewhat different. The right-leaning Tea Party movement has become an effective, and organized counter-movement, in most of the nation. As a "Tea Party" proponent, I have to say that we have a long way to go, in NYS.


Let's start with the race for governor, between Carl Paladino, Andrew Cuomo, and several others. My problem with Cuomo is that I already gave the last Democrat "reformer" the benefit of the doubt, and he was thrown out of office! I have serious doubts that Cuomo will do anything to change the "status quo" in Albany. As much as I can't vote for "more of the same," I can't vote for "Archie Bunker" (Carl Paladino), either. Or I can, but I won't give him LEAVWORLD's endorsement! It would be a "protest" vote, because everyone knows that Cuomo will be the next governor.


LEAVWORLD endorses Charles Barron for governor, on the Freedom Party line. I've heard that White people aren't allowed in that party, so I thought they deserved a "token nod," to get that message out there. NY is very tolerant of intolerance. I chose him over Howie Hawkins, Jimmy McMillan, Warren Redlich, and the lovely Kristin M. Davis, who allegedly provided Gov. Spitzer with concubines...


As opposed to the "Goofiness/loudness" of the gubenatorial race, the two senate contests have been "low key," to a degree. Sen. Schumer faces no threat from the valiant Jay Townsend . Sen. Kirstin Gillebrand is in a closer race with Joe DioGuardi. LEAVWORLD endorses both of the challengers, and encourages others to vote for them! OUT WITH THE BUMS!!!


There are two other "statewide" positions on the ballot, this year. The State "Comptroller" and "Attorney General" races are even more important, with the certianty of a Cuomo governorship. Incumbent Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is under investigation, and was hand-picked by the (corrupt) State Assembly, not elected to his office. LEAVWORLD endorses Harry Wilson for NYS Comptroller. We need someone who knows what he's doing, not an Assembly political crony!


I'm scared. Really, I'm scared that Eric Schneiderman may become NYS Attorney General. He beat out the "moderate" Dem candidate, which happened to be LEAVWORLD's local (Nassau County) District Attorney, Kathleen Rice. It matters when the statewide Dems nominate extreme lefties. Fair-minded independents and open-minded conservatives who have been alienated from participating in the political process have to rejoin it! LEAVWORLD endorses Staten Island DA Dan Donovan for NYS Attorney General, enthusiastically! We need a competent person as the AG, not a left-wing ideologue.


Finally, my "local" congressional representative is up for a vote this year, as well. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy votes in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi, and a lot of people in NY's 4th CD are up in arms about this. I'm reminded of when she took the seat from some "invisible" GOP guy, many years ago. He thought Long Island was a GOP "stronghold," and wouldn't respond to his constituents. Rep. McCarthy finds herself in a similar situation, as a multi-term incumbent with a bad record.


LEAVWORLD endorses Francis X. Becker for congress. I'll trade seniority on committees for a legislator that listens to all of his constituents, not just "contributors." There are alot of us that are "coming back" to, or "just entering" political activity. Many of us are motivated by the failure, in the real world, of our president's version of "change," as enacted by a congressional majority of his own party. Nothing's changed for the average person since Bush's "great crash." Obama, and the Dems say "We're doing much better than we would have been, without the stimulus..." How does that sound? Not good, which is why we need to fire the inept people representing us at all levels of government.


Election day is aproaching, and LEAVWORLD endorses all free market conservatives, with one exception: Charles "anybody but a whitey" Barron, who narrowly beat out Carl "Archie Bunker" Paladino for LEAVWORLD's endorsement (no money was exchanged, I personally assure you). I predict Paladino will get more votes than Barron, LEAVWORLD's endorsement notwithstanding. Perhaps Andrew Cuomo will be the "knight in shining armor" that this state needs, after all...riiight.


Look up the candidates LEAVWORLD has endorsed here. They're not "perfect" candidates. I urge you to vote for them because they are "better" representatives than the ones we have in office. If I can grab the theme that my "Tea Party" Friends profess, "bring in the new!" How far this message will reach in New York State, I can't predict, other than to say it won't be enough to elect "Archie Bunker" (Paladino). I hope to see Jay Townsend, Joe DioGuardi, Harry Wilson, Dan Donovan, and Francis Becker get elected.


Those who do get elected, whether I supported them or not, will be critically analyzed by me, and those "rabble rousing" Tea Party "activists," God bless 'em! I think they'll "keep the heat up" for some time to come, regardless of the political framework. Count me as a supporter of the Tea Party principles!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Why Raise My Bosses' Taxes, Mr. President?

As the Congress puts off a decision on extending the current tax rates, I have a few thoughts for them. The debate seems to be centered around the divide between taxpayers who make more than X ("the rich"), and people who make less than X ("the rest of us taxpayers"). Obama and Pelosi want to allow tax rates to go up for "the rich," but leave the rates at the current ("cut") levels for "the rest of us taxpayers." The GOP, and a growing number of Democrats want to continue the current tax rates ("Bush tax cuts") for both groups.

Keeping the current tax rates in place is projected to "cost," over the next 10 years, $700 billion for the "rich," and around $3 trillion for "the rest of us taxpayers." Doing nothing means everyone's tax rate will increase on Jan. 1st, so the political pressure is as high as it's ever been. Those are the parameters of the debate so far, but I'd like to personalize this, a little.

The owners of the business I work for belong to the group labeled "rich," and I am one of "the rest of us." I have seen the slowdown in our business, and understood the commensurate drops in bonus pay and raises. I've also been well-rewarded in good times, after previous recessions. Raising taxes on "them" will definitely have a bad impact on me, because I work for "them." It's common sense, but I don't think that our President understands this. His argument plays on "class envy," hoping that "the rest of us taxpayers" will team up with "non-taxpayers" to "screw the rich." It's an old strategy, and not working anymore, at least for me.

I don't hate rich people. In fact, I hope to be one, when I grow up. All kidding aside, many people do "hate the rich," and don't think they deserve the wealth they have. These people are easily used by left-wing politicians. The claim that taxing the rich at a higher rate is "fair" may sound good, but it flies in the face of the definition of the word. In any case, "the rich" are already paying a higher tax rate than "the rest of us." Obama proposes to "let it increase," while my taxes will stay the same. Somehow, I don't think this is going to lead to an "increase" in my salary, for at least the next two years.

Okay, now a little more about the policy and politics. The projected "costs" of these tax rates are phony, because the economy is not static. The CBO has to project these numbers with a "static" model, and they are rarely right. They tend to underestimate the cost of new programs, and "invent" costs of tax cuts. I often wonder if they ever projected a loss in revenue when a tax was increased? Never happened, and a dynamic private economy is anathema to the crowd in the White House. They are siding with Pelosi on this "tax the rich" idea, and trying to claim the Republicans are holding "the rest of us" "hostage" over it. That's a big 180, since his party controlls both houses of Congress.

It's Speaker Pelosi who won't let a bill to continue all current tax rates for the next two years, much less keep them indefinitely. Politically, she's playing to her "left wing" base, but the price is being paid by "the rest of us taxpayers." Even the ones she wants to "cut taxes" (ie:keep them the same) for, as noted above. This pot is going to boil over before election day. Whose "narrative" will resonate, in the polls? Will Pelosi "cave," and will the President sign a bill keeping the "tax cuts for the rich?" Or will (GOP Minority Leader) Boehner, and (GOP Senate Minority Leader) McConnell "cave" first, and hope to not harm the economy too much?

Not much chance of the latter happening, of course. Regardless of how this is portrayed in the media, there are more Dems that are willing to go with the GOP than vice-versa, and "the taxpayers" are voting this year in numbers that rival the "non-taxpayers," who are an organized "staple" Democratic voting block. These taxpayers come from all income ranges, and they are not as organized as the Democrats (or Republicans) "volunteer machines." Still, between all of these "disaffected" GOP and independent voters who have just returned to political activity, and the ones who just started "tuning in" over the last few years, the GOP will get the benefit at the polls, this November. There is no political reason to keep the GOP from "sticking to their guns," on this issue.

PS: If it seems "altruistic" of Pelosi to support raising her own taxes, is it "altrustic" that I want to keep her tax rate the same? I think the money is best kept in private hands, rather than the government's. Over the next 10 years, that 3.7 Trillion dollars in private hands will generate multiples of that amount in tax revenue. This is where her argument falls apart, and all that's left is "the rich should pay more." Here's some more "altruism": I'd even support a "fair/flat tax," which might increase my own tax rate, but make it easier for me to earn a higher wage. (But that's for another column.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Dumb and Dumber: Lazio vs. Paladino in NYS GOP Primary


Here in New York, everyone knows that Andrew Cuomo will be the next governor. The anti-Democrat backlash sweeping the nation will not signifigantly affect the gubenatorial race, though it may well impact most other contests. I came to this conclusion after repeatedly viewing the latest commercials for Cuomo's two GOP challengers, who face a Sep. 14th primary. Rick Lazio, failed senatorial opponent of H.R. Clinton, and Carl Paladino, successful "upstate" businessman. The guy I liked, "converted" Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, failed to get the party's support at their convention. Paladino forced the primary, getting on the ballot through petitions. He gets credit for giving me a choice, even if it's not the one I wanted.


Let's get to the commercials. Rick Lazio's spot attacks Cuomo, equating him with the corrupt Albany establishment, presenting himself as someone who "will" clean it up. Pretty straightforward campaign stuff. What struck me was his "tagline," at the end of the spot. "Rick Lazio. He's one of us." My first thought was "one of who?" Americans? All of us are that. "Whites, or Italian?" Both Palladino and Cuomo are the same. "Republicans?" Dumb idea, in a majority Democrat state. Maybe "conservative," which would include a small part of the state's Democrats, but I realized my initial thoughts were beside the point. This was a primary commercial, and the party is backing Lazio. One thing that didn't enter my mind when I heard the tagline was "Tea Party," but that's probably who he thought this would appeal to.


Being a spot before a primary, it won't be on much longer. These commercials are on television for all voters to see, however. The slogan "he's one of us" might rate highly among bad gangster movie fans, but it's a political loser, at least in NY State. Of course, most party hacks in NYS probably aspire to be gangsters, so this is not a surprise. These guys obviously don't know anything about projecting an "inclusive" image, and not alienating voters. Lazio needs better ad men, beyond a doubt. He hasn't articulated one of NY's pressing problems directly, and said what he's going to do about it, as governor. That's what defines a "weak candidate." He doesn't rise to Chris Christie's kneecaps in stature.


Carl Paladino has bought more commercial spots than Lazio, so I almost always see one back to back with a Lazio spot. Mr. Paladino, while bolder in his presentation, has an even dumber ad, which also attacks Andrew Cuomo. His subject is the "ground zero mosque," and why AG Cuomo is not investigating the group behind it. Of course, there is no probable cause for such an investigation yet, so this is unfair. Paladino steps across a line, with his declaration that if elected governor, he would use "eminent domain" to turn the proposed Mosque/cultural center into a war memorial. I oppose the Mosque, but I oppose Paladino's remedy. In fact, I'm fairly sure he's the example that everyone around the world is referring to, whenever they talk about "political demagoguery" of this issue.


Paladino has also used the "Tea Party" label, in many of his previous commercials. I haven't heard much "buzz" from my "tea party" brethen in NY (all 2 of them) about him. We're all wondering if he's just trying to "buy" the governorship, to bring his own band of cronies into Albany? As a big businessman from Buffalo, he must be familiar with the state's regulatory and tax policies. He may just try to benefit himself, or he may try to benefit the people of the state (or both), I don't know. He does talk as if he can "take on the special interests," but I'd like to know about his relationships with the unions have been, in his businesses.


He needs a new political team, if he thinks he can ride either the Tea Party or the Mosque to the governor's seat. I don't think that most of the "tea party" people in NY appreciate his adoption of their name. He also ought to know that "eminent domain" is an issue that evokes opposition within those same people. This is what was "dumber" than Lazio's spot, but not by much. As for us "tea party" people, how do we stop the media from associating the "Tea Party" with "using State power to deny religious freedom?" We can't, thanks to Carl, but I'm doing my best.


So these are my choices, on Sep. 14th. "Dumb and Dumber." This primary is such a joke that I may vote for Paladino, if I don't write in Steve Levy. The disillusionment with the state GOP establishment continues. There is just not any incentive for "doing the right thing" government, in our state. It needs new blood, and a new attitude. Look across the river, ladies and gentlemen! Neither of these candidates are in the same mold as NJ Governor Chris Christie, when that is exactly what we need. Andrew Couomo has made noises echoing New Jersey's govenor, but still hasn't ruled out running on the corrupt "Working Families Party" (in NY politics, the more wholesome the name sounds, the more corrupt it is - link) line, and he'll probably accept the "Independence Party" nomination, just to help them stay on the ballot. These are both subsidiary liberal Parties, the WFP funded by unions (and ACORN, or whatever it's called now), and the IP funded by other liberal groups, and of course Mayor Bloomberg. Basically, the fix is in.


Still, I see this as an aberration from many other races, even statewide ones. Schumer is as invulnerable as Cuomo, but Senator Gillebrand should be vulnerable, unless Cuomo and Schumer have large "coat-tails." She is a flip-flopping disgrace, and probably will motivate some independents, as well as GOP voters to go to the polls, this year. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli joins her in "appointed incumbency," but he hasn't been as blatant a failure. It remains to be seen how broadly the "voter backlash" will affect New York, but I'm not letting my displeasure with the "top of the ticket" keep me from voting against the candidates I oppose on Sep. 14th, or on Nov. 2nd. I just wish that Lazio and Paladino would give me a reason to vote for them, instead of holding my nose and voting for the "less politically dumb" of the two. Neither has a chance against Cuomo, but I'll be following it, with a critical eye.




Saturday, August 28, 2010

ABOLISH THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION



I was watching a political show with a liberal friend recently, when someone on the TV used the talking point that Republicans want to abolish the federal Department of Education. She hadn't been paying attention, perhaps, because when I commented in supporting that idea, she said "they already did that!" When I asked "who did it?" she said "Bloomberg." Then I got it. She was referring to Mayor Bloomberg's takover of the powers of the NYC Board of Education. The record of improvement since then is well known, which was my final comment on the subject, in that conversation.


Abolishing the federal Department of Education is only possible by creating a new, smaller bureacracy, to handle funding to the states on an equal "per capita" basis. That said, the case for abolishment is fairly straightforward: Public schools have declined steadily since the creation of the DoE. It is a failed experiment of national bureacracy that's having an extremely damaging effect on more than one generation of our youth. I've seen the college kids who can't read, write, or do basic math, in the real world, and it's sad. Of course, there would have to be serious education "reform," but the states would handle that on their own.


If there is a "string attached" to federal funding, it should be based on student performance. Maybe the bureacrats can translate some tests from any number of foreign nations that actually expect their students to be able to read, write, and do math. This might be necessary, because states like mine (NY) already do crazy things with the "testing" and "scoring" methods, to boost funding. The problem in NYS is being addressed, to some degree, and all schools took a cut in their percentages of students' proficiency ratings.


That's the point. While state education systems can be corrupted, it's easier to reform them than it is a corrupted national bureaucracy, which is what the DoE is. If it's looked at objectively, it's been a huge failure. Attempts to "reform" it, or make it more "accountable" have only bloated the bureacracy further (see Kennedy's "No Child Left Behind" law, which Bush supposedly "underfunded").


Even with an intelligent man at the helm in Arne Duncan, the Administration had to "bribe" states to increase the "caps" on charter schools, among other reforms. In NYS, they're already bitching that they still could have won the 700 mil with a lower cap ("They" being the "educrat-union political establishment"). This is beyond disgraceful, when charter schools have to have lotteries to accept a small percentage of students who apply.


Some think it has something to do with a "liberal" conspiracy to destroy America. I don't think so, but this is diminishing our nation, beyond a doubt. It's not really about "liberals," though many of the "educrats" are that. It's about power, and holding on to it. I think the "liberal" agenda has become secondary to "I'll contribute to politician X, and I'll keep my program, school district, or job." Again, this is the nature of political bureacracy, but abolishing the federal DofE would remove a layer of bureacracy that has plagued this nation far too long.


Cities, even ones as big and liberal as NYC, have been trying to improve their education systems, under onerous state and federal regulation. As noted above, NY State is "facing the music" about this now. What happened to letting the states compete for having the best education system in the country, and letting others emulate them? That seems to have been the idea behind Sec. Duncan's "Race to the Top" program, and why it seemed like a breath of fresh air, at first. In context, it's a sad commentary on how low our educational/political establishment has fallen; that it takes a blatant bribe to do something that helps educate our children. I have no problem with any politician that advocates abolishing the Department of Education, though that position has been labeled "extreme."


...or we could try "reforming" it, yet again...*sigh*




Friday, August 06, 2010

Will Obama Have A "Beer Summit" With Spain?


The Obama administration lifted a warning that "'racist prejudices could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain," just as first lady Michelle Obama landed there for vacation, according to the UK's DailyMail. (link) The article continues, "Mrs Obama's trip now risks being overshadowed by a row about institutionalised racism." No, I don't think it will, in the US media. This isn't a story that Obama wants to see, and the obsequious media will accomodate him. However, this story deserves to be heard, because it gives an insight into the politics, as well as the nature and universality of racism.


It's worth looking back at the Administration's intervention in the arrest of Pres. Obama's friend, Professor Gates, which culminated in the famous "beer summit." It seemed as if the administration was forced to deal with that story, because the "victim" was a friend of the president. Still, his handling of the situation was "ham-handed," at best. This is what the current flap with Spain smacks of, as well.


Because of what is now called an "isolated incident," a warning was posted on the US State Department's website, warning African Americans that travelling to Spain could result in being arrested "for no apparent reason." This was posted "alongside information about ETA and Islamist terrorist attacks in the country." That might be worse than saying the Cambridge Police Department "acted stupidly," but really, what's the difference? The two African American government employees arrested in Spain last year had enough clout to get a warning posted on the State Dept. website, and now it's been taken down, for political considerations. Why the warning wasn't lifted on the day the trip was planned just puts a cherry tomato on top of the "ham-handed" sandwich this has turned out to be.


Racism is universal, and practiced by people of every race. It becomes "intitutional" when people of good will look the other way. Here in NYC, a Mexican kid got beaten to death in what's being charged as a hate crime, and the first kid that was arrested was an African immigrant. Spanish racists don't like Mexicans any more than American (or transplanted African) racists do, either, for that matter. It all gets very complicated, but it comes down to "racists of any race hate people of other races." I also know people of many "races" that just don't like people of another nationality, or religion, or sexual orientation. This is a common human condition, and not a result of American politics or capitalism, as many learned people profess. Americans just talk about it more openly than people is many nations do, and it's hugely politicized.


It's important to distinguish "prejudice" from "racism." It is similar to the difference between "don't like" and "hate." A police officer may "prejudge" a person of another race as "guilty of something," but that doesn't rise to the level of racism. A professional cop adheres to the laws, and doesn't arrest someone without evidence of a crime. Police are trained to treat everyone as a suspect, when investigating a situation. That, in itself, creates the impression of "racism" that is often complained about by many racial groups. Trust me, as a White male, I've had my share of bad experiences with the police, as noted in a previous column (link).


A racist cop, who hates people of other races, will create false evidence aginst someone, and abuse their power over them, every time they encounter someone of another race. Police departments become aware of this behavior, and the good ones act to stop it. I don't know how widespread this behavior is in Spanish police departments, but it's a sure bet that these "isolated incidents" won't stop after the First Lady's trip. They won't stop here in the US, or anywhere in the world, for that matter.


This brings us back to the way the Administration handled this situation. Should the warning have been on the State Dept. website, in the first place? Regardless of that, why did the First Lady have to vacation abroad? And why Spain? Here's an interesting thought or two about that. It's no secret that the President doesn't like Britain very much. Britain and Spain don't like each other much either, and Spain hasn't been liking the US much, in recent years. It fits into the President's pattern of "treating your enemies better than your friends" foreign policy, as well.


Perhaps it was an unintentional snub, and Michelle chose Spain because it's more beautiful, this time of year. Also, Spain's "green economy" (you know, the one Obama wants us to emulate) is in the crapper, and he might want to boost the tourism business there. I bet alot of people in the Gulf region wish his wife vacationed at one or more of their beautiful cities.


It's not a "big" story, so the lib media will feel justified burying it. Still, I think it serves as a perfect picture of how the Administration keeps shooting itself in the foot politically. I can't believe that somebody in his camp doesn't "get it," and see that the American people are watching all of this, and are not happy. This story is one of many "bricks in the wall" of growing opposition to our President. I feel bad for him, because he's got disillusionment from his left-wing base, and is losing independents to the fiscal conservatives. He's a lonely guy, on his 49th birthday, though the "moderates" are still with him. Of course, trying to be a "moderate" president is what got him in this situation, in the first place. You can't please everybody, as president, but you can pick and choose your battles wisely. That's a skill Pres. Obama hasn't shown so far, and will need, if the GOP makes signifigant gains in this year's elections.




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

RULE AND REVOLUTION: Where Are We Now?

I caught the last hour of Rush today, and listened to him talk about this article from The American Spectator. It's worth sharing, though I haven't finished reading it yet.

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution, by Angelo M. Codevilla

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Westboro Baptist Cult Targets Adam Lambert, Among Other Patriots



Here's a good reason to like, and support Adam Lambert: He's a target of the infamous Westboro Baptist "Church." They were at it again, recently, at his "Glam Nation Tour" date in North Carolina, after protesting him during the "American Idol" tour last year (LINK). Mr. Lambert has not responded, though he came out and waved to his fans, as the protesters were haranguing them with blowhorns. In fact, he's been nothing but graceful in response to criticism from all corners. (LINK)


He shouldn't bother responding, as this group is so far on the fringe, they don't represent Baptists, or Christians of any stripe. Lambert joins US servicemen who've given their lives in combat, as well as the Amish victims of a gruesome Pa. massacre, as targets of this "cult." I've written about them before (LINK), and when I found out that they were the group protesting Adam Lambert, I had to weigh in on the subject. Here's an excerpt from my previous column about them: "This 'church,' which basically consists of one extended family, preaches hateful rhetoric that is beyond repeating here, except to say that we're ALL going to hell, in their book. They have made a name for themselves by the most vile protests at funerals of Iraq veterans, and are represented by the ACLU in defense of this 'freedom of speech.'"


I want everyone to remember, whenever you hear a report about Adam Lambert being protested by "Christian groups," that the news outlet reporting this is not telling the whole story, if they don't mention the hateful nature of this group. I would also suggest everyone take a listen to Adam's debut CD, "For Your Entertainment," and buy a few extra copies to give to your friends! There's a reason he's become a target, and it's not just about the so-called "controversy" over his American Music Awards performance. He's a great artist, and a supremely talented entertainer. He has the potential for a long and influential career, and that naturally brings out the worst, in some hateful people.




Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Obama: "You Can Keep Your Insurance...NOT!"



Aetna insurance co. sent a out a letter, which included the following excerpts: "We are changing our health benefits plan designs to comply with new federal laws...This will affect you because your employer currently offers one or more of the benefits plan designs we will no longer be offering. We will offer new plan designs to replace the old ones. Your employer may buy any plan design that we still offer, and we will tell your employer which plan design is most like your current Aetna plan."


The President said that we would be able to keep our current insurance plans. This was widely suspected to be untrue, and now I can personally confirm it. Now, we'll have to see if the new plans are better, or if many employers choose to buy one of the new plans. Here's the rub: While Aetna is forced to change the plans they offer, small businesses have no obligation to offer health insurance at all. Right now, the critics of Obamacare have been proven correct, on at least one point. Will millions of small business employees lose their insurance? We'll see, but the signs aren't encouraging. I'll follow up on this, as I get more first-hand information.




Tavis Smiley Asks Ayaan Hirsi Ali About Christian Terrorists

NOTE: This was originally posted on Gather.com on May 28th. I'm just crossposting it here, now that I've replaced my old PC, which couldn't sign on to Blogger.

I watch Tavis Smiley almost every night, and am a fan, though I disagree with his political views completely. One of the reasons I am such a fan is because he gives a great insight into himself in every interview. He asks questions that his viewers want the answers to, and usually manages his time well. I also love to disagree with the premises of his questions, and occasionally write about it. Agree or disagree, ya gotta love a person who makes you think!


Tavis had an interesting exchange with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on his PBS program Tuesday night. They were discussing Islamist terrorism, and she mentioned the Fort Hood shooting and the Times Square bombing. Tavis replied that Christians in America kill people every day, citing Columbine and "post office" shootings, asking why she doesn't hold Christianity accountable in the same way. I'll look for a transcript, but that was the gist of it. I had to make a quick note for myself, when she didn't get a chance to answer that question fully, and also to pose some questions of my own to Tavis.


The obvious answer is that few mass shootings are actually motivated by Christianity, though the shooters may be Christians. Besides the rash of "post office" shootings in decades past, college campuses have been frequent targets, as well as some shopping malls. No Christian group claimed credit for any of these. Then there's Columbine, where, as Tavis should know, the killers targeted Christians. It's doubtful that any of the people involved in the various "mass shootings" over the last few decades could all be tied together in any way, including religious belief, other than one group, who all followed the same radical version of Islam.


Yes, there are dangerous groups in our country, most of which are secular left wing groups like ALF and ELF, as well as the radical Anarchists, Socialists, Comminists/Marxists who vandalize every WTO meeting or GOP convention. Some other, much smaller groups follow a corrupt version of Christianity. The difference is that 99.99...% of American Christians oppose them (even in the GOP), and would gladly help apprehend any person they knew was going to do something crazy. The better point to make is that perhaps most Muslims don't know people involved in Islamist terrorism, which would be similar for Christians not knowing "Christian terrorists," accepting Tavis' definition of that as mass murderers who are Christians.


In fact, though he mentioned that Ms. Ali is an Atheist, he neglected the role of Atheism in so many Americam mass-murders, including Columbine. I would refer Tavis to the book "She Said Yes," by the parents of a girl killed at Columbine. One of the killers put a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in God, and shot her when she said yes. I'll put her up as a Christian martyr against every suicide bomber ever, and she wins every time. She was killed by an Atheist, not an Islamist or Christian terrorist, Tavis. Sometimes murder and suicide is it's own end, regardless of how a person rationalizes it within their own beliefs. Right now, the Atheists aren't a global terrorist threat, and neither are Christians.


No Christian elected leader in the world is calling for the Ten Commandments to become law, in any country, while Sharia is enforced to various degrees in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other nations around the globe. In the US, Christians fight in the court system to preserve our national Christian historical heritage, trying just to allow images of the Ten Commandments on "government" property. There really is no political comparison to be made between Christianity, which has lost power to secular politics in the west, and Islam, which still thrives politically in much of the world. That's where the terrorism component comes in.


There is a common thread to the mass-murderers that have been Muslims. Many of them have been to the Waziristan region of Pakistan, or been in contact with people who have been there. That's Al Quaeda's training ground/headquarters, where 9/11 was plotted. If all of the domestic "Christian" mass murderers had spent time at some similarly remote "religious retreat" in the US, I think it would have been noted by our domestic media, if not our domestic law enforcement. Yet here we are, almost ten years after 9/11, and Tavis Smiley is asking a target of Islamist terrorism why she doesn't equate Islam with Christianity, regarding terrorism.


To Ms. Ali's credit, she pointed out to Tavis that a recent South Park episode offended Christian and Bhuddists much worse than Muslims, but only recieved threats over the "non-displaying" of Muhammed's image. That she didn't have time for a deeper rebuttal of his question is one of the reasons I wrote this column. Faisal Shazaad's bomb in Times Square was parked very close to Comedy Central's headquarters.Let's see how soon they "joke" about Mohammed again, Tavis.


This time, I think he wandered into fantasyland, with the broad assertion he made about killings being done "every day" in the name of Christianity. If anything, many mass shootings by Muslims slip under the media's radar, and have for years. Besides the "honor killings," which get prosecuted under criminal law, there are the occasional larger incidents: the shootings on the observation deck of the Empire State Building by a "radicalized" Muslim; the murder of Jewish children in a van on 59th St. Bridge by a "radicalized" Muslim, the El Al (Israeli) airline counter shooting in Los Angeles by a "radicalized" Muslim. All of these were handled in the criminal courts, as well. Is there a signifigant enough legal record of "radicalized" Muslims committing mass murders to justify calling it a "pattern?"


Let's not forget the DC snipers, and how everyone was shocked that it wasn't some bitter White guys, because that was the "profile" for such a killer, previously. Even after the Times Square bombing, the media ran video of some White guy changing his shirt, and Mayor Bloomberg said it was probably a "heath care opponent." One liberal columnist admitted thinking "please, don't let it be a Muslim." Tavis' "moral equivalence" is of a piece with this theme, seeking to minimize, if not dismiss the influence of Islamist fanaticism in these murders.


I had a personal experience with a Christian who terrorized my family, as a child, at the same time I was attending a Catholic school. You can read about it here, but suffice to say that when a Christian says "the Lord told me to kill you," that's not the same Lord I worship, and that person isn't being a Christian. This is probably how many Muslims feel about terrorism, and that may have been the angle that Tavis was trying to come from with his question. My speculation notwithstanding, I would really like to know exactly what he meant in the premise of the question he asked Ms. Ali.




Chavez Seizes Oil Rigs: What Else Is New?

The Venezuelan state-run oil company has seized some more oil rigs owned by a US company (see story HERE). Apparently, Chavez & Co. don't want to pay these companies for their services, and when the owners stop production, the rigs get "nationalized." How much longer, until no company from any nation will operate in Venezuela?


There's a lesson here for more than just oil companies. All the US corporations that own "carbon credits" in Brazil, and other countries in that region, are at risk. Chavez is becoming an influencial force, with several other nations in the region following his lead. Don't be surprised if all those billions of dollars worth of "carbon credits" simply evaporate, if the political winds change. There is already a "grass roots" political movement to "take back" the rain forests in Brazil. The situation could escalate, as Chavez keeps getting away with this treatment of foreign investors.


PS: On a personal note, I've finally replaced my old, infected PC! I'm looking forward to getting back to writing on Blogger much more often! I really missed it, over the last few months, though I was able to do some posting. SEE YOU SOON!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why Nobody Trusts The News




I just saw an ABC news report saying that Arizona threatened to cut off electricity to Los Angeles, if they decide to boycott Arizona. Though this is a common headline in many recent stories from many news outlets, it's not true. There was a letter written from an Arizona official to the L.A. officials, which basically asked them if their boycott would include the purchase of electricity from Arizona. The Arizona official who wrote the letter appeared on Greta Van Susteren's program, and stated that he did not have the authority to "cut off" electricity to L.A. Case closed on the phony hype from ABC and others. Update: I just saw another ABC news report, which said Arizona "all but" threatened to cut off L.A.'s electricity. Better, but still wrong.


The PBS Newshour's Margaret Warner reported on the Arizona law, saying "it makes it a crime to be in Arizona without proper documentation." It "directs state and local police to enforce it, stopping people and checking documents, if necessary." While the first statement is true, the "stopping people" part of the second statement is a misrepresentation of what's in the law. Police have no right to stop anyone solely on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. They do, however, have an absolute right to check documentation of anyone they stop for suspicion of criminal activity. They've always had that power, regardless of the suspect's citizenship. Why did Ms. Warner describe the law inaccurately? I don't know, but it's being done by many others, including the president, so maybe she's just jumping on the bandwagon," as so many in the media do.


I'd like to note that Glenn Beck read the entire law on his radio show, which gives him and his listeners more credibility than the president, AG Holder, DHS chief Napolitano, or the reporters who have mischaracterized the Arizona law in the media, but haven't read the law themselves. Living in America today is like living in the old USSR, in one respect: nobody with half a brain trusts the news, or the government. People like Beck, Rush, and Fox News are to us what "Radio Free Europe" was to the people behind the "Iron Curtain."




The American Power Act Is Green Imperialism, and Carbon Credits Are A SCAM!




Last week's Frontline/World program on PBS had an interesting story on carbon credits (The Carbon Hunters). It opened with a local Brazilian measuring the circumference of a tree in the rain forest, and estimating the amount of carbon in it. He priced it at one dollar's worth, and said that the carbon in the tree belonged to General Motors. Though this sounded like another typical "corporate bashing" story, I ended up watching it, to see how much they "bashed" the "green" business (The Nature Conservancy, who declined to speak to Frontline) that sell the carbon credits to GM, and other companies. They did, but more importantly, they showed exactly what carbon credits do to indigenous people in Brazil. Basically, it's wiping them out, by not letting them plant in the forest, or to harvest trees for repairing their homes. The money they get from the program isn't enough to replace what they've given up. There is money to hire security (a real life "green police") to enforce the rules, and the local government is in on the racket, too.


There is local political opposition to this carbon scheme, though, which is where the story gets interesting, to me. What happens if the Brazilian government decides that carbon credit "rights" are no longer valid? Well, that probably won't happen right away. First, they're going to raise the price of the carbon, as high as the market will allow. This is what "green" investors are speculating on, and why they're pushing it politically. Even if the whole "carbon causes global warming" theory is correct, this is a scam! It's setting up a global financial market on one of the most common elements on earth, driving the price to an incredible and artificial high. The Frontline piece says that there is already 300 billion dollars invested in carbon credits. Call it the "CO2 bubble," and we had better burst it before it gets any bigger.


The Frontline segment excused the political "greens" for introducing "carbon trading" as "a way to get business on board," but I got a definite tone of criticism toward them, which is unusal for anything on PBS. Still, they relly didn't touch the larger part of the story, as in how the new "American Power Act" (that's the official name of the "Cap and Trade" bill) will not only codify this scam in our laws, but back it with our tax dollars. There's the rub. "Man-made global warming" is a political movement throughout the "developed" world, seeking to keep the "undeveloped" world...well, "undeveloped." It's goal may be the opposite of the previous generation of "imperialism," but that makes it even more pernicious. Corporations and governments are conspiring to deprive people of their freedom, and President Obama is on the wrong side, again.


It doesn't have to be this way. Don't vote for anyone who supports The American Power Act, and make your voice heard to legislators. This is an election year, and as campaign season starts, candidates will be listening. There are many grounds to oppose this bill on, but the top one is the "imperialism" charge, in my book. Is this the image of America we endorse? Saving the rainforest is a noble thing, but must we "force" it on the people who actually live there? The second biggest reason is the potential financial disaster it could cause. Do we need another 2-3 trillion dollar market (as carbon is estimated to become in a decade), based on a dubious premise? Even if one believes man made carbon emissions contribute to global warming, exactly how does preserving trees in the Brazilian rainforest "cut" America's carbon emissions? It doesn't. Carbon "credits" are a scam, being sold by the President, and everyone who supports him on this issue. Read or watch the Frontline piece, and decide for yourself.




Friday, May 07, 2010

The Difference Between Al Queda and the Taliban; New York Shrugs, Bloomberg Bames It On Health Care Opponent; Adam Lambert's Sells Out Times Square!




Next month, I'm going to spend ten hours in visual range of the spot of the attempted terrorist attack in Times Square. I'll be waiting in line for the best "general admission" floor spot to see Adam Lambert at the Nokia Theater. It's strange, but I'm almost relieved that this happened now, before the night of Lambert's show. It wasn't too long ago that a very suspicious van was deserted in Times Square for three days, before it was given similar treatment. That one was just an abandoned vehicle, but this more recent one was an actual "bomb," of some kind. That's the point that makes most NY'ers go "hmmmm." What kind of bomb was it? Well, it brings to mind the old "Batman" TV show, with Adam West. He always got caught by the villain, and was subjected to some complex mechanism to kill him. However, the villain always left before Batman was killed, and Bats would always escape. This device seemed needlessly complex, and far less than foolproof, much like the "plot devices" from the Batman show. What's more, he obtained "non-explosive" fertilizer, which was put in a trunk, next to truly explosive materials. This shows him to be stupider than Batman's average villain, if that's possible.


The Taliban in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for him, and his "attack," but they might want to think twice about that. If this is the quality of their terrorists, compared to Al Queda, then they may want to stay more "focused" in their own country, because their boy, Faisal Shahazad, didn't want to give his life up attacking this country. Al Queda is known for suicide attacks, but it seems the Taliban recruits less "passionate" followers. Not that it couldn't have killed hundreds of people, had the "bomb" gone off, but the thousands of New Yorkers peipherally affected by this probably thought it was just "another crazy day in midtown," until they got home and saw the news unfolding. This is the New York way. Notice that most interviews on TV were of a tourists, and not local people.


Also interesting were the media reports about the "white man, in his 40's," who changed his shirt on the street, or Mayor Bloomberg's comment that it might be a radical "health care opponent," but since both of those terms describe me, I knew they were off-base. We have a local (and still at large) "bicycle bomber" terrorist, here in NYC, who blew up a small bomb at the USMC recruiting station at Times Square, and is suspected of bomb attacks at the Mexican and Brittish embassies, but none of his bombs have injured anyone, so he's not taken too seriously, by the public. By trying to fit this bombing attempt into that category, the media and Bloomie encouraged a collective "shrug" from native NY'ers.


So was this was another Islamist attack against freedom of expression, or retaliation for our "drone" campaign against the Taliban leadership? Was it directed against Comedy Central's "South Park," whose headquarters are feet from where the car bomb was parked, or against Obama's war policy? Who cares? Not this NY'er. In this case, I support both South Park's freedom of expression, and Obama's attacks on the Taliban leadership, and I'll still be going to Times Square next month, to see Adam Lambert. That's how we fight terrorism here; we go about our business and recreational activities, and let our government kill the bastards who want to "blow up the spot." It looks like the "Glamberts," as my girlfriend and her fellow Lambert fans call themselves, have more courage than the cowardly Taliban car-bomber Faisal Shahazad.




ARIZONA, TAKE OFF YOUR RAINBOW SHADES




As a private citizen, I've hung out with illegal aliens many times. Often, I was violating a law or two myself. I've worked with, and perhaps hired illegal aliens, though I don't think I ever worked for one (but it's possible). I would only call a local cop on an illegal alien in a situation where I would call a local cop on anybody. When I was on guard duty at Camp Pendleton, CA, in '84, we occasionally saw illegals travelling through the base, and we reported them, most of the time. Of course, that was a different time, when I could spend a night walking the streets of Tijuana alone, smoking Mexican Marlboros, without getting killed or kidnapped. It's a different time, now, and I doubt I'll ever vist TJ again.


I'd like to make a comparison between the new Arizona state law, and the federal law that already exists, and my attitude, as a private citizen. The state law basically codifies the federal immigration law for enforcement by state and local authorities, and also codifies restrictions against racial profiling, contrary to what it's opponents claim. They typically use a ridiculous hypothetical situation, such as "a man takes his granddaughter out for an ice cream, and a cop asks him for his papers." I look to my personal experience with illegal aliens, for a closer analogy: cops will only ask about citizenship papers from people they've been either "called" about, or people they directly see violate a law.


There are several points that this law can be reasonably debated about: loopholes, constitutionality, and unintended consequences. The first loophole that comes to mind is that anyone can accuse someone that they know is illegal with any kind of crime, and get them jailed, and deported. What a thing to hold over someone's head! Actually, this is already being done to millions of illegals, with the threat of reporting them to ICE (formerly the INS). Unfortunately, the federal agency rarely responds to individual complaints, opting to produce "mass arrests" at large corporations, for some reason, so it's really an empty threat. What will happen when some "old-timer" in Arizona calls the local cops on "a bunch of illegals, harassing" him in front of the Home Depot? We'll see.


There is also a question of it's constitutionality. There is an overlap in many areas of the justice system, between local, state, and federal law enforcement, and the judicial system. Indeed, they often fight each other for jurisdiction. This looks like a classic case of a state asserting it's power, because of a vacuum of federal power on this issue. Under current federal law, an ICE agent can ask any legal resident alien for their papers at any time, without the restrictions that the state law puts on local officials. Is it constitutional? Can a state make a law regarding immigration status? It seems they have, already, in the widely-accepted laws giving "in-state" tuition to "undocumented" students, at many state universities. There are also states that have cities that feel free to reject federal immigration laws, the so-called "sanctuary cities," with no judicial interference. Is a state allowed to create a "parallel" law to federal immigration law, and enforce it? I'm no constitutional scholar, but I can't wait to see what legal points decide this.


There have already been many unintended consequences, even before the law takes effect. ARIZONA has become a dirty word, to the point where the "Arizona Iced Tea" company had to release a public statement that they're really based in Long Island (as am I). This is what's known as a "media backlash," which will last as long as it can be stretched out. It's following the same route as the demonization of the Tea Party people. By the end of the Summer, it will be apparent that AZ is doing the right thing, and whether the SCOTUS upholds or overturns the law, it will happen after this year's elections, putting the issue squarely into the '12 presidential election debate.


Notice the difference in the protesters from the "Tea Parties," and the "anti-Arizona" protesters. The Tea Party group is protesting against government's intrusive/abusive use of taxing, spending, and bureaucratic power over every citizen's life. This group has been portrayed as a radical fringe, with anything from racist to fascist beliefs, often in the guise of "bitter old white people (mostly men)." The group protesting the Arizona law is protesting against government's potential intrusive/abusive use of police or bureaucratic power against citizens of a certain ethnicity. I use the word "potential" advisedly, because the law is not in effect yet, while the laws that the Tea Party people oppose have been the law of the land for years, and apply to all citizens, plus illegals that try to comply with most of our laws. Anti-Arizona protesters have been portrayed as crusaders for social justice, without regard to the hateful rhetoric and violence at their rallies.


The kicker is that the "anti-Arizona" protesters are calling the law "racist" and "fascist," which are the same terms that are used to describe the Tea Party people. Now, as a Tea Party person, myself, I know that immigration law is not one of the core issues of the Tea Party movement. If anything, this shows that often, the opposition to both of these movements (tea party and anti-illegal immigration) just drag up the same slanderous "talking points" toward their opponents. I hope some of them read this column, and learn a little about giving credit to the substance of opposing views, even when you bash the opposition.


Though "comprehensive immigration reform" is on the "front burner" right now, I doubt it will go anywhere, this year. Arizona's law seems to be a "galvanizing" political event, but it actually is a counter to any federal action, while the pols wait to see how the judiciary sorts this out. Obama is not the only one playing chess, in this situation. Perhaps Arizona's government stepped onto the middle of the board to prevent a really bad move by the forces of "amnesty" from the OA. Meanwhile, the war in Mexico is brewing on our border, and it can't be hidden much longer.




Tea Parties, Reagan, Bush, Perot, Clinton, Bush, and Why the Center is Against Obama


If President Obama has half a brain in his head, he'll become an actual "moderate." Let's look at where the actual center of American politics resides, on domestic issues. Reagan famously won over Democrats, which Bush (42) lost to Perot, when he ran against Clinton, in '92. Clinton had a change of heart, approving conservative domestic policies like "welfare reform," before his re-election in '96. It's worth noting that the GOP took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years in '94.


I suggest that the "tea party" movement is a manifestation of this same "center-right-libertarian" movement that has influenced America's politics over the last 20 years. These people aren't "worked up" about abortion, or gay marriage. They are more concerned with the government keeping American business "uncompetitive" in the world market, and keeping Americans from being gainfully employed. It's already out in the open: NY Dems have already shut down the conversion of an old Bronx armory into a mall, because they wanted "living wage" guarantees (an abstract number, sometimes equated to union wages) for every emloyee of every business that rented space in the proposed mall. Some legislators suggested the city should "make up the difference" with tax money! These are politicians that represent President Obama's view on the economy, and government's role in it.


That idea is the opposite of what will foster economic competition. One thing that this idea does not take into account is that lower wage jobs serve a function in any economy. People with no skills or work experience aren't worth paying wages that experienced workers make. The "living wage" argument supposes that anyone with an entry level job is supporting a family, when most entry level jobs go to teen, or adult children of people making a "living wage," who are still supporting those children. Why don't we make the minimum wage 15, or 20 dollars an hour? Figure it out.


There is a shortage of jobs in the USA. That means that people will work harder to find work, and employers will be able to pay less, to get qualified workers. No government regulation can change that for the better, though it can screw things up exponentially, with bad legislation. This is what I worry about, with President Obama. He has a real problem between his base, and the majority of Americans, who side with the "tea party" people more often than not. Better ideas come from people who own, manage, and work for actual businesses, in the real world, not "academics" or "politicians." Besides not listening to the "tea party" people, he made fun of them, which made him look pretty petty.


Perot warned us about "the big 'sucking' sound" that would come if either Clinton or GHW Bush won the election, in '92, because both of them were pro-NAFTA. That sound came and went, without much notice, until now. The policy is not wrong, but it will be painful, at times. I'll quote Walter E. Williams: "If they shoot a hole in their side of the boat, do we have to shoot one in our side, too?" Protectionism will not re-industrialize America. We should ratify the pending trade treaties with Columbia, South Korea, and any other nation that wants to buy American products.


There are many concepts that are "off" of this administrations "radar," which ought to be "on it." Common sense reforms, like switching "defined benefit" federal retirement programs to "defined contribution," and allow employees to contribute as much as they want. Obama's also not touching Social Security, better known as the greatest "Ponzi" scheme the Feds have ever pulled on us, because it's so disgraceful. At least Bush tried to fix it, as noted in my "right of center" LEAVWORLD: GRAFFITI POLITTI blog. I'd rather have an account of my own, than a statement telling me what the government "promises, but not guarantees" for me, in the future.


In conclusion, here's how we can trace the political "center" of US politics, over the last 30 years: Reagan "took back" the "center" that had drifted to Carter, Bush (42) lost them to Clinton, with help from Perot. Bush (43) didn't exactly win them back, but "the center" still liked the GOP more than Gore. For the record, the budget surpluses would have ended in 2001 whether Gore or Bush won the election. I was also one of those who said to myself "thank God Al Gore isn't the president" on 9/11." Bush held his "center-right" coalition together until he got re-elected, when it all fell apart. The economic conservatives broke from the defense hawks, and the social conservatives, who each had their own gripes with "their" party in charge of both executive and legislative branches of government.


In '06, the Dems took control of the congress, and the Bush Administration "circled the wagons" around Iraq. Senator Obama, newly elected, was a rising star, though no-one thought he was ready to be president. He represented "the future" of the Democratic party, while Hillary represented the "now" opposition to Bush. They agreed on increasing the federal budget, and didn't bother to act on the Bush administration's warnings of the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which presaged the "mortgage crisis." Bush lost all credibility with fiscal conservatives when he passed the TARP bill, and then tapped it to bail out GM, all the while not acting against Fannie/Freddie. This is when the "center" said "what do we have to lose, voting for Obama, instead of McCain?"


McCain had no chance, and was successfully painted as a continuation of Bush's fiscal policies. Obama won the center, in '08, but many of those voters who supported him are attending "tea parties" now. There are alot of issues that occupy voters, and they seem to rotate in precedence, on a political level. I like our president, because he is going to give us, as a nation, a real idealogical test,in a different way than Bush did. Where is "the center" of this country? We're gonna find out. Call it "triangulation."




More NY Times Sniping at the Tea Party Falls Flat




Hat tip to James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" column, for the following tidbit from Ms. Collins, at the NY Times. Taranto makes it part of a larger point, but I'd like to take another look at this excerpt. If I accept that 47% of American households pay no income tax, how does that relate to 45% of Tea Party supporters making less than $50,000? If she assumes that all the people paying no income tax "make less" than 50K, she knows nothing about the tax code. Plenty of people who make more than 50K pay no tax, if they have enough "deductions." As someone who makes less than 50K, but still pays income tax, I have to question her assumptions, when my own experience refutes them, as well. (link)


According to one much, much-quoted study by the Tax Policy Center, 47 percent of American households didn't have to pay one cent of income tax for 2009. . . .


According to the Gallup polls, 45 percent of Tea Party supporters have incomes under $50,000. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, Tea Party activists are virtually the only segment of the population in which a majority feels its tax burden is unfair. Clearly, these are not the kind of folks who would cancel their anti-tax rallies just on account of not being taxed.


My questions about her assumptions were multiplied by the next paragraphs:


"We're here to take our country back," said a former Missouri House speaker at a Tea Party rally at the State Capitol, where nobody appeared to be grateful for the good news about the bottom 47 percent at all.


Let us stop for a minute and consider this "take our country back" mantra. Some people believe it is the cry of angry white men who don't like seeing a lot of blacks, women and gay people in positions of power. I prefer a less depressing explanation, which is that all this yearning for the golden days of yore has less to do with Washington than with the fact that so many of the Tea Partyists appear to be in late middle age. I think they just want to go back to the country that existed when they were 28 and looked really good in tight-fitting jeans. Which is no longer the case.


Ms. Collins sets up the "'take our country back' mantra" as something that "some people" believe is bigoted, but not her. She thinks the "tea party" people want to recapture the world of their youth, though 28 is a rather specific age to mention. Maybe I'm in "early middle age," so I'd like the world to be as it was when I was 18, or even 13. Again, this is so far off-base, it is absurd. "Taking back our country" is a political phrase, which is often, if not always used by the party in the minority. I'm surprised she didn't use the common liberal refrain of "turning back the clock," but she clearly characterized her opinion in those terms. My guess is that she's saving that "tidbit" for after election day.


"Taking back our country" means something, and it's actually bipartisan, though "politics" are deeply involved. Both parties are complicit in the excesses, but there are other influences at work. Any source of "political power" becomes a money tree, whether from individual, corporate, or politial sources. The "Tea Party" movement is political chaos, at the moment, and that's a good thing. It gives individuals exposure to many other people who share similar concerns, and any differences they may have. The issues that have consensus among the various groups will be on the national political map, beyond a doubt. The party that embraces that consensus will be a political winner. I see that consensus as this: "It is beyond a doubt that limiting government power and spending will benefit the country. We want our representatives to not only say this, but do it."


There's something else about the "when they were 28 and looked really good in tight-fitting jeans" comment. What if I said that about some aging "baby boomer" liberal? Or if I said "in baggie hippie jeans?" Again, it doesn't matter which style of dress she's referring to, it's the condescending assumption that these people want to "relive" some kind of past glory. I can assure her that everyone there remembers those days as politically and culturally tumultuous. What was different then was that the tax code was simpler, and the government less intrusive in our lives, though some people complained about that, even back then.


Competing political groups create more political "customers," or people who pay attention to politics, and policy. I'm not worried about too much free speech, or political advertising, so if some of these "tea party" organizations are "owned" by GOP, Democrat, union, corporate or "non-profit" interests, it makes no difference to me. It's the people who actually vote, and they are more attuned to political BS than they have been in a long time. They want to know what a candidate will stand for, as well as stand against, and they will expect them to stand for it, regardless of the politics. Kind of the opposite of what Rep. Stupak did, on health care.


People like Ms. Collins may try to interject race, gender, and sexual orientation into the "tea party" movement's "raison d'etre," or maybe she just hated "the country that existed when they (tea party people) were 28." Either way, she does more to expose her own prejudice against Americans who disagree with her politics than convince anyone that the "Tea Party" movement is racist.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Political Pitfalls of Hating the "Tea Party" Movement



Why do all these people have to be hatin' on the "Tea Party" people? Rep. Steve Cohen, among others, brand us as racists. Now, I've never been to a "tea party" rally, though I've wanted to check one out. I'm one of them because for years I've advocated the same principles they espouse, and am happy to see people rallying to something I agree with. I don't know how Rep. Cohen equates "limiting government spending and taxes" with "racism," but he's in a seat that is supposed to be "reserved" for a Black candidate, according to a supporter of his African-American primary opponent. This being his second time through that wringer, he's obviously grasping at a political straw, by bashing the "tea partiers" as racists.


The real problem I have is with the media coverage of the protests, and the movement in general. Like any "movement," it's more about ideas that people share, and agree on, than the differences between them. Media outlets that allow the race card to be played against the "tea party" supporters on their programs, unchallenged, are not giving an analysis of what is bringing these people together, or what they're protesting for. "Limiting government's power, to comply with the Constitution; cutting government spending; balancing our total national debt, and putting all of it "on the books." Is that too difficult for them to report? I suspect that the "cutting government spending" part is considered "racist" by the media, for the usual reasons...(social justice, etc.)


Unfortunately for both the left-wing media, and the progressive Democrats, it looks like most people agree with the "tea partiers." The venom directed at them from both the media and politicians is backfiring, primarily because most people don't trust the MSM on politics. If I can coin a phrase, "Some bad press is good press." This was/is a real "grass roots" movement, although it's going through the turmoil of political popularity/infamy. There are many "tea party" groups, at many different levels of organization, across the nation. Some may be frauds or fronts, but it's a fact that this is a more valuable "demographic" than most media or political strategists realized, when they alienated them.


I expect to see alot more "tea parties" this Summer, but wonder how the media coverage will slant. Pres. Obama is on shaky ground with the media already, over a number of other issues. I'd be pleasantly surprised to see a change to objective reporting of "my political community's" complaints against President Obama and Congress, on CNN, (ms)NBC, ABC, CBS, theNY Times, WaPost, etc...but I don't expect that to happen. Still, they're being stung by their blatant slander of a large group of Americans, so they may need to "kiss some ass." Actually, they better, if they want to survive as media outlets. (Barring a government takeover)


A final note: Remember how the details of the TARP and Stimulus bills "dribbed and drabbed" out over the Spring and Summer, and dragged Dem's poularity downward, as they were trying to pass health care? Think of the "dribs and drabs" that have already started to come out of the health care bill. Besides not covering children's "pre-existing conditions" immediately as promised, Congress is holding hearings on why so many large companies are anticipating losses on their balance sheets, since it's passage. I don't think the surface has been scratched, yet, when it comes to unknown parts of this law. That reminds me of another "tea party" principle that I forgot to mention: "Let us read the bills before you pass them." It could be the final nail in the Dem's political coffin.




Sunday, April 04, 2010

God Bless Joe Biden, For Motivating the Opposition

If we didn't know already, Vice President Joe Biden reminded us that passing health care reform is a "BIG (F-bomb)-ING DEAL!" Thanks, Joe! Of course, he used the profanity in praise of Obama, so it's not like when Cheney said "go (f-bomb) yourself" to some Democrat Senator. Personally, I find both comments unremarkable, but for the fact that they've been remarked about.


I could rightly argue that Cheney was somewhat more discreet, only being on the Senate floor. Also, let's be honest; Biden is a serial offender, when it comes to sticking his foot in his mouth, surpassing even Pres. Bush's famed malapropisms.


For some reason, this endears Joe to most people. I have to admit, I like the guy, though I consider him an old-school "hack" politician, who rode Obama's coattails. He's got to be enjoying this, or he wouldn't have made that comment, at such an inappropriate moment.


So God Bless Joe, for giving us a peek at the "hack" mentality of shoving through unpopular legislation. It sounded as if Biden thinks this is like making the playoffs, to use a sports analogy. Now, they can build on this momentum, to win further victories, over public opposition. I feel bad for him, if that's what he thinks.


He was right, though. This was a "big deal," to paraphrase him. It's a big deal to the people who opposed it all along, and the people who want to repeal it now. We're going to replay your comment, and it will keep us motivated for a long time.


Joe Biden is priceless, for both political and comedic entertainment. Sometimes he helps his own party, but more often he helps the comedy writers, and the GOP. Ya gotta love him!

NYS GOP Backs Levy, Conservatives Back Lazio...What Will Happen?




The NYS Conservative party appears to be supporting Rick Lazio, over newly-minted Republican Steve Levy, the formerly Democratic Suffolk County Executive. The Conservatives endorsed him in his '07 re-election campaign, but he ran unopposed. Why was that? It looks as if he was fighting against the "tax and spend" mentality that most elected officials and bureaucrats have, and it was politically popular. That's why he might be a tougher opponent for Cuomo than Lazio, in the general election.


I want to share some excerpts from some recent columns, and use them in support of Levy's candidacy:


(link) The rallying cry in NYS is "stop the spending," and people are looking for candidates whose record reflects that. They are tired of having the party "anoint" candidates that they have to hold their nose while voting for...I think the GOP senators are scared, because he may represent the exact threat they fear the most: the voice of voters from both parties, who are saying "the party is over! STOP THE SPENDING!"


(link) If there was ever a state that needed a "political insurrection" by the taxpaying people, it is New York. "Governor" Cuomo (this is 99.9% certain to happen) will not fix the system; he is part of it, and has been for years. NYS needs a governor like Chris Christie of New Jersey, someone who will take the bull by the horns, and challenge the entrenched liberal interests.


(link) Meanwhile, the GOP has a revolution within it's ranks. The fiscal conservatives are taking precedence over the social conservatives...Socially liberal, or "Rockerfeller" Republicans have usually been fiscally liberal, as well. That has changed...The GOP, as the minority, stands to benefit, whether it's "divided" or not. They are better positioned to adopt the "tea party" principles, in any case.



There's more to this story. Those same Republicans from the NYS Senate, most of whom opposed Levy? Well, they unanimously supported a bill that "busts the cap" on property tax rates. This is a clear dividing line between "politicians" and "constituents." Let's see if Levy is on the constituents' side of the line, on this and other "pocketbook" issues.


I'm leaning toward supporting Levy, because Andrew Cuomo is not an "agent of change." Much like Spitzer, he has been a "do-little" Attorney General, who reeks of empty promises of "reform." His latest crusade is against excessive overtime by public employees in the last three years before retirement, to "pad" their pensions. He's quoted as saying"how long has this gone on?" ...rhetorically, and answering "Decades. Decades." So where was he when this scandal started? Well, his father was governor of NYS, decades ago, and he probably knew about it back then. That's why it's almost comical to see him, as AG, just now launch this investigation.


Even shooting these fish in a barrel, I can guarantee that Cuomo will miss, and nothing will change, regarding public sector overtime abuse, if he becomes governor. He'll prove as effective as Spitzer was at "cleaning up Wall Street." What I know of Levy's record compares favorably with Cuomo's. Levy also seems to see the bigger picture of how the system is geared to increase public spending, and is looking for a way to break that cycle.


It's interesting that Levy has a record of butting heads with "public sector" unions, most publicly the Suffolk County police union. I hope he "butts heads" with the state troopers just as much, after their role in several recent gubenatorial scandals. They are just one of many entrenched interests that any "reform-minded" governor will have to fight. Plus, as an "underdog," I naturally want him to win, and continue his anti-spending crusade. Can he do it? We'll see.




Millions Lose Insurance: "No One Saw It Coming"




If the fine or tax is less than the cost of health insurance, millions of people will be dumped from, or drop their "current" insurance, in the coming months. This will not be due to "some government bureaucrat," but Democrats in the US Congress, if they pass health care reform this Sunday night. This follows a pattern of passing the toughest votes on weekends and holidays. "It's 10 PM, do you know how you're representative is going to vote?" I know my rep, Carolyn McCarthy, will vote for it, because she's part of the Dem leadership.


What legislators don't account for, when they pass regulatory laws, is the anti-regulatory nature of private individuals, and most businesses. That's why only a few are talking about this (well, there's Rush, Hannity, Beck, and a few others, but "no one" listens to them...), and the MSM will try to say "no one saw this coming," when it happens. It will happen over this Summer, leading up to the elections.


What is likely to happen, if the Senate bill passes, is the fight for the House rvision bill, which must pass the Senate. The GOP is going to try to use this process to strip out certain parts of the law, or at least stretch out the process, to allow time for everyone to examine what the Dems passed into the law already. If the Dems are attempting a "fix," then there is something wrong with the law as passed. This will be politically exploited, beyond a doubt.


There is a chance that I'm wrong about employers dropping insurance, but I think that other parts of this law will have similar "unintended" consequences, any one of which will damage our overall economy. It's going to be a tough Summer for Democrats, whether this gets passed or not. That political reality is why I think it will pass tonight. They've been herded to the ledge, and there's nowhere to go, but off...




Saturday, March 20, 2010

OBAMA Interview on FNC, Part One: Slaughter's "Deem as Passed" Rule OK

President Obama showed "masterful political skill" as he danced around Brett Baier's "deem as passed rule" question on FNC's Special Report Wednesday. He said he supported it, without actually saying it. Mr. Baier did a good job getting that much out of him, though it is actually a view expressed almost every night on Special Report (and other FNC shows) by AB Stoddard, one of the frequent panelists on Mr. Baier's show. It boils down to this: the vote on the rule is politically the same as a vote on the whole health care bill.


It sounds like a good point, but how many Dems who previously voted "no" will try to run on that vote in November, instead of this "rule" vote, whether it passes or fails? Technically, they will be telling the truth. They voted "no" to Obamacare. When they are confronted with their "rule" vote, they will explain, as Pelosi is currently fond of doing, that the GOP has used this gimmick hundreds of times. They'll also use Obama's current talking point of "process" over "substance," saying this was a "procedural" vote, as if it wasn't critical to passing the bill. I can hear them now: "When it came to the substance of the bill, I voted against it." See the Kerry precedent: "I was for the war, before I was against it." Don't think it won't happen.


The rule change has to come from the Rules Committee, headed by Rep. Louise Slaughter of NY. So the President is on the record as supporting the "Slaughter House Deem as Passed" Rule. Sounds scary to me, but it maybe the President won some converts after this interview...or not. This is just an analysis of Baier's first question, and Pres. Obama's response. Here's a link to FNC's "rush" transcript. Look at the transcript, to see how long and evasive his responses were, to put this in context. If you saw the interview, you know that Baier was trying to be probing, and stick to getting answers to his questions, but was hitting a wall. Still, he scored by getting the President to tacitly admit he supported the congressional process.


There are a few things that I have to take issue with, in the President's meandering response:


"You now have a proposal from me that will be in legislation, that has the toughest insurance reforms in history, makes sure that people are able to get insurance even if they've got preexisting conditions, makes sure that we are reducing costs for families and small businesses, by allowing them to buy into a pool, the same kind of pool that members of Congress have."


No, sir, right now, we don't have anything from you, other than vague outlines, which change on a daily basis.


"We know that this is going to reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars."


No, we don't. Some very smart people think it may increase the deficit by that amount, at least. With the precedent of multi-trillion deficits in existing health care programs, how do you expect us to believe this?


(In response to Baier's interjection of some emailed questions) "I've got the exact same e-mails, that I could show you, that talk about why haven't we done something to make sure that I, a small business person, am getting as good a deal as members of Congress are getting, and don't have my insurance rates jacked up 40 percent?"


This was the second time he seemingly "said" that under Obamacare, all Americans would get the same "deal," or "kind of pool" that "members of Congress" get. He didn't actually say all Americans would be able to afford the same health care options as Congress. He certainly didn't promise anything, because he doesn't have an actual bill that can be read, and translated into normal language, as noted above. He seemed to have "skirted Demon Pass," while "throwing some smoke bombs," to use colorful metaphors.


The President continued this pattern, through most of the interview. I missed the last segment, and haven't read the transcript yet. I'll get to the rest of the questions this weekend, since there won't be any vote in Congress. The President promised it would be online for 72 hours before the vote, so it can't happen until Monday. Wait, he said that on all of the other "votes" since he's been in office, and not one of them were even available online (or offline-neither House nor Senate knew what the bills said) when they were voted on. Damn! I almost believed him...not! Fool me twice, and I'm the fool!


Well done, Brett! You made news with an incisive interview! I look forward to weighing in on the rest, because it gets alot more interesting. You've got alot of statements by the President that are blatant BS, and I'm surely just one of many people pointing it out. Think of this as what I was yelling at the TV during this part of the interview!