Republicans Archives

Pennsylvania Flirts With Irrelevancy

The Republican legislators in the Pennsylvania state government are pushing a bill that would relatively proportion their presidential electoral votes based on the results of the individual congressional district presidential votes. The (Republican) governor says he would sign such a bill. This is a bad idea.

The suggestion came up in Colorado and California in years past, and failed in both cases. The Electoral College is actually a very good way of apportioning votes, ensuring that a President has both a sufficient number of votes and also a diverse support base; broad support favored over the most support in close races. I posted a number of reasons why the Electoral College is a good idea here, with a link to the history of the EC.

As a side note, Markos Moulitsas, the "Daily Kos" himself, split his support over the Colorado and California efforts. One of them he called a "bad horror movie" and an attempt to "game the system". The other he called "brilliant" and suggested that "every state should allocate EVs in this manner". Why the difference in tone? As you can probably guess, it’s all about politics over principle. When Colorado wanted to do it, it would benefit Democrats, so he was all-in. When California wanted to do it, he had nothing but disparaging comments for anyone who even considered it. This clearly points out a pundit who a) has no appreciation for, not just history, but the status quo, and b) makes every decision based, not on what’s best for everyone, but what’s best for his political kindred.

Consider this when reading opinions. I will note that I’m always against this sort of thing, including in the guise of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Inform yourself.

A Big Switch

Republicans run a political rookie against a veteran, a Catholic against an Orthodox Jew (in a heavily Jewish district of New York City). Democrats pour $500,000 and deploy Bill Clinton to the race. Result: GOP wins a seat it hasn’t held since the 1920s. Secret: It was billed as a referendum on Obama.

Friday Link Wrap-up

The Dalai Lama calls himself a Marxist.

An "unexpectedly" we could do with down here. "Canada Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Declines in May to Its Lowest Since 2009" It’s down to 7.4 percent. We’re adding government jobs and they’re adding private sector jobs. Our dollar is getting weaker while theirs gets stronger. “Our economy has one of the best records in the area of job creation in comparison with other industrialized countries and this is why we will continue to keep our taxes low,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told lawmakers on June 8. Lessons to be learned  here.

Obama finally figures out, "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected." Which is one big reason why the stimulus didn’t stimulate.

Civility Watch: “Good afternoon brothers and sisters. Welcome to Nazi Germany….Brothers and sisters, this is not going to be an easy fight,” he shrieked. “It took World War II to get rid of the last Adolf Hitler. It is going to take World War III to get rid of Adolf Christie. Are you ready for World War III?” Union leaders are setting the example in New Jersey.

Soaking the rich won’t work the way the Left intends. Historical tax rates vs actual receipts put the lie to the idea that raising rates will necessarily bring in more revenue.

When even actor Aston Kutcher comes to the aid of Sarah Palin, you know the media has gone way too far.

And speaking of which (click for a larger version):

The Standard & Poors Downgrade

If this doesn’t wake up Democrats, and the Americans that vote for them, to the real, actual unsustainability of more and more spending, what will? If the last remaining superpower can’t keep its financial house in order, then what comes next? Are we "spreading the wealth around" so much now, that too many are unwilling to give up their government dependence?

Should the rich pay more? If so, please say how much more, specifically? Should we go back to 91% rates? The problem is, when more that is taxed, it isn’t used to pay for existing debt and spending; it instead spurs on new spending. Our problem is not how much revenue the government is getting; it’s the amount of spending going on.

This is a bi-partisan problem; both parties have contributed to this. The Republicans, however, spurred on by the Tea Party, are making the first real effort in decades to do something about the problem. Nothing was done on this until Republicans won a majority in the House, and even now, Obama and the Democrats are making only token gestures.

Man oh man, I hope the independents are watching, and will remember in 2012. I hope some fiscally responsible Democrats are, too.

OK, lots of questions above. I would love to hear any answers in the comments.

Friday Link Wrap-up

Six out of ten politicians in don’t think you know enough about the issues facing Washington to form a reasonable opinion. More telling to me is that, broken down by party, most Republicans trust you but way more Democrats don’t.

Another example of why it’s hard for government to cut spending (and why conservatives try to hard to hold back increases); Between 400,000 and 500,000 protest against government spending cuts in the UK.

Media Matters becomes a parody of itself, ignoring the media in general and concentrating solely on Fox News. James Taranto wonders:

Does a group that proclaims its purpose to be industrial sabotage qualify [for tax-exempt status]? It’s hard to imagine the answer is yes. Could, say, AT&T set up an organization to sabotage Sprint and do the whole thing free of taxes?

Did you know that opting out of Medicare (not asking for your tax money back, just not taking advantage of it and paying the tab yourself) will cause you to forfeit Social Security? Big, big government, anyone?

The European Union has an idea for clean air; ban all cars.

Irony Alert: President Obama accepted a transparency award from the open government community, in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House.

Barack Obama was against wars against brutal dictators that did not directly threaten the United State or its interests, before he was for them.

A salute to the men and women of Japan — the Fukushima 50 — who are putting their health and, indeed, lives on the line to bring the reactors under control.

Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.

“He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.

And finally, "regulating relationships". (Click for a larger image.)

Friday Link Wrap-up

A verse I found highlighted by a friend on Facebook:

Proverbs 26:18-19 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)

18 Like a madman shooting
   firebrands or deadly arrows
19 is a man who deceives his neighbor
   and says, “I was only joking!”

The Left seems to forget their own hateful rhetoric when they start to point fingers at Sarah Palin. “…a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” “I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.” “Somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp.” Indeed. These and other gems at Q&O.


On the (much) lighter side, I have finally been convinced that you should only put 1 space after a period, not two. I’m endeavoring to do so in this post, but it’s a hard habit to break.

Living up their promises, the Republicans have put forth a proposal for $2.5 trillion of spending cuts. Since it’s that amount over 10 years, it’s still only a drop in the bucket. But it’s more than they have suggested in the past (as far as I know) and certainly more than Democrats ever have. If the Dems want to criticize the choices of where to cut, let’s just see them propose their own.

I grew up in the Salvation Army denomination. (Yes, it’s a denomination.) Representatives from around the world are currently meeting to elect the next General, the administrative head of the Salvation Army. You can follow events on their web page, get e-mail updates, or even follow them on Twitter.

Cutting sugar, sodium and trans fats. Buying more produce locally. Cutting price premiums for healthier food options. That’s Wal-Mart for you. (Yeah, that Wal-Mart).

In Houston, it’s apparently safer for the homeless to go hungry than to get a meal that hasn’t been government certified.

Reason TV asks, what happened to the antiwar movement? It gives a serious look at the disappearance of a group that was so huge while Bush was President. Glenn Reynolds notes, they were useful idiots until they stopped being useful.

Charles Krauthammer:

Suppose someone – say, the president of United States – proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I’ve got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.

He’d be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare.

Some say that if spending $X saves us $Y down the road(where Y is greater than X), then the government should spend it. But ObamaCare is much more a behemoth than simply judicious spending on road repairs before they get much worse. The claim that repealing ObamaCare will cost us money is ridiculous for Krauthammer’s reason.  Amazing.

And finally:

How Willing Are We To Really Cut Spending

As I noted earlier, if we stay on the same course, budget-wise, in just 5 years the interest on our national debt will approach what we spend to defend the country.  This must be dealt with.

Yesterday, a White House commission put together by President Obama released a draft proposal to do just that.

The leaders of a White House commission laid out a sweeping proposal to cut the federal budget deficit by hundreds of billions a year by targeting sacrosanct areas of U.S. tax and spending policy, such as Social Security benefits, middle-class tax breaks and defense spending.

The preliminary plan in its current form would end or cap a wide range of breaks relied on by the middle class—including the deduction for home-mortgage interest. It would tax capital gains and dividends at the higher rates now levied on wage income. To compensate, one version of the plan would dramatically lower and simplify individual rates, to 9%, 15% and 24%.

For businesses, the controversial plan would significantly lower the corporate tax rate—from a current top rate of 35% to as low as 26%—but also eliminate a number of deductions. It would make permanent the research and development tax credit.

There’s much more; cutting $100 billion from defense, raising gas taxes, raising the Social Security retirement age, cutting federal work force by 10%, and others.  It’s quite a sweeping proposal, and it’ll call on the government and the people alike to share the burden.

But what will it wind up doing?

Overall, the plan would hold down the growth of the federal debt by roughly $3.8 trillion by 2020, or about half of the $7.7 trillion by which the debt would have otherwise grown by that year, according to commission staff. The current national debt is about $13.7 trillion.

The budget deficit, or the amount by which federal expenditures exceed revenues each year, was about $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2010, which ended on Sept. 30.

Even with all this, it’ll only cut the growth by half, with debt still rising by trillions every year.

This is where we find ourselves; overextended and really unable to do anything about it despite some Herculean efforts.  Our government has made so many promises that it can’t renege on, that the most we can hope for is "only" growing slower. Well, ya’ gotta’ start somewhere, and this is just a draft proposal.  But this is a good start.

Or is it?  How do other politicians see it?  (Warning: Easily anticipated reactions follow.)

Read the rest of this entry

Friday Link Wrap-up

Photonic computers, that use light rather than electrical signals to do the work, may actually be on the horizon.  This will be huge.  While it’s still a few years down the road, the number of years is in the single digits at this point.

Let’s be more like Europe!  "The UK’s tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer."  Even a little socialism can be a dangerous thing.  Exhibit A.

Obama supporters are "exhausted of defending" him.  If this turns into an exhaustion of voting for Democrats, House and Senate seats polling close now may yet be a big win for Republicans.  Obama only has himself to blame; supporters are not exhausted of defending "the mess" he inherited, they’re tired of defending his "accomplishments".  If you’ve lost Jon Stewart, you’ve lost a lot of folks who think he’s a news anchor.  (Which is, unfortunately, quite a lot of people.)

No, ACORN isn’t really dead, it’s just changed its name.  And it’s still breaking the law, so says federal investigators who are urging that the funding moratorium be made permanent.

Obama says the stimulus kept the recession from falling into a depression.  But economists are now saying that, technically, we came out of the recession in June, 2009.  That’s before the stimulus really kicked in.  We spent $800 billion on measures to save the economy from something it had recovered from on its own.  Under that guise, we got record- and precedent-setting debt. 

Which is why the Tea Party influence in the Republican party is so needed now, even if the GOP goes kicking and screaming.  (Click for a larger image.)

Chuck Asay cartoon

The Tea Party Parties

With two more Tea-Party-approved candidates winning their primary last night, most notably Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, the Tea Party groups are racking up an impressive number of wins over establishment Republicans than anyone ever thought possible.  That an upstart, grassroots effort like this could make such headway in such a short time is something I’ve not seen in my lifetime, as best I can tell.

That the Republican establishment is taking this so poorly is an indication of how much this was needed.  The party has decided that it’s more important to have an "R" after your name than to actually stand up for the party platform and philosophy.  Witness the spendthrift ways of a Republican Congress under a Republican President.  True, they didn’t hold a candle to the precedent-setting debt our current Democrat is sinking us into, but they gave up the mantle of fiscal responsibility when they abused their power.  They stopped being conservative and just wanted to be liked.

Well, we’re reaping the whirlwind that created. 

Instead, the Tea Party says that it isn’t that the Congress needs more politicians of a certain party, but more politicians of a certain responsibility.  They need to stop doing what doesn’t work (aka stimulus), stop ramming massive government takeovers down our throats (aka ObamaCare(tm)), and instead actually represent the people they’re supposed to be representing, and start dismantling this huge behemoth that has become a farce of the limited government model the Constitution permits.

Some say that the O’Donnell win last night mean Republicans won’t take back the Senate.  They’ve somehow made that the goal post and declare if it doesn’t happen that Republicans will somehow have failed.  Nuts to that.  The goal is more responsible government, and it’s not going to come about in a single election cycle.  Sure, O’Donnell may lose in November.  However, the message has been sent to the Republican establishment that conservatives are through pulling the lever for Republicans after hearing so many promises of being responsible, only for them to forget them as soon as they pass through the border of the Beltway.  This is a good message to send, and we’ve got to be in it for the long haul, and not be bothered by folks saying we failed if we don’t meet their expectations.

But here’s the thing.

If these Tea Partiers get to Washington and don’t do what they said they would — if this become more of the same — I half expect a third party to grow up out of this; an official Tea Party.  There is so much frustration at Washington politicians at this point that I can see it happening.  Articulating a vision that holds government to it’s Constitutional boundaries and not over-extending itself, while still meeting its obligations to the people is eminently possible.  It needs to be done, and if Republicans won’t do it, I think — I hope — someone else will

That’s the kind of hope and change I want to see.

Abortion Issue Update

A couple of encouraging pieces recently regarding the abortion issue in American and the world.  First, Ramesh Ponnuru notes that 2010 looks to be the Year of the Pro-Life Woman.  Having little to show for itself in Washington, DC, the pro-life movement is getting some allies.

Two pro-life women won Republican nominations for the Senate this week. A Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle, and the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina are running for the Senate from Nevada and California, respectively.

A third pro-life woman, Susana Martinez, became the party’s nominee for governor of New Mexico, and a fourth, Nikki Haley, a South Carolina state legislator, is expected to be a gubernatorial nominee in her state. If they win their primaries, Kelly Ayotte, the former attorney general of New Hampshire, and Jane Norton, the former lieutenant governor of Colorado, will also be pro-life Senate candidates in November.

None of these candidates is a single-issue pro-lifer. But these women have not been shy about discussing the issue, either. Neither Ms. Fiorina nor Ms. Haley would have been likely to get Ms. Palin’s endorsement — valuable in a Republican primary — without firmly opposing abortion. Likewise, Ms. Angle would not have been able to unite populist conservatives and beat the party establishment’s candidate had she been pro-choice.

Why this is happening is seemingly paradoxical, but read the whole thing for his excellent analysis.

In other news, the United Nations is having trouble forcing the issue overseas.  Seems its reasons for funding abortions worldwide has fallen apart under scrutiny\.

Deep divisions with top United Nations (UN) officials and abortion activists on one side and maternal health researchers on the other became public this week during the Women Deliver 2 conference in Washington DC.
The dispute threatens to derail hopes of raising $30B for family planning at international development conferences in the coming months. These include the Group of Eight summit this month and the UN High Level Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review in September.

The medical journal The Lancet published a study in April refuting UN research claiming 500,000+ annual maternal deaths has remained unchanged for decades. The new study put the figure at 342,900 with 60,000 of those from HIV/AIDS, and said the number has been declining since 1980.


Scientists flatly refused to back up the 20 year-old claim by UN agencies and activists that family planning improves maternal health. The Guttmacher Institute’s president, Sharon Camp, asked Murray whether his study’s finding linking declining global fertility rates to better maternal health supports the idea that more family planning will reduce maternal deaths. Murray replied that "there is no scientific way to prove that."

Scientists also undercut UN staff’s use of the world’s slow progress toward MDG 5 as a basis for urgent pleas for family planning funds. Boerma and Murray both said that its aim of reducing maternal deaths 75% by 2015 was unrealistic since it was not based upon "historical trends." The world would need an 8% annual drop, whereas 4% has been the best so far.

Downplaying the remarks, Guttmacher’s Camp defended a joint Guttmacher-UNFPA report which was based on the now discredited UN figures, and which calls for a doubling of family planning funds in order to reduce maternal deaths by 70%. Camp did not explain why the same amount of funding would be required for a smaller overall reduction.

Leftists have so much pull at the UN, and hence big (really big) government solutions have been all the rage.  It’s just that their appeal to science has pretty much failed.  Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop pushing their agenda, but it’s interesting to hear this from liberals who accuse conservatives of being anti-science.

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