Posted by TreyL on January 11, 2015 at 7:38 PM
As I sat on the Amtrak train yesterday morning, I headed to the website of the local newspaper in the area I grew up in, and clicked on the "Opinion" page. One of the first comments was one that has been repeated numerous times during the six-year and counting right-wing temper tantrum that's been going on since Barack Obama assumed the Presidency.
Liberals say that we should respect the President. Why would I have any respect for the non-military foreigner who stole two elections?
The 2014 election proved one thing, and one thing only. Republicans can only run on three things: hate, fear, and racism.» Continue reading "Hate, Fear, and Racism in American Politics"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on January 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Freedom isn't simply tiptoing through the tulips, not a care in the world, bursting into intermittent bouts of Peter Pan Flight. It's for tough people, for courageous people, for people who have faith. Too many folks confront the world with an excess of fear, and fear turns us to the darker side of our humanity.» Continue reading "Charlie Habdo, The Interview, and The Courage of our Convictions"...
Posted by obamaluv on January 7, 2015 at 9:40 PM
One step forward and 5 steps back. While some argue that our country is just becoming "desensitized" or just "tolerating" same-sex marriage, Idaho's Governor Butch Otter is trying to turn back time and reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage just four months ago.» Continue reading "That's Real Cute, Governor Otter"...
Posted by liz on January 1, 2015 at 12:42 PM
Wishing everyone in the WatchBlog community a healthy and happy new year. We're so appreciative to the contributors and participation in this political community. We're looking forward to a great year and a new and improved WatchBlog in 2015!
Posted by Adam Ducker on December 16, 2014 at 7:48 AM
Wait, he didn't win? This job growth is still happening despite having a Democrat in the White House? Oh.» Continue reading "Thank you President Romney for 2014 being best year for job gains since 1999"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on December 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM
One of the most galling things about the lead-up to the Iraq war was being told that I didn't care enough about my country, even that I wanted to see harm come to it. I continued to see people insulting liberals about wanting to lose the Iraq war, and today, they claim we want to see ISIS behead people, and another attack on our soil. What a waste, to so discourage people, to make pride in our country once again the provinced of the gullible and the extreme.» Continue reading "Pride in its Two Senses"...
Posted by Warren Porter on December 9, 2014 at 12:02 PM
The US Senate has recently released and declassified a report investigating the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. I have not had an opportunity to actually look at the report so I will not comment on its details.
Posted by Warren Porter on November 22, 2014 at 5:36 PM
A report has been released from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives regarding the events of 9/11/2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Every conservative conspiracy theory regarding the incident was thoroughly debunked:» Continue reading "GOP vindicates administration on Benghazi allegations"...
Posted by Warren Porter on November 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM
The Constitution assigns the executive branch of our government the task of enforcing the laws of our nation. The Constitution also assigns the President with the duty to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Taken together, these two obligations certainly empower a President to not enforce laws he believes may be unconstitutional. However, that does not seem to be the case with Obama's decision to change how his administration will enforce immigration law.» Continue reading "Obama Strikes Back on Immigration"...
Posted by Warren Porter on November 15, 2014 at 9:48 AM
Jonathan Gruber recently got into a lot of trouble recently for a candid comment. Essentially, Gruber revealed an important aspect of American politics that we often like to sweep under the rug. However, nobody should be surprised here. The presentation of faux outrage by the Right is simple posturing.» Continue reading "Obfuscation and the Stupidity of Americans"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on November 6, 2014 at 12:07 PM
"In a world..." the guy who did those trailers often started, setting the scene for one movie or another. "One man will-" this, one man will that, that trailer tells us. Very often, the hero is trying to save the world, save society, save whatever. In reality, we're very often confronted with the challenge of keeping our world going, rather than saving it from some sort of catastrophe.» Continue reading "Narratives Succeed Easier Than Realities"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on November 4, 2014 at 7:14 PM
I believe that however many polls somebody takes before an election, the poll that matters is the one we visit on election day. I believe that cynicism about the system, however justified, has failed to position voters better to exercise their power against the powers that be. You can talk about what you feel, you can complain about your choices, but if you make no choice, you can no more succeed in making the right choice than you can fail in making the wrong choice.» Continue reading "A Personal Pride in Citizenship"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on October 17, 2014 at 5:55 PM
At this point, I think you just can't help yourself. You saw hope and change, and you said, oh, I want none of that. No return to a more new-deal, more Keynesian sort of system. No, let's go and prove that all those defeats came because we didn't push our views hard enough down people's throats. Let me be blunt here: people wanted change. Now they won't be satisfied with what might have left them feeling fulfilled earlier. And you set this in motion, just so you could disappoint people in one man. I'm sorry to tell you, or perhaps glad, that all he had to be was the guy smart enough to be in the drivers seat of the change, rather than under its tires.» Continue reading "The Raw Edge of The Break"...
Posted by obamaluv on October 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM
Seattle, Washington is the latest in a group of cities to celebrate "Indigenous People's Day" as a counter-celebration of federal holiday, "Columbus Day," acknowledging Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, in protest of the genocide of Indians upon Columbus's arrival, some cities and states are taking it upon themselves to change the holiday.» Continue reading "Indigenous People's Day or Columbus Day? "...
Posted by AllardK on January 26, 2015 at 8:08 PM
The Center for Democracy and Technology cares about your privacy and the fact that Google and Facebook have contributed a few million to the center makes no difference. According to Justin Brookman, Director of Consumer Privacy at CDT and co-chair of it's "Do Not Track" working group, "Facebook and Google can't monitor what you do on third party sites." Plus the industry standard on privacy and things like 3rd party cookies is voluntary. So there. But should people be furious that Google or Facebook or other large internet firms may be tracking your web behavior on 3rd party sites? How sacred a right is privacy in the 21st century, especially online?
Posted by AllardK on January 21, 2015 at 9:57 PM
It is understandable that President Obama tried to do an end run around foreign policy and focus on so-called domestic issues in his State of the Union address last Tuesday. America has not been blessed with firm and decisive leadership from the Obama White House when it comes to international policy issues, to say the least. The no-show in Paris was just the latest in a long line of confused stances. But the President did take a moment to mention the Iran sanctions. "I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress." The progress he was referring to is the continually stalled negotiations with the terror-sponsoring Islamic Republic of Iran over it's nuclear program which is clearly aimed at achieving weapons capability. Several extensions and a sanctions relief that is providing about $700 million a month to Iran means they have that much more time to continue their nuclear research program.
Posted by Weary_Willie on January 20, 2015 at 5:53 PM
Historical Online Learning Foundation
All individuals interested in playing are directed to the registration link below.» Continue reading "Civil War OnLine (CWOL) VIII starts in February 2015."...
Posted by AllardK on January 19, 2015 at 3:54 PM
How committed is the current Congress to limited government? In other words, how committed is Mitch McConnel? And how committed is the GOP with a majority not seen since the early 20's? Senators Thune, R-S.D. and Corker, R. Tenn. are already suggesting boosting gas taxes. And increased sales taxes at the state level is being bandied about. Mac Thronberry, R-Texas wants tax increases to protect defense spending from sequester cuts. There is always a pet project, some worthwhile some outrageous pork barrel spending, that a congressman or congresswoman wants to cuddle and feed. And fiscal conservatism, which seems to hover like a ghost in the background rather than take center stage, warns of worsening deficits if the starve-the-beast method of reducing government is attempted.
Posted by AllardK on January 14, 2015 at 9:38 PM
There are moments when the President of the United States cannot be too busy not to attend something like last Sunday's march in Paris. It was more than the 50 world leaders - and that included both Palestine and of course Israel - who marched with linked arms down the winter boulevards of that great city. It was the millions of French citizens who have had enough of islamic terrorism and it's latest deadly attempts to impose blasphemy laws in a Western, democratic society. President Hollande's embrace of columnist Patrick Pelloux was visceral, moving and untheatrical. This was not something staged, even if it was planned. This was real down to the very marrow of all those who marched and all those who watched in silent support around the world. Where were America's leaders? There may have been moments when France may have quietly asked the big bad old USA not to attend, as infuriating as that may have been. This was clearly not the case.
Posted by Weary_Willie on January 10, 2015 at 7:44 PM
» Continue reading "It's all fun and games until someone puts an eye out!"...
Posted by AllardK on January 6, 2015 at 7:59 PM
Who in Obama's inner circle invented the Pivot-Figure-of-Speech-Thingy? Did the President himself after a game of hoops with his security staff start using the term in a meeting? Did they decide to use it later in press briefings? While it may seem a little silly to speculate on such a topic, what is definitely beyond silly is the overuse of the term, which has now made another appearance, as Obama is apparently planning a "pivot to lawmakers" as reported in the WSJ. That's a total of perhaps over 14 pivots, and the jokes about spinning in circles and pivoter-in-chief are barely funny anymore. The only remaining question is, is the whole pivot thing a snotty little fraternity house insider joke? Especially in this latest use of the term. After executive action on immigration and Cuba, two vital issues that the President did an end run around Congress on, what possible meaning does a pivot to lawmakers have? Aside from a wink to his own supporters?
Posted by AllardK on January 2, 2015 at 8:47 PM
Heretic meteorologist Anthony Sadar should have bulked up his Washington Examiner's article on 5 reasons to be skeptical of climate science in this brand new 2015. Melbourne-based Sean McClowry - of the Global CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) Institute - already has 6 climate change busting Mega-projects for you. While Sadar carefully reviews the assumptions and perceptions behind the doomsday-ers' science, focusing on solar activity and ocean currents as likely far more important determinants of climate than any small percentage increase in Carbon dioxide, which only makes up a tiny fraction, 0.4% apparently, of the atmosphere, McClowry, instead, goes right to the heavy artillery. How about satellite based solar panels?! Never mind how much energy will be expended to get them up there and get them working correctly, this a multi billion dollar project! And you get a great acronym to boot: SBSP or Space Based Solar Power. Imagine the term rolling off the lips of a project administrator in Brussels or Washington D.C. while justifying, say, $30 billion in cost overruns and delays. Not enough for you? McClowry has geothermal projects in the Philippines, carbon capture in deep water oil and gas fields off the coast of Norway, and mega solar projects in Arizona and Pakistan.
Posted by AllardK on December 29, 2014 at 7:27 PM
The White House's diplomatic opening with Cuba is causing a lot of anger and worry, according to the Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer. In places like Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, and especially Cancun. Never mind the issues of choice and freedom for ordinary Cubans who, despite the opening up of Cuba's economy in carefully controlled areas like tourism and the resource sector, have seen precious little, make that none, of the dollars and euros flowing into the regime's coffers. No, the issue that Andres Oppenheimer, a long-time contributor to the Miami Herald, focuses on is the effect on American tourism in the aforementioned vacation spots of relaxed travel restrictions for Americans who wish to visit Cuba. As outlined in the LA Times, Hillary Clinton has laid the ground for a debate on lifting the Cuban embargo, along with other pet issues, in preparation for her presidential bid. So why shouldn't the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist join in on the fun?
Posted by liz on December 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM
At this holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to our contributors and readers for their dedication who have been so valuable to the WatchBlog community. We extend our sincere thanks.
Wishing all of you and your families a happy and safe holiday.
Posted by AllardK on December 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM
Rather than reviewing Obama's attempt to normalize relations with Cuba in terms of the last 116 years of Cuban American history, those angered by the White House's unilateral announcement have framed the issue in terms of Obama's questionable ability as a negotiator. The comparisons with Jimmy Carter are inevitable, and for those who are waiting and watching for the final fall of the Cuban regime, weakened by a less-solvent Venezuela in the face of falling oil prices, this agreement is not just infuriating on a political and human rights basis, it's simply weak negotiating. So who's right? And not just Obama defiantly trying to burnish his legacy in his lame duck years. There are some, not many, like Juan Carlos Hidalgo at the Cato Institute, who state the last 50 plus years of embargo have been a failure.
Posted by AllardK on December 10, 2014 at 1:55 PM
Is a wage a contract or a social obligation? As the debate over raising the minimum wage continues, this fundamental question seems to underlie the differences between those who advocate a state-based mandated raise in the minimum wage and those who state that market forces need to play out, and that local state conditions should determine minimum wages, rather than a national standard. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has received tons of flack from liberal and hard-left organizations, some of whom say the minimum wage should be raised to over $20.00 an hour, a proposition that goes beyond most social democratic forms of socialism and borders on marxist labor theory. As these groups parade examples of adults who could barely meet living expenses, Walker's more nuanced response was lost in all the shouting.
Posted by DFaris on December 2, 2014 at 9:57 AM
Like it or not, driverless vehicles are on their way. While it's easy to imagine what kind of implications they will have on our everyday lives - more time during your commute to read the morning paper or enjoy your coffee, for example - it's a little more difficult to imagine how they will affect the economy on both a national and global scale, not to mention our personal finances.» Continue reading "It's Time Washington Got Serious About Driverless Cars"...
Posted by SPBrooker on January 29, 2015 at 4:19 PM
Ashton Carter is the Obama Administration nominee for Secretary of Defense to replace the incumbent Chuck Hagel this year. If confirmed, Carter will be the fourth SoD to serve in the Obama administration, his confirmation dependent on hearings to be held in early February. When Hagel underwent confirmation hearings in 2013, the world was facing multiple crises though today the global situation is to put it bluntly, far worse. If the Hagel confirmation hearings proved anything, it showed that existing, real defense and security concerns are largely ignored in favor of political pandering on the part of the Senate Armed Services committee. Given the number and severity of threats facing the U.S. today, I sincerely hope the range of questions asked will be different from 2013 though I'm not optimistic. With that said, I present the topics I believe should be addressed at the hearings but which most likely won't be in any meaningful way.
Posted by Keeley on January 27, 2015 at 1:15 PM
Sarah Palin is described as being a politician, commentator, and author. Can you be all three at the same time? It's a little tricky but it can be done, and has been done, and is being done. The truth about Sarah Palin, however, is that nowadays she's a very successful entrepreneur who does a little commentary to support her business as an author, and who once upon a time was a politician. Who can forget the SNL appearances? They may have been helpful for SNL ratings and Palin's career as a commentator/author/media personality, but did not help the GOP at the ballot box. Progressive, as in left-wing, media critics like Princeton's Dr. Robert Kubey lambasted her appearances for being wrong contextually despite her affability and poise. But Kubey is the academic who wants UNESCO sponsored media skepticism taught from grade school up so that American children turn to alternative news sources, perhaps like Al Jazeera, to glean the whole truth. Kubey, in his Huffington Post piece back in 2008, naturally praised the media savvy displayed by the Obama campaign.
Posted by SPBrooker on January 22, 2015 at 2:03 PM
The price of oil on the commodity markets has been dropping precipitously over the past several months to over 5-year lows. This poses many positives and negatives. OPEC member states control over 40 percent of the world's oil production and while the laws of supply and demand have a considerable influence on prices, they can be manipulated by this cartel. While there are logical economic reasons OPEC is allowing the price of oil to fall, there are also sinister aims which are not as immediately apparent; or which the U.S. media is limiting coverage of.
Posted by SPBrooker on January 20, 2015 at 3:51 PM
Russia is off to a bad start in 2015. It's suffering from a currency crisis brought on by a combination of economic sanctions, free-fall decline in the price of oil, and economic stagnation. Its actions in Ukraine have made friends such as Belarus somewhat nervous while states in Eastern Europe such as Poland are rallying against an increasingly aggressive and unpredictable Kremlin. Like the old saying, an animal is most dangerous when cornered and wounded and this can be applied to Russia. Add to this equation the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains immensely popular despite economic setbacks, there is little reason to believe Russia will suddenly change its ways.
Posted by Keeley on January 16, 2015 at 10:41 AM
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., got it almost right when with he stated "the best I can say about him is he's unfocused," on Fox News, referring to the president's policy of releasing Guantanamo detainees who are likely to rejoin terrorist groups like ISIS as they head back to the Arabian peninsula. President Obama is not merely unfocused when it comes to terrorism today in the world, he's out of focus. As in where the heck is he? What belief system could possibly justify releasing hardened terrorists - the worst of the worst in Rumsfeld's words - back into society? When they head straight back to the Arabian peninsula where they will likely join ISIS or rejoin Al qaeda? Even a majority of Democrats opposed closing the facility in a recent Gallup poll, and with the latest terror scare in Belgium, thwarted for now thank God, the timing of the continued releases is not awkward, it's obscene.
Posted by Keeley on January 12, 2015 at 5:51 PM
The policemen in Paris arrived on push bikes, and quickly retreated. Three of them, in response to a commando-style attack by at least three heavily armed terrorists, almost certainly from Al Qaeda or ISIS. The target was satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and survivors said the masked attackers spoke perfect French and had a list of people they meant to, and apparently did, kill. Soon afterwards the emergency response teams with their sundry vehicles arrived, after the attackers had executed a wounded policeman begging for mercy on the sidewalk, and fled. But the first response was men on bicycles, and this for a target that had been threatened in recent days and had suffered an arson attack previously. France is no stranger to terrorism, especially Paris. For decades they have endured waves of terrorist attacks, most in recent decades having to do with islamic terrorism. The country was on high alert these past days and had thwarted several attacks according to President Francois Hollande himself. Men on bicycles is not much use, however, in thwarting heavily armed commando-style terrorists.
Posted by bigtex on January 5, 2015 at 8:10 PM
Yesterday, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) publically challenged House Speaker John Boehner for a new Congress as Speaker igniting political emotions from all sides. While some GOPs are joking that Boehner will get the Democrat vote, it could cause more problems than solutions for the GOP.» Continue reading "Gohmert vs. Boehner Speaker Challenge "...
Posted by Keeley on December 31, 2014 at 8:39 PM
A 50 year fiscal hangover for state and local governments is what is being predicted by the GAO, (Government Accountability Office), as reported by Watchdog.org's Eric Boehm. And the solution,as always, is some mix of tax increases and spending cuts. But that smooth, decades long declining slope is just a prediction. The actual data up to 2014 in the GAO-produced graph is much more interesting than the predictions, with sharp changes in the graph when policy and/or economic conditions change. That can give you cause for hope or fear, depending on your views of future policy and future economic conditions in America and how they might impact local and state governments. But when predicting, the easiest, and the most reasonable thing to do is to assume away policy changes and merely show how local and state finances will evolve given some broad assumptions, mainly assuming that things will roughly stay the same as they are at the current time.
Posted by Christine & John on December 26, 2014 at 6:40 PM
I am happy that the economy is picking up and I notice my liberal friends are escatic. They feel vindicted, even if it took four years longer than it should have. But I noticed an interesting couple of headlines, to wit - U.S. 3rd Quarter GDP Best Since 2003. It has been more than ten years since the economy was so good, but I don't recall the same euphoria among lefties in 2003.» Continue reading "U.S. 3rd Quarter GDP Best Since 2003"...
Posted by Christine & John on December 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM
Anti police protestors in NYC, Al Sharpton and Mayor de Blasio are not responsible for the killing of the cops in New York any more than Sarah Palin and conservatives were responsible for the shooting in Tucson, or the Tea Party was responsible for any violence at all. I hope our leftish friends will remember this next time they go nuts.» Continue reading "Blood on whose hands "...
Posted by Christine & John on December 22, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Barack Obama and Eric Holder have a unique opportunity. They are among the two most successful blacks in world history. Until recently, President Obama has avoided being identified too closely with black issues. Eric Holder embraced race from day one. Both now have a chance to be real leaders. Holder called for an honest discussion about race. Let's have it. Let's have one robust and truthful enough to offend everybody.» Continue reading "Looking for real leadership"...
Posted by Christine & John on December 18, 2014 at 4:08 PM
Americans have the Constitutional right to protest peacefully It is a right, but it is a neural one, i.e. not all protests are actually right or useful and some are bad. I support the rights of people to protest "police violence." I exercise my right to say that they are mostly wrong. I would do nothing to encourage them.» Continue reading "Constitutional right to protest"...
Posted by Christine & John on December 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Cuba is an economic basket-case run by decrepit old men, using a decrepit a old ideology. Back in the Kennedy Administration, before most people alive today were born, Cuba was a forward operating base for the Soviet Union. It was the tip of a Soviet spear and was dangerous for that reason. Cuba itself was no threat and when the Soviet empire collapsed so did most of the threat of Cuba. The bankrupt country and bankrupt ideology was kept on life support by Venezuelan oil. Today, Venezuela is also a basket-case and oil prices are dropping. Cuba has no place else to go. We should be magnanimous in victory.» Continue reading "Obama did good on Cuba"...
Posted by Christine & John on December 16, 2014 at 7:20 AM
I wrote a similar post a few months ago, but I see this as a persistent problem that perhaps deserves regular consideration. Our Western Civilization is threatened less by the big but uncommon disasters than by daily little criticisms and second guessing, amplified by threats from the media, lawyers and even the authorities. Let me explain with a few examples» Continue reading "Lighten up 2"...
Posted by Keeley on December 15, 2014 at 6:05 PM
Is a model airplane an aircraft? The FAA is saying yes lately, appealing a ruling by a National Transportation Safety Board administrative law judge. The ruling in question dealt with the case of a man in Charlottesville, Va. who used a 56-inch wingspan radio controlled plane, in essence a drone, to film a commercial. He was charged with operating the aircraft too close to pedestrians. Ridiculous you say? Perhaps not, in view of the fact that there have been 25 near misses between drones and commercial planes, around airports in the U.S. since June 1st. Another near collision with an airliner recently occurred near London England. So the FAA is planning to put restrictions in place that will severely limit the operation of drones, essentially cutting off any opportunities for their commercial use. Restricting them to less than 400 feet of altitude and perhaps requiring visual contact between the drone and the operator would make it impossible to use them for any other than, well, model-aircraft style outings at your local private airport, or go-cart track, on a Saturday morning.