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Author Topic: The Way Forward for the American Creed  (Read 69044 times)
G M
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« Reply #500 on: January 11, 2013, 01:06:04 PM »

 What illegal immigrants fought our wars, Peggy?  B.S.

Unless she is talking about Buraq and Holder's war on the 2nd. amendment.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #501 on: January 11, 2013, 03:44:28 PM »

Still, I like the core attitude about it being time for Reps to get radical.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #502 on: January 11, 2013, 04:01:05 PM »

Not with the present leadership.  Boehner and Cantor, along with Mitch McConnell, are spineless wimps when it comes to dealing with media wrath and Democrat hardball tactics.  If Allen West were speaker, or someone of his ilk - we might have a chance.  As is stands, Peggy Noonan's suggestions are a pipe dream.

Either the current Republican leadership is forced out in favor of tea-party types, or we are witnessing the effective death of the party as a national political force.  It has become watered-down and nothing more than Democrat-lite.
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #503 on: January 11, 2013, 07:53:37 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIGzj6eIwWU
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ccp
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« Reply #504 on: January 12, 2013, 02:47:48 PM »

This kid Ben Shapiro is on to something. 

I was reading in the Economist an article on Richard Nixon's library.  How origianlly the Watergate thing was downplayed but now it is run differently it is more the other way around.

The called him Tricky Dick.  They call his political strategies "tricky".

Like going negative on opponents.

Mr. Shaprio would explain this a good example of why Republicans are losing.

The left calls Nixon's politics dirty, tricky.

When they do it, or BOama does the same thing, they call it playing "hardball".


Shapiro is good at pointing out the subtle differences from the MSM, and the Dem party party strategists.

Shaprio worked with Brietbart.
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ccp
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« Reply #505 on: January 16, 2013, 11:45:19 PM »

http://www.rightwingnews.com/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #506 on: January 17, 2013, 10:32:53 AM »

           
After Four Bleak Obama Years, an Opportunity
Republicans too often forget to link their calls for spending cuts with economic growth. .
by KARL ROVE
WSJ

As President Obama prepares to be sworn in a second time, it's a good moment to consider the state of the union during his era.

As of his first inaugural, 134.379 million Americans were working and unemployment was 7.3%. Four years later, 134.021 million are working and unemployment is 7.8%.

In January 2009, 32.2 million people were on food stamps and 13.2% of Americans lived in poverty. Now, 47.5 million receive food stamps and the poverty rate is up to 15%.

When Mr. Obama first took office, Social Security's trustees forecast it would go broke in 2041. Now the forecast date is 2037. Medicare's hospital trust fund will be exhausted by 2024, if not earlier.

On Jan. 20, 2009, the national debt stood at $10.627 trillion—or $34,782 for every man, woman and child. As of Tuesday, it had reached $16.435 trillion, or $52,139 for every American. The public debt was equal to 40.8% of gross domestic product on Jan. 20, 2009. By the end of last year, it had reached 72.8% of GDP and is forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to hit 76.1% this year.

When Mr. Obama assumed office, median household income was $51,190. In 2011 (the last year for which data is available), median household income was $50,054. Household income declined more during the recovery, which began when the recession officially ended in June 2009, than it did during the recession, a first for America.

Last year, an average of 153,000 nonfarm jobs were created each month. At that rate, it will take 26 more months to get back to the number of jobs America had when the recession started in December 2007. Meanwhile, the workforce will have expanded by at least 8.6 million new people for whom there are no jobs.

It's worse for manufacturing. Last year, an average of 15,000 manufacturing jobs were created each month. At that rate, it will take nearly 10 years to reach the number (13,743,000) of such jobs America had when the recession started.

Since the recession ended three and half years ago, the economy has grown an average of 0.4% a year. That compares to 1.6% growth per year for the previous decade (which covered two recessions, including the "great" one), 2.6% growth per year for the previous 20 years, and 3.2% on average since World War II.

To create jobs and growth, Mr. Obama asserts that the federal government has only a revenue problem, not a spending one. But in the last fiscal year before he took office (2008), revenues were $2.524 trillion and outlays $2.983 trillion. This fiscal year, revenues are expected to reach $2.913 trillion—but outlays have jumped to $3.554 trillion.

It's those last data points in particular—outlays and spending—that present both challenges and opportunities for Republicans. Why? Because spending cuts in general and the abstract are popular, while spending cuts in the specific and concrete often are not.

To avoid coming off as just old-fashioned accountants wearing green eyeshades, Republicans will have to make a concerted effort to connect fiscal policy to economic growth and opportunity. Reductions in spending are a means to an end. Too often, Republicans speak as if they're the end in themselves.

Fortunately some party leaders understand this. For example, Rep. Paul Ryan recently spoke of "a vision for bringing opportunity into every life—one that promotes strong families, secure livelihoods, and an equal chance for every American." He credited free enterprise for doing more than anything else "to lift people everywhere out of poverty." And Sen. Marco Rubio has marveled that, as a son of a hotel bartender, he could aspire to serve in Congress and argued that "only economic growth and a reform of entitlement programs will help control the debt" that threatens the country's future.

GOP governors have added their voices to this line of argument. For example, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal wrote last month that "America is forever young because America is forever growing, leading the world . . . . All actions taken by Washington should be seen through this simple prism—will this help grow our economy?"

Facts matter, but they're not enough. It's life stories and narratives that capture the public's imagination. That's something every Republican must internalize in the spending wars ahead. We need to move not simply minds but also hearts, to show what the "right to rise" means for every American. There are powerful stories to be told. Republicans better learn how to tell them, passionately and effectively.

Mr. Rove, a former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, helped organize the political action committee American Crossroads.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #507 on: January 17, 2013, 10:49:43 AM »

Fine for him to offer suggestions now, after a disastrous Romney campaign he helped orchestrate.  I have very little respect for Karl Rove these days, as it's he and his type of inside-the-beltway don't "offend" the independents mentality that has lost us the last two elections.  I'm not impressed with his performance or his advice - particularly over the course of this last election, where he tirelessly cheerleaded for Romney as the only candidate who could win, then advised him not to go after Obama aggressively in the campaign.  Why anyone gives him any credibility at this point is beyond me.
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
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« Reply #508 on: January 17, 2013, 11:11:28 AM »

"Because spending cuts in general and the abstract are popular, while spending cuts in the specific and concrete often are not."

ccp:  Well yeah.  If 50% are getting benefits they will never be convinced to vote the other way.

"Republicans will have to make a concerted effort to connect fiscal policy to economic growth and opportunity"

ccp:  We can't just focus on the debt and growth and ignore all the other social issues.  We have to convince the country that government is NOT the answer to every single discomfort  of humanity.  Like restricting 300 million people from having guns to save "one life".   Like keep one innocent person from jail while 100 guilty get off.  Like making the entire business community have to spend tons to build wheelchair ramps,  Like having us learn foreign languages to cater to newcomers and not the other way around .  The cans have to make their case as how this can be better dealt with without more regulation.  They don't.  I fear we are becoming the party of one subject - the debt.   While this is perhaps the biggest threat this country faces this is not going to win hearts and minds of 50% of the population.

"a vision for bringing opportunity into every life—one that promotes strong families, secure livelihoods, and an equal chance for every American." He credited free enterprise for doing more than anything else "to lift people everywhere out of poverty."  [Ryan]

ccp:  I am not sure how many people who are in the US any longer subscribe to this.  Many appear not to subscribe to "equal chance for every...."  They want security.  They want some socialism.  They don't want equal chance.  They want equal outcomes.

"Facts matter, but they're not enough. It's life stories and narratives that capture the public's imagination. That's something every Republican must internalize in the spending wars ahead. We need to move not simply minds but also hearts, to show what the "right to rise" means for every American"

ccp:   OK we need to inspire people to be what it used  mean to be American.  Now it means get the check, avoid as much taxes as possible because they are too ubiquitous, and how to game the system by both sides - those who are getting screwed and have to pay all the bills for the Democrat party vote buying and liberal politburo utopian everyone is equal vision or those who are jockeying to get these gifts.
This is what America has become.   Thanks to the Democrat party led by their chosen spokesperson.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 11:16:20 AM by ccp » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #509 on: January 17, 2013, 11:36:39 AM »

Another piece offered for stimulating conversation even though I don't agree with all the points made:

Morning Jolt – January 17, 2013
By Jim Geraghty

The Difficulty of Selling Grown-Up Policies to an Adolescent-Minded Nation

There's a lot of wisdom in what Drew M. writes over at Ace of Spades:

How many people who voted for Mitt Romney or actual conservatives for Senate and the House want their Social Security and Medicare left untouched? How many of them give lip service to a flat tax proposal but would freak if their various tax credits and deductions were eliminated? How many of them talk a good game about getting rid of the Department of Education but would freak if aid to their kid's district were cut?

Of course Republicans are going to respond to these people. But these people who support all sorts of government spending while talking about "the damn government" and taxes are the problem.

It's simply too much to expect a political party to stand up to voters and say, "no". Politics is a market and voters have become consumers. If the GOP as a whole or an individual candidate won't give the customer what they want, they will find someone else to do business with. Consumers don't care about the health of the places they shop, they care that they get what they want. If Brand A doesn't have it but Brand B does, who cares so long as their needs are met.

What America needs is a movement that will not just tell people "no" but also convince them to stop being a consumer of government and look at themselves as they were meant to . . . an owner of the government. Once you own something your value set shifts. Owners care about efficiency, quality and the long term survival of the organization. Owners invest not simply take out.

No political party is set up to do this. It's irrational for someone selling a product to ask their customers to take on the responsibilities of ownership. Selling is about making things easier, ownership is about hard work.

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days. A slim majority of the voting public doesn't want what we're selling, but that doesn't necessarily mean the solutions we're offering are wrong. That slim majority of the voting public may think they're wrong, but a large portion of their assessment is driven by a dedication to ignoring the problems that we want addressed.

We're attempting to sell them policies of limited or reduced spending, but many Americans don't really see why spending has to be cut, or why the particular spending they like has to be cut. This doesn't make our concerns any less valid; it just means that a large swath of the voting public would like to pretend that adding roughly a trillion dollars to the debt each year is not that big a deal.

We're attempting to sell them various attempts at entitlement reform, but Americans again would prefer to believe the problem isn't that bad and can be taken care of later. We're right, and they're wrong, but it's particularly difficult to persuade people to undertake a painful remedy when they're not convinced that the problem exists.

I think you can argue that what constitutes "socially conservative policies" has gotten fuzzy beyond opposition to abortion and gay marriage. But broadly speaking, conservatives have wanted to see strong families, children in stable families, husbands and wives trying to work it out through tough times, making sure every child has a mom and a dad who loves them and hopefully a strong network of support from the rest of the family and the community beyond. We're attempting to sell the public a lifestyle of responsibility and putting others' needs first — particularly children's needs first — and it cuts against a culture of instant gratification and irresponsibility and perpetual adolescence.

We're (in part) attempting to sell them a foreign-policy/national-security stance that is variously strong/hawkish/interventionist, when they're exhausted from Iraq and Afghanistan and feeling pretty isolationist. I'm sure within our own ranks we have a bunch of folks who are seeing the appeal of isolationism right now.

So let's take Syria for example. I know the place is a pit of vipers, and that we're not even sure if there are many folks in the Syrian resistance who count as good guys. But when the U.S. doesn't intervene, or we use the Obama administration's approach of sorta-kinda intervention, giving the resistance some sorts of aid but not others, well . . . we see what we get: 60,000 deaths so far, perhaps 100,000 deaths in the year to come, millions of refugees, violence spilling into neighboring countries, and the risk of the country collapsing into anarchic bands of warlords and bands struggling to control the rubble.

I can hear the argument, "we can't save everybody; it's the Syrians' issue to work out; it's not our problem." But how many deaths does it take before it becomes our problem? Does anybody feel confident that at no point this won't become a major problem to our interests? How about if Assad starts tossing around chemical weapons? I'm not saying we have to invade tomorrow, but the administration's policy is, by and large, leave the place alone and hope for the best.

The opposition's policies lead to crushing debt, sluggish and anemic economic growth, miserable lives of dependency upon government, a chaotic world beyond our borders. They can coast along on luck for a while — help for the economy from a fracking boom they haven't managed to regulate to death yet, our enemies preferring low-level antagonism to direct confrontation — but sooner or later reality gets a vote, and it gets the deciding one. The problem is that a lot of damage can be done while we wait for the electorate to start absorbing the lessons from the School of Hard Knocks.

A Tragedy Spurs Us to Take Actions That Wouldn't Have Stopped That Tragedy

So I realize I should be outraged by Obama introducing 23 executive actions on gun violence, but . . . this is pretty much what we all expected, isn't it?

A friend who's more supportive of gun control than I asked me what I thought of the various proposals being put forth. I pointed out that almost none of the proposals would have made one bit of difference had they been in effect when the Newtown shooting occurred, suggesting that the purpose of the proposals was to make lawmakers and the public feel good about themselves, not to actually make it impossible for such a horrific even to occur again. In the end, there's not really a law that can prevent a woman from having such terrible judgment that she keeps dangerous weapons and a deeply disturbed son in the same house, short of absolute and total national confiscation of all firearms in private hands — a draconian step that the gun-control crowd insists they don't really want.

Among his "executive actions":  "Nominate an ATF director." That's not an executive action; that's a reminder you write to yourself on a Post-It note.
Assault-weapons ban? It was in effect during the Columbine massacre.

Extended-magazine ban? You'll recall my brief flirtation with the idea. I'm now pretty persuaded that it would not have much of an impact on future mass shootings, since
a) a shooter can reload within a few seconds, with just a bit of practice;
b) most shooters in these cases carry more than one gun, so they'll be able to inflict quite a bit of mayhem before needing to reload;
c) there are already plenty of these magazines out on the market, and no one's seriously called for confiscating them all; and
d) you can manufacture them yourselves with 3-D printers, so you'll never be able to really shut down production of them.

Would smaller-capacity clips mean fewer fired shots before someone was able to intervene? Maybe, on the margins. But let's not fool ourselves about the impact we're talking about with this change. A gunman who brings two guns with the ten-round magazines the president wants to require can still fire 20 shots before that first several-second reloading pause; in a school, park, college campus, shopping mall, or other public place with a lot of unarmed potential victims, that's a lot of potential death and injury.

On Obama's list is "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health." Note that the Newtown gunman had no criminal record and had not been ruled mentally ill by a judge, meaning he would not have shown up in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. (He did try to purchase a rifle before the massacre but left the store without purchasing because he did not want to wait the two weeks required under Connecticut law.) Remember, despite a considerable history of odd behavior, the Tucson gunman was never legally declared mentally ill or a threat to himself or others. (After he was suspended from Pima Community College, the school said he could not be readmitted without "clearance from a mental-health official.")

I will be surprised if the "tighten our mental-health records" talk doesn't lead to a much lower threshold to be declared "mentally ill" and unfit to own a firearm.  And whatever that new, lower, more vague and arbitrary threshold is, I'll bet it makes troubled individuals — or even not-so-troubled individuals — even more reticent to see a therapist, psychologist, or other mental-health professional.

But hey, at least the politicians get to say that they "did something."
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ccp
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« Reply #510 on: January 17, 2013, 12:12:58 PM »

Rove deserves some credit.  He did get the least articulate person to ever be in the white house elected twice though both times close.

But that is the most credit he deserves.

Again his thoughts while true still miss the mark.

O'Reilly thinks the electorate has changed and were past the tipping point so that more than half  want big government.  Even if they don't its too late because they are getting checks that they will not risk losing. Krauthammer says no that the rise of socialism is temporary and the pendulum will swing back.  O'Reilly responds that he hopes it doesn't take a catastrophe before it does.

As an aside,
I unfortunately moved to NJ.  It is scary to think that Gov. Christy comes the closest to beating Hillary in head to head polls.  On one hand he held the line on some state taxes and confronted the state controlling unions mainly public education which along with the Democrat party has a stranglehold around the neck of taxpayers.  On the other hand he wants the Feds to just hand him 60 billion - no questions asked.  And he demagogues his own party.    IT seems the only way to win in Democrat bastions is to not really be a conservative.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #511 on: January 17, 2013, 12:21:47 PM »

Christie has some very good points, but not only is he weak on Islamo-fascist subversion, he has shown himself to be

a) a bit of an ego maniac, e.g. his speech at the  Rep convention
b) not reliable e.g. sucking up to Obama in the aftermath of Sandy Hook
c) opportunistic e.g. lashing out at Reps for opposing a heavily pork laden bill
d) questionable listening skills

Not to mention no preparation on national or international issues.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #512 on: January 17, 2013, 12:34:02 PM »

Good points, Crafty.  I might add that Ann Coulter and many inside-the-beltway pundits (though I'm not sure about Karl Rove) were talking him up as a Presidential candidate this last time around - Coulter was practically ecstatic about the prospect.  Another example of these people's inability to see that CONSERVATISM, properly articulated - is what wins elections against Democrats - not "appealing to the independents," or "moderating" conservative principles.  Christie would have been an even bigger disaster than Romney.  Glad he decided not to run.
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
ccp
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« Reply #513 on: January 23, 2013, 03:44:08 PM »

Rush may be on to something.  His show today he was highlighting how Hillary got off easy today and that that is a prime example of the DC elites circling wagons to protect her.   They were not simply protecting her because they care about her personally. But they care about their power.  THEY are the elites.  Not the private 1% ers.  But them.  It is them apart from the rest of America.

This could a theme Republicans can tinker with till they get a solid unifying message that everyone can understand.

It is not just about government.  It is about government AND those "elites" around them.  The, as I call them, the liberal politburo class.   Included are some Republicans.    Some media.  Many academics.   All those who plan what is best for us.

I know I am a bit vague or hazy here.  But I think Rush made a brilliant allusion to a theme that Republicans can rally around. A theme they can banner to turn it around. 

Obama uses a theme of the "99" ers against the 1%.

He of course uses race, minorities to divide and conquer.  Repubs meekly respond with something about government is taking our freedoms.  True but this is simply preaching to the choir IMHO.

I think a better theme is to bash those with major influence and power in DC as diminishing America.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #514 on: January 23, 2013, 03:57:58 PM »

"(A)s I call them, the liberal politburo class"

Works for me  grin
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ccp
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« Reply #515 on: January 23, 2013, 04:25:20 PM »

Only Rush can articulate a theme that resonates like he does.

If only we had Republican politicians  with his expressive skills who combine it with more crossover political appeal.

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ccp
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« Reply #516 on: January 24, 2013, 09:30:06 AM »

With regard to strategy it appears to me that the Republicans do bicker and strategize in public.   This not only serves to highlight the fragmentation of the right giving intoxicated Obama/Biden even more confidence, but give our political enemies time to be prepared with their counter spin with the journalists blanketing all the major media outlets.

I don't know why we can't be more coordinated while having real conservatives quietly and discretely come up with better mass appealing strategies to counter the progressive "journey" as they call it.

Some billionaire - get together a coalition of very strict conservative repubs and very politically savvy pols to combine themes that are both constitutionally consistent within standard American traditions and beliefs and fit today's political demographics.

Someone should say to Blacks - do you all want to work for the post office.   IF this is what you aspire to government to support you, then look at the Post Office's books.  The whole charade will collapse.

Just when you are rising up to truly benefit from America you vote to give up your futures.  Not to protect them.   Why can't Republicans make this argument and make it every day.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #517 on: February 09, 2013, 04:32:07 PM »

The Blaze calls this speech Epic Speech Gone Viral.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/07/prayer-breakfast-speaker-praises-jesus-gets-political-calls-political-correctness-dangerous-hammers-fiscal-irresponsibility/
Click where it says "watch the entire, 26-minute speech below"
Watch the entire video!


WSJ entitled the piece that follows: Ben Carson for President

Amazingly he said these things right in front of the current President.

Excerpted: "...make time to watch the video of Dr. Ben Carson speaking to the White House prayer breakfast this week.

Seated in view to his right are Senator Jeff Sessions and President Obama. One doesn't look happy. ... Raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, he was as he tells it "a horrible student with a horrible temper." Today he's director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

Late in his talk he dropped two very un-PC ideas. The first is an unusual case for a flat tax: "What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he's given us a system. It's called a tithe.

"We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle. He didn't say if your crops fail, don't give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, 'Well that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.' Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs."

Not surprisingly, a practicing physician has un-PC thoughts on health care:

"Here's my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed—pretax—from the time you're born 'til the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members, and there's nobody talking about death panels. We can make contributions for people who are indigent. Instead of sending all this money to some bureaucracy, let's put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're gong to learn how to be responsible."

The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct, but he's closer to correct than we've heard in years."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323452204578292302358207828.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 04:40:14 PM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #518 on: February 20, 2013, 11:29:34 PM »

The Republicans on the cable shows keep going after Obama.  I think this is off the mark. 
The target is too narrow.  They should not go after him.  They must go after all leaders of the Democrat Party.

I mean Hillary is on deck while she begins a speaking tour just like Bill did for her in 2008 ; a quarter million a pop.

If we focus only on Brock we will miss the rest of the enemy assault.



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #519 on: February 21, 2013, 12:35:59 AM »

Obviously, with my continuing attack on "liberal fascism", I utterly agree  grin
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DougMacG
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« Reply #520 on: February 21, 2013, 11:17:15 AM »

The Republicans on the cable shows keep going after Obama.  I think this is off the mark. 
The target is too narrow.  They should not go after him.  They must go after all leaders of the Democrat Party.
I mean Hillary is on deck while she begins a speaking tour just like Bill did for her in 2008 ; a quarter million a pop.
If we focus only on Brock we will miss the rest of the enemy assault.

It is the governing philosophies, not the person, we oppose, and the criticisms just deflect off of him anyway.  But still this is a people business.  We need to do both, impugn these policies and hold specific people accountable for their results.

The lost popularity of George Bush in his second term cost him (us) 1) the House, 2) the Senate, 3) all of his second term domestic agenda including energy.  It meant that tax rates cuts would expire instead of becoming permanent.   And the agenda that never happened should have included housing finance reform that might have prevented or alleviated the severity of 4) the financial collapse.  Bush's lost popularity 5) guaranteed the election of the other party in the next Presidential election.  That is a big swing for just convincing the people they have a lousy President.  Bush partly deserved that.  So does Obama.

If Pres. Obama is tied personally to the failed economy, even after reelection, it hurts his ability to move more legislation, more spending,more taxes.  It hurts his ability to help Dem House and Senate candidates next year, it hurts the prospects of the next Dem nominee, and it hurts the future reputation of leftism. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #521 on: February 21, 2013, 11:22:20 AM »

ALEXANDER'S COLUMN
The Next Sunrise -- The Light of Liberty
Illegitimi non Carborundum!
By Mark Alexander • February 21, 2013         

"No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm." --George Washington (1786)
 

Dawn or Dusk?
From our family home in the mountains of East Tennessee, a sunrise has many of the qualities of a sunset. Indeed, when looking at a photograph of light over the Smoky Mountains, it can be difficult to discern whether it's dawn or dusk. That's in the eye of the beholder.
I enjoy both the morning and evening skies, but I'm a "sunrise" person. I live in anticipation of the light of the next sunrise, not the darkness of the last sunset.
I inherited that propensity from my father, tempered as a child of the Great Depression and a Naval Aviator during World War II. After the war, he returned home to grow a small business through innovation, dedication and hard work, and he raised a family through the turbulence of the '60s and the malaise of the '70s. He's in retirement now -- more active than many half his age -- and he celebrates his 90th birthday in two weeks.
My father has seen the best and worst of times. Given the wisdom of age, he clearly acknowledges the current threats to Liberty and the challenges facing our generation. He saw similar threats and challenges from FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society. But his concern about the current manifestation of socialist ideology notwithstanding, he is an eternal optimist -- living for every new dawn, every rising sun.
In my line of work -- as an analyst of political, social and economic trends, and a forecaster of their consequences -- sometimes it's difficult to hold fast to the "sunrise" perspective. But I can't help but see opportunity in any crisis, including the present. In addition to this predisposition for optimism, I'm also grateful for the example set by another eternal optimist and mentor, Ronald Reagan.
I wasn't around for the New Deal, of course, and I recall little of the Great Society years, but I do clearly recall the Great Malaise of the 1970s, with high unemployment and interest rates to match, runaway inflation, energy shortages, menacing threats from abroad, and a president who, though a man of good character, was wholly unequipped to handle the job. Then came President Reagan, who ably led our nation's about face, restored our national dignity, and seeded the longest economic expansion in history.
Ronald Reagan was a sunrise president. He heralded Morning in America. He focused on all that was good and right with America, the bright days ahead.
Reagan's spirit shines today in stark contrast to the darkness our adversaries promote. They appeal to the worst in their constituents -- their fears, doubts, greed, envy, brokenness, pessimism and dependence on the state.
Indeed, light is the mark of Liberty while darkness is the result of statism. But a physicist will tell you that darkness does not exist -- it is only the absence of light. So it is with the hearts and minds of men.
Post Your Opinion
This week, we observe the life of another sunrise president, George Washington, whose birthday (February 22, 1732) was spontaneously celebrated nationally from the date of his death in 1799 until 1879, when Congress officially established the observance.
 

Washington was not only the model of presidential character, but also the character of our nation. He endured great trials to lead his generation of American Patriots, those who pledged their Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor to lay the foundation of American Liberty and Rule of Law. Those who don't know our great history are predisposed to think of our Founding Fathers' trials as distant and unrelated to those of the present day. And yet, as the old English proverb concludes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
For instructive insight into Washington as president, it would be sufficient to read his First Inaugural Address, delivered on April 30, 1789, and his Farewell Address of September 17, 1796. These two speeches embody the real George Washington, and the true spirit of a Patriot. They were written by his hand, not professional speech writers guided by focus groups.
In the former, he stated, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People."
In the latter, he wrote, "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government."
He made plain in his Farewell, "Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. ... Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Washington's advice from the bleak days of 1777 is as applicable today as then: "We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
American Patriots, take heart. I am certain that at the end of the current long, dark night that there will be a bright new dawn for Liberty, just as the sun has dependably risen after the darkest of times throughout our history.
English theologian Thomas Fuller wrote in 1650, "It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth." The darkest hour of this era has yet come, but dawn will surely follow.
In the meantime fellow Patriots, as President Reagan's friend Barry Goldwater declared, "illegitimi non carborundum" (don't let the bastards get you down)!
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
 
Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post
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DougMacG
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« Reply #522 on: March 08, 2013, 12:00:34 PM »

Democrat policies doubled minority unemployment, collapsed wealth and did nothing to alleviate our heavily-demagogued income inequality. 

"Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular."

Yet Republicans haven't yet put a convincing answer on why prosperity-based policies are better for everyone.  Minorities keep choosing failure based policies in the face of these facts.  Brooks is Pres. of AEI.  I think he identifies a key messaging problem.  I'm not sure if he spells out the solution.  Maybe you have to buy the book for that...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324338604578326350052940798.html?KEYWORDS=republicans+and+their+faulty+moral+arithmetic

Republicans and Their Faulty Moral Arithmetic
Conservative values and money issues are worth less than concern for the poor.

By ARTHUR C. BROOKS

In the waning days of the 1992 presidential campaign, President George H.W. Bush trailed Bill Clinton in the polls. The conventional wisdom was that Mr. Bush seemed too aloof from voters struggling economically. At a rally in New Hampshire, the exhausted president started what was probably the fourth campaign speech of the day by reading aloud what may have been handed to him as a stage direction: "Message: I care."

How little things have changed for Republicans in 20 years. There is only one statistic needed to explain the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. An April YouGov.com poll—which mirrored every other poll on the subject—found that only 33% of Americans said that Mitt Romney "cares about people like me." Only 38% said he cared about the poor.

Conservatives rightly complain that this perception was inflamed by President Obama's class-warfare campaign theme. But perception is political reality, and over the decades many Americans have become convinced that conservatives care only about the rich and powerful.

Perhaps it doesn't matter. If Republicans and conservatives double down on the promotion of economic growth, job creation and traditional values, Americans might turn away from softheaded concerns about "caring." Right?

Wrong. As New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has shown in his research on 132,000 Americans, care for the vulnerable is a universal moral concern in the U.S. In his best-selling 2012 book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion," Mr. Haidt demonstrated that citizens across the political spectrum place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak. By contrast, moral values such as sexual purity and respect for authority—to which conservative politicians often give greater emphasis—resonate deeply with only a minority of the population. Raw money arguments, e.g., about the dire effects of the country's growing entitlement spending, don't register morally at all.

Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

The irony is maddening. America's poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.

Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular. According to Columbia University economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin, the percentage of people in the world living on a dollar a day or less—a traditional poverty measure—has fallen by 80% since 1970. This is the greatest antipoverty achievement in world history. That achievement is not the result of philanthropy or foreign aid. It occurred because billions of souls have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to global free trade, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship.

The left talks a big game about helping the bottom half, but its policies are gradually ruining the economy, which will have catastrophic results once the safety net is no longer affordable. Labyrinthine regulations, punitive taxation and wage distortions destroy the ability to create private-sector jobs. Opportunities for Americans on the bottom to better their station in life are being erased.

Some say the solution for conservatives is either to redouble the attacks on big government per se, or give up and try to build a better welfare state. Neither path is correct. Raging against government debt and tax rates that most Americans don't pay gets conservatives nowhere, and it will always be an exercise in futility to compete with liberals on government spending and transfers.

Instead, the answer is to make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly—it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats—too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns—but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.

Defending a healthy culture of family, community and work does not mean imposing an alien "bourgeois" morality on others. It is to recognize what people need to be happy and successful—and what is most missing today in the lives of too many poor people.

By making the vulnerable a primary focus, conservatives will be better able to confront some common blind spots. Corporate cronyism should be decried as every bit as noxious as statism, because it unfairly rewards the powerful and well-connected at the expense of ordinary citizens. Entrepreneurship should not to be extolled as a path to accumulating wealth but as a celebration of everyday men and women who want to build their own lives, whether they start a business and make a lot of money or not. And conservatives should instinctively welcome the immigrants who want to earn their success in America.

With this moral touchstone, conservative leaders will be able to stand before Americans who are struggling and feel marginalized and say, "We will fight for you and your family, whether you vote for us or not"—and truly mean it. In the end that approach will win. But more important, it is the right thing to do.

Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of "The Road to Freedom" (2012).
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« Reply #523 on: March 08, 2013, 09:03:35 PM »

According to Carl Jung, whom I hold in great regard, humans have four basic functions:  thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.

Different people have different hierarchy of these functions.

Working from memory, in about 10% of the population, thinking is the dominant function.  One suspects e.g. our own GM to be in this 10% grin  I forget the number, but the dominant function of most people is feeling.   Thinkers, for all their logic, often communicate ineffectively with feelers.  One suspects e.g. our own GM to be and example of this cheesy

When I went to Mexico, in order to communicate with the people I learned to speak Spanish.  To win elections, we need to learn the language of feelling, sensation, and intuition.
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« Reply #524 on: March 08, 2013, 09:31:30 PM »

As an INTP, per Myers-Briggs, my response is "Do you like feeling poor"?  grin
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« Reply #525 on: March 08, 2013, 09:43:16 PM »

No surprise to me that you would know your Myers-Briggs dategory already cheesy cheesy cheesy

Your witty response notwithstanding, one suspects your repondee would intuit your snarky intent grin

May I offer for you consideration instead noting that the Secretaries of the Treasury under Clinton, Bush, and Obama all came from Goldman Sachs and the it is no coincidence that the negative interest rate policies of Obama screw the little guys like us who are just trying to save while the big banks get to borrow for free and lend to the Feds at a guaranteed and risk free profit?

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G M
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« Reply #526 on: March 08, 2013, 09:52:17 PM »

Let's see, the powerful pay lip service to ideas of "fairness" and looking out for the powerless while feathering their own nests and serving their own interests and engage in policies that harm those they allegedly advocate for.

I forget, is this the China thread?
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« Reply #527 on: March 09, 2013, 09:29:02 PM »

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2013/03/10/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daybydaycartoon%2FkUnt+%28Day+by+Day+Cartoon+by+Chris+Muir%29#006871
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« Reply #528 on: March 12, 2013, 12:52:02 PM »

This could be put in a number of threads but I put it here because it is important that this point be made well and loudly, lest Rooster Baraq gets away with crediting his crowing for the sunrise.

The Axis of Ennui

By DAVID BROOKS
   Because I have to generate two columns a week for you, Dear Reader, I spend some time hunting for new ideas on the conference circuit. When you are on that circuit, you are perpetually under the illusion that you are hearing from the exciting, fresh people who are about to change history.
    You’re hearing from, say, the brilliant technology entrepreneur Shai Agassi, who is starting a paradigm-shifting electric car company. You’re hearing from some wizard with a new solar-panel technology, or some new social-networking entrepreneur.
    My main impression over the past five years is that the conference circuit capitalists who give fantastic presentations have turned out to be marginal to history while the people who are too boring and unfashionable to get invited to the conferences in the first place have actually changed the world under our noses.
    Shai Agassi’s company, Better Place, for example, has generated glowing magazine profiles, but it has managed to lose more than $500 million while selling astoundingly few cars. He stepped down as the chief executive, and his replacement lasted only a few months. It turns out that the things that are sexy to politicians and paradigm-shifting to conference audiences are not necessarily attractive to consumers.
    Meanwhile, the anonymous drudges at American farming corporations are exporting $135 billion worth of products every year and transforming the American Midwest. The unfashionable executive at petrochemical companies have been uprooting plants from places like Chile, relocating them to places like Louisiana, transforming economic prospects in the Southeast. Most important of all, the boring old oil and gas engineers have transformed the global balance of power.
    By 2020, the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, according to the International Energy Agency. The U.S. has already overtaken Russia as the world’s leading gas producer. Fuel has become America’s largest export item. Within five years, according to a study by Citigroup, North America could be energy independent. “OPEC will find it challenging to survive another 60 years, let alone another decade,” Edward Morse, Citigroup’s researcher, told CNBC.
    All of this was accomplished by people who exist largely beyond the reach of the lavalier-mike circuit.
    Joel Kotkin identified America’s epicenters of economic dynamism in a study for the Manhattan Institute. It is like a giant arc of unfashionableness. You start at the Dakotas where unemployment rates are at microscopic levels. You drop straight down through the energy belts of the Great Plains until you hit Texas. Occasionally, you turn to touch the spots where fertilizer output and other manufacturing plants are on the rebound, like the Third Coast areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Northern Florida.
    Vanity Fair still ranks the tech and media moguls and calls it The New Establishment, but, as Kotkin notes, the big winners in the current economy are the “Material Boys” — the people who grow grain, drill for fuel and lay pipeline. The growing parts of the world, meanwhile, are often the commodity belts, resource-rich places with good rule of law like Canada, Norway and Australia.
    Daniel Yergin, an energy guru, noted in Congressional testimony last month that the revolution in oil and gas extraction has led to 1.7 million new jobs in the United States alone, a number that could rise to three million by 2020. The shale revolution added $62 billion to federal revenues in 2012. At the same time, carbon-dioxide emissions are down 13 percent since 2007, as gas is used instead of coal to generate electricity.
    Most of us have grown up in a world in which we assumed that energy was scarce, or even running out. We could now be entering a world of relatively cheap energy abundance.
    Most of us have grown up in a world in which oil states in the Middle East could throw their weight around because of their grip on the economy’s life source. But the power of petro-states is on the wane. Yergin argues that the oil sanctions against Iran may not have been sustainable if not for the new alternate sources of supply.
    We’ve grown accustomed to despotic regimes in Russia and Venezuela that live off oil and gas wealth. But those regimes are facing hard times, too. Gazprom is already offering roughly 10 percent discounts on existing contracts. The Nigerians and Venezuelans may find it hard to compete. People in China and elsewhere are wondering if the fracking revolution means that the 21st century will be another North American century, just like the last one.
    What are the names of the people who are leading this shift? Who is the Steve Jobs of shale? Magazine covers don’t provide the answers. Whoever they are, they don’t seem hungry for celebrity or good with the splashy project launch. They are strong economically, but they are culturally off the map.
    This revolution will not be plenaried.
 ■

PUBLISHED MARCH 11, 2013


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/opinion/brooks-the-axis-of-ennui.html
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« Reply #529 on: April 14, 2013, 11:48:31 AM »




It is popular wisdom that President Obama’s progressive social agenda is predicated on widespread support from the younger, hip generation. Certainly, concerns like gay marriage, marijuana legalization, abortion, the DREAM Act, gun control, women in combat, and blocking gas and oil exploration and pipeline transportation all get a lot of play on campuses and in popular culture. And these wedge issues supposedly represent the future direction of the country — a wise agenda for liberals eager to cement a majority constituency for decades to come.
 
But aside from the common-sense recognition that people become more conservative as they age and mature — and start paying taxes, and become financially responsible for their own children’s future — there is just as much likelihood that Barack Obama may inadvertently be building a conservative youth movement. Indeed, the new liberalism in all its economic manifestations is reactionary and anti-youth to the core. The administration seems aware of the potential paradoxes in this reverse “What’s the matter with Kansas?” syndrome of young people voting against their economic interests. Thus follows the constant courting of the hip and cool Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lena Dunham, Occupy Wall Streeters, and others who blend pop culture, sex, youth, energy, and fad — almost anything to avoid the truth that today’s teenagers are starting out each owing a lifetime share of the national debt amounting to more than three-quarters of a million dollars. Those who ran up the debt enjoyed the borrowing, but won’t be around to pay back their proverbial fair share.
 





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University tuition has soared well beyond the rate of inflation, increases brought about by an inexcusable surge in administrative staffs, the reduction in teaching loads over the last few decades, the costs of subsidizing overly specialized and esoteric research, all sorts of costly new race/class/gender explorations, and a general expansion of non-teaching support staffs. Justification of such escalating costs was always based on the truism that college degrees represented a wise lifetime investment that ensured increased salary and better job security. That may still be true — in the long run — but bleak immediate employment prospects for those under 25, along with ballooning college loans, will eventually prompt a reexamination of such received wisdom. When academics at traditional universities trash private tech schools and on-line colleges, their criticism is not so much pedagogical as self-interested.
 
At some point, the huge campus speaking fees given a Michael Moore or a John Edwards, the off-topic rants of the English professor, and the proliferation of x-studies degrees that impart neither expertise nor marketability will be rethought by young consumers in terms of years of paying back high-interest student loans for brands that were not applicable to most employment.
 
Nearly every week, I receive a letter from a former student seeking help in finding a job. The common theme is a sense that something in their education went terribly wrong. Most fear that their present indebtedness is unsustainable and that their degrees are almost superfluous in today’s economy. There is also a vague resentment that no one in the self-interested university honestly apprised them of the odds stacked against them. It was about ten years ago when a student wrote me to complain that her professor’s skipping one of her classes had cost the student, in pro-rated terms, over $150. I wrote back to remind her to tally as well the interest charges on her tuition debt. Academics call such calculations consumerism, but students see what has happened to them as consumer fraud.
 
Apart from the elite of the Ivy League, most indebted students no longer look back at their professors and administrators as paragons of virtue or avatars of social change; instead, they see them as part of an establishment that sold them a bill of goods, one more interested in getting ever more customers than in finding jobs for those who bought their product on credit. The latest job figures show that among 20-to-24-year-olds, unemployment has risen (alone among various age cohorts) to 13.3 percent. For those in their prime working years (e.g., 25 to 34) unemployment is still high, at 7.4 percent. National debt per person has soared to over $53,000, a $20,000 surge in just the first 50 months of the Obama presidency. Most of the borrowing — both the Obama administration’s new borrowing and the older borrowing for payouts to those receiving pensions, Medicare, and Social Security — was the property of the Baby Boomer cohorts.
 
Those over 50, who mostly run the nation, have popularized something called “internship,” a non-paid or low-paid apprenticeship that might or might not eventually lead to employment, but that typically does not even pay the room and board of the worker in question. Fifty years ago such “jobs” would have been the source of labor unrest, as thousands hit the streets to argue that they were little more than indentured serfs, and their employers virtual feudal lords. Yet few complain today because these interns are largely middle class, and they have been told that obedience and subservience are just the sorts of traits that employers appreciate. In today’s liberal legal universe, a six-figure-salaried senior female executive can sue for vast sums over a sexist remark (something akin to the president’s recent quip that California’s attorney general was the best-looking such officeholder in the nation), while a penniless student or recent graduate who labors for free has no legal recourse.
==============

To a generation saddled with college debt and facing bleak job prospects, the current Democratic hysteria over any sensible reform of Social Security and Medicare increasingly sounds just as surreal. In fact, the only question left about reforming entitlements is not if, but when: whether those in their forties and fifties will share the pain of cutting back, or whether the escalating burdens of keeping the system solvent will fall entirely on a younger generation that will have bigger debts and smaller incomes.
 





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Tomorrow’s public employee is not likely to receive a generous defined-benefit retirement plan — but will still hear whining from his far-better-compensated superiors as to how unfair it is to question whether their own compensation is sustainable. And far fewer in the future will so easily land a government job at all: In California the unsustainable cost of the public work force is due not to overstaffing, but to too few younger taxpayers to meet the state’s existing obligations, given the lucrative compensation and retirement packages of a select elder few, who somehow believe that their own privilege is proof of their egalitarianism. Forgotten in the national acrimony over unfunded defined-benefit retirement plans for public employees is that the divide is not public versus private sector, or left versus right, but older versus younger. For the public unions the implicit message is something like the following: Keep borrowing to fund our generation’s unsustainable pensions and, in turn, we may concede that the next generation will never receive something so bankrupting to the public purse.
 
The soon-to-be-$17-trillion debt — run up largely by the Baby Boomer generation — will lead to decades of budget cutting, inflation, and higher taxes. A decade from now, as 30-somethings try to buy a home and raise children while they are still paying off their student loans, they may wonder why the national burden of repaying the debts of the better-off falls largely upon themselves. Indeed, a legacy of the Baby Boomer generation is the idea that it is natural for younger people to begin life with huge loans — not for a house or a car, but for an education of dubious market value.
 
The offspring of well-connected journalists, politicians, academics, professionals, and celebrities assure us in their documentaries and op-eds, and through their parents’ voices, that conservatives have lost the war for America’s youth. They certainly have, at least for a while, at in-the-news, private liberal-arts campuses. But for the vast majority of the state-schooled who have no such connections, little if any expectation of an inheritance, and lots of accumulated debt, there is nothing liberal about the values inherent in the present economy.
 
Given a choice between gay marriage, legalization of pot, and the banning of so-called assault rifles on the one hand, and, on the other, a good job with lower taxes, most young people will quietly prefer the latter. For that reason, conservatives should not outbid liberals to appear cool to new voters, but simply explain that a fair economy for all generations is no longer on the liberal agenda.
 
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in May from Bloomsbury Books.
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« Reply #530 on: April 17, 2013, 10:32:39 AM »

What Would Socrates Do?
In "The Art of Freedom," Earl Shorris describes his efforts to establish a set of courses that would teach the core texts of Western civilization to people living in poverty, whose school experience had scanted the canon or skipped it entirely..
by NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY
WSJ

Almost two decades ago, Earl Shorris, a novelist and journalist, told the editor at his publishing house that he wanted to write a book about poverty in America. The editor, to his credit, said that he didn't want just another book describing the problem. He wanted a solution. So Shorris, who had attended the University of Chicago on a scholarship many years before and who was greatly influenced by its Great Books curriculum, hit upon the idea of teaching the core texts of Western civilization to people living in poverty, whose school experience had scanted the canon or skipped it entirely. His Eureka moment came when he was visiting a prison and conducting interviews for another book he was planning to write.

He asked one of the women at New York's Bedford Hills maximum-security prison why she thought the poor were poor. "Because they don't have the moral life of downtown," she replied. "What do you mean by the moral life?" Shorris asked. "You got to begin with the children . . . ," she said. "You've got to teach the moral life of downtown to the children. And the way you do that, Earl, is by taking them downtown to plays, museums, concerts, lectures." He asked whether she meant the humanities. Looking at him as if he were, as he puts it, "the stupidest man on earth," she replied: "Yes, Earl, the humanities."

Poverty, Shorris concluded, was a condition that required more than jobs or money to put right. So he set out to offer the "moral life" as well. Beginning with a class of 25 or so students found through a social-service agency in New York, Shorris—along with a few professors he had recruited—taught literature, art history and philosophy. The first classes included readings in Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and Sophocles.

Thus was born the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which is now the recipient of broad philanthropic support. It is offered to the poor in more than 20 cities around the United States, as well as in other countries, from South Korea to Canada. "The Art of Freedom" is a narrative of the program's founding experience as well as a meditation on the Western classics and their effects on readers. The book, sadly, appears posthumously. Shorris died last year at the age of 75.

The idea of the Clemente Course—named for Roberto Clemente, the baseball player who gave his name to the Manhattan community center where the course debuted—was to "educate a self-selected group of adults living in poverty," in classes taught by professors from nearby colleges and universities. The spirit of the Great Brooks program was a key part of the idea: There would be no chasing after trendy reading lists or narrow relevance. When Shorris went to recruit students in the South Bronx, in New York City, a white social worker asked him if he were going to teach African history. "No," he said. "We will teach American history. Of course the history of black people is very important in the development of the United States."

 .The Art of Freedom
By Earl Shorris
(Norton, 302 pages, $27.95)
.
Over time, Shorris began to add texts from the various cultures where the course was being offered—Native American myths, South Korean novels. But his focus on the Western classics was refreshingly relentless. He was accused "cultural imperialism," but the charge didn't seem to faze him. The Clemente Course now taught in Darfur, in the Sudan, teaches John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty."

Shorris had no patience for mediocrity in his project and insisted on only the best professors to teach Clemente's classes. When he had to find staff to teach in Chicago, he writes, "neither Chicago State nor the nearby community college . . . were up to the standards of the Clemente Course." In the classes he taught, he addressed his students with "Mr." or "Ms." He believed that a proper form of address conveys dignity and avoids the kind of casual relationship that most universities want their students and professors to have.

The Clemente Course differs from life at universities in other ways—for instance, by taking the Western classics seriously. How many college graduates have read Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and Mill? It also differs in its sense of what the texts can do. Much of the liberal-arts curriculum in universities today is devoted to learning about oppression of one sort or another, but Shorris argued that the study of the humanities is a fundamentally optimistic endeavor. Not that Clemente texts are routinely cheery or anodyne. Shorris himself taught Dostoevsky, "the brilliant archeologist who dared to make us look deep into our dark sides." But Shorris did feel that, by reading and discussing classic texts, life was better or richer in some fundamental sense: more valued, more hopeful, more free.

One way that the humanities can help the poor in particular, according to Shorris, is by making them more "political." But, he writes, "I don't mean 'political' in the sense of voting in an election, but in the way Pericles used the word: to mean activity with other people at every level, from the family to the neighborhood to the broader community to the city-state." The humanities, he tells his first class, "are a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you."

Shorris recounts the story of a young man in his first class—a 24-year-old with a history of violent behavior—who called him describing how a woman at work had provoked him. "She made me so mad, I wanted to smack her up against the wall. I tried to talk to some friends to calm myself down a little, but nobody was around." Shorris asked him what he did, "fearing this was his one telephone call from the city jail." Instead, he told Shorris, "I asked myself, 'What would Socrates do?' "

Ms. Riley's most recent book is " 'Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America."
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« Reply #531 on: April 21, 2013, 12:38:09 PM »

Credible because I find Scott Ramussen to be both conservative and an expert on public opinion.  Usually this type of advise to the Republicans comes from the opponents.

Republicans Need to Get Over the Makers vs. Takers Mindset

By Scott Rasmussen - April 21, 2013

Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comment that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on the government” and “believe they are victims” isn’t the only reason he lost the presidential campaign. But the candidate himself acknowledged after the election that the comments were “very harmful.”

He added, “What I said is not what I believe.”

But many Republicans still believe it, and the “makers vs. takers” theme has a deep hold on the party. In private conversations, many in the GOP are whispering that Romney was right and that his only mistake was saying it out loud.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say something like, “Well, the half who favor government programs is the half who don’t pay any taxes.”

This is ridiculous — on many levels.

First, the overwhelming majority of those who don’t pay federal income taxes pay a whole variety of other taxes, including state and local taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, sin taxes and more. They don’t feel excluded from sharing the tax burden just because they don’t pay one particular tax.

It’s also worth noting that these aren’t the people pushing for higher taxes. At Rasmussen Reports, our most recent polling shows that people who make $100,000 or more each year are more supportive of higher taxes than those who make less.

Second, the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes include large chunks of the Republican base. Many senior citizens fall into this category because their primary income is from Social Security. They don’t consider themselves “takers.” They paid money into a Social Security system throughout their working lives and now simply expect the government to honor the promises it made.

Third, low-income Americans aren’t looking for a handout. Among those who are living in poverty, 81 percent agree that work is the best solution to poverty. Most would rather replace welfare programs with a guaranteed minimum-wage job. Sharing the mainstream view, 69 percent of the poor believe that too many Americans are dependent upon the government.

Sixty-five percent of low-income Americans consider it “very important” for an economy to provide everybody with an opportunity to succeed. Interestingly enough, low-income Americans consider that more important than those who earn more.

But if I had to pick just one number to highlight how bad the 47 percent remark was, it would be this. Just 11 percent of Americans today consider themselves dependent upon government. Sure, some receive a Social Security check or an unemployment check, but that’s not dependence upon government. That’s cash received in exchange for premiums paid.

If they want to seriously compete for middle-class votes, Republicans need to get over the makers vs. takers mentality. We live in a time when just 35 percent believe the economy is fair to the middle class. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Those problems are not created by the poor.

GOP candidates would be well advised to shift their focus from attacking the poor to going after those who are really dependent upon government — the Political Class, the crony capitalists, the megabanks and other recipients of corporate welfare.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #532 on: April 21, 2013, 04:40:19 PM »

YES.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #533 on: April 22, 2013, 11:24:28 AM »

The Rasmussen piece is actually good news, that people mostly don't see themselves as dependent on government.  It clears the way for a pro-growth economic argument to gain ground.  As JFK put it, a rising tide lifts all boats.  The pro-growth argument is also the answer to funding the programs that benefit the people in real need.

OTOH, the turnout operation of the 11% who do see themselves dependent on government methodically identified by the Obama campaign was the key to the President's second victory.

Rasmussen:  "If they want to seriously compete for middle-class votes, Republicans need to get over the makers vs. takers mentality. We live in a time when just 35 percent believe the economy is fair to the middle class. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Those problems are not created by the poor."

Some of that effect is driven by media and the endless class envy politics.  The message (which I think is mostly false) is pounded into our heads, then we poll that question and make further news with the polls.  The rich are richer than the poor and the middle class.  But: a) these groups change; there is still amazing income mobility in our economy, and b) chopping off big wealth only puts the poor and middle class in a worse situation.

Rasmussen has the ending exactly right.  Because of this widely held perception, Republicans need to be all the more vigilant against supporting any subsidies, credits, deduction or rules that don't apply the same way to everyone.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #534 on: April 22, 2013, 11:49:07 AM »

Re-posting by request:
"This seems to me a very powerful observation by Will.  Would you please post it in the American Creed thread as well please?"  TIA, Marc

To the reader, this means please read it twice.  )
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"unfettered executive government uses debt-financed consumption and “regulatory conscription of private markets” to force spending “vastly beyond what Congress could have appropriated in the light of day.”
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-whats-behind-the-funding-of-the-welfare-state/2013/04/17/8686d412-a6bd-11e2-8302-3c7e0ea97057_story.html

What's behind the funding of the welfare state
By George F. Will,

The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons. It responds to financially powerful and politically sophisticated factions. And it encourages rent-seekers to exploit opportunities for concentrated benefits and dispersed costs (e.g., agriculture subsidies confer sums on large agribusinesses by imposing small costs on 316 million Americans).

Such government inevitably means executive government and the derogation of the legislative branch, both of which produce exploding government debt. By explaining these perverse effects of progressivism, the Hudson Institute’s Christopher DeMuth explains contemporary government’s cascading and reinforcing failures.

Executive growth fuels borrowing growth because of the relationship between what DeMuth, in a recent address at George Mason University, called “regulatory insouciance and freewheeling finance.” Government power is increasingly concentrated in Washington, Washington power is increasingly concentrated in the executive branch, and executive-branch power is increasingly concentrated in agencies that are unconstrained by legislative control. Debt and regulation are, DeMuth discerns, “political kin”: Both are legitimate government functions, but both are now perverted to evade democratic accountability, which is a nuisance, and transparent taxation, which is politically dangerous.

Today’s government uses regulation to achieve policy goals by imposing on the private sector burdens less obvious than taxation would be, burdens that become visible only indirectly, in higher prices. Often the goals government pursues by surreptitious indirection are goals that could not win legislative majorities — e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases following Congress’s refusal to approve such policies. And deficit spending — borrowing — is, DeMuth says, “a complementary means of taxation evasion”: It enables the political class to provide today’s voters with significantly more government benefits than current taxes can finance, leaving the difference to be paid by voters too young to vote or not yet born.

Two developments demonstrate, DeMuth says, how “delegation and debt have become coordinate mechanisms of legislative abnegation.” One is Congress’s anti-constitutional delegation of taxing authority to executive-branch regulatory agencies funded substantially or entirely by taxes the agencies levy, not by congressional appropriations. For example, DeMuth notes, the Federal Communications Commission’s $347 mil­­lion operating expenses “are funded by payments from the firms it regulates,” and its $9 billion program subsidizing certain Internet companies is funded by its own unilateral tax on telecommunication firms. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, another freebooting agency not tethered to the appropriations process, automatically receives a share of the profits of the Federal Reserve banks.

A second development is “the integration of regulation and debt-financed consumption.” Recently, a Post headline announced: “Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit.” Here we go again — subprime mortgages as federal policy. Is this because lowering lending requirements and forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to securitize the loans worked so well last time? This illustrates DeMuth’s point about how unfettered executive government uses debt-financed consumption and “regulatory conscription of private markets” to force spending “vastly beyond what Congress could have appropriated in the light of day.”

High affluence and new technologies have, DeMuth believes, “led to unhealthy political practices.” Time was, the three basic resources required for effective political action — discretionary time, the ability to acquire and communicate information and persuasion skills — were scarce and possessed only by elites. But in our wealthy and educated society, interest groups can pressure government without being filtered by congressional hierarchies.

Legislative leaders — particularly, committee chairs — have lost power as Congress has become more porous and responsive to importuning factions using new media. Congress, responding to the increased difficulty of legislating, has delegated much lawmaking to specialized agencies that have fewer internal conflicts. Congress’s role has waned as that of autonomous executive agencies has waxed. The executive has driven the expansion of the consumption of benefits that are paid for by automatic entitlement transfer payments, by government-mandated private expenditures and by off-budget and non-transparent taxation imposed by executive agencies.

Government used to spend primarily on the production of things — roads, dams, bridges, military forces. There can be only so many of such goods. Now, DeMuth says, government spends primarily for consumption:

“The possibilities for increasing the kind, level, quality and availability of benefits are practically unlimited. This is the ultimate source of today’s debt predicament. More borrowing for more consumption has no natural stopping point short of imploding on itself.”

Funding the welfare state by vast borrowing and regulatory taxation hides the costs from the public. Hence its political potency. Until the implosion.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #535 on: April 22, 2013, 04:18:52 PM »

This piece could also fit quite well in the Liberal Fascism thread, but I chose here because I think it makes points that WE need to make in communicatiing with our fellow Americans across the political spectrum.

I would note that this matter about the increasing irrelevance of the US Congress was made with considerable vigor and insight by Glenn Beck some two years ago when he was still at FOX.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #536 on: April 25, 2013, 10:45:02 AM »

(MARC:  Awesome piece, that was driving me crazy with every single sentence being a paragraph of its own-- so I took the liberty of editing it into what I perceive to be the paragraphs that should have been there to begin with.)

http://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2013/4/what-conservatives-are-for

... making the positive case for conservatism: what conservatives are for.

In Washington, it is common for both parties to succumb to easy negativity. Republicans and Democrats stand opposed to each other, obviously, and outspoken partisanship gets the headlines.  This negativity is unappealing on both sides. That helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.
But for the Left, the defensive crouch at least makes sense. Liberalism’s main purpose today is to defend its past gains from conservative reform.  But negativity on the Right, to my mind, makes no sense at all.  The Left has created this false narrative that liberals are for things, and conservatives are against things.

When we concede this narrative, even just implicitly, we concede the debate… before it even begins.

And yet too many of us – elected conservatives especially – do it anyway. We take the bait. A liberal proposes an idea, we explain why it won’t work, and we think we’ve won the debate. But even if we do, we reinforce that false narrative… winning battles while losing the war.

This must be frustrating to the scholars of the Heritage Foundation, who work every day producing new ideas for conservatives to be for. But it should be even more frustrating to the conservatives around the country that we elected conservatives all serve.

After all, they know what they’re for: why don’t we?

Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy in Washington to forget.  In Washington, we debate public policy so persistently that we can lose sight of the fact that policies are means, not ends.

We say we are for lower taxes, or less regulation, or spending restraint. But those are just policies we advocate. They’re not what we’re really for. What we’re really for are the good things those policies will yield to the American people.  What we’re really for is the kind of society those policies would allow the American people to create, together.

Together.

If there is one idea too often missing from our debate today that’s it: together.

In the last few years, we conservatives seem to have abandoned words like “together,” “compassion,” and “community”… as if their only possible meanings were as a secret code for statism.  This is a mistake. Collective action doesn’t only – or even usually - mean government action.

Conservatives cannot surrender the idea of community to the Left, when it is the vitality of our communities upon which our entire philosophy depends.  Nor can we allow one politician’s occasional conflation of “compassion” and “bigger government” to discourage us from emphasizing the moral core of our worldview.  Conservatism is ultimately not about the bills we want to pass, but the nation we want to be.

If conservatives want the American people to support our agenda for the government, we have to do a better job of showing them our vision for society. And re-connecting our agenda to it.  We need to remind the American people – and perhaps, too, the Republican Party itself – that the true and proper end of political subsidiarity is social solidarity.
Ours has never been a vision of isolated, atomized loners. It is a vision of husbands and wives; parents and children; neighbors and neighborhoods; volunteers and congregations; bosses and employees; businesses and customers; clubs, teams, groups, associations… and friends.

The essence of human freedom, of civilization itself, is cooperation. This is something conservatives should celebrate. It’s what conservatism is all about.  Freedom doesn’t mean “you’re on your own.” It means “we’re all in this together.”  Our vision of American freedom is of two separate but mutually reinforcing institutions: a free enterprise economy and a voluntary civil society.

History has shown both of these organic systems to be extremely efficient at delivering goods and services. But these two systems are not good because they work. They work because they are good. Together, they work for everyone because they impel everyone… to work together. They harness individuals’ self-interest to the common good of the community, and ultimately the nation.

They work because in a free market economy and voluntary civil society, whatever your career or your cause, your success depends on your service. The only way to look out for yourself is to look out for those around you. The only way to get ahead is to help other people do the same.

What, exactly, are all those supposedly cut-throat, exploitive businessmen and women competing for? To figure out the best way to help the most people.  That’s what the free market does. It rewards people for putting their God-given talents and their own exertions in the service of their neighbors.  Whatever money they earn is the wealth they create, value they add to other people’s lives.

No matter who you are or what you’re after, the first question anyone in a free market must ask him or herself is: how can I help? What problems need to be solved? What can I do to improve other people’s lives?

The free market does not allow anyone to take; it impels everyone to give.

The same process works in our voluntary civil society.

Conservatives’ commitment to civil society begins, of course, with the family, and the paramount, indispensable institution of marriage. But it doesn’t end there.  Just as individuals depend on free enterprise to protect them from economic oppression, families depend on mediating institutions to protect them from social isolation.  That is where the social entrepreneurs of our civil society come in.  Just like for-profit businesses, non-profit religious, civic, cultural, and charitable institutions also succeed only to the extent that they serve the needs of the community around  them. 

Forced to compete for voluntary donations, the most  successful mediating institutions in a free civil society are at least as innovative and efficient as profitable companies.  If someone wants to make the world a better place, a free civil society requires that he or she do it well.

Social entrepreneurs know that only the best soup kitchens, the best community theater companies, and the best youth soccer leagues – and for that matter, the best conservative think tanks – will survive.

So they serve.

They serve their donors by spending their resources wisely. They serve their communities by making them better places to live. And they serve their beneficiaries, by meeting needs together better than they can meet them alone.

Freedom doesn’t divide us. Big government does.  It’s big government that turns citizens into supplicants, capitalists into cronies, and cooperative communities into competing special interests.  Freedom, by contrast, unites us. It pulls us together, and aligns our interests.  It draws us out of ourselves and into the lives of our friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers. It draws us upward, toward the best version of ourselves.

The free market and civil society are not things more Americans need protection from. They’re things more Americans need access to.

Liberals scoff at all this.  They attack free enterprise as a failed theory that privileges the rich, exploits the poor, and threatens the middle class but our own history proves the opposite.  Free enterprise is the only economic system that does not privilege the rich. Instead it incentivizes them put their wealth to productive use serving other people… or eventually lose it all.  Free enterprise is the greatest weapon against poverty ever conceived by man.  If the free market exploits the poor, how do liberals explain how the richest nation in human history mostly descends from immigrants who originally came here with nothing?

Nor does free enterprise threaten the middle class. Free enterprise is what created the middle class in the first place.  The free market created the wealth that liberated millions of American families from subsistence farming, opening up opportunities for the pursuit of happiness never known before or since in government-directed economies.

Progressives are equally dismissive of our voluntary civil society. They simply do not trust free individuals and organic communities to look out for each other, or solve problems without supervision.  They think only government – only they – possess the moral enlightenment to do that.

To be blunt, elite progressives in Washington don’t really believe in communities at all. No, they believe in community organizers. Self-anointed strangers, preferably ones with Ivy League degrees, fashionable ideological grievances, and a political agenda to redress those grievances.  For progressives believe the only valid purpose of “community” is to accomplish the agenda of the state.

But we know from our own lives that the true purpose of our communities is instead to accomplish everything else.  To enliven our days. To ennoble our children. To strengthen our families. To unite our neighborhoods. To pursue our happiness, and protect our freedom to do so.

This vision of America conservatives seek is not an Ayn Rand novel. It’s a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie: a society of “plain, ordinary kindness, and a little looking out for the other fellow, too.” 

The great obstacle to realizing this vision today is government dysfunction. This is where our vision must inform our agenda.

What reforms will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses? For young couples to get married and start new families? And for individuals everywhere to come together to bring to life flourishing new partnerships and communities?

What should government do – and just as important, not do – to allow the free market to create new economic opportunity and to allow civil society to create new social capital?
We conservatives are not against government. The free market and civil society depend on a just, transparent, and accountable government to enforce the rule of law.

What we are against are two pervasive problems that grow on government like mold on perfectly good bread: corruption and inefficiency.  It is government corruption and inefficiency that today stand between the American people and the economy and society they deserve.

To combat those pathologies, a new conservative reform agenda should center around three basic principles: equality, diversity, and sustainability.

The first and most important of these principles is equality.

The only way for the free market and civil society to function… to tie personal success to interpersonal service… to align the interests of the strong and the weak… is to have everyone play by the same rules.  Defying this principle is how our government has always corrupted itself, our free market, and our civil society.  In the past, the problem was political discrimination that held the dis-connected down. Today, government’s specialty is dispensing political privileges to prop the well-connected up.

In either case, the corruption is the same: official inequality … twisting the law to deem some people “more equal than others”… making it harder for some to succeed even when they serve, and harder for others to fail even when they don’t.

And so we have corporate welfare: big businesses receiving direct and indirect subsidies that smaller companies don’t.  We have un-civil society: politicians funding large, well-connected non-profit institutions based on political favoritism rather than merit.

We have venture SOCIALISM: politicians funneling taxpayer money to politically correct businesses that cannot attract real investors.

We have regulatory capture: industry leaders influencing the rules governing their sectors to protect their interests and hamstringing innovative challengers.

The first step in a true conservative reform agenda must be to end this kind of preferential policymaking. Beyond simply being the right thing to do, it is a pre-requisite for earning the moral authority and political credibility to do anything else.

Why should the American people trust our ideas about middle-class entitlements… when we’re still propping up big banks?  Why should they trust us to fix the tax code while we use their tax dollars to create artificial markets for uncompetitive industries?  Why should they trust our vision of a free civil society when we give special privileges to supposed non-profits like Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, agricultural check-off programs, and the Export-Import Bank?

And perhaps most important, why should Americans trust us at all, when too often, we don’t really trust them? When we vote for major legislation… negotiated in secret… without debating it… without even reading it… deliberately excluding the American people from their own government?

To conservatives, equality needs to mean equality for everyone.

The second principle to guide our agenda is diversity. Or, as you might have heard it called elsewhere: “federalism.”

The biggest reason the federal government makes too many mistakes is that it makes too many decisions. Most of these are decisions the federal government doesn’t have to make – and therefore shouldn’t.  Every state in the union has a functioning, constitutional government. And just as important, each state has a unique political and cultural history, with unique traditions, values, and priorities.

Progressives today are fundamentally intolerant of this diversity.

They insist on imposing their values on everyone. To them, the fifty states are just another so-called “community” to be “organized,” brought to heel by their betters in Washington.  This flies in the face of the Founders and the Constitution, of course. But it also flies in the face of common sense and experience.

The usurpation of state authority is why our national politics is so dysfunctional and rancorous.  We expect one institution – the federal government – to set policies that govern the lives of 300 million people, spread across a continent. Of course it’s going to get most of it wrong.

That’s why successful organizations in the free market and civil society are moving in the opposite direction.  While government consolidates, businesses delegate and decentralize. While Washington insists it knows everything, effective organizations increasingly rely on diffuse social networks and customizable problem solving.

We should not be surprised that as Washington has assumed greater control over transportation, education, labor, welfare, health care, home mortgage lending, and so much else… all of those increasingly centralized systems are failing. Conservatives should seize this opportunity not to impose our ideas on these systems, but to crowd-source the solutions to the states.

Let the unique perspectives and values of each state craft its own policies, and see what works and what doesn’t.   If Vermont’s pursuit of happiness leads it to want more government, and Utah’s less, who are politicians from the other 48 states to tell them they can’t have it? Would we tolerate this kind of official intolerance in any other part of American life?

A Pew study just last week found that Americans trust their state governments twice as much as the federal government, and their local governments even more.

This shouldn’t be a surprise – it should be a hint.

State and local governments are more responsive, representative, and accountable than Washington, D.C. It’s time to make them more powerful, too.  In the past, conservatives given federal power have been tempted to overuse it. We must resist this temptation. If we want to be a diverse movement, we must be a tolerant movement.
The price of allowing conservative states to be conservative is allowing liberal states to be liberal.

Call it subsidiarity. Call it federalism. Call it constitutionalism. But we must make this fundamental principle of pluralistic diversity a pillar of our agenda.

And that brings us to our third guiding principle.

Once we eliminate policy privilege and restore policy diversity, we can start ensuring policy sustainability.  Once the federal government stops doing things it shouldn’t, it can start doing the things it should, better.  That means national defense and intelligence, federal law enforcement and the courts, immigration, intellectual property, and even the senior entitlement programs whose fiscal outlook threatens our future solvency and very survival.

Once we clear unessential policies from the books, federal politicians will no longer be able to hide: from the public, or their constitutional responsibilities.  Congress will be forced to work together to reform the problems government has created in our health care system.  We can fundamentally reform and modernize our regulatory system.  We will be forced to rescue our senior entitlement programs from bankruptcy.  And we can reform our tax system to eliminate the corporate code’s bias in favor of big businesses over small businesses… and the individual code’s bias against saving, investing, and especially against parents, our ultimate investor class.

That is how we turn the federal government’s unsustainable liabilities into sustainable assets.

The bottom line of all of this is that conservatives in that building need to start doing what conservatives in this building already do: think long and hard about what we believe, why we believe it, and most of all, remember to put first things first.

For conservatives, the first thing is not our agenda of political subsidiarity – it’s our vision of social solidarity.  It is a vision of society as an interwoven and interdependent network of individuals, families, communities, businesses, churches, formal and informal groups working together to meet each other’s needs and enrich each other’s lives.

It is of a free market economy that grants everyone a “fair chance and an unfettered start in the race of life.”

It is of a voluntary civil society that strengthens our communities, protects the vulnerable, and minds the gaps to make sure no one gets left behind.

And it is of a just, tolerant, and sustainable federal government that protects and complements free enterprise and civil society, rather than presuming to replace them.

This vision will not realize itself. The Left, the inertia of the status quo, and the entire economy of this city stand arrayed against it.

Realizing it will sometimes require conservatives to take on entrenched interests, pet policies, and political third-rails. Many of these will be interests traditionally aligned with – and financially generous to – the establishments of both parties.  And sometimes, it will require us to stand up for those no one else will: the unborn child in the womb, the poor student in the failing school, the reformed father languishing in prison, the single mom trapped in poverty, and the splintering neighborhoods that desperately need them all.

But if we believe this vision is worth the American people being for, it’s worth elected conservatives fighting for.  What we are fighting for is not just individual freedom, but the strong, vibrant communities free individuals form.  The freedom to earn a good living, and build a good life: that is what conservatives are for.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 11:24:07 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #537 on: April 26, 2013, 01:16:52 PM »

On the previous, thanks Crafty.  That was his speech format.
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This piece expands on that theme IMO.  It answers a point I have pondered.  People start off dependent, born with no marketable skills, then move slowly and hopefully to self-sufficiency.   But dependency on people who know you, love you, set expectation for you, and followup on your progress is not at all the same as dependency without obligation as we have in our welfare system.
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http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/346517/more-dependency

More Than Dependency
By  Yuval Levin
April 24, 2013 11:20 AM

...The term dependency and the concept it describes point us toward a radically individualist understanding of that problem that is mistaken in some important ways. We are all dependent on others. The question is whether we are dependent on people we know, and they on us—in ways that foster family and community, build habits of restraint and dignity, and instill in us responsibility and a sense of obligation—or we are dependent on distant, neutral, universal systems of benefits that help provide for our material wants without connecting us to any local and immediate nexus of care and obligation. It is not dependence per se, which is a universal fact of human life, but dependence without mutual obligation, that corrupts the soul. Such technocratic provision enables precisely the illusion of independence from the people around us and from the requirements of any moral code they might uphold. It is corrosive not because it instills a true sense of dependence but because it inspires a false sense of independence and so frees us from the sorts of moral habits of mutual obligation that alone can make us free.

We reach for the idea of dependency because of the kind of arguments we often respond to from the left—arguments that seem like calls for common action instead of individual action. But we should look more carefully at those arguments. The problem with the “you didn’t build that” mindset, as becomes particularly clear if you read what the president said before and after that line, is not just that it denies the significance of individual initiative (though that’s an important part of the problem, and our culture of individual initiative, which is far from radical individualism, is a huge social achievement in America) but also that it denies the significance of any common efforts that are not political. The president took the pose of a critic of individualism, but in fact the position he described involves perhaps the most radical individualism of all, in which nothing but individuals and the state exists in society. Alexis de Tocqueville saw where this would go long ago:

    I want to imagine with what new features despotism could be produced in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, withdrawn and apart, is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others: his children and his particular friends form the whole human species for him; as for dwelling with his fellow citizens, he is beside them, but he does not see them; he touches them and does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone, and if a family still remains for him, one can at least say that he no longer has a native country.

    Above all these an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?

It is not hard to see why this kind of infantilization would strike us as first and foremost raising problems of dependency, but what Tocqueville shows so powerfully is that the trouble does not arise from a dearth of individual independence but rather from the error of radical individualism itself—from the separating of people from those around them. And that separation is not accidental but essential to a certain kind of liberalism.

To summarize (and so necessarily oversimplify some, to be sure): The utopian goal of the most radical forms of liberalism has always been the complete liberation of the individual from all unchosen “relational” obligations—obligations to the people around you that are a function of the family and community in which you live. Resentment against such obligations was a central and powerful motive in the radical late-18th century thought that gave us some (though not all) forms of modern libertarianism and the modern Left, and the defense of such obligations was central to the counter-arguments that yielded modern conservatism. (I might mention here, by the way, that these somewhat unfamiliar origins of the Left-Right divide are the subject of a forthcoming book of mine, which will be out later this year.)

These radicals originally thought that the liberation of the individual could result directly from the application of key liberal principles to politics, but when liberal ideals did not bring about their utopian aims, some of them abandoned the liberal principles rather than the utopian aims and sought to pursue that liberation by other means. The Left-leaning, and ultimately progressive, form of this resentment of unchosen obligations dealt with the fact that dependence cannot really be eradicated by calling for dependence only on a distant and (supposedly) morally neutral provider of necessities on whom everyone else is equally dependent.

We often think of this peculiar objective in terms of equality, but I think it is better understood in terms of the liberation of the individual from the constraints of community and family—from the obligations imposed by the place and time in which we happen to find ourselves. Breaking apart clusters of people into individuals who then all have the same relation to the state is a way of freeing those individuals from one another.

This is not a counter-force to individualism (as even serious people on the left sometimes suggest it is) but rather the most radical form of individualism—using government to atomize and pulverize society’s institutions. It is a mode of living that liberates us from local and generational attachments by subjecting us to intricate but morally indifferent rules imposed from a distance. Liberals like to think of such rules as morally neutral but they are more properly described as morally neutralizing—imposing on society the social libertarianism that liberalism takes for granted by defining society as legitimately consisting only of individuals and a state that is largely indifferent to their moral choices, with nothing in between.

What this engenders certainly involves some material dependence on the state, and that is what conservatives often react against, but more significantly it seeks to advance a sense of non-dependence on anyone else—a sense that you don’t need to depend on anyone you know and (perhaps more important) that no one you know needs to depend on you. That is how the welfare state really does encourage failures of responsibility, what we tend to loosely call dependency: If no one depends upon your working when you can and meeting your obligations, you’re simply less likely to do so. This is not quite dependence, and indeed at times it is its opposite. And if your needs are met without a reciprocal obligation on your part to those who help you meet them, you are less likely to be in the habit of work and discipline. This can be even more morally corrosive than mere dependence on the state, because it encourages the illusion of independence, and lifts us out of the layered networks of social obligation and commitment that give a thriving human life its form.

The problem created by the welfare state is thus not best understood as a problem of dependence but as the illusion of an impossible independence—an individualism so radical it renders all human relationships, including our relationships to the weakest and most needy of those around us, into non-binding optional arrangements, ignoring the realities of human life that make it necessary to guard human beings in their most vulnerable moments through an array of unchosen—or at the very least non-optional—obligations, especially in the family. The Left’s statist radical individualism that masquerades as a kind of communitarian collectivism pretends to offer a way for people to act together, but in practice it offers an escape from all mutual dependence and from the neediness of people who are not well positioned to pretend to be utterly autonomous.

Conservatives buy into this confusion when we describe the foremost vice of this system as dependency. Dependency is a fact of the human condition. The denial of that fact, along with the other facts of the human condition, is the characteristic vice of modern liberalism—a denial undertaken by bold assertion in liberalism’s libertarian form and by an exercise of technocratic prowess in its progressive form. Conservatism at its best acts as a restraint on this vice, and a reminder of the basic facts of the human condition. But of course we are not always at our best.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #538 on: May 03, 2013, 08:33:02 PM »

The Goldberg File
By Jonah Goldberg
May 3, 2013

Dear Reader (including those of you who already saw the outlines of this “news”letter in a piece of toast in a Guadalajara restaurant),

As a pundit at the very top of the B list, or perhaps somewhere to the left of the meaty part of the bell curve of the A list, I'm often asked: Do you want fries with that?
Such exchanges give me special insights into the "real world" as Tom Friedman might say, his hands in the air making "air quotes" around "real world" as he explains to some billionaire Chinese bureaucrat why he is not only a wise man, but a handsome one.

The reason I bring this up is that I thought you might like to see how the sausage gets made -- which sounds a bit like an errant text message from Anthony Weiner.
Well, when I write columns about movies or TV shows, it probably means that I've been travelling a lot and haven't been able to follow the news as much as I'd like.

Hence, my column earlier this week on the movie Oblivion or my NRO piece on The Americans.

Also, when I've been traveling a lot, the news pegs in the G-File are a little dated and the transitions are a bit forced.

Conservatives and the Popular Culture

Speaking of pop culture, dated news pegs, and forced transitions ("I see what you did there" -- the Couch), a couple of weeks ago I was on a panel at Hillsdale College. It was sponsored by my friends at Liberty21, a scrappy new think tank.

The topic: "Can Conservatives Reclaim the Culture?"

First, I am not sure that conservatives ever claimed the culture in the first place. Sure, in retrospect it almost always seems like the past was more conservative than the present. But that doesn't mean the conservatives were dominating the culture in the past. It might mean that we've just gotten even more liberal since then.

But we can debate all that another time. The thing I wanted to get to is that I think the way the Right talks about popular culture is deeply flawed. If conservatives are going to persuade non-conservatives to become more conservative -- which is nearly the whole frickin' point of the conservative movement -- then going around wagging our fingers at every popular movie and TV show is probably not the best way to do it.

One way you persuade people to become more conservative is to explain to them how conservative they already are and build out from there. Persuasion is hard when your main argument is: "You're a complete idiot and everything you think you know is ridiculous and/or evil."

Moreover, there's a Jedi-like Manichaeism running through youthful liberalism: The Light Side is liberal; the Dark Side is conservative. It's like with little kids; tell them some food is good for them or that some dish has vegetables in it, and they'll preemptively hate it and refuse to eat it like a jihadi at Gitmo dodging a spoonful of peach cobbler. Tell college kids that something is conservative and they'll immediately assume it's not for them. We can spend all day talking about how stupid this pose is, but that won't do much for the cause.

The better way is to identify things that are popular and celebrate the conservative aspects of them. For instance, as I've written before, whenever a sitcom character gets pregnant, the producers make sure to talk up the character's "right to choose." But, at least since the painfully unfunny show Maude, the character always chooses to keep the baby, and once she does she acts like a pro-lifer. She talks to the fetus. She cares about what she eats. While NARAL considers what is in her belly to be nothing more than uterine contents, the mother-to-be gives those contents a name and acts like it's already a member of the family. I understand a big part of the pro-life agenda is to make abortion illegal. I get that. But if you could get more people to think abortion is wrong it would A) be easier to make it illegal and B) less necessary to do so.

Or just think about crime. Going by what liberals say they believe about the criminal-justice system, never mind the War on Terror, they should be denouncing vast swaths of what Hollywood churns out. Cops play by their own rules. Good guys use outright torture to get valuable information in order to save lives. But with the exceptions of 24 and Zero Dark Thirty I can't think of a time when the Left seriously complained about any of it.

Now if you point this out to some liberals, they'll say that's because "it's just TV" or "it's just a movie." But you know that if a TV show or movie came out demonizing gays, they'd be screaming bloody murder.

My point is that the Left has quietly surrendered the argument over big chunks of the popular culture, and because they don't complain about it, conservatives don't press our advantage. We spend too much time reacting to liberal bait and liberal cues. We act like the opposition, being more against them than for anything of our own. One small place to start is to understand this is our culture too.



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« Reply #539 on: May 03, 2013, 09:04:14 PM »

Some good points but a bit rambling which truthfully I find myself doing when I try to organize a strategy in my mind for Republicans.

But this "One way you persuade people to become more conservative is to explain to them how conservative they already are and build out from there"

is in sync with what Rove et al are getting at when they speak how conservative Latinos are.  They are family oriented religious etc.  So clearly they are figuring how to reach them as voters from this angle.  I just don't know how we can compete with cold hard cash.

I doubt most vote their cultural beliefs anyway.  Most of vote our wallets.  It is the economy stupid.

I am not saying cold cash is specific to Latinos or any other cultural or ethnic group.  It seems to be related to economic class.  "The 47 %"  whether English Spanish white black red yellow etc.  If 47 % pay no fed income tax they will continue to vote for others to pay.  So how do we combat that? 

But what are the cultural wars?  Are we just talking abortion and gay marriage?

Family as the nuclear unit?

Doing to our neighbor as we would like done to us?

How about honesty?

Faithfulness?

Law abiding?

Personal responsibility?

But what does any of this have to do with Democrats confiscating wealth to buy votes?  That is the reason most people vote.  Isn't that obvious?
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« Reply #540 on: May 03, 2013, 09:10:03 PM »

I haven't had a chance to go into these but here are names in a list that I hear about but know little beyond the titles:

http://usconservatives.about.com/od/conservativepolitics101/tp/Top-Conservative-Web-Sites.htm
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« Reply #541 on: May 03, 2013, 10:31:06 PM »

I'd like to suggest that the 47% number is a good example of the sort of negativity about which JG is writing.  For example, it includes people on Social Security, military and other pensions, etc. i.e. not people who should be smeared as moochers.  My understanding is that once such folks are filtered out of the data, the 47% number is way too high and that the actual number is significantly lower.
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« Reply #542 on: May 04, 2013, 11:43:35 AM »

Good points Crafty.  I think Bobby Jindal alludes to the same thing.  You have to love all the people or something like that. 

But you bring up other related points.  Can we afford for people to continue retiring at early ages?  Can we continue spending on benefits?  Med and SS account for the lions share so I read.

The whole concept that government should take care of us and that people are entitled is flawed as I think you and most on this board would agree.

How do we fight against the push for more and more.  Education should be an entitlement.  Health care for all.  Birth control.    Retirement. 

And how can taxpayers, like me, not resent having to pay for all this.  I am supposed to love all the people going on the dole?

JG takes the salesman angle.  Or how to make friends .....   Or Zig Ziglar type sale.  Find something we have in common and win them over.  But isn't the lowest price going to win most of the time?

How do we combat envy?  When we see Wall Street and Washington and Hollywood rolling in so much money they can't spend it fast enough?

I have no problem with successful, lucky or brilliant people getting rich.  I am jealous but I want the chance to do the same.  What I do wish for is that the wealthy only get the way by the same rules we all have to put up with.  WE know the rules are not the same for many of these folks.  I don't need to reiterate how corrupt and dishonest and criminal the entertainment industry is. 

I really think the Repblicans can combat class envy better if they would just acknowledge corruption (and not just drugs and mafia and street crime but in politics, in wall street, in media, etc) and make a case that we need to enforce existing rules, we need better white collar crime enforcement etc perhaps we could get over the envy and soak the rich mentality.

I do ramble myself .  I could make formulating a more organized plan a full time job.  I enjoy brain storming though.

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« Reply #543 on: May 04, 2013, 12:07:38 PM »

Given the subject of this thread, my point is focused upon the counter-productive nature of the 47% number, how it affects our thinking, and how it diminishes our persuasiveness with others-- which is JG's point. 

Of course we need to redefine "entitlements" and the fraudulent numbers with which they are reported to us need to be stated honestly by generally accepted accounting principles!  Still, if anyone on SS, or a military pension, or another pension, hears us define them as a moocher we are being both unfair and unpersuasive.
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« Reply #544 on: May 06, 2013, 09:34:10 AM »

My own rambling 2 cents: CCP identified the problem far before Romney butchered it, far too many people are reliant the government.  Of those, far too few realize a government check, deserved or undeserved, is dependent on the health and vigor of the private economy and the free market.  Liberals make an even more explicit argument: by aiming at the top 1 or 2% to fund it all they are saying the dependent percentage is 98-99%.

Romney mangled together what only has limited overlap.  He said there are 47% who just won't consider voting for him.  It turns out that number was 51%.  And something like 47% or 50% get a check every month from the government.

But the Obama coalition is a large, weird mix: rich elites, young people, Democrat voters with middle incomes, plus the underclass who see themselves as vulnerable and dependent.  The people receiving support from the government include a very wide range too, including veterans who earned it, Social Security recipients who paid in their entire working life, government employees who do real work, etc.  I would guess that it is 0% who see themselves as taking an undeserved check.

Politically you can't lump together in one statistic, the deserving with the waste, with the innocent people responding to the perverted incentives of our welfare system - and a badly designed welfare system is not the fault of the recipient.  You will not win people over by blaming them.  So we need to be aware of the CCP Principle, that 50% of families have a direct tie to a government check and this affects voting, but we move forward only by putting the focus on the positive: grow the economy with the policies of economic freedom.

Reagan doubled revenues to the Treasury in the decade of the 1980's.  Funding for programs grew similarly.  Obama is limiting his own big government spending ideas with his policies that cause economic stagnation.
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« Reply #545 on: May 07, 2013, 11:12:53 AM »



http://www.pjtv.com/?cmd=mpg&load=8371&mpid=84
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« Reply #546 on: May 19, 2013, 02:38:23 PM »

In our world of perpetual campaign, while the co-defendants and co-dependents are squirming to shake off the scandal hook, conservatives and Republicans should launch a pro-jobs, nationwide campaign to roll out comprehensive tax reform, regulatory reform and a national free market energy plan, not just be the prosecutors of the corrupt administration.
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ccp
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« Reply #547 on: May 19, 2013, 09:46:53 PM »

Doug,

Sounds good to me.   
But how?
The Repubs are divided between the compromisers (establishment types ) and Teaparty types.
And the liberal media keeps pushing the Democratic coalition's social agenda to the front and center :

War on babes
Gays being insulted
illegals are being targeted because the are Latino
illegals have civil rights
Muslims are second class citizens
whites men are devils

etc.

The Democrat machine is controlled  by the liberal agenda and seems much more unified in its message.   I don't know how or why they are so successful at doing this.  They have their talking points that just gets  out all over the media and targets the emotions of all there coalition of voters.  It is more personal.  More emotional.   Vote for us because you ARE gay, black, Spanish, single mother, we will get YOU what we need. 

Republicans do not seem to be able to match this.   First they seem more divided.  The establishment compromisers and the Teapartiers.  Tax reform, jobs, energy while all true and just, just doesn't have the same coat tugging affect of the lefts more up close and personal messages.   


 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #548 on: May 20, 2013, 04:09:50 AM »

Getting rid of the IRS via a national sales tax could have considerable appeal , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #549 on: May 20, 2013, 04:35:00 AM »

Getting rid of the IRS via a national sales tax could have considerable appeal , , ,

Who collects the national sales tax?
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