Tag Archives: Politics

Greg Abbott and the Art of the Twitter Townhall

 

abbottTwitter is probably one of the best ways to make connections with people across the globe, but it’s hard to have a serious political conversation at 140 characters. Despite this limitation, politicians are using a Twitter Town Hall as a way to get their message across and interact with voters. It’s not a bad strategy, but depends on how it’s used and what questions get answered.

For most politicians it’s easier to answer questions from supporters. For one, it helps them expound on their agenda. It also allows them to see positive messages they can play off of. Best examples are probably President Obama’s #my2k town hall in 2012 and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine’s #AskTim town hall on July 16th and 17th. Simple questions, simple answers. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s #Randchat town hall with Reason had more positive questions than negative. But some of Paul’s answers were against the standard Republican answer and helped establish his libertarianism even more. Plus Paul actually talked policy, which not everyone is willing to do.

One of the more entertaining town halls was one given by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott is running for governor and used the #AskAbbott event to differentiate himself from Governor Rick Perry, especially on how contracts get handed out. He did a good job, but the best part was probably his willingness to take questions from Democrats, when they crashed the party. It’s not something politicians normally do, probably because they know the opposition isn’t going to be happy, regardless of the answers.

But Abbott was willing to play along, especially when Battleground Texas, an organization run by former Obama campaign members, stepped in. They first asked Abbott if he could speak Spanish, which didn’t get an answer. They decided to ask another one which, this time, Abbott answered.


Quick translation: Battleground Texas asked if Abbott could talk to the Latin community. Abbott said, in Spanish, his wife is Latina and he will be able to communicate to all voters. It’s a great response and pretty much shut Battleground Texas up for the night. But it shows how politicians on Twitter can respond without it disintegrating into a shouting match. It also shows a willingness to engage with people who don’t agree. Some questions aren’t worth answering because they’re either too snarky, too stupid or require an answer that’s far too nuanced for 140 characters. The nuanced answers are best for a one-on-one conversation or a column or a radio interview. But that’s Twitter.

There’s a big difference between what Abbott did and what politicians normally do. He talked to opponents without beating them over the head. Not everyone was happy, but that’s politics. It certainly beats the same ol’ questions and the same ol’ answers. If anyone still cares about that.

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge July 20th

sncl_logocdnWhen:Saturday, June 29th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: It’s time for another Saturday Night Cigar Lounge. This time Brandon Morse visits to talk Misfit Politics and #Merica. Plus an interview with Reason’s Shikha Dalmia on Detroit.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Misrepresenting The “Fetal Heartbeat” Texas Bill

Geoff Livingston (CC)

Geoff Livingston (CC)

 Certain parts of the Internet went started frothing at the mouth on Thursday and Friday over another Texas abortion bill. Think Progress wrote, Republicans were looking “criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.” Huffington Post wrote the glaring headline, “Six-Week Abortion Ban Introduced In Texas.” Salon said the bill would “face harsh criticism and fierce opposition from the thousands of Texans rallying against the Republican-controlled Legislature’s efforts to eliminate access to safe abortion care in the state.” Raw Story had a similar post.

 There are two problems with how House Bill 59 is being characterized:

  1. The bill won’t be debated this year: Republican State Representative Phil King released a statement saying there aren’t any hearings planned on the measure, and the bill won’t be considered until January 2015.

  2. The bill will probably never be law: The key text of the bill can be found in Section Two, where it says the subchapter can’t be enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade; a federal or state court restores, expands or clarifies the authority the states have on abortion; or an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed restoring, expanding or clarifying the authority the states have on abortion.

 The Supreme Court isn’t expected to decide on abortion ever again, and it’s unlikely a Constitutional amendment will ever be passed. To Think Progress and Salon’s credit, they have edited their stories to point out Section Two of the bill. HuffPost and Raw Story have not.

 Similar outrage happened with Texas House Bill 2, where opponents claimed all abortion would be banned after 20 weeks and almost all abortion clinics in Texas would have to close. However, Subsection 171.046 says abortion can be done if “in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment,” there is a condition that affects the woman’s health or the child has severe fetal abnormality. Section 11, part b gives clinics until September 2014 to meet the new standards or else they won’t be allowed to perform abortions.

 It’s understandable the abortion issue (and any social issue) causes a ton of emotion. But people need to be armed with the facts, before debating the merits of a particular bill or law. If they don’t, then there’s no point to any debate because it will only end in harsh words, hurt feelings and damaged relationships.

News v. Propaganda: The Danger of Losing a Check & Balance

As illustrated by today’s mainstream media, there is a very fine line between news reporting and the act of propagandizing. The aware understand that news reporting consists of the sometimes painful process of conveying the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of a story, while at the very same time expunging the reporter’s opinion and bias from the report. This is true reporting; this is true journalism.

Today, especially in the mainstream media — and beginning most often in the schools of journalism, aspiring reporters and established journalists alike routinely inject opinion, bias and emotion into their reporting. Intentionally or not, this is the blatant manipulation of the news; the manipulation of the consumer, the American citizen, through propaganda, be it special interest, ideological or government driven.

ForeignPolicy. com reports:

“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the US government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic US consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for US domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

“Until this month, a vast ocean of US programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq…

“A former US government source with knowledge of the BBG says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance US interests in more subtle ways.”

The need for the federal government to even have a “news generating” journalistic arm is questionable. News releases meant to inform the people on the actions, policies and concerns of the federal government are routinely issued; and issued for the free press — which holds First Amendment Rights so that it can dig into said statements to assure honesty and accountability — to relate to the American people. In reality (and this is predicated on a press that is not corrupted for ideological purposes), the government/media relationship is supposed to afford the public with a check and balance on governmental power.

When the federal government is able to create the news and then report on its own creation, there is no avenue for a check and balance. And when there is no avenue for a check and balance the atmosphere is ripe for the arrogance of power; when there is no avenue to hold the federal government accountable for the information they “issue” to the people, there is, inherently, a move to propagandize, even in the most innocent of ways.

Today, the Obama Administration has proven time and time again that its idea of “transparent government,” is anything but.

The Obama Administration’s idea of transparency in government requires those seeking accurate information to file multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, for Congress to issue subpoenas, and in some instances for Congress to even hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress for his refusal to be forthright and penchant to mislead.

Today, the National Security Agency gathers information on American citizens who have done nothing to warrant their Fourth Amendment Rights to be transgressed, while the Director of National Intelligence tells congressional committees that they do no such thing and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation exists clueless as to who is supposed to be investigating the matter.

Today, the Internal Revenue Service targets Conservative non-profit groups for audit based on their political beliefs, even as everyone involved in that corrupt and criminal process scurries from responsibility like rats leaving a sinking ship, doing so while the team leader of the “gang of hate” pleads her Fifth Amendment Right to avoid self-incrimination.

And now, on the eve of the holiday on which the entire country celebrates the anniversary of the most courageous act in the history of man; a quest for liberty against the world’s pre-eminent power of the age; an oppressive and totalitarian regime that stifled the rights and freedoms of its own people, we witness perhaps the second most radically ideological federal administration in American history — led by a man who stated publicly that he believes the Constitution of the United States is flawed, quietly unleashing the power of one of the most powerful propaganda machines in the world on its own people under the guise of transparency.

Maybe it’s just me, but questions come to mind where this revelation is concerned. With the mainstream media being so incredibly “in bed” with this administration, why would they need to have this propaganda effort? And, given that the mainstream media has been “carrying the water” for this elected group of radical ideologues (which in and of itself conjures up the images of Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and Putin), what can be so intricate, so important, so “it’s got to be just right” that they couldn’t trust their info-lackeys to deliver the message with fidelity?

My fellow Americans, I don’t know about you, but this simply doesn’t smell right. And with the current administrations record of clandestine activity — crafting legislation with the help of labor unions behind closed doors, myriad scandals that target the American people and political foes alike, and their overall distrust of the very people they were elected to serve — can we really be sure they can be trusted with such a potent “weapon”?

Perhaps we should ask the people of the former Soviet Union if this is a wise move. Perhaps, we should recall the warnings issued by the soon to be oppressed and slaughtered of pre-Hitler Germany.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to wake-up and call this administration on what it really is…

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge July 6th

sncl_logocdnWhen:Saturday, June 29th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Taylor is back in Texas and loving it. Tonight he’s joined by Ashley Sewell (@TXTrendyChick) to talk the sport that is Texas politics, the abortion bills, Wendy Davis and David Murphy from the Texas Rangers.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

As We Approach 237

As we approach Independence Day 2013, this might be a good time to take stock on the American experience: where we are, where we came from, what we are supposed to be and what we have become, collectively, as a country. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the United States of America has become something other than what our Founders and Framers would have envisioned. In fact, it could be argued that the “old white guys in wigs” would not only be shocked for what we have become, but for our apathy in allowing our country to become what it is.

Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying:

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”

Today, the United States federal government is so large and so intrusive that it not only employs 4.4 million people, but holds a national debt of over $16.8 trillion dollars. This does not address a $124.6 trillion unfunded liabilities mandate. These numbers appear shocking because they are shocking. And when one takes into consideration that each year the US federal government operates “in the red,” even though they glean $2.902 trillion in revenue from various sources (individual income tax being the primary source at $1.359 trillion), one can only conclude that the federal government has taken on the role of the arrogant spendthrift, and one that disavows Benjamin Franklin’s sentiment, “When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.”

But perhaps the whole of our modern American experience can be summed up in the end state of this quote by Thomas Jefferson:

“A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering…And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”

Taxation
In the formative days of our Great American Experiment, the Founders and Framers set up a federal government limited in its authority and scope. In fact, in the early days of our Republic the federal government operated almost completely on revenues gleaned from tariffs and trade. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that the “income tax” would come to be and even then, until the passage of the 19th Amendment, the constitutionality of the income tax was held in question.

Today, thanks to an inequitable tax system – the Progressive tax system – we have a populace that is purposefully divided into factions: one that pays federal taxes, another that avoids paying federal taxes, and yet another that believes the taxes collected are due them. In a land where everyone is supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law (read: government), we have allowed those who we elect to office to literally create a class system, through which they manipulate the citizenry for political gain and the retention of power.

Religion
To say that the United States of America was founded on deep-rooted desire for the individual to be free to practice the religion of his or her choosing is to understate the importance of the issue. Truth be told, the issue of religious freedom delivered pilgrims to American shores centuries before. The Founders and Framers, being deeply reverent men – much to the opposite of claims by the secularists of today – understood all too well the importance of not only freedom of religion (the natural law right to worship in the dogma of choice) but the idea of recognizing something larger than self where government was concerned. As our founding documents – the Charters of Freedom – are predicated on the understanding and acknowledgment of Natural Law (the acknowledgement of a Higher Power), it is only the intellectually dishonest who argue religion did not (and does not) play a significant role in the government of our Republic.

To wit, The Declaration of Independence states:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” (emphasis added)

Yet, today, military chaplains are forbidden from even displaying a Bible on their government issued desks for the ignorance of history served up at the hands of Progressive and secular activists.

Today, because of an activist Judicial Branch (and at the urging of Progressive and secular activists), the innocent notion of a separation of Church and State, which in its original intent was meant to reassure one denomination that another would not be placed above it in an establishment of a “national religion,” i.e. the Church of England, has been grotesquely distorted to require the ever-increasing banishment of all religious symbols from the public square. And at the same time, the federal government – in the form of ever-expanding entitlements – seeks to replace the Creator as the Alpha and the Omega for the American citizenry.

Law
At our country’s inception, the Judiciary – the Judicial Branch and all federal courts in its charge – was to administer federal law in the context of constitutionality. Was it constitutional or what is not? Or was the question reserved for the States and the judiciaries of those States, per the 10th Amendment?

Today, our entire legal system – federal as well as the lessers – is held hostage to a system of precedent law; Stare decisis et non quieta movere, a Latin term meaning “to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed.” This is understood to mean that courts should abide by decided precedent and not disturb settled matters, regardless of whether the decision was born of activism. If the judiciary produced judgments and opinions that had fidelity to the Constitution – as the Constitution mandates, then the notion of stare decisis would be a good thing. But those who serve in the Judiciary are equally subject to human intellectual infirmities as are those who serve in the Executive and Legislative Branches. Truth is, one decision based on ideologically; one activist decision, forever moves law away from the Constitution.

As Steven G. Calabresi, a professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and a visiting professor at Brown University, opined in a paper titled, Text vs. Precedent in Constitutional Law, published the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy:

“The argument…is that the doctrinalists are wrong in arguing for a strong theory of stare decisis for three reasons. First, there is nothing in the text, history, or original meaning of the Constitution that supports the doctrinalists’ strong theory of stare decisis. Second, the actual practice of the US Supreme Court is to not follow precedent, especially in important cases. In other words, precedent itself counsels against following precedent. And, third, a strong theory of stare decisis is a bad idea for policy reasons…

“Both textualism and originalism supply arguments as to why following precedent is wrong. As for the text, it is striking that there is not a word in the Constitution that says in any way that precedent trumps the text.”

Yet, decisions on issues from voting rights to life-ending procedures, social issues to mandatory health insurance are continuously based on precedent law, or stare decisis. And with each decision that bows to stare decisis, we move further away from fidelity to the Constitution.

Self-Reliance
At the founding of our nation, our citizenry was comprised on those who wanted the freedom to build, to create, to glean the benefits of their labors based on the effort with which they sought success. Pride was not the product of artificially installed self-esteem, but a humble condition of dignity, arrived at through determination, education – sometimes, or most times autodidactic – and perseverance. The United States was a nation of strong individuals, determined to embrace the freedom – the liberty, that the New World afforded them; a nation of people with a commonality based on self-reliance and a brotherhood born of the love of liberty and justice for all, not just the oligarchic few.

Today, our country has devolved into a socialistic nanny-state, complete with an entitlement faction that will very soon not only outnumber Ayn Rand’s “producers” but a faction that celebrates its gluttony; its piggish appetite for entitlement, even as they scheme to avoid the responsibility of maintaining the Republic; even as they demand more from a government whose seemingly sole purpose is to concoct new ways to extract wealth from those who produce. Today, 47% of the nation’s people do not pay federal income taxes. Today, 23 million households are dependent on food stamps. Today, nearly 49 percent of the citizenry lives in a household where at least one member receives a direct benefit from the federal government.

That those duly elected to office exploit this societal malady for purposes of maintaining power is tantamount to a betrayal of the very principles held by those who gifted us the exquisite beauty of liberty. I wonder, if the Founders and Framers could confront the elitist oligarchs of today’s American ruling class, would they be strong enough to do so with temperance?

On this, the 237th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, we would be wise to self-examine our national condition. Do we really want to be a nanny-state? Do we really want to admire a legal system that moves further away for the very basis for our freedom with each decision? Do we really want to support a government that increasingly steals from the producers to give to the dependent class of their own creation, and for purely ideological and politically motivated purposes? Do we want to be a nation that stands arrogantly in its belief that We the People – or They the Government – are the highest power to which we must answer, therefore abandoning our God-given right to acknowledge Natural Law?

In 1964, future president Ronald Reagan gave a speech titled, A Time for Choosing, in which he said:

“We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.

“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right….

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Today, my fellow Americans is Independence Day. Please, think about it.

Science Proves Leftists Are Wimpy

Obama voter prepares for the beach.

Obama voter prepares for the beach.

Sometimes a story just sounds too good to be true. A study published in Psychological Science has found that girly–men are more likely to support a cradle–to–grave welfare state and “share–the–wealth” economic policy than more robust male specimens. This sounds reasonable to me and the fact it appears the research wasn’t paid for by tax dollars is a bonus.

“Psychological scientists” Michael Bang Peterson, of Aarhus University in Denmark, and Daniel Sznycer, of the University of California, found that conservative or right wing beliefs are strongly correlated with physical strength.

The researchers studied bicep size, socio–economic status and political views from participants in the U.S., Argentina and Denmark. Selecting participants from the U.S. and Denmark is not surprising, since that’s where the researchers are based, but why Argentina? Juan Perón was a famous Argentine strongman, but his appellation had nothing to do with muscularity and everything to do with being authoritarian socialist.

One wonders how specific participants were selected and the interviews conducted. Possibly they visited gyms and offered to spot the weightlifters if they could ask questions between sets. It would have been interesting to eavesdrop on some of the conversations researchers had after removing the calipers from the bicep.

You certainly wouldn’t want to ask a politically sensitive question of someone who was benching 300 lbs.

According to the hypothesis established before the testing began, Dirty Harry should be a reliable Republican voter, while Napoleon Dynamite will be supporting Barack Obama until he can afford to hire a personal trainer and release his inner Tarzan.

But the data according to what the Mail Online reported didn’t support the hypothesis. “The data revealed that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to support redistribution, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to support it.” Had the hypothesis been accurate personal wealth should not have affected support for socialism as long their pecs were equally ripped.

Once the scientists stopped collecting data and started pumping up the results, they proved they know more about the motivation for feeling the burn than they do about the desire to “share the wealth.”

Professor Petersen concluded, “‘Our results demonstrate that physically weak males are more reluctant than physically strong males to assert their self-interest – just as if disputes over national policies were a matter of direct physical confrontation among small numbers of individuals, rather than abstract electoral dynamics among millions.”

That conclusion gets it exactly backwards and leads me to believe the Peterson and Snzycer need more work in the gym. When “weak males” support “share–the–wealth” politicians the weaklings realize they are too feeble to make it on their own. So instead they support policies that encourage the government — which hires those buff IRS collectors — to do the strong-arm stuff for them. Force those who have made it on their own to, in the words of our socialist–in–chief, “spread the wealth around.”

This goes a long way to explain why male art history majors are such strong Democrat supporters.

The only disappointing information contained in the study applied to women. There was no link between upper body strength and conservative views among the fairer sex.

They only question left unanswered is: Do women, regardless of their own strength, who prefer strong men also prefer conservative economics?

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge June 29th

When:Saturday, June 29th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Taylor is finishing up his move to Texas so Sean Venkman from Real Deal Talk Radio fills in. Big thanks to Sean for doing it and Taylor is planning on calling in.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 

There’s No Such Thing as a Slight Sense of Entitlement

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia's champion.

BOOST: Breakfast of Virginia’s champion.

We’ve all seen photos of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Particularly last year when he was being mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick on the Romney ticket. He would be beaming, with a large, toothy smile, looking well groomed and squeaky clean. And no wonder, this wholesome image was the product of a group effort, since the governor relies on Virginia taxpayers to keep him smelling fresh.

According to Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post, the McDonnell family has used its government–supplied credit card much like the GSA uses its card. Billing the taxpayers for “body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system detox cleanse.”*

It takes a man with high self–esteem to bill the taxpayer for his weekly dose of Colon Blow, knowing the information is only an FOIA request from the public domain, to say nothing of opposition researchers. But at the same time it’s comforting to know there are no blockages, legislative or otherwise in the governor’s mansion.

And really, who wants a first family with that bloated feeling?

Virginia’s governor is the fifth–best paid in the country, earning $175,000 a year in addition to a “free mansion, food, personal chef, maids and one of nation’s few state-funded butlers,” so it’s somewhat startling to learn our governor is only a taxpayer–funded credit card purchase away from offending.

McDonnell makes almost three times the median income in Virginia ($63,302 a year) yet still expects the rednecks to spring for his body wash. I suppose it would reflect poorly on the state as a whole if none of the other governors wanted to stand next to him in a group photo, but I draw the line at raising his kids, too.

The McDonnells “used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.”

Maybe it’s just me but I thought it was illegal for someone too young to have her own driver’s license to get married in Virginia, so Cailin ought to be able to get her own wedding dress. On the other hand, taxpayers should feel grateful they only had to cover the gas and employee time for the wedding. Jonnie R. Williams Sr. — who became the governor’s new BFF shortly after the inauguration — had to pony up $15,000.00 to cover the wedding’s catering bill.

The taxpayer’s incidentals tab also included “dry-cleaning the twin sons’ suits and shirts, repairing the first lady’s shoes and putting new shoulder pads into an item of her clothing. The McDonnells billed their energy drinks, body wash, deodorant and breath-freshening strips to the state as well.”

Six months into the governor’s first and only term a state employee not intimidated by the first family’s remarkably fresh breath and bouncy attitude attempted to reign in the credit card spree. She pointed out the McDonnells should use some of their 175,000 simoleons to buy their own deodorant, shoe repairs and children’s dry–cleaning. Taxpayers also should not be on the hook for clothing alterations, dry-cleaning for other family members, deodorant or body wash, pet food or treats, or food for non-family meals or non-state functions.

What the state will pay for is bad enough. The memo is very specific and one wonders why it took an auditor to point this out to the first family. Dry-cleaning for the governor and first lady is covered and “toilet paper, mouthwash, bar soap.” Which seems reasonable, I don’t begrudge tourists the use of toilet paper and soap in our highway rest stops, so stocking those supplies in the governor’s mansion makes sense. The same goes for cleaning supplies to keep the mansion spiffy and food in the kitchen for functions of state and family meals.

But the admonition didn’t take. “The McDonnells have continued to let taxpayers pick up the tab for numerous personal items, including vitamins, nasal spray and sleep-inducing elixirs.” “Sleep–inducing elixirs” sounds a lot like booze to me, but maybe it was Nyquil.

And to prove there is no such thing as a slight sense of entitlement, the governor argued that taxpayers should be paying for his energy drinks. His chief of staff, Martin Kent overruled the auditors and declared with some umbrage that, “While other governors and spouses may have had bacon and eggs, or cereal, or etc for breakfast, Governor McDonnell drinks Boost every morning, and the First Lady has a 5-Hour energy and/or a Boost. That is their breakfast. And that is why those items are covered, just like breakfast is covered for EVERY Governor and First Lady.”

I don’t know about you, but just reading that reminds me of one of those awkward times where I’m an unwilling witness to an argument between a Wal–Mart cashier and a SNAP program participant who’s arguing that Twizzlers and YooHoo should be covered by food stamps.

It’s easy for conservatives to be uncharitable when thinking about welfare recipients and wonder why don’t they have a little pride and get a job? But the same question is applicable here: You’re making $175,000 a year with a free house, maid and transportation yet you quibble about paying for your own energy drink?

In 2011 McDonnell made a good speech at the CPAC conference where he described what an honor it was to work in the same office once occupied by Thomas Jefferson.  Something tells me no future Virginia governor will publically discuss what an honor it is to have breakfast in the same kitchen where Bob McDonnell chugged his morning Boost.

*(Note: any material in quotes, and not otherwise attributed, comes from Ms. Vozella’s excellent reporting.)

Hong Kong Responds To US Over Snowden

edward_snowdenThe government of Hong Kong has told the US it wasn’t going to stop Edward Snowden from leaving the country. From their statement, “Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

Basically, they gave the US (and the Obama Administration) the finger.

Edward Snowden Heads To Russia

edward_snowden

Update: BBC says Snowden is IN Russia.

The South China Morning Post is now reporting Edward Snowden is on his way to Moscow. No idea if this is true, but the SCMP is one of the few papers to actually talk to Snowden while he’s been holed up in Hong Kong. The Obama Administration was trying to get Snowden extradited to the US to face espionage charges, but now that could be all tossed away. Snowden isn’t expected to stay in Russia by the way, he’s supposed to be off to Iceland or Ecuador.

Of course, if Snowden is on his way to Moscow, let’s see how the US-Russia relations are doing. Ever since “flexibility,” of course.

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor June 15th 2013

sncl_logocdnWhen:Saturday, June 15th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Big, big week this week and we talk to Jackie Bodnar from FreedomWorks about it. Is Edward Snowden a hero, traitor or both? Is the US lying about what the NSA program goes? Are the companies allegedly tied to it doing the same thing?

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 

 

 


Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor June 8th

sncl_logocdnWhen:Saturday, June 8th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Matt K Lewis from the Daily Caller and The Week talks with Taylor about his article on reforming conservatism. Also Taylor and Liz talk NSA and whatever else comes to mind.

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The Crimes of An Ideological Agenda

“Let us disappoint the men who are raising themselves upon the ruin of this Country.”
— John Adams

The number of scandals involving the encroachment of the Obama Administration into – and onto – the constitutional rights of American citizens is beyond stunning. And it is without question criminal in many cases. But with an Attorney General seated who – as a practice – routinely tries to manipulate the limits of the law to affect an ideological agenda, and a federal “classification system” that keeps those elected to represent us in Congress from bringing issues of government instituted malfeasance to light, what recourse is left the American citizen?

These encroachments against the United States Constitution are the product of over one-hundred years of Progressive political advances in the area of government. Put succinctly, two of the founding principles of the Progressive Movement; two of the “givens” held in understanding by each and every Progressive, are that: a) Progressives are enlightened; intellectually superior to the masses; and, b) that through centralized government, Progressives can help the masses help themselves to a better life, regardless of whether they want it or not. Once these two facts are understood, you can begin to understand some of the declarations made by Mr. Obama and his spokespeople about the many scandals – or what We the People perceive to be scandals – surrounding the Obama Administration.

According to R.J. Pestritto, the Charles & Lucia Shipley Chair in the American Constitution at Hillsdale College and author of American Progressivism, ““America’s original Progressives were also its original, big-government liberals.”

Jonah Goldberg writes of Pestritto’s examination of the Progressive Movement in Liberal Fascism:

“They set the stage for the New Deal principles of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who cited the progressives – especially Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson – as the major influences on his ideas about government. The progressives, Pestritto says, wanted ‘a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government, from a government permanently dedicated to securing individual liberty to one whose ends and scope would change to take on any and all social and economic ills.’

“In the progressive worldview, the proper role of government was not to confine itself to regulating a limited range of human activities as the founders had stipulated, but rather to inject itself into whatever realms the times seemed to demand.

“…progressives called for a more activist government whose regulation of people’s lives was properly determined not by the outdated words of an anachronistic Constitution, but by whatever the American people seemed to need at any given time.

“This perspective dovetailed with the progressives’ notion of an ‘evolving’ or ‘living’ government, which, like all living beings, could rightfully be expected to grow and to adapt to changing circumstances. Similarly, progressives also coined the term ‘living Constitution,’ connoting the idea that the US Constitution is a malleable document with no permanent guiding principles — a document that must, of necessity, change with the times.”

On the subject of the Obama “scandals” the key words here are “…progressives called for a more activist government whose regulation of people’s lives” and “…whatever the American people seemed to need at any given time.”

In each of the perceived scandals, the Progressives of the Obama Administration justify their actions through those eyes. They see the situations as being too complex for the average American to understand, too emotionally disturbing for them to fathom; the need for constitutional transgression in their quest for the “fundamental transformation” of America too great. And so they deceive their political opposition – and the American public – about their actions, reasons, intentions and goals.

This understood, it is easy to see why, after myriad transgressions against the Constitution and the mission of the Justice Department itself, Mr. Obama declares that he still has “confidence” in Eric Holder. He needs Eric Holder in the senior-most law enforcement position so that he can unilaterally achieve his Progressive agenda through a totalitarian Executive Branch; so he can achieve the “fundamental transformation” of our country through, Executive Order and regulation, especially regulation – legislation through regulation.

It is for this reason – unilateral fundamental transformation – that Progressives have sought to grow our federal government to its current behemoth size; a bureaucratic labyrinth filled with “career” public servants (an oxymoron?) and interminable political appointees whose entire existence is to move the American political center incrementally to the Left; a task they have been achieving with regularity since the days of Wilson and Roosevelt.

It is for this particular reason – it is for this particular governmental mechanism: the bureaucracy – that Mr. Obama will not be directly linked to any of these so-called scandals (scandals in the eyes of all those who revere the Constitution and the rule of law, yes, but not as much to Progressives). The entire Progressive Movement has culminated in this moment in time. They truly believe it is their time. Progressives believe that because they have achieved a twice elected hyper-Progressive president – disregarding the retention of the US House of Representatives by Republicans and ignoring the many governorships that went “Red” last election – that they have a mandate, not for Mr. Obama’s “programs,” but for the complete transformation of our governmental system from that of a Constitutional Republic to a Socialist Democracy based on the now failed models of Europe.

In each scandal there is a bureaucratic figurehead that insulates Mr. Obama from direct responsibility. In the IRS scandal we have Lois Lerner and Douglas Schulman. In the Fast & Furious and AP/FOX scandal there is Eric Holder. In Benghazi there were Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton…and dead men tell no tales. In each instance, Mr. Obama has a dedicated and loyal “useful idiot” who will fall on his/her sword for the “good of the movement.” It is assumed they will, just as it was assumed they would execute their actions of transgressions against the Constitution and liberty itself, with fidelity to “the cause” and without a direct order ever being given.

As We the People watch the “scandals” of the Obama reign unfold, we need to understand that even though Progressives believe this is “their time,” it would have been “their time” regardless of who was in the White House. Was it easier to execute with the first “Black” president in the White House, someone whose constitutionally destructive actions Progressives could defend with a claim of “racism” toward his detractors? Sure, it made it easier, but it would have happened anyway, and it would have happened because of two reasons: a) the public has become apathetic towards their duty to be accurately informed and engaged, and b) the bureaucracy was in place.

Unless We the People insist on the decentralization of government, a viciously executed reduction in the size of the federal government and a radical transformation of the federal tax code to a limited flat tax, FAIR tax or consumption tax, nothing will change with the 2016 elections, regardless of which party captures the White House and holds sway in Congress. Our country – our Constitutional Republic – will continue to be “nudged” to the Left; continue to be fundamentally transformed away from liberty and self-reliance and toward servitude and dependence.

Barack Obama was correct about one thing all those years back in 2008, our nation – the United States of America – is in need of fundamental transformation. That transformation, though, needs to be from a culture of bureaucratic elitism in a centralized government where no one is able to be held accountable, to a nation dedicated to justice for all and the rule of law under the constraints of the United States Constitution.

Or, as John Adams so eloquently wrote in Novanglus Essay, No. 7:

“[Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington] define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.”

We, my fellow Americans, are a Republic and not a Democracy, for precisely that reason.

The Government Will Now Compel Your Spit To “Bear Witness Against” You

 Swab DNA Now

The United States Supreme Court has taken away your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate and “bear witness” against yourself. The government has been given the right to “compel” your DNA to “indict” you without a “Grand Jury”—even if the arrest is a minor charge!

If you think violent criminals receiving more protection than victims is insane, that’s nothing compared to what the high court has done to citizens—again.

The Supreme Court’s latest 5-4 ruling on Maryland v King, or as I prefer to label the ruling: “Abusive Encroachment of Power by the Government Over the People,” has further violated innocent, law-abiding citizens by giving police power to contravene the Fifth, as well as the Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth by swabbing the mouths of every arrested American—no matter the reason—for DNA samples that will enter national databank records.

1984

According to Justice Kennedy–never trust anyone with that last name– the ruling allows police to swab violent criminal’s mouths, i.e. rapists and murders such as Alonzo Jay King of Maryland, who’s DNA matched that of a rape victim.

King is a violent criminal, but the court ruling does not protect the public from violent thugs like King.

Not according to Justice Kennedy:

The advent of DNA technology is one of the most significant scientific advancements of our era. The full potential for use of genetic markers in medicine and science is still being explored, but the utility of DNA identification in the criminal justice system is already undisputed. Since the first use of forensic DNA analysis to catch a rapist and murderer in England in 1986…law enforcement, the defense bar, and the courts have acknowledged DNA testing’s ‘unparalleled ability both to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to identify the guilty.’ It has the potential to significantly improve both the criminal justice system and police investigative practices.

 

Yes, DNA testing has saved the lives of falsely accused and matched DNA to victims. But technology used in violent criminal cases must never invade the lives of private citizens without just cause. Monday’s ruling will flow further into states, giving police power to swab the mouths of all arrested citizens, on any charge, including non-violent crimes.

Justice Kennedy’s statement about DNA collecting is a sham. Yet Kennedy insists:

The Act also limits the information added to a DNA database and how it may be used. Specifically, “[o]nly DNA records that directly relate to the identification of individuals shall be collected and stored.” No purpose other than identification is permissible: “A person may not willfully test a DNA sample for information that does not relate to the identification of indi-viduals as specified in this subtitle.” Tests for familial matches are also prohibited.  (“A person may not perform a search of the statewide DNA data base for the purpose of identification of an offender in connection with a crime for which the offender may be a biological relative of the individual from whom the DNA sample was acquired”). The officers involved in taking and analyzing respondent’s DNA sample complied with the Act in all respects.

 

With all due respect your Honor, once DNA is placed into national databanks, the government will assume the right to do as it wishes with our identification. And Kennedy admits:  “All 50 States require the collection of DNA from felony convicts,” so this latest ruling is just another way to monitor citizens.

Person of Interest

Americans no longer have privacy.


Police state

To make the violation sound respectful, Kennedy claims swabbing won’t violate the Fourth, because it’s not as invasive as a blood test: “A buccal swab is a far more gentle process than a venipuncture to draw blood. It involves but a light touch on the inside of the cheek.”

That’s akin to a dentist telling patients that having every tooth extracted will prevent the possibility of one ever having to endure painful gum disease.

Justice Kennedy audaciously claims DNA swabbing is equal to “fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

Swab Squad

Excuse me Justice, but no it’s not. When I was born, I was foot and finger printed, as are all Americans. My birth certificate records those prints. My mother adores “those sweet little feet” on that certificate. My driver’s license has my photograph—I dare any cop to show that photo to the public and the country will witness a swabbing like it’s never seen! When I came of age, I acquired a Social Security Card. I have school records (I wish I could pull an Obama with my math records!) from kindergarten through college—with more unattractive photos, depending on the year and stage of life— tracking my whereabouts for decades.

The only swabbing record is at my OBGYN, a place the government never wants to enter unless is desires to experience the full-force pain of labor!

So give me a break Justice Kennedy! I’m recorded, processed, filed, photographed, licensed, and documented. How much more does the government need; my blood? No, it wants my DNA if I’m ever arrested for something absurd.

I’m only a threat to my fellow fashion occultists when the hoard of us maneuver into clothing and shoe tug-of-war combat aggression at designer sample sales in New York City. We fashionaholics swab the floor with each other over high end one-of-a-kind luxury pieces of clothing. No cop has ever had the guts to get in the middle of that!

Seriously, it’s bad enough public schools now scan children’s irises without parental consent to monitor school children.

Iris and cameras

How far will America go with Soviet-style tactics against free born citizens?

Scalia answered that question:  

The Court disguises the vast (and scary) scope of its holding by promising a limitation it cannot deliver…The Court repeatedly says that DNA testing, and entry into a national DNA registry, will not befall thee and me, dear reader, but only those arrested for ‘serious offense[s]…’ At the end of the day, logic will out. When there comes before us the taking of DNA from an arrestee for a traffic violation, the Court will predictably (and quite rightly) say, ‘We can find no significant difference between this case and King.’ Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason…Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the ‘identity’ of the flying public), applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school. Perhaps the construction of such a genetic panopticon is wise. But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection. I therefore dissent, and hope that today’s incursion upon the Fourth Amendment, like an earlier one will someday be repudiated.

 

This court ruling completely violates the Bill of Rights. The moment any individual’s mouth is swabbed, they lose their rights to the Fifth. Refusal to speak is useless when police can compel your DNA to speak against you, no matter what you do or don’t do, for the rest of your life!

Justice Scalia notes: “Americans despised the British use of so-called ‘general warrants,’” so Americans framed the Constitution with a Bill of Rights to protect us against unreasonable arrests.

We the People

Let’s face facts Americans: Swabbing the mouths of all arrested citizens turns America into a “Logan’s Run” society of monitored people.

irs flag

Welcome to America’s version of the KGB. Now please, open your mouth and spit.

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