the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

Posts Tagged ‘progressives

47 Percent

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There was a time in this country when people were embarrassed to admit they needed help. They wouldn’t accept charity because they believed it was their personal responsibility to provide for themselves and their family and that to accept help from others was to admit failure.

But today, things are different.  If someone points out that a certain political party gets a lot of its support because it promises not only to keep current “entitlements” flowing that certain party cries foul.  Since Mitt Romney has recently done that, the Democrats have decided to use the statements as a way to rally their supporters, as in this recent email direct from the Obama campaign:

From: Stephanie Cutter, BarackObama.com [mailto:info@barackobama.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:35 PM
Subject: “Personal responsibility”

 If you’d like to receive more emails like this, join the Truth Team.

Yesterday, a leaked video from a closed-door fundraiser showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney telling a room full of big-money donors that Americans who don’t support him think they’re “victims” who don’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So rarely over the course of this campaign have we gotten to hear Mitt Romney say what he believes in such a revealing, unfiltered manner. This is one of those moments. It’s important that we make sure that the people in our lives who are just tuning into this election know what disdain and contempt Romney has for half of the citizens of this nation he wants to lead. Take a look at the items in this tipsheet, and then share them with others.

#1 What Americans think of Romney’s comments
The secret video shows that Romney believes nearly half of all Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and don’t pay taxes. Watch this video of Americans listening and reacting to Romney’s shocking comments, and make sure others do too:

#2 Who Romney is writing off?
It’s worth taking a second to look at some of the people who make up the nearly half of the country that Romney has so much disdain for. Who exactly are these people that Romney rips for not paying income taxes? The overwhelming majority are seniors, students, people with disabilities, or working families. They pay payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and more. Those working families include U.S. soldiers in combat, receptionists, firefighters, and clergy, just to name a few. Certainly, those folks aren’t short on personal responsibility. Read this blog post highlighting some of the Americans that Romney has written off, and share it with others:

#3 Romney’s responsibility map
Romney has said that “my job is not to worry about” the people who don’t support him. But America needs a president who will stand up for all Americans, not just the half of the country who agrees with him. Take a look at this graphic about Romney’s idea of “responsibility” and post it to your Facebook wall.

Thanks,

Stephanie

Stephanie Cutter
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. — Another way to fight back against Romney and his divisive politics is to chip in and help fund our grassroots campaign. Romney has big-money donors at closed-door fundraisers, President Obama has you. Chip in $25 or more today.

Paid for by Obama for America

Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible.

 

You should also note Mitt Romney owned up to the statement.  He could have, like President Obama with the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya, try to deflect attention away from the main issue by pointing out the clip ,ay have been obtained  illegally.  Or, again like President Obama with the “you didn’t build that” quote, try to weasel out of the statement and claim it was taken out of context, even though the clip on Mother Jones is clearly edited.  Instead, he stood up, admitted it could have been said better but the statement itself is fundamentally true.  That shows strength of character not seen in many political leaders, and most certainly not from the present Administration.

Founding Father James Madison said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…”.  We’ve wandered from from the principles of the Constitution, and have gotten to the point where many Americans – and 47 percent is not an unreasonable percentage – not only accept the slavery that comes with government benevolence, but crave and demand it.  Many politicians on both sides of the aisle seem content to not rock the boat and, in fact, work to make it ever larger.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve found one who will not only rock it, but sink the boat.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

20 September 2012 at 6:20 am

The lesser of two evils…

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It is perhaps the most frustrating of choices; to look on the ballot and try to pick the candidate you dislike the least.  Is there no one you can soundly support or are you forced to vote for one person because you’re determined to vote against their opponent?

The fact is, no matter who you vote for, you’re always voting for the lesser of two evils.

There are a couple of reasons for this, both of which trace back to basic human nature.  The first reality is that everyone is flawed.  Some more than others, of course, but the fact is no one is perfect.  This is true for everyone and seems to be particularly true for those who seek political office.

The second factor flows from this; power corrupts.  Those who seek political office often seek that power and, with it, the inevitable corruption.  Some resist more than others, but it taints everyone.

Taking into account that you will always vote for the person who, to you, is the lesser of two evils, let’s apply that to the current Presidential race.  Either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be elected in November.   Sure; there are those who hope others might but, unless you’re completely deluded, even the most loyal follower of one of the “also ran” candidates has to admit that.

Your choice comes down to someone who might be less than what you’d prefer but, in general, agrees with you on many, if not most, points.  Mitt Romney embodies the value of a free market, the necessity of a reduced government and the economic ruin caused by a runaway deficit.  He shows he understands that the country’s greatness has been built by people, not the government.

Or you can vote for a person who has demonstrated a total commitment to Keynesian economics, anti-colonial loathing of America and a willingness to reward some and punish others both domestically and as a foreign policy.  Barack Obama told the Russian President he would do even more in a second term and, since he wouldn’t have to deal with another re-election, he easily could.  Is that what you want?

To vote for someone else or to not vote is to let Obama win by default.  For a person of principle, who wants a restoration of American liberty and rule of law, the only logical choice is to go with the one who could turn things around.  Even though flawed, Romney is more likely to stop the current devolution than to continue, much less accelerate it.

Sure, Romney’s not perfect.

Who is?

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

13 September 2012 at 8:21 am

Romney: Obama’s “Mini Me”?

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Repeatedly over the past few months, Liberty Movement members – the name supporters of perennial minority Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul give themselves – have derided Republican nominee Mitt Romney as virtually indistinguishable from Barack Hussein Obama.  Pointing to the government health care program instituted on his watch in Massachusetts and quoting his statement that he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it, they claim Romney’s very nearly as progressive as the President, and not someone lovers of liberty should support.

It’s not the intention of this article to defend Mitt Romney; he’s said what he’s said and has to live with the consequences.  It’s also not the intent to convince the Liberty Movement that Romney is something other than what he is.  The intent is to look more closely at the differences between his ideology and that of President Obama, investigating, however briefly, the question of whether Mitt Romney is merely a scaled down version of the current inhabitant of the White House.

Whatever else Wendell Mitt Romney might be, he’s a businessman.  More to the point, he’s a capitalist, familiar with and an advocate of the free market, both in word and deed.  While the Democrats demagogue his connection to Bain Capital, everything about that relationship reflects an understanding and appreciation for letting the market, not government, determine winners and losers.  To paraphrase a line from Game of Thrones, “In the game of business you either win or you go bankrupt.”

This is, at its core, the fundamental fact of American success as a nation; of American economic strength even in the face of progressive efforts to win the hearts (and votes) of the citizenry using snares disguised as safety nets.  And it means that, whatever progressive tendencies Romney has, they are incidental; they’re a political addition, and not necessarily part of his core belief structure – his ideological DNA, if you will.

By contrast, Barack Obama is unquestionably a socialist.  At the same time, he’s not a typical socialist; he’s done and said things that are at odds with most American socialists.  There’s his aversion to the American flag; declining, in that famous photo from the 2008 election, to salute it even as other socialists on the stage did so, and it’s removal from his press room and Oval Office.  There’s his catering to Occupy Wall Street, his bowing to leaders of other countries, his apologizing for America.  There’s no other socialist in the national political spectrum that have gone to this level, and it reveals something key about the man.

The recent documentary book and subsequent movie, 2016: Obama’s America, in turn largely based on Obama’s autobiography, Dreams From My Father, builds a strong case for the President being a different sort of socialist.  It shows that, for the President, socialism is a means to an end; the fulfillment of an ideological commitment to the overturning of the world’s last colonial power.

Rare here in the United States, and even virtually unknown in Europe, anti-colonialism is common in third world nations like Obama’s father’s native Kenya.  It’s prevalent in Indonesia, where “Barry” spent his formative years and in Hawaii, where he lived with his activist grandparents.   Obama’s mother was enamored of his father, an anti-colonialist polygamist, and left her second husband after he began adopting capitalist ideas.

Anti-colonial ideology blames every problem and ill on the colonial masters, and there’s a lot of abuse that’s taken place under colonial rule to justify that point of view.  However, unlike the American Founders, anti-colonialists don’t want just independence from the “mother country”; they want it driven out and all its influences destroyed.  In this scenario, the United States is the last – and, possibly, the most evil – of the colonial powers.

So, America needs to apologize for its past and current colonial efforts.  It needs to recognize and even bow before those who have overthrown their colonial masters and established their own rule.  Its symbols are offensive and shameful, not promoted publically and proudly.  And, most of all, its ability to be a colonial master must be undercut, and the best way to do that is by ruining its economy and increasing its debt.

You don’t have to change your mind about Mitt Romney’s supposed similarity to Barack Obama.  You do, however, need to consider the difference.  You’ll make your own choice as to what’s really important to you; the parallel or the disparity.

See the movie.  Read the book.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

4 September 2012 at 11:39 am

Thank you, Mr. Levin!

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Jason Levin

Jason Levin, the middle school teacher from my home town of Beaverton, Oregon who tried to coordinate an effort to “crash the party”, managed to do what none of the alternative media, millions of everyday people and the scattered volunteer leaders of the Tea Party movement weren’t – get us positive coverage in the main stream media.  His fifteen minutes of fame lasted the better part of three days and, in the end, showed America the Tea Party isn’t some bunch of mouth-breathing rubes but their friends and neighbors with serious concerns about the direction of the country.

For those who’d not encountered the news reports starting the Monday before the 15 April 2010 income tax deadline, let me bring you up to speed.  On the first anniversary of the coming out of the conservative Tea Party movement, news stations around the country started reporting about Mr. Levin and his “Crash The Party” website.   Exercising his free speech rights, he advocated people crash the Tea Parties planned in their local area with racist, violent or homophobic signs, dressed like refugees from Hee Haw. In a post that was eventually  removed from the website, he even suggested using bogus “petitions” to gather personal information about Tea Partiers – including their Social Security number – with the intent of creating, as he put it, “mayhem” for them later.

As media attention grew, the school at first defended his actions, legitimately, as free speech, but then reports started surfacing that some of his activity took place during school time, which is against policy.  Mainstream news reports still haven’t mentioned the suggestions of harassment and identity theft advocated on the website but, at this point, Mr. Levin is on paid administrative leave and under investigation by the school district and the state.

And what about the “false flag” frauds he encouraged to infiltrate the Tea Party and exaggerate their least attractive features.  Well, as Michelle Malkin records in her blog, (http://michellemalkin.com/2010/04/15/crashers-they-came-they-saw-they-failed/), they were immediately spotted and exposed as fakes by the Tea Partiers they assumed too stupid to notice they were completely outside the norm.  You see, rather than the rednecks they think we are, we are normal, middle class folks, typically dressed in casual or business casual style rather than the overalls they expected.  Our signs ae usually creative, clever, pithy and properly spelled, not suggesting violence or revealing bigotry as they thought.  If they’d attended a Tea Party before they suggested crashing them they might have done better, but then they’d be indistinguishable from the real thing, which really wouldn’t serve their purpose.

And how did the media cover the Tea Parties?  Well, starting with the coverage of the Tea Party Express III as it made its way from Senate President Harry Reid’s home town of Searchlight, NV through turncoat Representative Bart Stupak’s district in MI (the day he announced he wasn’t seeking re-election) to Boston Common and finally Washington, DC, the coverage was almost uniformly neutral to positive.  A good example is the coverage we received in Mr. Levin’s home town, as reported on one of the local news stations, http://www.koinlocal6.com/content/mediacenter/default.aspx?videoId=15912@koin.web.entriq.net&navCatId=156.

In all, Mr. Levin’s efforts didn’t quite go as planned.  The Tea Party movement is aware of and ready for crashers at future events.  The mainstream media, after ignoring the movement for more than a year, have now moved it off the editing room floor and on the TV screens of most American cities.  People have discovered that, instead of racist bumpkins, the Tea Party folks are their friends and neighbors with legitimate concerns.

And Mr. Levin – well, he finds himself at the wrong end of what eventually happens in this country when you’re mean-spirited and bigoted.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

17 April 2010 at 6:10 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with ,

First, stop digging

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We are now in the second year of one of the worst recessions in American history.  There’s been a lot of talk about what can and should be done to deal with it but, as has been noted, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and there is much that has been done already that speaks to what needs to be done in the future.  Among the most ominous aspects of this continuing downturn is that what the government’s doing is almost identical to what turned the relatively minor recession of 1929 into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

First, let’s go back to early 2008.  Although the economy was starting to slow, what triggered the sharp decline was poor risk assessment, particularly in the housing industry.  During the Clinton Administration, laws forced lenders to make loans to people who didn’t deserve them.   After twelve years and with a weakening economy, those bad loans started cascading into failure and, as the 2001 stumbling showed, once that starts, it affects other parts of the economy as well.

It was bad enough but, because only a relatively small percentage of those with the loans were actually affect, we could have weathered it.  But then,the media deepened it by hyping it; after the surge worked, the press no longer could beat President Bush over the head with daily bad news from Iraq and had to find a new hammer. The normal ebb and flow of economic cycles augmented by the inevitable result of “liar loans” with images of foreclosed houses, made the downward turn sharper and deeper as people lost confidence.

The cure is going to take time and more than a little pain. The devolution of American liberty into nascent tyranny has happened in fits and starts, but it has taken nearly all of our history to get us where we are today. Clearly, the Keynesian policies and practices that is the typical government response do not and cannot work; it’s a wide and well-paved road that’s easier to travel but eventually leads to disaster. Eventually we, as a nation, have to be willing to give up the “gifts” and “support” given us by government – unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, tax “deductions” and “credits” as well as the more obvious “welfare” and other assistance programs – before we can truly be a free people again.

In the meantime, I’ll settle for it not getting worse; stop automatic increases and extensions, and create no new programs. Then, one by one, we can evaluate every existing program in light of Constitutional authority. To be honest, I don’t think the nation would stomach that – we’ve gotten too comfortable with our bread and circuses – but it’s where we’ll have to go to completely correct the situation.

There’s an adage that says, “When you realize you’re in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.” I don’t expect to see complete economic recovery in my lifetime. But I’ll vote for anyone who’ll stop digging the hole – and vote against anyone who digs it deeper, no matter what “good” it’s supposed to do.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

11 March 2010 at 11:36 am

Posted in Basics

Tagged with , ,

Well, what did you expect?

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The annual Dorchester Conference, which took place this last weekend (2-7 Mar 10) is touted by its promoters as the longest-running Republican event of its kind in the country.  With this being the 46th edition, that’s probably true.   On its website (http://www.dorchester.org/), it says it’s “Where politics is fun…” and, to many of those attending, that may be the case.

Not so much, apparently, with a number of the folks attending this year.

First, there was the issue of excluded Republican Primary candidates for Congress and Governor from scheduled debates.  And the “Tent Show” – a talent show that tries, usually with little success, to poke fun at events and individuals – was reportedly bad enough that several people were insulted enough to leave while it was going on.  In blogs , on Facebook and through Twitter, there’s been a steady stream of  comments ranging from the disappointed to disgusted and angry over what took place.

Well, what did they expect?  Dorchester was, after all, originally started as a counter to the “too conservative” Oregon Republican Party.  It’s not an official Republican event and, in fact, few if any of its leadership are involved in, much less leaders of, the county, state or national party organizations.  For the most part, the Dorchester conference and the Oregon Republican Party have been at odds and, except for the media, no one really pays much attention to the topics they discuss or the straw poll that so seldom predicts the Primary outcome.  Sure, candidates go to it, but bear in mind that’s kind of what candidates do – go to every possible event so they can gain name recognition.

To understand why it has a pretty much a moderate-to-progressive attitude, all you need to do is look at its history  Many Oregonians today have only a vague recollection of the founder of the Dorchester Conference, former US Senator Bob Packwood.  During his stint in the Senate, Packwood was often the target of a conservative challenger in the Primary because he was – and is – a unashamed progressive.   Until he was forced to retire because of his manhandling of women throughout his career, he fought conservative efforts and ideals from both inside and out of the GOP.

One of the clearest memories I have of my one and only time as a registered participant is of Senator Packwood’s keynote speech.  After plugging all the noteworthy efforts of past Republican leaders from Oregon (most of whom we’d consider progressives), he encouraged us to follow their example and show leadership by following the goals and values of the abortion crowd.  To my mind, it seemed pretty much the opposite of what leadership actually means, but maybe that’s just me.

The Dorchester Board, past and present, consists almost exclusively of Oregon’s “country club Republican” set.  So, when Tea Party folks swelled the registration to reportedly record-breaking levels, they didn’t really see the problem they’d have with “politics as usual,” even if it was supposed to be in fun.   It seemed perfectly reasonable to them to exclude conservative candidates because they were supposedly “unviable”; they saw nothing wrong with taking pot shots at the Tea Party, conservative leaders and spokesmen and at the ideals and values Constitutionally-minded folks hold dear.  From their point of view, they were being satirical, but there;s a fine line between satire and mocking.  Not too surprisingly, they crossed it.

There have been efforts to change Dorchester into a more conservative event almost as long as there’s been a Dorchester Conference.   I encourage all those who want to attend so a conservative perspective is given to do so.  But as long as moderates and progressives plan, organize and run Dorchester, and as long as Non-Affiliated, Libertarian and even Democrat folks are able to register and participate, it won’t be a Republican event, much less a conservative one.

Please, fellow Oregon conservatives, if you feel so inclined, join the “fun” and promote our agenda at future iterations of the conference on the Oregon coast.  But, for the sake of your sanity and blood pressure, don’t expect Dorchester to be anything other than what it is.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

9 March 2010 at 12:35 pm

Bunning: patriot or pariah?

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There’s been quite a bit of chatter lately about Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) and his insistence that the source of the $10 million needed  to extend unemployment benefits before the Senate approves that extension.   Bearing in mind he couldn’t do this on his own as it requires 40 other Senators to allow a filibuster, the fact remains that he’s the most outspoken of the group and definitely the target of the media and those who think the extension should be granted immediately.

Before we go any further and in the interests of full disclosure, I need to let you know I have a dog in this fight.  I’m a casualty of the economic slowdown, a little more than a week away from my one year anniversary as an unemployment statistic.  I’m close to having this issue affect me and my family, already struggling to make ends meet.  But there’s a bigger picture here, and I think we all need to look at the issue from the perspective of principle rather than personal want.  As I see it, there are two parts to this, one philosophical and the other economic.

The philosophical question involves the role of government.  Bunning has staked his concern on where will the money come from.  While that’s a very good question when we’re looking at skyrocketing deficits and government spending that simply can’t keep growing at the rate it’s been growing, there’s the question of what responsibility does government have to its unemployed.   Is it the role of government, at any level, to act as an insurance provider, forcing the payment of “premiums” while someone is working so that person has something to fall back on if they’re unemployed.  Looking at the US Constitution, my conclusion is there’s nothing supporting this.  So, in that sense, Bunning has it right.

Add to the Constitutional issue the question of whether the Senate should obey the rules it sets for itself.  Recently, they made it so any spending must be paid for as it goes.  In reality, all Sen. Bunning g(and those supporting his filibuster) are doing is requiring the Senate live by the rules.  When you strip out the emotional element, that seems fair.

On the economic side, I wonder why this extension is even necessary.  Unemployment is reportedly at about 10%.  That should mean for every person receiving unemployment benefits there are nine people paying into the system, plus the matching amount paid in by their employer.  Okay, so there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t working but also not collecting unemployment, but even the worst estimates put that at 20% total unemployment.  That still means an eight-to-one ratio of money going in to money going out.  But a number of states have run out of funds to pay benefits and need this bailout to stay afloat.  And what about the “trust fund” us job-seekers were paying into for years?   What happened to all that money?

Actually, this is a rhetorical question.  Like Social Security, unemployment insurance is a Ponzi scheme, where those who came in early get paid by the money put in by those who came later, there never was any trust fund or lock box protecting their “contributions”.  As long as there are more people paying in than are taking it out, it works.  But as soon as more money goes out than is coming in, the pyramid collapses.  And that’s exactly what has happened.

Most states have treated unemployment insurance as an extra tax; there’s always been a lot more coming in than has been going out, so it was a great cash cow.  There never was  any investment of the “premiums”, as would have been the case with a private insurance company; they spent the money on various programs and the bureaucracies needed to make them work.  Because the well was, for the most part, dry when the number of unemployed got to a certain point, they’ve gotten into the habit of getting bailed out by the federal government.  And, until now, the federal government went along with the illusion.

Yes, my family and I will probably suffer unless I beat the odds and get a new job before my benefits run out.  But weaning America off the various easy solutions that have gradually enslaved us is going to hurt people – probably, in one way or another, most if not all of us.  During the American Revolution, Thomas Paine didn’t have a lot of patience for what he called the “sunshine soldier” – someone willing to fight for liberty until the way got hard for him.  I won’t be one of those.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

4 March 2010 at 11:02 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with ,

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