Saturday, August 14, 2010
Conservatives can’t afford to think small if we hope to tame big government.
Consider a recent example. In June, a MARC commuter train, run by Amtrak on behalf of the state of Maryland, broke down. Passengers were stranded for hours in between stations. The railroad couldn’t manage to move the train forward or backward. Some people got out and walked, while others roasted in 100-plus degree heat with no air conditioning and little air movement.
The next day, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley was out riding other MARC trains, blaming Amtrak and assuring customers he was doing everything he could. “O’Malley repeatedly reminded riders that his administration has nearly doubled capital spending for MARC,” reported the Baltimore Sun.
Well. He’s vastly increased spending. That’s never worked before, but at least it’s an idea.
Amazingly, O’Malley’s response wasn’t the emptiest. His Republican opponent for governor, Robert Ehrlich, took O’Malley appointees to task “for failing to attend meetings of a MARC riders’ advisory group.” So, the railroad would run smoothly if only some political hacks would attend meetings? Please.
The conservative response would be to say: “You can spend as much money as you want, but the government is never going to be able to run a railroad effectively. Let’s put MARC on the market and sell it to the highest bidder.” Voters have seen that the state-run railroad doesn’t work. Privatization would give them a big idea to support, instead of a small idea that more government spending is the answer.
There are plenty of other places where conservatives should be thinking, and acting, big. For example, a Connecticut judge recently told Quinnipiac University that its women’s cheerleading team didn’t count as a sport, so the school would have to reinstate its women’s volleyball team.
How did such earth-shaking issues end up in federal courts? Well, for decades now, the feds have enforced a provision of law known as Title IX. Washington has demanded that any school that receives any federal funding (in other words, virtually every institution of higher learning in the country) must ensure that the proportion of women engaged in sports matches the percentage of women enrolled in classes.
Since women now make up more than half of college undergrads, most schools have had to quash men’s sports. The Website fairnessinsports.org reports that “more than 2,200 men’s athletic teams have been eliminated since 1981.”
Yet conservatives will always lose if we face this on a sport-by-sport or school-by-school basis. We ought to expand the playing field.
Title IX says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” No mention of sports there, but it’s pretty clear that the law aims to eliminate discrimination.
It isn’t working. By 2008, women made up between 56 and 58 percent of undergraduates. That’s greater than their proportion of the general population (51 percent in the 2000 Census). In the interest of fairness, why not demand that Title IX be applied across the board to all academic programs? Yes, that will mean booting women out of school until they represent only 51 percent of undergrads. But that’s the law.
Such a radical step might force Washington bureaucrats to recognize the silliness of their attempts to micromanage college sports. Outraged lawmakers could be expected to oppose such “reverse sexism” and rewrite or revote Title IX. That would be a win for all Americans.
Finally, let’s rethink affirmative action.
It’s true that in previous decades, even centuries, blacks faced severe discrimination. Yet today “WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future,” as Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., wrote in The Wall Street Journal recently.
Instead of promoting equality for all, “present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white,” Webb added. And that’s true.
Like all government programs, affirmative action will keep spreading until conservatives start pushing back. It’s time to make the case, as Webb has started to do, for a truly colorblind American society, where laws are enforced without a thumb on the scale for favored minority groups. This idea appeals to American’s sense of fairness and is likely to be a political winner.
There’s a feeling in the air that Republicans are set to make huge gains in the 2010 elections. But that only helps conservatives if those Republicans are ready to move the country where it wants to go: to the political right. It’s time to think big.
Obama is intent on "nationalizing" huge swathes of American land
Effectively closing it off to almost all human use. You may be able to look at it if the Greenies let you but that's about it
Have you heard of the "Great Outdoors Initiative"? Chances are, you haven't. But across the country, White House officials have been meeting quietly with environmental groups to map out government plans for acquiring untold millions of acres of both public and private land. It's another stealthy power grab through executive order that promises to radically transform the American way of life.
In April, President Obama issued a memorandum outlining his "21st century strategy for America's great outdoors." It was addressed to the Interior Secretary, the Agriculture Secretary, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The memo calls on the officials to conduct "listening and learning sessions" with the public to "identify the places that mean the most to Americans, and leverage the support of the Federal Government" to "protect" outdoor spaces. Eighteen of 25 planned sessions have already been held. But there's much more to the agenda than simply "reconnecting Americans to nature."
The federal government, as the memo boasted, is the nation's "largest land manager." It already owns roughly one of every three acres in the United States. This is apparently not enough. At a "listening session" in New Hampshire last week, government bureaucrats trained their sights on millions of private forest land throughout the New England region. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack crusaded for "the need for additional attention to the Land and Water Conservation Fund -- and the need to promptly support full funding of that fund."
Property owners have every reason to be worried. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a pet project of green radicals, who want the decades-old government slush fund for buying up private lands to be freed from congressional appropriations oversight. It's paid for primarily with receipts from the government's offshore oil and gas leases. Both Senate and House Democrats have included $900 million in full LWCF funding, not subject to congressional approval, in their energy/BP oil spill legislative packages. The Democrats have also included a provision in these packages that would require the federal government to take over energy permitting in state waters, which provoked an outcry from Texas state officials, who sent a letter of protest to Capitol Hill last month:
"In light of federal failures, it is incomprehensible that the United States Congress is entertaining proposals that expand federal authority over oil and gas drilling in state water and lands long regulated by states... Given the track record, putting the federal government in charge of energy production on state land and waters not only breaks years of successful precedent and threatens the 10th Amendment to the United Sates Constitution, but it also undermines common sense and threatens the environmental and economy security of our state's citizens."
This power grab, masquerading as a feel-good, all-American recreation program, comes on top of a separate, property-usurping initiative exposed by GOP Rep. Robert Bishop and Sen. Jim DeMint earlier this spring. According to an internal, 21-page Obama administration memo, 17 energy-rich areas in 11 states have been targeted as potential federal "monuments." The lives of coyotes, deer and prairie dogs would be elevated above states' needs to generate jobs, tourism business and energy solutions.
Take my home state of Colorado. The Obama administration is considering locking up some 380,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land and private land in Colorado under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The Vermillion Basin and the Alpine Triangle would be shut off to mining, hunting, grazing, oil and gas development and recreational activities. Alan Foutz, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, blasted the administration's meddling: "Deer and elk populations are thriving, and we in Colorado don't need help from the federal government in order to manage them effectively."
Indeed, the feds have enough trouble as it is managing the vast amount of land they already control. As the Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Limited Government group, which defends private property rights, points out: "The (National Park Service) claims it would need about $9.5 billion just to clear its backlog of the necessary improvements and repairs. At a time when our existing national parks are suffering, it doesn't make sense for the federal government to grab new lands."
The bureaucrats behind Obama's "Great Outdoors Initiative" plan on wrapping up their public comment solicitation by November 15. The initiative's taxpayer-funded website has been dominated by left-wing environmental activists proposing human population reduction, private property confiscation, and gun bans, hunting bans and vehicle bans in national parks. It's time for private property owners to send their own loud, clear message to the land-hungry feds: Take a hike.
Putting Government First
Where a man's purse is, there his heart will be also.
If you would know where the heart of the Obama party is today, consider. In the dog days of August, with temperatures in D.C. rising above 100, Nancy Pelosi called the House back to Washington to enact legislation that could not wait until September.
Purpose: Vote $26 billion to prevent layoffs of state, municipal and county employees whose own governments had decided they had to be let go if they were to meet their constitutional duty to balance their books.
Workers their own governments thought expendable, Congress decided were so essential, it borrowed another 26 thousand million dollars from China to keep them on state and local payrolls.
A nation whose national debt is approaching the size of its gross national product, that goes abroad to borrow money to keep non-essential workers on government payroll is a nation on the way down and out.
And anyone who thinks this Obama party is ever going to cull the armies of tens of millions of government workers or scores of millions of government beneficiaries to put America's house in order is deluding himself.
As long as this Congress and White House remain in power, a U.S. default on its national debt is inevitable. The only question is when.
Nor is this the first time the Obama administration has rushed to save workers whom their own state, city and county governments were prepared to let go. Among the reasons the $800 billion stimulus failed is that so little of it was directed to firing up the locomotive of the economy, the private sector, and so much of it was spent to ensure that government workers did not have to share in the national sacrifice.
Why Pelosi & Co felt compelled to return to D.C., to ensure that state and local government payrolls were not pared, is not hard to understand.
Which party does the American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; and the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees usually contribute to, work for, vote for? At which of the two party conventions are teachers and government employees hugely over-represented?
Consider, too, the states deepest in debt and facing the largest cuts in employee ranks, pay and benefits: California, Illinois, New York.
In these states, public employees earn at least $10,000 per year more in pay and benefits than the average America worker, who is bailing them out.
Hence, we have a situation where private sector workers in Middle America are being taxed, their children being driven ever deeper into debt to China, so government employees who have greater job security than they do, and earn more in pay and benefits than they will ever earn, can stay in Fat City.
And folks wonder why so many Americans detest government.
NYC mosque builders don't want gay bar nearby: " The official Twitter account of the Park51 Lower Manhattan community-center project — colloquially known as the Ground Zero Mosque — has told Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld, in response to his proposal to open a bar catering to gay Muslims near the site: "You’re free to open whatever you like. If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog". Say, fellows . . . if you won’t consider the sensibilities of non-Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog, either. We now have the mosque organizers explicitly demanding a standard of behavior from Gutfeld that they themselves refuse to meet for others".
Elderly Trending Toward GOP: "With voters worried about the economy and deficits, and increasingly skeptical of President Obama, polls show Americans favoring Republicans over Democrats on most generic ballot questions. Even worse, seniors are the most disgruntled — and they vote. A July Quinnipiac survey found that respondents favored Republicans over Democrats for Congress by 43%-38%. The gap was widest among those over age 55, 45%-37%. Respondents favored the GOP by 48%-44% in a recent Gallup poll. Again the gap was largest among seniors, with those 65 and older preferring the GOP 52%-40%."
Where Did All Those 'Green Shoots' Go?: "In an Aug. 2 op-ed headlined "Welcome to the Recovery," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that "we are on a path back to growth." Eight days later, the Federal Reserve issued a report saying the "pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months." The next day the Dow tumbled 265 points, and on Thursday initial jobless claims hit a nearly six-month high. But don't blame Geithner for being Pollyannaish. Over the past year and a half, administration officials have issued one glowing statement after another about the economy, only to see reality turn out far worse."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 10:50 PM