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Ready, Ames, Fire: Why the Straw Poll Doesn’t Mean Much (Updated) PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Monday, 15 August 2011 13:20

(This is an updated version of the original article published August 10. The orginal version follows.)

The relevance of this past Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll is nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If a candidate doesn’t believe the straw poll important, there’s no reason a poor showing matters. Just ask John McCain, whose apathy toward Iowa earned him 10th-place finishes in 1999 and 2007 but didn’t stop him from earning his party’s presidential nomination in 2008.

If a candidate believes the straw poll important, a performance below expectations can mean the end of a campaign. Just ask Tim Pawlenty, who finished third on Saturday and withdrew the next day. Or Tommy Thompson, who dropped out of the presidential race after finishing sixth in the 2007 straw poll.

For a mix of both, ask Mitt Romney, who won the 2007 straw poll but didn’t win the Iowa Caucus or his party’s nomination. This year, he’s largely skipped Iowa, although he participated in August 11’s nationally televised debate from Ames. He finished seventh in Saturday’s straw poll, and you should read absolutely nothing into that.

Michele Bachmann certainly hopes that her victory Saturday portends good things for her campaign, but the past indicates that’s not a safe bet.

 
“Shared Sacrifice”: Obama’s Demagoguery PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 07:28

The most offensive claim made during the debt-ceiling controversy is that there’s a moral equivalence between cutting government spending and raising taxes. President Obama asks for “shared sacrifice” to reduce the budget deficit. In his view, if the government spends more than it takes in – it currently borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar spent – the “balanced” approach is to “cut” spending and raise taxes.

There are quotation marks around “cut” for a good reason. No one – Republican House Speaker John Boehner included – wants to cut spending in the commonsense meaning of the term: namely, reducing government spending from today’s level ($3.8 trillion). No, in Washington-talk, to cut a budget is merely to reduce the rate of increase that would have occurred in the future if current law were left unchanged.

If the politicians were honest – and reporters committed to telling the public the truth – they would talk about smaller increases in spending, not “cuts,” but even that wouldn’t be entirely truthful, because in many cases the reduction in future increases itself is an illusion. It involves merely canceling the authority to spend money that no one expects to actually be spent.

 
The Plight of Marco Sauceda and the Loss of Our Freedoms PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 28 July 2011 08:20

A person should feel secure in their own home. No matter black, white, Hispanic, Asian – I don’t care who they are – they should feel secure in their own home. The police have no right to come in your house and push you around and beat you up and do the things they did on March, 15, 2009.” – Ryan Deaton, defense attorney for Marco Sauceda

Too often, we elevate the events of the American Revolution to near-mythic status and forget that the real revolutionaries were neither agitators nor hotheads, neither looking for trouble nor trying to start a fight. Rather, they were people just like you and me, simply trying to make it from one day to another, a task that was increasingly difficult as Britain’s rule became more and more oppressive.

Caught up in the drama of Red Coats marching, muskets exploding, and flags waving in the night, we lose sight of the enduring significance of the Revolution and what makes it relevant to our world today. Yet the American Revolution did not so much start with a bang as with a whimper – a literal cry for relief from people groaning under the weight of an oppressive government’s demands.

 
Transparency Measure Is Ripe for Abuse PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Thomas A. Schatz   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 08:31

The lowest qualified bid by the most competent contestant traditionally wins the government contract. Unfortunately, the “Change” gang now wants to fiddle with this decades-old, generally reliable formula.

President Obama hopes to throw another item onto the scale as bureaucrats weigh bids: political donations. A draft executive order would instruct federal officials to consider the political contributions of prospective government contractors. While this move is being portrayed as a matter of increased transparency, it will actually fuel unintended consequences and indirectly overturn an important Supreme Court decision on free speech.

 
Does The New “White House Rural Council” Equal the UN’s Agenda 21? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Mike Opelka   
Thursday, 30 June 2011 05:11

On June 9, President Barack Obama signed his 86th executive order, and almost nobody noticed.

Executive Order 13575 is designed to begin taking control of almost all aspects of the lives of 16 percent of the American people. Why didn’t we notice it? Weinergate. In the middle of the Anthony Weiner scandal, as the press and most of the American people were distracted, Obama created something called the White House Rural Council (WHRC).

Section One of 13575 states the following: “Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.”

Warning bells should have been sounding all across rural America when the phrase “sustainable rural communities” came up. As we know from researching the UN plan for “sustainable development” known as Agenda 21, these are code words for the true, fundamental transformation of America.

 
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