Saturday, August 29, 2015

Democrats should think about getting "Bidencare"

Vice President Joe Biden is contemplating a run for the presidency

Los Angeles, CA - In the halls of the New York Campaign Headquarters of Hillary Clinton, there is trouble brewing. Two days ago, a poll was released showing that 61% of Americans feel that the former first lady is untrustworthy. In key battleground states, Clinton is losing support of far left-wing socialist Bernie Sanders, and Mrs. Clinton is beginning to elicit lower and lower favorability ratings. As if all that were not bad enough, now she is being investigated by the FBI for possible illegal activities involved her email scandal.

The Democratic Party is already in trouble across the nation as they are beginning to feel a lack of young talent springing up across the country due to the fact that Republicans control so many state houses, thus denying the upper echelons of the party new faces and names which are so pivotal to remaining the ruling party. With Clinton in trouble, with Sanders not even a registered Democrat and the establishment of the Democratic Party needing someone to represent them, especially if the current FBI investigation into Clinton turns up damaging things, the party is looking around for someone with high name recognition, high favorability ratings, and someone who comes across as all around nice guy. To that they need look no further than the vice president, former six time senator and career Washington insider Joe Biden.
In recent weeks it has been reported that Biden, who son Beau tragically passed away recently, and as a death bed wish begged his father to run for president, has been meeting with staff and possible donors trying to gage the possibilities of a run for the Democratic Nomination. There is a “Draft Biden” campaign going on at elite levels across the country in attempts create excitement and ultimately convince the number two man in the country to add to Clinton’s problems by throwing his hat into the ring.
Were Biden to run, he would certainly be getting into the race late, and thus have the problems and advantages that come with that. The minuses would be things like he’s starting late, a lot of people are already committed. The cons would be that he’s starting late, and has less time to make the famous Biden gaffes.
But whether or not Biden, who is past seventy years old, and does not have the fire of a Trump or a Cruz, ether of whom could win the GOP nomination, wins, he could be an important piece for the Democratic Establishment, simply as a liberal voice in the media and in the public sphere for the next year as they seek to rush new faces to the forefront, such as the Castro brothers and others.
And he would be an especially good man to be there to pick up the pieces were Hillary’s already weakening campaign to topple over and implode.
The idea of an insurance policy in case the front runner falls apart is not new. Indeed we look no further than the same year, in 1988, as Biden himself once ran, although this insurance plan was on the Republican side. Some higher ups were concerned that the then vice president George Bush Sr. might fall apart on the campaign trail, and so pressured Donald Rumsfeld, a Washington insider, into running. Of course, as things turned out, Bush waltzed to victory, but had he not, the GOP had a man ready just in case.
The argument might be made by some that the Democrats already have insurance policies, if not in Sanders, who certainly does not speak for the establishment, but perhaps in Lincoln Chafee, O’Malley, or Jim Webb, both longtime public servants who are also running for the nomination.
To that I would respond that those are insurance policies on which the deductible is so high they aren’t worth the premium. Nobody knows who any of them are, and O’Malley is the man who charged the people of his state a tax when it rained. One of those men winning the nomination would be a dream come true for Republicans, and even Chris Christie would be hard pressed as the GOP nominee not to win at least 49 states under those circumstances.
And even if Clinton does not fall apart, Biden getting in could mean yet another blow to her. He certainly will give her a run for her money, and what better evidence that Clinton is in real trouble than that she is suddenly running against the Vice President of the United States? Biden is only likely to get into the race if he feels Mrs. Clinton is in trouble. And him getting in could paradoxically spell even more trouble for the frontrunner. If it all goes down, as it very well might, and the good ship Clinton finally sinks, Biden could act as a life preserver of hope to a boatload of Democrats.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mr. Obama Would Like to Shut Down the US Government

Somewhere in the Californian Desert – In about one month, barring anything unforeseen, the government of the United States will shut down.
Now don’t panic, it’s not as bad as it seems. The police officers will still be there, the peace will still be kept, and the sun will still rise in the morning, (reports indicate that the sun’s light is actually not paid for by the US taxpayers, but I digress.) However, the fact remains that the current allotment of money to the US government, passed by congress, runs out on the 30th of September, and many government entities will close or be forced to work with only “necessary” staff until the congress passes a new bill granting more money, which, since they are currently in recess, and are not even involved in talks, will force them to scramble when they return to work in over a week from now.
It would seem that this would be a bipartisan thing-keeping the government running. And indeed there is support on both sides of the aisle and from the White House, and great interest has been expressed by politicians from all quarters in making sure the millions of government employees and their families do not lose their paychecks, and that the services they give out continue to flow.
However, there is one little sticking point. President Barak Obama seems willing to let the government shut down, unless in the bill that is presented to him, there is the traditional half a billion dollars marked out for Planned Parenthood. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, Obama will veto the bill, thus shutting down a multi-trillion system of operations for a half billion dollars; in effect, grinding the great engine of the ship of state to a halt over an argument about a single screw.
Due to the recent release of videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood employees laughing and joking about selling the body parts of little, unborn children, the controversial and extremist group has come under fire from many conservatives seeking to end government funding of it. However, President Barak Obama, long an opponent of the human right to life of the unborn, will be certain to veto any bill that does not fund Planned Parenthood. And the Republicans, although having a majority in both houses of congress, are far from having the votes needed to overturn the president’s veto.
Mitch McConnell, (left,) head of the Republicans in
the senate, and John Boehner, Speaker of the House
So with a month to go until the fateful day when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will have to, by law, close the US coffers and cease issuing money, GOP Primary candidates such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and while Speaker of the House John Boehner and the other Republican congressional leaders continue to say that it should be defunded, but not at the risk of shutting down the government, there are far right congressmen who say that they will risk it.

Boehner and McConnell swear they won’t shut the government down, or let it be shut down, “not on our watch” the leader of Republican senators protests.
My take on the situation is this: the higher echelons Republicans are acting like they have already lost the battle in public opinion about who will be shutting down the government. They already except the line that if the government is defunded due to a presidential veto, the view of the public will be that: congress shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.
We have to counter this dangerous and misleading rhetoric, and turn the argument on its head to show it as it is: Is Obama really willing to shut down the government to keep Planned Parenthood funded? After all, congress has to pass a bill. If Obama vetoes it, or if the Democrats in the senate filibuster it, let their blood be on their head. Don’t except the blame for their extremism.
We have a month to do it. The stakes are high. Not only is this a chance to, (in a very small way, certainly) reduce the deficit, but it is a major chance to use to public anger against Planned Parenthood to win a major victory for human rights, and to take yet another step towards the inevitable day when abortion on demand will be outlawed in this nation just as slavery once was.
This is a fight we can win, but it is a fight that will demand all of us to stand and do what our president so often refuses to; that is, do the right thing.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Obama, Where is the Change We Can Believe In?

The bulls are dead

Landers, CA— Six years ago, just weeks before the 2008 General Election, we had what is now called The Great Recession. The Republicans were in office, and the Democratic nominee, Senator Barak Obama, blamed the government and Wall Street for what had happened. Obama renewed his calls for “Change we can believe in!” And Americans bought it, and the senator became the president, and we’ve had six years of “good times.” But yesterday, when I woke up, it was to hear FOX News’ Shepard Smith screaming that this was one of the worst financial disasters is American history.

As the stocks plunged and those who had bought supposedly safe securities in America, China, and around the world started losing money, billions, possibly trillions of dollars gone in hours, the other stock that was dropping was Obama, and he now looks like a much worse investment than he did to his liberal supporters six years ago.
The reason Wall Street fell in 2008 was hashed out in the months that followed, and it turned out that corporate greed, slipshod regulations, and the massive over lending of banks caused millions of Americans to lose their retirement, their jobs, and their life savings. The Subprime Mortgage Crises was caused by banks who lent money to people they knew could never pay it back. But when the bills came due, the housing market bubble blew up in Wall Street’s face, and normal people were forced to bail them out. In turn that caused a domino effect which started the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression.
But this is all familiar territory, it is past history. But the story of today is a story that is nowhere near finished. An earthquake has just happened, and the aftershocks are reverberating all around the globe. We don’t even yet know if the main earthquake is over yet, or if perhaps this was just the beginning of a terribly long road which we will emerge from years from now, with the emerging nations humbled, the third world all but destroyed, and all of us civilized, “industrialized nations” engaged in a vicious blame game.
The good news is that, this morning, in the West, stocks began to bounce back as people sought to make profits by buying cheap. However, in the east, especially China, where the housing market has burst, where they have not completely recovered from 2008, and their currency has been devalued, and where economic growth in the nation of over a billion people is slowing down, things continue to look bad. Since the 12th of June, Chinese Stocks have fallen 38%, and in the first half of the year, the government’s revenue was down by nearly a quarter from the same period the year before.
The current line among those “in the know” is that fears about China’s collapsing economy was really what caused the massive overnight selloff in America, causing the huge losses at the New York Stock Exchange. If that is true, it of course comes as no surprise that China’s economy, which is run by an authoritarian communistic government, where the people have little freedom, regulation is rife and many industries are still nationalized, should have collapsed. What is discouraging is that, despite the obvious weakness of any communist nation’s economy, America’s own economy should have been tied so close to China.
But one reason, I believe will have to be looked at, is the euphoria of recent years due to the Federal Reserves' artificially low interest rates. The pundits have been saying for months that when the Fed’s decided to tighten the interest rates, it would prompt a market selloff, and a “correction” in the stock market. The polite way of saying there would be a small crash. And the Federal Reserve has announced in the coming weeks they will very likely be raising the interest rates to more market sustainable levels.
In the past few years, with interest levels low and loans easy to come by, the money from those loans was being dumped into national economies, such as China, but also Latin America, where there was less security than America or Europe, but also higher possible gains. But now that the Fed is threatening to end this unsustainable era of cheap money, investors are seeking to liquidate their assets in these emerging markets, and are helping to fuel their collapse. Across South America today, the stock markets are being hard hit, as are those of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as oil drops to below 40 dollars a barrel, which is good news for us, the consumers, and bad for those own the company, and in the long run, if this trend continues, it is bad news for the jobs of those who work in the industry, as low prices nearly always lead to shrinking production.
So one is left wondering, why did this happen, again? Why was the bubble once again blown up until it got pricked? Like a plane that was allowed to go beyond the speed of sound, the sound waves begin piling up at the front of the plane, or the market that tries to defy the rules of the market, and eventually they create a massive sonic boom, and all the damage that that entails.  It is, of course due to the flawed ideology of the Federal Reserve. The promised “change we can believe in” at least on this, has not happened. The bubble was allowed to grow again, and of course, like any bubble, it popped, taking down all those who were riding it.
This is not to say that the president, had he made all the right choices, could have permanently avoided a boom-bust cycle. Downturns happen even in the freest of free markets, unhindered by the likes of the Federal Reserve; that is simply the cycle of capitalism. But when capitalism is messed with, when the “hidden hand” is foiled, then things may look better for a time, but in the end they will always get worse, because no one can play with the market and expect everything to come out all right.
But even at this hour the government can in some small way atone for its mistakes by not repeating those of the American government at other times when there have been recessions or depressions. They can leave the market alone. It’s not the most politically expedient thing to do, and it will require the administration and the Fed to exert massive self-control, not something politicians are good at. But sticking your hands in the pie only ever makes it worse.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Year of the Crazy Man

Joshua Tree, CA – The guy is absolutely nuts, and no mistake. Complaining about years of things politicians have done wrong, angry at the establishment, he has members of his own party mad at him and scared of him; they say he will destroy the party for years to come, consigning them to perpetually being in the minority. But his supporters see him as a breath of fresh air, saying he “talks like a real human being” and they like that he’s more nuts than polished, they like that he’s says stuff the establishment deems offensive, or partially insane. I am not talking about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, I’m talking about Jeremy Corbyn.
Never heard of him? Until a few weeks ago, neither had I. Earlier this year, when Britain held its election for Prime Minister, in a surprise turn of events, the Conservative (Tory) Party won outright majority in Britain, and the opposition party, England’s version of far-left Democrats, the Labor Party, was thrown into disarray as their leader, Edward Milliband resigned, and power plays and infighting erupted, prompting the Daily Telegraph to request “will the last one out of Labor please turn off the lights?”
Now, Labor is holding its election for a new leader. The man who wins this election, if Labor wins the general election in 2020, would be Britain’s next Prime Minister. In the race there was the hoped for “heir-apparent,” the brother of Ed Milliband, David, the polished politician. There was the liberal-backed candidate Yvette Cooper. And of course there were the obligatory establishment candidates. But neither of these are leading in the polls. Instead, it is the wild, plain spoke, total socialist Jeremy Corbyn, who thinks disbanding NATO would be a great idea, and also says if he were in charge, he would get rid of England’s nuclear missiles.
With Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, and such like leading in polls and garnering massive applause from disgruntled voters everywhere, we are left to believe that this is the year of the crazy man. Some may even wonder if the old brands of politicians, who just say what people want to hear, are gone.
Jeremy Corbyn
Of course they’re not. They are here, right now, with us, and Trump, Corbyn, etc. are a part of the same old brand reimagined. Do they believe what they say? I can’t read their minds, so don’t ask me. But it is clear that these men, like seemingly every mainstream politician, have flipped and flopped on everything. As for the straight-talk everyone is in love with? Do you think they’d be talking straight if you didn’t like it? No way. This is simply a new version of political doublespeak, once again giving the people what they want to hear. And because of it, these men are rising in the polls.
What we are seeing here is a new anomaly. A group of men who realize that the word is exhausted of long winded blither-blather and Political Correctness, and so, like true politicians, pandering in form, they serve up exactly what they think the people want.
The folks are lapping it up like liquid chocolate.
Vote for these types of men if you want, based on the issues, if you agree with them; it’s a free country, a monkey can take office if the people vote him in. If you look at history, sometimes they have. However, don’t be fooled into believing that somehow these men are not politicians. They are, rather, calculating would-be-statesmen who are seeking the path they believe will take them to power. They remind one of Claudius, of Rome, who to keep himself safe from the murderous ravages of Gaius Caligula feigned madness and insanity, and in the end it won him the tile of “Emperor of Rome.”
We cannot tell how long this new trend will last. Perhaps, although it is highly unlikely, it will become the new norm to be rude, abrasive, plain spoken and a loudmouth, if you want to be in politics. But however long this lasts, whatever comes of it, if the candidates win or go away, don’t forget, this is simply politics carried on by other means, simply a new version of the Hydra of politics as usual, with another head, because all the other heads are so tired, and people so jaded, that the marketing scheme had to be changed. And the idea this time is that of bucking the establishment by being crazier than a cuckoo bird.

Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Battle for the Soul of the Parties

This wasn't supposed to be these men's story. But the mavericks are angry, and they want both parties.

Joshua Tree, CA – Political Parties have souls, and right now, the souls of both parties are being fought for.

In every period of history, there is a fight for the direction of each party, which in turn leads to a fight for the soul of the nation. The ideas are hashed out at the top, among the elites, but their importance is often overrated, in that while they can chart the course of the ship, if enough people don’t like it, the elites will be forced to change course or risk a mutiny, loss of members, or even their own positions, if their own thinking, or at least their rhetoric, ever strays too far from the sincerely held beliefs of the rank and file.
The Republican Party has different component parts to it, all of who are conservative, but for different reasons. There are the Evangelicals, who believe that homosexuality should be outlawed, and thus vote for the candidate who purportedly hold their views. There is the business wing, who likes the Republican Party’s emphasis on deregulation. There is the establishment, the Bushes, the Romney’s, McCain, Alexander, who are a part of the old, fading, Cold War Republican Party. And of course, there is the TEA Party.
In 2010, fed up with elites of the Republican Party, angry at massive government spending, the TEA Party (Taxed Enough Already) wave began. They started by attacking the Democrats, and surging in on national anger at Obamacare to take congress by storm. (One of the TEA party senators voted in at that time Marco Rubio of Florida, is now running for president.)
But soon anger at the Democrats turned to anger at fellow Republicans, as the grassroots movement, aided with funds from big businessmen who don’t generally like taxes or regulations which make it harder to make a profit, realized that established Republicans like John McCain and Mitch McConnell were not on their side. Ever since then the TEA Party has been fighting a so far losing battle against the establishment, failing to get their candidates the GOP Nomination, TEA Party congresswoman Michelle Bachman even winning the Iowa Caucus last time around, but she began to stall and fade as Mitt Romney, the establishments best hope at a moderate conservative, of course eventually was the one who got the nod.
Democrats have for years laughed at the Republicans as being unable or even unwilling to get along with each other to get into power. The TEA Party fought the establishment, the establishment fought with the Evangelicals, the Evangelicals fought with everybody, and the business wing of the party complained that they just wanted a conservative in the White House so they could get back to making money.
Many thought, and indeed wanted it to be the story of Clinton vs. Bush. Instead this is shaping up to be a battle of
establishment, on both sides, vs. the ordinary voters of both parties.

The most recent show of anger from the Republicans can be seen in the strange affair of the rise of Donald Trump, along with that of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and even failed business executive Carly Fiorina. The Republicans are sending a message to the elites: we don’t like moderates, we don’t like career politicians, we like outsiders.
But now the race to wings of the political system is not only being carried out by the Republicans, but the Democrats have joined the sprint. Bernie Sanders has cut Hillary Clinton’s lead in half and some believe he will keep rising. The situation with Hillary Clinton has become so desperate with her email scandals and an investigation from the FBI that rumors are flying of a possible Al Gore or Joe Biden or John Kerry run for the nomination.
As is easy to see from these names, it is shaping up to be a liberal version of the battle of establishment vs. grassroots, of the elites vs. the people that are fed up with not getting what they really want.
Republicans like myself are very concerned about the fact that are party, which is supposed to be the party of the conservatives, has often been hijacked by moderates or even outright leftists, who lie or prevaricate to get what they want. However, the rank and file of the Democratic Party are not happy either. They want to see outright socialism, are aren't getting it. So they are going after their own version of the TEA Party, in Sanders.
Many, myself included, still do not believe that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who thinks it is immoral to make a lot of money while himself making more than twice the national average, and who actually calls himself a socialist, (and doesn’t comb his hair), will really win the Democratic Nomination. However, he doesn’t have to win to create Liberal version of the TEA Party.
The TEA Party has not only pulled the Republicans Party away from the center back towards the right, without getting the nomination for their person, and the same is possible for the new, far-left movement of Sanders and Elisabeth Warren.
Moreover, if Sanders doesn’t win, the same thing could happen to the eventual nominee of the Democrats that happened to Romney in 2012. Millions of Evangelicals, who believe Mormonism is a cult, and members of the TEA Party, who had wanted Rick Santorum, stayed home. It is conceivable that the far-left, having had a taste of the “promised land” may not want to come back down to earth and vote for another establishment candidate in the general election.
The elites of both parties are in crises. Jeb Bush is foundering, and some are even calling him a dead duck. The next best hope, Chris Christi, is going nowhere. On the other side, Hillary Clinton is in trouble, and the only thing that could save the nomination for the elite is having either the gaff ridden vice-president, who has twice had to pull out of the Presidential Races in the past due to either plagiarizing, lying, or gaffing, or another, ancient name who is already ready for if not indeed already in political retirement coming out for one last battle.
This is the best chance the rank and file of the political parties have had in decades of getting the nomination for their candidate, for a real man of the people. But even if they don’t, if Hillary survives or if Jeb Bush somehow hangs on, there is still hope, both for real conservatives and wild, far-left socialists. The cat is out of the bag, the difference between those at the top and those with the real power, the voters, is finally on full display, and a full-fledged war for the soul of both parties is happening. The common voters could easily threaten to mutiny, and take over the two ships, if they don’t get what they want.
That would be something to get the attention of “wise old people” that have sat in power for so long.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, August 17, 2015

Faith Burnside: Why I support Senator Rick Santorum for President

Former Senator Rick Santorum, candidate for the GOP Nomination, 2016


Faith Burnside is the state chair of Indiana Students for Rick Santorum, and a friend of mine. The views expressed herein are her own. In the run-up to the election I will attempt to have articles by others who support differing or opposing views from my own to help my readers better understand the political climate of the moment. -Andrew Abbott
Monticello, IN- I have more than a few times been asked why I support Senator Rick Santorum for President,  and thus, this post was born.
First let us tackle Senator Santorum on the issues.
One of the most important issues that face a president is foreign policy, and out of all of the current GOP candidates for president Senator Santorum has the most experience with foreign policy. Senator Santorum served for 8 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee and authored the Syria Accountability Act  and the Iran Freedom and Support Act.
Further, and most importantly, Rick Santorum stands with Israel, Patriot Voices, the organization that Senator Santorum started and was chairman of for 2 years, took goodwill trip to Israel and has led the effort in standing with Israel against those who would attack her
Senator Santorum has often declared that as president he will fight to stop the rise of radical Islam and the threat of terrorism.
As the son and grandson of Italian immigrants, Rick Santorum believe in the American dream and importance of allowing healthy amount of immigration into our country. As president he hopes to downsize the amount of immigrant each year from the approximately 1 million immigrants we currently get to about 750,000, which he believes is a more healthy number that will allow for economic growth and jobs for American citizens.
Senator Santorum has been focused on helping middle class Americans who are the backbone of the country. In order to do this he believes in creating a fairer and flatter tax code that would greatly diminish the role of the IRS in our day to day lives. Senator Santorum’s thoughts on the American workers can be found in his book Blue Collar Conservative. Senator Santorum is committed to creating an atmosphere in which business can thrive with less government restrictions and more freedom.
As a member of the “Gang of Seven” which helped to expose the congressional banking and post office scandals in the early 1990s, Senator Santorum has long been a proponent of fiscal responsibility.
 Senator Santorum supports “No Budget, No Pay” legislation which would require a balanced budget or else the members of congress forgo their pay. He also has been a long supporter of a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.
Rick Santorum believes in school choice and stands for “Common Sense, not Common Core” He believes that parents, states and communities should make the decisions about education rather than the federal government.
Regarding family values and religious freedom, Senator Santorum is a strong believe in conservative values, such as the sanctity of life, the right to protect ones self and family, the definition of marriage as being a union between one man and one woman.
Senator Santorum also authored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act.
To me the most important issue facing this nation and our society in general is the issue of life/abortion. And this is the main reason I admire Rick J. Santorum. From his time in the senate to the present day Senator Santorum has been a champion for the Right to life and a hero in the battle for the Sanctity of life.
He wrote, and championed the fight to pass both the Alive Infant Protection Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Further he has written legislation promoting the use of Adult Stem Cell Research so that ethical research can be continued to cure debilitating diseases without the loss of human life entailed in Embryonic Stem Cell research.
Not one to stop with words, you can see his commitment to protecting the sanctity of life played out in his day to day walk. Senator Santorum is a protector of our weakest and most vulnerable citizens, those with disabilities. When his youngest daughter, Isabella, was born with a serious and rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 18, the resolve of the Santorums to protect the rights of the disabled was further galvanized. (read “Bella’s Gift”, authored by Senator and Mrs. Santorum with their daughter Elizabeth)
Rick Santorum, while in the senate, authored and helped to pass the Combating Autism Act of 2005 and also authored Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Along with the organization he led, Senator Santorum was a key voice in the fight against the “United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” which was a treaty that would have put the US under international law and given the power of making decisions regarding the treatment of disabled Americans to unelected UN officials.
Those are the issues and stances that cause me to want to support Rick J. Santorum for president, but add to that, his happy and successful family (which shows me that he has been faithful to take care of his biggest responsibilities), his sons who are Citadel Cadets and planning to join the military(this shows me that Senator Santorum values, and has taught his children to value patriotism, and that he will not be reckless in his use of our armed forces. He knows that those soldiers have faces, names and families), his previous successes in running for office and the organization he founded, Patriot Voices which does amazing things to protect our family, faith and freedom, and I see a man who loves his family and loves his country.
That is the sort of man I want to be president. This is the man I want to run my country.
Faith Burnside

Friday, August 14, 2015

To Rand Paul: Get Serious or Get Out

Important Public Service Announcement: Missing: One Senator from Kentucky, answering to the name of Rand Paul. Hair type: curly. Political beliefs: Right of Center. Last seen: over a month ago. Will the finder please wake the gentleman up and remind him he is running for president?

Just a couple of months ago, Rand Paul was on the senate floor, filibustering while the nation watched, he shouted out “are we just supposed to sit back and take it? Well I’m not going to take it anymore!” For days Paul, who was named last the year by Time “The Most interesting man in Politics” was in the headlines, raising money off the momentum from his speeches, driving the national conversation, and as an added bonus, stopping the government’s collection of bulk data…for a couple of days before it was basically reinstituted under another name.
But now he’s gone. Last week in Cleveland, for a few brief moments, he shined, attacking Trump, taking on Christie, (who, it was later discovered, was lying about the date he was made prosecutor) and yelling “get a warrant!” when the governor of New Jersey said Paul was threatening national security.
The son of Ron Paul, the man who took and the establishment and called for fiscal responsibility in this nation, Rand’s pedigree is sound. He was a part of the “crazy” conservative spring to bring down big government, and end massive government spending. His slogan is “defeat the Washington Machine.”
But now, one is left wondering what he is doing.
Paul's super PAC has raised less money than any other serious candidate, (we are not talking about Pataki or Gilmore here) and some insiders have said that Paul has purposely avoided some fundraising events, canceling an important one earlier this year to go on vacation. 
In recent days, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two members of the club known as “The Worst Politics has to Offer” have dominated cable news, the radio, and even the late night comedy shows. Real conservatives, such as Paul, are too much in the background.
This was supposed to be Paul’s year, he was the man who could grow the Republican Party, bring in the minority voters and the young people. But he is floundering. His numbers are down, and the main stories about him these days are about how his campaign isn’t working very well, how he isn’t raising money, etc.
It remains true, however, that in the City of Washington DC, where charity is taking one man’s money and giving it to another, and a city that believes that people do not have right to their privacy without the government coming in and reading everything all the time, Rand Paul has been a refreshing blast of cold water.
In a party with the likes of Trump, who has made remarks disparaging about women and Latinos, in a GOP that is seen by many as “white, rich, and old” Paul had support from across the spectrum.
Of course, we still have about six months to go. Anything could happen. But Rand needs to start working on making things happen. If he can’t or if it becomes clear that the Republican Party has said “no, not this time” to his getting the nomination, Paul really ought to drop out and go back to the senate, where he can continue to give voice to the millions of Americans who still care about liberty.

Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The True Extremists

Image from Planned Parenthood's Website

Joshua Tree, CA – After the recent videos which surfaced purportedly showing Planned Parenthood members talking and joking about the killing of unborn infants and selling their body parts, because, in the words of one apparent Planned Parenthood employee, she wanted to buy a Lamborghini, Planned Parenthood temporarily shut down its website, leaving up a screenshot saying that “due to an attack by extremists" they were forced to pull the website from the internet. (The image has since been pulled.)
One is left wondering how we ever got to this. Throughout the sixties thousands marched and sat-in and stood out and protested and yelled and begged and pleaded for the civil rights movement. And it really seemed that we were moving towards rights for all. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed, reaffirming the principles in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal. But just less than a decade after that, in one sweeping blow the Supreme Court of the United States, in the 1973 case Roe V. Wade stole the rights of an entire class of humans, who could now be killed legally without any redress to the courts. The unborn child, in its first twenty weeks, could now be “aborted” as if it were some experiment gone wrong.
In America, the extremists are supposed to be those who deny people rights. The racists, the bigots, the sexists. So how did we get to calling those who want to protect the unborn as extremists? Perhaps it is because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the argument. It has been painted this way: anyone who tries to legislate to protect the unborn fetus is taking away a woman’s basic right to control her body, and thus continuing the war on women.
But what they are forgetting or simply ignoring is that they are killing a child. When a child comes out of the womb, when it is born on the day we call its birthday, it is no doubt a human being. And of course, three seconds before that time it was also a human being, and three seconds before that, and before that. The only time, the “breaking point” in the existence of a human life must be at conception, there is no other time you can say it is not alive. And so yes, pro-lifers believe in the right to privacy just as much as the next person. However there is a much more sacred and fundamental right and that is the right to life. And speaking of a war on women, little, precious baby girls and aborted every day.
The argument made by those who are pro-choice today reminds one of another argument, that of the slave owners, in the 1850s. They believed that they had a right to their “property” (i.e. slaves) because they had purchased them. But they were ignoring that there is a far more fundamental right, as listed in the Declaration of Independence, and that is of liberty. So in the same way liberty must trump any phony arguments about “property,” there can be no consideration which trumps that of the life of a human being. Not even that of “privacy.”
(There must certainly be the consideration of the life of a mother, and of course, under the best medical advice, no mainstream pro-life advocates would not agree that there are circumstances when painful but necessary actions must be taken, but again they are in the cause of saving a human life, in this case the mother’s, from imminent danger.)
So indeed, Planned Parenthood seems to have the wrong extremists. The Founding Fathers penned a document on which they staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. In 1901, in Cotting v. Godard, the Supreme Court declared that the Constitution itself must be read in the spirit of that document, the Declaration of Independence. And this document states that “all men are created equal, are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these rights is life…”
A new generation, much like the slave owners of the 1850s or the racists of the 1960s seems to have appeared. And they have fine sounding arguments about why they can kill the unborn, but of course they are as wrong as were those other two groups, and, like those who tried to halt progress in the past, and allow black, Asians, Hispanics, etc. to lose their rights, those who try to deprive unborn children of theirs are on the wrong side of history. Indeed in a thousand years mankind will look back at this time and perhaps shudder with horror at what so called “civilized folks” allowed to happen within their own neighborhoods.
In every generation there are those who come along and try to say that for some reason or other, someone should not have the full rights of a human being. But they are always, in the west at least, defeated, and these people will also go the way of all the others. And when the history books are written of this time, a tale will be told of those who sought to destroy life for profit, for votes, or simply out of ignorance, or fear. And in that day it will be said of these people “they were extremists.”
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, August 10, 2015

Why Donald Trump is still alive

Donald Trump and FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly, about whom Trump has been saying some things,
which, if  taken to mean the thing some people say they do, would be further proof, (if any were needed)
Trump is completely unfit to be president of the United States of America.
Los Angeles, CA - There is a reason Donald Trump is still alive politically.
It is no secret that many rightwing conservatives do not like, or sometimes even trust the mainstream media’s content. Earlier this year, at CPAC, Chris Christie, a catholic, evoked wild applause from the audience when he said, while trying to decide what to drop for lent he told his priest that he was going  stop reading The New York Times, but the holy father told him he’d have to give up something he’d actually miss.
Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Ben Carson, all of whose campaign updates I receive, do not quote polls from conventional sources such as RealClearPolitics, FiveThirtyEight, NBC, etc. Instead these candidates, to prove they are doing well, use sites that are clearly biased towards the right, such as World Net Daily, Breitbart, (the conservative version of the Huffington Post) etc.
And here is the why conventional political physics have not, as of yet, destroyed Trump. Because all of the pundits, the pollsters, the wise men and women of politics, have a different set of rules than the people that are saying they support Trump.
The media, the panels on cable news programs, the political scientists and the anchors of the Sunday Morning Talk shows are politically correct. They think through their arguments, both Democrat and Republicans. They have read deeply and widely, history, current events, and they are around people that do.
But the American voter is not that way. The set of facts, the set of interests being looked at by them is not the same. They are not looking at numbers and probabilities, they are looking at their personal life, at what they feel they want, and what they want to see in a president.
For years, conservatives have felt under siege, and it has become popular to shout from stages at GOP rallies that this candidate or that one is not politically correct, that they say what they think, and that is seen as boosting your righting credentials.
Many conservatives also fear and dislike the establishment, feeling that they are anti-freedom, anti-morality, anti-everything that the voting base of the GOP holds so dear. And so for them to see the attacks on Donald Trump from the very people they don’t like, they go back to the old cliché of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
As further proof of the difference between the pundits and the voters, is that after last week’s debate, many talking heads thought Kasich, governor of Ohio, did very well. Yet Kasich had no bump in the polls, and, indeed, after the post-debate shakeup, if the debate were to happen again, Kasich would not have been in it. The reason, probably, is that Kasich made statements clearly in support of gay-marriage, something many GOP members, and indeed the party platform, are opposed to. So while the “in the know” folks think Kasich should be doing well, the people who ultimately get to decide that, the voters, are still saying no.
But now…Donald has done it. He is no longer attacking NBC, CNN, CBS. He has gone after the bastion of conservatism in television, FOX News. And not only FOX, he has gone after one of its most respected and loved anchors, Megyn Kelly.
Trump’s odd and controversial comments are not focal point of the article, and we will not talk about them. However, Trump has brought it to a crossroads. He is bashing the media, but he’s bashing conservative media. And now the allegiance of the GOP will be tested. Will they support Megyn Kelly and FOX news, (FOX, while not an official part of the GOP, is certainly a huge part of the equation come election time,) or will they keep on being the celebrity’s apprentice, following Trump no matter how insane he gets?

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What Happened in Cleveland

It all went down in Cleveland, Ohio.
It was the most watched primary debate in the history of mankind, netting roughly twenty-four million viewers. In the massive basketball stadium, Donald Trump was center stage, and in the first couple of seconds, it was boom, bam, pow, all about him. That was the way he wanted it. Trump refused to pledge that he would support the Republican Nominee, no matter who it was. But then after that, Trump lost the debate.
Oh, it was a lot of fun. There was a lot of screaming, especially when he attacked Mr. Obama and Rosie O’Donnell, but in the end, Donald Trump had very little of substance to say. In the end, while not being polished, and pretending not to be a politician, Trump ended up being the biggest and most “in the old mold” politician on stage on Friday, saying things he knows will drive the media, and get people to scream at their televisions “tell it like it is!” But what did Trump say? Not much besides proving what we already know, he likes to argue, he likes to be controversial. He didn’t prove that he would make an even decent president.
Trump needed to make the debate about him, he needed everyone to attack him so he could bang their heads together, scream that they were being unfair, call them names, wrap their heads around the podium until when they woke up, the debate was over, and Trump had walked even higher in the polls.
Another loser was Jeb Bush. Of course, nobody’s candidacy was destroyed, least of all Jeb’s, but there was no big move by him. Not rhetorical flourishes, and no new policy ideas we haven’t already heard of before. Nothing about Bush’s performance is likely to cause people to suddenly grow enthusiastic about the so called heir-apparent.
Those who did well included Mike Huckabee, he gave some good shots and got some massive applause lines in. Ted Cruz did his best to take back the mantle of the straight talker, but trying to out straight-talk Donald Trump is like trying to outfly a bird. Donald does it for a living, guys.

Rand Paul and Chris Christi went after each other, but Rand got Christi angry, which is what he needed to do, and Christi didn’t do so well. Rand did his best to solidify his base, although his 4:51 of talking time was the least of any candidate. Rand overall only had an ok night, when he really needed to win the whole thing, so troubled is his campaign at the moment.
While Scott Walker was pretty much so-so, he did have some of the best lines of the night, including saying the Chinese, with their recent hacking of government systems, know more about Hillary Clinton’s emails than congress do.

Carson had one or two good lines, especially when he said that someone must have beaten him to removing half of Washington DC's brain. Yet he did little that will likely help him in the polls. His comments about taxing everyone 10% because "God is a pretty fair guy" sound nice and pious, but I don't see any studies or math that Carson is using to prove his plan is actually workable.
John Kasich, perhaps invigorated by home-field advantage, had an interesting night, in which he asked Trump for a campaign donation on stage, and then, in front of a room full of Republicans, whose party platform says that they are officially against gay-marriage, said he would and has gone to a gay wedding. You can already hear the sound of Kasich's numbers, small as they are, (he barely even made the primetime debate) dropping in Southern States.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio
Rubio also had some good lines, and can move on from his debate performance knowing he didn’t hurt himself. He may have had the best line of the night saying God has blessed the GOP by giving it many good candidates, while the Democrats can’t find one. Rubio was not the only winner, but he was certainly one of them, answering every question well, never faltering, and even proving he is not afraid to take on both the moderators and his old friend and mentor, Jeb Bush.
But let’s not forget that there was the early debate, in which the lower seven candidates in the polls participated. The only real news there was that Carly Fiorina did very well, while Rick Perry, while not dominating, did well enough to show that he is  certainly a serious enough candidate to keep going in this race.
Now, they are back on the trail. Donald Trump is getting back to what he does best, sticking both feet in his mouth. Immediately after the debate, Trump went after FOX Newswoman and debate moderator Megyn Kelly, saying she had blood coming out of her face, and that he has no respect for her, “she’s a lightweight.” Trump has now been kicked out of the RedState summit.
There were many different opinions, even among my friends, as to who won. Some think it was Cruz, others say Kasich. Many say Rubio was the hands down winner, although I’d say while he did really well, he did not dominate the stage enough to be say that. Nobody got killed, although Jeb Bush in many ways lost because, to quote one commentator, “nobody’s talking about him.”
There will be more debates, more winners and losers, and eventually there will be one winner. Candidates will rise in the polls and candidates will fall in the polls. Like trying on coats at the store, Americans will like first one and then another, and with this far from even the first voting-state, we can’t know which coat will be worn out of the store. Until then we can only guess what is really going on in the mind of the American voter.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Applicants

The 10 who made the cut for the primetime debate
Los Angeles, CA - Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum are going to mass. Afterwards Jeb intends to do a workout at a gym, and then shoot off a few emails. Guitarist Mike Huckabee is going to a Rock and Roll Museum. Scott Walker is going to the fair to loosen up, Ted Cruz is spending private time with his family, and Chris Christi is holding a big dinner with his team. All of this ahead of tonight’s 9:00 PM (ET) first GOP Debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
Some of the candidates, like Jeb Bush, have no doubt been practicing over and over and over again. But others have a different strategy, Donald Trump saying he is totally unconcerned, and not really getting ready. Dr. Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon, said he is not nervous; after all, it won’t be as bad as brain surgery, he joked.
While it might not be as bad, it certainly must be nerve racking for those candidates who have never been on a national and indeed an international stage such as will be set tonight for the first debate of the GOP Primary season. Some estimates, (probably exaggerated) put possible viewership this evening at around ten million people. Even if it were half of that, there will still be millions of people watching, critiquing, at criticizing every move everyone on the stage makes.
Some candidates, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, have much to lose, as those three continue to poll highest. Others, like John Kasich, whose home state the debate will take place in, have nothing to lose. Kasich is a deep underdog, and indeed he only got into the debate by the skin of his teeth. He can come and go wild, hoping something happens.
There are several subtleties that will be watched for in the debate. One is whether or not Ted Cruz will actually attack Donald Trump. The senator from Texas and the billionaire have yet to go at it, and indeed Cruz is one of the last members of the field not to sharply criticize Trump.
Another thing that will be interesting is if whether any of the candidates say anything of substance that is majorly different from the others on the stage at it this point. It’s early on, but it will be interesting to see the candidates, especially those who are as ideologically close as the three senators Paul, Cruz, and Rubio, make distinction between themselves, and use other than vague language.
There are several questions you can expect the candidates will be asked. Among them will probably be something about how they would defeat ISIS, what is their stance on gay marriage, what they think about abortion, and probably a question about immigration. But this is a television broadcast, made to get and keep viewers, and to make money, so you can expect the moderators to do everything in their power to get the candidates to go at each other. Screaming and name calling makes great television, after all. Just ask Donald Trump over at the Celebrity Apprentice.
But the candidates do need to be careful this evening, when they attack Trump. Every time they do that, he gets more time to respond, and if they all go after him, his time could begin to grow very rapidly.
There have been some explosive debates in recent years; indeed, the 2011 GOP Primary cycle saw more than one blowup, with Rick Perry and Mitt Romney shouting at each other, Romney eventually putting his hand on Perry’s shoulder. There was the time the buzzer went off and Santorum said “they caught you not telling the truth, Ron (Paul).” There was some other fireworks involving Rick Perry and government agencies, but I don’t remember what it was.
A brain surgeon, three senators, a billionaire, and five governors. All on one stage. That is a lot of power, a lot of opinion, a lot of money, and a lot of hubris. They all want to be president, command the biggest and most powerful army in the world, they all want to lead the planet’s largest economy, and they all think they can do it better than anybody else. And the American voter has the most complicated and difficult job, perhaps in world history. We have to decide which one to hire.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Exit Stage Left: Jon Stewart and the end of an era

Joshua Tree, CA—The curtain is about to fall, and Jon Stewart, comedian, activist, crazy man, wisecrack, political analyst, is about to exit stage left.
If an evening news anchor or some similarly well respected person were to go on an expletive laden tirade, he would not last at the anchor chair for more than about ten seconds before his or her feed were pulled, and it would not be long after that before a group of executives, lawyers, and sponsors were working desperately to be certain that that anchor’s contract was pulled.
Yet Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” has been on an expletive laden tirade for more than sixteen years, ever since he took the chair of Comedy Central’s flagship show, on January 11th, 1999, and everybody loves him. (Well, not everybody. Many conservatives and liberals alike think Stewart has been unfair to them in his long witch hunt for those he disagrees with.) The comedian’s show is a spoof the evening news broadcasts, in which he shows clips from the day’s real news broadcasts, and then mercilessly and hilariously mocks them.
Perhaps not since Thomas Nash, the man who attacked politicians relentlessly, and became so popular while doing it, that his caricatures, which he invented, of the Republicans as elephants and Democrats as donkeys, became world famous, has there been a comedian who was so close to the heart of American politics, and indeed, such a powerful voice in our culture, as Jon Stewart.
Stewart has almost singlehandedly made his comedy show into something more than one you turn on for a few laughs. He has made his pronouncements, always funny, almost always of substance, something to be heeded, so much so that earlier this year when The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, did a story on Jr. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, Jon Stewart slammed the Times coverage as ridiculous, and in the mainstream understanding, Stewart beat America’s most revered and awarded newspaper with his own narrative. Rubio literally used the YouTube clip of Stewart slamming the charges as his defense.
Stewart has been a uniquely gifted comedian in that during his time he saw the rise of the internet and video streaming services, such as YouTube, which allow his clips to be shown the next the day, and be shared by his fans with their friends, and their friends, and so on.
While Stewart often leaves his audience laughing so much they almost want him to stop just so they can breathe, he has, at times, taken on a much more serious note, such as after 9/11, when he spoke of how the view from his window in New York City, before the tragic terrorist attack, had been that of the World Trade Center, but with those towers gone, now his view was of the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps even more famously, in the wake of another, much more recent tragedy, that of the shooting of nine black church goers in South Carolina, Stewart made a powerful statement but telling no jokes for his entire show, saying “I have nothing but sadness."
Stewart is quite obviously a left of center liberal, even taking the stage in 2012, just before the election, to debate with FOX News’ controversial yet likeable Bill O’Reilly, about the direction America should take. However, while Stewart has made constant attacks against FOX News, calling them “the special network” and saying he has been chasing them his entire life “but we just can’t kill you,” Stewart has attacked members of both the left and right. From doing half a show on Glenn Beck, the conspiracy theorist, saying that by Beck’s logic Christianity would lead us directly to Sharia Law, to spending time mauling CNN for its 50 year anniversary of the Selma march as well as the Baltimore Riots earlier this year, Stewart has been relentless in his pursuit of anyone he thinks is either treating someone else unfairly, or just being plain dumb, from his complaints about the media coverage of Ron Paul in 2011, to a smashing attack of Former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Often Stewart has defended President Obama, while attacking members of his administration, and when he did make fun of the president Stewart generally did it because he thought the president was acting as if Americans responded to rational arguments. However, when Rand Paul took on the President for his policies on drones, Stewart backed him against Mr. Obama, saying Rand deserved a fair hearing.
Stewart also defended Republicans during the Loretta Lynch hearings for Attorney General, saying that Durbin was being ridiculous in trying to point to Republicans as racist, for not voting for the highly liberal, black lawyer.
More recently, Stewart has been a major part of the effort to destroy Donald Trump by turning him into an absolute laughing stock; saying that while American politics should in reality be conducted with great seriousness, Trump “is so much fun!” And that Trump is like desert after a hard day’s work in real politics, in the real world. Stewart, who has announced that his final day in the anchor chair will be on sixth of this month, (ironically also the first time that all the Republican Candidates for president, whom, along with Hillary Clinton, Stewart has been mocking for months now, will be together for a debate) publicly thanked the billionaire Trump “for making my last six weeks, my best six weeks.”
Trevor Noah, the new man who will take the desk
at the end of this week.

Stewart is turning over the show to Trevor Noah, a South African, who, some say, was the only one brave enough to fill the massive shoes Stewart is stepping out of now. Many have said that Noah is a bad choice, with controversy surrounding remarks some see as sexist, anti-Jew, and anti-American. But even without the remarks, I have serious doubts that Noah wield anywhere near the effect of Jon Stewart. Stewart could make fun of us because he is one of us, an American talking to other Americans. Noah is an outsider who openly makes fun of us, which will cause many to resent him. In the end, however, Noah will mainly be weaker because he isn’t Jon Stewart, and trying to top Stewart would be a bit like coming onto a stage after Martin Luther King Jr. had given a speech, and trying to give a better one, or coming to the desk after Shakespeare had written a play, and trying to write a better one. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that it will be slightly more difficult than flying.

Love him, hate him, don’t care about him, Jon Stewart has had an effect on American politics that few outside of elected office have ever achieved in the modern era. But all things must end, and the man who spanned sixteen of the most tumultuous years in American history is on his way to the exit.
As he goes, many conservatives are probably sighing in relief, liberals are looking on in disappointment, and Trevor Noah is breathing a very nervous, very uncertain breath of apprehension.
Throughout the long train of comedians, from the fools in the king’s palace in the Middle Ages to the clowns of vaudeville that helped us get through the great depression, laughing, and those who make us do it, have been an integral part of human history. Stewart has simply been another link in the long chain from Adam to us.
The future of comedy is always uncertain. But its history has been made better because Jon Stewart has been with us.

Andrew C. Abbott