Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

So good I had to re-post

The Soul Of The GOP

By Dick Morris on March 12, 2014
Published on on March 11, 2014

Establishment Republicans always remind us of how the Tea Party cost the GOP crucial seats in 2010 and 2012, which might have delivered control of the Senate to the Republican Party. And, they have a point. If Tea Party candidates had not won primaries in Delaware, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana and Missouri, these states might now be sending more Republicans to the Senate.

But, consider the alternative. Had Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) not won their primaries, imagine how lifeless the Republican minority in the Senate would be. The party’s current intellectual and ideological cutting edge has come from Tea Party primary victories.

Would we rather have Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat, in the Senate from Florida, or Marco Rubio?

Would we prefer mute Bob Bennett as the Republican senator from Utah, or the outspoken Mike Lee?

In Kentucky, would Trey Grayson, unknown and undistinguished, have been a better spokesman for our party than Rand Paul?

Would the go-along, get-along Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have been anything close to the dashing, charismatic figure cut by Ted Cruz in Texas?

And in Wisconsin, one can only wonder if anyone other than Ron Johnson could have upended Russ Feingold to take the Senate seat in that liberal state.

Day in and day out, it is these firebrand Tea Party senators who are dominating the conservative benches in Washington. Add to their ilk the likes of Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and David Vitter (R-La.), and you have accounted for the most active, ideologically confrontational and politically effective members of the Republican Senate minority.

On the state level, has there been a governorship that better embodied the potential of Republican change than that of Scott Walker in Wisconsin? He has shown us all how to win the education issue for the GOP and has let us all see how curbing public-sector unions can return government to the people.

The fact is, like it or not, the Tea Party is the soul of the Republican Party.

There is no better example of the need to have the Tea Party continue its cleansing of the U.S. Senate than the looming primary in Mississippi. Thad Cochran (R-Miss), 76, has been the leading pork dispenser on the Republican side of the aisle for decades. He once vied for the honor with Alaska’s Ted Stevens; now he has it all to himself. Silent on major national issues, rarely heard from in the Senate, he stands as an apostle of the old ways, pursuing increased government spending with all the vigor of a Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) or Scoop Jackson (D-Wash.) of a bygone era. Without a scorecard, you couldn’t tell which of these old-fashioned senators is a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative.

We will not return to national power by electing faceless, nameless Republican senators who do not stand up and never fight hard.

The passivity of the Republican minority in the Senate is the stuff of legend. But the Tea Party members have changed all that and deserve our thanks and commendation.

Sometimes, the amateurs of the Tea Party lead us astray. No one can deny that Missouri, Indiana and Delaware would be represented by Republicans had the Tea Party not nominated candidates who made themselves unelectable. And it is probable that we would have won seats in Nevada and Colorado as well but for Tea Party primary victories.

But a lifeless, soulless GOP would be no inspiration to anyone.

Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Johnson, Lee: These names light up our sky and animate our party. Where would we be without their star power?

Obama's Speaches

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Revamp the TSA

After the horrific attacks of 9/11, the United States began changing some of the more searing security breaches in the airline industry. Some of these changes, like simply adding an armored door to the cockpit, have been in place in other airlines like El Al for years. However, the sweeping changes in airport security brought on by the 9/11 attacks have also brought misery and more public debt (at a time we cannot afford it), while not proving that such security measures actually work.

The TSA (10+ years into this bloated government program) needs to be revamped from the bottom up. It clearly needs to be privatized because of the heavy-handedness of its employees; they seem to think that since they are employed by the government they can do anything they wish, from stealing personal items from airline passengers to absurd body searches of grandmas and young children. The savings from changing these program would be in the billions of dollars as well. A small percentage of those savings could go to adding 500-1000 armed air marshals on airline flights, and while this is only around 10% of the flights in the air at one time, having SOME police on a plane is proving better than NONE on a plane. We see this is true when crazy people are still allowed onto a plane, freak out and act bizarre, forcing an emergency landing for the airplane's crew. These new federal air marshals would be the ONLY part of the new airport security system still under federal control.

Second, nearly 25% of the savings of scrapping the TSA could go directly to the airlines so that THEY can maintain the security of the airports. It is obvious that private security companies are much more smarter and less aggressive in dealing with customers. This is the primary reason to replace the overbearing and absurd TSA employees with people who have more tact and can deal with security situations more easily. Having 5 year olds on the No-Fly list is a devastating blow to their credibility and reliability of the TSA and would not be followed by a private company.

Third, airlines can manage security options better than federal employees in many areas, including "profiling". Its actually the height of stupidity and absurdity that we search grandmas and kids for bombs when its clear who usually has an airline bomb; men. Reasonable profiling by these private companies wont have the litigation fears that federal employees do. Its time to start acting smarter and do whats right, and stop worrying about offending someone because they may be a terrorist.

Finally, in making these changes, Congress could require that private airlines maintain security at the current level or better of the TSA program. By auditing these airlines security set-ups regularly, we can maintain rigorous security without stupidly handicapping the public. Flying is a privilege, not a right (for most people), so ensuring that the thug employees of the federal government get out of the way and allow screenings to be done smartly is the right thing to do. This simple change will save the US government billions of dollars. And its about time that it be done.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sarah Palin on Dr Seuss(CPAC)

“I do not like this Uncle Sam.
I do not like his health care scam.
I do not like — oh, just you wait —
I do not like these dirty crooks,
or how they lie and cook the books.
I do not like when Congress steals,
I do not like their crony deals.
I do not like this spying, man,
I do not like, ‘Oh, Yes we can.’
I do not like this spending spree,
we’re smart, we know there’s nothing free.
I do not like reporters’ smug replies
when I complain about their lies.
I do not like this kind of hope,
and we won’t take it,
nope, nope, nope

Saturday, March 08, 2014

On Gay Marriage

Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
The fight over gay marriage is pitting equality against pluralism. Both are essential.
By Michael Brendan Dougherty | March 7, 2014   

The controversy around the concept of religious liberty — whether in the form of birth control mandates resulting from the Affordable Care Act, or nondiscrimination lawsuits related to same-sex marriage — can seem like a straightforward conflict between retrograde religion and the progressive state.

But in truth the battle over religious liberty is a conflict within liberalism itself. In one corner are the liberal values of pluralism and tolerance. In the other are the liberal projects of egalitarianism and administrative efficiency. The quick and decisive defeat of Arizona's attempt to clarify its state version of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is evidence that our increasingly monocultural elite class is inclined to resolve these conflicts in favor of its egalitarian goals. But, it should tread carefully.

The pluralism of the United States has allowed diverse religious charities, health-care institutions, schools, and universities to flourish. These institutions define their own priorities and their own missions. Yeshivas do not teach the New Testament. Catholic universities make their chapels available for weddings of students whose marriages will be conducted according to the faith, and only those marriages. Those priorities may seem obvious and unimportant to you, the very definition of parochial.

But when the administrative state barges in, this pluralism can take on far greater implications. The contraception mandate, for example, is premised on several ideas that are dear to the current egalitarian projects of liberalism. In particular, that artificial birth control is an essential component of ensuring a woman's autonomy. Therefore it ought to be a basic feature of every health-care plan, and furthermore it ought to be "free" for the end user, to eliminate any disincentives for using it.

The Catholic Church opposes any form of artificial contraception or manufactured sterility. For Catholics in health care, that means fertility and virility are not conditions that should be managed at will, but signs of health. To assist someone in artificially suppressing them is to assist them in a form of self-harm, even if they want it.

Even if we instituted a single-payer health-care system, the conflict would simply move to a higher and more dramatic level: Why does a government that defines health care one way act in partnership (through subsidies and reimbursements) with hospitals that define it in another way?

Faced with the dilemma, partisans of the egalitarian project define pluralism down. The free exercise of religion is reduced to "freedom of worship." You're allowed to believe whatever you want, but when you act in any way that touches public life, you must act according to the ideology of the state. This is a convenient way of defining freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion down to the very last things the liberal state would care to interfere in: what happens once a week at churches and what thoughts you may be thinking. In other words, diversity is okay so long as it remains behind closed doors and in your head. Why even bother with a First Amendment if religion is such a trivial phenomenon?

The bipartisan consensus that passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act sought to avoid these conflicts by legally affirming America's historic tolerance of religious dissent and diversity. It demanded that if the government were to burden the conscience of religious believers, it must show evidence of a compelling interest and a lack of alternatives for achieving its goal.

But when the issue changed from the religious use of peyote to same-sex marriage, the debate ran much hotter because the principles of pluralism and egalitarianism were put into a conflict that could prove mortal to one or the other.

From the perspective of egalitarians, to let wedding vendors refuse business from gay and lesbian clients puts into question the whole principle of nondiscrimination, one that was used righteously in defeating an entire system of racial apartheid in the American South. This was a system that excluded blacks from entire arenas of commercial and social life, through law and terrorism. What good is the liberal state if it can't punish bigotry anymore? To the secular, religious scruples seem arbitrary. Limiting the reach of the law based on them seems to invite a kind of anarchy. The unscrupulous could make up new religious beliefs, thereby creating new exemptions and liberties, to hurt others.

For the pluralists, the refusal of a small minority of vendors to participate in particular wedding ceremonies — whether same-sex marriages or second marriages — is no different from other uncontroversial forms of discrimination. Perhaps the local print shop is happy to print a client's business card, but not his religious tracts. Or a barber wants to refuse service to a client over his politics. Unlike in the segregation-era South, the offended clients have other, more eager options in the market, and have no need to use the law to obtain what they sought in that market.

There may yet be legislative compromises that satisfy the demands of both sets of values. Perhaps RFRA-style laws can be worded to assure egalitarians that religious objections are limited to certain events and actions, and not directed at entire classes of fellow citizens. And health-care mandates can be recrafted to use public institutions, rather than religious ones, as the guarantor of egalitarian goals.

But let me enter a suggestion as a conclusion. Liberalism should have the confidence to tolerate institutions, even large ones, that have competing and contrary missions to those of the state. The very liberality of the managerial state is guaranteed by real diversity, not just of skin color and sexual preference, but of religion and values, too.

Real pluralism preserves the possibility of critique emerging within a liberal state. The interplay of individuals and diverse institutions encourages liberality and understanding at the ground level of citizenship — the gratitude for people very different from you who are still very solicitous of your needs. Whereas the strict ideological hen-pecking of the state creates a kind of existential dread, and intensifies the panic of the culture war — the fear that a loss on principle in one case is the loss of all power and recourse in the future. Legislators and jurists would do best to retain these two essential liberal values, by finding solutions that deftly avoid setting them against each other.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014