Odds and ends number 85

December 15, 2017 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Business and industry, Culture and Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Odds and ends number 85 

Here’s another in my long-running series of things from my e-mail box and elsewhere that deserve a mention but not a full post. Generally I shoot for three sentences to two paragraphs for each, but that’s simply inclusive and not a strict guide.

In the fall of 2015, there was one candidate out of the rugby scrum of GOP presidential hopefuls who stood above the rest when it came to experience in governing combined with serious thought about the issues. Unfortunately for us, Bobby Jindal folded up his campaign tents rather quickly, but at least he can still dispense truth like this statement:

The Democratic Party has come out of the closet this year in full-throated support of single payer in health care. Those of us who are health care policy wonks have known this was their intent all along, but they were previously smart enough not to admit it.

It’s been a few weeks now, but I knew I would get to write about this in due course and Jindal’s statement is still worth the read. So I kept it around.

Actually, since the Republican Party doesn’t seem to want to favor limited government anymore, choosing instead the goal to be the ones running the circus and supposedly doing it more efficiently, maybe Bobby – who actually cut government spending during his two terms as governor of Louisiana – should join a group devoted to rightsizing government.

Yet there was a controversial decision made by one such group, the Constitution Party (and as disclosure, it’s their candidate I voted for last time – so I follow them more than most people do.) Gary Welch, the Communications Director of the national Constitution Party, explained their decision to back Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. This also included a fundraising drive.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the upside of backing Moore would have been had he won. I doubt he would have changed parties again – Moore was a Democrat up until the Clinton era, so you could conceivably add the decades-old accusations against him to the blue side of the ledger – and the amount raised by the CP would have been less than a drop in the bucket in the race. I’m figuring they were assuming Moore would still prevail based on the voting patterns in the state, and admired his stances reflecting the fact we are endowed with rights from our Creator, not from government.

But on the other hand, money raised in support of Moore could have been better used on ballot access and working against a system that somewhat unfairly burdens smaller political groups by making their ballot access more difficult. They may have had common cause but to me that wasn’t a smart use of limited funds.

One last thing about the Moore race that bothers me, though: no one pointed out that, on the same day that the Washington Post broke the Moore story, they also put up a more glowing portrait of Doug Jones prosecuting the last remaining 16th Street Baptist Church bombers from 1963. (The story was since updated to reflect election results but the link still shows November 9, the day the Moore accusations went online.) What a coincidence, eh?

Then again, they’re not the only group who hitched their wagon to Moore hoping for some sort of gain.

(Photo via Women for Trump.)

You may not know the woman at the podium, but I do. Not that I’ve ever met Amy Kremer, of course, but when you’re writing a book on the TEA Party you see the name a lot. In this case, though, it’s a group she co-chairs called Women Vote Trump, and the photo was part of a fundraising appeal from that group on Moore’s behalf. Now I won’t pick on Kremer aside from the fact she seems to be quite the opportunist – she left the Tea Party Patriots shortly after their formation because she wanted to work with their rival Tea Party Express group, and left them for Women for Trump once the Tea Party fizzled out – but this is what aggravates people about politics: the number of hangers-on who make their living from fundraising.

But it’s not just Republicans. This is a snippet of something I received from our erstwhile Vice President:

This Republican plan isn’t anything more than the latest, worst edition of the same-old trickle-down economics that has failed time and time again.

Even more than that, let’s be clear about what’s happening here. The goal the Republicans have today is the same goal they had when trickle-down economics first came on the American scene: Their long-term goal is to starve government. To say we don’t have the money to pay for Medicare, for Medicaid, for Social Security. We heard it last week when one of the leading Republicans in the Senate actually said after passing this new tax cut that we don’t have the money to pay for children’s health care.

Simply put, the values reflected in the Republican budget are shameful. They aren’t my values. And I don’t believe they’re America’s values either.

And so it’s time for a change. Right now, you can show that these actions have very real consequences. From now until 2018 and beyond, I’ll be doing everything I can to help elect a new kind of leadership in our politics. Folks who actually understand the issues an average American faces. Folks who aren’t scared to stand up to big corporations. And more importantly, folks who are absolutely committed to standing up for working people.

Yes, Joe Biden has his own political group called American Possibilities – literally a web portal that solicits contact information and donations. Certainly he will seek out the most liberal people to donate to. But is that really what we need?

Apparently this is Joe’s version of that three-letter word, J-O-B-S. Regarding that subject, I haven’t done a struggling blogger “bleg” story for awhile, but as a guy who’s been laid off before the holidays a time or two I could sympathize with Peter Ingemi’s story of losing his. Fortunately, it may now have a happier ending.

Now I have a question: have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Over the last several years I have reported on a couple organizations that promote “made in America” presents, so if you’re looking for stocking stuffers or that perfect gift, you may find it from the Alliance for American Manufacturing 2017 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide. Those who are ambitious enough to make it a challenge can also sign up for the Made in America Christmas Challenge that’s sponsored by Patriot Voices. But they concede:

We understand that there are things that are simply not made in this country – like iPhones. It may not be possible to buy everything made in the USA, just try your best.

Maybe that’s why so few have taken the challenge – just 90 at the time I linked. Either that or no one really cares about former Senator and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum anymore.

I may as well finish with a programming note: as opposed to this series that’s been around for over a decade, I think I’m dropping the Don’t Let Good Writing Go To Waste feature. It’s just a pain to compile, and besides it behooves you to track your political opponents anyway. (In my case, it’s to set them straight.)

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the concept got old fast and if I’m not excited about it then I won’t do them. So I decided to go no further with it, just like this post.

Conservatives against Trump (and his hucksters)

January 23, 2016 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Conservatives against Trump (and his hucksters) 

In an attempt to tip the scales a little bit, and arguably give itself a little relevance in this current campaign, National Review gathered nearly two dozen prominent conservatives to make their case why nominating (and worse, electing) Donald Trump would be a mistake and a setback for the conservative movement. For the most part their reasons echoed a lot of what I said when I did my “dossier” series a few months back. Simply put, Donald Trump is not a conservative.

Had National Review asked me, my case would be made from the idea that Trump is a populist rather than a conservative, with ideas that sound great in a broad sense but when implemented evoke the old saying “the devil is in the details.” On immigration I share Trump’s concerns, and for the most part I think he has a sound approach to the issue. (This is in contrast to some at NR that would embrace immigration reform.) But in other areas such as taxation Trump works in a more steeply progressive, populist direction. Low-income wage-earners may get to send in a tax form that says “I win” but eventually we will all lose because the precedents will be set in punishing certain businesses. Talking tough with China is one thing, but putting the policies into practice another.

I don’t want to go through a complete rehash of what I said the other day when Trump got the Sarah Palin endorsement, but so far in the 2016 campaign – one which had the promise of a good, conservative candidate who could win on a message of rolling back the excesses of the Obama administration – we have instead seen the candidate whose campaign has most resembled the brashness and bravado of a WWE event reach the top of the polls and stay there despite the best efforts of several candidates to knock him off the perch. The argument that he’s not conservative enough seems to fall on deaf ears because people believe Trump can make America great again for some reason. It makes me wonder if the TEA Party was more of a cry for limited-government solutions or just a reaction to a President who was going too far too fast in a direction they didn’t expect.

To that end, there are now TEA Party people who want to cash in on the Trump name. Case in point: Amy Kremer, formerly of the TEA Party Express. I apologize in advance for the long blockquote, but you have to get a load of this fundraising appeal:

Dear Patriot,

Are you sick and tired of seeing America lose?

Are you fed up with Washington Elites and the liberal media screwing up, weakening our country and running us into the ground?

Do you think we need less mindless political correctness and more old-fashioned common sense?

And, do you think we need a bold, proven leader to win the Presidency and Make America Great Again?

Well I do too! And I am wholeheartedly supporting Donald Trump!

My name is Amy Kremer and I am one of the founders of the modern day tea party movement.

As Chairman of the Tea Party Express, I worked alongside millions of Americans just like you and we helped lead a revolution in American politics. I was just middle class mother who was fed up and spoke out, but together, we made a difference.

Now, America needs us again. We have to come together and elect Donald J. Trump President of the United States!

That is why I have founded TrumPAC, a brand new organization dedicated to supporting Donald Trump. And, I am going to need your help, BIG Time.

(snip)

The Elites are going crazy! They cannot stand the idea of President Trump, they are running scared, and as they quiver in their Ivory Towers, they plan to throw every thing they can at Mr. Trump to try and stop him, including the kitchen sink! No smear will be left in the bag or underhanded dirty trick will go un-played.

Their desperation is disgusting, but we know it’s coming. And we need to stop them!

That’s why we need you today, right now, to help Donald Trump weather the course. Mr. Trump has strong shoulders, and if we get his back and show the World that there is a movement behind him, ready to propel him all the way the Oval Office, nothing will stop us!

(snip)

Donate today and we’ll send $5 dollars directly to Mr. Trumps campaign so YOUR name will be on his FEC Report – we’ll handle the paperwork and even cover the credit card processing fees so every penny goes to the Trump campaign.

(snip)

AND BEST OF ALL – when his January finance report comes out, Your name will be on it, telling the world where you stand. You see, normally only big donations show up on finance reports, but because it came through us, just $5 will get your name counted too.

Mr. Trump will get a shot in the arm to see all of our names going on the record for him. Plus, his campaign will know how to follow up with you and get you involved when it’s time to vote in your state.

(snip)

I hope I can I count on you to chip in with a contribution and help reach our goal so we can get our winning message out to voters across the country.

Just $20 will help reach about 5,000 people through robocalls, social media, and Internet ads.

$35 will help reach about 13,000 individuals.

$100 will help reach nearly 36,910 folks. $150 reaches nearly 51,000 people.

Just $200 allows us to contact nearly 68,000 folks over social media and the Internet.

Whatever amount you can afford, your contribution will help us reach out and convince more voters that Donald Trump is what America needs!

So I send Amy Kremer $25 (which is the default amount on their fundraising appeal) and Trump gets five bucks? What a bargain! Not only that, the other $20 will “reach about 5,000 people through robocalls, social media, and Internet ads.” (Damn, I’d love to know where they are spending their $20 because I have a website I’d like to promote.) On that point, it looks like we have diminishing returns at some points so I’m wondering where this lady got her numbers. Math may not be her strong suit?

It’s interesting because when Kremer left the TEA Party Express in 2014 her plans were for “engaging in competitive Senate primaries and supporting fiscal conservatives in the coming weeks.” There must not have been enough money in that part of the political world so it was time to glom on to the most populist candidate we’ve seen since Barack Obama to be a moneymaker.

And people wonder why those of us in the heartland are so cynical about politics. It’s why we shouldn’t attach ourselves to a person but a philosophy, and mine is that of limited-government conservatism. Out of all the remaining candidates in the 2016 race, it’s a sad commentary to know that Donald Trump is the farthest from that ideal, yet many who call themselves conservative support him and apparently making money off his name is just peachy.

Update: Still need more evidence Trump isn’t a limited government conservative? Federally-controlled land is just fine with him.

Obamacare reaches its climax

March 10, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Obamacare reaches its climax 

Well, it sounds like we’re at the tipping point for nationalizing one-sixth of our economy and the question is whether the House will pass the Senate bill or not. Forget reconciliation – there would be no need for it once the House swallows real hard and the dam is broken.

This is a sampling of some of the best action items I’ve seen in the grassroots effort to stop Obamacare. Amy Kremer, writing as part of the upcoming TEA Party Express version 3.0, had these suggestions as a daily schedule:

Wednesday, March 10th: Medical Professionals (you do not have to be a physician) visit local district offices. Be sure to wear your medical attire. Let these offices know that you are not going to sit back and let the government takeover our health care system!

Thursday, March 11th: Veterans go to local district offices. Our veterans are so special. They have a voice like no one else.  Veterans, let these offices know that you fought for her once and you are fighting for her again!

Friday, March 12th: Nationwide rallies at local district offices for 1 hour at 12 noon local. Let’s make it a special point for all of us to go during our lunch hour if at all possible.

Monday, March 15th: Make calls.  Send Faxes.  Send Emails.  You can do all of these things during the day and after business hours.

Tuesday, March 16th
:
Rally in DC and Nationwide at local district offices. Americans For Prosperity also has sent out an alert to honk at 12 noon that day while you are driving in your car.

If you can’t go to DC on March 16th, please visit your local district offices to have your voices heard and show solidarity with those in DC. Our sources from the Hill tell us that the vote is likely to happen between March 16th and March 18th. If you are able to go to DC, please RSVP here.

If you are doing a rally at your local office please RSVP here, so we can let others know. This is a team effort, and we are part of your team. Whatever you need, please let us know!

Wednesday, March 17th – Friday, March 19th: If you are in D.C., please visit your Representatives and Senators.  If you are not in D.C., please continue to visit local district offices! Make calls.  Send Faxes.  Send Emails.  The calls, faxes, and emails can all be done during the day and after business hours.

Saturday & Sunday, March 20th & 21st: Town Halls for March Madness! In August we had some amazing town halls! They really made people and lawmakers stop and think about this health care legislation. Let’s do it again! Host a town hall in your community and invite your Senator and Congressman.  More details on this next step will be available on American Grassroots Coalition within the next day or two.  Thanks for your patience. (All emphasis in original.)

Sounds like a heckuva to-do list, particularly when we have a Congressman who’s on record for opposing Obamacare anyway. But it never hurts to remind him, does it?

More on that March 16th event comes from Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity:

On March 16, we’re holding the “Honk Against the Health Care Takeover” event. Here’s what we’re asking you to do. At 12 Noon your time on March 16, drive to your member of Congress’s district office and join a car caravan there, circling your representative’s office while honking against the health care takeover.

Just CLICK HERE for more information and to let us know you’re on board. You’ll be able to print off your very own “Honk Against the Health Care Takeover” sign for your car when you register. Sign up tomorrow, March 10, to receive a free bumper sticker in the mail before March 16.

In addition, you can sign up to be a car caravan leader. You can pick a parking lot near your Congressman’s office and let folks know you will be there to lead them over to the district office. It will be fun to meet fellow grassroots activists and to go over in a caravan to send your message.

Here’s the bottom line. The president is in the midst of his final all-out push for his health care takeover. Yes, his campaign is dishonest and over-the-top. But, to their credit they are refusing to quit this fight. So, we’ve got to beat them in these final days before the House vote.

They’ve put everything on the line for their ideology, as flawed as it is. 

The question for us is:  will we do the same for our values, our freedoms and our nation?

Knowing what I know about Americans like us, I believe the answer will be a resounding YES. 

Again, given the fact we have Congressman on record as a likely “no” vote, I suspect our protest may be a little more subdued than others. But we’ll see.

Even Newt Gingrich chimed in, with this being the money passage from his post on Human Events:

I have even taken heat from fellow conservatives for cooperating with leading Democrats to achieve health reforms we agree on, like greater use of health information technology. In fact, there are even some specific elements of the bill — like payment reform to reward quality care — with which I agree.

However, as someone who has dedicated the last decade of his life to fixing what’s broken in America’s health care system, and has reached across party lines to do so, I regrettably have to say that this bill will do vastly more harm than good.

Here’s the rub, though. Why is it that conservatives and Republicans always have to reach across the aisle to Democrats?

You know, I’m damn tired of bipartisanship when it’s my side being sold down the river. I’ve watched this ship of state founder and draw dangerously close to the rocks ever since Ronald Reagan left office. While even Reagan couldn’t steer it in the proper direction, he at least held to the deepest part of the river and served as an anchor against the slow drift toward tyranny.

Not only is it time to kill this monstrosity of a bill, it’s long past time to reconsider why the government is in the health care market in the first place. One way or the other, entitlements left unchecked will destroy us – either we’ll drive the nation into default and bankruptcy or we’ll be dependent on government like New Orleans was as Katrina lashed the city.

We have a lot of hard decisions to make, but the first one is easy. Drive a wooden stake through the heart of Obamacare and be done with it.

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