Sunday, November 30, 2014

Time Magazine Author: "..peaceful protesting is a luxury of those already in mainstream culture"- WRONG!

In a recent piece published by Time Magazine, author Darlena Cunha makes the argument that incidents of rioting like those that have occurred in the last week over the non-indictment of a Ferguson police office in the death of Michael Brown are not only justifiable, but maybe necessary in the battle to end racial discrimination in America.

Now, there is a fair argument to be made that IF your particular cause is truly "just" and you have been unable to advance the changes needed to correct by any and all other means, than some level of "non-peaceful" action may be required. The author makes this as her primary argument throughout the piece, even invoking the Boston Tea Party as an example of a "riot" that was necessary to advance change.

BUT, and it is a rather big BUT, that argument is fundamentally flawed on several points.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Live Coverage of Ferguson Protest at Street Level

For those wanting to watch a very raw (and un-edited) view of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri from the ground level with some of the protesters themselves, I have found a link for ya'll..

Please be advise though, that as this feed is unfiltered and uncensored, there is the chance for you hearing rather "colorful" language. Just in the last 30 minutes of me listening/watching, I've heard two "f@ck the police" chants, though I'm not going to condemn this whole "movement" based on these chants alone.

Regardless of the "colorful" language and chants, it is VERY important for folks to actually see these kind of events in America with their own eyes and WITHOUT any filters of any kind..

Live Feed- PzFeed

Friday, November 21, 2014

Progressive PAC poll prefer Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton??

In a break from the "all immigration, all the time" posts as of late, here is a story from the left side of the American political spectrum.

It would seem that at least some "progressives" in America today are not on the Hillary Clinton bandwagon for the upcoming 2016 presidential election circus..

In an internal poll taken by the progressive PAC Democracy for America of their members found that 42% wanted Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) to be their top choice for the Democratic nomination, with Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) coming in second at 24%. Hillary Clinton followed up closely behind Sanders at 23%. Over a 164,000 members of the PAC apparently took part in the poll.

For those who don't know much about senators Warren and Sanders, I strongly suggest you take a look here at some fairly impartial profiles of the two politicians:

Ballotpedia- Bernie Sanders

Ballotpedia- Elizabeth Warren

Thursday, November 20, 2014

President Obama's Executive Action: If only a good speech made it right..

After watching President Obama's speech tonight on his planned executive actions concerning potentially millions of illegal immigrants in American today, I have to admit, it was a good speech. In fact, it's probably the most honest and heartfelt speech he has given in YEARS...

But that's doesn't make what he said good policy, or any less constitutionally questionable.

As those on the left have preached for a week or so now, the idea of presidents issuing executive orders to extend some form of "amnesty" or protection to illegal immigrants is NOT new.

But as we covered in an earlier piece, the CONTEXT of those earlier executives is important to remember. When presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. issued their executive orders, they did so in direct connection to a very recently passed federal law.

What President Obama has proposed tonight is to do something a bit, "grander". Instead of acting in concert with an existing/recently passed federal immigration law, he is moving to modify the ENTIRE immigration enforcement system.

Does a President truly have the constitutional authority to do such a thing?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pres. Obama in 2010: "I can't just make the laws up by myself."

To add to the confusion concerning President Obama's proposed/rumored executive order on "amnesty" for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, it turns the President has not always been so enthusiastic about the idea of he taking such unilateral action on his own.

Back in 2010, President Obama participated in several interviews/speeches in which he discussed the topic of immigration reform in the United States. One interview in particular really stands out though for me in this conversation, here is a question and the President's response from a radio interview with Univision Radio Network:

SOTELO: Under your administration, Mr. President, almost half a million immigrants have been deported, more than any other president. I want to be clear that I'm talking about immigrant families that are hard working, are learning the English language and are helping our economy. What can your administration do to stop deportations now?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the main thing we have to do to stop deportations is to change the laws. What my administration has done is actually change our priorities because you mentioned that there are a lot of families out there, but the truth is, it's actually that the way we're now enforcing the law puts less emphasis on families, more emphasis on those with criminal records and so the big increase in deportations has actually to do with people with criminal records who've been engaging in illegal activity, not just because they don't have papers, but because they've been engaging in criminal activity. But the most important thing that we can do is to change the law because the way the system works -- again, I just wanna repeat, I'm president, I'm not king. If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as a opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there's a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. That's what the Executive Branch means. I can't just make the laws up by myself. So the most important thing that we can do is focus on changing the underlying laws. That requires Congress to cooperate. As I've said before, I've got the majority of Democrats who are ready to make those changes, but we are gonna need some help from the other side and that's where our focus has to be.

I made sure to include the entire question and answer portion to make sure we don't run into any "gotcha moment" issues.

I don't see much need to elaborate the importance of this quote from the President, as his own words on the subject of over-reaching executive authority speak for themselves...


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pres. Obama's Proposed Executive Order on Immigration: Truly "Unprecedented"?

Tonight's piece was inspired by several "spirited" Twitter conversations I have had over the last two days concerning President Obama's proposed/rumored executive order extending so-called "amnesty" to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Specifically, the conservation started when @Clydetheslyde posted an image comparing the GOP's reaction to this proposed/rumored executive order as President Reagan's sentiment towards what the GOP so lovingly calls "amnesty" today.

Now, I've actually never been a big fan of "gotcha" images like this (though I do admit they are quite effective in motivating me into a debate), and I posted in counter that Reagan's "amnesty" was first passed by Congress and then signed by him into law, not solely by 'executive fiat'.

This wandered initially into a comparison of Obama's proposed/rumored executive action and other famous EOs like Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (which I challenged on several vital points) and then to the topic of how constitutional ANY executive really is. As per the usual with debates I have with @Clydetheslyde, it was a little heated but ultimately a good and respectful debate.

To add further fuel to this fire today, @Mobygrapefan pointed out to me today that actually, there was more to Reagan's venture into "amnesty" than I was originally aware of (per the Huffington Post).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

House continues ban on earmarks | RedState

In a fairly refreshing set of news, the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives has voted to KEEP the "earmarks" barn in House spending bills.

It didn't quite go down without a hitch, but still, good to see the GOP trying to maintain at least SOME level of good governance in Congress..

Now let's see if the Senate follows suit..

Kudos to Redstate's Streiff for this short and sweet piece..

House continues ban on earmarks | RedState

Bill Walker's Independent Ticket Wins Alaska Governor's Race |

The governor's race in the state of Alaska was obviously not a widely talked about race on election night this year, and yet it turns out to have come to a rather unique conclusion:

Instead of just the same old "GOP vs Dems" type of race, a former Republican ran as an independent and convinced the Democratic candidate to be his running mate as Lt. Governor in a so-called "unity ticket"..

Kudos to IVN's Alex Gauthier for this piece.

Bill Walker's Independent Ticket Wins Alaska Governor's Race |

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"GruberGate" and the 'Stupidity of the American Voter'

There has been a fair amount of talk on the internet the last week or so concerning the so-called "GruberGate" (I hate that EVERYBODY gets a "gate" these days, should be preserved for proper scandals..).

Interestingly though, the biggest element of this "scandal" is how LITTLE more traditional or "mainstream media" have covered it, if at all in fact, which gives the conservative media something to complain about..A never-ending cycle of American media and politics, gotta love it.

Anyway, back to the "scandal". Here is the short version:

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at MIT and was, by his admission, one of the chief architects of Massachusetts's 2006 healthcare reform program (aka "RomneyCare") and the 2006 Affordable Healthcare Act (aka "ObamaCare"). In other words, probably not the most well liked guy in conservative circles.

While at a conference in 2013, Mr. Gruber made the following comment concerning the 2009 healthcare law:

"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, call it the 'stupidity of the American voter' or whatever, that was really critical to getting the thing passed."

Pretty damning quote right? Hard to argue with that..but you all know me better than that.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What The 'Do Nothing Congress' Can Tell Us About The Future of U.S. Politics |

An interesting piece from the Independent Voters Network's David Yee comparing the current Congress with the previous best-known "Do Nothing Congress" and what this comparison could tell us about the politics we are going to be seeing the next 2 years...

What The 'Do Nothing Congress' Can Tell Us About The Future of U.S. Politics |

Ten bad assumptions about 2014. | RedState

Not a terrible list from RedState's Moe Lane...

Ten bad assumptions about 2014. | RedState

Further Proof that American Politics are getting Ugly..REAL Ugly

If you were watching Fox News on election night last week, you probably saw an exchange occur repeated between commentator Juan Williams and several of the news' panel's more, "conservative" members (seems oxymoronic to have to say so considering this is Fox we're talking about, but bear with me).

The argument that Juan Williams was trying to make early on in the evening was that the results of the election thus far were largely due to an "anti-incumbent" sentiment and since the Democrats had more Senate seats up for grabs, they were bound to lose to some degree because of its sentiment.

Problem was, as the other members of the panel pointed out, even GOP incumbents (including those not really popular in their respective states such as Mitch McConnell) were not only winning but winning with fair margins.

So while Juan Williams may have been wrong in trying to apply this "anti-incumbent" sentiment to the Democrat's eventual defeat, that fact that Senate candidates who are normally not popular with their constituents were fairly easily winning re-election is something to make note of.

The basic logic of elections is this: if the politician is unpopular before the election cycle starts, he/she will probably not have an easy time winning re-election.

But as Senator Mitch McConnell can testify, that is not always the case, not by a long shot.

Further, even in some open Senate races, such as Iowa's seat vied for by Democrat Bruce Braley and GOPer Joni Ernst, neither candidate had a reliably strong lead (let alone pulling more than 50% in a majority of polls) going into election night. Regardless of this, Joni Ernst beat her Democratic opponent by roughly 10 points and won just over 52% of the vote.

This "phenomenon" was explored today by Politico's Maggie Haberman here.

More or less, the political reality of elections works out like this: As long as your polling numbers are better than your opponents, you can win a majority of the voters' support.

What does this really mean?

Well, a nasty by-product of this reality is you can wage a nasty, cutthroat, and downright hateful campaign against your opponent, and as long as enough voters buy what you're selling and like your opponent just a little less than you, you can win. Hence the rise in such election campaign strategies (often times carried out by "unofficially affiliated" Super PACs).

And you wonder why so few politicians these days wage so-called "clean campaigns", which seek to minimize personal attacks on your opponent and aim more to educate voters on your own political stances...

Welcome to the current political reality in America folks, for better or..or just for worse.


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

NASA Signs 60-Year, $1.16 Billion Lease with Google

In a rather refreshing change of pace, we have a story tonight about a federal government agency making a useful (not to mention profitable) use of government assets and resources..

Now before you all bust a gut laughing about this notion, lets get to the facts.

Google has apparently signed a long-term lease agreement with NASA to access the Moffett Field Naval Station near San Francisco, California.

The Moffett Field Naval Station is a place of interesting history and is well known for its three large hangars, which were originally built for U.S. Navy airships. These large hangars have even made an appearance on the popular television series MythBusters.

So what is so interesting about this lease agreement between NASA and Google?

Google isn't just getting a wider use of this facility, they are actually to fix it up a bit!

They are currently planning on investing some $200 million to refurbish the hangars and add educational facilities.

In other words, NASA is leasing one of its older and less modern facilities to a private company for a handsome price and getting the facilities improved WITHOUT having to use their own funds. This is a perfect example of a federal government agency using some of its assets in a smart and economic fashion, a rarity it seems these days.

So now you maybe asking yourself something along the lines of, "well that's a rather deal, but what does Google get out of it?"

A good question no doubt, but not one that is easy to answer. The closest I am aware of Google being involved in the aerospace field is the Google Lunar X Prize. This is a competition of sorts to inspire private companies and technology entrepreneurs to develop cheaper and more efficient technologies for travel to the Moon and possibly even exploring the surface.

So does Google want to build Moffett into the perfect launch site for some of these ventures or perhaps even develop such technology itself?

That, it seems is the $1.16 billion question.

Wall Street Journal- Google Signs 60-Year, $1.16 Billion NASA Lease

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Immigration Reform: Next Major Political Battle?

I haven't posted anything lately concerning the debate over immigration reform in America and the much talked-about and denounced possibility that President Obama will announce a sweeping executive order that will provide "amnesty" to millions of illegal immigrants here in America...

I have "amnesty" in parenthesis because I despise how it is used by Conservative pathetic partisans as a code-word for internal stupidity. In other words, when any member of the GOP talks about some sort of immigration reform and this "reform" doesn't include forcibly arresting/removing the millions of illegal immigrants NOW, the pathetic partisans within the GOP immediately denouncement them for advocating "amnesty".

Regardless of the fact that for it to truly be "amnesty", the illegal immigrants would face NO repercussions of any kind for their behavior, something very folks on either side of the isle have actively proposed..

Entering into this fray, the fact that the Democratic party is not necessarily unified in support of a possible sweeping executive order from President Obama concerning immigration reform..including quite possibly the Vice President, Joe Biden.

Link below courtesy The Weekly Standard:

President, VP May Differ on Immigration Strategy: 'Obama Angrily Cut Biden Off' | The Weekly Standard

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Newly re-elected GOP Governor wants to RAISE Gas Tax..wait, what?

That's right folks, just two days after winning a new 4-year term as Governor of the State of Iowa, Terry Branstad has proposed raising the state's gasoline tax..

Branstad: Transportation funding will be priority in 2015- Des Moines Register

Now a Republican proposing a tax INCREASE may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but Governor Branstad's reasons for such a tax are something most folks care about: better roads and bridges.

And while a lot of folks in Iowa will likely be very happy to have better roads, I wonder if the Governor may have slightly over-estimated how smoothly this will go over with Iowans as a whole.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Things to Remember after Election Night..

Things to Remember After Election Night...

Regardless of which party does come out on top at the end of the night (GOP just 3 seats away from a simple 51-seat majority as I type this), there are going to be some major challenges for the Senate when they come back early next year. Here are just a few of those:

  • IF the GOP manages to win control of the Senate, it's not yet guaranteed that current Minority Leader (and re-elected tonight) Mitch McConnell will end up being the new Majority Leader. He is still fairly unpopular in the more conservative and Tea-Partier sections of the GOP, that opposition at least partially headed by junior Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. That said, given his strong finish (~10-11 point win over his opponent), trying to move him off that top position may be trickier than his enemies within the GOP originally thought. 
  • IF the GOP fails to win majority control of the Senate, we will likely witness a level of GOPers "eating their own" much greater than after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012..No party does it better!
  • Even if the nights turns out really great for the GOP, it doesn't seem likely they will have the same kind of majority the Democrats had going in and thus one has to wonder how effectively the GOP will be able to run the Senate. Harry Reid with a relatively small majority was able to successfully defeat the GOP at seemingly every turn for many years now. Folks may despise Mr. Reid, most political wonks will tell you all day long that he IS an "effective" Majority Leader in that he is very capable of stepping his opposition from having their voice heard. Can Mitch McConnell (or some one else) do the same once in power?
  • Expect President Obama to attempt to "make nice" with the GOP in the next few months and do so very publicly. Why? Because if they spur him while he is so publicly reaching out to them, he could garner additional support for further "executive actions". Further, with the GOP potentially in control of both houses of Congress, the term "lame duck" is going to really start to get thrown around (except for at FoxNews where they have been chatting it up for months now..). What better way to remind folks he is still there than a political showdown?
  • May not actually know the final tally by tonight's end or even by tomorrow. Louisiana's election could turn into a run-off that goes into NEXT YEAR..
  • In addition, while we will all be glad to NOT have to see any more nasty and idiotic political ads on TV for at least a little while, we should expect talk of 2016's presidential election almost IMMEDIATELY..For better or worse.

Overall, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that this year's midterm congressional elections are the most watched and most participated in for many years (we'll wait for some actual data to back-up that up or not). That, in its own right, is a pretty big deal in American politics.
Generally, midterms do not have the same levels of turnout as Presidential elections, not even by a long shot and yet this one is potentially going to have an even bigger impact than the GOP's return to power in the House back in 2010.

For those who did vote in tonight's elections across the country, kudos to you for doing your part to move the political system and actively participating in a political system that far too many see as irreversibly corrupt and pointless.

For those slackers who did NOT vote in this election, here something to keep in mind:
You don't get to whine and bitch about how the federal government is screwing you over if you are too lazy to get off your duff and do something about it.

If you think the government is doing everything wrong, stop just being part of the idiotic and childish echo chamber and try and enact some "change" yourself.


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't think voter fraud can happen?

Recently, I discussed the arguments for and against stricter voter-ID laws across the United States, specifically focusing on those that require photo-ID of some variety, pointing out using others' works that there was strong argument for and against such laws.

Now, it seems that the potential threat of voter fraud has been demonstrated with both more undercover "operatives" and at least one actual case of it.

Conservative "operative" (not sure what the best word is for him), James O'Keefe showed off video evidence illustrating the major flaws in the states where voting requires no real identification: he was able to impersonate actual individuals on voter registries and on 20 separate places, was not preventing from actually voting. In fact the only thing that seems to have prevented O'Keefe from committing actual voter fraud was his own actions in ending the "undercover operation". 

This however, was not the first time we have heard about the issue of voter fraud in the last 48 hours or so.

Des Moines Register Pollster Gets Flak for latest Poll

Not too surprising, the latest Des Moines Register poll released this past week, which showed GOP candidate Joni Ernst 7 points ahead of Democrat Bruce Braley, has been treated with some suspicion and criticism over the last few days.

The brunt of this flak has been directed at pollster J. Ann Selzer, but she seems to be taking it all in stride...

Des Moines Register pollster on criticism of Senate numbers

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Three days to go until the elections. The die is cast. So CALM DOWN. | RedState

Regular RedState author Moe Lane with a message for those political wonks out there who are in full freak-mode...

Which is definitely not me..

Did I mention a new poll for the Iowa Senate race was out?..

Three days to go until the elections. The die is cast. So CALM DOWN. | RedState

BREAKING Iowa Poll: Joni Ernst takes 7-point Lead

Kudos to The Des Moines Register for breaking this story..

On a cautionary note, this is just ONE poll, but given we are less than 3 days away from the vote, the "shock value" of this poll will definitely be felt in the Braley camp..

Joni Ernst takes a 7-point Lead- The Des Moines Register

The Party of Nonvoters

Kudos to the good folks at the Pew Research Center for an interesting "numbers" piece concerning this year's elections, but not quite the numbers you think..

Instead of investing how the LIKELY voters will be this year, Pew's folks are focusing on the UNLIKELY voters..

Definitely worth a read!

The Party of Nonvoters

Democrats fear Iowa slipping away

The growing possibility of BOTH Iowa members to the U.S. Senate being Republicans has definitely got Democrats back home in Iowa a wee bit nervous..

Kudos to POLITICO's Katie Glueck for this rather timely piece.

Democrats fear Iowa slipping away