Freedoms Truth's blog

The Democrat Healthcare Failure

This vote on Sunday was a Pyrric Victory and a big FAIL for the Democrats in Washington.

Let us count the failures:

Failure to solve problems.

Failure to focus on jobs.

Failure to listen to the people.

Failure to reach across the aisle and govern constructively with both sides rather than as a partisan cabal.

Failure to keep corruption and bribes and payoffs out of the bargain.

Failure to sell a bad plan to the American people.

Failure to have a plan that is really paid for (costs balloon in the out years).

Failure to keep Government doing a few things well instead of many things badly.

Failure to protect taxpayers, now on the hook for billions more in taxes.

Failure to take care of the next generation, on the hook for another unaffordable entitlement headache.

FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION.

Given all this, the Democrats cheering their victory is hollow and false. they are cheering the 'accomplishment' of passing one of the WORST BILLS IN MODERN HISTORY and the only reason they can consider it an accomplishment is because is does so many significant things SO BADLY.

 

A Transformational Agenda for the Right

Jon Henke on NextRight asks:

What Right-of-center policies are good policy, transformational, popular, viable and sustainable?

This is not just a good question, this perhaps THE question to ask to figure out the future of the conservative movement. Some have concluded that the path to the future is paved with giving up or watering down small-Government principles, but on the contrary

Big Government conservatism is an oxymoron

:

In this 'free-agent' economy, where you outsource everything but your core competence, we can have smaller and smarter Government. Good Government is Government that sticks to its core competence, which is the protection of our rights, our lives and our property from predators, criminals, and enemies. Anything outside that core competence invites Governmental corruption, incompetence, rent-seeking and waste; it repeats the failures of socialism and causes economic dislocations. Every need or desire in the culture or economy, can and should be filled by the actions of free people in the market-oriented, open and free economy and culture.We can and we must have a 21st century vision of society and our nation built around the conservative principles that we believe in. If we cannot envision it, then we are destined to fight a futile defensive struggle against the encroachments of the other side.

That vision of a society includes a different view of the relationship of Government and the people than proffered by liberals, leftists and socialists. It encompasses these tenets: Government (i.e. the state) exists to serve the people, and what Government does should be directed by the people ("of the people, by the people, for the people"). Government is best when it is closest to the people; that is self-government is best, then local Government, etc. Government plays a limited role, i.e., it should not try to do for people what they can do for themselves.Here's a further take on Republican core principles:

The GOP is the party of liberty, limited government, judges who rule on law and not make them, law and order, traditional values and family values, free enterprise, equality of opportunity, strong national defense, Federalism and Government as close to the people as possible, support for the truly needy, Constitutional rights and individual responsibility.

The problem conservatives grapple with is - can we marry those high-minded principles to today's policy challanges and create correct and winning policy prescriptions?

The question arises of how to provision for 'social goods', which we might define as those things we would like to see happen in a society but which often don't happen in a natural economy. (Sometimes they do, which begs the question of whether the 'social good' requires Government provision. Coase's Theorem applies here.) The dynamic we usually see is that the Democrats become the "Santa Clause" party, raising the taxpayers for a social good provision ("more govt-subsidized healthcare! Subsidies for solar panels! paid college for all!") while Republicans (usually) say "no" or "how about less". Note that 'support for the truly needy' is a part of the fabric of Republican core values. It's a losing proposition so long as the focus is on the desirability of the social good and "how much can we afford" rather than an honest look at whether the Government program actually does the job.We need a different mindset that goes beyond the "more or less" dynamic. That stifling two-dimensional tug-of-war is policy-wise desert that ignores most of the real challenge in these areas; further, it is politically disadvantageous to the party of "no", since the social goods are in most cases filling really needs and wants.To break that mold, we need to also rethink what "Government" means and realize that "Government" can include self-Government. We need to, rather than fight the 'social need' or discount it, embrace the ability of society outside the state to provide these needs in many cases, either as economic goods or via benevolent charity. We further need to evaluate and think about every government program in terms of these aspects:

  1. Program's scope, strategic intent and vision - what is the purpose of the program? Does it fits Government's role? Is it Constitutional?
  2. Strategy and Goals - Is it at the right/wrong level? E.g. Federal program that could be state level? Government one-size-fits-all strategy vs a market-oriented strategy (e.g. Medicare model vs Food Stamp model)?
  3. Effectiveness - does it work? Does it have unintended consequences? (e.g. bilingual education harms educational outcomes long-term for students)
  4. Efficiency - is it cost-effective? Can it be done for less?
  5. Accountability - what metrics for costs and benefits are they? Do we have transparency in the project or program? How do we avoid waste, fraud, corruption and abuse, or are they a part of the program?

The above 5 factors lead to a host of questions that helps to dissect what is really wrong with most Government programs. Instead of just fighting for less Government, we need to motivate and justify more effective, more accountable, more efficient Government that will do more good for less cost. How? By having higher standards for Government programs, shedding what doesn't work and exists for not good reasons. The two main themes that represent vectors of opportunity here are choice and accountability. Pushing accountability via transparency is good in its own right, and it further leads to

When it comes to Government program strategy, the outdated socialist model can and should be superceded by the

choice model and agenda:

We can move away from one-size-fits-all Government, to a system where there is maximum choice for all ... where you use the marketplace to be more flexible for people in different situations. The key word to describe this agenda is choice: Education choice, Social Security choice, healthcare choice, medicare choice.

I argue in

15% Solution

for a dramatic new approach to tax reform, starting with two core points. First, the price and cost of Government are two different things; the cost of Government is what it spends, and the price of Government is the tax system. While we should advocate for a tax system whose price is as low as possible to cover the cost of Government, I say:

Without a long-term overarching goal of lessened burden of Government, tax reform is doomed to be ineffective, as the cost of Government pushes tax rates up.

I would add that politically, that is what has happened as well. Tax reform is a self-limiting solution so long as Government spending is out of control; the price of Government can never be reformed to below the cost of Government. I assert

5 principles for fundamental tax reform

:

1. The Federal Government Costs too much, spends too much and taxes too much. Tax reform should include tax and spending reductions.2. We need a simpler, flatter, lower rate tax system.3. We need to shift taxes to tax production less and consumption more.4. We need to fix entitlements through choice.5. We need legislative and constitutional protections for taxpayers to limit tax hikes, spending hikes and runaway deficits.

This agenda is called the

15% Solution

because the goal asserted is to get Federal Government spending to be no more than 15% of GDP. Further, this lower Government spending burden allows lower tax rates - 15% or less in most areas. I would add one more interpretation of the "15% solution" concept: We can consider the fact that our welfare system give provision to 15% of the people as 'needy'; we have a health insurance system that, without Government subsidy and intervention, would provide for 85% of the people. 15% represents that degree of "social insurance" necessary and sufficient to provide a safety net. A "15% solution" is a solution that is neither "on your own" zero Government nor one-size-fits-all socialism, but is 85% self-funding/free-market oriented and is 15% Government-welfare-state-provided. In short, it quantifies and describes with some precision to what degree we want Government to intervene - to help those who cannot help themselves, and to leave free to make their own choices those who can help themselves.

Just as the Reagan tax cuts grew out of the bracket creep of the 1970s and the welfare reform bill grew out of the failures of 1960s liberalism and the welfare system of the era, much of the conservative agenda for the coming decades will have a seedbed in the failures of the very liberal Obama domestic agenda. The 'four horseman of the Obama apocalypse' are:

  1. Massive Federal deficits and massive increases in overall Federal spending
  2. A move towards socialized healthcare with a Government-run public health insurance program that goes back to the Medicaid model (but expands it)
  3. Costly (taxes and electricity-cost-increasing) cap-and-trade, taxation and regulation of CO2.
  4. Government bailouts, handouts, new regulations, and meddling in auto companies, banks, financial institutions, and alternative energy. This is updated 'industrial policy'.

A conservative agenda could and must respond to all four points and to the rest of the Obama and Democrat agenda. There is enough Governmental encroachment that may happen in the next two years to keep conservatives' hands full for another 20 years, undoing the damage that is being done today.

Beyond the specific challenges of the Obama/Democrat agenda, the world is facing these critical issues driven by mega-trends:

  1. Globalization - Economic globalization is the number one driver of economic dislocation, raising the challenge of creating sustainable economic advantage and prosperity for the U.S. in the 21st century. We cannot sustain economic advantage if we lack education and structural economic advantages in a world of near-instant technological diffusion.
  2. Demographics - The looming entitlement funding crisis, as both Social Security and Medicare face aging demographics that will balloon support costs. This crisis is a result of another tectonic social shift, the pending demographic decline of European and other advanced countries, and below-replacement-rate fertility for non-immigrant Americans.
  3. Energy and environment - Energy shifts are being forced by several trends: Fossil fuel peaking has led to the end of cheap oil and further scarcity will create economic winners and losers; the US will be an economic loser due to our huge oil import bill. The UN's IPCC and the global environmental movement is driving the perceived (although in my view overstated) risk of warming due to man's generation of CO2; this creates another driver for change in energy use. If indeed the risk of global warming is overstated, while the risk of oil dependence is not, then it behooves us to support policies that "kill two birds with one stone" that get us off foreign oil, while opposing policies that divert attention and costs on the exclusive focus on CO2 generation mitigation.

So we see three types of drivers - global trends that require policy response, oppositional policies that require correction, and our core values that drive policy frameworks. Taken together, these create the transformational agenda items. How do we compete more effectively? Better education, business environment/regulation, and tax and trade policies are key elements. How do we achieve better education? Highlighting a framework of choice and accountability is the way to go.

Here are some specific ideas that tie these elements together:

  1. 15% Solution: A goal of having a Federal Govt take 15% of GDP, and until that time have the Federal Govt go on a 'diet' where it grows no faster than inflation plus population. (The 15% solution)
  2. 15% Solution: Transforming and reforming the Tax System to a simpler, flatter, fairer system by eliminating the income tax for 85% of American families (only those above around $100,000 pay income tax), reducing the payroll tax rate, setting a max rate on all taxation of 15-25%, and moving from taxing production to taxing consumption. The new tax system proposed would look something like this:
    • 15% - personal income ($100,000 exemption level for family of 4, so only top 15% pay); corporate income; cap gains;
    • 15% - import tariff; energy excise taxes
    • 5% - BTT/VAT/Federal sales tax
  3. While we are at it, don't forget Full expensing of all capital equipment.
  4. Taypayer's Bill of Rights: Replace the 16th amendment with a constitutional limit on tax rates, putting in a constitutional maximum of say 25%. Similar limit of 7.5-10% on BTT/VAT could be put into the amendment; have a 3/5ths or 2/3rds vote in both Houses of Congress required for tax increases; likewise have spending limitation and tax limitation Congressional rules and supporting Amendments; line-item veto and balanced budget amendments and Congressional rules. In all cases, the Amendments could be proposed, but could be put in place as Congressional rules if the votes are insufficient for actual Constitutional amendments, as done with Gramm-Rudman and "pay-go" budget rules.
  5. Choice Agenda: Educational choice - Federal level educational choice program - take 80% of the Dept of Ed funds - $64 billion - and turn it into an $800-$1000 direct voucher per student (or could be termed as a refundable tax credit), to be used for public, charter, private or home school instructional materials support (books and technology). This program would be enough to get books and computers in every classroom in America while increasing choice and parental direction in education.
  6. Choice Agenda: Educational choice - State level - take state aid and make it also a direct grant to students. That amount (eg in Texas it might be about $3000/student) would be available for public, charter, private or for qualified homeschool expenses.
  7. Choice Agenda: Universal Savings Accounts - "USA Saves" - This simplifies the plethora of tax-advantaged programs by making a simple and portable "USA" that covers the current Coverdell IRA, IRA, Roth IRA, HSA, etc. A simple pre-tax and tax-advantaged account for all qualified expenses, including healthcare and education, would be a key component of the 'choice agenda' for education, healthcare and retirement.
  8. Choice Agenda: Healthcare choice - This includes the Shadegg proposal to allow people to choose insurance from any state. We need to reduce mandates on health insurance and deregulate.
  9. Choice Agenda: Social Security choice. Combine with the "USA Saves" idea to allow portion of payroll tax to go into a USA. This would drastically increase the appeal of the approach.
  10. Pro-science education: A "STEM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) agenda for higher-education support. Move the higher-education support subsidies and programs to favor degrees in the STEM area. That is, students in those areas would be favored. Have a goal that 60% of Federal aid to students goes to students in these areas; have higher Pell grants for students in STEM.
  11. Energy - An 'all of the above' energy approach with a goal of energy independence or near-independence; that is pro-nuclear, pro-domestic drilling, pro-natural gas, pro-plug-in-electric-hybrids, pro-renewables. Move to an energy complex that reduces reliance on fossil fuels and ofreign energy through technology.
  12. Simple idea to deflect CO2 regulation: Have a "1998 Rule" whereby the 3-year average of global temperatures need to be 0.3C ABOVE the 1998 levels before any of the draconian regulations in Waxman-Markey or other cap-and-trade regimes are enacted. End/oppose CO2 regulation, which is counterproductive and based on flawed claims about the climate.
  13. Immigration - As a party, come out in favor of legal immigration, opposed to illegal immigration and with a united front on the topic; this means that the whole party needs to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens, so the elites have to move to find common ground with the grassroots. One way to do this is to call for an end to chain migration and focus of immigration on employment-based 'best-and-brightest'. A simple 'accountability' aspect of immigration is to push to get a clear accounting and understanding of the actual costs of social services to illegal aliens and to legal immigrants for all social programs, including education, healthcare, etc. We should also end sanctuary city policies and let states move forward to address illegal immigration.
  14. Term limits - Good ideas never go out of style.

These items have both Federal-level and state-level components, but the themes of choice and transparency/accountability are common. This

Pledge to Texas pledge

has a 10-point program and plan. In addition to planks related to keeping taxes and spending in check

- Cut Property Taxes until they are eliminated; Cut, Simplify and Reform business taxes; Limit the growth of government - it has three key planks that arent' just "do less" but are "do better" promises:

•Lower electric rates and Clean the environmentTexans can have more affordable and cleaner electric power by expanding nuclear, clean coal, wind, and biomass capacity. Texas must improve and expand its transmission infrastructure; fast-track permitting of new power facilities; and, invest in technology that utilizes Texas’ natural resources to clean the environment. To improve energy efficiency and reduce electric bills, we must ensure that System Benefit Fund revenues are dedicated to help families with their electric bills and used to make energy efficiency technologies such as smart meters more affordable.•Make Texas a Leader in Public EducationWorld-class colleges and universities and a better educated population are critical for the future prosperity of our state. Texas should double the number of its nationally-recognized research universities; strengthen academic programs at community colleges so that more community college credits are transferable to universities; and, encourage adult education and promote other postsecondary educational opportunities at career colleges and schools for those who want to seek gainful employment.•Make Health Care more affordable for familiesHelp Texas families access affordable health insurance by reducing costs through investment in electronic health records; requiring health plans, physicians, and hospitals to make cost and quality information available to the public; increasing the availability of low-cost, mandate-free insurance; and, offering optional health savings accounts to all public employees and high-deductible low-cost health plans to college students.

This last item takes us back to the essential element in healthcare reform - choice and accountability. The proposals are to make available information for informed decisions, and to allow more options and choice in what health insurance is provided.

Taken as a whole, this agenda takes on the fundamental issues of our time - globalization, changing demographics, and energy and environment challenges - with a choice/accountability-focussed and market/freedom-friendly framework. This is indeed a 'transformational agenda' of reform-minded conservatism.

Flip-flops and Governance

Praise of Obama from an unlikely source - Karl Rove - on an unlikely topic: Obama's flip-flops:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286200693341141.html

Barack Obama inherited a set of national-security policies that he rejected during the campaign but now embraces as president. This is a stunning and welcome about-face.

For example, President Obama kept George W. Bush's military tribunals for terror detainees after calling them an "enormous failure" and a "legal black hole." His campaign claimed last summer that "court systems . . . are capable of convicting terrorists." Upon entering office, he found out they aren't.

He insisted in an interview with NBC in 2007 that Congress mandate "consequences" for "a failure to meet various benchmarks and milestones" on aid to Iraq. Earlier this month he fought off legislatively mandated benchmarks in the $97 billion funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama agreed on April 23 to American Civil Liberties Union demands to release investigative photos of detainee abuse. Now's he reversed himself. Pentagon officials apparently convinced him that releasing the photos would increase the risk to U.S. troops and civilian personnel.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama excoriated Mr. Bush's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, insisting it could not succeed. Earlier this year, facing increasing violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama rejected warnings of a "quagmire" and ordered more troops to that country. He isn't calling it a "surge" but that's what it is. He is applying in Afghanistan the counterinsurgency strategy Mr. Bush used in Iraq.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama promised to end the Iraq war by withdrawing all troops by March 2009. As president, he set a slower pace of drawdown. He has also said he will leave as many as 50,000 Americans troops there.

These reversals are both praiseworthy and evidence that, when it comes to national security, being briefed on terror threats as president is a lot different than placating MoveOn.org and Code Pink activists as a candidate. The realities of governing trump the realities of campaigning.

Interesting that Rove is calling it 'welcome'. Article is worth a read. The domestic Obama gets far less praise.

We see a 2-track approach with Obama. Like the previous Democrat in the WHite House, he says one thing and does another. But his reasoning and mode are different. The speech-Obama is an idealist but a moderate toned one. The action-Obama is doing everything he can to maintain his power at all levels, from pushing Chrysler bondholders, to big spending and huge new regulation initiatives. Thus, he ends up both more liberal at home and more aggressive overseas, a true LBJ-style guns-and-butter war-and-statism President.

 

ex-Liberal Speaks out on Deprogramming a Liberal

Robin of Berkeley tells us more about "How to Deprogram a Liberal":

So maybe you get now how hard it was, how disorienting and destabilizing and crazy making it was, when I realized about 1 1/2 years ago that I no longer believed in liberalism. ... I walked around in a confused state for weeks. Being a Democrat, a liberal, a far left radical from Berkeley was a big part of my identity. So who the heck was I if I weren't a leftist? ...After weeks of shuffling around like a zombie, it was time to do something about it. The first step, I decided, was deprogramming myself from decades of liberal propaganda. Out went books by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, and various 9/11 conspiracy books. In came Mark Levin, Ben Stein, Ron Paul, and Ayn Rand. .... To my disbelief, the more I listened and read, the more these folks made sense. For instance, at first I couldn't understand why so many conservatives expressed concern about morality issues, like gay marriage. Berkeley is Lesbian Central, and I know many good hearted gay people. But the more I learned, the more I started getting the larger picture; that conservatives were not necessarily impugning the character of gay people, but they were alarmed at the breakdown of traditional values. If the basic structure of society goes, e.g., traditional marriage, religion, patriotism, common language, what remains? If everything becomes fluid, what is there to hold onto? Without any moral structure and traditions, a society descends into anarchy and mob rule, as it is clearly doing today. As I educated myself, I started thinking and rethinking. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden realization that deeply held beliefs made no sense. Take the anti war stance of the left. Noble and sanctimonious and all that. But how easy it is to sit back and preach peace when you have an army defending you; to rail against the U.S. when you are protected by free speech laws; to demonize Israel, when you've never lived through the murderous pogroms of Tsarist Russia or the Holocaust. How hypocritical to lambast Big Business while you are making money from their stocks in your mutual fund portfolio (that is, until Obama took over). And how ludicrous to admire Chavez, Castro and all things socialist, when the closest experience you've had to standing on a bread line is queuing up for goat cheese/arugula pizza at Whole Foods ...Though exhausted from lack of sleep, I also started waking up. I realized, to my utter incredulity, that conservatives made sense, and that I was one of them. I recalled Mark Twain's quip about his father: When Twain was a teenager, he thought his father was the stupidest man in the world; but when he became a young man in his 20's, his father had many intelligent things to say. Twain couldn't believe how much his father had learned in those years! Like Twain, I grew up and saw the world as it is. Yes it would be nice to save the planet, to eliminate hunger, and to make everyone good and righteous. But humans don't have the power to do that. To walk around, as I did, with utopian images that didn't match reality was to view life through the eyes of a child. An adult understands that civility matters, people need to be held accountable for their behavior, and protecting yourself and your country are moral imperatives.

A lot of Liberals get to become "ex-Liberals" through the simple process of getting hit by reality.

It was once said that "A neo-conservative was a liberal mugged by reality". Neo-conservatism as a movement was prominent in the 1970s and 1980s due to the reality-mugging effects of the failures of 1960s welfare-state liberalism and the challenge of communism and the Soviet Union vs a New Left that was more than willing to concede half the world to communists.

Now we have a new generation of youngsters who were saved from communism by actions of Reagan and saved by the excesses of 1960s welfare system dependency by the actions of Gingrich (Welfare Reform in 1996). Said youngsters dont have that reality innoculation.

Yet.

It begs the question of what 'deprogramming event' will occur to make youngsters shift over to the conservative side.

I suspect the snide liberals on this site will make trollish comments that will presume  that it wont happen ... I'm not sure. Watch out liberals, the conservative  philosophy might rub off even on YOU when you least suspect it. The only  way to make sure you NEVER end up conservative is to NEVER watch/listen or read ANYTHING remotely conservative ... you know, like:

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton

 

 

Republican Party needs social conservatives more than social conservatives need the Republican Party

Republican Party needs social conservatives more than social conservatives need the Republican Party

It's true of any member of a coalition party. The coalition in order to be viable needs its constituent parts more than the constituent parts need it.

WIthout pro-life voters, the GOP numbers would shrink enormously.

Without the votes of people in Ohio in 2004 to defend traditional marriage, John Kerry might well have become President.

Without the fiscal conservatives, the Republican party loses its core base.

Without 'security Moms', the votes arent there for a GOP majority (as the trend from 2002 to 2008 shows).

Thus, while it's true for a part of the coalition to stand up and say "you need me", it's ALSO true that the coalition needs the other parts as well.

We cannot gain a majority by catering to one group in a way that kicks the other elements of the coalition to the curb.

With that common-sense in mind, consider the related polling on party and conservative affiliation.

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/conservative-majority-gop-mino...

Conflicting data points: 

In addition, 54 percent of voters think the Obama administration is proposing too much of an increase in government spending, while 6 percent say not enough. About a third -- 35 percent -- says the spending is "about right."A majority of Democrats (61 percent) think the president's proposed spending is about right, while majorities of Republicans (85 percent) and independents (61 percent) think there is too much of an increase.The flip side of government spending is budget cuts, and the poll finds 6 in 10 think President Obama is not cutting enough waste from government, including 84 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats

 This shows - at least to me - that a generally "tax less, spend less, protect liberty, protect the country" GOP message will resonate.

The GOP is losing voters not for have too much in the way of principles but in having too little in the way of adherence to them.

Left Libertarian or just plain Liberal

On the libertairan thread, so another moby-ish declaration from ldb ..

Like many Libertarians, I've always assumed that the out of control national debt will eventually cause an implosion.

Uh NO. Libertarians are offended byspending as it reduces LIBERTY.

While the current spending regime will accelerate this process, it has been going on since Reagan. The Reps can make all the noise they want about it, but they are as complicit as the Dems (and it's amazing that they only started making noise when they got booted out of power).

CURIOUS distortion of history. Spending by LBJ, FDR etc ignored.

So, with that being equal, I'm voting my social conscience."

How is a social conscience' different from a plain old 'conscience'. Is it minus the plain-old values and morals that make up personal responsibility? If not, why not just 'conscience'?

"I have no desire to live in a theocracy."

Neither do the millions of  Christians and others in this country, beseiged by a secularist culture that increasingly is intolerant of Christian expression and tolerant of attacks on Christian culture. Will you fight beside them to fight Political Correctness, the attaks on free speech inherent in Hate Crimes bills, and the encroachments of the Secularist Theocracy? Will you join them in defending their 1st amendment freedom to worship?

"I have no desire to abandon everything America stands for morally by torturing people."

Surely you jest that 'everything America stands for" hangs in the balance of the whether AQ terrorists are interrogated roughly or not. People arent tortured in America.

I believe that all men are created equal

Created by WHOM?

and that economic discrimination based on a couple's genital plumbing arrangement is wrong.

Quotas to pick minorities over more-qualified whites on behalf of affirmative action is racial discrimination. Discrimination like that is wrong. The rest is just babble.

I believe that science, not superstition, should be paramount in schools.

Good, so the stupidity of whole language foisted by liberals in Cali and other states, vs phonics, you oppose. You oppose putting pseudo-religiou eco-extremist BS in schools. So you are on the forefront with me in getting that MOCK-umentary for Al Gore that indoctrinates false and phony things out of the schools. And you will help get the failed and wrong Planned Parenthood pro-abortion sex ed to stop trying to replace more successful 'worth the wait' type sex ed I trust.

I believe that immigration enforcement should be aimed at the businesses who hire them

The issue is whether you deport illegal aliens or not. If you do, you are pro-enforcement, if you dont, you are anti-enforcement since you are saying that law-breakers should be allowed to continue to break the law.

I believe that 8-10 million children without insurance should still have access to health care.

I believe that Hollywood should never make a bad movie, and that everyone who goes to Vegas should win ... Now, if you are going to socialize medicine, you are being dishonest with your "libertarian" label.  WHO PAYS? We already have Government paying for the medical bills of 50+ million Americans. Who gets to be a taker and who pays?

Do you favor freedom or socialism in helathcare?

I think abortion is bad, but making it illegal is worse.

If you think killing a pre-born human is bad, how is protection of that life worse? The consistent libertarian position is the pro-life position.

I believe invading a nation based on lies is wrong to the tune of 1 trillion dollars.

So you opposed the Clinton invasion of Haiti to the tune of 1 trillion dollars? huh.

In the end, I think the author is a faux libertarian, speaking of nothing wrt liberty but rather a litany of left-liberal distortions/elocutions on policy.

Katrina and the Bush-did-nothing Mythology

Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in US history, and the Federal response to the Katrina Hurricane stands out as one of the worst man-made PR disasters of the Bush Presidency. For the Democrats, though, its been a boon: They've used it to hang many sins around Bush's neck, tarnish his reputation wrt 'competence', accuse him of racism/uncaring, in the process turning Katrina into a myth of how Bush did 'nothing' or was a massive "fail".

When in came up in a previous thread, I gave a response to the myth. Since this is a major brick in the liberal 'narrative' on the Bush era, I believe it is worthy of more extensive discussion/resolution. Without absolving Bush, Chertoff, DHS and FEMA completely, it is certainly the case that the Democrat spin on this is massive hyperbole and distortion. They've created a Katrina mythology at odds with the real story.

The spin and counter-spin on Katrina started less than a week after the event itself. Here is Jack Kelly with a column within 2 weeks of the event noting:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05254/568876.stm

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.

My own comment on this was ...

Bravo to the Dems for constructing a narrative around Katrina and getting away with it, but it was always a fictional one. they blamed Bush and FEMA for failures at the state and local level in Louisiana/New Orleans and go away with it. They took a strawman ("does not believe in government") and a slanted view of what went down in New Orleans and turned it into a rallying call.

Meanwhile in the real world the folks close the real action who saw beyond the MSM narrative:

  • Louisiana voters replaced a failed Democrat governor with a dynamic reforming conservative Republican Governor.
  • Here in Texas, Katrina was a stellar example of neighbor helping neighbor, as Governor Rick Perry, cities in Texas, and people, church groups and agencies and organizations pulled together to help the many thousands who were displaced. Hundreds of thousands of Katrina victims found temporary shelter in Texas.

Me ... I just remember the flooded schoolbusses:

While they whined about lack of help from the Federal govt and the rest of the country, and demanded busses, here is what the city of New Orleans let happen to their own busses:

After letting this happen, losing 300 busses in the process, Mayor Nagin says: "I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I'm like, “You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

It gets worse: the New Orleans disaster recovery plan directed that municipal buses would be available for those without private transportation. So much for the plan.

Let me guess the answer from the Bush haters- Flooded school buses a quarter mile from the Astrodome that nobody thought to drive to higher ground? Bush's fault!

In fact, busses were scrambled from other states, due to the fact that New Orleans didnt take care of this themselves. As Jack Kelly notes, they arrived within 48 hours of the time the levee broke in New Orleans. Given the logistics involved, this is an achievement.

I got further response on this thread ("growing the failure") from "in between", to which I added more further points:

http://www.thenextright.com/jon-henke/growing-the-failure#comment-28886

Well, let's see. Certainly everyone involved is to blame. The mayor, the governor, and the president.

And certaintly that balanced view that local and state Democrats shared blame for errors in the response has never been the Democrat talking point line on this. It's all "Bush's fault." Nor is it often acknowledged in the Bush-bashing that having a cat 5 storm land on top of a major city and having an entire city flood will inevitably cause suffering even with perfection from emergency responders.

Most importantly, the state and local officials are the first line on defense on this - they screwed up bigtime in 2 particular respects:

1. Failure to order evacuation properly. Nagin initially made the evacuation a voluntary evacuation, made it mandatory too late (Sunday), and did not implement many of the steps laid out in emergency response plans. (including using city busses to help in evacuation.) He and other local officials also are the ones who created the superdome fiasco, by telling people to go there but not being prepared to handle the large numbers of people for more than 24 hours.

http://www.greatestjeneration.com/archives/002331.php

The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center. The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city.

You mention:

What is interesting is that Bush had a teleconference just 2 or 3 days before the hurricane struck. They went through every detail on this hurricane.

What you dont mention is that Bush called Blanco and Nagin personally to get them to order an evacuation. Nagin waited until the last moment to to do that, waiting until Sunday to order mandatory evacuation. One source notes:

apparently took a personal call from the president to urge the governor to order the mandatory evacuation.

One shudders to think how worse it would have been if Bush HAD done nothing.

2. Failure by Gov Blanco to call the national guard out sooner and to manage to control looting in New Orleans. Nagin himself complained that Bush met with Blanco offered to help and Blanco asked for 24 hours to make a decision. She was too worried about political ramifications to make quick decisions; these folks were more interested in CYA than in 'get 'er done' action.

I think it struck over the weekend and it was a Wednesday morning that Bush shows up in Louisiana saying " Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Now all of us sat in front of the TV for some 2 or 3 days waiting for a response and we had none.

Bush is blamed for 'slow response' but in fact in practically all cases it takes a number of days (3-5) to be on the scene from the Federal level. As one source noted:

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

You state:

It was truly amazing that the federal government was nowhere to be found.

Which is untrue - Coast Guard, Navy and FEMA pulled thousands from rooftops ... As Bush put it ... "- 30,000 people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through. That's a pretty quick response."

They were there, they just werent where the TV cameras were (eg at Superdome).  A comment from 9 days after the storm on what WAS done in just that short term:

http://www.greatestjeneration.com/archives/002332.php

I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:

*More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.

*The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.

*Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.

 You say:

Instead of saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job", he should have kicked some ass.

Bush and the Feds /DHS had their eyes off the ball initially in first 1-2 days. But by Day 4 after the flooding, Bush met with Nagin and Blanco and toured the area and said 'The response is not acceptable'. Bush himself, not happy with the response in the first week, put Gen Honore in charge of coordinating the response. Within 2 weeks, Brownie was fired. Ass was kicked. And Bush supported pouring $100+ billion in  aid for recovery of NOLA area.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-09/03/content_474781.htm

You state:

Some of this was the governors fault too. However, we should have had some response by the president well before then, but got nothing.

"Nothing" is false. Maybe Bush/FEMA/Feds should have done more faster. But "Nothing" is precisely the mythical strawman pretend-Katrina that the Democrat and liberal MSM allies created. The FEMA response may have been slow and disjointed in the first week, with too much red tape out of DHS/Chertoff, and with the overall response  much hampered by incompetence by Nagin wrt evacuation and superdome etc. and indecisive non-leadership by Gov Blanco. But there was never "Nothing" to the response. Not when thousands of Coast Guard missions and hundreds of FEMA agents were ongoing in the first week, and not when an entire city of people was eventually housed in cities in many neighboring states. 

Somehow that same Bush FEMA managed to adequately help with Katrina in Miss., Rita in Texas, a number of hurricanes in 2004 and other disasters before and since, and get good to great reviews in most instances. But then in these other disasters, it befell cities and states less prone to blame-gaming and more able to take initiative at the local / state level to do what needed to be done.

Bush, by trying to save money, dismantled FEMA and put it in Homeland Security.

Another canard. It was not dismantled. It existed. Being under DHS did not make FEMA go away or lose any funding. the reponse may not have been what it should have been, but it was there. 

I will leave you with yet another response from one who was there, I found while researching this just now:

Hey Rhettswife...let me congratulate you on your smart comment. I am a democrat and have been my entire life but to blame Bush for Katrina is absolutely ridiculous. All of us that lived thru it should remember how we were warned that this was the big one...that we needed to leave Nola. The people that stayed should not blame the government...they should blame themselves for being ignorant and stupid. If there is anyone that should have been blamed as well for this fiasco should be Car 54 where are you? This moron that was elected as our mayor was as dumb as the people that stayed. This city will never prosper because we have nothing but whiners that are use to handouts.

 The bottom-line here is that the "Bush-did-nothing on Katrina" meme is false. The record needs to be corrected on this.

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/katrina-real-and-imaginary.html

Defining Patriotism

I drew  flak from the house liberals on my use of the word Patriot in the essay "What this American Patriot Believes"

http://www.thenextright.com/freedoms-truth/what-this-american-patriot-be...

A key point of where I am coming from is this statement:

"I am a Republican because I believe certain things that align with my beliefs. I am an American Patriot first, a conservative second, and a Republican third."

In short, I see my allegiance to the Republican party rooted in my conservative beliefs and my conservative beliefs are rooted in patriotism towards America.

This is not some general and nebulous "I am not a traitor so that makes me a patriot" view, but a specific patriotic appreciation for America, its heritage and the 'core values' of the country. In the corporate world, we talk of a 'corporate culture', and in the world at large, there is a culture in different countries. I know this and have experienced it first-hand, and from this I believe America's rooted traditions are the best formula for a successful society any civilization has come up with so far.

 

I had specific and good reasons to use that term Patriot. It came out of a realization that PATRIOTS in the American Revolution were actually PARTISANS to a particular cause, the cause of maintaining a particular relationship between people and Government, in one word that relationship is - freedom. IN two words democracy and freedom. I am really speaking of allegiance to America, but "America" has to have some meaning and I see that meaning as the America that has had 200+ years as a land of freedom and democratic rule.

I said:

Finally, I believe strongly that America is the greatest nation on earth. This is not a blind faith, but one based on the experience of living in another country and visiting two dozen other countries in my lifetime. We are the best nation on earth because of the greatness of our people, and our people are great because of our traditions of Judeo-Christian faith and morality, liberty, and self-reliant individualism. Should we lose those cultural traditions, or turn away from God, our national greatness will fade away. That knowledge motivates me to support the continuation of our liberty and traditions in our nation.

Lonestar Bill called it "unapologetic American". Wm F Buckley once said "Scratch a patriot, find a conservative." It may well be that my view of what a patriot is - someone who loves this county for what it is and has been - requires sufficient respect for our Judeo-Christian heritage, our liberty / small-Government / free-enterprise system and individualism that it inevitably leads to a conservative-leaning postion. I don't see it that way exactly, as both parties and multiple ideologies can claim connections in various ways to America's traditions and 'core values'. To put it in Venn diagram terms, a conservative is a type of patriot. There are other types.

However, that IS through appreciating American history and our heritage is partly how I came to be conservative. In short: America works, so I am a Constitutionalist who believes in govt 'by the people' ; individualism and freedom works, so I am a small-Government conservative who opposes nanny-statism; our Judeo-Christian values works, so I am a (somewhat/moderate) traditionalist.

That said, I would like to find out: How do YOU define patriotism?

Does patriotism require you to actually LIKE America, what it was and what it is? Can a Marxist who thinks the Constitution was junk foisted on us by elite DWMs and wants a socialist economy/culture vastly different from what we've been be a 'patriot'? Or is it a contentless/vague concept? Can a patriot be a partisan for the beliefs of the American founding/Constitution? In other words, femin-ISM has a content a point-ot-view. Why cant patriot-ISM be like feminISM in requiring a bit of 'edge' and meaning to it?

If I used the term "Americanism" would that be less offensive? More offensive?

Americans shifting right on some issues ... why?

In addition to the shift in the prolife direction mentioned here:

http://www.thenextright.com/t-d-williams/stunning-reversal-majority-of-a...

We see shifts on other issues in the right-wing direction.

Support for gun control is at its lowest level in 40 years of polling.

http://blog.nj.com/njv_scott_bach/2009/05/support_plummets_for_resrictio...

Four different polls recently point to declining support for gun restrictions as the answer to crime. In October, a Gallup poll found that fewer Americans than ever favor handgun bans, based on Gallup's 49 year history of polling on the issue. Support fell from a high of 60% in 1959 to a low of less than 30% in 2008. The same trend repeats itself in a question on whether more restrictions are needed on the sales of all firearms, not just handguns.

In addition, three different media polls taken in April reflect plummeting support for gun control. CNN found support has fallen by double digits to less than 40% while an ABC News-Washington Post poll found that more than 60% support enforcing current laws against criminals rather than passing new laws restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that support for a ban on rifles has fallen by a third in the last 18 years.

All of these polls show what peaceable gun owners already know - that support for the Second Amendment is the dominant belief in America today, and the fallacy that restricting the rights of honest citizens will impact crime has been exposed for what it is.

What the heck is going on? How could Americans get so gung ho over the second amendment and life while supporting the most leftwing candidate in history? Maybe you didnt notice during Obama's magnificent campaign last year, but he did the Kabuki dance on multiple issues:

  • He opposed gay marriage and the Cali Prop 8
  • He forcefully denounced deficits and promised to go after wasteful spending

If he didn't have the track record of the most liberal Senator in the US Senate, you'd might confuse him with a conservative. THAT WAS PROBABLY THE INTENTION. He fooled many uninformed voters into sounding more moderate/open than he really was.

What this has done is make it safe to be pro-life, pro-2ndA, pro-tax-cuts and still support Obama. Since these things in the past were associated with Republicans, people may have been dissuaded from saying they were prolife. They might have thought 'only Republicans hold that position'. This will lead to seeming contradictions, such as many pro-life, pro-2ndA people expressing support for a President who is in reality a pro-abort President and has members of his party eager to ban guns.

Now here's the hard part - come 2010, when the pro-life, pro-2ndA, pro-fiscal responsibility folks who got gulled into voting for Obama in 2008 look at the fruits of the Democrat Congress.... will they still vote for Democrats? Not if they push their gun banning, taxpayer-funded abortions, trillion-dollar deficits and huge boondoggle spending agenda.

Crossposted at Travis Monitor:

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/us-is-shifting-right-on-some-i...

What This American Patriot Believes

I was challenged by a self-described moderate: "it's time to stop it [purging the party of RINOs] if you really, honestly think of yourself as a GOPer." It made me think: Why am I a Republican? The conservative movement have built and sustained the Republican party. Reagan built this party, and I am a Reagan Republican. I am a Republican because I believe certain things that align with my beliefs. I am an American Patriot first, a conservative second, and a Republican third.

I believe in freedom. I want a limited Government that plays the role expressed in our founding document - to protect our rights. I want that Government to recognize its limits under the Constitution. I further believe in individual responsibility and believe further that a society can be free only so long as it is moral, and can be moral only so long as it free.

I believe our Judges should enforce the law and interpret the law as written, understanding and using judicial restraint and original intent in their method of interpretation, rather than being activists who write law from the bench or rule based on political or personal passions.

Government exists to serve the people. I believe in democracy, but more importantly, I believe in a particular type of democracy where the best Government is that government which is closest to the people. The ideal Government is self-Government. I support Federalism and local control to the maximum exstent possible, as architected in our Constitution and expressed in the 9th and 10th Amendments. Conversely, the worst form of Government, least responsive to people and potentially most despotic, is global Government; I support American sovereignty against the encroachments of global-statism.

I believe in free enterprise, both because property rights are a conerstone of individual rights, but also because the capitalist free enterprise system is the best and most efficient engine for the creation of prosperity that is possible. History has proven that Socialism is a prescription for poverty. What government regulation is needed in our economy are those things that build up trust in the economy: Rules to lessen fraud, dishonesty, and abuses of monopoly power. Government regulations that fix prices, bailout failing industries, engage in "industrial policy" attempts to bet on industries are invariably failures. A recent example is the sure-to-fail attempts to push clean energy from the Government. We should oppose all such efforts as inevitable failures of central economic planning.

I support low tax rates because the price of Government should be as low as possible. Low tax rates are simpler, fairer and less economically burdensome. I believe the U.S. Federal budget ca

I want a smaller Government. I want tax rates cut, wasteful spending eliminated. We could cut hundreds of billions in Federal spending and it would be a huge blessing to this country. I oppose earmarks. I oppose socialized medicine, bailouts, phony prok barrl stimulus bills, socialist interventions into business,

I am pro-life, because our rights our meaningless without the right to life. I am pro-Traditional Marriage, because family is a building block of civilization. I oppose attempts by cultural marxists to undermine our culture and replace a culture of responsibility with one of moral relativism. We were wrong to take religious expressions out of the public square; it is a violation of right to worship to deny public expression of religious sentiment, wether Ten Commandments at a courthouse or a valedictorian thanking God.

I conclude, from long study of the matter, that CO2 is harmless and the fear of climate change is massively overhyped. We should use more nuclear energy, drill offshore and ANWR. And we shouldnt have these Green-doggles - ethanol, solar subsidies, hybrid subsidies, wind energy subsidies, renewables mandates. The environmentalists are wrong on all of the above, which hurt the economy without helping the environment.

I am pro-choice: Pro-gun choice, pro-retirement choice (create social security choice), pro-healthcare choice (against 'single payer'), pro-school choice. I support a woman's right to choose - to raise her child as she sees fit, including where to send that child to school. I don't support her right to kill any human. Nor do I support having nursing homes or relatives decide to kill patients without their clear consent; I oppose ethanasia and the 'slippery slope' that it leads to, of killing undesirable patients out of convenience not compassion.

I support school choice because the goal of education is to support learning for children, and choice brings the parental involvement, accountability that is vital to student success. I support charter schools and support giving children vouchers to attend the school of their choice; let the schools compete to be the best centers of learning possible, if would make education more effective and efficient.

I believe in equality of opportunity and for that reason oppose affirmative action quotas and reverse discrimination type favoritism and tokenism. Let us be a meritocracy, an aristocracy of virtue and excellence.

I believe in the rule of law. I support the death penalty and tough penalties for violent crimes because deterrence works. Because I support the rule of law, I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens, which will incite further law-breaking. I support legal and controlled immigration as an asset to our economy and nation, but think the 'chain-migration' should evolve into a system that encourages the best and brightest to come here.

I support American sovereignty against globalist Government, and I support our Government's attempt to maintain our national security and defend our freedoms from foreign enemies. That includes supporting the fight against Islamic extremist terrorists.

Finally, I believe strongly that America is the greatest nation on earth. This is not a blind faith, but one based on the experience of living in another country and visiting two dozen other countries in my lifetime. We are the best nation on earth because of the greatness of our people, and our people are great because of our traditions of Judeo-Christian faith and morality, liberty, and self-reliant individualism. Should we lose those cultural traditions, or turn away from God, our national greatness will fade away. That knowledge motivates me to support the continuation of our liberty and traditions in our nation.

I am glad the Republican Party is around to represent these beliefs because, since the 1960s, the Democrats have become a party that is so alien to American traditions that they are opposed almost 100% to everything I believe is good for the country. During my lifetime, the Democrats and leftwing activist allies, some of them quite radical, have assaulted our moral traditions, our prosperity, and our long-standing freedoms.

Nobody will agree with every point I make 100%, but I am sure much of what I believe in is supported by most people in this country who would call themselves Patriot. Why is that? Because it is simply a belief in the goodness and rightness in the best political and cultural traditions of this greatest nation on earth - the United States of America.

That's what this American Patriot Believes.

-Freedom's Truth

Also posted here:

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-this-american-patriot-bel...

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