Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) , who was recently nominated by President Barack to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), may run into some problems during his Senate confirmation due to racially insensitive comments he made in 2005:
During an Oct. 14, 2005 hearing held by the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, Watt reportedly said that a “substantial majority of white voters” would not vote for a black candidate under any circumstances.
He acknowledged “some” white people would support a black candidate, but said voters who refuse should be “factored out.”
“I’ve got no use for them in the democratic process,” he reportedly said.
Watt also claimed that black voters — unlike white voters — don’t have “an absolute commitment” to voting for a candidate based on race.
Three years later, Barack Obama would become the first black president, capturing 43 percent of the vote among white voters. That does not constitute a majority, but by comparison, 4 percent of black voters supported Sen. John McCain.
This isn’t the first instance prejudice from Watt. During a 2004 meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, the 20-year Congressman called Ralph Nader, who is about a Leftist as they come, an “arrogant white man.”
“You’re just another arrogant white man – telling us what we can do,” Watt told Nader, who was running for president as an Independent at the time. “it’s all about your ego – another [expletive] arrogant white man.”
A little more than a week ago, many reporters seemed more than ready to write Mark Sanford’s political obituary. Public Policy Polling had him down by 9 points to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, perhaps properly known as “Stephen Colbert’s sister,” and the spin of a Democratic Party win in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, which strongly leans Republican, was already beginning.
But there has been a notable shift in the race over the last few days. Sanford’s campaign has nationalized their message, making the race about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Democratic Party, and big labor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and grassroots groups like FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Express have also went to bat for Sanford when the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) wouldn’t.
Every month, Cato puts out a new issue of Cato Unbound, an online journal that looks at various topics. This week, the topic is fusionism, something that has received quite a bit of attention here at United Liberty.
The format of Cato Unbound is quite simple. One writer contributes a lead essay, and then three other writers write response essays. Then, it descends into a furball as we all starting writing shorter response posts to each other. The discussion is not just there, however; blog posts elsewhere will be linked, and everyone—yes, including YOU!—is encouraged to join in the discussion.
Our lead essay this month is written by Jacque Otto, a friend of mine and a writer at Values and Capitalism, a project of the American Enterprise Institute. She writes:
The House of Representatives will vote on repeal of ObamaCare “in the near future,” according to a memo from Major Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). The memo, which was obtained by The Hill, outlines several policy measures — including ObamaCare repeal, approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and debt prioritization — that will be taken up by House Republicans over the next few weeks.
“In line with our underlying principles for legislation and our goal of helping make life work for American families and businesses, I expect the House to have a full legislative agenda in May,” wrote Cantor to the House Republican Conference (PDF). “We will push the administration to finally approve the Keystone pipeline delivering much needed jobs and lower energy prices for families. We will ensure that working moms and dads in the private sector have the same freedoms and flexibility currently offered government employees.”
“We will reform our student loan process and hold the SEC accountable so that business can be assured of more certainty and less red tape. We will put pediatric disease research ahead of politics to focus on finding cures,” he added. “And we will guarantee our debt obligations are met under any circumstance so as not to burden our kids with unpaid bills. While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future.”
No other specifics were offered on ObamaCare repeal, but Cantor did outline the case for the other legislative matters that House Republicans will pursue before Congress adjourns for a district work period at the end of the month.
With Vice President Joe Biden making plans for another big push for new gun control measures, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is looking to challenge him to a debate on the issue.
During the National Rifle Association’s annual convention is past weekend in Houston, Texas, Cruz, who has been an outspoken advocate of civil liberties and conservative causes, poked some fun at Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and defended the Constitution before challenging Biden to a debate on gun control.
“The senior Senator from California explained to me that she is not a sixth-grader,” Cruz said to a humored crowd. “Well, you know, I’m not a sixth-grader either. And it seems to me that when the Constitution says the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” it means that right shall not be infringed.”
Cruz spoke about the disregard that the Left has for various civil liberties. He explained that the “Constitution matters — all of the Constitution.”
“It’s not pick and choose. It’s not take what part you like and get rid of the parts you don’t like. For some reason Obama liberals want to disregard the First Amendment and take away our right to speak and political speech,” said Cruz. “For some reason they want to disregard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. And, for some reason the Obama liberals want to disregard the Tenth Amendment and implement Obamacare and take away our liberties. Every word of the Constitution matters. It is our fundamental protection of our liberties against the government.”
This week’s Benghazi hearing is shaping up to be a disaster for the Obama Administration. The whistleblowers who have come forward are now completely in the open, identified by Fox News as three State Department officials, and their testimonies could offer some long-awaiting insight on the security failures that led up to the terrorist attack, the lack of a military response, and the subsequent cover-up that transpired in its aftermath.
On Sunday, Face the Nation, which hosted House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), whose committee has investigated Benghazi, offered a preview of what we can expect to hear from Greg Hicks, one of the whistlerblowers, in regard to the post-Benghazi narrative and much more:
Everybody in the mission” in Benghazi, Libya, thought the attack on a U.S. consulate there last Sept. 11 was an act of terror “from the get-go,” according to excerpts of an interview investigators conducted with the No. 2 official in Libya at the time, obtained by CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike, told investigators under authority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hicks, the former U.S. Embassy Tripoli deputy chief of mission, was not in Benghazi at the time of the attack, which killed Chris Stevens - then the U.S. ambassador to Libya - and three other Americans.
One of the great myths of the last decade is that the Bush Administration deregulated the economy. President Barack Obama has made this claim on multiple occasions as he and his supporters made their case that more regulation was needed after the Great Recession. But the truth of the matter was that George W. Bush was, as Veronique de Rugy wrote at Reason back in January 2009, the “biggest regulator since Nixon.”
“The Bush team has spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history,” wrote de Rugy. “Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2009, outlays on regulatory activities, adjusted for inflation, increased from $26.4 billion to an estimated $42.7 billion, or 62 percent.”
But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has ramped up regulation. In fact, he’s claimed the not-so-honorbale mantle of “biggest regulator since Nixon” from his predecessor.
According a new report by James Gattuso and Diane Katz from the Heritage Foundation, President Obama has imposed almost $70 billion in regulatory burdens on Americans, ranging from new financial rules via Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Unlike federal taxation and spending, there is no official accounting of total regulatory costs,” noted Gattuso and Katz. “Estimates range from hundreds of billions of dollars to nearly $2 trillion each year. However, the number and cost of new regulations can be tracked, and both are growing substantially.”
Based on some of my discussions with people who tend to support U.S. foreign policy in general and the drone policy in particular, there seems to be a lack of empathy for those who have been victims of errant bombs (I’m told these people “hate us for our freedoms”). I think sometimes we Americans have no idea what it must be like to live anywhere in the third world as opposed to a superpower. It’s difficult for me to imagine what it must be like to live any place the U.S. is hunting terrorists with soldiers or drones. Would I be worried that my friends or family might be killed by mistake?
This isn’t to say that the U.S. should not hunt terrorists, drones or otherwise, but I do think it’s time for a serious debate about when and how drones should be used. The drones in of themselves are not the problem, it’s the drone policy. What is the cost/benefit of using drones in targeting these people? Can this be done without harming innocent bystanders? Are drones being used when less destructive means are available? Is this policy counterproductive in “winning the hearts and minds” of people who might otherwise fight against Islamic fundamentalists?
The video clip below is from the testimony of one individual who has experienced the reality of U.S. drone policy first hand. Despite this, Farea al-Muslimi is otherwise grateful for his experiences with America, Americans, and American generosity. His heart and mind seems to be on the side of America. His testimony offers a perspective we would all do well to consider when thinking about these questions.
Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released jobs number from the month of April, which found that the economy created 165,000 jobs — slightly more than the 150,000 jobs the economy needs to produce to keep up with population growth.
Employment rose by 165,000 jobs in April, according to the monthly economic report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And unemployment dropped slightly from 7.6 to 7.5 percent—a minimal change, but one marking a steady, .4 percent drop since January. It’s the lowest unemployment rate in four years.
Employment increases were seen in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade and health care, according to the report.
The Labor Department also announced revised and more positive figures for February and March: Employment for February was revised from 268,000 to 332,000 jobs gained and for March from 88,000 to 138,000 jobs gained.
There’s definitely some good news there after years of lagging economic growth. But there are still some concerns about another economic slowdown. But it should be noted that the U-6 unemployment rate, which many call the true measure of the jobs picture, inched up to 13.9% from 13.8%. Reuters noted that the “details of the report remained consistent with a slowdown in economic activity.”
Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden pleaded with law enforcement officials to help the Obama Administration pass the Assault Weapons Ban, a measure that failed along with other gunn control measures last month in the Senate. This is apparantely a part of a new push for gun control measures that will be led by Biden, something that hasn’t discussed with President Obama:
Biden told a group of law enforcement officials Thursday that he is planning even more travel, with trips around the country to stump for a renewed push on expanded background checks and gun-trafficking laws that failed to pass the Senate last month.
But Biden volunteered that he “hasn’t really discussed” his plans with President Barack Obama and plans to lead the gun control charge on his own, according to two law enforcement officials who attended the meeting. The 90-minute meeting in Biden’s office was an attempt to move forward after the failed effort on background checks.
“He was talking like he was going to be leading it,” a person who was at the meeting said. “He didn’t mention any other senators in terms of leading the charge.”
Biden is going to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. If he succeeds at passing gun control measures, Biden will have boosting himself on an issue that’s important to the Leftist base. But unless dynamics change in the Senate, the push for tighter gun control measures will ultimately fail — and it should fail.