Archives for April 2012
As a result of the Trayvon Martin shooting, the topic of racism has, unfortunately, been given new life in American politics and culture. As the shooting became a prominent fixture in the news, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and even President Barack Obama jumped into the fray by making statements that pinned the incident as racially motivated. Others have used it to attack the Second Amendment and gun owners.
But in a video at Reason, Kennedy, a former MTV personality, is setting the record straight, noting that race relations are better, according to poll data, and incidents involving gun violence are actually on the decline:
As you know, President Barack Obama has made class warfare and the Buffett Tax a central part of his campaign re-election, part of a strategy to get attention off of his failed record on the economy. But Jon Lovitz, an actor that considers himself to be a Democrat and voted for Obama, isn’t happy with the assertion that higher-income earners aren’t paying their “fair share” in taxes:
“Saturday Night Live” alum Jon Lovitz sounds like he’s pretty fed up with President Barack Obama.
“This whole thing with Obama saying the rich don’t pay their taxes is f—-ing bulls—-. And I voted for the guy and I’m a Democrat. What a f—-ing asshole,” Lovitz recently said on his podcast “The ABC’s of SNL.” The episode was recorded in January and released on Sunday.
“The rich don’t pay their taxes? Let me tell you something, right,” he went on. “First they say to you – you’re dead broke – the United States of America, you can do anything you want, go for it. So then you go for it, and then you make it, and everyone’s like, f—- you.”
“[Obama] is the perfect example,” the comedian added. “He’s amazing. He had nothing … and the guy ends up being at Harvard. He’s the president of the United States. And now he’s like, ‘f—- me and everyone who made it like me.’”
I listened to the audio, which is available at the link above, and Lovitz was ranting, for sure. Whether or not the rant was just meant to be humorous is another question. Still, you’ve got to imagine that there are many other higher-income earners out that voted for Obama that feel like they are being targeted unfairly by the president’s divisive rhetoric.
When you look at polls, it’s not a surprise to see that ObamaCare is still unpopular with Ameicans. In fact, it’s so unpopular that Democrats admit that it’s a political liability, though one that may be off-the-table in the fall campaign thanks to the Supreme Court (though healthcare will still be around as a broader issue).
But perhaps the most important group on the issue is independent voters, who, according to a Kaiser Family poll, want ObamaCare overturned by the Supreme Court:
A growing number of Americans, 59 percent, believe the Supreme Court will find President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment unconstitutional, and a majority of independents, 52 percent, would be happy if that happened.
The Kaiser Family Foundation released their monthly Health Tracking Poll yesterday, finding that 51 percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court should rule that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. Only 30 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Obama’s individual mandate.
As Ron noted on Monday, independent voters are a crucial part of the vote. And while they may agree that ObamaCare is a bad deal for them, Republicans need to put forward a workable plan to deal with the issue to show that they are committed to tackling it head-on.
If you listen to Sean Hannity and others in the conservative movement, it’s clear that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is their pick to serve as Mitt Romney’s running mate this fall. They say that he offers a contrast to Romney that will bring a needed balance and excitement to the ticket to help motivate Republicans to go to the polls this fall.
It may be true that Rubio is much more conservative than Romney, but there should be some hesitation on the part of conservatives due to recent comments by Rubio where he said that George W. Bush “did a fantastic job” as president.
I’m not naive enough to believe that Bush isn’t a hero to conservatives for various reasons, let alone that Barack Obama, who frequently blames his predecessor for many of his own failures, makes that easy to do. But from a fiscal perspective, Bush’s presidency was a disaster, and that isn’t limited to the 2008 financial crisis. While some would defend Bush’s big spending as a necessity due to the so-called “war on terror,” Veronique de Rugy noted in her analysis on spending under Bush, domestic spending alone went up by more than 20% in his first term. He expanded Medicare, adding more in unfunded liabilities to the already unsustainable government-run health insurance program.
Conor Friedersdorf also explains some of the problems with the statement made by Rubio in context of, not just fiscal issues, but also foreign policy:
While many are preoccupied with the presidential race and memes from both sides of the political aisle that have been inserted into national news, the United States’ main entitlement programs — Medicare and Social Security — are falling further into fiscal insolvency, according to reports released by their respective trustees.
James Antle, writing over at The American Spectator, has the story:
In case you missed this bit of [Monday’s] bad news, let me recap: Social Security and Medicare are running combined long-term deficits of $63.3 trillion according to reports released by the retirement programs’ trustees. The Medicare trust fund will be running on empty as of 2024 and Social Security’s fund will be exhausted by 2033, but the reality is much worse: both trust funds may as well be filled with kitty litter.
To cash in the IOUs the feds have stuffed in the two biggest entitlements’ trust funds to maintain the accounting fiction that they are insurance programs rather than intergenerational transfer payments, taxes will have to be raised or other government spending cut unless reforms are passed soon. Both programs for the elderly are already paying out more in benefits than they are collecting in payroll tax revenue.
“In 2011, Social Security’s cost continued to exceed both the program’s tax income and its non-interest income, a trend that the Trustees project to continue throughout the short-range period and beyond,” Social Security’s trustees explained. Although the payroll tax holiday was a factor, the program would have still run deficits without it.
While surfing the web this weekend after getting from home BlogConCLT, I came across this story at The Daily Caller, claiming that a new poll from Pew Research shows that Republicans are more open-minded and more informed than Democrats:
Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats.
On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”
The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.
“Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,” said the study, which noted that Democrats outscored Republicans on five questions by an average of 4.6 percent.
The widest partisan gap in the survey came in at 30 points when only 46 percent of Democrats — but 76 percent of Republicans —- correctly described the GOP as “the party generally more supportive of reducing the size of federal government.”
I spent the weekend in Charlotte chatting with some great people, however, I also heard several people making fun of libertarians and cracking jokes about how Barack Obama, as a small child, once tried dog meat — as if that is going to matter to voters in the fall. So I’m inclined to chuckle at the notion that Republicans are “open-minded.”
Nineteen years ago, I stood in a labor and delivery room of the Cartersville Medical Center, facing one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. In the grand scheme of things it was probably not even worthy of a mention in the local paper, but to me it was a life-changing experience. My wife and I, having been married for not quite ten months, were having a baby. Together since we were fourteen and married at nineteen, a mere two months into the marriage we learned she was pregnant.
I admit my first reaction was awful, one of abject fear, and it showed on my face. My wife interpreted this as anger that she’d become pregnant, as evidence that I did not want a child. In that she was quite mistaken. Coming from a broken home myself, and having lost my mother to cancer at age thirteen, with no father around and spending my teenage years as a “ward of the state”, constantly moving from one temporary home to another, I desperately craved the comfort and solidity of having my own family.
My fear came from reading a scientific study reporting that as adults, we replicate the home environment in which we were raised, becoming like our parents. Now, my mother was a saint, but for all my life I’d known my father as an angry man, and I was far more accustomed to receiving harsh discipline than love. So, learning I would be a father, my first thought was that this most innocent of creatures would brought into the world, and I would end up ruining him.
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin’s death, many on the Left have been blaming Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a statue passed last year that allows use for the use of deadly force in self-defense (my home state of Georgia passed a similar law a few years ago). They say that the law empowered George Zimmerman to target Martin and claim self-defense.
While I have no opinion on Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence in the case at this point — I believe too little is known to jump to conclusions one way or the other, the ire over the “Stand Your Ground” law seems a little misplaced and, in some cases, dishonest. Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment scholar, explains:
The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force” if “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).
The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.
If the factual claims of Trayvon’s supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman. So Florida’s self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.
Mort Zuckerman one of the top 200 richest men in the world and current editor of U.S. News and World Report has been painted by some conservatives as a liberal that has seen the light”. But has he?
In it he lambasted our current president’s economic policies and labels them a “failure.” I agree with Mort on this point. Mort, like a lot of conservatives and every liberal, does not get to the heart of what has been going wrong in the halls of Congress, in the Oval Office or the chambers of the Supreme Court for the last 100 years. What Mort fails to realize is that the collectivist central planning of our economy and governing of Individual behavior by all the previous administrations, along with the monopoly of the money supply and the setting of interest rates by the Federal Reserve and the endless wars overseas has led us to the where we are today.
Mort’s failure to see that the collectivist ideology that underpins the entire U.S. government budget is the ONLY REASON for the “Great Recession” that most of us are endruing today. (Around Washington D.C. there is no recession.) Instead of advocating for less central planning and control by politicians and bureaucrats over the lives and wallets of individuals he advocates for more. Instead of advocating for more individual liberty, he advocates for more government intervention.
Responding to charges that Gary Johnson is not a libertarian, Jeremy Kolassa notes that libertarianism isn’t as rigid as some think, particularly on foreign policy. It is this sort of philosophical polytomy that has given us the choice of two libertarians in the 2012 election, both from different factions of the liberty movement.
For many libertarians like myself, Gary Johnson offers a breath of fresh air from several themes popular with the Ron Paul movement, which is fraught with conspiracy theorists, anarcho-capitalists, and armchair economists who believe themselves to be experts on monetary policy after reading End the Fed. Views of this nature are detrimental to the growth of libertarianism and have tainted Ron Paul’s campaign, rendering it unacceptable to many mainstream voters. Thus far, Governor Johnson has done well to avoid these poisons.
Unfortunately, not everyone within the Johnson campaign agrees with this strategy. While it is certainly not a requirement that campaign staffers agree entirely with their boss, there are some views that must be repudiated for the good of the campaign. Birtherism – a conspiracy theory believing that President Barack Obama was not born within the United States – is one of those views. For this reason, Gary Johnson must immediately remove his Virginia campaign Co-Director, Juanita Billings, as she has revealed that she subscribes to this theory.