Friday, February 26, 2010

The Battle Within the GOP

There is an interesting battle raging within the Republican party. It's pretty simple; it comes down to whether voters will come out for GOP candidates this time. Bush lost the fiscal conservatives, but kept the defense "hawks," for a time. It wasn't enough, and the voters gave the Dems a chance in '06 and '08. The economy started tanking shortly after they got a congressional majority, and national security was an afterthought, if not a political liabilty for the GOP.

The GOP was called a "rump," or "regional" party, that would stay out of power for at least forty years. David Brooks, and others said that the Republicans have to be more "moderate," or more "willing to compromise." This is not what happened. Voters asserted themselves, and candidates who said "no" to the "big government" agenda won.

So far, it's benefitted the GOP, but this movement is larger than either party. One thing that Pres. Obama has done is to unite independent opposition to his agenda. The "independent" voter, who was willing to give him a chance a year ago, is not so enthusiastic any more.

Meanwhile, the GOP has a revolution within it's ranks. The fiscal conservatives are taking precedence over the social conservatives, and it looks like it's going to stay that way. Issues like "gay marriage" and "abortion" are on the back burner, in current electoral politics. People want the economy to recover, before we resume arguing about those issues.

This is a long, ongoing battle, with many facets. Socially liberal, or "Rockerfeller" Republicans have usually been fiscally liberal, as well. That has changed. The "neo-cons" are an example of voters who are hawks on defense, conservative on the deficit, and libertarian on social ssues. Think of it this way: we want our "liberal" culture to influence otrher nations, such as Iran or China. We can't promote human rights abroad, and bash gays domestically.

Ultimately, the battle within the GOP will make it stronger. As much as the major media will try to discredit them, it looks as if the "tea party" movement will be a thorn in the side of both parties, this year. 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.

Some think that the real "big division" is within the Democrat caucus. They have found a way to stop "health care reform" so many times, when they had the numbers do it. What they were fighting about was the will of the "constituents" vs. the will of the Dem leadership, and the voters won. The Obama administration hasn't helped, by proposing terrorist trials in the civillian court system, something else that voters overwhelmingly oppose.

I relish the division in both parties, because it means that ideas are competing, in a political context. It's often ugly, but it's neccessary for any political system to thrive, rather than just survive. Let there be division within the GOP, and the Dems' ranks. Through this turmoil, the "will of the people" will guide us, for better or worse, in this election year.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Passing Rants As If They Were Gas!

I had to post a bunch of passing rants, this week.

If the scientists now admit that "climate change" science isn't settled, "man-made global warming" theories should be pulled from primary school cirricula; secondary schools must present both sides of the issue with equal scientific weight; and university grants must be equal for scientists who are skeptical of this theory. Anything less is a political perversion of science education.

Why did the President say that the stimulus (Recovery Act) bill he signed last year made "a second depression no longer a possibility?" It looks as if he's confusing it with the TARP "bank bailout," which he "inherited" half of from Pres. Bush, and adopted the claim of avoiding a depression. However, the President is not trying to sell us another TARP bill, yet. Right now, he's trying to sell us another "stimulus" bill, under the banner of "job creation." I don't know if he thinks we're all dumbasses, or just that enough of us are, for him to get away with this. Does anyone know what would've happened if TARP had not passed? Does anyone think a economic depression is now "not a possiblity?"

Mayor Bloomberg calls his closing of Broadway in Times and Herald Squares a "success," because traffic times are somewhat shorter, though not as much as projected. The real reason traffic times are down is that we're in a recession, and there are thousands fewer vehicles on the streets than before he implemented his "green" vision on an unwilling city. Bus and subway ridership are down, as well as vehicle traffic. How exactly does he see this as a "success," when it's a failure in the eyes of the people and businesses most directly impacted by it? When will Bloomie's ultra-rich peer group start congregating, and spending money there? NEVER.

New York State needs a Chris Christie. Andrew Cuomo is not the answer to NY's corruption/fiscal crisis. Giuliani stepped off, so we need a "no name" challenger, preferably from the "tea party" movement. Following Christie's lead, a conservative can win, even in NY, this year. Even over a Cuomo.

Caterpillar is a big company that Obama claimed would start rehiring workers last year, if the stimulus bill was passed. They distanced themselves from that, shortly before it was passed. Now, they've dropped out, along with BP and Conoco, of a group promoting "cap and trade." They were upset that Pres. Obama used them politically on the stimulus bill, and felt that their association (money) this time was being used to "pass anything," instead of influencing what was actually passed. This is a big problem: politicians take the payoff, and don't deliver. Government is like the biggest form of the Mafia; they can say "so what you gonna do?" -and nobody does anything...until they do something.

Even conservative groups are caught up in the fiscal corruption of "pay to play." Some time ago, I read a column about a dispute between UPS and FedEx, with government regulation square in the middle of it. Yesterday, I read that a conservative group asked FedEx for two or three million dollars to support their side, through their members. This is as disgusting as anything that sickened me of "organized" liberals. I've never taken a dime from any organization for my support, and I like to say whatever I think, without worrying who I might offend.

NY CORRUPTION deserves a whole post of it's own, but let's start with this: it's the only state in the nation that allows elected officials to create "non- profit" corporations, or have family members do so. They are allowed to steer hundreds of thousands of tax dollars into these "non-profits," which often do nothing but re-route the money back to the political benefactor. One simple "reform" could change this: Ban elected representatives from having any ownership, or connection to any non-profit group. The reaction to this proposal would identify more corrupt NYS pols than the state could prosecute, but the voters might "pick up the slack" at that point.

Some slick Bronx politician wants to freeze rents of "rent-controlled" apartments for the next ten years. Can anyone tell me why this is such a bad idea? Here's a hint: this bill has no chance of passing, and the sponsor is complicit in voiding the Bronx Armory mall-conversion project, killing thousands of jobs over "prevailing wage" requirements. He doesn't want his constituents to have jobs, and he wants to force their landlords to lose money on their property for another decade. He must be slick, to screw everybody so badly, and keep getting elected!

An Obama supporter kills three people over a bad "tenure" hearing. A Democrat Congressman resigns, not wishing to discuss his role as the prosecutor who cleared her of shooting her brother three times as "an accident." Is she as crazy as the IRS plane bomber? I don't know. Who will get more coverage, from a political angle? Probably the airplane guy, but I'd like to know more about the "progressive liberal" terrorist, if they're both "lone wolves." We need to understand how to stop acts like these, regardless of where the idea comes from.

These are a few of my opinions to chew on, and you can decide for yourself if I've got a point, or not. What do you think? (Keep it to yerself, OR DON'T, thanx)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Will Obama Become a Cliche?

From GITMO to "health care reform," our president has painted himself into a corner, repeatedly. This image was from an unrelated project about CLICHES, and it happened to fit.
Pick your favorite issue, and tell us how he's done this, on it! Let's see, he's committed to another "stimulus" bill, which is opposed by a majority of independent voters. He's promised to move the 9/11 terrorist trials out of NYC, but insists that they still be tried in federal criminal courts, while guaranteeing a guilty verdict. Sheesh! Talk about bad ideas!
How about that "open, transparent" government? Brian Lamb from CSPAN cornered him on that one, showing the falseness of his rhetoric. Yes, our president has "painted himself into a corner" in more ways than I can count! Help me out, here!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

O'Reilly and Obama vs. Stossel and the First Amendment

Bill O'Reilly had John Stossel on last night, to talk about the recent SCOTUS ruling which overturned parts of McCain Feingold, and a 63 year old law. They showed a clip of Obama scolding the SCOTUS at the State of the Union show, and then O'Reilly came out in defense of Obama's position, while Stossel defended the First Amendment. It was a great segment, but Bill O was wrong on the facts of the ruling. He had to admit that Obama was wring on the facts in the SOU speech, but stuck to his guns, saying he had problems with the decision.

The real problem is that there are any limitations on political speech at all. Let's say Citgo, owned by Hugo Chavez, wants to spend $20 million on ads to elect a socialist to the US Senate. Let's say that it will now be able to do this, through it's US subsidiary (which is not certain). Every ad they put on TV has to say "paid for by Citgo." Even large corporations like to keep their political dealings separate from their public image. Citgo USA does not want to be connected with Hugo Chavez. It's bad for business, and I guarantee the political response ads would hurt Citgo, in the pocket.

There's also the fact that the current campaign regulations overwhelmingly favor incumbent politicians, or "deep pocketed" outsiders. The system of regulation on political speech is corrupt, already. Unions and corporations already spend exorbitant amounts of money on "issue ads," without mentioning a particular candidate. It seems like the law is preventing straightforward communication. Why can't they say "we support President Obama, because he bailed us (and you, our customers and employees) out?" We have commercials for cheesy credit card "debt rescue" companies using Obama's name, but a corporation can't run a political ad?

O'Reilly seemed under the impression that corporations and unions can now "give" unlimited funds to a candidate. It did no such thing, as Stossel pointed out more than once. Any corporation, union, or citizen can now buy TV ads favoring or opposing a particular candidate, without co-ordinating with either side in the campaign, right up to election day. The "co-ordination ban" part of this law was left intact by this ruling, though it's had a spotty record of enforcement. That issue wasn't addressed at all in this ruling.

Let's remember what the case was about. A corporation produced an anti-Hillary Clinton movie, and was barred from advertising it on TV for thirty days before any primary election. The reasoning behind that decision was that the movie was an anti-Hillary "advertisement" itself, so the TV commercials for the movie were "anti-Hillary" advertising. Incredibly, one of the lawyers supporting the ban admitted that it would also have applied to a TV commercial for an "anti-Hillary" book, which may have been a turning point in the trial. In any case, this is a victory for free speech, regardless of O'Reilly's concerns.

Election law, like most other areas of the law, is too convoluted for many lawyers to understand, much less an average Joe or Jane who wants to run for office. This ruling clears up a few of the peripheral cobwebs, but one can only hope that the fools in Washington won't try to "fix" it, because we all know what that will do: keep the fools in Washington.

Supreme Court overturns campaign finance law -