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Archive for November 2009

Finally, A GOP Litmus Test

with 17 comments

A prominent attorney, Jim Bopp, Jr., has come up with a plan called the “Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates” and it’s being circulated among RNC members in the hopes of generating party support. Mr. Bopp is in the perfect position to advance this idea. You see, James Bopp is the Vice Chairman of Republican National Committee, a position he has held since 2008.

What does this have to do with Reagan? The resolution states,

“President Ronald Reagan believed … that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent.”

With that in mind, the resolution establishes a list of party policies which the party member must support to receive party support. If a candidate strays from the list on three or more issues, the RNC resolution, if approved, would block him/her from receiving financial support and/or official endorsements.

The test for Republican candidates includes the following points:

  1. Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill
  2. Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
  3. Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
  4. Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
  5. Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants
  6. Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
  7. Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
  8. Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act
  9. Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion
  10. The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

The resolution also says that the RNC will decide whether a candidate actually agrees with eight out of 10 — merely promising to go along isn’t enough if the party doesn’t like your voting record.

The Republican Party needs teeth in their party oath.


Proving my point that George W. Bush was not a Republican but actually a Democrat, the list indicates Bush would have been deemed ineligible for support from the Republican National Committee. He did, after all, increase the size of government, run enormous deficits, endorsed cap and trade, allowed North Korea and Iran to become more serious security threats, and rejected the right’s line on immigration.

I’ve been a strong advocate for a test to show proof that a Republican office holder was not a R.I.N.O. as some in the party are today. In light of the recent experience in New York’s 23rd, it’s time to root out “Republicans in Name Only” such as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine who would easily fail this test, and be made ineligible for support from the GOP.

In fact, on November 2, 2009, after Dede Scozzafava endorsed a Democrat for a vacant congressional seat over a Conservative backed by Republican leaders, I was motivated to write to the GOP to let off some steam. I figured it was a fruitless endeavor but it would let me vent.

By pointing to Scozzafava, I wanted to tell the GOP leadership she represented exactly what is wrong with the GOP. I wrote,

“The GOP is rife with R.I.N.O.s and takes on the characteristics of a box of chocolates…. you never know what you’re going to get.” I continued:

It makes it difficult to vote for GOP candidates when they turn out to be frauds in that they don’t represent party values.

Get serious about yourselves or you will be irrelevant … if not already.

Remember, recent polls show conservatives outnumber liberals by 2 to 1. It would appear the party has miscalculated by trying to align itself with left to moderate leaning party planks.

Poking some fun at myself, as if it would matter, I also decided to tell them about the planks I thought they should adopt. I opened up all the doors for this one. (Yes, I’m certifiable.)

This was the first item on my list:

Loyalty to party values

Ensure members of the party pledge their allegiance to the party’s values. G.W. Bush was a R.I.N.O.; Republican In Name Only. Purge the party of those with left-wing and liberal ideas and who do not support with actions and voting history the core values of the Republican Party. Arlen Specter is another example … good riddance.

We cannot follow a party that is filled with members who are not aligned with the party’s core values. The core values should revolve around these basic concepts; border, language, culture, national defense, support of the Constitution.

I also included these;

    Secure our borders
    Deport all illegal aliens immediately
    Religion and abortion
    Clean up our rotted universities (yes, I know. Not likely)
    Overhaul America’s education system
    Fix America’s media (Again, not likely)
    Provide for the common defense
    Reduce the size of government
    Energy policy
    Overhaul Immigration Policies
    Amend the U.S. Constitution to include an immigration policy

The details for these are here:

Now, I’m not going to suggest that my email rant to the GOP caused them to adopt the idea for party loyalty, but I will suggest that I am thinking what they are already thinking.

I will also suggest I am not alone. Here, you can read a recent Rasmussen poll which reveals 73 percent of the respondents believe GOP leaders have lost touch with the Republican base.

The full text of the resolution

RNC RESOLUTION ON FINANCIAL
SUPPORT OF CANDIDATES

Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed that the Republican Party should support and espouse conservative principles and public policies; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed, as a result, that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies and Republican solidarity in opposition to Obama’s socialist agenda is necessary to preserve the security of our country, our economic and political freedoms, and our way of life; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies is necessary to restore the trust of the American people in the Republican Party and to lead to Republican electoral victories; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee shares President Ronald Reagan’s belief that the Republican Party should espouse conservative principles and public policies and welcome persons of diverse views; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee desires to implement President Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates; and

WHEREAS, in addition to supporting candidates, the Republican National Committee provides financial support for Republican state and local parties for party building and federal election activities, which benefit all candidates and is not affected by this resolution; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.
Chief Sponsor:
James Bopp, Jr. NCM IN
Sponsors:
Donna Cain NCW OR
Cindy Costa NCW SC
Demetra Demonte NCW IL
Peggy Lambert NCW TN
Carolyn McLarty NCW OK
Pete Rickets NCM NE
Steve Scheffler NCM IA
Helen Van Etten NCW KA
Solomon Yue NCM OR

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Written by Ben

November 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

U.S. Labor Unions: Bane or Benefit?

with 12 comments

Introduced in March 2009 and then referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions in April, H.R.1409 – Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 Act (aka “card check”) is a bill intended to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. It would make it easier for workers to join unions and would tighten penalties for employers who try to stop them. Supporters such as Human Rights Watch and the NAACP say the bill provides important protections for the middle class.


With only 12% of American workers in unions, why should the rest of us care? Experts say a revived labor movement could benefit workers both in and out of unions and cite a need for forces that promote a fairer sharing of wealth. They also note that the gap between America’s rich and poor is the largest it’s been since 1928. Over the last 75 years, unions helped secure benefits like unemployment insurance, Social Security, and the 40-hour workweek.

Under the bill, workers would be able to decide whether to hold a secret ballot vote on union formation after a majority of employees have signed union authorization cards, or to have the union certified based on the cards alone. Under the current rules, employers have the power to make that decision. The bill also designates a time line for first contracts to be drawn up between unions and employees and stipulates that if no deal is reached within 120 days, an arbitration panel will render a decision that will be binding for two years. Finally, it would increase the fines employers must pay if found guilty of violating their employees’ right to unionize.

This bill is organized labor’s number one legislative priority, and it is vigorously opposed by the business lobby. Democratic leader are expected to bring it to a vote in the Senate sometime this summer. The big question regarding its passage is whether or not the Democrats can find 60 votes in favor of breaking an inevitable Republican filibuster. The Senate version is S. 560.

Opponents like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Restaurant Association say it increases labor costs and hurts the bottom line. Both sides have spent millions on lobbyists and advertising to make their case.

Supporters such as Human Rights Watch and the NAACP say the bill provides important protections for the middle class. Opponents like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Restaurant Association say it increases labor costs and hurts the bottom line. Both sides have spent millions on lobbyists and advertising to make their case.

Others contend that unions have outlived their usefulness. “The workplace is much better today,” says Michael Eastman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Employers know they need to offer certain benefits and good wages to keep good workers.”

Professor Daniel says Card Check likely would not increase union membership until the economy improves, since workers are currently more concerned about job security than wages and benefits. “ Today, most workers are too fearful to take a risk for unions,” he adds.

Looking at the numbers

As of March 5, 2007, a UAW represented assembly worker’s wage rate at GM/Ford/DaimlerChrysler are as follows:

AssemblerHourly rate COLATotal
GM$26.09$1.77$27.86
Ford$26.10$1.83$27.93
DAIMLER-CHRYSLER$26.86$1.77$28.75

When Congress debated the bailout package for Detroit, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans had demanded that wages and benefits for employees of U.S. automakers needed to be renegotiated to match the lesser overall compensation that foreign carmakers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan pay at their U.S. plants.

The Japanese automaker has fewer retirees in the U.S., and its health care benefits and pensions are less generous than those negotiated between Detroit and the UAW. Another key point is that health costs and pensions for auto workers in Japan – worth billions – are subsidized by the Japanese government. Not so in the U.S.

In December 2008, The Detroit Free Press reported that it had obtained an internal Toyota report which said the company should align its hourly wages with the prevailing manufacturing pay in the state rather than those of competitors in the auto sector, with the goal of cutting an expected $900 million increase in worker compensation by 2011 by one-third.

On average, other manufacturing jobs pay less. In Kentucky Toyota workers in Georgetown earn about $30 per hour, while the median wage in the state for manufacturing jobs, according to the Department of Labor, is $12.64.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger points to generous union-negotiated benefits packages as being a burden to America’s auto industry,

“You know, if you pay the auto workers or the benefits and all of those things, are maybe too high. … We have, like, in America, you sell a car, and you have $2,000 of each car just goes to benefits. So I think that there’s a way of reducing all of that, make them more fiscally responsible.”

Sen. Jim DeMint:

“Some auto manufacturers are struggling because of a bad business structure with high unionized labor costs and burdensome federal regulations. Taxpayers did not create these problems and they should not be forced to pay for them.”

Sen. Jon Kyl:

“For years they’ve been sick. They have a bad business model. They have contracts negotiated with the United Auto Workers that impose huge costs.The average hourly cost per worker in this country is about $28.48. For these auto makers, it’s $73. And for the Japanese auto companies working here in the United States, it’s $48.”

Written by Ben

November 27, 2009 at 10:16 am

Posted in Labor Unions, Politics

Tagged with ,

Liberty Is Not For Sissies

with 4 comments

This is not the correct driving behavior.

Recently, I was conversing with The Vermont Farmer about issues he has against the Republican Party. He had made reference to GOP policies he viewed as “extreme”. As the conversation evolved, he mentioned the Patriot Act and said “Liberty is not for sissies”, calling it “risky business”. He’s right, and it got me to thinking.

When I was learning to drive, my dad was in the right seat and I used the horn for some reason I don’t remember. From the reaction of my dad, my reason for using it apparently wasn’t warranted. He simply said to me, “If you’re driving the car correctly, you’ll never need that horn.” It took a few seconds for that to sink in, but it did. He was right.



Here’s another one from my brother. He once got ticked-off when the ATMs started to show up. I asked why and he said, ” ‘They’ can track you. ‘They’ know that at that moment, you are there at that machine pulling money out of your account.” Falling back on my horn-lesson, I retorted with something like “So what? If you’re behaving properly, who cares who knows where you happen to be?” He only said something like “That’s not right. That’s intrusion.” I thought then and today continue to think it’s a very weak argument. The bank and authorities could “intrude” upon my withdrawal habits long before the advent of ATMs.

Smile, you're being surveilled.





Today, we see that ATMs and camera’s have turned out to be a valuable tool for law-enforcement making our society a safer one in that it helps authorities apprehend the perpetrator quicker.



Liberty isn’t for sissies, which is to say we have to be willing to stomach the actions of those who take their rights of liberties too far by robbing, killing and destroying.

The game has changed.


Today we live in a world where we have a stateless enemy we like to call “radical Muslims”. (Which is a joke, but that’s another topic) I won’t go into the reasons, but we know they have avowed to kill Americans from any quarter and in as many numbers as possible. They have demonstrated their mission on numerous occasions in our country and abroad. It is a hard fact.



If we know we have a stateless enemy who is submerged into our society, we would be irresponsible to wait for them to attack a refinery or another high-rise as in the recent case in Dallas (given simulated explosive and detonator which they pushed). That was stopped only because of broad surveillance methodologies. Many lives and millions of dollars in property were saved. They are now in jail.


You and I were never targeted by those surveillance methodologies. Know why?


We behaved properly.



My acceptance of these methodologies isn’t easy. It’s a hard choice for me, but it is also easy to see the price for not choosing this position is very, very high. Too high. Liberty is at stake. I will not tolerate another event on the scale of 9/11 and I am willing to be surveilled to avoid that. As I said, liberty isn’t for sissies and as we see, it’s a double-edged sword. To enjoy our liberty we have to be willing to make some hard choices. It isn’t going to be pretty, either.



In this video, Gingrich classifies America’s anti-terror strategy as weak.

Written by Ben

November 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

Posted in Liberty, Politics

Tagged with ,

The Selective and Self-Serving Memories of the Left

with 26 comments

BushHateSigns

imheretokillbush

killBush
This idiot can’t determine the difference between “there” and “their”. T-shirt says it all.

killBush2
Same idiot.

killBush3
Again.

killBush4

killBush5

killBush6

killBush8

Written by Ben

November 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Is the GOP Irrelevant?

with 4 comments

Irrelevancy. That’s the charge many are lobbing at the GOP. The argument is that it has become pointless, peripheral and extraneous to politics in America.

GOPplanks

The GOP needs new party planks


Critics say it needs to rebuild a respect for civil debate including self-criticism. It must appeal to the youth in America today and must appeal to generations of the future. They charge that the GOP today seems to be stuck in the newspaper and T.V. era, oblivious to the existence of the internet and hand held devices America’s youth have embraced to interact and communicate. The GOP is completely unaware of what occupies the minds of Americans who have a forward-looking vision for America right now – today. The GOP is occupied by too many who are unwilling, as a condition of admission, to sign an oath of allegiance to a set of talking points or party planks upon which a party platform is to be built.

I think I am at the point where I have to agree. Personally, I find it disturbing that the GOP continues to demonstrate such a narrow minded and two-tone palate of policies coupled with a lackluster set of leaders.

On the issue the recently house-passed HR-3962, the GOP has managed to bring forth a bill to address the “problem” of national health care in response to the Democrat’s mammoth 1.2 trillion dollar band aid. At the end of the day, the GOP’s response is still yet another spending program.

OK, maybe we can call it a good start, but only if at the same time, the GOP had advanced a bill which recalled the unused balance of the $787 billion stimulus bill and another bill which cut taxes on business and broke up these mega-banks we now have.

But it’s wishful thinking to expect any vision from this party which does very little to distinguish itself from the DNC. Today, I believe the GOP should be keeping the Democrats off balance, forcing them to justify their ruinous policies on the economy by authoring bills based upon sound and proven ideas, such as cutting taxes.

The crux of the problem are the GOP planks. What are they? Anyone? Beuller?

Look at the oath of the GOP and compare it to the oath the Democrat takes when they join the party. Not much difference. (To be clear, this is not the same as the oath of office. I’m speaking about the oath of the party.)

I believe we should push for a few sound basics for party planks to distinguish the GOP from Democrat Party.

For starters, let’s try “Border”. America’s borders are so wide open you could literally drive a country through it.

Next, maybe we should push to establish English as our nation’s official language as a basis to prevent our local and federal government from spending our tax dollars printing government multilingual forms and local street signs.

Once that’s done, perhaps we should add another plank to deport all illegal aliens we have in the U.S. today. Let the economic chips fall where they will; she will quickly adjust. America’s education, medical, social security other social systems cannot afford to pay for the welfare of another country’s population.

Once here legal aliens are required to learn to use the English language – the official language of the nation.

How about an energy policy unique to the GOP? If we are so willing to spend trillions of dollars to prop up a failing banking system, then we should be equally willing to spend a trillion dollars to

  • hasten the development of Polymer exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology
  • upgrade the country’s infrastructure with the necessary hydrogen fueling stations
  • develop fuel cell based postal delivery vehicles for delivery of mail into urban and city areas to hasten arrival of 2nd generation fuel cells to drive down unit costs
  • to recover research and development costs, license and then export the technology to other countries. When it comes to the Middle East, attach an up-charge of significant mass that is required to make transportation by camel look not only like a viable alternative but an attractive one.

These are just a few examples which should highlight the need of the GOP to adopt and then publicize future-looking, sovereignty-protecting, building-for-the-future platform planks.

While we’re doing that, we should purge the system of its RINOs.

Written by Ben

November 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

Barney Frank Proposes New Bank Resolution Authority

with one comment

After years of Fed policies which allowed mergers of massive banks to form the very mega-banks which have now failed, Barney Frank, after his years of rebuking repeated efforts by Republicans to reform the system, is only now rising up to look the hero.

On October 27, 2009, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) released the latest version of the most complex piece of the financial reform puzzle: solving the “too big to fail” problem by giving the federal government more powers to wind down major financial firms.

barney-frank-pointing

Barney Frank blamed others for the mortgage industry meltdown while literally in bed with Fannie Mae.

Frank’s bill seeks to avoid the kinds of massive taxpayer bailouts that characterized last year’s financial crisis by empowering the federal government to wind down any financial firm, no matter how large, complex or interconnected.

“We’re going to have death panels. But they’re going to have death panels that are going to put to death these institutions before they can cause us problems, not old people,” — Frank said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

Back in 2003, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Frank led the government charge that helped create the GSE meltdown (time line here). He made this now infamous quote about new terms to lower lending standards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing.

Under Frank’s new (I’ve found God) vision, shareholders and unsecured creditors would have to pay for the failure, not taxpayers, according to a summary of the bill. The legislation would require resolution costs to come first from the failed firm’s assets “at the expense of shareholders and creditors,” with any additional cost to be paid from an after-the-fact assessment on the remaining large financial firms.

But as we all know, except for perhaps Frank, the costs of these penalties will ultimately be passed on to the consumer in the form of bank processing and administration fees.

Frank’s proposal reeks of a “let the bank fail and allow the market to absorb the consequences” tactic which the Feds dismissed earlier in the crisis, preferring to instead follow their “too big to fail” philosophies.

The bill’s proposal for an oversight council to act as the so-called “systemic risk regulator” to keep an eye on the overall health of the financial industry also sounds suspiciously like Bush’s proposals first advanced in 2001. The council would be directed to identify risky firms and financial activities, and have the power to slap tougher rules and standards on those firms.

Frank said Tuesday morning on CNN that the systemic risk council would also have the power to break up a company “if its too big.”

Frank’s use of the term “systemic risk” mirrors comments made in April 2005 when Secretary of the Treasury John Snow repeatedly called for GSE reform, saying

“Events that have transpired since I testified before this Committee in 2003 reinforce concerns over the systemic risks posed by the GSEs and further highlight the need for real GSE reform to ensure that our housing finance system remains a strong and vibrant source of funding for expanding homeownership opportunities in America … Half-measures will only exacerbate the risks to our financial system.”

Then house Minority Leader Harry Reid rejected the legislation saying ” we cannot pass legislation that could limit Americans from owning homes and potentially harm our economy in the process.”

Frank’s proposed Council and Fed Board would be banned from publicly releasing a list of “systemically significant” institutions – a major concern in the industry which fears that those singled out would be penalized by the market.

If these institutions were to be publicly singled out, it might have positive results on the market as banks would have a built-in incentive to engage in policies which minimize risk to themselves.

Written by Ben

November 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm