Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category
First, I’ll stipulate that Newt Gingrich is a flawed man who’s paid a hefty price for his mistakes. Next, I’ll state what I emphatically believe: that Newt Gingrich the visionary isn’t just the right tonic for what’s ailing the GOP. He’s the perfect strategist to lead Republicans to victory. Newt’s speech at CPAC this year is a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about:
The reason why Newt’s got the right strategy is because his speeches aren’t about politics. They’re about improving life with a political twist. Check out this part of Newt’s speech:
NEWT: We must stop being the opposition movement. We must become the alternative government movement that will help make the life of every American better so that they would understand what we would do that we would do right, not just what the left is doing wrong.
The biggest thing that conservatives can do to guarantee the best shot at victories this fall is telling the American people that a) we’re the solutions party and b) we trust families and small businesses to make great decisions.
That necessarily means trusting people with lots of options. If we trust families, we should be the party whose health care reform legislation gives families tons of options to fit their families’ needs. By doing that, Republicans will highlight the difference between Harry Reid’s and Al Franken’s one-size-fits-all plan, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and Republicans’ legislation that trusts families.
That’s a perfect segue into another major point in Newt’s speech:
The smartphone will be the leading public health device of the 21st Century. It’ll be the leading learing device. It’ll be the leading management tool. Congressman Dr. Michael Burgess has a smartphone that has 8 medical applications on it. He can do an electrocardiogram with his smartphone. Now the Food and Drug Administration, seeing the dramatic rise in applications that improve your health, now wants to take over approving applications for smartphones.
Now if you want to see a fight where we can be on the side of young Americans and the left is hopeless, you just go out to any college campus and you say ‘how would you like Washington bureaucrats slowing down the number of new applications you can get, most of them, by the way, are free’?
The party of excessive government can’t control its appetite for controlling people’s lives. Young people naturally love lots of options. In that fight, Democrats lose bigtime.
If Republicans become the party that trusts small businesses to innovate and make families’ lives better, they’ll win decisively because people of all demographic backgrounds will want what we’re selling.
If conservatives return to Reagan’s and Kemp’s and Thatcher’s belief that great ideas that make families’ lives better also makes for great politics, then conservatives will win decisively.
The point isn’t about sounding more conservative or more moderate. It’s about who has great ideas. I’m not advocating for moderation. I’m advocating that makes families’ lives better through entrepreneurship and innovation. Conservatives will jump all over that because it’s from the private sector. Apolitical people will jump all over it because their lives will be improved by the innovations that’s only possible through entrepreneurship.
Watch Newt’s entire speech if you want to see how to win the future. You’ll want to hear Newt’s connecting the dots between the Bakken and defeating Putin. Newt’s speech isn’t getting the buzz like others’ speeches. It’s just the blueprint that’ll make the GOP the dominant party again.
Technorati: CPAC, Newt Gingrich, Party of Solutions, Ideas Party, Michael Burgess, iPhone Apps, Limited Government, GOP, Al Franken, President Obama, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, One Size Fits All, Democrats, Election 2014
Ron Fournier’s article about Wednesday’s IRS hearing is sloppily written. It doesn’t show he’s interested in accuracy:
Conservatives are applauding Issa for shutting down a Democrat. Without evidence, the Right has convicted Lerner, the IRS, the White House, and President Obama of abuse of power.
Conservatives like me applaud Chairman Issa for shutting off Rep. Cummings’ microphone in the middle of a political stunt aimed at deflecting attention from the latest Lerner emails:
I might be crazy but I’ll bet most judges would admit that as evidence. That’s Mr. Fournier’s accusation of convicting Lerner without proof just disappeared. That’s before talking about how Ms. Lerner said something that sounded like a motive for targeting TEA Party organizations.
BTW, that dismisses the Democrats’ protestations that progressive c(4)’s were targeted with equal vigor. Prior to the Citizens United ruling, progressive organizations had applied for and been granted c(4) status. They’d been operating under that part of the Internal Revenue Code for decades. The biggest influx of c(4) applications came from TEA Party organizations and organizations like True the Vote.
That’s before talking about the fact that no progressive organizations have filed a lawsuit demanding that the IRS hadn’t approved or rejected their application for c(4) status. If Lerner and the IRS had applied the same policies equally to both parties, shouldn’t these progressive organizations be complaining about inaction on their applications, too?
The dog that isn’t barking often speaks loudest.
The kid that cries wolf the loudest often isn’t credible. In this instance, Mr. Fournier is crying wolf. Clearly, he isn’t paying attention to the proof that Chairman Issa asked Ms. Lerner about. While Ms. Lerner took the Fifth, Chairman Issa read into the record emails showing Ms. Lerner expressing her worries that she didn’t want Cincinnati working on the TEA Party organizations’ c(4) applications. Additionally, she didn’t want it to look too political while DC fiddled with the TEA Party organizations’ c(4) applications.
That’s what I’d call getting trapped in God’s little acre — east of the rock, west of the hard place. At this point, I’d certainly take the Fifth if I were in Ms. Lerner’s predicament. Thankfully, I’m not foolish enough to put myself in such a difficult position.
Last night, Chris Dahlberg criticized Julianne Ortman’s statement that she “isn’t a full repeal person” in this tweet:
Chris Dahlberg ?@dahlberg4senate·
#Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. It’s a shame Sen. Ortman is standing with Sen. Franken against repeal. #mngop pic.twitter.com/kN5mPU2q6f
I don’t know whether Sen. Ortman is honestly against repealing Obamacare or if she’s simply pandering to moderate voters. What I’m certain of is that Sen. Ortman’s statements aren’t winning her votes with GOP delegates.
I know that because the vast majority of delegates to the GOP State Convention hate the Affordable Care Act with a passion. Further, they understand that it’s impossible to fix a couple parts of the bill without throwing other parts of the bill totally out of whack. Finally, they know that sounding like Al Franken won’t help Republicans defeat Franken.
Mike McFadden favors repealing the ACA:
America’s health care system is broken, but Obamacare is not the answer. Before we can make the kind of changes Americans deserve, we need to repeal the “Unaffordable Care Act” and replace it with a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans. Minnesota has some of the best health care minds in the entire world. Instead of looking to bureaucrats in Washington, we can take charge and develop homegrown solutions for health care. By restoring power to the states, we can free Minnesota to become a laboratory for innovation and a standard-bearer for health care solutions that work.
That’s the type of strong statement it’ll take to defeat Al Franken. Mr. McFadden would put physicians and families in charge of their health insurance. It wouldn’t let the federal government dictate to families.
I’ve met Sen. Ortman. She’s an honorable public servant. Unfortunately, she’s wrong on this issue. To defeat a well-funded Democrat incumbent, Republicans can’t afford to make this type of major mistake.
It isn’t surprising that the UAW would run to the NLRB for a shoulder to cry on after suffering a humiliating defeat in its attempt to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. It isn’t even surprising that the UAW is attempting to silence opposition to the unionization movement:
On Feb. 14, the workers made their voices heard, with 53% voting against allowing the UAW to represent them. I believe that the workers understood that they were nothing more than dollar signs for the UAW. Obviously, I could not have been happier for the Volkswagen employees, for the community and for Tennessee.
Unfortunately, the UAW has chosen to ignore the employees’ decision and has filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that elected officials like me should not be allowed to make public comments expressing our opinion and sharing information with our constituents. It is telling that the UAW complaint does not mention President Obama’s public statement urging the employees to vote for the union.
Ordinarily, the NLRB’s rulings aren’t reviewed by the courts. If the NLRB rules that it was improper for public officials to speak about the UAW’s unionization drive, their ruling will get taken to court, where they’ll lose badly.
If the NLRB issues such a ruling, they’ll be exposed as Big Labor’s corrupt shills. They’ll lose credibility in the eyes of the average citizen.
Most importantly, the UAW will be exposed as sore losers who had run of the VW plant for 2 years and who didn’t face management opposition for that time but still couldn’t win the organizing election. That’s pretty pathetic.
Longtime readers of LFR know that I haven’t hesitated in highlighting how the DFL is the party of special interests. Lately, I’ve intensified my writings about how Democrats are favoring the environmentalists over the unions. That caught the attention of the Lady Logician, who wrote about Bill DeBlasio’s sucker-punching of the unions in this post:
Facing mounting criticism for refusing to even see the horses he proposes banning from the city, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday finally promised to go and see the animals in their stables.
He also promised that he wouldn’t change his mind about the ban, no matter what he sees there.
In Minnesota, Democrats are siding with militant environmentalists who hope to kill the PolyMet mining project, which would create tons of union jobs. In NYC, uber-liberal Mayor DeBlasio is siding with animal rights activists and militant environmentalists to kill lots of union jobs. In Washington, DC, the administration has dragged its feet on the Keystone XL Pipeline project, siding with environmentalists over the unions’ interests.
Until now, I’ve thought that the Democratic Party was the special interest party. Tonight, I changed my opinion. That’s because I’ve realized that the Democratic Party, in Minnesota and nationally, is owned by militant environmentalists. The only question left to answer is whether unions will continually side with the Democratic Party.
While it’d be a stretch to say that Republicans love all unions, it’s 100% accurate to say that Republicans are siding with mining unions on the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects. Similarly, it’s 100% accurate to say the DFL is tip-toeing through a political minefield while attempting to placate militant environmentalists and the miners’ union.
Honest union workers need to ask themselves why their leadership is constantly selling them out while electing Democratic politicians who talk about how they love unions while stabbing unions in the back. While they’re asking that question, they should ask themselves why they aren’t voting for pro-mining Republicans in Minnesota and pro-union jobs on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Finally, the unions should ask themselves why they’re supporting Democrats that only pay “working families” lip service. It’s time these unions figured it out that today’s Democratic Party is pro-government unions, not private sector unions.
Technorati: Unions, Mining Projects, Keystone XL Pipeline, PolyMet Mining, Twin Metals Mining, Iron Range, MNGOP, Environmentalists, Public Sector Unions, Bill DeBlasio, President Obama, Democrats, DFL, Election 2014
One thing that can’t be tolerated is a Republican candidate who treads lightly on the issue of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Sen. Ortman’s statement about Obamacare is disappointing:
Regarding the federal health care law, known as ObamaCare, she said: “There are some things about that that are good but I think that when you engage in a conversation in such a comprehensive way, you are going to see some things that people like and you are going see some things that people don’t like. And I think, overall, the system doesn’t work.”
This simply won’t cut it. Obamacare, aka the ACA, is a gigantic failure that should be scrapped and replaced with something that limits governmental ‘participation’. Preferably, the replacement bill should permit families and their physicians to determine what coverages they need or don’t need.
One of the significant flaws of the ACA is that the legislation created a one-size-fits-all plan across America. That’s the last thing we need. Another thing that’s counterproductive to getting rid of the plague of Obamacare is Republicans criticizing the attempted repeal of Obamacare:
“I’m not a full repeal person. I think the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal it. The Senate is not going to repeal it. So if plan A is ‘Let’s do a repeal,’ we better start talking about Plan B. Because plan A got nowhere,” she said. Ortman said she would like to see Congress go “piece-by-piece through that new law and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
As conservatives, the first thing we need is to admit that the ACA isn’t fixable. If we think that it’s fixable, then the only path forward is tinkering around the edges. That won’t work. What’s needed is a replacement plan that’s patient-centered, a plan that lets families and the physicians they know and trust choose what’s best for the families.
Anything that tinkers around the edges is defeatist thinking. I don’t accept the premise that the ACA is fixable because it’s exceptionally complex. For instance, if you think that government shouldn’t be in the business of telling families what coverages their health insurance policies must include, then catastrophic policies must be offered. The problem with that fix is that that totally messes up Obamacare’s funding mechanism.
That means Obamacare a) isn’t sustainable financially and b) doesn’t put families in charge of their health insurance. That isn’t acceptable.
Here’s Sen. Franken’s (predictable) position on repealing the ACA:
But repealing the law would strip Americans of this new freedom and take us back to the days when big insurance companies had the power to decide what care residents of Minnesota could receive-allowing them to once again deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and place limits on the amount of care people can get, even if they need it. What’s more, without the law, insurance companies could overcharge for insurance just to boost their profits, or use fine print to deny medical treatments that are covered under people’s policies.
Ask people who can’t keep the policies they bought and liked because Washington, DC said they knew what’s best for families if they like their new options. Across the nation, people are telling their horror stories. If Sen. Ortman agrees with Sen. Franken that repealing Obamacare isn’t the right thing, then she’s sending the wrong message to Minnesotans.
How unpopular is the IRS’s proposed rule that would limit 501(c)(4)’s? I think that looking at a sampling of the organizations opposed to the rule would indicate the rule’s foolishness. Let’s start with this criticism from the League of Women Voters:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed very significant changes in the regulations that govern what kind of political activity and how much of that activity a Section 501(c)(4) organization can carry out. This step is our best chance to rein in the secret “dark money” that has been polluting our elections since the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Citizens United. At the same time, the current proposal would undermine the League’s ability to conduct truly nonpartisan voter service activities across the country.
The LWV truly thinks it’s nonpartisan even though their agenda definitely fits into the Democrats’ agenda. That’s why it doesn’t hide its feelings by saying that they don’t have a problem reining in “the secret ‘dark money’” that’s allegedly polluting elections since the Citizens United v. FEC ruling. Leftists like LWV aren’t the only organizations that despise the IRS’s proposed rule. Americans for Tax Reform, aka ATR, opposes the proposed rule, too:
According to the IRS’s own website, groups “qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(4), [if] the organization’s net earnings [are] devoted primarily to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.” This allows a myriad of citizen groups to educate their communities about issues which would affect them. Because of these activities, citizens can research laws and disseminate the information for free to those who might be impacted by the policies.
But with the proposed changes, organizations would lose their tax exempt status if they continued to spend sizable parts of their budget on the most basic civic activities. Among these activities are:
•Voter registration drives and “get-out-the-vote” drives.
•Distribution of any material prepared by, or on behalf of, a candidate or, by a section 527 political organization (PAC).
•Preparation or distribution of voter guides that refer to candidates (or, in a general election, to political parties).
•Holding any event within 60 days of a general election (or within 30 days of a primary election) at which any candidate appears as part of the program.
Under these criteria, any effort to educate the public about candidates, or the laws being passed by legislatures would be construed as “political activity” and will be used to suppress the free speech of social welfare groups. Candidate debates, although they are useful to the general public, would be shut down in a Machiavellian attempt to prevent ideologically inconvenient groups from threatening the government’s agenda.
This is McCain-Feingold in regulatory form. The BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its Citizens United v. the FEC ruling. The Supreme Court ruled BCRA unconstitutional because it limited citizens’ rights to participate in the electoral process, which the First Amendment prohibits.
Both ATR and the LWV recognize the fact that the IRS’s rule would eliminate citizens groups from participating in the political process. That’s why they’re both opposing the IRS’s proposed rule.
What’s stunning is the volume of opposition to the IRS’s proposed rule. According to the IRS’s website, 122,135 comments had been left on the proposed rule. By comparison, there were 7,000 comments left for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The DFL’s hostility towards businesses has been frequently documented. Tax the Rich became their mantra in 2008. It’s still part of their mantra today. Unfortunately for Minnesotans, Gov. Dayton and the DFL didn’t just ‘tax the rich.’ They dropped a ton of taxes on the middle class and the working poor.
Speaker Thissen officially went on the record at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce event that the DFL will raise the minimum wage and that it’s likely to be closer to $9.50 per hour than $7.75 per hour:
Tuesday’s Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Session Priorities event may have been full of literature, displays and speeches promoting business interests, but House Speaker Paul Thissen wasn’t shy about telling business leaders that they won’t be getting some of the biggest items on their wish list.
For starters, the highest income tax bracket is not going away, the DFLer from Minneapolis predicted. There will be a minimum wage hike, and that new minimum wage will be closer to the high end than the low end, he said.
“Quite frankly, I think this is the right direction for Minnesota to go. I know that’s going to disappoint a lot of the people in the room, but I think it’s where we should head,” Thissen said at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, where 1,650 tickets were sold to the annual event.
The short-term effect of raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour is that fewer teenagers will find jobs if the minimum wage is raised. In this sluggish economy, employers will have an additional excuse not to hire teenagers for summer jobs.
What’s most disturbing is that Thissen thinks that Democrats think this is the right direction to head in. It indicates that the DFL doesn’t understand what creates prosperity. One of Thissen’s top lieutenants, Rep. Ryan Winkler, repeatedly says that raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt hiring. He’s both right and wrong. There’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during good times isn’t tragic for businesses. It isn’t helpful but it isn’t catastrophic.
Likewise, there’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during a struggling economy hurts hiring, especially with young people looking for their first job.
Finally, it looks like the warehousing services sales tax and the farm equipment repair sales tax will be repealed. Two weekends ago, SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea tried spinning the repeal of these taxes as DFL tax relief. That’s the most deceitful spin I’ve heard in ages.
The DFL legislature passed a Tax Bill that raised too many taxes. After a lengthy public outcry, they’ve decided that it’s in the Democrats’ political self-interest to repeal their mistake before voters punish them this November. This isn’t about the Democrats realizing that their tax increases will hurt businesses.
It’s important to remember that these taxes were in Gov. Dayton’s initial budget. They were stripped from the Democrats’ Tax Bill thanks to an intense lobbying campaign by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. On the final weekend of last year’s session, the DFL put the tax increases back into the final bill.
Simply put, Democrats thumbed their noses at the Chamber. The DFL only changed directions when they noticed how upset the Chamber was with these tax hikes. Thissen is especially worried because the Senate isn’t up for re-election. That means all of the Chamber’s anger will be directed at House DFL legislators.
That isn’t automatically catastrophic with a statewide candidate, though it can’t help. It’s likely to have the biggest impact in House races where a well-funded challenger can defeat a vulnerable incumbent. That’s why Thissen is rightfully worried.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Warehouse Services Sales Tax, Farm Equipment Repair Sales Tax, Ryan Winkler, Minimum Wage Increase, DFL, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Election 2014
If this article is right, then we’re seeing the first signs that opposition to the Senate Office Building is mounting:
Lawmakers in Minnesota had hoped to break ground in March on a $63 million new state Senate office building next to the state Capitol in St. Paul.
But a fight has broken out over the project, which critics have called an unnecessary expense in a city with high office vacancy.
The project has been delayed amid the debate, and now could face further delays because a committee of the state House of Representatives intends to hold a hearing in coming weeks rather than vote immediately on the project.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said in an interview that she felt some of the concerns raised by critics were legitimate. “Before we’re going to take that vote, I want to make sure that we’ve had ample time to consider the options before us,” she said. Those options include using existing government space to house Senate workers, she said. “I think that it is important to get this right, versus get it fast.”
Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight the fact that Sen. Bakk shrouded this project in secrecy because he knew that publicity would kill the plan. In that post, I highlighted the fact that Sen. Bakk didn’t write a standalone bill for this project.
That’s exceptionally odd for this big of a project, especially in light of the fact that legislators routinely write bills for tiny projects to be included in the Bonding Bill.
Sen. Bakk didn’t write a bill for this project, opting instead to introduce this project as an amendment to last year’s Tax Bill. Testimony wasn’t taken for or against Sen. Bakk’s ‘amendment’, probably because Sen. Bakk didn’t want the publicity.
Opposition to this project must be building. If it wasn’t, Erin Murphy wouldn’t be exercising this tiny amount of fiscal restraint. Rep. Murphy is lots of things but the taxpayers’ watchdog isn’t one of those things.
This feels like a sinking ship. Holding a hearing on the project will bring out tons of angry taxpayers protesting this project. I’m betting there won’t be many people testifying that the project should proceed. I’d bet the proverbial ranch that Sen. Bakk won’t testify that this project is needed.
Like the Tax Bill this project was contained in, this project is a portrait of the Democrats’ lack of fiscal restraint. Now that it’s exposed, they’ll try telling us that they had to vote for the Tax Bill. The Tax Bill itself is part of the Democrats’ attack on taxpayers.
This weekend, Javier Morillo-Alicea tried spinning the repeal of the B2B sales tax increases as proof of the DFL’s plan for tax relief. That’s chutzpah personified. They raised those taxes last May. If people hadn’t expressed their disgust with those tax increases, they’d still be in the bill.
Thanks to that opposition, they’re likely to repeal those sales taxes. Thanks to this uprising, they’re likely to defund the SOB (Senate Office Building).
The thing to remember is that the Democrats’ first instinct was to a) raise taxes on the middle class and b) spend money on a lavish, ill-advised palace for themselves. They voted for the Tax Bill. They voted against stripping out the Senate project. Democrat legislators can’t credibly say that they oppose it. They cast their votes. They expressed their priorities.
They’re opposing this project because they’d get clobbered this November if they didn’t.
Keep the pressure on. Don’t relent. Plan on attending this hearing. Plan on testifying against this project. Let’s sink this project once and for all.
Thanks to George Will’s response to Chris Wallace’s question about climate change, we have clarity on the issue:
Here’s a partial transcript of Brother Will’s response:
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: …I’m one of those who are called deniers. And the implication is that I deny climate change. It’s impossible to state with clearer precision the opposite of my view, which is that, of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing. That’s what gave us the medieval warm period. That’s what gave us, subsequent to that for centuries, the little Ice Age. Of course it’s changing. When a politician on a subject implicating science, hard science, economic science, social science, says the debate is over, you may be sure of two things. The debate is raging and he’s losing it. So I think, frankly, as a policy question, Chris, Holman Jenkins, Kim’s colleague at the “Wall Street Journal” put it perfectly. The only questions is, how much money are we going to spend? How much wealth are we going to forego creating in order to have zero discernible effect on the environment?
There’s actually another question worth asking in light of President Obama’s recent golf outing in California:
Regulations for new coal plants would increase electricity prices by as much as 80 percent, an Obama administration official told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DEPArtment of Energy, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight board that carbon capture and storage technology was still not ready for prime time.
“The precise number will vary, but for first generation we project $70 to $90 per ton [on the wholesale price of electricity],” Friedmann said. “For second generation, it will be more like a $40 to $50 per ton price. Second generation of demonstrations will begin in a few years, but won’t be until middle of the next decade that we will have lessons learned and cost savings.”
This means that the CCS technology the administration is pushing for would increase electricity prices initially, but that prices would come down a bit once better technology is developed. But electricity prices would still be higher than they are now.
It’s disgusting that President Obama insists that he’s the champion of the middle class. The middle class will get hit hardest by this rate increase. While it isn’t technically a middle class tax increase, there’s no question that this is another Obama administration policy that hurts the middle class.
President Obama is the champion of the middle class the way Bonnie and Clyde were bank security advocates.
Technorati: Climate Change, President Obama, Cap And Trade, Medieval Warm Period, Climate Change Deniers, Middle Class Squeeze, Middle Class Tax Increase, Democrats, George Will, Chris Wallace, Fox News, Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal