6/01/2014

Conflict of interest, the economy versus global warming agenda


The Obama administration blames U.S. economic downturn on severe winter while pushing global warming agenda

Global Warming engulfs The White House|Photo Credit Wiki Media Commons
Global Warming engulfs The White House|Photo Credit Wiki Media Commons
It is natural that this should happen since liberalism as practiced by the modern Democratic Party has become a never-ending balancing act of trying to enact leftist agenda driven policies to solve imaginary problems. So it is not surprising that the imagined world of the left to the real world awaits only a peek behind the curtain to be exposed. That being the case there still has seldom been such an obvious conflict in liberal orthodoxy as that which is taking place in the upper levels of the U.S. Government.
In order to deflect attention away from the Obama Administrations many failure and scandals while simultaneously ginning up support from an influential and powerful segment of the Democratic base, environmentalists, the administration has made a big push on climate change policy, aka global warming.
Starting with the release of the National Climate Assessment, Obama and his administration have begun a new push to warn Americans of the terrible threat facing us due to global warming. In speeches, in regulation proposals, and in threatened “executive actions the administration has hyped the global warming agenda.
Meanwhile, it was announced on Thursday that the nation’s first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) had been revised down into negative territory, -1%. The reason given for this bad news?
“Overall the first quarter was subject to a number of notable influences, including historically severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth,” said Jason Furman, head of the Council of Economic Advisers. “
This of course is in direct contradiction to the theory of global warming which predicts that winters are going to be warmer. In fact the second paragraph of the Overview of that much touted National Climate Assessment states
Winters are generally shorter and warmer. 
Well, except when they are not in which case harsh winters are a good cover for a shrinking economy brought on by Democratic policies. Which “coincidentally”in the same time frame saw the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) not to mention the threats of and recently implemented environmental policies that will needlessly hurt businesses,
While the administration is out pushing a “climate” report that claims that the winter of 2012 was one of the warmest ever, they fail to note that the winter that had just ended was one of the coldest on record. In fact the previous year (2013) was cooler than normal for the United States.
Much of the U.S. saw cooler-than-average and wetter-than-average conditions in 2013, according to the government’s official annual climate report released Wednesday.
It is undeniable that the severe winter of 2014 hurt the U.S. economy, colder weather always hurts the economy, which makes a thinking person wonder why the purveyors of doom and gloom attack warmer weather.  What is not being mentioned however is that we have had many cold and severe winters in our history but it is only when you are hovering near zero economic growth will colder weather throw the economy into the below zero range as has happened in the first quarter of 2014.

But the real charade is the Obama administration blaming a severe winter for a shrinking economy while simultaneously warning that global warming is having and will have a severe impact on  the US economy now and into the future. Irony is just so ironic.

5/02/2014

Benghazi, the “difference” that it makes



Hillary Clinton on the Hill
Hillary Clinton on the Hill
In just the past few days two  important new “smoking gun” emails have come to the public’s attention about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Benghazi consulate which killed four American’s including the United State’s Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. One of the emails was released only after the “most transparent administration in history” was ordered to do so by a federal court as the result of a Freedom of Information request by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch.
The fact that it took a “watchdog” organization to unearth an email which appears to directly tie the White House to the infamous talking points of former UN Ambassador Susan Rice is in itself disturbing.  It clearly demonstrates that the institution, meaning a “free” press, which the framers of our constitution intended to be a watchdog of government’s inevitable abuse of power failed at that task.
It is particularly telling in this case since the email itself is no more than “how to” guide on  “spinning” the narrative of the events surrounding the attacks to that very same media, a task which was evidently successful. The media could not even be bothered to “dig” into the events enough to find the memo which explained how they, the media,  could be spun. It is not as if such tactics are not standard fare of any administration, all administrations attempt to shine the best light on themselves and everybody knows it. The problem is when the media as an institution willingly even  actively joins an administration in this political game.
The fact that this particular email came from Ben Rhodes is even more disturbing since Ben Rhodes is the brother of  David Rhodes who is the President of CBS News the same CBS News which was once instrumental in uncovering the Watergate, Iran-contra  and other Washington political scandals but seems to be less than enthused in perusing this particular “cover-up.” Recently CBS’s best investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson resigned  and revealed that CBS made no FOIA requests to obtain emails such as the one the network’s president’s brother sent out to “spin” CBS and other news organizations.
Which brings us to the exposure of the most recent “smoking gun” email. On her website, Atkisson informs us of another email which until recently has been not made public at the State Department’s request. The email  from Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones sent on September 12, 2012  to multiple high ranking State Department officials and as Atkisson points out totally contradicts nearly everything the administration was saying about the video being the cause of the attacks.
The private, internal communication directly contradicts the message that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated publicly over the course of the next several weeks.They often maintained that an anti-Islamic YouTube video inspired a spontaneous demonstration that escalated into violence.
The email is entitled “Libya update from Beth Jones. ” Jones was then-Assistant Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton. According to the email, Jones spoke to Libya’s Ambassador at 9:45am on Sept. 12, 2012 following the attacks.
“When [the Libyan Ambassador] said his government suspected that former Qaddafi regime elements carried out the attacks, I told him the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists,” Jones reports in the email.
There is no uncertainty assigned to the assessment, which does not mention a video or a protest. The State Department provided the email to Congress in Aug. of 2013 under special conditions that it not be publicly released at that time. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sought and received permission to release it Thursday.
With the publication of these two emails we now have documentation that:
  • On September 14, 2012 The White House attempted to deflect blame away from their policies and to the You Tube video as the Ben Rhodes email makes clear when he writes under “goals” for Susan Rice’s appearances
“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;”
  • On September 12, 2012 The State Department knew that the attacks in Benghazi were from a known terrorist organization and not the result of the “internet video.”
“I told him the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists,”
All of these high-ranking administration officials were “in the loop” on how the Obama Administration was going to respond to the events of September 11, 2012, yet they continued for weeks afterwards to portray the events in Benghazi as being the result of the video.
Which brings us to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s famous response to Senator Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) question on why the American public was not informed that this was a terrorist attack and not a demonstration “gone awry.”
 Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
The difference that it makes is huge and it is very simply this.  A fundamental bedrock of American democracy is that the powers of government should not be used as a means to attain or retain power. As naïve as this may sound knowing that all administration do use the power of government for this purpose, our very existence as a free nation depends on the concept that it is not acceptable for politicians to abuse the levers of government in order to retain their positions.  As fundamental as this concept is, the nation has grown cynical and ignores its importance at its peril.
In the same way that homicides occur multiple times a day in our nation there occurrences does not make the act acceptable.  Using the same institutions of government that are in place to protect and serve the American people in order to mislead them is murder of the public’s trust. One of our foundation beliefs as a nation is that government’s very existence is by “the consent of the governed” and if that consent is bought through the  deceptive use of our public servants of our government institutions then there is no real consent at all, there is only tyranny.  It is not necessary, at least initially, for despotic governments to rule by force if they can rule through deception.
This administration’s first big failure in the Benghazi scandal was that they did not attempt to rescue our fellow citizens.  An attempt which if unsuccessful or even futile still defines who we are as a nation.  As General Lovell testified “the point is we should have tried.”  How can the world look at us as anything other than weak when with the most powerful military force in the history of humanity we sit by and watch our diplomats slaughtered without an effort at rescue and thus far any retribution.
From a domestic political point of view it is even worse. The institutions which have been established to protect and serve us are now being used to deceive and manipulate us with no oversight from the media and in some cases with active support from that media.  At this point in our history, this makes a very big difference Madam Secretary, a very big difference indeed.

4/20/2014

The Tea Party "loser" narrative, the decoupling

Via-My Brenner Brief Column


(See part one here)

The continuing rise of the Tea Party has the GOP establishment still worried.


Photo By Author DC 2009
Photo By Author
DC 2009
As the 2012 elections approached the rise of the  Tea Party continued and they were no longer an unknown entity either to the nation or to the GOP establishment.  The initial enthusiasm that all “right” leaning America felt as they witnessed a spontaneous grassroots movement percolate seemingly out of nowhere to dominate the political scene in 2010 was being replaced by institutional animosity.  As that same movement revealed that it was not a partisan movement but an ideological one bent on a different kind of change.  Despite the diverse nature of the Tea Party it was clear that the underpinnings of the movement were based almost solely on two bedrock principles, a return to fiscal sanity and re-establishment of the constitution as the law of the land. Everything else was a distant third including party politics.
On the surface it seemed like the GOP ought to have embraced this new-found source of enthusiasm and electoral clout but things did not play out that way.  The Tea Party was a principle driven movement whose spontaneous combustion onto the political scene was neither spontaneous or a coördinated movement at all.  The Tea Party formed from a boiling cauldron of years of frustration by millions of conservative and libertarian minded Americans coming together in loose knit local confederations to express their pent-up anger at the direction the nation was headed.  Much to the GOP establishment’s surprise that anger was also directed at them. The battle was not to take on the Democrats, the battle was/is to change the direction of the country and the enemy was/is Washington D.C. and the power structure which was/is bankrupting the nation, undermining constitutional freedoms and in general destroying the American ideal. And it did not matter which uniform you wore because both sides were responsible for the deterioration. Once the GOP establishment realized that they were not immune to the wrath of the “masses”  rather than join the revolution they did what good bureaucrats always do, they began to protect their turf.
By the time the 2012 election cycle rolled around, what should have been a cake walk election for the Republicans across the board as 2010 had pretty much been instead became an us versus them contest between the “establishment” and the primary base of the GOP.  While the insiders lectured the people fumed.  The “outsider” Romney of 2010 became the “insider” Romney of 2012 and as the primary season wore on it became a contest between Romney and the “non-Romney” candidate of the week until only Rick Santorum was left to lose.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room of the 2012 election season, Tod Aikin. of “legitimate rape” fame  The GOP establishment and the media hang that elephant around the Tea Party like an anchor in hopes of drowning the movement.  But here is the simple question that is never asked, if Tod Aikin was the Tea Party candidate that sunk the GOP’s Senate hopes, who was the establishment candidate that he beat?
In the Missouri Republican senate primary in 2012 there were three legitimate contenders, Aikin the five term U.S. Congressman, Former  State Treasurer Sarah Steelman and St. Louis businessman John Brunner.  Aikin’s Tea Party credentials were that he was a member of the Tea Party caucus in the House and had been endorsed by fellow House caucus members Michelle Bachman (R-MN) and Steve King. R-IA).  Steelman on the other hand had been endorsed by Sarah Palin, The Tea Party Express and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).  If there was an “establishment” candidate it was John Brunner who was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, but he was also endorsed by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) who had been elected in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate and Freedom Works with its strong ties to the Tea Party. 
All three candidates had ties to and could legitimately have claimed to be Tea Party candidates. So whoever won was going to wear the Tea Party mantle into the general election. In fact a lengthy Christian Science Monitorarticle published the week before the election described it this way:
In Missouri, tea party support is spread across all three candidates, with Ms. Steelman receiving an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Mr. Akin receiving one from US Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Mr. Brunner being endorsed by the tea-party-friendly FreedomWorks group in Washington.
An ABC News article called the race a “Tea Party Mashup.” and called Aikin the conservative Christian candidate who would appeal to  social-issue voters, which indeed he was and which he did.  Two points that are important to remember though, Aikin’s comments that caused the firestorm fed by Karl Rove and crew, had absolutely nothing to do with the Tea Party,  they were spoken or misspoken while he was wearing his social conservative hat.  In addition it was not some “outside the beltway”  Tea Party bumpkin that cost the Republican’s the Senate seat in Missouri, it was a five term sitting congressman who was elected to that office long before the Tea Party ever came into existence and whom the GOP gladly wanted in their ranks in the House.
Whether Aikin could have recovered from his stupid comments is doubtful, but it became impossible once the GOP establishment threw him under the bus and continued to use him as a speed bump on every conceivable occasion.  That old party unity thing again don’t you know? When Republican’s eat their own it is assured that the media will continue to serve up further courses. Which is exactly what happened in Indiana.
Richard Murdock was a decent candidate and would probably be an US Senator today had it not been for the Aikin statements.  His comments in a debate would probably have drawn little or no attention if they had not come in the wake of the Aiken controversy.  In fact the question that prompted his statements would probably have never been asked without the “Aikin problem.” The hypersensitivity of the “rape issue” which is a manufactured contrivance made to trip up religious candidates on the right undid him  The fact that Murdock did not handle the question better is regrettable but candidates in both parties make mistakes all the time and it has nothing to do with whether you believe in the constitution and fiscal responsibility it is a matter of whether the party has your back, the GOP definitely did not have Murdock’s back.
Not so candidate macaca in Virginia.
Whereas Aikin and Murdock are excoriated and thrown in the face of the Tea Party Movement for losing their elections because they are inarticulate Tea Party boobs, we hear not a word about the failure of two former Governors losing in states where there were not only sitting GOP governors but the Republican’s held the legislatures. George Allen (R-VA) and Tommy Thompson (R-WI) were sold by the “experts” as being perfect candidates for the time. Both of these “perfect” candidates lost by nearly 6%. As did many other establishment backed candidates in 2012 such as Rick Berg (R-ND), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Connie Mack (R-FL), Heather Wilson (R-NM), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Scott Brown (R-MA) and a slew of other Republicans who lost in less competitive races. All of the candidates mentioned above have served in Washington either as congressman, Senators or cabinet officers.  Besides all being old Washington “hands” they now have one more thing in common, they all lost Senate races in 2012 along with Murdock and Aikin.
Was the Todd Aikin defeat the worst of the most “winnable” races to be lost in 2912? Probably but not much worse than Rick Berg’s loss of an open seat in North Dakota where Romney carried the state by 20%.  Remember Aikin was facing an incumbent in a purple state.  So why is Berg’s candidacy not scrutinized and ridiculed as having “cost the Republicans the Senate?” Or Allan’s or Thompson’s or Rehberg’s?  All seen as competitive if not very winnable seats going into the election season.  All of which establishment candidates failed at miserably.
The reason these races are ignored is simple, to analyze these elections is to admit that the GOP “insider’s” candidates did no better than the Tea Party “losers.” In fact they did worse. So who were the non-incumbent Republicans that won their races in 2012?
NE-Deb Fisher, endorsed by Sarah Palin and other Tea Party conservatives
AZ- Jeff Flake, endorsed by Freedom Works, Senate Conservative Fund and Club for Growth
TX- Ted Cruz,
Well is there really any more to say?

The Tea Party “loser” narrative

Via-My Brenner Brief Column

Is the Tea Party helping or hurting the Republican Party in elections?

Photo by Author DC-2010
Photo by Author
Tea Party Rally September 2010
Perhaps of all the false narratives thrown out about the Tea Party and they are legion, the most easily defeated by actual facts is that the Tea Party somehow has caused the GOP not to gain control of the Senate. The first point that must be remembered is that the Republicans held the Senate for over a decade until they lost it in 2008.  In one election cycle the GOP went from a ten seat majority to losing control of the senate and they did this all on their own, without any Tea Party to blame.
It must also be recognized that it is very difficult to combat false assertions that are deemed to be facts.  The false assertion in this case is that but for poor Tea Party candidates the Republicans would have gained control of the Senate. This assertion is based on the unknown, I could just as easily say that if not for poor GOP candidates the Republicans would control the Senate.  After all in the last two election cycles far more GOP candidates have lost senate elections than Tea Party backed candidates, which is a fact  Really the only way that this false narrative can be made to stick is by ignoring one side while focusing on the other which is precisely what the GOP establishment with the gleeful help of the media does constantly.
If you look at how the “civil war” in the Republican Party has played out over the last five years it is basically that when the “entitled” establishment does not get their way, meaning no opposition in primaries, they wine and cry. When they actually lose they often times take their ball and go home or in some cases actively work to destroy the Tea Party backed nominee.  Then with Alinsky like tactics they accuse the Tea Party of seeking to destroy the Republican Party while it is they who are by far most responsible for the divisiveness.
The electoral facts do not live up to the false narrative.  Although the Tea Party has been responsible for some less than stellar candidates, so too has the GOP establishment.  But more important perhaps is how the GOP has mis-characterized the Tea Party’s failures  while ignoring their successes.  So a look back at the record might be a good place to start.
Let’s begin by looking at the 2010 Senate contests.  The first thing that is necessary is to identify who were the Tea Party backed candidates in the general election and who were not. This is more important in 2012 but we shall stick to 2010 for now.  Although some of these names are not recognized as Tea Party Senators today, IE Toomey and Johnson, they clearly identified themselves as being so during the 2010 election cycle.
In 2010 there were 34 Senate contests, of those 25 were being defended by incumbents while 9 were open seats. Here are the Republican candidates who were actively backed by the Tea Party and sought their support, with a star next to those who were facing an incumbent. Those in italics won their election and are now Senators.
  • AK- Joe Miller *
  • CO- Ken Buck
  • DE- Christine O’Donnel
  • FL- Marco Rubio
  • KY- Rand Paul
  • NV- Sharon Angle*
  • PA- Pat Toomey*
  • UT-Mike Lee
  • WI-Ron Johnson *
Of the nine clearly identifiable Tea Party Senate candidates in 2010, five won their elections, two unseating sitting Democratic incumbents.
A couple of other significant notes that need to be made.  Joe Miller lost his election in Alaska to an incumbent Republican, Lisa Murkowski, who in a fit of divisive self-interest ran as a write in Independent.  It is possible, indeed very likely had she not inserted herself in the race after losing in the primary that Joe Miller would have been elected as a Republican Senator from Alaska. It could  also be argued that Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire belongs on this list as well since she was endorsed by Sarah Palin  and had some Tea Party support which the media and the GOP establishment consider the same as a Tea Party endorsement.
So in fact the only Tea Party candidates who lost in 2010 were Buck, O’Donnel and Angle.  Buck lost in a purple state by 1.68%, Angle lost in a purple state to a five term incumbent who just happened to be the sitting Majority Leader in the US Senate. O’Donnel, probably the weakest of the candidates lost in a solid blue state. The important thing to remember though is that all of these candidates that lost and some that won were not enthusiastically supported by the GOP establishment.  In fact in some cases, O’Donnel and Angle in particular they were actually derided in the media by “our side.”  In the case of  Nevada and especially Colorado,  more positive and enthusiastic support from the GOP might have made a difference, instead there was ridicule.
A quick list of other GOP “losers” in the 2010 Senate election cycle.
  • CA-Carly Fiorina *
  • CT- Linda McMahon
  • HI- Cam Cavasso*
  • MD- Eric Wargotz*
  • NY- Jay Townsend*
  • NY- Josef DioGaurdi *
  • OR- Jim Huffman*
  • VT- Len Britton*
  • WA- Dino Rossi *
  • WV- John Reeves Raese
How many Democratic incumbents did the Republicans unseat in the 2010 cycle? Two, Russ Feingold and Arlen Specter both defeated by Tea Party candidates. How many Republican Senators were unseated in 2010? One, Robert Bennet by a Tea Party Candidate Mike Lee who held the seat for the GOP.
Then  there is the story of Marco Rubio and Charlie, which way does the wind blow, Crist whom the GOP actively supported right up until he became an independent. There were two Republican candidates who lost their primaries and instead of backing the GOP winner as good party member are supposed to do, they not only did not support the party’s choice, they turned and ran against them, Charlie Crist of Florida and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Both of these candidates were “establishment” backed candidates and both acted in the most divisive way possible. So much for party unity.
Just to wrap up the 2010 Senate election cycle.  There is another Tea Party Senator that was elected in 2010, Tim Scott of South Carolina. Although elected to the House he was appointed to replace Jim DeMint when he left to take over the Heritage Foundation. Scott will be elected in his own right this fall having tremendous approval ratings in the state. The only African-American Republican Senator is virtually ignored by the GOP establishment, simply because to tout him would be to highlight his strong Tea Party roots. So much for reaching out and diversity.
Interesting isn’t it how you hear the drumbeat of  negativity about Angle and O’Donnel coming out of the establishment still while they ignore their own failures IE, Fiorina, McMahon and Rossi.  Were these seats any less winnable than Colorado or Nevada? It is probable that Mike Castle would have won Delaware, but is this loss or even the loss of the others reason enough to attack the most energized and committed portion of a political party’s base.  If the GOP establishment actually believes this, then not only are they out of touch with that base, they are very foolish and incompetent political strategist.
Tomorrow the 2012 debacle.


4/17/2014

Putin’s grand scheme bommerangs back to hit U.S. politics

Via-My article in The Brenner Brief

Putin’s grand scheme dividing his biggest threat,the GOP

Putin's grand scheme
CREDIT: Wiki Commons
As the Ukraine situation devolves into an uncertain future it is having the effect of clarifying the U.S.  domestic political picture. By highlighting the Republican Party’s divide on future American foreign policy, Russia’s intervention into Ukraine has pit two strong elements of the GOP coalition against one another.
The two factions, the so-called neocons who have in the past held great sway over Republican Party policy and politics and the rising power within the GOP of the more libertarian elements on the right, have not as yet reached a means for peaceful coexistence and the Ukrainian crisis highlights this divide.  Unlike the schism which has been created between the “establishment” and the grassroots “Tea Party” element of the GOP this foreign policy divide cuts across all elements of the Republican Party landscape. In 2010 as the Tea Party swept the Republicans into power in the House it was also primarily responsible for sending two of the GOP’s rising stars to the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul from Kentucky.  Although Rubio’s light has dimmed somewhat with the grassroots due to his foray into the immigration quagmire, he is still seen by most on the right as an articulate spokesman for individual freedom and a champion for constitutional conservatism.  Rand Paul has spent much time and effort in an attempt to reach out and draw new constituencies into the GOP fold, primarily the youth, which he hopes to attract to his libertarian philosophies and principles.  Both Senators are considered not only to be rising stars in the Republican Party, but also potential 2016 presidential candidates. These two “Tea Party” senators though have vastly different views on the Ukrainian situation. Rubio put out a Press Release on the crisiswhere among other points he recommended:
…. We should also stand with Ukraine as the interim government attempts to deal with these provocations. This includes immediately providing the lethal assistance they requested weeks ago. We also need to take measures to reassure our allies in Central and Eastern Europe by deploying more alliance assets to their territories to reinforce our NATO commitments to their security.
Rubio’s statements on and prescriptions  for the Ukrainian situation virtually mirror those of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) perhaps this generationsleading spokesman for the neocon viewpoint. Given his background as the son of Cuban immigrants, it is not surprising that he would have a more aggressive stance on  international matters  as it relates to foreign tyrants.  When  Senator Tom Harkins (D-IA)  recently took to the Senate floor and gave a speech praising the Cuban healthcare system, Rubio responded with an  impassioned and well received rebuttal showing not only his gifts as an orator but his sincere passion in regards to tyrannical foreign regimes. At the same time that Rubio is promoting the Right’s typical response to foreign interventions and bullying by tyrants such as Putin, Rand Paul is counselling what for the GOP is a new direction in foreign policy. Paul has put out only one press release on Ukraine, which in itself is telling, and that was back on February 28, 2014.  In the statement the Kentucky Senator took a more “internationalist” tone calling on the Russians to remember “that stability and territorial integrity go hand in hand with prosperity.” Since his initial formal response, Paul has made statements that indicate that he has absolutely no desire to be drawn into what he sees as a European problem but would use every non-military tool at the United States disposal to punish Russia. In an op-ed for Time he set out what a Paul Administration would do in response to Russia’s aggression, though slightly more aggressive than the Obama Administration’s feeble response, it is far from the cold warriormentality which has dominated GOP policies for the past several decades.  Perhaps most telling in his opinion piece he attempts to remind his Tea Party base what America’s biggest enemy is, and it is not Putin:
America is a world leader, but we should not be its policeman or ATM. At the end of the day, I still agree with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen — the greatest threat to America’s security is our national debt. Russia, the Middle East or any other troubled part of the world should never make us forget that the U.S. is broke. We weaken our security and defenses when we print money out of thin air or borrow from other countries to allegedly support our own.
Two “Tea Party” Senators with different views of how the United States should proceed in what still is a hostile world in the twenty-first century.  The foreign policy debate between the factions was ongoing but under the surface of other policy matters, Putin through his aggression has just brought it to the surface. It is not that Marco Rubio does not believe in fiscal responsibility or that Rand Paul does not believe in a strong national defense both men believe in both.  What this particular schism brings to the fore of Republican politics is more about priorities and tactics than divisions.  The fact that some are attempting to paint either man as somehow not “right” enough because of their differing priorities is actually counterproductive.  both men represent views which reflect their different backgrounds and has nothing to do with either man’s commitment to the constitution or the nation. Personally I might prefer one man over the other as President, but I have no doubt that either man would lead the nation in a different and better direction than it is heading now and upon that there ought to be no debate on the right.

2/21/2014

A House Divided... not so much



Abraham Lincoln famously said that "a house divided against itself can not stand", the civil war and the modern divorce rate proves him right.  Of course he was just quoting Jesus so he was on pretty solid footing for his assertion.

I have given quite a bit of thought lately to what really divides the United States these days and have reached the conclusion that we truly are not nearly as divided as it appears.  I'll get into that in a bit but first it must be recognized that political divisions are not necessarily bad, in fact in many ways they are good.  For one thing differing political philosophies actually define choices for the body politic and in the political realm citizens with choices are as a general rule a good thing. What a democracy does is institute these choices into a policy framework for governing, what a republican form of government does is protect the minority view against the "tyranny of the majority," or as Lord Acton put it:
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
Lord Acton by the way was the one who more famously observed that:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
The problem it seems to me is that in America today we have parties which are not truly defined by their beliefs but rather fraudulent representations of their beliefs. Examples would be that while the Republican Party ostensibly stand for "small government" when in power they actually expand government, IE the Bush years.  Conversely the  Democratic Party which ostensibly stands for the "little guy" instead has become the party of special interest, IE green energy, teacher unions, etc. Both parties talk a good game, but less and less represent We the People.

They get away with this by creating false narratives about issues which misrepresent the reality of the public's actual stance on issues.  Both parties do this but the Democratic Party are the masters of it.  I will take just one important political issue and show how on this issue America is not divided.  Yet a party, in this case the Democrats,  gins up division to maintain a political "edge" by totally misrepresenting the issue.

The issue is voter ID laws.  For years public opinion polls have shown the American public across all political ideologies have supported not only voter ID laws but photo ID's.  Last year just before the presidential election, in a nationwide Washington Post poll they asked this rather unambiguous straight forward question:

Q: In your view, should voters in the United States be required to show official, government-issued photo identification -- such as a driver’s license -- when they cast ballots on Election Day, or shouldn't they have to do this?

By any account an overwhelming number of American's support voter ID laws, in this poll 74% or three quarters of Americans said yes you should have to show a photo ID  to vote.

The Democratic Party whose own voters support this measure, in this poll by a 60-37 percent margin, consistently and as a matter of party policy fight against  voter ID laws. Their reason for opposing the laws is the loosely defined, never proven but divisive claims of voter suppression on the part of Republicans.

One of the ways they do this is by bringing national attention to changes to voter ID laws in Southern states, making it seem as if the sole purpose of these laws is to suppress the black vote.  Besides being a slanderous assertion towards the South in general, they do this despite the fact that a large majority of African Americans actually support photo ID's to vote! In the WAPO poll 65 % of blacks support photo ID. The Democratic Party as a matter of policy ignore the fact that these laws exist nationwide and the first state to enact a strict photo ID was Indiana, not known as a hotbed of segregation.

What the Democratic Party is actually attempting and largely succeeding in doing is equating photo ID's with racism and then pinning the Republican Party as being the racist. Of course this is an absurd and malicious proposition because to be true it would mean that 74% of Americans including 65% of blacks are racist against African Americans.

Just to drive the point home here are a few facts about the voter ID situation in the United States today.  Only 12 states currently require a photo ID to vote with six more states,  having new laws on the books which will require photo id in future elections.  Two of these state's  laws, Mississippi and North Carolina, are being challenged by the US Justice Department.  In addition two other states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, also have enacted photo ID laws which are being challenged and appealed in state courts. Rhode Island and Alabama have photo ID laws which will go into affect this year.This means that 18 states have passed some form of photo ID laws. These states are as diverse as Georgia and Hawaii and New Hampshire and Texas. These 18 states represent over 40 % of the United States population.

But that is not the complete story.  Currently 30 states require a citizen to provide some form of ID when they vote.  This represents 61% of the population, when the North Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin cases are upheld, which they will be, just as Indiana's stricter law was, then 71% of Americans will have to show some form of ID to vote.

Interesting isn't it that Alabama which is rated by Gallup as being the most conservative state and Rhode Island rated as one of the most liberal states are both enacting voter photo ID this year.  This, like every other fact,  flies in the face of the Democratic Party's narrative of why voter ID is important.  If some form of voter suppression was the motive, then the vast majority of states are attempting voter suppression against their citizens. States controlled by both Democrats and Republicans.

The question people should be asking is not are we a seriously divided nation, we are.  The more important question is why are we divided and even more important who is dividing us and for what purpose?

There are in fact very few issues where the American people are actually seriously divided.  Or at the very least it can be said that the divisions are not as clear cut as some, for their own political purposes, make them out to be. In other words the problem is not with We The People, the problem is with political entities which stir up division for their own power. Until we recognize this and begin to end it by voting for what we actually believe in rather than what party we belong to, we will continue to be a house divided.