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The Way Forward for the American Creed
Topic: The Way Forward for the American Creed (Read 151178 times)
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #550 on:
May 20, 2013, 07:32:59 AM »
I read in Louisiana Bobby Jindal's poll ratings tanked because he is trying to replace the state income tax with a state sales tax.
I don't know if it would fly nationally.
Same problem for a cross the board flat tax. The same half of the country that pays no tax will immediately and automatically be against this.
OTOH to borrow a re-used quote from Rahm (it was not an original line when he used it), "let no crises go to waste". *Now* seems like as good time as any to bring up tax reform.
Pessimistically I doubt it will have legs. But it is worth a try.
The Repubs have to have a broader more inclusive message about the dangers of the entitlement state and offer the better alternative. While they are trying they not succeeded so far.
Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 07:37:16 AM by ccp
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #551 on:
May 20, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on May 20, 2013, 04:09:50 AM
Getting rid of the IRS via a national sales tax could have considerable appeal , , ,
You get rid of the IRS as we know it by repealing the 16th amendment. Adding a national sales tax would be a way to make up some of the difference.
The likelihood that super majorities will support a zero tax rate on the income of the wealthy at this time being zero, the IRS
is not going away. You bring down their excesses by simplifying the laws and having them apply evenly. In this case, a simple reform for 501c3's and c4's might be that income can only be taxed once and to clarify that the first amendment is still valid. In other words, let people spend after-tax income on political speech anytime, any place, in any amount they want in this country.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #552 on:
May 27, 2013, 10:51:41 AM »
I agree with this: "Republicans don't have the argument right."
There are some opinions from the Dems and some from the Repubs. Both are inconsistent and in my view miss the point.
I am close to figuring it out the main concept in my mind though but the consultants are all over the map:
Repubs have the concepts right. They just can't be too right like Cruz. We need more middle of the road candidates who can appeal to groups like Reagan Dems. Didn't we just have that with Romney and McCain? The crats claim they come up with more centrist candidates? Yet Obama is as radical as they come. Yet he publically claims conservative issues and stances but behind the scenes is radical.
I dunno. The DCers still can't figure it out. Brock pulled in his political machine from Chicago. Do the repubs have anything equivalent? (of course more honest would be nice)
****GOP tries to pull off a delicate balancing act
GOP's dilemma: Mitt Romney makes his presidential election concession speech in Boston.
AP Photo: Rick Wilking, Pool. An election postmortem, commissioned by the Republican Party after Mitt Romney's loss last fall, said the GOP 'is increasingly marginalizing itself.'
AP 2 hr ago | By Charles Babington of Associated Press
The Republican Party wants to keep Tea Party die-hards, evangelicals and pro-lifers happy — but it also wants to win elections.
WASHINGTON — The Republican Party, after losing the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections, confronts a dilemma that's easier to describe than solve: How can it broaden its appeal to up-for-grabs voters without alienating its conservative base?
There's no consensus yet on how to do it. With the next election three years away, Republicans are tiptoeing around policy changes even as they size up potential candidates who range from Tea Party heroes to pragmatic governors in Republican- and Democratic-leaning states.
There's a partial road map, but it's more than two decades old, and the other party drafted it. Democrats, sick of losing elections and being tagged as out-of-touch liberals, moved their party toward the center and rallied behind Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992.
Strategists in both parties say Clinton's achievement, however impressive, may look modest compared with what a Republican leader must do to construct a new winning formula, given the nation's changing demographics.
"Our challenge was to get voters back," said Al From, a chief architect of Clinton's political rise. "Their challenge is harder: get voters to come into a new coalition."
That will be complicated, From said, because the Republicans' conservative base "is more demanding and more important" than the Democrats' liberal base.
An array of Republican campaign veterans agree. They say the party's loyal base of conservative activists — including evangelical Christians, anti-tax crusaders and anti-abortion advocates — is too big, ideological and vital to be treated with anything but great care and respect. Republicans will go nowhere if they lose a hard-core conservative every time they pick up a new unaligned voter with a more moderate message.
While they circle that conundrum, Republican leaders hope for a charismatic nominee in the mold of Clinton or Ronald Reagan. They yearn for someone who can appeal to less-ideological voters without prompting conservatives to feel their principles are losing primacy.
Several veteran strategists say Republicans should focus less on modifying their ideas than on improving their campaign mechanics and finding nominees with broader personal appeal than Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole.
"The foundation of the party as a conservative party hasn't been the principal liability but the principal asset," said GOP campaign strategist Terry Holt.
"Among every voter group, there are people who share our values," Holt said. The key to winning, he said, is to perform better at "micro-targeting" and other techniques designed to find and motivate potential voters.
In that area, he said, "the other party is about half a light-year ahead of us."
Arizona-based Republican consultant Eddie Mahe said finding a charismatic candidate is more important than tweaking policies. Given Americans' low opinion of politics, he said, "to sell the party as a party is nonsensical."
Instead, Mahe said, Republicans must pick a nominee who appeals "to the nonvoters, disinterested voters, the uninformed — whatever you want to call them — who are attracted to a personality, someone they feel good about."
The Republican who comes closest to that description, he said, is Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Tea Party favorite. But Mahe said he doubts she could win a general election.
Dan Schnur, a former aide to President George W. Bush who teaches political science at the University of Southern California, said, "Parties don't remake parties. Leaders remake parties."
Schnur agrees that Clinton was a gifted politician, but he also had some help and luck, which Republicans will need, too.
Clinton has acknowledged that Gary Hart began tugging the Democratic Party from its liberal and outdated moorings in 1984 and 1988, even if he eventually fell short of the nomination. And a 1992 candidacy by New York Gov. and liberal hero Mario Cuomo might have doomed Clinton's lean-to-the-center strategy.
Republicans "need a Gary Hart before they get a Bill Clinton," Schnur said. And they may have trouble narrowing the ideological field in the 2016 primary and beyond, which could force the eventual nominee to embrace hard-right principles that excite GOP activists but turn off independent voters.
A 97-page postmortem, commissioned by the Republican Party after Romney's loss last fall, said the GOP "is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future."
The report emphasized messaging and outreach more than possible changes to policies and proposals. "The party should be proud of its conservative principles," the report said, but it also must be more "welcoming and inclusive" to young voters, minorities and women.
From — who founded the Democratic Leadership Council, a key proponent of Clinton's 1992 agenda — says Republicans are on the wrong track. They must be more open to adjusting their policies, he said, if they want to win presidential elections.
In the early 1990s, From said, "people didn't trust Democrats on the economy, national security, crime, welfare." By pushing welfare reductions, community policing and other new ideas, he said, "we tried to systematically eliminate the obstacles. Republicans have got to do the same thing."
Clinton's 1992 team believed "if you get the argument right, people will vote for us," From said. "Republicans don't have the argument right."
Clinton campaign aide Paul Begala said parties that win presidential elections are "always more mainstream and more unified. Right now, the Republicans are neither."
Begala said liberal activists made only modest complaints about Clinton's shift toward the political center because they were sick of losing elections with nominees such as George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.
He said Republicans might need one more presidential loss to create a similar level of frustration, which can open the way to pragmatism and moderation. Nominating a Tea Party-leaning "true believer" such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could do the trick, Begala said.
Holt, who has advised numerous GOP campaigns, said Republicans have already learned the lesson. "The most effective remedy for any party is an overdose of defeat," he said. "We've suffered that."
The Republicans' challenge is spelled out in exit polls from President Barack Obama's win over Romney. Nearly two-thirds of Republican voters labeled themselves as conservatives. But fewer than half of all Democratic voters called themselves liberals.
That indicates Democrats are working with a less-ideological, more flexible base, giving a nominee leeway to embrace issues that might attract non-aligned voters in the general election.
Republicans, on the other hand, depend on a more ideological base. That's one reason party leaders — for now, anyway — talk less of modifying party policies and more of changing mechanics, technology and messaging.
"The brand has suffered," Holt said, "but the values have been very consistent."
Associated Press polling director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
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"What would be so terrible about simply admitting Obama is an ideologue"
Reply #553 on:
May 27, 2013, 03:17:28 PM »
A question from Jonah. He doesn't answer it in this piece. But there is an answer. It is the same reason Clinton pretends she is a middle of the roader.
Apparently the country is not truly ready for a communist. So he plays the wolf in sheep's clothing. That coupled with bribing just enough segmentations of the US population with tax money and the left get their agenda through. I think there is only one way to combat this. But so far the Roves et al still don't get it. They simply copy what the Democrats have been doing. Chasing them down the street like me chasing my dog when he gets off his leash.
*****Obama, The Non-Ideologue
By Jonah Goldberg
May 27, 2013 11:05 AM
I know the promotion phase for The Tyranny of Clichés has long since passed. But come on. The core point of my book is that liberals deny they are ideological. Indeed, ideological is a term they reserve for people who disagree with them. Liberalism is just pragmatic and reality-based. To the extent it is even idealistic at all it’s just that it wants to do good and, conveniently enough, whatever liberals want to do this week is the benchmark for what is good.
So here’s E. J. Dionne in what may be as pristine a distillation of liberal conventional wisdom as any I’ve read in a long while. After helpfully reminding the reader that the ranks of Obama’s opponents are teeming with crazy ideologues and racists and dismissing the IRS scandal(s) as wholly unrelated to the conservative brief against Obama, he writes of the president:
He’s an anti-ideological leader in an ideological age, a middle-of-the-road liberal skeptical of the demands placed on a movement leader, a politician often disdainful of the tasks that politics asks him to perform. He wants to invite the nation to reason together with him when nearly half the country thinks his premises and theirs are utterly at odds. Doing so is unlikely to get any easier. But being Barack Obama, he’ll keep trying.
What would be so terrible about simply admitting Obama is an ideologue (just like E. J.)? Making that concession doesn’t require saying Obama is wrong about anything. Dionne et al. could still say Obama is right. They could make the case that his policies are the best. They could still champion — or condemn – his compromises or his “pragmatism” (Ideologues can compromise, too).
But it’s not to be. For liberals, ideology is only something the other guys have. Liberalism is just doing the good and smart thing. If you think the good and smart thing is ideological, that’s just proof you’re a rightwing ideologue (or a racist!). The fact that doing good nearly always requires more government is just a coincidence.
© National Review Online 2013. All Rights Reserved.*****
Republicans spending 40 yrs in the wilderness?
Reply #554 on:
May 30, 2013, 09:56:40 AM »
Ann Romney -> "breech of trust between government and the people".
Let me say this again. A message that simply points out government is too bid, is too corrupt is NOT a winning message all unto itself. It won't win. This is why Romney did not win. It can't work. Not when we have half the nation getting pay checks in one form or the other from the government. I am not optimistic the Republicans have any chance of figuring this out. The Romneys would be better off giving donations - not speeches. And Barbara Bush is correct. We have had enough Bushes. And I don't want a DA attorney bully like Cristie. We need someone inspiring not a large mouth narcissistic bully.
Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:59:30 AM by ccp
Black LA legislator converts to Republican Party
Reply #555 on:
June 18, 2013, 09:59:49 AM »
Noonan: Privacy is not all we are losing
Reply #556 on:
June 19, 2013, 09:34:10 AM »
Noonan: Privacy Isn't All We're Losing
The surveillance state threatens Americans' love of country.
The U.S. surveillance state as outlined and explained by Edward Snowden is not worth the price. Its size, scope and intrusiveness, its ability to target and monitor American citizens, its essential unaccountability—all these things are extreme.
The purpose of the surveillance is enhanced security, a necessary goal to say the least. The price is a now formal and agreed-upon acceptance of the end of the last vestiges of Americans' sense of individual distance and privacy from the government. The price too is a knowledge, based on human experience and held by all but fools and children, that the gleanings of the surveillance state will eventually be used by the mischievous, the malicious and the ignorant in ways the creators of the system did not intend.
For all we know that's already happened. But of course we don't know: It's secret. Only the intelligence officials know, and they say everything's A-OK. The end of human confidence in a zone of individual privacy from the government, plus the very real presence of a system that can harm, harass or invade the everyday liberties of Americans. This is a recipe for democratic disaster.
If—again, if—what Mr. Snowden says is substantially true, the surveillance state will in time encourage an air of subtle oppression, and encourage too a sense of paranoia that may in time—not next week, but in time, as the years unfold—loosen and disrupt the ties the people of America feel to our country. "They spy on you here and will abuse the information they get from spying on you here. I don't like 'here.' "
Trust in government, historically, ebbs and flows, and currently, because of the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, Benghazi, etc.—and the growing evidence that the executive agencies have been reduced to mere political tools—is at an ebb that may not be fully reversible anytime soon. It is a great irony, and history will marvel at it, that the president most committed to expanding the centrality, power, prerogatives and controls of the federal government is also the president who, through lack of care, arrogance, and an absence of any sense of prudential political boundaries, has done the most in our time to damage trust in government.
But again, you can always, or every four years, hire a new president. The ties you feel to your country are altogether more consequential, more crucial. And this is something we have to watch out for, and it has to do with the word "extreme," more on which in a moment.
How did we get here? You know. In the days after 9/11 all the clamor was for safety. Improve intelligence, find the bad guys, heighten surveillance. The government went to work. It is important to remember that 9/11 coincided almost exactly with the Internet revolution. They happened at pretty much the same time.
In the past 10 years technology sped up, could do more and more—big data, metadata. Capabilities became massive, and menacing.
Our government is not totalitarian. Our leaders, even the worst of them, are not totalitarian. But our technology is totalitarian, or rather it is there and can be used and abused by those whose impulses tend, even unconsciously or unthinkingly, in that direction.
So what's needed? We must realize this is a crucial moment: We either go forward with these programs now or we stop, and think. Some call for a conversation, but what we really need is a debate—a real argument. It will require a new candor from the government as to what the National Security Agency does and doesn't do. We need a new rigor in the areas of oversight and accountability—including explicit limits on what can and should be allowed, accompanied by explicit and even harsh penalties for violations. This debate will also require information that is reliable—that is, true—from the government about what past terrorist attempts have been slowed or stopped by the surveillance state.
The NSA is only one of many recent revelations and events that have the ability to damage the ties Americans feel toward their country. It's not only big stories like the IRS, but stories that have flown mostly below the media's interest. Here is one: There was a doctor in Philadelphia who routinely killed full-term babies for years, and no one wanted to stop him for years. It got out of hand—he was collecting body parts in jars—and he was finally arrested, tried, sent to prison. People who are not extreme—people, forgive me, who are normal—who followed the story watched in a horrified, traumatized wonder. "They have places where they kill kids in America now, and it's kind of accepted." Those who watch closely say there are more such clinics, still up and operating. There's a bill in Congress now to limit abortions after the fifth month, the age at which hospitals can keep babies alive. It's not an extreme proposal, not in the least, but it's probably going nowhere. It's been called anti-woman.
I feel that almost everyone who talks about America for a living—politicians and journalists and even historians—is missing a huge and essential story: that too many things are happening that are making a lot of Americans feel a new distance from, a frayed affiliation with, the country they have loved for half a century and more, the country they loved without every having to think about it, so natural was it.
This isn't the kind of thing that can be quantified in polls—it's barely the kind of thing people admit to themselves. But talk to older Americans—they feel they barely know this country anymore. In governance it's crucial to stay within parameters, it's important not to strain ties, push too far, be extreme. And if you think this does not carry implications for down the road, for our healthy continuance as a nation, you are mistaken. Love keeps great nations going.
Some of the reaction to the NSA story is said to be generational. The young are said not to fear losing privacy, because they never knew it. The middle-aged, who grew up in peace and have families, want safety first, whatever it takes, even excess. Lately for wisdom I've been looking to the old. Go to somebody who's 75 and ask, "So if it turns out the U.S. government is really spying on American citizens and tracking everything they do, is that OK with you?" They'll likely say no, that's not what we do in America.
The other day on Fox News Channel I saw 79-year-old Eugene Cernan, an Apollo astronaut. Mr. Cernan's indignation about the state of things was so sincere, so there. China had just blasted into space, bringing its pride and sense of nationhood with it. America doesn't do that anymore, said Mr. Cernan, we're not achieving big things. Now we go nowhere.
The interviewer, Neil Cavuto, threw in a question about the spying.
Yes, we're under attack, said Mr. Cernan, but "we can handle it," we can go after "the bad guys" without hurting "the good guys," you can't give up your own liberty and your own freedom.
Exactly how a lot of us feel about it, rocket man.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #557 on:
June 19, 2013, 04:11:06 PM »
Using M. Obamster's line "I am not proud of my country".
(she hasn't seemed to mind it now)
Lets trash the USA. Lets give it away to the world. Lets trash individual responsibility. Freedom. Privacy. Family. Oh that sounds like a great world the liberals are building.
What if you had to earn citizenship?
Reply #558 on:
June 25, 2013, 04:22:07 AM »
VDH: How will America hold together?
Reply #559 on:
June 27, 2013, 11:10:41 AM »
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #560 on:
June 28, 2013, 09:19:17 AM »
Off of Yahoo political news this AM. This guy is some sort of pollster or political scientist? This says nothing. Does not get to the core problems and as always there is the eternal plug that Republicans can simply not get over "their hatred of Obama". If Republican politicians are listening to these kinds of consultants than it is obvious why they cannot win. I could write circles around this guy. I agree with Rush. Our leaders cannot be this "stupid". It has to be about the money. Like all else in the world. Republicans politicians are on the hook. LIke Armstrong said about biking, "you cannot win the Tour" without doping. One cannot stay in power in Washington without having to play the money game. Just won't happen. As for this article it reportedly answers why Americans are divided. After reading the article I see no answer listed. Yet this headline Yahoo news. Again this stuff gets headlines and as always there is the bash against Republicans slipped in there. I have to wonder if this part of the media propaganda machine from the left?
*****Why Americans Are Divided Between Two Political Parties
Charlie Cook 5 hours ago
After President Obama’s rather comfortable victory over Mitt Romney last November, some Democrats thought the president could defy the laws of political gravity. They are now disappointed. So are Republicans who thought that controversies over Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, and domestic surveillance would bring Obama’s approval ratings crashing down into the 30s, if not the 20s, as has happened with some second-term presidents. Obama’s approval numbers have been on a very gradual decline and are now at the political equilibrium point where equal numbers of Americans approve and disapprove.
In Gallup polling the week of June 17-23, 46 percent approved and disapproved of Obama’s performance. If you take an average of the most recent polls by ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Pew Research, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, all conducted either this month or last, Obama’s approval is a point higher, 47 percent, with a disapproval of, you guessed it, 47 percent. This puts Obama’s job-approval rating at basically the same place as George W. Bush’s at this point in his second term and behind the 55 percent and 58 percent levels where Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were, respectively, at this stage.
The good news for Obama is that the economy is getting better. The bad news is that Washington and much of the news coverage in recent weeks have been focused on just about everything but the economy.
Of course, Republicans not only want to see Obama’s numbers drop but their party’s favorability ratings climb. So far, that hasn’t happened. Gallup polling shows that the percentage of Americans viewing the Republican Party favorably has been declining since the beginning of 2011. Most recently, in a June 1-4 poll, 39 percent rated the party favorably, 53 percent unfavorably, compared with 46 percent who saw the Democratic Party favorably and 48 percent unfavorably (which is certainly nothing for Democrats to cheer about). The other two major national polls asking about party ratings in the past two months indicated that the GOP’s brand damage has continued. The Pew Research Center pegged Democrats with 51/45 favorable/unfavorable ratings, in contrast to Republicans’ 39/53 ratings. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Democrats at 39/37 and Republicans at 32/41. Average the three polls together, and 45 percent gave Democrats a favorable rating and 43 percent unfavorable, compared with 37 percent with favorable views of the Republican Party and 50 percent unfavorable.
Even stipulating for a moment that the Republican brand is badly damaged, we can’t say that this will be the determining factor in the 2014 midterm elections. We know that in recent years the kinds of voters who have boosted Democrats in presidential years have a track record of staying home in midterms. Even some Democrats totally enamored with Obama are unlikely to show up and vote for a congressional candidate whom they don’t know.
Another potentially important issue is the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Unquestionably health care, aided by a weak economy, was most responsible for Democrats in 2010 losing their House majority and a half-dozen seats in the Senate. In 2009 and 2010, during the height of the health care debate, some people decided that Obama’s proposal was terrific, many thought it was terrible, while still others were ambivalent. Few minds were changed in either direction during 2011 or 2012.
But what about 2013 and 2014, as more elements become operative? The Kaiser Family Foundation’s health tracking poll asks about current attitudes toward the health care law. At the moment, 35 percent have a favorable impression of the law, 43 percent have an unfavorable impression, and 23 percent remain undecided. Equally important, twice as many Americans, 30 percent, have a “very unfavorable” view, compared with just 15 percent who have a “very favorable” one. Indeed, the people who don’t like the ACA hate it (30 percent very unfavorable, 13 percent somewhat unfavorable), but the people who like it don’t necessarily love it (15 percent very favorable, 20 percent somewhat favorable). In recent months the unfavorable share has been gradually increasing, and the favorable share has been in a slow slide, although nothing earth-shattering. The key is those undecided in the middle, many of whom are cross-pressured on the issue. They may think we needed to do something about the affordability and access of health care, but they aren’t sure whether this law was the right way to do it.
The thing that makes it difficult for Republicans to capitalize on the ACA issue is that many in the party are so blinded by their hate for Obama and Obamacare that only the word “repeal” comes out of their mouths. This is something that is virtually impossible to achieve unless Republicans get at least 60 seats in the Senate, which is very unlikely to happen anytime soon. Smarter Republicans would say that “we need to fix Obamacare,” or that “we need to make changes to the law so it won’t screw up health care.” These sorts of arguments are more likely to resonate with voters outside of the party’s conservative base (keeping in mind that only 35 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives—25 percent are liberal, 40 percent moderate, according to the 2012 exit polls, roughly the same as in other national polls).
So, at the halfway point of 2013, we’re at a place where we still don’t know what the dominant theme will be in the 2014 midterm elections, and that probably won’t change until this fall, at the earliest.****
It's the economy stupid. Yes, but more specifically...
Reply #561 on:
June 29, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »
It is this fact, that most Americans have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck that threatens this country, freedom from tyranny and the Republican party more than anything else in my very humble opinion. Whichever party can address this concern of the vast majority of Americans will win. So far the crats win because they offer taxpayer money to support people who are struggling. The Republicans still do not, don't even seem to be thinking correctly in these terms, are split in calculating they have to compromise, or completely not compromise. Both of these approaches are off base.
When people are living paycheck to paycheck who do you think they are going to vote for? The party that offers them public assistance or the party that preaches things like "constitution", freedom, lower taxes, jobs, jobs, jobs. All of the latter miss the mark. They are all correct but they alone are not the right message.
"They who answer this shall have all the power". Verse 1 from ccp.
So far the crats do the job. Of course at great harm to taxpayers and the country as a whole but for those living from paycheck to paycheck the rest is all back seat stuff.
"He who answers this will get the independents, more minorities, more races, maybe a few single mothers. As for gays who knows and who cares." Verse 2 ccp
Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 04:11:56 PM by ccp
Stratfor: Homage to the Lower 48
Reply #562 on:
July 11, 2013, 10:38:14 AM »
By Robert D. Kaplan
A half-century ago, I was a little boy on a trip with my parents from New York City to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit relatives. We crossed Pennsylvania on the recently completed Pennsylvania Turnpike. Pennsylvania from the New Jersey border to the Ohio border was vast, with the magnificent Alleghany range, a subset of the Appalachians, in the broad middle of the state, heralded by the Blue Mountain tunnel. The interstate highway system built under President Dwight Eisenhower was gleaming and exotic back then, with lovely rest stops with real restaurants where you were waited on at tables -- not the slummy fast-food joints that disgrace rest stops today.
At one rest stop I picked up a collection of travel articles, written in easy Reader's Digest style, suited for my age. There was a story about a family driving west and stopping for breakfast somewhere in Nebraska, anticipating the sight of the Rocky Mountains where they were headed. "You have to earn the Rockies," the father said, "by driving through the flat Midwest." Earn the Rockies is a phrase that has stayed with me my whole life: It sums up America's continental geography – and by inference, why America is a world power. It summed up my yearning to travel and see mountains even higher than the Appalachians in Pennsylvania. Finally in 1970, when I was 18, I hitchhiked across America from New York to Oregon and spent a summer roaming the Rocky Mountains.
When my family made that trip a half-century ago, Alaska and Hawaii were new states admitted to the union only the year before. The United States now reached halfway across the Pacific, and yet in 1960 it still thought of itself as a continental nation, stretching from sea to shining sea. Nevertheless, if you were a Hawaiian, you thought of the continental United States as "the mainland." And if you were an Alaskan, it was "the lower 48." The term lower 48 always rang a bell for me, signifying as it did the contiguous 48 states that completed the temperate zone of North America between Canada and Mexico. Arizona was the 48th state, admitted to the union only in 1912. Until then, and throughout the 19th century, ever since the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, American presidents administered the West or parts of it as imperial overlords: governing places as territories that were not as yet states.
Indeed, the entire operating myth of American nationhood has had an east-to-west orientation. America's continental geography was perfectly appointed for gradual westering settlement. The original 13 colonies huddled around many natural, deep-water Atlantic harbors, with the Appalachians as a western boundary. Passes through the Appalachians enabled the pioneers to enter the Midwest, where a flat panel of rich farmland -- and the back-breaking labor required for it to bear crops, and to clear the forests on it -- ground down the various North European immigrant communities into a distinctive American culture. By the time the water-starved Great Plains and the Rockies beckoned forth another generation of settlers, the Transcontinental Railroad was at hand to complete the story of nation-building unto the Pacific.
Of course, the Rockies emblemized this whole saga: their sheer beauty and majesty helped make Americans feel that they were a special people, ordained to do great things; the utter height of these mountains provided settlers with the supreme logistical challenge. The Rockies are a signal example of how a physical environment can mold a people's character.
In fact, had the United States been settled from west to east, from California directly into the water-starved tableland of Nevada and Arizona, it is possible that the country would have begun as an oligarchy or some such authoritarian regime, in order to strictly administer water rights. This is partly the background to such great books of sea to shining sea nationhood as Wallace Stegner's Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (1954) and Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert (1986). In a larger sense, the story of earning the Rockies is chronicled in such epics as Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Plains (1931) and Bernard DeVoto's lyrical trilogy of westward expansion, The Year of Decision: 1846 (1943), Across the Wide Missouri (1947) and The Course of Empire (1952). DeVoto wrote those books during World War II and some of the darkest days of the Cold War. Yet, by concentrating on the Rocky Mountains and all that they represented, he told Americans why they were great. DeVoto's prose, like the music of Stephen Foster -- of which DeVoto writes about so eloquently -- catches at dead center the very energy of Manifest Destiny.
DeVoto, repeating Henry David Thoreau's dictum, advised Americans that, metaphorically, they "must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe." DeVoto never left North America his whole life. He was not an isolationist but a geopolitical thinker who understood the continental basis of American power.
That continental basis is subtly shifting. I may be of the last generation that sees the United States in terms of its east-to-west historic geography of Manifest Destiny. Americans today do not take horses or trains, drive, ride buses or hitchhike across the continent. They fly. Our airports have been the new bus stations. Americans no longer experience the exhilaration of seeing the front range of the Rockies after crossing the flat prairie and Great Plains. They experience much less the regional diversity of the United States, as McDonald's and Starbucks deface the urban landscape. Our towns and small cities with their refreshing provincial aura have been transformed into vast, suburban conurbations, each integrally connected to the global economy. Cosmopolitanism is no longer restricted to the coasts. That is a good thing, even as something special has been lost.
Expansion of the Panama Canal and Global Shipping
At the same time, our southern border beckons more importantly than ever. The combined populations of Mexico and Central America have risen to half that of the United States and will go higher, as the average person south of the border is almost a decade younger than the average American. While Mexican drug cartels partly dominate substantial territory in northern Mexico, Mexico may be on its way to becoming one of the world's top 10 economies, with plans by some in Mexico City to connect more ports on the Atlantic and Pacific with more efficient road and rail networks. Meanwhile, the widening of the Panama Canal within the next two years may put a new economic emphasis on the Greater Caribbean, from America's Gulf Coast to northern South America. Latin history is certainly moving north, as the destiny of North America goes from being east-to-west to north-to-south.
The east-west, sea to shining sea world of my childhood and youth was a world of the Industrial Age nation-state, with all of its chill-up-your-spine myths. The north-south world will be one of globalization, as the United States dissolves into a larger planetary geography, where its epic pioneering past will be relevant only to the degree it helps America compete economically.
The lower 48 made Americans what they are -- a people of the frontier, forever seeking to earn the Rockies. The degree to which Americans can spiritually hold on to that geography will help them cross the new frontiers ahead.
The awesomeness of budget cuts in Detroit
Reply #563 on:
July 22, 2013, 11:37:45 AM »
This is What Budget Cuts Have Done to Detroit ... And It's Freaking Awesome
This is What Budget Cuts Have Done to Detroit ... And It's Freaking Awesome
The language of budget cuts, austerity, and sequestration seem to dominate the media's landscape these days, instilling fear into Americans of vital government services being cut and chaos ensuing if governments aren't allowed to spend and borrow infinitely. Conservatives decry supposed cuts to the military-industrial-complex, and liberals bemoan that without government welfare transfer programs, there would be social Darwinism. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) even blamed the Benghazi scandal on — wait for it — budget cuts and the sequester.
Leaving aside the details on whether the U.S. budget is actually shrinking, one needs to look no further than the city of Detroit to find the spontaneous order, civic cooperation, and peaceful market forces that take over when government simply isn't around.
Detroit is absolutely bankrupt. The city faces a cash shortfall of more than $100 million by June 30. Long-term liabilities, including pensions, exceed $14 billion. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to bail out Detroit's city government even further. Thanks to the financial situation of Detroit, emergency services like police and fire departments are being severely cut short. 911 is only taking calls during business hours. Homes have been abandoned making parts of the city look like a ghost town.
If our public servants are right and wouldn't dare lie and try to scare us, then chaos, anarchy and lawlessness should reign in Detroit now, right? Well, not exactly.
Dale Brown and his organization, the Threat Management Center (TMC), have helped fill in the void left by the corrupt and incompetent city government. Brown started TMC in 1995 as a way to help his fellow Detroit citizens in the midst of a rise in home invasions and murders. While attempting to assist law enforcement, he found little but uninterested officers more concerned with extracting revenue through traffic tickets and terrorizing private homes with SWAT raids than protecting person and property.
In an interview with Copblock.org, Brown explains how and why his private, free market policing organization has been so successful. The key to effective protection and security is love, says Brown, not weapons, violence, or law. It sounds a bit corny, yes, but the results speak for themselves.
Almost 20 years later and Detroit's financial mess even more apparent, TMC now has a client base of about 1,000 private residences and over 500 businesses. Thanks to TMC's efficiency and profitability, they are also able to provide free or incredibly low-cost services to the poor as well.
The reasons TMC has been so successful is because they take the complete opposite approach that government agencies, in this case law enforcement, do. Brown's philosophy is that he would rather hire people who see violence as a last resort, and the handful of Detroit police officers who actually worked with Brown in the earlier years and have an interest in genuine protection now work for TMC. While governments threaten their citizens with compulsion, fines, and jail if they don't hand over their money, TMC's funding is voluntary and subject to the profit-loss test; if Brown doesn't provide the services his customers want, he goes out of business.
This means that Brown is not interested in no-knock para-military SWAT raids, "officer safety" as the highest priority, bloated union pensions, or harassing people for what they have in their bloodstream. TMC works with its customers on the prevention of crime as well rather than showing up after the fact to take notes like historians.
The heroic Brown and TMC are a great example of how the market and civil society can and do provide services traditionally associated with the state far better, cheaper and more in tune to people's wants and needs. I have always believed policing, protection and security are far too important to be run by the state — especially in age of militarized Stormtroopers — and Brown is helping show why.
Law enforcement isn't the only "essential government service" that the private sector is taking over and flourishing in. The Detroit Bus Company (DBC) is a private bus service that began last year and truly shows a stark contrast in how the market and government operates. Founded by 25-year-old Andy Didorosi, the company avoids the traditionally stuffy, cagey government buses and uses beautiful vehicles with graffiti-laden exterior designs that match the heart of the Motor City. There are no standard bus routes; a live-tracking app, a call or a text is all you need to get picked up in one of their buses run on soy-based biofuel. All the buses feature wi-fi, music, and you can even drink your own alcohol on board! The payment system is, of course, far cheaper and fairer.
Comparing this company's bus service to say, my local San Francisco MUNI transit experience, is like comparing the services of local, free-range, organic farms in the Bay Area to the Soviet bread lines.
Not surprisingly, the city government, which has no time to protect its citizens, does manage to find the time to harass peaceful citizens in this spontaneous, market order. Charles Molnar and a couple of other students from the Detroit Enterprise Academy wanted to help make benches for the city's bus stops, where long-waits are the norm, equipped with bookshelves to hold reading material.
Detroit Department of Transportation officials quickly said the bench was "unapproved" and had it taken down. Silly citizens, don't you know only governments can provide these services?
The TMC and the DBC are just two of the larger, more visible examples of the market and voluntary human cooperation reigning in Detroit. "Food rebels," running local community gardens, are an alternative to Big Agriculture and government-subsidized factory farms. Private parking garages are popping up. Detroit residents are using Lockean homesteading principles to repurpose land amongst the rubble of the Fed-induced housing bubble. Community events like Biergartens and large, civic dining gatherings (with no permits or licenses!) are being organized privately. Even Detroit's artists are beginning to reflect this anarchic, peaceful movement in their artwork.
Detroit's city government may be in shambles financially, but the citizens of Detroit are showing what happens when people are given their liberty back. For centuries, libertarians have been arguing for strict limits on state power, the benefits of private, civic society, and the bottom-up, spontaneous order that arises where free markets and voluntary interactions dominate. Perhaps we shouldn't be so scared and sicken with political Stockholm Syndrome the next time politicos fear-monger over budgets cuts.
Morris: American Dream is Alive and Well
Reply #564 on:
July 23, 2013, 10:14:43 AM »
The American Dream Is Alive And Well
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on July 23, 2013
It may seem as if the poor remain poor, the rich stay rich, and the middle class has nowhere to go. It may appear as if we are not doing as well as our parents did. But each of these statements is disproven by a new study issued by Pew University. Instead, Pew found a churning with the rich moving down and the poor moving up in about equal numbers. It is as easy to escape the poverty of the bottom fifth as it is to fall out of the wealth of the top fifth. 57% of the bottom quintile -- the poor -- move out of poverty after twenty years while 60% of the top quintile -- the rich -- fall out in the same period.
Pew conducted a twenty year study of upward and downward mobility in our economy. It traced a sample of Americans from the mid eighties and early nineties through the end of last decade to measure their ups and downs in income and wealth. It also compared where they ended up with where their parents left off in order to determine generational upward or downward mobility.
The study found that 84% of Americans earn more at this point in their lives than their parents did in inflation adjusted dollars. And, it found an incredible amount of upward and downward changes in income over the twenty year period. Predictably, race and educational levels played a large part in the results. But the volatility of the upward and downward movements suggest an economy in flux rather than one stuck behind European-like class barriers.
The study divided Americans into five income bands for each 20% of the population. For our purposes, we'll call the 0 to 20% band the "poor" (even though the actual poverty rate is only 15%). The next band -- 20% to 40% -- we'll call "almost poor." The middle band -- 40% to 60% -- we'll call "middle income." The fourth band -- 60% to 80% -- lets label "near rich" and above 80% we'll call "rich."
The poor will average below $20,000 in household income. The almost poor will run from about $20,000 to $40,000. The middle will have a household income of $40,000 - $60,000 (median household income is about $50,000). The near rich will range from $60,000 - $80,000 and the rich will be above $80,000 (although they may not feel rich).
Of those who grew up in poverty, 57% have succeeded in leaving that condition twenty years later. 43% remain poor. 27% of the once poor become almost poor. 17% become middle income, 9% rise to near rich and 4% are truly rags-to-riches going from the bottom to the top in twenty years.
Mobility is also great for the almost poor. After 20 years, a quarter (24%) falls backwards into poverty. 20% remain almost poor. But a healthy 56% move up the ladder, a third into the rich and near rich categories.
For the rich, staying there is no assured thing. Of those who were in the top quintile (rich), only 40% stayed there twenty years later. 22% fell back to near rich but 18% fell down to poverty or near poverty.
So, if you are down, there is a better than even chance of going up. And if you are up, there is a better than even chance of dropping down!
Race had a lot to do with what happens to you. Half of blacks (53%) as opposed to a third of whites (33%) who were raised in the bottom of family income stayed there. And 56% of the blacks who spent their childhood in the middle income range fell back to poverty or near poverty compared to just 32% of whites.
And education was a key variable. Among those who were poor as children, 47% remained poor if they had no four year college degree. But only 10% stayed poor if they had one.
Geographically, the center for upward income mobility shifted away from the Sunbelt and the west coast to the northeast. The internationalization of the economy in New York and the surrounding area has lifted incomes and mobility prospects while the rest of the nation languished. Eight states -- six in the northeast -- had above average upward income mobility: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan and Utah. The southeast, once the growth center of the nation, languished behind as did the west coast.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #565 on:
July 24, 2013, 10:47:23 AM »
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #566 on:
July 24, 2013, 10:51:11 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on July 24, 2013, 10:47:23 AM
Punch back twice as hard.
At least one is busy trying to shore up her husband's mayoral campaign, so her service to the MB must be suffering. Jihad ain't easy.....
A fight that has to happen
Reply #567 on:
July 30, 2013, 05:11:42 PM »
On the surface, the Christie-King-establishment vs. Paul-Cruz-libertarian donnybrook that has broken out over the last few days is about national security — specifically, the NSA snooping programs. In truth, national security is but the trigger to a much broader discussion that needs to happen. The fault lines that have developed over the last decade in the GOP have divided the party on spending, taxes, the size and role of government, immigration, gay rights, and America’s place in a changing world.
In short, the Republican Party is in the process of reinventing itself. And the debate now underway between the two dominant strains of conservative thought will not only determine the future of the Republican Party, but also have a great impact on who will be the GOP standard bearer in 2016.
Perhaps the biggest story in Republican politics in 2013 has been the rise of the libertarian right in the Senate and the man who has shown genuine leadership ability in facilitating that rise. Rand Paul has stepped into a leadership void created by the ineffectiveness of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and altered the tone and tenor of Senate debates. The power axis of Paul, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas has given Senate Republicans something they haven’t had in years: voices that speak with a passion and coherence about principles while pushing a recognizable, consistent agenda.
It should come as no surprise that traditional, establishment conservatives would find a way to fight back. But Chris Christie as the messenger? The Northeast Republican has the credentials, but would hardly be the first choice of most establishmentarians. Despite still being mentioned as a possible candidate in 2016, many rank-and-file Republicans have virtually abandoned Christie, given his embrace of President Obama just days before the 2012 election and his apostate views on gun control and immigration reform.
But Christie may not feel he’s dead yet. Speaking at the Aspen Institute on a panel with other GOP governors, the New Jersey governor came down hard on Senator Paul and other libertarians for their opposition to the NSA surveillance programs.
As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.
Did he mean Rand Paul specifically?
You can name any number of people and he’s one of them. These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.
Accusing the libertarians of being soft on terrorism exposes Paul’s main vulnerability. Indeed, the whole non-interventionist strain that runs through the libertarian right goes far beyond defending civil liberties and envisions a world with a greatly reduced role for America, a reduced military — indeed a revolutionary change in the national-security state.
Christie’s attack was followed by a similar assault from Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a politician desperately looking for an issue to ride to the Republican nomination in 2016.
The New Yorker didn’t pull any punches:
“To me the overriding concern here has to be national defense, national security, and not be apologizing for America,” King said. “When you have Rand Paul actually comparing [Edward] Snowden to Martin Luther King, Jr., or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness. This is the anti-war left wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost twenty years. I don’t want that happening to our party.”
To accuse Paul of virtually “blaming America first” (and to mention George McGovern in the same breath) is to throw down the gauntlet to the libertarians on issues that have defined the Republican Party for more than 40 years — unflinching support for national defense and a strong, aggressive foreign policy that puts America first.
For the knockout blow, King used the “I” word to describe Paul and the libertarian tribe:
“I thought it was absolutely disgraceful that so many Republicans voted to defund the NSA program, which has done so much to protect our country,” King said. “This is an isolationist streak that is in our party. It goes totally against the party of Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush. We are party of national defense, we’re a party who did so much to protect the country over the last few years.”
What the NSA program has to do with isolationism, King doesn’t say. But if there is anything that is going to keep the libertarians from rising to dominance in the Republican Party, it is the sense that they wish to take the GOP back to the days of Robert Taft and his brand of non-interventionist foreign policy. Taft opposed aid to the allies prior to our entrance into World War II. After the war, he opposed the U.S. joining alliances such as NATO, opposed U.S. participation in the UN, and generally felt that Fortress America, protected by the two great oceans, could afford us the security we needed.
The Way Forward for the American Creed - The Wisconsin Model
Reply #568 on:
August 06, 2013, 12:21:07 PM »
It is the Upper Midwest, the 'Rust Belt', one might confuse Wisconsin for Michigan, and Wisconsin's worst city Milwaukee no doubt has all the makings of the problems of Detroit, yet now the so-called dairy state is one of America's 5 fastest growing state economies.
Who knew? The voters. Twice.
Shrinking the size and scope of government is not an exciting, Hyde Park, Yes We Can agenda, but it does serve to re-energize the economy.
EDITORIAL: The Wisconsin model
Hard work and no more free rides for anyone
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Monday, August 5, 2013
The nation’s governors met in Milwaukee over the weekend to share tips about what to do to make their states better. Some of the governors had more to tell than others, but few more than Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin. He’s showing the rest of the nation what an actual economic recovery looks like.
Mr. Walker talked of the numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia that put his state among the top five in economic growth. “We know that employers want stability, and while we can’t control all of the factors affecting job creation, this ranking is another sign that the work we are doing is improving the business climate in the state,” he said.
The results in Wisconsin were wrought by neither coincidence nor luck. Wisconsin earned them. The state’s voters made a conscious and distinct choice to break from the failed public policies of the past. Before Mr. Walker assumed office in 2011, public-sector unions ruled Madison, carving for themselves golden pension plans that nobody else had and Wisconsin couldn’t pay for, swelling the deficit to $3.6 billion. Unlike many of his colleagues, Republican or Democrat, Mr. Walker was willing to wager his own future to say no to greedy unions. Voters explicitly endorsed Mr. Walker’s agenda when they voted against recalling him, and by a comfortable margin.
This enrages liberals in a solid blue state with a large union membership. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the “Daily Show,” appeared on Al Jazeera’s new American television network last week and her bile exploded. “I hate Scott Walker really down to the core of my being,” she said. Chanting demonstrators gathered in the Capitol rotunda for a “singing protest” against the new era of responsible budgeting.
Mr. Walker took away the free ride for state employees. They must now pay half of the contribution to their pension and 12.6 percent of the cost of their health insurance. Abuse of overtime, used to fatten prospective pensions, was eliminated. The changes added up to $1.9 billion in savings, and much of it was returned to taxpayers. So far this session, the Wisconsin legislature has approved across-the-board tax cuts, a manufacturing tax credit and a reduction in unnecessary regulation.
Before Mr. Walker took office, only 1 of every 10 businessmen said the state was headed in the right direction. Last month, more than 9 of 10 CEOs said in a survey by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce trade association that they like where Wisconsin is headed. President Obama would cheer for numbers like that.
America’s economic future depends on local, state and federal legislators taking the lesson that good business is good for America. The Wisconsin model can work in other states. Washington could learn from it, too. They only have to try it.
One POV on the Tea Party
Reply #569 on:
August 07, 2013, 10:43:53 AM »
Some interesting historical background in this piece:
The Tea Party’s Path to Irrelevance
By JAMES TRAUB
Published: August 6, 2013 218 Comments
WASHINGTON — THE Tea Party has a new crusade: preventing illegal immigrants from gaining citizenship, which they say is giving amnesty to lawbreakers. Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, recently told Politico that his members were “more upset about the amnesty bill than they were about Obamacare.”
They’re so upset, in fact, that Republican supporters of immigration reform, like Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have become marked men in their party, while House Republicans have followed the Tea Party lead by refusing to even consider the Senate’s bipartisan reform plan.
Tea Partyers often style themselves as disciples of Thomas Jefferson, the high apostle of limited government. But by taking the ramparts against immigration, the movement is following a trajectory that looks less like the glorious arc of Jefferson’s Republican Party than the suicidal path of Jefferson’s great rivals, the long-forgotten Federalists, who also refused to accept the inexorable changes of American demography.
The Federalists began as the faction that supported the new Constitution, with its “federal” framework, rather than the existing model of a loose “confederation” of states. They were the national party, claiming to represent the interests of the entire country.
Culturally, however, they were identified with the ancient stock of New England and the mid-Atlantic, as the other major party at the time, the Jeffersonian Republicans (no relation to today’s Republicans), were with the South.
The Federalists held together for the first few decades, but in 1803 the Louisiana Purchase — Jefferson’s great coup — drove a wedge between the party’s ideology and its demography. The national party was suddenly faced with a nation that looked very different from what it knew: in a stroke, a vast new territory would be opened for colonization, creating new economic and political interests, slavery among them.
“The people of the East can not reconcile their habits, views and interests with those of the South and West,” declared Thomas Pickering, a leading Massachusetts Federalist.
Every Federalist in Congress save John Quincy Adams voted against the Louisiana Purchase. Adams, too, saw that New England, the cradle of the revolution, had become a small part of a new nation. Change “being found in nature,” he wrote stoically, “cannot be resisted.”
But resist is precisely what the Federalists did. Fearing that Irish, English and German newcomers would vote for the Jeffersonian Republicans, they argued — unsuccessfully — for excluding immigrants from voting or holding office, and pushed to extend the period of naturalization from 5 to 14 years.
Leading Federalists even plotted to “establish a separate government in New England,” as William Plumer, a senator from Delaware, later conceded. (The plot collapsed only when the proposed military leader, Aaron Burr, killed the proposed political guide, Alexander Hamilton.)
The Federalists later drummed out Adams, who voted with the Jeffersonian Republicans to impose an embargo on England in retaliation for English harassment of American merchant ships and impressment of American sailors. This was the foreshadowing moment of the War of 1812, which the Anglophile Federalists stoutly opposed.
Finally, in the fall of 1814, the Federalists convened the Hartford Convention to vote on whether to stay in or out of the Union. By then even the hotheads realized how little support they had, and the movement collapsed. And the Federalists, now scorned as an anti-national party, collapsed as well.
Contrast that defiance with Jefferson’s Republicans, who stood for decentralized government and the interests of yeoman farmers, primarily in the coastal South.
They ruled the country from 1801 to 1825, when they were unseated by Adams — who, after splitting with the Federalists, had joined with a breakaway Republican faction.
In response, Jefferson’s descendants, known as the Old Radicals, did exactly what the Federalists would not do: they joined up with the new Americans, many of them immigrants, who were settling the country opened up by the Louisiana Purchase.
Their standard-bearer in 1828, Andrew Jackson, favored tariffs and “internal improvements” like roads and canals, the big-government programs of the day. The new party, known first as the Democratic-Republicans, and then simply as the Democrats, thrashed Adams that year. (Adams’s party, the National Republicans, gave way to the Whigs, which in turn evolved into the modern Republican Party.)
Today’s Republicans are not likely to disappear completely, like the Federalists did. But Republican leaders like Mr. Rubio and Mr. Graham understand that a party that seeks to defy demography, relying on white resentment toward a rising tide of nonwhite newcomers, dooms itself to permanent minority status. Opposing big government is squarely in the American grain; trying to hold back the demographic tide is quixotic. Professional politicians do not want to become the party of a legacy class.
The problem is that the Tea Party is not a party, and its members are quite prepared to ride their hobbyhorse into a dead end. And many Republicans, at least in the House, seem fully prepared to join them there, and may end up dragging the rest of the party with them.
The example of those early days shows that American political parties once knew how to adapt to a changing reality. It is a lesson many seem to have forgotten.
James Traub, a columnist at foreignpolicy.com, is writing a biography of John Quincy Adams.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #570 on:
August 07, 2013, 07:48:21 PM »
So I guess those that waited in line, sometimes for decades were stupid. Respecting US law is for suckers. Want to come to America, hire a coyote!
Reps tech gap with Dems
Reply #571 on:
August 08, 2013, 10:32:21 AM »
Re: Reps tech gap with Dems
Reply #572 on:
August 08, 2013, 10:45:05 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on August 08, 2013, 10:32:21 AM
True, but what is the Republican equivalent of the Obama-Dem 'data mining' of 50 million food stamp recipients?
First R's will need to data mine the Dem data mine and blow the whistle on the operations that ran outside of the law.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #573 on:
August 09, 2013, 10:56:13 AM »
Yes, but isn't there much that the Reps can and should be doing to identify and connect with voters of their own?
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #574 on:
August 09, 2013, 11:24:04 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on August 09, 2013, 10:56:13 AM
Yes, but isn't there much that the Reps can and should be doing to identify and connect with voters of their own?
Absolutely! Both of these groups have exceptions and overlap but I believe the opposite of a (long term) welfare recipient is a property owner in America. Conservatives should identify, track and communicate with every voter who owns every parcel in the country. (Someone should reach out to Martial Artists too, who tend to have a strong sense of individual rights, responsibilities and self reliance!)
And as we agreed before the last election, the challenge is in the clarity of the message. Instead, the last contest was fought in a thick fog of economic war. Screwups and sidetracks like perception of accepting apathy toward rape victims and building car elevators when we should be building voter databases cost us dearly, and perhaps permanently.
Now the focus is on in-fighting, Gov. Christy vs. Sen Rand Paul, for example, Powerline vs. Marco Rubio, everyone vs. Boehner. No reader of the newspaper in our town would have any ideas what conservatives, economic libertarians or smaller government advocates stand for. Just people who hate others and oppose progress. They even hate themselves.
The focus needs to be on areas of agreement, not our differences. Short, clear messages of what direction the country needs to turn to survive and succeed are a part of the answer IMHO.
Reply #575 on:
August 25, 2013, 07:17:32 PM »
There is still reason to hope and fight for a better day. Here is one small example of why:
BTW, Ashton is a student of Rigan Machado and Rigan introduced us to each other at a party. What a gentleman! Spoke to me like a real human being as he pummeled a bit a poolside with Rigan. He even came over to me as he was leaving to say "Nice meeting you"
Love letter to NSA agent
Reply #576 on:
August 25, 2013, 10:07:05 PM »
A bit of humor here:
The Pledge of Allegiance
Reply #577 on:
September 01, 2013, 06:14:55 PM »
Repbuclicans have to break through
Reply #578 on:
September 02, 2013, 09:00:20 PM »
This could go under race etc but I feel it fits better here as a good argument that Blacks should strongly consider coming back to the party of opportunity (Lincoln) and leave the party of stagnation and serfdom (Obama).
Instead we here the usual race bating propaganda at the 50 anniversary of MLK>
Is Obama Good for Black Americans?
Mona Charen's column is released once a week.
Mona Charen August 23, 2013 SocietyBarack ObamaUnemployment
Buried in a New York Times story about the economy was this arresting statistic: Median family income for black Americans has declined a whopping 10.9 percent during the Obama administration. It has declined for other groups as well — 3.6 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 4.5 percent for Hispanics - but the figure for blacks is huge. This decline does not include losses suffered during the financial crisis and the recession that followed, but it instead measures declines since June 2009, when the recession officially ended.
That's not the only bad news for African-Americans. The poverty rate for blacks is now 25.8 percent. The black labor force participation rate, which rose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has declined for the past decade and quite sharply under Obama to 61.4 percent. The black unemployment rate, according to Pew Research, stands at 13.4 percent. Among black, male, high school dropouts, PBS' Paul Salmon reports, the unemployment rate is a staggering 95 percent.
Does any of this affect the standing of the nation's first black president with black Americans? Not a whit, apparently. This is not to suggest that any president should gear his policies to one or another ethnic group. The president serves the nation as a whole, or should. But if unemployment, poverty and the black/white income gap had expanded under a different president to the degree is has under Obama (the income gap is now larger than it was under George W. Bush), it wouldn't go unreported and the president would not escape responsibility.
The advent of an African-American president surely brings psychic dividends to black Americans (and the rest of us, to a degree), but those intangibles may be pretty much all they get from his presidency. In terms of material prosperity, his leadership has delivered nothing but decline. He plays the psychological card very skillfully — showboating his identification with Trayvon Martin and sticking up for Henry Louis Gates — but more and more his gestures in this regard seem like substitutes for results.
Black poverty is up, employment is down and wealth is down. The dissolution of the black family continues unabated, with 72.3 percent of black children born to unmarried mothers. Black males constitute just 6 percent of the population yet comprise more than 40 percent of those incarcerated in state and federal prisons and jails. One-third of black men aged 20 to 29 are in the purview of the criminal justice system (incarcerated or on probation or parole).
The press resolutely ignores these figures, while the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party in Hollywood serves up distorted history to distract and pacify the public. The latest entry appears to be "The Butler," which misrepresents President Reagan (as I gather from those who've seen it) as, at best, insensitive to blacks, and at worst as racist. Eugene Allen, the actual White House butler on whom the film is supposedly based, kept signed photos of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in his living room (pictures of the other presidents he had served hung in the basement).
According to a 2008 Washington Post profile, Allen served eight presidents for 34 years until his retirement. He did not, as the movie portrays, resign to protest Reagan's policies on civil rights or South Africa. His wife happily reminisced to the Post about the time the couple were invited by the Reagans to attend a state dinner in honor of the West German chancellor. "Drank champagne that night," Mrs. Allen recalled with pleasure. The film apparently depicts the invitation as tokenism. The filmmakers also insert a horrific childhood "memory" for Allen — his mother being raped and his father shot by a white landlord. Didn't happen.
Would it interest black moviegoers to know that under Ronald Reagan's policies, median African American household incomes increased by 84 percent (compared with 68 percent for whites)? The poverty rate dropped during the 1980s from 14 percent down to 11.6 percent. The black unemployment rate dropped by 9 percentage points. The number of black-owned businesses increased by 38 percent and receipts more than doubled.
Obama's economic record is dismal because he is inflexibly attached to the wrong ideas. Hollywood is, of course, free to worship at his tattered shrine. But to smear Reagan — a man who deeply loathed bigotry in any form and actually improved the lives of all Americans including blacks — in an attempt to prop up the drooping Obama standard, is contemptible.
To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at
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Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #579 on:
September 03, 2013, 10:02:23 AM »
"under Ronald Reagan's policies, median African American household incomes increased by 84 percent"
"The poverty rate dropped during the 1980s from 14 percent down to 11.6 percent."
"The black unemployment rate dropped by 9 percentage points."
"The number of black-owned businesses increased by 38 percent"
Market capitalism based on economic freedom is the best and only way of moving large numbers of people from poverty to prosperity.
How do we communicate that better is the question. We post here and Mona Charen gets published in many places but we are reaching ourselves mostly, preaching to the choir not reaching the people who are unemployed, in poverty or in need of or in search of a better life.
The answer in part is more charismatic leaders, a clearer message, make fewer errors and not allow ourselves to get distracted and off-message. But we also need to reach into more venues, not just the same audience over and over. We need to confront the Democrat demographic with the facts in more persuasive ways.
One big place we lose is the inner city. Democrats own the message and now own the get out the vote operation. Their message is vote Dem because Republicans want to take away what you have, free this and free that, from food stamps to housing vouchers, disability checks, Grandma's meds and your 'Obama' cell phone. They want you to be poor and themselves to be rich. If Republicans win you will lose they are told, but in fact, Dems are taking away your choices and opportunities while Republicans support a well funded safety net - just not in place of the American Dream.
Mia Love; Kirk Cameron
Reply #580 on:
September 05, 2013, 09:17:55 PM »
Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 11:17:18 PM by Crafty_Dog
The goose and the gander
Reply #581 on:
September 13, 2013, 11:22:37 AM »
"We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right." --Thomas Jefferson
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Hope 'n' Change: Playing by the Same Rules
A level playing field?
On Thursday, the House passed the "No Subsidies Without Verification Act," 235-191, which would block ObamaCare insurance subsidy payouts until the Department of Health and Human Services implements a system to verify eligibility. Republicans aim to close a loophole that HHS created in July that allows people to apply for insurance subsidies without proving their income or whether their employer already provides federally approved health benefits.
HHS insists Republicans are overstating the opportunity for fraud and abuse because fear of future HHS and IRS audits will keep people honest. Yet this audit power hasn't prevented people from, for example, playing fast and loose with the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Treasury Inspector General estimates that a quarter of those credits go to ineligible recipients, and equivalent fraud in ObamaCare would mean $250 billion in wrongful income redistribution over a decade. Predictably, the Democrat-controlled Senate won't consider the House measure, though Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced it, and the White House issued a veto threat. Team Obama needs the bodies to make the program work, and they don't want stricter rules blocking folks from getting their "fair share."
In related news, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) submitted a bill to subject members of Congress to ObamaCare just like the rest of America. This summer, the Office of Personnel Management quietly issued a blanket exception that allowed Congress and congressional staffers to continue to receive their generous health benefits and be exempt from having to enroll in ObamaCare. The excuse was that if Swamp-dwellers had to contend with ObamaCare, they might leave government service and seek more lucrative employment in the private sector. Republicans, who could have used this outrageous exemption as a powerful weapon against ObamaCare, were mum until now. Given Democrats' enthusiasm for the law, it seems only logical that they be forced to enjoy it like everyone else. As for the concern about Beltway brain drain, repealing the exemption is a perfect opportunity to trim the fat -- and ensuring that DC elites get a good taste of their own medicine.
Taking the fight to the Dems
Reply #582 on:
September 20, 2013, 02:42:35 PM »
Taking the Fight to the Democrats
In Virginia's gubernatorial race, opponents of Terry McAuliffe may have cracked the playbook Democrats have used to win in states that ought to go Republican.
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
Democrats used the 2012 election to fine-tune a strategy for beating conservatives in conservative-friendly states. A handful of GOP players are now using Virginia's off-year gubernatorial race to trial-run a strategy for defeating that Democratic tactic.
Virginia so far has been a carbon copy of what Democrats did so successfully in last year's Senate and House races. The approach runs thus: A Democratic candidate, assisted by unions and outside partisan groups, floods the zone with attack ads, painting the GOP opponent as a tea-party nut who is too "extreme" for the state. The left focuses on divisive wedge issues—like abortion—that resonate with women or other important voting constituencies.
As the Republican's unfavorable ratings rise, the Democrat presents himself as a reasonable moderate, in tune with the state's values. A friendly media overlook the Democrat's reliably liberal record, and the lies within the smears against his opponent, and ultimately declares the Democrat unbeatable.
This is how Sen. Heidi Heitkamp won in North Dakota (while Mitt Romney won there by 20 points); how Sen. Joe Donnelly won in Indiana (Romney by 10 points); how Sen. Jon Tester won in Montana (Romney by 14 points). And this is how Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe hopes to beat his GOP rival, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The McAuliffe crew has for months slammed Mr. Cuccinelli as a whackadoodle social conservative—suggesting that the respected lawyer is against punishing rapists, against allowing divorce, against contraception. The latest McAuliffe ad presents an obstetrician who declares that Mr. Cuccinelli would "make all abortion illegal." Mr. McAuliffe's advertising rarely ventures into discussing his policy ideas.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Terry McAuliffe campaigning for governor in Virginia in August.
The media have failed to challenge most of these accusations, showing considerably more interest in polls showing Mr. McAuliffe pulling ahead, while unfavorability ratings for Mr. Cuccinelli have increased—no doubt driven by the negative ads. The tenor of the campaign coverage: Mr. Cuccinelli is finished.
Enter a new conservative Super PAC, Fight For Tomorrow, which last week began running a creative TV ad against Mr. McAuliffe in the Washington and Richmond areas. Little is known about FFT (as a national Super PAC, it will be required to disclose its backers in January), but one thing is clear from conversations with those involved: The organization's primary focus is to directly take on the Democratic bare-knuckle strategy—and not just neutralize it, but throw it back at the attackers.
The concept behind FFT's ad is to give Virginia voters a context in which to view the McAuliffe attacks. The group's TV spot notes that there is a "gang" supporting Mr. McAuliffe: the leaders of the Democratic Party; an elitist media; Wall Street liberals; outside partisan groups; Hollywood.
Having specified who is doing the smearing on Mr. McAuliffe's behalf, the spot goes on to explain why the groups want Mr. McAuliffe to win: To impose an agenda that Virginians truly would view as nuts. Employing a potent list of "geography verbs," the ad finishes: "Tell these McAuliffe puppeteers, this is Virginia. We won't let you Detroit us with taxes and debt. You will not California Virginia with regulations that kill jobs, or Hollywood our families and schools. You will not bring District of Columbia tax and spend to our state. Tell them: You can't have Virginia."
One merit of the ad is that, while it directly addresses the left's scorched-earth campaign, it doesn't stoop to responding to the accusations against Mr. Cuccinelli. (The ad doesn't even mention the candidate.) Another attribute is that it switches voter attention away from the wild Cuccinelli caricature and onto all the failed Democratic policies—like the ones that produced soaring energy prices, health-care rationing and huge deficits—that Mr. McAuliffe seems desperate to avoid discussing.
Indeed, the whole idea here is to turn the tables, to get the GOP back on offense, rather than offering cringing defenses of positions that are in fact widely shared by a center-right country.
"The honest views of Terry McAuliffe and his liberal supporters are what are extreme, but they are hiding them, and doing so by running a smear campaign against Ken Cuccinelli," says Matt Mackowiak, the executive director of FFT.
While the FFT ad buy has been modest, Mr. Mackowiak says that a focus group testing the ad among Virginians showed that 27 of 28 people who watched the spot moved away from supporting Mr. McAuliffe. The ad had been slated to run only two days, but the response was so positive, he says, that the group extended the campaign to a full week. This comes even as a recent poll showed the race close within the margin of error, blowing up the media's early burial of Mr. Cuccinelli and giving his supporters new drive to take on the McAuliffe machine.
Whether or not the FFT campaign ultimately moves the dial, no one can fault that group's desire to confront what is now the standard Democratic playbook. If the GOP wants to start winning states it should be winning, that playbook is the nut it has to crack.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed - De-funding bad government
Reply #583 on:
September 25, 2013, 02:43:51 PM »
Government should only be as large as the smallest of what the three parties, House, Senate and President, can agree.
De-funding bad government? Seems like everyone but a very few believe Ted Cruz and the House are on the wrong track. Why is it the right track to fund government programs that you oppose, not just Obamacare, but all of the waste, fraud, abuse programs characterized by not being a federal responsibility or engulfed in unintended consequences?
Consent of the governed? Obamacare had the (questionable) consent of the 111th congress (2009). It was upheld by Chief Justice Roberts and the (other) liberals on the Supreme Court. But the people today, and the 112th (2011) and 113th Congresses (2013) do not give their consent, in particular, the House of Representatives. The power to tax and spend begins in the House. Right? Is the House obligated to fund what a previous congress approved, that it now opposes? If so, why have new elections? We already know the law of the land.
De-funding Obamacare will shut down the government? No it won't. Only shutting down the government will shut down the government. The House already passed a bill funding everything but Obamacare. But Obama has the bully pulpit? Yes, but for every program he says Republicans in the House have shut down, defense, food stamps, Medicaid, etc., Republican in the House can pass funding specifically for those programs - individually - as he mentions them. Then how does that mud stick?
Republicans other than Cruz etc. say the de-funding has no end game, because their opponents will never cave.. But what is their end game? Fund everything you oppose. Surrender to your opponents because of their refusal to negotiate? Wait until one more program is fully in place with millions dependent on it? How is that strategy working for the repeal of
else? One might recall that Reagan called for closing the US Dept of Education in 1982. 31 years flies by quickly and uneventfully when it comes to closing federal departments and programs, doesn't it?
The Supreme Court, we are told, tightened the meaning of the Commerce Clause. What programs ended as a result of that?
How about something simpler, stand up for what you strongly believe and live with the consequences.
One might ask Pres. Assad if Pres. Barack Obama is too strong to ever draw a red line and then cave under pressure.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #584 on:
September 26, 2013, 11:34:31 AM »
***Peter King: ‘Vile’ phone calls by Ted Cruz allies
By TAL KOPAN | 9/26/13 9:26 AM EDT
Rep. Peter King, who has pulled no punches in criticizing Ted Cruz, said Thursday that supporters of the Texas senator have been bombarding his office with “vile” phone calls.
The New York Republican has called Cruz a fraud for his calls to defund Obamacare, and said the senator’s campaign this summer to get the House to pass a government funding bill that defunds the health care law led to some offensive phone calls to King’s office.
“The vehemence of the phone calls coming into the office. I don’t care, people can call me whatever they want … I haven’t heard such vile, profane, obscene language,” King said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday.
King said while the majority of Cruz fans are “good people,” he’s concerned about what sentiments Cruz has preyed on. While he doesn’t know if Republicans can reach Cruz, they should try to “heal tensions” with his supporters, he said.
(Also on POLITICO: John Boozman thrashes Ted Cruz for Obamacare tactics)
“I’m not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain here in the American political psyche here, and again, the most obscene, profane stuff you can imagine all from people who say they support the Constitution,” King said. “I think what we have to do is reach out to his people and let them know that they’re following a false leader here.”
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #585 on:
September 27, 2013, 08:27:46 AM »
It is entirely possible that there were some rude and inappropriate phone calls but perhaps Rep. King should realize the anger is not Cruz's fault but that of the Congress for not taking on Obama's War on the Rule of the Law of the Land.
I confess to both bafflement and anger that somehow all of this is being described as the Cruz et al wanting to "shut down the government" and/or "default on our obligations" when the House/Reps have voted to fund everything except Obamacare. It is the DEMS/Senate who are voting to shut down government!!!
Yes? Or am I missing something here?
What a Kafkaesque world our government and its Pravdas have become!!!
Charles Murray goes long and deep in 2009
Reply #586 on:
September 30, 2013, 05:28:54 PM »
By CHARLES MURRAY
When I began to work on this lecture a few months ago, I was feeling abashed because I knew I couldn't talk about either of the topics that were of the gravest national importance. Regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, I have not publicly said a word on foreign policy since I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in 1973. Regarding the economic crisis, I am not an economist. In fact, I am so naive about economics that I continue to think that we have a financial meltdown because the federal government, in its infinite wisdom, has for the last two administrations aggressively pushed policies that made it possible for clever people to get rich by lending money to people who were unlikely to pay it back.
The topic I wanted to talk about was one that has been at the center of my own concerns for more than 20 years, but I was afraid it would seem remote from these urgent immediate issues. How times change. As of the morning of Feb. 24, this is the text I had written to introduce the topic: "It isn't usually put this way, but the advent of the Obama administration brings this question before the nation: Do we want the United States to be like Europe?"
And then on the evening of the 24th, President Obama unveiled his domestic agenda to Congress, and now everybody is putting it that way. As Charles Krauthammer observed a few days later, "We've been trying to figure out who Barack Obama is, where he's really from. From Hawaii? Indonesia? The Ivy League? Chicago? Now we know: he's a Swede."
In short, the question has suddenly become urgently relevant because President Obama and his leading intellectual heroes are the American equivalent of Europe's social democrats. There's nothing sinister about that. They share an intellectually respectable view that Europe's regulatory and social welfare systems are more progressive than America's and advocate reforms that would make the American system more like the European system.
Not only are social democrats intellectually respectable, the European model has worked in many ways. I am delighted when I get a chance to go to Stockholm or Amsterdam, not to mention Rome or Paris. When I get there, the people don't seem to be groaning under the yoke of an evil system. Quite the contrary. There's a lot to like--a lot to love--about day-to-day life in Europe, something that should be kept in mind when I get to some less complimentary observations.
The European model can't continue to work much longer. Europe's catastrophically low birthrates and soaring immigration from cultures with alien values will see to that. So let me rephrase the question. If we could avoid Europe's demographic problems, do we want the United States to be like Europe?
Tonight I will argue for the answer "no," but not for economic reasons. The European model has indeed created sclerotic economies, and it would be a bad idea to imitate them. But I want to focus on another problem.
My text is drawn from Federalist 62, probably written by James Madison: "A good government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained." Note the word:
happiness. Not prosperity. Not security. Not equality. Happiness, which the Founders used in its Aristotelian sense of lasting and justified satisfaction with life as a whole.
I have two points to make. First, I will argue that the European model is fundamentally flawed because, despite its material successes, it is not suited to the way that human beings flourish--it does not conduce to Aristotelian happiness. Second, I will argue that 21st-century science will prove me right.
First, the problem with the European model, namely: It drains too much of the life from life. And that statement applies as much to the lives of janitors--even more to the lives of janitors--as it does to the lives of CEOs.
I start from this premise: A human life can have transcendent meaning, with transcendence defined either by one of the world's great religions or one of the world's great secular philosophies. If transcendence is too big a word, let me put it another way: I suspect that almost all of you agree that the phrase "a life well-lived" has meaning. That's the phrase I'll use from now on.
And since happiness is a word that gets thrown around too casually, the phrase I'll use from now on is "deep satisfactions." I'm talking about the kinds of things that we look back upon when we reach old age and let us decide that we can be proud of who we have been and what we have done. Or not.
To become a source of deep satisfaction, a human activity has to meet some stringent requirements. It has to have been important (we don't get deep satisfaction from trivial things). You have to have put a lot of effort into it (hence the cliché "nothing worth having comes easily"). And you have to have been responsible for the consequences.
There aren't many activities in life that can satisfy those three requirements. Having been a good parent. That qualifies. A good marriage.
That qualifies. Having been a good neighbor and good friend to those whose lives intersected with yours. That qualifies. And having been really good at something--good at something that drew the most from your abilities. That qualifies. Let me put it formally: If we ask what are the institutions through which human beings achieve deep satisfactions in life, the answer is that there are just four: family, community, vocation and faith. Two
clarifications: "Community" can embrace people who are scattered geographically. "Vocation" can include avocations or causes.
It is not necessary for any individual to make use of all four institutions, nor do I array them in a hierarchy. I merely assert that these four are all there are. The stuff of life--the elemental events surrounding birth, death, raising children, fulfilling one's personal potential, dealing with adversity, intimate relationships--coping with life as it exists around us in all its richness--occurs within those four institutions.
Seen in this light, the goal of social policy is to ensure that those institutions are robust and vital. And that's what's wrong with the European model. It doesn't do that. It enfeebles every single one of them.
Put aside all the sophisticated ways of conceptualizing governmental functions and think of it in this simplistic way: Almost anything that government does in social policy can be characterized as taking some of the trouble out of things. Sometimes, taking the trouble out of things is a good idea. Having an effective police force takes some of the trouble out of walking home safely at night, and I'm glad it does.
The problem is this: Every time the government takes some of the trouble out of performing the functions of family, community, vocation and faith, it also strips those institutions of some of their vitality--it drains some of the life from them. It's inevitable. Families are not vital because the day-to-day tasks of raising children and being a good spouse are so much fun, but because the family has responsibility for doing important things that won't get done unless the family does them. Communities are not vital because it's so much fun to respond to our neighbors' needs, but because the community has the responsibility for doing important things that won't get done unless the community does them. Once that imperative has been met--family and community really do have the action--then an elaborate web of social norms, expectations, rewards and punishments evolves over time that supports families and communities in performing their functions. When the government says it will take some of the trouble out of doing the things that families and communities evolved to do, it inevitably takes some of the action away from families and communities, and the web frays, and eventually disintegrates.
If we knew that leaving these functions in the hands of families and communities led to legions of neglected children and neglected neighbors, and taking them away from families and communities led to happy children and happy neighbors, then it would be possible to say that the cost is worth it.
But that's not what happened when the U.S. welfare state expanded. We have seen growing legions of children raised in unimaginably awful circumstances, not because of material poverty but because of dysfunctional families, and the collapse of functioning neighborhoods into Hobbesian all-against-all free-fire zones.
Meanwhile, we have exacted costs that are seldom considered but are hugely important. Earlier, I said that the sources of deep satisfactions are the same for janitors as for CEOs, and I also said that people needed to do important things with their lives. When the government takes the trouble out of being a spouse and parent, it doesn't affect the sources of deep satisfaction for the CEO. Rather, it makes life difficult for the janitor. A man who is holding down a menial job and thereby supporting a wife and children is doing something authentically important with his life. He should take deep satisfaction from that, and be praised by his community for doing so. Think of all the phrases we used to have for it: "He is a man who pulls his own weight." "He's a good provider." If that same man lives under a system that says that the children of the woman he sleeps with will be taken care of whether or not he contributes, then that status goes away. I am not describing some theoretical outcome. I am describing American neighborhoods where, once, working at a menial job to provide for his family made a man proud and gave him status in his community, and where now it doesn't. I could give a half dozen other examples. Taking the trouble out of the stuff of life strips people--already has stripped people--of major ways in which human beings look back on their lives and say, "I made a difference."
I have been making a number of claims with no data. The data exist. I could document the role of the welfare state in destroying the family in low-income communities. I could cite extensive quantitative evidence of decline in civic engagement and document the displacement effect that government intervention has had on civic engagement. But such evidence focuses on those near the bottom of society where the American welfare state has been most intrusive. If we want to know where America as a whole is headed--its destination--we should look to Europe.
Drive through rural Sweden, as I did a few years ago. In every town was a beautiful Lutheran church, freshly painted, on meticulously tended grounds, all subsidized by the Swedish government. And the churches are empty.
Including on Sundays. Scandinavia and Western Europe pride themselves on their "child-friendly" policies, providing generous child allowances, free day-care centers and long maternity leaves. Those same countries have fertility rates far below replacement and plunging marriage rates. Those same countries are ones in which jobs are most carefully protected by government regulation and mandated benefits are most lavish. And they, with only a few exceptions, are countries where work is most often seen as a necessary evil, least often seen as a vocation, and where the proportions of people who say they love their jobs are the lowest.
What's happening? Call it the Europe Syndrome. Last April I had occasion to speak in Zurich, where I made some of these same points. After the speech, a few of the 20-something members of the audience approached and said plainly that the phrase "a life well-lived" did not have meaning for them. They were having a great time with their current sex partner and new BMW and the vacation home in Majorca, and saw no voids in their lives that needed filling.
It was fascinating to hear it said to my face, but not surprising. It conformed to both journalistic and scholarly accounts of a spreading European mentality. Let me emphasize "spreading." I'm not talking about all Europeans, by any means. That mentality goes something like this: Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible.
If that's the purpose of life, then work is not a vocation, but something that interferes with the higher good of leisure. If that's the purpose of life, why have a child, when children are so much trouble--and, after all, what good are they, really? If that's the purpose of life, why spend it worrying about neighbors? If that's the purpose of life, what could possibly be the attraction of a religion that says otherwise?
The same self-absorption in whiling away life as pleasantly as possible explains why Europe has become a continent that no longer celebrates greatness. When life is a matter of whiling away the time, the concept of greatness is irritating and threatening. What explains Europe's military impotence? I am surely simplifying, but this has to be part of it: If the purpose of life is to while away the time as pleasantly as possible, what can be worth dying for?
I stand in awe of Europe's past. Which makes Europe's present all the more dispiriting. And should make its present something that concentrates our minds wonderfully, for every element of the Europe Syndrome is infiltrating American life as well.
We are seeing that infiltration appear most obviously among those who are most openly attached to the European model--namely, America's social democrats, heavily represented in university faculties and the most fashionable neighborhoods of our great cities. There are a whole lot of them within a couple of Metro stops from this hotel. We know from databases such as the General Social Survey that among those who self-identify as liberal or extremely liberal, secularism is close to European levels. Birthrates are close to European levels. Charitable giving is close to European levels.
(That's material that Arthur Brooks has put together.) There is every reason to believe that when Americans embrace the European model, they begin to behave like Europeans.
This is all pretty depressing for people who do not embrace the European model, because it looks like the train has left the station. The European model provides the intellectual framework for the social policies of the triumphant Democratic Party, and it faces no credible opposition from Republican politicians. (If that seems too harsh, I am sure that the Republican politicians in the audience will understand when I say that the last dozen years do raise a credibility problem when we now hear you say nice things about fiscal restraint and limited government.)
And yet there is reason for strategic optimism, and that leads to the second point I want to make tonight: Critics of the European model are about to get a lot of new firepower. Not only is the European model inimical to human flourishing, 21st-century science is going to explain why. We who think that the Founders were right about the relationship of government to human happiness will have an opening over the course of the next few decades to make our case.
The reason is a tidal change in our scientific understanding of what makes human beings tick. It will spill over into every crevice of political and cultural life. Harvard's Edward O. Wilson anticipated what is to come in a book entitled "Consilience." As the 21st century progresses, he argued, the social sciences are increasingly going to be shaped by the findings of biology; specifically, the findings of the neuroscientists and the geneticists.
What are they finding? I'm afraid that I don't have anything to report that you will find shocking. For example, science is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that males and females respond differently to babies. You heard it here first. The specific findings aren't so important at this point--we are just at the beginning of a very steep learning curve. Rather, it is the tendency of the findings that lets us predict with some confidence the broad outlines of what the future will bring, and they offer nothing but bad news for social democrats.
Two premises about human beings are at the heart of the social democratic
agenda: what I will label "the equality premise" and "the New Man premise."
The equality premise says that, in a fair society, different groups of people--men and women, blacks and whites, straights and gays, the children of poor people and the children of rich people--will naturally have the same distributions of outcomes in life--the same mean income, the same mean educational attainment, the same proportions who become janitors and CEOs.
When that doesn't happen, it is because of bad human behavior and an unfair society. For the last 40 years, this premise has justified thousands of pages of government regulations and legislation that has reached into everything from the paperwork required to fire someone to the funding of high school wrestling teams. Everything that we associate with the phrase "politically correct" eventually comes back to the equality premise. Every form of affirmative action derives from it. Much of the Democratic Party's proposed domestic legislation assumes that it is true.
Within a decade, no one will try to defend the equality premise. All sorts of groups will be known to differ in qualities that affect what professions they choose, how much money they make, and how they live their lives in all sorts of ways. Gender differences will be first, because the growth in knowledge about the ways that men and women are different is growing by far the most rapidly. I'm betting that the Harvard faculty of the year 2020 will look back on the Larry Summers affair in the same way that they think about the Scopes trial--the enlightened versus the benighted--and will have achieved complete amnesia about their own formerly benighted opinions.
There is no reason to fear this new knowledge. Differences among groups will cut in many different directions, and everybody will be able to weight the differences so that their group's advantages turn out to be the most important to them. Liberals will not be obliged to give up their concerns about systemic unfairnesses. But groups of people will turn out to be different from each other, on average, and those differences will also produce group differences in outcomes in life, on average, that everyone knows are not the product of discrimination and inadequate government regulation.
And a void will have developed in the moral universe of the left. If social policy cannot be built on the premise that group differences must be eliminated, what can it be built upon? It can be built upon the restoration of the premise that used to be part of the warp and woof of American
idealism: People must be treated as individuals. The success of social policy is to be measured not by equality of outcomes for groups, but by open, abundant opportunity for individuals. It is to be measured by the freedom of individuals, acting upon their personal abilities, aspirations and values, to seek the kind of life that best suits them.
The second bedrock premise of the social democratic agenda is what I call the New Man premise, borrowing the old Communist claim that it would create a "New Man" by remaking human nature. This premise says that human beings are malleable through the right government interventions.
The second tendency of the new findings of biology will be to show that the New Man premise is nonsense. Human nature tightly constrains what is politically or culturally possible. More than that, the new findings will broadly confirm that human beings are pretty much the way that wise human observers have thought for thousands of years, and that is going to be wonderful news for those of us who are already basing our policy analyses on that assumption.
The effects on the policy debate are going to be sweeping. Let me give you a specific example. For many years, I have been among those who argue that the growth in births to unmarried women has been a social catastrophe--the single most important driving force behind the growth of the underclass. But while I and other scholars have been able to prove that other family structures have not worked as well as the traditional family, I cannot prove that alternatives could not work as well, and so the social democrats keep coming up with the next new ingenious program that will compensate for the absence of fathers.
Over the next few decades, advances in evolutionary psychology are going to be conjoined with advances in genetic understanding and they will lead to a scientific consensus that goes something like this: There are genetic reasons, rooted in the mechanisms of human evolution, that little boys who grow up in neighborhoods without married fathers tend to reach adolescence unsocialized to norms of behavior that they will need to stay out of prison and hold jobs. These same reasons explain why child abuse is, and always will be, concentrated among family structures in which the live-in male is not the married biological father. And these same reasons explain why society's attempts to compensate for the lack of married biological fathers don't work and will never work.
Once again, there's no reason to be frightened of this new knowledge. We will still be able to acknowledge that many single women do a wonderful job of raising their children. Social democrats will simply have to stop making glib claims that the traditional family is just one of many equally valid alternatives. They will have to acknowledge that the traditional family plays a special, indispensable role in human flourishing and that social policy must be based on that truth. The same concrete effects of the new knowledge will make us rethink every domain in which the central government has imposed its judgment on how people ought to live their lives--in schools, workplaces, the courts, social services, as well as the family. And that will make the job of people like me much easier.
But the real effect is going to be much more profound than making my job easier. The 20th century was a very strange century, riddled from beginning to end with toxic political movements and nutty ideas. For some years a metaphor has been stuck in my mind: the twentieth century was the adolescence of Homo sapiens. Nineteenth-century science, from Darwin to Freud, offered a series of body blows to ways of thinking about human beings and human lives that had prevailed since the dawn of civilization. Humans, just like adolescents, were deprived of some of the comforting simplicities of childhood and exposed to more complex knowledge about the world. And 20th-century intellectuals reacted precisely the way that adolescents react when they think they have discovered Mom and Dad are hopelessly out of date.
They think that the grown-ups are wrong about everything. In the case of 20th-century intellectuals, it was as if they thought that if Darwin was right about evolution, then Aquinas is no longer worth reading; that if Freud was right about the unconscious mind, the "Nicomachean Ethics" had nothing to teach us.
The nice thing about adolescence is that it is temporary, and, when it passes, people discover that their parents were smarter than they thought. I think that may be happening with the advent of the new century, as postmodernist answers to solemn questions about human existence start to wear thin--we're growing out of adolescence. The kinds of scientific advances in understanding human nature are going to accelerate that process.
All of us who deal in social policy will be thinking less like adolescents, entranced with the most titillating new idea, and thinking more like grown-ups.
That will not get rid of the slippery slope that America is sliding down toward the European model. For that, this new raw material for reform--namely, a lot more people thinking like grown-ups--must be translated into a kind of political Great Awakening among America's elites.
I use the phrase "Great Awakening" to evoke a particular kind of event.
American history has seen three religious revivals known as Great Awakenings--some say four. They were not dispassionate, polite reconsiderations of opinions. They were renewals of faith, felt in the gut.
I use the word "elites" to talk about the small minority of the population that has disproportionate influence over the culture, economy and governance of the country. I realize that to use that word makes many Americans uncomfortable. But every society since the advent of agriculture has had elites. So does the United States. Broadly defined, America's elites comprise several million people; narrowly defined, they amount to a few tens of thousands. We have a lot of examples of both kinds in this room tonight.
When I say that something akin to a political Great Awakening is required among America's elites, what I mean is that America's elites have to ask themselves how much they really do value what has made America exceptional, and what they are willing to do to preserve it. Let me close with a few remarks about what that will entail.
American exceptionalism is not just something that Americans claim for themselves. Historically, Americans have been different as a people, even peculiar, and everyone around the world has recognized it. I'm thinking of qualities such as American optimism even when there doesn't seem to be any good reason for it. That's quite uncommon among the peoples of the world.
There is the striking lack of class envy in America--by and large, Americans celebrate others' success instead of resenting it. That's just about unique, certainly compared to European countries, and something that drives European intellectuals crazy. And then there is perhaps the most important symptom of all, the signature of American exceptionalism--the assumption by most Americans that they are in control of their own destinies. It is hard to think of a more inspiriting quality for a population to possess, and the American population still possesses it to an astonishing degree. No other country comes close.
Underlying these symptoms of American exceptionalism are the underlying exceptional dynamics of American life. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a famous book describing the nature of that more fundamental exceptionalism back in the 1830s. He found American life characterized by two apparently conflicting themes. The first was the passion with which Americans pursued their individual interests, and made no bones about it--that's what America was all about, they kept telling Tocqueville. But at the same time, Tocqueville kept coming up against this phenomenal American passion for forming associations to deal with every conceivable problem, voluntarily taking up public affairs, and tending to the needs of their communities. How could this be? Because, Americans told Tocqueville, there's no conflict. "In the United States," Tocqueville writes, "hardly anybody talks of the beauty of virtue. . . . They do not deny that every man may follow his own interest; but they endeavor to prove that it is the interest of every man to be virtuous." And then he concludes, "I shall not here enter into the reasons they allege. . . . Suffice it to say, they have convinced their fellow countrymen."
The exceptionalism has not been a figment of anyone's imagination, and it has been wonderful. But it isn't something in the water that has made us that way. It comes from the cultural capital generated by the system that the Founders laid down, a system that says people must be free to live life as they see fit and to be responsible for the consequences of their actions; that it is not the government's job to protect people from themselves; that it is not the government's job to stage-manage how people interact with each other. Discard the system that created the cultural capital, and the qualities we love about Americans can go away. In some circles, they are going away.
Why do I focus on the elites in urging a Great Awakening? Because my sense is that the instincts of middle America remain distinctively American. When I visit the small Iowa town where I grew up in the 1950s, I don't get a sense that community life has changed all that much since then, and I wonder if it has changed all that much in the working-class neighborhoods of Brooklyn or Queens. When I examine the polling data about the values that most Americans prize, not a lot has changed. And while I worry about uncontrolled illegal immigration, I've got to say that every immigrant I actually encounter seems as American as apple pie.
The center still holds. It's the bottom and top of American society where we have a problem. And since it's the top that has such decisive influence on American culture, economy, and governance, I focus on it. The fact is that American elites have increasingly been withdrawing from American life. It's not a partisan phenomenon. The elites of all political stripes have increasingly withdrawn to gated communities--"gated" literally or figuratively--where they never interact at an intimate level with people not of their own socioeconomic class.
Haven't the elites always done this? Not like today. A hundred years ago, the wealth necessary to withdraw was confined to a much smaller percentage of the elites than now. Workplaces where the elites made their livings were much more variegated a hundred years ago than today's highly specialized workplaces.
Perhaps the most important difference is that, not so long ago, the overwhelming majority of the elites in each generation were drawn from the children of farmers, shopkeepers and factory workers--and could still remember those worlds after they left them. Over the last half century, it can be demonstrated empirically that the new generation of elites have increasingly spent their entire lives in the upper-middle-class bubble, never even having seen a factory floor, let alone worked on one, never having gone to a grocery store and bought the cheap ketchup instead of the expensive ketchup to meet a budget, never having had a boring job where their feet hurt at the end of the day, and never having had a close friend who hadn't gotten at least 600 on her SAT verbal. There's nobody to blame for any of this. These are the natural consequences of successful people looking for pleasant places to live and trying to do the best thing for their children.
But the fact remains: It is the elites who are increasingly separated from the America over which they have so much influence. That is not the America that Tocqueville saw. It is not an America that can remain America.
I am not suggesting that America's elites sacrifice their own self-interest for everybody else. That would be really un-American. I just want to accelerate a rediscovery of what that self-interest is. Age-old human wisdom has understood that a life well-lived requires engagement with those around us. That is reality, not idealism. It is appropriate to think that a political Great Awakening among the elites can arise in part from the renewed understanding that it can be pleasant to lead a glossy life, but it is ultimately more fun to lead a textured life, and to be in the midst of others who are leading textured lives. Perhaps events will help us out here--remember what Irving Kristol has been saying for years: "There's nothing wrong with this country that couldn't be cured by a long, hard depression."
What it comes down to is that America's elites must once again fall in love with what makes America different. I am not being theoretical. Not everybody in this room shares the beliefs I have been expressing, but a lot of us do.
To those of you who do, I say soberly and without hyperbole, that this is the hour. The possibility that irreversible damage will be done to the American project over the next few years is real. And so it is our job to make the case for that reawakening. It won't happen by appealing to people on the basis of lower marginal tax rates or keeping a health care system that lets them choose their own doctor. The drift toward the European model can be slowed by piecemeal victories on specific items of legislation, but only slowed. It is going to be stopped only when we are all talking again about why America is exceptional, and why it is so important that America remain exceptional. That requires once again seeing the American project for what it is: a different way for people to live together, unique among the nations of the earth, and immeasurably precious.
Mr. Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the recipient of AEI's 2009 Irving Kristol Award. He delivered this lecture at the award dinner earlier this month.
Reply #587 on:
October 10, 2013, 10:34:20 AM »
Today, a parable for those who are losing hope in America’s future…I hear people lamenting every day that the government is too powerful, young people don’t understand concepts like freedom and privacy anymore, and we’ve gone too far down the wrong track ever to come back again. But maybe we can all learn a lesson from the Judean date palm tree. TreeHugger.com reports that for over 3,000 years, that tree provided shade and fruit to the people of the Middle East. But then came the Roman army, which wiped the date palm out. After 1500 years, archeologists unearthed a jar of seeds. The seeds spent another 40 years in a drawer, until an Israeli university researcher planted one, just to see what would happen. Miraculously, it sprouted and flowered. It’s now the oldest known tree seed ever to germinate. So when you hear that American values are gone and will never come back, remember the Judean date palm tree. As long as people carry the seeds of what made America great in their hearts, it’s never too late to make a comeback.
Silver Linings , , , if , , ,
Reply #588 on:
October 17, 2013, 01:08:57 PM »
Silver Linings on the CR and DC Debacles
Great News for Conservatives -- If...
By Mark Alexander • October 17, 2013
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." --Benjamin Franklin (1776)
Despite a colossal political blunder derailing the conservative Republican Continuing Resolution strategy three weeks ago, which in turn led to furloughs (read: "paid vacations") for about 17% of "non-essential" federal employees, which in turn collapsed approval ratings for anyone with an "R" after their name, which in turn resulted in Republican submission to Barack Obama's agenda, there are three silver linings on the horizon that will pay rich political dividends.
Each of these favorable outcomes will greatly benefit the campaigns of conservative Republicans for a generation if, and only if, there is a cease-fire in the foolish and fatalistic "Tea v. GOP infighting," which undermined the outstanding CR strategy House conservative were advancing on schedule four weeks ago.
I'll get to those opportunities in a moment, but first, let me recap where we were just four short weeks ago:
In mid-September, Republicans had Barack Obama and his Leftist NeoCom cadres on the ropes, getting pounded and losing ground fast. Obama was plagued with the IRS, Benghazi and Syrian scandals, among a growing list of other failures, which were thoroughly undermining his second term agenda.
Making matters worse for The Party of Obama, the inevitable launch of ObamaCare (the so-called "Affordable Care Act") on October 1, a day after the deadline for the CR, was, by all accounts, going to be a cascading disaster -- not just from a technical standpoint but also from a political standpoint in the months and years to come.
Ahead of the CR deadline in September, the conservative House Republican strategy was to attach amendments to the Continuing Resolution which would 1) force Demo senators to go on record with a vote against defunding ObamaCare; 2) then force Demo senators to go on record with a vote against delaying ObamaCare; and, finally 3) force a vote on a CR with an amendment to require all members of the legislative and executive branch to comport with ObamaCare regulations and requirements.
The third amended CR, which by all accounts had enormous popular national appeal across political lines, would have passed the Senate and received Obama's begrudging signature. The first two "defund" and "delay" amendment votes would be lead anchors on many 2014 Demo campaigns.
Then, against a backdrop featuring wall-to-wall coverage of the ObamaCare launch disaster (technical failures, lack of enrollees, sticker shock for the few who successfully navigated the site, new questions about privacy, etc.), Republicans would be in a strong position to enter the debt ceiling debate with a wish list of other amendments, including tax reform, approval of the Keystone pipeline, regulatory and entitlement reforms including means-tested Medicare, a "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI) and other conservative budget measures.
(For the record, this is not "hindsight 20/20" analysis, but precisely the winning strategy conservative House Republicans were advancing in early September -- which now seems like a political lifetime ago.)
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So, how did conservatives convert a win to a loss?
Unfortunately, a unilateral diversion by Sen. Ted Cruz derailed the conservative House CR and DC strategy, leaving House and Senate Republicans on defense with no way out and no ability to recover. Undoubtedly Cruz is smart -- after all, he is a graduate of Princeton and magna cum laude from Harvard Law. But he just completed his first course in political strategy, and failed, though he gained a lot of admirers who will be chastising me for daring to break with Cruz's self-destructive orthodoxy.
Consequently, establishment Republican Senate and House leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner acquiesced to Demo demands, passing a status quo CR and Debt Ceiling agreement, ending the paid furlough and allowing the federal government to continue borrowing money to pay debt service on money it already borrowed -- basically a Ponzi scheme -- as we soar through the $17 trillion national debt mark. It punted any CR debate to January 15 and debt ceiling debate to February 7. (Oh, and members of Congress and their staffs will still receive their taxpayer-funded subsidies for health benefits.)
On the Senate vote Cruz said "I have no objections to the timing of this vote, and the reason is simple. There's nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days, the outcome will be same." In a tragic case of irony, that is precisely the position he should've taken four weeks ago.
Obama, who has singlehandedly increased the nation's debt by 55%, could hardly contain his glee when signing the "deal."
For the record, I have never witnessed such a dramatic reversal of political fortunes in the span of one month. The ability of a few Republicans to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," be they of the "establishment" or "conservative" ranks, is astounding.
Disagree if you will, but the consequences are clear. For example, in July, Republicans had a 12-point lead with independents. Now Demos lead by nine -- a dramatic shift in a political group that typically determines national election outcomes. And the GOP's overall favorability rating has dropped by 10 points to 28%. In the words of John Adams, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
(Oh and while all eyes were on Washington Wednesday, in the New Jersey Senate race to fill the seat of the late Frank Lautenberg, Democrat Cory Booker trounced conservative Republican Steve Lonegan.)
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So, what are the positive outcomes of this debacle, opportunities which have the potential to grow the ranks of conservative Republicans in the House and Senate in 2014 and beyond -- if, as I wrote, moderate and conservative Republicans will lock arms and take the fight to our Leftist adversaries rather than each other?
First, this is the BIG one.
Obama, the consummate narcissist, having even embraced the name "ObamaCare," will himself, along with every member of the House and Senate with a "D" after their name, suffer a significant reversal of political fortune after ObamaCare is implemented. And this will continue as long as ObamaCare exists.
Because from October 1 forward, with increasing frequency, Americans of every political stripe who have any issue with health care, whether a hangnail or heart transplant, a delay in a doctor's office or in critical care for a loved one, will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his Democrats, who were solely responsible for forcing this abomination upon the American people. (And that was the basis for the derailed Republican strategy to force Democrat House and Senate votes on the "defund" and "delay" measures!)
Additionally, dealing with government clerical minions in this new bloated bureaucracy will be no different than dealing with any other huge government bureaucracy -- endless and infuriating. No matter how Fab-Tastic ObamaCare may be for some Demo constituencies, Democrats are going to be the target of every health care complaint -- and that includes Hillary Clinton.
Of course, there will be other pitfalls -- like the centralization of health and tax records within massive data hubs, many of which will inevitably be compromised and used for fraudulent purposes. Just wait until medical and tax records are accessible to 20,000 additional government clerks in the O'care bureaucracy.
Within the "Terms and Conditions" source code of the ObamaCare web site, at least when it's working, is this disclaimer: "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system. At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system. Any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose."
And state exchanges have equally troubling "privacy policies," like Maryland's, which notes that it will "share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities." And now there are warnings about impostor O'care sites collecting private information -- for resale or identity theft. It's all downhill from here!
"What is going to happen," Barack Obama recently crowed, "is when it's working and everybody is really happy with it, Republicans are going to stop calling it 'ObamaCare.'"
That's wishful thinking. Beginning this week, Obama's dream of socialized medicine will become an ever more terrifying nightmare. Actually, as the ObamaCare promises and propaganda fade to black, as I have previously suggested, we should refer to this behemoth as "DemoCare."
If Republicans successfully herd the inevitable health care consumer dissatisfaction and anger in the direction of Democrats, the electoral rewards will be substantial in 2014, 2016 and beyond. Of course, given the Republican performance in the last month, that's a big "if."
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Second, the consequences of the "Republican Sequester," as Obama dishonestly frames it, and the current partial government shutdown, have had far less impact than trumped up by the Democrats, despite their "make 'em suffer" strategy of shutting down high-profile operations such as national parks. The consequence is that a lot of Americans have now learned firsthand that the nation doesn't fall apart when more than 1/6th of "non-essential" government clerks and bureaucrats are not on the job. (Who would've guessed!)
Today, most Americans know someone who is a federal government employee (not including uniformed military personnel or postal workers). That fact, in and of itself, should be alarming.
There are tens of thousands of good civilians working in government, but millions more are now the "walking dead," many of whom came into their job with a good work ethic but lost it to oppressive bureaucratic erosion. On the other hand, many enter government service because they know that little is required. The result is a costly, bloated and spirit-sapping bureaucracy rife with waste and poorly utilized personnel.
This gross bureaucratic inflation was made plain in a recent GAO report, "Actions Needed to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication," and echoed in countless analytical reports such as the Wall Street Journal's "Billions in Beltway Bloat." Last week, Time magazine featured an analytical piece titled "Most of Government is 'Non-Essential'."
Of course, eliminating "non-essential" government jobs is next to impossible because those who hold them are shielded from discipline or termination by their public sector unions.
Early in Ronald Reagan's second term, I met with one of his agency heads -- a final interview for a job I thought I really wanted.
That meeting went well, but I was offered some advice regarding government employment before being offered the post. Having reviewed my thick application file (yes, this was back when a file contained actual paper), and having paid particular attention to an extensive personality profile, this career military officer and senior Reagan appointee looked me in the eye and said: "If you come up here and take this post, you won't make it six weeks before you kill somebody."
After some elaboration, I declined the post.
In the years since, I have known many very bright and capable government employees, particularly in agencies with law enforcement or intelligence functions. I have to tip my hat to them because they have a much higher threshold for dealing with non-essential bureaucrats who are indifferent, incompetent, unmotivated, overpaid and underworked -- and who outnumber them 10-to-1! Indeed, a universal truth pertaining to bureaucracies is this: As size increases, accountability decreases.
So, this question is now embedded in the minds of voters across the nation: Is it possible that only half the current government "workers" could accomplish everything that the full contingent accomplish now, under the right management? Or, metaphysically speaking: If a government shuts down and no one notices, did it really need to be so big?
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And the third silver lining?
There is the opportunity to gain some discernment about political process, and to understand that building up toward common goals, rather than tearing down over disagreements, is the only way to continue adding conservatives at every level of government. Democrats have held the House for the better part of the last seven decades, and the Senate for many of those years. It will take more than a few election cycles for the modern Tea Party movement to restore the integrity of our Constitution.
Indeed, there is clear evidence of a conservative shift in public opinion as noted in a recent Washington Post guest editorial by Cornell political scientist Peter Enns. This shift is nationwide -- but keeping that momentum going will require some serious soul searching, and coalitions based on common objectives.
Finally, did I mention that the returns on these silver linings will be significantly diminished unless there is a cease-fire in the foolish and fatalistic "Tea v. GOP infighting"? Yes, I think I did.
As always fellow Patriots, keep your eyes set upon the ultimate prize, Liberty! In the words of John Hancock at the dawn of our Republic, "We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must hang together."
Pro Deo et Constitutione -- Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis
Noonan: The Wisdom of Mr. Republican
Reply #589 on:
October 18, 2013, 04:51:24 PM »
The Wisdom of 'Mr. Republican'
What advice would Robert Taft have for the tea party and the GOP establishment?
By Peggy Noonan
Oct. 17, 2013 6:05 p.m. ET
Are the Republicans in civil war or in the middle of an evolution? Sen. Robert A Taft (1889-1953) says it need not be the former and can be the latter. Taft, known in his day (the 1930s through '50s) as "Mr. Republican," possessed a personal background strikingly pertinent to the current moment. He was establishment with a capital E—not just Yale and Harvard Law but a father who'd been president. And yet he became the star legislator and leader of the party's conservative coalition, which had a certain Main Street populist tinge. Taft contained peacefully within himself two cultural strains that now are seemingly at war.
In his personal style he was cerebral, courtly, and spoke easily, if with limited eloquence. The secret of his greatness was that everyone knew his project was not " Robert Taft " but something larger, the actual well-being and continuance of America. His peers chose him as one of the five best U.S. senators in history, up there with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.
What would he say about today?
"Nice talking with you even though I'm no longer with you. Out golfing with Ike one day and felt a pain in my hip. Thought it was arthritis, turned out to be cancer. It had gone pretty far, and I was gone soon after."
Why did they call you "Mr. Republican"?
"Well, I suppose in part because I never bolted the party, and, in spite of what were probably some provocations on my part, no one managed to throw me out either. But I felt loyalty to the GOP as a great institution, one that historically stood for the dignity of the individual versus the massed forces of other spheres, such as government. I stayed, worked, fought it out."
What is the purpose of a party?
"A theater critic once said a critic is someone who knows where we want to go but can't drive the car. That can apply here. It is the conservatives of the party, in my view, who've known where we want to go, and often given the best directions. The party is the car. Its institutions, including its most experienced legislators and accomplished political figures, with the support of the people, are the driver. You want to keep the car looking good. It zooms by on a country road, you want people seeing a clean, powerful object. You want to go fast, but you don't want it crashing. You drive safely and try to get to your destination in one piece."
In the current dispute, he says, "both sides have something to admit. The GOP will not be a victorious national party in the future without the tea party. The tea party needs the infrastructure, tradition, capabilities—the car—in order to function as a fully coherent and effective national entity." He feels more sympathy toward the tea party than the establishment. "Their policy aims, while somewhat inchoate, seem on the right track. They need to be clearer about what they're for—intellectually more ordered. They can't lead with their hearts."
The establishment? "My goodness—lobbyists, consultants. I gather there's now something called hedge-fund billionaires." The establishment has a lot to answer for. "What they gave the people the past 10 years was two wars and a depression. That loosened faith in institutions and left people feeling had. They think, 'What will you give us next, cholera?' "
The tea party, in contrast, seems to him to be "trying to stand for a free citizenry in the age of Lois Lerner. They're against this professional class in government that thinks we're a nation of donkeys pulling their wingèd chariot.
"Their impatience with the status quo is right. Their sense of urgency is right. Their insight that the party in power has gone to the left of where America really is—right on that, too."
But the tea party has a lot to learn, and quickly. "It's not enough to feel, you need strategy. They need better leadership, not people interested in money, power and fame. Public service requires sacrifice. I see too many self-seekers there.
"The tea party should stop the insults—'RINO,' 'sellout,' 'surrender caucus.' It's undignified, and it's not worthy of a serious movement. When you claim to be the policy adults you also have to be the characterological adults. Resentment alienates. An inability to work well with others does not inspire voters."
They should remove the chip from their shoulder. "Stop acting like Little Suzie with her nose pressed against the window watching the fancy people at the party. You've arrived and you know it. Forget the obsession with Georgetown cocktail parties. There hasn't been a good one since Allen Drury's wake." Taft paused: "You can Google him. He wrote a book."
Most important? "I don't like saying this but be less gullible. Many of your instincts are right but politics is drowning in money. A lot of it is spent trying to manipulate you, by people who claim to be sincere, who say they're the only honest guy in the room. Don't be the fool of radio stars who rev you up for a living. They're doing it for ratings. Stop being taken in by senators who fund-raise off your anger. It's good you're indignant, but they use consultants to keep picking at the scab, not to move the ball forward, sorry to mix metaphors. And know your neighbors: Are they going to elect a woman who has to explain she isn't a witch, or a guy who talks about 'legitimate rape'? You'll forgive politicians who are right in other areas, but your neighbors and the media will not. Get smart about this. Don't let the media keep killing your guys in the field. Make it hard for them. Enter primaries soberly. When you have to take out an establishment man, do. But if you don't, stick with him but stiffen his spine."
What should the establishment do?
"Wake up and smell the Sanka! Listen, reason, talk. Advise in friendship. Be open to debate and get broader, ask yourself questions. Deep down, do you patronize those innocents on the farms, in the hinterlands? Or perhaps you understand yourself to be a fat, happy mosquito on the pond scum that is them? You had better get a mind adjustment on that, and soon. You're better than nobody. You had a good ride for 30 years. Now you're going to have to work for it."
How will a big merge happen?
"Day by day, policy by policy, vote by vote, race by race. On both sides they'll have to keep two things in mind. A little grace goes a long way, and 'A kind word turneth away wrath.' "
Ted Cruz ? Here Taft paused. "That fellow is a little self-propelled." Another pause. "We had a saying, 'Give him time and space to fall on his face.' " Others with him on the Hill, however, are "good, smart, intend to make America better, and will be a big part of the future."
And don't forget, Taft says, "the first Mr. Republican. Abe Lincoln. First inaugural: 'We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies.' Members of the party should wake up every day saying those words."
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #590 on:
October 18, 2013, 09:58:55 PM »
Noonan's piece was good till this end part:
*****Ted Cruz ? Here Taft paused. "That fellow is a little self-propelled." Another pause. "We had a saying, 'Give him time and space to fall on his face.' " Others with him on the Hill, however, are "good, smart, intend to make America better, and will be a big part of the future."
And don't forget, Taft says, "the first Mr. Republican. Abe Lincoln. First inaugural: 'We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies.' Members of the party should wake up every day saying those words."****
If it wasn't for Cruz we wouldn't even be having this conversation. I wonder who the "others" on the Hill are who are good and so smart and will be a big part of the future? Would she care to elaborate? I can't think of too many.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #591 on:
October 18, 2013, 10:04:08 PM »
I agree with your disagreement with her on this point.
WSJ: The Tea Party and the Entitlement Fight
Reply #592 on:
October 20, 2013, 03:47:35 PM »
The Tea Party and the Entitlement Fight
How ObamaCare realigns the parties on Social Security and Medicare.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
Updated Oct. 18, 2013 7:38 p.m. ET
The circus and suspense were overdone. George Soros, the liberal superinvestor, explained to Germany's Der Spiegel last week: "The government shutdown and the threat of default is an elaborate political theater but markets can anticipate the outcome: no default and a defeat for extremists in the Republican Party."
The bond market, for instance, was far more discombobulated by the Fed's "taper" threat than by a supposed default threat. Vastly overinterpreted by the media was the sell-off of a single issue of T-bills (which matured right near the alleged Oct. 17 deadline) because money funds need to be instantly liquid in all circumstances.
A bipartisan majority always stood ready in the House to approve a debt-ceiling hike, but the alarmist claim went that relying on Democrats would cost John Boehner his speakership.
Yeah, if for some inexplicable reason he had called a vote before the imaginary drop-dead date (thoughtfully supplied by the Obama Treasury), depriving the tea party caucus of its chance to make its point. But why would he do such a thing? He let the GOP radicals make hay up to the fake deadline, then got a standing ovation from his own caucus for orchestrating the outcome that was supposed to sink his career.
Scorekeepers judge the tea party caucus and Republicans to be net losers from the ordeal. The polls (for what they're worth) seem to confirm it. But don't be so sure. Tea-party activists have good reason to suspect their stand will pay electoral dividends in the months and years ahead.
Not appreciated is the powerful new meme Mr. Obama has handed them, which will transform entitlement politics in our country. The new "conservative" position will be to defend Social Security and Medicare, those middle-class rewards for a life of hard work and tax-paying, against Mr. Obama's vast expansion of the means-tested welfare state for working-age Americans.
This will discomfit traditional free marketers. They know Medicare and Social Security are generous in excess to the taxes that beneficiaries paid into them.
Indeed, good conservatives of a certain feather disapprove of universal entitlements because they are universal, believing government interventions should be need-based and temporary if possible.
But this reformist conservatism (to which your columnist also subscribes) appears to have had its last hurrah. That hurrah came and went when President Bush failed to interest the country in converting a tax-and-transfer retirement system into one based on private accounts. Paul Ryan (and many others) will have to make some adjustments. Look for means testing possibly even to evolve into a new pejorative in Republican mouths, suggesting undeserved benefits for groups that mostly vote Democrat.
Team Romney was already trying out the new meme in the last election, casting ObamaCare as a threat to Medicare. "Defund ObamaCare" will turn out to be a slogan of genius that resurfaces again and again as the Affordable Care Act, because of its flawed design, needs more and more public funding to keep it afloat. Republicans secretly love the idea that Democrats will be stuck with the Obama welfare state, setting up fights in our overstretched republic between Mr. Obama's "unearned" handouts and the "earned" handouts of the traditional entitlements.
Mr. Obama, by the way, walked into this not just with the substance of his policies, such as stipulating for budget-scoring purposes that ObamaCare would be funded in part by Medicare cuts. Or his huge expansion in unemployment benefits and food stamps. Or the shocking increase in Americans collecting disability as a way to hide out from a bad job market.
He walked into it by choosing in his first term not to focus on the agenda that the public manifestly wanted him to pursue, which was jobs, jobs, jobs.
Recall that every signature domestic initiative of the Reagan, Clinton and Bush administrations passed with bipartisan votes because politicians at the time wanted to be in sync with the public's priorities. Republicans did not fail to cast a single vote for ObamaCare because they were an unusually obstreperous minority. They simply had zero incentive to join the president in pursuing an agenda that wasn't the public's.
To date, Mr. Obama seems not in doubt that the outcome was worth it, though it led to Democrats losing the House, the normal, hygienic outcome when a president ignores the public's priorities. For his own purposes, maybe it was worth it. But even the least clued-in now understands that ObamaCare was somehow at the root of what the country endured this week, which voters will keep in mind as ObamaCare pratfalls continue until the next election.
We should not just answer the questions we choose to answer
Reply #593 on:
October 21, 2013, 12:23:56 AM »
"I share all your frustration, anger, disappointment, etc and then some! To answer you literally, Republican is a brand that is still winning half of the elections, holding the House, a 30-20 lead in Governorships, a majority of state legislatures, well over the 40 Senator threshold, threatening (for a 3rd try) to take back that majority. That is with no leader, clarity or message. Also should have won the Presidency in 2012.
At the start of the tea party movement I thought the uniting message was cut spending first. Reduce the size and scope of government, especially federal government. Lower tax rates along with a booming private sector can follow. But this was in reaction to Obamacare passage in particular, the greatest expansion of government power in this country ever.
Failing to take the Senate, failing to take back the Presidency, failing to get these expansions struck down in the Court, and failing to defund it, all lead us to starting over, carrying all this damage and with a dispirited base. We are fighting to get back to where we were, which was in a faltering economy with a huge government and even more people not contributing.
We actually need to both defeat the establishment Republicans and unite with them, a daunting proposition.
Each state, house district etc., IMO, needs to choose the most conservative candidate - that can win in that state or district. Same for the Presidency. They need to be focused and disciplined, not make the mistakes that sank others recently. Get a message and stay on message; this is not about rape abortions, secession, or shooting our way out of this mess.
We need a vision and some visionaries. A shining city on a hill. Tell people the positive things about a realistic, America-2014 and beyond vision. Move past the liberal terminology and definitions of the issues. As Newt once did, ask questions that poll well and favor our side. Would you like more government control over your life or more personal freedom and economic opportunity? Would you like to stop others from succeeding or improve your own lot on life? Do you like jobs, businesses, schools, health care, and everything else controlled mainly by Washington or closer to home? Do you think public sector people should have far bigger salaries, pensions, benefits and shorter work days than the private sector people who support them or be in line with the rest of the economy?
At some point there are demographic groups such as unemployed young people who will begin to see that the move toward Stalinism isn't helping them. Hope and change meant sit still and demand things. These things tend to swing like a pendulum. At some point people open up to a different message. But we didn't made good use of the turns we had to govern and we haven't presented a coherent alternative while out of power, so we are now paying that price."
All excellent points. It mostly works for me. Yet I sense something is missing. It is all beautiful talk but I still think this misses the mark.
Older people have suggested to me it is much tougher to get ahead then it used to be. Competition is much greater. One member of household out working was more common. Now two must work. College degrees are far more expensive. Way ahead of the cost of living and wages. Worse a college degree used to almost guarantee a good job. Now even advanced degrees don't.
There has to be more specific ways in which republicans speak more than just ideals. Freedom, less government, less taxes, etc.
This is just not enough. Something is missing.
This will not beat Hillary who all is about identity politics and her apparent phony story about conciliation and compromise.
Doug, I agree with you but the message is still short and unsatisfactory. It is not a winner IMHO. Unless times get so bad the Repubs win by default.
" As Newt once did, ask questions that poll well and favor our side. " Why can't we come up with BETTER answers to the questions that don't poll well and favor our side?
Ignoring these questions or changing the subject is exactly the problem I am talking about.
We like it or not half the country wants answers to such questions. We can't just change the subject. We must answer them but do it better.
If someone asks why is it not one Wall Streeter went to jail the answer should not be to change the subject.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #594 on:
October 21, 2013, 10:12:25 PM »
Or put another way, how can we win people over by ignoring their questions and by posing answers to questions they are NOT asking?
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #595 on:
October 21, 2013, 11:14:45 PM »
THAT is a very interesting formulation , , ,
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #596 on:
October 22, 2013, 07:21:07 AM »
A great analogy would be a patient who come in to my office and gives me a few questions.
Change the questions, rephrase them and give answers to questions he didn't ask and then tell the patient, "this is what you need to do and why".
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #597 on:
October 22, 2013, 10:26:15 AM »
Quote from: ccp on October 21, 2013, 10:12:25 PM
Or put another way, how can we win people over by ignoring their questions and by posing answers to questions they are NOT asking?
Start ignoring false questions and answering real ones.
False question are questions based on false premises. In politics, they are endless. How come Republicans want to starve the poor, take away Grannies' meds, don't care about working people, only care about the rich, care only about themselves, don't have a plan of their own, only know how to say no, hate government, hate black people, are war mongers, etc. How come Republicans want people to raise a family on $8 an hour? How come they want to stop 20 million people from getting health insurance? The more we answer these questions, the deeper the hole we have dug.
The question that resonated in the Dem electoral takeover that began in 2006 was the income inequality farce, that reinforces the false choice between siding with rich people and siding with poor or middle class people. It originated with some of the liberal thought wonks, was brought forward by people like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman, and then repeated ad nauseam by liberal candidates and office holders. We had John Edwards' "Two Americas", we had the surge of Howard Dean from the left, we had the changeover of congress to Pelosi-Reid-Obama et al right as the economy was hitting 50 consecutive months of job growth, and then we had the elevation of the Senate's most liberal member to President. During that time we also had the elevation of the CRAp, fairness-based lending, to the top of our national housing policy with Republicans (including Newt!) jumping in to defuse Democrats 'it's all so unfair' argument. It ended in a crash, but by their measures and even when Dems controlled all branches and all chambers, we still have the rich getting richer - at an alarming rate!
What do we know about income inequality?
a) It is badly measured and greatly overstated,
b) It is a fact, not an issue, and
c) Focusing on this false injustice leads you to all the wrong policy choices.
Back to part two of the CCP axiom: "posing answers to questions they are NOT asking?"
Yes! What are the questions middle voters REALLY are asking? (or should be)
Aren't they really asking something like this: How can we raise up everyone's prosperity and quality of life?
If so, the argument might be between the performance of state run economies over time and across the globe versus the more free economies and we would win with every look at the data.
Loving & Hating America...
Reply #598 on:
October 22, 2013, 10:56:11 AM »
Loving and Hating America
Posted By Walter Williams On October 22, 2013
As I’ve documented in the past, many leftist teachers teach our youngsters to hate our country. For example, University of Hawaii Professor Haunani-Kay Trask counseled her students, “We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it.” Some universities hire former terrorists to teach and indoctrinate students. Kathy Boudin, former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer, is on the Columbia University School of Social Work’s faculty. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism.
America’s domestic haters have international company. 24/7 Wall St. published an article titled “Ten Countries That Hate America Most” (
). The list includes Serbia, Greece, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Pakistan. Ranking America published an article titled “The U.S. ranks 3rd in liking the United States” (
). Using data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, it finds that just 79 percent of Americans in 2011 had a favorable view of Americans, compared with Japan and Kenya, which had 85 and 83 percent favorable views, respectively. Most European nations held a 60-plus percent favorable view of Americans, compared with countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, with less than 20 percent favorable views.
An interesting facet of foreigners liking or hating America can be seen in a poll Gallup has been conducting since 2007 asking the questions: “Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country? To which country would you like to move?” (
) Guess to which country most people would like to move. If you said “the good ol’ US of A,” go to the head of the class.
Of the more than 640 million people who would like to leave their own country, 23 percent — or 150 million — said they would like to live in the United States. The U.S. has been “the world’s most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns in 2007.” The United Kingdom comes in a distant second, with 7 percent (45 million). Other favorite permanent relocations are Canada (42 million), France (32 million) and Saudi Arabia (31 million), but all pale in comparison with the U.S. as the preferred home.
The next question is: Where do people come from who want to relocate to the U.S.? China has 22 million adults who want to permanently relocate to the U.S., followed by Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million) and Brazil (7 million). The Gallup report goes on to make the remarkable finding that “despite large numbers of people in China, Nigeria, and India who want to migrate permanently to the U.S., these countries are not necessarily the places where the U.S. is the most desired destination. Gallup found that more than three in 10 adults in Liberia (37 percent) and Sierra Leone (30 percent) would move permanently to the U.S. if they had the opportunity. More than 20 percent of adults in the Dominican Republic (26 percent), Haiti (24 percent), and Cambodia (22 percent) also say the same.” That’s truly remarkable in the cases of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where one-third of the people would leave. That’s equivalent to 105 million Americans wanting to relocate to another country.
The Gallup poll made no mention of the countries to which people would least like to relocate. But I’m guessing that most of them would be on Freedom House’s list of the least free places in the world, such as Uzbekistan, Georgia, China, Turkmenistan, Chad, Cuba and North Korea.
I’m wondering how the hate-America/blame-America-first crowd might explain the fact that so many people in the world, if they had a chance, would permanently relocate here. Maybe it’s that they haven’t been exposed to enough U.S. university professors.
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed
Reply #599 on:
October 23, 2013, 09:51:11 AM »
First, sorry about the Giants and Vikings
" In politics, they are endless. How come Republicans want to starve the poor, take away Grannies' meds, don't care about working people, only care about the rich, care only about themselves, don't have a plan of their own, only know how to say no, hate government, hate black people, are war mongers, etc. How come Republicans want people to raise a family on $8 an hour? How come they want to stop 20 million people from getting health insurance? The more we answer these questions, the deeper the hole we have dug."
I absolutely agree that the Republicans do not appropriately answer these questions. But these are questions people have.
I don't think one can win anyone over by simply ignoring or rephrasing these questions. We need to answer them.
****What do we know about income inequality?
a) It is badly measured and greatly overstated,
b) It is a fact, not an issue, and
c) Focusing on this false injustice leads you to all the wrong policy choices.****
Number one there is huge income inequality. The top controls huge amounts of the country's wealth. I agree it is not an injustice, but would you not agree there are injustices? Would you agree the wealthy do get privileges the rest of us do not get? I am not against them. But people see the right totally ignoring some at the top who are ripping off the system. There are people at the bottom doing the same thing with welfare fraud, disability fraud. My point is we should strive for fairness at the top and bottom. I want a system based on competition and hard work, conceding that luck and talent often separates those who do better than others.
So what. It is still by far the best way.
Just to call it a "false injustice" is very evasive. I don't think this will persuade anyone. We need better responses. I wish I was retired. I would like to spend the time and give it a go.
We are having trouble winning people over because WE ARE NOT LISTENING to them. We are not answering them. We are not really offering a choice. We are not reaching them. Convincing them WE (REPUBS) offer the better way of life.
I think Rove and the Bushes and other Rinos think the compromise and concession is the way to listen to others. I don't agree with that. That is a losers take IMHO.
OTOH, if a guy with the completely flawed character of McAuliffe can win Virginia and indeed his numbers improve just by having Hillary stand next to him, another with a flawed dishonest personality than maybe we are finished. THAT is very discouraging!
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