Saturday, April 25, 2015

Maine Dems Cave to LePage on Welfare Reform


Governor Paul LePage (R-ME)
This week, Maine NPR reports that Democrats in the Pine State are feeling the heat from Mainers, fed up with welfare abuse and fraud in their state. The rampant wrong usage with public assistance is not a new topic, as the current governor, conservative Republican Paul LePage, himself born in poverty, a victim of childhood abuse and neglect, yet went from street urchin to businessman, mayor, and Governor, has routinely exposed this problem in his home state.

Before taking into account the implications of these welfare reforms, readers should know a little more about Governor LePage.

One of the most plainspoken executives in the country, LePage the gubernatorial candidate signaled to voters his disgust for President Obama, declaring that he would tell President Obama “To go to hell”, and if he met the President, he would respond: “Get out of my state!”

His first election victory in 2010, LePage garnered a plurality of the vote in a five-way race, which increased in 2014 following a tough challenge from a well-known independent and an incumbent Democratic Congressman, Michael Michaud.

Throughout his tenure, however, LePage has pushed for welfare reform, repeatedly exposing abuse connected with the program.

In a press release outlining reform goals for his 2012-2013 budget, LePage declared:

Welfare reform was a large part of the 2012-2013 budget, which emphasized Maine will no longer be considered a welfare destination state. A new 5 year limit on welfare benefits, which aligns Maine with other states, and conforms to federal law has gone into effect. The limit does allow for certain exemptions for hardship cases - including those involving the elderly and disabled.

Drug testing has also been implemented for welfare recipients convicted of drug crimes and those who violate welfare rules now face stricter sanctions. A first offense will result in the loss of adult benefits and a second offense may lead to termination of full family benefits.

Welfare abuse features highly in some states, like Rhode Island, where recipients can step off the government dole for a month, then return to the welfare rolls for another five years. In California, Democratic legislators have discussed expanding public assistance to all residents, regardless of legal status, including Medicaid, as well as instituting a new “Office for New Americans” i.e. illegal aliens. LePage joins other Republican governors in cutting public assistance, or requiring work requirements.

In 2013, the governor announced increased investigations into SNAP/TANF abuse. In January, 2014, LePage outlined the outrageous spending at strip clubs and bars. Even though the article contended that the usage was “a tiny fraction” of uses, the fact that they are occurring alarmed the governor and reform advocates to correct the problem.

After the 2014 mid-term elections, Maine Republicans not only took over the state senate, but gained significant numbers in the state assembly. A Republican also represents Maine in the US Congress (replacing Michaud) for the first time in nearly two decades.

Instead of resting on his prior victories, LePage has ramped up his programs for welfare as well as tax reforms

Earlier this year, Maine Republicans reinstated the work requirements for receiving welfare. The renewed qualifications would require recipients to work a combined twenty-four hours a month, yet even then the number of enrollees plunged considerably, from 12,000 to 2,500.

Now, Democrats are paying attention, and following LePage’s lead.
 

About the Democratic shift in welfare abuse policy, Maine NPR writes:

Gov. Paul LePage's campaign against welfare abuse has been commonly derided by his opponents as a "war on the poor."  But Democrats have discovered that the governor's message resonates with voters.

Never straying from his principles or goals, LePage maintained the message, and opened voters’ eyes to the real and growing problem of welfare abuse. It worked.

While conservatives lament federal officials who refuse to heed a national electorate fed up with special interest pandering and Establishment machinations (i.e. the Confirmation of Loretta Lynch), at least in the states, including a moderate-liberal New England bastion like  Maine, Republican reform governors are cracking down on profligate spending and helping Americans get off their feet and work again.

If anyone has a problem with that, let me quote another fine line from Governor LePage:

“Tell them to kiss my butt!”
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

State of the Union: April 23, 2015



On the April 23 episode of State of the Union, we talked about:

1. The shocking and invigorating success of Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, whose grassroots coalition of frustrated taxpayers and citizen activists called "Change Maryland" changed Maryland.

What Hogan did in the Old Line State, no doubt can be accomplished in the Ocean State, and especially in the Golden State, where law-abiding residents are getting tired of a state legislature and county governments paying attention to the needs of Big Government special interests at the expense of everyone else -- especially the businesses, entrepreneurs, and hard working middle and working-class Californians who had moved here or were born here.

2. Marco Rubio, US Senator from Florida, announces his bid for US President in 2016.

US Senator Marco Rubio

Showing real promise in 2010, when elected to the Senate, he began to waffle then pander on key issues, particularly immigration, taxes, and now marriage. Rubio was never on my first or even second list for presidential contenders. His lack of integrity and leadership have all but disqualified him from consideration for me.


3. The Pawtucket Red Sox, otherwise known as the PaxSox, what a taxpayer-backed loan from the state of Rhode Island to fund a new stadium in Providence.

Mark Zaccaria


Guest Mark Zaccaria, former RI GOP Chairman, Congressional and US Senate candidates, called this attempted deal "the rape of the taxpayers".


David Clyde
David Clyde of 990WBOB added that the PawSox' new owners are only interested in pushing the state into a corner and putting the blame on Rhode Island, because secretly the franchise wants to move out of state.

Luis Vargas

Luis Vargas, political candidate and correspondent, shared his interest in Rubio's campaign, while Zaccaria and Clyde discussed the need for secure borders and pro-American worker policies, before anyone discusses what to do with the illegal aliens in the shadows.

All in all, it was a great show.

Loretta Lynch Confirmation Consolations



Yes, the Republican US Senate majority just confirmed the racist, gun-grabbing Loretta Lynch.

Yes, Ted Cruz voted against cloture, then departed from the US Senate to attend another fundraiser.

Once again, a little perspective in the face of this setback.

More Republicans are voting against the leadership and paying attention to the will of the voters.

Forty-three senators voted against Lynch. Half that number had rejected Holder six years ago.

The Constitution addresses "We the People" not "We the Republicans" or "We the Elected Officials". No matter what losses or discouragement conservatives endure from the current Congress, it is ultimately their job, and their glory, to demand limited, responsible government. No longer giving up or running away, now more than ever constitutional conservatives must fight on, fight back, demand leadership and remonstrance for presidential overreach, for executive abuses and criminal waste, fraud, and spendthrift agendas.

The bigger question arises: how do voters keep US Senators accountable? They run for reelection every six years, removed from the immediate awareness and outrage of the voter electorate.

Arizona's John McCain promised "Build the dang fence!" in 2010, yet the US Senate did not build the fence, and he signed onto the 2013 Obamacare of Immigration Bills. Fellow Arizona lawmaker Jeff Flake has sided with the Democrats and the Big Government agenda on a number of occasions, along with South Carolina's Lindsey Graham. It cannot be the status of the Senate alone, since Graham's fellow legislator Tim Scott has been more conservative, and has voted in line with the constitution and the concerns of his constituents. One thing is certain: Scott is less of a Washington creature than Graham. Same with McCain, who has operated in Washington since the early 1980s.

What is the solution, where is the consolation?

The younger Republican US Senators, like Tom Cotton, Benjamin Saase, and the recently primary-challenged re-elected Pat Roberts, all voted "No!" to cloture, and "No!"  to confirmation. Joni Ernst is making the Establishment squeal. The key difference this year?

The New Media, relentlessly holding the feet of Washington DC to the fire.

Let us consider the two key votes in connection with the Lynch confirmation:

First, the cloture vote, which would prevent further delays on the vote:

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs ---66
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Capito (R-WV)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Flake (R-AZ)
Franken (D-MN)
Gardner (R-CO)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Manchin (D-WV)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Portman (R-OH)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---34
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Risch (R-ID)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
All the Democrats voted to end debate, as did twenty other Republicans.

Why end debate? Why allow another illiberal attorney general who gave no answers? It is not enough to move a procedure along. Too many US Senators are hiding behind the second "No" in a vote, but the cloture vote is a telling outcome.

Still, consider the final tally to confirm Lynch:

Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Flake (R-AZ)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Manchin (D-WV)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Portman (R-OH)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---43
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Coats (R-IN)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Gardner (R-CO)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting - 1
Cruz (R-TX)
Conservatives were alarmed, even outraged, at US Senator and Presidential candidate Cruz not voting. He did arrive in the chamber to rally votes against the confirmation. Who else did? I have no qualms with Cruz choosing to attend another event back in Texas. If it was a fundraiser, fine. We need leadership like Ted Cruz, which talks tough and demands a stern, strong stance against reckless, immoral federal personnel.

Who were the Republicans who voted against cloture and confirmation?

Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Risch (R-ID)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
How many of these US Senators were elected in 2014?

Eight. As the Republican Party takes on a more conservative core as well as hue, the growing class of elected officials are reflecting that character, no longer going along with the tradition and precedent of staid comity

How many are up for reelection in 2016?

One stands out -- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. His odds of winning in Pennsylvania have improved and he is voting in line with this stronger upper hand. Chuck Grassley of Iowa commands more respect than ever, despite his lengthy tenure in the US Senate. Character counts a great deal in representatives. Do they stand their ground in the face of extensive attacks? What drives them into office determines what will drive their values and votes. Grassley has not wavered from GOP views, and should be commended for his stance. Isakson replaced a Democrat in 2004, and has stayed true to his conservative roots.

Then there's John McCain. He is resisting Lynch because he has a tough reelection on his hands, just as he faced a primary challenge in 2016. If only these US Senators were prompted by principle rather than the threat of an election loss. This very cynical motive frustrates popular opinion and populist influence, granted, but also hinders accountability and transparency for the voting public in relation to their US Senators.

Matthew Boyle's latest column on Breitbart exposes the undue influence of Minority Leader Harry Reid, and the untenable lack of leadership from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

What’s perhaps most interesting about all this data is that there are 54—a majority—Republicans in the U.S. Senate and just 46 Democrats. The GOP majority is because of the midterm elections last November, which saw a nine-seat swing in favor of Republicans—one of the biggest in history. But it’s quite clear from the empirical data that nothing has changed, and Reid’s office is clearly quite happy about it. It’s as if he’s still the Senate Majority Leader.

McConnell on the other hand is getting beat all over the place. Whether it’s by choice or by accident, either way he currently has no defense for his failures as a leader. Offered the opportunity to comment on this story before publication, McConnell’s office did not respond by press time.

What can one conclude, and what consolations can one find from this observation?

Washington creatures like McConnell, and moderates like Kirk and Collins, are still interested in following perception rather than shaping it. Media assaults and influence still alter their motivations, even those US Senators with otherwise conservative mandates from their respective states.

The answer to this disappointing outcome? Keep fighting, keep demanding the right votes, the proper vision, the full respect for the Constitution. A New Media has arisen to ensure just that.

Benjamin Franklin did not sum up the results of the Constitutional Convention with: "A Republic, if the government agrees to it." He told his supporters and all American posterity:

"A republic, if you can keep it."

Not the US Senators, but you and I. Therefore, let us not stop #MakingDCListen


 

 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eureka, California


California State Seal
 
The California State Seal can be a guide for bringing back the glister to the Golden State.

In the 1840s, California was brimming with opportunity. Gold fever and gold rushes, combined with the transfer of state authority from a tyrannical Spanish Empire then a corrupt and dysfunction Mexican government, to the United States of America signaled the progress of any terroritory under differing political cultures. California, a backwater abandoned by imperial interests, neglected by an upstart former colonial power, has become one of the wealthiest countries (if it were independent from the United States).

Yet for all its grandeur, from a mining outpost filled with natural potential to a tech-savvy mecca riddled, a disparate underclass of illegal aliens and desperate working poor trying to make a living, have tarnished the Golden State's former reputation. A well-connected political elite and business class determine policy,  unharmed by its consequences,  harming individual taxpayers, small businesses and local entrepreneurs, and frustrating young people's opportunities.

Government overreach, combined with progressive idealism divorced from reality, have turned a haven of travel, entertainment, and investment into a limited Proustian paradise, where one can only dream the California Dream, reduced to a nightmare for those born and raised in this once great state. A media class has protected the Democratic dominance in the state of decades, even when previous Republicans governors  put forth the best efforts (movie stars excepted) to stop the spending and demand restrained and responsible governance. Californians have experienced runaway liberal, public sector union, special interest, and extreme left-wing lobby pandering for the last four years.

Is there any hope for change in deep blue California?

The Great Seal of California

The Great Seal of California
Click here for larger version.
Eureka!

Perhaps the state's seal and motto, proposed and adopted one year before statehood? The website "netstate.com" may grant us insight to restoring the fortunes of the largest state (per population) in the country. 

Under the gaze of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, a miner works near the Sacramento River. A grizzly bear rests at her feet and ships ply the river. The Sierra Nevada mountains rise in the background. Wildlife, agriculture, natural beauty, commerce, and opportunity are all represented on California's Great Seal.

Everything in a government seal testifies to deeper meanings, greater hopes, aspirations to be realized. The flora and fauna, the trade and culture, testify to a state with latent greatness.

The state motto, Eureka, sits over the mountains. A Greek word that means "I have found it," Eureka refers the discovery of gold in California.

Eureka, more than the spontaneous declaration from a scientist/inventor, or a Nor Cal municipality, Eureka signifies adventure, the assumption of risk with the certain of accomplishment. "Eureka!" means whatever anyone was seeking, he has found. The truths of the Declaration of Independence find their affirmation.

 The miner, working with a pick, is another reference to the gold that was found in California. A pan and a rocker are also depicted on the seal near the miner. The pan was used to separate the gold from the dirt; just add water. The rocker is a larger and more sophisticated "pan." It allowed miners to process more dirt and sand faster. At the time the seal was designed, people were coming from all over the world looking to "strike it rich" in the gold fields. 

Mining was a dirty, difficult, and demanding chore, one where the prospector faced limited prospects of striking it rich. Yet the chances of failure never deterred fortune hunters from migrating to California. Today, a work ethic should encounter many chances for striking it rich, yet the state leadership makes it harder to prosper, easier to depend. Where's the glory in getting anything?
 
Virtually all of the products coming in and out of California were carried over water routes at the time the seal was designed. Mining supplies, letters from home, luxuries, household items, and gold were all carried on ships. From the eastern United States, ships sailed south around Cape Horn and north to California. The ships, on a representation of the Sacramento River, symbolize the commercial greatness of California.

The commercial greatness is stifled by labor unions, bent on doing nothing more (or better), yet getting higher wages and more generous benefits. Who will pay for these lavish expenses, if the businesses, entrepreneurs, and individual taxpayers flee the once great Golden state?

A sheaf of grain in the foreground represents California's agricultural wealth. In fact, many who came looking for gold found farming more profitable. Today, California is an agricultural giant among the states.

Today, this wealth is severed from all sides not just from a severe drought, but the man-made dereliction of the state legislature to build desalination plants, to invest in proper storage facilities, to regulate the power of labor unions in water distribution, or temper the environmental regulations with protect fish and plants instead of farmers and people in general.

At the feet of Minerva, stands the California grizzly bear. A symbol of strength and independence, the grizzly bear is the Official State Animal and is the prominent feature on the California State Flag. Grizzly bears were, at one time, common in the state but the mass movement of people into California during the gold rush strained their habitat and caused their numbers to decline sharply. Today there are no wild grizzly bears left in California.

There are no wild grizzly bears left, and there is very little fight left in Californians fed up with a distant, unaccountable government, which in turn turns over power to unelected boards, bureaucrats, and brigades of regulators detached from evidence or enforcement.

Original 1849 design
Click here for larger version of 1849 seal.
The seal was designed by Major R. S. Garnett of the U.S. Army, and adopted at the Constitutional Convention of 1849 before California became a state in June 1850. At the time of the seal's adoption, thirty states comprised the United States. Near the upper edge of the seal are 31 stars, anticipating California's admission. The original 1849 design is depicted to the right.
In 1937 minor changes were made to the seal.


Now that we have got a better picture of what the seal designers imagined, intended for the Golden State, what can We the People do to restore the grandeur, the glister, the glory of California?

There is a way to restore California, a land named after an island paradise, where opportunities can abound again, where leaders, movers, and hopeful seekers can find what they are looking for. The natural resources remain, the people have the skills and the strengths. Now they need to work together to establish the rule of the law, individual liberty, limited government, and respect and submission to the United States Constitution.

Just like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's "Change Maryland", or Assemblyman David Hadley's (R-Torrance) "South Bay One Hundred", it's time for a Coalition of Concerned California Citizens to rise up and get back this state.

It's time for "Eureka, California"!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PawSox to Providence (Paws on Taxpayer Dollars)

PawtucketRedSox.png
Pawtucket PawSox (International League Logo)

The Pawtucket Red Sox, with their cuddly white bears and brimming mitts, bring some fun and frolic to an otherwise depressed and unhappy state.  A good friend of mine texted to me some full-on photos of the Boston Bruins, front row and center, but  A ball game is a ball of fun, if you like that sort of thing. I am not a baseball fan, myself (football first, then basketball, if the Celtics are playing), but any sport that makes the residents happy, or at least helps them take their mind off their troubles: that cannot be a bad thing.

The Red Sox got a new owner, too, and he has some welcome ideas to bring the AAA franchise, a second-string for the Boston Red Sox when they need a hitter in a pinch.

He wants to move the Sox (and Paws, the male mascot, plus Sox, the female) to Providence.

Why? So that Buddy can try for a home run, since he couldn’t win the mayor’s seat in his adopted home town? No: the franchise owners want to set up a new stadium, like McCoy field, a popular forum for  watching or playing. Sounds like a winning idea, since any business, including a sports franchise, would bring some welcome economic development and relief from Rhode Islanders’ tough times.

However, there’s a catch:

Team owners are seeking a state lease to pay for the cost of the stadium, with the state of Rhode Island paying $4 million annually to club over a 30-year period, according to the Boston Globe. An economic impact study estimated that visitors to the ballpark would contribute $12.5 million to the local economy each year.

The stadium would cost $85 million to build, yet the owners want the state to pay $120 million over thirty years.

They can count nine innings, they can tally the number of parking spots:

On Wednesday the group officially unveiled plans to build an $85 million, 10,000-seat multipurpose stadium in downtown Providence. The proposed park, situated on the banks of the Providence River, would feature a 750-car parking garage and a Riverwalk area outside the stadium.

One comment, from Jeff Fowler on the article deserves a second glance:

If there was any good reason to move the PawSox out of Pawtucket, which there is not, I would want a Green Monster in Left field as the trademark of Red Sox fields in Boston and Winter Haven. Tell me how this 750 car parking garage will accommodated the fans that will sit in 10,000 seats again? Then the tax payer money is another downer. Are your taxes tooo low in Providence?

Strike One: There is little evidence, or hope for that matter, that any state or municipal governments will have that kind of money. Now  the planning is already in question. The architectural minds behind this project apparently failed to consider the long-term consequences of New England’s frequent, heavy, and damaging snow storms, or population for that matter.
 
38 Studios went bust. Does Providence want another failed game franchise?
 

Strike Two: Rhode Islanders have been played time and again by outside interests looking for inside help. Not just the black market or the Mafia, but even decent, honest investment pitches. Remember 38 Studios? The video game company, the brainchild of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Shilling was supposed to bring in the business and promote a tech base for future economic development. After the state floated a $75 million loan, which every ray of the ideological spectrum opposed during Election 2010, the company would falter on its payments, later default, then fall into bankruptcy. The loan remains a moral obligation on the state, and the current chief executive, Gina Raimondo, decided to keep paying, even though the majority of residents rejected the company’s failure.

Chafee called the company “Junk”, and the investors have pulled the plug. The adults in the room (the two Republicans running for Governor last year) said “Don’t pay”. Now, the PawSox have the sand to ask Rhode Island to do the same for their stadium? Why not invest in a baseball video game, and make the whole crony capitalist trifecta complete?
Rep. Doreen Costa
 

Before Rep. Doreen Costa (R-Kingston) could call foul, she got a series of calls herself:

After the proposal was announced, it was met with immediate backlash from some lawmakers, including state Rep. Doreen Costa, R-North Kingstown.

“Just yesterday when this hit the news, I got 14 calls within five minutes of this breaking from taxpayers. Not only in my district, from the entire state. From Pawtucket to Woonsocket to Westerly that are saying ‘Rep. Costa, we cannot do this,'” she said.

Does Costa want to play umpire on this bad idea? How about throwing the whole crowd out of the park before a brawl starts. Someone must have bean-balled the investors to think that taxpayers will let a group of private interests put their paws on taxpayer dollars. Then again, recent reports suggest that PawSox affiliates have been corking their bats, donating to elected officials. Money: the steroids of state politics.

Raimondo bunted:

I’d certainly like to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it’s an important part of Rhode Island culture. Money is tight, so I look forward to getting into the details of the proposal and making sure we do the right thing.

Jim Skeffington, the new owner, played coy:

“We’ve had overtures from four other cities, and I tell them we only have plan A, which is to stay in Rhode Island. Yes, there are other opportunities, but we’re going to do what we can to reach common accord with our citizens of Rhode Island and stay here.

Another sources suggested that the PawSox want to leave, but do so graciously, making it seem as though they wanted to stay, but couldn’t for lack of funding. “Cheap Smith Hill legislators!” The owners are playing Pickle, looking to slide into home for the best deal, letting the state pay the bill.

My call on this whole debacle? Let’s call the whole thing off!

Strike Three: You’re Out!

Maryland's Larry Hogan: Unsung Republican Hero


Maryland, the Old Line State, the frequent battleground for the Civil War, has become the tipping point for Democratic dominance along the Eastern Seaboard.

Where New Jersey Governor Chris Christie failed, where Charlie Baker of Massachusetts may stumble, Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan is winning, taking the conservative message of fiscal prudence, limited government, and individual liberty and prosperity to a poverty-stricken, tax-weary Commonwealth overwhelmed by public sector union greed and progressive political pandering.

The last governor, Democratic two-termer Martin O’Malley, checked off every left-wing policy talking point: driver’s licenses for illegal aliens (and granting the illegal alien youth crowding the border places to leave), gay marriage, and even took a shot at gun control. Like Obama, O’Malley shot himself in the foot tangling with the Second Amendment, and widespread advocates stormed Annapolis.  So frustrated were law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, Western Maryland petitioned to secede from the state and set up their own Commonwealth. Who could blame them? The state government became so onerous, that allowing kids to play by themselves is now a crime, as well as chewing a pop tart to look like a pistol!

Maryland, the not-so-Merryland where unfettered Democratic dominance has turned the religious haven of persecuted Catholics (Lord Baltimore) into a haven of special interests persecuting businesses, taxpayers, and all citizens who believe that the government should protect the rights of the people, rather than the people securing the interests of the state. Did I neglect to mention that the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange failed, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars? So badly, that Marylanders looked to equally unequal and illiberal Connecticut for leadership. Ouch!
 
Governor Larry Hogan (R-Maryland)

Enter Larry Hogan, the Hero of the Maryland and the National GOP. Who is Larry Hogan, and why should Republicans across the country care? This former son of a Congressman took Obama’s mantra of Hope and Change, and established an interest group for all working Marylanders: Change Maryland.

Getting more “likes” the Governor O’Malley’s Community Facebook page, Hogan’s private associate railed against Annapolis’ tax-and-spendthrift profligate policies. According to Politico, “Change Maryland” turned into a public clearing house blasting Maryland’s bad policies without relenting.  Hogan’s new media and bipartisan outreach created a consensus of disconnected taxpayers and local residents Taxed Enough Already.

In 2014, Hogan launched his campaign for Governor against Democrat Anthony Brown, the hand-picked successor who would continue the same profligate, elitist policies of his Democratic predecessor. Brown talked up environmentalism and gun-control. Hogan listened and learned from the frustrated and angry Maryland electorate, fed up with the outrageous tax hikes, spending increases, public sector union grubby grabbing, and the flight of businesses and economic growth out of the state. O’Malley and the Annapolis legislature were so tone deaf to the needs of their constituents, they enacted a rain tax on three counties to deal with the bad roads and polluted Chesapeake Bay. A rain tax? Are you kidding me?!

Granted, Election 2014 was destined to be a bad year for Democrats, with the six year itch dragging down the incumbent President’s party. However, let no one forget that Republicans controlling Congress lost seats in 1998 to “Slick Willy” Clinton, a reminder that political cycles provide no guarantees.

Hogan got busy, and so do his massive team of volunteers. Not waiting for inner city residents to “Get the message”, the Maryland Republican Party took their message to urban Baltimore County, and upset the political (read, “liberal Democratic”) establishment. Election Night, two surprises shook the GOP from their dogmatic doldrums: Ed Gillespie of Virginia was within striking distance of unseating Democratic incumbent US Senator Mark Warner, and Larry Hogan won a decisive victory in deep blue Maryland.

The day after Hogan’s historic win, Bloomberg News pundits shook their heads, scrambling to understand: “How did Larry do it?” They inadvertently answered their own question, outlining Maryland residents’ heavy taxation and weariness of Democratic machine-chicanery, and Hogan’s better campaign to correct those problems.

Governor Hogan got to work quickly, expanding school choice (and charter schools), making state government efficient and accountable, with good customer service, and tackling the state’s heroin epidemic. Most importantly, he pressed for fiscal restraint, the end of government waste, and the repeal of high taxes and fees. In his first year, Hogan fulfilled his campaign promise, and repealed the dreaded, hated rain tax. The otherwise Democratic legislature eased regulations to improve the economic climate in the state. The part-time legislature also cut off expensive, worthless state contracts.

Last week, Hogan declared before the state capitol: “It’s a great time to be a Maryland Republican, isn’t it?” Thinking ahead for his party and the state, the Governor is targeting key counties, seeking to engage then expand Republican registration. At the Maryland GOP convention, Hogan declared: “We’re back!” National Republicans needs to pay attention to this unlikely hero, who helped revive a brand once badly defeated and declared all but dead. If the GOP can bounce back in this one-party Democratic mid-Atlantic state, there is no stopping a Republican resurgence in moribund Rhode Island, desperately dry California, or in many other otherwise intimidating inner city communities.

The Truth Matters

In one of my latest Twitter wars, a liberal progressive charged me with fear, bigotry, and bullying in response to repeated assertions on a number of culture issues.

His last tweet, however, gave me pause, and respectably so:

So can I ask you a question? Why is this an issue for you?

What were we debating on Twitter at the time? The status, the definition of marriage, and why there can be no other construct for marital unity besides one man and one woman.

The reason is that the true – yes, true – definition of marriage is between one man and one woman.

Truth matters. We cannot discuss anything unless we are discussing something, and for something to be there, it has to be true.

When writing the above sentence, I recall another heated discussion with a California Conservative, more intent and intense than myself, and as we bantered back and forth not just about marriage, but the origins and etiology of homosexual conduct, he uttered:

You have this stake on the truth, and the other person does not. How you define truth is different from how other people see the issue.

What my good conservative friend basically said was: “Everyone has their own truth.” Excuse me?! I nearly jumped out of my seat, hearing such pandering, nearly accomodationist rhetoric.

That statement has no truth to it. “Everyone is right” is basically wrong, because there are not only a multiplicity of views, but their diversity gives way to inexorable contraction. Muslims believe that anyone adhering to another faith does not deserve to live. Someone who believes in the sanctity of life will not only disagree, but cannot compromise on the issue. Either you believe that 2 + 2 =4 or you do not. There is no room for “We are both right”. Anyone who believes differently can review the final ledgers and accounts, then tell me which one balances.

David Hume



This nonsensical notion, that different people can define the truth in different ways, yet both be valid and commendable, has made the rounds in elite universities since the early 1800s, and perhaps a little further back when secular, humanistic thinkers like David Hume posited: “No is implies an ought.”

Without the “is”, there would no “ought.”

Even when deranged atheistic humanist Friedrich Nietzsche posited that “God is dead”, he was talking about God, and death, both of which he could not have invented, nor could he have escaped. A bitter Sunday school boy frustrated with Big Government involved in religion, as well as a frantic fascination with Greco-Roman pagan traditions, Nietzsche was rebelling, but with nothing to fight for, he had only himself to defeat, down to sobbing on a horse then ebbing away from his mentally paralyzing syphilis, another inconvenient truth which upholds the necessity of fidelity for life and peace.

Out of this haze of philosophic malaise, today we witness a world which has lost its footing, unable to stand for anything or withstand against anything. The force of tradition is now replaced by force.

The truth matters. Matter itself, a physical property, is a reality. When defying those who claimed that action and motion do not exist, the philosopher Zeno stood up and moved around the room. His actions made the case for action despite all the talk.

When the patient goes into surgery, he believes that the doctor is professional who will do good, not harm. The most post-modern of philosophers, the now deceased Jacques Derrida, affirmed that we speak to each other out of necessity that the other person is speaking the truth to us. Contrary to fellow French philosophe Michel Foucault (who perished from venereal disease resulting from unsafe, homosexual promiscuity), truth is not a mere “thing” manipulated by power.

Truth is everything, and we have no power to change that truth. Not might makes right, but right makes might, for power has none without legitimacy. Why else did the Soviet Union collapse? Why now do we see the Islamic world in violent turmoil, and Muslims embrace the Christian faith, where Truth is personified?

And how does this ideological ideation tie into my idiosyncratic twitter debate?

The marriage thing. Why does anyone believe that the state, the academics, or leading politicians of our time can redefine an institution which predates the state and outlasts all time? Those gay marriage advocates are stepping off from marriage, the union of one man and one woman. They have nothing to argue about except what has been in place since, well, forever.

Before the state, the government, or even the tribe, there was the God who created all things, including man, and from the man came woman. There was marriage, the family, then community. To this day, there is nothing in science, history, or legacy to dispute otherwise. The research, the science, the history, the legacies affirm marriage as one man and one woman.

Truth Revolt:  Ben Shapiro's project
to reinvigorate truth into the press

And that’s the truth, and the need for truth agitates every mind, from the Ancient Greek to Modern America.

Truth matters. Either it is, or it is not. Either you believe it, or you do not.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Election 2016: Say No to Rubio

Marco Antonio Rubio.jpg
Marco Rubio in 2008 (DavidAll06)
Florida’s junior US Senator Marco Rubio, like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, commanded a great deal of respect with conservative activists. In 2010, Tea Party elements who helped propel his outsider candidacy for the US Senate against more Establishmentarian Republican governor Charlie Crist and the fledging Democratic candidate who had no chance of winning in the Republican leaning Sunshine state. After Christie and McDonnell’s gubernatorial victories especially in a watershed year for conservative insurgents across the country fed up with Big Government getting bigger under President Obama.



The former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Rubio boasted a son-of-immigrants story which rivaled Senator Ted Cruz, Rubio fended off infrequent, off-hand attacks, like misusing his credit card and avoiding payments.

He campaign on entitlement reform, in the state which Washington Post columnist George Will once called “God’s ante-chamber” for the number of senior citizens living there. He defeated the current Republican Governor, who had taken the Obama Kool-Aid stimulus, and hugged him in the process (Christie should have learned from Crist’s example. The “established” GOP candidate lost the primary, then switched Independent, back-pedaling from previous assertions to run and stay.

Rubio’s conservative stats and credentials broke the mold, and he captured the US Senate in a landmark victory. Rubio’s meteoric rise seemed destined to crest and dazzle the political landscape. Hoping to increase Hispanic GOP voter registration, party leaders propped up Rubio following President Obama’s State of the Union speech, only to receive another barrage of empty criticisms after he reached for a  bottle of water during his SOTU Response.

Rubio during SOTU Response (C-SPAN HD)
 

Following the disappointing 2012 Elections, Rubio still stood his fiscally conservative ground, rejecting the Fiscal Cliff deal, even while his Republican counterparts in the House (including Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan) voted for the deal.

Then came the betrayal. Working with another Gang of Eight in the upper chamber, Rubio cosponsored Immigration “Reform”, bringing along sixty-seven colleagues. Bipartisanship is one thing, but compromise must be based on principle, not politics. US Senator Rand Paul worked on juvenile delinquency reforms with other Democrats, yet still voted against bloated budgets and pushed Right-To-Work legislation in the process. Christie caved to Democratic talking points, and so did Rubio.

The notion that any Congress could trust President Obama, who had engaged in arbitrary lawless changes to his own legislation while rejecting the precedent of prior Congresses, should have dissuaded any federal representative from pursuing immigration policy. Republicans in the House were willing to work with the president to streamline the process, even set up a pathway to citizenship. Yet border security and integrity remained the sine qua non (indispensable condition), and since Obama had already flouted the rule of law with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, a nightmarish policy which bypassed Congress and unilaterally permitted young(ish) illegal aliens to reside in the country and receive temporary work permits. Charles Krauthammer sounded out this policy for what it really was: “Utter Lawlessness”.

Yet in spite of the infidelity of the President, Rubio felt the pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic identity activists, and went along.

Tea Party supporters from 2010 felt betrayed in 2013, and rightfully so. On other notes, where was the legislation on entitlement reform? What about the fiscal discipline? While Rubio has cast reliable votes on life (even sponsoring a bill to end abortion after twenty weeks, much like the Texas law which pink-shoed Wendy Davis failed to filibuster), Rubio’s breach of constitutional integrity and consistency cost him dearly with conservatives.

Granted, he regretted his support and vote for the 2013 Obamacare of Immigration Policy, but Rubio has failed on this front again. Returning to immigration, recent reports confirm, in spite of his communication director’s pleas to the contrary, Rubio supported and argued that Obama’s executive actions have benefitted illegal aliens, and he would not remove them. And he did so in Spanish on a Spanish-speaking television program. Whatever happened to E pluribus unum?

So, one first-term Senator praises another, and upholds his illegal, executive overreach to boot? Ouch! Now more than ever, this country needs leadership. Poor executive judgment, and outright unconstitutional rule from the current commander-in-chief (who plays golf rather than enforcing the law) have pushed this country’s republican core and democratic aspirations to a crisis point.

The last thing this country needs is another executive whose previous experience was relegated to running an office on Capitol Hill. Senator Rubio, now throwing his hat in the ring for the highest executive office in the land, has nothing to offer but a legacy of following the opinions of Washington DC elites.

Rubio embraces "gay" as identity, but not gay marriage? (Slate)
 

Where does his star power reside, then? Young voters like his youthful exuberance, or do they embrace his seeming softeneness on key stances, like gay marriage?  So, he announces that he would attend a gay wedding. Then he declares on “Face the Nation” that homosexual behavior is not a choice, yet he calls the conduct “sexual preference”. Preference indicates choice, and more research affirms that sexual conduct/attraction is not necessarily genetic. Let no one presume that he could have punted on those media gotcha questions, since Rubio had done so when queried about the age of the earth.

Rubio may steal away his former mentor Jeb Bush’s chances for the 2016 GOP nomination, but for a growing consortium of constitutional conservatives, Rubio’s magic is rubbing off fast. In the words of CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rubio is indeed “the candidate of yesterday”, a politician with conservative credentials misspent, and ultimately lost.

True Antinomianism

Last week, I posted a devotional blog about the grace of God at work in the life of Tamar, who was ancestor to Jesus Christ:

The account of Judah and Tamar, filled with deception and incest, demonstrates the grace of God, in that Jesus our Savior came from the line of Judah through Tamar. Under law, those two would have been killed, yet the dispensation of grace was at work then, and is at work now in our lives because Jesus!

http://asheisministries.blogspot.com/2015/04/gods-grace-greater-than-law-judah-and.html?spref=fb

The following comments were posted afterwards:

Justin Esthay Antinomian dispensationalist garbage.

  • Justin Esthay Oh, I dunno, maybe because of the Biblical context, two millennia of history, and simple reason that refute your sentiment.

  •  
    Paul writes about the Cross, and the grace of God shed upon us through Jesus' death and resurrection:
     
    "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1: 18)
     
    The preaching of the Cross is foolishness the a world where death reigns, where the god of this world has still blinded them to the glorious goodness of God and His Gospel:
     
    "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4: 4)
     
    But back to First Corinthians, where we learn that the wisdom of men, the reason of this world, is come to naught in the Cross:
     
    "20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1: 20-24)
     
    Mr. Esthay suggests that "simple reason" refutes the grace of God.
     
    Reason is nothing in the face of Almighty God, and in Jesus we find true and consummate Wisdom, for to us that is the first thing that Jesus becomes!
     
    Grace is not reasonable, not rational, in that we are bound in a finite world. Yet God our Daddy is not finite, but infinite, and He demonstrated His love for us in giving His Son to die for us, to rise from the dead on our behalf, and to minister for us (and as us!) at the right hand of God the Father.
     
    "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [lit. Christ]" (Romans 10: 17)

    Faith comes by hearing the Word about Christ and Him Crucified.

    We cannot create faith from within ourselves. It is not a product of reason, but revelation.

    So, what about this antinomian jab? Is it really the case that the Gospel of Grace is antinomian?

    What does the Bible teach?

    "
    27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
    31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."
     
    The grace of God establishes the law.
     
    Let us never forget, either, what the law was for:
     
    "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:19-20)
     
    The law was the standard of God's righteousness, which no one could keep. The law would point out to us that we are all guilty, in need of a Savior.
     
    Check out also these passages:
     
    "
    19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
    23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3: 19-25)
     
    The law was added, brought in later (Romans 5: 20), not to make us holy, but rather to reveal how deeply sinful man is, and his need for a Savior as absolute.
     
    Faith was the trainer, the schoolmaster which showed us our need for a Living Savior, and once we have this Savior, we are no longer under law,  but rather  under grace (Romans 6: 14).
     
    Another passage will affirm the true purpose of the law:
     
    "8But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." (1 Timothy 1: 8-11)
     
    The law was not written for righteous people, for people who have been saved and sanctified, but for sinners.
     
    No one can keep the law, and anyone who teaches otherwise, that the law is a set standard which men and women are called to keep, are actually subverting, watering down the law, reducing God's Holy Standard.
     
    Ironically enough, true antinomianism is not appealing to grace ahead of the law, but rather teaching people, contrary to Scriptural truth and revelation, that the law is a standard which we are called to keep!