Archives for May 2012
Gov. Gary Johnson’s team has released a new web video promoting a message of peace as polls show a war weary nation. In the video, Johnson’s team labels Republicans as “Thelma” and Democrats as “Louise,” noting that both parties “have a death wish” because they seem to want perpetual war:
Nicholas Freiling over at Values & Capitalism—a blog run by the American Enterprise Institute—has a well meaning but utterly misguided—and I would argue, rather silly—post about bankruptcy and student loans. It is inappropriately titled “Student Loan Forgiveness: One Idea That Doesn’t Deserve to Graduate.” He says:
If you are like most college students, you have already accrued a considerable amount of student loan debt. College is expensive, and without student loans many would simply be unable to obtain a college education.
But over the past few months, many have begun to question the efficacy of borrowing so much money—even for a purpose as worthy as education. Recently, the Chicago Tribune reported that student loan debt reached $870 billion—surpassing both car and credit card debt—and is projected to climb rapidly over the next few years.
Thus, it is understandable that The Fairness for Struggling Students Act (FSSA) has become high on the agenda for many government and education officials. The FSSA would allow student loan debt from private lenders to be wiped out in bankruptcy proceedings. Seen as a remedy for a growing economic problem, the Act has found support among many in government and academic circles.
But the reality is: The FSSA is an unjust bill that should warrant no support from respectable students, no matter how indebted they are.
So basically, what FSSA would say is that student loan debt would be treated like…every other single type of debt? So it wouldn’t be, you know, a “special” and “unique” form of debt that people could not erase, but would be treated like debt from any other source, like a mortgage or a car loan or anything like that?
And this is bad thing? Where does he get this idea from?
In the days leading up to the IPO (Initial Public Offering) of Facebook stock as it became a publicly traded company, much of the news surrounding the company was made not by founder Mark Zuckerberg, but by Eduardo Saverin, a young man who became very rich after he invested his life savings in that unknown company running out of a Harvard dorm room. Saverin had announced that he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship, preferring to make his ties with Singapore instead.
In the aftermath of his announcement, it was claimed that he was doing so in order to avoid the heavy tax burden placed on his wealth by the United States. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a man of whom former Senator Bob Dole once said that “the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera,” wasted no time in turning this into face time with the press to score political points, joining with fellow Democrat, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in announcing their intention to submit the “Ex-PATRIOT” Act.
According to Schumer, this law would “re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States and take up residence in a foreign country.” Like a modern-day Rasputin, this would enact into law the assumption that politicians have supernatural powers of mind-reading, and would presume any person who renounced U.S. citizenship, while having a net worth greater than $2 million, or an average five-year income tax liability of at least $148,000, had done so for the purpose of tax avoidance. The law, eviscerating the Constitution’s presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” principle, would require the individual to prove to the IRS that they’d not done so for tax avoidance purposes, or risk additional capital gains taxes on any future investment gains.
Women have come a long way in this country. Gone are the bad old days of when a woman’s place was solely in the home. Violence against women is rightfully condemned. Women participate in all aspects of American life from the workplace to the political arena. While we should remain vigilant to ensure we don’t take any steps back in protecting equal opportunity to women, you would think the feminist movement would declare victory. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
I love women. I was raised by a single mother. I love strong, independent women; the type of woman you would think the feminist movement would embrace. However, the modern feminist movement; with few exceptions, are not about celebrating and promoting strong, independent women. The feminist movement has instead morphed into the womyn’s liberation left which has decided to destroy the sexist patriarchy and replace it with Sugar Daddy Government that will provide women with everything from free birth control, to subsidized child care, to student and small business loans, and taxpayer subsidized abortions.
The activists of the womyn’s liberation left of course are not entirely to blame. They have many willing accomplices in our political class like Barack Obama who even drew a little cartoon to pander to them. Like other groups who derive a part of their living from the plunder of taxpayers, the womyn’s liberation left and their fellow travelers are more passionate than most voters about keeping the benefits they have and, if possible, expanding their benefits than the average American who is just trying to make a living for their family. Instead of the males in the family providing for women or women providing for themselves, the womyn’s lib left now want women to rely on a sugar daddy, Big Government.
No, seriously, that is what this man has become. He recently blogged a chart on his blog (inappropriately—or maybe entirely appropriately—named “Conscience of a Liberal,”) showing first quarter growth for five countries:
He then goes, “Wait, what? Japan as star performer? What’s that about? Actually, no mystery.”
Japan’s economy expanded faster than estimated in the first quarter, boosted by reconstruction spending that’s poised to fade just as a worsening in Europe’s crisis threatens to curtail export demand.
So he then argues that the tsunami reconstruction has led to great economic growth, while so-called “austerity” (which isn’t actually austerity at all, if Krugman had bothered to pay attention) has doomed Italy.
It makes perfect sense! Absolutely! Let’s hit Japan with another tsunami that will kill over 15,000 people, injure 27,000 citizens, and make 3,155 go missing! If only the 2011 tsunami had destroyed even more than that paltry 130,000 buildings—if only it had actually caused Fukushima to go critical and explode—it would have created so much potential for rebuilding! It would have shot the Japanese GDP right over the moon!
As noted yesterday, President Obama has made it clear that he intends to use Bain Capital as part of his campaign against Mitt Romney. His team no doubt hopes that they can reignite the same populist craze that put him in the White House by tearing down private equity in the process, despite the fact that he takes their money (a shocker, I know) and took economic advice from Jon Corzine, former head of MF Global.
But a new poll from Rasmussen shows that the attacks aren’t working, and may indeed hurt Obama more than it helps him:
Democrats have begun criticizing Mitt Romney’s business record, but a plurality of voters view the Republican’s business past as a positive.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him. Thirty-three percent (33%) see his business career as chiefly a reason to vote against him. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided.
A couple of weeks ago, over 40% of West Virginia Democrats made their disapproval of President Barack Obama known by casting their vote for Keith Judd, a convicted felon currently serving time in Texas. Democrats in Arkansas and Kentucky went to the polls yesterday, sending roughly the same message to Obama, notes Jamie Dupree:
Kentucky Democrats cast 42% for “Undecided” instead of the incumbent President of their own party, while in Arkansas, 41% of primary voters opted for an unknown Tennessee attorney named John Wolfe.
It wasn’t hard to see the big thumbs down that more rural voters in those states gave to the President, as over half of the 120 counties in Kentucky were carried by “Undecided” - 66 of 120.
The story line was much the same in Arkansas, as over two dozen counties went to Wolfe over the sitting President.
Most of the President’s advantage was in urban areas of both Kentucky and Arkansas - like Jefferson County (Louisville) and Fayette County (Lexington) where he won 82% and 76% of the vote - but in rural areas, there was a steady stream of voters who chose another option instead.
Dupree notes that these states weren’t likely to go to Obama anyway in the fall, so there may not be reason to cause a fuss over this. I disagree. During the Republican primary, Mitt Romney was viewed as a weak candidate because he couldn’t fight off “Flavor of the Month” candidates to his right. And while Obama will no doubt be the Democratic Party’s nominee, these results, much like protest votes against Romney, show the discontent over his job performance in his own party.
Every election year, both major parties start up wth “wasted vote” rhetoric to convince those of us who don’t buy into their policies to not vote for a third party. The fear of 2000 still weighs heavily on their minds, it seems. I’ve always contended that, in a democracy, the only wasted vote is the vote you give to someone who you disagree with, since it entirely defeats the very point of, you know, a democracy.
But if we’re going to go down the wasted vote road, for once, let’s do it on the Democrats’ and Republicans’ terms, so they can see the folly of their argument. Mine is thus:
If you live in a non-battleground state, any vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate is wasted.
You heard that right.
This year, according to the AP, the battleground states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Of course, this list is bound to change within the next six months, and I’ve seen that there may be as many as 12 “swing states” (a near-synonym for “battleground states”). Charlie Cook—one of the best political pundits out there—takes out New Hampshire and North Carolina and swaps in Pennsylvania instead. It doesn’t matter the exact state right now; in the weeks leading up to the election, you will definitely know if your state is a battleground or not based on how many ads you get, and how many visits candidates make.
Penn Jillette, the larger half of the magic duo, Penn & Teller, lit into President Barack Obama during his most recent Penn’s Sunday School segment. Jillette, who is never short on things to say when it comes to infringements on personal liberty, called Obama out on his hypocrisy for locking people up for the very drugs that he admits once used:
Here’s the video (language warning):
Much has been made over the “indefinite detention” language included in the National Defense Authorization Act. As Ron noted earlier, an effort to fix the legislation — the Amash-Smith Amendment — was defeated by the House, which opted for much less clear language.
But the failure to get rid of the indefinite detention provision isn’t the only thing to be concerned about. The NDAA for FY 2013 includes a provision, sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), who sponsored the language to axe the indefinite detention provision, that would allow for taxpayer-funded propaganda to influence Americans:
An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.
The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.
The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.
The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.