Saturday, January 14, 2012

Everything Is At Stake, All Right

On this we can agree with President Obama: Everything he stands for is at stake in 2012

Obama told 500 fawning sycophants in Chicago that he is unrepentant about his policy agenda and intends to treat us to more of the same, much more, in a second term. Obama said, "Everything that we fought for is now at stake in this election." Lest there be no mistake, he repeated the message in the smaller settings of private homes.

We can endlessly debate whether he is such a devoted ideologue that he's blind to his policy failures, whether he's willing to sacrifice the economy and the fiscal integrity of the United States for his perceived higher good of radical redistribution, or whether he really intends to do harm, but these are moot questions anymore. Under any of these possibilities, the fact remains that he is hellbent on accelerating his present course, not reversing it, on dictating, not working within his constitutional constraints, much less building a bipartisan consensus.

Hubris and defiance are his trademarks, not humility. He said, "If you're willing to work even harder in this election than you did in the last election, I promise you, change will come."

This should send cold chills up our spines. By "change," he means more of his unpopular, failed agenda. He has repeatedly indicated that he is frustrated with the process of republican government and that he would be much more comfortable as a dictator.

He has also said many times that he believes his goals are so important that he intends to implement them with or without Congress, through executive or administrative usurpations. He has done more than talk; he has acted in contravention of the Constitution and intends to continue in that vein.

What he might do in a second term is frightening to those who believe in freedom and equality of opportunity, that our current pattern of discretionary and entitlement spending is not just unsustainable but also guaranteed to destroy the country, and that we cannot preserve our freedom if we persist on a course of unilateral disarmament.

Just consider how brazenly Obama has pursued his unpopular agenda even while facing re-election. Think how he joked about having made a hollow promise of shovel-ready jobs when there is no such thing and how he is unchastened by the colossal waste of Solyndra and pursuing more of the same. Consider how he cavalierly refuses to account for his promise to keep unemployment capped at 8 percent and how he assured us, on his honor, that his designated stimulus cop, Vice President Joe Biden, wouldn't allow a dollar of waste to go unpunished in his stimulus plan. Chew on his refusal to listen to the public when it resoundingly rejected Obamacare, rebuffing his agenda in the U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts and again in the 2010 congressional elections. Ponder his petty partisanship, bullying, demonizing and class warfare and his frequent invocation of the race card. Can you conceive of how he'd act as a four-year lame duck?

You all surely heard Obama, thinking he was speaking only to friends, boast that he was for a single-payer plan but that it might take 15 years to implement it. Remember this when his supporters tell you Obamacare won't degenerate into socialized medicine. Those waivers he unilaterally issued to buy off companies now won't be available next time around when the full force of Obamacare rains down its dark waters.

Think about his Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will have 15 bureaucrats once Obamacare is up and running, when he won't have to worry about 2016. Before you pooh-pooh this, you'd better do your research on his health care mentors' (e.g., Tom Daschle, Donald Berwick) philosophy about the macabre rationing of health care for the aged.

So, call me an alarmist if you will, but I think it's almost irrational not to be very concerned about an Obama second term. Even if you don't subscribe to some of the horror scenarios of death panels and the like, how about his intention to continue to press forward with his radical green agenda despite the fact that it won't work to reduce global temperatures and despite the public's opposition to it?

More importantly, how about his absolute refusal to restructure entitlements or his refusal to lead his party's Senate to pass a budget after 1,000 days? Or his insistence on another stimulus package when unemployment -- even using the distorted metrics the administration is now using -- is still at 8.5 percent and it would add another half-trillion dollars to the national debt?

By rights, Obama shouldn't get 10 percent of the vote in November. Even those who want to punish the "wealthy" should understand that once you completely gnaw off the hand that feeds you, you will starve, too.



Gingrich attacks to help Romney

Believe it or not, Newt Gingrich is doing Mitt Romney a favor. Gingrich has spent the past week attacking Romney’s tenure as the head of Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney helped found in the 1980s. Through his own words and a propagandistic documentary produced by Winning Our Future, a well funded pro-Newt Super PAC run by a former campaign aid, Gingrich has attempted to paint Romney as a heartless, out of touch, capitalist monster—the King of Bain—whose firm made millions through mass firings and layoffs.

The campaign, however, has mostly backfired. Gingrich has united the conservative chattering class against him enough that Winning Our Future's major financial backer, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has distanced himself from the documentary, and Gingrich has called for its producers to either edit the film or "pull it off the air and off the internet entirely." In the process, Gingrich has managed to generate the one thing that the Romney campaign has failed to win or buy for itself: sympathy.

But what’s good for Romney may be bad for the rest of us. Gingrich’s attacks aren’t just helping to unite conservatives in defense of Romney, they’re distracting from the very real flaws in Romney’s record.

Gingrich’s criticisms of Romney’s time at Bain Capital have backfired in part because they’re straight out of the liberal playbook. Indeed, they amount to attacks on the essence of capitalism: creative destruction. That’s especially true of Romney’s Bain Capital, which was spun out of Bain and Co., an early player in the world of high-end management consulting, in the mid 1980s. Most private equity firms at the time relied primarily on financial engineering to increase the value of the companies they worked with.

But according to Stephen Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, Bain Capital’s innovation was marshalling the tools of management consulting in hopes of transforming companies into entities that weren’t just better financed, but better run. Private equity firms, Kaplan wrote in a 2008 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “applied performance-based managerial compensation, highly leveraged capital structures, and active governance to the companies in which it invested.” Overall, the strategy seems to have been a success: The “evidence suggests that private equity activity creates economic value on average.” For all practical purposes, Gingrich is attacking Romney for having run a business that helped create value.

The attacks on Romney aren’t just misguided; they’re also inaccurate, relying on factual errors and quotes taken out of context. Here’s just one example: The half hour documentary funded by the Gingrich-supporting Super PAC Winning the Future tells the story of UniMac, a Florida company that made laundry equipment. The documentary leads viewers to think that UniMac was bought and shut down by Bain through another firm, Raytheon, that was Bain under a different name. But as CNN Money’s Dan Primack noted earlier this week, Bain and Raytheon weren’t the same thing. Raytheon bought UniMac in 1994, then merged it with other companies. Bain didn’t buy that unit until four years later.

Even the timing and delivery of Gingrich’s attacks will likely help Romney in the long run. If Romney wins the nomination, the Obama campaign will have a harder time using Bain’s record against him. Not only will they be old news, they’ll be associated with a disreputable, discredited Republican candidate.

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s attacks have distracted people from the true problems with Romney’s record—his long history of flip-flops, his enthusiasm for technocratic fiddling, his unimpressive Medicare reform proposal, his significant role in passing the Massachusetts health care overhaul that served as the model for ObamaCare, and the weakness of his plan to undo ObamaCare through federally granted waivers to the states.

Gingrich’s suicide run ultimately tells us more about his own desperate political narcissism than it does about Mitt Romney, whose business career is the best part of his record. There are plenty of reasons to complain about Romney, but his time at Bain isn’t one of them.



Voter ID: Necessary or Discriminatory?

You need a proper form of government ID to drive a vehicle, buy alcohol or tobacco products, and even to apply for welfare assistance, so why not require an ID to vote?

That’s the line of thinking of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who, along with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, are filing suit against the U.S. Department of Justice, which recently rejected the state’s new Voter ID law, enforcing provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Last May, South Carolina state lawmakers passed a law requiring voters show a valid, state-approved photo ID before they cast a ballot. But the U.S. Justice Department rejected the law saying it discriminated against minority voters.

But when you need a valid form of government ID in so many other daily situations, how is it discriminatory to ask for one before exercising your right to vote?

States like Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee and, if approved by the Department of Justice, Texas, all have strict photo ID voting laws. South Carolina hopes to join them.

Supporters of voter ID say it helps to prevent voter fraud. “Voting in this country is one of our most valuable honors and rights as U.S. citizens,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “If people lose trust in the voting system then our entire democracy and the framework of our government is lost. Requiring voters to show a valid ID is an easy step to take that keeps people’s trust in the system.”

On the other hand, many agree with the concerns coming from the U.S. Justice Department that voter ID can lead to discrimination.

When voter ID was passed in Mississippi last year, many felt it was an attack on non-whites. “Our analysis shows that Mississippi’s voter ID law is another example of a law with a racially discriminatory effect being implemented over minority voters’ strong objections,” Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the Huffington Post. “Seventy-five percent of minorities in the state said no to having to comply with what amounts to a modern-day poll tax in order to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

Voter ID is a contentious topic that clearly strikes a nerve with those who are adamantly against it as well as those who fully support it, which is likely why many states have no voter ID laws at all.

But despite the arguments for or against voter ID, America’s past does contain allegations and some possible shreds of proof of voter fraud.

One such controversial election was in 1984 in Indiana’s 8th district. The election battle was so tight between Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN) and Republican-challenger Rick McIntyre that the results were decided upon in Congress. After a recount of votes by Indiana’s Secretary of State that ruled McIntyre the winner, the Democratic-controlled House refused to seat either candidate until it conducted its own investigation. With a task force leading the investigation composed of two Democrats and one Republican, McCloskey took his seat in the House where he was claimed the winner by only four votes. Republicans temporarily left the House Chamber in protest.

In another instance, during the 1996 Congressional elections, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) came under fire of Republicans as she took her place in the House replacing former incumbent Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-CA) in California’s 46th district.

House sources to this day say former Rep. Dornan’s seat was stolen from him. The House Oversight Committee, then led by Republicans, launched an investigation into the race and found that non-U.S. citizens voted in the election, possibly attributing to Rep. Sanchez’s lead over Dornan.

Speculation still ensues over recent elections such as now Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) winning over former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) in the 2008 Senate election in Minnesota State. Also, the Washington State governor’s race of 2004 was decided by 133 votes out of 2.8 million cast. Recounting the votes a third time was the ticket for Democrat Christine Gregoire who was declared a winner by a state judge even after losing in two separate recounts against Republican Dino Rossi.

These states that want a strict voter ID law want to protect the rights of voters and the honor of the voting system. Their objective is not to discriminate.

What happens when citizens lose trust in a nation’s government is they become subjects instead of citizens. In the words of Joseph Stalin: “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” Those words should never ring true in America.


Doubts about Harry Reid's most recent win might also have been mentioned above


U.S. Veteran’s unemployment rate soars above 13 percent

By Rebecca DiFede — In the 236 years since its birth, our great nation has been involved in a great many battles that have forever changed the course of history, both for us and for our allies and foes. Needless to say, America wouldn’t be what it is without the brave men and women who sacrificed everything to fight for our freedom.

Recently, President Obama ended the war in Iraq and welcomed home thousands of brave young Americans. However upon their return home and start of their transition into civilian life, they were faced with a startling realization: there are no jobs.

According to a press release from Generation Opportunity, a non-profit dedicated to helping Americans create a better future, unemployment around veterans aged 18-29 has increased to 1 in 3 for the last quarter of 2011, up from 1 in 5 in the last quarter of 2010.

The overall unemployment rate for young veterans rose to a whopping 13.1 percent at the end of December, and 43 percent of those employed are unsatisfied with their current employment. These are the people whose decision to serve helped ensure that our Constitution still has meaning, and meanwhile they struggle to find jobs in an economy that’s barely afloat.

Only 36 percent of veterans aged 18-29 believe that there is the right leadership in Washington, and a hefty 69 percent think current leadership fails to represent their interests. Yet another example that illustrates the tides of favor slowly beginning to pull away from the shores of our illustrious president.

2012 has begun, and the battle for control of the high seas of this nation is a tough one. With our captain failing to make good on his promises time and time again, it seems that the smell of electoral mutiny is in the air.

As more and more of our nation’s youths fall into unemployment — 77 percent of whom already have or will delay a major life change because of economic reasons — thus increases the already widespread dissatisfaction with the current administration.




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