Monthly Archives: February 2013

John Kerry Is Wrong About The “Right To Be Stupid”

John Kerry tried to explain why Nazis in America can march openly as oppose to Germany where they are banned. He failed. Miserably.

Kerry vigorously defended Americans’ “right to be stupid” in a speech to German students during his first overseas trip as secretary of State.

“As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view,” Kerry told the students in Berlin, according to Reuters. “People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another.

“The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In American you have a right to be stupid – if you want to be.”

If I were a glass half full kind of guy, I’d be thankful that he at least recognizes some limits on the government. But I’m not. Starting assumptions matter because where you begin influences where you wind up. Kerry starts in the wrong place.

Our First Amendment rights are not a grant of “tolerance” by the government (which might be withdrawn). They are a recognition that we have these rights by our existence. The First Amendment is a control on government; it says what Congress may not do. We believe in that as a people our rights exists independent of the state and it is not up to the state to “tolerate” our expressions but to stay the hell away from them.

I understand that it’s popular for an elected official to run down noxious groups like Nazis but a Secretary of State speaking to a foreign audience should not be rendering qualitative judgment on any form speech. He should be explaining that government in the United States is limited in its powers by the people and that in America the people are the ones who “tolerate” the government.

Sadly that’s likely a bridge too far for Kerry.

In Which Matt Lewis Launches A Drone Strike On A Poor Unsuspecting Strawman

Matt Lewis won’t talk to you at CPAC but he’ll boldly stand up for a major group that is perfectly capable of speaking for itself.  Show me on the strawman doll where Matt Lewis touched you.

Lewis you see is compelled to throw himself onto the field of battle on behalf of CPAC’s exclusion of GOProud against a charge no one is making.

First, it is very important to note that CPAC is not banning GOProud leaders or members from attending the conference. This is a key point that is often mistaken. I’m not sure anyone could muster a defense of not allowing individuals to pay and attend.

Instead, what CPAC has said is that GOProud (and some other groups) won’t be included among CPAC’s co-sponsors. (Sponsorship presumably comes with perks, such as speaking slots, etc.)

This raises an obvious question: Does CPAC have the right to decide whom they will partner with?

It’s not an obvious question because it’s unrelated to the debate people on the right have actually been having.

 

The number of people who claimed CPAC doesn’t have the right to exclude GOProud is (and I’m rounding up here) ZERO.
Plenty of people however have questioned the WISDOM of doing so. If Lewis can’t tell the difference between those two things, he’s more hopeless than I thought.

For the record, I’m not a fan of GOProud because I don’t think the right should be emulating the identity politics of the left. But if we’re going to go down that road, there’s no less reason to have gay conservative groups then there is women, Hispanic or any other ones.

If you want to defend CPAC’s exclusion you probably should go beyond the “obvious question” and make the case how excluding GOProud furthers the conservative movement. Because if opposing gays because they are gay is part of being a  mainstream conservative, conservatism is doomed.

Lewis link via Ben Howe.

Adorable Babies For Sequestration

“The Children” are selfish. Why won’t they pay up for more bureaucrats?

sequester baby

Hispanics Are Natural Conservatives(tm). They Just As A Group Hold Very Liberal Positions.

There may well be reasons to support amnesty of illegal immigrants, that they are natural conservatives just is not one of them.

From today’s Pew poll.

On the broad question of whether it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns or to control gun ownership, adults split about evenly too, with 46 percent emphasizing ownership and 50 percent limits. But 71 percent of African-Americans, 78 percent of Hispanics, 71 percent of all nonwhites and 55 percent of college-educated white women prioritized gun control; young people lean narrowly in that direction.

They also support (but the story did breakout the exact numbers) raising the minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage and insisting that any further fiscal deal include both tax increases and spending cuts likewise won support from preponderant majorities in Obama’s coalition, the poll found. Over eight-in-ten nonwhites back him on both questions.

When we have the amnesty debate (and yes, it’s amnesty) let’s just be honest about what is on the table and the reasons for supporting it.

 

 

 

Rand Paul Asks The Wrong Question On Administration’s Power To Kill Americans On US Soil

Via @slublog, Rand Paul’s got the right general idea on holding Obama to account but asks the wrong question. Paul wants CIA Director nominee John Brennan to answer a direct question about what limits the administration sees on its authority to target American citizens on US soil.

During your confirmation process in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), committee members have quite appropriately made requests similar to questions I raised in my previous letter to you-that you expound on your views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against U.S. citizens, especially when operating on U.S. soil. In fact, the Chairman of the SSCI, Sen. Feinstein, specifically asked you in post-hearing questions for the record whether the Administration could carry out drone strikes inside the United States. In your response, you emphasized that the Administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.” I do not find this response sufficient.

The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.

(Emphasis mine)

Paul goes on to say he will filibuster the nomination unless he gets an answer.

Here’s the problem, focusing on the authority (or lack thereof)  to use a “drone” to kill an American on US soil misses the point. It’s not a question of what tool (a drone) Obama can use, it’s whether he thinks he can legally do it at all. Brennan could say, “no we aren’t allowed to use drones in that case” and then Obama could order a targeted killing of an American on American soil using a gun, knife, artillery shell or cruise missile and still have been honest in answering “no” to Paul’s question.

It’s clear where Paul is going but he needs to be precise.

Obama Renounces His Bastard Child Named Sequestration, Redefines “Tax Reform”

Obama is back to doing what he does back…campaigning on lies..

The president ticked off a host of expected repercussions should the $85 billion in cuts for this year take effect. He said Border Patrol, emergency responders, FBI agents, airport controllers and others would all face cutbacks. He said teachers would be laid off by the thousands and America’s military would be degraded.

As he has before, Obama urged Congress to pass a stopgap to allow for more time to pass a bigger package. But, with Congress out this week and many lawmakers resisting another attempt to kick the can on the cuts, Obama tried to cast Republicans as the ones responsible.

Obama suggested their resistance to his calls to pass a “balanced” package — by closing tax loopholes for top earners and big corporations — is the hold-up. He asked whether Republicans are willing to let hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs “just to protect a few special-interest tax loopholes.”

Closing “loopholes” (I hate that term. If the law allows something, it’s not a “loophole”, it’s what the damn law says.) to raise revenue isn’t “tax reform” as anyone understood the term until Obama Newspeak came along. Closing “loopholes” AND lowering rates is tax reform. Obama’s “balanced approached” is just a tax hike.

Does anyone really believe that if Obama gets this tax hike the supposed revenue will go to deficit or debt reduction and not new spending? Of course it won’t. All the money from his income tax hike was spent in about two weeks.

Sequester is a no good, terrible, horrible idea but good ideas like cutting these budgets in targeted as opposed to across the board ways aren’t on the table. Of course the best and most necessary idea, immediate entitlement reform is a non-starter in either party.

We been eating a lot of shit sandwiches lately, what’s one more bite?

Obama’s Sequestration Bait And Switch

White House propagandist Greg Sargent says Obama, unlike the evil Republicans, is offering a compromise on sequestration.

<blockquote data-conversation=”none”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/patjhynes”>patjhynes</a&gt; You can’t spin away this fact: One side’s plan would avert sequester w/compromise; other side says *any* compromise is nonstarter</p>&mdash; Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ThePlumLineGS/status/303922522209005568″>February 19, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Here’s the thing, sequester was a compromise. Obama wanted a hike in the debt ceiling in 2011 and the GOP didn’t. The compromise was there would offsetting spending cuts for the debt hike. These cuts (not revenue increases, cuts) would be enforced, if push came to shove, by sequester.

Obama’s new taxes gambit is simply bait and switch. It’s not compromise, it’s bad faith.

The Challenge For Republicans: Winning Over Idiots

I’m reading this NY Times piece that has some people upset with S.E. Cupp. I haven’t gotten to her bit yet but this….this….I don’t know how you deal with this.

Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”

A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”

Does this woman not know who she is? Does she not know who Obama and Romney were during the campaign?

Other than pure esthetics, how to you begin to communicate with this person and people like her?

Prediction: Sequester Won’t Happen

Sure the talk gets tougher but the wheels are in motion.

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they plan to unveil such a proposal by Thursday, although internal differences still remained on the exact mix of tax increases and spending cuts.

Proposals to cut farm subsidies and raise taxes on oil-and-gas firms face opposition within the caucus.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the Senate Finance Committee chairman, told reporters Wednesday he was still trying to find a balance between two imperatives: the need to find revenues to help replace the sequester on one hand, and his broader goal of a comprehensive tax code overhaul on the other.

“We’ve got to get measures that pass,” Baucus said Wednesday. “I want to make sure we can do tax reform.”

So the Senate Democrats along with a handful of squishy Republicans* like Murkowski, Collins, Cochran, Chambliss, Flake (thanks to Jose for the correction), Kirk, Johans, Alexander, Corker  along with defense hawks who will do anything to protect the defense budget like McCain, Ayotte will come together to pass a bi-partisan bill (cue the choir of angels).
At that point, the GOP controlled House will hem and haw but ultimately Boehner will let the bill come to the floor and the same Democrat/GOP squish  coalition that passed the fiscal cliff and Sandy relief bills will reunite and pass tax hikes and faux spending cuts to shut the sequester off.
All that’s left is the chest beating and complaints from conservatives that will fall on deaf ears.
*I’m not saying all these Republican Senators will vote for a deal like this but the pool of possible yes votes is pretty big.

Avik Roy Reinterprets The “Buckley Rule” To Argue For Nelson Rockefeller

Spend enough time on the internet and you’ll see everything.

Avik Roy writing at National Review’s The Corner takes on one of conservatism’s most sacred cows.

But it’s worth pointing out that the landslide defeat of Goldwater to Lyndon Johnson led to the enactment of the Great Society, and most notably, Medicare and Medicaid. In other words, the very fiscal crisis we face today — for which, at our most courageous, we recommend but modest reforms — was a direct result of the disastrous Goldwater campaign.

We may all prefer the policies of Goldwater to those of Rockefeller. But it’s at least debatable whether or not the conservative movement was better off, or worse off, for having nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964. Indeed, the 1964 election may be the most salient example of what happens when we don’t pick the most conservative candidate who can win.

This is heresy of the highest order to conservatives. Personally, I find anyone who doesn’t have a bit of heresy in their arsenal but I prefer it to be somewhat more grounded in reality.

My biggest problem with this formulation is that in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination Rockefeller had any more of a chance against Lyndon Johnson than Barry Goldwater did. There’s simply no reason to believe that’s true.

I pointed this out to Roy and he replied

Aside from the movement of the goal posts this ignores a major fact…. despite popular belief the Social Security Act amendments of 1965 that created Medicare and Medicaid passed with significant (near majority) support of Republicans in Congress.

The House adopted a conference report — a unified House-Senate version of the bill — on July 27, 1965, and passed it by a 307-116 margin. That included 70 Republican “yes” votes, against 68 “no” votes.

Then, on July 28, 1965, the Senate adopted the bill by a vote of 70-24, with 13 Republicans in favor and 17 against. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it two days later.

How would the nomination of the more liberal and thus more “electable” Rockefeller have led to more conservative Republicans in Congress?

More inconvenient for Roy’s argument is Rockefeller supported the creation of Medicare before the 64 election.

When the second session of the 88th Congress convened in January 1962, a major administration push for Medicare got underway. Reports at that time indicated that the President’s strategy was to obtain floor action in both houses of Congress, if possible, even if there were not enough votes for passage. The President was said to have concluded that the issue was popular with the voters (Gallup polls showed public support running as high as 69 percent); in the fall campaign, the President was expected to make Medicare his “cutting edge issue”– the symbol of his whole New Frontier program.

As the session progressed, a feeling of optimism developed among Medicare supporters. The polls continued to show strong public approval. Grass-roots pressures continued to build and mail from constituents was running heavy and favorable. The President was regularly questioned about Medicare in his press conferences. Other administration spokesmen maintained a busy speechmaking schedule. Indications that the administration was willing to make reasonable compromises also improved the congressional attitude, as did a disappointing report, in May, on the first 18 months of the Kerr-Mills Act. The report showed that only a little more than half the States had put the program into operation and only 88,000 elderly people had been helped, mainly in four States.

Another hopeful sign was a split among Republicans and hints of flexibility on the part of the AMA. First, Representative Frank T. Bow (Republican of Ohio) introduced a bill (H.R. 10755) to grant income tax credits of up to $125 a year for persons over age 65, toward the purchase of specified types of private health insurance. (Those who paid less than $125 a year in taxes would have received compensatory “certificates” from the Government.) Soon afterward, Representative John V. Lindsay (Republican of New York) introduced a bill (H.R. 11253) on behalf of Governor Nelson Rockefeller embracing the social security financing mechanism but including a private insurance option. Even more significant was a similar shift by a group of Republicans in the Senate, led by Senator Javits. This group introduced a new bill (S. 2664), calling for social security financing of a program providing three benefit options, one of which, as in the Lindsay bill, would have permitted beneficiaries to use private insurance. (24)

The ever helpful “moderates” always splitting the Republicans to help the liberals.

As Governor,Rockefeller was an early proponent for NY joining Medicaid and not surprisingly he loved to spend.

These federal dollars are a huge incentive for states to expand their health-care initiatives. And when Medicaid was new, nobody extended his hand to the federal till more enthusiastically than New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, who wanted his state to offer the most lavish Medicaid benefits in the country. Rocky also asked New York cities and counties to contribute half of the program’s nonfederal costs—meaning that state lawmakers could drive up spending using federal and local dollars without assuming the full brunt of the fiscal or political cost. Medicaid spending immediately shot far beyond even Rockefeller’s grandiose expectations. In 1966, his administration estimated that annual Medicaid costs would be $80 million; by 1969, they had exploded to $330 million.

This is who Roy thinks is a cautionary tale in the moderate vs. conservative debate?

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers