Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama and the Democrats' "Gay Problem"

The Problem: The gay community is (pick one: annoyed, frustrated, outraged) at the slow pace of the Obama administration in delivering on campaign promises. The only serious legal challenge to DADT is being waged by the Log Cabin Republicans, and the Obama Justice Department is defending DADT in homophobic language. If the Log Cabin wins, the Republicans can make legitimate inroads into the formerly-solidly Democratic gay community. If they lose, the Obama administration will be blamed. Either way, Obama and the Democrats LOSE.

So...My Prediction:

1) Obama proposes a Freeze on federal spending.

2) Obama cuts a deal with the Pentagon that he will exempt the Defense budget from that freeze, if they will accept DADT.

3) Pentagon generals lukewarmly support DADT at Congressional hearings.

4) DADT repeal is embedded in the Defense budget. Conservative Republicans dont like to oppose defense budgets. Liberal Democrats see a way to end DADT. Differences in the Defense budget can be reconciled by the House-Senate Conference Committee, and passed by a simple majority, thus thwarting GOP efforts to filibuster now that Scott Brown is "the Forty-First."

5) With DADT repealed, the Federal Courts must throw out the lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans against DADT as it is now moot.

6) Obama claims that he and the Dems have saved the day for the GLBT community.

7) Obama then back tracks with Fundamentalists and reiterates his support for DOMA and for the idea that marriage should be reserved for "one-man-one-woman."

8) Gay Activists applaud Obama for ending DADT, dismiss the GOP, and ask the gay grass roots to "give Obama time" on DOMA. Gay money and votes continue to flow to the Democrats in lemming-like fashion.

Anyone wanna place bets?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

END DON'T ASK DON'T TELL NOW! Republicans, are you LISTENING!?!?!

"Last night, the president repeated his campaign commitment to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell as part of his State of the Union address. While the President promised that DADT would come to an end 'this year,' he did not provide specifics – and the White House still has not released a plan to kill it. That's unacceptable. I served in the Army for a decade under Don't Ask, Don't Tell – an immoral policy that forces American soldiers to lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception. As I learned at West Point, deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force. That's why I feel strongly that America can't afford to allow this policy to continue one day longer. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now.” – Lt. Dan Choi, who is fighting his military discharge through the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, writing for the Courage Campaign’s “Don’t Wait, Don’t Delay” petition to President Obama

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Senator, I meant Scott.....Brown

Scott Brown, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in nearly four decades, at his Vistory Speech: "And just in case, to anybody who is watching throughout the country, yes, they're both available. ...Only kidding, only kidding...Arianna's definitely not available, but Ayla is..."

Lot, on speaking to the crowd gathered outside his home in Sodom: "Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." (Genesis 19:6-8, New International Version)

What the hell was Scott Brown thinking to publicly embarrass his daughters like that?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting the Message, Fellow Republicans?

(Cindy McCain, left, and Meghan McCain, right)
Margaret Hoover, Fox News Commentator and grandaughter of GOP President Herbert Hoover: Some Republicans support gay rights, but prefer progress through legislative action or majority rule at the ballot box, rather than judicial action. But what if a democratic election imposes mandates that violate a citizen’s constitutional freedom? In the event that majority rule insufficiently protects individual liberty, our system of checks and balances puts forth that it is the role of the courts, to guarantee and protect the rights to individual Americans.

That’s why the Supreme Court, in 1967 Loving v. Virginia, legalized interracial marriage –six years after our current president was born to an interracial couple. At that time 73% of the population opposed “miscegenation.” How long would it have taken to change popular opinion, for the minority to democratically win their constitutional rights? As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously asserted, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

For those of you who would label me a "RINO" (Republican In Name Only) for taking this stand, I direct you to Vice President Cheney, whose conservative credentials are impeccable, and who answered a question on the topic before the National Press Club audience on June 1, 2009 by saying simply, “…freedom means freedom for everyone.”

Please visit Facebook page Republicans for Marriage Equality and American Equal Rights Foundation to follow the details of the trial.

Steve Schmidt, McCain's Chief Campaign Strategist: "I'm personally supportive of [marriage] equality for gay couples and I believe that it will happen over time. I think that more and more Americans are insistent that, at a minimum, gay couples should be treated with respect and when they see a political party trying to stigmatize a group of people who are hardworking, who play by the rules, who raise decent families, they're troubled by it.

I think the Republican Party should not be seen by a broad majority of the electorate as focused with singularity on issues like gay marriage. The attitudes of voters about gay marriage and about domestic partnership benefits for gay couples are changing very rapidly and for voters under the age of 30, they are completely disconnected from what has been Republican orthodoxy on these issues.

Any campaign that would go out and try to demonize people on the basis of their sexual orientation is abhorrent and I suspect that that campaign would be rejected."

Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders: "I could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people that they were unequal . . . I couldn't look them in the face and tell them their relationships were any less meaningful than the relationship I shared with my wife."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Government Arrogance...

When teaching theories of "Government Failure" (ie, why Government action is almost always less efficient than private action) in my Macroeconomics classes, one of the eye-opening features of these classes to most students is that it doesnt matter which political party is in power. Government doesn't get better based on whether your President or Governor or Senator is Republican, or Democrat, or Liberal, or Conservative. Government failure - and its arrogance - is the Nature of the Beast, regardless of who is in power.

Government arrogance tells a single mom struggling on welfare to sit down and wait her turn in a dehumanizing box of a room to get her check. Government arrogance insists that she be subjected to a surprise drug test, just to reinforce her self-image as sub-human. Liberals call the former 'compassion;' Conservatives call the latter "responsibility." Regular People without a political agenda see both for what it is - arrogance.

A newly unemployed (and newly uninsured) HIV-positive man is directed to the local government-created AIDS Service Agency ("ASO") for approval in order to get his next dose of medications ($3,000/month) through the State Program. But if the ASO determines that he is not 'supportive' of the agency's illegal and unethical financial transactions, he is rejected. And if he applies to the State directly for help, he is told to wait for processing - even though missing a single dose may render that medication ineffective for the rest of his life. Liberals see this as compassionately covering people with public insurance; conservatives just complain about the money being spent. But the Pharamcist - a "regular person," a human being, slips the man some pills without charge to carry him over until the bureaucracy moves on his application.

A family facing Thanksgiving with an oil tank on empty and an outside thermometer reading of 20 degrees pleads with the local "Community Services Agency" for emergency fuel assistance. They are told there is an "intake appointment" available six weesk down the road. Liberals see this as the "social safety net;" conservatives are harshly unmoved by their plight.

Government responds to human crises in New Orleans and Haiti after "assessing damage" and "securing the area," while days pass by and critical hours - and lives - are lost. Liberals and Conservatives both refer to this as "Planning," both actually believing in the Super-smartness of people once they are hired by government, and both skeptical of the inherent strength and ingenuity of 'mere people' to help in their own rescue. Meanwhile, neighbors help neighbors as The Experts "plan" the rescue effort.

Homeless people, previously living in tents on the outskirts of town, set up some plywood walls and get themselves a heater to stay warm in the winter. Government Arrogance requires that they meet building codes, but has no available beds for them if they are shut down. Private individuals raise the money and secure a rental storefront to provide spite of government sputtering about the need to "license" such facilities.

A police officer, quite impressed with her power to pull over someone with a headlight out, detains a man and his daughter for an hour as she runs reports and harasses both of them. She lies about a supposed "Restraint Order" in her computer records on the man (later proved false by the State Police), which supposedly turned up on a routine drivers license check (later contradicted by the State Police), and pulls the daughter out of the car, questioning and asking her to prove she really *is* the man's daughter. Oh, yes, the man and his daughter are of different races...and a criminal justice expert will later remark, "Oh, they figured you were pimping her..."

Real Stories. Recent stories. Stories with which I have first-hand experience. Stories of government arrogance...arrogance exhibited by both Republicans and Democrats, by both Conservatives and Liberals in their over-bearing partisanship and insistence on their own righteousness in how to impose help on the masses.

Pundits wonder how true-blue Massachusetts could possibly be rejecting Democrat Martha Coakley for conservative Republican Scott Brown. They wonder how a health care bill - a promise that helped catapult Obama to the Presidency - can be so opposed in even the most liberal areas of the country.


A Governor insisting on appointing Kennedy's replacement rather than follow the existing law requiring an election. A President insisting on Christmas Eve and midnight votes on a 2,000 page bill that most congressmen admit to not having read. Congressional insistence that every American be required to purchase health insurance from a private company, all while prohibiting non-profits from forming to provide insurance. Military insistence that while straight soldiers can sow their oats while on leave and receive free STD treatments afterwards, decorated, monogamous, partnered gay military members must remain closeted or face ejection and loss of pensions. A New Hampshire state legislative committee deciding to ban self-defensive weapons from state property, in spite of the entire legislature saying otherwise.

Government Arrogance. People are tired of it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief

Yele Haiti: Haitian musician Wyclef Jean urges people on his Twitter account to help in the Haiti disaster relief effort by texting "Yele" to 501501. This donates $5to the Yele Haiti Foundation, automatically charged to your cell phone bill. This can be done online also, but his server is being overwhelemd and the text message works best. You will receive a confirmation text.

Doctors Without Borders:

Habitat for Humanity [note: After Hurrican Katrina, HFH organized teams from all over the USA to go on short-term trips to New Orleans to rebuild. I would not be surprised if that same opportunity becomes available over the year(s) ahead in Haiti]:

For links to the US State Dept, The Red Cross, the William J. Clinton Foundation, Mercy Corps, UNICEF, Food for the Hungry, The Salvation Army, Partners in Health, World Food Programme, CARE, Americare, Samaritans Purse, Operation Blessing, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam AMerica, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, World Relief and Hope for Haiti:

American Jewish World Service:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Employment improvement? I hate to say "I told you so," but...

Todays Washington Post reports:

"...The job market remained in a deep funk in December, according to a government report Friday showing that employers view the economic recovery as too weak and too fragile to begin hiring again on any large scale.

The pace of layoffs has slowed sharply in recent months, but businesses still cut 85,000 net jobs in December, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 10 percent, but economists suspect this is only because hundreds of thousands of frustrated workers stopped looking for jobs..."

This, in spite, of the Obama administration and clueless reporters cheering the November figures, which suggested that Unemployment fell from 10.2% to 10%, thus signalling "The Recovery."

We immediately commented, on Dec 5:

"...Of those who found employment, 55% found employment in Temp Hiring Agencies. In other words, these are temporary positions. It does not reflect a new confidence on the part of business calling back workers or expanding; rather it reflects the continued fear that businesses have and their reluctance to hire..." The Christmas season is over, and these Temp jobs are ending.

As far back as August 8th, we warned,

"The Unemployment rate is the percent of Americans who are out of work AND ACTIVELY SEEKING work. After 18 months of recession, many Americans have given up for the time being. They have adjusted to life at home, or life off the books, or a single-income in a formerly two-wage earner home. Accordingly, they are no longer considered in the work force, and no longer counted in the Unemployment figures. So, if there are 100 people in the 'labor force,' and 10 are out of work, that's a 10% Unemployment rate. If 5 of those people out of work give up looking, the Unemployment rate is calculated to be 5 unemployed out of 95 in the labor force, which is only a 5.2% rate. Voila! A lowered rate - even though the same number of people are out of work. Similarly, the homeless - which have grown under the foreclosure spate in the last 18 months - are *NOT* considered "Unemployed" because they are no longer considered in the Labor Force. When they lost their job, they were unemployed. When they lost their home and began life in their cars or on the street, they were magically removed from the Unemployment figures..."


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Thoughts on "Security"

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the federal government began a series of ever-increasing security changes in the screening of airline passengers to prevent future terrorist attacks. These changes all view passengers (more than 99.9% of whom are law-abiding airline customers) as potential 'problems;' thus, in an effort to increase 'safety,' passengers are searched and substances ranging from nail files to shampoo bottles are prohibited.

Of course, none of that prevented Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber," from attempting to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 on Dec 22, 2001 using plastic explosives hidden in a hollowed out shoe.

True to form, the government's response was to require passengers to remove their shoes and put them through the x-ray machines. Subsequent changes prohibited liquids on board.

And so, on Christmas Day 2010, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Northwest Flight 253with powdered explosives in his underwear. No liquids, no hollow shoes.

The response? The feds now believe that full-body x-rays machines, that will enable them to look into underwear, will fix this 'loophole.' Of course, the machine is unable to look through skin into body cavities....anyone want to guess how the next terrorist will hide their explosives? (Remember, these are *suicide* bombers).

It is instructive to note the similarities between the incidents surrounding Richard "Shoebomber" Reid, Umar "Christmas Bomber" Abdulmutallab, and even United Airlines Flight 93 on the day of the 9/11 attacks:

Government Security measures were unable to prevent the attacks. 100% safety will never be possible - not in the real world. Each time a new security measure is used, would-be terrorists will simply use a different ploy. Obama's 'tightening' of security on flights originating in a list of 14 nations is doomed to failure, as terrorists simply set up bases, obtain passports, and choose to depart from nations not on that list.

But there is a more important similarity between these events:

Flight 93 missed its Washington target because passengers took action and subdued the terrorists.

Richard Reid's plot failed because passengers subdued him and bound him with seatbelt extensions and headphone cords, and a doctor on the flight plied him with valium.

Umar Abdulmutallab failed because a passenger subdued him.

And in the midst of this, while pilots are asking to be armed, the Obama administration is defunding and downplaying the need and right of airline personnel and passengers to defend themselves. Passengers, Pilots, and Airline staff are not the problem: they are the solution.

In a related hair-brained, half-thought-through action, The Joint Facilities committee of the New Hampshire House just passed by an 8-3 vote (party lines) the following regulation:

"No person, except for law enforcement personnel in active duty, shall carry a firearm or other dangerous or deadly weapon or an explosive, openly or concealed, while inside the State House, the Legislative Office Building, the Upham Walker House, or any of the underground tunnels connected to these buildings. Law enforcement personnel, when requested by State House security staff, must produce sufficient identification establishing their status as law enforcement personnel."

In other words, every would-be terrorist or nut job is now on notice that the 400+ legislators at the State House, as well the staff, is now defenseless. Once again, this turns reality on its head: an armed citizenry is the answer, not the problem! It is a rule that the full legislature should overturn immediately.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Top 10 Obama Disasters

Libertarians release top 10 disasters of 2009 Obama administration (Note similarities to previous administration

Top 10 disasters of the 2009 Obama administration (in no particular order):

1. Cash for Clunkers
2. War escalation in Afghanistan
3. Giant government health care expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus package
6. Expansion of "state secrets" doctrine
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Geithner as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits

Top 10 disasters of the 2001-2008 Bush administration:

1. Cash for Car Companies
2. War in Iraq
3. Giant Medicare expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus "rebate" checks
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Paulson as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits

Wes Benedict, Libertarian Party Executive Director, commented, "Republicans and Democrats keep expanding government and creating more and more problems. We're encouraging as many Libertarians as possible to run for Congress in 2010. In Texas, the state with the earliest filing deadline, Libertarians have already filed for 31 of 32 Congressional seats."
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP executive director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.