Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blaming Rick Perry

Rick Perry

The closing paragraph of POLITICO's Rick Perry campaign plays blame game caught my eye:

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said a [Perry] strategist. “At least not at this level for this serious of a candidate. You see a campaign like this for Herman Cain, you say, ‘Well, that’s what you’d expect. But for a governor from one of the biggest states in the country and someone who can raise a ton of money? It’s mind-boggling. I’m more offended by that than losing.”

That reminded me of this October 13th Elgin Courier News story: Presidential hopeful Perry at private C’ville fundraiser:

CARPENTERSVILLE — Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry ducked into OTTO Engineering here Thursday morning for a $1,000-a-plate breakfast fundraiser.
Perry spoke to the invitation-only crowd of 100 people for about 25 minutes, said Jack Roeser, OTTO chairman and founder and president of Family Taxpayers Foundation.
“We are trying to get things done,” Roeser said of his decision to invite Perry to the Fox Valley. “We are interested in Illinois as well as the president thing. We want to increase (the number of Republicans in) the House and Senate in Illinois by six people each and get rid of the people who have given us the debt in Illinois.” 
Perry spoke “about what he had done in Texas, how the problems (here) are similar, and what he would do for the problems in our country,” Roeser said.
He said Perry “has workable solutions, not crazy stuff,” adding that he had interviewed other presidential candidates, including Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. “I found him highly arrogant and easily upset. I asked him about the (999 tax plan) … that is an embarrassment. He is unrealistic and it made him mad,” when he told Cain so, Roeser said. Cain has suggested ending the current tax code and replace it with a 9 percent flat tax on income, a 9 percent flat corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

In the first article we've got a Perry strategist belittling Herman Cain. In the story from last October, we have one of Perry's top fund raisers--he organized a $100,000+ breakfast fundraiser--calling Herman Cain "highly arrogant", "easily upset", and "unrealistic". Was it the Perry campaign that drove the negative stories about Herman Cain? Did Perry's strategists think that they would pick up Cain's supporters once the Godfather's Pizza CEO was out of the race?

We may never know, but if you were a Herman Cain supporter, you might want to look past Rick Perry. And, based on the latest polling out of Iowa, that seems to be what most voters are doing.

In the Fight: Episode 58

The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System produced Episode 58 of In The Fight. Here's their description of this half-hour show:
On this episode, we get a first person perspective of combat on the frontlines in Afghanistan, Third Army/USARCENT facilitates the largest logistical movement since World War II, Afghan forces take charge of security in the city of Mazar, Marines light the way for troops on the ground in Kandahar, and a young woman gets to live her dream of being a Soldier.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Just Donated to Richard Mourdock; You Should Too!

I just donated to Richard Mourdock's US Senate campaign. Mourdock is the Tea Party candidate who's challenging Washington insider Dick Lugar (R-IN) for the opportunity to represent the Hoosier state.* The fundraising quarter concludes as the new year begins, so Saturday will be your last opportunity to donate this quarter. Mourdock is running a "100 Donor Challenge" which will optionally post your Facebook picture on his challenge page (as seen above).

There are many reasons to support Mourdock. On policy issues, he clearly stands to the right of Lugar on Supreme Court nominees, the 2nd Amendment, illegal immigration, Obamacare, life issues, bailouts, earmarks, and term limits. That is why Obama has many reasons to call Dick Lugar his favorite RepublicanMourdock also has a litany of conservative endorsements: Citizens United, Eagle Forum, Erick Erickson, FreedomWorks, Gun Owners of America, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, and on and on. Earlier this week, I blogged about Mourdock's grassroots support.

But to donate to a candidate in another state you need more than those things.

My impetus to contribute to Mourdock's campaign came Wednesday night when I learned that Dick Lugar has NOT resided in Indiana for decades (see returned mail at right). Lugar, the senior Senator from the Hoosier state, uses the address of a home where he used to live for his voter registration, car registration, driver's license, etc. He acknowledges that he stays in hotels when he visits the state he represents. For a US Senator to not reside--or at least rent an apartment--in the state that he represents is the epitome of aloof elitism.

That's what drove me to donate to Richard Mourdock's campaign. I hope you will too!

* In addition to Mourdock, I've also given to Martin Baker who's running in Missouri's 1st Congressional District and Ed Martin who's running in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District.

Richard Mourdock

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obama's Wall Street Guy: Jon Corzine

The RNC produced the video above and a briefing book titled My Wall Street Guy: Barack Obama & Jon Corzine to accompany it.

The Problem with SOPA is Common to All Legislative Power Grabs

Eric S. Raymond (aka: esr) is one of the founders and pioneers of the Open Source software development paradigm. He helped define and develop the early Internet. And I believe he's a libertarian. Here are some of his thoughts about the SOPA legislation:

It’s a bad bill, all right. It’s a terrible bill – awful from start to finish, idiotic to the core, corruptly pandering to a powerful special-interest group at the cost of everyone else’s liberty.
But I can’t help noticing that a lot of the righteous panic about it is being ginned up by people who were cheerfully on board for the last seventeen or so government power grabs – cap and trade, campaign finance “reform”, the incandescent lightbulb ban, Obamacare, you name it – and I have to wonder…
Don’t these people ever learn? Anything? Do they even listen to themselves?
It’s bizarre and entertaining to hear people who yesterday were all about allegedly benign and intelligent government interventions suddenly discovering that in practice, what they get is stupid and vicious legislation that has been captured by a venal and evil interest group.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cornhusker Kicked Back: Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) to Retire

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced his retirement from the Senate Tuesday, delivering a serious blow to Democratic efforts to hold on to the majority in the chamber next November.

Obviously, Nelson sensed a change in the political winds that could not be stopped with a simple cornhusker kick-back.

Monday, December 26, 2011

How can an Insolvent China Bailout Europe?

ZeroHedge: China Insolvency Wave Begins As Nation's Biggest Provincial Borrowers "Defer" Loan Payments: are the facts, from China Daily, and they speaks for themselves: "China's biggest provincial borrowers are deferring payment on their loans just two months after the country's regulator said some local government companies would be allowed to do so....Hunan Provincial Expressway Construction Group is delaying payment on 3.11 billion yuan in interest, documents governing the securities show this month. Guangdong Provincial Communications Group Co, the second-largest debtor, is following suit. So are two others among the biggest 11 debtors, for a total of 30.16 billion yuan, according to bond prospectuses from 55 local authorities that have raised money in capital markets since the beginning of November." So not even two months in and companies are already becoming serial defaulters, pardon, "loan payment deferrers?" And China is supposed to bail out the world? Ironically, in a world in which can kicking is now an art form, China will show everyone just how it is done, by effectively upturning the capital structure and saying that paying interest is, well, optional. In the immortal words of the comrade from Georgia, "no coupon, no problem."

Much has been made in the press of China bailing out Europe. I don't see how that's possible when China is dealing with its own default.

Indiana Senate: Dick Lugar v. Richard Mourdock

Dick Lugar (R-IN) is running for his seventh term in the US Senate. I guess, his work in that august body is incomplete even after 35 years of service there. He was interviewed by CNN for the segment above which aired Christmas Day. Toward the end of the interview, Lugar is asked about the GOP primary race for US Senate in which he faces Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock (R-IN).


Lugar played up his grassroots credentials [from]:
"Certainly unique, I think, in the Senate, of having been a farmer, a small businessman, a Naval officer, a mayor, a school board member. These are grassroots functions that people are dealing with."
Lugar served as the Mayor of Indianapolis from January 1st, 1968 until January 1st, of 1976. While serving as mayor of a small town might be considered a grassroots function, serving as mayor of a major American city is not. Lugar's school board service was also in Indianapolis which, again, isn't anything like serving on the school board of a small town. Wikipedia notes his school board tenure briefly: "Lugar served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967." So was Lugar elected to serve on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners or was he appointed? An appointment wouldn't be very grassroots, but it would be cronyism.

It appears to me that Lugar's most recent grassroots activism was during the Kennedy administration and, maybe, the first year of the Johnson administration. Therefore, for him to make any claim to grassroots credentials today is preposterous.

Run to the Right

But, what really offended me was Lugar's play for Tea Party voters [from]:
“A Republican majority in the Senate is very important, and Republicans who are running for reelection ought to be supported by people who want to see that majority,” Lugar said in an interview which aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. 
“I think the majority of Tea Party people understand that too,” he added.
Tea Partiers understand that far better than Lugar and his establishment GOP allies. Back to
Lugar who is facing a tough primary challenge from Tea Party-backed Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) said he was the best GOP option to win the seat and that past attempts by grassroots groups to install candidates they found more conservative had backfired. 
"If I was not the nominee it might be lost," he said of his seat. "Republicans lost the seats before in Nevada and New Jersey and Colorado where there were people who were claiming they wanted somebody who was more of their Tea Party aspect but they killed off the Republican majority."
I'm not sure who he's thinking about in New Jersey and Colorado, but, in part, I agree with Lugar's premise. I think that Tea Party candidates for US Senate in Nevada, Delaware, and Alaska were defeated because they were on the fringe. Alaska is interesting, because Tea Party favorite Joe Miller lost to incumbent, establishment Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). That would seem to discredit Lugar's premise that Tea Party candidates cost Republicans seats in the US Senate.

But there's even stronger evidence to undermine Lugar's premise: Mike Lee (R-UT),  Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY). All three were elected to the US Senate with significant Tea Party backing. In Mike Lee's race in Utah, incumbent Republican Bob Bennett was eliminated prior to the primary.

Electoral Maneuvers

Tea Partiers in Utah were able to organize and take over the Republican party apparatus. At their state's 2010 Republican Convention, conservatives voted overwhelmingly for Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater eliminating Bennet from the primary ballot.

The mechanisms of elections vary from state to state, but a similar thing is happening in the Hoosier state. Richard Mourdock has garnered the support of Indiana Tea Parties. Perhaps more importantly, Mourdock has won the support of 75% of Indiana's Republican Party county chairmen. That's an unheard of level of grassroots GOP support for a challenger. There's no way to eliminate an incumbent in Indiana as happened in Utah in 2010, so Mourdock is now in a brutal fundraising battle against his entrenched, establishment opponent, Dick Lugar.

In my opinion, Tea Partiers from around the country need to plugin to Richard Mourdock's campaign if they want to help him beat President Obama's favorite Republican Senator. Mourdock does not have the fundraising ability of a six term Senator. He's got good boots on the ground in Indiana, but he's going to need phone support in the run up to game day: the May 8th primary. You can also help push his message on social media like TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It Begins on the Ground with Political Activism

At the 2011 Values Voter Summit (, Heritage Action for America ( held a breakout session on Policy, Action, and Accountability: How to Make a Difference on the Front Lines. Heritage Action's CEO Michael Needham gave the opening remarks. He was followed by their Political Director Russ Vought who spoke about Heritage Action's "Know, Grow, and Go" strategy for grassroots activism. Deputy Political Director Jessica Anderson wrapped up the session by talking about the tools and techniques that activists can use to expand their spheres of political influence.

I only attended a couple of breakout sessions at the 2011 Values Voter Summit. The one that Heritage Action hosted about grassroots activism was quite good. If you only have time to watch one of the videos above, I think Jess Anderson's advice for grassroots activists provides the best practical tips for making a difference.

Here are a couple of quotes from the videos above:

  • "We believe if we can create an army of principled activists, we can change the country." - Russ Vought
  • "It really begins on the ground with political activism.... Your intentional act to bring about social, political, and environmental change--actually doing something... is what we want to capitalize on..." - Jess Anderson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Video: Nullify Obamacare Forum

These fifteen videos are Caroline's footage of the Nullify Obamacare Forum held earlier this month. The forum featured panelists Bill Randles, Ed Martin, State Senator Jim Lembke, and State Representative Paul Curtman. Brian Nieves MC'd the forum.

Thanks to Caroline for producing the video above. Great job!

Lloyd Sloan's excellent observations about the Nullify Forum. Give 'em a read.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Morality of Capitalism


From the YouTube description:

Dr. Tom Palmer, executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, discusses the morality of capitalism. Palmer offered these comments during an interview for Carolina Journal Radio ( Program No. 448. Video courtesy of

Monday, December 19, 2011

Policy Prescriptions for the European Economic Crisis

In Professor Anthony Sanders' testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on TARP, he outlines three main causes of the current European fiscal crisis: 1) excessive government spending leading to 2) excessive government debt coupled with 3) slow GDP growth.
Sanders also addresses how fiscal integration in Europe could affect the purchasing of U.S. Treasuries. Although Fed Chair Ben Bernanke recently announced that the Fed stands ready to provide further easing based on Eurozone risk, Sanders notes that the Fed and Treasury should save their bailout tools for the U.S. In fact, retirees and people living on fixed incomes will be further harmed by the Fed’s reaction to the Eurocrisis.
In addition to Fed operations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of which the U.S. is the largest stakeholder, is also active in the Eurozone bailout. The U.S. has a line of credit approved for an IMF crisis fund in the amount of $100 billion.
Sanders concludes his testimony by saying that the Eurozone's problems are structural, and cannot be solved by low interest loans and guarantees from the Fed and the IMF. The best way to protect U.S. taxpayers is to increase transparency at the Fed, take back the $100 billion line of credit at the IMF, and undertake spending cuts ourselves in order to reduce our deficit and massive debt loan.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Financial Armageddon to begin in London


ZeroHedge: Psssst France: Here Is Why You May Want To Cool It With The Britain Bashing - The UK's 950% Debt To GDP:

While certainly humorous, entertaining and very, very childish, the recent war of words between France and Britain has the potential to become the worst thing to ever happen to Europe. Actually, make that the world and modern civilization. Why? Because while we sympathize with England, and are stunned by the immature petulant response from France and its head banker Christian Noyer to the threat of an imminent S&P downgrade of its overblown AAA rating, the truth is that France is actually 100% correct in telling the world to shift its attention from France and to Britain. So why is this bad. Because as the chart below shows, if there is anything the global financial system needs, is for the rating agencies, bond vigilantes, and lastly, general public itself, to realize that the UK's consolidated debt (non-financial, financial, government and household) to GDP is... just under 1000%. That's right: the UK debt, when one adds to its more tenable sovereign debt tranche all the other debt carried on UK books (and thus making the transfer of private debt to the public balance sheet impossible), is nearly ten times greater than the country's GDP.

Des Moines Register Endorses Crony Mitt Romney

ZeroHedge: Newspaper Chaired By Private Equity Head Shockingly Endorses Mitt Romney For President:

...the Des Moines Register threw its support behind the Bain Capital founder, and the man now known to have actively destroyed any trace of his public "service" before his 2007 Massachusettes office handover (with a pending response to a Reuters FOIA, which will disclose just what it was that Romney was so tenuously shredding). Because according to the Iowan newspaper, Mitt Romney "is the best to lead" America, although into what, is not quite clear - perhaps the biggest Fed funded LBO (with a Bain Capital $1 mezz piece) of all time...  But perhaps most relevant is the reminder that the Des Moines Register is a Gannett company whose Chairman just happens to be one Marjorie Magner, whose bio reads:
Ms. Magner, 61, is Managing Partner of Brysam Global Partners, a private equity firm investing in financial services firms with a focus on consumer opportunities in emerging markets founded in January 2007. She was Chairman and CEO of Citigroup's Global Consumer Group from 2003 to 2005. She served in various roles at Citigroup, and a predecessor company, CitiFinancial (previously Commercial Credit), since 1987. Ms. Magner currently serves as a director of Accenture Ltd. and Ally Financial Inc. and served as a director of The Charles Schwab Corporation from February 2006 to May 2008. Ms. Magner has broad business experience and financial expertise from the various senior management roles she held with Citigroup.
It's like de ja vu all over again. Phyllis Schlafly wrote about this sort of thing in her book A Choice, Not an Echo:

Video: Year in Review in Song

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sarah Steelman on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations

Sarah Steelman spoke about Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and its applications today at the 2nd Annual Locke and Smith Award Banquet. The banquet was held in early October. Steelman is running against Congressman Todd Akin and businessman John Brunner for the opportunity to face Claire McCaskill for US Senate.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Video: Nullification Forum

The hour and forty minute video above is from the Nullification Forum held earlier this month. The forum featured panelists Bill Randles, Ed Martin, State Senator Jim Lembke, and State Representative Paul Curtman. Brian Nieves MC'd the forum.

Lisa Payne-Naeger of has more details.

Thanks to Bob K. for shooting the video!

Congressional Candidate Martin Baker Confronts Tracker at Christmas Party

It was great to see a good crowd in south county Thursday night for the St. Louis Tea Party's After Party Christmas Party. GOP gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence was there with his wife and one of Democrat Governor Jay Nixon's goons. The goon, a video tracker who followed Spence around the mix and mingle event filming his private conversations with potential voters and volunteers, was ultimately run-off by GOP Congressional candidate Martin Baker.

Baker is running in a majority Democrat district. He's a fighter who is willing to stand up for conservative principals and take the abuse that sometimes comes with that. If you've got $10 or $20 dollars, please consider sending it to Baker and/or Spence who only entered the governor's race a month ago.

I think this was one of the first events where Dave Spence mingled with his potential voters. The video tracker obviously disrupted the one-on-one conversations to some extent. I think Spence handled that well. He was able to meet most of the people in the room and talk with them sometimes at considerable length. Hopefully, being followed around a room by a cameraman recording all of your conversations was only mildly irritating for political newcomer Spence.

Here are some pictures from the event.

Monday, December 12, 2011

After Party: A Return to the Beginning

Earlier today, Lisa Payne-Naeger's article at reminded me of my first interview with Bill Hennessy and the need for introspection, the need to return to first principals. That interview is above. I shot it several days before the first Tax Day Tea Party in 2009.

Bill has written extensively about the After Party. It represents a transformation in the Tea Party movement. It's a move away from public protests and speeches. It's an effort to activate our neighborhoods. I'm sure there will still be rallies as the 2012 election approaches, but there's also a need to knock on doors for candidates , there's a need to caucus and/or vote in primaries, and there's a need for basic, civil discourse with our neighbors. After Partiers drive those activities by fostering relationships with their neighbors and reminding them to get out and participate.

The St. Louis Tea Party's next After Party is coming up. It's our Christmas Party and I've contacted several politicians and candidates and asked them to stop by. No speeches. Just time to mingle one-on-one. I hope to see you there on Thursday, 12/15, at 7PM. We're meeting at the Holiday Inn South; 4234 Butler Hill; Oakville, MO.

Ron Paul's Clear Expression of Faith

Dr. Paul has a statement of faith on his campaign website which reads in part:
My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain. Let me be very clear here: I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.
Many voters really don't care about a candidates religious convictions. I think that indifference to a candidate's faith is in keeping with America's pluralist civics and is borne out of a respect for the creeds that candidates may choose to follow. Dr. Paul captures that sentiment well in the opening words of his statement of faith: "My faith is a deeply private issue to me..." Nonetheless, there is a sort of litmus test among Christians and, one presumes, other beliefs, to gauge the religious sincerity and convictions of a candidate. My intention in this post is to allay any uncertainty about Dr. Paul's Christian convictions on behalf of a man who would rather keep those convictions private.

*   *   *

In late October the PatriotPost posted a score card of the Republican presidential candidates. In addition to a numeric "Patriot Rating", PatriotPost has a list of pros and cons for each candidate. Ron Paul's list of cons was heavy on ad hominem attacks ending with the truly absurd lie: "no clear expression of faith."

I have concerns about some of Ron Paul's policy preferences, but I know that his Christian faith is an integral part of his life. I know that because I heard him speak about it at the Values Voter Summit (VVS) in early October. To a greater degree than any of the other presidential candidates who spoke to an overwhelmingly Christian audience, Dr. Paul illustrated how his Christian faith informs and shapes his policy views.

Unlike the other candidates who spoke, Dr. Paul's speech was structured to illustrate the Biblical basis for his policy preferences. In talking about his faith implicitly, he bore witness to his core Christian convictions in a manner that is both humble and engaging. Many Christians may question his policy choices, but to refute those policies it is upon Dr. Paul's Christian detractors to provide Biblical counterpoints and refutations based in scripture.

Dr. Paul's speech at VVS is available in two parts on YouTube (embedded above). There's also a transcript available online. Below, I provide some quotations from that transcript to illustrate Dr. Paul's clear expression of faith.

Ron Paul on the Kingdom of the American Presidency:
...there’s one reference to the family that I thought was very important. That was in Samuel, 1 Samuel, chapter eight. And this is when the people, not the elders, came to Samuel when he was very old and they knew he would be passing on, so the people came and said to Samuel, what we need is a king. We need a king to take care of us. We want to be safe and secure. 
And Samuel, although he knew he wasn’t going to be around long, he advised the people of Israel not to accept the king, because the king, he warned, would not be generous. He would undermine their liberties. There would be more wars. There would be more taxes. And besides, accepting the notion of a king would reject the notion that, up until that time, since they had left Egypt, their true king was their God and the guidance from their God. 
... And I think a lot of that has happened to us in this country. We have too often relied on our king in Washington, and we have to change that.
...on sound money:
...we also had the breakdown of our monetary system, the rejection of the biblical admonition that we have honest weights and measures and honest money. And not to have honest weights and measures meant we were counterfeiting the money and destroying the value of the money, which implies, even in biblical times, they weren’t looking for a central bank that was going to counterfeit our currency.
...on the compromised morality of social security:
Certainly the 10th commandment tells us something about honoring our parents and caring for them. It didn’t say work out a system where the government will take care of us from cradle to grave. No, it was an admonition for us to honor our parents and be responsible for them, not put them into a nursing home and say the federal government can take care of them.
...on peace, war, and the UN and NATO:
In the Bible, in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, Christ was recognized to be the prince of peace. He was never to be recognized as the promoter of war. And he even said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God.” He never said blessed are the war makers. It was the peacemakers that we must honor and protect.
Christ was very, very clear on how we should treat our enemies. And some days I think we quite frequently forget about that. Early in the history of Christianity, they struggled with the issue of war and peace, because Christ taught about peace. Did that mean Christ was advocating pacifism? The early church struggled with this and came to the conclusion, at least in those early years, that Christ was not a pacifist, but he was not a war promoter. 
And this is when they came up with the just-war principles, saying, yes, war could be necessary, but only under dire circumstances, and it should be done with great caution. All other efforts should be exhausted before we go to war, and always under the proper authority. And today I think the proper authority is not the U.N. or the NATO forces to take us to war.
...on caring for the poor and out of control laws:
We are taught in the New Testament about caring for the poor and caring for our families and our neighbors and friends. But never did Christ say, you know, let’s go and lobby Rome to make sure we’re taken care of. It was a personal responsibility for us. Christ was confronted at one time by a prostitute, but he didn’t call for the centurions. He didn’t call for more laws. But he was very direct and thought that stoning was not the solution to the problem of prostitution. 
So do laws take care of these things, or do we need a better understanding of our Christian values and our moral principles?
...on the toll war takes on families, additional debt, and high divorce rates (for military personnel):
There were great dreams by Isaiah in the Old Testament about the time that would come when the swords would be bent into plowshares and spears into pruning forks, the dream of ending the wars and to the point where peace is prosperous. And I have come to a strong conviction that one of the most greatest threats to the family is war. It undermines the family.
Just in our last decade, an undeclared war that we’re dealing with, we’ve lost over 80,000 – 8,500 men and women in our armed services. We have 40,000 who have returned, many of them with severe amputations. And it’s, in essence, forgotten by the general population of this country. We have literally hundreds of thousands begging and pleading for help.
I talked to a young man the other day and he was telling me about losing all his buddies and his frustration with the war and not having a goal of winning the war and not knowing when it would end. And yet his conclusion was – almost in tears he said to me, he says, I lost my buddies over there, but now I’m losing many of them to suicide. 
And when you think of this, of what the consequences of war, the death and destruction, what does it do to the families? What does it do to the husbands and the wives and the mothers and the daughters who have to deal with these problems? So, yes, it is very, very damaging. War costs a lot of money. It causes a lot of poverty. Poverty and the economic crisis in this country is undermining the family. But $4 trillion of debt has been added in the last 10 years to fight a war that seems to have no end.
Wars generally lead to inflation, the destruction of money. We don’t honor the biblical principles of honest money. We invite this idea that we can spend endlessly and we can print the money, and literally it undermines the family and undermines the economic system. When you lose a job, it’s harder to keep the family together. 
Divorce rates are very, very high among the military, because these young men are being sent back two and three and four times. And there was one story told me about a little boy, a little boy who was 10 years old, and his dad was getting ready to go back again. He was screaming, I hate you, daddy, I hate you, daddy, because he was leaving him. 
So this is why, in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war, and also to be thinking about the admonition that peace is far superior to war. That should be our goal.
...on debt:
We have been blessed in this country by having the freest and the most prosperous. We’ve had a good Constitution, far from perfect. But today we are living way beyond our means. We are living in debt. And debt is not a biblical principle, whether it’s personal debt or whether it’s a national debt. We owe $3 trillion to people overseas. We are suffering from a mountain of debt because we have accepted this idea that we have this responsibility to mold the world, mold the people and mold the economy.
...on the American "Kingdom" and our need to return to God:
The people – the early Israelites demanded the king to be taken care of. But we have too, and we have accepted this notion as a country and as a whole that the king will take care of us. 
But I prefer the different king, the original king, the instruction that comes from our creator, not from our government. Our government should be strictly limited to the protection of the liberties that allow us to thrive. And our liberties and our economy, they are under attack today. There is no doubt about it.
I encourage Christian primary voters and caucus goers to carefully consider Dr. Paul's policies and the clear Biblical basis for those policies. I am not sold on Ron Paul or any of the remaining Republican presidential candidates for that matter. We are in a campaign and Dr. Paul's detractors will dissemble and even lie about him to advance their own preferred candidate. Hopefully, this will help illuminate the truth about Ron Paul.

Obamanomics: Policy built on a Foundation of Ignorance

Obamanomics is simply ignorance as the basis of policy. The more you know, the less you like it, and his only hope of re-election is to promulgate counterfactual ideas and persuade voters that they must choose between two lies: His dishonest characterizations of his own policies and his dishonest characterizations of Republican policies.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Washington DC's Problem: No one Trusts Government

Survey after survey in recent months has shown an alarming decline in public confidence in the nation's chief federal institutions, as well as a deepening pessimism about America's future. Congressional approval is at an all-time low of 13 percent, according to the Gallup Poll, and three-quarters of the public wouldn't re-elect most members of Congress. There is cold comfort in the numbers for President Obama. Barely 41 percent of the public approves of his job performance, according to Gallup. Most worrisome is the fact that a majority of Americans, 52 percent, told pollster Scott Rasmussen this week that they believe the country's best days are behind it, the first time a majority has so responded.

While I'm not surprised at these results, it is disappointing. Read the whole article which examines some of the reasons why Americans no longer trust Washington.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Night Debate Recap

I've always found Stephen Green's "drunkblogging" coverage of debates an enjoyable read. Here's his bottom line summary of Saturday night's debate in Iowa:

Romney had the most to lose tonight, and he certainly did.

But read the whole thing. It's enjoyable through out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Claire McCaskill put you $14,000 more in Debt

“President Obama and Claire McCaskill have burdened every man, woman, and child with $14,000 in new debt because of their reckless spending,” said Nate Hodson, Crossroads GPS Director of State and Regional Media Relations.  “This issue ad is designed to alert citizens to the McCaskill-Obama big-spending agenda which left every American with $14,000 in new debt to pay.”

Voice your Support for Conservatism

RedState: The Most Important Fight For Conservatives in America:

Well, it was going to happen in January. But conservatives started gaining momentum. Naturally, Mitch McConnell had to go try to pull the rug out from under conservatives. Far be it for fresh ideas to enter into the hallowed corridors of Senate Republican power.
I’m talking about the Senate Republicans’ leadership fight for Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference. There is an election to fill that seat.
The election was to be held in January. The only declared candidate was Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (HAFA Score 91%). But then Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri (HAFA Score 64%) announced this week he wanted the job too. Immediately after announcing his entry, Senator Mitch McConnell moved the election up from January to next week and began whipping votes on behalf of Senator Roy Blunt. [UPDATE: A McConnell staffer tells me Senator McConnell is not whipping for Senator Blunt. Actual senators tell me McConnell is whipping for Senator Blunt.]

Roy Blunt did a wonderful job beating Robin Carnahan, but there's a more conservative candidate in this race. Here's a list of Senators. Find yours and click on them to get a page with their phone number. Call and ask them to vote for that more conservative candidate: Ron Johnson.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gun Control was the Objective of Fast and Furious

CBS News: Documents: ATF used "Fast and Furious" to make the case for gun regulations:

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Correcting Big Journalism and Gateway Pundit

I spoke with Jim Hoft Sunday afternoon about errors in a post he wrote at Gateway Pundit and cross posted to Dana Loesch's Big Journalism. He said that he would consider updating his post, so I sent the following email to him and Dana Loesch with the request that it be added as an update on both sites:
Jim, Dana,

I'd like the following to appear as an update to Hoft's post at GatewayPundit and cross posted at Big Journalism.


First, thanks to Jim Hoft and Dana Loesch for allowing me an opportunity to update this post at GatewayPundit and Big Journalism. I've been involved with this story for about a month. I've reviewed the data which the Daily Caller reported on.That data is available at and has been culled from publicly available FEC reports. I blogged about it at Reboot Congress a couple days before Jim Hoft blogged it here.

Hoft's coverage misrepresents the source of the data. Ed Martin's campaign was not involved in researching Ann Wagner's financing. As I wrote on my blog [emphasis added]:

The story behind the data showing that Wagner's campaign has gotten about a quarter of its funding from Enterprise sources goes back to the document parties that kicked off in October of 2009. Some of the moms involved in those original document parties began to investigate Wagner's fund raising. That data is easily accessible at sites like The trick is determining who the employers are and if they're connected in an interesting way. In the case of Ann Wagner's Enterprise donations figuring out that the Crawford Group is an Enterprise holding company was a key discovery. This should serve as a rallying cry to Tea Party moms (and others) to dig into the donation data.

The contentious nature of the campaign in MO2 which pits the well-funded Ann Wagner against Tea Partier Ed Martin, has obscured what I believe is the most important aspect of this story: local Tea Party activists--no doubt, supporters of Ed Martin--have developed the capability to thoroughly review campaign contributions. While this has created angst within St. Louis conservative circles, it bodes well for the November elections. I expect these researchers will turn to Senator Claire McCaskill's FEC reports and other Democrats as the election nears.

I also take exception with a couple of other points that Hoft made. First, a Wall Street Journal story from January 29, 2009, makes clear that Enterprise Rent-a-Car lobbied Congress for TARP funding. I first learned about the TARP angle fromSteven Nelson's post at the Daily Caller. It's commendable that Enterprise didn't take any TARP funding, but that begs the question: why'd they ask for it if they didn't need it?

Second, Hoft correctly points out that Ann's husband Ray Wagner is not a registered lobbyist. However, Ray Wagner is Government & Public Affairs Vice-President for Enterprise. In that capacity, he stewards Enterprise's lobbying activities, so focusing on the fact that he personally is not a lobbyist obscures the point that all of Enterprise's lobbyist are his subordinates.

Thanks again to Jim Hoft and Dana Loesch for this opportunity to respond!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ann Wagner's Lobbyist Donors

Sunday I blogged about the Cartelization of American Business. In that post I explored the role of lobbyists in creating industry cartels that subvert free market economics.

The screen shot above shows that Enterprise Rent-a-Car where Ray Wagner is employed as Government and Public Affairs Vice-President has hired several left-leaning lobbying firms. Since Ray Wagner directs Enterprise's lobbying efforts, the lobbying firms listed above are ones that he has chosen to represent Enterprise before local, state, and federal officials.

What's interesting is that employees of these lobbying firms have donated to the campaign of Ray Wagner's wife, Ann Wagner. Ann Wagner is a Republican candidate for the US House in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. Hobbits Source Blog has details about Ann Wagner's donations from the Podesta Group and Ogilvy Government Relations.

If Ann Wagner is a conservative, why is she drawing donations from establishment leftists? If she's going to argue as she has about her Enterprise donors, that her relationships with lobbyist donors have been built over decades, then voters in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District need to consider that when they enter the voting booth.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Cartelization of American Business


ZeroHedge: How The U.S. Will Become a 3rd World Country (Part 2):

Corporate influence over the political process, as well as over the tax and regulatory policies of the United States, is at an all time high.  The federal government is the largest single customer in the U.S. economy and, through taxation or regulation, the government can grant or deny market access to private companies and can either prevent or mandate the consumption of their products and services.  As a result, virtually every large corporation in the United States seeks to win the government’s business and to steer government tax policies and regulations in their favor.  Naturally, politicians who accede to the wishes of particular corporations are given campaign funds to ensure their reelection.  In the past decade, the amount of money spent on lobbying has more than doubled and there are currently 24 lobbyists for every 1 member of Congress.
The interdependence of elected officials and the largest U.S. corporations reached a new high with the 2008 bank bailouts.  The influence of private corporations and de facto industrial cartels (comprising the largest corporations in each major industry) over tax and regulatory policies creates significant economic distortions that ultimately compromise the sustainability and the stability of the economy.  Ideally, the government would be an impartial referee, rather than an active business partner that overwhelmingly favors large businesses over small businesses, despite the fact that small businesses account for the vast majority of American jobs.

This "cartelization" of American business happens as larger companies acquire smaller competitors, but the problem is that the illusion of competition often remains. One example that air travelers may notice are all of the different companies offering rental cars. As you walk down "rental car row" in any airport you might see Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, and National, and take a certain pride in the diversity of options that capitalism has provided. In fact, Alamo, Budget, and National are little more than brands. Avis owns Budget, and Enterprise owns both Alamo and National.

The loss of a competitive market may hurt the customer, but it helps the politicians by simplifying fundraising. Continuing with the car rental example, a politician who wants to raise money for a campaign no longer needs to call Budget, Alamo, or National. They only need to ask for money from Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise; however, the potential money raised remains roughly the same. Each of those three companies will decided which candidates they want to endorse and then marshal funds to those candidates by asking their employees to donate to their endorsed candidates. Unions do the exact same thing. Over the years they've merged to form larger and larger unions.

Merging to form a larger company may provide market advantages. For instance, because Enterprise operates Alamo and National, they may have more logistical options for managing their fleet compared to smaller providers. Those market advantages come at the expense of the systemic risks brought about by large corporations. Those risks then become a costs to the tax payer when the large corporation needs to be bailed out. Remember that unlike a small business, large corporations employee lobbyists to convince politicians to create laws that benefit the company.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, and Mark Blyth have some thoughts on this problem and political dysfunction in America in their paper The Black Swan of Cairo (h/t Zerohedge):

Why is surprise the permanent condition of the U.S. political and economic elite? In2007–8, when the global financial system imploded, the cry that no one could have seen this coming was heard everywhere, despite the existence of numerous analyses showing that a crisis was unavoidable. It is no surprise that one hears precisely the same response today regarding the current turmoil in the Middle East. The critical issue in both cases is the artificial suppression of volatility—the ups and downs of life—in the name of stability. It is both mis-guided and dangerous to push unobserved risks further into the statistical tails of the probability distribution of outcomes and allow these high-impact, low-probability “tail risks” to disappear from policymakers’ fields of observation.

In short: too big to fail is two words too long.