Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Rules Of Golf, Executive Orders and President Obama

'Forget the Rules of Golf!
They are old and decrepit anyway!'
Dan Jenkins got into some hot water recently with his not-so-veiled 'fake' interview with Tiger Woods in Golf Digest.

It is always tough to try to make a point with sports analogies. Something always doesn't line up exactly.

However, President Obama's obsession with playing golf during his presidential terms provides a pretty good backdrop to try to put his executive order on immigration into something more people can understand than the arcane nuances of constitutional law and immigration policy.

The Rules of Golf are sacrosanct to any serious golfer. Violating them is the worst thing you can do.

You know what the ONLY sport there is where the participant is not only required but expected to report infractions on his/herself as opposed to being rewarded for trying to 'get away with bending the rules' to win?'

Right. Golf.

Professional players regularly call 1-or-2 stroke penalties on themselves when the ball imperceptibly moved upon addressing it that even the caddy right next to him/her did not see.

You never see a pro football player tell the ref that he punched a guy in the stomach first which led to the altercation that resulted in the other guy from the other team being tossed out of the game. Or the basketball player who touched the ball last as it was going out of bounds telling the ref: 'My bad. I touched it. Give it to the other team, ref!'

Golf is just 'different' that way. People who love the game love it because it brings out the best of us...when we play by the rules, for better or for worse.

'Constitutional law' is similar to the Rules of Golf. The Founders wrote them with every hope and intention that the elected officials who followed them would: A) Read them first; B) Understand them second and C) Abide by them for the good of the nation.

A United States of America without laws and regular order, proper constitutional procedure is not going to be 'The' United States of America for very long.

Walter Dellinger of the Duke Law School, and a long-time Democrat legal counsel to various Presidents, has written a defense of Obama's executive action that Slate Magazine chose to title 'There's No Legal Basis For The Belief That Obama's Immigration Order is Controversial'.

Written like a true lawyer. Note the word 'legal' before basis. There is a difference between something being 'legal' and 'right' you know. Sadly.

Of course Mr. Dellinger is going to defend a Democrat President in the White House with 'legal' jargon.

What about the question: 'Is there any basis for Obama's immigration order being controversial and at odds with the Constitution and the 'rules of engagement' between Capitol Hill and the White House?'

Of course there is. It is silly to think otherwise. As long as there is an opposition party running the US Senate and Congress, anything any POTUS does will be 'controversial'.

'The President proposes; the Congress disposes' goes the old saying. That is the very shortest way of saying that the Founders wrote the Constitution with the Legislative Branch being Article #1 because they wanted the power of the people to make important public policy decisions such as on immigration to reside in a raucous, fractious group of 435 people in the House and 100 in the Senate rather than rest solely in the power of one man sitting on a gold-plated throne with a crown on his head in the White House.

With that in mind, let's take a trip to down the golf course with President Obama and see how he might 'interpret' the rules of golf which will then give us some insight into how he must be seeing the Constitution with not only this executive order but his entire Presidency:

'You're up, Mr. President! Hit 'em straight!'

'I'll try! We are hitting a mulligan off the first tee, right?'

'Well, that is not in the Rules of Golf but many people do that so I guess that is ok this one time.'

'You know that besides being a constitutional law professor, I was also the coach of the golf team as well at Occidental, Columbia and Yale Law School.'

'I did not know that.'

'Yeah, but just like the Constitution, I think the Rules of Golf were written for a different time and different place with a very heavy emphasis on Anglo-European Caucasian philosophy and privilege.'

'Uhh...I think it was started by a bunch of sheepherders in Scotland who batted some ball stuffed with feathers around with a club stick on an open range for something more fun to do than tending sheep'

'Whatever. I think the Rules of Golf, just like the Constitution, needs to be adjusted for modern times. We can't always be straight-jacketed by what convention in the 18th or 16th century said way back then.'

'Like what, pray tell?'

'For example: sandtraps. Why should anyone ever be penalized for hitting a perfectly good golf shot that just happens to roll off the green into a bunker? I just kick the ball out of the traps whenever I feel like it so I can get a good clean shot to the hole'

'But that is cheating, Mr. President! You can't improve your lie or go anywhere nearer to the hole on any shot!'

'Who says? You may say that and the Rules of Golf say that but I am President of the United States of America and I say that I can move my ball out of the sandtrap if I want to. 

Elections Matter you know.'

'They sure do, Mr. President. You have lost the House and the Senate to the Republicans in the last 3 elections so apparently the American people don't like what you are doing'

'Doesn't matter. I still have my pen and cell phone and I can do executive orders all I want. As a matter of fact, I think I will just sign an executive order right now and allow 5 million people to sneak on all the private and public golf courses tomorrow and play without paying greens fees or even knowing how to play golf in the first place'

'Don't you want to work with the Republicans in Congress, Mr. President?'

'Not if they don't do exactly what I want in the first place as they write legislation. Why bother with them when I am going to veto everything they want to do in the first place? 

'Hey, Mr. President! I notice that you are driving a golf cart. Why don't you just walk and carry your own bag or get a caddy? Doesn't driving a golf cart contribute to global warming and all that?'

'I don't need the exercise, friend! See how skinny and athletic I look? You on the other hand look like you need to take a hike!'

'Hey! You just hit your shot into the creek on the right, Mr. President. That is a 1-shot penalty you know for going into a lateral hazard.'

'I didn't know anything about that. No one ever told me about that before. The first I heard about it was from the news media, just like you did. Josh Earnest will say so.'

'It is in the Rules of Golf, Mr. Golf Coach. Thought you knew the Rules of Golf there, Mr. President!'

'Well, I am just gonna put throw another ball down next to the creek and hit it without penalty, bub! What are you gonna do about it? And how did you get in my foursome anyway?'

'Good question, Mr. President. Good. Question.'



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Sunday, November 16, 2014

'Ronald Reagan Used Executive Orders to Get Immigration Done in 1986!'

ronaldusmagnus_answer_1_xlarge
Ronald Reagan wasn't a Caesar.
No US President should ever be a Caesar.
NOT!

There is a movement underfoot by the left to try to equate what President Obama is about to do with the stroke of his pen issuing a presidential executive order ('proclamation' is more like it) to allow up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the US without fear of deportation with the executive actions taken by both President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush 41 in the 1980's.

They are as different as apples and oranges. Both are fruit but very different, yes?

This is an important lesson for people who want to know how our constitutional democratic republic should be run as opposed to how some people think it should be run.

First of all, the executive actions taken by both Republican presidents were to mop up some of the cracks in the Simpson (R)-Mazzoli (D) Immigration Act of 1986 that were not adequately dealt with during consideration and passage of the bill in Congress.

Note one thing right off the bat: Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming (yes, that same Alan Simpson who worked with Democrat Erskine Bowles to put together the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction package) worked in a bipartisan way with Democrat House Member Ron Mazzoli of Kentucky for years to get this bill passed in 1986.

Yes. Bi-par-ti-san. Passed the Democrat House by 238-173. Passed the Republican Senate 63-24. Signed into law by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

You know. 'Just like in the good old days'.

Still, the straw that stirred the drink was the legislation passed by the People's House FIRST, the US Congress and then conferenced and concurred with the Senate in regular order. NOT the executive action by one man in the White House.

That is what kings or czars have done in history. Pass a proclamation...and expect the Roman Senate to concur with it just because the Caesar says so.

That is most definitely not the way our Founders wanted America to be run. If anything, their view of government was to have the executive do what they told him to do through legislation, not the other way around.

The second thing to notice is how Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 worked with Congress to get a bill through that they would not veto...and waste all that time doing something for nothing.

We thought about going through the legislative history since we were up there in 1986 and try to explain why Ronald Reagan's executive actions were nowhere near the sweeping scope of what President Obama is about to proclaim (er, 'issue an executive order') on immigration.

And then we found the following blog post titled 'Just Bunk' which we found to be quite good and better than what we could have come up with.

This guy (no name or contact information given) is clearly in the tank for President Reagan and all things Republican. However, we could not find where any of his facts or stats were incorrect based on our knowledge of how this immigration reform effort worked its way through 'regular order' (again, something many people, especially young people have not seen in the past 6 years since the Senate was under the thumb of Majority Leader Harry Reid who protected his Democrat Senators from voting on almost anything controversial over that time including passing an annual budget) in 1986.

1 thing jumped out at us in the summary of the bill: The clear and common-sense way that members of both parties dealt with the tough issue of incorporating the undocumented immigrants in the US for a number of years in a way that still accounted for the rule of law in a compassionate manner that didn't tear families apart, parents from children and vice versa.

This one paragraph seems to sum up what many people on both sides we have talked with tend to agree upon:
  • '(The Simpson-Mazzoli Act) legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language'
We did it then in 1986. Seems to be a template going forward for some sort of immigration 'Grand Bargain' in 2015, yes?

But it won't happen if President Obama tucks his head down and charges into the line and issues his presidential proclamation (executive order) without any regard to the legislative process in Congress.

You want to see gridlock on everything for the next two years? Then watch President Obama sign this executive order.

It will be a mess on Capitol Hill.

NO, RONALD REAGAN DID NOT GRANT AMNESTY. NEITHER DID BUSH.

Propaganda: GOP Hero Ronald Reagan granted amnesty! Republicans are hypocrites! Obama should have the same rights as Reagan! 
Facts:
Democrats are pointing to the Immigration and Control Act of 1986 to draw a comparison to Obama’s intended executive order on immigration, amnesty, purported to affect more than 15 million illegals currently within the United States. Here’s the problem with that comparison:
  • The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 was a law not an executive action.
  • The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 was drafted by Rep Romano L.Mazzoli (D) and Sen Alan K. Simpson (R). In other words, it was a bi-partisan action of the House and Senate.
  • The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 granted Amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the country before January 1, 1982, but it had harsh “control” mechanisms to make sure America didn’t have to face the illegal immigration problem in the future; said “control” mechanisms being firmly ignored in subsequent Congressional and Executive administrations.
Per Wikipedia:
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Pub.L. 99–603, 100 Stat. 3445, enacted November 6, 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, signed into law by Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law. The Act[1]
  • required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status;
  • made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
  • legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, and;
  • legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.
Congress intended the Immigration and Control Act of 1986 to seal the border, stop future illegal immigration, stop future hiring of illegals, and make those here illegally pay penalties for their illegal entry. It insisted these new citizens possess knowledge of American history and speak the English language.
In other words, it insisted illegals become “American”.
Obama, driven by anti-American activists including La Raza, intends to grant amnesty with no conditions to pay penalties or make restitution, no requirement to speak our language or adopt our culture, and with no intent to secure our borders.
And (and it’s a big “And”) – with no legislation.
Reagan did not grant Amnesty. He signed a law passed by Congress.
Obama, in defiance of Congress, is decreeing Amnesty by fiat.
Update:
The initial propaganda (suggesting that Reagan granted Amnesty by executive order) exposed, liberals are now suggesting equivalence between actions Reagan and Bush took to expand the Immigration and Control Act of 1986 and Obama’s forthcoming Amnesty decree. It’s continued deception:
  • The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 gave Amnesty to illegal immigrants who were in the country prior to January 1, 1982. However, the law didn’t address family members who were in the country as of 1986 but not as of 1982. Reagan acknowledged that it would be immoral to deport family members of illegal immigrants who could pass the 1982 test. So, Reagan granted a deferral of deportation for children under 18 who were living in a two-parent household with both parents legalizing, or with a single parent who was legalizing under the new law.
  • President George H. W. Bush recognized that family members over the age of 18, and in the same circumstances as the children above, needed the same protection. He provided it under the “Family Fairness Policy” direction to the INS, which was later codified into law by Congress in 1990 – less than four years after the original law’s passage.
Where is Obama’s Immigration and Control Act of 1986, that “sweeping overhaul” (as Huff-Po describes it) of immigration law that was passed by Congress? He has none. Congress has not passed a law to amend Immigration in over 28 years.
And as Congress has not passed new Immigration Law in 28 years, Obama is not “amending” anything. He’s writing new law on his own. He has no Constitutional authority to write law.
This piece of  liberal propaganda depends on you not recognizing the difference between a President taking action to implement a law that has recently passed and a President taking action to write a LawCongress refuses to pass.
Be smarter than that.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gerrymandering Ain't Pretty...In Any Decade or Century

Rob Christenson of the Raleigh N&) wrote a column titled: 'Gerrymandered Districts Denied NC Voters A Real Choice'

My initial question was this:

'In which decade? And in which century??'

North Carolina has long been close to a 50/50 voting state when it comes to presidential, senate and gubernatorial elections dating back to 1980.

Even in most congressional elections since then, at least, overall state vote totals for Republican congressional candidates have been close to 50/50 compared to votes received by Democratic congressional candidates when all the votes for all congressional elections are added up and tabulated.

However, due to expert gerrymandering surgically performed on state legislative and congressional districts since Reconstruction after the Civil War, North Carolina Democrats masterfully maintained a stranglehold on the congressional delegation in Washington, DC and the General Assembly in Raleigh until 2010.

140 years after the Carpetbagging Republicans controlled the state after the Civil War and then were run out of the state on a railroad long about 1870 or so.

The North Carolina congressional delegation had just 2 Republican congressman (out of 11) in 1980, Jim Broyhill and Jim Martin plus Senator Jesse Helms.

The NCGOP had an average of 18 state representatives out of a total of 120 in the General Assembly during the 1970's heading into the 1980 elections. That is 15% for those of you scoring at home.

The NCGOP had an average of 7 state senators out of a total of 50 during the decade of the '70s. 14% in the state senate.

Looks like someone was doing a pretty darn good job of making sure the Republicans never got a firm foothold in North Carolina politics for a long, long, long time, yes?

Now there is a lot of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth that with the Republicans now firmly in control of the North Carolina congressional delegation, the General Assembly and the Governor's Mansion, the gerrymandering system is 'unfair and needs to be done away with!'

Didn't seem to be the case for the previous 140 years under almost 100% continuous Democrat control of every level of government power in the Old North State.

With that history in mind, I felt compelled to write this short note to my Democrat friends, which, surprisingly, there are more than just a few (I think):

'To my many Democrat friends who are bemoaning the fact that North Carolina has 'gerrymandered districts' as if it is the first time in recorded history of mankind that any gerrymandered districts have been drawn anywhere, consider this:

In 1984, I ran for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina.

The district was 'only' 91% registered Democrats. 42% of the district were registered African-Americans who were not counted as 'solid' GOP voters as far as I can recall.

9% of the registered voters in the entire congressional district of close to 550,000 citizens were officially registered as 'Republican' in 1984.


Make it 10% when you add in the dead Republican voters down in the eastern end of the district.

I only have one question today:

'Where was the outrage about gerrymandered districts back then in 1984????'

I seriously don't recall one single Democratic activist, candidate or incumbent anywhere saying that the redistricting that favored the Democrats in North Carolina for close to 110 years then (140 years as of 2010!) was 'unfair, cruel and wrong' in any way.

And I am not sure I can recall any Democrats who came to my defense or the defense of any Republican in the 1980, 1990 or 2000 redistricting process and argued for fair and balanced 50/50 districts at the state or federal levels...or in any of the other decennial census re-districtings dating back to 1870 or so.

So before we get too carried away with the tiny violins crying about how bad the mean old Republicans are nowadays, take a step back and look in the rear view mirror first.

It is not a pretty sight.'




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Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Little North Carolina Senate History

Senator Lee Overman-NC
1910-1931
Senate Appropriations
Regardless of what side you were on in the Kay Hagan/Thom Tillis Fight of the (21st) Century, so far at least, here's some background information that not many people realize when it comes to the North Carolinian senate delegation history in Washington, DC.

Question: Over the past 73 years since the beginning of WWII in 1941, how many Senators has North Carolina sent to Washington (and brought back, pretty often, truth be told)?

Answer: 20.

Thom Tillis will be the US 21st Senator from the Old North State.


2. How many US Senators have other states had over the same time period?

Answer: 

South Carolina- 8. Smith, Hall, Maybank, Thurmond, (for the most part), Hollings, Graham, DeMint, Scott.

Mississippi- 5. Eastland, Stennis, Cochran, Lott, Wicker

Arkansas- 9. McClellan. Hodges, David Pryor, Hutchinson, Mark Pryor, Fulbright, Bumpers, Lincoln, Boozman 

Pretty easy to see that North Carolina has been a merry-go-round for US Senators relative to other states.

Question: When was the last time a North Carolina US Senator has been on the all-powerful Senate Appropriations Committee (for any appreciable length of time)?

Answer: 1931. Lee Overman. Served there for 21 years. 83 years ago.
(Cameron Morrison was on the Approps Committee for 2 short years from 1931-1933. Lauch Faircloth was the last NC Senator on Approps for 2 short years as well from 1997-1999)

'Well, so what? What does any of that have to do with the price of tea in China or me on a daily personal basis?'

A lot. You may not know it but the committees these senators and congressman are on in Washington affect you one way or another depending on whether they are a 'power' committee or not.
  • Did you know that North Carolina is the only Southern state that does not have a major defense manufacturing installation such as Boeing or Lockheed Martin?
  • Did you know that North Carolina is the only Southern state without a major automobile manufacturing facility such as BMW in South Carolina or VW in Tennessee?
There is a myriad of reasons why such companies have gone to other states ranging from tax climate, pool of qualified workers and tax incentives.

But one of the most important things that other states such as South Carolina and Mississippi have done has been to elect and keep US senators in office long enough to get on Appropriations and then serve on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee where all the major defense programs and materiel production are considered every year.

Once a US senator gets on Defense Approps and steers a few defense contracts to their home states, then the level of training for defense workers goes way up in that state and other companies such as automobile companies can come in and poach qualified workers and technicians for their manufacturing facilities.

Based on the fact that North Carolina US Senator Lee Overman served on the Senate Appropriations Committee back when dirigibles were considered 'cutting edge' defense technology, it is a fair bet to assume that even if he was able to steer any defense work to North Carolina back then, it is in some museum somewhere today.

You don't believe that having a US Senator on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Defense Subcommittee is not crucial to having defense contractors move to your state and then hire local workers at an average of $75,000-$85,000/year?

Check out the defense contracting facilities in Alaska. 48th in population. #5 in terms of defense contracts received.

No wonder. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska served as Appropriations Chair forever it seemed. He also served as Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee for a long time before his death.

Want to see how important seniority and leadership seniority positions are in the US Senate? Look no further than the Great State of Mississippi, which in case you aren't a college football fan, has now become The #1 State for Great Football In All The Nation all of a sudden.

Senator Thad Cochran* was on the Senate Appropriations Committee and, with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, formed a powerful nexus for securing defense contracts for Mississippi.

One story says that a defense contractor wanted to talk about their support for a program they wanted to build with federal dollars so they met in one of their offices.

'Where are you going to build this manufacturing facility?' asked the Two Senators.

'Where do you want it to be built, Senators?' answered the defense contractor lobbyist wisely.

The Two Senators took out a map of Mississippi, found the town and the county they wanted it in and pointed at it and said: 'Right there, my friend! Right there!'

And 'Right There' is where a multi-million dollar plant was built, literally in the middle of nowhere. Today it is a vibrant, growing community with great schools, and educated and almost fully employed workforce and an average salary of $75,000-$85,000/year for the line workers.

In the middle of Nowhere, Mississippi.

You tell me if having a long-term serving US Senator on the Senate Appropriations Committee isn't important to the people of North Carolina.

Even if you didn't support Thom Tillis for the US Senate, you might want to wish him well and long-life and tell him to get on the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee just as soon as he possibly can.

He might just be able to steer a drone manufacturing company to the parts of North Carolina that desperately need new solid investments and jobs.

Such as maybe 65 of the 100 North Carolina counties today.


* Fun Fact For The Day: Both MS Senators Cochran and Roger Wicker hail from the same small town in Mississippi, Pontotoc which an Indian name that means 'Land of the Hanging Grapes'. Muscadines probably.


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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mr. Subliminal: We Don't Have A 'Political' Problem! We Have A 'Math' Problem!

'I want to come to some sort of compromise'
(not really..but I know I have to..)
One reason why we think not a whole heckuva lot has gotten done on a bi-partisan basis since, oh, say about 1997, is that recent incumbents in the White House and leaders of both parties in the House and Senate have conveniently forgotten how our Founders set the 'rules of the game' at the beginning.

Plus they have forgotten that the word 'compromise' is so deeply embedded in the US Constitution that our Founders didn't even see the need to write it down anywhere. It was just 'assumed' to exist in such a bicameral, joint federal-state, split legislative/executive branch democratic republic they wanted to set up.

In short, Our Founders wanted to make it as difficult as possible for any one person or one faction to get 100% of what they wanted in any session of Congress.

Forever.

Getting 100% of what you want through any one session of Congress is like trying to run through a land-mined field with machine guns trained on you from both sides and trained snipers 1 mile away shooting at you. If you don't have enough protective outerwear and find cover pretty quickly with friendly allies and shelter, you are not going to make it even 50% intact when all is said and done.

We think President Obama can do the entire nation a very useful service if he would become 'Mr. Subliminal' as Kevin Nealon used to do so masterfully on SNL when it was great, in his State of the Union speech in January of 2015 and lay out the 'rules of the game' that underlie our constitutional government for everyone to see at the beginning of the session.

There simply is no way for Republicans to demand and get a complete repeal of Obamacare in this next session of Congress just as there is no way for President Obama to get any of his stimulus spending bills through Congress either.

Those are just the cold hard facts as defined by the math of the Constitution. Not the politics or the policies of one side or the other.

But, just as that sage old President Ronald Reagan fully understood and used when leading by example, both sides can get maybe 60% of what they want on their specific top priorities if they work together to do so and understand that no one is going to be 100% happy with the end results.

After these past 17 years of poor, misguided and mis-thought out legislation or no action of any consequence on the big issues that face us, we will be thrilled with getting 60% and then hope a future Congress can come back and try to get the remaining 40%.

Everyone should be, just to be honest about it.

(political speech first, subliminal truth second in italics)

'Ladies and Gentlemen. Mr. Speaker and Mr. Vice-President and the American People:

Let me first congratulate the Republicans for winning control of the Senate and maintaining control of the House. darn it all

Elections matter. I 'get it'. not really

I will now list the priorities and challenges for this nation as I see them for the upcoming legislative session of Congress:

  1. We must raise the minimum wage everywhere to $10.10/hour. I know it is not the 'most' important issue today but it is the best political issue I still have in my arsenal to use.
  2. We must defeat ISIS at all costs. other than sending ground troops back over there to fight
  3. We must address global climate change. because that is one of the few issues left for my base
  4. We must address our budget deficits, although they have been gone down by 50% since I took office in 2009, and our national debt. not that I really want to but I can feel it in my stomach just like everyone else that this could get out-of-hand very fast and very easily and it is very scary.
  5. We must continue to find ways to provide universal health care for everyone in this country and also find ways to hold medical care cost inflation in check. just like what has happened over the last couple of years
  6. We must rebuild our nation's infrastructure with a massive federal investment program because this is one of the few things I know I can agree with many Republicans on. They like nice roads and bridges in their districts just like I do.
  7. We must take action to help the middle class do better. because for some odd reason that I can't really fully understand, they have actually fallen further behind during my last 6 years in office as measured by average family household income than under President George W. Bush before me
Now, I know there are differences between us about how you 54 soon-to-be US Republican Senators and 251 GOP House Majority will want to solve these problems. I happen to believe in a more activist federal government emanating out of Washington, DC than you free-market minimalist government conservatives do.

You believe in 'trickle-down economics'. I don't. Therein lies the rub we all have to face.
if you want anything to pass on economic policies, give me 50% of what I want and 50% of what you want and we got a deal. No veto pen will ever see the light of day over the next 2 years.

Let's be honest with each other. I don't control the legislative agenda any more and you don't hold the White House. I hold the very important constitutional trump card the Founders put in the US Constitution for all to see, the Presidential Veto. We don't have a 'political' problem. We don't have a 'philosophical' problem. We have a 'constitutionally-mandated MATH' problem, fellas! Basic addition and subtraction. Plain and simple. That's all there is to it.

So let's say you want to 'repeal and replace' Obamacare. go ahead. Make My Day.

The first thing you might want to think about is what you want to replace Obamacare with. because I sure as heck am gonna rally the troops on my side who have pre-existing conditions and current coverage and make it as difficult politically for you as I possibly can.

If the House passes, and the Senate somehow navigates the 60-vote cloture process and concurs with, a complete repeal of Obamacare, I will veto it. simply because I don't think you can override my veto in the Senate with 67 votes or in the House with 290 votes no matter how large you think your majorities are today. Only 10% of all presidential vetoes have ever been overridden by both chambers of Congress so go ahead...knock yourselves out big fellas!

I recognize that we have to further lower our budget deficits and somehow get a grip on this exploding federal national debt. I tried to work with Speaker John Boehner several times to do a 'Grand Bargain' of sorts on entitlement and tax reform only to come to an impasse over higher taxes and spending cuts when he went back to his Republican caucus and ran into opposition from the Tea Party members and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi put the kibosh on it from the left.

I promise to work with the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate. especially since I am the only one who can't run again in 2016 and I know it.

The time for action has come. and if you Republicans are really smart, you will work with me behind the scenes starting right now to craft and get a Massive Grand Bargain on Entitlement and Tax Reform. Let's pass it under normal legislative procedure in Congress through the budget reconciliation process that only requires 50%+1 of the vote in the Senate, not the 60-vote hurdle to shut off debate through cloture.

A Democratic President and a Republican Congress is the only way we will ever deal with the tricky issues of Social Security and Medicare, fellas. Take a look at what Bill Clinton and Erskine Bowles did in 1997 with a Republican-controlled Congress and US Senate when they passed Welfare Reform and the Budget Act which led to the only 4 balanced budgets we have seen in America in our lifetimes!

I will provide the political cover from the left for you Republicans to do what you have always wanted to do which is curb the rate of growth in these runaway entitlement programs. Now is your chance. But you only have til October, 2015 to get it right (and I will probably throw in a hike in the minimum wage to 'only' $9.10/hour just to sweeten the deal for my friends and supporters on the left)

May God Bless America. This may be the only way I will get my face chiseled on Mount Rushmore but if history views me as the president who provided universal health care for all Americans AND brought the budget deficits and the national debt down like Calvin Coolidge did, I can live with that.

That's the way things get done in Washington, ladies and gentlemen.





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Sunday, November 2, 2014

'Ed Clark for President 1980!'

'Vote for Me, Ed Clark and I will...
be able to do nothing for you!'
The years heading up to 1980 were not great ones for America or incumbent Democrat President Jimmy Carter.

Energy crisis; sky-high gasoline prices (up from $.35/gallon to over $1!); rationing at the pumps on even-odd days; inflation at 12%/year; interest rates at 21%.

And then....the Shah of Iran was overthrown and American hostages were taken for close to a year mostly because of President Carter's inept and weak foreign policy and military stances to that point.

President Obama must have read the Carter playbook, yes?

Former Governor of California Ronald Reagan was running not only to restore the American Dream and prosperity but also to restore America as the world's superpower in both economic and military strength.

Reagan's war-hawkishness was downright scary to many people who could only envision his super strong support for GOP Presidential candidate Barry 'Extremism in the Defense of Liberty Is No Vice' Goldwater in 1964.

The 'Daisy' ad said it all. (click on title link to the blog above to see the video of the ad which ran only 1 time on national TV)


And many young people were scared. Scared of Reagan pushing the nuke button willy-nilly. Scared of never being able to find a job in the moribund economy caused by President Carter's feckless policies.

So what did some people choose to do?

Of course. They voted for 'Ed Clark Libertarian Candidate for President!'

Who was 'Ed Clark Libertarian'?

No one who voted for him knew anything about Ed Clark Libertarian. All they knew was they hated President Carter for his domestic and foreign policy failures and they were terrified Ronald Reagan would push the nuke button on January 21, 1981 after his inauguration if elected and turn Iran into a desert sheet of glass.

A Vote for Ed Clark Libertarian, for them, was a matter of 1) principle and 2) protest against the 2 major political parties in America.

What did it get those who voted for Ed Clark Libertarian?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

They failed to help elect President Reagan who only went on to rejuvenate the American economy in an economic and jobs creation explosion unlike anything America had seen since perhaps WWII when everyone went to work and had to in order to support the war effort. (Official unemployment rates fell during WWII to a minuscule 1.2%).

President Reagan also went on to defeat communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Ed Clark didn't. 'Nuff said.

Why do we bring this up today of all days?

Simply because there is a movement on the right from normally sentient, sober and serious people to not vote for the Republican Senate Candidate in North Carolina, Thom Tillis who is running against Democrat incumbent US Senator Kay Hagan who was elected in 2008.

Just like the voters for 'Ed Clark Libertarian for President!', these people want to send a message to Washington and Raleigh that their conservative votes:

1) 'can't be taken for granted any longer!';
2) 'we are upset that elected Republicans have not solved all the problems we face!' and
3) 'we are better off keeping people in office who support Barack Obama and Harry Reid so things will REALLY get bad so the next election, we can take over!'

All of those reasons make about as much as sense as voting for Ed Clark for President in 1980.

Anyone has the freedom to not vote, just as they have the freedom to vote, assuming they are legal citizens and legally registered to vote in their election districts.

But what does that really getcha? What does not voting really look like in the 'real world' as opposed to the Land of Oz, let's say?

Not voting for someone because, while you may agree with their general overall philosophy of government, they are not perfectly aligned with you on every single issue reminds us of the following sports analogies, just to make it easier to understand:

1) Your team, Duke, has the ball and Tyus Jones is breaking away to the basket to score an easy layup and put 2 points on the board for the Blue Devils. But you don't like the fact that Tyus has not passed you the ball in the game so far so you run behind him and block the snowbird layup from behind.

The other team, the hated North Carolina Tar Heels, get the carom off the backboard and, being good teammates who like each other immensely, pass the ball quickly down the court and score an easy two points for the Heels.

That is not a 2-point swing, ladies and gentleman. That is a 4-point swing; the 2 pts you didn't get for Duke and the 2 other points that you gave to the Tar Heels by your action.

2) Jim 'Wrong Way' Marshall scoring a safety for the 49ers instead of a TD for the Vikings, 1964. (again, click on the link to the blog post above to view the video)



The laughter of the audience and the sports announcers tell you all you need to know about just how ridiculous this really was.

We could go on and on about how futile it is to waste a vote by not voting or by voting for some fringe candidate who may get 1% of the vote when all is said and done.

If you really want to make a difference, run yourself and try to corral enough of the massive number of registered Unaffiliated Independent voters to get to 50%+1 of the total vote in the next Senate election in 2016 in North Carolina.

However, the majority of the registered Independents in North Carolina at least have done so precisely because they abhor the sort of doctrinaire inflexible stances by those of you on the right who declare you are the Only True Way to Constitutional Conservatism just as they abhor those on the left who declare that they are the Only True Way to Government Control of Everything.

At least they are going to vote next Tuesday and make a difference one way or another.

People who don't vote really don't count.  It is their choice to make. Let them learn the error of their ways.

Like the 'Ed Clark Libertarian for President!' voters in 1980. All 10 of them.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Remembering Ronnie

Ronnie Dowdy
Durham, North Carolina in the summer of 1968 was a hotbed of racial disturbance and unrest.

Martin Luther King had been assassinated in April of that year. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in June after the California primary of that year.

Durham experienced riots and curfews as a result of that turmoil. You think race relations are not great in 2014; then you weren't alive in 1968 or before.

Heading into the summer of 1968, Durham elected leaders chose to close the black public schools and merge them into the white public schools.

No court orders. Just did it. Made the decision and made it happen.

It could have been a real mess at Jordan High School and Githens Junior High School that fall.

It wasn't.  It wasn't because of guys like Ronnie Dowdy.

Ronnie was a great athlete in high school and college. But he was a lot more than that.

Ronnie Dowdy came to Githens as a 6'2", 200 lbs+...7th grader. He had just moved to Durham from Whiteville, North Carolina so no one knew much about him before he came to Githens for the first summer practice. He was the same age as the rest of us. He was just a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier.

He could run a 4.6 40 and keep up with the best running backs we ever had. He was chiseled in a natural sort of way; lifting weights and working out just accentuated the natural gifts he already had.

Ronnie Dowdy #99. In the 9th Grade.
He seemed twice as big in the 7th.
Remember the scene from 'Remember The Titans' where the white bus unloads their white players and the black bus unloads their black players? That is what it looked like when we went to that first summer football practice in 1968.

Lots of tall and big black players got off the Merrick-Moore bus in front of Jordan HS; lots of tall and big white players also got off the Bethesda and Lowes Grove buses in front of Jordan HS.

To a 5'1 (maybe) and 110-pound (maybe) quarterback, all of these players looked like the New York Giants getting off of both buses. Any plans my father may have had about sending me off to prep school and away from the possible turmoil ahead were put to rest that morning.

'Dad', I said upon returning home, 'I want to play quarterback in junior high and high school. I just saw about 8 huge guys coming to Githens who are so big, no one on the other team will even see me lining up behind them!'

One other thing everyone remembers from that day was this slightly shy, handsome, tall, big and trim young man with a bright smile when he wanted to flash it, Ronnie Dowdy.

Everyone remembers the first time they met Ronnie.

Jordan HS and Githens Junior HS could have been like so many other high schools and junior highs around the South at the time where full integration was just starting to occur in the South. We heard about lots of fights and disturbances at other schools, and we had a few at the beginning as well.

We were lucky.

Over that 6-year period, from 1968-1974, the black and white students at Jordan and Githens somehow 'made it work' as Sheryl Yoast recounts in the closing scene in 'Remember the Titans'. A lot of it had to do with the administration, the teachers, the coaches and the support staff.

But a lot of it had to do with guys like Ronnie.

Ronnie was a tremendous athlete.

If you think Ole Miss and Mississippi State's rise to the top of the college football world is astounding, consider this: In our junior and senior years, Ronnie led Jordan HS to rankings as high as 4th in the entire state of North Carolina in 3-A football.

Just to put that into perspective, that would be like Duke, Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest all being in the top 5 in the NCAA college football poll at the same time all rolled into one. Jordan never was, or for the most part of their history since then, been a football factory.

Ronnie received letters from over 200 colleges and universities expressing interest in him coming to their campus to help them win tons of football games and possibly the national championship.

Lou Holtz wanted him to come to NC State in 1974 when he was building a powerful program for the Wolfpack.  Ara Parseghian invited him to snowy Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana to watch Adrian Dantley and the Irish snap UCLA's 88-game winning streak after offering him a full scholarship to join the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish. Every kid's dream.

Coach Paterno of Penn State came to Durham to visit him. Ohio State and Woody Hayes wanted Ronnie. So did Southern Cal and John McKay. Every ACC and SEC team came to call on Ronnie Dowdy during the fall of 1973 and winter and spring of 1974 to ask him, and in some cases, 'beg' him to come play for their team.

He was the 'real deal' as a football player and athlete.

He wanted to go to Duke University (sorry Duke fans) but he wound up going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played for the Tar Heels for 4 years. He got his degree and worked in the trucking industry before he passed away in 2004, way too young and still way too hard to believe.

I had the honor and privilege to speak at his induction into the Jordan High Hall of Fame last weekend. His athletic achievements were obvious and reason enough to have him in the first class of inductees.

There was something a bit 'odd' about his induction ceremony, however. As great as Ronnie was as an athlete, it was amazing to see how many people grew up seeing Ronnie Dowdy not as being solely a great football player at Jordan but as being a real positive force for race relations in Durham, North Carolina from 1968-1974.

And the 'really weird thing' about that was that no one I have talked to ever thought Ronnie set out to be a symbol or an advocate for better race relations in Durham, North Carolina from 1968-1974.

He was 'just Ronnie'. People young and old recognized him for the natural leader he was and everyone seemed to fall in line behind him.

He went to church; he studied hard, he played hard on the field or court...and he was never a jerk about his talent. He was so good and so talented that he could have lorded it over the rest of us. Or he could have been really nasty and confronted people in the hallway or on the football field to make a statement or push some agenda.

Ronnie did not grow up in perfect circumstances. He didn't grow up in a stylized Cosby Family Made for TV home. He had some gifts but he worked hard to develop them and took advantage of opportunities such as the scholarship to Carolina.

Ronnie was admired for his integrity, his work ethic, his pleasant and calming demeanor and the fact that he was a natural-born leader whether he wanted to be one or not. All quintessential American qualities we should all honor and hope to replicate.

Ronnie Dowdy reminds us that there really is 'no black America or white America but the United States of America' as some recently elected President said in 2004.

We are 'all Americans'...but it really helps if we all can see and be around guys such as Ronnie Dowdy. All of us: black and white and Latino and Asian. We all do better when we have positive people working together rather than have some wing-nut on either end of the political spectrum trying to tear us apart.

Wish Ronnie was still around to help show us all how.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hyperbole Alert..In Reverse

'Professor Patrick Henry' of the UNC School of Law
It is always entertaining when Gene Nichol of the UNC Law School unleashes an incendiary heat-seeking missile at the GOP-led General Assembly in Raleigh.

He writes with such passion you have to believe he believes what he is writing.

Either that, or he was really, really good at creative writing in undergrad English classes.

The one thing that is interesting is how hyperbolic he can be when he unleashes such venom at the very people who help fund the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through appropriations bills passed every year at the General Assembly.

It is like the proverbial dog biting the hand that feeds him. To the tune of close to $620,000 in household income his spouse and he draw from the University system each year.

As a citizen, he is certainly entitled to those freedom of speech and thoughts rights. Just as you and I and everyone else has those same rights.

We thought it might be fun to take Mr. Nichol's very same editorial and turn it on its head to see how it would read if, say, some brave conservative professor, assuming there are any brave enough to admit it, in the same UNC School of Law at Chapel Hill wrote in the same incendiary language about President Barack Obama and the Democrats in the US Senate.

Would he/she be allowed to 'not speak for the University' in the same strain of freedom of speech Mr. Nichol...and still keep his/her job? Even if they were tenured?

It is an interesting question to contemplate. There are so few data points to evaluate.

The first selection is the edited version. Mr. Nichol's original text follows below.
________________________________________________________________________________
'It is impossible to miss the fact that an election approaches. Commercials launch from every corner and platform.

You couldn’t avoid them if you tried. I’ve tried.

But despite all the money, outside influence, debates, consultants, phone calls and ads, this election, and its accompanying politics, is oddly removed from our challenges. It’s no match for our urgencies.

America faces a fight for its decency. Our politicians, somehow, have largely missed the bout.

We’re in the struggle of our lives. Our leaders proceed with a whimper.

President Barack Obama and the Democrat Senate, led by the misguided and small-minded Harry Reid, have brutally denied even producing an annual budget and added $7 trillion more in national debt on our nation's young.

(Many will die as a result?) (sic..we just can't compete with such a miasma of hyperbole from Mr. Nichol's original text)

They have required businessmen to undergo coerced, financially unnecessary banking reviews under Dodd-Frank legislation and a Soviet-style propaganda spiel to shame them from making any sort of productive investments and loans to our beleaguered small business sector.

They have enacted the largest tax hikes to our already explosively expensive health care system in American history. They have taken great chunks of our defense budget – already among the lowest in our nation's history – to subsidize unaccountable, discriminatory, and often absurd welfare programs. They have launched a regime of energy exploration degradation and acted to assure the presence of marijuana in every venue.

They have expanded the Medicare payroll tax universe, indiscriminately taxing even the capital gains on the sale of your house, to finance 'risk corridors' for the health insurance companies who went along with their misguided Obamacare scheme. They have betrayed our national promise by boldly encouraging people who are not legally registered to vote. They will now spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to join a lawsuit that’s already over, to remind its base how much they detest legal elections.

Of all this, Barack Obama and the Senate Democrats brag incessantly – declaring they’ve made “tough choices” to right the ship. In fact, they could not have done more to sink this ship called America had they been the iceberg that ripped a hole in the side of the Titanic.

Apparently it takes manly gusto to step on the necks of common sense. A clueless president conceived this progressive agenda and then waved it all through. This is the worst, most destructive, record in modern American history. And we now lead the world in a stunning effort to inter our defining aspiration to be the world's superpower....by never leading but always following from behind.

If that’s not enough to stir revolt, I’m not sure what would.

Still, most of our legislative races are low key – timid cobbling and patching. Democrats offer tepid support for education or environmental moderation or, on occasion, a woman’s right to choose. They announce that Republicans overplayed their hands, so an eventual return to power is assured. As if they care little for the destruction visited in the meantime.

The fight of the century looks like a croquet match at the country club.

It is true, of course, that we’re undergoing an astonishingly expensive and pervasive U.S. Senate race.

But Sen. Kay Hagan is a singularly unlikely figure to carry the banner of the marginalized and dispossessed to the top of the hill.

She’s the bankers’ best friend. Her constant refrain that she’s “the most moderate member of the Senate” is a reminder, to many, that she stands for little. Saying, in effect “I’m the Democratic senator most like the Republicans” is hardly a call to arms. “If this is a fight for the soul of North Carolina, I’m with you – 51 percent of the time.” Where do I enlist?

But America, itself, is on fire. People who work for a living and parents of, and believers in, their students are intensely mobilized. Americans for Prosperity successfully presses the free enterprise community and all those who believe in their full humanity. CrossRoads fights like the future of our freedom is in the balance, since it is. The Chamber of Commerce organizes tirelessly. The NFIB is an energized and engaged activist force in every corner of the state. It makes our partisan groupings seem bloodless and lukewarm.

And, of course, the Tea Party movement has emboldened the nation. The numbers who have taken to our streets to reclaim a humane mission for their homeland astonish. They know what’s at stake. And they act like it. Cause it is true.

But despite the claims of its adversaries, the Tea Party is not a partisan, electoral enterprise. It doesn’t proffer and propose candidates. No politicians comprise its leadership. It is inspired by a collective agreement that America has been seriously run off the tracks by this President and this Democrat Senate and hundreds of thousands have answered the call. It moves and ignites a people. It doesn’t run candidate campaigns.

The American woods are ablaze. But the North Carolina Democratic Party is, at present, largely unsuited to capitalize on the fury. It has some great figures. It’s not, though, a potent state force. It barely recognizes what blows in the wind.

Come Election Day, Carolina’s boldest hearts and brotherhoods will have to do the heaviest lifting. Come election day, common sense will prevail and send adults to take over the US Senate and return it to the World's Greatest Deliberative Body that it has always been before the last 6 years.


Dr. Patrick Henry is the Hinton James tenured distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law. He doesn’t speak for UNC. He also is about to become the first tenured professor ever fired from a university because, while speaking his mind, he crossed the boundaries because he disagrees with the rest of us'
_______________________________________________________________________________

Original op-ed piece by Gene Nichol 10/16/14

It is impossible to miss the fact that an election approaches. Commercials launch from every corner and platform. You couldn’t avoid them if you tried. I’ve tried.

But despite all the money, outside influence, debates, consultants, phone calls and ads, this election, and its accompanying politics, is oddly removed from our challenges. It’s no match for our urgencies. North Carolina faces a fight for its decency. Our politicians, somehow, have largely missed the bout. We’re in the struggle of our lives. Our leaders proceed with a whimper.

The General Assembly has brutally denied health care to half a million of our most vulnerable citizens. Many will die as a result. It has required women to undergo a coerced, medically unnecessary sonogram and a Soviet-style propaganda spiel to shame them from exercising reproductive freedom.

It has enacted the largest cut to an unemployment compensation program in American history. It’s taken great chunks of our education budget – already among the worst in the nation – to subsidize unaccountable, discriminatory, often absurd sectarian schools. It has launched a regime of environmental degradation and acted to assure the presence of guns in every venue.

It has eliminated the earned income tax credit, raising the rates of low-income workers, to finance tax cuts for the rich. It has betrayed our national promise by boldly attacking the right to vote. It will now spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to join a lawsuit that’s already over, to remind its base how much it detests lesbians and gay men.

Of all this, Republicans brag incessantly – declaring they’ve made “tough choices” to right the ship. Apparently it takes manly gusto to step on the necks of the marginalized. A clueless governor waved it all through. This is the worst, most destructive, record in modern North Carolina history. And we now lead the nation in a stunning effort to inter our defining aspiration to equality.

If that’s not enough to stir revolt, I’m not sure what would.

Still, most of our legislative races are low key – timid cobbling and patching. Democrats offer tepid support for education or environmental moderation or, on occasion, a woman’s right to choose. They announce that Republicans overplayed their hands, so an eventual return to power is assured. As if they care little for the destruction visited in the meantime. The fight of the century looks like a croquet match at the country club.

It is true, of course, that we’re undergoing an astonishingly expensive and pervasive U.S. Senate race. And the Republican nominee is the central architect of our path-breaking record of outrages. But Sen. Kay Hagan is a singularly unlikely figure to carry the banner of the marginalized and dispossessed to the top of the hill.

She’s the bankers’ best friend. Her constant refrain that she’s “the most moderate member of the Senate” is a reminder, to many, that she stands for little. Saying, in effect “I’m the Democratic senator most like the Republicans” is hardly a call to arms. “If this is a fight for the soul of North Carolina, I’m with you – 51 percent of the time.” Where do I enlist?

But North Carolina, itself, is on fire. Teachers and the parents of, and believers in, their students are intensely mobilized. Equality NC successfully presses the gay community and all those who believe in their full humanity. Planned Parenthood fights like the future of our freedom is in the balance, since it is. The AFL-CIO organizes tirelessly. The NC-NAACP is an energized and engaged activist force in every corner of the state. It makes our partisan groupings seem bloodless and lukewarm.

And, of course, the Moral Monday movement has emboldened the nation. The numbers who have taken to our streets to reclaim a humane mission for their homeland astonish. They know what’s at stake. And they act like it.

But despite the claims of its adversaries, Moral Monday is not a partisan, electoral enterprise. It doesn’t proffer and propose candidates. No politicians comprise its leadership. It is inspired by a brilliant and charismatic preacher and the hundreds of thousands who answer his call. It moves and ignites a people. It doesn’t run candidate campaigns.

The woods are ablaze. But the North Carolina Democratic Party is, at present, largely unsuited to capitalize on the fury. It has some great figures. It’s not, though, a potent state force. It barely recognizes what blows in the wind. Come Election Day, Carolina’s boldest hearts and brotherhoods will have to do the heaviest lifting.

Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law. He doesn’t speak for UNC.'

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/16/4239151_wheres-the-fight-in-north-carolinas.html?rh=1

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Friday, October 17, 2014

'The Good News Is: Everything We Have Tried So Far Has Failed'

(Not) Said by Winston Churchill
An oft-quoted but mis-attributed quote always seems to have merit when it comes to the basic general wisdom of the American people:
'Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities'
This generally has been attributed to British Prime Minister and statesman Winston Churchill, mainly because it sounds like something he would have said way back when.

But the general sentiment was actually first uttered by Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban, not by Sir Winston. Mr. Eban was more general in his comment which was: “Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.”

Daniel Henninger of the WSJ has written a very good piece, 'A Year of Living On The Brink' about the recently concluded IMF meetings in Washington where world finance leaders met to discuss the pressing issues of the world today....and came away after having concluded to do absolutely nothing of any consequence.

He concludes by saying in essence: 'We have tried everything that traditional Keynesians and monetarists have said would work in the past...and still, the American economy is acting like a big tank stuck in molasses'.

'It is essentially the prescriptive promise of this 2009 to 2014 policy mix that was repudiated by officials at the IMF meetings in Washington the past week' Mr. Henninger wrote somewhat calmly but with the ominous presence of a threatening thundercloud.

What is 'so good' about finding out that everything President Obama and other world leaders have done over the past 6 years has not gotten the American and world economy out of the economic doldrums?

Everything.

No matter what politicians try to do to sell themselves to the American people to get their votes, there is only one thing that really matters: 'Does it work to help people find jobs and enjoy economic prosperity for themselves and their families'?

If a politician running for office 'promised' the American people that eating 1 government-paid for peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich everyday would return us to full employment, higher wages and a happier life, and he/she got into office and made it happen through legislation, and it worked somehow, that person would be elected for life by that state or district.

Maybe even President.

That is the 'probable cause and effect' of politics. It has almost nothing to do with actual economics in the minds of the voting electorate. They don't want to be bothered with the inner workings of quantitative easing or Keynesian economics or what Milton Friedman thinks about monetarism.

They just want to know one thing and one thing only: 'Did it work for ME!?'

If it didn't, vote for someone else who will promise something different.

What is the 'good news' about the failure of the IMF meeting to take any further steps down the road to perdition we have embarked on with massive government stimulus programs and 'expanding the balance sheet' of the Federal Reserve (read: 'Make up more currency out of thin air') under the entire 6 years of President Obama?

It means US policy-makers have no choice but to 'try something else'.

That 'something else' is what has worked over the entire history of America and in free societies the world over: Let people make their own decisions with their own money with a minimum of taxation and interference from government sources.

Throw in a few years of less government interference and more mature adult federal budgeting such as:

  1. Gutting the entire Dodd-Frank legislation that is the banking equivalent of Obamacare in the medical world;
  2. Repealing the most onerous sections of Obamacare and allowing people to actually 'keep their doctors if they like them' and drive out the cost factors in health care that are making it simply unaffordable in the first place;
  3. Freeze overall federal government spending for just the next 4 years at FY 2014 levels which will 'magically' balance the budget without any tax hikes or complete elimination of any government service (although some agencies should be eliminated completely);
  4. Come up with a truly 'Grand Bargain' on reforming and reducing the cost and the taxation of entitlements coupled with a pure simplification of our tax code (we favor moving to a consumption tax..see other posts)
And we will all quite possibly see the greatest economic explosion America has ever seen.

The markets and the world will know that the adults have returned to run the US government after years of childish and almost infantile leadership on many levels. The mere mention of adult leadership will send such shock waves of confidence through the world markets that we may not really know what hit us until years later.

We are on the verge of becoming self-sufficient in oil and gas production which will reduce our reliance on oil coming from the Middle East where the truly crazy people such as ISIS and Al Qaeda roam.

There may be technological breakthroughs on new energy sources such as cold fusion (Lockheed Martin and Tom Darden of Raleigh both recently announced investments in that space) which could completely and radically transform our energy industry in America.

Young people we meet everyday in the sciences and technology fields tell us about the exciting new technologies they are learning about in the classroom and in the laboratories. The only thing government needs to do in most instances is to 'get out of the way' and let these young inventors and entrepreneurs take the risks to grow these new industries much as Henry Ford established Detroit as the world's mecca for the automobile industry...until labor unions, excessive onerous government regulations, local government corruption and corporate mismanagement destroyed the Detroit automobile industry, that is.

Everything in life has an action and a reaction. It is a basic law of physics.

So it is in economics. If we allow it to happen, that is.

Politics is the only way to unleash the economic power in America that can soak up almost all of the un- and under-employed people who want to work but can't find a job. Government can never do that nor can it provide a living wage for everyone who can't find meaningful work today. We just can't afford it given that we have maxed out our credit card of national debt and created more money at the Fed which runs the risk of igniting the inflation demons down the road.

As Mr. Eban or Mr. Churchill or whoever said: 'Americans will do the right thing when they have run out of all other options'.

Now is that time in our history. Let's get it right for a change we can all really believe in.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'My Advice To You Incumbent Democratic Senators....Is To Start Drinking Heavily'

'My Advice To You...Is To Start Drinking Heavily!'
Just took a look at some of the historic losses in the US Senate by incumbent Presidents in their off-presidential year elections.

  • 1918 Wilson -7 D seats; 
  • 1922 Harding -7 R seats; 
  • 1926 Coolidge -7 R; 
  • 1930 Hoover -8 R; 
  • 1938 FDR -7 D; 
  • 1942 FDR -8 D; 
  • 1946 Truman -12 D; 
  • 1950 Truman -5 D; 
  • 1958 Ike -13 R; 
  • 1986 Reagan -8 R; 
  • 1994 Clinton -8 D; 
  • 2006 Bush 43 -6 R; 
  • 2010 Obama -6 D seats; 
  • 2014 Obama -4?-5?-9? D seats. . .

That is an average of a 6.69 seat loss in the Senate for the party of the incumbent president on both sides of the aisle. That for either the Democrat or Republican side indiscriminately.

It is not a 'racial' thing or a 'class' thing; it is a 'philosophy of running our democratic republic' thing.

Depending on what happens in KY, KS and GA, President Obama could be right up there with FDR in terms of total losses of Senate seats during his terms in office as many as 15.

And he lucked out on 5 races the GOP should have picked up in 2010 and 2012 but were done in by less than stellar candidates who said things left better unsaid. Such as 'I am not a witch'; 'There is such a thing as legitimate rape' and so on. They are most definitely not on the ballot this year.

With those 5 lost pickups, the GOP would now be possibly looking at a majority of 59 GOP senators in the US Senate instead of possibly 'just' 54.
'Why's everybody always pickin' on us?'

Why do Presidents typically lose seats in the congressional election of their second term?

Why is it that a wildly popular president such as Ronald Reagan can win a still-record electoral victory in 1984 over the hapless former Veep Walter Mondale with 525 electoral votes and winning 49 states only to lose the Senate 2 short years later?

It is because it is one thing to make campaign promises in an election.

It is entirely another thing to get legislation passed to reflect those priorities in the very messy and discombobulating US Congress, especially on the Senate side where 1 Senator can muck up things pretty badly if he/she really wants to do so.

The economy also weighs in heavily on any election. When people are out of work, they tend to throw the bums out who are in charge. When things are going peachy-keen, they are not so angry so they let them stay.

President Reagan had the Iran-Contra issue come up in the summer of 1985 which tinged and tarnished his glowing reputation. Iran-Contra hurt the Republicans in 1986, along with a very nasty short recession and economic downturn which always gets a politician in trouble regardless of party.

President Obama has had his share of scandals scar his second Administration so far including the IRS; the NSA; Benghazi and now the nebulous response to ISIS in Iraq, the 'invisible fence' that allows illegal immigrants to continue to spill over the Texan border and the delayed response to the severity of the spread of the ebola virus.

All of these scandals at the top of the ticket, even though the president is not on the ballot during congressional elections, tend to flow down and tinge and tarnish the reputations of candidates down the ticket.

None more so than the US Senate incumbents of the same party. The implication seems to be that since you were supportive of the President's policies in the US Senate, you should be thrown out for one of 2 things: 1) Not stopping the President from doing such stupid things in the first place and 2) aiding and abetting his policies that turn out to be wrong-headed and detrimental to the country as a whole.

Remember: President Obama just said a couple of weeks ago: 'Make no mistake about it. My policies will be on the ballot this fall'

He might as well added: 'Read My Lips! More New Taxes!' and hung them like a millstone around the necks of every Democratic Senate candidate running this year around the nation.

One of the most dogged incumbents has been Kay Hagan of North Carolina. She has consistently led in most polls, that is, until about 2 weeks ago when she was forced to admit that she missed a hearing on ISIS to go to a fundraiser.

The highest percentage Senator Hagan has seen in a poll is 46%. Not good 3 weeks out for any incumbent anywhere in any election in any year, presidential or congressional. Any time any incumbent is below 50%, that is trouble since people who have already decided to support her have already done so. The others? Not so sure about her.

Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles (D) were dead-tied going into Election Day 2002. We were told by her campaign manager to expect a long night, and, I think I got this correct, to 'start drinking heavily'. No one on either side thought it would be decided until the wee hours of the next morning.

CNN's Candy Crowley (or some other reporter) announced Dole's victory at 9:20 pm. She had won 56-44. Apparently, those late breakers all went to her in the last days of the campaign.

The question now is whether those people in North Carolina who have not definitely made their decision to support Kay Hagan for a second term will do so once they think about what President Obama said about his policies being on the ballot.

That is why so many incumbents of the President's party lose in mid-term elections, especially in the second term of the President.

Many of these people just say 'no' to the President and it spills on down the line on the ballot.


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