Scary stuff from every honest person's favorite progressive about the seemingly unbridled power of the unelected intelligence community, and their not-so-subtle threats against President-elect Trump.
Scary stuff from every honest person's favorite progressive about the seemingly unbridled power of the unelected intelligence community, and their not-so-subtle threats against President-elect Trump.
Although they deny it, religious freedom is constantly under attack from the left, and these days they win more battles than they lose, successfully fighting against crosses, commandments and cakes. Even though I'm not religious I find it disheartening to see so much of our history and culture being tossed into the memory hole on the orders of people who worship the government as their personal savior.
Therefore my day was momentarily brightened when I saw this little bit of news about freedom from vaccines:
I can't even begin to express my shock. The government (in the form of the EEOC) fined Saint Vincent Health $330,000 for insisting that their employees either get flu shots or bring notes from either clergy or MDs validating a religious or medical exemption. Anybody not getting an exemption request approved was fired.
Here's where it gets sticky: While all 14 medical exemptions were approved, all 6 religious exemptions were denied and all 6 employees who filed them were fired.
According to the decision, the hospital has no right to insist that their employees prove their religious beliefs, and thus the requirement that the exemption be "approved" by clergy was illegal.
Remember when I said my day was momentarily brightened? Well, here's the thing: I believe people have the right to refuse vaccines, but I also believe that employers, even hospitals should have a right to hire and fire at will. Unless I miss my guess, Saint Vincent is a Catholic hospital, and there's nothing in Catholicism that prohibits vaccines. So while they should have the right not to dispense birth control, they are perfectly within their rights to insist that their employees get vaccines.
Which put the government in the position of either defending the rights of workers (even the religious workers) or defending the rights of private employers. And since the federal government consistently fights against the rights of employers, it appears it had to pick religion as the winner in this instance.
Sort of sucked the joy right out of me.
Liberty lovin' Judge Andrew Napolitano got to spend an entire hour with president-elect Trump. Here's what he had to say about the meeting:
via Time, Senator Paul's op-ed about the battle to end Obamacare. He explains the "arcane" processes of the Senate to clarify that it will require much more than an up-or-down vote. He then goes on to opine:
Congressional leaders are now engaged in a misguided attempt to attach Obamacare repeal to a budget that increases spending, increases debt and does little to nothing to fix our fiscal mess.
There is no reason for this. Often up here we are told, “We need the White House to cut spending and debt.” Well, we have that now, along with total control of Congress.
Then the next excuse often is “we need 60 votes to get anything past a Democrat Senate.” Well, this is the one case that is not true. All budgets require only a simple majority of 51 to pass. Not a single Democrat vote is needed in either the House or the Senate to pass a budget that cuts spending and taxes.
He clarifies his position:
"I am taking this stand — I will not vote for any budget that doesn’t have a plan to balance, regardless of what is attached to it and I’m calling on other conservatives in the Senate to take the same stand. Let’s repeal Obamacare, and let’s do it with a budget that leads us to balance in the near term."
Four staff members have resigned from a southeastern Oklahoma veterans facility rather than face the possibility of getting fired, after a resident was found to have maggots in a wound.
Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Myles Deering said the maggots were discovered while the patient was alive at the facility in Talihina, about 130 miles southeast of Tulsa. Deering said the maggots were not the cause of his death.
But it's not as cut and dried as one might think: According to local bureaucrats and legislators it is the fault of the building.
(Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Myles) Deering said the agency has been considering moving from the nearly 100-year-old facility, because fixing the existing building would take millions of dollars. Sen. Frank Simpson said the facility was also faced with the inability to find and retain staff.
I have a hunch that allowing the staff members to resign is related to the probability of them keeping their nursing licenses or at least keeping the incident off their records.
By all means, let's socialize medicine so we can all get government care.
If you hate maggots, you might want to follow me on Twitter.
In Stephen KIng's 1980 novel, Firestarter, the book ended with the heroine going into the counter-culture offices of Rolling Stone magazine to tell her story of government gone mad to reporters who would presumably be brave and uncorrupt enough to publish the story. In the 1984 film version, the offices were those of The New York Times.
These days, Stephen King is a loud member of the privileged socialist caste we call Democrats, and would therefore undoubtedly not change the ending one whit if writing the book today. However, if I were writing such an ending, I'd take Edward Snowden's lead and Glenn Greenwald's Intercept would be the plot device of choice.
Here's Greenwald's latest aggressive takedown of the Washington Post's "Fake News" list and the anonymous people who published it. It's brutally wonderful and spot-on accurate. Titled Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group, he simultaneously ridicules and shames the reporter and editors who cite shady anonymous sources while calling for a government investigation into other journalists they're accusing of spreading Russian propaganda.
The article by reporter Craig Timberg – headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” – cites a report by a new, anonymous website calling itself “PropOrNot,”which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian “misinformation campaign.”
The group’s list of Russian disinformation outlets includes WikiLeaks and the Drudge Report, as well as Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute.
So according the Washington Post, Ron Paul and Justin Raimondo are Russian propagandists. As is David Stockman, the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan.
Yes, it's that bizarre.
Truth be told, I find the whole political environment scenario to be quite beyond bizarre at the moment, and that's not even including the fact that we as a nation elected Donald freaking Trump as president. Here's what I mean: 10 years ago, the liberals mocked Romney's anti-Russia position with snarky comments like "The 80's called. They want their foreign policy back!" while Barack Obama promised he was going to hit the reset button on the US/Russia relationship. Heck, some say he won the election with talk like that.
But once elected, he apparently decided he preferred to stay within his community organizer comfort zone and essentially turned foreign policy over to Hillary Clinton's State Department. Fast forward to Syria, suddenly we're at loggerheads with Russia again, and the left-leaning Democrats are simultaneously accusing the far left Russian government of tampering with our elections and the right wing Republicans of being in bed with those filthy Communists.
Wait - what?
There is a propaganda technique called the Big Lie, which is usually stated along the lines of, "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." Saul Alinsky is attributed with telling people to repeatedly accuse enemies of doing what they oppose, while doing that very thing. That seems to be what this is - a chess move in the game of psychological warfare. Conspiracies involving fake news and Russian propaganda is a way liberals who were blind-sided by the election results can explain away their stunning electoral losses. Calling Donald Trump and his supporters deplorable Nazis during the election cycle didn't stop him, so now they're faced with either believing that the majority of their countrymen are in fact Nazi supporters, or they need to explain the election win another way. Blaming Russia is a tool the leaders of their movement can use to drum up more hate and division without admitting that perhaps the core of their very philosophy is unpalatable to the masses.
I mean, everybody hates the Communists, right?
If you like Glenn Greenwald, you might like to follow me on Twitter.
There were not many things I agreed with Obama on. The 2016 deal that reopened at least some trade with Cuba was one of them. Communism makes people poor and capitalism makes them wealthy. It really is that simple.
I have no idea how President-elect Trump will handle relations with Cuba, but as a libertarian I hope he works some of that "Art Of The Deal" magic to keep goods flowing to and from the island.
From 2014, a Rand Paul opinion piece in Time magazine titled Cuba Isolationists Just Don't Get It lays out the perfect case:
I support engagement, diplomacy, and trade with Cuba, China, Vietnam, and many countries with less than stellar human rights records, because I believe that once enslaved people taste freedom and see the products of capitalism they will become hungry for freedom themselves.
President George W. Bush wrote that “trade creates the habits of freedom,” and trade provides the seeds of freedom that begin “to create the expectations of democracy.” Once trade begins it is hard to hide the amazing products of capitalism. The Soviets used to produce documentaries depicting poverty in America but it backfired when Russian viewers noticed that even in the poorest of circumstances you could still see televisions flickering in the windows. Once trade is enhanced with Cuba, it will be impossible to hide the bounty that freedom provides.
The Institute for Justice podcast is always an interesting listen. I could write exclusively about the cases they talk about, but that's sort of what they do in their newsletter, and if I've learned anything about the law, it's that I don't want a lawyer suing me for plagiarism.
But one case made me rewind the podcast to make me sure heard it correctly, and sure enough, I did.
An internet security firm, Tiversa, intentionally broke into a medical laboratory's server, stole sensitive data, then approached the lab's management in an attempt to land them as a client. The lab refused, probably figuring that they'd be better served by a firm with a sightly more ethical approach.
When Tiversa did not get the job, they reported the breach to the Federal Trade Commission in the hopes that the heavy hand of the government would pressure the lab into purchasing their services.
Here's where I got confused. I was expecting that Tiversa would have been prosecuted for stealing the data. I was wrong. It took about 4 years, but the FTC eventually sued the lab over the data breach.
Maybe it's just me, but blaming the victim is never good policy. This is the kind of abuse that I trust Rand Paul would attempt to curb. I hope Donald Trump will as well.
We saw Senator Paul walk the middle ground during the campaign season, stating several times that he was going to uphold his pledge to support the GOP nominee. Now that the general election is over, here's a little taste of his thoughts on the president-elect.
Quick summary for those of you who (like me!) hate video:
Here's the video:
Also wanted to point out, and I mean this in al sincerity, that his hair looks really,really good.
*The UAW is upset that they learned about this from Twitter and not Ford. Heh!
In an editorial entitled Say no to 'lazy policymaking', the Omaha World-Herald portrays Senator Laura Ebke's efforts at maintaining the nature of policy formation as a duty pursued in the service of the public:
Ebke, known at the State Capitol for her energetic committee work and well-informed comments during floor debates, said she wants to approach policymaking responsibly rather than having her stance dictated to her upfront according to a party’s or the governor’s particular needs.
Describing the pressure applied by partisans to Republican senators to vote a certain way, she wrote: “There is no discussion about ideas, and little negotiation — if a bill is controversial, the teams are supposed to split up, and everyone is expected to ‘fly right.’ I believe that’s lazy policymaking.”
She added: “Those who want my vote on a controversial issue will have to make the case based on solid reasoning — not on manufactured partisan hyperbole.”
Well-considered decision-making, she wrote, isn’t compatible with being “held hostage to partisan considerations.”
Plus, she noted, maintaining the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches is a fundamental doctrine in American government.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 07/23/2016 at 01:47 PM in A Climate of Changes, American Culture, Books & Media, Constitution, Current Affairs, Electoral Prospects, Georg Thomas, Grassroots Activism, Laura Ebke, Libertarian Party, Liberty Laid Bare, Media/Media Bias, Pure Politics, Social Philosophy, State/Nebraska Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)
| | | |
Hit & Run reports:
The Daily Beast reported yesterday that the vice chair of the Washington, D.C. Republican Party, Gary Teal, has announced that he's voting for the Libertarian and therefore resigning his post within the GOP. He was joined by three other D.C. delegates to the RNC:
Justin Dillon, Kris Hammond, and Peter Lee—who were wearing #NeverTrump buttons—spoke to The Daily Beast in the hallway of Quicken Loans Arena, just minutes after Donald Trump finished his keynote speech on Thursday night. "The RNC has bungled this nomination process by having bad rules," Teal said, referring to a controversy over nominating rules that caused chaos on the convention floor Monday. "And now at this convention, they've sacrificed integrity in favor of unity."
Prior to the convention, Rhode Island Republican State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, who is described as "prominent" by The Providence Journal, resigned as a delegate and pledged his support to Johnson. Other elected officials supporting Johnson include:
* Nevada Assemblyman John Moore, who was elected as a Republican but switched to Libertarian.
- Montana State Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer (at least as listed on the Johnson/Weld endorsements page and on Wikipedia; Schwaderer's June 28 Facebook post extolling the virtues of the L.P. ticket concludes with less decisive language: "I recommend that you hear what they have to say and genuinely take on board their perspective. In a cycle of vitriol I believe that this ticket deserves a slot on the Presidential debate circuit; if anything the[y] elevate the rhetoric on the stage and entice all three candidates to bring this debate back to policy." I have emailed Schwaderer for clarification.)
* Utah State Sen. Mark Madsen (R).
Anthony Fisher found other Utah delegates who said they were leaning Johnson, and when Nick Gillespie and I interviewed a bunch of Millennial delegates at the RNC, it was hard to find any who didn't prefer Gary Johnson to Donald Trump.
Still, the big endorsement gossip yesterday was about whether Johnson was going to get the nod this week from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 07/23/2016 at 01:25 PM in 2016 Presidential Race, A Climate of Changes, American Culture, Books & Media, Current Affairs, Electoral Prospects, Georg Thomas, Grassroots Activism, Laura Ebke, Libertarian Party, Media/Media Bias, Presidential Race--Then and Later, Pure Politics, Republicans, State/Nebraska Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)
| | | |
Nebraska's name is derived from transliteration of the archaic Otoe words Ñí Brásge, or the Omaha Ní Btháska, meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state.[Platt in German means flat - so, are we behind this, too?]
Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Its state capital is Lincoln. Its largest city is Omaha, which is on the Missouri River. The state is crossed by many historic trails and was explored by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The California Gold Rush brought the first large numbers of non-indigenous settlers to the area. Nebraska was admitted as the 37th state of the United States in 1867.Check out these stunning color pictures ... and see what life of Nebraska looked like in the 1960s.
Dear Fellow Libertarians,
That still feels a little weird to write "Libertarian" with a capitol "L", after carefully identifying myself for years as a "small 'l' libertarian" or a "libertarian Republican." Three weeks ago today, my official change of parties became public knowledge. I thought I might provide you with a few thoughts--as one who has recently entered your ranks, one who is a "recovering Republican", one who has gotten elected to office (Nebraska elects legislators on a non-partisan ballot), and one who desperately wants to see the LP grow and gain influence.
First Impressions--Announcement Aftermath
First Impressions--The People (Yeah, I'm talking about you)
Libertarianism is like a Bag of Tootsie Pops--Different Flavors on the outside--some you like more than others--but get to the Core, and you still get a Tootsie Roll (more liberty?).
Voluntarism--for Better or Worse
My Case--the Libertarian Party of Nebraska
Some Last Words (for now) and Unsolicited Advice
Senator Laura Ebke
Nebraska District 32
Senator Laura Ebke's move to join the Libertarian Party after decades of dedicated political work as a member of the Republican party is eliciting media coverage, including this report at Reason.
As a subscriber to her regular newsletter, I have received the below statement, which I would like to share with the readers of RedStateEclectic:
June 1, 2016
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 31, I sent a letter, primarily to folks in the district, who had supported me financially in my campaign for the Legislature in 2014. The purpose of the letter was to give them the courtesy of a "heads up" before a more general announcement. I am now providing you with most of that letter, because I want you to hear this from me before it hits the presses. Based on phone calls I'm getting, it would appear that rumors are out there, and before I talk to the press, I want you to know what's going on.
Late last week, I initiated a change of political party registration online. I have switched from Republican affiliation, to Libertarian. PLEASE take the time to read my reasons below.
My reasons for making this switch are many, and it was not made without many months of consideration. Let me tell you a little bit about the thought process I’ve been through—and assure you that my basic view of the world has not changed.
First, I have always considered myself to be a conservative. I was born into a conservative Republican family in 1962, heard talk of politics from an early age (I’m not sure I believe the family lore that my first word was “Goldwater”). I idolized Nebraska’s late Senator Carl Curtis while I was still in elementary school in Fairbury. For most of my childhood, someone in my family—either my father, grandfather, or mother, was chair of the Republican Party in Jefferson County.
When I turned 13, I joined the then-active Teen Age Republicans (TARs). In 1976, at the age of 14, I watched the Republican Convention in Kansas City on TV with my dad, cried because Ronald Reagan lost the nomination to President Ford, and then went out to the family cars the next morning, and changed the bumper stickers from Reagan to Ford.
By the time I was 16, I was the Nebraska TAR Chair. I’d knocked on doors with Congressman Doug Bereuter in his first campaign. I was a political activist, a proud constitutional conservative, and a proud Republican. I have, as I write this, a collection of about 40 Frankoma elephant mugs, in my home office, which were sold beginning in 1968 until the early 2000’s, primarily as fundraisers for local Republican Women’s clubs. I’m only missing a few in the total collection.
I cast my first vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980, and my second one for him in 1984. I voted for George Bush, senior (although I probably would have preferred Jack Kemp as a more visionary alternative); I voted for Bob Dole, even though his approach was not really what I yearned for; George W. Bush got my vote in 2000 and 2004, even though I became increasingly disillusioned with the “conservatism” of the Party and its leaders.
My view of conservatism has always been a Goldwater-Reagan based view: smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, respect for constitutional rights—and on the national scene, a strong military, but not an overly aggressive one. In other words, I believe in a constitutionalism which looks to the principles of our founders as a guide.
By 2008, I was feeling like “movement conservatism” that I’d grown up a part of, was becoming largely absent in the Republican Party. I saw a glimmer of hope in the presidential campaign of Congressman Ron Paul. He was, perhaps, a little too eccentric and even too ideologically pure, for the Republican Party, but after attending one of his rallies in Kansas City in the summer of 2007, I saw hope for a party that could attract young people who actually had a philosophy of government that I could match up with.
A group of Ron Paul supporters (mostly) and I chartered the Republican Liberty Caucus here in Nebraska. The RLC is a national organization, founded in the early 90s, for the purpose of promoting the cause of liberty within the Republican Party. Some welcomed the activism of the RLC in Nebraska—others didn’t. But we persisted, and for anyone who saw the significant crowds of people who walked with me in most of the parades in 2014, most of those folks—in addition to family—were my RLC friends.
Although the Legislature is a constitutionally NON-PARTISAN body, and many would never know—based on election filings or ballots—that I had changed parties, I think it’s important for you to understand why I’ve made the decision to do so at this time. Let me just give you the highlights:
- As a partisan activist who was part of an insurgent group of volunteers (the RLC), it was easy to wear the occasional disdain of establishment partisans as a badge of honor; as a state legislator, the pressure to “vote the ‘party’ way”—even if that way is contrary to one’s firm beliefs—is immense. I am happy to discuss and take responsibility for the votes I cast with my constituents and those of you who are getting this letter. We will not always agree, but you deserve to know why I voted the way that I did. But the pressure—sometimes near bullying—by some of my colleagues, and outside forces—to vote a particular way because “that’s the Republican way” has disheartened me. There is no discussion about ideas, and little negotiation—if a bill is controversial, the teams are supposed to split up, and everyone is expected to “fly right.” I believe that’s lazy policymaking.
- As a Republican, the pressure to vote with the Republican governor is significant. The truth be told, on the vast majority of issues I agree with Governor Ricketts, and will continue to agree with him. But the notion that the Governor should be able to tell legislators how to vote because they are registered in the same party—or that “good Republicans” would work to keep something “off of the Governor’s desk”--does a disservice to the role of the legislature and to the intention of the founders when they created a republican form of government with separate branches--and guaranteed state governments would be the same. I have no objection to conversations between the branches of government—in fact, I suspect that better policy would be made if there was more conversation and fewer demands of partisan loyalty.
- I consider myself a “movement constitutional conservative ”—and while not all libertarians are conservative constitutionalists, many are; and those who would be considered “movement conservatives” almost always have a strong stream of libertarianism running through their veins. As President Ronald Reagan said, “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” As the Republican Party has seemed to ignore constitutional governance; as Republicans have failed to make good on their promise of smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal control…this decision to make a break from the party that I’ve been registered with for 36 years, and active in for most of the 18 years before that, began to weigh heavily on my mind.
- My decision to change my registration has nothing to do with a changing philosophy on my part. It has little to do with any particular candidate or candidates. It has some to do with life in the State Capitol, but it has a lot to do with a growing sense that I’ve had that the Republican Party of 2016 is fundamentally different than the Republican Party that I grew up in.
To review more succinctly:
- I am changing my voter registration, but not my view of the world. If you have mostly liked the way that I’ve voted in the past, you’ll probably continue to like it.
- To the extent that I’m welcome, I will continue to work with ALL of the constitutional conservatives in the Legislature; and I’ll certainly work with the Governor if he wants to work with me. I will always be open to conversations and negotiations, but I won’t be held hostage to partisan considerations. Those who want my vote on a controversial issue will have to make the case based on solid reasoning—not on manufactured partisan hyperbole.
Finally, while I hope this doesn’t change your view negatively of me, I realize that it could. I have reconciled to the idea that I might not receive the support for future campaigns that I did in the past. I’ve also reconciled to the notion that it’s possible that the Republican Party will seek to “take me out” if I run for re-election in 2018. It’s also possible that I will be looked upon less kindly for potential leadership positions—even though we do not run as partisans, nor do we organize by party.
While serving the people of the 32nd Legislative District has been one of the great honors of my life, the people of the district have every right to vote me out of office if they feel that I’m not representing them adequately—and that includes if they feel that as a Libertarian instead of a Republican, I’m not adequately reflecting their views. Time will tell whether that label will matter to the citizens of the district, or whether they’ll judge me by my actions.
I hope that in the next two years, I can prove to my constituents and other supporters that the Party label doesn’t mean anything other than wearing the label which more accurately reflects my political views. I hope that they can see that by taking the “road less traveled”, I may be able to better serve ALL of our citizens, and not just the Republicans. I remain steadfastly in support of constitutionally limited government, and doing everything I can to reduce the negative impact of government in all of our lives—especially in the taking of our income through taxation.
I am, of course, always willing to exchange email, or talk with you in person about this, or anything else. And, as always, my office staff and I look forward to serving the people of the 32nd Legislative district the best that we can over the next 2 years.
Senator Laura Ebke
See also here.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 06/02/2016 at 01:25 PM in A Climate of Changes, American Culture, Campaign for Liberty, Current Affairs, Electoral Prospects, Georg Thomas, Grassroots Activism, Laura Ebke, Libertarian Party, Libertarian Report Card, Media/Media Bias, Pure Politics, Republicans, State/Nebraska Politics | Permalink | Comments (5)
| | | |