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Friday, October 31, 2014

Moe Lauzier’s

Issues of the Day


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Hillary Clinton Flunks Economics


Liberals have this terrible and annoying habit of congratulating themselves for their intellectual heft merely because they hold liberal views. Once this arrogant notion reigns, it's tough for liberals to acknowledge when one of their own says something so remarkably untrue and stupid that it makes you wonder just how ignorant is the liberal really.
At an event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Boston on Oct. 24, Hillary Clinton told the assembled Democratic faithful: "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."
This makes about as much sense as "Don't let anyone say that it's governments that tax people." In attempt to dig out of this rhetorical face-plant, Clinton contended at an event in New York on Oct. 27 that she had "shorthanded this point" in a way that confused the public about what she actually meant. But now listen to her "clarification:"
"Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out -- not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas."
That sounds like a hundred Democratic Party stump speeches, creating the evil Snidely Whiplash corporate villain. It also affirms the obvious fact that business creates employment -- at least in a free market economy. That's not a "clarification" of her incredibly stupid gaffe. It's not fixing a "shorthanding." It's a badly disguised retraction.
To Republicans, this sounded like a more illiterate version of Barack Obama's lame 2012 campaign dismissal of that free market economy when he told business "You didn't build that." Entrepreneurs should always credit their success to government-funded highways and teachers, and never to their own skills in the marketplace. It attaches Clinton to Obama's radical waist, and that's not good when he's sporting the lowest-ever approval ratings for an incumbent president.
Team Clinton knows, however, that it can get away with all of this, at least within the "objective" press. There was no coverage of this ridiculous gaffe on ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR or PBS. CNN twice obsessed over whether Hillary and Sen. Elizabeth Warren should have hugged or posed together at the Coakley event, ignoring the idiotic remarks. The same diversion bubbled up Saturday with weekend talk-show host Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.
The New York Times reproduced the stupid remark in a Sunday story, albeit on page A-13, in paragraph 10, when the reader has lost interest. But that was better than the competition. There was no coverage in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or USA Today. Even the local Boston Globe skipped over the remark. Reporter Akilah Johnson just offered campaign boilerplate from Hillary, such as: "We cannot possibly rest between now and Nov. 4. ... You don't want to wake up the day after this election and say, 'I wish I could have done more.' "
Ken Thomas and Philip Marcelo filed a story for the Associated Press, and skipped the stupidity entirely. This was their chosen Hillary quote to reproduce, touting Coakley in a close race: "From my perspective, it shouldn't even really be a race. It should not even be close, but we're living during an election season where it's close everywhere ... and that's why Martha needs you."
The people who complain that our news media consumption is too "polarized" -- and their assumption that conservatives depend too much on alternative media -- fail to acknowledge how our traditional "news" media are consistently burying Democrat gaffes they don't want anyone to hear about. When Hillary says something stupid, they want it to be just like that metaphorical tree that falls silently in the forest. Peace and quiet is comforting.

Canadian Attack Prompts Absurd Reactions


PARIS -- Some warped minds believe that when a nation suffers a terrorist attack, it somehow deserved it and should set about doing some soul searching. Implicit in this argument is the notion that the attacker was somehow justified in his heinous actions -- there was no other option but to lash out violently.
Except that there is. Even the Islamic State could choose to exercise unofficial diplomacy through a sympathetic Persian Gulf country. But it doesn't, because the Islamic State isn't interested in diplomacy -- yet some critics expect Western democracies to suck it up whatever terrorism comes their way, as a matter of due course.
Last week, a domestic jihadist perpetrated a terror attack right at the heart of Canadian democracy in Ottawa, the nation's capital. After fatally shooting a soldier who was guarding the National War Memorial, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau entered Parliament and started shooting up the place while elected representatives, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, went into hiding. Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers successfully eliminated the problem through skilled marksmanship, killing Zehaf-Bibeau.
Already the predictable whining has started. Here's a compilation of some of the most prevalent complaints that I heard while in nearby Toronto at the time of the attack:
-- "He wasn't a terrorist; he was just a criminal." Members of Parliament from Canada's opposition Liberal Party were peddling this type of nonsense on television news programs even before heart rates could return to normal. While Zehaf-Bibeau was known to police for acts unrelated to radical Islam, his links to jihadism and others involved with it were well-documented. It is indeed possible to be both a terrorist and a criminal; these two things aren't mutually exclusive. The Islamic State is involved in kidnapping, extortion and other acts of criminality to fund their terrorist activities, for example.
-- "Zehaf-Bibeau wasn't a jihadist, he was mentally ill." How offensive. People who struggle with mental illness might object to the suggestion that they're prone to acts of terrorism.
-- "Canada was targeted because of its military intervention in the Middle East." This implies two other possible options:
Option one: Canada should stick its head in the sand and ignore the actions of extremists who are beheading journalists and aid workers, slaughtering civilians, and exploiting women and children. This would be unacceptable for a country that's supposed to be a defender of human rights -- even if it means disappointing the people for whom there is apparently never a justification for striking back at terrorists.
Option two: Canada should act, but more discreetly. I can't disagree with this alternative, as there is significant merit to the French military approach of eliminating the chest-thumping in favor of quietly smothering the problem. Canada hasn't been averse to that approach in the past -- most notably when Canadian Special Operations Forces' Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2) played a critical role alongside American allies in a 2001-2002 campaign in Afghanistan. It was a top-secret six-month mission known only to leaders in the upper reaches of the Canadian government and military. But discretion implies the absence of transparency, and the same people who complain about overt Canadian military intervention tend to be the same ones who demand transparency in matters of national security. You can't have it both ways.
-- "A spectacular failure for Canadian intelligence." This was really rich, particularly since it was a headline in Britain's Guardian newspaper, the flagship publication for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's gripes about the overreaching of Western intelligence agencies. If that's how the Guardian staff feels, perhaps it should stop its crusade to render intelligence activity useless.
-- "Oh, great. Now Canada is going to have an excuse to clamp down harder on civil liberties." Why not go have a word with the terrorists about how their actions are infringing on your civil liberties? Modern warfare is largely asymmetric and of a guerrilla nature. While it's important to balance civil liberties with national security interests, no threat should be exempted because it chooses to entrench itself inside a democracy and attempt to hide among its loopholes. Relax: There has to be violation of an actual law in the criminal code to trigger an arrest, and those laws are created by legislators, not by shadowy agencies.
It would be nice if just once in the wake of such an attack, the naysayers would give the benefit of the doubt to the victim rather than the terrorist.


Whites say Obama's America is 'divided,' blacks feel robbed


Over six in 10 whites believe that America is more divided now than it was just four years ago when the Tea Party rose up and helped the GOP take control of the House, and blacks feel Washington is robbing them.
A startling new poll from Rasmussen Reports finds that 65 percent of white voters believe the country is divided, and a sizable number of non-black minorities agree. Even more — 44 percent — Democrats agree than not, 41 percent.
Overall, 61 percent of likely U.S. voters say the country is more divided than during the last midterm elections in 2010.
Blacks, however, have a different take. Just 36 percent say the nation is more divided.
But that doesn’t mean they are happy. Rasmussen reports, “Blacks are much less likely than whites and other minority voters to consider the justice system and the economy fair to them.”

Why You Keep Seeing Pro-Choice Advocates ‘Celebrate’ Abortion

By Brandon McGinley

Accepting that abortion kills babies yet continuing to argue it’s good for society may be the best option pro-choice advocates have.
Katha Pollitt’s recent book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” has generated widely-shared pro-choice essays that argue along with Pollitt that abortion must be affirmed as a social good, not a necessary evil. These arguments reject the defensive tone of mainstream pro-choice discourse, exemplified by the Clinton-era “safe, legal, and rare” formulation, as the undignified “awfulization” of abortion.
These pieces, such as Sady Doyle’s “Abortion Isn’t a Necessary Evil. It’s Great” for In These Times and Hanna Rosin’s “Abortion is Great” for Slate, have generated a great deal of scorn from the pro-life community. The derision is appropriate; the “abortion as social good” argument cruelly sidesteps the humanity of the unborn. Yet, I’d like to argue, this emerging pro-choice strategy may be the best option they have.

Guard the Golden Forceps

Imagine abortion politics as a giant game of capture the flag, but instead the pro-choice side is guarding a golden forceps. There’s a buffer around the forceps provided by a tall fence: Roe v. Wade. Pro-lifers have made different amounts of progress toward the target in different places: In a few places, they’ve largely abandoned the field; in many others, they’ve set up camp just outside the fence; and in the most weakly-defended regions, they’ve (arguably) established forward positions inside the buffer zone.
Skirmishes are happening not off in the wilderness, but right at the Roe v. Wade frontier.
In most places, though, skirmishes are happening not off in the wilderness, but right at the Roe v. Wade frontier. This is not what pro-choicers expected, let alone hoped for, in the wake of the discovery of a constitutional right to abortion. The “Supreme Court Settles Abortion Issue” New York Times headline is apocryphal, but the sentiment it expresses is not: Roe was supposed to remove abortion from the contentious realm of politics. That we now continue to dispute its borders is, to any pro-choicer with a proper sense of history, an acute disappointment.
It’s not surprising there are people trying to scale the Roe fence. Surely the pro-choice movement expected the zealous always to be clamoring at the gates. What must be dispiriting to pro-choicers is not only how many now identify with the pro-life cause, but how indifferent the public is to their attempts to annex the Roe buffer zone.

People Don’t Fight for a Necessary Evil

The prospect of a pro-life movement constantly and fearlessly testing the limits of Roeis hateful to any serious pro-choicer who believes the right to abortion should be robust and uncontroversial. But this future is exactly what the defensive rhetoric of abortion as necessary evil promises. Average people will not be willing to push back the pro-life barbarians-at-the-gates in the name of a “necessary evil.” They need a more impressive banner to fly.
Now that almost everybody has seen an advanced ultrasound image, it can no longer be held by serious people that abortion does not end a life.
This is a good time to pause to consider why so many people now identify as pro-life or, at the very least, are ambivalent about what Roe has wrought. There are many intertwining threads to this story, including of course the outstanding and tireless work of pro-life advocates, but for our purposes one stands out above the rest: the advancement of the technology of medical imaging.
Several weeks ago my wife underwent an unscheduled ultrasound after a mild scare early in pregnancy. In a moment of great relief, at less than eight weeks we could see our second child’s heartbeat. As recently as my early college years less than a decade ago, students could with a straight face parrot the old lines about the unborn as “clumps of cells” or, worse, “more like a tumor than a person.” Now that almost everybody has seen an advanced ultrasound image, at least on television if not in person, it can no longer be held by serious people that abortion does not end a life. Any attempt to restore the Roe­-era unscientific view of unborn life would be an exercise in Big Lie-style propaganda that the pro-choice movement cannot realistically execute.
The pro-choice movement can’t turn the clock back on science; it must instead work within the new reality that people widely understand that abortion ends a human life. The only move, then, that can possibly reverse pro-life gains is to roll the hard six: They must convince their fellow Americans that legal abortion is an outstanding social good that outweighs the lives of the unborn. This is the project of Pollitt, Doyle, and Rosin, and it represents the only hope for substantial pro-choice gains.

People Are Willing to Do Evil in the Name of Social Good

Before we scoff, remember this: It is a commonplace for people and societies to accept the manifestly unjust in the service of an apparently greater social good. And this isn’t just the result of Communism or Nazism or some other exotic –ism that is distant from us in place and time. In the early twentieth century, Americans accepted the forced sterilization of the “unfit” for the greater good of our society. In the early twenty-first century we accept the mass incarceration of the marginalized (including, until just a month ago in California, their sterilization) for just the same reason.
We indulge either in an unrealistically rosy vision of human nature or in a kind of conservative Whig history—in which the eugenic mindset happily fades from consciousness as part of human progress—if we think the “abortion as social good” gambit is doomed. As Michael Brendan Dougherty put it in The Week:
All the ingredients still exist for a more explicit return to eugenics in our culture and politics: inequality, fear, detestation of the other. But if it comes back, it is unlikely to come in the explicitly racialist terms of the biodiversity-obsessed right. Liberal societies have the antibodies against that.

Instead, it will come to us in terms of ‘quality of life,’ and ‘health and safety.’ We will be urged that every child deserves the best society can grant, and stigmatize those for whom ‘the world is a difficult place.’ And thereby we legitimize the destruction of those who would merely “live” in society rather than thrive in it.
As Dougherty points out, we would be foolish to forget the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that Roe was motivated at least in part by the desire to diminish “populations we don’t want to have too many of,” and more foolish still to forget that the recent runaway bestseller “Freakonomics” dabbled with the concept of abortion-as-crime-control.

Pro-Choice Supporters Target the Moral High Ground

Further, I have argued recently that innovations in the definition of marriage andassisted reproductive technologies are encouraging us to view children as the objects rather than the subjects of rights, as consumer goods rather than persons. The extension of the logic of the market to human persons themselves—especially the vulnerable and invisible (to the naked eye)—threatens to make their value and dignity contingent rather than inherent. The stage is set for sacrificing them for a greater good, whether that good is modern women’s lib or, more likely, delicately-phrased social hygiene.
Our contempt must be ordered toward marginalizing the idea that the taking of innocent life can ever be justified by a greater good.
So Pollitt and Doyle and Rosin are correct: The pro-choice movement’s best hope for total victory rather than perpetual stalemate is to attempt to reclaim the moral high ground—to assert without shame that legal abortion is necessary for essential social goods to flourish. Pro-lifers should react to this emerging strategy with contempt because it is contemptible. But it is contemptible primarily in its substance, not in its political wisdom. Our contempt must be ordered not just toward marginalizing particular commentators, but toward marginalizing the idea that the taking of innocent life can ever be justified by a greater good. This is not a new idea, and it is not unrealistic that it will catch on once again.
Yes, “abortion as a social good” is a sign of increasing pro-choice desperation. But this may be the last chance for at least a generation to rally enough people to repel pro-lifers from the borders of Roe. As such, we much take it seriously and challenge it on its despicable merits, always making the case that has brought us to this siege of the golden forceps to begin with: All life is precious, its dignity inherent, its value incommensurable, its beauty unparalleled.


For Me, Baseball Is Personal

Baseball has always been something my family does together.
I’ve existed as an away fan for 14 years now. Fortunately, the Nationals fans tolerate me much more than the Philly fans did when I saw the Giants win the Pennant in 2010. It isn’t that I’m an obnoxious fan, but there is something about wearing the orange and black these days that brings, well, disdain. Just ask Bryan Stow.
But, I’m often asked, “Why the Giants?” The question came more often when I tended to be the lone fan in San Francisco gear at whatever East-Coast game I attended to see my boys play. Ever since the World Series win in 2010, the Giants colors are in full force. I actually miss the days when you ran into a person wearing a ‘90s-era Will Clark jersey. You knew they were from The Bay and you knew they were a true fan. I even remember a conversation with a fellow fan in Camden Yards pre-World Series wins. We broke bread during a rain delay and found out our parents had served on City Council together. Again, a small San Francisco world back then.
So, back to my question: Why the Giants? Of course, growing up near Candlestick Park is a big reason. But it’s more than that. If I had to sum it up, I would say that the Giants are about family.

Baseball Means Bonding with My Family

You see, every year, for as long as I can remember, my dad either had the Giants playing on the radio, or on TV, or he took me to Candlestick Park. Essentially, the Giants were the soundtrack to my life. He never had a son, but I was the daughter that would oblige his sports habit (and, subsequently, his political persuasion and love for communication). Year after year, we watched them lose.
It’s actually a weird switch to go from following a team that loses to following a team that wins.
There were some successes. There was the National League Pennant in 1989. But they lost in four to the A’s. That series reminds me most of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and witnessing not only half of my downtown destroyed, but also some of my friends losing their homes. Needless to say, there were other things that needed our attention, and since my dad was mayor he put his focus where it should have been. There was also 2002, but I still won’t talk about game six.
Then 2010 happened. And 2012. And so much has changed since then. It’s actually a weird switch to go from following a team that loses to following a team that wins. Of course, it’s AMAZING. But there is something surreal about it. There is something strange about walking outside your home in DC and seeing someone wearing a SF hat, or going to an airport and seeing a Hunter Pence shirt. It isn’t that I don’t want that. It’s just that, to me, it’s more than a World Series win—or two. To me, it’s personal.
It’s personal because the Giants have not only bonded my dad and me (we talk and text most during baseball season), but also been passed along to my nephews. I flew my oldest nephew out to DC when the Giants came to town in 2010.They lost every game in that hot July DC heat, and I guess you could say we bonded in that misery (neither one of us would have guessed they would be World Series-bound after that series).

The Baseball Memories Keep Accruing

It’s personal because I still remember so many things. I remember the day that Barry Bonds was picked up by the Giants. My dad was driving me home from school, and I can still hear his “Yes!” in my head. I remember summer games at Candlestick bundled in parkas and draped in blankets, and I’ll always remember talking to my dad after the Giants won their first World Series since being in San Francisco. He proceeded to tell me about being an eight-year-old boy when the Giants moved from New York, and how he followed them every year since then. After all those years, they had finally brought a championship to San Francisco. I can still hear the emotion in his voice.
I remember the day that Barry Bonds was picked up by the Giants. My dad was driving me home from school, and I can still hear his ‘Yes!’ in my head.
So here we are at another even year, and it remains to be seen who will win it all in 2014. But regardless of whether the Giants win or lose (and don’t get me wrong—I want the Giants to win!) I’m thankful for every Giant’s baseball season because of the memories my family has made.
This year alone, I’m thankful I was with my dad when Timmy threw a no-hitter, I’m thankful I was with my nephew Stephen when the Giants beat the Nationals in the division series, and I’m even thankful that my three-year-old nephew Jake was so distraught over last Friday’s loss that he cried and dropped his San Francisco hat on the ground. It means he’s a Giant’s fan in the making (no worries—he was in better spirits after the win on Saturday evening).
I’m most thankful because, through the good and bad, we’ve always been in it together. And that’s why the Giants are more than just baseball to me. The Giants are about family.

Students Suspended For Holding Airsoft Guns In Photo Taken In Living Room

Two Massachusetts high school sweethearts—Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira—are suspended from school after posing with Airsoft toy guns for a photograph at home before attending a homecoming dance last week.

Pereira and Velez are students at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School. The photo was taken by Velez's father in their living room and then posted to Facebook.
According to NECN.com, Pereira said, "We took [the pictures] with the Airsoft guns because that's our hobby, and we wanted to include them." But school officials argue that the photo caused "a disruption at the school."
School district superintendent Dr. Richard Gross said he didn't have a problem with the Airsoft guns, and he understands free speech. However, he "takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads 'Homecoming 2014.'" He added: "When you tie that to a school event, that's something to be concerned about."
Velez defended the couple's photograph on CBS Boston, explaining that the guns are toys that shoot plastic pellets. Yet Dr. Gross said the entire homecoming dance would have been canceled had police discovered the photo prior to the start of the event.
The suspension may last as long as 10 days, although the superintendent says there will be a hearing to consider reducing the punishment.
This could only happen in good old left-wing Massachusetts.


G’ day…
Ciao…….Moe Lauzier


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Moe Lauzier’s

Issues of the Day



How long before Obama rides off into the sunset? Click below…

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See you later old friend...
Tom Manino 1942 - 2014


The World's Greatest Deliberative Body

Democrats Run From Harry Reid

Harry Reid’s caucus is running from him on the campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean a revolt is in the works — yet.
The majority leader has twisted the Senate into a pretzel all year to protect his vulnerable members, but the Nevada Democrat is now facing skepticism on the campaign trail from some of those same Democrats, as well as from some would-be newcomers. And there’s at least one scenario that could force his hand.
Still, there’s that old saying: You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and so far, none of the senators who might have the chops to take on Reid have made any noises about doing so.
That includes No. 3 Senate Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York, who has long been seen as having the inside track to replace Reid atop the Democratic power structure.
Schumer has shown immense patience, and Reid has given him tons of power in the meantime. But Schumer dismissed the notion Reid could get the boot.
“Is Harry Reid bigger than the majority?” NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd asked Schumer on Sunday, noting that nearly a dozen Democrats have suggested they’d like a different majority leader.
“Harry Reid will run for majority leader and he will win with an overwhelming, probably very close to a majority vote,” the New York Democrat said.
Reid “is not concerned at all,” his spokesman Adam Jentleson told CQ Roll Call Monday.
Still there are unknowns.
firereid102714 445x296 Democrats Run From Harry Reid
Independent Greg Orman in Kansas could be the most intriguing wild card — particularly if the Senate is otherwise 50-49 Republican without his vote. The businessman is running against Republican Sen. Pat Roberts on a message of disgust for Washington, D.C., and its partisanship. He has said he won’t vote for Reid or Republican Mitch McConnell for leader.
What would happen if a majority-maker — or breaker — such as Orman demands a new leader as the price of choosing to caucus with Democrats? That would be analogous to the long-shot scenarios some House conservatives have pitched as ways to deny Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, another term with the gavel.
A Democratic aide predicted any senator trying to force a change in leadership in return for caucusing with Democrats would likely become “a pariah.”
“People would not take kindly to that kind of tactic,” the aide told CQ Roll Call. “If you are doing that then you are essentially telling the caucus, ‘You can’t have the leader you want because I say so.’ … I think you would be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of your own prospects to make what is essentially a symbolic point.”
Besides, the aide added, “It’s very deeply against the grain of what makes a caucus function.” Such a power-grab “would put a new leader in that scenario under a huge cloud — they basically would be assuming the leadership under a hostage situation — and I don’t think anybody would really want to become leader that way.”
A former Democratic leadership aide said there’s a “less than zero” chance of Schumer taking on Reid, given the loyalty he has on his team. The same goes for Schumer’s housemate, No. 2 Democrat Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, or Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
Instead, expect a steady diet of blaming the White House, and more minor adjustments to assuage the malcontents.
“Any fallout that occurs would mostly fall at the feet of the administration and to the extent there are calls for change among Senate Democrats, I think Sen. Reid has shown himself perfectly willing to entertain different approaches and tactics to respond to his members while still remaining leader,” the former aide said.
Reid told CQ Roll Call in an interview last year that he’d like to stick around until 2022, indicating that other Democrats would only get their chance to lead the caucus if he dropped dead.
But the grumbling in the ranks has grown louder as Election Day nears.
At a debate Monday evening, Mary L. Landrieu conceded she has said previously she would back Reid. But she’s changed her tune.
“I said a couple of months ago that I would, but I’m going to make my decision based on what is before me and who is running,” the Louisiana Democrat said. ”I think Harry Reid gets beat up more than he deserves, and I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no. I’m not saying no. I’m going to see what the leadership is, what the lineup is, and then make my decision.”
In a New Hampshire debate last week, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen sounded a similar note. She said there should be a contest to see who’ll the next Democratic leader, and refused to endorse Reid.
“I’m not sure who our choice will be,” Shaheen said. Pressed by the moderator to say whether she believed Democrats should have a choice, she said, “I do.”
“I’m not going to speculate on who, but I think, I think it’s important for us to have a contest in these positions because we need to think about how we’re doing business in the Senate,” said Shaheen, who is being challenged by former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown.
And Democrat Rick Weiland, who is challenging Republican Mike Rounds for the South Dakota Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., vowed to vote against Reid.
“Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have given us the most dysfunctional government in a generation and they need to step aside,” Weiland said during a debate last week. His campaign made sure the statement reached reporters. “They have both failed the American people and it’s time for new leadership.”
Another Democratic senator who hasn’t endorsed Reid is Virginia’s Mark Warner, who said recently in a debate that both parties might be better off with new leadership.
Republicans, who need to win a net of six seats to reclaim control, have used the “Fire Reid” slogan this year on the campaign trail. It’s a similar tactic to the “Fire Pelosi” rhetoric against then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California that helped the GOP win back the House in 2010.
The Democratic aide dismissed the idea that Reid was an anchor for the party.
“People in races who are out there every day on the ground, they are not hearing … complaints about Harry Reid denying amendments from voters. That is all inside the Republican echo chamber,” said the aide, who noted the majority leader took the actions he’s taken because members asked to be protected from politically difficult votes.
“They are not going to turn around and blame him for doing exactly what they’ve asked him to do for the last few years,” the aide said, adding that Reid “is a big boy” who doesn’t take the criticism personally and has told members to do what they need to in order to win.
There’s also at least theoretically the potential for Reid to step aside if Democrats lose in a blowout — although there’s the counter argument that in that scenario you’d want an experienced tactician like Reid to engage in the daily battles with a newly ascendant McConnell.
Pelosi notably rebuffed a revolt after the 2010 shellacking cost her the gavel, and has shown no signs of budging since.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.


Cuba hasn’t earned embargo’s end
Miami Herald
In October of 1960, the United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products. That was the beginning of a trade embargo that still endures and still inspires heated debate.
The anniversary of the embargo, plus this week’s upcoming vote in the United Nations condemning it — which the United States will lose, as usual — have prompted calls for a reassessment. Dropping the embargo altogether would require action by Congress. Meanwhile, anti-embargo advocates say, there’s a lot the president can do to soften or minimize its effects and open the door to restoring full ties with Cuba.
We disagree. Such a move would be premature and utterly lacking in justification at this time.
Granted, Raúl Castro has loosened the reins on the tightly controlled economy to permit more individual businesses. Some citizens can own property, and new rules are designed to encourage foreign investment. But it’s only because Cuba has been frozen in time for so long that such minimal change seems so dramatic. The Cuban nomenklatura still runs the Soviet-style planned economy that largely remains in place, and its members remain its major beneficiaries.
Some see vague government statements from Havana welcoming renewed diplomatic ties with the United States as a sign that it’s willing to negotiate longstanding differences. We would attribute that not to any goodwill but rather to Cuba hedging its bets as it nervously watches the slide in oil prices and the rise of political instability in Venezuela.
The Andean country has been the Castro brothers’ main benefactor in the last few years, helping prop up Cuba’s chronically weak economy with cheap oil. But if oil prices continue to drop, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro will need every penny he can get selling oil on the international market. He won’t hesitate to throw Cuba under the bus if it means survival for the Chávez movement in Caracas.
That makes the timing of any move by Washington toward Havana particularly inappropriate. Why throw it a lifeline now?
Yet even if these objections could be met, the greater issue remains unresolved: Cuba is still an unforgiving, authoritarian police state that will stop at nothing to stifle those it deems enemies of the state.
Here’s what Human Rights Watch says: “The Cuban government continues to repress individuals and groups who criticize the government or call for basic human rights. Officials employ a range of tactics to punish dissent and instill fear in the public, including beatings, public acts of shaming, termination of employment and threats of long-term imprisonment.
Arrests of dissidents are going up, not down. Press freedom? Forget about it.
Nor has the Cuban government bothered to investigate the death of Oswaldo Payá, perhaps Cuba’s most prominent advocate of democracy, nor to allow an independent investigation of his supposed “accident” by anyone else.
Then there’s the case of American Alan Gross, sentenced to 15 years in prison for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state.” Translation from the Kafkaesque: He was caught bringing a satellite phone to Cuba’s small and beleaguered Jewish community.
Is there any doubt that the Castro brothers remain committed to maintaining their dictatorship over Cuba? Of course not. As long as that remains the case, the United States has no incentive to extend a welcoming hand.



Book Review:  The Great Degeneration  
by Niall Ferguson  


In the Great Degeneration, Harvard’s economic historian Niall Ferguson suggests that the U.S. has entered into a period of decline as America faces increased international competition and an ever-expanding government chokes off the private sector – it’s a chilling prospect. He argues the drivers of our country’s past successes; democracy, free markets, the rule of law, and civil society, are threatened not only by imitation and competition from abroad but by mounting public debt, excessive regulation, poorly written laws, and the government ‘nanny state.’ In short what we don’t get right these days were in fact the historic keys to America’s ability to compete, and if we don’t watch out we will forever lose that edge.  


Interestingly, Dr. Ferguson offers that our public debt crisis is a fundamental moral breakdown in what Edmund Burke once described as the social contract between present and future generations. By the author’s calculations, U.S. future obligations under present law exceed future revenues by over $238 trillion, and if we force our kids to pay this deficit, among other things, they’d face tax rates over their lifetimes geometrically higher than today.  


Ferguson also cites concerns about the decay of the rule of law. Leaving aside Washington’s frequent disdain for the Constitution, he points to an unprecedented rise in very long, convoluted and unenforceable laws and regulations. The costs of this lawmaking are mounting: U.S. businesses spend $1.75 trillion a year in additional costs arising from regulatory compliance. In world rankings in “the ease of setting up new businesses” the U.S. has dramatically fallen from its place of great advantage.  


He also talks about the ways in which government growth has eroded so-called “civil society” – what you and I would consider the many volunteer associations and organizations that range from church to the rotary club. This is something a French visitor to our country 100 years ago de Tocqueville talked about when he wrote that "the state—with its seductive promise of 'security from the cradle to the grave'—was the real enemy of civil society." In my view, a short book – worthy of a longer discussion.

Illegal Voters May Decide Fate of Senate

By Phyllis Schlafly


Control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs on Nov. 4, and illegal voters may tip the balance. Estimates are that more than 14 percent of non-citizens were registered to vote in the elections of 2008 and 2010, and that could now easily exceed the margin of victory in many tight Senate races.
Democrats typically win more than 80 percent of the votes cast by non-citizens, so votes cast by non-citizens produce a net bonanza of additional votes for Democrats. Democrat Al Franken won a Republican U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota by a margin of only 312 votes in 2008, and with the immense power of incumbency he is expected to cruise to reelection this time.
New non-partisan research by professors at Old Dominion University uncovered the shocking amount of voting by non-citizens, as published by the Washington Post last Friday. Their work did not choose sides in the debate over whether non-citizens should be allowed to vote, which Congress has already answered in the negative by sensibly limiting voting in federal elections to only American citizens.
This study concluded that voter ID alone will not eliminate voting by non-citizens, because voter ID does not require proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate. But that loophole is easily closed by requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, just as one must show proof of citizenship in order to obtain a passport.
Several states enacted common-sense provisions in order to strengthen voter integrity in this year's election. The U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt to block voter ID from going into effect in Texas, so at least the Lone Star state will be able to limit mischief at their polls in this election.
Other states are not so fortunate. Wisconsin passed a voter ID law that was upheld by the Seventh Circuit, but the U.S. Supreme Court then blocked that good law from going into effect this November.
In July, three non-citizens were indicted for illegal voting in Ohio in the 2012 presidential election. But most illegal voting cases end in a plea bargain that results in erasure of the convictions after a year if the defendant stays out of additional trouble for that long.
In Colorado, which could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate, votes are now cast entirely by mail with little protection against voter fraud. A total of 3.6 million ballots were sent to Coloradans based on addresses as old as 2008, which is six years ago.
One Colorado state senator said he has been to households that have received as many as seven separate ballots, and the person now living there could vote all seven ballots without anyone noticing. Paid political activists, known as "harvesters," can gather up to 10 ballots of others and then dump them all in an unguarded drop box, and there is nothing that stops harvesters from gathering and voting even more.
What happens to unused ballots that people throw out after receiving them in the mail? Most people do not shred their trash, so many unused ballots inevitably end up in apartment complex garbage bins where they are available to be filled in and sent in by unscrupulous party workers.
The lack of voting integrity makes it far from clear whether the election outcome will reflect the will of the voters. The essential role played by poll watchers is impossible in Colorado's system of mail-only balloting.
The corrupt practice of counting votes that were cast in the names of dead people reemerged in North Carolina in 2012. The executive director of that state's election board reported that the votes of 81 dead people were counted, most of whom had died before it was possible for them to cast absentee ballots.
A shocking total of 35,570 voters in North Carolina had the same last and first names and birth dates of voters who also cast ballots in other states. Many hundreds of those voters even had the same last four digits of their Social Security numbers as people having identical names and birthdays who also voted in other states.
Reforms passed in North Carolina are not effective in time to ensure voter integrity in this election, where there is a close race for the U.S. Senate seat. No voter ID is yet in effect there.
The top priority of Obama's Department of Justice has been to oppose voter ID laws passed by various states. But Attorney General Eric Holder has announced his resignation, and the Senate should not confirm any successor who opposes state efforts to improve voter integrity.


Ebola quarantines: catch the fever!

EBOLA QUARANTINES: CATCH THE FEVER!

No sooner had the Obama Administration browbeaten New York’s bumbling governor, Andrew Cuomo, into backing down from his ebola quarantine policy – leading to what was widely interpreted as a partial backpedal by his quarantine partner, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, although Christie maintains he has not budged an inch – then Connecticut’s Democrat governor instituted an Ebola quarantine policy in his state.  And Malloy inaugurated that policy by tossing nine people into isolation!  (One of them was quickly released.)
CBS News in New York reports:
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen announced Monday that all people coming to the state after traveling to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa will at least face 21 days of mandatory monitoring involving state health officials contacting them daily.
As in New York and New Jersey, a mandatory quarantine may be ordered in some cases.
“We’re going to interview every person that we’re informed is coming to our state after travel from West Africa, and based on those interviews, we’re going to make a determination whether quarantine immediately is required – and we have to quarantine individuals – or active monitoring – that is where someone is responsible for making sure that temperature is being taken once or twice a day for 21 days,” Malloy told WCBS 880 Monday night.
Malloy explained that people will be evaluated based on a detailed analysis of their symptoms and background.
“If you’re in a low-risk category, or you are no longer at risk of being exposed under any circumstance – you’re not traveling from West Africa; you’re here; you weren’t in a portion of West Africa that had an active Ebola outbreak; you weren’t someone who was treating folks – then you have low risk factors other than the fact that you may have gone to an airport,” he said. “That’s a very different situation than someone who presents themselves having been exposed to individuals who have had the Ebola virus.”
Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, another Democrat, has also ordered mandatory home isolation for high-risk Ebola exposures, although the 21-day quarantine will evidently be waived for health care workers returning from Africa who used appropriate protective gear and are displaying no symptoms upon their return.  That’s only a bit more stringent than the official CDC guidelines, and seems to avoid the uncomfortable fact that quite a few doctors who used protective equipment have nevertheless been infected.  CNN adds that Florida and Virginia are launching mandatory monitoring programs for all travelers returning from West Africa.
The Centers for Disease Control is still all over the map on this, once again revising its “guidelines” to create a confusing potpourri of “risk categories” and recommending varying levels of isolation for each.  “High risk” individuals who had unprotected contact with Ebola victims are supposed to voluntarily isolate themselves.  That’s just not good enough, and it’s baffling that anyone who works for this Administration needs to be told why.
Both the CDC brass and President Obama repeated that their top priority is avoiding placing an “undue burden” on doctors and nurses that would supposedly “discourage” them from traveling to Africa to battle Ebola.  They’re disturbingly fanatical about this, which baffles average Americans who wonder why anything should be considered a higher priority by their government than protecting the American people from infection.  It’s not as if we’re talking about incinerating returning doctors and nurses.
Why is a 21-day isolation procedure such an unbearable burden for people willing to endure the West African hot zone?  Why on Earth does the Administration insist on treating isolation protocols as some kind of insult?  “Her service and commitment to this cause is something that should be honored and respected,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest, referring to the Ebola nurse quarantined in New Jersey.  “And I don’t think we do that by making her live in a tent for two or three days.”
Governor Quinn of Illinois felt obliged to make a ritual genuflection to the heroism of Ebola fighters, all but apologizing for the need to take mandatory precautions, instead of leaving everything to their discretion: “We definitely, definitely honor all of those heroes, men and women who go forward to help the health of others.  At the same time, upon their return if they have been directly exposed, it’s just common sense that there be this 21-day period in someone’s home, where they are comfortable, in order to make sure everyone is not affected.”
Where did they get this idiotic notion that steps to contain Ebola should be compromised, if they hurt the feelings of at-risk individuals and make them feel less heroic?  It’s as if they expect a crowd of jeering street urchins to line up outside the isolation facility and throw tomatoes at the windows, as through quarantine subjects were being pilloried in the public square.  This talking point about quarantine-as-insult is ubiquitous throughout the Administration, but I have yet to see a single account of one solitary American citizen saying they think less of people who go into isolation after returning from front-line duty in the Ebola wars.  Also, our government had no problem ordering such isolation for U.S. troops returning from the hot zone.  Aren’t they being insulted and treated as less than heroic by such policies, or are we only supposed to care about the injured pride of civilian medical staff?
On the contrary, a solid mandatory isolation program protects the integrity of everyone involved, enhancing public confidence by eliminating the risk of any more “Ebola Bowling Night” incidents.  Remember, these developments are not happening in a vacuum; we’ve seen a disturbing number of health care workers infected with Ebola despite having good equipment and medical training, we’ve seen people who thought they were in the clear suddenly manifest symptoms of the disease, and we’ve seen doctors ignore voluntary isolation recommendations.  Why are the authorities so invested in sneering at a public that just wants a little reassurance?  The Administration seems more interested in winning some kind of SCIENCE! argument with the public than protecting them.
May I make a brutally direct point about the public view of Ebola doctors returning from Africa?  They’re not entirely sold on the idea that fighting the African outbreak is worth risking an Ebola outbreak in the United States.  I suspect the American people would say they feel sympathy for the plight of African victims and respect those who volunteer to help, if polled on the question… but if pollsters asked, “Do you support sending American personnel to fight Ebola in Africa if there is a significant risk of the virus returning to America with them?” the numbers would get quite a bit lower.  The Administration, of course, is absolutely and totally dedicated to the African Ebola battle as arguably America’s most important mission in the world – demonstrably more important than fighting ISIS, judging by the number of troops dispatched to each theater.  It is supposed to be accepted without question that America will bear any burden and pay any price to wipe out Ebola.  The American people have questions.  The government-media elite despises them for it, and the elites are deeply worried that a major Ebola outbreak in the U.S. would make them the losers in this argument.  I would suggest that’s one reason the elites are screaming “HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THE HEROISM OF THESE BRAVE SOULS!” when the subject of mandatory isolation and monitoring comes up, even though no one is actually doing that.
Besides this strange fetish about treating isolation as an offense to the pride of the isolated doctors and nurses, I suspect one of the reasons CDC and the White House are digging in their heels is that they simply don’t want to admit their original protocols were inadequate.  This is turning into a bloody-minded staring contest between the feds and a growing number of state governors.  At least the “abundance of caution” talking point appears to be dead, or at least comatose.  Nobody in the federal government is bragging about an “abundance of caution” any more, not when their unalterable position is that people exposed to Ebola in the hot zone should be allowed to enjoy a night on town while running a fever.
Speaking of which, our celebrity Ebola quarantine victim, nurse Kaci Hickox, was not asymptomatic when she was quarantined in New Jersey, as was almost universally reported.  She was checked with a forehead scanner, and it reported she was running a high fever.  She says this was misdiagnosis due to her agitated emotional state, and her body temperature was normal when she was checked again later.  Fevers are the symptom CDC  was confidently boasting it could use to snag potential Ebola carriers the instant they stepped off airplanes, just two months ago.  Shouldn’t medical personnel returning from the hot zone be well aware that they’re going to be checked with forehead scanners at the airport, and understand the importance of remaining calm?  Or is this another case where our bloated, incompetent government forgot to tell those heroic Ebola fighters about the protocols for Ebola defense at U.S. airports?
Hickox actually lives in Maine, where she has been cleared to return… only to discover that the people of Maine aren’t thrilled to have her back.  The New York Post reports locals have set up a Facebook page opposed to her return home, where one user wrote, “She is pretty selfish and without common sense!”  The manager of her hometown is said to have “received phone calls from many worried residents.”  The nurse has reportedly agreed to a voluntary in-home isolation period, but she’s arguing with the state of Maineover how long it will last… an argument spirited enough to get her lawyers involved, as state officials issue vague warnings about how they’ll take “appropriate action” if she breaks isolation early.  Hickox apparently thinks she only needs to stay home for a day or two.
This is the sort of thing that won’t happen as much if people are reassured by sensible mandatory isolation protocols, although stamping out every vestige of Ebola fear would be a tall order.  I believe Hickox had a fair point about the clumsy implementation of New Jersey’s quarantine procedure, but she also exaggerated her hardships – according to New Jersey authorities, she straight-up lied about some of them – and her shrill attitude is apparently not reassuring to some of her neighbors.  I get the impression from man-on-the-street interviews that the general public is somewhat less sympathetic to Hickox than the national media.  She lost some people when she started sounding like she was auditioning for job at MSNBC.
Governor Christie appeared on the Today show to defend his state’s Ebola protocol and insist he hasn’t backed down on it, rejecting host Matt Lauer’s insinuation that Hickox was only sprung from hermetically-sealed stir and allowed to return to Maine because she lawyered up:
“Is it possible you’re going to be on the wrong side of science, but the right side of public opinion on this?” asked Lauer, repeating the latest variation of the fashionable “normal people are hysterical idiots” narrative beloved by the Beltway-media axis.  Christie answered with some excellent points about how SCIENCE! has been wrong about Ebola quite a few times lately.  I know why they elite are so desperate to reinforce their sense of superiority by treating public concern over Ebola as benighted superstition.  What I don’t get is why anyone genuinely expects the public to forget about the Dallas Ebola circus, Dr. Spencer’s Excellent Adventure, Dr. Nancy Snyderman breaking isolation to get a bowl of soup, or the unsettling number of skilled and dedicated doctors who have contracted Ebola in Africa despite taking every precaution.  The public isn’t “freaking out” en masse.  They’re asking for reasonable steps to avoid the conditions that would cause a freak-out, and they’re more than a little tired of being insulted for it.
G’ day…
Ciao…….Moe Lauzier

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