By: Chris C.
Happy 206th Birthday Abraham Lincoln! Lincoln might embody the American Dream more than any other man to inhabit the White House. He was born in a log cabin and was almost entirely self-taught. He overcame the poverty of his youth through hard work and perseverance eventually becoming a lawyer, state legislator, congressman, and finally President. The wisdom of our 16th President is timeless, and in celebration of his birth here are some Lincoln Lessons.
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…”
Magnanimity in victory was perhaps Lincoln’s greatest gift to our country. Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address slightly more than a month before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Lincoln was preparing the nation for peace after four brutal years of war, and he decided the best way to bring the nation back together was forgiveness and not additional killing. There would be no retribution as is seen in most civil wars. Lincoln reminded the country that we are all one people, and that enough suffering had already been endured. If not for Lincoln’s vision of the South being welcomed back with open arms, we would not be the country we are today.
“…she has two sons who want to work. Set them at it, if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged.”
Lincoln was right in that the desire to work is rare, and that is especially true in today’s entitlement culture. We should be pushing people towards jobs as opposed to the government dole. Lincoln labored from his early childhood as a farm hand, mill operator, rail splitter, and flat-boatman. The hard work involved forged his character. He appreciated the value of working as should we.
“… in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably.”
Lincoln had a great appreciation for education, and saw it as a stepping stone to self-improvement. Lincoln was primarily self-taught, having had only about 18 months of formal schooling. However, lack of formal education didn’t hold Lincoln back as he redoubled his efforts to educate himself and build a better life. Lincoln had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and from his childhood read voraciously. Even though he was poor and uneducated, Lincoln’s drive propelled him to learn and better himself. As with Lincoln, all Americans, regardless of monetary situation, can better themselves through their own hard work, and commitment to learning.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.”
Lincoln’s determination was perhaps his greatest character virtue. Whether overcoming lack of education and poverty or saving the Union, Lincoln’s will was unbending. His perseverance saved the Nation. He was committed to restoring the Union at all costs despite immense pressure to let the southern states walk. Lincoln weathered a storm as no other president had to. In the face of open rebellion, he had to fight many in his own party and the press to convince them the cause should not be abandoned. A weaker president may have allowed the Union to slip away, and may have given up after losing battle after battle in the war’s eastern theatre. Commander after commander failed Lincoln until he found a winner in Grant. Despite the hardships and the challenges, Lincoln never wavered in his resolve to restore the Union. His determination and perseverance serves as a model for us all.
Please stop falling prey to standard liberal “gotcha” questions. It’s embarrassing, predictable, and destructive to your credibility. Do your homework, or don’t run for office. Here are a few examples of what I am talking about along with suggested responses and some bonus color commentary:
Question 1: Do you believe in evolution?
Example of a bad answer: Gov. Scott Walker replied, “I’m going to punt on that one…I believe in the evolution of trade in Wisconsin.”
Good answer: Yes. I also believe that human life on Earth is a miracle.
Commentary: [Forehead smack.] The governor’s instinct was to give a diplomatic nod to religious conservatives. The problem is that this instinct can lead to alienating many voters unnecessarily. To borrow a sentiment from Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore, when someone asks you if you [believe in evolution], you say YES. Even popes have been comfortable discussing evolution since at least 1950. In that conversation, they have acknowledged that species have undergone physical changes over time, and they have simply separated the body from the soul. You can be religious and recognize reality. It’s not that hard.
Question 2: Do parents have to vaccinate their kids?
Example of a bad answer: Sen. Rand Paul said parents should have some degree of choice in the question of whether to vaccinate their kids because of cases where mental disorders have allegedly resulted from vaccines.
Good answer: Yes, except for certain cases meeting criteria for medical exceptions, i.e. compromised immunities or allergies.
Commentary: The senator’s instinct was to be consistent since he is a libertarian-minded guy. The problems are that (1) the research at the foundation of the anti-vaccine movement is obsolete and has been debunked by international studies with millions of subjects, and (2) failing to vaccinate carries externalities, i.e. exposing other kids to diseases like the measles that were essentially eradicated. If someone asks you if [parents should vaccinate their kids], you say YES.
Question 3: Do you believe in climate change?
Bad answer: Congressman Don Young said, “I believe this is the biggest scam since Teapot Dome.”
Good answer: I support cleaner air and cleaner water. The question is what sorts of policies balance environmental concerns and economic security. That is why I support an all-of-the-above energy policy where we explore for oil while simultaneously developing alternative fuels. It does not have to be one or the other.
Commentary: The left and the media have put politicians into boxes as either deniers or believers. The Pentagon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other credible sources tell us that pollution from fossil fuels harms the environment. Denying that fact destroys candidates’ credibility, especially with swing voters, and so they should stop doing it. And, fighting over whether the climate is or is not changing is a distracting side show. Where right-leaning candidates can catch their opponents on their heels is when they ask, “So what should we do?” That is when the real debate begins because candidates must make choices that balance economic interests with environmental ones. The good news is that candidates can deliver a positive message on this issue by an embracing an “all of the above” energy policy. [Note: This does not mean that anyone should condone fudging data or that some in the environmental movement are not credible. It also does not mean that it is a good idea for the government to hand out tax dollars to failing companies like Solyndra.]
Candidates, I hope that you will take these tips as they are intended – to be helpful in raising the level of political discourse in America as we enter the critical 2016 campaign cycle.
Happy February! It’s cold outside, but, considering recent events, your political discussions will likely be very heated. Here are your talking points.
Netanyahu’s Congressional Address:
• Last week, Speaker of the House Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress and speak about the threats posed by a nuclear Iran.
• The White House complained the invitation was a “breach of protocol,” as foreign policy is assigned to the Executive Branch pursuant to the Constitution.
• There has been no progress in Iranian negotiations for years, only repeatedly delayed deadlines. Congress is considering a bi-partisan bill which ratchets up sanctions on Iran. Israel faces an existential threat if Iran gets the bomb – Netanyahu’s address is both necessary and appropriate.
• While Netanyahu is here, Obama won’t meet with him. His schedule is simply too packed, according to the White House.
• Oh, and just for those folks still complaining – let’s not forget that the President invited South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to address Congress in 2011…without asking Speaker Boehner.
So That’s How You Take Swift Action Against ISIS:
• ISIS (the jayvee team, according to POTUS) recently killed a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Moath al-Kasasbeh, by burning him alive.
• In response the Jordanian government quickly executed two jihadist prisoners. Jordan’s King Abdullah is ticked, and in a meeting with the members of the House Armed Services committee started quoting Clint Eastwood’s flick The Untouchables.
Robin Hood Budget:
In the past few days, Obama submitted his proposed budget to congress.
• The Obama budget would contain $2.1 trillion in new taxes (although the administration cited lower gas prices as an economic boost similar to a tax cut, they believe a tax increase of $2.1 trillion on businesses and the wealthy would help the economy.)
• The Budget proposed has no chance of being adopted by Congress, but it gives us some insight into the President’s priorities. The proposal indicates that President Obama believes the midterm election meant nothing, and he does not want to “find common ground”. Hence Obama is giving the middle finger to the voters who sent him a message in November, telling America the era of bigger government is not over.
• A recent analysis of the budget predicts that taxes will actually increase on people making between $49,000 and $84,000 – the same middle class folks Obama sought to help in his State of the Union. Only 12.5% of middle class singles would see a tax decrease. Only 10% of elderly taxpayers receive a tax cut under this budget. Most elderly people would pay an additional $152.
• Under this budget proposal, the federal death tax would increase from 40% to 60% on the inheritance’s capital gains, and capital gains taxes on dividends (money that has already been taxed once) would increase from 23.8% to 28%.
• The majority of people that would benefit from “tax cuts/credits” under the proposal pay no federal income taxes anyway. In other words, they would be receiving additional “welfare” through Obama’s proposed tax “credits.”
• All of the new tax revenue will be used for “welfare” tax credits, infrastructure spending, and free community college. On top of that, an additional $474 billion will be added to the deficit as a result of the increased spending.
• The proposal would raise the national debt to $26 trillion by 2025.
• The additional spending includes $48 billion for green energy interests that supported Obama’s re-election as well as $2 trillion for the costs of Obamacare.
The Republicans’ Quest for the 2016 Candidate:
• All factions of the GOP are looking for their perfect candidate. There never will be a candidate that every faction will agree with 100% of the time. The prime characteristic that the factions neglect when vetting candidates is charisma.
• When electability, charisma, and personality are not properly considered, we are dealt candidates who cannot win races that the GOP should not lose. Examples include Doug Hoffman, the uninspiring tea party candidate in New York’s 23rd congressional district in 2009 or the Christine O’Donnell “I am not a witch” disaster of the 2012 Delaware Senate campaign.
• It is time for the partisan talking heads, tea partiers, and the establishment to consider and accept that a candidate with charisma, high likability factor, and 85% policy agreement is a better pick than a candidate without charisma and likability, but agrees 100%.
• We must stop fighting within the party over a meaningless 15%, especially when the candidate with a 100% agreeable rating essentially has a 0% chance of winning. Now is the time for all groups within the GOP to gain some perspective and to realize that a candidate who cannot win, is not a candidate.
Romney for President III (not gonna happen):
• 2012 GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney recently announced that he will not seek the party’s nomination in 2016. Governor Romney is a good man and would have made a good President. But it is time for the GOP to move forward and nominate someone new. To win back the White House, the Republican voters need to select a candidate that is not only articulate and charismatic, but has also demonstrated that he/she is willing to fight and do what is required to defeat the democrat party that will undoubtably sink to unthinkable levels to win.
BallGhazi! Deflated Footballs:
• The New England Patriots and their quarterback, Tom Brady, were accused of illegally deflating footballs to gain an advantage over their opponents. This professional sports controversy, two pounds of air in a football, caused a greater mainstream media firestorm than the Benghazi cover-up, the IRS scandal, and ObamaCare’s disastrous “unintended” consequences, combined.
Quote of the Week
“Prison is a Socialist’s Paradise, where equality prevails, everything is supplied, and competition is eliminated.” – Elbert Hubbard
Last night President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. The following is the one of our blogger’s response to the President’s remarks.
“But tonight, we turn the page.”
The Blog: Unfortunately, the same words are on the next page.
“Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.”
The Blog: Unfortunately, the workforce participation rate is still the lowest it has been since President Carter was in office, and the median household income is 5.7% lower than it was in 2000.
“More of our kids are graduating than ever before”
The Blog: But they can’t find jobs. The youth jobless rate is around 48% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“More of our people are insured than ever before.”
The Blog: But insurance is more expensive and covers fewer procedures.
“We are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.”
The Blog: Despite the administration denying and delaying drilling permits for domestic energy exploration.
“Our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.”
The Blog: Because the president said so – not because we have defeated the bad guys.
“Today, fewer than 15,000 remain (in Iraq and Afghanistan).”
The Blog: Which is why ISIS now governs vast territory in Iraq and Syria, and beheads people with impunity.
“We’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care.”
The Blog: False. Has he forgotten the problems at the VA?
“Thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.”
The Blog: Actually thanks to Saudi Arabia’s manipulating the price of oil to below $60/barrel in an effort to bankrupt American shale oil companies.
“Our deficits cut by two-thirds.”
The Blog: Because one-time bail outs were not repeated. Actually, the national debt has increased under President Obama more than all the other presidents combined.
“Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave.”
The Blog: First, the vast majority of businesses already offer paid sick leave. The ones who do not are typically service industry positions. As a practical matter, this just means that paid holidays will be reduced.
“Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.”
The Blog: That has been the law since the 1960s. This is a purely political talking point that ignores the reality that women often take time out of the workforce to raise a family. Even the White House does not pay women the same on on average for this same reason.
“If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it.”
The Blog: First, people who make minimum wage make up a minuscule portion of the workforce, and at least half of those are kids working their first job where they are either seasonal, or are promoted soon after starting. We are talking about 1% of the workforce. And almost all of minimum wage workers are not the primary earner in their household. Furthermore, if someone only makes $15,000, they are also collecting public benefits the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars in additional income. Finally, increasing the minimum wage will make it more expensive to hire people, and thus harder for kids entering the workforce to get that first job.
“We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions.”
The Blog: Right to work states have seen jobs arrive and wages increase – not states with strong collective bargaining laws. Eight of the top ten states for economic and employment growth are right to work states whereas the bottom ten are all non-right to work states.
“We still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need.”
The Blog: Thanks to Government subsidies, the cost of education has increased more than twice the rate of inflation, and federal loan programs have higher interest rates, thus charging students more, than private loans.
“21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure – modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet.”
The Blog: Union jobs, union jobs, union jobs, and union jobs.
“Let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.”
The Blog: Why not build that pipeline, too? The Keystone Pipeline project would create 42,000 jobs.
“More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China.”
The Blog: But they are unable because American taxes and regulations are not competitive.
“Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program”
The Blog: False. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has increased since 2009, and production has surged since 2013.
“Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars.”
The Blog: This was years behind schedule because the President dismantled the existing space program and voluntarily ceded American dominance of the final frontier.
“No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”
The Blog: Nuclear war? Radical Islamic Terrorism? Bill Bellichek?
“China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.”
The Blog: No they did not. They agreed to consider it. If China and India do not seriously curb emissions, no real progress will be made on cleaner air, no matter how much we tie our own hands economically.
“(The shift in U.S. Cuba relations) stands up for democratic values.”
The Blog: Cuba is a communist country that exhibits the exact opposite of democratic values.
There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.
The Blog: Just to be clear, you’re saying sanctions don’t work right?
Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.
The Blog: Ok, got it now. Sanctioning Cuba with an embargo wasn’t a good idea. Totally clear now.
Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.
The Blog: So, ummmm, sanctions worked? Hooray for sanctions????
“Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision (of a united country). How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws — of which there are many — but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.”
The Blog: Um, yeah that’s right.
It’s a busy week! We are not lacking issues to argue over with our friends! Below is all you need to win!
Islamic Terrorism in Paris:
–Last week brought a heinous attack on free speech and western culture by radical Islamic extremists in Paris.
–Islamic terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo and murdered 12 journalists in retribution for the publication of several CARTOONS of Mohamed. In 2012, Obama scolded Charlie Hebdo for their publication of cartoons of Mohamed.
–Not surprisingly, the White House was reluctant to call the attack terrorism (after all, the Fort Hood Massacre was “workplace violence”), and also failed to mention Islamic extremism in its official statement.
–The mainstream media also failed to address the fact this attack was carried out by Islamic extremists with none of the major networks (aside from Fox) even mentioning it in their headlines. However, CNN and CBS did not fail to mention in their headlines that Charlie Hebdo had supposedly angered Muslims.
–CNN/ABC reporter Christiane Amanpour even had the gall to call the terrorists “activists.”
–Showing where the Administration’s priorities lie, they didn’t even send a representative to the anti-terrorism rally that was attended by leaders of 40 nations. Attorney General Holder was already in Paris, and declined to attend.
–This behavior by the Administration is not shocking, but no less disturbing. It has consistently apologized for our War on Terror and stance against Radical Islam.
–Until the Administration and the mainstream media are willing to say who our enemy is, we cannot win the war against Radical Islamic Terrorism.
–The French have declared war on Radical Islam. When will our leaders and media wake up and accept who our enemy is?
–Some politicians have stated they only need 3-4 more democrats in the senate to override an Obama veto of a Keystone Pipeline bill
–Public support for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline is nearly 60%
–The state department estimates that up to 42,100 full time construction jobs could be created during the construction period of the Keystone Pipeline
–Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil – safer than trucks or rail shipments.
–Some experts have speculated that the Saudis are cutting the price of crude to discourage American’s public support for the pipeline and discourage increased US domestic oil production.
–A main argument against approving the Keystone Pipeline in 2008 is that the oil would not be available for 7-10 years and that it would take more than a decade to effect the price of oil.” As we can now see, the mere prospect of increased oil production and Keystone has decreased the price of oil since the Republican wins in November.
Free 13th and 14th Grade:
–Community college provides an opportunity for people who are motivated to pursue educational goals.
–Offering free enrollment for students maintaining a “C” average is not an efficient use of funds.
–With even more federal funds pumped into the higher education system, college costs will continue to increase at twice the rate of inflation.
–Obama’s real intention is to expand the education bureaucracy and give a federal handout to the community college system.
–Free community college will require the hiring of thousands of new professors and school administrators, which are largely Democratic Party supporters.
–College is not for everyone, and the Democrat elites ignore this fact. Attending college does not make anyone a better person over someone that did not. Many students who are uncertain about their future plans will enter community college without any real ambition and coast through the two year period without any appreciation for the coursework. Eventually, the curriculums will become watered down just as they have in most public high schools across the nation and community college will evolve into 13th and 14th grade instead of the freshmen and sophomore year it is supposed to be.
Right to Work Works:
–In early 2012, Indiana became a right-to-work state. By November 2014, factory payroll employment rose 9.4%. In states without right-to-work laws, factory payroll employment rose 1.2% on average. Indiana had 2.1% GDP growth in 2013, ranking #19 out of 50 states.
–In late 2013, Michigan became a right to work state. By November 2014, there had been payroll growth of 4% in manufacturing jobs. Michigan had 2% GDP growth in 2013, ranking #21 out of 50 states.
–Wisconsinites are now clamoring for right of work laws, especially after Scott Walker eliminated public sector collective bargaining after a showdown with unions last year.
GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise:
–Mainstream media is working in unison to construct what they hope will be a major race scandal involving GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
–12 years ago, Representative Scalise spoke to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, which is run by David Duke. At the time, Congressman Scalise was not aware.
–Any objective observer will quickly conclude that this was an honest mistake, and one that happened only once. The mainstream media is not concerned about the proper conclusion. They are using the incident as an opportunity to paint Representative Scalise and the entire GOP as a racist party.
–These same media outlets shrugged off President Obama’s 20 year relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and former Democratic Party Senate leader Robert Byrd’s leadership role in the KKK. In both examples, the prominent Democrat did not simply speak to the respective hate group; they were participating members.
Baseball Hall of Fame:
– The Baseball Hall of Fame announced selections for the class of 2015. Selections are made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and for the first time in over 60 years, the Association elected more than 3 players. None of these three players were PED abusers such as Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds. Not only were these players not elected, but they did not even come close to receiving the required vote to gain admittance.
–The voting is welcome news illustrating how moral standards are still relevant in a major institution like our national pastime. Critics, the “who are we to judge” types, will complain that the criteria should be based solely on on-field performance, and that character issues are for priests and pastors, not baseball writers. Cultural elites quickly mock those that take a stand; fortunately, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and the Hall of Fame have not fallen prey. Americans must follow the Association’s lead and reverse this downward trend! We need to be judgmental and speak up when our leaders and fellow citizens do not conduct themselves properly.
Quote of the Week
“To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt
By: Chris C.
The War of 1812 provided many low points for our young republic. We had suffered multiple defeats including the embarrassing burning of our capitol. There was doubt that we would survive as an independent nation. Morale and patriotism were low throughout the states despite moments such as our victory at Fort McHenry. On December 24, 1814, we signed the Treaty of Ghent which was to end hostilities, and restore pre-war borders with the British. However, news of this cessation in hostilities did not reach New Orleans before one final showdown.
The British had been preparing to invade and seize New Orleans for weeks as this was an area of vital strategic importance on the Mississippi River. General Andrew Jackson realized the significance of holding the city and region. Consequently, he dug in with his army comprised of volunteer militia, army regulars, freed blacks, Indians, sailors, and pirates. Jackson was in command of approximately 4,500 men and it was an outfit as diverse as the nation itself. Following two weeks of move and counter move, the British planned a massive assault on the American earthworks. On January 8, 1815, the British preceded their attack with artillery and Congreve rockets in an attempt to weaken the defenses, and instill fear in Jackson’s men. The Americans were unperturbed, and they stopped the onslaught of 7,500 British regulars. In the battle, lasting approximately a half hour, the Americans inflicted over 2,500 casualties and only suffered 71. New Orleans thus became the greatest American land victory of the war.
News of the victory reached the public concurrently with the news of the Treaty of Ghent. Consequently, many Americans mistakenly believed that the victory was the impetus for the peace. The victory caused a groundswell of pride and patriotism throughout our young republic. The Battle of New Orleans was seen as winning our independence from Britain a second time. January 8th became a celebrated date for our country. Andrew Jackson became an instant celebrity as the “Hero of New Orleans,” and this fame would eventually propel him to the White House. The victory at New Orleans solidified our identity as an independent nation, and prompted unity across the country that hadn’t been seen since the Revolution. This week marks the 200th anniversary of the battle, we should remember the sacrifices made ensure our freedom, and exhibit pride and patriotism as our countrymen did on January 8, 1815.
By Dwayne Madison
On Tuesday the Baseball Hall of Fame announced selections for the class of 2015. Selections are made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and for the first time in over 60 years, the Association elected more than 3 players. None of these three players were PED abusers such as Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds. Not only were these players not elected, but did not even come close to receiving the required vote to gain admittance.
The voting is welcome news illustrating how moral standards are still relevant in a major institution like our national pastime. Critics, the “who are we to judge” types, will complain that the criteria should be based solely on on-field performance, and that character issues are for priests and pastors, not baseball writers.
Election to the Hall is the ultimate baseball achievement. PED abusers cheated. They cheated teammates, cheated competitors, put the country’s youth in danger by creating a drug culture, and tainted decades-old records set by players that performed legitimately. Despite the declining decency standards pushed by pop culture, there is still a “right and wrong” and those who (all ballplayers cheat –even Hershiser) illegally enhance their performance through chemical means should not be rewarded. If members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America had also served as media and Hollywood executives the past decade, Kim Kardashian would have rightfully remained an amateur porn star. She would not have been rewarded with reality TV shows and magazine covers. As a result, our culture and society would be much better off today.
Sure, nobody is perfect, but declining decency standards encourage unethical behavior. Eventually the populace will generally accept, without any penalty, notions that “all politicians lie” or “all men cheat on their wives”. Cultural elites will quickly mock and laugh at those that take a stand; fortunately, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and the Hall of Fame have not fallen prey. Americans must follow the Association’s lead and reverse this downward trend! We need to be judgmental and speak up when our leaders and fellow citizens do not conduct themselves properly.
by Brian M.
Two of the most talked about presidential hopefuls are Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, both of Florida, which is a crucial swing state. Many would love to see them on the same ticket in 2016. Here is one reason why they probably won’t be:
Therefore, Bush and Rubio cannot be on the same ticket and expect to receive the unified electoral vote of their crucial home state.
It is a fact that is frequently overlooked and one that is often taken for granted; that America almost never was. Our country may have never been but for the stormy Christmas night of 1776. If not for this other Christmas miracle, our nation would not be here today. At the time, the Revolution was going poorly with defeats piling up and limited victories. Morale in the Continental Army and across the colonies was low, and success was looking more unlikely by the day.
1776 was a tumultuous year for our fledgling nation. There were the highs of forcing the British to evacuate Boston and our formal Declaration of Independence; and there was absolute low of being driven from Long Island and New York City. The Continental Army barely escaped. After fleeing from New York, the army was pushed across New Jersey and forced across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. Our ability to beat the British militarily was very much in doubt. It was from this position of weakness that General George Washington knew he had to be bold to infuse new life into his army and save our cause.
Washington knew he needed to act before the new year since many militia enlistments were due to expire. At his winter headquarters in Pennsylvania, Washington received intelligence reports of a Hessian encampment in Trenton, New Jersey. He decided on a daring plan to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and take the Hessians by surprise the following morning. Washington hoped a victory here would be the spark needed to save his army and the cause.
Washington’s plan was to begin crossing the river at nightfall; complete the crossing by midnight; and attack the Hessians just before dawn. Washington would cross the river at McKonkey’s Ferry with the main body of 2,400 troops and 18 cannons. Two smaller forces were slated to cross at other points on the river. Under the best circumstances, a river crossing, night march, and surprise attack would be extremely difficult for Washington’s ill equipped army. Christmas night 1776 brought the added challenge of a harsh winter storm. Washington’s plan hit an immediate snag when many of the soldiers did not arrive to cross the river until well after dark. On top of this delay, the crossing itself was slowed by the ice choked river. As the crossing progressed, the weather proceeded to deteriorate. The boatmen were hampered by strong currents, winds and a blinding combination of rain, sleet, and snow. These conditions forced the two smaller forces to scrap their crossing and caused Washington to question continuing with his, but he was committed to seeing it through. Three hours behind schedule the crossing was completed at 3 A.M. Despite the conditions of the crossing, once on the New Jersey side of the Delaware, the army assembled and performed flawlessly. By 8 A.M., the army had reached Trenton, and the attack began. The Hessians were caught by surprise, and the Patriots achieved a resounding victory. In the attack, Washington’s army suffered only nine casualties while inflicting 120 and capturing over 1,000 Hessians. This victory instilled new confidence in the army and its commander.
While Washington crossing the Delaware and subsequently winning the battle of Trenton did not win the Revolution outright, it did save our cause. The bold maneuver to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 brought an invaluable morale boost to our Army and news of our victories restored hope to Patriots nationwide. It would take five more years to finally defeat the British at Yorktown, but we wouldn’t have gotten that far if Washington hadn’t made it across the Delaware on Christmas night. Having to overcome severe weather and logistical nightmares to make it happen, the crossing was nothing short of a miracle. This Christmas (and every Christmas) it is important to remember how close our country was to losing it all, and the sacrifices that were made to make us a nation.
by Brian M.
Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill this weekend over the objections of many conservatives and liberals. It is not a good bill, but not because of the reasons liberals offer. It is also not quite the disaster that conservatives think it is. The bottom line is that taxpayers should not be excited by this bill, but they have reason to be optimistic about the future.
First, according to conservatives, the CRomnibus is bad because it temporarily funds the president’s priorities, including his unconstitutional and unilateral immigration action. They rightly argue that no matter what you think about the merits of the President’s policy, as an American, you should be outraged that the President is legislating from the White House, ignoring the system of checks and balances established by our founders. This bill temporarily (until February 27, 2015) allows this policy to proceed.
It is also bad because conservatives rightly point out that it is a pork-laden $1.1 trillion monstrosity when we are already $18 trillion in debt, without accounting for tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities.
Finally, Republicans campaigned against bills, like this one, that are 1,600 pages long, give piles of favors to special interests, and need to be passed to see what’s in them. This appears to fly directly in the face of those promises, and that is bad for taxpayers.
Not only do conservatives dislike this bill, liberal Democrats also oppose it. But, they oppose it for two nonsensical, purely-cosmetic reasons.
First, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, liberals lit their hair on fire because of the elimination of the so-called “derivative push-out” provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. This is a red herring, a virtual non-issue. It previously passed the House with almost 300 votes, and former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said that it was difficult to implement and did not ensure the security of our financial system. It has almost no real effect on derivatives trading, which is legitimately used not only by big banks, but also by small banks and agricultural businesses and others to hedge commodity-related risk. It simply requires banks to perform these trades through spin-off companies that are not federally insured. To the extent that losses were insured in the past, those losses were recouped by the government in short order. Despite its relative insignificance, it was seized upon as a lighting rod by liberal Democrats claiming that it will lead to future “bail-outs” of Wall Street banks – a purely political statement to raise the profile of Sen. Warren as she weighs a potential presidential bid.
Second, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others lamented a campaign finance reform provision that increased donation limits to political parties – a provision crafted by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s lawyer, Marc Elias. In reality, the provision shifts the costs of party conventions from tax payers to private donors. But, the left is seizing on this provision to claim that billionaires are hijacking our democracy. Again, this is a purely political and cosmetic contention.
Now for a bit of good news for the American people.
First, the next government-wide funding process will take place in 2015 when (ostensibly) fiscally conservative Republicans will hold majorities in both houses of Congress. They will have the votes needed to make some much-needed reforms to our bloated federal spending patterns.
Second, in February, the Republican Congress will have the opportunity to stand up to counter the president’s unilateral immigration action when the continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security expires.
The CRomnibus is far from ideal. But, it is not the “hand out” to banks and big donors that Democrats claim that it is. It does, however, provide an opportunity for Republicans to flex their fiscally conservative muscles when they draft the next round of spending bills in 2015.